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Manga / Sidooh

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Sidooh is a historical fiction seinen manga written by Tsutomu Takahashi from 2005 to 2010, consisting of 266 chapters and 25 volumes.

In 1858, during the chaos of the Bakumatsu Era of Japan, young brothers Shotaro Yukimura and Gentaru Yukimura are orphaned when their mother succumbs to cholera. In her last moments, she urges them to take up their samurai father's sword and become strong enough to survive in the harsh and cruel world. Coming across a ronin named Kiyozo Asakura, they are tricked and sold to the Byakushinsō, a secluded village led by the enigmatic Rugi. Intended to be sacrificed, Shotaro instead defeats Rugi's chosen warrior and takes his place as the Byakushinsō's champion, and he and Gen are adopted as Rugi's sons.

Two years later, the Byakushinsō allies itself with the anti-Shogunate, anti-foreigner shishi and Shotaro and Gentaru are assigned to the White Lotus squad alongside the young samurai Inō Kennosuke and kunoichi Mozu. They are sent on a mission to destroy the Black Ships and overthrow the Shogunate, but Rugi betrays the Byakushinsō to the Shogunate's forces and Sho, Gen, Inō, and Mozu are the sole survivors. Spending a year in hiding, the surviving members of the White Lotus ally themselves with the shishi of Aizu to seek revenge for their fallen comrades and bring stability to Japan by purging it of the American foreigners.

This manga includes examples of:

