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Manga / Witchblade Takeru

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Wait, so those tentacles are part of the transformation? Okay, we all know where this is going now...

A two-volume manga adaptation of the American comic book series Witchblade and the second of the three Japanese adaptations of the series (preceded by the anime and followed by a single-volumn novel titled Witchblade: Midori no Shoujo). It tells the story of the teenage schoolgirl Takeru, who became the wielder of the titular ancient, sentient weapon and eventually discovered the perils lurking around herself and the little village where she lived with her families and friends.

Takeru Ibaraki is an average, 15-year-old Japanese high school girl raised in a Buddhist convent by nuns. She has been experiencing reoccurring nightmares about the Witchblade calling out to her. This is due to the secret that the temple houses within: the Witchblade sealed inside a box. Furthermore, her lineage keeps an unknown connection with the mystic artifact and the folklore of the Oni, hence explaining Takeru's strong attraction to the gauntlet, which is locally called "Oni no Te" (literally "The Oni/Demon's Hand"). Ultimately, Takeru's life suffers a drastic change when she becomes the next wielder of the Witchblade due to some circumstances that force her to randomly encounter it, and the enemies standing before her all bear an eerily similar appearance to the legendary "Oni" which had long been a part of her home village's folklores...

Written by Yasuko Kobayashi (who also did the script for the anime), and drawn by Kazuasa (better known for his various ero-manga creations, and many of his Pixiv images are NSFW), it initially ran for a total of twelve chapters between March 2006 and Feburary 2007 on the monthly Champion Red magazine, and was later released in the US (translated, colored and flipped) by Top Cow and Bandai Entertainment from February 2007 to February 2008.

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Takeru, duh. She's fighting oni!
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Takeru is conceived as the child of Hougan, the current leader of the demons, and a human woman called Akeno, in order to allow her demonic blood awaken and reclaim the Witchblade, thus returning the demons to their former glory by killing all the intervening humans...with Takeru leading the charge.
  • Ax-Crazy: Takeru became this when her grandmother died in her arms trying to protect her, thus triggering her further transformation into her second Witchblade form.
  • Bleached Underpants: Fans of Sumita will immediately recognize the manga as this when compared to his previous works. The only bit of difference is that unlike his previous creations, Sumita (a-hem!) keeps those...uh, private parts of the titular heroine covered, at least by the minimal amount.
  • Blessed with Suck: Okay, so you have a mystic, sentient gauntlet with plenty of badass legacies forming a symbiosis with seemingly harmless teenage girl, creating a literally hot-as-hell swordswoman fighting off packs of man-eating demons who threaten the well-beings of her home village...all sounds cool and are excellent twists from an otherwise bland life, except that the weapon and the girl shared a Dark Secret which may eventually put the girl's very HUMANITY in jeopardy...
  • Bittersweet Ending: Out of options in the face of Takeru's unstoppable destruction spree, Kou is forced to lop off Takeru's right arm alongside the with his sword…all while Takeru silently and tearfully thanking him. The epilogue has us seeing that the survivors of the village rebuilding it, the dead being memorized, while a seemingly broken Takeru (apparently rendered unable to walk or talk from all the trauma) being cheered on and supported by her friends…who managed to hear a single word from her again after so many days of silence. The whole incident was very hastily covered up by the authorities of both Japan and the US, and only the top brasses knew how much of a bad taste did it left in their mouths.
  • Composite Character: Not just Takeru, you can see elements from almost every single one of Sumita's past female protagonist being distributed to the female characters within the manga.
  • Catchphrase: "Buddha will surely punish you!" produced a few times by Takeru.
  • Clothing Damage: Both cases mentioned below leave Takeru's clothing completely intact when Takeru untransforms, hence the aversion. However, unlike her anime counterpart Masane, her unarmored parts are being particularly targeted by an enemy who shot some kind of hardened spider webs through her flesh, and Takeru can be seen obviously crying in pain.
    • When Takeru transformed for the first time, the Witchblade was seen visibly producing tentacles which crawled all over her body , and the school uniform she was wearing seemed to be slowly "dissolving" away as the tentacles progressed, as though coming to contact with strong acid, all while some kind of smoke filled the scene. Cue Takeru standing on the same spot in the next panel, panting in an ecstatic fashion while the author presents her "most important bits" being clad in a insect-like green carapace which covers even less than some of the microkinis, complete with a pair of ridiculously high Combat Stilettos.
    • Her second visible transformation (the third overall) was given one large overleaf panel, and all we see is that the tentacles produced by the Witchblade seemed to slowly replace her civilian clothing by "transcending" into the aforementioned armor.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Make that chainmail microkini (*nosebleed…)!
  • The Comically Serious: Liberarian Sakurai appears as this. Turns our it's part of her façade.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: Averted with the case of Hougan, the current leader of the oni and Takeru's father, in a sense that his underlings never bothered to place him in a life support as they fed off his very flesh and blood. What's more disturbing is that the immensely fat and amputated body of Hougan was enshrined in a decorated litter, wearing nothing except what looks like a makeshift bondage gear, his stumps constantly bleeding through the hastily applied bandages. Basically, he was treated as nothing but a living meat larder.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Acquiring this Super Form will NOT actually kill her, but it turns her into a being driven solely by the most primal killing instinct, making her too large a threat for anyone, thus elimination must be considered.
  • The Dragon: Fuura and to a lesser extent, Gakura, to Hougan, the current leader of demons.
  • Eagle Land: A pretentious attempt at type 2. Made all the more obnoxious by the fact that the series was flaunted as a cultural exchange between Japan and America.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Takeru's second Witchblade form leaves her very, very, very close to this trope.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Takeru's transformed state has glowing red eyes. They practically became the only features (if there were any) still visible on Takeru's face during her Roaring Rampage of Revenge until the finale.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Takeru is half demon on her father's side.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Those victims of Takeru, obviously.
  • Heroic BSoD: Takeru received a major one at the end of Chapter 9. It did not take effect until mid-Chapter 10, when she un-transformed and collapsed in her grandmother's arms. The reason?...She just found out that she is actually a half-oni and part of their bigger plan.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The demon's attitude to humans in general, and no one can really blame them for believing so:
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Oh yes, they don't give a bloody damn about consuming fellow oni in order to regenerate and strengthen themselves.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Takeru showed signs of this since she doesn't want to become a full demon.
  • Orgasmic Combat: In all of the anime's and Sumita's glory, and all courtesy of Takeru! Even Takeru's first transformation literally screams of "hardcore"!
  • Our Demons Are Different: The "oni" in the manga appear to be little more than savage, man-eating, humanoid beasts with little to no supernatural connections. Those of higher hierarchy all possess human disguises (although some of their demonic traits are still visible under such disguise, most noticeably their lengthened canine), and will instantly drop them once they decide to put up a proper fight. Moreover, they also hold no qualms eating their own kind for the purpose mentioned above.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Takeru dashes all the way across a good portion of The Pacific and promptly thrashes almost the entire US carrier fleet, which mission is to wipe out her home village the demons had brutally reclaimed.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Witchblade was preserved and treated as such in a room at the back of the convent.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Takeru, when transformed, invokes this. Seriously, you just can't believed that those man-crushing thighs and gravity defying "assets" belonged to a 15-year-old.
  • Stripperiffic: Three words: Takeru's Witchblade forms.
  • Femme Fatalons Takeru's right hand (or left, if you read the flipped version) are covered with the original "claw" part of the Witchblade gauntlet.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed quite a few times between the heroine and the supporting characters.