"Your dreams are your own personal concerns... you should take on the challenge and fulfill your own dreams. However, your worries are my concern. Entrust every last one to me!"
Medaka Box is a manga series by author Nisio Isin (of Bakemonogatari fame), and artist Akatsuki Akira (of his "fame" as the ero-artist RIROLAND), about the paragon and all-around perfect student Medaka Kurokami, who is elected as the President of Hakoniwa Academy's student council by 98% of the student body. Possessed of a forceful personality, charisma, and incredible ability, she is accompanied by her loyal and snarky childhood friend Zenkichi Hitoyoshi, who has been at her side for over thirteen years.Her first act is to set up a suggestion box where students can put in requests, which comes to be known as the Medaka Box. The series initially follows a standard formula where Medaka selects a request for help, then drags Zenkichi along into a complicated situation which is usually resolved by the chapter's end. For each completed request, Medaka has a potted flower brought into the Student Council room. Over the course of several chapters, Medaka manages to recruit two more members for the Student Council.Thirteen chapters later, the series undergoes a Genre Shift: multi-chapter story arcs become the norm as Medaka discovers the existence of other students with inhuman abilities like herself known as Abnormals. There are also other students called Specials whose talents are not quite at an Abnormal level, and regular students like Zenkichi who do not possess any particularly special traits. All of them have brought together under the auspices of Hakoniwa Academy's chairman's double, Hakama Shiranui. The whole Academy exists to support a project called the Flask Plan, whose goal is to mass-produce perfect humans by duplicating Abnormal talents in normal people.And things only get more complicated from there.Medaka Box has gone from a quirky Slice of Life high school comedy to a fighting manga, then Serial Escalation as each Big Bad's defeat brings a newer, more dangerous one onto the scene. Whatever the author's original intentions, the series has become more and more popular with each Genre Shift, and an anime adaptation by Gainax was announced and began airing on April 4, 2012.Making use of Misogi Kumagawa's ground-breaking popularity in the manga, Nisio and Akira announced a Spin-Off one chapter story with the aforementioned character, entitled Good Loser Kumagawa, published in Jump NEXT Magazine on December 26th, 2011, followed by a two volume Light Novel series of the same title. A "concluding chapter" of the Spin-Off will be released on Summer 2013.The series finally concluded on April 27th, 2013. According to its own wiki, the series contains nine story arcs.The nine story arcs:
Comically Missing the Point: In episode 2, after a track girl's shoes were destroyed by a jealous teammate, the culprit is found out and questioned. Although Medaka seems to let her off, the second girl is overcome with guilt about what she did, so she takes the first girl's sneakers (which she was using due to her destroyed track shoes), and replaces it with a letter of apology along with a brand new pair of track shoes. However, Medaka gets angry at the fact that the first girl's sneakers were now stolen.
Freudian Excuse: Just about every "bad guy" Medaka faces has a reason for doing the things they do, such as the swim team's obsession with money *
It turns out all three members either came from a broken home, or an orphanage which shut down due to lack of funds.
, or the thugs occupying the kendo room *
In their case, they used to like kendo, but various things happened to them and they lost their way.
Genki Girl: Applies to many of the female characters who appear in the series.
Nonuniform Uniform: Everyone in the student council. The default student council uniform itself is black rather than the regular student white, supposedly to symbolize that the student council is meant to be servants to the student body. However, all the student council members have made their own modifications to the uniform:
Pilot Episode: Chapter 0, which is retold as Chapters 1 and 2 and changes the dynamics of Medaka and Zenkichi's relationship — going from Zenkichi not being able to shout it out in the pilot to him openly admitting to his friends that he follows Medaka around because he's in love with her in the actual series. This romance subplot is dropped after the Genre Shift... somewhat.
Punny Name: Besides the Animal Theme Naming of Medaka's family, Medaka institutes a meyasu-bako (suggestion box) as the student council president, and if you reverse the meaning of 1 kanji from yasu (low) to taka (high)...
Most characters have matching given names with their location themed last names, meaningfully or punnily.
Red Armband of Leadership: Medaka originally wore all five of the ones for the student council (although only her own is red). She hands them out as more members join.
Running Gag: If someone is in the foreground in a dramatic pose of some sort, chances are Medaka is right behind them making the exact same pose.
Zenkichi: Why the hell do you always appear behind people?
Given a Cerebus Retcon after the Genre Shift, where it's revealed that Medaka is simply aping other people's movements (in addition to their abilities) because she doesn't know how to properly behave like a normal human.
Shout Out: In one of the early chapters, Medaka is explictly referred to as having an "intel chip inside her head" due to her omnicompetence.
In episode 1 of the anime adaptation, Medaka performs EVERY one of The Ginyu Force's pre-battle poses from Dragon Ball Z before beating the living daylights of a bully.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Doing a showdown with Unzen, Medaka admits that she isn't the pinnacle of morality that people make her out to be, but she at least differs from Unzen by actively trying to be as good as she can.
Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Zenkichi and Kouki towards each other. In one hilarious incident, during the three-legged pool race, they at first seem to agree that teamwork was key to winning. However, as soon as the race starts, they both take off flying, but it turns out they were actually trying to get ahead of each other, and in the end they end up in third place against other teams who did coordinate their efforts.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Medaka does this often, usually to Zenkichi. Hilariously, she is usually in the same exact position he is in when she's seen, such that if he's pointing at something, she'll be pointing the same way.
Less hilarious when you learn she is doing it because she is trying to find some way, any way, to relate to the rest of humanity, because she is so far past a normal human she just can't relate to or truly connect emotionally with a normal person, and is horribly, terribly, alone. Aside from Zenkichi of course.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: Isahaya definitively knows nothing about using scissors on Ariake's spikes, nor did her send a letter telling her to quit track.
The Rival: Akune's relationship with Zenkichi had many elements of this due to Akune's professed interest in Medaka.
In Chapter 29, the splash page is done in the style of a Dragon Quest box cover.
You Do NOT Want To Know: Zenkichi asks Shiranui where she's getting all her information about the other students. She simply tells him that an honorable and lawful person like him probably wouldn't want to know.
A Day In The Lime Light: Kumagawa gets most of the screentime in episode 12 of Season 2, which also gives him time to show his power, "All Fiction". Up till this point in the anime, he's only been seen very briefly.
