The cast of Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni and associated tropes. Beware of spoilers from the first episode onward.
Marie Moriya / Mesomeso
Marie is a hopeless girl who is harassed by everyone in her class and abused by her homeroom teacher. While despairing over her troubles in the bathroom of the old school building where she regularly meets her teacher for "supplementary lessons", she accidentally starts the rumor of a youkai named Mesomeso who haunts the bathroom. Higanbana gives her the chance to actually become Mesomeso, which she does after being strangled to death by her teacher. Instead of seeking revenge, however, Marie uses her newfound status to help other bullied students in her school.
- Alliterative Name
- All of the Other Reindeer
- Badass Adorable: After becoming a youkai.
- Break the Cutie: Though she's already broken by the time the story begins.
- Byronic Hero
- Cute Ghost Girl: Face it, dead or not she is just adorable.
- The Dog Bites Back: After being abused by Kanamori for god knows how long, she get the chance to eat him once she becomes a youkai.
- First Episode Resurrection
- Hair Decorations: A bunny clip in the visual novel.
- Hot for Teacher: She says to Kanamori that she loved him whether she still had feelings for him at the end is anyone's guess though.
- Kill the Cutie: Kanamori strangles her to death.
- Meaningful Name: Her youkai nickname is taken from the Japanese phrase meso meso, which is the sound one makes while weeping and sobbing.
- The Glasses Come Off: Youkai!Marie. Manga-only.
- Morality Pet: To Higanbana.
- Mundane Utility: Apparently, one of her powers is to find rice cakes. Somehow.
- Odd Friendship: With Higanbana.
- Rape as Backstory: Though her backstory is the first thing seen, and at the hands of her teacher no less.
- The Red Baron: Mesomeso.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Higanbana's red.
- She Knows Too Much: The reason why Kanamori kills her.
- Sailor Fuku: She wears one for the Yōkai's Tsukimi in the eighth story. She based it on the one her sister wore in middle school.
- Secret Test of Character: She and Kanamori were teleported to the bathroom to see who was capable of becoming Mesomeso. She wins due to Kanamori breaking the "rules" of Mesomeso.
- Sixth Ranger: Introducing Mesomeso, the eighth of the seven school youkai.
- White Sheep: Just compare her character to the other youkai minus Kyou who is pretty much courteous and kind to her.
- The Worf Effect: While she often tries to help the protagonist, she rarely manages to do anything, much to her dismay. Though she at least talks Yukari out of the suicide option the latter was contemplating.
- She actually battled with the Black Tea Gentleman in "The Princess's Lie", but accidentally broke his masquerade on Midori in the process.
- You Got Balls: Izanami praises her for her honesty against the Black Tea Gentlemen's use of lies, instantly saying that he likes her for that.
- Youkai: Becomes this in the first chapter.
Higanbana is ranked third among the seven major youkai who haunt the school, also known as the "Dancing Higanbana". She often takes the form of a doll that sits on one of the shelves in the school infirmary, and is rumored to dance around in the middle of the night. She forms an Odd Couple with Marie after she effortlessly starts the rumor of Mesomeso, opening a spot for an eighth youkai. Is the main recurring antagonist of the story/stories.
- Anti-Hero: While she helps the desperate Marie from the awful situation her teacher has placed her in, Higanbana's intentions are not exactly good. Although the antagonists are just worse, and from there, just about everybody she ''does'' kill or inflict mind rape on had done something truly terrible and unforgivable.
- Bad Samaritan: It's part of her nature as a youkai. She may seem to help people, but she really just wants to eat them in the end. The only real exception to this is Marie, especially after she becomes a youkai, though she openly states that she would've eaten Marie if she hadn't.
- Big Bad: As the most recurring antagonist, shes the best candidate until Sumire shows herself.
- Break the Haughty: Played for Laughs in "Welcome to the Mirror World". Higanbana gets into a fight with Marie's Mirror Universe counterpart Geragera, who is ranked first among the youkai in the mirror world. By the end of their fight, the once-haughty Higanbana is turned into Geragera's sniveling errand-girl, and even continues to act this way when she meets the real Marie afterward.
- Catchphrase: "It's a pity."
- Creepy Doll: Likes to take this form. Her true form resembles a doll as well.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Being a pretty yet creepy girl whos a big Troll and even somewhat resembles Bernkastel makes her a dead ringer for being the main antagonist, but shes just a pawn of the even worse Sumire and even starts fighting back.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Emotionless Girl: What she started out as in "Before The Spider Lilies Bloomed." While she was indeed feared as an incredibly cruel youkai, she wasn't always the ironic Troll we know her as and only fought because she didn't want to die. It wasn't until she met Shuuichi that she began to experience actual emotions and question why she wants to live.
- Irony: Loves using it in her trolling, especially to Hikaru.
- Flower Motifs - Meaningful Name: Higanbana is one of the Japanese names for the red spider lily, a flower that the Japanese associate with death.
- Lucky Translation: And the Spanish name for that flower?. Flor del infierno (hell's flower). Would be awesome if it could double as a girl name. But in Spanish, it can't, so if you name your daughter like that you'll get more than a what-do-you-mean-you-ain't-named-her-on-drugs look. At the least. It's a pity.
- HeelFace Turn: Downplayed; while she doesnt stop hunting for souls, she softened up after befriending Marie, even turning on Sumire.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Looking back on the previous entries as a whole after seeing "Before The Spider Lilies Bloom" subtly implies that Higanbana's Lack of Empathy status might just be a front. Even she was disgusted at what happened to Shuuichi. The full awakening of her emotions and evolution into the Higanbana we know stems from her new belief that all youkai are beings of darkness whose job is to ensure that the night stays dark and that humans stay out of it. To that end, Higanbana creates a dark and terrifying night in order to shape a more beautiful and fulfilling day. While her cruelty towards her victims like Hikaru and the boys who crippled Shuuichi is indeed genuine, the apathy and twisted statements she makes about wanting to eat Marie's soul could just be things she does so people don't think she's weak.
- Kick the Dog/Kick the Son of a Bitch: It doesn't matter who or how she kicks. She just likes to do it a lot.
- Lack of Empathy: She curses and kills humans without a second thought, and she couldn't really care less about her fellow youkai. The only person she even remotely cares for is Marie, if only because she's interested in her capabilities as a youkai.
- Averted in "Before the Spider Lilies Bloom" where she develops an unlikely bond with Shuuichi and actually tried to protect him from his bullies. She was sincerely repulsed when she saw the horrific damage the boys performed on him that last time, such as the fact that they ruptured his eyes. Keep in mind, this is still while Higanbana had only just started to feel emotions.
- Large Ham: Higanbana likes her job.
- Leitmotif: Yoi no kagefumi.
- Necessary Evil: As she puts it, the Youkai make the school's night dark so that way the day will shine even brighter. This is after Marie awakens as Mesomeso and kills Kanamori.
- Pet the Dog: Letting Yoko's ghost go to Heaven in "One Girl's Day". She's even stated to have done it on a whim.
- Psychotic Smirk
- The Red Baron: The Dancing Higanbana.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Marie's blue.
- Signature Laugh: You can hide under your bed, nobody will blame you.
- Smug Snake: Whenever she actually loses.
- Start of Darkness: "Before the Spider Lilies Bloomed" shows hers, detailing her transition from an Emotionless Girl to the Ironic Hell-loving Troll she is now.
- Telepathy: One of her youkai powers.
- Troll: What would be one of 07th Expansion's works without one? She loves to plunge her preys into despair to make their soul tastier.
Kanamori is Marie's homeroom teacher. He originally defended Marie against her tormentors, but has long since taken to molesting her in the bathroom of the old school building to relieve the daily stress of his job. He is the main antagonist of the first chapter, "Mesomeso-san".
- A God Am I: Well, not necessarily a god, but he declares himself to be Mesomeso after strangling Marie to death and pretending to be a youkai to ward off potential witnesses who came because of a Scare Dare.
- Arc Villain: For "Mesomeso-san".
- Asshole Victim: His final fate is being brutally killed by his own victim.
- Beneath the Mask: He'd be a fairly likable guy if he weren't secretly a brutal, animalistic child molester.
- Bishōnen: Is said to be very popular with the girls. Well, except for Marie.
- Blackmail: Kanamori always videotapes Marie while molesting her, and threatens to expose the tapes in order to keep her quiet. The moment Marie tried to turn this around on Kanamori, it led to her death.
- Break Them by Talking: What he does to the ghost of Marie (see The Reason You Suck Speech below). Alas, he should have stayed silent.
- Corrupt the Cutie: He actually started out as a Wide-Eyed Idealist before the unbearable stress of work and his unhealthy paedophilia fetish twisted him into what he is now.
- Evil vs. Evil: Played for Laughs in "After School", when he and Shintani trash-talk each other and accuse each other of being a worse Sadist Teacher.
- Faux Affably Evil: He talks and acts like a teacher even when molesting and tormenting Marie.
- Freak Out!: Does this a lot while trying to cover up his "supplementary lessons" with Marie.
- Freudian Excuse: See Corrupt The Cutie above.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He dies because he broke all the rules regarding the legend of Mesomeso. Mainly, he wasn't supposed to respond to or even look at her, and should've just run away. His mistake was in assuming the test was to determine who could be a better youkai instead of determining who could be a better Mesomeso.
- Hot Teacher: If he werent an evil molester, hed be quite he catch.
- Ignored Epiphany: There are numerous points in the story where he reconsiders his actions, but it never sticks.
- Large Ham: "TREMBLE BEFORE MESOMESO-SAN!!! AHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAH!"
- Pædo Hunt: Kanamori is one of these toward Marie, and his "supplementary lessons" with her are basically an excuse to molest and abuse her.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Is more immature than his targets.
- The Reason You Suck Speech: He lays one on Marie during the poll to see which one of them would become Mesomeso, telling her that she could've solved all her problems ages ago if she'd just grow a backbone and call the police. See Hoist by His Own Petard above for why it would've been better for him to just stay quiet.
- Sadist Teacher: Pedo teacher.
- Small Role, Big Impact: He may have only been the Starter Villain, but his actions are what led to Marie meeting Higanbana and becoming Mesomeso, which sets up the plot of the rest of the series.
- Smug Snake: He thinks he can control Marie and become Mesomeso easily, but fails to remember the instructions and gets killed for it.
- Starter Villain: Hes the antagonist of the first story, but doesnt last beyond that.
- Villain Protagonist: The "Mesomeso-san" chapter is as much his chapter as it is Marie's, since it's told from both their perspectives.
