Sarcasm Mode: Diane isn't buying into the idea that she's some sort of Vampire Hunter or that Nanase is some sort of princess. When her companion points out that Tara was able to somehow sense that Elliot and Ellen were twins, we get this gem:
Diane:OH MY GOD!She deduced that the people withnearly identical facesaretwins?!She must be awizard griffon!
Emissary of Magic: Magic is a force capable of defying the physical laws of the universe. It doesn't have to work the way it does now.
Secret Legacy: Neither Nanase nor Tedd knew that Tedd's mother, also Nanase's aunt, was "A legendary monster hunter with a long family history of fighting monsters and evil wizards," until Agent Wolf accidentally let it slip to Nanase. Nanase's mother is fully aware of both this, and Nanase's own magic abilities, but deliberately keeps it a secret for reasons of her own. Tedd's father has also kept this information from Tedd, and convinces Nanase to do the same. However, only half of Tedd's legacy is truly hidden, as his father is a high-ranking member of the FBI's paranormal division, and doesn't keep this from his son at all. It's a bit complicated, and the audience doesn't yet know the whole story.
Secret Secret-Keeper: Justin and Ellen about Nanase's homosexuality. Grace and Sarah fall under this for the duration of the birthday party, although their response is more Shipper on Deck. When Nanase does come out to her friends, Tedd is the only one who doesn't already know.
Sentient Cosmic Force: Magic has a will and objectives of its own. It's known to have a flair for the dramatic and even seems at times to have a sense of humor. Among its objectives is a desire to not be used by more than a small fraction of the people, and magic will rewrite its own rules if necessary to prevent widespread use. Or, in the words of the author: "Magic is a hipster that doesn't want to go mainstream."
Elliot was turned into a girl just before the Transformation Ray broke. He would've automatically turned back after a month, and Tedd probably could've rebuilt the device sooner, but Elliot was so desperate to return to normal (it is hinted that his emotions were being manipulated by Magus even back then) that he resorted to using a magical artifact, which had unexpected side effects.
Involuntary Shapeshifting: Multiple examples. Elliot, for example, has shapeshifting Gender Bender powers, but he's at a stage where his body doesn't know its limits, so basically, he needs to transform every day to burn off excess magic, or else it'll overload at some inopportune moment, causing him to involuntarily transform with barely any warning.
An attempt to transform from living genetic salad of six kinds of beings to human was nearly lethal for Vlad. Part of Grace's design supposedly was to counter this problem. Though it may be partially because Project Lycanthrope seyunolu were not just made by eggs but also tinkered with.
Required Secondary Powers: Greater chimerae seem not to have much problems with identifying people they know in different forms. Uryuom once failed at this, but it may tell more about mental changes in Tedd after acquaintance with Grace.
Shapeshifter Default Form: Artificial transformations are temporary, in normal conditions new forms expire and the subject snaps back. A chimera may keep other forms for a good while, but is born in hybrid form and deem these the most "natural" i.e comfortable. Though Grace appears to have no problem remaining in her human form (plus antenna) for long periods.
Sherlock Scan: Diane does it while cap-and-piped. So much for being introduced as an Alpha Bitch two and half real-time years earlier.
Shipper on Deck: Sarah, with Nanase and Ellen. Interesting because she's essentially returning the favor: Nanase helped Elliot get together with her. Grace is just as enthusiastic about pairing them up. In fact, the only person who doesn't like the idea is Tedd, who considers Nanase his "ugly cousin" — he can't handle the thought of her being in a relationship with anybody.
Unnamed "Star Trek fangirl" ships Elliot and Susan to the point that she shows up at the video store to ask Susan about their relationship, rather than to rent a video. And just happens to be there for the revelation that Sarah and Elliot have broken up. Cue Squeeing.
Grace and Sarah immediately fall into this when they suspect Luke has a crush on Justin.
Susan embraces this concerning Ashley and Elliot, although this is more to assuage her own issues, since they already had a date planned.
And then, even more strangely, Sarah, Tedd, and Grace have been getting OT3 shipping since they started working together over the summer. They've all seen each other naked, pranked Tedd with awkward transformations making him guess who is who, and Tedd has accidentally kissed Sarah thinking she was Grace.
