Light Novel: The Legend of the Legendary Heroes
What would it be like, not being able to choose your own life? What if your family died? How about the person you love? No one ever wants that, and yet the world hands out that sorrow for no reason, laughing all the way.The Legend of the Legendary Heroes
(Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu
) is a series of Light Novels
written by Takaya Kagami, illustrated by Saori Toyota, and published by Fujimi Shobo since 2002
It tells the story of Ryner Lute, a young mage who bears an Alpha Stigma
, which grants him incredible magic power at the cost of making him go a tiny bit insane
sometimes. After surviving a brutal battle, he is tasked by his friend Sion Astal (who also happens to be the king of Roland, the country they live in) with obtaining relics of the so-called legendary heroes who saved the kingdom from monsters in the distant past. And then things escalate quickly.
Despite its relatively light-hearted premise, this series is extremely fond of Mood Whiplashes
, with a heavy focus on politics, overcoming trauma, and themes revolving around what humans will prioritize above all else
and how far they will go to achieve their goals
Over the course of its (on-going) run, the series has generated several spin-offs and adaptations, including an anime adaptation in 2010, created by ZEXCS
and licensed by FUNimation
, which follows the first series. note
Manga adaptations include the primary manga, which similarly covers the first series, and The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Revision
, a compressed and alternate version of the story. The series has also spawned a number of Drama CDs
and a Japanese-only
video game known as Legendary Saga
Tropes used in this series include:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ferris's sword.
- Acquired Poison Immunity: It's noted that Biore went through this as part of her training as an assassin.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The anime leaves out why Ferris is so ready to accuse Ryner of being a pervert from the moment they meet, beyond apparently having read up on his personal history. Fans of the novels will know that it relates to an incident with his past instructor (i.e. Germer), which Sion learned about, teased Ryner over, and then passed onto Ferris.
- After the End: Many, many times.
- All Myths Are True
- All There in the Manual: Outside of the main storyline, there are two side series: Toriaezu Densetsu no Densetsu no Yuusha (The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Anyway) and Ochita Kuroi Yuusha no Densetsu (The Legend of the Fallen Dark Hero). The first one introduces several characters who would then appear in the sequel as well as going into further detail about Ryner's past (among a few others'), with the other telling the story of Sion's revolution and the pasts of those involved (namely, Claugh, Luke, Calne, and Lucile). Furthermore, Sion Note covers the true story of the Mad Hero and Lonesome Demon, altogether making it difficult to fully understand the story and all of the characters without reading everything.
- Almost Kiss: Claugh and Noa in Episode 21, before Calne interrupts them.
- An Arm and a Leg: This happens a lot, though not necessarily with long-term effects. To name all the incidents:
- Sui—see Life or Limb Decision below.
- Tiir rips off Claugh's arm when they fight, prompting Claugh to get Artificial Limbs.
- Lucile cuts off Froaude's arm, though the latter reattaches it easily (and Lucile had offered to do it for him either way, as he was more so proving a point than anything else).
- Toale loses his arm and leg in a Rule Fragment attack, thus receiving Artificial Limbs afterwards.
- Ryner loses his arms when up against Lir for the second time, but gets better with Lieral's help.
- Tiir, ironically, loses his arm while fighting Lucile, though with his powers, it reattaches without any problem.
- And then Lucile cuts off Froaude's arm yet again.
- Anti-Magic: Elemio's Comb had one moment of glory before it disintegrated into dust.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: For the most part, though there are a few aversions.
- Art Evolution: Considering how long the series has been going on for, this shouldn't be a surprise. The style at the start of the first series and the style at the start of the sequel are virtually unrecognizable as being done by the same artist, and it's only continued to change from there.
- Artifact of Doom: Rule Fragments.
- Asshole Victim: Lots of them, and you will cheer when they are killed.
- Attempted Rape: Practically the whole female cast have experienced this one time or another.
- Badass Family: The Erises, Silwelt clan, and the Orla siblings.
- Bedmate Reveal: Ferris and Ryner in episode 22 and considering what she thinks of him it's even funnier.
- Berserk Button: The trigger for the intial Alpha Stigma activation.
- BFS: Ferris's sword and the Sacred Sword Glovil.
- Bio-Augmentation: The Roland military was fond of doing this in the past, with notable results including Peria, Claugh, and Luke.
- Blackmail: Sion does this to force Ryner into joining his team in the academy. Also the method he makes Ryner and Ferris go in journey, though the actual threat is formulated by Ferris's big brother Lucile.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Ryner is tsukkomi to almost everyone in the show, but Ferris is the boke most of the times — a rather violent one who doesn't think she's the boke. This is especially obvious in a short story where Ferris writes a book and attempts to strangle Ryner whenever he points out how ridiculous her story is.
