Onmyō Taisenki literally means 'The Chronicles of the Great Yin-Yang War'. The series makes clear references to I Ching and to the Taoist theory of the five elements: Wood (木 ki?), Metal (金 kin?), Earth (土 chi?), Fire (火 hi?) and Water (水 mizu?). Various Taoist elements are incorporated within the story: the existence of the four Kimon (鬼門?, lit. 'Demoniac Portals'), the use of cards that act as the Onmyōdō's amulets (闘神符 tōjinfu?), the use of trigrams to represent direction when the Drive is swung (north-south-east-west is represented as 坎-離-震-兌 instead of 北-南-東-西, respectively), the emphasis on the balance of the sekki (the 24 seasons), and the character Nazuna, who is a Taoist maiden. Also, the show itself can be split into four seasons (13 episodes each), each with its distinct story, purpose, and goals.
The Onmyō Taisenki anime was produced by Sunrise, a subsidiary of Namco Bandai Holdings. It has a total of 52 episodes, and was aired weekly in TV Tokyo (from PM 6:00 to PM 6:30) from September 30, 2004 to September 29, 2005. It replaces the series Aqua Kids and then was replaced by series Kotencotenco.
Story of Anime
Riku Tachibana (太刀花リク Tachibana Riku?) is a 12-year old Japanese boy who lives near Tokyo. Never having met his parents, he lives an ordinary life with his adoptive grandfather. His grandfather had taught him a series of strange hand movements, which Riku did not know the purpose of until the day his grandfather is attacked near his shrine. But it is not an ordinary attacker. The attacker is a Shikigami (式神?, lit. 'Ritual Gods'), strange monsters with human owners. Riku comes to the scene and that's where he first gets in contact with his Drive (神操機?), the device he uses to call and make a 'contract' (契約 keiyaku?) with Kogenta of the Byakko (白虎のコゲンタ?), his Shikigami and, from that day on, best friend. The Shikigami needs, for special attacks, a special series of Seal (印?, In), one of which happens to be the strange hand movements Riku's grandfather always taught him. As Riku's grandfather decides to leave the house for a journey, the 10-year old boy Souma Asuka (飛鳥 ソーマ Asuka Sōma?) and the 10-year old girl Nazuna (ナズナ?) rent rooms in Riku's house. The 17-year old man, Masaomi, who teaches Riku the secrets of Onmyōdō (such as the use of Tōjinfu, for example), drops by eventually. The three of them have 'contracts' with Shikigami. The main events of Onmyō Taisenki anime are related to the menace of the Chi-ryū (地流?), a powerful Japanese financial group related to the Onmyoudou; attempting to open the four Taiten (Yondaiten (四大天?, lit. the 'Four Great Heavens'); and freeing Utsuho (ウツホ?), a boy who was born with the power to control yōkai (妖怪?), and had been imprisoned for thousands of years.
For specific information, refer to the list of Shikigami.
Onmyō Taisenki shows monsters called Shikigami. There are 24 families of Shikigami (three per family for a total of 72) to represent each Solar term. These monsters are extremely powerful, and their special abilities (必殺術 hissatsu waza?, lit. 'certain-kill techniques') are activated when their owners use certain sequences of In. Every Shikigami has its own In sequences and some have special weapons, which are also activated by the In. Every Shikigami has its own name and a class/family. For example, the name Byakko no Kogenta means Kogenta of the Byakko (白虎 White Tiger?), one of the four Japanese great Gods; the other three are Seiryū (青龍 Azure Dragon?), Genbu (玄武 Black Tortoise?), and Suzaku (朱雀 Vermilion Bird?) family. Class names are usually named after gods and flowers.
The Shikigami can transform into a Daikōjin (大降神 Giant Descended God?), which is a giant and extremely powerful form where they usually go berserk. Although Nazuna says that a true Daikōjin occurs when Mind-Technique-Body are together, Riku has been able to summon one when he is highly desperate and emotional (usually when Kogenta is about to be killed). Shikigami can also transform into Daikōjin form by forcing a Tōjin stone into a Shikigami, as Isou does to his Shikigami, Fuji, in Episode 20 (or by inserting a special chip made from the Tōjin stones into the drive). However, these methods only produce a confused and pained Daikōjin and causes the Drive to sprout coils that will eventually kill the Tōjinshi if the Daikōjin is not defeated. In addition, members of the obliterated sect Jin-ryū have been able to change their Shikigami into Daikōjin by using lengthy series of In.
Later in the series when Kogenta and Rangetsu were fighting together against Mikazuchi, both Riku and Yuuma gain the Master Drive and their partner Shikigami are able to transform into a Chōkōjin (超降神 Super Descended God?), where the Shikigami still have their sanity but a different appearance. Later, Kibachiyo and his partner gain the Master Drive and could also transform into a Chōkōjin.
When a Drive is activated for the first time, the Shikigami will appear behind a shōji and asks what the owner desires, and if it is to the Shikigami's liking, it will accept and a contract will be formed. Once the terms of the contract have been fulfilled, the Tōjinshi and Shikigami will part. However, when a contract is broken (Shikigami dies or Tōjinshi tries to break the contract), the Tōjinshi loses all the memories built since when he first contracted with the Shikigami and usually wanders around lost and depressed while the Shikigami is sent to Naraku (奈落 Underworld?). Similar events happen with Riku in Episode 23-24, as he rejects his contract with Kogenta and consequently does not remember people he only met after he formed the contract, but still remembers his childhood friend Momo.
- God Descend! Byakko no Kogenta (降神! 白虎のコゲンタ?)
- Attack of the Chi-ryū (地流強襲?)
- Clash of the Byakko (白虎激突?)
- Strength of the Sword! Saikaidō Kotetsu (剛剣!西海道虎鉄?)
- Bight Between Dragons and Tigers (竜虎激闘?)
- Dance! Onmyōdō's amulets (舞え!闘神符?)
- Invoke! Wave-Cutting Blade (発動!怒涛斬魂剣?)
- Yumma and Souma (ユーマとソーマ?)
- The Fighting Heart (闘う心?)
- Battle of the Mysterious Ancident Capital (古都 神秘の戦い?)
- Secret of The Ten-ryū Ruins (天流遺跡の秘密?)
- Ten-ryū and Chi-ryū shock, Daikoujin (天地驚愕 大降神?)
- The Bond Between Two People (二人の絆?)
- Demon Invasion (伏魔殿侵入?)
- Escape to the Kimon (鬼門遁走?)
- Return of the Assassin (刺客再来?)
- Byakko's Great Underwater Decisive Battle (白虎水中大決戦?)
- The Sealed Fortress (城塞の封印?)
- Fight to The Death at The Secret Hot Spring (秘湯の死闘?)
- The Terrifying Daikōjin (戦慄の大降神?)
- That name is Yakumo (その名はヤクモ?)
- Seal Engraved on the Heart (心に刻まれた印?)
- White Tiger Disappears (白虎消失?)
- The Past, Once Again (再びの過去?)
- Open, Zero Drive (開放・零神操機?)
- Northeast Opens (大鬼門解放?)
- End of the Season Madness (節季凶乱?)
- Quickenings of the Seal (封印の胎動?)
- Invitation to Enemy Territory (敵地への招待?)
- A man Racing to the 4 Kimon (四鬼門に駆けた漢?)
- Build Up Emotions (重なる想い?)
- Gold Rush at the Beach (渚のゴールドラッシュ?)
- A reunion the transcends time (時を越えた再会?)
- Dragon and Tiger, Again (龍虎、再び?)
- The price of power (力の代償?)
- Stray Shikigami Koroku's Ordeal (はぐれ式神 コロクの試練?)
- Broken Trust (砕かれた信頼?)
- Falling Stars Of Calamity (凶星、流れる?)
- Climatic Battle! Ten and Chi (決戦!天と地と?)
- Master Drive, Byakko Reborn (極めし力 白虎新生?)
- Utsuho Revives (ウツホ復活?)
- Awakening of the Blue (蒼の覚醒?)
- Dirtied Savior (汚された救世主?)
- Red Trap (紅い罠?)
- Burn Up! Sōma (燃えろ!ソ－マ?)
- Farewell, Yakumo (さらば、ヤクモ?)
- Fierce Attack of the Yondaiten (四大天の猛攻?)
- Qualifications to Be the Head (宗家の資格?)
- The End of a Dream (夢の終わり?)
- With Our Bonds At Stake (絆をかけて?)
- Demise of the Taikyoku (終焉の太極?)
- Among The Passing Seasons (巡る節季の中で?)
- Riku Tachibana (太刀花 リク Tachibana Riku?)
- The main character of the show, Riku was originally borne in the Heian Era of Japan as Youmei. His mother sent him into the future, where he was taken up by Sōtarō Tachibana, to avoid dying in the Chi-Ryū raid on the Ten-Ryuu shrine. At the start of the series, he is shy and easily scared. But when he receives the Ten-Ryū Tōjin drive containing Kogenta, Kogenta helps him to become a lot braver and stronger. He has no memory of his time in the Heian era until he goes to Naraku to reunite with Kogenta after losing him by Yūma and Rangetsu. In Naraku, he sees his memory play in front of him, and learns of his past life. He is the head of the Ten-Ryū.
- Kogenta (白虎のコゲンタ Byakko no Kogenta?)
