Earth, After the End, AD. After one last Great War, the world's been turned into an endless desert, with scant handfuls of humanity eking out an existence amid the ruins of civilization. The world is ruled by an enigmatic race of mutants known as The Third. They appear elf-like, with fine features and slightly pointed ears, but their most distinguishing feature is a third Astral Eye in the middle of their foreheads. If red, this third eye allows them to interface directly with computers or other technology of the old world.
Fearing the world could be thrown into even more dire straits should any of the Applied Phlebotinum from the Great War get loose, The Third place strict control on what technology the rest of the world can have. Violating the Technos Taboo can result in anything from being dragged off and interrogated, all the way up to execution by the autonomous enforcer known as the Blue Breaker. Even so, there are still people working on and trading in forbidden tech, as breaking the rules and making scientific advances are two of the things humans just do.
It's into this world that Honoka is born. Naturally skilled with the sword, this Dune Runner (read: jack of all trades) will do just about anything during a job aside from killing people. She's joined by her snarky AI partner, Bogie, who pilots the sand tank Honoka runs around the desert in.
The two of them were just going about their lives, doing odd jobs for money and supplies, when one day they encountered an odd young man alone in the middle of the desert. His name is Iks, and meeting him was just the start of an adventure where Honoka's past and present would eventually collide.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Admittedly, Honoka's sword is enhanced by her ki, but it still cuts through all sorts of armor with impunity.
- Anyone Can Die: You'd think a pair of town punks in the middle of the series would end up being Those Two Guys, wouldn't you?
- Apocalypse How: Class 1 bordering on 2, with a bit of Class 4 thrown in for good measure.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Kamui and the Desert Fairy (aka the Star Seed).
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Not so much the humans, but The Third sort of qualify... Fila certainly was able to call up that army real quick when trying to get Honoka and Iks away from the Steel Gorge.
- BFS: Normally averted, though in episode 22, Honoka channels her chi and extends her katana with it by a good ten feet.
- Bizarre Baby Boom: The Third are all mutants, apparently starting to be born either during or after the Great War.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Paife, for all her brazenness, never manages to quite tell Honoka what she feels for her.
- Chekhov's Gun: Oh, those parachutes will get used for something, Bogie...
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Iks is an observer, and in episode 24 we get to meet just who he's observing for. Much like Iks, he's not exactly from around here either.
- Enforced Technology Levels: The Third send Blue Breaker after any human who breaks the Technos Taboo.
- Everything Is Online: Would explain how easily various machines were hacked at the end of the anime, up to and including the frickin' Wormhole Driver.
- Flash Step: Honoka will do this frequently in battle.
- Forgotten Superweapon: Gravestone; the Third thought the aerial bombardment years prior destroyed him along with the city he was in.
- Gun Stripping: Honoka loves to do this, seeing how collecting guns is her hobby.
- High-Pressure Emotion: In Episode 3, when a perverted doctor announces over a loudspeaker where everyone can hear that there is a breast enlargement surgery for Honoka, she first goes completely red in her face and neck, then she completely bursts into flames out of anger when he's done shouting and stomps over to the examination room. Said perverted doctor puts an ice pack on her head to cool her down.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Honoka is able to destroy one opponent by severing the electrical connections between his nanomachines.
- Immune to Bullets: Hinted at in an earlier episode, and confirmed in ep 23 after Iks gets shot at by a group of autonomous soldiers and the bullets seem to be absorbed into some sort of energy barrier.
- Invisibility Flicker: The Blue Breaker, particularly if he's feeling excited about a battle.
- Ki Manipulation: Honoka uses her sword to focus these, Paife can do them barehanded.
- Last-Minute Hookup: It takes until just before the final credits in Ep 24 for Iks to admit he has feelings for Honoka.
- Marshmallow Hell: Meilin's way of welcoming Honoka to the clinic.
- More Dakka: Between all the guns on the PSP and the tank, Honoka loves this trope.
- Nanomachines: Leon seems to be a sentient colony of the things, and Rona Fauna (or at least her clone) can control them.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
- Just mentioning Honoka's nickname of "Sword Dancer" will usually make most of Emporium's rowdies run the other direction.
- Gravestone also has a rather unpleasant ring to it... And unlike Honoka, he is not against taking lives.
- Not with the Safety on, You Won't: "You're not very convincing with an empty gun."
- Oh, Crap!: Face it, if you saw Honoka wipe out your entire army with a single sword stroke like she did in episode 24, you'd have this reaction too.
- 1-Dimensional Thinking: Averted with the sand dragon escape in episode 8.
- Our Elves Are Different: The Third would qualify as Space Elves.
- Potty Emergency: Honoka gets a case of this while riding on an airship in Episode 18. Bogie warned her to pee before the flight, but she just ignores him. Guess what happens later on?
- Sapient Tank: Bogey is controlled by an AI and is effectively Honoka's partner as much as vehicle.
- Science Is Bad: Not completely this trope but too much of it is. It is why the Technos Taboo exists.
- Shout-Out: Numerous, especially to Dune and Star Wars.
- Shower Scene: Present in an earlier episode, with Honoka.
- Single-Stroke Battle: Want to see an army of robots raining from the sky? Watch episode 24.
- Staring Down Cthulhu: In episode six, Honoka forces the massive Blue Breaker to retreat with a cold, frightening stare.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Bogie kicks Iks and Paife out of the tank when facing down an anti-tank chopper.
- Unusual User Interface: The Third's third eye allows them to interface with various tech.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: Tons of them are lying around unused, some with minds of their own.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A running theme throughout the series as Honoka struggles with the fact that her unique third eye causes her to perceive everything from robots to weapons of mass destruction as living beings that are self-aware in their own right.
- World War III: The Great War in the backstory.
- Wrench Wench: Millie is a Wrench Wench in training.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: The group's experiences in an illusionary city generated by Gravestone.