- Brainwashed: There's a lot of brainwashing that goes on in the series, with varying degrees of severity and relevance, but perhaps the most notable example is Milk (or rather, the Goddess inside of her) brainwashing her team into loyalty towards her.
- Break the Cutie: Practically the entire main cast.
- Break Them by Talking: Lucile does this to Ryner.
- Breather Episode: Episode 23—up until the end, at least.
- Brother-Sister Incest: One-sided.
- Brother-Sister Team: Sui and Kuu.
- Bullying a Dragon: Alpha Stigma bearers have special eyes that let them copy any magic they see, and have a tendency to lose control of their emotions and destroy entire towns. Yet rather than leaving them alone (or just killing them with weapons), tormenting and ostracizing them seems to be the preferred reaction.
- The Casanova/Memetic Molester: Ferris constantly accuses Ryner being one of these.
- Cast Full of Pretty Boys
- Casting Gag:
- Ryner shares his seiyuu with a few characters with magic eyes. The dub took a more specific direction — given that the eyes are pentagrams, the director of Black Butler is an interesting choice.
- Ferris having a love of (munching on) multicolored dango will possibly bring amusement to CLANNAD fans.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Characters are fond of this, Ryner and Ferris especially so. Case in point: their fight with Froaude, who just about treats their interactions as some kind of comedy show.
- Character Development: In a series about not crossing the Despair Event Horizon and finding a reason to live, this is inevitable.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Milk claims Ryner promised to marry her when they were kids. He doesn't remember her.
- Compressed Adaptation: Both the anime and manga, which cut out various scenes and aspects. It's particularly noticeable in the latter half of the anime, where 9 episodes were used to cover 6 volumes whereas the first half covered 5 volumes in ~15 episodes. Interestingly enough, though, both the anime and manga borrowed content from The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Anyway, thus adding Filler as well.
- Continuity Nod:
- From the primary manga:
- Claugh can be seen leading the reinforcements after the incident with the Estabul Magic Knights—a reference to The Legend of the Fallen Dark Hero, as it was there and not within the main series that it was revealed that Claugh and Sion met that way.
- In the map showing Ryner and Ferris's journey for the Heroes' Relics, characters from The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Anyway, such as Vois, are displayed, despite not being introduced in the first series or manga.
- In The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Revision manga, which leaves out the majority of the main plot and thus major characters, Sion's allies (i.e. Claugh, Luke, etc.) can be seen when Sion mentions having started a revolution.
- In the anime, when Calne is going over Ryner's past, Germer, Peria, and Pia make cameos.
- Crapsaccharine World: Iris's drawings.
- Crapsack World: And it keeps getting worse.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Fairly common in this world.
- Cursed with Awesome: Anyone with a pair of magic eyes are gifted with abilities beyond normal humans, but they're also subject to heavy discrimination and persecution.
- Curtains Match the Window: Just about every single character, with some exceptions—namely, anyone with white or blond hair and the people from Gastark.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Played straight by a huge portion of the cast. Ryner ranks pretty high amongst them.
- A Day in the Limelight: Various characters get one.
- Fiole has a short story showing how he met Sion and various scenes from his POV.
- Claugh is the POV character for most of one volume of The Legend of the Fallen Dark Hero, detailing his Dark and Troubled Past (and by association, Luke and Calne's).
- Similarly to Claugh, Lucile also narrates most of one volume of the aforementioned spin-off, showing his own backstory and how he came to be the way he is now.
- Department of Redundancy Department: The title of the series.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The second ending is sung by Ferris's Japanese voice actor.
- Doting Parent: Guard from episode 4.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Ferris to Ryner.
- Dysfunction Junction
- Easily Forgiven: Once Ryner leaves Tiir, things proceed almost exactly like he had never betrayed the kingdom. Plus, him joining Tiir in the first place required him conveniently ignoring the fact that he just killed and even ate many people in front of him.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Goddesses. Beings whose sole purpose is to consume the entire world. The Lonely Demon as well, perhaps even moreso, considering that the ones who created the world are baffled by and utterly terrified of him, even though he's mostly benign.
- Elite Mooks: The Hidden Elites.
- The Empire: The Roland Empire (among others), though it gets better through Sion's work. And then goes to being the enemy of The Republic below... and then finally becomes an ally.
- Empire with a Dark Secret: The Roland Empire becomes this during Sion's reign, considering that underneath its peaceful surface, purges and human experimentation are occurring.
