Stone King: A Mecha Monogatari Novel is a science fiction novel written by S Douglas Johnson. It is set in a near-future Japan which is at war with the Eschatos, a loose alliance of other nations that continually send armies of mecha to attack Japan.
Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force has developed mecha of its own: the titans, twenty-meter-tall bipedal war machines. Built with control systems reverse-engineered from Eschatos designs, that can only be operated by a rare few, who are conscripted into the GSDF Titan Corps while in their early teens and continue to serve until they can no longer synchronize (link their minds to their titan's control systems), or until they die.
Stone King is told in autobiographical style, from the point of view of Saionji Kiyohiko, who was a JGSDF titan pilot until he lost the ability to synchronize. Looking back at his career in the Titan Corps, Saionji tells of his experiences during the invasion, occupation, and later liberation of Kyushu, where he came to be known as Ishio, the Stone King of Ibaraki.
Stone King: A Mecha Monogatari Novel provides examples of the following tropes:
- BFG: Any mecha-scale weapon, but the Titan Corps' 120mm long-range cannon and the three-barrel 78mm gatling that Saionji carries are on the really big side, even for a mecha.
- Child Soldiers: Youths as young as twelve are conscripted to pilot titans in the war against the Eschatos.
- Competence Zone: With few exceptions, only those between the ages of about twelve and twenty-five possess the ability to pilot a titan.
- Driven to Suicide: Ichinose. Averted, as Saionji prevents him from actually killing himself. Played straight with Anjo.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Saionji kisses a comatose Airi at Azusa's request, in the desperate hope that it will wake Airi up. Subverted in that Saionji doesn't have any romantic feelings toward Airi, and in that it doesn't work.
- Emotionless Girl: Azusa has difficulty expressing her emotions, leading most people to think she is this.
- Gatling Good: Subverted. Saionji specializes in the use of a mecha-scale gatling gun, but he is rarely able to use it very effectively.
- Hime Cut: Kodora wears her hair like this. Azusa does, too until a substantial portion of her hair is burned off during Jalal's attack on Kasama Defense Station.
- Humble Hero: Saionji, who feels he never really deserved a title like 'the Stone King of Ibaraki'.
- Idol Singer: Azusa was scouted by a talent agency and performed at a few minor events before being conscripted into the Titan Corps.
- Killed Off for Real: Torigoe and Hashimoto.
- Memetic Badass: The "titled" pilots (Saionji among them) are in-universe examples. While all are at least competent titan pilots, none of them are anywhere near as badass as they are believed to be.
- Red Baron: The titled pilots, as well as the Eschatos pilot known as the Wolf of Calabarzon.
- Rock Beats Laser: Saionji defeats the Harpy, a near-invincible enemy mecha, by throwing huge chunks of granite at it, disabling its shields
- Sempai/Kohai: Mizugoshi and Asahina both ask Saionji if they can call him 'senpai'.
- Shout-Out: Anjo's virtual reality world inside the titan control systems is based on the Final Fantasy series.
- The Squad: Braver 97, the titan troop Saionji serves with.
- Straight Gay: Oyuki and his boyfriend Amagase.
- Takes One to Kill One: It is generally accepted that only mecha can fight other mecha. Subverted by instances of infantry soldiers with man-portable missile launchers occassionally taking out enemy mecha.
- Tempting Fate: At the New Years temple visit, the pilots get their omikuji fortunes. Airi gets 'great curse' but decides that it really means 'great blessing', as, in her mind, "bad luck is good luck".
- The Unreveal: exactly what happened to Rafeah? Saionji never finds out.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Torigoe flips out when he learns his 'dream girl' Hisagome was actually a guy. Although quite upset at first, Torigoe ultimately finds it to be rather funny.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Saionji mentions that he was forced to dress up as a girl as part of his initiation when he first became a titan pilot. Also, Torigoe's dream 'girl', Hisagome, is actually a guy.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Airi wears over-the-knee socks whenever she wears shorts or a short skirt (which is often). Justified in that it is to cover burn scars on her lower legs as well as her prosthetic foot.