Saber Marionette J

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Shogun! Shogun! Shogun! Shogun! Shogun! ... What's a shogun?


Several centuries after an almost-failed colony attempt, the planet Terra II is a strange place. Its human population is entirely male, born from recombinant DNA and cloning technology, and its hostile surface is home to six widely-separated city-states, each mimicking an earthly culture ranging from medieval Japan to 20th-Century America. Women have not been forgotten among the men of Terra II, though -- simple-minded automatons called "marionettes" are built in exclusively female form, and act as servants, entertainers, concubines -- and in some cases, infantry troops.

In the city-state of Japoness, which is modeled after shogun-era Japan, industrious orphan Otaru struggles to make ends meet. Too poor to afford a marionette of his own, he runs back and forth through the city trying to scrape up enough cash to live on with a series of odd jobs. In the wake of a mishap during one such job, Otaru finds and awakens Lime -- a marionette who acts more like a real person than an automaton, loaded with emotions, curiosity, and an unfortunate tendency to attract trouble.

Otaru soon finds himself the center of a great deal of attention, including (to his shock) that of the shogun. And two more "unusual" marionettes, Cherry and Bloodberry, soon end up in his possession. As a neighboring city-state modeled after Nazi Germany begins gearing up for war with Japoness, Otaru must guide and teach what amounts to three affectionate and rambunctious teenagers -- whom he will discover hold within themselves the keys not only to Japoness' long term survival, but to the secrets behind the failure of the colony mission and to the rescue of the last survivor of the original crew.

The anime starts off as a light comedy, but slowly turns more dramatic as time goes on. It generally has a healthy mix of humor and suspense.

Subsequently followed by several sequel series, including Saber Marionette J Again, Saber Marionette J To X and Saber Marionette R. There's also a videogame for the first Playstation called Battle Sabers. It never was released outside of Japan.

Created by Satoru Akahori, the creator of Mon Colle Knights, Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, Sorcerer Hunters, and Maze Megaburst Space.

Has a character sheet for the four installments.

Tropes used in Saber Marionette J include:

"If you guys were any slower to mature... we'd still be doing what we were doing in the last episode."

  • Camp Gay: Hanagata highly qualifies as this, mainly because of his obssession with Otaru, which naturally annoys both Otaru himself and the Marionettes. Obviously, he's also used as the series' Comic Relief, among others. The following quote is one of the mildest of his rather loud declarations.

Hanagata: "I'll never let you go! Today is our day of destiny!"

Hanagata: Otaru! Oh, dear! How could you be such a nincompoop? There's no way in Hell you can sneak into Gartlant!
Otaru: AAAAGH! Stupid, stupid, stupid, so stupid! I'm sorry, I--I...I'M A SUCKER FOR CANDY WITH PRIZES!!!

  • Impossibly Cool Clothes
  • Kill Sat: The Mesopotamia, the colony ship, can function as one.
  • Last Of Her Kind: Lorelei is the only female human in the entire series. At least, until Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry turned human at the end of J to X.
  • Lethal Chef: In one episode of J, there is a cooking contest involving the Otaru's Marionettes and the Saber Dolls. The only marionette to successfully avoid this trope was Cherry (of course, being a Yamato Nadeshiko and all). Lime's unpredictability and Tiger's fan-service were able to obtain points even though their cooking was obviously less than par.
  • Love At First Sight: Marionettes with Maiden Circuits experience this with the first man person thing they see upon activating.
  • Lover Tug of War
  • Mordor: Gartland. The fact that it resembles Nazi Germany don't help matters, though.
  • One-Gender Race: The human population of Terra II -- and arguably, the Marionettes.
  • Out of the Inferno
  • Parental Abandonment
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Saber Dolls for the J series. The Sexa Dolls for the R OVA.
  • The Reveal (Several of them.)
    • The first of them, at least in the anime: Why do you think that Lime, Cherry, Bloodberry and the Saber Dolls have emotions? Answer: they have a maiden circuit.
    • Then, several episodes later, again, at least in the anime, we discover the true purpose behind the Japoness' (and Gartland's) marionettes' construction: to serve as a replacement for Lorelei aboard the Mesopotamia when said circuits reach full maturity.
    • And what about Marine? Simple: she was built with an anti-plasma system and plasma manipulation abilities, which were given to her to prevent the menacing disaster towards Terra II... even at the cost of her life. She survives that, though.
    • And finally, who the hell was Hess? Answer: the first man on the face of Terra II.
    • As for the R OVA, all Romana Viceroys are clones of the original Romana King, including Star Face -- except for Junior, who is an actual son of the previous viceroy and born to a human mother. It's enough to drive Star Face to suicide.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot
  • Robot Girl: The Maiden Circuit marionettes.
  • Roof Hopping
  • Running Gag
  • Samurai
  • Sensual Spandex
  • Shonen
  • Slasher Smile: Lime in the R OVA when she's in overdrive.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun
  • Squeaky Eyes
  • Terrible Trio: The Saber Dolls in the original Saber Marionette J, and the Sexadolls in the Saber Marionette R OVA.
  • Techno Babble: Anything to do with marionettes, "maiden circuits" and plasma energy.
  • Tenchi Solution: Subverted in J to X.
  • Theme Naming
  • The Three Faces of Eve: The Maiden Circuits are built in this pattern.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: The Sexadolls in the R OVA.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Lampshaded and played Straight. In the Broke Episode, Lime spins an elephant on an umbrella to advertise for a burger stand while smiling. Guess what people are paying attention to? The smile.

"Marionettes can't smile!"