  • Ancestral Weapon: Shotaro's katana belonged to his samurai father and was forged by legendary bladesmith Kokimaru Mitsumune.
  • Anyone Can Die: Characters are introduced and killed off almost at random, even main characters.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • As a child, Gintaro is molested by a group of imprisoned women who try to force one of their members to have sex with him.
    • When Mozu is captured after assassinating one of the Black Ships' crew members, she's tied up and suspended, and was about to be raped by Johnson when the others set the Black Ship on fire.
  • Babies Ever After: By the twenty-first volume, Shotaro and Mozu have a child.
  • Badass Longcoat: Shotaro's wardrobe of choice as an adult is a black, western style longcoat over a vest and collared shirt.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Shotaro's team is responsible for the destruction of the Black Ship, and participated in many other important conflicts during the Bakumatsu Era.
  • Big Bad: Rugi is a charismatic, eccentric, ambitious sociopath who inducts the main characters into his cult and then betrays them to obtain favour with the Shogunate.
  • Catchphrase: The Byakushinsō frequently use the word "gudan", which refers to the ritualistic purging of impurities.
  • Civil War: The backdrop of the series is the conflict between pro-Imperial nationalists who want to keep Japan isolated, and the Shogunate's forces who are colluding with the American foreigners.
  • Cult: The Byakushinsō, or White Heart Village, is a village/cult led by Rugi, whose members follow a corruption of Buddhism and seek to bring "purity" to the nation by expelling the foreigners and those who collude with them. The main characters are inducted into it early on, but Rugi betrays his followers and uses them as a stepping stone to curry favour with the Shogunate.
  • During the War: The bulk of the series takes place during the Boshin War, with the main characters affiliating themselves with the Aizu Domain.
  • False Friend: Kiyozo Asakura is introduced as a samurai working for Rugi, hunting the runaway girl Hana, who he kills. Impressed by his skill, Shotaro asks Asakura to train him and Gen, and Asakura says he'll take them to a dojo where they'll be trained. Instead they're drugged and imprisoned by Rugi's cult, and Kiyozu steals their father's katana. Only later does he come back and train Shotaro, enabling him to become the champion of Rugi's cult.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As anyone slightly familiar with Japanese history will tell you, the Shogunate would eventually lose the power struggle against the revolutionaries.
  • End of an Age: The manga is set during Japan's chaotic transition from a feudal nation to an industrialized power. Many characters lament that the time of the samurai is past and that if Japan wants to survive it has to modernize, while others want to purge the foreign influence from Japan.
  • Happily Married: In Chapter 162 Shotaro and Mozu finally get married, but even prior to that Kanbee teases them by asking when they'll have kids.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Gen is extremely temperamental and obsessed with revenge.
  • Historical Fiction: Sidooh is set during the Bakumatsu Era of Japan, where the nation was thrown into unrest by a series of disasters and the arrival of the American black ships.
  • Ninja: Mozu is a kunoichi assigned to the White Lotus during their mission to destroy the black ships, and is one of the four surviving members alongside Sho, Gen, and Inō. After the fall of the Byakushinsō, she starts earning money as a fortune teller in between missions for the Aizu shishi.
  • Noble Bigot: Ever since he was a child, Gen hates Westerners with a passion and wants to kill them all. The manga's portrayal of Americans is extremely unflattering, with them perpetuating horrific crimes on the Japanese with nigh-impunity due to their superior firepower and influence over the Shogunate.
  • Oblivious to Love: Mozu asks Shotaru if he wants to join her in a hotspring, but he refuses, not recognizing she's fallen for him. When Gen teases them by saying that Mozu is his sister-in-law-to-be, Shotaru is incredulous. This changes towards the end of the manga, as he and Mozu consummate their relationship and have a child together.
  • Official Couple:
    • Mozu falls in love with Shotaro after he saves her from burning to death during their attack on the Black Ship. They get married in Chapter 162, and by Volume 21 they have a child.
    • Gen falls in love with Kikuno, a deaf girl living in Aizu, and starts questioning his desire for revenge.
  • One-Man Army: Shotaro and Gen regularly defeat dozens of armed soldiers by themselves ever since they were kids. Other skilled warriors like Asakura and Hijikata among others have also shown mowing down dozens.
  • Patriotic Fervor: The characters are motivated by the desire to purge Japan of the foreign invaders, who have brought disease, crime, and social unrest.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Shotaro is level-headed in comparison to Gen's rash hotheadedness. In addition, Shotaro wants to bring stability to his homeland, while Gen mainly wants revenge.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • In the second chapter Shotaro and Gen come across a woman named Hana tied to a rock, but before they can help her a samurai arrives and rapes her. Shotaro kills him, but the woman is killed seconds later by Kiyozo Asakura.
    • Gentaro is molested by a group of female prisoners, who strip him naked and try to force one of their members, Teru, to rape him. When Teru refuses to go through with it, the other women tie her up and rape her, forcing Gentaro to watch.
    • Mozu is captured by the crew of the Black Ship and almost raped by Johnson.
  • Relationship Upgrade: After over 100 chapters of Sho being oblivious to Mozu's feelings for him, they consummate their relationship in Chapter 160 and the following day Sho announces they're getting married, which happens in Chapter 162.
  • Rescue Romance: Mozu poses as a geisha and assassinates one of the crew members of Jackson's ship. She's captured, tied up, and nearly raped before the others set the ship on fire. Inō is ready to leave her behind, but Shotaro charges through the flames and rescues her. Following this she falls for him.
  • Revenge: Gen wants revenge against Rugi for betraying the Byakushinsō.
  • Sanity Slippage: Shogun Yoshinobu's mental wellness takes a nosedive as the Tokugawa's position grown worse. By the time the main cast meet him, he barely even remembers who his allies are while rambling nonsensical orders.
  • The Shinsengumi: Hijikata, Kondo, Okita, and Saito are reocurring characters since when they were mere masterless ronins before becoming a part of Roshigumi and later Shinsengumi.
  • Shipper on Deck: Gen teases his brother Shotaro about his obliviousness to Mozu's feelings, and is overjoyed when Sho announces that he and Mozu are getting married.
  • Sibling Team: Shotaro and Gen are brothers, with Gen being four years younger than Shotaro.
  • Social Darwinist: With her last words, Shotaro and Gen's mother tells them that the world is a place where the weak will die, telling them to take their father's katana and become strong.
  • The Squad: Shotaro and Gentaru are assigned to a quad called the White Lotus, alongside Kiyozo Asakura, Inō Kennosuke, Samejima Tasuke, Yukimura Shōtarō, and Mozu. Following the attack on the Black Ships and Rugi's betrayal of the Byakushinsō, only the Yukimura brothers, Inō, and Mozu are left. By the final chapter, only Mozu and Gen are left.
  • Trickster Mentor: Kiyozo Asakura is an enigmatic ronin who initially sells Shotaro and Gen to Rugi's cult and steals their sword, then returns to help Shotaro win the Shukushin, the Byakushinsō's Trial by Combat. He seeks revenge against Rugi after he betrays the Byakushinsō, but is killed.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Rugi plays the Byakushinsō like a fiddle, and brainwashes Shotaro and Gentaru into being utterly loyal to him before betraying them to the Shogunate.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: When Gen lashes out at Shotaro for seemingly forgetting their vow of revenge against Rugi, Mozu breaks up the fight and warns Gen that if he tries to hurt Shotaro she'll kill him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Bakumatsu Era was very unkind to children. Within the first few chapters, Sho is chosen to be executed as a sacrifice by the White Heart Village, and the women imprisoned at the White Heart compound try to rape Gen.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Shotaro kills Asaji, the young samurai chosen to be the Byakushinsō's champion, and takes his place.