The following is a list of all the characters in The Twelve Kingdoms. Given that there are, well, twelve kingdoms, it's not really a shock that over time the cast grows quite large.Also included below is a short rundown/glossary of the various fantastical creatures found throughout the world that have tropes associated with them but are not named, as well as tropes that apply to specific groups of people.
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Immortals and creatures
Nyokai and Shirei
Familiar: Especially the nyokai, born just as a Kirin Ranka is formed, and devoted mothers to their kirin until the end. Normal youma act as this to the Kirin who capture them, though they serve completely loyally up to the point of death. Should the Kirin die of any cause their shirei will eat the body.
Mons: Kirin can "catch" youma and force them to obey their will, but it's a risky process since it boils down to a contest of wills that can take hours or days and could end with a dead kirin.
Monster Lord: Captured youma, known as shirei, tend to be able to lead packs of similar youma on behalf of their kirin.
Immortality: Of the ageless and immune to disease types. It even takes special enchanted weapons and beheading to kill one.
Perpetual-Motion Monster: Even if starved or dehydrated, a sen-nin will not die. This becomes demonstrated when Atsuyu imprisons his father in the castle dungeon for decades.
Can't Live Without You: A ruler can never truly outlive the death of the Kirin who chose them. At most, they will live a year or two before dying.
Cool Sword: Some kingdoms have relics for the ruler, Kei has a sword that grants visions.
Fisher King: The absence of a ruler causes a World-Wrecking Wave to affect their land, raises the number and severity of natural disasters, and causes a rise in the number of wild nyokai. Just their existence improves all of these and causes a less flashy World-Healing Wave. Insane or evil rulers can be just as bad or worse as the absence of one.
Misblamed: As in The Chooser of The One, a kirin is more of a messenger of the gods than the one actually selecting a monarch. However, angry citizens can blame the kirin if they "select" a particularly bad ruler for them.
My Country, Right or Wrong: With a dose of Geas, Kirin cannot ever disobey an order from their ruler, the only exception being to bow to someone who isn't their ruler.
Synchronization: Along with Fisher Kingdom, they will suffer a debilitating sickness that will eventually kill them if their king becomes evil or insane. Only the repentance, death or abdication of their ruler can cure them. However, unlike how the kingdom suffers in the absence of a ruler, Kirin have no such problems in a ruler-less interim.
Youko is just your average shy Japanese high-school girl. That abruptly changes when a mysterious golden-haired man drops into her classroom and pledges his loyalty to her as his master, dragging her into the alternate realm of the Twelve Kingdoms.She is actually the displaced ruler of the Kingdom of Kei, and after reclaiming her throne from a pretender, she seeks to renew it to its former prosperity and glory.
Action Girl: Youko may whine a bit when she first drops into the Twelve Kingdoms, but one wouldn't want to be a demon when she gets going with her sword.
Driven to Madness: Youko starts to lose it after being betrayed repeatedly by anyone she tries to trust, and the torment caused by the monkey spirit isn't helping things. When she hits rock bottom she's convinced she's as much a monster as the youma attacking her.
I Choose to Stay: To save Kei, she renounces any plans to return to Japan. It doesn't help that, if she returned, she'd weaken and die in a few years.
Implausible Hair Colour: Youko has red hair, despite supposedly being full Japanese (she's not, of course, but no one knows that). A deconstruction, though – everyone thinks she dyes it, which therefore makes her a Delinquent. This, despite the fact that she has absolutely no other delinquent qualities, and was a spineless wimp until she reached the Kingdoms. Her parents actually want her to dye it, to make it look like she doesn't.
Naturally-redheaded Japanese do exist, it's just ridiculously rare (as in, one in a million), and most of them dye their hair black due to the same issues Youko goes through.
Done more sympathetically in the novels. Her father is still overbearingly authoritarian towards her, but it is clear that the disownment stems from his own grief and denial at her disappearance. "Don't you know from watching the news?! In such cases [abductions], have you ever heard of one where [the child] was still alive? That's why I say, she's just run away!"
Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the anime, Youko's eyes are green, but when using her Hinman or shirei, her pupils will flash red. In either case, it means she's about to kick your ass.
Red Headed Heroine: Amusingly enough, her red hair was the source of trouble for her earlier, since everyone assumed she dyed it as a sign of being a trouble-maker.
The kirin of Kei. He traveled to Japan in his quest to find Kei's new ruler, and found what he was seeking in Youko. He is stern and rather awkward socially, but cares for others deeply, like all kirin.When Youko is seated on the throne of Kei, he serves as her confidant and tutor.
Actual Pacifist: Like all kirin, he is unable to fight directly and gets weak in the presence of blood.
Non-Action Guy: Although he can order his Seirei to fight for him, blood is a lethal poison to him, so he can't fight personally at all.
Poor Communication Kills: He's not very good at explaining things properly, which can often lead to needless drama for all involved – his flawed explanation to Taiki about how to choose his king, for one, and also his not bothering to tell Youko anything about why he's there when they first meet. Youko herself teasingly lampshades this quality of his.
Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Gets stuck in kirin form as part of Joei's usurpation plot. With his horn bound, he's unable to talk or transform back into human form (thus, he can't reveal that Youko is the real queen) until Youko rescues him.
The timid daughter of a merchant family, and former Queen of Kei. After the stresses of rule drove her to slaughter half Kei's population and bring her beloved Keiki to the brink of death, she relinquishes the crown and is struck down by the Heavens.
Achilles in His Tent: She's so terrified of her queenly duties and insecure about her performance that at one point she locks herself in her room, despite Keiki's pleas and attempts to calm her down.
Fairest of Them All: In the depths of her madness, Joukaku banished all the other women from her kingdom so that she would be the most beautiful – and there would be no chance of Keiki paying more attention to them than to her. Those that would not or could not leave were executed.
Foil: She has a lot in common with Youko, especially the lack of self-confidence. This is most telling when Youko becomes frustrated with Keiki and acts almost the same way Joukaku once did, and Keiki is clearly disturbed by the similarity. Fortunately, Youko gets better.
Heroic Sacrifice: She gave up the crown and immediately died rather than let Keiki succumb to illness, ultimately saving him and the land and opening the path for choosing a new monarch.
I Just Want to Be Normal: The eldest daughter of a simple merchant from Kei, Joukaku never really wanted to be the Queen and felt she wasn't up to the task.
Love Ruins the Realm: Her insane love for Keiki led Kei to ruin. Given that monarchs are clinically immortal, her edict to banish all women would end Kei in a generation.
My God, What Have I Done?: When she realizes how her madness has made everything worse and identifies Keiki's illness as shitsudou.
Yandere: While normal at first, Jokaku falls madly in love with Keiki. Already unstable from the stresses of an empress job she doesn't feel qualified for, her jealousy makes her snap, prompting her to either exile or execute all other women in Kei in order to remove "competition". Keiki is then struck with shitsudou, making her snap back into sanity. Ultimately, Joukaku is ridden with guilt and decides to sacrifice herselfto fix what she had done. And that's when the civil war starts...
Jokaku's younger sister. She was terribly jealous of her sister having been chosen as the Queen of Kei, believing herself far more capable. This led to her striking a deal with the King of Kou in his schemes, and being installed as a pretender empress.When Youko allies with the Kingdom of En to retake her rightful throne, Joei is proven a false queen and is killed.
A mysterious monkey-like creature that follows Youko around, taunting her with the hopelessness of her plight.He is the spirit of Youko's sword, set loose when she lost the sheath in the chaos of her touchdown in the Twelve Kingdoms.
Cynical Mentor: Much like Trickster Mentor, it could be seen that his advice for survival is just playing to this trope. In a way he serves as a Foil to Keiki for the ruler of Kei since his cynicism is directly opposed to Keiki's idealism.
Trickster: He falls under almost every category — he actively tries to get Youko to kill herself, while also giving her sound advice for survival and tipping her off when someone is going to betray her.
Trickster Mentor: While it's unclear whether he's doing it deliberately, by the end of the series it's clear that this is the intended purpose of having him sealed into the sword. He does at least seem bored and irritated whenever it seems like Youko is giving up in the face of his manipulations, while getting excited and laughing gleefully whenever she stands up against him.
Not So Different: One of his aims in life is to find out if the Heavens exist. Later it is shown that Youko has the same dilemma.
Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Ouright dares the Heavens to strike him down for his misdeeds. His first reaction after recognizing Youko as the Queen was to treat her as the instrument of Heaven's Vengeance.
A roguish Kei military leader who is supportive of the resistance effort. He is fiercely loyal to Governor Koukan, who is one of the only non-anti-hanjyuu officials in Kei, and who gave him a chance as his lead officer.
The ruler of Kou, and the one behind the Kei usurpation plot. His insecurity regarding his own performance as king led him to grow envious of the prosperous, taika-led kingdom of En, and caused him to lash out at Youko.In the anime, he dies shortly after accidentally killing Kourin in a rage. The novels have him die after Kourin dies of shitsudou.
Beta Test Baddie: His feelings of inferiority towards the taika king Shouryuu lead to his attempts on Youko's life, as he fears that another taika-led kingdom would overshadow his.
Fantastic Racism: Hanjyuu and Kaikyaku in Kou tend to have a very bad life as a result of his laws.
Manipulative Bastard: Particularly in the anime, where he successfully manipulates Yuka into going after Youko.
My God, What Have I Done?: After accidentally stabbing Kourin in his berserk rage against Youko, the full weight of his actions throughout the arc seem to settle in.
The kirin of Kou. She can only helplessly carry out the King of Kou's orders, no matter how evil. In the anime, she dies by protecting Youko from her king's sword; preventing him from making such a horrible mistake. In the novels, she dies from shitsudou.
A kind, intelligent hanjyuu from Kou. After nursing the half-dead Youko back to health, he accompanies her to En, and eventually manages to get her an audience with Shouryuu and Enki one he pieces out that she was chosen by Keiki.After Youko is installed as queen, they maintain friendly correspondence while Rakushun attends En's top university.
Animorphism: As a hanjyuu, he can turn into a big rat. Or to be precise, he's a big rat that can turn into a very bishonen human.
Scholarship Student: Even with his incredible mind, his poor background and hanjyuu birth made it hard for him to seek schooling in Kou. Thankfully, after migrating to En and gaining the friendship and patronage of Youko and Enki, he is able to attend a top school.
The cunning, charming King of En. He is a taika, born in the age of Feudal Japan as the son of a samurai lord. After being spirited away from a losing battle by Enki, he takes the throne of En, and has ruled it ever since.
The kirin of En. Similar to his king Shouryuu, he was born a taika in Feudal Japan – however, he was born to a desperately poor peasant family, and saw firsthand what the horrors of war can do to the common people. He came to distrust government figures as the ones who start wars, but eventually warmed up to Shouryuu once he proved his devotion to the welfare of En's people.
Voiced by: Masaaki Ohkura (JP), Joe Cappelletti (EN)
The beloved, accomplished governor of En's most prosperous province. He has little faith in the newly-installed Shouryuu's competence as king, and is concerned for En's future. It's all mostly thanks his massive ego and superiority complex deluding himself into thinking he'd be a better king. After years of manipulation and abuse of everyone in his surroudings (and specially of Kouya and of his own father), he is killed while cheating in a duel against Shouryuu.
Death by Irony: He manipulated Kouya into killing people with his demon, so he could gather power and usurp Shoryuu. When he is finally unmasked and snaps, Enki's shirei deals him a fatal injury, so Shoryuu has to Mercy Kill him.
A cunning, manipulative young man in the service of Atsuyu, who saved his life when he was young. After years of psychological abuse from his master, Kouya finally comes to terms with his master's evil ways, and self-exiles himself to Mount Hou to wait for Shouryuu to make a kingdom where both he and his youma friend are welcome. During his stay there, he has become the God of Travelers, Genrou Shinkun.
Chekhov's Gunman: He is introduced as a minor character in Taiki's arc, and then he is not even mentioned until his backstory is fleshed out in the last arc.
Karma Houdini: Played with. He did repent of his horrible actions in the end, but Shoryuu and Enki let him go without any punishment. However, he did self-exile himself to the very dangerous Mount Hou, so even if he wasn't punished by others heisseeking for punishment himself.
Parental Abandonment: Similar to Enki, he was abandoned in the woods as a child during a time of famine. He was raised by a youma and eventually found and taken in by Atsuyu.
