Gleanings of Paradise
It is thought to be one of the most ancient wheat species in the world, which ends up being revived by Shozo Yaginuma when he tries genetically modifying wheat to cure Yo Utsurogi's wheat allergy. It then propagates itself by enslaving humans to cultivate it.
When cultivated, the fields of this wheat are so mesmerizing that they appear to shine with a beauty likened to a sea of gold. They have a radiant glow and long peduncles like cat whiskers. When they sway from the mountain breeze, they twinkle, making the countless flickers look like shining golden waves.
The wheat itself is visually distinct from modern varieties, as demonstrated when Yaginuma presents two different ears of wheat to highlight their differences. Unlike the modern varieties of wheat, with their dense rows of kernels, the kernels on the Gleanings of Paradise are longer and thinner, and have less kernels overall. Their outer skin is also quite thick. It also has a significantly different genetic structure than modern wheat varieties.
When lit by the moon, the grains shine a pale, platinum white color.
This organism has a powerful survival instinct, evident by its influence over those who consume it. The wheat has its own agenda, seeking to propagate and spread its influence. It can dominate those who ingest it, bending them to its will. It considers humans as livestock, indispensable for their own prosperity as they are necessary for growing wheat. It is also intelligent enough to assign roles to the humans it enslaves, based on the human's temperament. For example, it assigns Yaginuma to be the village chief for the sake of keeping, raising, and multiplying livestock.
The Gleanings of Paradise also has a god complex, believing itself to be god and the humans it enslaves to be its angels. Rohan suggests that they once went extinct because they didn't respect humans to have a symbiotic relationship, unlike other types of wheat.
The wheat is highly addictive in both its aroma and taste, forcing people to constantly want to eat more. Rohan considers bread made from the wheat to be tastier than any bread he's ever eaten. The wheat also intensely compels Rohan to tell others about it, which he feels is something he wouldn't ordinarily do.
The Gleanings of Paradise has the ability to dramatically change the constitution of those who consume it, which involves reconfiguring their body tissues and taking control of their mind. The changes it induces varies for each person, according and proportionate to their temperament. The changes are also gradual depending on how much of the wheat they eat. For instance, Yaginuma, who once was a beautiful, slender boy, transformed into a macho man after consuming the wheat. Toshiya Utsurogi transforms into a bull as his privileged physique is suitable for plowing the land. Some other villagers transform into chicken, pig, and cow hybrids. The chicken plucks out insects from the fields and the pig retrieves stray grains of wheat.
The wheat exerts profound control over those who consume it, domesticating humans into becoming farmers. It turns humans into livestock-like slaves by compelling them to cultivate more of the crop. Its influence is so strong that it can even overwrite the effects of Rohan's Heaven's Door ability, suggesting a powerful overriding consciousness inherent in the wheat. Using Heaven's Door on Utsurogi and Yaginuma, Rohan sees that their pages are replaced at a rapid pace with their mind rapidly regressing to simple words such as "Feed them", "Wheat and livestock", and "Survive", suggesting their host's free will is being erased. As if the wheat is living within them, their personality changes to worship the Gleanings of Paradise and not care about anything else.
The effects of the Gleanings of Paradise's powers are reversible and hosts can even retain their free will with strong enough self-control. For example, Rohan is able to withstand its effects despite his temptations because of his desire to protect a young child. Utsurogi also manages to break free from its grasp for his daughter's sake. The transformation can be reversed through expelling the wheat from their bodies, though further treatment is necessary to completely undo the changes.
Unlike regular types of wheat, the Gleanings of Paradise grows naturally in cold weather conditions that would usually render growth impossible. It did so by storing any sparse nutrient of the rocky soil and then continuing to reproduce. However, it wasn't able to survive through history and went extinct before Yaginuma revived it.
In ancient times over 10,000 years prior, when most plants withered and died off, the most durable ears of wheat continued to reproduce and became the Gleanings of Paradise. It was one of the original varieties of wheat that grew in primitive societies, but went extinct at some point.
