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Manga / Black Bird

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Our heroine and, uh, "hero"

Black Bird is a shoujo manga by Kanoko Sakuraouji. It tells the story of Misao Harada, an ordinary girl who can see ghosts, spirits and demons, and her relationship with Kyo, the head of a Tengu (bird demon) clan, who she befriended as a little child. Thanks to her Dangerous 16th Birthday, if a demon makes Misao his bride (which is implied to have more to do with sex than it does with nuptials), their clan would become prosperous; on the other hand, if a demon eats her flesh, it will gain immortality. Poor Misao is therefore caught between Kyo, who wants to marry her (against her will, if necessary), and various other badnasties who want to eat her. Romance, uh, ensues.

Not to Be Confused with The Beatles song of the same name from the White Album.


Tropes used in this work include:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Especially including Kyo, who thinks erotic ukiyo-e artwork, a book of 48 hot sex tips, and a laid-out futon is the best way to celebrate.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: "I, Misao Harada, can see spirits. When I was younger, people hated me because of it."
  • Always Save the Girl: Kyo's entire reason for everything he's done for the last ten years, all the destruction, death and rebellion to take over his clan, was quite simply so he could marry Misao, he doesn't really care about anything else. He will always save Misao.
  • Amnesiac Lover: Most of Misao's childhood memories of Kyo were sealed away by Sho before the story began. She still had enough to remember Kyo and be completely disappointed when he didn't meet her expectations and turned out to be a dirty pervert.
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  • Antihero: Kyo is not a good guy. He will kill, steal, lie and destroy his way through anyone if he has to for Misao.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Taro. He tries, poor thing.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Misao and Kyo can bicker and fight to no end, but nobody is fooled by it.
  • Ax-Crazy: Sojo
  • Barrier Maiden: Misao
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Zig-zagged with Kyo. While a lot of his behavior early on falls into the category of sexual harassment, he turns out to be far gentler to and protective of Misao than this trope would usually suggest. The relationship gets a bit better as the series goes on.
  • The Beautiful Elite: All the demons are this, with Kensuke being a rare exception.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Invoked in Chapter 27. Kyo calls Misao a Tsundere, and claims that he likes that. Then Misao reflects on their relationship, thinking about how "We argue over the littlest things" and "He does mean things to me" but they "laugh together and fall in love all over again."
  • Bishōnen: Pretty much every male character, but especially Kyo, whom Misao mistakes for a pretty girl upon seeing him as an adult.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Shuuhei and Shojo seem like really nice people at first... of course, they're both complete and utter bastards. Inverted with Kyo who can act like a real Jerk Ass, but is in fact incredibly caring and gentle (... not that this makes up for some of the things he does).
  • Black Magic
  • Bound and Gagged: Misao, when captured by Sojo.
  • Butt-Monkey: Misao comes up as this, and it's NOT Played for Laughs. She can see spirits, which is already scary enough, and used to be harrassed or hated because of that. Then, she gets caught in the wars of the Tengu and is under attack many times. And while some Tengus are sympathetic to her plight, the most powerful ally she has among them is... a Bastard Boyfriend.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Kensuke gives Misao a bottle of Whitesnakes' poison which comes in handy when she's later trapped alone with Soujou.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Which Kyo is determined to collect on.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: While discussing what would be a proper punishment if Sojo rebelled again, Misao suggested keeping him away from women so he wouldn't have a family. The men expressed horror at this, as it would also deprive him of other carnal pleasures, something men in this series value.
    • In some translations she suggests to castrate him - which would be way OOC, but would explain utter horror on their faces better.
  • The Chew Toy: the entire supernatural realm is gunning for Misao's flesh and blood, and they're not shy about it.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Kyo can slip into this at times.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: Misao becomes the 'bride of prophecy' on this date. Poor girl.
  • Death by Childbirth: Apparently the fate of Misao if she gives birth to her unborn child.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kyo's father disappeared from the village after he unintentionally drove his wife, Kyo's mother, to suicide.
  • Duel to the Death: Kyo and Sho.
  • Enfant Terrible: Kyo has a nightmare of walking in on his yet unborn son eating Misao's corpse.
  • Erotic Eating: When Kyo buys an ice-cream cone for Misao he ends up getting some on his finger, and holds it up for her to lick. Ironically, the ladies watching the pair seem more interested.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Hoki, though he does open them on occasion.
