Descendants of Darkness

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
(Redirected from Yami no Matsuei)
From left to right: Watari, Saya, Tsuzuki, Hisoka, Yuma and Tatsumi.
Or, as I like to call it, "I Love My Dead Gay Bureaucrats."

Asato Tsuzuki is a Shinigami who has been working in the afterworld for 70 years (with a low wage), investigating cases related to unnatural deaths or deaths that refuse to produce. Although he is (very) capable, he is constantly in trouble because of his laid back and spacey attitude, and the little fact that can't retain a partner. Things seems to improve when Tszuki is assigned to work with the new shinigami Hisoka Kurosaki, a teenager with a very serious attitude, in contrast with Tsuzuki's playfulness. Unfortunately, in their first case together they cross paths with the insane Doctor Kazutaka Muraki, a man who has gotten supernatural powers in very questionable ways. The doctor is involved in a lot of dirty business (including the death of Hisoka), and now wants Tsuzuki...

Began as a Manga in 1997 and was made a 13 episode Anime in 2001. The author took a hiatus in 2003, leaving the series unfinished until January 2010, in which volume 12 was released. The series is, however, being continued as of recent notification.[when?]

The English language release is titled Descendants of Darkness. The original Japanese name was Yami no Matsuei.

Tropes used in Descendants of Darkness include:
  • Affably Evil: Muraki is a polite doctor who approaches one in the most sympathetic manner when he is not raping, cursing and killing 13 year old boys or conducting human experiments to bring back his dead brother to life so that Muraki may be the one to kill him the second time.
  • Almighty Janitor: Tsuzuki is stuck in a department where he won't do much damage, but is singlehandedly one of the most powerful shinigami in the Bureau.
  • Art Evolution: The artwork and the characters -- especially the male characters -- in the manga start out damn pretty, then through the first eleven volumes gradually became drop-dead gorgeous and sexy. In the very last installments, the art changed noticeably once more, possibly because of health issues with the author. Character designs became distinctly crude and blocky compared to the earlier artwork, but highly detailed nonetheless.
  • Ax Crazy: Muraki
  • Baddie Flattery
  • Badass Longcoat: Tsuzuki in a rumpled black trench coat, Muraki in a flawless white one.
  • Bishonen
  • Big Eater: Tsuzuki has a very sweet tooth, and it is frequently shown that he spends all his money on sweets.
  • Bluff the Impostor: When Hisoka suspects that Tsuzuki is possessed by a demon, he proves it by asking Tsuzuki to go get food for the group and "reminding" him that the Chief hates sweets. In reality, the Chief has a notorious sweet tooth, so when Tsuzuki falls for it, Hisoka's suspicions are confirmed.
  • Boys Love: Yes and no. Tsuzuki lampshades this in the first volume, joking that he would give Hisoka a goodnight kiss, but this isn't a Boys Love manga. Later on, in a plot arc that actually deals with homosexual relationships, Tsuzuki refers to homosexuality as 'icky' (But to be fair, he was masquerading as a priest at the time.), and he seems genuinely Squicked by some lesbians in a different plot arc. Everything is officially kept on the Heterosexual Life Partners level with a bit of Stupid Sexy Flanders, Freudian Excuse, and gratuitous amounts of squicky Mind Screw, but the art [dead link] speaks [dead link] differently [dead link]. (All examples are official art release and/or straight from the manga.)
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: The average female character has the life expectancy of a particularly stupid gnat or falls off the face of the earth after one or two appearances, and only one major character is not bishonen.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: The Shokan Division.
  • Cherry Blossoms
  • The Comically Serious: Hisoka.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: In the anime, Muraki is first seen kneeling in a church with the large shadow of a cross falling over him, which plays up his angel-like appearance; later he monologues about Christians in the Tokugawa era carving crucifixes on the backs of Buddha statues to conceal their faith (this accompanied by an image of Kwan Yin which looks oddly like a statue of the Blessed Virgin).
  • Creepy Monotone: Muraki's got one.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Tsuzuki.
  • Dances and Balls: The cruise ship arc, with Hisoka dancing with Tsubaki.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Tatsumi gets one of these in the post Volume 11 chapters of the manga.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Muraki
  • Driven to Suicide: Tsuzuki, when he was alive. He tries it again later. Hisoka hugs him out of it.
  • Elemental Powers: The Shikigami (guardian spirits) can be divided into earth, fire, water and wind based types.
  • The Empath: Hisoka, with the irony being that expressing his own emotions comes with great difficulty.
  • Evil Albino: Muraki.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Hisoka definitely didn't expect Kurikara, the famous and powerful King of Dragons, to be two heads shorter than himself.
  • Faking the Dead: Hisoka dresses up as Hijiri and lets the demon possesing Tsuzki butcher him to trick said demon into thinking that Hijiri is really dead. He gets better. Muraki also poisons himself with low dosages to be able to handle a paralysis serum a la Romeo and Juliet.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Muraki. (Are you getting the gist of this guy's personality yet?)
  • The Four Gods: The main proof of Tsuzuki's competence is that he can control them all.
    • And then some: he actually controls 12 shiki in all, all the family of the main 4.
  • Freudian Excuse: Muraki. Though it doesn't actually excuse much, make sense, or come up much, he's still got one.
  • Friend to Psychos: Mibu Oriya, an old friend of Muraki. He covers up for Muraki, gives him a place to stay, and even disposes of the bodies sometimes.
  • Gecko Ending: Muraki's mother and Saki. Completely different stories, between anime and manga, which changes Muraki's characterization quite a bit.
  • Gender Flip: Word of God, as in the manga, it is directly stated that originally several of the characters were going to have opposite genders than what they wound up as!
  • Genre Shift / Out-of-Genre Experience / Breather Episode: The first three volumes can be pretty consistently placed in the supernatural detective/thriller genre, with liberal dosings of horror. Cue volumes 4 and 5, in which the main characters visit a hot spring and rescue a missing ice queen who went missing because she was KO'd by a badly-cooked muffin and have an epic inter-departmental archery contest. Oh, and then Tsuzuki is sucked into magical storybook land where he meets his genderswapped self. After a few volumes of these sorts of situations, the series goes right back into the horrific murders. A few volumes later, a magical shonen adventure plot starts up.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Muraki to Hisoka in the first volume, after covering a room in his blood and torturing him at length. He even contemplates vivisecting Hisoka to test out how strong his regeneration abilities really are.
  • Gorn: Thanks to the shinigami Healing Factor, the main characters get torn to pieces repeatedly and the results are splashed across the page in great detail. Some examples:
    • when disguised as Hijiri, Hisoka gets hacked nearly in half and his eye is pulled out.
    • The gruesome reveal of several murder victims on the cruise ship in volume 3 especially the dismembered corpse of Tsubaki's father
    • In volume 4, a young Catholic schoolboy comes back as a rotting corpse (who proceeds to slurp out the organs of a priest).
  • The Grim Reaper: The Shinigami.
  • Hates Being Touched: Hisoka, no doubt as a result of several factors including his abusive family who shunned him because of his empathic abilities and the deal with Yatonokami, as well as his ability to read people's thoughts via the emotions triggered from them and also from being raped and murdered by Muraki.
  • Healing Factor: All of the Shinigami, although they can be killed by hellfire, as shown by Tsuzuki's suicide attempt. Extreme in Hisoka's case.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Tsuzuki is an extremely cheery pharaoh (it's a dead ringer when he angsts). Oh, and James is Watari.
    • Hard to catch at first, but Hisoka is Dr. Tenma.
  • Ho Yay: ... and how.
    • Oh boy... where to begin... Everybody wants Tsuzuki. EVERYBODY.
      • Let's see, there's Hisoka, Muraki (the most blatant one), Hijiri, the Count (just as blatant as Muraki), Tatsumi, Watari (a one time Stupid Sexy Flanders case), even his Shikigami... Yup, everyone's gay for Tsuzuki.
    • And then there is a particular Shinigami, Terazuma, that is 'allergic to girls' turning him into a "Giant Afghan Hellhound" if touched by them. Hell, just looking at 'girly' Hisoka set Terazuma off!
      • Not just looking, attempting to kiss. It was a contest.
      • And he never stood a chance, especially while trying to imagine him as a flat-chested girl.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Tsubaki-hime.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Muraki and Tsuzuki.
    • And Muraki and Hisoka, technically.
  • Ill Girl: Tsubaki-hime and Ukyou Sakuraiji
  • Innocent Flower Girl: Eileen. Before she was killed and her heart was harvested for Tsubaki, who went mad from the revelation when she found out.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Hijiri and Kazusa. And Tsuzuki and hisoka to a certain degree.
  • Keet: Tsuzuki, when he randomly sprouts dog ears and a tail while being particularly goofy.
  • Les Yay: Self-identified lesbian Rika seemed to have a thing for Chizuru, while Saya and Yuma go around groping each-other in onsens.
  • Lethal Chef: Tsuzuki, moreso in the manga than the anime.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: Tsuzuki loses his own body to Muraki in a game of poker. But Hisoka wins it back.
  • Love Before First Sight: Dr. Muraki, quickly and obsessively, for Tsuzuki.
  • Mad Eye: Somewhat averted in Muraki, since he has an artificial eye, but it only adds to his air of insanity.
  • Mad Scientist: Watari is a kind version of this trope, complete with Mad Scientist Laboratory and an interest in Gender Bender. Dr. Muraki, the insane evil version, is also fond of research labs and keeps the severed head of his dead brother alive in a clone tube.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: When Tsuzuki plays Muraki in a game of poker, he loses with a flush to Muraki's full house. When Hisoka plays against Muraki, he beats Muraki's four of a kind with a royal flush.
  • Mama Bear: Suzaku to Tsuzuki, in a particularly dramatic fashion in the Kyoto Arc.
  • Man in White: Muraki.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Muraki
  • Mismatched Eyes: Wakaba has an orange right eye and a brown left eye, indicating her status as one of the four gate keepers of the shikigami realm.
  • Mommy Issues: Muraki's (ineffective) Freudian Excuse. Creepy doll lady.
  • Morality Pet: In the later chapters of the manga, Ukyou Sakuraiji is the high school sweetheart and long time lady friend/fiancee to Muraki.
  • Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Muraki, and to a lesser extent, Dr. Satomi.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Muraki forces Tsuzuki to have a fancy dinner with him while he keeps Hisoka as a hostage.
  • Our Vampires Are Different
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Occurs in the King of Swords arc.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Watari is made of this. The manga shows him as being unbelievably proficient with hacking and decryption, involved in maintaining the computer-based reality where the series' summoned gods live, and good enough at chemistry for potion-based Mad Science (which could also be partly magical), and he's alluded to having done other things. His PHD? In Mechanical Engineering.
  • Pinky Swear: Hijiri and Kazuza in the Devil's Trill arc
  • Portmanteau Series Nickname: "Yami Matsu".
  • Rape as Backstory / Rape as Drama: Hisoka.
  • Right-Hand Hottie: Grouchy old man Chief Konoe has hot secretary Seiichiro Tatsumi.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Muraki, and Tatsumi sometimes.
    • Tatsumi all the time, especially if you break budget.
  • Schedule Slip: There was a stretch of seven full years between the release of volume 11 and volume 12
  • Shotacon: Kind of. In the first arc of both the anime and manga, it's revealed that Muraki raped Hisoka when the latter was only thirteen years old.
  • Shower of Angst: Tsuzuki in the Devil's Trill arc.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Double subverted with the ending to the Devil's Trill arc. The whole point of the story was to keep Hijiri and Kazusa safe from the Demon. The Devil shows up at the end and tries to kill Hijiri and Kazusa. Hijiri survives and the devil is vanquished...but Kazusa pulls a Heroic Sacrifice for Hijiri and dies anyway, rendering the whole arc pointless.
  • Sprouting Ears: Tsuzuki has this happen to him sometimes.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Muraki.
  • Stepford Smiler: Tsuzuki appears cheerful and childish, but in fact is a woobie with many issues.
  • Suck My Rose: Muraki, and it only adds to his general creepiness.
  • Tarot Motifs: Accompanying the murders in the cruise ship arc.
  • Thirteen Episode Anime
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Muraki constantly tells Tsuzuki that his Purple Eyes are beautiful. Tsuzuki, on the other hand, hates them because they remind him of his demon blood.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Muraki, in a way.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Muraki, and one author's note says that she considered giving him black hair but chose white because it was "more mysterious."