An adventure/action manga and anime produced in the 1980s. The mangaka, Yoshihiro Takahashi, took inspiration from an article he read about pet dogs that had run away from their owners to live in the wilderness. Subsequently he created a story about... pet dogs that had run away from their owners to live in the wilderness.Yes, this story is about talking dogs. Not Petting Zoo People, actual animals.Let's be more specific: it stars Gin, an Akita Inu pup and the son of the bear-hunting dog Riki. Riki and his owner, Gohei Takeda, had been hunting a deranged bear known as Akakabuto (based on a famous historical rogue bear who terrorized a town) after the bear killed Riki's father. Circumstances led to Gohei losing his leg, and Riki seemingly falling to his death. So Gohei needed a new hunting dog. He picked Gin.Months later, Gin, after having been trained by Gohei and returned to his original owner, Daisuke, leaves his friend to join a pack of wild dogs. It turns out that Riki survived, but with amnesia, and had formed a pack just to fight and finish off Akakabuto and his fellow bears. So begins an adventure involving many battles, travelling across Japan to find allies, and learning battle techniques.Eventually, the manga was adapted into an anime by Toei Animation. This was subsequently dubbed into a number of Scandinavian languages, and it became popular enough in those countries to get uncut rereleases. Why "uncut"? Well, most notably, both the manga and the anime are extremely violent and gory - enough for one site to describe it as "said to be one of the most violent anime ever". Don't count on it being dubbed into English anytime soon.There's a sequel series, Ginga Densetsu Weed, which follows Gin's son Weed. There's also a manga-only prequel named Ginga Densetsu Riki, which follows a young Riki.
Examples in the anime adaptation
Absurdly Sharp Claws: Sniper kills a dog named Lloyd by clawing his head. While canine claws can be sharp enough to cut flesh, they certainly wouldn't deliver any fatal wound, specially not by a wild dog who's claws would be well worn down.
A Father to His Men: Riki claims to be more than just a leader to his soldiers, he is their father and they are his children.
Almost Dead Guy: A dog named Kurobe delivers a message to Cross and Moss that the fourth and fifth platon have been killed, before dying himself.
Already Undone For You: In episode 16, we see Moss and the pack of dogs he had been leading in the absence of Ben being trapped in a giant hole in the ground, with no explanation as to how they ended up there.
Averted when Ben goes blind and has to pick a new leader for the pack. According to both him and Akame, anyone in the pack have the strength to be a leader, but Ben wants one who also have "determination and a strong sense of justice". The choice goes to Gin, despite him probably being (at least one of) the youngest of them. Of course he still turns out to be among the strongest on many occasions.
Badass Grandpa: Gohei, who is for some reason even called grandpa by people who are in no way related to him.
In Japan (and some other countries) it's not uncommon to refer to elderly men as grandpa even if they aren't related to you.
Bittersweet Ending: The victory during the final battle came with a high price. Totally worth it, though...
Black and White Morality: Pretty much. Bears are portrayed as mindless killing machines and humans poor victims. Although the first episode have the village leader call Gohei out on it being his fault that Akakabuto went crazy in the first place, said bear was still a wicked animal before his nerve system got damaged by Gohei's bullet, as even more clearly shown in the manga.
Break the Haughty: John's arrogant attitude is toned down a whole lot after being defeated by Riki.
Bring My Brown Pants: One of the dogs in the army at the final battle loses control of his bladder when seeing Akakabuto for the first time.
Broken Aesop: The Big Lipped Alligator Moment mentioned above. To recap, at the very end of the episode, baby-killer came out of nowhere, threw a puppy off a cliff, put a member of the pack in lethal danger, and reflected badly on Lassie, and in the next episode, nobody cared. The scene was most likely an Aesop about how harming innocents to get back at someone is a bad thing, so... yeah. In all fairness, none of the already recruited characters got much love at this point, but it still came off as rather odd.
This was probably more due to adaption editing. In the manga, Wilson (the collie) explains how Kurojaki killed and ate his family before, hence why he intended to kill his son for revenge.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Riki is simply known as "The Leader" during most of the show up until his identity is "revealed" in the final episode.
Evil Chancellor: Sniper, being the second in command, is constantly scheming how to take over the pack and kill off his competition in elaborate schemes.
