Manga: Knights

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.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Mist claims his father's sword after their duel to the death.
  • Babies Ever After: In the epilogue. Mist and Nina have a child, and Euphemia is pregnant with Leo's child.
  • Badass Normal: Try all the good guys. Mist in particular is Made of Iron, but even Euphemia and Nina get in on the action...
  • 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.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Nina repeatedly winds up in this situation.
  • 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.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Used liberally by the Church.
  • 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 arc 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.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Mist, Euphemia.
  • 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...
  • Deus ex Machina: Type 2. Leo manages to escape certain death in Chapter 19 because his pet cat somehow manages to steal the key and unlock his chains.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Euphemia uses aphrodisiacs to take down hordes of men and their horses. And their horses. Yeeessss...
  • Distressed Damsel: Mist and Co. spend their time seeking these out and rescuing them.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Euphemia does this in the third volume.
  • Ethical Slut: Euphema is extremely promiscuous, using her body as a weapon to take down enemies without fighting.
  • Evil All Along: It is revealed that the true mastermind of the plot is someone Mist trusts. The Crown Prince.
  • Evil Weapon: The Item of Control.
  • Face of a Thug: Poor Mist. Well, he's treated like that by most people in-universe anyway; the readership may be forgiven for wanting to take him home with them, take that as you will.
  • First Girl Wins: Nina is the first accused witch we see.
  • 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... who just uses old medical knowledge, not magic, to make aphrodisiacs. One can make a case based on the existence of Saint's relics, maybe.
  • Gratuitous German: Mist's attacks.
  • Handsome Lech: Leonardo is a "Knight of the Carpet" and more accustomed to wooing beautiful ladies than being out on the battlefield.
  • Harmful to Minors: Poor, poor Mist had to watch his mother being immolated as a child.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The village folk tend to fear/hate Mist because of his appearance, leading him to constantly wear a mask outside.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: Leonardo's horse is puny.
  • Mask Power: Mist, for obvious reasons.
  • 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.
  • The Medic: Euphemia is the one who patches up Mist's wounds.
  • Mind Rape: At least half the work of the Corrupt Church seems to involve convincing the victims of their witch hunt that even being accused of witchcraft makes them evil and deserving of death. One girl who isn't shown buying this is instead fed the story that her mother willingly accused her as a witch, without torture. Mist and Leonardo show her that the Church agents had to destroy every one of the girl's mother's fingers with thumbscrews before she would talk. Her snapping out of it leads to an epic CMOA.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Euphemia, who is naked except for her hat and bizarre cape.
  • Nice Hat: Euphemia's hat kicks ass, and gives you the British finger while doing it.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Nina misunderstands Mist's relationship with Euphemia and after falling into despair tries to have him killed so they can be Together in Death. It's not a conversation between the two of them that clears things up but Euphemia finally telling the truth to Nina and Nina realizing just how close she was treading to the Yandere line. Results in a CMOA for both of them when they team up to save Mist's life.]]
  • Prehensile Hair: Anise, and later Wilhelm after being turned into a Saint with her Relic.
  • Prison Rape: Euphemia suffered this as a child.
  • Rape as Backstory: Euphemia was locked in a prison and repeatedly raped by the guards until she was rescued by Mist. The experience led her to realize she could use her body as a weapon.
  • Really Gets Around: Euphemia douses herself in aphrodisiacs in order to... distract enemy soldiers.
  • Rescue Romance: Mist and Nina several times.
  • Roaring Rampageof Rescue: Mist doing this comprises pretty much the entirety of the last two chapters, after Nina gets captured by the crown prince.
  • 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.
  • Scary Black Man: Mist, though unless you're from the church, he's also a Nice Guy.
  • 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'.
  • Slash Slash Slash Uh Oh: Wilhelm versus Odo in Chapter 4.
  • 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.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Nina is a young teenager.
  • 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.
  • The Undead: It turns out the Saints are this, with a healthy dose of Monster from Beyond the Veil thrown in.
  • Witch Hunt: The main conflict revolves around these.
  • Worthy Opponent: Alise was impressed by Mist's chivalry to the point that she called off her attack and might have performed a Heel-Face Turn had she not abruptly been killed by the Hammer of Holy Men.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Crown Prince stabs the Elza in the back after she leads him to the final Relic.
  • You Killed My Father: The reason Mist hates his father is because of what happened to his mother. Prepare to die.

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