Meisuke Nueno (known as "Nube" by everyone who knows him) was always able to see spirits as a child, thanks to his Psychic Powers; this made him a constant target for all kinds of nasty creatures. Not to mention, his mentor and mother figure Minako-sensei perished because of this...Fortunately, Nube is able to deal with these spirits by way of his magical left hand; unfortunately, this results in him attracting even more supernatural events to center on him... and to his workplace, which happens to be an elementary school. Luckily for him, his students are often more than happy to give him a hand when resolving his cases.Hell Teacher Nūbē (地獄先生ぬ〜べ〜 Jigoku Sensei Nūbē?) is a horror-comedy manga created by the collaborative efforts of writer Shō Makura (真倉翔?) and artist Takeshi Okano in Shueisha's manga anthology book Weekly Shōnen Jump. The series ran for 276 chapters (not including the two pilot chapters where Nūbē was known as Nubo (ぬ〜ぼ〜 Nūbō)) from Issue 38, 1993 through Issue 24, 1999. A 49-episode anime series based on the manga was created by Toei Animation, and aired from 1996–1997 on TV Asahi. The anime resulted in three movies and three OVA episodes. A spinoff story for Izuna Hazuki the itako-girl, Izuna the Spiritual Medium (霊媒師いずな), has been running in Oh, Super Jump since July 2007.This series provides examples of:
An Aesop: The vast majority of events involving Nube's kids results in them learning a valuable moral.
An Ice Person: Yukime, naturally (as well as her "sister.") But not only can she create ice, hail, and snow in any amount she needs, she's actually made of it, and warm climates can make her drip or melt... starting with her face and chest. She just surrounds herself with a snowman until she has cooled down again.
Artificial Human: Twice, by the protagonists. Three times if you count the Visible Human anatomy doll that came to life.
Art Shift: Contrast the clean and cute character designs with the nightmarish, gruesome monsters or the fountains of gore and guts caused by (or trailing from) the latter. Expect more than one evisceration.
Big Brother Instinct: Katsuya is very protective of his little sister Manami. Bakki would rather fight alongside Nube rather than risk hurting his sister Minki's feelings. And Minki herself wants Nube to act like this towards her, because, as far as she's concerned, the oni hand makes him just like Bakki —problem is, she's so unbelievably powerful that she has to intimidate thugs into "intimidating" her to force Nube to help her, and he never buys it.
Big Ol' Eyebrows: Nube. Lampshaded in the first OP where he gets a close up to his face and is shown wriggling them.
Bishōnen: Tamamo gets away with lots of things that Nube is beaten up for because of this trope
Black Comedy Rape: A rather strange example in chapter 59. One of the students managed to separate her ethereal body and finally decided to possess a cat... cue a horde of male tomcats in heat chasing her down.
Butt Monkey: Male Meganekko Akira Yamaguchi starts as one, never able to get what he wants. Actually, it's because of a youkai haunting him ever since he narrowly avoided being drowned in the sea. Nube has to fight the youkai to free Akira from the curse
Bittersweet Ending: Minako-sensei's soul is finally released and Nube sends her to Heaven; Nube and Yukime finally get married after several hardships, but then they leave Doumori to live in another city despite pleas from his students.
Catch Phrase: Nube's "LEAVE [NAME] ALONE!" that cues the unleashing of his Oni hand and a can of serious whoopass.
Censor Box: During Minki's intro story, in which she shows up lacking panties, the Shonen Jump Pirate logo is used to cover up her crotch (to its great embarrassment.) Worse, the poor Pirate was also made to cover up Baki's Gag Penis when the oni took on human form (and forgot to materialize some pants.)
Completely Missing the Point: In one episode, Tamamo wishes to become as powerful as Nube. Nube explains that he's so strong because he's protecting his students. When a malicious spirit targets one of the students, Tamamo goes Well-Intentioned Extremist and throws the poor kid to the demon because it would mean the other students' safety, thus qualifying as protecting the kids. Needless to say, Nube is pissed!
