Manga: The Law of Ueki

"The power to stick my fingers into a person's nose and make them fat!"

The Law of Ueki is a manga series created by Tsubasa Fukuchi that was adapted as an anime. The story basically starts out when Mori Ai thinks that her classmate, Ueki Kousuke, is an alien. Not quite, but he does have the power to turn trash into trees and control them. This power was given to him by their teacher, a God Candidate involved in the Battle of the Supernatural Powers, a tournament to decide who will be the next god of Heaven.

Each God Candidate — a hundred in total — is required to choose a junior high school student to act as their fighter for some unspecified reason. Each candidate then bestows their chosen student with a certain power. Of course, every given power ranges from weird, near useless, potentially self-hazardous, to Awesome but Impractical. The winning God Candidate will become the new boss of Heaven and the winning student will receive the Blank Zai (or talent), a talent that can be anything they choose.

Naturally, this leads many students to thoughts of greed and selfishness. Being The Hero, Ueki decides to take it upon himself to win this tournament to keep that power away from those that would abuse such a gift, fighting for justice with Mori Ai in tow. Along the way they meet not one, but two creepy major enemies, gather a loyal group of True Companions, discover that Ueki is a Heavenly Being, stumble upon some sort of ancient heavenly conspiracy, and indirectly promote recycling and environmentalism (uh, well, sort of).

Followed by the manga-only The Law of Ueki Plus (or The Law of Ueki+). Ueki and friends appear in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen.

The Law of Ueki provides examples of:

  • A God Am I: The goal of each Celestial Candidate is this.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: God.
  • Ain't No Rule: Part of a Batman Gambit by the current King. He deliberately set up the rules so they did not specifically ban Celestial or Infernal children being chosen to fight, knowing that this would cause some of the King Candidates to think they were getting away with something by inserting "ringer" champions. It didn't turn out quite as well as the King hoped.
  • Ancient Conspiracy
  • Art Evolution: While the art style of the manga may appear a bit strange throughout, there is a very noticeable improvement from the style in the first chapter to that of the later chapters.
  • Autodoc: Heavenly Beasts release a healing machine which fully restores anyone inside it for exactly 10 minutes. However, if the healing process is interrupted in any way and the machine is damaged, the person inside it will die.
  • Awesome but Impractical - some powers and a lot of the Zai Ueki seems to get. Cheering Zai, anyone?
    • Ueki's Gulliver. Used succesfully exactly once. He seems to be aware of this fact and uses it to figure out his opponent's power.
    • Mori's power is basically completely unstoppable once it activates, but its limiting condition is downright absurd. She mopped the floor with both of the enemies she tried it on... but it doesn't work unless the enemy is in a certain pose. 90% of the enemies in the series wouldn't be caught dead in that pose.
  • Awesome by Analysis - Once Ueki figures out your power, you've lost. Same goes Sano. Although the fact that most of the power-users are stupid enough to tell their opponent about their power (right up to their limitations) didn't helped much.
  • Badass Teacher - Just because Kobayashi is against violence doesn't mean it's a good idea to pick on his students.
    • Inumaru also lampshades it at one point, surprised that someone so conniving but loves justice so much went into teaching junior high school.
  • Bag of Spilling - Between Law of Ueki and the short five volume manga sequel Law of Ueki Plus. Justified, as if Ueki uses any of his old special abilities it would result in the loss of his Zai and he would die, because the tournament is over and therefore nobody is a combatant now.
    • The strange part is that 9 from his 12 powers were weapons, and one is a Cancelator, but he has also some Jet Skates, and a pair of wings. Also, he could try to use his powers in a way that wouldn't harm anybody.
  • Badass Normal: Mori, since her power is pretty much useless and has only been used twice in the whole story. It's justified that her limitations is ridiculous (goody-two-shoe pose, anyone?). But when she fought in Dogura Mansion, it has been shown that she had fought to a tie with Kabara, who's an assassin to boot.
    • Moreso: Li Ho, who never ever uses his ability.
  • Batman Gambit: See Ain't No Rule, above.
  • Berserk Button: It's not a very good idea to insult Rinko.
  • Berserker Tears: Marilyn, after Ueki exposes her Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Blessed with Suck - a lot of the powers have rather detrimental parameters for them to work(one has to hold one's breath, keep hands in pockets, hold hands, give up a year of life per usage...)
  • Blind Without 'Em: Averted by Mori, who only needs her glasses to read.
  • Blue with Shock - The entirety of Team Ueki experience this when Rinko snaps during her match.
  • Boss Subtitles - for every opponent
  • But Not Too Foreign - Rinko is implied to be half-Japanese.
  • Butt Monkey - the creator said so himself that Inumaru exists to be bullied by Kobayashi. Although subverted nicely in the end, when the kids decide to name him as the next god.
  • Calling Your Attacks
  • Cape Wings - Kabara's ability
  • Chew Toy - Ueki gets into a lot of situations that end up with him getting hurt in some way. Mori Ai even notes that this happened to Ueki even before the tournament started. Although most of those were the fault of Ueki's brashness, a lot of random events also seemed to be detrimental to him. It is later explained that this was due to the loss of a good luck zai of some sort.
  • Conspicuous CG
  • Conspiracy Redemption
  • Creepy Child - Robert and Anon, both of who mostly talk in...
  • Creepy Monotone
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Romi Paku played the voice of the main character, Ueki Kousuke, who is a guy - and shows not one bit of girliness in him.
  • Determinator - Ueki. In fact one of his opponents is defeated by his determination.
  • Discard and Draw - Ueki loses all his abilities at the end of the manga. In the sequel he gains a new power: The power of "grabbing" in the form of "a mop".
  • Disproportionate Retribution - the punishment for a god candidate helping their junior high school student in a battle is to be put on celestial death row. Even if they only do it to save a kid's life.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady - Margaret, Anon, Kapucho, and Barrow.
  • Artistic License - Chemistry - Real iron isn't nearly as strong as the iron that Sano can turn towels into.
  • Evil Chef - Marco Maldini, who can change tomatoes into magma. He is also very angry if you waste his soup.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Sano especially loves this tactics.
  • Exposition: outrageous amounts.
  • Fetish - Mori's power gives her opponent a HUGE eyeglasses fetish. ...And then there's Kill Norton, who glued his glasses to his head. Granted, it was in case he got paired up with Mori so he could have a way to counter her power, but still... Also, his glasses are named Bianca. Later, he asks Mori to make him an eyeglasses lover again, so he can work up the nerve to go help his teammates fight Anon. The last time we see him, in the epilogue, he's muttering "Glasses... glasses... glasses..."
  • Five-Man Band -
  • For the Evulz - Anon helps humans then proceeds to harm them immediately afterward just to find out what kind of reaction he will get (like rescuing a boy's puppy and trying to throw that puppy to an electric pole).
  • Funny Afro - Ueki temporarily gains one along with a Disco Zai ("talent to dress stylishly" in English). Apparently, Ueki was following the good ol' Saturday Night Fever style. He was immediately beaten up by Mori.
    • And one celestial beast wears one near the end, and immediately gets a lampshade hanged on it.
  • Gender-Blender Name - Margaret is a girl's name, and Margaret looks female, but Margaret is definitely not a woman.
    • An early volume of the Viz translation actually said he was a woman in the character profiles at the beginning.
  • The Generic Guy - Or girl. Mori (at least initially, before she gets Blessed with Suck)
  • Green Thumb - Ueki's power. A rare example of The Hero using this power.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power - The premise of the whole show.
  • Hannibal Lecture - Some of the less friendly God Candidates and team leaders are prone to these- and not just at the heroes.
  • Happiness in Slavery - Rinko, who loved Robert. Although, she does get out of it soon after meeting Ueki, joining his group.
  • Hey, It's That Voice! - The afforementioned Romi Park as Ueki, Kawakami Tomoko as Mori, Soichiro Hoshi as Sano, Mamiko Noto as Rinko and Akira Ishida as Wanko, among several others.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Celestials have the Sacred Weapons.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming - All episode titles begin with "The Law of..."
  • Idiot Hair - Many characters. Some have 2.
  • Idiot Hero - while Ueki does have several brilliant insights, especially in battle, for the most part he seems rather simple-minded and clueless. On first meeting Tenko's gigantic dog-like form he thinks it's just a really big chicken of all things.
    • This is actually explained early on in the series, when Ueki loses his Study Zai ("talent to study") for attacking a non-combatant before the tournament begins.
  • Important Haircut - Rinko's pigtails getting chopped off coincides with her Heel-Face Turn to Ueki's side.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun - One of Ueki's opponents has the ability to change his Incredibly Lame Puns into reality.
  • King of All Cosmos - The winner's God Candidate gets this job. The incumbent King of All Cosmos is a Dirty Old Man dressed in an unbuttoned button-down shirt, shorts, sandals, and wears a ten-gallon hat with Cool Shades on it.
  • Kirk Summation - The purpose of the tournament was so the King could try to get the Protectorates to see that times had changed and they had to stop living in the past and start looking to the future. He even gives a speech about it to the Protectorate controlling Margaret. It doesn't go as planned.
  • Last Minute Hookup - Ueki and Mori officially become a couple at the end of The Law of Ueki Plus.
  • Lethal Chef - subverted in Mori's case. Her cooking looks disgusting (and alive) but tastes very good.
  • Meganekko - Rinko, Mori has glasses too ( and her powers are based around them) but she doesn't ever wear them over her eyes.
    • well almost never since the Q&A in the final volume sates that she is long sighted and so they are reading glasses
    • It's implied Mori's glasses are purely to invoke this trope, as she carries over a hundred pairs with her, even before she found out about her power.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The setting is not consistent with those rules, though. It's explicitly said that every power has its limiting conditions. And yet not only some of the power users don't have any conditions - Sano, whose condition (holding his breath) is explicitly stated, freely talks while using his power.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard - If a god candidate helps their student in battle in any way, they get sent to Hell and put on death row there.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe - Robert Haydn.
  • Oddly Named Sequel - The Law of Ueki Plus
  • Off Model - Happens relatively often in the manga. Some panels just look weird...
  • Official Couple - Ueki and Mori. While not explicit in the anime (although there are are a few subtle Ship Tease moments) it is made clearer in the manga and becomes fully canon by the end of the sequel series, The Law of Ueki Plus.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome - intentionally done twice, with characters describing how awesome a Dangerous Forbidden Technique was, after it was used off-camera. It is then explained as the result of a lack in special effects budget.
    Sano: And my new special attack Magnetic Screw Choqa Zanbil didn't work at all.
    Teammate: Yes, it was an amazing attack.
    Subtitles: ((Please imagine the attack for yourselves))
  • Ojou - Rinko, whose status and wealth had been exploited to no end by her schoolmates, leading her to join the Robert's Ten.
  • Omnicidal Maniac - Robert and Anon. Possibly Margaret.
  • Panty Shot - A grand total of one in the anime, obscured by a black shadow in one version.
  • Portmanteau - The creator, fans, and most of the characters refer to Kobayashi-sensei as "Kobasen." (In English, it gets shortened to "Mr. K.")
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad - Robert's 10. Almost every team in Round 3 is another squad.
  • Rule of Fun / Rule of Cool - The series runs on these.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses - seems to be Kobayashi's natural state, coupled with Opaque Lenses.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Hideyoshi does this to Team Ueki at the end. However, he couldn't abandon his friends in the end, and by coming back at the last minute, He saves Kosuke's life by getting knocked out by his Kurogane attack.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor - while Koba-sen, Ueki's God Candidate, has a strong sense of justice, he is laid back to the point that he pretty much leaves Ueki to figure out his powers by himself. To be fair, though, those are the rules. When he does step in to save Ueki from certain death—against the tournament's rules—he promptly suffers from the Mentor Occupational Hazard. Though he doesn't die, he is sent to Hell.
    • However, Kobayashi never told Ueki about the tournament, its rules, or the prize until after he'd already gotten into a fight. Everybody else knew all the specifics well before then.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick - Tenko, although he quickly loses his initial snarkiness and becomes more of a standard Non-Human Sidekick later on.
  • Split-Screen Reaction
  • Spoiler Opening - the second OP spoils quite a few things, most significantly the fight against Team Marilyn.
  • Superpower Lottery
  • Talking Is a Free Action - it may be more of a premise of the whole show than Heart Is an Awesome Power.
    • Early in the series a candidate was dragged into Hell instantly. Later, Kobasen suffers from the same problem, but he retells a five-minute-long flashback in the process.
      • Not to mention that Inumaru does the exact same thing in Dogura Mansion.
    • Let's not forget that the guy who can only use his power when he's not breathing can talk while he's using his power.
    • And that part with "safe zones". It's said that if you spend 10 seconds in a safe zone, you instantly lose. A guy stands there while everybody else dumps exposition for more than half a minute.
    • Delivering exposition while dodging lasers. Try to beat that.
  • Talk To The Tree
    Enemy: Do you want to know what my ability is? I'll show you. When I squeeze a stone, I can... *tree hitting a face, knockdown*
  • Teens Are Monsters - All of the contestants in the tournament are supposedly junior high school students, yet a lot of them want to be the champion in order to take over the world, and have no qualms about killing their opponents.
  • Too Dumb to Fool - BJ starts off trying to win fights by claiming to be Robert Haydn, which causes people to run in fear. While Mori falls for this, Ueki just remembers that BJ introduced himself as BJ earlier that day, and just can't seem to understand BJ's claims that his name is really Robert Haydn... And keeps insisting that he's really BJ. The fact that he doesn't even know who Robert Haydn is probably helps.
  • Tournament Arc: well, nothing more than that.
  • True Companions
  • Tsundere - Mori, who leans much more toward tsuntsun than deredere
  • Tunnel King - One character has, as he calls it, "A power to turn my beautiful hair into a drill!" which allows him to dig extremely fast.
  • Weak, but Skilled - Sano. Just Sano. (leads to awesome fights)
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? - so very subverted.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair - Ueki and Mori have green and aquamarine hair respectively. Not to mention Rinko, whose hair is pink.

Alternative Title(s):

The Law Of Ueki