Chigusa: It's a gun.
Rakan: But... it's a tree.
Chigusa: It's a tree.
Rakan: It's a tree, right?
Chigusa: But it's also a gun.
A tale of an alternate world, magical plants and stones, and group hugs.
Written by Sugiura Shiho, this Shoujo manga stars a 17-year-old boy named Rakan, who enjoys "cooking, cleaning, and studying", and caring for his little jungle in the backyard. He's lived alone ever since his mother and grandfather passed away a year ago.
As he comes home from school one day, a strange man appears in his backyard, just as he and his mother did 15 years ago. When Rakan and the man, Chigusa, witness Chigusa's wooden gun grow into a full-grown tree after Rakan touches it, Chigusa sticks himself to the boy like a leech, insisting on protecting him because he's a Sanome, which is a person that can grow plants just by touching them and is extremely rare in his world, where just about everything is desert.
As the story continues, the two find themselves bound together, as if by Fate, as they gain friends and, most importantly, learn to understand each other.
The manga was serialized in Ichiraci from 2003 to 2012, and compiled into 27 volumes. It was formerly licensed in English by Tokyopop, who released the first nine volumes into English, but they lost the rights to the series after they closed in 2009.
"Silver Diamond" gives examples of:
- A Boy and His X: The story starts right off with Rakan gaining his own self-proclaimed bodyguard, Chigusa.
- Abusive Parents: Shigeyuki Shigeka, of the neglectful kind.
- All-Loving Hero: Rakan is really, really nice. And sweet, kind, helpful and forgiving. And everybody loves him because of it (except the villains). Even the animals.
- Eventually this starts to spread throughout his whole group, leaving most villagers wondering how feared criminals can be so pleasant.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Kinrei and the Prince fit this trope, as does Shigeyuki. Although the prince is more a religious figure than an aristocrat as such.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Whenever the group is outnumbered and/or separated, this happens.
- Badass Longcoat: One of Chigusa's trademarks. No matter how many clothes he ruins, he always manages to find another long coat.
- Bad Boss: The Prince is an Ayame that feeds off everything, from the plants to the people, without hardly any of them knowing. Then, you have him and Kinrei just getting rid of anyone they have no use for. What's worse is that those whom know that the Prince is an Ayame and are still willing to serve him are STILL tossed to the side as soon as they outlive their usefulness.
- Hoshinomikoto has some traits of this.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: The Ayame prince is a Walking Wasteland and wants to destroy all humans so the ayame can take over the world. Rakan has growth-and-fertility powers and wants to make the desert bloom again. Take a wild guess which is the hero and which is the villain.
- Big Brother Is Watching: The Ayame Prince and Kinrei were usually on par with the details of Rakan's progress even when there was no way they should be able to. It turned out the Prince was using Touji's eyes to do it.
- Big Brother Instinct: Kazuhi towards Touji. It's so bad he ends up Taking the Bullet for him... in a pillow-fighting contest.
- The other members of the Sanome Prince guard often say he's got a "brocon".
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Hoshinomikoto only thinks in terms of the Amato Empire's salvation. The will of the people he's manipulating simply does not register in his mind.
- Bodyguard Crush: Chigusa again takes it up to eleven.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The crystal snakes that are transformed into black serpents under Kinrei's orders.
- Chigusa in god of death mode.
- Narushige and several other capital members who are controlled by the Ayame Prince's blood.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Rinrai, once she gets past the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl phase.
- The Determinator: Chigusa is out to kill the Ayame prince, and he's survived some normally quite fatal damage but still going. Good thing he can heal.
- Disappeared Dad: Even after he's realized that he and his mother are from the other world, it doesn't even occur to Rakan for several chapters that he might have a father in the other world.
- All the numbered children have a case of this.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Kinrei full stop. He later pulls a Starscream when the Ayame Prince gets a little too willful for his plans.
- Subverted when it turns out his plans are a result of Hoshinomikoto's manipulation.
- Driven to Suicide: Chigusa, several times during his lifetime of a thousand years. That's the reason why Hoshinomikoto keeps erasing his memories.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Just don't say it to Narushige's face.
- Easily Forgiven: Touji is sent to kill Chigusa, Narushige, and Rakan and also manages to put some holes in Chigusa while attempting to do just that. Doesn't stop Rakan from saving him from getting shot by Chigusa, giving him dinner, and telling the others to be nicer to him - all in the span of a day. Then he gets added to the team.
- Rakan is the king of this trope. He later forgives another hitman sent by Kinrei, who almost brought a house down on him; a girl who tried to kill all of his comrades so her village would get to keep him forever; and a group of guards who stubbornly refuse to even consider that someone of the Kingen family might not be telling the truth. They all wind up becoming valuable allies and the first two have already undergone a Heel–Face Turn.
- The great Aversion happens with Hoshinomikoto. Rakan simply cannot forgive the pain he put Chigusa through.
- Equippable Ally: Narushige has a pet talking snake, Koh, who can turn into a sword. Or possibly a pet sword which can turn into a talking snake. All of the other main cast use guns/bow and arrows that grow just as they are from trees.
- Evil Twin / Criminal Doppelgänger: It's not yet clear which of these is in play, but Rakan looks exactly like the Ayame prince.
- Eye Scream: Touji cuts his own eyes when he finds out the Ayame Prince has been keeping tabs on the group through them.
- Family of Choice: The four main characters. Later, all the Sanome Prince guards feel like this about each other.
- Fighting from the Inside: Narushige when he is possessed by the Ayame Prince's blood.
- Five-Man Band:
- The Hero: Chigusa, interestingly enough.
- The Lancer: Narushige, when he's not being a "bossy mother-in-law," as Chigusa calls him.
- The Smart Guy: Kou, usually when the others are trying to figure out what Rakan means when he uses slang or pop culture references. Actually, all of the main cast seem to take turns as this one, depending on the situation.
- The Big Guy: Touji, although has some elements of Sixth Ranger.
- The Heart: A male - and quite useful- version in the form of Rakan.
- Friend to All Living Things: Rakan.
- God Is Flawed: Hoshinomikoto is either this or evil. No one's figured out which of them yet.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: It appears Hoshinomikoto gets stronger the more the people pray for him.
- Green Thumb: Rakan is a pretty good gardener in the normal world, but once he gets to the other world he realizes he can make seeds sprout in barren sand and solid rock. Even brushing against a plant will make it grow out of control. He also seems to be the catalyst for the resurgence of the "water snakes" and their conversion into rivers. Due to his efforts, the group leaves a trail of green behind them as they cross the desert.
- Grows on Trees: The alternate world seems to have a specialized plant for everything. So far: guns, bows, ladders, walls, wells, invisibility cloaks, light sources, and plain-old food crops.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Chigusa is one, being part human and part plant. His entire family, the Senroh clan, is famous for being immortal monsters.
- Healing Factor: Chigusa can recover from almost any injury.
- Actually, he can recover from virtually everything. Except he often loses things in the process.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Have we mentioned that Chigusa really liiikes hugging Rakan? Also carrying Rakan, holding Rakan, getting Rakan to sleep on his chest, looking at Rakan, smiling at Rakan... It's not clear whether Rakan has noticed his attention, but everybody else has. Subtext becomes more like text later, as Rakan is shown to seemingly indeed reciprocate Chigusa's feelings. They even move in together in Rakan's world at the end of the story.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: A black meadow flower in chapter 40: whenever someone approaches, its branches close on them on instinct, but it does not want to kill and has been suffering for a long time. Foreshadowing Chigusa's true role in the world later on.
- I Was Just Passing Through: Hakubi's modus operandi, before his Heel–Face Turn is cemented.
- Identity Amnesia: Chigusa. Justified in that the one who erased his memories is GOD.
- If It's You, It's Okay: The second part of the manga implies this is how Rakan feels about Chigusa. The ending pretty much confirms it.
- Immortality Hurts: Chigusa, in spades. He is often overwhelmed by the terrible memories of his one-thousand year lifetime and his role as the death god, and has been Driven to Suicide more than once.
- Immortality Seeker: Kinrei and several people under his command. Subverted in that it's implied they didn't really come up with the idea on their own.
- In-Series Nickname: "The Ill Omen" for Narushige, and, eventually, "The Sanome Prince" for Rakan.
- Longhaired Prettyboy: Narushige.
- Mistaken for Gay: A Running Gag with Hakubi, who watches the people of Sanome Prince giving out group hugs and just generally caring for each other, and keeps getting the wrong idea. (Or the right one.)
- Sae continues this tradition.
- Muggle Foster Parents / Raised by Grandparents / Oblivious Adoption: Rakan and his mother are actually from the other world. They simply landed in his "grandfather's" garden one day, and the old man, being lonely, kept them. Rakan knows nothing about this until the rest of the cast falls into his garden.
- Mysterious Backer: Hoshinomikoto.
- No One Could Survive That!: Just before the start of the series, Chigusa was sentenced to death for attacking the Ayame prince, and duly crucified and shot full of arrows. Eyewitnesses swore he was dead. He wasn't, obviously.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Chigusa to Rakan. See Homoerotic Subtext.
- No Social Skills: Chigusa, due to his childhood circumstances.
- Official Couple: Rakan and Chigusa are implied to have finally tied the knot at the end of the story.
- Offing the Offspring: Averted with Shigeyuki, but not for lack of trying.
- Ordinary High-School Student: Rakan, at the start of the story.
- Organic Technology: The alternate world has little metal and makes almost everything from wood, conveniently aided by a very broad range of improbable plant specialization. See Grows on Trees.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rakan is not afraid of delivering one of those when the moment calls for it.
- Red Right Hand: The Ayame prince (who is otherwise quite Bishōnen) keeps his hands hidden when in public. That's because they're black, scaly and taloned.
- Relax-o-Vision: When Chigusa first touches his forehead to Rakan's to show him what he's seeing. Averted in the end because all Narushige did was to draw his sword to threaten Chigusa.
- Screw Destiny / You Can't Fight Fate: The latter half of the series wages war between these two concepts and, in the end, never really settles on one answer. Souls tend to be Spanners in the Works though.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: When the Ayame Prince tries to counter Hoshinomikoto's prophecies by destroying the world with stone dinosaurs - which are promply thought to be the "ancient monsters" the prophecy was talking about. Subverted when it turns out they weren't.
- Single-Target Sexuality: While Chigusa is often called a pervert or Rakan-Otaku, the truth is more that he happens to have feelings only for Rakan and just can't be interested in other people.
- The Starscream: Kinrei is the soul of loyalty to the Ayame prince's face, but is trying to manipulate the prince for his own plans.
- Subverted in later volumes when the Prince and Kinrei form a Villainous Friendship.
- Super-Senses: Chigusa has super-sight (bordering on X-Ray Vision), which he puts to use for Improbable Aiming Skills. Some other characters have similar powers.
- Team Mom and Team Dad: Narushige acts as both Team Mom AND Team Dad to the core Five-Man Band - though Rakan often shares the Team Mom role.
- For the Sanome Prince's guard, Goushi often gets the role of Team Dad.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Chigusa, twice: first when he realizes he has Ayame blood in his veins, and later when he remembers he's actually the Amato Empire's version of a death god.
- Trapped in Another World: Rakan, although in a slight twist he goes voluntarily.
- Villainous Breakdown: The Ayame prince has a brief one of these when Kinrei traps him in the claws of a rock monster which drains the prince's blood. And since he's been spoiled rotten and never done anything for himself for the last 15 years the prince promptly freaks out because he doesn't know what he should do. Although he snaps out of it after a few chapters and escapes due to the forced character development.
- Both the Ayame Prince and Kinrei go through one of these when they realize they have been manipulated by Hoshinomikoto.
- Villainous Friendship: Somewhere between Type II and Type III. After attempting to pull a Starscream and trapping the Ayame Prince with a stone monster that drains the Prince's blood, the Prince uses Kinrei's own animation spell on a T-rex fossil to free himself, destroy Kinrei's stone monsters, and severely wounding Kinrei. The prince then uses his claws to slice his own neck. Kinrei rethinks his plans and his opinion of the Prince, so Kinrei saves the prince, and once the Prince recovers, they make a mutual agreement to use each other to achieve their individual goals - but with the promise to kill each other if either betrays the other.
- Villain with Good Publicity: The Ayame prince is almost universally loved and respected. Only a few people know how cruel he is, especially to those who have been used and thrown away. Very convenient for him, very bad for our heroes.
- Later Averted due to Hoshinomikoto and Rakan's work.
- Waif Prophet: The Ayame prince walked in off the desert as a beautiful, strange, glowing child and started making prophecies. He was immediately raised to near-godlike status by the desperate population. Now he's a beautiful, strange, glowing young man (and completely evil).
- Except he can't really foresee anything. His prophecies are fed to him by Hoshinomikoto.
- Walking Disaster Area: The Senroh family. That is, Chigusa, in his many reincarnations, due to his job as a death god.
- Walking Wasteland: The Ayame prince lives by extracting life energy from the planet; it's implied that he's the cause of the desertification.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Often discussed by the cast. The main antagonists want it to grow beyond the desert world they live in; the main protagonists are of the opinion that it's not worth it to see their friends die. Terribly Played Straight with Chigusa, so much that he uses his experiences to show some of the antagonists what eternal life is really like.
- Why Did It Haveto Be Snakes: Rakan really, REALLY doesn't like ghosts. That also applies to scary stories and horror movies.
- And he flips his shit when they meet a real ghost.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Rakan has made several of those speeches towards Chigusa (created to be a death god), Narushige (last man in a lineage that heavily favors women), and Touji (Unwitting Pawn of the Ayame Prince), and the entire cast. They usually end up with a You Are Not Alone moment.
- You Are Not Alone: An ongoing theme in the series. Whenever a main cast character thinks they've gone too far or are unworthy of friendship/love, the rest of cast is quick in reassuring them that they will NEVER be alone. The best example is when Chigusa finds out he's a death god: he tells the members of the group that, only to find out they already knew and don't care - he's first and foremost a part of their True Companions. Cue hug.