  • Forced to Watch: Kyo is threatened with this more than once.
  • Friend to All Children: Kyou, surprisingly. There's a reason why he and Tarou get along really well.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. Misao's reason for not aborting her fetus is because doing so would likely set off events that would cause Kyo's death and her either rape at the hand of another clan, or being eaten alive.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Kyo can be an incredible Jerkass but he's the only thing standing between Misao and a messy death.
  • Hair Reboot: Justified in this case, as Misao gets hair extensions after her close shave with Sojo. Although she doesn't tell him, she does it because she notices Kyo looks sad everytime he sees her short hair.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Misao is tied up and encased behind a magic barrier while an evil Tengu gloats about being able to ravish her.
  • Ill Girl: Ayame.
  • Interspecies Romance: Demons and humans in love!
  • Intimate Healing: Poor Misao keeps getting attacked by other demons, and Kyo heals her wounds by licking them erotically. She's not wild about this. On the other hand, Misao can recharge the energies of the person she kisses, so she also gives this to Kyo more than once.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: The orphans in the Tengu village, who absolutely love Misao.
  • Hot for Student: Kyo gets a job as a teacher at Misao's school, the better to harass protect her.
  • Jerkass: Pretty much every male character in the series.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kyo can be a complete and utter Jerk Ass.... However, he does loves Misao, is willing to die for her and do anything to make her happy, and can be incredibly sweet and gentle to anyone smaller or weaker than himself (particularly children, which is why Tarou is so devoted to him).
  • Kick the Dog: A literal example: in his youth Sho beats a puppy to near death. In fact, Sho does a lot of Kicking The Dog. First off, Misao when she was a little girl, then Tarou and his brothers, then Misao again...
  • The Klutz: Subverted. Misao's classmates think she's one, but in reality she's always being tripped or bruised by invisible demons.
  • Meaningful Name: Kiyo, a snake demon. She is named after a a character from a folktale who turned into a serpent to murder her lover after being jilted.
  • Nice Guy: Dojouji Kensuke. Despite being a snake demon, Kensuke is quite possibly the only gentleman in a cast full of misogynist assholes in that he never lets his physical attraction to Misao override his concern for her feelings. Ironically, this is the very reason why he has no chance in hell of becoming her primary suitor.
  • Nice Guys Finish Last: Alas, poor Kensuke.
  • Perpetual Molt: Lampshaded: "Kyo's secret problem... He worries about losing his feathers..."
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Kyo wears glasses when in disguise as a teacher.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: Kyo hates sweets to the point that he almost becomes nauseous from a taste of ice cream, but he still forces himself to eat the cake that Misao made.
  • Sibling Triangle: Kyo, Misao and Sho. Kyo and Sho are brothers.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Kyo is a Misaosexual.
  • Schmuck Bait: Misao, they might as well be holding up a sign saying "THIS IS A TRAP" and you still fall for it!
  • Shrinking Violet: Misao. Not without reason.
  • Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Misao's blood and flesh, to demons.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Misao, you're the target of an entire realm of supernatural monsters and deities. So stop blindly following powerful demons into isolated places just because you think they'll tell you something more about Kyo!
  • Wife Husbandry: This is the backstory of Kyo's parents, with her being an orphaned seven-year-old and he being eighteen when they met. It is heavily implied that he only really fell in love with her after they were wed and had a couple of children, so when she was well into adulthood.
  • Winged Humanoid: Kyo and the rest of his Tengu entourage.
  • Villainous Crush:
    • Misao is a magnet for these.
      • Raikou has one on Misao. Lampshaded by Kyo, who points out that his desire to kill Kyo out of a hatred for demons has become 'illicit'. It's debatable whether Raikoh is actually a villain, or a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
      • Later in the series, Sho develops one of these. Also leads to a Sibling Triangle.
      • Kensuke is arguably the nicest character in the series, but he is still technically on the side of the villains. He has an extremely cute crush on Misao.
    • Kyo gets a fair few as well.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Gender-flipped. Don't touch Misao in front of Kyo. And only try to hurt her if you have a pretty sincere death wish which includes some fairly painful methods of dying.
  • You Taste Delicious: Several times, when Kyo kisses Misao or drinks her Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious blood. Also implied but not said when he licks a bit of ice cream from her mouth.
  • Youkai: Demon clans featured so far include Tengu (crow), Kitsune (fox), and Shirohebi (snake). Naturally, they're all packed to the gills with Bishōnen.