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Manga / Jyu-Oh-Sei

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Only the prettiest can survive.

Jyu-Oh-Sei (Planet of the Beast King) is a Science Fiction manga that ran in the shoujo magazine LaLa from 1993 to 2003. It was turned into a eleven episode anime in 2006, which was released in North America in 2008.

It tells the story of Thor, a young boy who, along with his twin brother Rai (who quickly dies), is kidnapped from his home and taken to the penal colony Chimera, the Planet of the Beast King. In order to survive in Chimera's harsh environment, the prisoners (and more importantly, the descendants of those prisoners) are forced to become like savage beasts. The more Thor learns about the planet, the more he is forced to accept that, in order to survive and escape Chimera, he will have to become a beast himself.

Aiding him in this is Tiz, the second-in-command of Sun Ring's female group, and Third, a schemer who prefers to work behind the scenes, rather than become a Top himself. Other characters include Chen, the Top of Sun Ring's women who is irrevocably in love with Third, Zagi, the leader of an outcast group of children who will later become Thor's rival, and Karim, with whom Thor falls in love. As the story develops, Thor will have to fight to survive and climb to the top of the food chain (so to speak) so he can leave the planet and discover why he was sent to this place.

Jyu-Oh-Sei provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: We have Thor, Zagi, Tiz, etc... and then there's Kevin.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Karim has been desperately in love with Zagi since she first met him, despite the way Zagi usually treats her. He is slightly less of an asshole (to her, anyway) in the "Death Game" prequel. Chen and Third are a milder example.
  • Anyone Can Die: From the series initial planning creator Natsumi Itsuki actually decided that every single main character besides Thor would die, and with the exceptions of Chen, Rada, and Kevin, they do.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The main cast is made up of Bishōnen and beautiful women.
  • Becoming the Mask: Heiser. In the anime he just goes "native" while in the manga he develops a Split Personality, resulting in Third.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Very much so, just read the spoilers.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The members of the Night Ring all have dark skin and get massacred halfway through the series. Their leader Jeso is the first Top to be killed (on-screen at least) after the Time Skip. A few survive and attempt to kill Zagi, but wind up shooting Tiz.
    • Subverted, as Rai is as white as you can get in the series and is the first (non-posthumous) named character to die.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Zagi.
  • Broken Bird: Karim has shades of this.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Third's excuse for not sleeping with Chen is that he's sterile so he wouldn't be able to father a child, which is the point of having sex (at least with women) in Chimaeran society. This is probably just an excuse; the real reason is most likely that genetically, he has pale skin, blue eyes, and platinum blond hair. Even a hint of these traits appearing on his child would severely jeopardize his cover.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: With the exception of Thor, Chen and Rada, virtually the entire named cast ends up dead, although some of them die significantly earlier. A lot of people who aren't named die as well, including most of the Night Ring.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Zagi. His favorite strategy in a one-on-one fight is to deliberately drop his sword, blind the enemy with his cape, and then kill them with the hidden blade on his arm. This is about as honorable as his fighting gets; he also might decide to slaughter an entire Ring of people without warning just because doing so will provoke the authorities on Juno. Other characters try to call him out on this, and he responds with scorn.
    • Third to a lesser extent; he casually suggests allowing the Blanc Ring to attack Sun so that Thor will only have to defeat one Top to become Beast King.
    • Thor himself — the first time we see someone killed by a human in the anime, it's Thor offering someone his light knife so that he'll approach, and then stabbing him.
  • Compressed Adaptation: This is what happens when you try to squeeze five volumes of a manga rich in story and background info into only eleven episodes. Many vital pieces of information are missing from the anime or compressed into one line of dialogue (notably, that that the people of Chimaera are a new subspecies of homo sapiens), making it difficult to fully understand.
  • Death World: Chimera
  • Decoy Protagonist: The summary and first episode of the anime imply that Thor and Rai share the protagonist role. However, Rai falls to his death very early on in the series, and although they Never Found the Body, it eventually becomes evident that he is Killed Off for Real.
  • Driven to Suicide: Arguably Third, after his Heroic BSoD following the news that Earth was destroyed over 130 years ago. His entire reason for living had been erased, and he wanted to save Thor, who would have also fallen to his death if he'd continued trying to pull Third up with him.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Every single character is made of trauma and baggage. Third is exceptional.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite being called out on one of his many schemes, Third is forgiven less than an episode later for setting Thor up in a battle that could have killed him.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Thor.
    Zagi: You're beautiful...Such a rare sight in such an ugly world
    Thor: Beautiful? Don't you usually say things like that to girls?
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Third, who is known only by his job title: he's third in command in his tribe. (For the record, his real name is Sigurd Heiser).
  • Face–Heel Turn: Third. Subverted by Zagi; he never actually turns on Thor, but Thor is manipulated into thinking he has betrayed their alliance.
  • Faux Action Girl: Tiz. She saves Thor in the first episode, then spends the other ten clinging to him as her hero. Never do we see her actually do something worthy of her status as a Second.
    • Justified/explained in the manga: She simply was never an Action Girl to begin with. Her status as second was more for social and political reasons. The female Sun Ring Top and Third hate each other, but both get along fine with Tiz — thus she was there to serve as a buffer between them.
  • Genius Loci: Chimaera shows signs of being this in the last arc.
  • Gratuitous English: Small amount. Mostly grammatical errors and such, with the most obvious being the computer screens in the last episode.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Thor has a brief one when he discovers he was actually an experiment to save the human race from extinction.
    • Heiser breaks when he learns that Earth was destroyed 130 years prior to the events of the story. He does not recover.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Thor maintains that he wants to leave Chimaera as a human being, refusing to allow the brutal nature of the planet to turn him into a beast. Third points out that there is no beast more vicious or dangerous than a human being.
  • Inverted Portrait: Rai in the Title Sequence. Thor appears upright next to him, in almost perfect symmetry.
  • Jerkass:
    • Zagi. He has some Pet the Dog moments with Thor and (oddly enough) Tiz, and Karim in the prequel, but overall he's an arrogant, cruel, not-even-borderline psychopath. He's the epitome of the Chimaeran species: a beast who is also human. It's just that he combines the worst qualities of each.
    • The Ochre Ring's Top before the Time Skip was at least as big a jerk as Zagi, without any of the qualities that make Zagi an interesting character.
  • La Résistance: Zagi leads a very small one which attempts to destroy the ring system and gain independence for Chimaera. They're somewhat effective.
  • Laser Blade: Thor's beam knife.
  • Leg Focus: Chen's legs are a major focus during her scenes in the first half, between her outfit and the angles from which she is shown. It makes her injury during the Time Skip all the more unpleasant.
  • Love at First Sight: Thor's very taken with Karim from the moment he meets her.
  • Morality Pet: Karim for Zagi, when he's not being a massive Jerkass to her too. The few and far between moments when he shows that he cares are pretty genuine, especially in Death Game.
  • Never Found the Body: Rai and Zagi.
  • Penal Colony: Chimera, or at least that's what they want people to believe. In fact it's a testing ground for breeding a new variety of humans hardy enough to survive in the Balkan star system.
  • Pretty Boy: Thor is called beautiful by Zagi, to which he responds that the adjective is generally for girls.
  • Progressively Prettier: Most of the characters in the manga due to Art Evolution, but Zagi especially.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Many planets, people, and ships are named after mythological figures, predominantly from Greek and Norse mythology. Some are symbolic, some are done for worldbuilding, and some just seem random.
  • Scenery Porn: It's a beautiful planet to look at, but you wouldn't want to live there.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Tiz takes a bullet for Zagi and says it's because he's Thor's friend, but he's already severely injured and the fall into the crevasse opens up his wound again. So he dies anyway, and Thor loses both of them.
  • Situational Sexuality: Women are very scarce on Chimera, and tend to live separately from men. As a result, a lot of otherwise straight men aren't against going for the next best thing (read: Thor).
  • Spell My Name With An S: Heiza, Heiser, Heizer...
    • And the Tokyopop translation is, of all things, Heather.
  • Split Personality: Third/Heiser in the manga.
    • Jekyll & Hyde: An interesting example, because each personality has both Jekyll and Hyde elements. Third is an ally to the protagonists while Heiser is technically working with Odin against them. However, Third is cunning and willing to kill, compared to the less-driven, naturally gentler Sigurd.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Third in the anime.
  • Take My Hand!: Heiser falls from a ledge during the escape from Hecate, and Thor grabs him. The trope is then subverted when Heiser shoots himself in the head rather than allow Thor to risk his life in the rescue attempt.
  • Taking the Bullet: Tiz takes a bullet for Zagi of all people. It results in Face Death with Dignity for him, as he also dies with her in his arms.
  • Token Trio: Thor (a white boy with silver hair), Tiz (who has slightly darker skin than Thor), and Third (who has the darkest skin but is still not quite black).
  • Tomato Surprise:
    • Thor is actually a genetic experiment sent to Chimera in order to test his worthiness to become the savior of the human race.
    • Third is white as driven snow, looks exactly like Thor, and has been working for the bad guys all along.
    • People born on Chimaera have evolved into a new subspecies of homo sapiens.
  • 12-Episode Anime: It's eleven episodes, unfortunately too short to cover the manga's entire plot.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Not played completely straight, but Tiz, who has been with Thor since she was twelve, loses out to Karim.
    • Played with. Thor actually loves Tiz a lot and she's very important to him, to the point where in the end he would sleep with her if that's what she wanted. He's just not in love with her.
    • Like Brother and Sister: On Thor's end, at least.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Odin, although he does pick up the Villain Ball by accelerating Chimaera's rotation, endangering the planet itself as well as the lives of everybody still on it.
    • Zagi. He's fighting for Chimaeran independence and the abolition of a cruel and manipulative ruling system, but his methods are ruthless and downright brutal.
  • Wild Child: Every child born on Chimaera is abandoned in infancy, to be raised in "yado nests" by other wild children until they're older and strong enough to earn their place in a Ring. Zagi is introduced as the leader of one of the feral packs, and he's by far the most human among them.
  • Worst Aid:
    • When 11-year-old Thor has passed out from blood loss and his pulse is weakening, Third starts slapping him. It works.
    • The trope is later subverted when Thor tries to pull one of Karim's barbed wires out of his shoulder and fails, falling to his knees in pain. She tells him there's a trick to it and collapses the barb before removing it.
  • Yandere: Tiz has shades of this, claiming that Thor is hers alone and that she's going to have his babies no matter what. Subverted, since she's willing to share him with Karim.