I am innocent rage I am innocent hatred I am the innocent sword I am DEMONBANE
Kurou Daijuuji is a poor detective living in Arkham City (no, not that one). One day, he's asked by Ruri Hadou of the Hadou Financial Group to search for a magical grimoire. As Kurou searches for the book, he unexpectedly runs into Al-Azif, a pretty girl who turns out to be the grimoire Kurou is searching for. While being chased by the villainous Black Lodge, Al forges a contract with Kurou, bestowing him with powerful magic. Soon afterwards, Al also activates the Demonbane, a Deus Machina owned by the Hadou Financial Group, to combat the mechanical menace from the Black Lodge. With this, the war between the Hadou Financial Group and the Black Lodge begins....A series by Nitro+ with Humongous Mecha and Cthulhu Mythos elements, it began as an Visual Noveleroge for the PC, then was ported to the Sony PlayStation 2 as a non-eroge remake. A sequel action game, a prequel novel, an OVA, an Anime of the Game and a conversion to manga followed the remake.
Tropes employed in this series are:
Achey Scars - Sandalphon's face bleeds when he gets too upset about Leica.
The Antichrist: Master Therion, according to one of the trivia pages, translates to 666 in a magic system that assigns numerical values to letters, and he has a personality cult and vast magical ability..
Badass Grandpa - Every image we see of Ruri's grandfather points to him being this. Just look at those muscles, and that hair, and that pose! "Hadou Kozou" at that point isn't Hadou Kozou at all, but a time-traveling Kurou from the future. Yes, seriously. The sequel adds Laban Shrewsbury to this trope.
In Ruri's route, this would have... implications. Ironically enough, this information is only revealed in Ruri's route and she seems fairly okay about the whole revelation.
Made less squicky by the fact that he's not related to her by blood but by adopting her father before she was born.
Badass Normal: Winfield. Stone and Ness get their moments as well.
In a weird mix of this trope and Brought Down to Badass, the Demonbane becomes this in Al's route after her apparent death, forcing Elsa to take over. True, Demonbane can't use most of it's attacks aside from its fists and Lemuria Impact, but it's still more than enough to take out at least one of the Anticross' Deus Machina.
World of Badass - Excepting faceless civilians, everyone is this. Hell, even Stone and Ness qualify as Bad Ass, if for no other reason than the ability to survive the kind of stuff that would kill anyone else more times than one can count, even when they are at ground zero for a lethal attack!
Because You Were Nice to Me - Al falls in love with Kurou because he is not like her previous masters. Unlike them, he treats her as a human and more than that, as someone important. The souls of her previous masters admit that when they were working together in the past the various pairs shouldn't have treated each other like tools.
BFS - The Shining Trapezohedron, which can supposedly cut through dimensions and seal gods. The Scimitar of Barzai also counts.
Bittersweet Ending - Almost all true and normal ending are this. This is especially true in Ruri's normal and good ending and Leica's true ending.
Blade Catch - When retrieving the independent Scimitar Of Barzai
Brought Down to Badass - In Al's route, she temporarily dies. While she's gone, Kurou is forced to fight without her. While his performance certainly suffers, he still ends up a rather competent fighter.
Butt Monkey: Kurou does not have much luck with the women in his life. At all.
Doctor West is also one, especially if you count all the times he gets "beat the shit out of". In fact, his own creation (Elsa) falls for Kurou and treats her creator like crap, her programming be damned.
Conservation of Ninjutsu - You'd think when Demonbane has the ability to summon every Demonbane that exists, could exist, could never exist and doesn't ever exist to fight alongside it, this trope would be the first thing to come into effect. Thoroughly subverted, as having infinite Demonbanes makes it truly unstoppable.
Demoted to Extra - Despite being major characters, Metatron and Sandalphon are nowhere to be seen in anime adaption. Also Alison, who got a whole chapter of focus on her Character Development in the visual novel version only.
Depraved Bisexual - Tiberius, though his preference seems to slant towards women, has some creepy affectionate dialogue for Sandalphon.
Dying as Yourself - Subverted. Ryuuga dies insane and hating Leica. Or perhaps that was his true self and the boy Leica knew was just a lie. Due to rejecting the idea of dying sane or at peace, he does not reincarnate into the restructured world at the end of Leica's route.
Eldritch Abomination - A few. The likes of Dagon and Hydra don't bother anyone too much but the likes of Cthulhu cause some major brain breaking at first.
Eldritch Location - An entire section of the city has been sealed off for being one of these. Any normal person who enters would simply die instantly.
Electra Complex - Another Blood wants to replace her mom. To make it more complicate, she comes from an alternate future and thus is not really related to her parents in the present. And since she's a book like her mom, their genetic relationship is hard to judge.
Ending Fatigue - In-universe version. In prequel novel, Nyarlathotep got bored of never-ending battle between Gunshin Kyoshuu Demonbane and Gunshin Kyoshuu Liber Legis (after watching it for strange aeons, even attack that destroy multiverses can be boring...). So she tweak the timeline, kicking whole events of prequel out of canon (and erase those two from reality), result in one that of the Visual Novel.
Most members of Anticross have contempt for Tiberius. Doctor West finds him to be an illogical abomination, and Sandalphon even resorts to Enemy Mine with Kurou to screw him over.
A few members of Black Lodge find excess violence rather distasteful. Titus will kill people far below his level if ordered to, but otherwise finds it pointlessly brutal. Doctor West also finds outright slaughter to be so unappealing that he defects after calling out all of Anticross at once and getting stabbed for his trouble.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good - In Elder Gods ending, Nyarlathotep express its confusion at Kurou and Al as they continue to fight for humanity after ascend into Elder Gods. The narration make it clear that, to the Ancient Ones, there shouldn't be any good gods.
Evil Counterpart - Liber Legis is the ultimate evil to Demonbane's ultimate good and they have similar but opposite attacks. Metatron and Sandalphon also have this dynamic going on.
Evil Is Deathly Cold - Master Therion's Liber Legis' "Hyperborea Zero Drive" reduces its target's temperature to absolute zero. Also, Caligula's Kraken's main attack.
Ithaqua too, since all magic is technically "unholy".
The bad ending, Kurou becomes Nyarlathotep's plaything. Trapped in a timeloop, he lives in the world that became an Eldritch Location after the the destruction of Shining Trapezohedron. At the end of each loop, he will meet Al but never get a reunion with her.
In Al's route, they don't really bother trying to kill Tiberius. Instead, he gets sucked into the Shining Trapezeohedron. Al and Kurou couldn't see what was in there from where they were, but Tiberius certainly could. What he saw was enough to make the crazed, monstrous immortality freak actually beg for death instead of being sucked inside. Kurou simply points out that after all the horrors he perpetrated to become what he is now whatever is in there surely won't be enough to do put an end to him either.
Faux Affably Evil - Vespasianus. Sure, he's fairly erudite and disturbingly polite for an Anticross member, but his deeds and what he'll do to accomplish them reveal it's but a thin veneer over his Mad Scientist self.
Genre Blind - Nero is indeed the most powerful among Anticross and has no problem fighting both Augustus and Vespasianus at same time. Too bad, she confront them inside Cthulhu, surround by countless tentacles. Since Demonbane start as eroge, it doesn't matter how powerful she is...
Then subverted later on when she kills Vespasianus in the blink of an eye and would've done the same to Augustus if it hadn't already been done for her.
Genre Savvy - The entire civilian population of Arkham City seem to be transplanted from The Big O and Bubblegum Crisis, especially given their in universe reactions to all the crazy shit that happens every other day.
Girls are Really Scared of Horror Movies - Invoked and averted should you decide that Kurou and Ruri will watch a horror movie. Winfield thinks that Ruri will get really scared and thus the standard scene will take place... but as Kurou and Ruri point out in utter boredom, they see this kind of thing every day and fight such monsters.
In the prequel novel, Demonbane appears as Gunshin Kyoshuu Demonbane (War God Demonbane), particularly notable for being the largest mecha in fiction, even larger than Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It grows so large that it pops the universe it's in, and accidentally destroys other universes by brushing against them. Of couse, its Arch-Enemy Gunshin Kyoshuu Liber Legis'' is as big and as powerful.
Hypocritical Humor - Tiberius crying rape when Al tries to remove De Vermis Mysteriis from him.
If I Can't Have You - Sandalphon isn't crazy because Leica killed him once. No, he was always crazy and a yandere for her and thus he simply can't accept a Leica who wasn't his big sister.
Tiberius' grimoire makes him immortal as type 3 (regenerative) and type 5 (the undead)
Vespasianus can revive up to three times by sacrificing one of his familiars.
Immortality Talisman - Tiberius' grimoire makes him absolutely unkillable so long as it is unharmed. As a side effect, he is a perpetually rotting corpse.
Improbable Weapon User - Perhaps in Homage to Desperado, Doctor West arms himself with a guitar case with a built-in rocket launcher, which he shoots in the same way as that guy from Desperado.
Mega Manning - If something belongs inside her pages, Al can use its ability once she's subdued it. Kurou also gains the support of Cthugha and Ithaqua after managing to force the pair into submission. Not that he can ever admit how he managed to do it.
Meganekko - Leica, Nya, Chiaki and Ithaqua in human form
Mind Screw - Al's Bad Ending. Seriously. Also one of the ultimate powers of the Shining Trapezohedron, which is to summon every Demonbane "that ever existed, could exist, never could exist, and never existed." Don't try to think about that one too hard.
Mismatched Eyes - R'lyeh's Text and Kurou in Magius style and after he becomes an Elder God.
Only Sane Man - Crossed with Irony and Played for Laughs. Despite the Lovecraftian premise, the sillier moments of the game have Kurou bemoaning he seems to be the only one with a constantly level head.
Perpetual Poverty: Kurou is so poor that he considers putting jam on toast and instant coffee to be living it up. He actually cries Manly Tears when Ruri offers to employ him. Averted in Ruri's routes where he becomes rich either by going back in time and becoming Kouzou Hadou and creating the Hadou fortune or by presumably marrying Ruri.
Power Dyes Your Hair - Kurou's hair turns white when in Magius Style. The blond Leica's hair also turns white when she activates her cyborg bits.
Power Limiter - Using Demonbane's Lemuria Impact requires the Naascal Code. On the plus side, it doesn't drain any energy.
Pragmatic Adaptation - Demonbane's animated ending is entirely original, made exclusively for the TV series. While it appears to take after Al's good ending, instead of having her drift through space for eons, the Elder Gods Kurou and Al-Azif (from Al's true ending) rescue her and bring her back to Arkham City. The superior quality of the ending is attributed to the fact the animation staff enlisted the aid of the original work's staff for the final episode.
Rasputinian Death - A lot, though certain instances like Caligula and Claudius stick out. The former takes a bullet or shrapnel to the eye, has an arm blown off and recovers before having to be outright exploded before dying. The latter is basically opened up from one shoulder to the opposite hip and has his intestines blown out before finally dying due to being chopped in half. Apparently the disemboweling wasn't enough.
Screw Yourself - Kuzaku and Another Blood, even official art potray them in questionable manner.
Sealed Evil in a Can - The true nature of Shining Trapezohedron is a sealed universe that imprison Outer Gods like Azathoth and Shub-Niggurath.
Serial Escalation- Elder God Demonbane's Athleta Aeternum ability can summon countless variant of itself in multiverse. And not just those exist in the multiverse, it can summon those that shouldn't exist as well.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog - Kurou went through much trouble just to save Ennea. Only for her to die in Master Therion's revival.
There is a poster for Phantom Of Inferno in the cinema, during Elsa's walk around the town.
Music from the soundtrack of Kikokugai, another Nitro+Visual Novel, also plays in one of the movies Kurou can watch. Doctor West at one time also references its premise: that of a best friend killing your little sister and splitting her into five parts.
Doctor West at one time sings the lines from opening of Vampirdzhija Vjedogonia, still another Visual Novel from the same company.
The second prequel novel, Assault of the War God, gives the name of Ruri Hadou's mother as Augusta Derleth, from August Derleth.
Nya gives Alison a Mirror of Nitocris. Soon afterward, Alison brings various beings from Alice In Wonder Land to Arkham City. The mirror is also named after a short story by Brian Lumley.
Al names the Shoggoth Team PetDunsany. This is a reference to Lord Dunsany, who was a source of inspiration for Lovecraft's Dream Cycle.
Incidentally, the Shoggoth itself first made an appearance in At the Mountains of Madness where it rolled over and crushed giant albino penguins. Al is somehow able to procure fresh penguin meat from the South Pole for Dunsany (see Ruri's route).
The final battle involves a lot of shifting through time and space. Kurou visits a few of the more infamous places in the Mythos:
Celaeno, in the Pleiades Star Cluster. Notes taken from the Great Library form the Celaeno Fragments (as seen in The Trail Of Cthulhu).
Yaddith, from Through the Gates of the Silver Key. Kurou mentions the protagonist Randolph Carter and his alter-ego (of sorts), the alien wizard Zkauba.
Yith (the black, aeon-dead orb in space) from The Shadow Out of Time.
The Darkness of N'kai, which appears in The Whisperer in Darkness.
Episode 13 of Leica's route is the aptly named Call of Cthulhu, in reference to the short story of the same name.
Episode 14 of Ruri's route is named after The Haunter of the Dark, another one of Lovecraft's short stories.
The description of Azathoth near the end (daemon sultan, flutes, nuclear chaos and so on) is taken from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
The thing that attacked Kurou in the library and traumatised him against magic for life was, quite literally, The Dunwich Horror.
Hunting Horrors are Mythos monsters too, taken from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and are servants of Nyarlathotep.
Metatron and Sandalphon are angels that were said to have been humans before. In some texts they are twins.
Timaeus and Critias are the titles of two dialogues written by Plato in which he talks about the creation of the world and its universal laws, as well as the history of Atlantis
Al brags that she's more persistent than the Hounds of Tindalos, which is quite an achievement because they pursue their quarry without end through the angles of time. Better find a nice round bubble-shaped room to hide in, Kurou...
Kurou once quotes Amuro's "You hit me...not even my own father hit me." Also, "as cliché as it might be, Demonbane has vulcans built in his head".
Episode four, "The Invaders", is a Cthulhu Mythos story by Henry Kuttner.
Anime and Visual Novel
Episode/chapter one's title, "I AM PROVIDENCE", is named after a line in one of the letters H. P. Lovecraft had written during his life. In 1977, fans of Lovecraft created a headstone to mark his burial place and on it they put the line from his letter "I AM PROVIDENCE".
Miskatonic University is a fictional university in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, created by Lovecraft and used in many of his stories. The Necronomicon is also a recurring creation of Lovecraft's; in At the Mountains of Madness, several Miskatonic scholars have actually read that book of forbidden and maddening knowledge, and the University itself has a copy, and, as Al's Good End reveals, the original itself.
Kurou's name is the Japanese romanization equivalent of the name "Titus Crow", the main character in a set of horror fiction novels written by Brian Lumley.
Anime episode five's title (and that of Visual Novel chapter 7), "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", is a story of the same name by H. P. Lovecraft.
Episode nine / Chapter 12, "The Hunt" is a Cthulhu Mythos story by Henry Kuttner.
Episode eleven's title shares its name with Chapter 14 of Al's route, "The Return of the Sorcerer", which would be a nod to Clark Ashton Smith's "The Return of the Sorcerer". Clark Ashton Smith was a correspondent of Lovecraft while he lived. In the story itself, the Necronomicon is quoted.
The last episode/chapter "Strange Eons" is a name taken from the book written by Robert Bloch of the same name. Bloch was a good friend of Lovecraft and best known for the Live-Action Adaptation he wrote called "Psycho". It references a line from the Necronomicon mentioned in several of Lovecraft's stories: "That is not dead which can eternal lie / And with strange aeons even death may die".
Al-Azif's name is derived from the Arabic name for the Necronomicon, "Kitab al-Azif."
Azrad's name is taken from the name of the author of the Necronomicon, Abdul Alhazred.
The Shining Trapezohedron is the name of an ancient artifact in The Haunter of the Dark, coincidentally associated with a certain Nyarlathotep.
Ruri's butler Winfield is named after Winfield Scott Lovecraft, the father of the author.
Black Lodge is named after the parallel hotel in Twin Peaks.
Dr. West's name comes from the Lovecraft story Herbert West — Reanimator.
The Anticross and their Grimoires are walking shout outs as well (again, found in the anime and visual novel):
Master Therion is a pseudonym of occultist Aleister Crowley. His mech Liber Legis also named after Crowley's book, Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law). Etheldreda was the name of Aleister Crowley's dog, and her other namesake, the Pnakotic Manuscripts, first appeared in one of Lovecraft's short stories, Polaris. Incidentally, they're not joking when they say she's the first grimoire. Polaris was the first appearance of a grimoire ever in the Mythos.
Augustus' The Golden Bough is a treatise on theology mentioned in The Call of Cthulhu.
Vespasianus' Book of Eibon appears in several of Lovecraft's stories (The Haunter of the Dark, A Shadow Out of Time) while Cykranosh is the Hyperborean name (in the Mythos) for Saturn.
Nero's Unaussprechlichen Kulten was actually created by Robert E. Howard and is Lovecraft's Gratuitous German translation for Nameless Cults, which calls forth the appropriately-named Deus Machina Nameless One. It's actually more like Unspeakable Cults, but regardless, that name works just as well.
Titus' Culte des Ghoules is another creation of Bloch's. Ogre has four arms, probably reference to Gug, the subterranean race of the Dreamlands.
Caligula's Cthaat Aquadingen is from Lumley's work.
