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File:Narutaru 3154.jpg
"When you don't fit in anywhere in the world, what should you do? Carve yourself to fit the world...? ...Or carve the world to fit you?!"

Definitely not to be confused with another manga/anime series with a vaguely similar name.

Naru Taru (Mukuro Naru Hoshi Tama Taru Ko - also known as Shadow Star in the US) is a manga and anime series with a very deceptive premise. It looks cute, with a perky Naive Everygirl lead (who transforms into an Action Girl as the plot progresses, though in a most plausible manner) who happens across an adorable starshaped Mon while visiting her grandparents during summer vacation. The anime opens with the most upbeat theme music imaginable and has a relaxed first episode. Things go downhill from there.

The story is told from the viewpoint of twelve-year-old Shiina Tamai, after she aquires the aforementioned dragonet, which she names Hoshimaru. Merely being in this creature's company inevitably draws other young people with dragonets to her. Shiina, unlike the others, is not telepathically linked to her dragonet, and Hoshimaru seems to have a will and personality of his own; meanwhile, not all of the other "dragon bearers" have good intentions, for Shiina or the world at large. While the anime is open-ended to say the least, the manga leads towards an almost Gainax-type ending.

Naru Taru was created by Mohiro Kitoh, who also created the Humongous Mecha series Bokurano, while the anime was penned by Chiaki Konaka, writer of Serial Experiments Lain and Digimon Tamers. This should tell you something.


This series contained examples of:

  • A God Am I: Sudo certainly thinks he is.
  • Abusive Parents: Shiina, Akira, and Hiroko all have at least one each. It's also implied that Norio and Takeo had them, but never explained in detail.
  • Action Girl: Shiina.
  • Action Mom: Jane Franklin, a manga-only character.
  • Actor Allusion: Junji's CV had done Camille in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, they all believe in Ramming Always Works.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: In the final three pages of the manga, with Shiina's daughter and Mamiko's son.
    • Fridge Horror: Shiina had sex with Takeo, who was dying of radiation poisoning at the time. Do the math.
  • Adult Child: Tatsumi Miyako is a little like this; Sato even calls him out on it at one point.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Might explain some of Takeo's popularity among the ladies.
  • Alpha Bitch: Aki Honda has to be one of the nastiest Alpha Bitches ever created. Akira also has her own personal Alpha Bitch in Hibiki Shimura, although her taunts seem tame in comparison to what Honda does.
  • Anti-Villain: Might be debatable who should be called a "villain" here, but still Bungo Takano appears as one of the most decent, emotionally stable and good-natured characters in the manga, after Shiina, her father and pre-insanity Hiroko, who does genuinely feel bad about killing.
  • Anyone Can Die: Even Shiina herself. Subverted since she is brought back to life by her true shadow dragon: the earth itself.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Satomi does this to Shiina when they first meet, just because she overheard her making fun of the name of her school. Much, much later, Akira slaps Shiina to get her out of an Heroic BSOD.
  • Asexuality: Sudo. He takes as a sign that he's already gotten above common human desires.
  • Badass Normal: Takeo, despite actually having a Shadow Dragon of his own.
  • Bait and Switch Credits: Probably the most pronounced example.
  • Berserk Button: Do not beat up on Satomi in front of Bungo, or he will kick you in the ribs. Satomi herself, meanwhile, hates it when anyone insinuates that she's weak.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Hiroko aka "Hiro-chan", who as soon as she gets her own dragon, Oni, uses it to murder the Alpha Bitch of her school, her brother/lover, the Alpha Bitch's Girl Posse and the parents that cared more about her grades than her emotional well-being, all of them in very gruesome and creepy manners. Hoshimaru must kill her in the end since Hiro-chan has become that insane.
    • Also another of Shiina's buddies, Akira Sakura, who eventually killed her abusive and rapist bastard of a father and eventually appears to throw herself out of a window.
