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Fanfic / Catch Your Breath

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Keisuke Gekko, our story's heroine.
Ripples turn into waves and crash upon the shores of what is and what could be, and I was just someone else who got pulled under. I didn't realize that even a drowning person makes waves of their own. Summary

Keisuke Gekko is reincarnated into the Naruto world during the Second Shinobi War and grows up during the events of the Third Shinobi War. Kei’s ability to change canon is limited by her place in the world and her own inability to act, but ripples spread out and her presence in the world is enough to influence things, even if she does not realize it.

Catch Your Breath is an ongoing self insert fanfiction inspired by Dreaming of Sunshine that manages to be something more than just a blind copy of the genre. Written by an author who is not afraid to harm Kei or let her fail, Catch Your Breath also manages to let the future of the shinobi world hang in question.

The story can also be found on Archive of Our Own here.

There are also several side-stories and crossovers, all written by the author. All works are simultaneously posted to Fanfiction Dot Net and Archive of Our Own.


One can find other tidbits, information and fanworks of Catch Your Breath on the official Tumblr blog for the story.

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Catch Your Breath contains examples of:

    Tropes found in Catch Your Breath 
  • Absurd Cutting Power: As a result of her samurai training, Miyako Gekko can slice through a lot of things, especially when she coats her sword in chakra to the point that it glows.
  • Acting Your Intellectual Age: After Id, who personified Kei's apparent physical age, her childish emotions and instincts, split from her, Kei is much more prone to acting according to her twenty-something mental years.
    • Even after reintegration of the Dreamer and Id in the aftermath of Isobu's sealing, Kei tends to act with a bit more maturity than her contemporaries. Interestingly, unlike many other self-insert fics, Word of God states that Kei's mental age remains frozen at twenty-something, allowing her friends to theoretically catch up to her.
  • Action Mom: Miyako Gekko, who was leading her very own Zetsu extermination squad in the Commencement arc.
    • Kushina counts, too. Right after giving birth to Naruto, she proceeds to stomp to the Barrier/Sensor Squad and stage a non-hostile takeover.
      • And again, when she and Tsunade proceed to obliterate Danzo while Minato and the gang are in Suna. Kushina might not have dealt the finishing blow, but Yin Kurama praised her ferocity.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: A couple of examples.
    • Minato used to pat Kei's head when she was a genin, and ruffle Obito and Kakashi's hair.
    • Kei's summon, Tsuruya, developed a habit of bonking Kei in the head with her beak almost immediately after being summoned for the first time.
    • Kei has a tendency to ruffle Hayate's hair.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: With Obito, after they separate Black Zetsu from him, Rin and Kei, with Katsuyu's help, have to heal him so he doesn't die.
    • With Hayate, after his last fight in the Chuunin exams. He inhaled Suna poison.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: This trope is used for laughs in this story.
    Minato: "Since that’s ten shinobi plus myself, I immediately go to my office windows to let most of them out before the group starts to evacuate via the air vents." (chapter 72)
    Kei: "Somewhat later, I was eating a late lunch in Sensei's office while Kakashi was in the ceiling somewhere and Sensei was supposedly just filling out paperwork like it was any old winter afternoon. No siree, no ninjas in the air vent…" (chapter 76)
    It turned out to be another two minutes before my teammate snaked in through the ventilation system, apparently because he was contractually obliged to do so. (chapter 80)
  • All-Loving Hero: Kei muses on this trope on several occasions in reference to Naruto, before concluding that she is not capable of being that selfless. She still tries to perform some of the same functions of one.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Turns out to be the case with Obito, who is revealed to be Madara's sole living descendant. He didn't know until he broke into a secure office for his personnel file.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: Kei, during her first C-rank mission when she was trapped in a Water Prison Jutsu.
    • Minato nearly runs into this problem when Kei (and Isobu) traps him in a Water Prison Jutsu in their spar.
  • And I Must Scream: The effects of Kumogashira poison.
  • Animal Battle Aura: Kei is a jinchuriki, so Isobu's chakra will start to manifest his physical form when enough gets out. Done by accident at first, but later Kei deliberately allows Isobu to manifest in a spectral, miniature version of his form.
  • Anti-Climax: The Scouting Arc ends on one in terms of confronting the target, which is immediately lampshaded by Kei.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Minato has a particular fondness for these. It's usually a nonthreatening stance; with a Hiraishin kunai idly twirling in hand, or cleaning his nails. Expect asskicking to commence soon afterward.
    His voice was completely level despite the tension in the air, and he was idly cleaning under his fingernails with a Flying Thunder God kunai.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: So true. Kei finds it amusing that the Hokage needs guards when the one who holds the title is usually the most powerful person in the village, and is probably the one who needs them the least.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Kei and Obito, when they were fighting in tandem in earlier chapters. They were so good at it that the Iwa-nin decided to take Kakashi (a newly minted jonin) hostage—as the easier target—in the Kannabi Bridge arc.
    • Kakashi and Kei early on in the Scouting arc.
  • Badass in Distress: Kakashi (in one arc), Kei (in the arc after that), and later Kushina. Obito also counts as this, during the same arc as Kushina.
    • A Cliffhanger in the Whispers Arc makes it seem like Kakashi's going to go through this again, only for him to arrive back in the village unharmed (though three days later than expected), having utterly dominated his enemies offscreen.
  • Band of Brothers: Team Minato. While their bond doesn't come exclusively from surviving near death situations and fighting together, it sure is stronger for it.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Black Zetsu comes through the floor of Kei's seal-reinforced house to get to Hayate.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: When the Three Tails was sealed into her, one of Kei's split personalities was fighting him (to stop him from escaping), Kei herself was fighting the Mind Control seal Madara put inside her, while the second split personality was controlling the body and fighting external threats.
    Kei—the Dreamer—says, “Running interference. The compulsion affects the dominant personality—the kunoichi you both know. She is stalling. As for the Tailed Beast, the Three-Tails activates hindbrain impulses toward destruction and rage in order to weaken the seal, personified and confronted by Id. I am neither, and have been forced to act in their stead until the situation can be resolved.
    • OR Battle in the Collective Centre of Nine Minds as the shared Tailed Beast mindskype could be called - where Shukaku and Isobu have their (mock) fight.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Keisuke when she tells everyone about the future.
    • Also when she tells Rikuto of the Chinatsugumi that they are very likely to be targeted by Orochimaru in the next few years.
  • Behemoth Battle: Offscreen, Kurama and the bijuu-sized fusion of Zetsu clones. When Kei gets back to the action, Kurama is surrounded by Gamabunta, Katsuyu, and Mosura, and the other monster is dismissively confirmed to be dead.
    • Isobu and Shukaku battle it out in the shared Tailed Beast mindskype in order to save Gaara. This was later revealed not to have been serious.
    • During the fight between Kei and Minato, the battle eventually escalates into this.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Kei may be one of the nicer members of Team Minato, but she can definitely be pushed too far (as in the Memory Arc).
    • Similarly, her mother eventually reveals that she has a near-bottomless pit of cold-blooded hate under her housewife exterior when pressed.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The entirety of the Commencement Arc can be considered this, as is the second half of the Memory Arc.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Kei’s desire to protect her younger brother is what drives her to become a ninja in the first place.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Kei explicitly refers to Minato as this, during the later parts of the story.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: In addition to the obligatory giant leeches and centipedes in the Forest of Death, Tsunade's slug summon Katsuyu makes repeated appearances in the story.
    • And later, Rin gets a summon contract for scorpions, led by Dokuyu-sama and her daughters.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Due to the changing circumstances around the mission where Rin was originally turned in the Three-Tails' host, Minato arrives in time to kill Guruguru (the spiral Zetsu/Tobi) and save his team.
    • The cataclysmic battle against Orochimaru's forces at Sorayama in the climax of the Memory arc descends into this, with Kei saving Team Choza, then Kakashi arriving to aid Kei against Orochimaru, and finally Obito bringing in Kushina and Minato to deal with the rogue Sannin.
    • Gai manages to pull this off four times in a single arc. And in doing so, he takes out Ganryu, breaks Yagura's back, kills two Oto-nin while rescuing Genma, and nearly manages to put a dent into Manda before he needs a rescue of his own.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: The purpose of the Hokage Guard Platoon, and Kei's day job after the Commencement Arc.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to Kei and Rin after the Kannabi Bridge arc. Deliberately invoked by Madara toward Obito.
    • When it fails, Black Zetsu tries again in the Commencement Arc by killing Miyako Gekko in front of him.
    • The entire point of the Memory arc: Kei spends a year away isolated from the village and her loved ones on extensive away missions, and coupled with her cripplingly low self-esteem at her self-perceived growing irrelevance—in that as a self-insert, she has no right to be in the story, and her foreknowledge is becoming increasingly inapplicable—leads to a catastrophic breakdown. Word of God even teased it as "the bad thing" for weeks on Tumblr!
  • Break the Haughty: Kakashi, differently from canon. Since he’s the one who got grabbed on the Kannabi mission.
  • Breather Episode: The various Intermission chapters, along with the Ripple Arc as a whole.
  • Call-Back:
    • Hayate and Kei's Chunin Exam debuts both feature bluffing an opponent into surrendering with fake/nonlethal explosive tags.
  • Captain Obvious: Kakashi at times, especially in the early chapters.
    “We didn’t get the bells.” Kakashi pointed out.
    Thank you, Captain Obvious.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Team Minato seems to have the makings of this. Minato is the king of it.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Kei gets rescued by Tsuruya after Honoka Uchiha blew her sky high with a tornado jutsu.
    • And again, as she's falling to the ground in exhaustion after the allotted time for her full Tailed Beast transformation runs out, and she reverts back to herself in mid air.
  • The Cavalry: Tsunade and Jiraiya for the Ame orphans. They arrive just in time to foil Hanzo (and Danzo's) plans.
    • In the Memory arc, Kushina and Minato, who are actually able to keep up with and drive Orochimaru back.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Butterfly summon contract. Found in the Scouting Arc, and used to great effect in the Commencement Arc.
    • The Crane summon contract is first mentioned before Kannabi, but Kei doesn't sign it until afterward. Tsuruya has been a participant in nearly every fight since then.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Id, Kei's first split personality that is always asleep. She was instrumental to keeping the Three Tailed Beast from breaking out of the weak seal when it was first sealed inside her.In fact, it was the first and only time she did anything.
    • The Chinatsugumi, a merchant group in the Land of Fire from the above-mentioned C-ranked mission, end up legitimizing some of Kei’s foreknowledge about Orochimaru’s powers and feeding information back to Konoha. They also (unintentionally) provided a means for Minato to get around the soul price for the Dead Demon Consuming Seal.
    • Nono Yakushi is mentioned post-Kannabi as a part of a plan to change the future, and eventually appears in person as a defector from ROOT.
  • Chekhov's Skill: A couple of examples.
    • The “Bullshitting the Fish Test” Jutsu keeps Kei alive during her first C-rank mission by allowing her to survive being caught in a Water Prison.
    • Obito admits to Kei that he broke into the Uchiha clan's secure files without anybody noticing. Eight chapters later, Minato sends him to steal Sunagakure secure files during the Chunin Exams.
    • Kei and Genma collaborate on modifying their respective seal designs for increased effectiveness and the latter's work eventually ends up helping Tsunade and Kushina corner and wipe out ROOT by contributing those new barrier seals.
    • Kei's ability to use the Rasengan without having to use her hands becomes immensely useful during the fight against Minato, who does have that limitation. Even more so once it becomes clear that Isobu has also picked up the same skill.
  • Child Soldiers: Kei has passing thoughts about this during her academy years. It is evident she doesn't approve.
    I just knew he’d attended the Academy, and then both graduated and got promoted to chūnin in the same year. At age six. Every time I thought I was okay with the ninja system, it reminded me why I wasn’t.
  • Clean Cut: Miyako Gekko is an expert at this, and she taught Kei some of it.
    Mom used the Mountain Cutter again and suddenly there were a lot more half-Zetsus not running around because they didn't have legs.
  • Cliffhanger: The majority of the more dramatic chapters.
  • Clone Army: The literal army of Zetsu clones.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Nagato, in the Commencement arc.
    His hair was about three centimeters shorter on the left side of his head compared to the right; the bright red abruptly terminated in burned fragments right around his earlobe, indicating a near-miss.
    • Earlier in the store, Kei barely avoided getting scorched by a jutsu misfire, and lost some hair around the back of her neck as a result.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Kakashi was the one taken in the Kannabi Bridge arc, and tortured before Obito and Kei came to the rescue. It was also how he lost his left eye.
  • Combat Parkour: Kakashi's fighting style.
    • Hayate is trying to learn it, with (so far) little success.
    He’d been trying some of Kakashi’s loose-limbed method of using the environment to every possible advantage, but wasn’t fast or strong enough to make full use of it.
