The Law of Ueki (うえきの法則 Ueki no Hōsoku?) is a Japanese manga series by Tsubasa Fukuchi. It was first serialised in the manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday in 2002 and ended in 2004. Sixteen tankōbon volumes was compiled and published by Shogakukan. An anime adaptation was first broadcast on TV Tokyo on April 4, 2005, ended with 51 episodes on March 27, 2006. It was produced by Studio Deen. A manga sequel, The Law of Ueki Plus (うえきの法則プラス Ueki no Hōsoku PURASU?), continues the series as of September 2005 by the same author and in the same magazine.
The manga was licensed for distribution in North America by Viz Media, while the anime adaptation was licensed by Geneon. On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment will still retain the license, Funimation Entertainment will assume exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles. The Law of Ueki was one of several titles involved in the deal. ImaginAsian TV broadcast the anime series to the American audience starting early 2007.
The story starts out with the Battle of the Supernatural Powers, a tournament to decide who will be the next god of The Celestial World (rendered as God Candidates in the Animax version and Kami (天界人) in the Japanese version).
Each candidate (100 in total) is required to choose a junior high school student (middle school) to act as their fighter. The student is given a unique power and told to eliminate as many enemies as possible. The winning god Candidate will become The New god of Heaven and the winning student will receive the Blank Zai (or talent), a talent that can be anything they choose.
While this leads many students to thoughts of greed and selfishness, Kosuke Ueki decides to take it upon himself to win this tournament to keep that power away from those that would abuse such a gift.
Kosuke Ueki is the main character in the series. He is in Class 1-C at Hinokuni Junior High School. Ueki's ability is given to him by Kobayashi (a.k.a. Mr. K), who is also Ueki's homeroom teacher. He is also seen wearing pinkish-red shoes during his first fight with Robert Haydn.
Ueki is an unusually calm individual, and doesn't care about what happens to him. He can be found snoozing in class, letting children use him as a target for shooting soccer balls (or in one case, a surfboard),and also calling the police without panicking when he faces a gang of rowdy teenagers. However, he cares for people around them, even going as far as saving Robert Haydn from falling debris in the Dougra Mansion. He also seems have a strong battle sense, as he often finds his opponent's weak points, or unique strategies to defeat them.
According to a short profile of the main characters of The Law of Ueki (published in the end of manga vol. 16 by the author), Ueki's hobbies include cleaning up his town. In the first volume of the manga, Ueki is seen planting trees in the town park.
Ueki is a genuinely kind person who is always trying to help people. He is also actually a heavenly being sent to Earth by his father in order to take part in this tournament (but unfortunately, his father did not get to become a king candidate so Ueki got picked by Mr. K instead). Being a heavenly being allows him powers beyond his tree-making skills.
During the battle to win the talent of blank, Ueki discovers that he is not just a celestial, but a neo-celestial. Neo-celestials have more power than normal celestials and Ueki uses that power to win battles creatively.
Ai Mori is one of Ueki's classmates at Hinokuni Junior High School. When in a casual mood, Mori is usually upbeat and friendly, although she is often shown with a very shallow side, initially believing that all power-users (with the exception of Ueki) are dangerous enemies that can't be trusted. Still, Mori cares deeply for her friends, especially Ueki. She discovers Ueki's power early on, coming to a rather unusual conclusion and at first believing him to be an alien. Upon learning of the competition Ueki is in, she decides to back him up, to keep him from losing all his talents and disappearing because of it.
She is strict with Ueki at times, especially when he looks like he is about to do something rash. Mori continuously tries to be his voice of reason, although her shallow antics and outspoken personality often annoys him. Later on in the series, she is given an ability by the King of the Celestial World Candidate, Inumaru (Wanko), during Ueki's fight with Sano. However, her power's condition is that her opponent must perform a cutie girl pose (raising the right leg backwards while putting both of the fists close to the chin). Once this power is activated, her opponent falls totally in love with Mori's glasses and will do anything to keep them from harm, even defeat themselves. Also, they will not attack because they may accidentally break the glasses, and will do anything to prevent Mori breaking them.
The food she cooks tends to look rather odd and off-putting (usually with squirming octopus tentacles), but it still tastes good.
Kobayashi, nicknamed as Mr. K (Kobasen (コバセン?, short for Kobayashi-sensei (Teacher Kobayashi)) in the Japanese version), is a teacher at Hinokuni Junior High School. Kobayashi is also a candidate for King of the Celestial World who gives Ueki his power. He is Ueki's homeroom teacher and had been carefully studying him in order to judge his worth for the tournament.
Kobayashi is usually a laid-back, forgetful, and friendly man, although he can be quite serious, depending on the situation. He has a very strong sense of justice, actually inspiring Ueki long ago when he saved him from falling off a building, and acts as both his mentor and role model. He is sent to Hell for saving (and thus helping) Ueki in his first fight against Robert Haydn. He then become Mori's god candidate.
It is mentioned in the show that Kobayashi's least favorite food is fried crickets in soy.
- Seiichiro Sano (佐野 清一郎 Sano Seiichirō?) Voiced by: Soichiro Hoshi (Japanese), Beau Thompson (English)
Sano can change towels into iron by holding his breath. But after he gives the commands, he is sometimes left with a second or two to stop breathing in.
Sano, a 9th grader at Inaho Junior High School, was known as the Genius of Robert's Ten while he was part of it. But he had joined because the leader of Robert's Ten (Karlpaccho) had placed a Death Pentagon on Sano's King of the Celestial World Candidate Inumaru that would kill him by removing all his blood unless he listened to Robert.
Sano can be creative with his power, creating shields, springboards (spring) and even boomerangs which he calls "boomerang cutter".
He has a burn over his left eye which was caused during an accident with a hot spring. Still, he does love those hot springs and hopes to get the talent of blank to obtain the talent of discovery in order to find a hot spring of his own.
His Level 2 makes his steel towels into powerful magnets. Sano is seen teaming up with Rinko in various episodes.
The candidate for King of the Celestial World who gave Sano his power. The two officially pair up for the tournament when Sano risks his life to save a child from a burning building, and Inumaru does likewise despite Sano's threats to decline being his power user if he tries to help.
Inumaru's credo is that he can not ignore people in danger regardless of the reason, which prompts Sano to join, and to think of Inumaru as his friend rather than his Candidate. In Dougra Mansion, after being told that Sano joined Robert's Ten to save him from the Death Pentagon (a small black bug that Karlpacchio attaches to Inumaru's neck, that would suck all of Wanko's blood out of him on command, thus killing him), he contrives to destroy himself, so that Sano can be freed from his obligation.
He gives Mori her power, thus breaking the most important rule of the tournament (King Candidates can only give one power to one person), in order to force himself to go to Hell so that the others would be saved from certain circumstances that threaten the rest of the Ueki Team.
She comes from a rich family and in the past many people had pretended to be her friend so that she would buy them things. Disillusioned with the seeming coldheartedness of the world, she succumbs to Robert's hypnotic charisma and joins the Ten. Initially, Rinko has a crush on Robert since he treats her as a real friend, but she eventually sees Robert for what he really is and joins up with Ueki, indeed becoming his guardian and constant caretaker.
Rinko's Celestial King Candidate is a man named Nikay, one of Margarette's followers whom she hasn't seen since the battle began.
She loves all animals, taking an immediate liking to Tenko (whom she calls "Tenki"), but her weakness for cute things makes her vulnerable.
Rinko's power turns beads into bombs. She also invented some gadgets to supplement her power, such as:
- Platform shoes - Made of a special alloy and then filled with beads she can detonate to perform what she calls the Rinko Rocket. She uses this to blast herself up into the air
- Beads Cannon - Special metal tubes that are filled with beads and then go over her fingers so that she can detonate one bead and send the rest of them rapidly at her opponents.
- Her last accessory is a special glove with beads hidden inside when used with her power, producing a force impact that claims to be as great as a close-contact weapon.
It is wise not to insult her no matter what, for she has a side to her that makes her incredibly unhealthy for the person who insults her; this indicates that she might have multiple personalities. She doesn't seem to realise that she has this "evil" side and fortunately for her that she forgets whatever her "evil" side says or does. This "evil" side seems to be activated whenever someone insults her. The only example of this is when Ban calls her an 'insect' which causes her to become furious and unlock her "evil" side. This "evil" side has no love for animals,as shown when she remorselessly swats away Ban's cute, living Pick with her special glove, then beats Ban by slapping him with the glove relentlessly. In another instance at the end of the manga series, she confesses her love to Robert, but Robert insults her (although he doesn't really meant to) by calling her "small fry". Robert becomes her second victim and has to be hospitalized for a fortnight. It is believed that this "evil" personality emerged after the fight with Team Marilyn, as Rinko was the first to be taken out by them and thus giving Team Marilyn a headstart.
She is also seen teaming up with Sano in various episodes.
- Hideyoshi Soya (宗屋 ヒデヨシ Sōya Hideyoshi?) Voiced by: Kappei Yamaguchi (Japanese), Chris Ippolito (English)
His ability to turn voices into portraits can make voices come out of them. The condition is that he needs to bend his fingers or toes.
He is a power user that Ueki and Mori meet. He is prone to deception, using various novelty gags and tricks in a fight such as soy sauce bomber. He looks out for a group of kids at a place called the Sun House.
His first King of the Celestial World Candidate, Nero, was a kind heavenly being that did not want to become the King of the Celestial World; he simply wanted to help out humans which he did at the Sun House. Hideyoshi offered to become gifted so that Nero could stay longer on Earth. Unfortunately, he helped Hideyoshi during a fight and was sent to Hell.
Then, Hideyoshi received a new King of the Celestial World Candidate, Zack, whom he hates for turning out to be a jerk and wanting him to join forces with a nasty bunch of power users. He agrees to help Ueki when he hears that they can save Nero. Although sometimes cowardly and weak, when Hideyoshi performs his sneak attacks in conjunction with his power he can be a formidable foe.
In one occasion, he put his portraits on Sano's towels, then turned them back to voices in order to launch a sonic attack on Team Marilyn. In addition, his ability to use his opponent voices as well work with his tricks making it easier to deceive his foes.
At the end of the series, Mori refers him as the useless member of Team Ueki. In the anime, Mori refers to him as the secret savior because he gave Ueki one last zai before he disappeared when he was hit by Ueki's Kurogane.
- Tenko (テンコ?)
- Voiced by: Chiwa Saitō (Japanese), Mariette Sluyter (English) (small)
- Voiced by: Takashi Nagasako (Japanese), Jonathan Love (English) (big)
A large tailess yellow fox-like creature with a duiker-like horns on his head, ten blue beady eyes (with the main pair three to six times larger than the other pairs), black bat-like wings, brown stripes on his limbs and with no visible ears that helps Ueki awaken his celestial powers.
He can also change his shape to fit onto Ueki's wrist like an arm protector used by goaltenders in ice hockey to give him advice, and seems to be able to communicate with Ueki telepathically. He is a Celestial Beast who is something of a mutation among his kind (he is born as an ancient version of Celestial Beast, which is a ferocious-looking Godzilla-sized fox-like creature instead of an adorable cat-sized genetically-engineered house pet).
He is treated very poorly by celestials and Ueki is the first to actually treat him with some kindness and respect. He is able to detect the power level of celestials (his eyes lights up and changes colour to red depending on which level the celestial is on) and because of his mutations has a bigger version of what is called the "awakening organ" that can awaken the hidden powers within Ueki.
Unfortunately, he can only use it to train celestials up to 7 levels without dying for every celestial. This means that he can still use it to another celestial. Tenko has an ability to spit out a large, roundish bunny creature (called Healing Beast) that envelops Ueki inside its large, transparent stomach and heals him within 12 hours (in the early episodes).
Fairly harsh with Ueki at times, he is nevertheless happy to have found someone who actually needs him. He also is very useful at giving advice in a fight (he is not allowed to fight or he will be sent to Hell); in the jump rope fight he tells Ueki when the rope is coming. Again, he warns Ueki about the Marilyn team's location in the smoke.
Hanon in the English dub. He is from a race known as the Hellions, who come from the Protectorates clan. Hanon can swallow and absorb people within himself, thus making their bodies his, as well as gaining whatever abilities they have such as Robert's power to make the ideal thing and his sacred treasures.
With a surprisingly humble nature, he has a hard time understanding humans and tends to experiment on them with reckless curiosity. Although it appears that Margarette is his father it is actually a Hellion who swallowed Margarette using his appearance.
Later in the series, he swallows King of the Celestial World and changes up the rules of round 4. He first told Ueki that his dream is to destroy everything (to achieve happiness), but in fact, his real dream is to have someone who can beat him.
- Robert Haydn (ロベルト·ハイドン Roberuto Haidon?) Voiced by: Mitsuki Saiga (Japanese), Sean Broadhurst (English)
Robert Haydn is a frightening person with an equally frightening power. He can boost his own natural sacred treasures by modifying them to a perfect ideal like absolute accuracy or ideal protection. The fault in this is that for every time he creates an ideal, he loses a year of his life, but once he creates this ideal he can use it any time he wants to. His abilities can't be used on living things, however, but his changes change as his ideals change, such as turning his Kurogane rapid-fire and/or unblockable. His level 2 power allows him to change gravity, and he can also make soap bubbles that can reverse gravity as well.
That is also why the reason he forms Robert's Ten. They act as his brawn, doing the fighting for him in order to save those precious years. He is a fairly nasty character, not caring who he harms and how badly they are harmed. Like Ueki, he is a celestial with more power than the gift given by his King of the Celestial World Candidate.
But unlike Ueki, however, Robert has been training in his power for quite a long time. Robert has an unfortunate past in which he was treated as a monster by the people of his town. After being betrayed by his friends, he starts to hate humanity and destroys the entire village where he lived (1/3 in the manga) and gets eaten by Hanon (but later Hanon spits him out in order to get Ueki to vanish).
At the end of the series, he becomes a nice person like his childhood self, having been touched by Ueki and his friends.
He is Robert's father and the candidate for King of the Celestial World who gives him his power. Margarette sends his own son to Earth as a child so that he could choose him for the tournament. He is not above sneaky tactics to ensure his son's victory.
Later, his body is possessed by a Hellion with the intention of taking over Heaven. In this new form, he puts Ueki in his awakening organ (It turns out that he also absorbed Celestial Beasts similar to Tenko), and advances Ueki to his 9 and 10 star treasures.
Initially, fights in the tournament consist of a battle between two power users - one wins by knocking the other opponent out.
When a knock-out is obtained, the loser will lose their power and the winner will gain a talent Zai (才?), which is a talent of some sort (e.g. "talent of running," "talent of studying," and so on). A power user who has lost a fight is disqualified and their power is labeled "retired."
The rules for the combatants of the tournament revolve around the talents:
- Power users are not allowed to use their powers against non-power users, or they lose one talent for each hit.
- If the power user loses all of his/her talents, then he/she will disappear.
- Every time a power user knocks out another power user, he/she will gain another talent, senseless or not.
- If, for any reason, both contestants become unconscious at the same time, the round is a draw: no talents will be gained, and no powers are lost. The contestants must be knocked out within 5 seconds of each other, or the last contestant wins.
There are also rules which apply to the Celestial World Candidates, also known as God Candidates. The punishment for breaking them is that the candidate is sent to Hell.
- Candidates are not allowed to interfere with their power user's fight. This means that they are not allowed to provide their power users with more supplies to use their power (this may only apply to during a fight), or even save them from dying.
- Candidates are only allowed to grant a power to one individual. However, it is possible for two candidates to give a power each to one person; if found out, though, it will lead to a disqualification of both candidates.
- Candidates cannot harm any non-power users, the same rule apply on power users.
Near the end of the tournament, power users are allowed to form groups of five for "battle royale"-style fighting. Knock-outs during this stage do not result in losing powers. Each team is given a penalty if it loses, such as having all of the members die or losing their hair in addition to losing their powers.
To decide who receives the Blank Talent among the winning team, a device is used to measure the growth in power that each participant has shown from the beginning to the end of the tournament. To decide who is to become King of the Celestial World, the winning team votes which of the candidates should be given that honor.
All heavenly beings have the potential to master a total of ten attacks which correspond with different levels of their growth. These attacks are called Jingi, or "sacred treasures". Higher level sacred treasures have a higher damage capability than lower ones. If a heavenly being is a power-user (having received a power from a God Candidate), their power is merged with their sacred treasures. In the case of Ueki, he manifests these abilities through his talent of tree growth. A heavenly being's sacred treasures with no special powers will take the form of stone. In the Battle Game, there are only six heavenly beings: Ueki, Robert, Kilnorton, Diegostar, Balo and Ban Dicoot, but only Ueki and Robert are level 2 power users.
List of sacred treasures
- The 1-star sacred treasure, gained through consciousness/realization of the fact that the user is a heavenly being. It is a large cannon grown out from the user's arm that fires a large ball at the opponent. For Ueki, a large cannon grows out from a tree and fires a large ball of wooden strands at the opponent. It is first seen in the first intro of the show when Robert Hayden as a child is pointing it at the sky. The first time it is used is in the battle between Ueki and Alessio Iuliano
- The 2-star sacred treasure, gained through perseverance. It is a giant arm shield grown out of the ground to protect the user from attacks, but it can also be used offensively by striking at enemies. It is first seen when Ueki was defending himself from Tenko.
- The 3-star sacred treasure gained through firmness. The user must master "A heart that never wavers no matter what" (Fuwaku). Ranma is a gigantic sword grown from the arm of the user. Ueki's Ranma grows out from a tree to strike the opponent. It is first seen in the battle where Ueki uses it to retire Oni. The shape of the blade varies from user to user.
- The 4-star sacred treasure, gained through body and strength. Mash is a cube-like big mouth that chomps the opponent. It can jump out of the ground towards the opponent. Ueki's Masshu is a big mouth with tree legs that comes from the ground to chomp the opponent. It is first seen in the second battle between Ueki and Don. Masshu can be used to defend against attacks as well by chomping on Kurogane, Ranma and Pick. Notably, Robert can make his Masshu travel along the ground, and make it turn red or blue to make the opponent drawn to or pushed away from the ground, which was seen when he was battling Ueki in the Dogura Mansion
- The 5-star sacred treasure gained through centralization. Pick is a large column that quickly shoots out from the arm of the user towards the opponent. It can be pointed downwards to propel the user upwards or it can be detached from the arm and used as a ramp. Ueki's Pick grows from a tree and has yellow and black stripes. Each heavenly beings Pick are made from differing matter and have different markings on them, but Robert Haydn's pick is the shape of a corkscrew and Balo's pick is also pointed at the end. Pick is first seen in the battle between Ueki and Yunpao in the Dogura Mansion.
- The 6-star sacred treasure, gained through anticipation. Raika is a pair of rollerblade-like attachments on the user's feet allowing them rapid movement on the ground but the user is unable to jump. It is first seen in the battle between Ueki and Carl Pacchio.
- The 7-star sacred treasure, gained through speed. A grid of light appears on the ground, followed by a boxed wall that shoots up from anywhere on the grid to capture the opponent. Any attempts to attack while inside the box are futile and can be directed back at the captured. The opponent only has half a second to avoid imprisonment. It is first seen in the battle between Ueki and Caption (Though there is speculation that it was first shown when Robert encased Ueki in a special transparent room during Mori and Kabara's fight that meet Gulliver's effects).
- The 8-star sacred treasure, gained through capturing. The appearance is that of a massive whip. It is a highly flexible weapon which can be turned in any direction desired by the user. It is first seen in the match between Ueki and Guitar.
- The 9-star sacred treasure of flight, gained through balance. A pair of wings will appear on the user's back, granting them flying capabilities. It is first seen in the second opening theme of the series, although it was first used in a fight between Ueki and Anon. The color of the wings varies from user to user.
- Known as archenemy in the manga. The 10-star sacred treasure, gained through will. Summons a creature that varies from heavenly being to heavenly being. Maoh is a formless weapon. The power of the summon is based on the will of the fighter, which in Ueki's case was to protect his friends. Ueki's Maoh takes the form of Kobayashi and is relatively weak compared to Anon's Maoh due to his low will power. But due to an increase in Ueki's wishes to save his friends, his Maoh's strength increased and he gained control over it.
- Robert's Archenemy is an extremely monstrous black skeletal ram and is the embodiment of his hatred for humanity. It is used by Anon after he absorbs Robert. Maoh can only be used only six times in a lifetime. First mentioned in the ending scenes of the battle between Robert Haydn and Ueki. First appearance in the battle between GOD and Margarette, although it was attempted by Robert in the Dogura Mansion where he was prevented by Kobasen along with the ending of round 1.
- This level is attained only by Robert Haydn, Kosuke Ueki, God, and Margarette (Robert's God Candidate).
Demi-weapon - Dentso
- The unknown sacred treasure that changes the geography of any place. Only God has this power, but since Anon can absorb powers from whom he devours, he wields it and creates the pathway, where the last battle takes place.
Every middle school students have talents that help them in battle or in life. An important rule in the tournament to prevent power users from attacking anyone they please is that the power user will lose a talent if they attack a non-power user, but they can gain a random talent by knocking out another power user. If the power user loses all their talents, they will vanish.
Ueki starts the series with eleven talents: Girl charisma, ability to study, ability to run, accuracy, ability to eat fast, ability to search, lottery, animal charisma, ability to swim, ability to dodge, and the ability to imitate. However, those soon begin to dwindle down because of his desire to protect innocent civilians with his powers, a source of endless frustration to Mori.
"The Talent of Blank"
The talent of blank zai is seen hanging outside Ueki's bag during the ending theme song. The talent he chose was "Talent of Reunion".
Robert Haydn's name and personality is a reference to the African American poet Robert Hayden (1913 - 1980). His entire childhood was fraught with traumatic events and parental abuse. One of his more famous poems "The Whipping" was about a child who was being beaten by his grandmother, with underlying symbolism of slavery.
- No Regret by Kumi Koda (Episodes 33-51)
- Lyricist: rom△ntic high
- Composer and arranger: Greenwich Fields
- Kono Machi de wa Dare Mo ga Mina Jibun Igai no Nani Ka ni Narita garu (この街では誰もがみな自分以外の何かになりたがる?) by The Ivory Brothers (Episodes 33-42)
- True Blue by Hitomi Shimatani (Episode 51)
|Source||Reviewer||Grade / Score||Notes|
|Anime News Network||Carlo Santos||Overall (dub): D|
Overall (sub): C
|DVD/Anime Review of DVD 1|
|AnimeOnDVD||Chris Beveridge||Content: C|
The Law of Ueki was also adapted into a PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance game released only in Japan. The PlayStation 2 game is called "Ueki no Hōsoku: Taosu ze Roberuto Jūdan!!" (うえきの法則: 倒ぜロベルト十団!?) while the Game Boy Advance game is called "Ueki no Hōsoku: Jingi Sakuretsu! Nōryokusha Battle" (うえきの法則: 神器炸裂!能力者バトル?). They are based on the story of the anime.
References in other media
- ↑ Anime News Network (2008-07-03). "FUNimation Entertainment and Geneon Entertainment Sign Exclusive Distribution Agreement for North America". Press release. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2008-07-03/funimation-entertainment-and-geneon-entertainment-sign-exclusive-distribution-agreement-for-north-america. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- ↑ "The Law of Ueki." Animax India. March 15, 2007. Retrieved on July 23, 2009.
- Web Sunday on Law of Ueki Plus (Japanese)
- Avex Mode on The Law of Ueki (Japanese)
- TV Tokyo on The Law of Ueki (Japanese)
- The Law of Ueki (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Funimation's The Law of Ueki webpage
- Geneon's The Law of Ueki page (Archived)ca:La Llei de Uekiko:우에키의 법칙