Conspicuous Gloves: Nube always covered his left hand with a black glove. It's to hide the hideous deformation of the hand, because an Oni is sealed within it.
Continuity Nod: Minor obake, especially those that are only sealed away, tend to make reappearances complete with flashbacks to their original appearances. At one point, a Knight Templar exorcist bent on exterminating every supernatural critter (good or bad) causes a large number of them to rush to Doumori Elementary as a safe haven, with cameos galore.
Cool Car: Just where did Tamamo get his? Also, Nube once bought one as an incredible deal, unaware that it was cursed by the couple who killed themselves driving it.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In his regular life, Nube is silly, bumbling, and a pervert. He usually introduces himself to his new class by performing some ridiculous stunt (such as playing Tarzan) that backfires and humiliates him. But he will drop this attitude in an instant and turn deadly-serious when the situation calls for it. Even when drunk.
Cynicism Catalyst: Nube's mother, whose death made his father abandon him. Also, Yan Kairen, the wandering Chinese exorcist, whose sister's death inspired him to declare war on every supernatural apparition.
Ritsuko-sensei, who would always keep Nube at arms' length due to his connection to the supernatural, eventually does come around and accept him for what he is. Unfortunately he's so used to being spurned, he thinks she's under Demonic Possession and slaps the tar out of her with his exorcism sutra.
Demoted to Extra: It looked like Akira would be one of the main charas from Nube's class, but never got lots of development. Subverted a bit later in the manga, when he shows off his scientific skills.
Determinator: Nube, by dint of being a Shounen hero. But then, he takes it a notch above reasonable levels; even if all he has left is a broken toe and the rest of him is a bloody paste, he'll stand on that broken toe and protect the innocent (even former foes.)
Disability Superpower: Ayumi Kinoshita, a perpetually bedridden Ill Girl who was taught by Nube to project her astral body to attend school like any other kid.
Distressed Dude: Hiroshi gets kidnapped by Tamamo in episode 7 and spends a good portion of episode 8 with his hands chained together.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Only Minako-sensei and his dad refer to Nube by his given name, Meisuke. Everyone else calls him either "Nube" (the kids from 5-A class) or "Nueno-sensei" (Yukime, Tamamo, the teachers)
The incidents that leave Ritsuko naked or half-naked tend to be either funny or sexy... until she's subjected to a Shameful Strip from the mentally broken Yukime, who then tries to kill her.
Fartillery: Kappa can fly by using their farts. Nenekogappa is the only kappa in this series to be seen doing this though.
Feuding Families: The Mountain God will stop at nothing to prevent his daughter Yukime loving Nube, sending out enforcers to kill the latter when attempts to persuade the former fail. Also, Nube's father abhors Obake and nearly kills Yukime on sight.
Fighting from the Inside: Subverted: Minako-sensei had potential to do so, but prefers to not do it so she can keep Bakki at bay in Nube's hand until they can find a way to keep him definitely sealed.
First Name Basis: It's a BIG deal for Katsuya Kimura when people start referring to him by his first name and not his surname.
Furo Scene: Actually, a whole Furo Episode when they attended a bathhouse, due to the bathrooms all over town being haunted. The bathhouse was haunted too.
Good Thing You Can Heal: Hayame the mermaid can regenerate from virtually anything, including being reduced to a desiccated corpse for hundreds of years or slicing out her own liver. A Buddhist nun who once ate her flesh is subject to some of the most gruesome punishment in the series (but so over-the-top it loops back to hilarious) merely because she can heal just about anything.
Gossipy Hens: Only one: Miki. Slightly subverted because she actually shows genuine distress at the possibility of being seen as a harmful one, and later a Monster of the Week uses this against her.
Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted. Nube went through long years of arduous training to get to his level of skill. Whenever Izuna tries to find the easy way, she tends to get into trouble and Nube scolds her for it.
Haunted Technology: And if it isn't, Nube can stick his hand in it and use it in ways it wasn't meant for.
Played with, since despite Kyouko's open interest in Hiroshi, her first crush was actually Nube. And in their past lives, they were lovers (as a princess and her retainer who held a Bodyguard Crush on her).