    • Sudo and Komori are both considered particularly nice boys by the people who know them superficially, but are the secretly (well, not exactly secretly in Sudo's case) sadistic egomaniacs with dire plans for the world.
    • Finally, Shiina herself. After having her best friend Akira and her mother murdered in front of her,her boyfriend murdered by random thugs, all of it in one chapter right after the chapter where her father make a Heroic Sacrifice she finally snaps and decide to end the world by sprouting gigantic hands from earth and bitchslap every single soul to death.
  • Big Sister Instinct: The Virgin Princess who aids Shiina often in the manga is her older sister Mishou.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In episode 2 Mamiko is wearing a T-shirt with a russian word "Самолет" (Airplane) on it. It could be a Foreshadowing if it wasn't in Russian.
  • Black and Gray Morality
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Sudo is sorta blond...
  • Bond Creatures: The dragonets.
  • Book Dumb: Shiina. Subverted in the manga, when she gets a scholarship for a very prestigious all-girls junior high. Lampshaded when people speak about how she's the first girl in 14 years to get a scholarship there.
  • Bowdlerised: The manga received a fair amount of edits when it was released in English, with Dark Horse removing entire pages from one volume and getting Kitoh to redraw a certain infamous scene from the same; only seven volumes were even published in the United States.
    • The German version of the manga also received some edits, though they were milder than the English version's (volume 6 got an appendix discussing the nature of bullying in Japan added to it) and the German publishers actually finished releasing the series.
    • Amusing/frustrating aversion in the French edition: the publisher, Glénat, picked it up in the late 90's as a Shonen (no really), thinking it was a nice, harmless little Mon series. They pulled the plug after just the first two tankoubon, probably after somebody pointed out what happens later on (that manga & anime were under flak in France at a time due to a combination of Moral Guardians and gross mismarketing didn't help). It took ten years for them to republish it, this time under their more appropriate Seinen imprint, so far apparently uncut and unmodified.
    • There was also some Bowdlerisation in the anime adaptation. Many of the more shocking events happen off-screen, and the anime is even reluctant to show blood most of the time.
      • Though to be fair, many of the shocking events aren't shown because they don't happen (due to aforementioned missing second half).
  • Break the Cutie: Shiina's friends Hiroko Kaizuka and Akira Sakura. Shiina herself steadily goes through this throughout the manga, and at the end is as broken as broken gets after losing everything and everyone she ever cared about, and bringing about The End of the World as We Know It along with Mamiko.
    • Averted by Norio Koga, which is impressive given what ends up happening to him. Sure, he was raped to death but he didn't dwell on his situation, and instead focused on helping out Tsurumaru and Shiina by taking out bombers, despite the giant pedophile on his back.
  • Break the Haughty: Satomi, in the manga. Also, Aki Honda in both anime and manga.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Very strongly implied between Aki Honda and her brother Yasuhito.
  • Bury Your Gays: Poor Norio gets what has to be the most horrendous death out of anyone.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Years after her father's sexual abuse crippled her emotionally, Akira called him out by killing him.
  • Casanova: Takeo Tsurumaru
  • Celibate Heroine: Although Shiina is pretty young, she's already adamant that she'll never get married or have children. This is subverted in the manga; not only does Shiina develop feelings for Takeo, but she even has sex with him near the end, with their daughter going on to be the new Eve of the "cleansed" Earth.
  • Children Are Innocent: Subverted big-time.
  • Coming of Age Story: The bad kind.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Subverted - Miyoko, the only one of Aki Honda's group who showed any kind of remorse or hesitation about their treatment of Hiro-chan, was right. Had the girls not bullied and raped Hiro-chan, they would've not gotten the fate Oni dealt to them. Well, they would've died in the end, but still...
    • Actually, they might possibly have survived. The whole point of the manga was Shiina being slowly broken by the events that took place. Hiro-chan wasn't the biggest factor, but it certainly played a role.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Sort of - the anime only covered events from the first half of the manga. In condensing said events into 13 episodes, some manga scenes that served as foreshadowing got cut, but the adaptation was otherwise pretty faithful.
  • Covers Always Lie: The first manga volume, complete with misleading blurb on the back of the English version.
    • The French version's like that too. The blurb for that volume mentions that Shiina's "exciting adventures are just beginning!".
    • Also, one of the anime DVD covers has Hiro-chan smiling like a typical Cheerful Child character. She's... not quite like that in canon.
    • THIS!!! It's self-explanatory when far too many comments say that "THE OPENING IS A LIE!!!
  • Crap Saccharine World: As is typical of Mohiro Kitoh manga. It really isn't as cute as it initially appears.
  • Creepy Child: Well, creepy teens, but the effect is still the same.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Definitely a few of these in here. Norio's death has to take the cake, though.
  • Cute and Psycho: Akira, to some extent.
  • Cut Short / Left Hanging: The anime ended halfway through the story, giving very little closure; either there wasn't enough of an audience to keep going, or the producers were afraid of tackling what was coming next. Or both.
  • Dead Little Sister: Or better said, dead older sister - Misho, Shiina's older sister who died right after Shiina was born and became one of the Virgin Princesses. She's basically the reason Misono is the way she is.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The Jyun Ezumi that Shiina meets is actually Kyouji, who has taken on her appearance with the help of his shadow dragon; the real Jyun died in an accident two years prior to the story.
  • Death by Sex: Genderflipped, because Takeo is the one who dies soon after he and Shiina have sex.
  • Deconstruction: Though it's less apparent in later volumes, the series was a massive and brutal deconstruction of the Mon genre.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mamiko, despite being critically important in the manga, only appears in two anime episodes and doesn't even show up in the ED animation.
    • And don't forget Takaya Mizushima, whose first animated appearance is in episode 12, when he shows up out of the blue to save Hiroko, without any explanation of why he knew to be there, or even who he is, and then only because there was no way around it this time. (Originally, he was Shiina's neighbour and classmate, and a recurring minor character.)
  • Despair Event Horizon: In the manga, eventually crossed by Shiina, after she watches everyone she loves die horribly. The End of the World as We Know It follows.
  • Determinator: Norio
  • Deus Angst Machina: The plot can really feel like it's running on Murphy's Law at times. It's particularly bad for poor Akira, as there even seems to be a literal conspiracy to keep her from ever being happy again in the manga.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Oh, man. Satomi develops a murderous grudge against Shiina that started just because the latter made fun of the name of her school. In the manga, Sudo shoots two delinquents to death just for throwing a bag of trash into a river... and let's not even get started on what the city thugs do.
  • Downer Ending: In the manga and how.
  • Driven to Suicide: Akira tries to kill herself twice, but either can't bring herself to do it or gets slapped out of it. Eventually, she may have finally ended her suffering by throwing herself out of her hospital window... which might be the closest thing to a "happy ending" that anyone in the series ever got.
  • Dropped a Bridget On Him: Norio drops this on the city thugs that break into his and Takeo's home. It does not end well for him at all.
  • Dub Name Change: Bungo is renamed Kazuyuki in the Dark Horse manga volumes, probably just because it anglicizes better than Bungo. The last few chapters they translated (which never made it into English graphic novels) changed his name back to Bungo, though. Also, Tomonori is called Akinori on Central Park Media's page for the anime, possibly due to their translators misreading the kanji for his name.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Norio is mistaken for a girl several times in the manga.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Having issues with the world seems to be - and may even literally be - a requirement for bonding with a shadow dragon.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Shiina writes her first name in katakana because she really hates the way it's written in kanji, which is read as "empty husk" or "a seed that will never sprout". It eventually turns out that the name has a positive meaning after all (Misono didn't want Shiina to "leave" her like Mishou did) and when Shiina finally comes to accept it, she's able to link with her real shadow dragon... the Earth itself.
  • Emotionless Girl: Mamiko Kuri and the Otohimes.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Only in the manga, though.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Subverted with Tomonori Komori. It's revealed some time after his death that he had a sickly mother he was taking care of, but the reader already knows by then that the sickly were among the sorts of people he wanted to kill off.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Bungo bleaches his hair and starts slicking it back in later manga volumes.
  • Fan Disservice: Child sex, underage female nudity... not meant to be actual fanservice, and it shows.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Komori, in the manga.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: What the JSDF does to combat the dragons.
  • For the Evulz: Why Aki Honda and the city thugs could be considered to be much worse than the main villains.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: In the manga, Mamiko first goes on a killing spree while half naked. Her first targets? The thugs who'd just raped her.
  • Furo Scene: There's one in the manga, but it's got much more to do with characterisation than fanservice.
  • Gainax Ending: In the manga. It can be compared to End of Evangelion, but it's really much more bleak and nihilistic. Confusing, too.
  • Gatling Good: Bungo's dragon Hainuwele packs a mean vulcan.
  • Genki Girl: Subverted by Misho, Shiina's older sister, who starts as one of these but doesn't stay genki after Shiina's birth, and dies in very strange circumstances. When she reappears as a Virgin Princess, she's much closer to an Emotionless Girl. Also Shiina herself.
  • Genre Shift: When the horror elements kick in, they kick in.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Akira pulls this on Shiina, slap included, after her father dies.
  • Giant Flyer: The adult dragons.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: The earth sprouts these when controlled by either Mamiko or Shiina. In fact, this is the way humans meet their doom at the end. Seriously.
  • Girl Posse: Aki Honda's friends Miyoko, Mihaya and Hiroka are a specially nasty version of this. And do they and their Alpha Bitch get nasty Karmic Deaths as punishment. Only Miyoko, who only helped bully Hiro-chan because she was shit scared of being rejected by her "friends", survives - but is left traumatised and crippled.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Pre-haircut Shiina and Hiroko.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Played with. Norio's dying smile is ironic because he's regretting that he could never tell Takeo his real feelings. Also, he's not smiling when Takeo comes home to find his severed head.
  • Going Commando: Mamiko never wears panties.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The anime does this a lot, especially in the last two episodes. The manga's violence, on the other hand, is much more graphic.
  • Government Conspiracy: In the manga.
  • Grotesque Cute: As events turn darker and darker, Hoshimaru's cute design starts to look increasingly out of place. Also Cute Monster Girl Hainuwele, a doll-like armless angel that can spout weapons from its Claw-wings.
  • Happily Ever Before: Things get so much worse after the point where the anime ended.
  • Harmful to Minors: Oh boy...
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Satomi about Bungo. Even 13 year olds don't believe her anyway.
  • Healing Factor: An ability of the shadow dragons, though the bearers don't usually recover so well.
  • Heroic BSOD: Shiina gets these a few times. First, after the situation with Hiro-chan. Second, when she finds out Hoshimaru isn't actually her shadow dragon, but Takeo's. Third, when her father dies.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the manga, Shunji sacrifices his life by using his plane (more exactly, its engines) as a weapon to destroy Bungo's dragon
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the anime, Komori is killed when Hoshimaru replicates his own Push Dagger and spears him with it (as opposed to the broken plane strut used in the manga). A bigger example from both versions would be the way Aki Honda is killed by Oni, mirroring the way she tortured Hiro-chan.
  • Hope Spot: The last chapter of the manga. Shiina seems to have recovered from her father's death and is living happily with her mother. She and her mother head out to visit Akira in hospital... only for an angry mob to shoot up her mother's car, Akira to fall out of the hospital window in an apparent suicide, Takeo and Hoshimaru to be killed by a gang of thugs--after which Shiina and Mamiko initiate The End of the World as We Know It. Afterwards, a heavily pregnant Shiina is shown walking sround the ruins of the buildings she used to know, unable to muster up the will to do anything more for the world. What was that about hope?
