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"I want to see more...his rage, his sadness, and every other emotion. What is this feeling?"—Ayace
Corsair started as a light novel series, which expanded into several audio dramas and a three volume manga, written by Minami Fuuko and illustrated by Misono Erii. The story follows two members of the Pirate clan, Preveza, at a time when its former allies have severed all ties. Ayace "The Devil Killer" Malik, is the commander of the armada, and one of the main reasons Preveza continues to control the Morea Sea after the loss of their former leader. Canale, the blind chief strategist, was taken in by the former leader like Ayace, but conceals a much more sinister past.
After an unusual encounter during a hostage exchange with the governor-general of Korladan, Ayace follows Canale out of suspicion. Canale, who is trying to run away, is attacked, drugged and sexually assaulted by a Sharq Amuji assassin until Ayace finds them and kills the other man. After refusing Canale's pleas to kill him too, Ayace decides to take advantage of him in his drugged state.
Afterwards Canale reveals that he is a former Sharq assassin and escaped to Preveza after having killed the man he loved, Sesaam Zaiyaun, the attorney-general of Pisare. Fearing his past has finally caught up to him, he requests that Ayace either let him leave or kill him before he brings danger to Preveza. Ayace refuses and knocks him out and brings him back to the ship.
Their (dubiously consensual) relationship continues and is finally made public when the princess of the Preveza clan, Aura, states her intention to marry Canale, and Ayace decides to bluntly announce why she can't. This inadvertently leads to Aura going off in a tiff and getting kidnapped by the governor of Korladan in revenge. It turns out he is actually Canale's brother, whose attempts to kill him as a child led to both Canale's blindness and being picked up by the Sharq. The general plot for the rest of the story revolves around rescuing Aura, but the focus is mainly on Canale confronting his past once more, now both helped and hindered by Ayace.
Corsair provides examples of:
- The Ace: Despite his status as a woobie, Canale has the arguably best skill set in the cast as he well-rounded in combat, strategy and diplomacy. Scratch his reputedly cursed birth, he is dangerous and surviving everything he has been through just makes him even more so. See also Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Although he is only 15, Leti Farless was chosen as the new chief of Preveza upon his father's death. However, his immaturity and naivete are kept in check with people like Ayace, Canale, and Barbossa advising him and he's at the very least a charismatic leader.
- Always Identical Twins: Averted. Aura and Leti are clearly related, but Leti takes more after their father whereas Aura takes more after their mother's side (judging by their uncle Boris).
- The Atoner: Canale, for his years as a Sharq assassin and particularly for the murder of Sesaam Zaiyaun, whom he was in love with. His request that Ayace kill him if he brings anymore danger to the people he loves eventually becomes something that seals their relationship.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Ayace. The man has no social grace and unusual ideas about what constitutes consent.
- Boys Love
- Cain and Abel: Jean-Hughes and Canale D'Aubigne play this completely straight, with the elder brother making several attempts at the younger's life when the latter was eight. The first attempt resulted in Canale going blind, and a later one, during which his kidnapper decided to abandon him rather than kill him, led to him being picked up by the Sharq Amuji.
- Cast Full of Pretty Boys: They are all very pretty. Except Barbossa.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Nationality (and class) can be distinguished by clothing, architecture, or even just the furniture in this manga, and relatives actually look like they're related without being carbon copies of the other.
- Cock Fight: Aura and Ayace start fighting about Canale after Ayace announces their relationship in the middle of a very awkward dinner conversation. Canale leaves before his dignity is ground into the dust any further.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Canale does to a degree when Ayace saves him from his former master but the best example is when Aura complains to Ayace about taking too long to rescue her. To be fair, rather than genuine ungratefulness it's simply because they're in the habit of ribbing each other.
- Cool Boat: The Belle Ayme (and the rest of the Prevezan armada, really).
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Once it's revealed Sesaam is alive and still wants Canale Ayace becomes this and promptly proceeds to take it out on Canale.
