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Manga / Mitama Security: Spirit Busters

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That's a lot of spirits, jan k'now?
"I won't lie. I'm afraid of spirits. But as long as evil spirits exist, I'll face my fears as many times as it takes. Because that it my duty as a SecuREIty professional!"

Rena Haze is an ordinary teenage girl except for a simple detail: not only does she possess the rare ability to see spirits, but she is also haunted by a good hundred of them simultaneously. She learned to not pay attention to them and lives a simple life though she often feels lonely, having no one to share that burden with and her mother often leaving her alone due to her job.

Enters Joh Mitama, an exorcist from the SecuREIty Associationnote  who made the oath to protect Rena Haze from the ridiculous amount of spirits following her despite being himself absolutely terrified of ghosts. However, they will soon both realize that her spirits aren't actually very dangerous at all. In fact, they are quite friendly and even start to bond with Rena Haze as she finally acknowledge them because of Mitama's antics. Despite this unexpected turn of event, Mitama doesn't let his guard down and continues to keep an eye on Rena Haze as her unusual connection to spirits begins to attract powerful entities and sketchy exorcists.

Don't let that summary fool you: Mitama Security: Spirit Busters (ミタマセキュ霊ティ) is absolutely not a battle manga nor a Horror story, but a lighthearted Slice of Life Gag Series, most chapters being about our two protagonists meeting and reacting to a cast of colorful characters gravitating around Rena Haze including a muscled spirit with ten feet for a face, a Mon catching Yakuza, a talking salmon, and Babe Ruth.

Mitama Security is written and illustrated by Tsurun Hatomune (who previously did the equally absurd Mukidashi no Hakuchou a.k.a. Naked Swan on Shōnen Jump+). It was first published in Weekly Shonen Jump in September of 2019 (alongside Mission: Yozakura Family) and concluded after a year of serialization and compiled into 5 volumes.

See also Mieruko-chan, another spirit-filled manga with a similar concept but with an actually scary spin on it.

Mitama Security is haunted by examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: Rena Haze knocked a huge spirit out in Code 1 for calling her "flatty". It's never brought up again in the rest of the series however.
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: An unfortunate consequence of the various REI-related words the characters use, the most notable being "SecuREIty".
  • The Ace:
    • Subverted with Soya, who is the best professional exorcist around but absolutely can't see nor even feel spirits. Worst of all, he is often completely clueless about the paranormal activities going around him (he thinks that Rena Haze is actually a multitasking telekinesis user).
    • As long as it is not spirits, Mitama himself can be scarily competent. Some of his talents include bodyguarding (from humans), basketball, housework and diplomacy.
  • Advice Backfire: After listening to the weird and conflicting advices of Mitama, Soya, and Janca, Rena Haze did what was supposed to be a regular part-time job interview at a convenience store like if she was a Magical Girl applying at a Maid Cafe.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Rena Haze lives alone with her mother. Her father was never mentioned until Code 34 where the mother pulled a Precious Photo of him revealing that he has/had ties with SecuREIty and might be linked to Rena's spirit line.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Parodied in the final chapter. The stock phrase that comes with a lot of manga cut short, "Our battle is just getting started!", permeates throughout the chapter as most of the characters say it feels like a day to say it. When Rena finally tries to give in, everyone gives up and gets bored before turning in to move to their collective shared apartment complex.
  • Animal Lover: Much like his real life inspiration, Mr. Living Things wants to protect animals from harm (even those aleady deceased) and takes care of all sorts of cute creatures, from cats and dogs to giant and indefinable monstrosities.
  • Author Avatar: Hatomune represents himself as a drooling pigeon with bloodshot eyes (as "hato" means "pigeon" in Japanese). He even has a real mask of his avatar that he wears for photoshoots. Meanwhile, his editor is represented as an incredibly beefy version of him (a fact even the real editor is confused by).
  • Bait-and-Switch: The series often makes it seem like an actually serious threat is coming the main character's way (Soya, Janca, Mr. Stripe, spirits going rogue, etc.) only for them to be easily defeated or being nice from the start. Their arguably most dangerous foes were BODY, and even them were dealt with a Baseball Episode though in a subversive way, this was also a Bait-and-Switch as this baseball match eventually turned out to be a trap to capture all of Rena Haze's spirits.
  • Baseball Episode: Occurs from Codes 18 to 21, but in a subversion of the usual trope (which usually means a Breather Episode) the stakes are unusually high for the series, with BODY threatening to capture all of Rena Haze's spirits, Mitama risking his life multiple times, and Rena Haze awakening her spirit powers.
  • The Beastmaster: There are two versions of this trope: on one hand you have Janca who uses spirits like Mons (down to trapping them in Poké Ball-like contraptions) and trades for them on the Black Market, and in direct contrast there is Rena Haze who doesn't view them as pets but as a Family of Choice. Having been beaten twice by Rena Haze, Janca abandons his old ways and starts treating her as his master and Shakejiro as his roommate.
  • "Begone" Bribe: The manager of the convenient store Rena Haze applied to was so creeped out by her "performance" that he paid her 60,000 yen just for her to go away.
  • Berserk Button: Reminding Soya that he doesn't have any spirit sense, something that Rena Haze learned to exploit to get back at his jerkishness.
  • Big Fun: Mr. Commentary was the first to make contact with Rena Haze and is a very plump and sweet guy who is friendly to everybody though he can sometimes be annoying.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Mitama and Rena Haze alternates between each role depending of the chapter.
    • In some chapters, Mitama will be presented as a professional with weird mannerisms or a Big Brother Mentor giving questionable life advices (boke) while Rena Haze, shocked by his buffoonery and Insane Troll Logic, either leaves in frustration or succombs to the madness herself (tsukkomi).
    • In others, Rena Haze will display a carefree and overly friendly attitude towards spirits, even dangerous looking ones (boke) while Mitama, suspicious and overprotective, makes an ass of himself trying to prevent dangers that never existed in the first place (tsukkomi).
    • Soya is the wild card when he appears alongside them, being both a Foil to Mitama's eccentricity and paranoia and Rena's reserved and loving nature, switching to one or the other's side depending of what the chapter asks for.
  • Bold Inflation: The word REI is bolded and also often italicized when it appears inside the various spirit-related words (mostly just to accentuate the pun).
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Terry Stripe, Joh Mitama's master, is a terrifying lieutenant of SecuREIty with an amazing control over holy light energy. He is however a very friendly and kind person who'd rather teach Mitama how to play basketball than actually exorcise spirits.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late:
    • Mitama and Soya arrived too late after being warned by Mr. Commentary that Rena Haze was in danger. She and Zobiro had already long defeated Janca at this point.
    • Averted in Code 35 when Mitama and Rena arrive in time after being warned by Shakejiro, ironically enough to save Janca this time around. Averted once again in Code 40 when he comes back from mastering the Reihyoken just in time to prevent the spirit line from being exorcised.
  • Celebration Miscalculation: The Stinger joke of Code 44.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Rena Haze and Soya weren't able to contact Mitama after he went missing because Mr. Stripe destroyed his phone before sending him to the North Pole to cut all ties with the outside world until he mastered the Reihyoken.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Everything about Janca is put into perspective after Code 35. He worked for a violent Greater-Scope Villain the whole time, had many part-time jobs because he could never sell any good enough spirits to them, and Rena Haze viewing spirits as family resonated with him because he never had one.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: When Joh turns on and off his Holy Light Spirit Man form, he instantanously switches from being half-naked to being clothed normally or vice-verca. It is hinted that he just dresses and undresses very fast between panels.
  • Chuunibyou: Mitama was a hard one in middle school, speaking in Royal "We", writing terrible songs and having questionable fashion sense (including a phase where he wore dozens of bandanas, some of them being on other bandanas).
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Subverted since this is a black and white medium, thus the Four Divine Eye-Pattern Lieutenants are instead "Pattern-Coded For Your Convenience": Stripe, Border, Checker, and Dot.
  • Combat Commentator: Personified and parodied with Mr. Commentary whose entire character trait is to narrate everything.
  • Comical Overreacting: Initially one of the main joke in the series with Mitama screaming in fear at the tiniest spirit. It was eventually toned down -though it still pops up by occasion- with Mitama slowly conquering his fear.
    • Subverted for comedy when he almost dies because of Zobiro's fastball and deals with it with an uncanny serenity.
      Mitama: Geez, it felt like a bullet train slammed into my stomach just now! Ha ha ha!
    • It came back in full force but this time outside of an exorcism: when Mr. Stripe showed Rena Haze some embarrassing memories from Joh's past in Code 18, he started acting like each embarrassment was a literal blow projecting him across the street until the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Creator Cameo: Hatomune's pigeon avatar briefly appears as a chopsticks holder in Code 34.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Yuko, though her only distinctive traits as a spirit are a curvier shape and a tiny bow on her head; she is more conventionally cute in her human form. She can still be very scary, especially when she is blinded by love.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Although the first few chapters made it look like Rena Haze was a Damsel in Distress (despite never really being in dangerous situations) her bond with her spirit friends made her a force to be reckoned with, which started to become apparent when she defeated Janca on her own.
  • Day in the Life: Code 14 shows the daily routine of Rena Haze and incidentally her spirit line including Mr. Commentary who is narrating it.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "code 14 / A Day in the Life Of Rena Haze, Explained!", despite his title, put a large focus on Mr. Commentary's backstory and his trouble to fit in both in his life and his afterlife.
    • "code 24 / Building the Salmon Empire" reintroduces Shakejiro, the salmon spirit seen two chapters prior, and expends on his character and his true intents. It would almost be a Villain Episode if not for the fact that he is utterly incompetent.
    • "code 35 / Janca's Jam" reveals Janca's backstory and why he was an antogonist at the start of the series, which includes numerous Cerebus Retcons.
    • "code 44 / Lonely, Lonely Sunshine" is entirely from Soya's perspective: there isn't a single spirit seen in this chapter and we see him trying to fill in the blanks himself.
    • "code 46 / Ta and Pi, Runaways", although not from their perspective, is the first time the twins are put in an active role in the story since their introduction.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: The main Character Arc of Rena Haze. She cut herself of most of the world as a child because her ability to see spirits was seen at best as weird and at worst as lies by most Muggles, and her single mother wasn't really able to be a reassuring presence to her due to her career. As a result, she became emotionally distant from everyone and everything. As both SecuREIty and the spirits entered her life, they progressively started to bring her the social and emotional balance that a depressed teenager like her would need. Their rather peculiar and embarrassing behaviour doesn't make the task easy for her however.
    Rena Haze: Wait a minute... Mr. Mitama risked his own life [...] for my sake, and my heart's grown colder? Am I that much of an Ice Queen? What was I thinking? [...] You should love someone for who they are, no matter what they look like...
    (Mitama does a ridiculous ultimate move)
  • Dork Knight: Definitely Joh Mitama who is considered one of the best exorcists in the world despite being extremely quirky (though it seems all exorcists are to some degree). It even comes into play later in the story when he unlocks his Holy Light Spirit Man form after mastering the Reihyoken, the latter being reportedly stronger the dorkiest its user is.
  • Dropped After the Pilot: Saki, Rena Haze's school friend which one was of the first character introduced in the manga, disappeared after the second chapter. She only briefly reappeared in Code 14 and 41 in a very minor role.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first chapters have vastly different character dynamics than the rest of the series. It happened around chapter 8 by switching the Boke and Tsukkomi Routine of Rena Haze and Joh Mitama: early on, Mitama was a Cloudcuckoolander doing goofy exorcisms around a reluctant Rena Haze. Then, as Rena Haze became more confident and accustomed to the spirits, chapters became more about her breaking exorcisms conventions and Mitama becoming the Straight Man to her unexpected ways as well as the No-Respect Guy for not understanding them. Like the characters, the overall plot of the series evolved too, going from busting the Monster of the Week to protecting the spirits in Rena Haze's line.
  • Education Mama: Rumi Haze is extremely concerned about her daughter's future and tends to have way too high expectations for her despite her bad grades, pushing her to work really hard for almost no results.
  • Elite Four: SecuREIty has four pattern-coded lieutenants at its head (under their Commander who is a non-fighting frail old man). If Mr. Stripe - who is the only one we ever really see in action - is any indication, they are all extremely powerful.
  • Enhanced on DVD: A very minor one: when Mitama Security was released in volumes, a small typo on Abdomen's baseball outfit was corrected in Code 18 (it was written in English as "Abdmen" in the original Jump).
