Manga: Kagerou Nostalgia
"Once there were two clans, the Hi and the Yu. Haku, the last king of the Yu was reborn 500 years ago. Princess Mio of Hikami, Kamui of Kai, Kidou of Adumi, Rai of Ryudou, Shiretsu of Kogami and someone from Kouragi tried to seal the spirit of King Haku. Many years later their souls inhabit six NEW bodies and together, they fight once again."
So it says on the front of the first volume of Kagerou-Nostalgia: the Resurrection
, a manga series by Satomi Kubo. Anyone who's picked up this book, is likely very confused as to just what on earth is going on. This is because Resurrection
is actually the second half of the series. Unfortunately, it is the only half to be licensed for release in North America. The first half is available only online and in Japan. Further adding to the confusion, only the first few chapters (out of five volumes) have been uploaded onto most manga sites, making keeping up with the plot difficult at best. As a result, much of the information on this page will be largely conjecture.
This is a pity, as Kagerou-Nostalgia
is a rather well-written take on an old idea: that of resurrection and rebirth. When the series opens, we are in an AU
of medieval Japan. Nearly eighty percent of the country has been conquered by General Kiyotaka Kuroda
, and the remaining twenty percent is hard pressed to stay free and unoccupied. We are introduced to Kazuma Shudo
, a 14-year old mercenary hired by one of the nations that is resisting Kuroda. A proficient swordsman (swordsboy?) Kazuma is able to use his spiritual power to fight Kuroda's armies of monsters and People Hunters, sadistic soldiers who live only to slaughter. As the story progresses, Kazuma is introduced to five other teenagers with similar abilities: Shiranui, Fuwa, Mizuki, Akira, and Goki. Gathered together by Princess Mio XI, they begin to realize that they all knew and fought alongside each other five hundred years ago and have since been reincarnated: a fact that makes them a target for Kuroda's mysterious master
, Gessho Kuki
This manga provides examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: Excepting his wife, we've yet to meet anyone who actually likes Kuroda. Even Ranmaru and Rikimaru find him unpleasant, and they're working for Gessho.
- Abusive Parent: Fuwa's dad; possibly Mizuki's stepfather.
- Action Girl: ( Ran/Ranmaru) appears to have been one of these before her Gender Bender. She was one of the last survivors on a battlefield that had been utterly devastated by Gessho's troops, and managed to survive a bout against Rikimaru while she was still an unpowered human. That one battle was enough to convince Gessho that he wanted her as part of his forces. She was pretty good. From the looks of things the original Princess Mio was one as well.
- The captain of the 4th Ninja Squad is somewhere between this and a Dark Action Girl. Her morality's ambiguous to say the least.
- Adult Child: Goki begins to act more and more like one of these, as the seal that Gessho placed upon him begins to wear off.
- Ancestral Weapon: Kidou's sword, Rai's spear, Kamui's bow, Shiretsu's naginata, and Kagerou's BFG, are all kept in a shrine in Hikami Castle, and are used in Chapter 8 to reawaken Kazuma and Fuwa's memories. So far, Kazuma, Fuwa, and Mizuki have all begun to use their respective ancestral weapons as their own. Shiranui has yet to pick up Kagerou's gun, and while Akira owns Princess Mio I's staff and fan she has no idea how to use them. Goki, in the meanwhile, uses Shiretsu's naginata in his murder of Princess Mio XI, then escapes with it.
- Antihero: The main cast fall along the spectrum of antiheroism, with Kazuma starting out as a very damaged Type IV, before a slow and painful recovery. Mizuki is a Type III, and all of them have shades of Type I, what with their inability to actually change things.
- Archenemy: Gessho views Kagerou, and thusly his reincarnation, Shiranui, as such. Given that it was Kagerou who apparently delivered the final blow to King Haku, this isn't particularly shocking.
- Archer Archetype: Mizuki is an icy, aloof distance fighter, who prefers to act on his own, relies on stealth, and rarely asks for the opinions of others.
- Armour-Piercing Slap: Subverted. Akira slaps Mizuki in the face when he mocks Kazuma's dead father, and he allows her to. It does nothing, however, to change his attitude, and he doesn't believe he has it coming—it's just that he doesn't care enough to respond.
- Arranged Marriage: Mizuki Kamurogi and Princess Mio XI. Judging from his devotion to her, willingness to serve as her right-hand man in Kagerou-Nostalgia, utter horror when (Goki murders her at the start of The Resurrection), and subsequent suicide attempt it was likely a Perfectly Arranged Marriage, at least on his part.
- Armour is Useless: Averted thus far with Ranmaru and Rikimaru who cover themselves in plate from head to foot and have yet to sustain any serious injuries, while dealing out absolutely horrific damage in response.
- Avenging the Villain: This seems to be Gessho's goal—destroying the clans and kingdoms responsible for sealing up King Haku.
- Axe Crazy: Most of Kuroda's soldiers are written as such, and Kuroda himself is implied to be just as mad under his calm exterior. During the early chapters, Kazuma's rage issues made him come off this way, though he's since gotten better.
- Badass Longcoat: The Sufu Ninja Squads, especially Squad 2 (Fuwa's) leader. Fuwa himself also counts.
- Badass Normal: Squad 2's leader again. He repeatedly claims to have no spiritual powers.
- Badass Preacher: Shiranui is a priest (or perhaps more accurately a priest's apprentice). He's also about as Bad Ass as this setting allows any of its protagonists to be. Given Gessho's reaction to his ghost appearing during his interrogation of Shiranui, it's fair to estimate that his master was this as well.
- Badass Princess: Princess Mio I was one, and Akira appears to be on her way to fullfilling the same role.
- Bare Your Midriff: The Captain of the 4th Squad. She even has a hole cut in the back of her cloak so she can show off on both sides.
- Barrier Warrior: Shiranui does this on occasion, using his staff to channel his spiritual power into a shield.
- Because Destiny Says So: The entire point of the series. You want to live in peace? Too bad, you're a reincarnated hero. Go save the world. Gessho takes this to a pathological degree, claiming it his destiny to annihilate the Hikami clan and our heroes. And since fate cannot be denied, he might as well do it.
- Berserk Button: Don't tell Bima that she's impure. Don't compare any of the heroes to the People Hunters. And go ahead: try and touch Kazuma. I dare you.
- The Berserker: Kazuma, who relies on his Unstoppable Rage in all of his early fights. He seems to be picking up more skill as the series progresses.
- BFG: Shiranui's ancestor, Kagerou used one of these during the battle against King Haku.
- BFS: Kazuma's weapon of choice by The Resurrection. It's wider than his head, at least as long as he is tall, and was wielded by his previous incarnation, Kidou. Before that he used a normal samurai sword...which on a 14-year old, is still freakin' huge. One of Kuroda's bodyguards carries an even bigger one, shaped like a six-foot meat cleaver.
- The Big Bad: Gessho Kuki appears to be this so far. What with the whole story about sealing King Haku though, it's entirely possible that he will be replaced as things progress. Hasn't happened so far though.
- Gessho has been revealed to be "The Shadow", a being of raw evil energy who appeared shortly after Haku's defeat and destroyed the nations responsible for sealing him away. While not as powerful as Haku, The Shadow is still immensely strong and seeks the destruction of all the clans who participated in the sealing.
- Bigger Bad: Possibly King Haku of the Yu. Depends entirely on whether he is a separate entity, or if Gessho is his host.
- Big Brother Mentor/Cool Big Sis/Parental Substitute: Ranmaru to Goki. Rikimaru also helps out in this regard, though not to quite the same degree as Ranmaru, who actually threatens to abandon Gessho if he harms Goki.
- Black Knight: Rikimaru, Ranmaru, and Goki, all feature this look, dressing in full suits of spiked black plate mail, and identity concealing masks and helmets.
- Blade on a Stick: The preferred weapons of Gessho's top three soldiers: Ranmaru, Rikimaru, and Goki. Fuwa has also begun to use his ancestral Spear of Rai as his main weapon, while Goki has Shiretsu's Naginata.
- Body Horror: Pick one of the monsters on Kuroda or Gessho's payrolls.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Goki may be suffering from this courtesy of the seal that Gessho placed on him.
- Brutal Honesty: A character trait of Mizuki. When you can get him to join the conversation at all, his commentary is usually along these lines.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Mizuki never tells Princess Mio XI that he loves her, insisting to the end that it is only a political engagement.
- Character Development: All of the main cast have had some, but Kazuma is the best example. When he first appears he's an alienated, antisocial freak, who hates being touched and maintains an aloof, superior attitude as a means of emotional self-defence. By the first volume of The Resurrection, he's the leader of group, willingly holds Akira's hand to help her activate her spiritual powers, and has a vested interest in keeping both his friends and the Hikami Clan alive. He's also lost a lot of his angst, though none of the attitude.
- The Chick: Akira. She's the weakest member of the group, and has the least experience with her spiritual pressure. She's also the most emotionally sensitive, and is concerned with the feelings of the other members. She has required help from both Shiranui and Kazuma to so much as activate her abilities, yet is still an integral part of the group. She even has the royalty connection thanks to her status as the reincarnation of Princess Mio I and is now serving as Hikami's figurehead.
- Chick Magnet: Shiranui. He's got Princess Mio XI, Akira, and every other female in the cast fawning over him.
- Child Soldiers: Kazuma is the straightest example, operating as a mercenary since before his fourteenth birthday, but the main cast can all be seen in this light. Shiranui is a demon-killing priest at fifteen, ( Mizuki) is essentially Hikami's commander-in-chief by The Resurrection , Fuwa's been a ninja since his preteens and was a monster hunter before that, and Goki has been working for Gessho for almost as long. Even Akira is starting to have altogether too much experience with battlefields. They fall somewhere between the "Precociously Talented" and "Just Plain Tragic" types, having the skill of the former, but the horror and sense of futility associated with the latter.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Fuwa, who is absolutely fascinated by women. His previous incarnation, Rai, is said to have been as bad or worse. To quote Goki, "Rai loved all women."
- Cold Sniper: Mizuki is a frosty, calculating personality, who uses other people to his own ends, and shows no remorse about those he's killed.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Fuwa, Kazuma and Shiranui are all orphans. Not so for Mizuki who has a rather antagonistic relationship with his stepfather, Akira (her father is dead, her mother is not), or Goki whose adoptive father is apparently Gessho.
- Cool Mask: Kagerou wore one that covered the lower half of his face, Hatake Kakashi style.
- Crapsack World: The alternate version of feudal Japan that the kids inhabit sucks hard. Eighty percent of it is ruled by Kuroda, who allows his soldiers to butcher random villages just for the Hell of it. The rest of the country is poor, hard-pressed, and shrinking, relying on mercenaries and a few spiritually powerful children to maintain independence. Corrupt lords continue to support Kuroda and the People Hunts, whether openly or secretly. People who oppose the Hunts get arrested to avoid provoking him. And so far, the heroes haven't been able to change much. By Resurrection the clan they were trying to protect is all but destroyed, their army and infrastructure are in ruins, ( one of their own has betrayed them and killed their leader), another member is losing his mind from stress, and the group is scattered far and wide. They haven't even managed to kill a single major villain. Perhaps Kazuma puts it best: "In the end...we were powerless. Again. We fought like mad, but all that's ever left is the devastation." It's going to take a lot of effort before this world even remotely improves.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Gessho vs Shiranui lasts about two seconds before Shiranui is all but burnt to a crisp. And that's with his defensive wards in place.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Kazuma has got an epic case of this (even though she was his older sister). If you happen to even look at him the way his sister used to, expect violent retribution. Screaming, ranting, violent retribution. It's the entire reason he signs on with Shiranui in the first place. First Kazuma beats him up for looking like his sister, than he decides to protect him because he can't allow someone who so closely resembles her to die.
- Determinator: Kazuma and Fuwa. It's nearly gotten both of them killed on occasion.
- Doomed Hometown: Kazuma is the sole survivor of the attack on his village. Also true for the town that he is first shown defending. To be fair to him, the second one would have been destroyed a lot sooner if it wasn't for his efforts. The town of Sufu, where Fuwa lives, also gets totalled.
- Doom Magnet: Shiranui attracts trouble as often, and more often, than he attracts women. It's one reason why he agreed to let Kazuma tag along with him.
- The Dragon: Rikimaru, Ranmaru, Kuroda, and even Goki could all be seen as Gessho's Dragons, with Kuroda leading the army and serving as his figurehead while the other three protect him as bodyguards. Of them, Rikimaru and Ranmaru are probably the closest to the archetype, with Rikimaru having served Gessho the longest, and Ranmaru being slightly more obsessively loyal.
- Given that Gessho typically keeps Rikimaru with him while sending out Ranmaru to do the diry work it seems that Gessho at least considers Rikimaru to be his Dragon, even if story-wise the two of them more or less hold the role equally.
- Driven to Suicide: Mizuki attempts to kill himself following his love interest's death as he no longer sees a reason to live. He is prevented before he can carry it out though.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Shiranui and Goki constantly feature these, as does Mizuki at Princess Mio XI's funeral. Kazuma had them pre-Character Development.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Kagerou, who despite having been cut in half, uses his last seconds to fire off a final shot, sealing Haku.
- Emotions VS Stoicism: Fully present in the backstory, during the war between the Black/Yu and Scarlet/Hi Clans. The Yu Clan embraced emotion and selfishly doing what you wanted over anything else; the Hi Clan disciplined their emotions until they practically didn't have any. In the present, there is an ongoing debate between Kazuma and Mizuki on the subject, with Kazuma representing emotion and Mizuki stoicism.
- Emotionless Boy: Goki, who has a grand total of two settings: violence, and apathy.
- Epic Flail: Ranmaru's weapon is somewhere between this and a Blade on a Stick. The staff can break apart while remaining joined by a chain.
- The Spear of Rai also exhibits properties of this, the blade can be launched and remains connected to the staff by a chain.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Played straight with Princess Mios I and XI. Right up until XI died, anyway. Akira, the reincarnation of Princess Mio I is now attempting to do the same, with limited success.
- Evil Overlord: Kuroda rules feudal Japan with an iron fist. Might count as a Sorcerous Overlord given his spiritual powers.
- Evil Redhead: Goki is one of these so far. His ancestor Shiretsu, on the other hand, was a Red-Headed Hero.
