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Manga / BlazBlue: Remix Heart

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BlazBlue: Remix Heart is a prequel manga taking place before the start of the main series and is set at the NOL's military academy in the 15th Hierarchical City of Torifune when many of the characters were still students. It is drawn by famous Doujinshi artist, Sumeragi, and authored by writer for the BlazBlue games, Deko Akao, based on a story outline by the producer of BlazBlue, Toshimichi Mori. The story centers around Mai Natsume, a new student who had just arrived late due to a week absence and focuses on her interactions with her roommate Kajun Faycott and other major characters from the series including Noel Vermilion, Tsubaki Yayoi, and Makoto Nanaya, all of whom then make a posse together called Remix Heart. Other characters from the games do show up, but mainly as cameos. The series was serialized in a digital only magazine and ran for 24 chapters.

BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend includes a section named Remix Heart Gaiden containing two side-stories that take place during the early part of the manga. Remix Heart will be getting a sequel manga titled BlazBlue: Variable Heart written by Mori himself and illustrated by Sumeragi.

This series provides examples of

  • A-Cup Angst: Noel got struck with this a few times, such as when she tried to fit one of Miss Emma's bras. Made funnier later when Miss Emma suspected something weird when she sees Noel suddenly having large breasts. It isn't played as often as you'd expect it to be, though, considering she's basically surrounded by big breasts...
  • Art Initiates Life: In ch. 8, a drawing of Hakumen comes to life after Tsubaki draws on the Hypnagogia Grimoire. The drawing is imbued with the will of the grimoire to stop anyone bothering with it - which means Tsubaki, Noel, Makoto and Kajun. Thankfully though, the Hakumen drawing isn't that strong and is beaten by Makoto.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: In ch. 3, the watermelon seed that Noel swallowed gains a will of its own and tries to run to a blocked door while carrying Mai's friends. Subverted when Mai gains knowledge of what the watermelon wants: it wants the Evolutionary Grimoire so it can turn itself into a (honeydew) melon. (Because watermelons are technically a vegetable.)
  • Answer Cut:
    • In ch. 6, Mai wonders where the Azure Grimoire might be. Cut to a shot to someone in Torifune's woods... who's none other than teenage Ragna.
    • Extended version in ch. 12: Mai, due to her newfound power, has accidentally transferred someone's ability that she acquired to Taro with a Magic Kiss. When Noel wonders whose ability that might be, the scene cuts to Taro's room where his friends collapsed from eating Taro's food, and he himself followed as he tasted it himself. Then it cuts again to a scene a few hours after where Tsubaki realized whose ability it is: Noel's.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: There's a page in the first chapter where 2 of the 5 ladies display this in the shower; Makoto is closest to the 'camera', with Noel next, with both of them lacking nipples. Also happens in the end of ch. 12 where this happens to Shiori and Chachakaka.
  • Beach Episode: Occurs in ch. 7 where Team Remix Heart (and Jin and Taro) accidentally became a human ball and flung far away to a stranded island. They decide to have fun there for a bit after Jin called his friend for a chopper to take them up after a few hours.
  • Becoming the Mask: Mai tries to pass for a normal girl as she wants to keep her true identity a secret. As a result she deliberately uses feminine speech patterns (such as the first person pronoun "watashi" instead of the more masculine "boku" she had used as a boy) and generally attempts to act as a girl even though she considers herself to be a boy in a girl's body. Eventually however she comes to think of herself a girl.
  • Be Careful What You Say: In ch. 3, Makoto jokes to Noel that an eaten watermelon seed may grow out of her navel. It becomes serious when, due to them venturing to a place with thick concentrations of seithr, the seed actually does grow from Noel's navel, forcing them to try and find a solution.
  • Borrowed Without Permission: In ch. 9, when Noel comes up with the Ammit Cryas in her possession (as it's supposed to be kept in the school staff's room), she claimed that she "borrowed" it for her team's trip.
    Tsubaki: You went and "borrowed" it...
  • The Cameo: Ragna, Jubei, Hazama, Relius, Kagura and Kokonoe all make an appearance in at least one chapter. Meanwhile Mai and Kajun makes an appearance in CPEX, and Taro also gets a few mentions. The former two also appears in Makoto's Act 1 arcade (in her flashback) before Mai was confirmed playable and Kajun appearing in her arcade story.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: While the manga never gets very dark, the second half is a departure from the Slice of Life setup the manga started with and features a more serious plot.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: In ch. 2, at first it looks like Tsubaki's going to chew Mai, Makoto and Noel out for basically cheating on behalf of her to get her the "Izanami" title. But then she thanks them, noting that they all have tried to help her. And then Tsubaki does tell them not to do that again.
  • Clothing Damage: Happens often with the girl characters, but Mai gets the most of this.
  • Deep Cover Agent: There are three instances of this in the manga:
    • Miss Emma is secretly working for Kagura Mutsuki. She refers to herself as "Agent E" when talking to him on the phone.
    • Kajun is a Double Agent from Sector Seven who was sent to locate the Burning Red grimoire for Kokonoe as she wanted to use it as a power source for Iron Tager.
    • Both Shiori and Chachakaka are assassins who have enrolled at the Military Academy as students. Their mission is to assassinate Jin Kisaragi.
  • Demoted to Extra: While he isn't exactly an "extra", Jin (one of the protagonists in the games) is mostly a supporting character in this series.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Makoto tells Mai it's OK for girls to kiss girls—by which she means "forcibly, without their permission"—which no one disputes. Pushing the same logic to the extreme, Mai then figures that makes it OK to disguise herself as a guy (when at this point, she still considered herself male), sneak into girls' rooms, and suddenly kiss them to use her ability to read their thoughts. None of the girls make a big deal out of it because they all loved being kissed by a handsome stranger.
  • Dramatic Irony: In ch. 10 and 11, the team goes finding hints of the Azure Grimoire in the lower levels of the city, but in the end they only stumble upon a small fragment of it. But little did Mai knew that the guy she met when she's separated from the others (who got hounded by the "zombies" and ended up outside) had the Azure Grimoire with him.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Kagura debuts in this series in one chapter, quite a few months from his playable debut in BlazBlue: Chronophantasma.
    • Mai herself. The first chapter of Remix Heart was released in 2012, four years before she finally made it into the games proper.
  • Excited Episode Title!: Since the second volume, most chapter titles end with an exclamation mark.
  • Fanservice: Increased relative to the main series, though still tame compared to other ecchi manga. No nipples are ever shown and the most that happens is occasional groping between some of the girls.
  • Feet of Clay: Played for laughs in ch. 9 where Noel claims that she won't get her eyes stung by cutting onions because she cooks often. Right after that we see her getting teary-eyed from cutting onions.
  • Find the Cure!: a big subplot of the story involves the team trying to help Mai cure her super taste. In the end, as the No Name completely merges with her, her ability becomes essentially permanent - but the end of the last chapter has the team vows to keep trying.
  • First-Episode Twist: The first chapter plays Mai as an awkward schoolgirl around her friends. It is explained away as her being a sheltered girl and was hospitalized during the first school days. However, there's another, bigger reason revealed at the end... She actually was a guy. This twist then becomes one of the driving points of the story as a whole.
  • First Law of Gender Bending: Mai's condition is basically irreversible but she comes to accept it in the end.
  • Forbidden Zone: The lower elevation areas of the city is filled with thick seithr and is thus harmful to people. Our team naturally goes there a few times, trying to find grimoires.
  • Foreshadowing: Played with. The fact that Mai is from the Hazuki house of the Duodecim is revealed in ch. 2, but there's how Tsubaki, Jin and Kagura (also from the Duodecim) remark in different occasions that they've seen someone like her before. It does, however, lead to the Internal Reveal in ch. 23 that shows to them (mainly Tsubaki) that yes, she is Mai Hazuki.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Within the Remix Heart, Tsubaki is the cynic, Makoto the optimist, Kajun the realist, and Noel and Mai the conflicted.
  • Freudian Trio: A couple appears here. Aside from Tsubaki/Noel/Makoto, we have:
    • Mai as the Ego, Kajun as the Superego and Shiori as the Id.
    • Jin as the Superego, Akane as the Ego and Taro as the Id.
  • Furo Scene: Happens a couple of times, mostly involving the titular team. Censor Steam is also involved as well.
  • Hot Springs Episode: The Gaiden ch. 1 (part 2) is this. Kajun finds a hot spring in the middle of a forest and she and Mai takes rest there for a bit.
