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Shuuhei Yamada [Vizard -- Finished]
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|Subject Post 1Subject: Shuuhei Yamada [Vizard -- Finished] Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:47 pm|| |
SHUUHEI YAMADA (PART I)
I. Basic Information» Name:
Shuuhei Yamada» Titles:
Shuuhei does not currently have any nicknames, aliases, titles, or any other way in which he is referred to besides the name he was born with.» Appearance Age:
Shuuhei appears to be in his early- to mid-twenties, and most people would likely guess he is in the 22 to 25 age range.» True Age:
930 years (born in May of the year 1490 AD)» Gender:
Shuuhei is not currently a part of any organization and is therefore considered to be "rogue." He resides alone and in a state of relative secrecy on Earth, in the city of San Diego, California in the United States, to be exact.» Appearance Description:
Overall, and especially in comparison to members of the numerous races of beings in existence, spiritual and otherwise, Shuuhei is not a being whose appearance causes them to stand out or makes them particularly noteworthy in any way. Most of his physical traits are average or very nearly so, and he does not possess any body modifications or other characteristics that could be seen as unique or interesting. Simply put, he looks very close what even most humans would consider to be "normal." While some might find such an average appearance boring, it does have its uses, especially for someone like Shuuhei who would prefer to avoid being noticed if at all possible.
The first of Shuuhei's "average" features is of course his height. He stands five feet and nine inches (5' 9'') off the ground, very near average height for a human male in his early- to mid-twenties, the age Shuuhei was at the time he was killed and his human life came to an end. If he stood on one of the scales humans often use to weigh themselves, (assuming such a device worked on a spiritual being) it would probably inform him that he weighs 150 pounds. For Shuuhei, this weight consists mainly of muscle and other lean tissues, and very little fat. After all, he spent many years as a part of what essentially amounted to a military organization, and was a soldier in his human life before that, meaning that he has always believed in the importance of exercise and staying in shape. However, over the past several years as a rogue, he has had both less exercise and less to eat. For these reasons, he is a textbook example of the ectomorph body type. As stated previously, this means he has very little fat and only some muscle. However, the lack of exercise has resulted in a loss of muscle definition, resulting in an overall appearance that most people would describe as "skinny."
The skin that lies over the physiological features described above is rather fair, as is common in people of East Asian descent such as Shuuhei, although it is not so light as to be properly called "pale." That being said, it is definitely light enough that if he were a modern human, doctors would likely advise him to use sunscreen outdoors and be cautious about spending too much time in the sun or under direct UV light. Very little body hair grows anywhere on his figure. His skin is not interrupted by any artificial marks, such as tattoos, nor is it disfigured by any notable natural ones such as birthmarks or moles. There is, however, one exception: scars. The reminders of countless battles tear across his skin in almost every region of his body that could have reasonably been reached by an enemy's blade. Most of these are rather small, but two are particularly large and noticeable. The first of these is a diagonal one stretching from just below his left collarbone to his right hip. It is a light brown line forming a straight, clean cut that is very similar in appearance to scars left by surgical operations. The only difference is that it is about an inch in width at its widest point rather than just a few centimeters. The second is a vertical line only two and a half inches in length and a few centimeters in width but much darker in color and covered by rough, hard scar tissue. This one is located just to the right of his sternum, and there is a corresponding scar of identical description on his back, clearly the result of being impaled by the blade of a katana. Both noticeable scars are from the night he lost control of his Inner Hollow, although the others are from all throughout his career.
For Shuuhei, as is the case with most humanoid beings, his defining characteristics, or the ones that set him apart from others, are the features of his head and face. First, of course, there is his hair. As he is originally of Japanese descent, this hair is a deep black in color. It has not been cut in years, and currently its ends reach nearly halfway down his back. While he normally leaves it alone and does not prefer any particular hairstyle, such long hair can become a nuisance, especially if it blocks the vision during battle. For this reason, he often keeps it tied together behind him. Besides this, Shuuhei's hair is often messy and as mentioned before, not in any identifiable style. Another important feature is of course the eyes. His eyes are usually a dark brown in color, although when he becomes angry or otherwise agitated, or involved in any situation causing him to use a significant amount of Reiryoku, they can temporarily become a dark blue in color, which happens to be the same color as his Reiatsu.
No description of a spiritual being would be complete without a description of their Reiatsu. In "appearance," Shuuhei's Reiatsu generally takes on a deep, dark blue color, although not quite so dark as to qualify as what is usually referred to as "navy blue." Instead, an observer would most likely state that the color of his Reiatsu is closest to that of the water in the open ocean during the day when one is looking directly down upon it. As with most spiritual beings, Shuuhei's Reiatsu also has a particular "feel" to it to those capable of Reiatsu perception. This feeling is generally described by those who have experienced it as a sensation similar to that experienced if the surrounding area is highly charged with static electricity. Those with more highly-attuned senses of Reiatsu perception may also note a smell of ozone, which is the smell commonly associated with the time immediately preceding or following a rainstorm. Shuuhei's Reiatsu also occasionally evokes an emotional response in some beings, which differs depending on whether he regards the person sensing his Reiatsu as a friend or a foe. To an ally, his Reiatsu brings on a sense of reassurance, confidence, calm, and sometimes even happiness. To an enemy, his Reiatsu is thick, heavy, and threatening, and generally brings on a sense of unease and even fear, mainly in those weaker than him.
Finally, there is his clothing. Though he has not been a member of the Gotei United for several centuries, and has not been a true Shinigami for equally long, Shuuhei still wears the Shihakusho uniform most commonly associated with Gotei members. This, of course, consists of a black kimono and hakama, kept together at the waist with the standard white obi sash used by all Shinigami in most cases. This sash, besides keeping the uniform together, also helps to hold the sheathed katana and wakizashi that make up his dual Zanpakutō. He wears both of these weapons on the left side of his body for the most convenient use, as he is right-handed. On his feet, one can find the standard-issue Japanese-style socks and sandals that usually accompany the Shinigami uniform. Because of Shuuhei's long absence from Soul Society, among other reasons, this Shihakusho is in a state of disrepair. It is covered with countless small nicks, tears, and scrapes, as well as dark spots where it had been stained or splattered with blood. These stains, especially those caused by blood, are far more noticeable on the white obi sash around his waist, entire sections of which have turned red, grey, or brown with dirt and blood. Besides the Shihakusho, Shuuhei usually wears a long white silk scarf around his neck, with the ends often trailing one to two feet behind him. This scarf is in similar condition to the rest of his clothing, though it has fewer stains due to having been acquired well after the rest of his uniform.
In Gigai form, Shuuhei chooses to wear clothes that closely match the most current fashion for human males in the age group that he appears to belong to. This, of course, is intended to aid him in blending in and avoiding standing out as much as reasonably possible. As such, he has two main possible outfits to choose from depending on the weather, which fortunately does not vary much in the part of Earth where he currently lives. During the spring and summer months when it is warm, he prefers to wear a grey and black striped T-shirt, khaki colored shorts, and black low-top Converse shoes with dark blue laces. If the weather becomes particularly hot, he will replace the T-shirt with a black tank top. During colder weather, he will trade the shorts for a pair of dark blue denim jeans and the T-shirt for a red and black plaid flannel shirt, which he usually wears with all of the buttons fastened. In especially cold or rainy weather, he will sometimes wear a black, hooded sweatshirt instead.» Appearance Picture:
I. Personality» Personality: Key: Positive Neutral Negative
- Compassionate: Anyone who has known Shuuhei for any extended period of time will know that he is, above almost all else, compassionate towards others. This is likely a product of his relatively long life and the amount of death, destruction, and suffering he has seen, experienced, or otherwise been exposed to. These experiences have helped him gain an understanding of the hardships many people face and a desire to help ease the pain caused by these for as many beings as possible. He is the type to always be there for someone in their time of need, even if that means just listening or being there to console someone who is going through a difficult time. He is always there to help for anyone who may need it. This also means Shuuhei will put others before himself in most cases and do anything necessary to protect or otherwise help them in any time of difficulty. A compassionate nature may seem counterintuitive for a being who has spent the vast majority of his existence involved with the military, having been a samurai as a human and then a Shinigami after his death. However, it is actually because of this compassion that he tends to do exceedingly well in combat. This is because, as mentioned before, a part of his compassionate nature is a desire to protect. This leads him to view enemies not as threats to himself but threats to the ones he cares about and bringers of suffering, and thus not deserving of compassion or sympathy. Even when he must kill, Shuuhei prefers to give his enemies a fast death without pain or suffering and is as humane as possible even on the battlefield.
- Strong Sense of Empathy: Closely linked to his compassion for others is Shuuhei's sense of empathy. Like his compassion, he developed this over the course of his long and at times difficult life. As stated in the previous section, he carries a burning desire to shield others from suffering, death, destruction, and hardship to the greatest extent possible. His sense of empathy is the main reason behind this. Empathy is, of course, defined as the ability to feel what others would feel in any given situation, and is commonly referred to as "putting oneself in another's shoes." Most beings are capable of this to some degree, with those who are entirely incapable of it usually being defined as psychopaths or similar. For Shuuhei, this ability by far exceeds that of most other beings. As an example, seeing sadness in others will actually cause him to become sad. On the opposite side, seeing happiness in others can be enough to make his entire day. His empathy extends even further, though, to the point that seeing someone else injured physically is enough to cause him to almost feel the resulting pain felt by the victim, even if he is completely unharmed. Once again, it may seem that such a deep sense of empathy presents a conflict of interest for a being who has spent centuries engaging in combat. However, as stated previously, Shuuhei views his enemies as the cause of the pain and suffering he seeks to prevent, and even when he must kill, he does so as quickly and painlessly as is realistically possible.
- Well-Mannered: Having spent his human life in Japan, Shuuhei tends to follow most of the tradition and customs that he grew up with there. One of the key tenets of his culture, and perhaps the one Japan is known best for even in the 25th century, is politeness. Under most circumstances, Shuuhei takes extra care to ensure that he behaves politely towards all beings he interacts with, both in his words and actions. For example, he will refer to everyone he interacts with by their last name followed by a traditional Japanese honorific such as
"-san" or similar, almost without exception. The only time he will not do this is if the name of the being he is interacting with is unknown, and even then, he will make the best possible attempt at politeness. Along these lines, he also tends to avoid raising his voice, using curse words or vulgar terms, or engaging in any other type of speech that could cause offense or be perceived as disrespectful. He is careful with his actions in the same way, always taking care to maintain respectful posture for the situation he is in, keeping proper eye contact during conversations, and observing proper manners when eating in the presence of others.
- Ethical: When deciding his actions, Shuuhei does everything reasonably possible to do so according to what he believes to be proper ethics. Generally, he follows what human philosophers and scholars would refer to as the utilitarian school of thought. Usually, utilitarianism is defined as the idea that ethical behavior brings the greatest amount of "good," (happiness, pleasure, and similar positive feelings) and the least amount of pain or suffering, to the greatest number of people. Simply put, this means that he tries to act in the interest of the greater good whenever possible. This mentality is the result of the time he spent as a samurai in his human life and later as a Shinigami, both of which were occupations that required teamwork and putting oneself second to the greater good and the success of the mission. Shuuhei retains this mentality to this day, though now as a rogue, the main "mission" is survival. Despite this, as a result of his ethical thought processes, he also does his best to help others and solve problems whenever possible. Overall, Shuuhei makes an attempt to be sure that his decisions are guided by ethics and result in the least possible amount of pain, suffering, or hardship for anyone affected by them.
- Tolerant: Yet another trait born out of his past experiences is Shuuhei's high degree of tolerance towards others. This is actually a trait he developed more recently, as it only began to develop after his first temporary loss of control over his Inner Hollow. For a significant portion of his life, he actually held the same prejudices towards other races and organizations as his fellow Shinigami. This especially applied to anything related to Hollows, such as Arrancar or Vizards. Since becoming a Vizard himself, however, Shuuhei has come to realize that a being's race, presence of an Inner Hollow, or even their organizational membership do not define who they truly are. (though there are some exceptions to this when it comes to organizational membership) As a result, he is very open-minded and holds no prejudices about any race, and will not judge any being solely based on that. Instead, he forms opinions of beings based on their personality and actions. Similarly, he is very tolerant of the beliefs of others as well, unless said beliefs are based on prejudice or other biases based on preconceived notions. Even then, he would prefer to educate rather than discredit, judge, or shame anyone based on their beliefs. Overall, he is tolerant of the vast majority of beings and belief systems he encounters.
- Bushido Code: As we now know, Shuuhei spent the majority of his human life as a samurai in medieval Japan. Any description of a being who was once a samurai would be lacking if it did not mention the famous Bushido code of honor that all samurai were bound to uphold. Shuuhei was no different during his human life, and while death freed him from any obligation to continue following this behavioral code, he chose to continue adhering to it regardless. Some main parts of this code include the importance of honor over even life itself and loyalty to one's lord and superiors. While being honorable and loyal are generally positive traits for any being to have, they can have unforeseen negative effects as well. As an example, running from a fight is simply not an option for Shuuhei. Instead, he will stay and fight even to the point of his own death if he is allowed to do so. This applies even to a fight that he knows he cannot win, and therefore has a chance of getting him severely injured or even killed. Another issue is the psychological impact that the loyalty aspect of the Bushido code has had on him. For many years, this was the basis of his loyalty to the Gotei. However, upon becoming a Vizard, this was completely shattered and he was left in a state of depression and confusion that continues to this day. Since it has both helpful and detrimental effects, his adherence to the Bushido code is a neutral personality aspect.
- Calculating: In the vast majority of cases, Shuuhei tends to carefully analyze the situation and calculate his decisions before taking any type of action. Of course, there are many situations, such as in combat, where there is not enough time for this to be possible. Overall, he will not simply dive into a situation without first having sufficient knowledge of what is going on and developing a functional plan for what he will do about it. This can be helpful because it allows him to prepare properly for almost any possible event, and in dangerous situations, it has saved his life or prevented grievous injury on multiple occasions. It has also been helpful outside of combat situations. For example, deciding how to act in front of a particular person or group or what to say if questioned on something by a superior, along with other similar circumstances. That being said, this careful, calculating aspect of Shuuhei's personality can be a drawback at times. It can, for example, result in failure to act quickly enough in a time-sensitive situation or even prevent him from taking any action at all. Sometimes, it can also result in him overthinking a relatively simple problem and coming to the wrong solution.
- "Way With Words:" This trait is rather self-explanatory: Shuuhei has been known to have what most would describe as a "way with words." More simply, he always seems to know what to say and how to say it in a way to make everyone happy, no matter the situation. On Earth, this is a skill commonly seen in experienced politicians. He is very well-informed on most issues and when it comes time to argue or debate about something, he is always prepared with arguments and effective, logical reasoning. He can also be quite persuasive. In summary, he is a very proficient speaker. While this is very useful and would likely be seen by most as an entirely positive trait, it can also have some very negative effects. One of these is that it can lead to people incorrectly seeing him as manipulative and therefore forming a dislike or distrust for him. Additionally, while he makes an honest effort to avoid causing offense even in an argument as a result of his politeness, his logic can sometimes cause unintended offense if a controversial issue is being discussed.
- Asexual: For his entire existence, including his life as a human, Shuuhei has been entirely asexual. This is usually defined as a description for a person who derives no pleasure from any type of sexual activities, it goes a step further for Shuuhei. The previous description fully applies to him, but in addition, he has never once felt any type of attraction, even merely romantic, to another person. The closest type of relationship he has ever formed with anyone, either as a human or after, is that of friendship. This is neither positive nor negative for his life at present, though it can have both positive and negative effects on him in the future depending on the exact situation at hand. For example, it can result in him being viewed as "weird" by others if they happen to pick up on it. This was especially true during his human life in 15th and 16th century Japan, where those who knew thought there was something seriously wrong with him. Being asexual can also be helpful, though, as it prevents him from being at risk from any type of temptation or other troubles that can result from physical relationships.
- Stubborn: One of Shuuhei's major flaws is that he is extremely stubborn. Though some may argue that this stubbornness is actually perseverance and a refusal to give up despite challenges, and while it does have that effect, it has mainly resulted in trouble for Shuuhei. Therefore, it is listed here as a negative trait and viewed by him as such. A significant part of the reason why is the same reason why many people would argue it is in fact not a negative trait: the fact that he simply will not give up or change his mind in almost any situation. This was touched on previously as part of the section in which Shuuhei's adherence to the Bushido code was discussed. Even if faced with a fight that he knows he cannot win or a situation that he knows is completely impossible, he will simply refuse to give up. This can result in minor consequences, such as large amounts of wasted time on an impossible problem, or major ones up to and including his death. Similarly, this means that he is very unlikely to change his mind on anything or adjust his beliefs or ideas, even if they are proven wrong. There was one exception to this, which was becoming more tolerant of other races and organizations after becoming a Vizard. This demonstrates how stubborn Shuuhei can be, and how it requires a major event to result in him making any changes or giving up at something.
- Procrastinator: Another of Shuuhei's flaws is his tendency to procrastinate. When tasked with something he sees as being tedious, time-consuming, or otherwise annoying or unpleasant, he is very likely to put that task off as long as possible. This was particularly noticeable during his time as a low-ranking Gotei member shortly after graduating from the Academy, during which his tendency to put off the menial tasks he was often given proved to be an annoyance and hindrance to his fellow squad members and superiors alike. Though this improved as he spent more time in the Gotei and was trusted, little by little, with more important and "less boring" responsibilities, but it never entirely resolved itself and remain a problem for him to this day. Although it is true that this is a minor issue, if even one at all, as a rogue without obligations to any organization, it could become a problem later should he choose to join one.
- Paranoid: This particular trait is one that Shuuhei developed quite recently. Though he has always been cautious as a result of having spent the majority of his existence as a soldier of some sort, (either a samurai or a Shinigami) he never developed true paranoia until after becoming a Vizard. Unlike some, he did not become a Vizard willingly, but instead underwent the process as a result of contracting a soul-altering virus that resulted in the creation of an Inner Hollow. Like most Shinigami-turned-Vizard who find themselves in this situation, he ended up losing control of that Inner Hollow temporarily, resulting in him committing acts that led to him being forced to depart Soul Society. As this happened at the time of the Old Gotei, Shuuhei was originally forced to go into hiding to preserve his own safety. As such, he quickly became quite paranoid and suspicious of anyone who could even maybe be a threat. Even now, he is extremely suspicious of any people he does not know well, even more so if they are spiritually aware or otherwise seem to be powerful. He constantly watches his back for any possible threats, always keeping his Reiatsu suppressed and his hand near the hilt of his Zanpakutō, ready to fight at a moment's notice. For this reason, he is often very tense and anxious in public or around new people or beings.
- ADHD: When Shuuhei was born in 1490, the condition now widely known as "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder," or ADHD, was not medically documented. Instead, his parents and those around him simply thought he had "trouble applying himself," or "a short attention span," or "too much energy." A modern doctor would have very little trouble diagnosing Shuuhei with ADHD. He suffers from all of its classic symptoms, including difficulty focusing on tasks and hyperactivity. Now that he knows he suffers from this, which he discovered during a visit to a human doctor on Earth recently, he suspects it was the reason for his procrastination as well. Unfortunately, though he was prescribed medication to help mitigate the effects of this condition, it does not work properly because Shuuhei is of course not actually a human. As a direct result, he still suffers from the full intensity of his ADHD most of the time. While this is only a minor issue at present, once again, it could become a serious problem should he become a part of an organization at a later time. His other flaws, when combined with this ADHD, can make life quite difficult for Shuuhei at times.
- Addiction-Prone Personality: Finally, it is important to note that Shuuhei is heavily inclined psychologically to be at higher than average risk for addiction. Specifically, this means addiction to substances, though it can also refer to an addiction to risky behavior intended to cause the production of adrenaline. If he were a modern human, Shuuhei would almost certainly participate in extreme sports for this reason. More problematic is his risk of addiction to substances. During his human life, there were not many opportunities to use what modern humans would consider to be "drugs," but there was plenty of alcohol. As this was medieval Japan, this usually meant sake. The same was true in Soul Society. In both places, he tended to drink quite heavily. Shuuhei never drank in amounts that would lead anyone to consider him an alcoholic, though. Rather, he was usually viewed as a person who "liked to have fun." Luckily, this has not caused him any embarrassment or other problems yet, nor has it led to an actual addiction. Nevertheless, he does still drink heavily to this day. Overall, Shuuhei is the type to become addicted to something easily and must always take care to avoid this as much as possible.
- Peace & Quiet: Like most beings with relatively normal psychology, Shuuhei enjoys peace and quiet whenever he can get it. This can be attributed to the conflict, physical violence, and chaos he has experienced for most of his existence. Between his time fighting in wars as a human, to fighting Hollows and conducting military operations as a part of the Gotei, to his own internal battles against his Inner Hollow and the resulting real-life effects of these internal struggles, Shuuhei has simply had enough of chaos and battle for several lifetimes. For this reason, he will make every attempt to avoid fighting when possible. He prefers time alone to relax and think over fighting or other chaotic activities. This being said, he will not hesitate fight when necessary, especially if others are in danger, but it is not something he enjoys or seeks out.
- Helping Others: As a being who is compassionate by nature, Shuuhei finds genuine enjoyment in helping others. This could mean any type of assistance that makes someone else's life easier. From something completely trivial such as picking up an item that someone has dropped or assisting them in carrying a heavy object, all the way to major investments of time and effort, like aiding someone in finding a lost family member following a disaster, or something more directly related to his Shinigami skills like fighting off Hollows to protect the soul of a recently deceased human, Shuuhei is there to help and will always find true enjoyment in it. Even if it involves a risk to his own life, if he is able to help, he will. Furthermore, he is not the type to expect any sort of compensation for his assistance, or even any thanks whatsoever.
- Exercise: Seeing as Shuuhei has spent the better part of his existence as a part of one military organization or another, physical fitness is something that has always been expected or outright demanded of him. Rather than seeing this as a chore or something he "has to" do, he views exercise as something both beneficial and enjoyable. He especially enjoys the feeling of satisfaction and overall happiness sometimes experienced at the conclusion of a workout, often referred to by humans as "runner's high." He also enjoys the workout itself, however. During his time both as a human and later in the Gotei, Shuuhei's workouts consisted of running or swimming, lifting of weights, core exercises, and sparring for Zanjutsu practice when possible. At present, his opportunities for exercise are rather limited, but he begins every day with a 10-mile run followed by core exercises, both because he enjoys it and to at least maintain some semblance of physical conditioning.
- Good Food: One thing Shuuhei has always been fond of is good food. This is something that has been the case from the time he grew old enough to eat solid foods as a human, and has not changed since. Japanese food is, of course, his favorite, as it is what he grew up with even as a human and was the most commonly available type of sustenance in Soul Society as well. On Earth, he finds it rather difficult to find what he considers to be authentic Japanese food and does not appreciate the more "modern American" takes on the cuisine of his homeland that he often comes across in his current place of residence. Another variety of food he has come to enjoy after living on Earth for some time is Mexican food, which is both very high quality and widely available in his location on Earth, as he lives in Southern California. Interestingly, due to the importance of health and physical fitness to him, Shuuhei is careful with the amount of calories he consumes each day and is careful to maintain a proper balance between eating the foods he enjoys and remaining healthy.
- Alcohol: Despite his usual caution on matters of health and physical fitness, Shuuhei does tend to be what most would consider a heavy drinker. Although, he consumes quite high quantities of alcohol, he does not do so with the intent to become intoxicated. His tolerance for alcohol is very high as a result of having started drinking at around the age of 17 as a human and steadily building tolerance since then, as most beings would. As such, he requires a significant amount to induce the relaxed feeling he desires. When it comes to his drink of choice, Shuuhei prefers sake as this is what he has had access to for most of his existence. More recently, though, he has started to develop a taste for whiskey as well, both because he finds the taste enjoyable and it is stronger, meaning he does not need to drink as much of it.
- The Gotei: Though he was once a member of the Gotei, Shuuhei currently holds an intense dislike for this group. It is the one exception to his usual tolerant attitude toward other races and organizations. It is important to clarify exactly what this means. Shuuhei does not hate the Gotei, but as mentioned previously, simply very strongly dislikes the organization. Also, this strong dislike does not apply to most individual members of the Gotei, nor does it apply to the race of Shinigami. Shuuhei is aware that the vast majority of rank and file Shinigami, along with seated officers and even vice-captains to some extent, often follow orders from above without question because they must. Having spent a great deal of time as a Gotei member himself, he recognizes that many of them often disagree with their orders, yet they are still required to carry them out. For this reason, he has no problems with these individuals. Shuuhei's feelings towards the Gotei are instead reserved for its leadership, meaning captains and other important parts of the organization, as they are the ones who make the decisions. The reason for this feeling is that after becoming a Vizard against his will, Shuuhei began to learn of the true level of intolerance of the high-ranking members of the organization. As his experience slowly began to change his views of other races and erase what he had been taught in Soul Society, he realized how intolerant and unethical (in his eyes) the Gotei could truly be, eventually leading him to feel the way he does at present. That being said, his relative isolation means that he is unaware of the Gotei's reorganization into the Gotei United and the ways in which it has reformed since his time in the Old Gotei, and this knowledge could change this dislike should he be exposed to it.
- Intolerance: As alluded to in the explanation of why Shuuhei dislikes the Gotei, he intensely dislikes intolerance. This is mainly a result of his experiences after becoming a Vizard and experiencing his first temporary loss of control over his Inner Hollow. That experience impacted him profoundly, and among other things, it taught him that a being's race or organizational membership do not determine whether that being is good or evil. With that realization came the idea that acting based on intolerance and prejudices toward other races or even organizations is wrong. In this way, Shuuhei soon came to see the error of his ways during his time in the Gotei and realize just how wrong and often hypocritical behavior based on intolerance can be. As such, Shuuhei does not like intolerance, and believes that it is important for those who are intolerant to be educated.
- Cruelty: Shuuhei highly dislikes cruelty, an expected result of his compassionate nature. Once again, this developed as a result of the countless hours of his existence that have been spent in combat. Even as a human, he quickly learned that on the battlefield, there is a spectrum of different personalities that can emerge in otherwise normal people. First, there are those simply there to do their job and to serve and protect their homeland against the enemy. Then, there are those who have a sense of duty but also enjoy fighting, as well as those who simply enjoy fighting for its own sake. Finally, there is a group that not only enjoys fighting just to fight, but also takes pleasure in causing the enemy as much pain and suffering as possible before their death. This last group is what Shuuhei would describe as "cruel." Shuuhei very quickly developed a dislike for this type of behavior even as a human, and this did not change when he went on to become a Shinigami. He sees no reason to be cruel to a defeated enemy when battle itself causes pain and suffering enough. To him, cruelty has no place either in battle or in the world at all. Along these lines, Shuuhei also does not support the use of torture for any reason.
- Cowardice: Shuuhei, as we know, spent most of his human life as a samurai and followed the Bushido code. This code, among other things, emphasizes the importance of maintaining one's honor in battle. This means that running from a battle or otherwise engaging in any sort of cowardly behavior was absolutely unthinkable. After all, this brought dishonor to the warrior himself, as well as his family, his fellow samurai, and his superiors, and even death was preferable over this. Shuuhei holds the same ideas to this day, and it logically follows that to him, cowardice has no place on the battlefield. To him, any being who is afraid to fight for what they believe in has no reason to fight or even to possess a weapon. Furthermore, he knows from his extensive combat experience that one person's cowardice can cause the death or serious injury of his fellow warriors, making such behavior not only dishonorable but also dangerous.
- Rudeness: Finally, Shuuhei does not like rude behavior. This stems from his human life in Japan and the traditional rules of politeness he learned there. To him, rudeness is anything that violates these traditional rules. Some examples would be referring to a person one just met by their first name, raising one's voice unnecessarily, or the use of vulgar speech or curse words. Improper body language and lack of eye contact during conversations fall under this category as well. Besides these, bad manners in general tend to cause Shuuhei at least mild annoyance depending on the exact offense. Along with the fact that rudeness violates the traditional values he has always held, Shuuhei believes that someone who cannot even control their actions to be polite towards others is likely to become a physical danger to others at some point. For these reasons, Shuuhei will generally avoid associating with those who demonstrate a consistent pattern of what he considers rude behavior.
I. History» History:
On a cool May evening, the existence of the being who would come to be known as Shuuhei Yamada began. The date was May 17th, 1490, and the location was the city that would later be known as Aomori in the northern Tohoku region of Japan. Japan in the late 1400’s was not necessarily the easiest or safest place to live, and this would continue to be the case for quite some time. This was the middle of what later historians would call the Sengoku period, and it was an extremely chaotic time for the people of the Land of the Rising Sun. For the last few centuries, the emperor and those who were meant to be governing the country had next to no power, and were thus generally disregarded by the nobility. Instead, noblemen called daimyo
ruled their territories as basically military dictators, raising armies of samurai, medieval Japan’s equivalent of knights, to defend these lands. These noblemen constantly fought each other for dominance, making war almost constant throughout the land. Unity was an almost nonsensical concept to these rulers. The country had once temporarily unified to defend the land from a Mongol invasion, but that had been nearly 400 years prior. For now, chaos and fighting reigned supreme. Such were the circumstances into which Shuuhei was born.
Shuuhei may not have been fortunate in terms of the time period into which he was born, but luck seemed to be on his side when it came to the social class he would be a part of. His father was a samurai, a member of the well-respected warrior class of medieval Japan, and he was the family’s eldest son. While this meant that young Shuuhei was likely destined for a life of war, it also saved him from some of the more harsh realities of life for the vast majority of people in Sengoku period Japan. As in most medieval societies, the modern concept of a “middle class” simply did not exist. In fact, the closest thing to such a social position was the samurai class. One could be either nobility, a samurai, or a peasant. The life of a peasant was one of malnutrition, grueling manual labor, and miserable standards of living. It was also often quite short, ended by disease, starvation, or a quick, brutal death in battle if enlisted into an army as some often were when manpower was lacking. Thus, Shuuhei was as fortunate as one could possibly be for having been born in 15th century Japan.
Shuuhei’s early life was much the same as anyone else born into a samurai family at the time. His parents ensured that he was taught to speak, read, and write in the Japanese language fluently and in the sophisticated manner that would be expected of a person of his social standing. Parents and teachers alike also began drilling into him the importance of politeness and other traditional Japanese values, lessons which, though he could not have possibly known at the time, would remain with him for centuries to come. Beyond all of this, however, there was one concept that it was made clear to him from the beginning would be of utmost importance, far above anything else: honor. Many cultures, of course, value honor, but for the Japanese, and especially for one who was destined to become a samurai, honor was to be defended almost to the exclusion of all else. Shuuhei was constantly having this explained to him in no uncertain terms from the time he was able to speak. Before he could walk, he was already being indoctrinated on the importance of defending the honor of his lord and his family, in that order.
Such lessons were the main highlights of the first five years of young Shuuhei’s life. It was also at this time that his parents and instructors began to notice something peculiar. It seemed to them that Shuuhei was unable to sit still or focus. His mind seemed to be wandering constantly, and he had no shortage of energy. His mother, who always thought the best of her children, attributed this to his young age. “Such is the nature of all young boys,” she would often remark. His father had a different opinion. “He’s immature. He doesn’t take his lessons seriously. To think this is what I leave the family name to…” he would say. While a modern family would have such a child tested for ADHD or a similar disorder, Shuuhei’s father and teachers knew nothing of such issues, as they would not be discovered for centuries to come. Instead, they assumed that he was an unruly child who needed to be taught respect and learn the seriousness of his position in society. So it happened that one day, after Shuuhei finished a lesson in which he had been having considerable difficulty with his ADHD, his father came upon him with a length of bamboo and began to beat him. ”What did I do??”
wondered the now 6-year-old Shuuhei in fear and confusion as bursts of pain erupted across his body in each place the bamboo cane met his skin. Mercifully, the beating finally ceased after a few more minutes. “You will sit still and not utter a word unless spoken to until your lessons have finished, at which time you will politely thank your teachers. Your behavior is bringing shame to our family and risking its future!” his father told him.
The beating and scolding would remain in Shuuhei’s mind for far longer than the quite obviously-shaped bruises and bloodied cuts across his body. Though concentration was difficult for him, it was noticed that his performance in lessons and overall behavior greatly improved after that incident. Soon after this, Shuuhei reached the age of 7. It was at that time that his father approached him with a bokken,
or a wooden training sword, and explained to him that the time had come for him to begin learning the way of the warrior. So it was that in May of 1497, Shuuhei began to learn the skill that would determine the course of not only the rest of his human life, but the remainder of his existence: swordsmanship. He trained in fighting with a katana, but also with a wakizashi, or a short sword, and even the long, heavy nodachi, the Japanese long sword. A bokken could not kill under normal circumstances, but its wooden “blade” was extremely painful to suffer a blow from, and that pain spurred Shuuhei to master the use of swords relatively quickly. By the time he reached the age of 10, he was already proficient with the katana and wakizashi. Soon, he began to learn to use other weapons, such as the yari,
or medieval Japanese spear, and of course the bow and arrow.
Outside of physical exercise and weapons training, which there was certainly no shortage of, a new subject was added to Shuuhei’s already rigorous academic regimen: the Bushido code. This, of course, was the code of honor all samurai were expected to follow. It emphasized loyalty to one’s lord above all else, as well as the expected behaviors of a samurai both on the battlefield and in society. One aspect of the code in particular caught Shuuhei’s attention, as it made him realize why his father had been so upset at his poor concentration in lessons. This aspect was the idea that if one brought too much shame upon oneself and thereby one’s lord and family, the only way to erase this shame was seppuku, or ritual suicide. Honor, in other words, was going to be literally a deadly serious matter for Shuuhei from this point forward.
Fast forward now to age 13. Shuuhei had become noticeably talented at swordsmanship, though his skills in other weapons were somewhat lacking. He was particularly bad at archery, as the patience required to learn it was proving too great a challenge for his ADHD. Even at his young age, he was already learning that preferred to focus on one thing at a time and master that area, rather than try to master a wide range of weapons. As a result, he became quite handy with a katana and wakizashi, average with most other weapons, and of course sub-par at archery. Of course, there was still more to learn. Next were lessons in fighting on horseback, a critical skill for any samurai, and training in the use of some new weapons that had been brought to their land only recently by strange men with white skin and red hair. These weapons were wood and metal tubes that used a fast-burning black powder to fling a metal ball at the enemy, to whom it could cause severe injury. Apparently, they were called ”muskets.”
Shuuhei did not like these weapons, as they seemed almost evil to him, but he recognized how dangerous and useful they could be, so he paid proper attention to his training with them as well.
Shuuhei may have been only 13 years old, still a boy by most people’s standards, but in medieval Japan he was almost a man. In just two years’ time, he would become a samurai and likely soon after, be sent off to war. The reality of this truly struck home for the first time a year later, in June of 1504. That fateful day, the now 14-year-old Shuuhei awoke to the sound of metal clashing with metal, men yelling orders, cries of pain and rage, and the deep booming of muskets. He leapt from his bed and dashed outside, covering the short distance to the city’s walls in just a few seconds. Peering out through a gap in the wooden fortifications, he caught his first glimpse of battle. Already, men lay dead, streams of crimson leaking through gaping holes in their armor only to soak into the dry, thirsty earth. Ownerless swords, spears, and other weapons were scattered across the field before the city gates, some in one piece and others shattered. Torn, blood-spattered banners bearing the crest of one noble clan or another also lay in the dirt, while others flew proudly above the chaos, not yet thrown down by the enemy.
In the early hours of the morning, a minor daimyo had led a small force of men against the city in which Shuuhei lived in an attempt at a surprise attack. Fortunately, the attempt had failed, and the superior force from the city was rapidly pushing the attackers back. Indeed, most of the forcibly enlisted peasant soldiers fighting for the enemy had already thrown down their makeshift spears and fled. Only the samurai remained, bound by their code of honor to fight to the last man.
Shuuhei was about to turn away from the wooden wall when something familiar caught his eye. Of course! He would recognize his father’s armor anywhere. There was his father, fighting on horseback against the invaders. Shuuhei watched in fascination as his father’s blade flashed in the morning sun and descended on the neck of an unlucky enemy. In one clean stroke, the man’s head fell away, his body dropping in a heap with blood still spurting from his neck as his heart continued to beat. ”Wow…”
Shuuhei thought in shock at his first sight of the brutal reality of war. His father then turned to search for the next adversary… as a spurt of blood erupted from his right shoulder. ”What? No!”
Shuuhei stared in profound disbelief as his father fell backwards off his horse and to the ground. He had been struck by a ball from a firearm, and it had shattered his shoulder, rendering his left arm useless. Still, he pulled himself to his feet and gripped his katana in his right hand. But it was far too late. The shock of being shot had disoriented him just enough to leave him vulnerable. By the time he turned to face the enemy samurai who had shot him with a flintlock pistol, there was no time. Shuuhei could only stare helplessly as the blade of this other man’s sword crunched through his father’s armor directly over his heart, and then emerged from the center of his back half a second later. The blade was ripped free, and as his father dropped to his knees with a crimson torrent pouring down his chest, Shuuhei felt the warm sting of tears in his eyes for the first time in years.
The following day, Shuuhei watched as his father was buried in a full military funeral alongside the fallen from the previous day. He could only listen as everyone in the city spoke not of their sadness for his loss, but of how honorable it was to meet death on the battlefield. Of course, Shuuhei knew the samurai code as well as anyone, but he could not help but feel the smallest sliver of doubt. Maybe this was all wrong… But he pushed those feelings down. After all, with the death of his father, Shuuhei was now the de facto head of his family, being its oldest male member. Further complicating the matter, he would be expected to take up the two swords and serve his lord just as his father did in less than a years’ time.
Shuuhei’s 15th birthday came in what seemed to him to be a flash. In celebration of his coming of age, a dinner for the upper-class families of the city was held at the Yamada family home that night. Copious amounts of food and drink were prepared for the occasion, and there was definitely a party atmosphere about the place that night. Everyone was enjoying themselves except Shuuhei, for whom the party was organized. “I’m not ready,” he said quietly to himself. He certainly did not feel ready to become an adult, let alone a samurai. But these two things were exactly what he had become. Hours after the last guests had left for their own homes, Shuuhei lay awake, staring at the wooden ceiling. There would be no sleep for him tonight. He knew fully well that at any moment, the city’s daimyo could call upon him to fight, and then like his father, he could suffer a brutal death at the hands of the enemy.
The following morning, a sleep-deprived Shuuhei was presented with a long, thin bundle and a wooden box. He knew exactly what they contained: his father’s katana and wakizashi, along with his armor, both of which were now his. Shuuhei opened the box first and took out the pieces of armor he would soon have to wear. A few red-brown stains on the armor’s plating told the story of its previous owner’s fate. Next, he unwrapped the bundle and retrieved the two swords that he was now entitled to wear at all times. He slid these into the obi sash at his waist, tightening it slightly to hold the weapons in place. Shuuhei had truly become a samurai.
The next several years passed without any notable events. The lord Shuuhei now served engaged in only minor military action, and as such, he only fought in minor skirmishes during that time. Still, he found himself on the front lines quite often, having no choice but to take the lives of enemy soldiers. By this time, he was beginning to discover his strong sense of empathy, noting that he seemed to be the only samurai among his peers who felt any regret or remorse after taking a human life. The only significant military action he saw was a major battle in December of 1509 when he was 19 years old. That was Shuuhei’s first personal experience with the realities of war, and the pain and suffering he witnessed on that battlefield would remain with him forever. So would the cruelty he witnessed from his fellow warriors toward defeated enemies. ”So much meaningless suffering… and for what? Our duty is to defend the honor of our lord and our land. There is no reason to brutalize a defeated foe… the shame of defeat is enough.”
he thought as he cleaned his armor and swords after the battle. Shuuhei swore to himself that day that from now on, he would do his duty to his lord and homeland, but would never engage in gratuitous cruelty, and would end the suffering of defeated enemies as humanely as possible.
As Shuuhei was now the undisputed head of the family, having both come of age and become a proper member of the samurai class, there was a significant amount of pressure on him to marry. His mother had given birth to two other children before the death of his father, but they were both daughters. Shuuhei was the only one able to carry on the family name. However, he had started to notice something strange around the time he reached the age of 12 or 13. Many of his peers at that time had started to talk about women and become attracted to them, but for him, this never happened. He never developed any interest in women or a romantic relationship. Any time the subject of marriage was raised, Shuuhei was oddly quiet, and people soon began to worry. As it happened, they were entirely right to have concern for the family’s future.
The relative peace was shattered in November of 1512, only months after Shuuhei’s 22nd birthday. Lookouts posted in the hills south of the city came streaming in one snowy morning with disturbing news: a massive enemy force was advancing from the south, and would arrive in the plain before the city’s gates in the early hours of the coming day. The enemy host was estimated at 15,000 men, and only 6,500 men at best could be mustered to defend the city. Shuuhei knew that defeat was the most likely outcome, and under the Bushido code, this meant that the only honorable option was death. As he returned to his home to prepare for battle, he was already well aware that he would have to meet an honorable death in battle the next day. ”I’ll be seeing you again soon, Father.”
thought Shuuhei as he glanced over at the small shrine along the wall of the house in honor of the family’s ancestors.
Late that night, the army moved out of the city. It had been decided that a small portion of the city’s defenders would make camp in the plains just outside the city’s fortifications in order to meet the enemy before they had a chance to enter the city by force. Meanwhile, the majority of the defenders would fight house to house within the city once it was inevitably breached. Shuuhei had been assigned to the group that was now moving out. The men, including Shuuhei, were all aware that this mission was essentially suicide. Still, driven by honor, Shuuhei rode out into the snow-covered plain to meet his fate. Once they had traveled about a mile from the city, the men began to set up a makeshift camp. Peasant soldiers were put to work digging through the snow to make suitable places for fires, and the samurai went to work preparing their weapons and gathering their strength and resolve for what was to come.
Just before dawn, thousands of flickering points of light began to emerge from the blackness. The snow, it seemed, had delayed the enemy by a few hours, but now they had arrived. Shuuhei and the others jumped to their feet, mounted their horses, and prepared for battle. Shuuhei had never seen this many soldiers in any one place before. It seemed as if the lines of red torch flames and metal glistening white in the moonlight stretched on for eternity. The enemy was so numerous that a haze, formed by thousands of plumes of steam generated by the soldiers’ breath in the frigid winter air, had formed over the host. ”Only one thing to do,”
Shuuhei observed as he drew his swords. Seconds later, the order came. “Charge!” screamed a commander near the front. Shuuhei obeyed, riding forward with sword held high.
Last edited by Shuuhei Yamada on Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:00 pm; edited 12 times in total
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|Subject Post 2Subject: Re: Shuuhei Yamada [Vizard -- Finished] Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:41 am|| |
SHUUHEI YAMADA (PART II)
With a horrible crash of wood, steel, and bone, the two armies met amid the snowy plain. Soon, they were dying the pure white snow red with the each others’ blood. Shuuhei felt almost as if someone else was directing his actions as his sword rose and fell, each time bringing another life, another story similar to his own, to an end. Warm blood splashed across his armor and blades, and poured over his hands and arms. Death and destruction was all around, and he was part of the cause. A sharp sting in his left shoulder snapped him out of his thoughts. Looking down, he saw the unmistakable shape of an arrow buried deep in his flesh. Quickly, he reached over and broke off the end of the projectile, knowing better than to try and tear it out. His attention was next directed to a loud yell just below him. An enemy peasant soldier was charging him with a spear, probably in an attempt to kill his horse. Reflexively, Shuuhei flung his wakizashi, striking the unfortunate young man in the neck. He quickly reached down and pulled the short sword free, spraying his adversary’s blood on the already reddened snow.
Seconds later, a series of deep booms rang out, followed by a strange, high-pitched whirring. ”They’re shooting at me!”
Shuuhei realized. Spurring his horse on, he advanced more quickly now, knowing that as with a bow, it was more difficult to shoot a moving target with one of the new gunpowder weapons. Another volley of musket fire split the pre-dawn air, causing Shuuhei to instinctively turn toward the noise. And then he was in the air, flying backwards. ”What..?”
A glance down revealed that his horse had reared up and flung him away as a result of its reaction to being speared by two enemy peasant soldiers, an instant before the ground rushed up to strike him. His armored body sank into the deep snow, forcing him to violently struggle to his feet. Suddenly, a searing pain tore into his ribs on the right side of his body. A warm, wet sensation quickly began spreading from the epicenter of the pain. The blade of a katana flashed down at him, and he barely brought his own weapon up in time to parry the stroke.
Now with enough time to assess the situation, Shuuhei looked up. His attacker was a samurai on horseback. He had been heading in the opposite direction, but now he was coming around for a second pass. This time, Shuuhei dodged the stroke altogether, diving under the blade and towards the enemy samurai, plunging his katana into the man’s exposed leg. With a yell of pain, the samurai pulled back, but it was clear he would be coming back for yet another strike. Shuuhei braced himself, tightly gripping his swords. It was time to make his move.
A white-hot fist punched through Shuuhei’s body, entering from behind and exiting his stomach. The agony was like nothing he had ever experienced. Hot blood gushed forth from the small wound on his back and the massive one on his stomach, steaming as it hit the winter air and splattered into the snow. Fragments of armor mixed with various pieces of organs from within Shuuhei’s body lay before him. The enemy samurai was still coming, sword at the ready. ”I can’t feel my legs…”
he realized in horror. Glistening in the rising sun, the katana blade struck his throat and… knocked him backwards?
All of a sudden, Shuuhei was on his feet again. Almost immediately, he became acutely aware of a burning pain in the center of his chest. He clutched at it to find… ”A chain? What could possibly be happening?”
His wounds seemed to have disappeared as well. This was extremely weird. Why had he not died. What was this chain? Why did it hurt so much? Shuuhei followed the length of the chain to find that it led to an armor-clad body lying facedown in the snow. ”Is that me?”
he wondered. Seeing the pattern of the armor, he realized it was. The circular hole in his back, accompanied by the massive exit wound on his stomach, made it abundantly clear what had happened. Shuuhei had been shot in the back with a musket at close range, then immediately beheaded by the samurai on horseback. ”So I am dead then,”
he realized, noticing his own severed head staring at him from a few feet away as if to confirm his suspicion. This was certainly not what he expected from the afterlife, though…
For the next few hours, all he could do was watch as the enemy sacked the city he had lived out his entire life in. Flames devoured the wooden gates and reduced homes to ashes. The screams of the city’s residents could be heard unbearably loud, even a mile away. Shuuhei watched as more and more of the dead were separated from their bodies and began wandering about, bound by chains similar to his, invisible to the living.
As the noise of battle began to die down, something strange happened. A loud bellow sounded out, and a strange creature walked, if that was the right word for it, across the field. It had twelve legs, dark green skin, and a skull-like mask over its face. Most peculiarly, there was a hole in the center of its chest. Before Shuuhei could even question this strange occurrence, more mask-creatures appeared, each with their own unique shape and size. One serpentine mask-creature half slithered, half floated up to one of the dead and began to eat
him. Shuuhei recoiled in shock and did something he never thought he would do: began to run. Another bellow rang out, and Shuuhei noticed that one of the creatures, this one a bipedal entity vaguely resembling a mantis, had noticed him and given chase. Piercing pain shot through his back, and the next thing he knew, he was being lifted off of the ground. The creature had stabbed him with one of its barbed claws and was pulling him toward its mouth. ”This is it,”
thought Shuuhei as he stared in horror into the wide, black mouth below.
As quickly as he had been grabbed by the creature, Shuuhei was falling. For what seemed like the hundredth time that day, he slammed down on his chest into the frozen ground. The claw was still embedded in his back, but something had severed it. He watched in bewilderment as the claw and insect-like arm attached to it faded out of existence, leaving behind only a wound as a reminder of the attack. Before Shuuhei now was a man in a black kimono and hakama fastened with a white obi sash and grasping the hilt of a katana in his left hand. In one swift motion, the black-clad man leapt up and dealt the mask-creature a mighty blow down the center of its face. Like the claw and arm, the creature faded away, leaving no trace behind. Then, the man turned toward Shuuhei.
“If you don’t want to run into any more creatures like that, you had better go to Soul Society quickly. You’ll be safe there,” the man said, approaching Shuuhei with his sword still drawn. “What—Soul Society? Thank you for saving me, sir, but… who are you?” Shuuhei asked. Everything he had just seen had of course left him with far more questions than answers. “I’m a Shinigami, and it’s my duty to lead the souls of dead humans to Soul Society,” explained the “Shinigami.” “But wha—” began Shuuhei, but before he could finish, the man who called himself a Shinigami touched the pommel of his sword to Shuuhei’s forehead. A blue light and a sensation of warmth washed over him, and his consciousness faded as the completed Konso sent him on his way to Soul Society.
Some time later, Shuuhei’s eyes fluttered open. The sight that met his eyes was entirely unfamiliar. This was a place he had never before seen or even could have imagined existed. “Where am I?” he asked himself out loud. He jerked bolt upright as the memory of the “Shinigami” floated back into his mind. ”Soul Society…so this is the afterlife then.”
he realized. The mask-creature… he reached for his back only to find in shock that the claw-wound it had caused him was completely healed. Shuuhei knew that he had been unconscious for quite some time. As if in response to that realization, he became aware of two more feelings: thirst and hunger. But these were nothing like the desire for food and drink he had felt while alive. The thirst was a burning pain and dryness in his throat that made swallowing almost impossible, and the hunger was simply beyond imagination. It felt as if he truly was on the verge of dying from starvation.”I need to find food…”
he realized as he weakly pulled himself to his feet and got a proper look around for the first time. The sky was almost completely clear, save for some thin, wispy cirrus clouds high up in the atmosphere. The sun shone brightly almost directly overhead, meaning it was just before noon in… wherever this place was. Beneath his bare feet was a dirt road, one of many leading through the “city” he now found himself in. The buildings were all flimsily constructed of wood scraps or whatever else the builders could find to make them, and they appeared to be distributed haphazardly about the town, rather than built in the organized fashion Shuuhei had been accustomed to. ”It looks almost like a peasant village,”
he observed. For the first time, Shuuhei got a proper look at himself. His samurai armor was nowhere to be seen. Instead, it was replaced by a kimono and hakama of a rough, tattered dark green cloth, held in place with a damaged, stained obi of the same color. ”What happened to me? Why are these peasant clothes?”
Shuuhei wondered. Was this the “karma” his town’s Buddhist priests had been obsessed with? Had he been reincarnated as a peasant to atone for his sins? Shuuhei decided that he needed to figure out what was going on, and began to walk in what seemed to be the direction of the town’s central area.
As it would happen, Shuuhei’s conjectures about being placed in a low social class after his death were not particularly far from the truth. He would soon learn that after his death, he had been sent to Soul Society, the place most human souls make their way to after death, with few exceptions. Like the vast majority of these souls, he had ended up in Rukongai, the sprawling settlement that makes up most of Soul Society. This afterlife settlement was divided into northern, southern, eastern, and western sections, each divided into districts numbered 1 through 80 depending on their distance from Seireitei. This, of course, was the massive, shining city in which Shinigami like the one that saved Shuuhei resided. Generally, lower-numbered districts had better standards of living than high-numbered ones. The outer districts were also dangerous, with high crime, little food or other basic needs, and frequent appearances of Hollows, which as Shuuhei would learn, were the mask-creatures that had attacked him. In addition, Shinigami response times were often very high due to the distance they needed to cover. Shuuhei was in for quite a challenge over the next decades.
As luck would have it, Shuuhei had been sent to Northern Rukongai, District 80. This was the furthest district from the Seireitei and the most difficult place to live in Northern Rukongai. Life was not easy, even for those who had lived there for years, decades, even centuries. Shuuhei, on the other hand, had just arrived here not even an hour ago. Given that he had spent his entire human life as a member of a high social class, he was not exactly well-suited for survival in a place such as District 80. Stealing and other such behaviors done solely for survival were something he not only had no experience with but also viewed as dishonorable. Luckily, he did have above average situational awareness and combat skills due to having been a samurai, so staying alive would be feasible, but that was just about all he could do for now. Shuuhei had much to learn, and this segment of his existence was not going to be even remotely easy by any means.
By now, Shuuhei had reached what passed for the central plaza of District 80. Weak with hunger, he stumbled into the open space. For the first time, he saw other people, all of whom, he presumed, had died and come to this strange afterlife like him. As he had expected, this large central plaza was a bustling hub of activity. The sounds of people’s voices and of high amounts of human activity in general almost reminded him of his own town on a busy afternoon. But there was something else even more important his senses were picking up. The smell of food. A quick look in the direction from which the smell seemed to originate told him that for at least half a mile along what seemed to be this town’s main road, street vendors were preparing and selling food. An exhausted and ravenously hungry Shuuhei began limping toward the nearest wooden cart. ”Wait… I have no money,”
he realized in dismay.
What to do then…? Would he have to steal? That was certainly not honorable behavior, nor was it the right thing to do. Then again, it was necessary for survival. Without food and water, it seemed, he would suffer some sort of dire consequences. This was the afterlife, so could he really die again? ”Not something I wish to find out,”
he decided. He was going to have to swallow his pride and steal food. If it was necessary for his survival, he reasoned, it was no different from the times he and his fellow samurai had raided an enemy village or camp when supplies ran low. There was nothing inherently dishonorable about it. The main question was how to evade capture after stealing the food, and where to find safety in which to eat. He knew nobody here, and had no idea of how to find his way around. Additionally, he did not know whether the town employed watchmen or any other form of law enforcement. This was risky… but he was unbelievably hungry by now. ”It can’t be helped,”
Shuuhei realized as he stepped forward.
As he approached, the recently dead Shuuhei noticed a group of seven young men and women around his age approaching the street vendor he had selected as his target. He immediately stopped, realizing that stealing right in front of the group was an exceptionally stupid idea. To his amazement, the group suddenly spread out, swarming the cart. Each person grabbed as much food as they could carry and dashed away into a nearby alleyway. This was Shuuhei’s chance! Mustering his last bit of energy, he sprinted in, snatched the remaining food, and ran into the same alleyway he had just watched the group disappear into. “Get back here! You better pray I don’t catch you or I really will kill you!!” he heard the enraged man yelling. The sound of footsteps close behind him informed Shuuhei that this was no empty threat. He risked a glance over his shoulder, only to find that not one but at least ten men were now pursuing him.
Up ahead, one of the members of the group from earlier seemed to notice him. “This way!” he yelled, turning down a side street towards the outer parts of District 80. Shuuhei turned to follow, but at that point, something slammed into his back, knocking him forward into the dirt. He sprang to his feet just as a fist and a foot flew past the spot where his head had been only seconds ago. Instinct and muscle memory took over, and his hands dropped to his side, where of course, no swords were kept anymore. ”I need a weapon…”
he thought, the instant of distraction allowing several more flying limbs to plow into his face and body, dropping him to the ground once again. A thin stream of blood trickled down his face, dripping into the dust below. Shuuhei jumped to his feet once again and turned to his right, tearing a wooden plank out of the wall of a nearby house. Gripping it like he would a sword, he swung hard at the face of his nearest attacker. The board struck the center of the man’s face, and he felt a rewarding crunch as his assailant’s nose broke.
With a yell, he charged into the group of men, swinging the board left and right, hitting as many of them as possible… and found that he was no longer alone! The group from earlier had joined him, striking with feet and fists. One by one, the men either ran back the way they had come or fell into the dry, dusty soil unconscious. Breathing hard and barely able to stand now, Shuuhei dropped the blood-splattered plank and turned to face the group that had come to his rescue. “What’s your name?” asked the man who seemed to be the group’s leader. He was tall, easily over six feet, and strongly built, with short, light brown hair. “Yamada… Yamada Shuuhei,” he replied weakly. “Come with us… Yamada-san,” said the man. “Life isn’t easy in Rukongai, and it’ll only be harder alone,” he explained. “Thank you,” Shuuhei replied, turning to follow the group.
Eventually, they arrived at the group’s sort of “hideout.” It was a large, abandoned building with space for nearly twice as many people as were actually occupying it. Blankets, pillows, and personal belongings lay scattered across the floor, showing where each person’s personal area was located. Shuuhei was introduced to the rest of the group, which seemed to accept him as one of their own after hearing about his bravery in fighting off the angry street vendors. So began Shuuhei’s time in District 80 of Northern Rukongai.
Through his conversations with the group, Shuuhei began to learn about the new word of which he was now a part. The place he found himself in after his death and the subsequent Konso was called Rukongai. It was the place where the vast majority of human souls end up following their death. It was divided into districts numbered 1 through 80, with life being far more rough in the higher-numbered districts. Having awoken in District 80, Shuuhei was in the roughest place of all. However, this “Rukongai” was only a part of the realm known as Soul Society. Beyond it was a place known simply as “Outer Rukongai,” an extremely dangerous place consisting of mostly untamed wilds with nothing of note. Creatures called Hollows often appeared there.
Through further questioning, Shuuhei learned that these “Hollows” were the mask-creatures that had appeared shortly after his death and tried to eat him. These beings, he was shocked to learn, were once humans like him. However, they had either lived lives of regret or been eaten by other Hollows and ended up in that form. These creatures ate human souls, and most had levels of consciousness and intelligence equal to that of animals. Shuuhei was quite distressed to realize that had he not been saved by that black-clad warrior, he would have been eaten and turned into a Hollow as well. Come to think of it… who were these soldiers in black uniforms? It turned out that these were called “Shinigami.” They lived in Seireitei, another part of Soul Society with far better standards of living than any part of Rukongai. To Shuuhei, they were the “samurai class” of this strange afterlife. It was then that he made up his mind to one day become a Shinigami.
Becoming a Shinigami, of course, required one to have a significant amount of something called “Reiryoku,” or spiritual power. One sign of having this was being hungry. All spirits could be thirsty and needed to drink water, but only those with spiritual power would become hungry and need to consume actual solid food. Shuuhei was encouraged to hear this, but it soon became apparent that those with enough spiritual power to become Shinigami would likely have other signs of such latent power. Often, he was told, it would manifest itself in a time of need, meaning he would have likely seen it in the fight against the angry street vendors several days ago. Shuuhei accepted that he would probably never become a Shinigami, but he decided to at least attempt it one day. Meanwhile, he would focus on his day to day survival and helping his newfound friends as much as possible.
Days dragged on into weeks, weeks into months, and then months into years. Shuuhei led the same tedious existence in Rukongai, day in and day out, just trying to survive. The group obtained most of their water from a nearby river, usually boiling it over a fire before putting it into some large jars they had stolen at some point for storage. Food, for the few group members with spiritual power, was usually gotten through hunting or fishing, though they did make trips into town from time to time to steal food. The group also maintained a small vegetable garden. Overall, existence in Rukongai was tedious and sometimes dangerous, but overall not as bad as Shuuhei first feared it would be. Soon, he forgot all about spiritual power and becoming a Shinigami and made up his mind to accept an eternity of life in Rukongai.
Years, decades, maybe even centuries passed. One by one, the members of the group met their ends in one way or another. Some died in accidents. Others starved to death. Others, still died in fights attempting to steal food. One, disillusioned with the life he was leading there, wandered off into Outer Rukongai and was never seen or heard from again. Before long, only Shuuhei and three others remained. Loneliness and despair slowly began to creep into Shuuhei’s heart. What would he do when everyone had died off? Would he be alone in Rukongai once again? He already knew that out here in District 80, living alone was almost the same as asking for death. ”Might as well just wander off into the wilderness like Nakamura-san,”
thought Shuuhei one cold, lonely morning.
That day, it just so happened, was Shuuhei’s day to procure some type of food. He headed over to the corner of the dilapidated building used by the remainder of the group for shelter and took up their crudely constructed fish spear, taking care not to get any wood splinters in his palms. Then, he made his way down a dirt path in the direction of the river. As always, he waded into the lukewarm, oily, murky water and squinted into the swirling silt beneath him, trying to make out the silhouette of a fish. Time and again, the spear dipped into the water, retracting with a decently sized fish upon the barbed spearhead. By late afternoon, he had caught enough fish for an absolute feast of a dinner. Shuuhei smiled as he lifted the straw basket, heavy with fish, in one hand, rested the spear over his shoulder with the other, and turned to walk to the building that had become home for him.
“Dinner is here!” shouted Shuuhei as he approached the run-down shack of a building. But no response reached his ears. That was strange… usually his friends would come happily running at the mention of food. ”Something’s wrong,”
Shuuhei realized. He set the fish basket in the long grass at his feet and gripped the spear tightly, holding it out in front of him as he advanced toward the suspiciously wide-open door. Suddenly, a feeling of pressure filled the air, bearing down on Shuuhei’s shoulders and causing his chest to tighten up. His arms and legs suddenly felt as if they were three times their normal weight. This was called… ”Reiatsu!”
But what was it from? A familiar roar assaulted Shuuhei’s ears. At that moment, the pressure let up, and Shuuhei could get a hold of himself. He sprinted forward, spear poised to throw, and entered a scene of complete disaster.
The entire room had been mostly destroyed. Beds and the dinner table were overturned and broken apart on the floor. Blood soaked into the walls and pooled on the floor. In the center of it all was a large Hollow, at least seven feet tall, with light green skin and in the shape of a gigantic lizard or maybe a crocodile. Fresh blood dripped down its mask, and the pale, dead arm of one of Shuuhei’s friends hung from its mouth. Shuuhei watched in horror as the Hollow tossed back its head, gulping down the arm whole, and then charged at him. He barely sidestepped the first charge in time, jabbing at it with the spear. To his dismay, the tip of the spear barely nicked the Hollow’s skin, drawing only a single droplet of blood. Still… he could cut it. Gripping the wooden spear even more tightly, he turned to face the Hollow’s next charge.
This one was even faster than the previous charge, and Shuuhei just barely managed to strike the creature with his spear, this time doing no damage whatsoever. A light green tail whipped into his stomach, knocking the wind out of him and sending him crashing through the wall of the house and into the warm late afternoon air. He staggered to his feet, just in time for a searing pain to punch through the entire left side of his body. A quick glance in that direction showed Shuuhei that a significant portion of his body was now in the Hollow’s mouth. ”I guess this is it…”
he thought, closing his eyes and waiting for death to come, praying it would at least be painless.”Not yet!”
The two words echoed in Shuuhei’s mind as a strange rush jolted through his body. Suddenly, the pain from his wounds faded to a dull warmth, and the fatigue all but vanished from his body. The Hollow roared in surprise and opened its jaws, dropping Shuuhei. A dark blue glow crackled to life around his body as he took up the barbed fish spear one last time. “Come then! You killed my friends, come get me too!” he heard himself yelling. The crocodilian Hollow lunged forward, though this time it somehow seemed much slower. Shuuhei plunged the spear deep into the creature’s neck and then tore it back out immediately, the barbs taking a chunk of the Hollow’s throat with them. It gurgled as it attempted to roar, its own blood flooding its lungs and flowing out over its lower jaw in a crimson waterfall. ”Not getting away,”
thought Shuuhei as he flung the spear. It spun once in the air, then buried itself deep in the Hollow’s pure white mask. Shuuhei then ripped the spear away, tearing apart the upper part of the creature’s mask and head. The Hollow staggered back a single step, and then faded away. Likewise, the blue glow around Shuuhei faded, and with that, his previous pain and fatigue hit him tenfold, bowling him over like a brick wall. He was unconscious before he even hit the dust.
When Shuuhei awoke, the air was chilled, and the sky was black and filled with thousands of stars. Judging by the position of the moon, it was most likely some time after 2 AM. The first thing he noticed was hunger, just as bad as when he first arrived in Rukongai all those years ago. “I must have used up quite a lot of Reiryoku,” said Shuuhei to nobody in particular. There was nobody left to listen to him anyways. A few paces away, the basket of fish still sat in the long grass, miraculously undisturbed. He lifted the basket and gathered some wood from the ruins of the building that had once been his home, using that to light a cooking fire. As he ate, a thought came to Shuuhei that had not entered his mind in decades. ”I could become a Shinigami.”
After all, something had happened while fighting that Hollow. Maybe that was a sign of some sort of latent spiritual ability, or above average Reiatsu, or something.
Anyways, none of his group remained alive now except him. The only way forward was to make the long trip to Seireitei.
Shuuhei departed Northern Rukongai District 80 the next morning, taking nothing but the clothes on his back and the old fishing spear for protection. The journey, he knew, would be long and dangerous. The danger would decrease the closer he got to Seireitei, of course, but it would always be present.
As it happened, traveling from the edges of the inhabited part of Rukongai to the outer wall of the Seireitei, on foot took just over two weeks. For Shuuhei, that meant two weeks of constant travel, sleeping in the open, stealing food and water if there was no place to feasibly hunt, fish, or draw water, and of course fighting off bandits and other criminals. In the middle of his ninth day of travel, the outer wall of Seireitei first became visible. Infuriatingly, the enormous wall seemed to remain exactly the same distance away for days on end, never getting any closer. However, eight days of fighting off criminals and struggling to survive later, on the seventeenth day of his travels, Shuuhei reached the southern frontier of Northern Rukongai District 1, and thereby the outer walls of Seireitei. His long and difficult journey had come to an end, and he could finally (hopefully) begin a new chapter of his life.
Shuuhei spent the next year of his existence studying to take the entrance exam to the Shinoreijutsuin, or the Shinigami Academy. Before becoming a Shinigami and gaining a place in what was then the Gotei 13, one had to complete all of the training requirements at this school as well as attain Shikai. This was a more powerful form of a Zanpakuto, which as Shuuhei was learning, was the proper name for the katana he had seen the Shinigami wielding just after the end of his human life. For most people, this required somewhere between four and six years, though there were cases of exceptionally talented students doing so in much less time. Before he could even think about Shikai and graduating the Academy, however, Shuuhei needed to pass the exam required to even enter the school. For that, more study would be needed.
After a year of study, Shuuhei decided he had enough of a grasp of the principles of being a Shinigami to take the Academy entrance exam. He had learned about Zanpakuto, using Kido, fighting enemies like Hollows and Arrancar, and much more. He had also studied the Shinigami rank system of normal squad members, seated officers, lieutenants, and of course captains. With this knowledge in hand, Shuuhei arrived on the campus of the Academy to be administered the exam. As luck would have it, he passed the test on his first attempt with a score of eighty-five percent. This was enough to enter the Academy, but to his dismay, it did not secure him a spot in the advanced class. Rather, he would be placed in Class 2, which proceeded at a somewhat slower pace. Class 1, he had heard, mainly consisted of the children of the Soul Society’s noble families, who had spent much of their lives preparing for that entrance exam, whereas Shuuhei had only taken one year. Nonetheless, he had been admitted to the Academy and was well on his way to truly becoming a Shinigami.
The next six years of Shuuhei’s existence would be spent at the Academy. His days were spent practicing Zanjutsu, or using a sword, Kido, which referred to Shinigami spells used in battle or for other purposes, Hoho, or high-speed movement, and Hakuda, or unarmed combat.
As it happened, in his first few Zanjutsu classes, Shuuhei excelled beyond the expectations of his classmates or instructors. His mind and body seemed to remember the movements involved in using a sword from so many centuries ago, and swordsmanship came almost naturally to him. For some reason, his classes in Kido went almost as well, and he once again impressed his classmates and instructors alike during each class session. Next, however, were Hoho and Hakuda classes, taught by ex-members of what was then the Second Division and something called the “Onmitsukido.” This was basically a group of assassins, very similar to ninja in Shuuhei’s time. Possibly for this reason, he found himself somewhat suspicious of their techniques and was quite apprehensive about using or even learning them. As such, his performance in these areas was lower than the rest of his class and a source of confusion and disappointment for his instructors. How could a student be so talented at Zanjutsu and Kido but have so much trouble with his other essential skills? Common refrains from these instructors included “Yamada, focus and put in the effort!” or “Stay after class, Yamada!”
As his time at the Academy went on, Shuuhei’s Zanjutsu and Kido continued to improve, but his Shunpo remained quite slow and clumsy, and his Hakuda was simply not up to par. Around the middle of his fifth year in the Academy, his instructors in these subjects actually had to order up extra training. This proved quite difficult, as he was already working with a full class schedule, including a new class on communicating with his Zanpakuto. That year, he and his fellow students had been given Asauchi, or Zanpakuto whose names were not yet known. In that state, they had no powers and functioned as little more than a sword capable of harming spiritual beings. By the end of their time at the Academy, students were expected to learn the names of the spirits within these weapons and thus gain Shikai. Dispite all this, Shuuhei managed to fit in all of his required classes and extra training in Hoho and Hakuda, slowly approaching the proper level for a fifth-year student in those areas.
A year of meditating with his sword, trips to Earth to practice fighting Hollows, (using fake ones, of course) taking classes, and of course extra training in the subject areas in which his skills were lacking, Shuuhei’s training was coming to an end. Final exams were only a week away, and he still had to pass the true final test of the Shinigami Academy. This, of course, was attaining Shikai. Some of his classmates had already done so, learning the names of their Zanpakuto after extensive meditation. The night before his final exam, Shuuhei knew his time was running out. If he could not find out the name of the spirit within his weapon by the morning, it would be another full year before he could graduate from the Academy and join the Gotei. That night, after everyone had fallen asleep, he removed his blade from its sheath, crossed his legs, set the weapon across his lap, and closed his eyes.
Unlike the previous times he had attempted this, Shuuhei suddenly felt a sensation of falling, followed by a strange feeling as if he were just waking up after a long night’s sleep. Bright light flooded his retinas as he slowly opened his eyelids. ”Oh no! did I fall asleep? I’m going to be late for the exams!”
he wondered as he leapt to his feet in panic. Wait… this most definitely was not his dorm room at the Shinoreijutsuin. He was somehow standing on the rocky shore of an alpine lake. A cool breeze rustled the tops of the pine forest that seemed to surround the lake on all sides. The sun sat still, directly overhead. It seemed that the only way forward was, well, forward, towards a peak of black rock and pure white snow straight ahead. Shuuhei walked forward, following the rocky shoreline toward the massive peak.
As he walked, something strange became apparent. It was extremely hard to breathe. Even a light walk was a strenuous effort. As it would turn out, it was a wasted effort as well. Not long passed before Shuuhei was met with impassible, sheer rock cliffs. It was blindingly obvious that there was no way to climb these massive stone structures. Looking to his left across the lake, it seemed that the same was true on the opposite side of the body of water. Reluctantly, Shuuhei turned back and began making his way to the place he first found himself upon entering this strange world. The only way to get anything done here, it seemed, was to swim across the lake. Shuuhei stepped forward into the icy water and immediately pulled his foot back in shock. The water was easily colder than anything he had ever experienced. But it was the only way to proceed. Bracing himself, he took one step into the water. Gritting his teeth in pain, he took another, and found himself up to his neck in the water instantly. His breath was sucked away at once, and his limbs immediately went numb. Still… this was what had to be done. Shuuhei took a deep breath of the thin air and then surged forth, taking his first stroke.
Nearly dead with cold and fatigue, Shuuhei pulled himself onto the opposite shore almost an hour later. In his drenched Academy uniform, he continued on across the boulder field ahead and toward the mountain’s peak. As he climbed, he noticed breathing becoming more and more difficult, and his fatigue mounting to nearly unbearable levels. After another hour of treacherous rock climbing and scrambling, Shuuhei pulled himself over the final rocky ridge to the mountain’s summit. Behind him, a sweeping view of the lake and surrounding mountain scenery stretched to the horizon. Ahead, an equally beautiful castle sat at the center of an icy pond. A bright red bridge was the only way across this frigid water. Curious and ready to be done with this strange trial, Shuuhei pushed on, fighting cold, fatigue, and hypoxia.
At the bridge’s opposite edge, Shuuhei found the golden castle gates shut tight. But as he set his palm upon the heavy doors, they began sliding open, revealing a seemingly endless and empty courtyard within. When Shuuhei entered, he nearly jumped in shock at the sight of two gigantic dragons. One appeared to be skeletal in form and crackling with what looked like blue lightning, while the other was more… alive and shined with a golden glow. “Welcome,” they said in unison. “My name is Shiryu,” the skeletal dragon said. “And I’m Jinryu,” followed the golden dragon. “And together we make up—” they began, but at that moment, a burst of thunder rumbled through the room, drowning out their words. “What?” Shuuhei asked. “Oh? You couldn’t hear our proper name?” asked Shiryu. “Then you’re not yet worthy,” said Jinryu. ”I get it… this must be my Zanpakuto… I need to find a way to hear their proper names, then,”
realized Shuuhei. “Is there any way I can… become worthy?” Shuuhei asked. “Yes, child. We shall test you,” replied the dragon that called itself Shiryu.
So began the first phase of the test. Shiryu tested Shuuhei’s knowledge, asking him multiple questions very similar to those that would likely be on the Shinigami Academy exit exam the following day. To Shiryu’s enjoyment and Shuuhei’s relief, each question was answered correctly. “You seem to have the knowledge of a worthy Shinigami, and I can tell from your Reiatsu that you are strong enough to wield us properly. Very well. Our name is—” Shiryu said before suddenly being cut off. “WAIT!!” cried Jinryu. “How come you get to test the child but I don’t? And how can you say he’s ready without testing his strength?! Unbelievable!” said the spirit, beginning to crackle and buzz with golden electricity. ”He’s coming,”
Shuuhei realized. His hands flew to the hilt of the Asauchi at his side, but before they could even reach it, cruel talons ripped into his chest, shredding the soft tissues and bringing forth a stream of blood. A dark red blotch slowly spread across his Academy uniform as he drew his sword, gripping the hilt tightly in both hands. On Jinryu’s next pass, Shuuhei timed his swing just right, the edge of the blade slamming into the spirit’s neck. To his astonishment, however, the blade snapped in two, leaving Jinryu completely unharmed. “See? Unworthy! It’s unfortunate but… better you die this way than against the first enemy you face with such a lack of ability,” the spirit said, opening its mouth wide and releasing a blast of golden lightning. Shuuhei screamed in agony as the bolts of electricity seared his flesh and flung him backwards, pummeling him into the wall of the courtyard. Barely conscious, Shuuhei slid down the wall, gasping. ”Not giving up.”
He gripped the hilt of what remained of his weapon and ran forward, blade held high. Jinryu lowered his head and flew forward, preparing for what was sure to be the final clash.
At the exact moment his weapon met the top of Jinryu’s head, a name flashed through Shuuhei’s mind. “Kogane Raikō!!” he exclaimed. A burst of dark blue Reiatsu pushed Jinryu back, and when it faded, Shuuhei held two swords; a golden katana in his right hand and a silver wakizashi in his left. Shuuhei had finally attained Shikai.
When he next opened his eyes, Shuuhei was laying in his bed back in the dorm room at the Academy. Sunlight streamed in through the windows, indicating that it was time to rise and prepare for the day’s final exams. Touching his chest, he noticed that all of his wounds from that battle with the two spirits were somehow gone. Which reminded him… he turned to the place where he normally set his Asauchi to find it gone, replaced with a katana and wakizashi. A quick inspection revealed that these were the same weapons he had found himself holding after doing battle with Jinryu. Placing the two swords at his side, Shuuhei began the short walk to the building where the final exams would be administered. Six years of study and training, he hoped, would be about to pay off.
Shuuhei passed the Academy exit exam with flying colors. Now, it was time to apply to join a division. His top choices were what were, at the time, arguably the most distinguished divisions in what was then the Gotei 13: the First Division and the Sixth Division. The First, was of course the division led by the Captain-Commander, the almost legendary Genryusai Yamamoto, and the Sixth was usually led by a member of the powerful Kuchiki family. When all was said and done, though he received a letter of acceptance from both divisions, Shuuhei chose to join the First and serve under the Captain-Commander. Thus began his life as a full-fledged Shinigami and his time as a Gotei member.
Like any new division member, Shuuhei’s first assignments consisted mainly of basic chores and assisting higher ranking members or those who had served longer with the various administrative duties with which the First Division was tasked at that time. It was quite a tedious job, and Shuuhei often found himself bored and chose to procrastinate when it did come time to get one of these even more boring tasks done, much to the annoyance of his superiors and fellow First Division members. Of course, as he continued to serve, things gradually got better, and after his first decade of service, Shuuhei finally found himself moving on to more interesting tasks. Soon, he was being assigned to missions on Earth and elsewhere. Now this
was what he had always thought being a Shinigami was like.
As the years went by, Shuuhei felt himself slowly growing stronger. He soon developed a much closer bond with his Zanpakuto spirits, allowing him to increase his abilities even further. Of course, this was only possible as a result of the rigorous training regimen he had decided to impose on himself. Fighting his ADHD and tendency to procrastinate and avoid difficult things, Shuuhei forced himself to train and hone his abilities whenever there was time. Before long, he found himself appointed to his first seated officer position. At the time, he was made the 10th Seat of the First Division. The appointment greatly motivated Shuuhei, and he stepped up his training even further.
Over the next century or so, Shuuhei steadily moved up the ranks of the First Division. His Reiatsu increased greatly, and with it, his Shinigami abilities. Promotion after promotion came over the years, from Ninth, to Eighth, then Seventh Seat, and so on. Before he knew it, one morning, he found himself being notified that he was to be promoted to the rank of Third Seat in his division the following day. Little did Shuuhei know that this would be his final promotion as a member of the Gotei. Throughout the day, he began to feel increasingly ill. At first, the sickness seemed like one caused by any other virus, causing fever, chills, fatigue, and nausea. But to Shuuhei’s horror, the sickness became more… spiritual in nature. He knew that something was horribly wrong. To make matters worse, his usually talkative Zanpakuto spirits were completely silent throughout the day. There was no question that something was seriously amiss. But what could it be? A sense of dread filled Shuuhei as he went to sleep early that night, weak with fever.
After a night of dreamless sleep, Shuuhei awoke to find the previous day’s sickness entirely gone. Even better, his Zanpakuto spirits were as talkative as usual, as if nothing had been wrong at all. Shuuhei considered asking them what had been happening yesterday, but decided against it. If everything was better now, he reasoned, then he would rather not know. He proceeded to his promotion ceremony, which took place without incident, officially elevating Shuuhei to the position of Third Seat of the First Division.
Several more years went by, and Shuuhei’s training continued as before, but with one exception. It now seemed as if something was, for lack of a better word, missing. He could not figure out what it was, but something unsettling was definitely happening. There were times, both during training and on missions, when he would inexplicably fight much more efficiently than he ever had before, but there was a strange feeling as if someone or something else was doing the fighting for him. Along with this, the same sickness he experienced the day before his promotion ceremony seemed to keep reoccurring every now and then, usually at times when he was under stress or had just finished a particularly tiring fight or training session. Still, Shuuhei kept up his training and kept fulfilling his duties as a Gotei member over the following years, but never quite managing to shake that persistent, nagging sense of unease.
Some interesting events began to occur around a century and a half after the day of Shuuhei’s promotion to Third Seat. They all began when a group of ryoka, a term applied to any unwelcome visitors to Seireitei, invaded. Shuuhei personally did not know much about why they were hear, but the rumors were that they intended to rescue Rukia Kuchiki, a Shinigami from the 13th Division scheduled to be executed for committing the crime of transferring her powers to a human. Interestingly, there were reports that one of the ryoka actually was the human who had received her powers. Shuuhei himself never came into contact with the ryoka, but his division’s lieutenant ended up being severely hurt in a short fight with one of them, a surprisingly powerful Shinigami with bright orange hair. In the ensuing chaos, a conspiracy developed that saw the captains of the Third, Fifth, and Ninth Divisions, Aizen, Ichimaru, and the blind captain Tosen commit acts of treachery and defect to Hueco Mundo. It was then that the truth of the Hogyoku and the plans of the traitors came to light.
