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Manga / Peacock King

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Peacock King (known as Kujaku Oh in Japan) is a Weekly Young Jump seinen manga series by Makoto Ogino. The manga ran from 1985 to 1989 on Weekly Young Jump. It stars the main character Kujaku, a modern-day Buddhist monk and member of the Ura-Kouya, a secret organization specialized in demon hunting. The series was followed by an 11 volumes series, Kujaku Oh: Taimaseiden, a 12 volumes series, Kujaku Oh: Magarigamiki, and prequel, Kujaku Oh Rising along with Kujaku Oh: Sengoku Tensei that ran from 2012.

The manga was adapted to two OVAs series in 1988 and 1994 by Madhouse, being both translated for the US market as Spirit Warrior. The first, written by Sho Aikawa, was composed of three episodes that contained a mix of plot points of the manga and wholly original stories. The second, retitled as Shin Kujaku Oh and directed by Rintaro, adapted a later arc in two episodes, though it deviated oddly from the manga by treating the arc as a self-contained story with its own origin and closure instead of being part of a series.

Two Hong Kong movies, Peacock King and Saga of the Phoenix, were also made, and Sega published two games for their consoles, Kujaku-Oh for the Sega Master System and its sequel, Kujaku-Oh 2, for the Sega Genesis. Neither game retained the license for their exported versions, with the former being renamed Spellcaster, while the latter became Mystic Defender.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: As mentioned, the second OVA series is a self-conclusive story. In its ending, Kujaku and Tomoko die, while in the manga they both survive.
  • Adaptational Badass: Nobunaga, a minor enemy in the manga, is turned as a much powerful and important antagonist in the first OVA series.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Tomoko in the OVA never does a Heel–Face Turn like in the manga, as she dies in a Redemption Equals Death along with Kujaku.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Despite being threatened and captured continiously, Asura uses her pyrokinetic powers exactly once in the two OVA series (not counting one in which she simply uses her spiritual energy to heal Kujaku). It makes the viewer wonder why does she go along with the main chraracters everywhere if she will not fight her way out of a paper bag.
    • The second OVA series turns Kujaku into a weak magic newbie instead of the master he was already in the manga.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The first episode of the OVA portrays Asura as a redhead, instead of the dark blonde she is in the manga and rest of the series. However, given that in the manga she is mentioned to love fashion and change her hairstyle often, the change might be meant to be a literal dye job in-universe.
  • Ax-Crazy: Tomoko, at least until her Heel–Face Turn in the manga and Redemption Equals Death in the OVA.
  • Babies Ever After: Tomoko and Kaiho in the manga.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Asura ends up naked in every episode of the first OVA series. The first episode is especially blatant, as when she activates the power of her guardian god, all her clothes explode away for no discernible reason. Onimaru usually loses his upper clothes as well, and it is for similar reasons given his heavily muscled body.
    • In the second OVA series, the already rather undressed Tomoko gets a breast exposed by damage to her dress.
  • Cool Shades: Onimaru always wears red shades, which get broken pretty often (funnily enough, he has his jeep's glove compartment filled up with spare shades in prevision of this).
  • Creator Cameo: "Peacock King" creator Makoto Ogino voices a demon in the OVA.
  • Death by Adaptation: Unlike the manga, where they survive the events of their meeting, Tomoko and Kujaku both die in the second OVA series.
  • Demoted to Extra: Nikko in most adaptations, especially the second OVA series.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Tomoko inexplicably goes up to the Himalaya while barefoot and half naked without batting an eye.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Full-Contact Magic: Onimaru often executes his attack spells in the shape of flying punches.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Asura in the second OVA episode must face the Cherub while nude, as she was that way before being freed by Kujaku.
  • Gratuitous Rape: Setsuko is raped by an invisible spirit at the third episode, mostly to show the witch's wickedness.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Although the OVA series forgets to mention it, Onimaru is a half-oni, whose natural Healing Factor explains how he survives a ton of beatdowns and mortal wounds.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Abe no Seimei and Oda Nobunaga in the first series.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Tomoko's ridiculous red dress in the OVA, which is the nearest thing to go nude without really going nude.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Every onmyoji/sorcerer/whatever in the series usually shows hand-to-hand fighting expertise either with or without weapons.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Buddhist ki-and-bead shooting monks a la Donovan vs nazi-summoning demons, demon-summoning nazis, demonic nazis, cybernetic demonic nazis with Gatling arms, and a bishounen vampire nazi robot who isn't even aware he's a robot. And at one point the nazis went to war with one of the demon lords, and won.
  • Orochi: Summoning Yamata no Orochi is a major plot point of the first game.
  • Playing with Fire: Asura is a pyrokinetic.
  • Shout-Out: The 1994 OVA features a Nazi agent that is basically a copy of Arnold Toht, complete with a mutilated hand, as well as a demon resembling a Xenomorph.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Sigfried isn't aware that he is an android.
  • Torso with a View: Onimaru's favourite way to dispose of enemy monsters is punching them through their torso.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kujaku and Onimaru, who always stick together despite being quite humorously vocal about their mutual disdain.