Black Torch is an action-fantasy manga written and illustrated by Tsuyoshi Takaki, published on the Shonen Jump + platform between 2016 and 2017, with 5 volumes total.note
The story follows Jirou Azuma, a hot-headed animal lover. One day, he finds a black cat with a mysterious mark on its back. The cat turns out to be Ragou, a powerful mononoke. When another mononoke shows up to claim Ragou, Jirou interferes to protect his new friend. Unfortunately, Jirou ends up with a massive hole in his chest. To save his life, Ragou fuses with Jirou, creating the first human-mononoke hybrid. They're then forcibly recruited into the Public Bureau of Espionage, a government agency dedicated to handling mononoke threats.
Black Torch provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Ichika has been trained to be a mononoke-hunter since she was a child. She's fast and deadly with her tanto.
- Anti-Magic: The Killing Stone where Ragou was sealed. It's made of a rare mineral that repels mononokes' auras.
- Creature-Hunter Organization: The Oniwaban was established during the Edo period to deal with domestic and international threats. This includes observing and eliminating mononoke.
- Demonic Possession: Mononoke can possess living objects, like Ragou does to Jirou. They can also possess non-living objects, although this traps them in said object.
- Fantastic Racism: Ichika despises mononoke, which initially leads to a lot of tension between herself and Jirou (who is possessed by a mononoke).
- Many mononoke hate humans, mostly due to the actions of the Oniwaban. They look down on humans as weak and consider them no better than prey.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Not all mononoke are hostile to humans. Some directly cooperate with humans, while others just want to live their lives in peace.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Although mononoke don't need to eat humans to live, many will do so anyways in order to gain strength. Absorbing a human's vitality usually involves consuming the body.
- Invisibility Cloak: The Covert Operations Gear that the Black Torch members use can create illusions that turn the wielders partially invisible or make it seem like they're wearing civilian clothes.
- The Masquerade: Most humans have no idea that mononoke exist. The Oniwaban takes great efforts to keep it that way.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The leaders of the Oniwaban are represented by five classic Japanese masks, floating in a digital skyscape.
- Ninja: Jirou's grandfather has trained him in the art of ninja techniques. The field members of the Oniwaban, or the Public Bureau of Espionage, are all ninja as well.
- Ninja Log: AKA Jirou's Cicada Shell technique. He quickly switches place with an article of clothing, then strikes his opponent from behind.
- Our Demons Are Different: Mononoke don't resemble Youkai, but rather tend to mostly resemble humans with horns and the ability to manipulate dark energy. Their horns are connected to their powers since breaking one off weakens them. Ragou seems to be an exception, since he looks like a cat most of the time and doesn't possess horns.
- Phantom Zone: Mononoke can create 'barriers' that transport an area to a hidden world inhabited by mononoke. It appears as a fog that prevents access from the outside.
- Retired Badass: Jirou's grandpa used to be part of the Oniwaban and trained his grandson in ninja techniques. He nearly kills Jirou after he finds out that his grandson had merged with a mononoke.
- Secret Test of Character: Upon learning that Jirou had fused with Ragou, Jirou's grandpa vows to kill his grandson and then himself. They battle, but his grandpa gives up the fight after Jirou shows his resolve. Grandpa Azuma's subsequent conversation with Shiba hints that the fight was a way to test Jirou's motivation.
- The Smurfette Principle: Black Torch only has 1 female field agent. The other two, Jirou and Reiji, are both guys. There are other girls on the team, but they don't fight and act as support instead.