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Manga / Choubu No Shinobi

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Choubu no Shinobi: Lepidoptera is a 2017 Fighting Series manga written by Murata Shinya and illustrated by Hayami Tokisada, who previously worked with him on Caterpillar. It is published under the monthly Gangan Joker magazine.

In Japan during the Sengoku Period, one year after Oda Nobunaga's death, a samurai known as Hanza prepares for an important task that several of his late comrades were unable to fulfill for themselves: getting laid. However, as he enters a brothel little does he expect that Rin, the courtesan inside, is Nobunaga's murderer and that two rival ninja clans are out to capture her and claim the late shogun's head which she supposedly holds.


The story spans 5 volumes and was finished in July 2019. It takes place in the same setting of Jackals and Arachnid.

This manga features the following tropes:

  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: All the ninjas have insect-themed superpowers, but unlike Arachnid this is far enough on the fantasy side of the scale that readers shouldn't need to call fridge logic on every little thing.
  • Anyone Can Die: It's the kind of story where everyone who's not the leads or the Big Bad dies one after the other in a conga line of one-sided battles.
  • Ascended Extra: The tiger beetle motif had been used in Arachnid for a throwaway character. In this story, it belongs to the male protagonist.
  • Author Appeal: Bugs again.
  • Belly Mouth: The lanternfly ninja is a youkai creature (or just a really misshapen guy) whose actual face is on his chest. He puts on oddly convincing fake heads and kills people with a backstab after pretending to die from headshots.
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  • Continuity Nod: Caterpillar once had the narrator explain that insect-themed superpowered assassins had existed in the setting since ancient times. The same group shot panel from that scene is reused by the narrator in this story, though the samurai character in it got retconned to a different design.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Hanza betrays Rin for his clan early on, but regrets it and saves her later. She doesn't forgive Hanza and rejects him after repaying the favor.
  • Fan Disservice: About three female ninjas as of volume 3-4 die half-naked. One dies from offscreen Bloodless Carnage, but the others all get sliced. Regarding how the volume releases have uncensored nudity, the artist actually advertised their death scenes in a Black Comedy tone.
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  • Harmful to Minors: Several children die either during the story proper or in flashbacks, though as of volume 3-4 the only child among the two ninja clans is doing ok.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Megumi carries a giant bowl around to hide under or throw at people.
    • The spittlebug assassin lady can, well, piss out a ton of sticky slime which she attempts to use as blockades and hazards. More plainly, she can also harden her hair and stab people with it.
  • Japanese Ranguage: "Lepidoptera" goes with an "r", and not an "l" like it says on the cover for some magazine chapters and the volumes. They keep switching between the two for some reason.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The body snatcher from the beginning raped and killed Rin's little sister.
    • One flashback shows some male ninjas raping a woman and a girl on-panel. To their side is a child whom they killed by impaling her in the navel and crotch.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted, as most of the ladies in the story meet gruesome ends.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Female nipples are usually conveniently hidden under hair or something else, but some of those instances are uncensored in the volume releases. This makes the manga Hotter and Sexier compared to its predecessor Arachnid.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Two female characters bare their breasts to get the jump on male opponents, but this just gets the two killed like chumps when both dudes don't die from their wounds as expected.
  • Quest for Sex: Hanza really wants to catch some tails but is out of luck.
  • R-Rated Opening: In the beginning when Rin is interrogating a paralyzed Hanza over his intentions because she fears he's after her head, her little sister comes up behind her and turns out to be dead and possessed by a body snatcher who, as he bursts off her corpse, brags about having raped the child before he killed her.
  • Razor Floss: Ayano summons threads around her to trap and garrote enemies.
  • Recycled In Space: It is Arachnid in Feudal Japan, though the two clans killing each other is more akin to the premise of Jackals.
  • Reused Character Design: Some character designs from Arachnid reappear here.
    • Megumi the cockroach is Megumi the cockroach, but blue.
    • Ran is a child Kabutomushi (super strength and all), as portrayed in flashbacks from Caterpillar.
    • Ayano is named after Alice Fujii's mother and fills the spider assassin role. Her friend Hiyori is closer in looks and personality to Alice herself, like Pure Inui and Himeno Endou.
    • Another character is designed after Hanakamakiri from Caterpillar.
  • Shown Their Work: As usual, battles are juxtaposed with trivia about the bugs the characters represent.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Everyone who's not either protagonist or the clan leaders gets killed in battle like two chapters after being introduced and without getting to do much of anything. Some even die offscreen.
  • Wild Card: Hanza helps, betrays and rescues Rin in the first few chapters alone. He ends up teaming up with and fighting people from both opposing clans to ensure his own survival.

Example of: