Girl Genius provides examples of the following tropes:
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- Underestimating Badassery:
- Understatement: Vanamonde pulls out a great one:Vanamonde: Um — I wonder if growing up here might make us a little... weird...
- Undying Loyalty:
- All Jägers seem to have it for the Heterodynes. The Jägergenerals explain this loyalty best. Vole is the exception, having stopped considering himself a Jäger.
- Castle Heterodyne is exactly what you'd expect when a series of mad scientists who live For the Evulz design an artificial sentience — it is a self-aware house of horrors on a staggering scale. But it works exactly the way it was designed to, and that means undying loyalty to the Heterodyne.
- Mechanicsburg is full of descendants of the horde of brigands and cutthroats who were loyal to the ancient Heterodynes. It's In the Blood. This could probably be attributed as the power base of the Heterodyne family: while other sparks usually have their creations turn on them or require some manner of free will-stripping mind control, Heterodynes earn their minions' and creations' loyalty. That, and the aforementioned natural propensity to minionism.
- This exhibition of undying loyalty extends to every sentient clank and construct seen so far that's been made by someone of the Heterodyne lineage, not just the Jägermonster horde and the citizens of Mechanicsburg.
- In the novelization, it's revealed that Dr. Vapnoople's creations, except for Krosp, were destroyed because their loyalty couldn't be shifted to the Baron. Krosp didn't only because he was able to escape.
- Unfamiliar Ceiling: When Gil wakes up in Mama Gkika's, he assumes he's been out of action for days when it's only been a few hours.
- Unfazed Everyman: Von Zinzer. Also the Only Sane Man.
- Un-Paused: When Andronicus Valois, the first Storm King is freed from the Time Stand Still effect of Prende's Chronometric Lantern, he doesn't realize that two hundred years have gone by. For him, it was mere seconds ago that Van Rijn betrayed him.
- Unreliable Expositor:
- Klaus encoded a message to his son in a story he tricked Phil into delivering. Although we only see the tail end of Phil's version, it's clearly different, and judging by Gil's reaction he screwed up most of the symbolism (that is, the entirety of the message) too. Luckily, Tarvek notices something is up.
- Very nearly every story anyone tells about the Heterodynes. On purpose by someone, since they're all published and almost everyone who has books seems to have at least some of them.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Initially Moloch has a crush on Sanaa but she seems to think he's rather useless. However after he Takes A Level In Badass and becomes Agatha's chief minion Sanaa seems to be attracted to him and he seems to be over his crush. And unfortunately for her there could end up being some competition.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Jeez, Agatha, just make out with Gil already...
- Unsound Effect:
- Spork! Spork! Spork!
- SNEAK SNEAK SNEAK SNEAK SNEAK
- Mite! Mite! Mite!
- Tome! (Notice also the title of the book...)
- Subtle, but when the Jägers are clapping, the sound effect is in the Jägers' accent. This one comes up a handful of times throughout the series. Just about every time a sound effect shows up for one of the Jägers it's in their accent.
- Unstoppable Rage: The Unstoppable Higgs, of course.
- Unusual Euphemism:
- "Useless Inferior Coprolitic Components!" — Professor Mezzasalma (Coprolitic, literally meaning fossilised dung, therefore an ancient piece of shit.)
- "I am sure he intends to wed her most vigorously!"
- Alternatively spelled either "Gott's little feesh in trousers!" or "Gott's leedle feesh in trousers!"
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: "Why do I even have one of those?" "I wondered where that went on Tuesdays."
- Unwanted Assistance:
- Gil as his friends "creatively" explain his plans and motivations to the people of Mechanicsburg, as seen in the fourth panel here, almost word-for-word.
- And Agatha to Moloch, as seen in the last panel here.Agatha: THANK YOU. For your HELP.
Moloch: I-I'll just...
Agatha: Shut up...?
- This happens a lot, especially when Sparks are involved. At one point when Gil unleashes a mechanical cage in an effort to attract a crowd, Theo and Sleipnir try to keep the crowd safe, while only making things worse.Zeetha: They are trying to help, right?
Gil: It's my fault, really. I make it look easy.
- Gil has this reaction a few times towards folks - most notably here, where he's trying to stop folks from describing his romantic reasons for trying to help Agatha. Unfortunately for him, he's being shouted down by an enthusiastic crowd, two trained circus performers who are trying to rile up said crowd, and two friends who like to see him squirm.
- Up to Eleven: The "Movit" series of stimulants comes in a verity of intensities, the strongest of which appears to be 11. Previously, it was thought that the strongest was 6, which itself is one above the common 1-5 scale. As one might imagine, the further up the scale, the more one blurs the line between "powerful stimulant" and "lethal injection." That section of the story is even called "Zola Goes up to Eleven".Tarvek: Wait— I thought it only went up to six!
- Use Your Head: Dimo, upon being asked to hammer in something for Agatha.Agatha: I thought you'd use your metal hand!
Jenka: Dunno. Hiz head is probably harder.
- Vetinari Job Security: Hilariously deconstructed with Baron Wulfenbach. He completely fits the description in that he is so important and necessary for the continued functioning of Europa that only a madman would think about overthrowing him. Unfortunately, this being Girl Genius, there are powerful madmen (a.k.a. Sparks) everywhere, which is why there is nearly always a rebellion somewhere. Further illustrated in that, as soon as he is hospitalized (and possibly killed), the whole continent immediately erupts in chaos. And then he time-freezes himself inside Mechanicsburg, and everything goes even further to hell.
- Vestigial Empire: After in-universe two year Time Skip Wufenbach Empire, or Pax Transylvania if you prefer, itself. After, losing a chunk of their forces at Mechanicsburg, many regions revolted and seceded, and Storm King faction(s)/loyalists are openly challenging their rule. Worse, The Other's forces are active again. (Although it's never been made entirely clear how much of the empire has been lost.)
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: The Other does this, as fits her personality (but not Agatha's, providing a minor bit of hilarity).
- Villain Has a Point: Othar is unquestionably one of the villains of the story, but he really isn't wrong when he claims everything bad about the world can be blamed on the Sparks. Just about every other Spark we've seen has been a homicidal lunatic, and it's open fact that all of the monsters and chaos in the setting are Spark experiments that have either Gone Horribly Wrong or Gone Horribly Right. Treating humans as experiment components (or targets) is as natural to a Spark as breathing. Even our heroes have been shown having Skewed Priorities at best.
- Villainous Breakdown: Dr. Merlot wasn't exactly the most sane individual in Volume 1. His little story in Volume 9 seems to indicate that he might be having some difficulties.
- Villainous Valor: Whatever Tweedle's other faults, he's no coward. Ditto Zola.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend:
- While Agatha's men can usually take care of themselves, if things get to be too much for them, Agatha. Will. Take. Steps. Usually involving large clanks, or Disproportionate Retribution.
- And Bang flips out when Gil seems to have harmed a guy she likes — enough to attack Gil, even though they're normally reasonably friendly.
- Visible Silence: Appears often, but then four times in a row.
- Visual Pun:
- Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... Santa Klaus. Doubles as Badass Santa also!
- In "More of That Kissing Stuff", Agatha and Tarvek are... making Sparks!
- Mechanicsburg's gate is under attack by a battering ram.
- You really should try to look a gift horse in the mouth if it specifically won't let you look. Especially when it's not a horse.
- What does Agatha do when there is an enemy to fight and the only stuff available are rail tracks? She invents a rail-gun!
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Gil and Tarvek. At each other's throats one minute, talking shop on espionage the next.
- Volleying Insults: Gil and Tarvek, during their brawls and in the Cinderella story.
- The Walls Are Closing In: Had to happen eventually.
- Wasn't That Fun?: Occurs after Agatha, Gil, and Tarvek try revivification.
- Wave Motion Gun:
- Agatha's little corkscrew death ray pretty much annihilates whatever it's shot at. The Castle really doesn't like it for obvious reasons. It could also qualify as a Wave-Motion Tuning Fork if not for the corkscrew between the two prongs.
- Wave Motion Swan. A noblewoman's swan-shaped party sleigh packing a Wave Motion gun. Only in Girl Genius...Ishtvan: Is...is that...
Tweedle: [face in his hands] Grandmother's old party sleigh. Yes.
Ishtvan: Could it always do that?
Tweedle: How should I know? Knowing my grandmother's parties, probably.
- Weapon Tombstone: Agatha Clay's grave has the remnants of a warbot, a tree, and a pile of rocks with a death ray stuck in it.
- Weasel Mascot: The Wulfenbach Bug Squad (aka the Vespiary Squad) of course! Apart from their uniform's Nice Hat of a slaver-wasp skull, this is their main hat. Their charges are all modified weasels, without which the Squad could not do their job as wasp detectors and exterminators. Although they have eight legs, they are still, very much, weasels of some description (however big they get). And, they are sooo cute (for a given definition of cute).
- Webcomic Time:
- Tarvek was critically ill and about to die for just short of 15 months. The general concept is lampshaded once. And again: "It only seem like deyz been in de kestle a long time!"
- Agatha first went into the Castle on Feb 08, 2008. She left the Castle on Nov 02, 2011. Three years, eight months, twenty-six days, and approximately 582 comics. Maybe one day, in universe. The ringing of the Doom Bell, which starts immediately after Agatha leaves, takes about three weeks.
- This leads to interesting situations such as Higgs and Zeetha falling in love over what should be a single day.
- After reaching Paris, Zeetha notes that she's "only" been training Agatha for six months (as an excuse for why the people Agatha hits can get back up). Real-world time the training started ten years before that scene.
- Weird Science: Rules the Earth. Badly.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist:
- We Can Rule Together: In an unusual twist on this trope Lucrezia offers to join Klaus rather than asking him to join her, however since they are both possessing their children at the time, this only ends up hitting his Berserk Button.
- We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Defied by Othar, and immediately subverted by Klaus (who wishes he could invert it).
- We Meet Again:
- We Need a Distraction: Gil and Tarvek help, in a fight scene incorporating many battle tropes.
- Wham Episode:
- Gil has been infected with a slaver wasp since his in-backstory trip to Paris. Maybe.
- The revelation of what happened to Mechanicsburg after Klaus activated his bomb. In a nutshell, the bomb enclosed Mechanicsburg in a shield that ground time in Mechanicsburg to a halt, meaning that while it's still the same day to Klaus, the Jaeger Generals, and everyone else still trapped in Mechanisburg, two years have passed outside. With Klaus stuck in Mechanicsburg, the Empire has collapsed, and what little is left of their authority is being controlled by Gil, who has suffered severe Sanity Slippage.
- If the December 27, 2013 update is anything to go by, Klaus has somehow possessed his son.
- The May 15, 2015 update heavily implies that the Eldritch Abominations who previously appeared in Mechanicsburg when Robar Heterodyne conducted his time experiments were the Dreen; it remains to be seen if the (much bigger) one who is currently being attracted by Klaus' Time Crash of the same city is some form of Dreen as well.
- And on September 15, 2015... The Enigma. Last seen at the very beginning of the series, with the mysterious portal that effectively started Agatha's whole adventure. According to the book, the "Enigma", as the fans have called it, is the Muse of Time - but it apparently predates Van Rijn.
- A great deal of the plot regarding the time after the Time Skip is about who can claim the title of Storm King, especially with Tarvik frozen in Mechanicsburg. The Muse of Time, Prende, finally reveals who the true Storm King is: it is still Andronicus Valois who was mured in the Corbettite crypts, has been undead for the last 200 years and is guarded by Prende and the Muse's Lantern.
- Wham Line:
- "I believe the ignorant refer to them as slaver wasps."
- "Yes... but I vas starting to like her." Also pulling double duty as a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner.
- Violetta, in the last panel. The whole last row, really. We knew it all along, but the lady in the chair didn't.
- "Just go to sleep."
- "You were infected before you even met her." Although later events show this was almost certainly a Blatant Lie.
- "I AM the Storm King."
- "We thought you were lost! Like everyone in Mechanicsburg!"
- "All right, out with it. We've lost what, six months?" "Two and a half years."
- "Martellus, there is no empire."
- The comic even manages to include a Wham Line that we can't read.
- "The girl is still dangerous, and my son is still too much of a fool to see it." The wham part? It came from the mouth of Gilgamesh Wulfenbach.
- "And they used to be men. Sometimes even they forget that." This is Higgs' response to Gil when the latter asks the former what he knows about the Jägers.
- "They're not omniscient. My father says they're simply tangential to time as we know it, and... "And... they had hats..."" This is Gil realizing what the Dreen are.
- "No. Your "Storm King", or whatever his imagined claim, is not the true Storm King. The Lantern must not be moved.Said by Muse Prende in the true vaults. In the end, The Lantern is moved and the original Storm King, Andronicus Valois, appears as an undead from within Prende's chamber.
- Vole isn't sure he feels like fighting any more.
- Geisterdame: Skifander
- What Are You in For?:
- When our heroes come across Mr. Foglio in the dungeons of Prince Aaronev:Maxim: Vot hyu in for?
Foglio: Bad storytelling.
Maxim: Ho! How hyu do dot?
Foglio: You put the Prince in the story.
- Sanaa asked Agatha this when she first entered the castle.
- When our heroes come across Mr. Foglio in the dungeons of Prince Aaronev:
- What Does She See in Him?: Gilgamesh and Tarvek, towards Agatha regarding each other.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- The monster horse that appeared during Master Payne's Circus story: we never know why it was/turned into such a hideous abomination, and it was never addressed again. Likely just because a spark felt like it, and because monsters are so common in this setting that it is a mundane hazard.
- A little earlier we have Zulenna, she gives her life to save Agatha and the others, gets put in a healing chamber and seems to set up a plot point about Klaus getting grief from the Fifty Families about resurrecting one of their number.
- The Baron cloned Olga's body, assuming her to be the believed-dead Agatha. Nothing on what happened to the new body...
- What the Hell, Hero?: "TRULY YOU ARE YOUR MOTHER'S CHILD!" More understandable than some, since the one calling Agatha out murdered her step-parents in cold blood, but everyone Von Pinn worked with considers her tough but fair, and likes her. And she is the closest thing Gil had to a mother. Agatha's response is a heck of a lot of guilt.
- When I Was Your Age...: Zeetha says this after a day of rough training for Agatha.
- Who Dares?: The Dragon of Mars
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
- Gil and Agatha take turns saving Zola from dozens of incredibly deadly traps that she keeps falling into in Castle Heterodyne. That is, until they encounter a slightly-larger-than-average spider.
- Tarvek has another common phobia.Tarvek: I hate hate hate hate hate hate flying.
- Why, Thank You, X!: Agatha emerges from one of her sleepwalking-creating states to find herself putting the finishing touches on a mechanism, with somebody off-panel handing her tools on command. She turns to see who it is, and...
- Why Won't You Die?: Zola quickly learns that Higgs is very hard to kill.
- Will They or Won't They?: Gil and Agatha, most frequently impeded by terrible miscommunication and Gil's bad luck and Castle Heterodyne. It's sure looking like they will...
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
- The Sparks, by definition; Baron Wulfenbach fights this off by pure force of will... usually. Every successful Spark has at least one very level-headed keeper.
- The Heterodyne family in particular. Apparently their unearthly strength and stamina comes from drinking from a spring famed for causing insanity and death in people who just bathed in it.
- It's implied that the reason the Storm King was regarded as the greatest king of all time is because he was able to keep enough self-control to rule effectively. This may have been at least partially due to the influence of the Muses.
- With This Herring: How the castle wants Agatha to fix it, at least initially.
- The Worf Effect: In addition to character-specific instances, there are Martellus's sparkhounds. They're played up for how scary they are, but so far we've seen them being slaughtered en masse by Gil and his entourage (which, mind you, does include a Great Sky Wyrm), and later a lone jägermonster kills six of them before going down.
- Also, Wulfenbach Troops. They are the ones that conquered Europa, battling the Other's forces, and keeping peace (that includes many MadScientists and powerful nobles). But, unfortunately when facing Agatha Heterodyne and fully repaired and recharged Castle Heterodyne, their luck is not that good. Or, whenever they deal with important characters or in main story, really.
- World of Badass: Show us a character who's not badass, and within a couple of strips they'll either turn out to be badass or they'll be dead. In a world ruled by mad scientists, even the minions and staff have to be pretty tough to avoid getting killed.
- World of Buxom: Just about every post-puberty female character, notably Agatha, Zeetha, the Geisterdamen and Mama Gkika. The Muses and Clank Anevka have pretty darned voluptuous figures, too. The few exceptions are Rivet, Wrench Wench for Master Payne's Circus; Daiyu, doctor Sun's daughter (who would be decent-sized in any other work); Grantz, the immensely strong monster hunter (who falls firmly into the Bifauxnen slot); and Miss Baumhund, the lanky grad student (who has only appeared in that one strip — so far), who seems a bit out of place when compared to other female characters. Lieutenant Krishnamurti and Xersephnia, Martellus' sister, are somewhat below average too.
- World of Ham: Naturally. The Spark package comes with a side order of ham.
- Worrying for the Wrong Reason: The scary part about being trapped in a room full of broken machinery within an insane castle is not that the castle will kill you if you're unable to fix it, but that Gil's interest has been piqued.
- Worst Whatever Ever: Gil, after falling victim to the Exploding Closet.Gil: That's the worst filing system I've ever seen.
- Worth It:
- This is Agatha's attitude in the Cinderella play to being grounded. Of course, she was grounded after tricking Mamma Gkika's "Wicked Stepmother" into putting her fist through a hive of specially-bred quilting bees.
- And in a more serious tone, Klaus's attitude to the pain he suffered getting to the window and back. Not only that, Klaus actually said that if the experience paralyzed him for the rest of his life, it would still be worth it after seeing his son pull off that moment of awesome.
- Would Hit a Girl: Pretty much everyone, since there are more than enough dangerous females to dispatch anyone reluctant to fight back. Some notable examples:
- Ardsley Wooster punching Bangladesh DuPree in the face.
- Airman Higgs beating the crap out of Zola.
- Tarvek absolutely losing it when Zola tries to kill Agatha again and brutally beating her — and then trying to strangle her to death.
- Gil judo-throwing Bang when she tries to take him into custody.
- However, it's still recommended that this trope not be followed if it isn't necessary. Some may take issue with it being applied without restriction.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Sergeant Nak's advice:Nak: Do not hit the crowd, or I'll eat your ears!
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Tarvek pulls one off.
- Zola is this with Obfuscating Stupidity to great effect.
- Wrench Wench: Agatha just loves wrenches...
- Wrench Whack: And, naturally, they're used as melee weapons quite often.
- Wrestler in All of Us: When Othar is being typically obstinate after being extracted from Time-frozen Mechanicsburg, Gil sits on him and gets a leg hold on him.
- Written Sound Effect: Frequently, and often quite creative.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER, shows this a lot.
- Krosp too, sometimes. Silly kitty, thinking you're in real life or something. Too practical for his own good, he doesn't quite realize his life is a Heterodyne story now.
- Xanatos Speed Chess:
- X Days Since:
- There's a sign counting the days without a major explosion on Castle Wulfenbach.
- There's one counting the days since the last hideous death. Considering the Castle's nature, this may be a way of keeping score. (Although, the sign might not be accurate any more, since the guy whose job it was to update it died a hideous death.)
- Yandere: Fraulein Snaug is getting a bit too enthusiastic about her crush on Moloch, responding with surprising aggression when he admitted his crush on Sanaa. Good thing Violetta clarified that she wasn't involved with him. Even her reaction when she finds out she might have at least as much a chance with him as Sanaa does suggests she equates love with killing.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: After all the hell Agatha's gone through over the past couple months, being kidnapped multiple times, seeing her surrogate parents and several of her friends killed, nearly dying herself more than once, having several factions attempt to use her as a pawn in their power games, she has finally fully repaired her castle, been officially recognized as the Heterodyne by both the castle and the people of Mechanicsburg, she has the loyalty of the Jägers, and she has defeated all the armies attacking her town. It seems she can allow herself to take a breath and begin the process of settling in to her new position. Then Martellus kidnaps her AGAIN and spirits her away just as Klaus envelops the town in a time-stopping bubble.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Violetta keeps insisting she isn't a very good Smoke Knight. Agatha disagrees.Agatha: Aren't you the Smoke Knight who walked out of Castle Heterodyne?
Violetta: Oh. Well, yeah, but...
Agatha: You have nothing to be ashamed of.
- You Are in Command Now: Dimo is pressed into service as a General, because he's the resident "schmot guy" (and because all of the other Generals are unavailable).
- You Can See Me?: During a mid-adventure tea break with Zeetha, Bangladesh DuPree can't see the hidden Smoke Knight Violetta, but she sure can tell she's here, on the seemingly empty chair.Bang: That's really amazing — but whatever it is you're doing, knock it off.
Violetta: Whoa. You could see me?
Bang: No. And it was giving me a headache.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Brought up early on by, of all people, Bangladesh DuPree with regards to the visions seen from the electric phenomena, which appear to be portals/visions from the future.
- "You!" Exclamation: Klaus' reaction to Zeetha.
- You Fight Like a Cow: "You fight like ducks!"
- You Have Failed Me / Outlived Your Usefulness:
- Lucrezia in her escape from Sturmhalten abruptly wraps up Lady Vrin as a loose end.
- You Killed My Father: The reason why Agatha is not too keen on accepting Von Pinn's help.
- You Meddling Kids: Du Quay's -And I would have ''GOT'' away with it, too, if I hadn't been for-
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame:
- Gil's expression says it all.
- The castle would prefer Agatha use an alternative word to ''good'' to praise its actions.
- "Delightfully done, my lady. Your enemy is thoroughly crushed. You are a true Heterodyne."
- A variant when Klaus asks Bangladesh DuPree if she isn't worried he's actually The Other, as accused.Bang: You're always telling me "Oh DuPree, don't torture people," or "Don't burn any towns," or whatever. And if you were the Other, I'd be a revenant, and I'd have to obey you. Even if a town really needed burning, y'know? But I can still act on my better judgment, so I know everything's okay!
Klaus: And here I was foolishly hoping for an argument that would reassure the troops.
- Your Favorite: Wooster knows how Gil likes his tea.
- Your Mom: "Ah-go kees an hoctopus. Oh vait, hyu mama already deed!"
- Young Love Versus Old Hate: Our heros are trying to break the cycle of destruction.
- You Shall Not Pass: Zulenna against Von Pinn. She actually succeeds until DuPree arrives.
- You Will Be Spared: Agatha hamming the other sparks to submission. Also, Third Hugo acceptance speech.
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Klaus Wulfenbach's official domestic policy is "Don't make me come over there".
- Zeppelins from Another World: Lots. Predominantly used by the Baron; he has his entire command center in Castle Wulfenbach, a zeppelin of truly Brobdingnagian size, equipped with numerous labs, docking bays for several smaller craft ("smaller" as in "regular-sized airships"), and penthouse-like living quarters on top of the hull. It comes with an entire support fleet, and air-warships are a mainstay of his armed forces. Which is of course very practical if someone makes the Baron "come over there".
- Zerg Rush: Among many, many other defenses, Castle Heterodyne can resort to unleashing every clank and construct abomination in its bowels at an aggressor.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Not "really" zombies* , but the Other did create an auto-recruiting army of mindless, malicious, shambling, ''incurable'' Revenants under her complete control. Putting them down was the greatest challenge of Klaus' emperor-ing career. It was recently discovered that those revenants were just a few percent of the infected, and the rest look and act like any other person, even though they're mind-slaves to the Other. Tarvek said that the "zombie-like" Revenants were an unforeseen and rare exception, and helped to hide the nature of more numerous non-shambler Revenants.