- Complete Monster: Most of the books of the Asian Saga heavily feature a Gray-and-Gray Morality, and the majority of the antagonists are well rounded and semi-sympathetic, but Gorth from Tai-Pan is one of the exceptions, being a brutal sexual sadist who, unlike his father, has no sense of honour whatsoever. Gorth enjoys hurting or assaulting others and clearly enjoys their pain. In order to hurt his enemy of the Struan family, he tries arranging for his son to be drugged and bedded by a prostitute with syphilis which was completely incurable in those days and a very, very horrible way to go.
- Foe Yay: Dirk Stuan and Tyler Brock are very obsessed with dominating the other. The start of their enmity was when Struan was a cabin boy on which Brock was a bo'sun, and apparently the latter was very fond of flogging Struan.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- Linbar Struan's Butt-Monkey status as the least likely person to succeed Dunross as tai-pan throughout Noble House is a lot less amusing when Whirlwind strongly implies he became tai-pan by having Dunross' actual successor murdered.
- A real-life example: in the novel the First Central Bank of New York is scorned by most of the British characters for calling in all their loans and fleeing Hong Kong when it looked likely the Communists would take over in 1949. In real-life Jardine Mathesons, the company Struan's is based on, would incorporate itself in Bermuda rather than Hong Kong to avoid Communist takeover in 1997, a move derided by many within the Colony (Swires, the company Rothwell-Gornt is based on, notably stayed and suffered no ill effects).
- Heartwarming Moments: In Shogun, Mariko's letter to Blackthorne after her death, encouraging him to build his boat and to never fear. He, in return, dreams of a beautiful, a perfect ship that will conquer all the seas of the world, and unite England and Japan, and will be named The Lady, in Mariko's honor.
- Magnificent Bastard: Lord Toranaga in Shogun combines The Chessmaster and Manipulative Bastard gloriously, playing an endless game of Xanatos Speed Chess when his plans get derailed. Both Toranaga and his nemesis Ishido had sworn to their late master that they would protect his young son until he was old enough to rule, but Ishido believes Toranaga intends to supplant the boy and become Shogun himself, and he's absolutely right. Toranaga proceeds to manipulate the entirety of Japan, pulling off a set of brilliant, almost impossible gambits to provoke Ishido into war, marginalize his rivals and allow Toranaga to move against them with full support of the populace. In the end, Toranaga's brilliance ends in him completely crushing his rivals and ascending to the position of Shogun with aplomb, with narration even stating that his victory "wasn't an Act of God. It was an Act of Toranaga."
- Memetic Mutation: From Shogun: Hai, Toranaga-sama!.
- Nightmare Fuel: During a Heroic BSoD, Blackthorne ends up having a vivid and nightmarish hallucination in Shogun, which is presented as a rambling run-on sentence that runs for about a page. Where he is at the time is no barrel of laughs either.
- Say what you will about Ishido, but his was a HORRIBLE way to die.
- In Noble House Linc during the slide, being stuck under over a dozen feet of rubble in complete darkness and unable to move.
- Hong Kong SI's Red Room.
YMMV / Asian Saga