All Take and No Give: Ajimu believes this is the true nature of Medaka and Zenkichi's relationship. According to her, Zenkichi has been unfailingly devoted to Medaka out of his love for her, and she takes his loyalty for granted. Ajimu doesn't seem to approve of this situation, and bluntly states that Zenkichi was not born to serve Medaka.
Present since Medaka starts to see no value in Zenkichi and begins to act very cold to him as a result. Even now just to be with Medaka he's sided with Ajimu and is undergoing the Flask plan albeit using different methods than the original mass murdering plan.
Aloof Older Brother: Maguro (Mr. Awesome-by-analysis) to Medaka and Kei (Mr. Axe-crazy) to Shori/Koi.
Emukae makes a spectacular love confession to Zenkichi during the Jet Black Bride Arc despite knowing he loves Medaka. Zenkichi apologizes for not being able to return her feelings by stabbing himself in the stomach (he gets better).
Animals Fear Her: Invoked. When they enter a zoo-like enclosure after finishing Munekata's battle they immediately know something is wrong because none of the animals are reacting to Medaka.
Apple of Discord: The real reason Ajimu sent the successors to the council was to break Zenkichi and Medaka's "bond". It worked.
Arc Number: The number 13 is all. There is Class 13 which is the class for abnormals. The 13 Party is made up of the 13 most abnormal students in Class 13. The Flask Plan facility underneath Hakoniwa Academy has 13 floors each with one of the 13 Party as the boss of a particular floor. Medaka Kurokami met Zenkichi Hitoyoshi and Misogi Kumagawa 13 years ago. There is the Minus 13 class made up of transfer students and led by Misogi Kumagawa. Maguro Kurokami was 13 years old when he took over the Kurokami family's finances.
Also the number 98. Medaka Kurokami is the 98th Student Council President of Hakoniwa. She won with 98% of the vote and she has a 98% approval rating.
This is later shown to be just a fluke. While Medaka is the 98th (and 99th) school president, she actually got closer to a 49% in her Approval Rating, and it's implied it would had even even less because some students, notably Shiranui, only voted for Medaka because they knew Medaka would have Zenkichi in her cabinet one way or another. The reason for this mistake is that so few of Hakinowa's students actually voted.
Art Shift: Contrast the early chapters with the DBZ-inspired art of the later chapters. See also Genre Shift below.
Authority Equals Asskicking: All of the shown student council president have been some of the strongest people on the academy. Both Medaka and Hinokage were undoubtedly the most powerful students in their time and Zenkichi isn't exactly weak either. Heck they even had Kumagawa as a president during their middle school time.
Seems to be a family trait of the Kurokamis. Naze also uses this in her research into Abnormalities, and even Medaka is ultimately revealed to rely on this as the basis for her superpowers.
Ax Crazy: Unzen and his sister, who is slightly worse due to the fact that she's actually crazy.
Munakata, natural-born killer who is said to have murdered at the age of five in order to answer the question "If I kill them, will they die?" (paraphrased) "I don't kill for no reason, I have reasons to kill. I'll kill you because I don't want to fight you. I'll kill you because you're in my way. I'll kill you because the weather's nice. I'll kill you because my phone's batteries are low. I'll kill you because I had a good dream. I'll kill you because I'm in a hurry. And I'll kill you for no reason at all. (To Medaka in particular) I'll kill you because the chairman told me not to." Subverted when it's revealed in chapter 37 that he's never actually killed anyone, but keeps up the facade to avoid temptation.
Badass Boast: During the Bloody Sevens game between the Chairmen and The Naked Apron Alliance, Unzen delivers one when they discover that they had falled for Kumagawa's trap right since the beginning.
Unzen: It's fine. You can set a trap. You can use all your smarts. You can strategize your next move. You can mold a plot. You can use a trick. You can think of a way. You can use bluffs. You can set up a plan. You can use underhanded methods. Because we can allow this. We are the Chairmen.
Badass Normal: Specials seem to be this by virtue of the fact they're not born with Abnormal talents, but can keep up with Abnormals due to training. Zenkichi also qualifies by virtue of actually belonging to the "Normal" category.
Hell, Unzen says that Zenkichi might be second only to Medaka in terms of fighting ability.
Bad Powers, Good People: Munakata, whose Abnormal ability is being an assassin savant. He is really good at killing people and constantly feels the urge to do it. However, since he has a conscience he uses all his skill to avoid killing people by using his instinctual knowledge of how to kill to aim for blows he knows aren't fatal.
Batman Gambit: Zenkichi and Naze's battles during the Flask Plan Arc and the Student Council Battle Arc seem to hinge around this.
Battle Strip: Kumagawa and Munakata randomly decide to take their shirts off for their big showdown.
Berserk Button: Parodied by Chougasaki who gets violently enraged by a trivial insult about a card game. Later revealed to be because his Minus let him avoid experiencing any kind of hardship in his life, so he never learned how to deal with insults at all.
Beyond the Impossible: Iihiko kills Anshin'in even though some of her skills include being unable to die and always being able to to win against a stronger opponent.
Big Damn Heroes: Medaka makes a habit of this. One example had her kicking through a cement wall just because she heard a name that sounded familiar. Through several rooms and at least one floor down in a subterranean research lab.
And in Chapter 44, "The Loser Team" consisted of several defeated opponents, including two from Class 13 and Myouri Unzen.
Special mention goes to Medaka in Chapter 73, wherein she shows up to save /Koga Itami off screen... But only after Shiranui warned her, complete with a very mild What the Hell, Hero? speech when she initially refused to interfere.
Big Damn Kiss: Chapter 140, Medaka and Zenkichi, in front of the whole school.
Naze: "It'll continue after the commercial break. The Demon Queen Naze-chan's Minus Nullify System!" Said right before the chapter ends.
Ajimu constantly plays with the Fourth Wall, making constant references to the magazine the manga is run in. She even names 21 Shounen Jump manga in a row in Chapter 116 when trying to enlist Zenkichi into her current plan.
And in chapter 127 she directly says that any manga that goes on four more than ten volumes is coasting, so she is going to end this story before the anime begins.
This also occurs in episode 12 of Season 2, where Ajimu at first introduces herself and the Flask Plan, then talks about Good Loser Kumagawa. Then the actual episode shows him doing things when he was at another school, which up to this point had nothing to do with the main characters.
It's eventually revealed that the fourth-wall-breaking is Ajimu's mental instability: because she's so extraordinary she believes there's no way this could be reality.
Medaka chooses this approach in dealing with Momo to dissuade her from ever challenging her again.
Brilliant, but Lazy: Taken to extremes by Tachirai Kiruko, the head of the election committee who sleeps for 22 hours a day, has never been seen standing or even sitting, and is so opposed to doing work (her sleep mask even has "I CANNOT WORK" on it) that she was placed in Class A because no one knew what to do with her. When the treasure hunters reach her she doesn't even take off her sleep mask but instantly comes up with a difficult challenge for them.
Quite a few of the super-powered teens naturally lose their powers as adults (example: Emukaie).
Bullying a Dragon: Several examples include: Aka Aoki doing this with Kumagawa only to discover who is actually The Dragon, and Unzen of the Enforcement squad does the same when Medaka is restrained by being lashed to a building only to find she's strong enough to move the building and break through the restraints.
Cooldown Hug: Zenkichi gives one to Medaka in episode 10 of Season 2 in an attempt to break Oudo's brainwashing effect on her.
Combat Commentator: Maguro Kurokami, since analyzing is his abnormality. The gate guardian twins in the Flask Plan Arc.
Compelling Voice: Miykakonojou Oudo's preferred way of meeting new people. Called "significant words," he uses it to force people into a submissive posture. While the heroes believe it's a psychic power, it's actually electromagnetic.
Conservationof Ninjutsu: In his debut, Kumagawa manages to defeat the Plus 6 and the Loser Team with relative ease. Later, Munakata manages to hold his own, and even kill Kumagawa by himself. Though Kumagawa was holding back.
Continuity Cavalcade: Chapters 187 to 189 like WHOA, but Chapter 190 is what really takes the cake. The former show every single named character who has appeared so far as obstacles for Medaka to overcome. A few of which have only appeared in the light novels until now. Chapter 190 features individualized well wished from every single one of them by name, which may send less mindful readers scrambling to the wiki to attach faces to names. All in all, this suffices to exactly ONE HUNDRED individual characters with varying designs and personalities, many of which are in bit parts and were introduced in the first few chapters. Nishio has had then drop by every so often throughout the series, but this arc really shows how excessively large and diverse he made the world.
Crazy Enough to Work: How Zenkichi beats Iihiko in the end. Since all Iihiko's attack are permanent and because they are locked in a battle consisting of One-Hit Kill attacks, it's crucial to dodge all of Iihiko's attacks. Getting hit on purpose in that scenario would be the most stupid thing to do, therefore it paradoxically enough works because of Zenkichi's newly acquired Contradictory Conjunction Style.
Crazy-Prepared: Zenkichi shows signs of this in his fight with Munekata, by consistently being able to disarm the latter and learning how to disassemble pistols and a rocket launcher on the off chance he met someone who used one.
Kujira planned for 40 different styles of battle she wound up fighting in a -40C freezer, but her specially-made unitard was good for -40 or 140C; in addition she stocked up on "normalizing" serum.
Curbstomp Battle: A few examples which are present in the series, starting with:
Medaka vs Kendo team - Victor: Medaka
War God Mode Medaka vs Unzen - Victor: Medaka
Kumagawa vs Plus 6 - Victor: Kumagawa - due to the fact that he specializes in weakness and wouldn't stay down
Kumagawa vs Hinokage - Victor: No Victor - however a very one sided beat down in Hinokage's favor
Medaka's Student Council plus Hinokage vs Kumagawa's Student Council - Victor: Kumagawa's Council - due to Medaka's council not knowing about their abilities
Altered God Mode Medaka vs unnamed Minuses - Victor: Medaka - of course
Medaka vs Zenkichi - Victor: Medaka - although Zenkichi was holding back due to his feeling for her
Similar to Kumagawa's first action once joining team Medaka, Ajimu utterly destroys the 6 fake suitors with 600 of her powers (plus one to count them all up).
Anyone and everyone vs Iihiko "Fresh!" Shishime - Victor: Iihiko. He is a "hero", after all.
Cursed with Awesome: Kujira Kurokami feels this way about herself, as she believes that genius cannot thrive without severe hardship.
Hinokage Kuudou is known as "Mr. Unknown", as his abnormality means people neither see or remember him as while he's huge and friendly, he's also so intimidating that most people want to forget his very existence.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Kumagawa decides to send thugs after the other Student council reps, using himself and his fight with Zenkichi as a distraction, specifically to prevent them from receiving a Training Montage. He then specifically goes after Medaka's sister, attempting to abuse her Nietzsche Wannabe status.
Originally it was thought this was what Ajimu was Dangerously Genre Savvy, with her knowing about plot armor and making references to other ShonenJump serieses. Then it was discovered that believing one is in a manga is a literal mental disorder in the Medaka Box universe, a result of a dangerous detachment from reality that results in self destructive behavior until they fail at something, at which point their belief in reality is restored. Unfortunately, Ajimu, being a near Physical God, simply can't fail at something...
You could also interpret it the other way, since she's actually right that they're all manga characters.
Deadly Doctor: Aka Aoki, chair(wo)man of the Health Preservation Committee also a Not-Equal. Has Femme Fatalons, a dark-colored nurse's outfit, and refers to her level as a "palace of pain".
Kujira does it by faking a touching reunion, when she's told of her past by Maguro. After tearfully running into his open arms she immediately stabs him with a syringe full of "Normalize Serum".
It also happens to Medaka after she has defeated Iihiko. Just as she's about to fall from the exhaustion she gets caught and hugged by Shiranui, who then stabs her clawed hand through her gut as she reveals that she is Iihiko.
Death Glare: Medaka delivers one to Unzen in episode 11 after he tried to kill the student council members. It spooked him enough to unconsciously flinch.
Death Is Cheap: By the time the Flask Plan Arc ends, there are people dying. However, the deaths are quickly undone. Thanks to Kumagawa's ability, death just doesn't stick. The Unknown Shiranui Arc has Iihiko, though. People killed by Iihiko stay dead. Given that he ends up killing most of the cast, though, this is probably also unlikely to stick.
Decoy Protagonist: When Medaka is looking for her successor, a few interesting characters get pointed out by the cast as being especially likely to make it. Due to Kumagawa, None of them do.
The same thing happens with a vengeance to the 6 fake suitors. All given weird characterizations, all made completely superfluous. Like the above, this is due to Ajimu.
