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Kagome, Kagome...

"I knew it. Everything is just one great big fucking Anime conspiracy."
—Haru, summing up the entire campaign.
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The Cardian Syndicate is a custom Hunter Conspiracy within the world of White Wolf's New World of Darkness: Hunter the Vigil game. Cardians are members of a global criminal organization named so after their ranking system, which divides members into suits and numbers. They fight against supernatural creatures and monsters in order to protect humanity, though their methods may not always be 'lawful'.Tokyo, Japan. The city where the old and the new, nature and science, tradition and technology meet.

The Tokyo Division is located under a clifftop shrine overlooking the sea, surrounded by a thick forest. The division was once prosperous and busy but has recently fallen into ruin, understaffed and always short on money. The resident Ace of Spades keeps a close watch on all recruitments, paranoid and adamant that the division only hire the best of the best.

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...And then one August, within a space of a week,a ragtag bunch of seven misfits end up on their doorstep. One each day.

Thrown into a criminal underworld full of monsters that go bump in the night, the Tokyo team must band together to fight for their new 'family'. And much like one can find the odd Shinto shrine nestled between two Tokyo skyscrapers, the enemies of the team range from traditional Japanese folklore monsters to modernized Yakuza, mixed up with a healthy dose of horror and a dash of pop culture references.

The campaign started in August 2015 and ended in November 2016.

A character page is in the works.This campaign’s overarching plot is notorious for continuity and foreshadowing, and has been described as pretty much a massive pile of plot twists. There are many unmarked spoilers ahead.

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This Roleplay provides examples of:

