Slightly Damned is a Comedic Drama Fantasy webcomic written and drawn by Sarah "The Chu" Wilson. The story is based on the "life", death, and misadventures of RheaSnaketail, as well as her "Demon supervisor"-turned-surrogate little brother Buwaro , and later on, the socially awkward but BadassAngelKieri "Snowy" Suizahn.The humor and emotional drama is derived from a full cast of varied and compelling characters, and the complex but rewarding plot is sure to inspire many an Archive Binge well into the wee hours of the morning. Updates every Wednesday and Saturday with a large full color page.Originally updated officially every Saturday, it became notable for having the proud honor of being perhaps the only webcomic in existence with Reverse Schedule Slip, although this sadly ended up being played straight later on. Fortunately, this has happened less than a dozen times since the title page first debuted on March 13th, 2004. Thus making this webcomic a true Long Runner.
A Hell of a Time: The severity of this trope depends on how deep into hell you go. The Ring of the Slightly Damned is harmless, boredom and cliffs notwithstanding, whilst Hell itself ranges from a never ending rendition of The Song That Never Ends to being tortured to death every single day for the rest of eternity.
Retroactively done. Most Medians - Rhea included - don't really believe in the Guardians or heaven or hell. Of course, Death shows up in the first page of the comic, and Rhea is introduced to her first demon by page five, so she's had to discard her skepticism in a hurry.
Always Chaotic Evil: This, and most related tropes, are Averted in the story. The author and the story itself indicate that demons and angels have evil and good tendencies, but there are exceptions in all cases.
Berserk Demons are a straighter example, attacking and killing until they die or there's nothing left to kill. And then hurting the last one they have the option to. Themselves.
And Call Him George: Death may be friendly, but when not watching his own strength, gave a pretty fierce hug to Buwaro and Rhea.
Also, Buwaro gave one to Rhea when introducing her to Sakido.
Also, Flash Backs, like when Kieri reads through Darius'sdiary, are done in the same style.
Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Played with in Angels, who dye their hair and uniforms based on their element. Demons' elements, however, totally change their physical appearance, with earth demons being upwards of 12 feet tall, wind demons tending to be very tall and thin, with wings, fire demonsusually aroundhuman height◊, and water demons being fairly short (around 5 feet tall) and usually aquatic.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: Berserk Demons. This is why they'll fight until they are killed or die of exhaustion. They hurt themselves when alone.
Audio Adaptation: Currently, there's a fan made Radio Play project which was started back in August 2008. All of the characters are voiced by fans and forum members with the exception of Rhea who is voiced by the Author herself. Unlike the comic however, it suffers from Schedule Slip partially due to the fact that there are a lot of people who need to be coordinated in order for the project to work. The first four episodes are currently out with the fifth currently in production. You can listen to them here.
For that matter, Buwaro'sUnstoppable Rage is rendered thus by being much more literal than usual. There are precisely two ways to stop it, and one of those is death. It's also totally indiscriminate.
Awesome McCoolname: Jakkai are given meaningful last names based on their appearance or personality, which leads to some pretty cool names such as Snaketail and Thunderheart. Rhea's friend Ramirez Bloodeyes might just be the winner, though. There's also a character named Darius Elexion, and later, of course, Buwaro Elexion.
Ax-Crazy: Azurai. Quoth Iratu, in response for throwing out Tsavo's suggestion that they not vaporize a village to get one specific person: "What the hell is your problem?"
Bowdlerize: Angelic isn't particularly good for cursing.
Demon:(in Angelic) You may kiss my posterior, you son of an ugly woman.
Angel:(in Angelic) Wh-wha...h-how dare you! For such an uncouth remark, instead I will kick it!
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Duster popping the lovey-dovey hearts in the second panel here might just be the first (if minor) example of this. Not that a lack of fourth wall breakage hinders the story or humor at all, of course.
Cerebus Syndrome: While intended as a plot driven story from the beginning, the focus on Rhea and Buwaro in the first several strips makes the beginning much lighter in tone.
It happens twice, in fact. First we have Rhea and Buwaro in the Ring of the Slightly Damned, and later their time in Medius with Kieiri, which was mostly lighthearted in itself. Still, a recent set of comics seem to indicate that the plot is getting ready to kick in again...
Character Development: Quite a bit. Over a year has passed in-story, and the characters have come a long way from where they started.
Rhea is more tolerant and patient with Buwaro's antics, and she seems to be more comfortable acting as a surrogate older sister to him and Kieri. She's still a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but with slightly more emphasis on the heart of gold-part.
Buwaro has matured and is becoming more focused and serious. His commitment to Kieri drives him to try to and better himself by trying to learn to read and use his magic.
Kieri is more outspoken and confident, and she's no longer bothered by her feelings for Buwaro.
Cheated Angle: Thadius always looks the same — crevasse, shape, everything — because she is always drawn from the exact same angle.
Cool Big Sis: In a more literal example, Rhea has taken on the responsibility of being a big sister to Buwaro since Sakido's death. Kieri also looks up to Rhea as a role model, since she envies Rhea's strong personality. Though she can be cynical and short tempered with them, Rhea's doing her best to look after them both and give them guidance.
Sakido and Iratu were abusive to Buwaro before he was old enough to talk. The former is responsible for the bite mark on his ear.
Dark Is Not Evil / Light Is Not Good: Angels and demons are shown to suffer similar attitudes (including emotional instability and prejudice) to what you would expect of humans, given their respective cultural situations.
Diabolus ex Machina: Happens pretty much every time things are looking up for the Protagonists...as a means to move the plot along.
Don't Fear The Reaper: Subverted. At first, Death seems to be an amiable person who even made friends with the rather lonely denizens of the Ring of the Slightly Damned. But then it's revealed that he's actually the angel Darius, who acts as Death's replacement. The actual god is at least implied to be much more callous.
Dramatic Necklace Removal: Occurred when Rhea stole Buwaro's star pendant, which resulted in Buwaro reverting to his berserk state and brutally killing her.. The cast has spent the remainder of the comic trying to avert this.
Dream Sequence: In the first few arcs, dream sequences for the characters are fairly common.
Ear Ache: Buwaro got a very damaged ear from Sakido.
Early Installment Weirdness: Before the series' original mythology was established, Death referred to himself as being also known as both Anubis and the Grim Reaper, as well as implying he had many other titles. Even knowing that it's not really Death making these claims, this still makes little sense.
Face-Heel Turn: Two of Medius's Guardian Spirits sided with Syndel during the Great War. Toski, the rabbit spirit, seems to be the most infamous of them, to the point that many people view rabbits as signs of bad luck or worse.
A newspaper article suggests that she murdered the Jakkai merchant who tried to sell Willow and Eve on the black market, his skull was found covered in pink glitter.
Fairy Companion: Sammy has two, sisters named Willow and Eve, who she rescued from an unscrupulous merchant in Riverside. They're you're standard fairy companion affair: small, cute, glowing, and silent. Less conventionally, Cliff has Duster, who is fast-talking and lecherous. He also seems to amplify Cliff's magical abilities.
Fantastic Racism: Demons are nearly universally reviled by Medians and Angels, and the feeling is definitely mutual; Demons generally see Medians as worthless and despise Angels with a fiery passion. It also seems to be traditional in certain Jakkai villages to not allow humans to visit.
Lakritz drops a few cryptic statements during his conversation with Kieri and Buwaro. It later becomes obvious that he was trying to protect his friends from the Demon operation in St. Curtis
Upon hearing Buwaro sing, he mentions that Demons who know Angelic are especially dangerous. Because the language is taught to high-ranking officers, like Iratu and Tsavo.
He also had convinced the Angel Kinako to wear something casual instead of her uniform, and urges Kieri do to the same, saying that "It might help." That is because the Demons are given an order to hunt down the Angels in the city.
Forever War: The Angels and Demons are locked in an apparently divine-mandated war of annihilation, reinforced by numerous Remember The Alamo incidents on both sides. The war is over, but now there are conspiracies instead.
Justified, since Darius (the current Death) didn't create Cerberus and therefore Cerberus feels no obligation to obey him.
The Gods Must Be Lazy: Despite being one of the divine crowd, Death gets rather lame territory compared to Gaia (heaven) and Syndel (hell), just getting himself purgatory and judgment. Not to mention that given the nastiness of divine politics, his hands are tied in regards to the other gods. There is also no information on the other gods doing anything at all recently.
It eventually became known that Death has been missing for 15 years, having been replaced by Darius, and making him the same.
For that matter, what we've seen of angel society suggests that it's hyper-conformist and at least borderline fascist, but they canonically tend toward good, and the society seems to be constructed in this manner specifically to keep the tending-toward-evil demons in check.
And let's not forget Rhea. She has a short temper, likes to tease people, and often curses like a sailor.
Good Wings, Evil Wings: Angels have their usual deal, Demons get all varieties of feathery and batlike, Fairies - butterfly wings.
Gratuitous English: Duster, but it's justified as Fairies generally speak their own language.
Green-Eyed Monster: The reason for Sakido and Iratu's initial reactions to Buwaro joining their 'family', especially Sakido. So much so that it led to Sakido tearing off part of Buwaro's ear, and guilt from their behavior probably drives both demons' closeness with Buwaro earlier in the strip.
Grey and Gray Morality: The war between heaven and hell. The angels are implied to be A Lighter Shade Of Gray, as many of the demons have violent tendencies (and some are tasked with torturing souls in hell). However, not all demons are evil and most of them at least have redeeming qualities, while some of the Angels are merciless Knight Templars. Darius notes that both sides occasionally kill children of the other side.
Half-Human Hybrid: Hukai like Toby, who are half human, half Jakkai. (Hence the name Hukai.)
Happily Adopted: Buwaro proudly took Darius's last name after finding out about the contents of his diary, and what the angel did to protect him and his siblings, all of whom he considered his adoptive children anyway.
Rhea assuming the "big sister" mantle for Buwaro, at the behest of Sakido, works the same way. To a lesser extent for Rhea and Kieri.
Have You Seen My God?: Mother Gaia and Father Syndel are missing, the real Death hasn't been seen either since he went looking for them 15 years ago.
Lucky Rabbit's Foot: Inverted in this world. The Guardian Toski, who takes the form of a rabbit, sided with Hell during the great war, on top being a Jerkass in general. As a result, Medians view rabbits as being bad luck.
Magic Music: Kieri's singing may be a minor example. Everyone who heard it took notice. Even the horses.
Buwaro follows up with a good deal of untapped talent as well. While it's not magic per se, it's apparently insanely attractive to Angels, which means Kieri nearly falls on her butt just from hearing it.
Rhea also exemplifies a more subtle version of this. The local Crystal Dragon Jesus is named Gaia. In greek mythology, the Earth-Titan Gaia's daughter - who became the mother of Zeus and the other olympian gods - was named Rhea. What - if anything - this foreshadows is uncertain at this point.
Azurai in general helps to lighten the mood whenever we're given a shot of the villains plotting.
An example of Double Whiplash: After Darius's tearfilled farewell to Sakido, Buwaro, in her arms, "boops" her nose (just as Darius had done) and giggles. She does not take it well.
Mundane Afterlife: The Ring of the Slightly Damned consists of a large open landscape, filled with rocks, a pet rock, mountains made of rock, and flat places made of rock.
Mundane Utility: Azurai and Cliff have lit up cigarettes using their fire magic.
My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Played with. For Demons, being evil is as much a choice as it is their instinct so long as the berserker thing is kept in check, but most of them are unsavory characters anyway, as their role in the greater scheme of things is to torture the souls of the damned.
Mysterious Past: Sakido, Buwaro, Iratu, Darius, Death, as well as what Ramirez has been up to since Rhea died, although that's more of a Mysterious Present.
Nice Guy: Several characters. Some of the more notable ones include:
Buwaro, who (despite being a demon) is an extremely friendly and likable guy. Initially, his willingness to make friends seems to be tied mostly to his naivety and the VERY long time he's spent alone, but he's later shown to be very loyal, protective, and willing to change himself for the people he cares about as well.
Miranda Sinclair is caring and generous, contrasting her husband's gruff and cynical demeanor. Her niece Samantha counts as well.
Death, as seen right from the start. He takes care of Buwaro and treats the souls he collects with respect. Makes perfect sense, considering he's actually Darius in disguise. The original Death is implied to have been much less pleasant.
And speaking of which, Darius Elexion might be the most extreme example in the story. What do you do if you're trapped in hostile territory, with all your allies dead and no means of espcape? Adopt the children of your enemies and protect them with your life, obviously.
Kieri is also a very nice person, but she averts the "psychologically well-balanced" part of the trope, largely due to her backstory.
Our Angels Are Different: While Angels may appear very similar to Humans, they are powerful wielders of magic, proud warriors, and have no afterlife. They can also be a bit overly xenophobic and militaristic for a race of supposedly good guys.
Our Demons Are Different: They resemble Petting Zoo People, having mammalian, reptilian, avian and amphibian features mixed in various configurations. Their vary greatly from one another, and are also the only race where elemental affinity defines physical (not only magical) capabilities.
Paper-Thin Disguise: The pimp suit used to disguise Buwaro didn't really hide his purple fur, ear shape and horns, traits which none of Medius' known races have. It worked, though it led some people to believe Rhea and Kieri are hookers.
Then there's the case mentioned under Weirdness Censor, which made Buwaro think no one would recognize him if he wore the Trouble Center badge he had at the time.
Personality Powers: Based on elemental affiliation. An established tendency, but not a rule.
Persona Non Grata: If Buwaro and Kieri ever go back to Weyville, Denevol will almost certainly kill them. But at least, out of deference to Cliff, he won't pursue them.
Schedule Slip: Inverted. Beginning the third year, Chu would frequently post comics more than once a week, especially when she was telling a story. Eventually Chu broke down and increased updates officially to twice a week.
Unfortunately, it ended up being played straight beginning in 2013, as Chu started serious college work.
Shipper on Deck: Rhea is clearly supportive of Buwaro and Kieri's relationship. One of the primary reasons is because it means she gets a bed to herself (or at least, she only has to "share" it with Thadius). Provided they aren't keeping her awake.
Straight Gay: If it had never been explicitly stated, the audience would never know that Darius was gay. After it comes up in his diary, it isn't made a big deal of because it has almost no bearing on the plot, and the characters who know don't see it as being very important.
Add to that the casual appearance of a background (male) character buying a gift for his husband, and Rhea's lack of comment at a (female) fairy's apparent crush on her, one might assume that gender-preferences aren't generally considered very important in this world.
Superpowered Evil Side: Demons aren't exactly "good" to begin with, but they are able to enter a berserk form that is... Well, see for yourself. The downside is that once they enter this form, the easiest way out of it is death by overexertion.
Buwaro is a Demon squarely on the Good side of things. Just don't remove that necklace.