In the world of Tenkuukai, the Hachibushu are a group of eight mystical warriors of legend. Presumably, they are all the same people repeatedly reincarnated without any memories of their former lives. Their primary purpose is to defend the leader of Tenkuukai, Lady Vishnu and the rest of Tenkuukai from forces of evil called the Asura Gods. Alternatively they are also called the Deva Gods, seemingly based on both the Hindu Deva deities and the Buddhist supernatural beings. They are extremely powerful, possessing large quantities of Sohma, and politically high-ranked, taking direct orders only from Indrah and Vishnu herself.
Each of the Hachibushu possesses a Shakti, a small statue that serves as a Sohma container and is modeled after an animal. By holding their Shaktis and chanting a specific mantra, any of the Hachibushu can transform into a super-powered version of themselves, clad in mystical armor also modeled after an animal, and wielding a legendary weapon. While in armor form, the Hachibushu are stronger, tougher, and can manipulate their Sohma into extremely powerful techniques. Multiple Hachibushu can also work together to combine their techniques. The Hachibushu can also cause a partial transformation of their Shakti, turning it not into armor but a Valuda, a mobile platform used for rapid transportation.
During the course of the anime, two of the Hachibushu, Shurato and Hyuga, are framed for the petrification of Vishnu and assumed evil. They eventually persuade two other Hachibushu, Ryouma and Reiga to their cause. These four become the "good" Hachibushu, whereas the other four become primary antagonists in the show.
Shurato, alternatively named Hidaka Shurato and Shura-Oh Shurato, is the main character and protagonist of the show. A 16-year old from Earth, Shurato is a brash, reckless, rude, impatient, and lazy individual. However, he is also brave, compassionate, and pure-hearted, and his resolve becomes the backbone of the "good" Hachibushu on their quest and the rallying point of the protagonists. His unfit behavior for a hero is remarked upon by many characters. He is an accomplished martial arts, a trait that quickly becomes useful in his time on Tenkuukai.
When he first discovers he is the reincarnation of a god on Tenkuukai, and is destined to fight the Asura Gods, Shurato is reluctant to get involved, although he does find Lady Vishnu extremely attractive. However, after witnessing a fight between Reiga and Ryouma, Shurato resolves to join the fight in order to prevent best friends from fighting each other and restore the peace in Tenkuukai. His other primary motivation is discovering what really happened to his best friend Gai.
Shurato and Gai have been best friends since high school, a seemingly unlikely pair due to their drastically differing personalities, but the two are extremely loyal to each other. Both martial arts masters, they are depicted as perfect equals, and were teleported to Tenkuukai in the midst of a tournament round battle. As Shurato is the best friend of Gai and knows he would never intentionally harm another living being, he is extremely confused and distraught when a changed Gai attempts to kill him and others repeatedly. Shurato resolves to return Gai to normal, an act which he attempts several times but fails.
His Shakti and armor are modeled after the lion, and his weapon is a vajra, a one-handed club-like weapon. As Shurato has not been trained in the fighting styles and techniques of the Hachibushu, he is the only one of the eight who at first does not know how to manipulate his Sohma correctly and perform his Sohma techniques. However, he substitutes his Earth-trained martial arts instead, and is eventually taught to utilize the full potential of his powers.
Later, it is revealed that Shurato is one of the successors of Brahma, the Creator of Tenkuukai and presumably Earth. Brahma sacrificed his mortal form to seal away the Asura Gods 10,000 years prior to the events of the anime, leaving behind only his sacred Shakti, which would bestow godlike powers to its wielder. As Gai is also a successor to Brahma, the two best friends battle for control of the artifact, with Shurato ultimately being the victor. However, he initially cannot use it, as in order to unleash the power of Brahma, there must be a balance between light and dark, with Shurato representing the light and Gai representing the dark. This means Shurato and Gai must work together to use the power of Brahma.
Gai, alternatively named Kuraki Gai and Yasha-Oh Gai, is one of the major antagonists of the show and a primary character. He was the best friend of Shurato on Earth, but became his worst enemy on Tenkuukai. He is the second person to find Shurato after he is teleported to Tenkuukai (the first being Lakshu), and attempts to kill him. As Shurato does not know how to use his Sohma correctly, he is defeated, but before he can be killed, Gai is fought off by Reiga. Gai's apparent hatred for Shurato confuses the hero throughout the show.
Gai was a brother of sorts to Shurato on Earth, having been friends and companions since childhood. Like Shurato, he was a martial arts master, but unlike the reckless, brash Shurato, who only focused on complete offense, the calm and pacifist Gai practiced an almost entirely defensive style. The two were equals, with a record between them of 30 wins and 30 losses each. Gai was also extremely compassionate, having once nursed a pigeon back to health amongst other various good deeds.
However, on Tenkuukai, Gai exhibits a completely different personality, full of hatred and rage towards Shurato and a willingness to hurt and kill anyone in his path. This completely sadistic Gai confuses Shurato, who often attempts to reason with him instead of fight him, initially unwilling to hurt his best friend. As Gai utilizes dark Sohma (marked by a dark blue coloring instead of the normal golden), Shurato eventually realizes Gai is under the influence of the Asura Gods and attempts to free him, but is unsuccessful.
Later, it is revealed that when Vishnu teleported Shurato and Gai from Earth, Shiva managed to disrupt the spell, kidnapping Gai and causing Shurato to randomly land somewhere in Tenkuukai in the process. The captive Gai was then filled with Shiva's dark Sohma, corrupting him and turning him into the evil warrior of the anime. Shiva did this as she/he knew that Gai was one of the successors of Brahma, intending to groom him as his/her champion so that he could obtain the power of the creator god.
His Shakti and armor are modeled after the wolf, and his weapon is a sword. He is apparently the most powerful of the Hachibushu, able to match four others at once in a battle, although this may simply be the result of his blessings from Shiva. He attempts to kill Shurato multiple times but fails. He also comes close to obtaining the power of Brahma, but fails in that also. Although Shurato works hard to return Gai to normal, he is unsuccessful until the very end, when a released Gai combines his power with Shurato's to summon the armor of Brahma and defeat Shiva. Gai dies in the battle, appearing later only as a voice and a flashback.
Karura-Oh Reiga is the Hachibushu who returns Shurato to Vishnu and teaches him a lot about Tenkuukai, and the last to join Shurato's group of "good" Hachibushu. Extremely intelligent, Reiga is skilled in the manipulation of Sohma and knows much of the geography of Tenkuukai and the lore surrounding the Devas and Asura. He is depicted as very effeminate, and possibly a transvestite or homosexual, although this is never stated.
Reiga at first appears as a very lazy and laid-back individual, unwilling to get involved with troublesome affairs and generally not very well-liked by some of the other Hachibushu, who are more devout and diligent. However, this demeanor belies an intelligent and serious mind, and Reiga is actually a very calculative and perceptive individual. He discovers the truth behind the conspiracy on his own, realizing that Indrah is the actual culprit and Shurato is innocent.
Reiga strongly respects the like-minded Kuuya, who are both very intelligent and masters of manipulating Sohma. The two are then pitted against each other while trying to open the Heiseimon Gate, but Reiga refuses to fight, instead trying to persuade Kuuya back onto his side. After an exhausting battle, Kuuya dies in Reiga's arms, and a resolute Reiga vows to fight in honor of his friend.
His Shakti and armor are modeled after the phoenix, and his weapon are a pair of large rings. He knows the most techniques of any of the Hachibushu, and most of them revolve around feathers or the fire aspect of his totem animal. As he is not a very physical-minded warrior, he often uses his rings in his Sohma techniques rather than for combat.
Ten-Oh Hyouga is the leader of the Hachibushu, and the most devoted follower of Vishnu. Stalwart to a fault, Hyouga idolized Vishnu and Indrah and for a time could think of nothing but blindly fighting to cure Vishnu from her petrification. At first, Hyouga despised Shurato due to his laziness and sacrilege, but came to regard him as a friend due to their similar ideals regarding camaraderie.
Hyouga's best friend is Ryouma, the two having trained and fought together in the past to the point where they know each other's strategies and techniques by heart. When Ryouma is manipulated into thinking Hyouga is evil, the two do battle, but due to their similar strengths and knowledge of the other's abilities, they fight into a standstill. This battle convinces Shurato to join Hyouga and help Vishnu, if only to prevent best friends from having to fight each other ever again.
Hyouga is also strongly hinted to have feelings for Renge, but he never acts on them or informs her of his feelings. During the opening of the Heiseimon Gate, he is pitted against Renge, and after realizing they were not meant to be together, he regrettably freezes her solid and kills her. A now resolute Hyuga vows to kill Indrah and fight for his love.
