Once upon a time, there was a box containing all the evils in the world. It was opened by a woman named Pandora and the land was plunged in darkness. In a time of castles and kings, demons terrorize the land, enslaving humanity before the might of the demon army. The lands cry out for a hero, and that cry is answered by Hamel, a mysterious cloaked stranger who commands massive power while wielding his Big Freaking... Violin.Created by Michiaki Watanabe, Hameln spanned 37 volumes of manga and a 25 episode anime that could not be more different from one another in terms of plot, characterizations and overall tone. The series also spawned a half-hour long movie based upon the manga. Unless specifically mentioned otherwise, the tropes listed below are from Violinist Of Hameln manga (or are those few that apply to both the manga and the anime).Over ten years later in 2008, much to the surprise of fans, Watanabe published a Gaiden chapter leading up to a sequel manga entitled Violinist of Hameln: Schelkunchik.
Guitar remains polite and cheery even when mass-murdering and torturing people. He also takes Drum treating him as a sidekick with good humor before murdering Drum when the latter is heavily wounded.
Vocal divides his on-panel time between goofing around, making a Butt Monkey out of Orgel, who just managed to establish his reputation as the most vile and non-comedic villain up to that point, only to end up as Vocal's Chew Toy, and indiscriminate, ruthless slaughter For the Evulz.
Almost Kiss: Hamel and Flute come close to a kiss multiple times, but are stopped each time and result in Hamel kneeing Flute in the mouth. The first time it's interrupted by Hamel getting nervous and pulling out, while the second is caused by Chestra intervening.
Anime Hair: Flute's voluminous pigtails (which transforms into waist-long hair when loose).
Anti Anti Christ: Hamel in the manga wants nothing to do with the demons, who for their part go out of their way to provoke him into embracing his demon blood. When he does, it's not to help the demons at all. In the anime, he temporarily sides with them, even though it meant invading the castle and endangering his friends and love interest.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Pandora delivering a well-deserved string of this to Chestra, after getting out of her crystal. Considering, that Pandora is not abnormally strong, and Chestra caused an earthquake just by standing up from his throne, that must have been some slap.
Art-Style Dissonance: The main source of humor of the manga is how the beautiful shoujo-manga style characters clash with the crass and aabsurdist humor of the comic.
The Atoner: Sizer and Ocarina become this after they join the heroes. Hamel and Oboe are also ones.
Badass Normal: Trom Bone tries to be this in a party full of people who have magic and demonic powers. Even though swordsmanship in this manga is a Charles Atlas Superpower this makes him nearly useless against major antagonists for most of the story.
Beautiful All Along: Just let down Flute's hair, and 'kinda cute' transforms into 'BEAUTIFUL!!'.
Trying to touch Hamel's hat is as he hides his horn, identifying him as half-human, under it.If you harm any of Hamel's friends (especially Flute), may heaven have mercy on your poor, damned soul. If anyone in your vicinity harms his mother then RUN AS FAR AWAY AS YOU CAN.
Clari can also be described as the psycho big brother, willing to punch anyone through a steel wall that makes his little sister Cornet cry.
Berserker Tears: Let's see who's guilty, Hamel, Flute, Sizer, Raiel...Trom...Pandora...Clari
Bishōnen: Due to the art style, most the male cast look very pretty. This includes Hamel, Raiel, Clari, Lute, Vocal, Orgel without his mask on and several others. Unbelievably, old man Olin used to be one.
Chestra in his human form definitely qualifies. in his true form he looks more or less the same, except for sharper teeth and gigantic demon horns.
Bishonen Line: And on this note - while most of the powerful mazoku are humongous monsters in their true forms, the most powerful ones have rather cosmetic differences from humans. Hell King Bass looked completely human, before being reduced to a literally disembodied head.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Hamel and Trom do this in glorious style at one point. To wit - "OHMYGOD OHMYGOD AT LONG LAST AFTER 120 CHAPTERS WE GET A HOT SPRING SPECIAL!" However, the manga being what it is, it quickly gets ridiculous.
Butt Monkey: Hamel makes all his "friends" like this at one point or another.
Flute. Though she tries to stay upbeat even she complains about it from time to time, describing herself as a "pathetic heroine"
Raiel has also been described by the characters as the perfect "comic relief"
Calling Your Attacks: A couple of times, mostly played for comedy in the manga (see the first page quote).
Cerebus Syndrome: The manga goes from mostly comedic with sudden flashes of seriousness to mostly serious with sudden flashes of comedy. The transition is so seemless that you barely notice the change.
Childhood Friend Romance: Hamel and Flute have this in the anime; there he's been living with her in Staccato since their childhood.
Comedic Sociopathy: Hamel's actions. Also, Flute's mom loves to arrange festivals in Flute's name that are somewhat morbid. For example, there's the Flute Cow festival, where a raging bull representing Flute rampages through the city which is then eaten and the remains used as part of a funeral ceremony...
Cooldown Hug: Flute to Hamel, first when he almost gives in to his mazoku instincts and attempts to kill Raiel, and a few times later as well.
Cool Old Guy: In his true form, Oboe is probably the second or third most powerful mazoku after Chestra. And he looks like aged, short-haired version of Sephiroth, too.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: The human nations, particularly Sforzando, exhibiting an at best loose understanding of Catholicism. The church is headed by non-celibate magical High Priest Clari and omnipresently symbolized by crosses (Clari and Cornet's weapons and Flute's necklace- which in the manga includes a tiny crucified Jesus on it). Later volumes show a definition of angels and the summoning of a massive guardian goddess.
Warrior King Guitar also uses it from time to time.
Earn Your Happy Ending: The end of the manga. After all their trials and horrible torment, there is a happy ending for all the characters, even the long-suffering Flute. She and Hamel get married and have nine children.
Everyone Can See It: During the first 16 volumes, Hamel and Flute, are utterly determined not to let the other know how they really feel, to the point where they come across as having Belligerent Sexual Tension. Flute herself very much wants Hamel to respond to the feelings she doesn't really try to hide, but Hamel has a lot of emotional baggage that makes him afraid of opening up to anyone, while desperately craving human contact. It's made all the more hilarious since they're constantly mistaken for a couple and their party call them out on their feelings constantly and loudly, in front of the other party, which prompts one of them (usually Hamel) to engage in frothing, stuttering spiels about how that's a stupid mistake and/or a filthy lie, usually crossing into Suspiciously Specific Denial.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Of all the mazoku only Oboe, Ocarina and Chestra have any idea what compassion for other people, friendship, love or hope are, although the latter obviously feels none of that. When heroes find strength to persevere in these feelings, their current opponent usually goes into a Villainous Breakdown.
Evil Counterpart: Sizer to Hamel before her Heel-Face Turn, serving as an angelic Anti-Villain to Hamel's demonic Anti-Hero and possessing a bird companion. Vocal plays a much more evil version to him later on, being a Mazoku who opposes Chestra, like Hamel. Though unlike Hamel, who actively rejects his identity as a Mazoku, Vocal relishes his.
Fantasy World Map: Whenever Hamel makes Magic Music, he uses a real-world classical composition and he or someone explains in detail it's origin such as Mozart composing it in France. However, none of them appear to exist on his version of earth and instead there's a bunch of made-up countries named for musical terms.
Fighting from the Inside: To Bass's consternation, Lute's body occasionally shows small signs of this like shedding tears.
Five-Man Band: The main party, known as "The Five Great Hopes" form one.
The Leader: Hamel, the main character and the one fated to destroy Chestra. He's a major Anti-Hero though.
The Lancer: Raiel, Hamel's best friend, rival and foil.
The Big Guy: Trom Bon, though he's the smallest, he's the only member of the team who relies on brute force rather than magic.
Evil Genius: Beast King Guitar, who relies on crafty tactics and trickery to get the edge on his enemies.
The Brute: Dragon King Drum, the largest of the generals and the one with the biggest blood lust.
Dark Chick: Hawk King Sizer, the only female general and the most sympathetic one.
Drum is replaced by Vocal, a Mazoku with power rivaling Chestra's, and Sizer is replaced by Orgel, who relies on using people's emotions to torture them, soon after they leave the group.
For the Evulz: The mazoku with three known exception, one of whom is the big baddie Chestra himself, who sees everyone else in the world as food/tools, have this as their main reason for waging endless war on humans. Those of them, who have their mindset revealed, believe that the humans' whole reason to exist is to suffer and be killed and the mazoku's whole reason to exist is to bestow death and despair upon them.
Hell King Bass: Kill all the women and children in case one of the women gives birth to a child and he grows up to be a hero or something. Dragon King Drum: Ain't that always a bitch?
Green-Eyed Monster: Hamel was jealous of Trom when he was first introduced because he asked Flute to be his Queen, groped Flute's breasts and had a bath with Flute all while acting like an innocent brat.
Half-Human Hybrid: Hamel is constantly referred as being half-mazoku and half-human. His twin sister Sizer is said to be half-angel and half-human. A later flashback implies they are, in fact, Half-demon, a fourth-human and a fourth-angel... but the source wasn't particularly trustworthy.
in the manga, Queen Horn is dying from having used hers too much.
Lute can also be considered a healer. At the beginning of the manga it is said that only the women in the family have it— but at the end, once Clari returns his soul and he is free of his possession, he heals both Flute and Clari's wounds.
It Makes Sense in Context: Hamel made Raiel, Oboe, and Trom wear bunny suits in order to lure Flute out of her room (long story). They look absolutely ridiculous.
Jerk Ass: Hamel in the manga, who routinely humiliates and torments others for his own profit, charges exorbitant prices for hearing his music, and regularly tries to eat his crow companion and closest friend Oboe. Secretly he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
Karma Houdini: Averted with Sizer. She is constantly internally tormented over the fact that she freely murdered innocents before her Heel-Face Turn. Even the humans she's protecting frequently call her out on this. So do Guitar and Chestra, but they are doing so to shake her resolve/be a dick, respectively.
Killed Off for Real: Ocarina, Queen Horn, Lute, nearly all of the villains, not to mention about a third of the rest of mankind, too. There's not enough healing magic in the world to repair that much damage.
Vocal is the first major enemy with little to no humor to his character and is portrayed as a very real threat. The tone becomes noticeably more serious as soon as he enters the scene and sticks that way to the end.
Cornet. Granted, she had it coming almost as badly as Chestra himself, but she's almost The Woobie by the end of the manga.
Most of the villains' deaths qualify, to an extent, but Vocal gets a particularly spectacular one. First he runs out of his much-vaunted overwhelming power, then he learns the hard way that other mazoku care only about themselves as well, and gets to taste the same fear of imminent death he loved to invoke. Barely surviving in reduced and weakened form, and knowing for a fact, that his days are numbered, he spends the brief remainder of his days in torment. Then the souls of his victims, summoned by his former Chew Toy drag him to hell, and he dies knowing, that he was nothing but a puppet in the plot to resurrect Chestra (whom he hated) and that his blood will help Chestra to recover. Notably, he's so evil and Bad Ass, that even after this direct Laser-Guided Karma hit he still regrets only not being able to kill even more people, and goes into Don't You Dare Pity Me! speech when it seems that heroes cannot bring themselves to really hate him in his current pathetic state.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: It's hard to read about the series without finding out Sizer joins the party ahead of time, considering how much focus she gets.
Magic Pants: In the anime, every time Hamel transforms into a demon his clothes explode off him dramatically, and they're usually completely intact when he comes back.
Magitek: Magic power is used to power all military equipment, including tanks and warships.
Mama Bear: Pandora. Ask all the mazoku she slaughters to protect her children. This is also frequently played for laughs— in trying to shelter Hamel from the world's various unpleasantries, Pandora nearly burns a village to the ground, works up contracts with the devil and assaults and poisons a five-year-old Raiel.
Meaningful Name: We've got Oboe, Flute, Trombone, Ocarina, Lute, Bass, Drum, and Guitar. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Medium Awareness: The populace know that they exist in a Shonen manga. The main cast also tried to change the whole title and theme of the manga when Hamel had his Heroic BSOD after his violin was cut in two by Sizer.
Moment Killer: Several times and most often by Chestra. He gets his in Shchelkunchik. While he's doing his classic villain ranting in Great's noggin, Biyorne (the elder of the two sisters) glares at him and mutters "Quit butting in already, Chestra."
Mood Whiplash: The manga switches tones from drama, tragedy and angst to heartwarming romance and insane, ludicrous humor, all in the span of a few pages. It's pulled off surprisingly well. It sometimes goes like this: Action secene -> despair -> Dynamic Entry by Hamel's party or someone related to them -> Funny Moment -> Back to action.
Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Local demon is terrorizing a town. The Marrionette Dance may have given Flute strength, but Tchaikovsky gave the beat down.
Mr. Fanservice: Raiel and Vocal provide the vast majority of fanservice for the ladies, though Hamel isn't too shabby himself.
Ms. Fanservice: Sizer and Ocarina most prominently, though all female characters slip into this role from time to time.
In Hamel's case, it's a plot point, since it covers his demon horn
Flute has two: a more childish pink one that went with her Girlish Pigtails and a more mature one that Queen Horn gives her later on.
Raiel's hat's just highlights his dweebery
Trom Bone has a cool crown
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Daimou Sword is powered by a holy soul and therefore results in Flute getting abducted by Vocal and Sizer for her soul so Vocal can run ripshit all over the damn place...this thing exists because Olin could not open a can of peaches and needed something that would cut through anything.
Only a Flesh Wound: As the manga goes on, the injuries suffered and survived by characters in battle grow increasingly more over-the-top, from the comparably tamesavage beatings and Raiel having his hands speared to his piano to a demonic Hamel ripping off his own wing and putting his fist through Flute's chest. However, first prize has to go to Clari, who has all four of his limbs obliterated in a single battle. They all survive and recover completely though Clari did have his limbs replaced by robotic prosthetics but in the sequel, his limbs have regrown..
Only Sane Man: Flute and Oboe to the main party, being the only ones who ever point out the insanity surrounding them. Clari also plays this role, being a serious warrior serving under a Cloud Cuckoolander, though he is more prone to moments of Not so Above It All. Any character can play it when the situation calls for a straight man.
Orcus on His Throne: Chestra, after being unsealed. Then defied- he stands up from his throne and starts kicking heroes' asses immediately after regenerating both legs, and uses magical projections to attack even before that.
Papa Wolf: Late in the series, when Oboe reveals his true form to lay the royal smackdown on Chestra, saving Hamel's life.
Parental Abandonment: Absolutely everyone. The only character with living and present parents is Flute, whose mother is slowly dying from the moment we meet her. Everyone else's parents are dead, sealed in crystal or the Big Bad.
Parental Substitute: Oboe to Hamel. Hamel throws this into Chestra's face by saying that Oboe is the only being he'll ever call "father". Chestra doesn't care.
Person of Mass Destruction: Most of the main characters and major villains can be this if they want by the end of the manga, but the greatest is Chestra, who nuked huge swathes of the world for lulz and a quick snack during the final battle.
Power at a Price: The Sforzando royal family has healing power and using it drains a little of their life every time.
Morality Pet: Flute is essential for diminishing the "anti" in Hamel's anti-hero.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Cornet (in the manga), who Crosses the Line Twice. Under guise of "magical training" she makes multiple attempts to murder her "love rival" Flute- from pushing her into shark-infested waters and scattering buckets of bloody chum around her, to transforming her into a cow and persuading Hamel to make her into sukiyaki.
Power Copying: Guitar's power on top of being a powerful swordsman/dog is obtaining an opponent's power after licking their blood.
Power Degeneration: The underpinning of the plot is the fact that all mazoku have a limited, non-replenishable amount of magic power throughout most of the story. Only Demon King Chestra has infinite magic and he can raise it even more by sucking blood and souls out of humans, so the existence of the whole mazoku race depends on the flow of magic from him - that's the reason why selfish and power-hungry Mazoku Kings bother with cracking open the Pandora Box. Without magic from Chestra, all mazoku are doomed to eventually run out of their remaining reserves and disintegrate horribly and painfully. There are a few rare workarounds, but their main way of avoiding Power Degeneration is assuming weaker and less powerful forms to minimize magic use. That's why Drum and Guitar walk around in their rather goofy bodies, and that's why Oboe adamantly refused to assume his true form before the final battle, despite having enough power to blow away most enemies before that.
Punny Name: King Chestra's name and title (Ou Chestra in Japanese) form an obvious pun on "Orchestra". Quite fitting, even though his Mazoku generals (if we only replace Sizer with Vocal) form a rock band instead. When you get down to it, virtually everyone in the cast is named after a musical instrument.
The Rival: Raiel's initial goal is to defeat Hamel and avenge his parents, though he switches this out for friendly bickering soon after, Sizer is a general on the opposite side with similar powers and abilities to Hamel and an unexplained grudge against him, and Vocal is a Blood Knight Mazoku with an obsession with fighting Hamel to quench his bloodlust. All three play the role at one point or another.
Royal Brat: The eight-year-old orphaned prince of Dal Segno, Trom. He matures greatly as the series goes on.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Pandora's Box, and Pandora's Microwave and Pandora's Toilet. ...Olin, would you stop already.
Ship Tease: Tons but of it includes Hamel and Flute by everyone else and their blushy embarrased denials.
Shoujo: Parodied in the manga with Raiel's attempts to win Sizer's heart by staging elaborate shoujo-comic scenarios starring her as the innocent schoolgirl with him as the love interest. Since Sizer has no idea what he's talking about, they never work.
Shoulders of Doom: Bass and Chestra have pretty impressive ones, Sizer's shoulder armor pieces are longer than her torso but Dark Sizer puts them all to shame in this department.
One of the coolest, nerdiest ones ever seen. When Hamel demands to know how many people's blood Chestra's drank, Chestra replies with, "I'm not sure. But it's like this - can you remember how many times you've eaten bread?" a la Dio Brando.
Anime Hamel; because the Northern Capital (Hameln) was never named in the anime, many people thought the Hameln in the title referred to Hamel, so some fansubs tacked an N on the end of his name.
The word Hameln itself is another example: in Katakana, it's spelled ハメルン (hamerun), which is basically just Hamel's name with an N tacked on the end, so Hameln is one likely spelling. On the other hand, the name is believed to refer to the German fairy tale The Pied Piper of Hamelin, so Hamelin seems more likely if you go with Theme Naming. Some people just transliterate it straight up and go with Hamelun. The original German name of the town is "Hameln". The "i" spelling is just an anglicization, which happens often with German place names (c.f. Muenchen and Koeln). "Hameln" fits into the theme just fine.
Story Breaker Power: Lute and Oboe are both strong enough to wipe the floor with all but the absolute strongest of the Mazoku effortlessly and thus have to be written into situations that make them useless to the heroes. In Lute's case, he gets taken over by a villain with a bigger case of this..
Tempting Fate: At one point, Hamel bought clothes for Sizer to wear after her Heel-Face Turn. Catch is all of them are cosplay outfits. Cue Flute saying "I'm glad Raiel's not conscious for this". Next panel shows Raiel bleeding out of his nose ala Ashita no Joe.
This Cannot Be!: Every major villain except Guitar, who gets defeated too fast for that says something to this effect before going down.
Untrusting Community: Despite his reputation as a hero, nearly every town Hamel visits shuns him or outright attacks him, due either to his selfish behavior or the fact that he is half demon. They generally change their minds after he saves them in a spectacular manner.
Sizer, to Raiel's dismay, though he cures her of it in a awesome and heartwarming scene.
Averted with Chestra, who fully understands the concept and how to utilize it to cause pain: He will murder your spouse and children in front of you For the Evulz.
Wholesome Crossdresser: The party needed to get into Sforzando, which was heavily guarded. Hamel's plan is to disguise the group as a party of Portuguese ostrich sellers, with Hamel as the 'mysterious foreigner', Flute (and Oboe) as ostrich, Trom as...a piece of bamboo, and Raile as a young girl. He was cute enough for Hamel to start hitting on him.
Winged Humanoid: Sizer, known as the "Angel of Death" thanks to her bloodsoaked wings. They get better when she pulls a Heel-Face Turn. She actually is revealed to be part angel. Similarly, her mazoku bodyguard Ocarina possesses the ability to turn into a winged humanoid as does Ocarina's father, Oboe.
Averted with named villains, even though Hell King Bass has all the tolerance for failure of a proper Evil Overlord, and Chestra offed his own honor guard because he felt like drinking some blood right now.
Bass tries this, but other, more Genre Savvy mazoku leaders manage to talk him down every time.