    • Kei has (in a roundabout way) professed to have picked up some moves.
    (...) we kind of blended our styles after a while (...)
  • Combination Attack: Kakashi and Obito come up with one of these during the Threads Arc, blasting an entire enemy team unconscious via Wood Release: Thousand Flowering Snares combined with Lightning Release: Stunning Flash.
  • Cooldown Hug: How Kakashi tries to break through to the near-feral Kei in chapter 100, when her body is being overwhelmed by Isobu's chakra and the seal breaking after fighting Orochimaru and trying to destroy a Cursed Seal marked on her. It mostly works, though not as easily or painlessly as either party would have liked.
  • Cringe Comedy: Quite a few examples. A notable one is during Kei's second Chunin Exam, where after accidentally hitting her in the boob, Gai realizes she is a girl and proceeds to loudly and embarrassingly apologize to her while recounting their first few meetings.
    I ended up contemplating a lot of courses of action while he was talking. Among them, ritual suicide.
    I settled for slamming my chakra into my legs, launching myself at him like a rocket. And then I kicked him in the groin.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Obito, though toned down.
  • Crushing Handshake: Gai has rattled Kei's shoulder in its socket when they shook hands, multiple times.
  • Cuddle Bug: Kushina had a tendency to exuberantly cuddle Minato's genin when they were small, particularly Kakashi. Sometimes this involves cuddling (read: crushing) them so enthusiastically that they can't breathe.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A couple of times:
    • Kei's fight with Himawari (Hinata's mother) in her first Chunin Exam fits this trope.
    • Kakashi vs. Tenzo in the Whispers Arc, due to Kakashi being Properly Paranoid and sabotaging his opponent ahead of time.
  • Cute Little Fangs: In addition to the Inuzuka clan regulars, Kakashi has these. Fitting, as he confirms in-story that his mother was an Inuzuka.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Kei has this reaction to Kakashi's pack of dog summons.
    • Kushina and Mikoto also had this reaction seeing Naruto and Sasuke interact with each other as babies.
  • A Day in the Limelight: As the story goes on, other characters have a chance to break into Kei’s first-person narration with segments of their own.
  • Damage Control: Rin, Tsunade, and Shizune in the hospital during the first stage of the invasion in the Commencement Arc. So many people are coming in with injuries that it keeps them busy almost all night.
  • Dark Secret: Kei's foreknowledge was treated as this before she spilled the beans.
    • The fact that she lived another life before and that their world was merely a manga story still remains as such. Even if she has told Isobu about the former, and later admitted both elements to Minato and Kakashi.
  • Dead All Along: Sho Kobayashi, the original Butterfly summon contract holder. His death was, in a way, what started the events of the arc in the first place.
    • Utterly inverted in the case of Madara.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kei, but not all of the time, and mostly in her head. Kakashi at times.
  • Death by Irony: Black Zetsu. Minato gives him to the Shinigami as the soul price for sealing Yang Kurama into Naruto. Black Zetsu was the one who extracted said half of Kurama from Kushina in the first place.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Miyako Gekko.
  • Detect Evil: One problem faced during the Commencement Arc is that nobody in the village could do this well enough to make a difference. Except Kushina and Kurama.
  • Didn't See That Coming: On both the protagonist and antagonist sides.
    • Madara's plan to use either Kei's or Rin's deaths to trigger Obito's Face–Heel Turn fails because Kei has two split personalities she never told anyone about.
    • Because Kei never got a chance to read the last eighty or so chapters of the manga, she has no idea how dangerous Black Zetsu really is. Thus, his involvement in and subsequent hijacking of the Commencement arc takes everyone by surprise.
    • Interestingly, this ends up playing into Kei's character growth and climaxes in the Memory arc. Her extensive actions throughout the course of the story have drastically changed the world, such that it barely resembles Naruto canon. This ends up damaging Kei's self-esteem, as she has increasingly come to define herself by her usefulness to others in her "foresight" as a self-insert. And more tangibly, she never foresees Orochimaru's attack on Sorayama, something utterly outside the scope of her ability to predict.
  • Disappeared Dad: Wataru Gekko, who dies in the first arc while on a mission outside of the village. During the same year as Sakumo Hatake, even.
  • Dragged by the Collar: Minato did this to his genin in earlier chapters, when they were still small. He also had a tendency toward picking them up and carting them around like sacks of rice if he needed to teleport somewhere with them.
    Sensei was accompanied by both a grumpy-looking Kakashi, slung under his arm like a sack of rice (...)
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Kei. After Hayate was born she kept dreaming of his future canon death for years, until she developed a split personality to deal with all those memories. This was also a recurring dream. She dreamt of Obito and Rin's fates after meeting them as well.
  • Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Different villages have different, but standardized uniforms. Kei lampshades this fact when she gets her official flak jacket (and proceeds to leave it at home, since enemy troops can easily identify her as an opponent should she wear it on the field).
    Obito and I got our flak jackets in a ceremony that was at least half tongue-in-cheek and promptly hung them up in our respective closets to ignore. (There’s such a thing as subtlety in enemy territory. Village-based uniforms are not it.)
    • Invoked in a rather roundabout manner by Nagato towards Kei. In his thoughts he remarked that Kei, who was wearing the standard Konoha shinobi garb, did not dress like “most” kunoichi (presumably in flattering, feminine clothes) and implied it to be one of the reasons he mistook her for a guy.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Obito at times.
  • Emotional Maturity Is Physical Maturity: Though Kei did retain the memories of her previous life and her adult mindset, her young body still had some influence on her emotions and reactions. In the beginning, frustration would automatically equal a temper tantrum as a baby, and she broke down in tears when she finally went to her father about the incessant nightmares. However, this trope stopped being the case after Id split from her.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Kei has these as a result of frequent nightmares and not sleeping.
    • Hayate gets them due to breathing problems. Word of God confirms that as Hayate is healed from his illness, his eye bags exist because he likes to sleep late.
    • Her mother has them for an unknown reason, possibly medical.
  • Face Fault: The entire group when they spoke to the Great Toad Sage, and he forgot Minato's name.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Averted. Obito doesn't become Tobi, since Rin doesn't die. The Ame orphans also manage to avoid their canon fate, via intervention from Jiraiya and Tsunade.
  • Face Palm: Done by many characters, but mostly Kei.
  • Family of Choice: Team Minato, for the majority of its members.
  • Feather Flechettes: Kei's summon Tsuruya uses these as a primary ranged attack, allowing her to strike without touching the ground. It seems to be related to her Razor Wings ability—Kei notes that during a fight, anything hitting her wings sounds like it's bouncing off steel.
  • Fighting from the Inside: As a result of this trope and a collaborative peptalk, Black Zetsu-possessed Obito fights so badly “that drunk civilian could have beaten him.”
  • Fighting Your Friend: Team Minato plus Gai have to fight Obito when Black Zetsu takes hold of him.
  • First-Person Perspective: Most of the story is told from Kei's first person point of view.
    • When other characters get their Day in the Limelight, they’re also using first-person.
    • Averted in an extra which highlights Kakashi's point of view in regards to chapter 64. Averted again in another extra chapter later on, which explains how Genma and Raido got together.
  • First-Person Smartass: Kei, all the way through. A quarter of the story’s length is composed of Kei’s exposition about her thoughts at a given time and speculation on the story’s universe, while another fourth is color commentary. The remaining half is the plot.
  • Flat "What": Kei's personality in a nutshell.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Nagato, thanks to the Deva Path’s gravity-based powers, can do this with relative ease. Kei contributes by handing him ammunition on one occasion.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Multiple characters have a hard time forgiving Minato for his handling of the events leading up to the Memory Arc.
    • Kei ends up with severe self-worth issues and is wary of orders or raised voices.
    • Hayate has a hard time not glaring at the offender.
    • Kakashi read him the riot act almost instantly, furious.
    • Kushina was last seen making him sleep on the couch, her disapproval quite evident.
  • For Want of a Nail: Whooo boy:
    • Due to a paralytic poison, Kei gets taken by Mist shinobi instead of Rin (who was the harder target then) and becomes the host of the Three-Tailed Beast. She planned for this eventuality in a way.
    • Rin not dying prevents Obito's Face–Heel Turn.
    • Obito not going insane and rejecting reality, in turn, means that there is no Mangekyo Sharingan to take control of the Kyuubi and set him upon Konoha (with the exception of Madara himself - who is connected to the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path and thus has a very limited range of movement.)
    • Kei's simple act of sharing her "foreknowledge" with her team, plus Jiraiya and Kushina, results in massive changes to the Naruto plotline.
    • Jiraiya goes to find Tsunade and together they save Yahiko - averting Nagato's transformation into Pain.
    • Tsunade returns to the village twelve years earlier than in canon, and later decides to stay.
    • Nagato comes to Konoha's aid, thanks to Jiraiya and Tsunade coming to Akatsuki's rescue after the Ripple Arc.
    • Kushina and Minato survive Naruto's birth.
    • Kei sharing the knowledge with Isobu, trying to befriend him, and nudging Kushina (who had already started to doubt her preconcieved bias against bijuu due to Kei's abovementioned spilling of the beans) to be more cordial to Kurama later results in Yang Kurama not rampaging all over Konoha.
    • And this twist of fate, in turn, results in Iruka's parents not getting killed.
    • Minato has Obito steal Sasori's files from Suna, likely to better prepare for the possibility of something like the canon Akatsuki being created.
    • Due to having access to Kei's memories (and fuuinjutsu knowledge), Isobu tells Shukaku how to strengthen Gaara's seal from the inside. As a result, Minato strengthens it from the outside. Neither of which happened in canon.
    • Naruto now has a little sister named Tatsumaki.
  • Freudian Trio: Kei, Id and the Dreamer. Kei is the Ego, the Dreamer the Superego and Id is the Id.
  • Fuzz Therapy: Kakashi has figured out how to use his dogs for this. Mostly on Kei.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Keisuke "Kei" Gekko. She points out that the proper feminine form of her name would have been "Keiko," but assumes that her parents had a reason for giving her a masculine personal name.
    The Author explains:
    Author reason: It’s funny on its own and sets up a running joke. It also had the kanji I wanted.
    In-character reason: She’s named after the great-uncle that raised her dad. But for the rest of the reasoning, her dad figured it’d be like adding salt to watermelon to enhance sweetness (or enhance femininity by contrast)–-basically like Tohru from Fruits Basket. It’s hard to say if it worked.
  • Geometric Magic:
    • Having a Blast: Kei's particular specialty within fuinjutsu. The size of the largest explosion she can create increases as each arc passes, thanks to additional training, and she can use them on any surface.
    • Instant Runes: Kei can set seals with a touch, as can Minato. However, he uses Flying Thunder God seals for instant teleportation, while Kei just blows things up.
      • More specifically: Kei uses seals, is sometimes referred to as a fuinjutsu specialist and is Minato's apprentice in fuinjutsu. Kei was first inspired to take up fuinjutsu because her father made a career out of it, but did not do so until after his death. Meanwhile, Minato, Kushina and Jiraiya are sealing masters, and Genma is said to be good with barrier seals.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: Kurama tries this with Black Zetsu when it's in the middle of going to 'capture' Obito.
    "Black Zetsu flattened where he was, sliding across the ground like a shadow, and made a beeline for—"Obi—!" (...) Kurama’s right paw smashed into the ground directly between Sensei and Obito (...)"
  • The Gloves Come Off: We see this throughout the Commencement Arc with Kei. She freely uses Isobu's chakra while fighting inside Konoha where everyone can see her, despite it being an S-class secret. Also while locating Hayate, despite it meaning that the enemy can locate her too.
    • Escalates even further during Kei's fight with Minato, to the point that a full Tailed Beast Mode transformation is now on the table.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: With all jinchuriki. When Kei's eyes change to Isobu's, one knows the fecal matter is about to hit the ventilation device.
  • Good Is Not Soft: And it can't be, if it wants to survive in the Narutoverse. Examples:
    • Minato is a nice, genial person who would rather avoid fighting if a situation can be resolved differently. But it won't stop him from ripping an opponent to shreds if he feels it's necessary. And woe unto those that make him angry...
    • Nagato, whose canon fate had been averted, is a nice, polite, even-tempered and somewhat shy individual... with the ability to flatten mountains when pissed off. Do not poke with a stick!
    • The number of times that a real enemy has left a fight with Kei alive can be counted on one hand, with plenty of fingers left over.
    • Obito, who reacts to threats to his friends with attempted impalement via Wood Release spears.
  • Good News, Bad News: Kei did this, when she told her team of her foreknowledge.
  • Groin Attack: Kei does this to Gai in her second Chunin exam, to shut him up.
  • Group Hug: Plenty of examples.
    • One of the earlier ones include Obito getting hugged by Kei and Rin, after he was overwhelmed by having people who cared for him around him on his birthday.
