In a World where people live on sky islands above the clouds, strange monsters called Nemesis occasionally fall from the sky and wreak havoc in towns. The only people able to inflict damage to them are the Infected, humans who miraculously survived the normally lethal contact with a Nemesis and gained the power to manipulate Fantasia, at the price of some physical defect. While people call them for help when a Nemesis pops up, the Infected are nevertheless considered abominations and feared by the common folk.
The horned orphan Seth is one of them, and lives away from humans with his teacher/adoptive mother Alma. While he absolutely wants to fight Nemesis, his impulsiveness often stirs up more trouble than he would like, which doesn't help his or Alma's case. But soon he realises that fighting off the monsters that appear here and there is pointless if you don't go for the source: an entity called the Radiant, that no one has ever found, and may or may not actually exist. Joined by the bumbling Researching Sorcerer Doc and Mélie, a Trapper Witch with a Split Personality, Seth's first step in his journey will be to join a giant flying city, the Artemis Institute, home of many professional sorcerers. And to avoid getting too much on the Inquisitors' bad side, preferably.
Radiant is a French manga written and drawn by Tony Valente since 2013, probably the most popular Animesque comic in France along with Dreamland, and also the first one to get a publication in Japan − said edition was promoted by no less than Valente's idol Murata Yuusuke. The series is also available in German, Spanish, and in English since September 2018. There are currently 16 volumes out in France, with about six months between each.
A Japanese anime adaptation by Studio Lerche covers the first 10 volumes, with two seasons of 21 episodes each; the first season aired from 2018 to 2019, and the second from 2019 to 2020.
Not to be confused with a (Japanese) manga called Soul Gadget Radiant.
Radiant provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The first half of the anime significantly changes the way the main beats of the story play out and removes the gags that have a very "French" humor. It also tones down the violence and blood, although it's not a particularly bloody series to begin with.
- Adaptation Expansion: On the other hand, episode 5 elaborates on the role of the Artemis Institute and its relationship with the outside world. Episode 7 also briefly mentions animal experimentations, whose rejects end up roaming around the sewers of the city, while episode 9 follows the Inquisitor squad of Captain Dragunov in one of their ordinary days to show more of the "good side" of the Inquisition.
- Animalistic Abomination: The Nemesis can be described as this, the only origin people have for them is the Radiant whith many thinking it doesn't even exists, they all have different shapes from each other with the only phisycal trait in common being a black and white color scheme, they all control Fantasia, contaminate everything they come in contact with and can kill people just by touching them.
- Animesque: One of the more assimilated examples. While of Western origin, it was able to be published in Japan and get an anime adaptation thanks to mimicking the publication style of an actual homegrown shonen manga down to every single detail except the publishing schedule (the chapters are not published separately). Even the speech bubbles are shaped as though the dialogue were originally Japanese. The comic is also published by a manga imprint.
- Antagonist Title: "Radiant" is the place where the Nemesis come from and the goal of the protagonist Seth is to destroy it.
- Arc Words: Alma's line "You aren't born human, you become one", meaning that it's ultimately your choices and actions that determine whether you're a monster or not.
- Ascended Extra: While she remains a minor character, the café waitress Miss Melba has a lot more screentime in the anime than in the manga, where she just appears a couple of times for quick gags.
- Attractiveness Discrimination: During the Cyfandir arc, Seth is baffled to discover that entering the Order of Sorcerer Knights requires that the sorcerer's infection isn't too visible − that they look every bit like non-infected people, basically. The argument is that Sorcerer Knights are supposed to protect the people, so they can't look "scary". This serves to show that there can be forms of discrimination even among the infected.
- Background Magic Field: Fantasia, a magic power present in the atmosphere and used by the Nemesis to attack. People who have survived the contact with a Nemesis become able to manipulate it with the proper equipment − handling Fantasia barehanded normally burns the skin except for Seth, which is one reason he's hunted by the Inquisition.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Thoroughly averted. If anything, the pretty girls and women are more susceptible to being injured and bleeding than the guys in this series. Queen Boadicée even keeps a large facial scar after the Cyfandir battle.
- Body Horror: Some inffections can range into this, like having nails instead of teeth or having two necks.
- Yémitri, one of Hurlä's assistants has his right hand and head switched places.
- Brainwashed: The unfortunate effect of Ocoho's infection. Pressing a spot below her right ear will make her a slave to that person's will for a brief period of time, and she won't remember it afterwards.
- Breather Episode: Chapter 76 and 77 follow the "Broom Broom Cup Survival" race, which the author described as "Mario Kart on brooms." They reintroduce the character of Taj from the Rumble Town arc and bring some much-needed levity after the pretty dark climax of the Cyfandir arc; although Grimm's actions in the background also set up the events of the next arc.
- Church Militant: The Inquisitors mercilessly hunt down sorcerers at the slightest misbehaviour, and even though they're not sorcerers, their skills and strength are nothing to scoff at.
- Crapsaccharine World: Although the world is very much bright and colorful with a variety of different cultures and beings on the islets, people are in constant danger of being attacked by Nemeses who fall from the sky and contaminate everything they touch. The Nemeses often destroy entire towns and force its former inhabitants to have to find shelter in other islets, causing refugee crises. Sorcerers, the beings best suited to fighting off said Nemeses, are persecuted against a lot by the general population, with even children not exempt from being killed at the stake. Then there's the Inquisition, who ruthlessly hunt down Sorcerers at the smallest misbehavior and spread oppressive lies about said Sorcerers that contribute to their discrimination.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Konrad's speeches about the invading immigrants in the Rumble Town arc are unsubtly reminiscent of some of the views held by parties like the National Front in France or the UKIP in the UK.
- Double-Meaning Title: The scientific meaning of "radiant", both in French and English, is "The apparent celestial origin of a meteoric shower", a reference to the Nemesis falling from the sky. It can also denote something that emits light or radiations, which could refer to the magic the sorcerers use.
- Down the Drain: Episode 7 of the anime is a filler where Doc is abducted by a creature in the sewers of the Artemis.
- Driving Question: What are the Nemesis and where do they come from?
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Although little is explained about their culture, the refugees from the Far South in Rumble Town are quite clearly meant to represent Muslim populations from Maghreb or the Middle-East, from their clothing style to their food. This makes a lot of sense considering the author lives in France, where most non-European immigrants are from those regions.
- Feminist Fantasy: In the Cyfandir arc, Ocoho is pretty much the deuteragonist and arguably the true hero, who contributes to unveiling the conspiracies surrounding the kingdom, takes down a ship of Baron Merchants after Mordred's treason and indirectly opens the Queen's eyes on her mistakes. More generally, while the series' protagonist is male the story features a number of female characters who are not only as strong, active an developped as the male ones, but also take an equal amount of physical damage, if not more, with little-to-no Male Gaze. The author confirmed in volume 11's Q&A that he took great care in fleshing out male and female characters equally.
- Filler: Episode 6 to 10 are almost entirely anime-original, mostly expanding on the main trio's life on the Artemis and Seth's training with Yaga, as well as episode 9 focusing on the Inquisition's side. Strangely enough, some of it is about Seth learning things that he already knew from the start in the manga.
- Functional Magic: Magic involves harnessing Fantasia through tools to cast spells. Fantasia is an energy found in nature, which can only be seen and used by Sorcerers, that requires a Sorcerer to gather it from the surrounding environment and focus it to a specific point so that it can be used for spells. With training, a Sorcerer is able to accumulate and concentrate Fantasia more easily. Once the Fantasia has been gathered and focused, the Sorcerer carries out their will through imaging an emblem, with each emblem representing an action in the Sorcerer's mind, to execute the desired action through their spell. As a result, repeated association with a symbol makes it easier to produce that type of spell.
- Great Big Book of Everything: The Book of Truth, which Doc finds in the library of the Caislean Merlin castle, gives the reader any information they need through a small roulette that indicates the relevant page's number. It supposedly can even indicate where the Radiant is. But of course, that page has been torn off.
- Hate Crimes Are a Special Kind of Evil: Konrad de Marbourg. He orchestrated a plan in secret to have a sorcerer use her abilities to stir up Rumbletown's fear of the "infected" and whip the people into a violent frenzy to unleash them on immigrants, because they are "cockroaches soiling his town" (even going so far as to try and sacrifice natives in the process). Eventually, both he, and the entire town, are told the truth and called out on their actions by said sorcerer.
- Holy Hand Grenade: The Thaumaturges posses a power called Miracle, which they credit to being the bless of their founder the "Patrem Inquisitor", each Miracle is different for each Thaumaturge, but they all involve activating it by reciting a phrase and manifests as a divine light coming from the Thaumaturge's body or weapons.
- Hellgate: It's not clear what the Radiant is exactly (even its existence is uncertain), but it designates the one place where all the Nemesis supposedly come down to Earth from.
- Hypocrite: The Inquisition runs on this. The infected are feared and persecuted but as soon as a Nemesis fall from the sky, they're expected to sacrifice their lives to save people. Also, if a sorcerer uses Fantasia to grow a tree, that's foul dark magic, but if an inquistor uses her miracle to take control of the fallen soldiers on a battlefield, allies and ennemies alike, that's divine will.
- Interspecies Romance: In the Cyfandir arc, Myr, a pixie, is married and has children with Yggdrajill, a dryad. Myr himself turns out to be half-human.
- Light Is Not Good: The Inquisition reassures people to be proctecting them from sorcerers but commit atrocities against infected and even innocents if they are considered enemies, the Thaumaturges in particular are this since their Miracles appear as a divine light.
- Long Lost Sibling: Subverted. Volume 4 introduces Piodon, who claims to be Seth's brother, despite the latter having no memories of him. It later turns out Seth has several "brothers" with a similar infection, who are all part of some sort of experiment by the same Piodon.
- "Not So Different" Remark: What both Don Bossman and later on Hameline argue against Seth, who suffered as much as they did from persecution. He admits to the latter than he more than once wished he could go on a rampage and let the non-infected have a taste of their own medicine. This is then reversed when Seth points out to Hameline that she could have done just that, but never actually had the guts to kill anyone.
- Our Mages Are Different: Sorcerers are humans who were inflicted with a unique curse after surviving contact with a Source Nemesis, letting them control Fantasia to use magic. Sorcerers are feared by most of the populace as evil beings tied to the Nemeses, so they're often persecuted especially by the Inquisition.
- Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment: Sorcerers use feather gloves to accumulate and manipulate Fantasia, as it's too dangerous to manipulate barehanded. However, this is inverted in the case of Seth, who can use Fantasia barehanded, but can't do it with feather gloves.
- Shown Their Work: Some of Ullmina's hilariously dirty quotes are taken directly from Malleus Maleficarum, a real world treaty about sorcery published in 1487.
- Sustained Misunderstanding: In the Rumble Town arc, Grimm keeps misinterpreting what he hears from Seth, Mélie and Doc, and adds his own ambiguous comments on top of that. This is partly played seriously, as Grimm initially treats them as enemies because of that, but it's also Played for Laughs when Grimm reveals afterwards in which way he misinterpreted their words. Case in point, Doc crying "My wife! My children!" when Grimm killed the Nemesis they had captured leads him to infer that the Nemesis were Doc's wife and children.
- Team Pet: Mr. Boobrie, a horned bird thingy who always follows Mélie and particularly loves her violent side. He's named after a mythological bird from Scottish folklore.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: People have absolutely no qualms asking the Infected to sacrifice themselves. Later on, the same question is asked about the Nemesis: are they truly evil beings?
- World in the Sky: The islands aren't floating, they're at the top of very high and narrow mountains, but the effect is similar. Zeppelins and hot-air balloons are the most common transportations (as well as flying broomsticks for sorcerers).