(Garō Den THE LEGEND OF THE FIGHTING WOLVES)
|Written by||Baku Yumemakura|
|Written by||Baku Yumemakura|
|Illustrated by||Keisuke Itagaki|
|Published by||Kodansha/Akita Shoten|
|Magazine||Young Magazine Uppers, Evening|
|Original run||1999 – present|
|Released||November 17, 2005|
|Garōden Breakblow Fist or Twist|
|Released||March 15, 2007|
Garouden (餓狼伝?) is a series of Japanese martial arts novels by Baku Yumemakura. They have been adapted as a feature film, a manga by Keisuke Itagaki (of Baki the Grappler fame), and two video games. The film was released on January 25, 1995. The two video games are Garōden Breakblow (餓狼伝 Breakblow?) (ja), released November 17, 2005 and Garōden Breakblow Fist or Twist (餓狼伝 Breakblow Fist or Twist?) (ja), released March 15, 2007, both for PlayStation 2.
Fighting expert Bunshichi Tanba enjoys defeating fighting TV champions and celebrities on the street until he stumbles in the underground wrestling club known as FAW ( federation of amateur wrestling), unfortunately he's defeated by one of the underdogs of the wrestling world and forces himself to improve and looks for a rematch.
Years later he returns better than even and his fights attract the attention of the two "monsters" of the fighting world that are constantly in competition with each other, Makoto "the great" Tatsumi, owner of the FAW and with a power and charisma unrivaled in the ring, and "the demon of karate" Matsuo Shozan, owner of the best Karate schools in Japan and with a power and speed that's almost godlike.
Both will try to recruit Tanba to their own side and Tanba will experience a fighting world like he has never seen, with friends and rivals everywhere, he must have to step to the many challenges that present in front of him, also it has the special appearance of other martial arts characters from his other fighting novel series, the gate of the lions.
- Tanba Bunshichi: The main protagonist fighting to prove his strength to himself. After losing a match to Kajiwara he realized he wasn't as strong as he perceived himself to be and disappeared for three years in which he trained himself intensely to avenge his loss and never lose to anyone again. After avenging his defeat by Kajiwara at a FAW show, he is then approached by the Great Tatsumi & Shozan Matsuo who want to bring him to their respective sides after seeing the great potential he hides as a fighter. Later on he encounters the "fake Bunshichi" Fujimaki Jyuzo who has been defeating Hokushin fighters in order to lure him out due to the bad press he has been spreading by using Tanba's name. After fighting to a stand still and meeting two people from Fujimaki's past, he witnesses Jyohei Tsutsumi take out Yakuza gangsters who have been harassing him on the street. This brings out a desire to challenge him, which culminates in a fight organized by Tatsumi. There, Bunshichi remembers his first act of violence towards another human from years ago. The match was an "everything goes" fight which culminated when Tanba defeated Jyohei by knockout. After the Hokushinkai tournament, he set off to challenge various masters in no-rules street fights. He is currently fighting Teruo Kitaoka, who is still recovering from injuries suffered during the tournament.
- Fujimaki Jyuzo: Appears as a mysterious figure wearing a baseball cap and sweat suit, as a practitioner of "Takemiya Ryuu" (a hybrid of Aikido, jiu jitsu and karate). He is on the run from the authorities for savagely killing the man who raped the woman he loved, Saeko. He begins using the name "Bunshichi Tanba" to defeat various Hokushin fighters in order to draw out the real Bunshichi. They finally meet in a playground, acknowledging each other's fighting spirit, and begin fighting. After implementing various striking and submission techniques, the fight ends in a draw due to the surprise appearance of Saeko and the man he wishes to destroy, Tsutomu Himekawa, Saeko's lover. Invited by him to join in Matsuo's tournament he ambushes him in a graveyard where he reveals he can't enter due to his status as a wanted man, later he challenges Matsuo, ending struck down by him and meets Nagata Hiroshi where he propositions to train him for the upcoming tournament. He is seen in the crowds wearing a disguise while watching Nagata fight at the competition where he reveals himself after a moment of uneasiness overtakes him. After Himekawa defeats Nagata in the finals (suffering a broken arm in the process), Fujimaki faces him for one more encounter, intentionally breaking his own arm for equality. He is again defeated by Himekawa, but not before causing Himekawa to bite his own tongue off in order to survive the "Jikaburi" a high-speed throw that planted him squarely on his head. He was on the verge of victory, but in a moment of shocking stupidity decided to attempt a flying kick, which Himekawa countered by side-stepping and slamming his head into the ground, knocking him out and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
- Shozan Matsuo: Founder of the Hokushin School. One of the strongest characters in the Garouden series, that not even Tanba Bunshichi, and Fujimaki Jyuzo could defeat him. A master karate who wishes to measure his strength. Calls himself "The Strongest of all". Wishing to fight strong opponents, he organizes a tournament with Tatsumi giving the winner a chance to challenge him. Himekawa wins the tournament, however his injuries won't allow him to fight Shozan. Matsuo uses this opportunity to showcase his skills against 2 men in an exhibition, a top Yakuza enforcer and a SWAT team officer armed with "Duralium" riot shield and billy club, defeating them both easily. Based on real life Kyokushinkai Karate fighter Mas Oyama, founder of the Kyokushinkaikan karate.
- Jyohei Tsutsumi: Student of the Hokushin school. A deliveryman by day, he is a fierce fighter that awed Bunshichi with his fighting skills. Harboring a desire to fight him and with Matsuo Shozan's approval, Tatsumi organizes an everything goes fight with Tanba which ends with him defeating Jyohei by knockout. Tsutsumi is visited by Tanba in the hospital while he is recovering showing that the two have become friends.
