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Arata: The Legend (アラタカンガタリ〜革神語〜, Arata Kangatari) is a shounen manga by Yuu Watase, which began serialization in 2008 (starting out in Weekly Shonen Sunday, but later moving online to Sunday Webry in 2022).

The story focuses on two teenage boys from different worlds, both named Arata, who magically trade places.

The first Arata we meet lives with his grandmother Makari and childhood friend Kotoha in a magical world where gods inhibit swords named Hayagami and let their chosen wielders, named Shou, use their special powers. Arata is the next in line to become the princess, the world's ruler. Too bad he was born a man, so he has to crossdress and hope nobody finds out, in which case he will be executed. However, during the crowning ceremony he is not only exposed, but the current princess Kikuri is assassinated and Arata gets the blame. As he tries to escape into a mystical forest, he is swallowed by trees.

The other Arata, last name Hinohara, lives in modern day Japan with his parents and younger sister Nao. We meet him on his first day of highschool, where he quickly becomes popular after catching a groper. Not long afterwards, a dedicated bully named Kadowaki, who traumatized him in middle school, transfers in and completely ruins his reputation. When Kadowaki gets even his last friend to betray him, Hinohara wishes he would just disappear, and he somehow gets swallowed by an alley.

The two Aratas then end up where the other left off, and have to solve each other's problems. By the power of the forest, nobody is able to tell the two are different people; in their eyes, they see the Arata that is native to their world.

The manga was licensed in English by Viz Media. It was initially serialized on their Shonen Sunday site before that quietly stopped updating, but Viz continued to publish the physical volumes.

A TV anime adaptation by Satelight and JM Animation aired as part of the spring 2013 season.

After a long 15-year journey, the manga's magazine serialization released it's finale on November 1, 2023. The manga's final remaster volume is scheduled to be released on December 2023.

Note: To stifle confusion for editors and readers alike, the Arata from Amawakuni is referred to as Arata, while the Japanese Arata is referred to by surname.

