Follow TV Tropes


Web Animation / Epithet Erased

Go To
"WAKE UP! You've got a lot to do today..."

"Epithets! Rare powers! Some people got 'em! Some people don't!"
Mera Salamin

Epithet Erased is an ensemble comedy/adventure series created by Brendan "JelloApocalypse" Blaber, of So This Is Basically... and Welcome to... fame. The cartoon and books serve as a loose adaptation of Blaber's Roll20 Tabletop RPG campaign Anime Campaign, sharing the same basic plot and characters.

In the world of Epithet Erased, one in every five people has a unique ability called an epithet, granted to them at birth by a random word inscribed onto their soul. While some people get words like "Fire", most of the time they wind up with useless words like "Coupon" or "Soup" (well, seemingly useless, anyway). Rumor has it that there exists a magical artifact somewhere in Sweet Jazz City known as the Arsene Amulet, which has the ability to steal epithets, making it the perfect target for thieves, miscreants, and generally not-so-nice folks who'd kill to get new powers for themselves—or take them away from someone else. The question is, who will be the one claim the amulet at the end of the day, and which unlucky sap will end up with their epithet erased?

The series began as an animated show created in partnership with VRV. Produced in a Limited Animation style with numerous RPG elements stylistically sprinkled in (excluding a few fully-animated sequences courtesy of Powerhouse Animation Studios), the first season premiered on VRV on November 8, 2019, with new episodes airing weekly. The episodes can also be watched on Brendan's YouTube channel, where episodes were uploaded two weeks after their premiere on VRV.

In July 2020, it was confirmed that, due to the steep cost of making an animated show and VRV's lack of interest in funding future seasons, Epithet Erased would continue as a series of light novels and audio books. The first of these books would be Prison of Plastic, released in digital and audiobook formats on December 9, 2022, with a physical book version scheduled to release in 2023; tropes for the book go on its respective page. Adaptations of the first two story arcs are also planned to see novel adaptations.

    Animated Series 
  • Museum Arc (Episodes 1-4): After getting locked inside Sweet Jazz Museum after closing time, twelve-year-old Molly finds herself caught in the middle of a hectic break-in by three different parties, all of whom are after the amulet for one reason or another — and one of whom is keen on stealing Molly's "Dumb" epithet in particular.
  • Western Arc (Episodes 5-7): One is the thief who stole the Arsene Amulet, looking for an appraisal. Another is the appraiser, a con artist on the run. Then, there's the police officer, investigating the theft of the amulet and on the scene by some twist of fate. Finally, there's the dangerous, bounty-hunting cowgirl on the hunt for the amulet thief. What will happen when all of these individuals cross paths in the backwater, criminal hive of Redwood Run?

    Light Novels 
  • Prison of Plastic (2022): Molly finds her day off becoming surprisingly busy when she and her friends, Trixie and Phoenica, stumble upon the body of a wizard named Rick Shades washed ashore on the beach. Taking him to the toy store to help him recover, things get even more derailed when her older sister, Lorelai, accidentally uses her epithet to throw everyone into a dream world of her creation while kidnapping the children's speech teacher, Naven. Molly is then forced to go on an epic quest to rescue her friends.
  • Sweet Escape (TBA): Is to feature Mera, Indus, and Ramsey in prison.


    open/close all folders 
  • Adaptation Name Change: Asides from certain Epithets having different names from what they were in Anime Campaign or Banzai Blasters being renamed from Bushido Blasters, the Arsene Amulet was known as Gemini Necklace.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • The Arsene Amulet
    • The Banzai Blasters
  • Alliterative Title
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: A few character details are flipped around whenever characters turn to face another direction since their still images are mirrored. The spike in Giovanni's hair is the most visible case with how it jumps between both sides of his head (in model sheets and promotional art, it's always shown to be above his left eye). Ramsey's gold eye switching sides depending on which direction he faces is another highly noticeable example.
  • Ambiguously Human: Howie Honeyglow is allegedly an Epithet-less Mundie, but he can construct buildings at an unnatural speed, crushes a wrench into a functional boomerang shape, and back with one hand, and emits a lot of steam when he's angry. He's also got stats that Broke the Rating Scale several times over, as seen in his introduction.
  • Animation Bump: The show is mostly done in a Limited Animation style, but some of the more climactic moments in each story arc feature fuller animation, such as in Episode 4 when Giovanni defeats Mera with Molly's help and episode 7 when Ramsey and Percy defeat Zora.
  • Antagonist Abilities: Zora's Epithet, Sundial, allows her to manipulate the flow of any linear process. With it, she can freeze someone mid-air, decay or grow the environment in order to hit her opponents, and reduce anything she touches to dust, including people. It's so powerful that Percy, a very competent Epithet user and sword-fighter on her own, outrights admits she doesn't stand a chance against her in a straight fight. It doesn't help that her stats are the only of the Inscribed to ever get past Level Two, let alone Level Three, and that she apparently didn't use her Epithet at its full potential onscreen yet.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: Bliss Ocean, a mundie terrorist group that seeks to eliminate epithets.
