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Comic Book / Shi

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Shi is a Comic Book series written by William Tucci and released in 1994 under his own publishing, Crusade Comics. The original run lasted 12 issues but the comic book gained enough fame to be considered as one of the most famous comic book action girls of The '90s, being published under Dark Horse Comics and Avatar Press between the 90s and the Turn of the Millennium (but later coming back to Crusader Comics) and having crossovers with famous characters as Wolverine, Grifter, Hellboy and Lady Death.

The story is about Ana Ishikawa, a half-Japanese half-American woman with a vendetta: avenge his father and brother at the hands of the Yakuza leader Masahiro Arashi who killed them when she was a child. Going trained for decades for his grandfather Yoshitora, a Warrior Monk, she goes to a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Arashi and the Yakuza under the identity of "Shi" and becoming the "embodiment of death." In the end, and thanks to the strong teachings of her Catholic mother, she just let him in jail and decided not kill anymore, but keeping the "Shi" alter-ego when becomes necessary, fighting not just criminals but supernatural forces and even another "embodiment of death" like her.

Not to be confused with the French Graphic Novel of the same name made by Zidrou and Joseph Homs, the Naruto character C (known in Japan as "Shi"), nor the 2012 South Korean film of the same name (known in Western as "Poetry".)


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Shi contains examples of:

  • Action Girl
  • Action Mom: Shi's return to comic books in the 2017 Graphic Novel Shi: Return of the Warrior shows her as a single mother raising her teenage daughter Hotaru, passing 20 years since her beginnings in The Way of the Warrior.
  • Badass Normal: Only armed with her naginata/katanas and her skills trained by her Warrior Monk grandfather.
  • Big Bad: Masahiro Arashi.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Shi" (死) means "death".
  • Blade on a Stick: Shi is descended from a long line of Kyoto sohei, and often uses the naginata, their favoured weapon.
  • Crossover: Shi has crossed over with many other comics characters, such as Grifter, CyberForce's Cyblade (in a crossover that even featured appearances by Cerebus, Milk & Cheese, and Hellboy among many others), Daredevil, Wolverine and Lady Death.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Her first appearance was in the 1993 Razor Annual #1, getting enough fame to get her own series in the next year: Shi: The Way of the Warrior 12-issues miniseries.
  • Advertisement:
  • Facial Markings: As Shi, Ana paints her face as white with bright red lips as a geisha based on Tora no Shi, a Japanese woman who was a warrior in the Feudal Japan. Later, in some illustrations, she also has the "Shi" kanji drawn/tattoed uner her right eye.
  • Geisha: Her outfit is a kind of homage to her Japanese heritage, having the makeup and the haircut based on them. In some illustrations, Shi dressed as one indeed (a Stripperiffic one, of course).
  • Identical Stranger: In some illustrations Shi looks very similar than SNK character Mai Shiranui.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Shi also is shown with a katana as her main weapon, and sometimes with both of them.
  • Legacy Character: The 3-issue miniseries Shi: Tora no Shi is about the original Shi: "Tora no Shi", who was Ana's ancestor (Yuri Ishikawa) and fought against famous Japanese warriors like Miyamoto Musashi. Her look and name was used by Ana to become Shi in the present time.
    • Yuri returns in the Shi: Poisoned Paradise miniseries by Avatar Press, being part of the Christian resistance against Tokugawa Ieyasu.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Ana Ishikawa's dad is Japanese and her mother is an American Catholic.
  • The Movie: A What Could Have Been example. At the end of The '90s, it was a movie in plans, with Tia Carrere as Ana Ishikawa/Shi and Tucci writing the script. Even it had a teaser poster and this cover for the then upcoming Shi: The Series comic books, which are the only record of what would be this movie. In the end all went into Development Hell and nothing was done.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The main reason she became so famous in The '90s.
  • Old Master: Ana's grandfather Yoshitora.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ana Ishikawa's parents were killed by Masahiro Arashi, and so she takes on the name "Shi" to avenge their deaths and kill everyone who stands in her way.
  • Secret War: Between descendents of the infamous sohei warrior monks of medieval Japan.
  • Shout-Out: Tomoe, Shi's Friendly Rival uses a couple of sharp-bladed fans and has a long hair, just like Kitana.
  • Stripperific: Her common outfit is an upper red armor with a prominent cleavage, a black bikini with a little skirt, and red stockings that paired her armor.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: After capturing Arashi, Ana decided not to kill anymore, this is thanks of the strong learnings of her Catholic mother, who also was a misioner.
  • Yakuza: The ones who killed his father and brother, being Arashi his leader.
  • You Killed My Father: Arashi murdered her father and brother.


Example of: