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The number 108 is a significant number in the Dharmic religions, like Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. It represents the number of temptations that humans face, which tie them to the Wheel of samsara. There are many religious elements related to this number — a bell is rung 108 times to bring in the New Year in Japan. It is the number of beads on a Buddhist o-juzu or rosary. A classic pilgrimage in Japan visits 108 temples. Also, it's 2 to the second power times 3 to the third power — obviously important.note  Doubled, it becomes 216, which is "6 by 6 by 6".

This number crops up frequently in anime, video games, and other media produced in Japan. Like the numbers 13 or 7 for Western culture, it is ascribed a mystical significance far outside the original definitions. It has no readily comparable analogue to a modern Western viewer, however, though lots of similarities with the Medieval or Renaissance use of the number 9, which was considered perfect, the trinity of trinities, square of the first "real" prime (2 didn't count, sometimes, because it is even), etc.

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Compare Four Is Death and its Western equivalent, the Number of the Beast; however, note that the number 108 is not always used in a negative sense as these other two examples generally are.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Naruto series the 108th episode(roughly Chapter 175 of the manga), titled as "Invisible Crack" Sasuke starts to completely break his bonds with Konoha and Naruto. With this episode the saga of the hunt after Sasuke begins and it brings mortal danger to nearly all of the named characters of Naruto's age group while fighting to bring Sasuke back, including Naruto himself whilst fighting Sasuke.
  • At 13 minutes and 21 seconds into the 24th episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Gimmy exclaimed that 108 units of the creepy Buddhism inspired Anti-Spiral ships were destroyed. In addition, 13 minutes and 21 seconds totals up to 801 seconds, the reverse of 108. Right when he mentions this, everything starts going straight to hell as the enemy suddenly launches a massive counter assault.
  • Bleach uses the motif several times.
    • The manga had a Back Story arc with chapters numbered in negative numbers, starting with -108. While there weren't actually 108 flashback chapters, side chapters that take place before the start of the story receive a negative chapter number based on how long ago they were (and since the arc took place a century ago, it's natural that the number would be hgh).
    • In Hueco Mundo, Uryu fights the Arrancar Iceringer, who can shoot up to 108 shots.
    • In one of the first chapters Rukia tells Ichigo that the fake soul she's installed in his body was designed by 108 shinigami scientists. Too bad she grabbed the wrong package...
    • Anime episode #214. In the fake origin story for Kon's being turned into Karakura-Riser, it was stated that he was an alien turned into a hero of justice by "Professor" Urahara. He could only return to his normal form by destroying the 108 hollows that killed Professor Urahara's daughter.
  • The Triad organisation in Crying Freeman refer to themselves as The 108 Dragons.
  • In Super Pig, Karin has to collect 108 pearls in order to become any superheroine she wants. However, due to her Shapeshifter Mode Lock as Buurin after her classmates find out her secret, she uses it to turn human again instead.
  • Ranma ½:
    • When Shampoo is captured by the Ghost Cat, Ranma has until a bell is rung 108 times before a curse takes effect.
    • In another arc, Ukyō is doing training for her okonomiyaki martial arts that requires making 108 okonomiyaki a day (or it might have just been 108 total).
  • In the Angel Sanctuary manga, when Yue Kato is explaining his Dark and Troubled Past, he states that "108 bells would not be enough to cleanse my soul".
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the Marduk Institute is a coalition of 108 companies — all dummy corporations owned indirectly by SEELE and NERV.
  • In the Halloween special episode of Comic Party Revolution, the characters explore a near-abandoned old school building. One of the characters breaks out a book listing 108 ways to deal with scary situations.
  • Shaman King has a magic rosary called The 1080, because it contains 1080 beads. Also, the Nakaoni ("Medium demon") is formed by 108 onis, and the Oh-oni ("Big demon") is formed by 1080.
  • In Code Geass The Emperor of Britannia has 108 wives.
    • In the episode "Love Attack!", Sayoko sets Lelouch up with 108 girls for dates while standing in for him, under the belief that being a manwhore is Lelouch's normal behaviour. It's not.
