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Manga: The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls
"They must be punished by the hands of women"
The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan (Y十M ～柳生忍法帖～ Y- Jū -M - Yagyū Ninpōchō) is an 11-volume manga series written by Masaki Segawa and first published in Japan by Kodansha in 2005.
In the Nineteenth Year of Kannei (1642), a rebellion by the Hori clan against Katō Akinari, the daimyo of Aizu, has been suppressed through the intervention of the Tokugawa shogunate. Placed into the custody of the Seven Spears, Katō's brutal group of personal enforcers, the Hori men are dragged to the Tōkei-ji "Divorce Temple" at Kamakura where the Hori women had been hiding. Despite a law passed by the former shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu forbidding men to enter the temple, the Seven Spears force their way in and brutally slaughter the Hori women before their husbands and brothers, before proceeding to murder them too. The massacre is stopped only by the intervention of Princess Sen, the Tōkei-ji Temple's guardian and older sister to the reigning shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. Unfortunately, though the Seven Spears agreed to depart, only seven of the Hori women survived.
In retribution for the violation of Tōkeiji Temple and those who she had taken under her care, Princess Sen sends a message to the famous monk Takuan Sōhō to locate one person who can train the seven Hori women in the arts of ninjutsu to seek their revenge. The one chosen is Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi, son of Yagyū Munenori and former instructor to the shogun. With Jubei's instruction and guidance, the Hori women begin their war against the Seven Spears and ultimately Katō himself.
This show provides examples of...
- Abusive Parents: Jubei's dad, Yagyu Munenori once knocked his eye out during a training session. Dohaku as well, even though he treats Oyura well enough. What else do you call a guy who raises his daughter to be a creep like Akinari's sex toy for the purpose of having a child and shows no concern for her being raped or killed?
- The Ace: Jubei. Interessting case, though as when the series starts he seems untouchable. As the series goes on, he reveals he's as fallible as anyone else, his incredible skills aside
- Acrofatic: Otori might be on the heavy side, but she's the most agile of the Hori women.
- Action Girl: The girls get there.
- Age Without Youth: Dohaku and Tenkai are 108 years old, despite their immortality. They look it. Truth in Television as Priest Tenkai died at the age of 107.
- Ambiguously Brown: Hiraga Magobei of the spears is curiously quite dark skinned.
- Apologetic Attacker: Jubei is not happy having to kill Jyonshin's dogs. He apologizes to them, saying they're magnificent creatures and wishes they had a more worthy master.
- Attempted Rape: The Spears and Akinari freaking love trying.
- Bad Ass: Jubei Yagyu. Need we say more?
- Badass Swordsman: Best Swordsman in Japan, and a Master Swordsman.
- Four-Star Badass: Technically he isn't a true general, but his leadership of the Hori Women means they could actually complete their goal.
- Takuan's monks. All of them. All the time. Forever.
- Bad Boss: If you're not one of the spears or Dohaku, working for Akinari REALLY sucks.
- Badass Family: the entire Yagyu clan. Jubei actually decides against asking them to shelter the Hori women because he's worried they're so honorable and skilled, the entire clan would be after Akinari's blood and ruin the women's revenge.
- Badass Grandpa: Zen Master Takuan. He's able to stare down many Spears without fear and they can't even touch him due to his position. Ashina Dohaku is a villainous example, more than capable of holding his own against Jubei at the age of 108. Also, Jubei's dad Yagyu Munenori can make even the badass Juei sweat buckets with a stern look.
- Badass in Distress: When Jubei gets in a tight spot at points, the girls are there to rescue him.
- Bald of Awesome: Takuan
- Bald of Evil: Ichiganbo
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Washinosu Rennsuke of the spears needs nothing more than his bare hands, feet and incredible strength to fight.
- The Beastmaster: Gusoku Jyonshin Isn't a good fighter, but has under his command three dogs the size of cows.
- Benevolent Boss: For the Spears, Akinari is really lenient and gets on well with them. The only one h ever abuses is Jyonshin and that's only after he'd been publicly humiliated. Might alsohave something to do with Jyonshin being the smallest and weakest of the lot.
- Berserk Button: For Dohaku, it's to wreck his plans at merging Ashina and Kato. For Jubei, it's to threaten or harm the Hori women. For the Hori women, it's the Seven Spears and Akinari. For Akinari and the Seven Spears, it's the Hori women and Hannya Mask. For Ginshiro it's...well, anything, really.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Jubei is a laid-back fellow, but do NOT cross him.
- Bifauxnen: Sakura.
- Big Bad: Ashina Dohaku. He emerges in the second half of the series to steal the villainous spotlight from Akinari.
- Big Beautiful Woman: Otori is certainly quite plump, but she's still extremely attractive
- Big Brother Instinct: Jubei develops one towards the Hori women.
- Bishōnen: Jubei's features are a bit rough to be called this-though Ofue would disagree. Koro Ginshiro is an interesting case...he would be this, if not for the horizontal scar splitting his face.
- Blade on a Stick: Hiraga Magobei wields a freaking enormous cavalry spear.
- Blessed with Suck: Neither Ashina Dohaku or priest Tenkai can die while the other lives. Though they feel one another's pain. This can create significant drawbacks. It's one that Dohaku loves using to torment his brother.
- Blood Knight: Some of the Seven Spears have shades of this, most notably Ginshiro, Rennsuke and Koshichiro. Jubei has minor shades of this, as he really, really wants to fight Koshichiro and only takes the job tohelp the Hori women initially because he's thrilled by the notion of a challenge that might take his life.
- Break the Cutie: Otone goes through this after being raped by Akinari. She gets better.
- Broken Bird: Some of the Hori women, and Otone, can come across this way
- Cain and Abel: Dohaku and Tenkai had been enemies from the time they were born.
- The Caligula: Akinari. Loves taking advantage of his position to rape, torture and abuse whoever he can.
- The Chessmaster: Ashina Dohaku. Jubei has shades of this, but he's also really good at improv.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Some of the Hori women turn into this for Jubei when they think he shows favoritism.
- Coitus Uninterruptus: Oyura and Akinari will get it on no matter who's around, even if it's Oyura's own father.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Oyura's hobby. The spears like it as a past time, but she's the master.
- Combat by Champion: Koshichiro desperately wants to fight Jubei. Jubei wants to fight him just as badly.
- Combat Pragmatist: Jubei knows the women can never defeat the Spears in a fair fight. Solution? Don't fight fair. The women also get into the spirit themselves.
- Death Equals Redemption: Oyura dies in Jubei's arms, even receiving a kiss from him to purify her soul. It's a really sudden and bizarre redemption for a character who up until a few chapters ago was as evil as any of the other villains.
- Disability Superpower: Koshichiro only has one arm, but is quite easily on par with Jubei himself.
- Dirty Coward: Gusoku Jyonshin of the Seven Spears is the most craven of the lot. Akinari, when you strip away his official status and his bodyguards, is like any other cowardly bully as well.
- The Dragon: The spears function as this for Akinari, but most specifically Koshichiro. Later on, dohaku takes this role, although he's really..
- Dragon-in-Chief: Dohaku takes the reins of main villain from Akinari shortly after his introduction, being far, far more dangerous than Akinari ever managed. Akinari does little more than bury himself in pleasure and let Dohaku do the heavy lifting from that point on.
- The Dreaded: Ashina Dohaku is this before he appears and proves all the horrible things you've heard of him are true.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Jubei.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: ALL of Takuan's monks get this, and they ALL Go Out with a Smile. It is humbling to see.
- Evil Genius: Dohaku. 108 years of hellish training and experience will do that
- Evil Twin: Ashina Dohaku, or Ashina Hotaru is this for Priest Tenkai, or Ashina Heitaro.
- Fan Disservice: any sex scene with Akinari and Oyura is just...creepy.
- Fanservice: Isn't it convenient Sakura, Ochie and Ofue had to rescue Jubei while completely naked at one point...
- Fat Bastard: Shiba Ichiganbo is a hulking, grotesque pig of a man. Though unusually for this trope, he's one of the most clever of the spears.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Oh, boy, does Akinari wish they'd just killed him. Instead he's stripped of land and title and exiled to the land his son controls. His son who hates his guts. And is now the Daimyo. And knows daddy just cost him a lot of his inheritance... Princess Sen opines seppuku would have been a mercy.
- Fingore: Akinari bites off the finger of one of his concubines during a nightmare.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Jubei has his missing eye and A new scar over it from his duel with Koshichiro later. Koro Ginshiro has a nasty one that pretty much cuts his face in two.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Good lord, it seems anything will piss Ginshiro off. His fellow spears occasionally have to restrain him from giving lip to people who can order their deaths.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Magobei is split right down the middle.
- Handicapped Badass: Jubei has no issues fighting with his remaining eye closed. He can even deflect arrows!
- Happily Married: Osawa, Oshina and Okei were before the series start.
- Heel-Face Turn: Oyura gets one of the most bizarre, sudden ones ever.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Jubei is ready to attempt one at points. The kindly, bumbling monks are also more than willing to give their lives, and do, to help the Hori women. It's not in vain either. These guys have no skills, no physical ability and still manage to buy Otori and Oshina the chance to kill Rensuke with their own lives. The remaining monks die taking down the Ashina clan henchmen. Tenkai also pulls this to bring down Dohaku once and for all.
- Hidden Depths: Jubei acts like a lazy, careless oaf, but in reality he's a kind man with a strong sense of justice who'd die for what he believes is right.
- Highly-Visible Ninja: Jubei in his Hannya Mask disguise...this is intentional as he wants to be seen and wage psychological warfare.
- Hime Cut: Princess Sen and several of the Hori Women.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Sending your men into the divorce temple, Akinari? Well,it's true you had the right to destroy the Hori men, but violating sacred orders for a personal grudge? This sure came back to bite ya.
- Honor Before Reason: On both sides. Honor is occasionally prioritized over practicality, and arguably the whole premise is this, because Sen decides not to ask the Shogun, her younger brother, for help, specifically so the girls can take their vengeance. The Spears are subject to this at times, too as some act out a bit when the honor of the Ashina clan or Akinari's honor is threatened.
- Humiliation Conga: Akinari has a really, really rough time. First his men start dying. Then he's delivered in front of Sen's temple like a common criminal. Then he recovers a bit after fleeing to Aizu. Then Jubei cuts his dick off. Then his final Spears are killed. THEN Princess sen arrives to deliver formal judgment that he's stripped of all lands and titles and left to the mercy of the son who detests him after he lost 3/4s of the guy's inheritance.
- Genki Girl: Ofue can have shades of this at times.
- Good Is Not Nice: Jubei can be nasty sometimes. Princess Sen as well, though given who she's nasty to, it's understandable.
- Go Out with a Smile: Priest Tenkai dies smiling, content that he's defeated Dohaku at last.. Also a villainous example in Rennsuke, who realizes that Jubei Yagyu is his true enemy and killed, after Oshina and Otori mortally wound him. He dies content at being defeated by Japan's greatest swordsman.
- Groin Attack: Jubei inflicts one on Akinari. There was much rejoicing.
- Guile Hero: Jubei concocts multiple, underhanded gambits to defeat the spears.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Pulled at various points by Akinari and the Spears. Usually it ends very poorly for them.
- I Want Grandkids: Rather...sinister version of this from Dohaku. He really wants Akinari and Oyura to have a child together, so Dohaku can merge the bloodlines of the Ashina clan and the Kato bloodline, giving him his own line of puppet rulers through Aizu forever.
- Made of Iron: One of Dohaku's techniques is this, 'Leaden Body.' What's better than being immortal and having the ability to harden your body to trap your enemy's sword inside you...
- Oh, Crap: Everyone gets subject to this, but Akinari has truly hilarious shocked moments.
- Karmic Death: The whole premise of the series is for the Hori Women to deliver these. they succeed with only the exception of Koro Ginshiro, who Jubei has to kill himself during an emergency situation.
- Magnificent Bastard: Jubei.
- The Man Behind the Man: It becomes abundantly clear Dohaku is the true ruler of Aizu.
- Master Swordsman: Jubei, of course. Uroshido Koshichiro and Ashina Dohaku as well.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Koshichiro feels this way about Jubei even before he knows his identity. The Hori Women are meant to kill all the Spears as well. Princess Sen thought they had to die at the hands of those seven.
- Old Master: Takuan. Dohaku is a villainous example.
- Overprotective Dad: Hori Mondo was this for Ochie. For a man to defy his lord for the sake of his daughter? Was something only a man with balls of titanium would have done. When Akinari demanded Ochie be presented as his concubine, Mondo's response was a very elegant 'go fuck yourself, you sick bastard.'
- Pet the Dog: Gusoku Jyonshin's only minor redeeming trait is his affection for his attack dogs seems to be genuine.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Entire premise of the series, and a well deserved one.
- Scary Black Man: Weirdly enough, Magobei.
- Sinister Scythe: The eldest pf the Spears, Daidoji Tessai, wields a kusari-gama.
- Shrinking Violet: Oshina is the most timid of the Hori women and rarely speaks.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Jubei comes across as this. No mercy while you're training.
- Sleazy Politician: Akinari comes off this way when he's at court.
- Smug Snake: Akinari gives himself far too much credit. Most of the spears as well.
- Stalker with a Crush: Ginshiro has a fixation on Sakura. Jyonshin also seems to have a thing for Ochie.
- Taking the Bullet: Oyura takes Dohaku's sword that he intended for Jubei.
- Taking You with Me: Unusual example. Tenkai spiritually overpowers Dohaku, allowing Jubei to deal a mortal wound that will mean Tenkai's own death as well.
- Team Pet: Shichiro the nightingale
- Thirty Six Strategems: Jubei is fond of good tactics and strategy.
- Took a Level in Badass: All the Hori women, and Otone as well.
- Training from Hell: Oh, boy, is Jubei a fan of this. Not just the Hori women. In the past, it's mentioned he beat a student until he couldn't stand during a spar. That student was the Shogun.
- Undying Loyalty: Rare villainous examples. The Spears have no redeeming features as human beings, but their loyalty to Akinari is no act. even the idea of Akinari's honor being threatened is enough to make Rennsuke snap. However, Ginshiro's loyalty is to the Ashina clan first. If the Ashina are victorious, he has no qualms risking Akinari's life. Jubei's loyalty to the Hori women runs deep as well. He is perfectly willing to sacrifice his life for theirs.
- Unholy Matrimony: They aren't married, but Akinari and Oyura fit the bill for a little while
- The Vamp: Oyura, Dohaku's daughter
- Viewers Are Geniuses: There are a lot of nods to Japanese history, cultural symbolism and other things that aren't explained and that the viewer is just expected to know. When Jubei tells the Hori women to fight Koshiro and Ginshiro while Akinari is his hostage, he says he'll fight them next, after killing Akinari. He is essentially forcing them, as honorable retainers to allow the Hori women to kill them. The explanation goes unsaid. That's just one example.
- Villainous Breakdown: Akinari and several Spears tend to undergo this. Dohaku undergoes a massive one after his plan, decades in the making, is undone. At his own hand accidentally.
- Villainous Valor: Most of the Spears are not cowards.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Akinari has a LOT of issues with his father. His own son utterly detests him for his evil, too.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Koshichiro tends to place a cherry blossom twig between his teeth before he starts killing. It's a symbol for death and life's fragility. The series never tells you this, though.
- Worthy Opponent: Jubei's respect for Koshichiro's skill makes him view him as this. Koshichiro feels the same way. Jubei, however, has no qualms granting Koshichiro an ignominious and humiliating end though.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Jubei gives an epic one to Otori and Oshina for their jealousy towards Okei. Jubei also gets a few himself for occasional carelessness, but gives a very notable one to Tenkai for his brief breakdown as well.
- Whip It Good: Ichiganbo of the spears uses a whip as his weapon.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Sakura disguises herself as a young samurai occasionally.
- You Fools: Dohaku really lays into the surviving Spears for their carelessness.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Strongly implied Dohaku would pull this on Akinari and definitely stated he'd pull it on Akinari's natural heir Akitomo after Dohaku got the child he wanted.