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Ushio and Tora
Tora cover.gif
うしおととら
Genre Action
Manga
Author Kazuhiro Fujita
Publisher Shogakukan
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Shōnen Sunday
Original run 19901996
Volumes 33
Original video animation
Director Kunihiko Yuyama
Studio TOHO, Shogakukan
Licensor United States ADV Films
Released 1992
Episodes 10
Anime and Manga Portal

Ushio and Tora (うしおととら ?) is a youkai manga by Kazuhiro Fujita. It received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen in 1992.[1] It was adapted into a 10-episode anime OVA series released in 1992.[2] The anime was released in the United States by ADV Films.

Contents

Story

It centers around the travails and battles of Ushio Aotsuki (蒼月潮 Aotsuki Ushio ?), who is constantly being stalked and aided by a gigantic, supernatural and sometimes invisible tiger-like monster.

Ushio's family maintains a temple in Japan, where 500 years ago, his samurai ancestor battled that same monster to a standstill, and eventually trapped him against a rock using a cursed spear called the "Beast Spear", which grants strength, speed, and endurance to the wielder in exchange to his soul. Ushio accidentally unsealed the cave Tora was trapped in.

Initially, Ushio refuses to remove the spear pinning Tora (とら, Japanese for tiger) down (as Tora made the strategic blunder of mentioning that the first thing he would do upon being freed would be to devour Ushio), but Tora's unsealed presence attracts various monsters to the temple. Ushio is forced to free Tora, who would like to eat Ushio, but dares not since Ushio keeps the spear close by. The series focuses on their relationship, interspersed with battles against mythological foes, and with Tora's attempts to grapple with modern life.

The story also includes Ushio's relationships with two girls: the tomboyish Asako Nakamura (中村 麻子 Nakamura Asako ?) and the feminine Mayuko Inoue (井上 真由子 Inoue Mayuko ?).

Episodic in nature, most of the manga is a series of fights with different youkai or other creatures from Japanese legend. But at thirty-three volumes, the story continues far past the events of the anime, and leads to an epic conclusion.

Characters

Ushio Aotsuki
The protagonist of the series, he is the son of a temple priest and a lady shaman, destined to wield the Beast Spear and defeat the super yokai Hakumen no Mono. He is very kind-hearted and greatly values all life and friendships. With his ideals, he manages to unite the forces of mankind and yokai against Hakumen through his example of his fighting partnership with Tora. Ushio loves Asako and cares a lot for Mayuko, and will promptly appear to save them from yokai attacks.
Tora
An ancient tiger-like yokai who was released when Ushio pulled off the Beast Spear. Prior to being pin in the basement of Ushio's temple, he was known as Nagatobimaru, famously feared among the yokai community for his sheer strength and powers of lightning. Being trapped in the basement for 500 years, he has great curiosity over modern lifestyle and gadgets. His favourite food is hamburgers, which Mayuko always provides when they meet. He states that he has every intention to eat Ushio and Mayuko, thus will not let them be taken away by other yokai. At the same time, Tora seems to enjoy their company, and he has said that he will not do something as low as attempting to eat Ushio in his sleep, implying he would prefer fair combat.
Asako Nakamura
The hot-headed, tomboyish childhood friend of Ushio and Mayuko. She and Ushio love each other the most, and she also cares for Mayuko a lot. Her family owns a ramen restaurant.
Mayuko Inoue
Ushio and Asako's best friend. She is more sweet and feminine. She cares for Ushio and has feelings for Tora, whom she readily buys hamburgers for. Later, she took in Kirio as her stepbrother. It is also revealed that she belongs to the lineage of powerful lady shamans. Therefore, Mayuko is able to create psychic barriers powerful enough to hold back Hakumen.
Reiko Hanyuu
An orphaned girl who goes to the same school as Ushio, Masako and Mayuko. Her father was very overprotective of her, and when he died he became a oni and caused mishaps to any boys who took the slightest fancy of her. This distressed her a lot, and she tried to commit suicide many times in vain. Ushio finally made her father realize his errors, and he left for the afterworld. Thereafter, Reiko was able to lead a normal life and became best friends with Ushio, Masako and Mayuko.
Shigure Aotsuki
Ushio's father who is the temple keeper. His secret identity is being one of strongest priest of a special Buddhist sect, named Kouhamei, dedicated to fighting yokai.
Hyou
A powerful Chinese exorcist, highly skilled in geomancy, usage of seals and flying spears. He travels around China eventually coming to Japan to seek the yokai who killed his wife and his daughter, and took out his right eye and left three long scars on his face. In his right eye socket now is a magical blue crystal ball used to save his life by his teacher.
Jie Mei
The spirit guardian who lives in the darkness of the Beast Spear. She is the sister of Giryou who sacrificed her life to create the blade of the spear. She is the ancestor of the lineage of powerful lady shamans, many of whom resemble her. She is able freely materialized anywhere, and first appeared to help prevent Ushio from transforming into a Beast by having his soul totally absorbed by the spear.
Giryou
The brother of Jie Mei, a highly skilled blacksmith who eventually becomes mad for being unable to save his sister. Filled with anger, remorse and regret, his body transformed into the body of the spear. His spirit is trapped in the darkness of the spear unlike his sister, and can greatly influence the user of the spear with his fury.
Hakumen no Mono
An extremely powerful, golden nine-tailed fox (kyuubi no kitsune) from ancient times who enjoys destroying countries by manipulating the rulers and creating fear among humans and yokai. Currently, it is trapped in a immense psychic barrier maintained by a lineage of lady shamans under the sea south of Japan.
Yuu Hiyama
A young girl who's father was killed in an airplane crash caused by Fusuma. Initially she blamed her father's long time friend Atsuzawa but after helping Ushio to defeat Fusuma she learns the truth and forgives him.

Demons

Stone Eater
A 200 year old centipede demon that turns its victims into stone before devouring them, it does this slowly in order to relish the fear of its victims. Inhabited a stone statue of a samurai until it was defeated by Ushio.
Oni
Formerly the master artist Michio Hanyuu. When his wife ran off with one of his students he became filled with hate and became an oni after he died. His soul inhabited a painting he had made of his daughter Reiko and was fiercely jealous of anyone who tried to get close to her, resulting in 'accidents' happening to all those who did. He finally passed on after Ushio defeated him by stabbing the painting he inhabited with the Beast Spear.
Gamin
A group of five demonic heads that were sealed in boxes that were pinned beneath a massive stone by the priestess Mikado Hizaki. After they were unwittingly released by a construction team they slaughtered the workers and searched the city for Hizaki in order to exact their revenge even though Hizaki was long dead. They pursued Mayuko because her appearance was identical to Hizaki's, but they were confronted and defeated by Tora (because he wanted to eat Mayuko himself at the time).
Umizatou
An old aquaintance of Tora back when he was called Nagatobimaru. A guardian of the ocean he takes the form of an elderly man with a walking stick and a sake jug. He enlists the help of Ushio and Tora in order to subdue a giant sea serpent. Later he inadvertantly reveals to Ushio that his mother (whom he thought dead) is still alove and hated by all yokai.
Fusuma
A sky-going demon that eats humans, he caused an air carrier to crash and devoured all 200 occupants including Yuu's father. He attacked the plane that Ushio, Tora, Yuu and Atsuzawa were on and killed the pilots in order to control the plane. However he was wounded in the neck by the Beast Spear and was completely destroyed by an exploding missle from a air support fighter plane (according to Tora his weaknesses are the tooth of an ohaguro and large amounts of fire). Before dying he remarks that it wasn;t a bad thing to die before Hakumen no Mono's awakening.

References

External links








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