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El Goonish Shive / Tropes M to R

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El Goonish Shive provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Made of Evil: Aberrations according to the resident expert:
    Ed Verres: They're former humans who gave up empathy and humanity to live indefinitely by murderous and parasitic means while literally being incapable of remorse. There's no way to "cure" that that wouldn't kill them anyway. And no, I'm not being poetic. You undo the vampirism, you undo what's keeping them alive.
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  • Mad Scientist: Tedd, Lord Tedd (Evil Overlord, though it's not clear how much), Dr. Germahn (Horny Scientist), Amanda (Hot Scientist), Chika (Crazy-Prepared).
  • The Magic Comes Back: Magic has always made itself available in some form or another, but has many times suppressed the current magic system to prevent most humans from figuring out how to use it. When the Will of Magic realizes that keeping itself exclusive and a secret is no longer an option, it allows lost ancient magic to revive. That includes the Uryuom's unique brand of Earth magic, which the Will of Magic had blocked off long ago when they misused it.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Magic likes to be used, but only be a small number of people. When too many people figure out how to become spellcasters, magic changes its rules, leaving humans without any access to magic until a small number of them can figure out how to use it again. Additionally, it is implied that in the past, magical creatures were quite common and widely known, but that doesn't seem to be the case today.
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  • The Magic Poker Equation: Justin, down to 1 life and with no hand, wins his Magickal Gatherings duel with Tensaided by drawing Unstompable Stompede, allowing him to do enough damage to take Tensaided from 20 life down to zero in one turn. Lampshaded.
    Tensaided: Well, it just goes to show that no matter how powerful and awesome one's deck is, there is always an element of luck with card games.
  • Magical Sensory Effect: Raven mentions that he can taste magic, and the taste indicates what sort of magic it is.
  • Magitek: Tedd's research is starting to skirt the line into this with the increasing focus on magic in the story.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: The city of Moperville is built on a site where ambient magic flows into another world. This isn't usually too much of a problem, but when someone deliberately blocked the flow of magic at that point, it resulted in an ever-increasing level of ambient magic in the area. This serves to draw magical beings to the area, and boost the power of those who are already there.
  • Mama Bear:
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    • Knowing that Adrian Raven is half-human and half-immortal, Abraham managed to draw only one conclusion, and mostly wrong one. The prospect of facing said immortal's reaction after he'd beaten her child within a hair's breadth of death somehow escaped his attention in all this haste… Isn't it surprising — where all those heavy boots flying toward his butt came from? And it's still not enough for her.
      Pandora-Chaos: Also? He hurt my son.
    • Diane, not surprisingly.
    Diane: (after Rhoda was accosted by a boar) It should burn. I'm having pork for lunch.
    • According to Nanase's mother when she's trying to get her a babysitting job, Nanase.
    "No, seriously. She will defend your children with the ferocity of a mama bear protecting her cubs."
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman:
    • It's implied that Tedd does this on occasion just for fun, but so far no other character has. Later on it's pretty much verified.
    • Discussed here and here. Also shows up in this guest comic.
  • The Masquerade:
    • At least two — with magic and Uryuoms, and people aren't always allowed into both at once.
    • Grace isn't really into it, though. It's too inconvenient, after all.
    • The Unmasqued World: More or less, done. Pandora is now hellbent on causing this. Also, it will let her son Adrian participate fully in society. Whatever form it's going to take after this, anyway. However, A.J. Arthur says that the real secret hasn't been broken, yet — it's no longer about the existence of magic, but rather its accessibility (the point being that the existence of magic things might actually be widely known, but that ordinary humans can learn to use magic is not) that needs to remain hidden. The Will of Magic eventually concludes that due to how magic works, keeping both its existence and even how to use it a secret is no longer an option, and prepares for a world in which anybody and everybody can use it.
  • Masquerade Paradox: A The World Is Not Ready variant. Under the current system of magic, anyone who knows magic exists can Awaken with sufficient time and effort, and will get spells customized to reflect their nature once they do so. Consequently, there is no middle ground between full-on concealment and giving dangerous magic to those who will most abuse it. As Mr. Verres puts it in the aftermath of Not-Tengu's defeat:
    Mr. Verres: You know that man in the ambulance right now? The man capable of, and having already done, absolutely horrible things? There is NOTHING special about him. He's just an average jerk who, when younger, stumbled on a way to gain use of magic that almost anyone on the planet could use. You want a real-life, non-hypothetical example of why there's so much secrecy? It's lying in the back of that ambulance.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: A gradual, but inevitable case. Magic comes to realize that between modern technology and the way it itself works, keeping itself a secret is no longer an option. Magic's ability to restrict itself was also reliant on few people being able to use it. As such, it prepares itself for the eventual reveal by not only not deactivating the current system, but also reactivating all previous systems of magic that it had previously disabled in an attempt to keep itself a secret.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Not used in its traditional sense (everything here is magic, from the boobs to the clothes), but rather with regards to the existence of a capital-g God. Nanase's angel-looking 'Guardian Form' MAY be a gift from God, or it may just be another example of the way her magical potential is expressed by her personality. Of particular note if the fact that an ENTIRE COMIC consisted of nothing but Ellen silently praying for divine approval as she tried to use her Clone Beam to duplicate Nanase's Guardian Form. Was it necessary? Would she have been able to duplicate it anyway? There's no way of telling.
