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Tora (とら, literally Tiger) is the deuteragonist of the Ushio and Tora series and was given his name by Ushio Aotsuki. He is a large tiger-like yokai that was born in India, 2491 years before the start of the story.
Born in 500 BCE as a human named Shagakusha (シャガクシャ), he was called a cursed child due to the fall of a meteor that killed everyone within its vicinity except for him when he was a baby. Several years later as an adult, he stood at the vanguard of his country's army and was revered as a hero.
After transforming into an Azafuse due to wielding the Beast Spear, he was known as Nagatobimaru (
Tora is capable of a variety of abilities, including remaining invisible and intangible to humans, physically appearing at will, extending his hair, making dolls from his hair that can resemble someone else, locating whoever holds a strand of his hair, shapeshifting, and manipulating fire, lightning, and wind.
Tora is a gigantic orange yokai in the form of a humanoid tiger. His hair is thick, spiky, extremely wide, and goes down to his legs. In the anime, the majority of his hair is a darker shade of orange than his skin color, whereas his bangs are mainly red with a small spiky white patch in the center. In the manga covers, his hair is mostly the same color as his skin with red and white highlights spread throughout. His upper body resembles a human's with a similar type of chest, biceps, and hands. However, his five fingers have sharp claws. Tora's lower body is similar to a tiger's hind legs, as he has thick thighs and thin lower legs. He has three toes on each foot. While Tora is capable of standing and fighting bipedally, he typically stays in a crouching position with his hands touching the ground in front of his feet. To move around, he either flies or runs in a quadrupedal manner.
Tora's eyes are completely white, devoid of any pupils or irises. He has long black eyelashes pointed diagonally upward which extends beyond the front of his bangs. His eyelashes converge in the center of his face above his nose, connecting to two black stripes underneath both eyes. He has a pair of similar black stripes with a spiky pattern on his forearms, near his wrists. Tora's cheeks are slightly round along with a pointed chin. He has a black nose in the shape of a tiger's, as well as sharp fangs.
When he was a human, Shagakusha had brown skin, brown eyes, a muscular body, and black mid-length hair up to his neck. His clothing was all white, consisting of a turban, a mundu, and an open sleeveless shirt. As an adult, his muscle mass largely increased and he wore the same type of clothing except for having sandals and jewelry. He was adorned with a gold cuff bracelet on his right wrist, one gold armband on his left bicep, a metal bracelet on his left wrist, as well as a red choker necklace.
Around 800 years later, Shagakusha had several wrinkles and became extremely thin compared to his past physique but still had visible biceps, triceps and abdominal muscles. He grew a long moustache and beard, and his hair grew to the length of his upper back. He was shirtless and wore a white cape over his shoulders. His mundu was firmly wrapped around his waist and he had slightly loose brown trousers cut above the knee. He lost all of his old jewelry but instead had three gold bangle bracelets on his left wrist. His right shoulder remained torn open due to Hakumen no Mono bursting out of it centuries ago.
- Tora is often symbolized as the sun, while Ushio is symbolized as the moon (Aotsuki means blue moon).
- In the two Japanese fan polls conducted by Weekly Shonen Sunday, Tora was consistently the most popular character, beating Ushio who ranked second both times.
- Tora's birth name, Shagakusha, has a few different meanings from Japanese, Hinduism, Sanskrit, and Buddhism.
- The Iris japonica (fringed iris) flower is called shaga in Japanese, which is naturally found in China, Japan, and tropical regions of Asia. Shagakusha gives a white flower to Rama's Sister.
- Kusha is the son of Rama (the 7th avatar of Vishnu) and Sita from the Ramayana. In Ushio and Tora, Rama is the name of the boy who is Shagakusha's attendant.
- The Desmostachya bipinnata plant is called kusha in India, and known for having sharp edges. Kusha is the root of the Sanskrit word kushala, meaning expert, tactful, or sharp in the sense of keen intelligence (because of the sharp tips of the grass). Kusha grass is mentioned in the Rig Veda for its use in sacred ceremonies and is specifically recommended by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita as part of the ideal seat for meditation. Various Puranas and Upanishads mention that kusha grass was formed by the hairs of Vishnu's Kurma avatar, granting it with spiritual and purifying properties. Tora is capable of manipulating his hair to an extreme degree, and extending his hair into sharp weapons is one of his specialties.
- Although Kazuhiro Fujita stated that Tora was a completely original idea inspired by Raiju, he additionally bears many similarities to Vishnu's Narasimha avatar, who is depicted as having a human torso with a lion face and claws. Narasimha is stated to be neither man nor animal, and uses his sharp claws to disembowel the demon that angered him in order to protect his devotee. He is known for his divine anger and referred to by many other names in mantras and prayers, including the following:
- "One with an effulgent garland of flames" and "He who oppresses his enemies with great heat"
- "One who possesses terrifying eyes"
- "One who destroys the masses of the race of demons and giants"
- "He who possesses a wide open mouth" and "He who possesses huge teeth"
- "He who has sharp nails for weapons" and "He who possesses nails like piercing lightning bolts"
- "He who moves in the air" and "He who causes terror by roaring in the sky"
- "The source of the Sun's rays" and "He who is difficult to see"
- "He who is universally famous"
- "He who is the origin of everything" (Shagakusha was the vessel of Hakumen no Mono and the first wielder of the Beast Spear).
- ↑ Chapter 20: Sea of the Ayakashi Part 1, Ushio and Tora Go to Sea
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Chapter 25: Sea of the Ayakashi Part 6, To the Limits of the Soul
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Chapter 291: Tora Part 2, Perspective I
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Chapter 292: Tora Part 3, Perspective II
- ↑ Chapter 290: Tora Part 1, He Who Returned
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The Pictorial Book of Ushio and Tora
- ↑ Chapter 313: Ushio and Tora Part 3, The Fate of Ushio and Tora
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Chapter 228: TATARI BREAKER Part 8, DEATH FLOOR
- ↑ Translation of Tora's Origin - The Pictorial Book of Ushio and Tora
- ↑ 108 Names of Narasimha