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Manga / Spirit Circle

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"Don't cry, me. Nothing sad has happened."

A series by the creator of The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer and Sengoku Youko.

Fuuta Okeya is an Ordinary High-School Student, except with the ability to See Dead People. His life is disrupted by the arrival of a Mysterious Transfer Student, Kouko Ishigami. Accompanying her is a mysterious ghostly man.

When Fuuta interacts with the man, he accidentally reveals his ability to Kouko, who seems to recognize it, and him, immediately. She then strikes him with a strange object called a Spirit Circle. Fuuta is propelled into a vision of a tragic past life. While there, he sees a past version of her as well.

When he awakens, Kouko informs him that she intends to have him die seven more times - six more times from reliving his past lives, then, once he understands, she will kill him herself.

Readable online in the USA via Crunchyroll here. Published in paperback in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment, with the first volume released in October 2017.


Spirit Circle provides examples of:

  • After the End: Lafalle's world takes place a a time where only 300 million humans are still "active" (a good 10 million or so of them aren't "dead", per se: see Brain in a Jar). It turns out that Fortuna, Fuuta's first life, lived in a culture that's located in the far future of Lafalle's world.
  • All for Nothing: Fortuna openly mocks Lafalle destroying the Sleeping Tower to free souls trapped in their bodies, since it doesn't actually impact the world that much.
  • Alternate History: Fuuko's universe takes place in a world where the Showa era continued into the modern day. They are currently living in Showa 91 (2016).
  • Always Second Best: A variation. Kajirou hates the "ji" in his name, because it means "two", reminding him that he's the second son to Houtarou's first. Defied when he gets reincarnated as Fuuta's baby brother. His dad was going to name him "Shinji", but Fortuna told him to change it to "Shinichi" ("ichi" meaning "one").
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  • Ancient Egypt: In Kouko's life as Roka, she is the daughter of the Egyptian noble that contracted Flors to build a sphinx.
  • Ancient Greece: In Fuuta's life as Flors, he is a Greek architect, contracted by an Egyptian noble to build a sphinx.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The end of the series gives off this impression, ending with Fuuta walking away and going off to live his life with the name card each reincarnation is introduced with that starts off their adventures finally being used with him. In fact, the final chapter is titled "Fuuta 1", and the very last line from the narrator is "The journey continues".
  • And Then What?:
    • Fuuta asks Kouko if she has a plan for her life after she's finally able to kill him. Unlike most examples of the trope, she had it all figured out, including being sent to juvenile detention for murder.
    • Rune to Fortuna, when she learns that he's planning on becoming the universe.
  • And You Were There: Due to the nature of the story, we see characters in different roles in each timeline, though there are usually common threads that make them similar in role in each timeline.
  • Apocalypse Wow: In Lafalle's story (which takes place in the future), terrorists are trying to create a localized Black Hole device to lower the population. They fail and a black hole destroys the world. There is hope, however, as we learn that Lafalle's adopted daughter was beginning to figure out time travel. Later turns out to be a subversion—Fortuna's life takes place in that world's future, so humanity wasn't wiped out, though its technology seems to have been set backwards.
  • The Apprentice:
    • East is Fortuna's apprentice he lacks talent in studying spirits.
    • Fortuna was also an apprentice of Rei before she banished him.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Houtaro and Iwana lost opposite arms and legs during their mountain fight. Their next lives pick up the same injuries: Lafalle in a terrorist attack, and Lapis to her father's experiments.
  • Artificial Human: Rune. Fortuna created her. It was the first step on his Start of Darkness.
  • Artificial Limbs: An Arm and a Leg on both Lafalle and Lapis.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
    • The cycle of reincarnation works a bit like this. A rock's spirit that gains enough energy becomes an animal's soul, and an animal that gains enough energy becomes human. It's suggested that humans with enough experience can become higher level entities like aliens or gods. Fortuna's ultimate goal is to absorb the Earth's energy as a shortcut to godhood.
    • It's implied near the end of the story that the four universal observers seen after the final battle with Kouko and Fuuta are actually Rune, East, Kouko and Fuuta themselves in another incarnation, considering their striking similarities to them and the fact that Fuuta mumbles about the meeting in his sleep.
  • Babies Ever After: We don't actually see this happen, but Spacifica takes away both spirit circles in exchange for Rune and East eventually being reborn as Fuuta and Kouko's children. Kouko however points out that this could just as well happen in alternate universe due to how reincarnation works.
  • Bad Future: The future Fortuna saw for Fuuta's final battle turns out to be this. In it, the battle against Kouko gets interrupted by a phone call from his father, informing him of his mother's Death by Childbirth. The children don't survive, either. Shocked from the news, he's frozen where he stands, which allows Kouko to deal the final blow to both Fuuta and all of his previous lives, destroying their souls forever. He also says that Fuuta never comes into contact with Rei's spirit again, but even that's changed in the main character's time, with her being born as his little sister.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted. When female characters are shown topless, their nipples are also shown.
  • Bargain with Heaven: Fuuta makes a deal with Spascifica, the will of the planet, to surrender the spirit circles in exchange for letting Rune and East be reborn as humans.
  • Batman Gambit: The reason that Fortuna is able to take over Fuuta's body. See Loss of Identity for details.
  • Beard of Evil: Fortuna has one as he grew old.
  • Berserk Button: Fuuta's reoccurring brother figure hates being Always Second Best to Fuuta's incarnations.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Kouko is able to steal a surprise kiss from Fuuta once they finally reconcile and put away their grudge.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: All of Fuuta's incarnations have them. Fortuna's actually pretty proud of them.
  • Big Sleep: Houtarou and Iwana's deaths are treated like this. They're so exhausted from walking that they rest underneath the tree that confirmed Rihama's survival. However, they don't wake up.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Twice; once when Fuuta gives his Love Confession to Kouko, and again when she kisses him before moving away.
  • The Blacksmith: Houtarou, who had this trade passed down from his mother's side since he was an illegitimate child.
  • Book Dumb Fuuta, which is pretty ironic considering some of his other incarnations.
  • Brain in a Jar: The Sleeping Tower contains millions of brains in a jar called "Non-living". They're kept in an unconscious state by feeding them electric shocks every once in a while.
  • Breather Episode: Compared to Fuuta's more action-packed lives and the absolute whopper that was planetary destruction in Fuuta's sixth life, Fuuko lived a perfectly ordinary life besides meeting with aliens. It even only lasts 1 chapter.
  • Cain and Abel: Vann as an older Abel and his brother as a younger Cain. This relationship reoccurs in two incarnations later with Houtarou and Kajirou.
  • Canon Welding: The four gods discuss a planet destroyer from the 32nd century and a "white god boy" from the 16th century.
  • Cessation of Existence: Fortuna pulling off a Grand Theft Me on Fuuta would result in this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The bug net that Fuuko receives from the aliens is actually a "soul catcher", meant to be used on Fortuna when he goes on a rampage. It was supposed to go to Koko's incarnation, but considering that she would be too busy fighting Fortuna, they gave it to Fuuko instead.
  • Child Prodigy:
    • Fortuna is a genius. This causes many, many problems as he and people around him became unable to understand each other.
    • Carol. Then again, she was explicitly modified to be one.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: Near the end, Fuuta dreams of four gods (who may or may not be his and others' future selved) playing some sort of a tabletop game. Since they also reference The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer and Sengoku Youko, it's possible the game extends to the entire Mizukami-verse.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The fashion in Fortuna's time has everyone wearing some sort of robes over simple cloths. They're studying and utilizing spirit energy instead of our conventional heat/electricity/chemical/other kinds of energy. As it turns out, it takes place far into the future, even farther than Lafalle's time. In fact, they refer to the Earth-Shattering Kaboom in Lafalle's time as an ancient incident from a previous civilization.
  • Cute Machines: All the machines in 34th Century are adorable. Just look at their cute eyes and mouths.
  • Deader Than Dead: Kouko's goal is destroying Fuuta's soul so that he cannot reincarnate ever again.
