Yaiba, also known as Legend of the Swordmaster Yaiba (剣勇伝説YAIBA Ken'yū Densetsu Yaiba?), is a shōnen manga series by Gosho Aoyama. It ran in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday from issue 39 of 1988 to issue 50 of 1993, collected in 24 tankōbon volumes. It also came in 12 double volumes. In 1993, it received the Shogakukan Manga Award.
The light-hearted manga is about an adventuring samurai named Yaiba Kurogane (鉄 刃 Kurogane Yaiba?) who knows how to be a samurai, and little else. Yaiba lives with his father, Kenjurou, in the forest. One day, while Yaiba was eating, a troop of gorillas came to attack. Yaiba and his father escaped and hid inside a box, but they didn't know that the box was full of pineapples and was going to be transported into the city. In the city, Yaiba finds out that he is a legendary warrior and has to fight the evil of a demonic looking high-school student named Takeshi Onimaru.
Yaiba adapted as an anime series that ran over 50 episodes, and encompassed the adventures Yaiba had in the first few runs of the manga. The show begins with Yaiba training to become a samurai in the jungle with his father and his two animal friends, Kagetora and Shonosuke. At a pivotal point, Yaiba's father announces that he is ready to return to Japan, and instructs him to find his old friend and rival, who just happens to be Sayaka's father.
The people that Yaiba meets along his journey to become a true samurai encourage him, train him, or inspire him to greatness, though at heart he is still a child, and his incredible skill with a sword is matched only by his kindness towards his friends. Though, he tends to leap before he looks, and his thick-headedness tends to turn potential allies into enemies, though his friends soon clobber him, and salvage the situation. This unlikely group embarks on a host of incredible adventures where they meet legendary figures from Japanese history, and finally overcome impossible odds, and put everything on the line, to save the entire planet from a threat not of this world. It's a story of love, friendship, hard work, and never giving up.
- Yaiba Kurogane (鉄刃 Kurogane Yaiba?)
- The titular character, Yaiba is the protagonist of this manga. He is the Thunder God incarnate, and later acquires the legendary Dragon's Orb. Since he fights without the Thunder Orb in the socketed Thunder God's sword, he was able to be spared the same fate of being possessed by the sword's owner that had befallen Onimaru. Aside from his skills with the sword and his keen senses, he is also able to converse with animals.
- For a while, Yaiba was fighting without any orbs. While this left him vulnerable because he had no divine assistance, it also let him master several techniques. The Senpūken (せんぷう剣 Whirlwind Sword?) in which he spins the sword like a lawnmower blade by twirling it on his fingers in the hole that the orbs would usually go in. The Kaminari Giri (かみなり斬り Lightning Cut?) in which he executes a downward slash in a furious zigzag pattern and finally the "Yaiba Windmill Slash" in which he executes a full body vertical spin motion in the air by sticking his sword between his feet and then uses the momentum to create a buzzsaw-like effect.
- There is one other technique, "The Wave of Wind Thunder". It can only be used along with Takeshi Onimaru, for both Thunder God and Devil Wind Swords are needed in order to execute this technique. It is the resulting combination of Yaiba's "Lightning Blast" and Takeshi's upgraded Devil Wind Slash "Tornado Ripper". They used this move against Kaguya-hime.
- Seiyū: Minami Takayama
- Sayaka Mine (峰さやか Mine Sayaka?)
- Sayaka is the second protagonist of Yaiba and Yaiba's unlikely love interest. She originally had not intended to join Yaiba's journey, and simply found herself tied to Kagetora with Yaiba going towards the Thunder God's sword when she woke up. Later it is revealed that she is the Dragon Maiden incarnate, the key to Kaguya's true form.
- Seiyū: Mitsuishi Kotono
- Kenjuro Kurogane (鉄剣十郎 Kurogane Kenjuurou?)
- Kurogane Kenjuro is Yaiba's father. He was only shown in one episode of Yaiba in the anime, whereas in the manga he accompanies Yaiba to tokyo. He doesn't stay very long though but occasionally comes back to check up on Yaiba.
- Seiyū: Bin Shimada
- Musashi Miyamoto (宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi?)
- The legendary 400-year old samurai Musashi took it upon himself to guard the Thunder God sword and lived as a hermit quite near it (although this is puzzling considering that the Thunder God's sword itself electrocutes all unworthy of it). Since his time on the mountain he has taught one student and started using two swords due to old age. Like all old men, he is lecherous. He serves as Yaiba's teacher, especially upon controlling the Thunder Orb.
- Seiyū: Masaharu Satō
- Kojiro Sasaki (佐々木小次郎 Sasaki Kojirou?)
- Kojiro has been dead for a long time, having been defeated, killed in a duel and buried by Musashi himself. However he was given new life by Onimaru, through Spiderman's reviving Ritual (or rather, it was the stench coming from the foul-smelling ingredients used for the reviving ceremony that brought Kojiro back, as well as the Hakki's facial slapping), on the condition that he kill Yaiba. After getting beaten by Yaiba while using the Thunder Orb, he then becomes friends with them in order to beat them. Kojiro uses an enchanted sword (Washline Pole as he calls it) that grows longer on his whim, and thus the maximum length that the sword can attain is limited only by Kojiro's imagination. It doesn't seem to be particularly durable as the other mystical swords shown in the series, since various characters (even those with no mystical powers or weapons to begin with) have been known to cut the sword all the way down to the guard with apparent ease. Thankfully, Kojiro's sword's ability allows it to recover the severed blade simply by lengthening itself indefinitely. Perhaps the sword's only true weakness is the fact that it is very sensitive to salt water (and even to eye tears); even a slight splash will cause it to spontaneously lengthen against Kojiro's will, making it inadvisable to use in a battle where a large body of salty water happens to be nearby. He is also the natural playboy - one of the series' many running gags, Kojiro usually needs to be manhandled by others in order to "help" him subdue his overwhelming idiocy. Despite this, he serves as one of the shows more prominent swordfighters in the series
- Seiyū: Jūrōta Kosugi
- Jubei Yagyu (柳生十兵衛 Yagyū Jūbei?)
- Jubei was revived by Onimaru and defeated Kojiro Sasaki by kicking Kojiro's overextended sword straight down to Sayaka Mine's house. Before he defeated Yaiba, Musashi yelled at him and withdrew himself from attacking to join with Yaiba's group. What Onimaru didn't know about is that he is Musashi's disciple. He tends to be suicidal, as he always attempts to commit seppuku if he commits an error or feels that he did something dishonorable. When Jubei got drunk thanks to Musashi who forcibly makes him drink sake(Japanese rice wine), Onimaru takes advantage and summons a demon while he's in a drunken state to turn him into a werewolf which has the same skills (albeit heightened to a degree) like a normal Jubei but is murderous and loves drinking sake. He can revert back to Jubei when he's knocked out cold, but when he gets drunk again, he'll change into a werewolf.
- Seiyū: Takaya Hashi
- Kagetora (カゲトラ?)
- Kagetora is Yaiba's friend tiger. He helps Yaiba in his training and lets Yaiba ride him when speed is needed. He is also shown a much higher intelligence than Yaiba when it comes to rock-scissors-paper. He was probably found on the same mountain where Yaiba and his father lived.
- Seiyū: Hisao Egawa
- Shonosuke (庄之助?)
- Shonosuke is Yaiba's friend vulture. He helps Yaiba in his training and is used by Yaiba when he needs to fly. Like Kagetora, he occasionally ups Yaiba. He was probably found on the same mountain Yaiba and his father lived.
- Seiyū: Masaharu Satō
- Gerozaimon Geroda (ゲロ田ゲロ左衛門 Geroda Gerozaimon?)
- The frog demon Gerozaimon is the first of Onimaru's demons to attack Yaiba, and was beaten by him when Yaiba called for his snake friends. When the second demon came and informed him he was to be disposed due to his uselessness, Gerozaimon was befriended by Yaiba. He uses his axe in battle. He also shows how good his tongue is against a battle with the chameleon demon. In the anime, his speech pattern forces him to either begin or end any sentence with "Gero" (ゲロ?), which is Japanese for "Ribbit". In the manga. he is shown to somewhat more easily depressed, having fallen to a state of despair after Snakeman told him that Onimaru already gave up on him; as a result Gerozaimon brutally beats up the Kuro Oni who came with Snakeman in blind despair
- Seiyū: Kazunari Tanaka
- Namako-Otoko (ナマコ男 Sea cucumber Man?)
- Like Gerozaimon, he used to be one of Onimaru's demons. On his way to Izu he gets lost and is found by Yaiba's group. From then on he is always with them, usually seen on Sayaka's shoulder. He usually ends his sentences with "Zura" (ズラ?).
- Seiyū: Tsutomu Kashiwakura
- Moroha Kurogane (鉄諸羽 Kurogane Moroha?)
- Yaiba's little sister. Because she was raised to believe Kenjuro is her mother's enemy, she has been training in the way of the sword to defeat him. She joins Yaiba's group for the final arc and speaks very bluntly. She does not appear in the anime.
Onimaru Faction (Main)
- Takeshi Onimaru (鬼丸猛 Onimaru Takeshi?)
- Takeshi is the primary antagonist of Yaiba. Originally a gifted highschool swordsman, but when the fight he had with Yaiba ended in a draw, he made himself train harder. He eventually found a hidden basement containing the statues of Thunder God and the Devil Wind which was holding a sword. Upon wielding the Devil Wind sword, he was possessed and grew horns, turning into the Devil Wind incarnate. Although he uses the Devil Wind sword, he gave it to Yaiba upon acquiring the "Mao-Ken" Black Moon sword.(Also note that he looks like Tenshinhan from the Dragon Ball series with only a black dot on his forehead instead of a literal third eye). Like all good villains, Onimaru has entire hordes of faceless minions who are nothing more than humanoid black bodies with eyes, mouths, and a single horn sticking straight up from the center of their head.
- Onimaru became the ruler of Japan when he mind-controlled the Japanese Diet. This typically explains how the authorities never really seem to bother two super-powerful beings with eldritch artifact weapons.
- Seiyū: Ryō Horikawa
- Kumo-Otoko (クモ男 Spiderman?)
- The third of Onimaru's Hakki, he become something of a sidekick to Onimaru, who often sends him to others whom he instructed Spiderman to revive to attack Yaiba and his friends. He is also arguably the most comedic Hakki shown in the series. He calculates the expenses of financing high technological projects, usually with an old-fashioned abacus. In the anime, he sometimes uses a calculator with several features. His one true flaw is the fact that he's easily intimidated by loud noises. For example: several fragile materials like beer bottles or plate breaking against the floor can render Spiderman in a state of trauma. That, along with the fact that he's very gullible with limited fighting skills make him a not-so-formidable enemy. After Onimaru becomes carbonated, he comes to live with Yaiba while loyally polishing his master. He speaks with a Kansai dialect.
- Seiyū: Tetsuo Sakaguchi
Onimaru's Hakki (八鬼 8 Demons?) are 8 demon souls reborn into the bodies of dead animals. Gerozaimon, Namako-Otoko, and Kumo-Otoko are among their ranks. While each of them have their own unique fighting skill and abilities, all of them are also downright comedic - a continuous running gag in the series
- Hebi-Otoko (ヘビ男 Snakeman?)
- The second assassin sent after Yaiba. He fights with a hoko from a powerful snake god. Being a sentient reptile, he is also the fellow Hakki most feared by Gerozaimon, which is appropriate since snakes are the natural enemies of frogs. He is defeated by Yaiba's Senpuu Ken technique.
- Seiyū: Ken Yamaguchi, Emi Shinohara (Human disguise)
- Hitode-Otoko (ヒトデ男 Starfishman?)
- A large male starfish from Kumamoto who thinks of himself as the leader of his group. He is married with a son and runs a dining hall. He speaks with a Kumamoto dialect.
- Seiyū: Wataru Takagi
- Kamakiri-Otoko (カマキリ男 Mantisman?)
- Sent with Hitode-Otoko and Namako-Otoko to stop Yaiba. After their many failures, they each get homesick and return to their respective hometowns. He speaks with a Nagoya dialect.
- Seiyū: Michio Nakao
- Namekuji-Otoko (ナメクジ男 Slugman?)
- His sticky body made him a tough opponent, but he is defeated when Yaiba throws a salt package over him and cuts it open with the Senpuu Ken, causing him to shrivel up. He puts on a shell to become Katatsumuri-Otoko (かたつむり男 Snailman?) and challenges yaiba to a rematch, but meets the same fate once again.
- Seiyū: Tsutomu Kashiwakura
- Batman (バットマン?)
- Often speaks in English and greatly admires Musashi. His weakness is sunlight. He is master swordsman and the strongest of the Hakki and is defeated by Yaiba's Senpuu Ken technique. During Yaiba's attack on Onimaru Castle he is revived by Kumo-Otoko, but Yaiba defeats him with a single lightning strike. In the anime he was renamed Batguy (バットガイ?).
- Seiyū: Hirohiko Kakegawa
Onimaru's Shitennō Arc
A giant angler fish.
A chameleon who can change shape and color.
A super-powered gorilla that is only the size of a doll.
- Tortoise Europa (トータスヨーロッパ?)
A giant Mechanical Suit run by Spider-man.
Dragon God Orbs Arc
- Kaguya (かぐや?)
- The secondary antagonist of Yaiba, she is the Empress of the Moon and the ruler of a race of bunny people living on the moon. Unlike the other inhabitants of the Moon, who are all anthropomorphic rabbits she appears as a human who is dressed like a Playboy bunny. She awakens after sensing the energy of Yaiba's Dragon Orb, and launches an invasion of earth using bamboo-styled spaceships. She had conquered the world a thousand years before the show begins, but the priest of the dragon god defeated her by cutting off her ears and sealing them within the spirit of the Dragon Priestess, and each Dragon Priestess down the line. Kaguya has many properties of a Gaki, a form of spiritual vampire, and as such she requires the essence of young girls to maintain her youth and power. A simple kiss from Kaguya drains the youth and energy from young girls and recharges Kaguya for a time. How long depends on how much of her world-cracking energy she chooses to unleash. Kaguya has minions of her own, including a nearly limitless population of gray furred rabbits dressed in sharp suit and sunglasses, very similar to the Yakuza style of look. They are incredibly polite, even to their captives, though they are completely loyal to Kaguya.
- During one of their first encounters, Kaguya seals Onimaru in a block of stone very similar to how Han Solo was frozen in Carbonite in Star Wars. She even calls it her "Carbon Freeze Ray" and it turns Onimaru into a statue.
- Seiyū: Rika Fukami
- Tsukikage (ツキカゲ Moon Shadow?)
- The effective General and Shogun of the Moon Bunny forces, Tsukikage is an anthropomorphic rabbit who acts with the full authority and trust of Kaguya. Like all the Moon Rabbits, he has the power to fly, and also the power to 'Gatai', or fuse, with other objects or even other people. He is incredibly competent, which is unusual in most television shows, and tolerates Kaguya's temper tantrums with almost limitless patience. At times, Kaguya gives Tsukikage her fan, a symbol of her authority and a focus for some of her power. The fan allows Tsukikage to fire Kaguya's trademark pink energy blasts. Tsukikage only voiced a concern with one of Kaguya's orders, which was to release Gekko from imprisonment in order to combat Yaiba.
- Seiyū: Daiki Nakamura
- Gekko (ゲッコー?)
