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Shonen-ai
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Shōnen-ai


lub shounen-ai (jap. 少年愛, dosł. "chłopięca miłość"?, określane również jako BL, boy's love) – motyw w mandze bądź anime, który opiera się na miłości między dwójką mężczyzn. Wyrażanie uczuć w shounen-ai zazwyczaj ogranicza się jedynie do pocałunków, bądź do lekkich aluzji na temat seksu, brak zaś jest scen erotycznych, które występują w yaoi. Shounen-ai nie jest skierowany do homoseksualistów, ale do nastoletnich dziewcząt, wśród których zdobywa ogromną popularność na całym świecie.


Typowi bohaterowie i podział ról

W shōnen-ai, jak i w yaoi występuje łatwo zauważalny podział głównych bohaterów na role w związku, które są wobec siebie komplementarne:

* seme (jap. 攻め, seme?) – oznacza stronę aktywną/dominującą - odgrywa w związku rolę "prawdziwego mężczyzny"; słowo pochodzi od japońskiego słowa semeru (jap. 攻める, semeru?), które oznacza dosłownie "atakować, napadać, nacierać". W mangach i anime seme przedstawiany jest najczęściej jako mężczyzna dobrze zbudowany, wyższy od swojego partnera. Zazwyczaj ma krótkie włosy, wąskie oczy, mocniej zarysowany podbródek i rysy ciała.
* uke (jap. うけ, uke?) – oznacza stronę podporządkowaną/bierną; słowo pochodzi od japońskiego słowa ukeru (jap. 受ける, ukeru?), które oznacza "otrzymywać, przyjąć, akceptować, poddać się". Uke najczęściej jest zniewieściały, z czym wiąże się nie tyle jego wygląd zewnętrzny, ale i cechy osobowości, jak wrażliwość, czułość, delikatność, chęć okazywania uczuć partnerowi w każdej sytuacji. W mangach i anime uke najczęściej przedstawiany jest jako osoba niższa, młodsza, o szczuplejszej budowie ciała w stosunku do swojego seme. Uke często utożsamiany jest ze skłonnością do częstego płaczu, czy zamiłowaniem do pastelowych kolorów. Zazwyczaj nie ma doświadczenia w sprawach seksualnych, a swoją orientację seksualną odkrywa, kiedy po raz pierwszy odbywa stosunek z seme.

Podane role są stereotypowe. Tyle ile jest mang i anime z gatunku shōnen-ai, tyle jest różnych osobowości. Np. w "The Tyrant Who Fall In Love" Hinako Takanagi - seme, jest bardziej uczuciowy, wpatrzony w swojego wybranka jak w obrazek; próbuje zrobić wszystko, aby uke, z początku opierający się i nienawidzący wszystkiego, co homoseksualne, obdarzył go uczuciem. W One-shot Naono Bohry to uke jest z pozoru bardziej dojrzały i doświadczony. W "Hidoi Otoko" Masary Minase uke jest osobą dojrzałą, ustabilizowaną życiowo, a seme 20-letnim, samolubnym, swawolnym i nie do końca dojrzałym mężczyzną.



Przykładowe tytuły anime i mangi

Shōnen-ai: Fake, Gravitation, Mirage of blaze, Sukisho, Gakuen Heaven, Color, Loveless, Boy's next Door, Yami no matsuei: Ostatni synowie ciemności, Angel's Feather, Ikoku Irokoi Ramantan, Antique Bakery.

Wydawnictwa

* Wydawnictwo Waneko wydaje mangę Yami no Matsuei (do tej pory ukazało się 7 z powstałych 11 tomów).

* Anime-Virtual wydało na naszym rynku Anime Gravitation.



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Yami no matsuei
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Yami no matsuei



Yami no matsuei: Ostatni synowie ciemności (jap. 闇の末裔, Yami no matsuei?, dosł. potomkowie ciemności) – jedenastotomowa manga autorstwa Yōko Matsushity, wydawana w roku 1995. Licencję na wydanie tytułu w Polsce zakupiło wydawnictwo Waneko, które wydaje komiks od 2006 roku. Manga utrzymana jest w konwencji shōnen-ai, opowiada o przygodach dwóch shinigami: Asato Tsuzukiego i Hisoki Kurosakiego. Regionem ich działań jest wyspa Kiusiu, gdzie pilnują, aby każda osoba zmarła w odpowiednim dla niej czasie.

Na podstawie mangi powstało również anime. Wyreżyserowane zostało przez Hikoro Tokitę ze studia J.C.Staff. Fabuła serialu nie różni się znacząco od historii przedstawionej w mandze, nieznacznie zmieniono jednak rysunek i charaktery postaci.