Poisonous Friend: Kouya appears to be one to his mentor and leader, Atsuyu. He murders dissidents regularly (like Ribi's best friend, the girl who helps Enki escape from Atsuyu's manse) and claims to have "exiled" them when Atsuyu asks. It's subverted, as Atsuyu is actually a Manipulative Bastard who abuses Kouya's extreme loyalty to get away with atrocities while keeping his own hands clean.
Psycho Sidekick: Kouya could also be considered this in regard to Atsuyu, if Atsuyu wasn't evil himself.
Released to Elsewhere: His favorite method of exiling people is through the digestive system of his demon.
The kirin of Tai. His dark hair marks him as an incredibly rare black kirin; a herald of prosperity. He is a taika, and was spirited away from his abusive family by the efforts of Enki and the Mount Hou nyosen. He struggles to come to terms with his power and identity as a kirin in an unfamiliar world.After being attacked by a treacherous general during a usurpation plot, he was flung back to Japan with a damaged kirin horn and amnesia of his time in the Kingdoms. After years of further confusion and abuse, he was finally located by an international search squad organized by Youko and brought back to the kingdoms. Whether or not he will find the missing Gyousou and save Tai is, unfortunately, an ongoing cliffhanger.
Parental Abandonment: With a dash of Abusive Parents. Though he still lives with them for the majority of Demon Child, the Takasatos have all but abandoned him thanks to the jinx that seems to follow him – which is actually his shirei lashing out in insane panic at anything they perceive as a threat. His mother says that she wants nothing to do with him right in front of him, and regrets not having killed him outright in an inner monologue. After Hirose takes Taiki in, though, Gouran and Sanshi settle their business with his parents... bloodily, to say at least.
Trauma-Induced Amnesia: The reason why he can't remember his stay in the Twelve Kingdoms. He was attacked by a treacherous general, resulting in his kirin horn – the source of his power – being cut off. He managed to escape back to Japan before the physical trauma wiped out his memory. Feeding a kirin meat, as his father insists on, doesn't help.
A highly-respected general in Tai, and the man Taiki chooses to be its ruler. He is a skilled and shrewd leader, though a bit impatient, and is confident in his ability to restore Tai to prosperity.His hastiness to purge the government of long-standing corruption makes him a lot of enemies, which leads to an usurpation plot led by a rival general. Though he is still alive, his whereabouts are currently unknown.
Knight Templar: When he is crowned king, his eagerness to purge the court of Tai of long-standing corruption leads him to order mass dismissals and executions – although it needed doing, Gyousou's hastiness made him lots of enemies, which led to the usurpation...
Morality Pet: Taiki serves as his, balancing out his sternness. Gyousou's desire to keep Taiki's adoration leads him to hide the government purges from him by sending him on a diplomatic trip to Ren.
Panthera Awesome: Is commonly associated with tiger imagery, especially in the books. In both the books and anime, he is the proud owner of a massive white tiger that serves as his mount in battle.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: An utter workaholic. He immediately starts hammering through budget and government reforms when he takes office, and during his first year in office he manages to pray to Heaven to create a new plant, just for Tai, that burns well enough to serve as a superb source of heat in the icy land.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Lampshaded, then averted. Taiki is initially afraid of Gyousou because of the man's red eyes. In reality, Gyousou is a pretty nice guy, and his red eyes are not a mark of anything evil...it's just all part of the Twelve Kingdoms' technicoloringscheme.
A changeling demon known as a toutetsu; horribly powerful by any standards, enough to make even a Physical God think twice about tangling with him. Taiki brings him under his control as his shirei when he threatens Gyousou and Risai in his lair.
As the daughter of its former ruler, she is the deposed princess of the Kingdom of Hou. Spoiled and haughty, she must adjust to her new life as a peasant and come to terms with her father's tyrannical reign.
The Atoner: Her life after Hou – having realised what a selfish brat she'd once been, she becomes determined to make something of herself and do some good in the world.
Break the Haughty: First she loses her parents and princess status, then she's forced to live as a peasant and is almost excuted when discovered, only Shushou's intervention saving her from an horrible death. And that's just the beginning...
Brought Down to Normal: Shoukei experiences this, going from a life of luxury to one of poverty, starvation, and near-merciless persecution almost overnight.
Not to mention going from being eternally-thirteen (for thirty years, natch) to being mortal again. She'd grown to sixteen (physically) by the time she left Hou. Symbolically, she herself later reflects on the fact that she'd been a "doll", herself. Presumably, she is given her Immortality again when Youko takes her into her service.
