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Hiyama Ren is an apathetic first-year who, despite having been appointed student council chairman, ignores everything around him, including his own academic achievements. Then, one day, fellow classmate and student councilmember Takagi Yuka (who has an unrequited crush on him) requests his help and support with the upcoming cultural festival.
It seems that Yuka’s uncle, Kuonji Itsuki, is a nationally-renowned hypnotherapist, and Yuka thinks that a hypnosis show would be a big draw for the fair. Hiyama is interested, but wants proof that hypnosis works. So Yuka invites Kuonji to give a demonstration before a select audience, including Hiyama. After seeing proof of its effectiveness, Hiyama decides to use it to make the world a better place, no matter what…
Often (understandably) compared to Death Note. Both are Shonen Manga which are constantly mistaken for Seinen. Both star bored, brilliant high schoolers who come across a supernatural power of some kind and decide to use it to make the world a Utopia. Both also end up playing Xanatos Speed Chess against an opposing Chessmaster who is leading the effort to catch them.
Lots of hidden spoilers below.
Tropes seen in Lost Brain include:
- Arch Enemy: Hiyama and Kuonji, after Kuonji publicly decries the Third Party’s actions.
- Badass Normal: Hiyama and Kuonji. After all, anyone can learn hypnosis…
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Hiyama opts to make a suicidal escape attempt rather than be caught by Kuonji and the authorities.
Hiyama: Just as you all deny my world, I deny the existence of your world. I have no intention of being judged by the likes of you!
- Beautiful All Along: Sonoyama Mizuki, after Hiyama gives her a hypnotic self-image makeover.
- Bishounen: Hiyama and Kuonji, although Kuonji is more androgynous.
- Brainwashed: It would be easier to list the people Hiyama doesn’t hypnotize, either directly or through Kanbara Hayato.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Ōsawa, after Hiyama gets through with him.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Despite his taste in fashion, Kuonji Itsuki is a talented hypnotherapist.
- Criminal Mind Games: See Divide and Conquer below.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Hiyama finds out that Kuonji has escaped from jail, and learns where he is hiding. What does he do? Like any good citizen, he anonymously phones the police, who promptly recapture Kuonji.
- Divide and Conquer: Hiyama manipulates events so that the police think Kuonji is the Third Party.
- The Dragon: Shitara Haruhide, after he learns the reasoning behind Hiyama’s master plan.
- Expy: Hiyama is Light Yagami with white hair; both of their motivations and personality are extremely similar to the other. Even their houses have similar layouts.
- Fake Memories: Hiyama swaps out Yuka’s visit to his house for a visit to the park.
- Gone Horribly Right / Hoist by His Own Petard : Hiyama is (probably) killed because his hypnosis is too perfect and caused a Doublethink Logic Bomb.
- Green Lantern Ring: Hypnosis. Justified, in that most, if not all, of the tricks pulled with hypnosis are entirely plausible.
- Hero Antagonist: Kuonji Itsuki.
- Hidden Eyes: Hiyama, when he is being bullied in the first chapter.
- Idiot Ball: It's odd how Kuonji never even suspects Hiyama of any wrong doing even when everything bad and odd happening around the school can in some way be linked to him.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Many of Hiyama’s “subjects”, but especially Onoda-sensei, who Hiyama manipulates as part of his scheme to discredit Kuonji, and who suffers from temporary gaps in her memory as a result.
- Logic Bomb / Mind Screw: Hiyama accidentally creates one when he simultaneously "programs" his victims with both a strong will without weaknesses and absolute submission to him (a la "Yes! We are all individuals!" followed by a metaphorical Your Head Asplode). The "bomb" goes off when Hiyama orders his thralls to kill Kounji, and one of them also happens to be holding a detonator...
- Magic A Is Magic A: The real-life rules of hypnosis (i. e., what one can and can’t do) are usually followed by both Hiyama and Kuonji.
- Manchurian Agent: Ōsawa is Hiyama’s first experiment in this field. Later, Hiyama manages to turn the entire student population into his agents by first putting them in a more…receptive frame of mind.
- Mass Hypnosis: Stage two of Hiyama’s plan hinges on using Kanbara to hypnotize most of Japan.
- Mind Control: In spades.
- Mind Control Device: A mild use, in the form of subliminal messages recorded in the background music played during Kanbara’s initial set of broadcasts.
- Mind Control Eyes: Mostly averted. As in real life, people who are under hypnosis tend to have dilated pupils, not contracted ones.
- Mind Rape: What will happen to Yuka if Kuonji probes too far into her subconscious, according to Hiyama.
- More Than Mind Control: Sonoyama chooses to receive Hiyama’s hypnosis, knowing full well what his plans for her are.
- Never Found the Body: Hiyama thought he could escape into a tunnel under the parliment(?) building, but it collapsed during the explosion so there's virtually no chance he survived. Than again, he was/is Dangerously Genre Savvy...
- Ordinary High School Student: Most of the main cast.
- Power Trio: Hiyama, Shitara, and Sonoyama.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Although Hiyama isn’t technically psychic, the results are the same.
- Red Shirt: If Hiyama introduces a “subject” to Shitara, chances are he’s planning to kill that person to further his plot. Averted with Sonoyama, however.
- Shown Their Work: Lost Brain demonstrates many real-world hypnosis methods, as well as describing the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is Kuonji’s given name “Itsuki” or “Ikki”?
- Subliminal Advertising: Part of Hiyama’s Mass Hypnosis plot involving Kanbara. It works.
- Teens Are Monsters: Hiyama gets accused of bullying a student, and is beat up when the teacher doesn’t believe the actual bullies. This is what later drives him to change the world.
- In the epilogue, a bunch of teens complain that Hiyama didn't go all the way and destroy the world, which in Hiyama's defense was never his plan.
- That's What I Would Do: How Kuonji initially comes close to defeating Hiyama without finding out his identity, until Hiyama frames him for the murders.
- Too Dumb to Live: Hiyama makes a huge mistake when he doesn't realize that giving people a strong sense of self and absolute submission to him is an enormous Logic Bomb -- and then he has them control an actual bomb.
- Trigger Phrase: Hiyama installs tons of triggers, including having several victims commit suicide when Kuonji calls them.
- Ubermensch: Hiyama’s plans revolve around this.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Ōsawa, while not considered a true friend by Hiyama, initially begs him to be friends with him since he lacks confidence on his own. Then Hiyama uses him as to unwittingly assassinate the Secretary of State in a suicide bombing.
- Unwitting Pawn: Takagi Yuka, repeatedly.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Hiyama may not be as cocky as Light, but he does seem to be just as prone to sacrificing his pawns, both figuratively and literally.
- Villain Protagonist: Hiyama.
- Visionary Villain: Hiyama again.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Hiyama, Shitara and Sonoyama.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Hypnosis—both played straight and subverted, since hypnosis has many uses and forms, all of which (except past-life regression) are used by both Hiyama and Kuonji.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Hiyama
- Worthy Opponent: Hiyama knows better than to underestimate Kuonji’s doggedness and skill with hypnosis.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Hiyama’s battles with Kuonji.