  • As You Know:
    • Mera gives a very helpful—and, in her own words, "so basic it's insulting"—Info Dump of what epithets are and how nobody is really special for having them.
    • Lampshaded in "All's Well That Ends Well", where one of Bugsy's minions does a quick aside about the nature of Epithet Erased's guns, and the other questions why he's stating obvious information out-loud towards nobody in particular.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Not the case with Molly, who has a bear motif but is a very kind person, but played straight with two of the bear statues in Sweet Jazz Museum. Giovanni initially recruits them into the Banzai Blasters, but Sylvie uses his Nightmare Fuel attack to bring them to life and turn them against Giovanni and Molly (though it doesn't last for long).
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Giovanni Potage initially seems totally useless. His epithet is Soup, he mentions that loitering is one of his biggest crimes, and he easily gets himself imprisoned. However, he proves to be good with combat. His soup abilities are extremely versatile, being able to do things such as moving across a room with steam, and creating healing and obscuring mist. Plus, he manages to take down Mera with his bat.
  • Big Damn Hero: When Molly is cornered by Mera Salamin, all hope seems lost. Then, Molly signals for Giovanni Potage to come in, and he appears out of nowhere and knocks Mera Salamin into the wall.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Museum Break-In Arc: Mera is stopped and she and Indus are arrested, but Giovanni and the Banzai Blasters escape with the Arsene Amulet in the confusion. On the plus side, Molly has a new friend in Sylvie, who volunteers to help her work through her issues, and she's become more assertive and confident in herself thanks to Giovanni. Meanwhile, a girl with an electricity epithet is revealed to have been watching the night's events from the shadows and reports all that's transpired to her boss, who ordered her to steal the amulet and says they'll have to send someone named Zora after Giovanni to retrieve it.
    • The Western Arc: Percy and Ramsey defeat Zora, but she gets away with the amulet... Only for Ramsey to reveal he swapped it out with a fake, forcing Zora to report back to her boss at Bliss Ocean emptyhanded. The cops round up all the Banzai Blasters in Redwood Run (with the exception of Giovanni and Car Crash) and for now, the amulet is in police custody. Ramsey, however, is still a wanted con artist, and Percy quickly arrests him, but promises to make his stay in prison as comfortable as she can as thanks for all his help.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Mera, due to her epithet being "Fragile", which gives her great powers at the cost of making her bones increasingly breakable. She also notes that, unlike what normally happens when someone trains their epithet, her training didn't allow her to overcome that weakness, it just made her body more frail. The reason she wants to take Molly's epithet with the amulet is so she can use it to dumb down the pain she's constantly feeling.
    • Zora is an odd case, as her epithet is genuinely amazing with no downsides. However, as a part of the anti-epithet Bliss Ocean, she views it negatively because it gives her such an advantage over any mundies or lesser epithet users; if she doesn't handicap herself, then she can almost automatically defeat anyone who fights her, and that's not very cowboy-like.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Not a single drop of blood is seen when Ramsey has his arm cut off by Zora.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Both ending themes fall under this, with Great at Crime being one for the Banzai Blasters in general and Giovanni in particular, while Great at Cowboy is one for Zora.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In an attempt to prevent herself from getting punched by the Banzai Blasters, Molly uses her power of "Dumb" to turn one of them into a Type 2 stupid, suggesting he was a car that really wanted to run over his teammate.
    Ben: [Ben stares at Car Crash with blank eyes.
    Eyes one might compare to headlights...]
    Beep beep!
  • Brick Joke:
    • During episode 2, Mera mockingly asks if Giovanni shoplifted some bubblegum. During Great at Crime in that episode, Spike proudly declares that she did just that.
    • It's mentioned in episode 1 that Flamethrower does male cheerleading on the weekends. When Percy is asking Molly is she can remember anything about the Banzai Blasters from the museum, she specifically mentions if she can remember their extracurricular activities.
    • Giovanni mentions that his will asks for him to be buried in dinosaur bones. When Beefton is pummeling him, he asks Molly to do that.
  • Canadian Western: The Western Arc plays several western tropes straight, except the location is in a forest as opposed to a desert. Ironically, Percy notes when tossing a coin into a well that she's never been to Canada, which is the name of a city in this universe.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Yelling out attack names isn't a necessity to use powers, but most of the showier characters like Giovanni and Sylvie do it anyway.
  • Catchphrase: Indus likes to repeatedly remind people that his epithet is "Barrier", usually while striking a Pec Flex as well.
    Sylvie: What kind of idiot tells his epithet to someone he just met?
    Indus: Greetings, small girl and others! It is I, Indus Tarbella, the man whose epithet is Barrier!
  • Chained Heat: In "Winner Take All", Percy and Ramsey have to wear Eraser Cuffs to make sure that they can't cheat with epithet powers while dueling with Zora. However, since Percy already used one of her pairs, she has to chain herself to Ramsey with the remaining one. This leads to Ramsey being dragged through a lot of damage during the fight, and then scrambling to take the cuff keys once Zora gains the upper hand.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Most of Molly's applications of Dumb are helpful for protecting herself, with the exception of its ability to form a noise-muting bubble, which is mostly used to drown out noise plus one time to talk quietly with Indus. It's the ability that takes down Mera, since the sudden deafness disorients her for long enough that Giovanni can back-attack her.
    • The Western Arc has a few mentions of Ramsey being an expert forgery artist, which is why he carries art supplies on him (and he even has an art degree). He uses those skills to create a close-enough replica of the Arsene Amulet so that he can pull a switcheroo on Zora.
    • Ramsey can turn parts of his body into gold, which is first used for a gag when Zora torments him and later gets a brief mention after he writes it on a sheet of paper. It turns out to be the perfect power for nullifying Zora's epithet and synergizing with Percy's electricity.
  • Closed Circle:
    • The museum serves as one for Molly for the duration of the first story arc. The museum is locked up past closing hours, her dad has her cell phone, and any attempt to call for help on other phones gets interrupted by interfering parties. The police start taking notice after a few calls, but it's not until Molly pulls the fire alarm (for the unrelated purpose of taking out Beefton) that they spring into action.
    • Redwood Run is miles away from Sweet Jazz City and has no phone lines, leaving Percy stuck there without backup lest she leave and risk losing track of the Arsene Amulet, which is why she allies with Ramsey.
  • Common Tongue: Exaggerated to the reasonable maximum, and compounded with The Power of Language. Word of God is that the entirety of the Epithet Erased world has one single language spoken by everybody, and that when an entire species speaks one singular tongue, the words manifest physically from their widely-understood meanings, causing Epithet Inscription.
    • This means any word the collective public understands (not a word only your friend group uses) can be an Epithet. Even slang applies to this (Jello has beean asked a lot if "yeet" counts, and it does,) though brand names are hit-and miss; Wal-Mart cannot be an epithet, but Thermos (which is synonymous with vacuum flasks as a whole) can.
    • Meanings are power. More meanings means a higher plateau for your Creativity to access. If your word gets new meaning over time, you can add those to your Epithet.
    • If a word becomes an Epithet, it will always be an Epithet. Worlds like "meed" (reward) and "bushwa" (hooey) can still be valid if they were in the public understanding.
    • Additionally, Translation Convention factors in; the EE world speaks a "fantasy Esperanto" mishmash of every language, meaning any word in any language can be an epithet. This also means that if an object that takes two words to express in English (ice cream) has a one-word expression in another language (Spanish, "helado,") then it can be an Epithet.
  • Companion Cube: Sergeant Bear and Corporal Other Bear, two of the museum's bear statues. Giovanni uses them as the foundation for a fort and then makes them Banzai Blasters members (complete with bandanas), and Sylvie later uses his epithet to animate them.
  • Couch Gag: Each episode of Museum Arc has different members of the Banzai Blasters chime in with their own lines during the chorus of the ending theme "Great at Crime".
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Sylvie's Counting Sheep attack, which summons many sheep, each doing 1-2 damage. One alone isn't deadly, but the massive herd that he summons in episode 2 is very dangerous.
  • Differently Powered Individuals: "Inscribed" is the term used for people with epithets.
  • Eleventy Zillion: To get out of Indus's prison, Giovanni tells him about his "ten-hundred" minions, and in exchange, asks Indus to let them out. This works.
  • Everyone Is a Super: According to Mera, a "whopping" one in five people are inscribed with an epithet. Lore has stated that this used to be a much smaller ratio, but the number of epithet users has increased over time.
  • Exact Words: When Martin reveals Molly has an Epithet to Mera in her tour guide disguise, Mera asking molly for what it is has her downplaying it's specialness or uniqueness, and saying it's Dumb. Mera assumes Molly just doesn't want to say what it was, but Molly was being completely straightforward — her Epithet really is called 'Dumb', and it allows her to mute or simplify things. The Epithet's description also falls under this, as the 'things' it can simplify range from weakening the effects or constructs of other Epithets, to weakening the damage inflicted upon somebody and their sense of pain from it to practically nothing. Realising that last aspect is what makes Mera determined to steal Molly's Epithet one she realises that it's the exact counter she needs for her own Epithet's painful side-effects.