Immortal Immaturity: She considers herself to be "about the same age as the Queen of Kei" as well as the (chronologically over 100) Suzu, despite the fact the she herself is chronologically in her mid-40s.
Ironic Echo: Her peasant caretaker, Gobou, once told her how her son was killed for protesting against an unfair execution by throwing stones at the executioners. Shoukei herself does exactly the same thing later to stop a man's crucifixion, and Youko has to save her.
Morality Pet: Is implied to have been her father's. King Chuutatsu kept from her not only his rather brutal policies but also the ugly side of ruling a country. A character notes that the King wanted her to be thirteen forever, a beautiful and pure doll that was the image of his idealized sinless human being.
Old Shame: In-Universe, she becomes ashamed of her attitude as the king's daughter and even grows the hate her old favourite song – which she'd previously sung to herself as a form of comfort – because of how unconsciously it paralleled her own life as an unaware "doll". When she hears that Gekkei wanted her to know he liked her old song, she broke down in anguished remorse.
Sheltered Aristocrat: Due to being kept away from all of the Dirty Business her father got up to, she knows nothing about how to run a kingdom, or anything else for that matter. Rakushun calls her out on this, saying how embarrassing it is that a foreign peasant like him knows more than the princess about her own country.
The former King of Hou. His Knight Templar behavior led him to enact incredibly strict laws, which eventually led to his deposition.
All Crimes Are Equal: His form of judgement by the end of his thirty-year reign. In the last year alone, hundreds of thousands of people had been executed regardless of how severe their crime was – they just had to commit one.
Knight Templar: His absolute sense of justice caused him to slaughter a large portion of his own population for minor offenses. He, his wife, and his kirin Hourin were eventually overthrown and killed.
The wife of the former King of Hou. Self-centered and haughty, her actions are among those that bring Sonken's fall.
Driven by Envy: Kaka ordered one of Shoukei's ladies-in-waiting and her mother (one of her own court ladies) imprisoned and executed solely because the poor girl was prettier and more talented than Shoukei, falsely accusing the mother of corruption while knowing that both of them would get offed because of that. Gekkei does not forget to call her out on it before he has her killed, and Kaka's Famous Last Words are her denial of such accusations.
The former kirin of Hou. She is killed during the deposition of the king, as punishment for having chosen him in the first place.
Face Death with Dignity: When Gekkei is about to behead her after killing the royal couple, she accepts it quietly and even seems to be a little relieved.
Horrible Judge of Character: King Chuutatsu was the first ruler she ever chose. Thanks to completely botching the judgement part of picking a king he was also her last, as she was executed right after him for letting the kingdom go to hell.
Ill Girl: She already was in the last stages of shitsudou when Chuutatsu died.
Misblamed: The people of Hou blame her for giving them a Knight Templar for a king. She actually choses according to the will of the gods and had no conscious ability to deny King Chuutatsu his throne.
The leader of the coup against the former king of Hou, and formerly one of the most high ranked government officers there. He genuinely wishes for what is best for the kingdom, and is not proud of the blood on his hands.
Cincinnatus: Hou sighs in relief when he finally lets himself be convinced that he should rule the kingdom until the next king is chosen.
Bratty Half-Pint: Even with her competence, she's still a young girl at heart and sometimes exhibits rather childish behavior, like kicking off her shoes while discussing things with Kyouki.
Corporal Punishment: She sometimes slaps Kyouki around, though only when extremely upset (like when Shoukei steals some of her jewelry and clothes before running away from Kyou) and is soon back to her much gentler self ( she caresses Kyouki's face after hitting him, and immediately forgives both him and the Old Retainer that was in charge of Shoukei).
Manipulative Bitch: She may have influenced the Hou noblemen to revolt against their unfair king, so refugees won't come to Kyou and overwhelm the country.
The Messiah: In the novels, the Genre Savvy Shushou ran away from home and made a pilgrimage knowing, if she finished, she'd have a chance to be chosen as Queen and help her suffering countrymen. Kyouki chose her.
The Ojou: As the daughter of the richest merchant in Kyou, Shushou was this before becoming empress.
Plucky Girl: Especially in the novels. "No one shall rule this country but me!"
