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Premiering in 2014, Helck is a weekly manga by author Nanao Nanaki.

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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Tropes:

  • 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.
  • 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 Piuy's narration of the silly hijinks he experiences during his travels with Helck and Anne.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: There is one under the King 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 its 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.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Human King, who takes a sword through the head and still keeps talking.
  • 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.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Demonic rulership has six categories: Populace, General, Demon King, Heavenly King, Guardian King, and Emperor.
  • But Thou Must!: Invoked. There is a curse that makes the caster, usually a king's, command over their people absolute.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dreaded: 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes a long time, but its worth it in the end.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 isn't really known.
    • 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 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: 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 commands changing their personalities, but to what extent is unknown.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Magikarp Power: The whole human race has the potential to awaken into heroes, but few have any compatibility with the powers.
  • 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.
  • 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, so Mikaros can conclude their goal.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Kenros offers to stop fighting and be friends with humans, the soldier he is fighting yells, "Could you sleep soundly next to a monster?" Kenros then points out the winged soldiers are immortal.
  • Shout-Out: Some RPG references are more specific than others.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Helck's backstory, which runs over several chapters.
  • 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.
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