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.Now has a character sheet.
Examples in the anime adaptation
Aborted Arc: The entire wolf arc after Akakabuto's defeat, along with Gin's last reunion with Daisuke and Gohei before the latter dies from old age.
The bears as well are often shown tearing open either a person or dog with a single strike of their claws.
Action Girl: Cross is the only one in the entire anime.
Action Prologue: The first episode opens with Takeda Gohei and Shiro in the middle of hunting Akakabuto. In the Ginga Densetsu Riki prequel, it's revealed that Riki was actually at the scene of the time while still a puppy, witnessing his father giving his life to push himself along with Akakabuto off a cliff. Which is ironic when 8 years later, Riki falls off a cliff because of Akakabuto as well, while being witnessed by his son, Gin.
Adaptation Distillation: Not counting the Aborted Arc mentioned above, the anime naturally leaves out many things from the manga, though one of the most prominent moments is probably the sequence about Daisuke's despair over Gin's disappearance, along with John's disbelief towards the Ohu army and his fight with Riki that ultimately convinces him, which is only briefly mentioned in the anime. To recap, Daisuke is frequently looking for Gin, one day being witnessed by John as he ventures out into the woods. John, remembering the promise he gave Gin about looking after Daisuke, follows him and, not surprisingly, a bear appears. While Daisuke is knocked unconscious, John does his best to fight the bear but finds himself having trouble, when Riki suddenly appears which causes the bear to flee by the mere sight of him. John proceeds to challenge Riki to a fight, but to his shock is easily defeated by him. Riki then gives John a Rousing Speech which finally convinces him of joining the Ohu army.
Adaptation Induced Plothole: In the Scandinavian release of the show, three entire episodes were removed including the part at the end where Akakabuto stands up one final time and fatally wounds Riki. Because of this, viewers were left confused for a good while as to where certain characters such as Benizakura went, or how Riki were fine one moment only to lie bloody on the ground the next.
Animal Jingoism: Dogs and bears are mortal enemies. The whole plot revolves around the dogs gathering enough "soldiers" to battle the bears, and the actual battle itself. Though the protagonist is able to overcome this, as shown when he got upset after seeing another dog kill two innocent bear cubs.
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, or even what that hole is doing there.
Interestingly, in the manga we're instead treated to a scene of Gohei deciding to shoot Riki, so he can feed off his meat to survive. It then cuts to Daisuke waking up in horror, realizing it was All Just a Dream.
Artistic License - Animal Care: No, you don't train a month's old puppy into a hunting dog by beating it senseless with chopped wood or making it jump into a freezing, raging river. In the Gingaverse however, dogs have about the same intelligence as humans, resulting in it being counted as Training from Hell rather than actual animal abuse. Although, people in-universe does called Gohei out on his methods being far too cruel, to which he essentially responds that "If a dog can't avoid an old man's kick, how will it avoid a bear's paw?" note From the Ginga Densetsu Riki prequel.
Similarily, both anime and manga seem to portray dog fighting as an acceptable and noble sport, where the dogs themselves don't mind their profession, and are also well cared for by their owners. In reality, dog fighting got banned for the horrible animal cruelty it was, where the dogs would often be starved to be as ferocious as possible in the ring, and usually came from a fight with open wounds and even missing body parts such as ears or parts of their jaw. The owners only cared for how much money their dog would earn them, and would have them put down in a heartbeat if they no longer proved useful.
Artistic License - Biology: Many of the dog breeds are tweaked a bit to fit their role more. Akitas are not that tall and slender, and Salukis in turn are alot skinnier than what Cross is. Neither does English Mastiffs (Moss) or Tosa Inus (Benizakura) get that big.
A-Team Firing: Large groups of mooks firing rifles can't hit anything even at what appears to be close range.
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 someone 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.