  • Meaningful Background Event: While characters in the foreground discuss alcohol, something happens to a guy in the background. This, in an arc where Ellen and Nanase finally meet someone who has figured out that there is some kind of Masquerade.
  • Meaningful Echo: Elliot explains how Ellen's moment of creation was simple. So Ellen explains how Susan meeting her probably-half-sister is simple.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Assistant Director Liefeld is rather overmuscled.
    • Justin is very much into geek media. His last name, Tolkiberry, is a portmanteau of Tolkien and Roddenberry.
    • Nanase's last name is Kitsune and she ends up calling her magical clone Fox.
    • Also, Grace's last name, Sciuridae, is the scientific name for various species of squirrel. In addition, her codename is "Shade Tail," a rough translation of "Sciuridae."
    • A few minor characters, such as Susan's geeky boss Mr. Tensaided (ten-sided) and Ellen/Grace's math teacher Mr. Alephnull.
    • Tedd's last name, "Verres," is French for "glasses" and translates into Uryuom as "Bolloc" which is appropriate to his father's cover-up jobs.
    • Agents Wolf and Cranium.
    • Diane is a virgin.
    • Magic apparently has a sense of humor, and will make people more likely to get spells that are appropriate for their names. Hence the In-Universe explanation for why Catalina Bobcat has an affinity for cat based transformations.
  • Mega Meal Challenge: During the "Hammerchlorians - 1" segment, Grace orders the "Pancake Mount Doom" breakfast, and gets her picture on the Wall of Fame after finishing it (making her only the fourth person ever to win).
  • The Men in Black: Until the end of the "Sister II" arc, Mr. Verres was the head of the Paranormal division of the FBI. Now he is the "Director of Paranormal Diplomacy" a position that was created just for him when Kicked Upstairs because his extensive paranormal connections prevented him from being fired.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body:
    • About halfway. Gender Benders face the consequences of the new hormonal status and reactions on pheromones, whether they are comfortable with this or not. But Shapeshifting does not turn the subject mentally into a cat, guinea or squirrel. On the other hand, both innate and artificial Shapeshifting have some safeguards.
    • This trope is explored more seriously in the "Grace's Birthday Party" arc, when Susan allows herself to be gender-bent specifically to find out whether being male really does make people act like Jerkasses. (Answer: nope. Evidently her dad had no excuse for his jerkiness.)
    • Seems played straight but later averted with the transformation gun and sexuality. The gun is programmed to make straight people bisexual when transformed, because it was made to aid any species suffering a severe sex imbalance that risked species survival (or so Tedd speculates). Altered sexuality helps one adjust to such a necessity. Gay and bi people remain attracted to who they always were. Given the rules as set out, one could presumably program the gun to cause no such mental changes in straight people - which Tedd probably has no interest in doing, because (to him) it's a lot less sexy that way.
      • Later he does program the gun, and his magic watches, to alter sexuality (and libido) more or less at will.
  • Mind Screw: Lots of it. When done intentionally, usually involves attempts to project the normal family tree onto Ellen's case in several equally disturbing ways.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: Mr. Raven, though this is more of a Crouching Creeper Hidden Badass
  • Missing Mom: Where exactly Tedd's mom is, why she's not around, and what the nature of their relationship is continues to be one of the strip's biggest mysteries.
  • Mistaken for Object of Affection: In one of the Summer Moments comics, Sarah is transformed into Grace as part of a plan to prank Tedd. Unfortunately, Tedd discovered Sarah as Grace a little too early, and kissed her, thinking she was the real Grace. The comic itself lacks any dialogue, but the commentary suggests that they decided to never speak of it again.
  • Mister Descriptor: "All of you animal people have horrible names."
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • Uryuoms' eggs work this way producing Hybrid Monsters, thus Here There Be Chimerae. And then, part-lespuko chimerae.
    • And let's not forget Jeremy, Tedd's housecat with hedgehog spines.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Oh dear god. What started out as an arc based on Grace and Tedd going on a double date with Ellen and Nanase to keep Tedd's mind off of science ended up by showing that Tedd has a version of Lord Tedd's mechanical arm.
      Tedd: Then the next time someone has the balls to mess with us, we will stand together… and we will make them regret it.
    • It gets better: The next comic has Sarah and Susan… playing video games at Sarah's house. Ow, my metaphorical neck.
    • Heck, there's a comic titled "The Most Emotionally Unbalanced Comic EVER"
      Ellen: I'm sorry, did I interrupt some drama there?
  • Mooks: The not-really-flaming fire summons. They are so harmless to Greg and Grace that they use them as training dummies to teach Grace a sleeper hold.
  • Moon-Landing Hoax: The moon landing was emphatically not faked in this setting (the government may be covering up the existence of magic and aliens, but faking a moon landing is just silly). However, the comic has made a few jokes about it.
    • The first was in regards to a supernatural incident that proved rather difficult to cover up, namely a fight between a flying superhero and a fire monster that was videotaped by a number of people, and witnessed by many more. Things had progressed to the point that the only people who didn't believe the events in question were real were the kinds of nutjobs who believe the moon landing was faked.
    • The second such joke occurred when the Immortal Helena wanted to prove that Immortals were capable of lying, so she told a long string of Blatant Lies. One of those lies was, "The moon landings were a hoax."
  • Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: Adrian Raven attempts to use his deceased father Blaike Raven as a morality chain towards his unstable immortal mother Pandora by pointing out "Father would hate what you've become." It has a fairly strong impact.
