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TAO: Rize of the Ying Yang

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TAO: Rize of the Ying Yang is the second collaboration in Masters of Animanga. This focuses on the Girl genre of manga.  Intiated by Mhadick, Tao is based on the ideas and character designs of Shin-ichi Hiromoto (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Pokemon Colosseum and Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness).  Over twenty users collaborated on this project, with about nine regulars.

Although initially seemingly a romantic comedy with elements of such animanga like 'Seven of Seven' or 'Kamisama Kazoku', the story became an epic fantasy adventure, with the main characters joining forces with others in order to defeat the Legion of Swords.  It is composed of twenty-six chapters.

PlotEdit

IntroductionEdit

The story opens with the Buddhist Maiden in her seven people form, meditating around a Buddha statue, when the witch crashes in.  Angry for being trapped in darkness for seven months, she throws a rat bomb in the shrine, blowing it up.  Later the witch, Erika Marigold, meets up with Mibu Ryusei, a young man on a motorcycle who was on his way to pick up groceries.  Asking for his help, Erika laters threatens him with her scythe, and transports them back to the blown up shrine.  Raijichan, the Maiden's lightning form, retaliates for Erika's attack, and the two battle it out with Mibu caught in between.  Their battle is later interrupted by Giota, a teenage monk with pointy ears.  They are also joined by the other forms of the Maiden, Fujiwarra Akisame, an old classmate of Mibu's who was just made elemental champion of water, and Khophesh, a mysterious swordsman and former member of an organisation called the Legion of Swords, who informs the Maiden, Witch and Mibu that they are three of the elemental champions who were prophesised to defeat the Legion and bring balance to the world.  Giving each of them three artifacts (To the Maiden a chalice, the Witch some coins, and Mibu a glove), Khophesh tells them that they must find the other two elemental heroes.  The Maiden, Mizuki, having merged back into her singular form, knows where they must go to find the Champion of Air and transports them all to another world.  While this has been happening, a 'dark figure' had been watching Mibu.

The search for the Elemental Champions of Air and FireEdit

Arriving in the world of Mitraegaeyia, the heroes search for the Hero of Air.  Along the way Mibu discovers that one of his gloves has changed, and given him the power of 'Modern Onmyodo', which allows him to control matter.  He also receives a vision of Erika slaughtering thousands of people as a sacrifce to Asura, the god of darkness.  Later he is contacted by the 'dark figure' from earlier, who warns him of a great trial and to choose neutrality over light and darkness.  Mibu learns from Mizuki more about her nature, and her relationship with the Witch.  After meeting up with the Champion of Air, a swordswoman called Tang Chin, the heroes later journey to Skylarian city to find the Elemental hero of fire.  There they encounter members of the Legion of Swords called DAGGER units, led by a general called Claymore, as well as Akisame, who, convinced that he is the real champion of water and that Mizuki is a fraud, attacks her.  Mibu defends her until Akisame is destroyed by Kirasaki, a child who has come to aid the heroes.  With the help of Khopesh, who had come to Skylarian in order to find his long lost love Hope, the heroes escape the DAGGER units, find the last Elemental Champion and escape the city through a couple of portals, with Tang Chin, the fire hero and Khopesh going through one portal and Mizuki, Erika and Mibu through another, only to be followed by DAGGER men.

The rise of UrumiEdit

As Mizuki, Erika, Mibu and Giota fight the DAGGER units, Mibu is eventually able to drive them all away with the power of his glove.  Erika, who was injured in the battle, is accidentally healed by Mizuki, whose chalice it turns out has the power to heal.  Meeting up again with the other Champions and Kirasaki, the heroes find an abandoned dojo in order to train with their items.  Before they can, however, more threats become known, including Asura and the dark fairy king Hoth Arboriusson II.  Both however are consumed by Infernace, the Elemental demon god of fire.  The group is then attacked by a dark form of Erika, as it turned out when she was trapped in darkness before she actually split in two, one the good/neutral half being with the group and the dark version, calling herself Wrath, being aligned with Asura.  Wrath  transfers some of her powers to Mibu through a kiss, and he starts to change, growing a bushy tail and pointed ears, though thanks to the efforts of the 'dark woman' who contacted him earlier (called Hane) and Kirasaki this is reversed.  Kirasaki attempts to attack Wrath but she teleports away, declaring her intention to take over the Legion of Swords.  