  • Hot Teacher: Miss Estella "Emma" McKenzie.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In ch. 9, a grimoire causes Mai to lose her memories of her school life and gets freaked out by her surroundings. She even blurts out that she's a guy to her friends, but they're just confused over her behavior. Only after she tastes her own tears, and later her close friends', that she goes back to normal.
  • Lethal Chef: Noel's "quality" is shown more here. Apparently, her cooking is so atrocious that Miss Emma uses it to punish anyone who didn't do their cleanup job well. Mai, however, notes that it tastes so awesome (because she can feel through the food that Noel pours all of her pure heart into it) that later she would eat nothing but her cooking. This is a running joke in the manga.
  • Lighter and Softer: The series is mostly a comical Slice of Life series compared to very dark atmosphere of the video games, though the second half does become more serious.
  • Loss of Identity: Mai constantly struggles with her gender identity throughout the manga. She enjoys the warm and fuzzy feeling that she gets from her new life, but at the same time she fears two opposite things: the time where the truth of her condition may be revealed to her friends (as they all wanted to "turn her to normal"), or the time where she "loses" her real self. Both of them are eventually resolved near the end of the manga.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: In ch. 8, Mai gets her mind accidentally transferred into the Hypnagogia Grimoire when she bled a bit from her finger when she holds it and instinctively licked it (because she has that super taste). Within that grimoire she experiences fantastic dreams as the pages of the book gets filled with her pictures... and when her friends found her lying down on the floor with the book, Kajun says that if it gets filled until the final page, Mai's mind will be trapped in there forever. Cue the team doing everything they can to get Mai out of the book. Her dream inadvertently turns into a nightmare when the projected memories of her friends meet her... and start fighting each other, while saying that they will fight anyone for her. Seeing her friends in such a state makes Mai realize that she really cares about them and she doesn't want them to get hurt because of her - and it makes her reject the dream world, finally freeing her from the grimoire.
  • Magic Mirror: The grimoire named Ammit Cryas takes form of this. It shows within the mirror the "true self" of the one holding it.note  But as Kajun noted, gazing at the mirror for too long may lead to you being absorbed into it. Noel herself instinctively feels that she shouldn't touch the thing.
  • Manipulative Bastard: During the first volume, Miss Emma is concerned by the fact that the team somehow finds/stumbles upon a number of grimoires pretty easily, and worries that someone is manipulating them. Turns out that she is correct, as Kajun deliberately makes the group go looking for grimoires, mainly using the search for a grimoire to cure Mai as an excuse (though she resorts to other methods, such as tricking the group into thinking that they needed to find a grimoire to win in a sports festival). She does that because her mission from Kokonoe was to find the Burning Red grimoire and she thus investigates any signs pointing to the presence of a grimoire in the hopes of finding it and uses her friends to help her without revealing what she's after.
  • The Matchmaker: Both times involving the whole Remix Heart team.
    • In ch. 2, Jin is selected (once again) as the year's "Izanagi" for the school festival. Tsubaki, naturally, wants to be the "Izanami" besides him; Kajun devises a plan that will carry Tsubaki through the Rock–Paper–Scissors game that is used to determine the winner. It worked well until the losing contestants talked about "the mysterious kisser" (Mai in disguise) they met the night before. Kajun steps in, trying to prove Tsubaki's innocence by taking on the rock-paper-scissors game with her... and then Kajun gets the title instead. But then Kajun basically says that getting the title shouldn't really matter (see Pyrrhic Victory below).
    • In ch. 18, the team suspects that Mai is lovestruck with Taro and decide to plan a date for them. It doesn't go as perfectly as expected, but in the end Mai does get to be with Taro and everyone's happy.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: In ch. 11, Ragna is doing some beating on the "zombies", but they keep coming up. He then goes to activate the Azure Grimoire... but then 2 zombies grab them from behind and throw him into the dust shoot.
  • Only One Who Likes Spam: Nobody likes Noel's cooking except for Mai, who can sense Noel's innocence and earnestness due to her "super-taste" powers, meaning it tastes "like heaven" to her.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Downplayed: It doesn't particularly harm Mai, but the fact she worries that her friends will reject her if they knew she had concealed the truth about who she is, does cause trouble for her as she keeps trying to maintain the image of a normal girl. When her secrets are finally revealed near the end, her friends don't really care and they still love her like before, giving her closure.
  • The Power of Friendship: Shown a number of times.