Shadow Archetype: To King Chuutatsu. Like him, Shushou is a proud and stern monarch with a strong lawful bent. However she tempers those traits with wisdom, insight and mercy. She is the first ruler that Shoukei meets after leaving Hou, showing the erstwhile princess that her Knight Templar father was not wrong in his ideals but rather his execution (no pun intended). She is also a living example of what Shoukei could have accomplished at thirteen if she was not a spoiled, pampered princess.
Super Strength: Can make Shoukei bow forcibly to her...using only two fingers.
Really 700 Years Old: Despite looking thirteen, she is over a hundred years old – rulers stop aging once they're chosen, and Shushou was a thirteen-year-old girl when she became one.
Tsundere: A Type A, due to her child-like mood swings. In the novels, at one moment she dumps hot soup on her maid for questioning her repeatedly, then begs for her forgiveness and lets her borrow one of her own dresses.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A platonic version. Unlike most kirin, he's a pretty solidly built guy; as a result he towers over Shushou, who stopped aging when she was thirteen. (Shushou's said that she wishes he was short like Enki, so it would be easier to smack him when he irritates her.)
Ill Boy: Due to an old head injury, he gets severe headaches and later loses his sight.
Parental Abandonment: When he was a baby, he and his parents ran away from Kei during Jokaku's chaotic reign. They were good to him and he loved them... but then his father is killed by youma, then his mother gets sick and dies while waiting for the ship to Kei to arrive.
Trampled Underfoot: How the poor kid dies. More exactly, he gets trampled by Shoukou's carriage because the Jerk Ass didn't bother to tell the driver to change paths at the sight of a blind boy in their way.
The Mistress: She once was a High-Class Call Girl before becoming familiar with one of the former kings of Sai, who made her his lover and an immortal. Chuukin uses this against her when she refuses to let go of Suzu, threatening her with revoking her priviledges.
Rich Bitch: This is the reason she lives in her own estate far from the royal palace; everyone else just wanted to be rid of her.
The Kingdom of Han
Voiced by: N/A
The King of Han, who has ruled for three hundred yearsnote The anime gives us a different time-span, saying that he has been on the throne for 120 years (which the English subtitles and dub accidentally translated as twelve HUNDRED years) and brought Han great prosperity. He is somewhat difficult to get along with, and butts heads particularly venomously with Shoryuu.
An anime-only character (sort of, see below) who is accidentally dragged into the Kingdoms when Youko is first swept over. She is convinced that she alone was meant to be brought over, and is incredibly jealous of Youko.
Ascended Extra: Yuka existed in the original work, but was a mere otaku given only a few lines in the very first book, and certainly was never taken into the kingdoms with Youko.
Important Haircut: When she's seen again in Episode 15, her already short hair is even shorter, since she's cut off the bangs that framed her face. Her reasoning is that she 'didn't want to hide [her] face anymore' - emphasising how she's more open in real life and less absorbed in her fantasy stories after experiencing it firsthand.
An anime-only character who is accidentally dragged into the Kingdoms when his old friend Youko is first swept over. He is terribly out-of-place in the unfamiliar world, and does not adapt as well as Youko and Yuka. After being separated from them, he is gradually driven insane from being isolated from all he's ever known.
Canon Foreigner: He was specially written into the anime storyline; he never existed in the novels.
A kaikyaku from Meiji-era Japan, she was swept over in a shoku while she was leaving home to work for a local nobleman that she was sold to as a maid. Separated from all she's ever known, Suzu seeks her place in this strange new world.
Break the Cutie: Her mistress, the sen-nin Riyo, was an absolute bitch to her for more than 100 years. She left to live with Queen Chuukin of Sai, but when she went to search for Youko, things went to hell.
Chekhov's Gunwoman: Suzu gets a short scene in Taiki's arc, is then left alone for a while and reappears with a vengeance.
Translator Microbes: Avoided. Not being a sen-nin means that, when spirited away, Suzu couldn't understand the language of the kingdoms until she was taken in by Riyo. That's actually the reason why she put up with Riyo's abuse; in return for her service, she had Suzu's name added to the heavenly roster. One of her favorite taunts for Suzu was that she was free to quit at any time, but would lose her senninhood and therefore her ability to communicate, which after years of experiencing just that was Suzu's greatest fear.