After taking over the Legion, Wrath, now calling herself Urumi, absorbed Arboriusson, while her master Asura became one with Infernace.

Training beginsEdit

The heroes start to train with their artifacts, discovering their powers.  While at the dojo, Khopesh, whose real name is revealed to be Charles, discovers that the elemental hero of fire is none other than his long lost love Hope. When training with Kirasaki, Mibu discovers that he knew Mibu's mother, whom he hasn't seen in years.  Meanwhile Urumi releases Asura into the world, who repays her by killing her, only to be absorbed by Urumi.  With her newfound power she decides to lay waste to the city that the heroes are in.  Kirasaki is able to protect the dojo, but Khopesh is outside of the protection field.  Mibu uses his Onmyodo powers to lessen the effect the darkness is having on the people, but becomes exhausted afterwards to be replaced by a monster fox.  Urumi seemingly kills Khopesh by ripping out his heart, and Kirasaki restores Mibu again.  Eugene and Recon offer to stall Urumi while the others get away, only for more Legion of Swords troops to arrive, including the four generals (Claymore, Scimitar, Zweihander and Dao) as well as DAGGER units.  The group however manages to fight them off, and the elemental heroes separate, with Tang Chin and Hope going through one portal and Mizuki, Erika and Mibu through another. 

FusionEdit

Mibu wakes up to find himself in his apartment, with Erika sleeping on top of him and Mizuki next to him.  He is greeted by the monster fox, who introduces himself as Shotoro, who explains that he was imprisoned between realities long ago because people feared his power, but he was able to contact Mibu through his dreams and teach him Modern Onmyodo and later formed a dimensional nexus with him so that he could escape, which also allowed Mibu to gain some of his abilities.  Shotoro later tells him to keep the red katana Kurenai before disappearing.  While Mibu tests the sword, he also tells Mizuki about Hane, and Shotoro returns to give him Khopesh's heart, which was still beating 'and glowing a bit'.  Eugene, who comes through the window, explains that it means that Khopesh is still alive to some extent.  Holding the heart, Mibu senses that Tang Chin, Recon and Hope were also in the apartment, and sees a vision of Mizuki, Erika and himself fighting an 'insect of fire'.  Meanwhile Shotora offers Urumi a TAO card before knocking her unconscious with his sheathed weapon and departing from that universe. Back at the apartment, Kirasaki suggests to fuse Mizuki and Erika together in order to defeat Urumi, to which the two agree.  While holding Khopesh's heart, Mibu hears his voice telling him that he is destined to end the Battle of Black and White, the maidens representing light while the witches and Legion of Swords represented darkness.  As Mizuki and Erika are merged, they start to gain each others memories, including those of past lives. It is also discovered that both had known Mibu in these past lives; for Mizuki he was an Onmyoji called Yasonori who attempted to find enlightenment only to die in the process, whereas for Erika he was a magical stray cat whom she named Solo who was sacrificed by witches because of his power.  It is also discovered that it was because of this shared connection that Erika, under the alias Julia Arstrom, was apparently killed in a freak accident two years ago and had her soul imprisoned in darkness for seven months, as Erika had gone to Mibu's school in order to get close to the reincarnation of her beloved cat while Mizuki feared that she would steal her love Yasanori away from her.  Mibu, however, is able to bring peace between the two women, informing them both about the pros and cons of the lives they lead and that nothing is black and white.  Thanks to this, the girls' souls become grey, and are able to unite as Eri-Mi.  Just as they managed this, however, an agent of the Legion of Swords, Zalgreth the Fanatic, a member of an elite group of warriors called the seven swordsmen and attacks the heroes.  Eri-Mi, however, is able to subdue him and 'balance' his soul so that he becomes a more 'reasonable person'.  

Preparing for the final battleEdit

When the heroes return to Mitraegaeyia in order to prepare for the final battle, they find that most of the continent of Nimrador had been taken over by Urumi and  Asura's followers.  After training with Kurenai, Mibu falls asleep, and finds himself confronting Hane, who tests his strength.  In the waking world, however, the group is attacked by a second member of the seven swordsman called the Warlord, whom Eugene fights.  This swordsman however proves to be more formidable that Zalgreth, and not even Eri-Mi's power to balance souls is enough to end the fight. Just as when the Warlord is about to break Eugene's neck, however, Hane, who turns out to be Mibu's long lost mother, materialises and telekinetically flings the Warlord away, who later escapes when cornered.  Hane later teleports them to the Great Forge, where the headquarters of the Legion of Swords is located.

Meanwhile, a fisherman finds a boy named Sean, who believes himself to be the true elemental hero of fire.  After being tended to by his wife, Sean explains his situation to the fisherman named Magnus, who is rather skeptical about his story but nonetheless decides to help him.  Arriving at the marketplace, Sean starts searching for Hope, believing that she had stole his wand and power.  Coming across a monk, he asks if he had seen her and explains his situation.  The monk agrees to help him, and with the aid of his brothers and Giota Sean is teleported to where the heroes are located.

Elsewhere, a man called Despair finds himself in pitch black and chained.  A woman's voice tells him that the time had come to redeem himself, and he finds himself kneeling down on solid ground.  Given a scythe with a pulsing purple eye on the top of the shaft, Despair is told that he has been chosen to guide and protect.  Seeing a murder of crows fly from an area (Which was the Warlord escaping earlier), he runs to where they came from, amazed at his new found speed and seemingly unnatural aura of energy.

Infiltrating the FortressEdit

Being confronted by Khopesh's zombified corpse, and Katana, Tang Chin's former master and Kirasaki's mother, the air hero, Hope and Hane are separated from the rest of the group who fight their way through a secret entrance in the castle.  Kirasaki, unable to deal with the fact of his family members falling to the dark side, loses it and joins his mother's side, trapping the heroes in an electric field. 

Sean demands his wand back from Hope, threatening Khopesh's life if she doesn't do so.  Hope, fearful of being exposed as a fraud, denies stealing anything, but Sean points out that he never said it was stolen, and uses a spell to freeze time in order to take back his wand.  However, this turns out to be just a hallucination, brought about by seeing Khopesh's zombified corpse, and remembers Sean as someone jealous of her and Charles.  Giota manages to briefly calm Kirasaki's mind, but Urumi later takes control of him and battles Giota with the heroes trapped behind the electric field.  He tells Katana and the Khopesh zombie to report back to Urumi, while his original self struggles for control.  He also attempts to kill Hope, but is stopped by Hane, who tells Giota to find Mibu as she battles the former ally.  Sean, who is revealed to in fact be Infernace's avatar who had given him his powers and false memories, continues to demand the wand until it is revealed to him that the prophecy spoke of the fire hero being a woman, and also warned of the existence of the element's avatars and that Sean was in fact Infernace's.  Refusing to believe this, Sean sets fire to the surrounding area including the Khopesh zombie, and is sent back home by Giota and his brothers, with Infernace's influence removed along with his memories of the incident.  Katana flees the scene.

Mourning the destruction of her lover's body, Hope is confronted by the third member of the Seven Swordsmen, the Temptress, who, although instructed by Scimitar to kill Mibu, decides to nevertheless kill Hope while she was there, attacking her with her chained shapeshifting weapons.  She drives the heroes into the fortress, who as they battle the Legion of Swords, find their way to Urumi's throne room.