Defeat Means Friendship: Medaka manages to force Oudo to apologize and join her by making him realize she's not only the master of her abnormality(s) but also powered by a very dark place. This is also how she recruits the rest of her Student Council, and other allies besides.
The people Medaka and the student council defeated in earlier episodes, such as Unzen and Munakata show up to help the student council against Plus Six in episode 8 of Season 2 after they find themselves in a rather desperate situation with Medaka having been captured.
De-power: After the ten year timeskip, almost everyone has lost their abilities due to growing up. Only Shiranui and Naze Youka seem to have kept theirs.
Detonation Moon: Happens off-screen, but Medaka has to deal with something on the moon that results in both of them disappearing. One year later she returns to assume control of the Academy; ten years later she's working on a plan to restore the moon.
Diabolus ex Machina: After Iihiko is defeated, everyone poofs back to life as could be expected, but then Fukurou's Style drops the moon on the Earth and Medaka has to leave to go stop it. Offscreen. She doesn't come back.
Disproportionate Retribution: Apparently some fairly minor noise complaints from the music hall justifies not only destroying the music room, but killing, or at least severely injuring, the band members, according to Unzen.
Dissonant Serenity: Several times including when Zenkichi and Kumagawa drop into the snake pit at the end of Chapter 70.
The Dreaded: Kumagawa is terrifying. Everyone who meets him, even other Minuses to an extent, are afraid of him. Zenkichi needed special training aimed solely towards suppressing his fear before fighting him. Even Hinokage is unnerved by Kumagawa.
All of the Class Minus 13 except Shiranui qualifies, to various degrees, as their despair and lack of restraint are considered as dangerous as their powers.
Easily Forgiven: Oudo apologizes to Medaka for his wrongdoings - including nearly killing two people and trying to brainwash her. Medaka forgives him instantly, with no hard feelings afterwards. Of course, that was only after Oudo was so thoroughly humbled, that he swore to change his egotistic ways. This applies to most of Medaka's enemies including Kumagawa, who she appoints as her vice-president, due to his ability to disagree with her.
Expy: Oudo, of Gilgamesh. First appearing to forcibly marry the female protagonist? Check. Similar appearance, down to the red pointy earrings? Check. God complex? Check and double check.
Eye Scream: In chapter 69 Kumagawa shows Zenkichi a little magic trick. Then he heals Zenkichi´s eyes... but not his eye-sight.
And in chapter 155, before the start of the final word game, Momozono makes a deal with Medaka that includes that if the latter loses the bet, Medaka will have to gouge her own eyes out.
The Faceless: Naze Youka's face is covered in bandages. In flashbacks, the bandages are replaced with a paper bag.
Yukuhashi Mizou, the creepy little masked kid. His/Her face is revealed later on. S/He's adorable.
Fallen Hero: Iihiko used to be a great protector and hero to his people, but as times passed the need for him slowly vanished. Now he's just a purposeless destroyer who's only goal is his own continued existence.
Fighting Dirty: Nekomi Nabeshima loves this trope. Both Shibushi and Kujira during their battle.
First Kiss: Apparently Medaka was the first for almost her entire middle-school class, boys and girls. Najimi has her first kiss (and probably his) with Misogi, and she may have been Zenkichi's first too.
Flash Back: When "Medaka II" is trying to remember what inspired her to be "someone for others" 13 years ago, she first meets Nietzsche Wannabe Kumagawa, who tells her that life is worthless, and then young Zenkichi who tells her that she's there to help others.
Foreshadowing: Misogi Kumagawa was first mentioned in chapter 20 in a flashback as a negative figure in Medaka's past. He finally shows up in the present at the end of chapter 55.
The master of ceremonies of the Jet Black Wedding Feast is dressed like a Bunny Girl. The third battle will take place on the moon.
A character mentions that the moon base has a certain purpose.
Four is Death: Medaka's "trump cards", as Zenkichi calls them. The first three involve Medaka using love and goodness to get people to see things her way. The fourth one is called Perseus/War God Mode, and apparently involves Medaka going all out on her enemies She later gains control of it, making it "Mars/Altered God Mode.
There's a closeup shot of the wrist-bomb timer at 44:44:44:44.
Ajimu's powers are an impossible-looking number that looks like this (not the actual number): 1,384,759,832,749,874. A later translation says she has a quadrillion powers.
It turns out this is a known mental illness in the Medaka Box universe — people convince themselves that they are in a manga until something happens that restores their belief in reality — usually some form of spectacular failure. Since Ajimu is just shy of being a Physical God, she never reaches this point.
Friendless Background: Nearly every Abnormal in the series has had few or no friends before coming to Hakoniwa Academy. Zenkichi was Medaka's only real friend before she was elected to the Student Council. "Plus" Abnormals are bothered by this and want friends. "Minuses" have such horrific powers and/or are so disturbed that they have given up on the idea.
Genre Savvy: Kumagawa seems to have read enough Shonen Jump manga (he even says this at points in the story) to know how to counter the Student Council. For example, rather than have each side do their own Training Montage, he sends his own team to beat the crap out of the Student Council before they finish their own training to the point where Akune and Kikaijima wouldn't be able to fight his Minus 13 class in the tournament.
The Glomp: Medaka does this to Zenkichi a few times. She also does this to Kikaijima once.
Healing Factor: For a time it seems that Kumagawa's power is also this, but actually he is a Reality Warper. Shibushi's power is explicitly stated to be the opposite: she can open all wounds no matter how long they've been healed... including mental ones.
Medaka also has acquired this ability to the extent that she can repair any damage to her body shortly after getting them.
Heroic BSOD: Akune says that Medaka experienced one the summer after her middle school encounter with Kumagawa.
Kumagawa has one (see below).
Medaka has a huge one when she loses the election in chapter 139. She nearly reverts to her unhappy childhood self and once again begs Zenkichi to tell her what her purpose in life is.
Heroic Sacrifice: In order to bring the the fight between him and Emukae versus the Hitoyoshis to a draw, Kumagawa removes the bomb-bracelets' keyholes. Emukae, who just had a heart-to-heart moment with Zenkichi and her Minus power neutralized by Kumagawa, removes the bombs and smothers the explosion with her own body. This causes Kumagawa to freak out since it was completely unnecessary, and then she politely refuses to be healed afterwards.
Kumagawa himself gets to make one, opting to fight Munakata to the death in Kikaijima's defence. He claims that he feels strangely happy dying for a girl's sake.
Heroic Second Wind: After her heart gets destroyed, revives by utilizing a style that vibrates her muscles in a way that allows them to pump her blood around her body.
Hoist By Her Own Petard: Medaka of all people. Maguro's analysis of Medaka losing to Zenkichi claims cutting off Zenkichi was this, as she was trying to become someone who would be useful to the many strangers that needed help. However to other people it would just look like throwing her childhood friend. Maguro claims this is one of the reasons that few people voted for Medaka. This and the fact that they wished to set her free. It wasn't really clear which.
Holding Out for a Hero: In chapter 138, Zenkichi calls out the rest of the student body on relying way too much on Medaka to solve their problems. He claims that they were Medaka's true enemy all along. The crowd apparently agreed. Ajimu claims this is why they voted against Medaka — not because they feared her, but because they wanted to release her from the burden they placed on her.
Ho Yay/Les Yay: Invoked a few times between Zenkichi and Maguro, or with Koga's devotion to Naze. There's also Medaka kissing Mogana and proclaiming her love for her.
Hollywood Healing: Koga Itami and Medaka Kurokami are main culprits, but there are other characters who also heaact that she's actually crazy.
Hyperspace Arsenal: From where does Kumagawa pull all these oversized screws again? Munekata also counts, as some of his "hidden weapons" are longer than he is.
Hypocritical Humor: Kumagawa says How unfair! Attacking before the opponent levels up! in chapter 117 when Medaka attacks Zenkichi to start a fight after he challenges her considering that is the exact same thing the Minuses did during the Student Council Battle Arc.
I J K
If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Unzen, having been utterly defeated, was about to be finished off by Medaka, but not before taunting her by claiming she couldn't reform him and chose to kill him as an easy way out. He then continues taunting her by saying she'll turn into him once she starts to realize there are other humans she won't be able to reform like him around. She seems to ignore the "advice" until the other student council members stop her with a Cooldown Hug and invoking this trope, which immediately calms her down and confuses Unzen.
Improbable Weapon User: Onigase Harigane, the Knight Templar School Morals Enforcer who uses handcuffs as brass knuckles and another enforcer who tried to hurt Akune by hitting him with a bicycle.
Myouri Unzel uses superballs filled with gunpowder, while his sister Myouga wields four 30kg wrecking balls.
Kumagawa uses giant screws to great effect.
And Hitomi Hitoyoshi somehow manages to use sewing needles, thread, and even garden shears in combat.
Inelegant Blubbering: Surprisingly enough, Medaka. When Munakata had supposedly killed Zenkichi, she dropped on her knees and cried loud enough for it to echo throughout the room. This happens once again in Chapter 71. She cries while in Perseus/War God Mode.
Insane Troll Logic: How most of the... "unique" situations and powers in the series are explained.
Interrupted Suicide: The end result of Ajimu's Dangerously Genre Savvy mental disorder. She gets frustrated at the situation and tries to shoot herself, fortunately for all involved Medaka is very vast, the action knocks Medaka out of her Heroic BSOD, and gives both of them a reason to go forward.
Ironic Echo Cut: When Hitoyoshi is asked who he think would win in a battle between Kumagawa and Munekata, he ask that he would say that they are probably Not So Different and they might unexpectedly get along. Cut to the two locked in fierce battle to the death.
Ironic Name: Hitoyoshi, whose name means "man of luck" is one of the Butt Monkey's of the series. On a more story relevant note, he gets a skill that cancels out luck, in favor of his own ability.
It Amused Me: The motivation which drives Hansode Shiranui's actions.
Turns out to be an act. Her real motivation is her job as Medaka's double.
Justice Will Prevail: Discussed by Anshin'In and Shiranui during the election battle between Medaka and Zenkichi. Najimi confronts Shiranui about her crush on Zenkichi an offers to make a harem ending, but Shiranui declines and says that what matters is doing the right thing and that she isn't naive enough to think that all crushes will be fulfilled.
Shiranui: Unlike justice which otherwise must prevail, love does not have to win.
Landslide Election: The election to determine the 100th Student Council president ends with Zenkichi receiving 62% of the votes, the Successors receiving 36%, and Medaka receiving only 2%. Medaka doesn't take it well.
Played straight with Ajimu in episode 12 of Season 2, who hasn't been formally introduced yet in the anime up to this point. Also played straight with Sukinasaki Saki.
Played with regarding Kumagawa. He's seen in a Flash Back with Medaka when she was visiting a hospital (he's the little boy who talks to her prior to Zenkichi), and he's seen again at the end of episode 11 in Season 2. But until episode 12, viewers who only watched the anime so far haven't been formally introduced to him yet.
The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Zenkichi states that this is the common weakness shared by the strongest students at the academy: they never dodge their opponents' first attack (Medaka being an exception thanks to the "Auto-Rhythm" ability she copied before). Any attack that could take them out of the fight in one hit will work on them.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall / This Is Reality: Kumagawa does this a lot, referring to the fact that "this isn't a manga" or "If we were published in Shounen Jump...", plus making fun of Shounen Jump's mottoes. This becomes a bit of a running gag, as the latest two villains also do the exact same thing (with one taking it up to madness mantras — mentioning twenty one different Jump serieses and their protagonists in an attempt to tempt someone).
Let's You and Him Fight: The Kurokami Medaka's Successor Arc involves Zenkichi turning on Medaka in order to prove a point, with Kumagawa of all people trying to be the voice of reason. This is, of course, all set up by Najimi — except for Kumagawa's deciding to go third wheel.
Lightning Can Do Anything: Brainwashing people, stealing peoples' abilities, controlling 131,313 super computers all at once, magnetism, controlling the opponent's motor skills, and mind reading to name a few.
Logical Weakness: Mizou Yukuhashi 's abnormality has several from being too good at what it does; by being able to read even the smallest thoughts, he/she can't read a person whose thought process isn't clear, and he/she has difficulties dealing with crowds due to the constant bombardment of chaotic impulses. He/she feels the pain that the people within his/her reception range suffer; and cannot fight a person without empathizing with their viewpoint.
Medaka's powers have a significant problem as well: she can't control what powers she absorbs, which means bad things if the power is an abnormally strong killing impulse.
