From left to right: Oboro, Sakurako, Ageha, Hiryuu, and Kabuto
"Please save me..."
"THOSE WHO SEEK PSYREN SHALL KNOW POWER AND DESPAIR!"
Psyren begins with a focus on highschooler Ageha Yoshina, who runs a service where he will help anybody with their problems for the flat rate of 10,000 yen. One day, he answers a pay phone ringing by itself, and receives a red calling card with the word "Psyren" on it. After filling out a questionnaire over the phone, he receives another call that transports him to another world.Here he encounters Sakurako Amamiya, a girl in his class who often misses class for very long periods of time, and Hiryuu Asaga, an old friend of his from middle school who went to another high school. Sakurako explains that this world is Psyren, and as part of a game they must traverse the perilous landscape, avoid the monstrous creatures called Tavoo, and reach the nearest pay phone to return home.After their first hellish trip through Psyren, Hiryuu and Ageha develop abilities called PSI from being exposed to Psyren's atmosphere. They also learn that they will have to constantly go back to Psyren until the number on their calling cards reduces to zero. From there the series escalates fast.It was published in Weekly Shounen Jump from December 2007 to November 2010 and has been licensed by Viz Media. Volume 1 appeared State-side December 2010. Also it has two light novels written for it.
Anti-Climax: Ageha and Miroku's fight, considering Amagi Miroku is one of the most powerful PSI-users, with the power to manipulate life energy, and is the leader of W.I.S.E and Big Bad of the manga (kind of). It takes all but one chapter for Ageha to beat and fatally wound him (in ironically enough the exact time frame his Raging King last).
Miroku still lived for several chapters after the attack. Also taking the Fridge Brilliance entry below into account, Miroku's body was made of souls/PSI energy and Ageha's abilities are anathema to that.
A more extreme example would be Amagi and Ageha's final battle with Mithra. The fight lasts all of one page, and Amagi does nothing.
Anti-Magic: Shao can flat-out nullify PSI as well as redirect it to his will. Usui's "Irregular Left" causes PSI to go haywire when contact is made.
Ageha's Melschee's Door eats PSI.
Melschee's Door eats EVERYTHING.
Anti-Villain: Many of the minor villains are these. They also usually lose their status as villains shortly afterward.
Apocalypse How: Using PSI to yank a passing meteor and pull it down onto Earth.
Or maybe the meteor just decided to do that on its own. Its unclear at this point.
Seems like the meteor wants to do that on its own, but can't. The "Promised Tears" that Mithra used supposedly acted as a homing beacon for the meteor.
Attack Its Weak Point: The Tavoo have quite visible cores called Illuminas that stop their aging, increase their psychic power, allow them to draw psychic energy from the atmosphere, increase their healing rates, and make eating, drinking, and breathing unnecessary. So due to being pretty much the only thing keeping its body alive at this point, having the Illumina destroyed means death for the Tavoo.
The Atoner: Iba seems to be going down this route.
This shonen is unique in that even The Medic characters are badass. Healing effectively with PSI requires you to synchronize with your target's rhythm (breathing, pulse, etc.), a mindset which naturally has quite a few combat applications.
Badass Bookworm: Yoshina Asuka, Ageha's dad. Professional astronomer, can punch his son across the yard of Elmore Wood without blinking.
Cartesian Karma: Tatsuo refuses to return to the past even after being freed from the mind-control induced on him. It's probably a factor that the artifact that was controlling him is still embedded into his body, and he'll die if it runs out of energy.
He'll actually die if touched by direct sunlight while the artifact still has that energy.
Cast from Hit Points: Overusing PSI and/or using emotions to fuel it instead of concentration can cause brain damage for the user. The raw Melchesse's Door, Frederica's Pyrokinesis and Nova are especially prone to this.
Chekhov's Gun: the Siren Towers keep the sky from letting in sunlight. The phone booth Quiz establishes the control program that prevents Drifters from talking about Psyren. The list goes on.
