A girl weeps for her friend...Five years ago, Shino Inuzuka was given the choice not to die. This choice, however, came with a price: taking on Murasame, the blade of life. He, Sosuke Inukawa and Hamaji were the only people to survive the plague and subsequent torching of their village, and from that day on the three childhood friends shared a burden on their shoulders.Now they live secluded in another village, away from those who seek to claim Murasame's power for their own gains—until one day the Imperial Church sends word to their estate, making it known that their amicable lifestyle isn't likely to last much longer. As anticipated, soon an escort arrives at their door, insisting that they come along to the city.A shoujo manga adapted from a classic samurai tale, set in the Taisho Era (i.e. the early 1900's), and interwoven with fantasy and supernatural elements, Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East is written and illustrated by Abe Miyuki, with more than a dozen volumes published under Tosuisha (vol.1-13) and Kadokawa Shoten (reprint of vol.1-13 and 14 onward) since 2005.A 13-episode anime began airing on January 5th during the Winter 2013 Anime season, and the second season began airing on July 7th of the same year.
Animals Not to Scale: Rio's wolf is introduced in his more humongous size, and then we learn Murasame (the crow) can actually grow to that size as well. Until Sousuke interrupts them from mauling each other.
Arm Burster: Murasame (the crow, not the sword) tears out of Shino's arm. Specifically, his arm's skin. Shino seems to feel no pain from it (or has Nerves of Steel), but it's easier to watch his sword transformation than watch Murasame (the crow) show up. It's implied that Murasame is a part of his arm now, until he becomes the crow/sword.
The Assimilator: Sousuke's "shadow", and among the body parts he had taken were Keno's heart and Kohaku's left eye. The lingering spirit of Daikaku's adoptive father is also implied to be one, although we never see it in action.
Brick Joke: Back in the first season, Kobungo panicked upon seeing Shino's incredibly feminine adult figure out of fear of how Genpachi will react should he ever caught wind of it. Cue the first episode of second season, and Genpachi more or less reacted as Kobungo had feared.
Can't Catch Up: Seiran to his brother, Kaname, although a villainous version.
Cold-Blooded Torture / Denied Food as Punishment: What the monk Seiran forces Genpachi to go through while he gloats on about it, until, as he says, the demon in him shows. It's more implied by his whipped and bruised body, and the fact that Seiran says he hasn't eaten or drunk anything for a week, until...
Scream Discretion Shot: Seiran sics his strange-looking green insects that he allows to enter his ear on Genpachi, the scene of which, when we come back to them in the next episode, isn't left to discretion.
Shino seems to be shaping into this. Case in point in episode 14, following the Dragged into Drag below:
Genpachi: Shino, so you really are a girl...
Shino: Just quit your job already.
Sousuke is even more so than Shino, given his sense of humor. For example, casually calling Shino as "young master" to play along with their cover-up story in episode 21.
Disappeared Dad: Daikaku and Hinaginu's father disappeared six months before the story, and Daikaku suspected his real father has something to do with it. It turns out to be more complicated than that; their father is already dead without intervention from Daikaku's real father, and the former's lingering spirit is implied to be the one who killed the latter.
Dragged into Drag: In episode 14, Shino dressed in woman's clothes per Daikaku's request as his doll model. Genpachi's reaction is, well...
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Inusaka Keno, to the point Kobungo mistakes him for a woman. And as of Episode 20, Dousetsu falls victim to his beauty as well.
Shino, especially during his earlier years. Since he was very sickly as a child, he was raised as if he were a girl. Therefore, his hair was much longer, his clothes were different, and his mannerisms were delicate. Many characters lament over his old appearance.
Familiar: Those who aren't shapeshifters seem to be bound in relationships closer to this, or something like it.
Rio's wolf companion. He lets Sousuke pet him, to Rio's surprise (and Shino's tears).
Fantastic Racism: Seiran repeatedly insists that what they have locked away (and are secretly torturing) is a "demon," not a man named Genpachi.
Feel No Pain: Sousuke turns out not to be able to feel pain at all, even as he is suffering severe injuries.
Hero with an F in Good: Kaname reveals to Shino that despite their good intentions, Genpachi and Kobungo's attempts in ending the drought for the villagers were circumvented by their demon sides not really being able to distinguish between "rain" and "raging storms," or at least their inability to hold back their powers (which inevitably destroyed a few properties).
Ill Girl: Ayane Mizuki, as well as Inumura Hinaginu who suffers from asthma. Shino was an Ill Boy in the past.
Kidnapped by an Ally: Technically, as we learn by the second and third episodes. Hamaji bosses the allies around from the irritation. Those poor foxes.
Kitsune: Kaname's loyal retainers, who are easily bossed around.