  • Evil Laugh: Shakejiro laughs in secret when thinking about his Salmon Empire project. It doubles as a Verbal Tic Name as it sounds like "Shakeh Keh Keh!"
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Subverted. the SecuREIty Tower is framed as menacing with dark gloomy clouds behind it as Soya's suspicions against his own organization rise after Mitama went missing. It doesn't help that the heroes breaking in alerted all the exorcists inside the building to stop them. In the end, it was all a misunderstanding, SecREIty wasn't secretely evil, and it was just a silly-looking building after all.
  • Exotic Eye Designs:
    • Mr. Stripe's eyes have vertical lines that match his name (and suit) and give his glare an intimidating aura.
      • The Four Divine Eye-Pattern Lieutenants (of which Mr. Stripe is part) apply in general, although it mostly boils down to Checker outside of Stripe. Dot has Black Bead Eyes instead, and Border wears a mask that makes him look like he has his Eyes Always Shut.
    • Tsurun Hatomune's Author Avatar have bloodshot eyes that can be assumed to come from sleep deprivation.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Shakejiro the Salmon acts like a harmless doofus, but secretly wishes to use Rena Haze's spirits to conquer the world and build a Salmon Empire. He still is a genuinely Harmless Villain despite all that.
  • Fish People: Shakejiro is a spirit with a humanoid body and a salmon head.
  • The Food Poisoning Incident: In Code 3, Mitama almost died from eating Rena Haze's "curry" to cheer her up then wasn't able to sleep for an entire day. It still haunts them in later chapters where Rena Haze has to cook something.
  • Footnote Fever: Because of the World of Pun setting, a lot of Japanese-based jokes are explained between panels. Most notably (and at almost every chapter) that "rei = spirit/ghost".
  • The Foreign Subtitle: Because the Pun-Based Title was untranslatable, "Spirit Busters" was added to the English title. It is however rarely used partly because of its long size and the series isn't really about busting spirits anymore anyway. It's also not uncommon to see manga websites and purists simply call the series "Mitama Secureity".
  • Friendly Ghost: All the spirits in Rena Haze's line are very friendly and harmless, though many exorcists note that it is a very unusual behavior that might be linked to Rena Haze herself.
  • Getting the Boot: Rumi Haze does it to 17 persons at once after discovering the entire SucuREIty brigade in her daughter's parent-teacher conference.
  • Glowing Eyes: Mitama's eyes start to glow when they are full of tears, indicating that he entered his Super Mode.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Kojime and Holmezaburo. They come back every 10 chapters or so, Halmezaburo possessing his grandson and making him go through a new silly gimmick every time only to be easily defeated by Mitama in one shot with a BREIn Buster.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Joh Mitama's Ghost-Be-Gone gun is a classic and shiny revolver. Meanwhile, the Mob boss Onigawara has something similar to a black Tokarev TT-33, or more likely its Chinese Type 54 knockoff (and he wields it Gangsta Style to boot).
  • Got Me Doing It: As Janca becomes more and more present, characters around him tend to borrow his "jan k'now?".
  • Gratuitous English: All these examples are in the original Japanese version:
    • BODY is written in english even in Japanese. Meanwhile, the "BODY parts" are pronounced in English but written in katakana.
    • Mitama's baseball team was called "ミタマ行LET'S" (Mitama Gyōretsu) which is an elaborate pun between "let's go Mitama" and "Mitama's [spirit] line". In English they were simply called "The Mitama Spirits".
    • During the same match, a fired up Soya said "ARE YOU READY?" to Leg.
    • Mr. Stripe's Aesop in Code 28 was was almost correct:
      Mr. Stripe: Love your Black Historynote 
  • Gratuitous French: In Code 3, the food critic spirit says "C'est si bon" ("It's so good") after eating Mitama's "Holy Light Spirit Fried Rice" and then Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence. He briefly comes back in Code 45 to ask for a refill and says his French line again.
