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Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin (銀牙 -流れ星 銀-, literally "Silver Fang: The Shooting Star Gin") is an adventure/action Shōnen manga published in Shonen Jump between 1983 to 1987. The mangaka, Yoshihiro Takahashi, took inspiration from an article he read about pet dogs that had run away from their owners to live in the wilderness. Subsequently he created a story about... pet dogs that had run away from their owners to live in the wilderness.

Yes, this story is about talking dogs.

Let's be more specific: it stars Gin, an Akita pup and the son of the bear-hunting dog Riki. Riki and his owner, Gohei Takeda, had been hunting a deranged bear known as Akakabuto (based on a famous historical rogue bear who terrorized a town) after the bear killed Riki's father. Circumstances led to Gohei losing his leg, and Riki seemingly falling to his death. Thus, Gohei needed a new hunting dog. He picked Gin.


Months later, Gin, after having been trained by Gohei and returned to his original owner, Daisuke, leaves his friend to join a pack of wild dogs. It turns out that Riki survived, but with amnesia, and had formed a pack to fight and finish off Akakabuto and his fellow bears. So begins an adventure involving many battles, travelling across Japan to find allies, and learning battle techniques.

Eventually, the manga was adapted into an anime by Toei Animation. This was subsequently dubbed into a number of Scandinavian languages, and it became popular enough in those countries to get uncut rereleases. Why "uncut"? Well, most notably, both the manga and the anime are extremely violent and gory - enough for one site to describe it as "said to be one of the most violent anime ever". Don't count on it being dubbed into English anytime soon, though a decent fan-made sub was put out a few years ago.


There's a sequel series, Ginga Densetsu Weed, which follows Gin's son Weed. There's also a manga-only prequel named Ginga Densetsu Riki, which follows a young Riki.

Now has a character sheet.

Examples in the anime adaptation

  • The '80s: The story is set in 1986, the same time period of its creation.
  • Aborted Arc: The entire wolf arc after Akakabuto's defeat, along with Gin's last reunion with Daisuke and Gohei before the latter dies from old age.
  • Absurdly Sharp Claws:
    • Sniper kills a dog named Lloyd by clawing his head.
    • The bears as well are often shown tearing open either a person or dog with a single strike of their claws.
  • Action Prologue: The first episode opens with Takeda Gohei and Shiro in the middle of hunting Akakabuto. In the Ginga Densetsu Riki prequel, it's revealed that Riki was actually at the scene of the time while still a puppy, witnessing his father giving his life to push himself along with Akakabuto off a cliff. Which is ironic when 8 years later, Riki falls off a cliff because of Akakabuto as well, while being witnessed by his son, Gin.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Not counting the Aborted Arc mentioned above, the anime naturally leaves out many things from the manga, though one of the most prominent moments is probably the sequence about Daisuke's despair over Gin's disappearance, along with John's disbelief towards the Ohu army and his fight with Riki that ultimately convinces him, which is only briefly mentioned in the anime. To recap, Daisuke is frequently looking for Gin, one day being witnessed by John as he ventures out into the woods. John, remembering the promise he gave Gin about looking after Daisuke, follows him and, not surprisingly, a bear appears. While Daisuke is knocked unconscious, John does his best to fight the bear but finds himself having trouble, when Riki suddenly appears which causes the bear to flee by the mere sight of him. John proceeds to challenge Riki to a fight, but to his shock is easily defeated by him. Riki then gives John a Rousing Speech which finally convinces him of joining the Ohu army.
    • The dogs start talking much earlier in the manga than in the anime, to which the latter leaves out some interesting interactions. For instance, Gin and John do nothing but growl at each other in Episode 5 of the anime, while in the manga, you get to read the actual conversation they're having. If Gin had started talking as early as he did in the manga, he would have begun already in Episode 3.
    • Not to mention, the bears occasionally talk in the manga too.
    • Another part that appears to come out of nowhere in the anime is a dachshund named Oliver arriving to help Cross, Gin and Benizakura, with Cross explaining he had saved her before. In the manga, Cross had run into two dogs who wanted to rape her, leading to Oliver saving her. This was also likely cut for time and the fact the two dogs were very vocal about what they wanted to do with Cross might have been deemed too inappropriate.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Cross' fur is white in the manga, but a grey-blue combo in the anime.