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Akira doesn't want to have recurring nightmares and be ill because of her link to her Mon.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: On the other hand, Shiina surely does want to be special and have a Mon to call her own.
  • I Know You Are in There Somewhere Fight: Rather cruel subversion. Shiina tries this on Hiroko when she goes mad after all the abuse and gets Oni. It does NOT work. Hoshimaru has to kill her instead or she'll use Oni to kill Shiina's father.
  • Idiot Hair: Amusingly enough, Shiina gains one of these after her Important Haircut... after she's stopped being Book Dumb!
  • Implacable Mon: Satomi's dragon Amapola, after "evolving" into its more humanoid form. It takes an intervention from the Virgin Princess to defeat it and save Shiina's life.
  • Important Haircut: Akira gives herself one of these early on, after Komori tells her she's got beautiful hair. In the manga, Shiina, after having used pigtails for a good part of the story, gets her hair cut to bob length upon entering junior high; by that time, we see that Akira has let hers grow again.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Sure sucks to be Norio there...
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Mamiko, though it might be more accurate to call her a Not-So-Innocent Fandisservice Girl.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Sudo, Komori, and Hiro-chan except for Shiina.
  • It Got Worse: Oh, damn yeah.
  • It's All Junk: Shouko Fukuyama, after being told off by Jyun.
  • Jerkass: Takeo. Part of it is a facade, but really, only a part.
  • Karmic Death: Well, sort of. The bullies that "broke" Hiro-chan get this, most obviously with Aki Honda, who has all the torments she devised revisited on her tenfold, before being painfully killed. But even the most reluctant, remorseful member of her Girl Posse is incredibly brutalized and only survives because of outside intervention.
  • Kick the Dog: Satomi, when she gets some screentime when she's not hesitant about killing her school friend in order to get Shiina. Also Takeo practices some dog-kicking in his free time, especially on girls.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Very, very cruel. This is a series where sixth-graders can be Complete Monsters.
  • Kill'Em All: Come on people! Break the Cutie! I dare you...
  • Killed Off for Real: Tomonori Komori, early on. The death toll rises from there.
  • Killer Rabbit: Hoshimaru, pretty much
  • Kissing Cousins: Shouko's feelings for her cousin Kyouji.
  • Knife Nut: Komori.
  • Little Miss Badass: Mamiko Kuri.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Poor little Robert Franklin...
  • Living with the Villain: Or rather, Going To School With The Villain; Shiina enters the same school that Satomi attends, while Mamiko also enrolls.
  • Lolicon: Can't really get away from it. Two pregnant young girls are all that's left of humanity in the end of the manga. And let's not explore the Shotacon territory of this series.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Hiro-chan.
  • Love Hurts
  • Made of Iron: Takeo is like this at times in the manga, even taking a shotgun blast to the chest and barely even flinching. He's far from invincible, though, and eventually succumbs to radiation poisoning.
  • Mama Bear: Jane Franklin.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Sudo, Takeo.
  • Mauve Shirt: Ono. Ui might also count if not for the fact she survived that fall.
  • Mons: The dragonets, or "shadow dragons", or whatever your translation calls them.
  • Mood Whiplash: VERY MUCH.
  • Mukokuseki: Averted. You can tell by looking that Jane Franklin and the Russians in the manga are, well, not Japanese. Also "The Pedobear" looks somewhat Latin.
  • Naive Everygirl: Shiina starts out as one. Logically, she doesn't stay like that.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: The dragons are almost impossible to kill, and ordinarily can only die if their bearers die and don't merge with them to become an adult dragon and Virgin Princess. In the manga, the one time a dragon is actually killed (without killing the bearer first) is when Shunji crushes Bungo's dragon in the engines of his fighter jet near the end.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. In the manga, 13-years-old Shiina gets her first period right after she dies and is subsequently reborn in the island where her grandparents live.
    • Also, Naozumi discovers that it's Satomi's time of the month after she passes out and wets herself when her dragon is cut up by an attack chopper's rotor blades.
    • Akira is taunted by some girls at school because of her period and she mentions that she did just have it.
  • Off-Model: The car chase scene in episode six of the anime. Sudo apparently drives three different cars, and the patrol car keeps changing.
  • Offing the Offspring: Attempted by a completely fucked up Misono, who tried strangling Shiina to death when she was a small child, blaming her for the then-recent and very weird death of her other daughter Mishou.
  • The Ojou: Hiro-chan is the daughter of a very rich family and lives in a Big Fancy House.
  • Olympus Mons: Sheol, a.k.a. the Earth itself
  • Ominous Floating Castle: It's not like any bad guys live in it, but even so - one of the manga-only dragons, Baba Yaga's Hut, resembles a kilometre-wide floating house with long claws hanging underneath.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, since there are two minor yet notable characters named Aki; apart from the nasty Alpha Bitch Aki Honda, there's also Tatsumi Miyako's Sexy Secretary, Aki Sato. It's a good thing no one mixes them up with each other, or with Akira, for that matter...
  • Otaku: Bungo is a military nut.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: And HOW!
  • Parental Abandonment: Although given how horrible Shiina's mother is for much of the series, it's probably for the best that she doesn't live with Shiina and Shunji.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Most people's reaction to Mamiko.
  • Rape as Drama: Poor Hiro-chan and Norio...
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Shouko gets one of these from Jyun.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Misono. Right after we get to see her side of the story, as well as having her reunite with Shiina and patch things up, she's shot to death.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The anime opening. Oh so very much.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Very strange example in that Shiina plays this to herself. When she gets shot in half by a fighter jet, the Earth (which is actually her real shadow dragon) creates a new Shiina a couple of chapters later.
  • Rich Bitch: Subverted. Satomi looks and acts like one, but turns out she's anything but rich, and a big fuss she makes about "elitarism" and social position comes from the fact she's ashamed of failing Banda's entance exams at first.
    • Also, Aki Honda is a monstrous Alpha Bitch, but she's from a middle-class family.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Hoshimaru... or so it seems.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Played with; when Hiro-chan finally breaks, she uses her dragonet to go on a bloody rampage, killing everyone who ever wronged her. Then she moves on to anyone who stands in her way or she simply happens to dislike. However, she remains eerily calm through the whole thing, even as she attempts to kill Shiina's father. She just seems repressed to the point of being physically incapable of articulating her anger and can only channel it though the monstrous Oni.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Well, in the manga giant hands come out of the earth and bitchslap all of human existance into dust. No, really.
  • The Runaway: Among the main cast, there's Norio. There's also Kaori, the unlucky young girl whom Takeo deals with in a rather harsh manner when earning his money in one side arc.
  • Scars Are Forever: Shiina gets stabbed through her left hand when trying to fend off Oni, which leaves a fairly conspicuous scar there for the rest of the manga. It stays even though she dies and is brought back.
  • Scholarship Student: In the manga, Shiina becomes one of these when she enters junior high.
  • Seinen: While it can easily be mistaken for Shoujo (because of the perky female lead) or Shounen (because of the Mons) at first glance, it's definitely not for kids.
  • Self-Made Orphan: When Hiro-chan snaps, the first people she kills with Oni are her own parents. Also, Sudo may be responsible for the "disappearance" of his parents and older brother.
  • Shadow Archetype: Shiina and Mamiko.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Jyun Ezumi has a broomstick-shaped shadow dragon she calls Nendo. Guess what Nendo means. There's also Satomi's dragon, Amapola, whose name is simply the Spanish word for poppy.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: The shadow dragons fight by forming replicas of weapons they've come into contact with, ranging from blades to rocket launchers and everything in between.
  • Shrinking Violet: Akira - to the highest degree - and Miyoko.
