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Webcomic / Misfile

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The three main characters.note 

"In one little corner of the universe, there's nothing more irritating than a misfile..."

A webcomic by Chris Hazelton, Misfile (first page) is the story of "a girl who was a boy, a Harvard-bound genius missing two years of her life, and the pot-headed angel who did it to them" via a celestial filing accident. In the small hillside town of Tempest, Massachusetts, boy racer Ash was turned into a girl, studious Emily had the past two years of her life erased — including her admission to Harvard — and angelic loser Rumisiel was exiled to Earth for his incompetence. Fortunately, due to a side effect of the accident, these three can still remember the universe-as-it-was. Lucky, because Rumisiel fears his superiors would likely 'correct' the misfile by making it permanent.

Mixing street racing, girl-bonding, and car tuning sessions with angels, supernatural weirdness and the trials and tribulations — from getting hit on by guys to bras — of a boy suddenly transformed into a girl, Misfile defies simple categorization as the two protagonists struggle to deal with the craziness that has taken over their lives while trying to get Rumisiel back into heaven so he can fix his mistake. Complications arise, of course, not the least of which is Rumisiel's perpetual slacker nature.

The comic is notable for dealing with a Gender Bender plot in a much less Fanservice-ey way, and with much more emotional depth and serious character consideration, than is the norm. Essentially, if you left out the supernatural and fantastical elements of the story, you'd still be left with a good tale about the challenges faced by a transgender boy dealing with life in a girl's body. Also unusual is the fact that the "old universe", where Ash is a boy with emotionally-distant parents and Emily is a college-bound senior with a mean streak, has literally never been seen in the comic, although it's often alluded to.

It was announced in early 2019 that Book #31 would be the final book to Misfile and to Ash, Emily and Rumisiel's story. However, a sequel comic was also announced and a Kickstarter was posted on March 15th, 2019 that continues within the Misfile universe. On August 28th, 2019 the final page of Ash, Emily and Rumisiel's story was posted.

On January 12, 2021, a new epilogue called "Misfile: Next" was announced on Kickstarter. This new comic will detail the events between Rumisiel's slap dash repair of the original Misfile and the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.

The second story, Misfile Universe- Hell High, takes place in the first circle of Hell. The story follows Aiden Blackwell and his sister Carly, who are the first humans born in Hell when souls became fertile. Negotiations were made: if the souls can graduate from a specialized school, they get to live on Earth. If not, they're stuck living in Hell. Most notable is that none of them existed until the end of Misfile. They are also joined by Nil, a girl with horns who is found floating face-down in the river Styx. Hell High expands on the Misfile universe and explores concepts, characters and creatures that were only mentioned in the original series.

Chris Hazelton also does the webcomic 6 Gun Mage.

A backup of the comic can be found here.

Provides examples of:

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  • Aborted Arc:
    • Ash pushing Rumisiel back into Heaven since Rumisiel has no clue how to reduce the 72 year sentence.
    • The conflict and race with Dave was completely and abruptly abandoned in favor of the return to Heaven to stop Xaphrael, despite the huge amount of build-up the arc had received. Although in fairness, the race was all but over at the time of interruption. Ash had clearly out-thought and out-driven Dave, who was literally in the middle of crashing when Adam intervened.
  • Abridged Series: Right here. (Requires a Napalm Luck account to read).
  • Aesop: Ash not only gets the usual Aesops about sexism and the Double Standard but also gets some unexpected ones about positive discrimination. Meanwhile, Ash also provides some unexpected Aesops to Emily due to her outsider perspective on female behavior, as well as some lessons on the importance of having fun and living for yourself rather than someone else's expectations for you. Finally, the readers get some insights about the battle between the sexes that Ash and Emily are either too obtuse to get or too proud to acknowledge.
  • Alliterative Family: Emily and her mother share the first letter of their names, as Emily mistakes a "E. McArthur" for her's instead of her mother's.
  • All There in the Manual: If you really want to understand how the Celestial Depository works and the effects of reversing the misfile, and find out just how Tempest has such a cool mountain racetrack you need to have read the "about" section on the website, read the Ask Ash column, and ordered the print books so you could read the liner notes.
  • Almost Kiss: A few times, the first being here.
  • Analogy Backfire: Regarding the obvious sexual characteristics of the knight costume Missi made for Ash for Halloween.
    Missi: It's for a girl knight. You're my Joan of Arc.
    Emily: Wasn't she burnt at the stake for dressing like a man?
    • Another when Ash is in a time crunch and ends up needing to race in the wrong car and a dress.
      Ash: Screw it!.... Hell, it can't be more distracting than my first race as a girl.
      Emily: That's the spirit! ...Um... Actually... Didn't you lose that race?
  • Anchored Ship: Emily and Ash's relationship took a long time to go anywhere.
  • Animesque: Uses plenty of Anime tropes for its art, including Cross-Popping Veins and the Sweatdrop.
  • Apron Matron: Doris—at least as far as the forumites are concerned—fits much of this.
    • Given that Vashiel, the angel who owns a flaming longsword and is an angel of vengeance who Cannot Tell a Lie, thinks that Doris could do something to Cassiel much worse than what he could, at least some in-story regard her as one as well.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Angels? Okay. Ghosts? Why not? People's lives affected by changes in files? I'll give you that one. But a guy who can talk to cars? Get outta here…
  • Archangel Gabriel: Rumisiel and Vashiel's father. Seen in flashback only (so far).
  • Armored Closet Gay: While the applicability of the word 'gay' to Ash is debatable, Ash still pretends to be a straight girl because he is afraid that coming out of the closet as a girl will carry over to his male life when the misfile is eventually corrected. Which means this is an extremely rare use of this as an Invoked Trope.
  • Art Evolution: Over the years, characters (of both sexes) have filled out and/or bulked up noticeably, proportions are a little more accurate, the clothing a lot more detailed, and the anime-style eyes have become much smaller (with their mouths getting much larger as compensation).
    • As an inverse, the cars have become much more simple looking, and the shading (for shadows, at least) is now all but non-existent.
  • Asshole Victim: Those guys from Attempted Rape below? They exist in a story full of angels with penchants for wacky schemes and colorful revenge: but unfortunately for them, they run into the much more serious Ramael while planning yet more sins, and he simply kills them with his holy sword.
  • Attempted Rape: It's implied that this is what was about to happen here if Logan hadn't stepped in on the next page.
  • Author Appeal: Amateur street racing in this case.
  • Auto Erotica: James remembers having sex with Ash in his car.
  • Ax-Crazy: Kamikaze Kate.
  • Badass Boast: Rumisiel gets one on Bronwyn in book #8:
    Bronwyn: Shut up! Just SHUT UP! You don't know anything! You don't know the spirits! You don't know about the greater universe!
    Rumisiel: [pulls out wings and halo]
    Emily & Bronwyn: [Oh, Crap!]
    Rumisiel: You want to see spirits? You want to look into the eyes of the beings who will watch over the end of days? I have seen the fall of empires and the murder of millions! I have shoved that data into files like so many numbers! I have seen a great many things, but little as ignorant and dangerous as a conceited little girl who has used so-called "spiritual devices" to turn her own unbridled ID into a demon capable of killing the one she's too stupid to realize she loves!
    Bronwyn: W... What are you?
    Rumisiel: I'm a frikkin' angel, babe, and I got nothin' to lose. Now GET IN THE CAR!
  • Badass Driver: Kamikaze Kate. Ash to a lesser degree. Emily is working up to it.
  • Batman in My Basement: Rumisiel has nowhere else to go, but he sleeps on the couch. Then to explain his presence, he's passed off as Ash's boyfriend. When Vashiel arrives, he gets the bed in the basement.
  • The Beard: Rumi and later Ash, to Rumi's older brother.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Ash watches Emily as she sleeps. Much later Emily watches Ash. The latter is followed by a Dude, She's Like in a Coma
  • Because Destiny Says So: Ash's relationship with Missi may be written into their files—hence Missi's confusion about being attracted to Ash despite not liking girls in general.
  • Bedmate Reveal: In this strip, Ash wakes up after a night of drinking to find Vashiel in his bed.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Rumisiel, at least according to him. He gets some support for this position.
    • Given how she's treated when dealing with any other angel (on official business or not), Cassiel also seems to be one.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rumi and Ash appear to have this, but in reality he's The Beard.
  • Berserk Button: Vashiel is extremely protective of people close to him. When Cassiel comes calling and he's the only one home, he threatens to wreck Satan to get to her if she brings any harm to Rumisiel or Ash. From Cassiel's reaction to his reminder not to forget his history, and the simple fact that he can't lie or deceive, he fully means every word of it. The next page, he turns on a dime back to his polite self and offers to get the door for the now terrified Cassiel.
  • Beta Couple:
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Ash and Emily. To give you a better idea, it starts here.
  • Big Eater: Missi.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Turns out angels aren't born, they just sort of… become. They only have genders and so on to interact with humanity. Rumisiel doesn't actually have any biological relation to his brother or father.
  • Blatant Lies: Yes, the angels are most definitely from Canada. There is nothing suspicious about their behavior. Move along citizen.
    • This may be the single best example.
      Rumisiel: Yeah... but I'm from, like, the tropical part of Canada. The vast Canadian Empire ranges far and wide, you know, eh?
      Dr. Upton: There is something desperately wrong with that sentence, but I'm too tired to care. Remind me in the future never to talk to you until after I've had my coffee.
      Rumisiel: The Emperor of Canada once told me the same thing.
  • Bond One-Liner: That can be SO addictive…
  • Boring, but Practical: Vashiel gets a flaming sword. Rumisiel gets a multi-purpose filing tool. Guess which has a better chance of being used in a "real life" (or, Ash's life) situation?
  • Brand X: "Beer" and "Cola".
    "Buy it! Drink it! Love it!"
