Ushio and Tora Manga (Hepburn: Ushio to Tora Manga) is a supernatural manga by Kazuhiro Fujita. It was adapted into three OVA series: one with six episodes released from September 11, 1992 to February 1, 1993; one with four episodes released from June 11, 1993 to August 1, 1993; and one single episode OVA released on October 1, 1993
Ushio and Tora centers around the travels and battles of Ushio Aotsuki, who is always being stalked and assisted by a colossal, supernatural, and occasionally imperceptible tiger-like creature named Tora.
Ushio’s family keeps a temple in Japan, where 500 years ago, his samurai ancestor battled that same monster to a standstill, and eventually trapped him against a stone using a cursed spear called the “Beast Spear”, which grants strength, speed, and endurance to the wielder in exchange for his soul. Ushio inadvertently unsealed the cavern Tora was immobilized in.
Initially, Ushio refuses to remove the spear immobilizing Tora down (as Tora made the strategic blunder of mentioning the first thing he would do upon being freed would be to devour Ushio), but Tora’s unsealed presence brings various creatures to the temple. Ushio is driven to free Tora, who’d like to eat Ushio, but dares not since Ushio keeps the spear close by. The series centers around their relationship, interspersed with conflicts against mythological foes, and with Tora’s attempts to grapple with modern life. During the routine conflicts, Ushio slowly begins to find that as much as Tora promises to be irredeemable, the demon takes to fighting evil and defending the innocent with more enthusasim than he cares to admit.
The story also includes Ushio’s relationships with two ladies: the tomboyish Asako Nakamura and the feminine Mayuko Inoue.
Episodic in nature, most of the manga is a series of fights with different yōkai or other creatures from Japanese myths. Major arcs in the storyline:
- The Beginnings
- Journey to Asahikawa
- Crisis at Kouhamei Sect Monastery
- The Kansai Yōkai Army
- Artificial Monster Technology
- The Final Battles