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Manga / Otogi Matsuri

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"The most important thing to you... what is it?
... your future, is it?
Then let me take your future..."

Life was peaceful and quiet in the small port village of Miyakono, located in Japan's Kyoto prefecture. Quiet, that is, until the townsfolk were shocked by a rash of bizarre murders. Rumors abounded about the nature of the killer, but one thing was clear: the bodies were mangled by what appeared to be a set of very large teeth.

When a trio of students investigate the temple where the most recent victims were slain, a young man named Yousuke stumbles into and breaks a small shrine, from which emerges a phoenix-like creature made of light that flies towards him and disappears. When he realizes that none of his friends saw the light, Yousuke tries to put it out of his mind... until he is later attacked by the demonic beast that is responsible for the recent deaths. It is then that the phoenix spirit re-appears, offering Yousuke the power to defeat the inhuman beast that is stalking him.

A power, however, that will come at a great cost...

Otogi Matsuri is a horror manga written and illustrated by "Joker" Junya Inoue. Originally serialized in Comic Gum from 2002 to 2008, the manga was later picked up for release in English (under the title Otogi Matsuri: Dark Offering) by Central Park Media, and in French by Doki-Doki.

Otogi Matsuri provides examples of:

  • Asian Fox Spirit: Yomogi's fox-like spiritual companions, who can be seen and heard only by her (and later, Yousuke.) They mainly serve to assist her with menial tasks such as cleaning, and to warn her of impending danger.
  • The Atoner: Kenji becomes one after the death of his friends, resulting from his bullying. Ezo too, seeing how he first released Seiryuu from his shrine as a teen and in turn caused the Kenzoku to be released.
  • Came Back Wrong: Shigeomi Rokujo resurrected his loved ones to become Kenzoku, giving them the power to take revenge on the people who slaughtered them. Unfortunately, it made them less than human in the process
  • Cast from Lifespan: The "jingi" weapons require something in exchange for their power, and Yousuke gave up his future.
  • Creepy Doll: The giant, eight legged cat/spider demon Kenzoku is accompanied by numerous creepy-looking dolls who refer to it as "Go-shu-jin sama" (meaning "Master of the House"), and who mainly serve to find humans to become the demon's next meal.
    Doll #1: "Go-shu-jin sama, here."
    Doll #2: "Over here."
    Doll #3: "The new offering is here."
  • Crucified Hero Shot: This happens to Ezo, stuck on a pole of power lines.
  • Cute Bruiser: Irori
  • Deadly Upgrade: The power granted by the Phoenix-like god named Suzaku is a mystical bow that appears as an extension of Yousuke's arm, that fires arrows of light with the power to kill evil spirits in a single shot. In exchange, Suzaku declares that it will take Yousuke's "future"... meaning that the young man only has a year left to live. The Gods' deals generally work like this, offering more power at a higher and higher price.
  • Disability Superpower: Ezo trades his sight for two Seiryuu spears and the enhancement of his other senses.
  • Disease Bleach: Kenji's hair gets lighter as he trades for more power from Byakko
  • The Dragon: Kago Shusaku, the evil onmyoji priest who serves as the main antagonist, and who seems to be second only to the Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Eldritch Location: Miyakono and the surrounding area
  • Evil Sorceror: Shigeomi Rokuji, who created the kenzoku monsters.
  • Eye Scream: Kagerou is a gigantic eye
    • This is the modus operandi of the kappa: taking people's eyes and eating them. And they do not take them in a clean manner.
    • Shusaku bites the eyes out of one of his henchmen.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Kenji punches Yousuke to stop him from moping around
  • The Four Gods: The givers of the special weapons.
  • Growing Up Sucks: After the final battle, Yomogi enters high school and loses the ability to see her foxes. Though, it might also be a case of Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu, since she had previously permanently cut the four gods off from humanity to save Yousuke.
  • Guinea Pig Family: Several Kenzoku were actually people who were important to Shigeomi Rokujo in life. Sesshohime was his eldest daughter. The giant snake Madara-sama was his lover and his younger children. The Kago Ichizoku were his retainers, etc...
  • Heroic BSoD: Yousuke, upon seeing that Junko has brain trauma and amnesia.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ezo dies against Shigeomi Rokujo, trying to save his students. Fortunately, it didn't last...
  • Hot Teacher: Ezo Ryuichi
  • Invisible to Normals: The Jingi the characters use can't be seen by normal people. The earlier Kenzoku couldn't be seen either. Surprisingly averted by the latter Kenzoku, who are plainly seen by the people of Miyakono City.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Yousuke tries to keep Yomogi's boyfriend from leaving her, because he doesn't expect to survive the year and wants someone by her side whose days aren't so sharply numbered. Unfortunately, he's ultimately unable to keep him from leaving after he sees firsthand just how much Yomogi actually cares for Yosuke.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Kenji and his gang
  • Kaiju: The gigantic fireball-breathing creature, Hidora, is the closest to one. This comes complete with the military trying to use all kinds of weapons on it, but failing.
  • Kill the God: Yomogi all but becomes this at the end of the manga, permanently sealing the four gods away by using an ancient spell to absolve their contract with the city of Miyakono.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Yousuke likes Yomogi, Yomogi has a boyfriend, Junko likes Yousuke, Ringo wants Yousuke to be her boyfriend, Yomogi has feelings for Yousuke despite having a boyfriend, then Yomogi's boyfriend breaks up with her...
  • The Masquerade: Set up to be played straight, with the invisible jingi and youkai, only to be subverted on a grand scale as awareness of the supernatural threats spreads from a small group of students, to the whole school and local police department, to the national government.
  • Miko: Yomogi Inaba, the grand-daughter of the murdered priest and inheritor of Miyakono's temple, possesses the ability to see spirits and is accompanied by a handful of fox-spirit companions.
  • New Transfer Student: Shortly after Yousuke and his friends meet Yomogi Inaba, the strange new priestess of the town's temple, they discover that she will be the newest member of their class.
    Teacher: "We have a new student joining us. She came to town on some family matter. Please introduce yourself."
    Yomogi: "I'm Yomogi Inaba. Pleased to meet you!"
    Yousuke: "Such a predictable development..."
  • Police Are Useless: Surprisingly for the genre, averted in one case, in which ordinary bullets are effective against one of the creatures. Otherwise played very straight.
  • The Protagonist: Yousuke Suruga, a young high school student who possesses the Bow of Suzaku, a powerful weapon that can be used to defeat demons.
  • Retractable Weapon: Ezo Ryuichi's spear.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The first youkai, Kenzo-sama, is Nekogumi, complete with luring in its prey and then biting off the top half of their bodies.
    • Yousuke Suruga has a few physical traits in common with Yusuke Sagami, and has the power of a phoenix much like how Yusuke went to Phoenix High School. Later on he even starts wearing similar clothes.
    • The phoenix bow summons its own arrows, similar to Hiiragi Kosame's Hamaya Arrow.
    • Ezo Ryuichi looks a lot like Bolt.
    • Irori Mikawa is based on a very similarly-dressed girl with the same first name, except in this manga her power is based on the turtle rather than the green bird. During Christmas season she dresses almost exactly the same.
    • Mu the raccoon can transform into something resembling Rikiou, a.k.a. the One who Comes and Takes.
    • Detective Todoroki laments being in a situation like The X-Files.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Done a few times with the Kenzoku, and finally with the Four Gods during a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness moment. When the gods complain about humans betraying them by sealing them away, the four chosen warriors argue that humanity no longer needs the gods' protection so long as they have love.
  • Speech Impediment: Irori has one
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Ezo first gave up his sense of taste to get the first Seiryuu spear. He gives up his sight for a second spear.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: As the Youkai problem gets worse and worse, the heroes are effectively this sort of service for the city.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A rare 'heroic' version by the end, where Yomogi uses an ancient spell absolve to seal the four gods away forever when they try to take Yousuke's life to collect on the deal made at the beginning of the manga.
  • Youkai: The basis of the manga.