Shoo Out the Clowns: If they can't be milked for drama, they're gone. At present, this means the Hammers are gone, and Greg is closing his dojo. Also leads to Doing In the Scientist with both Hammerspace and Anime-Style Martial Arts being explained by magic.
Note that the Hammers had disappeared since Painted Black, and Greg is back in as a character, doing private tutoring sessions. So, in Greg's case, they shooed out the clown to bring him back.
Arguably subverted by his father's response: "That's a good question, isn't it?", which underscores his argument against making magic publicly available: They don't know if bombsuits (personal magic) could reliably protect people from rocket launchers (bad people with horrific magic), and aren't willing to take that risk.
Word of Dan: I'm not saying a more "gritty" approach is wrong in general; I speak only of what is appropriate for this comic. The world is full of cynical, gritty and dark comics full of brooding, angst and doom, and while I'm sure many of those comics are good, one of my specific intentions for EGS is for it to not be one of those comics.
Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: The early strips had No Fourth Wall. As the years progressed, any mention of the author or even fourth wall breaks in general were dropped and are now relegated to the newspaper and filler strips, which are out of canon.
Spontaneous Weapon Creation: For a long time, women who were offended by sexist men could conjure hammers from out of nowhere and use them to pummel the offender. This lasted until the person who originally created this ability passed away.
The Latin word 'Sciuridae' translates as 'Shade Tail', which was also Grace's Code Name, though it was not in reference to Dr. Sciuridae. Its also part of the scientific name for squirrel.
Having an appropriate name can lead to having magic affinities related to that name. Pandora for her part does not like this since in her opinion, it's cliched and predictable and thusly, boring for someone like her.
The Stinger: It looks like Dan acquired the taste for it by the latter arcs (which somewhat improves Rotating Arcs side in itself). After all was said and done in "New And Old Flames", the last page has a good hook. "One Way Road" got an even better "postscriptum" in the last panels.
Justin, and also Nanase. There are no flamboyant stereotypes to be found in this comic. Well, except for Justin really likes to play with hair. Though Dan tried to explain that it wasn't because he was gay it's just he happens to have a strong emotional link to hair...and it just happens to be a gay stereotype. He mostly plays with Nanase's hair, though.
Parodied in one comic where Justin handwaves his ability to deduce Susan's problems as "Hollywood teaching us all gay friends are insightful".
It takes a dark turn when Luke first assumes that Justin is heterosexual because of this.
This is actually later inverted. When the school institutes a uniform policy, Susan is upset about the skirts for girls (because she thinks they're sexist), and many students want the uniforms removed entirely. However, Susan acknowledges that the school can't do a 180 in policy immediately (due to the expense of the uniforms) and just wants girls to have the option to wear pants.
Straw Misogynist: In one of the B-Side Comics, Ashley writes a story in which several characters rather explicitly refer to themselves as old men oppressing women's reproductive freedoms. They immediately correct their opinions after getting a Karmic Transformation and become subject to the very laws they were planning to enact.
Any straight Gender Bender becomes bisexual for the duration. A certain male-to-female setting - which can also be used on women - will, for 48 hours, make you extremely attractive, even to people who normally don't like girls. Not to mention the Stupid Sexy Flanders overtones of Gender Benders in the first place. Even without gender-bending, Tedd is constantly getting this; Justin once joked that he shouldn't worry about gay men being attracted to him. Also, while removing his glases was enough to make V5-ed Elliot blush:
Sarah: In Elliot's defense, your face isn't really the best barometer of whether he was really into guys...
Noah seems to trigger this among the fans.
Sudden School Uniform: Due to Webcomic Time, the uniform policy Moperville North announced in March 2005 and abolished in January 2010 was really in effect for two and a half days.
Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Tedd is attempting to treat magic just like any other area of the (mad) sciences — physics, chemistry, robotics, etc. So far, we've seen him trying empirical testing of transformation spells, running numbers instead of hoping that things "just work", and so forth. It's heavily, heavily implied that "Lord Tedd" resulted in one timeline when he forgot the value of friendship in lieu of obsessing over magic-turned-science — and thus, power — to the exclusion of all else.
