Manga: Ushio and Tora

Ordinary High-School Student Ushio is sent to clean up around the shrine that his father is the caretaker of. Stumbling through an ancient doorway, he finds himself face to face with a vicious, demonic monster with tiger stripes - a youkai, pinned to the stone wall by an old spear.

The youkai's evil aura attracts minor yokai to converge on the shrine, and Ushio makes the decision to free the tiger youkai who promises to clean up the mess. However, the tiger youkai merely attacks Ushio and gloats that it is free to devour humans once more. Outraged at the betrayal, Ushio unexpectedly channels the Beast Spear's awesome power and cows the fearful tiger youkai into helping destroy the minor youkai using its formidable strength and lightning bolts.

After this unusual introduction, Ushio decides to keep the tiger youkai close by in order to prevent it from killing and eating other humans, to its chagrin naming it Tora (Japanese for tiger). Tora, meanwhile, sticks around in order to find a chance to eat its tormentor.

However, the act of removing the Beast Spear leads to a chain of events, ultimately drawing back to an ancient prophecy and an old and implacable enemy who has the power to destroy all Japan - human and youkai alike. As Ushio and Tora face off against a variety of youkai based mostly on Japanese traditional legends, they grow closer until they reach a perpetual Enemy Mine / Heterosexual Life-Partners state.

Famous for its portrayal of classic Japanese monsters in a modern setting such as the Kamaitachi and Kappa (as well as having the heroes kick monster butt) and the interplay between the two leads, Ushio & Tora stretched 33 volumes of manga and was adapted to a short 10-episode OVA. Ushio and friends appear in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen.

An anime adaptation helmed by Trigun director Satoshi Nishimura and animated by MAPPA has been confirmed for the Summer 2015 Anime season.

Ushio&Tora provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The beast spear cuts through a truck, cleaving it down the middle.
  • Action Girl:
    • Most of the girls involved either are this or come pretty close.
    • Hinowa is tomboyish battle monk-ette with a caustic attitude, probably because she was born a girl and her dad wanted a boy to train up as a warrior monk.
    • Asako, here, after we thought she was strong but no fighter.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: One is seen in episode 9, when Ushio battles the latest Monster of the Week. Juurou, a kamaitachi, is tired of being forced to move due to human development around the areas he lived with his brother and sister. However, Ushio sensed he was actually more in pain than anger, and attempts to apologize to them for what humans have done. He promises to find a new home they wouldn't have to leave, but Juurou attacks him anyway, and is killed when the Beast Spear automatically moves to protect Ushio. He then says he probably wanted to hear Ushio's apology the most out of everything, and says his death is for the best.
  • Alien Blood: Youkai blood is purple.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Reiko's father in episode 3, after being purified by Ushio's spear. Additionally, his final painting of her which was very dark and dreary, turns more cheerful and colorful after he leaves.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Tora's ears are no longer visible in later chapters. Or rather, with the way his hair is drawn it's incredibly difficult to distinguish them.
    • In-series example; Ushio's art drastically improves from the first volume to the next one we see, in volume 15.
  • Back for the Finale: Just about every single character and even enemies the heroes meet shows up to do their part in the finale. Justified by the fact that one of the key roles of the protagonists is to rally disparate individuals and groups to work together.
  • Badass: A ton of people. Ushio gets the Badass Normal / Charles Atlas Super Power mention, because he was both strong and cool from the start (at least in fights).
  • Badass Adorable: Believe or not, Tora can be pretty cute when he is pouting.
  • Badass Family: Ushio's old fart of a dad is actually one of the strongest in a secret order of youkai-trashing monks. His mom is singlehandedly keeping Hakumen no Mono pinned down and holding off every youkai of Japan that wants Hakumen no Mono's head.
  • Badass Longcoat: Creepy black-coated Hyou makes a living (and revenge) hunting youkai, and almost took down Tora single handedly.
    • Ushio acquires one on his trip to find out about his mother. Unfortunately, sincve he got it from a yakuza it's far too big for him.
  • Badass Preacher: Hyou took this up to avenge his wife and daughter after they were killed by a monster, and he was left with a scar on his face from its attack. He's so deadly that even Tora has a really tough time with him, and it's only because of Ushio intervening that he wasn't outright killed.
  • Bald of Awesome: The battle-ready monks mostly have clean-shaven heads.
  • Bash Brothers: Ushio and Tora.
  • Batman Gambit: Hakumen no Mono tried this with Kirio and the Elzaar Scythe - a plot spanning years to undermine support for the Beast Spear and ultimately destroy it by creating a wielder and a weapon actually very dangerous to itself.
    • Did the Beast Spear do this even as it struck Hakumen and broke apart? Seeing as the spear can almost always return to its wielder's side, even when in a thousand little pieces.
      • Probably. The Beast Spear in its shards form killed all of Hakumen's memory-blocking monsters (one from each person and youkai), broke the hurricane that was preventing escape, showed Hakumen's past to Ushio giving him the knowledge on how to defeat Hakumen and restored faith in Tora. In short, it removed despair, added hope, restrengthened Ushio and Tora's fighting resolve, and doing all of these behind overconfident Hakumen's back by being 'defeated'
  • Beach Episode: Episode 6, in which Ushio and Tora go to the beach and have to fight a Sea Monster named Ayakashi.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Ushio and Tora and the Beast Spear are intricately linked to Hakumen, because due to time travel Ushio aka 'Shanyue' was party to the spear's forging, the spear was forged for the purpose of revenge against Hakumen, Tora while a human gave rise to Hakumen's physical form and then later became the first wielder of the spear, and Ushio is descended from the line of women linked to the spear's forging. So Ushio wielding the spear with Tora at his side to face down Hakumen represents a grand culmination of destiny.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Ushio and Asako have only memories of fighting ever since childhood. Despite this and their frequent denials, it's obvious how they really feel about each other.
  • Big Bad: As the series progresses, hints are dropped about Hakumen no Mono (White Face), a giant dragonlike nine-tailed fox whose hobby is destroying both humans and other youkai. The mere idea of it awakening again is equated to the end of Japan as we know it, followed by whatever civilization it decides to destroy next, and for good reason.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When it looks like Hakumen is starting to regain momentum again in the battle despite Ushio's, Tora's, all the youkai and Kohumei Sect's best efforts? Guess who shows up? The entire Japanese Defense Force. And know what's more awesome? They are effective, actually causing the first injuries to Hakumen besides what the Spear could do! Heh, if Ushio and Tora's JSDF was in Godzilla they'd be able to drive him off every time!
  • Blade on a Stick: The Beast Spear, which goes through steel and youkai like a hot knife through warm butter, but doesn't harm humans. Ushio uses it more like a staff whenever Tora gets uppity.
  • Blind and the Beast: A monster named Satori found a little boy whose eyes were blinded in a fire. Satori made himself pass for the boy's father and took care of him until the boy's eyes started hurting too much and he had to sent him to a hospital. Since he never saw Satori, the boy still thinks Satori is his father.
  • Blood Knight:
    • It's one thing to make a living killing or sealing youkai who threaten human lives, but Kyoura the heretic monk doesn't believe in letting any youkai live, and he doesn't really have any interests in life beyond killing them.
    • Hyou is quite eager to get into fights with monsters he runs into. Or even regular people if they so much as threaten a child while he's nearby.
  • But Now I Must Go: Hyou leaves at the end of episode 5, after Ushio barely manages to stop him from killing Tora. He says he's going to continue his search in Japan, hoping that the monster that killed his family would also show up due to the presence of the Beast Spear attracting monsters towards it.
  • Call Back: The 'lost memories' arc is full of these as various characters recall past scenes that are missing... Someone... Who?... Which is shown by recycling panels from earlier chapters but which the someone's face blotted out.
  • Car Fu: Tora gets hit by a truck while standing in the middle of the street in episode 4.
  • Cartwright Curse: Reiko in episode 3. Every boy who tried to ask her out on a date always met with some kind of unfortunate accident. As a result she tended to distance herself from people.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • The old man in episode 4 attempts to warn some construction workers not to move a big rock from their construction site. They don't listen, and accidentally release a seal that held some demons in it. They are then promptly devoured by the demons.
    • Yuu doesn't believe the pilot who flew alongside her father died because of a demon named Fusama that attacked their plane. However, once Ushio manages to make Fusama visible to her, she immediately recants her words.
  • Cerebus Roller Coaster: The manga (and both animated adaptations) mixes serious drama with some more comedic scenes, such as when Ushio first runs into Tora. The latter is fairly intimidating, and says he's going to kill Ushio when freed. The scene then switches to a more comedic tone when Ushio responds by pushing the spear even more into Tora with his foot. Tora then hilariously tries to plead with him, offering to not harm him, but Ushio doesn't trust him.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Beast Spear is inextricably linked to White Face and even Tora's origin.
  • Cherry Blossoms: At the beginning of the final arc, Ushio and Asako share a moment under cherry blossoms trees. And then Asako has her memories of Ushio erased.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Hakumen is undoubtedly this, having multiple insidious and long-running plans to weaken opposition to its eventual rise. Add to the fact that it can't move making chess-piece manipulation its only recourse...
    • The Beast Spear itself qualifies somewhat... Every wielder than gets turned into a Tora-type youkai eventually sleeps in stone form, with hatred of Hakumen festering in their dreams, until they all awaken to take part in the final battle against Hakumen
      • Which also justifies why Ushio (chosen wielder of the spear) and Tora ( turned into his present form by the spear) fight so well together.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Ushio and Asako have known each other since childhood and despite all their bickering, they clearly have feelings for each other.
  • Childhood Friends:
    • Ushio, Asako and Mayuko have been friends since elementary school.
    • Reiko and Masaki were close friends when they were kids, but their relationship became estranged after Reiko's father died and returned as an oni to keep anyone away from her. Masaki comes to regret this and helps Ushio save her.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Tora repeatedly attacks Ushio at various times when they're not fighting something else. However, the beast spear prevents him from killing and eating Ushio, and they usually end up having to call a truce to team up and defeat the Monster of the Week.
  • Church Militant: Essentially all of the members of the religious order that Ushio's father is a part of. Their objective is to fight youkai and stop them from killing or tormenting people. This gets shown in a more negative light when some monks are obsessed with killing Tora and taking the Beast Spear away from Ushio, despite his father telling them the two weren't a threat.
  • Clothing Damage: Hinowa has her clothes ripped almost every time she appears. Being hardcore, she doesn't seem to care if she's titillatingly exposed.
    • Happens a lot to Ushio and some opponents, simply due to the course of battle.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Tora. His list of powers consists of: Super Strength, Flight, Invisibility, Limited Intangibility (phases through mundane object - does not work on other demons, magical weapons, or modern-day substances he isn't familiar of such as concrete), Firebreathing, Lightning Summoning, stretching his neck several meeters long, reattaching his limbs when they're cut off, and Magic Hair / Prehensile Hair mentioned below.
    • Justified in that he is an ancient and experienced Youkai and probably developed them over a course of years.
    • Justified, but as later revealed (see Single Specimen Species below), for a different reason.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: After centuries buried underground, Tora is naively intrigued and often befuddled by the advances of human technology and is drawn SD style. He gets better.
    • Ushio's dad seems like an annoying, cranky, good-for-nothing old geezer. He also leads a double-life as a Japan-traveling, bakemon-killing badass monk who is respected and held in awe by the juniors of the sect and who was able to keep it a secret from his son to protect Ushio the entire time.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Mayuko and Asako in the first episode, after they're attacked by some low level demons due to Ushio releasing Tora from the spear.
    • Mayuko again in episode 4, this time being pursued by some demonic heads intent on eating her as payback for being sealed away a long time ago by a priestess who strongly resembled her.
  • Deal with the Devil: Ushio having to work with Tora after he accidentally runs into him, and then the latter's aura attracting nearby demons. Tora planned to betray him and wreak havoc after having been freed, but the power of the spear enables Ushio to become a Bad Ass. So much so that Tora agrees to work with him, not wanting to be speared for another few centuries.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Happens to Ushio at the climax when everyone he knows or loves has forgotten him, seemingly betrayed him or seemingly been killed, which causes him to enter Heroic BSOD mode. Then the Beast Spear shatters with its first blow against Hakumen...
    • And for everyone remaining, the youkai and humans as their last best hopes (not even counting Ushio) are casually swatted aside... See also Near Villain Victory below.
  • Determinator: After losing so many lives that he just failed to save, Ushio refuses to let anyone else close to him die on his watch... Especially not the love of his life.
  • The Dragon: Tora's 'evil twin' (and that's saying something when Tora is a human-eating, savage youkai!) Guren is basically this to Hakumen (who is ironically quite a literal dragon itself)
  • Elite Mooks: Guren's Kokuen spawn are more than a match for even the best fighters among the entire East-West alliance of Japan's youkai... And he can create endless numbers of them! Says a lot about how elite Guren himself is.
    • And after Ushio and Tora easily kick their butts, the next batch are spawned with a massive Level in Badass.
  • Emotion Eater: Hakumen literally feeds off fear of it from human and youkai alike. Furthermore, hatred for it makes it unkillable.
  • Enemy Mine: Ushio often whacks Tora with the Beast Spear to keep him in line, and Tora always makes the excuse that no youkai but him is allowed to eat Ushio, but as the story progresses the two become fast friends and watch each other's back - even while still giving the same excuses as ever.
  • Engrish: Ushio has a shirt with "Kojiro: What a fucking teacher" on it.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Ushio first meets Tora in the basement of their storehouse, impaled by a spear. Tora stupidly says he'll eat Ushio the moment he's freed from the spear, prompting Ushio to jam it into him even more.
    • Hyou is a Badass Preacher, and becomes enraged when he finds out the two monsters he was hunting killed a child.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Tora attacks Ushio while he's sleeping early in episode 5. Then at the end of the episode, Taro once again approaches a sleeping Ushio. However, he's badly hurt and recovering after having taken some hits from Hyou to save the former. Taro then concludes that the hamburger Mayuko gave him in the last episode was more delicious, and holds off on attacking Ushio for now.
  • Everyone Can See It: During a tearjerker scene, Mayuko calls out Tora on his excuse that he always sticks by Ushio for purely selfish reasons.
    Mayuko: You promised to eat me.
    Tora: Right after Ushio, you'll be my dessert.
    Mayuko: Then, Tora... You're never going to eat me huh?
  • Fanservice: Every couple of story arcs, one of the many females Ushio meets will be either undressed, de-clothed or undressing herself (for spiritual purposes of course).
    • Not to mention various female-form bakemon who appear stark naked. YMMV.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: As Fusama burns in fire from the missile attack, he comments that if the Beast Spear is out and about, it means that Hakumen no Mono is going to appear soon. He then comments that if that's the case, he'd be much happier dying here than having to meet Hakumen.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Ushio and Tora. At first they want to kill each other and only work together because Ushio needs Tora's help to kill demons. Eventually, as they defeat demons together, they grow to care about each other as friends, not that they want to admit it.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: Tora, as a result of being imprisoned in one spot for five hundred years. As a result, when he first sees vehicles, he has no idea what they are, nor does he seem to understand windows.
  • Forging Scene: A particularly depressing one for the Beast Spear. First the blacksmith and his wife, who Ushio was staying with are killed by Hakumen no Mono. The son mentions a technique where a young girl is put into the forge to create a perfect alloy. The daughter overhears and throws herself into the furnace. The son starts forging the spear, and as he does, his body turns into the spear's shaft. Ushio, having failed to protect the parents, to keep the daughter from killing herself, can only watch as the transformation occurs.
  • Friend to All Children: Hyou doesn't like it when children are killed, hurt, or threatened. Consequently, anyone he runs into who does any of those things will likely meet a swift end, be they monster or even human.
  • Freudian Excuse: Just about every opponent Ushio and Tora meet has one of these.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Asako suspects something is wrong with Ushio in episode 5, but he won't talk about it. So she simply follows him around, and then smacks his head with her bookbag after having enough of his mopiness. She then tells him to stop running away from all of his problems and to take them head on. In this instance, it was due to him lying about Tora being responsible for Hyou's wife and daughter's death. Ushio then has second thoughts about it, admitting later to Hyou that Tora was innocent as he was stuck in the storehouse for 500 years.
  • Gonk: As common to Kazuhiro Fujita's style. More of an intensification of expression, although some of the worse youkai are truly gross.
  • Go Through Me: Ushio does this for Tora in episode 5 to stop him from being killed by Hyou.
  • Grandfather Paradox: Later in the plot, time travel is invoked. The particular type used doesn't seem to have any qualms about present-day characters influencing past events which will directly cause the events that lead to the present-day characters time traveling in the first place. Actually just one single, much-entangled case in point : Ushio /the Beast Spear/ Jie Mei's line of descendants / Tora / Hakumen are all interlinked to the point it becomes unclear what the original, pre-time travel timeline could possibly have been!
  • Green Aesop: Episode 9 features a family of youkai that lost their home because of human construction. One of them was consumed by his hatred and decided to kill all humans even if it endangers his siblings. Ushio then admits until then he didn't thought of how when humans build cities they must have destroyed the home of animals that lived there.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Tora with Ushio, here.
  • Griping About Gremlins: A rather large version attacks a few planes in episode 8. Tora mentions his name, Fusama, and having run into him before, and much of a pain he was to fight because he was immune to lightning and was very resistant to Tora's other attacks. He tells Ushio that blackened teeth, or a lot of fire, was required to kill it.
  • Head Pet: Tora doesn't technically sit on Ushio's head, but rather rides on his shoulders. Hilariously, he is several times larger than Ushio, so often looks comical and like he's riding on the latter's head.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted throughout the series, beginning with Ushio using a spear, to the monks using staves and unusual weapons, to Kirio using the Elzaar Scythe, to Hyou using knives, to the kamaitachi using their body sickles. In fact, there are only a handful of notable sword users throughout the story (e.g. an agent of Hakumen with a katana, and Shinno with a western-looking two-edged sword).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The series is full of these, perhaps none as many in a row (well, attempted anyway) as when a human must die to make a replacement Beast Spear.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Ushio warns Hyou that he may end up becoming this if he kills Tora after being informed that Tora didn't kill his family as he was stuck in their storehouse for 500 years. He doesn't seem convinced until Ushio says that he'd simply be a murderer by killing Tora, something his daughter wouldn't like. Hyou lashes out at Ushio initially, but eventually backs down. He then goes out to continue his search for the monster that was responsible for his family's death.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Against a seemingly invincible and impossibly powerful Hakumen, Ushio and Tora awaken The Power of Hope in human and youkai alike. Literally - the hope growing in hearts acts as a counter to the fear that would otherwise increase Hakumen's power. Hakumen admits this in its attempt to erase all memories of the inspiring duo.
  • Humans Are Special: The series goes out of its way to show that humans are, despite some having flaws, a kind, loving race. Even Yokai notice how they, after getting over their fear immediately go to help them.
    Construction Worker: Sakaguichi-tsan, where are you going?!
    Sakaguichi: Can't you see they're in trouble?
    Construction Worker: But they're youkai!
  • Idiot Ball: It occurs only to a few priests that maybe Ushio is The Chosen One (at least to the spear...). Justified, in that they've been training for a lifetime in martial arts and spiritual power - especially the Chosen Four who are supposed to wield the Beast Spear when it appears - and then this kiddo from the city with NO kungfu skills and ZERO spiritual training shows up with it? Even Ushio temporarily surrendered the spear to Hinowa when she pointed this out!
  • I Have Many Names: Tora has been known as Raijuu (thunder-beast), Nagatobimaru-sama (Lord Long-Flyer), and Shagakusha. Not to mention his youkai "species" name, azafuse.
  • I Lied: Tora promises Ushio that he would deal with the minor demon spirits manifesting outside the shrine if he releases him from the spear. The instant he does though, Tora attacks him, stating that he never intended to keep a promise to a human. It's only because Ushio channeling the power of the spear that keeps Tora a little more honest.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Ushio first meets Tora this way, who has a spear stuck in his body keeping him impaled and imprisoned for the last 500 years. And being a spear, this trope is also used any time he stabs a demon with it.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Hinowa uses combs to focus her energy.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: On a bus, on motorcycles, on an airliner...
  • Interrupted Suicide: Reiko attempted suicide four times before meeting Ushio, but was always saved in time. She then attempts it a fifth time, but is stopped by Ushio and her childhood friend who promises never to leave her again.
  • Invisible to Adults: In episode 4, Tora attempts to lunge at a child he sees in the city. However, he's stopped by the glass and is unable to get through. A quick line of text then mentions that kids can sometimes see Tora, and said child freaks out. However, his mother is unable to see Tora, so thinks he's just throwing a tantrum.
  • Invisible to Normals: Tora normally can't be seen by people. Hence when he's talking to Ushio, it appears to many that he's talking to himself.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Mayuko is willing to let Asako have Ushio. Tora even calls her out on it at one point. This is doubly so because Mayuko loves both Ushio AND Asako. She even admits it directly to Asako when they both have their memory of Ushio wiped, and she only remembers she was in love with this guy but rather let Asako have him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tora slowly becomes one, much to his dismay.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Ushio & Tora manage to defeat Fusama after it attacks the plane they were on. Unfortunately Tora's fire breath isn't enough, but fortunately a missile from a fighter jet is sufficient.
  • Magic Hair: Tora's can be used as prehensile limbs (and can catch bullets mid-flight), blades, replacement limbs for running, and even break off and shapeshift (e.g. Mayuko or Asako's form) complete with homing function! At least once every new arc, Tora will be drawn taking up almost of full page, with his exquisite mane floating about him.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: Hyou comments that the Beast Spear attracts monsters in episode 5. He then decides to stick around Japan a little longer, hoping that the monster that killed his family would also show up so that he can get his vengeance.
  • Manly Tears: Ushio in episode 9 as he relates a Not So Different story to Juurou, and attempts to apologize for humanity's actions against them forcing them to move from their homes repeatedly.
  • Meaningful Name: Ushio's mother, being a Barrier Maiden standing guard underwater for decades, named him after the tide (from where she's sitting, it's an unstoppable force). Guess what his specialty is.
  • Moment Killer: Ushio and Asako are sharing a romantic moment while watching cherry blossoms trees together and Ushio offering Asako to walk her home. Then Hakumen has to spoil the moment with its memory-antics!
  • Monster of the Week: The early part of the series is about Ushio and Tora fighting the evil monster that came to attack humans this episode.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • Tora explains a lot of the supernatural stuff to Ushio (and viewers), such as the Rock Eater Monster in episode 2.
    • In episode 4, an elderly man explains to Ushio that a seal was lifted, releasing the demons that were stuck in there. He also explains about the priestess who locked them away, who also bears a strong resemblance to his friend Mayuko.
    • Shigure, Ushio's father, does this in episode 7 when he's asked by Ushio about his mother not being dead as he was led to believe, but still alive.
  • Name and Name: The two titular characters are also the name of this show.
  • Near Villain Victory: Ironically happens towards the end, since Hakumen is incapacitated until the climax. Everyone has drastically underestimated Hakumen's power - even considering their massive trepidation of it! - and in quick succession, Ushio's loved ones seem to be killed, the Beast Spear broken in one blow, the entire East and West youkai alliance are seemingly destroyed, the JSDF's anti-Hakumen weapons are crushed, the hourikisi sect's ultimate attack is wasted, the people of Japan are dead as their cities burn, Japan is about to sink into the sea but a typhoon prevents any escape, and Tora is bleeding in the massive jaws of Hakumen... and Hakumen is only just getting started.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Ushio's curiosity gets the better of him after he stumbles on a secret passage, and runs into Tora. Though he doesn't free the demon initially, Tora's aura attracts nearby demons which then forces Ushio to release him in order to deal with the new threat emerging.
    • The old man in episode 4 warns some construction workers not to remove a rock from their site. When they remove it anyway, some demons who were sealed in there are freed, and they eat the workers.
  • Nightmare Face: Guren likes to watch.
    • Tora's default expression is basically Chernabog from the end of Fantasia... with fur.
  • Noble Demon: Tora likes to emphasize that he is a mean monster who is only hanging out with Ushio to eat Ushio. He is not fooling anyone.
  • Not Brainwashed: Nagare.
  • Not So Different: Ushio says this to Juurou in episode 9 when he relates a story of how a jungle gym he used to love was torn down due to safety after a child was hurt falling from it. He then apologizes to him for the actions that humans have done against them, forcing them to move repeatedly, and being helpless to do anything about it.
  • Off Model: Tora, all the time. Probably intentional, since he's an youkai.
    • Notably, his ears disappeared... or at least are hidden now by his hair, as they were not before.
  • Off with His Head!: Juurou kills many humans this way in episode 9 after going on a rampage.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Tora after seeing Ushio channel the power of the spear when he's first released and attacks the latter.
    • Ushio's father in episode 3 after he finds out that someone entered the basement and took the spear. This after jokingly claiming that Ushio was carrying it moments earlier at breakfast.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
    • Ushio accidentally invokes this trope when he tells Tora to save Asako and Mayuko from the Rock Eater. Tora doesn't seem to like it when Ushio says he won't be able to eat him after all, and inadvertently helps him to defeat the creature.
    • Tora saves Ushio from the demon in the painting in episode 3 solely because he wants to eat him. He even gets mad because Ushio always seems okay getting eaten by other demons. But when he tries to do it, Ushio beats him up.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Ushio.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: And how!
  • Overprotective Dad: Reiko's father, who was driven mad due to his wife leaving him for one of his students. Shortly after he dies his spirit turns into a demon which haunts her and prevents any boy from getting too close to her. At least until Ushio and Tora put a stop to it.
  • Playing Pictionary: Ushio's drawings are so terrible that people can hardly figure out what they are supposed to be. One guy thought Ushio's painting of a house with a tree was a fallen Tokyo Tower. Only Asako and Mayuko know what Ushio's drawings are supposed to be.
  • Power at a Price:
    • The Beast Spear bestows great strength and power, but at the cost of the user's soul... Potentially turning him into a youkai as well.
    • The spear itself was made at the cost of two human lives - one for the blade, and one for the shaft.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Beast Spear might count.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Ushio's hair grows very long any time he's channeling the power of the spear.
  • The Power of Hate: A running theme later in the storyline. Spoilers abound! Hatred birthed Hakumen's physical form from pre-youkai Tora; hatred powers the Beast Spear (along with souls); hatred turns wielders of the Spear into Tora-type Azafuse youkai; hatred for Hakumen eventually turns Azafuse into Hakumens themselves(!); and hatred for Hakumen keeps Hakumen existing no matter how injured it gets.
  • Prehensile Hair: Tora's can be used to grapple and even catch bullets mid-flight. Plus, he's often drawn with hair floating around looking totally Awesome. Plenty other youkai use hair as limbs (since they're often lacking actual limbs) and slashing weapons.
  • Razor Wind: The Kamaitachi Siblings
  • Redemption Equals Death: After Juurou realizes the error of his ways and Ushio apologizes for the pain he had to suffer because of humans, Juurou deliberately lets the Beast Spear kill him.
  • Rescue Romance: Mayuko develops feelings for Tora after he saves her from youkai several times.
  • Reverse Psychology: Ushio uses this on Tora to get him to help land the plane after its rear wheels are unable to deploy. He tells Tora he's scared that he might die, prompting Tora to laugh at him. He then says he doesn't fault Tora for not being able to lift a plane up, causing him to do exactly that. Fortunately with his help, they manage to land.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Tora cannot be seen by normal people." Unless he's hit by the Beast Spear.
    • Ushio and Tora during the more comedic sections often butting heads with each other, usually with the latter trying to eat or kill him. However, in episode 7, Tora settles for just eating the sausage that Ushio was planning to. Which then also leads into them fighting with each other.
    • Ushio's father is often seen early on leaving on a whim, leaving him alone for the most part, and often in a comical fashion.
  • The Scapegoat: Ushio immediately assumes that the workers killed at the construction site in episode 4 was Tora's doing, as a news reporter mentioned what's left of them appear to have been attacked by wild dogs.
  • Scars Are Forever: Used twice in episode 5:
    • Played straight with Hyou's scar along his face was as a result of getting attacked by the monster that killed his wife and daughter.
    • Averted with Ushio, who gets a similar scar from one of Tora's attacks earlier in the episode. Though he mentions that it would eventually heal and go away, said scar is still on his face when he goes to school, and is commented on by some of his Mayuko and Asako.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Ushio's father really drags his feet on explaining to Ushio more about his mother. He then has a duel with Tora in order to kill or banish him. Ushio manages to stop their fighting when he uses the Beast Spear to break up their fight. Then it turns out they were just having a friendly sparring match to show off to some of Shigure's higher ups that Ushio was competent enough with the spear, and that Tora posed no threat to humans. Unfortunately they don't care, and attack Tora anyway, while attempting to take the spear away from Ushio.
    • Done on Ushio in episode 9 to test if he was really the wielder of the Beast Spear. As he's about to kill the youkai, Tora has to point out that he was being tested, not attacked.
  • Single Specimen Species: Seemingly played straight but then averted with Tora, who is shown to be merely the Monster Progenitor of a whole slew of youkai with similar shape and powers, all spawned by the Beast Spear consuming the soul of the user.
  • The Stoic: Hyou turned from loving father to merciless hunter of the supernatural because a youkai killed his wife and daughter. How does he respond when a shapeshifting youkai reads his heart and takes the form of his wife and daughter? He picks up his daughter tenderly and then stabs her through the heart with a blade, followed by his wife in the forehead. "If you had to, would you kill your mother or father? I would."
  • Suicide by Cop: Even after Ushio offers him a second chance, Juurou attacks him anyway, and lets the Beast Spear kill him when it automatically moves to protect Ushio. He tells Ushio this is for the best and he can die satisfied since he only wanted a human to understand his pain and apologize.
  • Supporting Harem: Ushio earns the affections of several girls throughout the series, but none of them can compete with his Tsundere childhood friend Asako. The other girls know this and are fine with it.
  • Survivor Guilt: A Ghost Ship turned out to be still anchored (har) to this world because the one man who escaped its sinking failed to get an SOS out in time, and ever since he'd wondered if only he hadn't tried to escape earlier, he could have saved them. He was able to relive the sinking and send out the SOS, letting the ship go free.
  • Swallowed Whole: In Episode 6, Tora is asked to get rid of a sea monster named Ayakashi, but ends up getting swallowed by it. Later, the same monster swallows Asako and Tatsuya, boat and all.
  • Taken for Granite: The Rock Eater does this to its victims.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Well it's a spear stab, but Reiko jumps in front of Ushio's spear as he prepares to stab her father, whose spirit turned into a demon. Fortunately it goes right through her and hits the cursed painting. Tora explains that the spear was designed to only hurt demons, so she's perfectly fine.
    • Done again in episode 5 against a multi-knife attack, this time with Ushio intercepting the attack for a nearly beaten Tora against Hyou.
  • Taking You with Me: During the finale of the Lost Gedou storyline, Ushio lets the Lost Gedou possess him, knowing that in doing so it won't flee or split apart like it had been doing previously, then uses every ounce of his willpower to snatch up the Beast Spear and stab himself, killing the Lost Gedou and leaving nothing but a wound that the Beast Spear's powers can easily heal.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Ushio is able to hold up a very large boulder by himself while talking to Juurou about humanity's actions causing him to seek revenge for constantly losing his home. He manages to hold it long enough for Tora, Juurou, and some construction workers to pull a heavy truck off Juurou's siblings and escape the fire from the leaking gas.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A slight variation of this is used when Ushio first bumps into Tora. The latter demands he pull the spear out, and when questioned about his newfound freedom, Tora promises to kill him. Ushio jams the spear into him some more, then leaves. And even after he frees Tora, his ability to channel the spear's immense power keeps Tora in line, as he doesn't want to spend more time impaled by that thing.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Asako and Mayuko
  • To Serve Man: Demons find humans tasty, hence why Tora is intent on eating Ushio.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Hamburgers as a substitute for human flesh for Tora.
  • Traumatic Haircut: When Ushio is completely possessed by the spear, the only way to get him back to normal is for the girls he's saved to comb his long hair, yanking huge strands of it every time.
  • Tsundere:
    • Tora is a male example.
    • Asako is a Type B towards Ushio. Lampshaded by one of the guys at their school, when they wonder why she only acts hostile towards him, but is nice to everyone else normally.
  • Tuck and Cover: Tora does this for Omamori.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • Tora does this in episode 3 after Ushio is swallowed into the painting by the demon living in it. He claims he's only doing it so he can eat Ushio later.
    • Tora unintentionally rescues Mayuko from some demonic heads that were trying to eat her in episode 4. He then defeats most of them on his own because he was mad they tried to eat her before he could, and later because they thought they stood a chance against him.
    • Tora does this again in episode 9 to prevent Juurou from finishing off Ushio. When he's questioned later about why he cares what happens to Ushio, Tora merely claims Ushio would taste better alive after Juurou disables him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The title characters are working their way to this.
  • Was Once a Man: Massive spoiler that has already been spoiled at The Chessmaster above.
  • Weirdness Censor: How the vast majority of Japan manages to forget personally witnessing or watching on TV giant, murderous youkai battling with a spear-wielding boy and his lightning-spewing flying tiger sidekick.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 7, when we first learn more about the behind-the-scenes stuff Ushio's father when he runs away from the shrine on various trips. And apparently some of the higher ups in their religious order aren't happy that Ushio managed to pull out the Beast Spear, and worse, is teaming up with Tora, rather than killing him. Ushio's father then sends him on a journey should he wish to know more about his mother.
  • Wham Line: Ushio is told one by a water spirit after he helps him defeat a sea monster. He wonders if Ushio was the son of this lady whom all youkai hate, and implies that she's still alive, despite what Ushio was told by his father that she was dead.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ushio calls his dad out on this when he fights with Tora, wondering what the whole point of it was. It turns out to be a Secret Test of Character, and Shigure merely wanted to test Tora's abilities despite the ferocity of the fight.
  • Windows of the Soul: Literally with wielders of the Beast Spear. Their soul is gradually consumed until it is drained completely, and the mark preceding final transformation into a Tora type youkai is the eyes and pupils 'shattering' to become pupil-less.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Ushio suffers this from time to time, usually because he's still new to fighting demons and getting used to his newfound powers. Fortunately Tora is usually around to help, whether unintentionally, or because he feels he's The Only One Allowed to Defeat You towards Ushio, and doesn't want some random demon eating him first.
    • Tora suffers this from Hyou in episode 5. Though he puts up a fierce fight, Hyou still seems to have the upper hand even after a day and night of fighting. Were it not for Ushio begging him to spare Tora because he wasn't the beast that killed Hyou's wife and child, Tora likely would have died there.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Hyou lost his wife and five year old girl to a monster some 15 years before the story started. During that time, he became a Badass Preacher to hunt that creature down and destroy it. As a result of this Freudian Excuse, if he sees that a child was killed, hurt, or even simply threatened enough that they scream in fear, he doesn't hesitate to kill whoever's responsible for doing that to the kid, whether their monster or even human.
  • You Are Not Alone: Reiko tries to kill herself and let her father take her spirit because she thinks she has no choice since her father won't let anyone get close to her. Ushio then tells her she doesn't have to do that since he, her childhood friend Kenichi, Asako and many other people want her to live on and be happy with them. This words give Reiko the resolve to live on regardless of her father's wishes.
  • Youkai: Of many varieties, including a European-style vampire.

Alternative Title(s):

Ushio And Tora