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When a young child known only as Zero is saved from certain death by a powerful, beautiful witch-gunslinger known as Kurohime, he dedicates himself to justice in her name, and begins training to become a gunman himself. Ten years later, still in search of a now-missing Kurohime, Zero stumbles across a young girl calling herself Himeko, running away from the nefarious bandit Onimaru. As it turns out, Himeko, despite appearances, is much more than she seems—as evidenced by the legendary gun in her possession, Senryuu, she is actually the legendary Kurohime, turned into a child by the gods after a failed attempt to defeat them ten years ago.
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The only way to completely break the curse is for Himeko to experience true love; mild infatuation only weakens the restrictions temporarily. The only problem is that Himeko is not as nice as her cute face would lead one to believe. Subsequently, she and Zero embark on a long journey to break the curse, while uncovering the source of Kurohime's enmity with the gods.

Now with a character page.


This series provides examples of:

  • A God Am I: Yashahime already has this complex, but it gets worse in chapter 74: As an earth goddess and a part of Yamato, she is literally everywhere in the country. And by sealing Yamatohime into Mt. Fuji, which is in Yamato, and destroying every other landmass, Yashahime is now DIRECTLY channelling Yamatohime's power. This bites Yashahime in the ass when Yamatohime sacrifices herself to aid Kurohime, as Yashahime is then cut off from Yamato's power, and split in half with a slash of Kurohime's sword—along with the entire planet.
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  • Abnormal Ammo: Giant knives shaped like sharks is just the start of it.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Kokushinbokuto, despite being made of wood (holy wood, true, but wood nevertheless), has been shown to cut through almost ANYTHING. The same goes for the blades Yashahime fashions from the gods' White God Tree.
  • Action Dad: In "Aohime," Dan, a member of the Bullet Blade Brigade turned father. He took on his former comrades after they came after him and his "daughter", cutting through waves of Mooks with only two swords and after they manage to cut off his arm, he takes out a few more by stealing a tank. He only died because of an opponent he knew nothing about.
  • All Your Powers Combined: While Kurohime does have her own abilities, the Black God Tree that provides her with some of her highest raw offense and defense is powered by all of the dead souls she's absorbed, who really and truly HATE her. This is also the basis of the power of the Ultimate Sword; it is crafted by permanently absorbing the souls of the four Spirit Kings.
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  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Great Gods fit this to a tee: they generally don't give a damn about what happens to humans, save that enough of them need to survive to pollute the earth and enable them to draw power away from the Spirit Kings.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Death Angel Squad fits this to a tee, as all their members are women.
  • Apocalypse How: All the time Himeko spends exploring Zero's past history leaves Yashahime and Dark Zero enough time to nearly engulf the entire world in the Sanzu River's waters, leaving only one part of Yamato near Mount Fuji untouched.
  • Assimilation Plot: A god becomes a Great God by devouring the planet.
  • The Atoner: Himeko, sort of, in regards to Sword. Though she is unable to remember what specifically she did to Sword due to the trauma of Zero's death, she acknowledges that she's done her some grave injustices and that her grudge is completely justified.
    • Rei, the "Zero" that the readers have known for the majority of the manga, is desperately trying to live up to the person he believed the real Zero would've become.
    • Kandata, the ferryman for the Sanzu River. Formerly Doc, Rei and Zero's abusive foster father and the man that murdered their mother, he was spared by Rei but killed by Raida; he then became the ferryman of the Sanzu River to try and discover why Rei spared his life, and in the process, earned redemption by helping Zero get Kurohime out of the Sanzu River and guiding Himeko into the past to learn more about Zero.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A good number of the gods Kurohime runs into are gigantic in their true forms, not that it stops her from cutting 'em down.
  • Avenging the Villain: Sword's primary motivation boils down to this: she already disliked Kurohime due to her resemblance to Shirohime and Kurohime's constant flouting of divine law, but once the Death Angel Squad wound up dying as a direct result of the fight that Kurohime picked with Darkray, things became very personal.
  • Ax-Crazy: Yashahime, through and through. She actively stabs herself to calm down when she gets too excited about killing Himeko, and the longer the manga goes, the more she lets her Affably Evil facade slip, especially as the manga hits its final arc.
  • Back from the Dead: Himeko has done this three times; first, Kandata convinced the Sea Dragon to rewind time for her in the Past Arc when she was too shocked to fight against Rei when he became a Death God. Then, she was revived as a side effect of the Time Travel scheme that Asura pulled to make the Ultimate Sword. Finally, she appears as a crude facsimile that looks like the Black God Tree; this is less than ten pages after committing suicide in Zero's arms by letting herself boil away in the Sanzu River.