Claudius' Celaeno Fragments, as mentioned above, are the work of Professor Laban Shrewsbury, whose name also gets dropped by Kurou as one of the professors at Miskatonic. Byakhees are creatures that are capable of flying through space, that appear in The Festival, by Lovecraft, and are said to be servants of Hastur (Hastur, Has-). Claudius' grimoire is just a copy. Shrewsbury himself appears in the sequel and summons a much more powerful Lord Byakhee with the original copy of the Celaeno Fragments.
Tiberius' De Vermis Mysteriis appears in The Shambler from the Stars, a Bloch story. Beelzebuth is an allusion to the ancient god Beelzebub or the Lord of the Flies.
Laban Shrewsbury is one of playable character piloting Deus Machina Ambrose, obviously reference to Ambrose Bierce, pre-Lovecraft author who created the name Hastur. Him being playable character might be reflection of how Hastur is rather benevolent god in Bierce's Haita The Shepherd.
Another Blood is Necronomicon: Blood Edition, this might be referrence to Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. Note that this book isn't relate to Al Azif, and thus Another Blood come from alternate future that shouldn't exist.
As the Final Boss, Nyarlathotep appear as Clockwork Phantom, which is eleborate version of Tick-Tock Man from mythos.
Stable Time Loop - Kurou is stranded in the past with Demonbane after his battle with Master Therion and losing Al. He receives a map to gold veins from a dying Hadou Kozou, impersonates the latter, founds Arkham City on the location of the gold, takes care of the son of Kozou's wife and later Ruri (as her "Grandfather"), and arranges for Kurou to be received into the Miskatonic University and sets into motion Kurou's story (including meeting up with Al, acquiring Demonbane, etc). He then dies afterward at the hands of Master Therion. The cycle is broken at the true ends of each heroine's route.
The Super West Invincible Robot Type-28 Special(s) maybe weak when compared to Deus Machina, but at least it can withstand Demonbane's head vulcan guns. One of the mass production Destroyer Robot even got disabled by Winfield on foot in Ruri's route.
The sequel reveal that Claudius's Celaeno Fragments is just a copy of Laban Shrewsbury's, which also has girl form call Hazuki. Similar to his Deus Machina, the Lord Byakhee maybe fast, but it still can't compare to Shrewsbury's Ambrose.
Super Robot Wars: Makes its debut in Super Robot Wars UX. Note that UX will obviously not adapt the original Zanma Taisei visual novel, but the Kishin Houkou anime instead, making this the first series inclusion in an SRW based off of a visual novel.
Thanatos Gambit: Nerotries this near the end. Specifically she tries to force Kurou to kill her with the Shining Trapezohedron so that Master Therion won't be reborn and Nyarlathotep's plan will be ruined permanently. Unfortunately Kurou turns out to be powerful enough to stop her without killing her.
Theme Naming - The Anti-Cross are named after Roman emperors. Al's route reveals that Master Therion bears one too: Domitian.
The Starscream - Augustus and Vespasianus both have aspirations of this.
From left to right: The Book of Eibon, De Vermis Mysteriis, Cultes des Goules, The Golden Bough, Cthaat Aquadingen. Not pictured: Celaeno Fragments and Unaussprechlichen Kulten.
Tsundere - Evidently Al, but the visual novel expands this to Ruri in her individual character route.
Two Guys and a Girl - Odd variant here. Nya seems to like trying to seduce Kurou and Master Therion, depending on her whim, and even though the latter party is aware of this, the usual jealousy one would expect is absent.
Tykebomb - Metatron, Sandalphon and the Tyrant, though rather than being their primary purpose it's a useful (or rather annoying, depending on one's point of view) side effect.
Unknown Rival - Doctor West is convinced that he's Kurou's rival, but Kurou just thinks of him as a pest.
Verbal Tic - Elsa's "-robo" is what convinces Kurou that she really is a robot, apparently.
Villainous Crush - To quote Nyarlathotep in Elder Gods ending, "Then I shall answer you with unforgiving hate, and unrelenting love!".
Vitriolic Best Buds - Caligula and Claudius act like they want to kill each other. After Caligula dies, all Claudius gives a damn about is avenging his death.
You Don't Look Like You - The artist took very deliberate interpretion on Great Old Ones appearance. Atlach-Nacha is a Giant Spider with human torso in place of its head. Cthugha has beast-like body in the middle of massive fireball. Ithaqua first seen as glowing red eyes in the mid of violent storm (Death Walker as called in Call Of Cthulhu) but is really a massive dragon.