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: While Ash is a talented driver, he has no motivation to do anything beyond drifting through life, not even attempting to fix the Misfile beyond yelling at Rumisiel. This could be because the Misfile happens to be his go-to excuse when confronted on his behaviour. He becomes more motivated after spending so much time around Emily.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": Word for word when Emily gets stuck trying to climb through her window.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Vashiel. Oh, poor Vashiel. As part of his heavenly vows, he is compelled to provide the full truth whenever even vaguely prompted. This has gotten him into quite a few painful situations over the years. It is also why he is Locked Out of the Loop as far as the misfile; they can't count on him not giving up the whole game and leaving Ash and Emily's former lives permanently Ret-Gone. He is freed from this along with his other heavenly vows, though in the epilogue he admits to missing being incapable of self-deception.
    • When asked whether a dress made a girl fat, he apparently replied "Not nearly as much as the rest of your clothes".
      Vash: That was the most painful day ever.
    • For one that actually happened in the comic:
      Vash: Oh, just, we were supposed to get you to think that Kate was in the wrong so you'd be okay with letting us help you win the race by dealing with the spirit of her dead sister, only I totally wasn't supposed to be telling you this, and I blew it.
      Rumi: Why do we take you anywhere?
  • Cannot Hold Their Liquor: While Rumi's liver could probably be used to sole and heel army boots by now, when Ash and Vash get sloshed it leads to the inevitable results.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Well, Catapult Sex Dream, actually.
  • Cat Fight: Cassiel vs. Jenny, at the modeling event.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The Celestial Filing Depository. Comes complete with corruption and errors.
    "Under code 37 'B' of the Emergencies Act I authorize a complete lockdown of the filing depots until further notice."
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The murder of several high-ranking angels, including "two keyholders" has heralded in a steadily darkening plotline. However, for the most part the story remains dark only when the story focuses on the angels. One might say that the knights of God are in fact Knights of Cerebus.
  • Chainmail Bikini: The Halloween costume Missi made for Ash, who naturally lampshades this.
  • Character Development: Nowadays, flipping someone off would be considered Out of Character for Emily. One huge one near the end, Ash and Emily are in the Celestial Filing Depository and Ash finds Emily's missing pages. Emily has the chance to correct the Misfile. What does she do? She destroys the pages.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Monster XR.
    • Also, Emily's promise to give Ash a kiss in return for a perfect test score.
    • The pothole in the Old Road where Heather was passed by Emily and lost the race. Ash defeats the jerk Sheldon in a similar manner, though with a different pothole.
    • The climax uses three big ones. Major spoilers here people, click at your own risk. First, the fire suppression system installed to prevent anyone from smoking in the files again. Combined with the self-lighting cigarettes they got earlier, Ash and Emily manage to stall and distract Xaphrael for a crucial moment. That's where the third gun comes in. It's not actually Vashiel that takes advantage of that moment. It's Cassiel using her good-enough-to-fool-an-angel disguise technique she's been working on for the entire run of the comic to pretend to be Vashiel, counting on Xaphrael's friendship to avoid a lethal blow while tying up his sword long enough for Vashiel to actually finish him off.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Missi badgers Ash into answering why Ash prefers to be around Emily and gets her answer in that Missi is overly aggressive sexually and Ash hates that. Missi takes this to mean she needs to continue this behaviour so Ash can be the same way.
    • As Ash and Emily discuss future options in this strip, there's a bit of comical confusion between personal growth and… other kinds of growth.
      Ash: You could be selling underwear and just going to college on the side because you have no idea what else to do.
      Emily: Now you're just being unfair to yourself. You've grown a lot this year.
      Ash: God, I hope not. Bras are stupid expensive.
  • Conflict Ball: Ash, Emily, and Missi seemed to take turns passing it off. Missi cleverly managed to spike Emily and Heather with it at Kate and Harry's wedding, precipitating their grudge race.
  • Contemplative Boss: The head of the Celestial Depository in this strip.
  • Continuity Nod: When Missi decides to experiment with alcohol, Ash wants to leave, citing a bad experience of alcohol. This is of course referring to the arc a few years back (six months ago) when Ash and Vashiel got drunk and woke up in the same bed.
  • Cool Big Sis: Kamikaze Kate, after her Character Development.
    • However, Ash is still dreadfully afraid of her even after said Character Development, to the point he only accepted to be maid of honor in her wedding because he was afraid a refusal would end in his murder. Case in point.
  • Cool Car: Pick a car, any car.: either inherently cool or made cool through street racing modifications.
  • Cry into Chest: Happens at least once, such as when Missi confronted Ash about feeling like an Emily backup.
  • Cosmic Flaw: The titular misfile, an error in reality that changes the lives of several people. Subverted however, in that most of the affected people's lives have improved because of it, and the only person who really considers it a problem is Ash.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Kate only became known as "The Kamikaze" after other racers, jealous of her sister Angelica's skill, accidentally kill her.
  • Daydream Surprise: This strip.
  • D-Cup Distress: Ash, who has the largest breasts among himself, Emily, and Missinote . Justified, as Ash still thinks of himself as male and considers them an aspect of a body that isn't his.
  • Dear Negative Reader: Chris wrote one after getting a verbal response from this page. In it he reminded everyone that it was his comic, he was doing it for free and he owes us nothing. Also, he informed us Ash and Emily will be getting together at some point in the future.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Pretty much every classic Gender Bender trope is deconstructed from Ash's perspective.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Averted in oh so many ways, from a mild subversion like Kate (Ash finds a "friendly" Kate just as terrifying), through straight aversions like Tom and Heather (both of whom hate Ash passionately) to an extreme aversion like Sheldon (who manages to alienate all of his own friends as well). It's only played remotely close to straight with Brent, who made it clear that he respected Ash from the start.
    • Inverted with James. They stopped being friends after he lost to Ash, but that's mostly because he couldn't deal with them not dating in this reality.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cassiel, possibly. Seen here.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Type 2 between Ash and Vashiel. They didn't.
  • Disappeared Dad: Emily's father, got her mom knocked up and was never heard from again.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Well, asleep. Emily kisses Ash.
  • Early Personality Signs: No matter where her mother put them away, baby Emily managed to track down toy cars to play with. Guess her love of cars isn't quite as new as she thought.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Emily on the first day of school after the mishap. As a sophomore, she no longer dares sit with her senior former friends.
  • Education Mama: Ms. McArthur, to a T. Emily's having to deal with this is a major plot point.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Cherubim, who are described as a four-part existence whose minds are unknowable chaos. They apparently refused to be part of the celestial filing system, and their presence freaks out both Vashiel and Rumisiel.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: Rumisiel proclaiming that he and Ash are dating. Further down the line, Ash realizes that this isn't actually such a bad thing, given that it helps prevent guys from asking him out.

