http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ayakashi-ayashi.jpg

In the 14th year of the Tenpou era, ten years before Captain Perry's black ships, things are not going well in Japan. People are suffering from famine, poverty, diseases, and the strict rules of society made even worse by the spartan reforms issued by the government. The fear from the west is so great that studies of western culture and sciences are banned in the country, and trade with foreign countries and even foreigners stepping on Japanese soil is prohibited under penalty of death. And if all this wasn't enough, there are huge, destructive monsters on the loose. These bizarre creatures, called ''youi'' appear from some strange but enchanting place usually referred to as ''ikai'', ''a different world'', and seem to have something to do with people's strong desires. Nevertheless, they need to be stopped, and this is where our heroes step in.

The main hero is Ryuudou Yukiatsu a 39-year-old drifter. He was born as the heir of a shogunate vassal, but he was taken away by the "other world" as a child, and though he came back, he could never find peace in this world again. He ran away from home and spent his life as a vagrant, committing various crimes, even murder. However, the "other world" gave him an intriguing power: he can draw the original meaning out of names of things, and use it as he wishes to. Due to this power (at least it seems so) he is enlisted to an underground organization called Bansha Aratamesho, a ragtag group of people called "ayashi" whose purpose is finding and defeating youi. Here, he needs to work together with his cranky boss Ogasawara Houzaburou (western scholar and nineteen years his junior), and his partners Edo Genbatsu (Shinto priest), Saizou (former actress) and Abi (former mountain tribesman) - each of them hiding a thing or two in their closets.

But little does the Bansha Aratamesho know that while their youi-slaying abilities are appreciated, they're just pawns in the hands of their politician patrons whose aim is to remove their opponents from power. In addition, there's a similar group led by BigBad Torii Youzou that seems to have their own agenda with youi and would much like to keep the ayashi out of it - although Torii seems to be very interested in Yukiatsu for reasons ''other'' than his strange power. And let's not forget the weird masked people lurking in the background...

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!!Provides Examples Of:


* ArcWords
* AttractiveBentGender ([[DudeLooksLikeALady Genbatsu]] is ''pretty'' - a male character even grumbles about his beauty being wasted on a man)
* BadassBookworm (Ogasawara)
* BadassNormal (Ogasawara, who has the special ability of... dealing with bureaucracy! In the final episode of the series he gets special weapons made by Yukiatsu.)
* BarbieDollAnatomy (Yuki spends much of the last OVA episode naked, and the problem of his genitals is handled with a strange black smear.)
* BigBad (Torii)
* BigOlEyebrows (Kumoshichi)
* BittersweetEnding
* {{Bishonen}} (Kyousai and Genbatsu, though he's closer to 30)
* BreakingTheFourthWall (characters sometimes talk directly to the audience)
* CherryBlossoms (it's a given)
* ContemplateOurNavels (Yukiatsu)
* TheComicallySerious (Ogasawara)
* CoolOldGuy (Yukiatsu, though he's not ''that'' old)
* [[DontTryThisAtHome Don't Try This At Home]] (the episode with the youi made of sake is briefly interrupted by a frame of chibi-Atoru warning viewers to only drink alcohol at the legal age)
* DragonRider (Yukiatsu)
* ElaborateUndergroundBase (the Maejima Shouten)
* EsotericMotifs (the sword Kusanagi appears toward the end, though it's referred to by its original name, Murakumo; an Aztec deity also appears)
* HistoricalDomainCharacter ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawanabe_Kyōsai Kawanabe Kyousai]] was a real Japanese painter. Atobe Yoshisuke, Abe Masahiro, and Touyama Kagemoto from the Shogunate government were also actual historical figures. One episode even shows an older Kyousai teaching [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josiah_Conder_(architect) Josiah Conder]] how to draw supernatural creatures.)
* HumongousMecha (''organic'', actually... [[spoiler:the youi are revealed to be armors the gods wear when they descend to this world]])
* InnocentCohabitation ([[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in that both Kyousai and Atoru take up residence in a geisha house, and both hang out with each other in the house and around town a lot. Nothing untoward happens, but Kyousai clearly wouldn't mind if the cohabitation was less than innocent. Bonus points in that the geisha house is also home to oiran, high-class courtesans, which means that less than innocent activities do happen in their cohabitation -- but not ones performed by them.)
* JidaiGeki (and aware of it)
* KnightTemplar (Torii, Honjou and the Late Southern Dynasty)
* {{Miko}} (Saizou and later Niuya)
* NoEnding (the series - good thing the OVA exists)
* {{Orochi}} ([[spoiler:Yukiatsu]])
* OurDragonsAreDifferent
* OurVampiresAreDifferent (episode 21)
* PhysicalGod ([[spoiler:Yukiatsu]])
* PropheticNames (in a weird way, since Yukiatsu can draw out and use the real meaning of people's names)
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits (the Bansha Aratamesho)
* ResetButtonEnding
* {{Samurai}} (Ogasawara, Honjou, Kanou, and many others)
* {{Seppuku}} (in episode 22)
* ShrinesAndTemples
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism (leans more toward the cynicism side of the scale. A lot more.)
* StableTimeLoop (The end of the OVA implies that [[spoiler:it was Atoru and the rest of the Ayashi who actually helped the young Yukiatsu return to the normal world in the past]])
* TakeMyHand ([[spoiler:Atoru and Yukiatsu]])
* TheShinsengumi (Hijikata Toshizou appears as a child)
* TheChessmaster (Torii)
* TheChewToy (Tamahei)
* ThisIsUnforgivable (when things go too far even for Yukiatsu)
* {{Tsundere}} (Ogasawara)
* WholesomeCrossdresser (Genbatsu ''and'' Saizou)
* YouCantFightFate (both subverted and played straight)
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