  • Badass Normal: Zero, who can fire four guns with Improbable Aiming Skills, Kazuma, who can cut pretty much anything with his katana at the same wild speed that Zero shoots at, and Rider, who wields a gun-hammer and was the single most effective fighter in the Wolf Brigade.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: The guardian of Princess Yamato's volcano has this as an move.
  • Beautiful All Along: Yukio turns into quite the hunk when he takes on his true form to fight Himeko.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The deaths of Ouka's father and the entirety of Rei and Zero's backstory, including Zero's death and Rei's decade of solitude, are predetermined events. When Ouka tries to save her father, her witch-beast winds up killing him instead of Kurohime, and Himeko's attempt to save both Rei and Zero fails miserably, forcing her to save Rei by sacrificing Zero. Asura was also gifted with her powers to become part of the Yamato Senryuutou in place of Yamatohime, and though Himeko initially defies fate for a while, Asura ultimately has to sacrifice herself or everything is lost.
  • BFG: Senryuu is much bigger than the average handgun, and can fire regular bullets with extreme force.
  • BFS: The Sword of Vengeance, the Kokushinbokuto, and the Yamato Senryuutou are the most prominent examples.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Yashahime and Dark Zero split the Big Bad role for the final arc of the manga, though at the last minute Yashahime takes precedence.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Himeko is quite fond of these maneuvers. Some notable examples: saving Sara from Asura in Chapter 68, almost killing Yashahime in Chapter 72 with one slash from the Ultimate Sword, and sort of coming back from the dead in Chapter 79 to save her friends from being killed by Yashahime.
    • Asura at the end of chapter 71, allowing the humans to escape to Mount Fuji, followed by her time travel to let Himeko obtain the Ultimate Sword.
    • Yamatohime saves everyone from the brink of destruction in the last chapter of the manga by giving her life to revive Himeko—who comes back as Kurohime and a Black God Tree purified into the divine White God Tree.
  • Big Good: Kazuma, who becomes the leader of Oedo after his father's death.
  • Bishounen: Zero, Saika, Darkray, and Dark Zero all fit this category, being handsome, young-looking men.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Though Yashahime is ultimately defeated, "Zero"/Rei is freed from the Death God's powers, and Kurohime is restored to her normal form, this comes at the cost of the planet, which has to be wiped out completely when Yashahime merges with it. Yamatohime had to give up the last dregs of her life to revive Himeko as Kurohime, and though Asura and the other Spirit Kings are alive within the Ultimate Blade, they're still unable to physically manifest anymore. The souls absorbed by Kurohime's Black God Tree are reborn through her White God Tree provided from Yamatohime's power, but the real Zero, and Rei's mother, cannot be revived. All the surviving humans find another world to settle on, undisturbed by the gods who choose to seek other planets for sustenance, and many millions of years later, gender-flipped versions of Kurohime and Zero meet again to potentially begin a Reincarnation Romance.
  • Broken Bird: A good few members of the female cast fit this trope this in some form or another.
    • Kurohime: a war orphan that hardened her heart against others to gain the power to kill gods, unite humanity, and commit full deicide, accepting the curses and spite of all she killed and betrayed on the way, only to fail at her ultimate goal and be reincarnated as literally half of herself with no memories and an inability to love.
    • Asura: a distant, dismissive fire spirit born as a Half-Human Hybrid replacement sacrifice to the Ultimate Sword in Yamatohime's place, raised in an iron cage by a distant mother that only admitted how much she loved Asura when the world was literally about to end.
    • Sword: A loyal Death Angel for the God of Death, Darkray, who was nearly killed at his hands, lost her closest friends because he didn't give a damn about them or her, and had to endure his mocking when she admitted her love for him. Vengeance becomes the only reason she has to live.
    • Ouka: a young princess whose father was killed by Kurohime during the wars 10 years before the start of the series. She attempts to kill Kurohime for revenge, but fails, and spends the next decade training to become strong enough to get her revenge. When she winds up in the past and gets a chance to change her father's fate, she inadvertently becomes his killer instead, traumatizing both herself and her younger self.
    • The goddess Yukionna: freezes every man she meets, save for Yukiotoko, and is so desperate for love that she uses his feelings for her to take advantage of him, unable to fill the loneliness in her heart or even acknowledge how much he cares for her.
  • Cassandra Truth: No one would believe Doc when said that Onimaru was passed out beside him for the entire battle against the Mate Clan and the Lion Castle, mostly because he’s such a huge Jerkass but also because Onimaru has a reputation of always fighting with his men. In the end even Doc started to believe the hype, though he couldn’t figure out how Onimaru did it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: There are several things mentioned idly early in the series that become vitally important later on.
