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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.[1] The manga was serialized in Hakusensha's semi-monthly shōjo manga magazine, Hana to Yume from the 14th issue of 1996 until the author decided to put the story on hiatus in the 2nd issue of 2003. Even though the serialization stopped at the 2nd issue of Hana to Yume in 2003, the chapters that were not collected after volume 11 were not released. The published chapters have been collected in 11 volumes with the 11th volume published on December 14, 2001.[2] There were three side-stories focusing on Tatsumi, Oriya and Ukyou respectively. Volume 12 of the series is scheduled to be released in January 19, 2010 with revisions that will differ from the chapters originally serialized in the magazine.[3][4] The return of the serialization has yet to be confirmed.[3]

The English language version is published by Viz Media.[5] The series has an anime adaptation broadcasted 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.


Asato Tsuzuki is a 'Guardian of Death' for over 70 years. He has the power to call upon twelve shikigami, mythical creatures that aid him in battle. 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 Guardian of Death 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 called Oura Cathedral. 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 the area of the city known as Glover Garden, 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.[6] 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,[7] 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 Guardian of Death in battle.

The City of Nagasaki is shown throughout the series. Many tourist sites such as The Peace Memorial, Glover Garden, and Oura Cathedral are shown.

Story arcs

  • Two on Opposites Sides of the River (story; tankōbon 1).
  • Nagasaki (arc; tankōbon 1).
  • Last Waltz (story; tankōbon 2).
  • Devil's Trill (arc; tankōbon 2).
  • King of Swords (arc; tankōbon 3).
  • 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).
  • Path to the King of Inventors (sidestory; tankōbon 8).
  • 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).


Vampire's Lure

  • 1. The Nagasaki File (Part 1)
  • 2. The Nagasaki File (Part 2)
  • 3. The Nagasaki File (Part 3)

Devil's Song

  • 4. The Devil's Trill (Part 1)
  • 5. The Devil's Trill (Part 2)
  • 6. The Devil's Trill (Part 3)

Tarot Curse

  • 7. The King of Swords (Part 1)
  • 8. The King of Swords (Part 2)
  • 9. The King of Swords (Part 3)

Demon's Reckoning

  • 10. The Kyōto File (Part 1)
  • 11. The Kyōto File (Part 2)
  • 12. The Kyōto File (Part 3)
  • 13. The Kyōto File (Part 4)


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.[8]
  • 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.[8]


  1. "Ju Oh Cho"[9]
  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" (TV size)
  28. "Love Me" (TV size)


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Descendants of Darkness has been called "a gateway drug into shōnen-ai and yaoi".[10] Anime News Network praised the TV series' humour.[11] Descendants of Darkness sold 10,000 copies in its first few months on the English-language market.[12] Volume 5 of the series ranked 6th in the week ending of May 22, 2005, according to BookScan's Graphic Novel List.[13]


  1. "Descendants of Darkness". Absolute Anime. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  2. (Japanese) " Library Service - 闇の末裔 11". Retrieved November 19, 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 (Japanese) "松下容子「闇の末裔」、8年ぶりの新刊発売決定". Comic Natalie. Retrieved November 19, 2009. 
  4. "Descendants of Darkness Manga Returns After 8 Years". Anime News Network. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  5. "Descendants of Darkness product information". Viz Media. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  6. (Japanese) "The Nagasaki File (Part 1)". Descendants of Darkness. WOWOW. 2000-10-02. No. 1.
  7. (Japanese) "The Nagasaki File (Part 3)". Descendants of Darkness. WOWOW. 2000-10-16. No. 3.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Crocker, Janet. "Descendants of Darkness OST". Anime Fringe. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  9. "Descendants Of Darkness Soundtrack CD". CD Universe. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  10. Santos, Carlo (2004-11-23). "Descendants of Darkness review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  11. Agenerian, Maral (2002-02-04). "Yami no Matsuei (TV) review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  12. Cha, Kai-Ming (2005-03-07). "Yaoi Manga: What Girls Like?". Publisher's Weekly. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  13. "Fullmetal Alchemist Manga Remains on Top". Anime News Network. May 30, 2005. Retrieved November 19, 2009. 

External links

it:La stirpe delle tenebre pl:Yami no matsuei: Ostatni synowie ciemności pt:Yami no Matsuei ru:Yami no Matsuei sk:Jami no Macuei fi:Yami no Matsuei tl:Descendants of Darkness