His Shakti and armor are modeled after the tiger, and his weapon is a form of nunchaku, somewhat of a split between a surujin and a chain whip, able to be used as either a throwing weapon or a rope. Many of his abilities revolve around ice, and he is able of creating walls of ice and freezing opponents solid.
Ryu-Oh Ryouma is the strongest member of the Hachibushu, a massive warrior and a devoted follower of Vishnu. Ryouma's devotion to Vishnu ultimately trumps his trust for Hyuga, and thinking his best friend has somehow been corrupted, Ryouma sets out to kill Hyuga and Shurato.
Ryouma and Hyuga are best friends, and the two exhibit similar personalities. Ryouma comes to appreciate Shurato's ideals as well, and forms a loyal camaraderie with his fellow Hachibushu. Ryouma is set to fight Gai during the opening of the Heiseimon Gate, and although the group is unsuccessful in releasing Gai from the grip of his dark masters, this event fully convinces Ryouma of Shurato's will and fighting spirit, and he resolves to aid him.
Nahra-Oh Renge is the only female member of the Hachibushu. As the sole female in a field of mostly men, she exhibits an unreasonable willingness to prove her strength and superiority to the others, especially the feminine Reiga. She is the target of much love from Marichi and Hyuga, but does not reciprocate these feelings in either case.
Rather, she is obsessively in love with Indrah, being in a one-sided relationship where she blindly follows him even when she witnesses evidence of his evil and betrayal of Vishnu. Ultimately, she seems to realize her own folly and the futility of her actions, and allows herself to be frozen and killed by Hyuga, achieving happiness and peace at last.
Dappa-Oh Kuuya is the most devout of the Hachibushu. He is very humble and polite, and is often seen meditating. This pits him against Shurato, as he witnesses him desecrating Vishnu's palace early on, and is convinced of his corruption. He is very respected and idolized by the citizens of Tenkuukai.
Very intelligent, Kuuya is skilled in the manipulation of his Sohma, able to mask his and other's Sohma or turn invisible. When he fights Reiga during the opening of the Heiseimon Gate, Kuuya is not fully convinced of his innocence and refuses to stop fighting, until he is shown a vision of his own sister's death. He realizes he has been wrong, but he is mortally wounded and it is too late, and he dies in the arms of his friend.
His Shakti and armor are modeled after the ox, appropriate due to his slow and steady nature. His weapon is a wheel-shaped chakram, and his abilities primarily revolve around summoning and controlling water.
Hiba-Oh Dan is a strong member of the Hachibushu. The youngest of five brothers, Dan is brash and hot-headed like Shurato, and often seeks to prove his strength. After a meeting with Vishnu, however, Dan became a changed man, and is obsessively devoted to her. As such, after her petrification, Dan is more than willing to fight the "corrupted" ones and kill them.
During the opening of the Heiseimon Gate, Dan fights Shurato, easily overpowering him and seemingly killing him. However, due to the actions of Lakshu, he begins to doubt himself, until he and Shurato clash in a final test of power. Although they are evenly matched, Dan is distracted when a pendant given to him by Vishnu is broken, and as a result he is defeated. The last thing Dan does before he dies is close his hand around the pendant, a reminder of how his life was changed by the woman he idolized.
Vishnu is the leader of Tenkuukai, and the Harmony Goddess of Creation. She has a massive amount of Sohma, and is responsible for sustaining life, healing and creating other living beings. She is essential to the survival of Tenkuukai, with her mere petrification enough to cause plagues to go rampant in the world (Sekishuhan). Without her, both Tenkuukai and Earth, as they are connected, would wither and die. She is at least 10,000 years old, and is presumably immortal.
10,000 years prior to the events of the show, Vishnu and Brahma cast a spell that captured all forces of Asura, including Shiva, and sealed them away in another dimension. This act killed Brahma, leaving only his Shakti on Tenkuukai. Now, the spell is fading, and the forces of Asura are returning to the land. Because of the upcoming war, Vishnu summons Shurato and Gai from Earth to Tenkuukai, but is only successful in returning Shurato safely.
