Strongest Legend Kurosawa (Saikyou Densetsu Kurosawa) is a 2003 manga by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, the man behind Akagi, Kaiji and several others. No, it's not about gambling. Despite that, it's generally seen as one of his best works because of how powerful and philosophical it is. Recently, the main character appeared briefly in the opening video to the second season of Kaiji.
The story is about Kurosawa, a man in his forties who works for a construction company. He is single and experiencing a midlife crisis. All he wants is respect from his co-workers, but things never seem to go the way he wants them to... And one day he has to worry about violent teenagers following him.
This manga provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: At one point, Kurosawa gets asked if he is a virgin. Cue awkward silence and Fukumoto's iconic Unsound Effect "zawa, zawa" appearing in the background.
- Author Avatar: Possibly the main character, to some extent anyway. It's not hard to imagine that Fukumoto has dealt with loneliness himself after reading this manga. And they have the same birthday!
- Batter Up!: Shizuka encourages the other delinquents to hit poor Kurosawa on the head with a baseball bat. They hesitate at first (since this could very well kill him), but attack him anyway once she offers a one-night stand to whoever does it.
- Beergasm: Asai has one during worktime.
- Bittersweet Ending: Kurosawa finally does a genuinely good deed and manages to make people thankful... but it cost him his life. Although, Fukumoto has confirmed that Kurosawa is alive, making the ending less bitter. The sequel manga reveals that he spent eight years in a coma, cared for from his former tormentor (now a doctor wishing to use Kurosawa as a tool to gain a career advance) and, weakened in his body and resolve, lost his job becoming a neglected homeless. However, as he did in the past, he's now forging new friendships among the homeless community, fighting his hardships and improving his new, meager lifestyle.
- Butt-Monkey: Poor, poor Kurosawa...
- Defeat Means Friendship: Nakane and Kurosawa.
- Dirty Old Man: One of Kurosawa's older co-workers finds panty shots "uplifting".
- Face of a Thug: One of the reasons that Kurosawa is alienated from others, combined with his awkwardness. Nakane has this as well, but it's played with: he might look terrifying, but is always surrounded by beautiful women because he's smart, friendly and fun. Doesn't hurt that he's rich, too.
- Funny Afro: Used as part of a disguise for Kurosawa when he starts being harassed by teenagers.
- Gag Nose: Just look at the image. Even by Fukumoto standards, it's strange.
- Happy Ending Override: In the sequel manga, The New Kurosawa, Kurosawa is shown to be alive. However, after seven long years of coma he's left weaker in his body and resolve, jobless and penniless and living himself among the homeless. He's slowly reganining his skills and will to improve his life.
- Jerkass: Most teenagers, but especially Shizuka.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kurosawa. He's a good person, just very awkward; he often comes across as rude if not downright frightening because of it.
- Manchild: Asai is old enough to work and drink alcohol, but also collects toys from WcDonald's and likes video games.
- Meaningful Name: The name might be a reference to Akira Kurosawa, since the main character is compared to a samurai more than once.
- Mood Whiplash: The manga frequently shifts between funny and sad and there will be times when you don't know how to feel.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Before (supposedly) dying in the end, Kurosawa sees himself as a kid bullying ants. His adult self cheers the ant on and calls it a brave warrior, asking himself if he's as admirable as it.
- Not Quite Dead: Word of God confirms that Kurosawa is still alive. See the link below the Bittersweet Ending entry.
- Shout-Out: To Howl's Moving Castle, Detective Conan and Batman, among others. Also, see Meaningful Name above for another possible reference.
- Teens Are Monsters: They even get compared to animals at one point.