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Light Novel / A Brave Heart of Red Rose

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A Brave Heart of Red Rose (Bara no Maria) is a Light Novel series written by Ao Jyumonji and illustrated by BUNBUN. The series follows Mariarose, a red-haired warrior who works as a "Cracker", a mercenary, in the city of Elden where their fellow companions try to earn money while they deal with weird and crazy people. One of the Running Gags of this series is Mariarose's gender. Despite the female name, Mariarose's gender has never been confirmed in the series and it doesn't help Mariarose displays both typical boyish and girlish reactions and attitudes.

Important Note: Unless Word of God confirms it, Mariarose's gender should be left ambiguous so the singular "they" should be used in examples.

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Yurika. She can kick Azian's, Pimpernel's, Jin Wang's, and Fei Yang's asses in less than ten seconds and have them apologizing seiza style.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Mariarose looks female but could be a pretty boy. When a punk harasses Mariarose in the manga by calling them a "little girl", they take offense and tell the punk, "I'm not a little girl". There has been no confirmation either way.
  • Art Evolution: The novel covers for the first three volumes look nothing like how the next volumes look, whilst the illustrations are already showing huge improvements. The cover format then changes after volume fourteen. What's more, characters start to look younger than they seem.
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  • Back from the Dead: Resurrection is possible if the death of the person is within 48 hours with the brain and heart intactnote ; and there are 12 monks around to perform the ritual with an altar. You also need plenty of money to pay for it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The battles against SmC and Moral Keepers+ZOO. It was the third battle against SIX and his dronies that Mariarose and the rest of them won, whilst along the way, many Moral Keepers (especially a couple high-ranking members) died.
  • Bokukko: Mariarose's way of speaking which confuses fans on whether Mariarose's a guy or a girl.
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: Despite being madly in love himself, Azian doesn't realize his Lunch Time companions' feelings for him, especially the women.
  • Color Character: The idiot that he is, Azian dresses up and becomes "the Mysterious Mask Man, Blue Rose" in volume thirteen. He then changes to "Gold Mari", "Green Eyes", and "Red Roze". He even dons different coloured masks for every alter ego.
  • Cool Sword:
    • Mariarose's reason for joining ZOO was to find the Gouka. Its kanji is a Buddhist term that reads 'the fire that destroys the world'. Translated as 'Consuming Inferno'.
    • Tomatokun has a huge one, and it is AWESOME. He gets another one much later on.
    • Screaming Dagger, Azian's weapon of choice. By saying 'Scream, baby', it lets out a supersonic scream on its enemies. When it continuously absorbs blood on its blade, the Dagger transforms into its true form, the Death's Cry Sword. Azian achieves this by stabbing his right hand palm. Manga's adaptation is completely different.
  • Death Faked for You: During the raid for the Four Lizard Siblings, Yurika witnesses Louis Catharsis' death, only to find it strange that rather than red, his blood was white. Turns out, he faked his death and is still alive behind the scenes secretly planning who knows what with Judi and the others.
  • Emergency Transformation:
    • Happens first in volume four when The Chopper was about to kill Mariarose. Azian then shouts "Don't look!" and uses Arcadeia.
    • In volume ten during the 7G arc, Azian has no choice but to publicly use his 'inner Freaks' to defend Mariarose and nearly gets eaten by them.
  • Facial Markings: Moral Keepers has a guy named Rasa who has battle scars all over his face.
  • Fiery Redhead: Mariarose's red hair colour is a distinguishing trait of theirs, and they have a nasty mouth, so it's best not to get on their bad side.
  • Flash Step: Azian. At one point, he sexually harassed Mariarose full-on by abusing this skill. He also kills three Moral Keepers in the blink of an eye.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Azian and Q'u make the best rivals when fighting with one another. They even do combination attacks during real battles.
  • Gender-Blender Name:
    • Mariarose's a girl's name but...
    • Lucy. Turns out this person's a boy.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • From time to time, Azian calls Mariarose "my sweetest" and other endearing words.
    • LOVE MAX!
    • Tomatokun needs to take English class. Is it Hystery Man Blue Blues-kun? Mysterian Masked Melon? What about Bunnyberry?
  • Healing Hands:
    • Medical magic is available. Not only can this type of magic heal your scars and broken bones, but it can also fix that arm of yours that got lopped off minutes ago, and mend that hole in your stomach. Skill differs for every user. Clans tend to have at least one member who have such abilities. It kind of falls under Over List.
    • Yurika and Twaning of ZOO, and Natsuko and Victoria of Lunch Time are capable of using this magic.
    • Molly Lips is known for running an Asylum for injured people at affordable costs. With years of experience, Molly can even use this magic as a weapon. Beatrice becomes her apprentice, in which the training could take fifteen years to complete.
