- Acceptable Targets: Probably warlords and dictators.
- The director specifically states it's a commentary about East African child armies, so probably the Southern Peoples' Liberation Army (currently ruling South Sudan) and the Lord's Resistance Army (the infamous Ugandan rebels). What happens to Sara is a particularly strong parallel with the LRA's treatment of girls as non-combatant sex slaves.
- Angst? What Angst?: Played straight with Shu; averted with Sara.
- Complete Monster: King Hamdo plunders resources from a desperate land and kidnaps children to use as soldiers in his army. Introduced strangling his own cat to death, Hamdo reacts with psychotic glee upon learning his men have found a girl who possesses an amulet capable of creating water, a precious resource in his time. When he discovers she's lost said amulet and refuses to help him find it, Hamdo flies into a rage and is implied to rape her. So cowardly that any threat to his life sends him into a panic, Hamdo orders his second-in-command to fire upon the frontline, not caring that his own Child Soldiers are engaged in combat.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: After the Non-Indicative First Episode, the series pulls no punches in being grim-dark, complete with an absolutely abominable villain and a main character who is near-powerless to change much. In the end, the protagonist has no great influence and is able only to inspire the actually-powerful Lala-Ru to bring about a more-or-less happy ending. The mostly-positive outcome feels insignificant after the series' overall dark journey.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Averted. Along with Grave of the Fireflies, this is one of the few (anti)-war shows that doesn't make war or the life of a soldier look like fun.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Some fans actually complain that the story follows Shu instead of Nabuca.
- The dark-skinned, blond-haired boy in Nabuca and Tabool's corps has a surprising amount of Japanese fanart, as does that corps' drill sergeant. Pretty remarkable, considering neither of them even get names.
- Esoteric Happy Ending: Even setting aside the whole Good Girls Avoid Abortion thing, the script seems to entirely forget that Sara's parents are now never going to see her again and she's very likely going to be killed by the Earth's still supernova-ing sun. Shu's optimism seems just a little misplaced.
- Foe Yay: Tabool's unhealthy obsession with Nabuca and subsequent rage whenever Nabuca rejects his attention are typically interpreted as an example of this.
- There is definitely some tension between Shu and Nabuca.
- Mainstream Obscurity: As much as this series is mentioned, very few have actually gotten around to watching it. There's a very good reason for that, though.
- Moral Event Horizon:
- King Hamdo has a few, before the series started, he had abducted numerous children, put them into combat and destroyed their villages so they can't go home. Other examples could be ordering Shu tortured.
- Tabool shoots Nabuca and kills him without showing any remorse, showing that the years under Hamdo has broken him and turned him to Hamdo's ideals.
- Elamba shooting Sis and the Doctor, leading to both their deaths shows just how far into He Who Fights Monsters he has descended after all the fighting.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Well, it isn't... At least not unless your last name is Addams or Manson.
- The Woobie: All of the main cast have their moments of this with the exception of King Hamdo, but Sara especially stands out in this category.
YMMV / Now and Then, Here and There