We all know that a lot of the booty of the golden age of explorations made it into museums. The British Museum in the C.M.B. story, which had custody of the recondite scientific curiosities and artefacts collected by explorer/adventurers and stored in a Wunderkammer, decided to study the dusty arcana in the 19th century. Three investigators dubbed the "Magi" were appointed to do the research, each given a ring embossed with the letters C.M.B.
Fast-forward to present-day Japan where Sakaki Shinra is the curator of a museum of oddities. He now has possession of the C.M.B. rings, indicating that he has been granted the status of guardian of knowledge like the Magi that preceded him.
Created by Motohiro Kato, creator of Q.E.D., C.M.B is about Teen Genius Shinra Sakaki solving cases mostly revolving on history, archeological work, and his relationship with his newfound classmates. Like his cousin Touma in Q.E.D, he is often accompanied with an Action Girl, Nanase Tatsuki, who helped him get into a normal school.
The series ended its publication in August 6th 2020 after running since October 2005, with 45 volumes released.
C.M.B. provides examples of:
- Action Girl:
- Nanase, who with Kana can thrash the whole squad of desert raiders empty-handedly.
- And now they fight gun-toting diamond-smuggling mafia led by tyrants. In a church. And its rooftop. Almost empty-handedly.
- Nanase also wiped out a Hong Kong man's (implied to be The Triad) bodyguard when the man they escort tried to extort Shinra out of a charm he just got.
- Achievement In Ignorance: Nanase managed to make a human-powered airplane fly with her strength, despite that it is not aerodynamically feasible for said airplane to fly. They crash immediately after Shinra points it out.
- Always Murder: Downplayed Trope. This manga is more about archaeological work than crime-solving work, but Shinra has seen his share of murder because of said archaeological works. In fact, the first case in this series happens because one person refused to trade their art collection with the other art collector, and their arguing resulted in one person's death.
- Asshole Victim: Several times.
- Professor Said, the academic who insists on keeping any development off the Nazca Lines. The Peruvians are willing to listen to him at first, but it all goes downhill when he, a Spaniard, actually says, "The Nazca Lines are mine," to the Peruvians' faces. As if that's not insulting enough, he even invites Shinra to Peru to adjudicate the problem without consulting the locals first. Sure enough, no court in Peru would convict the murderer.
- Lasmin, the Woman Scorned character that Shinra encounters in Bali. She spreads rumors among the Balinese that Kutud, the girlfriend of a guy she wants to steal, is a Leyak, a Balinese evil spirit. When that doesn't work because people already know she's a bitch, she outright tries to murder Kutud. When that still doesn't work, she tries to leave town, only to be found by a local doctor. The doctor tries to persuade her to surrender, even providing her with food and lodging while she is hiding, but instead she tries to sleep with him while repeatedly telling him Kutud is a Leyak. The doctor is so affronted by her actions that he ends up pushing Lasmin off a cliff.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Shinra is fucking ruthless when you damage something he cares about.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mao. Her age and appearance of a grade-schooler helps.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Downplayed Trope. Shinra only has eyes for good piece of arts and history (and maybe Nanase), and can be really hardheaded and uncooperative is his expertise is not paid. He even sulked when a Client Of The Week comes bearing cake (as is the norm in Japanese culture) instead of an interesting piece for his museum.Shinra: Lion has its claws, and eagle its talon. I have my skills and expertise, and it'd be weird if I use them freely without any recompense for myself.
- Catchphrase: Shinra has two: "Entrance beyond this point requires admission fee", and when said fee is paid, "Welcome to Wunderkammer."
- My God, even for a kid, Shinra is 'out' there, although not as weird as his cousin Sou. It's implied that it's because of his life in solitude, and he is getting better after interacting with people around his high school and Nanase's family.
- It's not like his fathers are better, even though they are three top people of their specialty and was once become The Chosen Many of the British Museum's knowledge preserver (also known colloquially as the Magus/Wise Men).
