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Manga / Blue Seed

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Blue Seed is (loosely) based on the Izumo cycle of Japanese mythology and the tale of the god Susanoo and the eight-headed monster Yamata no Orochi. The original manga was written by Yuzo Takada and published in Comic Ganma from 1992 to 1996. A 26 episode anime adaptation aired from 1994 to 1995.

Momiji Fujimiya, a normal middle school girl, is one day stopped on her way to school by a cat eyed man with greenish hair and magatama beads (read: blue seeds) who calls her "Kushinada" and then tries to kill her. Momiji is saved by the sudden appearance of two government officials, one of whom shoots the man in the arm and sends him fleeing.

Momiji is intrigued as to why she was referred to as "Kushinada". She discovers that "Kushinada" refers to an ancient princess whose blood holds the power to stop the ancient monsters known as Aragami by sending them to an eternal sleep. Momiji dismisses the idea that she could be such a person, despite the fact she lives with her mother and grandmother in a shrine in Izumo. However, she soon changes her mind after vines begin to appear from every crack and opening attempting to capture her as they whisper "Kushinada".

Momiji tries to escape, not knowing that the vines are being employed by a powerful Aragami known as Orochi. Fortunately, she is saved by the man with the magatamas embedded into his hands, who introduces himself as Mamoru Kusanagi. He confronts Orochi using Momiji as bait. The plan fails and the government officials appear again. They reveal themselves to be members of the Terrestrial Administration Center (TAC for short), and manage to subdue Orochi. However, with the last of its strength, it makes a final attempt on Kusanagi.

Momiji saves Kusanagi by taking Orochi's blow. Impaled by the Aragami, instead of dying, she is instead fused with the magatama, more specifically identified as a mitama, which gives Momiji the ability to sense the presence of other Aragami. The TAC agents explain that they are an organization dedicated to defeating the Aragami, who seek to destroy humanity. The current Kushinada, Momiji, must aid them because the other Kushinada, Momiji's twin sister, is thought to be dead. Momiji, wishing to discover more about the twin sister she never knew and also to fulfill her destiny, agrees to join the TAC under the protection of Kusanagi, who wishes to destroy his former masters, the Aragami.

The story becomes increasingly complex with the appearance of Murakumo, a man with eight mitamas who kills any Aragami he comes across for his own personal reasons. Kusanagi repeatedly attempts to kill Murakumo. Then Momiji's twin Kaede reappears along with a strange energy field in Tokyo, and Murakumo and Kaede's plans soon become clear - they intend to resurrect the god Susano-oh and purify the world of humanity's influences, with Kaede acting as the leader of the movement.

There is also a three episode OVA, Blue Seed Beyond (also known as Blue Seed 2), which takes place two years after the end of the TV series. It concerns what seems to be a resurgence of aragami (actually created via biotechnology), and introduces a new character, Valencia Tachibana. Like Kusanagi, she was implanted with a mitama without turning into a full aragami. That last paragraph was copied to 2010-02-15.

