Why do you fight? Why do you exist?
The Spanish have failed to conquer the Aztecs, whose empire expands faster than any power in previous history. War between the two nations powers an exponential Lensman Arms Race, and soon neutral nations are forced to retreat, leaving the map completely dominated by the Aztec Empire and the rivaling Iberian Empire. The fighting only escalates as weaponry becomes more and more powerful, and it soon seems the world will be plunged in war forever.
Ilivais X (link is WAY behind, but it's not in a very presentable format anywhere else) starts fairly standardly, where Iriana Estchell, a serenely disturbed and childish-looking girl escapes her Aztec rulers in the eponymous Ilivais X, only to be captured by three members of the Gaia Forces: Mille Chanteau, Essen Dywell, and Sura Verandis, who quickly become her main allies and her only friends (despite what she says).
The story is more focused on Character Development than mecha blowing each other up, and shifts in personal motivations are just as important, if not more so, than the outcome of battles. It's something like Neon Genesis Evangelion or Space Runaway Ideon set in a Code Geass-like plot, what with the robots being highly empathetic (while actually being robots) and the cast's dysfunctionality being heavily exploited. It can be seen as a Deconstruction of Real and Super robot traits, presenting a conflict between the two and their usual standards. It also has a large amount of anime flavor and takes a hell of a lot of cues from other mecha shows- if it's well-known within the genre, chances are you can probably find some element of that played with or referenced at some point.
- Affably Evil: Basically the ONLY inherently evil people are Sycine, Arteya, and MAYBE Lau.. The majority of the Aztec and Iberian empires are made up of fairly decent people, and the fact that they've essentially created two utopias divided by a somewhat harmless war gives their ideologies far more merit than the Gaia Forces'. It's not a stretch to say Iriana's more villainous than the better part of the people she's exacting revenge upon (then again, it's MOSTLY Sycine's fault).
- All Nations Are Superpowers: The Aztec Empire encompasses all of North and South America, while the Iberian Empire has Europe, Russia, and Africa. The Gaia Forces are left with Australia, Antarctica, and a "useless" sliver of Russia.
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: The 26 Ilivais units have more elaborate titles, but always go by their assigned letter designation. "Ilivais X" is much more convenient to say than "Aztec Ilivais Prototype X- Dark Energy Phonos Weapon", after all.
- Alternate History Wank: Maybe. While the Aztecs conquering all of North and South America is fairly plausible, the Iberian Empire isn't as much. It could be explained by multiple-point attacks organized in secret and coming out of the blue for Spain's neighbors, but it would need to be fairly sudden and well-planned to succeed against Britain or France. The point of divergence isn't well-explained either- the Aztecs may have somehow acquired Spanish weapons, or Montezuma could have been a wizard.
- Animal Motifs: The Avespias are basically bees in the form of building-sized robots.
- Animesque: The setting establishes itself with as many anime quirks as possible, essentially so the "dark reprise of all mecha anime" part is more effective. Though it has no artwork with it, the entire point is to picture everything looking like an anime.
- Arc Words: The quote at the top, used quite a bit by several characters. The way it's put in most scenarios, to "exist" is to make life, both in the context of love and creation, and it intertwines with fighting, or both violence and destruction, encompassing the themes of the story in a nutshell.
- The Battlestar: The Iberian MES battleships.
- Beta Couple: Subverted with Churi and Sycine. They broke up well before the start of the story but they did give Iriana the idea of being attracted to girls.
- Black Eyes of Evil: Any time someone initiates an End Code. This is usually accompanied with a mild Berserker Rage or Axe Crazy state.
- Boring but Practical: The Espadas are stated and described as being somewhat bland (aside from the cockpit being on the shoulder), and they do tend to drop like flies, but they've shown themselves fully capable of using swarm tactics effectively, and even managed to bring Iriana in a few close scrapes in the early chapters.
- Cerebus Rollercoaster: Some chapters are bleak, depressing and dark in general. Some would make you think that the story is a massive parody of pretty much everything. Some go through both at once. There's not really any rhyme or reason to this.
- Combining Mecha: The STRUQ Team is this, all of which are awkward-looking in mecha form but much more elegant in part form. Their End Codes have them transform to attack.