  • Face of a Thug: Brent has beady eyes that make him look shifty, but he's alright.
  • Filler Arc: Book 13. It doesn't contribute to anything over all and Ash learns a lesson he learnt back in book four.
  • Filler Strips: 39 fillers and over 1800 comics. Pretty good record. Fillers usually are for major holidays and 'Day of Remembrance' pages, but there have been extenuating real life issues (such as the artist's wife going into labor).
  • Fun T-Shirt: Rumisiel usually wears a shirt with an unsmiling Smiley and the caption 'Have A Day'. The shirt Cassiel wears when meeting James for the first time qualifies (see Everything's Better With Princesses above). Then there is the shirt Marie imagines Jenny Jr. wearing when mentioning her for the first time.
  • Gender Bender: The premise of the series.
    • 1st Law Of Gender Bending: Debatable, since it's not so much that circumstances keep conspiring to keep Ash a girl, it's just that the original circumstance is almost impossible to fix in the first place. However, as the comic goes on more and more things happen that probably or certainly wouldn't have without the misfile: Ash and Emily falling in love, Kate and Harry getting married, and Ash's relationship with his mother, to name three really big ones. A major source of distress for Ash (and Emily) is that undoing the misfile would change all of these for the worse, so really all of these are 'conspiring' to convince Ash to stay a girl.
    • 2nd Law Of Gender Bending: Averted thus far. Ash does not enjoy being a girl. Even though in some ways it has arguably improved his life (like his relationship with his mother), Ash is very much a boy on the inside, and hates that his body does not reflect his inner identity.
      • And possibly inverted as it has improved everyone's life, with the (Questionable) exception of his.
    • 3rd Law Of Gender Bending: Guess who Kate picks to be her Maid of Honor? And Ash does have to deal with feminine stereotypes being applied to him, though he does his level best to avoid invoking even the positive ones himself.
    • Gender Bender Angst: There's a reason Ash provides the page quote. Ash hates the effective gender dysphoria that the misfile has inflicted on him, describing the discomfort of his body not matching his identity as a wrongness at the very heart of his soul.
    • Attractive Bent-Gender: Ash very much is. The trope also gets discussed In-Universe, with Ash wondering if being less attractive would make him less subject to Male Gaze, and Emily claiming that no, it would not (although she does suggest it would make it impossible for sports media to turn him into just a sex symbol).
  • Gender-Blender Name: One wonders what would have happened had this not been the case. Also an indication that this is not going to be a typical Gender Bender story since adopting a "girl name" is a classic cliche manifestation of the Second Law of Gender-Bending
  • Homoerotic Dream: Ash has one about Emily while they were asleep in the same room. Emily figures it out, but she isn't bothered at all—she's had one about a friend of hers too. Not that it says anything about her.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Played straight, but gleefully twisted when Ash turns the sleazebag's own game on him.
  • Human Pincushion: This is used as a visual gag when Emily confesses she's going on a date with Casper. Blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but while Ash does an incredible job looking happy for her, his body appears to have picked up some stray knives and arrows in the last panel! (You can only see the top bit of his torso and his head, so this could be considered either a downplayed or implied use of the trope).
  • Humiliation Conga: The universe seems determined to bombard Ash with a never-ending barrage of girliness right up to and including bridesmaid duty (maid of honor, no less.)
    • Sheldon's is more traditional.
  • I Choose to Stay: It's possible that a situation in which Ash must choose to either remain in a female body or return to his original timeline is on the horizon, since it's heavily implied that Emily would have died on the last night of summer break in the original timeline (see Sadistic Choice, below, for further details).
    • Not necessarily. When Rumisiel gets back into Heaven he can replace Ash's file but doesn't necessarily have to put Emily's pages back. People seem to forget that he is doing that manually, not just hitting a reset button.
    • Part of the theme of the story is that the world of the Misfile is actually a better one. In the end Ash might still choose to go back, because most of the improvements can be made again, knowing how to do them. However, if Emily turns out to be lesbian (And not bisexual or Ashsexual), then Ash may be forced to choose between his old body, and a relationship with Emily.
      • Except that if the misfile gets undone Ash won't remember that it ever happened, so won't be able to use the information to improve his original life.
    • Ash finding himself unable to kiss Emily finally has the latter fed up with the fact that she and Ash can't even be together without using this trope. Her demands to Rumisiel are simple: "You're all about breaking the rules. FIND A WAY."
  • Identical Stranger: Oscar, a boy Ash has met, looks amazingly like a male version of Emily, especially in regards to hairstyle (though his hair is shorter compared to Emily, and the small point is on the other side of his head).
  • Idiot Ball: Although Rumisiel is the most frequent bearer, all three main characters have had their chance at carrying it.

  • Less Disturbing in Context: This gem, for instance. Commented on In-Universe, no less.
    Recording of Ash: My ass is still sore from last night. I don't know if it could take the kind of friction that would entail.
    Rumisiel: Keep going. This is great stuff.
    Ash (highly alarmed): Don't you dare play that out of context... Ever...
    Rumisiel: You dirty, dirty girl. What would JAMES say?
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Rumisiel, especially here and on the two following pages. Vashiel qualifies too.
  • Let's Just Be Friends: Emily gets this after her date with Casper.
    • Stunningly, Emily later gets this from Ash, of all people
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: This. With regard to this.
  • Limited Wardrobe: In Hell High; the souls in hell are subject to wear only the clothing they wore when they died. While they can take it off their clothing, the only clothes they have are the ones they died with. This is lampshaded by Carly as she said the people who died on Halloween are stuck in their Halloween outfits and admits that this is really funny to see.
  • Loophole Abuse: Emily winning her race with Heather, driving at a blinding 25 mph. Hey, as long as you're in front, right?
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Molly. She describe herself as a bitch.
  • Luminescent Blush: Ash wears these often, but never so severely as here.
  • Metaphoric Metamorphosis: Ash appears in prison garb when feeling trapped.
    • Emily, on the other hand, becomes analytical when curious, and wants to put a stop to hearing any TMI.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Largely averted, unless it's Ash's time of the month, but Ash's worst nightmare nonetheless.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Not that Ash is bad at racing, but there are some things that just happened by accident.
    Brent: Wow. She's good. There were only inches between her and that light pole.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Emily thinks that she wants to major in Mechanical Engineering in college instead of Law or Medicine like her mother wants, she feels guilty and agonizes over telling her. When she does go to tell her mother, her rambling lead-up trying to explain her chain of thoughts gives her mother the impression that Emily is about to come out of the closet. This is all complicated by her actual relationship with Ash.
  • Morality Pet: Eponine appears to be becoming this for Cassiel.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Though all the women take their turn, Missi and Cassiel have the highest percentage of their appearances being Fanservice.
    • Not to mention that this is basically what Ash's mom used to do for a living.
    • With her reappearance in the strip, is seems that Rachel has taken the lead in "highest percentage"
  • Mugged for Disguise: This poor model, who ran into Cassiel when she needed a dress.
  • Mundane Afterlife: We don't get a good look at what Heaven is like for dead humans, but what we see for the angels and the Celestial Filing Desposit is that it really does look like a modern office setting, including a giant warehouse full of cabinets containing the files of everything in reality. The sequel shows even Hell, which one would normally envision as a place of eternal torment, is pretty much like Earth except for high temperatures and the background is always on fire.
  • My Beloved Smother: Ms. McArthur makes great efforts to get Emily to study so she can get into a respectable (read: Ivy League) college. The problem is that most of her efforts don't leave room for Emily's growing social life.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Rumisiel doesn't warrant an introduction, according to Ash.
    Ash: Oh... I'm Ash. I guess you kind of know that. And this is Emily.
    Rumi: And I'm Rumisiel!
    Ash: She doesn't need to meet you.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Ms. McArthur overhears Ash telling Emily about his girl self sleeping with James the previous year and believes the worst until Emily assures her that Ash was horrified by the incident and won't do it again. Okay, Ash and Emily aren't dating, but we all know what's going to happen in the end.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ash goes through a freakout after hitting a girl, which he views as tantamount to surrendering his manhood in a Call-Back to an early strip when Emily told Ash that he can hit a girl only if he is willing to admit to being a girl himself.
    • Emily has one here, after she and Missi piss off Ash enough with their sniping so that he "quits talking to either of them.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Kamikaze" Kate.
    Ash: The demon of Greylock, aka Kamikaze Kate, a girl who drives like she's trying to kill everyone on the road, herself included. There are... Stories...
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Every time Ash, Rummi, or even Emily takes the initiative to get the Misfile fixed (which involves doing good deeds) one or all of them wind up getting very painful consequences.
    • Also, Ash took Missie out to a restaurant to prove to her she wasn't his Replacement Goldfish. Scroll up to Attempted Rape to see what almost happened afterwards. While Missie was fine, Ash was moderately traumatized.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Ash very much likes Missi, and feels truly happy for the first time since the Misfile while dating her, but becomes extremely uncomfortable upon realizing that Missi is playing the traditionally masculine "pursuer" role in the relationship, always trying to convince Ash to get physically intimate, while Ash is the one who keeps resisting in a stereotypically feminine way. Somewhat justified because Ash is trying to hold on to his male identity despite the Gender Bender, and so whenever he finds himself playing a traditionally feminine role in any context, he sees it as a sign of the impending destruction of his "male psyche". Ash feels much safer being attracted to the more traditionally feminine Emily.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted, to Ash's unending torment.
  • Nosebleed: Vashiel, whenever he comes into contact with "temptation". "Tissue. Tissue. Tissue."
    Rumisiel: Oh, hello. How was your day?
    Vashiel: I'm confused. What... exactly... does Dr. Upton do?
    Rumisiel: Maybe you should ask him.
    Vashiel: I did. He just raised an eyebrow and handed me a tissue.
    Rumisiel: A tissue?
    Dr. Upton: You Canadians must have more blood stored up in your noses than any other people on the face of the planet.
    Rumisiel: He didn't...
    Dr. Upton: Eight nosebleeds.
    Rumisiel: THAT'S HILARIOUS!
    Dr. Upton: I KNOW! I'd fire him if it wasn't so gosh darn amusing!
    Vashiel: Jeeze, guys. I'm right here, you know...
  • Not Me This Time: Rumisiel is nothing less than delighted that, for once, he's not even slightly responsible for Ash's most recent problem. (Emily spilled hot chocolate on his butt; hot enough it left a big burn.)
  • Not Hyperbole: Cassiel is close to the devil. Specifically she's his niece.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Subverted; it's exactly what it looks like.
  • N-Word Privileges: Not exactly the infamous N word, but this trope is invoked during a conversation very early on in the comic:
    Ash: Hey! I'm a girl too now, so don't think I can't hit you back!
    Emily: Oh, so now you accept that you're a girl?
    Ash: No!
    Emily: Well then you can't hit me.
  • Only Six Faces: Slightly averted with the main characters, but when it comes to minor characters there can be much confusion as readers try to ascertain their identity.
  • On Second Thought: Ash could prep for a car-race during the day, but that would be irresponsible. On the other hand...
    Ash: Later. It's too dangerous during the day. Too many people around and too many cars in the lots. I'll have to burn some time.
    Emily: Well, I DID promise to take you shopping for some new bras.
    Ash: On second thought, I can probably dodge most of the cars, and if I only hit a few people maybe no one will notice...
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: the attempt to represent Harry's Welsh accent comes across as some kind of weird Sarf London… thing
  • Open-Minded Parent: Both of Ash's parents are amazingly accommodating towards what are, from their perspective, complete strangers, as well as their "daughter's" racing habit. Ash's dad knows that his wife left him because he was too controlling, and has resolved not to lose Ash the same way. Ash's mom, on the other hand, is just cool like that.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Cassiel has convinced James to act like a couple, thinking that they can get Rumisel to blow up and destroy his relationship with Ash. What they don't know...
  • Our Angels Are Different: They are far from perfect, and they look more like elves than the typical Winged Human one usually expects.

  • Pair the Spares: Cassiel and James. In romantic comedies, this "make the other jealous" setup invariably winds up with the two meddlers falling for each other.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: There are signs that the Misfile is becoming unstable. Missi's had erotic dreams of Ash, as a boy, but can't see his face, and Ash's "Monster" is starting to have major engine problems, for parts that were supplied by his mother due to the Misfile, culminating in head gasket failure just days before she was to race against Dave, forcing the Monster to be sidelined for repairs and Ash's original Sierra to be dusted off for the race.
  • The Peeping Tom: Ash apparently had a fantasy about peeping into the girls' locker room. However, after a Gender Bender transformation, it loses its appeal and Ash is squicked out when he finds himself on the receiving end of it actually happening.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: Subverted. Emily almost always wears a headband in order to hide her widow's peak, which she was teased about when she was younger. Ash, of course, tells her that she looks beautiful without it.
  • Pointy Ears: The angels have these. Because they use a certain angelic power, these are only visible to those who know they are angels. This explains why Ash and Emily are the only ones who see them.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Rumisiel's bosses, at least as portrayed by a guy they fired for being a pot-smoking shiftless layabout who may just be an Unreliable Narrator.
  • Poor Man's Porn:
    • Type B. At least until Ash's dad used one to point out Ash's mom…
    • During the waitressing arc, he meets Brent who talks him into racing. Brent meets his mom who is "the model from the girly underwear catalogs."
    Casper: Why were you reading girly underwear catalogs?
    Brent: No reason!
  • Porn Stash: Ash expects his to have disappeared due to the misfile but is thoroughly disgusted to discover it now contains pornography featuring men. Ash later admits it's hypocritical in his "Ask Ash" column.
  • Power Perversion Potential: It's hinted that Rumisiel and Cassiel's former relationship fully explored this trope.
  • Precision F-Strike: Profanity is relatively rare so when it shows up it is significant. "Goddamn" is particularly significant since angels are much more bothered by blasphemy than mere profanity.
  • Pronoun Trouble: plenty of examples right on this very page. According to the "Ask Ash" column Ash accepts female pronouns because otherwise people would think Emily is crazy.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Cassiel.
  • Put on a Bus: Done voluntarily by James after he gives up on Ash. He drove home and has not been seen since.
    • Not seen in person perhaps, but his presence was definitely felt during Emily's race.
  • Quiet Cry for Help: There are dangers to impersonating someone with a boss, as Cassiel found out.
  • The Rant: There is commentary from the artist and his wife (who also handles the business side of the comic). Usually it's about real life problems or con appearances.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Bronwyn accidentally makes her relationship troubles worse through dabbling in magic.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: What kicks off the plot is Rummisiel managing to screw up a job his superiors put him on because they thought it was impossible to screw up.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ash and Em, respectively.
  • Reset Button: The misfile works like this for Emily.
  • Ret-Gone: Ash and Emily's pre-Misfile identities.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Ash and Emily and maybe angels.
  • Romantic False Lead: Missi.
  • Running Gag: One that pops up every now and then — Emily tries to reassure Ash some outfit doesn't make him look especially feminine, "No one will even notice!" Enter Rumisiel. Cue Instantly Proven Wrong.
    Rumisiel: All hail the Queen of Mammaria!
    Also Rumisiel: Whoooooooo! Ass pants!
  • Sadistic Choice: "Emily or your manhood" seems to be looming on the horizon.
    • Not necessarily. When Rumisiel gets back into Heaven he can replace Ash's file but doesn't necessarily have to put Emily's pages back. Of course, complications will probably still result, but it doesn't have to be a plain and simple either/or choice.
    • If Ash were to have his file properly placed, but not Emily, that would theoretically leave her alone in the situation anyway, as he would no longer remember anything about her or what's happened between them during the misfile. The memory wipe upon fixing the misfile is a concern addressed repeatedly in Ask Ash. This would mean Emily would have to figure out how to reconnect with Ash without showing that she knows far more about him than she probably should.
    • It is possible, however, that Ash will be forced to choose between a world where he has a good relationship with his mother, Kate isn't being driven insane by her sister's ghost, and he and Emily are friends, or one where he's male.
    • There is also the distinct possibly that if the misfile is corrected, Emily will be dead. Her (former) best friend Molly was in an accident that left her with a broken hand and foot, but completely destroyed her car's passenger side. Emily thinks that had the misfile not occurred, she would have been in that passenger seat and crushed, giving her even more reason to keep things the way they are.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Ash feels really guilty about making Rumisiel uncomfortable by changing in front of him given all that he's doing for him. You can see it in his face.
  • Satan: He exists (he's Cassiel's uncle) but he hasn't put in a personal appearance… yet.
  • Status Quo Is God: A frequent complaint among long time followers of the comic is how slow and ponderous the story has become, and how reluctant it is to take any risks. It hints frequently as a larger background plot, despite this though, it has been rooted in mundane issues for several volumes now.
  • Scenery Censor: Here, executed extremely close to the line with clever use of panel borders.
    • You know, a bit of Fridge Logic strikes on thoughtful viewing of that page. For a guy determined to hold onto his male identity in every possible way, and a bit of a prude for that matter, Ash apparently shaves some rather interesting and unnecessary areas.
    • Another Scenery Censor, this time via censor bar, here.
  • Second Year Protagonist: * Ash and Emily are both sophomores (literally second year) at the beginning of the comic, mostly important because until the misfile Emily was a graduating senior. Now she has to repeat her last two years of High School and re-take the driver's license exam.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Ash's father displays a staggering amount considering his daughter's personality appears to have changed radically from the smiling bikini and party dress wearing girl depicted in the family photo album. (It goes without saying that There Are No Therapists of course.) However, since it's explicitly stated that the misfile only changed the universe just enough to make everything seem normal it's possible that the seemingly instantaneous change from Tomboy to Butch actually occurred over a period of time from his viewpoint.
  • Self-Deprecation: Rumisiel points out that when he thinks you're being stupid, it's a very bad sign. Played for Drama, as he's clearly being dead serious and not feeling great about himself besides.
    Rumisiel: You hate me down inside. I get that. I screwed up. That's cool. But don't hate Ash for being honest with you. That's just stupid, and coming from me, that means something.
  • Shown Their Work: Although Tempest itself is a fictional town, apparently somewhere out in the Berkshires, the scantily-clad-waitress restaurant where Ash worked for a summer on Cape Cod actually exists and was a Hooters at the time the strip was drawn (It's an Irish pub now).
    • Not only that, but Tempest is similar to a small town in the Berkshires, Adams. Count: The local high school is a couple miles walk on a mostly open road (As shots of Ash walking home has shown). The schools sports teams are even called the Hurricanes, and have a lightning bolt as a mascot! The town is also only a few miles away from Mt. Greylock, the largest mountain in the Berkshires. In addition, it's a town in between two small cities (allowing some of the city and town locations shown in the comic to happen in the local area), it snows fairly early in the season (It's snowing just after Holloween in the comics), snows often (As Ash said in the Q&A), and the first snowfall almost never sticks around (As stated by Ash).
  • Shy Finger-Twiddling: Rumisiel engages in this here. Missi does the western version here.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: It is possible that Missi is this toward Ash, as it is stated that she doesn't even like girls. However, there has been no mention of whether she normally likes guys, which would be If It's You, It's OK
  • Skinship Grope: Ash invites one from Emily and Emily actually complies, shocking both of them. Turns out Ash was only teasing.
  • The Slacker: Rumisiel, started out as a stoner but developed into a slacker. It speaks volumes about Rumisiel's character that this is an improvement.
  • Slasher Smile:
  • Straw Misogynist: Averted, notably, with the Arthur arc (starting here.) Arthur is a significantly more common type of misogynist; he doesn't try to tell Ash to Stay in the Kitchen, but he refuses to see him as anything but dating material, cannot wrap his head around the idea of hanging out with a girl platonically, and is generally an objectifying ass.
  • Strip Buffer: The forums are rife with speculation about the next day's comic, but that comic was completed a week earlier.
  • The Sweat Drop: Even Rumisiel's Tshirt and Emily's butt get one.
  • Suddenly Shouting: A couple of cases. Emily yells "ASH IS WHAT?!" mid explanation that she's not romantically interested in him the second it sinks in that he's going on a date with someone else. Rumisiel gets his turn when a car sprays slush all over him and it starts dripping into his shirt.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: another possible reason for Ash's relationship with Missi, though admittedly Ash's "disguise" is far better than most. Does not apply to Emily, because she knows the truth.