- Equivalent Exchange
- Eternal Recurrence: See Vicious Cycle below.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Whoo boy. Chronologically:
- The first time that Ryner went berserk resulted in everybody but him and Milk—who brought him back to normal—dying.
- In the most recent war between Roland and Estabul, all of the students except Ryner, Sion, and Kiefer are killed by the Magic Knights.
- Most of the Cursed Eye bearers that Ryner first meets are slaughtered, with the exception of Ryner (obviously), Tiir, and a few children.
- Eye Scream:
- Anyone with a pair of Magic Eyes will be threatened with this. Sometimes it goes through.
- Riphal as well, when he sacrifices his eye in a Magic Contract.
- Pia threatened Zohra with this when they first met, using a fork.
- Fan Disservice: Any of the Attempted Rape scenes. Also, the Goddesses typically take the form of nude women, but given that they also tend to be grotesque monsters, this applies.
- Fangirl: Sion has a lot, ranging from young girls to older women. In his empire and outside. And in a way, Iris is one to her big sister Ferris. Milk might count as one to Ryner.
- Fanservice: Ferris when she is out of her armor.
- Fantastic Nuke: Rule Fragments. Especially once multiple sides begin using them in the war, with talks of banning them even coming up.
- Fantastic Racism: The bearers of magic eyes are on the receiving end. This is justified in certain individual cases, but there are an overwhelming amount of sympathetic examples where people are just being assholes.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: The Solver of All Equations is doomed to suffer hellish pain for all eternity when he's devoured by the hero. This is why Sion tried to kill Ryner, even though he couldn't bring himself to do it.
- Five-Man Band: Sion has one in The Legend of the Fallen Dark Hero, barring his Eris family allies, with him as The Hero, Miller as The Lancer, Claugh as The Big Guy, Luke as The Smart Guy, and Calne as The Chick.
- Fling a Light into the Future: What the past Sion did by altering the curse. Granted, he didn't exactly do it to help the future generations as so much as he did it to Rage Against the Heavens, leaving behind a mark of his bitterness.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Generally averted, despite the large number of Sacrificial Lambs. Those who die are still often mentioned by those who knew them, especially when reflecting on why they fight.
- Gender-Blender Name: Lucile is a guy. Kiefer is a girl.
- Geometric Magic
- Gory Discretion Shot<->Gorn
- Gratuitous English: Rule Fragments, as well as the names of some of the Cursed Eye types.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Ignoring minor villains who generally exist to die a karmic death later on, just about everyone in the cast ultimately has good intentions and is sincerely trying to change the world for the better in some way. Conversely, there are no straight up 'good guys', as trying to be anything above an Anti-Hero doesn't get you very far.
- Heroic Fantasy: Starts out looking like this, but gradually reveals that it's actually High Fantasy.
- Hope Spot: Just before Arua's father is killed.
- How We Got Here: In the anime, it starts off in the present, before going back to two years ago and showing their progression. Averted in the light novels, however, which begins two years ago.
- Humans Are Flawed: They're selfish, weak, and will do anything for those they love—but their ability to struggle on and because they're so illogically devoted to their loved ones are what make them strong as well.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Mostly played straight. Even though they're essentially the same, humans and some possessors of magic eyes deem each other as different races, with the latter often suffering at the former's hands, ranging from being discriminated against (only rarely is this justified) to being slaughtered by people out to harvest their eyes.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Ferris and Ryner have one, ending with a Cooldown Hug.
- Incest Is Relative: To keep the Eris line pure, the family has the dark tradition to marry off brother and sister together. Ferris was supposed to marry her big brother Lucile, but then it was planned by her parents that she would be used by her parents for producing another, more suitable female heir when she turns fourteen. Big brother Lucile prevented it from happening.
- Infant Immortality: Averted ruthlessly. Yes, it is that kind of world.
- Insistent Terminology: Tiir would rather Ryner call it God's Eyes, not Cursed Eyes, thank you very much. A downplayed example, though, in that he only corrects him the first few times before apparently giving up, though Ryner corrects himself later on when trying to appeal to Tiir.
- Instant Expert: Spells usually take anywhere from a few months to a few years to learn, depending on the proficiency of the magician. However, Ryner can learn any spell the moment he sees it. Taken Up to Eleven in that the person casting the spell in front of him doesn't even need to finish it, So long as they get the majority of the way through the spell, he can cast the whole thing fine with his usual level of proficiency even if they stop partway through.
- Instant Runes: Spells can look this way in the anime, though it's actually Geometric Magic, as the user is required to draw the magic circle. Some characters (namely, Ryner) are simply very quick about it.
- Kick the Dog: After his mother dies, Sion's half-brothers leave him a gift in the form of a dead puppy.
- Killing Intent: Expect this to be mentioned often in the novels, as any Badass has been trained to detect it.
- Life or Limb Decision: Sui was faced with this predicament when he activated Ryner's Alpha Stigma, which disintegrated his arm.
- Limited Wardrobe: While a few characters do occasionally change outfits, most of the cast tends to stick with one outfit only. Justified in some cases, where said outfit is a military uniform (and as shown with the Taboo Breaker Pursuit Squadron, they do have spares).
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Love Makes You Crazy: THE defining trope of the show, according to Word of God.
- MacGuffin: The legendary artifacts the Ryner and Ferris are looking for. Subverted later on, when not only are they no longer the driving force of the plot, but they have a definite purpose: being used as Weapons Of Mass Destruction in war.
- Magical Eye: The Alpha Stigma, Iino Doue, Ebra Crypt, Torch Curse, and Will Hame.
- Made of Plasticine
- Mind Rape: Ryner briefly goes through this when looking at the Eris dojo.
- Mistaken for Gay:
- Mood Whiplash:
- The series is very fond of these, but episode 3 and 18 probably take the crown. This even happens in the short story collections: You've just finished reading about Ryner battling pirates and a seasick Ferris trying to down a ship. Wonder what kind of crack is coming up next....wait, we're reading about Ryner's past? Uh, okay...
- Then there is episode 23, which starts with Ryner getting worked nearly to death by Sion, some more funny scenes about that, then funny birthday preparations for Sion behind his back which even involves Miran Froaude, a fleeing Sion a few days later (turns out he was fleeing from his birthday), a heartwarming birthday scene, and ends with a serious fight between Sion and his soldiers against Ryner. Wait, what?!
- Non-Indicative First Episode: The first episode makes the series appear to be a relatively light-hearted fantasy adventure, then episode 2 flashes back to their pasts. Though the violent and very bloody flashback to the era of heroes is a good warning.
- Odd Name Out: The three Eris siblings are named Iris, Ferris, and...Lucile. Granted, it's not his real name, but even that still doesn't match.
- Oddly Visible Eyebrows
- Off with His Head!: This has happened a lot and it seems to be Lucile's preferred method of killing.
- Orphanage of Fear: It's actually a hellish military training facility disguised as an orphanage. Those who cannot keep up are disposed of.
- Our Demons Are Different: In the short time we knew him, the Solver of All Equations is a gentle, kind being despite possessing the power to destroy the world. His other half, the Weaver of All Equations seemed like a mad demon that's responsible for how twisted the Eris family is, but in the end voluntarily let himself be devoured by Lucile and genuinely wishes happiness upon him.
- Power at a Price: The series as a whole generally runs on this principle, with notable examples including:
- Power Copying: Anyone with Alpha Stigma can copy most spells instantaneously.
- The Power of Friendship: One of the main points of the series, even with Love Makes You Crazy.
- Powers Do the Fighting: Miran and Lir conjure magical beasts to fight for them.
- Powers That Be: The priests who have been orchestrating almost all events in the series.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Of sorts. The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Revision manga is a compressed version of the series that leaves out most of the main plot and focuses primarily on Ryner's Character Development over the course of two volumes.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Taboo Breaker Pursuit Squadron in the first part of the series, though they're hardly villains, aside from generally being an annoyance to Ryner and Ferris, courtesy of Sion.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The eventual direction of the series.
- Rescue Romance: Noa and Claugh. The first time Claugh rescues Noa from Miran, but the situation becomes inverted when Noa decides to negotiate with Miran instead of getting Claugh hurt. The second time is played straighter, when Claugh saves Noa from would-be assassins/rapists.
- Running Gag: The main trio have a fair number between the three of them.
- Ferris's love for dango, Ryner's love for naps, and Sion's... not quite love but inclination towards paperwork.
- Ferris beating up Ryner.
- Ferris accusing Ryner of being a pervert and, similarly, spreading lies about him being one to others.
- Sion coercing Ryner and Ferris into doing work for him, with Ryner and Ferris, on the flip side, vowing to assassinate him.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Many, with a general good rule of thumb being that if they don't seem too important, don't appear in the opening, and have yet to appear in more than a few scenes, there's a decent chance they'll die.
- Save The World Climax: Starts off as an innocuous journey to find the Heroes' Relics or, at worst, a continent-wide war. Except for that tiny detail where the world's going to end in a couple years, thanks to the Powers That Be.
- Scenery Porn: The first opening indulges in this.
- Screw Destiny: Alongside Rage Against the Heavens, this seems to be the backbone of the ultimate plot.
- Sequel Hook: The first series is, for all intents and purposes, a prologue to the actual plot—meaning that the first major storyline event occurs at the very end.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Ferris delivers an epic one to Lir in episode 20.
- Skyward Scream: Ryner does one in Episode 20, after Lir kills Lafra and Pueka.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Often falls on the cynical end, what with it being a Crapsack World where Humans Are the Real Monsters and idealistic characters tend to be given "The Reason You Suck" Speeches of some form from a more cynical character. That said, there's still an underlying sense of idealism, as it also relies heavily on The Power of Friendship and the idea of never losing hope.
- Spell My Name with an "S": As most of the series lacks an official translation, many names fall under this. This also applies to certain terms such as Magic Eyes/Cursed Eyes, with the official translation going with the former and novel scanlations going with the latter—though given Tiir's distaste for the label, Cursed Eyes is likely more accurate.
- Spoiler Opening: The first opening shows the Mad Hero and Lonesome Demon, with Ryner's opening narration in the first episode also essentially showing part of the story of the Mad Hero. On a lesser scale, the second opening, if you look hard enough, shows Ryner walking with what is presumably Tiir's silhouette.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Ryner's Alpha Stigma seems to give him a textbook example of this. Most Alpha Stigma bearers, for that matter.
- Super Weight
- Shirt Weight: Children, Ene, Noa.
- Muggle Weight: Average soldiers, Toale, Kiefer.
- Iron Weight: Sion, Ferris, Iris, Luke, Calne.
- Super Weight: Anyone with a Rhule Fragmei (including Miran Frouade and Lir Orla), Ryner Lute, Zohra Rom, Tiir, Claugh Klom, Milk.
- Lottery Weight: Anyone with two or more Rhule Fragmei, Pia, Relx Eris, average Goddesses, Asruld Roland.
- Deus Weight: Ryner Reed, Eris Reed, Lieral Lieutolu, higher-tiered Goddesses like Goddess of Reincarnation, Asruld Roland after he merged with Ryner Reed.
- Author Weight: Ryner Eris Reed.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: What one of the Goddesses believed the Hero and the Lonely Demon to be.
- Sword Plant: Ferris does this in the second opening.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Ferris does this in a non-fatal way to a berserk Ryner.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Happens every 1000 years. Wonder if anyone out there is keeping count.
- The Republic: The People's Republic of Sphelliyet, formed by Vois and ultimately Ryner and co.'s home base.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Seeing as how Lieral is Nigh Invulnerable, Luke has no qualms about stabbing him in the heart with a poisoned knife, cutting off his head, and setting him on fire—still to no effect, however.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: The very existence of several beings that hold the world in their palms. The Goddesses, the priests, the hero and the demon. Oh, and by the way, the world has been destroyed before. Many, many times. It got better... then worse.
- Training from Hell: Many of the Roland characters have gone through this.
- Trauma Conga Line: Many characters, seeing as how it takes place in a Crapsack World.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Ryner, Ferris, and Sion.
- Unfortunate Names: Milk and the aforementioned Lucile.
- Vicious Cycle: The vessels for the Mad Hero and the Lonesome Demon are chosen, with the Mad Hero vessel ultimately having to devour the Lonesome Demon vessel(s) to gain their power in order to prevent The End of the World as We Know It—and, given the present situation, have failed each time to truly change anything. The previous Sion in particular crossed the Despair Event Horizon at the end and, out of his bitterness towards the entire thing, used that power to alter the cycle.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: It'd probably be easier to list the friendships that aren't this.
- War Is Hell
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Many characters, with one of the ideas behind the series that you pretty much have to be this to some extent to get anything done.
- Wham Episode: Episode 23 turns out to be this at the very end.
- Whole Episode Flashback: Episodes 2 and 3.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Alpha Stigma bearers in general may count when they lose control.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Alpha Stigma bearers, who only go berserk when pushed too far. This is often done intentionally by others.
- Words Do Not Make The Magic: Otherwise, the fuss about not leaking the secrets of one's magic to other countries would be rather silly.
- A World Half Full: Yes, really. Despite all the negativity in the world, the characters are always shown to ultimately prevail no matter how much trauma is thrown their way, with very few named characters actually crossing the Despair Event Horizon. According to Word of God, his hope is that by reading his works, fans will believe that there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.
- World of Badass: Nearly everyone can fight on some degree, what with the number of Tyke Bombs/Child Soldiers and Superpower Lotteries being won, and even some of those who can't fight are still fairly Bad Ass in their own way.
- You Will Know What to Do: Essentially what Ryner's given before the fight between Gastark and Geihilficlant, as Vois won't say how exactly Ryner's supposed to save them all. Namely because it involves him nearly dying.