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Literature / Pyrrhic

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Pyrrhic is a Web Serial Novel inspired by Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. Following a group of students as they're kidnapped by a terrorist organization, Pyrrhic focuses on their newfound realization that they are being forced to kill each other for unknown means. Meanwhile, one of the participants comes from a well-connected and mysterious family that has ties to supernatural events that have kept the world safe for years without their knowledge.

Currently is on its twenty-eighth chapter. The author updates whenever possible and has promised the series to have fifty-four chapters with an epilogue.

The series provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Area: There are several on the island, mostly of houses and another a treehouse. The school building is clearly meant to mock the graduating students before they are sent out to kill each other and becomes an abandoned area once they leave, given that it is a danger zone. Helmut finds a cave that clearly isn't natural, given that digging tools are still inside it.
  • Action Girlfriend: Played With when it comes to Hanako, who wants to protect Joshua, but can only do so much. However, she proved herself while he was dealing with his recent deafness, helping him navigate in the jungle, while pursued by Marie. She further proves this at the cost of her own life, knowing that if they waited to try to heal her bullet wound Marie would catch up to them and kill him.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Considering what all the students are having to deal with, this fits the trope perfectly.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Played With for Shinji and Hanako, who are skilled aikido fighters. However MJ, and Joshua are also accomplished practitioners, having been taught in the US. So far it hasn't shown up in the story.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Sonny Chance thinks this of Helmut Schuwald, who is decidedly not, having fled to America to escape his great-grandfather, known as the Vampire of Bolzano, an escaped SS officer.
  • Author Catchphrase: The author almost always starts his chapter notes with "Hello all." He also normally ends them with "Until next time..." (The latter intended as a pseudo-Shout-Out to Cowboy Bebop.)
  • Author Tract: The author went on a fairly lengthy one at the end of the seventeenth chapter in regarding Double Standard Rape: Female on Male and how it's just as bad as the opposite. He also decried the use of Rape as Backstory, saying that it disgusted him. However, in story, he justified the scene where Xenia rapes Tom in order to have a healthy discussion on why these dark subjects need to be stopped and to help people understand why mocking these tropes is a good way to demean those who have been affected by them.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Joshua's greatest skill. He correctly ascertains where they were taken to with information anyone else would never have figured out. For the most part he's correctly analyzed every single student in the experiment with very minimal (so far) errors as to their methods and potential actions. He's the valedictorian for a reason. And it's implied he's holding himself back.
  • Broken Pedestal: Darren Hawke for Max Levin, who comes from a military family, wanted to join the Army, and found out that his hero deserted the Army to start the Sons of the Constitution to bring down America.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Nathan believes this to be the case when it comes to Joshua's class being taken as Nathan was responsible for bringing down the original Sons of the Constitution and thus Darren is attempting to get back at him by killing his brother. However, it seems to not be the case so far as the readers know.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Shinji is this for Hanako, hating Joshua for dating his sister, who he wants to be with. Now that Hanako is dead, this has caused him to hallucinate her telling him to kill Joshua for letting her die. In the backstory, it is all but outright stated that Joshua is this for MJ to an extent, causing a wave of destruction when he found out that she was about to get hurt.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Tina is killed by drinking from a water bottle that contains chloroform. Sonny is killed by Helmut in self-defense with a revolver, but his body is slowly eaten by army ants.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Tom Tucker basically says that this trope can't be true, as he's momentarily in denial that Xenia raped him.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Helmut loses a contact, preventing him from using his gun correctly, despite his noted marksmanship. Joshua, perhaps the most capable student on the island, loses his hearing right as he leaves the school, preventing him from being as much of a threat. Not that this causes him to worry.
  • Driven to Suicide: Dana after she kills Tyler and Kylie having nothing left to live for because of it.
  • False Memories: Is something that Danson is quite accomplished at implanting. Jackson being the first true test subject. It is suggested, but not outright said that this also had a hand in Tyra's sudden change from being a happy young woman into a psychotic person who thinks she's a vampire.
  • False Friend: What Danson is molding himself into be to everyone who encounters him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Darren puts up a front in an attempt to play at being Affably Evil, but he's anything but, clearly deriving joy from his student's inability to figure out that there was more to their former English teacher than met the eye.
  • Foil: Joshua and Danson are both shaping up to this. With both being intelligent, manipulative, and calculating people who believe in coming out on top of things.
