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Manga / Ya Boy Kongming!

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It is the twelfth year of the Jianxing era of Liu Shan's reign (234 CE), Three Kingdoms-era China. In the middle of the Battle of Wuzhang Plains (in modern-day Shaanxi province), an elderly Zhuge Liang, courtesy name Kongming, legendary chancellor and military strategist of the Kingdom of Shu Han, lies dying of illness. In his last moments, he has only one last wish: to be reborn in his next life in a land free of bloodshed.

Well, the universe answers, more or less. The next thing he knows, Kongming wakes up as his younger self, his memories intact... in the middle of a Halloween costume party in the Shibuya district of modern-day Tokyo, Japan. Soon introduced to the concept of nightclubs and modern pop music, Kongming discovers Eiko Tsukimi, a young aspiring singer who is struggling to make it big. Enamored with her singing, Kongming decides to reach out to her with a proposition: use his years of experience as a strategist and statesman to now help her achieve her dreams. Thus begins the unlikely friendship between a hero of yore and a star out to seek her future.

Ya Boy Kongming! (Paripi Kōmei/パリピ孔明note , literally "Kongming of the Party People") is a Japanese seinen manga series written by Yuto Yotsuba and illustrated by Ryō Ogawa. The series began serialization on Kodansha's Comic Days website from December 2019 to November 2021, later moving to Weekly Young Magazine where it is still ongoing. Kodansha US handles the manga's English translation, releasing it in digital format. The series has an anime adaptation directed by Shū Honma for P. A. Works which was released in April 2022. Sentai Filmworks has licensed the anime for North American distribution. A live-action drama is also scheduled to air in Japan on Autumn 2023.

If you haven't read the manga, there are spoilers below.

Ya Boy Kongming! provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime adaptation generally spends more time building and expanding on events compared to the original manga.
    • During the days leading up to X-day while Eiko is busking with Nanami, the anime also shows them bonding after their sessions, like going to public baths or restaurants together. It also expands on Kabetaijin improving himself, meeting up with his old friend Sasaki, and matching Sekitoba Kung Fu's challenge.
    • The manga doesn't show what band Karasawa was a part of in his youth, but the anime shows it as a Visual Kei rock band.
  • Animal Battle Aura: When Suzuki, Jonouchi and Hirose are all approaching Kongming demanding an explanation for how he apparently duped them into collaborating, they’re backed by images of a trio of snarling beasts (panther, gorilla and shark respectively), ready to rip this liar limb from limb. Kongming is completely unbothered.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Karasawa, a music producer from the Key Time agency, is this for the '100,000 Likes' arc, as the one managing the Girl Group Azalea, who is also aiming for the 100,000 Likes target.
    • The Kyoto arc has a Big Bad Ensemble: Eiko's personal challenge is trying to convince her mother, Shoko Tsukimi, to let her continue her singing career, but to do so, she is representing her hometown shopping district in a Kyoto entertainment competition, which another district manager, Togano, is determined to win.
  • As Himself: The MC of the rap battle between Kabe and Sekitoba in Episode 10 is based on and voiced by DJ Koo himself.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • After deciding to go for the big target of the Summer Sonia music festival, Eiko eagerly asks Kongming what his plan is to get her there, only for Kongming to remark that it will be very difficult, prompting Eiko to freak out.
    • When Michiru Wakatsuki comes out to announce that her siblings' show is cancelled because they had a fight, she has a big bruise on her head. However, she quickly clarifies that it's from her hitting her head on a roof beam in her clumsiness.
    • Kongming shows up at the performance of Wagamono Gaori of the music label SSS Music, intent on speaking to the man who made them famous. Their producer Jonouchi rebuffs him, but Kongming clarifies that he didn't mean him... he meant the chubby man who up to then just appeared to be a stagehand, former producer Shoji Hajime.
  • Batman Gambit: How Kongming gets artists from all three major music labels Key Time, SSS Music and V-EX to collaborate under the banner of his own label Fourth Kingdom: approach the producer from each company, say that they’ve poached artists from the other two to get a third one from the label being addressed to collaborate with them, rely on their rivalries (and a little impersonation) to make sure they don’t communicate, and only have them find out after the music has been made, the concert has been showcased, and media companies are clamoring for permission to use it. In the face of a massive windfall, the producers grudgingly fall in line.
  • Battle of the Bands: When you're striving to make it big in the music scene with military strategy, of course there's going to be a few.
    • The climax of the '100,000 Likes' arc has Eiko and Kabetaijin going up against Azalea on opposing truck-stages. It becomes known as "The Battle of 109".
    • The Kyoto Shopping District Entertainment Festival is a full-blown war, with performance floats moving along streets, claiming votes and territory, and clashing directly with opposing teams' floats to force them to withdraw with superior performances. A battlefield that Kongming is perfectly at home in. Not to mention a rematch between Eiko and Mia.
  • Battle Rapping: Abound in this series, with rapper Kabetaijin as one of the main cast members.
  • Bilingual Bonus: 'Tsukimi Eiko' is written in Kanji as 月見-英子, while 'Yueying', the given name of Kongming's historical wife 'Huang Yueying' is written in Chinese as 月英.note  Not only that, but Huang Yueying's family name of 黃, directly translates to 'yellow' in Chinese, referencing Eiko's golden locks.
  • Bowdlerize: The series is about the entertainment industry journey of Eiko and several other characters, with Kongming around them; the manga, however, will dish out some minimal Fanservice far and in-between, particularly of the Male Gaze variety, on certain female characters, Eiko included. The anime chooses to take that out and focus solely on the music aspect of the series.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: As a company known for doing anything to promote their artists, Key Time is no stranger to this tactic. To make sure Azalea hits the 100,000 Likes milestone, Karasawa arranges a concert with an attached contest: if a viewer scans the QR code and likes the attached post, they'll be put in the running for a ¥1,000,000 cash prize.
    • However, this ends up backfiring when Kabetaijin points out in his rap that if the audience shares the post and contest's location, they'll only end up diluting their chances for the cash prize, and even accuses the band and QR code as being another scam. This causes the flow of likes to instantly dry up.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Call-Back: The series is positively rife with these, with many plot beats having parallels to events from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms or being based on ancient Chinese strategems or proverbs.
  • Catching Up on History: After meeting Eiko and staying at her place, Kongming becomes familiar with modern society - after questioning Eiko for four hours. He also learns about the fall of Shu Han, as well as how China once again fell into chaos even after the Jin Dynasty managed to unite the nation.
  • The Chessmaster: Kongming spares no effort when it comes to planning for Eiko's success, considering everything from human psychology to the physical environment when he forms his strategies.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Old Man Tomozu and his 2.5-dimensional musical, "Old Bones Pantograph". He and his friends show up in progressively zanier costumes demanding to be the Kiyamachi district's performance in the Kyoto Entertainment Festival, but is constantly blown off by Grandma Ume. During the performance, however, Kongming arranges for them to perform at Kiyamachi's home stage while Eiko is challenging Mia on Kamogawa's turf, and their performance gets enough social media votes to edge Kiyamachi into first place.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The fierce-looking owner of the club BB Lounge, Kobayashi, just so happens to be a huge fanboy of the Three Kingdoms era, which not only drives him to hire Kongming as a bartender (although still not convinced he's the real deal), but allows him to keep his garb for work.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • As Eiko is going off on her own to record her new song for the 100,000 Likes challenge, Kongming gives her three numbered pouches to be opened and used when she feels worried, in that order. Indeed, the contents all come in handy just as he predicts. The note to buy pudding gives her an in with Steve Kido, the permit to busk on the streets allows her to hone her individuality inside her singing style (as well as forge a bond with Nanami), and the ticket to the Shibuya Sky observation deck helps her find her reason to sing.
    • In the anime, Kongming considers using his Plan B during Eiko's Battle of the Bands against Azalea, a "Strategy of Alienation" implied to involve breaking Azalea apart, but he decides not to in lieu of Eiko and Nanami's friendship, and is later glad that the power of Eiko's singing succeeded in the end.
