B. Ichi (B壱?) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Atsushi Okubo and serialized in Monthly Shōnen Gangan in 2001-2002. The series was collected in four bound volumes which were released by Square Enix in Japan. The manga was licensed for distribution in North America by Yen Press, which as of August 2009 had released three volumes in the series in English with the fourth volume scheduled for September release. The creator, Atsushi Okubo, later became well known for his hit series Soul Eater.
Most normal humans use only 30% of their brains, but a group of people known as the "Dokeshi" can use 50 to 60% of their brains, and thus have special abilities. These powers, however, come with a price: the Dokeshi must observe certain restrictions. Ignoring these rules can lead to the loss of something precious from within. In young Shotaro's case, he has to stick to doing one good deed every day! In the central town of Toykyo, he meets a girl named Mana, and together they go on a journey to find Shotaro's childhood friend Emine. Will Shotaro be able to do good daily or will he succumb to laziness on his journey?
- Main Characters
- Shotaro (将太郎 Shōtarō?)
- Voiced by: Mayumi Tanaka (drama CD)
- A young Dokeshi known as the "Kyokotsu." His power is to gain the abilities of animals by biting animal bones; e.g., a bird bone will give him the power of flight. His condition is that he must do one good deed every day to use his power, or else he will lose something "precious" inside of him. Childish and simple-minded, he is an avid fan of the Charisma Justice TV show and even copies the main character's "Justice Blade" attack, but has trouble remembering that it comes on every Sunday at 10:30. It is later revealed that Shotaro can draw power from any bone, and even call upon the memories and personality of the deceased. He greatly values his friendship with Emine and thus diligently performs his good deeds. Even though normal people hate and despise Dokeshi, he holds nothing against them. Some of his powers are:
- Bone of the Bird: Allows Shotaro to fly like a bird.
- Bone of the Snake: Makes Shotaro as slippery (literally) and flexible as a snake (also comically makes his face look similar to a snakes).
- Snake Cross: While using a snakes power, Shotaro performs an arm bar taking advantage of his flexibility.
- Bone of the Monkey: Grants Shotaro the agility of a monkey.
- Bone of the Dog: Gives Shotaro a dog's sense of smell.
- Bone of the Cat: Gives Shotaro a cat's speed and claws.
- Mana (真夏?)
- Voiced by: Saeko Chiba (drama CD)
- A normal, 16-year-old human girl who accompanies Shotaro on his journey to find his missing friend Emine. She is constantly entering contests in order to get commissions. She comes from China and is skilled at the martial arts, being more than capable of fighting Dokeshi by herself. Her fighting style is Hinoki-ryu, which is only taught within her family; however, her father neglected her in favor of her brother. She enjoys fortune telling, as it helps her make decisions. She hates being called garbage as her name spelled backward in Japanese is nama which means "raw," making it raw garbage.
- Yohei Nanami (七海 陽平 Nanami Yōhei?)
- Voiced by: Yuto Nakano (drama CD)
- A normal, human mechanical genius who also travels with Shotaro. He can easily make robots and other contraptions. He was once part of the Dokeshi Hunt. After his former teammates were wiped out by Nofix, he lost the ability to trust others. His weapon is the Law Abiding Silver Gun, a dog-shaped gun that can bite people and be used to watch television, among other things.
- Tool (トゥール Tūru?)
- Voiced by: Yūji Ueda (drama CD)
- A kappa who loves kiwis (a pun, as the Japanese words for cucumber and kiwi sound alike), he can understand the feelings of both people and things. He normally lives in a garbage dump, but occasionally visits the city to buy kiwis. He hates humans because he thinks they judge by appearance alone. He will chase and attack anyone who calls him "baldy," as Shotaro found out the hard way. His weapon is a giant pickax and the names of his attacks contain the names of snakes. As a Kappa, he also has the power to rip out souls, but unlike normal Kappa, he can only do it to objects. His name is likely a reference to American rock band Tool.
- Emine (エミネ?)
- Voiced by: Akira Ishida (drama CD)
- A Dokeshi known as Bai Ze and the childhood friend whom Shotaro is desperately trying to meet again. Emine's power is the ability to manipulate blood, which he turns into strange creatures that he can transform into weapons; his condition is that he must do one bad deed a day, or else lose his treasured friendship with Shotaro. Despite still caring for Shotaro, he feels the nature of his condition makes it impossible for them to get along. He works as an observer for the Masked Assembly. Like Shotaro, he is an orphan. His name may be a reference to American rapper Eminem.
- The Masked Assembly
- Apple Shinoda (アップル=シノダ Appuru Shinoda?)
- Voiced by: Masaki Terasoma (drama CD)
- Emine's coworker, a Dokeshi whose condition requires him to eat apples, which he constantly offers to others as well. His ability is to bypass the limits of human athleticism, enabling him to perform superhuman feats of strength and agility. His name may be a reference to Linkin Park singer Mike Shinoda.
- Lin Kinpar (鈴 琴羽 Rin Kinpā?)
- Voiced by: Aya Hirano (drama CD)
- Another of Emine's coworkers, a Dokeshi whose condition requires her to serve people. She dresses as a maid and uses silverware as weapons. She might have a crush on Emine. Her name is a reference to Linkin Park.
- Nofix (ノフィックス Nofikkusu?)
- Voiced by: Ryuzou Ishino (drama CD)
- An insane Dokeshi who works for the Masked Assembly because they allow him to run wild. Known as the King of Spin, he has the power to make anything that touches him spin; for example, he can stop bullets by spinning them in the opposite direction. He can also accelerate the healing process by spinning his own cells, although this greatly shortens his lifespan, and Yohei suspects that this caused his insanity. Nofix is obsessed with Yohei and swore to kill anyone who associates with him. His name may be a reference to American punk band NOFX.
- Rodigy (ロディジー Rodijī?)
- Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto (drama CD)
- A Dokeshi who is vice-president of the Fear Factory, a subdivision of the Makes Assembly. He ordered the creation of the Fear Robot in an attempt to take over the Masked Assembly and the world. Known as the Lightning Beast, his power is to emit light and electricity and his condition is to bathe himself in light. His bald head resembles an incandescent light bulb. He dislikes people and frequently uses the word pig as an insult. His name may be a reference to English electronic music group The Prodigy.
- Agi (アッシー Ajjī?)
- Voiced by: Ken'ichi Ogata (drama CD)
- A member of the Fear Factory, he created the Fear Robot and various other robots. He appears intelligent at first, but some of his inventions are questionable. He dislikes it when his creations are insulted. He resembles a tanuki and adds "correct?" to the ends of his sentences, which annoys Tool greatly. His name may be a reference to American rock band Rage Against the Machine.
- Zuno (ズーノ Zūno?)
- A Dokeshi who is the chief of the Intelligence Division of the Fear Factory. His power is the ability to pick up electromagnetic waves, and his condition is to erase one of his memories every time he does so. As a result, he cannot lead a normal life or even remember his assignments without the help of his assistant, Assi. Despite being employed by the Fear Factory, he is not an evil person. According to Assi, Zuno only joined the Factory because his condition prevents him from working at a normal company. His nose hairs are noticeably long.
- Assi (アッシー Asshī?)
- A normal human whose job is to help Zuno remember things. He joined the Fear Factory because he is not very smart. Like Zuno, Assi is not evil at heart. He wears strange glasses that have the letter A engraved in the lenses.
- A Dokeshi employed by the Fear Factory. His ability is to produce different kinds of gasses in his body, and his condition is to take deep breaths. He was sent to capture Yohei and retrieve a vital piece of the Fear Robot.
- Charisma Justice
- A famous superhero whom Shotaro idolizes and whose signature attack, Justice Blade, Shotaro copies. He is apparently a real person and very strong, as he was able to destroy the Fear Robot's right arm, whereas Shotaro could not even dent it. It is unknown whether he is a normal human, a Dokeshi, or something else entirely.
- Tast Brothers
- Two Dokeshi brothers with the same ability and condition: to manipulate the water content of their body, which allows them to change shape as well as attack with water; afterwards, they must eat dried food. They tried to take over Toykyo (Tokyo) by impersonating the governor, but were stopped by Shotaro.
- Christina S. Imbroglia
- A Dokeshi fortune teller whose ability and condition were not revealed, though her ability may be what enables her to predict the future. Her name may be a reference to Australian singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia.
Dokeshi: Humans with the ability to use 50 to 60 percent of their brain, which grants them near-magical powers. All Dokeshi must observe a condition which must be fulfilled or else the Dokeshi will lose something valuable to them.
The Masked Assembly: A federation of Dokeshi factions that was created to overthrow the government of Japon and the Dokeshi Hunt.
The Dokeshi Hunt: A secret Dokeshi suppression force created by the government of Japon to wipe out Dokeshi.