  • Fun with Acronyms: S.T.R.A.N.G.E = Strategic Tacenda Research And Neo-Goetic Extermination.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Hanako makes this for Joshua, choosing to ignore a bullet wound so that she can get him to safety. Once they've finally escaped, she succumbs to blood loss, but dies happy, knowing he's alive.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: A weird subversion, as Joshua recounts the times he was tortured by his mentor in a joking manner, but his descriptions of it are anything but funny. It's implied that this is his way of handling it and that for all the good it did him to help prepare for whatever threat came his way, it also took a piece of himself away to gain the knowledge.
  • Hope Spot: Joshua and Hanako have joined forces, waiting on allying with Mary Jane, and ready to find a way to strike back against the experiment, but before this can really happen Marie shows up. Joshua, knowing what he did to Chase, tries to reason with her beforehand, but his attempts fail and she shoots at them, causing them to lose whatever advantage they had. And then Hanako dies, sacrificing herself to save the man she loves.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: MJ has this thought process around Joshua, having pushed him to pursue a relationship with Hanako, because she knew the feelings he had for her. In a bit of a classic deconstruction this hurts her, as she wants to be able to love him the same way, but can't because of what she's done.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: And amusingly given to the only (half-)Japanese students on the island, through some trolling by Darren Hawke. Although Shinji gets a nodachi. Lampshaded by Joshua and Hanako, who questions the authenticity of a retractable katana.
  • Killed Off for Real: So far Chase Traviss, Zelda Swift, Tina King, Sonny Chance, Xenia Daugman, Tom Tucker, Benjamin Rogers, Kylie Chalmers, Tyler Bronson, Dana Riley, and Hanako Heyerdahl have died. Being that this is inspired by Battle Royale, it's likely the list will continue to grow.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: In order to prevent his suffering and in an attempt to give his death some meaning, Joshua Mercy Kills Chase, the first one to die in the experiment.
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: For the first couple of chapters the story seems like it could easily fit in our world, until the mention of things like the Hydra, vampires, and telekinetics bring this story firmly into this trope.
  • Meaningful Name: Joshua Carpenter. He openly mocks this in one chapter, saying it was given to him by his mentor, Sister Grace, because she was trying to engineer him into becoming a messiah figure. Hanako seems to think that it's rather apt.
  • Meaningful Rename: Intentionally invoked by Danson Macabre, real name: Dan Marsh.
  • My Greatest Failure: For Joshua it was killing his mentor Sister Grace. Now it might be not noticing that Hanako essentially let herself die to keep him alive.
  • Necessarily Evil:Several of the students in the experiment feel this way, as they are being forced to kill each other, so justifiably they can murder others to save themselves. DeQuan feels this way about plotting with Ryan to kill Joshua because of what he did to Chase.
  • Non-Action Guy: Tom Tucker suffers from this. At least until he deals with his rapist. Not that it helps him for long.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Happens twice to Joshua and Hanako, although the second wasn't nearly as bad. The first causes Joshua to lose his hearing and the second comes when Marie shoots at them with her assault rifle, modified to fire grenades as well.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The very idea of vampires existing is mocked in the first chapter. Tyra qualifies herself as an empathic vampire, at least until she kills her sister, Tina, and drinks her blood. However, this is firmly how she views herself, and isn't grounded in reality. Danson is implied to be one, but what he really is no one knows.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Mary Jane delivers one to Ben when he's about to attack her.
    MJ: Tell that to Heckler and Koch, asshole."
  • Revenge: A running theme in the story, exploring how seeking it often reveals more about the seeker than the object of their hatred. Ryan's stated reason for getting DeQuan to help him kill Joshua is justice for Chase's death but it's really this for how Joshua got him sent to prison for what he'd done to an ex-girlfriend. Now explicitly stated to be the reason why Shinji wants Joshua dead, because he failed to keep Hanako safe.
  • Running Gag: The coordinates of the danger zones being obscured to the reader. Also Lampshade Hanging on the similarities between the story and Battle Royale.
  • Signed Language: Used by Joshua and Hanako to mask their conversations.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Played with in the series. Most of the students were more or less good by society's expectations before the experiment, at least as far as they showed. However, those that weren't and those broken by the experiment, are proving this right, while others are doing everything in their power to save others without killing them.
  • To Win Without Fighting: Seems to be Danson's preferred method of winning the experiment.
  • Troll: Darren Hawke is a huge one, tricking Shinji into taking the backpack with the nodachi just to be racist. He also messes with Max's head using the speakers on the island, attempting to drive him mad. It's implied Darren is already insane, just good at hiding it. He also mentions Hanako's name last, almost as an afterthought, to further enrage Shinji. Danson also has traces of this, clearly relishing any attempt to screw over another competitor, mostly by making them get themselves killed instead of him having to do it.
  • Yandere: Dana to Tyler and Xenia to Tom.