  • Morality Pet: Lord Tedd looks almost normal and even rather nice when he looks for Nioi, as opposed to most other scenes with him, while Nioi is convinced he's not that bad and it's all only the corrupting influence of General Shade Tail.
  • Motionless Makeover: Justin likes doing this to Nanase when her body's unconscious during the use of her Fairy Doll spell. He limits himself to the hairdo, however.
  • Motor Mouth: Heidi, AKA Elliot's party girl alter ego, as seen here.
  • Mr. Exposition:
  • Mugging the Monster:
  • Multiple-Tailed Beast: Grace's omega form is a three-tailed squirrel-girl.
  • Multitasked Conversation: Justin accidentally doing this here, where he's carrying an unconscious Elliot while talking to Melissa, where it's obvious that a mysterious person is Noah:
    Melissa: Hey! How did you know that was Noah?!
    Justin: Seriously?
    Justin: Come on, wake up...
  • Mundane Fantastic:
    • How Elliot and Ellen's parents react to all the weirdness around them.
    • Elliot himself is prone to this. He thinks he's relatively anonymous at school despite punching out goo monsters and doing Wall Runs just to avoid a crowd. Even meeting a griffon didn't strike him as unusual.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Nanase uses her fairy doll spell mostly as a telephone.
    • Elliot finds out that he must transform before bed each evening to stave off unwanted magic buildups… so, Ellen sees an opportunity to try out new hair colors or make costumes for roleplaying with her girlfriend.
    • Elliot uses his martial arts skills to do a Wall Run. Why? Because a girl had dropped her phone and there was a crowd in the way.
    • Upon receiving her spell, Sarah's first thought is that she can use this to cheat on tests.
  • Mysterious Parent:
    • All that's known about Tedd's mother is that she's somewhere in Europe, and that there's some bad blood between her and her sister Mrs. Kitsune.
    • To a lesser extent, Susan's father. It's eventually explained that he left after being caught in an affair, which was the root of Susan's ultra-feminist tendencies.
  • Mysterious Past: What the hell happened in France, anyway? Finally gets resolved as of here.
  • Naked Apron: Tedd here (well, not naked, but skimpily dressed), and Elliot here.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Pandora Chaos Raven. "Refer to me as one or as all. I WILL live up to the name."
    • Their first attempt at a name was meant to invoke this trope. It was "Box".
  • Necessarily Evil: Abraham.
  • Negative Continuity: Some of the EGS:NP storylines. Like this one.
  • Nepotism: The title of the arc where Justin tries to get Grace a job at the comic book store, referencing the fact that his uncle owns the place.
  • Never Heard That One Before: It's not a close encounter of the fifth kind.
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe - Abraham's creation of the Dewitchery Diamond. Every properly trained wizard has heard of him.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The magic system explicitly allows any "Awakened" character to develop any power the plot needs, any time it's convenient. The characters acknowledge living in a world where Rule of Drama is an observable phenomenon akin to gravity.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Abraham and his great idea to make the Dewitchery Diamond. What he needed was to remove or suppress the lycanthropy of one guy. What he did is create a Booby Trap for unaware shapeshifters and users of cosmetic magic, with side effects that in turn suffer several other side effects in such a way that whatever problem caused its activation spreads. And it's nigh indestructible, so all this fun never ends. Oh, and on top of that, good ole' Abe thinks it might be intelligent!
  • 90% of Your Brain:
    • In one strip of EGS NP, Susan complains about Lucy, saying it's "based on a 'fun fact' that isn't even true! You might as well make a movie about an assassin who uses daddy-long-legs venom!"
    • Later, in the main strip, an Immortal starts telling a series of Blatant Lies in order to demonstrate to a confused gryphon that Immortals are capable of lying. This is one of them.
  • No Bisexuals: The strip has a rather unusual take on sexual attraction and gender identity. In this comic, being subject to a Gender Bender causes one to gain heterosexual tendencies appropriate to the gender being changed into (basically, straight people become bisexual while homosexuals see no real change in which gender they're attracted to), so El Goonish Shive is an aversion of this, as much of the cast have been bi, albeit only temporarily. Ellen (a magical duplicate of Elliot permanently turned into a girl) is also bisexual but has decided that she isn't able to deal with dating men, largely because she realizes her attraction to guys is a purely artificial construct forced onto her by Sufficiently Advanced Technology. She now identifies as a homoromantic bisexual.
    • Zigzagged with Grace. She doesn't identify as a bisexual, as she's physically attracted to the opposite of whatever gender she's in at the moment. However, between that and the fact that as a chimera, her attraction is based more on mental concepts, regardless of gender, whether she is or is not bisexual is a matter of semantics (the fandom-culture formulation "Teddsexual" and the tumblr-culture formulation "demisexual" have also been suggested).
    • Ashley has dated both girls and boys, and her attraction to Elliot intensifies when she comes upon him switching gender. Despite this, she specifically refuses to describe herself as bisexual: "I don't like labels, or boiling things down to one word."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Mr. Tensaided suffered a case of this when he gives Susan the rest of the day off to deal with a personal issue, only to get swarmed by a hoard of grandparents in complete disagreement as to what constitutes "appropriate content" for their grandchildren. A good deed is usually fairly safe in this comic, but Tensaided had to go and tempt fate as well.
    Mr. Tensaided: It's Sunday anyhow. Mostly just returns.
