"Come on now...give it your best shot! Maybe then it'll be a real battle! SO GET OFF YOUR ASS AND FIGHT ME!!!!"
(Variously written as S-Cry-ed, sCRYed, s.CRY.ed or s-CRY-ed)
A massive disaster hits Japan, separating a section of Tokyo into a new island, known as the "Lost Ground". The disaster also causes 1% of the babies born there to develop superpowers. These powers come in the form of causing matter to vanish (be it areas of landscape, vehicles, watermelons or dead bodies) and using the mass to summon separate, machine-like beings, known as Alters, which personify a superpower of some sort. (One subset of Alter Users are "alloy-types", whose Alters form part of themselves, and one or two display the ability to affect other's Alters without summoning one themselves, but mostly the Alters are used like Mons). The nature of the superpowers varies from typical Stock Super Powers to really weird ideas: "Turn anything into water", "Turn any car into a pink Mach 5", "Summon an enormous gun" or even "Do anything, as long as it involves watermelons".
One organization (HOLY) strives to control the super-powered population while rebuilding civilization on the island, while rebels and thugs attempts to resist them, and small communities live independently of the government in the wilder lands.
The manga makes a number of changes from the anime. The anime uses subtle characterization and two mutually-antagonistic Anti-Hero leads (the Knight Templar and the Idiot Hero) without overly favoring one or the other. The manga is more prone to Card Carrying Villains and gives a different explanation as to the Meta Origin of the Alters (Evolutionary Levels). Actually, the ending of the manga is very much like a later work we tropers love but with more gore, nudity, and profanity.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Kimishima likes Ayase who likes Kazuma who never notices her; Cougar likes
MinoriMimori who likes Ryuhou, as does Scheris. (Ryuhou may like Mimori back but refuses to have a relationship because of gult over Scheris' sacrifice to save him.) The only character who gets a relationship with someone is Asuka Tachibana - and his girlfriend Cammy is only a minor character.
- Anime Hair: Kazuma's Alter ability causes his hair to stand up.
- Anime First
- Another Dimension
- Anti-Hero: Kazuma is a Type III, although during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge he veers into Type IV. Kimishima is a Type I.
- Anti-Magic: Kaname has a mild version. She's able to ignore Unkei's Mad Sprict power without even noticing, and instantly deduces that Kigetsuki's Tokonatsu Sisters aren't actually human despite the fact that there's basically no way to tell on sight. Both can be attributed to her being a latent psychic.
- Anti-Villain: Ryuhou is a Type III with a dash of Type II thrown in. Urizane, Illian, and Sherise are all Type IV. Cougar may be a Type III or a Type IV; his motives are never really explained.
- Anyone Can Die
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Ryuhou defends a settlement from a HOLY unit. Slight subversion in that he continues to do so even after recovering his memories.
- Awesome McCoolname: Straight Cougar.
- Badass: Just about anyone with an Alter who isn't an Jerkass about it.
- Badass Normal: Kimishima
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Ryuhou and Kazuma eventually gain enough power that they can reach Earth orbit unaided, and their Battle Aura evidently keeps them from asphyxiating while up there.
- Battle Aura: Ryuhou and Kazuma both have one when particularly pumped up.
- Berserk Button: Call Cougar slow.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Emergy Maxfell's Alter basically is this trope. Due to severe trauma he experienced as a child, Emergy's Alter only activates when he feels he's in extreme peril ("a pinch situation", as he likes to call it), at which point a Humongous Mecha bursts from the ground to "save him from the pinch".
- More conventionally, Kazuma and Ryuho get plenty of these moments.
- Bizarre Baby Boom
- Body Horror: Kazuma's arm and eye are pretty messed up by the end.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Biff once captured by HOLY. It's so bad that all he can say is "HAMMER!!" in different volumes and tones of voice.
- Call Back: When Kazuma first fights Ryuhou, he gets his ass kicked, and tries to raise his arm and form a fist before collapsing. in the final episode, an unidentified arm rises up and forms a fist.
- Calling Your Attacks
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Scheris to Ryuho.
- Conflict Killer: Kyoji Mujo
- Cool Car: Cougar's secondary ability is to morph any car into a hot pink hot rod with incredible speed, though they are prone to explode after he's done with them.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Cougar. He's probably the strongest alter user in existence other than the protagonists and Mujo. In the manga, he's just a Badass.
- Crowning Moment of Funny: Pretty much any time Cougar is onscreen.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Many of the fights are this. Just about anyone Kazuma or Ryuhou fights between the timeskip and them entering Mujo's fortress gets their ass handed to them effortlessly.
