Manga / Isuca

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Isuca is a Japanese action manga series by Osamu Takahashi. It has been adapted into an anime, which started airing as part of the Winter 2015 Anime season.

Shinichirō Asano is a high school student and the son of a traveling stage magician and his assistant; since they rarely send living expenses home, he desperately needs money. He gets a job as a housekeeper to the Shimazu family in order to pay his rent. There he meets Sakuya Shimazu, the 37th head of the family who is tasked with capturing and sealing away monsters. Shinichirō later becomes her ally to hunt down the monsters who have come to our world.

Though initially ignorant of the supernatural and unaccustomed to combat, Shinichirō soon proves very useful to Sakuya. Any time his mouth touches a monster or a person with supernatural powers, he learns that being's True Name, without which a monster can only be sealed but not truly banished. A being cannot disobey the first person to speak its true name, making Shinichirō an incredibly valuable asset in battle.

An anime adaptation is airing as part of the Winter 2015 Anime season. Crunchyroll is streaming the series on its website, which can be viewed here for people in the following areas:note 

This work contains examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: Shinichirō and Sakuya do this in the first episode. And again in episode 3 after the demon crushing the car they were in forces them to lock lips.
  • Accidental Pervert: Shinichiro accidentally grabs Suseri's breasts in episode 8 after she says the outfit he chose is too tight around her chest.
  • Action Girl: Sakuya, Tamako, and Suseri are quite proficient fighters.
  • A-Cup Angst: Sakuya has issues with her extremely childish body, though it's just a little less childish in the Anime.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 8 focuses heavily on Suseri, who up till this point has been in a supporting role. It also delves on her past when she was just a child and being harshly trained by her mother.
  • Almost Kiss: Shinichirō does this at least three times to Suseri. The first time he's just too embarrassed to do it despite the gloom car coming in closer. He nearly kisses her shortly afterward, but is interrupted by Sakuya showing up. The third time is when they're stuck in the limo as it's being crushed by the gloom car. But she's behind him, so he couldn't turn around to kiss her even if he tried to.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The undead samurai's limbs get chopped off by Suseri's magic attacks in episode 4. Unfortunately for her, it just picks its severed limbs back up and reconnects them.
    • It also happens to The Western Mage in episode 6, and again in episode 10.
  • Archer Archetype: Sakuya fits some of the characteristics of this trope.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Sakuya does one to Suseri in episode 4.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: The one who ends up giving Sakiri her just deserts in Chapter 41 is Kaya.
  • Balanced Harem: All of the four love interests for Shinichirō get roughly equal screen time.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Tamako's outfit at school in episode 2, consisting of what seems to be a skimpy maid outfit with a school labcoat.
  • Battle Harem: We have an archer with a sacred bow and arrows, a sword that wields its user, a summoner/shaman, and a cat-girl who fights with claws.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Tamako ends up saving Shinichirō in the first episode because he tried to protect her from Sakuya. He ends up saving her again in episode 2, and she repays the favor by helping him out around Sakuya's house, along with helping to take out the Monster of the Week attacking the school.
  • Black Sheep: Sakuya is considered one in the Shimazu clan, due to her father being a Western mage. On top of that, both of her parents go missing after one particular battle, but the two surviving mages who went along with them aren't allowed to tell her what became of her parents. Sakuya is adamant about becoming the head of the clan, in order to get clarification on what really happened to her parents.
  • Bland-Name Product: In episode one, there is a metronome made by Xamaha (Yamaha).
  • Break the Cutie: The western magician continually taunts and torments Sakuya, mostly by killing members of her clan in an attempt to wipe them out. And even as Sakuya is captured, she deliberately has her demon slowly torture her and Shinichiro, so as to relish in the pain and agony Sakuya suffers as a result.
  • Breather Episode: Chapter 40 serves this purpose. For once in her life, Suseri gets to play like a child along with the rest of the main characters. It doesn't last.
  • Buxom Is Better: Suseri uses her large breasts in an attempt to seduce Shinichirō in episode 3 in the bathroom.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: Sakuya's bow is capable of great power, but it comes at a cost of using up a lot of their spiritual energy, and often so much that it kills the user. Fortunately for her, Shinichiro is around to help her replenish her supply of it in episode 8.