  • The Ace: The Aces, natch. A more straightforward example would be Scott, a can-do mage with both charms, intelligence and combat finesse. He gets promoted to Ace of Spades anyway after Izumi’s death.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Between each session players often hold roleplays to discuss recent events, relay information or simply hang out. These can be anything from training sessions to deep, meaningful conversations and character development.
  • Action Girl: Almost all the female characters qualify to varying degrees. Even the sweet, elegant Fleur is pretty handy with a sniper rifle. Nadia is the sole exception, with her abysmal attack statistics... but she’s learning now to cope by learning how to use a staff. By mid-season two she’s climbed over most of her personal issues and graduates into full-blown Badass Adorable territory.
  • Adorkable: Nadia and Jerry. The former is a Shrinking Violet Extreme Doormat with a clumsy streak, the latter is a religious Farm Boy who knits scarves.
    • Even Kowalski seems to becoming one post Heel–Face Turn, what with her occasional fangirling over robots and complaining loudly about video games and the like.
  • Affably Evil: Iris is remarkably cheerful and polite for someone who mixed explosives, attempted murder and tried to pin it on the party. She even fangirls over K-pop with Nadia. Her brother Rem is also fairly amicable when he’s not actively trying to stab people with his rapier.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: After rounding up the majority of the Shards, Mayoi is one of the few members remaining. Instead of fighting back like the rest, she sadly tells the player characters that she regrets her actions and involvement in the youkai rebellion that slaughtered the Kiyokaze shrine. When Haru slits her throat, she goes out with a sad smile after reaffirming her faith in the players to do good.
  • Alternate Universe: Implied, if Navy’s timeline map is any indication. It’s actually all caused by Garou, each timeline representing one of his attempts to set everything straight.
  • Anime: The Tokyo Division being nicknamed 'The Anime Division' is a recurring joke amongst players.
  • And I Must Scream: After Rem loses a fight against the Cardians and reveals their true form, it’s implied that their consciousness is trapped within their crystal shard, unable to interact with the world for a lack of a body and constantly struggling to break free. The same applies to the rest of the shards, though they appear more resigned to their fate than Rem was.
  • Anonymous Benefactor: Aisling, who hands Amelie the cold iron trowel she used to escape from the Hedge in her first brush with the supernatural. That and the rest of the mysterious folks who introduce themselves as ‘Friends and Strangers’.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: According to Inaba, most spirits and youkai are this. A youkai may have the base form of an animal or object, but almost always personifies a thematic abstract (kitsunes embody trickery and amanojakus embody contrary, for example.)
    • Divine spirits are these as well. The Kiyokaze Deity is said to be the personification of protection.
  • Arcadia: The area around the shrine is described as being on the border between the city and the country. It’s not that hard to get into town but the local village near the shrine is old-fashioned and mostly populated by elderly folk. Bonus points as the village is located right next to a forested mountain range that remains relatively untouched by human industry. The Arcadia of the True Fae, on the other hand, is not idyllic or peaceful at the slightest- a nightmarish realm where Glamour and the Gentry twist humans into fey creatures.
  • Anyone Can Die: Discussed amongst the NPC characters: Hunting is not a safe profession, and every hunter must be prepared to treat each day like their last. Nadia and Jerry died in a brutal assassination mission, but were thankfully resurrected by protective charms given to them by Kiyokaze shrine. Izumi, however, was not so lucky.
  • Arc Symbol: Where to start?
    • Coin-tossing, and the notion of ‘two sides’.
    • Duality, black and white.
    • The game of Igo.
    • Crows, smoke and mirrors, eyes, and the number eight. They’re symbols of the broken god, Yata-no-Megami.
    • After Izumi’s death, red ribbons.
  • Arc Villain: Per season.
    • Season One has Zosia Kowalski, the obsessive and maniacal head of Cheiron who was fixated on hunting down the team. There’s also the Clockwork Fae, her benefactor. The team ultimately fight both in the season one finale. Kowalski is maimed by the Fae, who in turn is curbstomped by Aisling.
    • Season Two has the Shards, strange one-eyed entities whose true forms are strange crystalline shards embedded in their faces. They’re all broken-up fragments of a single eye. Stolen from a god. They’re understandably pissed.
    • Season Three has the Yoake up and centre as the primary rivals in the race to obtain the five Impossible Relics. Then there’s the Tsukibito.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Nadia to Kowalski. “But were you happy?”
  • Artifact Collection Agency: The Yoake Yakuza seems to be attempting this to bolster their own power. There’s also the Karuma family in Kyoto who specialises in safeguarding such relics, though that’s a given since they’re affiliated with the Aegis Kai Doru.
  • The Atoner: Mayoi again. As part of a Hive Mind, killing off her siblings gave her more time to think about herself and her own actions. After making so many friends in relationships in a small village community, she came to understand them and appreciate mortal life.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The four Aces and the face cards are this. Garou’s a given, with him being the Ace of Clubs and all, but the rest of the suits are no slouch either.
    • Kowalski as well. She commands an entire company division, has her own research lab and yet packs enough firepower to potentially take out the entire player character party.
    • The Vampire Don who took over the Urban HQ in early S2. Leader of an entire gang of vampiric thugs and criminals who could have singlehandedly curbstomped the party if he hadn’t been staked in the heart into submission.
    • Even Kon and Holly count, as the respective leaders of their own small Hunter divisions. Kon fought toe-to-toe with Garou of all people, and Holly was able to not only subdue the entire player party and lock them in a virtual reality, he pioneered a method to datamine people’s memories.
  • Asshole Victim: Getting dragged into Arcadia by the Clockwork Fae and nearly torn apart and reconstructed as one of their slaves seems like a terrible fate, but then again Kowalski probably deserved it.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: “THE NAME IS FUCKBOY MCFUCKINGTON!”
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Kowalski towards Amelie, post Heel–Face Turn. Very, very begrudgingly.
  • Badass Boast: Usually from Izumi.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Charlie, Haru and Nori switched bodies with bunnies. The bunnies took off with their human bodies and the rest of the episode was them trying to get them back.
  • Barrier Maiden: The Kiyokaze shrine keepers. Seiko and Riki take turns seated in a sacred chamber several hours a day to project an anti-supernatural barrier around the shrine base. Tomonari, Seiko’s grandfather, is so powerful he can create a barrier just by being on shrine grounds.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Haru and Hibiki. Haru’s brows are indicative of his tough-guy personality, whilst Hibiki is the complete opposite.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Occasionally between Japanese non-player characters, as both GM s are bilingual. What they say doubles up as Bilingual Bonus.
  • Bishōnen: Charlie and Junya. Striking Looks 4 goes a long way.
  • Berserk Button: Don’t mess with Haru’s friends in front of him. Bad idea.
    • Insulting Kowalski’s intelligence is also not recommended.
    • Don’t tell Izumi you wasted the budget on something, either.
    • Izumi doesn’t take too kindly to her subordinates screwing around with supernatural business way over their heads. Especially with fae contracts, as Nadia found out the hard way.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Alta Mori might crack terrible jokes and bring whiskey bottles into surgery, even encourage Charlie’s ridiculous activities… but like any other hunter, she’s extremely efficient at her job. she’s also ex-cheiron, and was a direct apprentice to the previous Overseer. There's also Charlie, especially with his curse. With it, he is capable of shattering his victims into shards of ice or otherwise doing far more damage to enemies than the dice roll successes imply.
  • Black Comedy: About half the remarks made by Kowalski are this. In fact, the majority of Cheiron pamphlets and info skirt moral ambiguity, played for laughs.