Later, when researching how to genetically modify wheat to produce wheat that Yo Utsurogi would not be allergic to, Shozo Yaginuma performs repeated genetic engineering experiments to create a completely new variety not belonging to any existing genetic lineage. He realizes it most likely was one of the first wheat precursors that humans encountered and ends up naming it the Gleanings of Paradise.
The wheat forces Yaginuma to quit the company he was conducting genetic research for and move deep into the mountains to pioneer a village suitable for cultivating the crops. The wheat chooses to make Yaginuma the leader since a community needs someone for administrative purposes and to assimilate outsiders into the village. Over time, the wheat-possessed Yaginuma manages to gather about 30 other humans to the village. It forces the humans to live the same way as when the ancient wheat was alive as much as possible. No electricity runs through the village, neither gas nor water, and they do all their farming work by hand.
The Gleanings of Paradise controls Yaginuma to invite Toshiya and Yo Utsurogi to his village so they can also eat the wheat, claiming it would cure Yo's allergy to wheat. When Utsurogi mentions Rohan, they decide it would be good to invite him as well so he can draw manga that communicates to the humans on the outside how marvelous the Gleanings of Paradise is.
The wheat exhibits its potent influence when Yaginuma serves bread made from it to Rohan and Utsurogi. Utsurogi finds himself unable to resist its taste, consuming it voraciously. As Utsurogi's behavior began to mimic that of livestock, it becomes clear to Rohan that the wheat had a profound effect on those who consumed it. When Utsurogi asks if the wheat is safe for Yo to eat, Yaginuma temporarily regains his free will and says she must not eat it. However, the Gleanings of Paradise controls him to eat another bread to regain control of his mind. Possessing Yaginuma again, it reassures Utsurogi of the wheat's potential to cure Yo's allergy.
The following day, as the group prepares to cook the wheat into porridge, the wheat's influence intensifies. Utsurogi, under the wheat's control, tries to force-feed Yo, leading to Rohan needing to intervene to protect Yo. As Utsurogi's behavior grows more erratic, Rohan begins to suspect the wheat's role in altering personalities, drawing parallels to ergot-infected rye known to cause hallucinations. Yaginuma's casual attitude towards Utsurogi's transformation further confirms the wheat's dominant control over the villagers, turning them into livestock-like beings to cultivate more of it.
That night, the wheat-possessed Yaginuma force-feeds Utsurogi more of the wheat, transforming him into a bull hybrid. Rohan and Yo try to save him, but the wheat's consciousness overwriting Utsurogi's mind at a rapid pace prevents Heaven's Door from being able to stop it. Yaginuma returns and orders Utsurogi to vomit out some wheat, attempting to get Rohan to eat it. Yo protects Rohan and says she'll eat it herself, which causes Utsurogi to regain his free will and stop her. He then vomits out all of the wheat he ate, reverting most of his transformation except for his horns. Yaginuma and the villagers corner the trio, but in a desperate attempt to escape, Rohan uses his abilities to force the villagers to set the wheat fields ablaze with their torches. The villagers, torn between their allegiance to the wheat and Rohan's command, are distracted trying to extinguish the flames, allowing the trio to escape.
Eventually, the fire caused all the wheat fields to be destroyed. Since no seed was left behind, the villagers had no choice but to abandon their cultivation of the crop, but initially they had refused to descend from the mountain. The local government and rescue crew persuaded them to leave, and they all eventually accepted the help. Utsurogi underwent treatment to reverse the transformation caused by the wheat and fully returned to his human form. However, the wheat's legacy persisted. A month later, during a meal in Morioh, the chef presents a basket of bread which he says was made from a new variety of wheat named the Gleanings of Paradise. Worried, Rohan wonders whether it's a different, safer variety having the same name, or if a seed had been carried by the wind and dispersed, propagating in a different land.