Made in 1994, Blue Seed
is (loosely) based on the Izumo cycle of Japanese mythology and the tale of the god Susanoo and the eight-headed monster Yamata no Orochi
. The original manga was written by Yuzo Takada and was made into a 26 episode anime series.
Momiji Fujimiya, a normal middle school girl, is one day stopped on her way to school by a cat eyed man with greenish hair and magatama beads (read: blue seeds) who calls her "Kushinada" and then tries to kill her. Momiji is saved by the sudden appearance of two government officials, one of whom shoots the man in the arm and sends him fleeing.
Momiji is intrigued as to why she was referred to as "Kushinada". She discovers that "Kushinada" refers to an ancient princess whose blood holds the power to stop the ancient monsters known as Aragami by sending them to an eternal sleep. Momiji dismisses the idea that she could be such a person, despite the fact she lives with her mother and grandmother in a shrine in Izumo. However, she soon changes her mind after vines begin to appear from every crack and opening attempting to capture her as they whisper "Kushinada".
Momiji tries to escape, not knowing that the vines are being employed by a powerful Aragami known as Orochi. Fortunately, she is saved by the man with the magatamas embedded into his hands, who introduces himself as Mamoru Kusanagi. He confronts Orochi using Momiji as bait. The plan fails and the government officials appear again. They reveal themselves to be members of the Terrestrial Administration Center (TAC for short), and manage to subdue Orochi. However, with the last of its strength, it makes a final attempt on Kusanagi.
Momiji saves Kusanagi by taking Orochi's blow. Impaled by the Aragami, instead of dying, she is instead fused with the magatama, more specifically identified as a mitama, which gives Momiji the ability to sense the presence of other Aragami. The TAC agents explain that they are an organization dedicated to defeating the Aragami, who seek to destroy humanity. The current Kushinada, Momiji, must aid them because the other Kushinada, Momiji's twin sister, is thought to be dead. Momiji, wishing to discover more about the twin sister she never knew and also to fulfill her destiny, agrees to join the TAC under the protection of Kusanagi, who wishes to destroy his former masters, the Aragami.
The story becomes increasingly complex with the appearance of Murakumo, a man with eight mitamas who kills any Aragami he comes across for his own personal reasons. Kusanagi repeatedly attempts to kill Murakumo. Then Momiji's twin Kaede reappears along with a strange energy field in Tokyo, and Murakumo and Kaede's plans soon become clear - they intend to resurrect the god Susano-oh and purify the world of humanity's influences, with Kaede acting as the leader of the movement.
There is also a three episode OVA
, Blue Seed Beyond
, which takes place two years after
the end of the TV series. It concerns what seems to be a resurgence of aragami (actually created via biotechnology
), and introduces a new character, Valencia Tachibana. Like Kusanagi, she was implanted with a mitama without turning into a full aragami.
Also has nothing to do with the "sour, yet refreshing" spice from the Lost in Blue
This show provides examples of:
- Aborted Declaration of Love: Ryoko to Kunikida. "I love... Japan."
- Action Girl: Koume and Sakura.
- Also Valencia in the OVA.
- Adaptation Expansion: Whereas many anime Overtook the Manga, the manga for Blue Seed was only two volumes, so the anime added some episodes focusing on the characters. The fact that there were also Aragami attacks kept these from being outright Filler.
- Alien Blood: Aragami and half-aragami have green blood.
- Anticlimax: In the OVA, the Big Bad goes down with a few gunshots, despite looking a lot tougher than that.
- Apocalypse Maiden: Kaede, after her Face-Heel Turn.
- Badass Driver: Matsudaira in the OVA. She pulls some stunt driving moves in San Francisco that terrify Sugishita and throw Koume around in the back seat.
- Badass Normal: Sawaguchi Koume. Her philosophy can be boiled down to "Bigger Gun."
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted as part of the OVA's fanservice.
- Barrier Maiden: Kaede and Momiji.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Used... interestingly. Rather than give Kusanagi bushy eyebrows, he ends up with four normalish ones. This is lampshaded in an omake.
- Blade Below the Shoulder
- Bodyguard Crush: Momiji on Kusanagi.
- Book Ends: The first and final omakes end with the same scene: Momiji blasting the heck out of Kusanagi and Kunikida.
- Brick Joke: The first omake has Kunikida buying sexy pictures of the TAC girls from Kusanagi, with the ones of Momiji still being developed. Then Momiji shoots them with a machine gun. In the thirteenth and final omake, those photos are finally developed and seen just before Momiji again shoots them with a machine gun.
- Bring My Red Jacket: Kusanagi, though the blood thing doesn't fit so much, since his is green.
- Broken Bird: Kaede. She apparently had her Face-Heel Turn because the TAC used her abilities but never saw her as a person. Specially her adoptive father, Kunikida.
- Momiji actually averted becoming this, via calling the TAC out on this in the third episode when they tried to do it to her. That time around, they listened and made her a full-fledged member.