  • Honorary True Companion: Mariarose was like this prior to the beginning of the series, but then joins ZOO.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Azian calls out on a magi who's obsessed with Mariarose despite he himself is also obsessed with Mariarose as well.
    • Katari gives a speech on Mariarose over getting lost in another dimension despite the fact he was responsible for sending them into said dimension in the first place.
  • I Am What I Am: Just when Azian was about to be eaten by his inner Freaks, Mariarose snaps Azian out of it by telling him that no matter what he is - whether he is a cat or a dog, a Freak or even a Roach, Maria would never hate him.
  • I Am Who?: There is something more about Mariarose than anyone thinks, though even they are oblivious as to exactly what. Lilly, Tomatokun, Louis Catharsis+Judi, and SIX (during their second encounter) know what Mariarose really is.
  • Improbable Age:
    • Fei Yang is a young boy yet is one of the leaders of the Serial*Killers Clan.
    • Yurika. Looks like a ten-year old, but is in fact 23.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Katari doesn't like being called "Fish Face".
    • Azian: Ano yasai otoko!
    • Twaning's nickname is Beard within ZOO.
    • Idiot #1, Idiot #2, and Idiot #3: Azian, Jin Wang, and Fei Yang, respectively.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: King Gooder has a dreadnaught in a shape of a multi-headed dragon.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Alpha is fiercely loyal to Rom Four to the point of hating Tomatokun.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Viscount Gordon. Killed every child who got close to Mariarose. Good thing Azian killed him.
  • Necromancy: SIX had a creepy-looking guy who was able to use such abilities. Stated to be a new type of magic. Luckily, Mariarose killed the guy because fighting zombies is really troublesome.
  • News Travels Fast:
    • After Moral Keepers was defeated by SIX's trap, the guardian clan became a laughing stock to the public. It was later after the third battle when Sm C was finally beaten that Moral Keepers regained their fame, and ZOO's Tomatokun became a celebrity for defeating SIX.
    • SIX's return spread like wildfire amongst his worshippers.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Not only can Azian drink gallons of whiskey and still end up sober, but lopping his arm off or firing magic at him won't even kill him. Turns out, Azian's not entirely human.
  • Professional Killer: Pimpernel was an assassin before joining ZOO. Came from a country known for training assassins.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • King Gooder. He's been ruling Sunland Unreign Kingdom for how many years now?
    • Tomatokun's age is unknown to the ZOO members. Not only was he present when the clan Moral Keepers was established (twenty years prior to the series), but he also has knowledgeable information on the world. He is revealed to be centuries years old.
  • Red Baron:
    • Azian is infamously known as "Carnage Doll". Hates the sobriquet, though.
    • Rasa from Moral Keepers, nicknamed Shinigami-kun.
    • Betty the Drooping Eyes, from Lunch Time.
    • Safinia's, Betty's, and Tomoyo's teacher, Sparkle Witch Matilda.
    • A kid who does magic named "Dancing Sheep".
  • Secret-Keeper: Twaning might actually know Mariarose's actual gender/secret. After waking up from being fatally injured by SIX in volume three, Mariarose asks Twaning who changed their clothes, in which Twaning answers he did.
  • Sleep Cute: Happens all the time whenever Mariarose uses Q'u as a pillow; in volume 11, Lucy finds Mariarose sleeping on Q'u's fluffy fur, only to quickly wake up and straightening his/her (adorable) bed hair.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Azian, who is madly in love with Mariarose, not only knows where they live, but he also knows all the places they would usually go and visit too.
  • Summon Magic: Safinia and Betty are known to use this magic. Only very few people are capable of using magic, and, of those people, even fewer are able to use summoning magic.
  • Survivor Guilt:
    • During the Jaderi arc (not Jadori), Katari takes the blow that was meant for Mariarose.
    • This happens again when Lucy covers for Mariarose during the Calamitage.
  • There Is Only One Bed: When Azian guards Mariarose outside his/her apartment in the ninth volume, Mariarose forcefully pulls him in from the cold and has him sleep on the couch.
  • The Smart Guy:
    • If you need to get out of a sticky situation, get Mariarose. If you need to make quick judgement, get Mariarose. If you need a temporary leader, get Mariarose. If you need to get rid of Azian, get Mariarose.
    • Johann Sunrise. The new glasses aren't just for show.
  • The Stoic: It is revealed in volume nine and in a prequel novel that Azian is actually deadpan. He only becomes an energetic idiot because of Love. Once Mariarose leaves, Azian reverts to his emotionless self. His change in Mariarose's presence shocks those who know him otherwise. When Mariarose eventually sees this side of him, they are shocked to the point of feeling ignored.
  • Tournament Arc: The entire gist of the 7S Game arc.
  • Training from Hell: After the 7S Game arc, Mariarose decides to become stronger by training with Tomatokun and Pimpernel. A year and a half later, Mariarose is able to wield double swords.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
  • Yandere: Okay, so Azian does have tendencies of a yandere. Idiot #1 had erroneously believed that Lucy was a girl, thus allowing him to sleep under the same roof as Mariarose. When he revealed that he was actually a boy, Azian nearly attacked him, if it wasn't for Q'u's interference.

Alternative Title(s): Bara No Maria