Follow TV Tropes

Following

Manga / Ushio and Tora

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ushio_and_tora.jpg
Advertisement:

Ordinary Middle School Student Ushio is sent to clean up around the shrine that his father is the caretaker of. Stumbling through an ancient doorway, he finds himself face to face with a vicious, demonic monster with tiger stripes - a youkai, pinned to the stone wall by an old spear.

The youkai's evil aura attracts minor yokai to converge on the shrine, and Ushio makes the decision to free the tiger youkai who promises to clean up the mess. However, the tiger youkai merely attacks Ushio and gloats that it is free to devour humans once more. Outraged at the betrayal, Ushio unexpectedly channels the Beast Spear's awesome power and cows the fearful tiger youkai into helping destroy the minor youkai using its formidable strength and lightning bolts.

After this unusual introduction, Ushio decides to keep the tiger youkai close by in order to prevent it from killing and eating other humans, to its chagrin naming it Tora (Japanese for tiger). Tora, meanwhile, sticks around in order to find a chance to eat its tormentor.

Advertisement:

However, the act of removing the Beast Spear leads to a chain of events, ultimately drawing back to an ancient prophecy and an old and implacable enemy who has the power to destroy all Japan - human and youkai alike. As Ushio and Tora face off against a variety of youkai based mostly on Japanese traditional legends, they grow closer until they reach a perpetual Enemy Mine / Heterosexual Life-Partners state.

Ushio and Tora / うしおととら is a manga by Kazuhiro Fujita, famous for its portrayal of classic Japanese monsters in a modern setting such as the Kamaitachi and Kappa (as well as having the heroes kick monster butt) and the interplay between the two leads, Ushio & Tora stretched 33 volumes of manga and was adapted to a short 10-episode OVA. Ushio and friends appear in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine: Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen.

Advertisement:

An anime adaptation helmed by Trigun director Satoshi Nishimura and animated by MAPPA aired in 2015 and 2016 for 39 episodes.


Ushio and Tora provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The beast spear cuts through a truck, cleaving it down the middle.
  • Action Girl: Most of the girls involved either are this or come pretty close, depending on their abilities.
    • Hinowa is tomboyish battle monk-ette with a caustic attitude, probably because she was born a girl and her dad wanted a boy to train up as a warrior monk.
    • The Oyakume, literal Barrier Maidens who can make youkai and monsters immobile using their barrier magic. For generations, they've been trying to keep Hakumen no Mono sealed underwater. Among them, the second Oyakume - Hizaki Mikado managed to freeze Kugari by herself, despite being an elderly at that time. The other members include Jie Mei/Yuki, Sumako Aotsuki (Ushio's mom), and Mayuko (Ushio's classmate and friend).
    • Saya descended from a long line of white-haired woman. She's capable of opening the gate to the underworld, which comes in handy when she summoned the spirits of the dead as reinforcements to help in the final battle.
    • Among the youkai, there's Kagari, the female Kamaitachi, and Omamori, a child-like Zashiki Warashi who befriends Saya, and can summon fire using her paper fans.
  • Adapted Out: The anime cut out quite a number of stories, enemy youkai, a few characters, and also character interactions, such as Izuna spending time with Ushio and Tora, Kagari's growing crush on Tora, and more development for Kirio.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • One is seen in episode 9, when Ushio battles the latest Monster of the Week. Juurou, a kamaitachi, is tired of being forced to move due to human development around the areas he lived with his brother and sister. However, Ushio sensed he was actually more in pain than anger, and attempts to apologize to them for what humans have done. He promises to find a new home they wouldn't have to leave, but Juurou attacks him anyway, and is killed when the Beast Spear automatically moves to protect Ushio. He then says he probably wanted to hear Ushio's apology the most out of everything, and says his death is for the best.
    • The final battle shows a bit of this for the series' Big Bad, Hakumen no Mono. He envies the creatures born of the light because he's a creature of darkness. His monologues and dying wish has shades of existential crisis, that he wanted to be born as a creature of the light, a human instead of a monster, and that he wanted to be remembered by another name.
  • Alien Blood: Youkai blood is purple.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The dead (human and youkai alike), once appeased, can pass on peacfully as spirits.
    • Jie Mei, after sacrificing herself to become the blade of the Beast Spear, still lingers in the world as a friendly spirit who advices and aids the heroes on defeating Hakumen. She can also appear out of nowhere (teleport), or travel through time.
    • Reiko's father in episode 3, after being purified by Ushio's spear. Additionally, his final painting of her which was very dark and dreary, turns more cheerful and colorful after he leaves.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Tora's ears are no longer visible in later chapters. Or rather, with the way his hair is drawn it's incredibly difficult to distinguish them.
    • In-series example; Ushio's art drastically improves from the first volume to the next one we see, in volume 15.
  • Back for the Finale: Just about every single character and even enemies the heroes meet shows up to do their part in the finale. Justified by the fact that one of the key roles of the protagonists is to rally disparate individuals and groups to work together. Gets turned Up to Eleven when Saya opens up the Gates of Hell so that every dead character who met or was avenged by Ushio can join the fight.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Ushio and Tora have been doing this since day one and it's a major factor into just how unstoppable they are together.
  • Backup from Otherworld: Happens in the finale when Saya opened the gates of the underworld in order to call for reinforcements. Every single ally who died before return to fight, albeit only briefly as they vanish shortly afterwards.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Believe or not, Tora can be pretty cute when he is pouting.
    • Most of the female badasses of the series also get at least one cute moment (which tends to be noted by Ushio).
    • Even Ushio can be cute in an awkward manner.
  • Badass Family: The Aotsuki family:
    • Ushio's old fart of a dad is actually one of the strongest in a secret order of youkai-trashing monks.
    • Ushio's mom is singlehandedly keeping Hakumen no Mono pinned down and holding off every youkai of Japan that wants Hakumen no Mono's head.
    • Ushio himself, the chosen wielder of the Beast Spear.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Creepy black-coated Hyou makes a living (and revenge) hunting youkai, and almost took down Tora single-handedly.
    • Ushio acquires one on his trip to find out about his mother. Unfortunately, since he got it from a yakuza, it's far too big for him.
  • Bald of Awesome: The battle-ready monks mostly have clean-shaven heads.
  • Barrier Maiden: Literally, the Oyakume are powerful maidens who keep Hakumen no Mono sealed via a large barrier. Even outside of that, their magic specialty consists of conjuring barriers and shields.
  • Bash Brothers: Ushio and Tora eventually develop into this.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • When Hakumen no Mono retreated underwater, he coiled himself around a pillar of Japan, threatening Yuki, the first Oyakume, with the possibility that Japan would sink if the united humans and monsters would unleash their attacks on him. Yuki had no other choice but to save the country, so she creates a barrier to "protect" Hakumen.
    • Using Towako, Hakumen no Mono tried this with Kirio and the Elzaar Scythe - a plot spanning years to undermine support for the Beast Spear and ultimately destroy it by creating a wielder and a weapon actually very dangerous to itself. It failed when Kirio realized that he's just being manipulated.
    • While ambiguous or subtle, the Beast Spear shattering after it struck Hakumen. Seeing as the spear can almost always return to its wielder's side, even when in a thousand little pieces, in this state, it later became beneficial. The Beast Spear, even when it's reduced to shards, killed all of Hakumen's memory-blocking monsters (one from each person and youkai), broke the hurricane that was preventing escape, showed Hakumen's past to Ushio giving him the knowledge on how to defeat Hakumen and restored faith in Tora. In short, it removed despair, added hope, restrengthened Ushio and Tora's fighting resolve, and doing all of these behind overconfident Hakumen's back by being seemingly "defeated".
  • Beach Episode: Episode 6, in which Ushio and Tora go to the beach and have to fight a Sea Monster named Ayakashi.
  • Beast and Beauty: Tora and Mayuko. Tora is a powerful ancient youkai who repeatedly protects the sweet teenage human girl because he wants to eat her. Mayuko quickly becomes fond of "Tora-chan" and eventually develops a crush on him.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Ushio and Tora and the Beast Spear are intricately linked to Hakumen, because due to time travel, Ushio a.k.a. "Shanyue", was a witness to the spear's forging, the spear was forged for the purpose of revenge against Hakumen, Tora while still a human, gave rise to Hakumen's physical form and then later became the first wielder of the spear, and Ushio is descended from the line of women linked to the spear's forging. So Ushio wielding the spear with Tora at his side to face down Hakumen represents a grand culmination of destiny. This is hinted at from the very beginning as the first chapter is called "Ushio's Fated Meeting".
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Ushio and Asako have only memories of fighting ever since childhood. Despite this and their frequent denials, it's obvious how they really feel about each other.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When it looks like Hakumen is starting to regain momentum again in the battle despite Ushio's, Tora's, all the youkai and Kohumei Sect's best efforts? Guess who shows up? The entire Japanese Defense Force. And know what's more awesome? They are effective, actually causing the first injuries to Hakumen besides what the Spear could do! Heh, if Ushio and Tora's JSDF was in Godzilla they'd be able to drive him off every time!
  • Bittersweet Ending: Hakumen no Mono is defeated, Ushio doesn't become into a beast and can now go back to live a peaceful life with his father, mother and friends. Sadly, Tora is not with him since he sacrificed his life in the final battle and (almost) all the monsters of Japan have to turn themselves to stone to support the country until the time comes when they aren't needed to do so. However, the ending implies that Tora manages to come back after his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Beast Spear, which goes through steel and youkai like a hot knife through warm butter, but doesn't harm humans. Ushio uses it more like a staff whenever Tora gets uppity.
  • Blind and the Beast: A monster named Satori found a little boy whose eyes were blinded in a fire. Satori made himself pass for the boy's father and took care of him until the boy's eyes started hurting too much and he had to sent him to a hospital. Since he never saw Satori, the boy still thinks Satori is his father.
  • Blood Knight:
    • It's one thing to make a living killing or sealing youkai who threaten human lives, but Kyoura the heretic monk doesn't believe in letting any youkai live, and he doesn't really have any interests in life beyond killing them.
    • Hyou is quite eager to get into fights with monsters he runs into. Or even regular people if they so much as threaten a child while he's nearby.
  • Bookends: The series' first episode involves Ushio pulling out the Beast Spear from Tora in order to save himself and his friends. The final episode has him piercing Tora with it to hide the spear's presence from Hakumen. It's such a clever Chekhov's Gag that finally explains why Tora had to be pinned with the spear for 500 years when he's first introduced. As Tora and a wielder of the spear dueled in the past, they notice a massive swarm of Hakumen's minions approaching them. Because Hakumen was born from Tora when the latter was still a human, they are essentially of the same being and scent. If the spear is pierced inside Tora, Hakumen and his minions are unable to detect it.
  • Bridal Carry:
    • In Episode 11, Ushio carries Asako in his arms, although the girl is barely awake.
    • In "Fools Gather at a Party", Tora carries Mayuko this way as well when he catches her.
  • But Now I Must Go:
    • Hyou leaves at the end of episode 5, after Ushio barely manages to stop him from killing Tora. He says he's going to continue his search in Japan, hoping that the monster that killed his family would also show up due to the presence of the Beast Spear attracting monsters towards it. He ends up helping the others who are attempting to save Ushio down the road after the latter becomes possessed by the Beast Spear.
    • As Hakumen is defeated, Omamori-sama sacrifices herself to lock the gates of the Underworld, as they can only be closed from the inside.
  • Call-Back:
    • Tora deliberately does this in Chapter 268 of the manga and Episode 30 of the anime, recreating the original meeting between him and Ushio in the latter's home basement.
    • The "lost memories" arc is full of these as various characters recall past scenes that are missing... Someone... Who?... Which is shown by recycling panels from earlier chapters but which the someone's face blotted out.
  • Car Fu:
    • Tora gets hit by a truck while standing in the middle of the street in episode 4.
    • A swarm of Hiyo possesses a bus where Ushio is riding in, trying to cause an accident that would kill him and the other passengers.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • The old man in episode 4 attempts to warn some construction workers not to move a big rock from their construction site. They don't listen, and accidentally release a seal that held some demons in it. They are then promptly devoured by the demons.
    • Yuu doesn't believe the pilot who flew alongside her father died because of a demon named Fusama that attacked their plane. However, once Ushio manages to make Fusama visible to her, she immediately recants her words.
  • Casting Gag: In the OVA, Norio Wakamoto voiced Hyou. In the TV series, he plays said character's arch-nemesis Guren.
  • Caught in the Ripple: Towards the end of the series, Hakumen causes Ushio's existence to be entirely forgotten. Almost every character meets him as if it's still their first time, and are quite angry at the familiarity he displays with them. Even one of Ushio's father's allies doesn't recognize him, saying he never had a son. Fortunately, it turns out that a certain few like Saya, Jie Mei, Hyou and Tora still remember him. Together with his partner, they end the curse.
  • Cerebus Roller Coaster: The manga (and both animated adaptations) mixes serious drama with some more comedic scenes, such as when Ushio first runs into Tora. The latter is fairly intimidating, and says he's going to kill Ushio when freed. The scene then switches to a more comedic tone when Ushio responds by pushing the spear even more into Tora with his foot. Tora then hilariously tries to plead with him, offering to not harm him, but Ushio doesn't trust him.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Ushio and Tora starts off with a typical Monster of the Week trend where the antagonists usually get defeated in the same episode they're introduced, and the protagonists return to their calm and comedic interactions afterwards. But after the first Wham Line that reveals Ushio's mother still alive despite being presumed dead, it's only then that Ushio finds a deeper, more serious motivation.
    • During this arc, he constantly finds himself getting attacked by youkai. And if that got resolved, he and Tora later fight the Big Bad's direct minions, the Hiyo, which became persistent threats until the finale.
    • Another turn of events has Ushio nearly transforming into a monster because of the Beast Spear, and had to be saved by several allies.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Beast Spear is inextricably linked to Hakumen and even Tora's origin.
    • Episode 5 has a self-contained example. Early on, Tora clawed Ushio's face when he tried to "eat" the latter in his sleep. This left a four-clawed scar on Ushio's face. And despite selling Tora to Hyou out of anger, Ushio tries to convince Hyou that Tora isn't the monster who attacked Hyou and killed his family. The first thing that Ushio points out, and lowers Hyou's guard, is the fact that Tora left a four-clawed scar on Ushio's face, while the scar on Hyou's face is caused by three claws.
    • The fact Mayuko looks exactly like an ancient powerful priestess. She's a descendant of her, and would fulfill the same role of Oyakume just like her.
    • When Ushio noticed that Hinowa uses a comb as weapons, he brings up the comb of his mother as a keepsake, which would then become useful in turning him back to a human from after a beastly transformation caused by using the Beast Spear too much.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Damn. Everyone. It's because the characters would only reveal their names or identities after stuff had already happened and the audience had been made to think that they are just bystanders. At times more than once but everyone shows up even once in the final battle aiding in fighting against the fear that Hakumen feeds off with hope and also in fighting against Hakumen if they have the ability.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • The focus ability Ushio learns later on quickly becomes relevant when enemies are attacking and even goes on to still be relevant come the final battle.
    • As an application of the Exact Words trope, the Beast Spear only harms and kills youkai, not humans. This is first demonstrated when the spear simply phases through Reiko, who attempted to shield the vengeful spirit of her father. Reiko deliberately invokes this later when Ushio goes berserk from overusing the spear, Reiko being the first girl to comb his hair when he is thrusting his weapon forward because she knows she can't be hurt by it.
    • Yuu is an athletic fast runner. This becomes useful when Ushio is standing in the center of a collapsing bridge, but Yuu's agility allowed her to comb his hair before the thing collapsed.
    • The spear would resonate and transform Ushio only if it senses an upcoming threat. Ushio and Tora are surprised to learn that it's calm even at the presence of the asafuze, to which Hyou explains, are the original wielders of the spear, and therefore are Ushio's allies just like Tora.
  • Cherry Blossoms: At the beginning of the final arc, Ushio and Asako share a moment under cherry blossoms trees. And then Asako has her memories of Ushio erased.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Hakumen is undoubtedly this, having multiple insidious and long-running plans to weaken the opposition and hasten its eventual rise. Add to the fact that it can't move, making chess-piece manipulation its only recourse...
    • The Beast Spear itself qualifies somewhat... Every wielder who gets turned into a Tora-type youkai eventually sleeps in stone form, with hatred of Hakumen festering in their dreams, until they all awaken to take part in the final battle against Hakumen. It also justifies why Ushio (the chosen wielder of the spear) and Tora (who was turned into his present form by the spear) fight so well together and are capable to dealing the killing blow to the Big Bad.
  • Childhood Friend Romance:
    • Ushio and Asako have known each other since childhood and despite all their bickering, they clearly have feelings for each other.
    • Kenichi Masaki and Reiko are always seen together whenever they appear after the protagonists exorcised the vengeful spirit of Reiko's father.
  • Childhood Friends:
    • Ushio, Asako and Mayuko have been friends since elementary school.
    • Reiko and Masaki were close friends when they were kids, but their relationship became estranged after Reiko's father died and returned as an oni to keep anyone away from her. Masaki comes to regret this and helps Ushio save her.
  • Church Militant: Essentially all of the members of the religious order that Ushio's father is a part of. Their objective is to fight youkai and stop them from killing or tormenting people. This gets shown in a more negative light when some monks are obsessed with killing Tora and taking the Beast Spear away from Ushio, despite his father telling them the two weren't a threat.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Episode 16 ends on one, after Ushio and Tora save Satoru. Ushio, having borrowed a lot of the Beast Spear's powers at the cost of his soul, starts transforming after they leave Satoru's body.
    • Ushio and Tora are sent back in time to ancient China during episode 19, to learn more about the origins of the Beast Spear, along with witnessing Hakumen no Mono's terrifying reputation firsthand. Ushio is seen charging at it with a spear right after it slaughters a lot of people, including Jie Mei's parents.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Hinowa has her clothes ripped almost every time she appears. Being hardcore, she doesn't seem to care if she's titillatingly exposed.
    • Happens a lot to Ushio and some opponents, simply due to the course of battle.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The 2015's anime compresses the entire story in 39 episodes removing the unnecessary elements in agreement with the author, Kazuhiro Fujita.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Many of the fights turn into this, such as Tora and Nagare's second fight where both of them go all out to battle each other.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • After centuries buried underground, Tora is naively intrigued and often befuddled by the advances of human technology and is drawn in a super deformed cartoon style during his comical misadventures. He gets better.
    • Ushio's dad seems like an annoying, cranky, good-for-nothing old geezer. He also leads a double-life as a Japan-traveling, bakemon-killing badass monk who is respected and held in awe by the juniors of the sect and who was able to keep it a secret from his son to protect Ushio the entire time.
  • Cryptic Conversation: During the final battle, Hakumen boasts that his power is so great that destroying Japan alludes to giving the night. Ushio rebukes him by saying that they have the sun on their side. While Hakumen subtly lampshades this trope by saying that he can't understand what Ushio meant, it's an allusion to how Hakumen is a being of darkness who hates and is jealous of the creatures made by the light, while Ushio and Tora no longer fear Hakumen and are about to end the fight.
  • Cue the Sun: A visual symbolism in the final battle, Ushio rebukes Hakumen's claim of bringing the night and destruction by saying that the heroes have the sun on their side. As Ushio points his finger up, the dark clouds behind them slowly fade, revealing the shining sun in the background. This references how Ushio and Tora no longer fear Hakumen no Mono and are about to end the fight.
  • Cute Kitten: One of the OVA had an animated short called "Tora and the Kitten". It's just as adorable as it sounds.
  • Damsel in Distress: Over time, the protagonists had to rescue girls from the demons.
    • Mayuko and Asako in the first episode, after they're attacked by some low level demons due to Ushio releasing Tora from the spear.
    • Asako, Mayuko and their classmates end up turned to stone by the Rock Eater.
    • In Episode 3, Reiko is haunted by the vengeful spirit of her father who is determined to have her protected. In the worst case, she almost fell from a building while her father is waiting for her below.
    • Mayuko again in episode 4, this time being pursued by some demonic heads intent on eating her as payback for being sealed away a long time ago by a priestess who strongly resembled her.
    • Asako and a kid getting swallowed alive by the ayakashi.
    • Mayuko later got kidnapped by a perverted demon in a mirror who later strips her naked and goes touchy and feely with her.
    • Mayuko got invited to a strange "dinner party" by demons disguised as humans, one of which has a habit of sucking the brains out of its victims. Fortunately, a concerned Tora tailed her and rescued her from the demons.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 24 focuses heavily on Mayuko and her interactions with Tora.
  • Deal with the Devil: Ushio having to work with Tora after he accidentally runs into him, and then the latter's aura attracting nearby demons. Tora planned to betray him and wreak havoc after having been freed, but the power of the spear enables Ushio to become a badass. So much so that Tora agrees to work with him, not wanting to be speared for another few centuries.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Happens to Ushio at the climax when everyone he knows or loves has forgotten him, seemingly betrayed him or seemingly been killed, which causes him to enter Heroic BSoD mode. Then the Beast Spear shatters with its first blow against Hakumen...
    • And for everyone remaining, the youkai and humans as their last best hopes (not even counting Ushio) are casually swatted aside... See also Near-Villain Victory below.
  • Determinator:
    • After losing so many lives that he just failed to save, Ushio refuses to let anyone else close to him die on his watch... Especially not the love of his life. This trait is what resonates him to Giryou, the blacksmith of the Beast Spear.
    • Giryou, the blacksmith of the Beast Spear, is so determined to create a weapon that is capable of killing Hakumen no Mono, that he managed to channel his hatred into the desire of seeking revenge on that monster for killing his family. Surprisingly, his own determination is inspired by the bravery of a time-travelled Ushio (who was called "Shangyue" in China) who saved his sister from monsters despite being a stranger.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The Beast Spear and its wielder has this reputation among youkai. And with good reason as it's capable of killing them rather easily and are seen as unstoppable forces.
    • Tora, especially his identity during the first war. "Nagatobimaru" is infamous within the youkai for being such an instrumental figure who helped in making Hakumen flee. Any lesser youkai who had to fight Tora, and know of his previous feats, shiver before their battle.
    • Hakumen no Mono. Its savage attacks towards both men and youkai, along with instilling terror in them for itself to grow even stronger, eventually ends up forcing the two groups to work together in an attempt to defeat it. Ushio learns about this firsthand when he's sent back to ancient China along with Tora to learn the origins of the spear.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Ushio often whacks Tora with the Beast Spear to keep him in line, and Tora always makes the excuse that no youkai but him is allowed to eat Ushio, but as the story progresses the two become fast friends and watch each other's back - even while still giving the same excuses as ever.
    • Hakumen no Mono was such a terrifying force that the youkai of Japan ended up working mostly alongside humans in an attempt to kill it. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful at it. Mostly because Hakumen no Mono, on the verge of defeat, embedded itself into the bedrock of the Japanese island, becoming a Load-Bearing Boss and ensuring a form of Taking You with Me should it be killed. Jie Mei, the first one to reach it and hear it, then immediately forms a shield around it to prevent the youkai from killing it. Unfortunately because she didn't explain it to them, they felt the humans betrayed them, and held a grudge against them ever since.
    • Even in Ushio's time, he ends up forming the old alliance again once it's revealed that Hakumen no Mono was close to waking up after its centuries-long slumber. Though both the humans and youkai are reluctant to do so, they ultimately conclude that Hakumen no Mono is a much bigger threat, as it has slain both species with relative ease and impunity.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Ushio first meets Tora in the basement of their storehouse, impaled by a spear. Tora stupidly says he'll eat Ushio the moment he's freed from the spear, prompting Ushio to jam it into him even more. This scene shows that both have a comical side and can act in tandem.
    • Hyou is a Badass Preacher, and becomes enraged when he finds out the two monsters he was hunting killed a child.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • After the girls Asako, Mayuko, Reiko, Yuu and Saya reverted Ushio back to normal from his transformation, they became aware of the fact that among them, Asako is the one who has the deepest or longest romantic affections for Ushio despite her denying it. This hit quite hard for Mayuko and Saya, who are of the same age as Ushio. They love him too, but fear that they will get in the way as rivals to Asako, so they just kept their feelings to themselves to give way for their friend.
    • During a tearjerker scene, Mayuko calls out Tora on his excuse that he always sticks by Ushio for purely selfish reasons.
      Mayuko: You promised to eat me.
      Tora: Right after Ushio, you'll be my dessert.
      Mayuko: Then, Tora... You're never going to eat me huh?
  • Evolving Credits: Parts of the opening sequences change depending on the arc. The OP of Season 2 would even insert some scenes from the current episode itself.
  • Exact Words: Early on, it's mentioned several times that the Beast Spear is capable of killing monsters or "youkai" with ease. However, none of the prophecies mention about it being used to kill humans. This becomes useful later on as the spear simply phases through Reiko's body when she tried getting in the way to shield her father's vengeful spirit.
  • Eye Color Change: Wielders of the Beast Spear. Their soul is gradually consumed until it is drained completely, and the mark preceding final transformation into a Tora type youkai is the eyes and pupils "shattering" to become pupil-less.
  • Fanservice: Every couple of story arcs, one, or several of the many females Ushio meets will be either undressed, de-clothed or undressing herself (for spiritual purposes of course).
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • Ushio and Tora. At first they want to kill each other and only work together because Ushio needs Tora's help to kill demons. Eventually, as they defeat demons together, they grow to care about each other as friends, not that they want to admit it.
    • Several of the other characters whom Ushio and Tora meet were once their bitter rivals at first, but later became valuable allies. Some of them include Hyou (suspected Tora as the killer of his family), Hinowa and Kirio (mocked Ushio's lack of skill and questioned his worth as the wielder of the spear).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Ushio has wavy long hair when he enteres into the Super Mode granted by the Beast Spear. It's like Tora's own hair. We later find out in the manga that those who continually use the Beast Spear become monsters eventually, and Tora's the first one who ever wielded its power.
    • Hakumen no Mono has a very odd distinctive stare which makes it as if its always looking at something above. This oddity gets noticed and explained by Tora near the finale, that Hakumen is always looking up because it's jealous of the creatures of light being born above in the yin-yang spectrum, as it was a creature made of darkness. As it lay defeated, Hakumen laments in its desire of being born as a creature of light just like humans, instead of being born as a monster.
  • Forging Scene: A particularly depressing yet meaningful one for the Beast Spear. First, the blacksmith and his wife, who Ushio was staying with, are killed by Hakumen no Mono. The son, Giryou, mentions a technique where a young girl is put into the forge to create a perfect alloy that can kill the monster. The daughter, Jie Mei, overhears and throws herself into the furnace, creating the blade. The son starts forging the spear out of hate for Hakumen and sadness for Jie Mei's death, and as he does, his body turns into the spear's shaft. Ushio (who was known as "Shanyue" at that time in China), having failed to protect the parents, and keep the daughter from killing herself, can only watch as the transformation occurs. As the process is done, Giryou speaks through the weapon and carves the name of "Shanyue" into the blade as a reminder of Ushio being the witness.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Sort of justified between Ushio's parents. Ushio's mother only had two years to look for a man to marry and have a child before having to go back to her base under the sea to keep Hakumen no Mono sealed. Shortly after meeting her, Ushio's father agreed to spend her two years of freedom together with her.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Just about every opponent Ushio and Tora meet has one of these.
    • When Ushio meets the creator of the Beast Spear while possessed by it, he is so obsessed with tracking down Hakumen no Mono that he doesn't pay attention anything else. The only exception was Jie Mei, his younger sister. Ushio starts to learn more about why he wanted to track down Hakumen no Mono after he's sent back to ancient China with Tora and sees Jie Mei's parents killed right in front of the demon.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Asako suspects something is wrong with Ushio in episode 5, but he won't talk about it. So she simply follows him around, and then smacks his head with her bookbag after having enough of his mopiness. She then tells him to stop running away from all of his problems and to take them head on. In this instance, it was due to him lying about Tora being responsible for Hyou's wife and daughter's death. Ushio then has second thoughts about it, admitting later to Hyou that Tora was innocent as he was stuck in the storehouse for 500 years.
  • Gonk: As common to Kazuhiro Fujita's style.
    • The youkai Yamanmoto has a very long nose, even in his "human-like" form. It's a trait of him being a Tengu.
    • More of an intensification of expression, although some of the worse youkai are truly gross.
    • Ushio in his regular form is not particularly pleasant to look at, with thick eyebrows and nose, with eyes quite larger than the most cast.
  • Go Through Me:
    • Reiko does this for his father (who was a vengeful spirit at that time) in Episode 3, despite Ushio already having a charging momentum with the Beast Spear. Fortunately, the spear simply phases through his body and exorcises the father. As the humans were surprised at this, Tora explains that the spear is meant to harm and kill only the youkai.
    • Ushio does this for Tora in Episode 5 to stop him from being killed by Hyou.
  • Go Out with a Smile:
    • Hyou dies peacefully after avenging his family.
    • Tora does so as well, after performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save Ushio.
    • Jie Mei and Giryou make peace with their fate in the creation of the Beast Spear.
  • Grandfather Paradox: Later in the plot, time travel is invoked. The particular type used doesn't seem to have any qualms about present-day characters influencing past events which will directly cause the events that lead to the present-day characters time traveling in the first place. Actually just one single, much-entangled case in point: Ushio, the Beast Spear, Jie Mei's line of descendants, Tora and Hakumen are all interlinked to the point where it becomes unclear what the original, pre-time travel timeline could possibly have been!
  • Great Offscreen War: Hundreds of years ago, there was a war in which all humans and youkai of Japan had to join forces to destroy Hakumen no Mono. They almost succeeded and Hakumen no Mono was forced to retreat.
  • Green Aesop: Episode 9 features a family of youkai that lost their home because of human construction. One of them was consumed by his hatred and decided to kill all humans even if it endangers his siblings. Ushio then admits until then that he didn't thought of when humans build cities, they must have destroyed the home of animals that lived there.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Tora with Ushio, here.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Jie Mei's mother suffers this fate after Ushio fails to grab her before Hakumen no Mono's attack slices her body from the waist up.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted throughout the series, beginning with Ushio using a spear, to the monks using staves and unusual weapons, to Kirio using the Elzaar Scythe, to Hyou using knives, to the kamaitachi using their body sickles. In fact, there are only a handful of notable sword users throughout the story (e.g. an agent of Hakumen with a katana, and Shinno with a western-looking two-edged sword).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The series is full of these.
    • None ever outdo the origin of the Beast Spear which comes from a girl willingly sacrificing herself to be the blade, and the brother sacrifing himself to be the shaft.
    • And then during the climax Tora of all people pulls this off to defeat the Big Bad.
    • At the end, all the bakemono of Japan pull off a variation of this, turning themselves to stone to support Japan until the time comes they aren't needed to do so.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • Ushio warns Hyou that he may end up becoming this if he kills Tora after being informed that Tora didn't kill his family as he was stuck in their storehouse for 500 years. He doesn't seem convinced until Ushio says that he'd simply be a murderer by killing Tora, something his daughter wouldn't like. Hyou lashes out at Ushio initially, but eventually backs down. He then goes out to continue his search for the monster that was responsible for his family's death.
    • Unusual literal example - All who use the Beast Spear enough - usually in the course of killing lots of youkai - transform into Tora-type youkai themselves. And then enough hatred of Hakumen no Mono will eventually transform them further into more Hakumen no Mono type youkai!
  • Hitodama Light: The spirits of the dead are depicted in this manner if they are not taking the form of their mortal bodies. This is best seen with the ayakashi. As it's an amalgamation of spirits who are unable to pass on, its insides contain floating green flames.
  • Hope Spot: A rather long one is shown in episode twenty-seven. Many of the people, and youkai, Ushio and Tora have run into, were on the verge of forming an alliance against Hakumen no Mono, their common enemy. They're even shown preparing various gear for the duo to use during the upcoming battle. Unfortunately, Hakumen no Mono's minions infiltrate their minds, and subjects them to Laser-Guided Amnesia, causing them to forget the duo. Even some of the humans were afflicted with this, most notably Asako, who promptly forgets who he was and only sees him as a total stranger.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Against a seemingly invincible and impossibly powerful Hakumen, Ushio and Tora awaken The Power of Hope in human and youkai alike. Literally - the hope growing in hearts acts as a counter to the fear that would otherwise increase Hakumen's power. Hakumen admits this in its attempt to erase all memories of the inspiring duo.
  • Humans Are Special: The series goes out of its way to show that humans are, despite some having flaws, a kind, loving race. Even Yokai notice how they, after getting over their fear immediately go to help them.
    Construction Worker: Sakaguichi-tsan, where are you going?!
    Sakaguichi: Can't you see they're in trouble?
    Construction Worker: But they're youkai!
    Sakaguichi: And I'm human, I can't just ignore someone calling for help!
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • The Takatori Family forcibly sealed Omamori in a special room under a mystic talisman which forms an unpassable barrier, so that they can abuse the good luck she brings.
    • Juuro firmly believes this, accusing humans and their destruction of nature as the reason why he became the monster he is, going as far as shredding his human disguise to pieces. When the road workers are initially terrified by the Kamaitachi and try to kill them, but when they ultimately helps them when Ushio begs for help, he's left dumbstruck at the turns of events.
  • Idiot Ball: It occurs only to a few priests that maybe Ushio is The Chosen One (at least to the spear). Justified, in that they've been training for a lifetime in martial arts and spiritual power - especially the Chosen Four who are supposed to wield the Beast Spear when it appears - and then this kiddo from the city with NO kung-fu skills and ZERO spiritual training shows up with it? Even Ushio temporarily surrendered the spear to Hinowa when she pointed this out!
  • I Have Many Names: Tora has been known as Raijuu (thunder-beast), Nagatobimaru-sama (Lord Long-Flyer), and Shagakusha. Not to mention his youkai "species" name, azafuse.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty:
    • In Episode 11, Mayuko is kidnapped by the monster of a cursed mirror. The monster strips her naked and gets all touchy-feely with her until Ushio and Tora arrive to save her.
    • Yet again in Episode 24, the brain-sucking frog youkai Nodoka gets a hold of Mayuko, wrapping her body with his long tongue, and was about to suck her brain out until Tora arrived in time and rescued the girl.
    • Done again in Episode 27, when Mayuko and Asako are kidnapped by the Youkai, then taken to their fortress in the sky.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Ushio first meets Tora this way, who has a spear stuck in his body keeping him impaled and imprisoned for the last 500 years. And being a demon-killing spear, this trope is also used any time Ushio stabs a demon with it.
    • Tora is subjected to this in episode thirty when some of Guren's minions hit him with an attack which roots demons into the ground much in the same fashion as the Beast Spear did to him before Ushio showed up. Fortunately the Azafuze help break him out of it.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: On a bus, on motorcycles, on an airliner... Some of the antagonists attack the duo on the spot no matter where they are riding on.
  • Interrupted Suicide:
    • Reiko attempted suicide four times before meeting Ushio, but was always saved in time. She then attempts it a fifth time, but is stopped by Ushio and her childhood friend who promises never to leave her again.
    • Satoru attempts to kill himself by jumping off a cliff, but is saved by Ushio throwing the Beast Spear to stop his fall. Ushio and Tora, with the help of another youkai, Izuna, then go inside him to exorcise the demon out that had possessed him.
  • Interspecies Friendship: The human Ushio and the youkai Tora end up becoming best friends, not that either of them is going to admit it.
  • Interspecies Romance: The human girl Mayuko gets a crush on the youkai Tora. It isn't clear if Tora reciprocates, but he repeatedly protects her from danger under the excuse that she's his precious dessert.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: While the arc revolving around a comb that restores Ushio back from being a monster may sound absurd at first, it actually alludes to the idea that Ushio's usage of the spear makes his hair grow long, but only temporarily, and the hair comes off after a fight. The girls had to forcefully remove the hair that he gains from the Beast Spear by pulling them from his head. A comb is a suitable tool for this dilemma.
  • It Only Works Once: Ushio succumbs to the beast spear and was actually about to transform, luckily there's a way to reverse the process temporarily by brushing off the long hair that has formed on him. Izuna explains that if the girls are taking too long to brush his hair, Ushio may never return to normal.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Ushio is short-tempered, brash and impulsive. In spite of his jerk qualities, he's actually quite friendly, kind, forgiving and polite most of the time.
    • Tora slowly becomes one, much to his dismay.
    • In the manga, there's Minoo. Very deep down, she's sweet, but even she would deny that.
    • Izuna is quite rude to Ushio at first and looks down on humans, but he becomes a good friend and loyal ally to Ushio after the latter earns his respect.
  • Kamaitachi: Two sets of kamaitachi siblings appear. The first help the heroes out (and one even falls for Tora, though he doesn't return it), the second are Psychos For Hire. Most notably, they can conjure their sickle blades from their bodies even when in human form, the latter three even have gimmicks related to their blades (The first can form giant flesh-rending scissors, the second can conjure spinning blades from his arms and legs, the third can expel his scythes to form projectiles.)
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • How Tora deals with most of the Hiyo swarm whenever he doesn't rely on Ushio and the spear for quickly frying those things.
    • How Ushio & Tora manage to defeat Fusama after it attacks the plane they were on. Unfortunately Tora's fire breath isn't enough, but fortunately a missile from a fighter jet is sufficient.
  • Kissing Cousins: Asako's cousin Hiroshi is in love with her and he's jealous of her attachment to Ushio.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Zigzagged when the protagonists had to expel the Hiyo from Satoru. Though the demon possessing him mostly takes over his mind and body, he still manages to maintain enough sanity and control to attempt suicide after realizing he's helpless against it. Ushio and Tora then enter his body to exorcise the demon, but they still needed Jun's help via her spiritual powers, which she channels into him to help them defeat the demon.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Used to heart-wrenching effect in the final arcs where Hakumen hits everyone who met Ushio and Tora with this so they will forget them, weakening and causing confusion to the bakemono and human forces and being instrumental in his Near-Villain Victory.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Because Tora and Mayuko find it hard to deal with the youkai tag team of Tayura and Nodoka, Mayuko comes up with a plan where Tora mimicks her form, and the two split up to distract the youkai. Surprisingly, Tayura and Nodoka play along, but splitting up actually ended to their demise as Tora curb-stomped them one-on-one.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: The Yin and Yang are given some backstory during the final battle and also explains Hakumen's motivations. Humans are creatures made by the light above, while Hakumen no Mono is a creature made in the darkness below. While he hates the creatures of light, Tora mocks that Hakumen is actually jealous of what's above, his dying wish implies that Hakumen wants to be reborn as a creature of light under a different name.
  • Living Weapon: The Beast Spear itself is one. Jie Mei sacrificed herself into the forge so that she may form the alloy and the blade, while her brother, the weapon's blacksmith, Giryou, became the shaft. Among these two spirits, Giryou is the reason why the spear can move on its own, since his hatred against Hakumen no Mono causes the spear to seek the monster and slay any other youkai that may come across.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: Hyou comments that the Beast Spear attracts monsters in episode 5. He then decides to stick around Japan a little longer, hoping that the monster that killed his family would also show up so that he can get his vengeance.
  • Magic Mirror:
    • Kyouma, the Monster of the Week of Episode 11 is a monster that lives inside a cursed mirror.
    • The massive mirror that's part of Ungaikyo's body allows him to record and show events seen from any mirror of Japan, speak through them and even move people across the mirrors.
  • Magic Skirt: All the girls that wear miniskirt, especially Mayuko.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Midseason Upgrade:
    • In Episode 30, Ushio gets the armor that the demons originally meant to give him earlier before Hakumen no Mono's mass Laser-Guided Amnesia attack.
    • Tora also receives some "upgrades" as well, in the form of the Azafuze who allow him to use their powers so that they can take part in the final battle against Hakumen no Mono.
  • Moment Killer: Ushio and Asako are sharing a romantic moment while watching cherry blossoms trees together and Ushio offering Asako to walk her home. Then Hakumen has to spoil the moment with its memory-antics!
  • Monster of the Week: The early parts of the series is about Ushio and Tora fighting the evil monsters that came to attack humans, with a new threat per episode.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • Tora explains a lot of the supernatural stuff to Ushio (and viewers), such as the Rock Eater Monster in episode 2.
    • In episode 4, an elderly man explains to Ushio that a seal was lifted, releasing the demons that were stuck in there. He also explains about the priestess who locked them away, who also bears a strong resemblance to his friend Mayuko.
    • Shigure, Ushio's father, does this in episode 7 when he's asked by Ushio about his mother not being dead as he was led to believe, but still alive.
  • Multiple-Choice Chosen: Prior to Ushio being chosen by the Beast Spear, the only weapon that can kill Hakumen No Mono, there were four other candidates who were chosen as potential wielders. When they find that the spear didn't go to any of them, but someone who hadn't even been trained for it, they were initially upset. But after meeting Ushio and knowing what makes him special, they become his supportive allies.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Under the influence of a monster bike, Asako's cousin Hiroshi decides that if he wants Asako all for himself, he must kill Ushio.
  • Name and Name: The two titular characters are also the name of this show.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Ironically happens towards the end, since Hakumen is incapacitated until the climax. Everyone has drastically underestimated Hakumen's power - even considering their massive trepidation of it! - and in quick succession, Ushio's loved ones seem to be killed, the Beast Spear broken in one blow, the entire East and West youkai alliance are seemingly destroyed, the JSDF's anti-Hakumen weapons are crushed, the hourikisi sect's ultimate attack is wasted, the people of Japan are dead as their cities burn, Japan is about to sink into the sea but a typhoon prevents any escape, and Tora is bleeding in the massive jaws of Hakumen... and Hakumen is only just getting started.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Ushio's curiosity gets the better of him after he stumbles on a secret passage, and runs into Tora. Though he doesn't free the demon initially, Tora's aura attracts nearby demons which then forces Ushio to release him in order to deal with the new threat emerging. Though this later is Subverted as a case of Because Destiny Says So and turns out to be the right move all along.
    • The old man in episode 4 warns some construction workers not to remove a rock from their site. When they remove it anyway, some demons who were sealed in there are freed, and they eat the workers.
    • Hakemen turns out to love invoking this trope, pulling it off twice and the second time being successful at freeing himself from the barrier around him.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • Tora's default expression is basically Chernabog... with fur.
    • Guren likes to have a creepy smile, showing how he enjoys fighting.
    • Hakumen no Mono's default face is this, but when he smiles...
  • Not So Different:
    • Ushio says this to Juurou in episode 9 when he relates a story of how a jungle gym he used to love was torn down due to safety after a child was hurt falling from it. He then apologizes to him for the actions that humans have done against them, forcing them to move repeatedly, and being helpless to do anything about it.
    • Tora points out Hakumen and Nagare are the same. Just like Nagare became Ushio's enemy because he couldn't stand Ushio's brightness, Hakumen became the light's enemy for the same reasons.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Tora after seeing Ushio channel the power of the spear when he's first released and attacks the latter.
    • Ushio's father in episode 3 after he finds out that someone entered the basement and took the spear. This after jokingly claiming that Ushio was carrying it moments earlier at breakfast.
    • Tokisaka and Tokijun, the time-travelling demons, have this after they peek into the future and discover that the Beast Spear has been shattered.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Beast Spear chooses its wielder. The fact that you can hold it doesn't mean it'll let you use it at full power.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: And how! A giant crab with human faces all over it is just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: In episode 9, Ushio and Tora are taking a bath in outdoor hot springs, and Ushio spots Saya, a girl bathing in the same place. She runs off and Ushio freaks out when he realizes this makes him a peeping tom.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The youkai in Japan didn't anticipate three things. Hakumen no Mono is a powerful being who annihilated them rather easily, it was a surprise because Hakumen disguised itself as a female who arrived from China. And then the Beast Spear arrived in Japan, indiscriminately slaughtering youkai along the way. Then as Hyou explains, no youkai nor exorcist in Japan anticipated the asafuze, a never-before-seen species of monsters that came from somewhere else. Flashbacks later reveal that Hakumen was born from Shagakusha, an Indian man. By a twist of fate, Shagakusha was the first wielder of the Beast Spear, who tossed the weapon overseas into Japan when he's about to die in China. Unknowingly, he also transformed into the first Asafuze and leaped to Japan to seek Hakumen.
  • Piggyback Cute:
    • Ushio carries the Ill Girl Saya on his back after he finds her passing out on the street.
    • Ushio also carries Asako like this in a flashback in episode 11.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of youkai were killed trying to hunt down Ushio just because he's the son of an Oyakume who had set up a barrier to protect Hakumen no Mono. It was later revealed that the youkai's hatred stemmed from Yuki, the first Oyakume whom Ushio's mom inherited her role from. Problem is, Hakumen set up a Batman Gambit of threatening Yuki that Japan would sink alongside him if the youkai and the humans continue their attack. Yuki doesn't have enough time to relay Hakumen's warning, so a barrier is the quickest method she could think of to save the country.
  • Power at a Price:
    • The Beast Spear bestows great strength and power, but at the cost of the user's soul... Potentially turning him into a youkai as well if used for too long.
    • The spear itself was made at the cost of two human lives - one for the blade, and one for the shaft.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child:
    • The Beast Spear might count, as its chosen wielder during the course of the story is an Ordinary High-School Student.
    • The origins of Hakumen no Mono. The meteor where Hakumen is in hit the village of Shagakusha when he was still a child. Shagakusha then unwittingly became the host of the parasite. When he grew older and fought in wars, the accumulated hatred gave birth to Hakumen's physical body, making him burst forth from Shakagusha's shoulder.
  • Power Limiter: The red strips of cloth in the Beast Spear are revealed to be youkai who sacrificed themselves to keep the weapon bound in a mountain, fearing its strength.
    • Ushio accidentally rips off a part of the red cloth while inside the ayakashi, allowing the spear to move on its own for the first time.
    • Kirio, through Towako's influence, managed to have spares of the cloth to steal, and make the spear immobile as a gift for his "mother".
    • During the final battle, Ushio removes all of the cloth on the spear to unleash its full potential, multiplying its power by the hundreds.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Ushio's hair grows very long any time he's channeling the power of the Beast Spear. This also applies to the other wielders of the spear before him, especially when they transformed to the azafuse (a unique youkai species who gains the ability to have long Prehensile Hair) due to their prolonged usage of the said weapon.
  • The Power of Hate: A running theme later in the storyline. Spoilers abound! Hatred birthed Hakumen's physical form from pre-youkai Tora; hatred powers the Beast Spear (along with souls) through Giryou's quest for revenge; hatred turns wielders of the Spear into Tora-type Azafuse youkai; hatred for Hakumen eventually turns Azafuse into Hakumens themselves!; hatred for Hakumen keeps Hakumen existing no matter how injured it gets.
  • Prehensile Hair:
    • Tora's can be used to grapple and even catch bullets mid-flight. Plus, he's often drawn with hair floating around looking totally awesome.
    • Plenty other youkai use hair as limbs (since they're often lacking actual limbs) and slashing weapons.
  • The Prophecy:
    • The series starts with the Beast Spear impaled into Tora, but it's later revealed that the Kouhamei Sect had been preparing for the prophecy stating that if the spear had been pulled, Hakumen no Mono would return. A flashback scene near the finale reveals how it was made possible. In the past, Tora and the spear's previous wielder were surrounded by a swarm of Hakumen's Hiyo seeking the weapon. In order to hide the spear's presence from Hakumen and his swarm, Tora allowed the spear to be pierced in his body. The protagonist Ushio pulling the spear out made Hakumen actively seek it again just like before.
    • Omamori foretold the coming of a boy with a spear who would free her from her imprisonment. Ushio managed to do so with the Beast Spear by destroying the barrier imprisoning her.
  • Rated M for Manly: HELL YEAH! Just watching the anime opening should let you know how manly this series is.
  • Razor Wind: The Kamaitachi Siblings have this as one of their abilities.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • The monks actually listen to their elders after they have determined that Ushio might be The Chosen One to wield the spear. Unfortunately, the other people who were training to be the chosen ones for the spear don't like it, and they attempt to force Ushio to give it up anyway.
    • Yamanmoto, the head of the Eastern Youkai of Japan is such a respected figure that the lesser youkai in his region follow his commands. He settles a one-on-one duel between Tora and Hitotsuki, both to prove the former's strength, and to quell the latter's anger and have him obey his commands as usual.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • After Juurou realizes the error of his ways and Ushio apologizes for the pain he had to suffer because of humans, Juurou deliberately lets the Beast Spear kill him, knowing that death would only be his fitting end.
    • Kyoura dies during the final battle against Hakumen, while defending humans and bakemono alike. He reflects that Mikado would've been proud of him.
  • Red Herring: The comb of Ushio's mom Sumako, was a critical item that helped him revert back to human form after transforming to a berserking creature because of the Beast Spear. During the final battle, Tora's backstory reveals that he was once a human who turned into a beast by the spear itself. Then when Mayuko would revive a fatally-injured Tora, she borrowed the same comb from Sumako and tries to comb Tora's hair just like she did with Ushio. To Mayuko's surprise, Tora didn't revert into a human.
  • Rescue Romance:
    • Asako and Mayuko fell for a certain long-haired boy who wields a spear after being saved by him from youkai. It takes a while until they later learn that the boy is no other than Ushio.
    • While it's quite downplayed because she's reserving her feelings, Saya's flashbacks in the final battle reveal that she's grateful for meeting someone like Ushio when he helped her free Omamori-sama.
    • Thanks to the protagonist duo's help, after Masaki Kenichi saved Reiko from her fifth attempted suicide, the two have been seen together a lot whenever they appear on screen. Both are also childhood friends, overlapping this trope with Childhood Friend Romance.
    • Mayuko develops feelings for Tora after he saves her from youkai several times.
  • Reverse Psychology: Ushio uses this on Tora to get him to help land the plane after its rear wheels are unable to deploy. He tells Tora he's scared that he might die, prompting Tora to laugh at him. He then says he doesn't fault Tora for not being able to lift a plane up, causing him to do exactly that. Fortunately with his help, they manage to land.
  • Romantic Rain: Ushio's parents first met and agreed to get married in the rain.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Tora cannot be seen by normal people." Unless he's hit by the Beast Spear.
    • Ushio and Tora during the more comedic sections often butting heads with each other, usually with the latter trying to eat or kill him. Tora's excuse for accompanying Ushio? So that he could eat the boy when he's vulnerable. But he can't actually bring into himself the thought of harming Ushio, something that a lot of characters notice. However, in episode 7, Tora settles for just eating the sausage that Ushio was planning to. Which then also leads into them fighting with each other.
    • Just like Ushio, Tora's recurring excuse for always saving Mayuko when she's in danger? Because Tora sees her as a tasty dessert after he would supposedly eat Ushio. Then again, Tora doesn't actually want to harm any of them.
    • Ushio's father is often seen early on leaving on a whim, leaving him alone for the most part, and often in a comical fashion.
    • In the manga, Tora would always roast Izuna up with his fire breath whenever the little fox annoyed him.
  • Scars Are Forever: Used twice in episode 5:
    • Played straight with Hyou's scar along his face was as a result of getting attacked by the monster that killed his wife and daughter.
    • Averted with Ushio, who gets a similar scar from one of Tora's attacks earlier in the episode. Though he mentions that it would eventually heal and go away, said scar is still on his face when he goes to school, and is commented on by some of his Mayuko and Asako.
  • Scary Teeth: Most of the demons have these kind of teeth, including Tora. However, because he's the Token Evil Teammate, along with being a Butt-Monkey to Ushio, Tora doesn't seem nearly as menacing as the random Monster of the Week demons who show off their pearly whites.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Ushio's father really drags his feet on explaining to Ushio more about his mother. He then has a duel with Tora in order to kill or banish him. Ushio manages to stop their fighting when he uses the Beast Spear to break up their fight. Then it turns out they were just having a friendly sparring match to show off to some of Shigure's higher ups that Ushio was competent enough with the spear, and that Tora posed no threat to humans. Unfortunately they don't care, and attack Tora anyway, while attempting to take the spear away from Ushio.
    • Done on Ushio in episode 9 to test if he was really the wielder of the Beast Spear. As he's about to kill the kamaitachi youkai, Tora has to point out that he was being tested, not attacked.
    • Yamanmoto appears as a harmless old man attacked by Youkai to test Ushio. The boy's kindness moved the Tengu youkai so much and earned his trust.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Mayuko admits that she has a crush on Ushio deep inside, but is willing to give him to her friend Asako instead, because Mayuko wants her to be happy.
    • Apart from Mayuko, even Reiko, Yuu and Saya are all aware that Asako has been with Ushio for the longest, and thus, has deeper romantic affections to him than any of them.
    • Nagare jokes that Ushio is worried of leaving Tokyo because he's about to live his crush behind, to which Ushio denies. When the Sect calls for the girls whom Ushio has bonded with in order to reverse his transformation, Nagare gets his validation when he found out that Ushio indeed, has several girls waiting for him.
    • In a personal conversation, Omamori-sama instructs Ushio to always take care of himself, otherwise, Saya might cry if he dies.
    • In a strange reversion, when Asako is about to perform a Heroic Sacrifice in place of Mayuko, she jokes that Mayuko can have the man whom both of them are infatuating for (Ushio), to herself. Granted, both girls had their memories of Ushio wiped during this, but only vaguely remember him.
  • Spoiler Opening: The second season's opening and ending sequences spoil a lot about the final battle - that Ushio and Toria are going to rally both the humans and the monsters, that the Beast Spear will definitely break as predicted, or that Ushio is going to unleash the spear's full potential by removing all of its Power Limiter in the red cloth.