  • Take a Third Option: The conclusion to the series, AKA how Rumisiel resolves Ash's misfiled gender crisis; Rumisel retcons Ash into twins. Note that this option would normally require enough ass-pulling to turn Heaven inside-out, but it was already inside-out and the overseer who witnessed him doing this was too busy laughing his ass off to care.
  • Taking the Heat: Molly does this for Emily before calling the old woman out.
  • Talk To The Groin Attack
  • Tarot Cards: Bronwyn tries to divine her future with her boyfriend… and lays the Misfile. PERFECTLY.
    • The Hanged Man: Rumisiel. Self-sacrifice for the sake of enlightenment, bindings that make you free, paradoxes, and hanging between heaven and earth: in other words, exile to Earth to learn responsibility, where he has more freedom than he did in Heaven, enhances people's lives by accident, flying around... A Messianic Archetype: he's a friggin' angel. Traps, self-entrapment, passivity, and giving up... yeah.
    • The Lightning-Struck Tower: The Celestial Filing Depot. Umm... "A straight Tower of Babel allegory about pride preceding a fall. Often associated to overly arrogant, prejudiced, and authoritarian organizations (including The Government) which walk to their own ironic demise." Subtle. Also, "...more generically used as an omen of doom and disaster, at least by those who know better than to use Death for that or who think that Death alone isn't ominous enough." Cerebus Syndrome, anyone?
    • The Lovers: Ash and Emily. Romantic relationships. Also signifies standing at crossroad and needing to make a decision. Additionally, the original card had a male and two females: in the context of the Misfile, Female Ash has to choose between Male Ash and Emily.
      • Alternatively it describes the situation shes in with her boyfriend now. The Hanged Man for new perspective (she went to college and he didn't..) the Tower for disaster (She had just broken things off with him, also the race, if not for low grade divine intervention. and the Lovers to represent herself and her boyfriend.
  • Teens Are Short: The adults tower over the main characters, though Ash says he was taller when he was a boy.
    • Ash & Emily, at 5'6" and 5'5", are both at or slightly above average height for women in the US.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Rumisiel: So you can handle this? You know, with the limiters and all?
    Vashiel: Unless she's some true monster, I don't see why not.
  • Theme Naming: The vast majority of the angel's names end in "-el," which means either "God is my ___" or "___ of God," depending on exact context. A joke strip also discusses how since angels are immortal and never reuse names, not only have they run out of all the names that actually mean something (now they just throw together random letters, presumably plus the "-iel")... there was also a period where all new angels were stuck with names that translated to insulting things, because at least they meant something.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Early on, Ash insists on sleeping on the couch when it comes up. Later on, when he suggests it, Emily suggests sharing the bed. Cue Squeeing from the shippers
    • Also, at Cape Cod, Marie only prepared one bed for Ash and Em to share. Ash let Emily have the bed and he slept on a cot.
  • There Was a Door: ... but neither Rumisiel nor Adam used it on their first time in the house.
    Ash: We invented doors you know. What is it with angels and windows?
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Ash's race against Tom.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Ironically, Ash and Emily are on opposites sides of this. Referencing an all too Truth in Television issue among public schools in the US where textbooks, usually of history, are written by authors who present their own opinions as fact, and the teacher likes the author and then presents that material on tests also as fact, forcing students who actually know the correct answer to choose to either get a better grade by outright lying on their exam papers, or provide the factually correct answer and then getting a worse grade. There is lots of independently verified testimony that this issue goes all the way through the highest tiers of college. Politicians ranging from the President to the local school-board always insist that the problem is purely the fact that schools aren't getting enough money.
  • Tomboy: Ash, though, of course, he's actually a guy. In a cruel twist, though, he is subject to an intentional in-story slow change towards girlishness. He is well aware of this and it worries him greatly.
  • Transparent Closet: The other possible explanation for Emily's attraction to Ash. Emily's confusion on this point is a large part of the Unresolved Sexual Tension in the strip. Was running wheel to wheel with Single-Target Sexuality but now appears to be pulling ahead. Also, Ash to anyone even slightly observant (remember, they think he's always been a chick).
  • Ultimate Job Security: Doc Upton. Never mind not getting sued, how do he (and his "nimble fingers") still have a medical license? Apparently he squicks out everybody.
    Missi: Your dad is freaky-creepy, Ash.
  • Unexpected Virgin: Played with. Boy Ash was a virgin and is thoroughly squicked to learn girl Ash is not.
  • The Unfavorite: Missi perhaps, as her parents are constantly visiting Tom at college while leaving her alone and apparently unsupervised. She's clearly seeking attention.
  • Unfortunate Names: Rumisiel's name is more or less gibberish, not really translating to anything. This is because angels don't reuse names and all the standard names ran out a long time ago, and it was better than using less savory translations, like the poor unfortunate angel in a Cutaway Gag that got saddled with a name that translates into "Anus of God".
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: The Misfile upgraded James from regular friend into this.
  • The Unreveal: Emily asks Ash what boy-Ash looked like, which is something readers have been wondering for years. We only get a vague description and just a silhouette of girl-Ash with arrows pointing where the shoulders would be wider, hips slimmer, etc.
    • Played with in the Grand Finale. After the aforementioned hints at boy-Ash's appearance, we do get a brief glimpse wherein he looks exactly like girl Ash. Same eyes, same hair, same everything, except for a microscopically stronger jawline. Making his description of himself remarkably prescient.
  • The Unsmile: Ramael is often sporting one.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Subverted in that we do find out Ash's plan for Heather's race. But it may be the plan is just vague enough to work.
    Ash: I've got nothing. Act like I just gave you the best advice of your life. Apply pressure. Make him think you're implementing some master move. Eventually the pressure should make him slip up. Wait for that and just go for it.
    Heather: You asshole...
  • Vapor Wear: Angels apparently don't approve of need brassieres. They do wear panties though, if only for Fanservice.
  • Verbal Backspace:
    • On Ash's 18th birthday:
      Rumisiel: It's your last day to do anything REALLY wild and have it wiped from your record. You should go all kinds of crazy today. I was thinking...
      Ash's Dad: *glares*
      Rumisiel: You know, it's probably tomorrow in Japan already. Today is as good a day as any to start acting like a responsible adult.
  • On International Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014, Chris told a story on how Misfile allowed a fan who was a closet transgender to face their fears and be themselves. That person faced many hardships but persevered all because of one comic. Then in 2007, that person died while taking transgender chemical treatments, which horrified Chris beyond all reason. The wham hits the readers when Chris reveals who that person was.
Chris: That person was my father.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Ash and Vashiel ask this after waking up in the same bed.
  • What Would X Do?: When Rumisiel finds out that Burt, the junkyard guy is ripping off his customers, he doesn't know what to do about it. He asks himself "What would Ash do?" (It's Vashiel that points out just asking him what he'd do.)
    • Rumisiel later inverts the trope when giving advice to Ash:
      Ash: The only question is do I cut my losses or try to fix it.
      Rumi: Well, I always cut my losses... so trying to fix it is probably the better option.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: At the end of the comic; a time skip happens into several years. Rumisiel has been promoted to Archon in the 5th Branch as he was the only one left alive. Xaphrael deeds are well known to the angels. Vashiel returns to work and can now lie. Cassiel is head of oversight. Tempest becomes the home of a racing league and a new team, "Team Misfile" is now pro. Kate and Harry are the owners of Team Misfile with 2 children. Missi works on the cars for Team Misfile. Ash has returned to being a boy and now has a twin sister, Ashley who is married to James. Both are racers in "Team Misfile". Rumisiel explains that creating Ashley (by way of making a copy of Boy-Ash's file) was a way to keep the changes Emily wanted while Boy-Ash kept his memories (Rumisiel added errors to Boy-Ash's file so Boy-Ash could keep the memories). Emily also destroyed her missing two years in her files, keeping her memories and staying 2 years younger but is in a loving relationship with Boy-Ash. Vashiel points out that there will be problems in the future, setting up the sequel.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Yes, Tempest is in western Massachusetts, however it's not explicitly stated where exactly in Massachusetts. The author has admitted that Tempest is basically his hometown of Concord, MA transplanted out into the Berkshires (go find Concord-Carlisle Regional High School and compare it to Tempest HS in the comic. Pretty clearly the same buildings.), but the most likely candidate for a "real" Tempest is probably Adams, MA. It's the right size, the right age (like Tempest, it was a mining town), and is in roughly the right place. It's the right distance from both Albany and the Cape to fit the story, and is right near Mt. Greylock (see Kamikaze Kate, The Demon of...). Greylock Rd./Rockwell Rd. also happen to be just about the only places in the state that are even somewhat close to the Old Road, though Tempest is implied to be a bit further from Mt. Greylock than Adams is.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Ash and Emily. For EIGHT YEARS. Or eight months, depending on your accounting.
    • They eventually had their first serious kiss, though.
    • And later they did much more.
  • Women Drivers: Averted. Ash is still Queen, no, King of the Mountain, and Kate is not only respected but feared. Emily's initial inability to drive is treated as basic inexperience and is seldom played for humor. And when Ash needs a new king to continue his legacy, he turns to Heather as the best driver of the appropriate age.
    • In fact, the only guys who invoke this trope (Tom) are shown in a very negative light and usually get their comeuppance.
  • World of No Grandparents: Emily doesn't seem to have any grandparents. Ash's mom refers to his grandmother... but she's already dead, and no mention has been made of the other (presumably) 3 grandparents.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Ash. Finally does, and has a freakout after doing so.
  • Wrench Wench: Ash (by certain definitions) and Missi. Emily is a Wrench Wench in training. Kate's obsession with street racing implies that she's a Wrench Wench too, but Harry brags that he did all the work on her latest car himself.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Chris Hazelton did not stop to think that the one-year anniversary of the titular misfile cannot happen on the same day of the week as it did the previous year - each year is 365 days long (except for leap years), so since the event occured on a Saturday (when Ash raced Tom that same night and lost) the first anniversary would have been on a Sunday instead. He does, however, give an accurate date for the start of the narrative if we're assuming it's the same as the year he started the story - March 20 was a Saturday in 2004.