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: More like Crouching Twit Hidden Badass, but Nanase acts like an insufferable ojou in the early chapters although she can kick more ass than any Interpol Agent.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Mao. Her debut chapter has her being/acting cute and all to get Shinra's authentication on a Gutenberg Bible page.
- The Dreaded: The only ones shown smarter than Shinra are his three fathers and his cousin Sou Touma (who graduated from MIT's Mathematical Dept. before age 15). He even said that trapping a tyrant and being intimidated on gunpoint is better than dueling wits with Sou.
- Equivalent Exchange: Shinra only willing to help if you promised him something, since his service as C.M.B. Magi is highly regarded and accurate. Even Nanase found this kid a tough kid to crack, although promising him something mundane but interesting is quite fine.
- Friend to All Living Things: Shinra. He can call birds into his arms and catch rare sea creature. And call a whale to a beach.
- Shinra is one to his cousin, Sou Touma. While both has similar approach to solve a problem, and similar high, if fair, esteem in their skills, Shinra is a happy-go-lucky boy that have no problem openly expressing his views, while Sou is more level-headed and prefers the subtle, yet pointed approach when communicating his thoughts (when he decides to do so anyway).
- Conversely, Nanase is one to Kana. While both are Action Girls in their own rights, Kana prefers fighting with weapon as her school's Kendo Club Ace, while Nanase is adept in barehanded fighting as the local Aikido Dojo Ace. Kana is also a daughter of a middle-class household that often feels amazed with the upper class treatment given by Sou's friends and acquaintances, while Nanase is a granddaughter of a local upper-class family whose parents decided to live as a middle-class family by operating a public bathroom.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: The Gravitational Cognizance variant, as pointed in the Achievement In Ignorance entry above. The flying, albeit non-aerodynamic Nanase-powered plane fell after Shinra completely pointed out the flaw of the plane.
- Half-Identical Twins: A case took Shinra to Hongkong and involves a pair of Dragon-Phoenix Twins (the most blessed twins in Chinese Culture)
- Implausible Deniability: In chapter 'Confession', after killing the victim, he deluded himself that someone else did it since there was no bloodstain at the crime scene and only enters the victim's house to steal. He did tries to confess for his crimes, assuming that he would be proven innocent for the lack of evidence. Unfortunately, Shinra proves it that he's really the killer and uses a certain trick. Shinra evens wakes the killer up for his delusion and atone for it.
- Improbable Age:
- Shinra is one, holder of not one, but all, C.M.B. rings and curator of a Museum of the Strange and Unusual at the age of 14.
- Mao Sygal is another, antique black market broker that handles millions of dollar, yet looks even younger than Shinra.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Shinra never went to school, and it was Nanase's dad who got him into one.
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Mou (secretly) paid for one of her henchman's mom surgery, the surgery being the main motivation of said henchman (accidentally) involving Mou in a murder case. When asked by her secretary, she pointed out that the whole experience is a hassle and she'd rather pay for the surgery than to be involved in another case because of the henchman.
- Let Them Die Happy: "The Quilt" has an old woman desperate for Shinra to find the meaning of a quilt a dear childhood friend she had grivously betrayed years ago before she dies. When Shinra finds out that it led to a message saying "Dear my beloved Mary, I really just cannot forgive you", the woman is already on her deathbed. Shinra chooses to omit the second half of the message when giving her closure.
- Like Brother and Sister: Shinra is like Tatsuki's little brother (with visible age difference to boot), yet everyone always ask if he's her boyfriend.
- MacGuffin: C.M.B. ring, with one you can get almost infinity funding for any research. Then it's hinted that this might be why the Magi choose Shinra as their successor, they don't want the ring falls into the wrong hands.
- Manchild: Nanase's grandfather can act like this and pretty much on the same wavelengths with Shinra, although when it comes to his school, he can be a Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Mishmash Museum: Downplayed Trope, because he is a trained curator and (at least spiritually) the British Museum's The Chosen One, so he knows how to categorize his pieces. Nevertheless, there's only one room in his museum (plus a balcony after renovation), so that one room contains a T-Rex fossil, a Sumerian golden statue, a dried poisonous frog, and whatever he wants to show.