Not so much a weakness as a logical flaw. Medaka is essentially the ideal. Her abnormality is that she can gain and master any abilities/skills of those she comes into contact with. It has even gotten to where she only needs to hear details about an abnormality to gain and master it. However she can't 1. wrap her mind around defeat(true defeat) and always strives to succeed no matter what and 2. she can't understand others' hearts. Case and point during her fight against Zenkichi in Forsaken God Mode. Forsaken God Mode makes her weaker than her opponent. She beats Zenkichi and criticizes him for losing when she "couldn't go too far", not realizing that Zenkichi didn't want to fight her in the first place and held back. In short she lacks empathy, something which has become evident in the latest chapters.
Lonely at the Top: Medaka during her childhood since she could effortlessly do anything.
Loophole Abuse: In episode 10, right before Medaka leaves the music room, she asks Shiranui to prevent Unzen from leaving and attempting to stop her from saving the Student Council members. She does that by simply blocking the door, then stating that Unzen can't touch her because she hasn't broken any school rules, which Onigase "confirms" while remembering everything the girl did. It seems to work, as he then pulls out his smart phone so he could at least watch the Public Morals Committee at least take them out.
Then in episode 11, he kicks the wall, creating a new "exit", to which Shiranui says she has no jurisdiction over that one when he asks if she has any objection to leaving that way.
Loss of Identity: Shiranui laments that she can't figure out her own feelings after she's done being Medaka's double.
I think i lied too much.
Love Epiphany: In chapter 126, Zenkichi has a breakdown when he realizes that he "selfishly" loves Medaka and wants her to love him back.
Whether this is true or she actually has no real empathy is up for debates.
and she used to kiss people indiscriminately when she was in junior high. What a let-down.
Magic Kiss: Invoked by Kumagawa when he claims that maybe Mogana's kiss brought him back from the dead after Munakata killed him and she performed CPR. Of course it's a lie because his All Fiction has returned.
Zenkichi qualifies as well, due to his ability to befriend people and accept them, regardless of their status except maybe Kumagawa Even the Minuses who meet him — people who by definition don't want friends — are drawn to him helping to reform Emukae.
Zenkichi qualifies for this to even more of a status than Medaka. While Medaka's Magneti Hero qualities are just described, Zenkichi earned the friendship, love or at least respect of almost all of the characters by Chapter 142. This means he has earned the love of most of the major female characters - there is only one character with another romantic connection, Akune and Wanizuka Shori, and Shori even ends up on Zenkichi's student council. Then there's his friendship with Akune, Mogana, Kumagawa, Maguro, Naze, Munakata, Tsurubami, Kanoya, Hyuyga, Torai, Shori and win the approval of 62% of the popular vote in the election. He also won the apparent love of Medaka, Nabeshima, Emukae, Shiranui and Najimi Ajimu. There's also an implied romantic spark between him and Medaka's sister. Plus, he managed to hold on to Medaka's love since he was two years old. Dude needs to share his cologne.
Meaningful Name: Name wordgames are quite characteristic for the author according to Wikipedia. Anshin'in's name starts with Anshin, or "relieved", which is used as a pun during chapter 140.
Medaka is one character off from Hadaka (nude), and early in the manga it's pointed out that she has No Nudity Taboo.
Koga's first name means "Pain", which fits with her ability to feel twice as much pain as a normal person.
Kujira's name seems strange next to Medaka and Maguro, since the whale is a mammal rather than a fish. This makes sense seeing as how she's the odd sibling out.
Akune is a direct reference to a traditional manga hero, and how the male part of the audience tends to turn that character into a pointless destroyer in fanfiction, whereas the female part turns the same concept into a bishonen on a white stallion, but then having that character mature beyond them, learn from their viewpoints, and move onwards. It is explicitly stated, but still a bit of a Genius Bonus.
Ajimu drags the story kicking and screaming into metafiction because she sees Medaka's life like a manga with Medaka as the protagonist and herself as the seemingly unstoppable villain. In order to try to beat her she even shifts the genre of the story so that the story has more use of Zenkichi as protagonist in order to defeat her.
Mind Rape: This is the ultimate version of Shibuki's "Scardead" power: In addition to opening all your physical wounds, she can also unlock all your traumatic memories. This worked well on Naze, who inflicted both trauma and amnesia on herself.
Misery Builds Character: Kujira Kurokami based her life on the saying, "Something amazing can only be made after seeing hell" believing that being happy would keep her from reaching her potential. Thus, she forced this trope on herself, even going so far as to run away from her comfortable lifestyle, change her name, conceal her face, and erase her memory of her family.
Oudo knew his powers could make him a king, but attempted to avoid abusing them by living on the streets and trying to avoid harming bystanders. Unfortunately, he was unable to control his power and subsequent megalomania, and he ended up joining the Flask Plan.
The Mole: Ajimu planted a mole among Medaka's successors, but the council couldn't find her at first glance because they're all moles! Of course, they catch on within about five minutes since it wasn't supposed to be a real secret to begin with.
Morality Pet: For Kumagawa, the members of the Minus 13, Takarabe, and Kikaijima.
My Fist Forgives You: Zenkichi does this as to Kumagawa after he forcefully made Shiranui realise her own feelings.
The monumentally self-absorbed Oudo and small, quiet Mizou. It turns out their partnership is due to their complementary powers.
Shibushi and Gagamaru despite being have completely opposite powers and personalities.
Unzen and Nekomi is often seen together during the Student Council Battle Arc and seems to get along surprisingly well, despite Unzen being a very dedicated Knight Templar in contrast to Nekomi's more easygoing nature.
Oh Crap: In chapter 70, Kumagawa is genuinely shocked that a blind Zenkichi manages to hit him in the face, before finishing their fight in a dramatic fashion.
In the early chapters, Medaka always attempts to justify the wrongdoings of other by theorizing that they have some Freudian Excuse, by saying stuff like: "You were undoubtedly once passionate kendo club lovers. I can only presume that there's some great reason, some great tragedy which has lead you astray." as an example from the first chapter. When she first shows her fourth trump card, War GodMode against Unzen though, she begins the battle by saying "How pathetic. I'm sure you were once a cute kid walking down the right path. And i can only think that something really painful happened to you that made you like this. HOWEVER!! EVEN IF THAT'S THE CASE!! YOU ARE GONNA PAY FOR THIS!!!".
