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Manga / Kurogane (2011)

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Kurogane Hiroto is in High School, where he is academically the top of his class but literally the worst in physical activity. Born with a weak body, he has no endurance, speed nor strength and Hiroto wants nothing more than to be a hero. Fate teases him by giving him phenomenal eye sight, which allows him to see well beyond anyone else in sports, but his body is not able to react to any of it. He learns from his friend Tsubame Shiratori, who wants to recruit him for their school's Kendo team, about a rumor about a ghost named Tojo Sayuri, who wields a katana and haunts an ally in the city. Half curious, Hiroto goes there only to find that the ghost is real and that Tojo Sayuri has been looking for a successor to her Sakura sword style for 150 years. Sayuri chooses him as the successor after he is able to dodge her attack and forces him to learn the Sakura style. Even with the help of the ancient swordsman ghost, Hiroto has to overcome his poor motor skills in order to be the hero he always wanted to be.

A Kendo based sports Manga by Haruto Ikezawa, it was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from 2011 to 2013.

Not to be confused with the 1996-1997 manga of the same name.

This series provides examples of:

  • Academy of Evil: Rakuyou High Kendo team reek of it.
  • Attempted Rape: Chapter 0 has Kurogane rescue Tsubame from a trio who are trying to rape her. The rewrite in the Chapter 1 changes it to them robbing her instead (though the goon's leader does try to coerce her into having sex with him).
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Hiroto due to his eyes, along with Yodaka Taizan and Morikuni Mujin both display similar recognition in how to counter other opponents styles.
  • Batman Gambit: Happens often within the matches.
  • Berserk Button: For Shidou insulting Kendo is not the best way to get his attention.
  • Counter-Attack: What Hiroto's main fighting style centers around.
  • Cute Sports Club Manager: Tsubame Shiratori for Ouka High, Nanami Yodaka for Hakurei High and Kaede for Rakuyou High
  • David Versus Goliath: The first tournament arc of the manga has the Ouka Kendo team set to go against the acclaimed Hakurei High Kendo team in a exhibition match. It averts the trope in that Ouka loses in the final set with Hiroto falling to their strongest Kendo practitioner, who also shares Hiroto's Hyper-Awareness vision.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: How Shidou wound up becoming Hiroto's friend and even joining the Kendo club.
  • Distant Finale: The manga ends without showing the rest of the matches of their first major rank tournament. However, it reveals in their second years, Hiroto, Shidou and Aoharu lead Ouka to defeat Yadaka and Hakurei and win in that tournament, all three gaining national fame as Aces. Tsubame confesses to Hiroto and Sayuri is also still around in a new doll body because she refuses to acknowledge Hiroto and such gets to stay instead of passing on.
  • The Dreaded: Tsurugi Kamiya, despite the Ouka Kendo club reputation of being losers, he is one of the top Kendo practitioners in Tokyo.
  • Fanservice Tsubame and adult/ghost Sayuri.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Oogami seems to want to develop this with everyone especially the first year Ouka kendo members like Hiroto.
  • Handicapped Badass: Hazakura Shidou, can only use one arm when performing kendo but is still one of the strongest fighters in the series.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted in Aoharu is one of the most physically gifted kendo club members but because he is still raw he doesn't always win.
    • Averted in Hiroto's early fights. While he was able to win with Sayuri's help and his eyes, he lost some of his first fights alone due to the difference in training and experience between him and his opponents.
  • Not So Stoic: Morikuni Mujin in chapter 47.
  • Poor Communication Kills: How Sayuri died. She instilled such Tough Love to strengthen the student she chose to be her successor that he thought he was The Un-Favourite and when trying to run away accidentally set up the fire that destroyed their dojo and killed Sayuri when she went back in to save him.
  • Power Limiter: Hiroto's glasses keep his vision from over straining him with too much information during daily life.
  • Powers via Possession: Sayuri initially in some of Hiroto's first few fights outside of competition possessed him in order to allow him enough knowledge of how to fight in order to win.
    • She also possesses a doll which causes many people, outside of Hiroto and his family, to believe she is actually small child.
  • Sexy Mentor: Sayuri in her adult ghost form.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Played straight at first with Tsubame Shiratori being introduced as a member and recruiter for Ouka's kendo team but being the only female shown. It isn't until later that other female members are actually introduced.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Shidou delivers one to an opponent named Banda during a tournament, who made the mistakes of first underestimating his skills and more grievously insulting kendo.
  • Tournament Arc: Given it is about Kendo this is a given and happens nearly all the time.
  • Training from Hell: The coach's special training involves continuous kendo matches, without food or sleep, until everyone had scored 10,000 points.
  • Troll: Sayuri. She loves to tease others, especially Hirotu.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Ebana Aoharu, never bothered to learn the basics of kendo before joining the club but is physically gifted.