The year is 2014, a new substance, SDE01, commonly referred to as "Mana" is discovered by a group of Russian scientists. The world plunges into a development race to find uses of this new seemingly unlimited source of energy that cannot be seen or felt.
16 years after the discovery, it's now the self-proclaimed Age of Magic, where you can download an App to your very phone and cast magic. However, heavy restrictions have been imposed over the available spells, and the required paperwork to even use a high-level spell are astronomic.
Among the citizens of this new world, a red-robed mysterious man seems capable of wielding extremely powerful magic in a way that should not be possible. It's unknown what his aim is or what he wants to accomplish. All that's known about this mysterious person is that he has been using forbidden high-level spells to kill evil-doers throughout the city.
But detective Kim is in charge of catching this murderer/hero. And he doesn't plan on giving up.(Summary of Baka-Update Manga)
This work contains examples of:
- Arc Words: Later on, the series's Title Drop becomes this, coming up in apparently-unrelated ways in every plotline. It appears to ultimately refer to the secret truth behind the city's magic, the fact that it's built on the deaths of the sorcerers who came before.
- Badass Normal:
- Detective Kim. Most of the time he relies on his gun and wits to solve his problems.
- Before he discovers that he can use magic, Han Ji-Yul, too. His whole childhood consists of CQC training from his father.
- Berserk Button:
- Crimson Robe. His loses his self-control and calm attitude when Raven taunts him about his sister being dead.
- Big Bad: Sun
- Black Magic: Black mana certainly elicits this reaction from characters. Crimson Robe has a lot of it, and one of the bad guys' goal is to stuff some artifacts chalk full of it, but we don't know why yet.
- Cain and Abel: It's hard to tell which one's Cain and which one's Abel, but Crimson Robe and Raven are linked. While they were in the facility together, some of their emotions were swapped, and they were linked—almost like brothers, as Raven put it. Back then, Raven was just an experiment that they'd put a lot of work into but was somehow developing emotions and a conscience, and Crimson Robe (Number 14) was a Child Prodigy when it came to Black Manna and a lack of emotions—the perfect tool for their plans.
- Child Prodigy: Though Crimson Robe may not have an extraordinary amount of manna anymore—Raven was given his Black Mana, which he had a lot of, he's extremely good when it comes to understanding and applying magic. In addition, his Black Mana was SS-Class at the age of 7.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Ji-Ae to detective Kim.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The sage. He acts like a Bumbling Dad most of the time, but when it comes to fighting he is almost undefeatable.
- Deadpan Snarker: Crimson Robe has his moments.Crimson Robe: Detective Kim Hyun-ook. I have no intention of harming you. So please put [the gun] down.Detective Kim: It's a bit absurd in a situation like this, but are you... Crimson Robe?[beat]Crimson Robe: What an amazing deduction.Detective Kim: Shut it.
- Deuteragonist: Crimson Robe and Detective Kim and Han Ji-Yul.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Icarus helps to bring the sorcerers to the brink of extinction, and only after performing horrific experiments on all of them because his wife was murdered by one.
- The Dragon: Icarus
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Crimson Robe's effeminate appearance is constantly lampshaded.
- Eyes Always Closed: The fortune teller. It's lampshaded by his son, who jokes about how he's finally opened his eyes once he realizes that one of his powerful talismans are missing.
- Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: There were people who discovered magic before Russian scientists did. They did this by systematically kidnapping, experimenting on, and killing all of the sorcerers—people who could use magic naturally—in the world.
- Fake Memories: When Luna rebells they deal with it by doing this, and then sending her on a mission to eliminate Crimson Robe with detective Kim, who is unaware of her true identity and thinks that she's just aiding in the investigation.
- Freudian Excuse: Icarus, one of the highest-ranking and most powerful members of the group responsible for the systemic kidnapping, experimentation on, and eradication of the sorcerers, had a wife who was murdered by one of them, as romantic relationships with normal humans was a severe taboo.
- Government Conspiracy: Sun and his organization have some degree of influence over the magic police, but even the highest ranking members of the police have no idea of the genocide that went on right under their noses.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Although we have yet to see if this will be the case for the true Big Bad, the people who funded the inhumane research upon and systematic killing of the sorcerers were not in it out of some Fantastic Racism or evil plot for world domination, they were Only in It for the Money.
- Hypocrite: How the police view Crimson Robe.
- Icarus. The woman he loved was murdered by a sorcerer, so he helped to wipe them all out and allowed himself to be turned into an artificial one.
- Last of His Kind: Crimson Robe is the last sorcerer, the last person who can use powerful magic naturally, without the use of technology. Later subverted when he finds a sage and his son, who can also use magic. The bad guys also have artificial mages they've made from humans and raised to be killers for some greater purpose than just killing magicians who are not allied with them.
- The Life Stream: Mana, an invisible energy source that fills the world. The discovery of it and technology that could do amazing things with it is what led to the widespread use of magic. There have always been people who could use it naturally, but those who "discovered" it had been systematically capturing, experimenting on, and killing them.
- Magitek: The setting became entirely based on this when magic was discovered a few decades before the story began.
- More Than Mind Control: It turns out that Icarus's Betrayal wasn't entirely out of a desire for revenge...
- Orcus on His Throne: Sun, the seeming Big Bad of the story has only been depicted as a featureless humanoid figure sitting on a large throne.
- Pillar of Light: a black- and red-colored one of these appears when Crimson Robe revives
- Reverse Mole: One of the three homunculi made by the group that's been wiping out all mages save for the few working for them, has been working to hinder them and even kill some of their members. He even saves Detective Kim's life.
- Shout-Out: Many to superhero works, but the most famous one is of Rai from Noblesse, who is apparently an OP character in an in-universe video game. They even mention his obsession with Ramen. It's doubly hilarious because the game is Naver Fighters,note and characters from several other popular manhwa cameo.
- Title Drop: It takes 78 chapters for the title to be explained (although it's dropped as a mysterious phrase a bit sooner.) It actually refers to the fact that the Magitek on which the city is built is derived from human experiments on the Sorcerers, who were then killed to prevent them from retaliating.