The sun, moon and stars have long disappeared from the sky, leaving the world in eternal darkness. The remains of humanity live inside Flandore, the last city-state, while monstrous beings roam free in the endless night outside. However, humanity has gained a power called Mana that allows them to fight those monsters, and those who hold that power form the aristocracy that rules over the common people in Flandore.
Among those aristocrats, a girl is born without any talent to use Mana. A youth named Kufa is dispatched as a tutor to find if Melida Angel has any Mana inside her. If she is not talented, he must assassinate her. However, Kufa is inspired by Melida's determination and decides to do everything in his power to ensure that the day where he kills her never arrives.
Assassin's Pride (アサシンズプライド) is a fantasy light novel series written by Kei Amagi and illustrated by Nino Ninomoto, published since January 2016. A manga adaptation illustrated by Yoshie Katō started serialization in Shueisha's seinen manga magazine Ultra Jump in May 2017. An anime adaptation by EMT Squared will premiere on October 10, 2019.
Assassin's Pride contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Three fourths of the main cast. Rosetti Pricket is a prodigy and a big celebrity among Mana users, while Melida and Elise are both studying to become an Action Girl worthy of the surname Angel.
- Aerith and Bob: The maids working at Melida's mansion: Amy, Myra, Grace and Nietzsche.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Felgus Angel is a terribly neglectful parent to his daughter because she might be the result of an affair his late wife had. And Sir Mordreuw would rather see his own granddaughter dead than letting her existence stain the reputation of the family and, by extension, ruin his current position.
- Calling Your Attacks: It's actually part of the process of delivering a strong attack. Normally accumulating Mana for an attack takes time and concentration, but by associating the technique with a name, it's possible to go through the process in an instant by shouting the name.
- Combat Pragmatist: Kufa is an assassin, so he isn't concerned about playing fair, and he teaches Melida to forget about it too. The basic philosophy behind his lessons is: "Use every opening your opponent gives you. If he doesn't give you any, make one through all means available".
- Compressed Adaptation: The anime skips the training segments between Kufa and Melida, despite those scenes being a great source of comedy.
- Crapsack World: The world is covered in darkness and nigh-unbeatable monsters roam freely through the land. There is only one city-state left where humans can live safely. However, said state is ruled by an aristocracy willing to do anything to keep their position, including murdering a child. There are also guilds made of criminals and former nobles who will do whatever it takes to go back to power, including using the monsters from the outside. Overall, even the last bastion of mankind isn't without its fair share of dangers for its inhabitants.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Kufa disobeys orders and throws himself head first into a dangerous self-imposed mission that could get him killed, all for a girl he had just met. He even recognizes that he is letting his emotions guide him, but doesn't back down.
- Fantastic Racism: Kufa reveals to Melida how he and his mother suffered from discrimination in Flandore due to their origin as Night citizens. They were treated as monsters and were rejected from society. She passed away when he was young from stress before he joined guild Jack Raven.
- First-Episode Spoiler: At the very start of the series (within the first chapter of the first light novel volume/first episode of the anime adaptation in fact), Kufa becomes attached to Melida and decides to help her grow into a strong warrior even though she was born without Mana, ignoring his orders. This permanently changes the premise and main source of tension from the series, from "Melida may get killed by Kufa if she doesn't demonstrate real potential" to "both Melida and Kufa will be killed if someone discovers the true reason behind Melida's sudden growth".
- First Kiss: The process of implanting Mana inside Melida's body requires Kufa to give her the medicine mouth-to-mouth. Melida thinks it's romantic and fairytale-like until the effects of the medicine kicks in.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Three of the four main characters use swords: Kufa and Melida are part of the Samurai class, while Elise is a member of the Paladin class.
- Lineage Comes from the Father: A plot point is that Melida's lineage should have come from her father, as the blood of a noble never fails to pass down Mana to their children no matter with whose blood it's mixed. That it didn't is seen as an indicator that she is not the true daughter of Felgus Angel.
- Mercy Kill: Kufa initially saw Melida's assassination as this. Because she had no talent to use Mana, all her hard work would never be rewarded and she would be the humiliated "Talentless Girl" for the rest of her life. So he decided to cut her suffering right there. When he realized how strong her determination was, however, he decided to place his bets on her and transferred a portion of his Mana to her, giving her a chance to fight back. And if the transfer went wrong and her body mutated because of it, he was again ready to Mercy Kill her right there.
- One-Gender School: St. Frideswide Girls' Academy, where Melida and Elise study. Volume 2 introduces their "sister school", Saint D'autriche Girls' school.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: This series uses the term Lycanthrope (wolf man) to refer to all kinds of mutant and monsters who live in the night world, rather than just werewolves.
- Pragmatic Villainy: While Kufa isn't a villain, he is a ruthless assassin. The only reason why he isn't piling up corpses anymore is because protecting Melida is a mission that won't be easily achieved just by killing people. Case in point, he refuses to kill Gin and instead tells him to go back to his client and report that he found traces of Paladin Mana within Melida. If he killed an assassin sent after Melida another would come later, while having Gin deliver a fake report lessens the chances of it happening again.
- Revealing Cover Up: After the events of Volume 1, Kufa sends a fake report to his guild filled with lies about the reason why the Angels were attacked, so they won't realize Melida isn't a Paladin. Unfortunately, the report only makes them suspect he is hiding something. As Black Madea points out, while the report has internal logic, the motives behind the actions of the people involved are unexplained or forced, as if it was a fictional story somebody wrote about real facts. This leads to the events of volume 2.
- Shout-Out: The three states of Mana are called Law, Neutral and Chaos.
- Stock Light-Novel Hero: Zigzagged with Kufa. In terms of appearance and role in the plot, he seems to be the definition of this trope: he has the short dark hair with soft facial features that one would expect of a Japanese protagonist (even though the series doesn't even take place on our Earth), wears dark clothing, is much stronger than most of the cast from the start, and is surrounded by pretty girls who like him and fight together with him. (Comparisons with Kirito are common) When you see his personality and backstory however, they don't resemble this trope at all: far from being a normal person dragged into a fantastic world, he has been raised to be an assassin since he was a child. Being so overpowered doesn't come just from an innate power, but also from having far more experience in battle than a person his age should have. He may look like an All-Loving Hero at first glance, but that's just a façade he puts on for the sake of his mission, in reality he is cold and calculating. And while he does come to genuinely care about one girl, his core personality remains the same and he only looks more heroic than he actually is due to pragmatism.
- Superpowerful Genetics: The ability to use Mana is passed on via genetics. More importantly, the children of the three dukes always inherit the Mana of their noble parents, regardless of who their other parent is. So when the daughter of the patriarch of the Angel family was born without Mana, the logical conclusion was that she was the child of an affair her mother had.
- Title Drop: Kufa drops the title when contemplating Melida's assassination. He later alters it to showing pride for teaching Melida to hold her own in battleKufa: "It's the mercy of a professional killer, an assassin's pride."
- Un-Sorcerer: Melida could not use Mana while everyone else at school can.
- Weak, but Skilled: Melida is part of the Samurai class, which isn't known for being strong in direct battle, which is why she is taught Combat Pragmatist skills from Kufa. Even before meeting Kufa, she was practicing her whole life, which gives her a advantage in battle.
- Wizarding School: There are thirteen of those schools through Flandore, including the one the main cast goes to. Their purpose is to nurture the Mana users, who are seen as "the last hope" of humanity, as they are the only ones who can fight Lycanthrope.
- Would Hurt a Child: There are many people out there who have no issues ordering the death of a 13 year old, and just as many people willing to carry out the order.