  • The Stinger: The anime ends with the Mirror Demon mentioning the possibility that dead monsters might return to the world of the living after quite some time, and the final few seconds shows an offscreen Ushio calling Tora's name, and the latter responds. This is despite the final episode's climax showing Tora dying and vanishing.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: In their maiden age, Jie Mei's direct descendants look exactly like her, one of which include the second Oyakume, Hizaki Mikado, as shown in an old photo. This also becomes a major plot point and a Chekhov's Gun for the reason why Mayuko looks like a certain priestess in the past.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: Those who wield the Beast Spear have their soul consumed by it once they use its power too much and they end up becoming into a beast.
  • Supporting Harem: Ushio earns the affections of several girls throughout the series, but it's clear the only one he loves is his Tsundere childhood friend Asako. Even the other girls know none of them have a chance with Ushio and are fine with it.
  • Survivor Guilt: A Ghost Ship turned out to be still anchored (har) to this world because the one man who escaped its sinking failed to get an SOS out in time, and ever since he'd wondered if only he hadn't tried to escape earlier, he could have saved them. He was able to relive the sinking and send out the SOS, letting the ship go free.
  • Swallowed Whole: In Episode 6, Tora is asked to get rid of a sea monster named Ayakashi, but ends up getting swallowed by it. Later, the same monster swallows Asako and Tatsuya, boat and all.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • The Rock Eater does this to its victims.
    • The monks, including Ushio's father, are subjected to this by Hakumen no Mono in episode twenty-seven, probably because they were either resistant, or immune to its attempts at Laser-Guided Amnesia to make them forget about Ushio and Tora. A few chapter later, however, it is revealed that they did it on themselves on purpose specifically to make themselves immune to the memory-wiping Hiyo.
    • The Azafuze do this as well in order to not forget their hatred of Hakumen no Mono, the one thing that's keeping them going. Though their stone forms are destroyed by some of Guren's minions, their spirit lives on, and they give Tora their powers so that they can get their vengeance on Hakumen no Mono.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Well it's a spear stab, but Reiko jumps in front of Ushio's spear as he prepares to stab her father, whose spirit turned into a demon. Fortunately it goes right through her and hits the cursed painting. Tora explains that the spear was designed to only hurt demons, so she's perfectly fine.
    • Done again in Episode 5 against a multi-knife attack, this time with Ushio intercepting the attack for a nearly beaten Tora against Hyou.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Izuna attempts this in Episode 16 against the Monster of the Week, but it's subverted when Ushio manages to save her anyway. Unfortunately he was using the spear's powers even more, and after they leave Satoru's body, the Beast Spear starts taking over Ushio's body and transforming it.
    • During the finale of the Lost Gedou storyline, Ushio lets the Lost Gedou possess him, knowing that in doing so it won't flee or split apart like it had been doing previously, then uses every ounce of his willpower to snatch up the Beast Spear and stab himself, killing the Lost Gedou and leaving nothing but a wound that the Beast Spear's powers can easily heal.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Ushio is able to hold up a very large boulder by himself while talking to Juurou about humanity's actions causing him to seek revenge for constantly losing his home. He manages to hold it long enough for Tora, Juurou, and some construction workers to pull a heavy truck off Juurou's siblings and escape the fire from the leaking gas.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Much of Ushio and Tora's early fights work in this fashion, as they can barely tolerate each other. As the series moves on, and they learn more about Hakumen no Mono's past and what it plans to do to destroy both humans and youkai, it gradually morphs into Fire-Forged Friends.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Asako and Mayuko
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • A slight variation of this is used when Ushio first bumps into Tora. The latter demands he pull the spear out, and when questioned about his newfound freedom, Tora promises to kill him. Ushio jams the spear into him some more, then leaves. And even after he frees Tora, his ability to channel the spear's immense power keeps Tora in line, as he doesn't want to spend more time impaled by that thing.
    • Kirio's "mother" does this. After being overpowered by Ushio and Tora, she begs Kirio to save him, and promises not to hurt anyone anymore. He initially believes her, and tries to stop the duo from killing her. Unfortunately his "mother" immediately attacks them again the moment she's able to, prompting Kirio to kill her himself after she lied to him yet again.
  • To Serve Man: Certain youkai find humans tasty, hence why Tora is intent on eating Ushio. Later on, he finds Mayuko to be a tasty "dessert". Tora doesn't actually intend to harm the two anyway, "eating Ushio and Mayuko" is just a Running Gag of an excuse that he gives to protect them.
  • Tsundere:
    • Tora is a male platonic version to Ushio. And almost everyone else he actually likes.
    • Asako is a Type B also towards Ushio. Lampshaded by one of the guys at their school, when they wonder why she only acts hostile towards him, but is nice to everyone else normally.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Ushio's parents met in the rain when she was having trouble opening her umbrella and she shared it with him after he helped her. She also shared her umbrella with him when they agreed to get married.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The title characters are working their way to this.
  • Was Once a Man: Massive spoiler that has already been spoiled at The Chessmaster above, Tora and the azafuze were once human wielders of the Beast Spear, but succumbed to the induced transformation process from using the weapon too much.
  • Weirdness Censor: How the vast majority of Japan manages to forget personally witnessing or watching on TV giant, murderous youkai battling with a spear-wielding boy and his lightning-spewing flying tiger sidekick.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 7, when we first learn more about the behind-the-scenes stuff Ushio's father when he runs away from the shrine on various trips. And apparently some of the higher ups in their religious order aren't happy that Ushio managed to pull out the Beast Spear, and worse, is teaming up with Tora, rather than killing him. Ushio's father then sends him on a journey should he wish to know more about his mother.
    • The time travel arc. Holy shit. Ushio and Tora are sent back to ancient China, about 2200 years from his current timeline by a time-traveling demon. There they learn about the origins of the Beast Spear, and both Ushio and Tora see Hakumen no Mono up close and personal. It then proceeds to slaughter a lot of people, including Jie Mei's parents.
    • And then everyone gets their memories of Ushio and Tora erased as part of a Gambit by Hakumen.
    • Tora's backstory. He was once a human, is the reason why Hakumen no Mono came to exist in the world, and is also the first wielder of the Beast Spear.
  • Wham Line:
    • Ushio is told one by a water spirit after he helps him defeat a sea monster. He wonders if Ushio was the son of this lady whom all youkai hate, and implies that she's still alive, despite what Ushio was told by his father that she was dead.
    • Previously actually spending some time being happy and cheery with Ushio, Asako then asks who he is.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Ushio calls his dad out on this when he fights with Tora, wondering what the whole point of it was. It turns out to be a Secret Test of Character, and Shigure merely wanted to test Tora's abilities despite the ferocity of the fight.
    • Ushio breaks down crying as Hizaki Mikado dies from rendering Kuragi immobile. Kirio mocks such unheroic display, especially since they are still in battle and Kuragi isn't totally dead yet. By the next episode, even Tora got sick and tired of Ushio acting like a crybaby that he decides to leave him for a while.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Ushio suffers this from time to time, usually because he's still new to fighting demons and getting used to his newfound powers. Fortunately, Tora is usually around to help, whether unintentionally, or because he feels he's the only one allowed to eat Ushio, and doesn't want some random demon eating him first.
    • Tora suffers this from Hyou in episode 5. Though he puts up a fierce fight, Hyou still seems to have the upper hand even after a day and night of fighting. Were it not for Ushio begging him to spare Tora because he wasn't the beast that killed Hyou's wife and child, Tora likely would have died there.
  • World of Badass: It is much easier to list characters that don't manage to do at least one awesome act.
  • You Are Not Alone:
    • Reiko tries to kill herself and let her father take her spirit because she thinks she has no choice since her father won't let anyone get close to her. Ushio then tells her she doesn't have to do that since he, her childhood friend Kenichi, Asako and many other people want her to live on and be happy with them. This words give Reiko the resolve to live on regardless of her father's wishes.
    • Turns out to be the way to defeat the Big Bad as everyone teaming up to deal with Hakumen is the key to victory as much as having hope instead of acting alone and falling into fear.
  • Youkai: Of many varieties, including a European-style vampire.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report