A Rare Sentence: Grace decides the theme she wants for her birthday party is for most of her friends to use alien technology to temporarily swap their genders, which isn't nearly as crazy as it would be in a more realistic setting but nevertheless takes a lot of people out of their comfort zones:
Sarah: Part of me just wants to "get a room" with her. But that's just crazy! I don't want to lose my virginity as a guy, and I sure as heck don't want to risk getting Elliot pregnant! Which, by the way, is a sentence I never thought I'd say.
Justin: I'm not trained in the art of using horses as projectile weaponry.
Abusive Parents: Well, singular. Damien ended up making himself a sort of twisted father figure to Grace and her brothers, but there is nothing "fatherly" about him at all. He is an abuser pure and simple, able to control his "children" through fear and constantly hitting them whenever they displease him. And like any parent whose children are young enough, he's too powerful for them to do anything about it. And the reason he wanted Grace back? He wanted to breed with her so that he could raise an army. Whether she wanted to or not. (She didn't, by the way.)
Unintentionally done by Tedd's mother, using a magic analysis wand to see why he had no magical potential; he was frightened by the noise it made until it became a Pavlovian Response.
Hints dropped at Ellen having depression and taking up drinking were later explained away because the creator didn't like the direction it would take. Then, the unopened cans are stuffed back in the refrigerator by Elliot... behind theRed Herring.
The "Lord Tedd" arc will presumably pick up again some day, but it's more or less indefinitely on hold because the author realized he introduced it too early.
Susan's crusade against the school uniform policy dropped out of focus and then ended abruptly not because nobody in the school wanted to wear the uniforms (even if only Susan was willing to openly act on the matter), but because the parents of the students complained about the increased laundry costs. (Although the author had always intended to end the arc in a lame way, he admitted didn't intend for it to be so abrupt.)
Raven mentions offhandedly that South has many unusual children — and he's in charge of protecting them. What's more, he never states that other schools aren't like this — we might just not have met Raven's Moperville North equivalent.
Though Moperville North does have its "well-meaning, but completely nuts" principal, and the Goo showed up there twice.
Ellen and Grace's math teacher pretends to deduce facts about his new students, and concludes that "the end result appears to be a duplicate squirrel of some sort." The girls are rather shocked about how close to the mark he is until he says he was just messing with them and it had all been gibberish. Then again, this isMoperville High, so he may well have been lying/unknowingly magical.
A variation. Susan flashbacks to an earlier encounter with an 'Aberration' — a person who has used magic in order to become immortal through parasitically leeching off the life-force of others. She starts to describe to her friends about how it had some vampire-like characteristics, realizes her description sounds like it is of a vampire, and decides to say it was one. When her friends ask if it really was one, she said 'No, not really, but it was a monster that used to be human, hypnotized young women and sucked blood out of their necks. It doesn't matter what I say. You two are going to hear "vampire."' The accompanying comments say no, it's not a 'real' vampire. About one arc later, the body-snatcher Sirleck is also identified as an Aberration, albeit one of a different variety than the one Susan and Nanase encountered in France. The common thread is that Aberrations are creatures that were once human, but physically and mentally transformed themselves into monsters in order to gain immortality.
Alpha Bitch: Subverted. Diane is set up to be this, but she's revealed to actually care for her friends (and be concerned for random crying strangers), as seen here, and is thus really a Lovable Alpha Bitch. Her friend Lucy, on the other hand, fits the bullying part of the archetype but isn't the leader of the group.
Susan seemed to be an example of this at first, being portrayed as a snobby mean rich girl... but the moment she was given more screen time, she quickly got one hell of a character development. She was also revealed to have a traumatic backstory, so it would be more appropriate to call her a Broken Bird, or, more recently, a Defrosting Ice Queen.
Flash Sideways: "Sleepy Time" with Lord Tedd, "Second Life" with Ellen and Kaoli.
Ambiguous Gender: Tedd (even without his regular Gender Bender shenanigans) and Noah. Word of God even notes that a female posing model is used for both. It's even the first trope used for a joke in the comic.
Amicable Exes: Nanase and Elliot are this after the former broke it off for Sarah's sake. Partially subverted for her that she later dates his Opposite-Sex Clone Ellen.
More straight is Sarah and Elliot, who came to their own conclusions why a relationship wouldn't work. The former because she felt it was too slow and passive, and the later realizing that he loved her as a sister. Regardless, they're still very close, even teasing one another that they should have reacted more viciously.
Amusing Injuries: The end result of a Demonic Duck jumping out of a moving car. They were NOT amusing enough to distract Susan. (Justified as she was the one driving the car, and the author has a strong dislike of drivers in fiction who let themselves get distracted way too easily.)
Unfortunately, the school uniform subplot, one of the few subplots to actually receive a conclusion so far, suffers from this. In the commentary, Shive blames poor planning on the abrupt end, but insists the tone would have remained the same regardless.
Elliot and Sarah's break up was surprisingly amicable, and it went down very smoothly, much to the surprise of the pair and many readers. This was quickly lampshaded about how none of their friends are going to believe that the break up went so smoothly.
Arbitrary Skepticism: The cast has dealt with magic, not-aliens, alternate dimensions, immortals, shapeshifting Biological Mash Ups, and lots and lots of Gender Bending, but Tedd's claims of an interdimensional space whale that eats magic only gets him an odd look from his father.
Possibly justified immediately afterwards — Tedd tells Elliot that his father can't be expected to know everything, and Tedd's the only character known to even be able to sense the space whales.
The Anime Style Martial Arts dojo is located in the same neighborhood as a strip club, cigarette store, adult bookshop, abortion clinic, and an ice cream shop.
In the commentary section of one comic, referring to an Obviously EvilEldritch Abomination: "It probably ate a puppy for breakfast right before it burned down an orphanage and talked loudly on a cell phone at a restaurant."
He's also shifted from grayscale to full-color and back multiple times.
The first comic and tenth anniversary comic are also an excellent example of how the art has changed. Same two characters, nearly identical dialogue with a slight difference in the plot, vastly improved art style.
Six more years later in 2018 (to further contrast with the above examples), his style is still evolving, albeit in more subtle but clearly visible ways.
Art Imitates Art: The second panel of this page contains an extra imitating Edvard Munch's The Scream.
Asshole Victim: Played for Laughs when a literalpuppy kicking orphanage burning robber ends up as the first victim of an invading army of aberrations, showing that they've been eating humans while trying to avoid giving the story too dark a tone. Ironically, he never gets a chance to try his planned crimes as a result.
The copious amount of transformation. In-story, Tedd represents this aspect of him. Or rather an exaggerated version, Tedd is more pervy than Dan.
Dan: I suppose it's POSSIBLE Sarah won't get transformed at any point while assisting Tedd. Possible, but not bloody likely.
Also, judging from this rant, Susan (and Diane's) "concern for hygiene" is another example.
The fact Dan thinks goth girls are hot is pretty obvious. Most blatantly with Elliot (who's a bit of an idealized self-insert) getting a goth girl disguise form and liking it because it appeals to his obvious attraction to goth girls.
Large-busted girls, usually not to excess within the main comic, but without much limit in Patreon images. Lampshaded on this page, and then the lampshade is lampshaded in Dan's commentary.
Author Avatar: Dan's squirrel avatar, though only out of continuity. Tedd and Elliot each serve this purpose less explicitly at times.
Author Catchphrase: Dan never "plans" anything, he "plots". As in, "I was plotting to have new comics up Monday through Friday, but..."
Author Filibuster: The Legends of Celida arc so far seems to exist for the sole purpose of allowing Dan to rant about the true nature of Sheik from Ocarina of Timeand whether Zelda is simply casting an illusion or out and out transforms into a male.
The Duel of the Discs arc is pretty much Dan using Justin, Grace, and Tensaided to give his opinions on Magic: The Gathering and the Star Wars prequels. And the arc before that, By the Numbers, was basically Dan's opinion on movie rating sites like Rotten Tomatoes, albeit with a bone tossed towards possible future character development for both Elliot and Susan at the very end.
Author Guest Spot: Dan has appeared as himself as he appears in real life as the "super smart" guy in panel six of this strip, but as he only revealed that it was him in the commentary and calls it a cameo, it is more like a Creator Cameo.
"Awesome McCool" Name: Pandora Chaos Raven. She chose it herself, and claims that it matches her personality. Raven is actually her married name. She keeps it even though her human husband died centuries ago.
A Wizard Did It: the author's (word-for-word) explanation for any discrepancies in scenery or building layout, in this page's commentary.
Badass Family: The Verres family, including cousin Nanase and resident Grace.
And the Raven family as well, with Adrian being one of the series' biggest badasses, and his adopted son/lodger Noah being able to defeat a dragon singlehandedly and has hints of being the child left behind from the experiments that created Damien and Grace. Meanwhile, Adrian's mother, Pandora, is one of the most powerful Immortals on the planet, although that power and mental instability go hand in hand. Both power and instability appear to be going away, though!
Badass Teacher: Endangering students of Mr. Raven is the sort of things insurance companies make a specific exclusion for. Even for wizards.
Bad Liar: Elliot. It proves to be a massive liability when he's being questioned by Damien and Hedge, but later is one of the reasons Mr. Verres leaves him to supervise Grace's birthday party.
Catalina as well. She just can't seem to hold back that she's dating Rhoda.
Bait-and-Switch: In the Fate of Magic arc, it looks like it will be Tedd arguing for revealing magic and Arthur arguing for keeping it secret. But Tedd manages to get Arthur on board simply by figuring out that there are over a thousand seers who will be aware of the magic change. Arthur realizes his goal is simply impossible in the modern world, but magic itself is not so easily convinced.
Speaking of Tedd, well... this is how Ellen came to be.note Later revealed to be Magus's influencing Tedd's emotions at a key point, as part of Pandora's scheme to get Magus a new body in as complicated and uncertain a way as possible.
Dan himself admitted in a commentary that while was perfectly fine with people believing in conspiracy theories, you will get on his bad side if you try to convince him the moon landing was faked.
Dan: People worked their asses off, made sacrifices, and some even died in their effort to reach the moon. If someone is going to proclaim we never made it there, they better damn well have really solid evidence or kindly shut the hell up.
Beware the Nice Ones: Grace, who can shapeshift into any number of extremely lethal forms when provoked. And when she's reluctant or unable to enter close combat, she just uses telekinesis instead.Beware, indeed.
Tedd looked like Lord Tedd when he discovered Damien's mistreatment of Grace, and especially when he learned it wasn't a one-off event. As "One Way Road" shows, he wants to be able to help his absurdly powerful friends, and is not satisfied with roles of a reclusive ballast or Mission Control. And as a Mad Scientist, he's able to climb the Super Weight ladder if he really wants... and does, as The Stinger to the same arc shows.
Pretty much most of the regular cast. They're all pretty much very nice people, but each has a Berserk Button or two that when pressed can unleash the beast. Elliot, Ellen, and Nanase are among the most powerful and protective of others.
Bi the Way: Ellen considers herself bisexual homoromantic — she can be physically attracted to women or men, but romantic relationships only seem possible with another woman. In general, changing straight people's sex may wreak havoc on their sexuality, or they may adapt easily, there have been examples of both.
If you're willing to go here to translate Uryuomoco.note actually a cipher upon English, and has been spelled "Uryuomocco" in-comic, the name decodes to "Alienese" or "Alienesse" A couple real examples with French and Japanese, though.
"Verres" in Uryuomoco is "Bolloc" (he is a cover-up specialist). It's also the French word for "Glasses" (though technically it only refers to the lenses).
Pretty much needed for this comic to make much sense beyond "ominous dream involving the big bad."note Although, ironically, it has parts which the translator cannot translate entirely correctly, and at least one may be an error - although it should be noted that the text is canon while the translator is not, and the other may be an undocumented cluster rule.
In a later comic, the Uryuomoco in the comic was shown translated. In the commentary, Dan stated that it was because he felt it was irresponsible to alienate readers who didn't know how to translate it.
Principal Verrückt's last name is German for "crazy".
Blessed with Suck: Sure, Elliot and Ellen will get pretty sweet magic powers, but the Power Incontinence (especially embarrassing for Elliot) means that for a while, life will be just a little crap for them.
In Elliot's case, it's not helped by people who've read too much Ranma ½ dumping buckets of water on him.
It was never really a problem for Ellen, who only had to shoot a couple beams every morning (and maybe after school just to be safe) and has already passed her Power Incontinence phase. Elliot has to transform every six hours although he might be over that now...
Grace: I just said I know a bunch of guys who treat me like that. Sarah's dealt with guys like that, too. And Ellen. And ... well, I figure every girl has to deal with stuff like that. Tedd: But ... that's not okay! That sucks! Grace: Yep.
When Jerry the immortal appears in "Hammerchlorians" he says most immortals give themselves names from mythology, leading to "legendary hissy fits" when two immortals named "Zeus" meet. In "Sister III, part 22: Apocalypse" Jerry's reset forminsists on being called Zeus.
Broken Masquerade: Breaks on a semi-regular basis to individuals. Later on, it showed more cracks during the Sister 2 storyline and the cracks grew wider during and after the New and Old Flames storyline. The tipping point was Pandora using the mechanics of her forced reset to force every Immortal onto the physical plane and cast a spell that wiped out over 99% of the global Aberration population, and the spell was visible for miles around and had multiple points of origin. The Will of Magic outright states that even without the previous incidents, that one event would have completely shattered the Masquerade on its own.
Brought Down to Badass: Nanase, even without her crazy powerful magic, is still a very experienced martial artist who can bench press 160 pounds note which is vastly above average for a 16 year old girl.
Brought Down to Normal: Nanase, after "burning up" her magic in order to defeat Abraham. This is, however, temporary.
Bully Hunter: Elliot Dunkel has fought bullies in the past to protect their victims, including both Justin and Tedd. He lapses back from time to time when a friend of his is bullied nearby, though circumstances always manage to deal with the problem before Elliot can get started.
Gerald as well, sort of. He wears gothy outfits and makeup specifically to provoke bullies into picking fights with him.
Tedd: He sounds like a venus fly trap that catches bullies. That's awesome.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Resident Mad Scientist Tedd is quite brilliant... it's just difficult to recognize when his field of expertise is so deeply tied in with his many quirks.
Susan: Tedd[...]has become very responsible with his transformation technology. Tedd: Hey guys! Susan: Tedd, you're a catgirl. Tedd: I am? Oh! Right. Forgot about that. Susan: Adequately responsible.
Can Not Tell A Lie: Another world is mentioned where Ancients (known as Immortals in the main world) are incapable of lying without bringing the wrath of their entire race upon themself. Immortals in the main world are under no such restriction, meaning that Tara the griffin (who is from this other world) is easily manipulated by an unscrupulous immortal in the main world because she falsely believes that he cannot be lying to her.
Cast of Snowflakes: Dan's had to come up with lots of new designs for extras in later arcs.
Cat Girl: In various ways, ranging from the appropriately-named Catalina, to Ellen's online persona, to Grace's werecat form and the variants thereof to normal form of Nioi and Kaoli (they're skunks, but this looks close enough). Not to mention Elliot's catboy form....
Catalina yells "JACKASSES!" enough for it to be one.
"...thinking about baseball."
Cerebus Retcon: Dan is famous for this trope. Before this series developed Cerebus Syndrome, many hyper-zany elements were present in the story, and now that the series has become more serious, Dan is having fun going back and deconstructing lots of the ridiculousness of the earlier strips. The self-deprecatingly titled "Hammerchlorians" arc is devoted to one particular instance of this.
Cerebus Syndrome: The Painted Black arc was the turning point. Word of God states that he is going to attempt to undo/turn this down in upcoming arcs. Ironically, the "Bringing Silly Back" mega-arc is (self-admittedly) more serious in some ways than previous arcs. That being said, the story has never reached the heights of seriousness of Painted Black, even the antagonists have delved into absurdity and humor and generally have sympathetic aspects, unlike Damien. The obvious authorial intent is more mature storylines in substance rather than just being edgy.
Chain Pain: In his original appearances, Hedge wielded a chain as a weapon — specifically, the very chain that had once bound him in captivity in the laboratory that created him. Very symbolic. Very quickly forgotten, too. Only really appeared in one scene, if memory serves, though Grace references it again later.
Dan: Seriously, I tend to skip my own huge blocks of text in these old comics on account of me already knowing the key points and being plenty busy, and after I wrote about Susan apologizing to Greg, someone asked "what about apologizing to Nanase for calling her that thing?" My genuine response was "Susan called Nanase WHAT?!"
Chekhov's Gag: In an early gag, before it was established that there was a Masquerade, Nanase is floating through the hallways only to be seen by a physics teacher. Later, Diane reveals that this habit of hers clued her into the fact that Nanase has magic.
Chekhov's Gun: A lot of 'em. It got to the point that Shive redesigned a character who would have had certain "suspicious" traits (such as an eyepatch) specifically so that nobody would sit around waiting for those to be explained.
Possibly lampshaded in the commentary for this strip: "On the plus side, should the fact that there's a photo of Grace on the wall of a pancake place where a TV show episode was filmed ever come up again, the high-res version is already drawn." Definitely lampshaded in this page's commentary.
Chekhov's Gunman: Hedge, among others. Noah was even worse — he showed up, gothic font and all, and then... completely vanished. For years.
It took nearly eight years to explain how Susan made a sword appear back during the Sister arc.
The Chessmaster: Pandora. Dan even says in one commentary that she's not someone you want to play at chess. Her desire to manipulate events rather than getting directly involved actually makes sense for two reasons: the other immortals get cheesed off if one of them does anything more than assist people on the physical plane, and she prefers things to be as unpredictable as possible (Chaos is literally her middle name, that she gave herself). Doing everything herself would either earn her severe retribution or just make things too boring.
Children Forced to Kill: Susan and Nanase when, during a class-trip to France, they wind up being targeted by an aberration. He's not technically human anymore, but he LOOKS human — mostly — and while Nanase does most of the fighting, it's Susan who ends up having to kill him — with an ax, even. Unsurprisingly, she was somewhat traumatized, and the storyline that featured the flashback culminated in an Immortal decrying the irresponsibility of the two French Immortals who originally equipped the girls for the battle, while giving them no apparent alternative save dying at the hands of the aberration. Apparently, they could have simply informed the French Government's anti-supernatural-creature-squad instead, but elected to drag two teen girls into a battle in order to 'recruit them for the fight against evil'. Omniscient Morality License, anyone?
Child Soldier: After a monster attacked Susan in Paris, two Immortals empowered her and Nanase, and instructed how to kill it, though it's implied – and in the Hammerchlorians arc, confirmed – that they could have gone to an experienced local magic-user instead. Susan... didn't take it well.
Chivalrous Pervert: Tedd. There are numerous examples of this, but possibly the best one is the first time he meets Grace. When he asks what Grace is wearing under her trench coat and she says she "Nothing," he quickly welcomes her into the house in the most over-the-top way possible, but the first thing he does once she's inside is offer her some of his clothes to wear.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Word of God states he is attempting to avert this. The author did finally properly introduce Noah, a character who was first mentioned (and then ignored) 6 years beforehand.
The best example in this series was likely Sensei Greg. Despite having played a fairly decent role in early arcs, he was reduced to a brief cameo in Painted Black, and only got a short, non-plot critical scene in the party arc before it got into full swing. However, this has been averted as of 8/18/2010, which marks Sensei Greg's re-introduction to the storyline.
A more infamous example would be Lord Tedd, who was set up for a long time as a potential Big Bad for the series but both him and his plotline quickly became buried amongst plot twists and never seen again.
City of Weirdos: Moperville, although the citizenry are a little more noticing than the average example of this trope.
Exaggerated with an incredibly lame (but apparently successful) government campaign to hide the presence of aliens on earth by such methods as having them wear T-shirts that say "Homo Sapiens."
In the New And Old Flames storyline, Elliot got a superheroine form spell, which comes with its own alter ego form which seems to allow this trope. However, it is subverted in that in the form Elliot actually requires glasses and his speech patterns are made mild-mannered. This means he doesn't really need to engage in Clark Kenting consciously; the form does it for him.
Cloning Blues: Played depressingly straight at first. When Ellen was accidentally created, she freaked out, with good reason. She had all of Elliot's memories, but suffered Loss of Identity since she could never get back his old life, and all of his friends were now essentially strangers she only knew about secondhand. She was permanently stuck in female form, something the original Elliot was so desperate to escape that he resorted to using a dangerous magical artifact he clearly didn't understand rather than risk spending (at most) a few more weeks in that form. Ellen also had reason to believe she might have less than a month to live, and feared she'd spend that time locked up in a research facility as a test subject. She went a little crazy, and as a coping mechanism, tried being an Evil Twin for a while, which only made her more miserable. However, this trope was subverted in the long run. Ellen learned her fears of an imminent demise or being locked up for study had no basis in reality. Elliot's friends welcomed her warmly and treated her like a normal individual, rather than just an accidental female copy of someone they knew. Elliot became fiercely protective of her, treating her as a cross between a little sister and a daughter, rather than the Evil Twin she had tried to be. Even Elliot's parents accepted her surprisingly easily, given the circumstances. Ellen eventually developed her own personality and became a major character in her own right, as well as an unprecedented solution to an earlier Love Triangle.
Code Name: Grace originally didn't have a real name, but went by the code name 'Shade Tail'. 'Grace' was the name her Dr Sciuridae gave her, after the dead daughter who had been her gene-parent.
Both for Grace and general Tail variants, Tail as the last name is not arbitrary, it's the family name, since their Uryuom parent's name translates to Tail from Uryuomoco.
Color-Coded Multiplayer: When Nanase creates one shadow copy of herself, the copy is colored with one of the primary additive colors (red, green, or blue), while Nanase is colored with the corresponding primary subtractive color (cyan, magenta, or yellow, respectively). This actually makes sense from a scientific standpoint: The real Nanase is absorbing the color the fake one is producing.
Congruent Memory: Tedd is supposedly better at cooking while female. His argument is that he usually cooks for himself when his father is away on business, which is also when he's most likely to spend a lot of time gender-bent. He seems fully aware of the absurdity of this, however, admitting that it's probably all in his head. Doesn't stop him from doing it.
Convection Schmonvection: Averted. The "fire monster" summons in the New and Old Flames arc aren't really made of fire because they would incinerate themselves. They just look like they're on fire and have fire-related vulnerabilities. It's a beginner's mistake when summoning certain monsters to just go with what looks cool instead of what actually works.
Cool, But Inefficient: Invoked. While building a deck for the card tournament at the comic shop, Tedd mentally declares one of the cards to be "not efficient, but pretty damn cool".
Ellen's creation was eventually revealed as completely avoidable twice over; first when it's revealed that Tedd has a device that can gauge the end result of a transformation beam (the whole thing started when he claimed to zap himself to test the beam because he doesn't have such a device and the safety for the gun got stuck) and just likes to turn himself into the girl. The second is when Tedd's father reveals that when he turned from his business trip, he would've brought more than enough parts with him to repair the transformation gun, meaning that Elliot would've only been stuck as a girl for two days instead of a month (he left a note on the fridge explaining this, but the message never got across because of his "ink blot handwriting.")
Tara suspected Elliot of hiding Andrea because an immortal told her so, and she's from an alternate universe where immortals Cannot Tell a Lie. However, that's not true in this universe, which Andrea had actually told her earlier. Elliot and Nanase are not amused to learn this.
Sarah: It's like a train wreck, and I can't look away...
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Mr. Verres and Agent Wolf. In early comics, the two characters were pretty goofy and usually played for laughs. That changes a bit later on:
We've gotten hints for some time that Mr. Verres is a very prominent figure in the paranormal area (possibly even enough to qualify him as the Big Good of the EGS world), and his Crowning Moment of Awesome near the end of the Abraham encounter demonstrates that he has enough skill with magic that you really don't want to mess with him or anyone he cares about.
The encounter with Abraham has also shown that, when he's not obsessed with aliens, Agent Wolf is very professional, and Raven has identified him as one of the most powerful wizards in the Midwestern United States.
The Principal: So you're saying you can't make me an army of goo-based hall monitors? Tedd: Even if I could, I would not give into the dark side so easily.
Dawson Casting: Tedd invokes this in an EGS:NP strip by claiming to be twenty-one outside of continuity due to Comic-Book Time. Grace counters the gap might be up to a year, making Tedd eighteen. She then goes on to say that it doesn't matter anyways since none of them are likely to look any different before they turn 30. Though the revelation that he may be under the drinking age causes Tedd to excuse himself so that he can dispose of a keg in the fridge before his dad finds it.
Grace perfectly roleplayed and imagined an entire epic duel for Justin's and Tensaided's card game duel.
Whenever the characters use IM, instead of showing them typing, the author shows their avatars acting things out as if the conversation was happening face to face. The author explicitly stated it was because simply typing was boring.
During Squirrel Prophet, all the card games are visualised as epic battles rather than just people playing card games on desks.
Deus ex Machina: Subverted or maybe deconstructed mildly with the Dewitchery Diamond. It seems like a plot device at first, but then it solves it in a way completely different from the way everyone expected, and caused more problems than it solved, in the form of Knight Templar Abraham.
Magic is stated to have a flair for the dramatic. The characters are actually Genre Savvy enough to expect magic to act this way.
A V5-ed Susan gets distracted by her own sudden-sexy in this strip. Understandable, as in addition to the appearance this form has a rather... unusual hormonal status, which she wanted to experience in the first place. She stood enthralled until Insulted Awake... and only from the second attempt.
Genderbent Sarah also has one of these moments here.
NO! BAD Sarah! Stop thinking of yourself as a sex object!!
Distracted by the Sexy: It turns out that Tara the Griffon had been told that Immortals on this side of the world were capable of lying, unlike the ones they know of, which would have been very useful to remember when she tried to kill Elliot because she trusted a local Immortal's word over his. However, her girlfriend is cute when she's being nerdy. (For instance, when she's talking about little-known facts about Immortals.)
Does Not Like Men: Susan started out like this, firmly believing that All Men Are Perverts. A major part of her Character Development is moving past this, acknowledging that most males she knows aren't that bad (even the genuinely perverted Tedd has redeeming qualities). She got this from her mother, who extended to issue of her former husband's affair to all men. Susan had to lie that Justin was gay so she'd let him stay over, if only in the hopes that his homosexuality would rub off on Susan.
Catalina and Diane are both stated to automatically assume any man is a jerk until he proves otherwise. The former is a lesbian while the latter is not only straight, but a Gold Digger.
Tedd: If you're the result of my mistakes, then they were the best mistakes I ever made!
Also, the discussions about transformation can sometimes sound like it's being used as a metaphor for sex (or possibly kinky sex). Especially when the consent issue is brought up.
Doing In the Scientist: At first, the plot was fairly silly, and all transformation weirdness was due to the Transformation Gun, an invention of Tedd's. Then it was revealed to come from Uryuom technology. Then that was revealed to be based on magic, a fundamental form of energy which had already cropped up in earlier storylines.
Doing In the Wizard: In a way. Magic has actually become more prevalent after the Sister 2 arc, but it's also become less silly and more systematic. See Cerebus Retcon above.
Don't Try This at Home: The commentary for this comic goes out of its way to inform readers of the potential hazards of using a sleeper hold.
She uses a variation on this early on while fighting a giant blob of goo. In a subversion, none of the ones fighting the goo are the real Nanase; the real Nanase is rescuing Ellen while the goo is distracted by the duplicates.
Magus, while "powerless", later used this to run away from more or less godlike beings.
Dramatic Irony: During the Sister 3 arc, Magus still believes, not unreasonably, that Pandora is a monster and that he needs to stop her. What he doesn't know however is she underwent a lot of Character Development and is making up for her actions, culminating in a Heroic Sacrifice where she kills Aberrations in spite of the action being in violation of Immortal law and forcing a reset.
Early in the comic Elliot and Nanase share a rather overtly sexual relationship, with the two even having a tradition of making out after sparing matches. This becomes a rather odd point later on, when Elliot is revealed to be borderline sexually repressed, and even Nanase seems a lot more reserved (of course, this might just be in comparison to her new girlfriend, Ellen, who is a lot more open and flirtatious). Recent interactions between Elliot and Ashley seem to be reaffirming Elliot as overtly sexual, insinuating his situation with Sarah was actually more out of character for him due to the two not realizing their feelings for each other were deeply platonic, not romantic.
While it was always insinuated people could simply be more lax about their magic use before it started getting unwanted media attention, some of the magic use in the early comics was pretty oddly overt. Most of all was probably Nanase, who used to openly use blatant magic in public (she regularly levitated through the crowded hallways of her school, to the point where a joke was made that the Physics Teachers have a pet peeve against her). Even weirder, after magic gets exposure, almost no one thinks of confronting Nanase about her magic use, in spite of using it publicly in her school for possibly years.
11th-Hour Superpower: Three times. One is Justified in expansion, another is justified in previous development, and the last one was built up over more than two years so that it was bound to appear and could not be anything less than Summon "Oh, Crap!."
Noah: Is it jealousy? I have been told I could make straight men see rainbows.
Everyone Can See It: Elliot and Susan have become far closer to each other than they realize and pretty much everyone, including Sarah, ostensibly Elliot's girlfriend, notices it. Sarah herself would be all for it if Elliot and Susan got together, because it's become clear to her that Elliot isn't even really functioning as her boyfriend.
Also, during Painted Black, Hedge did everything in his power not to bring women back to Damien, knowing that he only wanted them for breeding.
All aberrations are The Sociopath, but unlike one of his fellow mercenaries, one retains enough humanity to think cannibalism is disgusting and is enough of a Pragmatic Villain to not want to draw attention via killing more people than necessary.
Everyone Is Bi: This didn't seem to be true at first, but ultimately, of the main eight, only Justin and Nanase appear to have an uncomplicated gender preference. From the beginning, Ellen was bi and Grace wasn't exactly straight; although any male character turned female will be attracted to men and vice-versa, that's a much greater part of Elliot's life (although that means any homosexual character transformed into the opposite gender will actually technically be considered heterosexual while in that form); Tedd, Sarah, and Elliot slowly come to realize that they're attracted to both sexes regardless of form; and Susan comes to realize she's an exclusive voyeur, whose subjects could be of either gender. Furthermore, more recent important characters, such as Noah and Ashley, seem similarly difficult to label.
Evil Twin: When she's first introduced, Ellen tries to be one of these for Elliot in an effort to give herself some sense of identity. She turns out to be spectacularly bad at it.
Exact Words: Immortals in Moperville's universal neighborhood are forbidden (by some unexplained contract or compact with humans) from doing much more than "guiding and empowering." However, as the comic progresses, it quickly becomes clear that "empowering" and "guiding" have loopholes big enough to drive a truck through. Loopholes which many immortals use with giddy abandon to achieve ends ranging from "vampire extermination" to "make me not bored."
Exposition Cut: Its frequent use is lampshaded in this comic from late in the "Sister" arc.
And another, slightly more dramatic one with Elliot about his girlfriend Sarah: "I care deeply about her and I want her always to be a part of my life! I don't want to hurt her! She's like a sister to me!"
Later, Grace is sure that if Justin has a magic mark, he must know about it.
How could he miss a small flame shaped mark colored slightly different from the rest of his skin on a spot high up on his back where he'd need a mirror and probably have to make a deliberate effort to dammit
Extreme Doormat: Sarah's motive to be upset with Elliot... to the point of wanting to break up with him. Elliot never takes the initiative of suggesting something to do and doesn't even have the drive to call her until someone tells him to do it. Sarah's always the one who must come out to call him or ask him out and decide what they should do, and even though she knows Elliot does it to avoid being oppressive to her, she's sick of it. Not to mention Elliot, in all the months they had being together,never tried to have sex with her.