Miharu Rokujou has been living a life of indifference for as long as he can remember. The life of a normal boy living a normal lifeplanning to own a normal restaurant doesn't offer much, but he'd rather have it that way.After being pestered by his classmate Aizawa and his English teacher Kumohira to join the ninja club time and again, Miharu is attacked by a group of real ninjas... and he still couldn't care less. But when he discovers that the ninjas are after a special hijutsu called the Shinrabanshou sealed within him, he gets sucked into a conspiracy involving underground clans of ninja and samurai, all with their own agendas for the hijutsu. With betrayal and honor at stake, staying apathetic proves challenging, especially when one young ninja from an enemy camp comes forward with a very unusual request.A Shounen manga by Yuhki Kamatani published by Square Enix's Monthly G-Fantasy in Japan, and Yen Press in North America. An anime adaptation premiered in 2008, running for 26 episodes.Now has its own Ho Yay page.
Action Girl: Raimei, as well as other various ninja girls and women.
All There in the Manual: The guidebooks include some information that never made it into the manga, such as the reason Kouichi and Shijima's human forms resemble Akatsuki and Shinra, how Tobari and Hanabusa met, and the origin of Tobari's fear of vehicles.
Ambiguous Gender: Subverted. the reader (and even most characters, apparently) start out believing that Yoite is male. Later it turns out that he's actually... intersex, although it's strongly implied that, by the end of the series, he personally identifies as male. It doesn't really matter in the long run, though, and isn't gone into in much detail, only the readers now know another reason for his angst and identity issues.
Beware the Nice Ones: Tobari might qualify [Tobari is arguably one of the nicest characters in the series. He does his best to protect those he cares about and refuses to kill enemies. Hell, he's even seen patching up his enemies after fights in the Alya arc. But...after a ten year silence on the past in which his loved ones are killed right in front of him, then finds out their murderer was actually Fuuma who was manipulating everyone all along, then to have Fuuma activate the Shinrabansho...Tobari, while bleeding to death himself, snaps and kills Fuuma by stabbing him through the neck and slicing through.
Bilingual Bonus: When Raimei and Raikou fight for the first time, Gau is listening to Strauss’s “Unter Donner und Blitz", which is German for “Under Thunder and Lightning”. Incidentally, Raimei's name means "thunder", while Raikou's name means "lightning". And what happens "under" thunder and lightning is a rain shower...in other words, Gau.
Bishie Sparkle: While Raikou is away from the house, Gau fantasizes about him; picturing him surrounded by sparkles and roses while Gau blushes and wishes for his swift return.
Bittersweet Ending: The manga. Miharu finally remembers Yoite again...but Yoite is still dead. After their brief reunion, Yoite leaves, presumably to go to heaven.
Raikou: Lately, doesn't it feel like I've been the comic relief character...? I'm kind of reluctant about it...
Brick Joke: On the cover flap of volume 5, the doodle accompanying the author's notes shows Kouichi wondering if he'll get to be on a cover soon. (The cover of volume 5 shows Raikou and Gau, who were introduced much later than him.) The cover of volume 6 shows new character Shijima; on the cover flap, Kouichi is depressed and a random bird is telling him "Maybe next time". He finally gets to be on the volume 7 cover.
Downer Ending: The anime, not just in Yoite dying, but in that Miharu NEVER ACTUALLY USES THE SHINRABANSHOU - whether to erase Yoite as he did in the manga or for another purpose -, rendering the entire series and its plot pointless.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Raikou. At first glance, partly due to his immaculately styled shoulder-length pink hair, Raikou does appear to be quite outwardly feminine. However, his character breaks away from the usual feminine-male stereotype and is actually played as very strong and commanding. The first criminal that Raikou dispatches underestimates him because of his pain hair and unusual fashion sense, but quickly finds that Raikou is not to be taken lightly. Also, in the anime, both Japanese and English versions, his voice is fairly deep and decidedly masculine.
Grey and Gray Morality: Although it initially appears that the Fuuma ninja are the good guys and the Kairoushuu ninja are the bad guys, it turns out that both sides' goals are well-justified. After Miharu's Hazy Feel Turn, he even notes how people from Kairoushuu aren't that different from the ones from Fuuma.
Hypocritical Heartwarming: Raikou physically abuses Gau on a regular basis. But when an unnamed mook hurts Gau, Raikou kills him and mutilates his dead body in a crazed rage. This is repeated throughout the series, with Raikou regularly slapping Gau and throwing objects at his head for comedic effect, but is insanely protective of him when he is in serious danger, often shielding Gau from harm with his own body. Other characters even become aware that, to anger or throw Raikou off balance, they need only threaten Gau.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Miharu. Kouichi and Shijima, where 'normal' means 'able to die.' Yoite in that he'd like to have a gender, heavily implied to be male.
Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Miharu gets impaled by Kouichi in the very first chapter. Also, Raikou later gets impaled with his own sword by Shijima. He gets better.
Ineffectual Death Threats: Raikou, yelling at the top of his lungs, swears on his sword that he's going to kill Yukimi. He doesn't.
Insane Troll Logic: Gau's adoring blind trust in Raikou occasionally leads him to make questionable leaps in logic, including his conviction that Kouichi likes glasses so much that he draws them onto his face with magic markers.
In-Series Nickname: Yukimi calls Gau "Tenpa" , which refers to his natural perm-hair. Gau, in return, calls Yukimi "chicken", referring to his spiky hair.
Also, Shijima refers to Kouichi as "bird" and Raikou as "pink guy".
Juuji is sometimes called "Shruiken-chan" because of her hairclip.
Tobari's grandpa calls him "Toby".
Kourin calls Asahi "Asa", and Asahi calls Kourin "Rin-chan".
Fuuma calls the Shinrabanchou "my lovely Shinra", while Miharu calls her "Yousei-san" ("yousei" meaning "fairy").
Ki Attacks: Yoite inflicts damage by forcing some of his life force into the opponent, and can do anything from slicing people in half to bringing people out of comas.
Killed Off for Real: In the anime: Yoite, Raikou, and Hattori. In the manga: Yoite, Hattori, Fuuma, Kouichi, and Shijima.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Seems to occur a lot whenever the Shinrabanshou is used - see "ten years ago". And after Miharu used the Shinrabanshou in chapter 51, everyone apparently has this regarding everything pertaining to Yoite.
Left Hanging: Thanks to the anime's Gecko Ending, Koichi and Shijima's quest to free themselves from immortality is completely unresolved, apparently dooming them to live forever...
The matter of freeing Miharu of the Shinrabanshou is also left unresolved, with it left supressed but still present inside him.
Let Them Die Happy: The last thing Miharu says to Yoite is "I'll make okonomiyaki for you again sometime," implying that they'll have a long and peaceful future together, before Yoite dissolves into dust and Miharu erases his existence (which isn't technically death, but it serves the same function - Yoite went out with a smile on his face).
Yoite wasn't erased in the anime. Use of Kira turns the body to dust on expiry, in both versions.
Mood Whiplash: Goes rather quickly from an action-comedy series to a dark, depressing Tearjerker. Also, each volume ends on a dramatic cliffhanger, but if you just turn the page, there are happy 4komas showing the Villains Out Shopping.
Morality Pet: If it weren't for Gau, Raikou would basically be a villain.
My God, What Have I Done?: Raikou has a rather extended period of this after Gau throws himself in front of Raimei as Raikou lunges at her with his sword. Gau is slashed across the chest and ends up in hospital in a coma, giving Raikou a lot of time to wallow in guilt. Yoite experiences this guilt, although to a lesser degree, after accidentally cutting open Miharu's hand with the Kira technique after he purposely stepped in front of Yae Oda to protect her from Yoite's attack.
Neat Freak: Gau. He is extremely organised and hates mess, clutter and dirt. He is horrified by Yukimi's cluttered apartment and makes an effort to tidy it himself. He also lectures Yoite on how eating food with gloves hands is completely unhygienic.
Baka-raptor: You just saw half of the action in the entire show.
New Transfer Student: Raimei's case is a little strange in that she just sort of...invades. The other students seem to love her, though.
At least in the anime, the students question where she came from. In the manga, they all immediately begin to adore her - while continuing to ignore poor Kouichi, who has presumably gone to school in Banten his whole human life.
Nice Hat: Yoite's giant cap. Some fans have called this series "The Hat Anime". He loses it surprisingly often for something so iconic, though.
Oblivious to Love: Raikou seems not to notice, or to purposefully ignore, Gau's intense affection for him, especially near the beginning of their introduction to the series. Gau is often shown to verbally leap to Raikou's defense as well as blow all kinds of smoke up his ass, which Raikou never seems to react to beyond a sarcastic quip or well aimed book thrown at Gau's head.
The Only One I Trust: Yoite and Miharu have no one else to turn to but each other after betraying Kairoushuu.
Yoite: I can only rely on Miharu-
Same with Raikou and Gau, to the point that the two camp out in total isolation for two months after running away before accidentally being discovered by Raimei. If she hadn't found them, there's no telling how long they would have stayed there.
Our Ninjas Are Different: Anyone unfamiliar with Japanese drama and historical cinema will be perplexed as to why there are ordinary people dressed in modern street attire who also have actual ninja powers that seems out of place!
Parental Abandonment: Miharu, and indeed many of the cast, have dead parents; Kazuhiko and Kazuho Yukimi had a runaway mom and an abusive dad. Yoite's mother died when he was an infant and his father was horribly cruel, even before the attempted murder.
Paper-Thin Disguise: In a small extra in one of the volumes, Raikou pretends to be Yoite by putting on his coat and hat. Gau comments that Raikou's pretty pink hair makes the disguise totally ineffective. Yoite then enters the room and freaks out, thinking that there's a Doppelgänger before him. Perhaps Yoite's just dumb, or it's Rule of Funny at work.
Red String of Fate: Possible variant - it's never stated to be red, and it's drawn as being tied to the index finger, but after erasing Yoite, for some time Miharu feels as though there's a thread connecting him to something - or someone - elsewhere. He seems to get over it after a while.
...Even then, he's still pretty reluctant, though for a different reason. He constantly second guessed the idea of fulfilling The Promise, but not because of apathy - rather, as he put it, "But, Yoite, I want you to live-".
Ret Gone: Yoite wants Miharu to use the Shinrabanshou to make it so that he never existed. It doesn't work.
In an expansion on a scene from the manga, the anime has Miharu comfort Yoite while they're both lying in the snow (bonus points for taking place on Christmas, a romantic holiday in Japan). This scene also has undertones of Snow Means Death, since Yoite's Freak Out had been prompted by hearing he only had a few months to live.
Taking the Bullet: Miharu gets a scar on his hand from stopping Yoite from killing Yae Oda. Also, Raikou's mother takes the bullet (or sword slash) for him. Gau does the same for Raimei to help Raikou.
Theme Naming: The names of the Shimizu siblings, Raikou and Raimei, mean "lightning" and "thunder", respectively. Though unrelated to the Shimizu family, Gau's name means "rain shower."
Most of the characters are named after some sort of weather. Yoite means "evening breeze", Kumohira means "calm cloud", and Fuuma means "wind demon". Yukimi has the characters for "snow" (and "eye", go figure), Kouichi has the character for "rainbow", and Miharu's name has the character for "clear weather".
Akatsuki means "dawn", and Asahi means "rising sun".
We Named the Monkey Jack: Yoite has the same name as a cat Yukimi used to have. Strangely, this is later inverted when Yukimi gets another cat after Yoite dies and, unconsciously influenced by the traces of his memories of Yoite(the person, not the first cat), names it Yoite. And in the end it's subverted when everyone regains their memories of Yoite and Yukimi renames the cat "Yoi".
Whole Plot Reference / Shout-Out: Raimei's Roaring Rampage of Revenge towards Raikou is very similar to the relationship between Sasuke and Itachi in Naruto. The similarities increase with The Reveal that (Naruto spoilers) Raikou slaughtered the Shimizu clan as a result of their treason (like Itachi) and became a Silent Scapegoat (like Itachi) so that Raimei's image of her family wouldn't be shattered. Ultimately, though, Raimei and Raikou's plotline has a different read:happier ending than Sasuke and Itachi's.
You Are Not Alone: There are many moments of this throughout the series, between many different characters.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Justified in Raikou's case because he dyes his hair from blond to pink. Also, Shijima and Kouichi have white hair since they're actually a white cat and snowy owl, respectively.
It's played completely straight with Juuji, though, who for some reason has green-blue hair. Strangely, while characters often point out how unusual Raikou's hair color is, they never comment on Juuji's.
You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness: Hattori decides to have Yoite and Raikou killed when they start straying off Kairoushuu's mission. Ichiki, in turn, decides to kill Hattori after he outlives his usefulness.
You Killed My Father: Both Raimei and Gau took great pains to try and avenge their parents' murders, putting their own safety on the line to do so.