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Webcomic / Never Satisfied

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humans: (back row, left to right) Tetsu, Broom Girl, Lucien Marlowe, Tobi, Su-Yeong; (front row, left to right) Philomena Vasillia, January Singh, Ana, Seiji Soga, Sylas Dubois. familiars: (back row, left to right) Ferb, Merlin, Tater; (front row, left to right) Friday, Tully, Fenn & Fineas, Junko; (extreme foreground, left to right) Piper, Ivy. image source

"My life isn't dumb and complicated enough!"

Never Satisfied is an on-going webcomic about Lucy Marlowe, a magician's apprentice competing against other apprentices for an important magical government position, dealing with issues of privilege, interpersonal differences and how hard it can be to understand others. Though it focused nearly exclusively on Lucy in its inception, it's since expanded to cover a broader narrative woven from nearly the entire speaking cast's personal arcs.

A Monday/Friday webcomic by Taylor Robin, better known as Corny, running since April 2015 and winner of Comics Alliance's Best New Comic of 2015 award. In February 2019, Hiveworks ran a Kickstarter campaign to print the first five chapters that raised $28,186. It can be read here.On April 3, 2023, Taylor Robin announced the webcomic was going on an indefinite hiatus.

Never Satisfied provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to I 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Sylas to Philomena.
    Philomena: Ugh! Why are you so weird now! It's been weeks, Sylas! Take a hint and GET! OUT!
  • Abusive Parents:
    • After Sylas is pressured into dropping out of the competition, Lord Dubois takes to ignoring him completely, exacerbating his son's self-loathing in the wake of an incident where he could very well have died.
    • Rothart isn't much better. He's always critical of Lucy, and Lucy becomes convinced that Rothart wanted them to die on the island after he shows no concern for them after they encountered the husk on the island.
  • Affectionate Nickname: The beggar children call Lucy "Eyepatch".
    • Isra calls Tetsu, her wife's apprentice, "Tettles".
    • Broom Girl calls Tetsu "Tets".
    • Peony calls Su-Yeong "Susu", and Su-Yeong calls her "Pea" and "Sweetpea".
  • All Webbed Up: Lucy stumbling into the trap Ana and Merrylegs set in the fourth round.
  • Alt Text: Every page, including guest art, has it. It occasionally provides background information and is almost invariably tongue-in-cheek.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Magicians wear jewelry the same color as their magic, which serves to refine and enhance their power.
    • In the case of husks, same-color magic jewelry serves an inverse function. See Power Limiter for details.
  • Anachronism Stew: Deliberately invoked. Motorboats and polaroid photos exist alongside archaic clothing and pre-industrialization town square marketplaces. To quote the author, "Sometimes they dress like tudors. Sometimes there's a car." note 
  • Angry Collar Grab: Seiji to January when he's threatening her over her mistreatment of Sylas.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Emilia to Sylas.
  • Animal Motifs: The type of animal a familiar is typically says a lot about their magician. It's more evident with some characters than others, especially husks. See also: Uncatty Resemblance.
  • Art Evolution: Though Corny frequently retouches already-published pages, there's a stark difference between the saturated colors and thick lines of chapters one through three and the more mature style of later chapters.
    • This is especially notable when moments that have already been depicted are flashed back to — there's a stark improvement from the first time we see Philly lift Lucy over her head to Lucy remembering the same moment two weeks later.
  • Badass Cape: Ana, Broom Girl, Lucy, Sylas, and Tetsu in the fourth test round.
    • Rin Soga's uniform as the head of the city guard sports one as well.
  • Badass Normal: Lucy has made it to the fifth round of the representative competition without any magic at all.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Husks, especially Su-Yeong. Though she possesses great destructive power and her emotions can get the best of her, she ultimately doesn't want to kill anyone.
    Joe: No matter how much it… hurts to think about, I know what happened wasn’t the husk’s fault. Anything you could do wouldn’t be your fault either.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Lapointe to January during their chapter five conversation, twice. The first time, she asks why Seiji isn't with her... because she wanted him to know he was getting replaced. The second time, she mentions she's heard about January contributing to Sylas dropping out of the contest and asks if she bullied him. When she guiltily responds that she told him to do them all a favor and choose himself, Lapointe remarks that he certainly did.
  • Barefoot Poverty: The nonmagician beggar kids Lucy steals food for.
  • Battle Couple: Broom Girl and Tetsu in the fourth round.
  • Beard of Evil: Sylas' father looks almost exactly like Sylas, except for his beard.
  • Beast Man: Husks are the result of a magician merging with their already-present or future familiar. There are four tiers, ranging from "looks and behaves nearly completely human" to "mostly animalistic in looks and behavior." So far it appears that husks can move between tiers one and three based on their emotional triggers, but tier four husks are treated as too dangerous to live.
  • Beat Panel: Frequently used to convey all sorts of moods.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Lucy's crush on Tobi has shades of this, as he seems to be the first person other than Ivy in a long time who's told them how much they mean to other people.
    • Tobi himself seems to be harboring this towards Joe Rothart and Dr. Malliet, who helped him, Su-Yeong, and Morgan out in some unspecified manner a little more than five years ago.
  • Berserk Button: Husks' emotions and powers are linked, and the former can be set off by seemingly minor triggers.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Philomena is one of the most consistently friendly members of the cast, reaching out to befriend everyone. She’s also physically the strongest of the competitors, tossing January nine feet into the air immediately after admitting she didn’t want to win and cost January her sponsorship because January was patronizing to her.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Sylas is shy and the others typically exclude him from social activities. He's also a quick shot with remarkable aim — in chapter four, he effortlessly shoots January, Tetsu, and Broom Girl, the three most talented competitors, in the span of seconds.
  • Big Bad: Lapointe.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: The distinctly plump Philomena has at least two of the other apprentices crushing on her.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Philomena. She's one of the most cheerful, friendly characters in the comic... and also keeps up posters of weightlifters in her room and effortlessly lifts Lucy over her head in chapter one.
  • Bond Creatures: Every magician has a familiar, the physical manifestation of their magic. Familiars don't need to eat, don't permanently die before their magicians do, and generally don't talk to people who aren't their magicians. Tobi, who isn't a magician, keeps a nonmagical rat named Tater specifically to fool people into thinking he's a magician.
  • Broomstick Quarterstaff: Broom Girl's broom is all-purpose, and in chapter seven she's shown to use it in fights to augment her magic.
  • Call-Back: The comic has a very tight continuity, and past events are frequently referenced a good amount of time after the fact. See the recap pages for more detail.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: Please no parkour.note 
  • Cast Full of Gay: In the world of Never Satisfied, cisnormativity and heteronormativity are actively absent, and most named characters are queer by means of gender, orientation, or both.
    • Lucy, Tetsu, and Rascalnote  are all nonbinary, while Ana, Broom Girl, Su-Yeong, and Siobhan are all trans women and Franco Vasillia is a trans man.
    • Ana, January, Isra and Neith Karim, and Cynthia are all lesbians.
    • Lucy, Thierry, and Joe are all exclusively interested in men.
    • Broom Girl, Tetsu, Philomena, Seiji, Tobi, Derry, Ophelia, Siobhan and Lapointe are all bi.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: The comic's caricatured art style features a broad range of distinct faces and silhouettes for the cast.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Although earlier chapters had their serious moments and recent chapters have had their hilarious moments, the overall tone of the comic from chapters one to three was much more lighthearted overall, taking a more serious shift in chapter four. The art style has changed to match.
  • Character Overlap: Lady Ophelia Banksly, Lady Derry Lake, Siobhan Teterya, and Dr. Cynthia Brandt all originate from Riverside Extras, which is written by Miri, a friend of Corny. Lucy in turn also makes a cameo in Riverside Extras.
    • Fidelia Lapointe was originally Madeline Oceana, another Riverside Extras character, but underwent a retroactive redesign and name change in mid-2018. Corny has explained that due to then-Oceana's increasing plot relevance, they did not want fans to mistakenly credit them for creating her.
    • Invidia and Superbia of Widdershins appear briefly at Lapointe's party at the end of chapter four.
  • Chekhov's Gun: There are a handful throughout the plot. See Call-Back, Hidden in Plain Sight, and the recap pages for more detail.
  • Childhood Friends:
  • Child Mage: Most people who develop magic at all do so by ten or so, though as the story centers on middle-to-older teens, young magicians aren't very prominent. Most notable is Cedric, who lasted until round three of the representative competition against opponents ranging from five to eight years older than he is.
  • Classy Cravat: Sylas, Seiji, and a handful of upper-class bit part cameos.
  • Color-Coded Characters: All magic users have unique colors for their powers, which are amplified by using specific gemstones. For instance, Sylas's magic is purple and augmented by amethysts, while January's is pale blue and strengthened by aquamarines. This color motif extends to their eyes and often, but not always, their clothing as well. Non-magic users, by contrast, are uniformly black-eyed and have more flexible color schemes.
    • Color-Coded Wizardry: By extension. This magic color runs in families and has no bearing on anything beyond what kind of jewels they can use as a power focus and personal color schemes.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Condescending Compassion: How Lucy interprets Broom Girl attempting to reach out to them in chapter one.
    • And her choosing not to shoot them when they were defenseless.
  • Cool Big Sib: Lucy, on account of buying food and reading stories to the beggar kids, has earned this sort of reputation among most of them.
    • January is a literal Cool Big Sis to her four brothers.
    • Tobi is a Cool Big Bro to the beggar children as well, especially when Lucy isn't around.
  • Cooldown Hug:
    • Peony to Lucy in chapter four.
    • Peony to Su-Yeong in chapter four. She's less successful here.
    • Peony and Tobi to Su-Yeong in chapter six.
  • Coordinated Clothes: When familiars wear anything, they usually wear accessories that complement their magician's outfits. This is highlighted in chapter four with the fancy outfits.
    • In addition to the uniform members of the city guard wear, there's a familiar uniform to go along with it.
  • Creator Cameo: In chapter two. Something's suspicious about that hat seller...
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: The Sogas both exhibit the Exhausted Eye Bags variety.
  • Crystal Ball: The seeker stones. Derry's shown using one at the beginning of chapter five, and Thierry has one at the end of chapter six.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Several characters. Lucy, Tobi, Peony, Thierry, Yvette...
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Lucy has a pessimistic outlook on how other people view them, largely fueled by Thierry's neglectful behavior towards them.
    Lucy: He never even asked if I was okay! I was attacked by a husk! Isn’t that worth some attention?! Concern?! But he hasn’t said a word to me! And the way he looks at me… It’s like… It’s like… It’s like he’s disappointed it didn’t kill me…
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Lapointe makes no attempt to hide her manipulative tendencies, explicitly saying she would have preferred Yvette, who is missing and presumed dead, to continue being the representative because she was easier to control. Most people who work with her (such as Joe and Rin Soga) are well aware of her nature, but unable to do anything about it because of Lapointe's high post in the government.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Sylas to Philomena in chapter one.
    Sylas: Fine, your loss.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Lucy. They're convinced that other people look down on them, and are constantly wary of kindness, believing it to be pity.
    • Ana misinterprets this as Lucy having a victim complex and uses it as an excuse for mistreating them.
  • Doting Parent: Philomena's dad dotes on Philomena extensively, to the degree that Philomena feels stifled by his behavior.
    • He was only deterred from throwing a party for her passing the third test round at all by the other competitors already throwing a potluck.
    • His first impulse upon seeing Philomena with a dirt on her dress is to clean it off for her, and then laugh it off when she complains she isn't a kid.
    • He ordered Philomena an entire custom outfit for the fourth test round... without her having asked for it.
    • He's implied to have yelled at and fired Su-Yeong over a relatively mild disagreement with Philomena.
  • Dropped Glasses: When Seiji threatens January over her unapologetically bullying Sylas, she kicks him in the cheek hard enough to knock his glasses off his face and onto the pavement.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Tobi is shown on the chapter two cover, but he isn't introduced properly until the tail end of the same chapter.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Tettles" for Tetsu, from Isra.