  • Dancing Theme: The opening credits shows the main cast dancing to the song, "Chikichiki Banban".
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Eiko has had a rough life involving a lot of Parental Issues, to the point of attempting to kill herself by jumping in front of a train before Kobayashi saved her.
  • The Diss Track: In episode 11, Kabetajin performed a rap, dissing Azalea for being phonies. While it did make a lot of diehard fans angry at him, Azalea were instead at loss on how to respond because all the things that Kabetajin said were true.
  • Doing In the Wizard: This version of Kongming states that the Stone Sentinel Maze was nothing supernatural compared to its folklore counterpart.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Azalea does this after hearing Eiko's new song "Dreamer", casting off the masked idol image put on them by Key Time to finally show their real faces to their audience. Slightly downplayed in that one member of the audience says that it's easy to find their real faces online if one looks.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Part of Kongming's plan for Eiko to reach the 100,000 likes needed to perform at Summer Sonia, as per his Boats of Straw stratagem. Knowing that the rival band Azalea is making a performance in Shibuya with a chance to win a cash prize, he and his crew simply show up to Shibuya first with their own truck, setup, Azalea cover song and QR code to lure in the eager fans hoping to make a quick buck.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Post-Kyoto entertainment festival, Eiko gets a lot of fame and attention from big music labels who are enamored by her performance, but the moment she and Kongming return to Tokyo, it's right back to bartending at the BB Lounge for them.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Despite Shino Sakurai only being Kongming's employee for 1 day, the moment that Kongming works out that she’s being fleeced by a Con Man host, he begins work at the same host club and challenges the host to repay all the money he took from her, and taking on all her debt if he loses. Justified in that Shino has already proven herself a very capable secretary but had expressed interest in finding other work to repay the conman, giving Kongming clear incentive beyond his values to help her.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Episode 12 of the anime has an early appearance of Tsuguhiko, Eiko's Disappered Dad, watching her performance online.
  • Engineered Public Confession: A more positive, personal example. With a bit of social manoeuvring, Kongming gets Karasawa to admit that he actually believes in Azalea's talent and wants to see them succeed, while secretly texting the girls to come over to overhear their manager's Hidden Heart of Gold. It actually encourages Azalea to stay with Key Time when before they were ready to leave.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As Azalea are about to perform to reach the 100,000 Like target, one of Karasawa's assistants asks why they're tuning their instruments if they're only dancing, not playing. Karasawa instantly wallops him and tells him that musicians still have their pride. This is Foreshadowing Karasawa's Hidden Heart of Gold, and shows that for all his obsession with fame and image, he still is a musician at heart.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • After episode 5, the credits sequence includes Kabetaijin, while the song is altered so that he takes over the rapping segments, showing that he's going to be a part of the cast from here on out.
    • After episode 7, Nanami gets added.
  • Fake Weakness: Kongming regularly makes Eiko seem like an obscure and insignificant singer, before suddenly catching the competition off guard with a combination of his strategems and Eiko's singing. For example, Kongming fakes equipment problems at the Yoyogi Art Fes to put her below Jet Jacket's notice, only to suddenly grab the crowd's attention and leave the band unable to respond.
  • Family Versus Career: Eiko's mother Shoko tells her that her father was faced with the choice when he got his big break in America, and, not being talented enough to have both, decided to divorce Shoko and leave his family behind to pursue his dream. She also warns Eiko that it's a choice she might have to make in the future.
    Shoko: Just because you fulfill your dreams doesn't mean you'll attain everything you want. One day, you might be faced with something just as difficult, and you'll be forced to choose. Whether to seize your dream, or keep your family, if that day really does come to you, then you'll have to give it a lot of thought.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fan Disservice: After Azalea started following Karasawa's instructions and started donning their Stripperific stage outfits, we get some close-ups of Namami's pelvis and breasts with some bouncing as she dances during a performance. However, this can be hard to be titillating considering that she and her group were all but forced to be wearing them, and it's done to represent how their careers are becoming less about the music and more about the fame.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Kongming of the Three Kingdoms era gets revived in modern-day Japan, though thanks to his status as The Smart Guy, it doesn't take him long to adapt, though he does pester Eiko with questions for four hours straight, much to her annoyance.
