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Manga / Crows

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"There's nothing wrong with being a Crow. When you compare them to the poor caged birds that have forgotten how to fly, Crows are much better."

Crows is a Japanese high school delinquent manga series by Hiroshi Takahashi. The story begins when Harumichi Bōya transfers into the second year at Suzuran High School. Suzuran is notorious for its delinquent students who are nicknamed 'Crows' because of their dark uniforms and inauspicious nature. Quickly enough Bōya meets a group centered around Hiromi Kirishima who are trying to challenge the school boss Hideto Bandō. From there the story follows the exploits of Suzuran students and the teen-aged delinquents of various surrounding schools and gangs.


The series was adapted into two-episode OVA by Knack Productions which cover the first three volumes of the manga. Spawned three live-action films: the Takashi Miike directed films Crows Zero (2007) and Crows Zero 2 (2009), and Crows Explode (directed by Toshiaki Toyoda) in 2014. The films are not direct adaptations but take place before the events of the manga. Several characters from the manga appear in the movies but not the main character Bōya.

Hiroshi Takahashi also wrote a continuation called Worst, which ran in Monthly Shounen Champion from 2002 to 2013. In 2019, the series had a live-action crossover with the similarly gang-themed High&Low franchise for its fifth film installment, HiGH&LOW: The Worst. That movie takes place sometime after the main series, following a new generation of Hosen Academy characters as they go up against SWORD's Oya High School.


Crows provides examples of:

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  • A Father to His Men: Certain characters like Bulldog, Butcher amd Hana are followed not just because they're strong, but because they're true leaders. Many would-be leaders learn the hard way that they have their men's fear, not their respect.
  • Anime Hair: Not in a very exaggerated tone, but most of them come across as having messy, heavily spiked, or even stylish hairdo.
  • The Berserker: Guriko seldom fights unless he is directly annoyed by someone, but once he gets going he will attack no only the target of his fury, but also their friends, his own friends, and even unrelated bystanders. It's these indiscriminate rampages, where his eyes glow white and his mouth becomes a roaring maw half the size of his face,, that earned him the title Demon King.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Tsukishima Hana is polite, friendly, and will always help everyone in need. He also has a deadly uppercut, and will certainly beat you up if you mess with him or his friends. Oh. and he is also the first Boss Of Suzuran.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Harumichi Bouya is a goofy perverted idiot. but pushed him too far, and you're as good as dead.
    • Zetton is arguably the weirdest student in Suzuran history. He has childish interests, underdresses in winter and plays in a kiddie pool in the summer, grins ear to ear and laughs out loud in moments of peril. He's often The Comically Serious or Comically Missing the Point, and is unintelligent even by Suzuran thug standards. He's also strong enough to earn Bouya's respect, the toughest freshman of his year, a gifted leader and surprisingly perceptive.
  • Blood Brothers: Crows and Worst are both full of these, but none stronger than Bouya and Bulldog. They become friends the instant they meet, confide in each other and have each other's backs. Their loyalties to each other supercede the politics and codes of delinquent culture.
  • Boxing Battler: Ryuushin has a background in boxing, which gives him a leg up on the average Unskilled, but Strong thug, though he isn't above kicks or grappling in a real fight. After he steps down as the leader of TFOA he pursues the sweet science professionally.
  • Calling Your Attack: Butcher, jealous of some other characters' flashy Signature Move, decides to proclaim his special technique to be the Killer Flaming Car! Unfortunately, he only uses it once, and later regrets forgetting to use it during other fights. Hilariously, it's actually a simple back throw from Judo, which even the naive Hana recognizes as extremely mundane.
  • Chick Magnet: Hanaki Guriko. He has 8 girlfriends and is always seen on his phone talking to different girls.
    • Takumi has a pretty face for a delinquent, and is often seen being fawned over by girls. Unlike Guriko, he doesn't seek the attention, or seem to particularly care for it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Weapons, ambushes, ganging up- a lot of dirty fighting goes down in Crows. Even some of the strongest fighters and most noble characters are not above pulling the old Look Behind You or a Dynamic Entry at an enemy from their blindside.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Multiple examples. Most of the characters that Bouya and Hana beat become their allies or just formed a friendly rivalry with them.
  • Delinquent Hair: More characters than not. Pompadours, regents, crew cuts, punch perms, Mohawks, buzzcuts, and top knots galore. More hair dye and gel than you can shake a stick at.
  • The Dreaded: There are characters who are regarded as monsters or legends due mostly to their strenght in both Crows and Worst series.
    • Rindaman. Even though he never takes sides with anybody in the group aside from standing idly by watching the conflicts, he's still actually the force to be reckoned with.
    • Hanaki Guriko. Much like the Rindaman, never participate in any of the conflicts (unless provoked), and is regarded as the strongest guy in all of Toarushi. The mention of his name is enough to give fear and uneasiness especially for those who have felt his wrath before. He's arguably even more feared than Rindaman, as unlike the stoic and distant Megumi, Guriko has a very short fuse and will hunt you down if you cross him, accidentally or no. Rindaman was like a bear in a cave, but Guriko is a walking landmine.
    • Suzuran itself. Anyone who attends the Crows school is already feared by outsiders, as rumors have it the average Suzuran student could be the strongest at any lesser school.
  • Drugs Are Bad: One of the few things almost every major faction or kingpin of Crows and Worst can agree on is a distaste or outright hatred of drugs. Using drugs will get you banned from most groups, and pushing them is practically suicide in most turfs.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even in the violent and vicious world of Crows, there are some lines you just don't cross. Lesser sins include ganging up on an opponent, ambushing someone in their personal life, bringing pipes, bats or wooden swords to a fist fight, and beating someone after they're down. Truly unforgivable transgressions include using a real blade in a fight, cold blooded murder, pushing drugs, rape, attacking or harassing women or grade schoolers, and attacking friends and family of an enemy who are not actually involved in the delinquent lifestyle, such as parents or a graduated older sibling. Villains who pull stunts like that are usually real scumbags who won't be redeemed.
  • Extremity Extremist: Guriko won't only use his long and powerful legs, but they are his main weapon. His strongest and most used attacks are roundhouses, sobats, and jump kicks. He kicks more often than even the Bitou brothers.
  • Final Boss: While Bouya still had a lot of fights after, his second bout with Rindaman serves as this. More literally, his final battle was with the vicious Kuzugami Tatsuo, dubbed the Strongest Delinquent in Japan. The fight hinges on the themes of real strength being more than physical prowess, and true friendship surpassing the power of brute force or a large team, making it s fitting end for Bouya's saga.
    • Hana's last obstacle before complete domination of Suzuran: Defeating the Demon King Hanaki Guriko.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Many characters, heroic or villainous, have scarred faces from past battles. Especially in Worst. Some of the most extreme cases are Kiiko from Crows, who has multiple scars on his face and hands and is missing half an ear, and Tsukimoto Mitsunori and Daizen Tsumoto from Worst, both of whom fell through a glass window while fighting each other and wound up with countless gashes on their faces and arms.
  • Handy Shortcoming: Abo is dwarfed by the majority of the cast, but being so short means most opponents can't see his knockout punch coming until it's already made contact.
  • Japanese Delinquents: The casts of the Hiroshi Takahashi mangas Crows and Worst are almost entirely composed of delinquents, specifically Harumichi Bouya and Tsukishima Hana, the respective protagonists. The opponents they encounter can be divided into two distinct groups: Rivals (delinquents who respect the codes of honor and companionship in high school gang warfare) and Bad Guys (jerks).
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Hana is naive and book dumb to the point of being childlike, but he is the most sincerely big-hearted character in the series. He makes friends and forgives enemies easily and goes out of his way to help strangers in need. One shining example was attending the funeral for the mother of a classmate who disliked him and crying real tears with the student, winning him over.
  • Made of Iron: One of the most common traits among characters from both series. Bouya probably stands out the most, as he isn't particularly big or muscular compared to the other toughest characters, but can take any number of punches, kicks, suplexes, pipes and even falls without losing the will to fight, let alone consciousness.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Anyone who's anyone in Crows and Worst has some serious muscle, but the truly titanic, like Tatsuo, Daizen and King Joe, or the ones who train and work out, such as Hana and Tesshou, tend to be among the strongest characters. Even Bulldog and Bouya struggle against foes who are walls of muscle.
  • One-Hit Kill: Tsukishima Hana's signature uppercut and Hanaki Guriko's kick/flying kick. Being able to stay concious after gerting hit by one of them is considered an achievement.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The cranky country bumpkin Abo is tiny compared to most people his age, but he's strong enough to knock out members of the Hana-gumi and be recognized by Hana as a serious threat. He's also gutsy enough to challenge Guriko three times, something only the likes of Tesshou and Hana would dare to do.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The (thankfully only) attempted rape of Tesshou's sister by a Suzuran student is Serious Business, to the point that The Front of Armament makes a formal request of the governing body of Suzuran, who all unite against all odds to bring the scumbag to justice. Even the normally offbeat Zetton is deeply enraged by the transgression.
  • Reality Ensues: Bouya's fight with Ryushin and Bitou Tatsuya proves that being Unskilled, but Strong isn't always a great way to win a fight, so he resorts to Combat Pragmatist.
    • Some fights and gang wars result in hospitalization, crippling or even death, not to mention arrests and occasionally stepping on the toes of serious underworld forces like Yakuza and hitmen. The idyllic delinquent lifestyle is all fun and games until the shit hits the fan.
  • Retired Badass: Most of the characters becomes this after graduating high school or dropping out, moving on to normal jobs and honest lives. A few do move onto the more serious underworld of Yakuza, or become professional fighters.
    • Bouya can't exactly avoid trouble, and won't back down from a fight, but by the time he enters Suzuran he's given up on looking for fights or seeking power. He just wants a normal school life with friends.
    • Guriko used to raise hell, but now he only wants to court girls and have a good time. It doesn't mean he's lost his edge, however.
  • The Rival: Hana has Mitsumasa and Amachi, while Bouya has Rindaman.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Played for laughs. Nearly everyone who has ever run afoul of The Dreaded Guriko is permanently traumatized. Common reactions include stress disorders, nightmares, and hyperbolic memories of him as a literal monster. Some of his foes (or perhaps more appropriately victims) break into a cold sweat or pass out at the mere mention of his name, while others permanently retire from delinquency altogether.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Everyone. Hell, You can count the number of characters who don't smoke with your fingers.
  • Strong and Skilled: Zetton is trained in Karate, meaning he can block and counter at a level way beyond the average punk, and punch and kick with real technique. He still hits like a truck and can take a beating like any Suzuran tough.
  • Signature Move: Many characters have one. Tatsuya has a wicked roundhouse kick, Bulldog his running head-ram, Bouya is prone to point blank headbutts, Guriko is feared for his devastating jump kick, Abo has a lightning fast hook, Butcher considers a basic Judo throw to be his special Killer Flaming Car technique, but the most iconic is Hana's uppercut, strong enough to take down the toughest of foes and even put Guriko on his toes.
  • Training from Hell: Hana, of all people, though half by accident and half by choice. He grew up in a mountainous region where every walk to and from school was miles and miles of hiking amidst vipers, and even in the comfort of the city he goes out of his way for lengthy runs and intense plyometrics and calisthenics. Where most characters get by on their natural size and ferocity, Hana is so strong because he works at it, making him tougher than most. Even other characters in his league or stronger lack his sheer physical endurance.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: The vast majority of characters have no martial arts background, combing brute force with stubborn resilience to win fights.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Bitou Tatsuya fights with kicks and grapples, having trained in martial arts. At a young age he could already take out officers from The Front of Armament, but Bouya points out his attacks don't hit as hard as some other major players he's faced.
  • Would Hit a Girl: A member of Jet Black Scorpion punches one of Guriko's girlfriends hard enough to cause her eye to swell shut. This, predictably, does not end well for him.

    Crows Zero 
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Izaki and Genji in the final battle against the Serizawa Army.
  • Battle in the Rain: The Climatic war between The GPS and Serizawa Army.
  • Damsel in Distress: Ruka after Yuuji has her kidnapped along with her friends.
  • Designated Villain: Serizawa is the Big Bad but only because Genji has to fight him. Other than that, he never does anything bad. In fact, he could even be mistaken as the main protagonist.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Genji's father prevents him from saving Ken from being executed by his boss because of disobeying an order (killing Genji). Despite having great strength and armed with a Katana, he would've been no match for Yakuzas.
    • Genji and Serizawa's final duel isn't accompanied by a lot of impressive moves and instead just them trying to tear each other apart since they both have spent the energy in the Mob War before.

    Crows Zero 2 
  • Arch-Nemesis: Suzuran and Housen. Housen are trying to avenge their past leader's death at the hands of a suzuran student.
  • Berserk Button: Tokio doesn't take it well when Genji insulted his head injury.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The whole reason the movie's plot happened in the first place.
  • Sibling Team: The Mikami brothers, Manabu and Takeshi.

Alternative Title(s): Crows Zero, Crows Zero 2


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