- But Not Too Foreign: Yamazaki Sakura, Japanese but raised in America after her mother died.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Kusanagi
- Clothing Damage: Lampshaded in an Omake Theater, as to where Kusanagi gets all of his red coats that are constantly being torn up.
- Combat Tentacles: Many of the aragami have these.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: Lampshaded in episode 3 of Omake Theatre.
- Cool Old Lady: In episode 12 of Omake Theatre, Momiji's grandma goes clubbing.
- Dangerously Short Skirt: In the OAV, Sugishita impose a highly impractical uniform on the female members of the TAC
- Day in the Limelight: Each TAC member gets an episode, usually for Character Development.
- Disappeared Dad: Momiji's father is never shown nor mentioned throughout the entire series.
- Dojikko: Momiji
- Downtime Downgrade: Subplot of the Blue Seed 2 OVA series epilogue. In the opening of the first episode Momiji and Kusanagi's relationship is heavily on the rocks, with Momiji outwardly worrying that Kusanagi will break up with her. She even tries to sleep with him at one point and he rejects her, calling her a kid. The rest of the OVA deals with the subplot of Kusanagi trying to reconcile his feelings for Momiji. At the end of the second episode of the OVA it's clear that while Kusanagi will continue to date Momiji, the relationship itself is still in shaky ground. In the third episode of the OAV Momiji is afraid of Kusanagi seeing her naked (despite having tried to sleep with him two episodes prior), prompting Koume of all people to comment that their relationship hasn't progressed and will probably end soon. The ending to the entire OAV series does not resolve the subplot, with the inference being that Momiji and Kusanagi could still break up in the near future.
- Koume and Yaegashi also suffered this, but the two reconcile and even make plans to get engaged by the end of the second episode.
- Everybody is Single: At the start of the series
- Evil Twin: Kaede to Momiji.
- Fanservice: Yaegashi's computer program to predict the weakness of enemies can also be used to figure out what kind of panties Momiji would be wearing that day. She was unamused.
- Gag Dub: The monster movie omake, at least in the English version, was a take on old, poorly-dubbed kaiju films.
- Gainaxing: Namely in Beyond.
- Godiva Hair: Sakura's mom.
- Goofy Print Underwear: A running gag with Momiji.
- Gratuitous English: See entry for But Not Too Foreign, above. The shift in Sakura's pronunciation from "Mommy" (American) back to "Mama" (Japanese—Engrish, but still Japanese) actually marks an important turning point in one episode.
- Green Aesop
- Hellish Pupils: Kusanagi's are slitted like a cat's; Murakumo's have the whites and the pupils inverted, colorwise, in one form.
- Hot Springs Episode: The third OVA episode, in which the team must deal with a bomber and some monkeys.
- Idol Singer: One episode has a contest for it, that Momiji is tricked into entering. It's actually justified because her voice actress is also a singer.
- I Have the High Ground: Murakumo loves doing this.
- Improbable Age: Kunikida is in his 40s, Matsudaira is 32, and Kusanagi is 18
- Informed Flaw: Matsudaira claims to have been a bad wife and a worse mother, but her son and ex-husband seem to hold her in high regard.
- In-Series Nickname: Koume "The Hurricane" Sawaguchi. Momiji is referred to by more than one character as "Sacrifice Girl" throughout the series, most frequently by Sakura, whom herself has a bit of difficulty with the Japanese language and will accidentally refer to her as "Orifice Girl".
- Just Eat Gilligan: A fairly major plot point in the series. If Momiji croaks, the Arigami go away, and several individuals and groups in the series are attempting to cause just that. However, aside from the ethical complications of human sacrifice, it's implied this is more of a stop-gap solution and the TAC is attempting to find a more permanent end to the Arigami.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the OVAs
- Limited Wardrobe: One omake has Matsudaira wondering why Kusanagi always wears the same clothes and if he ever takes them to be cleaned. This is even more amusing when you consider that Kusanagi's trademark red coat tends to get literally torn into small pieces during his transformations, yet in the next episode it is usually seen again, undamaged.
- Married to the Job: Matsudaira. There's an entire episode surrounding how her work is pulling her away from her son.
- May-December Romance: Ryoko Takeuchi and Daitetsu Kunikida
- Meaningful Name: Kusanagi Mamoru. Mamoru mean "to protect," and Kusanagi is the holy sword of the Japanese emperors, which apparently once belonged to Susano-o. It means the grass cutting sword (long story). Murakumo, the cloud cluster sword, is another name for the same sword and is the name of another character. He's trying to kill Kusanagi.
- Also in the second episode, Momiji (whose name means maple leaf) leaves little maple-leaf shaped pastries for the TAC team in order to endear them to her.
- Medium Awareness: One omake has Kunikida and Takeuchi explore the perils of animation cells.
- Megumi Hayashibara: Momiji's voice actress. She sings the ending.
- She also remade the opening theme song "Carnival Babel" into "Carnival Babel Revival" in 2003.
- Monster of the Week
- More Dakka: Koume's battle philosophy resolves around this.
- Mysterious Protector: Kusanagi
- No Dress Code: Outfits in the office run the gamut
- Office Romance: Between Ryoko and Kunikida
- Offscreen Breakup: Happens between Blue Seed 1 and Blue Seed 2 for Koume and Yaegashi. Momiji directly asks Koume at one point why they broke up, to which Koume replies that she and Yaegashi had been talking about getting married and having kids, with the inference that Yaegashi may have proposed. She got got cold feet and broke it off, even going so far as to transfer divisions and relocate in order to get away. After Momiji cries that if Koume loves him then it's the right thing to do, Koume reconsiders and by the end of the episode she accepts his proposal, telling him to get her a ring "worth at least three month's salary."
- Omake: Thirteen shorts poking fun at the show, and some animation conventions.
- Onmyodo: Sakura's magic.
- Opaque Nerd Glasses: Sakura, when she's in miko mode.
- Opposites Attract: Koume and Yaegashi.
- Ordinary High-School Student: Momiji
- Orochi: One of the aragami.
- Panty Shot: Apparently Momiji cannot walk five feet without exposing her cute cartoon character underwear — at least until the Mood Whiplash.
- Patriotic Fervor: "What happiness it is to be born Japanese!"
- Polar Opposite Twins: Kaede and Momiji.
- Public Domain Artifact: The Imperial Regalia of Japan provide names and imagery throughout the series — see the entry for Meaningful Name above, for one example.
- Raised by Dudes: Inverted by Yaegashi, whose father was high up in the Defense Ministry and was never home, thus leaving him to be raised solely by his mother and two older sisters.
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: One of the Omake shorts makes the series look like a Toku Kaiju film. The English dub even has intentional crappy voice acting and timing.
- Replacement Goldfish: Momiji's twin sister was no longer available to be used to quell the problem, so the job fell to her.
- Reverse Mole: Kaede had been playing the Aragami from the start: She always intended to hijack the end-of-the-world ritual to renew the Earth's resources instead.
- Running Gag: Once an Episode Momiji's underwear gets exposed, along with the cute picture of a cartoon animal on them, much to her embarrassment.
- Also, less frequently, Kusanagi teasing Momiji about her chest size.
- Sacred First Kiss
- Science Hero: Matsudaira and Yaegashi both fall into this trope (as the science and technology experts respectively). They prove their worth by assessing, researching, and executing effective ways to kill the Aragami.
- Separated at Birth: Momiji and Kaede.
- Shipper on Deck: Koume ships Kusanagi/Momiji and Matsudaira ships Ryoko/Kunikida.
- Shrines and Temples
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Koume
- Spoiler Opening
- Super-Deformed: In the omake.
- Surprisingly Good English: The US Navy officers were voiced by American actors and are a big contrast to Fake American Sakura.
- The Charmer: Sugishita likes to think he's this when in fact he's actually more of the series Butt Monkey.
- The Nineties: The hair, the outfits, the cell phones, the cars...
- Theme Naming: Besides the Meaningful Names, every important character is named after trees. The twins Kaede and Momiji are named by two words for the same tree, the maple.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Yaegashi whines throughout the second episode that he's the only person in the TAC to not be addressed with an honorific, specifically "san" ("Mr."). He tries correcting his teammates on this several times, but they all brush him off. This becomes a plot point again in another early episode when he complains that no one in the TAC respects him or takes him seriously.
- Team Mom: Azusa Matsudaira, interestingly also explored in that she openly admits that she's a horrible mother to her young son Jun.
- The Bechdel Test: Passes with flying colors. More than half of the TAC is made up of women, and interestingly enough if Momiji isn't in the room the conversation almost never turns to men.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Momiji hums the ending in an omake.
- To Be Lawful or Good: Obey the government's direct orders to sacrifice Momiji, or go rogue to defeat the Aragami using a yet-to-be-determined alternative?
- Tonight Someone Kisses
- Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: It's really amazing how many bad things happen there, and no wonder why at the end of the series, America has sent a fleet to just put it out of its misery.
- Took a Level in Badass: Yoshiki Yaegashi starts out as a wimpy computer nerd, but mans up by the end of the series and gets the girl - Koume Sawaguch that is.
- Two Act Structure: The first 13 episodes are standard Monster of the Week fare that serves to set up the premise and flesh out the characters. Once Kaede pops back up, the remaining 13 episodes has things get darker and focuses on setting up for the finale.
- Universal Driver's License: Valencia can pilot a helicopter without any supervision. She's 16.
- Unusual Ears: Murakumo's are pointed, as are Valencia's.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Kaede and Susano-oh's goal is to turn Japan into a green, unpolluted paradise... by turning all the humans into plants. Not really. Kaede had her own plans.
- Virgin Power
- Whip It Good: Valencia uses one.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Ryoko has purple hair, which could be written off as stylized black. Kusanagi and Susano-oh have green hair, which is justified by their connection to aragami. But then you get Valencia, whose hair is bright pink and Koume, whose hair is orange.