Additionally, when Tamamo joined the school as the nurse, all the girls gained crushes on him. He didn't do a lot to encourage them (aside of some random flirting to piss Nube off), since he had quite a goal in mind...
Huge Schoolgirl: Subverted with Miki, who loves her large chest and also adores to tease the flat-chested Kyouko about that. Noriko plays it more straight since she's very modest and shy about hers, until she's possessed by a mischievous spirit...
Idiot Hero: Hiroshi, Hiroshi, Hiroshi. Nube isn't much smarter outside his field of expertise, either.
Innocent Fanservice Girl: Hayame the mermaid, whose Godiva Hair usually takes care of things while in her natural form. Her method of turning into a human (transforming her tail into legs that she spreads wide open, in public) can cause heart-attacks, though.
Lethal Chef: Yukime (she's an Ice Maiden so, even when she *does* try, it takes her a LOT to not get it frozen), Kyouko (just a fifth grader, so she still has time to improve) and Minki (whose food isn't bad... per demon's standards)
Living Statue: The Sontoku Ninomiya statue on Doumori Elementary's front yard. Mistaken for evil at first, when it was really trying to protect Makoto from real demons.
Later on, with Ritsuko and Yukime vying for Nube's affections, making it a Type 3.
Sometimes Miki would reveal some very minor crush on Hiroshi, which would make her the A in a Type 4 with him and Kyoko as B and C respectively. Whether she means it or not is never really explored, but she does look disappointed at the end of those stories.
Marshmallow Hell: Ai, on Makoto. After she's liberated from the Eye demon. And she was naked. Also, Miki got a little too enthusiastic trying to help Makoto get over his nightmare issue by giving him what she thought would be a pleasant dream...
Meganekko: Ai Shinozaki and the Grim Reaper. Akira is a male version.
Obake and Youkai: Japanese spirits form the core of Nube's opponents, though every once in a while he also deals with foreign creatures.
Obvious Pregnancy: in chapter #220 of the manga, "Izuna becomes a Mother!?", whoever gets possessed by the Boze (the unborn spirit of a human child) immediately looks heavily pregnant. Possibly justified by the fact the mother was due to deliver any day now, and in fact goes into labor by the story's end, before Izuna carelessly expelled the spirit from her womb.
Makoto looks almost like a third-grader, despite being a fifth-year student.
And Cute Witch Mami-sensei is actually 22, when Nube thought she was six.
Onmyodo: Mixed liberally with Shinto and Buddhist rites. Yang Kairen uses Ofuda as his main exorcism tool, and one of Nube's most versatile artifacts is the Sutra of the White Goddess, which unfolds (accordion-like) to bind apparitions.
Papa Wolf: You do NOT mess with Class 5-3 or whomever else Nube happens to be protecting.
Paper Master: Yang Kairen uses ofuda for a variety of effects, from summoning fire, heat beams or even meteors, to merely slapping a paper ward on a foe and then ripping the paper in half (causing the same effect on said foe.) Nube's Sutra can unfold into a whip-like shape that can ward off spiritual attacks.
Parental Abandonment: Nube's father, again. Hiroshi's father, who works as a trucker, is on the road so often he might as well count, but father and son still love each other very much.
Perpetual Poverty: Nube, to the point of the actual God of Poverty haunting him for a few weeks. It is shown explicitly that he could make a fortune by abusing his clairvoyance and other Psychic Powers (much like Izuna and his father), but chooses not to out of dignity, outside of cheating at the nearby Pachinko machines. And what kind of an example would he set for his students if he didn't earn his living honestly, anyway?
Pet the Dog: Shuuichi Shirato is a male Rich Bitch, but he genuinely loves animals and specially dogs. To the extreme of being willing to give up on his own life to calm down a dog spirit which rage he incurred upon, so it wouldn't kill his friends.)
Pilot: The first episode of the anime series was adapted from the manga pilot, which was called "Hell Teacher Nubo" and had a drastically different character design for the titular character.
Power Incontinence: Will happen to him in a fixed day and hour which is the anniversary of the moment when he got said Oni Hand.
The Power of Rock: Hayame's singing compels anyone who hears it to respond to the emotion in her words, such as becoming aggressive with hot-blooded lyrics or lovey-dovey with romantic ballads. Then she makes it big as an Idol Singer...
Schmuck Bait: A good deal of Nube's time is spent saving his students from horrors they brought upon themselves by playing with Urban Legends, toying with Artifacts of Doom, irritating a local Obake, or just fooling around with powers they don't fully understand.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Oni sealed into Nube's left hand that he gradually gains more control over as the series progresses. A whole episode deals with this since Tamamo, Kyouko and Hiroshi have to Time Travel to save Nube's life when the Oni almost takes over him.
Sealed Good in a Can: Minako-sensei, after a fashion —if circumstances allow her to manifest, she proves herself an overwhelmingly powerful spiritualist. Izuna and Nube's Tube Foxes, which willingly live inside tiny cylinders (such as pens) also count.
Shout-Out: To many other Shonen Jump titles, including Dragon Ball. Nube and Tamamo mimic the Fusion Dance in order to split themselves into tiny doppelgangers; what makes this homage even more hilarious is the heartfelt apology to Akira Toriyama in the footnotes every time that's necessary.
Stripperiffic: Minki redefines the trope. Her first appearance in the manga was missing her thong panties, meaning she was missing about 70% of her total wardrobe. Nube gives her actual clothing later on.
Two-Teacher School: Averted, since Nube and Ritsuko (and Minako-sensei, when alive) are NOT the only teachers we see. The Director is more or less often around (and in fact he hired Nube fully knowing about his powers), the PE teacher has helped the cast once or twice, and Tamamo often poses as the school nurse. Ootsuki-sensei also fancies himself a ''scientific'' exorcist, out to prove paranormal events as some manifestation of "plasma." And then there's Mami-sensei, the ten year-old looking teacher/part-time witch out to win the heart (or at least some other part) of Nube.
Urban Legends: ...and abuse thereof are part and parcel of Miki's life. Specifically (and, sometimes, unrelated to Miki!) the series has dealt with modern-day urban legends such as:
Red Mantle. But in Nube's case, not a yokai, but a human serial killer who patterns his crimes after the urban legend.
Kuchisake-onna. And not content with that, her comeback story involved a whole group of them who joined together for support.
Hanako of the Toilet: a two-fer, in fact, based on the original legend's Multiple-Choice Past. Both Hanakos died in the toilet stall, but one was malevolent and the other was a victim of air raids in the war.
Turbo-Obasan, a decrepit old woman who chases after young people with supernatural speed.
Chain letters that claim that a great tragedy will befall you should you neglect to pass them on to more people. Nube was NOT pleased with Miki for this one.
Reiko Kashima, a young woman who was torn apart and killed in an accident and now haunts the streets trying to replace her missing legs with those of her victims. Nube conflates her with the urban legend of Teke Teke, who suffered a similar fate but instead "just" slices her victims in half.
Who You Gonna Call?: Although his primary responsibility is to his school, Nube also works as the local exorcist and people often drop by to request his services. "Itako-girl" Izuna is a much more mercenary version, but she still lacks the skills and often gets in over her head. Nube's father is an extraordinarily powerful exorcist with worldwide following.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Kyouko temporarily turns into one when Nube swaps her guardian spirit, but this doesn't stick as said guardian spirit also turns her into a Distressed Damsel.
Noriko is basically one in training. It specially shows when she manages to appease the very angry Library Ghost Girl with only kind words.
Yes Virginia: If your airplane pilot says he sees Santa, pray (for Santa's sake) he doesn't crash into the jolly old fellow.
Younger Than They Look: Ai Shinozaki is 12 years old and already has Gag Boobs. Ditto Miki, though at least her height's normal. Even Katsuya, who is supposed to be a delinquent and likely has repeated more than one grade, looks like he's in his late teens.