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Helck is a weekly manga by author Nanao Nanaki which began in 2014 and finished in 2018. It was followed by Piwi, a weekly miniseries by Nanaki that ran in 2018.

After the defeat of a powerful demon king, the Demon World has begun a tournament to find a worthy successor. Powerful demons from all across the land gather to show themselves worthy, but a slight problem has arisen. An extremely powerful human hero by the name of Helck has entered the tournament, and worst of all he is almost guaranteed to win.

Red Vamirio, one of the Four Great Kings of the whole Demon Empire, cannot believe this and furthermore will not allow it - humans are the enemy. She sets several roadblocks for Helck but the human passes them all easily and with each contest the citizens come to love Helck.

Unbeknownst to everyone though are the dark and tragic events that have led Helck to the tournament. Will Helck be the savior of the world or the beginning of the end?

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An anime adaptation of Helck was announced in February 2022.

Viz Media announced in June 2022 that they'd licensed the manga for English release starting Spring 2023.

A spinoff began in August of 2020 under the name Völundio ~Surreal Sword Saga~. An official English translation is available on Comikey under the name Völundio ~Divergent Sword Saga~.


Tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: The tournament for the Demon King title is cancelled early and only brought up in the flashbacks.
  • The Ace: There's very little that Helck can't do, though he's humble enough that even people who would normally be jealous end up inspired instead.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: There is one under the Human Castle, belonging to the ancient humans who tried to attain the new world. It looks quite similar to real world actual cities like New York or so, and it's later revealed to be the previous world that was wiped out when the world changed into the current age.
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  • Affectionate Parody: Of jRPGs, mainly of the Famicom era trope codifier Dragon Quest I. Things get darker around the time the human king quotes the original.
  • All-Loving Hero: Helck is the nicest person around and would prefer to avoid hurting anyone if possible.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Helck's alleged loyalty to the Demon Empire and general morality is put into question for the first third of the series. Yes, he is definitely a nice guy, but it's hard to blame him for wanting to kill humans since they all either turned into monsters or attempting a double-genocide.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Human King, who takes a sword through the head and still keeps talking.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Human King, Mikaros and Rafaed have been manipulating the Human Realm for a millenia, though their motives may vary. Even the nobles who joined them don't realize that they're not included in the Restart the World plan.
  • Anti Anti Christ: The Will of the World intended Helck to be the destroyer. He awakened, but proceeded to ignore any voices in his head to become the savior.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Helck's past reveals the nobles of the Human Kingdom look down on the lower class and consider themselves much better than the peasants. The King and the nobles planned to awaken most of the humans so they could turn them into their mindlessly obedient slaves. The one noble who seems good is revealed to be even worse, being directly responsible for turning everyone - commoner and noble alike - into slaves.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: The Human King states that Mikaros wasn't the first one to become Drunk with Power, and as long as Will of the World exists, people like him will emerge more frequently. Even with The Will being finally defeated, Helck is cautious another of his avatars may appear soon.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Demonic rulership has six categories: Populace, General, Demon King, Heavenly King, Guardian King, and Emperor. Anyone starting from a Demon King is a One-Man Army.
  • Cerebus Roller Coaster: The series frequently goes into both ends of Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism and Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness, sometimes even within the same chapter, though overall it remains positive.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The story starts out comedic, but takes a sharp turn for the darker after the Winged Soldiers are introduced, and particularly after Helck's backstory is revealed.
  • The Chosen One: Heroes in the human world are a rarity but they alone are worth more than a few armies. Humans figure out how to apply it forcibly, with horrifying results.
  • Comedic Relief Characters: Piwi is The Load and Tag Along Kid, but he's the source of half of the gags, has a quite detailed backstory, gets merchandise, and Vamirio adores him. He turns out to be Chekhov's Gunman in the end and gets his own spin-off.
  • Conditional Powers: Second class abilities are incredible powers but they require special circumstances to use; like barriers powered by eating a bean 30 minutes prior or mutual hot coffee-fueled telepathy. First class abilities, like Vamiriro's fire, avert this completely.
    • Like the arcane contracts in the tournament, meeting certain requirements allows for absolute effects over their targets. A curse that drives the plot may be of this type.
