Scott Pilgrim

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Get the hot girl. Defeat her evil exes. Hit love where it hurts.
"Scott Pilgrim is the best book ever. It is the chronicle of our time. With Kung Fu, so yeah: perfect."

Scott Pilgrim is a popular, award-winning indie comic book series about a Canadian slacker of the same name. Scott's comfortable life mooching off his friends and roommate is thrown into chaos when American ninja delivery girl Ramona V. Flowers moves into town and starts using his dreams as a shortcut to other places. To be free to date her, Scott has to defeat her seven evil exes in battle (they have a league) and quite possibly get a life.

Did we mention that it's set in a Video Game version of Toronto that runs based on the Acceptable Breaks From Reality used in River City Ransom?

The series runs through six volumes:

  1. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (2004)
  2. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2005)
  3. Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness (2006)
  4. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (2007)
  5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe (2009)
  6. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour (2010)

The film version, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, was directed by Edgar Wright and starring Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead and released on August 13, 2010

It was also adapted into a side-scrolling beat-'em-up by Ubisoft, with sprite work by Paul Robertson and music by Anamanaguchi. The author, Bryan Lee O'Malley, was heavily involved in both adaptations.

The series got a full-color Updated Rerelease in August 2012, finally rendering all those black and white jokes completely meaningless.

Tropes used in Scott Pilgrim include:
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: At one point, Knives Chau's father cuts through a streetcar with his katana.
    • Called back to in the 4th level of the game, with Roxy cutting through another streetcar, twice.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Scott in volume 6.
  • Action Girl: Ramona, Knives, and Roxanne to name a few. Ramona even battled and defeated Gideon alongside Scott.
  • Affably Evil: Lucas Lee (he caters his fight with Scott!), but not so in the movie. There he just offers to get coffee for his mooks while they beat up Scott, though not before telling Ramona that Scott 'seems nice'.
    • Gideon Graves can come off as this as long as you ignore the fact that his invitation to Scott was mostly to gloat.
    • Matthew Patel sent a nice email letting Scott know in advance that he was coming, and explaining the situation.
  • All Asians Are Alike: Mr. Chau, a Chinese ninja who wields a katana.
  • Alliterative Name: Gideon Gordon Graves, Stephen Stills, Wallace Wells, Neil Nordegraf, Lucas Lee, Roxanne Richter, Ken and Kyle Katayanagi.
    • It helps that Scott seems to enjoy saying their full names.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Scott and Wallace's "hole in concrete" apartment fosters much confusion in viewers/readers.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Scott's face-off against Gideon within Ramona's mind in Volume 6 is a parody of this trope.
    • Ramona's fight with Roxanne in Subspace in Volume 4 also has elements of this trope.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Kim Pine feels this way about her parents.
  • And That's Terrible: "Gideon stole the Power of Love! What a dick!"
  • And the Adventure Continues...: The end of Vol 6 kinda gives you this feeling.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In Volume 6, Scott unlocks a new T-Shirt by leveling up. This actually works out pretty well, since he spilled booze all over the shirt he arrived in, and reluctantly put on a replacement shirt emblazoned with Gideon's logo right before his fight with Gideon.
    • It was also covered in his own blood and had a hole in it from when Gideon stabbed him to death.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Knives gives one to Scott. His response is that he thinks they should break up.
  • Animated Adaptation: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation is a four-minute short adapting the opening of Volume 2, featuring Scott's relationship with Lisa Miller and Kim Pine in his high-school days. Michael Cera and Allison Pill reprise their roles as Scott and Kim, with Lisa Miller and Simon Lee (neither of whom appear in the film) being played by Mae Whitman and Jason Schwartzman (who play Roxy and Gideon in the film), respectively.
  • Anti-Villain: The Evil Exes are mostly this (except for Gideon of course, and Todd), bordering between Type II and Type IV.
  • The Antichrist: Gideon's logo is an inverted, stylized Triforce made out of G's. Yep.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Lucas Lee. Scott asks Lucas to show off his skateboarding skills. Lucas wipes out and hits the curb. Scott wins by default.
    • Scott even comments afterwards, "That was the worst fight ever!" - though it's mainly because he couldn't pick up the Mithril Skateboard Lucas leaves behind.
  • Appropriated Title: The adaptations take their name from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the second book in the series.
  • Arc Number: 7. It becomes a little more obvious in Volume 6 (ironically) when Gideon is revealed to have 7 exes of his own -- they're all innocent victims sealed away in tubes, but anyway... And when Gideon is finally defeated he explodes into $7,777,777.00 CAD.
    • Gideon's initials are also all G's -- G is the seventh letter of the alphabet. (Though coincidentally all three of his names are six letters long).
    • Rotate Gideon's Triforce clockwise and it becomes three 7's instead of three G's.
  • Arc Words: Many variations of the phrase "precious little x". Starting from Volume 1, there are Precious Little Life, Precious Little Ho-Bag, Precious Little Wallace, Precious Little Nickname, and many more. It may be just a catchphrase between all the characters, but the phrase appears in at least one instance of every volume.
  • Art Evolution: A comparison by the creator.
  • Artificial Limbs: Lynette punches the highlights out of Knives' hair with her bionic arm. It's also the only thing left behind when she teleports away at the end of Vol. 3.
  • Asshole Victim: All of the Evil Exes.
  • Astral Checkerboard Decor: One room in subspace where Scott sees Ramona as Gideon's slave has this.
  • Authority Figures Are Useless: There Are No Therapists. Or police. Professors have long since faded into the background. Parents are pretty much useless, except for a vigilante ninja dad obsessed with "avenging" his daughter. Any sign of law, order, or stability is completely absent... which makes for a pretty entertaining World of Ham, until you consider its nightmarish implications... which manifest themselves on-page, several times over.
  • Auto Erotica: It's revealed in volume 2 that Scott lost his virginity to Kim in the back of a car.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: Near the end of volume 6, it's revealed that Ramona spent her time away from Scott pretty much the exact same way he did -- by moping, slacking, and sleeping all day. Scott's friends declare them a perfect couple.
  • Badass: Damn near everybody.
  • Bag of Holding: Ramona's purse, elaborately Lampshading the fact that it contains a hammer (+ 2 against girls), a titanium baseball bat (+ 1 against blondes), and even Scott himself. "Capacity: unknown."
    • It also serves as a passage to Ramona's head in subspace, which contains a giant Gideon Graves, whom Scott Pilgrim battles. And most epically.
  • Banister Slide: Scott does it and knocks out his brother.
  • Basement Dweller: Sort of. Scott and Wallace's apartment is actually the basement of some house O'Malley was using as a model. Truth In Comic Books in the real Toronto's college burbs.
    • Scott begins playing this straight for a bit in volume 6.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Gideon. And Todd.
    • Scott may have been more of this than he previously thought, due to Gideon tampering with his memories. Especially in the case of Kim, when he beat up her current meek Asian boyfriend in order to go out with her back in high school.
      • Scott is also like this toward Knives, with him dating her for very shallow reasons, then becoming emotionally unavailable for her the moment Ramona skates into his life, and then finally cheating on her and dumping her in a pretty dickish way.
  • Battle Couple: Scott and Ramona, particularly in volume 6 with the defeat of Gideon.
    • It's shown in a flashback that Ramona and Matthew Patel beat up all the jocks at their school together when they were dating.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Part of the climax in Vol 6, with the fight moving to Ramona's head
  • Battle Discretion Shot: When Scott battles the Katayanagi Twins' killer robots, nobody really seems to care for his well-being and just ignores it. He's later seen standing over one which he's just beheaded.
  • Battle in the Rain
  • Beach Episode: The start of volume 4 -- and also the only color pages in the entire series. Hmm...
  • The Bechdel Test: Passed.
  • BFS: The Power of Understanding.
  • Bi the Way: Apparently Ramona.
    • As well as Kim and Knives, to an extent. (They were pretty smashed at the time.) Scott is shocked; he leaves without being noticed and there's a caption reading "Let us never speak of that again."
      • The game makes it a character assist for Kim, and in her ending she turns down Scott to walk off into the sunset with Knives.
  • Big Bad: Gideon.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Crash and the Boys show up to help out Scott in his fight with Todd Ingram using The Power of Rock.
    • Eh-hem, I believe you mean The Boys and Crash.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: The first between Scott and Ramona. Totally epic.
    • Knives gives Scott one, but it's subverted in that he's already met Ramona and doesn't want to date her anymore. Awkward.
  • Big No: Scott gets one in after being informed by Wallace that his package will not be shipped until Monday.
    • Also Todd Ingram right after being deveganized and right before Scott headbutts him to oblivion.
  • Black and Grey Morality: It's pretty obvious from day one that Scott is kind of an asshole, but you still root for him, seeing as how his enemies, with one or two possible exceptions, are way more unpleasant than he is.
    • And because Scott gradually grows out of being an asshole.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Ramona is revealed to wear these in the first volume.
  • Black Bug Room: Gideon's money-maker is a basically a method to induce this chronically within a person. It has the added side-effect of allowing access to subspace.
  • Black Eyes: Nearly everyone, as per the art style.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: In volume 6.
  • Bland-Name Product: Mostly averted since real Canadian brands are frequently mentioned, but the LG billboard in Dundas Square reads "LC".
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Oh my goodness, Volume 6.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Killing people is okay, but if you're a graduate of the Vegan Academy and consume gelato... well, you know the theme song to Cops (series).
  • Bondage Is Bad: Ramona's desire to get back together with Gideon is represented as an image of her kneeling next to him, wearing a leash and handcuffs.
  • Boss Subtitles: For Ramona's Exes.
  • Bottle Fairy: Wallace is a male version, pun not intended.
  • Brain Bleach: When Scott walks in on Wallace in bed with another guy, apparently he cannot unsee what he saw. It was his junk.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Whenever someone asks how he and Ramona met, Scott usually says some variation of "it's a long story, go read volume 1". Whenever a Chekhov's Gun from a previous book gets used, someone will usually refer to that book by its number. Scott has also referred to certain friends as "secondary characters".
    • During Scott's battle in book 3 when he's losing against Todd, Scott remarks that only a poorly set up Deus Ex Machina plot can save him. It does.
  • Brick Joke: Scott is walking somewhere at night in Volume Two, and in one panel we see the moon. But it doesn't look right; there seem to be two big holes in it. It just seems weird on the first read, and nobody in the book says anything about it at the time. Near the end of Volume Three, however, we find out why it looks like that and what it has to do with the story.
    • In the last volume, Scott asks Knives if she likes Stephen Stills, and she bursts out laughing for no real apparent reason. At the end of that book it is revealed that he came out as gay offscreen in Vol. 5.
  • Brown Note: Last Song Kills Audience
    • It only knocks most people unconscious for, like, twenty to thirty minutes...
    • "BABY, I WAS BORN TO DESTROY YOU!!"
  • Buffy-Speak
  • Canada, Eh?: Written by a Canadian, so it averts most stereotypes, but has the occasional "eh?"
  • Captain Obvious: Wallace is actually helpful most of the time, but once a fight actually starts..."Scott, watch out! I think that guy might be Gideon!"
  • Captain Ersatz: A hot chick who's hyper capable, uses head portals, dating the younger protagonist, and has odd colored hair and a thing for goggles... Am I describing Ramona Flowers or Haruko Haruhara? Or Tank Girl?
  • Casanova: Scott and Ramona of course.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Wallace Wells (and his various friends and sexual conquests), his boyfriend Mobile, Roxanne Richter, "Other Scott", Joseph, Stephen Stills...
  • Cast Herd: The Loads and Loads of Characters are more or less divided into two camps: Sex Bob-Omb and the League of Evil Exes, and their assorted hanger-ons.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Scott wakes up from one in volume 2.
  • Cat Fight: When Scott hears about Ramona's fight with Knives in the library, he's in his bed and gets so excited he spills his cocoa everywhere. Uhh.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Scott's quirky high-school flashbacks turn quite glum with the revelation Kim gives Scott in the final book.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The fifth book starts dipping into some pretty heavy territory (such as fidelity), compared to the lightheartedness of the earlier volumes. In all fairness, this is around the same time that Scott realizes he has to grow the hell up and stop being such a manchild in order to save his relationships with Ramona and the rest of his friends.
    • The sixth book even moreso, especially with scenes like Scott being killed with his own sword halfway through the book.
  • Character Development: Scott is slowly -- very slowly -- growing from a complete slacker to a quasi-functional person. By the end of the series, he comes to accept the fact that he's been a narcissistic jerk throughout much of his life, and now strives to change for the better.
    • Also applies to Ramona Flowers and Knives Chau, especially in the last volume.
    • Not to mention the secondary characters: Wallace is noticeably more care-free after he starts dating Mobile, Stephen Stills is somewhat more neurotic and self-conscious, and Kim is becoming less cold towards Scott.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase
  • Character Title
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The Boys and Crash's constant rehearsing finally pays off in the form of an advanced technique:

We now have the ability to manipulate pure sound waves through hard work and willpower alone!!

    • Scott Pilgrim has super human speed and strength and insane martial arts skills without any justification other than he's the main character of a video game.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The extra life Scott gained in book 3 brings him back to life after Gideon runs him through. Lampshaded by Scott's mom, pointing out the extra life after Stacey notes that Scott just came back.
    • It always seemed odd how the Lucas Lee movie Scott & Ramona watch in volume 2 was curiously similar to Scott's rescuing of Kim back in high school... until vol. 6.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Nega-Scott, Scott's mysterious doppelganger from Volume 4, reappears in Volume 6, turning out to be a personification of all the problems Scott wants to get away from.
    • Also The Boys and Crash in volume 3, along with their Chekhov's Skill (manipulating sound waves). Lampshaded by Kim.
    • Gideon Graves at the end of volume 3.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In book 2, it's shown that Scott is an exceedingly good cook. When he gets a job at a restaurant in book four, he's relegated to a dishwasher.
    • Played straight at the end of Volume 6. Scott Pilgrim, greatest prep chef in the world. And he still botches the order.

Stephen Stills: Whatever, they ordered at 10:55. They're getting a salad.

    • Played straight with Stephen Stills, who had his cooking moment with the vegan shepherd's pie scene in book 2, and is seen later working at the same restaurant as Scott and being complimented by customers for his cooking.
  • Christmas Cake: Played straight in a bizarre fashion. In Vol. 4, Scott is sitting on a bench looking for some drink money right before he meets Lisa. Two girls walk by, one remarking that Scott is kind of cute, and the other responds, "Ew, he's like 25."
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Scott has shades of this from time to time.

Wallace: Can you be serious for one second?
Scott (drooling): I like elevators.

  • Combination Attack: How Scott and Ramona finish off Gideon. It's a slash in the shape of an "X". An X-Slash if you will. The twins Kyle and Ken also do this with techniques like the Double Hurricane Kick, and Simul-Punch.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The Vegan Police aren't sure about the Veganity status of Chicken Parmesan, since they're not sure what Parmesan is.
  • Comic Book Time: Lampshaded and mocked in the fifth volume, as the Real world and the Scott Pilgrim world take on the last Sex Bob-Omb show collide with hilarious results.

Sandra: A whole generation of bands have come and gone since you guys opened for the Demonheads in '05!
Scott: That was this May!

  • Continuity Nod: Scott's love of the X-Men, shown in volume one, is shown again in volume 5 in full force. He tells Ramona the storylines of the demon Belasco kidnapping Colossus' sister Illyana and the time the X-Men set up base in Australia.
  • Continuity Porn: The series is loaded with little details, some of which speak to each other over separate books.
  • Conveniently-Timed Attack From Behind: Knives leaps and attacks Envy right before she's about to finish Ramona. Subverted in that it doesn't accomplish much and Knives ends up hitting the wall.
  • Cosmetic Award: Scott unlocks an achievement for defeating the Katayanagi twins at the same time.
    • Hey, they also give a $2.00 "twin bonus". . .no, wait, that's likely independent of the achievement.
    • Gets a Shout-Out in the video game, where defeating both of them at once earns you the 'Twin Dragons' Achievement/Trophy
  • Cranky Landlord: Scott and Wallace's landlord is a Jerkass of the highest order.
  • Crap Saccharine World: The entire World of Ham looks playful and fun at first, until you realize just how selfish, violent, and lawless most of the main cast actually is. Even the heroes.
    • Lampshaded several times: For example in Volume 2, when Ramona rips a metal pole off the ground to fight Knives, Stacey exclaims, "Are you crazy? You can't just tear up giant metal art objects like that!"
  • Crazy Prepared: Gideon: "Yes! I had a sword built into Envy's dress in case of emergency! THAT'S JUST THE KIND OF GUY I AM!"
  • Critical Existence Failure: Scott gets thrown through brick walls, beaten up by a giant robot, etc. and manages to come out relatively unscathed.
  • Crossover: Scott makes a one panel cameo in another Oni Press graphic novel entitled PENG (which is NOT by Bryan Lee O'Malley, but rather by Corey Lewis, who also did the graphic novel series Sharknife, which takes place in the same continuity as PENG).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Scott Pilgrim may be an idiot, but he's also the "best fighter in the province".
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Ramona's "three or five evil exes". [1]
  • Cue the Sun: At the end of volume 3.
  • Dark Is Evil: Both Roxy and Envy dress in a dark, somewhat gothic-inspired style, the latter to accentuate her Femme Fatale persona.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Nega-Scott. His purpose is to make Scott accept and learn from his mistakes instead of ignoring them all the time and going through a cycle. Rather than beat him up like the Exes, Nega-Scott is absorbed into Scott, so he can stop tuning out the negative impacts he had on Kim, Lisa, Envy, Knives, and finally, Ramona.
  • Darkest Hour: In Volume 6, ironically titled "Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour"; the entire first half of the story is devoted to the aftermath of Scott's breakup with Ramona and his attempt to forget about his past and move on.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Just about everyone, but especially Kim Pine and, to a lesser extent, Wallace.
  • Death Glare: Just about everyone in The Clash At Demonhead gives one to Knives when she tells them what a huge fan she is of them.
  • Deface of the Moon: Todd Ingram punched two craters in the moon with his Vegan powers, one for Ramona and one for Envy.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Some of Scott's insults take the form of Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Ramona fights Roxie, her only female evil ex.
  • Deus Ex Machina: The vegan police, as hilariously Lampshaded by Scott.
    • Not to mention the Boys and Crash, just moments before.
  • Diagonal Cut: Roxanne, after her battle with Scott.
    • Both Scott and Gideon, in Volume 6.
  • Damsel in Distress: Kim Pine is found captured by evil-doers two times. They are keeping her trapped, in shackles or otherwise, and waiting for a contender to show up. Although the first time, she may not have been captured at all, considering she was dating the guy. Scott is just a famously Unreliable Narrator.
    • Given the constant references to video games, it is natural that Scott Pilgrim has to Save the Princess.
    • This trope is subverted with Ramona. It's not often in a work of fiction that the girl being fought for is a more capable fighter than the guy fighting for her, but Ramona just might be. She's a true Action Girl, at the very least, though this isn't really revealed until Volume 2.
  • Don't Try This At Home: Near the end of volume 4:

Julie: "Are we letting [Knives] drink beer again?"
Stephen Stills: "Hell yes we are, and it's hilarious."
NOTE TO MINORS: He is lying. Underage drinking is not at all hilarious.

    • In the bonus comic Free Scott Pilgrim:

Scott Pilgrim Says...
Just remember: in real life, you should never punch a girl. Unless it's a serious emergency.

Knives: I'm a Scottaholic!

  • Fan Service/Fetish Fuel: A few to count, namely the saucy romantic sessions Scott has with some of the girls as well as some fanservice scenes. The rather hot and heavy moment in Volume 5 and not to mention the part where he jumped into Ramona's mind. Although pre-art change Scott Pilgrim had at least one sex scene per volume, relatively work-safe of course
  • Femme Fatale: Parodied with Ramona, Envy and Knives. Scott seems to be a magnet for the type. Though it should be noted that Envy and Knives didn't fit the trope when they first started dating Scott and only became that way later.
    • "What kind of idiot would knowingly date a girl named Knives?"
  • Fetish: Wallace has a big fetish for guys wearing glasses.
    • Gideon also tells Envy something along the lines of "you know putting you in those outfits is sexually fulfilling for me". Envy replies that that's all that he finds sexually fulfilling. See Living Doll Collector.
  • Finger Gun: The Vegan Police fire their de-veganizing beams out of them.
    • Kim mimics shooting herself in the head whenever she's feeling bored or exasperated.
  • Flaming Sword: Of Love. That comes out of the heart on Scott's shirt.
  • Foreshadowing: The free comic (released after volume 2) features posters animated by ninja magic, presaging Roxie's appearance in volume 4.
    • Scott asks Wallace where he got a certain shirt from in one volume. Said t-shirt has a Wild West theme to it... guess who comes out in Volume 6?
  • For Massive Damage / Finger-Poke of Doom: The back of Envy's knees.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Gideon.
  • Freudian Excuse: One of the things that flashes through Todd's head during his Superpower Meltdown in Honest Ed's is his father's doubt of him. Papa Ingram, coincidentally, looks a lot like Dr. Freud.
  • Full-Name Basis: Stephen Stills.
  • Gainax Ending: Volume 6 features this in spades, what with Gideon's ultimate plan, his powers, Scott and Ramona's exit, etc.
  • Geeky Turn On: Possibly why Scott used to date Envy, as she started out as a nerdy chick who loved anime before she became a Femme Fatale.
  • Generation Xerox: If you take Word of God in account, Scott's dad has also fallen in love with enigmatic girls. His friend even looks quite like Stephen Stills.
  • Generic Cuteness: Kim isn't as attractive as Ramona or Lisa. We know it because we're told so.
  • Get a Room: When Scott and Ramona kiss at the end of volume 4.
  • The Ghost: Scott's brother Lawrence and Wallace's psychic boyfriend Mobile until the end of Volume 5. Both of whom are mistaken for Gideon by Scott.
    • And Gideon himself in volumes 1-5. He is mentioned quite often, but doesn't appear (except as a voice on the phone) until the final book.
  • Girl of My Dreams: Quite literally.
  • Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Discussed.

Scott: So, have you ever kissed a girl?"
Ramona: Yes.
Scott: (shivering with delight)

  • GIS Syndrome: The books proper don't contain this, but the Free Comic Book Day issue contains a lampshaded example.

"Okay, this background looks really hard to draw and I don't think I'm getting paid for this comic, so enjoy this stock photo."

  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: This happens at least once every volume, and each main character's probably done this at least once.
    • Its on the first volume's cover!
  • Go Through Me: Parodied. One of the jocks holding Kim hostage says this to Scott, but he simply wipes the floor with him and continues on his way.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Sex Bob-Omb.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Parodied when two clubgoers remark "Oh my god, she's evil!" when they see Lynette lighting up. Though when Ramona's attitude starts changing, she starts smoking more than she used to...
    • When Envy starts smoking, it's a sign of her Start of Darkness.
    • Pretty much all the girls except Kim Pine smoke at some point in the book, but the one time Young Neil smokes, it represents his absolute low.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: The premise of the series. In order for Scott to start building a real relationship, he's got to deal with her seven exes -- and by "deal with", he means annihilate.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Todd (evil ex #3) proclaimed his love for Ramona by punching a hole in the moon. He also does it for his current girlfriend Envy -- since she thought he'd only done it for her, this comes back to bite him in the ass.
  • Gratuitous French: It is Canada, of course.
  • Groin Attack: Envy knees Todd in the crotch after finding out he was cheating on her behind her back with Ramona and Lynette.

Envy: "Let's both be girls!!"

