Ghost Slayers Ayashi (天保異聞 妖奇士 Tenpō Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi?) is a Japanese anime series, created and written by Shō Aikawa and produced by Bones. Directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori, it featured character designs by Toshihiro Kawamoto and premiered across Japan on October 7, 2006 on TBS's 6:00 pm doroku timeslot, which has previously occupied other noted anime Blood+, Fullmetal Alchemist and both series of the Gundam Seed franchise.
It received its satellite television premiere across Japan on Animax on November 14, 2006, and also received its English language television premiere on Animax's English networks across Southeast Asia and South Asia, Animax Asia, from January 2009. While originally scheduled to air for 52 episodes, the series' length was shortened to 25 due to its low ratings and ended its run on March 31, 2007.
In 1843, the fourteenth year of the Tenpō Era, ten years before the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and the Black Ships, Edo is under attack by beasts from the underworld, known as Yōi (妖夷?). Members of the Bansha Aratamesho, called the Ayashi (奇士?), are assembled to repel the emergence of these yoi.
Ayashi of the Bansha Aratamesho
- Ryūdō Yukiatsu (竜導 往壓?)
- Voiced by: Keiji Fujiwara (Japanese), Steve Blum (English)
- The protagonist, a 39-year-old drifter with the power of Ayagami. He goes by the name of "Yuki". Originally a son of a Hatamoto Samurai, he left home 25 years ago, after having visited the "Other World". He is the only person known to have visited it and returned. However, he found himself unable to appreciate normal non-Yoi food, and felt dissatisfied with the normal world. Most importantly, he was left with the power of Ayagami, which allows him to draw out a creature's true name and turn it into a weapon.
Fifteen years ago, he met and befriended a man named Kumoshichi, who goaded him into a fight until Yukiatsu was forced to kill him in self-defense. The event was so traumatic that Yukiatsu blocked out the memories, and unconsciously summoned a Yoi in Kumoshichi's form. At some point he was brought to the vagrant camps, escaped, was recaptured, and escaped again; his arm and shoulder are still tattooed from this.
Prior to Kumoshichi's death, Yukiatsu was very reckless and rambunctious. He started fights, tricked people and even sexually harassed Oshino because he was desperate to feel alive. After losing his friend, he became much more quiet and restrained. Because of his status as an eternal outsider, from society and from the human race, Yukiatsu tends to be extremely sympathetic to people who fall outside the bounds of society, whether they are vagrants or foreigners.
- Ogasawara Hōzaburō (小笠原 放三郎?)
- Voiced by: Tokuyoshi Kawashima (Japanese), Kyle Hebert (English)
- The 20-year-old leader of the Ayashi of the Bansha Aratamesho. He is also a scholar in rangaku (蘭学?, lit. Western studies). He often finds himself torn between his Ayashi work and the government's political schemes.
- Edo Genbatsu (江戸 元閥?)
- Voiced by: Shin-ichiro Miki (Japanese), Crispin Freeman (English)
- A cross-dressing Shinto priest. His appearance and mannerisms are so convincingly feminine that despite his masculine voice, he is often mistaken for a girl. His cross-dressing is not due to his sexuality or preference, but rather to an enduring family tradition of having priests who dressed as women during rituals. Genbatsu apparently frequents the geisha district, and has many female friends there.
He fights using several different firearms, ranging from a large gun to a bazooka and grenades, and seems to function more as a munitions expert than as a priest. He frequently works alongside Abi, and the two seem to be very close friends (even drinking and partying together).
- Saizō (宰蔵?)
- Voiced by: Michi Nino (Japanese), Stephanie Sheh (English)
- A young girl who dresses as a boy because of her background in the theatre, where women are not allowed to perform. Saizo was also raised to be as masculine as possible by her homosexual father, who died in a fire after Saizo accidentally walked in on him and his lover. She believed her father hated her because her name is seemingly related to the word for "sin." As a result, she is secretly tormented by the belief that she herself is inherently sinful.
She fights using a paper fan which unfolds to become a long rope of paper, which can be used to temporarily tie up Yoi. She was also born with the power to perform a mysterious dance which attracts Yōi, which is said to be the dance performed to draw the goddess Amaterasu from her cave.
There were literal evidence that she's around fourteen years old when she said she wasn't even born fifteen years ago, and she turned thirteen at the same time when her father started turning on other actors and the theatre burned down, which was a year ago.
- Abi (アビ?)
- Voiced by: Rikiya Koyama (Japanese), Jamieson Price (English)
- A man from the mountains, fights using a spear which can split mid-throw into four lesser, seemingly magical spears. He seems to have a close relationship with Genbatsu, perhaps because of their similar temperaments. He is extremely tall, muscular and darker-skinned than his friends, and tends to be dressed more roughly.
South Edo Magistrate
- Torii Yōzō (鳥居 耀蔵?)
- Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto (Japanese), Steve Kramer (English)
- The South Edo Magistrate, Lord of "Kai". A strong supporter of the Chief Elder Mizuno Tadakuni Tenpo Reforms.
- Honjō Tatsusuke (本庄 辰輔?)
- Voiced by: Seiji Sasaki (Japanese), Richard Epcar (English)
- A retainer of Torii Yōzō. He works under him as spy.
- Hanai Toraichi (花井 虎一?)
- Voiced by: Tomohiro Nishimura (Japanese), David Lodge (English)
- A Rangaku scholar.
- Matsue Sote (松江 ソテ?)
- Voiced by: Shoko Tsuda (Japanese), Cindy Robinson (English)
- A relative of Honjō Tatsusuke. She is revealed to have gone to the Other World and returned, giving her the ability to breed the Yokai-like creatures the Magistrate use as a task force against other Yokai.
- Atobe Yoshisuke (跡部 良弼?)
- Voiced by: Takaya Hashi (Japanese), Michael McConnohie (English)
- Biological brother of Mizuno Tadakuni, the financial magistrate and political opponent of Torii Yōzō. Ogasawara's superior.
- Abe Masahiro (阿部 正弘?)
- Voiced by: Kenji Hamada (Japanese), Christopher Smith (English)
- Appointed as Elder at age 25. He negotiated on behalf of the Shogun government with Matthew Perry.
- Tōyama Kagemoto (遠山 景元?)
- Recently been dismissed from the post of North Edo Magistrate and has been transferred to the post of Chief Censor. Political opponent of Torii Yōzō.
- Atl (アトル Atoru?)
- Voiced by: Fumiko Orikasa (Japanese), Julie Ann Taylor (English)
- An Aztec girl who works in a circus alongside her massive horse, Yukiwa (雪輪?). Atl was born in Mexico and was orphaned while living in Texas with her family; when she prayed to the Aztec god Quetzacoatl, she summoned a Yoi in the form of a horse that could also become a dragon. Since she had heard from some samurai stranded in North America about Japan, she decided to go there in hopes of finding a peaceful home.
However, Atl was reviled for being a foreigner, and had to artificially tint her bronze skin with makeup to pass for a Japanese person. She and her horse Quetzl (whom she called Yukiwa) performed together in a circus, until her status as a foreigner was revealed. After this, Genbatsu arranged for her to be a ward of the geishas he knew in the red light district, although she herself would not become one.
For reasons that are never fully explored, Atl is able to see Kumoshichi, and is able to correctly identify him as a Yoi despite his human appearance. No one other than Yukiatsu is able to do so.
- Kumoshichi (雲七?)
- Voiced by: Yuji Ueda (Japanese), Doug Stone (English)
- Yuki's friend, whom nobody except Yuki can see. The real Kumoshichi was Shikiji, a man who Yuki knew about fifteen years ago. However, he attempted to snap Yuki out of his self-destructive haze by tricking and goading him into a life-or-death fight, and forcing Yuki to stab him in self-defense. Yuki blocked out the entire incident, and unconsciously created a Yoi in Shikiji's form. After this, Kumoshichi followed Yuki everywhere and often would give him advice.
Yuki was shocked when he realized that he had killed the real Shikiji, and that his longtime friend was actually a Yoi he had created. When the horse/dragon Quetzl began running wild, Kumoshichi merged with him and successfully calmed the Yoi until it was no longer dangerous. As a result, Kumoshichi only existed after that as a part of Quetzl - a talking horse.
- Ōta (央太?)
- Voiced by: Chinami Nishimura (Japanese), Cindy Robinson (English)
- A youngster offered in sacrifice to a Yōi, but escaped with his mother. Ota was supposedly going to be a sacrifice to the mountain god near his village, but it seems to be implied that his father intended to kill and eat him instead (having done the same to the boy's sister). When the mountain god appeared and absorbed Ota's father, the boy was exposed to the Other World. His mother Tae took him on the run to escape the Yoi, but the boy kept searching for the Other World because of the hardships of this one; after meeting and talking with Yukiatsu, he decides to stay with his mother in the real world.
- Tae (たえ?)
- Voiced by: Aya Hisakawa (Japanese), Bridget Hoffman (English)
- Ōta's mother, who goes on the run to avoid the mountain god that wants her son. She is attracted to Yukiatsu and seems hopeful of marrying him at one time, but eventually settles down in another city with her son.
- Tamahei (玉兵?)
- Voiced by: Wizumi (Japanese), Michael Sorich (English)
- A bumbling auxiliary policeman (Okappiki) obsessed with catching Yuki.
- The Western Ones (西のもの Nishi no Mono?)
- A group of masked bandits whose goals are a mystery. Like Ryūdo, they can use Ayagami and often create Yōi. They are led by a man called Akamatsu, who has an X-shaped scar on his face.
- Kawanabe Kyōsai (河鍋 暁斎?), also known as Shūzaburō (甲斐 周三郎 Kai Shūzaburō?)
- Voiced by: Minami Takayama (Japanese), Mona Marshall (English)
- A young painter with remarkable talent. He was once sent briefly to the Other World after he grabbed a severed head which was floating down the river and nearly drowned. He is confident and self-assured beyond his years. He often visits brothels despite being underage, claiming (perhaps truthfully) that he is there to practice his observational art, and because he developed some interest on Atl. He proved to be useful to the Ayashi providing reliable information and protecting Atl from harm in their absence.
Tenpō Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi was first created as an original anime series which was later adapted into a manga.
The Tenpō Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi anime series first aired in Japan on October 7, 2006 in the 6pm Saturday primetime slot on MBS and TBS. It was originally slated to be 52 episodes; however, due to low ratings during its broadcast run, the series' length was cut in half, to 25 episodes. A new anime series, Toward the Terra, took over the timeslot, starting in April 2007.
- Opening theme
- Ending theme
- "Winding Road" by Porno Graffitti (eps 1-12)
- "Ai Toiu Kotoba" by Saki (eps 13-25)
The Tenpō Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi manga written by Japanese mangaka Yaeko Ninagawa was first serialized in the Japanese seinen manga magazine Young Gangan in October 2006, published by Square Enix. The last chapter was serialized on year 2007's 15th issue of the magazine. The second and last volume was released in Japan on October 25, 2007.
- "Tenpo Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi". (November 2006) Newtype USA. p. 15.
- Official website
- bones' official site for Tenpō Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi
- MBS' official website for Tenpō Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi
- Animax's official website for Tenpō Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi
- Ghost Slayers Ayashi (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopediaca:Ayakashi Ayashihu:Ayakashi Ayashi - Különös történetek a Tenpou-korbóltl:Ayakashi Ayashi