  • Death by Falling Over: Vann dies when he trips and hit his head on a rock. He almost manages to make it look dignified, and he had just about reached his destination.
  • Designer Babies: Carol is a genetically modified child, which the government considers illegal.
  • Disney Villain Death: After being cut by the Spirit Circle, Fortuna falls pitches over the edge of his vehicle.
  • Distinguishing Mark:
    • Fuuta has a birthmark on his left cheek. It's the brand given to him by one of Kouko's past lives. The mark fades over the course of the story as the Cycle of Revenge comes to a stop.
    • Kouko has a cross scar on her forehead. Unlike Fuuta's, it doesn't appear on each incarnation. Half of it is self-inflicted, getting one slash in an accident started Kouko remembering and giving herself the other brought back Koko the warrior entirely.
  • Doorstop Baby: During Fuuta's life as Vann, he received a child like this. It happens again or should we say first when Koko is found by East during Fortuna's life . Both are even named Rei, though Fortuna insists on changing that one to Koko.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Kouko smacks around Fuuta just for existing, and the first time they met she pushed him down some steps, knocking him out, and leaving him on crutches and in a cast for some time when he woke up. Yet her abuse is regularly portrayed as funny. Similarly, Fuuta accidentally pokes a female friend in the nose after a Catapult Nightmare where he saw a past incarnation of her, and she (a martial arts practitioner) grabs his hand hard enough to hurt him. Again, played for laughs.
  • Driven to Suicide: Flambe hanged himself after he helped in the creation of spirit beasts since be considers that a betrayal of his master.
  • Dying Alone: Flors dies in bed begging for someone to call him by his real name.
  • Dying Curse: The medicine woman burned a brand on Vann's left face just before she died. This brand appears in all of Vann's future lives as a birthmark.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Platonically between adoptive father Vann and daughter Rei. Though in the previous life, they were lovers.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Flors despises the name "Mr. Sphinx" because he views the Sphinx that he made as a horrible failure, yet everyone only remembers him by that name.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Fortuna. Its part of what makes his evil so unnerving. For the sake of saving his friend East he blows up a city of 20,000 and doesn't see anything wrong with it. Upon meeting Koko years later he welcomes her with open arms and asks her to stay in his home with him again. A city where he killed most of the population to have an undead army where the rest of the population who are alive are his servants. She is suitably horrified.
  • Evil Overlord: Fortuna, the original creator of the spirit circles, destroys thousands in his spirit research, raises an army of the dead, and takes over Fuuta's body.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Takayama and all his previous incarnations are like this.
  • Foreshadowing: Carol tells her parents that when she was testing to find lightning in the past, she kept getting different pictures despite the pictures being taken at the same time. This alludes to the existence of parallel universes, one of which Fuuko lived in, and Fortuna's obsession with travelling to parallel universes.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Fuuko and Kousuke meet a Grey and some kind of tentacle alien. They're quite friendly, put a bullet in that special gun as part of a Memory Gambit, and mention that they took those forms based on what the primitive Earthlings expect aliens should look like. The next chapter casually implies the pair are future incarnations of Fuuta and Kouko, but it is more likely that they are Carol and her boyfriend, considering that a fixed robocat was seen in the world and that the kitchen looks like the one in the basement where Carol slept. Lafalle told her the code to the basement and suggested that she would take Elias with her, so it is quite plausible..
  • For Science!: Many of Fortuna's actions were done for the sake of knowledge. He conquered a city just so he could have access to its library. He is also willing to destroy the world to get enough energy to travel to other worlds.
  • For Want of a Nail: Carol's observation of time travel note that the same lightning strike will always behave differently while observed. This is important for the climax: Fortuna returning to the world in Fuuta's body caused Rei and Kajirou to be reborn as Fuuta's siblings even though Fortuna had previously predicted only one child would exist and be stillborn.
  • Four-Element Ensemble: Near the end, Fuuta saw a dream about four gods (who may or may not be his, Kouko's, East's, and Rune's future incarnations), each embodying one of the classical elements.
  • Fragile Flower: Nono has a tendency to cry at everything.