  • Grumpy Bear: Kim.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Parodied; Roxie is a "half-ninja".
  • Half the Man He Used To Be: Happens in Volume 6 to [[spoiler:Scott while he's inside Ramona's mind.
  • Halloween Chapter: The beginning of the 5th book is at a Mexican Day of The Dead party with everyone dressed in some vague skeleton motif.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: While we do see Wallace kissing quite a few guys, some readers got a little tired of him being referred to as Scott's "cool gay roommate" constantly.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power
  • He's Back: Essentially the general theme of Volume 6. Also explains the volume's subtitle.
  • Heroic BSOD: Starting Volume 4, the development of Scott's relationship with Ramona turns him into a poster-boy of this trope as he suffers from this repeatedly with increasingly brutal aftermath every time. This is also what summons Nega-Scott. By the end of Volume 5, there are many hints of Scott turning clinically insane, and finally in Volume 6, the half of, if not, the entire storyline could be summed up as "Scott's quest to get away from the increasing brink of Despair Event Horizon".
  • Heroic Resolve
  • Heroic Second Wind: Scott catches his a few times, such as when he defeats the twins.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Gideon, at least until Volume 6.
  • "Hey You!" Haymaker: Lynette punching Knives.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Roxie.
    • Knives says Ramona is fat, multiple times. Of course, this is only because she's jealous that she's dating Scott instead of her.
  • Homage: see Shout-Out.
  • Hotblooded Sideburns: One of Ramona's many hairstyles.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Ramona gets annoyed about Scott staying with Lisa for a night, it turns out that Roxanne stayed at her place for the night. She defends herself by saying that they didn't even make out that much.
    • When Wallace is complaining about Scott calling him at work. You can see that he is playing solitaire on the computer.
  • Idiot Hero
  • If I Can't Have You: This is the basic principle behind the League of Evil Exes.
    • According to O'Malley, Knives got her name because when a friend of his broke up with his girlfriend, said girlfriend pulled a knife on him.
  • IKEA Weaponry: Todd assembles an assault rifle out of household items at Honest Ed's.
  • Important Haircut: Knives after getting dumped by Scott. Inverted with Ramona, who gets her hair done all the time and only lets it grow out when she and Scott start actually getting closer.
    • Played straight with Ramona in Volume 5. An entire page is used to further show the importance of the action.
    • Scott also tried to pull something similar to this when things with Natalie were looking bad. He thought the new hair would bring them back together. It didn't.
    • Subverted with the haircut that Ramona gives Scott in Volume 3.

Scott: Check out my rad haircut! Totally ready for the show now!
Stephen Stills: Yeah... great.
Kim: That's a haircut? You got a haircut?

  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "Chau down!" "Did you really just say that?"
  • Informed Attractiveness: Scott is supposedly cute, but due to Generic Cuteness he actually looks the same as everybody else in the comic. Also, he's supposed to be an Adorkable type of sorts, but we don't actually see him do anything even remotely nice or charming: he spends most of the comic's six volumes being a total ass, while the reader wonders what anyone might possibly see in him.
      • Ramona only states that Scott is the "nicest boy she's ever dated" - which isn't saying very much when you look at all her previous relationships.
    • Ramona as well, since she doesn't look terribly different from anyone else in the comic. On the other hand, Hollywood Homely Kim is supposed to be ugly, despite being identical to every other character in art style, except with freckles.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Every major female character except for Kim is a ninja of some sort.
  • Insult Backfire: In volume 6, Gideon tells Scott and Ramona they're their own worst enemies. They both conclude he's definitely worse.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Scott gives Gideon a variation of this before defeating him once and for all.
  • Invincibility Power-Up
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Defeating enemies causes them to explode into coins. Also, being a vegan gives one telekinesis.

Stephen: "Uh... Hey. How does not eating dairy products give you psychic powers, anyway? I've been wondering."
Todd: "You know how you only use ten percent of your brain? Well, it's because the other 90 percent is filled up with curds and whey!"
Scott: "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard!!"
Todd: "Maybe if you knew the science..."

  • Item Get: When Scott defeats Lucas Lee and gets a skateboard. He can't use it though, because he never acquired a skateboard proficiency.
  • It's All About Me: Gideon lives this trope. His mania doesn't just stop at acquiring things (and people), it's all about injecting some aspect of himself into it like he's marking his territory. See: his triple-G inverted Triforce, dressing Envy in costumes according to his tastes, implanting a fragment of himself in Ramona's head, and in The Movie, retooling the newly-professional Sex Bob-Omb from a quirky garage rock band to a generic gothic My Chemical Romance-style punk band.
    • Scott himself is another good example; although he eventually grows out of it.
  • It's Personal: Scott's Heroic Second Wind in volume 6.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Knives claims to be this for Scott. Kim is possibly this for Scott as well.
  • Jack of All Stats: In the Free Comics Day comic, Scott tries to select drinks based on their stat boosts being complimentary.
  • Jerkass: Todd Ingram qualifies as this one, as he is very insensitive towards people, claiming that because he is a rock star, he is better than other people. He even cheats on his girlfriend Envy Adams with the drummer of their band. To top it all off, he telekinetically throws Envy across the room when she confronts and lashes out at him over his infidelity. (Although to be fair, she did successfully Groin Attack him immediately before he did that.)
    • Gideon Graves. Gideon Graves. GIDEON GRAVES. A manipulating, sexually domineering creep. His first subtitle is even "Gideon Graves (31 Years old) Occupation: Asshole".

Gideon stole the Power of Love. What a dick.

      • Played with in the case of our almost Jerkass protagonist. Scott is undeniably likable and sympathetic, but a big part of the story is exposing and dealing with the fact that he's also kind of a dick.
    • Julie Powers. Her main personality quirk is being an absolute bitch to everyone.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Envy. Especially in Volume 6 after she reveals that her and Scott's break-up was a mutual occurrence and Scott simply whitewashed his role in it out of the flashbacks seen by the reader in Volume 3.
  • Jerk Jock: Subverted with Lucas Lee, who turns out to be quite the decent fellow, and is easily the nicest of Ramona's evil exes, going so far as to offer to throw the fight (for a fee) when it becomes clear that Scott is completely outclassed. However, played completely straight with Todd (who, if he isn't a jock, at least dresses like one...)

Lucas (calm): Okay, look. Give me all your money, and I'll let you live. I'll tell Gideon you beat me up.
Scott: Wow. You really are a sellout.
Lucas (advancing threateningly): Kiss Ramona's sweet ass goodbye, Pilgrim.

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Scott Pilgrim himself, of course. Being charming and sweet in an Adorkable way doesn't hide the fact that he's shallow, self-centered, a shameless mooch to everyone of his acquaintance, and willfully oblivious to the damage his "precious little life" causes others. Through Character Development, he... doesn't exactly rise above this, but undeniable that there's a little less Jerk and a little more Heart of Gold by the end. Kim Pine turns out to be one in Volume 6 as well.
    • Also Ramona, who admits to being a bitch in the past and also tries to downplay her own responsibility in the failure of her relationships, but is actively trying to be better since moving to Toronto.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Ramona dyes her hair every two weeks, causing Scott to freak out.
  • Karma Houdini: Scott seems to get away pretty clean in regards to him dating Knives Chau and Ramona at the same time. Until volume 5.
    • Todd Ingram, however, thinks he should be one because, in his own words, "I'm a rockstar!"
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Can be combined with Rule of Cool when Knives' dad uses one to slice through a streetcar.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Kim and Knives at the start of the fourth book, to Scott's horror.
  • Lame Comeback: Scott is a master of this trope. "I... but... it's... not... it's totally... it's... y...you're not the boss of... me?"

Scott: At least I... wait... something... you... insult...
Ramona: Scott, that was not a good comeback.
Stephen Stills: That was actually not bad for Scott.

    • And then in Volume 6:

Scott: Shut up, you...guy!
Wallace: Better comebacks, Scott!

  • Lap Pillow: Scott does this with Ramona.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: The Reveal that one of Ramona's ex-boyfriends is actually a girl is rather obvious to anyone who has seen any promos for the movie.
    • Later issues begin with recaps of the plot, which would completely spoil the previous issues for anyone who hadn't read them yet.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Quoted, word-for-word, after Scott accidentally walked in on Knives and Kim drunkenly making out unnoticed at the beginning of Book Four.
  • Let's Wait a While: The love scene in volume one.
  • Light Is Not Good: Gideon is glitzy, glamorous, and wears a snow white suit jacket. He's also a major dick.
    • Todd exudes white Vegan energy.
  • Limited Social Circle: Highly averted, almost to the point of annoyance, as the characters have a sub-clique of main characters and then they each have their own little circle of friends, and you've got friends and friends of friends -- most of which add some realism, but don't really contribute anything aside from confusion.
    • The author is aware of this; in the front of the third book, there is a helpful graph explaining the characters' relations to each other. Still...
    • Made even more annoying because there are Only Six Faces.
      • Further compounded by the black and white nature of the comic, making defining characteristics like skin and hair color almost useless. Then FURTHER compounded by Ramona changing hairstyles at least once per book!
    • Lampshaded a number of times: Some minor characters have captions like "I don't know this girl" or "Who cares?" In Volume 4, when Scott walks into Wallace's apartment, he finds Wallace in the company of two friends - a male and female - neither of whom are named and instead have giant Question Marks floating over their heads.
  • List of Transgressions: "Things That Are Not Cool About Scott's Apartment."

Scott: What does "Not girl-friendly" mean?
Ramona: It means it's a sucky little hole in the ground, Scott.

  • Living Doll Collector: Gideon keeps all of his ex-girlfriends in People Jars and plans for Ramona to be next. A big part of the reason the reader is still cheering for Scott in spite of his occasionally dysfunctional personality.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are a lot of tangential background characters who are "friends of friends", who pop up for a panel or two or are discussed but have no impact on anything and then disappear. This was lampshaded in one cast scene where the captions pointed out a few minor background characters, and one had "I don't know this girl" over her.
  • Long List: Ramona rattling off tea blends.
  • Look Behind You!: When Scott is on a pay phone and gets creeped out when Knives starts describing his outfit to him. Turns out she happens to be standing nearby.
  • Love Chart: The third book opens with one.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Let's just say it would take more than half the page to properly explain everything.
  • Love Makes You Evil: As evidenced by Ramona's seven evil exes. This almost happens to Scott as well, but was averted through some Epiphany Therapy in Vol. 6.
    • Subverted with Knives, who in Volume 2 appears to make a Face Heel Turn by ambushing Ramona in a jealous rage, but she later settles down and goes back to being simply Yandere.
  • Magic Skirt: Averted. Ramona's skirt flies up and reveals her tights in one panel.
  • Man Child: This is Scott's principle character flaw. While the first few books seem to embrace and even flatter his childishness, it's only upon looking back after reading the whole series and witnessing his entire character arc that you realize how harshly it was actually mocking his immaturity.
  • Made of Evil: Comeau's skull ring, which he apparently got "from the future".
  • Magical Realism: All over the place.
  • Magikarp Power: The reason Scott didn't have a Skateboard Proficiency? He has a Sword Proficiency instead. Convenient when one actually shows up.
  • Mangaesque: The comic takes on this look after a while thanks to Art Evolution.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Ramona Flowers is a very solid deconstruction.
    • There is a debate on whether this is a straight example, deconstruction, or subversion. See this blog post, which lists Ramona as being similar to Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of the more famous subversions of the concept.
  • Masquerade Ball: The party at Julie's apartment in volume 5.
  • Meaningful Name: Kim Pine is pining for Scott.
  • Medium Awareness
  • Mecha-Mooks: The first two robots the Twins deploy against Scott.
  • Mechanical Monster: The third robot the Twins send after Scott.
  • Minus World: Spoofed in the video game.
  • Mirror Match: Scott versus Nega-Scott.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Ramona first visits Scott's house, she notes that he and Wallace sleep in the same bed. He's quick to note that's only because There Is Only One Bed.
  • Mistaken Identity: Mr. Chau goes after Scott because Knives' aunt mentioned that she saw Knives dating a white guy (Young Neil) and he drew the wrong conclusion from her Stalker Shrine.
    • Scott: "GIDEON!!" *kicks someone who only resembles Gideon in the face*. Even his own brother.
  • Mundane Fantastic: The story is a pretty normal, funny comic about relationships, until someone busts out the mystical powers or implausible kung-fu skills, or uses your dreams as a travel shortcut.
  • Mook Chivalry: Discussed.
  • Money Spider: The villains explode in a shower of coins, for no apparent reason other than that's what happens when someone gets killed. Lampshaded when people comment on how it ends up being barely enough to handle cab fare, a coffee, etc.

"That guy left behind like 30 bucks in coins!" "What a dick!"

Knives: It looks like my head is bleeding!
Tamara: Your head is bleeding?

  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Everyone calls Neil Nordegraf 'Young Neil'. He doesn't actually gripe about it, but when Scott introduces him as just 'Neil', it is the best day of his life.
  • Mysterious Past: Ramona, though each volume fills us in on things, she never really explains exactly whathappened between her and Gideon in New York. In a way her mysteriousness makes sense in light of what she reveals in volume 6, how she's afraid of becoming "stuck" in her life, so she constantly reinvents herself and keeps her past at arm's-length in order to try and outrun her fears. Her past is a mystery because even she would prefer it that way.
    • Interestingly, Scott is the same way, though in his case, it's less about being stuck than simply not liking his past self, so he constantly reinvents himself in an effort to be a better person. Except he's actually a terrible person, which he eventually comes to accept.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: The real life Stephen Stills is a guitarist best known for his work with a Toronto-born musician, who gets his own shout out in the form of Young Neil.
    • Most of the characters are named after a famous song or band, as the bonus materials at the end of volume 3 show.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: As Ramona herself puts it: "What kind of idiot would knowingly date a girl named Knives?" Possibly Envy Adams as well, but in her case it's only a nickname (though a self-applied one... which might make it worse).
    • Envy's is a pun on her initials, though -- her real first name is Natalie and her middle initial is V. N-V Adams.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A fairly minor case. The trailers (particularly the early ones) seemed edited to make it less apparent that Michael Cera was Playing Against Type (making Scott Pilgrim look a bit more like George Michael).
  • NEET: Scott Pilgrim is definitely one.
  • 90% of Your Brain is filled with curds and whey, which is why Todd's veganism allows him psychic powers.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Tie-In game. Even on the easiest mode. Try to pass the whole game without saving and without continuing on single player.
    • Unless, of course, you actually purchase some stat upgrades at (un)reasonable costs.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Stephen Stills and Julie have a pretty vitriolic relationship. By book five, they've broken up "for like the fiftieth time!"
    • Stephen Stills continues to be an example of this even after he comes out as gay -- his new boyfriend, Joseph, is, if possible, even more bitchy than Julie.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lucas Lee is Jason Lee.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted. Punching those holes in the moon did cause about 30 pages' worth of tidal waves and chaos.
  • No Social Skills: Scott, initially.
  • Not So Different: Scott realizing he shares a lot of the petty qualities (such as infidelity) that Ramona's Evil Is Petty exes had. Comes to a head in volume six when he finally fights Gideon. Scott thankfully comes to realize he doesn't like it.

Scott: Gideon.. .I think I understand you, man... And now I have to kill you.

    • Knives dates Young Neil for shallow reasons and then dumps him abruptly, just like Scott did with her, and Ramona did with almost all of her exes.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Scott tries this multiple times when his past transgressions with other girls are brought up.
  • N-Word Privileges: Knives casually mentions that the Asians at her school are "fobbish".[2]
  • Obviously Evil: The Big Bad appears in silhouette in the first four volumes, and his last name is, of all things, Graves. His 'emblem' is also the video game equivalent of an inverted cross, and his three names each have six letters. Yep.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The "Knives Chau: 17 Years Old" joke was WMG'd that some massive event had to occur when her eighteenth birthday finally happened. Turns out, it happened a week before Volume Six started. DAH!
    • Another one from the same book would've been the WMG of all the exes coming back for a final fight, since it was alluded that the exes may have not been dead in volume 2. The final plan was cool, but by comparison that one would've been cooler. Also add in that Gideon's Genre Blindness at the end with Scott using the one-up to come back to life. It seemed odd that he wouldn't see that coming.
  • Older Than They Look: Young Neil is the biggest offender of this, and the Running Gag makes a huge deal out of the fact that Scott finally acknowledged him as simply Neil in Volume 6; however, thanks to the art style, just about every single character in the series can be mistaken for late teens unless you've read the comics or their bios. The Art Evolution doesn't help this.
  • Old Shame: Don't know how he'd feel about it today, but Bryan O' Malley used to post fanart/original fanfic to "Furniture Warriors".
  • Olive Garden: Scott's fairly ridiculous impression of Italy. For one thing, he seems to think the Leaning Tower of Pisa is in Rome. Also qualifies as Anachronism Stew.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Lucas Lee/Lucas Wilson/Luke Wilson, much to Scott's confusion. There's also "Other Scott" and Ramona's cat Gideon.
  • 1-Up: Shaped like Scott's head, which creeps him out immensely.
  • One-Winged Angel: Echoing the end of Final Fantasy VI, Gideon transforms into a sixty foot tall barely-clothed and brutishly muscular version of himself surrounded by his fawning (and brainwashed) ex-girlfriends. Scott literally headbutts him back to normal one page later.
    • Also happens in the game, with the girls replaced with the heads of the other Evil Exes (or at least some of them).
  • Only Six Faces: Many characters look very similar. Possibly lampshaded by Knives when she says she only went out with Young Neil because he looks exactly like Scott.
    • This gets confusing when Ramona cuts/dyes her hair every so often (the book is in black and white).
      • Hell, not just Ramona, a lot of characters change hair styles between volumes.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Gideon spends the first five volumes of the series doing very little. He only appears briefly in a few scenes, until he contacts Scott at the end of the fifth book.
  • Overprotective Dad: Knives' dad.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Scott apparently learns that Knives has turned 18 the same way that the reader does: by reading the caption above her head.
  • People Jars: Gideon keeps his ex-girlfriends cryogenically frozen and hooked up to some sort of ominous-looking machine that he draws his power from. There are seven tubes attached to the machine. Six are occupied, one stands empty and waiting for Ramona.
  • Papa Wolf: Mr. Chau.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Gideon Graves: What A Dick."
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The end of Volume 5. Scott defeats the Twins but Ramona still leaves him.
  • Planet Eris
  • Plot Hole: Subverted in the video game; Ubisoft presumed the source material's plot was a Foregone Conclusion, and thus included subtle references only people familiar with it are likely to get.
  • Police Are Useless: Played straight, most of the time.
    • Then double subverted with Todd Ingram, when he gets taken out by the Vegan Police, who charge him with eating gelato while ignoring the fact that he was trying to kill somebody.
  • The Power of Friendship: Scott defeats Matthew Patel with help from his band, while stating:

Scott: You think you're so great, but you're missing the point. You gotta have friendship and courage and whatever!
Matthew: That doesn't even rhyme!
Scott: Shut up!

  • The Power of Love: In the form of a flaming sword...
    • It might have protected Wallace, Jimmy, and those in the immediate vicinity from the effects of "Last Song Kills Audience" in book 1 as well.
      • The song isn't that good, usually it jut knocks the audience unconscious for a few minutes.
  • Precision F-Strike: Perhaps surprisingly for a series about the relationships of a group of twentysomethings, there's almost no swearing in the series. When somebody does swear, you know that things are serious.
  • Product Placement: Scott Pilgrim's three months of depression brought to you by the PSP Go.
    • Amazon.ca.
    • Let me offer you a drink. Coke Zero, right?
    • Pizza Pizza, Second Cup, and many other well-known Canadian brands. Note that these companies didn't actually pay to be advertised in the book; O'Malley included them to add local color to the story.
  • Prolonged Prologue: Not so much in the books as in the movie, where books 2-6 took between 10-25 minutes apiece of screentime, whereas book 1 was a good 45 minutes.
  • Property of Love: Gideon keeping Ramona as his bondage slave.
  • Psycho Ex-Boyfriends: The League of Evil Exes, the antagonists of the series. (Includes one girl!)
    • Gideon in particular seems to take rejection really badly, what with the whole plot to cryogenically freeze his ex-girlfriends so he can date them at his leisure later.
    • Knives gets a little psychotic for a while after Scott breaks up with her.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Gideon. His psychopath and manchild sides are quite firmly divided, and it's only near the end, after he reveals his ex-girlfriend-containing People Jars, that they start to bleed together.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Luke Wilson Lucas Lee. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, engages in small talk with the group, and even offers Scott some baby carrots and Ritz. Right after throwing him into Casa Loma's tallest tower. [3] [4]
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The League of Evil Exes.
  • Race For Your Love: Scott's return from his stay in northern Ontario in volume 6.
  • Random Encounter: Parodied. Scott has these in his fantasy genre-themed dreams.
  • Reality Ensues: The Rule of Cool moment of Gideon's defeat where he explodes into 7 7/9th million dollars worth of Canadian coins is quickly derailed when ...7 7/9th million dollars worth of Canadian coins come raining down on everyone's heads and mass panic ensues.
    • Ramona alludes a Reality Ensues moment in Vol. 3 when telling Scott about the time Todd punched a hole in the moon for her.

Scott: And then what happened?
Ramona: Uhhh... About thirty pages of explosions and tidal waves.

  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Bryan Lee O'Malley was dating an American woman (cartoonist/comic book creator Hope Larson, currently his wife) and in a garage band when he started the series.
  • Red Herring: In volume two, Wallace shows Scott that Mobile taught him some psychic skills, making Scott think he could learn them as well to help him against Todd. Turns out he never does. Instead the vegan police show up to strip Todd of his powers.
  • Reference Overdosed: The comic, the film, and the video game all embody this trope magnificently.
  • Refusal of the Call: Scott deletes all the messages that Matthew Patel sends him. Big mistake.
  • Retcon: Simon Lee looks remarkably like Gideon in volume 2. Later, this is explained away as Gideon messing with Scott's memories... except that he looks exactly the same in Kim's dream in the same volume, which never gets explained. Looks like the author's original intention was to make Simon and Gideon the same person, but he later changed his mind.
  • Retraux... About that video-game, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a curious case. It's about as old-school beat'-em-up as you can get. Featuring chiptunes (by Anamanaguchi), 8-bit spriting ,and so on. So much so that it's frequently likened to River City Ransom, and/or Streets of Rage/Final Fight, almost to the point of looking like a Spiritual Successor of them. This on a PlayStation 3 (and Xbox 360)... only. As a downloadable game. With none of the annoyances of a NES/SNES-era games. There is good reason to why a lot of people are interested in this one game. It's very much an old-school gamer's love letter.
  • Rogues Gallery: Ramona's league of evil exes are part of Scott's rogue gallery. They are Matthew Patel, Lucas Lee, Todd Ingram, Roxie Richter, Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, and Gideon Graves. Envy Adams also serves as part of the rogue's gallery for books 3 and 6, but makes a Heel Face Turn after realizing how much Gideon used her.
  • RPG Elements
  • Rule of Cool: For one thing, we're never told how or why Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting.
  • Rule of Funny: Oh yeah.
  • Running Gag: Lots.
  • Save Point: We never get to see one used, so the exact application (time travel? resurrection? groundhog day?) is unknown.
    • A lot of side scrollers take you back to the level's start when you die and come back using your 1-up, which is exactly what happens in the movie and comic.
  • Say My Name
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Ramona and Roxanne, in the past. "You had a SEXY PHASE?!" Also Knives, who is still in high school, and Kim, who is still taking college classes. Of course, out of the four of these girls, 3 are bi and only 1 is a lesbian.
  • Secret Test of Character
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Some of the evil exes end up doing themselves in rather than Scott actually defeating them. For example: Scott challenges Lucas Lee to perform an impossible skateboard trick in the middle of their fight. Lucas would rather take on the challenge than lose face. The trick ends up killing him, as he goes too fast and bursts into coins. Another example is when Todd Ingram is about to defeat Scott (who acknowledges that he could only win via some Deux Ex Machina), and right on cue, the Vegan Police shows up to take away Todd's powers for eating gelato the day before. Could also be a Karmic Death in the second case.
  • Self-Serving Memory
  • Seven Deadly Sins: All the characters showcase signs of these throughout the series. Special mention goes to Natalie (also known as Envy).
  • Sex Slave: Gideon's ex-girlfriends, by implication. The fact that they're pretty much imprisoned and brainwashed doesn't help.
  • Sexy Spectacles: In-Universe; save for Other Scott, Wallace only goes out with guys with glasses.

