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Manga / Dark Gathering

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"Let's go! Ghost!"
Yayoi Houzuki

Keitarou Gentouga is your average college freshmen with a fear of ghosts and the supernatural. Too bad, his spiritual powers causes him to be a magnet for spirits, which unluckily caused him and one of his friends to get cursed. Blaming himself, Keitarou shuts himself away from society, leaving him lacking in social skills. With the help of his childhood friend, Eiko Houzuki, Keitarou gets another chance at living a normal life.

In order to regain his social skills, Eiko advises him to become a private tutor for children, where his high grades causes him to be chosen to teach the Child Prodigy, Yayoi Houzuki, Eiko's cousin. Besides being a genius, she also has spiritual abilities like Keitarou, but unlike him, actively attempts to encounter spirits in order to find the one who took her mother's soul, dragging Keitarou along with her to haunted spots, to the latter's protests.

Soon enough they work out a deal, while Keitarou will assist Yayoi on her mission, Yayoi will use her extensive knowledge on ghosts to help break his curse.

Dark Gathering (ダークギャザリング) is a action horror Urban Fantasy Shōnen manga by Kenichi Kondou, beginning serialization in Jump Square in 2019. An anime adaptation by OLM Incorporated aired its first episode in July 2023.

The series largely follows Yayoi as she captures ghost from haunted spot to haunted spot, capturing the ghost responsible for the location's reputation, imprisoning them and using them as her army to defeat the ghost responsible for her parent's death and stealing her mother's soul.

This manga provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Yayoi is a genius with an IQ over 160 and way stronger than one would expect from her age. Keitarou is the top scorer of his college despite shutting himself at home for more than two years. Eiko represented Japan in the International Olympiad in Informatics while also being a college freshman. On the ghost side, Yayoi's "graduates" are her Elite Mooks, each an One-Man Army with special abilities.
  • Action Girl: In spite of her young age, Yayoi is capable of using a stone Jizo statue as a flail.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Though many ghosts are just psychotic mass murderers, some have genuine grievances that lead to them becoming hate filled ghosts.
    • A Bunrei(weaker sprits created by dividing parts of the original soul) of Hariti was corrupted by the countless spirits of babies which she was unwilling to hurt, and even then would still Wouldn't Hurt a Child. This weakness was exploited by Kuubou, who is a giant ghost fetus, by it calling Hariti "Mama", causing Hariti to hesitate in fighting back.
    • Anna, a victim of the spirit of the old F tunnel, happily assisted the latter in capturing and killing new victims, including her best friend who went back to save her. However, she was just a normal livestreamer before being tortured to death, and her fate, being trapped in a substitute doll made of self-repairing slime, meaning she will endlessly withstand the attacks from other ghosts meant for Eiko(a normal substitute doll can't block attacks in the area where it's damaged) while locked away in box alone for as long as she exists.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Kuubou, the spirit infant that is set up as the Big Bad, was defeated easily by the unnamed Kami, and the setting suggests gods from all sorts of religion exists.
  • And Show It to You: The ghost haunting Ai's apartment would murder his victim by tearing out their brains, stem and whole, in order to torture and enslave them.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: Yayoi specifically chooses evil ghosts for their aggressiveness and power, and with most having body counts in the double digits, she can freely punish them with threats of torture to keep them in line without feeling guilty.
  • Asshole Victim: The ghosts possessing the haunted tape are bullies who forced their victim to burn himself to death and record it, who in turn took revenge by cursing them after they watched it. Rather than repent, they curse anybody to burn to death the same way. They would end up being eaten by the ghosts in Yayoi's possession.
  • Badass Army: Yayoi's army of ghost, even after getting their asses kicked by the unnamed god, defiantly stared at him alongside Yayoi while she provoked the former, even if it meant getting their souls ripped apart. Not out of loyalty though, they're just angry that the unnamed Kami attacked them.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Eiko always wanted to encounter the supernatural alongside Keitarou. She gets her wish when the spirit of the old F tunnel picked her as his next target, who aimed to brutally torture her to death.
  • The Berserker: The ghosts Yayoi bring along side her act like aggressive beasts that attack by biting and tearing into their opponents.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: While the ghosts she deals with are mostly Always Chaotic Evil, Yayoi's method of keeping them in check involves imprisoning them in substitute dolls, make them take damage meant for her, and once she captures a new one, throw it inside her room so that her prisoners can take out their anger on the newcomer until the latter is willing to submit, otherwise they get eaten. Keitarou notes that while this method is effective, it's quite cruel and shivers at the thought that Yayoi, a child, thought of it herself.
  • Body Horror: Plenty of ghosts kill their victims in rather horrific ways, but the spirit of the old F tunnel takes the cake. He would dismember the victim, rip of their face and wear it, tear out their organs one by one before killing them by slowly driving his axe into them.
  • Brought Down to Badass: The Demon Sergeant deliberately weakens himself to the point where he's skin and bones, yet can still tear his way out of his opponent's stomach after getting eaten.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Ghosts have to eat souls to gain the energy to prevent themselves from passing on, and can eat more to gain power.
  • Catchphrase: Yayoi's "Let's go! Ghost!" , a cheerful battle cry before entering a haunted spot.
  • City of Adventure: Currently all the ghosts Yayoi captured so far are located in Tokyo.
  • Crapsack World: There are so many murderous ghosts in Tokyo alone that Yayoi can fill her room with nearly a hundred ghosts, anybody that meets one dies horribly and have their souls either eaten or enslaved to assist in getting more innocent victims. Even if you die normally, you float around for 49 days seemingly mindless, hoping to not get killed by another ghost until you pass on successfully. So far all the gods shown are corrupted and either attacking anyone who approaches them at best, or actively seeking victims at worst.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: As the story progresses, the ways the ghosts kills get increasingly brutal and unique.
  • Cute Monster Girl: The spirit of H castle ruins, after removing the cursed object making her evil, is a young beautiful woman barely taller than Yayoi, who is in elementary school.
  • Damsel in Distress: Keitarou, being Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious, is the main target for ghosts, who often ignore everything just to chase him down. Less frequently than Keitarou, Eiko also sometimes gets put in danger and needs to be helped out by the others.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: All ghosts, whether good or evil, are shaded black. Those with more distinct colors are more powerful ones and, since that usually necessitate eating souls, tend to be evil.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Yayoi called a 500 year god that easily destroyed her ghost army a lolicon, flip him off and then declared she will enslave him as part of her army.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Completely averted with the Dam A ghost, with her violation of innocent men being portrayed as horrific and depraved.
  • Eating the Enemy: Ghosts require energy to stay in the mortal realm, which they get by eating the souls of their victims. Since Yayoi imprisons them in her room with nothing to eat, they usually attack her enemies by going straight to eating them.
  • Elite Army: The "Graduates". Powerful ghosts that gained their power after eating hundreds of victims, each having special abilities and require multiple seals to keep in check.
  • Everything Fades: When a ghost run out of energy, they fade away and pass on to the afterlife.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Yayoi specifically chooses to go after evil ghosts, both to stop their crimes and to have an army she can unhesitatingly exploit as weapons.
  • Evolutionary Pressure Cooker: The concept is referenced by Yayoi during the creation of High Priest of the Evil Sutra graduate-type. When the room became imbalanced due to Unnamed Kami's attack, all remaining ghosts start to eat each other until only one remains, which gets promoted to a special weapon. Otogiri the Soul Sucking Oiran was initially just a haunted mirror until she has evolved in a similar manner.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Unique even by anime standards, considering she has literal skulls for irises. Interestingly nobody mentions it, only noting her polycoria. Anna, to a lesser extent, have symbols of stars in her eyes, used by the unnamed god to mark her as his bride.
  • Familial Cannibalism Surprise: The spirit of I Watergate realized the meatballs he ate was made out of his own father when he saw his own body get turned into meatballs.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Avoided for the main cast due to the substitute dolls, but seeing the damage done to the dolls shows what would have happened to our heroes without them, like getting burnt alive, their organs teared out, their limbs chopped of and etc. The ghosts, on the other hand, get graphically torn apart without mercy.
  • First-Name Basis: The main cast with each other. Keitarou and Eiko are childhood friends before officially dating, while Yayoi is Eiko's cousin.
  • Geo Effects: Spiritual spots such as areas over a Dragon Vein, a concept in Feng Shui, can provide a ghost with enough power to sustain themselves endlessly without needing to eat another soul, with some gaining power that would have requiered a ghost to eat hundreds of victims to obtain.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: When a graduate is released, the eyes of the doll will start glowing.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The graduates are ghosts powerful enough to break free from Yayoi's dolls with ease, requiring multiple seals to keep in check, and would attack Yayoi once they finished dealing with the enemy ghost. Yayoi would prefer not using them unless necessary since sealing them again involves surviving their attacks during the resealing process.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Yayoi effectively torture her enemies into submission, but is doing so to protect and save her loved ones, and her enemies are usually sadistic murderers themselves. Not to mention feeding weaker ghosts that she feeds to her stronger ones.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Since the ghost's condition is synchronized with the doll, she can heal the ghosts by repairing the doll after battle.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The sutra of the High Priest will drag anyone who hears it into hell.
  • Hidden Depths: Yayoi reveals to Eiko that while her main drive to visit haunted spots is to save her mother, she also shares the former's love for the excitement that comes from being in fear.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: The ghosts under Yayoi's control are forced to hunt other ghosts for their own survival.
  • Invisible to Normals: Ghosts are normally invisible to humans without spiritual powers unless they show themselves, while Yayoi can see ghosts unless they're blocked by physical objects.
  • Karmic STD: In supplementary material, it's revealed that the student who falsely accused Mr Sakashita of being a pedophile later died of an STD. Given that she ruined an innocent man's life for her own amusement and that she forced her classmates into prostitution and drugs, yeah.....
  • Kill and Replace: A group of ghosts have managed to replace the souls of the exorcists they defeated with their own, taking on their memories and abilities.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Yayoi and Keitarou is this. Both trust each other with their lives, with Keitarou often troubled by Yayoi's antics but follow along anyway and Yayoi often pranking Keitarou.
  • Logical Weakness: The substitute dolls can only block attacks from ghosts, but doesn't prevent the ghost from simply restraining them, or use the physical objects around them to attack. Yayoi's spirit vision is tied to her eyesight, so if it's too dark to see anything, she can't see the ghost as well. Keitarou's spirit sense can detect any
  • Lovecraft Lite: While the gang may find themselves going face-to-face with ghostly horrors on a daily basis, they are not helpless victims by any means and always manage to get the better the better of the ghost somehow.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: People with spiritual powers are attractive targets for ghosts, with most attacking Keitarou the first chance they get. Yayoi, due to surrounding herself with vicious ghosts, doesn't attract as many ghosts in spite of her power.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: It originally seemed like Kuubou was made by a human organization, but it's further revealed that they were exorcists who got their bodies taken by ghosts that they failed to defeat.
  • Merger of Souls: When a ghost gets consumed, they enter a unconscious state inside the one who ate them, essentially becoming batteries. So far it's not shown whether they can be separated since they are usually captured by Yayoi and stored away.
  • Mons Series: All the ghosts captured are trapped in dolls and released when Yayoi sends them out to fight other ghosts. Unlike most examples, however, it's made clear that Yayoi's ghosts are not her friends and will often turn against her if given the chance.
  • Monster of the Week: The series starts off with each ghost being more-or-less a self-contained entity. After Keitarou befriends Ai, however, the larger Myth Arc starts to emerge, with several ghosts having connections to ongoing plotlines.
  • Mood Whiplash: The series will alternate between zany comedy and genuinely creepy horror at the drop of a hat.
  • Mook Chivalry: Sometimes Yayoi and Keitarou are allowed to discuss their plans while their enemy is right in front of them.
  • Murder Into Malevolence: Many ghosts were victims of murder themselves, whether they deserved it or not, and their hatred and desperation to stay alive or take revenge makes them cruel and vicious. Sometimes they can be reasoned with, after weakened to the point where Yayoi can negotiate with them.
  • No Body Left Behind: The spirit of H castle ruins holds on to the bodies of her victims, leading to them being reported missing instead of killed.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Once a ghost is captured or eaten, the curse they placed on people disappears.
  • No-Sell: The substitute dolls take any attacks by ghosts and transfer them to the ones captured by Yayoi, leaving them unharmed.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: When one ghost tried tricking Keitarou by transforming into Eiko and started stripping, he was able to tell that Eiko wouldn't do this and figured it was a trick.
  • Official Couple: Keitarou and Eiko became a couple as early as chapter 7.
  • One-Man Army: Each of the S-rank ghosts and graduates have powers that can handle hundreds of opponents. Literally for the spirit of H castle ruins as she can divide herself into an army of ghosts.
  • Only Sane Man: Keitarou is relatively sane compared to the Yandere Eiko who loves the supernatural and Creepy Child Yayoi.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Normal ghosts are shaded black with glowing eyes and mouths, act relatively mindless, grow in strength by eating souls, share memories through touch and suffer injuries if the object they possess is damaged.
  • Power Limiter: The graduates, on top of the dolls which limits their movements, are covered in cleansing salt, bound in rope from a temple and hair from a ghost with Hammerspace in said hair, and locked with a steel chain. Lose any one of these and their powers start affecting anything around them, albeit much weaker.
  • Race Against the Clock: Anna has until her 20th birthday before the unnamed Kami takes her soul for their wedding, and considering the last one has her soul bounded and the god eating her organs while surrounded by hundreds of headless ghosts, not a good fate.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The unnamed Kami may look like a child, but is at least 500 years old to be qualified as a god. Considering he knows Seimei, he has to be around 1000 years old.
  • Revenge: What Yayoi intends for Kuubou after saving her mother.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Effectively what Yayoi is doing for the entire story, saving her mother from Kuubou.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Keitarou's first reaction to being brought to a haunted spot is demanding to leave immediately.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Averted, since they usually go hunting at night.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Yayoi's method of capturing ghosts and releasing them to fight is similar to Pokémon, with Yayoi even saying "getto daze", Ash Ketchum's catchphrase in the Japanese dub after successfully capturing a Pokémon.
    • The release of the graduates, the strongest spirits in Yayoi's possession, accompanied by a release incantation and multi-page spreads of their summoning, are reminiscent of the Bankai found in Bleach.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: It started with normal ghosts that Yayoi can handle by herself, to numerous tiers of ghost ranging from B to SSS rank ghosts, all above the ghosts they normally fight and require a ghost of equal level to fight.
  • Soul Eating: How ghosts stay in the mortal world, where those they eaten are eventually digested and pass on.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Keitarou is highly sensitive to the presence of ghosts.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Most of the ghosts under Yayoi's command hate her guts, and only attack her enemies to protect themselves, since being imprisoned in substitute dolls mean they get hurt instead if Yayoi is attacked.
  • Touch the Intangible: In spite of being ghosts, most of the time they can be touched once they make themselves visible, and intangibility while being visible is much rarer.
  • Transformation Sequence: The graduates have elaborate way of releasing themselves from their dolls.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Keitarou can see into the past of ghosts that he touches, while the annunciation house straights up shows it to them as an illusion.
  • True Companions: Keitarou and Eiko are dating, Eiko is the cousin/surrogate big sister to Yayoi while Yayoi and Keitarou consider each other their most trusted partner. There are no shortage of times they're willing to risk their lives to save the other and it's what allowed them to survive so far.
  • Unfinished Business: If you're a ghost, that's the most likely reason you're around. Inverted for the Demon Sergeant, because he passed away peacefully, but remains shackled by the ghosts of the people he killed.
  • Unfriendly Fire: The graduates abilities cover a wide area with no concern for who they hit, including our main characters. Yayoi have to plan ways to avoid the effects of their powers and won't release them anywhere they can't escape immediately from their range of attack.
  • Urban Fantasy: The story is set in present-day Japan and the locations they travel to are real life locations with their names changed and made way more dangerous.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 23: The nameless god not only managed to easily defeat Kuubou, but also taught it how to use its powers properly, showing that it's already sapient despite being a fetus. This led to it consuming Harti's weaker clone, getting even stronger in the process.
  • Yakuza: A bunch of Yakuza kidnapped dozens of young women, injected them with drugs and violently raped them to death. Their ghosts eventually took revenge by killing the Yakuza and are torturing their souls until the former can pass on in peace.
  • Zerg Rush: Normal ghosts can overwhelm more powerful ghosts by ganging up on them, but the unnamed god breaks that idea by single-handedly defeating all 100 ghosts in Yayoi's room by himself.


Thrill of the supernatural

Eiko admitted to herself that she's thrilled to be in supernatural adventures and risking herself being killed.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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Main / ThrillSeeker

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