These six masters will pound everything they know into Kenichi. Literally.
A retool of Tatakae! Ryouzanpaku Shijou Saikyou no Deshi or Ryozanpaku History's Strongest Disciple released as a monthly series back in 2000.Kenichi Shirahama is a wimp. Even thegeekspick on him. That all changes when he meets Miu Fūrinji after entering high school. Miu, eager to make friends, gladly helps Kenichi with his desire to become stronger. She introduces him to Ryōzanpaku, a dojo which houses some of the most powerful martial artists known to man. Though Kenichi only sought guidance to stop being bullied, his rapidly growing prowess attracts the attention of bigger and badder foes that he has to fight... if he doesn't get pummeled through the floor tiles during training first.Written by Syun Matsuena, Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Ken'ichi (a.k.a History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi) follows Kenichi's adventures as the Sorting Algorithm of Evil puts him up against more and more dangerous opponents. It has all the elements of Shonen action stories with a healthy dose of satire on the whole thing. The manga spans at 46 volumes and counting. The anime consists of 50 episodes and is dubbed by FUNimation under the title Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, premiering on their channel on October 2009. Kenichi, Miu and friends appear in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen.In 2012 a series of OVAs began, starting from where the anime ended with Ragnarok Arc closure, introducing Yami and Yomi.It is very awesome.The Character Sheet can be found here.The manga has two spin offs a 4-koma gag manga Tekuni to Shijou Saikyou no Nakamatachi/ Tekuni and Her Strongest Friends in History, and a manga focusing on other characters in the universe Shijou Saikyou no Gaiden/History's Strongest Another Stories.
This series features examples of:
Absolute Cleavage: Renka (Year 2) & Mikumo. Occasionally Shigure. Clothing damage does this to many others.
A-Cup Angst: If you value your life, you will not bring up Kisara's lack of boobage. Keep in mind, this is only relative, as while Kisara is probably on the smaller end of average, just about every major female fighter in the series has a huge chest.
Adults Are Useless: used and subverted; in most of Kenichi's fights his masters stand on the sidelines, even joking and gambling on the outcomes, even if his life is in danger. This is because they believe that a good master stays out of their disciple's fights. It's subverted to hell and back whenever Kenichi is attacked by a master class or something: they'll step in and beat the life out of whoever attacked their disciple.
Played straight with the staff of Kenichi's high school, who seem completely unaware of the massive gang activity right under their noses, and his parents, who are oblivious that their son has a habit of getting into life-or-death battles with skilled martial artists from arround the world.
Alcatraz: The Big Lock, where they intend to hold all of Yami.
Alien Among Us: Everyone is sure Nijima is this. In the anime, it becomes explicit near the end, where he uses his "alien powers" to check Power Levels, and at one point tells Kenichi "In all the years I've been studying your species..."
Or, arguably, averted. This lady is the only female drawn with visible biceps in the entire series. Every other female, regardless of how Bad Ass, is pretty and busty.
Freya is probably the best example in the series. While she doesn't show much visible bicep, she has been seen doing bicep curls with pretty huge dumbells, and she's probably got the most ripped abdomen of any woman in the series so far.
Anti-Villain: Most of the named adolescent antagonists have redeeming qualities or sympathetic motives, to the point where it's almost surprising when one of the teen villains gets written out of the story without a minor redemption at minimum.
Among members of Yomi, Ethan Stanley is particularly notable. He's quite polite and deferential, he tries to talk Kenichi into retiring from martial arts so he doesn't have to kill him (whereas most of the rest of Yomi would be happy to), he cares deeply about his sister... If not for Yomi's insistence on defeating Ryozanpaku, he likely wouldn't have chosen to fight.
Armor Is Useless: Averted. Shigure certainly would never go in a weapon fight without her trusty chain mail. And Kenichi's chain mail has also been proven very useful. Even when fighting Ethan Stanley, who is not a weapons user (because it protected Kenichi's chest from being scraped by Ethan's foot). And, of course, Kenichi's arm guards have proved themselves as a good protection from bladed weapons as well.
Averted in the latest chapter, when a Master Class opponent would have cleaved Kenichi in two if it weren't for his armor.
Artistic License - Biology: Kouetsuji's "pink muscle." Has basis in reality, but definitely not to the extent Sakaki explains it. In fairness, Sakaki might just not know what he's talking about.
The Elder's "bi-vocal" ability. Lampshaded by Kisara immediately after it's explained.
Kisara again Lampshades it with Siegfried's inhuman flexibility a few chapters later.
Attention Whore: Rachel "Castor" Stanley will actually stop what she's doing and contemplate a new way to steal the spotlight if she sees anyone who's the subject of more attention than she is.
Authority Equals Asskicking: This is played straight for the most part, with the leadership of Ryozanpaku, Ragnarok and pretty much every other organization in the series being based on who has the strongest fighting ability. However, it's surprisingly averted with the Shinpaku Alliance, whose commander Niijima has absolutely no fighting ability whatsoever, and yet he commands a entire gang of fighters, all of whom could beat him to a pulp with little to no effort if they tried. Granted, he doesn't get a lot of respect from most of his high-ranking subordinates, but he still maintains his position of leader regardless.
Kenichi himself, though it's more subtle in most cases. He is, after all, the second person ever to be able to utilize the complete form of Ryuusui Seikuken, which relies on reading your enemy's heart. He's even been able to predict a few killer techniques and stop them when backed into a corner.
Ogata Isshinsai as well. When Kenichi attacks him in the latest arc, not only does Ogata dodge, he then attacks Kenichi with the same move, where Kenichi was aiming, with the same power Kenichi used. He manages to copy a Mubyoshi, despite never seeing it before.
"You Fool! The Soft cannot cut the Hard! No matter how fast you are, you cannot even think to match me in strength and willpower! I WILL NOT DIE."
"God Fist" Akira Hongo gives a very daring boast right before he confronts "Demon Fist" Silcardo Junazard, later in the manga. (For context, the target of the boast was said to have fought Hayato Furinji to a standstill in the past, with no clear winner at that time.)
And now Freya's grandfather. In chapter 378, the kindly-looking withered old man who seemed to be senile finally made a move, and my God is his game face terrifying to behold.
To further elaborate, Freya's grandfather is shorter than Kenichi due to his old age and uses his bo staff as a walking stick. He single-handedly takes out an entire group of YAMI's armed members, including at least one master class fighter. Kenichi passes out due to injuries and when the rest of the Shinpaku Alliance arrive, they find a letter from the old man explaining that he wanted to stop conflicting with YAMI, but seeing Kenichi's determination has inspired him to wield his staff once again. He leaves for a very short amount of time, returning to his dojo to his granddaughter's surprise and resumes acting like a senile old-man (with the Valkyrie squad tending to him like a friggin' harem). Cut to the final panel where the Ryozanpaku masters discuss a YAMI base being brought down recently. Three guesses as to who took it down?
Badass Nickname: The Masters of Ryōzanpaku and Yami all have one. Some good examples from Yami are "Fist of Destruction" Alexander Gaidar, "God Hand" (no, not that God Hand) Akira Hongo, "Demon Fist God" Silkwat Jenazad, and "Saint of Fists" Isshinsai Ogata. Badass Grandpa Hayato Fūrinji might have the best ones: "The Man Without Enemies" and "The Invincible Superman".
Badass Normal: Arguably Kenichi. Despite the insane amount of training he goes through and the nearly superhuman levels of martial art skills that he acquires, his masters all agree that he has zero natural talent, and that his only saving grace is that he's willing to keep coming back for more.
Even though the masters agree that Kenichi has no natural talent for martial arts, they silently agree with Miu's observation that Kenichi is a genius at getting beaten up. Given the beatings that Kenichi has taken and survived, that says something.
It's hard to tell whether it's typical ridiculous-improvement-in-short-time shonen improvement that is ignored in-universe, but Kenichi effectively gains levels of martial arts skills that enable him to defeat super-disciples trained from birth by other Masters.. in the matter of months?
Well, you have to note that after a hundred or so chapters Kenichi moves in with them, inorder to train more often and thoroughly. Assuming that besides going to school or to fights all his time is spent sleeping or training he likely gets a good ten hours of training in a day on school days, and likely 15-16 on non-school days. Training that kills him, requiring his Master's Chinese medicine to revive him. And then they somehow triple it once Yomi/Yami come into the picture. If you take into account that Yami doesn't want to kill their disciples as far as we have seen. Assuming that 12 months have passed that means he has something around 4800 hours of risking his life practice. Which puts him at 200 days of practice.
As Hermit demonstrated in his fight with Beserker, even a genius cannot overcome a mountain of hard work.
Hermit: Of course, one hundred parts of hard work may not overcome one part of gifted talent... Hermit continues to batter relentlessly on Beserker Hermit: Then how about a thousand parts of hard work? What if it was ten thousand parts? Beserker swings wildly, being countered at every turn Hermit: Do you know why martial arts can be passed down from thousands of years ago to now? It's because in the world of martial arts... Hermit strikes down Beserker with a final vicious blow Hermit: Hard work will overcome talent!
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Applied weirdly inconsistently. When Renka and Rachel Stanley have their fight, both lose their tops at some point, but only Rachel has nipples. Miu's nips are almost always visible through her very tight leotard, but vanish when she suffers Clothing Damage that should expose them. Likewise for Kushinada Mikumo.
Actually, there is consistency, but only in a meta-sense: No "hero" girls ever have a nip-slip, but plenty of "villain" characters do. This might be a case of "Good is pure so no touchy, but Evil is acceptable target for egregious Fanservice." Might be like how in America no heroes can ever be shown smoking, but badguys can have five cigars going at once and no-one bats an eye (unless the bad guys are more popular than the heroes.
Battle Aura: of the literal variety. In particular, when one of the masters gets really pumped about something, their eyes will shine like headlights. Metaphorically. It looks really weird in the manga.
Berserk Button: All over the place. Their enemies can have fun with this!
Kenichi: Miu being hurt... or any one of his other friends being hurt. For your own sake, do not do that.
Sure, don't mess with his friends. Yes, never mess with Miu. But if you hurt Honoka... Well... Let's just say Kenichi beat up Hermit, Loki, and a Goddamned shark to protect her.
Kenichi: Where is she Hermit!? I swear, if you touch one hair on her head, you're a dead man!
Outright stating you want to kill Miu is the quickest way to get him to want to break you hands down.
Saying you'll confess your love to Miu (sincere or not) also will press it hard.
One guy accused him of pressing his button because Kenichi made him bleed. Kenichi had to go through training with Shigure that day to learn how to prevent himself from getting hit with a knife. Aside from mocking his terrible form and showing him what was wrong with it, Kenichi beat him senseless for insinuating he didn't know what it was like to go through hell.
Daimonji during their second fight in episode 7 of Season 1 stupidly destroys a lot of the plants in the gardening club, largely claiming For the Evulz. He then smashes the little plant that Kenichi was trying to get to grow earlier. Kenichi then gives him such a swift and deserved Curb-Stomp Battle that the other karate club members run away in fear, and due to his Training from Hell, Kenichi is much faster and notices how slow Daimonji seems now compared to their first fight. And the plant turns out to be okay, thanks to having a thick stem which prevented it from getting harmed when Daimonji attempted to destroy it.
Miu: Hurting a kitten: "Let's kill her!" *slasher smile*
That's more of an "Angry Button". The real berserk button is almost killing all of her friends.
It's implied that the Ma family live by the code "be true to yourself " and this applies in any extreme way they feel like it should. So in theory, doing ANYTHING that angers Renka or Ma will press their berserk button.
Honoka: "Bullying" Kenichi. She can't really do much on her own (even with her squeaky hammer) but she CAN control Apachai, who can do a LOT on his own.
Everyone else: Being Niijima.
Niijima: Insulting his information gathering abilities.
Renka: Touch Kenichi, go on, hurt him and she'll jump your ass faster than Miu
Taking advantage of her habit of chasing anything that moves also sets her off.
Chikage: Physical contact from anyone but Kenichi or her Mistress usually makes her snap straight to "Yami Mode" and flip your ass all over the place.
Boris: ORDERS. ARE. FINAL!!! (he can however use loopholes if he really feels like it.)
Rachel Stanley: steal her spotlight. there are no depths she won't sink to to get it back, stripping is a valid method for her. Along with stripping YOU and making up blatant lies.
Ethan Stanley: One rich man joked about buying Rachel for kicks. Ethan punched his head through a closed car window for it.
Kagerou: Calling him by any nickname which refers to his excessive tallness, his flat nose, or his urchin hair.
If you'd just follow his handy guide pamphlet, you'd be just fine.
God Hand Akira of Yomi: He wasn't pleased at all when he found out someone killed his disciple. he was LESS pleased when he found out it was some random ass soldier with a gun.
Alexander of Yomi: Pointing a gun at him will make him shout "Don't point that filthy metal at me!" and give you a death glare which he is all too happy to follow up on.
Silkwat of Yami: Failing to meet his expectations can cause him to do things like bury you in an avalanche. It's been implied he doesn't mind killing his disciples if they screw up once.
The Berserker: Not the character named Berserker, but Apachai and Kisara when she uses Nya Kwon Do.
In chapter 399 we learn that Apachai is actually not a berserker. He seems like a berserker, but he has complete control over his strength and movements, which is how he's been able to follow Katsujinken. Although, it's been implied he only managed to gain full control after almost killing Kenichi waaay back in chapter 32 or so.
Played straight, in backstory, with Apachai and Agaard.
Big Damn Heroes: Kenichi saves the day a few times. However the real trope examples are his masters who occasionally jump in.
Hilariously averted in episode 7, when Sakaki wanders by while Miu and Kenichi are surrounded by 9 guys. He gives one thug such a vicious Death Glare that the thug's glasses breaks and he collapses from the sheer awesomeness. Sakaki then criticizes and corrects Kenichi's stance, then walks away without actually doing anything. Later he thinks that his training helped, when in actuality, it was a combination of Kensai's training and Miu's explanation of it for him, Miu taking out the other 8 guys by herself, and according to Kenichi himself, sheer luck, that saved the day.
Big Damn Villains: In chapter 466, Miu's father, the leader of YAMI who was disguised as the "clumsy" mercenary John the entire time, saves Kenichi and Miu from Jenazad's fighters.
Note that this was said when he was fighting at 0.0002% of his power... with his eyes closed.
At one point, Sakaki declares he'll "capture [Kushinada] and present her to the Elder as a trophy". Ironic that Sakaki and the Elder are good guys while Kushinada is the evil one. Kenichi even points out how it was something a villain would say.
Blood Knight: Too many to name. Most of them villains. But a few heroes like Sakaki tilt strongly this way.
Boisterous Bruiser: Sakaki. What freetime he doesn't spend training is spent getting drunk, or riding his motorcycle, and he loves fighting to borderline Blood Knight levels.
Boring, but Practical: Kenichi doesn't have the kind of advanced moves or styles that many of his opponents have, and while he has his awesome moments, strictly speaking he's just using the basics of martial arts. However, this is precisely the kind of martial artist Bruce Lee stated was the most fearsome...
Call Back: Used hilariously by Kenichi. When showing Miu his knowledge of plants, he even states he's reading a book about different kinds of edible grasses. That way, the next time the Elder decides to leave him starving on a mountain, he'll be okay.
Can't Catch Up: Many of Kenichi's friends and allies in the Shinpaku Alliance begin training much harder to catch up to Kenichi. Ukita Kouzou, however, has it the worst because he failed to consider the merits of Training from Hell and just trained normally.
Although it is often subverted, in that many people like Siegfried, Kisara, Natsu (who may have already caught up), and Takeda do catch up, and in a relatively short period of time.
It's also because, as Kenichi's own teachers point out, they all have more talent for martial arts than he does. Unlike him they're all talented individuals who also put in a fair bit of hard work. Except Ukita.
Also at times used on Kenichi, as he can't catch up to Miu or Renka.
Cain and Abel: Ma Kensei and his brother Ma Sougetsu (Hermit's master, and apparently one of the members of Yami).
The Cavalry: Done in episode 21 by Niijima, of all people, and the newly formed Shinpaku Alliance. While they didn't actually do anything aside from showing up, they do force the Ragnarok gangsters to withdraw.
Calvinball: Whatever Apachai and Shigure are playing here with Touchumaru. Check the middle panel.
That's basically mouse rodeo, she's timing how long he stays on what for him is a bucking bronco.
Cat Girl: Renka acts as one to throw Miu off in episode 10 of Season 2. It works briefly.
Cat Smile: A few characters display one from time to time, such as Honoka and Renka. Miu does them around the presence of cats.
Character Development: More than one is lead to believe at first glance. This is one of the few popular shounen manga where the character development of the main character is still the most important thing, whereas in others it's treated as secondary to the the action or plot. It's most notable with Kenichi, being the titular character, but several other characters get to shine and grow as well, even the side characters.
Chekhov's Gunman: Radin Tidat Jihan's maid, Sham. Introduced in chapters 181 + 182 with an Omake in 188, she reappears in chapter 452 following Kenichi and Sakaki, and in 453 supports them.
By Chapter 477, Radin HIMSELF is Back.
Chick Magnet: Ukita is a not Bishounen version of this. Not only is Kisara Tsundere for him but Freya is quite obviously crushing on him. Chikage also likes to cling on him, and now Shiratori is starting to show some interest in him!
Kenichi himself has Renka Ma vying for his attention with Miu, who has only now started to realise her feelings for him.
Chivalrous Pervert: Ma Kensei uses his peaceful Ero will (and panty thievery) to cause a hardened assassin to regret the choices that led her down the path of a killer.
Shigure may have recently somewhat justified Miu's reactions. Miu's recent serious suspicions about Shigure's feelings for Kenichi after Shigure and Kenichi's training outing together do have some weight: The Stoic seems to smile only around Kenichi, and seems to like flirting with him. Doesn't really seem like the two are just friends.
Honoka acts this way towards Miu in their first encounter, and believes Miu is tricking him into staying at the dojo.
Izumi and Miu more or less get into a Cat Fight (albeit verbally, complete with cat noises) in episode 23 when Izumi visits the dojo where Kenichi is training. Both girls end up trying to insult each other while trying not to appear like they are. Miu later comments that Kenichi seemed a little too eager to have Izumi join the dojo.
Miu is not happy seeing Renka in episode 10 of Season 2, especially after the latter delays bringing her father home to spend a few days with Kenichi. Cue the masters giggling at his situation between the two girls.
Combat Commentator: On many occasions, but the two best examples are Kenichi's final battle with Odin and the fights on the D of D Tournament. Also worth mentioning are the two occasions where a challenger fought Kenichi inside the Ryōzanpaku dojo, in front of all Kenichi's masters who heartily commentated the fight.
Continuity Nod: In chapter 325, Miu mentions that she hasn't infiltrated an enemy ship since she was a kid — an event depicted in a flashback over a hundred chapters previously.
Continuity Reboot: Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple is actually a reboot of a previous work by the same author, Tatakae! Ryouzanpaku Shijou Saikyou no Deshi. It tells the same story, more or less, but isn't as deep. A number of character designs are different as well, notably Takeda and Tanimoto.
Cosmopolitan Council: Yami's "One Shadow Nine Fists". Although a little Japan-centric (four of them being Japanese, which includes the only female member), it includes: a Chinese, an Indian, an Indonesian, a Mexican, a Russian and a Thai. Unlike the typical Cosmopolitan Council, here it's not so much about different national costumes or accents as much about individual dressing styles of the members, which partially reflect their nationalities, partially their martial arts preferences and partially their personalities.
This Cosmopolitan Council structure is also reflected through their disciples in YOMI, although two (and later three) of them are not the same nationalities as their respective mentors.
Crazy-Prepared: Niijima. he has traps hidden all around town in the event he has to make an escape. brought nearly a Magnificent Bastard Level in the Data Transport Arc that cd they are protecting? it's an hour of Niijima laughing. the data is really on a USB drive. that gets chopped up by the weapons users? no problem, the data was already leaked to the internet
Not to mention that the disk they're protecting is actually a back-up of the original disk Niijima made in case the original was destroyed. Basically, the internet was the fourth layer of protection.
Nijima even points it out to Berserker that the reason that he's number one in Shinpaku is because he's so prepared. The crazy thing? He's actually right.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: There's a young pencil-pusher taking part in the D of D Tournament. He asks to wait a bit before the fight, he has a call from his wife on his cellphone. Then he takes out the body builder in front of him with one hit. He re-appears later, too. Also, Freya's Badass Grandpa.
Kenichi himself is an excellent example of this trope. He has undergone over a year of Training from Hell on steroids, has taken on numerous badass martial artists and yet still cowers when bullied by freshmen. Nijima even calls him out on this at one point, pointing out that Kenichi's gentle personality only seems to cause more people to pick fights with him. Oh and let's not forget that he is a devoted member of the gardening club.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Kenichi is sometimes on the receiving end of one, but sometimes dishes them out.
Cuteness Proximity: Kisara and Miu, wherever cats are involved. Kisara even evolves a "Cat Fu" version of her Tae Kwan Do through it.
Miu does this with Renka because she resembles a cat so much.
Shigure as well, except with a tank...
Averted with Freya's gang, who just use it to their advantage to catch their opponents off guard.
Miu does it with Honoka during their first meeting as well. She's awestruck by how both siblings have the same eyes. Honoka, on the other hand, thinks Miu is using her sex appeal to keep her brother stuck at the dojo.
Cynicism Catalyst: The memory of his sister is one of the primary motivators for Natsu Tanimoto (a.k.a. Hermit) to become stronger however he can. Then Kenichi's sister Honoka becomes his Morality Pet.
There are signs that he is Becoming the Mask though. Even Nijima notes that he's been acting uncharacteristically brave and chivalrous of late.
Dark Is Not Evil: Dou-Type martial artists, who fuel their abilities with rage and aggression, are more prone to be evil, but people who are gentle by nature, such as Apachai, Miu or Kisara, can avoid this.
Sakaki is pretty much the most menacing and scary of the Masters but is also the most caring and protective when it comes to Kenichi: Shigure even calls him "Mother Hen" because of that.
Death By Genre Savviness: A hilarious variation. While eating his first meal at the dojo, Kenichi is leaning heavily over his food in an attempt to avoid having it stolen as part of an "eating is training exercise." One master derides this as cliche, so Kenichi stops. Unfortunately, all the other masters have decided that they like the idea...
Death Is Cheap: played with. Kenichi never kills his opponents, but has been briefly dead many times over due to his Master's training (including right before his father visits the dojo). Fortunately, Ma Kensei is always ready with powerful mystical medicine.
Actually, once a brief death happened to him not while training, but in a real fight. Tirawit Koukin gave him a devastating blow to the chest, and not even his masters would arrive in time to save him if it weren't for Niijima giving him his special reanimation technique.
Does work on occasion though. Miu nearly loses a poolside fight when she almost loses her top (Kenichi ends up stepping in for her), and Renka unintentionally ends up turning it against Rachel (of all people) in their fight, getting away from her at a few points by accidentally removing her top and shorts.
Defeat Means Friendship: Pick a non-adult villain who was defeated by Kenichi or his adolescent allies. There is a greater than 75% chance that this will come into play.
Denied Food as Punishment: Miu does a variation of this to Kenichi in episode 10 of Season 2, when Renka shows up at the dojo. While she does technically feed him, she gives him a very tiny fish compared to the large fish the other characters receive, and when he asks her for a second helping of rice, she gives him exactly one grain. Renka offering to feed him her share only increases Miu's frustrations with Kenichi.
Determinator: the only talent the Masters credit Kenichi with is his stubbornness and never giving up.
: Siegfried. The man went without sleep for three days straight after being summoned by Niijima, refused to stop looking for him and his comrades, flew a plane SOLO through a practical Macross Missile Massacre, survived it getting blown up, POWERDOVE through the missiles, coming to an epic, if less-than-graceful landing, and proceeding to destroy two members of the Capoeria team. Earlier than that, he kept reviving himself from Ma Kensei's sleep acupuncture out of sheer force of will. NOTHING will stop him from coming to the aid of his friends and his master.
And then there's Tanimoto, Mizunuma, and Takeda.
Tanimoto has a damn good reason why he never gives up. He promised he wouldn't. Whenever it looks like he will lose a fight, the memory of his sister keeps him fighting. The only fight he lost was against Kenichi, and that was because of blood loss. He fainted while standing up, preparing to attack Kenichi again.
Deus Exit Machina: Both averted and played straight at the same time. While Kenichi's masters are almost never actually indisposed whenever he happens to get into a big fight (in fact, there's usually at least two or more watching his fight, and usually wagering on it), they almost never intervene in the battle, even if Kenichi's life is in danger. Justified by their stance that a good master should not get involved in the affairs of his/her disciple. However, they have stepped in before, when actual master class combatants show up.
Chapter 409 sees the Masters of Ryozanpaku taking an indefinite leave-of-abscence from the Dojo, leaving Kenichi and Miu to their own devices, leaving nothing but an explanatory note. And plans for Kenichi's continued training, of course.
Don't Sneak Up on Me Like That!: This is a reflex conditioned into Miu through years of martial arts training: she always throws anyone who touches her (or, God forbid, grabs her) from behind.
Double Standard: Ma and Renka do not let each other get any "fanservice". Ma's case is being able to look at naked or nearly naked women. For Renka, it's being able to spend time with Kenichi alone. Renka's presence can make Ma cling to the nearest large object to stop her from dragging him back to China. Ma hides listening devices in Renka's bells so he can spy on her.
Dull Eyes of Unhappiness _ Kenichi displays these in episode 6 of Season 1 as he tells his family he's going to spend the weekends at the dojo. His father immediately suspects the dojo is actually a cult, and immediately tries to head out there with his gun "Sebastian". But his mother conks him on the head and knocks him out before he can leave the house.
Hermit displays them too after his fight with Kenichi in episode 9 of Season 2, but in his case its because he passes out from a combination of blood loss from a stab wound, and Kenichi's attacks.
Dumb Muscle: Apachai is the Grim Reaper of Muay Thai boxing, and can crush rocks into dust with his bare hands. He also appears to be mildly retarded. But he's more of a Savant, he just can only fight, learn facts about animals, and break things.
Partially subverted. Due to Honoka's extreme skills with Othello (more better known as Reversi), Apachai has become so skilled that he nearly beat Akisame, a highly-skilled Othello played.