Postacie

* Asato Tsuzuki (jap. 都筑 麻斗, Tsuzuki Asato?) – urodzony w 1900 roku, w wieku 26 lat zmarł, po czym został shinigami. Leniwy, wybuchowy, wiecznie głodny. Chociaż ma 98 lat, sprawia wrażenie beztroskiego i lekkomyślnego, ale w rzeczywistości ukrywa bogate wnętrze. Zawsze chętny do pomocy, przyjacielski i troskliwy. Obiekt westchnień, na jego nieszczęście, mężczyzn.
* Hisoka Kurosaki (jap. 黒崎 密, Kurosaki Hisoka?) – kompletne przeciwieństwo Tsuzukiego, zawsze spokojny, zrównoważony i pracowity 16-latek, posiadający zdolność do empatii. Chociaż Tsuzuki potrafi wyprowadzić go z równowagi, tak naprawdę jest jego przyjacielem.
* Sei'ichirō Tatsumi (jap. 巽 征一郎, Tatsumi Sei'ichirō?) – zmarł w wieku 29 lat. Dawny partner Tsuzukiego, bardzo szanowany przez Asato.
* Yutaka Watari (jap. 亘理 温, Watari Yutaka?) – wesoły doktor, wynalazca, prywatnie pochłonięty szukaniem środka służącego do zmiany płci. Zawsze i wszędzie pojawia się w towarzystwie małej sówki – jedynej istoty w pełni akceptującej jego entuzjastyczne nastawienie.
* Saya Torii i Yuma Fukiya – dwie boginie śmierci odpowiedzialne ze region Hokkaidō. Są podobne do Tsuzukiego, z którym blisko się przyjaźnią. Ich rzadkie przyjazdy tłumaczone są burzami śnieżnymi.
* Kazutaka Muraki (jap. 邑輝 一貴, Muraki Kazutaka?) – szalony doktor, który wciąż staje na drodze Tsuzukiemu. Prowadzi badania nad transplantologią; pragnie ożywić swojego brata Sakiego, po to, by zabić go własnymi rękoma (Saki zamordował ich matkę; próbował zamordować również Kazutakę, jednak został zastrzelony). Utrzymuje, że jest głęboko zakochany w Tsuzukim, co nieraz usiłuje udowodnić, próbując dobrać się do jego ciała.



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Descendants of Darkness



Descendants of Darkness (闇の末裔, Yami no Matsuei?) is a fantasy manga series created by Yoko Matsushita. The story revolves around shinigami. These Guardians of Death work for Enma Daiō, the king of the dead, sorting out the expected and unexpected arrivals to the Underworld. The manga was serialized in Hakusensha's Hana to Yume from 1995 until the author decided to put the story on hiatus in 2003. The published chapters have been collected in 11 volumes. The English language version is published by VIZ Media. With the exception of three side-stories (one focusing on Tatsumi, and the other two focusing on Oriya and Ukyou), the manga remains on hiatus today. Descendants of Darkness was adapted into an anime series, broadcast by WOWOW in Japan and distributed in North America by Central Park Media. SciFi Channel USA scheduled the program as part of Ani-Monday started on November 3, 2008 and ended on December 22, 2008, last year.


Overview

Asato Tsuzuki is a shinigami with 70 years' worth of experience. He has the power to call upon twelve shikigami, mythical creatures that aid him in battle. The shikigami reflect actual historic religious beliefs—such as Suzaku and Byakko. The manga portrays Tsuzuki's relationship with the shikigami in much more detail. Tsuzuki is the senior partner of the Second Division, which watches over the region of Kyūshū.

In the anime, the story begins when Chief Konoe, the boss, and the other supporting characters begin talking about murders happening in Nagasaki. The victims all have bite marks and a shortage of blood, which leads to the case being dubbed "The Vampire Case".

After some food troubles, Tsuzuki travels to Nagasaki with Gushoshin, a flying creature/helper who can speak, and together they do a bit of investigating. The rule is that shinigami are supposed to work in pairs, and until Tsuzuki meets up with his new partner, he needs someone to watch him. However, Gushoshin gets held back by groceries, and Tsuzuki is on his own again.

While exploring Nagasaki, Tsuzuki hears a scream and has a literal run-in with a strange woman, who leaves blood on his collar. Coming to the conclusion that this is a sign that the woman might be a vampire, Tsuzuki tries to follow her, coming into a church. The church scene is the first encounter between Tsuzuki and the antagonist of the story, Muraki.

Doctor Kazutaka Muraki is painted as a pure figure in his first scene, with much religious and color symbolism. He meets Tsuzuki with tears in his eyes, and Tsuzuki, a bit thrown off by this, manages only to ask if Muraki has seen a woman go by. Tsuzuki leaves when Muraki says no one has been in the church.

From there, Tsuzuki continues through Nagasaki, into a sort of park area, where he is held at gunpoint from behind and told not to move. His attacker tells him to turn around, and when he does, he discovers a young man glaring at him. Tsuzuki calls him a kid and is nearly shot, saved only by his helper, Gushoshin. From there, Tsuzuki learns that the boy is Hisoka Kurosaki, his new partner, and the rest of the story is heavily based on character development and the relationships between characters.

Later in the Nagasaki Arc [the first fourth of the anime series, and the first collection of the manga], Hisoka gets kidnapped by Muraki, and the truth about his death is revealed to him. Tsuzuki rescues him after his "date" with Muraki, and the entire series begins following the relationship between these three characters, supported and embellished by the rest of the cast. Later in the series, Hisoka decides he wants to capture a shikigami for himself, creatures that live in the imaginary world that help shinigami in battle.


Story arcs

* Two on Opposites Sides of the River (story; tankōbon 1).
* Nagasaki (arc; tankōbon 1; episodes 1–3).
* Last Waltz (story; tankōbon 2).
* Devil's Trill (arc; tankōbon 2; episodes 4–6).
* King of Swords (arc; tankōbon 3; episodes 7–9).
* Hokkaidō (arc; tankōbon 4).
* New Year (arc; tankōbon 4).
* Saint Michel (arc; tankōbon 4).
* Storybook (arc; tankōbon 5).
* New Library (story; tankōbon 6).
* Okinawa (arc; tankōbon 6).
* The Child and I (sidestory; tankōbon 6).
* Kyōto (arc; tankōbon 7–8; episodes 10–13).
* Path to the King of Inventors (sidestory; tankōbon Cool.
* Masquerade (arc; tankōbon 9).
* Gensoukai (arc; tankōbon 9–11, continues in Hana to Yume).
* Kamakura (arc; tankōbon 9–11, continues in Hana to Yume, runs concurrently with Gensoukai arc).
* Day in the Life of Tatsumi (sidestory; published in Za Hana to Yume 2004).
* Oriya and Ukyō (sidestories; published in Hana to Yume 2005–6).



Characters
It has been suggested that this section be split into a new article entitled List of Descendants of Darkness characters. (Discuss)



Main characters

Asato Tsuzuki

Asato Tsuzuki (都筑 麻斗, Tsuzuki Asato?), voiced by Dan Green (English), and Shinichiro Miki (Japanese), is the main protagonist of the story. He was born in 1900, and was 26 years old when he died and became a Shinigami. He is 97 at the beginning of the first book and the oldest employee of the Shokan/Summons division besides Chief Konoe, and the lowest-paid, due to his perceived incompetence. He is notorious among his fellow Shinigami for his slacker qualities and voracious appetite for sweets such as cinnamon buns and cakes. His favorite color is light green, and he has a flower garden (in which he is known to have tulips and hydrangeas).

It is revealed starting from the Last Waltz story line that he had a sister named Ruka who taught him how to dance, garden, and cook, though his skills in the latter are lacking. Her involvement in his past is left unclear.

Throughout the series, Tsuzuki develops an immediate closeness and affection to his current partner, Hisoka. He has a good friendship with Watari, and a sometimes strained relationship with Tatsumi, who had once been one of his partners. Tsuzuki gets along with most of the employees of Meifu, with the notable exceptions of Hakushaku, who constantly hits on him, and Terazuma, with whom he has a fierce rivalry. Tsuzuki's relationship with Muraki is very tumultuous; although Tsuzuki hates him for his cruelty towards other people, Tsuzuki's desire to sacrifice himself rather than hurt anyone else prevents him from outright killing Muraki.

Though he is easily one of the most cheerful members of the cast, he hides a dark secret from his past. Both manga and anime reference terrible deeds he committed in life. It is suggested that Tsuzuki murdered many people, whether intentionally or not; this is brought to Tsuzuki's attention during his demonic possession by Sargantanas, a powerful demon who appears in the Devil's Trill Arc. Doctor Muraki reveals to him from his grandfather's research that Tsuzuki was a patient of the elder Muraki for eight years and that Tsuzuki is, in fact, not quite human. During that time, he stayed alive without food, water, or sleep, and was incapable of dying from wounds, as shown by the many times he tried to commit suicide but failed but for one last time. Muraki suggested that Tsuzuki may possess demon blood [shown by the fact that he has purple eyes], and Tsuzuki found this incredibly hard to deal with.

Tsuzuki wields the power of 12 Shikigami as well as o-fuda magic. He also has an incredibly high stamina, able to take massive damage to his body without being killed and healing almost immediately. Though this is later shown to be a trait for all Shinigami, he was the first one shown to have this ability, which appears to be tied to his pre-death abilities.


Hisoka Kurosaki

Hisoka Kurosaki (黒崎 密, Kurosaki Hisoka?), voiced by Liam O'Brien (English), and Mayumi Asano (Japanese) is a 16-year-old Shinigami and Tsuzuki's current partner. He possesses strong empathy, which allows him to feel the emotions of others, read thoughts, see memories, and pick up imprints of clairvoyance off inanimate objects.

