art no avail

Tora No Shi

Tora No Shi is an antagonistic character from the Top Cow Productions comic book entitled Witchblade. The character has been an assassin through the titles 10 year run. Tora No Shi has been the rival and fought both Jackie Estacado and Ian Nottingham. He has also battled and come up short against both foes. During his tenure in the book Tora No Shi has also become the manservant/bodyguard of Kenneth Irons. He is nicknamed "Tiger of Death" (a minor translation error - "Tora no Shi" literally means "Death of tiger").

Tora practices the art of deception. This is what separates him from some of the other characters in the Witchblade book is that Tora is extremely ruthless. A self-proclaimed man of honor, Tora No Shi does nothing to show support of this virtue. And that is what separates him from Ian Notthingham. They are both assassins, but Ian can be described as a killer while Tora is simply a murderer. Ian Notthingham fights for a reason and for a cause, Tora No Shi is a mercenary who fights for the highest bidder or something that will satisfy his own needs.


Tora is a well versed martial artists but at the beginning of his tenure in the series does not possess anything supernatural of sorts. He was able to defeat a tired and exhausted Jackie Estacado without his Darkness powers, but was not as skilled as Ian Nottingham early on in the series. Tora's weapon of choice is a white cane with a tiger head at the pommel. This cane would extend and become a three section staff with shard blades at the end of them. Later on in the comic book Tora would come into the services of Kenneth Irons and have to go through scientific training under the millionaire's tutelage.

Using the Level 42 program, Irons would bestow Tora with supernatural abilities. According to David Wohl, a Top Cow writer and one of Tora's creators, those abilities would be a slight increase in strength and agility. For he was meant to be on par with Ian Nottingham.

Here is how Tora's power levels break down during the series.

Witchblade issues 15, 17, 18, 19 and Darkness issues 9 and 10 - Tora is a regular martial artist during this era of the Witchblade. He is not on par with Ian Nottingham during this time, as Ian was able to jump from a moving helicopter (issue 4). But Tora was still a top tier fighter in the world of the Witchblade. He was able to defeat Jackie Estacado without the Darkness powers in issue 9 of the Darkness but was beaten very badly in the next issue (Darkness #10)

Witchblade 54-59 - Having been brought back to life by Sonataine, Tora is deemed the new and improved Tora No Shi at the very end of issue 54. In issue 55 we see that Tora has been brought up to par with Ian Nottingham in terms of physical strength. In issue 55 Tora climbs a ferris wheel to complete an assassination. And then later on in the issue we see him jump from rooftops during his bout with Ian. Prior to being magically enhanced by Sonataine, Tora was unable to accomplish this feats. According to David Wohl this is when Tora was given slightly enhanced strength and agility.

Witchblade 59-75 - After Ian destroys Tora at Cauty Towers, the Tiger of Death becomes the new man-servant of Kenneth Irons. Irons puts Tora through a series of chemical testing and ritual baths. During this time Tora was given the abilities to battle the Witchblade and the Excalibur. It is unknown the extent of this abilities but it is safe to assume that Irons bestowed Tora with the same powers he gave Ian back during the origins arc (Witchblade 1-8).

Appearances/Plot Summaries

Here is a list of all of Tora's appearances and a brief synopsis of what happened to him

Witchblade 15: The first appearance of Tora No Shi. With Kenneth Irons temporary eliminated from the New York underworld scene, the Yakuza begin to make their move under the leadership of a young Yakuza leader by the name of Takata. Takata employs a man by the name of Tora No Shi, who before this was struggling with small time hits in Hong Kong. Takata's first target is the police headquarters, unleashing Tora No Shi and his squad to attack. We quickly find out that Tora's signature was massive destruction as his team uses a series of rocket lauchers to demolish the majority of the preceint that they attacked. Tora then appears with cane in hand and murders a few of the cops who were on duty.

Witchblade 17: Takata is meeting with Tora as the two plot to take over New York. During this brief exchange Tora chooses to ignore a few of Takata's addresses which leads to Takata yelling at Tora and telling the assassin that he is a man of rank. Tora states that he does not believe in rank and we get the first seeds of Tora's personality and character. Takata begins not to trust Tora and later on asks about hiring Ian Nottingham for the job.

