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Gamaran (我間乱, Gamaran) is a shonen manga written by Yosuke Nakamaru and set in ancient Japan.Long ago, there was the region of Unabara, also known as "The Demons' Lair", because many powerful warriors hailed from here, as well as countless martial arts of any kind. In order to choose a worthy ruler amongs his many sons, the Daimyo of Unabara Naomasa Washizu decides to start the great Unabara Tournament: each of his sons will hire a "Ryuu" (School) whose warriors will fight for their master in order to make them Daimyo and find out once and for all which style is the strongest.The story focus on Naoyoshi, bastard son of the Daimyo who wants to clear his name (his mother wasn't a noble). Looking for the powerful swordsman Jinsuke Kurogane, the "Killer of a Thousand Men" he ends up hiring his son Gama, the young but skilled swordsman of the Ogame Ryuu. Along with allies and foes, Gama will fight his way to the top in order to make Naoyoshi the new Daimyo and show the world the might of the Ogame Ryuu.The manga is very recent, and only a few volumes are currently avaible in Europe. It features a good, clean art along with amazing fighting scenes avoiding some clichés typical of shounen manga.The manga came to an end on chapter 194, with 22 volumes.The Character Sheet is currently avaible.Gama contains examples of:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Zigzagged. While usually Gama's swords are deadly, he fails to cut armors or steel weapons at the first try.
Aloof Big Brother: Iori is basically this one to Gama (note that they're not blood-related).
An Axe to Grind: Agon and Hakuryu, from an unknown Ryuu. Shin actually point out how defending from such a weapon is dangerous. Riichiro and the former member of the Shujin School fight with western Halberds, which are called "axe spears" by them.
Anachronism Stew: Agon's axe attack is named "Tomahawk" (which is a weapon only used by American Indians)
Kashitarou wears what seems to be perfectly functioning modern glasses. (Yes, glasses has been around since 1100 at least, but his look too much modern by comparison.)
In the first chapter, the Daimyo mentions the Shigen Ryuu of Judo. Except that, Judo was formally invented in 1882, about a century later if not more.
Anime Hair: Is not uncommon to see people with odd-looking hairstyles.
Armor Is Useless: Averted: steel plates and chainmails can block a katana, so that some extra work is required.
Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Considering that most of the characters are martial artists of various types, they're all over the place.
Archer Archetype: The Nakaizumi Ryuu. Also Ippi Shibano from the Muhou School. Specifically, the former embodies the "good archer" (actually muscular, noble, hard-working who really believes in his fighting style), while the latter is the "bad archer" (a slimy coward who uses poisoned weapons and sneak attacks).
BFS: Zenmaru's secret weapon, the Mystery Sword Kutaragi Sadanaga is a giant, heavy katana. Shingo Mido of the Myojin Ryuu wields Onidachi (Demon Splitter), a ten feet long spear with a 3 feet long blade. All the members of the Muhou Ryu's 47th Corps wield oversized swords thanks to their strength-boosting drug, while their commander Ryuho swings around an 8 feet long iron club with one hand.
Big Bad: It's easy to see the Daimyo as one with the sinister-looking Nachi as his Dragon. Later Jinsuke takes the role.
Big Damn Heroes: Zenmaru saves Naoyoshi from an assassin. Later, Gama pop up just in time to save Zenmaru from Jaki. Post Time Skip, Kashitarou saves Zenmaru from Kiyomori.
Bittersweet Ending: The Shogunate invasion has completely destroyed Unabara, but the main heroes and even some of the antagonists survived, free to carry on their lives.
Blade on a Stick: Several Ryuu use spears of various kinds as their Weapon of Choice, including the Myojin Ryuu and Ganen Ryuu. The first Ryuu faced by Gama was the Tengen Ryuu of Baian Maki, a master in the use of the naginata. Later they fight the "Four Divine Spears" of the Myojin Ryuu, who all wields special spears. Amongst the Muhou Ryu members, Riichiro Hanamura and the former members of the Shujin Ryu fight with halbeards, while Ango and the former Gaun Ryu warriors are armed with Nagamaki.
Butt Monkey: Zenmaru, who's often compared to a monkey. In the other schools we could classify Eima Yakushiji (Tengen Ryuu) and Ichiou Jinno (Myojin Ryuu).
Calling Your Attacks: Averted! At least, the characters don't scream the name of their current attack, but it does appear around them while they're performing it for the audience's benefit. Basically is more like "Thinking Your Attacks".
Chain Pain: Kotaro's secret weapon is Mitsuboshi (Orion's Belt), a set of three chains connected together.
Combat Pragmatist: Many characters, even Gama himself. Shinnojo for example manages to kill Juho Maniwa while the latter is distracted by Ichiou.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Gama dealing with the low-level opponents results in this. Also Iori vs Gama (Iori wins) and Zenmaru and Shin vs Agon and Hakuryu. Both Gama and Zenmaru are on the receiving end thanks to Ranmaru and Kai, respectively.
Generally speaking, whenever a small fish tries to take on someone much more powerful and experienced than them, this is the inevitable result.
Dark and Troubled Past: Naoyoshi, as his mother wasn't a noble. Other characters like Ryuho Kibe, Sakon Daimaru and even Gama himself suffered this.
Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Many Ryuu have something of this effect. Usually is a hard-to-dodge attack that may leave them vulnerable in case of failure.
The Determinator: Gama most of the time. Zenmaru has also shown to have some determination himself.
Diagonal Cut: The typical result of a fight against a member of the Ogame Ryuu.
Dual Wielding: Averted by the Ogame Ryuu: they do carry around two sword, but only use one of them at time. Agon and Hakuryu dual wields axes, and Masato's Souen Ryuu focuses on using both the longsword and the shortsword. According to him, this style offers a great defense. Later, Ichida Maruyama wields the twin blades Aogasumi, Sekiryu and Seirin dual wields Iron Whips while Muraku Matsumoto's secret weapon consist in him using two weigthed chains in battle.
Elemental Powers: Sort of: the techniques of the Ogame Ryuu are divided in five "forms": Thunder, Flame, Earth, Water and Sky. However they're just referring to the sword style, and have nothing of magical at all. To be really specific:
Ikazuchi no Kata (Thunder and Lightning Form): Focus on speed.
Kagutsuchi no Kata (Blazing Flame Form): Focus on strength.
Enemy Mine: Post Time Skip, both Gensai Kizaki from the Kannari Ryuu and Arata Nakaizumi are willing to help the Oogame Ryuu in their battle against the Muhou School.
Epic Flail: The Kasanemanji Ryuu specialize in the use of Kusarigama (chain and sickle). Specifically, Jaki's secret weapon looks a lot like an european medieval flail. Chuuji of the Muhou School also employs a flail as his trump card.
Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Ryuu involved in "foreign martial styles" are mentioned. So far they're all members of the Muhou Ryu and include Suzunosuke Mamiya (rapier), Riichiro and the former Soujin School members (halbeards) and the corps who attacked Gama inside the inner city, whose weaponry include flanged maces, iron whips and scimitars. Tsuchiryuu dual wields Chinese Deer Horn Daggers.
Eye Scream: Gama does this to Junnosuke and (almost) Baian of the Tengen Ryuu. Muraku is seen doing this to the Tamagakushi mooks. In shorts, there are plenty of examples.
Family Theme Naming: Naomasa Washizu, the Daimyo of Unabara, has about 30 sons. All of them have a name starting with Nao. (Naoyoshi, Naoshizu, Naoie and so on).
Fighting Series: Unlike most series, attacks and techniques are extremely well-detailed: even an apparently useless slash can actually turn into a deadly combo.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Naomasa Washizu has a badly-stitched scar on his scalp. Nachi has a strange line on the left side of his face, but it's unknown if it's actually a wound or some sort of skin disease.
Heroic Sacrifice: Kai, who jumps in front of his brother in order to save him from Mario's sneak attack.
Jerk Ass: Many of the warriors of Unabara. Also Naoyoshi's brothers.
Katanas Are Just Better: Sometimes averted: while the nearly-invincible heroes do carry katana (which is logical since it's set in Edo period Japan), many weapons actually have an edge against swords, like chains and poleweapons.
Kid Samurai: Gama. Also Shimon Kudo and Niina Gakushin, from the Muhou School.
Lame Comeback: Iori is the only person who can turn a Lame Comeback in an awesome moment. Shinsuke is about to take on the tired Kamedenbo and Gensai, saying "Go to hell" as he moves in for the kill. Then, Iori jumps in the fray just in time saying "YOU go to hell!" and actually wounds him.
Much later, as Mario Kujou faces Zenmaru, he coldly tells him that he needs a reality check. Zenmaru replies that he is going to need a reality check.... then he nearly beheads him with one blow.
Lightning Bruiser: Gama. Fittingly, his preferred style is the Ikazuchi Kata (Lightning Form), which focus on speed. Many other warriors relies on speed or fast attacks.
Made of Iron: Gama, despite his age, is very hard to kill. Other notable examples include Ryuuhou Kibe (though mostly drug-induced), Iori Sengoku (stabbed his own thigh to stop an enemy blow) and Muraku Matsumoto (still conscious after getting hit by a twirling katana in his midsection).
The Man Behind the Man: Jinsuke and Yukio are behind the whole Unabara Tournament thing, which leads to the assassination of all the Washizu clan except for Naoyoshi, who's kept alive as a Puppet King for the Muhou Ryuu so that they can control Unabara.
Master Swordsman: Gama is quite skilled, but Iori and Jinsuke are far more powerful. As former elites of the Ogame School, both Mario Kujou and Riko Murasame are one as well, with the former having mastered all the forms of the Ogame School and the latter being literally immune to all their attacks due to his absolute defense "Kagi no Tourou".
Multicolored Hair: Nachi: the right half of his hair is white, the other half is black.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Jinsuke Kurogane. KILLER OF A THOUSAND MEN. The "Five Dragons" (five strongest Ryuu) of Unabara counts as a In-Universe example. Unabara itself is known as the "Demon's Haunt".
Ninja: Some Ryuu practice Ninjustsu, namely the Mugen Ryuu, Jouchi Ryuu and the Tamagakushi Ryuu. The last one also averts the Highly-Visible Ninja stereotype and actually use realistic ninja techniques. Inside the Muhou Ryuu we have Tsuchiryuu and the rarely seen Jinkuu.
Oh, Crap: Given the nature of the series, this happen often. In Chapter 28 all the sons of the Daimyo have one when they found out that in order to win the second part of the tournament the winner must bring the head of one of them to the castle.
Old Master: Kamedanbo Oizumi, master of the Ogame Ryuu's dojo.
One-Man Army: Many of the most powerful warriors of Unabara are this.
Orochi: Jaki and Kotaro's combo attack. It involves hitting a target with their flails from opposite directions.
Shaggy Dog Story: Zenmaru's whole objective since his appearence was to become strong enough to surpass even his brother Kai, but still cared for him and wanted him to live. When he finally manages to prove his strength by killing Mario Kujou, his brother, who was severly injured in the battle due to an Heroic Sacrifice, can only compliment him for surpassing him before dying in front of him.
Smug Snake: Naosada the tenth son of the Daimyo. Most of the other sons balance between this and Dirty Coward. While Kai at first seems a good example, is later revealed that Mario is one.
Sore Loser: Ryuugo Daimaru. Mario Kujou, who quickly descends from the second strongest of the Ogame School to "that vile scumbag taking advantage of reinforcements, helpless brothers and sneak attacks to achieve victory".
Stock Ninja Weaponry: The Tamagakushi Ryuu employ shuriken, kunai and shortswords in battle Averted by Tsuchiryuu and Shinkuu, whose weapons are a couple of Deer Horn Daggers and some sort of polearm/long staff.
Small Name, Big Ego: The Hyuga brothers at the beginning. Also many members of the Kyosen Ryuu and Tengen Ryuu.
Theme Naming: All the Daimyo's sons have a name starting with Nao-.
All the members of the Myojin school have a "divine/sacred" theme in their namings: Shingo Mido and Jinno (both meaning god), Sakakibara Sasuke (Sakaki is a type of sacred tree) and Omiya Banri (Miya = Temple).
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Zenmaru kills an assassin by throwing his shortsword at him. Later Agon tries to do the same with his "Tomahawk" attack, but fails.
Time Skip: Jinsuke would have destroyed the Ogame Ryuu right after the tournament, but Iori "persuaded" him to give them a year to train and prepare.
Tournament Arc: Starts with one for about seven volumes, then in chapter 69 when the Muhou school takes over Unabara.
Turtle Power: Ogame Ryuu means "Great Turtle School", and the Turtle is his symbol.