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Manga / Culdcept

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The manga series based on Culdcept, a card-based videogame. The manga was drawn by Shinya Kaneko and serialized in Japan by Kodansha in Magazine Z, and collected in six bound volumes. It is licensed in English by Tokyopop, and in Indonesia by Elex Media Komputindo.

The manga revolves around the adventures of Najaran, a Cepter (card-user) under the tutelage of master Cepter Horrowitz. With her worrywart companion, the sentient staff Goligan, she embarks on a journey save the Culdcept (the book which the goddess Culdra had kept all the cards in until the War of the Gods) from the Dark Cepters.


The Culdcept manga provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Brown: Najaran.
  • Ascended Fanboy: One of the minor characters appearing in the third volume, Talle/Tare, is based on the winner of one of Culdcept championships. In the finals he even beats Kaneko (who lost it due to getting four 1's consecutively in his diceroll).
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Goligan and his ilk are talking staffs.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The final battle in the Bistym Forest arc, versus Dark Master.
    • One of the minor characters in the Cepter's Guild mini-arc has a card named Colossus.
  • The Berserker: Zeneth does not distinguish much between foe and collateral. It is shown later that his battle strategy is basically throw as many destructive creatures and spells to his adversary. One of his creature cards is even named Berserker.
  • Berserk Button: Najaran does not like a cepter who mistreats or takes his/her summoned monsters for granted. Chimino found this out the hard way.
  • Big Eater: Najaran can eat most anything, in large quantities.
    • This becomes a bit of a Chekhov's Skill twice in the Bistym Forest arc, in which she ate a veritable forest of shrooms in the first trial and then determined the right dryad to capture on the second trial based on her self-taught skill of distinguishing good veggies from the bad.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Glubell's abode is this. Even her closet.
  • BFG: Some Mooks from the Damdam Group carry large musket-like firearms.
  • BFS: Averted for the most part, but in the battle between Najaran and Kigi, Knight (Najaran's summoned creature) sported this temporarily due to its attack and defense getting swapped.
  • Big Bad: Baltheas in The War of The Gods, the Dark Cepters in present day.
  • Big Good: Culdra, though she had not shown herself for a while. The Cepters' Guild in present day.
  • Combat Tentacles: one of the Dark Cepters uses multiple vines to wield multiple weaponry cards.
    • Endaness and Formalhaut (one of the Dark Cepters) both have tentacles, although only Endaness is shown to use them.
  • Cool Boat: Captain Cook's ship. It's a pirate sloop crewed by merfolk pirates... and it flies. Better still, it's a card.
  • Cool Old Guy: A few, notably Horrowitz and Ouen.
  • Doomed Hometown: Zeneth's hometown. Roca probably qualifies too (being the site of the first major Dark Cepter raid in the story), although none of the major characters hail from there.
  • Drunken Master: Gantz is much more dangerous and focused when drunk. When sober, he's a bit of a paranoid wreck due to battle-related trauma incurred when he was still a soldier defending Roca.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Kotetsu, a minor character.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Justified. Culdcept is the book in which Culdra inscribes the knowledge of the past, present and the future. In the War of The Gods, it was shattered by Culdra to stop Baltheas... taking with it the inscribed knowledge Culdra meant for the future. Pieces of Culdcept fell down to earth and becomes the cards, and they get experimented upon by alchemists, who in turn reverse-engineered the knowledge of the future to be built in more mundane means.
  • Fight Like a Card Player: Averted. Cepters do fight with cards, but the majority of people (including some Cepters) fight just as capably with more mundane means.
  • Five-Man Band: In the Bistym Forest arc, Najaran is part of such a group.
  • The Four Gods: One set each, both on the evil side and good. They both are the personifications of classical Western elements.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The Woodfolk are small walking tree-stumps which role in Bistym Forest is tenders of the forest.
  • Great Offscreen War: The War of The Gods, in which Baltheas is the Big Bad and opposed by Big Good Culdra.
  • Henpecked Husband: Captain Cook, a minor character with a pirate-and-sea-themed Book.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kigi near the end of the Bistym forest story arc.
  • Insufferable Genius: Hoakin. He did learn to be more humble by the end of his time with Alta, Najaran, and Gantz.
  • Jerkass: Chimino, Najaran's first adversary. He got better quite fast.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Hoakin. He knows many things, but those knowledge came from books and thus lacked practical use. Mostly.
  • The Last of Their Kind: Kigi and the elven elder.
