Alright, let’s finally talk about this a bit more in-depth. We don’t have much to go on, but the two questions we should examine in relation to Asura no Shindou are:
- How can it be achieved?
- What are its effects?
1. This isn’t really explained in the manga, so the two factors we can look at are who has achieved Asura no Shindou and what may have been the trigger for them achieving it, as well as the mythological background.
In case of the former, we have three candidates so far – Tokugawa, Byoudouin and Oni, with Tokugawa being the only one who is 100% confirmed to have it. The anime confirms Byoudouin as well, but that may or may not have been an interpretation on their part.
Looking at the mythological background, I can’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but I’ve pulled this definition from here:
Demons, enemies of the devas and Indra, with whom they are forever at war. They are the aspects of our nature that take the body to be the sole self. They thrive on ambition, anger and jealousy. They represent our personal demons.
The bolded part is probably the most useful bit here. Looking at Tokugawa, we know that he has some unreal ambition with being even willing to sacrifice his life to defeat Byoudouin, so that fits. So the question we should be asking here is if Byoudouin’s and Oni’s ambitions are on that same level. I can’t really give an objectively correct answer to this, so this is mostly meant to be food for thought.
2. We only have one chapter to go off for this part, but in my eyes there have been a lot of misconceptions about the contents of that one chapter.
Let’s review what happens real quick – it’s Tokugawa’s service game and he aces Byoudouin three times before putting away the second shot easily on the final point. Now, the most common interpretation is that Asura no Shindou has all those different effects like being super fast, or phasing through the racket or having a crazy curve, but since reviewing the chapter again at the end of last month, I believe it’s in fact none of that.
What I believe happens is that Tokugawa in fact hits the exact same serve four times, but it’s such a high level serve that Byoudouin takes several points to figure it out.
On the first point, the serve is faster than he expects and can’t react to it. He adjusts to the speed on the second serve, but the ball “phases” through his racket (in reality it just escapes to the side like GUYU). So he figures out the side spin next and puts his body in the path of the ball on the third serve, but there we get to see that the serve doesn’t just go to the side, but upwards as well.
Byoudouin finally grasps all those aspects on the final serve and returns it – Tokugawa puts the return away, but considering we don’t see him score like this anymore afterwards, I think it’s a fair assumption that Byoudouin has figured out the serve completely at that point and can return it with a regular shot.
So in summary, Tokugawa hits the exact same serve four times. The properties of that serve are that it’s a fast slice serve that not only curves sidewards but upwards as well.
Now, is this serve Asura no Shindou? It might be, but I don’t think so. I think that serve is simply the best serve Tokugawa is capable of hitting and Asura no Shindou enables him to hit this full power serve consecutively without faulting.
This got pretty long, but I hope you took the time to read it all anyway (and that it was somewhat understandable). Of course there’s a chance that I’m wrong about all of this, but I’m pretty confident that this interpretation of the events is more likely than the one we used for the past year.