- Eyepatch of Power: Fuwa's boss, Captain of one of the Ninja Squads. He has quite the reputation for Badassery in-story.
- The Faceless: Goki during his first appearance.
- The Fatalist: Gessho believes that it is his fate to exterminate the Hikami clan, which given that he was apparently created to avenge Haku, may well be true. "Destiny cannot be denied" is pretty much his catch phrase.
- Female Misogynist: Ranmaru to a degree, given her intense regret over having been born a woman, and her contempt for the gender as a whole.
- Femme Fatalons: Bima, the demonic Vamp.
- Four-Star Badass: General Kiyotaka Kuroda is a bastard, but there is no denying his badassery. Goki's ancestor, Shiretsu, also seems to have been one, given his title of General (or depending upon the translation, Shogun).
- Fun Personified: Fuwa tries to be this, though there's more than a little stepford in his smile.
- Gangsta Style: Shiranui has fired his guns this way, most notably in his first appearance when he uses them to incapacitate Shimari.
- Gender Bender: (Ranmaru). Hoo boy. Where to start. (Ran) was woman, who hated her own gender. So, when she signed on with Gessho she had him change her into a man, (Ranmaru). Sound simple enough? But wait: once a month he changes back into a woman for just one night. Did we mention that (her partner Rikimaru has a crush on the aforementioned woman?) Yeah, it's complicated like that.
- The Good Chancellor: As Princess Mio XI's fiancee and right-hand man, Mizuki plays this role, guiding Hikami well despite his unpleasant personality. Following her death, and Akira's ascension to the throne he's now the de facto ruler of Hikami, running the country in all but name.
- Good Is Not Nice: Kazuma is a nearly insane mercenary when first introduced. Mizuki is a cold-blooded Jerk Ass. They're two of the most effective heroes in the setting, and as it turns out, aren't actually bad guys underneath it all.
- The Gunslinger: Shiranui, who comes armed with two blessed pistols, both of which he is a deadly shot with.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Kazuma goes ballistic at the drop of a pin.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Kagerou was bisected by Haku as he tried to deliver the finishing blow to the Yu King's spirit.
- Handguns: Shiranui carries two, one somewhat resembling an automatic, while the other is clearly a revolver. Both have been blessed for use against demons, and as such have been used heavily, not only by Shiranui, but by other members of the cast.
- Hates Being Touched: Kazuma has a bad case of this during the first couple of chapters, to the point where he'll instantly attack anyone who so much as makes contact with him. There's a reason that even his fellow mercenaries think he's psychotic.
- The Heart: Despite his poor interpersonal skills, Shiranui plays this role in the team, with Kazuma, Fuwa, Mizuki, Akira, and Goki, all feeling an exceptionally strong attachment to him that helps bind them together as a unit. Given their reactions in flashbacks, it seems that Kagerou played a similar role on the original team.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door:Make up your mind, Goki. First you fought for Gessho, then you defected to the heroes, then you went back to Gessho after Killing Princess Mio XI, but seem to have regrets about it. Justified by the waxing and waning of the power of the seal that Gessho placed on him.
- The Hero: Kazuma Shudo. There may not be a full Five-Man Band in place, but Kazuma is definitely this. Somewhere between Kagerou-Nostalgia and The Resurrection Kazuma has gone from Shiranui's bodyguard to being the leader among the five kids, if not Hikami itself ( that remains Mizuki's job). Both Shiranui and Fuwa come to him to request leave, Akira turns to him for advice and leadership, and in combat situations he even gives orders to Mizuki. On top of that, he's the protagonist to boot.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Subverted by Rikimaru and Ranmaru.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: Fuwa. He's in bright yellow and purple.
- Hired Guns: Kazuma's profession of choice before Shiranui recruits him, earning pay equal to the number of men he kills. He's earning easily double or triple what most of the other mercenaries at Oozu are.
- Hot-Blooded: Kazuma again. Charges monsters with just a sword? Check. No respect for personal safety? Check. Ready to fight at the drop of a hat? Way check.
- Humanoid Abomination: Gessho Kuki, who is eventually outed as a mass of evil magic in the form of a man.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Some of Kuroda's demons seem to fall into this category. Hell, some of Kuroda's soldiers seem to fall into this category.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The reason why Mizuki never calls out Princess Mio XI for her obvious crush on Shiranui.
- Ineffectual Loner: Initially Kazuma, with some serious Loners Are Freaks overlap. He's deliberately isolated and antisocial, avoids human contact at all costs, and directs all his energies—to the point of obsession—towards slaughtering Kuroda's troops. He gets better though. Mizuki also starts out like this and has yet to fully break away from the attitude.
- In the Back: Mizuki's been stabbed in the back four times. The fifth time he was able to dodge it.