- Death Seeker: After being saved from his Sharq master by Ayace, Canale begs him to kill him and Ayace refuses. Later he promises he will and it helps cement their relationship. By the end, Ayace asks him to stop being a Death Seeker, reassuring Canale that if he brings destruction on the people he loves Ayace will kill him as he promised, so until then he should try living.
- Distressed Damsel: Aura's kidnapping is the drive behind most of volume 2 and 3, however, being a Plucky Girl she doesn't act too distressed about it or her impending execution, and when Ayace finally shows up to rescue her, her reaction is pretty much: "You're late!"
- Duel to the Death: Shirokko hates Canale and keeps trying to challenge him to one for any reason, thinking because Canale's blind he'd definitely lose. When Canale finally is forced to and beats him (but refuses to kill him), he's a little stunned.
- Flat What: Aura uses this following Ayace's answer as to why she cannot marry Canale.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Korladan is vaguely French (and the ruling family is named d'Aubigne). Preveza also looks European and Pisare has Arabic flavour.
- Flung Clothing: Aura does this with her dress when the rescue party comes.
- Handicapped Badass: Canale, being a blind professionally trained assassin. He is incredibly skilled, but every time he loses it's because there was something he couldn't see coming. He is also a brilliant strategist capable of controlling the flow of battle through what his assistant tells him and his diplomacy skill is not lacking either, which is the main reason why Preveza cannot afford to lose him.
- Important Haircut: Ayace gives Canale one instead of killing him, leaving the severed hair at the burning mansion as symbol of his old life and encouraging him to move on and live.
- Kill the Ones You Love: Canale. Sesaam is the biggest instance, but Canale also feels responsible for his mother's suicide and the general death and destruction that follow him wherever he goes. His determination to either leave Preveza or die results from his fear that this will happen to the people he loves there.
- Kissing Under the Influence: And a bit more, when Canale has an aphrodisiac forced on him. Neither he nor Ayace had expressed interest in each other before the opportunity arose.
- Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded by the author in the Omake concerning the pirate characters, particularly Canale and Ayace. Aura and Katarina are the reverse trope.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: While some of other characters might have long enough hair to qualify, Canale and Jean-Hughes are posterboys for this trope.
- Mugging the Monster: As lampshaded by Ayace, Shirokko should know who he is up against when he challenges Canale
- Naked First Impression: When Mansour sees Aura for the first time during the rescue mission, she immediately throws off her cumbersome dress and starts running around in what is basically underwear. He is rather shocked.
- Ojou: Aura, who is boisterous, opinionated, and quick-tempered, and the princess of the Preveza clan.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: The first meeting between Jean-Hughes and Aura after she is kidnapped consists of them speaking in polite monotone while exchanging sentiments such as "It's hard to believe a beauty like you is also a dirty sea pirate."
- Pimped-Out Dress: Jean-Hughes gives Aura several to wear while she's being held hostage. She thinks they're ugly. Overlapping with Go-Go Enslavement.
- Plucky Girl: Aura.
- Rebellious Princess: Aura is one at times, to the point where Canale knocks her out during a major attempt to rescue her because she refuses to leave without him and place her safety above his. In a twist on the usual pattern, she thinks she is The Hero's love interest, until Ayace callously tells her she can't marry Canale because "Canale belongs to me."
- Red Baron: Ayace is called "The Devil Killer".
- Relationship Reveal: In-universe example, where Ayace announcing to Aura that he is sleeping with Canale is met with a Flat What and later: "This is the first time I've heard that you even like Canale!" The audience already has a pretty good idea of the relationship at this point.
- Right Through His Pants: Ayace doesn't even take his bandana off during sex, let alone his pants.
- Right Through the Wall: Invoked and Played for Drama. After bluntly announcing his relationship with Canale in attempt to crush Aura's hope of marrying Canale, Ayace goes to Canale's room and makes sure to have lots of loud sex because he knows Aura is going to come by later to talk to Canale and will hear them. Aura is appropriately crushed, but the spat between her and Ayace later when she confronts him about it does move it back towards humour.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Aura, who is much nicer than Ayace. Though Canale really respects and cares for her he does not want to pursue a relationship for reasons even other than the obvious. In comparison, Sesaam doesn't fit this trope because despite being less rough-around-the-edges than Ayace, he's rather insidious at times and not necessarily a "nice guy".
- Scylla and Charybdis: Canale had the option of either killing Sesaam or revealing that he is an assassin, knowing the Sharq would just come after Sesaam again anways and succeed sooner or later. He decides to kill Sesaam and die with him (though this doesn't work out as planned).
- Sealed with a Kiss: The ending, naturally.
- Secret Underground Passage: There's one beneath Sesaam's bed that allows Canale to escape after murdering him and another in one of the rooms of the D'Aubigne mansion, which Canale discovered when he still had his eyesight and uses to rescue Aura.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Canale delivers an angry speech over how the prophecy about him being the "devil's child" who will wreak "destruction on towns and cities" was rubbish and how his family's reaction to it led to him becoming such a destructive force in the first place.
- Sheath Strike: Because he is afraid of killing more than he already has, when Canale is challenged to a duel by Shirokko he fights mostly with his sword sheathed.
- Sibling Incest: When Jean-Hughes saves Canale from being raped, he can't stop imagining himself doing the exact same thing, but pins the blame on Canale and loathes him even more.
- Sibling Rivalry: Canale and Jean-Hughes, to say the least. Leti and Aura demonstrate a healthier version, and to some extent Aura and Ayace, despite not being blood related.
- So Beautiful It's a Curse: Canale's strange beauty is one of the causes for his troubles.
- Swashbuckler: Corsair is essentially a Boys Love Swashbuckler, heavier on the grey morality.
- Split-Screen Reaction: When Ayace suddenly announces his relationship with Canale during the middle of a dinner there is a splitscreen panel for everyone at the table, ranging from awkward to surprised to confused.
- The Strategist: Canale is the chief strategist for Preveza. It's probably the only thing that offers him any protection, as his refusal to actually fight (despite the fact that he's blind) is highly contentious for the other pirates.
- Sword Over Head: As Canale finally kills Jean-Hughes.
- Sword Plant: Canale finishes his battle with Shirokko by stabbing his blade into one of the masts just shy of Shirokko's ear.
- Triang Relations: Type 4 for Aura (a), Canale (b) and Ayace (c). Another triangle early in the manga had Ayace (a), Canale (b), and Sesaam (c). By the second volume Sesaam and Ayace have shifted roles.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Aura to Canale. From Jean-Hughes point of view he is this to Katarina, who liked Canale too. And more creepily himself to Canale.
- The Vamp: Several people treat Canale as one, mostly to defer their guilty feelings of desire for him. Poor guy. Surprisingly, Ayace is the one who has the grace to point out that if he is seduced then he is a fool who cannot control himself.
- Victim Falls For Rapist: Oh boy. People have been trying (and succeeding) to rape Canale since he was seven years old, but despite the fact that he enjoyed it it's still seen as as traumatic by Canale. Both Sesaam and Ayace, other the other hand, play Victim Falls For Rapist perfectly straight, as for no apparent reason Canale distinguishes between them and the others. Further complicating things is Ayace's Kick the Dog moment when he goes Crazy Jealous Guy and assaults Canale in Pisare, leaving him feeling utterly betrayed. But then they make up. In general this manga is very heavy on the dub con.
- Wrong Name Outburst: Canale does this twice with the people in question in reverse. Amusingly he's more upset about it than either Ayace (in chapter 4) or Sesaam (in chapter 11) are.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Canale finally feels like he has a place in Preveza and thinks that Ayace might actually love him and that they can be happy together. As soon as Ayace suspects he is going back to Sesaam, he becomes enraged and rapes Canale, making him feel utterly betrayed.