  • Noodle Implements: Ninjas, japanese bath houses, and hamsters. Lots of hamsters.
  • Noodle Incident: Several, though older ones are gradually being resolved:
    • Susan and Nanase's trip to France and that trip's connection to the French speaking immortals were this for five years until explained in May 2010.
    • The series of events that led to Sarah becoming a Catgirl, which left her traumatized about transformations. The Catgirl incident was never told in sequence or flashbacked, but alluded enough to give a very good idea what happened. Few months before the comic started, while Tedd and Sarah worked on a project for school together. He was just joking around!
    • How Elliot's previous summer job at the grocery store left him freezing up at the mere thought of going back to it.
    • After Ellen and Nanase become "Meddling Teenagers" (Not affiliated with any meddling kids or their dog), we get this conversation:
    Elliot: I still can't believe Ellen and Nanase got invited to a party with college students.
    Justin: Well, they did save their mascot while solving the mystery of the haunted locker room.
    Tedd: In retrospect, that griffin was probably noteworthy.
    Elliot: She was just asking for directions!
    Mr. Verres: If you ask me a question I cannot answer, either because I don't know or can't safely say, I will say so. Or change the subject. Or fake a seizure.
    Tedd: That was fake?
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Ellen, via her "Second Life."
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Sarah's reaction at the thought that Elliot might be like a sister to her in his female form.
    Sarah: (Beat Panel) NOPE. Not considering it.
    Susan: It could explain a few—
    Sarah: NOPE.
  • No Mouth: Until the second story arc, Tedd's mouth wasn't drawn unless he was yelling or grinning.
  • No Ontological Inertia: After a summoner is killed or rendered unconscious everything he summoned vanishes.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Subverted. When Grace and Ellen start school, we're not only told how to pronounce "Sciuridae"note  but also "Dunkel"note .
  • No Social Skills: Grace. She was raised in a lab, and it took her a long time to realize why everyone in the main cast was uncomfortable with her nudity. Also lacks what should be common knowledge.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Mr. Verres has given permission for Grace to have a birthday party while he's away, on the condition that Elliot supervise (instead of Ellen):
    Mr. Verres: The clincher, however, was that crazed look you got on your face when I first suggested the party.
    Ellen: That crazed look could have meant any number of things.
    Mr. Verres: That doesn't help your case.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • At the end of Sister 2, cracks started showing through The Masquerade, and the main characters' hometown became a hot spot for conspiracy theorists and supernatural enthusiasts.
    • During New and Old Flames, more cracks showed, and the existence of magic could no longer be denied, though it's ease of accessibility remains unknown.
    • During End of an Era, Elliot and Sarah broke up. Status Quo Is God is clearly not in effect.
    • During Sister 3, Pandora's actions results in the complete and utter shattering of The Masquerade. Additionally, Tedd manages to convince the Will of Magic to go along with its reveal, resulting in The Unmasqued World. This in particular is actually an odd example, because it involves making sure the rules of magic didn't change in an attempt to cling to The Masquarade. As Elliot put it:
    Elliot: For Magic not changing, a lot of stuff is changing.
  • Not So Above It All: Susan, who knows that jealousy is a logical, biological trait among people and unsurprised she feels this way towards Elliot, is very surprised to have found Catalina kissing him to be a turnon.
    Susan: A female friend who once asked me out kisses a male friend that I'm attracted to, and I think it's sexy. Where's the damn logic?!
  • Not So Omniscient After All: The Immortals. They may be capable of special insight and intuition, but that doesn't mean they can't make mistakes.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That:
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted — Dan decided to concede and call his not-exactly-a-vampire thing a "vampire" because he knew the readers would accuse him of trying to pawn a vampire off as something else. Translated, in-universe, to Susan giving in and (grudgingly) calls it a vampire when she realises Grace and Sarah will keep calling it one regardless of anything she says to the contrary.
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: Early in the "Squirrel Prophet" arc, Grace is getting chewed out by an old-fashioned teacher for using the Internet in her research assignment. The teacher then points out she forgot to get dressed, at which point her clothes disappear. Ridicule ensues.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Inverted- "This is exactly what it looks like."
  • No Yay: Several in-universe examples.
    • This is Tedd's reaction to the thought of Nanase, his cousin, involved with anyone.
    • In the 'Hammerchlorians' arc, it looks like Sarah may need to settle occasional feelings in this area regarding Elliot's less manly times, too.
    • Justin is less than thrilled with Elliot's less manly times as well.
    • Elliot and Tedd at Grace's saying she wouldn't mind Elliot turning into her if he wants to experiment with making his 'turn into a girl' magic sexy.
    Grace: This is one of those things I'm apathetic about that everyone else finds creepy, isn't it?
  • Oblivious to Love: Done thrice, played with and played straight, with the same character. In an early storyline, Elliot pretended to be unaware that Sarah was in love with him, in a complicated (and failed) attempt to spare her feelings when she found out he had a girlfriend. They work it out. He also seems to be genuinely unaware that Justin has feelings for him. And after breaking up with her, Elliot finally acknowledges both his growing attraction to Susan and that he thinks of Sarah as a sister. The latter realization breaks his brain, but he's unaware Susan is attracted to him as well.
  • Odd Friendship: Susan and Tedd. One is the result of a Straw Feminist upbringing. The other is an enormous pervert who openly objectifies women. To say they got off to a rocky start would be an understatement, but once they found common ground (Parental Abandonment and Star Trek), they actually get along okay.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Never demonstrated, but conversed.
  • Offer Void In Arizona: Played for Laughs in this comic's commentary.
  • Official Couple:
    • Tedd and Grace are so official that other characters commented they're practically married, from their friends to Pandora.
    • Sarah and Elliot were official since early in the comic's run. That is, were. They have run aground on the Westermarck effect on Elliot's part and have broken up. Their relationship lasted over half-a-year in comic and over ten years of the comic's run.
    • Nanase and Ellen are an item too. They had some issues, but they worked through them.
  • Offscreen Crash:
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • "Oh Hell," actually, when Jerry turns around and discovers that Susan has gained a (somewhat freaky looking) hair-Battle Aura after he pointed out that he created the hammer system not to prevent sexual harassment, but to encourage it.
    • Elliot/Heidi, realizing that he just kissed his girlfriend's sister when in an alternate identity. After calling her sexy. On TV. Yes, it was just a goodbye peck on the cheek, and he could blame it on his magical disguise messing with his head, but there's still reason to be concerned, as Elliot's girlfriend is very insecure when compared to her older sister.
    • The first one ever came in this comic. Of course, it's more of Elliot saying it in sympathy to Tedd.
    • Resident Badass Teacher Raven gets one here.
      • He gets one even earlier when his mother, a half crazy all powerful immortal, vows to "destroy the world as it is now known" for the sake of creating a world where he's accepted. And what scares Raven is that he knows a) she's serious and b) she most definitely has the power and knowledge to do such a thing.
    • Nanase's expression here, when she realizes Sarah doesn't know how Elliot and Nanase's relationship ended and its implications.
    • Elliot's expression when he realizes he's attracted to Susan.
    • Elliot's anthropomorphic representations of his brain when Super Elliot reminds them that Susan and Sarah are watching the whole scene that Catalina is doing.
    • Tom gets a couple when Susan realizes that he was trying to manipulate her.
    • Arthur has that look when he learned even after Magic's rules have severely changed, one in seven million people in a population of over seven billion people will be able to learn the new rules since they are seers.
      • Later both Tedd and Arthur get the look when they learn exactly what changes magic is making as part of it's reveal.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Upon learning Elliot fought a monster at school, Mr Verres' reaction was:
    Mr Verres: Again!? What is it with you kids!?
  • Older Than They Look: Raven looks 40-50, but he's old enough to have taught Nanase's mother. These comics make it clear he's also arguably Younger Than They Look, since he evidently uses an illusion spell to look older (being half-immortal basically means eternal youth).
  • Old Master: Invoked
    Greg: For alas it is my greatest of shames as an anime martial arts master that I am not an old man or a pervert!!!
  • One-Gender Race: While some Uryuoms living on Earth adopt gender roles, they really are ambisexual; any two Uryuoms can form an egg together, which can then be 'fertilized' with any available DNA sources.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Nanase vs Man-Susan
  • One Steve Limit: While played straight for the most part, was averted with a one-off joke with two Toms. One's a Manipulative Bastard, the other's reportedly a really Nice Guy.
  • One-Word Title:
  • Only Six Faces: Maybe not six, but it's here and is only aggravated by the "shapeshifting into some similar form" theme. However, he got better.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Ted invokes this on himself after offering to turn Susan into a guy.
    Ted: I am defying everything I am in an effort to help!
  • Opaque Lenses: Tedd's glasses.
  • Open-Minded Parent: The Dunkels, whose idea of punishing Elliot involves deciding he can only have one brownie with dinner, then forgetting that decision when the time comes and letting him have as many as he wants. There's also a Running Gag where something utterly bizarre happens (like Elliot turning into a girl for the first time) and they respond with indifference, amusement, or immediate acceptance, usually after everyone else has made a much bigger deal of it.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Elves are what you get when you breed humans and immortals (read: small-g gods) together, with all the power that implies. Raven happens to be one, which explains how he's been teaching since Nanase's mother was in high school. Subverted though, since elves are bound to similar rules as immortals, being disallowed from directly interfering with mortals except when magic is involved and/or innocent lives are in peril. Raven's mother is trying to break The Masquerade partially to get rid of these limitations. She claims she's doing it for him, but it seems like she might just be doing it out of boredom.
  • Our Fairies Are Different This comic reveals that immortals (mentioned above) used to be referred to as fairies. They're shapeshifters with reality warping powers who mostly view mortals as a source of entertainment and set up a series of rules to control their interactions with the mortal world. Presumably, they changed the name either before or after the modern view of fairies came about.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The creature that attacked Susan and Nanase in France. It's strongly emphasized by Susan that it wasn't really a vampire, but it was vampire-like enough that they may as well call it one. While they aren't The Undead, aberrations do use Immortality Immorality. All aberrations are The Sociopath, lacking any sympathy and desire for companionship. The comic eventually makes vampire an official synonymnote  for aberration.
  • Outsourcing Fate: Magic is a Sentient Cosmic Force that wants to be used, but not by everyone. If too many people figure out how to use magic, a council of seers will be called. Seers are extremely rare, and only seers who have used magic but don't know about the council can be a part of the council; the average is less than one seer per council. The seers then must present their case to magic with firm logic and convince it of what major changes should be made to prevent magic from being mainstream, or to allow it to just change slightly to accommodate the reveal. Either way, every seer in the world (one in seven million, so about a thousand total) will become aware of the changes and the reason behind them. The problem is that magic doesn't really understand humanity, so it's difficult to convince it of anything. After a few initial missteps, Tedd manages to dramatically and bombastically explain that keeping a masquerade is simply not an option; with modern technology, anyone can share the secrets of magic in a second. There's no way they can keep a thousand seers quiet. Magic agrees, and the reveal becomes permanent.
  • Over Nine Thousand: One of the story arcs is called 9001% Serious.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
  • Parental Abandonment: Mr. Verres is often away from home on government business, and the former Mrs. Verres is in Europe somewhere and won't even visit for Christmas. Meanwhile, Mr. Pompoms has only been seen in Susan's memories, and significantly, his face is always obscured. Finally, all of Grace's parents are dead; her human gene-mother actually having died before she was conceived, her Uryuom father being murdered by Damien, and her other two parents being non-sentient lab animals which presumably would not have survived.)
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Mr. Verres to Grace, due to promising her biological grandfather he'd look after her.
    • Diane to Rhoda. She helps her with teachers, protects her from creepy reporters, and is absolutely murderous when Rhoda is hurt by the boar ("It should burn. I'm having pork for lunch"). On top of that, Rhoda is specifically keeping the fact that she's bisexual and dating a girl a secret, exactly like you'd hide that kind of thing from a parent. For the record, her actual parents wouldn't care.
  • Parodies for Dummies: Grace is seen in a cover page holding a book titled "Untying Knots for Squirrels.
  • Partial Transformation: Grace can transform to any stage between full squirrel and full human, can selectively morph away her furry antennae, as well as routinely pull off various Shape Shifter Mashups with any or all of her continually growing number of humanoid forms.
  • People Fall Off Chairs: Done twice, here and here.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Dan uses this to fix his computer in this filler strip.
  • Personality Powers: In this 'verse, the current magic system is based on "who you are and what you're doing" — at least normally. However, in the past, other systems of magic existed, and when magic is exposed to the world at large, the Will of Magic makes the other systems available again.
  • Person as Verb: 2017-05-22: Read more comics ... if you're going to Cheerleadra. (Be a superhero).
  • Phrase Catcher: Tedd is either a narcissist or just that girly.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Grace and a guy she just knocked out with a sleeper hold.
  • Pirate Girl: At least one convention attendee cosplays as this in the EGS:NP storyline "EGS-Con 2006".
  • Playing with Fire: Damien.
  • Playing with Syringes: Project Lycanthrope.
  • Please Get Off Me: "I appreciate your affection, but I need to breathe"
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: The standard response to Grace's early nudism. Playing with the trope — she actually takes it as people thinking she's ugly.
  • Poisonous Friend: Nioi acts on the assumption that Lord Tedd would be better off without his personal Blood Knight. In turn, General Shade Tail's opinion of Nioi is pretty low.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: The strip originally called "Politically Correct to the Bitter End, though Ironically, I Think the Bloodgrem's British"
  • Poor Communication Kills: Averted by Justin when confronted with an angry, incomprehensible fire monster; his first response is to try and work out a way to communicate, rather than go straight to beating the tar out of it. It attacks anyway, but it's the thought that counts. Later his sensei Greg tries to talk as far as possible too.
    • The Identity arc features this (and more broadly the nuances of people communicating) as a recurring theme, as the commentary makes clear — though mostly in aversion. It has the aftermath of Elliot and Sarah's surprisingly clean and angst-free breakup, Ashley and Elliot cutting short a lot of drama by simply admitting that they like each other right there and then and Susan managing to trip up an attempt to manipulate her simply by being honest about her feelings and intents (on the non-aversion side, it also features a nearly-disastrous attempt by Catalina to counter helping spread a (false, though she believed it at first) rumour about Elliot and Tom's deceitful manipulations backfiring on him, destroying any chance of a friendship with Susan).
  • Popcultural Osmosis Failure:
    • Grace, even for stuff that's not so "pop."
    Mr Tensaided: (wearing dark glasses) Hello, Mr. Anderson. Welcome to the video store.
  • Porn Stash: Implied; Diane is warned by her sister to stay out of a folder on the computer called "Gender Studies" before she is legally an adult.
  • Post-Historical Trauma: Done self-consciously for Grace's first day at school. Subverted when it turns out to be not about World War II as such, but related personal experience.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Nanase, here. And boy does she look PISSED.
  • Power Glows:
    • Mostly subverted. The glow is optional and only used to indicate that said person is using his/her powers. This is the case with Nanase's fairy doll, and by Word of God, with Elliot's and Nanase's martial art skills.
    • The reason or meaning of occasionally glowing Tedd when he thinks of Grace is (as yet) unknown. As is his glowing during a Eureka! moment and a personal revelation. Apparently it's a real glow and not artistic convention, as Grace can see it too.
      • In fact, Tedd nearly blinds someone who was looking for auras. And who was looking at a guy near him.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
  • Practice Kiss:
    • The trope is mentioned in this strip.
    • And when Sarah considers what Tedd (shapechanged to look like Grace) might think goes on in women's restrooms.
  • Practice Target Overkill: In the strip for 2-21-05, Nanase Kitsune is practicing her ki-powered martial arts attacks at Sensei Greg's dojo. After repeated strikes, she notices that the punching bag she's been hitting has been destroyed. She apologizes to Sensei Greg, but he tells her not to worry about it because he buys them in bulk.
  • Precision F-Strike: Grace pretty much swears for the first time here.
  • Prescience Is Predictable: Chaos only helps out Magus because she wants to make things as unpredictable as possible.
  • Protectorate: Though she's gotten more assertive on her own behalf over the last several arcs, pretty much the only surefire way to piss off Grace is to threaten her friends. You may not get the chance to do this more than once.
    • Tedd is aspiring to this, too.
  • Psychoactive Powers: When someone makes Grace explode (metaphorically), something is going to explode (literally).
  • Psychotic Smirk: Along with Evil Laugh, played to the hilt with Raven though he could just be being creepy and weird.
  • Pulled from Your Day Off: The events of the "So a Date at the Mall" storyline, involving an encounter between a superhero and a griffin in the middle of a busy mall, result in reporter Carol Brown getting called to the scene. However, as the audience was shown in an earlier storyline, Carol was supposed to be having dinner with her parents and younger sister that evening. This probably contributes to her frustration when she arrives on the scene to find that the superhero and griffin both left the scene almost immediately before she arrived.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: DO. YOU. UNDERSTAND. ME?
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes:
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Lord Tedd. Lampshaded in one strip.
      Mr. Verres: Elliot, your concerns are based on incomplete and false information. We have been addressing the Lord Tedd situation, and I can assure you, it wouldn't make sense for him to be behind it.
      Elliot: You have?!
      Mr. Verres: Of course I have! Did you honestly think my strategy after hearing that someone from another universe was allegedly out to kill my son was to ignore it and hope for the best?!
      Elliot: That… seemed like what we were doing…
      Mr. Verres: Well, it wasn't. But that's not important right now. This is all complicated enough as it is with-out dragging Lord Tedd into it.
    • Dr. Germahn. Also lampshaded/hand-waived by the man himself here.
    • Guineas, Hedge, and Vladia; Grace's siblings. After Painted Black they get taken in by the government and out of the story. The readers do get to get caught up with them come Grace's birthday where its discovered what they are up to and that they might even be let out "soon", but nothing comes of that afterwards, even after months of in-comic time. Granted, there always is the chance even if Grace's siblings are released they won't settle down in Moperville due to everything happening, but a lack of dialogue explaining that means they are currently lost in the ether.
  • The Rant: The commentaries on some comics, which may explain a plot point, a technique used, or Dan's opinion on Scrubs and Family Guy's different styles of Indulgent Fantasy Segue.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: In the 6-20-13 strip Nanase's head hair starts growing as a result of using one of Tedd's magical watches. And growing. And growing.
  • Rapunzel Hair:
    • Elliot during Grace's Birthday Party. Susan has this naturally and it was lampshaded quite rudely.
    • Nanase ends up with this as a side effect of being burnt out of magic, and Tedd's subsequent efforts to determine the cause accidentally make it worse. The trope was gleefully invoked by Nanase's little sister Akiko, who is eight years old and addicted to Tangled.
  • Reality Ensues: Whenever magic gets too well-known, it consults Seers on how severe the changes should be, and if magic is severely changed, it informs every single Seer in the world of the new magic system. However, due to rapid population growth, there are over a thousand Seers. It's still a small percentage of the human race, but information technology would ensure that if even one of those Seers had access to a computer and decided to share their knowledge, magic would be completely exposed. Thus, the safer option turns out to be to make minimal changes and prepare for the inevitable reveal of its existence than make severe changes and risk an outbreak of reckless magic users.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Raven, as shown here.
  • Red Herring:
    • Eric, who was introduced at the start of the New and Old Flames arc, initially appears to be the one who summoned the fire creature, but we quickly find out that it was really Dex, who only appeared to be an odd background character.
    • And it turns out that Dex wasn't the BigBad, either. He was being possessed.
    • Given Pandora's reputation and the symbolism involved with Dex's pendant, Raven concluded afterwards that Pandora marked Dex, gave him the pendant, and manipulated him. But it's later revealed that Voltaire, another Immortal did those things instead.
    • We are introduced to Camdin, who has smoke-based powers he uses for sneaking around, and who is interested in learning about Grace's magical secrets. In a later comic, we meet "Smoke", a person using a smokey disguise who was eavesdropping on a conversation involving magic between Grace and Sam, and is interested in seeing them transform. They are not actually the same person. "Smoke" is, apparently, a wizard, who in this universe can copy other people's spells. He seems to have copied Camdin's powers, or similar powers from someone else, and wanted to see Grace or Sam transform in order to copy the transformation.
  • Reinventing the Telephone: Nanase's Fairy Form. With inevitable commentary on this by the rest of the cast.
  • Relationship Reboot: Towards the end of the Sister arc, Ellen and Nanase do this, though Nanase doesn't get it at first. Ellen then goes on to reintroduce herself to the entire cast, with Nanase threatening to bitch slap anyone who laughs.
  • Relax-o-Vision: Used in-universe and weaponized by Jerry. Causes both calming and illusory fluffy animals to cuddle.
    • Used straighter in Q & A 7, where pictures of cute animals are used in lieu of pictures regarding healing injuries with the TF gun or other transformations.
  • Remembered I Could Fly Grace spends a few panels trying fruitlessly to escape from a full nelson before realizing that she's a shapeshifter, and she can easily slip out by turning into a tiny squirrel.
  • Remembered Too Late: In "So a Date at the Mall," Tara the griffin is manipulated into attacking Elliot by an Immortal because she mistakenly believes that Immortals are incapable of lying. The catch is that she should have already known that this is incorrect. Her wife Andrea previously informed her that one of the differences between their world and the main world is that Immortals in the main world can lie all they want. Unfortunately, she was too distracted to maintain this information, and was only reminded long after it ceased to be relevant.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Grace; Dr Sciuridae replaced the original gene sample that was to be used for Shade Tail with one from his daughter, after she was killed in a car accident.
  • Reset Button: Averted; this is why Time Travel is impossible in EGS.
    Sarah: Grace finally snapped and destroyed half of Moperville.
    Tedd: TO THE UNDO BUTTON!
  • Retcon / Revision: Melissa was introduced as some girl that Justin dated once as a freshman who became a Stalker with a Crush in denial and who outed him. Later, we get details where she's an Unlucky Childhood Friend who after one failed date (when he realized he was gay) let his secret loose. And then the other side of the story where she couldn't deal with losing the boy she wanted to marry nor the aftermath of confiding in her gossipy sister while emotionally devastated by the break up and became delusional.
    • The history for Grace and her siblings changed shortly into the comic.
  • Revenge Myopia
  • Revisiting the Roots: The 10th anniversary sketchbook.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder:
    • Wondering about something while talking to a summoned creature may quickly end up in Too Much Information.
    • And this bit of dialogue:
      Tedd: Who ever gave you that idea?
      Grace: Everyone I have ever known ever.
    • And in EGS: NP...
      Nanase: [angrily] How would Grace like it if I had a magic watch that could make me look like her!?


      Tedd: She'd be thrilled.
  • Right Behind Me: That's awkward.
  • Right-Hand Cat: For an Evil Lady. Also, Susan and Jeremy.
  • Right on Queue: The side-story "EGS-Con 2006" starts with one, and includes a second.
  • Romance-Inducing Smudge: Subverted when Ellen goes to wipe a smudge off Nanase's face and she freaks out because she was having trouble admitting her attraction to Ellen, and moments like that only made it more awkward.
  • Rousseau Was Right: After Tedd calls out half the school for making fun of Susan when she's the only one trying to change the uniforms, most of them are quick to apologize, with one saying that "we aren't a Borg Hive Mind." Earlier, when Grace runs out of class (due to not having heard of WWII) and is very embarrassed upon coming back, the other students are quick to offer their condolences over her leading such a sheltered life, and are angry at the people who subjected her to that rather than her. In fact, this comic demonstrates in many places that, with a few exceptions, high school students aren't the bastards that most media would have us believe. They're just normal people, with basically good natures.
  • Rule of Cute: The only problem with Art Evolution is that Dan is almost incapable of designing a female character without making her dangerously adorable one way or another.
    • Cute Little Fangs:
      • In the person of Catalina Bobcat.
      • Grace in her squirrel-girl form (a squirrel obviously should have big incisors instead, but she also got lespuko traits).
      • Mr. Raven also clearly has fangs, while hardly cute — though Amanda could argue about the latter.
      • Vladia also has little fangs, though it's harder to tell.
    • Cuteness Proximity: Jeremy tried this on Susan, but failed. See also Sarah's reaction to Grace's full squirrel form
    • Cuddle Bug: Grace and Ellen occasionally fall into this — they hug someone all the time, while The Glomp was performed not by one of them only twice: by Nanase (to Ellen) and Catalina (to Tedd). In the Second Life it was said to be fairly typical for a greater chimera. As to Ellen, at least Justin thinks it's pretty normal for girls. Or she's just that uninhibited.
    • Meganekko: Chika, the newly introduced colleague and sane partner of Amanda. Or at least looks like one most of the time.
      • Much to his chagrin, Tedd gets this at times when he's wearing his glasses.
      • Dan commented that he's been doing this more and more lately with random female background characters.
  • Rule of Drama:
    • It's been stated explicitly that magic is "overly dramatic," such as when all dark blue dye from Susan's hair ran out of her hair and into her clothes, followed by the magic making dark blue her natural hair color. Just because.
      Grace: But why did her hair grow?
      Jerry: See "over the top emphasis."
    • Tedd eventually deduces that magic isn't technically overly dramatic, it just doesn't understand humans and isn't good at subtle, so when it wants to communicate something it has to do it BIG.
  • Rule of Fun: The author's stated reason for just why transforming is ridiculously, absurdly safe.
    Amanda: (Evil glare) It's more fun that way. [KRAK-A-THOOM!]
  • Rule of Funny: Why else would THIS happen?
  • Rule of Sexy: "Why haven't you buttoned up?"
  • Running Gag:
  • Running Gagged: The Hammers, Demonic Duck, and for a while Ted's Androgyny were killed for a short while. Ted's Androgny is back with a vengence, however. (And, was replaced by Ted being Ka-Girled often).
    • Tedd's androgyny seems to be coming back as part of his character development, instead of as a gag.
    • Ziggzagged with the "Lisa has a crush on Amanda" gag. As of Q&A 6, Amanda has known that Lisa is a lesbian for a while, but whether she knows of Lisa's feelings for her isn't clear.
  • Running on All Fours: Grace during the "Painted Black" arc. She encounters Vlad while infiltrating Damien's underground lair in her half squirrel/half human form and gets down on all fours like a squirrel to run away from him.

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