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File:Grey TVTropes 2968.jpg


Grey is a Shonen Manga created by Yoshihisa Tagami and published by Tokuma Shoten in Monthly Shōnen Captain magazine (and Viz Media in North America). Originally running between 1985-1987 culminating in three volumes.

The Manga was also adapted into an Animated Film, Grey: Digital Target, on December 13th, 1986. It was produced by Magic Bus and Tokuma Japan Corp. under the direction of Satoshi Dezaki with a total runtime of 73 minutes. (Viz Media also released a translation of Digital Target.)

Both the Manga and animated film tell the story of a post-apocalyptic world covered in wastelands and only dotted with the occasional small town. Each town is supervised by a "Little Mama" computer, a node connected to the world governing super-computer called "Big Mama". The underprivileged in each town, known as "People" live in the slums, work for a pittance in factories, and are subject to both attack from other towns and abuse from the "Troopers" -- the town military. Anyone can apply to become one of the privileged "Troopers", join the army and fight the other Towns in a perpetual war. The Troopers trade a low survival rate for being able to afford the finer things in life -- and fight in the hope that if they live long enough, they can become "Citizens" -- inhabitants of the legendary capital city of the world.

The story follows Grey, a successful combatant who joined the army after the death of his girlfriend, Lips, during one such war. Even though he originally despised the Troopers and everything they stood for, Grey continues to fight, continually seeking an answer for why Lips had to die. Grey has become legendary among the Troopers of his town, both for his success rate in battle and the tendency to return as the Sole Survivor of any squad he's sent out with. They call him "Grey Death"...


Tropes associated with Grey:

 Grey: You fight better without your clothes!

Nova: Because I don't want to die naked!

  • Grey and Gray Morality: Appropriately enough. Grey has a sense of honor, but he's willing to use the team he's assigned to as decoys in the first arc, and even he knows he's Not So Different from the Trooper who killed Lips. On the other hand, for someone seeking vengeance, he's very willing to see his opponents' points of view: he forgives the man who was responsible for the Crapsack World he hates, he accepts Lara's explanation of why Nagoshi seemed to cross the Moral Event Horizon by killing Nova, and he even seems to accept Toy's Hannibal Lecture about humanity being self-destructive until it segues into megalomaniacal ranting.
  • Honor Before Reason: After surviving the mission in the first arc, Grey's promoted to a rank where he can be kicked upstairs for an easy ride to Citizenship in five years -- if he wants. While thinking it over, he finds out that Red -- his mentor -- had been attacked in the field. Grey immediately sacrifices his chances at promotion to hijack a plane and mount a rescue mission of the man under whose command Lips died.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Grey.
  • La Résistance: Nagoshi, led by the "queen-goddess" Lara.
  • Logic Bomb: At the very end, during the final showdown between Grey and Toy. The computer is about to kill Grey while claiming to be a god and that the human race must be wiped away. Grey asks it how could he be considered a god, if there will be nobody left to worship it. This stuns the master computer for a little while, allowing Grey to finally destroy it.
  • Man Behind the Man: Robert J. Dimitri, the hundreds-years-old cyborg, is behind everything that happened in the manga. Not only he created Toy, but after Toy went mad and started destroying the world, he turned himself into a cyborg and created the Sure fembots for the purpose of helping the Chosen One (Grey, in this case) to defeat it. The Little Mamas are also guarded by robotic duplicates of him (those bald-headed guys). Also, he destroyed Nagoshi's base (see Suicide Attack below), thus causing La Résistance's fall.
  • Master Computer: Big Mama (a.k.a. Toy).
  • Mecha-Mooks
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: Robert J. Dimitri, the engineer who created the supercomputer Toy and the "Sure" fembots guarding the access to "Little Mama" in every town.
  • Not So Different: Grey equally hates the City and Nagoshi, seeing them as ideals that only bring death and despair. In fact, Nagoshi kidnapped his mentor Red, brainwashed him and turned him into a killer cyborg, whom Grey was forced to defeat and destroy.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Toy organized all the whole war thing because, according to its calculations, mankind's ultimate goal was self-destruction. He just wanted to help it reach that goal faster.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Almost all characters are only known by their battle names.
  • Posthumous Character: Lips is never seen outside of flashbacks.
  • Pre-Explosion Glow: When something big explodes it almost always glows white before doing so.
  • The Reveal: Grey and Lara, after having witnessed the death of all their former comrades, finally reach the capital. They discover that the "Citizens" are actually droids controlled by Toy, and nobody actually ever became a Class A Trooper.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Most of The Squad that Grey gets assigned to at the beginning. They had apparently become True Companions in previous missions before their deaths, adding tension to how Nova has to work with Grey to survive the first arc.
  • Schizo-Tech: Troopers from three-digit towns get issued World War II-vintage weapons, despite having more advanced technology for support equipment, transport to and from battlefields, and their town's Little Mama. Lower-numbered towns have more and more advanced equipment such as Humongous Mecha and Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Shinigami: Grey's nickname in the original manga.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Nova originally died halfway through the manga to show that The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized; she manages to survive that plot point in Digital Target because she was popular.
  • Storming the Castle
  • Suicide Attack: Some examples, most famously Robert J. Dimitri as a cyborg downloading his conscience in the body of a "Ion" (a dog-shaped robot) and blowing himself up in the reactor of Nagoshi's floating base, triggering a chain reaction that eventually destroys it.
  • Technology Marches On: When Grey gets turned into a cyborg, computers around him still have space for floppy disks. Possibly a case of Zeerust given the conditions of the world.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Grey wears the helmet that Lips wore on her one mission -- complete with her name written on it, and the hole from the shot that killed her. He shrugs it off when Nova brings it up: "I've got a funny-shaped head. It's the only helmet that fits."
  • War for Fun and Profit: The main reason for Troopers to fight is to escape the low "People" caste; in addition, their performance in battle (which divides them in classes from F to A) determines whether they get promoted enough to be admitted to the City, where the elite live in luxury.
  • War Is Hell
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