    Cheiron automated phone system: A good company is a happy company! Remember to smile, especially when you have moments of self-doubt about the company’s policies and motives!

  • Bullet Dodges You: Happens to Jun towards the end of his tutorial. A yakuza member fired at point-blank range, yet the bullet simply stopped in midair and dropped to the ground. He's trying to figure out why.
    • It also happens to both Kowalski and Scott, since they can both manipulate physics with Force magic. It was an undercover Scott who stopped the bullet when Jun was shot at.
  • Break the Haughty: Kowalski’s ego comes to a very abrupt and messy end when her contract with the Clockwork Fae is broken and she’s nearly tortured to death. Kon’s pride in his family legacy of protecting sacred relics is also undermined when Garou reveals the truth about how dangerous they are.
  • Bigger Bad: The Clockwork Fae to the Season 1 Arc. Whilst Kowalski running around with amoral experiments and shady dealings is bad enough, the Fae swipes poor humans and turns them into clockwork puppets for use and display.
    • Season 3 gives us ‘The Moon People’, or Tsukibito: The Greater-Scope Villain behind the entire campaign who seeded the Impossible Relics into the world and kick-started this whole mess in the first place.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Navy. More like No Fourth Wall, with her explicitly talking to the players and discussing stats and gameplay mechanics to the characters. Terms like ‘experience points’ and ‘resource dots’ fly right over the character’s heads.
    Navy: So do you want this conversation to be canon?

  • Brick Joke:
    • Izumi complaining to Garou that he never hands his paperwork in. Cut to Season 2, when Garou’s absence for a mission is explained by him finally getting his work in.
    Garou: Look, Izumi! I got my paperwork in this time!
    • “In emergencies, a cat can be punted up to a maximum of twenty metres”. An early S1 joke. Roughly 20 episodes later, that’s exactly what Haru does.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Not only did the mysterious visitor (later revealed to be Kurosaki) drop into Jun's shop specifically to warn him, the entire sushi restaurant was rigged with explosives in the case he refused to go along with the Dawn Group's plans.
    • One RP where Amelie calls Cheiron is named after this trope.
  • Character Blog: Deconstructed. Twitter accounts are run by Haru, Charlie, Amelie, Nadia and Seiko. However, Dr.Kowalski also has an account— which she uses to follow Nadia and Amelie and monitor their whereabouts, leading up to their first run-in.
    • And then it backfires on her when Haru discovers Kowalski following Nadia's account, leading him to disable the GPS on his and Nadia's phones to prevent her from tracking them. He also manages to track Kowalski’s disappearance though her activity on Twitter.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Haru’s Mien Mirror, bought from Navy early on in the campaign. It first appeared to be an antique but otherwise normal hand mirror. Then its ability to see through the fae Mask is discovered, making it a key item in Haru’s mission to rescue his best friend-turned-Changeling, Mori. It fell out of use for much of Season Two, then came The Reveal that it contained the Eye Shard Kagome all along, which not only fueled its power but was how the Shards were able to spy on the Cardians from inside the Kiyokaze Barrier.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Both Hibiki and Navy of the Emporium. Hibiki acts as the voice of reason for much of the first two seasons, then he turns out to be the Shard of Observation and stabs everyone in the back. It’s implied Navy knew about this all along, and sure enough Season 3 reveals that she is Garou’s benefactor, sending him back in time for countless loops so he can set the timeline straight.
  • Christmas Cake: It’s implied that Fleur could be oldest of all the Aces, but nobody’s willing to ask and risk the consequences.
  • Cool Mask: Alta wears one, to cover facial scarring from her fight with Kowalski. Aisling’s butterfly mask counts as well, notable that there are no eye holes to see through. And the Maskmaker’s own mask and creations, natch.
  • Cool Old Guy: Tomonari Kagura, head of the Kiyokaze shrine, and pretty much the most zen old fellow around. He can singlehandedly keep the shrine barrier up even without focusing in the sacred grounds like Riki or Seiko has to. Being the immortal progenitor of the entire bloodline must help.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: On the surface is Kiyokaze Jinjya, a Shinto shrine. They are a genuine shrine complete with cleansing, rituals and selling protection amulets. Except its members assist the criminal organization located underneath in the cliff.
    • In Season 2, the team take back their former base located in urban Tokyo. Hi-tech office building on the outside, illegal activity, casinos and weapon caches on the inside.
    • The Cheiron Group also qualifies, experimenting on supernatural creatures under the cover of a pharmaceutical conglomerate.
    • The Karuma family track and store magical relics for the Aegis Kai Doru under the ruse of a cultural treasury and family trust.
  • Crossover: A cross-over happened mid-season 1 with the the Pacific Division, thanks to the efforts of resident inter-dimensional shopkeepers Navy and Indra. Not only was it completely canon, it paved the way for a series of Wham Episode roleplays. They return for more crossovers in Season 2, after the Pacific campaign officially ended.
  • Crystal Prison: Kowalski does this to Magdalene using a crystal of pure Tass (concentrated solid Mana). It’s said that such exposure to pure mana usually drives people insane if they’re locked in for a long enough time.
  • Cute and Psycho: Iris has shades of this, as the Shard of Obfuscation: she hides her true emotions. When the players finally fight her to capture her, she degenerates into a maniacally laughing mess.
  • Dark Reprise: Several times in the campaign’s soundtrack.
    • The campaign’s main theme is re-hashed into ‘Mystery Battle’, played when Nori first fights Kagome/Shadow-San in his tutorial. It’s the first sign that the two go way back further than you think.
    • Izumi’s theme, ‘White Lotus, Black Lake’ is given a reprise as a Lonely Piano Piece after her death.
  • Determinator: Most of the player characters, but special mention goes to Haru who worked himself to the bone in order to rescue Mori from the Clockwork Fae.
  • Disabled Snarker: Oh, Kowalski.

    Kowalski: Oh, you need help with that? Sure, let me give you a hand. Which is what I’d say, you know, IF I HAD ONE.

  • Dream Weaver: All Changelings have the innate ability to enter and alter their own dreams with perfect lucidity, and the dreams of others as long as they have the right pledge. Aisling seems to do this without such pledges, a power similar to those of the True Fae.
  • Dual Wielding: Jun and his two trusty pistols.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Quite a few characters are seen in the background or mentioned in name only before they are introduced as recurring NPCs.
    • Hibiki was lurking around in the background for quite a while until his proper introduction in Episode 7.
    • The Karuma family were first mentioned by Inaba shortly after Season One, during his explanation of how shrine bloodlines worked. They didn’t show up proper until Season Three.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Season One ends with everyone alive, Mori rescued, and Kowalski spared from death, but it involved no less than three straight hours of player debate and Fae filibusters leading up to it.
  • Elite Four: Despite the decline in shrine worship in recent years, four major bloodlines remained. Karuma, Kiyokaze, Reigan and Hakuto- the gods leading them being Bishamon, Shugoshin, Yatame and Inaba respectively. According to the Karumas, those four gods and the Buddhist guardians of the cardinal directions are the one and the same.
  • Escape from the Crazy Place: Sometimes it’s the Hedge or Arcadia, sometimes it’s abandoned Cheiron facilities. It tends to happen a lot during missions.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In Haru’s tutorial, Garou immediately makes himself known as a bonda fide badass by crashing into the abandoned warehouse on a motorcycle.
    • The first time we see Kowalski, she’s holding a coffee mug that reads ‘everyone is an idiot except me’. She then proceeds to launch into a speech about her and Cheiron’s success, and plans for the future of medical science.
    • Jun’ya’s first appearance in Charlie’s tutorial has him being chased by a crowd of fangirls. He escapes by diving headfirst into a garbage can.
    • Haru’s older brother Nagisa is mentioned in name only for much of the first season. When he does first speak in-session in a phone call, he sounds level-headed and reasonable… until he realises Haru is the one calling him, and breaks into squeals of joy.
    • The Season 2 episode ‘High School Drama’ investigation episode was full of these. The photography club leader is preaching his latest occult conspiracy theory, the kendo leader picks a fight with Nori for fun, the Alpha Bitch flaunts her father’s rank immediately, and The Woobie is found hiding away in a corner. Then the team investigates further, and things get deep.
  • Foreshadowing: Seen everywhere, but a few notable examples include:
    • Kowalski first meets Amelie during a research mission, searching for Hedge thorns. Almost an entire season later, the team finds out that she’s been building on Fae technology the entire time, and even managed to build a functioning artificial Hedge Gate that comes into play in the finale.
    • In general, whenever the first season features mysterious dark-haired figures and their strange motives, they’re the Shards working away in the background before their plan swings into full force in Season two.
    • The true nature of the Shards was hinted at during Mori's rescue arc, where Tomonari identified Rem's soul as being 'shattered, like a crystal'.
    • Every single time a character approaches Izumi’s office, the door often swings right open before the character could even knock, Izumi waiting for them at her desk as if she knew they were coming. She was psychic all along.
    • Kowalski’s explanation of the rules of Igo, especially regarding the concept of ‘eyes’. A formation with two eyes is ‘alive’, a formation with only one is ‘dead’. It’s exactly what’s going on with Yata-no-Megami after the Aces tore out its eye and killed them.
    • Another one from Kowalski, who was seen staring vacantly into mirrors and talking to herself at one point. It was brushed off as a character tic, when in reality Kagome, the Shard of Reflection, was manipulating her all along.
    • Hibiki is first seen in Nadia’s tutorial, only as a silhouette. He gets mentioned and seen several times later, usually carefully watching the players from afar. He’s the Shard of Observation, the ‘one who’s been with you since the very beginning’.
    • Kon was first seen on Navy’s Map at the very beginning of Season 2, over half a year before his first official appearance. He’s even captioned with the quote “Oops”, cluing us in that his fierce protection of the Impossible Relics only served to make matters worse.
  • For Science!: 80% of Cheiron’s shenanigans, and Amelie’s shenanigans.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Nadia hadn’t traded away her fear so carelessly to Longstrider, she wouldn’t have had to seek out a deal from Aisling to get it back. If Nad hadn’t owed Aisling a favour for doing so, Aisling couldn’t have taken over her body by force and freed all the eye shards the team had painstakingly captured. If said event hadn’t split a rift between the team and the Aces, Izumi wouldn’t have let her guard down and she wouldn’t have been murdered.
    • On an even greater scale: If Garou hadn’t gone back in time to stop the Impossible Relic-induced apocalypse, he wouldn’t have found out about the god Yata-no-Megami’s abilities and how badly he needed them. If he hadn’t informed this to Izumi and asked her for assistance, they wouldn’t have attempted to kill the god and rip out her right eye, shattering the left eye into the eight Eye Shards. If the Shards hadn’t existed, then the downfall of Tokyo, the massacre at Kiyokaze, and the recruitment of the player team— and therefore, the entire campaign— would never have happened.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Aces.
    • Sanguine: Fleur. Outgoing, emotional, and a bit of a diva who may or may not have a shipping chart in her room.
    • Choleric: Garou. Passionate about fighting and sparring with his Clubs, and very determined about his duty in defending humanity.
    • Melancholic: Izumi (though she has shades of Choleric as well). Introverted, formal to a point, blunt with her thoughts and brutally pedantic.
    • Phlegmatic: Dietrich. Always calm, quiet, keeps to himself. He can also be a real sweetheart at times.
  • Glamour Failure: The Mask, a human guise used by the Fae powered by literal Glamour. Haru’s mirror can pierce it to reveal a changeling’s true form, and Jerry can do the same if he concentrates. The power actually comes from Yata-no-Megami’s influence. The mirror is eventually broken, and Jerry’s power vanishes when the god is slain.
  • Glass Cannon: A few of the Cardians as well as Alta can dish out damage where it hurts, but can’t take it very well. Charlie can hold his own in a fight, but once he falls outside of melee range a single firearms attack will do him in.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Cheiron’s (well, Alta’s) attempt to cure their ill leader with Thaumatechnology backfired terribly when she ended up mutating into a gigantic mutant monster with corrosive blood.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: Izumi orders the team to find and kill all of the one-eyed siblings, but they (especially Jerry and Nadia) are reluctant to harm people like Iris and Mayoi who have been nothing but helpful to them. And then Iris has a go at Nagisa’s life, and things quickly spiral into hell.
    • Kazuki also mentions a mission where he was refused backup or an option to retreat. The mission ended in disaster and Kazuki is the only one who escaped alive. He states that although Izumi’s intentions are noble, her opinions of her subordinates may be less agreeable.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: When Haru enters Mori’s dreams to try and snap him out of his changeling transformation-induced madness, he enters a loop where he must re-live his tutorial scenario (and the deaths of his friends) over and over again from Mori’s perspective so he may come to terms with them and move on.
    • Another set of loops is being caused on a greater scale by Garou, who’s been living the same stretch of 10 or so odd years over and over again in an attempt to prevent The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Hammerspace: The one-eyed twins seem to have this ability with their shadows. They reach in and pull out a rapier and naginata. It turns out to be an ability shared by all of the one-eyed folk.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Hibiki warns the player characters multiple times that the Cardians are not good people. Even if they mean the best, their methods of monster hunting may rob them of their humanity. With Season 2 opening with a complete and total massacre of a gang of vampires, including torturing one by crushing its limbs and according Morality checks being made… he may be right.
  • Honey Trap: Rem often takes the form of attractive individuals to let the target’s guard down.
    • Ditto with Cupid, though he was mostly just messing with the crew for Valentine’s Day.

    Jun: Out of all gods to get attacked by, this is the most humiliating.

  • Horned Humanoid: Longstrider and Fable of the Autumn Court, which isn’t unusual for changelings. Longstrider’s horns are a massive rack of antlers that are actually tree branches, whilst Fable’s horns are more standard demon-like fare.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: The supernatural members of the Tokyo division. Fleur, Jun and Scott are a changeling, kitsune and mage respectively, and they have no qualms about contributing to an organisation specifically dedicated to hunting them. Fleur specifically turned her back on the Courts and has a hatred of other Changelings, though Scott seems to be a little upset when he finds Kowalski has been butchering other mages.
  • Hybrid Overkill Avoidance: Supernatural types are mutually exclusive. Though nobody in the team has turned into one… yet.
  • I Know Your True Name: One of the trademarks of the Fae is that they are very careful with names. When Aisling asked Haru to ‘give his name’, he did... And she took it, literally.
  • Ill Girl: The blind and anemic Hitomi, who despite her fiery personality has to be assisted by Alta and the shrine guards due to her poor health. She was born blind, a trait of a pure-blood Reigan shrinekeeper, and despite Seiko’s best efforts to heal her she remains ill for most of the campaign. It’s because she’s not actually anemic at all- her symptoms are caused by Alta drawing blood during her ‘checkups’ under Izumi’s orders.
  • Intoxication Ensues: When Amelie tries to coax some peace into Kowalski, she accidentally offers Tomonari’s extra-strong ‘oni-killer’ sake instead of the usual fare. The results are predictable.
  • Jackass Genie: Pretty much all fey. Especially Longstrider, who took away Nadia’s fear by making her literally unable to experience the need for self-preservation.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Or to the centre of the dream, more like. In a bid to bring a changeling Mori back from fey-induced insanity and stitch his soul back together, Fleur transports Haru into Mori’s mindscape to fix him. It turns out the entire time in a forced coma, he’s been dreaming of denying his fey transformation. It metaphorically translates to him dying over and over again in a "Groundhog Day" Loop until he learns to accept his new body and circumstances.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Izumi’s weapon of choice. Justified in that her ancestors were sword-forgers. Her speciality in Iaido gives her a ridiculously high Defense stat in combat.
    • A few Yoake members also swing around katanas as well, though some argue they do it just to look cool. Their oyabun Fujio, however, knows how to use one properly.
  • Karma Houdini: Arguably Kowalski. After years of authorising morally questionable experiments, dealing under the table with the Yoake Yakuza and attempting to murder the party team no less than three times, it’s surprising that in their final confrontation with the Cardians they chose to rescue her from the Clockwork Fae.
  • Keystone Army: Discussed in regards to the youkai rebellion army. The Aces tell the players to specifically aim for the army’s leaders as they’re the ones keeping the whole battalion together. Once the leaders are killed, the rest of the army become confused for directions and fall apart. Apparently youkai are notorious for being too individual and disorganised to get their collective act together without a powerful leader or hierarchy telling them what to do, making this a Justified Trope.
  • Log Fic: A series of mission reports collected and archived by Izumi are readily available to players in online documentation.
    • The audio and video logs by the late Erika Okazaki, discovered in the abandoned Cheiron facility. They detail her reports on certain experiments, as well as her degrading health.
    • Then they later encounter similar audio logs by a younger Kowalski, who talks about an earlier Cheiron.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: More like major possession-followed-by-coma-for-several-weeks reaction with Bruce, the King of Diamonds who went missing for 5 whole years after becoming possessed by a mask tsukumogami. His response after being beaten down in a fight, regaining his sanity, knocked out cold, dragged back to base then recovering in the infirmary for almost a month?

    Bruce: So I’m still a King? Sweet.

  • Marshmallow Hell: Often joked around with the innocent Jerry. The two girls Nadia and Amelie give Jerry a big hug! He gets caught awkwardly in the middle.
  • The Masquerade: According to the general public, Kiyokaze shrine is just an ordinary Shinto shrine. The people working there are ‘foreign exchange study students’.
  • Meaningful Name: For the four major shrines: 'Kiyokaze' means 'Pure Wind'. 'Reigan' means 'Spirit Eye'. ‘Karuma’ means ‘Demon Hunter’ and Hakuto is ‘White Rabbit’.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Everyone gathered on a quiet day to bid their final farewells to Izumi. Dietrich and Garou’s speeches were particularly gutwrenching.
  • Miko: Seiko and Hitomi, who are proud of their heritage as shrine maidens. Seiko in particular is set up to be the next Kannushi (head shrine keeper) after her grandfather Tomonari. Hitomi is still in training. These shrine families go way back to a pact between the original founder and a powerful godlike spirit, which give members of the main bloodline special powers as long as they continue to serve the god.
  • Mirror Boss: The silhouette (lovingly dubbed 'shadow-san', later given the name ‘Kagome’) Nori fought in his tutorial. When he put his knife away and fought with his fists, the silhouette had to do the same. It never attacked first despite its speed, and could only counter once Nori already attacked.
    • During their confrontation at the high school, both Iris and Nadia tried to out-persuade one another with their charms.
    • Crosses over with Fighting a Shadow towards the finale of Season 2, where all the characters are forced to fight and conquer their inner doubts.
  • Mysterious Stranger: Invoked by the silhouette in the mirror who introduces themselves as 'a stranger and a friend'. They’re neither.
  • Nice Guy: Remigius or ‘Rem’, the half-Japanese, half-French dancer who Nadia meets at a nightclub and is immediately smitten with. The feelings are reciprocated, and the two start dating… and then the trope is horribly subverted when he turns out to be the Maskmaker, Iris’ sister, who uses Nadia’s attachment to him to threaten the entire team.
  • The Nicknamer: Haru and Alta. Amelie, too. Jun'ya becomes 'Glitters', Nadia is called 'Dee-Dee', and Haru's lovingly called 'Pepperpot' by Amelie.
  • Odd Friendship: Kon Karuma and Holly Harper. A by-the-book Buddhist priest with a strict honour code, and a Playful Hacker programmer with an interest in anime.
  • Older Than They Look: Fleur is implied to be the eldest of the Aces, even though she appears to be the youngest. It’s because she’s a Changeling.
    • Technically speaking, Izumi and Garou as well. The former should be over 80 years old, given she was born in 1930 and teleported to the present via the Hedge. The latter’s been in a self-inflicted "Groundhog Day" Loop for at least two hundred years.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted and discussed with two characters named Jun. Jun the sushi chef, and Jun the Jack of Hearts. The latter's full name is actually 'Jun'ya', but everyone calls him Jun. To stop things from getting confusing, Izumi steps in and dubs him 'Omega Jun' to the chef's 'Alpha Jun'.

    Omega Jun: Why am I the Omega? I was here first!

  • Pet the Dog: Despite their status as high-ranking members of an international criminal organisation, the Aces stick true to their word about helping members of their own family. Garou and Fleur in particular are always looking out for their subordinates, the latter going well out of her way to reunite Haru with Mori.
    • Despite her Mad Scientist tendencies, Kowalski genuinely cares about Cheiron’s employees and staunchly fights for the care and rights of the terminally ill and disabled. It did make her a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but the thought is still there.
  • Playground Song: “Kagome, Kagome” sung and played by the children in the village Nori lives near. Apparently it’s quite popular there. It’s also sung by the shadow in the mirror, who hints that the lyrics of the song might mean more than you’d expect.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: A slight variation. Izumi’s red ink is Hitomi’s blood, supplied to her by Alta to use as a weapon against Yata-No-Megami.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Or to be more precise, sealed half-an-evil in a can. The Yata-no-Megami’s right eye, stolen and sealed underground for the Cardians’ needs.
  • Shirtless Scene: Often performed by Charlie. At this point, it's safe to assume that Charlie qualifies for Tokyo's resident Mr. Fanservice (if Jun'ya isn't willing to fight for the title).
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Nadia. When Fleur gives her a makeover, a selfie she posts on Twitter gathers her a lot of praise and attention from her fellow teammates. But then it gets Deconstructed when Nadia begins to wonder if people only like her for her surface appearance.
    Nadia: Maybe they're nice to me because I'm like a doll to them: pleasant to look at on the surface and fun to play with but in the end... useless.
  • Shinto: Practiced by Riki, Seiko and Hitomi at the shrine. Tomonari is the kannushi, the head shrine keeper.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Haru to a T.
  • Supreme Chef: Jun's sushi. Those crafts rolls can get pretty high.
  • Stepford Smiler: Charlie has shades of this, since he’s willing to put on a happy face and keep smiling for others in the hopes that his worries will pass over and everything will be fine. Seiko turns out to be one all along when they spill their deepest insecurities and regrets to Jerry.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Discussed and Justified. Izumi puts her foot down when it comes to new recruits, as she doesn't want just any old newbie fresh off the streets. However, the division is so understaffed that they don't have much of a choice. The player character team consists of:
  • Take a Third Option: At the Season 1 finale, the team is given two options: Trade Kowalski’s life for Mori, or leave everything behind. They summon Aisling, who promptly wipes the floor with the Fae’s remains as the team haul Kowalski to safety.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: A surprising number of bonding moments have been made over cake and sake.
  • Temporal Paradox: Navy warned the player characters not to cause too much trouble when they were accidentally sent into the past, lest they break time. It’s also a reason why Garou can’t interact too heavily with the main plot— if he tries to speak of or handle the Impossible Relics himself, time itself realigns to wipe him out. It’s implied the Kiyokaze Disaster and the Yoake jumping the team in Kyoto were caused by temporal backlash.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The Navy Nebula Emporium, a bizarre shop that seems to exist outside of time. Navy, the owner, is more than happy to sell supernatural or potentially dangerous items to the players, though some of the stranger items have an esoteric asking price. Apparently they’re friendly business rivals with Indramart.
  • The Vamp: Ayaka, Sasuke’s right-hand woman. She flustered Kowalski into lowering prices for a Cheiron transaction. She also has regenerative abilities.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Each of the Shards begin to lose their composure and invert in personality as they see their deaths coming. Mayoi loses her boisterous streak and becomes withdrawn and regretful. Rem’s ego turns inside out and he begins beating himself up over failures. Iris goes straight from a Stepford Smiler into an Axe-Crazy frenzy, maniacal laughter and all.
  • Villain Team-Up: A minor variant of this early on between Kowalski and Izayoi, high-ranked members of Cheiron and Yoake, respectively. It was less team-up as it was double-dealing, but both got something they wanted: Cheiron got to test its prototype superpowered serums on Yoake without having to risk public human testing, and Yoake got an upper hand against their enemies. Then when Kowalski was being hounded by the Cardians, Yoake stepped in and invaded Cheiron.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: A few of Charlie's plans involve going joyriding, baking weed brownies, and posing in a cape made from a curtain. And then Jun'ya joins him.
  • Warrior Monk: A core part of any shrine family’s hierarchy. Families of shrine monks pledge themselves to a shrine bloodline for a fraction of power, and in return pledge to protect the bloodline’s members. Riki and his family are these to Seiko and her family, and there were once many shrine guards at Kiyokaze… but they were slaughtered in a disaster many years ago.
    • The entire Karuma clan also fit to some degree, with being Buddhist followers and descendants of the warrior gog Bishamon and all. Kon fits this trope to a T.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Shards are deathly weak to a special sanctified red ink Izumi keeps in her office. Wards written in it hide anything from their sight, they can’t cross lines drawn in it, and being wounded by a weapon coated in it is instantly lethal. It turns out the ink isn’t ink at all, but Hitomi’s blood- the act of wounding a Reigan shrine maiden and drawing blood defiles everything Yata-no-Megami represents.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Season One’s “Fighting Your Inner Demons”. Riki is mutated horribly into an Oni and spends much time in recovery afterwards. Meanwhile, the players learn about the tragedy at Kiyokaze shrine years ago and the burden Seiko bears because of it.
    • Season Two’s “Heartache”. Nadia’s debt to Aisling comes crashing back to bite her, just when things were looking up. Izumi’s trust in the team is quickly betrayed by a carefully orchestrated misunderstanding, and just when they’ve talked things out and patched things up, she’s brutally murdered by Hibiki. Who was the final shard the entire time.
  • Wham Line:
    • Mori to Haru: “I was wrong about you.”
    • “ERROR: IMPOSSIBLE MEMORY.”

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