    • Zero's scarf, initially owned by Marco Bolo. Himeko later wears it as a Tragic Keepsake until Zero takes it back as Dark Zero. It later turns out that Zero feels the same attachment to it, as it was given to him by the person he loved the most in the world—none other than Himeko, who got one more chance to travel back to the past and give it to him.
    • Yamatohime's power is mentioned to be strong enough to revive the dead, which is Himeko's initial motivation for agreeing to form the Ultimate Blade and break Yamatohime out of Mt. Fuji. Later on, Yamatohime uses this revival power on Himeko instead, reviving her into Kurohime for good and enabling her to put an end to Yashahime forever.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Several.
    • Kandata, the ferryman of the Sanzu River. He seems mysterious, but helps out Himeko and Zero a few times over the course of the story. He's Rei and Zero's foster father Doc, attempting to understand why Rei spared his life 10 years ago despite how terrible a person he was.
    • Ouka appears in the climax of the first arc as a young girl that tries to kill past!Kurohime, when Shirohime explains Kurohime's past; Ouka is then properly introduced in the second arc as a member of the Kurohime Punishment Squad, and exactly why she hates Kurohime so much is quickly revealed.
    • Marco Bolo, an explorer that was locked up with Himeko in the prison where the gods threw her after splitting her in half and deifying her good half as Shirohime, reappears in the final arc with Zero's trademark one-of-its-kind scarf—it winds up being the final link to prove to Zero that Himeko, Himekojo, and Kurohime are all the same person.
    • Rei, Zero's older brother, turns out to actualy be the "Zero" that Himeko fell in love with, not the Zero that she first meets during the Past arc.
  • Cheerful Child: Sara, the little girl Asura befriends in the city of Oedo.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Sword and Yashahime, to Darkray. Sword simply disliked the way Darkray would focus on Shirohime, but Yashahime was so psychotically focused on Darkray that she would've taken any excuse to kill Sword and the rest of Darkray's Living Weapon Amazon Brigade if she had the chance, and feels even more hatred towards Himeko because she killed Darkray.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: There's a few: the mountain god's death, Zero dissolving in the waters of the Sanzu to save Kurohime from death, Ogre Mother Goddess Saiyuki's death via impalement, Dan of the Bullet Blade Brigade's death via dismemberment and Flechette Storm, and real!Zero being chopped apart by the Death Angel Squad like his mother. Himeko herself is impaled and dismembered by Yashahime, though this is reversed via Time Travel and she later dies in Zero's arms via self-dissolution in the Sanzu River.
  • Cut Short: VizMedia's releases stop at volume 14, perhaps because of low sales or the license extended only up to the chapters published in the magazine and not the online ones.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The original Kurohime was basically formulating a Zero-Approval Gambit to draw humanity's ire toward her, similar to Lelouch. Her intention was to both distract people from aiming for godhood and to accumulate the power to kill the gods herself.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Asura fits into this. At first her only real goal is to free her master Yamatohime, and the other spirits, from the servitude of the gods. Over time she becomes much warmer towards people, starting with Zero, as opposed to her initial disregard of him and other humans. Yukionna is a more literal example, as she becomes much more open and kind after nearly melting.
  • Determinator: Zero will never give up if it means innocents or Himeko will come to harm, to the point that he dies pushing her out of an acidic river on sheer willpower.
    • In the Past arc, Rei fulfills this role in a dark way; he is determined to make sure Doc pays for killing his mother.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Happens often, mostly whenever Kurohime takes on a god, corners them, and smashes them apart.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: After combining with Sword one more time and beating Dark Zero, Himeko hugs him, and drags them both into the waters of Hell. After telling him that she's happy simply dying in his arms, she dissolves into a skeleton; Zero, being immune, is left to grasp at her bones, calling back to chapter 14 when Kurohime said "I don't mind being killed if it's by you, Zero."
  • Dirty Coward: The prisoner who betrayed Yuuka in prison during the Past Arc immediately pleaded for her to save him when he was rewarded as a trader deserves.
    • Doc is an scheming opportunist who will grovel at the feet of anyone that he thinks will either benefit him or kill him.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Both Yashahime and Byakko, Spirit King of Earth, share this domain.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Sword, to Darkray, though she hadn't meant to. When he dismisses the deaths of the Death Angel Squad that he caused and mocks the very idea of love, Sword reflexively attacks him, losing herself to both emotional pain and grief.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Kurohime is absorbing the dead to power up the Black God Tree, the scene bears a very graphic and uncomfortable reference to something else.
  • Dragon with an Agenda:Dark Zero. Aside from destroying humanity and finding the woman on the other end of his Red String of Fate, he has absolutely no interest in the world.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: On more than one occasion, Saika looks like a very pretty girl, albeit a flat one.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: A few over the course of the manga, often overlapping with Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Zero pushing an unconscious Kurohime across the Sanzu River in the ferry despite the blood painfully dissolving his entire body.
    • Zero and Rei's mother and real!Zero sacrificing their Souls to bring Rei out of his rage to ensure he doesn't become a monster.
    • The village elder making up with Asura and dying from the fire spirit's flaming hug.
    • Asura going back in time to make sure Himeko shoots the dog and completes the Ultimate Sword.
    • Yamatohime giving up the last of her life force to resurrect Kurohime.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Remember that kid who tried to stab Kurohime with a dagger? Yeah, that was Ouka.
    • Rei has been pulling one of these since the beginning of the manga—he's ALWAYS been the Zero that the readers were introduced to.
    • The Sea Dragon turns out to have been Seiryuu, the third Spirit King that Himeko needed for the Ultimate Sword's completion.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The world (and Yashahime) is sliced in half.
  • Eldritch Abomination: All the gods fit this in some way or another, especially those higher up in the hierarchy of power. Though most appear human, they have some form of bestial or otherwise odd appearance.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: When it's revealed that humans were created for the sole purpose of destroying the planet, Sword, Yuki and Yukio all look very uncomfortable, implying that they knew this from beginning.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • When forced into battle against an artificial Death God during the Past Arc, Himeko and the Kurohime Death Squad call a cease-fire to stop the process before they're all killed.
    • After being depowered by the absorption of souls that died during her fight with the goddess Venus, past!Kurohime, now in the form of a child, gets assistance from Sword and Ouka, who were formerly cursed into the forms of a wolf and past!Kurohime's clothing respectively, to finish Venus off. They continue this when they return to the present and must help Himeko and Asura defend the last humans from Dark Zero and Yashahime.
  • Evil Gods: With the exception of Shirohime, Yukionna, and Yukio, every god shown in the series is capricious and completely uncaring about their subjects.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Sword starts wearing one of these when she loses a good foot or two of height in the aftermath of the battle at the River Styx. It is also the only thing keeping her vampiric werewolf powers under control.
    • Raida's sporting one when he reappears in Chapter 76.
  • Fanservice: And HOW. Special mention goes goes to the Shinigami Angel Brigade.
  • Femme Fatalons: Kurohime has these in a nice black color.
  • Fission Mailed: After Himeko's death at the hands of Yashahime, Asura leads the remaining living villagers to the entrance to Mt. Fuji. Shortly after that, Asura convinces the spirits to rewind time so that she can sacrifice herself to the Yamato Senryuutou and turn it into the Ultimate Sword.
  • The Four Gods: Yamatohime, Genbu, Byakko and Seiryuu, the Spirit Kings.
  • Gag Boobs: Given to a pub-full of self-proclaimed badasses thanks to a Gender Bender spell, which gave everyone else a hankering for Brain Bleach.
    • Queen Enma, the ruler of the prison dimension where Himeko was first banished after being split from Shirohime and cursed into her child form. They're literally her source of power.
  • Gainax Ending: Apocalypse WTF leading into mass-resurrection onboard an interstellar ark made of the bones of a time-eating whale, then a 4.6 billion year Time Skip, and finally a gender-swapped Book-Ends revisit of the first (or second or Nth) meeting between Zero and Kurohime.
  • Grand Theft Me: Happens to an innocent girl known as Yuuka not once, but twice, thanks in no small part to Kurohime's Unknown Rival Barahime. As a result of both possessions, Yuka gains the power to make magical bullets.
  • Grim Reaper: During the Past arc, Zero's brother Rei gets cursed by a Shinigami, which will overtake him if he experiences large amounts of hatred. He succumbs to it twice, both times requiring Himeko to revive and esssentially sacrifice someone close to him to snap him out of it.
  • The Gunslinger: Every witch in the series utilizes their magic through magic guns. A good few regular characters also carry pistols, but Zero and Raida are the most prolific normal humans.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Rei and Zero. Rei is older, but the trauma of his life has affected his physical development significantly.
  • Half The Woman She Used To Be: Yashahime is the first victim of the Ultimate Sword at the end of chapt. 72. Yashahime being Yashahime, it didn't stick. When Kurohime repeats the trick in the final chapter, Yashahime doesn't get nearly so lucky again.
  • Harmful to Minors: Zero did NOT have a pleasant childhood. Neither did Ouka or Kurohime.
  • Heroic BSoD: Himeko has several when Rei and Zero die. When faced with having to take Asura into Senryuu, she freezes up completely and refuses to hit the shot, resulting in her painful death by dismemberment shortly afterward.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Being a series themed around love, this comes up often, often out of the love the sacrifice holds for the recipient.
    • The Death Angels give up what remains of their life-force to ensure Sword's survival when Darkray indiscriminately skewers all of them.
    • Zero puts an injured Kurohime onto Kandata's boat and pushes towards safe land, allowing himself to be dissolved alive by the waters of Hell.
    • The real Zero allows Himeko to resurrect him so he can absorb the essence of the Death God out of Rei; the revival calls down the Death Angels to kill him immediately, much like what happened when Himeko revived their mother to calm Rei down the first time the Death God took him over.
    • Once she's realized that her life has always had meaning and that she was the only one who saw herself as a mere replacement for Yamatohime, Asura ensures that Himeko completes the Ultimate Sword by going back in time and letting herself get shot by the Yamato Senryuuhou.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Kurohime is well known for her cruelty and arrogance... but as it turns out, she purposely earned herself the reputation to give humanity something else to focus on besides the race to become a god.
    • The village elder, Himiko, is a somewhat crotchety old woman with a stiff upper lip. That is, until Himeko dies, whereupon she runs off to make up with Asura, her daughter. At that point, the world was more or less doomed, and though she sincerely loved Asura, the elder had spent all of her "life" treating Asura like a tool.
  • History Repeats: With a side of Gender Flip, this is how Kurohime and Zero meet up in another life at the end of the manga—male!Kurohime rescues female!Zero from a bandit at gunpoint.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Darkray might have survived if he hadn't been so quick to berate his angels after impaling them.
    • Binding herself to the planet in order to devour it rendered Yashahime vulnerable to a final death she couldn't possibly escape—Kurohime literally splitting the planet apart with the Ultimate Sword.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Yashahime, in her true form. In Chapter 79, Himeko emerges from the Hell water in a form similar to Yashahime's wooden appearance after her suicide and Big Damn Heroes moment, except that the wood appears to be from the Black God Tree.
  • Hypocrite: Yashahime. Her exploits include:
    • Killing Darkray (whom she claims to be madly in love with) while holding the MacGuffin that would save his life, for no reason other than seeing his begging soul breaks her cool perception of him.
    • Stabbing herself to keep her from killing Kurohime, and then claiming the resulting scar is Kurohime's fault.
    • Claiming that the God of Death isn't supposed to be concerned about anything or anyone, and then blushing because he asked if her wounds had healed.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Asura resents being a Half-Human Hybrid primarily because she was only born to be a sacrifice (at least from her perspective), and because humans are so callously selfish toward the spirits, weakening them. Her resentment over this bubbles over until she lashes out against friend and foe indiscriminately in her true form. Making up with her mother and realizing that her true friends never saw her as anyone but herself snaps her out of it.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Himeko, both as herself and Kurohime, goes through this on three separate occasions: once by Darkray for killing a god, next by Yashahime for existing, and once again by Dark Zero for being the worst girlfriend EVER.
  • Implacable Woman: Kurohime, especially in the period of war 10 years prior to the series, and Yashahime. They've both been dismembered, shot, and generally manhandled by their opponents, but neither of them will back down even once.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Onimaru. He and his gang helped Kurohime ten years ago by building the tower that would allow a human to become a god, only to be betrayed by her at the last moment (and branded with the kanji for 'dog', no less). As a result, he carries a large grudge against Kurohime for most of the manga. After his gang's encounter with the Death Angels (which leaves him as a...miniature snake-man thing) Kurohime's real motives are explained to him by the goddess Shirohime, and he gradually regains the respect he had for Kurohime as she undergoes her own emotional development.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Kurohime is legendary because she can make witch-bullets that can summon dragon-golems at will. She once turned an ENTIRE castle into one such dragon.
  • Jerkass: Himeko/Kurohime, as noted at the top of the page. This isn't entirely her fault, though, as the gods removed her ability to love by turning her compassion and love into a god that looks exactly like her, Shirohime. Thanks to Character Development, she gradually grows out of this, becoming a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Rei's not much of a charmer either. Being subordinate to the man that killed his mother and later turning into the host of a vengeful and hateful artificial Death god isn't helping. Still, despite kicking her in the shins, calling her a hag and almost shooting her in the face, he grew on Himeko, and vice versa.
  • Jerkass Gods: Pretty much the main reason the series' events are happening in the first place. Not all of them are so unfeeling, but a majority of them pretty much have no regard for life. Kurohime's grudge is specifically because they turned her spite on her for attempting to kill them, and expresses this ire by planning to Kill 'Em All.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Darkray was fond of doing this, insulting Himeko and Zero for their love and later impaling and killing most of his loyal weapons. His reasoning is that as humans and angels respectively, they are simply not as awesome as he is, so why should he care what happens to them?
  • Killed Off for Real: Maya and the other riders of the Ghost Carriage, (the Death Angel Squad kills them when Kurohime revives them), Darkray (killed by Kurohime, then soul-erased by Yashahime), and both Zero and Rei's mother, followed the real Zero (revived by Himeko to help Rei on two separate occasions, and also killed by the Death Angel Squad). In all cases, their souls were so thoroughly destroyed that there was no bringing them back again.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Yashahime ultimately succeeds in taking over the world. Realizing that, Yamatohime decides to use the last of her life to resurrect Kurohime, since saving the planet is now a moot point.
    • Surprisingly, Igudo the Head God follows this line of thought. Her response to Tor's suggestion to avenge Yashahime's death is essentially stating that it'd be a waste of time when there are other planets to seek out for sustenance.
  • Laser Blade: The Ultimate Sword manifests like this.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Himeko begins suffering from this during the Yamato arc. With the curse lifted, the only thing holding her back is her own grief over Zero's death; whenever she pushes hard enough, she can transform into Kurohime on her own, but her memories are devoured when she does. When Zero is revived as Dark Zero, he callously rips apart almost the entirety of the flower in her soul that represents these memories, erasing pretty much every memory that Himeko made with him from the start of the manga up till that point.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: All of the gods do something that COMPLETELY justifies Kurohime killing them in one way or another. Considering that the Greater Gods are literal planet eaters and were planning on doing the same to the planet, they generally deserve it.
    • Himeko has to contend with her own share of this as the series goes on, for things she's done both to save Zero and in her fight against the gods. Her actions have repeately caused her to draw the ire of her persistent enemies and suffer an extraordinary amount of emotional suffering for what she's done.
  • Light Is Not Good: The goddess of nature, Yashahime, has white (or at least light-colored) clothes, beautiful hair ornaments, and a White God Tree. She is also deeply infatuated with the Grim Reaper (in both incarnations), and is completely NUTS. The all-white ensemble underscores just how very deadly she is, since white means death in Japan.
  • Literal Split Personality: This is what happens to Kurohime when she challenges the gods ten years before the start of the series; her compassion and love is incarnated as the goddess Shirohime, while her rage and hatred are sent to a prison-dimension as Himeko, a child-cursed form of Kurohime.
  • Love Redeems: A recurring theme in the series.
    • Himeko herself. Learning to love again not only makes her nicer to Zero, but to other people too, even after he dies the first time.
    • Yuki-onna recognizes Yuki-otoko's love, and through it, finally confronts her own cruelty to humans and renounces it.
  • Love Hurts: Zero and Himeko both suffer a lot for love, both physically and emotionally. Zero's death almost completely breaks Himeko, and though they do eventually reunite, it takes several fights, a lot of soul-searching, and Himeko's death before they finally get back together for good.
  • Making a Splash: Genbu, as the Spirit King of Water.
  • Mama Bear: There are very few things Himeko won't do for Zero and Rei, especially after their mother entrusts her with their care.
  • Meaningful Name: The Death Angels' names match the weapon that they can transform themselves into, and many of the witch-gunslingers or other important characters often have -hime (princess) as part of their name.
    • Zero and Rei have names that pun off of each other, as "Rei" can also mean zero. This is foreshadowing the fact that "Zero" is in fact Rei, having taken on his younger brother's name after the events of the Past Arc.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Past!Onimaru was knocked out early in the siege on the Lion Castle. When he finally woke up, his future self, in the form of Tsucchi, lead him to Marion, the passed-out castellan of the castle. Not realizing who she was, he attempted to revive her, and when one of his soldiers found him holding Marion's unconscious body, all the armies present assumed that he defeated her.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Most of the women in the setting, especially Kurohime. They're often very shapely with well-defined bodies.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Darkray, Dark Zero and Yashahime all have their ways of pulling this off.
  • My Hero, Zero: Zero's name says it all. His older brother Rei also fits since Rei means "zero" in Japanese.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: This is how most the members of the Wolf Brigade feel about Doc, but especially Raida. After the events of the Lion Castle, this is not the case, and they all leave save Raida, Rei, and Zero; once Zero is dead and Rei is gone, Raida also abandons Doc, but not before killing him.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Dark Zero, whose frustration over the cruelty of humans and their unconscious role in securing the gods' control over the world leads him to decide to destroy everything.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: To restore her missing powers after Darkray's death, Sword makes herself into one of these on purpose, getting bitten by a vampire and a werewolf. The results are NOT pretty.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The first and third time that Himeko faced Yashahime, she got her ass completely handed to her.
  • Oh, Crap!:Yashahime after the Ultimate Sword bisects her. Everyone else has a collective one when it turns out she's STILL alive from that, but she tops that reaction with her horrified screaming as Kurohime bisects the entire planet to wipe her out.
  • One-Winged Angel: Yashahime's final form is the planet itself.
    • Rei, when he finally awakens the Shinigami in his body out of rage and heartache over what he thinks is Zero's betrayal.
    • Asura, as the weight of her destiny and her own resentment toward it and humans begin to grow, eventually locks herself into a very burning version of her true form, indiscriminately attacking anyone that comes near her.
  • Painful Transformation: As revealed by Sword, the Black God Tree that Kurohime uses to block attacks and form the Black God Tree Sword is meant to absorb hatred as its power-up method. Because the tree is actually bonded to Kurohime's body, becoming more powerful effectively means that she has to absorb the spirits of the people she kills. After the souls eat holes in Kurohime's body during the absorption, she has to deal with a rejection that makes her spew up blood and literally shreds her down to what looks like a rotting corpse.
  • Papa Wolf: In the sidestory "Aohime," main character Dan fights like hell to protect his adopted daughter, even when it ultimately results in his death.
  • Planet Eater: The High Gods get that strong by eating the Life Energy of planets. Then they take the dead planets as host bodies.
  • Playing with Fire: Asura, and Yamatohime, Spirit Queen of Fire.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Rei to Himeko when they meet one last time in the past, coupled with the fact that both know she can't stop herself from leaving. Naturally, he calls Himeko out on this when he gets a chance. Very violently.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Occurs multiple times for Himeko—the first after her battle with the death god Dark Ray, the second following her encounter with Dark Zero and his callous removal of almost all her flower petal memories, and the third at the end of the Past arc. Each one further boosts her ability, with the last being the closest she's ever been to her power as Kurohime.
  • Plucky Girl: Himeko's Character Development leads her into this on the protagonist side. On the antagonist side, Sword is a more subuded version of this trope.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Early on, Himeko will frequently take this expression on whenever she transforms into Kurohime, but the instant she starts Evil Gloating, the transformation wears off.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Ten years before the series starts, Kurohime becomes involved with the battle to become a god to get revenge on the gods for even creating the contest. It's implied that the war and suffering caused by the battle orphaned her.
  • Red String of Fate: Once she is able to acknowledge it, Himeko truly believes that she and Zero are made for each other. Weirdly enough, in spite of everything, Dark Zero STILL believes in this.
  • Reset Button: After getting her mind right, Asura sends her consciousness back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong when Himeko refuses to Shoot the Dog. As a result, Himeko's death at the hands of Yashahime is undone entirely.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: This is what the warden of Alcatraz did to the prisoner that sold Himeko and the others out.
  • Secret Test of Character: All of the Spirit Kings put Himeko through this. Seiryuu, being the most familiar with her of all of them since he's been observing her as the Sea Dragon, even explicitly acknowledges this as part of why he's trusting her with his power.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slasher Smile: Several villains-of-the-week wear these, but Kurohime herself sports one when we see her pulverising the Mountain God.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Himeko, especially during the first arc.
  • Stable Time Loop: A few of these start to pile up in the back half of the manga.
    • Ouka triggers one of these when she attempts to kill the past version of Kurohime in order to save her father from dying at Kurohime's hands. However, Ouka's use of witch-gunslinger magic convinces Ouka's father that older!Ouka is an enemy, and attacks her; subsequently, Ouka's witch-beast attacks and kills him right in front of the young!Ouka's eyes. Past!Kurohime takes the blame for it anyway, effectively giving young!Ouka a reason to chase after Kurohime for revenge.
    • After this, Ouka kicks off part of another one by telling past!Kurohime about how Himeko is formed and falls in love with "Zero". Though amused by this notion, Kurohime chooses to belive in this salvation for her reincarnation, and seeks him out to save him, ensuring that he in turn will idolize Kurohime and accept Himeko as her once they meet.
    • Rei only became the Zero that Himeko knows because they met via Time Travel, and she was the one to give him his scarf with one last time travel jaunt during the last battle, which is what leads him to believe that it's his link to the woman he loves.
  • Stepford Smiler: Zero has been one of these all along, since his true identity is Zero's embittered, self-loathing older brother Rei.