Despair, locating the chanting monks, is able to teleport himself to the battle where the heroes were fighting.

The final battleEdit

The heroes however were shocked to discover that Urumi had been reduced to a 'vegetable', Infernace having infiltrated and taken over her mind and body.  As they battle Infernace, Kirasaki joins the scene, trapping the heroes in a circle of fire and enveloping the room in darkness.  Eri-Mi, however, having a half that was the dark avatar, is able to see in the darkness, and attacks Kirasaki with her scythe-broom.  Although she seems to have overpowered Kirasaki and critically injured him, Kirasaki grabs the scythe that is stuck in his chest, separates Eri-Mi back into Mizuki and Erika and throws the witch at Urumi to be absorbed.  Despair, however, who was watching the scene but remained concealed, saves Erika but conceals her in the same darkness he is in, making it look like Urumi had absorbed her, in order to view a grief-stricken Mibu to use his grey energy. Mibu, filled with grief believing Erika to be dead, roars as his body flows with energy, seeking to avenge Erika by killing Kirasaki, who surrounds himself with a force field and kisses Mizuki before throwing her to the ground in distaste.  Erika tries to help, but she is subdued by Despair.  Mibu, enraged over how Kirasaki treated Mizuki, punches him in the face with his glove hand before avenging Erika's death by rendering him into nothingness, only to be stopped by Mizuki.  Giota uses an incantation that blasts the villains away and reveals Erika to be alive.  He tells Mizuki and Erika to join once more to finish it.  

Infernace flees from his host, who battles Eri-Mi while Mibu takes on Infernace.  Despair teleports at the top of the castle, watching Mibu battle Infernace.  Mibu senses Despair, grabs him and drags him into the fight.  Mibu impales himself with Kurenai, avoiding his veins and draining Despair's dark power, which changes Kurenai's colour to become black and white.  The other elemental demon gods appear, telling Mibu to finish off their brother.  While battling Urumi, Eri-Mi separates into two again, Erika slashes at Urumi and reabsorbs her.  Although the dark avatar is whole once more, she has no desire to fight Mizuki, putting Mibu's feelings first and rejoining with Mizuki before looking for Tang Chin and Hope.  The other elemental demon gods attack Infernace, who manages to kill Leviathan, Behemoth and Ziz.  Wyvern, however pins him down, and asks Mibu to kill them both.  Though reluctant, the heroes unleash their power at both demons, before Mibu finishes Infernace off by stabbing him in the head.  With the area around them crumbling, Mibu creates a portal connected to people's desires, with himself and most of the girls sent back to Earth with the others sent back to their homes throughout Mitraegaeya.

Aftermath and EpilogueEdit

Mibu finds that he now owns a house with Mizuki and Erika his housemates. Charles and Hope become engaged, and Tang Chin starts training under Giota.  The remaining members of the Seven Swordsmen, having survived the battle but were now leaderless now that the Legion of Swords was gone, decide to journey to another world to wreak havoc on.  Mibu starts dating both Mizuki and Erika, maintaining peace between the two.  Years later they become his wife as Eri-Mi, and have two children, a boy with dark red hair and a girl with dark emerald hair.  Charles and Hope live an ordinary life 'as ordinary as a sword master and heroine' could do, and Giota continued to train Tang Chin until she decided to go on a journey, with Giota as a companion.  Eugene, Recon and Kirasaki, now in control of his inner darkness, open up a martial arts academy to train future heroes and heroines, while Hane, having watch Mibu grow into a good man, left to find his father, restoring his memories and living with him until she passed away five years later at the age of forty-nine, and replaced Wyvern as the elemental demon of aether.  

Toppa, hanging on a coat rack, remarks that the battle between light and dark had begun once more when Mibu and Eri-Mi's children fought over a computer game, wondering who would step in to bring balance once again.   

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