THE SHINIGAMI TEMPLATE
Enter The Shinigami
I. Sealed Powers » Zanpakutô Name:
Akai me no Kuroi Inu [Kuroi Inu]» Zanpakutô Spirit Appearance:
Akai Kuroi Inu takes the form of a large jet-black wolf. His body ripples with muscle and his sharp teeth are usually displayed. When he speaks to Kuro, his mouth does not move, but Kuro is able to hear his voice. The one time that Akai Kuroi Inu does open his mouth outside of combat is to howl, which creates its own interesting effect. Within Kuro's inner world, when Akai Kuroi Inu howls, the darkness all around him becomes replaced by a dim light, as if out of respect to the wolf.» Inner World:
Kuro Okami's inner world is a vast void of pure darkness. There are no structures in this space, nothing to collapse or fall down or attack. There is only black darkness. While there are no structures, there is Akai Kuroi Inu. Kuro's zanpakuto spirit is easily able to see through the darkness in this space, as well as the other 'presences' within Kuro's Inner World. Kuro's Inner World is inhabited by a peculiar natural phenomenon, in the form of 'shades'. These wolf or tiger-esque beasts constituting of darkness move aimlessly through the darkness of Kuro's Inner World. They are mostly harmless, as long as they are given their space. If their space is violated, however, they will become violent until they are struck with a strong enough blow to disperse the shadowy power making up their bodies.
This plane of darkness does have one single source of light. If an individual were to look into the sky, they would see a full moon. This moon is always full, and always radiant, as bright as a moon is able to be. It does not provide enough light to penetrate the darkness of Kuro's inner world, but by looking at it, one can still make out its shape, no matter where they are in his inner world.» Zanpakutô Appearance:
Kuro's zanpakuto, while sealed, takes the form of a jet-black katana. While not the most stealthy weapon, it serves more as a symbol of status to the man's life. It is also interesting in that it has no guard, which was not always the case. The handle has no intricate design, although it does have a single white dot on the base of the hilt. The blade rests on Kuro's left hip, meaning that he typically draws it with his right arm.» Sealed Zanpakutô Power:
The Shadows of the Wolf
Kuro Okami's zanpakuto deals in and manipulates shadows. The Zanpakuto does not necessarily deal with darkness, and in fact a total absence of light decreases the effectiveness of Kuro's zanpakuto more than daylight does. Because of Kuro's evolution and closeness with his zanpakuto, he has come close to fully realizing its potential. Even though he has come close to that zenith, it is not difficult to see that the 'zenith' of Kuro's zanpakuto is less than most other Shinigami's.
For example, his Zanpakuto does have offensive abilities, but typically these abilities do not amount to the massive expulsion of raw energy like a cero or a similar 'doom-blast'. Kuro's zanpakuto is based more on mechanics and the skill of its wielder, and therefore is better suited towards fulfilling tasks than ramming its power against another.
The most primal and powerful ability granted by Kuro's Zanpakuto is Shadowform. If Kuro is able to place his body on 'untapped' shadows [explained further below], the shadows absorb his form, making his body relatively intangible. In appearance, Kuro's body takes on only the form of his own shadow, and his shadow is more or less defined by the shadows that he attempts to blend in with. Once his shadow has entered within a space, it leaves a trail behind in the direction that Kuro is attempting to travel. The shadow moves at the pace of a person running, although it begins to melt away when Kuro reappears from the next position.
In other words, Kuro is able to drop his figure into a shadow. Depending on how dark that shadow is will affect how large Kuro's own 'shadow reflection' becomes. This 'shadow reflection' can be attacked and interacted with. For example, if a person grabs onto the shadow reflection and Kuro is unable to get them off of it, then they are able to physically drag him out of the reflection. Generally speaking, however, this tends to be more reflective upon actions like blows or energy attacks.
The moment Kuro enters into Shadowform, the shadow that he leaves behind begins to shrink as it extends to where he is attempting to rise out of the shadows. The amount of damage that Kuro takes, therefore, is dependent on how rapidly the aggressor is able to impact the area where Kuro disappeared into the shadow, or how much 'area' the spot they hit takes up. If Kuro's shadow has only a small amount of behind, then he will only take a small fraction of the damage. If Kuro does this as an emergency measure, however, he will still end up taking three-fourths or more of the amount of damage that was directed his way.
This ability allows for Kuro to move at extremely rapid paces. Moving from shadow to shadow is almost instantaneous, and can often be done several times within a post. While engaged in combat, however, the focus that Kuro has to place on his opponent prevents him from using this ability at an exponential range, and therefore that part of Shadowform is discussed down below.
Kuro moves fastest when he moves within shadows. If he tries to cross a patch of light while in shadowform, he only is able to move as fast as he could without Shunpo. In addition, he leaves behind a great big patch of shadow when he attempts to cross through light, creating a very vulnerable 'shadow reflection'. He has to be careful not to move across popular walkways with this ability, for example, because all those people stepping on that shadow would feel like his whole body getting stepped on in various areas.
As far as energy expenditure goes, using this could be thought of as running at break-neck speed for a regular human. It is something that feels natural for Kuro to do, and feels no more awkward than using his arms and legs to run or jump. However, the more he tries to use it in a post, especially to keep dodging or maneuvering, the slower and less potent it becomes. If Kuro tries using this for rapid movement more than four times in a single post, he begins to slow down a noticeable amount, even while moving in shadow.
Another important factor to consider is what allows him to create the 'shadow reflection'. He needs at least enough space for his body's vertical area to take up, and he enters the shadow's as fast as he moves into them. If he were to attempt to enter them at an angle and there were not enough shadows to make room for his head, for example, he would bonk it, before slipping in as his body rights itself. Then the 'reflection' would form, and Kuro would be off.
Another interesting thing to note is that the shadow can be difficult for normal people to make out. Of course, if Kuro is travelling along a lit area, it's easy to see his body's shape dashing as a shadow. Otherwise, his shadow's reflection will be more well defined if the shadow's he has entered are not that dark.
If a shadow's area has been 'tapped' that Kuro is travelling within, then he will not suffer any directly ill effects. However, his speed will be reduced by about a fourth through that area, and his shadow will be well defined in that space, diminishing about half as quickly as it would normally.
A decent example of Kuro's use of this technique in combat would be to consider a target launching an energy blast at him. Seeing the large amount of energy that the opponent is concentrating, Kuro would then take evasive action, using his Shadow Sense to determine where he could evade. He would then leap into that shadow, his 'shadow reflection' becoming as well defined as the shadow is dim. Then, the opponent would launch their blast as the shadow reflection appears, and then Kuro would travel as fast as he could along the path of shadows, possibly even having to cross a patch of light into a greater set of shadow. Then, the blast would hit the original target, and Kuro would feel the effects at a decreased amount, meaning that the damage would seem more minor as he reappeared out of the shadow, when he reappears.
Shadowform - Long Travel
However, when Kuro is not involved in combat or having to focus on threats being assessed against him, he is able to use Shadowform at its highest level. When this occurs, Kuro is able to use his full speed while being linked with the shadows, allowing for him to cover great distances over a matter of minutes. The darker the general area that he is trying to traverse, the easier this ability is to use, and generally if Kuro appears in an area that then becomes a threat zone, him trying to use normal Shadowform again becomes as decreased or taxed as if he had overused it several times already for the first post after the area becomes a threat.
Shadow Manipulation General: The Darkness of the Soul
Kuro has the ability to manipulate shadows. This is his primary ability, the one he spends the most time working on and developing. He has mastered methods of making his shadows extremely large or extremely small, as fine as silk or as rough and grating as rock. More than just that, though, he has mastered micro processes to cause certain physical 'influences' on the shadows that he manipulates. For example, if he wanted to make a noose, first he would use the technique of wrapping the shadow's flow, then using the idea of finely grating to cause the twirled substance to have the consistency and feeling of rope.
In this singular area, Kuro is essentially unmatched. At least, he has never met another individual more skilled than he at manipulating shadows. As a result, it would be extremely difficult to override or take over a construct that Kuro is actively manipulating, whether from himself or from an outside source of shadow.
The last thing that needs to be mentioned about Kuro's manipulation of the shadows, as a whole, is his ability to manipulate multiple sources simultaneously. Taking out a variety of weapons of shapes and sizes is something which would not tax him greatly, hucking a varied arsenal at his opponent. For example, Kuro could create a stream of shadow flooding out of his arm, tossing it forwards before letting shuriken and daggers and maces stream outwards in a barrage on his target.
When it comes to dealing with Kuro's shadow constructs, one can always dodge or block his various attacks. Of course, once someone realizes that he is able to manipulate external sources of shadow, they will have to watch themselves to not wind up in a vulnerable position. Kuro cannot generally give his shadows peculiar traits, though it has been noted that he can allow for his shadows to 'channel' other influences, such as lightning, ice, or fire. Of course, he cannot produce these supernatural elements himself, but he can alter his shadows to channel them once he has been exposed to them a few times.
Shadow Manipulation - Tapped/Untapped resources
When it comes to Kuro's manipulation of the Shadows for his various techniques and abilities, where he actively uses shadow and shapes it in various ways, he does expend ambient shadows when he attempts to use them. When Kuro has drawn power from shaded areas around him, those areas change color, becoming slightly 'gray'. They are no longer solid black. For Kuro's purposes, the area of a house-sized building would grant him the equivalent energy of around a cero.
The radius of power which Kuro is able to draw from changes each time he releases another stage of his zanpakuto. In his base form, he is able to get the resources of about a fourth of a city block of where he can see. The amount of time that it takes for him to gather the 'energy' from these shadows is usually rapid, and he does not have to focus on drawing the shadows in once the process has started. Obviously, he cannot output shadow related abilities at the same time that he is absorbing shadows.
If Kuro were to amass all the shadows of his radius at once, however, he would have to stand completely still for a post in order to do so.
Interestingly, the more shadow-based power that Kuro has absorbed or is preparing to use, the more whisps of black darkness emanate from his eyes, fingertips, and outline of his body.
Shadow Manipulation - Source: Self
Kuro's spiritual power, while able to be expressed still in the form of kido or as raw spiritual force, has a bit of a difficult time doing so. This is because of how used he is to using it in a manner to augment his shadow manipulation. Because of the amount of time he has spent training this ability, he is able to mold and reform his energy as shadowy constructs essentially at will.
The greatest benefit of Kuro's practice with his shadow manipulation is that he tends to use highly efficient methods of acquiring the goal he is looking for. Some of these 'styles' of using his shadows are discussed further below.
Another important aspect of his shadow manipulation, when being used from his own body, is his ability to increase the shadow's intensity. As long as Kuro is touching or is in contact with the constructs of shadow, he is able to reinforce them. However, he must choose to reinforce them all at once. There are two kinds of reinforcement he can perform: 'sharpness' and 'firmness'. The sharper or more sturdy that he makes his shadows, the more energy that he uses to do so. The sharpest and most firm that he can make any line of shadow is just a bit weaker than that of his zanpakuto. To do this, however, he must expend a large amount of energy, to the point where he would not be able to create eight sword-sized constructs of energy with these traits in a single post while he has not released his zanpakuto.
Shadow Manipulation - Source: Outer
When Kuro is manipulating outer sources of shadow, he is able to cause constructs of shadow to form by indicating with parts of his body. Obviously, he is only able to use up as much 'energy' as that constructed space of shadow allows, as explained in Tapped and Untapped Resources. A typical example would be Kuro gesturing at an area, and then forming a net of shadow-constructed rope from it, dragging it out of the shadow and tossing it onto a target, with the rope being as sturdy as that source of shadow would allow, leaving it grayed out after use.
Shadow Style: Shadow Dome
One of Kuro's most defensive applications of his Shadow Manipulation is his ability to surround himself in an extremely defensive dome. By clasping both hands together, he is able to flood his spiritual energy out as the material for a shadow construct. Once he has formed it, more 'gentle' pools of shadow material form around his body, creating a kind of shock absorption area within the sphere. From there, he hardens the outside of the shell as much as possible. This sphere is able to hold together at least somewhat against all but the most ferocious of onslaughts, but it has the disadvantage of making Kuro feel the shockwaves of even smaller attacks.
The power of the sphere is also contingent upon Kuro's own state as far as how drained he is. The more drained he is, the weaker the sphere will be, and while it will usually help Kuro survive most colossal attacks, it is just as possible that his sphere is overwhelmed and Kuro winds up laying in a pile of broken shadowy construct, completely exhausted. This sphere takes a lot of out him for its effect, and he will be noticeably more drained after using it, even basic shadow manipulations seeming to take more focus out of him than normal. As a result, he tends to only use this as a last resort, or while training to improve his stamina.
Shadow Style: Budded Force
One of the more intricate creations that Kuro is able to perform, and one that has taken him no small amount of time to master the use of. These small buds are able to be placed anywhere that Kuro's hands have touched. He generally is not able to produce them with outer sources of shadow. By allowing a stream of shadow to descend down one of his fingers, Kuro is able to create a 'bud' of energy, surrounded by a shadow construct. When this bud is released by Kuro's will, it transforms into a shadow construct that was determined and specified before Kuro placed it.
However, if one of these constructs is ruptured, then they will violently explode with Shadow's Force with a power equivalent to a small bit less than what Kuro put into it.
Shadow Style: Strings of the Dark Concert
A peculiar manner of fighting which Kuro has put a huge amount of time into developing, this style uses a series of String-like shadows. These shadows are constantly being recreated and firmed up by Kuro's contact with them, using a similar concept as Vise Limb to form them. Essentially, this ability allows for Kuro to create several dozen small strings that flow either from his hands or snake out of shadow that he is manipulating. Typically, however, they will only be created from his hands, because that will allow for him to give them enough energy to be effective.
These wires that he produces are quite durable, being able to be used to block minor melee attacks, or even hold someone in place with an appreciable amount of force. On top of this, each of the wires is as sharp as a blade, approaching levels of sharpness close to that of a Shinigami's zanpakuto. Each wire is difficult to make out, being made of shadow, but they each appear to glisten when they attack in the light. These wires have a variety of uses for Kuro, from lifting up items to attacking others, or using them like grappling hooks.
Typically, Kuro cannot use them for more than four posts consecutively, though at that point he will have used up a significant amount of energy in his sealed state, especially if he has used them to their limit. These strings can be Kuro's most bothersome shadow constructs to deal with in combat, due to their movement being limited by Kuro's ability to direct them simultaneously and the amount of area that they can cover.
Minor Alteration to Strings: The Disk
A peculiar technique which Kuro has utilized previously involves using the Strings of the Dark Concert bound to a bladed Shadow Construct, whipping it forwards, rapidly rotating, ripping at whatever it can, before pulling it back, which can lead to hitting an opponent in the back if they are not aware of what is going on around them.
Shadow Manipulation Specialty - Shadow Force
When Kuro focuses his energy into a single location, usually on his body, he is able to then fire off blasts of energy using 'unformed' material that he typically uses to build his shadow constructs. This comes out as raw energy, and when Kuro uses his energy in this manner, it blasts out. Now, because of how Kuro has grown to use his energy, this tires him out quite a bit to use, and he is not well known for firing off blasts of shadowy energy. However, if required, he is fairly comfortable with whipping off a Bala-sized blast of energy, either as a distraction or to serve some other purpose. A full scale blast is something that would take a lot out of him in his sealed state, and is something that he would not get that much better at even as he releases the power of his Zanpakuto. Imagine a chef being told to cook by throwing his food into a raging inferno. Kuro's just not able to output techniques like this well.
This ability does have one augmentation, however, and that is when Kuro has entered into Shadow Shunko.
Shadow Manipulation Specialty - Vise Limb
Kuro typically creates his shadow constructs and then sends them after his target, turning them into fire-and-forget projectiles, typically causing them to dissipate after they land on their target, or once their purpose has caused for them to expire.
This is not the case with the Vise Limb specialty manipulation. This construct is one which Kuro must constantly place his focus within, and can end up using so much force that he is unable to manipulate anything else. This is a shadow stream which Kuro is able to manipulate as potently as if it were another limb. He typically guides it with one of his arms, and can use it for attack or defense. It can strike an opponent with a blunt attack, becoming extremely sharp. It can also become rough and ragged, used as a defensive mechanism against melee attacks or small energy attacks. Kuro is not able to make it very large and constantly use it at max potency, never becoming larger than his own body.
The most dangerous part of this limb, however, is when Kuro forms the fist of the hand controlling the vise limb. (He could technically still use this ability if he lost both of his limbs, using the full focus of his mind to focus the shadow.) When the hand closes, the shadow limb tries to wrap around whatever it is immediately in contact with, like a snake. The vise-grip that the limb creates is one which constantly increases in pressure, and one which Kuro is able to pump more of his raw energy into to increase the force. After about a post of increasing pressure, Kuro has to finally release it, although the amount of force produced by this point will typically be enough to deal serious damage even to someone who is at a level similar to Kuro's own.
Shadow Manipulation Specialty - Umbral Love
The Shadow Manipulation Specialty which Kuro uses the least, and as a result, he is not very skilled with it. He has not done much to develop it beyond his initial experiments with it, as it does not have any effect on himself. However, this ability is something which he is theoretically able to call upon, and is a strong example of the kind of variety which Kuro strives to have access to. Umbral Love produces shadows which will not fade, even if Kuro is incapacitated or disabled, or even slain. The amount of energy that it takes to create this, combined with Kuro's lack of practice, result in this being the most stressful kind of construct for him to create.
The Umbral Love constructs have two defining traits. The first is their softness. They are as tender and soft as a person could possibly imagine, their very presence possibly having a positive effect on the psyche of a person who touches it. The second trait is their raw durability. The Umbral Love's shadows are extremely difficult to break or pierce through, but because of Kuro's limitations in regards to this technique, he is unable to use this to any appreciable effect in battle. What he has
figured out is that creating a human-sized amount of this kind of Shadow Construct would take the entirety of his spiritual supplies. This should make it fairly obvious how durable these constructs can be, as Kuro's spiritual supplies are not decimated that easily.
Again, Kuro cannot even use this shadow specialty to his own advantage, only to the advantage of others.
Shadow Manipulation Specialty - Rapid Blows
A technique which gains a hefty boost under the Shunko of the Shadows, Rapid Blows is the fastest kind of shadow that Kuro can produce. Kuro starts with a typical shadow construct of any kind, and then floods shadow energy around the object, causing an instantaneous rebound-type influence to surround it. The object then rockets forwards, moving much faster than Kuro would make it go with typical manipulation.
This is one of the micro-utilizations of his abilities that Kuro has spent a considerable amount of time developing, and takes a minute amount of energy to produce. Typically, he cannot accumulate enough energy to create more than six full attacks with this influence possessing them in a post. The speed which the weapons he uses with this can reach nearly shunpo-levels, although the speed is decreased the larger the object he is attempting to toss is. A typical application of this ability would be Kuro producing two hands full of shadow-constructed Shuriken, throwing them all out in a pattern and causing them to move much faster than normal, bursting forth and trying to hit an opponent in multiple places.
Shadow Manipulation Specialty - Crushing Night
By fueling a significant amount of energy into a given attack, Kuro can cause for his shadows to become much more weighty than normal. In addition, he can apply this effect to any shadow construct he is in contact with, using his spiritual power to greatly increase the weight he can throw around. Because this is not a manner of fighting which he has spent a significant amount of time training, and most of his experience comes from having to use it in combat, Kuro is typically only able to use this ability to weight his shadows twice per post. An example of this usage is creating a massive spiked ball on chain, filling it with Crushing Night a few moments before releasing it or hucking it at his enemy.
Kuro cannot combine Crushing Night with Rapid Blows, but he can influence Vise Limb with it. If he does this, he typically will dispel the Vise Limb after using it, as it would take a significant amount of energy to reconstruct the limb. Additionally, it takes more energy to apply Crushing Night to a larger object, or to weight that object more. Shadow Constructs afflicted by Crushing Night tend to dissipate immediately after use.
Shunko of the Shadows
Several years ago, Kuro had an idea. That idea was to emulate those beings of light and legend, Soi Fon and Yoruichi Shihoin. He became privy to their theories of development and others who had interacted with them thanks to his own experiences in the Stealth Force, but even before joining he had been experimenting with this technique. This technique is one which Kuro has continued to develop over time, but only recently has been 'mastered' to the point where he has been able to experiment with enhancing his individual skills.
Just entering this state is a process, requiring for Kuro to remain still for the better part of a post, cultivating his own Shadow Energy as he wraps it around himself. This type of shadow is closest to Shadow Force in its qualities, but even though it is similar, the amount of control and focus that Kuro must focus onto it to make it work the way he wants to means that even if he's beaten across the face with an energy attack and splayed out on the ground, the shadows will continue to build without erupting around his body.
Finally, when at last this culmination of power has reached the appropriate limit, Kuro manipulates it in the proper way to use in combat. It is like flipping a switch, a physical sensation that once achieved finally feels natural, like wearing a pair of pants or leather gloves. That energy forms around Kuro's body, causing for streams of forceful shadow to form around his back and head, almost like dark fire covering the entirety of his body.
Once this state has been achieved, Kuro's ability to output energy increases by an immense amount. Whereas before his usage of energy could be described as conservative at best, that status changes completely when he releases this state of energy manipulation. While in this state, he is able to output entire streams of energy with little effort, the amount of spiritual pressure coursing through him able to even make the ground lightly shake from the force of his steps and keeping this state together.
Shadow Force: Exertion
When Kuro enters into this Shunko-like state, he almost becomes a hand to hand fighter. His feet, elbows, and hands all become acceptable weapons to him. When he creates an impact in this state, an absolutely torrential amount of force accompanies it. A blow to the ground in this state would create a substantial crater, causing the earth in the general vicinity to shake lightly.
Shadow Force: Pressure Reversal
Like a bird freed from its cage, Kuro's body moves so much looser once he enters into this state. His movements become light and completely free of stress, like a squirrel released from a cage as he dashes about, his limbs moving easily and naturally. In fact, it's not unusual to hear a small, sporadic little laugh from the man as he flows and rips about. His speed was difficult to follow in his sealed state, but it rises to a higher plane once he has released this form. Even compared with the highest amount of speed he could acquire just from ascending using his Zanpakuto, Kuro's Shadow Shunko is comparatively faster.
Shadowform Alteration - Shunko
Once he has entered into his Shadow Shunko, Kuro's Shadowform behaves differently as well. Entering into his Shadowform greatly expands the shadow around where he enters into the ground, often causing a decent amount of the battlefield to turn into shadows. Additionally, when Kuro enters into the shadows while in this state, the ground appears to darken and burn as intensely as the presence that surrounds Kuro's body, though this is more a visual effect than anything else. He remains as restricted in this state as he would be normally.
Shadow Force Alteration - Shunko
While in this state, Kuro's Shadow Force takes a substantial increase, while his other Shadow Manipulation's become much more difficult to use. This is because Kuro must now focus on maintaining the power that is radiating around his entire form. However, that energy makes it much easier for Kuro to use his Shadow Force than before. He can output waves of energy with ease in this force, blasting out with it up to eight times over the course of two posts.
Shadow Force: Compressed Sphere
Kuro is able to focus the Shadow Force in a unique manner when he enters this form, condensing it down into a ball the size of a baseball. By tossing this ball, it then explodes like a bomb, causing explosive damage to everything around it, trying to rip away and crush defenses. Kuro can create up to two of these spheres within a post.
