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In a land divided between the people born in the region that serves the Shin-Oh (True Queen) and the Taikoh (Grand Duke), who are in charge of the political and military aspects of the country respectively, there is a village that raises Tohda, the beasts that allow the country to maintain military supremacy over its neighbors. In that village lives a beastinarian named Soh-yon, who is allowed to care for the Tohda despite being one of the People of the Mist, a tribe with green hair and eyes said to have strange powers, because her late husband was the son of the village chief and she happens to be damn good at her job. Her ten-year-old daughter Erin, like so many other girls her age, also takes an interest in the Tohda and decides she wants to follow in her mother's footsteps, so Soh-yon starts to teach her about the Tohda, and in the process discovers that Erin is amazingly talented.
Stop reading here if you want to avoid spoilers.
One day, however, all of the villages Kiba, the strongest of the Tohda, die overnight. Soh-yon, who was caring for them, is held responsible and sentenced to death by being eaten alive by wild Tohda. Erin, as soon as she hears of her mother's fate, chases after her into the swamp. Soh-yon uses a forbidden technique to control the Tohda in order to save Erin, but allows herself to be eaten to atone for her crime. Erin is carried along the river until she is rescued by a beekeeper named Joh-on living in the Shin-Oh's region. It is with him that she first learns of and sees the Ohju (literally king-beast), winged creatures that capture her interest. After a four-year Time Skip spent in Joh-on's care, Erin decides to go to Kazalum, a school for beastinarians and an Ohju shelter, to learn more about the Ohju. It is at Kazalum that she first encounters Lilan, a young Ohju whose fate quickly becomes intertwined with Erin's own. After another four-year Time Skip, the two of them are tossed head-first into a civil war as Erin challenges ancient beliefs and traditions in an attempt to live as she wishes and give Lilan the life she deserves.
Originally a series of books by Seirei no Moribito author Nahoko Uesashi, it was adapted into a fifty-episode anime series between 2008 and 2009 which can be streamed legally in its entirety on Crunchyroll.
- Animal Motifs: In the anime. A kitten losing its mother to underline the theme of characters missing their mothers. A snail in its shell and coming out for Lilan becoming interested in its surrounding for the first time. A fight of dragonflies almost exactly mirrors a fight in the human world, from before the first blows to the aftermath.
- Bishonen: Ia-lu, Kiriku, and Damiya for a slightly older version.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: When Lilan jumps off a cliff starts flying
- Curtains Match the Window: The Mist People all have green hair and eyes.
- Evil Uncle: Damiyah has some ambitious plans and isn't picky with the means.
- Eyes Always Shut: Kiriku
- Fluffy Tamer: Erin. She is able to tame and communicate with the Beast Lords. It’s justified, because she takes some time to actually observe them and learn their “language”. Lilan, her Beast Lord friend, grew up with her and sees Erin as her surrogate mother.
- Foe Yay: Damiya becomes suddenly very touchy-feely with Erin, when it turns out she can control the beast lords. During their first meeting one-on-one he grabs her hand, gets very close with her and compliments her eyes. Unsurprisingly, when they are interrupted by his aunt, she assumes that he tries to force himself on her. He also seems to be impressed, when Erin doesn’t buy his sweet talk and is overly fascinated by her ability, even comparing her to Je, when she rides on Lilan to rescue the queen.
- Flower Motifs: In the anime.
- Gasshole:joh-on has a habit of farting in public
- Gosh Hornet: Just barely averted when Erin approaches a beehive without any protective equipment, unaware of the danger. The beekeeper stops her just in time.
- Halfbreed: Erin is a child of a woman of the Mist People and a Tohda breeding man. Results of such unions are usually called "Akun Meh Chai" ("Child of Impossibilities"), because their parents should have never meet, yet alone fall in love.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Dahmiya speaks almost exactly like Xelloss, especially early on.
- Morning Sickness: Lilan suffers this in episode 36 and copes by chewing on logs.
- People of Hair Color: The Mist People have green eyes and green hair. Unfortunately, they are associated with black magic. Interestingly, their unusual hair color is actually never brought up and it is their eyes that function as a stigma. Also Je, the First Shin Oh of Ryoza, and her people were known for their golden eyes and blond hair.
- Redemption Equals Death: To atone for the crime of using a forbidden technique to save Erin, Soh-yon allows her self to be eaten by the Tohda.
- Running Gag: Joh-on farting.
- Tear Jerker: When Soyon dies.
- Joh-on's death, too.
- Those Two Guys: Nuk and Mok.
- Too Long; Didn't Dub: Crunchyroll's subtitles have an unfortunate tendency to not translate titles like True King (Shin-oh) and Grand Duke (Taikoh).
- Wham! Episode:
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Subverted/deconstructed. While Erin and Soyon both have green hair, it marks them as members of a tribe that is considered practitioners of black magic.
- If their green eyes are often mentioned in the anime, their green hair never is.