    • Later on, we find out that Endaness is the last of the Water King Dagons.
  • Living Weapon: There are a trio of it in Glubell's mansion.
    • The Four Gods in this story are essentially living weapons themselves.
  • Master of Unlocking: Alta, who can open a prison padlock in 2,6 seconds.
  • The Mole: Goligan.
  • Mook: Many (character-wise or creature-wise), although the prime example is Najaran's Eidolons.
    • The Four Elemental Kings turn out to be mere Elite Mooks.
  • Mundane Utility: Najaran is not averse in using a creature summoned from cards to do housework. The Eidolons, Najaran noted, makes a good sponge for washing dishes.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Four Gods from the evil side, in general. They are named Dagon (water), Dark Master (earth/ground), Flame Lord (fire), and Beelzebub (wind).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In the Bistym Forest arc, Zeneth destroyed Old Willow with his tank, thus letting loose King of Ground Dark Master.
  • No Ending / Left Hanging: the manga stops at the point when the baddies obtain Endaness (returned into card form) and Flame Lord (by cutting off Zeneth's arm). It's presumably never finished.
  • Oh, Crap!: Glubell's scrying on the Migoals' headquarters, revealing that there are more than one Wind and Earth King. Meaning, those hard-as-nails-to-beat monsters are merely Elite Mooks.
  • Old Master: Horrowitz and Salvathor both are quite old when they start tutoring Najaran and Zeneth, respectively.
  • The Omniscient: Glubell is borderline this. She can 'read' the destiny (past, present, future) of an object or creature. Naturally, she can't read Najaran (and possibly Goligan, too).
  • Our Elves Are Different: Kigi's ilk. For one, they can turn into Dark Elves if the forest of Bistym gets tainted by human greed or otherwisely compromised; they get stronger, but they can't control their power.
    • A bit of a subversion too, because not everyone who had a pointy ear is an elf in this story.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: the Elder Dragons are decidedly western.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Chimino's goblins are notably larger and stouter, about what the average fantasy nut would expect from an orc.
  • Parental Abandonment: Najaran's father had a lot of debts and presumably left her with Horrowitz (he still showed up in flashbacks), and her mother is never shown.
  • Power Trio: Glubell, Horrowitz, and Salvathor (Zeneth's teacher) were once allied, of the Two Guys and a Girl variety. Cepter alliances like that are exceedingly rare; it is said that eventually greed will broke alliances between Cepters.
  • Red Baron: "Southern Tiger" Ouen. Many of the cepters in Cepters' Guild has nicknames too.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The reason that all the gargoyle statues in the lost city of Bistym is facing inward. King of Ground Dark Master is sealed there by Old Willow, which is powered by the elvenkind's constant sacrifice.
  • Shoutout:
    • To the Cthulhu Mythos — One of The Four Gods on the evil side is named Dagon, King of Water, and the tribe that worshipped the four of them is called the Migoal tribe.
    • One of the minor characters is named Tesla, and is Hoakin's main competitor in grades at school.
  • Suddenly Sober: Gantz, after Hoakin made him an alcoholic drink that tastes like disinfectant.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Talle/Tare is the biggest ambiguity, although in the Indonesian translation you can quickly spot which names are mistranslated.
  • Spirited Competitor: Dragon-eye Zeneth to Najaran.
  • Summon Magic: The most common application of the cards is to summon powerful creatures who will fight for you.
  • Taken for Granite: The statues outside Glubell's mansion. One gets Literally Shattered Lives, even.
  • Tsundere: Tesla, a minor character. Kigi also shows shades of this.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: This is what Goligan said would happen to summoned monsters if a Cepter cast spells exceeding his/her power capacity.
    • Endaness, in a sense. All of the other Dagons had died out due to infighting, and she is the only one left. She had also mellowed out from her kin's evil and destructive tendencies, although arguably still within Chaotic Neutral territory.
  • Turtle Island: The Cepter's Guild stands on this. It's actually on the back of Endaness's massive true body. Justified that Endaness never dove since the inception of the island; not that she can't.
  • Vancian Magic: Arguably, the cards. Cepters arrange them into Books (in-universe terminology for a deck) about the same way you would expect a Dungeons & Dragons wizard would prepare their spells for the day.
    • Subverted in that Cepters still need to power the cards with their own powers, although the cards do form 'packets' of magic and is mostly stackable.
  • Weapon of Choice:
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The end of the Bistym Forest arc is a bit like this. Of course, Najaran goes on with her journey and the manga itself hasn't concluded yet by that point.


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