- Hiroshi Nagata: Pro wrestler and star of the FAW. He announces his intention of fighting in the tournament to the press despite some resistance from the head trainer. In order to prepare he challenges the Hokushin school by fighting several of their fighters winning the respect of Matsuo Shozan. He has a sparring match with Tsutsumi before his match with Bunshichi and is later approached by Fujimaki who helps train him for the upcoming tournament. He is also helped by Kajiwara who acting as his trainer/cornerman during the competition, he reaches the finals where his final opponent is Himekawa. During a grueling back and forth battle, Nagata landed the Ko-ou (a combination throw consisting of a flying knee to the chin turning into a knee to the back of the skull with an arm locked), dislocating Himekawa's shoulder and until that point in the manga had been a sure KO. However, this time it was not meant to be, as Himekawa recovered instantly, and while Nagata was celebrating he turned around only to be met with a Himekawa kick to the chin, knocking him out.
- Teruo Kataoka: A master of "Shisei kan" karate, a crude and painful style that is based into inflicting damage on one's body to make it tougher, thanks to this painful training, he molded his body into a solid weapon that can crush concrete blocks and bend metal, he destroys his opponents on tournaments but he has never stepped into the "street fighting world". In the tournament he is eliminated by Hikoichi Kurama by way of suplex. He is currently fighting Tanba in a no-rules street fight.
- Makoto Tatsumi/Great Tatsumi: Originally from Brazil, this man, half Brazilian-half Japanese, was the adopted son of a cruel wrestler that enjoyed torturing him. He later confronted the man in a restaurant bathroom and castrated him with his bare hands, before leaving the man to commit seppuku. He became a pro wrestler and soon became bored with the theatrics and fakeness of pro wrestling and stepped into the "underground stage" in the USA, where human beings were treated as cockfighters. He met Crybaby Sakura and after a series of encounters, he earned a huge sum of money and started under his company "Toyo Puroresu" the Federation of Amateur Wrestling (FAW) currently he challenged Matsuo Shozan to a big "five on five" Legendary battle. He is based on real life pro wrestling legend Antonio Inoki.
- Crybaby Sakura: A figure from Great Tatsumi's past, Crybaby Sakura was the boss of the no-holds-barred mixed martial arts ring that Tatsumi fought in as part of his quest to become a great fighter. When Tatsumi defeated every opponent put in front of him, Sakura decided to step back into the ring himself. A colossal man, easily seven feet tall, Sakura was a terrifying and bizarre opponent. He had been blinded at age fifteen by his mother, who gouged his eyes out in a fit of insanity after being dumped by a rich man she had been dating. His other senses now border on the superhuman, and his harsh training and bizarre lifestyle-he claims to eat, sweat and otherwise excrete twenty times more than a normal man, sans tears-make him a monstrous and almost invincible opponent. He reveals during his fight with Tatsumi that in all of the fights he has been in, whenever he is knocked out, a door appears before him that won't open, and believes Tatsumi is the man that can open it for him. He nearly kills Tatsumi before being defeated in an upset victory, after which he cries for the first time in years. He later has Tatsumi snap his neck, allowing the door to open and letting him reunite with his (idealized) mother in a sort of afterlife, having been restored to a pre-pubescent and non-blind version of himself. Tatsumi quietly leaves as he sees a vision of his greatest rival happily playing with his mother among the stars.
- Ryuji Kubo: Tanba's best friend and sparring partner, he looks up to Bunshichi and considers him his Sensei even though he went missing for 3 years he was more than welcome at Tanba's return and continued their friendship.In Tanba's absence he supplemented his own training at a small branch of Houkushinkaikan but never bothered to advance himself in rank by formally joining the school, he was still of course able to easily defeat everyone else at this Dojo but felt unfulfilled with the training without Tanba's guidance
- Toshio Kajiwara: FAW wrestler that is the first to defeat Bunshichi Tanba in the beginning of the manga, 3 years later at a return wrestling match to Japan he is defeated by Tanba rather quickly thus avenging his loss. After the Tanba vs Jyohei match he was scheduled to fight a judo fighter but was defeated by a rising pro wrestling star in the locker room Hikoichi Kurama by use of the Giant Swing. He is later Helping Nagata prepare by helping him train for the tournament and acting as his cornerman.
- Tsutomu Himekawa: A disciple of Shozan Matsuo who tried to fight him and got his arm broken. But, Tsutomu didn't lose the fight. It ended in a draw to be resolved later. His speed and accuracy are unmatched and he fights and wins in beautiful style, just like an ice skater or a ballet dancer would perform their skills. He is the one that aims to defeat Shozan and has never lost a fight. He entered the tournament to finally get the chance to challenge his teacher winning all of his matches easily without much of a struggle and is currently in the finals where he will face FAW wrestler Hiroshi Nagata. He defeats Nagata in the finals only to be faced again by Fujimaki, where he is pushed to his limit, trading multiple full-strength blows before winning via countering Fujimaki's flying kick attempt by slamming his head into the ground. Due to his injuries, however, he is unable to face Shozan Matsuo.
- Hikoichi Kurama: A rising pro wrestling star,Great Tatsumi's prized pupil whom he considers can carry on his legacy,incredibly strong and a fast learner,though young, brash and arrogant, often before any of his training or matches he is receiving phone calls from one of his many girlfriends berating him on not spending enough time with them or suspicion of another woman,Tatsumi has him train for Matsuo's tournament by sparring 3 Pro Wrestling trainees with karate experience and he defeats them effortlessly, after which Tatsumi has a master of a more lethal and ancient form of karate spar with him, though Kurama is defeated in this match he picks up and learns several techniques quickly and though it would be assumed he would recover bloodied and beaten he heads off straight away to meet up with one of his girlfriends.He later tries to make himself known to the public by competing in Tatsumi's fighting event by knocking out Kajiwara in the locker room to face his opponent.