    • Also Minato and his genin team when they were younger. Particularly during their first C-rank as a team, where Kei makes her first kill.
  • Hammerspace: Kei has a veritable arsenal of storage scrolls on her person at all times.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Kei and Kakashi both suffer this in the wake of the Kannabi Bridge mission.
    • Obito briefly suffers one as a result of discovering he's related to Madara Uchiha.
    • Kei hits this point again in chapter 96 after being on nearly continuous B/A-ranked mission deployment, one after another, for a year. During this time, she saw very few of her Nakama for any length of time. She didn't take it all that well when the pressure was finally off.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: None of the members of Team Minato have strong self-esteem, except Minato himself. Turns out Kei's is the worst.
  • Hidden Army Reveal: Zetsu clones can literally hide in the ground. In the Commencement arc this trope came into effect when Kei and the rest of her ragtag rescue group caught up to Nagato, and a mass of Zetsu clones rose from the ground nearby.
    "The ground trembled and, with a tremendous roar of earth and stone, Zetsu clones emerged from the ground as though being plucked from it like errant potatoes (...) And apparently we'd been sitting on a nest of the damn things."
  • Human Weapon: All jinchuuriki.
    • Kirigakure ANBU, under the influence of Madara, deliberately made Kei into the Three-Tails jinchuriki so that the aforementioned giant monster would destroy Konoha when Kei returned to the village and Three Tails’ weak seal broke.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: The core of the Gekko family kenjutsu style. This is deliberate.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Since chapter 53, the vast majority of the chapters have been named after songs, some of which fit the chapter in question and some of which do not. Other naming schemes include house words, character tags, or just whatever the author feels like. Each chapter is also labeled according to the story arc it belongs to.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: During the Commencement Arc, Obito runs into trouble with Black Zetsu, and his friends resort to this to give him the willpower to fight the latter off.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Several examples.
    • Obito has Wood Release and can do this to his opponents.
    • Guruguru did this in the arc when the Three Tails was sealed into Kei.
    • This is also how Kei’s mother dies.
  • Implied Death Threat: Minato does this to Honoka Uchiha.
    “Honoka-san.” Sensei said, in a voice that was almost pleasant, “At this point, I’d like to remind you that S-ranked secrecy exists for a reason.”
  • In Spite of a Nail: Certain plot points still go through fairly closely to how they did in canon, despite Kei’s foreknowledge and intervention. However, the exact circumstances and timing of these events are different.
    • The Kannabi Bridge Arc still ends with Obito under a rock and Kakashi with a Sharingan.
    • One team member still ends up kidnapped and turned into Isobu’s host.
    • Kushina is still kidnapped on the tenth of October.
    • Yang Kurama still ends up sealed inside of Naruto.
    • Tsunade returns to Konoha with Shizune.
    • Obito and Kakashi gain the Mangekyo Sharingan.
  • In-Series Nickname: In addition to the Yellow Flash (Minato) and the Toad Sage, as well as other canonical titles, Kei and Hayate eventually learn that their mother used to have such a moniker. Funnily enough, the Ghoul of Three Wolves—while badass—is barely a blip compared to the other people Kei associates with.
  • Internal Reveal: Kei does this on a couple of occasions, whenever she turns out to know something that none of the other characters expected her to. This reaches its climax when she finally tells her inner circle about her "future" knowledge.
    • In chapter 96, Kei finally reveals to Kakashi and Minato that she's a reincarnation from a world where Naruto is a story, though she has trouble explaining what she means.
  • Irony: Quite a bit of it.
    • One notable example is: when they first met and became a team, Minato confessed to sharing the dream of becoming Hokage with Obito, and jokingly offered to make his new genin his lieutenants should he accomplish it; Kei declined - thinking she was too lazy for such responsibility. Ironically, after Minato became Hokage, and Kei shared her foreknowledge, she was appointed as one of the Hokage's bodyguards, and Minato does bounce ideas off of her on some important issues.
  • Japanese Honorifics: Used extensively, but not to the point of overriding English familial titles.
  • Jaw Drop: Obito's reaction to Kakashi actually calming down thanks to Gai's reassurances in the Commencement Arc. Kakashi is wound pretty tightly after several high-level fights, and that stress is instantly invalidated by seeing that his friend's alive and cheery.
    I reached over and pushed Obito's drooping jaw up with one finger. While I could appreciate a good and comedic jaw drop on principle, now was not the time to gawk.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Akihito Yamaguchi, a chain-smoking medic-nin who works in the hospital. He teaches Kei basic medical ninjutsu on weekends until she graduates from the Academy, and later basically adopts Rin.
  • The Juggernaut: On the protagonist side, Nagato. Him showing up alive in the Commencement Arc (and figuring out what he can do when triggered) makes overt attacks a losing prospect, because he can freely use the Deva Path powers that made him so dangerous in canon. He walks out of the arc with singed hair at worst, despite the literal army of foes.
    (...)Nagato had to hit everything with the Fist of God. Twice.
  • Just Eat Him: Isobu’s first resort in a fight where he can use his teeth, including when first sealed inside Kei.
  • Killing Intent: Minato is shown to have very potent killing intent. Whenever Kei uses Isobu's chakra it is registered as massive killing intent by everyone around her.
  • Kill It with Fire: Kei indicated this as standard operating procedure for the Uchiha clan. The Uchiha district was scorched, smouldering and partly on fire during the Commencement arc, though the residents don’t seem perturbed by it.
    Thanks to the fact that most of the Uchiha clan and the nearby families tended to favor Fire Release techniques, the district was slightly smoldering by the time we got there. The buildings were fine, but any White Zetsu that had been found had also been torched, meaning that the streets were covered in burning, melting mayonnaise-men. While there were a few people who had tried cleaning up, melted shovels seemed to turn public opinion against the idea.
  • Large Ham: Gai, of course. Wataru Gekko also briefly affects this persona to make his teammates laugh.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Gai. He may look like a clown, he may act like a clown, but, boy, can he pummel you into the ground—all while exuberantly praising the Power of Youth.
    Gai? Gai went straight for the Leaf Whirlwind which, while not necessarily lethal, would still catch most opponents napping. Black Zetsu steered Obito away from the face-cruncher of a kick, spitting curses at the "clown" he'd dismissed.
  • Like a Son to Me: Miyako Gekko feels like this towards Obito. Obito reciprocates. Yamaguchi-sensei also feels like this towards Rin.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Averted. Kei makes friends with Obito and Rin in the Academy and, due to being the only member of the group with a living family, quickly incorporates them into an extended family group with her, her mother, and her brother. Because of this, Obito is less dependent on Rin and later defies Madara’s attempt to break him to heel.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Yuki Uesugi, the only surviving member of the Uesugi clan aside from Kei's mother.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: Kei muses about this when she passes her Chunin Exam, along with the majority of the participants, and concludes that the war and need for manpower is the reason for it.
    All in all the exams ended with my entire team being promoted—-Rin, Obito, and I were all officially chūnin-ranked shinobi right on schedule. Gai was also promoted (based mostly on his match with Obito, I think), as was Asuma. Overall, we had a much higher proportion of graduates than most Exams did, but we needed them. Either that or standards were lowered during wartime.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Minato muses on this in chapter 77, when he, Jiraiya, and Kei are in the Hokage's office. Kei also notes that being a part of this chain is the apparent key to becoming Hokage.
    Minato: "It’s strange to think that we have three full generations of teacher-student bonds in this room. Jiraiya-sensei taught me when I was younger, then I grew up to teach Kei and her teammates. (...) that left just the three of us to represent a long tradition of shinobi teachings."
  • Morality Chain: Kei views Rin as this to Obito, and thus takes steps to keep her out of harm’s way.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Understandable, considering Kei fought through the Third Shinobi War. She also advocates killing off people like Madara and Danzo, due to worries that they could come to threaten people she cares about.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Kei's feelings for Konoha, mostly.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Minato in chapter 96.
  • Nepotism: Kei lampshades this fact several times, mostly in regards of claiming the title of Hokage. An example from chapter 78:
    "It also generally required becoming the student of the Hokage, or of a future Hokage, or of a Hokage's student. Most of these categories overlapped. Nepotism was definitely a thing in the ninja world."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Minato in chapter 96. It resulted in Kei having a major breakdown and going into what amounts into an emotional coma .
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Madara saving Obito from dying in that cave-in and transplanting the right side of his torso with Zetsu flesh can count as this, especially as Obito doesn't join Madara.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The exact events of Obito’s entrance exam into the Konoha Military Police.
    • How Kei first met Anko.
    • The reason why missions with Gai quickly turn into a farce.
    • And a comment by Jiraiya saying that his Ame apprentices were “up to their necks in toads and slugs” without any additional details.
    • There are many more.
  • Not a Morning Person: Kei. Also Minato, whom Kei always wakes up from a safe distance.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Kei's reasons to change the plot are, at first, of a personal nature (to protect her loved ones). This changes later.
  • Oblivious to Love: Kei, whom the author has confirmed as romantically illiterate.
    “Kei wouldn’t know romance if it hit her in the face.”
    • Also Rin, who is shown canonically to be somewhat oblivious to love. The author rolled with it.
    “Rin shares that “obliviousness” trait. That Team Minato photoset I reblogged on my other account was accurate for Rin as well as Kei (”Don’t drop me a hint. I will dust it off and give it back to you without ever realizing it was for me.”).”
    • Raido was a relatively short-lived version of this, as Genma was attracted to him for longer than Raido was aware of it. They got together after he finally acknowledged his feelings.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: While everyone knows that Minato is a genius and an S-class threat on his own, he often pretends to be politically naive and inexperienced. While he is an idealist, people would be well-advised not to take him lightly in any fashion. As seen by his apparent carelessness with secret techniques and alliances during the Depths Arc, only for the readers to find that he's been ripping off Suna's intelligence division through Obito.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Jiraiya and Tsunade are pretty good at these, since their power gives them the ability to run off and stomp on whatever enemy forces they find. This includes rescuing the fledgling Akatsuki from Hanzo and changing the fate of Amegakure.
    • Kakashi takes out twenty Sound-nin in this manner, while carrying an unconscious Tenzo, who had tried to kill him not five minutes beforehand.
    • Kushina and Tsunade collaborate to destroy the remainder of ROOT while the rest of the cast is in Sunagakure.
    • Though we see Kei's—and later Kakashi's too—heroic stand against Orochimaru at Sorayama, the resolution of the fight by Kushina and Minato takes place offscreen, as the story turns to focus on Kakashi trying to stabilize Kei as her seal collapses.
  • Off with His Head!: How Orochimaru is (seemingly) put down for good in the Memory arc: in his wrath at seeing Kei impaled by the Kusanagi, Kakashi unleashes the offensive potential of his Mangekyou for the first time, ripping off Orochimaru's head with Kamui.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Kei realizes that Zetsu clones have infiltrated Konoha.
    • Taken to new heights—or perhaps lows—when Orochimaru arrives at Sorayama in chapter 98. To Kei's credit, she decides to fight anyway soon afterward, despite her fear, to rescue Genma. The other members of Team Choza join in immediately.
  • One-Hit Kill: Kei has used her iaijutsu to do this. Her mother as well.
  • Original Character: A slew of them, due to the story taking place well before canon. Many of the trusted adult figures in the village are still teenagers here.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kei makes a note of this in the early arcs, remarking that her close friends seem to not have any parents. Aside from her, every member of her genin team—including her teacher Minato—is an orphan. Minato also has difficulty relating to Kei on occasion because of this, because otherwise he’d be the only authority the kids would have to worry about directly.
  • Parental Substitute: Because of the high number of dead parents, adults in orphans' lives tend to take up this role.
    • Minato is this for Kakashi and Obito, but doesn't quite reach this point with Kei. He is, however, her legal guardian.
    • Miyako was this for Obito up until her death.
    • Tsunade is this for Shizune, since she effectively adopted Shizune after Dan's death. A few years after her return to Konoha, she also adopts Tenzo.
  • Parallel Conflict Sequence: The Commencement Arc.
  • Past-Life Memories: The source of Kei's knowledge of the Naruto world.
    • As the timeline changes her foreknowledge of events becomes less and less reliable. However, she still retains the knowledge of the powers, skills, fighting styles and personalities of the individual Naruto characters.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Zetsu clones when working in concert, Nagato, the Sannin, Minato, and many others.
    • Kei has, as of the 90th chapter mark, reached the point where she can functionally be called this.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Kei tends to forget to tell things to people. She forgot to tell Minato she had split personalities before, and she also forgot to tell her teammates what she inferred with her chakra sense about their opponents in one arc. She's getting better at it as time goes on, though.
    • Minato is also sometimes guilty of this: as Kei was one of the last to find out she was being promoted (to special jonin rank). And, most recently, he didn't tell her the reason she was being kept out of the village on back to back missions, for an entire year... and when he did, she broke down.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: One gets the impression that the characters have trouble gauging their own stamina.