Mr. Fanservice: All the fighters in Kenichi Verse and in all the Flavors: Normal (Kenichi), Bishonen (Tanimoto, Shō Kanō), exotic (Kokin, Boris, Ethan). Then you get to the Masters and one chapter characters... there is at least one example for every taste.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: This appears to hold true throughout the various arcs. Some Ragnarok members were True Companions such as Thor and Siegfried. YOMI has Rachael and Ethan who are loyal siblings. This is however ironically most apparent in YAMI. There are various masters sharing an almost paternal bond with their disciples such as Alexandar and Boris or Agaard and Koukin. Some of them are even an out and out Parental Substitute like Akira and Shou or Mikumo and Chikage. The last part cuts both ways, some YOMI disciples faithfully search for their missing mentors when their defeated masters are thrown in a secret jail.
Even Evil Has Standards: Most of the Master-class opponents follow a particular code of conduct. They generally do not attack someone of the Disciple class, they do not interfere in a bout between Disciples, they do not team up with each other to fight another Master and above all they protect their Disciples. Even most of the One Shadow Nine Fists follow these rules and those Masters who break them tend to be of the Card-Carrying Villain variety.
After Kisara breaks Freya's staff into short, pointy sticks, she worries that the weapons are now even deadlier. However, Freya decides not to fight any longer, since she feels fighting with those things would be a bad code of conduct for her as a martial artist. She didn't want to kill Kisara, just beat her up a lot. Of course, the fact that Kisara landed a pretty powerful blow to her head probably helped Freya to cut the fight short as well.
Each member of Yami has had a single disciple who is was a YOMI member. Kensei-sama in particular seems to relish Evil Mentoring. He inspired Hermit to be a ruthless martial artist, molded Odin into a killing machine, and has twice attempted to make Kenichi his disciple, and has shown no signs of giving up.
Takeda took this even further than the common type of example when he first fought Kenichi; because his left arm was paralyzed, he could only use his right.
Kisara needs a little more explanation. "Tae kwon do" ("kicking & punching arts") does emphasize kicks more than most hard martial arts, but it doesn't completely neglect punches and neither does Kisara entirely.
Kajima Satomi. The eyepatch (as well as the scars all over his body) is a symbol of his high level of combat experience, particularly learning to cope with defeat. Yet to be revealed whether he's really missing the eye.
James Shiba. Confirmed: he did in fact lose his eye in a fight with none other than the Kajima's master himself (who is the leader of Yami).
Shigure's foster father, master Kosaka, who polished her weapon fighting skills and whose surname she inherited.
One of the members of the Chinese kung-fu team on the D of D Tournament
Face Framed In Shadow: some members of Yami are initially shown like this. The most notable example of this is, of course, their leader, whose face was not shown until Chapter 466. See also In the Hood below.
Family Friendly Firearms: No. 20, the girl with the goggles that follows Loki around, uses a gun sometimes. However, she points out that it's just an airsoft gun, so while it won't kill whoever she shoots at, she says it'll hurt like heck.
Fanservice: Relentless and in many forms, for both male and female fans.
Foreign Exchange Student: The Stanley siblings, Rachel and Ethan. Also Boris (a Russian). Tirawit (a Thai) also technically counts, but in his case there is little or no racial gap, and the cultural gap is not so prominent.
In the D of D tournament Akisame says there is a Jujitsu technique that lets you throw your enemy without using your hands but he hasn't taught it to Kenichi. Cue around 100 chapters later Akisame throwing Alexander Gaidar without touching him.
Forgotten First Meeting: Miu was a little girl that Kenichi met who first sparked a desire to get stronger... Something Kenichi completely forgot by the time he first takes Miu's offer to train at the dojo. Of course, Miu apparently knew right away and didn't feel the need to bring it up when they meet again.
Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Many characters, women and men alike; women like Miu and Renka have their attires skintight (no matter if it's pratical or not) to point out their beauty and crank up the Fanservice, not surprising since the series is targeted at males, but the big muscular men are also like this; Hayato, Sakaki, Apachai and many others wear impossibily tight clothes to show off their statuesque bodies.
Fragile Speedster: Rimi, so much so that when she fought Thor (a perfect example of a Mighty Glacier) She couldn't hurt him because of his toughened body and huge muscles. Conversely, he couldn't land a shot on her because she was so fast his attacks couldn't hit her.
This may have been fixed with Rimi's newest training session in the mountains with Kensei from YAMI.
Friendly Enemy: Kenichi to all his opponents at first at least. He tries to avoid fighting like the plague and just makes friends with YOMI's members. This strategy is starting to work on Chikage, the first person he got a genuine shot at trying it on. Niijima even acknowledges it as a valid strategy to be friendly on the outside.
Chikage has gone from thinking, "God I wish I could kill these idiots," to, "They're amusing, and I don't want Band-aid dead." She literally hates everyone else in the world minus her mistress. She tags along on anything they do and even fought against Yami's armed division alongside the Shinpaku Alliance.
Ethan Stanley: Is extremely polite to everyone, earning him a lot of friends. He even takes Kenichi out for tea.
Rachel Stanley: Is flamboyant as all can get and flirts with anyone for attention. She doesn't even mind being groped by Kenichi once, replying "ohh, be gentle~"
Boris: He was also fairly passive when at school. Especially when Ohno Sensei is involved.
Koukin: At the end of his battle with Kenichi, admits he can't bring himself to hate Kenichi, who admits the same about Koukin.
Hermit: Is still technically an Anti-Hero, but he will work with Kenichi and the Shinpaku alliance when given next to no other choice. Especially when Honoka is involved. He has the entire "I am the only one allowed to defeat you" Complex with Kenichi and doesn't appreciate when people make claim to his targets.
Takeda: When he was a villain, was pretty laid back and was the least likely to start a fight, usually that was Ukita, who had a fuse shorter than a microbe, he got better though.
Kisara: When she was a villain, she would talk to Miu about cats once they figured out she had an affinity for them, without need for restraint, because they mutually loved them to bits.
The Pancration Team Leader: He's very friendly to Kenichi despite being his possible opponent.
Agaard: Is extremely friendly for an enemy, outright helping Kenichi against the barbarian sword user after his fight with Apachai.
Renka Ma considers Miu her enemy for Kenichi's heart, but doesn't mind working with Miu if the occasion calls for it.
Kensei Ma, despite being a self proclaimed hentai, pervert, ero lover, dirty old man etc. Prevents Renka from having any alone time with Kenichi. HE can't stop their "training accidents" where Kenichi gropes Renka (It's her fault). But he uses his skills so he can peek on Shigure and give her and Miu a good slap on the ass whenever possible. Renka in turn does the same thing and tries to stop him.
Friend to All Living Things: Apachai, who can apparently talk to them as well, such as asking a seagull where Niijima may have landed after the boat he was on was stranded, or which horse to bet on at a horse race.
Gag Boobs: most of the girls are very *ahem* 'blessed', but Miu's the one who gets most of the fun poked at her for it.
This has definitely gotten worse as the series progressed. In the beginning Miu was called a "Dairy Cow" by Kisara and "Big Boob Girl" by Honoka; yet at this point, Miu isn't even in the top 3 named characters in chest size, lagging behind Shigure, Renka, Mikumo, and Rachel.
Around ch. 292 Miu got a Fan Service Pack (hinted as puberty) and grew almost to the size of Shigure. Then Shigure started accumulating clothing damage...
Giving Up The Ghost: When Kensei pursuades Kenichi to join him to peek in on the hotsprings expecting to see Miu and Shigure, they eventually find out it was Hayato Furinji in the hotspring, who saw through the whole plan. He scared Kenichi so hard that his ghost's ghostgave up the ghost.
Also noteworthy that Niijima does nothing to disabuse this. In the English dub of the anime he frequently refers to his "alien powers" (his ability to hide, escape from fights, and read people's moods and expressions), and in one of the closing episodes when he reveals his over-arching plan to Kenichi he uses the phrase "your species" when talking about people in general. Well, what does that make you?
Grade School CEO: Hermit was one when he was younger, due to his adopted father dying and leaving him with control of the company. In a rather cruel but realistic twist, the company's managers and lawyers immediately conspired together to trick the young Tanimoto into signing over control of the company and its assets to them. It's implied that this stopped soon after Tanimoto was taken in by "The Great Sage Fist", as he's still fairly wealthy at the time of the series.
Handicapped Badass: Odin, wheelchair-bound after fighting Kenichi. Also, Takeda before fighting Kenichi.
Handwraps of Awesome: All Muay Thai fighters wear these. Since Kenichi's custom-made training uniform (introduced in Chapter 145) is patched up from pieces of outfits for various martial arts (which reflects various fighting styles of his mentors), it also includes a pair of such bandages.
Hard Work Hardly Works: Set up straight, then subverted. During the fight between Hermit and Berserker, Hermit even acknowledges that one part talent may overcome 100 parts hard work. He then goes on to show his hard work by beating the everloving crap out of the talented Berserker, defying him to over come a hundred thousand parts hard work.
, but only pitches in when Kenich would lose the next fight without it) Nobody can catch up to him because his daily training tops the average Training from Hell trip by several magnitudes... He's supremely relieved during the Beach Chapter when he gets a whole two days of no training.
This hard work is pretty much what keeps Kenichi ahead of his comrades in the Shinpaku Alliance, because Kisara, Takeda, Siegfried , Takeda and his other friends all make major progress in their martial arts skills with less hardship and far less formal training(Kisara and Sieg are actually self-trained, and the others have only one sensei each). In a sense Kenichi is actually lucky to be training so much with some of the best martial artists in the world, because as his own senseis observe, all his friends are more talented than him.
This acts as a large difference between Ryozanpaku and Yomi. While Yomi only trains fighters after they've extensively scouted for incredible and unique skills and talent, Ryozanpaku has... Kenichi, who basically wandered in one day and asked them to train him. Understandably, Yomi members are a bit pissed that he's wiped the floor with so many of them.
Heel Face Return: Loki was once a leader of Ragnarok, and an all-around unrepentant jerkass. In a later arc, he was shown spying on Yomi for Nijima.
Heel Face Turn: At least seven or eight members of Ragnarok (including six out of Eight Fists) and several of the D of D competitors. Some of the members of YOMI turn as well, but the Yami arc isn't so forgiving to its AntiVillains in some cases.
He Is Not My Boyfriend: Miu tends to deflect any questions about her and Kenichi in this manner. Nobody buys it.
Helping Would Be Killstealing: This is one of the basic principles of teaching martial arts in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: it's repeatedly said that a martial arts mentor must not interfere in his (or her) disciple's fight with a non-master fighter, even when the disciple's life is in danger. However, mentors sometimes break a sparring (i.e. friendly) match when a disciple is in a serious danger. (It happened once to Takeda and once to Kenichi.)
The one exception to this rule appears to be fighting against master level combatants. Kenichi's masters find it incredibly distasteful when one of his rival's masters attack Kenichi and take it very personally.
The masters will also avert this trope occasionally if the situation truly warrants their intervention, such as helping Takeda to escape with a wounded Kenichi from some pursuing thugs bent on killing or at least seriously injuring him, saving Kenichi after he falls off the top of a moving bus (where he also likely could've been killed by oncoming traffic or sustained significant injuries), or attacking some sharks that are threatening both Kenichi and Honoka and are too much for him to handle alone.
Heroes Fight Barehanded: There is an example with two groups of evil martial artists: it has been implied several times that the members of the weapon division of Yami are inferior both in fighting skills and fighting ethics to the weaponless Yami fighters. Many weaponless Yami masters tend to be more anti-villains, while the weaponed Yami masters are usually presented as ruthless hoodlums.
Heroic Second Wind: Kenichi gets this fairly regularly, after he remembers some training he received earlier in the episode, or from a previous one. It doesn't always help him however, such as in his first fight against Shinnosuke Tsuji in episode 13 of Season 1. Only the timely intervention of Takeda and later Master Kensai, prevents Kenichi from getting seriously hurt by a real opponent (as opposed to his training with the masters, where his injuries are always Played for Laughs}.
Heroism Incentive: Kenichi had lost all self confidence and just wanted to run away after watching a bit of the D of D tournament. The Elder offered him the thing he always wanted: he can ask Miu out if he wins the tournament; courage ensues.
Then it all but completely vanishes when, in the next match, it's revealed that the Elder has entered the tournament under the disguise of the 20-year old Garyu-X.
Hey, It's That Voice!: The Funimation dub has a lot of actors in common with its Keroro Gunsou dub, leading to the feeling that they're doing it on purpose when you hear Christopher Sabat playing a scar-faced uberbadass on both shows (Sakaki here and Giroro there).
See also Todd Haberkorn as both Keroro and Nijima, Carrie Savage as Angol Mois and Miu, Cherami Leigh as Natsumi and Honoka, John Swasey as Kogoro and Kenichi's dad, Kent Williams as Paul and Akisame, J. Michael Tatum as Dororo and Takeda, and R. Bruce Elliot as the Narrator and Hayato. That's nearly the entire main cast of Sgt. Frog!
Holding Hands: Miu and Kenichi, for a full minute. Kenichi was excited.
Hopeless Suitor: Kenichi feels this way a lot of times towards Miu, played straight with Izumi towards Kenichi.
Hot Blooded: Every one of Kenichi's masters. Even Shigure is easy to fire up in her own strange, subdued way.
Hot for Student: Though nothing explicit comes of it, there's definitely inklings of this between Ono-sensei and Boris Ivanov. Just read Chapter 300.
Some readers see hints of it with Shigure and Kenichi. It's been said several times that Kenichi has caused Shigure to be more social, is the only one to make her smile or joke, and the only one Shigure has given her life's story to outside of her housemates. She's also rather uncaring if Kenichi sees her naked, even teasing him a bit. Since she was essentially raised by the most absent-minded dad ever, then moved into a house of martial artists and has presumably not had romantic contact with anyone before, that's saying a lot.
I Am Spartacus: A variation in chapter 161, to protect Sigfried from the YOMI assassin demanding Kenichi (who wasn't yet there), many members of the Shinpaku Alliance claim to be Kenichi.
I Call It Vera: Kenichi's father Genji calls his shotgun "Sebastian". His double barreled over-and-under shotgun, that is. He has a pump shotgun he calls "Maximillian". And a hunting rifle he calls "Rotowski".
Also Kagerou, the Ax Crazy swordsman from the Yami's weapon division, calls his sword "Setsunmaru" and talks about it as if it were a person.
Kenichi is currently locked in another one with Miu, brainwashed by Jenezad to teach her Silat. So far, he's attempted using the first moves Miu taught him on her, and the... unorthodox method by which he broke her out of her Unstoppable Rage before. Both have failed. He finally managed to.
Impossible Shadow Puppets: An early chapter-opening image in the manga shows Shigure doing a shadow puppet of Apachai (who will be starting his tutoring of Kenichi in said chapter) against a spotlight to scare Kenichi... And her hands look like she's just doing a dog or something.
Impossible Task: Takeda is so determined to become James Shiba's disciple that Shiba gives him two Impossible Tasks just to get rid of him. But Takeda, surprisingly, fullfills them all. To Shiba, this is the first sign that it's actually his destiny to take Takeda as a disciple.
Improbable Weapon User: Shigure, who successfully managed to defeat several armed (female) mooks by breaking their weapons and causing clothing damage with a wooden spoon.
Koetsuji fought a sculpting master by resculpting an angel sculpture into a jizo in mid-air and throwing it back at him.
Incredibly Lame Pun: When Nijima dubs Kisara's cat-styled Tae Kwon Do "Nya Kwon Do" in the middle of the D & D tournament, the entire coliseum is stunned into silence.
Indy Ploy: Every "plan" Kenichi's masters concoct.
Informed Flaw: A lot of mention is made of Kenichi's utter lack of talent. Yet he surpasses people who also train and are supposedly more talented in incredibly short periods of time. Also invents and mixes his own styles and can copy his Masters' styles.
As noted above in Hard Work Hardly Works, it may also be that Kenichi is talentless but puts so much work and effort into his training (whether he likes it or not) that it is the primary reason he can excel as he does.
You have 6 absolute masters of their arts, all of whom co-operate so that their training feeds off each others, schooling a Determinator in Training from Hell cranked Up to Eleven. They also state the fact it takes Kenichi as long as he does to get as good as he does under such circumstances is proof of his lack of Talent.
This is backed up by other martial artists as well. Takeda started out at roughly Kenichi's strength without his good fist, started his own personal Training from Hell much, much later than Kenichi, and only had one Master. Nonetheless, he's still sitting on even ground with Kenichi, and even managed to learn Ryuusui Seikuken on his own, which is one of a hundred and eight abilities created by the Elder, who has only ever trained Kenichi. That's right, Takeda was able to learn something created by the Invincible Superman, completely on his own, even if it's unreliable for him.
The masters themselves have said that Kenichi isn't entirely talentless, he's just completely untalented in physical matters; instead his talent IS that he's the ultimate Determinator, pushing himself farther and harder against the odds than anyone else would (though it helps that they keep forcing him to go through it). As stated before, too, his Determinator qualities may also extend to his Constitution, since he can seemingly take more damage than anyone in the series, going so far as to actually survive a few attacks from a Master level weapons-user.
Insult of Endearment: Takeda "The Puncher" and Kozo "The Thrower" manage to use their monikers very touchingly in the dub after both complete their Heel Face Turn (s) (managing to save Kenichi (for both), save Takeda and Kenichi (for Kozo)), and both upright quitting Ragnarok, reaffirming their friendship and promising to help each other out. Prior to this, their monikers were being used rather beratingly by their superiors.
In the Hood: Hermit in his first appearances as a member of Ragnarok. Also some members of YOMI are initially shown like this.
including Moon who is a character that is later replaced by Hermit after a position challenge.
Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: In the second-last episode of the anime, Kenichi starts imitating the fighting styles and personas of his masters to break through the "Gungnir" of Ragnarok's First Deadly Fist, Odin. Sakaki is furious at Kenichi's portrayal of him, and while Kensei Ma isn't angry, he still gets upset at Kenichi's portrayal of him.