Evil Redhead: Akakabuto; he is a giant killer bear whose name means "Red Helmet".
Eye Awaken: Hidetoshi shoots a bear, thinks he's killed it and slowly approaches, the bear slightly opens it's eyes in what can only be described as playing dead to lure the hunter close and SMILES, before hurling itself towards Hidetoshi.
Flash Step: Gin, Riki as well as the Koga and Iga dogs can do this.
Gecko Ending: The anime ends with Akakabuto's defeat. The manga however, continues for a while more, revolving around a wolf arc (the dogs joining forces with good wolves to fight against evil ones), and afterwards Gin having a reunion with Daisuke before seeing Takeda Gohei one last time before he dies.
Gender Equals Breed: Averted with Ben and Cross' pups. They have three where two look like Ben while the third look like Cross, however the Cross-alike is male, while one of the Ben-alikes is female. (This isn't revealed until Ginga Densetsu Weed however.)
Frank Welker, who's well-known for making the voices of animals in movies and T.V. shows, voices Akakabuto and the rest of the bears in the anime.
Highly Visible Ninja: While the Igas are pretty spry ninjas, not shying away from underhanded tactics and preferring to stay out of sight, that doesn't change the fact that their pure white coats should make for pretty awful camouflage. As the series goes on,however, Akame starts playing this more and more straight, besting his opponents with his speed and skill in direct combat instead of going with more "practical" methods.
Hong Kong Dub: The Finnish dub is absolutely terrible about lip-synching, with characters usually still talking after their mouths no longer move or, conversely, their mouths moving after the line is over or even before the line even begins. Then again, the said dub was pretty much terrible about everything, including keeping character voicesand namesconsistent and, y'know, actually acting.
Ironic Echo: In the bonus story Kai no San Kyōdai, Ben says that he can finally sleep peacefully at night after seeing the three brothers beat up the marten that he had originally saved them from. Akatora says that now he can sleep peacefully, too, as he dies knowing that he effectively secured his friends' victory by blinding Akakabuto.
Made of Iron: A couple of the characters manage to hang on, even if they get shot in the eye, clawed, fell off a cliff, bitten, or in one case, all of the above.
Forget iron, Akame is most likely made of pure adamantium. He gets scythed in the neck by Kurojaki soon after his introduction and he has all but shrugged it off an hour or so later. That's just the beginning, though: later in the series he gets Shuga's spear-like front leg shoved into his stomach and the battle with White Tiger ends with the latter's (regular) leg paw-deep in Akame's neck. He barely minds these two injuries, by the way.
In the Ginga Densetsu Riki prequel (the short story of Gin's father as a puppy), Riki is actually the runt of his litter and is given a name so that he'll grow big and strong, "strength" being what Riki means.
And Ben, who lived after a giant rock fell on him. Not to mention that throughout the serie, he also got poisoned, fell down a deep gorge, and suffered lots of straight blows from Akakabuto's claws that would most likely have killed any of the random dogs.
Put on a Bus: Justified, in that the focus shifts to Gin as soon as he leaves with the pack in episode 8, not leaving much room for showing the humans anymore, causing Daisuke and Takeda Gohei to not appear again until near the end.
Rasputinian Death: Akakabuto, after taking tons of attacks from dogs, rendered blind, endured two Zetsu Tenrou Battougas, and a gunshot, finally goes down after one final Zetsu Tenrou Battouga... that cut off his head.
Redemption Equals Death: Hyena, does one final act of trying to prove his worth as a soldier of Ohu, jumping off a cliff with the intent of saving Ben after giving a little speech about how he used to be evil but wants to redeem himself, only to trip while charging down the cliff, screaming as he falls to his death. He is never seen again.
In the anime, no. In the manga, we see Ben, Sniper and Hyena as they all fell into a river. Hyena saves Ben from drowning, but is then killed by Sniper.
Rousing Speech: The dogs are about to square off with Akakabuto, but he has intimidated most of the soldiers in the pack; cue Riki with one of the most memorable entrances ever, delivering a rousing speech which makes everybody fit for fight again.
Rule of Drama: In the last episode, Daisuke tries to approach Gin only to be stopped by the other dogs (even John) snarling at him, resulting in a bittersweet scene of Daisuke having to say goodbye to Gin from a distance, refused the right to touch him. This would make sense in that the dogs won't allow an unknown human approaching their leader, even though Takeda Gohei was allowed to pet and hug both Gin and Riki just moments before...
It doesn't help that even in Japanese, it's incredibly easy to mistake Smith for a girl. See Viewer Gender Confusion below.
Spared by the Adaptation: Or rather, Spared by the Bowdlerization. In Scandinavia, the anime received some haphazard cuts attempting to remove the worst instances of gratuitous gore, which led to some important scenes (as well as three entire episodes) getting the shaft. This cut version omits the deaths of Terry, Kirikaze, Jinnai, Benizakura, Sniper, Hyena and Akatora, causing quite a bit of What Happened to the Mouse? for keen-eyed viewers. Though in a bit of irony, Sniper really ended up being Not Quite Dead in the sequel.
Spoiler Opening: As awesome as the opening theme credits are, it spoils or strongly hints quite a few major plots in the serie, such as Gin leaving humans to join a pack of dogs, Akakabuto getting "henchmen" bears, and Riki being alive.
It also gets subverted when it shows a stand off between Gin and Akakabuto, where Gin is fighting him alone. While their battle does happen, it's in an entirely different setting, where Gin is fighting alongside hundreds of other dogs. He is the one to deliver the final blow however.
Spoiler Title: Quite a few. "Benizakura's Blood-Red Last Moment!", anyone?
The Smurfette Principle: Slighty justified, as male dogs are larger and stronger than their female counterparts, and if the females had joined the war against Akakabuto, dogs in Japan would be well on the way to extinction. Despite this, the show is less sexist than it's sequel Ginga Densetsu Weed, where there are no lead female dogs and only one actually does something badass.
Time Skip: Between episode 3 and 4, Gin has suddenly gone from being a few months old to about a year old, meaning there was a timeskip of at least 6 months. Oddly, Daisuke is still wearing a bandage on his head from his incident in episode 3.
'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Akakabuto gets shot in his right eye and the bullet lodged in his brain stimulates his growth making him even bigger than he already is.
Training from Hell: Gohei puts Gin - and other dogs he trained - through this to make him a good bear-dog.
Training Montage: Near the beginning of episode 4 with Gin and Daisuke played to the opening song.
Truth in Television: Dogs do get trained to hunt or fight bears in real life as well (though the latter is considered animal cruelty as it's used for entertainment with the bear in a rope). The story itself is apparently based off a mix between real life incidents of dogs running away from their owners to become wild dogs, and bears terrorizing a village in the mountains.
Hakuro is a bit notorious for this among the fandom. Not only is his nose inexplicably turquoise, but there are scenes where his usually tan and white fur is colored completely tan or dark brown, or even blue or green.
The parts where he's colored off like that however is before he's even introduced, meaning they re-used some animation and colored him differently to look like a random dog.
Welcome Back Traitor: Hyena is forgiven his past transgressions, and is let back into the pack where he continues to remain more or less useless.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Chutora, after being informed by Gin that Cross is a female, refuses to fight her anymore. Even when she sinks her teeth into his neck he does little besides standing there and make a bored-sounding threat. In the manga, discovering that he has been fighting a female triggers a Berserk Button, and he proceeds to beat up the rest of the pack by himself.
In the manga, after Hyena proclaims his Heel Face Turn and falls down the gorge, he ends up in a river along with Ben and Sniper, and proceeds to save Ben from drowning. Not surprisingly, Sniper kills him shortly after for this.
You Won't Like How I Taste: Smith, mistaking the Iga dogs for the cannibalistic Kogas, says that they wouldn't like his taste because he is black and white. This refers to an earlier event where some Kogas actually did say that they find red dogs the tastiest ones.
Tropes used in the manga-only wolf arc
Actually Four Mooks: Raiga presents a rare non-RPG example. His two brothers, Sakon and Ukon, live in his body and come out to fight when Raiga uses Zan Hishou Bunshin Battouga.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The entire arc and its events are never mentioned again in the series' sequels or spin-off stories. Hyouma, Retsuga and two unnamed wolves joined the Ohu pack at the end of Nagareboshi Gin and they haven't been heard of since.