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Manga / Hitogatana

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Hitigatana is an Action Genre Science Fiction Shounen manga by author and artist Onigunsou which began serialization October 10, 2009 in Comic Blade, and ended January 30, 2020. It is published in eleven volumes.

The story takes place 20 Minutes into the Future, where the invention of the miraculous technology to transfer a human soul into other objects in order to control something not of one's own body is the main factor for the rise of androids. Initially the main function of these androids were for industrial work and medical use. Over time a type that was equipped with weapons was manufactured specifically for combat use. These 'Armed Operational Androids' were called "Katana" and inscribed with the names of legendary katana's from Japanese history and folklore.

Crimes committed using "Katana" run rampant. In an effort to maintain order, the government has organized the AKCD - "Anti Katana Crime Division". The story follows Togusa, a member of the 8th squad of the AKCD who bridges the gap between human and machine and is constantly at war with those who misuse "Katana" and with his own inner demons and doubts.

The manga shares some similarities to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and the works of Tsutomu Nihei, and has a very similar art style to Dogs: Bullets & Carnage.

This work has examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The setting looks like modern day, except that we have Ridiculously Human Robots tech.
  • Androids Are People, Too: Not believed by the general public or government, but the AKCD do, and take in Togusa and later Hahagiri when otherwise they would have been 'disposed of'.
  • Bank Robbery: In chapter 3, two guys who've hijacked katanas use them to rob a bank.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The AKCD often. In Chapter 2, Togusa and Yachiyo pull one on Inspector Takemoto.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: A particularly cool panel in chapter 2 shows the two squad eight katana shadowed in darkness but with Glowing Eyes. Whether their eyes are actually glowing or it's artistic license is hard to say.
  • The Collector: The villain of chapter 4 is someone who collects katana.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Hahagiri does this to Togusa occasionally, and while the ship-tease isn't lost on the audience, those involved are half-robot, so the significance doesn't quite sink in to them.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: All the battles against minor criminals who steal katana. The AKCD are professionals and newbs never give them a hard time. The trouble starts when fellow professionals start running amok...
  • Double Standard: Played for Laughs and remarked on in-universe. When Hahagiri is unable to give Squad Eight any information about her father, she apologizes, and this conversation happens between Yachiyo and Togusa:
    Yachiyo: Oh, you don't have to apologize. You're cute so it's forgiven!
    Togusa (A guy): Ane-san, what if I were to give you the same answer?
    Yachiyo: I'll smack you.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Togusa temporarily partners with Shinobu in chapter 3 since they're the only AKCD members who are able to take care of an incident that happens during a meeting.
  • Heart Drive: Katana. They seem to run by 'placing your soul' into the katana.
  • Hihi'irokane: A vital component of all Katana, due to its ability to store souls.
  • Internal Reveal: Shinobu's appearance is revealed to the audience and hinted at to Togusa early on at the end of chapter 3, but it seems so unlikely to Togusa that he dismisses the truth.
  • Mad Scientist: Many, but notably Amamiya Kyouko, Togusa's creator and Hahagiri's 'father'.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: A lot of the hijacked katana were stolen by assistants and apprentices of legal kenshi and smiths.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Inspector Takemoto who hates Katana and anything to do them, including the hero, Togusa.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Piloting a katana seems to have a lot of strain on a human's soul, and can potentially erode it if it stays too long in a katana.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The Katana all resemble humans, and can be and are mistaken as humans. Possibly justified by the fact that they are manipulated by a human's soul like their own body, so it makes sense for it to be human shaped. Also, a human-looking robot is much more stealthy than something that is obviously inhuman.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture: Yachiyo and Inuzuka both do this a lot.
  • Theme Naming: All the katana are named after Real Life famous and mythological Japanese swords.
  • This Is a Drill: The enemy katana in chapter 4 can put its arms together and twist and attack like a drill.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Togusa, and later, other characters who identify as half-katana, half-human.