- The shikigami of Riku Tachibana. Kogenta is a member of the Byakko (White Tiger) family of shikigami (leading many to the conclusion that Riku is Ten-Ryū's Head). He is typically cocky, arrogant, and quick to anger. At first he can't believe that he's "Stuck with someone as dimwitted" as Riku, but eventually comes to terms with this and tries to improve Riku's character. He is the first Shikigami to become a Daikōjin, but he considers it an unfair advantage because, in his words, "I can't remember how I beat them and by the time I come to, the fight's already over." Later, Kogenta and Riku learned that Kogenta was the one who killed Riku's parents, but Kogenta couldn't remember as he became a Daikoujin the moment his contract was formed. However, Riku forgives Kogenta. In the finale, Kogenta willingly lets Riku terminate their contract.
- Teru Saigō (西郷 テル Saigō Teru?)
- The first real member of the Ten-Ryū that Riku and Kogenta meet. Teru is broke, and nearly always in debt to someplace (A Hot Spring Hotel, a Beach Bar, and others). He is always happy to receive free food (on account of him being unable to buy his own), and always travels as "Training" as he calls it, normally leaving as soon as someone tells him the rent for wherever he is staying. He even develops a crush on Nazuna, who shows him the literal meaning of "crush". He consides Souma a rival (as both love Nazuna), and only enters the Fukumaden as leader of the Yōkai Extermination Squad formed by Chi-Ryū.
Seiyū (Voice actors)
|Jun Fukuyama (福山潤?)||Riku Tachibana (太刀花 リク?)|
|Sayaka Aida (相田さやか?)||Byakko no Kogenta (白虎のコゲンタ?)|
|Yukimasa Kishino (岸野幸正?)||Sōtarō Tachibana (太刀花 ソウタロウ?)|
|Hisafumi Oda (小田久史?)||Yūma Asuka (飛鳥 ユーマ?)|
|Kenta Miyake (三宅健太?)||Byakko no Rangetsu (白虎のランゲツ?)|
|Byakko no Kogenta's Daikoujin|
|Takuma Takewaka (竹若拓磨?)||Masaomi Ōgami (大神 マサオミ?)|
|Anri Katsu (勝杏里?)||Seiryū no Kibachiyo (青龍のキバチヨ?)|
|Masakazu Morita (森田成一?)||Yakumo Yoshikawa (吉川 ヤクモ?)|
|Makiko Ōmoto (大本眞基子?)||Shōsetsu no Tankamui (消雪のタンカムイ?)|
|Tomonori Yoshida (吉田智則?)||Kurogane no Rikudō (黒鉄のリクドウ?)|
|Tadahisa Saizen (西前忠久?)||Seiryū no Buryune (青龍のブリュネ?)|
|Dōgen (ドウゲン?) [#4]|
|Otoya Kawano (かわのをとや?)||Ikazuchi no Takamaru (雷火のタカマル?)|
|Tomohisa Asō (麻生智久?)||Enoki no Sanemaro (榎のサネマロ?)|
|Giant Kimon Construction Department Chief Nankai (大鬼門建造部長 ナンカイ?)|
|Kaede no Daikaku (楓のダイカク?)|
|Tannin (担任?) [Principal of Riku's class]|
|Villager (村人?) [#7]|
|Risa Hayamizu (早水リサ?)||Souma Asuka|
|Tomomi (トモミ?) [Momo's friend]|
|Akeno Watanabe (渡辺明乃?)||Ikazuchi no Fusanoshin (雷火のフサノシン?)|
|Gasshin [Masaomi as a boy]|
|Yayoi (ヤヨイ?) [Momo's friend]|
|Toraji (トラジ?) [Rina's demon-cat pet]|
|Akemi Kanda (神田朱未?)||Nazuna (ナズナ?)|
|Hōjō no Nene (豊穣のネネ?)|
|Sakura (サクラ?) [#7]|
|Tomohiro Tsuboi (坪井智浩?)||Teru Sarigoru (西郷 テル?)|
|Masashi Yabe (矢部雅史?)||Akagane no Isoroku (赤銅のイソロク?)|
|Aogane no Tsukumo (青錫のツクモ?)|
|Shūsui no Erekiteru (秋水のエレキテル?)|
|Shūsui no Ryūkon (秋水のリュウコン?)|
|Zenjō (ゼンジョウ?) [#31]|
|Shimizu (清水?) [Riku's classmate]|
|Ten-ryū Tōjinshi [#2]|
|Gonpachi (ゴンパチ?) [#6]|
|Yukana Nogami (野上 ゆかな?)||Momo Jōzenji (上善寺 モモ?)|
|Hīragi no Horin (柊のホリン?)|
|Mamiko Noto (能登麻美子?)||Rina Asō (麻生 リナ?)|
|Shōshi (ショウシ?) [Riku's mother]|
|秘書}} [Mikazuchi's personal secretary]|
|Takahiro Mizushima (水島大宙?)||Ryūji Kamiya (香美庢 りゅーじ?)|
|Hīragi no Tōbee (柊のトウベエ?)|
|Kanako Tateno (立野香菜子?)||Yumi Mamiya (間宮 ユミ?) [Riku's teacher]|
|Kanro no Kuradayū (甘露のクラダユウ?)|
|Banjō Ginga (銀河万丈?)||Narrator|
|Akagane no Itsumu (赤銅のイツム?)|
|Michiko Neya (根谷美智子?)||Mizuki (ミヅキ?)|
|Tarō Yamaguchi (山口太郎?)||Issei (イッセイ?) [Riku's father]|
The Onmyou Taisenki manga is published by Jump Comics and runs monthly in V-Jump magazine (2005). Each volume is nine chapters and three have been published: the first one (192 pages) published in October 10, 2004, the second one (200 pages) in August 4, 2005, and the third one (267 pages) in March 3, 2006. The manga has the collaboration of WiZ and Bandai. Each volume costs about 400 Yen (Price inside Japanese territory).
Story of Manga
The Onmyou Taisenki manga does not tell the same history as the anime. The story happens years before the events in the anime. The main character, Yakumo (who also appears on the anime, as a teenager) is the son of Monju, the chief priest of the Taihaku Temple, in Kyoto. Yakumo also trains the In, with a baseball ball. In this temple, a Toujinshi (闘神士?, lit. 'god of war'), and Monju's former teacher, Mahoroba, is imprisoned. The problems start when Mahoroba escapes, gains power, and transforms Monju into stone. Yakumo is called by a Zero Drive, which was one of the treasures of the temple. This Zero Drive handles Byakko no Kogenta. The story of the manga is about Yakumo's first steps with a Shikigami, training with Idzuna (Taihaku Temple's shrine maiden) and seeking Mahoroba through various Japanese historical dates. Famous Japanese historical characters such as Oda Nobunaga can be seen on the manga. The story is cited by Kogenta around episode 35 in the anime. However, not many details are given.
Factual differences with the anime
Even when the story of the Manga and Anime appears to be in the same universe there are some factual differences in the world of the anime and manga. In the manga the names of the shikigamis are created by their Toujinshi at the time of the contract and in the anime the names of the shikigamis are always the same. For example, in the manga the name of the shikigami that once made a contract with Monju is revealed to be "Byakko no Akatsuki", and then it's revealed that is in fact the same shikigami as "Byakko no Kogenta", and the name Kogenta is the name that Yakumo gave him. In contrast the anime reveals that the name of Byakko no Kogenta has been always the same, as is revealed in the anime when the story of the contract between Byakko no Kogenta and Raihou is told. Also, in the manga, there are no factions between the Toujinshi, and every Toujinshi is independent. Even when in the anime almost every Toujinshi uses a Drive, in the manga almost every Toujinshi uses a Toujinki, with the exception of Yakumo who gets his Zero Drive from the Naraku in the middle of Volume 2 in order to save Kogenta because Yakumo's Toujinki is destroyed, and Tsukuyomi that summons his shikigami with Toujin-fu. It also is revealed in the manga that the Drive is in fact a Toujinki prototype. In the anime when the Toujinshi shikigami is defeated the Toujinshi loses his/her memories as Toujinshi and he/she can no longer be a Toujinshi. In the manga the only consequence of a Shikigami defeat is that the Toujinshi can no longer make a contract with that shikigami.
There are three Onmyou Taisenki games, being two for PlayStation 2, and one for Game Boy Advance. The first PS2 game is called 'Onmyou Taisenki - Byakko Enbu' ('陰陽大戦記 - 白虎演舞'?, Onmyou Taisenki - Byakko Dance Performance), and was released in March 31, 2005. The Playstation 2 Eyetoy Camera is required to play this game. The second PS2 game is called 'Onmyou Taisenki - Hasha no In' ('陰陽大戦記 - 覇者の印'?, Onmyou Taisenki - The Champion's seal), and was released in June 26, 2005. It is a side-story with the same characters from the anime, where Kogenta and Riku train and become stronger through five Fukumaden (伏魔殿?, abode of the demons), which are parallel worlds with lots of Youkai (妖怪?, demons/evil gods). The five Fukumaden featured in this game are Fire, Water, Tree, Earth and Disorder (乱 ran?). The 'Gold' element from Onmyoudou is also featured in the game, but there is no Fukumaden for it. The only game for GB Advance is called 'Onmyou Taisenki Reishiki' ('陰陽大戦記 零式'?, Onmyou Taisenki - Zero Ritual), and was released in December 12, 2004. All the three games were released in Japan only.