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Manga / Shutendoji

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Shutendoji is a manga series from the mind of Go Nagai. Published from 1976 to 1978, it received a four episode OVA adaptation in 1989.

Artist couple Ryuichiro and Kyoko Shiba have longed for a child, and one is presented to them from the mouth of a monstrous Oni, who tells them he will return for the boy 15 years later. Past this time, the boy is now known as Jiro Shutendo, an aloof teenager with no friends beyond his smitten schoolmate Miyuki. As promised, strange events start happening around him, most importantly the exploits of a Religion of Evil trying to kill him in order to prevent an ancient prophecy.

Although it was expected to be Nagai's next great success in the Dark Fantasy genre after Devilman, the manga and its adaptation remain one of his most obscure works.

This series provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Ms. Tanemura seemed to be an important character with interesting interactions with Jiro, but she is taken out of the series rather quickly.
  • Action Girl: Ricki. She's also the last member of Yusuke's gang to be defeated.
  • Adaptational Badass: Despite his cool attitude, the manga version of Kaji is a very weak psychic, so much that his telekinesis is only good to lightly throw pebbles to distract his enemies while his friends fight them. In the OVA, although he is comparatively meeker in personality, his telekinesis basically turns the pebbles into high caliber bullets, and he accordingly takes out several cultists by himself until he is killed.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the OVA, Ryuichiro doesn't take part in the battle against the Dark God School. This contrasts with the manga, where he is present and aids them with his shotgun and brilliant marksmanship.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Although the OVA series is a Pragmatic Adaptation, it also adds a dramatic battle against a final oni where the manga only had the main characters anticlimactically butchering minor ogres. It also expands somewhat Miyuki's role, though in return shortens the appearance of Yusuke and his gang and Kitani's exploits, and also turns Jawanbo into The Dragon for Majari, something that was only implied in the manga.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: The OVA gives the female illusionist a line pondering whether Kaji's power might be related to her own, which shocks him. Nothing of it is really proved, thought.
  • Bald of Evil: The evil cultists, as they are a demon Buddhist priest cult.
  • Barbarian Hero: By the end of the series, Jiro has been turned into a loincloth-wearing warrior who fights with a sword, just like Goki and the rest of ogres.
  • Bathing Beauty: Naturally, how Jiro finds Miyuki after he manages to return to the past.
  • Belly Mouth: Senki has a second face in his chest in a very Go Nagai manner, although it averts Multiple Head Case by being non-sentient; it only serves to fire Breath Weapon from it.
  • Big Bad: Yonen Majari fits the role for the first part of the series. And in the later parts of the story, Dai Ankoku Shiya Jarai, also known as Kyoko Shiba.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jiro and Miyuki return to the present safely, where Kyoko has regained her sanity, while Goki goes back in time to have descendants and Senki leads the Oni to populate another planet. However, Yusuke and his gang (secretly coming from Goki's lineage) are still dead, and the civilization founded by Senki is doomed to perish in a space war that takes place in the future. Goki and Yusuke's gang are still survived by Ricki's little sister in the manga, though.
  • Body Horror: The final demon from the OVA sprouts tentacle-mouths from his wounds. He can also control his own blood and turn a slash wound into a toothy mouth to chomp on Jiro.
  • Brain Critical Mass: Kaji is the nerdiest character and is the only good guy with telekinesis.
  • Clothing Damage: As expected from a Go Nagai work, this is rampant, both among males and females. Miyuki is left naked a handful of times for the kicks, while Jiro loses most of his clothing when he's teleported from the future and is left in a loincloth for the entirety of the last arc.
  • Composite Character: The OVA puts Iron Kaiser in the place of Adapted Out character Spector Saurus, making it a Contrived Coincidence that he was in the spaceship that finds Jiro.
  • Covers Always Lie: Miyuki never gets to wear a Fur Bikini as portrayed in the image above (nor Jiro wears those beads). It is actually a censored version; in the original, she is drawn stark naked.
  • Damsel in Distress: Miyuki all the time. The mighty Senki eventually becomes somewhat of her bodyguard only to keep her safe, and he still fails rather often in the OVA.
  • Darker and Edgier: The OVA. Several scenes from the manga are given a more horror film-like feel, and the last act is given more gore and a new, scary enemy (as well as yet another sexual attack on Miyuki).
  • Driven to Madness: Kyoko after Jiro is forced to leave Earth. Incidentally, this results in her creating the demons and their world in a Stable Time Loop.
  • Everyone Is Related: It's revealed in the ending that all of Yusuke's friends descend from Goki since the Heian period, making them all distant cousins.
  • Expy: Miyuki is based on Yuu Ozumi, a character from a short story by Go Nagai called Demon War Chronicles, which is basically a first draft for Shutendoji.
  • Fiery Redhead: Goki has a red mane.
  • Five-Man Band: Yusuke's gang.
  • The Glasses Come Off: Kaji pulls this before their final battle in the manga. In the anime, he keeps them.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: After some practice, Jiro can summon energy in the form of a sword.
  • Horned Humanoid: Many of the oni and Jiro.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Miyuki (of course), who has a voluptuous and sensual figure, despite being implied to be slightly younger than Jiro (making her most likely 14 years old). But since this is Go Nagai we are talking about, this is to be expected.
  • Lecherous Licking: Kitani licks Miyuki's body (nude, of course) with his demon form's tongue in order to turn his body into a copy of her.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Majari does it in the third episode of the OVA series.
  • The Load: Miyuki when she decides to accompany Jiro, Goki and Senki in their travel. Aside from a moment in the anime in which she gains momentarily psychic abilities, she's not of much use and has to be constantly protected.
  • Loincloth: Almost all the oni wear it, including Jiro himself after taping into his oni nature.
  • Love Martyr: Miyuki loves Jiro no matter what and endures many dangers and victimizations in order to be with him.
  • Magical Barefooter: Most of the Demon Buddhists only wear martial arts-style ankle wraps. Technically Miyuki qualifies as well during her brief seer moment, as she had traveled barefoot to Ongokukai.
  • Mind over Matter: Kaji's specialty, aside from minor extransensorial perception.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Senki. He only shows pupils a brief moment at the finale.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Jiro himself spends half of the series barely dressed, mostly rocking a loincloth but occasionally being seen in the nude too (with Barbie Doll Anatomy).
    • Goki, the most human-like of the two good ogres, also offers some eye candy for the ladies.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Miyuki serves as a milestone for Go Nagai's trademark fanservice. Whenever she is not getting kidnapped or screaming in horror, she is losing her clothes and revealing her beautiful body. This is more frequent in the OVA than in the manga, though.
  • Naughty Tentacles: The final demon from the OVA can sprout them from any part of his body. Naturally, they are used to grab Miyuki, tear away her kimono and stretch her naked body out. (For gender equality's sake, they also grab Jiro, but unlike her, he doesn't have much clothing to tear in the first place.)
  • Physical Hell: Ongokukai, the oni world. Which was explicitly created to be so.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Jiro's hair turns golden after his powerup. Oh, and he grows horns.
  • Pretty Boy: Jiro is explicitly described by Yusuke as a Bishōnen. Downplayed in the anime, where his character design is conventionally manlier.
  • Reality Warper: Kyoko is revealed to be one.
  • Redshirt Army: Yusuke's gang is left as such in the OVA, where die in the only battle they take part in shortly after being introduced.
  • Screaming Woman: Miyuki's other talent, besides ending up naked, is screaming her lungs out whenever she sees a demon or anything out of the ordinary. She does this much more often in the manga, however; her anime self is considerably pluckier.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The character design of Ryuichiro is clearly modelled after Gregory Peck's Robert Thorn from The Omen. The plot of said film, released some months before Shutedoji, is similarly about a father discovering that his son is related to demonic forces, so it could be probably considered the inspiration behind this manga. The scene of Jiro's shadow being that of a giant demon is one of its many homages to it.
    • Ricki Muso, the female pro wrestler, is a nod to Japanese pro wrestling legend Riki Choshu. She even does his Riki Lariat once.
    • The OVA alters substantially the space arc in order to create a massive homage to both Aliens and Terminator.
  • Stable Time Loop: It is revealed that, after being driven to madness by demons taking her son away from her, Kyoko tapped into unknown Reality Warper powers and created the demons in the first place, provoking the circumstances they took her son away from her.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Unusually for a work by Go Nagai, Shutendoji ends in a high note. By the end of the story, the demon Buddhists have been defeated, Jiro and Miyuki reunite with Ryuichiro and a now sane Kyoko, and the oni race is being led by Senki to some planet in which they will find a better life, at least for a time.
  • Tears of Blood: The OVA's final demon sheds them when he ponders on the oni race's fate, and later when he pleads to Jarai to know why must his race suffer so much.
  • Vague Age: Unlike the rest of Yusuke's gang, who are either highschoolers or college students, Ricki is described as a "former pro wrestler", which implies she's much older than them. However, in The '80s's Japan it was not uncommon for aspiring professional wrestlers to join major federations in their teen years (and drop out very quickly if they found pro wrestling wasn't their passion).
  • Waif Prophet: While in Ongokukai, Miyuki suddenly gains seer abilities for an instant to warn the group that Dai Ankoku Shiya Jarai is coming. (Not that they don't know it already.) Why this happens is never explained.
  • Younger Than They Look: Both Jiro and especially Miyuki have very well-toned, mature-looking bodies for their age. Jiro is relatively tall and has a very muscular physique despite not being a star athlete, and Miyuki has a very beautiful and curvaceous figure. Earlier in the story, Jiro is revealed to have recently turned 15, while Miyuki, although of the same grade, is implied to be still 14. It would have been more convincing if they were 16-18 instead.