Shuuhei did not see much action during the time between then and the conflict that would come to be known as the Winter War. Even during the Bount invasion, he was mainly out of the way and concerned with tasks not related to fighting the invaders. When the Winter War broke out, Shuuhei was one of many Shinigami deployed in the fight against Aizen and his army of Espada and other forces from Hueco Mundo. Though he was not yet powerful enough to do battle with any major enemy actors, he did engage in combat against many less-powerful Hollows and Arrancar. Even then, with each battle, something felt as if it was slipping. It was like he was losing control of something, but he could not figure out exactly what. Something was going to have to be done about this, so Shuuhei resolved to become stronger in order to push down this strange enemy within his soul.
It was at this time that he began his first venture into the possibility of training towards Bankai, the second release available to Shinigami. Captains were required to have one, and many lieutenants did as well. To attain this level of power, Shuuhei would have to manifest his Zanpakuto spirits in this world rather than travel to theirs. This much, he knew. How to cause this to happen, however, he had no idea whatsoever. First, he decided, he would need to become still stronger. Thus, in the era of relative peace following the defeat and imprisonment of Aizen, Shuuhei returned to the training regimen he had long ago implemented for himself.
This was, of course, a good plan, but it came too late to help. One day, Shuuhei was on Earth with two other Shinigami from his division. They were on a mission to deal with a reported Hollow problem in the city of San Diego, located in the state of California in the United States of America. It just so happened that there were not just a large number of regular Hollows, but a Menos Grande, better known as a Gillian. The night sky appeared to shatter before their eyes, and more Hollows poured from the pitch-black openings. These were mainly very weak, and neither Shuuhei nor the other two Shinigami had any trouble dispatching them. Still… they saw the haphazardly shaped Garganta opening and knew what would emerge. “Third Seat Yamada!” one of them began. “Let’s retreat for now, sir!” “No. You two stay back, please. I’ve got this,” Shuuhei replied. Forming an X shape with his two swords, he said “Disrupt, Kogane Raikō!” Dark blue Reiatsu flared around the swords, and a feeling of intense pressure filled the air. When it subsided, Shuuhei was gripping the curved blades of his Zanpakuto in its Shikai state.
That was when the Garganta opened fully, and the Gillian emerged into the human world, taking its first steps on Earth. Nearly a kilometer tall, the immense, deep black Hollow lumbered forward. Shuuhei lifted the right blade and channeled his Reiatsu into it, preparing to discharge a burst of electric energy at the enemy. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, a feeling of intense pain struck him. He coughed, and white liquid gushed forth from his mouth, the corners of his eyes, and even his ears. “What is this?!” he gasped, falling to his knees. “Third Seat Yamada!” he heard one of the other Shinigami yell as his vision faded to black.
When his sight returned, Shuuhei found a familiar view before him. This was the same place he had come when he learned the name of his Zanpakuto, but it was quite different. The usually clear sky was obscured by thick, dark clouds. Bolts of sinister-looking black lightning tore through the sky, followed by deep, rolling bursts of thunder. Some of these bolts struck the tops of the pine trees, setting them alight, and a furious wind whipped up, fanning the flames. The snow was gone from the mountain peak, replaced by more barren, black rock. The lake had completely dried, leaving a vast chasm in its place, so deep that the bottom was entirely out of sight. “Yo,” said a female voice behind him. Shuuhei barely had the time to turn around in shock before a foot impacted the center of his face, sending him tumbling backwards into the dark abyss where the lake had once been.
The fall seemed to last for an eternity, though it was likely only a couple minutes. Shuuhei made impact with the ground after a ten minute fall, though he landed surprisingly lightly for having fallen as far as he did. As he got to his feet, he noticed something terrifying. Shiryu and Jinryu were just ahead of him, chained to a gigantic slab of black stone. “What happened to you?!” asked Shuuhei. Before the spirits could respond, the mysterious woman from earlier appeared before him. “I put them there,” she responded, with a cruel smile on her face. “Just the same as I’ll do to you!” Without warning, something punched through both of Shuuhei’s shoulders simultaneously. Looking down in surprise, he saw two bone-white spearheads lodged there, attached to what appeared to be braided black hair. ”She can fight with her hair?”
Shuuhei asked himself. The braids began to retract, pulling him steadily towards the woman. He drew his katana and hacked at one braid, to no avail. Sheathing the sword, he grabbed hold of both braids. ”This is going to hurt,”
Shuuhei realized as he tore both spearheads free from his shoulders, splattering the stone beneath his feet with the first blood of the fight.
He looked back up at just the right time. An orb of black energy with a blue glow at its edges was forming at the tip of the woman’s outstretched index finger. It was very clearly a Cero! But how? The burst of energy launched itself toward Shuuhei as he drew both of his swords, barely managing to divert the blast around him. Gasping for breath, he asked “You… are you… a Hollow?” “Who the fuck knows?” she responded with a laugh, at the same time holding out her hands to each side. A pitch-black katana-like sword appeared in each one. Their handle section was a tang wrapped in cloth, the same as Shuuhei’s Shikai, but the blades were those of a normal katana. But there was no time to worry about trivial details such as this. A sonic boom sounded, and the woman appeared directly in front of Shuuhei, slashing down with both blades. A deep, X shaped gash opened up across his chest and stomach, spurting blood. Shuuhei slashed at her with his katana, but with another sonic boom, she was back where she had been a moment before attacking.
Shuuhei stumbled back, a metallic taste rising in his mouth. He gasped, and a stream of blood poured over his lower lip. He had been injured quite seriously already, and there was not even a single scratch on his attacker. “How can you be so damn weak?” she asked. “This isn’t even fun… I guess I’ll just end this now and take everything for myself,” she said with a shrug, lifting her swords again. Another sonic boom sounded and the woman surged forward, but this time Shuuhei was ready. He parried both blades with his own two swords, the metal meeting with a deafening clang. “The same thing won’t work twice!” said Shuuhei. “Disrupt, Kogane Raikō!” he shouted. But nothing happened. No flash of Reiatsu, no transformation. “Too bad,” said the woman, an instant before both blades plunged into Shuuhei’s chest, tearing through his skin and soft tissues and emerging from his back. He gasped for air, but none came as blood flowed into his lungs. His vision blurred, and he barely heard the clang of metal on stone as his swords fell from his hands.
“Don’t you see?!” asked the woman. “They can’t help you anymore! This is my world now!” she exclaimed. “Maybe if you hadn’t relied on them from the beginning of this piece of shit excuse for a fight, you wouldn’t be so fucking pathetic!” she said, gripping the handles of her blades. “No…” said Shuuhei softly. “I see now,” he said, barely audible. He raised his hand, palm facing the woman, and gasped “Hadō number 54: Haien.” A burst of bright purple flame ripped into the woman, pushing her backwards and setting much of her skin alight for a few seconds. Shuuhei reached down and grabbed the two black swords in his chest and pulled them free. Amazingly, there was no pain, and the wounds did not bleed. Dark blue Reiatsu flared around Shuuhei as he squeezed both weapons tightly, shattering them into tiny shards which soon faded entirely. The next thing he knew, both of his own swords were in his hands once again. He leapt at this strange, evil woman and stabbed both blades through the center of her chest with all his might. “Damn…” she said. “You win…” before dissolving into what seemed to be small white fragments and floating away. The stone slab and chains holding Shiryu and Jinryu vanished, freeing the two spirits. Shuuhei, meanwhile, felt his focus fading as his vision once again faded to black.
Last edited by Shuuhei Yamada on Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:35 pm; edited 14 times in total
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|Subject Post 3Subject: Re: Shuuhei Yamada [Vizard -- Finished] Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:09 pm|| |
SHUUHEI YAMADA (PART III)
Shuuhei came to back on Earth. He lay in the grass, his sealed and sheathed Zanpakuto at his side. Clearly, some time had passed. The red tinge to the sky indicated that it was now close to dawn. The Gillian was nowhere near. And the other two Shinigami… ”No!
They lay dead, face down in pools of semi-coagulated blood. Shuuhei staggered to his feet, noting the pile of bizarre, white fragments falling from his Shihakusho. And… his face felt strange. Reaching up, he pried loose a hard, flat object. It was very clearly the mask of a Hollow! But… how had that happened. Thinking back to the Winter War, he remembered that the captains had been assisted by a strange group of fighters with the Zanpakuto of Shinigami but the masks and abilities of Hollows. What were they called? Vizards! Was that what Shuuhei had become? That meant he had been controlled by that strange spirit he had just fought, which meant the other Shinigami were dead because of him. What he had done was an act of treachery against the Gotei, and there would be no place for him in Seireitei if he returned, much less in the Captain-Commander’s division.
With a heavy heart, at that moment, Shuuhei chose to abandon Soul Society forever and live out the remainder of his days as an exile on Earth. First things first, Shuuhei would need a good place to both hide out and train. He knew that there were some large sea caves nearby that, for now, would serve as both. After all, hiding was important, but so was becoming stronger. If the Gotei ever came looking for him, he would want to be strong enough to at least have a chance at preserving his own life. Suppressing his Reiatsu, Shuuhei turned in the direction of the sea to make his way toward those caves. After a short walk, he arrived, making his way deep into the limestone caverns, following the water until it ended, then continuing further back to a patch of dry sand, where he sat down to rest. This would be his home for who even knew how long.
For years, Shuuhei lived out a tedious existence barely even worth being called a life within the sea caves in San Diego. He kept his Reiatsu suppressed and paid little heed to the events in the outside world. The actions of the Vandenreich, the various wars, the changes in the politics of the spiritual world, the rise and fall of new organizations… All went unheeded by Shuuhei in his isolation. He simply did not care, either. For now, staying hidden and safe was his chief concern. If anything, these events were useful distractions to prevent the authorities of the Gotei from looking for him, if they even were, but they meant nothing to him otherwise. The only thing that mattered to him was training. To protect himself from any potential threats, he was going to need Bankai. There was also this other power. Shuuhei was suspicious of it, but at the same time, he knew he was going to need all of the power he could get, even if it originated from a Hollow. He decided to attempt to communicate with his Inner Hollow as well and try to refine that power. Training, broken up by short excursions outside for supplies, made up his existence now.
In complete isolation, with nobody more knowledgeable to help him train, it was quite difficult to pursue Bankai or the mastery of his Inner Hollow. Shuuhei, however, was incredibly stubborn and persistent. Surprisingly, his Inner Hollow was more responsive to his efforts and training than his Zanpakuto at first, and he gained the ability to fire Cero and Bala at will long before he even made any significant steps towards Bankai. Nonetheless, his persistence paid off, and after another three centuries, one day while meditating with his Zanpakuto, Shiryu and Jinryu appeared before him. He had finally materialized the Zanpakuto spirits outside of his inner world.
“You finally caused us to come out, huh?” asked Jinryu. “Let me guess… you want Bankai. Don’t make me laugh, three thousand
years of training wouldn’t be enough for me to deem you worthy of Bankai!” said the spirit, who genuinely appeared as if he was attempting to suppress a laugh. “What he means to say is, we’re going to test you to see if you’re ready for Bankai, but we do doubt it,” explained a more calm Shiryu. The spirits then went on to explain to Shuuhei that this time, they would both be engaging in combat with him, and through battle, test his worthiness to use the second level of a Shinigami’s Zanpakuto release. For hours, the two clashed in the darkness of the sea cave. Blood spilled from all three combatants in steadily larger amounts as the fight dragged on. Just as Shuuhei was about to reach the end of his strength, he heard the voices of his two Zanpakuto spirits announce in unison “That is enough. You’ve proven your worth. As you wish… we shall teach you our Bankai.” So it was that in early 2320, Shuuhei finally reached the level of power necessary to use Bankai.
Achieving Bankai was one thing, but as Shuuhei was about to learn, mastering its use was another. For the next hundred years, Shuuhei trained alone, not only to master the increased powers granted to him by his Bankai, but also to hone the powers he could now use due to the presence of his Inner Hollow. Over that century of training, he slowly gained mastery over these techniques. As for his combat experience and finding opportunities to use the new techniques he had learned, Shuuhei often ventured out to fight off Hollows nearby, many times defeating them before any Shinigami from the Soul Society could arrive for that purpose. In any case, 100 years after achieving Bankai, Shuuhei finally fully mastered its use as well as the use of a select few powers related to the presence of his Inner Hollow.
Now, the year is 2420. Much has changed in the world and across the various realms that exist. Shuuhei, of course, is mostly unaware of these changes. He has no knowledge of many newer organizations that have risen and fallen, or of the fact that the Old Gotei has been reformed into the Gotei United. Now, however, he is just beginning to gain the courage to come out of hiding. Therefore, he is likely to learn just how long he has been isolating himself from the world and all of the events that have taken place in those 400 years. Recently, Shuuhei has rented an apartment in the city of San Diego, giving him an actual place to live instead of a sea cave. The caves, however, are his favorite training location. He is just now beginning to venture out in the world again after four centuries of isolation, and of course, he continues to train, ever increasing his Reiatsu and abilities.
I. Natural Abilities» Natural Abilities:
- Above-Average Reiatsu: For most of his existence as a spiritual being, Shuuhei has had above average Reiatsu for whichever stage of his development he was at. This was never quite high enough for him to be considered a prodigy or anything of the like during his time at the Academy, but it was certainly noticeable. In addition, he has had over 900 years of existence to learn, train, and hone his skills. This also means that he has had a significant amount of time to build up his reserves of Reiatsu. As a result, his reserves of spiritual power are very close to or even equal with that of a new Gotei captain. Needless to say, this is a very useful asset in battle, as it allows him to perform more powerful techniques than the average opponent and generally fare better in combat than he otherwise would.
- Experienced Swordsman: Because Shuuhei was a samurai in his life as a human, then went on to become a Shinigami, he has accumulated well over 900 years of experience in the use of a katana and wakizashi. These two swords were traditionally worn and used in combat by samurai at the time Shuuhei was living as a human, and they were the first (and only) weapons he was trained to use. It is actually partially for this reason that his dual Zanpakutō manifested as a katana and wakizashi in its sealed form rather than just two katana or some other form. This experience and the muscle memory it helped to build over time make Shuuhei quite proficient in wielding his two swords. In terms of battle mechanics, if it can be allowed, this would give Shuuhei a higher proficiency level in Zanjutsu than would normally be seen at whichever tier he ends up being.
- Kido: During his time at the Academy, Shuuhei found that another area of the Shinigami arts at which he truly excelled was Kido. His ability to use both Hadō and Bakudo seemed to be near the top of his class. While he was by no means the best, he was certainly above average at the use of Kido even then. Over time, he has further honed this ability, even developing some Kido techniques of his own to aid him in fighting according to his morals and personal style.
- Shunpo: Unfortunately for Shuuhei, he was never particularly talented at Shunpo, the high-speed movement technique used by Shinigami and Vizards. At the Academy, he found that he was just slightly slower than the average student in his class. He was not downright terrible at it, but the use of Shunpo was definitely something Shuuhei viewed as a weakness when it came to combat skills. However, since then, he has made significant improvements in this area, but it still lags behind some of his better-trained skills.
- Hakuda: Now, here is an area in which Shuuhei could truly be said to be seriously lacking. Hakuda, the Shinigami form of unarmed combat, is something Shuuhei had almost no experience with prior to entering the Academy. As a human, he was entirely reliant on his swords in battle, having no need for kicks, punches, or similar. This showed at the Academy, where he consistently performed near the bottom of his class. In fact, he was once assigned extra Hakuda practice to ensure that he would even be able to graduate on time. After becoming a Shinigami, Shuuhei stopped using or even practicing Hakuda, so it remains at the level it was when he first graduated. This is one skill he simply does not use in battle.
- Cero/Bala: Because he did not become a Vizard by choice, Shuuhei tends to shy away from the extensive practice or use of any of his Hollow powers except for one. He recognized the usefulness of Cero and Bala from the time he first used these techniques, and chose to practice them to the exclusion of any other Hollow-related skills. As such, he has become very proficient in the use of Cero and Bala. In fact, he has even developed some techniques of his own utilizing this skill set.
I. Racial Abilities» Racial Abilities:
Shuuhei is capable of using all of the normal racial abilities commonly associated with Vizards, and he has developed a few unique techniques based on the racial skills in which he is particularly proficient.Shinigami
- Custom Hadō: "Honokaze:" As its name implies, this custom Hadō consists of a burst of superheated air. Shuuhei uses this technique by forming a fist with his outstretched left hand and then saying the name of the technique. This will allow him to heat up a mass of air around that fist which starts out around one foot in diameter. Then, by making a punching motion with the same fist, he can fire this projectile at the target. It expands as it approaches the target, but also loses intensity as it does so. Shuuhei can generally use this Hadō against targets up to 150 meters away, though because it consists of air and relies on heat, which dissipates rather quickly, its effectiveness is drastically reduced the further away the target is.To a target, taking a hit from this spell would feel like being caught in a gust of flaming wind. If used against another being, its primary damage would come in the form of burns. As anyone who has ever experienced a minor burn will know, these are extremely painful and result in quite a lot of suffering. As such, Shuuhei prefers not to use this technique against living targets. Instead it is intended as a method of clearing obstacles or for use in other situations where heat would be helpful. Very rarely, he will use it on an opponent if a heat-based attack is absolutely necessary to take down a foe. This Hadō functions similar to standard Kido at the high 50's to mid 60's level in damage output, but because it lacks an incantation and can therefore be used more quickly, it takes the same toll on its user as a mid 70's level spell would. Shuuhei is capable of teaching this technique to another Shinigami, Vizard, or Kido-capable being if desired.
- Custom Bakudo: "Benikusari:" This Bakudo, in short, uses chains derived from the blood spilling from an injured target's wounds, mixed with some of Shuuhei's Reiatsu, to bind and restrain them. Shuuhei developed it as a way to help incapacitate or defeat a foe who is already wounded but proving to be a troublesome enemy in such a way as to minimize pain or suffering caused to them. In other words, this Bakudo would be applied just prior to him attempting to "finish off" his opponent. To cast this Bakudo, the user points both the index and middle fingers of their right hand at the opponent before saying the name of the technique. This will infuse the blood lost by the opponent with the user's Reiatsu and cause it to form six red chains, each about 10 feet in length and with links around an inch in diameter, which will then wrap around the opponent and then anchor their opposite ends to any nearby solid surfaces, thereby trapping the opponent. In line with Shuuhei's desire to limit the pain and suffering of his opponents, this Bakudo also completely eliminates the pain caused by the target's wounds. Because of its nature, this Bakudo can only be used if the opponent has received at least one significant wound from which blood can be lost. This technique functions similar to a standard Bakudo at the high 50's or mid 60's level in its ability to restrain the target, but due to the lack of an incantation and the resulting ability to be used faster, it takes the same toll on its user as a mid 70's level Bakudo would. Shuuhei can teach this technique to other Shinigami, Vizards, or Kido-capable characters.
- Zanjutsu Technique: "Sougiri:" This is another technique Shuuhei developed for the purpose of defeating an enemy quickly and relatively painlessly. He usually uses it while his Zanpakuto is sealed, but it is usable at higher release levels as well. In this technique, Shuuhei utilizes both swords of his dual Zanpakuto to produce a quick and painless but highly effective sword strike. To use this technique, Shuuhei pumps high volumes of his Reiatsu into the blades of both his swords. This has the effect of fortifying both blades, making an attack with them more damaging than it otherwise would have been. It has the additional impact of temporarily honing the edge of the wakizashi to be so fine that it can actually slide between the cells of the opponent's tissues, causing no pain and leaving behind no wound. Its target is the nerves, and once it reaches them, the blade returns to its normal thickness and severs the nerve connections to the area of the opponent's body Shuuhei has chosen to attack. Immediately afterwards, Shuuhei strikes with the katana, delivering an exceptionally powerful strike that is now completely painless. This sword strike is capable of severing limbs or cutting most of the way through an opponent's body and is likely to cause heavy damage. One drawback to the use of this technique is that if the first strike with the wakizashi is blocked, not only will the entire technique be nullified, but due to the modification to the blade, there is a high chance of the wakizashi breaking or suffering damage. Also, this requires a significant amount of Reiatsu due to it actually changing the size of a part of Shuuhei's Zanpakutō, and as such, it takes the same toll on him that using an 80's level Kido normally would. For this reason, he will not use it more than once in a fight.
- Zanjutsu Technique: "Kaeri Taiho:" This technique is specifically centered on the wakizashi element of Shuuhei's Zanpakutō. It involves throwing the short sword, something he often did as a human samurai and re-learned as a Shinigami. To use it, he first pumps a significant amount of his Reiatsu into the wakizashi. The weapon will be faintly glowing a dark blue when it is ready for use. Then, he throws the weapon towards the opponent. Infused with Reiatsu, the blade is able to punch through most foes, leaving behind a perfectly circular wound around four inches in diameter. The wakizashi will then return to Shuuhei, landing safely in his hand. The main drawback here is that once again, it requires a significant amount of Reiatsu to use, taking a toll on him similar to that caused by a mid-70's level Kido. As such, Shuuhei will not normally use this technique more than twice in a fight. Also, if the blade is blocked or its flight path is otherwise interrupted, it will not return to Shuuhei and he will have to manually retrieve it.
- Cero de Hielo: This technique is one of many different ways Shuuhei has learned to use his Cero over the years. While most Cero cause damage through burns and other trauma related to heat and overpressure resulting from explosions, this Cero does damage with cold instead. In both its method of use and appearance, it resembles the normal Cero deployed by Shuuhei. As such, he fires Cero de Hielo from an outstretched right fist. Like his normal Cero, it is a deep, dark blue in color, similar to his Reiatsu. The first visible difference between this technique and a normal Cero is the fact that upon striking its target, it does not cause an explosion. Instead, it will appear as if the energy of the Cero is being absorbed by the body of the opponent. After this occurs, the target's body temperature will drop rapidly, bringing on symptoms of hypothermia, and in much weaker opponents, a thin layer of ice may begin to form over the skin as their body temperature drops below the freezing point of water. Damage from Cero de Hielo will usually take the form of frostbite or the aforementioned classic hypothermia symptoms, both physical such as violent shivering, and mental, such as disorientation. In keeping with Shuuhei's opposition to the use of fighting techniques that cause unnecessary suffering, this technique freezes nerve endings first, making the remainder of the process almost entirely painless. Some drawbacks to this type of Cero include the fact that it travels at only around 70 percent the speed of a standard Cero, along with it requiring slightly longer to fully charge. It also requires more Reiatsu than a standard Cero and is not usable more than twice in a battle.
- Lanza de Cero: While the literal translation of this technique's Spanish name refers to a spear, it is actually centered around Shuuhei's Zanpakutō, which is of course a sword. This is a new use that he developed for his Cero to complement his proficiency in Zanjutsu. To use this ability, Shuuhei charges a normal Cero, but instead of firing it at the opponent, he causes it to "flow" outwards to form a coating around the blade of his katana. He can do this for his wakizashi as well, but he will not have the blades of both swords coated in a Cero at any one time. This is because the cost in Reiatsu would be higher, and thus not sustainable in a longer battle. In Shikai or Bankai, he can use this technique on either blade. While under the effect of Lanza de Cero, the sword it has been used on will strike harder and upon cutting the opponent, will cause the same type of damage as a direct hit from a standard Cero. Of course, this also means that once Shuuhei lands a blow with the sword under the effect of this technique, the effect will end. The effect will also end if the sword under the technique's effect is used to parry an attack from a sufficiently powerful opponent, or on its own after 3 posts. If the effect ends for any reason, the Cero coating the blade will explode in the same way it would if it had hit a target. The main drawbacks here are the amount of Reiatsu it costs to maintain, which is similar to continuously firing a Cero for several minutes, as well as the risk of the technique's effect ending and the Cero exploding close to Shuuhei, injuring him. For this reason, he will not use this technique more than twice in a fight.
- Cero Escudo: As suggested by its name, this technique is a variation on Cero that Shuuhei developed to be used for defensive purposes. Shuuhei uses it by first charging a standard Cero to 50 percent of full power, then allowing it to expand into a hexagonal shield 4 feet in width and 6 feet in height. This shield is attached to his right wrist by a thin loop of Cero energy. A slight drawback resulting from this is that Shuuhei will suffer 1st to 2nd degree burns to the tissues of his wrist where the shield attaches. The shield, of course, can be used to block the attacks of opponents, but its effects go beyond that. As mentioned earlier, the Cero that makes up this shield was only charged halfway before use. This is done so that the shield can actually absorb the energy of the attacks it blocks. Of course, a sufficiently powerful attack would overload the shield and cause it to detonate while still attached to Shuuhei, resulting in serious injury to him. Once the shield has absorbed enough energy, it will revert back into a normal Cero, which Shuuhei can then fire at the opponent. If it does not absorb enough energy to be used in this way, it will dissipate on its own after 3 posts have passed. Similar to the offensive variant of Shuuhei's Cero, it requires a decent amount of Reiatsu to maintain, though not as much as that one due to some of its energy being absorbed from enemy attacks. For this reason, he will use it no more than three times in a fight.
I. Sealed Zanpakutō» Zanpakutō Name:
Kogane Raikō » Zanpakutō Spirit Appearance:
Kogane Raikō is a dual Zanpakutō and thus consists of two separate spirits. Overall, both of these spirits take the form of dragon-like entities that appear to represent some aspect of lightning or electricity. For the most part, these two spirits are very different in appearance, but they do have one characteristic in common: they are both approximately the same size. Both dragon-like spirits are 80 feet in length from snout to tail, and if they could be weighed, would most likely come in at around 15,000 pounds each. They also possess wingspans of 100 feet, with each wing being 50 feet in length and 20 feet in width at its widest point. Also, the hands and feet of each spirit are tipped with cruel (and dangerously sharp) talons usually reaching around 2 feet in length. Beyond these basic aspects of size, however, each spirt looks very different.
The first dragon-like spirit is named Shiryu, and it embodies the more defensive aspect of Shuuhei's power. Shiryu is represented by the wakizashi. He takes the form of a dragon with a mostly skeletal figure. In other words, the solid, physical parts of his body appear to be entirely bones or something very closely resembling them. These bones are dark grey in color and if one could touch them, they would feel very cold and have a texture distinctly like that of stone. The back of his neck, along with his back and tail, are covered in razor-sharp spines made of the same material. Each of these are 6 inches in width at the base and most are about a foot in length, though many are pitted, cracked, and chipped as though from the effects of battle. Upon his head sit two sets of horns made of this same material. These horns are helical in shape like a screw, and are a full foot in diameter at the base and 5 feet in length. His head takes the form of a dragon skull, entirely devoid of any flesh. His teeth are razor sharp as one would expect, with the larger ones reaching 6 inches in length and even the smallest ones reaching the size of shot glasses. Shiryu's wings are mainly composed of bone, but do have a few strips of gray material covering them that may have once been flesh. The spaces between the bones are filled entirely with a substance resembling plasma or electricity. This substance is a cold, light blue in color, and it crackles, buzzes, and flickers in a way similar to raw high-voltage current. Besides filling in the gaps between Shiryu's "bones," this plasma brings life to his eyes, which would otherwise be empty sockets in his skull 2 feet wide. This plasma is also Shiryu's main tool in combat. He can fire bursts of it from his mouth in the same way that a classic dragon would breathe fire. Its main use, however, is as a sort of "armor" to deflect any attempted attacks.
The other spirit making up Shuuhei's Zanpakutō is known as Jinryu. Jinryu embodies the more offensive aspect of his power, and is represented by the full-size katana. Where Shiryu was a skeletal form, Jinryu is a full-bodied golden dragon-like spirit, fully covered in flesh, scales, and other living tissues. The majority of his body is plated in thick, heavy scales. If they could be chemically analyzed, it would be found that they were in fact composed of actual gold. Each scale is 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. Untold hundreds, if not thousands of these cover Jinryu's body, sealing off any potential weak spot. Like Shiryu, the back of his neck, his back, and his tail are coated in rows of sharp spines to guard against any attack from above. These spines are somewhat shorter, at around 8 inches in length, but also wider, being around a foot in diameter at their base. Jinryu does not have any horns on his head, but the entire head is covered in the same thick, golden scales as his body, granting him an equal level of protection. His teeth are less prominent than those of Shiryu, but are still quite intimidating at 4-6 inches in length, and are of course razor sharp. Jinryu's wings are fully covered in flesh, which takes the form of a wing membrane similar to those seen in bats. Unlike bats' wings, however, these wings are incredibly resistant to damage, and upon closer inspection seem to be covered in a layer of material resembling gold foil. There is a sort of "sail" similar to those found on some dinosaurs made of the same material protruding from Jinryu's back. This sail is 15 feet in height and very similar to the wings. In combat, Jinryu is capable of breathing bolts of a gold-colored plasma similar in appearance to golden lightning. This is his main method of attacking in battle.
» Zanpakutō Spirit Personality: Shiryu
- Calm: Shiryu is the source of the more defensive aspects of Shuuhei's powers, so it logically follows that he is calm by nature. He is very difficult to anger, even in scenarios that would drive the most rational or easygoing of normal beings into a fit of rage. No matter what is done or said by Jinryu or Shuuhei within the inner world, Shiryu will maintain his composure. Similarly, he is Shuuhei's voice of reason in situations where he begins to panic, become angry, or otherwise lose his own composure. While these are relatively rare, Shiryu is there to help when they do arise, always reminding Shuuhei to remain calm and approach whatever situation he is currently dealing with in a rational, calm, and collected manner. The same goes for any situation in which Shuuhei may be experiencing an excess of positive emotions, as these can lead to excessive celebration or lowering one's guard, both of which are dangerous. All in all, Shiryu remains incredibly calm and does his utmost to ensure Shuuhei does the same.
- Constructive: Another aspect of Shiryu's generally more rational personality is that he is not the type to give harsh or angry criticism. Instead, he gives Shuuhei constructive advice to help him work on his own flaws or address a problem. He is the spirit that is more willing to help Shuuhei work through a problem, and also the one to help him make up for and learn from his mistakes. Overall, he is the more helpful and patient of the two spirits, as well as the one who is always there for Shuuhei should he happen to need help or advice. He is also the more patient spirit when it comes to helping Shuuhei learn the abilities of his Zanpakutō, choosing to gently instruct him in its use.
- Reasonable: Of the two spirits that make up Shuuhei's dual Zanpakutō, Shiryu is by far the most reasonable. While many spirits wish to test their Shinigami, often in some form of combat, or put them through other types of trials designed to prove the Shinigami is worthy of wielding them, Shiryu is different. For Shiryu, what matters most is that a Shinigami is intelligent, mature, and powerful enough to use his powers properly. However, he knows that there are much more reasonable ways to test this than through brute force in combat. Shiryu prefers a test of intellect and maturity conducted through conversation, and determines strength through simply sensing Shuuhei's Reiatsu. Besides this, Shiryu is more reasonable in all other aspects of life. For example, he prefers calmly working through problems over panic, talking out differences over fighting, and if it comes down to it, immobilizing or incapacitating an enemy over outright killing them. Like Shuuhei, he is also more tolerant, and he encourages this and all of his traits in his Shinigami. The main source of conflict between Shuuhei and Shiryu is Shuuhei's stubbornness, as the more reasonable Shiryu is far more open to change.
- Protector: Being the defensive aspect of Kogane Raikō, Shiryu is the "protector." This means that he is the one most concerned with Shuuhei's safety. It is for this reason that he would prefer not to test Shuuhei's worthiness through combat. For the same reason, however, it is of the utmost importance to him that Shuuhei be powerful, mature, and intelligent enough. After all, these traits are most likely to keep someone safe and alive. In short, Shiryu is very concerned with Shuuhei's safety and looks to preserve it to the greatest extent possible.
» Inner World:
- Aggressive: Jinryu is the embodiment of Shuuhei's offensive powers, and as such, it would simply not make sense for him to be anything other than aggressive. He is quick to anger, constantly on a hair-trigger, and prepared to attack at all times. To him, fighting and violence in general is the best answer to most if not all problems. He will often attempt to encourage Shuuhei to respond violently to a perceived insult or challenge. Even the slightest annoyance or inconvenience will drive him to attack the offender, pushing him into a state of rage from which he will often not emerge for days on end. In the worst cases, this can even make it difficult to wield the Zanpakutō, and for this reason, Shuuhei has learned to be very careful not to make Jinryu angry at him. On the other hand, this state of rage can be helpful if it is directed at an enemy Shuuhei is engaged in combat with. For the most part, however, this extreme aggression is somewhat problematic in this particular Shinigami-Zanpakutō relationship.
- Harsh: Where Shiryu was reasonable and constructive, Jinryu is incredibly harsh by nature. Some would refer to his manner of speech when dealing with Shuuhei's flaws, mistakes, or negative traits as "blunt" or "brutally honest." In other words, Jinryu calls things the way they are. He is very realistic, often to the point of being downright pessimistic. He is known to tell Shuuhei that he is unworthy of wielding his power or that he is "weak," and similar. Jinryu believes that this harshness is the best way to motivate Shuuhei to success, not constructive criticism, reasonably addressing flaws or talking through problems. When Shuuhei experiences failure, Jinryu will be the first to call him out on it.
- Demanding: Jinryu's expectations of Shuuhei are, to be brief, very high. He wishes to be wielded by only the most "worthy" Shinigami, and is willing to do anything he deems necessary to ensure this. As we know, should Shuuhei fail, he is not afraid to tell him in no uncertain terms how badly he failed and that he is not presently worthy. He will, in short, accept only the best from his Shinigami, not only in battle but in life itself. Jinryu simply will not stand for Shuuhei taking shortcuts, making excuses, or any other similar behaviors. It is here that we find the most significant point of conflict between these two beings, and that is Shuuhei's procrastination. This annoys Jinryu greatly and he hopes to one day put an end to that behavior.
- "The Test:" With his expectations as high as they are, it should not be surprising that Jinryu views himself as the main test for Shuuhei in terms of whether he is worthy of wielding Kogane Raikō. This was mainly evident while he was in the Academy attempting to attain Shikai, and then later during his training for Bankai. As a polar opposite of Shiryu, Jinryu believes that the only way to determine Shuuhei's worthiness is through combat. Furthermore, he believes said combat must genuinely involve a risk of death for Shuuhei for it to be a valid test. As such, he is not afraid to put Shuuhei in extreme danger when testing him, even though he is well aware that the death of his Shinigami would mean the end of his own existence as well. Even so, he believes that he must push Shuuhei to success at any cost, even if that means a serious risk of death for both him and Shuuhei. It is because of this that Shuuhei needed to pass two separate tests, one from each spirit, to gain both Shikai and Bankai.
If Shiryu and Jinryu, the two spirits that make up Shuuhei's Zanpakutō, can agree on anything at all, it is the importance of testing Shuuhei to be sure he is worthy and able to wield Kogane Raikō. Because of this, the inner world in which they reside is in itself a sort of test. It has three main sections. The first of these is intended to be a sort of entrance area. The second consists of a large lake, and the third and final area is made up of a rugged and difficult mountain with a traditional Japanese castle at its summit. Shuuhei must navigate all three of these areas before he can even encounter Shiryu and Jinryu to begin the tests they administer, or even to come into contact with them at all any time he enters his inner world.
The entrance area of the inner world is by far the smallest in size and most simple. It is a small, rocky beach at the edge of a vast, deep, blue lake. The shore of the lake in this area is mostly barren, with there being little actual soil for anything to grow. 40 to 50 meters from the water's edge, however, there is some available soil, and tall pine trees can be seen growing here. The ground is mainly slabs of dark granite, cracked in places by the extensive root systems of the nearby pines. In the cracks, small weeds grow, struggling to reach the sunlight. Around the edges of the lake, similar features can be seen, stretching all the way to the rugged, snowy peak of black stone at the lake's opposite edge. Closer to the water, all vegetation growth stops, and the only notable features are the rough granite slabs sloping steeply down into the dark waters of the lake. This is where Shuuhei would find himself immediately upon entering his inner world. One of the first things he would notice is a significant difficulty breathing. This is because the air pressure and oxygen content here is much lower than Shuuhei would have ever experienced before. It is equivalent to what one would find around 17,000 feet above sea level on Earth. This will provide quite the obstacle in the next two sections.
The second section of the world within Shuuhei's soul is the lake itself. This lake is not particularly large by the standards of lakes on Earth, but its size is more than enough to make it a challenging barrier to progress. From the lakeshore to the foot of the mountain representing the third and final area Shuuhei would have to traverse to reach Shiryu and Jinryu, it is about 3 miles. The sides of the lake are completely impassable, with the way blocked by sheer cliffs thousands of feet high. Their edges are perfectly smooth with no imperfections even down to the molecular level, making them thoroughly impossible to scale. Therefore, the only way forward is to swim to the opposite side of this lake. Its water is crystal clear, allowing 10 miles of visibility in any direction. The lake itself is meant to be as difficult to cross as possible. First, its edges slope steeply, with the bottom rapidly dropping away until reaching a uniform depth of 100,000 feet just a meter from shore. Because of its extreme depth, the water always appears to be dark blue despite its clarity. Depth of a body of water is no challenge to a strong swimmer, but cold is, and this lake is a bone-cracking -20 degrees Fahrenheit. How it remains liquid at this temperature is uncertain. This, together with the low oxygen content of this world's atmosphere, makes this swim a grueling and potentially dangerous ordeal.
The journey through this world does not end at the lake's opposite shore, though. Upon reaching that shore, Shuuhei would climb out onto another rocky beach. Unlike the shore in the entry area, this beach is covered in loose chunks of dark granite rock, ranging in size from pebbles to boulders larger than houses. Now, it is time to climb the rugged mountain atop which Shiryu and Jinryu reside. The lower slopes of this mountain are made up of the same boulder field as the shore. This section of the mountain is incredibly treacherous, with even the largest boulders being completely loose and often sitting in precarious positions, ready to fall at any time. There are no secure footholds for the same reason. Past this, the grade of the slope increases sharply, becoming near-vertical at some points, and the terrain changes to ice and snow. Here, the main hazards are slipping and falling on ice or through unstable snow into crevasses, some of which are thousands of feet deep with an array of tooth-shaped icicles waiting at the bottom. Finally, past the snow and ice fields, there is a spire of sheer, vertical, black stone 2,000 feet high that must be climbed to finally reach the summit. This requires a long and careful rock climb in which a single mistake or an instant of doubt will mean certain death. On top of this, the oxygen content and air pressure continues to drop with altitude, and at the mountain's summit, it is equivalent to an altitude of 25,000 feet on Earth.
After reaching the peak of the impossibly difficult mountain, a traditional medieval Japanese castle will come into view. The castle sits in the middle of a small pond which, somehow, remains in a liquid state, though small chunks of ice float in its waters. The lower outer walls of this castle extend into the waters of the pond, and they are constructed using stones that appear to have been cut from the nearby mountainside. The stone wall appears to be built in the style commonly seen in 15th century Japan. The upper walls are built of wood and painted a charcoal gray. The roofs, also built in the medieval Japanese style, are covered with similarly colored tiles. After traversing another field of smooth granite slabs, Shuuhei will come to a red wooden bridge leading over the pond and to the castle's main gate. This gate is heavy and thick, clearly designed to protect the occupants of the castle against something. It also appears to be constructed of solid gold with no imperfections so as to make climbing impossible. Upon being approached by Shuuhei, it will open of its own accord. This will grant him access to a courtyard that seems to be far too large for the castle in which it is located. The ceiling and far walls are too distant even to see. The floor is covered with black, square tiles, which once again appear to be made from the same stone as the mountainside nearby. It is in this massive, featureless courtyard that Shiryu and Jinryu rest.
» Sealed Zanpakutō Appearance:
Kogane Raikō is a dual Zanpakuto and is therefore composed of two swords. In its sealed state, these weapons are a katana, or a standard size Japanese-style sword, and a wakizashi, or a short sword. Together, these resemble the two swords traditionally worn by samurai, which is one possible reason why Kogane Raikō's sealed form took on this appearance.