  • Eye Catch: This show has these in-between ad breaks. They each have up to three bullet points of exposition (or more, in some cases) about the character depicted as well as said character saying the show's name followed by a short quip.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: In an attempt to show that he's a certified "Bad Dude", Giovanni kicks a potted plant as hard as he can, with the intention of either knocking it over or breaking. All he ends up doing is hurting his foot, so he just gets his boys to shoot the pot.
  • Fantastic Racism: Some conflicts in the series arise because of "lexism", discrimination based on epithets. Mostly this comes from inscribed looking down on mundies because they lack powers, and getting benefits such as being more desirable for employers, either for their powers (why hire a mundie for construction work when a material-based inscribed can get the job done faster?) or since it gives an air of superiority (Sheriff Gorou got his job because nobody else in town had an epithet, in spite of his incompetence). This instigated the rise of Bliss Ocean, a terrorist group that wants to equalize the world by getting rid of epithets.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: The Western Arc serves as this for Ramsey. In order to get the protection of Percy and her strong Parapet abilities, he pretends to be a mundie so he won't have to wear Eraser Cuffs. He has to make smaller lies to cover this up, such as pretending that his "forger's crayons" are dangerous weapons when they're actually worthless if he doesn't turn them gold and sharpen the tips. Unfortunately, talking to Howie and Zora (as well as Ramsey's earlier speech about not underestimating mundies) gives Percy the idea of dueling Zora without using epithets; she cuffs herself and Ramsey together as a form of inscribed-mundie solidarity that gives them an early disadvantage, and tries throwing the crayons at Zora to no effect. Ramsey is forced to use Goldbricker to stop Zora's murderous rampage, which leads to his arrest because his power is a dead giveaway to his criminal identity.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: At the end of season one, Zora appears to make off with the Arsene Amulet. However, it's easy to see that the gem on her amulet is an orange-brown color instead of its normal green even though it hasn't absorbed any new epithets, and about a minute later that gets addressed when Ramsey pulls out the real amulet and says that he swapped hers with a fake he made.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are various hints to Mera's epithet throughout the Museum arc. When Mera hits her toe on a crate in the museum, it breaks despite it being a very minor injury. Other hints are how her Eye Catch cards mention her nail polish always chipping and how she takes a lot of headache medicine, and her desire for Molly's epithet when she realizes that it can nullify pain. She also uses it to shatter Indus' barrier into small sharp pieces as the first demonstration of its powers.
    • In episode 1, Molly tries to hold off Ben and Car Crash by throwing a box of thumbtacks on the floor and saying that they're now "dumb"-tacks. Episode 7 reveals that skilled inscribed like Zora can imbue their epithet into objects, like Zora infusing her Rapid Aging ability into her bullets or Percy's sword. Lore information states that the Amulet was made by someone doing the same thing with their "Copycat" epithet.
    • Giovanni's phone call to Ramsey gets cut short when the latter hears a noise in the background, causing him to start panicking. Turning up the volume reveals that noise to be Zora whistling the same tune she whistles on the way to catch Ramsey up in Redwood Run.
    • In episode 5, Zora laughingly points out to Ramsey how the jail he's in offers little security from her if she really wanted to get to him—she demonstrates by pulling a rusty bar out of the window, and it promptly crumbles to dust in her hand. Turns out, Zora's epithet allows her to age things forward until they're dust—she wasn't pointing out how fragile the jail was, she was warning Ramsey just how powerful she was.
  • For Want of a Nail: Most of the conflict in the "Museum Break-In" arc starts because of Molly getting stuck in the museum after falling asleep from Sylvie's dust. If she wasn't there, then she wouldn't have used Dumb to nullify Giovanni's sneak attack on Mera, who wouldn't have become set on stealing her epithet, and since Mera is extremely physically vulnerable, an unblocked attack would've knocked her out and affected the heist heavily.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The episode captions sneak a few extra jokes here and there, such as adding an ":3" emote next to some of Molly and Ramsey's lines, or describing Sylvie's Un Evil Laugh as "(stupid clown laughter)". Be on the lookout for an abundance of sheep puns as well.
  • Giving the Sword to a Noob: Given the Semantic Superpower nature of many Epithets, a creative type with "Bluster" could give themselves an intimidation factor, or different flavors of a Breath Weapon. Unfortunately, Sheriff Gorou has very little creativity and the only power his "Bluster" Epithet gives him is the ability to blow air slightly harder than most people.
  • Glass Cannon: Exaggerated with Mera. Her Epithet is Fragile, which allows her to shatter anything, but passively makes her equally frail in turn. Her Proficiency and Creativity are both 5, signifying an incredibly powerful Epithet user (Sylvie, despite the immense power of his Epithet and the wide variety of its uses, including a One-Winged Angel form, sits at only 4 in each). However, her Stamina is a laughable 1, and she can literally shatter bones from something as simple as stubbing a toe. It's enforced visually with the jagged glass shards she conjures up. She ultimately gets taken out with the force of two hits (Beefton smacking her once and Giovanni landing a critical hit), putting her at only around twenty hit-points.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Bullets aren't lethal in this universe and only deal minor impact damage, as pointed out by one of Bugsy's minions. They are also easily defended against by inscribed anyways, as proven by Indus' barriers and the magnetic fields generated by Percy's buildings. Zora, on the other hand, can imbue her epithet into her bullets, allowing her to hit someone with Rapid Aging through them.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: The reason for Bliss Ocean's hatred of epithets. A mundie could train to the peak of personal perfection their whole lives, but all their skills could easily be trumped by someone who was lucky enough to be born with a superpower.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: The ultimate message of the first story arc is that, no matter how right helping people may be, you shouldn't do it at the complete expense of your own happiness and well-being. At first, the only reason Molly is willing to let Mera steal her own Epithet is because she doesn't have it in herself to say otherwise. But upon reflecting on how much she relies on her Epithet to put up with her dysfunctional family life every day, Molly realizes she isn't prepared to make that kind of sacrifice and changes her mind. While that seems like a harsh decision to make, especially as a response to learning just how rough Mera has it, Molly makes it clear that her refusal is only temporary, and she immediately makes up for it by choosing to dull Mera's pain every now and then until she doesn't need her Epithet anymore (i.e., sorts out her own issues).
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Some characters who view their abilities as lame, such as Molly and Giovanni with their epithets of "Dumb" and "Soup", come to realize their powers actually fall under this in specific situations. It doesn't stop them from being embarrassed by them though, with Giovanni, in particular, giving his moves overly dramatic names to disguise the fact that his ability sounds dumb and useless.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: The proudly heroic cop Percy (who is The Hero of the second arc, in fact) carries a sword as a sidearm, largely because of her abysmal stamina getting in the way of what is an otherwise incredibly potent and creative Epithet.
  • How We Got Here: The first episode starts with Molly waking up and realizing that she's locked in the museum right before the Banzai Blasters burst in, then the scenes after the intro and title card show how she ended up in that position.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Indus and Mera are the classic Brains and Brawn duo. This also applies to their epithets, with Indus having the brawny epithet of Barrier, while Mera suffers from an epithet called Fragile that makes her own body physically weak.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Sylvie tells Molly and Giovanni that nobody is stupid enough to reveal their epithet to someone they just met. Cue Indus introducing himself and telling everybody what his epithet is every other sentence for the remainder of the episode.
  • Irony:
    • Giovanni claims that if Molly had not "dumbed down" his attack on Mera, he would have done a ton of damage to her. Molly calls this into question, saying that Mera "seems really powerful", and given that Giovanni doesn't exactly have the best self-assessment of his abilities, we're inclined to believe her. Turns out Giovanni is completely right, and Mera is a Glass Cannon.
    • Molly is initially alright with giving Mera her Epithet because "she seems to really want it". The idea of willingly giving up one's epithet to someone who is by that point Obviously Evil is completely laughable for both the audience and Giovanni and makes Molly come off as an Extreme Doormat. We then find out that there is indeed a legitimate reason for Mera to want Molly's epithet, beyond just selfish greed.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Mera and Indus, acting as museum tour guides, are only there to try and steal the Arsene Amulet.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: How the police's Eraser Cuffs work. They make anyone wearing them lose their long-term memory of what their epithet is and how to use it, effectively making them Mundies. The cuff's effects work repeatedly, as well, so writing yourself a note to remind yourself of your epithet would be largely ineffective since you'd forget again after about 30 seconds. The effects aren't permanent, however, and wear off as soon as the cuffs are removed.
    • Also they can only make the wearer forget their own epithet, and not the epithet of others. Meaning that if two inscribed are cuffed together they can theoretically work around this by reminding by reminding the other about their epithet. This fact helps immensely in Ramsey's Indy Ploy against Zora as he still remembers Percy's epithet and uses it for the subsequent dual tech.
  • Limited Animation: While the characters themselves are well-drawn, the animation is very limited, much like Blaber's So This Is Basically... series. The characters each have a limited set of expressions and poses (much like sprites in a Visual Novel) while they move around like paper cutouts with minimal lip flaps, and sometimes they'll simply be depicted as square icons with their faces on them moving around the top view of a room. There are some moments of Animation Bump where scenes are fully animated, however.
  • Logical Weakness: Indus' epithet is Barrier. It does exactly what you think it does. But Mera is said to have defeated him in one attack, something that sounds rather improbable given that he is a hulk of a man with a defense-oriented power. Her Epithet, Fragile, is a natural counter to his; a barrier as frail as glass is not good for much.
  • Loophole Abuse: Every 13th attack Giovanni makes is a critical... so you'd expect he'd have to get a lot of hits in to take advantage of this, right? But as he demonstrates, he doesn't have to hit enemies for it to count; at one point he charges up by (harmlessly) hitting his allies, and at another point he mentions he just hit a lot of objects on the way.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: The Arsene Amulet is the entire reason why everyone ends up gathering at the locked museum in an attempt to either steal it or protect it. Once it's out of the museum and in the public, it becomes an immediate magnet for trouble.
  • Masochist's Meal:
    • The local delicacy of Redwood Run is pine cones with straws stuck into them. Somehow, it's possible to drink from a pinecone, but only a few people like Percy know how.
    • Howie and his workers carry around [HONEYED SNACK]s (worded as such in the captions), which are construction screws dipped in honey. Percy is still able to stomach these for a stamina boost.
  • Medium Awareness: The characters seem aware of the stat sheet splashes that pop up when their epithets are revealed. One character manages to take a picture of Giovanni's sheet, Ramsey fills his with fake golden stars to make his stats seem more impressive, and Gorou's is full of paper fakes that he accidentally blows away with his epithet.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: This is why Ramsey heads for Redwood Run when he learns Zora is after him; the sheriff is so nice and yet so dumb, Ramsey gets whatever he asks for on demand, is absolved of his bounty and could leave at any time and outright claims it's like a vacation. However, Zora turns this on him, as she believes that the place barely counts as a jail, and continues her bounty hunt regardless.
  • Muggles: Those without epithets are known as "Mundies", derived from the word "mundane".
  • My Name Is ???: Sometimes, when it comes to names of epithets or characters, in order to keep something spoilery a secret, it will literally be shown as "???". When the time comes for the secret to be revealed, the question marks are replaced with the actual name.
  • Mythology Gag: Being a loose adaptation of Anime Campaign, nods to the source material are to be expected. For example:
    • An Otamatone can be spotted as an exhibit in the museum during the Museum Break-In Arc. This appears to be a nod to the fact that one of the characters from Anime Campaign used one as a weapon.
    • Several characters from Anime Campaign that haven't made an appearance in Epithet Erased make cameos as wanted posters in the Western Arc's ending theme, "Great at Cowboy".
    • The police officer who sends out a radio call to Percy in the episode "Redwood Run" is named Sgt. Eros by the credits. During her conversation with him, Percy mentions that "Meryl" owes her a dollar. Both Eros and Meryl (full name Meryl Lockhart) were player characters in Episode 1 of Anime Campaign who do not appear in the show's version of the story arc.
      • This earlier version of the Western Arc is also where the scene with Redwood Run's well comes from- in Anime Campaign, Percy lends Meryl her inexplicable Canadian dollar to make a wish on the well. When asked if the coin made a sound, Brendan (as the Game Master) states that it made a weird thunk that indicates the well was full of mud, at which point the Well Watcher is introduced and things more or less align with how they're presented in Epithet Erased. An animated version of this scene can be watched here.
  • Novelization: Season 1 will be adapted into two novels, thus also making it a Divided for Adaptation, as part of the of The Prison of Plastic Kickstarter Stretch Goals.
  • Odd Friendship: The Neo Trio consist of a shockingly overworked introvert, the richest girl in the world who is descended from a line of Magical Girl warriors, and a kid who can see ghosts and whose entire family has been in jail at some point or another. Despite their incredibly different backgrounds and living situations, the three of them are steadfast friends.
  • Odd Name Out: Most of the Banzai Blasters have been given cool nicknames by their bosses such as Car Crash and Flamethrower. The one exception is Ben, who goes by his real name since he hasn't impressed Giovanni enough to receive a nickname from him.
  • One Person, One Power: Part of the reason so many crooks want the Arsene Amulet is because while this is normally the case for those lucky enough to have an epithet, the Amulet allows you to steal an epithet from someone else.
  • Personality Powers: Some of the inscribed have powers that match well with their personalities, like Arnold's "Coupon" epithet being rather fitting for someone obsessed with deals and savings. Others have it more subtly: Indus, who has Barrier, is a bodyguard fixated on protecting Mera, and Ramsey, who has Goldbricker, focuses on preserving himself from harm/capture similarly to how gold is preserved. Sylvie's main area of study is actually on how epithets interact with personality, presumably to determine whether an epithet affects the personality of the user, or if specific epithets tend to be drawn to people who would develop those personality traits anyways.
    • Lore information also states that, tying into how Creativity is the most important stat of the Three-Stat System, how a person perceives their word influences what powers they'll originally develop from their epithet.
  • Power Glows: Characters generally produce glow effects whenever they're using an epithet power on an object, such as Sylvie sending attack energy through his yo-yo's string.