  • Cooking Duel: Helck and Vamirio enter one in order to get money for the map they need. Becomes something of a parody to mangas that make such things Serious Business.
  • Cooldown Hug: Alicia does this for Helck the first time his Unstoppable Rage is triggered just after his brother Cless kills himself.
  • The Corruption: The poison across the Demon Realm. It's safe in the cities and some strong demons are very resistant to it, but prolonged exposure can result in Transformation Horror. Humans have created a weaponized version of it in form of the snow, and both are actually The Will of the World materialized.
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: The classic war between humans and demons turns out to be the plan of the sentient hyperspace energy to turn everyone into Eldritch Abominations, and the world used to be more sci-fi in the past.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Helck was saved and raised by one family when all other nobles considered him and his brother worse than garbage, only for said savior to raise Cless as Human Weapon and taking away from Helck any happiness he had.
  • Dark World: The Demon Empire is a desolate and rocky land filled with poisonous gas that creates monsters and is deadly if exposed to for too long. The only way to even live there is within magically protected cities. In contrast the human land and other places are just fine.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Many of the special chapters are devoted to the lives of the inhabitants of the Demon Empire before Helck's arrival, starting with Vamirio and her experiences as a child with Azudora, then moving on to the other participants of the Demon Lord tournament (as well as its staff), before finally focusing on Piwi's narration of the silly hijinks he experiences during his travels with Helck and Anne.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: This mixed with Came Back Strong is what makes the winged soldiers so dangerous: killing them just sends them home, and they can keep gaining levels in the interim.
  • Deconstruction: Several old jRPG tropes and mechanics, especially when seen from the demons' point of view.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Maou the Demon King humans are so afraid of was just one of many local governors. The Four Heavenly Kings and the Emperor are much stronger than humans could ever imagine.
  • Deus ex Machina: A few times in moments of Near-Villain Victory, some of the previously established charcters, even when presumed to be far away or dead, just happen to have the skill to completely undermine the villain's plan. Vamirio is surprised just as much as everyone else.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes a long time, but it's worth it in the end, even followed by "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. The Demon Empire won the war with no casualties, all of The Will's avatars got Killed Off for Real, Cless is crowned as a new king and humans declare peace, Azudora is curing The Corruption, and Helck gets both Sharuami and Alicia.
  • Eldritch Transformation: What happens to awakened humans if they are released from King's Word or he dies.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans have all been taught that demons are the cause of any and all evil, that the reason monsters attack them is because the demon king sends them, and that demons are all tricksters who will lie to your face as they plunge a dagger in your back. Even good humans have trouble thinking that it's all a lie. Demons themselves don't seem to have a very high opinion of humans, either.
  • The Federation: The Demon Empire is made up of 15 nations and their various races working to fight larger threats. They aren't The Empire or the source of humanity's woes in this setup.
  • Fighting from the Inside: When the Will of the World takes over the Human King, his banter frequently switches between following it and wanting to save his people.
  • Forever War: Mikaros states that humans and demons have been fighting for over 1,500 years, and it's not made clear how long the war has been going on before that time.
  • Gag Dub: While the plot becomes somber for long stretches, the online ads for the books keep a sillier tone by rewriting the serious speech bubbles wackily.
  • Genre Shift: The series starts as a very comedic Tournament Arc with Helck beating any challenge Vamirio throws at him... for the first few chapters, then the invasion begins.
  • The Ghost: The third of the Four Heavenly Kings only appears in Völundio, and the fourth one doesn't at all.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The majority of the winged soldiers lose their memories and personalities. It's a feature.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Nearly all of humanity has been turned into angelic looking awakened heroes. Though described as a power sleeping within them all, why they all have angel wings while Helck doesn't isn't really explained.
    • It may be a nod to the Zenithian Trilogy where heroes emerge from humans carrying winged Zenithian blood.
  • Happy Fun Ball: Little Vamirio is seen in the omakes swinging around a twig she calls the Koedarion (Twigalion). Being a branch of the World Tree, it is a legitimate Amplifier Artifact that let her blow up Azudora as a child and makes her even deadlier as an adult.
  • Heroic Build: Helck, Helck, Helck. He's so big he stopped bothering with shirts a long time ago, and had that lantern jaw as a child.
