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Manga / Oyaji

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Covers Always Lie incarnated, Oyaji is more than just violence!
Surrounded by violence for as long as he can remember Takeshi Kumada, the titular Oyaji, has steeled himself into a tremendously tough man, growing to become the very essence of manliness himself in order to live his life in peace, being fully capable of demolishing anyone who dares to disrupt his quiet path.
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However, Oyaji has his wife, Taeko Kumada and two children under his wing, Yosuke Kumada and Kumiko Kumada, a life of violence can never end well for a man with a family to care for, thus it didn’t take long for the local yakuza to try and get back at Oyaji for never allowing himself to be pushed around by petty criminals; the thugs tried to burn his home down with him and the whole family sleeping inside at night, that of course was a terrible mistake by the yakuza, with the only fire truly ignited that night being Oyaji’s unrivaled anger.

The enraged Oyaji went and proceeded to kill the entire yakuza sub-family that dared to try kill him and his family in a single night, although that action came with a hefty price, Oyaji was predictably sentenced to serve time for multiple homicides.

Then, 15 years later Oyaji was free to go, for a mysterious reason, now he tries to reconnect with his family who clearly are in disarray due his long absence; Oyaji’s son Yosuke and daughter Kumiko have become problematic young adults, with their father back home things are about to change.

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Oyaji (lit. Old Man/Father) is a Seinen manga authored and drawn by Tsuru Moriyama in the year 2000, originally published in Big Comic Superior, by Shogakukan, later compiled in 3 volumes; what it seems like a hardcore violent action series on the surface, it actually carries an entire different message throughout its course, by the end it is guaranteed to make one reflect on what it means to be a father.


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Oyaji provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Ending: While the story makes it clear Oyaji is actually terminally ill, his impending death is never shown or alluded to, at the end Oyaji simply disappears after making sure to pass all the knowledge of life and love his wife and children needed before his time was up; all is framed as if Oyaji was a force of nature who appeared to do his job and then left when it was done.
  • Bait-and-Switch Character Intro: The first chapters of the series frames Oyaji as being ultra-violent, and purposefully makes it seem he is actually a terrible presence in his family, with all the violence that surrounds him; then as the series goes that image is drastically disrupted, showing Oyaji as a real caring man who actually wants to shield his loved ones from the terrible influences around them, and actually steer them away from all of that.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Not only is Oyaji’s member crazy huge, the author somehow tried to make the thing be as badass as Oyaji himself, by managing to make Oyaji’s wife Taeko confirm she can have children after all, she lived her whole life till then believing she was infertile.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Oyaji as muscular as he is possesses strength beyond human limits, he can easily lift people up with just one arm, punch them meters away, and roll a car over all by himself; all that strength came from just working his entire life in body taxing jobs in civil construction, and the time he spent in juvenile detention when he was young.
  • Covers Always Lie: To an insane degree, one simply will not get the true meaning of this series by just glancing at the volume covers, what it seems like a hardcore old man fighting his way through life is actually a dramatic and heartwarming tale of a man who wanted to be the loving father he never had to his children, and caring husband his mother didn't have, before he passes away.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Oyaji used the only way his harsh life taught him in order to defend himself and his family, pure violence, to get back at the yakuza that tried to burn his home down with him and his family inside. Killing the entire syndicate’s office managed to keep the thugs away, but it also got Oyaji a steep prison sentence, separating him from his dear family, and even when Oyaji got out many years later he tried to keep himself away, reasoning that his existence alone was a violence magnet, so to him being around his family was just putting them in danger. Oyaji only goes back to his wife and kids when he realizes he is going to die soon, so he will try to be the best father and husband he can before the time is up.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Okkan, by the same author, is similarly about how a particular parent influenced their child's life and the sacrifices they had to make for their family in order to let them grow up as healthily as possible. Okkan, however, covers a mother's love rather than a father's, and as a result is a lot less violent and more emotionally invested.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The titular man himself is almost never called by his actual name Takeshi Kumada, he is simply Oyaji, and the series’ true theme heavily relies on Takeshi being mostly called as such.
  • Everybody Cries: In one of the most emotional scenes in series, Oyaji, his wife and two children decide to sleep all in the same room, Oyaji and his wife Taeko have a heart-to-heart talk where they sincerely thank each other for being their spouse, for both previously emotionally tortured people to form such a beautiful family, their children Yosuke and Kumiko silently cry while hearing their parents say this.
  • Martial Pacifist: As insanely violent as Oyaji can be, he actually never throws the first punch, he only grew to be this strong in order to protect himself and those dear to him; there’s no conflict to be had with the man if you just let him live in peace.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Oyaji’s insanely abusive father was what made the boy grow into such a violent man. Even if Oyaji only resorts to violence after being being on the receiving end of it himself, he can become a murder machine to make sure whoever started to mess with him and his family to be instantly incapacitated, or even killed. However, when Oyaji makes a a comeback to his family years later, he actually tries to forsake violence as much as possible, making sure to let his wife and children know a man who shows real love instead of just trying to punch the problems away.
  • Powerful Pick: Oyaji gruesomely killed his own father, in order to finally save his mother and himself from years of relentless physical and mental abuse, such a terrible husband and father was actually just a step away from beating his own family to death.
  • Rated M for Manly: Oyaji just exudes pure masculinity, he Is drawn purposefully as manly as possible to goad the reader into seeing how much of a badass father he is, but as the story goes the narrative wants to sell you how much his actual determination and love for his wife and children is that makes Oyaji a real man, not his appearance.
  • Shovel Strike: Oyaji used a shovel to annihilate the yakuza that tried to burn his home down, with him and his family inside, the thugs are reduced to crying and screaming in fear of such an insane display of strength as they get killed.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Oyaji doesn’t know a single martial art, he simply is pure brawn, unfiltered rage when needs to be fully capable of massacring anyone who dares to mess with him, and more importantly doubled so when his family is put at risk.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final chapter covers what happens to the family after Oyaji leaves them for good, narrated by Yosuke. Kumiko and her boyfriend get married and have a child, with the boyfriend shaping up into a reliable young man at his construction job; Mother begins to take up hobbies, but still thinks about Oyaji from time to time; and Yosuke begins a boxing career, striving to be just as caring and strong as Oyaji whenever he decides to make his own family.

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