- Interrupted Suicide: Mizuki leaps onto Princess Mio XI's funeral pyre in an attempt at Together in Death. He's stopped by Kazuma.
- It's All About Me: Mizuki claims that there is nothing that is important to him other than himself. He's full of it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kazuma, although it's initially very well hidden. More like psychotic Jerk Ass with a Heart of Gold, really. He's evolved into a more typical example by The Resurrection.
- Mizuki also falls under this, albeit from the opposite direction: he's cold, blunt, remote and tells himself that he really doesn't care about anyone else but himself, when in reality he actually cares a lot about the others, and especially Princess Mio XI.
- Jerkass Fašade: As discussed above, Mizuki. He's even managed to fool himself.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Oddly enough, no. Kazuma uses one during the first few chapters, but by The Resurrection has upgraded to the distinctly Western-looking BFS he inherited from Kamui.
- Kid Hero: The main cast are in their mid-teens, and are stuck with the job of being the leaders of a resistance movement, the defenders of Hikami, and one of the few groups to oppose the People Hunters. Destiny sucks.
- Kid Samurai: Kazuma used to be one. You know, before monsters killed his entire town and ate his sister. Good-bye wannabe dojo instructor, hello child mercenary.
- Killed Off for Real:Shimari, Bima, Princess Mio XI
- Lack of Empathy: Gessho, who admits to being completely unable to comprehend human emotion. Invoked and enforced by Mizuki, who believes that you can only be emotionally wounded if you choose to care about other people, and therefore tries to be as cold and remote as possible.
- The Lancer: Shiranui, Fuwa, and Mizuki all have aspects of this trope, having all played second-in-command to Kazuma and contrasting his personality well. Mizuki, however, is the most obvious one, given his and Kazuma's diametrically opposing philosophies, and the fact that the chain of command isn't all that clear to begin with.
- The Leader: Gessho's a Type I for the villains. On the heroic side, Mizuki is a Type I, while Kazuma is shaping upto be a Type III.
- Lightning Bruiser: Kazuma's one of the Hard-Hitting Fragile Speedster variety. Ranmaru, Rikimaru, and Goki are the Fast-Moving Big Bruiser type. During battles this ensures that Ranmaru and Rikimaru have a serious advantage over Kazuma, being just as quick and hard hitting but far more resistant to damage.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Bima. When she's slain her castle collapses, and the army of monsters Gessho gave her runs amok. Ranmaru flat out states that Bima's death is the reason for this. Justified as magic was involved with Bima serving as the anchor for it. Generally speaking, the death of any major demon causes their monsters to turn on everyone around them.
- Loners Are Freaks: When we first meet Kazuma he's antisocial to the point of being in full-on Loners Are Freaks territory.
- Love at First Sight: Rikimaru for Ran, who eventually became Ranmaru. She was so pretty he couldn't bring himself to kill her, which grabbed Gessho's attention and resulted in her being turned into a man. Good work, lover-boy.
- Love Hurts: Minor example with Rikimaru's crush on Ranmaru. It's left him pretty depressed. See Gender Bender for why.
- Love Triangle: In the backstory there was one involving Princess Mio I, Shiretsu, Kidou, and Kagerou. Princess Mio I was in love with Kagerou, while Shiretsu and Kidou were both interested in her. This may play out in the present day, given Akira's crush on Shiranui, and some of her interactions with Goki and Kazuma.
- There's also the triangle between Princess Mio XI, her fiancee Mizuki, and her crush Shiranui. Shiranui is oblivious to the Princess' interest, seeing her as a friend, Mizuki loves the Princess but won't admit it to anybody, including himself, and Princess Mio XI loves Shiranui, while valuing Mizuki as little more than an aide de campe.
- Made of Evil: Gessho Kuki is a mass of evil magic trapped in human form.
- Magic Knight: All of the main cast have the potential to become this, comboing their combat skills with their spiritual power and spells. So far Mizuki is the one who is the furthest along, combining his archery skills with a variety of spells.
- Magnetic Hero: Not Kazuma, who is still far too antisocial for the role, but Shiranui. Kazuma, Fuwa, Princess Mio XI, and Akira are all willing to put themselves in tremendous danger just to help him out, and a pair of his friends once marched halfway across the country to return one of his guns to him. Even the villains display a strange interest in him, frequently puzzling over his name and/or trying to win him over. The only person who seems to be immune to whatever pheromone he's putting out is Mizuki.
- The Man Behind the Man: To the public, General Kuroda is the one to be feared, a military dictator who's managed to take control of most of Japan, ordered the slaughter of thousands, and is Hell bent on the conquest of the few remaining holdouts. But the one who's really in charge is Kuroda's "strategist", Lord Gessho.
- The Man Behind The Monsters: Gessho again. He's the one supplying the demons who make up such a potent part of Kuroda's army, summoning them from the dark world to do his bidding. Of course, since Gessho himself is a Humanoid Abomination and not the man that he appears to be, this may be a subversion of sorts.