Subverted with the other three masters, though. Kōetsuji takes his portrayal philosophically (and with a hint of pride), Appachai finds it funny, and Shigure is excited when she sees Kenichi imitating her.
I Uh You Too: Sort of. In Chapter 423, Kenichi clearly indicates how he feels about Miu, but says he wont say it aloud until he's strong enough to protect her. Miu, for her part, says that she's aware, and reciprocates his feelings with a light kiss on the cheek.
Jerk Ass: Haruo Niijima, AKA Mr Plot Device for making sure Everyone Who Knows How To Fight is pissed off with Kenichi.
Like Brother and Sister: Particularly hilarious is Miu's legendary response after Kisara insinuates that Miu is lonely because Kenichi is absent. Yeah, right, "like a little brother".
More like a dog actually...
Made even funnier because one of the Mooks points out "That's kind of mean..."
Limited Animation: It's mediocre when compared to other studios' (especially TMS', as they animated the series) work. Characters' chins do not move when they talk, it is very inconsistent, and their facial features do not align where they should on their faces at some points. Hayato, who is probably 8 feet tall, is suddenly drawn as a literal giant, whose head is twice as large as another characters, simply when the gag calls for it. Sometimes, this is subverted, as there are also scenes that feature almost Disney-like squash and stretch!
Love Letter: Kenichi receives one in episode 2 of Season 2. Miu isn't too happy about it, and Kenichi's initial excitement towards getting one doesn't help either. Turns out that the letter was actually written by Niijima while disguised as a girl, and the letter was to all 3 of his "generals" in order to ensure they arrived at the restaurant where the meeting between Ragnarok and the Shinpaku Alliance met. The three guys are understandably pissed off, but Niijima is much too fast for them to catch.
Love Triangle: Kenichi, Miu, and various characters. Most obviously, when Renka tricks Kenichi into taking her out to a pool, the chapter is called Triangle Relationship.
A little with Rachel as well: consider her obssesion with him when they first meet.
Seems to be going on with Ukita, Freya and Kisara: Ukita has a crush on Kisara (which she knows about), Freya likes Ukita (which he doesn't know about yet), and Kisara's actions around Ukita are somewhat suspect.
There is another similarity with the Trope Namer (Star Wars) in the fact that Hayato gives Kenichi the arm guards that belonged to Miu's father without telling him the bitter truth about the former owner, which resembles Obi-Wan's giving Anakin's lightsaber to Luke.
Chapter 459 reveals that Kenichi's aware of the arm guards' history.
Luminescent Blush: An odd twist in that it's Sakaki who does this when Kenichi calls him "Sensei" the first time after he moves in.
"Then let's cheat God! Let's cut up the cycle of rebirth; let's distort nature!! The human technique that challenges the Second Law of Thermodynamics head on!!! That is known as medicine!!!!!"
As Kensei put it:
Kensei: This man's spouting some crazy logic.
Made of Iron: Justified in that almost all characters have a lot of training in how to take hits. Subverted when Tirawit tricks Kenichi into fighting the school Karate club. Since none of them had any real defense training, his usual efforts left them all hospitalized.
Kenichi gets a special mention: his method of fighting seems to be based on wearing the opponent out by letting them beat him bloody. Most other fighters use this strange concept of dodging, but Kenichi just takes the abuse. Hey, it worked for Muhammad Ali.
May also be somewhat literal, in Kenichi's case: several of his opponents have commented that hitting him is like hitting a lead block.
Kensei of YAMI once offered to train Kenichi because of this trait. Kenichi might not have as much talent as other disciples, but he's ideal raw material.
Martial Medic: Koetsuji and Kensei. They even make a profession out of it, running osteopathy and acupuncture clinics, respectively.
Martial Pacifist: Kenichi. Ryōzanpaku supports this stance overall but stresses he needs to learn to be really good in order to keep it.
Mega Manning: Kenichi utilizes the techiniques of his masters to break Odin's guard.
It's also what the master's of the dojo are teaching to Kenichi. He is being taught Kempo, Aikido, Muay Thai, weapons usage... just remember that he's just the apprentice.
Meganekko: Subversion: Miu wears glasses to tone down her appearance. When she's called out on this 'dishonesty', she stops wearing them.
The straight up example would be Yūka Izumi, Kenichi's fellow member of the gardening club.
Another straight example: Ono Kyōko, the cheerful Shrinking Violet English language teacher.
Meaningful Name: Miu's name actually means "beautiful wings" or "beautiful feathers", which is in accord with her bird-like fighting movements.
Mega Ton Punch: Kenichi is on the receiving end of these when he's training, usually with Apachai. Averted when he's in an actual fight with someone who's really looking to seriously hurt or even kill him. Some attacks do send him flying, but unlike the training sequences where its Played for Laughs, he often ends up getting bloodied and bruised pretty badly from those hits.
Memento MacGuffin: Kenichi's Yin-yang pin, which he got in a trade with a six-year-old Miu.
Missing Mom: Miu's, through death, implied to be at the hands of her father.
Ms. Fanservice: Most of the females have their moments, but... Shigure. Oddly enough, while she violently rebukes Dirty Old Man Ma Kensei whenever he tries to get candid shots of her, she doesn't seem to mind if Kenichi gets an eyeful...
Kensei's daughter Ma Renka, too.
Meta-example in Rachel Stanley, as she does this to get the attention of male characters within the story.
See also: Miu's outfits. She gets more screentime than Shigure, too.
In recent chapters, Freya seems to have challenged Shigure for the title of Ms Fanservice with gusto. A battle that Shigure is more than willing to fight.
Nebulous Evil Organization: Yami. As explained over various chapters (including here), they have their hands in everything from weapon sales to the military to governmental influence, and enough funds to potentially be a self-sustaining nation. Their intention is to preserve and promote the "Satsu-jinken" (killing fist) style of martial arts, a goal they've pursued since their initial formation after World War II because several martial arts masters died during that war. Additionally, the group is known by several names worldwide, including "L'Obscurite" in France, with "Yami" name being its Japanese name (both words mean "darkness" in their respective languages).
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Miu hadn't taught Kenichi his first dodge and fighting moves so early then Kenichi wouldn't have won his fight with Daimonji and Ragnarok would probably have just left him alone.
Noodle Incident: When Honoka asks what happened to the first boat they built in episode 18, none of the masters try to answer it. Apachai tries to but his mouth is kept shut by Kensei. Considering the extensive damage they do to the dojo when training Kenichi, viewers can probably figure that one out pretty easily however.
Comes up when discussing Siegfried's "Immortality."
Sakaki: This could be just the thing I need to test my skills! I've never fought a zombie before. Elder:I have.
Nose Bleed: Strangely enough Kenichi suffers from this at first from Shigure, rather than Miu.
Shigure is a borderline example. She spent her formative years in the wilderness with her swordsmith father; though he did love her he was so absent-minded that he never even bothered to give her a name. This (lack of) upbringing probably contributed to her present-day lack of social graces.
Chikage falls under this as well; having endured a strict upbringing for most of her life under her master, she is revealed to have difficulty adapting to normal life. Hence her transformation into child mode whenever she encounters sweets or toys. This comes to a head when she is forfeits the challenge to Kenichi because she was distracted as a result of being invited to a birthday party.
Apachai too, to a degree. In fact, in the earlier chapters, he's the only one that's regularly seen hanging around Shigure (the only one without a camera, anyhow).
Not Just A Tournament: The "D of D Tournament", where both the bad guys (who organized the event) and the good guys are engaged in various activities behind the scenes which are as important as the tournament itself. The climax of these background activities takes place simultaneously with the final tournament battle between Kenichi and Kanou.
Not So Weak: Kenichi, who is still afraid of delinquents despite officially being the strongest disciple around.
Oblivious to Love: Kenichi has a bad case of this. It mostly stems from his devotion to Miu and the fact that he still cannot wrap his mind around that girls might like him now that he has taken several steps of Badass. The list below are only people that have admitted liking him in one form or another.
Renka: this is in part because she ends up hurting him every time they meet. And because he's a generally nice guy to her.
Izumi Yūka, the girl in the gardening club. She's has a crush on Kenichi since he joined the club, but between Miu showing up and other factors every time she gets the courage to ask him out he does not hear her.
Li Raichi, the skating girl: this one is at least slightly understandable in that they only met, like, twice.
Chikage Kushinada. Though its more that he's the only person she has ANY emotional attachment to because he treated her like a normal girl, as opposed to a genius he should be admiring. She has a MAJOR internal conflict when the possibility of Kenichi getting killed shows up during his battle with Ethan Stanley.
Rachel Stanley: this one may just be Rachel being her usual spotlight-hogging self, but she doesn't mind when Kenichi gropes her, and she kissed him once. Which is a helluva lot further than Kenichi's gone with anyone else, including Miu, even if it wasn't by his own free will. Ethan does tell Kenichi to take care of Rachel when he leaves, so it's likely that Ethan thinks Rachel has feelings as well.
Shigure. She never said it directly, but the other masters have noted that she really acts more comfortable around Kenichi than she ever did with any of them. This says a lot given that she's lived with them for many years, and has only known Kenichi about 1-2 years in canon. She'll try and castrate Ma for looking up her skirt, but will take a bath ALONE with Kenichi if given the chance.
Chapter 400: Apachai just got a hole punched THROUGH HIS CHEST... and pulls off a punch in 406 though he is already dead?
Chapter 463: Junazard gets this expressionwhen Hongo breaks a piece off his mask with an attack Junazard assumed had missed.
Older Than They Look: Creepy Child Chikage Kushinada's Yami master, Mikumo Kushinada, is apparently a senior citizen. Given that she looks like this, this is somewhat jarring. Justified by her 'Kushinada style' anti-aging methods, making Chikage's actual chronological age somewhat vague...
One Steve Limit: Averted by Kensei Ma and Kensei of Yami. The latter is a title, while the former is a surname.
Well, not exactly. Only the Japanese pronunciations of the Ryouzanpaku's master name and the Yami's master nickname are equal, but they're written with different kanjis. (And then, there is the controversy over which way Chinese names should be written in translations: whether to approximate their Chinese pronunciations or to write them the way they're pronounced in Japanese. Ma's surname is actually pronounced "Ba" in Japanese, and some translations rendered it as "Ba".)
Opposed Mentors: Kenichi once finds himself in a situation where he can choose between Hayato's and Evil Mentor Ogata's mentorship. It's very tempting for Kenichi because previously Hayato seemingly abandoned him and Ogata seems like a very friendly person. The catch is that the Trickster Mentor Hayato himself put Kenichi in this situation to test his moral priorities.
Ordinary High School Student: The manga is always quick to remind the reader how ordinary Kenichi really is. Usually while he's in the middle of something really, really crazy. It's practically a Running Gag
"I am Shirahama Kenichi, an extremely ordinary first-year high school student who loves reading books and growing flowers. But, for some reason now, I'm locked in a desperate battle on top of a speeding bus!"
Pet the Dog: Nanjo Kisara (aka Valkyrie) when she buys food and milk to feed an abandoned cat in a back alley.
A double example shows up in a flashback. Shou Kanou spared the bird the YAMI master told him to kill and faked its death. His master Akira Hongo saw through Shou's deception but let him keep the bird as a pet anyway. This foreshadows a present-day example: Shou also faked killing Fortuna's team of slave children and helped them escape.
Power Copying: Kisara uses Miu's method of moving like a feather to beat Freya in episode 19 of Season 2.
The Power Of Friend Ship: When the Shinpaku Alliance members are getting beat up by Ragnarok's thugs, Loki tells them that if they give up Niijima, the rest can go. One of the Shinpaku men says that Kenichi would never abandon his friends like this, while Kenichi coincidentally arrived at the same restaurant and was trying to avoid getting involved in the mess. But despite not liking Niijima much, Kenichi (as well as Takeda and Ukita, who also happened to coincidentally arrive, see the Love Letter trope above) pull a Big Damn Heroes moment shortly afterwards.
Takeda does this for Kenichi after his Heel Face Turn, where Kenichi helped save his life and helped bring him to Akisame who helps restore the use of his left arm. He does it again near the end of Season 2.
Kenichi is told by Hayato that his ability to get people to become friends around him is his true power at the end of Season 2 in the anime.
I think this is more subverted in that he was never all that bad to begin with. He just was wearing an evil mask to survive in the organization he was in. His personality didn't change, just what we knew about him and his motives changed.
Renaissance Man: Kōetsuji Akisame is a master in many fields. The things he haven't mastered will be mastered almost instantly.
The Rival: Hermit, Odin, and Shō Kanō to Kenichi; Kisara to Miu (at least from Kisara's point of view)...and those are just the unambiguous and (at least initially) hostile instances.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kenichi does it to a group of Ragnarok thugs in episode 21, after they beat up Takeda and Ukita, both of whom left the gang and was going to get beat up badly for it. He doesn't hold back either, and really dishes out the hurt to them.
Rock-Paper-Scissors: How Kenichi's masters decide his training order, and other trivial, nonsensical things, too.
Running Gag: Miu's habit of throwing anyone that comes up behind her. Kenichi, other fighters, even total non-combatants. She even does it on the very first page of the manga!
Renka instinctively "chasing moving objects"
Someone trying to move Kenichi in some way shape or form stopping then saying "What are you: made of iron? You weigh a lot more than you look".
Apachai answering the phone by saying he kidnapped your child, or some other terrible crime.
Shinpaku members always asking if its okay for Siegfried to being missing from his school (he doesn't attend the same school as the rest of the gang).
Also played straight with Miu. Up until the first episode, while she does have some good housework skills, and is a fairly excellent fighter herself, she is also a Socially Awkward Heroine, and has no friends (due to her intense training and lack of time to spend with them) until Kenichi showed up. When Miu told Kenichi about his old, private school life, Kenichi realized she was being bullied for being The Ace. So when Miu transferred to Kenichiís school, she invoked being a Megannekko to get a less aggressive look and changed clubs because School Clubs Are Serious Business. When then gymnastic club star, Takashima Chihiro, asks Miu to show her skills, Miu only gets Chihiro to be The Rival and The Bully because Chihiro is Always Second Best. Miu didn't has any idea how to stop being bullied.
Say It with Hearts: Miu loves to add hearts to the end of her sentences. Occasional Izumi Yūka does when she thinks that she in gaining ground with Kenichi.
And Shigure when Akira dismissed her as an opponent because she was a woman. Probably the only female fighter who has so far taken "I won't hit women" as a compliment.
Scary Shiny Glasses / Glowing Eyesof Doom: An interesting play on both tropes that combines their characteristics. Many characters, especially the masters, will somehow project bright beams of light from their eyes when they are either REALLY serious about something, or are just being very creepy. Apachai is highly prone to it, for the former reason.
It's explained as a sort of indicator of killing intent, or at least, intent to do something drastic, painful, and combat-related. Apachai, who never learned to hold back, is very prone to it because he still doesn't quite understand the idea of not attacking with such intent very well. Which leads to Kenichi's chronic fear of sparring with Apachai. Withgoodreason!
Lately it appears that the eyebeams are activated when the person is using a (near-)Master-Class technique. Siegfried (who is still at Disciple-Level) is said to use some moves that are almost Master-Level as well as Niijima'sDodging- and Escape-techniques. And then Kenichi decides to join in on the fun...
Sensei for Scoundrels: Kensei Ma and Sasaki Shio certainly qualify, in many ways helping Kenichi overcome his confidence issues in general, be it by dragging him along for some Accidental Pervert antics or by guzzling some beer and giving some advice.
Shadow Archetype: Kanō to Kenichi. Kenichi embodies the light aspect of martial arts, and Kanō embodies the dark aspects. They are opposites in pretty much every way, personality and appearance-wise, yet they are also very similar in that both are students of multiple Master-class fighters and partly because of this, they are viewed as the best fighters in their individual peer groups.
Shaggy Dog Story: Apachai's backstory is told to Kenichi to explain why Miu's grandfather bought an expensive scroll on their limited budget. Kenichi doesn't buy it as a reason and gets his mind wiped at the end by a technique used in the story.
Shown Their Work: Many of the fighting techniques that Kenichi learns are accurately described as well as the styles he encounters.
Doraemon also has one in the same chapter . There were also a few instances in prior chapters when Kenichi ran to Ryōzanpaku yelling "Doraemon!" when he needed Koetsuji's advice. In one of those instances, Koetsuji's eating dorayaki.
To Hajime No Ippo is Takeda's "Double Cat-Eyed Frog Punch" bears more than a passing similarity with Aoki's upper cut version of his "Frog Punch". The only difference being that Takeda puts a spin in his fists where Aoki just does two jabs at the same time from the same crouching position. Neither of which are considered a normal frog punch, which constitutes punching with your middle finger knuckle extended and aiming for the throat.
Hakubi translates to Pai Mei in mandarin.
In the first episode when Kenichi wonders where Miu learned to throw people over her shoulder on instinct "at hitman school?" He has an image of what looks like Golgo13 holding a gun.
Look at Kenichi's Dad, then at Golgo13. He's pretty much a good guy version of Golgo with the goofyness cranked up to 11. He also has extreme skills with a gun that even Shigure said were impressive.
To specify, he reloaded a double barrel shotgun with one hand by spinning it after managing to chuck the new bullets into the air so they'd land in the gun while holding an unconscious Kenichi under his other arm while running from Shigure. This man is dangerous and would probably be considered a master if the series used guns as a weapon and he wasn't so goofy. He was even ballsy enough to punch Sakaki in the face, true that didn't even PHASE Sakaki, but the fact he did it certainly speaks volumes for his bravery if he feels his family is threatened.
Sakaki slams a random foe ontop of a car with Muku of Hocaloid on it.
Niijima is probably related to Himura of Eyesheild21. They Both:
Have pointy ears.
Blackmail EVERYONE THEY CAN FOR EVERYTHING THEY'RE WORTH.
Can bluff their way out of nearly any situation you throw at them.
Keep their blackmail info handy at all times. (Niijima has a PDA, Himura has a little black book with a bat on it)
Scheme quicker than most people can add 2 and 2
Can calculate information about their opponents with a good long stare, sometimes a short one will do as well.
Scare the shit out of their "allies". Niijima because he's downright creepy, pops out of nowhere whenever he feels like it, and knows more about you than most people do by staring at you. and Himura because he's scary, trigger happy, and can somehow own a rocket launcher despite being a high school student.
To Cowboy Bebop in chapter 119 where Ma Sensei threatens to force the entire dojo to only eat green peppers and beef if Akisame does not reveal what he is thinking.
Single Stroke Battle: Just about any Master vs anyone who is not master level, but Kenichi got one recently fighting a disciple of a Yomi from the weapon division. This was after he had been hit by a master with a sword so it's also a CMOA.
Smug Snake: Ragnarok's Loki, who considers himself a master strategist for such things as throwing lots of mooks at the protagonists and kidnapping Kenichi's little sister. Also Yomi's Radin Jihan, who spends most of his fight shrieking about how he deserves to win because he is the king of a small nation in Indonesia and sending his own minions at Kenichi.
All that screaming about being king undergoes a sort of "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, when it is revealed that his belief in his divine kingship is the only thing that keeps him from falling into a yawning chasm of loneliness.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Delinquents < Ragnarok < YOMI < Yami (With a number of assassins/guards and non-Yami masters in there as well. These have to be taken on an individual basis, though)
Spoiled Sweet: Siegfried. It's implied that he's both a wealthy Heir and a professional composer. Niijima mentions that Siegfried is personally funding the Shinpaku Alliance with profits from the Opera he wrote about them.
Stand-In Parents: Miu does this once. When she applied to the high school, she gave false data about her parents (including the lie about them being still alive), because she wanted to present herself as a girl with a normal family. This backfires on her when the representatives of her school come to Ryouzanpaku to check up on her. Hilarity Ensues when she eventually chooses the jerky (although good-hearted) Sakaki and the Lady of War Shigure with No Social Skills to pose as her parents.
The Starscream: Loki of Ragnarok tries to pull this off against Odin, and has about as much success as the trope's namesake. Which is to say none.
Story Breaker Power: Any Master Class. Even Fortuna, the weakest level of Master and regarded as trash by all other masters, takes the entire cast of secondary characters to take down, and that's with help from a insanely skilled mouse.
The last half of chapter 380 is Kenichi's masters celebrating how incredibly far Kenichi has come and how proud of him they are when Kenichi survived a hit from a low level Master Class weapon user. And that's with the help of body armor and Training from Hell for his body's core.
Suicide As Comedy: In episode 5 of Season 1, Kenichi wonders if all the masters are training him because they think he can become a good martial artist like them. They all immediately answer no in unison, causing him to immediately try hanging himself with a conveniently hanging noose on a tree, with Miu trying to stop him.
Super Power Meltdown: Happens to Odin at the end of the anime series. He has some super strength and speed for a short while, but then his body begins to break down as a result of not being able to withstand all the power flowing through him. The masters comment that this is why it's such a dangerous technique and rarely used when Miu asks about it.
Well, Kenichi's other masters have been shown to outrun vehicles, and they all managed to come to his rescue by beating up a collapsing warehouse together, arriving on scene together with no lag time between their arrivals.
Latest chapters give us a villain whose entire schtick is this.
Take a Third Option: In episode 18, Kenichi quotes this word for word (in the english dub anyway). He's told that he can either jump off a high cliff into the water to skip his training (bad because he can't swim and probably afraid of heights), or he can face some grueling training for a few days at the beach instead. Since he figures he's going to die either way, he decides to simply run away, and ends up making things worse at the end when Honoka ends up surrounded by sharks because everyone else was looking for him instead of keeping an eye on her.
Kenichi does it again in episode 23 when Niijima stokes the fire between Izumi and Miu by telling the poor guy to pick one of the girls. He decides to go training instead.
The Unfought: Shiratori, Kisara's Lieutenant. He had the same rank as Tsuji, and was therefore likely at a similar level of strength, but never fought onscreen. He continues to appear after the merger with Shinpaku, even attending the D of D.
This Is Unforgivable: It's a fighting series, of course this gets used, by Miu, Kenichi, even some of the masters.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: The key point of contention between Ryōzanpaku and Yami; Ryōzanpaku believes in this and Yami doesn't. The main conflict of the series turns out be Ryōzanpaku trying to prevent Yami from spreading their point of view of the purpose of martial arts.
Title Drop: Nijima refers to Kenichi as "history's strongest disciple" after he beats up a gang.
The way they're going, Kenichi's gonna take millions by the time the series ends...
Tournament Arc: The Desperate Fight of the Disciple Tournament. "D of D" for short.
Tragic Keepsake: Miu's pocket knife hair clip, which belonged to her deceased mother. Also Kanō's birdcage-shaped earring, which Kenichi always carries around tied to his school bag as a reminder of the promise given to Kanō that he'll protect Miu.
Training from Hell: For the Masters of Ryozanpaku, there's pretty much no other kind. You wouldn't BELIEVE the training Kenichi goes through; the other characters of the manga don't. And after defeating Ragnarok and getting targeted by YOMI, his masters decide to TRIPLE his training.
It should be noted that at one point, Kenichi's father believes that Kenichi is using the dojo as a means to slack off, and thus comes to pay the five masters a visit. They all agree to go WAY easy on him for the day... causing his father to come to the conclusion that the training has been altered for his visit. He's under the impression that the masters have been extra hard on him for the visit to prove Kenichi is working hard, when the truth is it's precisely the opposite. The training causes his father to attempt a "rescue" of Kenichi until traps around the dojo allow him to show his father just how strong he's become.
One could easily call this tale, "Training From Hell: the Series"
Kenichi has a group of 4 girls all in love with him that consists of Miu, Izumi, Renka and Li.
The only one he shows affection for is main-heroine, Miu. Miu however, says she wants to stay as Best Friends, but that doesn't stop her from falling for Kenichi as well, even if she refuses to acknowledge it.
Renka is part of the Shinpaku Alliance and has basically been Miu's main rival for Kenichi.
Izumi is a lost cause due to mainly being reduced to a background character.
Li has mostly been Out of Focus after her introduction arc, only reappearing on Yami's ship during the Master and Disciple tag-team arc.
Ukita of all people has 4 girls who have shown affection for him, all of them much stronger than him.
Kisara, who outright plays the Tsundere for him, only really showing she cares when he's in danger, she otherwise just blushes like crazy.
Chikage, who has taken to sitting on his lap whenever she's around him, and she's helped him in fights.
Shiratori, who was recently revealed to be a girl, asks Takeda to tell her what kind of food he likes, and admits she is jealous of Kisara for having Ukita's affection. After she just beat the crap out of him.
Freya, who says she "doesn't mind" him when alone with Kisara. she seems to be holding back since Ukita has actively expressed his feelings for Kisara, and not her.
Thor suprisingly has his own harem developing amongst all of Freya's Valkyrie servants.
Verbal Tic: Apachai's "APA!". Preserved in the dub.
Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Seems to affect the early bad guys who fights Kenichi and wins the first time. In subsequent battles Kenichi seems to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to them. To be fair however, Kenichi often receives unconventional training from his many masters, and most of the people he ends up in fights with are trained for competitions with rules and regulations, rather than street fighting where its often "anything goes", and unsurprisingly to Kenichi, the fights he's in at those times are street fights.
Wake Up Call Boss: In episode 13 of Season 1, Shinnosuke Tsuji is the first fighter that Kenichi truly has trouble fighting against. Tsuji was in the process of attempting to break Kenichi's leg when Takeda showed up unexpectedly. Its also the first time one of his masters, who normally observe Helping Would Be Kill Stealing, intervenes to save him since Kenichi was on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle, and Takeda was unable to outrun Tsuji and his minions while also carrying Kenichi.
Wingding Eyes: Number 20 constantly has star-shaped pupils. It might be just excitement being with Loki, but it's hard to tell.
Wizards Live Longer: Rachel mentions that there are techniques to retain/gain youth and that just about any master of eastern martial arts ends up at that point.
Mikumo is the most fitting, having both been mistaken for several decades younger and going by the code name Bewitching Fist.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Kenichi has a bad case of this. While it initially enrages Kisara, she eventually realizes he's not actually being sexist... he doesn't refuse to hit girls because he thinks they're weaker or less worthy, he just doesn't want to.
Slightly averted later on. He won't punch them outright, but will grapple and use submission holds.
This attitude is put to the test later, when an attack by a brainwashed Miu forces him to fight back.
Wuxia: The series increasingly becomes this as time goes on, with the plots revolving around the schools and styles of martial artists and the personal conflicts of their masters passing onto their students, a common theme in wuxia stories. They even use the phrase "Underworld" once or twice, a loose translation of the word used to describe the private world of martial artists in wuxia stories.