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Manga / Hero Tales

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It is the time of wars.

In the chaotic Empire, a group of seven heroes of the stars, the Hokushin-Tenkun, rose to lead the common folk. Out of the seven a destiny of heated battle unfolds between the "Two Noble Spirits", Hagun and Tonrou. Originally the two should not exist in the same time but the gears of Fate have turned otherwise.

In the current feeble state of the Ken Empire, the conflicting "Two Noble Spirits" - Taitou Shirei of Hagun and Keirou of Tonrou each fight for their view of justice and the peace of the countries and their home country.

In the name of Fate, the justice of whom shall prevail...?

It's illustrated by the author of Fullmetal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa. and written by Huang Jin Zhou - pseudonym of a group including Arakawa and studios Genco and Flag.

An animated adaptation aired in 2007 for 26 episodes while the manga concluded in 2010.

Provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Rinmei. Doubles as an Action Girlfriend for Ryuko/Keiko.
  • Anyone Can Die: Most of the bad guys, but also Ryuko's adoptive father, Laila's father and Housei.
  • Back from the Dead: In the manga, Housei is killed by Shimei and his corpse is later possessed to be his last vessel.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Minor villain Shouka does this to Laila. A rare case when a woman does this to another woman.
  • Break the Cutie: Laila reaches this point when she finds out Taito's fate as the Hagun resulted in death of her parents and their adoptive father, going so far as to try and kill him in anger before she comes to her senses.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Naiden, a technique that allows one to attack through objects without harming anything other than the target, was introduced early on by Kouei. It's used again in Taito's battle with Keiro, who was using Ryuko as a shield.
  • The Chosen One: Seven of them, actually. According to Shoukaku in the manga, the Nishintenson (Hagun and Tonro, the opposite stars) are bound to fight each other, while the five Goushintoshi lesser stars have to contain their destruction.
  • Dark Action Girl: Shouka, powerful enough to put an entire town under her rule. Suffers The Worf Effect when Housei fights her with a mundane bow and beats her.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Soukiho is a somewhat more mild form of this trope, as it causes thin cuts in Taito if he doesn't control it correctly.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: In a sense, Shimei: he does appear from the beginning, it's highly implied to be supernatural, but after The Reveal, noone reveals who built Shimei for the purpose of "recording human events", leaving him shrouded in mystery.
  • Dirty Old Man: Sonnei, whose first appearance is patting Laila's butt while remarking Ryuko managed to get food from Laila and Taito and be guided by them. At the end of the chapter, he is in a Corner of Woe at realizing he'll be unable to touch Laila's butt from her for a while due to her going with Taito and Ryuko to get back the Kenkarapu.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Shimei, to the point that when Keiro's underlings report that he's again disappeared, Keiro simply states that he should let be.
  • Eye Scream: Manga only, Ryuko loses an eye to Keiro to protect Taito.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Shimei is always affable and corteous, too bad he's an utter, psychotic nutjob. Not to mention, he's the one responsible for Keiro's Start of Darkness in the first place.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Shoukaku does works for the best interests of the Empire. Still, he's aloof, ruthless and manipulative, not to mention that he basically doesn nothing at all to stop Keirou directly, relying on a series of subtle plans and manipulation that ultimately don't prevent the death of hundreds of people, arguably making him a Karma Houdini.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Subverted with Ryuko. At first he sided with Taito, then his adoptive father Ryusho tells him he doesn't have to be on Taito's side, resulting in him "siding" with Keiro after Shimei revealed to him that Keiro's his father. After Shokaku's Heroic Sacrifice, he sides with Taito again in taking down Keiro.
  • Hot-Blooded: Taito, in addition to being an Idiot Hero. He doesn't go about his life in halves.
  • Idiot Hero: Taito. He grows out of it.
  • Karmic Death: Shimei spends most of the manga tormenting Laila at every step. Eventually, is Laila who kills off his last host, Housei, and cleaves the sword in half, destroying Shimei for good.
  • Killed Off for Real: Housei in the manga, not before taking Shimei with him.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Taito's kneejerk reaction to any opponent.
  • Living Weapon: Shimei is actually a demon sword who can possess other bodies, living or dead, in order to roam. In the manga, Shoukaku ultimately dismiss the destroyed Kenkaranbu as an evil weapon that seeks nothing but massacre, in spite of his wielder.
  • Long Lost Sibling: The emperor of the Kei Empire is actually the younger brother of Taito.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Keiro's revealed to be Ryuko's biological father.
  • Mundangerous: In the first chapter, Laila stops Taito in an insane rage from the Hagun by walking up to him, holding his face in her hands... and telling him to get back to his sense while headbutting him.
    • She does it again in the next chapter, knocking Taito across the room with a Megaton Punch when he accuses her of being a thief since Taito and Ryuko don't recognize her (because she got her hair done and borrowed extravagant clothes from the landlady).
  • My Beloved Smother: Kouei, Housei's master, is a non-relative example. She's very clingy to him, which causes him to describe her as an "Old Crone" (Onibaba in the original dub).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kouchou agrees with Keiro and follows his plans unquestionably, but the moment Keiro's daughter Taki is risking her life, Koucho questions Keiro's motivations and escapes, taking the Emperor and Taki with him.
    • Ryuko is left in a pitiful mess after siding with Keiro, betraying his friends and killing his foster father.
  • No Sense of Direction: Ryuko. His first appearance has him admitting he got lost finding the temple Taito lives at. Ryuko guides Taito and Laila to get the Kenkaranbu back, but when they meet Housei, Housei says they're going in a completely different direction to their destination.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Minor villain Shouka has stolen Kouei's bow and used it to take over and entire town to the point that the inhabitants are too scared to fight back and consider her an invincible warrior lady... then her giant mooks are defeated easily by the heroes and Housei defeats her and her incredibly powerful bow using a non-descript short bow.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Turns out to be the case for Laila and Taito.
  • One-Man Army: Keiro and his subordinate Kochou are more than enough to conquer a fortified citadel and destroy the garrison guarding it.
  • One-Winged Angel: After being knocked out cold during the final battle against Taito, Keiro is fully possessed by Tonro and grows even larger, with the tattoo on his back expanding and a third eye opening in his forehead.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Kenkaranbu. In a variation, while Hagun is supposed to be The Chosen One to draw it from the sheath, the blade will accept Tonrou's legitimacy should Hagun forsake it.
  • Pregnant Badass: Rinmei is pregnant with Ryuko's child
  • Psycho Lesbian: Shouka not only is a cold-blooded tyrant who has taken over an entire city for herself, but she also has Laila kidnapped and brought to her tied up with a collar so that she can have fun with her. When cornered, she threatens to scar her with an arrow.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Koyo's massive, manly pirate with a kickass weapon... who enjoys making make up and powders for women in his spare time.
  • Refusal of the Call: Traditionally, the Hagun is the rightful heir to the Kei Empire as it's their duty to protect the empire and the Kenkaranbu signifies them as such, once Taito resolves that he would not become the emperor, the Kenkaranbu immediately unsheathes for Keiro, the Tonro.
  • Shown Their Work: At the end of each volume, Hiromu showcases the lengths she and the rest of the creative team went through on researching ancient Chinese architecture and designs (roofing materials, floors, walls, statues, etc.), starting with a trip to Beijing (though it's also a case of "Suffering For Their Work" in some of the members' case - freezing temperatures of -2 degrees C for them, just a nice spring walk for Hiromu and another member who grew up in the colder parts of Japan).
  • Slasher Smile: Keiro's main form of smile, which means that you should get away asap. Shimei also performs an half-hidden one note  when he states that, should Hagun and Tonro come to fight each other seriously, everyone will die.
  • Stock Wushu Weapons: Most of the main characters and the villains above the Spear Carrier rank tend to use distinctive martial arts with Ki Attacks and appropriate weapons, especially the chosen ones: Ryuko fights with a staff, Rinmei and later Laila use a small dao, Hosei has a bow he can split into two dao, Koyo has a polearm which is has the multi-segmented shaft (bian/sanjiegun) and the blade of a dadao, while Shokaku wields a series of handheld sharp discs weapons. The Hero Taito subverts this, as he initially carries a jian with him, but after growing stronger he fights with bare-handed kung fu.
  • Superpowered Insanity: Taitou gets like this whenever he loses control of the Hagun.
  • Timeskip: The final chapter of the manga is set seven years after Keiro and Taito's battle, with Taito finally returning to Laila, who had since become chief of their village.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: Each of the heroes wields one:
    • Bare-Fisted Idiot Hero: Taito. Later obtains a Cool Sword, but goes back to his fists in the finale.
    • Deadly Disc: Shokaku uses two disc-blades. In the manga, he can wield a whole array and make them levitate.
    • Swiss-Army Weapon: Housei wields a ridiculously large bow that can split into twin BFSs.
    • Variable-Length Chain: Koyo wields a multi-section steel chain that can form into a spear.
    • On the villainous side, we have Keiro (Dao, a Polearm and later Kenkaranbu), Koucho (Two massive swords) Shimei (a dao himself) and Chouka (a short, two-pronged dao which can split into two blades).
  • Visible Silence: Done by Taito as he listens to Ryuko lecture him about the need to have discipline to his power, combined with Ignoring by Singing as he also covers his ears.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Keiro's desire to overthrow the empire for peace stems from the fact that his village and his wife were slaughtered by the Kei Empire solely because he was the Tonrou, but his rage clouded his judgement to the point where the only action he found acceptable was to wipe out the entire empire, even the innocent, by himself in order to maintain permanent peace.
  • Wrecked Weapon: What happened to Taito whenever he used Soukidan with any mundane weapon. Housei also manages to destroy Keiro's glaive with his arrows, while Ryuko does this to Kochou's broadswords.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Keiro absorbs Shimei when he realizes that the latter is in the way of his plans. Anime only though.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Rinmei pulls this on the invading soldiers attacking the temple. Earlier, Taito, Housei and Ryuko pulls one on Keiro and Kocho, which ends with a Curb-Stomp Battle and Ryuko defecting.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: In the anime, after overthrowing the emperor, Keiro gathered everyone in the empire, only to be turned to zombies through the power of Banshou Shimei
    • Downplayed in the manga, Shimei can... do something to people to turn them into mindless soldiers that Feel No Pain.

Alternative Title(s): Juushin Enbu