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Fanfic / When Reason Fails

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Himiko: Congratulations, you just discovered that we're all living in a fantasy setting, with an entire world of magical creatures, dusty tomes of magical spells and mages hiding from the muggles. Bad news, is that it's Call of Cthulhu more than Harry Potter, and to say it in the least vulgar way, you're now officially boned.

When Reason Fails by Mirrond is an Alternate Universe fic of My Hero Academia.

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The world of When Reason Fails is a world without Quirks, but that does not mean there are no Powers. Magic and the supernatural abounds, and when Izuku discovers the truth of the world, he's going to need all the help he can get. Luckily for him, he meets Himiko Toga, who is both a ghoul and has experience in this world. Even more luckily for him, she decides to actually help him instead of eat him.

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Contains Examples Of:

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Outsider of Existence, also known as Aiko, takes the form of a human child specifically to prevent Izuku and his friends from going mad from her true form.
  • A Rare Sentence: When Katsuki clarifies with Izuku that the latter wants the former to bring the "mobile pile of nightmare fuel and childhood trauma all the way to the UA, just so you can feed the Frog Face with them and get free frog gacha rolls?", Izuku can only be stunned at the absurdity of the sentence before confirming he wants Katsuki to do just that.
  • Absence of Evidence: Due to the Ancient of Denial's nature, it is impossible to know if someone has learned its ultimate spell, but people have inferred what it does by noticing that the number of mages who reach the top of the Denial school of magic are the lowest of all the Powers.
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  • Absurdly Divided School: The student body of UA is divided into several independent groups called Cabals that look out for themselves, and sometimes kill each other either due to rivalries, grudges, or personal ambitions of the perpetrators. The Cabals themselves are grouped under the Four Warlords that control the Exclusion Zones.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Post-timeskip, the Warlords become an official part of UA's education strategy and are involved in the whole process. Izuku notes that are now functionally the equivalent of a student council and carry a disproportionate amount of power in the school. They even control significant amounts of military hardware.
  • Accidental Pervert: Invoked. While Izuku is unable to see her due to a Mirrorgeist's illusions, Himiko positions herself so Izuku would accidentally grab her breasts.
  • The Ace:
    • Shoto Todoroki is such a talented Initiate that he completes the entire Black Course which should have taken five years in two years instead, and commands enough respect among the student Initiates that the Warlords are willing to at least hear him out.
    • Being an ace turns out to be a prerequisite for successfully becoming a Magister. You have to be talented to begin with to have any chance of surviving the process. That is why existing Magisters do not share the method publicly. Keeping it a secret filters out untalented Initiates so that the ones that can figure out the process and gather the resources for it are clearly the talented ones.
    • Ibara Shiozaki's power is in the upper end of Dryads as a whole, and even Shoto says that you'd be hard pressed to find someone better at forest management from Dryads thrice her age.
  • Achievements in Ignorance:
    • After the group defeats Geten with Izuku's plan, Katsuki notes how Izuku is prone for this.
    Bakugou has long ago realized that Deku is fully capable of performing the impossible for as long as no one told him that it was impossible. The nerd just proved it to some additional people.
    • Izuku somehow manages to "adopt" an Outsider, the Outsider taking the form of a 10-year-old girl that refers to him as her 'oniichan' (although mostly because she's his actual sister). Then said Outsider takes the Cabal to U.A.'s Special Exclusion Zone, which nobody has ever found, would make one of them U.A.'s Fifth Warlord and allows its controller limited Reality Warper powers within it. He essentially got way ahead in the world of Initiates by complete accident.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • When Yagi asks Izuku if he can tell something is weird in his family, Izuku mentions his father thought that Morbius wasn't that bad a film. Yagi nearly chokes from laughter.
    • invoked Yagi laughs when Todoroki makes a crack at the former's Accidental Innuendo regarding Izuku's parents.
    • When he learns that Izuku's father may have actually been an Aberrant that was even more powerful than Izuku's mother, Katsuki cracks up laughing.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Izuku and Katsuki are actual friends instead of victim and bully. Ochako was also their friend, until she was killed by a monster.
    • Himiko Toga, rather than a villain, becomes a friend of Izuku's and Ochako's. She's still obsessed with him, though.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Many characters who were pure human in canon or Mirrond's other stories are demihumans or otherwise here:
    • Himiko Toga is a Ghoul.
    • Tsuyu is a frog demihuman.
    • Ibara Shiozaki is a Dryad.
    • Geten is a Cold One.
    • Ochako is a Stalker.
    • Aiko from Mirrond's other stories is a human chuuni pretending to be an eldritch god. Here, she is an actual eldritch god.
    • Nezu is the Demi-Power of Rats.
  • Adaptational Job Change: Masaru quits the fashion industry in favor of starting a gardening business.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: There are no Quirks. The characters have magic instead.
  • All for Nothing: Katsuki is very upset that all the political manoeuvring for the wealth of the Special Exclusion Zone became retroactively pointless when Nedzu extends the reality warping features to the other exclusion zones during the time-skip.
  • The Alliance: Groups of students can form alliances, informally called Cabals, for mutual protection.
  • Ambiguously Human:
    • There are huge question marks on Izuku's humanity. Yagi speculates that he is mostly human based on what they uncovered about his mother and that his humanity comes from his father. However, further oddities casts doubt on whether his father is himself even human, which just muddles the question further for Izuku's own humanity. It's later revealed that Izuku's father might be an awakened human, which brings its own set of rarities.
    • Ochako is clearly something non-human, considering her conversation with All Might and her ability to return from death. She's revealed to be a Stalker, a type of Revenant Zombie powered by the love they feel for a certain person - in Ochako's case, Izuku.
  • An Ice Person: Shoto wields ice magic.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Crawler Mimics are a type of cryptid that resembles spiders.
  • Another Dimension: There are other dimensions that are collectively called Elsewheres where the supernatural originates from.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Aizawa doesn't bother to teach Izuku how to fight because he figures Izuku will die in a couple of weeks at most.
  • The Archmage: Magisters are the pinnacle of what magic-wielding humans can be, being able to more freely use magic due to being resistant to most of the potential downsides overusing magic.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Katsuki tells his Cabal that all the female Warlords are romantically pursuing Shoto, Shoto says he's wrong. He then clarifies that he means that Monoma is bisexual and that Shoto is being romantically pursued by all of the other four Warlords instead of saying the female Warlords have no interest in him.
  • Beyond the Impossible:
    • Things like defeating a Category Seven Aberrant or befriending a Demi-Power are generally considered impossible, especially if you are not a Magister. Izuku achieving both feats in a single trip just three weeks into his life as a student Initiate surpasses what most Magisters achieve in their immortal lifetimes, and Izuku isn't even a full student of the Black Course.
    • Corporeal and Sanity damage happens when the stronger entity imports its concepts onto the weaker, and Greater Aberrants are the ones to inflict this damage on humans in any encounter by default and without exception. Yagi inflicting Corporeal damage on a Category 4 Greater Aberrant therefore flies in the face of everything he and the rest of UA's teachers thought they knew about the world.
    • A mortal killing a Power, not a Demi-Power, one of the actual Powers, is impossible. People know that, the Powers know that. Everyone knows that. This is why it was so shocking when in the past, a human struck down the Ancient of Malice. Not even the Powers have any clue how that happened, but it did, and all of Malice's Aberrants were extinguished with him and only a few spells remained as leftovers.
  • Black Comedy: A good part of the story's humor is based on this.
    • When Izuku recounts to Katsuki how Himiko killed and ate one of the artificers, Himiko cheerfully remarks she tasted like strawberries.
    • During the Abandoned Hospital exploration, Shoto puts some super-slippery lubricant on a set of stairs and watches as one of the Gardeners slips on it and breaks its neck. Shoto considers it hilarious. but grants it a 7/10 because the Gardener didn't break enough bones.
  • Black Speech: Unspeech, which Shoto states is to the Ancients what Latin is to the Catholic Church, he had to learn it by having it described to him, and the equivalent of a comma is a very powerful warding glyph.
    Shoto: It can only be written by defacing other scripts. It can only be read with your eyes closed. It can only be spoken with particular qualities of silence. And unlike most thaumaturgic language, its supernatural influence on the reader kicks in not when you read or hear it but when you forget what you read or heard. It is also said that nothing good was ever written in that language.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: According to Shoto, "blackmail" is too negative. He prefers "aggressive persuasion techniques".
  • Blatant Lies: Ochako denies responsibility for spiking Himiko's food with the world's hottest chili pepper even though there are only three people who could have done it and Ochako is the only one of the three with the motive to do it.
  • Blessed with Suck: Most powers tend to be this.
    • Izuku's Charm (which amplifies any demi-human girl's desire if they are genuinely attracted to him) saves him from getting killed by Himiko, but, as Yagi points out, if it's a demi-human that, for example, is the kind that puts her eggs into the male so the newborn devour him after hatching, he is screwed, and in a bad way. Izuku later suspects that said influence is also twisting his mind, causing him to find each girl's kinks arousing.
    • Delving too deep into a field of magic can cause irreversible changes to one's body and mind. For example, the magic from the Archon of Mercy is Healing Hands, but overuse will warp the wielder's mind to the point they will think nothing of offering themselves as food to a hungry ghoul, seeing that as a natural act of kindness. And that's if you're lucky and don't catch the Power's attention...
    • Demi-humans in general suffer less drawbacks from using compatible magic, but they suffer different downsides in general. They may be targeted because people fear their powers, or to use their body parts as materials. They also have different biological needs which makes it hard to live in human society, and their overall different biological mechanisms can be taken advantage of to defeat them.
    • Being the Warlord of the Special Exclusion Zone. You get a place that can be modelled at will by spending Contribution Points, under your full control, and which can connect to any other place in the school grounds you have been to. In exchange, the rest of U.A.'s Initiates will likely begin to hunt you down for the secret, and the other Warlords will immediately begin to plot so they can take over the place. Oh, and you have a great chance of ending up with zones that generate hostile creatures.
  • Bluff the Impostor: Played with. Izuku on separate occasions try to check if someone he never met before is dangerous to him by asking them misleading questions:
    • When two unfamiliar men show up at his door, he asks if they are the handymen he called when he did no such thing. When they answer they are the Black Course faculty, he just lets them in.
    • When Uraraka Ochako claims to have known him from a previous school, he asks her what kind of tree there was between the main building and the gym, she answers she doesn't remember a tree, just a lawn and fountain, which is the correct answer, passing Izuku's test.
  • Body Horror: After Izuku makes the Ziggurat abomination run away, he briefly sees himself with twelve fingers, and then he turns to see Shoto has lost his nose and his body is deformed (while thinking nothing's wrong with him), while Katsuki has literally lost his face, forcing Shoto to open a "mouth" so he won't asphyxiate. Fortunately, the damage is temporary.
  • Botanical Abomination: The Tree that Dreams is a plant-based Greater Aberrant that took over a psychiatric hospital.
  • Brain Bleach: Overhaul is seriously disgusted when he sees Decay's sandwich is full of maggots.
  • Brick Joke: The screw Shoto found at the lake turns out to be one of the clues leading to the Special Exclusion Zone.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: UA has a cheat sheet for reviewing a student Initiate's activities to award Contribution Points. Izuku's Cabal's feats of befriending a Demi-Power or defeating a Category Seven Aberrant were considered so unfeasible that U.A. doesn't have them in their cheat sheet.
  • Broken Masquerade: From Izuku's perspective, the Censor that acts to hide the supernatural from Muggles like him simply stops working for him, so he is thrust into the deep end almost right away before he gets a much-needed orientation on the basics.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Izuku questions Ibara if she has a long-term plan to get impregnated by him, she bluntly answers "yes".
  • Can't Live Without You: Stalkers feed off any sort of positive attention their bond gives them. Their bond dies, so does the Stalker. Ochako, as one such Stalker, literally can't live without Izuku.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Yagi reports on what Izuku's Cabal told him about their expedition to the hospital, Aizawa calls it "a very wild fanfiction". It takes the Principal confirming it for them to believe it (and start a riot).
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Early in the story, there's a mention of Izuku and Katsuki transferring to U.A. after a car accident killed several students, hurt Katsuki and left Izuku hospitalised for two months. This is the incident where Ochako died to something supernatural, came back as a Stalker, and due to the Censor, Izuku and Katsuki not only could not see her, but forgot about her, causing her to rampage (and injuring Izuku so hard he was put in a hospital for two months) until an Initiate stopped her and explained the situation.
    • Himiko mentions in Chapter 19 there's rumors of an Exclusion Zone that no one has found yet. It's the place where Izuku's Cabal ends up at after their Abandoned Hospital run.
    • The device Yagi gave Izuku to test if Izuku's mother's aberrant influence could be suppressed comes back in the Ziggurat, when Izuku uses it to unveil his father's aberrant influence and cause the Eldritch Abomination guarding the place to run away.
    • Invoked by Nezu in regards to Izuku's father's real identity, as he tells Aiko not to reveal it so it can be brought up later at an appropriate moment.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Ochako was the one that attacked Izuku's apartment early in the story. And the one that caused the injuries that hospitalised Izuku before the story.
  • Chick Magnet: All the female Warlords are into Shoto and are romantically pursuing him.
  • Cold Equation: When Izuku expresses his dislike of Yagi not being willing to help Tsuyu adapt to life among humans, the teacher points out that, yes, he could do that - but, apart from the fact that Tsuyu may actually not want said help, the time and resources spent helping her would be time and resources not spent in helping many other people.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Aizawa being a terrible teacher is brought up, Himiko tries to defend him by mentioning her prey once asked him for help in front of her (with the clear implication that Aizawa just stood by or left as Himiko murdered them) before cutting her story short when Izuku, Katsuki and Yagi just stare at her.
  • The Comically Serious: Shoto's utter inability to express feelings somehow makes a good part of the stuff he says all the more hilarious.
  • Compensating for Something: Izuku jokes that Katsuki's doing this when he sees the MRAP he bought from Hatsume.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In order to stop Shoto from continuing to share irrelevant details about the Warlords (namely sexual kinks or body measurements), Katsuki threatens to set him up with all four of them.
  • Cool Teacher: As a sharp contrast to Aizawa, Yagi is willing to go the extra mile for his students while making sure they can stand on their own without his help eventually. He actually helps Ochako at U.A., even giving her an Initiate phone and getting her in Izuku's classes even though she technically doesn't have any right to either.
  • The Corrupter: Katsuki brings up the hypothesis that Izuku's mere presence slowly turns guys around him into horndogs. Shoto considers it improbable, but when Katsuki makes him think about Yaoyorozu and Intelli making out naked on his bed, Shoto is surprised (and a bit horrified) when he realizes Katsuki has a point.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: When Izuku tells Ibara that Komori wanted to become a Dryad too, Ibara feels silly that mind-controlling her Cabal might have been completely unnecessary.
  • Covert Pervert: Shoto might be this, considering how he keeps information about Yaoyorozu's and Intelli's kinks at the top of his mind, and his "using his imagination" moment during Himiko and Ochako's Cat Fight at the mirrorgeist's house.
  • Crazy Enough to Work:
    • How the Cabal defeats Geten, the Nightmare of Ice. Todoroki, Katsuki, and Ochako act as bait to catch Geten's attention, then Izuku shoots him from the back, and Himiko takes advantage of the distraction to jump in, get through his shields, and use her Skin Removal spell on his face - causing him to be blinded by the thick ice cap that springs from any non-lethal injury he suffers.
    • How Izuku defeats a powerful Aberrant involves Shoto throwing him at it so he can get close enough to scare it away with his fear influence. Amazingly, it works, because his fear influence is that powerful when not being dampened.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Some Initiates want to become demihumans, having decided the benefits are worth the costs. Komori, for instance, wants to become a Dryad and is upset she did not know Ibara was one that she could ask questions about the process.
  • Darwinist Desire: More established Initiate Families constantly look for talented unattached Initiates to join their family trees. Shoto asks Katsuki to give dating his sister Fuyumi and distant cousin Kamiji a try, because he realizes Katsuki is highly talented (like Izuku) and has no yanderes pining for him (unlike Izuku), and thinks Katsuki will be a good fit for his family.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Himiko killed Chikuchi Togeike, Tsutsutaka Agoyamoto, Mashirao Ojiro and Bibimi Kenranzaki in retaliation for an attack the group initiated.
    • Minoru Mineta is killed and eaten by Himiko because he was dumb enough to be lured into her trap.
  • Death Is Cheap: Ochako has the ability to come back from death. For as long as Izuku wants her around, she will always come back from death.
  • Determinator: Stalkers don't have any power other than Resurrective Immortality and The Needless, but that makes them the ultimate persistence hunters, particularly if their bonded is at risk.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Shoto expected Himiko to kill Izuku after she takes him to her lair. Izuku not dying is something no one expected and draws attention to him from UA's Black Course.
    • Ibara is flabbergasted when Izuku not only manages to smooth over issues with Setsuna over him poaching Ibara, Setsuna actually petitions for her entire Cabal to join Izuku's as a subsidiary.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Shoto is dumbfounded when Izuku feeds the Outsider of Existence his bento.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Izuku decides that, as part of his apology to Ochako, he won't stop having sex with her until she's fully satisfied. Ochako's a Perpetual-Motion Monster. Do the math.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Komori does this when she asks Izuku if she can join his Cabal so she can learn how to become a dryad from Ibara and then tells Tokage she intends to return as soon as she achieves her objective. In front of both of them.
  • Digital Abomination: Discussed. Shoto mentions that there are undead on the internet and you are well-advised to not draw their attention.
  • Divine Parentage: Aiko turns out to be the child of the Ancient of Desire. So is Izuku, her brother, which is why his Charm ability is so powerful even when suppressed by his father's influence.
  • Do You Want to Haggle?: Izuku and Mei try to negotiate the value of his Cabal doing a mail run for Mei before Katsuki derails it and tells them to meet in the middle to save time.
  • Dope Slap:
    • Katsuki's favored method of keeping Izuku from doing something stupid is a hand-chop to the back of the head.
    • Defied by Shoto, who doesn't ice-blasts Izuku after he makes an understatement regarding their discovery of the Special Exclusion Zone because he doesn't want to anger Aiko, who is sleeping in Izuku's arms.
    • Izuku uses Shoto as his proxy for delivering neck chops. Shoto is willing to hit himself when Izuku tells him to do so after making stupid comments.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Nightmares are individuals at UA who are responsible for numerous deaths of Black Course Candidates and even full Black Course Students. Himiko is the Nightmare of Blood and Izuku's association with her protects him from most other students, and she's on the lower-end of the power spectrum for Nightmares. Shoto implies Uraraka could join their ranks as the "Nightmare of Love". At the top of them all is Soma Michiko, the Nightmare of Frost, a powerful Cold-One even by the general metric of the World of Initiates and antagonising her is considered a creative form of suicide even for the Warlords.
    • Magisters are this as well, because they are not so much people as forces of nature. Decay (formerly known as Tomura) is one of them, and is a difficult fight for Izuku's Cabal that they barely survived even with Decay choosing to handicap himself a lot for their fight.
    • The Warlords are four student Initiates that control certain strategical zones in the U.A. Campus, and have managed to establish powerful Cabals around them. Saiko Intelli, one of the Warlords, keeps Geten, the Nightmare of Ice, in her payroll. Izuku becomes the Fifth Warlord after taking over the Special Exclusion Zone.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Played with since it is by accident. The principal of UA, Rats, intended for the Special Exclusion Zone to be found by solving the various clues and finding the right artifacts scattered throughout UA. Izuku's Cabal find it by getting teleported there by a Demi Power when they only wanted to get home.
  • Eldritch Abomination: It's a Lovecraft-like universe, of course it's got them. Examples thus far include:
    • Dragon from the Desert of Bones, a Category Seven Greater Aberrant, encountered in the Ziggurat on the Desert of Bones. It's described as being too alien to describe, its sheer presence crushing minds and warping bodies of the party before it's forced to run. The term 'dragon' is about the role it was playing, guarding a 'tower' where the 'princess' was imprisoned, because it was too alien to compare it to anything else, even basic shapes and color.
    • The Tree that Dreams, the lower category Greater Aberrant controlling the abandoned mental hospital, while much more grounded in human concepts is still alien enough to enter the human world by spreading its roots into it through the dreams of a patient.
    • Outsider of Existence, while human-like in looks, is still incredibly alien, capable of counting up the length of its existence with precision counted in seconds in a heartbeat and having issues understanding simple concepts (like death). It's even implied to be capable of pulling its own understanding of concept of time out of itself, creating a potent artifact while losing ability to comprehend time before it has it explained to it again.
    • Spider of the Forest of Red is a Category One Greater Aberrant that's described as trying and failing to look like a giant spider.
  • Emotion Suppression: One drawback of overusing Ice Magic is that it suppresses the expression of emotions. Shoto is far enough along that he casually talks about Himiko being a Serial Killer with less emotion than a normal person observing that it is raining.
  • Enlightened Self-Interest: There's not much room for selflessness and altruism among Initiates, but they are willing to help each other, for a price. This price can be as cheap as providing entertainment, like what Shoto gets from Izuku's Cabal in exchange for helping them out, to as expensive as braving a dangerous area to get rare materials in exchange for alchemical drugs.
  • Epic Fail: Katsuki's one attempt to draw a warding glyph. The result, according to Izuku, had no resemblance to any glyph at all.
  • Erotic Eating: Himiko does the "eating ice-cream in a seductive manner" version with Geten's torn-off hand. Izuku is grateful when Katsuki dope slaps him before he does something stupid.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Cultist-type mages have a particular tendency to be bad people, but even they don't like Malice cultists and actively help wipe them out if they turn up.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Monoma is bisexual and interested in Shoto.
  • Every Man Has His Price:
    • Shoto is initially hesitant to bring Aiko the Outsider of Existence back to UA, but when she offers him the knowledge on how to become a Magister, he immediately says they should allow her to come home with them. Izuku is stunned by his shamelessness. Izuku and Shoto decide to offer the same knowledge to Yagi to convince him to help them, long-term.
    • When Izuku doesn't want to wear a suit to the Warlords' Summit, Shouto convinces Ochako to help him make Izuku wear it by offering to get her photos of Izuku in a nice suit.
    • Hatsume betrays U.A. to the MLF because they offered her more than the school.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As much as Izuku loves Himiko, he has to draw a line for her and explicitly tells her she cannot kill people for fun. She can kill in self-defense, or to avoid starvation, but that's it.
  • Evil Laugh: Todoroki has a mechanical laugh that everyone finds super-creepy.
  • Exact Words:
    • Shoto offers Izuku tips on how to deal with Himiko. Izuku accepts hoping to learn something to defend himself. Shoto suggests him to use protection.
    • During his fight with Izuku's Cabal, Decay promises to say his spells as he casts them - but when he casts one spell after naming another, he points out he never promised he would name the spell he was casting.
    • Aiko calls Izuku "onii-chan" not as a fancy honorific but because he's her actual, biological big brother.
  • Face Palm:
    • Katsuki is prone to slapping his face in response to Izuku's antics. He hits himself hard enough that it sounds like a gunshot.
    • Shoto has an epic one (complete with exasperated sigh) when the little girl sitting on Izuku's lap, eating his lunch and calling him "onii-chan" reveals she's the Outsider of Existence.
    • Both of them do synchronized dabbing when Izuku reveals his latest Midoriya Experience event: accidentally recruiting Tokage's Cabal as a subsidiary of his.
  • Famed in Story: Among U.A., Izuku is well-known due to something about him causing Himiko, a known killer, to not kill him like her other victims. Later feats, such as being the first person who Tsuyu spoke to, only boost it. Turns out that even Decay's sensei knows of him and his strange nature. Izuku becoming one of UA's Warlords by discovering and claiming the Special Exclusion Zone three weeks into his Candidacy, a frankly ludicrous feat when even if one is successful, it should have taken a lot more time than that, cements it.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The treatment of demihumans by baseline humans varies, but it ranges from kill-on-sight to being treated as pets in the best-case scenario, with only more powerful and/or useful ones having the chance of being treated with respect. In some cases, the kill-on-sight treatment is justified like with ghouls, since ghouls feed on humans, and humans fearing and hating them is something even Izuku admits is a matter of a working self-preservation instinct. He, however, finds it upsetting that UA's faculty just treats Tsuyu as an animal.
    • Setsuna has gotten some grief over her refusal to learn any magic and is surprised that Izuku is understanding over her refusal to risk any side-effects of learning magic.
  • Faux Yay: Izuku is straight, but it does not stop him from flirting with Katsuki to get a reaction out of him.
  • Fetch Quest:
    • Hatsume calls on the debt Izuku's Cabal owes her to get them to retrieve a package for her as part of a smuggling exercise UA is having her do.
    • To enter a long-term relationship with Tokage's alchemist Cabal, Izuku' Cabal has to fetch seeds or seedlings of magical plants from an abandoned hospital.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: Himiko can use her Skin Removal spell with her finger to poke someone and make her target's day a hundred times worse. Geten learns too late that "The Most Devastating Nose Boop In History" is more than enough to defeat him.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Decay asks himself why his Sensei wants Aizawa dead. He quickly finds out why when Aizawa uses an extremely powerful spell on him that almost kills Decay instantly.
  • Flipping the Bird: Izuku and Katsuki are the guiltiest of using this to express themselves. Particularly Katsuki.
  • Fluffy Tamer:
    • Izuku could be considered one, given how he managed to not only survive Himiko Toga, but turn her into a friend/follower/lover.
    • Ibara Shiozaki can use her mind-control spores to tame creatures such as Great Wolves.
  • Foil: Yagi is a good teacher, and Aizawa is a terrible one, and Izuku constantly comparing them highlights the differences between them.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Mankind Liberation Front attacking the Ketsubutsu, Isamu and Seiai schools results in the governing body sending the students UA's way.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Ochako tells Izuku they went to the same school, but neither Izuku nor Katsuki remember her. This foreshadows the fact that Ochako was Izuku's and Katsuki's childhood friend before a monster killed her at age fifteen and she transformed into a Stalker, which caused the latter two to forget her.
    • When Izuku's Cabal first enter Ghost Town, they read an old evacuation notice that said to avoid the forest, wear gas masks, destroy plant life in a home, among other things. This foreshadows the power of the Nightmare of Leaves, also known as Shiozaki Ibara.