  • Gun Twirling: Part of Mitama's routine before practicing an exorcism. How it affects the actual exorcism is unclear, but it is seemingly very important as it was taught to him by Mr. Stripe himself and even Soya is impressed by his technique.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Zigzagged. Mitama's Ghost-Be-Gone gun is capable to One-Hit Kill spirits, but most of the time his terrible aim renders it useless (when he didn't forget to bring it in the first place) and forces him to think of a creative solution to defeat the spirit, not to mention that it only works on spirits to begin with. And now that he doesn't try to bust Rena Haze's line, he barely uses it anymore.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Shakejiro only wears overalls. A promo image on the author's Twitter for Code 29 shows that they spontaneously fade in and out of existence when he turns from one form into the other.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Ta and Pi look completely the same (just like any other spirit, but smaller) but they are male and female respectively (Rena Haze calls them Ta-bu and Pi-chan, and they go to different rooms during the Public Bathhouse Scene).
  • Harmless Freezing: After mastering the Reihyoken, Mitama is able to literally freeze spirits in their tracks without having to exorcize them which was especially useful when Rena's spirit line was mind-controlled by Popoki.
  • Harmless Villain: Shekejiro is filled with evil intentions to build his Salmon Empire but all his schemes backfire and nobody takes him seriously.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Unlike Mitama and Soya's Vitriolic Best Buds relationship, Soya and Rena Haze just straight up dislike each other and always are at each other's throat for every single petty thing like popcorn. This mostly boils down to Soya being an overall jerk and somewhat jealous of her relationship with Joh.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Rena, though more towards sleeping very early, which Mr. Commentary and her mom pointed out.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • During the Baseball arc, Rena Haze is so shocked by the capture of all her spirit friends that she suddenly starts to showcase similar tear-related powers to Mitama and becomes blinded by rage to the point of attacking friends and foes indiscriminately.
    • Mitama's embarrassment in Code 28 was so intense that he became emotionless which is pretty out of character for him. It was so intense in fact that he still wasn't over it in the following chapter.
  • Hidden Depths: Mitama isn't the best exorcist around, but he is an excellent cook and an accomplished athlete.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: Mitama is drawn to protect Rena Haze because he lived through a similar situation when he was younger, being also haunted by a line of spirits. Rena Haze herself eventually shows similar "tear" abilities to Mitama, strengthening that parallel even more.
  • Hyperaffixation: SecuREIty and spirits themselves tend to add the word REI everywhere they can fit it (tREIning, REIttuce, REIpellent Rod, REIferree, bowling REIne, REIceptionist, etc.).
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Chapters are titled "code X /".
  • Improbably Cool Car: Mitama drives a luxurious red convertible (with a suspiciously familiar pegasus logo) for no discernible reason.
  • Instant Web Hit: Going full YouTuber on Mitama's advices didn't land Rena Haze a single job, but at least she got 20k subscribers in a single video.
  • Invisible Parents: Eventually Averted, but for a while both of Rena Haze's parents never appeared in the series, her mother Rumi because of her work and her father for still unknown reasons.
  • Invisible to Normals: Regular folks (unfortunately including Soya) can't see the spirits. At best, they feel a bit cold when they're close and vaguely hear ominous murmurs when they talk (even if they were politely saying hi).
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: Rena Haze asks for one in her spirit line when Joh gets ill in Code 16. Unfortunately, the only one is a goofy quack who treats all wounds and illnesses with band-aids.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Code 38 is one long climbing of the SecuREIty Tower, going against all the top exorcists residing inside.
  • Karaoke Box: Mitama is hired to exorcise a haunted karaoke booth in Code 33. He and the line's spirits all take the occasion to sing a bit, each one with their own comically disastrous results.
  • Kid Detective: Parodied with Kojime Edoichi, self-proclaimed genius because of his legendary lineage (which is coupled with the name a clear homage to Hajime Kindaichi and Conan Edogawa), who is not only always wrong but also often mistaken for a creep due to his tendency to snoop around, eavesdrop and talk to himself.
    Kid: Mom! Is that guy a stalker?
    Mother: Don't stare at the degenerate, dear.
  • Large and in Charge: Onigawara "the Untouchable", the founder and leader of a yakuza gang smuggling rare spirits, is built like a tank and far more imposing than any of his minions.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: When Shakejiro gets wet and turns into a regular salmon, he becomes pretty insistent about people "ingesting" his healthy DHA (in other words his fish oil).
  • Lethal Chef: Rena Haze is a terrible cook. She can spend four hours in the kitchen and only end up with a purple curry with visible fish bones and floating bubbles. That curry was so dreadful that it actually summoned an evil spirit (that was somehow less cursed than it).
    • Eventually averted as she trained with Yuko and managed to make some good chocolates for Mitama for Valentine's Day.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz":
    • Rena Haze called the lovestruck spirit Yuko (幽子) using the kanji for ghost (幽, "yū", a subtly different one from the infamous "rei"). When she comes back later in a more tangible form, she says that it isn't her real name but that she is fine with it.
    • Shakejiro translates to "Middle Brother Salmon", causing Rena Haze to wonder if he has a big brother.
  • Love Triangle: Both Joh and Soya had a crush on the same girl named Miki back in school. It ended with both being rejected by her for being embarassingly terrible at romance.
  • Made of Iron: Joh Mitama is seemingly indestructible, defeating any human opponent with ease and tanking everything from beatings-up to explosions.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: After thorough investigation, Kojime believes that the reason Mitama is following Rena Haze around is because he is a sketchy talent scout.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Opportunity. It has a muscled human torso, elephant arms, nondescript furry satanic legs, a Shell Backpack, a whip-like tail, and above all a giraffe head that can pop off to reveal a terrifying dark spirit living inside.
  • Mr. Exposition: The fittingly named Mr. Commentary is somehow knowledgeable about everything and everyone and won't miss an opportunity to explain what's going on to whoever is willing to listen to him.
  • Muggle with a Degree in Magic: Soya was the top of his class in SecuREIty TREIning, is super intelligent and athletic, but has absolutely no spirit sense at all and can't see a single ghost, so he's usually stuck in office.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Or rather "Multi-Footed and Dangerous" in Zobiro's case, even though all his extra feet are located on his face. He can extend them at will and rotate them like a mill.
  • Mythology Gag: The place where Mitama and Yuko go for their date in Code 13 is called "Swan Crêpes", a nod to Tsurun Hatomune's previous work Naked Swan.
  • Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: Spirit for the Ethical TREItment of Living Things. You can call him Mr. Living Things. Ironically enough, neither he nor the pets he takes care of are technically "living things".
  • Named Weapons: The SecuREIty exorcists named their powerful spirit-busting weapons, but this is more a direct parody of the trope considering their tackiness and that they are mostly irrelevant to the story.
    • Mitama's gun is called the Ghost-Be-Gone Gun.
    • Soya's spear is called Lonely Sunshine a.k.a the Spirit-Be-Sent Spear.
  • Neck Lift: Onigawara hold Janca by the neck with a single hand and would have killed him on the spot if not for Mitama's intervention.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: The trope itself is used to comedically subvert expectations. Mitama sometimes meets what he assumes to be spirits of renowned figures like Babe Ruth and Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, explaining in details (partially to the readers) who they are, only to realize immediately after that they are simply look-alikes (allegedly).
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Rena Haze (or rather Zobiro) demolished Janca and his spirit goons while Mitama and Soya were rushing to save her.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Shakejiro will be nice and subservient to whoever seems the strongest at a given point, though his short temper often makes him change his mind on a dime and turn back against the exact same person if he feels like they disrespected him (only to be easily defeated and immediately become servile again).
  • Our Spirits Are Different: The spirits in this universe are rather vague. For the most part of them, they look like featureless purple humanoids with three black circles for the mouth and eyes, but sometimes wear clothes and accessories. They are supposedly deceased people as Mr. Commentary reminisces about his past life, and they can turn back into their human form if they are strong enough like Yuko. Some does not fit this description however: spirits like the fake Babe Ruth, Kojime's ancestor, and Mr. Living Things look identical to their human form (but could simply possess a naturally stronger lower dantian), while others like Zobiro, Shakejiro, and Opportunity are vague entities with even more vague origins.
  • Paranormal Romance: A very one-sided one between Yuko and Mitama, as the latter is way too scared of ghosts to even begin to acknowledge it.
  • Pokémon Speak: Zobiro can only say his name out loud, though in a slow and creepy way.
  • Power Gives You Wings: The members of BODY grow wings where else but on the corresponding body part of each one's Code Name. The ones we see in action are "Holy Light Elbow Jet Wing", "Shining Beauty Wing"note , "One Hundred Winged Hands", and "Eternal Rolling Shoulders". Although Mitama is/was "Chest" he has yet to show signs that he can use that ability anymore.
  • Pun-Based Title: The "ri" in the title's "Security" is replaced by the kanji "霊" (rei) meaning ghost/spirit. You can still see the regular katakana for the word (レ, pronounce "re") hidden in a Hitodama Light on the kanji.
  • Pungeon Master: Shakejiro makes so much fish puns that he wouldn't feel out of place in Splatoon.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad:
  • Reaction Shot: One of the series' Running Gag. When something weird happens, a character (at first only Rena Haze but it eventually spread to the rest of the cast) will appear in the corner of the panel looking shocked. It is even used on the volumes' covers.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: Averted with Soya who vehemently defends caramel popcorn against Rena Haze's preference toward salted popcorn, though she herself makes reference to the trope as she finds being a Sweet Tooth childish.
    Rena Haze: Have you eaten so much caramel that it's warped your brain? I bet it's a sticky, gooey caramel brain now.
  • Red Right Hand: Between the two scars on his face and the snake eyes, it appears immediately obvious that Onigawara is probably not a nice guy.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Chapter 8 focuses on Mitama taking Rena to abandoned and scary places teeming with spirits in an effort to scare her into exorcising her spirits. All it accomplishes is strengthening her affection for the spirits in her line and even befriending the notoriously creepy Zobiro.
  • Selfie Fiend: Although they don't take the selfies themselves, the spirits act as such when people take pictures of them. They do cute v-signs and alter the pictures to add Instagram filters on them.
  • Serious Business: One of Soya's main character traits is that he is very passionate about a wide variety of things, from exorcism and baseball to popcorn, and won't hesitate to become mean if not outright violent to get his point across.
  • Ship Sinking: Zig-Zagged. Code 34 presented Mitama as a literal Parental Substitute for Rena Haze (competing with her own mother in a "mom-off") which seemingly cleared this ship off the table, at least from Joh's perspective who outright clarified that he wasn't interested in her that way. However, the following chapters send even more mixed messages than ever before, with Rena Haze more and more flustered in presence of Mitama despite openly disliking his quirky antics, and Mitama notably dropping this innocuous line out of nowhere:
    Rena Haze: Well, it sounds like you're as attracted to me as the spirits! Ah ha ha!
    Mitama: Yeah, maybe I am.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Hatomune seems to be a really big sports fan, most notably of American legends. The basketball spirit in Code 2 namedropped Dikembe Mutombo, and a fake Babe Ruth appeared during the Baseball Episode. Outside of the series proper, Hatomune also drew a tribute to the late NBA player Kobe Bryant.
    • Kojime Edoichi and his illustrious ancestor Holmezaburo Edoichi are a parody of Hajime and Kosuke Kindaichi.
    • Janca's way of treating spirits are inspired by Pokémon. He throws Yin Yang-shaped Poké Ball devices to catch spirits and calls Rena a "SpiREImon Master".
      • The BODY group uses the same catching device and boldly claims that they're gonna "catch 'em all".
    • Mr. Stripe showed a picture of Sadako as an example of spirit to his pupils. It was immediately mimicked by young Joh's spirits who physically recreated the TV set with one spirit creeping out of it.
    • The entire Code 29 was filled with references to The Lion King, down to the entire chapter basically being a giant setup to Shakejiro singing "No worREIs for the rest of our days".note 
    • Mitama's comic book that we wrote as a child included some impromptu cameos of famous characters such as Goku and his "Dragon Rubees".
    • In Code 42, Rena and her friends watch a movie called Planet of the Plates. It was actually Incidental Multilingual Wordplay as the pun is the exact same in Japanese.note 
    • Holy Light Spirit Man with his big round shapes is almost called "Doraemon" by Rena Haze when she desperatly needs him for a mundane task (which isn't unlike a typical Doraemon situation).
  • Show Within a Show: Body Temperature King, a seemingly invokedTear Jerker show about multiple people getting really hot (in a literal sense).
  • Signature Headgear: Mitama wears a headpin with numerous shide strips. After he unlocks his Holy Spirit Light Man form, he needs to pull them like a lamp to activates it. It amuses a lot Ta & Pi who often trigger it without warning.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Rena's mom Rumi comes back from work early and seeing Mitama doing chores in her house with Rena present, she's less concerned of seeing an adult man being in the same room with his daughter (especially after learning about his job) and more livid of Mitama being Rena's substitute mother.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Despite Rena Haze's line being composed of around 200 spirits, only 2 are explicitly female: Yuko and Pi. This comes into play in the Public Bathhouse Scene where there's only Rena Haze and these two in the women's room while Mitama is stuck with all the others in the men's room.
  • Spooky Photographs: Parodied in Code 45 (aptly titled "Enjoy! Spirit Photography") in which the spirits are photobombing Rena Haze's pictures in a cute and non-malicious way.
  • Stand-In Parents: Exaggerated in Code 43. Rena asks Mitama to replace her mother for an upcoming parent-teacher conference. Joh eventually agrees to join her to counterbalance her mother's harshness, and is then immediately followed by Soya and Janca who also wish to support her. And then the Four Divine Eye-Pattern Lieutenants and the commander arrive out of nowhere. And then the entire BODY corp, for a whopping total of 17 Stand-In Parents. Of course, Rumi didn't really take the whole situation very well.
    Rumi Haze: Did I walk in on a seminar?
  • The Stinger: Most chapters end with a small round panel with a comedic scene showing some characters after what happened in the chapter.
  • Super Mode:
    • When Mitama cries, his eyes start to glow and he becomes temporary faster and stronger. Rena Haze has a similar ability, though in her case it tightens her control on her spirit line and makes them stronger.
    • Joh later gets another form after mastering the Reihyoken: "Holy Ligh Spirit Man" which consists of him half-naked with only a tie and several Holy Ligh Spirit Blasts on his body acting like an armor. It activates by pulling his shibe hairpin and deactivates when poking his balls with a sharp object. In this form, he can fly like a hot air balloon and freeze spirits.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Despite being the Role Called character, the story is arguably less about Joh Mitama that it is about Rena Haze, her loneliness, her friendships, and her growth as a character impacting the world around her, Mitama filling a sort of Big Brother Mentor role to her.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: Mitama uses his own tears to power-up which is mainly incidental to the fact the he's terrified when close to spirits. Using it too many times causes his eyes to dry up.
  • Theme Twin Naming: The twin spirits are named Ta and Pi as in "tapioca", because they were first discovered in a tapioca bubble tea joint.
  • Unseen No More:
    • Rena Haze's mother was mentioned several times but only started appearing in Code 34 where she is revealed to be named Rumi Haze.
    • The Head and Lieutenants of SecuREIty (other than Mr. Stripe) were briefly mentionned during the BODY arc while explaining the organisation's hierarchy, but they only started to appear after Code 38.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: Code 23 becomes one at the end, subverting the initial Wham Episode setup. The spirits (violently) forbid Mitama to see Rena Haze only to let her make some chocolate in secret.
  • Verbal Tic Name: In the original Japanese, Janca punctuates most of his phrases with "janca" which more or less means "isn't that right?" though it isn't written the same as his name. In English, it was localized as "jan k'now?" which is closer to a regular Verbal Tic but still retains some part of his name in it.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Soya and Mitama are the best of friends and care very much for each other, Joh being the only one back at SecuREIty TREIning who would hang up with a Muggle like Soya. However, they tend to express it with passive aggressive remarks, making everything a competition, when it's not straight up punching each other. To be fair, the aggressiveness mostly comes from Soya being a jerk to everyone including Mitama.
  • When You Coming Home, Mom?: Rumi Haze is a workaholic who often comes back very late and leaves a bit of money on the table for her to buy groceries and dine alone. Although she loves her mom and they clearly care for each other, Rena often feels lonely at home while Rumi wishes to find some time to spend with her daughter.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Code 12 centers around Mitama's past and how he became an exorcist under Mr. Stripe's training. He mainly studied basketball though.
  • World of Pun: The REI jokes are really just the top of the iceberg. There is a ton more jokes between the names of various characters and organizations, their way of speaking, their own tendency to tell puns, etc. There are numerous translator notes explaining most of them, but some inevitably end up Lost in Translation and/or turned into other jokes.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: One of Mitama's move is the BREIn Buster, usually used to smack some sense into Kojime. He can also do it in tag team with Zobiro.

*REI = SPIRIT/GHOST (just in case you forgot)