Knights is a manga written by Murao Minoru. It was serialized in the monthly Dengeki GAO, and concluded (hastily) when the magazine went out of business. There are a total of five volumes.The story is set in a medieval world in the grips of a hysteria about witchcraft. The plot revolves around a squire, Mistletien (Mist), and his potion-maker sidekick Euphemia, as they travel around the countryside rescuing girls accused of witchcraft, and meting out justice on those responsible.This series provides examples of:
Ambiguously Brown: Carefully averted with Mist, playing on the difficulties of being of African heritage in an overwhelmingly white medieval community.
Beauty Equals Goodness: The heroes are all pretty, slim people with nice hair. The villains are generally older, and very much uglier in both body and expression. Only the female villains are attractive, and they usually don't stay that way.
BFS: Mist's weapon of choice is a zweihander, although it is more realistically sized than most portrayals. The Item of Control plays this dead straight.
Blo▀fechten: The attacks in this series are named after —and mostly reflect— real strikes and techniques used in Medieval German swordsmanship. Highly notable, seeing as though a Japanese manga got around to this while Western works still tend to ignore it.
Burn the Witch!: Happens a lot in this series. The Church is entitled to a witch's property without justification or investigation, and if a priest gets to put enough people to the torch, he or she becomes a saint with super powers. So the only people in the setting who have anything to do with magic are the church.
Charles Atlas Superpower: The practitioners of which are damn proud of them too, seeing as they use them to take down the guys with ACTUAL superpowers.
Corrupt Church: Played dead straight, to the point that the Church Militant knights may as well be shouting "For the Emperor!" One even specifically says "You doubted God. That is the sin of heresy." before violently murdering someone, Commissar-style.
Cosmic Deadline: Imposed by Executive Meddling, as the manga was dropped from serialization when Dengeki Gao went out of business. Very noticeable in Volume 5, as a a story which had been planned for a much longer time span wraps up in only 5 chapters.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Mist vs. 1000 soldiers, the Saintified members of the Hammer of Holy Men, and the Crown Prince. They should have never messed with Nina.
Cruel and Unusual Death: The scene where Mist's mother is burned at the stake. Also, a good ol' fashioned dose of terror.
Determinator: Mist. Takes a stab in the stomach in Chapter 2 from his own sword while trying to rescue the Distressed Damsel, then pulls it back out again and uses the flat to beat down the guy who stabbed him. Then he does it again in Chapter 15 when facing Anise, with a little help from Euphemia's drugs and True Love's Kiss...
Flat Earth Atheist: Mist, with hints of Nay Theist. He loudly and boldly declares that both God and Satan are myths crafted to inspire fear, and that the witch hunts are a sham... then heads off to chat with an actual witch.
Actually, this is not a case, as it is revealed that Euphemia just uses old medical knowledge to make aphrodisiacs, not witchcraft. One can make a case based on the existence of Saint's relics, maybe.
Euphemia isn't shown as being a whole lot better, at least in letting Nina believe that she and Mist are getting it on, but in her defense sheltered, lovelorn, and occasionally dumb Nina hit her Berserk Button pretty hard. Once the two of them actually avertPoor Communication Kills, stuff gets a little better...for a while, anyway.
Meaningful Name: 'Mistletein' is a reference to Mistletoe. The Norse God Baldur was slain with a weapon made of Mistletoe, and Mist's full name is subtitled 'God-Killer' in the manga. Mist's nickname, 'The Black Knight', also falls into this category, though for more obvious reasons.
Sadistic Choice: Creepy priest Balthazar sets Mist up for one in the second chapter, leaving him struggling to save the only girl who's ever smiled at him on seeing his real face while Balthazar has free rein to beat the shit out of him. Surprisingly, he doesn't Take a Third Option; see the entry under Determinator.
Shown Their Work: Many of Mist's Attacks are taken from an actual German fencing style, and the torture/interrogation techniques used on the 'witches' are based on actual historical techniques such as 'pricking'.
Stripperiffic: Euphemia is naked except for her hat and bizarre cape.
Stuffed into the Fridge: In the fifth volume, Nina, Mist's love interest falls into the hands of the church and is brutally tortured, going as far as attempting suicide in order to avoid betraying Mist, who has been watching the entire thing from afar through a scrying pool, completely unable to come to her aid.
Tragic Keepsake: Mist's father keeps a vial of ashes on a ribbon around his neck, the remains of Mist's mother who was burned as a witch after he himself turned her in in exchange for political advancement.
Witch Hunt: The main conflict revolves around these.