The central plot revolves around a man named Bunshichi Tanba, a dojo-crasher who seeks stronger fighters to prove his strength to himself. While traveling to several schools and challenging the best each had to offer, Tanba came to the FAW (a gym that trains pro-wrestlers) and is pitted against T. Kajiwara. Tanba is defeated and humiliated after realizing that he is not strong enough and disappears for 3 years. Upon his return, he has become nearly unbeatable.
MAIN PLOT OF GAROUDEN:
what does it mean to be strong? what is the attraction of men to match in hand to hand combat? this and many other questions are explained and detailed in Garouden, a novel series by Yomemakura Baku (illustrated by celebrity manga author Itagaki Keisuke)
Fighting expert Bunshichi Tanba enjoys defeating fighting TV champions and celebrities on the street until he stumbles in the underground wrestling club known as FAW( federation of amateur wrestling), unfortunately he's defeated by one of the underdogs of the wrestling world and forces himself to improve and looks for a rematch.
Years later he returns better than even and his fights attract the attention of the two "monsters" of the fighting world that are constantly in competition with each other, Makoto "the great" Tatsumi, owner of the FAW and with a power and charisma unrivaled in the ring, and "the demon of karate" Matsuo Shozan, owner of the best Karate schools in Japan and with a power and speed that's almost godlike.
Both will try to recruit Tanba to their own side and Tanba will experience a fighting world like he has never seen, with friends and rivals everywhere, he must have to step to the many challenges that present in front of him, also it has the special appearance of other martial arts characters from his other fighting novel series, the gate of the lions.
Currently the best "serious" martial arts manga title in Japan, this is another of Baku's masterpieces that, unlike his other fantasy epic titles, this one surprises for the realism and deep exploration of martial arts and his effects on the people that uses it.
- Tanba Bunshichi: The main protagonist fighting to prove his strength to himself. After losing a match to Kajiwara he realized he wasn't as strong as he perceived himself to be and disappeared for 3 years in which he trained himself intensely to avenge his loss and never lose to anyone again. After avenging his defeat to Kajiwara at a FAW show he is then approached by the Great Tatsumi & Shozan Matsuo who want to bring him to their perspective sides after seeing the great potential he hides as a fighter. Later on he encounters the "fake Bunshichi" Fujimaki Jyuzo who has been defeating Hokushin fighters in order to lure him out due to the bad press he has been spreading due to using Tanba's name. after fighting to a stand still and meeting two people from Fujimaki's past he witnesses Jyohei Tsutsumi take out Yakuza gangsters who have been harassing him on the street which brings out a desire to challenge him that culminates in a fight organized by Tatsumi. The match was a everything goes fight which culminated when Tanba defeated Jyohei by knockout, currently he is watching the tournament organized by Shozan which pits several fighters with the winner getting the chance to fight the Hokushinkai Master.
- Fujimaki Jyuzo: Appears as a mysterious figure wearing a baseball cap and sweat suit, as a practitioner of "Takemiya Ryuu" (a hybrid of Aikido, jiu jitsu and karate) he is on the run from the authorities for savagely killing the man who raped the woman he loved,Saeko. This brings him to the current day in which he is using the name "Bunshichi Tanba" to defeat various Hokushin fighters in order to draw the real one in. They finally meet in a playground, acknowledging each others fighting spirit they go at it implementing various striking and submission techniques ending in a draw due to the surprise appearance of the woman he still has feelings for and the man he wishes to destroy, Tsutomu Himekawa, Saeko's lover. invited by him to join in Matsuo's tournament he ambushes him in a graveyard where he reveals he can't enter due to his status as a wanted man, later he challenges Matsuo, ending struck down by him and meets Nagata Hiroshi where he propositions to train him for the upcoming tournament. He is seen in the crowds wearing a disguise while watching Nagata fight at the competition where he reveals himself after a moment of uneasiness overtakes him.