- Desperation Attack: The End Code, which varies for its users. It's a last-resort move for GEKICOM units, where they put forth the full power of their element in a final attack at expense of most or all of their energy (unless they have a recharging source, as E was capable of continuing due to being powered by a storm). For the Specialized Weapon Units, it's a full assault technique using a bit of everything in their arsenal, and they can use it as many times as their ammo/energy will hold out. For the STRUQ units, they just transform into whatever part of the combined mecha the unit is and attack that way. A has Soul Blade which isn't an actual End Code, and the Phonos Weapons get various Spheres of Destruction.
- Disney Death: Seyne gets an End Code in the face, and A is trashed beyond repair. The Aztecs are pretty sure he's dead, but about 25 seconds after they say that, Mille is shown to have rescued him for some reason.
- Dysfunction Junction: Almost every character has some kind of big issue in their way. Considering that there's 26 Ilivais pilots, 6 Iberian commanders, and the three Avespia pilots, and we have a MASSIVE pileup of personal issues coming back almost every other minute.
- Elemental Powers: The GEKICOM Team, all of which basically have full control over a certain element. No points for guessing which prototypes compose them.
- The Empire: Both the Aztec and Iberian empires.
- Expy: A lot, considering that this is a darker reprise of almost every mecha anime ever. The eponymous mech is pretty much Zeorymer (and the GEKICOM Elementals are based off the Hakkeshu as well), many of the characters are incredibly similar to those from other sources, etc.
- Five-Bad Band: The Aztec Commanders.
- Big Bad: Anosa
- The Dragon: Seyne , at least until he defects.
- The Brute: Sycine
- The Evil Genius: Omnes
- The Dark Chick: Noille
- The STRUQ Team under Noille also counts.
- Five-Man Band:
- Foil: Mille and Iriana. Mille is warm, motherly, accepting, a little hot-headed, and has a build fitting of such a person. Iriana is cold, lonesome, walled-off, overly logical, and has a thin, fragile frame. Seyne and Iriana count as well, Seyne being an experienced and noble warrior in a weak mech, while Iriana is in an incredibly powerful machine, but she has no idea what she's doing and isn't above playing a little dirty as a result.
- High-Pressure Emotion: Deconstructed with the Drive Cores. Whenever someone is resonating highly with their own Drive Core (as in heavily feeling its set emotion), they start to glow and give off huge amounts of energy.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter is a "day", which makes sense given each one takes place within a rough 24-hour period (though it tends to be more divided on when the main characters sleep). Also, most of the chapter titles not only relate to the specific Monster of the Week, but also somewhat to the character interactions.
- La Résistance: The Cycle Squad and the Gaia Forces (though the latter is more of a neutral area with a military solely for self-defense)
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Whatever the hell it was that happened on Day 13. Iriana at first it was some sort of metaphorical mindscape thing, and believed tearing off Alice's skin was an analogy for the Drive Core. Then she returns to reality. Guess who had been essentially flayed? A bit of Fridge Horror when you realize Iriana was a second away from unintentionally doing the same thing to Mille.
- Loyal Phlebotinum: Subverted. From how Ilivais X "talked" to Mille, it seems as though it doesn't like Iriana that much, as she rejects both the Drive Core within X itself and her own Drive Core that X is coded to accept, but able to pilot simply because she does this. As such, it accepts Mille as its official pilot, which explains why she could use the End Code and instinctually blow stuff up, while Iriana can't use it and she has to struggle to be able to fight at all.
- Magnetic Plot Device: Ilivais X, specifically its Cyclic Engine. If Iriana had run away in anything else, it would eventually be recaptured anyway, since the Gaia Forces would've been unable to acquire the exclusive energy source that powers the Ilivais units. Since she DOES have the Cyclic Engine, she constantly has to fight off the Aztecs and she can't really live a normal life (though considering she can't leave the Ilivais for extended periods of time, she couldn't do that no matter what she did).
- Meaningful Name: "Espada" is Spanish for "sword". "Avespia" is a portmanteau of "avispa" and "espia", or "bee" and "spy", appropriate given its nature. Ilivais is an alternate spelling of "elevais", or "to ascend", though this was entirely coincidental.
- Damn near every character's name has some meaning, likely explaining why hardly any of them are anywhere near conventional. We'd be here all day describing what they all mean.
- Mind Rape: What happens when Iriana tries to throw away all caution and hastily merge with Mille.
- Mini-Mecha: The Oberos units, which are unarmed utility mechs the size of a Smart. For being mundane civil service machines, they sure proved effective at reclaiming Ilivais X.
- Modern Mayincatec Empire: Obviously, the Aztec Empire.
- Monster of the Week: A different Ilivais prototype shows up nearly every day, though recent events have kinda made that prone to change. The amount, not the fact that fighting the empires is the Cycle Squad's daily job.
- Real Robot: The Iberian Empire mostly uses the Espada, a small, fragile, yet cheap and effective machine that stands about 6 meters tall. The initial prototype proved to be so successful that the current models are hardly changed from the original, in direct contrast to the Aztec army. The Avespias that Mille, Essen, and Sura pilot count as well.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mille is the Red Oni (despite having blue-ish hair), as she's more passionate, impulsive, and a little Hot-Blooded. Iriana's the Blue Oni, who at least tries to be calm and composed, but is strung up VERY tightly and prone to completely losing it in all sorts of ways.
- Red String of Fate: Iriana did this in a somewhat literal way with Mille, making the string out of each others blood in a kind of haphazard transfusion. Since every cell of Iriana is designed to return to her, this essentially means Mille will always innately know where she is and be drawn to that location.
- Save the Villain: Mille decides to bring the mostly-dead Seyne with her after he and Casud destroy the original base.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: Though neither of them are actually in school, both Iriana and Mille are the right age for this. It started off as a somewhat ambiguous Romantic Two-Girl Friendship, but it quickly developed into a relationship. Granted, not a PRETTY relationship, but still.
- Sibling Rivalry: Seyne is The Rival to Iriana after all. It may border on an inverted Cain and Abel situation depending on how far Iriana will go, as Seyne's too honorable for that and he believes killing opponents wastes what could be a useful life. This dissipated entirely upon Seyne's Heel Face Turn.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness Versus Cynicism Versus Idealism: The main dynamic between Iriana and Mille. Iriana fits in much with a heavy-handed, dramatic story of angstiness, while Mille practically views sillier old Super Robot Genre shows as her holy manuscript, and as such, it shifts all over both scales. It even spills into each others' characters as time goes on- Mille has much less optimistic depths to her, while Iriana harbors a bit of a lighthearted Deadpan Snarker side on occasion.
- It's also, to an extent, Iriana's main conflict with the rest of the characters, or even the whole story- in a world that's very idealistic with fairly lighthearted citizens, Iriana drops drama bombs all over the place and overall creates more friction than a centuries-old war.
- Square-Cube Law: Averted, to an extent. Most of the mecha are designed explicitly for flight, considering most Ilivais units simply use the legs as close-combat blades, and the Avespias and Espadas simply do not have feet. Ilivais A wasn't capable of true flight, and could only support itself from a combination of backup thrusters and Seyne's abilities, and F/J can walk about on land, but also possess flight capabilities.
- Super Prototype: All 26 of the Ilivais prototypes are capable of annihilating entire Iberian armies with ease singlehandedly. A bit subverted in A's case- it doesn't have amenities such as an End Code, wings, or capable weapons, just pointed legs it can barely stand on and inferior bladed arms. The only reason Seyne's able to stand up to everyone is because he's THAT good.
- The Phonos Weapons, comprising V through Y, are not intended for mass-production models at all. Their entire purpose is solely to be overpowered, expensive prototypes.
- Super Robot: The Aztec Ilivais units, composed of 26 One-Man Army Super Prototypes and they're 25-30 meters tall. The MP units are manufactured in the mere dozens as opposed to the swarms of Espadas, simply because the Aztecs rely on the prototypes so heavily.
- Theme Naming: The members of the STRUQ Team have vaguely numerical names in alphabetical unit order- Noille (0), Primo (1), Dia (2), Kolme (3), Lau (4).
- Weapon of Choice: The Specialized Weapon Units, which make up every other prototype until Q.
- X Makes Anything Cool: Though the use is justified, as it's the 24th prototype out of 26, it can't be coincidence that Ilivais X just happens to have the infinite energy generator and escalating powers and teleportation and regeneration and just a ton of other neat abilities.
- You Will Be Assimilated: Both the Null and Drive Cores and Mille's Infinity Drive Core have the side-effect of taking a fragment of the opponent's soul, allowing the pilot of X to use some of their abilities.
- Yuri Genre: Doesn't start off having really any subtext at all, but once Mille and Iriana's relationship gets going it becomes quite central to the overall plot.