  • Shoot the Dog: Hoshimaru having to kill Hiro-chan when she goes off the deep end and threatens to kill Shiina's father. In the anime, the dog is shaggy.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This series lies on the far, far end of the cynical side. Depending on your view of the world, it can start to feel like Wangst.
  • Smug Snake: Tatsumi Miyako.
  • Social Darwinist: Tomonori Komori
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The anime OP song. Enough said.
  • Spoiler Opening: The intro isn't as innocuous as first appears, and even references some manga-only twists.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: Subverted when Shiina is killed very suddenly and very messily right after it's insinuated she might not actually be the main character, almost as though she's outlived her usefulness to the plot. Thankfully, she's reborn a couple of chapters later, and very much remains the protagonist. Played straight with Norio, who is killed off in an extremely gruesome manner more or less just to break Takeo further, and with Misono, who's killed off right after her and Shiina's reconciliation, and her death is part of what pushed her into fully embracing her role as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Subverted Kids Show: Though targeted to a seinen audience, this is the only explanation for the tone of the opening as compared to the subject matter. All the characters are cheerily illustrated, dancing to a bubblegum folk sound. Are you ready for this, kids?
  • Surprise Creepy
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Satomi
  • Teens Are Monsters: See a pattern here? At one point, highschooler Satomi Ozawa uses her shadow dragon Amapola to gas a whole field of soldiers to death with toxic pollen... and that's a relatively mild example!
  • There Are No Therapists: Though if there were, we wouldn't have nearly the same story.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Why Akira would rather keep the shadow dragon issue hush-hush.
  • This Is Something I've Got To Do Myself: In the manga, Shiina accepts missions too dangerous for a girl her age, saying she feels she's gotta do it.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In the manga. At one point, it's made to look as though Shiina might not be the main character after all, given where Hoshimaru's loyalties really lie. It turns out she still is, though.
  • Tomato Surprise: Again, manga only. Why can't Shiina link with Hoshimaru? Because he was never her dragon in the first place, and instead belongs to her ally Takeo Tsurumaru. She doesn't react well to the revelation, bless her.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Shiina and either Akira or Hiroko.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The final result is only shown in the manga, but even so. Poor, poor Shiina.
  • Tsundere: Satomi Ozawa, especially towards her ex-boyfriend Bungo. Norio qualifies as a male example, though given that his love interest is such a jerk, his deredere side doesn't show much.
  • Ubermensch: Naozumi Sudo.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Aki Satou and her fiancé.
    • Shiina's parents. Good thing that their daughters and granddaughter took the looks after Misono rather than her husband.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Shiina, in the manga. Getting cut in half by vulcan rounds would be a totally unambiguous death in normal circumstances... but then Shiina is mysteriously reborn at the island where her grandparents live.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Sudo and Komori both have their own plans that involve this.
  • Vagina Dentata: Norio's dragon is named this; fittingly enough, its head does look a bit like a toothy vagina.
  • Villain Protagonist: an alternate interpretation for Shiina from those who believe she and Mamiko went a little too far with their planet-wide genocide.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Takeo and Norio.
  • We Can Rule Together: Portrayed more credibly than usual. Akira and Shiina receive offers from Hiroko (Shiina), Sudo and Komori (Akira). None go well.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Satomi's relationship with Bungo.
  • What Does She See in Him?: It is revealed that Aki Sato's boyfriend is not some millionaire or politician, but a humble, ugly (and possibly mildly retarded) florist.
  • Wham! Episode: While Akira's introductory chapter/episode makes things quite a bit darker than they initially appeared, it's her and Shiina's encounter with Komori that sets the true tone of the series. Hiro-chan's arc and volume 10 of the manga deliver big whams, too.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Komori.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Norio, to a degree.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Hiroko. "Anything I don't like, I'll destroy." Fortunately for the world, she fails. Then again, much later in the manga Shiina succeeds with this trope. It's not pretty.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Some of the kids become very aware of the power that their shadow dragons give them, and end up abusing it.
  • Yandere: Hiro-chan.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Shiina literally has blue hair.
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