    • In ch. 6, the fact that Makoto goes out of the way to save Noel out of the antlion pit and then Mai trying to do the same for Makoto impresses the Guardian (who made the pit in the first place) so much, because other people came to his place looking for an object of desire, and all of them showed selfishness (like sacrificing their own friends to save themselves or abandoning them) which makes him got fed up with it; such that he offers to grant our team one wish. And our team gets their objective, the Conversion Grimoire, from him.
    • In ch. 8, Mai's friends' projected desire to save her from being trapped in her dreams (because of the Hypnagogia Grimoire) is what eventually saves Mai.
    • In ch. 23, the support and affection of her friends allows Mai to realize that her life isn't meaningless even if her father has seemingly rejected her and allows her to gain self-esteem, accept her current self and be happy as she is.
    • Discussed in Gaiden ch. 1 (part 2) where Mai is feeling down about herself because she can't be "perfect" and she thinks she's a burden to everyone. Kajun reminds her that nobody's perfect, and that's why people make friends - to help each other. She also recalls that Mai also has helped her friends before. Because of Mai's past, it really helps her becomes more confident with herself.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: All the members of Remix Heart are very affectionate with each other, but none of their feelings but Shiori's for Mai are treated as romantic. Despite close contact with girls initially flustering Mai, because she used to be a boy, she doesn't seem to be attracted to any of them.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • Inverted in ch. 2: Tsubaki loses the contest for determining the "Izanami" title for the school festival to Kajun (who didn't mean to win in the first place), but she noted that, in the previous year, Jin (as the "Izanagi") neglected the "Izanami" of previous year because he's so busy, and she predicts that Jin will be the same again this year. Which basically means Kajun saves Tsubaki from getting a Pyrrhic Victory. Later on Kajun herself just slacks off from being "Izanami" and Tsubaki just walks into the student council room and meets Jin by herself, readying to work as a student council member under him.
    • Also inverted in ch. 6; in the athletic contest, the titular team comes the last on finding their objectives... but Jin and Akane still give them the MVP title because other groups brought out frauds/facsimiles (i.e those whose objective was "Six Heroes" only brought with them paraphernalia of said heroes) while team Remix Heart brought a genuine grimoire, and all of those objectives are supposed to be impossible if done exactly. Behind them, however, Jin notes that, of all the objective cards given to the contestants, he doesn't recall one of them being a grimoire. This intrigues him and Miss Emma.
  • Seeks Another's Resurrection: In ch. 11, the guardians of the Adsequi Grimoire (aka the Grimoire of Pursuit) tells the story of the very first Student Council President who was very influential to the academy and later the NOL, until her beloved died; she then tirelessly pursued a way to resurrect the dead, until she comes across the grimoire, which absorbed her soul into it. Even after that, the girl is still trying to resurrect her beloved by manipulating the Azure, but she gets nothing but failures. In the end, it's revealed through Mai's ability that the soul of the girl's beloved is already right besides her, in the form of the flowers surrounding the statue (the grimoire). The girl, named Elina, is so happy to be reunited by her lover's soul that she releases herself from the grimoire and thanks Mai.
  • School Festival: Occurs in the second chapter.
  • School of No Studying: Most of the time, the team Remix Heart goes into adventure, "solving cases" and other things than doing schoolwork. It's slightly averted, however, e.g Mai finding some books in the library to study (which leads to the plot of the chapter) or 1-2 scenes of class activities.
  • School Sport Uniform: The team wears one during the athletics festival (ch. 5 and 6).
  • School Swimsuit: The team wears one in the opening color page of the volume 3, as well as the entirety of ch. 17.
  • Serious Business: In ch. 4, Mai takes "slacking off from cleaning duty" seriously because she'll get to eat Noel's cooking if she does.
    • In ch. 5, Makoto takes winning the athletics festival seriously. We see why later: apparently the rules say it's okay for each contestant to take down each other. And Kajun noted that some contestants in previous festivals who went on to find the objectives needed didn't come back.
    • In Gaiden ch. 1, Kajun takes the Torifune Yam they just found seriously. The yam is apparently rare and is very nutritious and can improve a girl's looks. Mai doesn't really get it, though, and notes that Kajun becomes "different" when it comes to this.
  • The Seven Mysteries: The team in Gaiden ch. 2 explores this. It comes to a stop, however, when they got trapped in an empty building with the Ars Magus security barrier suddenly activating, with Jin (who intends to stop them once he knows they're there). But at least they come to know one mystery - the building has apparently come to life and tries to keep our group and Jin inside because it was lonely (because most of the students are leaving for vacation for 3 days). When Kajun reported this to Kokonoe, the latter says that it must've been the Evolution Grimoire the team found some time ago. She said that someone must've sealed the grimoire there, but she isn't sure who.
  • Second Law of Gender-Bending: Mai's life significantly improves after being turned into a girl, though gender was largely incidental. Originally, she was under the thumb of her harsh and domineering father who forced her to work and study all the time, prevented her from having friends and demanded from Mai to be perfect in everything. Turning female lead Mai to the academy, where she made close friends she could feel comfortable around.
  • Ship Tease: Jin & Tsubaki, even more so than the main series considering the former hasn't devolved into his homicidal, insane self yet and the latter's crush on him is even more blatant.
    • There's also Taro and Mai, particularly after their Accidental Kiss and she develops a crush on him for the remainder of the series.
  • Shower Shy: Mai initially had a hard time adjusting herself to looking at naked female bodies normally, being prone to blushing and occasional nosebleeds.
  • Slice of Life: While there is an overarching plot, it's about wacky high school hi-jinks for the most part.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Shown in ch. 11 regarding laundry: Makoto the slob (coming from a less privileged family) likes the washing part but not the folding part, while Tsubaki the snob (coming from a high noble house) says that folding clothes feels so relaxing, and Noel has a similar view like Tsubaki's. Kajun is a different kind of snob: she's so spoiled that she doesn't do her laundry - instead she has Mai do it. Even for her undies.
    Kajun: The necessity for laundry is...
    Noel, Tsubaki and Makoto: WATER!!
  • Speak of the Devil:
    • In ch. 2, before the school festival starts, our protagonists are discussing the previous year's "Izanagi" (i.e the title given to the star of the festival, along with "Izanami"), but they don't namedrop anyone until said "Izanagi" stumbles upon them: Jin.
  • Super Gender-Bender: The Nameless Grimoire made Mai's body female to merge with her, but this also let her access its power. By letting it merge with her fully, Mai is able to use its full potential, at the cost of the transformation becoming completely irreversible.
  • Super-Senses: With the power of the Nameless Grimoire (aka No Name), Mai can taste something and then gain information regarding that thing or the person who made it. This ability has helped her and her friends numerous times. She views this as a curse, though, because she also cannot eat normal food because of it - but this same ability also allows her to stomach Noel's cooking because she only feels Noel's sincere love from the food.
  • Theme Naming: Most of the chapter titles has "The Case of" ("...Jiken!" in Japanese) on them. It refers to how the titular team is a "detective team". This also applies to the bonus chapters in CPEX.
  • Third Law of Gender-Bending: Mai is mentally affected by her transformation into a girl, or at least from spending a long time under a female (and deliberately feminine) identity. Mai gradually becomes more comfortable with being surrounded by girls and acting in a feminine manner: she stops thinking herself as being different from the girls surrounding her, is no longer embarrassed at being hugged by her friends and starts to hug them herself to show affection and she becomes willing to cry in front of others. The realization that she has fallen in love with a boy actually causes her to conclude that she has become female in both body and mind, which in turn leads to an identity crisis as she worries that she is no longer the person she was before her transformation into a girl. This is resolved near the end of the manga when Mai decides that she doesn't care if she has changed as she is happy living the way she is.
  • Title Drop: "Remix Heart" was first namedropped in ch. 2 by Kajun as the name of their group. Then much later, ypher reveals that a perfect combination of a grimoire and a person will create a "Remix Heart", an item that is a main component of his desired creation, the Crimson Grimoire.
  • Trans Equals Gay: Falling in love with a guy is definitive proof to Mai that she's completely become a girl in mind, not just body. The idea Mai could identify as a boy anyway, or have already liked guys when she was male, is never considered.
  • Two-Teacher School: The only teachers we ever see in the school are Miss Emma and Professor Cypher Albar.
  • Weather-Control Machine: The Regulation Grimoire introduced ch. 7 acts as one for the whole academy. In that chapter, the thing gets broken, causing fluctuating weathers (snowy in one region and hot in another) and our team gets to fix it.
  • When He Smiles: The usually cold Jin lets out some smiles occasionally towards Tsubaki.
  • Yon Koma: The manga has them as omakes where they all made fun of the things happening in the manga itself.