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Anime / Katana Maidens

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Cutest sword-fighters of all time.
Japan is constantly threatened by supernatural creatures called "aradama". To combat them, the government has authorized a special unit composed of sword-wielding shrine maidens called "Toji", who are trained in five special girl-only schools throughout the country. Kanami Etou and her friend Mai Yanase are chosen to represent their school in a sword-fighting tournament, in which the winner will be allowed to join the most elite of Toji.

Katana Maidens (刀使ノ巫女, "Toji No Miko") is an original anime series produced by Studio Gokumi, premiering on January 5, 2018 and will run for two cours. A simuldub by Funimation has been confirmed. Crunchyroll is also streaming the show, which can be viewed here worldwide outside of Asia.

On January 2019, a new television anime series Mini Toji will premiere following Super-Deformed versions of the characters from the anime in a Slice of Life format. Toji no Miko: Kizamishi Issen no Tomoshibi is a smartphone game.

Katana Maidens contains examples of:

     Anime (2018) 
  • The Ace:
    • Yukari Origami is the most powerful and respected of the Toji.
    • Kanami is head and shoulders above everyone else at swordfighting, even the elite guard.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Yukari's family stands at the top of the Toji organization because she's the strongest.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Mai is able to figure out where Kanami and Hiyori are when she receives a call from her friend based on background noise she hears while Kanami was calling. She tracks them down, but ultimately lets them go. Later she is also able to figure out where Sayaka was calling from, even though the latter doesn't really say anything. A convenience store clerk can be heard thanking a customer as they have a silent chat, leading her to search around the local stores to find Sayaka hiding behind one of them.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: All of the six main characters do this with their respective partners in Episode 11: Kanami with Hiyori, Mai with Sayaka, and Kaoru with Ellen.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Sayaka starts to question what her purpose in life is when Kanami, and especially Mai, shows her kindness, and in the latter's case, giving her cookies, something she's never had before. Later when Yume beats Mai, Sayaka gains a brief Heroic Second Wind, not wanting to lose her newfound friend.
  • Berserk Button: Yume gets angry when she's accused of using non-human resources specifically the noro Yomi used in earlier episodes while fighting Kanami and the others, as a means to fight. As a result, she ends up doing a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and claiming that her strength is entirely her own.
  • BFS: Kaoru's okatana is almost twice as long as she is tall.
  • Big Bad: Princess Tagitsu, the aradama responsible for a massive catastrophe in Japan 20 years ago.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Yume coughs some blood up after she raids Mokusa's headquarters.
  • Body Horror: Yomi is shown to release a swarm of aradama from her blood. This is done through a noro injection. In episode 6, she takes another and has a horn-shaped aradama protruding out of her right eye.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Yukari, the best Toji of her generation, has her own personal bodyguard.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Kanami is really excited about fighting and even saves her opponent Hiyori from Yukari's personal squad simply because she hadn't fought her yet.
    • Yume is not only very enthusiastic about combat, but she hinges on Ax-Crazy in the process.
  • Book Ends: The series begins and ends with Kanami and Hiyori facing off against each other in the final match of the school tournament.
  • Brainwashed: According to Hiyori, Yukari, and by extension the Sword Administration, is secretly under the control of the aradama, which does explain why she attacked her in the first episode.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 8 and the first half of episode 9, where the girls are resting at Mokusa's headquarters to learn more about what happened with the Origami family, and get a much needed day off to enjoy a local festival. Yume then shows up and storms the village with some police.
  • Cain and Abel: The Mokusa which opposes Yukari is led by her younger sister Akane. Subverted, as Yukari is still a good person, and all the evil done in her name was actually Princess Tagitsu's doing.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: Yume claims her powers are strictly due to her own strengths. Judging by how quickly she defeats many of her opponents, that's quite the boast. At the end of episode 9 however, she coughs up some blood, hinting that said power is taking a toll on her body.
  • Childhood Friends: Kanami and Mai.
  • Clip Show: Episode 12.5, aired more or less "between" winter and spring seasons, was basically a highlight reel of the first 12 episides.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Ellen is not above throwing punches and kicks in a real fight, which she has withheld in the tournament.
  • Darkest Hour: Episode 10: Mokusa's headquarters has been compromised, the Minoseki, Osafune, and Heijou academies have been raided and their Toji are stripped of their okatanas and the remaining Mokusa members have gone into hiding due to the increased surveillance put on them. This leaves Kanami's group as the only ones capable of fighting back against Yukari's forces.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 7 focuses heavily on Mai and Sayaka, while Kanami and the others get some much needed rest.
  • Deal with the Devil: In a flashback, it's revealed that Yukari agreed to fuse with Princess Tagitsu in exchange for sparing Minato and Kagari.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Both the opening and ending themes are performed by the voice actresses of the six main characters.
  • The Dreaded: Yuakari's Elite Guard, who are some of the toughest fighters out there. Kanami and the others barely win against them in some situations, and in others they were forced to flee or a diversion helped them escape.
  • Dual Wielding: Yukari and Princess Tagitsu are notably the only characters who dual-wield okatanas.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Ellen wears one thigh-high knee-sock.
  • First-Episode Twist: Hiyori attacks Yukari, the highest of the Toji, but is forced to go on the run and Kanami agrees to help her.
  • Flash Step: Some Toji use jin'i, a technique that allows for greater speed, in their utsushi form.
  • Forever War: The aradama and the Toji have been at war with each other for over 400 years!. Justified because the noro that aradama is made of is a byproduct of the process used to forge okatana. It lead to the following sequence. Aradama exists -> People make okatanas to fight aradama -> Noro is created -> Noro forms more aradama -> Even more okatana are forged -> More noro created -> More aradamas formed.
  • Fugitive Arc: The first half of the series. Kanami and Hiyori end up on the run after Hiyori attempts to attack Yukari, head of the powerful Origami family. It comes to an end after Kanami and Hiyori defeat Yukari in Episode 12, and the second half of the series delves into the aftermath of the battle.
  • Generation Xerox: Kanami and Hiyori are following in their Mothers' footsteps as the best swordfighter and fastest jin'i, respectively.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The origins of the aradama arise from the accumulation of noro, an impurity generated from refining sacred steel used to forge the Toji's weapons. This noro was gathered together in mass quantities in an attempt to study it for the creation military equipment that bestows the Tojis' superhuman powers to normal soldiers. Gathering so much noro in one place, however, led to the formation of intelligent aradama, creating the abominations responsible for several massive disasters.
  • Happy Ending: Kanami and Hiyori return to the world of the living, but not before getting to spend some time with the spirits of their mothers in the netherworld. Meanwhile, the Toji and Sword Administration have decided to restore the old way of purifying noro and promoting peace between humans and aradama.
  • Head Pet: Nene, Kaoru's tamed aradama pet, likes to sit on her head.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After being the main antagonists in the first arc, Yukari, Maki and Suzuka all join the good guys in the second arc after Yukari is freed from Princess Tagitsu's possession of her body.
  • Hero Killer: Yume is about as close as we get to one. She doesn't actually kill anyone, but almost any of the non-named characters are usually quickly defeated by her. Sayaka and Mai are only saved because of a timely Villainous Rescue by Yukina, who came with some of her students to recover Sayaka. Had the fight of gone on any longer, she probably would've overwhelmed the two.
  • Heroic Second Wind:
    • In the opening title, Kanami gains one after she and her friends are beaten and surrounded by the Elite Guard.
    • Sayaka gains one in episode 7, when Yume defeats Mai, and she doesn't want to go back to Yukina and lose her newfound friend. Unfortunately it's not enough to defeat Yume, though fortunately Yukina arrives to stop her.
  • Hope Spot: In episode 7, Yume tracks down Sayaka shortly after Mai does. At first Sayaka was willing to head back with her, but then changes her mind. Yume then says she'll give them ten seconds to run away, and if they can avoid her, she'll pretend she never found them. However, as the girls run away, she then says that had they not of done that, she wouldn't get to chase after them and give them a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Improbably Female Cast: There are almost no male characters of any importance, aside from perhaps Ellen's grandfather.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Okatana, the swords that are used by the Toji.
  • La Résistance: Mokusa turns out to be one, when Kanami and Hiyori learn that they too aren't too fond of the Origami family and some of the suspicious research into Aradama.
  • Missing Mom: Both Kanami and Hiyori have lost their mothers.
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: the first episode starts out as a (very short) Tournament arc, but starting from the way that arc is interrupted, its turns into an on-the-run and conspiracy story.
  • One-Gender School: All of the Five Schools for the Toji are all-female.
  • One-Winged Angel: Yomi has a horn-shaped aradama protruding from her right eye after taking a noro injection. She starts commanding a larger swarm of aradama and can even stand toe-to-toe with other Toji without using utsushi. She tries harder with eight simultaneous noro injections, but then quickly collapses from the strain it imposes on her.
  • Ojou: Mai is the daughter of a rich, powerful family and Maki mentions at one point that Suzuka is as well.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Ellen, who's half-American, is blonde, busty, tall, and quite energetic.
  • Pokémon Speak: Kaoru's pet aradama, Nene, only communicates with "ne! ne!" This is also how Nene got its name.
  • Powered Armor: The Toji also have access to S Equipment, usually reserved for engaging aradama.
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: Hiyori prefers this look.
  • Redemption Demotion: Literal example with Maki and Suzuka. After Yukari is separated from Princess Tagitsu, they lose their privileges as members of the Elite Guard and are demoted to rank-and-file Toji.
  • Red Shirt Army: The Osafune girls guarding the Mokusa village. However, they were fighting against Blood Knight Yume.
  • Set Swords to "Stun": The utsushi of the Toji also protects them from lethal injuries. Doing enough damage to break one's utsushi is usually enough to leave one unable to fight without any physical injury, and is used to decide the victor in fights between Toji.
  • Spirit Advisor: Kanami gets extra training from one in her dreams. It turns out to be her own mother at age 17.
  • Super-Deformed: Mini Toji is entirely in this form.
  • Super Mode: A Toji can use utsushi, which enhances her psychical abilities.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In Episode 4, Hiyori tells Kanami they have to go their own separate ways because of their differences. Unfortunately, both of them have already been labeled as 'traitors' since the end of the first episode. As a result, it doesn't matter if they go their own way or not, they will both be hunted down regardless.
    • Kaoru's fighting style, focused on one-shotting enemies with her BFS, also leaves her with poor stamina, as she discovers in a ping-pong match.
  • Time Skip: Episode 13 takes place four months after Episode 12.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Despite also being an aradama, Nene (the creature associating with Kaoru) is not hostile and helps Kaoru with her work, serving like an Evil-Detecting Dog that helps track down hostile aradama. Episode 18 reveals that Nene was once an aradama as ferocious as the rest of its kin, only tamed after generations of purification.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kanami is a headstrong tomboy while her best friend Mai is more feminine and refined.
  • Tournament Arc: The first episode starts out as one, and several of the main characters fight each other in such fashion. However, when Kanami and Hiyori's match occurs, the tournament is abruptly stopped when Hiyori charges Yukari, and attempts to strike her down. Kanami isn't exactly sure what's going on, but she ends up helping Hiyori to escape, and the two end up going on the run after said assassination attempt.
  • Unmoving Plaid: The underworld in the final episode uses an unmoving cross-hatch shading effect. This helps differentiate the still-living Kanami and Hiyori from the spirits of their mothers, who are the residents of that world.
  • Villainous Rescue: Two interesting ones occur in episode 7. Yume defeats Sayaka and Mai, but the two are saved when Yukina shows up with several of her students. Yume seems to back down, but just before leaving, she spitefully does a sneak attack against all of Yukina's students, knocking them out in the process. By doing this, she inadvertently saves Sayaka and Mai, as Yukina is powerless to stop them from leaving by herself, especially while recovering from the shock when Sayaka says she wants to choose her own path instead of being her doll doing as she's told.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Kanami and the others are forced to flee Mokusa's headquarters after Yume shows up with some police, who arrest everyone they can. To make things worse, the cops are told that the Toji residing in that town are actually Aradama agents.
  • What Is This Feeling?: Sayaka at first seems to be content being told what to do. However, Kanami easily defeats her, saying that she could never hit anything with such a soulless sword. When Mai befriends her later, and protects her against Yume, Sayaka starts having odd but warm feelings inside herself she's never experienced before, and nearly defeats Yume when she declares that she doesn't want to be taken back to Yukina.
  • World of Action Girls: The Toji, obviously.

     Kizamishi Issen no Tomoshibi 
  • Evil Is Petty: Maki implies she's going to murder Mihono and Chie for the previous ordeal in saving Kanami and Hiyori.
  • Gaiden Game: The game focuses on Mihono and her friends.
  • P.O.V. Sequel: Taking place during the events of the anime but from the perspective of Mihono.
  • Spanner in the Works: Mihono and her friends were actually the reason the main cast manages to elude Yukari's forces.

     Mini Toji 
  • A-Cup Angst: Hiyori and Kiyoka are desperate to get their breasts big.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Mirja analyses that a majority of the customers are just here to see girls cooking.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kaoru and Nene.
  • Cant Hold Her Liquor: Maki and Suzuka.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Kaoru's sleep-deprived condition in Episode 13 is explained.
    • Hiyori informs Kanami and the others that she'll be leaving Heijou, hence her current status in Episode 13.
  • Here We Go Again!: Everyone got Mai back to her senses but after she mistakes Sayaka's response about Chie being an older sister figure, it returns.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Mirja stalks the main cast in hopes to learn ways to improve herself and her team.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kofuki's prank backfires and has to eat stew made out of the concoction she made.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Mirja notes that the main cast are seemingly intimate with each other such as Kanami and Hiyori, Mai and Sayaka and Kaoru and Ellen with the two latter blushing that they are seen as that.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: After getting an Imagine Spot of Kanami leaving her for Hiyori albeit exaggerated, Mai is very determined to get Sayaka to stay, even if it means force feeding her cookies.
  • Put on a Bus: Mirja has Yui sent to an island.
  • Recap Episode: Episode 0, where Kanami and Mihono summarize the events of the first arc.
  • Super-Deformed: The series.
  • Take a Third Option: Played for Laughs.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Yume was once a cheerful child even after joining the Elite.
  • Wham Episode: At the end of Episode, Kanami learns that Hiyoir is leaving school.
  • Yandere: Mai became this when she feels her relationship with Sayaka starts to wane.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Hiyori and Mai are surprised that Mihono would make a coupon for Kanami so that she can have a duel with her.

Alternative Title(s): Toji No Miko