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Literature / Stellar Ranger Dark Star

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Everyone, throughout the universe, is born with a guiding star. A person's guiding star was there before that person was born, and it will keep guarding, in all likelihood, long after that person's death, when someone new is born to that star. Every being in the universe is tied to their star by a mystical force, present in each living being as their Star Heart, a link empowers and shapes their very soul.

There are a few stars, known as Power Stars, that burn brighter in certain people. These stars give them incredible powers. Some use their powers for good, others evil. In order to combat those who abuse their stellar magic, an organization of people with special powers, known as the Stellar Rangers, was formed, and keeps the peace across the Universe as best it can from those who would attack the Star Hearts of its inhabitants.
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Written by GraciousVictory, Stellar Ranger Dark Star is a Magical Girl Warrior series that can be found on Archive of Our Own, here.

June Hespia is Stellar Ranger Dark Star, a new recruit to the organization dedicated to protecting the universe. The Stellar Rangers must stay hidden from the world, as all magic must be. Each person also has something called a star heart which functions as their soul. However, being born under the Nemesis star makes June a Person of Mass Destruction, housing the power of the strongest and more volatile star in existence. But on the plus side, she gets to be a Magical Girl with a cute girlfriend. The series follows her and her fellow Stellar Rangers fighting against various threats to the world.

In Series One: Hollow Hearts, June first moved to Solar City, the primary setting of the series, and enrolls in Solar City Junior High. She meets various other girls, like Senine Nocturne, Augusta “Auggie” Levey, Cassieopia “Cassie” Schumacher, and Faye Burrey, and bonds with them. But the wicked Baron Stellos, the Evil Overlord of the Hollow Hearts Army, has been stealing millions of star hearts of the people he conquers, and wants to add the Star hearts of Solar City to his collection. It is up to June and her team to fight against him and his many minions to save the city.

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In Series Two: Savage Stars, a new threat arises in the form of the titular Savage Stars, a ruthless army who has been hired by an unknown individual to hunt down June and her friends. Meanwhile, Prince Halloway Decembren, who has been watching over June, comes to her to ask her for help in saving his dying kingdom. But as the battle rages on, June begins to discover a connection between the two, and another connection to an old legend involving a hero fighting against a great evil. How are these events intertwined, and what do they mean for June?

In Series Three: The Fallen Star, a giant star- actually a Stellar Ranger prison for criminals they have captured- is about to crash in Solar City. June and the others direct it toward a lake and manage to save everyone. But from inside the mechanical star, Zanra and Vanra, a pair of Creepy Twins, emerge and begin terrorizing the city, sucking out the star heart energy of everyone they come across while forcing the prisoners to work for them. June once again must fight to save the city. But just what are the twins, and what is their purpose? These questions and more lead June and her friends to what seems to be just another adventure... but soon becomes their hardest and most harrowing task yet, as they are pushed to their limit and to the edge of despair.

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Tropes displayed in Stellar Ranger Dark Star:

    Series Wide 
  • Better Than Sex: Senine claims that smoking is this, word-for-word.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The Stellar Rangers do this, especially June when tapping into her Penumbra powers.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Basically all the rangers and students are lesbians (or in June and Hal's case, bisexual).
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are a lot of Stellar Rangers and enemies thereof.
  • Magic Idol Singer: The Shining Stars are an idol group of five girls who also happen to be Stellar Rangers, and help the main heroines, June and co, fight off more than a few threats.
  • Monster of the Week: Zigzagged throughout the series.
    • Series One plays it straight, with Baron Stellos sending out a new Hollow Heart minion each chapter or few chapters.
    • Series Two averts it entirely, instead putting the focus on the five Savage Star Generals.
    • Series Three downplays it. The various Fallen Star prisoners often serve as enemies for the Rangers to fight and are treated like this, but they are given much less focus than the Hollow Hearts were, and are less frequent. Zanra and Vanra are usually the ones going up against the Rangers.
  • Muggle Best Friend: June's brother, Julian.
  • Mundane Utility: Kara uses her Stellar Ranger powers as special effects in her concert performances. June considers it a "gross misuse" of her pwoers.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Whenever June uses Penumbra, her hair grows. She actually complains about this in series two, because she can’t get haircuts as a result:
    ”When I go Penumbral my hair goes to a set length, and it doesn’t go back when I change back. So, basically, it’s the end of any haircut I get.” June pulled her braid around and eyed it with a small amount of annoyance. “I don’t want to get it cut again until we aren’t being threatened by a bunch of jerks.”
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Janice claims that people with black and red hair are trouble.
  • Transformation Sequence: June gets one whenever she taps into the Penumbra. Oddly, despite being a Magical Girl Warrior series, she is the only one to get such a sequence.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The main characters are a team of junior high girls who attend a magic academy to train them to become Stellar Rangers. This often results in them having to fight off alien threats while worrying about their love lives.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The reason Leah gives for upholding The Masquerade around the existence of magic.
    "The public can't know about the existence of magi people among them. They’d panic, among other things."
  • World of Action Girls: Being a Magical Girl Warrior series, this is a given. The main Stellar Rangers are all female, and many of the minor ones are also female. There are male Stellar Rangers, but the only major one is Mr. Vember. Male characters tend to be minor civilians, side characters, or villains (such as Baron Stellos and his army). There are also several Dark Action Girls like the Puppetrix, General Layon of the Savage Stars, Lanessa de Vran Sie, and Vanra and Zanra.

    Series One: Hollow Hearts 
  • Beach Episode: The epilogue chapter has the cast taking a break on a Florida beach. This one is actually plot important- it turns into a Busman's Holiday as a recurring villain, The Puppetrix, returns for one last brawl, and we actually get a look into the villain's past. In addition, a major cast member, Avril, is introduced here, and the chapter contains some foreshaodwing for the conflict of the later two series.
  • Big Bad: Baron Stellos is the leader of the Hollow Hearts Army who desires to conquer the Earth and add the star hearts of its inhabitants to his collection. The reason he is doing this is because he is collecting the Star hearts in memory of Kilaua, his beloved who was killed by the Savage Stars... or so it seems, but Stellos was being manipulated by her all along.
  • Busman's Holiday: The epilogue chapter is a Beach Episode with the Rangers going to a Florida beach to relax after beating Baron Stellos. Unfortunately for them, the Puppetrix has prepared a trap for them and desires one last battle, forcing them to save the day once again.
  • Ditto Aliens: Inverted; a squirrel tells Faye that he thinks all humans look alike.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: In chapter 10, Novias gives one to Senine, revealing her real name:
    "Brunhilde Hildegarde Nokturne! We put the milk in a glass before we drink it in this house." He said sternly.
  • Green Thumb: Cassie can heal plants, and in the first series heals an entire park that was destroyed in the aftermath of a battle.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The series starts with June in bed as her older brother tries to wake her up before she is late for her first day as a Stellar Ranger.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Shining Stars apparently defeated a Starborn Horror- a powerful monster usually only beatable by full-fledged rangers- just before the concert, and did it easily.

    Series Two: Savage Stars 
  • Abandoned Hospital: Our Lady of Mercy General Hospital and Mental Health Clinic, which was abandoned due to, according to the narration, not being a very good hospital, causing funding to dry up. It serves as the location for the climatic battle between the Stellar Rangers and the Savage Stars.
  • Big Bad: The Eye of Despair/Kilaua/Lynneth Ursula Card/Lanessa de Vran Sie is the one who hired the Savage Stars to kill June and friends and is manipulating Prince Halloway Decembren as part of a plan to become goddess of the universe and surpass the rest of her family of Star Vampires.
  • His Name Is...: Advisor Grim is about to inform Leah of the Secret Identity of Lanessa, but just before he can, said character appears and promptly kills him.
  • I've Come Too Far: Senine begs Prince Hal to stop fighting and call off the hostilities. In response, he simply says this.
    “I have come too far and lost too much to lose, now.”
  • Metaphorgotten: June attempts to give Destiny an image of how using Penumbra is like, and this is the result:
    “It’s like...you have this big dam, holding back a few thousand lakes’ worth of water. And instead of floodgates there’s a single spigot on it, and that’s the only way to get water. And I can only really get a small amount of water at a time, but every time I do, I’m afraid that turning on the faucet might make the water rush through it too fast, and bring the whole dam down. It’s the same with Nemsis, really, so I have TWO dams, but one’s....I don’t know, gentler than the other? It’s calmer, but gives less water. This metaphor is falling apart.
  • Misery Builds Character: Lanessa de Vran Sie believes in this trope, and its the reason why she caused the crash that killed June's parents and brought June so much suffering- it would make her strong enough to withstand anything.
“So I took a special interest in you, and, unlike the previous attempts, I was determined to make things right. That’s why, before you could wake up fully, I introduced you to the concept of loss.”

June’s eyes went wide. “What are you—”

“Oh, Vinnie. He was careless, yes. And your human machines are so..easy.” Lanessa shrugged. “Honestly, June, Vinnie just needed a very, very slight push and a slightly malfunctioning car. He wasn’t the person who killed your parents, he was just an instrument. I did it. To help you.”

Help me?!” June said as anger pushed against shock. She was ready to play a chord, ready to blast this fragment of Despair to nothing.

“Yes! Look at everything you’ve survived because I murdered them! Baron Stellos—oh, I’m responsible for him, too, by the way, the Savage Stars, the Puppetrix—which wasn’t mine, by the way, and now, the death of your mentor and the destruction of your safe place.” Lanessa sighed. “I’m so proud of you. A lesser person of your mantle would have exploded a very long time ago, or at least, have been consumed by their powers. But you...you’ve become so beautiful and strong.”
  • Sssssnake Talk: Advisor Grim speaks like this:
    “My prinssssse.” He said in a hissing voice. “I musssst protesssst. Thissss plan issss foolish. I can arrange a meeting with the local leader of the Sssstellar Rangersss. That would be FAR more practical.”
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Eye of Despair, in retaliation to Auggie’s declaration that she is losing the fight, decides to summon four copies of the Nova Saber and aim them at her. Lampshaded:
    ”I do so love the occasional overkill.”
  • We All Die Someday: Mr. Vember says this to Senine when she asks if she is going to die she to the terminal condition of her power star.
    “We will all die some day, Miss Nokturne. Your day will come, perhaps, a bit sooner for you than most your age.”
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Turns out the crash that killed June Hespia's parents- which happened because Vincent Day's breaks were broken- was engineered by Lanessa, who sabotaged the breaks, so she could plant the seeds of despair in June.
  • You're Insane!: Lynneth/Lanessa, the local Godhood Seeker, anticipates that The Heroine, June, will say this when explaining the whole Evil Plan to her.
    “So, is this when someone tells me my plan’s insane and would never work? I think this is typically that point.”

    No.” June said with narrowed eyes. “This is when I kill you.”

    Series Three: The Fallen Star 
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Chapter 19, "How Vanra and Zanra Stole Christmas", features the rangers stopping the titular Creepy Twins from wreaking havoc at a shopping mall where a mall Santa is. Unlike most examples, this one is much more somber in mood, as the Rangers are still reeling from the losses they suffered beforehand, and the twins get away as usual.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Zanra and Vanra control the prisoners of the titular Fallen Star and use them to spread havoc around Solar City, intending to devour the citizens' star energy. They are actually two halves of Anra de Vran Sie/The Jaws of Despair, Lanessa's sister, who wants the energy to revive their mother, the Hand of Despair, and have her destroy the planet.
  • Confusion Fu: Vanra and Zanra are considered by June to be the most dangerous adversaries they have faced precisely because, unlike every other foe who followed a certain pattern, they are completely unpredictable.
    I wish they were more predictable? Stellos did the same thing the same way every time. The Savage Stars had a code of honor. Lanessa was...is, enough of a megalomaniac that Auggie could pretty accurately guess what she was going to do towards the end. [...] Whereas the Anras have a set of rules they follow, until they don’t. They have a standard method of doing things, until they don’t. They’re fractured and easy to rattle and manipulate, until they aren’t. Nothing works consistently on them, and we don’t know what they’re going to do next.
  • Darkest Hour: Starting from Episode 12: The Cadence, everything starts going to hell for the Rangers. Destiny is gravely injured, she and Kismet are later taken away by Dr. Lament, the Warden of the Fallen Star dies and Malcom loses his memory, June crosses the Despair Event Horizon and wants to isolate herself from the others, the relationships of the rest of the Rangers are falling apart, and Anra appears invincible, repeatedly having defeated the heroines and inching ever so closer to having enough star energy to awaken her mother and destroy the world.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: Referenced when Faye claims that she prefers happy dog movies to horror films, to which Amber replies that most dog movies are sad.
    “Like, most dog movies are, like, so sad?”
    Faye frowned. “I know! It’s the worst, I hate it! Those poor dogs deserve nice and good lives and not sadness! The kitties, too, it’s horrible!”
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Anras are such a threatening opponent that the rangers seriously consider permanently revealing the existence of magic to the world just so they can warn the public about the Anras, who are too dangerous to leave the public uninformed against them.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The Anras agree to go trick-or-treating with Senine and Octy- playing their father and mother respectively- on Halloween night in exchange for ceasing their attacks on Solar City and leaving people alone. They spend the event being excitable little girls having fun. Subverted when it turns out they had secretly been sapping star heart energy from people underneath their noses, and they go right back to being enemies.
  • Just One More Level!: Auggie is playing an MMORPG and insist on playing through “one more dungeon”.
    “Seriously though, just one more dungeon. It’s not like—oh, heck.” The tank went down, and she burned all her cooldowns to try to get the packs down before the whole team wiped. “—we have school or anything. Aw, man.”
    Amber yawned. “Like, whatever? You’re like, gonna be tired all day.”
    “I’m fine! Hey, quick question, could you tank for me real quick?”
    “Go to BED you nerd!”
    “One last dungeon, I just need the daily.”
  • Law of Conservation of Detail: Discussed Trope. Auggie wants to buy a new game early so that she won't be spoiled in case of the hypothetical scenario she gives that the Big Bad turns out to be the main character's father. She claims that if a father is missing at all, it must be relevant to the plot. Even her brother Octy agrees.
    “Look.” Auggie said. “All I’m saying is, if a dad goes suddenly missing in a story like this, it’s plot important.”

    “My sister does have a point.” Octy nodded. “Such details are always important. If it does not come up, one may even be disappointed.”
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Brought up in Chapter 1, in which Auggie wants to buy a new game early:
    “Hey, new games don’t come out every day, Cass. If I’m not farther than everyone else, someone’s gonna spoil that the bad guy’s the main character’s dad or something and then I’m going to have to reach through their computer screen and strangle them.”
  • New Transfer Student: Unlike most examples, three already introduced and fleshed-out characters, Kara May and the March Twins, transer to June's class at the beginning of Series 3.
  • The Unmasqued World: The heroes wind up being forced to reveal the existence of magic and the Stellar Rangers to warn the public about the Anra twins, because the situation has gotten that desperate.

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