In Ajimu's case she's always insisting that people call her by her nickname "Anshin'in-san", but when Iihiko calls her that she actually admits that he's the only one she doesn't want to call her that.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Played with. Zenkichi barring his parasite eyes is the only "normal" one out of all the main characters. Despite this, he manages to get most of the fights and somehow keeps up with all the super powered people in this series. Maguro even calls him "normal cool" claiming that he is unique because he is normal. However, in the Kurokami Medaka’s Successor Arc, Najimi sends five normal girls to compete in Medaka's treasure hunt where they not only do better than Zenkichi(who came in dead last being unable to solve the first clue), they actually manage to make it to the final round and briefly manage match Medaka. After noticing Zenkichi placing in dead last in the treasure hunt in comparison to the other normal people, Medaka throws him aside placing him directly under this trope in her eyes.
Most of the School is subject to this by Medaka (no surprise) during the school festival she engages in a huge tug of war with everyone(including former enemies) vs. her and WINS. The You Have Got to Be Kidding Me! moment afterward is an understatement.
Out-Gambitted: Even Shiranui ends up outschemed when she goes up against Kumagawa.
Poisonous Friend: Surprisingly, one of the protagonists. Hell, Zenkichi himself even stated at the beginning that his job was to go around bringing people down that Medaka didn't.
Power Copying: Medaka's ultimate power. She uses Naze's syringes, Munekata's hidden weapons, and Oudo's electrical powers against Zenkichi while straitjacketed to their respective "owners" astonishment. In fact, Medaka's power allows her to completely master another's power, even if the originator hasn't mastered it themselves. It can be a double-edged sword.
Miyakonojou Oudo also counts as his "Unreasonable Taxation" power can steal other people's Abnormalities.
Power Incontinence: Those with an abnormality frequently lack the ability to actually turn it off. For example, Yukuhashi can't turn off his empath and synchronization abilities and Oudo secluded himself for years to try and control his mind but failed.
Reality Warper: Chapter 71 confirms that this is the true nature of Kumagawa's "All-Fiction". Comes with a hitch, though: anything he takes away with it such as Zenkichi's eyesight, his own "aura" or Emukae's Raffrafflesia 'becomes nothing'. After getting it taken away and restored it's been weakened to the point where he can't wholly erase Zenkichi's stab wound.
The Man Behind the Man: Sukinasaki is this to the student council president, Jakago, in the short story "Good Loser Kumagawa".
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Megusuno delivers a harsh one to Kumagawa in chapter 111 when he loses a contest of imagination to her. She explains that someone like Kumagawa can never beat her in such a contest because he honestly can't imagine that he can win — he has a self-defeating personality. She's basically calling him a loser in the most brutal way possible.
Red Baron: Subverted with Hinokage who actually isn't known as "Mr. Unknown" because his abnormality makes everyone forget about him.
Relationship Upgrade: It takes him 140 chapters, but Medaka finally realizes her feelings for Zenkichi after he defeats her in the new student council election.
Unzen: I'll admit it, you're stronger than I am. But that's as far as it goes. It doesn't mean you were right, or that you were smarter.
Rubber Face: Medaka does this to herself in episode 2 of Season 2, after Zenkichi mentions that she had a big smile on her face after meeting Oudo for the first time.
Zenkichi does this to Kikaijima in the next episode after the latter screams to help Medaka to figure out the layout of the area they were at using sonar. However, to him and Akune, it sounded like a really loud, ear-piercing scream.
Kumagawa also does this to Medaka while she's holding a speech to mock her.
Rule of Three: As of chapter 119, the student council has been divided up into three factions: Medaka with Akune on her side, Hitoyoshi and the Not Equals against Medaka, and Kikaijima and Kumagawa representing the weak and trying to restore order among the divided group.
Save the Villain: Medaka ends up doing this during the Clash With The Enforcers Arc as does Naze during her fight with Shibushi.
Seppuku: Zenkichi stabs himself in the stomach as an apology for being unable to return Emukae's feelings after her spectacular love confession (she knew he couldn't return her feelings but she did it anyway). His wound was partially healed by Kumagawa, who apologizes that his abilities aren't as strong; Zenkichi doesn't mind since the wound is a good reminder of his stupidity.
Serial Escalation: Everything Medaka does qualifies: her running skills, her cycling skills, her inteligence, and even her stupidity! You know what, let's just say Medaka herself. This also seems to apply to her siblings.
In chapter 140, Medaka stops the manga from ending. That's right, a character in the story decided it wasn't going to end.
Shadow Archetype: There are a number of parallels between characters, especially in terms of contrasting motives.
Medaka and the Class 13, both of whom seek people to relate to in spite of their overwhelming and alienating abilities.
Akune and Wanizuka, who highlight how stupidly devoted they become to their object of affection.
Shōnen: The series becomes a more typical shonen fighting manga after the Genre Shift.
It may just be a reference the Translator, Editor, or Scanlator popped in, but on page 12 & 13 of chapter 36, Zenkichi asks for some encouraging words, so Medaka says "GO GET HIM TIGER!", something a certain Mary Jane character used to say to Peter Parker. Whether or not this is an actual example though, I am not too sure.
One of Ajimu Najimi's powers, the "Heart Governing Skill" is entitled "Let your powers combine."
Super Mode: Medaka's Perseus/War God Mode, of the Unstoppable Berserker variety.
Superpower Lottery: Abnormals and Minuses. Some have better or more horrifying powers than others.
Ajimu has a quadrillion different abilities and she absolutely thrashes Kumagawa in the battle in his heart.
Super Reflexes: One of the "Class 13" Abnormals has Super Reflexes as his Abnormality, which he calls "Automatic". He discovered that his reflexes were an Abnormality in a truly disturbing way; by living through a car accident which killed his entire family, save for himself.
Taking You with Me: In chapter 70, after being blinded by Kumagawa, Zenkichi rejects his offer (restored eyesight in exchange for Zenkichi's loyalty), says goodbye to Medaka and stomps the arena floor hard enough to drop both him and Kumagawa into the pit of snakes.
After it becomes clear that Kujira has bested Shibuki, Kumagawa tells her to lose spectacularly and kill everyone (except him, of course) with her ultimate Scardead power.