Arata: The Legend provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents/Parental Abandonment/Parental Neglect:
    • Kadowaki’s mother left him, and his father hits him and keeps calling him a quitter.
    • Poor, poor Nasake... He suffered a whole a lot of abuse from his father, Ameeno, both physically and emotionally. Specially when Ameeno punched Nasake and called him an annoyance and later on, he literally took out Nasake's eyes from his eye sockets with his tongue, threw him aside, and ate them when he is at his crisis moment in his demon form.
  • Accidental Pervert: In the first chapter, Arata falls off a cliff and into a hot spring where several women, including Kotoha, were bathing.
    • Also, during the Hot Springs Episode, Hinohara goes to bathe with Mikusa, since he thinks that they're both boys and there's no problem with it. Mikusa is understandably upset. Also, when Hinohara tries to leap out of the way of one of her attacks, she sees his junk, and threatens to kill him in response. Once again, Hinohara has no idea why she's acting this way because he thinks that Mikusa is a guy.
  • Adults Are Useless: The teachers in Hinohara's school do next to nothing about Kadowaki bullying and spreading vicious rumors about him.
  • The Alcatraz: Gatoya.
  • Art Initiates Life: Nagu can use his Hayagami to bring anything he draws to life. Including his dead little sister.
  • Artistic License – History: It is revealed that Kikutsune was originally a Roman citizen who grew up to be a popular musician. Judging by the popularity of his status, Watase doesn't seem to know that in ancient Rome, being a musician was regarded as a low-class job. An aristocrat or upper class man who practiced such music wouldn't be regarded well by others in the same rank (one of the reasons why Emperor Nero was disliked by the Senate, as he fancied himself as a singer and lyricist). So in this context, Kikutsune wouldn't receive any honor, glory, or even get installed to become a noble for this achievement.
  • The Atoner: Kannagi and Yataka seriously regret the parts they played in Himeou's attempted assassination. Yataka is more obvious about it, and though Kannagi would never openly apologize or ask forgiveness, he never hesitates to take responsibility and confess that he was the one who attacked the princess, especially if Arata is being attacked for his alleged crime.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Kugura finds the crossdressing Hinohara quite attractive.
    • Later on, Hinohara still finds the gender-bent Kotoha and Mikusa very attractive.
  • Author Appeal: An in-universe example, where Hinohara dresses Kotoha in clothing imagined-to-life with Sarae. It borders into cosplay fetishism, but played for laughs and oddly enough, a heartwarming moment.
  • Badass Boast:
    Oribe: Do you think me, as a Himezoku and the next successor of Himeou will be defeated so easily? Next time I see you I will use the most powerful amatsuriki and pierce your entire body! So come and get me you creep!
  • Badass Normal: Oribe, who's more than willing to take on Harunawa.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Arata wishes that he would go to a faraway world in the manga's opening chapter. Likewise, Hinohara wishes that he would disappear in his introductory chapter. The moment that latter makes his wish, both of them are fulfilled by their switch.
  • Berserk Button: Do not mock people's bonds before Hinohara... and especially, DO NOT threaten his friends. You won't like the results.
    • Do. Not. Call Ameeno, your slave. Ikisu learned this in a horrible way.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Eto to Kugura.
    • Akachi to Emisu, who wasn't aware of their blood relation.
  • Bifauxnen: Mikusa has a very boyish appearance when she's first introduced to the audience as a guy. When she's revealed to be a woman a few chapter's later, she's give a small touch of femninity, but doesn't lose her boyish appearance completely.
  • Bodyguard Crush: While more of personal medics than bodyguards, all the significant Unemezoku in the story (Kotoha and Rami) seem to be devoted to their masters (Arata and Mikusa respectively) more than the call of duty requires.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Oribe told Arata that she always felt like she was out of place her whole life. It turns out she is from Amawakuni and is born in the Hime Clan. Also, Mikusa is originally from Japan, therefore her and Oribe swapped places when they were babies.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Kanate. Turns out to be More than Mind Control.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Miyabi’s Gentle Girl towards Kadowaki’s Brooding Boy.
    • Also, Yataka and Himeou.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: According to Kannagi, Emisu was in love with Akachi, as she was unaware that they were half-siblings. Akachi cared for and looked after her as she was the only family he had left, though Kannagi states that he also had feelings for her.
  • Call-Back: In chapter 45. Kadowaki steps into Amawakuni in the exact same way as Hinohara, with the same tilted-angle shot of the capitol.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Kotoha has an unrequited love toward Arata.
  • The Chosen One: At first, Arata is made out to be this, but it's actually Hinohara who is destined for greatness in Amawakuni.
  • Close Call Hair Cut: Arata's ponytail is sliced off by Harunawa's Hayagami when the Harunawa attacks Arata during vacation.
  • Clothing Switch: Later on, Hinohara changes Kannagi and Yataka's costumes with Sarae.
  • Color Failure: Yataka after he's warned by Seo that Kikuri Himeou is closer to death than before.
  • Costume Porn: The clothes in Amawakuni are all beautifully designed and detailed in the Oriental fashion.
  • Cowardly Lion: Hinohara.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Sort of. While Kadowaki was asleep, he sensed someone near him and brashly wakes up. He sees Miyabi standing there, with the flowers she picked for him fall all over the place. She gives him a smile, bids him good morning, and introduces herself.
  • Creepy Child: Mumei.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Miyabi.