Witchblade 18: Part 1 of Family Ties. Tora makes a brief cameo at the end of the issue after Jackie Estacado gets ambushed by the Yakuza after traveling through the Lincoln Tunnel. There is a massive explosion and Jackie is thrown off his bike, where he is met by Tora.

Jackie: Now what? Tora: Now you die Mr. Estacado.

Darkness 9: Part 2 of Family Ties. Tora and Jackie exchange brief words as Tora taunts. Jackie beckons for Tora to attack and while Jackie is still on the ground, Tora quickly pounces upon him. It should be noted that the attack was during the day, thus Jackie did not have the option to use the Darkness powers. Tora kicks Jackie in the stomach and stabs the Italian Mafia assassin through the hand with his cane. Jackie responds with a fist to the chin of Tora. Tora gains the advantage as he pins Jackie to the ground. Then, the Mafia shows up with guns pointed at Tora...saving Jackie in the process.

Darkness 10: Part 3 of Family Ties. The comic opens up at the Museum of Natural History where Setsuke, a daughter of a Yakuza boss, is showing some children the sights of the city. Takata has been brought to the museum as well, under a plan by Bruce Wilder and a man by the name of Sonataine. Takata see's the Tora has betrayed him and joined the Mafia. Tora makes a brief comment and a smirks at Takata before quickly disposing of Setsuke's bodyguards. Tora thinks he is the star of the show, that is until Jackie Estacado shows up in the full fledged Darkness armor with minions to boot. Tora does well to hide his fear. Tora charges into the fray of Darklings, getting cut down in the process. Shortly after this Jackie grabs Tora by the throat and dispatches of the Tiger-Feline assassin.. Eventually Sara shows up at the museum, and we then see Tora lying on the ground.

Witchblade 19: Part 4 of Family Ties. Tora is shown in the beginning all bloody and leaning against a statue of sorts. Apparently he is either dead or knocked out. Tora later shows up at the end of the comic in a large spread of the storyline.

Witchblade 54: It's been a few years since Tora has been in the comic book. Once again David Wohl takes over writing duties and begins a new storyline in which the Yakuza are planning to make another move in taking control of New York City. The new storyline centers around another Mafia vs. Yakuza war. Towards the end of the book we see a few Yakuza bosses being blindfolded and lead to a secret cavern underneath the Statue of Liberty. They are introduced to the dark lord Sonataine, who was the mastermind behind the whole Family Ties storyline and arch-enemy of Jackie Estacado. He then does the Yakuza a favor and resurrects Tora.

Witchblade 55: The comic opens up at an amusement park in Coney Island. Crime boss Anthony Morelli is enjoying a date with a young female when his night is interrupted by Tora. Tora quickly dispatches of Morelli's goons and then climbs the farris wheel in which Morelli is currently riding and kills him. In response to this act Kenneth Irons sends Ian Notthingham to deal with the Yakuza that are once again trying to take control of New York City. Ian confronts the Yakuza boss who in turn conunters by using Tora, so it becomes Tora vs. Ian.

The two spill their fight onto a rooftop. Tora is the aggressor at first using his cane to attack which is deflected by Ian's sword. Tora then tries a flying kick which is blocked by Ian. Ian then counters with a right cross which stuns Tora. Tora is now on the defensive as Ian charges, but Tora blocks Ian's incoming katana and counters by using the tiger pommel of his cane to hit Ian. Ian then uses the Excaliber and pins Tora down. It is to be noted that during this fight David Wohl separates the two fighters. Tora is an assassin with unmatched ferocity and brutality who's only concern was his trademark (that the hit be as brutal and destructive as possible that people would know that it was he who had done the deed). Tora did whatever it took to get the job done even if that meant fighting dirty and killing innocents Ian on the other hand did not take the life of innocents and preferred to fight one-on-one. The Excaliber tells Ian to kill Tora, but Ian refuses..letting Tora go and turning his back on the Tiger of Death. Tora gets up throws a flying kick that connects with Ian, and then plunges his blade into Ian.......

Witchblade 56: Tora is shown walking away from Ian's body as he heads towards Cauty Towers to murder Kenneth Irons. Upon arriving at the West Park complex, Irons is waiting for Tora. Tora threatens Irons to no avail and actually lunges at the millionaire. Irons dodges out of the way but before Irons and Tora can fight they are interrupted by a demonic looking Ian who beckons Tora No Shi for a rematch.

Witchblade 57: The second fight between Ian and Tora is completely one-sided as Ian dominates the Tora No Shi by first throwing him into a piano. Tora struggles to get up, but does and lunges at Ian with his tri-chuck cane. Ian catches the blade and grabs Tora by his right hand and holds him up. Ian taunts Tora a bit then uses Excaliber to slightly piece Tora right between the eyes. Ian then tosses Tora's limp body at the feet of Kenneth Irons and leaves. Sara then arrives at Cauty towers and finds Tora on the ground. Irons offers Tora to Sara as the man who was committing all of the murder cases that she was trying to solve.

Witchblade 58: We return to Cauty towers and find Kenneth Irons looking out into the night as Tora still lies at his feet. Bending over Irons examines Tora's body and mentions that he has big plans for the former Yakuza assassin. Irons then takes Tora's body to his ritual room where he hangs Tora and begins to process to enslave him and then eventually turn Tora into his new bodyguard/servant/tool.

WItchblade 59: Tora makes a brief cameo in this issue. Back at Cauty Towers we see Irons working on Tora when Ian Nottingham returns and verbally ends the relationship between himself and Irons. We see Tora in the background helpless and tied up as Irons and Nottingham are debating.

Witchblade 69: Prelude to Deathpool. Another cameo appearance by Tora. Kenneth Irons is visiting the Level 42 facility and its leader Doctor Victor Tabrisch. They are monitoring the activities of Sara and Ian. If you look closely you can see Tora flanking Irons from behind. Dark and brooding like Ian used to do in the early Witchblade issues.

Witchblade 70: Deathpool Part 1. Tora is this time conscious as he is now chained in the ritual room of Kenneth Irons. Irons has a very large knife and commends Tora for the ability to survivie the past few months under the rigorous training, pain, chemical baths, and rituals the industrial millionaire put him through.

Witchblade 71: Deathpool Part 2. Kenneth Irons is in a boardroom meeting as we see Tora guarding the doorway. All of a sudden we see Ian using the power of the Excaliber leveitate in the air and appear just outside the large window looking in on Iron's meeting. Tora is the first one to notice Ian and looks like he is about to wet his pants. Irons quickly notices Ian as well and cancels the meeting. Later on the two of them appear in the Level 42 training facility. Irons is watching as Dr. Tabrisch chooses an opponent for Tora. The opponent appears to have low level telepathic abilities and is has a low level of Pyrokinesis. The random opponent attacks Tora and the two of them exchange a series of sword deflections before the telepath disarms Tora of his sword. Irons begins to worry a little bit, until we see that Tora was playing possume the entire time. Tora catches the blood of the telepath, and uses the man's own sword and kills him by Decapitation

Witchblade 75: The finale to Death. Deathpool was a Witchblade storyarc in which the fans were allowed to vote off two Witchblade characters to be killed. At first the voting process was to simply save two characters per week and the final two that were not saved would die in this issue. Halfway through the arc Top Cow turned the ties on everyone and said that the first and favorite six have been saved, now the fans get to vote to see which character is killed. Tora No Shi was one of those characters that was killed. We see Ian attacking Irons in his bed. Irons calls on Tora to help him which prompts Ian to say "You mean him?" As we see Tora hanging from the ceiling surrounded by shards and spaws from Ian's Excaliber weapon. It is later confirmed that Tora was the first to die in Deathpool.

Witchblade 100 In the beginning of this issue, there is a brief monologue of all the Witchblade wielders. When it gets to Sara Pezzini, it shows the female cop taking down Tora. It is page six of this issue, which was drawn by Randy Green. It shows Sara taking down Tora No Shi. Tora is lying face first against a fire escape rail, apparently knocked out while Sara stands over him. His three-staffed cane is on the ground.

Search another word or see art no availon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature