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Manga / Kengan Ashura

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Ohma Tokita, the titular "Ashura".

You wanna fight, too?
Ohma Tokita
When Kazuo Yamashita, a 56-year-old underachieving salesman, stumbles across the mysterious young Ohma Tokita easily taking down a musclebound yakuza twice his size, 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 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. The anime adaptation premiered on July 31, 2019 on Netflix.


The sequel, Kengan Omega, set 2 years after the original series, began publishing on January 31, 2019.

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.

See also How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?, a more light-hearted manga series set in the same universe and written by the same author, though under a different illustrator.


Kengan Ashura provides the examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: The Kengan Association members wager enormous sums of money on the outcome of matches as side bets. Most notable is the bet Kazuo accidentally makes with Penasonic CEO Urita Sukizo for 10 percent of his company's stock.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the English dub, this is not the first time we hear Kaiji Tang (Ohma Tokita) voicing a guy which is an expert on kicking ass, except he likes to blow the heads of his opponents with his fists.
    • The same goes in the Latin American Spanish dub, as this is not the first time we hear Alfredo Gabriel Basurto for the same character as well voicing another guy versed on martial arts, except that last time, he was much fatter, and he was a panda.
    • Also from the Latin American Spanish dub, Masami Nezu, who is a big fan of Mockey Mouse, a parody of Mickey Mouse, is voiced by Arturo Mercado Jr., who is the official dub voice of Mickey. Likewise, Kunihiro Yumeno, the owner of Destiny Land, a parody of Disneyland and Nezu's boss, is voiced by Arturo Mercado, Nezu's voice actor's Real Life father and very famous in Mexico and Latin America for voicing many Disney characters in all his career, mainly Scrooge McDuck, Simba and Hamm.
  • Acrofatic: Kono Haruo, Karo Yoshinari.
  • 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.
  • 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. Adding to this, the one truly exceptional thing about Kazuo is his fantastic eyesight, which allows him to follow along with the matches just as the reader does.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • The vast majority of fighters have varying shades of this, but Raian Kure is something else entirely. He 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.
    • And if you thought Raian was bad, Psycho for Hire Meguro Masaki takes it Up to Eleven due to his already twisted nature combined with his unique body constitution, which means that to him pain equals immense pleasure. He also cries Tears of Blood when he realizes he gets the chance to kill again.
    • Togo Tomari, the CEO of a large weapons manufacturing company, is renowned for being batshit crazy. It shows in her general expression, a mad grin full of pointed teeth.
  • 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!"
  • Beach Episode: Most of Kengan Ashura chapter 40 is dedicated to this, with most of the fighters relaxing by the waters before the Annihilation Tournament begins.
  • Big Fancy House: Since both series are about proxy wars between the fabulously wealthy, there's lots of these. Especially notable is the enormous island mansion where Toyoda Idemitsu meets with Nogi in Omega, which is revealed to just be a villa for one of his mistresses.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Part 1 ends with the tournament infiltrators 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", but 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.
  • Bland-Name Product: Many of the corporations involved in the Kengan Association have names only slightly altered from those of real world corporations. These include "Ginokuniya Bookstores", "Boss Burger", "Penasonic", "Sentory", and "Nentendo".
  • 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.
  • Boring, but Practical: Akoya Seishu's biggest asset is a reaction time about 50 milliseconds faster than what was believed to be the human peak. It allows him to dodge and deflect attacks that would be a guaranteed win against anyone else, such as getting his fingers under Imai Cosmo's arm during a chokehold or blocking a point-blank kick to the head.
  • Bowdlerise: In the manga and a bit in the anime, Rihito lays it rather heavy with the homophobic trash-talk in order to get under Sawada's skin. In the English dub, he's content with simply refering to Sawada as a freak.
  • 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."
    • In Muteba Gizenga's Kengan Ashura commentary, it mentions that he is looking forward to going on vacation. Come Kengan Omega, his introduction is him relaxing with a bunch of beautiful women on vacation.
  • 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.
  • Call-Back: As Ohma walks into his final match against Gensai in Ashura, he turns to Kazuo and asks him, once again...
    You wanna fight, too?
  • Captain Ersatz: Adam Dudley's employer is pretty much a slightly uglier Ronald McDonald.
    • One of the companies in the Annihilation Tournament is Tochigi Destinyland, featuring its beloved mascots, Mockey and Honald.
  • 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 fights are shorter, 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 feasibly possible in real life, the majority of characters have trained like crazy to attain superhuman abilities.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Subverted when after the first round of the Annihilation Tournament, Metsudo announces that every corporation has the right to substitute its fighter once. This only ever happens once for the rest of the series, and it's Sekibayashi being subbed out for Marvelous Seki.
  • The Clan: The Kure Clan, a large family of assassins-for-hire who can be distinguished by their black sclera. Omega introduces the Wu family, which seems to be related to the Kure in some way.
  • 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.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: A battle between a sumo and professional wrestler causes the entire audience to go absolutely bananas at getting to watch such a serendipitous (there's a quantity of chance at how the Annihilation Tournament brackets are determined) match-up.
  • Covert Pervert: Matsuda Tomoko. With more emphasis on the "pervert" than the "covert".note 
  • Crossover:
  • 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.
  • Dub Text: The english fan translation effort for the manga takes several liberties regarding certain fighter titles, also the way some characters speak, resulting in flashier names and characters speaking in accents, slangs and profanity more in common with native english media.
  • Episode 0: The Beginning: Kengan Ashura Zero serves as this.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Before the finals, Ohma goes over the scars and damage he incurred over the course of the series, all the way back to the gouge wounds Rihito gave him in his first major fight.
  • 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.
    • There are several underground fighting rings mentioned in the series, and in Omega we are introduced to Purgatory, which is slightly safer for the fighters and run for pure entertainment value.
  • The Hero Dies: After overexerting himself against Gensai, among all the other injuries he's gotten over the course of the tournament, Ohma dies 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 Congolese 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 is nothing short of 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, to the point even thinking about it gives him a Raging Stiffie. He even Sleeps in the Nude while straddling a plush doll with Ohma's likeness.
  • Kick the Dog: To show how evil Raian is, he attempts to kill 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.
  • Knight Templar: Akoya Seishu with his excessive brand of "justice".
  • Large Ham: 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.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Alongside Bland-Name Product above, there are characters resembling Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald appearing in the Kengan Annihilation tournament.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Yamashita Trading Company is founded by Nogi as a shell company so his clique could enter more fighters in the Annihilation Tournament. In Omega, it secretly serves as a branch of the Kengan Association that registers and hires out fighters. Koga's friend is immediately able to identify it as fishy because it's the only business on the list of Kengan participants that produces nothing. Kazuo immediately admits the business is a front when Koga confronts him.
  • Leitmotif: With the exception of (So far) Wakatsuki and Murobuchi, whose fight was largely cut, each of the fighters have their own theme songs that play during their introductions at the start their matches.
  • Legacy Character: The title of Fang of Metsudo, which belongs to the strongest fighter in Katahara Metsudo's employ. Kure Erioh is the first, and Annihilation Tournament fighter Kanoh Agito is the fifth. (Considering Metsudo's been Kengan Association chairman for fifty years, this speaks a lot to the Fangs' power and durability.)
  • Lethal Joke Character: Most fighting manga treat combat styles done for sport or entertainment, like boxing or pro wrestling, as weak compared to more "practical" styles seen in modern MMA. In Ashura, the boxer and pro wrestler are both terrifying and two of the strongest entrants in the Annihilation Tournament.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are 32 different companies that end up participating in the Annilhation Tournament, each with their own fighter as well various other supports and employers. The number of recurring characters ends up totaling somewhere around 70.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Anyone with huge muscles. Particular shout out goes to Julius Reinhold, along with Gensai who has fingers hard enough to pierce stone.
    • Both Niko and Ohma when using the Adamantine Kata of the Niko Style, along with Agito when he reveals he has a similar ability.
  • Meaningful Background Event: At the end of Ashura, in Chapter 235, Okubo and Gaolang are having a chat after the tournament. In one panel, in the background of their conversation, we see Yoshizawa asking Hanafusa if he has a moment. Nothing else of their conversation is shown. This isn't elaborated on until over fifty chapters into Omega, where it is finally revealed that Yoshizawa was informing Hanafusa that somebody dropped off a box, a box containing a replacement heart for Ohma, and the reason for his survival.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Ohma Tokita 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 Ohma Tokita was named after Tokita Ward and Shichiohba, two fictional lawless zones of Tokyo. Ohma grew up on the border of these zones.
    • "No gi" is a kind of grappling competition, namely one in which the fighters are lightly dressed (often down to shorts or tights) rather than clad in a normative gi (the suit used in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).
  • 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.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Characters run the full gamut from extreme Nice Guy to full-on Hate Sink. The very nature of the Kengan Association means that every CEO involved is a Corrupt Corporate Executive, but the degree of said corruption also greatly varies.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Considering even the leanest of fighters still have very defined musculature, 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 kick 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. The same is true of Mokichi Robinson and his little sister Elena; he bonds with Kure Erioh (Karla's grandfather) over their common intent to murder anyone who hits on their beloved relatives.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: From fighters to executives to Background characters, the manga is rife with blatant references to real life businessmen, martial artists and athletes.
    • Dazai Yukio, the head of Teito University, looks exactly like Japanese author Dazai Osamu, and shares the same surname.
    • An obvious caricature of infamous boxing promoter Don King can be seen in the audience commenting on boxing technique.
    • Word of God states that Murobuchi Gozo was modeled after the hammer-thrower Murofushi Koji.
    • One chapter begins with a flashback to a balding older man who could once kill bulls with his karate. His appearance and feats mirror the founder of Kyokushin karate, Mas Oyama.
    • Sekibayashi's wrestling mentor Babadozan Hiroshi had the same impressive physique and distinctive jaw as legendary Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Inoki.
    • The president of Motor Head Motors bears a distinct resemblance to Lemmy Kilmister.
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: The second to last chapter of Zero is about an unnamed man struggling to survive in post-World War II Tokyo. After he manages to bluff his way past a Kure Clan member, it's revealed at the end of the chapter that this is the backstory of a young Katahara Metsudo.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Kenzo's reaction when he sees the policemen and the mob outside of his home are all Kure Clan.
  • 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:
    • 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, Ryo Inaba?
      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. Agito has a similar ability to "evolve" and adopt the skills of his enemies as he fights them. By the time he fights Gaolang, Agito has gained so many attack options from his copying that the time taken to choose the optimal one has started slowing him down and become a major weakness he needs training to offset.
  • Professional Killers: There are lots of mercenaries and assassins competing in the tournament including Inaba Ryo, Kure Raian and Kuroki Gensai.
  • Psycho for Hire: Several characters fit, but Meguro Masaki is the craziest of them all. He can barely even be called an assassin so much as a rabid animal that his "employer", Hayami, lets loose on people he doesn't like.
  • Rated M for Manly: This centers around the titular Kengan tournament, where a bunch of musclebound man beat the shit out of eachother in various cool and badass ways.
  • Reality Ensues: Despite how over-the-top the series seems at first, it frequently invokes this. The action is less outright fantastical and more an exaggerated version of real combat sports, and thus remains somewhat grounded.
    • Haruo is an overweight giant of a man, which comes to bite him in his match when Akoya delivers several focused strikes to Haruo's right knee. Eventually, the injuries take their toll and Haruo's leg starts straining from the sheer weight of his own body.
    • Sekibayashi is a human tank who makes up for his unwillingness to block or dodge by being able to soak up an enormous amount of damage. After his win against Kiozan Takeru, he collapses from exhaustion after leaving the stadium.
    • Also, no matter how physically tough a fighter like Sekibayashi truly is, he still needs to breath. Both Ohma and Muteba managed to knock him out by striking his windpipe and his heart respectively.
    • Kaneda's Kujin Style is designed for combat in warfare; based on disabling an opponent with weapons and armor, then finishing them off as quickly as possible with (what the style assumes the user should have) a knife. This martial art is largely unsuited against the unarmed styles of the other, stronger Kengan fighters and he ends taking a beating before he finally manages to get a hit in.
    • Cosmo Imai may be a hard-working young genius with incredible pound-for-pound strength, but he's still a middleweight in an association with no weight classes. He constantly goes up against opponents who are bigger, stronger and tougher than he is, meaning they have his number in a straight up fist-fight, thus he uses Jiu-Jitsu, with his personal style having a particular emphasis on chokeholds, allowing him to somewhat negate the disadvantage and bring down his hulking opponents. Nonetheless, the injuries he suffers from the blows they land on him cause him to collapse right after he wins and accumulate over time (a serious problem at the Anihilation Tournament, which has only a day to rest between rounds), while his opponents come out barely injured due to the manner in which he defeated them. Cosmo spends most of the tournament in a wheelchair as a result.
    • Cosmo is a 19 year old who entered the tournament simply to fight, not fight to the death. Unfortunately, this tournament has no rules towards killing and allows mercenaries and serial killers to compete. So when Akoya bites into Cosmo's leg, the boy starts shaking uncontrollably and fearing for his life. His employer Akira is fully aware of this and states that he doesn't consider himself to be considered a good person for it by any means.
    • Gaolang is a boxer who fights in the heavyweight division despite actually being a Cruiserweight. His style of boxing, which emphasizes mobility and rapid strikes, is built for fighting opponents who are usually bigger than him. Nonetheless, against the massive Agito, who outweighs him by 30kg(66lbs), this style of fighting actually becomes a disadvantage because Agito's sheer size (and just being ridiculously tough even for his size) lets him power through over twenty clean hits from Gaolang. On the flipside, Gaolang ends up on the ropes after a mere two clean hits and two throws.
    • Purgatory has overtaken the Kengan association because there are rules that protect their fighters, most importantly: if a fighter kills their opponent, they are disqualified and not paid. The promise of a measure of safety attracts more fighters and a greater audience, as not many people actively want to see a man killed in the ring.
    • In Omega, Koga steps up to defend Kazuo from some of the Worm's henchmen. Despite managing to win a five-on-one fight against armed opponents, he still takes a massive beating that leaves him crippled. As it turns out, multiple stab wounds and deep lacerations can cripple you not matter how tough you are, and Koga is forced to bow out of the tournament with Ohma as his replacement.
    • Koga is a very talented fighter, and it's heavily implied that he has The Gift for martial arts in the form of his intelligence and reaction speed. He doesn't take long to be educated enough to start being a serious threat in martial arts, but there's one thing he lacks- experience. It does not matter how much of a savant you are, as a lack of experience means that your well of talent won't get put to good use. Thus, while Koga is on his way to being a seriously dangerous fighter (possibly on the level of Ohma himself, if Ohma's comments towards him in the hospital are true) his lack of experience means that he can't hope to measure up to any of the real heavyweights in the association. As a result he barely ekes out a win against the guy who's probably the worst fighter in the association, and is forced to bow out of the Purgatory grudge match following his injuries from the above ambush.
    • As big as Kengan is it remains a shady bloodsport that more respectable combat sport association and martial art schools want no involvement in. The Rokushin karate dojo refuses to train active members and Kiozan's black sheep status in sumo circle is because he participates in them.
    • There is in theory nothing stopping anyone from using "Removal", the Kure and Wu clan bloodline technique of releasing their muscle inhibitor. It's just that this trope will apply to them as unlike the Kure and Wu they aren't bred to have body that can handle the strain.
  • Really Gets Around: Humorously played straight by Hatsumi Sen, whose previous girlfriend Soryuin Shion dumped him for "five-timing" her, and Himuro Ryo, who has a running tally of ring-girls' numbers and remarks that it's been a while since he had a girlfriend. A girlfriend.
  • Red Baron: All of the fighters in the series have at least one fear-inspiring nickname. 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. Gaolang is a bit shy to admit he takes some inspiration and share the same interest as Yoroizuka because of how embarassingly loud he can be.
  • 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, the deadliest mercenary in Congo.
  • Seen It All: Downplayed example in Omega Chapter 96, where Alan Wu being torn in half by Raian reduces the Purgatory referee and the audience to shocked silence and horror, while the Kengan commentators while shaken continue commenting because sudden brutal deaths tend happen in their tournaments.
  • Serial Killer:
    • Bando Yohei is considered the worst serial killer in Japan's history. Bad enough to warrant the death penalty, though he survived every attempt to execute him.
    • 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: Kaede Akiyama, 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.
  • Shared Universe: How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?, 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 Shion Soryuin's little sister and the cast goes to/works at the Koyo Academy where she is chairman.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Meguro Masaki's tongue lolling was inspired by Venom.
    • Ohma's fight against Rihito takes place in the Makunouchi Building.
    • One of the bars that members of the Kure Clan like to visit is called Red Rum.
    • In the first chapter of Omega Kazuo starts listing all the different underground fighting groups out there, and casually mentions that there's even one being run out of Tokyo Dome.
    • Several panels where Inaba is featured tends to zoom into his eye glaring past his hair in a similar fashion to the posters of The Grudge and The Ring.
  • Slasher Smile: Many of the fighters sport these when they're on the offensive or about to stage a massive comeback. Conversely, it's dangerous to not be wary of the high-level characters who don't indulge in this.
  • 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. They even share Daisuke Namikawa as a voice actor.
  • Soul Brotha: Jerry Tyson, former Kengan fighter and currently fight commentator.
  • 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 started as a weakling who bowed down to almost anyone, but after spending some time in the world of the Kengan matches, and around Ohma specifically, he eventually became desensitized to the everyday happenings of his new life. Kazuo also began displaying impressive analytical skills when the Annihilation Tournament kicked 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 managed to get the highest number in a slot game and thus won priority to choose his fighter's slot. He achieved this by being able to clearly see the numbers in an incredibly fast-rotating slot machine. He didn't even realize what he had done and thought 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 dodged a bullet-speed assassin thread from one of the Annihilation Tournament infiltrators, through sheer blind luck.
  • Tournament Arc: The vast majority of Ashura is dedicated to the Kengan Annihilation Tournament, which decides the next chairman of the Kengan Association. Omega also features a lengthy 13 vs. 13 tournament to decide the outcome of a merger between the Kengan Association and rival underground fight organization Purgatory.
  • 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. Raian has mastered this ability to the point where he can unlock 100 percent of his hidden potential where most of his clan are lucky to even unlock anything near 80 percent.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Ohma and Raian when they both activate their own similar yet respected abilities as they both become extremely aggressive and act more like wild animals than human beings.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: As part of a Running Gag, every single time a character appears onscreen for the first time in a chapter, their name and affiliation are listed. This includes Kazuo and Ohma, the main characters of the series. Notably, this actually works quite well, due to the Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Vigilante Man: Akoya Seishu. He even has a special suit for when he goes on his vigilante exploits.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Applies to several characters, to varying degrees. In addition, the series makes a distinction between skill, formal training and fighting experience. Some characters are proficient in one or two of these areas but lacking in another.
  • Wham Shot: In Chapter 50 of Kengan Omega, Kazuo had been surrounded by Xia Ji and the other members of the Worm, while Koga is left fighting five other assassins. Just before Kazuo is executed, he is saved by Raian... Only to also reveal that he didn't come alone, with a shot of Ohma Tokita from the back, in the one of the few colored pages of the series.
  • Worf Effect: Rihito slowly becomes this after his first fight with Tokita Ohma, losing nearly every battle against named characters from that point forward despite his continued growth in strength and skill.
  • World's Strongest Man: The Fang of Metsudo, Kanoh Agito. Though as of now it's ambiguous who actually has the title as of now since the introduction of other fighters showcasing different abilities.
  • 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


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