Bait-and-Switch Credits: One clip of the opening song shows Gin epically fighting Akakabuto alone while the bear is charging after him down a steep mountain side. While their battle does happen, it's in an entirely different setting, Akakabuto remains stationary throughout most of the fight and Gin is fighting alongside hundreds of other dogs. He is the one to deliver the finishing blow though.
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 adaptation editing. In the manga, Wilson (the collie) explains how Kurojaki killed and ate his family before, hence, he wanted revenge.
Brother Chuck: Gin's brothers are only present on-screen for about five minutes altogether in the first eight episodes, and are never seen or mentioned again afterwards. The same goes for his mother, although he at least shares a tearful goodbye with her and subsequently thinks of her along with Daisuke and Gohei when he leaves to join the dog pack, while his brothers remains completely ignored.
But Now I Must Go: Gin leaves Daisuke and his family in episode 8 to join Ben's pack and travel across Japan.
Decoy Protagonist: Daisuke starts out as the main character in your typical A Boy And His Dog story, then the Genre Shift comes along after 8 episodes and the attention switches to Gin, to which Daisuke doesn't show up again until the last episode (not counting a brief two minute appearance he has a few episodes prior).
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.
A Father to His Men: When Gin calls Riki out for being his father, an amnesiac Riki responds by accepting his "loyalty", and further proceeds to proclaim all the dogs to be his children as well as his soldiers.
Fiery Redhead: Akatora. Heck, his entire body is covered in red fur.
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: Zig-zagged 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.)
Heroic Willpower: When Daisuke falls deep into a crevice and faints, Gin is sent down to rescue him and does so by circling his body, wrapping him with his rope leash to pull him back up. In doing so however, he has to hold on to the rope himself, carrying all of Daisuke's weight on his small puppy body. It gets to the point his collar tears into his throat and the manga describes that he eventually couldn't breath. Despite that he keeps holding onto the rope, even after having pulled him to safety.
Hidetoshi:John, this time I think you've met your match.
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.
Honor Before Reason: Kurojaki and his clan of ninja dogs, who all decides to commit suicide when Akame burns down their "Master's" home, by jumping into the burning building itself.
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.
Hope Spot: During the final battle against Akakabuto, Gohei appears at one point and shoots the bear in the chest, resulting in it finally falling to the ground, dead. While several lives were lost, both Gin and Riki lives, and a teary Gohei goes over to hug them both... only for Akakabuto to magically resurrect out of nowhere, striking Gohei down before he can make another shot, and then mortally wounding Riki. Enraged, Gin performs a Battouga that tear's Akakabuto's head off.
Instant Expert: Gin defeates Akakabuto with a Battouga a few minutes after he's learned it.
In the Blood: Shiro's bloodline has natural strength and intelligence in it.
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.
Plot Hole: The number of dogs in the pack, while large to begin with, grows ever larger as time goes on, even getting into the hundreds. How all these dogs find enough food for the whole pack is never explained. At the very least, they must be consuming all the prey in the surrounding area everywhere they go.
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: It'd be a pretty short and boring serie if every dog they wanted to recruit complied right away.
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...
In the manga, they explain how it's the first days of his reign that determine what direction his leadership will take, and because of this, they can't let him get close to humans within that time frame, at the risk that he'll be swayed to going back. Upon the completion of the wolf arc however, Gin realizes he can finally see Daisuke and eventually reunites with him, arriving just in time to also see Gohei on his death bed.
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.
Spoiler Title: Quite a few. "Benizakura's Blood-Red Last Moment!", anyone?
Suicide Attack: Two of Akame's dogs performs this with two of Kurojaki's dogs, one letting himself be chased until they both fall onto an underground trap filled with spears, while another drags Kurojaki's follower underwater, drowning them both.
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.
False. female dogs can be just as dominant and ferocious as males. It's rather got to do with the story being based off military/samurai ethics, where women rarely play a part.
The Unfavorite: Gin's brothers, for some reason immediately deemed useless as future bear hounds despite them being Riki's puppies as well. The manga explains this somewhat by narrating how Gin had inherited Riki's genes more than them.
