Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Nagabumi

Go To
Cover of the first volume

"I, the nameless one..."
The Protagonist

Nagabumi (Earth Dragon) is an Indonesian Wuxia novel written by Seno Gumira Ajidarma. Famous for its combination of awesome fights and philosophical discussions, the novel is currently in Development Hell. There's two published volumes, with the third along the way.

In medieval times, our nameless 100-year old hero is peacefully meditating in a cave, hoping to spend his remaining years in some peace and quiet, Sadly, this is not to last, and he's soon attacked by a government force that, for some reason or the other, possesses a wanted poster of himself, revealing his now-criminal status. Determined to find out why he's now hunted, he returned to the world to write his memoir and find some evidence to prove his innocence.

Finding a secluded place to work, he begins to write down his story...

Beware of unmarked spoilers.


"Nagabumi" contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Plenty of examples, but one of the swords the hero encountered and recalled after his return is the Golden Dragon Sword, which was so sharp only its own sheath could cross path with it; any other objects would be cut. There was also mention of a sword that could bisect a strand of hair along its width.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Played with. Some of the characters hailing from evil sects did train with poison, but most pugilist simply cleanse any poison entering their body with their internal energy.
  • Action Girl: Every single named female character was this, or would be this. Yes, even that anonymous helpless young waitress.
  • Always Save the Girl: The nameless hero always encountered many beautiful women in his life, and almost always put his main objective to the side to rescue these ladies and/or aid them in their own cause.
  • Advertisement:
  • All-Powerful Bystander: There's one recurring character that's potentially this, or perhaps a collection of several characters. The first is the nondescript monk who beat the Dragon's Trap Technique into the Protagonist. The second is the unknown character who saves and heals the Protagonist after he's injured fighting Crazed Monkey and advises him to train for a decade before he challenges Black Dragon. The third is the unseen being who's skilled enough to witness every single one of every martial artist's fight unnoticed, and spread them around through minstrels, even though many of those fights are supposed to be secret and hidden. Whether these three entities are one person or a group of people is unknown.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Many examples in the story, mostly as a Take That! to real-life politicians. A major case is when Black Dragon, an ambitious martial artist and warlord, is roped into a coup on the promise he'll receive prestige, land, money, and political position. He ends up being bounced around when his acts are disavowed by the government he helped to power, discrediting everything he's done for them, marking him as a rebel. Still ambitious, Black Dragon begins selling his services to every single warlords that want to usurp this ruler, and so on and so on.
  • Asshole Victim: Many, many characters. Basically, anyone that did something terrible in front of the protagonist wouldn't live long.
  • Battle in the Rain: An epic one between the protagonist and one of his love rival, Amrita's fellow disciple, while he's carrying a baby in one arm, thus fighting one-handed against his opponent. There's also other, less important duels in the novel that are this.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Plenty of examples. One staple technique that everyone seems to have mastered is the elementary 'Blood Palm', which allows its user to damage their opponents' internal organs with a mix of internal energy and (optional) poison touch. Its deadliness, befitting an basic technique, varies according to its user. For example, an enemy that hit the Protagonist in his youth failed to kill him despite it being a clean blow, but the Protagonist in the current era (when he's 100 years old) is able to utilize it as a Ki Manipulation from long range, while being more lethal than anyone else's Blood Palm.
  • Big Damn Heroes: It's a wuxia novel, what do you expect? Pulled left, right, and center by everyone.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Inverted. Any clashes would always result in fountains of blood spraying everywhere.
  • Boring, but Practical: The aforementioned Blood Palm. Anyone, from an amateur to a master, can use it with differing effectiveness, but it's essentially a Ki Manipulation using one's palm.
    • The Protagonist is also fond of spitting, and of course, he never misses even once.
  • Ceiling Cling: Using internal energy, it's possible for spies, assassins, and pugilists to achieve this.
  • Clean Cut: The fates of those people putting themselves in front of internal-energy-charged blades.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The novel's premise is this, but in reverse: the elderly, retired protagonist writes about his youth to analyze who may want to harm him, but it ends up in this trope.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Most of the battles our protagonist experienced were these. Heck, the only ones who could give him a good fight were the Old Masters.
  • Cycle of Revenge: A crucial point of the novel. The protagonist struggled to find who it was that tried to kill him this time simply because of this trope. Invoked with the protagonist himself, since he desired to enact revenge for his adoptive parents, who was implied to be killed by the Black Dragon, one of the most prominent pugilists in Indonesia.
  • Domestic Abuse: Implied in several characters' backgrounds.
  • Destructive Savior: Averted. The protagonist would always go out of his way to ensure minimal collateral damage. When he discarded this trope, however, beware.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting
  • Fight Magnet: A symptom of the pugilistic culture of the novel's setting. Both the protagonist and his opponents suffered from this, since many up-and-coming pugilists would try to establish themselves in the scene by defeating and killing a famous fighter.
  • Final Battle: An interesting case, since said final battle was elaborated near the beginning of the story. The protagonist, in his early 50s at the time, challenged pugilists from lawful sects, neutral sects, and evil sects to fight him together. It's his massacre of them that made him suspect some of the pugilists' families and friends were the ones who set him up with the government.
  • Friend to All Children: In the current time, the elderly protagonist is kind to young children, often entertaining and playing with them in his spare time, having nothing left for him to do. Bites him back when the government starts using the kids against him.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: There's actually no clear-cut good guys or bad guys, not even the protagonist.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: All over the place. One of the most prominent sword techniques the protagonist mastered was the one he learned from his dead parents, the Twin Dragon Sword Technique, a near enough Swiss Army Technique. Despite it's categorized as 'sword techniques', it also contains barehanded skills, qinggong technique, and every other skill for any situation.
  • Initiation Ceremony: How a student could apply to enter one of the martial arts schools. Even the lawful sects will have a rather painful one.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The police were this. Plus, many lawful and neutral sects were allowed to do as they please by the government because they 'cleanse the streets from evil'.
  • Keigo: Medieval Asian culture emphasizes politeness, thus almost all characters use this, no matter the language or kingdoms.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Averted with the protagonist, played straight with some of this opponents. In fact, his ultimate technique requires him to ignore this trope and simply fight to win.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: The protagonist has no name, and thus always has to explain how to address himself to his opponent and friends.
    Protagonist: I, who am nameless...
  • Le Parkour: Courtesy of a liberal dose of qinggong. Even children could do it.
  • Mood Whiplash: With every few chapters of action, the author will always slide in a serene chapter filled with intellectual discussions of law, history, philosophy, sociology, and everything else not related to martial arts, which can come across very jarring. Especially apparent after an intense fight or dramatic moments, so much so one can think they're reading a different book altogether.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: A staple of this genre. Interestingly, the protagonist then would rant about how the governments' laws actually supported this act, and thus enraged him even more.
  • Scenery Porn and Scenery Gorn
  • Secret Police: Every kingdom has one. In fact, one of the protagonist's early love interests and his first student became strong enough to lead a team of this.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: In his prime, the Protagonist was a decent guy going through The Hero phase in his life, and sure enough, women flocked to him. Averted when he aged into an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy.
  • Sole Survivor: It's one of the antagonists that received this treatment when the protagonist killed every single one of the Butterfly School's disciples and one of the founding masters, leaving only one sole practitioner left: the other founding master and the former's brother. He didn't last very long as well.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Various examples, one of them being the protagonist's Snow Dragon's Dance that damn near froze an entire village. Also, the protagonist seemed to be able to summon Bullet Time any time he pleased, even creating doppelgangers just by his sheer speed. Heck, his ultimate skill, the Formless Technique could kill an opponent just by thinking!
  • Take That!: Many of the characters' dialogues, including the Protagonist's monologues and conversation, contains barely-veiled criticisms to the current governing structure of the world, like corruption, manipulation, oppression, and so on.
  • Take Up My Sword: Played with. When Amrita, a revolutionary leader and one of the protagonist's love interests, was killed, he was more focused on avenging her death and chasing after her killer rather than helping the revolution, though he saw it through in the end after one of her lieutenants snapped him out of it.
  • Tired of Running: What kicked off the plot in the first place. When government agents went after his throat during his meditation, even after he renounced his retirement, he decided to find the culprit who set him up rather than running away, knowing it wouldn't end if he didn't fight back and finish things one and for all.
  • To Catch Heroes, Hire Villains: The government resorted to this when its agents failed, even calling upon former heroes and mercenaries.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Averted. Whenever the protagonist named himself, his opponents instantly knew how deep the shit they're getting into. This trope more often happens in the current time, when his age has blurred his judgement, leading to this.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Played with. Some of the more virtuous characters would try to avert this, but in most cases, there's barely enough time to talk, because chivalry aside, many fights in the novel were actually ambushes rather than duels.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: One of the protagonist's original sword technique, Twin Blades' Blood Writing, is inspired by his experience in learning how to read and write. He taught this technique to Cempaka the same way: by reading and writing. Some of the techniques he later mastered were also originally calisthenics, completely unrelated to fighting.