- Museum of the Strange and Unusual: Hoo boy, even his friends are weirded out in the beginning.Shinra: This is a museum! I show important pieces of history. If you only want to see beautiful thing, go to an art gallery!
- Mushroom Samba: This trope is revealed to be the reason how several researcher reported an ancient, moving wooden minotaur statue: it was used to farm hallucinogens mushroom, and they accidentally ingested it.
- Never My Fault: In 'Sports Ground', the school baseball coach does this. When the baseball team isn't doing so well despite having their star baseball player, the coach, who was having his final year before retiring, decides to force the baseball team to quit using 21st Century rule so that he could get into a famous baseball team to the point making them destroy the school baseball field by making it too muddy to play. When Shinra and Nanase, who heard their story, suggest to report regarding the matter, they worried that the coach would pulled the trope above and lies that the team did it on their own. Sure enough, after tricking him into re-accepting everyone in the baseball club, he did that but was futile when Shinra provides evidence. The principal fires the coach for his own greed and promise him that he'll find a successor to him.
- Obfuscating Stupidity
Nanase: Because here I'm known as a good-natured student, you know.Shinra: Good-natured?Nanase: It means I never act aggressive!
- Since Nanase took school in a very prestigious school, she bound to do this, while she's actually full blown Action Girl at heart.
- Mao can act very cute and ignorant to crime spree around her, yet she's most likely the Girl Behind the Man.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: Shinra, Mao, and Nanase investigated a small hall with a Hydraulis/Water Organ (precursor to the pipe organ powered by hydraulic pressure), reportedly cursed. It's even more sinister than that, as it turns out that the Hydraulis was made to entrap and kill whoever occupy its village with oxygen deprivation.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: He has good enough knowledge of many fields, and it's supposed to be this way since he bears the title of someone supposedly guarding the world's knowledge. The ones shown the most, however, are related to world history.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Shinra in "The Quilt" chapter does not express any sign of happiness nor satisfaction when he finally solves a complicated puzzle requiring him to travel to the Great Britain.
- Poor Communication Kills:In one case this ruined a friendship. Luckily it was resolved.
- Rags to Riches: Nanase's parents' backstory; his dad, a commoner, ended up with her mom, a heir of multinational company, whose dad only allowed if their daughter (Nanase) is get schooled at certain school.
- Ship Tease: While not as frequent as their counterparts in Q.E.D., Shinra and Tatsuki have had a few He Is Not My Boyfriend moments. Also, in chapter 44 Shinra exclaims "Not allowed!" when Tatsuki's grandpa jokingly suggests that Tatsuki take an accomplished young doctor as a fiance. Tatsuki initially blushes at this reaction before clonking Shinra on the head.
- Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Granted that Shinra's job does have him travel to other countries from time to time, the number of times Shinra & (especially) Nanase travel abroad can be quite excessive.
- Shown Their Work: Par with Q.E.D., this manga showcases Motohiro's work on various subjects.
- Smug Snake: Manji Igaki from "Treehopper." He was an arrogant scammer and persuasive speaker who had been committing fraud since college and was in a way to promotion against his senior in a reverse consultation firm. He thought that his so-called genius plan of making a false certificate to make his rival quit the firm went perfectly, but unbeknownst to him, his plan was used by someone else to embezzle money from the company and he took the blame as a prime suspect for it since falsifying said certificate put him in the most plausible position to transfer the money. He, out of pride because he refused to acknowledge someone outsmarted him, then take the blame and admitted guilt to the embezzlement he never committed while the real culprit got away.
- Teen Genius:
School Chairman: He's very fluent in British English and has also mastered 5 other languages including Latin. His Maths, Physics, and Chemistry knowledge is at university level. History, Geography, and Biology are even higher than that.
- Shinra. He's only 14. Not that shows, as he looks and acts like a grade schooler.
- And again, Mao. She looks even younger than Shinra (and implied to be similar in age), but her historical, linguistic, acting, and business skill is impeccable.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Shinra, again.