  • Foreshadowing: The end of the Kyoto arc has Eiko's mother share her husband's decision of dreams and career over loved ones and family with Eiko, and how she might have to make that choice eventually. This foreshadows her talk with Mia that leads into the next arc - that Mia recognizes Eiko's talent, but if she wants to make it big in the industry, she'll have to leave behind her nameless, reputation-less cosplaying manager and sign on with one of the big record labels.
  • Flipping the Bird: When Nanami rebuffs Karasawa's offer to market Azalea, she raises her hand to Karasawa and it's pretty clear what she's showing, even if the offending digit is off panel.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Eiko gets a flash of this when meeting up with her childhood friend Kasumi. Kasumi mentions that when she chose her career path of being a pharmacist, her father was vehemently against it but came around with the help of her mother, which causes Eiko to run away since she's envious that her mother doesn't support her career path in the same way.
  • Happy Flashback: The power of Eiko's Beautiful Singing Voice. Once she starts singing from the heart and connecting right to her listeners, many people find their best memories flooding back.
    • Kongming of course is the biggest recipient. Listening to Eiko's new song brings him right back to when he was swearing himself to Liu Bei's service and promising to bring peace to their land, and Manly Tears ensue.
    • The first time Kabetaijin hears Eiko sing, he remembers how he got into rap in the beginning, being introduced to it by a friend.
    • As soon as Azalea hears Eiko's newest song, they're taken right back to when they were just Nanami, Ichika and Futaba, three high school friends who loved playing music together and trying to make it in the music scene, before they became a part of Key Time. Tender Tears ensue.
    • Then a Double Subversion: When Shoko first hears her daughter sing "Flower Crown", all she feels is bitterness when she gets a flashback to the moment when she and her husband divorced. But after the third encore of "Flower Crown", despite her best efforts, her wall comes crashing down, she gets a flashback to the night she and her husband sang together and won the festival competition 20 years ago, and she starts weeping, finally admitting her daughter has won.
  • He Was Right There All Along: Right after Eiko delivers her promise to Nanami to sing together soon on the Shibuya Sky deck, one of the mascots that was up there the whole time takes off his head to reveal Kongming, crying Manly Tears.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Karasawa may fully believe in Key Time's mantra of doing anything to get ahead and that fame is everything, but he also equally believes in Azalea's talent and wants them to shine (if for nothing else than to be part of that victory), so that they don't fall apart like his old band did. He also gets really flustered when Azalea hears him say all that.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: A rare example that is played in universe and out of universe. In real life, Kongming's claim to fame was his excellent governing skills that helped Shu Han survive after Liu Bei died. He solved many civil affairs problems during his tenure as prime minister. However, Kongming relied on many other generals for military strategy and tactics. In the manga/anime, he is portrayed as a military genius that comes up with brilliant strategies to defeat his opponents.
  • Honey Trap: Jonouchi's assistant gets chatted up by a girl at the bar, who swipes his phone and replaces the number for Avil Suzuki at Key Time with her own. The girl, as it's later revealed, was Eiko's bespectacled fan doing espionage work for Kongming.
  • Humble Pie: Moments after Jonouchi declares he wants nothing to do with the liars from Fourth Kingdom or any of SSS Music’s rivals, a bunch of media execs come running up clamoring for permission to use the collab group and their music in their works, which Kongming says will need the agreement of the artists’ labels. With his contemporaries from Key Time and V-EX eagerly agreeing to continue the collaboration, Jonouchi ends up choking out his agreement as well through a gritted grin.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In an Omake, Shoko admits that she doesn't know anything about the Three Kingdoms or all the "samurai" and "warlord" stuff that the boys are into; she much prefers the Spartans. Kobayashi exclaims that that isn't much different.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The anime titles its first six episodes as "Kongming, (action per episode)".
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Shoji expressed his worries that his handling of Wagamono Gaori caused the rift between Rana Hakuba and the others, he gets ire not only from the vocalist Kaori for claiming credit for making them big, but also from Rana for trying to take responsibility for her own decisions.
  • Instant Expert: The BB Lounge hires Kongming to be the bartender and he quickly knows how to barmix on his first day on the job. When asked how he got so good at it so fast, he simply says that mixing drinks is child's play compared to making tea.
    • When Michiru Wakatsuki asks Kongming to be her deejay for her performance, Kongming instantly accepts despite having no experience doing so. Onstage he remains perfectly confident and does a bang-up job, but at the end it's subverted; Eiko finds out that he was faking the whole time and DJ Satori was actually doing the work behind the scenes.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Right after Azalea casts off their Key Time masks and plays one of their songs their way, Karasawa points out to them how doing so has cost them their audience that only liked their popular image and they are now back to square 1. Then Kongming appears and shares their unmasked video online, and not only does it blow past 100,000 likes in mere moments, it draws in a new crowd of fans calling for an encore.
  • Last-Second Showoff: Invoked and zigzagged. Eiko has 20 days to create a video capable of getting 100,000 likes if she wants to perform at the Summer Sonia music festival, but Kongming tells her that they ought to wait until 3 days before the deadline to create and post the video, so as to not burn out too early like some of the other contestants. That said, he advises Eiko and Kabetaijin to hone their skills and clear their minds in the time before their performance, so they're not exactly procrastinating.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Invoked by Kisuku Jonouchi, producer from SSS Music, as to why Eiko should drop Kongming as her producer. He sees Eiko has having a great Rags to Riches story along with her Beautiful Singing Voice that could make her a great star, but the presence of her Cosplaying Bunny-Ears Lawyer of a manager would just make the plot too busy and complicated, so he should be cut from the story.
  • Meaningful Echo: Both Kongming and Karasawa say quotes about polishing rocks and jewels to help them shine, but in different contexts that set them up as foils when it comes to managing their musical charges. Kongming says it as a reason to not accompany Eiko on her task and allow her to grow on her own, while Karasawa says it as a jab at how Azalea won't ever make it big without his company's help/micromanagement.
  • Mistaken for Afterlife: Kongming initially mistakes modern-day Japan for Hell, until Eiko tells him otherwise and he realises he isn't actually dead as he'd thought.
  • Mook–Face Turn: During the Kyoto shopping district entertainment competition, the workers of the Kamogawa district are chafing under the overbearing orders of one of Togano's head performers, who is more focused on winning than having fun, something Kongming overhears. As such, the moment Eiko starts singing "Dreamer", the performing assistants manning the Kamogawa float, including her childhood friend Kasumi, abandon their posts to enjoy Eiko's song.
  • Motive Misidentification: Oshiraku is one of the artists Kongming wants to collaborate with to establish Fourth Kingdom’s credentials, but she suddenly refuses to work with Hajime Shoji, her producer when she was a part of Wagamono Gaori. Shoji initially thinks that she’s mad at him because his bumbling management and naive focus on art caused a rift between the band, but it’s actually because he made a promise to her when she was leaving that she’d be the first artist he’d ask to join when he made a new label, and he didn’t live up to that promise when he collaborated with Kongming to form Fourth Kingdom. Luckily, a bit of groveling clears things up.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Kobayashi thinks this about Eiko's mother's ultimatum that she has to move her heart with her new song, or else she has to give up her dream of being a singer, since all her mother has to say is that it didn't move her to ruin her dream entirely, no matter what she actually feels.
  • Not So Stoic: Shoko Tsukimi, Eiko's mother, is a Stern Teacher to her core, but even she gets the giggles when Eiko attempts to sneak around her hometown without her mother noticing her... with a Zhuge Kongming Cosplayer in full regalia in tow.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: While Eiko is out perfecting her new song for the '100,000 Likes' challenge, Kongming requests that Kabetaijin settle his rap battle beef with Sekitoba Kung Fu and clear his head. Right before their set deadline, Kabetaijin walks in victoriously waving a #1 trophy.
    • Averted in the anime, where Kabetaijin's rematch with Sekitoba gets the Adaptation Expansion treatment.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Karasawa's reaction when he hears Eiko start singing her new song, and instantly realises how good it is; good enough to get this newcomer the 100,000 likes first.
    • Eiko has this reaction when Mia shows off her performing chops at the Kyoto entertainment competition with a professional-grade performance with dance, stage presence and singing, while all Eiko has is a temp backing track.
  • Omake: The manga volumes have two such sidestories:
    • "Zhuge Kongming's House-Hunting" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin; Kongming goes looking for a new residence and drives his realtors round the twist with his pickiness.
    • "GuanYu@50,000KM" are some short stories about Guan Yu, also reincarnated into modern times like Kongming, except as an Instagrammer touring the world. He's even doing so at the behest of another Japanese girl that inspired him: Miu Kashiwa wanted to travel the world with her family's homemade backpack, but with her having to go back to Japan and manage the family business, Guan Yu vows to inherit her dream and travel the world for her, sharing his travels on her Instagram account.
  • Only in It for the Money: This is how Azalea became once they were managed by Karasawa. Initially, they just want to sing and have fun until Karasawa forces them to follow his instructions so that they can become successful. Despite becoming big hits in the music industry, their passion for singing has been vaporized and they only think of making money much to Nanami's dismay, though in their defense, some of it could be relief since they were just barely scraping by before.
    • Because Karasawa connected Azalea's 100,000 like target to a cash prize competition, much of the audience that shows up to Shibuya for the performance are this. As such, Kabetaijin can stop the flow of likes by convincing the audience that they might not get anything even if they do like it (either because the more people like it the less chance one has of winning, or because the whole competition is a fake). Also, once Azalea casts off Key Time's image and starts playing from the heart, many of them walk off, already having put in their like for the prize.
  • Opposing Sports Team: The Kamogawa shopping district and their manager Togano serves as this during the Kyoto arc, as 20-time winners of the Kyoto entertainment festival, while the Kiyamachi district, where Eiko grew up, hasn't won in years.
  • Playing Both Sides: In this case, three sides. Kongming, with Shoji in tow, informs producers from the three biggest music labels Key Time, SSS Music and V-EX that they want to collab with one of their artists, sweetening the deal by saying they’ve poached other artists from their two rivals as their collaboration partners. In reality, no artist has changed labels, and Kongming is making the three rival labels collaborate without them knowing it.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Ume Tsukimi spends the whole evening embroidering the Kiyamachi shopping district council's happi coats to inspire them for the upcoming entertainment competition, even getting help from others, but right after she's done, she collapses out of exhaustion.
  • The Power of Family: Embodied in Eiko's song "Flower Crown". It is written and inspired by the Wakatsuki siblings coming together to make a flower crown for their dying mother, and it is perfected by Eiko understanding the struggles of parenting from her own mother and grandmother.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the anime, Kabetaijin drops one during his rap battle with Kongming, with a Sound-Effect Bleep.
  • Pretender Diss: Kongming uses this as a taunt to get the reluctant Kabetaijin to accept his challenge to a rap battle, by saying that this is his first rap battle and he still won't lose. Reluctant or no, Kabetaijin isn't about to be dethroned in rap by a newbie, so he accepts the challenge.
  • Rated M for Manly: The embodiment of Taiga Morokoshi's taiko performances during the Kyoto entertainment competition. His signature techniques are drumming taiko upside-down while wearing only his fundoshi, and the "Kamogawa Waterfall", drumming non-stop for 20+ minutes (which also completely exhausts him).
  • "Rediscovering Roots" Trip: The Kyoto arc involves this, where Eiko travels back to her home town of Kyoto to find inspiration to perfect her newest song "Flower Crown", and touch her mother's heart with her music.
  • Removing the Earpiece: Realising that Eiko's song is about to get the 100,000 like milestone first, Karasawa shouts at Azalea to debut their new song right there, but Nanami instead just removes her earpiece microphone to listen to the song.
  • Running Gag: Finding Three Kingdoms fans everywhere. From Owner Kobayashi, to her childhood friend's parents, to an idealistic music producer who's a big fan of Kongming, Eiko can't seem to go anywhere without running into someone with a deep and passionate fascination about the Three Kingdoms period.
  • Sampling: Utilised during Michiru Wakatsuki's performance with Eiko. Since Michiru's wish is to perform with her siblings without them arguing, Kongming takes music samples from Takumi and Toka's earlier performances with Eiko and mixes them together, providing a base for Michiru to try and play along with.
  • Scenery Censor: Kongming's fan comes in handy when he experiences his first sauna and bathhouse with Kabetaijin.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Karasawa scoffs at Kongming sharing Azalea performing their song as themselves and instantly getting over 100,000 likes, since Eiko already beat them to the milestone first and earned the spot at Summer Sonia. He is therefore flabbergasted at the number of fans that show up after that, clamouring for an encore.
  • Sell-Out: The main struggle of the Girl Group Azalea, especially their lead singer. To keep on singing and performing, they took Key Time's offer as their big break, but had to sing songs, dance and wear costumes mandated by Karasawa to appeal to the masses. Although they did indeed become popular, they lost control over their image, something which chafes at Nanami intensely.
  • Series Goal: Kongming's goal, of course, is to help Eiko's goal of becoming a famous music star, and through it, achieve world peace.
    • When Eiko thinks about her singing dream, she says she wants lots of people to hear her sing, and to perform at "Voicell Land" in Belgium, the world's biggest music festival. In the anime, she also mentions wanting to appear at Summer Sonia, Japan's biggest music festival. She gets her chance at Summer Sonia when she accepts Tsuyoshi Kondo's challenge, and the subsequent arcs are about her fulfilling the requirements to perform there, from getting social media likes to writing original songs.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title image above is a very obvious reference to the Fate Series, which is another IP about a historical figure coming to help a modern-day figure, specifically the famous scene in Fate/stay night where Saber is looking down to Shirou in the shed. Kongming also has an appearance in the Fate series inhabiting the body of Waver.
    • At the beginning of the opening song, in the outfit montage, Kongming is briefly dressed as the Tom Baker version of Doctor Who, with the curly mop of hair, felt fedora, scarf and bohemian outfit.
    • One portion of the opening sequence imitates a similarly animated section used in Casino Royale (2006)'s opening.
    • The title for episode 5 is "Kongming Busts a Rhyme" which is a wordplay for American rapper, Busta Rhymes, given that the episode is about Kongming looking for a suitable rapper to partner with Eiko.
    • In the same episode, Kongming is reading a magazine with the cover of the Japanese rap rock band FLOW on it.
    • In episode 8, Eiko falls asleep while taking a bath and dreams of climbing up the mountain while Kongming waits for her at the peak. The background of the mountain looks very similar to the one seen in the music video of Avicii's "Levels".
    • In the season finale episode, Nanami has a photo of Karasawa's old Visual Kei band which is a huge dead ringer to Malice Mizer.
  • The Show Must Go On: Averted. The Establishing Character Moment of the Wakatsuki siblings is their youngest sibling cancelling their jazz concert to a disgruntled audience because the siblings just couldn't stop arguing.
  • Spit Take: Shino has this when her most recent employer, Kongming, shows up as a new host at the club where her precious Cosmo is also a host.
  • Start My Own: Rather than have Eiko tie herself to one of the big music labels in Japan and potentially abandon Kongming for the cynicism of the industry, Kongming decides to start up his own music label, named Fourth Kingdom.
  • Starter Villain Stays: Eiko's first adversary on her road to stardom is singer Mia Iriomote, who tries using Eiko as a foil to bolster her own performance but ends up being upstaged by her instead thanks to Kongming's strategies. She later returns a few arcs later as a performer hired by the Kamogawa shopping district in Kyoto's entertainment competition, putting her at odds with Eiko and Kongming once again.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Kongming pulls this on Karasawa, having lured Azalea to hear his admission of his faith in their talent and then vanishing when he turns around.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Kobayashi is skeptical about Hajime’s talk about creating a music label with no borders where artists can collaborate with whomever they like, until Kongming tells him to turn to a page in his plan booklet and Kobayashi sees that exact statement written in there.
  • Team Spirit:
    • The Wakatsuki siblings may have a Sibling Rivalry intense enough to lead to canceled concerts and a parental ultimatum, but the youngest sister Michiru knows that when they work together, they can make something awesome, just like how they made a flower crown for their dying mother. Indeed, once they finally start playing together, their jazz performance is transcendental.
    • Why does Ume Tsukimi care so much about the Kiyamachi shopping district winning the local entertainment competition, even though her family temple isn't really a part of it? Because the one time everyone came together and worked hard, with Eiko's parents performing together, they won, and Ume wants to see those feelings come together once again.
    • Kongming's plan for Fourth Kingdom's collab project, "Orion Four Years Ago", is to get artists from the three biggest music labels, get them to collaborate on a magnificent piece of music, and have media execs clamor to use it, giving the labels a massive financial incentive to keep collaborating.
  • Tempting Fate: As he is setting up the presentation for Fourth Kingdom’s collaborative video between artists from the other three biggest music labels, Shoji thinks that it’ll all go well as long as none of the producers (Avil Suzuki from Key Time, Kisuku Jonouchi from SSS Music, and Hirose-Shi from V-EX) see each other at the event and he'll do his best to keep them from meeting. Cue all three producers instantly running into each other outside the venue.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A zigzagged In-Universe example: once Azalea decide to unmask themselves from Key Time's curated image, go back to their roots and play one of their songs their way, they lose a lot of fans who liked the cute sound and masked image that they had while making it big. But then, they get swarmed by a horde of fans that now like or have always liked their old sound, clamouring for an encore.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: This imagery shows up when Eiko and Kongming, who have decided to represent the Kiyamachi Street shopping district in an entertainment competition, meets the contingent from the Kamogawa shopping district, their biggest rivals. Amusingly, the imagery is displayed by a sign for a "Dragon Tiger Diner".
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Out of all the places in the world and in Japan, Kongming reincarnates in Tokyo and most of the events are located there.
  • Two Roads Before You: Tsuyoshi Kondo delivers this sort of choice to Eiko, to perform at a music festival in Fukuoka with a similar audience size to what she just performed at, or she could perform at Summer Sonia, one of the biggest music festivals in the country, if she can fulfil all the notoriously complicated requirements to perform there.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Eiko agrees to perform at the Kyoto entertainment competition, thinking it's no big deal, only to vastly underestimate the popularity of the event and the professionalism of its competitors.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Used frequently, and explicitly Invoked by Kongming in the third episode. After getting Eiko a spot at a music festival Owner is interested in Kongming's plan to draw singers to Eiko's stage to which Kongming replies: "A secret plan is all the more a sure-fire strategy when it remains concealed."
  • Worthy Opponent: Kongming tells Togano that matching wits with him during the Kyoto entertainment festival was a truly enjoyable experience, a sentiment which Togano echoes.
  • You Are in Command Now: When Grandma Ume collapses out of exhaustion and has to be sent to the hospital, the rest of the Kiyamachi district council starts quarrelling about how to win. However, after Eiko rallies them with a song, the doctor comes in saying that Grandma Ume will be fine, along with a message saying that Kongming is now in charge and her prayer beads, giving Kongming the authority to take charge.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: There isn't a soul that meets Kongming who thinks he's the real deal, with everyone thinking he's just an eccentric that cosplays as Kongming at all times. In their defense, the idea of the genuine Zhuge Kongming reincarnating 1800 years in the future and serving as a young Japanese singer's manager flies against all common sense.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ya Boy Kongming


Ya Boy learns about tech

Kongming died in 234, so he has close to 1.800 years of progress to catch up on.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / FishOutOfTemporalWater

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