- Villainous Breakdown: Kanamori has two. The first was when Marie threatened to turn over the evidence of his "supplementary lessons" to the police and put him away, which resulted in him strangling her to death. The other was when he learned he had failed the test to become Mesomeso and that Marie has become the youkai instead — and is ready to take vengeance upon him.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He has a reputation among the school as a wonderful teacher, and uses that to molest his students.
Yukari is a girl who comes from a poor, dysfunctional family, for which she is quite cruelly bullied. She is the main protagonist of "Utopia" and "A Thistle of Vengeance".
- Attempted Rape: The abuse she suffered after Sumire disapeared was starting to go way beyond mere bullying. She just barely manages to escape.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: She's had some major issues with her life at home, particularly after the death of her mother. It's one of the reasons why she's bullied all the time.
- Bully Hunter: In "A Thistle of Vengeance", she becomes this to her class.
- Butt-Monkey: She's shown as a example of how, realistically, the idea of simply telling someone about being bullied doesn't always work as the adults she turned to for help were unable, or unwilling, to do anything.
- Character Development: Going from someone who goes Just Ignore It to bullying, who in the end of her story decides to stand up against it. Needless to say she got that happy ending.
- Expy: She is the series entitled expy of Rika, after Bernkastel and before Stella. This comes not just from her design, but her character arc contains many similar themes with Rika's, mainly their shared sense of hopelessness from the many failures at making their situations better.
- Hobbes Was Right: Downplayed, but she takes this approach to the bullying in her class, crushing it like a dictator.
- Huge Schoolgirl: She has a bit of a complex over it.
- Just Ignore It: She strongly believes this at first when it comes to dealing with bullies. After Sumire makes things worse for her, however, she takes on a far more assertive role against bullying.
- Shout-Out: Her name may be one to the actress who voices Rika Furude, whose Expy she is.
- The Power of Hate: Azami's thistle gives her power to become a bully, and she uses it to become a tyrant in the class to kill off any other threats of bullying, if only for a limited amount of time.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Nice and enduring but not a pushover. The Hime Cut pushes her into this trope.
Reiko Osumi/Urara Misumi/Sumire of the Dusk
A New Transfer Student that Yukari meets and befriends. Shy but sweet, she becomes the primary target of the school bullies. She never loses her smile, however, and Yukari tries to convince her to stand up for herself.
Actually the seventh ranked youkai, also known as "Sumire of the Dusk". She is the main antagonist of "Utopia", where she disguises herself as a transfer student named Reiko, and the antagonist of "A Thistle of Vengeance", and the true main antagonist of the overall story. Really looks up to Azami, who she refers to as an older sister.
- All of the Other Reindeer: As soon as she transfers, all the bullies start targeting her. This is apparently a normal thing for her. In fact, her power as a Youkai is to turn people into to bullies by making herself the victim.
- Alpha Bitch: In an odd way. She turns everyone around her into bullies through her tears, and makes herself the most popular girl in school whenever she appears. Popular as in popular bullying target- everyone fixates on her. Shes also blonde, catty, superficial, and very cruel, like your typical example.
- Antiquated Linguistics: When speaking as Sumire, she talks like this.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Never before will the player want to strangle a sobbing bullying victim.
- Big Bad: Shes responsible for the plague of bullying that causes most of the conflicts in the story, and for corrupting Higanbana.
- Big Sister Worship: She looks up to her sister Azami.
- Butt-Monkey: The favorite target of the class. Very deliberately. She does it to spawn as many bullies as she can, but her character file mentions she actually takes pleasure in being bullied.
- Card-Carrying Villain: She loves bullying and everything about it.
- The Chessmaster: She stimulates the desires of Yukari's classmates to bully others so that when the time comes for them to change classes, they may spread bullying throughout the school and allow her to feast on the souls of bullied children. Higanbana thwarts her plan by killing all the bullies in a Bus Crash.
- The Corrupter: Is responsible for the plague of bullies, and entices people to become bullies themselves to retaliate. Shes also the one responsible for Higanbanas Start of Darkness.
- The Cutie: A small little girl with big teary eyes who has nothing but optimism in her words.
- Cute and Psycho/Cute Is Evil: Her optimism is twisted at best and at worst a cover-up for her sadism.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: A bullying victim is creating/intentionally provoking the bullying on a school-wide scale. And shes only the second-lowest ranked Youkai, and was the lowest ranked before Marie showed up!
- Evil All Along: Who would have thought that Reiko, who's Prone to Tears, was the Big Bad creating the bullies?
- Eviler Than Thou: Higanbana, who was built up as the main threat, winds up looking like a saint compared to her.
- Expy: Reversed. While a good number of the characters in the series are based off of, if not counterparts to, characters from Higurashi and Umineko, Sumire was actually used as the basis for a Higurashi character introduced later in the series' production, Une.
- Extreme Doormat: Her whole philosophy, as she explains to Yukari, is to allow herself to be bullied so everyone can get along and be happy bullying her. Yukari, of course, disagrees with this self-sacrifice, and tries to convince her to be her own person. Unbeknownst to her, Reiko is her own person.
- Fantastic Drug: Her Tender Tears act as this, getting people addicted to bullying.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Apparently jealous of Higanbana having a TV in her room. Also a literal example.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: She corrupts Higanbana and Yukari For the Evulz and possibly to use them as pawns, but they turn around and ruin her plans.
- Karma Houdini: While her plans are temporarily foiled, she recieves no punishment for the pain shes caused.
- Kimono Is Traditional: Goes nicely with her Antiquated Linguistics.
- Man Behind the Man: To Higanbana, being responsible for her turn to evil.
- Meaningful Name/Significant Anagram: Osumi Reiko.
- Mind Rape: Provides one to Marie.
- Moe: Pretty much her whole purpose within the story is to be the sympathetic moeblob at first.
- New Transfer Student: How shes introduced into the story. Rare villainous example; this is her disguise whenever shes looking to corrupt a class.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: She turns herself into a Butt-Monkey by acting like a Stepford Smiling little girl, which actually makes people want to bully her even more. Hell, even teachers want to bully her.
- Only One Name: At least, her real name is only one name.
- Pet the Dog: For all her cruelty, she does seem to have a soft spot for her sister Azami.
- The Pollyanna/Perpetual Smiler: Even when shes being bullied and crying Tender Tears, she never stops smiling. She explains to Yukari that this is because, in her eyes, shes sacrificing her own happiness for those around her. Her actual reason is far less noble.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The entire class turns on her and becomes a Utopia in the process. She invokes this upon herself, helping others unite to bully her.
- Prone to Tears: She talks softly and spends half her time crying in her first appearance due to the bullying she receives.
- The Needs of the Many/For Happiness: Her explanation to Yukari for letting herself be bullied is to sacrifice herself so everyone can be happy at her expense. In truth, she cares nothing for other people.
- The Red Baron: Sumire of the Dusk.
- Slasher Smile: After The Reveal she pulls these out frequently.
- Smug Snake: For all her manipulations, she is outdone by two of her own victims.
- Tender Tears: Quite often when shes being bullied. Even then she still smiles. Its her method of corruption; the tears get people hooked on bullying.
- Too Kinky to Torture: She apparently likes being bullied.
- True Blue Femininity: Her school outfit.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A lot of the horrible things Higanbana does in the series can be traced back to her Start of Darkness, which was a consequence of one of Sumire's plans bringing a Fate Worse than Death on Higanbana's Morality Pet. Not that she regrets it or anything, mind you.
- Verbal Tic: "na no ja" in Japanese.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Yukari manages to foil her plans with her sisters own thistle, she loses composure. In "After School" she can be seen angrily ranting at Yukari and Azami.
- Walking Spoiler: As one can see from all the spoilered tropes, the reason she is constantly bullied (she is provoking it, as her initial personality turns out to be a facade to cover up her position as the true Big Bad and a rather vile figure) is a major reveal.
- Wicked Cultured: She loves kimonos and tea ceremonies.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: One other tactic she uses to turn kids into bullies is to pretend that she's being bullied by someone else. She'll use this to get sympathy from other kids and have them attack the kid she's setting up in order to "defend" her. She's the reason Shuuichi was being bullied and subsequently lost his eyesight. Knowing this, it's entirely possible Higanbana stole her prey in "Utopia" for the sake of getting revenge. She also may have pulled this on Hikaru.
- Bad Samaritan
- Blue and Orange Morality: They certainly have no qualms in killing humans, but they don't see anything wrong with Marie refusing to do it or even trying to get in their way. Basically, hunting is part of their daily life, and even if Marie doesn't like it, she rapidly accepts it as something ordinary, remaining Higanbana's friend despite all that.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: A variant. The school yōkai are born by the ghost stories of the school; which means that if these stories cease to be told, they disappear with them.
- Driven to Suicide: A common method of "hunting" apparently.
- Karma Houdini: Since theyre so powerful, they never suffer for devouring peoples souls. Even Sumire only received a slap on the wrist for her crimes.
- The Red Baron: Every youkai has at least some sort of title relating to the mystery they represent. Some of their names are their titles.
- The Seven Mysteries: Each of the school's youkai is responsible for one. The start of the story, though, features the creation of an eighth...
- Telepathy: They tend to respond to questions and comments that other characters think to themselves.
- Youkai: Duh.
- Your Soul Is Mine: Type 2B.
The highest ranked youkai in the school. He is said to emerge from one of the pictures in the school principal's office, and eats anyone he happens across. He also has the ability to erase memories, thus his position as the top ranked youkai.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's said to be a gentle guy most of the time, but he is absolutely terrifying the rest of the time.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep"
- Eyes Always Shut: But when he does open them, you know something scary is going to happen.
- High-Class Glass: The VN adds a creepy red eye insignia on his monocle. If it even is an insignia...
- Nice Hat
- The Patriarch
- Pet the Dog: After Takeshi and Yoko's ghost break the Cycle of Revenge that caused them so much suffering, the Headmaster escorts Yoko's ghost back to Hell and ensures her that she will no longer suffer eternal torment there, allowing her to achieve peace.
Black Tea Gentleman
The Headmaster's right-hand man, also known as the Vice-Principal, unofficially ranked second among the school youkai. He is never seen without a fully-prepared tea set. He makes contracts with humans by offering them his power to escape reality and believe their own lies in exchange for a small portion of their souls. He is currently contracted with Midori Kusunoki. He is the main antagonist of "The Princesss Lie."
- Above Good and Evil
- Arc Villain: For "The Princesss Lie."
- Broken Masquerade: His hold over Midori is broken once Marie beats him, though it turns out to be more harmful to Midori than beneficial.
- Deal with the Devil: Makes contracts with a sacrifice of a small sliver of one's soul.
- The Dragon: To the Headmaster.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Midori calls him "Black Tea Gentleman" due to him arriving with a cup of tea in hand.
- Evil Redhead: Somewhat.
- Eyes Always Shut:
- Graceful Loser: In Reaper of the 13th Step, he admits that he wanted to take Aya's soul for his own and in his own way praises how she has outwitted Izanami.
- Karma Houdini
- Lotus-Eater Machine: He pretty much embodies this trope by allowing humans to escape reality and believe their dreams to be real in exchange for a bit of their soul.
- Skunk Stripe: One long strand of white hair
- Spot of Tea: Usually seen with a tea cup in hand, which is where his name comes from.
- The Unfettered
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His contract with Midori is actually to protect her from Higanbana, who he knows would've done something much worse to her.
- Wicked Cultured
IzanamiThe second ranked youkai, also known as the "Shinigami of the 13 Stairs". If a human steps on the 13th stair, he forces them into playing a game of tag each day, where if the human ever stops running, they are dumped straight into hell. Granted, if the human can last 49 days of this, they will be free but...
He is the main antagonist of "The Thirteenth Steps Shinigami."
- Affably Evil: He devours souls like the others, but is kind, gives Aya a head-start in his game, encourages her to succeed, and befriends her afterward she succeeds in avoiding him.
- Arc Villain: For "The Thirteenth Steps Shinigami."
- Foil: To the Black Tea Gentleman. Black Tea Gentleman is refined, wears a suit and is shown to be Faux Affably Evil underneath his calm manner while Izanami is known to swear and shows Tough Love on Aya. There methods are also complete opposites: the Black Tea Gentleman is all about having children make contracts to go into their dream worlds, Izanami is about scaring the living daylights out of them and making them face reality.
- Graceful Loser: Congratulates Aya on successfully avoiding him for the 49 day limit and states that he'll be keeping an eye out on her from now on.
- Sinister Scythe
- Slasher Smile
- Skun Stripe: His hair has white streaks.
- Stealth Mentor: Possibly this to Aya; he seems glad to be helping her find real meaning in life, even if its by endangering her.
- 13 Is Unlucky: He's the "Shinigami of the 13 Stairs" and his track suit at the end of his story has the number "13" on it. His 49 day limit also adds to the motif (4 + 9 = 13).
AzamiThe fourth ranked youkai, also known as "Azami the Vengeful". Using her magical azamis, she can turn bullied kids into bullies themselves.
- Berserk Button: Being called an old lady. Or a Hypocrite.
- Kimono Is Traditional
- Onee-sama: To Sumire.
KyouThe fifth ranked youkai, also known as "Kyou of the Mirror". He polishes all of the mirrors in the school, particularly one that is capable of becoming a doorway to the Mirror World.
- Little Bit Beastly: Has a pair of wolf ears and a wolf's tail.
- Mirror Verse: He's the guardian to the doorway of the Mirror World.
- Nice Guy: Compared to the other Youkai (particularly Higanbana), he's nice and courteous to Marie.
- Noble Wolf: Has wolf ears and a tail and he's known to be one of the nicer Youkai of the bunch.
- Token Good Teammate: Pretty much one of the nicer Youkai you'll meet.
RenoirThe sixth ranked youkai, also known as "Renoir of the Art Room". He spends most of his time sleeping within portraits in the art room, but every once in a while awakens to eat. If a human breaks one of the rules regarding Renoir (borrowing a brush from Renoir, giving an incorrect answer as to the artist of one of the portraits in the room, or lying at all during a conversation with Renoir) they are sucked into a portrait where they are doomed to live forever.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Is one of the nicer Youkai besides Kyou. However, he shows exactly how terrifying he can be when dealing with Nafumi, Yuki's murderer. He traps Nafumi in an M.C. Escher painting, but declares the minute Nafumi stops running she will be transported to another painting where she'll be killed.
- Blinding Bangs: You never see his eyes.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: We don't blame you if you thought Renoir was a girl at first sight. In fact the chapter he appears him keeps using female pronouns before The Reveal.
- The Ghost: He's never seen in "Lunar Festival" which is most to keep his appearance a surprise in his focus story.
- Humans Are Interesting: What he believes in after learning about his friendship with Yuki. He then decides to show himself to the students in the Art Room from then on.
- It's All My Fault: Renoir is legitimately saddened and guilty by Yuki's death because he wasn't strong enough to intervene. He feels, at least, that torturing Yuki's killer could help Yuki rest until he finds Yuki's soul.
- Nice Hat: Wears a lavender hat with a purple ribbon
- Phantom Zone Picture: His preferred method of punishing rulebreakers is trapping them inside paintings.
- Power Perversion Potential: In "After School", the Nurse asks him to send her into her manga to flirt with the hot guys in them.
- Samus Is a Girl: The Reveal in his chapter.
The leader of the animal spirits who inhabit the school. He lives in a Shinto shrine on the school grounds.
- Cheerful Child
- Expecting Someone Taller: Judging from Michiru's description of him, Marie expected him to be a terrifying and vengeful spirit, and doubted she'd be able to speak on even terms with him, even as one of the eight highest ranking youkai in the school.
- Expy: He is basically Sakutaro in all but name.
- Hand-Hiding Sleeves: As with Sakutaro, it's to make him look cuter.
- Insistent Terminology: The way he's described makes him appear to be a Kitsune but, being the "king of animals", he insists that he is a lion.
- Leitmotif: A remix of "Sakutaro no ganbarimonogatari" plays during his appearance.
- Little Bit Beastly: While the narrative implies that he may be a fox, he insists that he's really a lion.
- Older Than They Look: He might look like a kid, but he's by far the oldest of the known spirits inhabiting the school. This is because his shrine was built before there was a school. It's also the reason why he wasn't involved in establishing the youkai hierarchy.
- The Scapegoat: He's blamed for the "curse" that Michiru tries carrying out in "Shrine of the Guardian Spirit".
- Verbal Tic: "Uryuu~!"note
A youkai who haunts the school's music room, also known as "Hameln of the Music Room". According to his legend, anyone who enters the music room at night when no one else is around will hear the sound of his castanets playing, and then will turn into an animal to be lured away to their doom. He is not one of the eight ranked youkai of the school, but hopes to be. He is the main antagonist of "Hamelns Castanets."
- Arc Villain: In "Hamelns Castanets."
- Baleful Polymorph: His power allows him to turn students who hear his music to turn into small animals.
- Cool Mask
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Hameln, after cursing Higanbana into the form of a bunny, tries to eat her. Higanbana responds by biting onto his tongue and then eat it along with the rest of Hameln's insides.
- Improbable Weapon User: Hameln uses a pair of castanets for his magic spells.
- Lazy Bum: As Higanbana points out, he's using a human being to do his work for him instead of getting his victims by himself.
- The Red Baron: "Hameln of the Music Room"... or at least, he'd like people to call him this, since he's not yet recognized as a mystery by the school.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: He's never seen without his mask, but when he leans close to Hikaru, he is described as having "stunningly red" eyes like a rabbit.
- Slasher Smile: Sports one of these.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He aims to become one of the Eight School Mysteries, but also seeks to surpass the school and bathe the whole city in fear and terror thanks to his legend.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin. She is a friendly and good-natured young woman who works at the school infirmary, and is Higanbana's owner. She is quite knowledgeable on the topic of The Seven Mysteries of the school, and may in fact seem to know more about them than she lets on
- Christmas Cake: If her drunk rant in the eighth story is anything to go by
- Cool Big Sis: Her personality in the visual novel.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep"
- I See Dead People: She can see and chat with the yōkai when she is drunk, and doesn't bat an eyelid when she meets the supposedly dead Marie on the roof.
- Manchild: Her manga incarnation, at least, really loves to play with that Higanbana doll of hers.
- Meganekko: In the manga. In the visual novel, she wears her glasses on her forehead.
- Nice Girl: She is the only adult human character in the series significant enough to get a sprite who isn't utterly fucked up.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: "After School" shows her asking Renoir to use his powers to let her hit on the hot guys in her manga collection.
- School Nurse: Who apparently enjoys the scary stories of the school. Not unlike another nurse.
- Sensei-chan: A school nurse variation, in the manga at least. Her VN incarnation is a bit more composed.
Takeshi is a photographer and member of the school's journalism club. He was once falsely accused of breaking school equipment by Yoko Numata and her friends; unable to prove his innocence, he became obsessed with finding "the truth" in the pictures he takes. He also harassed Yoko out of revenge by stalking her and sending her photos he took of her in secret, inadvertently causing her suicide. He is the main protagonist of "The Spirit Camera".
- Brainy Brunette: A male example.
- Disproportionate Retribution: He got scolded by his teacher because Yoko blamed him for an accident she caused. His response? To turn the student body of the entire school (a huge school, mind you) against her with embarrassing photos. That said, he never imagined she'd kill herself over it.
- Heel Realization
- Intrepid Reporter
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Due to the Headmaster's power of erasing the memories of anyone he eats, Takeshi forgot ever stalking Yoko since her corpse was eaten.
- Meganekko: Again, a male example.
- Nice Guy
- Beware the Nice Ones: As Yoko can attest to.
- Stalker Without a Crush: He used to take pictures of his classmate Yoko from afar and left them everywhere for her to find (even going as far as to clutter her locker with them), all out of revenge for being framed for something he didn't commit. He promptly stopped after she killed herself and her corpse was eaten by the Headmaster.
- What the Hell, Hero?
- You Are Worth Hell: When he finds out the kind of suffering Yoko had to endure in Hell, he becomes perfectly content with following her there to be with her if he can't go there in her place.
Yoko is a girl who accidentally broke some school equipment and blamed it on Takeshi to avoid getting in trouble. She committed suicide after Takeshi started stalking her, sending her harassing photos of her and getting her bullied by the whole school, dooming her to an eternity of torment as the youkai's plaything in Hell. Her ghost appears in "The Spirit Camera" as part of Higanbana's bid to eat Takeshi's soul, and again as the protagonist of "One Girl's Day".
- Blinding Bangs: While in Hell as a ghost; she loses them once she makes peace with Takeshi.
- Cheerful Child
- Driven to Suicide: Due to Takeshi constantly spreading photos about her.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Again, as a ghost.
- Frameup: She accidentally knocked over a skeleton dummy and pinned the blame on Takeshi, who happened to be there at the time, to avoid getting in trouble.
- Go Out with a Smile: At the end of chapter 6.
- Innocently Insensitive: She didn't realize she hurt Takeshi's feelings until Higanbana brings her back from hell to take revenge.
- It's All My Fault: She blames herself for the whole fiasco that led to her killing herself and thinks it better she just go back to Hell instead of hurting Takeshi even further.
- Kill the Cutie
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Subverted. Higanbana brings her back from Hell to kill Takeshi for causing her suicide, but Yoko feels equally guilty when she finds out why he did it, so they forgive each other instead.
- Posthumous Character
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Yoko, why didn't you just accept that you broke the skeleton instead of pinning it on Takeshi? Then again, this was probably a spur of the moment thing and she didn't realize the ramifications until later.
Midori is a wealthy student and member of the school drama club who was bullied by other students for flaunting her wealth. Ever since making a contract with the Black Tea Gentleman to get a role in a play she wanted to be in, she has gained popularity and become the most beloved student in her class. In reality, this is all part of an illusion fabricated by the Black Tea Gentleman, who granted her wish to have her literally switch places with another student she was jealous of. She is the main protagonist of "The Princess's Lie".
- Break the Haughty: See Rich Bitch and Freak Out! below.
- Deal with the Devil: Her contract with the Black Tea Gentleman in exchange for a bit of her soul.
- Determinator: Despite all of the bullying, she will never give up in improving her acting skills. A line from the second novel states that a few students have changed their opinion on her because of it.
- Driven by Envy
- Freak Out!: After Marie frees her from her Dream World, all her experiences of being bullied in the real world hit her like a truck. She only gets a hold of herself once she's returned to the Dream World.
- Genre Blindness: When she begins experiencing sharp pains on her body, she initially assumes it's just caused by anxiety over an audition for the lead role in a play. Once these pains become more frequent, and dead bugs appear in her food during lunchtime, Midori reasons that her jealous classmate is using the Black Tea Gentleman's powers to curse her and get the lead role herself. She's actually feeling the pain from the beatings her classmates inflict on her while she's in the Dream World—because of A Glitch in the Matrix, some of their pranks also make their way through.
- I Just Want to Be You: She wishes to become the princess in the play. Instead she is given the role of the 'Princess' of the school, Nozomi.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: While in the Dream World, she has no memory of wanting to switch places with another student and instead believes she made a contract with the Black Tea Gentleman for a role she wanted for a play.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Initially. She brought it on herself, though.
- Meaningful Name: "Midori" means "green".
- Rich Bitch: By the start of "The Princess's Lie", though, she seems to have grown out of it thanks to the contract she made with the Black Tea Gentleman. Doubly subverted in that she's still a Rich Bitch, but as long as the Black Tea Gentleman's powers are in effect, she doesn't realize this.
- Stepford Smiler
- Took a Level in Kindness: Subverted. The narrative leads us to believe this, and Midori herself believes she has, but in the real world she hasn't and she's still being bullied for it.
- Your Mind Makes It Real
Michiru is a girl with the ability to sense spirits. She is the main protagonist of "Shrine of the Guardian Deity" and "My Best Friend".
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Her parents make her dress like one as part of their hobby.
- Expy: In the VN at least, you won't be blamed if you see Dlanor A. Knox for a second.
- Eyepatch of Power: She's actually said to not need it anymore, but she keeps wearing it anyway.
- Freudian Excuse: No one ever believed that she had a sixth sense, making her feel alienated with the world. So when a bunch of girls laughed at her when she insisted that they would be cursed if they didn't apologize for destroying Sakunoshin's shrine, she took matters into her own hands by making up her own curse, one that involved dropping a chair on one of the girls' heads.
- Girlish Pigtails
- I See Dead People
- Loners Are Freaks
- Malicious Slander: She insists that Sakunoshin is a vengeful spirit who will curse the girls who broke his shrine, just so she can convince them to apologize to him.
- Only Friend: Tomoko. Too bad she's dead, but she'll get better once she moves on for Tomoko's sake.
- Shout-Out: Her profile states that she gets her clothes from "Anti-Rosa", the design company managed by Rosa from Umineko: When They Cry.
- Tears of Remorse: After Marie talks her out of dropping a fire extinguisher on the head of a girl who refused to acknowledge Sakunoshin's "curse".
Hikaru is a very intelligent cram school student and member of the animal raising committee. He looks down on his more inept classmates, which ended up getting him bullied by them. He vents his frustrations by abusing the rabbits kept on the school grounds, which he is supposed to be caring for. He is the main protagonist of "Hameln's Castanets".
- And I Must Scream: His eventual fate (see Karmic Rape and Karmic Transformation below), which leaves him screaming for Higanbana's mercy until he can no longer scream (as rabbits can't scream out in human language). And even afterward, he is described as attempting to scream for her mercy as she left...
- Baleful Polymorph: As a result of his Karmic Transformation below.
- Bully Hunter: A very dark variant once he teams up with Hameln.
- Death Seeker: Once Higanbana Mind Rapes him and hammers home that he's been murdering humans.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Freak Out!: He practically loses his mind when Higanbana shows him the scene of him killing his classmates, this time as humans instead of rabbits, to show him what it really means to kill.
- Freudian Excuse: He tortures rabbits out of frustration with being bullied and having little evidence backing it. When offered to take revenge, he targets bullies, the ones who know he's being bullied but don't speak up about it, and people who just plain piss him off.
- Hit Me, Dammit!: He hates that the boys who pick on him never lay a finger on him, making it easy for them to deny ever bullying him in the first place.
