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.
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.
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 Gregs case, they shooed out the clown to bring him back.
Sidetracked by the Analogy: While Tedd and his father were arguing the pros and cons of giving magic to the populace, Mr. Verres compares it to giving everyone rocket launchers and making it okay by giving them bomb suits. Tedd then wonders if a bomb suit would even help against a rocket launcher.
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.
Mr. Raven's Murder Shroud spell creates a cloud that exploding crows come out of. A flock of crows can also be called a murder.
Steven Ulysses Perhero: The Latin word 'Sciuridae' translates as 'Shade Tail', which was also Grace's Code Name, though it was not in reference to Dr. Sciuridae.
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.
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.
Team Dad: Mr. Verres is this not just to Main Eight, but to his FBI team as well. It helps that he's Tedd's actual dad and Nanase's uncle.
Technology Marches On: At Grace's birthday party (written in 2005), Sarah brings a camera, and mentions that it has a 512 Mb memory card. While a memory card that size isn't completely obsolete yet, it's still quite a small card by today's standards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jerry: Angst-induced Awakenings are usually triggered by things like murdered loved ones or a village burning down, not disappointment over origin stories.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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. She may have gone thousands of years without "resetting", while 200 years is considered the safe limit.
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.
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.