  • Cast from Lifespan: We find out that the "Western Mage" uses up the very mana that animates her homonculus body every time she casts a spell.
  • Cat Girl: Tamako is one.
  • Censor Box:
    • Used in the first episode when a demon attacks Shinichirō. She starts out as a woman that seemingly flashes him with her naked body before turning into a grotesque demon.
    • Also used regularly to block off gorier shots, or in some cases, Fanservice shots.
  • Censor Steam: Used in episode 3 while Shinichirō and Suseri are in the bath.
  • The Clan: The Shimazu family is a clan whose job is to capture and seal away monsters, which they have been doing since Kamakura period. Sakuya is the 37th head of the family.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Sakuya doesn't seem to like Tamako getting too intimate with Shinichirō, and gets mad at him for anything she does to him, such as when Tamako licks him. She also doesn't like Suseri attempting to seduce him in episode 3.
    • Suseri is also showing signs of this. in chapter 37
    • Tamako objects to Shinichiro kissing Suseri in episode 4, even as they're surrounded by enemies.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Sakuya suffers this in the episode 1 and 4. She's almost completely naked except for her panties.
    • Tamako's clothes get torn slightly after Sakuya uses an area effect attack while she was luring the pack of demons away from the main one in episode 4. The rest of her clothing then gets shredded after she gets attacked by a possessed Sakuya.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The undead samurai poses some challenge to Suseri in episode 4. Then after it summons minions, both her and Sakuya take them out somewhat easily, though they also keep getting back up.
  • Credits Running Sequence: Tamako does one in the opening.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The recon team that runs into the undead samurai in episode 4 all die easily from it.
  • Combat Tentacles: The demon tree and gloom car in episode 3 utilize these.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Used in episode 8, by the lightning wolf after Suseri manages to wound it enough during her exorcism. He then asks her what she wants, and she says she just wants his help for three years so she can surpass Sakuya and not have to obey her mother all the time. He finds it amusing enough to allow her to use him as a spirit summon.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen:
    • Sakuya starts to warm up more to Shinichiro after he promises to help her look for her missing parents in episode 6. Prior to this, she was almost always cold and standoffish with him.
    • Suseri starts opening up more to Shinichiro in episode 8 after he spends a little time with her and learns more about her strict upbringing due to her mother.
  • Demon Slaying: It's the Shimazu family job.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The initial outfit Shinichiro chooses for Suseri in episode 8 is too tight for her large breasts. After she complains about it, he is distracted by her cleavage and accidentally gropes her breasts when he turns around too quickly.
  • Eaten Alive: The gloom car in episode 3. It kills two men this way by eating them while they're trapped by its tentacles.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Shinichirō meets an attractive woman while walking home at night, only to then be attacked by her after she switches to her true form as a giant demonic centipede-like creature. He's unknowingly saved by Sakuya who snipes it to save him.
    • Shinichirō meets Sakuya and Tamako when the latter was being hunted by the former. Sakuya also wonders how he was able to pull off the arrow which had a strong magic enchantment on it.
    • Suseri is first presented in episode 3 attacking a demon, but also hurting the hostage it using. Her assistant then heals the girl. Later she tries to seduce Shinichirō in the bathroom, and simply takes off with him in her limo after he passes out.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Mother: Suseri's mother is very strict with her, as seen in episode 8. She even goes so far as to make her stand in a river to help boost her spiritual energy, despite the fact that Suseri is shivering from the cold water.
  • Flash Back: Used throughout the anime to show the past of several of the characters.
  • For Your Own Good: Suseri's mother does this to her quite a bit, as seen in a few Flash Back scenes during episode 8. She later complains to Shinichiro that she no longer knows what to like, or even how to think for herself as her mother makes all the decisions for her, and even what to wear.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Sakuya is hard-headed and tries not to rely on anyone because she's seen as a black sheep in the Shimazu clan, due to her father being a Western mage. After her parents go missing in a battle, they're not talked much about, and Sakuya isn't given any clear answers, so she strives to be the head of the clan in order to find out the truth behind what happened to them.