Also has nothing to do with the "sour, yet refreshing" spice from the Lost in Blue games.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Whereas many anime Overtook the Manga, the manga for Blue Seed was only two volumes, so the anime added some episodes focusing on the characters. The fact that there were also Aragami attacks kept these from being outright Filler.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: An odd example; in this setting, the Japanese archipelago was all but uninhabitable several thousand years ago, and the first inhabitants created the Arigami to all but Terraform the place. Their current rampages are thus as much a Zeroth Law Rebellion as Gaia's Vengeance.
  • Alien Blood: Aragami and aragami hybrids like Mamoru have green blood. Mamoru is an extreme case; not only is his blood(and hair) green due to the amount of chlorophyll in it, his skin is orange due to massive amounts of carotene - which, as the name implies, is mostly found in carrots.
  • Anticlimax: In the OVA, the Big Bad goes down with a few gunshots, despite looking a lot tougher than that.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: As Aragami are only tiny little seeds possessing host bodies, the seeds have to be destroyed in order to actually kill the thing for good.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Aragami tend to make giant versions of their host for their attacks. This includes insects, a Giant Spider, mutated trees, jellyfish and more.
  • Badass Driver: Matsudaira in the OVA. She pulls some stunt driving moves in San Francisco that terrify Sugishita and throw Koume around in the back seat.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Momiji uses one in episode 3 when she thinks she needs to make a break for it from Kunikida's place.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Used... interestingly. Rather than give Kusanagi bushy eyebrows, he ends up with four normalish ones. This is lampshaded in an omake.
  • Book Ends: The first and final omakes end with the same scene: Momiji blasting the heck out of Kusanagi and Kunikida.
  • Brick Joke: The first omake has Kunikida buying sexy pictures of the TAC girls from Kusanagi, with the ones of Momiji still being developed. Then Momiji shoots them with a machine gun. In the thirteenth and final omake, those photos are finally developed and seen just before Momiji again shoots them with a machine gun.
  • Bring My Red Jacket: Kusanagi, though the blood thing doesn't fit so much, since his is green.
  • Broken Bird: Kaede. She apparently had her Face–Heel Turn because the TAC used her abilities but never saw her as a person. Specially her adoptive father, Kunikida.
  • Clothing Damage: Lampshaded in an Omake Theater, as to where Kusanagi gets all of his red coats that are constantly being torn up.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Lampshaded in episode 3 of Omake Theatre. "The background was drawn on an animation cel! How many anime characters have died because they failed to recognize it?"
  • Cool Old Lady: In episode 12 of Omake Theatre, Momiji's grandma goes clubbing.
  • Cultural Translation: The Creature-Hunter Organization would be more appropriately translated as the "National Land Management Bureau" or NLMB - the group's In-Universe reputation is a bunch of paper pushers, and the Masquerade keeps most from knowing about the Arigami until the final story arc. However, Western audiences expect a group of monster hunters to have an appropriately grandiose name, hence their official title of "Terrestrial Administration Center" or TAC.
  • Day in the Limelight: Each TAC member gets an episode, usually for Character Development.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Momiji hums the ending in an omake.
  • Disappeared Dad: Momiji's father is never shown nor mentioned throughout the entire series.
  • Downtime Downgrade: Subplot of the Blue Seed 2 OVA series epilogue. In the opening of the first episode Momiji and Kusanagi's relationship is heavily on the rocks, with Momiji outwardly worrying that Kusanagi will break up with her. She even tries to sleep with him at one point and he rejects her, calling her a kid. The rest of the OVA deals with the subplot of Kusanagi trying to deal with the fact that his body could be dangerous for Momiji, should they become more intimate. At the end of the second episode of the OVA it's clear that while Kusanagi will continue to date Momiji, and that they definitely love each other, the relationship itself is still in shaky ground. However it's shown that both are growing to overcome this, so the trope is Downplayed.
    • Koume and Yaegashi also suffered this, but the two reconcile and even make plans to get engaged by the end of the second episode.
  • Everybody Is Single: At the start of the series. This is gradually subverted as the relationships start forming.
  • Gag Dub: The monster movie omake, at least in the English version, was a take on old, poorly-dubbed kaiju films.
  • Godiva Hair: Sakura's mom. During the scant split-seconds her hair flicks out of the way, she has Barbie Doll Anatomy, thought this is probably a side-effect of fusing with the Aragami.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: A running gag involves Momiji displaying a different animal on the seat of her underwear when she does her Panty Shot. The other characters maintain a betting pool on just what's going to show up on her panties any given day.
  • Gratuitous English: The shift in Sakura's pronunciation from "Mommy" (American) back to "Mama" (Japanese—Engrish, but still Japanese) actually marks an important turning point in one episode.
  • Green Aesop: Given the enemies and theme, the characters will occasionally discuss subjects such as man's effect on the environment and the importance of nature.
  • Head Desk: Done twice by Momiji by accident in episodes 3 and 4 as a result of bowing too deeply. The first time is on an actual desk, the second on the barrel of a bazooka where she knocks herself silly.
  • Hellish Pupils:
    • Kusanagi's are slitted like a cat's. Lampshaded in one of the omakes.
    • Murakumo's have the whites and the pupils inverted, colorwise, in one form.
  • Hot Springs Episode: The third OVA episode, in which the team must deal with a bomber and some monkeys.
  • Human Resources: In episode 19, Kaede and Murakumo turn an entire town's worth of people into mitama to supplement Susana-Oh's growth.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Kusanagi and Murakumo, though in the case of the later, it's dealing with rouge Monster of the Week types going against the master plan.
  • Idol Singer: One episode has a contest for it, that Momiji is tricked into entering. It's actually justified because her voice actress is also a singer.
  • The Imperial Regalia: The Imperial Regalia of Japan provide names and imagery throughout the series — see the entry for Meaningful Name below, for one example.
  • Informed Flaw: Matsudaira claims to have been a bad wife and a worse mother, but her son and ex-husband seem to hold her in high regard.
  • In-Series Nickname: Koume "The Hurricane" Sawaguchi. Momiji is referred to by more than one character as "Sacrifice Girl" throughout the series, most frequently by Sakura, whom herself has a bit of difficulty with the Japanese language and will accidentally refer to her as "Orifice Girl".
  • Just Eat Gilligan: A fairly major plot point in the series. If Momiji croaks under normal circumstances, the Arigami go away, and several individuals and groups in the series are attempting to do just that; especially since if she dies within a specially-designed field of "ceramic", the Arigami won't be affected at all. However, aside from the ethical complications of human sacrifice, there's the tiny little fact that the Arigami only became a threat after millennia of dormancy when Momiji and Kaede were born; they were defeated in the past and came back anyway. There's also the implication that the Arigami may be the only thing keeping the Japanese archipelago habitable. Throughout the series, it's seen as the "easy but dangerous and unethical" option and in the final story arc the government snaps up Momiji and nearly goes through with it. Given how high the death toll has gotten by that point Momiji doesn't resist, and it takes a severe Get A Hold Of Yourself Man lecture from her comrades to get her back to finding a real solution.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Most of the TAC groans or even vacates the room from Kunikida's puns, though at least one got an Actually Pretty Funny response from them.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the fifth omake, Momiji hums the ending credits theme.
  • Limited Wardrobe: One omake has Matsudaira wondering why Kusanagi always wears the same clothes and if he ever takes them to be cleaned. This is even more amusing when you consider that Kusanagi's trademark red coat tends to get literally torn into small pieces during his transformations, yet in the next episode it is usually seen again, undamaged.
  • Married to the Job: Matsudaira. There's an entire episode surrounding how her work is pulling her away from her son.
  • Meaningful Name: Kusanagi Mamoru. Mamoru mean "to protect," and Kusanagi is the holy sword of the Japanese emperors, which apparently once belonged to Susano-o. It means the grass cutting sword (long story). Murakumo, the cloud cluster sword, is another name for the same sword and is the name of another character. He's trying to kill Kusanagi.
    • Also in the second episode, Momiji (whose name means maple leaf) leaves little maple-leaf shaped pastries for the TAC team in order to endear them to her.
  • Medium Awareness: One omake has Kunikida and Takeuchi explore the perils of animation cells.
  • The Mole: Kaede had been playing the Aragami from the start: She always intended to hijack the end-of-the-world ritual to renew the Earth's resources instead.
  • Monster of the Week: The show has more of a slant towards this in the beginning, with a new Aragami popping up, causing havoc and getting killed. As the climax starts building in the latter half, they are used a bit more sparingly with more long-term plot significance.
  • Mysterious Protector: Kusanagi, at least after the first two episodes when he comes to accept that killing Momiji is something he just can't do.
  • Narrator: Katsunosuke Hori narrates the anime adaptation.
  • No Dress Code: Outfits in the office run the gamut from reasonable suit and tie to Koume's pink jumpsuit.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Happens between Blue Seed 1 and Blue Seed 2 for Koume and Yaegashi. Momiji directly asks Koume at one point why they broke up, to which Koume replies that she and Yaegashi had been talking about getting married and having kids, with the inference that Yaegashi may have proposed. She got got cold feet and broke it off, even going so far as to transfer divisions and relocate in order to get away. After Momiji cries that if Koume loves him then it's the right thing to do, Koume reconsiders and by the end of the episode she accepts his proposal, telling him to get her a ring "worth at least three month's salary."
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Normally not a concern of the Aragami, but episode 7 revolved around their attempts to gain more of the special ceramic needed to nullify Momiji's powers.
  • Omake: Thirteen shorts poking fun at the show, and some animation conventions.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Yaegashi's computer program to predict the weakness of enemies can also be used to figure out what kind of panties Momiji would be wearing that day. She was unamused.
  • Raised by Dudes: Inverted by Yaegashi, whose father was high up in the Defense Ministry and was never home, thus leaving him to be raised solely by his mother and two older sisters.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: One of the Omake shorts makes the series look like a Toku Kaiju film. The English dub even has intentional crappy voice acting and lip-synching.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Yaegashi's first time with a rocket launcher. He can't find the safety and ends up doing the old "peer down the barrel" bit. It's something when Momiji is able to use it better than he can.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Momiji's twin sister was no longer available to be used to quell the problem, so the job fell to her.
  • The Rival:
    • Kusanagi and Murakumo, both acting as protector to their chosen person. It takes until the final episodes before Kusanagi is strong enough to finally give Murakumo a run for this money. Before then, he could barely land a hit.
    • Yaegashi thinks he's this to Kusanagi for Momiji.
  • Running Gag:
    • Once an Episode Momiji's underwear gets exposed, along with the cute picture of a cartoon animal on them, much to her embarrassment.
    • Also, less frequently, Kusanagi teasing Momiji about her chest size.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Kusanagi once had to revive Momiji with CPR. She spends the episode fretting if it counted as this or not.
  • Science Hero: Matsudaira and Yaegashi both fall into this trope (as the science and technology experts respectively). They prove their worth by assessing, researching, and executing effective ways to kill the Aragami.
  • Shipper on Deck: Koume ships Kusanagi/Momiji and Matsudaira ships Ryoko/Kunikida.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Apparently, going all out with mitama powers gives you really big shoulder armor.
  • Soul Jar: The mitama, which are essentially the physical form of the Aragami and house their spirits.
  • Spoiler Opening: If Kaede is supposed to be dead, why does she keep showing up in the opening credits?
  • Team Mom: Azusa Matsudaira, interestingly also explored in that she openly admits that she's a horrible mother to her young son Jun.
  • Theme Naming: Besides the Meaningful Names, every important character is named after trees. The twins Kaede and Momiji are named by two words for the same tree, the maple.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Yaegashi whines throughout the second episode that he's the only person in the TAC to not be addressed with an honorific, specifically "san" ("Mr."). He tries correcting his teammates on this several times, but they all brush him off. This becomes a plot point again in another early episode when he complains that no one in the TAC respects him or takes him seriously.
  • Title Drop: The term "blue seed" is used to refer to the Aragami's physical form for a few episodes before the term "mitama" becomes commonplace.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Obey the government's direct orders to sacrifice Momiji, or go rogue to defeat the Aragami using a yet-to-be-determined alternative?
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: It's really amazing how many bad things happen there, and no wonder why at the end of the series, America has sent a fleet to just put it out of its misery.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Yoshiki Yaegashi starts out as a wimpy computer nerd, but mans up by the end of the series and gets the girl - Koume Sawaguch that is.
  • Two-Act Structure: The first 13 episodes are standard Monster of the Week fare that serves to set up the premise and flesh out the characters. Once Kaede pops back up, the remaining 13 episodes has things get darker and focuses on setting up for the finale.
  • Universal Driver's License: Valencia can pilot a helicopter without any supervision. She's 16.
  • Unusual Ears: Murakumo's are pointed, as are Valencia's.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Kaede and Susano-oh's goal is to turn Japan into a green, unpolluted paradise... by turning all the humans into plants. Not really. Kaede had her own plans.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 13. Momiji comes to accept that she's in love with Kusanagi. The Aragami are revealed to have a plan and successfully resurrect their god Susano-oh. Also, Kaede is revealed to be alive and having joined the Aragami.