In a land divided between the people born in the region that serves the Shin-Oh (True Queen) and the Taikoh (Grand Duke), who are in charge of the political and military aspects of the country respectively, there is a village that raises Touda, the beasts that allow the country to maintain military supremacy over its neighbors. In that village lives a beastinarian named Soyon, who is allowed to care for the Touda despite being one of the People of the Mist, a tribe with green hair and eyes said to have strange powers, because her late husband was the son of the village chief and she happens to be damn good at her job. Her ten-year-old daughter Erin, like so many other girls her age, also takes an interest in the Touda and decides she wants to follow in her mother's footsteps, so Soyon starts to teach her about the Touda, and in the process discovers that Erin is amazingly talented.Stop reading here if you want to avoid spoilers.One day, however, all of the village's Kiba, the strongest of the Touda - particularly prized by the Grand Duke - die overnight. Soyon, who was caring for them, is held responsible and sentenced to death by being eaten alive by wild Touda. Erin, as soon as she hears of her mother's fate, chases after her into the swamp. Soyon uses a forbidden technique to control the Touda in order to save Erin, then allows herself to be eaten to atone for her crime. Erin is carried along the river until she is rescued by a beekeeper named Joh-on living in the Shin-Oh's region. It is with him that she first learns of and sees the Beast-lords (Ohju, literally king-beast), winged creatures that capture her interest. After a four-year Time Skip spent in Joh-on's care, Erin decides to go to Kazalm, a school for beastinarians and an Beast-lord shelter, to learn more about the Beast-lords. It is at Kazalum that she first encounters Lilan, a young Beast-lord whose fate quickly becomes intertwined with Erin's own. After another four-year Time Skip, the two of them are tossed head-first into a civil war as Erin challenges ancient beliefs and traditions in an attempt to live as she wishes and give Lilan the life she deserves.Originally a series of books by Seirei no Moribito author Nahoko Uesashi, it was adapted into a fifty-episode anime series between 2008 and 2009 which can be streamed legally in its entirety on Crunchyroll.
Ancient Tradition: The Mist People, being the only ones to know about the kingdom's Dark Secret. They are mainly passive observers, only making sure that disaster doesn't strike again.
And Now You Must Marry Me: Damiya and Seimiya have a non forceful version of this, in which he manipulates her into agreeing to marry him, since she has no better option available.
Animal Motifs: In the anime. A kitten losing its mother to underline the theme of characters missing their mothers. A snail in its shell and coming out for Lilan becoming interested in its surrounding for the first time. A fight of dragonflies almost exactly mirrors a fight in the human world, from before the first blows to the aftermath.
Arranged Marriage: Zigzagged in the case of Shunan and Seimiya. They are initially attracted to each other, even though it is considered improper for them to marry. Later on Shunan wants to marry Seimiya for the good of the country, while she wants to Marry for Love.
Fluffy Tamer: Erin. She is able to tame and communicate with the Beast Lords. Itís justified, because she takes some time to actually observe them and learn their ďlanguageĒ. Lilan, her Beast Lord friend, grew up with her and sees Erin as her surrogate mother.
Flower Motifs: In the anime. Damiya in particular seems obsessed with them.
Happily Adopted: Zigzagged with Erin, who more or less becomes Joh-onís daughter, but is never officially adopted, preferring to go to Kazalm rather than become a member of a wealthy family. Subverted with Kiriku and Tahya. Their foster parents took them in only for money and tried to get rid of them once they got paid for their adoption.
Harmful to Minors: Erin sees her mother getting eaten by wild Touda when she is ten years old.
Though, they can be based on a creature from Persian mythology that is called Simurgh or Angha. That looks like a bird with canine head.
Mixed Ancestry: Erin is the child of a woman of the Mist People and a Tohda-breeding village man. Results of such unions are usually called "Akun Meh Chai" ("Child of Impossibilities"), because their parents should have never met, yet alone fallen in love.
Music Soothes The Savage Beast: Justified. The harp music helps calm the Beast-lords only because it's similar to their own voice. Also, they respond to it only if they sense the person playing isn't afraid and if he hasn't use the mute whistle regularly to restrain them.
Morning Sickness: Lilan suffers this in episode 36 and copes by chewing on logs.
Parental Substitute: Joh-on becomes one for Erin after her mother dies. Later she herself becomes a surrogate mother for Lilan.
People of Hair Color: The Mist People have green eyes and green hair. Unfortunately, they are associated with black magic. Interestingly, their unusual hair color is actually never brought up and it is their eyes that function as a stigma. Also Je, the First Shin Oh of Ryoza, and her people were known for their golden eyes and blond hair.
This trope is adverted in manga, where the Mist People have normal black hair and only their eyes are green.
Poison Is Evil: Of course it is Kiriku, the poison teacher who is secretly working for the villain.
Redemption Equals Death: To atone for the crime of using a forbidden technique to save Erin, Soyon allows herself to be eaten by the Touda.
Relationship Sabotage: Damiya does everything he can to destroy relationship between Shunan and Seimiya. He succeeds for a while.
Replacement Goldfish: Erin strongly resemblances Kirku's dead sister. Because of this Kiriku tries to protect her from Damiya and later turns against his employer for her sake.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Both averted and played straight with the Touda. At first, they are depicted in a sympathetic manner, as animals that can be very frightening, but ones that have feelings and are exploited by humans. Later, after Soyon gets eaten by wild Touda, Erin naturally develops a fear of them. However, they're still shown to be just tools of war, being used by both good and bad people, and not the cause of it.
Sibling Rivalry: Between Shunan an Nugan. They hold opposite views on what is better for the country. There is also the fact that the Grand Duke seems to prefer Shunan over his younger son and Nugan is a "Well Done, Son!" Guy.
Secret Keeper: Erin tells Esal and Ia-lu about her past and informs them about the truth behind The Beast Lord Imperatives. Teachers and students at Kazalm decide to keep Erinís ability to control the Beast Lords a secret.
Self-Made Orphan: Kiriku with his foster family rather than the real one. He poisoned his adoptive parents after they killed his sister.
Spell My Name with an S: Too many cases to count. examples Soyon or Soh-yon? Joh-on or Joun? Dahmiya or Damyia? Ia-lu or Ial? Kiriku or Kirik? And many more...
Spoiler Opening: The first opening spoils the big role that the Beast-lords will have in the plot long before they appear. It also hints at Soyon's death and the circumstances surrounding it. The second opening spoils the fact that Erin will ride Lilan and this case is notable as the scene in question happens in the first episode to use second opening.
Taking the Bullet: Ial does this for the queen at an assassination attempt. He manages to run up to her in time to not only for that, but to actually shoots an arrow back at the attacker. He survives.
"Well Done, Son!" Guy: Nugan is desperate to earn more respect and attension from his father, the Grand Duke, who seems to prefer his older brother Shunan.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Subverted/deconstructed. While Erin and Soyon both have green hair, it marks them as members of a tribe that is considered practitioners of black magic. If their green eyes are often mentioned in the anime, their green hair never is.