Rapid Blows Alteration - Shunko
While Kuro cannot often create items more complicated than three of his strings or a couple of knives simultaneously in this state, his Rapid Blow's Specialty begins applying to most of the shadow-based attacks he uses. His Shadow Force strikes much faster and more violently when he releases it, his knives move even faster, and his strings can rapidly whip back and forth if he focuses on it.
Crushing Night Alteration - Shunko
Kuro cannot really use Crushing Night while he has released his Shadow Shunko's state. However, he can use it augment his own body. For example, he could crush down with a knee, smashing into an opponent with a much greater amount of weight and pressure than normal. Typically, he cannot do this more than once every two posts, due to his inexperience with Crushing Night and the danger that such a move could pose to his own body, as its durability is not increased in this state.
I. Shikai» Shikai Release Phrase:
Everyone Leaves a Shadow… Akai me no Kuroi Inu…» Shikai Appearance:
Kuo's sword splits in half, dividing itself length wise, as Kuro grabs the new second part, and forms two dagger-like tantos, one for each of his hands. The swords are completely black in color, and have a reach of about two feet each. The blades are designed for stabbing, their sharpest point being where the blade tapers off. The blades lack a guard of any kind, and the handle is marred with black tape.» Shikai Abilities:
Spirit of Darkness
Once Kuro enters into his Shikai state, his presence… decreases. His entire body becomes darker around its sharp edges, making it harder to make him out even when looking directly at him under sunlight. In addition, Kuro's spiritual presence becomes much smaller than before, like the light decreasing as the sun sets. Finally, his own shadow expands exponentially, reaching out for tens of feet behind him, like a giant's. In addition, Kuro can direct this shadow in any direction, despite the influence of the sun or other light sources. The most dangerous place that he typically can put this shadow is directly beneath an enemy who is standing on the ground.
Shadow Manipulation Source: Inner Shadow
When he enters into his Shikai, Kuro gains as much influence over the shadow that his body leaves behind as he has giving off shadow from his body. The most dramatic example of this application would be something like this shadow extending underneath an enemy, and a Vise Limb sliding out from it, wrapping around their legs, rooting them to the spot, or even trying to drag them down onto their knees. The power of the constructs that Kuro can exert from his shadow are just a fraction less than the ones that come directly from his body.
Another decent example of this new source of manipulation is when Kuro enters into his Shunko of Shadows. By focusing his power on this shadow, he's able to then release a catastrophic amount of energy at once, enough to topple buildings and rip and explode intensely within the area it erupts on. Typically, though, Kuro can only release a massive wave like that from his shadow once per post, due to the strain of releasing such a massive amount of energy.
Cape of Convulsions - Appearance
Kuro's former spirit was once known as Piero, and the curse that Piero left upon Kuro's body is still apparent in his white hair and black arm, and the scar on his face. However, with Piero's merging with Kuroi no Inu, Kuro's existence as a shinigami has altered back to the pure blooded creature which he once was. In some ways, it is as if Kuro's soul had finally processed the presence which had assailed it, merging the creature fully within himself.
When Kuro enters into his Shikai, his zanpakuto merges into its two dagger like states. Meanwhile, from that white hair of his, a beautiful white coat flows around his body, completely covering it. This coat is pure-white in color, soft as down, with several feathers around the collar. While Kuro wears the cape, a masquerade mask dons along his face, turning his eyes completely black in color. The cape flows around him unnaturally, as if it were possessed by a specter.
Cape of Convulsions - Abilities
The cape which Kuro dons in his Shikai can cover his entire body, and typically serves one purpose, being a shield. When a moderate sized energy blast is thrown Kuro's way, he can surround himself with the material, protecting himself as the cape absorbs the majority of the impact. Typically, the material is only strong enough to do this up to once a post, and if destroyed three or more times takes a three post cooldown before it is able to be reformed again. If Kuro is assailed by an attack larger than a moderate one, the cape will be unable to absorb enough of the damage, causing for Kuro to be knocked aside.
The cape can be retracted, sliding back into the mask on Kuro's face. This is important, because of the fact that Kuro cannot use Shadowform or Shadow Sense as long as he is wearing the cape.
. He can still use most of his other shadow-related abilities while wearing the cape, and even sometimes will use the cape to mask an attack which he is forming behind it.
Disarming Greatsword: Warrior-Knight Wolf of Shadows
This is an extremely peculiar ability that Kuro gains access to while he is in his Shikai. He is essentially able to combine his Zanpakuto swords and his left arm together. The result is a greatsword larger than his own body, and a massive boost of strength for the Shadow Shinigami. His shadow manipulations become a bit weaker when he creates this tool, as it subsumes a decent amount of his connection with Kuroi no Inu. His left arm becomes replaced by a stump when this happen, looking as if it is made of metal, like the flat end of a hammer.
Kuro wields the greatsword as if it hardly weighs anything, just enough to influence his own body. The fascinating part of using this greatsword is that Kuro is able to combine it with his Dance of Shadows style of fighting, leading to him attacking at completely awkward angles, whipping the great blade back and forth, dashing with it, even spinning with it above his head. In this manner, his attack pattern becomes unpredictable and vicious, coming at his opponents from multiple angles consecutively, as if he will never tire while he wields this blade.
The sword itself is special in that it deals a tremendous amount of damage for a single piece of equipment in Kuro's kit. Some of the most destructive attacks that Kuro can produce involves him separating this sword from himself, and then going into Shadow Shunko, swinging the greatsword around to great blasts of sound and dark energy. In fact, one strategy that Kuro can use in battle involves separating the blade from himself, and then defending himself with it while he focuses on reforming his shadow's abilities.
However, due to the negative effects of the blade on his Shadow Manipulation, entering into Shunko of the Shadows with it or taking it out while in that state tends to cause a massive dip in the power of his energy, rerouting that destructive force into the greatsword. While Kuro can then return the sword back into its original form, the sword will take up to a full post to dematerialize completely back to normal.
Augmentation of the Shadows
Once he has entered into his Shikai, the amount of energy which Kuro is able to output to use in his shadow constructs is ramped up considerably. His control over the shadows does not really change, as that is not something dictated by his Zanpakuto. His skill and control over the shadows that he outputs from himself comes from himself.
One thing that does change pretty significantly, however, is the boost of strength and stamina that Kuro gets for standing in a more shadowed area. For example, if the area Kuro's in is roughly half covered in shadows around the ground, then Kuro's strength and ability to keep fighting is augmented considerably. In the twilight hour or an area with a similar amount of long shadows, Kuro's ability to keep fighting is augmented in a fantastic manner, making him difficult to put down and keep down while in his Shikai. Of course, this augmentation is lost if the other person is able to produce a source of light bright enough to dispel the shadows in the area around Kuro.
Stamina of the Dark
The only natural trait that Kuro possesses himself that is augmented by his Shikai is his Stamina. Even when he is beaten, bloodied, or smashed into the pavement, he can force himself to get back up, as if he is possessed by an absurd amount of adrenaline. In reality, his Zanpakuto's Shadows are being used to try to hold his body together more efficiently, using the shadows that Kuro can output to try to prevent wounds that would disable him from being able to exactly do so. They do not keep him from feeling the incredible pain of such wounds, or help him choose to stay upright. They simply help make it possible for him to do so. This stamina boost does have a limit, however; after five posts of extremely rough play, it will give out, usually calling Kuro to pass out unconscious on the spot from his body finally fully realizing how much damage it had taken, as if it had been left 'in the dark' to its true status up until then.
Kuro's Shikai provides a host of benefits in a couple different ways, but at the end of the day, the true activity of any Shinigami's Shikai comes back to the weapons that they are holding. Kuro's Shikai is no different. While the power of his shadow constructs is without a doubt where he has put most of his training and practice, there is still his skill with the blade to consider.
When Kuro slashes something with one of his zanpakuto, he has the ability to create an 'Umbral Crevice' on that target. This is essentially an extremely concentrated 'infection' of Kuro's shadow energy on whatever his Zanpakuto touched. Once the Umbral Crevice has been placed onto a target, a couple of different effects begin afflicting the target.
Umbral Slash - Sensory Information
As long as Umbral Slash is applied to a surface, Kuro has deep 'knowledge' about the object that the mark is applied to. Specifically, its location. For him, it's like using a fingertip against the object at all times the mark is applied. Even if he were knocked on the ground and his thoughts were scattered, he would still 'feel' the sensory information from the Umbral Slash.
Umbral Claw of the Shadow Captain
When Kuro enters into his Shikai, his left arm becomes completely covered in dark shadows, and as a result, he regains one of the original traits that Piero afflicted his body with. Essentially, Kuro gains the ability to expand his arm, his fingertips turning into claws with the ability to score into walls from how sharp they are. That is, if the force of the hand slamming against the wall does not cause it to collapse. The full size of the limb becomes large enough that it could grip around a human sized figure, and any damage done to the limb by energy or physical attacks is reflected back on Kuro's left arm when the limb returns to normal.
While this claw is able to utilize a fair amount of force, and is able to be used comfortably both in and out of Shadow Shunko, it is less durable than Kuro's body is normally, and therefore typically is only used for defense as a last resort. For example, if Kuro were hit by an energy blast and block with his expanded Umbral Claw, causing the entire wrist and fingers to shatter, then returning the limb back to its natural state would cause for his fingers and arm to be completely unusable, his fingers warped in extremely irregular ways.
The Steed of Darkness is a peculiar individual which Kuro can summon. By infusing one of his swords with his energy, he is able to summon forth a steed, sacrificing the blade for the creation of the shadow horse. The horse is reasonably durable, significantly tougher than a normal horse. It is made purely out of Kuro's shadow manipulation, and therefore can be as fast as he can manipulate his shadows.
This technique was developed out of Kuro's curiosity of whether or not he could manipulate shadows to the point of making something seem like a living creature with it. The steed is created relatively easily, and disperses after about two posts from creation, if it lives that long.
Shades of Darkness: Kuro can create a pair of Shades with his power that can see through almost any darkness, in which case that darkness is pure and absolute. Once created, he cannot create another pair for at least a post and they remain constructed until they are broken, removed, lost, or taken off from the person who first wears them.
I. Bankai» Bankai Release Phrase:
My Burdens Flow into the Night... Kuroi no Inu.» Bankai Release Actions:
Kuro draws back both hands, before releasing his Zanpakuto, falling down backwards onto his back with a great thump
.» Bankai Appearance:
Since Kuro's zanpakuto consumed Piero, the nature of his bankai has changed. Originaly, Kuro's bankai gave him access to multiple swords, which he used to dance across the battlefield.
However, after absorbing Piero, Kuro's zanpakuto underwent a change. This transformation also reflected the changes in Kuro's persona. Now, his Bankai is referred to as 'the abyss'. When he enters into this form, black shadowy substance begins flowing over his body, constantly pouring forth. This substance drips down to the ground, pooling around Kuro's body in his Bankai.
Both of his zanpakuto shrink down, becoming the size of knives, a backwards hook coming out of them at the halfway mark. Additionally, rope made out of shadow as durable as the zanpakuto themselves affix themselves to the hilt of the daggers. White-gold bands appear around both of Kuro's arms, affixed to the shadowy rope. This effectively allows for Kuro to use his zanpakuto as if they were kunai on chain.
In many ways, Kuro's bankai has changed to reflect his state of mind. As far as conscious control goes, there are little to no fine-tuned abilities which Kuro gains. He develops an 'emotional' connection with the Abyssal Mass which forms around his body, and uses his most basic desires to use it in crude, imprecise ways. Image reference:
» Bankai Abilities:
Uncontrolled Darkness - The Abyssal Mass
Once Kuro enters into his Bankai, his entire body becomes consumed by the shadowy energy he can produce. It has a persistent physical form, with the feel and consistency of mud. This can make it difficult for others to move through, and if they are not sufficiently strong enough, could prevent movement altogether. While Kuro is in his Bankai, more and more of this substance will pour of his body from his arms down. The substance does not make it more difficult for Kuro to move, as it slides around and conforms to his movements without him having to do anything or indicate for it to do as such.
Shadow Manipulation Trait Alteration: Persistency
While in his Bankai, all shadow constructs Kuro creates or manipulates disperses from its physical form after a post. Instead of becoming shadows, however, the constructs become part of the Abyssal Mass. It is important to note, however, that Kuro cannot draw any energy specifically from the Abyssal Mass; but he is able to use it to channel his own energy through, like shooting a jet of water inside of a pool that then goes outside of the pool.
Shadow Manipulation Trait Alteration: Pooling
The peculiar shadow infused substance that comes off of Kuro's body, and from his shadowy constructs, and now follows Kuro's body, wherever it moves to. Like a gelatinous mass, it follows its host, whether Kuro wishes for it to or not. Interestingly, the more there is to the pool, the more it drains Kuro as it moves around. The Abyssal Mass moves faster than water does down a slope, usually keeping up with the Shadow Shinigami. As long as part of the mass is underneath him, it appears to be content.
Shadow Manipulation: Evolution to Wishes
Kuro's Bankai does not interact with shadows in the same way Kuro normally does. While it does not lose any functionality, it does gain a new method of interacting with Kuro's shadows. Each of these techniques are things which are not generally adaptable, such that his shadow manipulations are. They are not things which Kuro can practice to become better at forming. He may become smarter in regards to using or implementing them, but not better or more efficient at creating them. Each of these techniques utilize different amounts of the black pool beneath Kuro while he is in his Bankai. They are referred to as 'Abyss Wishes'.
Typically, Kuro should only ever be able to make one Abyss Wish per post. To do any more would take extraordinary circumstances not stemming from himself. This is due to the fact that most of the collected Abyssal Mass should be expended when Kuro makes an Abyss Wish. Additionally, Abyss Wishes are the only way for Kuro to decrease the size of the Abyssal Mass that follows him in his Bankai. Using these wishes requires significantly more energy than allowing the mass to follow Kuro for a post, but becomes a much more efficient use of energy when you consider it moving around with him for multiple posts. This is not something that always occurs to Kuro, however, and is a significant drawback of his Bankai.
Abyss Wish: Desire for Creation
The simplest Abyss Wish is Kuro's ability to augment his shadow constructs with the collected Abyssal Mass. Whatever construct Kuro is manipulating at the time becomes infused with all the substance beneath Kuro's body. The construct now hits harder, with more force, becomes sharper if that is a factor, and moves faster. The intensity of these upgrades scales with the amount of Abyssal Mass Kuro infuses it with. This wish takes about a post's worth of Abyssal Mass generated from Kuro's body, or a decent number of his dispersed constructs. This ability is activated from Kuro's desire for his constructs to be better, to be more efficient, to better handle the task at hand.
Abyss Wish: Desire for Annihilation
This technique activates from Kuro's desire to be rid of his surroundings. All at once, the Abyssal Mass begins to destabilize, making threatening hissing noises. A short time later, within the same post, the mass then erupts in a cataclysm of destructive force. The deeper within the pool something is, the more damage it takes from this effect. The further something is from the imploding mass, the less forceful the explosion's impact. This Wish takes at least a post's worth of Abyssal Mass, and the ensuing explosion would be enough to destabilize and topple most nearby buildings.
Important to note: Kuro is not immune to the effects of this detonation. If he were standing inside the mass itself with three or more posts of substance having accumulated, he would be incapacitated at the minimum from the ensuing explosion.
Abyss Wish: Desire for Clearance
Towards whatever direction Kuro indicates, the Abyssal Mass bursts forth with great force. Anything in the direction that Kuro has indicated gets blown back by the great torrent of mass and pressure. Buildings will topple if this move is used in the street, or a large crater would appear if this was used against the side of a mountain or something similar. It would take a spectacular amount of force to divert this Wish, not to mention stopping it. Kuro is unaffected by this Wish's effects, as the Abyssal Mass moves along him as it normally does. This wish is fueled by a desire that says 'Let me through!'. It requires at least two posts worth of Abyssal Mass to activate.
Abyss Wish: Desire for Attention
This wish infuses the Wish with about a post's worth of Abyssal Mass. The mass then changes the 'target' of its pooling trait from Kuro to whomever or whatever he indicates, in the same manner as how the pool centers around Kuro. Whatever Abyssal Mass remains after the infusion centers in on the target, surrounding their body with the obtuse material. The material moves faster due to the infusion, becoming thicker and harder to move through, and more resilient to energy and physical attacks blowing it away. It lasts for a post for every two charges that remain after the infusion. It therefore requires at least two 'charges' of Abyssal Mass to activate, for the result of a highly effective 'smokescreen' that is difficult to move in for less than a post. Kuro cannot manipulate this Abyssal Mass further after it has left his body, as a new pool will begin forming around him after he has launched this one. This Wish is supported by Kuro's desire to be 'noticed' by whatever the target is, to have their attention, to remove their attention from anything else. Kuro can still create shadow constructs from within the Abyss Wish's Abyssal Mass as he could normally, until it disperses.
Abyss Wish: Desire for Collapse
This is the only Abyss Wish with a physical component involved in its creation. Kuro must before the physical component to activate this. Because of this, it is rare that Kuro uses it. By concentrating all of the Abyssal Mass at the end of his outstretched hands, Kuro can cause the Abyssal Mass to condense into a sphere-like shape. Once it has finished forming, which usually takes about a post, the mass then bursts forwards, performing its primary function. Streams of shadowy constructs burst outwards, like dozens of knives, that then separate into hundreds of knives, trying to decimate everything in their path. They are all focused on a single target which Kuro defines. Kuro can manipulate the attack through his hands, causing something like all of the streams to attack from above, or making the barrage pursue a moving target. The translation is not perfect, but if there is enough space it is usually possible for Kuro to redirect them. The attack's various streams move about as fast as one of Kuro's shadowy construct attacks. The attack uses up three posts of the Abyssal Mass forming around Kuro. He can move at any time and in any fashion short of Shadowform or Flash Step while using this technique. The strain on his body from using it means that he can only perform this attack once per thread. What makes this attack so dangerous is how long the attack lasts. The onslaught lasts for an entire post.
