Arata Kangatari is a shounen manga by Yuu Watase about two teenage boys from different worlds, both named Arata, who magically trade places.The first Arata we meet lives with his grandmother Makari and childhood friend Kotoha in a magical world where gods inhibit swords named Hayagami and let their chosen wielders, named Shou, use their special powers. Arata is the next in line to become the princess, the world's ruler. Too bad he was born a man, so he has to crossdress and hope nobody finds out, in which case he will be executed. However, during the crowning ceremony he is not only exposed, but the current princess Kikuri is assassinated and Arata gets the blame. As he tries to escape into a mystical forest, he is swallowed by trees.The other Arata, last name Hinohara, lives in modern day Japan with his parents and younger sister Nao. We meet him on his first day of highschool, where he quickly becomes popular after catching a groper. Not long afterwards, a dedicated bully named Kadowaki, who traumatized him in middle school, transfers in and completely ruins his reputation. When Kadowaki gets even his last friend to betray him, Hinohara wishes he would just disappear, and he somehow gets swallowed by an alley.The two Aratas then end up where the other left off, and have to solve each other's problems. By the power of the forest, nobody is able to tell the two are different people; in their eyes, they see the Arata that is native to their world.Arata Kangatari has been licensed by Viz Media as Arata: The Legend and was serialised on their Shonen Sunday site before it quietly stopped updating. To date, 13 paper volumes of the manga have been released in English, while the Japanese version is up to 18 volumes and still going.A TV anime adaptation by Satelight and JM Animation has started airing as part of the Spring 2013 season.Note: To stifle confusion for editors and readers alike, the Arata from Amawakuni is referred to as Arata, while the Japanese Arata is referred to by surname.
Accidental Pervert: In the first chapter, Arata falls off a cliff and into a hot spring where several women, including Kotoha, were bathing.
Also, during the Hot Springs Episode, Hinohara goes to bathe with Mikusa, since he thinks that they're both boys and there's no problem with it. Mikusa is understandably upset. Also, when Hinohara tries to leap out of the way of one of her attacks, she sees his junk, and threatens to kill him in response. Once again, Hinohara has no idea why she's acting this way because he thinks that Mikusa is a guy.
Adults Are Useless: The teachers in Hinohara's school do next to nothing about Kadowaki bullying and spreading vicious rumors about him.
The Atoner: Kannagi and Yataka seriously regret the parts they played in Himeou's attempted assassination. Yataka is more obvious about it, and though Kannagi would never openly apologize or ask forgiveness, he never hesitates to take responsibility andconfess that he was the one who attacked the princess, especially if Arata is being attacked for his alleged crime.
Author Appeal: An in-universe example, where Hinohara dresses Kotoha in clothing imagined-to-life with Sarae. It borders into cosplay fetishism, but played for laughs and oddly enough, a heartwarming moment.
Oribe: Do you think me, as a Himezoku and the next successor of Himeou will be defeated so easily? Next time I see you I will use the most powerful amatsuriki and pierce your entire body! So come and get me you creep!
Empowered Badass Normal: It turns out she was the member of the Himezoku destined to succeed Himeou, who'd been sent to earth be kept safe from the Shou out to take over the world. So she can nullify his powers.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Arata wishes that he would go to a faraway world in the manga's opening chapter. Likewise, Hinohara wishes that he would disappear in his introductory chapter. The moment that latter makes his wish, both of them are fulfilled by their switch.
Akachi to Emisu, who wasn't aware of their blood relation.
Bifauxnen: Mikusa has a very boyish appearance when she's first introduced to the audience as a guy. When she's revealed to be a woman a few chapter's later, she's give a small touch of femninity, but doesn't lose her boyish appearance completely.
Bishounen: Even if it's aimed at boys, it wouldn't be a Watase manga without a few of these. In particular, Yorunami's bishiness gets lampshaded by Hinohara.
Blatant Lies: Kadowaki tries to spread them about Hinohara in the start of the manga. It works surprisingly well.
Bodyguard Crush: While more of personal medics than bodyguards, all the significant Unemezoku in the story (Kotoha, Rami, and Miyabi) seem to be devoted to their masters (Arata, Mikusa, and Kadowaki, respectively) more than the call of duty requires.
Born in the Wrong Century: Oribe told Arata that she always felt like she was out of place her whole life. It turns out she is from Amawakuni and is born in the Hime Clan. Also, Mikusa is originally from Japan, therefore her and Oribe swapped places when they were babies.
Brother-Sister Incest: According to Kannagi, Emisu was in love with Akachi, as she was unaware that they were half-siblings. Akachi cared for and looked after her as she was the only family he had left, though Kannagi states that he also had feelings for her.
Call Back: In chapter 45. Kadowaki steps into Amawakuni in the exact same way as Hinohara, with the same tilted-angle shot of the capitol.
Crash into Hello: Sort of. While Kadowaki was asleep, he sensed someone near him and brashly wakes up. He sees Miyabi standing there, with the flowers she picked for him fall all over the place. She gives him a smile, bids him good morning, and introduces herself.
Decoy Protagonist: This series's debut cover page on the magazine it's printed on would have you believe that Amawakuni Arata is the main character, but he isn't - it's Hinohara Arata, who's not even on the said cover.
Dirty Coward: Suguru, the first friend Hinohara makes at his new school, quickly throws Hinohara under the bus when being close to him starts to damage his social reputation. He later realizes the error of his ways and defends their friendship even when Harunawa threatens his life, so Harunawa retaliates by killing him.
Disguised in Drag: In the first chapter, Arata must disguise as woman to pose as a female of his clan. Kannagi and Hinohara must also dress in drag to get into Kugura's harem.
Evolving Weapon: Hinohara's Hayagami, Tsukuyo - it gets grander-looking as Hinohara makes more Shou submit (symbolizing his progress).
Eye Scream: One character's eye is ripped out with a blade. It's Kadowaki, who has his eye torn out of its socket with the tip of Akachi's Hayagami. It is almost immediately replaced with Akachi's own eye.
Surprisingly, Kannagi, the one who assassinates the princess and frames Arata, ends up pulling one after he loses his Hayagami.
The other Shinshou who have submitted to Hinohara (Kugura, Yorunami), as well as their Zokushou, also count.
Hero with Bad Publicity: The wielder of the Tsukuyo (whether it be this or that Arata) is a wanted criminal due to having been framed for the attempted murder of Kikuri-hime.
Later subverted when word spreads that Arata is innocent, which is helped by how he's going around making corrupt shou submit to him, and the news by several loyal followers of Himeou that he is actually her chosen successor—the destined Emperor.
Kannagi was in love with Emisu. Though she cared a lot for him and lived together with him, it was never clear if they were formally lovers, had a more-than-friends-less-than-lovers relationship or were just friends. Plus Kannagi knew that Emisu was in love with Akachi, while it's possible that she moved on and found a Second Love in him, her feelings remain unknown.
Insane Troll Logic: When Kadowaki comes across the two Aratas talking to each other, he somehow comes to the conclusion that this was all Hinohara's plan to mock him.
A comedic variant happens when Kannagi asks Hinohara whether he's planning on staying in Amawakuni and becoming Emperor, or going back to Earth with Mikusa. Kannagi comes to the conclusion that if Hinohara chooses the latter, then he must be emperor, and Hinohara must submit to him.
Hinohara: Huh? How did this conversation end up like this?
Instant Costume Change: Sarae, the Hayagami of one of Yorunami's Zokushou, has the power to instantly change its targets clothes to whatever its wielder is imagining.
Internal Reveal: Hinohara reveals how he switched places with Arata to most of the main party in chapter 165.
Intimate Healing: Two instances in Volume 12. In the domain of Haniyasu, Hinohara collapses with a bad fever. To try to bring it down, Kotoha strips down to her undergarments and lies on top of him. When Kotoha suddenly faints, Mikusa tries to tend to him by having him sip medicine, but he coughs it up. Mikusa has no choice but to sip the medicine herself and give it to him via mouth-to-mouth.
Jerk Jock: Kadowaki is an amazingly cruel example. He has a Freudian Excuse, though, as lame and unsympathetic as it is.
Kick the Dog: When Kadowaki is under the impression that Hinohara has amnesia (as he'd switched places and appearances with Arata), he takes full advantage of the situation in order to further torment and humiliate his classmate. This either doesn't worknote For instance, at one point he covers Arata's lunch with mustard, but Arata thinks that it tastes better that way, or Arata sees through his deception. note Kadowaki tries to give Arata fake math notes so he'll fail a test, but Arata sees through his deception.
Lack of Empathy: Kadowaki, oh, god, Kadowaki. Selfish doesn't even begin to describe him. For instance, when he goes to Akachi to ask for help, he can only whine about what he wants or needs. He doesn't offer Akachi anything, even when Akachi tells him there's no reason for him to aid a potential enemy. It literally doesn't even seem to register that anybody's wants aside from his own are at all relevant. Then we get to his murderous side. After he killed a man in front of his brother, and the brother understandably went into a Heroic BSOD, Kadowaki started raging at the brother because he found said Heroic BSOD annoying. Can you say, "asshole?"
The two Aratas and Kotoha make an early triangle, but the Arata Kotoha originally knew eventually fades away in this setup, though Hinohara isn't really aware of that.
Hinohara, Kotoha, and Mikusa make up a later triangle, though Mikusa is a definite third wheel in this scenario and knows it.
Made a Slave: Children of criminals are forced to take on their parents' punishment and subsequently they become slaves. Such as Akachi and his little sister Emisu.
Meaningful Name: Hinohara practically spells this out when he first introduces himself to Suguru - His name, Arata, uses the kanji for "revolution." Guess what he's destined to do with his Hayagami later on into the story.
Not Growing Up Sucks: Kugura, upon accepting his Hayagami. He's permanently stuck in a childlike form, though he can use his Hayagami to transform into a more adult form for a short period of time.
Oblivious to Love: Augh...Arata, people are expected to at least have the comprehension ability to read between the lines when someone asks them "what do you think of me" directly, you blasted idiot.
Older than They Look: Princess Kikuri looks surprisingly youthful for a 60+ year-old woman. Justified, as her powers suppress the form of her true age.
One-Gender Race: Played with through the Hayagami. They appear as women, but they can apparently take on male form if they want to.
One Steve Limit: Averted...unless you want to get technical. Amawakuni Arata's name is written in katakana. The name of the Japanese Arata is written with kanji. This typically serves as an indicator of characters who know the secret revolving around the two of them.
One-Winged Angel: As the Hayagami of the six Sinshou have become demons, they have the power to transform into monsters.
Power Copying: If you can get another Shou to submit to you, you can use their Hayagami's abilities.
Power Nullifier: Before Hinohara defeats any Shou, Tsukuyo's main ability is this. This is because she is the mother of all Hayagami.
Punch a Wall: Hinohara inadvertently does a subversion of this in Chapter 102. His initial intention was to punch Arata for unwittingly causing Kotoha emotional problems by family-zoning her without realizing the consequences for doing so. Hinohara apparently forgot that Arata was just an image projected onto a rock wall or underestimated how hard it was, resulting in a comically injured fist.
Redemption Equals Death: Suguru redeems himself for having betrayed his best friend Hinohara way back when Hinohara was on earth by insisting that they are friends despite Harunawa's threats. So Harunawa kills him.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Yataka and Kannagi. Yataka is gentlemanly, loyal, calm, and calculating. Kannagi is somewhat Hot-Blooded, sarcastic, loud, and prideful. It's even visually lampshaded here.
Save Both Worlds: It turns out that the Six Sinshou's motivations were to come back to earth, as five of them actually came from there. Howevver, Himeou serves as a seal that prevents Hayagami from traveling between the worlds. The Sinshou want to take their Hayagami with them so that they can destroy earth.
Arata plays this straight most of the time, not bothering to wear something more practical for traveling clothes. Occasionally he may wear cloak or a raincoat out of necessity, but he still wears his school clothes underneath.
Kadowaki continues to wear his school uniform as well. He outright refuses to wear the garments provided by Harunawa's servants, calling it "cosplay." However, he eventually subverts this trope after thinking back to his life on Earth and concluding that he no longer has a place at his home or at school. He demands that all his things, including his clothes, be disposed of as he severs his attachment to his previous life. His next appearances see him in a new outfit.
The Sociopath: Kadowaki. He cares about three things: Making himself feel good about himself, being better than Hinohara (which is really just a sub-point of the first reason) and, at a very, very distant third, his Morality Pet. Everything else can go to hell. He kills people without batting an eye, uses (or tries to use) anybody he doesn't feel like killing, and then he bitches about how he feels unloved and neglected by his father. He's so
Kikutsune is a tyranical shou who is perfectly fine with stealing the hearing of his subjects and humiliating them using his powers. However, he was originally a very talented musician who lost his hearing in an attack orchestrated by a rival musician. He got his revenge, but wound up being punished for murder as a result. Also, he grew up in Pompey, and only managed to escape the volcano by getting pulled into the forrest, so a trial consisted of getting stoned and attacked by a lion.
Kagura was an amnesiac who could never age and was thus trapped in the body of a child. Before he lost his memories, he was a peasant boy who lost most of his family in an attack by bandits. He fought them off with his newfound power, but he couldn't remember his only remaining family member—his brother.
Isora was originally a kind noble in Spain, but he was betrayed by one of his friends and tortured by the Spanish Inquisition for being a witch.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: A lot of characters from Amawakuni have rather exotic hair colors, as evidenced from cover art and other colored pages, which are fairly consistent.