  • Hope Spot: In the backstory, after being separated from his friends when the King and their awakened servants attack them all and Helck passes out from his injuries, Helck makes his way back home to find Alicia on the chopping block. He saves her just in time. Then it begins to snow, and everything goes to hell.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Helck and Vamirio.
  • Humans Are Average: Not even, the Demon Empire considers them the weakest threat by far, in fact they could even conquer them easily if it wasn't for a far more dangerous enemy to the north occupying most of their resources. Even with a Hero humans are still not even close to being an immediate threat. That changes thanks to the winged soldiers.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Most humans are jerks, and the nobles are worse. When the Demon Empire and the Human World were close allies, it was the humans who betrayed demonkind. It happened several times until the demons cut ties in disgust.
    • It's implied in later chapters that a lot of recent aggression from humans has come from the King's Propaganda Machine, which really helped turning the population into killing machines.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: It's what causes the mutations into the New World beings and is behind the Contacted. Azudora drops the trope name almost word for word before Vamirio and Helck travel into it.
  • I Die Free: Cless chose to kill himself rather than kill his brother while under mind control. Unfortunately, this didn't stop him being used for the King's awakening plan anyway.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Design:
    • The original 2014-2018 manga covers have 1-2 characters in front of a picture that takes up the top third of the background.
    • For the 2022 edition, the manga volumes have covers that form one big picture when put together in order.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Helck prior to his Heroic BSoD. He keeps the traits even after, but pure hate is added to the usual mix of purity.
  • Insistent Terminology: Piwi would let you know that he's not a bird.
  • Kryptonite Ring: Helck eventually gives Vamirio the Hero Killer, a sword capable of killing him, in case he loses control of his powers and goes berserk.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Helck says "Al~right" something awesome is about to happen.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The various people Helck and Vamirio meet on their journey home all have animal-like appearances.
  • Little Miss Badass: Vamirio. She looks like a teenage girl, but is an incredibly powerful fire wielder.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Once the Human King is defeated, the Human Castle suddenly starts collapsing. Actually it was Not Quite Dead Mikaros activating the Fantastic Nuke.
  • Magikarp Power: The whole human race is weak, but has the potential to awaken into heroes, and the Winged Soldiers eventually do after a neverending course of Came Back Strong, but only a few have any compatibility with the powers.
  • Master of Illusion: The Human King can remotely project himself and create images of Helck's loved ones for a distraction. It's more likely that these are holograms than a form of magic.
  • Mercy Kill Arrangement: Helck gives Vamirio the Hero-killing blade, twice, in case his Superpowered Evil Side gets better of him.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Animals like the Shikango, a deer(shika) + coral(sango).
  • Money Spider: When Vamirio roasts a sealed, ancient monster, what look like large gemstones drop all around it.
  • Mood Whiplash: A lot. One village had a monster that they feared because it could crush boulders with its jaws and had hard skin that could deflect blades. Vamirio kills it in passing. They immediately throw a party.
  • Motive Decay: Humans' reasoning for attacking demons becomes less and less coherent over time to the point when Zellzion uses a spell to control the monsters, the very reason why the invasion started in the first place, and he brushes off the idea that somebody on the human side could have used it before. It becomes clear that most humans are Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Not So Stoic: Vamirio is noted to be almost completely emotionless on-duty and besides a brief surprise of new things, barely emotes, but she tends to have a Hair-Trigger Temper and Anger Born of Worry.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Cless starts rebelling against the King's order, the nobles lose their shit. Which only gets accentuated when Helck gets pissed with them.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Edil does this with Hyura. When he abandons his fight (that he is clearly winning) with two other demons after learning Hyura is at the same battlefield, one of the demons claims that Edil has fallen deeply for Hyura. Edil then interrupts Mikaros who was about to finish off Hyura to claim that he will take care of it.
  • Our Demons Are Different: All other sapient species besides humans fall under the label, separate from the feral monsters. Since most of the races get along and have a civilization together, it's the humans who insist on fighting all of them who are considered the violent nuisance.
  • Out-Gambitted: Whatever humans try to pull, demons prove themselves to be much stronger and aware of all enemy plans.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Helck is always wearing a happy grin on his face even when met with actual danger. The times when he doesn't have this is OOC Is Serious Business.
  • Power at a Price: Humanity has gained the power to seriously become a threat to the Demon Empire but only after the entire nation was awakened as heroes and turned into immortal slaves.