  • Fusion Dance: In order to create Rune, Fortuna took the spirit energies of a wandering spirit and crafted her soul from his own energy.
  • Gender Flip: Fuuta's seventh reincarnation took place in a universe in a similar timeframe where every character was changed into the opposite gender. Here, "Fuuko Okeya" was a girl who loved studying geology and had crushes on both "Non" and Koko's counterpart "Kousuke".
  • Genki Girl: Rune is almost always cheerful and upbeat.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Rune sports such hairstyle, matching with her childish personality.
  • A God Am I: Fortuna's ultimate goal is to usurp all of Earth's spirit energy and be able to "become the universe". It doesn't help that he thinks that everyone else is inferior to him intelligence-wise.
  • A Good Way to Die: Vann dies after living a full life of peace with his friends. He dies without regrets in his daughter's arms.
  • Grand Theft Me: After Fuuta witnesses his very first incarnation, his body is immediately taken over by Fortuna.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: Even though many of their incarnations will fight and sometimes even kill each other, both Fuuta and Kouko's incarnations are usually decent people who both have understandable motivations for what they do. Except for Fortuna, who's actions are still treated as wrong.
  • Happily Adopted:
    • Rei, when she was adopted by Vann.
    • Koko was adopted by East when she was a baby.
    • Carol was adopted by Lafalle and Lapis.
    • Flors still lived with his biological parents through most of his childhood but referred to his architecture teacher as his real father.
  • Happily Married: Lafalle and Lapis marry one another to adopt Carol. They never consummate their relationship (or even HOLD HANDS after their marriage) but they're entirely content.
  • Hate at First Sight: Most of Fuuta and Kouko's incarnations immediately dislike each other, with the exception of Lafalle and Lapis, and Fuuta and Kouko themselves.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Considering the nature of the story, nine times out of ten, yes, you have met before.
  • Heel Realization: Fortuna has a big one. For most of his life, he didn't see anything wrong with his actions which caused the deaths of thousands, as long as they benefited him or one of his loved ones. However when one of those loved ones comes back to kill him to avenge those deaths, he realizes his actions have been the actions of a mad man. However, he decides that it is too late to change during his current life. And after seeing a future where Kouko does kill Fuuta and his soul, he dives back into full on villainy in his plan to stop it.
    "I see now. This is what it means to stray from the path!"
  • Heroic Bastard: Houtarou, who was the son of the emperor and a peasant. Rihama doesn't care though, since she feels more close to him than she does her actual brother.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: After Fone's death, the doubts over the need for the sacrifice system lead to a bloody uprising against the priesthood. They kill the priests in the name of Fone who they worship as a god, and the killings are not done gently.
  • Humanity Ensues: Rune was promised that she become a real spirit after Fortuna accomplished his goals. She eventually gets her wish when she get reincarnated in the future, not only as a human, but also as Fuuta's future child.
  • Human Sacrifice: Fone's life sees Rei selected. Fone attempts to stop it. He fails, and Stona kills him moments later.
  • Insufferable Genius: Fortuna, who claims that he lives in a world with no rivals.
  • Intrinsic Vow: Some of the reincarnations try to act on the vows of their past lives. Takayama's incarnations stop drinking after he takes his last drink with Houtarou, and Lafalle and Lapis adopt Carol to make up for not raising Akari.
  • Invisible to Normals: Spirits in general are invisible. Most notable examples are Rei and East.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: In his life as Vann, he's a warrior in medieval Europe, though his task - to kill a "witch" who turns out to be another of Kouko's previous incarnations, is not as heroic as he wished.
  • Lack of Empathy: Fortuna cannot understand Koko's anger at killing thousands of strangers to save East. Nor does he understand her rage over turning the capital into a Ghost City.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Kouko insists that she and Fuuta are destined to fight and hate each other, but Fuuta points out that Houtarou and Iwana managed to make amends and died peacefully.
  • Loss of Identity:
    • After reliving his lives, Fuuta starts to act like his previous incarnations, to the point of forgetting which name is his. Fortuna notices his future self suffers from this, and pulls a Grand Theft Me on Fuuta during the last arc.
    • Kouko can't let go of Koko the warrior.
  • Love at First Sight: Fuuta falls for Kouko the moment he sees her.
  • Love Confession: Fuuta gives one to Kouko. He's quickly rejected, but it's clear from the blush on Kouko's face that she's not honest with her feelings.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: In-Universe. Flors feels that the Sphinx he built was a giant failure. However, everyone else loved it and started giving Flors nicknames after the Sphinx.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The terrorist group Arion uses "traffic accidents" to kill off managers of the Sleeping Tower.
  • Marriage of Convenience: Lafalle and Lapis married each other to adopt Carol easier and to give her a better life.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": All of Fuuta's past lives are completely gobsmacked when Fuuta's twin siblings are born despite being fated to die.
  • Maybe Ever After: Kouko leaves Fuuta with a kiss and challenge to chase her, but Nono has no intention of giving him up. While having Babies Ever After is necessary to bring back East and Rune, Kouko points out it doesn't have to be these incarnations that fulfill the bargain.
  • Mayincatec: Fone's life takes place in such setting.
  • Meaningful Name: Flambe, Kajirou, and Ash are all related to fire. The last name even reflects his attempts to curb his temper in that particular lifetime.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Discussed by Fortuna and Koko after sacrificing the Spirit Forges to resurrect East as a spirit. From Fortuna's point of view, life is nothing but an "energy source for biological activity", and he finds East no exception. However, that particular life was more valuable to him, so he prioritized it over the other spirits he took energy from to power the Spirit Circle.
  • Mutual Kill: Fortuna and Koko hit each other at the same time with the Spirit Circle. They both died afterward.
  • My Greatest Failure: Flors feels his Sphinx failed to capture the cat that inspired him. Irritatingly, it's what made him famous as a great architect.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: When East catches the same sickness Rei had, Fortuna turns defeating the disease into his life's mission.
  • Necromancer: Fortuna used the Spirit Circle to create an army of skeletons.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: According to Fuuta, a band called TKB108 exists in his world.
  • No More for Me: Seems to have happened on a physical and spiritual level with Takayama. In most of the time periods he's an alcoholic, but after Houtarou's death Takayama's incarnation decides to stop drinking. Lafalle subconsciously remembers this and is therefore surprised when that man is a non-drinker in his time period.
  • Non-Linear Character: Souls in general don't follow the same time as the physical world. This is why Fuuta's incarnations can be all over the timeline. For example, Vann lived in medieval Europe, yet the next life Flors lived in ancient Greece. Or how Lafalle lived in the far future. Heck, if we are to believe Fortuna's words, it's even possible for one soul to exist in the same time period as two (or more!) different people.
  • Off with His Head!: Fone was killed this way by Stona.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Rei. Throughout Fuuta's incarnations, there have been four in total (Fone's Love Interest, Vann's daughter, Fortuna's teacher, and Fuuta's baby sister), which also links them together as the same spirit.
  • Only Six Faces: Justified due to the nature of the story. The reason why certain figures look the same as other characters is because they are those characters' spirits in another life. Essentially, it's more akin to a spiritual Star System.
  • Peaceful in Death: Compared to all their previous lives, Houtarou and Iwana died peacefully in that they were able to let go of their grudge in that lifetime.
  • Pet the Dog: Fortuna has Flambe's reincarnation renamed to remove any references to being second or next since he knows it would upset him.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Couldn't get any more literal with Lafalle and Lapis. They have a Marriage of Convenience to raise Carol, and they are very close to each other, but they never go beyond that.
  • Preacher Man: Takayama's past life as Glass. He is actually unordained, preaches blasphemy and actually stole the holy book from the church.
  • Red Baron: After Fortuna creates a second spirit Circle, he gains the epithet "King of the Dead".
  • Reincarnation: This is the main story element:
    • Fuuta must relive all his past lives via the use of the eponymous "Spirit Circle".
    • At the end of the story, Rei and Flambe are reincarnated as Fuuta's twin brother and sister.
    • Rune and East even agree to hand over the spirit circles on the condition that they be reincarnated as Fuuta and Koko's future children.
  • Reincarnation-Identifying Trait:
    • One of Fuuta's earliest past lives, Vann, received a cursed brand on his cheek from a witch (herself one of Kouko's past incarnations). This carries over into Fuuta's later incarnations as a birthmark, growing only slightly fainter each time. When the present versions of Fuuta and Kouko finally bury the hatchet, Fuuta's mark fades completely.
    • Kouko herself gets this in reverse - when she received a forehead scar identical to that of her past life Koko, it became a trigger that unlocked her Past-Life Memories as Koko. This scar likewise fades at the end of the story.
  • Reincarnation Romance: The author loves playing with this.
    • Fuuta and Kouko are interested in each other when they can get over the (usually fatal) hatreds their past lives had with each other. Their animosities faded across multiple incarnations to the point they became Platonic Life-Partners and adopted a child together. It still ends tragically because Poor Communication Kills, but it's enough that their present selves MIGHT get married once their Cycle of Revenge ends.
    • Played with Fuuta's friends. Non was in love with Fuuko, and in turn, Nono likes Fuuta. In Flor's life, Umi's past incarnation Lihanerra loved Tetsu's (Kertenos), but he leaves once he buys his slave contract to avoid an Uptown Girl situation. In Houtarou's life, their reincarnations as Rihama and Jinkurou elope together, making it a REAL Reincarnation Romance. In their modern incarnations they don't feel romantically towards each other, saying instead they're Like Brother and Sister.
  • Samurai: Fuuta's fifth life as Houtarou takes place in a Jidai Geki setting. Houtarou himself is a humble blacksmith, but there's at least one major samurai character and various samurai Mooks. Said samurai persists as a ghost to the modern era.
  • "Save the World" Climax: We go from Kouko attempting to finish off Fortuna's spirit to stopping Fortuna from destroying the world , all in a little over 45 chapters.
  • Seers: Roca has the ability to see "visions" of the past and future. She's aware of their predicaments, and it's notable that she's the only incarnation to be like this outside of Fuuta and Fortuna's lives.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Fortuna tells East this is why he left his master. The actual reason was that he was expelled for being too immoral.
  • Taking the Bullet: Robo-Cat jumps between Lafalle's and Lapis' gunshot, damaging his own head. However, this does not prevent the death of Lafalle and Lapis soon afterward.
  • Tears of Joy: When Kouko tells Fuuta that Rei enjoyed the slippers Fone made for her and wore them to her sacrifice, Fuuta turns on the waterworks.
  • Theme Naming: Each character's incarnations usually have names associated to a certain element.
    • Fuuta's incarnations tend to have wind-based names.
    • Kouko's incarnations have rock-based names.
    • Tetsu's are associated with metal.
    • Daiki's are with plants.
    • The antagonistic brother has fire.
  • This Is Reality: When Fortuna possesses Fuuta, Fuuta gets mad about how it shouldn't be possible, given that they're not in a comic book.
  • Tiny Schoolboy: Fuuta is short compared to his classmates. His hope at the start of the story is that the New Transfer Student is shorter than he.
  • Tragic Dream: Fortuna really did wish to live with Koko, Rune, and East. The steps he took instead drive them apart and start he and Koko on a Cycle of Revenge.
  • True Companions: In almost every reincarnation, Fuuta finds and befriends Tetsu and Takeyama. Those times they aren't friends they're still close.
  • We Will Meet Again: Fortuna proclaims this to East and Rune as he succumbs to his wounds from Koko's Spirit Circle.
  • Why Can't I Hate You?: Kouko very, very much likes Fuuta Okeya. On the other hand, she's possessed by Koko's need to exterminate Fortuna in whatever incarnation. Koko acknowledges that it's easier for her to continue with the plan if she's possessing Kouko's body or if Fuuta doesn't act like himself.
  • X Marks the Hero: Kouko, the female lead, has an X-shaped scar on her forehead.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Rune has pink hair. Fortuna and Koko have light greenish hair.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Houtarou and Obayashi delivers these lines as they were protecting the princess.


Example of: