Manga / Spirit Circle

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"...You coward. I'll have you die seven more times."

A series by the creator of The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer and Sengoku Youko.

Fuuta Okeya is an Ordinary High-School Student, except with the ability to See Dead People. His life is disrupted by the arrival of a Mysterious Transfer Student, Kouko Ishigami. Accompanying her is a mysterious ghostly man.

When Fuuta interacts with the man, he accidentally reveals his ability to Kouko, who seems to recognize it, and him, immediately. She then strikes him with a strange object called a Spirit Circle. Fuuta is propelled into a vision of a tragic past life. While there, he sees a past version of her as well.

When he awakens, Kouko informs him that she intends to have him die seven more times - six more times from reliving his past lives, then, once he understands, she will kill him herself.

It is available via for online viewing from Crunchyroll here:


Spirit Circle provides examples of:

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In theory, spirit energy can do this. Lower level spirit energies are able to incarnate into bodies of higher intelligence and spirit levels the more incarnations they have. For example, a rock spirit energy could eventually become an animal in a couple of thousand incarnations, and then eventually humans in thousands more. This also leaves the possibility for humans to become more intelligent animals, other lifeforms, or even gods. This happens to be Fortuna's ultimate goal. He wants to use the Spirit Circles to absorb the Earth's energy and "become the universe" with it, gaining the ability to traverse to other universes.
    • It's implied near the end of the story that the four universal observers seen after the final battle with Kouko and Fuuta are actually Rune, East, Kouko and Fuuta themselves in another incarnation, considering their striking similarities to them and the fact that Fuuta mumbles about the meeting in his sleep.
  • After the End: Lafalle's world takes place a a time where only 300 million humans are still "active" (a good 10 million or so of them aren't "dead", per se: see Brain in a Jar). Fortuna lives quite a bit of time beyond that point, however.
  • A God Am I: Fortuna's ultimate goal is to usurp all of Earth's spirit energy and be able to "become the universe". It doesn't help that he thinks that everyone else is inferior to him intelligence-wise.
  • Alternate History: Fuuko's universe takes place in a world where the Showa era continued into the modern day. They are currently living in Showa 91 (2016).
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Discussed by Fortuna and Koko after sacrificing the Spirit Forges to resurrect East as a spirit. From Fortuna's point of view, life is nothing but an "energy source for biological activity", and he finds East no exception. However, that particular life was more valuable to him, so he prioritized it over the other spirits he took energy from to power the Spirit Circle.
  • Ancient Greece/Ancient Egypt: In Fuuta's life as Flors, he is a Greek architect, contracted by an Egyptian noble to build a sphinx.
  • And Then What?:
    • Fuuta asks Kouko if she has a plan for her life after she's finally able to kill him. Unlike most examples of the trope, she had it all figured out, including being sent to juvenile detention.
    • Rune to Fortuna, when she learns that he's planning on becoming the universe.
  • And You Were There: Due to the nature of the story, we see characters in different roles in each timeline, though there are usually common threads that make them similar in role in each timeline, though there are differences.
  • Apocalypse Wow:In Lafalle's story (which takes place in the future), terrorists are trying to create a localized Black Hole device to lower the population. They fail and a black hole destroys the world. There is hope, however, as we learn that Lafalle's adopted daughter was beginning to figure out time travel.
  • The Apprentice:
    • East is Fortuna's apprentice, but he lacks talent in studying spirits.
    • Fortuna was also an apprentice of Rei before she banished him.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Houtaro and Kouko's incarnation both lose these during their fight in the mountains. This carries over into their next lives, where Lafalle loses his in the explosion that claimed his uncle and cousin's bodies, and Lapis loses them in her father's experiments.
  • Artificial Human: Rune is a pseudo-spirit that Fortuna created from his own spirit dimension.
  • Artificial Limbs: See An Arm and a Leg.
  • Bad Future: The future Fortuna saw for Fuuta's final battle turns out to be this. In it, the battle against Kouko gets interrupted by a phone call from his father, informing him of his mother's Death by Childbirth. The children don't survive, either. Shocked from the news, he's frozen where he stands, which allows Kouko to deal the final blow to both Fuuta and all of his previous lives, destroying their souls forever. He also says that Fuuta never comes into contact with Rei's spirit again, but even that's changed in the main character's time, with her being born as his little sister.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted. When female characters are shown topless, their nipples are also shown.
  • Batman Gambit: The reason that Fortuna is able to take oveer Fuuta's body. See Loss of Identity for details.
  • Beard of Evil: Fortuna has one as he grew old.
  • Become a Real Boy: Rune was promised that she will have a real spirit after Fortuna accomplished his goals. She eventually gets her wish when she begins life as Fuuta's future child.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Kouko is able to steal a surprise kiss from Fuuta once they finally reconcile and put away their grudge.
  • Big Sleep: Houtarou and Iwana's deaths are treated like this. They're so exhausted from walking that they rest underneath the tree that confirmed Rihama's survival. However, they don't wake up.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Twice; once when Fuuta gives his Love Confession to Kouko, and again when she kises him before moving away.
  • The Blacksmith: Houtarou, who had this trade passed down from his mother side since he was an illegitimate child.
  • Breather Episode: Compared to Fuuta's more action-packed lives and the absolute whopper that was planetary destruction in Fuuta's sixth life, Fuuko lived a perfectly ordinary life besides meeting with aliens.
  • Brain in a Jar: The Sleeping Tower contains millions of brains in a jar called "Non-living".
  • Cain and Abel: Vann as an older Abel and his brother as a younger Cain. This relationship occurs again in a different reincarnation with Houtarou and his younger brother Kajirou.
  • Cessation of Existence: What Fuuta faces if he doesn't regain control of his body during Fortuna's Grand Theft Me. He's even told that his consciousness would disappear within one or two days , which is when the final battle with Kouko would take place.
  • Chekov's Gun: The bug net that Fuuko receives from the aliens is actually a "soul catcher", meant to be used on Fortuna when he goes on a rampage. It was supposed to go to Koko's incarnation, but considering that she would be too busy fighting Fortuna, they gave it to Fuuko instead.
  • Child Prodigy: Fortuna is considered a genius even at a young age.
  • Cute Machines: All the machines in 34th Century are designed this way with cute eyes and mouth.
  • Deader Than Dead: Kouko's goal is to destroy Fuuta's soul so that he cannot reincarnate ever again.
  • Death by Falling Over: How Vann dies. While taking his adopted daughter to a place where she could live after he eventually died of old age, he tripped and hit his head on a rock. Still managed to make it look dignified however, and we see that they had just about reached their destination.
  • Designer Babies: Carol is a genetically modified child by Claro.
  • Disney Villain Death: After being cut by the Spirit Circle, Fortuna falls off of the craft he was on.
  • Distinguishing Mark:
    • Fuuta has a birthmark on his left cheek. It is a cursed brand that one of Kouko's past life gave to him. The mark slowly starts disappearing over the course of the story.
    • Kouko has a cross scar on her forehead. Unlike Fuuta's, it doesn't get passed down each incarnation, and during this particular one she cut her forehead herself after she was able to remember her past as Koko.
  • Doorstop Baby: During Fuuta's life as Vann, he received a child like this. It happens again when Koko is found by East during Fortuna's timeline. And to boot, both of them were named Rei, but Vann remembered the name from his life as Fone and Koko was found with that name in her blanket.
  • Driven to Suicide: Flambe hanged himself after he helped in the creation of spirit beasts since be considers that a betrayal of his master.
  • Dying Alone: Flors died in his bed begging for someone to call him by his real name.
  • Dying Curse: The medicine woman burned a brand on Vann's left face just before she died. This brand appears in all of Vann's future lives as a birthmark.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: A platonic version between adoptive father Vann and the adoptive daughter Rei. Though in the previous life, they were lovers
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Flors despises the name "Mr. Sphinx" because he views the Sphinx that he made as a horrible failure, yet everyone only remembers him by that name.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Fortuna. Its part of what makes his evil so unnerving. For the sake of saving his friend East, he is willing to blow up a city, causing 20,000 deaths. When questioned about it, he doesn't see anything wrong with it. But even when meeting Koko years later, he welcomes her with open arms and asks her to stay in his home with him again. A city where he killed most of the population to have an undead army where the rest of the population who are alive are his servants. She is suitably horrified.
  • Evil Overlord: Fortuna, the original creator of the spirit circles, destroys thousands in his spirit research, raises an army of the dead, and takes over Fuuta's body.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Takayama and all his previous incarnations are like this.
  • For Science!: Many of Fortuna's actions were done for the sake of knowledge. He conquered a city just so he could have access to its library. He is also willing to destroy the world to get enough energy to travel to other worlds.
  • Foreshadowing: Carol tells her parents that when she was testing to find lightning in the past, she kept getting different pictures despite the pictures being taken at the same time. This alludes to the existence of parallel universes, one of which Fuuko lived in, and Fortuna's obsession with travelling to parallel universes.
  • Fragile Flower: Nono has a tendency to cry at everything.
  • Fusion Dance: In order to create Rune, Fortuna took the spirit energies of a wandering spirit and crafted her soul from his own energy.
  • Gender Flip: Fuuta's sixth reincarnation took place in a universe in a similar timeframe where every character was changed into the opposite gender. Here, "Fuuko Okeya" was a girl who loved studying geology and had crushes on both "Non" and Koko's counterpart "Kousuke".
  • Grand Theft Me: After Fuuta witnesses his very first incarnation, his body is immediately taken over by Fortuna.
  • The Greys: One of the "aliens" that Fuuko met appeared as a Grey.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Considering the nature of the story, nine times out of ten, yes, you have met before.
  • Happily Adopted:
    • Rei, when she was adopted by Vann.
    • Koko was adopted by East when she was a baby.
    • Carol was adopted by Lafalle and Lapis. And similarly, Lafalle had no problems living with his uncle after his parents died.
  • Heel Realization: Fortuna gains one. For most of his life, he didn't see anything wrong with his actions which caused the deaths of thousands, as long as they benefited him or one of his loved ones. However when one of those loved ones comes back to kill him to avenge those deaths, he realizes his actions have been the actions of a mad man. However, he decides that it is too late to change during his current life. And after seeing a future where Kouko does kill Fuuta and his soul, he dives back into full on villainy in his plan to stop it.
  • Heroic Bastard: Houtarou, who was the son of the emperor and a peasant. Rihama doesn't care though, since she feels more close to him than she does her actual brother.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: After Fone's death, the townsfolk start to question the nature of the sacrifice system and try to take down the priests in vengeance. However, during the process, they had become just as bloodthirsty as they believed the priests were. They even execute Stona in the name of Fone, much life how the sacrifices would be done in the name of their gods.
  • Human Sacrifice: This is the focus of Fone's life. The leaders of his village, including Stona, Kouko's previous incarnation, engage in ritualistic human sacrifice. When Fone's lover Rei is chosen, he attempts to stop it. He fails. And then is killed moments later.
  • Invisible to Normals: Spirits in general are invisible. Most notable examples are Rei and East.
  • Insufferable Genius: Fortuna, who claims that he lives in a world with no rivals.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: In his life as Vann, is a warrior in medieval Europe, though his task - to kill a "witch" who turns out to be another of Kouko's previous incarnations, is not as heroic as he wished.
  • Lack of Empathy: Fortuna cannot to understand why Koko was angry at him for killing thousands of people that he did not know and saving East by turning him into a spirit. He also does not understand why Koko wants to kill him after he turned the capital into a city of undead.
  • Loss of Identity:
    • After experiencing different lives, Fuuta starts to display behaviors of his previous incarnations and once even forgot his own name.
      • Fortuna is able to figure out that the boy suffers from this after looking into his life, and so he successfully takes over Fuuta's body when he's vulnerable enough in the last arc.
    • Kouko is also unable to differentiate herself from her past life as Koko the warrior. So she sets out to fulfill her task of destroying Fuuta's soul.
  • Love Confession: Fuuta gives one to Kouko. He was quickly rejected, but it's clear from the blush on Kouko's face that she has a crush on him as well.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The terrorist group Arion has killed managers of the Sleeping Tower through "traffic accidents".
  • Marriage of Convenience: Lafalle and Lapis married each other to adopt Carol easier and to give her a better life.
  • Mayincatec: Fone's life takes place in such setting.
  • My Greatest Failure: To Fortuna, it was his inability to save his master from her disease.
  • Mutual Kill: Fortuna and Koko hit each other at the same time with the Spirit Circle. The both died afterward.
  • Necromancer: Fortuna used the Spirit Circle to create an army of skeletons.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: According to Fuuta, a band called TKB108 exists in his world.
  • No More for Me: Seems to have happened on a physical and spiritual level with Takayama. In most of the time periods he's an alcoholic, but after Houtarou's death Takayama's incarnation decides to stop drinking. Lafalle subconsciously remembers this and is therefore surprised when that man is a non-drinker in his time period.
  • Off with His Head!: Fone was killed this way by Stona.
  • Only Six Faces: Justified due to the nature of the story. The reason why certain figures look the same as other characters is because they are those characters' spirits in another life. Essentially, it's more akin to a spiritual Star System.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Rei. Throughout Fuuta's incarnations, there have been four in total (Fone's Love Interest, Vann's daughter, Fortuna's teacher, and Fuuta's baby sister), which also links them together as the same spirit.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Couldn't get any more literal with Lafalle and Lapis. They have a Marriage of Convenience to raise Carol, and they are very close to each other, but they never go beyond that.
  • Peaceful in Death: Compared to all their previous lives, Houtarou and Iwana died peacefully in that they were able to let go of their grudge in that lifetime.
  • Preacher Man: Takayama's past life as Glass. He is actually unordained, preaches blasphemy and actually stole the holy book from the church.
  • Red Baron: After Fortuna creates a second spirit Circle, he gains the epithet "King of the Dead".
  • Reincarnation: This is the main story element. Fuuta must relive all his past lives via the use of the eponymous "Spirit Circle".
    • At the end of the story, Rei and Flambe are reincarnated as Fuuta's twin brother and sister.
    • Rune and East even agree to hand over the spirit circles on the condition that they be reincarnated as Fuuta and Koko's future children.
  • Reincarnation Romance:
    • Closer to Reincarnation Rivalry. In every time period, Fuuta and Kouko come into conflict in some way, often fatally. The closest they ever reach to romance is one timeline where they manage to achieve a multi-decade friendship. However, in that timeline they still tragically come to blows.
    • Played more straight with Fuuta's friends. Non was in love with Fuuko, and in turn, Nono likes Fuuta. In Flor's life, Umi's past reincarnation Lihanerra was in love with Tetsu's (Kertenos), but they never pursue a relationship thanks to him leaving out of courtesy. In Fuuta's fifth, Rihama and Jinkurou escape the palace burning together, with Houtarou hoping that they elope. As of now, they don't feel anything romantic towards each other, and even admit they act more Like Brother and Sister.
  • Samurai: In Fuuta's fourth life, he lives as a humble blacksmith during the time of the Samurai, and interacts with various samurai characters.
  • Save the World Climax: From Kouko attempting to finish off Fortuna's spirit to stopping Fortuna from destroying the world with the Spirit Circles, all on a little over 45 chapters.
  • Say My Name: "FORTUNAAAA!" "KOKOOOOOO!"
  • Shout-Out: Robo-Cat, the mechanical Robot Buddy who has the ability to time travel. Now where have we heard that before...?
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Fortuna makes this claim to East as to why he left his master. The actual reason was that he was expelled for being too immoral.
  • Taking the Bullet: Robo-Cat jumps between Lafalle's and Lapis' gunshot, damaging his own head. However, this does not prevent the death of Lafalle and Lapis soon afterward.
  • Tears of Joy: When Kouko tells Fuuta that Rei enjoyed the slippers Fone made for her and wore them to her sacrifice, Fuuta can't stop crying at the message.
  • True Companions: In almost every reincarnation, Fuuta will find and befriend Tetsu and Takeyama, or at least has a long history with one of them.
  • This Is Reality: When Fortuna possesses Fuuta, the boy shouts that this should be impossible, given that they're not in a comic book.
  • Tiny Schoolboy: Fuuta is short compared to all of his classmates. One of the things he said when he heard that there was a transfer student was that he hopes the new student is shorter than him.
  • Tragic Dream: Despite how arrogant Fortuna was about it, he really did want to be able to live as a family with Koko, Rune, and East. But because of the steps he took to get there, they became more severed than ever.
  • Tokyo University: At the end of the story, Kouko tells Fuuta that she'd be going to Toudai when she's older, in order to give him a chance to follow up on her Big Damn Kiss.
  • We Will Meet Again: Fortuna proclaims this to East and Rune as he succumbs to his wounds from Koko's Spirit Circle.
  • Why Can't I Hate You?: Kouko very, very much likes Fuuta Okeya. On the other hand, she wants to continue Koko's will and exterminate the soul of Fortuna, which is still in Fuuta. Koko even acknowledges that it's easier for her to continue with the plan if she's possessing Kouko's body or if Fuuta doesn't act like himself.
  • X Marks the Hero: Kouko, the female lead, has an X-shaped scar on her forehead.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Rune has pink hair. Fortuna and Koko are also shown to have light greenish hair.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Houtarou and Obayashi delivers these lines as they were protecting the princess.
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