Early on, she is petrified by Indrah, and Shurato and Hyuga are framed for this act. As she is extremely powerful and resists the spell, she is able to perform certain actions, such as teleporting Shurato and Hyuga away from the palace, even while petrified, and Indrah must re-cast the spell periodically to keep her under check. When she is finally released, she uses her abilities to resurrect the three members of the Hachibushu who had died (Dan, Kuuya, and Renge), and prepares the team to face the Asura, who have finally arrived.
Although she attempts the spell used previously to seal away the Asura, without the aid of Brahma, she is unable to cast it, and dies from the Sohma exhaustion, similarly to how Brahma did. However, before she passes, she appoints Lakshu as her successor, who was apparently destined for this role and has the Sohma for it.
As the leader of Tenkuukai, Vishnu was religiously worshiped by almost everyone in the world, and had a legion of devoted followers such as Hyuga and Dan. She was known for her endless compassion and ability to heal almost any injury, polar opposites to the abilities and ideals of her counterpart god, Shiva.
Marichi was a Tenkuukai soldier who has a long-standing friendship with both Hyuga and Renge. He was an accomplished warrior, capable of such feats as striking down birds in midair. He was also capable of releasing a type of poison gas, which caused his enemies to hallucinate and fall asleep.
In the past, Marichi, Hyuga, and Renge were great friends. Marichi professed his love for Renge several times, but claiming that she was a warrior and thus had no time for love, she did not reciprocate his feelings. Marichi then went on a journey, and did not return until he had heard the news that Hyuga had betrayed Vishnu.
Dying of Sekishuhan, a fatal plague sweeping Tenkuukai since Vishnu's petrification, Marichi was determined to end his life at the hands of the woman he loved, and faced Renge in battle. After realizing he was sick, Renge reluctantly killed him, with Marichi finally dying in her arms.
Gundara Myu-Oh Kundalini is one of the three Juga Sanninshu, or Beast Fang Trio, a group of powerful Asura Gods sealed away 10,000 years ago and released by Indrah to fight Shurato. Kundalini is the first of the three encountered by the protagonists and nearly kills them. He is a very large man, arrogant and eager to show off his incredible powers.
He possesses a massive amount of black Sohma, enough to deflect most attacks easily. He was also able to create fissures in the earth and summon molten lava, which quickly cooled and hardened. Having defeated Hyuga, Ryouma, and Reiga to the point of exhaustion, he encased the three in his lava and left them for dead. However, Lakshu's sacrifice energized the four Hachibushu warriors, and together they were able to be defeat him. Before he died though, he warned the protagonists that he was only the first of three, and that the others were far stronger than him.
His Shakti and armor were modeled after the cobra. He was also able to mold his lava into the form of large, molten snakes, which were sentient and quite strong. He wielded a large spear, which he used in his techniques.
Takshaka and Ranban are two warriors that fight under Renge. It is never stated whether they are evil or just loyal Tenkuukai soldiers. Disobeying Gai's orders, Renge and her two followers track down Shurato, Hyuga, Ryouma, and Lakshu, knocking Shurato down a deep canyon and wounding Hyuga and Ryouma. However, Shurato returns, with his Sohma awakened, and was able to kill Takshaka and Ranban.
Takshaka used a scythe and his Shakti was based on the praying mantis. Ranban used a spear-like pole weapon made of chain links and his Shakti was based on the moth. Ranban was also able to generate large amounts of fog, clouding the battlefield and obscuring the vision of Hyuga and Ryouma.
Kali is a psychopathic assassin under the employ of Indrah. He was a sadist who delighted in torturing his victims before he killed them. His Shakti was based on the spider. He had the ability to split himself into five clones, each with the same mind, which he used when he fought Shurato, Hyuga, and Ryouma.
While in separate forms, each of his clones had the ability to regenerate from even mortal injuries, essential rendering them invincible. However, the real Kali was still vulnerable, with any injury suffered replicated on each of the clones. He also had the ability to shoot webbing from each of his clones, and conduct electricity through the webbing, thus shocking whoever was trapped. However, thanks to Reiga, Shurato figured out the secret to his invulnerability and killed the real Kali, thus destroying all of the clones.
Kumara-Ten Muhra and Dahra are a pair of warriors delegated to Renge's command by Gai. Dahra was a giant, whereas Muhra was a hunchback. The two shared a Shakti, a giant centipede, and fought together, with Dahra wielding a huge chain and Muhra using dual claw fist weapons. They were defeated by Shurato and Hyuga.