The protagonist of the series and Riki’s son. At just one week old he witnesses his father thrown into a crevice by Akakabuto, presumably killing him. Takeda Gohei, Riki's owner, swears revenge and from there on trains Gin to become his next bear hound.
But Now I Must Go: Leaves Daisuke and the rest of his life behind in episode 8 to join the pack travelling across Japan in search for strong dogs to defeat Akakabuto with.
Berserker Tears: When he fights Moss, believing he killed Ben. Also towards Akakabuto at the climax battle.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Especially apparent when he picks up Moss the 200 pounds Mastiff like it’s nothing and slams him to the ground. Gets even worse later on when he... somehow, manages to grab Benizakura (guy almost the size of a bull) and jump with him several feet into the air as if the latter was a feather.
Chekhov's Skill: His harsh underwater training comes in handy when he's fighting Kurotora, whose breed's only weakness is water.
Comforting Comforter: He covers a sleeping Daisuke with a blanket before leaving with the Ohu soldiers.
Coming-of-Age Story: The story’s told from the day he’s born to the day he becomes the leader of the Twin Pass.
Heroic Willpower: When he pulls Daisuke out from a crevice the latter falls into, letting all of Daisuke’s weight rest on his tiny puppy body while holding onto the rope pulling them up. It got the point his collar tore into his throat and made him unable to breath, yet he refused to let go.
Messianic Archetype: As Ben puts it, he sports a strong sense of justice and determination, which is what wins him strong loyalty as well as friendship with his comrades and eventually gives him the leader role. By the end of the anime, he becomes the leader over more than 1,000 dogs and the entire Twin Pass territory.
Scars Are Forever: Suffers a blow from the first bear he and Daisuke fights, which gives him three permanent scars on his forehead.
What Happened To The Stripes?: He's born with brindle fur (referred to as "tiger stripes" in-universe), which is what makes Daisuke recognize him as stronger and more valuable than his brothers. After three episodes have passed however, said stripes disappear and are never seen again.
Wise Beyond Their Years: The reason Ben picks him to take over his platoon after the latter's handicap; he has a stronger sense of justice and determination than anyone else, despite only being an adolescent.
Gin’s father and described as the strongest bear hound there is. He’s seemingly killed in the first episode while fighting Akakabuto, but is revealed to be alive later on, having established himself as “The Leader” over the dogs in Ohu, and gathers them to find as many strong dogs as possible to fight Akakabuto. He does not remember Gin or having a past life however.
A Father to His Men: Invoked when Gin calls him out for being his father. He suffers from Identity Amnesia at the time and takes the statement as Gin meaning he sees him as this trope, and proceeds to call the rest of the dogs his "children".
All There in the Manual: Or at least in a short story. ‘’Ginga Densetsu Riki’’ is a manga-only prequel with six chapters, telling the story of his puppyhood.
Badass: His bear hound skills range to the point regular bears will flee by the mere sight of him, and while his pack is away, he’s shown single handedly defending the Twin Pass against several bears at a time. Also, according to John, he can defeat someone without his opponent even feeling they were touched.
Badass in Distress: He's temporarily weakened after using the Battouga at one point which results in a surprise attack by Akakabuto's underlings burying him under a pile of timber. He lives however, and somehow gets his memories back following so.
Dramatic Irony: He was the runt of his litter, strongly attached to his mother and cried easily. It wasn't until a bunch of rogue dogs pushed him into a corner while still a puppy that his "bear-hound blood awoke" and he showed what he was really capable of. Later he turned out the one of Shiro's pups that had inherited his father's genes the most.
"My son... You've won so don't cry. .. Celebrate! ... Howl for the honor of the dead... and celebrate with the survivors..."
The Leader: The Mastermind type. Again, it’s even literally the name he goes by. Or more precisely “Boss”.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: He presumably suffered a blow to the head from his deep fall into a crevice, causing him to forget all about his past life with a human owner as well as mate and puppies. The only thing he remembered was his hatred for Akakabuto.
Meaningful Name: "Strength". Although, he was actually the runt of his litter and was given the name so he’d have something to live up to, making it an Ironic Name to begin with.
Momma's Boy: He was revealed to be this as a puppy in the prequel.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A haughty and ruthless hunting dog at first, but eventually reveals to Gin that his gaze had “swept him away” sometimes, and while they separate he wishes him a good life. Later he returns to join the pack, and develops a close friendship with Gin over time.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He thinks “The Leader” and the dog pack are crazy for believing they can be stronger than human rifles, and leaves them to stay with his owner. As mentioned above however, he’s eventually convinced by Riki and decides to join them after all.
The leader of the one of Riki’s platoons that Gin joins.
Badass Pacifist: When it comes to other dogs, he doesn’t believe in killing or even seriously injuring anyone, but fights through either wearing his opponent out or delivering a brief attack to exemplify his strength. Even towards the traitor Hyena, all he does is briefly beat him up as punishment while allowing him to stay in the pack, consenting he’d rather forgive than kill. It’s only when facing Akakabuto that all morality is thrown out the window and he wants nothing more but to tear the bear apart.
Made of Iron: Over the course of the series, he gets struck by a giant rock, poisoned, falls down a deep crevice and suffers several harsh blows from Akakabuto’s claws that any of the random dogs would have instantly bit the dust from, but is completely fine by the end of the day.
The Men First: When the pack is poisoned in the Iga village, Ben refuses to eat the antidote until everyone else has.
You Are in Command Now: Makes Gin the leader of his platoon when going blind, even though Gin is an adolescent at the time. Justified as he’s every inch of a Kid Hero.
Voiced by: Toshiko Fujita
The only female in Ben’s platoon, possibly in the entire pack.
Berserk Button: She apparently hates having her past life with puppies brought up, as Ben finds out the hard way, so to speak.
Broken Pedestal: She had once hunted Akakabuto along with her owner and several other dogs, to which she was the only survivor while said owner had abandoned them all and run away in fear, despite her having fiercely protected him. This action of his caused her to lose her trust in humans completely.
Mama Bear: Towards a puppy she doesn’t even know. When witnessing Wilson losing Kurojaki’s puppy down a cliff due to the latter’s interference, she immediately jumps in to grab it and falls down with it.
Pregnant Badass: To a degree. She swims an ocean to reach Gin, and runs with the pack for many miles while pregnant.
Finishing Move: Biting into his opponent's throat until they choke or he snaps their neck. He nearly kills Gin twice this way.
Humiliation Conga: Suffers this through Gin’s Heroic Second Wind, suddenly being easily dodged by him, flunged around like a ragdoll and stabbed onto a branch through his collar, leaving him to hang there as he angrily shouts for someone to get him down.
Hazy Feel Turn: He leaves Sniper at one point and tries to get on good terms with Ben's pack again, however, it's implied to just be out of fear for Sniper, and he remains a Dirty Coward that runs away when the dogs are about to face Akakabuto's guard bears.
Redemption Equals Death: When witnessing Ben throwing himself and Sniper off a cliff, Hyena curses his cowardly self for not having helped him, and promptly leaps down the cliff with Berserker Tears to follow them. In the manga, all three of them end up in a river where Hyena proceeds to save Ben from drowning. Unfortunately, Sniper kills him shortly after for this.
Akatora, Chutora and Kurotora
Breed: Kai Ken
Voiced by: Kouji Totani, Kouzou Shioya and Ryouichi Tanaka respectively.
Three brothers described by Ben to be as strong as a hundred soldiers between them.
Achilles' Heel: Kai Ken's in-universe are described as bad swimmers. Gin takes advantage of this by pushing Kurotora into a lake and defeats him by dragging him underwater.
Badass Adorable: They were abandoned in the wilderness as puppies, but when the first predator, a large snake, came by to eat them, they attacked and ate the snake instead, and continued to hunt and fend for themselves up until adulthood, with some help from Ben.
Eye Scream: Kurotora got his right eye torn out by a killer dog as a puppy.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: All of them. They’re extremely hostile to Ben’s pack at first and violently fights him, Gin and Cross. Once they realize Ben is the one who saved their lives while they were puppies however, they immediately apologize and willingly joins him.
Heroic Sacrifice: Akatora gives his life to blind Akakabuto completely in the final battle.
We Owe You Our Lives: They had once been attacked by a dangerous dog which was about to kill Kurotora in front of them when Ben suddenly appeared and chased it away, and he had continued to come and check on them several times afterwards. They’re more than happy to join him in gratitude for this.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Played with. He’s introduced as antagonistic, and becomes furious when being tricked into thinking Ben’s platoon killed his son. He’s eventually shown to be a good guy however (and his son lives as well).
A dog Ben met while he had an owner. He seeks him out in order to recruit him, but they’re instead tricked into believing he’s turned himself and his pack into cannibals.
The Atoner: Ben’s owner had once caged him after being impressed by his jumping abilities, intending to train him for a hunting dog, but he had pleaded for Ben to help him break out. Because of that, and accidentally poisoning Ben and his pack, he swears he’ll do anything for him in amends, and also “be his eyes” once it turns out Ben's going blind from the poison.
Driven to Suicide: Coupled with Honor Before Reason. When Akame burns down their ancient “sacred master’s” home, he claims it was his only reason to live and jumps into the flames, followed by his pack.
A retired fighting dog described as the strongest dog in the world.
Adrenaline Makeover: After his fight with Gin to which he’s left with the upper hand, he tells Gin that he’s never felt that excited in years and tells him that what is left of his life, he will give to him.
Badass Grandpa: He’s about 10 years old which equals old age for a dog.
The Rival: He had been an unbeatable champion dog until he faced one called Tsunarashi, to which the brutal fight between them turned out a tie. Benizakura wouldn’t accept it and trained hard for years until he could face him again, only to find that the retired Tsunarashi had lost his sight and was being used as a punching bag for young fighting dogs. This infuriated Benizakura, causing him to kill the young dogs while leaving Tsunarashi alone, before retiring from being a fighting dog himself.
World's Strongest Dog: Is described as such. Seeing as he was able to grab a massive bear by its neck and throw it around, the term is well earned.
Gin’s original owner . A headstrong and determined 12-year old who loves dogs, but also has a brattish streak to him.
Catapult Nightmare: In the manga, when he dreams that the missing Gohei ends up shooting Riki so he can feed off his dog's meat to survive. What actually happens is a bit different.
Decoy Protagonist: The beginning of the series would have you believe he’s the main character in a story centering around his and Gin’s adventures together. Then Genre Shift comes along and turns out Gin’s the main character.
The Determinator: Swears that with Gohei being hospitalized, he will train Gin in his stead and defeat Akakabuto himself, to which he trains for several weeks, becoming a Pint-Sized Powerhouse and skilled archer.
An Arm and a Leg: When he and Riki are trapped in a crevice while Akakabuto is roaming around above, he eventually makes the decision of chopping off half of his wounded leg in order to feed Riki the meat, giving him the strength to escape and run for help. Riki's too loyal to do it however.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: As far as dog training is concerned. His method of training bear-hounds consists of beating them in order to bring out their aggression, teach them to swim by having to dive underwater to get their food, and force them to eat bear meat (consists of a smell so intense "even adult hunting dogs are afraid of it"). In the manga, it’s mentioned that only 1 out of 10 of his dogs survives his training.
Force Feeding: When trying to make Riki eat his meat. Later he forces Gin to eat bear meat, as part of the training.
Would Hurt a Child: Punches Daisuke when the latter tries to interfere with his training of Gin.
The son of a local major killed by Akakabuto, and John’s owner. He returned from his global hunting trips to take revenge for his father, and eventually mentors Daisuke in archery. Also sports an arrogant personality.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Delivers one to Daisuke when trying to tell him off from pursuing Akakabuto.
Break the Haughty: To a degree. He’s confident that he’s more than capable of killing Akakabuto himself with a modern rifle, but gets a dose of reality when he’s instead tricked into shooting the wrong bear and doesn’t even get a chance to fire against Akakabuto when he does arrive - and disappears again just as quickly.
Clark Kent Outfit: Has an impressive set of muscles under his plain clothed appearance.
Handicapped Badass: Had his right eye shot out by Gohei, to which the bullet penetrated further into his brain and made him (even more) crazy.
It Can Think: Knows how to ambush hunters without giving them a chance to fire at him, or stands at a distance that negates clear shots, uses other bears as territory guards, builds himself a fortress of rocks and can predict certain attacks the dogs attempt towards him. In the manga, he's even seen talking at one point, albeit in a different "language" than the dogs.
Rasputinian Death: Is attacked over and over by hundreds of dogs, suffers two Battougas and gets shot straight in the chest by Gohei… and still stands up to claw away at his enemies. It takes a well-placed Battouga by Gin to finally finish him off by decapitating him.
A one-armed bear Akakabuto uses as territory guard.