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.
And yet, few episodes later, we have Riki thinking about how he can't remember anything from six months ago and earlier. Assuming that falling down the cliff in episode 1 was what caused his amnesia, and that Gin was a day-old puppy when it happened, it doesn't make much sense.
'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.
The manga epitomizes this by pointing out how only 1 out of 10 of Gohei's dogs survives his training.
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.
Wham Line: "Young male, do you plan on sending a pregnant bitch onto the battleground?"
What Happened To The Stripes?: The reason Gin is immediately deemed special is because of his brindle fur (which, in the Gingaverse, apparently makes a puppy naturally stronger than his plain colored siblings). However, after three episodes have passed, the infamous stripes suddenly disappear, and are never seen again.
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.
All-Loving Hero: To begin with, Riki doesn't understand why there has to be fighting and he tells Shiro that he wants to remain kind and just. Shiro informs him how "Justice without power is useless", prompting Riki to eat and train from then on to become strong enough to defend his justice.
Big Damn Heroes: Riki saves a three year old Daisuke from four rogue dogs that intends to kill him.
Dirty Coward: A truck driver ends up running into a toddler Daisuke racing down a road on his bike, but instead of checking on him gets scared and drives away.
Dramatic Irony: Pointed out in the story; Riki is the runt of his litter, causing no one to buy him and nicknaming him "the mistake", and Gohei himself doesn't even notice him when arriving to choose a puppy. "No one knew this runt would one day defeat the monster-bear and become the leader of all of Ohu."
Heroic Second Wind: The four rogue dogs Riki encounters his first time venturing out alone starts violently beating him up out of spite alone, to which he cries and pleads for them to stop. Eventually he's driven into a corner causing his "bear-hound blood to awaken", and he then Takes A Level In Badass.
Heroic Sacrifice: Shiro deliberately pushes himself and Akakabuto off a cliff in order to save Riki and Gohei.
Luke, You Are My Father: When Riki first meets Shiro and realizes he's his father, he stays quiet, but admits it by the next time they meet due to Shiro having figured it out anyway.
Meaningful Name: Riki means "strength", and recieves the name so he'll have something to live up to.
Shiro means "white".
Momma's Boy: Riki as the runt is very attached to his mother, has a hard time separating from her and every day travels 100 kilometers by foot to see her. It's the persistent traveling every day through rough terrain and weather that makes him strong.
Not Quite Dead: Early on, Akakabuto is believed to be dead after hunters had managed to shoot him and he hadn't been seen afterwards. Turns out it wasn't the case.
Oh, Crap: The rogue dogs when they realize the puppy they had been fighting is Shiro's son.
Rewrite: While the first episode of Nagareboshi Gin showed Gohei and Shiro fighting Akakabuto alone and Shiro falling with Akakabuto by accident, the end of this prequel shows that Gohei had several men and other dogs with him on the hunt, whom all got killed by Akakabuto. Riki shows up and attacks Akakabuto before Shiro can even get to it, and also runs to hand Gohei his rifle when he loses it. It ends with Shiro delibaretely kicking a tree to push himself with the bear off a cliff to save both his master and his son.
Starts with Their Funeral: The story begins with showing us Riki's dead body at the battleground of Gajou, before diving into the story of his past.
Youngest Child Wins: Riki's the runt, yet ends up being the one who had inherited Shiro's genes the most.
Wham Line: Riki always cries easily until he's about to cry again because of the dogs who attacked him, when Shiro interrupts him by saying "Don't cry. That's why they bullied you!" Riki is shocked and for the first time manages to swallow his tears. Also, when Shiro reveals his name, making Riki realize it's his father.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The leader of the group of dogs Riki fights and injures swears he'll make him pay someday, but he's never seen again. Also, the one of Riki's siblings that Gohei initally chooses is never mentioned again either. One might just assume it became one of his random dogs that got killed by Akakabuto in GNG.