    • Kakashi during the Kannabi Bridge Arc.
    • Kakashi and Obito from exhaustion in the Threads Arc after defeating the Hokage Guard Platoon's old roster.
    • Kei also fainted from chakra exhaustion in the Kannabi Bridge and Commencement Arc.
    • Minato, also from chakra exhaustion in the Commencement arc.
    • Invoked on Kei by Kakashi in the aftermath of the Rashomon Arc, when she was clearly too tired to walk in a straight line but refused to admit it. Turns out the Sharingan has its uses.
  • Powers via Possession: All jinchuuriki get this, though in differing forms and levels.
    • Kei has transformed into the Three Tailed Beast himself, recently.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Hokage Guard Squad of which Kei has recently become a member.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: Not quite, but Kei was very close to the breaking point when she discovered Hayate had been taken.
    "I was going to find my brother, and I was going to track down whoever had taken him away. And then I was going to kill the everliving fuck out of everything that tried to get into my way for the rest of the night. All that escaped my throat was a monstrous growl that owed its depth and resonance to Isobu. The rage, though? That was all me."
  • Rain of Blood: More like rain of body parts (and parts of the landscape), after Kei's latest landscape-rearranging explosion.
  • Reincarnation: The method by which Keisuke Gekko came to be in the Naruto universe.
    • Kei has noted that the core members of the Chinatsugumi merchant group are also reincarnations. They even have a group-wide deja vu regarding other members of their troupe, which is part of how they formed it.
    • It is currently unknown if Naruto and Sasuke are still reincarnations in this fic.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: Short stories written by fans can be found on the story's tumblr blog, some of which have been declared canonical.
  • Relative Button: During the Commencement Arc the second Spiral Zetsu taunts Kei while she's paralyzed on the ground and reveals that it is the one holding her brother hostage. Kei's mother immediately attacks in a rage, having overheard the taunt, and is killed by it shortly afterward.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Kei finds herself leading one of these when Hayate is taken.
  • Rugged Scar: Kei has a near face-bisecting scar she got on a mission as a chunin when Taiseki, an Iwa nin, slashed a kunai across her face in the Kannabi Bridge arc.
    The ragged kunai slash extended from the forward edge of my left cheek, sweeping over my cheekbone and a little above the bridge of my nose and tearing a chunk out of my right eyebrow, before finally ending on the right half of my forehead, nearly to my hairline.
    • The entire right side of Obito's face is still just as scarred as in canon.
    • Unlike in canon, Kakashi is missing the vertical scar over his left eye due to the differing circumstances in which he lost said eye.
  • Running Gag: Several.
  • Sad Clown: Obito may be silly, but he's also a lonely kid with deep-seated inadequacy issues. Kei realizes this and makes a point to be supportive where she can.
  • Samurai: Kei and Hayate’s mother used to be this. And then things went wrong…
    • Kei’s summon Tsuruya also has this skill-set. Despite being a huge crane.
  • Screw Destiny: How Kei decides to deal with the Naruto plotline. She's done a good job of it so far.
  • Self-Insert: Kei is the reincarnation of the author.
  • Ship Tease: Rampant once the characters hit puberty. This mostly seems to have resolved itself, with Obito and Rin deciding to start dating in chapter 94 and Kakashi developing an attraction to Kei over the course of their teenage years, which was finally resolved with much awkwardness in Chapters 115-116.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Kei refers to the Puppet-Master Seal's active mode as the local equivalent of both the Agony Matrix and the Cruciatus Curse.
    • The author is an admitted fan of Rurouni Kenshin which shows in various ways, such as:
      • Kenjutsu attacks based on Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu.
      • Offhand mentions of a ninja-inn called the Aoiya and the restaurant Akabeko.
      • Kei's mother Miyako's real name, Tomoe Uesugi.
      • In the side-story focused on Kei's mother, she was briefly married to a walking reference to Kenshin Himura, named Shinta Asakura, who was an Uzumaki by blood.
    • Kei says one of the Zetsu fusion monsters looks like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
    • Kei's summon animal, Tsuruya, is partially based on the story of the Crane-Wife.
    • One of the toads from Mount Myoboku, Keroro, is a dead ringer for the main character of Sgt. Frog.
    • Minato has unknowingly used The Flash's catchphrases on a few occasions.
    • Kei obliquely refers to Jiraiya and Minato as "the sealing equivalent of Tony Stark."
    • Anko's water-aligned snake summon, Nurehebi, is based heavily on Nuregami.
    • Fuse and Yatsu Inuzuka, along with their eight dogs, are based on the head priest and priestess of the Gale Shrine (and the Satomi Canine Warriors) from Ōkami.
    • Kei occasionally refers to a successful action as "a Natural 20," or a complete failure as a "Natural 1."
    • Kei at one point refuses to "do the Pokémon thing," referring to Defeat Means Friendship toward Tailed Beasts.
    • The first bad joke Kakashi tells is from Undertale.
    • Naruto's sister is named after a certain Esper hero from One-Punch Man.
    • And many, many more.
  • Silent Conversation: Kei and Kakashi seem to have this skill after the Kannabi Bridge mission.
  • Small Steps Hero: Kei.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Quite a few.
    • Rin didn't have the Three-Tails sealed into her and thus doesn't impale herself on Kakashi's Chidori.
    • Yahiko. Jiraiya and Tsunade's intervention utterly derailed Yahiko's death, and Danzo and Hanzo's plots.
    • As a result of Kei showing them the events of the original October tenth, Minato and Kushina are a lot better prepared for the clusterfuck that was Naruto's birth.
    • Iruka's parents are shown to have survived the night of October 10th when they bring their son to the Academy, several days afterward.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Dreamer is always referred to with “the” in front.
  • Split Personality: Kei had two separate split personalities that manifested as the consequence of having an adult mind with memories of a past life in the body of a child.
    • Id, the first personality to split from Kei, was the manifestation of the true age of her body, her childish self and her emotions and instinctual desires.
    • The Dreamer, the second split personality, was artificially made to deal with Kei's memories. When the Three-Tailed Beast was sealed into her, both personalities incorporated back into her.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Obito has learned how to do this with his right, Wood Release, hand. So far we've seen a mallet and spikes.
    • Later, Kei learns to do this to form swords with Isobu's coral generation ability.
  • Summon Magic: Kei eventually signs a summon contract with a large crane named Tsuruya.
    • Minato also retains the Toad contract.
    • Kakashi gets his summoned dogs in chapter 41.
    • The Aburame clan acquires the Butterfly summon contract.
    • Gai has a Turtle summon.
    • Rin signs a summon contract with scorpions.
  • Super Senses: Kakashi has a strong sense of smell and Genma has extremely accurate hearing.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: As pointed out in the Threads Arc, most shinobi have one form of long-range detection or another.
    • In addition to Minato and his sage-training-based sensing ability, Kei is a chakra sensor, whose range expands when using Isobu's chakra.
    • Miyako Gekko uses a close-range samurai sensing technique that lets her predict an opponent’s moves, which she teaches to Hayate.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Kei gets these when she's "agitated but not murderous". Minato is noted to have these in Sage Mode. Miyako Gekko may get these when she gets serious.
  • Super Toughness: Kei eventually reaches this point as a result of manifesting enough of Isobu's chakra cloak, so it acts as his shell does for him.
  • Super Weapon Surprise: When a Yamanaka hit Kei with the mind body switch jutsu he came face to face with the Three Tailed Beast. Also when Honoka Uchiha hit her with two devastating jutsu, and Kei started manifesting a bijuu chakra cloak to mitigate the damage. It was quite a nasty surprise for everyone not in the know.
    • In an Omake chapter where Zabuza and (especially) Haku find out they've bitten off far more than they can chew when that lanky Konoha special jonin (Kei) whips out Tailed Beast chakra. Canon Kakashi can be counted too, since he had no idea the cross-dimensional time-traveller (also Kei) is a jinchuuriki as well.
    • Raido has confirmed, in-story, to have had a run in with the Four Tails host (presumably on the battlefields of the Third Shinobi War).
    Raido: “After you’ve run into the Four-Tails Host and been nearly killed by him, then we can talk about keeping secrets.”
  • Sword Sparks: Kei's weapon is a katana (previously a kodachi), and there are sparks when she engages another opponent with a blade.
  • Symbiotic Possession: During Minato's POV in the Rashomon arc, it's seen that Killer B and Gyuki already have a relationship that fits this trope.
  • Take My Word For It: In a way. Naruto is Trouble. We know it, Kei knows it, and after she tells her team of her future knowledge, they may have an inkling of it — but as she doesn't tell them much, they may not believe her as much as they should.
    “I’m not sure that your son could ever be as bad as we are right now.” Rin said. “At least about all the trouble we keep running into…”
    I said, “I wouldn’t put money on that.”
    Kushina gave me a smirk. “Oh, really?”"
    “How bad could he be?” asked Rin."
    Rather than answer directly, I said, “Do you want the chronological or categorical list?”
    “That bad, huh?” Obito actually had the gall to grin.
  • Taking the Bullet: Despite how badly her relationship with Minato has deteriorated by the Memory arc, Kei is still selfless and heroic enough to throw him out of the way of Orochimaru's last attack, and ends up impaled by the Kusanagi.
  • Taking the Heat: One of the reasons Kei agrees to make her jinchuriki status public knowledge is to take the heat off of Kushina and Naruto—especially Naruto.
    In exchange for making my status public, Sensei had been able to hide the exact nature of the events on October Tenth—specifically, who the Nine-Tails jinchūriki was. Naruto and Kushina got off essentially scot-free as long as there was a public figure to associate all one's demon-mongering needs with, and I could work with that.
  • Taking You with Me: Mount Sorayama is linked by some kind of seals to Chinatsu and Misaki of the Chinatsugumi, and should they be killed the aforementioned volcano will blow its top. The seals are eventually transferred to Misaki's daughter, Aiko.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Actually Kei's favored tactic when it comes to dealing with opponents out of her weight class. Kei (and Isobu) convince the Yang half of Kurama to let himself get sealed again by yelling at him.
    "Keisuke-chan, isn't it?" Tsunade huffed. "Fourteen hours ago, you stood in the way of the strongest of the Tailed Beasts and shouted him into submission. (...)"
  • Talking to Themself: Kei and The Dreamer frequently talk to each other. {{spoiler:Later on, a staple of Kei's POV is chatting amiably with Isobu.]]
  • Teleport Spam: Minato's signature technique, the Hiraishin (Flying Thunder God Jutsu) is this, and we see a lot of its usage through Kei's eyes.
  • Terse Talker: Honoka Uchiha and Shimika Aburame.
  • There Are No Therapists: After eighty chapters Kei expressing distrust against state of mental health services in Konoha, Obito seeks treatment after the events of October Tenth. Several in-story years later, Kei later seeks therapy for her reincarnation-derived problems and the recent trauma of the Memory Arc.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Averted, canon is out the window and fading into the background less than halfway through.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Kei's reaction to the idea of fighting Minato in chapter 90. She goes through with it anyway, due to social pressure and hype buildup, and it does indeed suck.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kei and Rin form a duo, with Kei as the tomboy and Rin as the girly girl.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: Or a trail of Kushina's hair. She did this so Nagato and Kakashi could follow her.
    Turned out that Kushina had never entirely lost the habit of using her hair like Hansel and Gretel used breadcrumbs.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Standard operating procedure for the Sharingan, as well as the Rinnegan and Tailed Beast modes. Obito, Nagato, and Kei all get variations of this during the invasion during the Commencement Arc.
  • Underestimating Badassery: When they sealed the Three Tails into Kei and implanted the Mind Control seal into her, it was with the “foolproof” assumption that she would be helpless to both. However, no one counted on Kei having split personalities and successfully holding back the Three-Tailed Beast's influence, fighting the seal, AND fighting them.
    Kei says, “(...)Sealing the Tailed Beast inside us allowed another seal implant, which was placed over our heart. The Puppet Master Seal demands that we head for Konoha and unleash the Three-Tails on it.” Kakashi goes pale under his mask, and I feel the bottom drop out of my stomach. Kei goes on, “We’re not going to let that happen.” spoiler: She almost smiles, but the expression doesn’t reach her eyes, “Because neither seal was designed for a shinobi with multiple personalities, like us. Even if it results in a war on three fronts.”
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The Great Toad Sage, Gamamaru, gives the prophecy “Dead gods still dream/Beware the man in black.” Kei immediately lampshades the fact that this could refer to about half of the shinobi population.
  • Weaponized Landmark: Mount Sorayama. It's linked by seals to Misaki and Chinatsu of the Chinatsugumi and they can trigger an eruption by will. It will also erupt should they die.
  • We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: During the entire sealing Three Tails fiasco,The Dreamer says this exact line while in control of Kei's body. As Kei cannot be in control herself at the time.
    The Dreamer: [Blink, blink.] “Hello. We’re, ah, experiencing technical difficulties.”
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Kei and Obito, in a way. Madara put a Mind Control seal on them, meaning they could be used against their allies.
    • Can also be done deliberately by Kei, by setting an explosive seal directly on an opponent’s body.
  • We Need to Get Proof: In order to take down Danzo.
    Minato: If I had any solid evidence to link Shimura directly to anything, I’d have ordered the seizure of all of his assets within the village and put him under seal-enforced house arrest until we could have a trial.
  • Wham Episode: Everything about chapter 96. Kei undergoes a Heroic BSoD as a result of being effectively exiled from the village for almost eighteen months, set off by Minato admitting that those missions were deliberately scheduled too close together to allow her much time at home. Kei immediately assumes the worst. In the depths of her breakdown, she finally admits that she's a reincarnation. All of this magnifies and is magnified by her already-existing self-esteem issues and results in an emotionally comatose Kei.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After placing Minato—their sensei, the Yellow Flash, the man who would be and does become the Fourth Hokage—on a pedestal for much of the story, both Kei and Kakashi end up taking a more realistic evaluation of him in the Memory arc, as the mistakes he's made regarding Kei's isolation leave her traumatized and ultimately near-death at the hands of Orochimaru.
  • Wild Wilderness: The Forest of Death. Much mention is made of the giant centipede population.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Well, Kei is the reincarnation of a twenty-something-year-old person who retained their memories and adult mindset. This manifests mostly in terms of her mental monologue, at least until she hits puberty, at which point she begins to act the part in plain view.
  • World of Badass: Kei's first impression of the Narutoverse (where even the non-shinobi are stronger than your average Joe here on Earth, thanks to chakra) after being reborn in it.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Kei's kodachi gets broken by an opponent in the Kannabi Bridge arc. But she still fights with the broken piece.
  • You Are Not Alone: Kei makes a point to reassure her friends that, while she may not understand what they’re going through at a given time, she’s always willing to lend an ear to their troubles.
    • Everyone she told her foreknowledge to told Kei she doesn't need to shoulder it alone, to rely on them and that they would fight together.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Kushina. After giving birth to Naruto, helping with the barrier team, detecting Zetsu clones and having the Kyuubi partially extracted from her, she still wants to fight.
    Kushina: "I'm not dead enough to be an invalid!"
  • You Monster!: The entirety of Kei's feelings for Madara.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Isobu does this to Shukaku twice over the course of their fight. Given that the latter is also Nigh-Invulnerable, this doesn't end up slowing him down too much.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: It has been implied, whether by thoughts or by reactions of certain characters, that pissing off Kushina is a supremely bad idea.
  • Zombie Advocate: Pretty much what Kei's sympathy for the Tailed Beasts sounds like to an outside observer. And now Isobu has taken an active role in it as well...

Ocean Stars Falling contains examples of:

    Tropes found in Ocean Stars Falling 
  • Achilles' Heel: The jinchuriki all depend on their namesake seals to maintain the connection with their partners. If the seals break, they die. Kei brought down a berserk Utakata by deliberately targeting this weak point with the Five Elements Seal, knocking him out instantly. Earlier, part of the reason Akainu nearly killed him was because the same seal was badly burned in the fight.
  • Acid Attack: One of the higher-tier abilities of Saiken and his host, Utakata, is to control the pH levels of slime they project from either their skin or the surface of a chakra cloak. It can also be used as a Breath Weapon, at least by Saiken. Most notably, this effect isn't countered by Akainu's Magma Man Logia abilities, hurting him just as much as any other target.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Used with Utakata when he first appears, because he's been badly burned by Akainu and will die without help. While Kei works on his damaged seal, Ace and Yugito attempt first aid. While Utakata's baseline regeneration does work, it's not healing him fast enough to make a difference on its own.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: After the death of Admiral Akainu, when Utakata and Kei both fall silent and try to process the fight.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: A key component of jinchuriki histories, with the exception of Naruto. Because of this, stripping the issue of village allegiances ends up helping them bond as equals who understand each other's pain while in their strange new setting. Even Yugito and Kei, who hated each other at the start of their travels, eventually end up agreeing that actually fighting each other to the death would cause them nothing but misery because of their new friendship.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The wanted posters work like this, listing various crimes in decreasing level of importance. Killer B's rap sheet ends in "cattle raiding," for which the reader gets no context. Even the other characters are baffled.
  • Bash Brothers: Common among the Whitebeard Pirates. Later, the story specifically pits Thatch and Marco against Admiral Kizaru.
  • Beast of Battle: Because the Tailed Beasts are all able to freely interact with the world, they tend to act as this if their comparatively squishy human partners get into fights. Due to their size and strength, their most common opponents are Sea Kings and other megafauna of the Grand Line. If there are no giant monsters to fight, they inflict heavy casualties on even organized armies without much effort.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Saiken stands out as the biggest goofball of the Tailed Beasts. This does not make him any less dangerous than his number of tails implies, but it does mean he plays around with Bubbly Coral like a little kid that can displace more than a Marine battleship.
  • Big Brother Instinct: A common trait of the Whitebeard Pirates. Attack one of them, and you attack all of them. This extends to Kei soon after their first meeting, which baffles her as much as she finds it charming.
    • It does go a bit wrong-headed once, when Kei unintentionally fakes her death while traveling the seas in disguise. Tracked by the boat she was given by the Whitebeards, Ace attacks the disguised Kei in a misguided attempt to get revenge on whoever "killed" her.
    • Kei feels this way toward Naruto, having long since sacrificed her childhood to keep him and Kushina safe from Konoha's enemies. She also develops this same kind of protectiveness toward Ace, culminating in breaking into Impel Down to save him. This leads to her eventually accepting her status as an honorary Whitebeard Pirate, which they've been trying to get her to do for months.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The single grandest entrance award goes to Han and Kokuo when they appear to join the battle against the three Marine Admirals.
  • Broken Ace: Serves as a point of commonality between Ace and the jinchuriki he meets.
  • Call to Adventure: A Consequence Combo variation, which starts with the black band on a jinchuriki's wrist that prevents them from accessing any of their partner's chakra. If they find more jinchuriki, they can slowly remove the Power Limiter in stages. If they don't, a strange, booming voice makes it impossible for them to sleep until they get moving and take up the quest anyway.
  • Crossover: With One Piece.
  • Culture Clash: Between the oft-reserved shinobi and the much more expressive pirates they encounter. Among other issues, the jinchuriki are far more willing to resort to mass destruction than Ace feels comfortable with. This is primarily due to the infamous Buster Call order, reserved for use on the World Government's greatest enemies. On a lighter note, Kei initially can't understand why locals tend to yell so much in unison, or why they use snails as long-distance communication devices. She also has to do research on Devil Fruits to stop being surprised by their strange properties.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Several.
    • Kei, as a master of Water Release ninjutsu, has an advantage over Devil Fruit users when she wields her powers effectively. This is first demonstrated in an exhibition match against Ace to prove she can hold her own in the Grand Line. The same goes for Utakata once he joins Team Jinchuriki's attack force.
    • Like in canon, Ace and Luffy versus the Baroque Works Billions isn't even a contest. Kei joins in, making it that much more lopsided.
    • The rematch with the Blackbeard Pirates turns into this. The newly-minted Warlord and his crew prove no match for three adult jinchuriki converging on the same target.
    • In general, pitting the Impel Down invasion crew against its defenses leaves the latter coming up short. Gaara's sand powers make a mockery of the Level One hazards, Yugito takes on all of the Jailer Beasts at once, and so on.
    • A villainous one: The first fight between Utakata and Admiral Akainu ended with all the Crimson Carnation Pirates dead and Utakata almost lethally burned. Utakata only survives due to the quick intervention of the Blackbeard-hunting crew.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • The Blackbeard Pirates, including Teach. He's crushed underwater by Isobu, and his Devil Fruit reincarnates in the New World.
    • Warden Magellan and most of the Impel Down staff and prisoners, including people like Crocodile who were explicitly not released. There are fewer people left alive than are confirmed dead.
    • Admiral Akainu is beaten mostly to death by a berserk Yugito and finished off by Utakata.
  • Disability Immunity: Seeing as Brook is a skeleton, he doesn't even notice the cold of Impel Down's Freezing Hell.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Noted and exploited.
    • For shinobi, the five basic nature transformations have this relationship with each other. Kei has a slight advantage over Yugito during their brief fight, though the deciding factor was more their relative chakra levels. As jonin, they both have backup techniques that use wind and lightning respectively, to get around this exact problem.
    • Aokiji's Hie Hie no Mi puts him at an advantage over Kei and Utakata's primary elemental ninjutsu, because actually controlling ice is not a part of the five basic nature transformations. If the water around them is solid, neither Kei nor Utakata can attack with it, nullifying most of their ability to exploit the classic Devil Fruit weakness to seawater.
      • On the other hand, enough fire can melt Aokiji's ice into momentarily-useless water. As a result, Ace and Yugito face him in a two-on-one fight.
    • Akainu, meanwhile, can mostly nullify his weakness to seawater by running so hot that any near him instantly evaporates. As a bonus, the mass of his lava also smothers normal fire.
      • Utakata, who's fought him before and is married to one of the only non-Iwagakure wielders of the Lava Release bloodline, simply increases the amount of water until it beats the evaporation rate anyway. When this takes too long, Utakata shifts gears so he doesn't have to meet the magma head-on and instead targets Akainu's need to breathe.
    • Kizaru, meanwhile, is specifically attacked by Thatch because his new Yami Yami no Mi powers bend and absorb light.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite the many terrible acts on their rap sheets both before and after their arrival in the Blues, some of the jinchuriki do draw lines in the sand.
    • Utakata, while not particularly nice, only targets World Government forces because Admiral Akainu killed the Crimson Carnation Pirates.
    • Kei thinks the World Government's hunt for the child of the Pirate King is unforgivable.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The signature attack of the Tailed Beasts as a whole, the Tailed Beast Bomb. It's used by several Tailed Beasts at once in order to utterly destroy Impel Down.
  • Fish out of Water: All of the shinobi are this, having woken up scattered across the Blues with no knowledge of the setting they've landed in. Most of them also have no knowledge of sailing in a very nautical world, and they often end up breaking important parts of the world without knowing consequences.
  • For Want of a Nail: Several points.
    • Ace isn't alone when fighting Blackbeard, so his allies know exactly what happened to him immediately afterward. Kei even calls the Whitebeard Pirates to keep them in the loop, coincidentally alerting the Red Hair Pirates through Kushina at the same time.
    • Team Jinchuriki hunts down and kill Blackbeard's entire crew in their first rescue attempt, preventing the mass breakout of Impel Down prisoners, particularly the Level Six detainees, because the Blackbeard Pirates are dead by then.
    • Isobu told Shukaku what happened to Ace, which means he basically told Gaara, resulting in the Straw Hat Pirates ditching Sabaody before they can be scattered by Kuma. With Chomei's help, they head directly for Impel Down to rescue Ace themselves.
    • The Tailed Beasts are so angry about Ace's treatment that they destroy it with multiple Tailed Beast Bombs, obliterating the structure and killing all those who remain inside it.
    • A pro-World Government version of this drama ends up making front-page news across the sea, resulting in Sabo regaining his memories upon seeing a newspaper proclaiming Ace's death.
    • Teach's death frees up the Yami Yami no Mi, which reincarnates in time for Marco to find it and deliver it to Thatch.
    • Finally, the above events throw a massive wrench into the World Government's plan to bait Whitebeard into a trap to finally bring down an Emperor, since they now have no leverage and two of their three strongholds have been ruined by pirates.
  • Friend to All Children: Han, who turns out to be a gentle (if intimidating) guardian to Moda while her parents are gone. Similarly, Yugito and Utakata turn out to have a soft spot for Naruto once they realize he's a jinchuriki like they are. Kei, a notorious adherent of the Big Sister Instinct, comes to trust Utakata and Yugito more once Naruto helps defrost them.
  • Gentle Giant: Despite being intimidating, Han has no greater ambitions than to continue babysitting Moda and living a life free from war. His partner, Kokuo, is also the most reclusive and shy of the Tailed Beasts.
    • All of the Tailed Beasts can act like this around people they like, but Yang Kurama is a very obvious exception.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: A part of the premise. Each jinchuriki begins their quest with no access to their Tailed Beast-derived powers, symbolized by a numbered black band (1-9, with only their number of tails visible by default) around their right wrist. If they encounter another jinchuriki and make contact with their right hands, they unlock the corresponding numbered seal and gain some of their power back. Naruto and Kushina, each being only one of the two Kuramas' hosts, only unlock half of the ninth seal.
