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YMMV / Thunderbolt Fantasy

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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Even with Urobuchi onboard, there were plenty of people in the West deriding Thunderbolt Fantasy simply for being a puppet show made in the modern era. It became popular enough in Japan and Taiwan to warrant a second season announcement after its finale and the overseas release was met with favorable acclaim from people impressed by its fight scenes and its writing.
    • Part of this is because of Small Reference Pools. Older fans have compared Thunderbolt Fantasy with other Western examples of puppetry like Thunderbirds and The Dark Crystal. However, there haven't been many recent Western examples of puppet series that Thunderbolt Fantasy could be compared to. This, along with Thunderbolt Fantasy being confused by some for a stop motion production, meant the most common series it was compared to before its release... was Robot Chicken. The Wuxia themes are also lost on Western fans with no knowledge of the genre.
  • Awesome Music:
    • This particular theme "thunderBOLTfantasy" is one of main heroic tunes. It's a very epic and hopeful sounding theme. Then it becomes the opening song for Season 2 entitled "His/Story" which is sung by T.M.Revolution and is so awesome that the bard character Rou Fu You (voiced by TM Revolution himself) successfully defeated a dragon by actually singing it in-show!
    • When you hear show-no-feel come on, you know that Syou Fu Kan is about to do something absolutely badass.
    • Ken's fighting theme is quite awesome in its own way. Unlike the other heroes, he has a more joyful/playful sounding theme, especially considering that out of all of the other heroes, he's probably the most childlike (not in a bad way) of the group.
    • Tan Hi's theme, for having a serene and elegant theme that goes with her innocent nature, as well as becoming intense halfway through to show that a woman like her won't back down.
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    • The entire soundtrack, written by Hiroyuki Sawano (who composed for shows like Kill la Kill, Blue Exorcist, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and Attack on Titan) is this.
    • "Roll the Dice", Season 2's ending theme, is another awesome collaboration between Hiroyuki Sawano and T.M. Revolution.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Really? The man with the Art Name of Thief of the Wind Dust is a Phantom Thief? Who would have thought?
  • Cargo Ship: Rou Shin Kai/Seven Blasphemous Deaths. It obvious he has a strong affections toward her and he will kill anyone who looks at Seven Blasphemous Deaths.
  • Complete Monster: The manga version of Betsu Ten Gai ("Skeleton Who Scorns the Heavens"), is the leader of the Onyx Demons and an arrogant warrior who believes none can stand against him. When hunting down the Sacred Weapon guarded by the Tan clan, Betsu Ten Gai slaughters the guardians, including young Tan Hi's elder brother, and sets about slaughtering the population of villages that get in his way, personally killing a child just to get a village Headman to talk. When he is humiliated in battle by the thief Lin Setsu A, Betsu Ten Gai opts to kill himself to destroy the sacred sword in a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum, knowing this act will unleash a powerful demon god that will annihilate the entire world.
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  • Dancing Bear: Considering that puppet series (let alone an action series with puppets) are very rare outside of Taiwan, many viewers were intrigued to see that this type of series was the project that Gen Urobuchi was working on.
  • Epileptic Trees: Because the Anglicization of Ken's name in Chinese is "Juan", an elaborate, at least partially tongue-in-cheek, fan theory sprang up claiming he is a Spanish adventurer.
  • Evil Is Sexy: A lot of people have considered Kei Gai to be one of the most attractive characters of the show. A similar degree has happened with Ryou Mi as well.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Ken San Un/Tan Hi got a large following, due to Ken's kindness towards Tan Hi, followed by hesitating to abandon her after she gets imprisoned by Betsutengai, and later choosing to turn against Syu Un Syou and Kei Gai to rescue her. Episode 13 has them becoming an Official Couple.
    • Syou Fu Kan/Lin Setsu A are the most popular pairing of the show since they are seen together in other media, Pixiv, and even made a few cameos together in the Pili series prior to the airing of Thunderbolt Fantasy.
    • Lin Setsu A/Setsu Mu Syou is another popular pairing, although it's more Foe Yay than Ho Yay. This ends up Ship Sinking after Setsu Mu Syou was killed by Betsu Ten Gai.
    • Syou Fu Kan/Rou Fu You becomes another popular pairing in season 2.
  • Gateway Series: Deliberately created as a gateway series for Pili and the Taiwanese glove puppetry genre as a whole to enter the Japanese market with better acceptance. Also, thanks to Crunchyroll simulcasting this series, this is the first taste many viewers outside of Asia have had of the Taiwanese brand of action puppetry.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Lin Setsu A is the beautiful, playful young man who involves himself in Tan Hi's quest to keep a magic sword holding back a demon god out of the hands of the wicked Betsu Ten Gai. Lin Setsu A manipulates fighters into joining the quest, including the vicious Screaming Phoenix Killer by promising him a match at the end. Lin Setsu A then proceeds to double cross the team for Betsu Ten Gai's Onyx Demons, then betrays the Onyx Demons again after luring out potential traitors in Tan Hi's group. Finally facing Betsu Ten Gai, Lin Setsu A proceeds to utterly humiliate him in combat, revealing his greatest pleasure is to humiliate and humble the proud and haughty.
  • No Yay: In chapter 28, when Ken San Un finds out Chou Mei was the one who tortured Tan Hi, he asks him if he wants the same treatment as hers. He taunts him that he's curious what his skin feels like and he will save a "special" spot for him. Chou Mei's expression is very disturbing when he says that.
  • Signature Scene: Zan Kyou beheading himself in the very first episode is this to a lot of fans, thanks to its sheer amount of shock value. Showing someone the scene while providing as little context to it as possible is often used as a pretty reliable method to hook new viewers.
    • Rou Fu You defeating the mighty dragon known as Death King by singing the show's opening theme "His/Story" in season 2 is quickly shaping up to be this as well, because it was just that awesome.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The puppet's expressions can be kind of unsettling. They can open their eyes and mouths, but due to the technical limitations, most of their emoting is done through body language.
    • While the unique close-ups on Syou Kyou Ken's teeth whenever he does a Cheshire Cat Grin are likely meant to be unsettling due to his sinister nature, the fact that he's the only character shown with visible teeth and the plastic look of the teeth themselves still falls into this trope.
  • The Woobie: Tan Hi, her brother gets brutally slaughtered in the first episode, believes she puts up a good fight against Betsu Ten Gai, only to later realize it was an illusion to trick her into fighting Syou Fu Kan instead, and then gets abandoned by everyone she trusts, which causes her to break down into tears. Poor girl can't catch a break.
    • The manga made it worse by having her be tortured by Chou Mei, which includes having the Genkishu's emblem carved onto her back and being shown her brother's severed head right in front of her, causing her to shut down and attack Ken Sanun in rage when he tries to break her free. Poor girl really can't catch a break.

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