- The only black rabbit on the Moon, Gekko was bullied as a child. The only rabbit who would stand up for him was Tsukikage, and thus formed a brotherly bond between the two. Gekko often calls Tsukikage 'Annaki' which translates roughly as 'brother'. Gekko's style of dress is similar to Tsukikage's own, and he has a scar over one eye that keeps it shut. Gekko's tactics, unlike all the generals sent to stop Yaiba, are ruthless and direct. Gekko has no need for fair play and begins his assault at Sayaka's house while they're in the middle of dinner! Once determining that Gekko cannot beat Yaiba without some degree of magical weapon, Gekko goes to "Cell Sixty Six" to unleash the Mao-Ken sword, the blade responsible for turning the Moon from a lush bamboo forest into a barren wasteland. Gekko's proficiency and power with the Mao-Ken sword force Yaiba and Onimaru to join forces to combat him. Gekko's desire for victory was so great that he was willing to kill other Moon Rabbits, though it's entirely possible that the Moon Rabbits he killed were the ones initially responsible for his imprisonment.
- Seiyū: Kazuki Yao
- Mangetsu (マンゲツ?)
- One of the Generals under Tsukikage, vying for the position. He is a huge rabbit with a sinister look to him, dressed in a different style of uniform from the other generals. This indicates that he's either a general of a different branch of the "Moon Army" that came down, or all the other generals were higher ranked them him. He concocts a plan to deliver Yaiba to Kaguya, which fails. Mongetzu then decides to take direct action by assaulting Yaiba directly. The fight ends up in a seafood restaurant where Mongetzu demonstrates the 'true power of the moon people' by brandishing a lobster, then yelling "Gatai!". Once the smoke clears, Mongetzu was now part lobster, with claws, gleaming red shell armor, and (as all Gatai forms have) big rabbit ears. The next Gatai Mongetzu attempted was with a propane tank, which gave him the power to breathe fire. Yaiba defeated him using a combination of the "Big" orb and the "Fire" orb he had earned at this point, and blasted Mongetzu clear back to the Moon Bunny base. For his failure, Kaguya disintegrated him.
- Seiyū: Toshihiko Nakajima
- Emerald (エメラルド?)
- Ruby (ルビー?)
- Sapphire (サファイア?)
- Diamond (ダイヤモンド?)
- Jewel (ジュエル?)
- Gold (ゴールド?)
- Silver (シルバー?)
- Boss (ボス?)
Yamata no Orochi Arc
- Rain (レイン?)
- Burner (バーナー?)
- Dark (ダーク?)
- Plasma (プラズマ?)
Oda Nobunaga Tournament Arc
- Frederick Luther III (フレデリック·ルーサーIII世?)
- Gozuma (ゴズマ?)
- Raizo Mine (峰雷蔵 Mine Raizō?)
- Sayaka's father and an old rival of Kenjuurou. He is a kendo master and owns his own dojo.
- Seiyū: Unshō Ishizuka, Tesshō Genda (Conan vs. KID vs. Yaiba)
- Sayaka's Grandmother
- More commonly known as Goinkyou (ご隠居 Retired Person?). She is very strict and seems to know more about kendo than Raizo.
- Seiyū: Reiko Suzuki
- Nadeshiko Yamato (大和撫子 Yamato Nadeshiko?)
- Raijin-ken (雷神剣 Lightning God Sword?)
Yaiba's sword, Raijin-ken has an orb within it marked with the kanji for "Thunder". Throughout his adventures in Japan, Yaiba finds several other orbs in search of the Dragon God's Orb, which are listed as follows:
- Water (水) - This orb allows Yaiba to control water by swinging his sword and can shoot water from the tip of the sword. It was found in Lake Biwa.
- Gold (金) - Allows Yaiba to transform into different people and objects. He earned this orb from the Tanuki in Shikoku.
- Fire (火) - This orb allows Yaiba to shoot balls of flame from his sword. It was found on Mount Aso.
- Big (大) - Let's Yaiba grow huge. The first time he used this orb, he grew large enough to leave the atmosphere. However by the time the orb runs out of power, it turns black and Yaiba becomes exhausted because he used up all his stamina. It only takes time to recharge the orb before he uses it again. It was found in Nara.
- Darkness (闇) - This orb is the most dangerous of all. It can suck up anything on its path including the user as an act of desperate measure. When Yaiba use it for the first time, he got sucked into the orb along with Jubei. But they got out from the orb successfully. It was found in Niigata.
- Ice (氷) - This orb allows Yaiba to shoot ice from the tip of this sword. It also allows him to freeze water into ice. It was found in Hokkaidō.
- Reliance (当) - This talking orb indicates the position of all the other orbs. It was found in Tōhoku.
- Dragon (龍) - Contains all of the powers of the six other orbs from Water to Ice. Whenever he uses it, the Raijin-ken changes its shape; turning into the Ryūjin-ken. This also happened when he used the orb on Onimaru's Fūjin-ken when the Raijin-ken was swallowed by Kaguya-hime. The orb has 3 abilities: One, Yaiba can now fly while holding the sword. Two, it can create a powerful energy shield that can block projectiles. And three, he can summon the Dragon God by activating all of the orbs, including the Dragon Orb as well to unveil its ultimate power. It was found inside of Mount Fuji.
- Fūjin-ken (風神剣 Wind God Sword?)
- Ryūjin-ken (龍神剣 Dragon God Sword?)
- Haō-ken (覇王剣 Supreme King Sword?)
- Maō-ken (魔王剣 Demon King Sword?)
- Enma no Tachi (炎魔の太刀 Fire Demon Longsword?)
- Kikuichi Monji (菊一文字 Chrysanthemum Crest?)
- Monohoshizao (物干し竿 Washing Pole?)
The anime aired simultaneously on TV Tokyo, TV Hokkaido, and TV Aichi from April 9, 1993~April 1, 1994. On TV Tokyo it was titled Kenyuu Densetsu YAIBA (剣勇伝説YAIBA Brave Sword Legend Yaiba?). The anime contained 52 episodes and covered up to the Kaguya Arc.
- Opening Theme: Yuuki ga Areba (勇気があれば If You Have Courage?) by Kabuki Rocks
- Ending Theme: Shinjigakunaki Tatakai (神智学無き戦い (lit.) Battle Without Theosophy?) by Kabuki Rocks
- It appears Yaiba was highly inspired by Dragon Ball. As was the case with Dragon Ball, both series began as a kind of light-hearted gag manga, but towards the end of their run the tone became more serious and action-packed.
- It should be noted that in Yaiba's world, there are King Kong sized gorillas, tigers and vultures in Japan.
Although Yaiba has now become a little known anime, it still appears as cameos in other works such as Detective Conan.
- In volume 2 file 3 of Detective Conan, he appeared in a TV show Conan was watching.
- In volume 3 Conan is seen playing the same game below at episode 7 to distract Ran from suspicion.
- In volume 10 file 6, Conan is looking through some books in the children section at the library. One of them is title Samurai Kid, a double reference to both Yaiba and Magic Kaito.
- In volume 5 file 6 of Detective Conan, Yaiba is seen on the karaoke screen.
- In episode 7, Conan is seen playing a Game Boy-like console, where his character in the game is Yaiba.
- In episode 25, Yaiba's main antagonist, Onimaru, appears on the cover of another video game.
- Conan's companions in the Junior Detective League are fans of a series called "Masked Yaiba" (Kamen Yaiba), another nod to the series (as well as an homage to the live-action series Kamen Rider).
- There is a special OVA consisting all three of Gosho Aoyama's most famous works in one video. "Conan vs KID vs Yaiba".
- In the last episode before Musashi TV close, there are chibi version of Conan Edogawa and Ran Mori inside the TV.
- Ran Mori of Detective Conan has a mobile phone accessory in the shape of a sea cucumber demon (one of the demons Yaiba befriends with) at the end of her mobile phone's strap.
- In Magic Kaito, Kaito Kid once goes to Mine's House and fights against Yaiba & the old Miyamoto Musashi.
- The character Okita has a brief cameo in Detective Conan as Heiji Hattori's rival in a kendo tournament- the joke being that Okita has a very similar character design to Shinichi, the main character.
- ↑ Script error