Knives: Do you want to know who in my class is gay?
Wallace: Yes. Does he wear glasses?

Wallace Wells
• [Scott's] gay roommate.
• Lives with Scott.
• Is gay.

[[spoiler:Gideon: Getting rid of me... won't save you. You're your own worst enemies! Both of you!
(Beat Panel, with Ramona and Scott looking at each other)
Ramona: No, I'm pretty sure you're worse, dude.
Scott: You're definitely worse.]]

  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Ramona gives one to Scott on more than one occasion.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Scott and Ramona can be this at times, at least to the other characters.
  • Sigil Spam: Gideon's triple G inverted Triforce logo appears all over the place in Volume 6. Scott even ends up sporting a triple G shirt (much to his chagrin) for the first round of his fight with Gideon.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Kyle and Ken.
    • A deliberate choice on their part; Ramona played them against each other, and they vowed to work in tandem forever after that.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: At the end of the fourth book.
  • The Slacker: Most of the characters, but especially Scott a slacker amongst slackers. He starts to change his ways, though, particularly in volume 4, "Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together".
  • Slasher Smile: Near the end of volume 5, Scott's reflection in the mirror while brushing his teeth at Stephen Stills's place is split into a normal, tired-looking Scott, then this...
    • Even better, that half is Negascott, an embodiment of Scott's tendency to repress painful memories instead of learning from his mistakes.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Messed with, severely. It slides back and forth all over the place throughout the course of the series.
  • Spiritual Successor: The video game adaptation could be considered as a love letter to Technos Japan Corp's Kunio-Kun games.
  • Spit Take: Scott does it after chugging an (alcoholic) drink at the Chaos Theatre.
  • Stalker Shrine: Knives has one for Scott.
  • Stalker with a Crush: A very common theme in this series.
    • Most prominently displayed by Knives "I'm a Scottoholic!!!" Chau.
    • And Scott.

AND THEN HE STALKED HER UNTIL SHE LEFT THE PARTY.

  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Parodied with Scott and Knives, played straight with Scott and Ramona.
  • Start of Darkness: Envy's plays out through flashbacks in Vol. 3. It begins with her selling all her Anime paraphernalia and culminates with her asking Scott to start calling her "Envy" rather than Natalie. Then she breaks up with him and turns completely evil, showing the reader the exact moment she crossed the Moral Event Horizon that she'd been living on the other side of since she first appeared in the comic.
    • Envy wasn't as bad as Scott made her to be. In volume 6, it is implied that Scott "wasn't a paragon of virtue either" and the big fight on New Year's Eve was a fight that he started rather than her just dumping him. It's true that she sold out and didn't return Scott's affections when he said he loved her, it's not clear that she was pure evil after volume 6.
    • The part in Volume 4 when Scott sees Nega-Scott, a darker, more malevolent version of himself, after he learns that Roxanne, Ramona's evil ex-girlfriend, had been staying over at Ramona's apartment could have been this, but gets subverted as he quickly disperses it and goes back.
      • He confronts it again in Vol 6, realizing it's his own repression working against him and trying to fight it only makes it worse. After he comes to terms with himself and decides to stop running from painful memories, it stops attacking him.
    • Gideon's is exposited near the end of Volume 6. He always was a bit of a brilliant but psychologically-stunted prick, but when Ramona dumped him, he went right out of his mind. He then went on a bender and posted a drunken ranting ad on Craigslist, which was then discovered by the other six exes.
  • Stealth Pun: Ramona's Bag of Holding. Gee, you think this girl's got a lot of baggage? It's destroyed in the climactic showdown with Gideon, showering its contents everywhere. Afterward, Ramona isn't interested in gathering up her old stuff. It's hard not to interpret it as a good sign for her relationship with Scott.
    • How can one describe Scott's fight with Matthew Patel? An Indian versus a Pilgrim.
  • Step Three: Profit: The "Vegan Shepherd's Pie" scene in volume 2 has a variation:

Stephen Stills: Five! Add the fake meat stuff! Six! Add the gravy stuff! Eight! Add some soymilk and stir so everything's a bit saucy!

Wallace: You see, Scott? WILDERNESS!

      • Though in truth, Ramona spent most of her time at her dad's house, watching old X-Files episodes on the internet.
    • The entire gang of evil exes all agreeing to the idea of killing Scott so that they can have Ramona is a darker version of this trope.
      • This could be the result of Gideon's manipulations, though.
  • Stylistic Suck: Scott's terrible song that he writes for Ramona and sings for her on the bus. Most of the lyrics are ... "Ramona".
  • Subspace or Hyperspace: Subspace is some kind of realm that connects different locations in the world as well as providing pathways into peoples' dreams. They don't teach it in Canadian schools.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:

Matthew Patel: That doesn't even rhyme!

  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Vol 4 has this when Scott earns the Power of Love, before exclaiming "Now I'm glad I picked that longsword proficiency in grade 5!"
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Stephen Stills realized he was gay (and even came out) near the end of Volume 5, but Scott was completely unaware of it until the last pages of Volume 6. Scott then thinks dating Julie on and off since university finally turned him gay.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: The Demon Hipster Chicks that Matthew Patel can call on.
  • Super-Deformed: In some background panels, the characters are drawn in a cutesy Animesque style.
  • Superpower Meltdown: The sheer volume of cheap, random crap in Honest Ed's causes Todd to have a Villainous BSOD to the point where he ends up imploding the store with his Vegan powers.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Ramona "didn't even string [Lucas Lee] along or cheat on him with any cocky pretty boys."
  • Sword Over Head: Envy does it to Ramona with her hammer.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Every single fight in the series.
  • Taxidermy Terror: The evil-looking stuffed moose head mounted to a clock at Honest Ed's. It really freaks Scott out, especially when it seems to hiss, "Ssscottt..."
  • There Is Only One Bed: Scott and Wallace share a bed because they can't afford another.
    • Scott does this to his friends a lot in volume 5, particularly when when Ramona disappears and he bed-hops at Stephen Stills's and then Kim's.
  • Terrible Trio: The Clash at Demonhead: Envy, Todd, and Lynette.
  • There Are No Therapists: It's Volume 6. Scott is devastated from Ramona leaving without an explanation. He is moping around, playing videogames, goofing off on the internet, staying isolated, and trying to forget he has a life to live. What does he do? Go into a wilderness sabbatical and fight Nega-Scott!
    • And Ramona's time apart was not very different.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: Played straight at the end of volume 3.

"No vegan diet, no vegan powers, bitch."

  • This Is Sparta: The 6th book, spread across 5 pages.
    • "Would you LOOK AT YOURSELF!"
  • Those Two Girls: Sandra and Monique.
  • Those Two Guys: Julie's friends, Sandra and Monique. Lampshaded in that they're not nearly as popular or cool as they seem to think they are.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Very much averted, as Scott has absolutely no issues with causing humans to explode into coins, even ones who are at his mercy.
    • Considering that Scott Pilgrim runs on video game logic, it makes perfect sense. Has Mario ever felt guilty about stomping on Goombas?
  • Tomboyish Sidetails: Ramona has them.