  • The Heart: Ace is this, at least to the initial traveling group composed of him, Kei, and Yugito. While Kei and Yugito don't get along because their villages have been perennial rivals and they've both fought in at least one war, the two of them commiserate through their exasperation over Ace's goofy tendencies and impulsiveness. Additionally, he's the first non-jinchuriki human in the setting to unconditionally accept Tailed Beasts as people, which endears him to them. While he's gone, Kei and Yugito nearly fall to bitter infighting.
    • Naruto sort of takes up this role while Ace is absent, because his hyperactivity and earnestness are endearing to the other jinchuriki.
  • Heroic BSoD: Ace briefly falls into this while imprisoned in Impel Down, trapped with only his realization that losing to Blackbeard will lead to disaster. He climbs out of it when Jinbe arrives and he has someone to talk to.
    • Kei falls into Heroic Safe Mode instead when she thinks their team's lack of coordination got Ace killed at Banaro Island. Even while reeling, she pushes through to continue the mission.
  • Human Weapon: The trope itself is name-dropped in regard to jinchuriki. While Kei and Yugito both note that the former got off easier than most, because she had friends in high places by the time she was outed, most jinchuriki do not. Han even says Iwagakure is "hell" and has no interest in going back to that life.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Blackbeard still eats the Yami Yami no Mi after stealing it from Thatch.
    • Ace still loses his duel with Teach despite backup, and is sent to Impel Down.
    • Many Impel Down prisoners escape as a result of the break-in and form pirate crews.
    • Luffy still unintentionally charms Hancock into falling in love with him.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Common when people realize that Yugito has a cat motif. Kei dishes out enough during one of their early conversations that Yugito storms off in a huff. She later does something similar to Utakata with Literalist Snarking, with the same results.
  • Large Ham: Common among pirates, most prominently Thatch. Among the shinobi and Tailed Beasts, the king of this trope is Shukaku.
  • Never Found the Body: Kei brings this up in her narration regarding Ace in two different contexts. She intially believes Ace died in the fight with the Blackbeard Pirates because Teach's power was dangerous enough to half-level the island, and some lethal attacks don't leave a recognizable corpse. She almost immediately learns otherwise. In the second case, she dislikes the World Government's decision to report Ace's death because there was obviously no body.
  • Never Gets Drunk: A side effect of the blanket poison immunity the jinchuriki get. While this does allow them to win drinking contests, it makes the pirates uncomfortable.
    • Marco is also immune to alcohol, but it's linked to his Devil Fruit.
  • New Life in Another World Bonus: The jinchuriki all get a stronger regeneration ability and poison immunity. Compared to what they initially lose (read: all of their Tailed Beast powers), it's almost a complete downgrade. The Tailed Beasts, on the other hand, are able to freely interact with the world, which removes all of the drawbacks to their part of their Sealed in a Person-Shaped Can situation. They also seem to be much larger than normal.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Upon seeing Ace get tagged by Admiral Akainu's magma, Yugito loses control and transforms into a V2 hybrid form before tearing Akainu to shreds. By the time Utakata finally deals the final blow, Kei suspects Akainu is already dead.
  • No-Sell: All of the jinchuriki are immune to poison even without being able to use their upper-tier powers, including mostly-innocuous substances such as alcohol. None of them are entirely sure why.
    • This minor quirky trait proves Magellan's downfall while the group is fighting its way through Impel Down. After getting four (and a half, thanks to Naruto) levels of the black band unlocked, Utakata faces off against the head warden and kills him in single combat.
    • Several people also ignore Boa Hancock's ability to turn anyone attracted to her into a stone statue. Luffy canonically has the knack, while Yugito and Kei are immune to being attracted to Hancock specifically because she's an enemy combatant, Jinbei covers his eyes, and Utakata is married to Mei.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Utakata takes on the entire remaining garrison of Impel Down's Blazing Hell and singlehandedly kills Magellan. And this was him making sure the rest of the rescue team can keep going.
    • Whatever Killer B and Kushina did to land themselves spots on Shanks's crew.
    • One can only imagine the look on Vander Decken IX's face when he was confronted with the Sun Pirates, the Neptune Army, and multiple Tailed Beasts. Suffice to say he's not a threat anymore.
  • Power Limiter: The mysterious black band works like this. It keeps jinchuriki from using their Tailed Beast-derived powers, but can be progressively unlocked via finding other jinchuriki scattered across the world.
  • Red Baron: A part of the setting in the form of pirate bounty posters. Due to Kei and Yugito acting mostly in the shadows, even when traveling with Ace, the first jinchuriki to earn bounty posters with nicknames are Kushina and Gaara. Killer B gets his around the same time, but doesn't have a fancy title. Naruto, Roshi, and Han don't get bounties at all.
    • "Red Sand" Gaara, as a member of the Straw Hat Pirates after the Alabasta arc.
    • "Cobalt Lioness" Yugito, leader of the nonexistant Cobalt Lioness Pirates.
    • "Tidal Blade" Kei, because she made a special request to be assigned that name.
    • "Carnation Prince" Utakata, specifically to evoke his time with the Crimson Carnations and their captain, Scarletti Rosema.
    • "Silkworm" Fu, as a member of the Straw Hat Pirates after the Skypeia arc.
    • "Red-Hot Habanero" Kushina, as a member of the Red Hair Pirates. Interestingly, this actually outs her as a jinchuriki, because it was a secret In-Universe until then.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated:
    • Kei is believed dead for a while, to the point of the Whitebeard Pirates holding a wake for her.
    • Ace namedrops this trope after being rescued from Impel Down and spotting a newspaper declaring his death. He even mockingly suggests sending the Marines a postcard.
  • Revenge:
    • Ace wants to kill Blackbeard because the latter betrayed the Whitebeard Pirates by (almost) killing Thatch over a Devil Fruit.
    • Utakata's goal is to kill Admiral Akainu in retribution for his annihilation of the Crimson Carnation Pirates, who were a Paradise treasure-hunting crew that took Utakata and Saiken in as friends. In pursuit of this goal, Utakata allies with Kei and Yugito under the unspoken promise of an alliance when he finally tracks down his target. He doesn't actually tell anyone about the Crimson Carnations until after they've already attacked World Government assets as a team.
    • Kei muses that she doesn't have the knack for avenging wrongs done to her after observing the two of them, but proves over the course of the story that she's willing to go to extremes for rescuing people.
    • Subverted by Blackbeard, who doesn't hold grudges and doesn't understand why someone might resent him for his actions. He even offers Kei a position in his crew.
    • The Tailed Beasts don't value human lives to start with and understand vengeance extremely well. They have no problem with inflicting massive misery on strangers in retribution, and that's why Impel Down doesn't exist anymore.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Canonically, Luffy solo-rushes Impel Down and picks up allies inside in his attempt to break Ace out of the facility, and fails in the end. In this story, several other factors combine to result in him bringing along all of the Straw Hat Pirates and Team Jinchuriki, which helps him get to the bottom of Level Six in time to free Ace.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Played With with regard to the jinchuriki here, because the Tailed Beasts are actually able to wander freely in this world, despite their seals remaining intact. It's one of the earliest discoveries in the story.
  • Ship Tease: Between Ace and Yugito, for the most part. Yugito does most of the flirting as she gets more comfortable around people. Kei decides to tease Ace about it as soon as she notices.
  • Spanner in the Works: The jinchuriki as a whole are this, due to a combination of stealth, ignorance of consequences, and Wrong Context Magic. That said, their plans also get wrecked repeatedly. Mostly by each other.
    • Utakata unexpectedly wakes up during the first fight with the Blackbeard Pirates, launching directly into a berserk state that keeps Kei too busy to help either of her teammates.
    • Yugito's massively boosted regeneration rate allows her to survive being impaled, but she's summoned away from the island by Matatabi to safely recover at Water 7. This puts her well out of range to actually reenter the fight on Banaro Island.
    • When trying infiltrate Impel Down to retrieve Ace, Utakata, Yugito, Naruto, and Kei planned for most of the enemy's abilities. They did not plan for Isobu telling Shukaku about Ace's capture, which snowballed into the Straw Hats abandoning Sabaody before Kuma could scatter them. As soon as the Straw Hats arrive via Chomei's airlift, the plan flies out the window because the Straw Hats are the antithesis of stealth when they're on a Roaring Rampage of Rescue.
    • Everyone makes a hash of Jinbe's plan to treat with the Kuja Pirates, but it works out in the end.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Thatch, because of Kei's timely intervention.
    • Ace also never goes to Marineford, instead being rescued from Impel Down's Level Six.
  • Stealth Expert: Due to a combination of genuine stealth training and genjutsu usage, most of the shinobi are this compared to the people they meet. Kei points out that this is very much not the case back home, because jinchuriki are supposed to be living weapons deployed to kill armies.
  • Summon Magic: Works differently in this world, by overwriting any other contracts with a two-way link between jinchuriki and their Tailed Beast partner. Kei and Isobu discover that each of them can summon the other while on their first island. It takes the other jinchuriki longer to figure it out, because none of them have a separate summon contract like Kei does with Tsuruya.
  • Theme Naming: The various transponder snails Naruto cares for have names like Komushi, Aomushi, and Kuromushi. Coincidentally, Komushi is by far the largest snail.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Common among the jinchuriki who end up traveling with friendly pirates.
    • Kei initially refuses to bond with the Whitebeard Pirates despite their friendliness, prioritizing her mission of finding the other jinchuriki instead. This changes when she saves Thatch from Teach's attempted murder and reveals herself as a Badass Bystander. By the time she travels with Ace to hunt for Teach, she's basically already the Whitebeard Pirates' newest ally.
    • Yugito starts out as bit of an Arrogant Kung-Fu Girl covering for severe insecurities, but becomes friendlier and more relaxed as she spends time with Ace and Kei and fights alongside them. She eventually gets to the point of being willing to participate in pranks and flirt with people.
    • Utakata initially was well on his way toward this, bonding with the Crimson Carnation Pirates when they accepted both him and Saiken without a problem. And then Akainu killed them all, resulting in Utakata traveling with Kei, Yugito, and Naruto instead while pursuing Revenge. It takes spending time with Naruto and the Straw Hat Pirates for him to thaw again.
  • Trial Balloon Question: After much agonizing, Ace asks Kei what she'd do if she met the Pirate King's son. By this point, he's already aware of her status as a Human Weapon, has escaped prison in a massive team effort, and bonded with most of the Tailed Beasts. Small wonder Kei's answer is that she'd greet him just like anyone else once she worked out the truth.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Tailed Beast chakra can cause this in jinchuriki, well above their usual Blood Knight tendencies. When in this mode, the jinchuriki will not stop attacking at maximum power until they keel over. It also happens to cause tunnel vision, which makes them more likely to be taken out by other opponents that weren't the initial target.
    • Utakata gets this twice. While injured and mainlining Saiken's chakra, he wakes up inside Isobu's stomach and has to be subdued by Kei shutting down his seal. She even notes that if not for his impaired judgment and their relative number of Power Limiter levels, she'd have lost badly.
      • He also gets too caught up in his Revenge against Akainu, which gets him frozen by Aokiji.
    • Yugito also has a moment of this when Akainu manages to hit Ace with a lava attack. She tears her opponent apart.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ace refuses to let Kei or Yugito disregard the civilian presence on Banaro Island, because the suggested method of dealing with Teach (a Tailed Beast Bomb) is as undiscriminating as a Buster Call. Adjusting complicates their plans just enough to result in an initial loss to the Blackbeard Pirates and Ace's subsequent capture, but the citizens of the island basically owe Ace their lives.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Kei has this reaction to Fishman Island, because it's an amazing underwater city.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Chakra works like this. It's extremely similar to haki in some ways, such as allowing the shinobi to bypass Logia element-based defenses. However, it allows them to produce effects otherwise only possible with Devil Fruits. Word of God is that shinobi who eat a Devil Fruit will explode, suggesting there's some link between the two.
    • Killing Intent as used by Tailed Beasts feels like conquerer's haki to those who recognize it, though it feels "wrong" for some reason.
    • Kei is convinced for about half the story that chakra could be inherently dangerous to people without it. It's not, and the symptoms she saw turn out to be the first signs of decompression syndrome or altitude sickness, depending on the specific circumstances.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Despite the efforts of Kei and Yugito, Ace still gets captured by Blackbeard and sent to Impel Down.
  • You Remind Me of X: Sabo notices something odd about Naruto (besides the strange powers and his companion Yang Kurama), although he can't put his finger on it. It drives him to distraction until he's almost glad that Naruto hares off away from Baltigo and disappears for a while. He feels guilty about it. After his memories return he realizes that Naruto's wide grin reminded him of his brothers.