The katana is of normal size and dimensions for such a weapon. The tsuka, or hilt, is 8 inches in length and slightly over 2 inches in width, and is roughly cylindrical in shape as all katana hilts are. It is white in color but wrapped in black cloth, with the underlying white material only showing through small, diamond-shaped gaps in this cloth wrapping. The pommel is gold in color, though it is actually steel, and is engraved with an emblem vaguely resembling two dragon heads. This is also the part of the Zanpakutō that Shuuhei would use to perform a Konso when necessary. Moving up the length of the weapon, we come to the tsuba, or what many refer to as the cross guard. This piece is intended to both protect the hands and allow for better grip, a function this design does quite well. It is gold in color, though like the pommel, the actual material it is composed of is steel. This tsuba is roughly circular in shape, and it takes the form of an engraved Eastern-style dragon (the type commonly depicted in East Asian cultures) coiled around the tsuba and the base of the blade. On close inspection, it becomes clear that this dragon bears a very close resemblance to Jinryu, the spirit that this weapon represents. Last but most definitely not least, there is the blade. This key component of the katana is 3 and a half feet in length, about 2 inches in width, and approximately 1/8th of an inch thick except for its cutting edge, which is filed down to a razor-thin (and sharp) line. Similar to most weapons of its type, it is slightly curved. In terms of its dimensions, it is a normal katana blade. Its color, however, is unique, as this blade has taken on a bright golden hue. Finally, the sheath in which it is kept is constructed of bamboo wood similar to most katana sheathes, and is crafted to perfectly fit the dimensions of the blade it is meant to contain. It is mainly black in color, though it is crisscrossed by thin, bright yellow lines reminiscent of bolts of electricity.
The wakizashi, in terms of size and dimensions, is once again normal for its style of weapon. Its tsuka is 4 inches in length and just over two inches in width. It is made of unpainted bamboo wood and wrapped in white cloth. The wood's distinct light brown-yellow color is visible through the small, diamond-shaped gaps in the white cloth wrapping. Its pommel is of a silver color and fashioned of normal steel. Like the katana, its top is engraved with an emblem of two dragon heads. The tsuba is nearly identical in size and shape to that of the katana, as it is roughly circular and takes the shape of a dragon coiled around the tsuka and the blade's base. It is composed of the same material as well, being normal steel. However, it is now silver in color, and when examined closely, resembles Shiryu, the spirit represented by the wakizashi. The blade of this weapon is of a normal shape and size for a wakizashi. It is 13 inches in length, around 2 in width, and 1/8th of an inch thick, becoming progressively thinner towards the cutting edge. It, too, takes on the slight curve common to Japanese-style blades. In color, it is a brilliant silver, in stark contrast with the katana's golden blade. Its sheath is once again fashioned of bamboo wood, carefully crafted to be a perfect fit for the weapon kept inside. It is also painted black and crisscrossed with thin lines in a pattern similar to bolts of electricity, but these are a light blue color rather than yellow.
» Sealed Zanpakutô Powers:
The overarching theme of Kogane Raikō is the control and manipulation of electrons, the subatomic particles whose movement from place to place constitutes electricity. This will be explained in greater detail in the sections for Shikai and Bankai, as in the sealed state, only very basic aspects of this ability may be used, allowing the flow of electric current through the weapon's two blades. In addition, Shuuhei is able to fortify his blades with his Reiatsu and use it to create projectiles that can be fired from the blades.
- Kogane Raikō Hitotsukiri - Raika: This ability allows Shuuhei to infuse the blade of his weapon with an electric current. Metal is already a good conductor of electricity, and by using his Reiatsu to allow electricity to flow even more freely through his blade, he can give his sword blade that has essentially the same properties as a live high-voltage line. The electric current in the blade is not visible to anyone, Shuuhei included, but it can be detected with other senses. First, of course, there is the fact that the high volume of electricity flowing through the blade creates sound, just as it does in high-voltage wires, and this electric buzzing can easily be heard even several feet away. At closer ranges, especially after this ability has been active for some time, the blade begins to give off heat. Finally, as Reiatsu is used to perform this technique, it can be sensed by any being able to perceive Reiatsu. This electrically charged blade can be used to cause more damage to the opponent than a standard sword cut, mainly in the form of burns and electrocution. There are two drawbacks to using this ability: first, Shuuhei himself is not immune to the effects of the charged sword blade and must take care not to come in direct contact with it; and second, as the electric current causes the blade to heat up, it cannot be used for extended amounts of time, or the blade could become warped or even softened by the heat. This can only be done with the katana and is not usable with the wakizashi.
- Kogane Raikō Futatsukiri - Juudan: This ability is usable only with the wakizashi. Rather than relying on electric current in the blades or any other form of Kogane Raikō's power, this ability revolves around Shuuhei using his own Reiatsu to increase the usefulness of his sealed Zanpakuto. Here, he allows his dark blue Reiatsu to accumulate around the blade of his wakizashi, forming a cone-shaped projectile 2 feet long and an inch in diameter. These projectiles can be fired toward an opponent from the blade of the weapon. Upon impact, they will pierce through the skin and enter the body, releasing their energy in the form of explosive overpressure and causing roughly the same effect as a .45 caliber pistol round at equivalent range. This means damage to tissues and possibly bones and organs, as well as significant bleeding. As this technique was developed based on his knowledge of primitive gunpowder weapons in medieval Japan, drawbacks include painful recoil and a "loading" time similar to what a primitive flintlock pistol would require. (20 seconds or so in a best case scenario) During this "loading," Shuuhei is relatively open to attack, and the projectile can be disrupted before it is prepared, negating it entirely. Also, only one of these can be fired at a time before another "loading" period is needed.
- Kogane Raikō San no Teisai - Hakai: This ability also utilizes the general ability to fortify Kogane Raikō's blades with Reiatsu or create Reiatsu projectiles. In this case, it is usable only with the katana. Just like the previous ability, this requires Shuuhei to allow Reiatsu to accumulate around the blade of his weapon, forming a sort of projectile. In this case, the projectile is of the exact same dimensions and shape as the blade of the katana. It requires around 20 seconds to prepare as well, and suffers from the same drawbacks as the previous ability during this loading period. Unlike that ability, while the resulting projectile can be fired from the blade of the katana, it can also be kept where it is and used to fortify the blade, adding power to any attacks performed with it. If this is done, it can be maintained for no more than 5 minutes, at which point it will explode with as much force as if it were fired, endangering Shuuhei and possibly damaging his Zanpakuto. If fired from the blade, which is done by swinging the katana in a slashing motion, the projectile will travel towards the opponent, maintaining the shape and size of a katana blade. Upon impact, it will explode with sufficient force to mangle or even sever limbs, rip away flesh, and shatter bones. With such power, of course, comes serious drawbacks. Besides having the drawbacks of the previous ability, this cannot be used more than twice in a fight, and each use will decrease the duration of his mask by one post for the remainder of the fight, should he choose to use it.
- Kogane Raikō Yon no Teisai - Bogyo: This ability is centered around the use of an electrical current flowing through the blade of one of his weapons. This time, though, the weapon to be electrically charged is the wakizashi. Shuuhei can manipulate the flow of electricity through the blade of his wakizashi in such a way that it temporarily becomes a strong magnet. This magnetic blade can then be used to parry an opponent's attacks with a surprising after-effect for those using any metal weapons. Upon contact, the opponent's weapon will become magnetically attracted to the blade of the wakizashi and thus much more difficult to pull away. It is not impossible, however, and most opponents will find that an extra burst of strength will be sufficient to pull their weapon free. What this ability does do is create a small opening as a result of surprise or the extra time taken to pull away, and this opening can be used to counterattack. Unlike the earlier ability involving electric current, this current is weaker and therefore not audible unless the opponent is within a foot of Shuuhei. It can still be detected through Reiatsu perception though. Drawbacks include the possibility of damage to the wakizashi when the opponent rips their weapon free, injury to Shuuhei's arm caused by the same, or even the possibility of the wakizashi being torn out of his hands by a stronger opponent.
I. Shikai» Shikai Release Phrase:
"Disrupt, Kogane Raikō!"» Shikai Release Actions:
When releasing his Shikai, Shuuhei crosses his two blades just prior to speaking the release phrase. When he does so, he lifts both weapons to the height of his chest, holds them a foot from his body, and crosses them so that both blades intersect at the exact midpoint of the katana's blade. This forms an X shape directly in front of him.» Shikai Appearance:
In Shikai, no changes to Shuuhei's figure occur. As it is for the vast majority of Shinigami, the only changes that are seen are to the blades of the Zanpakutō themselves. Interestingly, both blades become equal in size and dimensions even though in the sealed form, there was a significant difference in size. Both swords become weapons that are a total of 4 feet and 4 inches in length from the base of the tang to the tip of the blade. In this state, the tsuba and tsuka completely disappear, making these weapons somewhat more difficult to grip. In fact, Shuuhei required significant practice to master the use of these new weapons because they were so different from the katana he was used to, but he did manage to become just as proficient at their use as he was at wielding a normal katana. The only place to grip these weapons is the tang, which is wrapped in black cloth to aid in this. The tang is 4 inches in length and about 2 inches wide. In both swords, the blades themselves are mostly made of black metal. The only color difference between the two weapons can be found at the edges. The edges of each blade, along with the metal within an inch of said edges, takes on a specific color. For the sword that transformed from the wakizashi, this is a cold, icy blue color, and for the sword that was previously the katana, this color is gold. Both blades are exactly 4 feet in length. Their width varies along the length of the weapon between just over 2 inches at the narrowest point and 4 and a half inches at the widest point. The back edge of each blade is straight, but the forward edge curves in several places. Just above the tang, it curves sharply inward, forming a small crescent shape, before curving more gently inward immediately after this. Halfway along this lighter curve, the edge of the blade briefly becomes serrated before returning to its normal structure. After this light curve, the edge changes directions to curve gently outward and up towards the point, thereby forming the blade's widest point. Unlike a katana, both the front and back edges of these blades are sharpened.
» Shikai Abilities:
In Shikai, Kogane Raikō's electron control and manipulation abilities become more apparent. That being said, this is only Shikai, and so this power still appears to others to be that of basic electricity manipulation or possibly a lightning-element Zanpakuto. When in this state of release, both blades are constantly charged with high-voltage electricity, eliminating the need to consciously charge them to perform an amplified attack. Slashes from these blades will cause electrocution and burns along with the normal cut damage. The blade that was once the wakizashi is also permanently charged in such a way as to form a strong magnet useful for defense. Both swords exhibit opposite charges, so they cannot become stuck together by accident. As with the sealed form abilities, this electric charge is detectable by sight, hearing, and Reiatsu perception. This presents an added danger to Shuuhei, as contact with his own swords will electrocute him. The cloth wrappings on the tang block electricity, and they are the only parts safe to touch.
- Kogane Raikō Go no Teisai - Yoroi: Shuuhei has the ability to slightly alter the flow and intensity of the current in his magnetized blade and cause it to spin rapidly above the outstretched palm of his left hand. Doing this results in the temporary formation of a sort of Reiatsu-infused magnetic field around him with the ability to block and repulse attacks with any metal weapon, as well as attacks using electricity. It can also deflect other types of attacks, but this will cause the field to lose energy and eventually dissipate. At present, Shuuhei is limited to stopping 3 attacks from an enemy in sealed form, 2 from a Shikai or its equivalent, 1 from Bankai or its equivalent, and cannot stop any attacks from enemies in a third release state. Of course, opponents who are sufficiently more powerful can overcome this ability simply by virtue of having superior levels of power. Using this ability temporarily deprives him of the capability to use the sword generating the magnetic field or use his left arm while this is active. Without any interference, this can remain active for 1 post or 5 minutes, whichever is shorter.
- Kogane Raikō Roku no Teisai - Kaminari: This is Shuuhei's sole offensive capability in Shikai besides his swords' electric charge. In Shikai, he can use the right blade of Kogane Raikō, (the one that would have been the katana in the sealed state) to fire bursts of Reiatsu-infused electrical energy at the opponent. These bursts of energy take the form of lightning bolt-like masses of raw electrical current. They are usually gold in color, but if used while Shuuhei is wearing his mask, they will be black with a gold afterglow around the edges. These bursts can either be long, medium, or short. A long burst is a sustained and unbroken bolt of electricity fired from the blade that continues for up to 45 seconds. A medium-length burst lasts no longer than 15 seconds, and short bursts are generated and fired within a second. The longer a burst of electricity continues for, the more powerful and damaging it will be. As such, Shuuhei can fire 1 long burst, 3 medium bursts, or 6 short bursts before a cool down time of 1 post is needed. If the long burst continued for its maximum duration of 45 seconds, a 2 post cool down will be needed. Damage from these electrical bursts takes the form of burns and other expected effects of electrocution. However, actual pain caused by this attack is abnormally low, and the electricity does not cauterize wounds, allowing blood loss to occur.
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SHUUHEI YAMADA (PART IV)
I. Bankai» Bankai Name:
Ten no Sabaku Kogane Raikō » Bankai Release Phrase:
"Bankai! Ten no Sabaku Kogane Raikō!"» Bankai Release Actions:
Before releasing his Bankai, Shuuhei will hold both of his weapons out at arm's length. He will then point both blades directly downwards, gripping the hilts (or tangs depending on release state) as if he is about to stab downwards into something. Immediately following this, he will release his Bankai.» Bankai Appearance:
When Shuuhei enters his Bankai state, both his appearance and his weapons are altered noticeably. Upon release, Shuuhei will become surrounded with an opaque column of thick, heavy, dark blue Reiatsu. Behind this curtain of energy, the changes to both his figure and Zanpakuto will occur. At the same time, anyone nearby will become aware of an intense sensation of static electricity in the air. Most likely, their hairs will stand on end and contact with metal surfaces could even result in a feeling similar to static shock, though no such phenomenon actually took place. A distinct and powerful scent of ozone will fill the air at that time, and both this and the static electricity sensation will remain for the duration of Shuuhei's Bankai release.
When the column of Reiatsu dissipates, Shuuhei's Bankai form will be visible. The first change anyone would notice is that he has developed two large wings. These wings appear to be made up of electrical energy or filaments of brightly glowing ionized plasma, but they are actually Reishi and Reiatsu combined to create something that takes on this appearance. These "filaments" take the shape of long feathers which come together to form the wings. There are about 100 of these "feathers" of varying sizes making up each wing. The wings themselves behave very similar to plasma or electricity for the most part, especially when it comes to the sounds they produce. If it is relatively quiet, they can be heard to hum, buzz, and sometimes crackle. If a human were to hear this, they would likely be reminded of the sound made by high voltage power lines on a rainy day. Both wings are 7 feet in length, giving Shuuhei a "wingspan" of 14 feet while in Bankai. They each have an average width of just over 3 feet. The left wing is a cold, icy blue in color, the same as the energy manipulated by Shiryu in Shuuhei's inner world, and the right wing glows a warm red-gold color, the exact same as the energy used by the spirit Jinryu. Strangely, if another being is able to get close to the wings, they will notice that the blue wing radiates a feeling of intense cold in the way a freezer does when the door is left open, while the red-gold wing feels as if it is radiating intense heat, like an electric stove set to high.
The other change is of course to the blades of Shuuhei's Zanpakutō. In Bankai, just as they did in Shikai, both swords take on the same general shape, with the only difference between the two being the color of the edges. In this state, the weapons return to a somewhat katana-like shape. As in Shikai, both of these blades are exactly 4 feet and 4 inches in length from the base of the tang to the tip of the blade. Each blade has no tsuba or tsuka, and again the only place to grip these weapons is the tang. This section is 4 inches in length and wrapped in black cloth for better grip. In a slight difference from the Shikai state, each weapon now has a small loop of black metal at the base of the tang. This is likely just an aesthetic feature as Shuuhei has never found any practical use for it. The blades themselves are each 4 feet in length, 2 inches in with, and 1/8th of an inch thick, slowly tapering off to their perfectly sharpened edges. Along the flat of each blade, there is a line of 14 diagonal, equally spaced, oval-shaped holes beginning 8 inches above the tang and ending exactly 18 inches up the blade. As previously mentioned, the weapons once again have katana-style blades, with the exception that the slight curve is gone and they are now entirely straight. This also means that only the cutting edge is sharpened, not both edges like in Shikai. The cutting edges of both weapons, along with the metal within an inch of these edges, are colored. On the blade that would have been the wakizashi in sealed form, this color is a cold, icy blue. On the other blade, it is a bright, shining gold color. The rest of the blade is composed of a deep black metal.
» Bankai Abilities:
Shuuhei's Bankai allows the full range of his electron manipulation abilities to be seen. As in his sealed and Shikai states, Shuuhei retains the ability to keep his swords electrically charged. He may also perform the basic electricity manipulation techniques available to him in Shikai, though these will be more powerful in Bankai state. They will have all of the same limitations and drawbacks, but now, 8 short bursts, 4 medium bursts, and 2 long bursts will be possible before any cool down is needed. As in that state, both of his swords are constantly charged, with the left weapon charged in such a way as to once again function as a strong magnet for defensive purposes and the right blade able to electrocute and burn upon contact. This comes with the expected drawback of being hazardous to Shuuhei should he accidentally come in contact with the blades.
In Bankai, he now has the added ability to change the positions of electrons within his blade, causing the metal to have more or less resistance, allowing for things like a stronger flow of current or purposely heating up the blade. He can also switch the flow of current in the blades on or off, opening up possibilities such as heating up a blade and then deactivating the current to cauterize an ally's wound.
The ability to manipulate electrons opens up far more options in battle. Some examples are the creation of much stronger and more useful magnetic fields, altering the charges of certain parts of the ground or atmosphere to call down lightning bolts even from clear skies, or even altering the properties of chemical elements to produce strange and possibly useful effects.
He can manipulate electrons within 1 foot of him without any added requirements simply by using his Reiatsu and the power of his Zanpakuto. This allows the creation of magnetic fields around him similar to those he could create in Shikai, but with the ability to deflect more attacks and without the drawback of losing the use of his left arm and sword. In Bankai, this magnetic field can take any shape, allowing it to be used as a sort of "armor," held out at a distance as a shield, or anything in between. These magnetic fields can stop and repulse most attacks with a metal-based weapon or electricity with the same limitations as in Shikai, and can deflect up to 5 non-metal or non-electric attacks from a sealed form, 3 from a Shikai or equivalent, 2 from a Bankai or equivalent, and 1 from a higher release. This ability also allows him to form masses of ionized plasma using molecules in the air near him, which can be used as projectiles or for defensive purposes with the same properties and limitations as the magnetic fields.
Additionally, Shuuhei can manipulate electrons in anything outside the 1-foot radius around him, but under one condition: he must have previously cut the being or object in which he wishes to perform this manipulation. Furthermore, he must have done so while in Bankai form. Wounds or cuts dealt by his sealed or Shikai forms will not allow the use of this ability. Once he uses this ability, Shuuhei can alter the flow or positions of any number of electrons in any part of what he has cut if it is an inanimate object or being without any meaningful amount of Reiatsu (anything from a spiritually unaware human to a weak Hollow) or with limitations in a living being with more than a small amount of Reiatsu. In these beings, this ability is limited to the half of the body that was cut in weaker beings and to the limb, appendage, or tissues within 6 inches of the cut in more powerful beings, with the effect further decreasing in range in beings more powerful than Shuuhei. This electron manipulation can have a wide variety of effects, but common ones include altering the chemical makeup or stability of various molecules, causing biological compounds such as proteins to become unstable or denatured and cease functioning, or interrupting the signals sent by the brain and nerves, resulting in immobility, loss of muscle control, heart arrhythmias, or seizure-like brain activity. In short, anything that depends on or contains electrons can be interfered with.
Electron manipulation is quite powerful and useful, and as such, it has some serious drawbacks. First, as already mentioned, it is limited to targets Shuuhei has previously cut while in Bankai or the space within a 1-foot radius of him. When performed within this 1-foot radius, it mildly taxing and can only be used up to 5 separate times in a fight. Electron manipulation in a target he has cut is extremely taxing, however. First, because of the sheer number of particles being moved, it is not perfect and may not have the exact desired result. Second, it drains an absolutely massive amount of Reiatsu and may only be used twice in a thread on a non-player entity or object and once per thread against another player. After reaching these limits, Shuuhei's Bankai will end, and his mask will shatter if he is using it at this time. He will also be unable to release his Zanpakuto, use his mask again, or perform Kido for the remainder of the thread, and will be severely exhausted and limited in terms of fighting capabilities besides this.
I. Inner Hollow/Mask» Inner Hollow Name:
Shirokage» Inner Hollow Description:
Shuuhei's Inner Hollow, Shirokage, like those of most Vizards, is meant to be the opposite of him in almost every possible way. In this case, that is taken a step further than usually seen, as it extends even to aspects that would not usually be different. The most obvious example of this is that Shirokage takes the form of a female. She is of equal height to Shuuhei, at 5 feet and 9 inches tall, and if it were possible for her to step on a scale, she would be found to weigh approximately 120 pounds. Her "skin" is a sickly gray-white color reminiscent of the color seen in the skin of a recently dead human body, like that of most Inner Hollows. Unusually, almost every part of her body is covered by black markings that appear to be tattoos. On closer inspection, though, they actually consist of what appears to be normal skin pigmentation and are a natural part of her. Each of these markings actually corresponds with a scar in the same location on Shuuhei's body, with the exception of a large design covering the left side of her face and stretching to the middle of her forehead. This design forms the rough shape of a large crescent around her left eye.
Her eyes appear similar to those of most Inner Hollows, with the "whites" of the eyes being a deep black in color. Rather than being yellow, her irises constantly glow a bright red, giving her a particularly sinister look. Her hair is also a deep black in color and very long, reaching more than three-quarters of the way down her back. She wears most of it loosely behind her, with the exception of two braids that hang down the front of her body to just below her chest, Each braid is tipped with a spear-like implement that appears to be made of Hollow mask material. These "spearheads" are sharp and can be used in combat. One way in which she is similar to Shuuhei is her body type. Like him, she is relatively thin and has only very minor muscle definition and almost no body fat. In many places, the outlines of bones are clearly visible.
In terms of clothing, Shirokage wears very little. Her chest is covered by what appears to be the upper part of the kimono from a Shihakusho uniform. The bottom part of this garment is unevenly torn, as if the rest of it were violently ripped away. Somehow, it is closed on its own in the exact same way it would be had the entire garment still been in place and tied together with an obi as it is in the standard Shinigami uniform. Her lower body is covered by the usual hakama, though this piece of clothing is not modified in any way. Instead of being black as a Shihakusho should, both sections of her outfit are a pure white like a brand new sheet of paper. The only exception to this is the obi sash at her waist, which is the same black color as a normal Shinigami uniform. In other words, her clothing appears to be an "inverted" Shihakusho. On her head, there is what appears to be a crown fashioned from bone. It is very simple in design, taking the shape of a single crescent-shaped piece opening upward, similar to the crest seen atop many samurai helmets.
» Inner Hollow Personality:
» Inner Hollow Powers:
- Cruel: Shirokage is meant to be the complete opposite of Shuuhei, and this can be seen more clearly than ever in her personality. Where Shuuhei is compassionate, Shirokage is cruel. She enjoys causing as much pain, suffering, and overall torment as possible. Her actions are always intended to induce some sort of negative emotional response. Any time Shuuhei experiences failure, she is always there to remind him of her intent to one day crush him and take his power away. While she is aware that Shuuhei's death will result in the end of her own existence, she still seeks out every opportunity to cause him a distraction or anything that could cause him to lose focus for just long enough for her to interfere with his battles or the task at hand. Fortunately, Shuuhei is advanced enough in dealing with Shirokage that this never causes any actual problems. Nonetheless, cruelty is a major part of Shirokage's personality and influences most of her interactions with Shuuhei. In addition, this side of her personality was very clearly visible in her actions the one time she did succeed in gaining control for a significant amount of time.
- Lack of Empathy: Coming hand in hand with cruelty is a lack of empathy. Once again, this is the exact opposite of a personality trait seen in Shuuhei. Shirokage neither knows nor cares how her actions affect others, and she is entirely unaware of the pain or hardship others may be going through, either physically, mentally, or otherwise. This is, clearly, very problematic for any and all interactions between her and Shuuhei. It also makes her much more quick to lash out during these interactions, verbally and even physically. Overall, she is very difficult for him to deal with and always has been as a result of this.
- Crude: While Shuuhei is polite in accordance with his traditional Japanese values and social norms, Shirokage is crude and impolite in most cases. She always addresses Shuuhei informally, if not insultingly, usually resulting in him becoming annoyed. She is also very likely to raise her voice and violate other conversational norms, as well as use crude language and profane words. Her body language, eye contact, (or lack thereof) and overall behavior would generally be perceived as crude and offensive by most people.
- Rash: Unlike Shuuhei, who is normally careful and calculating, and takes his time to consider his choices and analyze the situation before acting, Shirokage is extremely rash. She will simply rush into a situation without any rational thought and act on impulse. This is especially true in her interactions with Shuuhei and even more so when these interactions involve combat. While it may seem that this would make her an easy opponent for a calm, calculating fighter such as Shuuhei, this is not the case. That is because this rash nature actually makes her extremely unpredictable and very difficult to figure out through methods like analyzing her fighting style or carefully considering the situation. In summary, Shirokage is rash, impulsive, and unpredictable, part of what makes her a challenging and dangerous Inner Hollow for Shuuhei to deal with.
- Violent: As one would expect from a being that is cruel, lacks empathy, and rashly acts on impulse, Shirokage has a tendency to be extremely violent. She is, after all, an Inner Hollow hell-bent on taking over control of the Shinigami within whose soul she resides. In her battles with Shuuhei, she has always been extremely violent, attacking almost instantly and aiming for the kill from the first swing of her swords. In battle, the only thing on her mind is to kill or if that is not possible, to inflict as much damage as possible on her opponent, which is of course always Shuuhei. In line with her cruelty and lack of any empathy, she will almost always go for lethal blows that would result in the slowest possible death and greatest possible amount of pain.
- "Plays Dirty:" While Shuuhei chooses to abide by a code of honor in all aspects of his life, Shirokage has no such limitations on what actions she will take. She is willing to do anything and everything necessary to reach her objectives, no matter how vile these actions may be. She is not above using lies, trickery, and other such tactics to get her way or achieve some goal. This complete lack of any sort of moral compass or set of boundaries extends even to battle. In her fights with Shuuhei, she has been known to "play dirty" and use unfair methods, or at least those that Shuuhei considers "dishonorable." In any case, she has no boundaries or morals and is not afraid to behave unethically to reach a goal.
First, Shirokage is capable of using many of the combat techniques normally associated with Hollows and Arrancar. There are some of these that she prefers to use more than others. In battles with Shuuhei, she will often use Sonído, as she is quite proficient at it, while Shuuhei is somewhat lacking in the area of high-speed movement. This is mostly due to the fact that she is the opposite of Shuuhei in many ways, not to mention the fact that it gives her an advantage in these fights. Recently, she has started to use Cero and Bala more frequently than in the past, and these techniques have become more powerful than they once were. This happened because just as Inner Hollows will often develop Bankai and other abilities at the same time as their host Shinigami, Shirokage began to hone her Cero and Bala skills at the same time as Shuuhei became more advanced at these techniques. As such, she can use her Cero and Bala in the exact same ways as Shuuhei. Her Cero and Bala are dark blue in color in most cases, though they can also take on a deep black color with a dark blue afterglow surrounding the edges.
The combat techniques utilized by Shirokage are very similar in appearance to those used by Shuuhei, but in reality they are anything but. Her powers are based on the concept of generating and using as much pure destructive force as possible. This destructive force manifests as blasts of Reiatsu that are very similar to lightning bolts, both in appearance and behavior. These can be manipulated by Shirokage in much the same way that Shuuhei controls the bolts of electricity generated by his Shikai. Unlike these bolts, they cause damage by blasting away the target's tissues rather than causing burns, electrocution, or other types of trauma usually associated with high-voltage electric shock. These energy bolts are a deep black in color with a dark blue afterglow surrounding their edges.
Finally, Shirokage wields two swords, just like Shuuhei does. These weapons are entirely black in color, giving them an almost evil look. In shape, they are almost identical to Shuuhei's swords when he is in his Bankai state. Accordingly, they are a total of 4 feet and 4 inches in length, with katana-style blades 4 feet long, around 2 inches in width, and 1/8th of an inch thick except for at the cutting edges. They are gripped at the tangs, which are 4 inches in length and wrapped in black cloth for better grip. Unlike Shuuhei's Bankai state swords, there is no loop at the upper end of the tang, and there are no holes along the flat of the blade. Shirokage does not carry these on her person and appears to be able to manifest them at will. Strangely, they have always taken this form, even when Shuuhei had not yet achieved Bankai. He is unsure of why exactly this is the case, but suspects that Shirokage may have played some role in the eventual development of his Bankai. These weapons are usable in combat and capable of most of the same functions as Shuuhei's Zanpakuto, including the use of his sealed state abilities. In addition, Shirokage is able to use the spearhead-like implements at the ends of her braids as weapons, and these braids can rapidly extend and move freely to facilitate this.
Inner Hollow's "Weapon" :
» Hollow Mask Appearance:
Shuuhei's mask takes a sort of "shield" shape overall, with two horn-like protrusions at its top and a vaguely triangular piece that extends below the chin and down to the neck and collarbones. At the very top of the mask, two horns of white Hollow mask material protrude from Shuuhei's head. Each one is three inches in length and half an inch in diameter at the base. The horns curve inward, so that each point is directly facing the point of the opposite horn. Of course, these are purely aesthetic features and have no use in combat. Below the horns, the top of the mask slants downwards, forming a depression in the shape of an inverted triangle directly in the center of the forehead. Just below this, on each side of the face, there is a dark blue marking in a sort of diagonally oriented distorted trident shape, with the bottom "prong" being twice as long as the other two. These "prongs" point downward and inward, facing the center of the mask. Down the center, there is another dark blue design in the general shape of an arrow, with the point of this arrow lying over where Shuuhei's nose would be. The two edges of the arrow's point stretch back along the line leading to it, tapering to their own narrow points about halfway along the center of the mask. The eye holes of this mask are diagonal ovals, slanted downward and inward, with some irregularities along their sides. With his mask in place, Shuuhei's eye color changes dramatically. The whites of his eyes become black, as in most transformations, but his irises do not become yellow, instead changing to an icy blue color in his left eye and a red-gold tone in his right eye. At the upper corners of the eye holes, there is a dark blue marking in the shape of a squared hook facing downward and inward along the upper edge of the hole. Below the eye holes, a dark blue stripe follows the edges of these holes downward. At Shuuhei's mouth, the mask forms the usual array of white Hollow teeth. The mask then tapers to a point at his chin, before spreading out again to cover his throat. Below that, the mask forms a triangular plate over his collarbones, ending just before his shoulders. On each side, four diamond-shaped dark blue protrusions extend just over the collarbones, ending half an inch below them.
It is worth noting that when Shuuhei dons his mask and thereby enters his Hollowfied state, his Reiatsu changes in both appearance and feel. It becomes a deep black color with a surrounding dark blue afterglow, almost the same as that of his Inner Hollow. Those able to perceive Reiatsu would note that it now feels more like that of a Hollow or Arrancar, but somehow different. It also begins to feel heavier and more powerful, with much more of a sensation of menace and hostility than it would have had with Shuuhei in his normal Shinigami form. Along with this, the feeling of static electricity in the air remains, but the faint smell of rain sometimes associated with his Reiatsu is entirely gone in this state, replaced by a smell reminiscent of burning flesh.
» Vizard Powers:
As with most Vizards, the main benefits acquired by Shuuhei when donning his mask are related to a relatively sharp increase in Reiatsu, the accompanying increase in fighting power and ability, and the ability to use some powers generally reserved for Hollows and Arrancar. For Shuuhei, this jump in Reiatsu means a boost in the overall power of his attacks, as well as speed, stamina, and durability. This is useful on its own, and comes with the added advantage of surprising an opponent who was previously unaware that Shuuhei was a Vizard and could call on these powers. Additionally, as mentioned previously, it grants him the use of some Hollow powers. In his case, this really only means the ability to use Cero and Bala in battle while wearing his mask. He has generally chosen not to train in using any other Hollow powers that might otherwise be available while wearing his mask, as he prefers to mainly rely on his Shinigami powers, with which he is far more familiar and far more comfortable using.
Not yet achieved.
I. Equipment/Other Resources» Equipment:
Shuuhei has no special equipment.
I. PhantomTech» PhantomTech:
Shuuhei does not use PhantomTech.
I. Skill Sheet
(To Find Out about what these skills are for, please READ THIS THREAD
before you try doing anything to it. After you have read it, do not fill your skills out until a staff member has graded your thread. The staff member checking your app will also give you Will Skills in which you can add to your app when approved. Click the spoiler below to see what tier gets what kind of skills.)
- Durability: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Trained/Beginner/Untrained
- General Speed: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Strength: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Weapon Skill: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Hoho: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Kidō: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Zanjutsu: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Hakuda: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Power Augmentation Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Cero: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Mask Protection:: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Hollow Control: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
(These skills can only be used when donning the mask)Hollow Skills
- Acid Skill: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Garganta : Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Cero/Bala: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Regeneration: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Willpower/Determination: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Mental Deduction: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
- Focus: Elite/Advanced/Adept/Beginner/Untrained
I. Roleplay Sample» Role Play Sample:
Fourteen miles out in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Tijuana, Mexico, the red-orange disk of the dying sun was sinking into the steely gray-blue water once again. The warmth of the day was fading, giving way to the cool of night, which was already slowly creeping over the land, ready to reclaim it during the rapidly approaching twelve hours of darkness. The few remaining beachgoers were beginning to notice, exiting the sea and donning sweaters or towels. Some piled into SUV's and minivans for the drive back to the family home in one of the nearby upscale beach neighborhoods just across the international border, while others tried to start fires in the concrete fire enclosures built by the city and evenly spaced every hundred yards along the beach. One by one, red and yellow flames leapt up into the chilly evening air, warming the tired humans nearby and providing a place for them to cook their food. The air would soon be filled with the smell of carne asada and other grilled foods, and with the sounds of laughter and loud speech as the humans became more intoxicated. Drinking was technically illegal on Baja California beaches, but the law was only truly enforced in the daytime, and even then very rarely By night, it was as if the law had never been passed.
Unnoticed by the relaxing humans, the black-clad figure staring out at the sunset shivered as a gust of frigid wind rose up off the see, driving away any last remnants of the sun's life-giving, warm embrace. The man in the Shihakusho had little body fat to protect against the cold, and now he almost regretted it as another gust rose up, moving the loose fabric around him, rearranging his long, black hair, and chilling his pale skin. This was Shuuhei Yamada, once a proud member of the Gotei, now a disgraced Vizard in hiding, merely trying to survive. "It's getting cold again... maybe I should've come in Gigai with my jacket instead."
he thought as yet another gust of chilled sea air raised goosebumps on his arms and chest. He looked up for a final time, just in time to see the last shimmering sliver of the setting sun slip below the waves as that hemisphere of the Earth rotated away from the yellow dwarf star at around a thousand miles per hour. Taking a final look at the vast expanse of sea before him, Shuuhei turned away and began walking north, towards the metal fence topped with razor wire half a mile away that the humans had put up to mark the boundary between two of their countries. Of course, he could use high-speed movement to arrive there much more quickly, but the ex-Shinigami was much more content to walk leisurely to his objective, as there was simply nothing else to do anyways.
After ten minutes of slogging through cold, wet sand in his bare feet, Shuuhei arrived at the foot of the massive iron fence. "Do humans truly still hate each other that much, that they find such a barrier necessary to keep their nations apart?"
he wondered. It reminded him of the border fortifications sometimes built between the territory of two feuding daimyo during his human life. Unlike then, however, it would be simple to scale this dividing line. Shuuhei leapt into the air, quickly rising more than twice the height of the fence, before almost effortlessly gliding over it and landing on the side controlled by the humans who called themselves the government of the United States. Though the American side had its own beach, it was already entirely silent and deserted. In fact, it was almost eerily quiet. Shuuhei put his socks and sandals back on quickly, then turned to begin his walk up the beach and towards his place of relative safety. From here, it was meant to be only a ten-minute walk past graffiti-covered walls and barred windows to the apartment complex within which he currently resided.
Was that... Reiatsu? It certainly was. Shuuhei would have recognized that familiar feeling of pressure anywhere, though it had been some time since he'd sensed such a thing. "Up"
said a voice in his mind. That was Jinryu, one of the two spirits that made up his Zanpakuto and thus a source of his power. Shuuhei turned his head back and gazed into the night sky. There was the planet Venus and some of the brighter stars first beginning to show themselves, but where was... And that was when the Senkaimon appeared. Some two hundred feet above him, the unmistakable set of double Japanese-style wooden doors slid open revealing a figure dressed almost identical to Shuuhei, though his uniform was far cleaner and without a single tear or any other imperfection. Even from that height, Shuuhei could tell he also had immaculately groomed hair and was clean-shaven, as any member of a military organization was expected to be. This was a Shinigami, and by the looks of it, almost certainly a loyal member of the Gotei. Things had just gotten quite complicated for Shuuhei."You know you can't let him report back to Seiretei... he knows where you're hiding."
said a nervous voice in Shuuhei's mind. That was Shiryu, the other half of his dual Zanpakuto. "I know... unfortunately he's going to have to be eliminated... the poor guy probably got sent to chase after a Hollow or something, too."
replied Shuuhei mentally as he rested a hand on the hilt of his katana, the larger of the two swords that represented his Zanpakuto. Above him, the younger Shinigami descended, blade already drawn as his feet touched the cool sand. "Who are you? What division are you with?"
asked the visibly startled Shinigami. "The name's Yamada... Shinigami-san. And I'm afraid I'm not a part of any Gotei division."
responded Shuuhei. "A deserter, then!"
said the other Shinigami. "You're coming with me."
he said, pointing his Zanpakuto at Shuuhei's head. "I'm sorry, but... I'm afraid I can't do that today."
said Shuuhei, gripping the hilts of both his swords.
The Shinigami from Soul Society replied by attempting something that vaguely resembled a Shunpo, though it wasn't quite fast enough to qualify as one in Shuuhei's opinion. He had time to draw both swords, quickly parrying his opponent's first stroke with his wakizashi before slashing at the enemy with his katana. The feeling of resistance told Shuuhei that he'd struck his target long before the man's exclamation of pain reached his ears. The younger Shinigami quickly pulled back, his blood dripping from the fresh wound and pooling in the sand. "Please. Just leave and forget you saw me. I would greatly appreciate not having to eliminate you."
Shuuhei implored. This was entirely true. He'd seen enough death and destruction in his time and had zero interest in causing more. Still... his survival needed to be ensured. "Like hell!"
yelled the other Shinigami, lifting his weapon. "Freeze over, Shirokaze!!"
he exclaimed as a burst of purple Reiatsu flared around his katana, transforming it into what appeared to be a trident made from ice. This, of course, was his Shikai. "I'm sorry, then..."
said Shuuhei quietly, lifting his right hand to his face as a ball of thick, black Reiatsu with a dark blue glow around its edges formed in his palm. "Calling on me this time, huh?"
asked a female voice deep within his mind. It was Shirokage, his Inner Hollow. "Yes..."
replied Shuuhei almost reluctantly as he withdrew his hand from his face, revealing the newly formed mask. "What--"
began his shocked opponent, but he never had time to finish his sentence. With his newfound speed, Shuuhei leapt forward, slamming the Shinigami against a nearby concrete wall with his right hand shortly before plunging his wakizashi through the unfortunate man's shoulder and into the wall, trapping him. Holding his outstretched left fist inches from the Shinigami's face, he said only two words. "I'm sorry..."
Shuuhei sounded almost genuinely sad as the dark blue Cero formed on the knuckles of his left fist. He looked away as the burst of energy was released, instantly vaporizing the opponent's head, thereby ending his life. "Don't be born with spiritual power in your next life... save yourself the suffering."
thought Shuuhei as his mask disappeared and he retrieved his wakizashi from what used to be a proud Shinigami. He cleaned the blades of his swords with a sense of regret, knowing that the crimson stains on the cloth represented yet another life senselessly taken. Looking around cautiously, he suppressed his Reiatsu before sheathing his two swords and making a beeline for the relative safety of his apartment.
END OF THE VIZARD APPLICATION
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