Scott: Have you seen a girl who has hair like *this*? (mimics the shape of her haircut)

  • Took a Level In Badass: Scott does this literally, gaining a new level, new stats, and a new sword each time.
    • First he does it in volume 4, when he mans up and confesses his feelings.
    • Then, after he is killed in the middle of volume 6.
  • Training From Hell: Played for Laughs. Before Scott goes to fight Lucas Lee, he studies up on his moves by watching his movies and does push-ups on the floor while Wallace sits in an armchair playing video games.
  • Train Station Goodbye: Scott and Envy do this.
  • The Unfair Sex: Ramona becomes incensed when she learns that Scott was dating her behind Knives' back when she herself dated the Katayanagi Twins behind each others' backs. Not to mention the fact that got angry at Scott for staying at Lisa's sister's place when she let Roxie stay the night at her place. (And actually made out with her, unlike Scott, who remained totally faithful).
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Lisa.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Scott Pilgrim. We find that most of his flashbacks are a mixture of his own repression, to avoid his mistakes and past pain, and Gideon 'spicing up' his boring highschool memories. The big fight where he 'rescued' Kim Pine in high school and won her heart? Scott beating up her current wussy boyfriend.
    • Envy also implies that Scott may not have been as blameless in their breakup as his flashbacks made it seem.
  • Unsound Effect: All over the place, like STARE! and CLUTCH! and NOD. NOD.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Scott has shades of this when you first read the series, due to his extreme Man Child tendencies. Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize that this is actually Scott's main character flaw, and him realizing this is essential to his character development.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Kim and Scott. It's pretty subtle at first, but starts becoming more visible by the third volume and comes to a head by the end of the fifth.
    • Lisa and Scott. They almost hook up after Lisa questions why they never did. Scott puts a stop to it because he realizes that he's in love with Ramona.
  • The Untwist: In book 6, the final battle has an In-Universe example with a reveal that didn't happen in the way Scott assumed. Hilarity Ensues:

Gideon: I've watched you guys do stuff!
Scott: (realization) You were the cat!
Gideon: I was not the cat!
Scott: THEN WHY WAS IT NAMED GIDEON?!
Gideon: YOU NAMED YOUR CAT GIDEON?!
Ramona: I- I have my own way of working things out!

  • The Vamp: Inverted. Envy Adams seems to prefer dating evil guys rather than corrupting good ones.
  • Verbal Tic or whatever
    • None of the characters have verbal tics when they're in denial. Yes they do.
  • Verb This: Envy while fighting Ramona.
  • The Verse: Kim Pine started out as a character in series of comic strips that started years before Scott Pilgrim debuted.
    • To clarify, Bryan Lee O'Malley did three short comic strips called "Style" which featured characters named Kim Pine and Lisa Miller. You can read them at his site under "Best of My Online Comics" here. The Kim Pine and Lisa Miller in the "Style" strips look NOTHING like their Scott Pilgrim namesakes, and aren't really given distinct personalities, so they are probably better classified as Proto-Kim and Proto-Lisa, much like rabbits from Warner Bros. cartoons from the late 1930s predating the 1940 Tex Avery directorial effort "A Wild Hare" are considered prototypes for Bugs Bunny.
    • Also, Scott made a cameo in Corey Lewis's graphic novel PENG, which is in continuity with Lewis's series Sharknife.
  • Villain Song: Matthew Patel gets to sing one when facing off against Scott, complete with his fireballs and demon hipster chicks. S-L-ICK!
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Lucas, Envy, and Gideon.

Ramona: What the hell is this?! Why are they all rooting for you when you're obviously a huge bitch?
Random Guy: You're a huge bitch!!
Envy: Ramona, sweetie, I'm famous.

Knives: He cheated on us, Ramona. Both of us.

  • What Does She See in Him?: Various Deadpan Snarker characters question how Scott attracts these girls. Honestly, it's a good question.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Volume 6: The "greatest day" of Young Neil's life was when Scott simply called him "Neil". ...Kinda sad, isn't it?
    • Alternately, it was the day that Scott introduced Neil to his (hot) younger sister. It really seemed like dropping the "Young" from Neil's name was like he was pairing Neil up with Stacey.
      • Or maybe Scott just felt weird introducing him as Young Neil because Stacey is even younger.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Averted with Scott gaining a flaming sword from the power of love and the power of understanding, a frigging big Bleach-like sword.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:

Scott: Are you okay now?
Envy: Am I...? You just headbutted my best friend so hard he burst, Scott.

    • Scott gets another one with Envy in Volume 6. Becomes more apparent and embarrassing when he breaks it down in front of a thousand quiet fans staring at Envy in awe.

Scott: Envy Adams? Partying with mere mortals?
Envy: *glare*
Scott: Why don't you go back to... to... Montrealhalla.

Roxie: Is that a moral high ground thing, or are you just a pussy?

    • If she's one of Ramona's evil exes and trying to cut him to pieces, he will use a sword on her, though. Well, after leveling up.
  • Write Who You Know: By O'Malley's own admission, Scott's life is based on the lives of himself, his wife, and his peers when he was a young twentysomething. He was in a garage band, obsessed with video games, and fell in love with (and eventually married) an American woman who had several ex-boyfriends whom he jokingly thought were all in some kind of League together.
  • X Meets Y: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist meets Friends meets No More Heroes and River City Ransom.
    • Alternately, Blue Monday meets Love Hina meets Super Mario Brothers meets Kill Bill. Really.
    • Or maybe it could be viewed as Chasing Amy (with no cursing and less prominent homosexual themes) meets Mega Man.
      • And Book 6 adds a hefty dash of Utena into the mix.
    • It's like Roger Rabbit for video game nerds.
    • FLCL meets Final Fight: With its fast pace, mile-a-minute pop culture references, and how Ramona Flowers resembles Haruko in her appearance, fighting skills, and nasty disposition.
    • Probably the most accurate description of the series can found at this review of the film at Amazon: "Picture Tenacious D, Kick-Ass, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Clerks, and Kung-Fu Hustle having an orgy on top of a pile of old Nintendo Power magazines, and you'll have some idea of what to expect when you see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. SOME. "
  • Yandere: Knives didn't take her break up with Scott too well. It's normal to stalk your ex and attack his new girlfriend with daggers, right? Right? Hello? Is this thing on?
  • Yellow Fever: Completely Subverted Trope. Scott does have a Chinese girlfriend at the start of the first volume, but dumps her as soon as Ramona Flowers enters the scene. Knives Chau does try to get him back (and was supposedly to end up with him in The Movie) but nothing else really comes of it.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Ramona says the line, verbatim, in a fight with Knives.

Knives: But look at your face! I totally grazed you!
Ramona: How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

  • You Keep Using That Word: The Hatedom loves to use the word "Hipster" when describing the series in a negative light. While it's true that the series has some hipster undertones, people have abused this word to the extent that using the word as an insult is almost hypocritical in itself, as its meaning somehow became simplified to the point of implying trying to be edgy and cool. Hipsters in general tend to avoid any and all mainstream media, including video games and comic books, and as such they tend to shun the Scott Pilgrim series for being a series of graphic novels heavily laden with video game references. O'Malley and various other people working behind the different media of the series became aware of this association come the series' final days and as such lampshaded it frequently in later works of Scott Pilgrim, such as Ramona wearing a hipster shirt in Volume 6, mooks in the game consisting partly of hipsters, and finally, in the movie, the piece that plays during the final brawl being titled "Death to All Hipsters".
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: played with in Ramona's case. Her regular changes of dye and hairstyle hint at her constant drive to run from herself.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Wallace says this to Scott when he's moping around playing too many video games at the start of volume 6. Hilarity Ensues when Scott tries to take his advice.
  • Your Mom: Scott uses insults like these a few times, since he's terrible at comebacks.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Envy, big time. She ranges from Grades C and B in volume 3 and manages to hit a solid A in volume 6.
    • Hell, most of the main female characters exhibit it multiple times.

Notes

  1. not ex-boyfriends
  2. FOB is an acronym for "fresh off the boat" and refers to Asians who act uncool and old-fashioned.
  3. He's actually considered evil because he's a sellout.
  4. Or... he sold out because he's evil....