- Manipulative Bastard: Mizuki admits to being one openly: "I'm a guy who uses others for his own benefit."
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Shiranui's mentor, the Monk of Ruin was killed by something, probably Goki.
- Meaningful Name: A few. Fuwa's means "Unbreakable" which fits quite nicely with his upbeat, indefatigable personality. Ranmaru's is the male version of a female name which provides a hint as to the character's past. Shiranui's name translates to "Unknown Fire", a good fit given the mystery surrounding his past and that of his previous incarnation. Also an in-universe example, as numerous characters (including, unfortunately, Gessho) have drawn attention to his name, and targeted him because of it.
- The Mole: (Goki) is an especially damaging one. He became a key member of the group, playing on their shared past together to keep anyone from becoming suspicious, before (murdering Princess Mio XI on Gessho's orders, and abandoning the group as Hikami collapses around them.) Later chapters suggest that he at least partially regrets this, and his moral agency, as well as the sincerity of his initial turn, is all up in the air, given Gessho's constant manipulations of his emotions, both through words and magic.
- Morality Pet: Kuroda's wife, Yasha, and their son serve as his, while Goki is one for Gessho and Ranmaru. Pre-Character Development, Shiranui was this to Kazuma.
- Mr. Exposition: Mizuki serves as this immediately after he, Kazuma, and Fuwa are introduced. Odd, seeing as he's relatively silent for the rest of the series.
- Mysterious Past: Everything about Kagerou, and consequently, his descendent Shiranui, remains shrouded in mystery. Even the other protagonists know very little about him.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Gessho Kuki, Shadow. Would you trust a guy with a name like that?
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Shiranui suffers through a particularly horrific one in the early chapters. He and Kazuma are staying with a woman whose husband left, planning to travel to the capital and assassinate Kuroda, leaving her and their daughter behind. The husband subsequently returns with a band of mercenaries and massacres the town; when his wife confronts him and accuses him of People Hunting, he does not seem to understand what she is talking about. Shiranui realises that the man has been tainted by the darkness in the capital and purifies him. ( Horrified by what he has done the husband promptly murders his wife and daughter, and then commits suicide while Shiranui looks on, unable to bring himself to stop the killing by shooting another human being.) Nice job breaking it, priest.
- No Export for You : The first chunk of the story is only available in Japanese. Only minimal amounts of the story have be translated online creating giant plot holes.
- Not So Stoic: Mizuki for a few seconds after Princess Mio's death. Gessho gets a scary one during a chat with Shiranui.
- Number Two: Mizuki to Princess Mio XI.
- Offing the Offspring: Gessho seriously (as in grabs by the throat and starts throttling) contemplates doing this to Goki following the revelation that Goki is Shiretsu's reincarnation. He relents at the last minute and they hug instead. Of course, as flashbacks in Chapter 15 establish, they're not actually related. Fuwa's dad rather comically attempts this against him in a flashback.
- Off with His Head!: Kazuma decaptitates Shimari at the conclusion of their rematch.
- Only One Name: Fuwa doesn't have a first name. His mother died before she could tell his father what it was and Fuwa was too young to remember it, and his father was too lazy to give him a new one. Shiranui also lacks a full name.
- One-Man Army: Kazuma in the first chapter, where he's all but singlehandedly responsible for defeating Kuroda's forces, and anytime that they are fighting unpowered humans. Against demons, or the likes of Ranmaru and Rikimaru, he experiences considerably more difficulty.
- One-Winged Angel: Gessho starts shifting into this randomly during the middle of a conversation with Shiranui. Also counts as a very freaky Not So Stoic moment.
- Bima also does this during her fight against Kazuma, Fuwa and Shiranui.
- Our Demons Are Different: They look human, albeit with some animalistic features, and are all working for Gessho or Kuroda. How they're being controlled hasn't really been addressed. Gessho seems to summon them from a dark void in the middle of his castle, and uses them to give orders to his monster armies. Many seem to have sexually perverse and/or cannabalistic tendencies.
- Parental Abandonment: Goki was found on the stairs to Gessho's headquarters, and taken in by the Big Bad. Then there's Kazuma, Fuwa, and Shiranui whose families are no longer in the picture in any way.
- Parental Substitute: Ranmaru and Gessho have both played this role for Goki, Gessho's adopted son. The Monk of Ruin filled a similar role for Shiranui; flashbacks suggest that Gessho may have, at some point, done the same for The Monk of Ruin.
- Past Life Memories: All of the main cast possess at least some of these, though how many seem to vary.
- Pet the Dog: The genuinely saddened expression on Gessho's face when he meets The Monk of Ruin's ghost and realises that this means the monk (who would appear to have been his pupil and/or substitute child) is dead, helps to humanise an otherwise completely inhuman character. Kuroda gets a few moments like these with his own wife and daughter, while Gessho, Ranmaru, and Rikimaru get them with Goki.
- Power Tattoo: Shiranui has several, designed to prevent demons from tainting his pure soul.
- Predecessor Villain: King Haku of the Yu to Gessho Kuki. Gessho first appeared in the months after Haku's defeat, and set about decimating the clans responsible for sealing the King of the Yu.
- Princess Classic: Princess Mio XI
- Princesses Rule: The Hikami clan is always ruled by a Princess Mio.
- Protectorate: Shiranui to Kazuma, and the Hikami clan and their lands for all of the reincarnated heroes.
- Puppet King: A positive example, with Akira acting as Hikami's symbolic leader following Princess Mio XI's death, while Mizuki actually runs the show.
- Rape as Backstory: Maybe. Shimari is heavily implied to have done something to Kazuma, and the rather uncomfortable imagery in the flashbacks, coupled with Kazuma's issues with being touched would heavily suggest molestation, but it's never made entirely clear.
- Really 700 Years Old: Ranmaru has been in Gessho's service for over a hundred years. Rikimaru has been with him even longer. Gessho is so old that even Rikimaru knows almost nothing about him.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kazuma is not a bad guy. But we wouldn't reccommend picking a fight with him either. He's a scary, scary little punk when he's angry. And he's angry a lot.
- Red Is Heroic: Kazuma, our hero, is the one dressed all in red, as was his ancestor, Kidou.
- Reincarnation: The premise of the series. Akira is the reincarnation of Princess Mio I, Kazuma of Kidou of Adumi, Mizuki of Kamui of Kai, Fuwa of Rai of Ryudou, Goki of Shiretsu of Kogami and Shiranui of Kagerou, the someone from Kouragi. All of them recall bits and pieces of their past lives, but not all.
- Reincarnation Romance: Akira's crush on Shiranui comes courtesy of Princess Mio I's crush on Kagerou. Kazuma is deliberately trying to avert this between himself and Akira by ignoring Kidou's interest in Princess Mio I.
- Revenge: Gessho is The Shadow and has been revealed to have Avenging the Villain as his goal. To be more precise, he's out to wipe out the clans that sealed up Haku, even if it takes him five hundred years to do it.
- The Rival: Kamui of Kai was the rival to Princess Mio I, competing with her for a leadership position. In the modern era, Kamui's descendent and reincarnation, Mizuki, is Kazuma's rival for leadership of the team.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: All the of the main characters previous incarnations. Princess Mio XI too.
- Scarf Of Asskicking: Sported by Kazuma
- Sealed Evil in a Can: King Haku. Probably.
- Shell-Shocked Senior: Kazuma, of the "high-school senior" variety. Or in his case, freshman.
- Simple Staff: Shiranui uses one. When he isn't shooting people.
- Sissy Villain: The oh so effeminate Shimari.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Goki, who appears to defect from Gessho's ranks, only to murder Princess Mio XI and rejoin his former allies.
- Sliding Scale Of Idealism VS Cynicism: It ain't Berserk, but Kagerou-Nostalgia definitely leans towards the cynical end of the scale. Basically this story is what happens when you take your classic shonen protagonists and drop them off in a Crapsack World. So far they've achieved nothing of import and have lost far more then they've gained. Whether or not they can Earn Their Happy Ending remains to be seen.
- The Smart Guy: Shiranui has many of the characteristics of this role. Out of the group he has the lowest spiritual pressure, but makes up for it with magic tattoos that protect him from corruption, a wide knowledge of demons and spirit power, and packing heat. He's probably the smartest member of the group, and serves as a White Mage, as he's also their healer.
- Smug Snake: Mizuki's adopted father, Lord Mitsufusa Kamurogi, who suffers from a combination of overconfidence and thinking he's much smarter than he really is. Arriving in Hikami after Princess Mio's death he plots to seize control of it, using his own rank and impressive spiritual power, and Mizuki's current status as regent. It's not actually a bad plan, but Kamurogi forgets some key details: checking that there's no one else around with similar spiritual prowess, and making sure that Mizuki actually likes him enough to help him. End result, Kazuma, Akira, Mizuki and Fuwa run him out of town.
- The Smurfette Principle: Princess Mio I, and her reincarnation, Akira, are the only girls in the group.
- The Social Darwinist: Mizuki purports to hold these sorts of views, though how much is a facade is open for interpretation.
- Sociopathic Soldier: Many of Kuroda's troops, as well as the various mercenaries they hire to assist them. Then again, you've got to be pretty evil to join a People Hunt, let alone brag about it the way a lot of them do. Where does Kuroda hire these guys?
- Spikes of Villainy: Ranmaru and Goki both feature minor versions of this. Not Rikimaru though, oddly enough.
- The Spock: Mizuki, who prioritises politics and logical action over people and emotion.
- The Starscream: Kuroda seems to be somewhere between this and Bastard Understudy with regards to Gessho. He tells Yasha at one point that he wants all of Gessho's power for himself, and Rikimaru and Ranmaru clearly do not trust him. He also acts independently relatively frequently, and Yasha is clearly plotting against Gessho although Kuroda himself has yet to take a direct role in this.
- Starter Villain: Shimari, the demon who killed Kazuma's sister. He appears in the first chapter to torment Kazuma some more, serves to force Kazuma and Shiranui to work together, and promptly dies.
- The Stoic: Mizuki and Goki both have shades of this, with Goki being genuinely bereft of emotion, while Mizuki is cold as a concious choice. When Shiranui walks away from him at one point without explaining or saying a word Kazuma accuses him of "Pullin' a Mizuki." This is some time after Mizuki gave Kazuma a lecture on how life can only hurt you, if you choose to care about other people.
- Gessho appears to be a villainous version, complete with an inability to understand normal human emotions. This leads to a rather disturbing Not So Stoic moment during his conversation with Shiranui, one that crosses right into One-Winged Angel territory.
- The Strategist: Gessho pretends to be one for Kuroda.
- Supporting Protagonist: Kazuma may well be this to Shiranui, whom the villains and heroes alike, are genuinely interested in.
- Survivor Guilt: All of them have it to one degree or another, having outlived a mentor (Shiranui), a fiancee (Mizuki), a father (Fuwa), and a friend (Akira). Kazuma is the worst though, still blaming himself for surviving the massacre of his Doomed Hometown, as well as the subsequent carnage around him.
- Tattooed Crook: Kuroda's two bodyguards are covered in tattoos. Including ones that resemble additional eyes. Creepy pair.
- The Team Benefactor: Princess Mio XI provides the team with resources and a base of operations.
- Teens Are Short: Most adults tower over the protagonists.
- Tsundere: Akira. She's deredere towards Shiranui and Princess Mio XI, tsuntsun towards Mizuki and Kazuma, and flips back and forth with everyone else.
- Undying Loyalty: Mizuki to Princess Mio XI, Rikimaru to Lord Gessho.
- Unholy Matrimony: As you read it becomes increasingly clear that Yasha is every bit as evil and manipulative as her husband, Kuroda; she just hides it better. Apart from a minor scuffle in Volume 1 of The Ressurection they seem to get along quite well (and what's one instance of Domestic Abuse between genocidal villains?).
- Unskilled, but Strong: Kazuma in the early chpaters, where his spiritual power is tremendous, but his ability to utilise it is limited.
- Unstoppable Rage: Kazuma becomes all the more dangerous when he loses his temper.
- The Vamp: Bima, one of the demons from the first half, who attempted to seduce both Shiranui and Kazuma. Made worse given that they're in their teens and look younger, while she was at least (physically) her twenties or thirties. It almost works too, at least until Shiranui's tattoos kick in.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: The core group fight a lot amongst themselves, but in the end, they've all got one another's backs. Even Mizuki.
- The Voiceless: Goki at first (and he still doesn't talk much now). Kuroda's bodyguards don't speak either.
- Walking Spoiler: Everything about Goki, from the fact that he's on Gessho's payroll, to his eventual defection and subsequent betrayal of the heroes, is spoiler worthy.
- Warrior Prince: Kidou was the second Prince of Adumi, Kamui was the youngest (and last) Prince of Kamui, Rai was the nephew of King of Ryudou (though he apparently abhorred government), and Shiretsu, as Shogun of Kougami, was royalty in all but name. In the current era, Mizuki is a prince of the Kamurougi clan, courtesy of his mother's remarriage to Lord Mitsufusa Kamurougi.
- Weak, but Skilled: Shiranui has the least spiritual power of any of the main cast, but is experienced enough and well-trained enough to easily hold his own.
- Was Once a Man: Both Rikimaru and Ranmaru used to be human, but aren't anymore, to the point where exorcism techniques meant for demons work just as well on them.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Subverted. Akira calls out Mizuki on his apparent manipulation of Princess Mio's death in order to seize control of Hikami. This wasn't his goal actually (he was just trying to rebuild the ruined nation, and needed to give everyone someone to follow), but her words drive him over the edge, resulting in his attempted suicide.
- White Mage: Shiranui's a priest, he hates bloodshed, he uses holy magic and symbols, he carries a staff, and he's never killed another person before. He even helps patch up Kazuma after a battle. Even his weapons are a pair of blessed guns.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: All of the main characters are in their early to mid teens but have grown up pretty fast. Justified by the war, and their status as the reincarnations of adult heroes.
- Would Hurt a Child: Played very straight with Ranmaru and Rikimaru. If Lord Gessho wants you dead, they will kill you, no matter how old you are. Most of Kuroda's soldiers are similarly ruthless, with some taking great delight in killing those too young to fight back.