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Manga / Phantom Dream

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Phantom Dream is a fantasy romance manga series created by Natsuki Takaya, who’s well-known for Fruits Basket. The series ran from 1994 to 1997 and has five volumes.

Tamaki Otoya is the last line of ancient priests whose mission is to protect humanity from vengeful spirits. A group of people called the jahoutsukai (black magicians) are increasing their efforts to get ahold of an ancient weapon known as the Suigekka, which will strengthen their powers and allow them to turn more people into jaki. Tamaki must increase his skill in order to defeat this group and prevent the revival of a dangerous ancient king.

Phantom Dream provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Souchi is a victim of one. His father kept pushing him to be good at his academics and is far more concerned about how his son’s behavior will reflect on him than giving his son emotional support. The stress and abuse became too much for Souchi and he attempted suicide. The abuse escalated to his father slapping him and saying it would have been better if Souchi died.
    • Hyou was physically abusive towards her daughter Eiji. Due to Eiji not being as powerful as her sister Kaname, Hyou took her frustrations out on Eiji and considers her to be more of a toy than her child. She also refers to Eiji as “it”, refusing to acknowledge her as a person. It’s also Hyou who has a grip on Eiji’s soul, preventing her from waking up in the physical world at first.
    • Asahi grew up with an abusive mother after her father died. Growing up, Tamaki and Kaname noticed Asahi sporting different bruises, some which she covered up with her clothes. Her mother’s behavior doesn’t change when Asahi is older where she is physically and verbally abused whenever her mother comes back into town.
  • Age-Gap Romance: It’s revealed one volume 2 that Kaname was involved with Souetsu, the elderly leader of the Otoya family.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Shahaku is the only significantly dark person in the series in a cast of Japanese characters.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Mitsuru had a twin sister who was very sickly. She died before entering high school, which left Mitsuru feeling depressed and blaming herself. Tamaki and Asahi believe it’s Minoru’s vengeful spirit who’s possessed Mitsuru. It turns out to be Mitsuru’s guilt that manifested over time and consumed her.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason why Eiji is so conflicted with her feelings for Tamaki is because he offered her a juzu bead, which healed an injury she received from her mother.
  • Beta Couple: Hideri and Eiji end up getting married after the main story concludes.
  • Big Brother Worship: Tokiwa views Tamaki as a big brother and greatly admires his skill as a shigoshi.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Saga. He appeared to be the only one who accepted his older brother Hira. He pretended to be concerned about Hira and encouraged Tamaki to exorcise his brother to “save” him. However, like their mother, he saw Hira as a demon and only helped Tamaki so he could witness his brother’s death. He very coldly regarded Suigekka’s death as something that couldn’t be helped, enraging Hira.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Tamaki is the brooding boy to Asahi’s gentle girl. He is burdened with the task of exorcising jaki from humans even at the risk of killing the people who are possessed and Asahi faithfully stays by his side and comforts him.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Migiri and Hideri are siblings and serve Tamaki as higoshi. There are some fights where they fight jaki together.
  • Cain and Abel: It’s revealed that the Otaya and Gekka families originated from Saga and Hira who were brothers. Saga’s descendants have spent the last thousand years fighting Hira who used his powers to turn people into jaki. It goes even deeper once it’s revealed that Saga never loved his brother and only did things like let him outside of his room and told Suigekka about Hira hoping to have Suigekka kill him. He reveals in the final volume that he had no intention to save his brother, but rather kill him.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Once Hira is awakened and more jaki are created, the Gekka bring the jaki to Hira who feasts off them to become stronger.
  • Chick Magnet: Tamaki is notably popular with the girls. There’s Asahi (childhood friend and girlfriend), Migiri (another childhood friend and arranged fiancée), and Eiji (originally his enemy who defected from the Gekka and harbored feelings for him). Some of his female classmates also admire him and swoon when he looks at them.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Asahi. She sometimes wonders if Tamaki is seeing another girl behind her back and physically clung to him when Tokiwa got too close to Tamaki, claiming him to be hers.
    • Same with Migiri. She is Tamaki’s fiancée and doesn’t think Asahi has any business associating with Tamaki since he will have to marry Migiri as per tradition with their customs. She eventually moves past this and lets Tamaki and Asahi be together.
  • Curtains Match the Window: A lot of characters have hair and eye colors that match. Tamaki has purple hair and eyes, Asahi has blonde hair and gold eyes, and Eiji has blue hair and eyes. Subverted with Hira who has white hair and red eyes.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: After her Heel–Face Turn, Roka kills herself and passes away in Mutsu’s arms.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Before her body fades into nothingness, Roka declares her love for her partner Mustu.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Due to him holding onto his pain for a thousand years, Hira refused to accept that Suigekka, even in her final moments, wanted to be punished for failing to help humans with their problems.
  • Eye Scream: Mutsu’s eyes were gouged out when Suigekka was killed. His eyes are barely seen in flashbacks and he always wears a blindfold in the present.
  • Fake Defector: Asahi. She temporarily joined forces with Hira to fully awaken her powers to stop him rather than aid him. Her true intentions become clearer in the fourth volume when she reveals that her loyalties still lie with Tamaki.
  • Foil: Hira and Tamaki. They’ve both loved one woman and have suffered the loss of their girlfriends. The only difference being that Tamaki chose love and forgiveness over hate and resentment. It’s because of their similarities that they feel drawn towards one another and they understand each other’s pain.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Eiji. She raised by an abusive mother and was taught that turning people into jaki was all for creating a utopian society. The only people who were kind to her was Kageha, a cat demon who protected her from her abusive mother, and Tamaki who gave her a bead, which healed an injury of hers.
    • Hira. He was mistreated by his mother who accused him of being a demon due to his powers and his white hair and red eyes. She locked him in a small room and threw him back in the room after his brother Saga let him out. Years later, Suigekka freed him from confinement and made him her attendant, thus allowing him to use his powers for good. What sent Hira over the edge was Suigekka being killed and villagers calling him a demon, leading to him hating humanity and wanting to punish them for what they’ve done.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The reason behind Asahi’s “betrayal” was because she foresaw a future where Tamaki would have died if she stayed with him. To prevent his death, she joined forces with Hira to fully awaken her powers and use them to aid Tamaki in his battle against Hira. She also sacrificed herself to seal a fissure in the afterlife to prevent anymore jaki from being created.
  • Important Haircut:
    • Hideri cuts off his ponytail when he defects from the Otoya family with Tamaki.
    • A flashback of Roka’s past shows her with long hair, which she cuts after Mutsu questions her ability to serve Hira due to her gender.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Before she defected, Eiji harbored affections for Tamaki. Once she left and was aiding Tamaki, he declared her to be like a little sister to him. She initially had trouble accepting this, but she became less bothered by it the more he said it.
  • Likes Older Women: Hideri, a young man in his twenties, harbors feelings for Tamaki’s mother Kaname.
  • The Lost Lenore: Hira turned evil after a group of humans killed his lover Suigekka. Her death is even more tragic since she was the only person to accept him as he was and to give him a chance.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Hira turns evil after his lover is killed by humans. He repeatedly talks about how he wishes to destroy humanity for taking Suigekka from him. He gets worse after Asahi, Suigekka’s reincarnation, turns on him and tells him that Suigekka sought death because she felt as though she couldn’t fully use her powers to help the humans she loved.
  • Love Triangle: Asahi, Tamaki, and Migiri. Tamaki and Asahi are dating, but Tamaki is supposed to marry Migiri, a higoshi who serves the shugoshi.
  • Never My Fault: When the families are discussing the return of the king Hira and Tamaki possibly become more corrupt due to his mixed blood, Hideri realizes that the families aren’t taking any responsibility for capturing Kaname and having her conceive Tamaki with Souetsu.
  • Official Couple: After everything they’ve been through together, Tamaki and Asahi end up as the main couple with the last section saying they get married.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Hira and his court all possess youthful appearances, but all of them are over a thousand years old.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Averted at first with Hira. He has red eyes, but he was originally a loyal attendant of Suigekka and was willing to help humans. After her death, he wanted to destroy humanity for taking her away from him. This trope takes a more tragic turn when Tamaki learns of Hira’s past, revealing that ever since childhood, people thought Hira was a demon because of his appearance and his powers when Hira was a sweet child who wanted to be part of the world of humans. Unfortunately, the loss of Suigekka and the ugliness of humanity caused his heart to warp and become twisted with hatred.
  • Reincarnation: It’s revealed in the third volume that Asahi is the reincarnation of King Hira’s lover Suigekka. Once she is awakened, she leaves Tamaki to be with Hira.
  • The Reveal:
    • Tamaki is not the son of Chuui, but of Souetsu. He is also the son of the shugoshi and a jahoutsukai, which is what Kaname is.
    • Asahi is the reincarnation of Hira’s lover Suigekka.
  • Second Love: Hideri and Eiji for each other after Hideri moves past Kaname’s death and Eiji accepts Tamaki’s devotion to Asahi and him viewing Eiji as a little sister.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Everyone notes that both Tamaki and Hira have spent their whole lives loving only one woman (Asahi for Tamaki and Suigekka for Hira). Played for drama for Migiri and Eiji who both love Tamaki, but know that he will never love them the same way he does with Asahi. Played for drama on a smaller scale for Jyuge who grows frustrated that Hira never returned her affections because of his devotion to Suigekka.
  • Stepford Smiler: Asahi is a Type A. She suffers from physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her mother and is frequently left home alone. Despite this fact, she still acts cheerful and does her best to support her boyfriend.
  • The Sociopath: Saga turns out to be one. He appeared to be kind and supportive of Hira and his attendants and seemingly exorcised spirits to protect humanity. In actuality, he resented Hira and tried to get his brother to accept that he was a “demon”. He also mentioned Hira to Suigekka not to give his brother a chance to utilize his powers for good and be accepted, but to get her to kill Hira. Not to mention him smiling so casually as he said that Suigekka’s death “couldn’t be helped”.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: When Hira was a kid, his mother called him a demon due to his powers causing destruction. Years later, he was summoned by Suigekka who enlisted him and his younger brother to serve as her attendants. After her death, people from a nearby village accused him of being a demon and he decided that being a demon was better than being a human.
  • Undying Loyalty: Mutsu is unwaveringly faithful to Hira. Even when Hira is demanding that he be revived so that he can kill Asahi/Suigekka, he intended to follow through because he was so devoted to Hira.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Like Asahi, Migiri knew Tamaki since they were kids and she was happy to be his fiancée. However, Tamaki was together with Asahi and stayed faithful to her throughout the series. Asahi and Tamaki end up getting married and having a family while Migiri marries a different man.
  • Wham Line: “Ahh, at last, I shall banish this demon forever!” Saga.
  • Wham Shot: The scene where Tamaki and Asahi reunited in the third volume. Tamaki had been frantically searching for her since her disappearance in the second volume. He finally finds her on a train where they have a tearful reunion. Cut to a shot where Asahi had stabbed Tamaki in the arm with a knife.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Gender-flipped with Tamaki and Asahi. Tokiwa initially doesn’t understand why Tamaki is involved with Asahi due to her air-headed nature and seemingly being unfit for Tamaki. He gets over it once he sees how compassionate and strong willed she is.
  • Woman Scorned: Haruka in the first two volumes was rejected by her boyfriend who was going to marry someone else. The heartbreak led to her turning into a jaki and trying to kill him. She tries to convince Asahi to abandon her feelings for Tamaki under the belief that he will leave just like Haruka’s boyfriend.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Hira. He had been treated unfairly by people who thought he was a demon and spent ten years locked away in a room. Once he was freed, he became Suigekka’s attendant and lover. After her death, he went to confront the villagers responsible. When they refuse to admit their guilt and started calling him a demon, he cursed humanity and sought the destruction of humanity.
  • Yandere: Jyuge, one of Hira’s most loyal servants. She loves her king and serves him in his quest to turn humans into jaki. She also expresses jealousy in his relationship with Suigekka and tries to kill her because Jyuge feels as though Hira doesn’t notice her with Suigekka in the way.