Shell Game contains examples of:

     Tropes found in Shell Game 
  • Badass Teacher: Common among UA's faculty, because they're all pro heroes in their own right. However, the top tiers are occupied by All Might and Minato, who team up toward the end of the story for the Hideout Raid Arc.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Pulled off a few different times, in the grand heroic tradition.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Displayed early on by Kei, who Hitoshi is certain would have applied a Coup de Grâce to a minor villain who threatened Hayate. The incident sticks with him for the rest of the story.
  • Body Horror: Common with Nomu, but the Sea Urchin Nomu is the strongest example. It displays multiple Quirks, including imperfect healing, Super Speed, launchable spines, and what seems like a chemical factory in its body.
  • But Now I Must Go: Kei plans to leave Tokyo after her mission to take down All For One is complete.
  • Call-Forward: Common, since this story takes place when Kei is a teenager before her "hell year" experience.
  • Caught Up in a Robbery: Hitoshi first gets a demonstration of what the Gekko siblings are like outside of school when they're all dragged into a bank robbery without any pro heroes around to help. The second Kei, Hayate, and Hitoshi are in an area free of security cameras, it's a Curb-Stomp Battle in favor of the ninjas.
  • Commonality Connection: Kei is used to the idea of being ostracized for a power she has, like Hitoshi, but obviously can't explain it to him. Similarly, she equates All For One to Orochimaru, Danzo, and even Madara, using that connection to sympathize with All Might and with the Nomu.
  • Country Mouse: What Hitoshi initially thinks Kei is, because she moved to Tokyo to attend UA and occasionally boggles at the sights like a tourist. Which is technically true, but not the whole story.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Kei's Tsunami "Quirk" becomes this, so she tries to avoid using it while in her Turtle identity. What actually blows Kei's cover is Obito, who isn't as careful to separate his Kamui uses from his civilian cover and provides an easy explanation for how the "masked figures" are getting around in Tokyo.
  • Crossover: With My Hero Academia.
  • Culture Clash: Because the bulk of the story takes place in a world where professional heroism is a cultural norm, there's a strong theme of public accountability and commercialization among the Japanese hero industry. Their Quirks and skills are a matter of public record. This is baffling to the shinobi, who come from a world where mercenary work is the norm. Public accountability also means that hero weaknesses are easily deduced, while the shinobi rely heavily on stealth, lethal force, and no one figuring out how their ninjutsu actually work.
    • This plays to Hitoshi's advantage in one small way, too: While Mind Control is considered an inherently villainous power on Earth, Kei and Hayate don't see much of a moral component to it. Hayate's jonin-sensei is even a Yamanaka, whose whole clan uses variations of standard Psychic Powers.
    • Kei has no interest whatsoever in becoming a hero, which puts her at odds with most of UA and especially Hitoshi, who wants more than anything to prove the world wrong about his "villainous tendencies."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A few.
    • Kei never has any problem taking out the UA testing robots. Her sheer power also overwhelms Bakugo Katsuki during their match in the Sports Festival before she deliberately disqualifies herself.
    • Kei beats the crap out of some bank robbers the first time they hang out with Hitoshi, made even easier by one of them having a water-controlling Quirk and giving Kei ammunition.
    • Shinso Hitoshi vs. Tokoyami Fumikage should have been this, only for Hitoshi to eke out a win with his powers.
    • While Kakashi's struggle with the Sea Urchin Nomu is a dramatic, terrifying moment for him and the students he's defending, Kei kills it almost instantly after she arrives.
  • Cute Kitten: One of Hitoshi's weaknesses. The characters visit a cate cafe twice in-story, which of course puts Cuteness Overload on display. Shortly after the first visit, Nomu attack the city. During the second visit, Kei admits to Hitoshi that she's going to leave Tokyo before the new school term.
    • Kei muses that All Might and Aizawa might get along better if they visited such a cafe together.
    • It turns out that Hitoshi's caller ID for Aizawa is a black kitten in Eraserhead cosplay.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Native, due to the Hosu Arc going off the rails.
    • All For One.
  • Deliberate Under-Performance: Kei can't bring herself to care about schoolwork, which tanks her grades. On the subject of her "Quirk," though, people are surprised at its power when she goes all-out. And even then, that's just using what she can get away with in her student persona.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Done in the lead-up to the Hideout Raid Arc. During the Camp Training Arc, Kakashi and Obito both exhaust themselves getting most of the students in 1-A and 1-B to safety, because the League of Villains dropped suped-up Nomu into the forest in an attempt to overpower the heroes. As a result, they're both hospitalized for the duration of the Hideout Raid Arc. When Kei needs help, Minato shows up instead.
  • Dynamic Entry: Pulled off by Kei, Aizawa, Obito, All Might, and Minato.
  • Everyone Can See It: Granted, Kakashi doesn't spend much time in Tokyo, but Hitoshi only has to meet him once to instantly pick out his crush on Kei. Obito agrees and busts a gut laughing over it.
  • Evil Gloating: Attempted multiple times, but ends worst for All For One. Talk to the Fist ensues.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Kei's attitude and performance at the Sports Festival cause the League of Villains to look into recruiting her.
    • Obito and Kakashi taking out Stain as a bonus mission ends up saving Ingenium's career and throwing the Hosu Arc entirely off track.
    • Team Minato's presence prevents the League from kidnapping Ragdoll despite their reinforcements.
    • Kei getting kidnapped by the League of Villains frees her up to attack All For One in "self-defense," because she's taken to the heart of their operations, and it also attracts Minato's attention to the League.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Once the shinobi are a known factor, they're this.
  • Heroic Bystander: Hitoshi starts out as this. When cornered by minor villains during a botched bank robbery, he's terrified and has no fighting skills outside of his Quirk. Despite this, he pulls a Go Through Me in an attempt to protect Hayate. Luckily for him, Hayate and Kei were deliberately baiting the villains into an area with no security cameras. Cue beatdown.
    • That said, Kei agrees when Hitoshi asks for training. It's framed as a deal exchanging homework help for combat training, but Kei doesn't improve her grades much over the course of the story.
  • Identical Stranger: Aizawa isn't well-known as Eraserhead, being an underground hero, but people who meet him and then see Kei tend to assume they're related. Hitoshi, upon interacting with both Hayate and Kei, mentally deems them both "Eraserhead lookalikes." This becomes a Running Gag that drives both Kei and Aizawa up the wall.
  • Improvised Training: Because there's no access to higher-quality materials or equipment at first, Hitoshi doesn't have chakra, and Kei doesn't really know how to teach civilians at this point, their attempts to prepare for the Sports Festival come off like this. Kei does teach Hitoshi self-defense over the course of their friendship, but at the beginning often forgot that he didn't have the superhuman stamina she was used to seeing from her peers. She had to outsource some of the planning to Gai's expertise.
    • Hitoshi and Kei later practice stealth by playing hide-and-seek in the repaired USJ, only to eventually be interrupted by Katsuki.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Hitoshi Shinso's Sports Festival team still includes Ojiro and Shoda, despite him not using Mind Control on them this time.
    • Bakugo Katsuki still wins the Sports Festival and is still kidnapped by the League of Villains.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Most of the characters native to Tokyo. By the end of the story, the Bakugo Rescue Squad and Hitoshi know that Kei and her friends are shinobi. Of them, only Katsuki, Izuku, and Hitoshi are explicitly filled in on the existence of Isobu and the not-entirely-truthful "multiple Quirks" explanation.
  • Metaphorically True: How Kei lies to her schoolmates. She says she's a Bad Liar otherwise. After actually seeing how she applies this skill, it's clear she drops details all the time, but without context or with enough flippancy that other characters decide they don't want to ask for clarification.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: The shinobi are fascinated by the wide variety of modern conveniences, from technology like phones to modern medical texts and snack foods. They also get caught staring at skyscrapers sometimes, which Hitoshi says pegs them as country bumpkins. The difference stands out so starkly, even to Konoha's upper echelons, that Kei is repeatedly sent out with itemized shopping lists for any exploitable tech resources she can send home.
  • Mundane Solution: Instead of relying on Mandalay's Telepathy Quirk to communicate with all of the heroes and hero students during the Camp Arc, Kei's team of shinobi insists on also using radios.
  • Mundane Utility: While not encouraged by Quirk laws, the shinobi have no issue using their training for things like cheating at tests, performing Cartoon Juggling, hide-and-seek, and playing pranks on people.
  • Mysterious Protector: The shinobi serve as this to the Heroics students. Every time they're actually seen by said students, they scare the heck out of them.
  • Not So Above It All: Even professional Ninja like Team Minato do things like coo over cats, enjoy ice cream, and get into petty arguments with each other.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Done mostly by Hitoshi, who manages to make Kei feel guilty for being a shinobi and lying to him about it, and about her plan to leave Tokyo once the mission is over when she's his First Friend.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: What Kei pretends to be in order to fit in at UA High School's General Education department. Coincidentally, she hates the Back to School aspects of the mission and blows off most of her school work. Her choice of Quirk and her affected apathy about grades make her stand out in a negative way, but she manages to keep her cover intact long enough to complete her mission.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Though Kei is kidnapped in her civilian identity at the beginning of the Hideout Raid Arc, this is exactly the wrong move for the League of Villains. While officially sidelined by Minato to avoid conflict with the pro heroes' operation, being grabbed means that Kei is escorted to the League's hideout and held captive alongside Katsuki. Kei even assumes that if she isn't brought to where he is, she could be taken either to a secondary location where she can wreak havoc or perhaps even to her ultimate target, All For One. It also gives both of the captives the right to use their Quirks in self-defense.
  • Punched Across the Room: All Might ends up doing this to Kei (breaking one of her ribs even in V2), and the first Nomu, in that order. Both of them are launched out of the USJ's ceiling.
  • Punny Name: Common among UA students, to the point of being remarked upon by Kei (who doesn't have one). Shinso Hitoshi, of course, is the one to grumble about it when Kei points his out.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: All Might ends up as this, while Nezu is difficult to read and Aizawa is more antagonistic toward Kei than either. Class 1-C's homeroom teacher, Midnight, also turns out to be very concerned about her students even though she knows Kei is a plant.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Kei and Hayate are noted to be fairly similar, which is emphasized by their appearances. The main difference is that Hayate appears to be the more outgoing of the two. They tell Hitoshi they get it from their mother.
  • Sleep Cute: Happens with Team Minato, whose stays in Kei's Tokyo apartment end up like this. Slightly hampered by Kakashi's blanket thief tendencies.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Since both Hitoshi and Kei are fairly sarcastic, this happens a lot between them.
  • Talk to the Fist: Common in fights involving shinobi. When All For One tries to give his big villainous monologue, he is attacked several times before finishing his argument.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Shinso Hitoshi, as a result of self-defense training with Kei.
  • Terror Hero: The shinobi come across like this, preferring to appear and disappear from sight with no warning, while attacking opponents who never see them coming. However, this has the side effect of scaring the heroes when they decide to act, because the level of violence they use is well beyond legal limits.
  • Training from Hell: Unintentional example, because Kei honestly forgot that Hitoshi was a civilian and that she'd have to adjust her expectations about his physical conditioning downward. What exercise she's been undergoing since childhood lays him out flat.
  • Uncanny Valley: A common reaction In-Universe to seeing Nomu, who look like they could have been human. Once. Kei, on the other hand, initially thinks that the Nomu must all be members of an unfortunate family because she doesn't know how Quirks work. She has to be told what they really are.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The League of Villains knows that Kei has a "Quirk" that is strong enough to wreck shop against most people, but doesn't seem to fully understand that she's a lot more willing to break rules and use that power against villains than she seems. Hilariously, Katsuki is one of the first people to catch onto the fact that she's holding back all the time, and spends much of his on-page time calling her out on it.
  • Unknown Rival: Bakugo Katsuki is this for Kei, but only after she repeatedly antagonizes him (somewhat unintentionally) during the Sports Festival. While she's aware he's hostile to her, Kei dismisses him entirely as a threat and mostly treats him as an annoyance. Once Katsuki sees why Kei gives him none of her time during the Hideout Raid Arc, he dials it back.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Kei runs her nighttime patrol missions while attending school during the day. Not surprisingly, she ends up very sleep-deprived on weekdays.
  • Wrong Context Magic: While chakra runs on stamina, like Quirks do, it can also produce a wide variety of exotic effects based on hand seals. The existence of superpowers based on specific motions or parts of someone's anatomy aren't strange, but having multiple, unrelated supernatural effects is. Water Release ninjutsu serves as her Quirk while in Tokyo. When pretending to be the mysterious "Turtle," Kei is careful not to use Water Release while wearing the mask to avoid associating her secret identity with her student persona.
    • As a counterpoint, some Quirks can sneak past the defenses of trained chakra users. Even Stain's Quirk, Bloodcurdle, can affect Obito if he drops his guard.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Specifically called out as something Kei hates. While she can toss snark with the best of them outside of a fight, she often refuses to respond if bad guys are quipping mid-fight.