Chekhov's Gunman: Every character plays an important role in the future, even Usui, the fake cop from Chapter 1.
Childhood Friend Romance: The plot rarely reminds you that Ageha and Sakurako are childhood friends. It still happened between them nonetheless.
Collapsing Lair: Yusaka blows up the Grigori research facility with his last breath
Right before that was Dholaki and Shiner vs the Drifters, if it wasn't for Root the Drifters would've have been crushed.
Also the Elmore kids vs the W.I.S.E. in the first 2 timelines and Ash vs Kabuto.
Chapter 121 has Ageha and Shao vs Junas, the latter being the one doing the curbstomping.
Mithra delivers one to Vigo.
Sakurako delivers a very satisfying one to Shiner. Might be unfair since she had help.
Cut Short: The manga had to end much sooner than expected due to low ratings in WSJ. It managed to finish its main storyline in that the heroes were able to change their future and dispatch the main threat, but many sideplots were either handwaved or completely ignored and most characters had almost no resolution to their motivations and backstories. It is very obvious that much had to be left out to somehow reach the ending on time.
In order to preserve his rank, Dholaki embeds a second Tavoo Core in his body. Shiner comments that this has a 100% chance of rejection and that if Dholaki survives for another year that will be lucky.
Oboro does the same. Except replace two with two-hundred
Debut Queue: After returning to the present after meeting Q, Amagi Miroku starts taking a front-seat role, and we see him actually forming the W.I.S.E. member by member. He even grabs several that weren't seen previously.
Defrosting Ice Queen: This was Sakurako's nickname back in High School when she was traveling to Psyren on her own. Ever since Ageha and the others joined her, she has slowly been melting.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You often have weaker characters tearing more powerful people new ones. Sakurako managed to cause some actual damage to Shiner and force him to retreat at one point. Haruhiko is a Heavyweight Champion Eldritch Boxer, having inflicted major blows against Kagetora as well as Junas.
Disappeared Dad: Ageha's situation seemed this way for the longest time, but he appears eventually.
Distress Ball: Marie, a very powerful psychicer, gets knocked out and captured with one punch by an injured Kise in the invasion of the Root (to be fair, he held Van hostage). He hopes to provoke a Rescue Arc.
Also when considering Shao, who was better suited to fighting Vigo, almost had his heart torn out and then narrowly escaped being sealed in concrete during that short time. It is not difficult to imagine Vigo accomplishing his objective. The one hit knockout is still an eyebrow raiser though.
Dragon with an Agenda: Miroku to Mithra, but the latter only served as a guide for the most part, whereas the former was more of an active leader... until their goals conflicted.
Driven to Suicide: Ian, after losing everything, including the only woman he loved and his only friend, loses the will to live, and kills himself by overtaxing his PSI energy (and destroying his brain) by continuously healing people nonstop for 48 hours
It's not so much a suicide as a one for many-type situation combined with tear jerker. Most, very likely all, of the people he healed would have died without his help, and knowing that the war had already taken everything else from him, he gave up the last thing he had left without much worry. Yes, he knew that trying to keep the whole fortress alive would very likely kill him, but he chose to keep going in spite of that, not because of it.
Fling a Light into the Future: Played with. The various players are brought to the future, but the goal isn't to save the future. Ultimately, it's to prod things until 07 can fully understand what happened, wherein she flings a light into the past.
Friendship Moment: Haruhiko and Lan. They were assisting Inui in stealing cash to fund medical costs for Chika, the sister of Lan.
As it turns out, Mithra is actually an incarnate of Ouroboros, who, after possessing the girl and landing on Earth, began giving Miroku dreams and emotions that would cause him to have a desire for destroying the world and rebuilding it anew, and to gather energy by blocking the sun's rays in a specific way that would allow Ouroboros to gather enough energy to devour Earth.
Nemesis Q tops this. The entire goal of Psyren? To deliver a single message from future!#07 to present-day Miroku. Although, granted, all the different iterations of Psyren were needed to complete that message—namely, #07 figuring out The Plan directly above.
Government Conspiracy: The present-day government is well aware of the existence of Psychicers, and imprisoned them on Mukuro Island. Usui was a member of this agency, trying to investigate the Psyren disappearances. He realized what was happening, and decided to twist the scenario to benefit himself. Prior to that, the Grigori facility experimented on them and created Grana.
High-Tech Hexagons: Shiner's Hexagonal Transfer System PSI, which carves out hexagonal pieces of pretty much anything and teleports them wherever he wants.
Hope Spot: There are many in the invasion on the W.I.S.E. capital: Most W.I.S.E. members, including Miroku, get defeated. Frederica gets healed. Marie is rescued. The other prisoners free themselves with Marco's newfound power. Lan teleports off to rescue them all. Grana kills destroys Mithra and tries to stop her plan together with Miroku. Then the world gets completely eaten anyway, with only the drifters surviving through Time Travel.
Or not. The ending reveals that the future got saved by Miroku and Grana, who destroyed Quat Nevas by sacrificing themselves. Also Miroku's Tree of Life helped the planet's vegetation to regrow.
I Did What I Had to Do: Iba's justification for letting Miroku escape was he couldn't bear seeing him in pain so much day to day, and he didn't realize what was going to happen as a result.
I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Hiryuu's reason for being in Psyren is to find his friend Tatsuo, whom he believes vanished there. They eventually encounter him, but he has been turned into a Tavoo and is hunting down the Drifters.
Inui claims he's the only one allowed to hurt his brother Saburou.
I Know Your True Name: Shao's Trance-aligned abilities take a form of this, where he's able to see who a person really is on the inside, whether it be a starry sky (that is, Ageha) or something far more terrifying, like THIS.
Impersonating an Officer: In an early chapter a pair of goons show up at Ageha's school trying to get his Psyren card. They flash fake police badges, but luckily for Ageha one of his classmates is the son of the local police chief and can tell the difference.
Intimate Healing: Cure users are more effective with physical contact, and according to Ian they have to be able to open up to people.
It's a Small World After All: First with Ageha getting involved with Psyren when Sakurako was already a contender, then later when he finds out another of their old classmates (Hiryuu, who was also one of the few survivors of the "first" round) also made it to Psyren at the same time.
The DVD found in Psyren that shows Elmore's kids getting violently killed by the W.I.S.E. and the end of the Rescue Kagetora mini-arc when it turns out Inui's memories were altered and the eventual founder of W.I.S.E. murders him and inflicts possibly mortal damage on Kyle
Whenever Usui steals a card, he uses his Trance power to render them braindead.
Upon being discovered by Lan, Junas simply says, "the normal act is over," and proceeds to kill the volunteers who were helping move out the Harukaze orphanage.
To get Grana's attention, Amagi Miroku decides to sprout a Tree of Life in the middle of a highway, killing several people.
Iba asks The Mole to give his dying message to Amagi Miroku and is given the answer post-mortem, basically being told "Fuck that".
Kill 'em All: Not the series itself, but all timelines no matter what will end with Quat Nevas eating the planet and killing everybody on it unless the Drifters stop Miroku in the present. We see this happening at the conclusion of the final trip to Psyren. Well, except for the last one, which gets ultimately rescued by Grana and Miroku.
Kill It with Fire: Fredrica's power. At her strongest she can create a blast of fire so large it is mistaken for a tsunami by the person being targeted. Kill it with fire indeed.
Kuudere: Sakurako. She hardened herself so much when she started going to Psyren, it created a schism in her mind, and all of her stronger emotions took the form of Abyss. Ever since Ageha answered her plea to save her, she's been opening up more and more.
La Résistance: the Psyren Drifters and Elmore's Root, the latter probably fitting better.
Last Kiss: Kagetora and Matsuri before fighting Shiner and Grana
Lightning Bruiser: Kyle and Kagetora. When they fight, most people can't see what's going on.
Love Triangle: Both Kagetora and Ian have proposed to Matsuri several times and been turned down.
Love Dodecahedron: Sakurako and Marie love Ageha, who confesses to the former and is oblivious to the latter. Shao loves Marie, who is also unaware, while Frederica and Misura have some Les Yay tendencies toward Marie (who even has her own Stalker with a Crush, Vigo). On top of that, Kabuto has a thing for both Frederica and Sakurako, and Oboro is reallyHo Yay for Ageha. Did I miss anyone?
Luminescent Blush: Sakurako upon realizing she spilled out all of her feelings to Ageha, despite the facade she's built up for so long of imperviousness. Ageha gets one too upon remembering his response, both of which become full red faces.
Mad Artist: Eiji Kise sees himself as an artist. Everyone else sees him as an insane killer.
Made of Iron: Kagetora. Oh God, Kagetora. He gets struck by lighting point-blank twice, is tortured, has a building fall on him, and still makes it out rather fine. He even gets stabbed in the forehead, and stops it from penetrating his skull with Rise against another Rise specialist. Hiryuu gains this title as well after falling from the stratosphere and surviving.
Magnetic Villain: Amagi Miroku, with him putting the W.I.S.E. together. Shao's description of Ageha as "a starry sky, with the stars getting more and more numerous" could imply how he pulls allies left and right, making him a played-straight Magnetic Hero.
Meaningful Name: Ageha is Japanese for a type of butterfly. This is most likely a reference to the Butterfly of Doom effect. Additionally you have Hiryuu, with his dragon-related attacks. Abyss is a reference to Nietzsche's famous quote "And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you."
The Medic: Oboro, Van, and Ian. Hugging makes everything better.
Non-Action Guy: Kabuto before he properly trained his unique power and Rise.
No Ontological Inertia: One of the key tools for determining how much the Drifters changed the future was a DVD of Miroku's Declaration. Once they start making serious timeline changes, the DVD's contents vanish entirely.
Out of Focus: Understandable with such a huge cast, but 3 of the 5 main drifters suffer from pretty severe cases of this. The arcs in the present focus almost entirely on Ageha and Non-Drifters, and in the beginning of the fourth drift everyone except Ageha and Sakurako was put out of action for a varying amount of time.
The most glaring example has to be Hiryu: He was introduced early on as a childhood friend of the two main characters and was easily a main character himself in the first two drifts, but he only played relatively minor roles after that, was completely absent after the beginning of fourth drift, and only plays a supporting role after returning in the fifth.
Pay Phone: In the Psyren world, they are used as gateways back to the present.
People Jars: In the Mukurojima facility Nemesis Q's creator resides in one. Presumably she's too weak to get out.
Personality Powers: An aspect of several every character's PSI powers, but seen most in the Elmore Kids, Kabuto, and Sakurako.
Place of Power: Psyren's atmosphere grants psychic powers to those who breathe it in, and amplifies the powers of those with powers in it. The Tavoo cores take advantage of this and can actually use the psychic energy in the air as nourishment.
The Plague: Yusaka's weapon of choice is a sort of PSI-virus that leaves the nastiest rash and either kills you or puts you out of business for a long time.
Power of Love: Chapters 121 and 122 reveal Asuka to be a firm believer in this.
"Hindrance, you say? Fine, she said. You were trying to kill her... and you call me "despicable?" You snatched away the lives of how many billions of people, and I'M the despicable one? What the fuck are you saying!? WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY!?"
Psychic Powers: The main weapon of the Drifters of Psyren. Is very well-organized, and all abilities are divided into three categories. Burst is the manipulation of the environment and objects. Rise is the manipulation of the body to raise speed, senses, healing rate, and physical strength. Trance is the manipulation of the mind, like telepathy and illusion. Healing (known as "Cure") is done by combining Burst and Rise, and Visions occur by combining Rise (Sense) and Trance. The latter two are only usable by a small amount of people, with Kabuto being the only Visions user. And since chapter 122 there is said to be another category, Nova.
Power Incontinence: Ageha, until he learns how to better harness it from Elmore's Kids. Fredrica has fits of it every now and then when she loses her temper.
Power Limiter: Burst Stream is a PSI technique that distributes the pressure of using Psychic abilities around the Psychicer. It weakens the PSI technique significantly, but allows for better control. Ageha, Shao, and Fredrica need to use this in order to control their emotion-based powers that would otherwise work hell on their brains and probably kill them.
Power Nullifier: Haruhiko's Shotgun Bolt and White Shock will temporarily prevent a person from using PSI.
Psychic Static: It is possible through surgery to make oneself immune to Trance. This is essential for people who work with Psychicers who aren't empowered themselves, so they can't get mind-jacked or probed.
Rescue Arc: The Kagetora rescue mission and the Usui arc.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Averted. The second time that Ageha and co. meet The Elmore Kids in the future, they remember everything differently from what the audience saw. They note that it's weird that Ageha doesn't remember his nephew Marco.
Scary Shiny Glasses: Yoshina Asuka, though possibly more realistically it was only one lens, meaning the light came from an angle.
Screw Destiny: The whole point of the manga. They're screwing it bit by bit.
Sexy Silhouette: Sakurako gets one in the fourth trip to Psyren when she needed to change clothes and talk to Ageha at the same time. Well, at least she decided to do that all at once.
Shaggy Dog Story: No, not the series itself. Yet. The recent Infiltration arc has Ageha save Sakurako and Matsuri from Yusaka's virus after failing to save Iba in time, and going to activate the device that will cancel out Miroku's powers. Turns out Yusaka is still alive, and takes the entire facility out with him, making everything they went through for nothing.
Ship Sinking: Ian marrying Fubuki smashed the love triangle between Matsuri, Ian, and Kagetora with a nuke. It could be argued that Masturi and Kagetora kissing before fighting Shiner and Grana sunk it far earlier.
There is a lot of development for Ageha/Sakurako in later chapters, including a mutual declaration of love. There goes Ageha/Marie, Ageha/Oboro and Kabuto/Sakurako, though neither stood much of a chance.
Shock and Awe: Haruhiko's aptly named "Shocker" and "Shotgun bolt" attacks.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Ageha does one to Inui, dismissing his whole "Pain"-philosophy, and later to Miroku, basically saying that if Miroku is following the path he thinks is right, Ageha will follow his own path he thinks is right, so just shut up and fight.
Signature Move: This being shonen action, a lot of characters have this.
Let's make a list: Melchesse's Lance (Ageha), Wired Mind Jack (Amamiya), Dragon's Tail (Hiryu), Pyro Queen (Frederica), Material High (Kyle), Sepiroth "Gevurah" (Miroku), Nichirin "Tentsui" (Grana), Explosia (Dholaki), Shotgun Bolt (Haruhiko), Trick Room (Lan)...
Super Speed: "Rise" uses PSI to physically boost the body's strength, speed, and endurance. Almost all PSI users have some elements of this, but Oboro can move so fast that on his first try with Rise, Kagetora couldn't see him move. Arguably Kyle and Kagetora are the greatest example of this, though.
Super Senses - The "Sense" category of "Rise", naturally. Kabuto seems to be especially adept in this, even before his powers awakened.
Super Strength - "Rise" also boosts raw physical power. The greatest examples are arguably Kagetora, Grana and Hiryu.
Superpower Lottery - Training plays an important role, but some people's natural inclinations make them overall stronger than others. You generally have three categories of Lottery Winners. People capable of using Nova (Asuka, Sakurako, Ageha), which is obtained through serious training, but even some very strong characters can't use it; anybody who is a Grigori (Most of the W.I.S.E. and Nemesis Q, though getting that power wasn't pretty); and those who just have insane power combinations or are proficient with all types of PSI (Shao, Matsuri, Kabuto, Sakurako again, Nemesis Q again).
Super Mode: Nova, the PSI power Asuka discovered, is this. His hair turns a lighter color, and he then lays a beat down on Junas, but then it runs out quickly. May cross over with One-Winged Angel.
And now Ageha and Amamiya have learned it too. In Amamiya's case it lets her fight together with her other half, "Abyss", while enhancing the abilities of both. Ageha surrounds himself with Melchesse's Door to manifest a One-Winged Angel form called "Raging King".
Teleport Spam: Shiner's favored method of combat. He uses it to dodge attacks, separate Sakurako, Oboro, and Hiryuu from their strongest psychicer and the guy who can predict attacks, and send Hiryuu 4,000 meters in the air to fall to his apparent death. Later on he uses Teleportation to rip out a chunk of space from this dimension, attempting to leave everybody else in it stranded.
Thanatos Gambit: Several are pulled at the end. Miroku and Grana attempt one to thwart Mithra. It (appears to) fail, but the rather rushed ending shows that it actually succeeded, after that timeline's No. 7 had hit the Despair Event Horizon, sending everyone back. A second one has 07 embedding a phone card inside Ageha with all of his and her memories of Psyren, in hopes that Miroku would pierce Ageha with his Sephiroth, and all of it would be transferred to him. It succeeds.
The Glasses Come Off: When Kagetora fights Junas, his trademark sunglasses come off, showing he's absolutely serious and, in his own words, "killing may be a necessity now"
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: 07 delivers two to Miroku: once when she refused to join him after their escape from Grigori, and once when they meet again in Psyren.
There Is No Kill Like Overkil: Fredrica operates on this philosophy. It won't burn? MAKE MORE FIRE! Still not burning? MAKE IT HOTTER! Still won't burn? Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed.
This Is My Story: Ageha does this upon meeting Miroku in the present after Psyren is destroyed.
Time Travel: One of Nemesis Q's PSI abilities. Upgraded to dimension travel in the ending, where #07/Q reaches across the multiverse to deliver one last, psychic Bright Slap.
Tin Man: All Grigori subjects are supposedly unable to feel emotion. However, from their actions you wouldn't be able to tell. Grana seems to have fully developed them, or at least can emulate emotions perfectly.
Wax Museum Morgue: It's revealed in a flashback that Eiji Kise had a sculpture variant of this.
Wham Episode: The three biggest so far would probably be when they watch the DVD from the future, Chapter 64 with its Big Damn Heroes by the Elmore Kids, and Chapter 140, where Psyren is destroyed and all of its residents die.
Worf Barrage: Ageha's main power "Melchesse's Door" and specifically the "Lance" version of it are described as an almost unstoppable power that homes in on PSI and just devours it (and everything nearby). Though it really serves as a One-Hit Kill early on, starting with the second encounter with Dholaki it just gets overpowered or deflected by most of its targets. The same is true for the "Sphere," which was an effective shield on its first use but later got easily shattered by Junas.
Grana gets Worfed by Grigori 03 after just losing a fight to Miroku. The latter doesn't really apply since Miroku was solidly established as the Big Bad before. A later example has both Shao and Ageha losing to Junas in one chapter.
Hiryu's main contribution to most major battles seems to be taking hits and getting almost killed, despite him being very strong and talented with PSI.
You Are Number Six: The Grigori research facility, rather than name their subjects, dehumanizes them by giving them numbers. So far the following have been accounted for: Grigori 01 a.k.a. Grana, Grigori 03 a.k.a. Uranus, Grigori 05 a.k.a. Junas, Grigori 06 a.k.a. Amagi Miroku, and Grigori 07 a.k.a. Nemesis Q.
You Can't Fight Fate: The Elmore kids and Tenjuin Elmore die in the future, but Ageha and co. changed that by saving Kagetora. Not.
Subverted. Evidently Ageha and Co. have done enough to fight fate, and the Elmore kids are still alive in the future.
Double Subverted. Even if Ageha stops Miroku, the timeline he just left where the kids survived is still a doomed hellhole.
Finally subverted in the final chapter with both timelines getting a happy ending.