    • Several small and big things added up to foreshadow Hatsume Mei being a spy. Her being incredibly spiteful towards the other artificer students, something Izuku explicitly noted to himself, is indicative of a less than pure morality. The pick-up mission she sent his Cabal on resulted in them encountering an unknown Magister. She was one of the few people outside Izuku's Cabal to know about the Gunga Mountain trip, and Shoto saw that same Magister there. She also prioritised keeping in contact with Izuku over profit margins, indicating she knew her merchandise and contribution points would soon be useless to her.
  • Freak Out:
    • Toshinori/All Might has two epic-level ones:
      • The first is when, on the way back from the Summit, Shoto reveals that Aiko is Izuku's sister and their mother is the Ancient of Desire. Toshinori gets out of the Katsumobile, drops to the snow and rolls around while yelling incoherently for a minute.
      • The second is when Aiko mentions that new student Asa Shigaraki is her and Izuku's brother. All Might ends up begging for something to prevent more Weirdness Magnet moments, because he believes the teachers (including himself) might end up being Driven to Suicide from the accumulated bullshit.
  • The Gadfly: Shoto is not above flustering Izuku and his friends for his personal entertainment. It literally warms his heart to do so, overcoming the drawbacks of his ice magic.
  • God of Evil: The Ancient of Malice is the one Power whose domain is literal evil.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Izuku triggers his suppression device to force the Ziggurat Eldritch Abomination on the run, even though he knows it can have a bad effect on his friends. He has to do it again to fight off Decay, but this time the "bad effect" is catching some very unpleasant attention from the Ancient of Desire.
  • Good Behavior Points: A Black Course student, either full student or candidate, can earn Contribution Points by various deeds. Roughly, any deed that positively reflects on a student's ability to survive the magical world, or doing something to the benefit of UA, earns contribution points. Aizawa gives Izuku the examples of killing something supernatural, learning a new spell, and surviving a danger-zone, but that is far from an exhaustive list. Izuku earned contribution points by successfully convincing Yagi in his personal capacity to investigate a mystery of personal interest to him, his Cabal earned contribution points by surviving an unexpected danger UA was not aware of that is far above their weight class, and bringing a potential attempted hacking to the attention of UA also earned them contribution points. After their Elsewhere trip, the Cabal earns so many points that the teachers have to lock most of it for "SEZ development" to keep them from crashing U.A.'s internal economy.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Dawn War, a war so obscure that even Toshinori thought it was a myth. Supposedly, it consisted of humans attempting to rise and fight the Powers and losing. The Mankind Liberation Front seeks to bring down the Censor so as turn all of humanity into "awakened", people so powerful that they can cause corporeal and sanity damage to Greater Aberrants, so humanity can win the next war.
  • Gut Feeling: Everyone involved with the supernatural has a sixth sense. If they feel like something is wrong, it probably is. If they feel they are in danger, they probably are.
  • Hate at First Sight: Izuku's immediate opinion of Neito Monoma is that he has a "perfectly punchable face".
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: Lampshaded. Geten is stated by Yagi to be bisexual, but because he's a demihuman whose normal body temperature is -40 degrees Celsius, he doesn't really have the opportunity to enter any sort of relationship.
  • Held Back in School: Some students, usually the demi-human ones, choose to stay behind in UA because a lot of demi-humans have specific biological needs that UA more easily meets than the general human society. Ibara specifically gives the example of the Frozen Hell zone of UA being the perfect habitat for Cold-Ones, since the other closest suitable habitat for them is in the Himalayas.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • After the encounter with the Dragon of the Desert of Bones, Himiko is completely shocked and left with terror for several hours. She's so shaken that it temporarily brings back her pre-ghoul self, who is horrified of all the stuff she's done since her transformation.
    • Played for Laughs for Shoto after he realizes Izuku's influence is causing him to become interested in girls.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: One of the foremost lessons taught to Black Course students is that Initiates don't altruistically help others, but instead act in Enlightened Self-Interest at best, so they have to do the same. Backfires because this means that, with no attachment to either school or other people, Mei has no problem with selling the school down the river when the MLF makes a better offer to her.
  • Honorary True Companion: Shoto is not an official member of Izuku's Cabal, but he gives them several useful hints and tips and accompanies them on dangerous missions several times, and is, overall, noticed by other Initiates to be associated with them. After Izuku's ascension as the Fifth Warlord, he joins the team full-time.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager:
    • Izuku gets turned on by Himiko's antics, and the only reason this doesn't get him killed is because Himiko genuinely likes him. He also gets turned on by Ochako wearing a Meido uniform.
    • Izuku's influence causes Shoto to realize he's becoming this.
  • Horrifying the Horror:
    • Himiko is The Dreaded to all students due to her nature. Yagi is The Dreaded to Himiko.
    • The Aberrant that Izuku encountered, that was causing them Corporeal and Sanity damage by its mere presence, is scared away when Izuku suppresses his Desire influence to let his other influence come out.
    • When Yagi sees the Greater Aberrant Decay brought to prove a point, it is the Greater Aberrant that suffers corporeal and sanity damage.
    • When Decay shows up right in front of him in the Labyrinth, Izuku deliberately deactivates his mother's influence. Decay (who should be immune to sanity damage as a Magister) begins to scream in abject terror before a contingency spell warps him away from U.A.
  • Humiliation Conga: Geten's embarrassing defeat via nose-boop does not end with the actual defeat. Shoto shares the details publicly, which results in him becoming a laughingstock and his own sister arranging things so that he has to enter a reminder of the defeat every time he wants to do something on the internet.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Yagi theorizes that Izuku's Charm requires the girl to look him in the eyes, so he gives Izuku a pair of sunglasses to avoid further accidental seduction. Seems to be valid, as several demi-humans simply consider him incredibly attractive when he wears the sunglasses and the Nightmare of Frost falls for him when she looks into his uncovered eyes.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat:
    • Izuku's diplomatic skills which he demonstrates in the Warlords' Summit come from his experience as a Dungeon Master and LARPer.
    • Shoto's plan to ensure Izuku achieves his objectives at the Warlords' Summit comes from playing it out in Togata's Dungeons & Dragons sessions.
  • I Know Your True Name: Many of the most powerful creatures an Initiate can encounter don't have actual names. The process of giving said creatures a name is said to ground them into more 'conceivable' definitions.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After Izuku accidentally Charms Soma Michiko, Toshinori takes a long chug from a hip-flask that's clearly not coffee.
  • Ice Palace: Soma Michiko, the Nightmare of Frost, has one as her base.
  • If Only You Knew: Shoto laughs every time Katsuki calls him a stalker because he knows that Ochako is both stalking Izuku and a Stalker.
  • Immortality: Magisters can live forever unless killed.
  • Improvised Weapon: Shoto uses a Coca Cola can combined with his ice magic as an improvised grenade.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Shoto still has a strained relationship with his father despite the fact there is no competition for the Number One hero spot in canon that was the root cause of all their problems in canon.
  • Information Broker: Hagakure Tooru is a student Candidate who is not part of a Cabal who keeps herself afloat by using her invisibility magic to spy on people and sell the information to other people. Shoto goes to her at the end of Chapter 35 to convince her to join Izuku's Cabal.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Izuku initiates Katsuki to the Masquerade in Chapter 7.
    • Ochako tells Izuku that she is a Stalker in Chapter 35, mentioning that she nearly attacked and killed him when the Censor kept him from noticing her.
    • Izuku tells Tokage in Chapter 39 that Ibara Shiozaki is a demihuman. He expands on this in the following chapter.
    • Izuku's Charm ability is openly revealed during the Warlords Summit when Shoto makes it kick in when Izuku and Hypothermia look at each other.
    • After the Warlords Summit, Yagi learns that Aiko is Izuku's actual biological sister and their mother is the Ancient of Desire.
  • Intimate Telecommunications:
    • Himiko is very flirtatious with Izuku, and this applies even when they're texting to each other.
    • Yaoyorozu Momo and Intelli Saiko have sent scantily-clad and/or suggestive selfies to Shouto.
  • Invisible to Normals: The Censor acts to hide all supernatural elements from the Muggles. Temporary exceptions can be made to allow individuals a choice in joining the supernatural world or not, or to defend themselves from supernatural threats, but that's it.
  • Ironic Echo: Monoma demands Izuku to send Ibara back to the Black Forest Exclusion Zone, as "it's only just" since Ibara could be a threat to him. Izuku fires back those same words when mentioning that the Special Exclusion Zone is unwillingly hosting the Greater Aberration Monoma's Cabal kicked out of the Black Forest.
  • Irony: Ibara kept her actual nature as a dryad hidden from Tokage's Cabal because she was afraid of their reaction. When Izuku reveals this fact, Komori is angry - because she wants to become a dryad and can't believe she had all the answers up close and never got them.
  • It Amused Me: Shoto hangs around Izuku's Cabal because their antics entertain him. Izuku takes advantage of this by convincing him to come with the group in their assignments and provide certain trivia. Yagi points out to Aizawa that this is legitimate behaviour among Initiates when the latter questions the former on letting Shoto hang out with Izuku's Cabal.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Katsuki is abrasive, kind of a jerk and prone to come up with insulting nicknames for everyone around himself. He's also very loyal to his best friend, Izuku, to the point that one of the main reasons he becomes a Candidate is helping to protect his friend.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • Played for Laughs. When Izuku sees Shoto treating the Abandoned Hospital raid as entertainment and goes to admonish him, he realizes that this is how Katsuki feels when he witnesses his shenanigans.
    • Played for Drama. After Ochako reveals that she's a Stalker and all the stuff she's gone through both before and after her death, Izuku realizes he's been a terrible boyfriend and apologizes to her, promising to do better and asking her to call him out should he backslide.
  • Kill the God:
    • Discussed. Demi-Powers are god-like yet theoretically slayable by humanity, it just takes a lot of resources to do and generally considered not worth it unless they are rampaging Disasters. Shoto explains that due to Aiko being a relatively young god, it is easier to slay her without an equal loss of potential gains from achieving the feat, which is why Izuku's Cabal have to keep her nature a secret from anyone they don't trust or can't keep a secret from anyway or UA would become a battle ground for various organizations going after the Outsider of Existence.
    • In the past, a human successfully achieved the impossible feat of slaying the Ancient of Malice.
  • Killer Game-Master: Izuku can be a sadistic Dungeon Master, and Katsuki says letting him be the DM of a Dungeons & Dragons session is a mistake people make only once.
    Katsuki's Thoughts: He still remembers the delighted grin on his face when Deku announced to the group that the mimic they just destroyed was actually the mission end treasure chest that the BBEG, in the last gesture of defiance, enchanted to appear like a mimic.
  • Language of Magic: There are many different supernatural languages, and one of the most particular is Unspeech. To write it, you have to deface other scripts. To read it, your eyes have to be closed. To speak it, you have to use silence. And the supernatural effects it has kicks in not when it is read or heard, but when it is forgotten.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • If a non-Initiate is offered a choice to join the supernatural, and they say no, the Censor acts to remove every memory of the event.
    • The initial theory of why Izuku has no memory of being Initiated is because someone erased it.
    • Ochako was friends with Izuku and Katsuki when they were children, until her death and resurrection just a year before as a Stalker triggered the Censor Veil and caused the boys to forget about her.
  • Laugh Themselves Sick:
    • When Shoto states that he expects Izuku to bring something as weird as the stuff Katsuki brought from his meeting with Hatsume (which includes a last-generation military armored car), Ibara states she doesn't think Izuku can top that. Shoto, Katsuki, and Himiko crack up laughing.
    • Shoto's reaction when Ibara nicknames Katsuki "Tsundere" is to almost die of laughter overdose.
    • Himiko went hysterical when she heard one of Monoma's sidekicks was called "Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu".
  • Leonine Contract: Before the story started, Shinsou needed to join another, strong Cabal because Himiko was killing off the members of his current one due to them provoking her. Intelli's Cabal was willing to accept him, but took advantage of his desperation to make the terms rather unfavourable for him.
  • Light Is Not Good: Archon magic may be more beneficial than the other branches, but it has the same Power at a Price problem as all other magic.
  • Likes Older Women: Katsuki. It's one of the reasons why Todoroki sets him up with his elder sister Fuyumi and cousin Moe Kamiji.
  • Logical Weakness: A mirrorgeist can craft highly realistic illusions, but it can be defeated if someone keeps track of their actions, and introducing a completely random element can cause said illusions to fail since the mirrorgeist cannot react instantaneously to it.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Shoto has actually finished the Black Course in two years, but he remains a student because technically he can remain a student for five full years.
    • Defied. After Ibara announces her long-term goal of being impregnated by him, Izuku makes sure to tell his Cabal to not kill Ibara in any way, directly or indirectly, or he will be mad, and makes it apply as broadly as possibly to cover potential loopholes. When Himiko remains silent, he realizes his oversight and also adds injuring Ibara in a way that prevents her from either having sex or getting pregnant to the list. When Himiko expresses frustration, he knows his order is ironclad.
    • How Shoto gets away with his plan to ensure Izuku stays a Warlord by tricking Izuku into using his Charm on Soma Michiko, as the bylaws indicate that mind control only counts if it is either done through magic or by demi-humans, and Izuku is human and has no magic that can be used for mind control.
    • When Overhaul fights Aiko, he manages to take advantage of the fact that she's the Outsider of Human Existence to overwhelm her by using magic that causes her to be unable to read him as well as she should.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The world of When Reason Fails is very terrifying and Lovecraftian, but the story itself tends towards the humorous.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: In spite of explicit unknowable things, actually using magic is straightforward, if risky. Magic spells fall into several categories under a Power's domain, and the spells themselves are consistent in their effects. Ignition for example is a fire-based combat spell that has the drawback of burning the user, and these traits are consistent with each usage.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Warlords and their subordinates are shocked when Izuku charms Hypothermia and realise he instantly gained a powerful ally then and there.
  • The Men in Black: The Supernatural Public Safety Commission, SPSC for short, is the Japanese government body in charge of overseeing supernatural issues. They aren't perfect, if Aizawa's comments on them having never heard the term "due process" is anything to go by, but given the potential damage criminal Initiates can do against non-Initiates, the SPSC are a net benefit to society.
  • Mercy Kill: There is many a Fate Worse than Death, and in the event that someone is or will suffer such a thing, Initiates will kill the victim since there's nothing else they can do. When they fall into the Bone Dust Desert Elsewhere, Shoto tells Izuku (who has shown to be able to No-Sell the fake memories effect the others undergo) to save enough bullets just in case this is required.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Corporeal damage caused by really powerful beings tends to have this attached, making those afflicted think nothing's wrong with them. For example, Himiko's transformation into a ghoul changed her morals so she would consider eating humans as natural. When Shoto loses his nose because of the Dragon from the Desert of Bones, he spends about an hour thinking that humans don't have noses and that the others are pulling one on him.
    • After the reveal of Izuku's mother being the Incarnation of the Ancient of Desire, Shoto tells Izuku never to suppress his secondary influence, as it could end up causing this on anyone by turning them into people completely addicted to sex.
  • Mirror Monster: One type of Aberrant is called a Mirrorgeist, a monster under the Ancient of Reflections. Its birth requires a premeditated murder in front of a reflective surface, but once born, it lives in the mirror and can cast illusions to trick, or even drive, people to kill each other.
  • Money Sink: It takes a lot of Contribution Points to mold the Special Exclusion Zone to the owner's liking.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe. It takes a special kind of evil person to willingly be a cultist of Malice, and everybody else, even other cultists, hates them.
  • More than Mind Control:
    • Izuku's Charm ability works by amplifying existing desires in a demihuman girl and making him the target of it.
    • Ibara's manipulations of her Cabal involves getting them to do what they want to do anyway, just with slight adjustments to their exact methods so that she gets protected, and that they don't realize she's a Dryad.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Played with. Magic is useful in combat, but because of the risks involved, Initiates are advised to use conventional weapons when dealing with supernatural threats and save magic as a nuclear-option.
  • Mundane Solution: Initiates as a whole are advised to seek non-magical means of solving magical problems since using magic themselves comes with risks involved and should be saved as a last resort.
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: Cabal politics operate by the idea that to attack a member of a Cabal will get the other members to retaliate against the perpetrator, which is why students try to join or form one in the first place. Lone agents are, in theory, free game.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The magic spells available to an individual tend to be based on the Quirks they had in canon. Shoto has Ice and Fire magic, with a preference for Ice, where in canon, he had Half-Hot and Half-Cold. Ochako has gravity magic, and her first spell shares the name of her Quirk in canon. Hagakure has invisibility magic like how in canon, her Quirk makes her invisible.
    • Aizawa refers to Shoto as his "problem child".
    • Izuku's unique Charm powers is called his "quirk".
    • Katsuki's proposed name for the Cabal's fortress in the Special Exclusion Zone is "Fortress of Explosive Murder".
  • Naïve Newcomer: Both Izuku and Katsuki join the world of Initiates with little idea of how it works, allowing both of them to act as Audience Surrogates and learn about the world they have suddenly discovered.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Overhaul almost succeeds in killing Aiko the Outsider of Existence. He was literally seconds away from achieving the feat before Decay's forced retreat thwarts him.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds!: Shoto estimates the odds of Izuku's Cabal and Shoto winning against a powerful aberrant to be negative ten percent. Izuku proceeds to scare it off anyway.
  • New Transfer Student: During the Time Skip, UA receives hundreds of transfer students. Most are due to the destruction of other Magic schools. Others are due to the establishment of the Green Course allowing demihumans to attend. Inasa transferred from Shiketsu right after its announcement for which All Might suspects is him scoping things out for a young demihuman relative of his.
  • The Nicknamer: Katsuki calls everyone by the nicknames he comes up with.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Izuku can't help but be aroused by Himiko's ghoulish antics.
  • No Kill like Overkill: Shoto sends Katsuki to get an all-terrain vehicle for the Cabal. Shoto expects a jeep. Katsuki brings a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle.
  • No-Sell:
    • Mind-controllers tend to be resistant to mind-control due to evolutionary pressures. Yagi is, thus, surprised when Izuku mentions that his Charm affected Ibara, who, as a Dryad, can control minds through spores and should have been resistant.
    • Izuku resists the brainwashing when something (later revealed to be Aiko) in the Bone Dust Desert Ruins puts a false memory in the Cabal's minds.
    • Downplayed. When Izuku accidentally hits peak Attention from Desire, he somehow manages to resist Desire's attempts to turn him into a demi-human. It's heavily implied his father's influence is somehow at play.
  • No Social Skills: Himiko's ability to interact with other people in a normal social setting is severely lacking due to her being friendless before being Initiated and becoming a ghoul that people stay away from afterwards. Izuku thinks her behaviour around him is due to reading a lot of internet hentai and thinking that's how real people act around loved ones.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever happened that caused Shoto to nickname Shiozaki "the Nightmare of Leaves". It is eventually explained that she killed the Warlord of the Black Forest (Monoma's predecessor) and his entire Cabal when they attempted to kill her to use her body for alchemical components.
  • Not So Above It All: Katsuki is considered by everyone in Izuku's Cabal as its Only Sane Man. Then, when tasked to get a vehicle for the team to move around on, he goes and buys an armored military vehicle.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Due to how many Contribution Points Izuku's Cabal earns in the aftermath of the Abandoned Hospital expedition, the teachers lock most of it for Special Exclusion Zone development to keep them from crashing U.A.'s internal economy.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Izuku's reaction as he realizes that Soma Michiko has a mothering fetish - and he's now getting the reciprocal fetish after Charming the woman.
    • Decay when Toshinori completes the ritual transforming him into a Magister.
    • Izuku when he meets Decay in the Labyrinth and when he realizes that the Ancient of Desire has noticed him.
  • Only Sane Man: Katsuki, by virtue of being the only one out of Izuku's Cabal with some sort of common sense. Katsuki lampshades the fact several times.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Shoto being emotional in spite of his ice magic-induced Emotion Suppression is enough to show how bad a situation is.
  • Outside-Context Problem: For all his relative experience in the world behind the Masquerade, Shoto finds himself completely out of his depth after the Outsider of Existence takes the form of a 10-year-old girl and declares she wants to join them when they return home.
  • Parental Abandonment: Izuku's father, for unexplained reasons, leaves him alone while he goes to another dimension to do who knows what. He's left behind enough cash to support Izuku financially, but Izuku is still understandably upset.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Todoroki is prone to bringing out popcorn and cola when he turns to his favorite pastime - watching Izuku and his friends.
  • The Permanent Record: Aizawa warns Izuku that every bad thing a student Initiate of UA does that's not an expulsion-worthy offense goes on their file.
  • Persona Non Grata: Downplayed. Himiko is not outright banned from the Artificer workshops, but most of them refuse to deal with her and the people she associates with after she murdered one of them in their workshop.
  • Personality Powers: Justified. Overusing a type of magic causes the spellcaster's personality to change to something stereotypical of that magic. Shoto for example has a cold and aloof personality due to his ice magic influencing him to be so.
  • Physical God: Demi-Powers are powerful supernatural entities that are the theoretical limit of what humanity can slay, as long as they are willing to spend a lot of resources to achieve such a feat. Aiko, the Outsider of Existence is one such being.
  • Playing with Fire: Izuku's first spell is a Fire-Based one called Ignition.
  • Polyamory: Himiko decides to solve the love triangle of her, Ochako and Izuku by suggesting to Ochako that they share Izuku.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Had Shoto shared his suspicions of Hatsume with a teacher, he could have prevented part of the chaos caused by Decay's attack.
  • Post-Modern Magik:
    • Mundane technology is heavily used by Initiates, including phones with apps where you can buy magical things, and there's a whole section of the Internet accessible only by Initiates, with Wikipedia entries on the supernatural and heavy usage of social media by Initiates. Izuku is constantly surprised by this.
    Izuku's Thoughts: Fucking realism. Couldn't Powers make some arbitrary, Harry Potter worldbuilding-level consistent rule that initiates couldn’t use advanced technology? His sense of magical decorum keeps flying out of the window.
    • In modern times, the Primordial of Metal's domain has expanded to include plastics.
  • Power at a Price: There is always a cost, usually risk, to using Magic, and this principle is the very foundation of the story's entire magic system. Initiates can trade one set of costs for another set of costs they find easier to pay, but there's no getting rid of it entirely:
    • Baseline humans using magic is never without risk. Just learning spells carries the risk of suffering mental or physical alterations, becoming a demi-human, or even being noticed by the Powers (which is a very bad thing). Actually using spells has a greater chance of something going wrong.
    • Demi-humans can more freely use the magic of their patron Power's domain, but this comes at the cost of being able to use only the spells of their patron's domain, and the fact that they develop specific biological needs that are not easily met by normal human society, usually causing them to become detached from humanity.
    • Magisters bypass most of the risks in using magic, but actually figuring out how to become one is difficult, and actually succeeding requires a lot of resources and giving up their old name. Plus, when you become one, you lose mental flexibility and gain extra-strength stubbornness, which can easily be detrimental. According to Aiko, not just anyone can be a Magister either, so those that have no way of checking if they'll succeed are taking a huge risk to begin with.
    • Izuku's Charm ability is highly useful and is a key factor in his successes, but he eventually realises that each successful usage changes him to be compatible with an individual target's desires, so he needs to be careful that the changes to him are not too detrimental.
    • Aiko has the ability to invert the trope. If a human has suffered from the mental changes price of paying for magic, then through her domain, Aiko can help such humans get a refund. The catch though is that they have to give up the spell or spells that contributed to the problem.
    • Absolute Magic Negation is the ultimate spell of the Archon of Transfiguration. With proper timing, it could one-shot Demi-Powers. The catch is that using it has severe backlash to the user and actually learning it is almost impossible due to the rarity of Transfiguration spellbooks and the fact that by the time a user of Transfiguration is powerful enough to learn it, they are no longer interested since by that point, they were usually not human themselves.
  • The Power of Love: Ochako's ability to come back from the dead is due to her love for Izuku turning her into a Stalker. As long as Izuku reciprocates on some level, she will never permanently die.
  • Powers That Be: The Powers of the setting are the most powerful supernatural entities and all non-glyph magic and most supernatural entities come from them.
  • Property of Love: Ochako is perfectly happy being Izuku's love-slave, down to wearing a collar declaring her his property. By her own words, this is better than the alternatives, as no one outside the cabal who knows she is an undead Stalker will treat her as a human being, and Izuku promises to treat her well to the best of his abilities.
  • Reality Warper: The Warlord who controls the Special Exclusion Zone gets to warp it however they like in exchange for Contribution Points.
  • Red Baron: Decay's Sensei calls Izuku the "Blasphemy-That-Walks".
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Himiko killing Bibimi Kenranzaki involves the former walking right into the latter's workshop, mauling her with her own wrench, and dragging her body in front of Bibimi's fellow students who were so shocked by the brazen murder they were too afraid of stopping her.
    • Izuku boasts of being so good in bed that he could make that his specialty as a Warlord - to the other Warlords. Then Shoto trumps it by taking Izuku's glasses off to make him Charm Soma Michiko.
    • After destroying U.A's communications, stealing the school's private data and shooting Mr. Maijima, Mei has the guts of claiming she has earned Contribution Points for following the school's teachings about "looking out for number one" by making a deal with the MLF.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Moe Kamiji is distantly related to the Todorokis in this story instead of being just a sidekick in canon.
  • Ret-Gone: People learning from the Ancient of Denial will eventually do this to themselves.
  • The Reveal:
    • Chapter 19: Ochako was the one who tried to break into Izuku's house soon after his Initiation.
    • Chapter 25: Ochako is a specific type of Revenant Zombie called a Stalker that was birthed due to her love for Izuku before she died.
    • Chapter 38: Izuku and Aiko are actual siblings, and their mother is Desire. Not a Demi-Power, the actual Ancient of Desire.
    • Chapter 43: Under Shouto's and Izuku's questioning, Aiko clarifies her domain is Human existence, and it includes demihumans, undead born from humans, and even potential AIs created by humans, for as long as those that are not outright humans can think like humans. Demihumans that have fully devolved to animal mindsets are not included in her domain.
    • Chapter 49: Hatsume turns out to be a spy for Decay's organisation, the MLF, and was the one who made the hacking device Izuku's Cabal found after their orientation assignments.
  • Running Gag:
    • Katsuki doing or saying something nice, the others reacting in shock and Katsuki screaming at them for being shocked.
    • Todoroki bringing out the popcorn and/or cola when Izuku and the others become entertaining. After the Time Skip, Aiko does it in his stead.
    • Todoroki suddenly showing up while stating he's been there the whole time.
    • "She/He is ignored".
    • Katsuki complaining about Izuku being too horny.
    • Katsuki dope slapping someone.
    • People telling Izuku not to do something stupid.
  • Safety in Muggles: A standard way for UA's Initiates student to protect themselves from other students is to hide themselves among the non-Initiate students, even though using the non-Initiate uniforms could lead to their expulsion. UA's rules specifically forbid using magic against the non-Initiate students, and using non-magical means will be noticed by the non-Initiates and reported to mundane authorities. Doing either anyway will result in expulsion.
  • Sanity Meter:
    • Izuku takes a nasty hit after looking at the Ziggurat abomination for three seconds as he tries to implement his plan. Complete with Heroic BSoD. Toga begins to stutter from her own hit over the same thing.
    • Shoto jokingly thinks that being unable to accept and roll with whatever BS Katsuki and Izuku pull off is actively detrimental to sanity.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Lampshaded. When they have free time, Izuku asks Ochako and Himiko about their hobbies. They struggle to find an answer after Izuku excludes doing his chores, doing sexual activities with him, and meeting basic biological and survival needs. Izuku decides to do his best to change this.
    Izuku: Are you trying to tell me that I'm your only hobby whatsoever?
  • School Is Murder: UA's education strategy for their student Initiates is to simulate the world of Initiates in miniature on campus. This involves not simulating danger, but having real danger. A very significant portion of students die as a result. Part of the reason for this is due to the Principal liking watching people struggle. During the Time Skip, All Might implements reforms designed to reduce student casualties while maintaining the quality of UA's graduates.
    Himiko: Normal courses have graduation rates, Black Course has survival rates. I think it's close to 50% on average. But sometimes entire classes don’t make it.
  • The Scottish Trope: Speaking any Magister's name causes a feeling in the air and other effects related to their magic specialisation. Speaking Decay's name causes a smell of rot, food to spoil, and maggots to appear. Speaking Overhaul's name causes a feeling of change in the air and a nearby butterfly to revert to the caterpillar stage of a different species of butterfly.
  • Sensor Character: Ochako's powerset includes instinctively knowing where Izuku is no matter the distance.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Ibara goes around naked completely uncaring of this fact. Komori joins her after becoming a dryad. Dryads in general shun clothes because their bodies can photosynthesis and they want to maximise the sustenance they can get from it.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Shouto manages to wrangle Izuku into a suit. Ochako and Himiko are not shy about Eating the Eye Candy.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Side Bet: UA's Black Course faculty have a betting pool on how long Izuku will survive. Most of their bets are on the shorter end, like a week. Yagi is the only one confident enough to bet he'll live until at least graduation.
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: Two of UA's exclusion zones for their student Initiates are Ghost Town and Labyrinth. The former is designed to be a literal ghost town, and the latter has large parts of it designed to be what can be found below a city.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: As part of UA's educational policy for their student Initiates, specifically during the Candidacy phase, Candidates are left to fend for themselves after receiving their orientation so that the faculty can observe how well they can handle themselves in an environment that the faculty has set up to simulate the adult Initiates world without the worst of the dangers. After the Time Skip, All Might's reforms ditched the candidacy phase to be more hands-on.
  • Single-Target Sexuality:
    • Ochako loves Izuku, and will only ever love Izuku. Her coming back from the dead as a Stalker hard-wired her to be obsessed with only Izuku.
    • Tsukiko Okuda is stated to be a simp for Sora Michiko.
  • The Sleepless: Uraraka Ochako does not need sleep, nor could she sleep at all.
  • Smarter Than They Look: People are surprised to learn that Tsuyu - in this story a frog demi-human who lives in a lake in U.A. - can speak just fine.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Tsuyu giving Izuku a device that is quickly identified as a spying device allows U.A.'s teachers to realize something fishy is going on.
    • Aiko providing Toshinori the knowledge he needs to finish the process allows him to become a Magister when the MLF attacks.
    • When the MLF attacks U.A., Overhaul's pincer attack becomes stalled by Aiko, who is strong enough to halt his advance.
    • Izuku turning his mother's influence off and on would have normally been ignored - but Toshinori becoming a Magister causes the Powers to pay more attention to U.A.... among them Desire, who turns its eyes to Izuku and causes him to hit peak Attention at the worst possible moment.
  • Stalker Shrine: Ochako's hideout is full of Izuku's pictures.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Ochako loves Izuku, and this drives her to steal his things before returning them, keep old things of his that he's forgotten about, and having a lot of pictures of him. By the standards of her kind, Ochako is actually higher-functioning and incredibly restrained: Stalkers are usually far, far worse than that.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Shouto is so silent that usually people don't know he's there until he starts eating popcorn.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: One of the reasons why Shoto stays around Izuku's Cabal is that they are all a lot smarter than the average Initiate in spite of not coming from established Initiate families.
  • Take Our Word for It: Izuku's first attempt to create a base in the Special Exclusion Zone is not described, but Izuku calls it an "abomination in the eyes of gods and humans" and everyone else considers it incredibly lewd.
  • Tempting Fate: Sekigai tells Izuku when they first meet before the Summit that she is glad she is no longer the weakest Warlord. Then during the Summit, Izuku gains the Nightmare of Frost as an ally, instantly leapfrogging all the other Warlords in strength and putting Sekigai back in last place among the Warlords.
  • Terrible Artist: Katsuki is terrible at drawing, which prevents him from making useful glyphs.
  • Time Skip: Chapter 53 is five months ahead of Chapter 52.
  • Three-Way Sex: Izuku has threesomes with Himiko and Ochako.
  • Tsundere: Katsuki is prone to react this way whenever someone (mostly Izuku) asks him to do something. Ibara decides to call him "Tsundere" in retaliation for him nicknaming her "Pregnancy Fetishist".
  • To Win Without Fighting: Izuku's position as an independent Warlord is secured when Shoto makes him charm Soma the Nightmare of Frost, a Cold-One so powerful she is rumoured to be able to fight weaker Magisters. The deterrence factor of an ally as powerful as her makes the other Warlords back off on trying to force Izuku to just give the wealth of his Exclusion Zone to them.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • UA's Black Course Curriculum, for both full students and candidates, are designed so that dangers are survivable as long as people are smart about how they do things. In theory, if a student initiate does die, it's because they did something stupid. However, the system doesn't always work as intended.
    • Himiko's modus operandi is to lure unsuspecting Student Initiates to her lair where she kills them. Anyone who actually lets her do that in spite of the obvious red flags is deemed idiotic and deserving of their deaths by everybody else. When Izuku subverts expectations by not getting killed when he got lured, it draws attention to him, as sparing any prey she catches is highly unusual on Himiko's part.
  • Total Party Kill: Months before the story started, a Cabal tried to take out Himiko. They failed and she single-handedly destroyed the Cabal in retaliation. Only one of the five members of the Cabal survived, and Hitoshi only managed that by joining Intelli's Cabal under unfavourable terms.
  • Trade Snark: Yagi vocalizes the TM when he mentions Aizawa has a traumatic backstory to his personality and overall performance as a teacher. Izuku mentally lampshades it.
  • Uncertain Doom: Mashirao Ojiro simply vanished. Nothing was found, but people are reasonably certain Himiko killed him. They just can't find any proof of it.
  • The Undead:
    • Undeads are a thing, both naturally occurring like ghosts and unnaturally occurring like the worm-thralls created by Decay.
    • Uraraka is a type of undead called a Stalker, created due to her love for Izuku before she died.
  • Unique Protagonist Asset:
    • As a result of Izuku's supernatural parentage, he has the ability to Charm female demihumans. No other human Initiate has demonstrated this ability.
    • Another result of Izuku's supernatural parentage is that it is easy for him to learn spells, and due to years of exposure from proximity to him, so does Katsuki and Ochako. Normally, it takes an Initiate several spell books to learn a single spell. The boys each can learn magic from a single spell book.
  • Unluckily Lucky: Izuku's luck is high, and this results in a string of good and bad things happening. To begin with, the Censor simply stops working for him, thrusting him into the deep end of the magic world, which is bad. He then encounters Himiko Toga who could help him, which is good. She takes him to her lair with the intention of killing and eating him, which is bad. Along the way, she decides she's thirstier instead of hungrier and decides to actually help the boy she finds cute with the absolute basics, which is... better. And all of that is just the first chapter.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Shoto deliberately doesn't tell Izuku about his plan for the Warlords' Summit because of this trope. Given that his plan consisted on taking Izuku's sunglasses off so he would Charm Soma Michiko, there was a clear reason why.
  • Victory by Endurance: Himiko can kill Ochako, but it just won't stick. In spite of Himiko's own strength and skill, Ochako can and will outlast her eventually, so to solve their love triangle with Izuku, Himiko is forced to resort to something other than murder.
  • Villain Has a Point: Toshinori agrees that the MLF could have the right of it in their aims, and acknowledges that, if they had presented their findings in a peaceful meeting, he might have even joined them. But since (a) they shot their way into U.A., killing several Black Course students and candidates, and (b) they won't take "no" for an answer, he becomes their enemy.
  • Villain Respect: Decay could have easily wiped the floor with Todoroki and Izuku's Cabal, even with his self-imposed handicaps, so the fact that not only did they manage to survive a fight for two minutes, but also caused damage to him, was enough for Decay to let them go, as promised.
  • Visual Pun: When Shoto examines the stuff Tsu gives Izuku, he examines a screw and thinks it once belonged to Katsuki and the Censor made him forget he lost it. Katsuki is baffled until he realizes Shoto is saying he has a screw loose.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Izuku and Katsuki's relationship is 50% based on insulting each other.
  • Weird Currency: The Contribution Points a Black Course student earns can be redeemed for yen or used to buy things on the official school online shop, which gives them real value among the students and is the basis of the internal economy of UA's Black Course.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Things just keep happening around Izuku, which is repeatedly lampshaded by everyone near him. By Chapter 40, Katsuki and Shoto have acknowledged that anything they might do will almost immediately be topped by whatever bullshit the Midoriya Experience brings in.
    Shoto: Midoriya, riddle me this. How the hell did hanging out with you for less than three weeks made me see and hear more unbelievable things than three years of being an ace student in Japan’s best magic school?
    • To start, the Censor inexplicably stops reading him as a non-Initiate. This quickly gains him the attention of Himiko, a ghoul known to kill any Initiate dumb enough to follow her - only for her to not kill him.
    • He is attacked on his first night as an Initiate by something that is specifically after him.
    • He discovers that his father is a very powerful Initiate and that his mother was possibly a being of Desire later indicated to be the Ancient of Desire.
    • Tsuyu, the Frog of the Lake, approaches him, allowing him to discover she's smart enough to talk, and a trade with her leads to the discovery of an espionage attempt on U.A.
    • An attempt to obtain alchemical drugs has them encounter Geten, a Cold-One, that they succeed in driving off with one of Izuku's plans.
    • The capstone is the Gunga Mountain Hospital expedition. Everything is going on normally, but then the mutated orderlies begin to attack the group. When they try to escape, they accidentally fall into an Elsewhere. The group heads into a ruined city with a Ziggurat, where they encounter and defeat a Greater Aberrant. Then they free and befriend a young Demi-Power who takes the form of a pre-teen girl (and later reveals she's Izuku's full sister). Said Demi-Power takes them to U.A. in exchange of going with them and sharing the secret of how to become a Magister, only to take them to U.A.'s mythical Special Exclusion Zone, which leads to Izuku becoming U.A.'s Fifth Warlord.
    • It doesn't let up during the Warlords Summit, as he manages to prove himself to the other Warlords - and then Shoto tricks him into using his Charm on Soma Michiko, gaining her as an ally and pretty much pushing Izuku to the top place among the Warlords.
    • And it continues during the Mankind Liberation Front attack. When Izuku and his friends take refuge in the Labyrinth, Decay revives just in front of them after being killed by All Might, forcing Izuku to once more block his Desire influence to defeat him - only, this time doing so causes him to catch the attention of the Ancient of Desire. And then he avoids being turned into a demi-human due to his primary influence, which stops the transformation - and then disappears in exchange of Desire only turning Izuku into what the Principal coins a "Godling", the first of his kind.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 27: Izuku's Cabal ending up in an Elsewhere and they can't go back the way they came.
    • Chapter 30: Izuku befriends a Demi-Power called the Outsider of Existence whom he names Aiko.
    • Chapter 31: Aiko takes Izuku's Cabal home, but due to a miscommunication, she takes them to UA's mythical Special Exclusion Zone.
    • Chapter 38: Aiko reveals that she and Izuku are actual siblings, and that their mother is the Ancient of Desire.
    • Chapter 49: Decay and Overhaul (who work for an organization known as MLF) attack U.A. to capture Toshinori for an unknown purpose, several Candidates are killed, and Hatsume turns out to be The Mole.
    • Chapter 50: Decay reveals that the Mankind Liberation Front seeks to find how to empower all of humanity to fight and defeat the Powers, and Toshinori (after discovering he can cause sanity and corporeal damage to aberrants) becomes a Magister and kills Decay.
    • Chapter 51: Overhaul nearly kills Aiko. Izuku encounters Decay in the Labyrinth and unleashes his primary aura on him - only to accidentally get Attention from his mother (AKA the Ancient of Desire). He only avoids being turned into a demi-human through another entity's intervention.
    • Chapter 52: Izuku was an awakened human who somehow held influences from the Ancient of Desire and the (long-deceased) Ancient of Malice, but has been transformed into something else entirely. And Hisashi Midoriya is revealed to be Sensei, the leader of the Mankind Liberation Front.
  • Wham Line:
    • The ending of Book One ends with one:
    Decay: If I may ask... why are you so interested in [Midoriya Izuku], Sensei?
    Sensei: What a funny thing to ask about, Decay. What sort of person wouldn’t be interested in the well-being of their son?
  • Wham Shot:
    • Chapter 1 begins when Izuku realizes that Himiko's uniform is black instead of the usual brown.
    • Shouto showing Katsuki a photo of him, Izuku, and Ochako in the latter's birthday party, showing that he actually knew her personally and that there's something really wrong with her now.
    • Chapter 51 hits it big when Izuku hallucinates seeing a huge figure towering over him... one that he knows is the Ancient of Desire.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Demi-humans, unless they are clearly intelligent and capable of defending themselves, are barely considered human - and even then, many demi-humans are treated as little more than pets by the Initiates they joined.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Katsuki has a marked fear of spiders. Izuku doesn't tell him that the creatures they have to kill for their first combat assignment are hand-sized mimic spiders just to see his reaction when he finds out.
  • Willfully Weak: Decay was seriously sandbagging during his fight with Izuku's Cabal, as he was under orders to not kill any of them. He masks this under an offer to seriously restrain what he can do in a fight, and limiting the time to two minutes.
  • Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Ochako is a gentle girl when Izuku is nearby. If he isn't, she turns into a first-degree Stalker with a Crush Yandere.
  • Worf Effect: Overhaul nearly killing Aiko demonstrates that, for all her power, there are still things that can surpass her due to her lack of experience.
  • Wrong Context Magic:
    • Ochako as a Stalker breaks multiple established facts about her kind, which Shoto finds incredibly fascinating. Firstly, she bonded to Izuku while he was a non-Initiate, which should have been impossible - Shoto thinks that it could only have happened due to Izuku's own supernatural nature. Next, because Izuku was a non-initiate, Ochako was reduced to a state of berserk starvation due to being unable to recharge herself properly due to the Censor blocking her from being close and affectionate with Izuku, and it should have been impossible for her to recover from that state. But she did, and Katsuki thinks it's because Izuku is a Nightmare Fetishist: he may have been scared when Ochako tried to break into his home after his Initiation, but he was also curious about seeing her again, and this gave her just enough clarity and power to break into UA and approach Izuku normally, opening the door for normal contact and constant recharges. The biggest impossibility, though, is that Ochako is one of the most higher-functioning Stalkers Shoto has ever seen: normally, Stalkers want their Bonded all to themselves and try to drive off everybody else, but not only is she fine with Izuku having friends (which, while rare, is documented), she is okay with sharing Izuku with Himiko. Normally, someone else getting close to their Bonded in that way should have driven the Stalker to murderous rage out of jealousy, but while Ochako does feel murderous, she does not act on it, a complete abnormality for her kind. It is later revealed that her abnormal restraint is due to the guilt and shame of almost murdering Izuku due to a misunderstanding caused by them being non-Initiates, and these feelings led to her prioritizing Izuku's happiness above all else, even her own wants.
    • Ashido Mina's magic is that of the Primordial of Water, which is why Shouto is confused she throws acid around. He has various theories on how this is possible ranging from her receiving a blessing from a Demi-Power or Gift from the Primordial in question, to suffering from some combination of corporeal and sanity damage that altered her perception of her own magic.
  • Yandere: Himiko and Ochako can both get literally murderous out of jealousy of the other getting close to Izuku. Ochako has at least once tried to kill Himiko over it. Himiko actually succeeded, but Ochako's nature meant the death didn't stick.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!:
    • Shouto's reaction when he asks Izuku how, in the thirty minutes since the group was forced to split up, he has managed to find himself with a god in the guise of a 10-year-old girl sitting on his lap, calling him "oniichan" and eating his bento.
    • Yagi's answer to Izuku's tale about the group's expedition to the Abandoned Hospital.
      Toshinori Yagi: Young Midoriya, you were sent to pick up some plants. How did you end up visiting two different dimensions in the process?!
    • Katsuki's reaction when Shoto unveils his grand plan for the Warlords' Summit: have Izuku Charm Soma Michiko.
  • You Remind Me of X: Aiko initially reminds Izuku of Shoto because of her Literal Mindedness. Shoto makes the same comparison later.

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