Once Kuro has initiated his Bankai, all of the shadow constructs that he had made prior disappear. His body returns to the way it was when he began his Shikai, and if he is within Shadow Shunko, it also fades away. His body returns to its original state, minus any damage he has been inflicted or energy he has spent. He loses the ability to construct Shadowmere, and he also cannot separate his arm from his body to create the greatsword. These reflections on Piero's influence become more subdued, as Kuro's Zanpakuto becomes stronger reflected. He does retain the Cape of Convulsions and his Umbral Claw, however.
Cascading Spiritual Force
Once he enters into his Bankai, Kuro's energy reserves receive a massive buff. The easiest way to see this reflected is how large the Abyssal Mass can become, and yet Kuro can still move around relatively fluidly and use the techniques that he has spent so much time developing. Typically, he is able to maintain his bankai even at strenuous levels for more than eight posts, although anything past that becomes dicey.
Stamina of the Abyssal Soul
Similar to his Shikai, his Bankai also continues to grant Kuro a boost to his physical stamina. Even if he is exhausted, or even missing something as serious as a limb, his Bankai will give him the physical energy and adrenaline required to feel like he can still fight, and focus well enough to typically do what he attempts. This can lead to some rather mortifying scenarios, as putting him down requires an immense amount of damage, and for several parts of his body to not work properly.
Shadow Manipulation Physical Buff
While it may appear that Kuro's shadowy constructs become unilaterally more effective while he is in his Bankai, this is more because he is comfortable using more energy on creating them and enhancing them. As a result, his shadowy constructs become faster, sharper, more forceful, and more durable.
Shadow Manipulation Mental Buff
Because Kuro's Zanpakuto, his shadow manipulations, and his mental state become more intertwined within his Bankai, it becomes significantly less mentally exhausting for him to use his shadow manipulation techniques, and their various small manipulations that provide extra buffs. However, this can lead to a decrease in accuracy, because it appears that he is generally more linked to his shadow constructs, he loses some of that razor-thin mental focus that leads to them working so efficiently. On the whole, therefore, it is possible for a smart enough adversary to actually outwit Kuro more effectively while he is in his Bankai.
Of course, a Shinigami's physical manifestations within their Bankai are only a part of the story. At the end of the day, the Zanpakuto is a weapon, utilized by its owner in combat. For Kuro Okami, his Zanpakuto becomes a more complex implement. On the whole, Kuro's Bankai fights a lot more generally, where Kuro commands his shadows to attack from within the Abyssal Mass that forms around him, using his Shadow Sense and sensory abilities to keep track of his targets. As a result, a close-range weapon like daggers no longer becomes useful in any regard. Therefore, Kuro's Zanpakuto in Bankai become… smaller.
Despite being smaller, they do not lose their ability to inflict Umbral Slashes upon those that they come into contact with. Additionally, they are just as sharp as before, and the speed at which they move is equivalent to Kuro's fastest movement without using Shunpo.
While he typically only uses two of them, Kuro in fact has eight of the knives, with four bands attached to each arm. The other six tend to remain hidden, until Kuro needs to pull them out.
Zanpakuto Remote Manipulation
Kuro's connection with his zanpakuto mean that they are able to behave unlike normal daggers. They move in the direction that he desires, at the speed that he desires, and can even remain suspended in air. He can use them as grappling hooks if he desires, or even climb up their ropes. Even while he uses all eight of the different daggers, they require little to no energy to cause to move or act in the way that Kuro desires for them to. He can even wield all eight of them as if they were normal blades, parrying and dueling with others. Each rope is able to maintain the blade against force as well as Kuro's own arm could.
Shadow Manipulation Through Zanpakuto Rope
The shadows that the ropes create have the same effects as Kuro's own shadow. In other words, he can create constructs from them as efficiently as Shadow Manipulation where the source is himself. However, constructs created from the ropes require the same kind of focus as his normal manipulations do, as if the buff that is granted by his Bankai in this regard is nullified. Therefore, he typically cannot create shadow constructs from more than one line at a time.
Abyss Prayer: Desire for Power
Up to twice per thread, Kuro can forcibly
eject out shadow power in the form of Abyssal Mass from his body, causing a post's worth of the stuff to form at his feet. This uses up a fairly substantial amount of energy, however, and Kuro will be physically exhausted during the post that he performs it. This technique also has a two post cooldown, and if used more than twice per thread will exhaust Kuro, despite his boosted stamina.
Abyss Wish: The Dark Soul
Five posts worth of Abyssal Mass. That is how much must be generated by Kuro's body, how much he must have at hand, to use this Abyssal Wish. Typically, if Kuro knows that he is going to use this Wish, he will not allow for his emotions to get out of control enough to activate any of the others. This Wish causes for the Abyssal Mass to extend out of Kuro's body, expanding and puffing up in size as it rises into the sky.
For three hundred feet around Kuro's body, the Abyssal Mass surges into the sky, creating a dome of pure shadow. This dome then shifts, allowing for several thousand rays of light to pass through the dark, creating an arena-like space within. While within this arena like space, the Shadows then converge on Kuro's body, his entire body changing from releasing shadows passively to releasing shadows like in Shadow Shunko. In fact, if he is within Shadow Shunko while this has been activated, then he does not have to wait for the post that this procedure normally takes.
The Dark Soul is Kuro's method by which to achieve the deepest level of Shinigami power: their Shikokai. Because of his affliction with Piero, he was not a pureblooded Shinigami for a significant amount of time, and the Disturbed Energies that Piero produced within his soul still affect him even as he attempts to reach the height of his Zanpakuto's power. This dome lasts until Kuro is rendered unconscious or his Zanpakuto stops being actively released. Parts of it can be shattered or destroyed by attacks, but the dome itself will not crumble unless all of its supports are broken.
Additionally, for the first time, the shadowy energy that exudes from Kuro's body creates
shadow in the space within the dome.