    • Suseri doesn't get along with Sakuya at all when she's first introduced. Though part of it is due to the two competing for the next head of the Shimazu clan, episode 8 reveals she also harbors resentment towards Sakuya because of how strict her upbringing was, compared to how carefree the latter seemed to be.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Tama asks Shinichirō to give her an alternate name in episode 2. Sakuya says that it's important because very few should know their true names due to being able to command or banish them. However, he comes up with "Tamako", prompting Sakuya to bring this trope up. However, Tamako seems quite happy with it.
  • The Glomp: Tamako does one to Shinichiro in episode 6, while completely naked no less. When he asks why she's not wearing any clothing, she says it's too restricting.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The anime tries to balance this, usually by censoring some of the gorier and bloodier stuff. But there's enough blood splatter around that you can get an idea of how brutal it can get.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Episode 8 reveals that Suseri hates Sakuya mostly because of how carefree her upbringing seems to have been. It's then contrasted with her own, and how her mother constantly forced her to study, not even allowing her to go outside to play while Suseri watches Sakuya running around outside having fun.
  • Healing Factor: Shinichirō orders Tamako to take some of his life force in episode 2 to help her defeat the Monster of the Week. Sakuya says that's a bad idea, because he'll eventually die, and that it was best to let Tamako simply fade away. However, Nadeshiko takes some measurements of his powers after the battle, and notices that he fully recovered his life force almost immediately instead of the few months it normally should take. This comes in very handy in later battles.
  • Heroic Seductress: Suseri employs this against Shinichirō in episode 3 in an attempt to lure him away from Sakuya. She starts by washing his back with her breasts, and later says she'll do anything he wants her to in exchange for giving her power similar to how he did to Sakuya.
  • High-Pressure Blood:
    • Shown in episode 3 after the gloom car eats its human victims.
    • The recon team wiped out by the undead samurai also spray their blood after it attacks them.
  • Human Shield: Used by the demon tree to prevent Sakuya from shooting it with her arrow in episode 3. It doesn't stop Suseri however, who ends up hitting the hostage as well as the demon tree. Her assistant then heals the girl's wounds.
  • Idiot Ball: Sakuya's actions in episode 5, and her absolute refusal to kiss Shinichiro because she doesn't want him finding out her true name. This continues even after they've been tied up by the enemy, who is also slowly torturing them by stabbing and cutting them repeatedly, and he forces a kiss on her as they really have no other choice if they want to survive at all.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Shinichiro does this in episode 4 on Sakuya after she's taken over by an evil katana's curse.
  • I Know Your True Name:
    • Whenever Shinichirō kisses a monster or person with supernatural powers, he sees how they got their true name. Speaking this name then gives him power to make them obey almost any command short of suicide. This name also allows Sakuya to fully banish monsters instead of merely sealing their movements. Unfortunately, he also learns her True Name, becoming her "true master".
    • Additionally, only the first person who utters the true name can command the creature. Though Sakuya initially thinks she's Tama's master, it was actually Shinichirō who uttered it first.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Having your life force taken away will eventually kill you, but at least the demons are nice enough to give you some sensual pleasure as they do it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Sakuya has great marksmanship which is helpful in her job.
  • Intimate Healing:
    • Combined with a Magic Kiss. Shinichirō orders Tamako to suck some of his life force in episode 2 in order to defeat the Monster of the Week. She does it by kissing him rather passionately, including some tongue-wrestling. This not only restores her power, but due to his latent powers, it makes her even stronger.
    • He does this to help Sakuya recover in episode 8 after she uses up almost all of her power fighting the Monster of the Week in episode 7.
  • It Amused Me: The lightning wolf in episode 8 agrees to be Suseri's summon after she tells it that she wants to borrow his power to surpass Sakuya and to not have to obey her mother's every whim. he finds it interesting enough that he allows her to control him.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sakiri's self-righteous behavior towards Suseri, as well as her viewing of Shinichirō as an "unworthy" husband to Suseri to the point that she decides to kill him, eventually causes Suseri to actually refuse to return to Kamakura and tell her mother not to harm Shinichirou again.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Shinichiro learns more about Sakuya being a Black Sheep in her family in episode 6, and why she tries not to rely on anyone but herself to get things done due to her father being a Western mage in a traditional Japanese magician clan.
  • Magic Enhancement: Shinichirō seems to have this ability, as seen by Sakuya, Tamako, and Suseri having stronger powers shortly after kissing him. The effect appears to be temporary, and they revert to normal after a while.
  • Magic Kiss:
    • Shinichirō is able to figure out Tama and Sakuya's true names this way. Additionally, he transfer his spirit energy to them, giving them a huge boost in combat power.
    • Suseri requests him do this with her several times, but he either refuses to, or another character, usually Sakuya, is against it. She finally does it in episode 8, though he was passed out at the time due to taking a blow from the lightning wolf they were trying to tame.
  • Male Gaze: Used quite a bit in the anime, often showing off the female characters wearing revealing clothing and at low angles. Unfortunately, at least for the broadcast version, much of it is blocked out by Censor Steam or a Censor Box. The ending also utilizes this, showing off a nearly naked Sakuya and Tamako repeatedly.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Tamako seems to like doing this to Shinichiro from time to time.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Sakuya and Shinichirou. Sakuya is a short-tempered and aggressive Tsundere and the resident Action Girlfriend, while Shinichirou is a nice and sensitive Non-Action Guy and House Husband in training.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Zigzagged:
    • The girl held hostage in episode 3 survives despite getting hit by Suseri's attack. Two men are killed by the gloom car later in the same episode, and Suseri's attacks are ineffective against it.
    • A recon team consisting of three men all get killed when they spot the undead samurai. The woman does at least get killed last.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Suseri gains a new summon in episode 8, the lightning wolf that attacked in the first episode, who allows Suseri to command him after she states her reasons why she wanted his power.
  • Mood Whiplash: One scene may have some blood and guts flying around, and the very next scene is something out of a harem rom-com show with a girl getting embarrassed because she's barely clothed.
  • Morton's Fork: Suseri or Sakuya. One will get kicked out of the Shimazu clan, the other will wind up married. The deciding factor is who learns and says Shinichirō's True Name first.
  • New Transfer Student: Suseri transfers to Sakuya and Shinichiro's school in episode 4. She openly states that part of the reason is to get closer to Shinichirō, but also because she feels Sakuya is unfit to do her job.
  • No-Sell: The recon team that attacks the undead samurai in episode 4 suffers this. Their attacks do nothing to even faze it.
  • Not a Date: Suseri goes food shopping with Shinichiro in episode 8. Then they go clothes shopping for her after someone accidentally drops some ice cream on her school uniform. When some of their classmates spot this, they immediately assume the two are on a date, despite Shinichiro's protests.
  • Off with His Head!: One of the recon team members in episode 4 dies this way from the undead samurai.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Sakuya-demon in episode 6 after Shinichiro finds out its true name and tells it to Sakuya.
  • Panty Shot: Every chance the author gets.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Shinichirō's parents traveled to Europe for training and and thought he would be fine on his own. Unfortunately they also cut off money, so he's forced to work in addition to going to school.
    • In episode 6, Shinichiro finds out that Sakuya's parents went missing after a battle eight years earlier. Sakuya says Nadeshiko and her grandmother took part in the battle, but were severely injured and neither one will talk about that incident.
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Shinichirou is the POV protagonist, while the demon hunter Sakuya is the main heroine of the story and poster girl of the series. Also, Isuca is her real name, so she is the titular character as well.
  • Sacred Bow and Arrows: Sakuya uses a bow and arrows with spiritual power to seal monsters.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Shinichiro says this to Suseri in episode 8 after seeing her hurt on the couch due to a failed exorcism. Though she insists on doing it, he offers her help, saying that he doesn't care about rules and regulations regarding exorcisms, and that he just wants to help her. Surprisingly he's allowed to, but they have to face it by themselves with no help from the clan.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl:
    • In episode 3, Suseri seems quite comfortable going into the bathroom naked while Shinichirō is washing himself. Then rubbing her breasts on his back to wash it as told to by Nadeshiko. And later stating that he could do whatever he wanted to with her, including finishing what they started in the bathroom.
    • Tamako is quite comfortable hugging Shinichiro in episode 6 while completely naked. She even gets mad at Sakuya for seemingly interrupting them, though the latter just walks away without saying anything.
  • Shana Clone: Female lead Sakuya is a teen with a childish body, prone to wear school uniforms with Zettai Ryouiki Grade A, waist-length hair, a severe Type-A Tsundere, and is also an heiress to a wealthy family who treats the hero like an inferior (though like the original Shana, she does start to grow out of this).
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Suseri looks fairly good in regular street clothing as seen in episode 8. Prior to Shinichiro helping her to buy it, she always wore her school uniform or a miko outfit to perform exorcisms with.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Suseri's limo driver uses one in episode 3. The shots are enchanted with magic, enabling them to hurt the demon cars he shoots at. Unfortunately the gloom car is a bit more resistant to it, and it ends up eating him.
  • Shout-Out: Nami Shimazu tests Shinichirō's character with a video game that looks like Monster Hunter.
  • Show, Don't Tell: While it's done repeatedly beforehand, Nadeshiko has Suseri confirm Shinichiro's powers via kissing in episode 5.
  • Shown Their Work: The series does a reasonably good job showcasing the clan courtship rituals some of the more "traditional" families in Japan still use. Basically, the male who comes courting enters negotiations with a mediator (Nadeshiko in this case), is carefully scrutinized by the clan head, and then, if found worthy is "sold" his new bride in exchange for territory, alliances, sometimes money, but most often, as is the case with Shinichirō, a pledge of loyalty and lifetime service. In Shinichirō's case, Nami believes his services and accomplishments more than merit betrothal to two women from the clan, Suseri and Sakuya, a powerful enchanted katana, and the proper training on how to wield it without overly relying on the cursed "evil" spirit within.
    • The series also does a fair job of highlighting the Honor-Related Abuse that plagues this system. If Suseri's mother didn't need her to become a Puppet King to control the clan, Suseri would likely have either been forced to commit ritual suicide, or flee the clan in disgrace. All because Suseri's mother Sagiri doesn't think Shinichirō is a "proper" husband, regardless of what the head actually thinks, says, or does on the subject.
  • Supreme Chef: Shinichirō is quite a good cook, as noted by other students including one who kept sampling his food while talking to him during lunch.
    • In chapter 48, Matsuri, Suseri's maid, proves to be at least a good a cook as Shinichirō, if not better.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: The undead samurai in episode 4 seems to wait while the main characters are arguing about Shinichiro kissing Suseri.
    • Doubly ridiculous in episode 10. Even flames of a burning house wait patiently while Sakuya and Shinichirō have their lover's quarrel.
  • Thanks for the Mammaries: Shinichiro accidentally does this to Suseri in episode 8 when she shows him the outfit he picked for her and says it's too tight around her chest.
  • Trash of the Titans: Sakuya's house is very messy until Shinichirō and Tamako clean it up.
  • Tsundere: Sakuya is a harsh type, and often acts cold or standoffish towards others, especially Shinichirō.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Sakuya for much of episode 6. She acts cold towards Shinichiro after he forcibly kisses her in the previous episode to save them from the trap, until he finds out she wants to be head of the Shimazu clan in order to find out what happened to her parents.
    • Goes double for Suseri's mother in the manga.
  • Villainous Rescue: Guess who saves Shinichiro.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Sakuya comes face to face with this in episode 6, when the Monster of the Week traps her and Shinichiro in a magic mirror which exploits whatever ill feelings they have inside them. Sakuya nearly takes the demon up on her offer to team up and slay the Shimazu clan due to their mistreatment of her and her parents. But Shinichiro gives her another option; he would help her look for her parents, and that she should accept what happened in the past and let it go, as she's not the same person she was eight years ago.
  • When She Smiles: Both Sakuya and Suseri manage to get a smile out after spending more time with Shinichiro.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The rats in episode 2 creep Sakuya out to the point where she's almost entirely defenseless against them. Shinichirō notes the Hypocritical Humor in how she hates rats yet is perfectly fine living in a trash filled house.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Tamako does this in the first episode, pleading for help from Shinichirō after he notices she's been pinned down by an arrow. Unbeknownst to him however, is that said arrow was fired by Sakuya, who was hunting the cat girl.
  • You Are Not Alone:
    • Shinichiro tells Sakuya this in episode 6 after learning more about her past.
    • He tells Suseri this too in episode 8 after finding out the latter is trying to perform an exorcism but isn't having much luck.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: In chapter 47, Suseri flat out tells Sakiri that, after all that's happened between them and the fact that her mother attempted to kill Shinichirou, she can't return to Kamakura.
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