- Deadly Upgrade: Upgrading one's Alter ability causes gradual but irreversible damage to one's body. (e.g., the Speedster character walks oddly because when not in his superspeed form, his legs are "seriously messed up".) The unnatural version, as Courgar's is, seems to be more immediately damaging, while "natural" evolution is more gradual. Kazuma and Ryuhou both seem to suffer minor physical deformations from using their Alters, Kazuma moreso since his body-reshaping Alter modifies him at all three stages. Ryuhou has an independent Alter that just becomes a suit of armor at level 3, so his changes are minor.
- It seems to be implied that by upgrading one's Alter ability, the damage eventually causes the person to die. Ayase holds on out of sheer willpower, but once her brother dies she loses all of the will to fight anymore and passes away. Cougar goes out in a more peaceful manner, but dies far younger than he should have.
- Death Wail: Ryuho does this twice, once at the beginning after his family is killed and again when Scheris dies. Hikaru Midorikawa is excellent with such scenes.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Averted, not for Kazuma
- Defence Mechanism Superpower: Emergy Maxfell, as noted in Big Damn Heroes.
- Deliberately Bad Example(s): Lots of characters demonstrate Ryuhou's sincerity by doing what he would do if he had ulterior motives. Several also demonstrate that Kazuma is a lot better than most of the alter-users out in the wild.
- Tatsunami demonstrates what a slave-driver in Ryuhou's position would do.
- Emargy demonstrates a development-arrested brat's behavior in the same position.
- Kyoji demonstrates what a power-hungry control freak would do with the same amount of power.
- "Big-Kun" shows the way a lot of the other alter users besides Kazuma use their powers to oppress others.
- Other unnamed villainous alter users in one of Mimori's historical flashbacks are shown proudly posing with their alters for the camera in front of the destruction they've just caused.
- The villainous behavior of certain normal human crime bosses out in the bad lands also stands in contrast to both Kazuma and Ryuhou's nobler intentions.
- Kigetsuki actually demonstrates this trope to Ryuhou by threatening Kanami, reasoning that as a HOLY member the ends justify the means. Ryuhou sees this as cowardly, which allows him to see the world from Kazuma's perspective and realize what he used to seem like to the Inners.
- Determinator: Definitely Kazuma, and probably Ryuhou.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The answer is yes, Kazuma did, when Mujo returned from The Other Side looking like a Cosmic Horror.
- Distant Finale: Doesn't really add much.
- Distracted From Death: Kazuma starts carrying an injured Kimishima home, and doesn't notice until he gets there that Kimishima died along the way.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: This exchange between Kazuma and Kyoji Mujo.
Kazuma: So you must be the one who--
- Forget that! What about Tatsunami and his Magnum?
Tatsunami: It's big. It's hard. And it's coming to get you!
- Double Entendre: George Tatsunami and his "Big Magnum"
- Possibly delving into Memetic Molester territory with aforementioned "Big Magnum".
- The Dragon: Ryuhou, to Commander Jigmar. Partial subversion in that Jigmar is more than capable of handing pre-fusion Ryuhou his ass, but if he uses his alter he ages decades in a matter of minutes.
- Drives Like Crazy: Straight Cougar.
- Dump Them All: The Scheris/Mimori/Ryuhou love triangle ends with Scheris dead and Ryuhou rejecting Mimori despite his implied attraction to her because he feels it wouldn't be right. Although he displayed no attraction to Scheris either, she died for him.
- Dying as Yourself: Biff.
- Evolving Credits: There are at three basic versions of the opening, for Kazuma and Ryuhou and one for when they have equal focus, each with a different verse of the opening theme; each episode mixes elements together reflecting the episode and the plot to date. Only two episodes share the exact same opening credit sequence.
- Also, whenever a character dies, their future appearance(s) in the opening become Deliberately Monochrome.
- Faceless Mooks: The HOLD officers, the Darths
- Fingerless Gloves: Kazuma wears one on one hand, which he refuses to remove.
- It's possibly to hide scarring from overuse of his alter ability - certainly the scarring was there when we saw the glove removed later on in the series.
- In flashbacks his hand is bloodied and bandaged, hinting that as a child not knowing how to use his first-form alter he may have made some mistake in re-forming the split arm.
- Five-Man Band: Some of the more well-intentioned HOLY members could be seen as one.
- Framing Device: Kanami's dream scrying.
- Gecko Ending: Inverted: the manga is an adaptation of the anime.
- Gratuitous English: Present in both the opening theme (Yasuaki Ide's "Reckless Fire") and the closing theme (Mikio Sakai's "Drastic My Soul", which gave us the infamous line "I believe in drastic my soul!")
- Handsome Lech
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Urizane, despite being the guy who does stuff with watermelons, seems to be able to do just about anything as long as he's holding a watermelon.