- Insufferable Genius
- It's All About Me: When lectured by a teacher about how he picks on his classmates for being smarter than them, Hikaru's response is to silently condemn the teacher as an incompetent idiot for not seeing things from his perspective. Hikaru then makes an attempt on the teacher's life.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: One moment he's petting rabbits after news of them being tortured starts to spread. Then we find out just who's been torturing those rabbits. And if that wasn't enough, we find out that none of his bullies were ever unprovoked in tormenting him; they'd been merely sticking up for a girl Hikaru himself picked on.
- Karmic Rape: His final fate. After it's been shown how he's been killing the humans-turned-rabbits by Higanbana, the latter decides not to kill him, but to turn him into a rabbit by courtesy of the late Hamelin's castinets and leave him behind with the rabbits that are still alive but that Hikaru has been taking his anger out on. His final mentions denote on how he's trying to scream, despite rabbits being incapable of doing so.
- Karmic Transformation: He's turned into a rabbit by Higanbana and left to be gang raped by a bunch of other rabbits. As Higanbana points out, rabbits aren't picky about doing it with other rabbits of the same sex...
- Kick the Dog: He abuses rabbits on the school grounds to vent his frustrations with being bullied.
- Loners Are Freaks
- Pay Evil unto Evil: He knows it's wrong to torture innocent rabbits. But if Hameln turns bullies into rabbits, then he wouldn't be torturing "innocent rabbits", would he... Of course, you may be surprised how much this trope goes both ways.
- Villain Protagonist
Aya SoumaAya is a girl who lost the will to live, but continued to do so because she didn't want anything other than a peaceful, sleep-like death. After hearing the rumors of the 13 steps, she tests it out and accidentally steps on the 13th step, forcing her to participate in Izanami's game. She is the main protagonist of "The Thirteenth Step's Shinigami".
- Character Development: Went from a nihilistic Death Seeker to someone whos proud to just live life and a passion to run.
- Death Seeker: She believed that she has no reason to continue on living, so all she want is a peaceful death. Until...
- Determinator: Her story pretty much is about her outlasting the 49 day time limit by running as fast as she could. Due to this, she became praised throughout the school for her running and gained a better outlook on life.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: One of the few humans who actually gets one; after being scared by Izanami and running for 49 days without stop, she ends up winning a school race, finds a new lease on life and has a student-teacher relationship with Izanami.
- Foil: To Midori Kusunoki in that instead of escaping into a dream, Aya pushes herself through the 49 days being chased by Izanami and ends up becoming a better person. Fittingly enough the Black Tea Gentleman appears in her story, wanting to make a deal with her.
Yuki NodaYuki is a young boy who enjoys art and loves his art teacher, Shintani-sensei.
- I See Dead People: Was able to see Renoir and converse with him, with Renoir stating he possessed a valuable wavelength. Unfortunately....
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: He was ultimately killed by Shintani-sensei and Renoir was deeply saddened by his loss.
Nafumi ShintaniAn art teacher who considers herself the queen of the art room. She particularly enjoys having her favorite young male students model for her, although art isn't all she wants them for...
She is the main antagonist of "Renoir of the Art Room".
- Arc Villain: For "Renoir of the Art Room".
- Fate Worse than Death: She is forever trapped in the "Accending and Descending" portrait in an endless loop of running down the stairs where there's no escape for her. Renoir mentions the minute she stops running she'll be sent into another painting where she'll be Killed Off for Real.
- I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: How she reacts when she was cornered by Higanbana and Renoir in regards to Yuki's death.
- Oh, Crap!: She has a terrific moment when she realizes how she broke one of Renoir's rules from the get go and that she will be punished by him.
Tomoko OkadaMichiru's best friend who ends up dying at the beginning of "My Best Friend" after slipping and hitting her head while on vacation with her family. Like Michiru, she loves occult stuff, but compared to her best friend, she leans more towards sci-fi.
- Back from the Dead: For a short period of time
- Beneath the Mask: She was the only person who was ever nice to Michiru and share the same interest to the occult, but once she was revived, she reveals her true feeling that she grew bored of her. It was later revealed to be an act, as Tomoko is aware of the price that Michiru will pay for her revival, that she did because she wants Michiru live happily in her Life and have her move on by making new friends. Even in Death, this is Tomoko's true act of friendship.
- Conspiracy Theorist
Masaaki YoshikawaA boy who suffered bullying before being granted a magic thistle in "A Thistle of Vengeance". He uses the power to seek vengeance against his tormentors.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: The thistle has this effect on him.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Yukari lampshaded how he has become a bully himself, even targeting innocents who did nothing to him.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Refuses to let Yukari help him because shes a girl.
- Villain Protagonist: Becomes this when he starts bullying everyone.
Shuuichi ArimoriA human boy who unexpectedly befriended Higanbana during her early days as a youkai in "Before The Spider Lilies Bloomed."
- Break the Cutie: The bullying he suffers gets so bad that his eyes are ruptured and he can never become an artist again. Thankfully, he manages to grow up and express the emotions he observes through becoming a pianist.
- Designated Victim: He was being set up by Sumire as the bully of her human alter ego, Reiko, in order to trick some boys into physically assaulting him on a regular basis. It got so bad their bullying eventually cost them his eyesight.
- Morality Pet: To Higanbana, before Marie came along.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: He has a very philosophical outlook on emotions and life, and teaches Higanbana how to feel.