It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
Webcomic: Karin-dou 4koma
Tamaryu (left) and Seren (right)* Karin-dou 4koma
(菓厘堂４コマ) is an ongoing Urban Fantasy
comic by Rakurakutei Ramen about crazy lesbian youkai and ancient sorceresses — and the other crazy lesbians who love them — going about their everyday lives
. The starting characters live at Karin-dou, a supposed antique store.
A pair of 4koma are released on Pixiv
every Saturday. Translations can be found on Danbooru
; specific comic references below use their post numbers there.
Residents of Karin-dou:
- Seren: Immortal mage of immense power; Tamaryu's mother by adoption
- Kinka and Ginka, Youkai twin sisters who manifested from a gold and a silver coin respectively (with the hair colors to match); they live as Seren's maids as well as Tamaryu's elder sisters
- Tamaryu: Reincarnation of an ancient dragon Seren killed; her current life is as young as she looks.
- Eldelita "Elly": A "Demon Lord" who lived in the dungeon in one of Seren's storage spaces; she now goes to school with Tamaryuu even though she looks older than her schoolmates
- The Kinru and Ginru: A group of six pint-sized, animal-eared clones of Kinka and Ginka; the Kinru have cat ears and the Ginru have rabbit ears; they serve as Seren's defense system against Elza's night raids as well as a great source of HNNNNG.*
- Elza: Also an immortal mage of immense power and Seren's Master/Adoptive Mother; she also happens to be a sex-crazed hermaphrodite.
- Mifilinah "Mifi": Native American woman adopted by Elza at a young age as she became the last of her tribe; she currently lives as Elza's maid.
- Ran: Ghost of a girl who was raped and murdered on Halloween; ironically, she now lives as Elza's half-sister.
Teachers & Friends:
- Shizuki: 330-year-old fox youkai and self-declared "Miko of Justice". She usually shares Tamaryu's apparent age but takes the form of an adult when teaching at the youkai school.
- Meguru: A younger mage who currently lives as Seren's pupil; she participated in the fight against the Evil Organization prior to the start of the series.
- Genyuu: A version of Meguru from 240 years in the future with the power of Time Travel, who came/will come to the past so she can be herself in the present and transfer her title to the present Meguru.
- Sachi: An ancient fox youkai who elevated to the level of a divinity as well as a self-declared "Miko of Justice"; she is one of the three heavenly youkai of the west as well as the school's principal
- Rindou: An eastern blue dragon; she is one of the three heavenly youkai of the west, the school's PR teacher as well as a Lolicon.
- Shigure: The ghost of a courtesan who fell in love and died together with an aristocrat; she is also one of the three heavenly youkai of the west as well as the school's nurse and the one who keeps Rindou in check.
- Haruno: "Miko-type ability user" and Shizuki's master; has periodic appearances
- Catherine: Half fire-eating bird and half dog youkai; she is in Tamaryu's class
- Sara: White snake youkai; has the lower body of a snake and is in love with a toad youkai
- Aiina: Elza's classmate from when she attended a university abroad. She appears in six pages while visiting Elza.
This 4koma provides examples of:
- 20% More Awesome: Seren will kill you 70% dead.*
- Accidental Kiss: While ice-skating with Ran and Tamaryu, Shizuki daydreams about a stumble causing her to kiss Tamaryu. Ran promptly stumbles and kisses Tamaryu instead.*
- A-Cup Angst: Seren and Tamaryu. For Seren, this is actually intentional.*
- All Women Are Lustful: To be more specific, All Women Are Loveable Lustful Lesbians.
- Animal-Eared Headband: Seren's Power Limiter: bunny ears for her normal form, and cat ears for her child form.
- Author Appeal: Maids. Three major characters are maids. Two other maids appears in a doujin* and one of them is alluded to in a previous comic* . Meguru and Sachi all have been disguised as Maids in seperate strips* and if we go further with one-off characters, a Tengu maid.*
- Beach Episode: A few strips happen in a Pocket Dimension beach inside of a closet within Karin-dou.*
- Big Eater: Tamaryu quickly consumes an entire gigantic swimming pool of pudding created by Seren.* She accepts as a worthy challenge the large mounds of kaarage Meguru makes, but this time she loses.*
- Blind Without 'Em: After Elly shatters Meguru's glasses, Meguru mistakes a scale for Shizuki and begs it for help.* 3_3
- Body Sushi: Tamaryu draws her "personalized winning ticket" during the school lunch lottery and is baffled to find this specified. Ran and Shizuki are delighted and quickly take her to an unused classroom to do their part, but all three are caught and punished.*
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: A complete strip in #199 was dedicated to Elza breaking the fourth wall. The first line attributed the return of the kimono with her complaining that when she changes clothes, they turn into rough drafts. The other line has her exclaiming that there might be new development coming #200.note Everytime, Mifi says that she's being too meta as well as the artist being apologic. *
- Callback: There's several, thanks to the series' high level of continuity.
- Mifi going with Seren to meet Elly* comes from a promise Seren made a few years earlier as an aside.*
- Card-Carrying Villain: Seren has a demon lord license. It expired more than twenty years ago after she forgot to renew it, but she's thinking about reapplying now that she has free time. (Actually just a LARP thing, though.)*
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Mifi when she catches Elza masturbating, and again when Seren asks how she knew.*
- Cross-Popping Veins
- Crotch Grab Sex Check: Aiina only knows Elza as a standard for magicians, so when she first sits down with Seren, she checks if Seren is similarly equipped.*
- Cute Clumsy Girl: When Meguru does laundry, she fills the room with suds. When she vacuums, she breaks sliding doors. She burns everything she cooks except for karaage — but the karaage always turns out in massive quantities for some reason. But she is still cute.*
- Cute Ghost Girl: Ran starts out as the vengeful ghost of a girl who was raped and murdered on Halloween. Seren confronts her after she kills a psychopathic pedophile and forcefully convinces her to drop her grudge and become a Cute Ghost Girl instead.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Seren killing Tamaryu's previous incarnation.*
- Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Tamaryu:
- Her attempt at bowling sends her ball into orbit.*
- Her attempt at smashing a watermelon rends it into a fine pink spray.*
- Her attempt at filling up an inflatable pool causes a blast that knocks Kinka out. Seren makes a note to not teach Tamaryu CPR until she's learned to take it easy.*
- After Kinka explains her token attempts at Percussive Maintenance on a fan that just stopped working, Tamaryu decides to help out with a "light chop" that splits the fan in half.*
- Seren and Ginka worry that Tamaryu might smash the jack-o-lantern Ran is staying in while she turns from a vengeful spirit into a Cute Ghost Girl.*
- The Dreaded / Red Baron: Seren is infamous as a brutal Person of Mass Destruction, with nicknames such as "The Human Solar Cannon" and "The Bomb Princess". Before Meguru actually met Seren, her mental image of Seren featured a Slasher Smile and glowing eyes.* She's really not a bad person. She is still a Person of Mass Destruction, however.
- Easy Amnesia: Shigure and Sachi remove Elza from Rindou's memory by smashing her in the head ten times with Shigure's golden hammer.*
- Elemental Powers: Appears in various forms, such as Meguru's affinity for Lightning magic and Catherine appearing to be half fire-elemental.
- Ensemble Cast: Comes with the Slice of Life nature of the comic. Although, the series mostly revolves around Karin-dou and Elza's household.
- Everyone Is Gay: Outside of a single frog/snake straight couple in Tamaryu's class,* nearly everyone else is lesbian.
- Expecting Someone Taller: When Rindou first met Seren, she expected her to be more menacing, according to her reputation as The Dreaded. It didn't helped that she was in child form at that moment. *
- Exotic Eye Designs: Tamaryu's eyes become slits when she switches to her dragon form. Elza's square pupils indicate her ability to become a sage — a moot point due to her less than enlightened behavior.*
- Eyes Always Shut: Sachi.
- Fountain of Youth: Seren's* and Elza's* independent attempts at weight-loss magic actually turn them into children. Seren eventually turns back, but Elza prefers her new form.
- Generation Xerox: Shigure → Ran (former vengeful ghosts), Rindou → Tamaryu (blue dragons), Sachi → Shizuki (miko foxes)
- Giving Up the Ghost:
- Elza, after she slips a disc trying to pick up a heavy box without using strength magic.*
- Mifi, after Elza says she's going on a date. Seren urges Mifi to put her soul back in before she dies. Mifi's speech bubbles come from the soul until Mifi sucks it back in.*
- Elza-as-Mifi, after Seren burns her ultra deliciously.*
- Sachi, out of simple exhaustion from climbing all the stairs to the shrine.*
- Tamaryu, during a forced study session.*
- Catherine, after getting hit at the end of the No Laughing Game.*
- Going Cold Turkey: Under threat of having her penis snipped off by Aiina, Elza spends 9 pages (7 weeks realtime) without sex.* By the end of Aiina's visit, she has bloodshot eyes and wanders around aimlessly.* After a hypersensitive Elza collapses from an explosive nosebleed, a letter from Aiina finally arrives explaining that she had just been joking.*
- Grand Theft Me: Mifi uses one of Seren's potions to swap bodies with Elza, with the intent of raping Elza with her own body.*
- Hatsuyume: Tamaryu dreams of being partially-trapped under one-eyed Mt. Fuji while a hawk tugs at her cheek and a gigantic one-eyed eggplant rains eggplants down upon her.*
Giant Eggplant: No need for logic! Eat eggplants!
- Henshin Hero: There is a Henshin Hero youkai. Somehow. That is, not a youkai who is a Henshin Hero but rather the concept of "Henshin Hero" in human form. He doesn't look like anything other than an ordinary schoolboy, but then, just being male is extraordinary enough as it is in this comic.
- Hermaphrodite: Elza.
- Homage: One Story Arc is a dedicated homage to Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende, with all the students spending 24 hours at the school trying not to laugh.*
- Improbably Female Cast: Only six males have been (briefly) shown: a frog, a crow, an anonymous customer, and a trio of schoolboys (radio/camera tsukumogami and Henshin Hero).
- Informed Ability: Mifi's shaman power.
- Interspecies Romance: Elza (human->magician) wonders if having sex with Kinka (youkai) counts as this.*
- Japanese Pronouns: While the standard here is still "Watashi", a few characters uses other pronouns:
- Seren uses "Atashi".
- From learning japanese by watching period dramas and idolizing Samurai, Mifi uses "Sessha" as well as other archaisms.
- With her personality gravitating around "Old Sage" , "Perverted Old Man" and "Peppy Young Lady", Elza uses "Washi".
- Sachi uses "Ora", fitting both with her age and her thick Kansai accent.
- Rindo uses "Ore", unsurprising considering her assertiveness.
- Kansai Regional Accent: While the three heavenly youkai of the west are all speaking in various forms of Kansai-ben, Sachi's form is particularly thick.
- Kitsune: Shizuki and Sachi.
- Last of Her Kind: Mifi is the shaman of a tribe that no longer exists.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At one point during the 24 hours arc, Tamaryu notes that she felt that 2 months have passed while less than 5 hours actually passed. 2 months indeed passed between the releases of the start of the arc and that strip. *
- Limited Wardrobe: While this is averted for most characters (even Kinka and Ginka wears other things than their maid uniforms from time to time for non-plot reasons), Shizuki always wears a miko uniform, Elza (until she became a child) had always worn the same kimono, Rindou always wears the same get-up and Mifi always wears her uniform unless the plot needs otherwise.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Seren happened to be eating Ujikintoki (a type of shaved ice) when she needed a surname for Ginka and Kinka.*
- Lolicon: Rindou. Constantly, openly, and without shame.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Elza the nymphomaniac hermaphrodite and Rindou the shameless lolicon in particular.
- Love at First Punch: Rindou falls for Elza after Elza (in child form) suddenly confronts Rindou for "stealing her role" and punches her in the face.* It's more than her usual declarations of love since she spends her time afterwards zoning out and eating bananas. Shigure and Sachi promptly correct the issue.*
- Love Triangle: Seren suggests Ran and Shizuki resolve their argument over marrying Tamaryu by having Shizuki become Tamaryu's wife and Tamaryu becoming Ran's wife.*
Seren: Then it's settled. Fox becomes Tamaryu's wife, and Ran-tan receives Tamaryu as a wife.
Shizuki: T-Then if I receive Ran-chan as a wife, it's all fair.
Ran: Please make me happy...
Tamaryu: Let's think about this calmly! Can we all realize this story is getting even crazier!? And where's my say!?
- Lysistrata Gambit: When Aiina visits, she decides to withhold sex while walking around in a Naked Apron and such until Elza properly answers Mifi's feelings. It doesn't go anywhere, but Elza is zoning out and in tears by the time Aiina departs.*
- Malfunction Malady: When allergy season hits, Tamaryu sneezes fire.*
- Measuring Day: With the usual breast size comparisons. Ran briefly becomes a skeleton with glowing eyes to terrify some boys trying to peek.*
- Meganekko: Meguru.
- Milestone Celebration: In anticipation for the 200th comic, Raku started a popularity contest. The results were released for the 200th. *
- Miko: Shizuki (The miko of justice!), as well as Haruno and Sachi.
- Mundane Utility:
- The main reason for Seren's Power Limiter is so she can put her own powers to mundane use.
- During her tenure as director of the International Mages' Alliance, Seren wrote a slew of joke magic books just for fun, like "Magic to Make Cats Be Friendly" and "The Encyclopedia of Magic to Make People Laugh". However, Meguru found them to be full of informative explanations of magical theory.*
- Tamaryu attempts to use her fire breath to cook but ends up setting the kitchen on fire.*
- Naked Apron: Used by just Mifi in one strip* and together with Aiina in two others.*
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: Discussed then revealed to be completely averted, as she had/will have sex with her own self.
- Non-Human Humanoid Hybrid: Catherine. Her mother is a fire-eating bird, her father is some sort of dog youkai. The result is a dog-eared girl with wings for arms that she can somehow use as large beefy hands who also have a weakness to water.
- Noodle Incident: Seren and friends' fight against an "evil organization", cited as what caused Shizuki to fall in love with Tamaryu.*
- Not Blood Siblings: Ginka and Kinka are coin youkai, not actual sisters. Kinka based her human form on her previous owner, and Ginka just copied Kinka's.
- One-Note Cook: The only food Meguru can cook without burning to a crisp is karaage, but when she does make karaage it always turns out in massive quantities for some reason.*
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Catherine; see Punny Name, below.
- Painting the Medium: Ran uses semi-transparent speech bubbles, a different font and, from her debut to her accidental kiss with Tamaryu, her speech bubbles lacked outlines.*
- Paper Fan of Doom: The punishment for laughing during the Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende arc is getting smacked in the ass by "Smacking-kun", an enchanted paper fan provided by Seren that deals no damage but makes a loud sound and causes great pain.*
- Parental Incest: Elza and Seren*
Mifi: You perpetrated such acts upon your adopted daughter? Even a thousand years ago, wouldn't that just seem plain wrong on a personal level?
Elza: Well, try to think of it as a parent, though. When raising a magician, it's practically indisputably essential that you train them in the Lustful Arts. Their practical benefits cannot be honestly denied.
- Percussive Maintenance: Kinka explains the idea after Tamaryu sees her slapping a fan that just stopped working. Tamaryu's attempt to assist splits the fan in half.*
- Person of Mass Destruction / Power Incontinence: Seren is an immortal magician of immense power with a "Spell Booster" predisposition that automatically, drastically boosts any spells she casts, rendering low-level magic impossible without her Power Limiter on.* Her nicknames as The Dreaded emphasize the destruction she can cause.*
- Polyamory: Ran/Shizuki/Tamaryu, though Tamaryu isn't too happy with the actual lesbian aspect.* When Eldelita attends a sleepover with them, she feels as awkward as someone invited to play and stay overnight at a newlywed's house.*
- Potty Failure:
- Tamaryu voids herself on the fifth page after imagining something scary.*
- Tamaryu and Shizuki void themselves in terror when Ran's attempt at a laugh turns into something like a Slasher Smile. *
- Catherine pisses herself laughing when her rush to the bathroom is interrupted by Ran floating through the bathroom wall with a bald cap on her head.*
- Catherine voids herself on Tamaryu after Tamaryu interrupts another rush with a caressing session.*
- Power Limiter: Seren has to wear one to contain her immense power and allow her to use magic for trivial things. Without it, focusing even a little bit of magical energy would make it become a high class magic.*
- Punny Name: Catherine is half fire-eating bird and half dog. "Fire-bird-dog" —> "Ka-Tori-Inu" —> "Catherine". Her real name is Inukai Suzume, but no-one calls her that.*
- Really 700 Years Old: Much of the cast. They're youkai, after all. Cranked up another notch when Seren and Elza get aged down to children.
- Real Time: Outside of a few Story Arcs, for all of it's 5 year old story note , most of the strips' events happens roughly when the strips are released. This is reflected with Tamaryu slowly growing from a 8 year old girl to a 13 year old middle schooler.
- Rock Theme Naming: Kinka and Ginka get their name from appending "-ka"note before their namesake metals. At one point, Mifi wonders if the naming scheme would have continued if Tamaryu were a coin youkai instead of a dragon, with "Douka" (corresponding to copper) or even "Pearl-ka". Ginka and Kinka deem it quite likely.*
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: Ran and, later, Catherine. Shizuki is disqualified by taking an adult form and serving as a teacher while at school.
- Screw Yourself: As it seems, Genyuu will/had, in the future, make/made our Meguru into a woman.
- There are numerous Monster Hunter references sprinkled all over the place. Of course, all of Karin-dou have played the game at once at one point.*
- The Kinru and Ginru's names as well as being collectively called the Otomos is a reference to the Felyne Comrade (or "Otomo Airu") feature of the portable games.
- Mifi's body being "burnt ultra-deliciously" or "Hmmm! So tasty!"*
- A text box like the ones you see in Monster Hunter shows up after Tamaryu smashes a watermelon into a fine pink spray.*
- There's an entire story arc dedicated as an homage to Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende.
- Slasher Smile: Ran pulls one off when trying to force a laugh (causing Tamaryu and Shisuki to void themselves)* and again when groping Tamaryu.*
- Sleeps with Everyone but You: Elza refuses to have sex with Mifi because of Mifi's Virgin Power as shaman of her perished tribe.* The result is an extremely sexually-frustrated maid who constantly begs her master for sex, with the occasional attempted rape.*
Elza: That tribe perished, leaving Mifi as the last priestess. That said, she must stay pure, or else her powers will disappear. If she loses her purity, just to satisfy myself, Mifi's tribe will perish in a different meaning. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be showing any restraint...
Seren: (Why is she a good person under this circumstance?)
- Smashing Watermelons: Held by the Karin-dou four. They really should know better than to hand the bat to Tamaryu.
- Snake People: Sara, the white snake youkai. She has the lower body of a snake, and on one occasion Sara gets slit pupils and a snake tongue while angry.* Ironically, her boyfriend is a toad youkai, who's a little unsettled by Sara's regular, loving remarks about him looking delicious and wanting to eat him up... *
- Springtime for Hitler: Kinka challenges Tamaryu to a Yu-Gi-Oh! card game with the intention of going easy on her but ends up crushing Tamaryu because her hands instinctively cheat. Ginka — who doesn't even know how to play and makes a deck out of whatever catches her eyes — takes over to cheer her up, but also ends up crushing Tamaryu because her great luck keeps giving her good cards.*
Seren: You two hardly ever cry, she's bawling up a storm... what the hell happened here?
- Stable Time Loop: Genyuu's back story involves this as well as a complete aversion of Never the Selves Shall Meet.
- Sudden School Uniform: During the Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende Story Arc, the students were forced to wear uniforms while they didn't before. *
- Super-Strong Child: Tamaryu, by virtue of being a dragon.
- Tears of Blood: On Valentine's Day, Mifi plans to surprise Elza with a Naked Apron and chocolate lipstick. However, she then talks in on Elza expressing her happiness over receiving simple chocolates from Seren instead of "getting weirdly gimmicked" and immediately starts screaming and crying tears of blood...*
- Technical Virgin: Mifi's Virgin Power still leaves some alternatives for Elza.
- Third-Person Person: Shizuki is this in the untranslated dialog, even in adult mode.
- Teleportation Sickness: Tamaryu's entire class collapses with nausea after Seren mass-teleports them, with the exception of Tamaryu and Elly, who are used to it.*
- Too Kinka To Torture: A furious Seren hangs Kinka from the ceiling in apparent rope bondage off-panel for a perceived wrong. When she realizes her mistake and returns to release her, she finds a very happy Kinka saying that she could get used to this as a reward...*
- Two-Teacher School: Justified, as Tamaryu's group is actually a test group. However, all five employees are people that Tamaryu know.note
- Unusual Ears: Unsurprisingly, several characters, as youkai, have unusual ears.
- Pointy Ears: Tamaryu and Sara have pointy elfish ears that are usually hidden by their hair. Elly, however, has longer and pointier ears that sprout perpendicularly from her head.
- Little Bit Beastly: Shizuki in half-demon mode (fox ears) and Catherine (Dog ears).
- Unwanted Harem: Tamaryu's slowly building a small harem around her. First Shizuki, then a triangle with Ran, then a tetrahedron with Catherine.*
- Urban Fantasy: The series takes place in modern Japan.
- Urine Trouble: Catherine voids herself on Tamaryu after Tamaryu interrupts her rush to the bathroom with a caressing session.*
- Virgin Power: Mifi and her never-shown shaman power.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Elza and Word of God reveals that the former's "additional appendage" and Seren's A-Cup Angst is actually their way to defy this trope.
- Worthy Opponent: Seren's explanation for why Tamaryu's previous incarnation didn't hold a grudge for Seren killing her.*
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Most of the cast being youkai, of course some of them have strange hair colors.
- Tamaryu, Rindou, Ran and Sara have varing shades of blue hair.note
- Elly has bright green hair. Mifi, despite being a (mostly) normal human, has dark green hair.
- Catherine has red hair.
- Kinka and Shizuki are blondes, the former from emulating her original owner as a coin and being a gold coin youkai, the latter from being a Kitsune.
- Ginka and Shigure have silver hair. The former from being a silver coin youkai.
- Elza has light pink hair which turned into a very light platinum blonde in child mode.
- Youkai: Most of the cast are either magicians or some kind of youkai, generally either tsukumogami (coin, camera, ...) or animal (fox, bird/dog, snake, toad, crow, ...). This includes — somehow — a Henshin Hero youkai. In one strip, Seren/Kinka/Ginka discuss the possibility of virtual idols becoming youkai, with Seren dismissing them as too fleeting to take hold and a moment later suggesting that god is the original virtual idol.
- Younger than They Look: Despite looking like a busty young woman, Eldelita is actually only five years old when first introduced... counting from when she became Seren's familiar.