  • Zoro from One Piece has an attack called 108 Pondo Hou. It translates to "108 Pound Cannon", but with the kanji used, it can mean "108 Phoenixes of Passion and Desire". This and several other attacks with similar names are ironic as he is an atheist.
    • The fallen monk Urouge has a bounty of 108,000,000 Berries at the time of his introduction.
  • The Death Note manga was deliberately paced so as to have 108 chapters, which has led to some fan complaints about the resultant slow pace of the second arc.
    • Similarly, Fullmetal Alchemist ended at chapter 108, but it was longer overall because each chapter is about twice as long as a chapter of Death Note (since FMA's chapters are published monthly, rather than weekly).
  • In the final episode of Kamichu!, the goddess Yurie draws a temple fortune and gets number 108. In the spirit of the series, though, it turns out to be a pretty average fortune.
  • In Devil Hunter Yohko, Yohko is the 108th devil hunter.
  • Soul Eater, chapter 12. Soul placed 108th in the class on the exam.
    • Chapter 108 is when we find out Asura and Death the Kid are brothers.
  • Get Backers' Kuroudou Akabane wields 108 scalpels as his weapon.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, Gin Ishida has invented 108 variations of his Hadokyuu tennis shot.
  • In the 21st episode of Ouran High School Host Club, Haruhi gives her class representative, who is afraid of "dark places, horror movies, ghost storytelling, getting scared from behind, and commercials for horror movies" a book entitled "108 Ways to Get Through Scary Situations".
  • In Sekirei's elimination contest, there are 108 combatants.
  • In Tokkô, there are 108 Phantoms, each of whom contains a piece of the magic box the protagonists need to reassemble in order to close the gate to hell.
  • In D.Gray-Man, there were originally 109 instances of Innocence (before the Millennium Earl started destroying them). Since one of these is the Great Heart, this leaves 108 regular Innocences.
  • Faeries Landing is about a high schooler named Ryang Jegal, who is destined to have 108 doomed relationships.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, the Ground Force unit that Major Genya Nakajima commands, which his daughter Ginga serves in (as did Hayate for some time), is Battalion 108.
  • Mokona from Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- claims to have 108 secret techniques. The real-life Mokona (one of the four CLAMP members) also claims this, apparently.
  • In Corpse Princess, the amount of corpses that Makina must kill is 108. Akasha uses 108 tortured souls to power his unholy zadan technique.
  • Virgo Shaka of Saint Seiya keeps a Buddhist rosary with 108 beads. Every time one of Hades' (108) Specters is killed, one of the beads goes dark. He terrorizes the battalion of Specters invading the House of Virgo by showing them how few beads remain.
  • In Ah My Buddha!!, Ikkou rings the shrine bell 108 times for New Years in episode 12.
  • Ninja Nonsense has a couple of 108 jokes:
    • In the baseball episode, Onsokumaru splits the ball into a bunch of copies to make it impossible to catch, but Miyabi does the same with her glove and gets them all.
      Umpire: 108 strikes! That finishes up four games!
      Onsokumaru: As many strikes as worldly desires?!
    (Yes, it actually takes 108 outs to finish four games. These are not smart characters.)
    • In another episode, when Kaede's mom tells Onsokumaru to be careful of the knife she's holding, he says "Hey, hey, Paula. I'm the hundred and eighth president; your comments don't mean anything to me." No, her name's not Paula.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, second season episode 22, the number of units A-laws use to take on Celestial Being equals 108.
  • The space pirate guild which Hazanko rules (and to which the Anten Seven belong) in Outlaw Star is named The 108 Stars.
  • Hayato Furinji of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is said to have invented this many techniques.
  • In Fist of the North Star, there are 108 schools of Nanto Seiken, although almost all of the branches outside the Nanto Roku Seiken (the Six Sacred Fists) are never named in the manga with the exception of the Golan Colonel's Silent Fist, the Harn Brothers' Twin Hawk Fist and the Twin Slice Fist practiced by two of Thouzer's minions. Many of the later Gaiden spin-offs showed some of the other branches as well.
  • In Muhyo and Roji Ebisu attempts do to "Maneuver 108", which involves surrounding the scene of a haunting with a "barrier" of spiritual-energy infused "needles". Unfortunately he runs out of energy before he can finish the barrier and decides to set it off anyway. At first it seems to work but it soon fails, causing Ebisu to be fired.
  • In the beginning of the Kyoto Field Trip arc of Mahou Sensei Negima!, onmyou gods shaped as frogs attack the class while traveling to Kyoto via bullet train. According to Fei Ku, the students round up 108 of the little buggers.
    • In Negi's second fight with Evangeline he has 108 secret tools of the mage.
  • Touhou manga spin-off Inaba of the Moon, Inaba of the Earth once had a chapter where Reisen needed to borrow a book from Patchoulli for her master. Much to her horror, the "book" was actually comprised of 72 Heaven volumes and 36 Earth volumes, totalling to a whopping 108 volumes that Reisen needed to carry all the way back home.
  • In chapter 51 of the Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei manga, the close of the chapter features a picture of Ikkyu taken from his elementary school's alumni association. It's indicated that it is from the 108th anniversary of the school.
  • The crew from Space Dandy were stuck totally unaware in a "Groundhog Day" Loop for 108 days before The Narrator got fed up and told them.
  • In Digimon Xros Wars, there are 108 Zones in the digital world.
  • Rosario + Vampire Season II has our hero Tsukune undergoing an emergency power-upgrade that involves 109 needles. He's able to handle 108 of them.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Dende is the 108th son of the Eldest Namek, and he ends up becoming the God of Earth.
  • The Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode, "Have the 108 Bells Rung?" which takes place at a major New Year's Eve celebration; the bell ringing actually plays a role in Lupin's scheme.
  • In the anime of The World God Only Knows (second season, episode 3), the school baseball team loses spectacularly; the other team scores 108 points in only a few innings. Which is probably impossible in an amateur league, but maybe their sheer Hot Bloodedness bent the rules?
  • Togari is a manga, where a guy can escape hell if he catches 108 crimes in 108 days.
  • In As the Gods Will, 108 cubes appear in Japan where the "winners" of bizarre, game-themed school massacres are being held. After the survivors of the battle inside the cubes are released there's a rumor that visiting all 108 cubes will grant good luck, a shout-out to the 88 temple pilgrimage. It's later revealed that the eventual winner of the world-wide slaughter will become a god, according to the insane naked guy who's apparently running the show, at least in Japan.
  • In A Certain Scientific Railgun, when Kuroko Shirai hears a rumor that Mikoto Misaka may have clones running around, she fantasizes about getting a harem of 108 Misaka clones. The clones actually exist, but Mikoto is careful not to let Kuroko know.
  • In High School Dx D, Rias claims to have 108 magical ball moves in tennis.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, while fantasizing about things to wish for, Sayaka mentions the "mankanzenseki," a famously extravagant banquet with (at least) 108 different dishes. The English-translated version is just "a 108-course banquet."
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, it is revealed that Elizabeth has been cursed to die horrible deaths and be reincarnated after each one. The current Elizabeth we know is incarnation #107. The next one would be #108.
  • In Gintama, Umibozu met his wife on a planet inhabited by Orochi, a giant 108 headed hydra.

    Fan Works 
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero Tsuruya will be the 108th family head when she assumes that position.
  • In Fair Vote the protagonist uses 108 phurba ritual daggers instead of chalk to make his summoning circles.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic I Am Going To Save And/Or Destroy Equestria! a ritual that can bring someone back to life requires 108 virgin mares to be present to be performed. One character asks what is so special about that number, and the main character lists a bunch of reasons why 108 is significant.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers the amount of Tears in the IK arc purposely added up to 108 to match Spiritomb, a Pokémon fully built around the concept of 108 in Buddhist mythology.
  • In Out of the Corner of the Eye, it's stated that 108 copies were made of the Necronomicon during the Renaissance era. More have been made since, but are apparently of poorer quality than the original 108.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Annie's opening narration in Bull Durham: "There are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball." Annie's confusing a 59-bead Catholic rosary with a 108-bead Buddhist rosary, but she respects the number's cosmic significance nonetheless.
  • Water: Kalyani tells Chuiya to pray to Krishna 108 times to leave the ashram. When Chuiya admits she can't count past ten, Kalyani gives her a rosary with 108 beads on it.
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    Literature 
  • The classic Chinese novel Water Margin describes the rise of 108 heroes who overthrow a corrupt government. Some Westerners may be more familiar with a loose adaptation of the novel — the video game series Suikoden.
  • In the Chinese fairy tale Journey to the West, Sun Wukong (who becomes Son Goku in the Japanese translation; yes, that's based on it), can travel 108,000 li (54,000 km by the modern definition, or about four-fifths that by the one in use at the time) in one somersault. This has led to "108,000 li" being a common aphorism for long distances.
  • The killer in Ryu Murakami's novel In the Miso Soup basically keeps the protagonist alive because he wants the guy to show him the best spot in town to hear the Japanese New Year bells, and because he wants to learn from him about the 108 parts of Bonnō ("bad instincts") that are supposed to be cleared up by listening to them. He claims to be curious about whether listening to the bells can absolve him of his own Bonnō.
  • In Eliezer Yudkowsky's Failed Utopia #4-2, the new god was carelessly programmed to only respect 107 human desires.
  • In 9 Dragons, Bosch discovers that the murdered Chinese convenience store owner was making payoffs to the Triads in increments of $216—two times 108. Fellow detective David Chu explains to him the significance of 108 in the founding of the Triads.
  • In The Oracle Year, by Charles Soule, the protagonist has a dream in which he receives 108 foretellings of the future. (He has said in an interview that he did indeed choose that number for the Buddhist connection.)
  • The Machineries of Empire: The sociopathic Immortal Ruler Kujen's fleet in Revenant Gun, which he intends to massacre in a deliberate Pyrrhic Victory to sustain his regime, comprises 108 voidmoths.

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 
  • "108" by Sky Ferreira, which was, according to Word of God, inspired by vampires.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Hinduism: 108 is just as important in Hinduism as it is in Buddhism. Some of the various uses of it are shown below.
    • The Sudarshana Chakra, the weapon of Vishnu, and in particular, his avatar Krishna, is a serrated throwing disc with 108 serrations, making this Older Than Feudalism.
    • The Gayatri Mantra is traditionally chanted 108 times in prayer. In auspicious occasions, it goes up to 1008.
    • It is considered to be auspicious to chant 108 or 1008 of Vishnu or Shiva's many names.
    • According to the mythology, 108 devas and asuras churned the Ocean Of Milk.
  • Islam: Sufis regard this number highly, because in Sufism one of the most significant names of Allah is al-Haqq, 'the Truth' or 'the Real': Haqq is composed of the Arabic letters ha' (numerical value 8 in gematria) and qaf (numerical value 100).

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Bliss Stage, your character must make an exit either by dying for real at 7 Trauma... or in a slightly less deadly manner when you go over 108 points of Bliss. This is a deliberate use of the trope: Word of God says it's a deliberate reference to the 108 temptations. He also intended to print only 108 copies of Ignition Stage, for the same reason.
  • Your average Mahjong set will have 108 suited tiles, with the rest being Honor or flower tiles. This is a result of each of the 3 suits of 9 tiles being replicated so that there's 4 of each. (3* 9* 4 = 108).
  • Dungeons & Dragons module WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. The guardian daemon will pursue intruders for 108 feet before returning to its room.
  • North Pole Publications' generic RPG adventure The Serpent Islands. The second largest island was once the site of an evil monastery. 23 years ago an earthquake submerged the island, taking 108 monks to their doom.
  • In Tenra Bansho Zero, if your Karma Meter goes above 108, you become an asura.

    Video Games 
  • As mentioned above, Suikoden, loosely based on the classic Chinese novel Water Margin. Each game in the series contains 108 recruitable characters, counting the hero but not counting any Guest Star Party Members. Having all 108 in Suikoden leads to someone being able to survive certain death, or recovering from it somehow.
  • Pokémon:
    • Spiritomb is listed as number 108 in the Sinnoh Pokédex, weighs 108 kg, is said to have been formed by 108 spirits, and its base Defense and Special Defense are both 108.
    • In Ruby and Sapphire, the Ghost Ship S.S. Cactus is found on Route 108. In the remakes, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Spiritomb is found in the S.S. Cactus's replacement, Sea Mauville, still on Route 108.
    • In Pokémon GO, the Field Research for Spiritomb has 108 all over — whether in 10s, 8s, or the full number.
  • In Ōkami, the extremely difficult to obtain string of beads is made up of 100 stray beads and 8 power orbs. Given the large amounts of Japanese symbolism in the game, this is unsurprising. Also, the bell on Orochi's back is said to ring 108 times, once for each desire (temptation?) of that year's human sacrifice.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, the accessory "108 Beads" would prevent most, but not all, status effects. This, unlike most, is less a reference and more a direct mention — the "108 Beads" accessory is implied heavily to be the aforementioned Buddhist o-juzu.
  • In Animal Crossing: City Folk, after the New Year's Countdown, Peppy villagers will tell you it is good luck to count 108 fireworks.
  • Muramasa: The Demon Blade has 108 collectible swords. Quite appropriate to the plot and bosses, also. And King Enma, the Lord of Hell, is stated to have 108 children, with Rajyaki being the youngest.
  • In the second Ace Attorney game, Phoenix can inspect an ancient tapestry in the Japanese-style village of Kurain, which has a list of 108 ways to make money. Subverted, though. He thinks of two more and they are immediately put on track to be added.
  • In Viewtiful Joe 2, one stage has Joe (or Sylvia) hitting a giant bell 108 times in order to continue on (though knocking an enemy into the bell counts as 10 rings).
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, it was said that there were 108 intelligent species in the world, including humans and dragons. However, all but six are extinct by the time the game begins. Furthermore, the Moon Child is said to arise every 108 years, while Rose is said to have saved the world from the Moon Child's emigration to the Virage Embryo a total of 107 times, failing on the 108th.
  • The Elder Scrolls uses it prominently with several variations. To note:
    • 108 itself - A number commonly associated with Akatosh, the chief deity of the Nine Divines pantheon.
    • 1008 - the very first and longest lasting Dragon Break, a type Time Crash with Cosmic Retcon like effects associated with the aforementioned Akatosh, lasted precisely 1008 years. How could they tell how much time passed despite time being non-linear during that period? They used the cycles of Nirn's two moons, which are said to be the "flesh divinity" (i.e. the sundered, rotting corpse) of the dead creator god and was thus unaffected, to tell how much time had passed.
    • 100008 - See also "O Aka! I beg you one hundred thousand and eight times!" from the Alduddaggas.
  • Chapter 4 of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World features an NPC who boasts that the Lezareno Company's life insurance covers you to the age of 108 (More half-elf discrimination, of course, as they live much longer).
  • In Knights in the Nightmare, Capehornus was exiled from his people one hundred and eight days before the death of Willimgard's predecessor.
  • In Shadow Hearts: Covenant, the Big Bad explicitly say that The Very Definitely Final Dungeon will toll the bell a 108 times before unleashing its power. Yuri and co. will always get there in time, even after exiting to do some sidequests for Infinity Plus One Weapons and Armours.
  • In Disgaea Infinite, Laharl boasts of the 108 cruel punishments he gives to disobedient Prinnies.
  • The X-rated Visual Novel Zanjibaru is set in an alternate future Japan. The year in which the game is set is 2033 CE (or the 108th year of the Showa Era).
  • Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock has unlockable venues, characters, instruments, cheats, galleries, and accessories for every rank up to 108, with the last one being the Neversoft Eyeball.
  • There are 108 half-human, half-machine hybrids loose in the world as of the endgame of Binary Domain.
  • In Great Mahou Daisakusen, there are 108 treasures to collect.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei II, the Final Boss, God / YHVH, is level 108 in a game where the level cap for your demons and all other enemies in the game is 99.
  • Fire Emblem Jugdral: Genealogy of the Holy War begins in the 108th year of the Kingdom of Grandbell.
  • In Team Fortress 2, arrows from the Huntsman will deal 1080 damage to the Merasmus Halloween raid boss when fully charged.
  • Granblue Fantasy: Per Japanese holiday tradition, the Joya Bell must be rung a hundred and eight times to purify it. In its story boss battle, the Joya has exactly 108 HP, but the player can only deal 1 Damage per strike. Fortunately, the Zodiacs have numerous skills that allow the characters to strike multiple times in a single turn.
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, Mika seeks to break her father's record for scaring people so that he'll buy her ice cream. Since her father scared 107 people, Mika will thus have to scare 108 to surpass him.
  • Given its Hindu and Buddhist influences, 108 shows up as an Arc Number in Indivisible:
    • The final boss has 108 health bars.
    • There are 108 collectible ringsels, though only 101 are needed for all upgrades.
    • Ajna is the 108th person to annoy Angwu at the Tower of Wisdom.
    • The achievement "A Taste of Power" requires the player to use the Iddhi Meter in battle 108 times.
    • The achievement "A Sutra of Pain" requires the player to reach a 108 combo.
    • The level cap is 108, although it can be comfortably completed around 50.
    • The achievement "Indr's Pride" requires the player to perform 108 Clean Blocks.
    • The game's release date was October 8th (10-8).

    Webcomics 
  • The 2013-14 big arc of Roommates is just 107 pages long, but the pdf collection of it adds the next regular page ending up with 108 story pages. It's a story about many things including temptations and how Evil Is Easy.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
    • On Page 4-78 we are told this about the new King of All Creation:
      "He will be flanked by a white and a black flame. His coming will be followed by 108 burning stars."
    • The Pursuers are an unaffiliated mob of 108 Guild mercenaries and independent warriors hunting the Magus Gate lodged in Allison's head. Word of God is that they gain new members at roughly the same rate as they lose them.

    Web Original 
  • The video game company Irem is known for posting strange April Fools' Day pranks on its website. In 2001, their prank was the announcement of a (fake) Dating Sim known as Doki Doki Suikoden — which was supposed to have 108 different "heroine" characters.
  • The SCP Foundation has a few appearances of 108.
    • The Global Occult Coalition has 108 member organisations, and is overseen by a secret council of 108 members.
    • Dr. Clef's version of SCP-001, The Gate Guardian, is an angel with a sword guarding the Garden of Eden. Observers have described it as having up to 108 wings.
    • SCP-065 ("Destroyed Organic Catalyst") is a spherical area that causes bizarre effects in living tissue. When it was originally created it had a radius of 108 meters.
    • SCP-2746 ("████ is dead."). Document N-2746-1 says that traitors against the Maker are to be whipped, starved and crucified for 108 cycles (presumably a cycle was a unit of time such as a year).
    • SCP-2814 ("Heretic of the Torch"). The Chinese occultist group "Children of the Torch" performed 108 Human Sacrifices in an attempt to create a firestorm, the form of their deity the Radiant Father.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Wat Thamkrabok is a Buddhist monastery in Thailand that has gained a reputation for being the toughest rehab center in the world. One key aspect of their treatment, besides Buddhist meditations and spartan living, is a daily detox via Gargle Blaster-induced vomiting. The recipe is a closely held secret, but all that is known about it is that it was revealed to the founder in a dream and it consists of 108 herbal ingredients.


Alternative Title(s): One Hundred Eight, One Hundred And Eight

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