  • Ponzi: The Banzai Blasters. Molly directly compares it to a pyramid scheme after Giovanni tells her how their membership works in episode 2.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The series serves as a loose adaptation of Brendan's Tabletop RPG series Anime Campaign. Despite the transition, the show includes some trappings of the source material, such as overview shots reminiscent of the Roll20 interface, damage numbers whenever someone gets hurt, and characters narrating their own actions, alongside some of the characters, jokes, and plot elements created/ad-libbed for it. However, the show is largely telling its own original story using said source elements instead of distilling the original plot. invoked
    • The first arc of the roleplay was overhauled for the show. "Episode 0" (named so since the recording of it was lost) of Anime Campaign was an inscribed tournament that featured the Arsene Amulet; the first arc of Epithet Erased changes the setting to a museum and adjusts things from there. A lot of the story beats are retained (Molly is stuck at the tournament/museum against her will, Mera and Indus pose as staff members to hide their plot of stealing epithets, and Giovanni gets away with the amulet in the end), but more than half of the cast is cut and the remaining characters have changes in their dynamics (Sylvie's idolization-turned-Broken Pedestal for Mera doesn't exist in the show, for example).
  • Police Are Useless: Zig-Zagged depending on who the police are:
    • Subverted with Percy, whose competence is fully established in the Museum Break In arc. At first, Percy sounds comically unfazed by the 911 call Molly makes. By episode 3, however, it's shown that Percy correctly suspected an emergency situation simply by the source of the call and the sound of Molly's voice, and is already in the middle of getting an investigation together before Molly pulls the fire alarm, which only guarantees police action. By episode 4, her squad is already on the scene and gets the situation mostly under control, with the exception of the Banzai Blasters, who escape with the Arsene Amulet.
    • Sheriff Gorou plays this trope straight. He hands out free guns to visitors and seems genuinely surprised when Percy describes solving crimes as part of his job. Ramsey says that he got the job solely because he was the only person in town with an epithet, and it's not hard to believe it.
  • Police Code for Everything: 96-18 is apparently the Sweet Jazz City police code for a suspect in possession of dinosaur bones.
  • Power Nullifier: Subverted. Eraser Cuffs, despite their name, don't actually prevent an inscribed from using their epithet. They instead prevent the use of an epithet by making them forget what it is, reinforcing the mind wipe periodically.
  • Power Parasite: The Arsene Amulet is a mysterious MacGuffin that grants its holder the ability to steal other people's epithets.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: The series is based on a tabletop RPG, and some elements of that transfer over to a show format. When each character's epithet is revealed, they get a splash screen displaying their three stats ("Stamina" for physical strength and defense, "Proficiency" for the raw power of their epithet, and "Creativity" for intelligence and variety of ways to use their epithet), and characters openly mention the stats. Most inscribed powers are defined via named moves, including combo attacks, and damage characters receive is displayed with numbers.
  • Semantic Superpower: The entire point of "epithets". Each inscribed person has a single word attached to their soul to form their epithet. While limited to this one word, there are multiple examples of epithets being used creatively within the boundary of that word, which can also tie into Heart Is an Awesome Power for ones like Molly's. Most of this seems reliant on one's Creativity stat: Indus has only one point in Creativity and thus can only use Barrier for making barriers and nothing more, while Giovanni squeezes out as much use as he can from his weak Soup epithet because his Creativity is at five points.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Molly questions why Mera needs to steal epithets with the Arsene Amulet when she can instead give up her own if it causes her so much pain. Mera immediately shoots the idea down, arguing that this would mean giving up ten years of training to hone her powers.
  • Stealth Insult: When Mera makes a comment about Indus being “free labor”, Molly tells her “You sound like my dad”. Not only is this obviously not a compliment, given that her father is a childish, lazy, obnoxious loser who foists his responsibilities on his daughter and even forgets her when she falls asleep at the museum, Word of God even states that it is her subtle way of telling Mera that she sucks.
  • Stupid Crooks: The Banzai Blasters originally wanted to stage the robbery at midnight, but unfortunately Ben's mom wouldn't allow him to be out that late. They also have no particular target or plans to transport the stolen goods out of the museum.
    • Arguably, considering the Banzai Blasters as a whole is just as pyramid scheme, as Molly points out, every person that gets involved is this.
  • "Super Sentai" Stance: The Banzai Blasters appear to pride themselves in their posing technique, going as far as to have a pose-off with Indus upon being challenged to do so.
  • Superpower Lottery: Some people get obviously powerful words like Zora's Sundial, others get epithets that are less so, like Bugsy, whose attacks are totally random, though many of the seemingly "lamer" epithets can prove to be Heart Is an Awesome Power if the user is creative enough. In addition, while more and more people are being born inscribed, with the current estimates being that 1 out of 5 people has an epithet, lore states that while epithets can reappear, a given word can only be used by one person at a time. So, no one else can have "Dumb" as an epithet while Molly is alive, for example, and with more inscribed being born, these new inscribed are going to have increasingly obscure words for epithets as fewer words are left.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • After a while of being a gag, Giovanni goes from being annoyed by Car Crash's bad vehicle handling to getting concerned that it may be the result of astigmatism, and tells him to get it checked out.
    • Despite helping Percy defeat Zora and recover the Arsane Amulet, Ramsey is still a wanted criminal and infamous con artist, and is thus quickly arrested once all is said and done. However, Percy claims she'll do what she can to make sure his stay in prison is enjoyable, if he continues to help her & the police from time to time.
  • The Misophonic: Molly has misophonia. One of her trigger sounds is a fire alarm.
  • The Teaser: Most of the episodes have a few minutes of establishing scenes before the intro and title card are displayed, though the exact time varies. "Reflection" mixes it up by playing the intro first and having the title card shown after a brief flashback.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. While not his main field of study, Sylvie does sometimes do domestic therapy sessions and offers Molly a free session.
  • Three-Stat System: Those who are inscribed (and some who aren't, in the case of people like Howie) have three stats associated with them: Stamina, Proficiency, and Creativity.
    • Stamina is how much physical strength and energy a character has and how long they can use their abilities before getting tired.
    • Proficiency is how much of a grasp on their own powers that a person has and how experienced they are at using their abilities.
    • Creativity, which is actually the most important stat, determines how varied someone's powerset is and how good they are at coming up with new applications for it. Indus, for example, has low creativity, and never thinks to do anything else with his power besides making the same barrier over and over again. Giovanni, on the other hand, is very good at coming up with special applications for his powers.
    • The strength of each stat is signified by their ranking out of five normal stars, and each stat has three total levels.
      • The first tier is Star, and this is where most people will stay their whole lives, though having five stars is considered good.
      • A particularly gifted person may increase a stat into second tier, Orbit - the kind of power that big name corporations find hard to replace; an average person can count Orbit-tiers they know about on their hands.
      • The last tier, Nova, is around one-in-lifetime rare - these people have made history or legends, and a Nova-tier fighter would pretty much be an endgame boss in a jRPG.
  • Third-Person Person: Whenever a scene switches to a tabletop setting, characters may start speaking in the third person to explain their actions, like when Molly gets scared by Sylvie's "Nightmare Fuel"-induced fire and explains that she's holding on to Giovanni, or when Giovani claims to be tearing off the knife from his bat and throws it at Dr. Beefton. This is a throwback to action descriptions from the roleplayers back in Anime Campaign.
  • Trivial Title: Despite the title, epithet erasure does not play a very big role in the story: in the web series, it only happens to one character (Sylvie), and even then it quickly gets undone, and in Prison of Plastic, the concept is barely even alluded to at all.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: A Manchild in every sense of the word, one of the very first establishing shots is of Mr. Blyndeff very cheerily dancing and humming a random tune in the middle of a museum tour much to Molly's chagrin.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?:
    • Most epithets fall under this, being things like "Dumb" or "Soup" that are seemingly useless. While some fall under Heart Is an Awesome Power if their proficiency and creativity are high enough, others are not so fortunate.
    • Gorou, the incompetent sheriff of Redwood Run, is the only inscribed seen so far that has an epithet that can't be considered Heart Is an Awesome Power, his "bluster" epithet just allows him to blow slightly harder than the average person, and his stamina, proficiency, and creativity are all a single star.
  • Who's on First?: Most characters have trouble discerning what Molly's epithet is at first; she always timidly says that "it's Dumb" as if she's saying that it's a stupid epithet when the epithet actually is the word "Dumb".
  • Wretched Hive: Redwood Run. The town is crawling with Banzai Blasters, and the sheriff (who apparently got his job because he was the only one with an epithet in town) completely embodies Police Are Useless to the point that he is genuinely surprised when Percy tells him that solving crimes is part of his job. The fact that he gives guns to everyone that comes into the police station means that the few people in town who aren't Banzai Blasters are armed. The whole place is also filled with rusting termite-ridden buildings, and the soil is too rough for anything but the best architects to build atop.
  • World of Pun: Almost everybody in the story drops puns and jokes, with epithet-users commonly saying puns and referencing stereotypes connected to their particular word. One of the most extensive Pungeon Masters is Arnold Markdown, who in both his dialogue and narration references every pun and stereotype possible that can be connected to coupons.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: While naturally vividly-colored hair isn't common everywhere in this setting, it's mentioned that such hair colors are commonplace in Ocean Country, drawing comparisons to the coloration of venomous fish. The brightness of the color doesn't get diluted in mixed-race individuals, so people with any amount of Ocean Race ancestry may have colorful hair. (as shown by Giovanni and Trixie's pink hair).


Video Example(s):


Giovanni Potage

While he does have a few badass moments, Giovanni is mostly shown to be a childish, butt of many jokes, whose epithet is revealed to be...Soup.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / ButtMonkey

Media sources: