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Manga / Kengan Ashura

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Tokita Ohma, the titular "Ashura".

When Kazuo Yamashita, a 56 year old underachieving salesman, stumbles across the mysterious young Ohma Tokita easily taking down a formidable looking muscle fortress, his world gets set to be turned on its head.

The following day Kazuo is summoned by the Nogi Group’s CEO, Hideki Nogi, who introduces him to the world of the Kengan matches, a place where wealthy business owners, corporation leaders and merchants hire gladiators to fight in unarmed combat where the winner takes all. With Kazuo being reacquainted with Ohma, the latter of whom has become the Nogi Group's latest fighter, the two's journey into the Kengan world begins.

Kengan Ashura is a manga series written by Yabako Sandrovich and drawn by Daromeon,note  beginning publication in 2012 it runs in Ura Sunday, a Shounen Magazine, published by Shogakukan. In 2019, it began the second part of it's story, under the name Kengan Omega.


In May 2015 the series won a poll organized by Ura Sunday in which the winner would become eligible for getting an Animated Adaptation, Kengan Ashura got more than 2 million fan votes, winning, and Ura Sunday will reveal more details about production and release date in the future.

Compare to Baki the Grappler. Kengan Ashura shares some similarities to the early beginnings of Baki and both protagonists are similar in design and personality.


Kengan Ashura provides the examples of:

  • Adorkable: The authors physically act out many of the panels to make sure they flow right, as well as to show the correct stances to be taken during a fight. This process is shown during the Chapter 95.5 Omake, with real pictures of writer Sandrovich Yabako and editor Kobayashi to reinforce this.
  • Acrofatic: Haruo Kono, Yoshinari Karo.
  • All Just a Dream: How the bonus Street Fighter crossover chapters ended. Ohma fell asleep playing the video game and it apparently messed with his dreams... or did it?
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Ohma is extremely arrogant and provokes all of his opponents, although it isn’t unprovoked as many of his opponents are of the same braggart clause. Despite this, Ohma is often a lot less aggressive to those who support him, especially his manager. As the story develops, Ohma loses a lot of his edge, and he becomes mire respectful towards his opponents. This may have something to do with him knowing he's going to die, and being unafraid to do so.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Using techniques from the Koei Style, Kiryu Setsuna's unfortunate victims are left with limbs and necks twisted to unnatural degrees not possible in real life.note 
    • Haruo's almost remarkably rapid caloric expenditure was lampshaded by Bando Yohei as being medically impossible.
    • When using his "Advance" technique, Ohma is somehow able to overclock his heart, achieving a form of blood doping that gives him an immense boost in physical capabilities.
    • Meguro Masaki's haemolacria.
  • Audience Surrogate: Kazuo is an underachieving salesman who is immersed as a fighter manager into a secret society where powerful businessmen organize fighting matches to settle their market disputes. Kazuo is constantly thinking about the ludicrousness of all but still admiring such a different world from his usual pathetic life, and the ridiculously strong fighters who are the very opposite of his weak self.
  • Ax-Crazy: The vast majority of fighters have varying shades of this, but Kure Raian is something else entirely. Kure Raian was happy enough when he was given the chance to slaughter people after being chosen to fight in the tournament, but he looked absolutely elated when he was 'toying' with Mokichi Robinson.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Tokita Ohma and Rihito during the beginning of the Kengan Annihilation Tournament preliminaries.
  • Badass Boast
    Sekibayashi Jun: "Pro wrestlers are good actors!"
  • Badass Grandpa: The chairman of the Kengan Association, Chairman Katahara, is noted to give off waves of energy like an active volcano to the point where even fighters were affected despite him being in his late nineties.
    • The patriarch of the Kure Clan counts just as much as Chairman Katahara, having been the original Fang of Metsudo.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Part 1 ends with the tournament infiltrators are stopped by Metsudo, who completely outsmarts them and manages to allow the tournament to continue unimpeded. Gensai wins the tournament for his company in a massive upset, taking down Ohma in the finals at the cost of shattering his arm. However, Gensai's handler (and the winner of the tournament) Takakaze decides to step down from his position, seeing it as both too much of a responsibility and too cruel to take Nogi's hard-fought dream away from him. Just about all the competitors come out of it better in some way- either with renewed motivation to become even stronger, or with bonds to help them become better people. Unfortunately, a combination of abuse of the “Advance” technique and his injuries ultimately result in Ohma passing away after the tournament concludes. Everyone mourns his passing as a talented fighter who was taken in his prime, especially his father figure Kazuo. Yet, with the lessons he’s gained in seeing Ohma live his short life to the fullest, Kazuo refuses to let anyone boss him around, and he decides to start up his own company. However, there are still a lot of plotlines left unconcluded, and the story hints that, somehow, Ohma may have been revived.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Subverted by most of the Kure Clan. While the clan can be easily recognised by their black sclera and white irises and are renowned in the criminal underworld for their ruthless efficiency, they are actually very polite and courteous in public.
    • Played completely straight with Kure Raian, who is even known as "The Taboo Descendent".
      • Played with: During his fight with Ohma, it's revealed that this moniker actually applies to every member of the Kure Clan. Raian's actual nickname is The Devil.
  • Blood Knight: Ohma counts as he asked Kazuo if he wants to fight him after he has finished his fight in the first chapter. After Kazuo declined Ohma was disappointed. Later, after beating about a hundred delinquents he turn his attention to Kazuo's second son and asks him if he wants to fight too. However, the latter was probably to set the boy straight. The vast majority of fighters can be seen as this.
  • Body Horror: Most of the injuries in this series are absolutely horrific, in no part thanks to the artist's skill in depicting such injuries. Shout out goes to Muteba Gizenga's lethal brutalisation of Meguro Masaki.
  • Brick Joke: Early on in the series, Ohma breaks into Yamashita's workplace during the evening and is shown to have physically subdued the guards in order to do so. Fast forward several chapters and a caricatured wanted poster of him can be seen on a wall in Yamashita's workplace.
    "If you see this man, please contact security. This man broke into the building at —.00 on —— —th and assaulted four security guards."
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Hatsumi Sen. Despite being one of the strongest active registered fighters in the Kengan matches, as well as being one of two people to defeat Wakatsuki Takeshi, he is a notably lazy person. He has officially lost 15 times: 9 times by oversleeping, 4 from bailing and 2 from forgetting there was even a match on. He was also a prime candidate for the position as the fifth Fang of Metsudo, but ducked out soon after.
  • Cast from Lifespan: Ohma's 'Advance' technique that he uses to defeat Sekibayashi and other fighters takes a serious toll on his health every time he uses it. This is symbolized by him mentally blowing out a series of candles, potentially taking years off his lifespan.note 
  • Cast of Snowflakes: After years of publication the series has been consistently about one big fighting tournament, and as such its dozens of fighters have very varied designs and each fight is given panel time, even those where the protagonist isn’t taking part. While some are shorter, some are longer than others and all fighters are given some character and a background. This even extends to one-off Mooks, who all look different from each other.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Even though the series borders on what is pheasibly possibly in real life, the majority of characters have trained like crazy to attain superhuman abilities.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The vast majority of fighters in the series could give a rat's ass about honour and will do whatever it takes to win, dirty, underhanded or otherwise. Early on in the series, Tokita Ohma proves just this when he delivers a Groin Attack to Ivan Karaev, noting that the man's high kicks left his defences wide open.
    • As a master of silent killing, Muteba Gizenga exemplifies this, especially during his fight with Meguro Masaki.
  • Covert Pervert: Matsuda Tomoko. With more emphasis on the "pervert" than the "covert".note 
  • Crossover:
    • With Street Fighter in two of the extra chapters.
    • As mentioned in Shared Universe below, Dumbell nan Kilo Moteru? takes place in the same universe, so the authors drew a comic for each other's series that involved the protagonists at an eating contest.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Quite a few affiliated fighters have darker shades of this. In particular, there is Kiryu Setsuna who was born solely to become organ stock for his father. He spent his entire life detained until, right before his organs were to be harvested, a young Tokita Ohma killed Setsuna's captors for edging in on his turf. Thus beginning Setsuna's sadomasochistically murderous 'affection' towards Ohma, Setsuna chased after him, selling himself into child prostitution in order to gain money and connections in order to find Ohma again.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Gensai, the fighter who wasn't expected to make as big of an upset in the tournament as he did, ends up winning the whole thing. But the win itself was glossed over narrative-wise; it barely meant a thing, if at all.
  • Deadly Doctor: Hanafusa Hajime, a fighter who happens to be an excellent doctor. His mannerisms and Dull Eyes of Unhappiness also seem to imply that he is a Mad Doctor as well, only to reveal that he's actually not that bad a guy when he saves Mokichi's life despite gaining nothing from it.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: There are other, less major underground fighting tournaments, aside from the Kengan matches, such as "Death Fight," "Purgatory" and "Slaughter Coliseum." Then there's one called "Deadly Death Dead Die."
  • Determinator: Yoroizuka Saw Paing.
  • Deuteragonist: While Ohma is the protagonist, his sponsor/partner Kazuo is also given a lot of focus in the story.
  • Disability Superpower: Muteba Gizenga lost his vision, but his other senses grew to superhuman levels.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: After assaulting him out of nowhere, Karla bluntly asks Ohma to have sex with her (in the middle of the room while other people were present) before adding that she wanted his babies. She does so every time she manages to catch him.
  • Episode 0: The Beginning: Kengan Ashura Zero serves as this.
  • Eye Scream: The fight between Muteba Gizenga and Meguro Masaki is full of it. The most brutal is culminated by the method with which Muteba finishes the fight.
  • Fanservice: There is plenty of fanservice for both guys and girls. Though with the series focusing mainly on heavily muscled men fighting, the fanservice is particularly good for the girls.
  • Femme Fatale: Kurayoshi Rino.
  • The Fettered: Sekibayashi Jun. As a renowned pro wrestler, Sekibayashi has unshakeable pride in his code of wrestling. Put simply, he will take everything that is thrown at him, without ever dodging or blocking, before turning the tables and attaining victory, so he can put on a good show for the audience. Because of this, against strong opponents, Sekibayashi willingly tanks insane amounts of damage before going on to crush his opponents. His idea of Kayfabe is waiting until he's out of sight before crumpling in pain.
    Sekibayashi: Don't forget that you and I are fighters second, and entertainers first.note 
  • Foreshadowing: Muteba being completely blind is foreshadowed twice: first, there are his Exotic Eye Designs that are completely white, which is usually a sign of blindness in animated media. The second is the fact that when Meguro steps into the ring, Muteba identifies his heartbeat as the sign that Meguro is insane, and not the fact that Meguro is crying Tears of Blood. In hindsight, it makes sense that Muteba would identify the heartbeat, as he can't even see said Tears of Blood and he has superhuman hearing.
  • Full-Name Basis: Ohma only addresses his manager Yamashita Kazuo as such, even when Kazuo told Ohma to be more casual. The people that he does this to usually are the people he doesn’t to beat into a pulp, so in his case it is his own way of being polite.
  • Gladiator Games: Kengan Matches, events in which businessmen decide to settle their differences and market share not through court but through appointing fighters to win it all. These fights are very brutal and can end up with one fighter dead or seriously crippled and, although there is a referee present, his presence is just for show- if a fighter is smart enough to cheat in a way that the referee and the audience can’t blatantly notice, then all is fair.
  • The Hero Dies: You read that right. After overexerting himself against Gensai, among all the other injuries he's gotten over the course of the tournament, he dies rather peacefully when the tournament ends.
  • Good with Numbers: Hiyama Shunka. Because of her extremely precise internal body clock, she's able to mentally analyse and calculate numerical problems with superhuman capabilities.
  • Hidden Depths: Just about every competitor is not what they seem to be at first glance. Just to name a few examples:
    • Muteba Gizenga is an intimidating Congoese mercenary with a horrific appearance and a chilling fighting style, but he's a fairly cordial and respectful individual who errs heavily on the side of caution in his bouts. He's also surprisingly honorable, with all three of his fights having some element that emphasizes his honor: he puts down Meguro because he genuinely considers him little more than a wild animal who needs to be executed for the good of society, he takes out Jun nonlethally after expressing how much he admires the wrestler, and he backs out of his bout with Wakatsuki out of fear of a Career-Ending Injury, but makes sure to reimburse his employer with an I.O.U afterwards.
    • Kuroki Gensai initially appears to be someone to fill out the tournament brackets, but as the fights continue it becomes clear the man is no joke. While his fighting style can only be described as basic, his incredible mastery of the fundamentals of martial arts can only be described as sublime, with numerous characters noting how he's extremely difficult to hit, and much harder to even cripple. He also has more connections to what's going on behind the scenes than his initial appearance hinted at, and he takes on Rhito as an apprentice despite, in his own words, considering himself "green".
    • Cosmo Imai is a young and passionate grappler who competes in the tournament out of a desire to find out why he likes fighting so much. While this sounds simple, it turns out that this Driving Question is deeply troubling him, and has made him somewhat directionless in life outside of fighting. During his bout with Akoya, Akoya begins to genuinely attempt to kill Cosmo after the boy refuses to back down, and the immense pressure of the fight causes Cosmo to have an epiphany- he likes to fight because he loves to win, which gives him the burst of determination he needs to put down Akoya. However, even this motivation isn't enough, as the brutal injuries he receives in his matches slowly but surely burn him out, and he's finally taken out by Ohma. While this taste of defeat drives him to tears, it also serves as a motivator for him to keep fighting in the future.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: After seeing Ohma go wild when they were younger sets off Kiryu Setsuna's lustfully murderous obsession with him.
  • Kick the Dog: To show how evil Raian is, he murders Mokichi during their match, despite being able to non-fatally incapacitate him easily. Most of the other competitors find this distasteful, even Raian's own Kure Clan. Mokichi is later revealed to have survived, but this doesn't underscore how evil Raian was during their bout.
  • Knight Templar: Akoya Seishu with his excessive brand of "justice".
  • Large Ham: Katahara Metsudo gets extremely hammy sometimes, especially when in regards to the Annihilation Tournament he set up. Points for Saw Paing too, due to his supremely Hot-Blooded nature.
    • Jerry Tyson's introduction has him screaming out Gratuitous English in a way that can only be called hammy; the hamminess continued for the rest of his fight with Tokita Ohma. After being knocked out in the preliminaries he ends up becoming one of the commentators for the fights.
  • Made of Iron: Anyone with huge muscles. Shout out goes to Julius Reinhold.
    • Both Niko and Ohma when using the Adamantine Kata of the Niko Style.
  • Meaningful Name: Tokita Ohma can be translated as “Witching Hour”, Kazuo remarks that even Ohma’s name is strong and links to the fact that before the Kengan Matches, Ohma wandered late at nights looking for a challenge.
    • More accurately, "Witching Hour" in Japanese is "ouma ga toki", but it sounded similar enough to Kazuo. It is later revealed that Tokita Ohma was named after Tokita Ward and Shichiohba, two fictional lawless zones of Tokyo. Ohma grew up on the border of these zones.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Kazuo gets this. Due to not understanding business jargon, he acts completely unconcerned when the director of Ohma's first opponent wants to make a very expensive bet on their fight, leading that director (who is specifically mentioned as being fairly smart) to believe he has Nerves of Steel. Later on, he accidentally hits Julius' head with a thrown can (he didn't even see the guy) just when he was about to break Sawada's legs. Nikaido gets convinced he is extremely skilled for doing that perfectly from a blind spot and later dodging his nearly invisible needle (he bowed at the exact right time to apologize for the can), while Julius is surprised that the guy managed to hit him without exuding any "bloodlust".
  • Morality Chain: Hiyama Shunka is this to Akoya Seishu.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Considering even the leanest of fighters are still very defined muscularly, this is played quite straight in general. However it is played completely straight and exemplified by Julius Reinhold. A literal walking mass of pure dense musculature, Julius completely tanked Sawada's strongest attack using only his trapezius muscle.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Retsudo is incredibly overprotective over his older half-sister Sayako. So much so that his teammates in the Extermination Force think he has a sister complex.
  • Nightmare Face: Some disconcerting ones courtesy of the resident psychos. Just look at how satisfied Raian is while annhiliating Mokichi. And yes, Meguro is crying blood.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Done by multiple characters when asserting their dominance. Notable ones are Kure Raian's annihilation of Mokichi Robinson and Muteba Gizenga's destruction of Meguro Masaki.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Despite his great enjoyment in the act of killing, Meguro Masaki died in an equally satisfied manner, going out with a huge grin on his face.
    Upon dying: Ahhhh... that was fun...
    • As a child, Tokita Ohma. After being beaten almost to a pulp by Ando Jiro, Ohma flung them both out of a multi-storey high window, with Ando noting the unnerving lack of fear in Ohma's eyes.
  • Not So Similar: When Inaba Ryo's employer likens Meguro Masaki and Muteba Gizenga to him by calling them assassins, Inaba says that he was nothing like them as assassins don't kill without a reason.
  • Parental Substitute: Kazuo acts as a calming agent for Ohma before and after fights, while Ohma inspires Kazuo to see his life differently. Niko was also this for Ohma.
  • Pet the Dog: Ohma's relationship with Kazuo and Rihito are this.
    • In a roundabout way, Ohma's fight with Inaba is this. He gives Inaba the fight of his life, and both competitors are full of respect for the other by the end of the match. The fight ends with Inaba's loss, but it's clear that Inaba can't be happier with the outcome, finally glad to have met someone in his life he can work towards beating in a fair fight.
    Ohma: Did you have fun, Inaba Ryo?
    Cut to Inaba's face, stretched into a goofy smile
    • Even Adam Dudley, perhaps the most crude person in the entire series, is disgusted by Raian's callous murder of Mokichi.
  • Power Copying: Takayuki Chiba has the ability to copy fighting techniques through observation similar to Taskmaster. Like Taskmaster, he can only copy techniques and not physical traits. Unlike Taskmaster, he requires two hours of analysis in order to perfect techniques rather than being able to instantly master them immediately.
  • Professional Killers: There are lots of mercenaries and assassins competing in the tournament including Inaba Ryo, Kure Raian and Kuroki Gensai.
  • Psycho for Hire: Meguro Masaki 100%.
  • Really Gets Around: Humorously played straight by Hatsumi Sen. His previous girlfriend Soryuin Shion dumped him for his infidelities.
  • Red Baron: Later down the road with many Kengan Matches under his belt Ohma gets nicknamed “Ashura”, a vicious fighting demon. This is coming from an Association filled with vicious fighters, so Ohma became a demon among demons.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The hot-blooded Yoroizuka Saw Paing to the stoic Gaolang Wongsawat.
  • Running Gag: The authors will frequently remind the audience of who is speaking by having a little text box with their name (and if they're a fighter, their nickname) pop up next to them. When Cast of Snowflakes and Loads and Loads of Characters is in effect, this is incredibly helpful.
  • Scary Black Man: Muteba Gizenga.
  • Serial Killer: Bando Yohei is considered the worst serial killer in Japan's history.
    • Meguro Masaki and Muteba Gizenga are also perceived as serial killers (and not merely mercenaries) due to their excessively bloody histories and high body counts.
  • Sex God: Muteba Gizenga. In his proper introduction, Muteba is seen with a swarm of orgasmic naked women around and on top of him. Later, on his way into the tournament's arena, there is a trail of women in heavy orgasm left in his wake.
  • Sexy Secretary: Akiyama Kaede, Mr. Nogi’s secretary. She is very attractive but of the composed variety. Most of the Kengan Association fighters have displayed interest in her, and even Ohma has teased her before.
    • Most of the secretaries that receive any type of focus are this too.
  • Shared Universe: Dumbell nan Kilo Moteru?, Sandrovich Yabaka's episodic weight lifting manga, is connected to this series. It features many character cameos from Kengan, even those from characters who have already died in the story, and one of the leading girls is related to the Soryuin household.
  • Shout-Out: Meguro Masaki's tongue lolling was inspired by Venom. You can see how...
  • Stalker with a Crush: After sensing how strong Ohma was and subsequently attacking him to confirm it, Kure Karla has become deeply infatuated him, so much so that she is keen to be the one to bear his children.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Kiryu Setsuna is incredibly obsessed with Ohma, and will go to absurd lengths to "protect" Ohma. This, much like Hisoka, is for the purpose of murdering him later. Also like Hisoka, his discussions on "fighting" Ohma carry a lot of sexual overtones, making this somewhat of a subversion.
  • Soul Brotha: Jerry Tyson.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The series’ title can be either Kengan Ashura or Kengan Asura, the official Japanese print romanizes it as Kengan Ashura, some fan translators however prefer to stick with Kengan Asura.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: Kuroki Gensai is able to puncture steel using only his fingers.
  • Take That!: In chapter 84, as part of Karo Yoshinari's introduction to the ring, one of his feats mentioned is sinking a ship belonging to the environmentalist group "Sea Chepherd" and capturing Paul Manson, an "international terrorist." This is a reference to the real-life Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and its founder, Paul Watson. Let's just say that the SSCS and Japan have some bad blood between them and leave it at that.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kazuo start as weakling who bow down to almost anyone, but after spending some time in the Kengan matches world and around Ohma specifically he stars to change, becoming desensitized to the everyday happenings of his businessman life. Along with this, Kazuo begins displaying impressive analytical skills when the Annihilation Tournament kicks off- all five of the fighters he thought would win in the preliminaries did, in fact, win, and it was not a guess. Note: this was a room filled with 123 fighters, and he picked the five people he could tell were the strongest.
    • Later, he manages to get the highest number and thus priority to choose his fighter's slot. He does this by being able to clearly see the numbers in an incredibly fast rotating slot machine. He doesn't even realize what he's done, and thinks the machine had a bug.
    • This trend continues and eventually escalates to the point of being a Running Gag: at one point, Kazuo not only hit Julius Reinhold in the side of the head with a can (by accident, no less), he also dodges a bullet-speed fast assassin thread from one of the Annihilation Tournament infiltrators.
  • Uninhibited Muscle Power: The Kure Clan are able to do this via their "Removal" technique. However, thanks to generations and generations of selective breeding, they have developed a body capable of withstanding the release of their full muscular strength.
  • Vigilante Man: Akoya Seishu. He even has a special suit for when he goes on his vigilante exploits.
  • Worf Effect: Rihito slowly becomes this after his fight with Tokita Ohma.
  • World's Strongest Man: The Fang of Metsudo, Kanoh Agito.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Due to a brief hesitation of judgement during his fight against Kono Haruo, Akoya Seishu slaps his employer (and lover) Hiyama Shunka with enough force to draw blood and cause swelling. Hiyama has an unhealthy attraction towards him, due to attachment issues, so she was fine with the assault.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In a flashback extra chapter, "The Wrecker" Ando Jiro had absolutely no qualms using lethal force against a pre-pubescent Ohma, beating the child bloody. Unfortunately for Ando, kid Ohma was Not Afraid to Die.

Alternative Title(s): Kengan Asura