MSF High is a webcomic and more. It is hosted here and created by Joseph "Wraith" Fanning and Allison "Aakashi" Decker. It is a comic that takes place in a rather special High School. People who are in near-death situations, people who have lost everything in life, are taken from all across the galaxy, whisked away in an instant. Here, they are invited to train, and become heroes. Upon graduation, they can go anywhere they wish in the galaxy to fulfill a new life. One of the main rules of MSF High? Every day, all damage and changes to your body is fixed. Even if you die, you wake up good as new!
Of course, since the school is practically run by Anime Cliches, it is likely that problems will arise. Then again, in a school where Martial Arts and Magic are core classes, and the "Language" course also teaches you to cast spells from scrolls, things are likely to get weird. Oh, and don't forget that the Gym teacher considers flaming dodgeballs good motivational tools!
The comic focuses on a small set of characters in the larger school, and develops both the school and the universe it resides in. The main character is Donovan Kieran, who arrived at the school as a dark elf, despite being a human beforehand. This is considered normal. His best friend is Rainer Latham, who is a member of a race called "Watchers", three-eyed beings who observe the galaxy. He soon gathers a band of friends such as Nanako the Catgirl, and Urk the Orc-turned-Fairy.
This leads to another prime characteristic of MSF High. Many people at MSF High can transform students into other forms, and even change people's gender. The two main offenders are Nurse Keiri and Ms. Fenris (the magic teacher). With the amount of danger at this school, however, visits to the nurse are rather common. Rainer, for instance, tends to get quite his share of karma.
The comic generally concentrates on humor based on the characters, and the rather strange situations they find themselves in. It does however have a good dose of action and romance, with drama in the character's backgrounds as well.
MSF High takes place in a well-developed cosmology known as Mahou Galaxy, with twelve main races and a large amount of background details. The timeline found in the RPG Book goes back 24,000 years! A unique detail about this setting is the number of Altearths, planets that resemble Earth but may have a different history and such, allowing many varying backgrounds for characters. The ten main races are part of numerous factions, that have rather varying relationships and opinions of each other. Fortunately, most of their opinions are put aside in MSF High, since it is neutral ground and separate from the galaxy at large. In theory. In practice, a few students take their problems with them.
The webcomic also has a prequel, High School Changed Me, from before many details were finalized. It was put on hiatus, and has a different cast of main characters. It is still hosted at the main site, however.
The comic has spawned an RPG and a card game, both of which are sold on the main website. The RPG book includes a gamemaster's section with numerous secrets about the background. It also has a forum-based RPG, run by a series of trusted gamemasters, that provides further ability to explore the world. It also includes the timeline, and profiles of the races in the galaxy. The forum includes a spin-off section, Mahou Galaxy, devoted to adventures in this outside galaxy.
All tropes to do with the forums go on this page.
This series provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: Much of the information about MSF High's setting is in the Rulebook for the RPG, on the playing card flavor text, or in the Questions and Answers section of the forums. It actually helps add to the very detailed setting.
- Author Appeal: Wraith, Aakashi, and a significant portion of the fanbase like transformations and genderbending. The setting does include justifications for it, and keeps it secondary to the main story.
- Author Avatar: A odd example. While in the backstory, and the In-Universe author of all of the RPG sourcebooks, Wraith has disappeared by the time the comic takes place.
- Bee People: While currently only depicted in the expanded material, Hivers fit this exactly. The Legion also fit in this, as they are a caste system. In a subversion, their caste is more of a meritocracy. People are granted abilities to do what they are good at, and people can have multiple castes. (Princesses and Queens, in fact, have the abilities of all castes.)
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Lana who is a Yandere. And she spends half her time physically attached to Don.
- Emergency Transformation: This is the rationale behind most of the transformations that people attending the nurse's office undergo: They get turned into something that is easier for her to heal. She pretty much invariably also turns them into girls, though, and sometimes the justification for the transformation is really flimsy, like turning a giant troll into a pixie so she can put on a bandage that will fit. However, the explanation she gives Donovan during the recently-rediscovered Naomi's checkup is that she does the Gender Bender aspect of her transformations mainly to honor Wraith's memory, who would always invariably end up female whenever he transformed. Still doesn't explain why she does everything else.
- Filler Arc: A 'lorecrackers' parody arc was done by Wraith and luckybucket.
- First Law of Gender-Bending: Rather enforced by Nurse Keiri - she almost never lets a patient leave her office male, and usually tries to talk the patients out of using the one-time Reset Button; what's more, with nearly all the foreground patients so far, she's succeeded. (While played straight with Keiri, it was later reversed with Lana—see Stalker with a Crush, below—who accidentally hit herself with a "Genderiser Ray" and went from female-to-male.)
- Half-Human Hybrid: Most demi humans are these on varying human-to-animal ratio's with domestic's being on the human end of the scale and martials being on the animal end.
- Hive Mind: The Legion, a race of plant-girls, are one of these. Interestingly enough, individual Legion retain a sense of self. The hive mind nature of the Legion, especially during the Legion War, is highlighted with the Saving Sasha arc, where the being that was once Sasha tries to reclaim her rightful body, only for the Donovan to destroy her.
- Horny Devils: Subverted, Succubi are often stereotyped as this. In practice, it's possible for Succubi to be perfectly chaste, and they don't even have to have sex for energy. They do have pheromones, which can be used to manipulate someone. They're really closer to The Vamp.
- The Humphrey: Fenris. She runs quite a bit of businesses, and hates any class where she can't sell things. As for what she sells, well Donovan discovered some interesting characteristics about his sword.
- Invoked Trope: Examples include Runners, girls who run through the school with eyes closed and bookbags unzipped, looking for a cute guy who they will crash into, and subsequently date.
- Klingon Promotion: If you can beat up the hall monitor, you can become the new hall monitor.
- Lethal Chef: There are at least two of these at MSF High, Alouette and Lana. Interestingly, both may have the ability to cook normal, well-done food. (Alouette almost certainly). It's just they sometimes make meals that come alive...and lust for blood.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Subverted: While Donovan's sword is said to be an ancient artifact wielded by a destined hero bought at one of these, it was revealed to be made by the Magic Teacher, who runs her own company!
- Loan Shark: Fenris provides this service. You sell people stuff as a salesgirl until the debt is repaid.
- Love Makes You Evil: Lana again, as it's a component of Stalker with a Crush. In her case, evil means 'beating up any girl who makes eye contact, or says a single word to him'.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The newest arc has introduced a group of cloaked hooded council members talking about Donovans progress after the Lana arc.
- Our Demons Are Different: For one thing, they're just another race, Demons and devils are two subspecies, they are part of Order versus Chaos...One of the main stars of HSCM is one...(Half demon, half devil), They're called Devilings officially...
- Our Souls Are Different: The soul in MSF High cannot be altered. It is this soul that determines what form a student shall wake up in.
- Reset Button: Not totally, but at the end of the day, all injuries heal, the dead rise, and transformed students can choose to change back or keep the new form forever.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Both averted and subverted. During one fight, http://www.msfhigh.com/?date=2009-01-22, there is a complete lack of this, with the author explaining it would be too much. A fun subversion occurs earlier. A person sets a fuse on a bomb to "monologue length"...and then stops talking. http://www.msfhigh.com/?date=2005-09-30
- The Virus: The Legion convert people into loyal drones, but in the comic's present, they retain most of their personalities, and the only targets are willing converts or aggressors. There was a time when they were more aggressive, but they'd like to forget about that.