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Light Novel: Tokyo Ravens

In World War II the Japanese military approached the genius onmyoji Yakou Tsuchimikado, seeking new weapons to further the country's ambitions of becoming a world power. With their resources he was able to rewrite the book on magic, creating a modernised form of Onmyodo with incredible power. Yakou was regarded as a hero or even a figure of worship... until he brought about the Great Spirit Disaster in Tokyo during a Last Stand to avert Japan's defeat. While Yakou died in the Disaster, magic and Magitek derived from his teachings are still in use today.

Harutora Tsuchimikado comes from a branch of the same prestigious family as Yakou, but his ability to detect spirit energy is zero. Since he has no interest in becoming a proper onmyoji nor obligation to do so, he's been enjoying a peaceful daily life with his friends at a normal high school. And then one day his childhood friend Natsume Tsuchimikado, heir to the head family, suddenly appears...

A manga adaptation is currently running, while an anime adaptation aired in October 2013.


Tropes:

  • Adaptation Induced Plot Hole: The Animated Adaptation downplayed Harutora’s efforts to learned to multiple high level spells.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted: The adults are not only competent, but play almost as active a role in the plot as the main cast.
  • Ancient Conspiracy
  • Animated Adaptation: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Background Magic Field: The "spirit energy" which Onmyoji can see.
  • Badass: Any of the twelve Divine Generals, Natsume, Harutora, Kyoko, Suzuka and Touji.
  • Badass Army: It is said Yakou Tsuchimikado developed an army of armoured Tsuchigumo warriors for the military.
  • Batman Gambit: Jin Ohtomo's plan to defeat Douman.
  • Battle in the Rain: Between Suzuka Dairenji and Magic Investigators.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Chihiro Mutobe during an off-screen fight with Zenjirou Kogure.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jin Ohtomo saving the group from Douman's attack on the school.
  • Blood Magic: How Natsume grants Harutora the ability to use magic.
  • Book Dumb: Harutora, justified his family never really taught him onmyodo. Subverted later.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to both Natsume and Suzuka.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: After Harutora regains his memories as Yakou Tsuchimikado.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Otome-Sensei is the oddest person you will ever meet, but is also one of the Heavenly Generals.
  • Call Back: The Taizan Fukun ritual attempted by Suzuka later by Harutora
  • Came Back Wrong: Suzuka´s brother. Then Natsume.
  • Childhood Friends: Natsume and Harutora which is also...
    • Incest Is Relative: They are first cousins, which is legal in Japan.
    • They're actually 3rd generation cousins.
  • The Clan: The Tsuchimikado, Kurahashi and Souma.
  • Clever Crows
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: NATSUME.
  • Clothing Damage: Happens once to Natsume, plot relevant too.
  • Continuity Nod: The death of Hokuto and Natsume, ironically they are the same person.
  • Cool Horse: One of the Tsuchimikado's shikigami, Yukikaze.
  • Cool Sword:
  • Coup de Grâce: Hirata does this with magic when a single gunshot failed to immediately kill the victim.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Its all in the details.
  • Cult: The Twin Horn Syndicate.
  • Cyanide Pill: A delayed death curse applied to yourself. Used by Chihiro Mutobe.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Taizan Fukun ritual to revive someone.
  • The Dark Arts: Imperial-style Onmyodo, the original version of Yakou's techniques from before the civilian curriculum was developed. Most, but not all, of its spells are banned for being too dangerous or destructive or for being related to soul manipulation.
  • Death Is Cheap: Averted. Several characters get revived. But not one has come back as a human...
  • Deconstruction: The story deconstructs the role of magic in society and its lack of domestic benefits. Its only use is combat and exorcising spiritual disasters caused by Yakou's failed ritual and spiritual terrorism.
  • Deflector Shields: Spells and abilities from shikigami and onmyoji.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Yakou fanatics believe Yakou Tsuchimikado to be this.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Hokuto (the girl) dies in Harutroa arms. Also Natsume dies in Harutora's arms after his Power Incontinence kills her.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: Hokuto.
  • Dramatic Irony: Natsume is the controller of the operation-type shikigami Hokuto, this means that the Hokuto Harutora knew was actually Natsume, but Harutora is too dense to figure it out. At least initially.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: A certain "girl" who dates Harutora in the manga and LN.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Harutora kissing Natsume while she sleeps after her resurrection.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: From Hokuto (the girl) to Harutora. Also a dying Natsume to Harutora, same words too.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Subverted in a very heart wrenching manner. Near the end of volume 10 Natsume races to Seishuku branch temple to reach Harutora whom she hasn’t seen in a year. She clashes with Hayato Yamashiro and Tsuchigumo warriors using the power that sustains her life and nearly dying as a result. Before Natsume reaches Harutora, he senses her presence. And leaves.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The students of Onmyo Preparatory School as well as the twelve Divine Generals.
  • Empathic Environment: Inverted. Fireworks popped in the background while a captured Harutora is forcefully kissed by Suzuka in-front of his love interest, Hokuto (the girl), and continue to pop when a teary Hokuto runs away. Again, fireworks popped in the background when Natsume sacrificed her life to save Harutora after the Raven Coat reacted with his power.
  • Familiar: Shikigami; there are different types. In general, we have:
    • "Simple" Shikigami, which can be anything ranging from vague figures to animal-shaped to full-on human-like constructs. Typically, they perform only the basic commands and functions for which they were intended, or are outright-used as remotely-controlled puppets. Their vessels are always typical shikigami charms, since they are not that complex compared to the other types. note 
    • "Mechanical" Shikigami, named not because they are made from machines or so, but because their vessels are typically not shikigami charms, but various tools charged with magic or outright magical shells that act as their bodies. Depending on the shikigami, they have varying grades of awareness and ability to act independently. note 
    • "Defense" Shikigami, the strongest type and the most taxing on the user, since they are more-or-less always active and constantly draining the user's magic reserves. The drain is usually not a problem when they are not physically manifested in the real world, but can be quite taxing on the user once they do. These range from especially-made artificial shikigami with both the ability to be controlled remotely and with the ability to act independently, to living, breathing beings which take the form of various mythological figures and creatures. These latter ones are explained as beings suddenly coming into existence or awareness through items that possess great amounts of magic power. note 
  • Famous Ancestor: Tsuchimikado Yakou is the ancestor of Harutora and Natsume, and Abe no Seimei is another one of their ancestors further back.
  • Fiery Redhead: Takiko Souma. Her personality causes a few HUGE problems.
  • Firing One-Handed: Averted in the anime with Magical Crime Investigatorsnote , they use both hands when using handguns. Played straight with Hirata Atsune because he is actually a teenager in disguise.
  • Flash Step: Spirit Step, an Imperial Style spell that Reji Kagami performs during the Chimera Incident. It uses spirit pulses to move from one location to the next instantly.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the early episodes, Hokuto (the dragon) responds to Harutora calls.
    • When Natsume names her remote body shikigami Hokuto (the girl) who is really her after the dragon Hokuto.
    • When Suzuka hugs an one eyed tiger plushie with an bandaged eye.
    • Episode 9 When Hirata is performing the Taizan Fukun Ritual then giving thanks to the dead Mutobe.
    • Touji is seen walking out of Shamanic/Onmyo Clinic in the first episode.
    • Episode 2 has a pretty subtle one: during a history lecture on prominent Onmyouji, on blackboard lists the names and info of Abe no Semimei and Douman Ashiya are displayed. However only a birthdate and deathdate is shown for the former...
    • In Light Novel & Manga: When Ohtomo first meets Kon he notes that she has a seal on her, this mentioned again by Suzu Saotome.
    • In Episode 6 the camera pans to Kon as Kakugyouki comments on Hishamaru.
  • Functional Magic
  • The Gadfly: Touji
  • Geometric Magic
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Tsuchigumos developed by Yakou Tsuchimikado for the army were used to wipe out a group of Magical Crime Investigators and Kill the Cutie. Douman also used imitations of them to attack Omnyo Preparatory School and the Onmyo Agency.
    • The Tsuchimikados' plan to hide Harutora's identity as the true reincarnation of Yakou. They were doing quite well, Natsume's life-long burden aside, until the secrecy made an inconsistency apparent when Kyoko unwittingly revealed it to Takiko...which lead to the latter acting rashly, Harutora suffering Power Incontinence, and Natsume getting killed saving Harutora from it.
    • For that matter, Takiko's rash plan to awaken Harutora as Yakou. It was a complete and utter success. Not only did Harutora awaken, after a while so did Kon as Hishamaru, and even Kakugyouki returned to him as well. It also got Natsume killed, broke the main cast's fellowship, got Harutora branded a terrorist, and completely destroyed the ancient friendship between Yakou and the olden Kurahashi and Souma clans that she so desperately wanted to revive and protect. GJ, Takiko.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Lingering Spirit Division in the Imperial Household Agencynote and The Onmyo Agency.note 
  • Gratuitous English: Rather than something traditional like "Kyu-kyu nyo ritsu ryo"note , the trigger command for modern onmyodo spells is "Order!".
  • Guns Are Worthless: Averted as they show up in the hands of the right people despite the fantasy setting, who are not afraid of using them and the bullets hurt and kill people. Played straight against any of the top Onmyoji.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: Due to Natsume's interactions with Harutora while crossdressing as a boy, most girls in the class mistake them for a couple and even encourage them, sometimes putting Touji into the equation. The dorm supervisors in particular are fierce supporters of the alleged relationship, and can't resist fantasizing about it.
  • Hair Decorations: Hokuto wears a ribbon that Harutora won. Natsume wears one just like it since it's the same ribbon. "Hokuto" was just a shikigami puppet that Natsume used to interact with Harutora.
  • Hand Seals
  • Hell Gate: Pretty much what spiritual disasters do and are: gradually damage the surrounding area, growing in power, manifesting physically as "demons" and monsters, and eventually becoming a huge mess of out-of-control spiritual energy that keeps creating more spiritual disasters to start the cycle all over again.
  • Heroic BSOD: Happens to Harutora after his Power-Up fatally injures Natsume.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Hokuto sacrificing herself to save Harutora from Suzuka's Tsuchigumo.
    • Natsume sacrificing herself to free Harutora from his Power Incontinence, which she partly blames herself for.
    • The kicker is that in both cases, the parties making the sacrifice were the same person.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Harutora is branded as a terrorist and is on the run from the authorities.
  • Hidden Depths: Everyone has their own beliefs and agendas.
  • Hundred Demons' Night-Parade: A phase 4 spiritual disaster than spawns more Youkai.
  • Idiot Ball: Held by Jougen, the head monk of Seishuku branch temple. Blackmailing the Founder of Modern Magic is a brilliant idea…..
  • In-Series Nickname: Harutora's is "Bakatora" meaning "stupid tiger."
    "Baka" (idiot, stupid) + "tora" (tiger) = Bakatora.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Natsume's shikigami is a large dragon named Hokuto. It's called one of the few remaining "true dragons", whose auras are entirely Yin aura, which is why they also happen to make excellent bait for mobile spiritual disasters.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: What Daizen Amami does to take down the mole, Takiko Souma disguised as Hirata.
  • It's Raining Men: Armoured Tsuchigumo warriors can be air-dropped.
  • Kill the Cutie: Happens to Hokuto (the girl).
  • Kissing Cousins: Harutora and Natsume. Technically, what Kyoko wants with Natsume—before learning Natsume is actually a girl. Then it's with Harutora—, since the Kurahashi clan is a Tsuchimikado branch family that separated generations ago.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: If you watch the bottom-right hand corner during the principal's lecture on Yakou in Episode 4, the corner reveals a person looking back at the camera.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Harutora's shikigami Kon which is a Kitsune.
  • Loose Lips: Kyoko leaked the fact that Natsume is a girl to Takiko Souma and the Onmyo Agency.
  • Loves My Alterego: Harutora develops feelings for the dead Hokuto... who is actually Natsume, through at first he doesnt know that.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Between Harutora, Hokuto, Natsume, Kyoko, Kon and Suzuka. To wit:
    • Hokuto pretty obviously has feelings for Harutora, who was unsure of how he himself felt for Hokuto. These feelings are what lead her to sacrifice herself to save Harutora from Suzuka's Tsuchigumo, which leads Harutora to realize too late what he really felt for Hokuto. However...
    • Natsume is in love with Harutora, who admits to having feelings for Hokuto, or rather, the person who controlled her vessel, who happens to be Natsume. Harutora doesn't realize any of this until later.
    • Kon is completely and utterly devoted to Harutora, with plenty of Clingy Jealous Girl moments to hint that she likes Harutora as more than master and servant, even after just meeting each other. This is very likely because Kon is Hishamaru's sealed state, and is unconsciously reacting to her feelings for Yakou, who Harutora is the reincarnation of.
    • Kyoko is in love with Natsume (not knowing Natsume's actually a girl), with whom she made a promise in their childhood the one day they spent together to find and return to her a ribbon Kyoko's grandmother made for her. She actually made that promise with Harutora, but she never asked his name when they were together. note  Once Natsume's real gender comes out, Kyoko realizes the misunderstanding and her feelings shift to Harutora.
    • Suzuka developed a crush on Harutora because of his compassion for her and forgiving her for "killing" Hokuto, the event that is the reason part of her feelings were driven by guilt. That, and because he was her first kiss. Her feelings only grow because of the several times Harutora attempts to cheer her up and make her acknowledge that she doesn't have to be alone.
      • So, to summarize: Suzuka likes Harutora. Kyoko likes Natsume then later likes Harutora, who likes Harutora, who likes Hokuto, who's also Natsume. Kon likes Harutora because Kon is Hishamaru, who likes Yakou, who is also Harutora.
  • Lowered Monster Difficulty: The first time a Tsuchigumo is seen, it defeats a group of professional Onmyoji with ease. The second time they are deployed en mass by Douman and are held back by a group of Onmyoji students. Justified in that they were imitations that lacked solid vessels.
  • Magi Babble
  • Magical Incantation: Various Mantras such as Acala's Fire Realm.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Kyoko subjects Suzuka to this.
  • Medium Blending: The Animated Adaptation mixes CG in for Man-made Type shikigami and drawn ones for organic Servant Type shkigami.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Both Harutora and Natsume are mistaken, when Natsume's male double shikigami (long story) undresses while in Harutora's embrace. The Girls LOVE IT.
    • Then comes the Dougenzaka mess, where the past incident's misunderstanding comes up again. They manage to shake off the homosexuality suspicion...but Harutora accidentally lands himself an even worse label: Lolicon.
  • Mistaken Identity: Harutora is sometimes mistaken for Natsume. This is mostly due to Natsume pretending to be a boy. The reason Kyoko even likes Natsume is because she got Natsume mixed with Harutora as children and really fell in love with him.
  • Moment Killer: Suzu Saotome showing up right before Natsume is about to confess to Harutora.
  • Mood Whiplash: Kon. Around three different emotions a minute and has a really filthy mouth and crazy affection when she wants to let go.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: You know that lightning that pops up whenever two students have a staredown? Yeah, that's literal, complete with shining glasses.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Averted as the characters in this universe do not fight fair.
  • Noodle Incident: Pretty much what happens in every side story.
  • Oblivious to Love: Harutora.
  • Off Model: In the first episode, Hokuto is shown in close-up directly in front of a bed of sunflowers. However, when another camera angle is shown, the flowers are to her right.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Natsume and Harutora’s conversation regarding Natsume’s alter ego and cross-dressing.
  • Onmyodo
  • Paper Talisman: Everywhere, comes in a belt-holster too.
  • Plot-Triggering Death:
    • The death of Hakuto (the girl) prompts Harutora to become an onmyoji to fulfill her wish.
    • The death of Natsume and subsequent botched resurrection drives Harutora on a journey to recover various artefacts to fully revive her.
  • Police Brutality: When the Magical Crime Investigators raid the Twin Horn Syndicate.
  • Post-Modern Magik
  • Power Incontinence: Happens to Harutora and it kills Natsume.
  • The Prophecy: What Yasuzumi Tsuchimikado is trying to stop.
  • The Protagonist: Harutora but switches to Natsume later on.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Implied as what the villains are trying to do.
  • Redemption Quest: For Yakou Tsuchimikado to restore the ancient traditions he destroyed.
  • Reincarnation: Natsume is believed to be the reincarnation of Tsuchimikado Yakou.
  • Ritual Magic
  • Sacrificial Revival Spell: The Taizan Fukun ritual, supposedly. The version used by Suzuka is actually one of several versions, and there are ways to use it to successfully revive someone without need to sacrifice one's life.
  • Secret Keeper: Both Harutora and Touji for Natsume.
    • Harutora and Natsume's parents for Harutora, because of their plan where Natsume unwittingly serves as a decoy to avert attention form Harutora, the true reincarnation of Yakou.
  • Shout-Out: Although flipped, in the third episode, Natsume has a close-up with her face covering the entire screen grumbling.
  • Suicide Attack: What Shidou Dairenji and Chihiro Mutobe do after they cause spiritual disasters.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Natsume as she attends school in Tokyo, pretending to be a boy.
  • Taking You with Me: Curses triggered by the death of its caster.
  • Temporal Theme Naming: Harutora (Spring), Natsume (Summer), Akino (Fall), Touji (Winter).
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Harutora, Touji and Hokuto in the first chapters, then its Harutora, Touji and Natsume, mainly. Bonus points for essentially being made up of the same three characters. This trio also forms part of the main cast alongside Kyoko, Tenma and Suzuka.
    • Later, they discover that Jin Ohtomo, Zenjirou Kogure and Suzu Saotome were a similar trio.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
  • True Sight: Omnyojis can use this to see spirits, auras and fluctuations in the magic.
  • The Unreveal: Just what exactly was on Natsume´s closet?
  • Unwanted False Faith: The Yakou Fanatics are this to Natsume.
  • Villain Team-Up
  • The War Room: Meeting room for the Divine Generals in the Onmyo Agency.
  • Wham Chapter: The death of Natsume.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Harutora had a date with one. Harutora thought that the crossdresser was a girl and was greatly disturbed when he found out.
    • Also Natsume, thanks to a main family tradition that states the heir must present themselves as a male in relationships with outsiders, which she took at face value. A FAKE tradition that Natsume was told about in order to hide that Yakou's real reincarnation, who was born male, is not Natsume, but actually Harutora.
  • Wizarding School: Onmyo Preparatory School.
  • Word Power: Known as Powerspeak, high level spells used by Divine Generals that allow the caster limited control over the victim’s body.
  • World of Badass: Almost every character.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: It seems nearly the entire female student body is one.
  • Yandere: Natsume towards Harutora. He has no idea that she likes him and it is Played for Laughs. Same goes for Kon, who piles Bodyguard Crush and Reincarnation Romance on top of that.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Appears in the anime.
    • Kyoko has an A grade while in school uniform.
    • Suzuka is at D grade with stocking in her goth loli outfit or high boots in her school uniform.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel: Hung around the Taizan Fukun Ritual altar.

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