He came from a tradition-oriented family, and he was trained in traditional Japanese martial arts. His parents were afraid of his spiritual powers, which they considered unfit for their heir as well as something that could unfurl the familiar secret; so as a child he was often locked in a cellar when caught using his empathy.

When he was 13 years old he went out under the sakura trees near his home and stumbled across Muraki in the process of murdering an unknown woman. In order to keep him from exposing the crime, Muraki raped Hisoka and cursed him to a slow death that gradually drained his life over three years. The curse is still visible in the form of red marks all over Hisoka's body, which reappear during encounters with Muraki, particularly in dreams. It is implied that they will disappear with Muraki's death. After Hisoka died, he became a shinigiami in order to discover the cause of his death since the doctor erased his memories of it.

Hisoka enjoys reading, and spends much of his time at the library by himself. His health even in the afterlife does not seem to be particularly well, as he has a tendency to faint. His lack of training and strength in comparison to Tsuzuki is also painfully apparent to him. However, he is a capable detective, and clever in subterfuge. It's also revealed that Hisoka has a fear of the dark.

Although extremely reserved to the point of coldness, Hisoka deeply cares for other people. When Tsuzuki regains his suicidal tendencies, Hisoka comforts him and ends up preventing him from committing suicide once again. Hisoka also has a strong urge to take care of Tsuzuki, even though Tsuzuki drives him crazy sometimes. He maintains comfortable relationships with the rest of his co-workers, with the noticeable exception of Saya and Yuma, who constantly try to play with him like a doll.

Besides his empathy, Hisoka has also been trained in basic ofuda and defensive magic by Chief Konoe. Later in the series, he goes to seek out a Shikigami for himself in order to increase his power. Hisoka's first Shikigami is a Spanish-speaking potted cactus named Riko, a defensive and water-type Shiki. Hisoka is also adept in traditional martial arts, particularly archery, and kendo. His favorite color is blue, his favorite hobby is reading and his motto is "save money".


Kazutaka Muraki

Kazutaka Muraki (邑輝 一貴, Muraki Kazutaka?), voiced by Edward MacLeod in English, and by Show Hayami in Japanese, is the primary antagonist in Yami no Matsuei. His angelic appearance and characteristics serve to contrast with his brutal nature.

Muraki's psychological troubles appear to have begun in childhood with his mother and his half-brother Saki. Muraki's mother collected dolls, and she is shown as treating him as though he were a doll as well. Muraki's love of dolls and his collecting of dolls is a motif throughout the manga and anime, paralleling what he does with real people. In the anime, it is suggested that Saki killed Muraki's parents when they were still children (in the Kyoto arc, Muraki has a flashback of his mother's funeral and sees Saki smirking during the procession) and later tried to kill him in a craze. However, in the manga, it is not clear what Saki's role was other than disrupting Muraki's childhood, and Muraki describes himself as his mother's murderer. Whatever the circumstances, Saki was shot by one of the family's guards, and Muraki became obsessed with bringing back Saki in order to kill him himself. Thus, Muraki learned of Tsuzuki while researching his grandfather's notes, becoming obsessed with Tsuzuki's body; both carnally and scientifically. In the manga it is clear what Muraki desires, but the anime had to censor such extremes, and so Muraki's advances toward Tsuzuki were shown as hints of sexual harassment.

Throughout the story, Muraki manipulates souls of the dead, often killing the people himself, in hopes of drawing the attention of the Shinigami, in particular, Tsuzuki.

Muraki is an expert manipulator, fronting as a good doctor who laments over his inability to save lives, while hiding his private life as a serial killer. As a respected physician, Muraki has many connections throughout Japan among powerful patrons, but in the anime and manga, he is mostly seen in the company of his close friend Oriya and his old teacher, Professor Satomi. Muraki also has a childhood sweetheart by the name of Ukyou, but very little is known about her, other than that she appears to draw evil spirits to her and that her health is poor. During the Kyoto Arc, Muraki discredits his good persona, contrasting himself to Professor Satomi before silencing him.[1] Being a serial killer, Muraki has numerous victims, the most significant of which is Hisoka Kurosaki, he raped before placing a curse on him that wiped Hisoka's memory of the event and eventually killed him in the form of a terminal illness. Later, when Hisoka is a shinigami, Muraki forces the boy to recall the night that he cursed him. Throughout both the anime and manga, it's shown that Muraki often refers to Hisoka as a doll.

Some readers believed that because of his different colored eyes, he may be a guardian of one of the four gates of GenSouKai (see Wakaba Kannuki). However, in the King of Swords arc (volume three in the manga), a scene where Tsuzuki knocks out the fake eye reveals that Muraki's right eye is not real and that it is mechanical. The origin and nature of Muraki's supernatural abilities remain an enigma: he is human (with certain vampiric traits, such as feeding off peoples' life energy (it is theorised that he is an energy vampire)), he is alive (not a Shinigami), yet he raises a dead girl to be a zombie, seals and opens Hisoka's memory by mere touch, controls creature spirits similar to Shikigami, enters Meifu by himself and teleports Tsuzuki to another location. In the finale, Muraki refers to himself as a Descendant of Darkness like Tsuzuki.

Supporting Shinigami and supernatural characters

Chief Konoe

Konoe is the boss of the Shokan Division of EnmaCho, and is Tsuzuki's superior. He has known Tsuzuki for all of the latter's career, and is one of the few characters who knows Tsuzuki's mysterious past before he became a shinigami. Konoe uses his influence to protect Tsuzuki from other higher-ups in Meifu. Konoe is an older man who is often gruff with his employees. He is known for having a sweet tooth and according to an author's note in volume 2 is a black belt in an unknown martial art. He is voiced by Chunky Mon in English, and Tomomichi Nishimura in Japanese.



Seiichiro Tatsumi

Seiichiro Tatsumi (巽 征一郎, Tatsumi Sei'ichirō?), voiced by Walter Pagen in English, and Toshiyuki Morikawa in Japanese, is the secretary of the Shokan division. In addition to this position, which allows him control over department finances and thus substantial influence over Chief Konoe, he is seen to partner with Watari when working on a case. He also assists Tsuzuki and Hisoka on multiple cases.

In volume 5 of the manga, it is revealed that Tatsumi was Tsuzuki's third partner. This only lasted for three months until Tatsumi quit, unable to handle Tsuzuki's emotional breakdowns which paralleled those of his mother, a well-born woman whose death he blames himself for. His relationship with Tsuzuki, though partially resolved in volume 5, remains uncertain and often underlaced by guilt (on Tatsumi's part) over their past partnership and protectiveness. However, petty conflicts often arise over issues with department finances, most particularly in the cost of rebuilding the library after Tsuzuki destroys it (twice).

In addition to the standard abilities of shinigami, he also has the ability to manipulate shadows both as weapons and as a means of transport.



Yutaka Watari

Yutaka Watari (亘理 温, Watari Yutaka?), voiced by Eric Stuart in English, and Toshihiko Seki in Japanese, is 24 years old and a close friend of Tsuzuki's who works for the sixth sector, Henjoucho (which includes Osaka and Kyoto). Nevertheless, he is most often seen in the lab and he is accompanied by Tatsumi when he works in the field. Though technically a mechanical engineer (he has a phD in engineering), he is basically a scientist who invents whatever comes to mind, most often a sex change potion. He is also in charge of computer maintenance & repair. Though sharing a cheery demeanor similar to Tsuzuki's, whenever something befalls one of his friends he becomes very and suddenly angry.

One of his near-constant companions is an owlet named "003" (001 is a toucan and 002 is a penguin, they stay in Watari's lab). Watari's dream is to create a sex change potion, his self-declared motives being to understand the female mind. He often experimentally tests his creations on both himself and on Tsuzuki, relying on the latter's fondness for sweets to ensure his cooperation. Aside from his apparent familiarity in the laboratory, Watari also has the ability to bring his drawings to life despite the fact that he is a poor artist. According to the author, his hair was bleached blonde by excessive chlorine in a swimming pool.

Late volumes of the manga reveal his past employment with the Five Generals, who were involved in the Mother Project, the supercomputer of Meifu.

Saya Torii and Yuma Fukiya

As the acting Shinigami for Hokkaidō, the Ninth District, Saya and Yuma are often snowed in, thus limiting their interaction with the rest of the cast. They are bubbly, very affectionate girls, often throwing themselves at Tsuzuki and Hisoka in overly enthusiastic embraces, though they hold a particular fondness for Hisoka and his attractive, feminine appearance. However, they are sincere in their wanting everyone to be good friends.
Both have the same light-brown hair and petite form; Saya is generally seen as the quieter of the two, although she has her moments of manic energy like her partner Yuma.


Hajime Terazuma

Terazuma is not mentioned in the anime version (though he is seen briefly in the opening, the first episode, and the last). However, in the manga, he serves as Tsuzuki's rival. He is first introduced in volume 4 of the manga, and states that he is from the EnMaCho ShoKan Division, and is the junior partner of the fourth district Chūgoku. Terazuma was a policeman from Hiroshima in life, which gave him a rough and pessimistic demeanor, as well as a strong sense of duty. He has a parasitic Shikigami (Kagan Kuroshuki), which altered elements of his face to appear more feral. Though he can transform at will into his Shikigami, when touched by a female or exposed to water Terazuma involuntarily becomes a raging beast. In volume four of the manga, he had an embarrassing experience of transforming after touching Hisoka, which causes him humiliation whenever brought up by other characters.

Terazuma and Tsuzuki fight frequently, mostly because Terazuma hates the fact Tsuzuki controls 12 Shikigami, when he was forced to get his own Shikigami and cannot control it, and because he thinks Tsuzuki might steal Wakaba away from him. The rivalry between Tsuzuki and Terazuma has gone far enough to destroy the newly built library in Meifu, of which the damage costs were taken out of both their paychecks.


Wakaba Kannuki

Wakaba appears only twice briefly in the anime, and not particularly often in the manga. She first appears in volume 4 in the manga and is revealed as Terazuma's partner. Wakaba is a miko or priestess of sorts; a job that ran in her family. As such, she has strong spiritual powers, which she uses to return Terazuma to his human form on the frequent occasions where he is provoked into transforming. She is also often the cause of these changes thanks to the possibly mutual crush they share, though Terazuma's condition has significantly limited this. She is also the guardian of one of the four gates into Gensoukai, the south or Suzaku Gate. This role is the cause of her heterochromia.


Gushoshin

The Gushoshin are based upon twin mythological Japanese figures who dwell in the underworld and record the deeds of human lives in preparation for final judgment. One is known to record the good deeds; the other, the bad deeds. In Yami no Matsuei, they are depicted as small, bird-like creatures that talk. They work in the library, protect its contents which include a database of deaths, and often provide research support to the main characters.


Hakushaku

The Hakushaku is variously translated as 'Count' or 'Earl.' He has no other given name. He is the keeper of the Castle of Candles, a great manor filled with candles whose flames represent every human life. He is invisible when he wants to be (as we see part of him in human form in book 9), using a mask and gloves so people can tell where he is when he's not wearing one of his costumes. His main duty is snuffing out the candles and recording the deceased, but he seems to spend much of his free time entertaining or looking at pictures of Tsuzuki, with whom he is obsessed with and cares deeply about. The Hakushaku has done favors of extending the lives of several people for Tsuzuki over the years, and this debt makes Tsuzuki very nervous, on account of the nature of the favors he may have to return. The Hakushaku features most prominently in the manga, in which readers learn he has a book that writes stories using characters based on the rest of the Yami no Matsuei cast. In the book, Tsuzuki's feminine form [whom Tsuzuki meets and calls "Ruka" after his sister] is to be wed to the Hakushaku's character (though in the end she falls in love with Butler, the book version of Tatsumi, represtenting the past relationship between Tsuzuki and Tatsumi). The Hakushaku also hosts many parties in the manga, ranging from a cherry blossom viewing party to more formal evening balls. Hakushaku's main servant is a zombie-like creature in a pink apron, named "Watson".


Enma-Daioh

The Great King Enma is the ruler of Meifu. In Yami no Matsuei, the Shokan/Summons division reports directly to him. Though obviously powerful, he is a mysterious character about which little is known. He has a particular interest in the work of shinigami Tsuzuki. Enma seems intent on Tsuzuki remaining in his afterlife, but the true motivations behind his attitude towards him have yet to be revealed. Absent from the anime, Enma-Daioh is rarely seen in the manga, but appears to have a dragon-like form in the second manga. In the later chapters of the Kamakura/GenSouKai Arcs, it is shown that Enma-Daioh has a human form. He is a mysterious character with long black hair whose eyes are never shown, adding to the mystery of his character.


Supporting human characters

Hijiri Minase
A brilliant teenaged violinist who is the star pupil and posible genius in his music school, he appears in the "Devil's Trill arc". His appearance is based on one of the original designs for Hisoka, resulting in the pair being nearly identical. An incident involving his accidental contract with a demon (due to a cornea transplant) forces the shinigami to step in in the Devil's Trill arc.
He is voiced by Jack Lingo in English and Minami Takayama in Japanese.

Tsubaki Kakyouin
A very frail girl nicknamed "Tsubaki-hime" (Princess Tsubaki) in the anime, but nick-named Camille in the manga (after the prostitute in the novel The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, fils), and daughter of a millionaire. She appears in the "King of Swords arc". She was born with a heart defect that Muraki corrected with a transplant during her childhood; after learning this, Tsubaki acquired a crush on Muraki, not knowing that the heart she received was the one of her old friend Eileen, a flower girl who kept her company and whom Muraki killed (along with other persons who were involved in human organs traffic) in order to harvest her heart for Tsubaki.

However, not long after this surgery Muraki told her where her heart had come from, then proceeded to manipulate her newfound knowledge into an alternate personality who, calling herself Eileen and claiming to be the flower girl's spirit, murders the other passengers aboard the Queen Camelia for revenge. Tsubaki appears to have been minimally aware of this and attempts to fall for Hisoka in order to detach herself from the doctor. This fails, and so Hisoka goes through with her request to kill her.

She is voiced by Mary Anne Towne in English, and Machiko Toyashima and Kumi Sakuma in Japanese, the former playing Tsubaki, and the other playing Eileen.

Oriya Mibu
Very little is known about Oriya. He owns Kou Kaku Rou, an elegant traditional restaurant that is secretly a brothel for the rich and powerful. This, he inherited from his family, who has held Kou Kaku Rou for many generations (it is described in the manga as one of the oldest, if not the oldest restaurant in Kyoto). He is a friend of Muraki's from college, and Muraki's only known friend. He wears a very distinctive and ornate kimono. He is often seen smoking a traditional Japanese kiseru pipe and practicing kendo and is an expert with the katana. He has very strong, somewhat ambiguous feelings toward Muraki. In the most recent continuation of the series, he is shown to be hosting and caring for Ukyou, Muraki's childhood sweetheart.

Though he is usually seen as a neutral or sympathetic figure in the story, he is also an active collaborator of Muraki's. He has helped Muraki cover up his murders through his network of high-ranking officials, and in return, Muraki has disposed of troublesome elements among the women of his brothel.

He is voiced by Kazuhiko Inoue in Japanese.

Saki Shidou
Muraki's older, half-brother. They are nearly the same age, and look very similar, though Saki has blond-brown hair. Saki was the result of his father's philandering with one of his patients. At about the age of 16, Saki was brought to live with Muraki in their household. Muraki credits this as having ruined his life by destroying his family. In the anime, Saki is directly responsible for the deaths of Muraki's parents, though in the manga Muraki says he killed his own mother.

Ukyou Sakuraiji
Muraki's fianceé and Oriya's friend, who works for Sakura Pharmaceuticals. She has the appearance of a high-school girl, despite being in her thirties. She is two years younger than Muraki and Oriya, and went to school with them. After Muraki's disappearance following the events in Kyoto, Ukyou began visiting Oriya every year in his place. She seems to be a relatively good person with rather poor health.

Hisae Tojyo
Hisae Tojyo is a nineteen-year-old dancer who has a small part in the first story from the second book, though she does not appear in the anime series. When she was younger her mother died and her father isn't mentioned. Following their mother's death, she and her brother raised themselves. Later in her life she grew very ill with an unspecified disease, and on the way to visit her, her brother died in a car accident. She blames herself for his death. Afterwards she checked out despite her failing health to carry out her and her brother's dreams to make their dance academy successful. However, her name appears on the Kiseki, and a few months later Tsuzuki shows up to deliver the summons and ultimately becomes involved.

Hisae is often found wearing dresses, has dark hair, and is much notably shorter than Tsuzuki. She can have a temper, and jumps to conclusions most of the time without waiting for further explanation.

Nagare Kurosaki
Nagare Kurosaki is Hisoka's father, and appears only later in the manga series, though never in the anime. Strict and traditional, he will seem to do anything to keep his family's secret under control. He appears ill to Watari and Tatsumi, but his poor physical condition is probably due to the swamp god Yatonokami possessing him. It is also noted that Hisoka gets much of his looks from his father, and they do, indeed, appear almost identical in hair and eye colour.


The Shikigami

The shikigami in Yami no Matsuei are guardian spirits; creatures which can be summoned by shinigami. When in battle in the living world, shikigami appear as various types of mythological creatures. There are different kinds of shikigami, roughly divided by the four elements, earth, wind, fire, and water. The majority of shinigami can only summon two or three shikigami. The single exception is Asato Tsuzuki, who commands the power of twelve high-ranked shikigami. They include the following:

* Byakko: a white tiger

The guardian of the West. As a human (though complete with a striped tail), Byakko is similar to Tsuzuki in his habit of skipping work to have a nap, and being very lively and exuberant.

* Suzaku: a red "firebird" or phoenix, the first we see in the anime. She is the guardian of the South.

In GensouKai, Suzaku is a dark-haired, fierce-tempered woman. Since Kyoto, she has born a grudge against her fellow fire-type Touda for the part he played in assisting Tsuzuki in his latest attempt of suicide. She is devoted to Tsuzuki, as shown by her misguided attempt to protect him in Kyoto. She also loves to drink and eat just like Tsuzuki, who affectionately calls her "Nee-san".

* Souryuu: a blue dragon, the representative of the Emperor of GensouKai (see below)

The guardian of the East. Souryuu is one of the strongest and most highly-ranked of the Shikigami, other than Kurikara. He is suspicious of newcomers to his realm, and perceives Hisoka as a threat to its stability to the point of attacking him. Despite once being close to Kurikara, after the civil war he used the power granted to him by the Golden Emperor in order to seal Kurikara away. He has two children: Koujin and Tenko, thunder and water shikigami respectively who also serve Tsuzuki.

* Genbu: the black tortoise/snake, the guardian of the North.

Genbu appears in human form as a tiny old man who is generally held in contempt by servants for his strange behavior. Nevertheless, he has on occasion offered advice to both Tsuzuki and Hisoka.

* Kouchin: A court musician who spends her time flirting and playing music, though she displays some knowledge of the civil war in Gensoukai.

* Rikujo: An astrologer shikigami and Genbu's student with several pairs of eyes on his hands and face. He appears to have a confrontational relationship with Seiryu.

* Taimo: A spellbreaker with a completely blank face who occasionally offers advice to Tsuzuki.

* Tenko: The daughter of Souryuu, and Kijin's younger sister. She is a water shiki.

* Kijin: The son of Souryuu, and Tenko's older brother. He is a thunder shiki.

* Daion: A gag shikigami who lives in a pot that has a mouth and eyes cut into it.

* Tenku: A large shrine that the others dwell in who also served as Touda's prison prior to Tsuzuki's arrival. He is shown to bear a grudge towards the former.

* Touda: a huge, black, winged serpent. The only shikigami capable of destroying a shinigami.

When in human form, Touda wears a visor over his eyes to inhibit his powers. He does as Tsuzuki asks, but only exactly as he asks. Nonetheless, he is devoted in his own way to Tsuzuki, who freed him from eternal imprisonment within Tenku for unknown crimes. It is suggested that his crimes were actually missions the Golden Emperor assigned him privately, then punished him for publicly. He vowed to help Tsuzuki since it was the only way out of his imprisonment and agreed to wear the visor that also seems to alter his memories as well as limit his strength.

* Kurikara: a fire dragon type. Thought to be the most powerful shikigami in all of Gensoukai.

In his human form he a very short male with the typical long ears of the dragon types and a scar that runs down the center of his forehead, and a second one that runs over his right eye from wounds that Souryuu inflicted on him. He and Souryuu used to be very close friends until after the civil war when the latter sealed him away. It is later revealed that he chose to defend humans against the Golden Emperor during the war, though he tells Hisoka that he hates them. The latter is currently attempting to gain him as one of his own shikigami. It is thought that Kurikara is a large black steel dragon.

The only other character known to have a Shiki is Hisoka, who is in control of a small, first level water Shiki named Rikko. He can contain water in his body and spray it at will, and enjoys singing into a microphone and speaking bits of Spanish and English. He died protecting Hisoka from an enraged Kurikara. Hisoka then tried to attack Kurikara, but was stopped by Kotaro.



GensouKai

The later manga volumes explain how the shikigami live an independent existence in a dimension separate from but connected to Meifu. This "imaginary world", GensouKai, is populated by many shikigamis. Like the Meifu, GensouKai appears to be an individual realm and society in its own right. Interestingly, the shikigamis inhabit the world in their human forms (avatars). When he visits, this causes much confusion for Hisoka, who searches for a "tiger, or a red bird", ignorant of the fact that the shikigamis in their own world do, in most cases, resemble humans.

GensouKai is allegedly ruled over by an Emperor. However, the "Golden Emperor" as he is known, has not been seen for many years. It is thought by some that he is dead. The Emperor's representative is Souryuu, the Protector of the East.

[edit] References to poetry

* The insert song for episode two, Amethyst Remembrance, is based on the poem "I held a Jewel in my fingers" by Emily Dickinson, although the final verse is taken from the sonnet "Go from me! Yet I feel I shall stand" by Elizabeth Barret Browning.
* The lyrics for Hisoka - The Memory of the Cursed Moonlit Night are taken from the first two lines of the poem "Sudden Light" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Soundtracks

1. Ju Oh Cho
2. Asato Tsuzuki
3. Eyes of Sharp Lightning
4. Mortal Combat
5. Crimson Labyrinth
6. Bloodstained Gem
7. Encroaching Terror
8. Hisoka the Memory of the Cursed Moonlit Night
9. Family of Darkness
10. Bewitching Captive
11. Hunter Named Death, The
12. Meeting of Fate, A
13. Amethyst Remembrance
14. Eyecatch
15. Nether World of Cherry Blossoms Silhouette, The
16. Pursuit of Sorrow
17. Devil's Trill, The
18. Castle of Candles
19. From the Gravah Garden
20. Locked Heart, A
21. Confrontation
22. Blade of Demon Flame
23. Face of Glass, A
24. Talisman
25. Deeply Rooted Delusion Insanity Driven Ambition
26. Scene of Carnage in Kyoto, A
27. Eden (On Air Size)
28. Love Me (On Air Size)

[edit] Reception
This section requires expansion.

Descendants of Darkness has been called "a gateway drug into shōnen-ai and yaoi".[2] Anime News Network praised the TV series' humour.[3] Jason Thompson's Manga: The Complete Guide states that Descendants of Darkness is little but a mishmosh of various genres; it received a one out of four star rating.[page needed] Descendants of Darkness sold 10,000 copies in its first few months on the English-language market.[4]

References

1. ^ SATOMI: My research is to benefit humankind!
MURAKI: Benefit humankind, you say? That is what makes our two missions different. You research in order to give life to others. My research is to kill.
2. ^ [link widoczny dla zalogowanych]
3. ^ [link widoczny dla zalogowanych]
4. ^ [link widoczny dla zalogowanych]



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