    • Riki's fur is changed from red to brown.
  • Adaptation Induced Plothole: In the Scandinavian release of the show, three entire episodes were removed including the part at the end where Akakabuto stands up one final time and fatally wounds Riki. Because of this, viewers were left confused for a good while as to where certain characters such as Benizakura went, or how Riki were fine one moment only to lie bloody on the ground the next.
  • Adaptation Species Change: The creature that attacked the Kai brothers as puppies was originally an unnamed marten, but some of the dubs turned him into a wild dog named Tin. It was still obviously a marten, and the "name" came from the translators mistaking "ten", Japanese for "marten", for "Tin".
  • Adult Fear: In Episode 3, Daisuke falls down a deep crevice and faints, with his father desperately calling for him.
  • Affectionate Parody: The series itself has one in the form of comic pages done by Deviant artist IsisMasshiro, parodying episode 9, 13, 14 and the last.
  • All Dogs Are Purebred: Actually justified here, as the dogs are mostly hunting dogs than either ran away or were abandoned.
  • Almost Dead Guy: A dog named Kurobe delivers a message to Cross and Moss that the fourth and fifth platoon have been killed, before dying himself.
  • Already Undone for You: In episode 16, we see Moss and the pack of dogs he had been leading in the absence of Ben being trapped in a giant hole in the ground, with no explanation as to how they ended up there, or even what that hole is doing there.
  • Alternate Animal Affection: Between Ben and Cross.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Bears are depicted as a universal force of evil. Not just that they're all just bad people, but actively malicious.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Gohei chops off his foot to feed it to Riki, so he can gain enough strength to make it back to the town and fetch help. Riki refuses however.
    • Interestingly, in the manga we're instead treated to a scene of Gohei deciding to shoot Riki, so he can feed off his meat to survive. It then cuts to Daisuke waking up in horror, realizing it was All Just a Dream.
  • Animal Jingoism: Dogs and bears are mortal enemies. The whole plot revolves around the dogs gathering enough "soldiers" to battle the bears, and the actual battle itself. Though the protagonist is able to overcome this, as shown when he got upset after seeing another dog kill two innocent bear cubs.
  • Animal Nemesis: Gohei's fixation on Akakabuto.
  • Annoying Arrows:
    • There's a bear with three harpoons stuck in its back. I repeat, there's a bear with three harpoons stuck in its back.
    • Averted with the hunting bow, which is considered more powerful than some of the rifles.
  • Anti-Climax: In the Scandinavian and Finnish edit of the anime, after all the trouble the protagonists went through to gather a massive dog army to take Akakabuto down, the bear is ultimately killed by... Gohei suddenly arriving and shooting him. Whut? What actually happened that the Nordic viewers didn't get to see was Gin using the Battouga to decapitate Akakabuto.
  • Anyone Can Die: Don't take this franchise lightly, it's one of the most serious anime out there. It's bloody and deadly, and any character is lucky to make it out of an arc alive.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care:
    • You absolutely do not train a puppy into a hunting dog by beating it senseless with chopped wood or making it jump into a freezing, raging river. In the Gingaverse however, dogs are as sentient as humans, resulting in it being counted as Training from Hell rather than actual animal abuse. Although, people in-universe do call Gohei out on his methods being far too cruel, to which he responds that "If a dog can't avoid an old man's kick, how will it avoid a bear's paw?" note 
    • The series' portrayal of Japanese dog fighting is very heavy on the artistic licenses. Dog fighting in Japan has more in common with sumo wrestling than the awful Western bloodsport, and the dogs "fight" by attempting to push each other out of the ring. During their epic showdown, Benizakura and Tsuna-arashi would both have gotten disqualified many times over were it a real-life match. Growling, barking, and injuring the opposing dog are strictly prohibited in actual fights.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Many of the dog breeds are tweaked a bit to fit their role more. Akitas are not that tall and slender, and Salukis in turn are a lot skinnier than what Cross is. Neither do English Mastiffs (Moss) or Tosa Inus (Benizakura) get that big.
  • A-Team Firing: Large groups of mooks firing rifles can't hit anything even at what appears to be close range.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Giant killer bears terrorizing humans.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The pack leader is always the strongest fighter in the group.
    • Averted when Ben goes blind and has to pick a new leader for the pack. According to both him and Akame, anyone in the pack have the strength to be a leader, but Ben wants someone who also have "determination and a strong sense of justice". The choice goes to Gin, despite him probably being (at least one of) the youngest of them. Of course he still turns out to be among the strongest on many occasions.
  • Badass Baritone: Riki.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Gohei and Riki are trapped in a crevice in the first episode, Gohei eventually takes out his machete and decides that "no matter what, I'll survive this", making it look like he intends to kill Riki to feed off his meat. Turns out he meant to chop off his own leg so Riki could instead feed off his meat, only Riki refuses out of loyalty.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: One clip of the opening song shows Gin epically fighting Akakabuto alone while the bear is charging after him down a steep mountain side. While their battle does happen, it's in an entirely different setting, Akakabuto remains stationary throughout most of the fight and Gin is fighting alongside hundreds of other dogs. He is the one to deliver the finishing blow though.
  • Bears Are Bad News: This series is a textbook case of this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the Kai Brothers' past, Ben saves them from Tin (a pine marten in the manga or a rogue dog in the anime).
  • Big Good: Riki.
  • Big Guy: Moss, for the most part. And Benizakura, for the rest of the part.
  • Big Sleep: How both Akatora and Riki dies.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The victory during the final battle came with a high price. Totally worth it, though...
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The subtitled episodes provided by Anime Suuxe Den are littered with mistranslations and grammar mistakes.
    • Some examples are:
    "Im going to become an male."
    "He is only lies."
    "You two will go rape them." (Original: "You two will go spy on them.")
    • The subtitles from anime_fin are generally higher in quality, but even they have their problems. Young dogs are consistently referred to as "cubs", capitalization is all over the place, and words are sometimes compounded when they shouldn't be (eg. "Monsterbear"). The word choices are also occasionally rather unusual, such as when Jaguar exclaims "Bloody hell!" when confronted by Sniper. The subs are also very similar to the official Finnish ones, to the point where it's possible that the Finnish script was run through a translation program and added to the episodes unedited.
  • Break the Haughty: John's arrogant attitude is toned down a whole lot after being defeated by Riki.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: One of the dogs in the army at the final battle loses control of his bladder when seeing Akakabuto for the first time.
  • Broken Aesop: The Big-Lipped Alligator Moment mentioned above. To recap, at the very end of the episode, baby-killer came out of nowhere, threw a puppy off a cliff, put a member of the pack in lethal danger, and reflected badly on Lassie, and in the next episode, nobody cared. The scene was most likely an Aesop about how harming innocents to get back at someone is a bad thing, so... yeah. In all fairness, none of the already recruited characters got much love at this point, but it still came off as rather odd.
    • This was probably more due to adaptation editing. In the manga, Wilson (the collie) explains how Kurojaki killed and ate his family before, hence, he wanted revenge.
  • Brother Chuck: Gin's brothers are only present on-screen for about five minutes altogether in the first eight episodes, and are never seen or mentioned again afterwards. The same goes for his mother, although he at least shares a tearful goodbye with her and subsequently thinks of her along with Daisuke and Gohei when he leaves to join the dog pack, while his brothers remains completely ignored.
  • But Now I Must Go: Gin leaves Daisuke and his family in episode 8 to join Ben's pack and travel across Japan.
  • Calling Your Attacks: "Zetsu! TENRŌ! BATTŌGA!!"
  • Cannibal Clan: The ninja dogs of Kouga eat other dogs, which other characters find utterly reprehensible.
  • Car Fu: Pulled off in the first episode with a snowmobile.
  • Cheerful Funeral: Riki tells Gin not to feel sad at the end of the final battle where so many died, but to howl in victory for the honor of the dead.
  • Combat by Champion: Gin vs. Sniper
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: Kurojaki hold a sickle in its mouth, allowing to perform devastating attacks. After an intervention from Gin, one such attack backfires and Kurojaki loses an eye to his own weapon.
  • David Versus Goliath: Dogs vs. giant killer bears. Lampshaded in the theme song: "Something so huge, which stands so much taller than us..."
  • Decoy Protagonist: Daisuke starts out as the main character in your typical A Boy And His Dog story, then the Genre Shift comes along after 8 episodes and the attention switches to Gin, to which Daisuke doesn't show up again until the last episode (not counting a brief two minute appearance he has a few episodes prior).
  • Ear Ache: A flashback at the start of the story shows that Gohei gained his signature scars and missing ear when Akakabuto swiped the left side of his face with its claws. The manga even devotes a panel to show the torn ear.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Riki recovers from his Easy Amnesia shortly before the final battle, allowing him to teach Gin the ultimate bear-slaying technique: Zetsu Tenrou Battouga. It's strong enough to chop Akakabuto's head clean off, though it gets nerfed pretty heavily in the Wolf Arc. Mostly because it turns out there are other Battougas out there.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Spinning attacks are the key to victory.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kurojaki towards his pup.
  • Episode Title Card: After the intro, the anime shows a brief Previously On… segment and then shows a title card.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Riki is simply known as "The Leader" during most of the show up until his identity is "revealed" in the final episode.
  • Evil Chancellor: Sniper, being the second in command, is constantly scheming how to take over the pack and kill off his competition in elaborate schemes.
  • Evil Redhead: Akakabuto; he is a giant killer bear whose name means "Red Helmet".
  • Eye Awaken: Hidetoshi shoots a bear, thinks he's killed it and slowly approaches, the bear slightly opens it's eyes in what can only be described as playing dead to lure the hunter close and SMILES, before hurling itself towards Hidetoshi.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Daisuke's father.
  • Eye Scream: The series was.....fond of this.
    • Kurotora got his right eye bitten out by Tin the marten when he was just a puppy.
    • Kurojaki's sickle through the eye, anyone?
    • Terry gets his only eye clawed out, leaving him blind.
    • And finally Akatora gets his left eye destroyed just before he takes out Akakabuto's remaining eye.
  • Fake Defector: Terry, the leader of the fifth squad, joins the Mutsu Generals so that he can betray them at the right moment.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: No lack of decapitations or animal violence here.
  • A Father to His Men: When Gin calls Riki out for being his father, an amnesiac Riki responds by accepting his "loyalty", and further proceeds to proclaim all the dogs to be his children as well as his soldiers.
  • Fiery Redhead: Akatora. Heck, his entire body is covered in red fur.
  • Final Battle: Akakabuto plays the role as the Final Boss.
  • Flash Step: Gin, Riki as well as the Koga and Iga dogs can do this.
  • Gecko Ending: The anime ends with Akakabuto's defeat. The manga however, continues for a while more, revolving around a wolf arc (the dogs joining forces with good wolves to fight against evil ones), and afterwards Gin having a reunion with Daisuke before seeing Takeda Gohei one last time before he dies.
  • Gender Equals Breed: Zig-zagged with Ben and Cross' pups. They have three where two look like Ben while the third look like Cross, however the Cross-alike is male, while one of the Ben-alikes is female. (This isn't revealed until Ginga Densetsu Weed however.)
  • Genre Shift: It starts out as an A Boy and His X series... and then the focus shifts to the dogs looking for enough manpower to defeat Akakabuto and its cohorts.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Akakabuto's single eye glows constantly throughout the series and even during the opening theme.
    • Even with both eyes gone, his sockets begin to glow, either being a stylistic choice or implying he's supernaturally powerful to some extent.
  • Go for the Eye: Plenty of the attacks in the series are aimed at the opponents eyes, often with gruesome results Terry, Kurotora, Akatora, Kurojaki, Akakabuto.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: How about two clans of ninja dogs?
  • Handicapped Badass: Akakabuto himself. Not to mention Ben starts to go blind and can still make his enemies bleed.
  • Heroic Lineage: Shiro's bloodline has natural strength and intelligence in it.
  • Heroic Dog: Most of the characters. Translation: lots.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: This happens all the time.
  • Heroic Willpower: When Daisuke falls deep into a crevice and faints, Gin is sent down to rescue him and does so by circling his body, wrapping him with his rope leash to pull him back up. In doing so however, he has to hold on to the rope himself, carrying all of Daisuke's weight on his small puppy body. It gets to the point his collar tears into his throat and the manga describes that he eventually couldn't breathe. Despite that he keeps holding onto the rope, even after having pulled him to safety.
    Hidetoshi: John, this time I think you've met your match.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: While the Igas are pretty spry ninjas, not shying away from underhanded tactics and preferring to stay out of sight, that doesn't change the fact that their pure white coats should make for pretty awful camouflage. As the series goes on,however, Akame starts playing this more and more straight, besting his opponents with his speed and skill in direct combat instead of going with more "practical" methods.
  • Honor Before Reason: Kurojaki and his clan of ninja dogs, who all decides to commit suicide when Akame burns down their "Master's" home, by jumping into the burning building itself.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The Finnish dub struggles with lip-synching, with characters sometimes still briefly talking after their mouths no longer move or, conversely, their mouths moving after the line is over or even before the line even begins. Still the dialogue mostly manages to start and end exactly where it should. The dialogue issues are due two things: One, being translated through the Swedish script to Finnish either makes some of the dialogue too short or too long to match the lip synching due to Swedish not being easily turned into Finnish and grammatical cords that don't exist in Finnish Grammar. Two, the dub was rushed, with 4 actors (2 male 2 female) having to do every scene in 1 single take, which slightly hampers their vocal performances. This is due to the company named Golden Voice Oy being a minor dubbing company that had recently started it's business, and therefore not did not have enough resources to do retakes. The dub managed to become popular after over the years, and some fans are attached to it.
  • Hope Spot: During the final battle against Akakabuto, Gohei appears at one point and shoots the bear in the chest, resulting in it finally falling to the ground, dead. While several lives were lost, both Gin and Riki lives, and a teary Gohei goes over to hug them both... only for Akakabuto to magically resurrect out of nowhere, striking Gohei down before he can make another shot, and then mortally wounding Riki. Enraged, Gin performs a Battouga that tear's Akakabuto's head off.
  • Made of Iron: A couple of the characters manage to hang on, even if they get shot in the eye, clawed, fell off a cliff, bitten, or in one case, all of the above.
    • Forget iron, Akame is most likely made of pure adamantium. He gets scythed in the neck by Kurojaki soon after his introduction and he has all but shrugged it off an hour or so later. That's just the beginning, though: later in the series he gets Shuga's spear-like front leg shoved into his stomach and the battle with White Tiger ends with the latter's (regular) leg paw-deep in Akame's neck. He barely minds these two injuries, by the way.
  • Manly Tears: Happens more than once, usually after a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Meaningful Name
    • Gin: "Silver"
    • Akakabuto: "Red Helmet"
    • Akatora: "Red Tiger"
    • Kurotora: "Black Tiger"
    • Chutora: "Middle Tiger"
    • Sniper (self proclaimed): "never misses his target"
    • Akame: "Red Eyes"
    • Kurojaki: "Black Demon"
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Chutora. He has a much smaller role compared to Akatora and Kurotora and is mysteriously absent in the sequel. His role is so small that not even the series' creator could remember what actually happened to him between the series when this was asked. As some consolation, though, Chutora is something of an Ensemble Dark Horse among the fandom.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Turns out that Gin and Daisuke's first kill was just a Mama Bear trying to protect her cubs.
  • Mooks: Every pack the heroes encounter contains foot soldier dogs that gets mowed down en masse during the fight.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted. The enemies tend to attack en masse. This doesn't seem to be a problem for the heroes though.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Brindle fur equals natural strength.
  • The Musical: A bunch of fans got together and actually made a musical about a series centered around a bunch of dogs killing bears. Here's a link to their English homepage.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Daisuke has a moment of this when he realizes the bear he killed was just trying to protect her cubs, and questions himself to have done the same thing Akakabuto did.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Some of the characters are quite fond of introducing themselves before a battle, even to the bears, who wouldn't be able to understand them.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Cannibal ninja dogs with mohawks!
  • Not Quite Dead: Akakabuto, who took an onslaught of attacking dogs, bullet wounds, and THREE Zetsu Tenrou Battougas to finally die.
  • Now That's Using Your Teeth!: The Zetsu Tenrou Battouga is an attack revolved on this. By spinning, it creates a massive force in the attacker's bite, enough to rip a bear's head clean off.
  • Off-Model:
    • The dogs often has horse anatomy-like legs in running animations.
    • Gin's rather strange look in episode 6.
  • Off with His Head!: How Akakabuto is ultimately defeated.
  • Oh, Crap!: If you guessed that this happens a lot, you'd be right.
  • One-Man Army: Riki. He might have been the only dog in Ohu at the time, but he was still fighting bears all by himself as if it's easy hunting.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Moss is most definitely not happy after he is led to believe that his son is dead.
    • Same with Kurojaki. In fact, he got so pissed off when he sees his son fall off a cliff that he starts beating up other dogs around him.
  • Parental Abandonment: Riki "dies", inspiring Gin to become an avenger, only to have him dicking around with Laser-Guided Amnesia to kill the Big Bad later in the series.
  • Peaceful in Death: Again, Akatora and Riki.
  • Plot Hole: The number of dogs in the pack, while large to begin with, grows ever larger as time goes on, even getting into the hundreds. How all these dogs find enough food for the whole pack is never explained. At the very least, they must be consuming all the prey in the surrounding area everywhere they go.
    • It's shown in an early episode, where the pack only numbers about 70 or so, that they eat an entire bear carcass down to the bones overnight.
  • Power Copying: Gin only needs to watch a technique once before becoming an Instant Expert. Lampshaded once by Moss.
  • Put on a Bus: Justified, in that the focus shifts to Gin as soon as he leaves with the pack in episode 8, not leaving much room for showing the humans anymore, causing Daisuke and Takeda Gohei to not appear again until near the end.
  • The Quest: Find the strongest dogs in Japan to take down the Big Bad.
  • Rasputinian Death: Akakabuto, after taking tons of attacks from dogs, rendered blind, endured two Zetsu Tenrou Battougas, and a gunshot, finally goes down after one final Zetsu Tenrou Battouga... that cut off his head.
  • Recycled Animation:
    • It's an 80's anime which doesn't leave it much of a surprise that many shots and animations are re-used at certain times. The worst offender is probably in Episode 18 and 19, when the same shots of dogs being clawed at and stepped on by a bear are used over and over again to the point it becomes comical.
    • Another frequently used shot is an animation of Gin landing after striking an attack on an enemy, which shows up several times over the show. It gets especially noticable towards the end when it's even used in the final episode, despite that Gin has grown a lot by that point, said animation momentarily reverts him back to his mid-series age again.
  • Red Right Hand: Akakabuto's missing right eye. It exploits this by making a lookalike to trick the attackers.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Hyena, does one final act of trying to prove his worth as a soldier of Ohu, jumping off a cliff with the intent of saving Ben after giving a little speech about how he used to be evil but wants to redeem himself, only to trip while charging down the cliff, screaming as he falls to his death. He is never seen again.
    • In the anime, no. In the manga, we see Ben, Sniper and Hyena as they all fell into a river. Hyena saves Ben from drowning, but is then killed by Sniper.
  • Retired Badass: Gohei becomes this early on, his old age along with drinking problems making him too ill to keep training Gin, and bear hounds in general.
  • The Rival: John is this to Gin early on.
  • Rousing Speech: The dogs are about to square off with Akakabuto, but he has intimidated most of the soldiers in the pack; cue Riki with one of the most memorable entrances ever, delivering a rousing speech which makes everybody fit for fight again.
  • Rule of Drama: It'd be a pretty short and boring serie if every dog they wanted to recruit complied right away.
    • In the last episode, Daisuke tries to approach Gin only to be stopped by the other dogs (even John) snarling at him, resulting in a bittersweet scene of Daisuke having to say goodbye to Gin from a distance, refused the right to touch him. This would make sense with the dogs not allowing an unknown human approaching their leader, even though Takeda Gohei was allowed to pet and hug both Gin and Riki just moments before...
      • In the manga, they explain how it's the first days of his reign that determine what direction his leadership will take, and because of this, they can't let him get close to his old owner within that time frame, at the risk that he'll be swayed to going back. Upon the completion of the wolf arc however, Gin realizes he can finally see Daisuke and eventually reunites with him, arriving just in time to also see Gohei on his death bed.
    • Somehow a huge dog pack running through the mountains causes a rumble so loud it can be heard miles away.
  • Samus Is a Girl: In-universe example. The Kai brothers are unaware that the dog Chutora was fighting, Cross, was female until explicitly being told so by Gin.
  • Scare Chord: Akakabuto is dead, all is well, Gohei hugs Riki and Gin, cue sentimental music... PSYCH!
  • Scenery Porn: There are lots of gorgeously animated shots of snowy mountains, nature during summer and later autumn, and many stunning locations where Gin and his pack pass or arrive at during their journey. Especially during the first 2 minutes in episode 8 after the credits, there are many lovely shots of mountains or roads and lakes as we see them running from many different angles.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: To Western viewers, at least. The Kai Brothers are Kai Kens, Akame and the other Iga ninjas are Kishu Inus, and Musashi, Benizakura, and the other fighting dogs are Tosa Inus; all three are native Japanese breeds, and extremely rare in other countries.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Smith became female in one of the dubs, and Madara also suffered this.
    • It doesn't help that even in Japanese, it's incredibly easy to mistake Smith for a girl. See Viewer Gender Confusion below.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Cross is the only female in the huge pack and her biggest accomplishment is giving birth to Ben's puppies. Still, the show is less sexist than its sequels Ginga Densetsu Weed, where there are no lead female dogs, or Ginga Densetsu Weed: Orion, where the only female character is portrayed as whiny and submissive.
  • Snow Means Death: The battle against Akakabuto takes place in a snowstorm.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Or rather, Spared by the Bowdlerization. In Scandinavia, the anime received some haphazard cuts attempting to remove the worst instances of gratuitous gore, which led to some important scenes (as well as three entire episodes) getting the shaft. This cut version omits the deaths of Terry, Kirikaze, Jinnai, Benizakura, Sniper, Hyena and Akatora, causing quite a bit of What Happened to the Mouse? for keen-eyed viewers. Though in a bit of irony, Sniper really ended up being Not Quite Dead in the sequel.
  • Spinning Piledriver: As if Gin piledriving Kurojaki wasn't cool or damaging enough.
  • Spoiler Opening: As awesome as the opening theme credits are, it spoils or strongly hints quite a few major plots in the series, such as Gin leaving humans to join a pack of dogs, Akakabuto getting "henchmen" bears, and Riki being alive.
  • Spoiler Title: Quite a few. "Benizakura's Blood-Red Last Moment!", anyone?

  • Talking Animal: All the dogs qualify.
  • Take Up My Sword: Riki gives his position as "The Leader" to Gin before he dies.
  • Taking You with Me: The Koga and Iga dogs are fond of this method.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Gin jumps down from a tree to attack Sniper. During the jump, there's enough time for Smith to yell at Gin and for Sniper to give a little speech on the reasoning behind his name
  • Tears of Blood: Great (a Demoted to Extra character) cries blood at one point.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Cross is seen blushing in both instances where her pregnancy is revealed.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Akakabuto gets shot in his right eye and the bullet lodged in his brain stimulates his growth making him even bigger than he already is.
  • Training from Hell: Gohei puts Gin - and other dogs he trained - through this to make him a good bear-dog.
    • The manga epitomizes this by pointing out how only 1 out of 10 of Gohei's dogs survives his training.
  • Training Montage: Near the beginning of episode 4 with Gin and Daisuke played to the opening song.
  • Truth in Television: Dogs do get trained to hunt or fight bears in real life as well (though the latter is considered animal cruelty as it's used for entertainment with the bear in a rope). The story itself is apparently based off a mix between real life incidents of dogs running away from their owners to become wild dogs, and bears terrorizing a village in the mountains.
  • Try Not to Die: Gin and Akatora's parting words when they split up to storm their respective castles. Unfortunately, Akatora does die later, while pulling a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Typical Cartoon Animal Colors: Many of the dogs have colors that seem a tad bit off.
    • Hakuro is a bit notorious for this among the fandom. Not only is his nose inexplicably turquoise, but there are scenes where his usually tan and white fur is colored completely tan or dark brown, or even blue or green.
    • The parts where he's colored off like that however is before he's even introduced, meaning they re-used some animation and colored him differently to look like a random dog.
  • The Unfavorite: Gin's brothers, for some reason immediately deemed useless as future bear hounds despite them being Riki's puppies as well. The manga explains this somewhat by narrating how Gin had inherited Riki's genes more than them, and Daisuke comments that they'd make better show dogs than hunting dogs due to their fur colors.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Hyena is forgiven his past transgressions, and is let back into the pack where he continues to remain more or less useless.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Riki to Gin after witnessing his deliverance of a death blow towards Akakabuto.
  • Wham Line: "Young male, do you plan on sending a pregnant bitch onto the battleground?"
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Chutora, after being informed by Gin that Cross is a female, refuses to fight her anymore. Even when she sinks her teeth into his neck he does little besides standing there and make a bored-sounding threat. In the manga, discovering that he has been fighting a female triggers a Berserk Button, and he proceeds to beat up the rest of the pack by himself.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Gin is only a few months old in Episode 3 but suddenly looks a lot older from Episode 4 and onwards, giving the impression there was a Time Skip of several months, and Episode 5 even refers to him as being one year old. Still, the story narrates that Episode 3 is set in March while Episode 4 and 5 is in May, meaning there wasn't more than a two month skip, effectively resulting in this trope.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Harpoon Bear, we hardly knew ye.
    • In the manga, after Hyena proclaims his Heel–Face Turn and falls down the gorge, he ends up in a river along with Ben and Sniper, and proceeds to save Ben from drowning. Not surprisingly, Sniper kills him shortly after for this.
  • You Won't Like How I Taste: Smith, mistaking the Iga dogs for the cannibalistic Kogas, says that they wouldn't like his taste because he is black and white. This refers to an earlier event where some Kogas actually did say that they find red dogs the tastiest ones.
  • "X" Marks the Hero:
    • Riki's body is covered in X-shaped scars due to his many battles with the bears.
    • Benizakura has an X-shaped scar over his left eye.

Tropes used in the manga-only wolf arc

Tropes used in the Riki prequel

  • All-Loving Hero: To begin with, Riki doesn't understand why there has to be fighting and he tells Shiro that he wants to remain kind and just. Shiro informs him how "Justice without power is useless", prompting Riki to eat and train from then on to become strong enough to defend his justice.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Riki saves a three year old Daisuke from four rogue dogs that intends to kill him.
  • Big Good: Shiro.
  • Dirty Coward: A truck driver ends up running into a toddler Daisuke racing down a road on his bike, but instead of checking on him gets scared and drives away.
  • Dramatic Irony: Pointed out in the story; Riki is the runt of his litter, causing no one to buy him and nicknaming him "the mistake", and Gohei himself doesn't even notice him when arriving to choose a puppy. "No one knew this runt would one day defeat the monster-bear and become the leader of all of Ohu."
  • Heroic Second Wind: The four rogue dogs Riki encounters his first time venturing out alone starts violently beating him up out of spite alone, to which he cries and pleads for them to stop. Eventually he's driven into a corner causing his "bear-hound blood to awaken", and he then Takes A Level In Badass.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Shiro deliberately pushes himself and Akakabuto off a cliff in order to save Riki and Gohei.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The rogue dogs are explained to attack humans as payback for having been abused by humans themselves.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: When Riki first meets Shiro and realizes he's his father, he stays quiet, but admits it by the next time they meet due to Shiro having figured it out anyway.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Riki means "strength", and receives the name so he'll have something to live up to.
    • Shiro means "white".
  • Momma's Boy: Riki as the runt is very attached to his mother, has a hard time separating from her and every day travels 60 miles by foot to see her. It's the persistent traveling every day through rough terrain and weather that makes him strong.
  • Not Quite Dead: Early on, Akakabuto is believed to be dead after hunters had managed to shoot him and he hadn't been seen afterwards. Turns out it wasn't the case.
  • Oh, Crap!: The rogue dogs when they realize the puppy they had been fighting is Shiro's son.
  • Rewrite: While the first episode of Nagareboshi Gin showed Gohei and Shiro fighting Akakabuto alone and Shiro falling with Akakabuto by accident, the end of this prequel shows that Gohei had several men and other dogs with him on the hunt, whom all got killed by Akakabuto. Riki shows up and attacks Akakabuto before Shiro can even get to it, and also runs to hand Gohei his rifle when he loses it. It ends with Shiro delibaretely kicking a tree to push himself with the bear off a cliff to save both his master and his son.
  • Starts with Their Funeral: The story begins with showing us Riki's dead body at the battleground of Gajou, before diving into the story of his past.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Riki's the runt, yet ends up being the one who had inherited Shiro's genes the most.
  • Wham Line: Riki always cries easily until he's about to cry again because of the dogs who attacked him, when Shiro interrupts him by saying "Don't cry. That's why they bullied you!" Riki is shocked and for the first time manages to swallow his tears. Also, when Shiro reveals his name, making Riki realize it's his father.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The leader of the group of dogs Riki fights and injures swears he'll make him pay someday, but he's never seen again. Also, the one of Riki's siblings that Gohei initally chooses is never mentioned again either. One might just assume it became one of his random dogs that got killed by Akakabuto in GNG.

Alternative Title(s): Ginga Nagareboshi Gin


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