Dig Two Graves contains examples of:

    Tropes found in Dig Two Graves 
  • Ascended Extra: Tomoe, Shinta, and Wataru are all secondary or minor characters in Catch Your Breath and The B-Plot. Here, they're major characters.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Rare at first, due to international hostilities. In narration, characters' native language is rendered in plain text, while a foreign language they understand is shown in italics. Tomoe in particular has a terrible time trying to speak any Chinese dialects due to being The Quiet One, but can understand most of what's said to her once she has enough practice once she's participated in enough of these conversations.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Cultivator swords (jian or dao) require qi to wield in any meaningful way, which is the same as drawing on the user's Life Energy. Tomoe and Shinta view them as "hungry," because their katana are relatively inert.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Generally a trait of demonic cultivators, whose usage of undead soldiers means they tend to be unbothered by the horrors of death.
    • Wei Wuxian in particular, as the most accomplished demonic cultivator, treats ghosts and other undead in his command better than some people treat living soldiers. He mostly acts as though they're friends, with the exception of enemies he slaughtered and raised to fight their own kin. He also has nothing but respect for the carrion crows who descend on battlefields he's visited, feasting on the carnage left in his wake. Probably has something to do with how he spent three months trapped in the Burial Mounds until he created his demonic path in order to get out.
    • Tomoe also has this trait due to her Dark and Troubled Past, shrugging off the existence of The Undead soon after first encountering them. It helps that fierces corpses and ghosts barely acknowledge her in turn, which is due to her katana putting out enough of its own resentful energy to mask her presence. One of the few things she specifically disdains during the war is excessive cruelty or torture for information, which she considers a waste of time and effort when she can determine the truth at a glance.
  • Crossover: Between Catch Your Breath's edition of Naruto and The Untamed.
  • Culture Clash: Common, mostly between Tomoe and Shinta and the various cultivators they interact with over the course of the Sunshot Campaign.
    • Hatake Sakumo describes of the Sunshot Campaign as a war between "dojos" because cultivation sects are martial schools. He's also fairly insulated from the outcome of the war due to operating in the city of Ningbo. Barring supply shortages from the various affected regions, his operations are mostly focused on pursuing his own organization's interests.
    • On the comedy side of things, Tomoe wonders why all the rich cultivators don't seem to wear armor before thinking that they must believe arrogance alone is a shield.
  • Deep Cover Agent: Because of the tensions between mainland China and the Japanese archipelago, almost every character from the islands is this. They mostly operate in large cities and pretend to be native-born citizens, living among the locals and sending information back to the homeland when asked. Some of these agents are even old or banished shinobi. The exceptions are mostly those who aren't working for Hatake Sakumo, though they're still hiding from official scrutiny for a number of reasons.
  • Downer Beginning: The first chapter features the Lotus Pier massacre and the three initial characters scattering to the winds to avoid pursuit.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Part and parcel of the characters, setting, and the crossover materials. Tomoe is one of the last remaining members of her clan as a result of conspiracy ending in a massacre. Shinta lost his birth family sometime prior to the story's start, and his section of The B-Plot indicates he was a victim of Human Traffickers at one point. Wataru comments that he's not allowed back into Japan alive. There's also the entirety of the Sunshot Campaign; specifically the destruction of Lotus Pier by the forces of the Qishan Wen clan, which reduces the Jiang sect to terrified fugitives and corpses, with all of the associated fallout in The Untamed.
  • Energetic and Soft-Spoken Duo:
    • This is the dynamic between Tomoe almost everyone else. She's one of the least-chatty characters in the entire story, who keeps almost all of her thoughts private, and usually paired with someone far more talkative, such as Wataru or Wei Wuxian.
    • This is also the dynamic between Lan Wangji and nearly everyone else, but especially Wei Wuxian. When Tomoe and Lan Wangji both accompany Wei Wuxian to a battle, he notes that he out-speaks both of them pretty much as soon as he opens his mouth.
  • Fusion Fic: The author has stated that this is what the story is, and that the Naruto-canon shinobi nations don't exist.
    • There's a Great Offscreen War to match the Sunshot Campaign going on back in Japan. While details are sparse, the shinobi province of Iga has been invaded by neighboring daimyō, and the ripples of said conflict cause infighting among the various international spies. And some of the generals leading the counteroffensive are the Legendary Sannin.
    • While yōkai serve mostly as cultural references for shinobi techniques in Naruto, here they (and their Chinese equivalents) are very real. Wataru even speculates that the several shinobi in his employ have nonhuman lineage.
  • Genocide Backfire: Twice.
    • During Tomoe's backstory, her clan was massacred and only two survivors made it out alive. Tomoe is personally responsible for the deaths of nearly every perpetrator over the course of five years.
    • The destruction of Lotus Pier by Wen Chao leads to a series of events that result in Wei Wuxian mastering demonic cultivation and raising a Cavalry of the Dead. As the dominoes fall, so does the Qishan Wen clan.
  • Good Samaritan: Shinta is this, rescuing Jiang sect cultivators from Qishan Wen pursuers in the midst of the Lotus Pier massacre. Prior, he admits he tried to fight fires in the city around the cultivation sect. Doing so kicks off the entire plot.
  • Gotta Kill 'Em All:
    • Tomoe's approach to killing those responsible for the deaths of her family. She's down to the last few qualifying candidates, who are sheltering with the Qishan Wen clan.
    • This is a fairly common attitude among participants in the Sunshot Campaign, on both sides. After the fall of Lotus Pier, the Qishan Wen print and distribute wanted posters all across the province for Jiang survivors, and hunt them down with as much fervor as they can manage. In return, most cultivation clans who've felt the Wen boot-heel on their backs want nothing more than to retaliate with equal thoroughness, and even those that didn't suffer directly use the tragedies of the crushed clans to fuel their war effort.
  • Heroic Neutral: Common enough for non-cultivators as long as the main conflict happens over their heads among people they don't care about.
    • Tomoe doesn't care about the conflict between cultivation sects until forced to, like most of the Japanese characters. Unfortunately for her apathy, Shinta has Chronic Hero Syndrome.
    • Sakumo doesn't think of the Qishan Wen sect's ongoing war as his problem, except for how it provides a chance to fulfil the emperor's wish for immortality. He has other priorities even without that concern, due to his homeland's Civil War continuing in the background and the risk of discovery faced by all spies. He's also aware of the persecution Uzumaki clan members face, and willingly hides both Shinta and later Kushina from anyone who might be interested in their powers.
  • Ki Manipulation: The common source of everyone's Supernatural Martial Arts and Immortality.
    • Cultivators spend years—if not their entire lives—building their golden core, a spiritual construct that powers their range of supernatural abilities. It processes and is made of so much qi that it's the next best thing to an extra organ. And can be transferred like one.
    • While not elaborated upon, the spiritual strength of Tomoe and Shinta do not result in core formation.
  • Language Barrier: To different degrees, depending on the person.
    • Tomoe can't speak any Chinese dialect fluently, but she's a fairly good listener and has the most formal education among the trio.
    • Shinta is fluent in at least two dialects of Chinese and his native Japanese, but is functionally illiterate.
    • Wataru doesn't experience the downsides of the language barrier. He's essentially The Handler for Japanese agents in the country and was trained alongside people he refers to as Ninja, but has few combat skills.
    • Wei Wuxian starts to overcome this after performing Empathy on Tomoe's katana, which gives him a much better ear for her language, but he clearly doesn't have the experience to speak fluent Japanese. He finds himself in the same position as Tomoe, but in reverse.
  • Mook Horror Show: Twice.
    • Tomoe catches up to one of her vengeance targets while he's traveling with Wen sect cultivators. None of them have any idea she's on them until they're already being cut down, and she only shows herself to Ito Akimitsu before beheading him.
    • Wei Wuxian's emergence from the Yiling Burial Mounds is punctuated with one of these, leaving Wen sect bodies lying all across the countryside. Tomoe comes across the evidence before anyone else and concludes the source of the carnage is more dangerous than she is, and subsequently even more useful to the ongoing war.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: From what non-experts like Shinta can deduce, cultivation and the form of Ki Manipulation he and Tomoe use are not compatible. While both methods allow the use of Supernatural Martial Arts, the balance of abilities is different in each country and so is the underlying education.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Goes both ways with regard to the soft magic system, with hints of Mutually Exclusive Magic and Unequal Rites.
  • Revenge: A motivation for many characters in the story.
    • Tomoe is on her fifth year of chasing down those who were involved in the destruction of her branch of the Uesugi clan, which led her and her fellow survivor to chase the remaining perpetrators across the ocean. Out of more than sixty targets, she's down to less than a handful.
    • Wei Wuxian seeks vengeance on Wen Chao, Wang Lingjiao, and Wen Zhuliu for destroying the Jiang sect, torturing Jiang Cheng and destroying golden core, torturing him, and throwing Wei Wuxian into the Yiling Burial Mounds to die. Tomoe meets him immediately after he's started checking off his list.
      • Jiang Cheng also seeks revenge for the above grievances, but Wei Wuxian gets there first.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Tomoe's personal quest takes this form. On-page, she hunts down and kills Ito Akimitsu amid a Wen patrol and her narration states she has only a handful of targets left.
  • Sibling Team: Several, only partly because the Sunshot Campaign conflict deals primarily with noble clans.
    • Tomoe and Shinta, though Tomoe doesn't take him along for her revenge-centric side trips.
    • Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji, the Twin Jades of Lan, are both powerful cultivators who work together as two of the many commanders in the Sunshot Campaign.
    • Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng, on the occasions they're on the same battlefield.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: More than a few.
    • Shinta survives the Uesugi clan massacre in this timeline and becomes Tomoe's Sidekick.
    • Several Jiang sect cultivators survive the post-massacre hunts by sneaking through the countryside to Gusu. By the time Jiang Cheng is finally able to do a head count, there are more than forty members of his sect still around, which helps him keep himself together during the three months Wei Wuxian is missing.
  • Spirit Cultivation Genre: Rather than Shōnen, this is the genre due to the influence of The Untamed. Cultivators, court schemes, ghosts, and monsters ensue.
  • The Spymaster: Because of the focus on moving through black markets and the underbelly of the cultivation world, Hatake Sakumo fulfills this role in the city of Ningbo.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: A trend between Tomoe's new social circle.
    • Not long after meeting Wei Wuxian (trapped in Corpse Land for three months) and Wen Qing (Locked in the Dungeon by Wen Chao), Tomoe offers them both food. And she doesn't accept prideful refusals for an answer, taking advantage of her language difficulties to make it harder for them to argue with her.
    • Jiang Yanli is by far the most proficient, to the point of helping organize the logistics of feeding the entire Sunshot Campaign army. She also organizes tea for herself, Wen Qing, and Tomoe.
  • Unequal Rites: Cultivators are a society of prospective immortals who now form a clan-based noble class well above the mundane people, often backed by tremendous wealth and political power. They look down on practitioners of other forms of Ki Manipulation, but aren't familiar with their capabilities either.
    • The ability to read another's qi is so tightly bound to their combat abilities that Tomoe and Shinta are both Living Lie Detectors at short ranges. Because of their sheer quantity of qi, cultivators can be easily picked out at a distance and predicted well before they reach shouting or shooting distance. It even works on Wei Wuxian, who doesn't have a golden core at all.
    • Demonic cultivation is viewed as a powerful art, but also a blatant violation of the natural order that is deeply disrespectful to all of the corpses it allows a demonic cultivator to control. Wei Wuxian is the most skilled practitioner in the entire setting, and the only reason the Sunshot Campaign has pushed Qishan back to its own borders while Wen Ruohan is also using an undead army to bolster his forces. By observing Wei Wuxian and wielding a very haunted katana, Tomoe manages to replicate some of the abilities of a demonic cultivator and perform necromancy to interrogate ghosts.
  • Vengeful Ghost: Common when someone dies violently or without being given burial rites, and dealing with them is a major part of the daily duties of cultivation sects in this setting. The Burial Mounds are the result of an ancient battle that slaughtered thousands and have rebuffed all attempts to exorcise them, turning the entire area into the local equivalent of the Elephant's Foot in Chernobyl. Due to the Sunshot Campaign embroiling most of their population in a war, characters note that these cases are going unresolved and will likely continue to cause death and chaos for years afterward.
    • Wei Wuxian's systematic destruction of all Wen holdings in Yunmeng features using these in combat, as an advance guard he sends out ahead against soldiers before he starts raising everything as a fierce corpse. The sheer weight of those vengeful dead and their resentment powers the Artifact of Doom called the Yin Tiger Seal, which allows him to control thousands of them at once.
    • Tomoe is mistaken for one of these by her targets. That said, Tomoe's katana Yukishiro is haunted by the ghosts of her slain family members (complete with their lethal injuries), who incorporate ghosts of her targets into their ranks as she kills them. Her sword is so steeped in resentful energy that it allows her to use low-level demonic cultivation.