- Hero Antagonist: Sherise, Illian, and Urizane. Cougar may be as well. Ryuhou is an aversion.
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Hero Insurance: Every use of an Alter power causes damage to the surroundings, even if no one fights, as nearby matter is disintegrated to form the body of the summoned Alter. However, since most of the Alter use is done outside the city, which is a total shit-hole, no one cares. They don't care when the city is taken out, either, since the entire island is declared such.
- Hot-Blooded: Kazuma arguably qualifies. While he may slack at times, if he finds something he really cares about, he really goes at it.
- How Much More Can He Take?: The last part of the final battle. Kazuma and Ryuhou burn out their alters completely and just start fighting each other normally.
- Ho Yay: Aside from the usual when it comes to the two male leads obsessing over each other, there's Unkei, who apparently deliberately pumps up the Ho Yay between Kazuma and Ryuho up to eleven during their sparring match orchestrated by his Alter power. This is what ultimately tips his hand to Kazuma, who realizes he's being controlled.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Zetsuei
- It seems to be more of a justified Power Limiter as their energy is drained a lot faster when using it.
- Idiot Hero: Kazuma
- Kazuma himself lampshades this.
Mujo: Stupid. You are so stupid.
- Judging from other characters' assessments of him, however, this applies only to his being Book Dumb; while he has virtually no formal education and isn't very sociable, he's shown to be very street smart and tactically deadly in a fight. As one of the others notes, "he isn't throwing his punches at random."
- Improbable Weapon User: Urizane uses watermelons, and somehow this is not out of the ordinary.
- Or perhaps people are willing to overlook the strangeness when they consider how he can do almost anything with them. He can make them grow huge until they crush you to death, turn an entire building into a watermelon for a second (thus destroying it when it turns back, somehow), and can even teleport, sort of, by stepping inside a giant watermelon, having it shrink to nothing, then having it grow anew in a different location, with him still inside it.
- There's also the novelist guy who attacks with paper. Though at least this is a last resort when his More Than Mind Control gets broken, and it was horrendously ineffective.
- Of course part of that has to do with him fighting unrestrained Zetsuei.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: Sort of. The ending of the manga features a face-off between alien invaders (led by expies of Neya and Commander Viscuess from Infinite Ryvius in a ship blatantly based on Ryo-Ohki from Tenchi Muyo!) and Kazuma and company, with Kazuma himself perched atop the Ryvius.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Oddly, Kazuma has to evolve into this from a bipolar personality... but Ryuhou is always like this.
- Debatable. Kazuma gives the reward money he earned for saving the mainland official in the first episode to a kid whose father was injured and couldn't work. He's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold from the start, at least up until he fails to rescue the captive Native Alters from HOLY, Kimishima is killed, and he triggers the Second Uprising, and he slips into an epic Heroic BSOD. He gets better, but he's a bit more cynical afterward. It's less him being bipolar and more him hiding what he does/is from Kanami in the beginning.
- Knight Templar: Ryuhou. He gets better.
- Large Ham: Straight Cougar! Complete with Crispin Freeman voicing him in the dub.
- Lighthearted Rematch: Subverted. After teaming up and defeating the Conflict Killer, the two leads decide to fight it out to see who is best after all - but this takes up the entire last episode and is the longest and definitely most brutal fight in the entire series. It appears to end in a double knockout - but one last shot as the credits start imply that at least one is still moving. A hand rises behind a curtain of dust, and does a gesture typical for Kazuma.
- Depending on how you interpret the ending, it may count as an Evasive Fight Thread Episode as well.
- Meaningful Name: Or rather, lack of a name. Kazuma is the only major character without a surname, which symbolizes his status as an outcast from proper Japanese society.
- Megaton Punch: Kazuma's basic ability. At his base level, he once punched a mook across a football field. In the finale, he punches Mujo into another dimension.
- Mook Horror Show: Kazuma's Unstoppable Rage after Kimishima's death.
- Morality Pet: Kanami for Kazuma; Scheris for Ryuhou
- Motherly Scientist: Dr. Mimori Kiryu. Feeling compassion for how Kazuma is tortured, she lets him escape, and later gets interested in the Inners. (eventually forming a community with them)
- Motor Mouth: Straight Cougar, of course.
- Mutant Draft Board: HOLY. Alter users have choice to either join or become a test subjects.
- No FEMA Response: The Lost Ground has been placed under the jurisdiction of HOLY, which doesn't seem to care about civilizing the area in any way other than getting Alter Users under their control.
- Not Quite Flight: Kazuma and Straight Cougar's alter ability provide a powerful acceleration for their attacks. Though this effect is used only for horizontal movement, they can achieve a pretty impressive flight time when propelling themselves from an elevated surface.
- Potentially averted with Kazuma's second form, which basically tacks a propeller onto their back. Though we're never shown just how long they can maintain flight, it is seen being used to hover for short periods, as well as gain higher ground.
- Completely averted with Kazuma and Ryuho's final forms, which let them fly right into outer-space.
- Not So Different: Kazuma asserts this to Ryuho in the talk on the cliff, accusing Ryuho of using "justice" as an excuse to do whatever he wants.
- Oblivious Younger Sibling: Kanami, though she's not blood related.
- One-Dimensional Thinking: Averted in Straight Cougar's final battle
- One Sided Battle
- One-Woman Wail
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Kazuma and Ryuho view each other like this.
- Painful Transformation: For Kazuma, once he gets his level 2 Alter.
- Personality Powers: Tachibana even lampshades this when speaking about Kazuma.
- Power Fist: Kazuma's, naturally.
- Power of Rock: Akira and Mary Jane in the manga.
- Psycho for Hire: George Tatsunami, and in the manga Urizane.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Emergy Maxfell
- Rainbow Pimp Gear: A number of alters are brightly colored enough to qualify, but what really takes the cake is Kazuma's final alter, which looks completely ridiculous.
- Really Dead Montage: Several times.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kazuma and Ryuho, respectively.
- Rewriting Reality: "Mad Sprict" (sic) -- a HOLY agent attempts to use this as More Than Mind Control on Kazuma to persuade him to join; unfortunately for him, he blows it by badly misusing Defeat Means Friendship at the end of the script.
- The Rival: Ryuhou.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kazuma eventually has at least one of these, most notably midway when Kimishima is killed and Kazuma goes off to utterly wreck the nearest HOLY unit. Which included Scheris.
- Running Gag: Straight Cougar getting people's names wrong. Kazuma occasionally does this too which is foreshadowing the fact that Cougar raised Kazuma as a younger sibling figure.. Kimishima's mode of transport getting destroyed by accident is another one.
- Say My Name: KAZUMAAAAAAAA! RYUHOOOOOOOOOOU!
- Shonen Upgrade
- Shout-Out: The Crystal/Crystalline Entity bears a strong resemblance to Star Platinum of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Conceptually, the Alters are more than a little similar to the Stands of the older series as well.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids: This is HOLD's and Ryuho's attitude towards Mimori.
- Smug Snake: Emergy Maxfell and Kigetsuki. Oh dear God, Kigetsuki!
- Kyoji Mujo is a pretty smug bastard too.
- How can you forget George Tatsunami?
- Soichiro Hoshi: Kazuma's seiyuu in the original.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Scheris, Kimishima and Ayase survive in the manga. Hooray!
- Super Speed: Straight Cougar's ability.
- Third Time's the Charm: Played straight and subverted once each.
- Kazuma gets slapped around by Ryuhou in their first meeting, and again in their second after Zetsuei shows that he's not left handed. Then, after it appears Ryuhou's won their third encounter Kazuma whips out his second form...or at least he tries to. He loses control over it and sends himself and Ryuhou to the Other Side, and causes the Second Uprising.
- Ryuhou sees the Crystal after he and Kazuma get thrown into the Other Side, but he doesn't get a chance to fight him before he's blown away. The second time, the crystal kills him, at least until Scheris revives him. The third fight he wins, after fusing with Zetsuei.
- Title Drop: Not literally, but the final thing Kazuma punches spells out s-CRY-ed, which is the first thing shown in the opening.
- Tunnel of Foreshadowing: Most versions of the opening sequence, but the opening changes both as the story progresses and acording to which character has the spotlight this episode.
- The Un-Reveal: By the time the final episode rolls around Kazuma and Ryuho have fought several times, with no clear winner. The last ep has them indulge in one last, decisive brawl. At the end, we see that only one is left standing...but we never find out which one it is.
- Wicked Cultured: Between his undeniably good fashion sense and condescending attitude towards Native Alters, Kyoji Mujo definitely qualifies for this Trope.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Mimori is one. Several characters lampshade this, some more sardonicly than others.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Most, if not all, Alter users are usually missing a few screws. And those who aren't? Constant use of their power changes that.
- Word Salad Title: The manga gives it a meaning, but otherwise... Fanon has appended it for the name of Kanami's Alter, which lets her read minds.
- Well, to "scry" is to see via magic or clairvoyance which is what she uses her alter for while dreaming, and she does seem to scry out the events of most of the episodes in this way, so it could relate to her Alter even if that isn't its name...
- Worthy Opponent: The first half of the show embodies this trope.
- Yukari Tamura: Kanami's seiyuu
- Zettai Ryouiki: Scheris' cute and sexy uniform.