  • Stripperiffic: The "outfits" of the Shinigami Tenshi-dan (the Death Angels). Kurohime even points it out when she confronts Sword, their leader.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Everyone believed that this was the reason why Rei was so loyal to Doc. As it turns turns out, Rei watched Doc kill his mother and stays with him specifically so he can get revenge.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Between Zero, Rei and their mother.
  • Team Pet: Tsucchi, aka Onimaru.
  • The Power of Love: Due to the initial curse laid on Kurohime, love is quite literally central to the plot, as it is the only way Kurohime can temporarily/permanently break the curse. It reaches new heights when the Sanzu River makes its first appearance, though, as Kurohime declares her love for Zero and unleashes a can of whoop-ass onto Dark Ray to protect him and continue her fight against the gods. Additionally, Himeko only agrees to assist Asura's cause on the condition that Yamatohime resurrects Zero.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Zero and Rei, both sharing the meaning of "Zero."
  • This Is a Drill: When Kurohime manifests Byakko's power in Senryu, she shoots metal drill bullets.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: No one really argues the fact that Doc would deserve his death, but avoiding setting off the Death God in Rei's body is the biggest concern about stopping him from pulling it off. Rei himself later tries to adhere to this when he takes on Zero's name.
  • Time Stands Still: Seiryuu, the Spirit King of Air, can control the air to simulate this effect. It's also the source of his time travel powers as the Sea Dragon.
  • Time Travel: The focus of the Past arc. Himeko has gone back in time to discover why Zero is "full of darkness", and must make peace with the Kurohime Punishment Squad before she can return to her own time. To make matters even more complicated, Zero must not find out that she is Kurohime, or she will cease to exist. As it turns out, though, she was already destined to go back into the past, as the only reason Kurohime saved Rei was because she learned of Himeko and Zero's history from Ouka, who also traveled back in time.
  • Tomato Surprise: A few major ones come up in the series.
    • Shirohime and Kurohime are the Literal Split Personality of the original Kurohime—Shirohime is all the compassion and love for humans, while Kurohime is the rage and hatred against the gods.
    • The Zero that Himeko knows is Rei. Before the Past arc, Himeko had never met the actual Zero.
    • Kandata, the cloaked ferryman of the Sanzu River that saved Zero and Kurohime from the River Styx and followed them back to the past? He's Doc, Rei and the real Zero's Jerkass foster father.
    • The Spirit King of Wind, Seiryuu, has always been the Sea Dragon.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the past arc, Raida finds out that he and the rest of the team are wanted for stealing money from the armies at the Lion Castle. He suggested since they were unknown in the town they should lay low—and in walks Doc with practically every woman in town on his arms. They're all bounty hunters to boot.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The more we learn about Rei's childhood, the less surprising it is to realize how the trauma shaped him into the version of "Zero" he tries to live as by the start of the manga.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Kurohime will do anything to achieve peace. If that means she kills scores of people and absorbs their souls to fight the gods on even footing, or betrays everyone that ever believed in her so that she can get to the gods and face them one-on-one? She'll do it without a moment's hesitation.
  • We Can Rule Together: Yashahime wants to rule the universe with Dark Zero at her side. He's not interested. At all.
  • Wishful Projection: Zero's image of Kurohime isn't a particularly good match for reality; he remembers her as being kind and gentle to him, but as Himeko and Kurohime both, she treats him very badly. However, considering that as Rei, he was doted on by a much kinder and mature Himeko (essentially a reincarnation of Kurohime), as well as a past!Kurohime that knew about his role in her future as Himeko, it makes sense that he thinks about her this way.
  • Wham Episode: Shit gets real after Zero dies saving Kurohime from the Sanzu River.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After the Past Arc Rider and Tsucchi disappear from the story until they show up with Kandata with a boat to save the people of Yamato from the acid waters of hell.
    • Yukio and O-yuki also seem to vanish after a certain point in time.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In chapter 77, Zero calls Himeko on her various attempts to save his life, especially since her interference only made his life worse in a lot of ways.
  • World Half Full: By the manga's end, the world is literally destroyed and Asura's been sealed into the Ultimate Sword. However, some remnant of humanity ultimately survives, the Kurohime Punishment Squad disbands, the souls trapped in Kurohime's Black God Tree are revived to live normal lives, and humans find a new planet free of the gods.
  • Yandere: Yashahime fits this perfectly. She's monomanically focused on Darkray and will kill literally anyone that she thinks is getting too close to him.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: A major recurrence in the Past Arc. In the end, despite her best efforts, Himeko is unable to do this for Rei and Zero, resulting in the latter's death and a lot of suffering for the former; Ouka accidentally compounds her own trauma by accidentally killing her father in front of her younger self's eyes.

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