Akai Hayate

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“Akai Hayate” is a 4-volume OVA from 1992, original story and screenplay by Osamu Yamasaki, the director of the historical ninja OVA, “Yōtōden”.

For over a thousand years Japan has been controlled behind the public eye by the shadow ninja organization, Shinogara. Consisting of a fragile alliance of different ninja factions, the association is on the brink of self-destruction. In the 20th century, the time of secret ninja rule is entering its twilight. The heir of the main family, Hayate, hates Shinogara, viewing it as an unnecessary, outdated company that uses, abuses, and destroys all those under its control.

Desiring to bring about Shinogara's end, Hayate allies himself with the equally dissatisfied Nanso Faction. But before he can take action against the company, its leader, Tanzo Kanuma (his own father), is killed. The evil Genbu seizes this opportunity to grasp power for himself. Under the pretext of helping one of Shinogara’s elder members, Ranotei, gain leadership, he accuses Hayate of patricide. And while playing the role of Ranotei’s flunky, he forms his own “alliance” with the Ninja Princess of the Serizawa Faction, Miyabi.

Framed for the murder of his father, Hayate; along with his sister, Shiori; the like-minded leader of the Kanto region, Ikkaku Date; and the Nanso strategist, Shuri Satomi; flees Shinogara’s mountain base. But while Hayate is making his escape, he is fatally injured by Sanezuna Kuroda. In order to protect the life of his sister, before he dies he uses the secret art of Shadow Possession to fuse his soul with hers. With the Shadow Possession technique, Shiori can call forth her Shadow-Armor clad brother to take over her body in order to defeat the ninja sent to kill her by Shinogara. There is a catch however, each time she calls upon the spirit of Hayate, his soul becomes more dominant, and it will slowly, eventually take permanent possession of her body.

Shiori must reunite with Ikkaku and the Nanso Faction to take down Shinogara in order to save Japan from Genbu’s clutches, all the while struggling to maintain control of her own body and the continued existence of her very soul!

Though at times hard to follow, “Akai Hayate” interestingly fuses ancient ninja arts with its urban modern day setting. Dark stylized “classic comic art” posed heroes, corporate politics (Ninjas, Inc.!), fast paced fights, exploration of the motivating influences behind actions, and some beautiful character designs, combine to make it a memorable anime.


 Akai Hayate 01

 Akai Hayate 02

 Akai Hayate 03

 Akai Hayate 04
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Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

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