Knight in Shining Armor: Seiran has done much to earn the contempt of the characters and the audience, but the reason above all that finally makes Kaname go up against him is...one of his creepy insects cuts Hamaji in the face; Kaname states that doing such to a lady's face was inexcusable. Very much a Skewed Priorities deal. Could hint to an apathetic personality, considering that he seemed to know what Seiran was doing to Genpachi, but never did anything about it.
Knight of Cerebus: Sosuke's "shadow", whose arrival is to blame for the show turning very dark very quickly near the end of the 12-episode season.
Mercy Kill: Shino did this to Kohaku in episode 12.
Napoleon Complex: Shino is very aware of his size, and doesn't like people pointing it out. This is lampshaded in episode 7 when Sousuke comments that Shino is more irritated at Keno just called him small rather than the fact that he previously stabbed Sousuke out of misunderstanding.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Murasame the crow is a somewhat literal example of this. During the Shinonome episode, it crashed on the barrier Shinonome created, causing a sudden heavy downpour in the mountains. In the final episode of the first season, it crashed on another barrier surrounding the Church, causing Lilith to come out and chase after Shino.
Not Quite Dead: All of the "Inu-"-named characters had been very close to the brink of death at some point.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Shino, a bit. He actually knows more than Sousuke and Hamaji about what's going on considering their foggy recollection of certain past events, and even though he divulges some of it to Sousuke it's likely that there are still things he hasn't said. He has a tendency to suddenly grow serious as well.
Oh Crap: A Played for Laughs case when Kobungo saw Shino's adult form - the first thing that crossed his mind was what Genpachi would do if he ever caught wind of this.
Seiran after Genpachi's demon form decimates the monks he arrived with, and again when Kaname shows up... and he's pissed.
Our Ghosts Are Different: And are more like baiting illusions. And look like a waifish female version of Shino. Shino and Sousuke are unsure who it is that sent the monster that tries to bait them, though the opening might have a clue.
Papa Wolf: Possibly a rather tragic case with Daikaku's adoptive father, as after Daikaku's real father attempted to kill his own son, he was later found dead mysteriously, probably done by the former's lingering spirit.
The Stoic: Daikaku has comparably narrower range of expression compared to other characters.
Supernatural Gold Eyes: Originally an aversion (yet regarded as a beautiful and rare eye coloring), Kohaku's golden eyes become this when she begins to morph into a demonic/chaotic spirit-like creature inside.
Team Mom: Sousuke seems the type to take people under his wing and try to diffuse any volatile situations he comes across, but he's especially this to Shino. Might also have traits of The Caretaker.
This Is Unforgivable: Kaname's reaction to one of Seiran's insects cutting Hamaji's cheek amounts to this.
Tragic Monster: Kohaku. Daikaku and Hinaginu's father's lingering spirit also counts.
Trauma Conga Line: Kohaku, who, as she's dying of a lung-affecting disease that has her coughing up blood, begins to finally remember how her father sold her off to be raised to become a prostitute when her family was at their most destitute, despite her brothers trying to pull her back, and how said family was massacred along with the rest of her former village three years ago when a princess of the royal family had been held for ransom there, to be rescued by Rio; when she'd heard about the massacre then, she'd felt nothing. She's given up on life by the time she meets Shino, who through his strong will and accidental supernatural influence, is the reason she's unable to die peacefully even then, and is forced to go through even more traumatizing events before she can finally pass away, taking at least one person along with her.
Possibly, for Sosuke and Hamaji. It could have otherwise been done by supernatural means, as Rio says they've "already forgotten". This is somewhat subverted in episode 13 when Sousuke stated that he clearly remembers his childhood time with Shino in the mountains. Although, with his "shadow" is around at that time, we don't know for sure whether he genuinely remembers it beforehand or not.
Played straight with Daikaku who, after his resurrection, doesn't remember that his adoptive father had died instead of gone missing. As for his sister, it is unknown whether she also forgets or she remembers but doesn't tell him.
Wham Episode: Episode 11 has Murasame goes out of control after Shino was shot and proceeds to devour a man, as well as the implication that Kohaku is no longer be human at all. Shino's body also now fits his age instead of his 11-years-old appearance.
Wholesome Crossdresser: When Hamaji is first brought to his mansion Kaname comments on how he'd been told that there was someone who'd looked like a doll amongst the trio, but he can see that this wasn't true at all (as a jab at Hamaji's brash personality). Hamaji says that it's true that they had someone who looked like a doll amongst the trio—but that "someone" referred to was Shino, who, by the traditions of their village, was a male required to wear female garb until the age of fifteen, and looked more of a beauty than Hamaji did.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Apparently, this is what caused Shinonome, the monkey deity, to snap before Akane finally comes to fulfill her promise.
Younger than They Look: Episode 19 reveals that both Sousuke and Keno are underage. Genpachi and Kobungo's reactions have to be seen to be believed.
Your Days Are Numbered: Kohaku. Also, the illness that Shino used to have caused this. Of course, now with Murasame in his body...