  • Dead All Along: Akachi has been dead since long before we see him for the first time, and is only 'alive' because he made a deal with his Hayagami Okoro.
  • Decoy Protagonist: This series's debut cover page on the magazine it's printed on would have you believe that the Arata from Amawakuni is the main character, but he isn't - it's Hinohara Arata, who's not even on the said cover.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Yataka crosses this after he realizes Kikuri Himeou chose her duty over him.
  • Dirty Coward: Suguru, the first friend Hinohara makes at his new school, quickly throws Hinohara under the bus when being close to him starts to damage his social reputation. He later realizes the error of his ways and defends their friendship even when Harunawa threatens his life, so Harunawa retaliates by killing him.
  • Disability Immunity: Hinohara isn't affected by Isora's spell because the spell uses Amawakuni's writing system, which he doesn't know how to read. At first.
  • Disguised in Drag: In the first chapter, Arata must disguise as woman to pose as a female of his clan. Kannagi and Hinohara must also dress in drag to get into Kugura's harem.
  • The Ditz: Miyabi lacks even a shred of common sense.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Kadowaki to Hinohara in their backstory. And it drove him over the edge.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Okima and Aoi, Yataka's Zokushou.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Ikisu.
  • Dutch Angle: Hinohara and Kadowaki's first view of Amawakuni's capital when they first enter the world.
  • Elemental Powers: Some of the Shou have Hayagami based on the elements.
  • Emotion Bomb: Ikisu's main weapon, though it works through scents rather than feelings.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Hayagami, which contain gods.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: It turns out Oribe was the member of the Himezoku destined to succeed Himeou, who'd been sent to earth be kept safe from the Shou out to take over the world. So she can nullify his powers.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The majority of the Six Shou seems to lack any sense of this, but Isora and Harunawa fit into this bull very well.
    Harunawa: How strange you are, Arata. Sure, she's a Hime like you, but she's just another life who worth so little... why protect her?
  • Evil Former Friend: Kadowaki to Hinohara. Lampshaded in Isora's arc, when Hinohara cannot decide whether Kadowaki is a friend or an enemy.
  • Evolving Weapon: Hinohara's Hayagami, Tsukuyo - it gets grander-looking as Hinohara makes more Shou submit (symbolizing his progress).
  • Eye Scream: One character's eye is ripped out with a blade. It's Kadowaki, who has his eye torn out of its socket with the tip of Akachi's Hayagami. It is almost immediately replaced with Akachi's own eye.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Akachi after losing his eye.
  • Facial Markings: Many of the Shinshou have these.
  • First Kiss: Hinohara and Kotoha. She thought he was Arata at the time, though.
  • Foil: Yataka to Kannagi. See Red Oni, Blue Oni below for more.
  • Fountain of Youth: During the Isora arc, Kotoha, Yataka and Kannagi are turned into children by Isora's hayagami.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Between Hinohara and Team Pet Teko, and later between Hinohara, Teko and Yataka's zokushou Okima.
  • Gender Bender: Happens to everyone in the team. It's Kannagi's fault.
  • The Glomp: The first thing that happens to Hinohara in the other world is receiving one of these from Kotoha.
    • Miyabi is prone to those.
  • Happily Adopted: Mikusa by the Village Chief of the Himezoku.
  • Happily Married: Okima and his wife, Maruka. Shame it doesn't last.
  • Hate Plague: Kannagi and Yataka are affected by Kanate's in the Ikisu arc.
  • Healing Hands / The Medic: Kotoha, Rami, and Miyabi are members of the Unemezoku, who can heal others' wounds but not themselves.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Surprisingly, Kannagi, the one who assassinates the princess and frames Arata, ends up pulling one after he loses his Hayagami.
    • The other Shinshou who have submitted to Hinohara (Kugura, Yorunami), as well as their Zokushou, also count.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The wielder of the Tsukuyo (whether it be this or that Arata) is a wanted criminal due to having been framed for the attempted murder of Kikuri-hime.
    • Later subverted when word spreads that Arata is innocent, which is helped by how he's going around making corrupt shou submit to him, and the news by several loyal followers of Himeou that he is actually her chosen successor—the destined Emperor.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Hayagami in humanoid form. The Hayagami of the five out of twelve Shinshou to join under Hinohara's cause (including Akachi) make their appearances in humanoid form in Chapter 145. Tsukuyo appears soon after them, but unlike the others, her entire figure is surrounded by a blinding light that obscures their appearance.
  • Hikikomori: Hinohara became one for a while as a result of Kadowaki's bullying in middle school.
  • Hot Springs Episode: When this happens, the translator gets excited by all of the male eye candy that's around, as evidenced by her notes, which start here.
    Yataka: (Upon seeing Kannagi standing around naked.) Don't stand around like that!
    Translator: I think he should do it more often! XD
  • Hypocrite: Isora hates people who would betray their allies due to a very strong Freudian Excuse, but betrays Kikitsune and actually sold out his entire family to the Inquisition after being tortured.
  • Identical Stranger: Oribe and Kotoha, though they have yet to meet.
  • Idiot Hero: Arata.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Kannagi feels guilty for not being able to save his friend/lover Emisu.
  • Implied Love Interest:
    • Miyabi for Kadowaki.
    • Kannagi was in love with Emisu. Though she cared a lot for him and lived together with him, it was never clear if they were formally lovers, had a more-than-friends-less-than-lovers relationship or were just friends. Plus Kannagi knew that Emisu was in love with Akachi, while it's possible that she moved on and found a Second Love in him, her feelings remain unknown.
  • Insane Troll Logic: When Kadowaki comes across the two Aratas talking to each other, he somehow comes to the conclusion that this was all Hinohara's plan to mock him.
    • A comedic variant happens when Kannagi asks Hinohara whether he's planning on staying in Amawakuni and becoming Emperor, or going back to Earth with Mikusa. Kannagi comes to the conclusion that if Hinohara chooses the latter, then he must be emperor, and Hinohara must submit to him.
    Hinohara: Huh? How did this conversation end up like this?
  • Instant Costume Change: Sarae, the Hayagami of one of Yorunami's Zokushou, has the power to instantly change its targets clothes to whatever its wielder is imagining.
  • Internal Reveal: Hinohara reveals how he switched places with Arata to most of the main party in chapter 165.
  • Intimate Healing: Two instances in Volume 12. In the domain of Haniyasu, Hinohara collapses with a bad fever. To try to bring it down, Kotoha strips down to her undergarments and lies on top of him. When Kotoha suddenly faints, Mikusa tries to tend to him by having him sip medicine, but he coughs it up. Mikusa has no choice but to sip the medicine herself and give it to him via mouth-to-mouth.
  • Jerk Jock: Kadowaki is an amazingly cruel example. He has a Freudian Excuse, though, as lame and unsympathetic as it is.
  • Kick the Dog: When Kadowaki is under the impression that Hinohara has amnesia (as he'd switched places and appearances with Arata), he takes full advantage of the situation in order to further torment and humiliate his classmate. This either doesn't worknote  or Arata sees through his deception. note 
  • Lack of Empathy: Kadowaki, oh, god, Kadowaki. Selfish doesn't even begin to describe him. For instance, when he goes to Akachi to ask for help, he can only whine about what he wants or needs. He doesn't offer Akachi anything, even when Akachi tells him there's no reason for him to aid a potential enemy. It literally doesn't even seem to register that anybody's wants aside from his own are at all relevant. Then we get to his murderous side. After he killed a man in front of his brother, and the brother understandably went into a Heroic BSoD, Kadowaki started raging at the brother because he found said Heroic BSoD annoying. Can you say, "asshole?"
    • It should be noted he's been mellowing out as of the Isora arc, when he helped Hinohara save child Yataka and Kannagi, and later on during the Ikisu arc, when it's strongly implied he showed up to save Kanate and developed something of a friendship with him.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Big time for Ameeno. He betrayed Ikisu by destroying his country, beat him up a ruthless manner, and tore off Kadowaki's arm. Later, his comrade Shimu betrayed Ameeno by bombing his country in a similar fashion and defeated him vice versa destroying not only both of his arms, but his legs too.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Most of the people who wind up joining the team later in the story.
  • Love Triangle
    • The two Aratas and Kotoha make an early triangle, but the Arata Kotoha originally knew eventually fades away in this setup, though Hinohara isn't really aware of that.
    • Hinohara, Kotoha, and Mikusa make up a later triangle, though Mikusa is a definite third wheel in this scenario and knows it.
  • Made a Slave: Children of criminals are forced to take on their parents' punishment and subsequently they become slaves. Such as Akachi and his little sister Emisu.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Mikusa and Nasake, Lampshaded Trope.
  • Meaningful Name: Hinohara practically spells this out when he first introduces himself to Suguru. His name, Arata, uses the kanji for "revolution." Guess what he's destined to do with his Hayagami later on into the story.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: When turned into children, Kannagi, Yataka and Kotoha start behaving accordingly.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The translator lampshades Kannagi's role as this here.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Hinohara, after he ends up hurting Kotoha in his demonized form.
  • Mysterious Backer: Seo.
  • Neat Freak: Yataka.
  • Never My Fault: Kadowaki. When he absorbs Kikutsune, he tells him to be angry at Hinohara instead, saying that it's indirectly Hinohara's fault.
  • Nice Guy: Hinohara.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: Kugura, upon accepting his Hayagami. He's permanently stuck in a childlike form, though he can use his Hayagami to transform into a more adult form for a short period of time.
  • Not So Above It All: Both Kannagi, Yataka and Mikusa have their moments.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Seo. Probably.
  • Oblivious to Love: Augh...Arata, people are expected to at least have the comprehension ability to read between the lines when someone asks them "what do you think of me" directly, you blasted idiot.
    • He keeps on the trend when dealing with Imina.
  • Older Than They Look: Princess Kikuri looks surprisingly youthful for a 60+ year-old woman. Justified, as her powers suppress the form of her true age.
  • One-Gender Race: Played with through the Hayagami. They appear as women, but they can apparently take on male form if they want to.
  • Significant Name Overlap: The story revolve around a pair of boys named Arata, who are connected by their mutual wish to escape their current lives, and are made to switch bodies and live the other one's lives instead.
  • One-Winged Angel: As the Hayagami of the Six Sinshou have become demons, they have the power to transform into monsters.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Only Kadowaki can defeat Hinohara. Kikutsune and Isora learn this the hard way.
  • Ordinary Highschool Student: Hinohara and Kadowaki, at first.
  • Patient Childhood Love Interest: Kotoha towards Amawakuni Arata.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Miyabi brings lightness to Kadowaki's storyline.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Oh so, so, much. The majority of Hinohara and Kadowaki's conflict can be sum up with this.
  • Power Copying: If you can get another Shou to submit to you, you can use their Hayagami's abilities.
  • Power Nullifier: Before Hinohara defeats any Shou, Tsukuyo's main ability is this. This is because she is the mother of all Hayagami.
  • Princesses Rule: The ruler of the world is merely called the "princess".
  • Punch a Wall: Hinohara inadvertently does a subversion of this in Chapter 102. His initial intention was to punch Arata for unwittingly causing Kotoha emotional problems by family-zoning her without realizing the consequences for doing so. Hinohara apparently forgot that Arata was just an image projected onto a rock wall or underestimated how hard it was, resulting in a comically injured fist.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: Mikusa.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Mikusa, when the group has to disguise themselves as females to get into Kugura's harem.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Suguru redeems himself for having betrayed his best friend Hinohara way back when Hinohara was on earth by insisting that they are friends despite Harunawa's threats. So Harunawa kills him.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Yataka and Kannagi. Yataka is gentlemanly, loyal, calm, and calculating. Kannagi is somewhat Hot-Blooded, sarcastic, loud, and prideful. It's even visually lampshaded here.
  • Retirony: Okima had just decided to leave Yataka's side and age with his wife. He is unceremoniously killed by Kikitsune along with his comrade Aoi.
  • Save Both Worlds: It turns out that the Six Sinshou's motivations were to come back to earth, as five of them actually came from there. Howevver, Himeou serves as a seal that prevents Hayagami from traveling between the worlds. The Sinshou want to take their Hayagami with them so that they can destroy earth.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black:
    • Hinohara plays this straight most of the time, not bothering to wear something more practical for traveling clothes. Occasionally, he may wear cloak or a raincoat out of necessity, but he still wears his school clothes underneath.
    • Kadowaki continues to wear his school uniform as well. He outright refuses to wear the garments provided by Harunawa's servants, calling it "cosplay." However, he eventually subverts this trope after thinking back to his life on Earth and concluding that he no longer has a place at his home or at school. He demands that all his things, including his clothes, be disposed of as he severs his attachment to his previous life. His next appearances see him in a new outfit.
  • The Sociopath: Kadowaki. He cares about three things: Making himself feel good about himself, being better than Hinohara (which is really just a sub-point of the first reason) and, at a very, very distant third, his Morality Pet. Everything else can go to hell. He kills people without batting an eye, uses (or tries to use) anybody he doesn't feel like killing, and then he bitches about how he feels unloved and neglected by his father. He's so
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Kadowaki.
  • Spoiler Opening: The anime's ending credits sequence makes no effort to obscure Kadowaki's importance to the plot, showing him and his Hayagami Orochi within the first 30 seconds.
  • The Stoic: Shimu.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Hinohara's demonized form.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Mikusa must disguise herself as a male of the Himezoku.
  • Taking the Bullet: Rami takes on a deadly attack to protect Mikusa.
  • Trapped in Another World:
    • The main premise. Arata of the Himezoku is stuck in Japan, while Hinohara Arata is trapped and caught in the problems the former left behind in Amawakuni.
    • Kadowaki also falls victim to this after the Six Shinshou force a switch between him and one of their own.
    • It is revealed later on at the onset of Kikutsune's defeat that five of the Six Shinshou were originally from earth themselves.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Hinohara.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Hinohara at times, especially when Kanate is absorbed into Orochi.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Later on, Kannagi and Yataka, SO MUCH. Every time they show up onscreen together, they're bickering, although they do have some moments of Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other.
  • Walking the Earth: What Hinohara and gang needs to do to make the 12 Shinshou submit, as they all live within their assigned fiefdoms in Amawakuni.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • Hinohara and Kadowaki in middle school.
    • Kannagi and Akachi, Emisu's death was turning point in their relationship.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Yorunami has this toward his mother, in a rare mother-son example.
  • Wham Line: Usually in the form of a character saying something that indicates that they can see the difference between the Amawakuni/Japan switched people.
    Oribe: (to Arata) "So, Mr Imposter. What happened to the real Hinohara?
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Almost all of the Shou and Shinshou.
    • Kikutsune is a tyrannical shou who is perfectly fine with stealing the hearing of his subjects and humiliating them using his powers. However, he was originally a very talented musician who lost his hearing in an attack orchestrated by a rival musician. He got his revenge, but wound up being punished for murder as a result. Also, he grew up in Pompey, and only managed to escape the volcano by getting pulled into the forest, so a trial consisted of getting stoned and attacked by a lion.
    • Kagura was an amnesiac who could never age and was thus trapped in the body of a child. Before he lost his memories, he was a peasant boy who lost most of his family in an attack by bandits. He fought them off with his new found power, but he couldn't remember his only remaining family member—his brother.
    • Isora was originally a kind noble in Spain, but he was betrayed by one of his friends and tortured by the Spanish Inquisition for being a witch.

Alternative Title(s): Arata Kangatari