After Dr. Fukurou is killed by Iihiko, he is revealed to have had one final style in the event of his death: The Testament Style. It pulls the moon towards the Earth so its impact will kill absolutely everything.
Talking Is a Free Action: In the instant before Medaka is about to hit Iihiko with her new ultimate attack, Kurokami Final, the spectators of the battle still have time for a lengthy exposition about the attack before it hits, even though she's moving at supersonic speed.
Kumagawa as well. The first thing he does when he meets Zenkichi's mom is bribe her with info on 2000 Abnormals in order to have her write him off as normal, before blackmailing her with her son's life if she doesn't accept the bribe.
Kumagawa: 「IF YOU ACCEPT MY DEAL THEN YOU'RE A WORTHLESS DOCTOR WHO ACCEPTED A BRIBE. IF YOU DON'T ACCEPT MY DEAL THEN YOU'RE A WORTHLESS MOTHER WHO THREW AWAY HER OWN SON.」
It's also revealed that he was using his signature screws at that age.
The Unintelligible: Myouga, Unzen's sister only speaks in a self-created language using numbers. Only Medaka and Unzen can understand her.
The Unfettered: Ajimu though isolating Medaka from her friends would make her weaker. It just made her STRONGER since she doesn't have to worry about hurting them.
Unstoppable Rage: Medaka's Perseus/War God Mode. She later gains complete control of it, making it more of a "Dangerously Focused Rage". She briefly loses control in chapter 71 when she thinks Zenkichi is dead.
Utopia Justifies the Means: The supporters of the Flask Plan believe that creating the perfect human is worth any price. Medaka disagrees.
V W X Y Z
Verbal Tic: Kumagawa speaks very insincerely with [BRACKETED ALL CAPS] When he gets his original minus power back he loses the brackets, all caps, and starts talking seriously. Later, when he's officially on the good side the brackets and all caps speech pattern returns.
Villainous Breakdown: Kumagawa starts to do this when the Student Council doesn't fall apart like he plans. When one of his own Minuses nearly gets herself killed for him is when he completely breaks down.
Iihiko has a breakdown in the face of Medaka's refusal to give up on Shiranui even after he's pretty much won. He has an even greater one when he realizes he lost and he's about to die.
Walking Wasteland: Mukae Emukae, who can rot anything with her Minus power "Raffrafflesia" (named after the corpse-flower). She has since gained a greater control of her power, being able to adjust their effects by manipulating plant growth - and since being hit with Kumagawa's All-Fiction, can turn said powers on and off at will.
Wall Crawl: Koga Itami, Miyakonojou Oudo, Medaka Kurokami, and Zenkichi Hitoyoshi, although it severely winded the latter.
To be fair, Zenkichi was only using his legs while simultaneously carrying a girl half his size straight up a building as a 'normal' person.
Wham Episode: Happened at least twice. First, the arrival of Medaka's old nemesis, Kumagawa, to Hakoniwa, and Zenkichi's Deal with the Devil with Anshin'in.
Chapter 156 has quite the wham ending, too. Medaka's true father, Kurokami Kajiki, is alive.
And now, in chapter 162 and 163, we're introduced to what looks like a demon incarnate, Shishime Iihiko. As it turns out, he's one of the only people who Ajimu Najimi cannot defeat. How does he show off his power? By blowing Ajimu's body in half. With a RUBBER BAND.
Chapter 170 throws an entirely new light on several characters and ties together the arcs since Ajimu's loss together into a new overarching plot. Tsurubami Fukuro is quite insane, planning to marry Shiranui in the place of his sister and niece. In fact, he set up Medaka's birth to try and create someone like his sister, but more lovable and then set up the Second Jet Black Wedding to free up Shiranui when that didn't work out.
Episode 9 of Season 1 plays this trope straight as well, which is also the beginning of the Genre Shift from a rather light-hearted comedy into a more serious affair with lots of violence and stuff blowing up or being broken down.
What the Hell, Hero?: Kikaijima calls out Medaka on her actions towards Zenkichi in chapters 115-117, and tells Medaka that she should apologize. Medaka's response makes Kikaijima realize that Medaka doesn't understand other peoples' hearts.
When All You Have Is a Hammer: In episode 3 of Season 2, some guards taunt Zenkichi that Hard Work Hardly Works, and that he'll never guess the number needed to open a security door, due to it being a one in a million chance of getting it correct. Akune mentions they could try a million different combinations, give up and leave, or just beat the door down. He then comments that it only took about a hundred and fifty whacks, not the million the guards claimed, and mocks the guards with the trope they tried on Zenkichi by proving that hard work can pay off.
After Medaka's group gets caught in the Nursery Rhyme user Kotobuki Jougan's style, the group get shrinked to children. Medaka immedieatly goes on and throuroughly explains her analisys of the style's effect, but Kumagawa just chooses to attack head on with his usual screws.
Kumagawa: I don't understand that complicating stuff, but to put it simply we just need to screw our opponent over, right?
Worf Barrage: The Kurokami Phantom was always one of Medaka's strongest attacks and it receives a couple of power-ups along the way, but when Medaka uses it against Iihiko it proves to be spectacular ineffective.
Worf Effect: Played with. Hinokage was introducted as a powerful character, but he had to retreat, when Kumagawa and two other Minuses decided to gang up against him. However, the only thing that was hurt was his pride. Until chapter 72, wherein he doesn't figure out the new Minus's superpower in time to defend against it, leading to his defeat, alongside the rest of the student council.
Zenkichi is often used to show how threatening a new antagonist is. During Medaka's fight with the Enforcement committee, he and the other student council members were already incapacitated by the explosion Myouri created. Oudo easily subdues Zenkichi in their first encounter, and Kumagawa plays with Zenkichi during their Student Council battle.
In chapter 163, Iihiko manages to defeat Zenkichi, Kumagawa, and Ajimu almost effortlessly.
Worf Had The Flu: Though Kumagawa is nonetheless extremely powerful, Zenkichi's main obstacle to fighting him was his crippling fear of him. It takes an entire week of training for him just to suppress it, and eventually comes back once Kumagawa reveals that he was stalling in his battle.
Yandere: Chapter 58 introduces Mukae Emukae, a member of the Minus 13 Class, who bumps into Zenkichi by accident. If the sprawling Wall of Textabout wanting to bear his children◊ during their first meeting isn't hint enough... the fact that she stabs him in his foot when he tries to leave should remove all doubt.