  • Energy Weapon: Shooter gloves. They seem to come in two kinds, based on the kind of gem that's embedded in them: the toy version, which are powered by clear quartz, and the real version, which are powered by colored gemstones. Although the toy version is theoretically low-powered enough to be safe to use as a magic paintball gun against children, with proper training a magician can use a quartz shooter to cause actual damage.
  • Ensemble Cast
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • Seiji's crush on Sylas is so obvious that his own mother calls him out on it.
    • Multiple characters have teased the otherwise tough and brash January about her crush on Philomena.
  • Evil Mentor: Lapointe, serially:
    • First to Yvette, who's missing and presumed dead at the current point in the timeline.note 
    • At the outset of the story, Seiji and Sylas are her co-apprentices. Lapointe makes no secret of her intentions to treat Sylas as her puppet.
    • When Sylas drops out of the competition, Lapointe wastes no time sinking her claws into January.
  • Expy:
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Chapters typically span a single day. So far, only two weeks have elapsed in comic, and Corny has specified that no matter how long the story gets, it won't extend past a single summer.
    • This is more evident with longer chapters. Chapter four, the longest complete chapter, consisted of 81 pages and covered midmorning to sunset of a single Saturday. Chapters five and six, together 104 pages, covered midday Sunday to the pre-dawn hours of Monday morning. Chapter seven, which opened on Saturday morning and is nearing chapter four's page length, hasn't even hit sunset yet.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Neith and her familiar, Muffin.
  • Eyes Are Mental: The only trait that's universal to husks, regardless of their tier, is their distinctive inverted eyes — while magicians have white sclera and pupils the color of their magic, husks have magic-colored sclera and glowing white pupils.
  • The Faceless: Yvette is never shown without her helmet.
  • Fake Wizardry: Lucy's managed to make it through four rounds of the representative competition without a single ounce of magic to their name.
  • Family Theme Naming: The Singh kids, in order: January, Fred, Mark, Abel, Mason.note 
  • Fantastic Caste System: Although it's not formalized, there's a sharp disconnect between how magicians and non-magicians are treated in society. Most jobs require at least a little magical talent, everyone who's been shown to be in a poor financial state has also lacked magic, and Tobi admits to Lucy that those without magic are essentially invisible to magicians.
    • Although Tobi is doing fairly well for himself now, with a stable job and a modest townhouse, he mentions to Neith that his friend Morgan developing magic was the reason they and Su-Yeong were no longer living in destitution.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Joe has a diamond-shaped spell that he uses to provide light when he, Tobi, and Peony are looking for Su-Yeong.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lapointe affects a polite demeanor in public and when talking to January, but as soon as she no longer needs to put up a charming front, she's quick to turn nasty.
    • This is most evident at the end of chapter four. We first see her in the middle of a pleasant tea party, socializing with other aristocrats such as Sylas' father, and Superbia, and Rin Soga. Once she receives a call from Derry with bad newsnote , however, she storms into her private study to yell at Derry.
  • First-Name Basis: Lapointe makes January feel special by asking that she call her by her first name — an "honor" only seen given to Sylas' father.
  • Flying Broomstick: The typical use of Broom Girl's broom.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: While most of the apprentices are friendly with one another, only Broom Girl and Philomena are civil to Lucy, and everyone looks down on Sylas.
  • Fun Size: When Seiji throws a tantrum in his mom's office, we're treated to a brief shot from her perspective of him as a school-aged child, complete with a cutesy sailor school uniform.
  • Funny Background Event: Seiji listening to Lapointe's phone conversation.
  • Godiva Hair: Su-Yeong in her tier two husk form.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: When Isra and Tobi discuss the timeline of Su-Yeong disappearing, Isra's briefly surprised when Tobi tells her it was Philomena's fault. They briefly stare each other down, attempting to reconcile their respective impressions of her, and we see Isra picturing Philomena dressed as an angel while Tobi envisions her as a devil.
  • Good News, Bad News: Though we only hear Lapointe's end of the conversation, her dialogue when she learns what happened during the fourth test implies that Derry opened with some variety of "would you like the bad news first, or the worse news?"
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Seiji's indignation when Rin calls him out on taking his frustration with having upset Sylas out on January.
  • Heroic BSoD: Lucy's response to stress is often to shut down.
    • In chapter four, after nearly being shot by Ana and Tetsu, they become convinced of their own uselessness and become nearly unresponsive. Peony helps them out of it, though.
    • In chapter seven, during their fight, Ana publicly humiliates and degrades Lucy to the point of nearly having a breakdown in front of everyone.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Ever since Philomena's introduction, her familiar, Tully, has had an emerald on his forehead. Nobody ever calls attention to this until the climax of chapter four, when she uses the emerald as a focus to operate her glove.

    Tropes J to Q 
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lucy copes with feelings of inadequacy and social isolation by faking a rude, arrogant persona among their peers. Their true nature becomes apparent when they are by themselves or among people they trust, like the beggar children and Ivy.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: January's fight with Seiji. She winded him with her first punch, then continued to attack him whenever he spoke up.
  • Loophole Abuse: The tests so far have usually involved some manner of this.
    Derry: ... Can he do that?
    Ophelia: There's no rule against it. We need clearer rules.
  • Love at First Sight: Lucy towards Tobi.
    • Sylas playfully accuses Seiji of this towards Lucy.
      Sylas: Don't know if you'd have a chance, either. They're your type, but way out of your league.
      Seiji: Type? I don't have a type!
      Sylas: Oh, please. They're exactly your type. Chin-length black hair, long legs, well-dressed. Every girl you've ever dated or tried to date had that exact look.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Lucy has a crush on Tobi, but Tobi's in a relationship with Su-Yeong.
    • Sylas has a crush on Philomena, who decidedly does not want to be in a relationship with him. January also has a crush on Philomena, and annoyance at her patronizing her notwithstanding Philomena is much ore open to January's advances. To complicate matters further, Seiji is crushing on Sylas, who isn't aware.
  • Magitek: Lamps, telephones, boats, and cars are all present in this setting and implied to run on magic.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lapointe. She openly praises Yvette for being "open to her experienced guidance" while literally conjuring an illusion of her dancing on her puppet strings. She has high hopes for Sylas to replace her as representative, and when those don't pan out due to him forfeiting, she wastes no time targeting January instead.
  • Meaningful Background Event: While Ophelia and Derry try to console Philomena after the events of chapter four, Lucy hurries away.
  • Meaningful Echo: "You just hang out with him as a joke, right?" vs "You only hang out with me as a joke!"
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Philomenanote  Vasillianote .
    • Su-Yeongnote .
    • Rinnote  Soga.
  • Melting-Pot Nomenclature: In the same fantasy city, you have characters with Greek, Japanese, French and English names.
  • Motor Mouth: January and Peony when they get excited.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: Although nobody is born with magic and everyone has the capacity to develop magic at any point in their life, not everyone naturally does before the age of ten or so. After that point, it becomes less likely that a familiar will spontaneously appear. Several members of the cast have no magical talent:
    • The beggar kids introduced in chapter twonote .
    • Tobi, who uses a rat named Tater to pass as a magician.
    • Isra, a respected scientist and expert on husks, doesn't have magic, but she does have a pet kitten named Gateau.
    • Lucy confesses to Peony at the midpoint of chapter four that they can't use magic.
    • Fred, the oldest of January's gaggle of younger brothers, is fourteen years old and has no familiar.
  • No Name Given: Even on the cast page, one of the apprentices is just called "Broom Girl". Her familiar has a name, though.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Philomena, who has barely any magic and was entered in the competition without her approval, tries to reach out to Lucy after finding out that they can't use magic at all. Which leads to...
  • Not So Similar: Lucy takes serious offense at being compared to Philomena, pointing out that while they both possess little to no magic, she has several advantages that Lucy doesn't - wealth, friends, a loving family, an involved tutor - and nothing to lose even if she fails.
  • Oblivious to Love: Sylas. "Chin-length black hair, long legs, well-dressed. Every girl you've ever dated or tried to date had that exact look. I'm your best friend, Seiji, I know what you like."
  • Official Couple:
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • From the moment he's first shown in chapter three when Philomena complains about her aristocrat "friends", Seiji spends more or less the entire chapter being flippant and cheerful. As soon as Magister Lapointe is mentioned, however, he complains that he wishes she would just die already.
    • Lucy typically puts up a haughty persona when around the others. By the time chapter seven rolls around, however, they've lost the energy to keep it up and dejectedly shy away from everyone else.
  • Parental Substitute: Tobi and Su-Yeong to Peony, who is homeless and refuses to talk about her family.
    • They also acted as this to Morgan, until he developed his magic and Malliet took him in as an apprentice.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Seiji when Sylas reads his poem.
  • Power Incontinence: Husks' powers and emotions are linked to each other, and they're unstable enough to have trouble controlling either.
  • Power Limiter: Although colored jewelry typically acts a power enhancer, when a husk uses them, they act to siphon away excess power and help preserve mental stability.
  • Power Parasite: Lucy's ability to drain magic. It isn't complete enough to take all a magician's magic away, but it's enough to render them unable to cast spells and make their familiar vanish.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes:
  • Precocious Crush: Sasha, a ten-year-old, towards Seiji, a nineteen-year-old.
  • Pregnant Badass: Eudora is the current city representative. She's also pregnant, though Lapointe implies she's retiring from office rather than risking the baby.

    Tropes R to Z 
  • The Rant: In addition to Alt Text, every page has an author comment. Usually there's just a link to a video that's relevant to the page and a "thanks for reading" message, but sometimes there's an additional joke, background detail, or announcement for the readers.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Rin Soga is very levelheaded and rational when working with people who report to her. Contrasted with Magister Lapointe, she brings up January's reputation as a way to get her to calm down, and she effectively deals with her son's unreasonable behavior without falling back on Because I Said So on multiple occasions.
  • Right-Hand Cat: How Lapointe treats Duchess, her ocelot familiar.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: How the beggar kids decide things among themselves.
  • Say My Name: Several times, usually dramatic in nature.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: When Su-Yeong shows up right behind Lucy at the midpoint of chapter four.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Practically Tetsu's default state. Seiji does it when he's especially angry.
  • Show Within a Show: Lucy and Tetsu follow the Chronicle of the Triad. It's nonfiction and features Sylas' uncle Ambrose.
  • Silent Treatment: Lord Dubois towards Sylas when Sylas quits the competition.
  • Smug Snake: Sylas, who has an actual two-headed snake as a familiar, tries to be this, but comes across as dorky at best.
    • Seiji does a somewhat better job, though as (independently) demonstrated by his mother, January, and Sylas, it's quite easy to get under his skin too.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Philomena comes from a very high-ranking aristocratic family, but that doesn't stop her from being one of the nicest characters in the comic. Even more than her cheerful, outgoing demeanor, she makes an effort to reach out to others, even when they behave rudely towards her, and is distraught when she learns she's hurt other people's feelings.
  • Stealth Insult: Lapointe, to Seiji and Sylas simultaneously in chapter three. The message is conveyed as intended.note 
    Lapointe: Before we begin, I'd like to congratulate you, Mr. Dubois, for carrying on to another round.
    Sylas: Thank you, ma'am.
    Lapointe: I'm still disappointed in you, Mr. Soga, for failing in the second round. I expected you to last longer than him.
  • Stout Strength: Philomena is as stocky as she is sweet, and didn't have her magic come in until she was fifteen. What's a lady of nobility to do with herself while waiting? Training for and winning every heavyweight sports championship in the country, apparently!
  • Suddenly Shouting: Seiji's transition between quietly grilling January and yelling in her face is so abrupt she's too surprised to react.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: All the apprentices from chapter one have unique geometrical motifs which appear on their clothing:
    • Ana and Philly share squares.
    • Broom Girl and Cedric share circles.
    • January's is diamonds.
    • Lucy's is rhombuses.
    • Sylas' is teardrops.
    • Tetsu's is triangles, and much like with Color-Coded Characters, this motif is shown to extend to their magic as well.
  • The Stoic: Broom Girl's face never changes, no matter the situation.
  • Stylistic Suck: The poem Sylas reads to Philomena.
    Corny: sylas' wonderful garbage poem was written by friend miri of Riverside Extras! i couldn't bear to write something so embarrassing, so i enlisted her as his bad poem ghost writer.
  • The Silent Bob: Broom Girl rarely speaks. She communicates mostly through physical gestures, like a thumbs up or a pat on the head.
  • Terms of Endangerment:
    • We learn Lapointe's first name from Lord Dubois addressing her in a... distinctly unfriendly manner.
      Lord Dubois: What is it, Fidelia? You sound distressed.
    • We also learn Master Rothart's first name from Ivy, who scathingly interrupts his diatribe against Lucy.
    Rothart: I don't need you to tell me how to clean my room, cat.
    Ivy: Apparently, you need me to tell you how to raise your child, Thierry.
  • Tournament Arc: The overarching plot of the comic. Although it's expanded since chapter one, the representative competition is still the backbone of the plot.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Several magicians and familiars:
    • Broom Girl and Ferb share shaggy hair with bangs.
    • January's bangs evoke Friday's crest, and her pigtails flare out like wings.
    • Philomena's dad and his familiar, Bruno, have the same mustache.
    • Eudora's freckles, eyes, and lips make her look like Whiskers, and the grey streaks and twin tufts in her hair evoke his stripes and ears.
    • Neither Neith nor Muffin have ever opened their eyes.
    • Rin's familiar, an otherwise all-black dog, is going grey to the same degree as she is. They also make intensely similar facial expressions.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • Seiji's attempt at intimidating January as payback for her treatment of Sylas ends poorly for him.
    • January, Tetsu, and Broom Girl ignore Sylas on the island while they argue over the ethics of their stand-off. This results in him eliminating all three of them just as they've forgotten about him.
    • "Philly... you think you'll beat me?"note 
  • Unstoppable Rage: January towards Seiji when he threatens her.
  • Vampiric Draining: Lord Dubois uses this kind of ability on a vase of plants when Lapointe tells him Sylas quit the competition.
  • Visible Sigh: Frequently. See the recap pages for more detail.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Philomena, a very green-themed character, happens to be good at gardening.note 
    • Most members of the city guard have canine familiars.note 
    • January's unnamed mom has a hen familiar.note 
  • Volumetric Mouth: Lucy getting whipped into the ground during their fight with Ana.
  • Webcomic Time: The comic has been running for three and a half years. Currently, the story has advanced three weeks from chapter one.
    • Chapters four, five, and six to an even greater degree: chapter four lasted nearly ten months and spanned midday to sundown on the second Saturday, and chapters five and six lasted a year and seventeen days, covering Sunday morning to late Sunday night/just past midnight on Monday.
    • Chapter seven is shaping out to be another example of this, as it's lasted nearly five months and hasn't even reached the intermission that will start on October 26th.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 4, where we find out that Lucy can't do any magic, that there's a husk on the island, and that the husk is Su-Yeong, a friend of the beggar kids and Tobi, and Philomena is somehow responsible for Su-Yeong becoming a husk.
  • Wham Line: Broom Girl knocking out Siobhan and handing Lucy her broom all while giving them a series of very specific orders in Chapter 7 is shocking enough, but when Lucy protests that they didn't actually break any rules she pulls out all the stops:
    Broom Girl: Lucy. Listen. Forget about the contest, forget about winning, forget about what's fair. The magistration doesn't care.
    Broom Girl: They'd kill you for what you just did.
    • Page 91 of Chapter 7 brings attention to something eagle-eyed readers had already noticed:
      Ana: Merrylegs.
      Ana: Where is Merrylegs?
  • You Are Grounded!: Rothart to Lucy at the end of chapter four.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: January's conversation in chapter five with Magister Lapointe. When asked how she managed to talk Sylas into forfeiting, Lapointe openly praises her for bullying him. January grows more and more visibly uncomfortable as Lapointe pontificates about how Sylas is weak and deserving of the way she treated him.