Super Mode: Nanase with Angel-form, Elliot with "Cheerleadra", Grace with her Shade Tail form, an amalgamation of all the best traits of her multiple forms, and Tedd using his gauntlet to give him a huge boost in magic. Ellen was once able to copy Nanase's Angel-form but its unkown if that was a one time thing or not. Justin ironically, doesn't have a specific Super mode as the only magic he can use is power boosting magic, essentially making anytime he uses it his super mode.
Supernatural Aid: Immortals work this way rather than interfering more directly.
More to the point, there obviously are therapists - it just seems nobody knows when to get one. This is most apparent with Susan, who obviously has some serious issues, but could probably have been therapized (whether that is still possible now cannot be said).
There Can Be Only One: Possibly subverted; while Lord Tedd is supposedly out to kill the "weak Tedds," Nioi insisted that he was misunderstood, and it is clear from various hints that he has a Freudian Excuse lurking in the shadows. Unfortunately, due to the Kudzu Plot, he's been Put on a Bus, so it'll be some time before we find out why.
Three Yay: Some Sarah/Grace/Tedd subtext starts cropping up when Sarah becomes Tedd's lab assistant. Tedd has a (brief) Imagine Spot of all three of them in sexy outfits, Tedd gave Sarah clone forms of himself with the explicit understanding that she could do whatever she wanted with them, and Sarah is the only person other than Grace who has shown to be able to call him "Teddy" and get away with it. Plus, after Grace learns ofElliot and Sarah's amicable breakup, she feels the need to reassure herself by clinging to Tedd ... and Sarah.
Sarah: Why am I being clung?!
Threesome Subtext: Beginning to actually be acknowledged in universe, like on this page. Sarah pretty much admits she's attracted to Grace in this strip, even if she's not admitting it to herself.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Susan and Nanase's friendship. Susan is a very conservative, feminist who is just getting over her issues with men. Nanase is pretty much the opposite in most ways. the two of them are good friends, even if Susan didn't want to admit it for a long time.
Touched by Vorlons: If certain requirements are met, Immortals can mark a human to give them magic powers. Pandora has been handing out such marks without the knowledge or consent of the recipients.
Tragic Dream: Tedd can't give magic to everyone in the world, as it would just change to undo any progress he makes.
Trans Equals Gay: Tedd catches a lot of this from the start, which is completely groundless. The author indicated in a non-canon piece that Justin would love being a girl so he could pick up guys. After receiving complaints, turned it the other way in follow-up piece and kept it from entering the comic's canon. Later on in the canon story Justin addresses the fact that he doesn't actually want to be a woman, even though it would make his life easier.
Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Known as an Angst-Induced Awakening, one of the possible ways for magic potential to be realised, generally due to big events like home being destroyed or a loved one dying, though if someone has a lot of pent-up issues, a minor event could trigger it in a straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back way. Also of note is that it actually counts as a proper awakening since Magic is big on Rule of Drama and such awakenings are inherently dramatic.
Uneven Hybrid: It turns out that all wizards, people with inherited affinities, and seers, are descendants of Immortals. The idea that the Human-Immortal hybrids known as Elves couldn't have children turned out to be deliberate lies. Diane is quarter-Immortal through her father, Adrian Raven, and Susan is a more distant descendant of Raven. This would also mean that Tedd and Sarah both have an Immortal ancestor somewhere in their family tree.
Unusual Pets for Unusual People: The Verres family has a cat-like pet named Jeremy who was brought home by Tedd's father one day. Jeremy has spines/spikes on his back that become erect when he's frightened or angry and his jaws are powerful enough to open metal cans of catfood. Tedd is a Mad Scientist and his father is part of an organization that deals with the unusual (supernatural, aliens, etc.).
Unstoppable Rage: After Grace finds out what happened to her real father, she goes utterly ballistic on Damien. She snaps out of it before actually killing him, though. Also happens to Nanase when Abraham tries to destroy Ellen.
Verbal Backspace: The Emissary of Magic is about to ask Pandora why she would take on a childlike form when she suddenly runs circles around him throwing a tantrum about Magic ruining her plan to empower all of Moperville by threatening to change its own rules to stop it from working. "Nevermind."
Weaksauce Weakness: The fire-summon mooks have a weakness to water, despite not actually being on fire. Trying to make flaming creatures with a summon spell that can't allow it (the creatures would incinerate themselves) causes the effect.
Webcomic Time: Eight years of EGS as a webcomic is just over two months of time in-comic. The Birthday Party was a particularly jarring example; a year of EGS was one day of in-comic time. This makes Ellen's character development and Nanase coming out slightly odd.
It is getting a bit better, though. As of November, 2012, about 135 days, just over 4 months, have passed in-comic. Still, however, January 21, 2013 will be the 11th anniversary. It is yet to be seen if we will reach the 5-month milestone by that time. This panel makes sure that, while it may be a weekish late, they definitely are past the 5-month mark now.
Weirdness Censor: The aliens, when walking among humans, use a system of disguise that involves wearing shirts bearing the label 'human'. Despite their natural forms looking like Little Green Men, this method somehow successfully convinces anyone who has not been explicitly informed of their existence.
The trope actually ends up being subtly deconstructed as The Unmasqued World really isn't any different from before. People still go about their lives as usual, The Men in Black still do their job as before, and most denizens of the magical world still stay out of sight. Even while The Masquerade was in place a lot of people knew about magic. It seems like people just don't let all the weirdness going on around them get in the way of living their lives, yet aren't in the least bit of denial about how strange things are. They just treat the fantastic the same way as they treat the mundane.
There's also change blindness, the real-life phenomena of where people not actually seeing a change can prevent people from noticing it (Grace likes to play around with this) and transformation blindness, where people who have been transformed by magic usually adapt instantly, and may not notice unless it's actively pointed out (Pandora compares it to no one thinking about their hands until they're pointed out).
We Need a Distraction: Ashley and Elliot need to make a quick exit from the middle of a busy mall without being followed. Tara the griffin also needs to leave, but it's a good deal less important if people see which way she went. The solution is to have Tara make the loudest, showiest exit she possibly can, drawing enough attention that no one realizes Elliot and Ashley have left until they're already long gone.
Tedd: They're... um... rehearsing a play... Pizza boy: A play? Tedd: Yes. A play. Pizza boy: About two guys fighting over skirts? Tedd: Yes..No! They're staying true to the play's Shakespearean roots by having men play female roles!
invokedWord of God: I have frequently seen Susan described as having a "bored" look on her face. For a long time now, I have seen it as something else.
New and Old Flames. Magical forces have become so blatant that the guy in charge of keeping these sort of things secret just gave up, admitting it was all real on live television. Later on though, he states that the real secret was not the existence of magic per se, but how almost anyone on the planet could gain access to it.
The end scene of Death Sentence. Rhoda has a Power Tattoo, her power makes things grow, and she was the one who turned the boar giant in the first place. And not even she realizes it.
From "Hair", we learn that Tedd is magically challenged. We also learn that he plans to use his science to make it safe for everyone to use magic. And to top it all off, the final page features Tedd's mom's first appearance.
In the final panel of "One Way Road", while Tedd is narrating, we finally know one of the inventions he spent the chapter obsessing over creating... A replica of Lord Tedd's glove.
"There Be Whales Here - Part 3". HOLY CRAP. First off, we discover a fundamental function of the EGS universe. There are giant, psychic algae eater - sorry, whales - living on another plane of existence. These whales feed on excess magic, keeping earth stable. As the next arc shows, not even Mr. Exposition Mr. Verres knew about that. Secondly, an explanation for why Moperville is a City of Adventure: the magic energy is increasing beyond normal standards in Moperville. The watches won't even work anywhere else. Because of that last detail, more magical creatures will be coming soon. And more magic will spread. And just to cap off the "Holy Shit!" Quotient, we're hit with a six-month Time Skip, which is massive when you consider the comic had only progressed about five months so far during its eleven-year run.
"End Of An Era". Not as big as some of the previous, but Sarah wants to "just friends" Elliot. They were together through roughly 1400 updates.
A Wham Page in "Family Tree", where Ellen and Nanase learn a surprising piece of information which implies that Diane and Susan are identical twins.
Followed rapidly by the final panel of this comic, which seems to prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Most of "Family Tree" is this, with the first big threat after the whale's warnings, more people breaking through The Masquerade, hints and exposition on both Susan and Tedd's respective parents, and finally an explanation for why The Masquerade exists: Tengu was human. Ordinary jerks can become psychotic, self-entitled, overpowered monsters with a god complex. And all it takes is just a taste of magic.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. So far: A new character with the ability to see magic auras, who might be a love interest for Justin, appears, Tedd's aura apparently looks like this, Grace becomes aware of not only Justin and Rhoda's magic marks, but also that Catalina apparently has one as well, Tedd figures out that he's gender fluid, Pandora gave Tedd a magic mark that turns him into a girl, Tedd figures out that he has a supernaturally intuitive insight into the inner workings of magic, and Justin's magic mark is gone because Pandora awakened his powers, and Sarah got her own magic mark. Dang.
So A Date At The Mall quickly turns into this in part 3. A Griffon knight shows up in the middle of the mall looking for Elliot, having been led there by an Immortal. Then the Immortal shows itself when the Griffon starts backing down only for the two French Immortals to reveal themselves (after having been absent for quite awhile) and assure the Griffon that its been tricked. The Immortal retreats, but not before exposing Elliot as Cheerleadra. And keep in mind, all of this happened with many witnesses, effectively ensuring a Broken Masquerade.
This page from the "Sister 3" arc contains two whams for the price of one. Sirleck has possessed Ellen, and used his control over her to let Magus possess Elliot.
The pages after that reveal that everything to do with Ellen's creation and the incident in France was directly caused by Magus, triggering pretty much most of the events of the comic, masterminded by Pandora as an incredibly (and deliberately) convoluted scheme to get Magus into Elliot's body.
And the whammies don't stop. It turns out that elves can have children and the earlier information that they couldn't was a lie that immortals pass to their next incarnations so that they don't have to deal with descendants. The reason why this is relevant? Susan is Adrian's distant descendant and Diane is his daughter. And this come just after Pandora has just blatantly broken immortal law by saving Adrian from the aberrations, meaning she's due for an imminent forced reset.
Continuing on from the above, Pandora exploits the mechanics of her forced reset in order to force every single immortal on Earth to cast a spell that kills aberrations, wiping out the vast majority of them (Sirleck managed to escape due to being too far). In the aftermath of this, it appears magic has decided to change, and the second function of seers is revealed: to determine the severity of magic's change. And the people chosen for this? Tedd, Arthur, and a previously unseen British kid that's hinted to be related to Tedd's mom.
White and Grey Morality: Save one or two bad eggsnote and both of them had been convinced that the world needed them, there are no really evil characters in the comic; all of them so far have either been misguided or acting off their own sense of what's right rather being downright evil.
Wings Do Nothing: Many characters and summons which fly have wings, but commentary notes that the flight is all magical. The aerodynamics just don't work out for a Winged Humanoid, and the best the wings can do is help maneuver.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Revealed to be the reason why Immortals "reset" every two hundred years. As time goes by, they become "more bored, more powerful, and less sane," which as Jerry notes is "kind of a bad combo." This could explain why Pandora acts the way she does, since alleviating boredom through certifiably insane plots is her entire reason for doing things. 200 years is considered the safe limit, but by her own admission she's been pretending to be on year 299 for a few centuries now.
World-Healing Wave: Pandora's final act is to force the rest of her kind to cast a spell that manifests as a light wave that destroys Aberrations on contact, destroying most of the Aberrations in the world, with the only ones left being those out of range or otherwise not detectable that way.
The World Is Not Ready: This is the official reason for The Masquerade on magic. It is theoretically possible for almost anyone to gain magical powers, and since few of magic's limitations are known, it is impossible to predict and deal with the many abuses that could be committed with such power. As such, it is kept a secret to restrict access to a manageable number of people. Tedd's current goal is to make the world ready by searching for an easy way to give everyone magic resistance.
Writer's Block: Shive has this, and many filler strips consist of him chasing a box-like creature labeled as such.
Magus: I can totally hook you up with straw turned to gold. Aberration: I'm already worth millions, and you'd just be devaluing gold in general if you made more.
Which, funnily enough, is actually the ABERRATION failing economics forever. A few million in gold has a negligible impact on golds value, and gold would be far less traceable when transferring funds between his hosts. Presumably he just doesn't want to go to the trouble of fencing it.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Verreses' purple hair is natural. Nanase's red well, black now is natural, despite her dominant Asian genes. Susan's (dyed...well, natural now) hair is actually dark blue, not black, and this is seen as a natural hair color.