- Shozan Matsuo: Founder of the Hokushin School. A master karateka who wishes to measure his strength. Calls himself "The Strongest of all". Wishing to fight strong opponents, he organizes a tournament with Tatsumi giving the winner a chance to challenge him. Based on real life Kyokushinkai Karate fighter Mas Oyama, founder of the Kyokushinkaikan karate.
- Jyohei Tsutsumi:student of the hokushin school. A salaryman by day, he is a fierce fighter that awed Bunshichi with his fighting skills. Harboring a desire to fight him and with Matsuo Shozan's approval Tatsumi organizes an everything goes fight with Tanba which ends with him defeating Jyohei by Knockout out submission. Tsutsumi is visited by Tanba in the hospital while he is recovering showing no ill will by both fighters.
- Hiroshi Nagata:Pro wrestler and star of the FAW. he announces his intention of fighting in the tournament to the press despite some resistance from the head trainer. in order to prepare he challenges the Hokushin school by fighting several of their fighters winning the respect of Matsuo Shozan. He has a sparring match with Tsutsumi before his match with Bunshichi and is later approached by Fujimaki who helps train him for the upcoming tournament. he is also helped by Kajiwara who acting as his trainer/cornerman during the competition, he reaches the finals where his final opponent is Himekawa.
- Teruo Kataoka: a master of "Shisei kan" karate, a crude and painful style that is based into inflicting damage on one's body to make it tougher, thanks to this painful training, he molded his body into a solid weapon that can crush concrete blocks and bend metal, he destroys his opponents on tournaments but he has never stepped into the "street fighting world". In the tournament he is eliminated by Hikoichi Kurama by way of Suplex.
- Makoto Tatsumi/Great Tatsumi: Originally from Brazil, this man half Brazilian-half Japanese was the adopted son of a cruel wrestler that enjoyed torturing him on training until he became strong and stepped into the "undergroud stage" in USA, where human beings were treated as cockfighters. Based on real life pro wrestling legend Antonio Inoki
He met Crybaby Sakura and after a series of encounters, he earned a huge sum of money and started under his company "Toyo Proresu" the Federation of Amateur Wrestling (FAW) currently he challenged Matsuo Shozan to a big "five on five" Legendary battle.
- Crybaby Sakura: A figure from Great Tatsumi's past, Crybaby Sakura was the boss of the no-holds-barred mixed martial arts ring that Tatsumi fought in as part of his quest to become a great fighter. When Tatsumi defeated every opponent put in front of him, Sakura decided to step back into the ring himself. A colossal man, easily seven feet tall, Sakura was a terrifying and bizarre opponent. He had been blinded at age fifteen by his mother, who gouged his eyes out. His other senses now border on the superhuman, and his harsh training and bizarre lifestyle-he claims to eat, sweat and otherwise excrete twenty times more than a normal man-make him a monstrous and almost invincible opponent. He nearly kills Tatsumi before being defeated in an upset victory,
- Ryuji Kubo: Tanba's best friend and sparring partner,he looks up to Bunshichi and considers him his Sensei even though he went missing for 3 years he was more than welcome at Tanba's return and continued their friendship.
- Toshio Kajiwara: FAW wrestler that is the first to defeat Bunshichi Tanba in the beginning of the manga, 3 years later at a return wrestling match to Japan he is defeated by Tanba rather quickly thus avenging his loss. after the Tanba vs Jyohei match he was scheduled to fight a judo fighter but was defeated by a rising pro wrestling star in the locker room Hikoichi Kurama by use of the Giant Swing. He is later Helping Nagata prepare by helping him train for the tournament and acting as his cornerman.
- Tsutomu Himekawa: The disciple of Shozan Matsuo that tried to fight him and got his arm broken (he didn't lost the fight, it ended in a draw to be resolved later) His speed and accuracy are unmatched and he fights and win in beautiful style, just like an ice skater or a ballet dancer would perform their skills, he is the one that aims to defeat shozan and has never lost a fight, and his dream of a rematch is being closer everyday. He entered the tournament to finally get the chance to challenge his teacher winning all of his matches easily without much of a struggle and is currently in the finals where he will face FAW wrestler Hiroshi Nagata.