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Created by Studio Gainax and animated by both Gainax and Studio Shaft, This Ugly Yet Beautiful World celebrated Gainax's 20th anniversary. It ran from April 1 to June 17, 2004.

While it starts out as a simple Magical Girlfriend series, it ends up being more like a Lighter and Softer version of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Orphans Takeru Takemoto and Ryo Ninomiya are ordinary high school students who witness a strange light descend from the skies and then split into two. Upon investigating it, they find a cute girl who doesn't seem to know who she is. Her appearance, along with that of her "little sister" Akari, shake up the simple lives of the town with the joy of seeing the world for the first time. The story follows Hikari and Akari in their learning about humanity at its brightest and darkest, as well as their own mysterious origins. It also contains more than its share of Fanservice.

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The series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: Between Sakurako Urushima and Amika Kurebayashi during the Beach Episode, when Kimi accidentally bumps into them.
  • Actor Allusion: Virtually the entire Japanese cast plays roles that parallel characters they played in Mahoromatic, with the exceptions of Takahiro Mizushima (Takeru), who was not in Mahoromatic, and Megu Ashiro (Kimi), who played a secretary character in Mahoromatic. On the English side of things, this series was dubbed in Texas while Mahoromatic was dubbed in California, so the casting connections were not carried over.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Hikari's true self is very different from the sweet, cheerful girl who falls in love with Takeru.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Hikari and Akari are anthropomorphic personifications of extinction and survival respectively... they just don't know it. Moe Anthropomorphism at that!
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  • Animal Motifs: Metamorphic insects, especially butterflies.
  • Appendage Assimilation: Takeru does this to an Extended Definition to create wings.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 7 takes place at the beach.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Hikari seems attached to Takeru because of this. Granted, he was the first person to see her, but she tells everyone she was lonely until he showed up.
  • Best Beer Ever: In one case, as a shoutout to the page image.
  • Big Eater: Hikari and Akari.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The Real Hikari isn't actually all that evil, she's just doing her job. If it means psychologically breaking down the one thing that could actually kill you, then so be it.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: The crimson butterflies seen throughout the series are the souls of beings that have died and have yet to be reborn.
  • Butt-Monkey: Takeru Takemoto (for most of the episodes)
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mari turns into one when Hikari shows up.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Daijirou and Shinichi, Takeru's other guy friends, also don't like that Hikari seems to have appeared out of nowhere and is hanging out with him. Hilariously, in episode 2, after Takeru's aunt and uncle have a talk with him, those two guys also drag him out afterwards to have a talk with him as well.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Takeru's mother abandoned him as a child, leaving him with his Aunt, Uncle, and a whole lot of issues. Ryo and Kimi's parents died in an accident, and they've been taking care of each other ever since.
  • Declaration of Protection: Takeru to Hikari. The twist in this case is that Takeru is an Extended Definition organism designed to prevent the Seventh Mass Extinction... that Hikari is here to cause.
  • Determinator: Takeru will protect Hikari. Even if it goes against his Extended Definition instincts.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Hikari is a Cosmic Entity tasked with causing the extinction of all life on Earth.
  • Energy Being: Hikari and Akari's true forms, as seen when Akari transforms her arm into a Laser Blade to stop Evil Hikari from destroying the world.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Of a sort. Extended Definition is essentially instant evolution to one's maximum physical (and metaphysical) limits.
  • Fall-in Angel: The story begins with a shooting star descending from the sky, flying alongside the heroes for a moment, then splitting in two and landing in the forest.
  • Fanservice: The series averts Barbie Doll Anatomy when it comes to breasts, and isn't afraid to flaunt it. The series even lampshades it: in one scene, Jennifer gets kinda cozy with Takeru, and a guy screaming "Aww yeah!!" can be heard in the background.
  • Festival Episode: Obon festival, to be more precise. Made plot relevant since it is during this festival which people honor the deceased that Hikari first comes to understand death.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Evil Hikari Curb Stomp Battles a theropod Extended Definition by doing this to it.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Hikari's lighter-haired red eyed, much more forward alternate One-Winged Angel personality, tasked with causing mass extinctions, is far more powerful than her appearance lets on.
    • Takeru's transformed (Extended Definition) form comes with more feral instincts, leaving him to brutalize the various monsters he encounters. It's also driven by instinct to kill Hikari at the end of the series.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Towards the end of the series, Hikari enters One-Winged Angel mode and almost destroys Earth after getting slapped by Mari.
  • Super Mode: When Takeru takes contol of his Extended Definition form.
  • Talking to Themself: Hikari's good and evil personalities argue with each other.
  • Tempting Fate: "Well don't worry, your school isn't going to just instantaneously collapse..."
  • The Talk: It's implied that Takeru got this from his Aunt and Uncle, as well as his friends. Of course, he did just bring home a girl who he found naked in the woods, and is blatantly infatuated with him.
    • Sakurako Urushima and Amika Kurebayashi enjoy egging on the love triangle between Mari, Takeru, and Hikari.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: It turns out Hikari is a goddess of death come to exterminate all life on earth and Takeru is an Extended Definition born to kill her.
  • Transformation Sequence: Takeru provides a notably male-only version.
  • Tsundere: Mari is a Type A. Played with when her inability to spit it out finally results in her screaming at and slapping Hikari and breaking out her Superpowered Evil Side to bring the End of the World as We Know It.
  • Twin Telepathy: Hikari and Akari hum the same songs and eat the same foods before meeting.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: Almost all of Takeru's friends and family seem to accept Hikari without trouble or too much suspicion regarding how she ended up on Earth.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Hikari gets a big "Stop helping me!" from Mari during the beach episode.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Hikari coming to understand the darker sides of human emotion is a strong part of the Mood Whiplash in the later series.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Ryo somehow gains the power to alter probability, likely from exposure to Hikari or Akari.

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