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Not Your Momma's Buddha

Dramatis Personae | Synopses | Gallery

Mukashi-mukashi, there was a boy--and not just any boy, but a Japanese high-schooler, and we all know what that means. Demons and magical powers! The demons were spirits called hyouki which possessed people and made them go wild and beat other people up aesthetically, and the magical powers were provided by a pantheon of Buddhist deities who possessed other people and made them beat up the hyouki-possessed people aesthetically. Our boy, Rurikou Atsuma, got hit by a car on page 15 of Volume 1, and a deity named Yakushi made a deal with him: Let me possess you, and I'll keep you alive.

Fair deal. Our hero says yes. Soon he's fighting hyouki in between his regular round of classes, getting beaten up by the school bully, and pining after Shimizu Miyako. His smooth, orderly life is complicated by the fact that Miyako has fallen, Lois Lane-like, for Yakushi, and the school bully's bout with a hyouki leaves the school bully so drained that his only hope for survival is to cut a deal with Yakushi's sweet and gentle assistant Gakkou.

And everyone wears 80's "Like a Virgin" Madonnawear!

Well, at least the gods do.

Pretty soon Rurikou's suburb is awash with highschoolers who turn into gods. Like any self-respecting pantheon, the gods don't get along with each other; most of them think that Yakushi's idea of helping the humans to fight the hyouki is meddlesome and wrong and Not the Way Things are Done. Much trouble ensues. Exactly how much trouble ensues, I don't know, since I don't read Japanese well enough to find out. I'll tell you when I find out.

Yakushi ran in Nora Comics from 1991 to 1994. The author, Nozomi Watase, has written other series, including Dark Dash.

Dramatis Personae

  The Gods in order of appearance
  Yakushi, rough and loudmouthed savior of mankind. Rurikou Atsuma channels him.

In traditional Buddhism, Yakushi is the name of the Medicine Buddha, the aspect of the Buddha which *****. None of the sutras mention ass-kicking as one of his talents.

  Gakkou, Yakushi's sweet and gentle assistant. He carries a staff with rings on the end, just like Chichiri and Rezo and every other self-respecting anime monk, but his staff has one important improvement: a spearhead on the business end. Odamono Tatsuya channels him.

In traditional Buddhism, Yakushi is sometimes accompanied by two bodhisattvas (enlightened souls who have put off entering Nirvana and becoming a buddha in order to stay on earth and help other creatures to reach enlightenment), Nikkou (daylight) and Gakkou (moonlight). Ass-kicking isn't usually one of their talents, either.

  Amita, Yakushi's big brother. He opposes Yakushi; he believes that since the hyouki are drawn to a human's negative energies, if a human gets possessed by a hyouki, it's no more than the human deserves. Shimizu Shougo channels him.
Shana, Yakushi's big brother and speaker for Shaka.
Deeva Datta, Yakushi's best friend in the home of the gods, Sukaavatii. He hears what Yakushi has to say, takes it to the next level, and tries to foment rebellion in Sukaavatii. Shaka exiles him.

Devadatta was

Shaka, leader of the gods and Yakushi's big brother. Yorimasa is his medium.
  Aanahita, who looks a hell of a lot like Miyako.
  Kannon, a young goddess who is in love with Yakushi. She comes to earth to help Yakushi in his struggle. She could have chosen a better medium than Yakushi's medium's little sister, though. That's bound to put a damper on any relationship. It doesn't help that Amita is in love with Kannon and Shimizu, Amita's medium, is in love with Hikaru, Kannon's medium.

Kannon is also known as Quan Yin or ***, the bodhisattva of compassion.

Fudou is a gibbering idiot.

Finally, someone who's supposed to kick ass! Fudou Myou-oo

Aizen Haname is her medium.
  Rurikou Atsuma, our hero.
  Odamono Tatsuya
  Shimizu Miyako, secret heartthrob of Rurikou, Odamono, and possibly Yakushi and Gakkou.
  Shimizu Shougo, Miyako's big brother and an all-around git. He makes more than enough trouble for Rurikou, but fate gets him back when he falls for Rurikou's little sister.
  Rurikou Hikaru, Rurikou's evil and tough-minded little sister. She stares down hyouki, snaps at the boy who swoops in to save her (this would be Shimizu), and lets Kannon possess her only after her mother offers to take Kannon up on her offer instead. She also asks her brother things like, "Have you had sex yet? Was she an amateur or a pro?"
Rurikou ***, Rurikou's entirely too enthusiastic mother.
  Yakushi meets this guy in the middle of a fight with a hyouki. The hyouki gets away; Yakushi tells "Pops" to get lost and cops major divine attitude. The guy does what any self-respecting mortal would do when snubbed by a god: He takes Yakushi's weapon from him, whips Yakushi's ass, and grins. Then he tells Yakushi that 20 years ago, he was Yakushi's medium. (So why didn't Yakushi remember? Jerk.)

For those of you who are squicked by the current Yakushi, who looks about 13 years old, I present to you a picture of Yakushi as he looks when he possesses a young man:

***'s son found out that his father used to be a medium, and went dabbling in the occult so he could be as cool as his father used to be. He didn't find a god to possess him, though--he found a demon.

  Yorimasa has a fierce love/hate/love/loathe/despise/hate relationship with his childhood friend, ***. He's also a possession slut: He's the medium of not one, but two gods. Fudou gets him first and passes him on to Shana when Fudou isn't strong enough to do the job.
  Odazori Haname is in love with her childhood friend, Yorimasa. She covers it up with condescension, though. She is Aizen's medium.


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