    • Individuals like Mikaros that connect to the Will of the World become immensely powerful, but they are enthralled by it and can only fixate on furthering its agenda. Helck is the sole exception through his Heroic Willpower, and even he's afraid he may go haywire.
  • Power Crystal: Several tools like the Empire's video projectors. The barrier crystals that provide a habitable environment include giant, floating ones on hollow diases. The villains want to usurp them to power transporters.
  • Power Levels: Combat ratings are set like a videogame: Vamirio, one of the strongest demons, is level 78, while Helck is probably level 99. Though how these play out in actual battle isn't cut and dried; Vamirio is sure she can probably defeat Helck but she is equally confident she would not survive.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Cless and Sharuami are kept to gather the Hyperspace Energy and turn humans into Artificial Heroes.
  • Precursor Killers: The Ancients, that were not much different than futuristic humans, were wiped out by The Will of the World and The Plague thousands of years ago when they became too greedy with the uses of its energy. Now this Will wants to finish the job.
  • Puppet King: Double Subverted. The Human King is revealed to be Mikaros' creation and humans were following a puppet the entire time. But then it turns out the King did in fact had a consiousness of his own and pulls a Dragon Ascendant on Mikaros. Mikaros lived and gets to be the Final Boss.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Applies to most humans who didn't have strong will, and Helck's brother Cless especially.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Kenros offers to stop fighting and be friends with humans, Edil yells "Could you sleep soundly next to a monster?" Kenros then points out the winged soldiers are immortal.
  • Save Both Worlds: Helck and Vamirio shift their goals from Mercy Killing the entire human race to finding a cure for them, even if they have no idea how.
  • Shout-Out: Some RPG references are more specific than others.
  • Slave to PR: The main problem why Vamirio can't just make Helck fail the tournament because he's adored by all demon viewers and on top of invoking anger it would ruin the event.
  • Smug Snake: Mikaros had a dozen of Villainous Breakdowns, but he always manages to compose himself.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Outside the titular Helck, official English spellings for character names are yet unknown and may lead to confusion.
  • Superpower Lottery: Among humans, the few heroes who appear perhaps once in many centuries are the winners. But when a way to cheat the lottery is introduced, the results threaten to wipe out everybody else.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Asuta has no problems sneaking right into the human castle and telepathically retell crucial conversations for a very long time, and even "increased security" fails to realize their plans are being leaked, though they eventually figure it out. Sharuami doesn't even question how "a merchant" could bypass all the guards.
  • Technical Pacifist: Helck usually just knocks people around, but when people around are threatened or Mercy Kill is required, all gloves are off.
  • Teleporters and Transporters:
    • Helck and Vamirio get transported to a remote island in volume two; the two then end up having to work together to get back to the Demon Empire.
    • Also how Helck was transported to the Demon Empire in the first place.
  • Theme Naming: From multicultural sources.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Helck wields immense power, tempered with his nearly bottomless good-natured enthusiasm and understanding. However, the moment the lives of anyone he loves are truly threatened that understanding is gone, and woe be unto you if you're in his way.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Helck has a Heroic Build and only wears pants and a cape.
  • Weather Manipulation: The snow in the Human Realm is Sharuami's magic while she's brainwashed by the Human King. It's the concentrated version of poison in Demons' lands and forcibly awakens humans into Heroes, and the King plans to make it global.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Human King was the former part of Evil Versus Oblivion and was working against Mikaros' plan to let the mutations consume the world. While he is trying to combat the Will of the World, he still prefers to sacrifice the current world to restore his one via mass Brain Uploading.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Helck's backstory, which runs over several chapters.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Vamirio wanted to do that, but Helck's Magically Binding Contract make him impervious to all harm that isn't a part of the tournament. And she can't disqualify him without a very clear reason either.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: A recurring theme. People who grow to adulthood with or earn their powers can use them safely. Those who do not are controlled by them.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Human King kills Mikaros and Rafaed himself since it became clear they're unable to stop Helck and Vamirio, and he wanted to talk to them about his plans without fighting. Mikaros was Not Quite Dead though.
  • Zerg Rush: Human are much weaker than demons, but in thousands they prove to be somewhat of a problem for a few defenders.
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