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Tatara's Army

    Byakko Village 

Sarasa

A young woman from Byakko village who is twin sister to Tatara, a prophesized hero who was to lead Japan to peace. She takes up his mantle and pretends to be Tatara after the Red King razes Byakko to the ground hoping to suppress any rebellion before it can properly begin.

  • Action Girl: Kaku taught her sword fighting (disguised as a game) during her childhood.
  • All-Loving Hero: Eventually, once she gets over her desire for revenge.
  • The Berserker: Sarasa after suffering Heroic BSoD from finding out Shuri's identity. She wanders the North, slaughtering the Black King's forces in fits of blind rage (and earning her the name The White Tiger).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Yes the Tender Tears All-Loving Hero wandered the countryside slaughtering battalions.
  • Big Brother Worship: She adores her twin brother, and still believes he would have done a better job even when she finally does lead a successful revolution.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Due to the patriarchal culture, enemies end up underestimating Sarasa whenever she's not disguised. She's often kidnapped or used as bait only to escape and tear down their plans.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Sarasa's idealistic and compassionate but she's not gullible or naive and never lets her compassion overrule her caution.
    • She's also a decent judge of character. She recognized that Gingko was dangerous at first glance and refuses to trust Asagi until he proves himself.
  • Good Is Not Soft: While Sarasa personally might not like or order certain decisions and sacrifices, she's willing to accept that they have to be made. She wasn't happy about Ageha selling his body for information but she didn't judge him for it.
  • Guile Hero: One of her first acts as Tatara is to reclaim the Byakko Sword and her brother's remains by tying herself to cattle. Sarasa's unorthodox schemes and strategies go from there.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Even people who knew them both readily accept that she's Tatara, although some of them admit to knowing the truth and allowing her to pretend to give people hope anyway.
  • Heroic BSoD: When she finds out the Red King's real identity.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: She eventually grows out of her low self-esteem and constant self-comparisons to her brother.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: In-Universe, Tatara's bandana is fairly iconic. So whenever Sarasa wants to be herself she takes the bandana off.
  • Magnetic Hero: Her greatest strength isn't her leadership skills or swordsmanship abilities (though she's good at that), it's her ability to attract allies and befriend enemies.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Her disguise as Tatara involves cutting off her long hair and tying what's left of it up with a bandana. A surprising number of people accept that she must just be a very pretty, feminine boy.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver
  • The Unfavorite: How she felt, growing up. Although her parents were loving and not at all neglectful, Tatara stole the lion's share of the attention for being the Chosen One.

Kakuji

Sarasa's surrogate father figure, and the one who taught her how to use a sword. He was originally from the Tohoku region, and did a stint in Abashiri Prison for rebelling against the Black King. He escaped and made his way to Byakko village after discovering an escape route through the hot springs.

Nagi

A blind prophet, and doctor and schoolteacher for Byakko. He's Sarasa's mentor and another surrogate parental figure for her.

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     The Pirates 

Chacha

A beautiful pirate leader who initially intends to sell Sarasa and her allies to pirates, she comes around after Sarasa bests her in a one-on-one duel.


Zaki


Chacha's lover and first mate, a man of few words who's unquestioningly loyal towards her. He grew up with Chacha, and although he was the only one who stood a chance of besting her and claiming captaincy, he forfeited without a fight and chose instead to serve her.

    Kumano 

Nachi


A leader of the Tengu youth organization alongside his Childhood Friend Hijiri, as well as son and heir to the head priest of the Kumano Shinto shrine. He's hot-headed and reckless, but an incredible tracker and capable warrior.

Hijiri

Another leader of the Tengu youth organization with his Childhood Friend Nachi, he's calm and cool-headed in comparison, and the son of a Yakuza leader. He keeps his best friend's reckless tendencies in check.

  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Will often be there to whap Nachi when he starts doing really reckless things.
  • Not So Stoic: One of the few times we see him absolutely lose his cool and start crying is when Nachi gets wounded and close to dying. He gets better.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Nachi, of course.

    Kazuno 

Masunaga

Leader of the Kazuno resistance against the Black King and Childhood Friend to Monta. He's stern and serious in contrast to Monta's easygoing attitude.

Monta (Tamon)

Holder of the sword of Genbu and one of the four generals of Kazuno, and Childhood Friend of Masunaga

  • Actual Pacifist: He's never shown using any violence despite being one of Kazuno's generals. In a flashback, it's shown that this quality was why he was chosen to inherit the Genbu sword.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: Will often randomly break out in non sequiturs.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: A running joke is that Tamon will say wise but cryptic things relevant to a plot happening nowhere near him (and where he could not conceivably know what's going on) confusing everyone.

    Other Supporters 

Ageha

A beautiful dancer and member of the Butterfly Circus. He's a former slave and last survivor of a nomadic people wiped out by the Japanese government, and becomes one of Tatara's most strongest supporters, since he knows people from all over Japan due to his travels.

  • The Ace: For a wandering performer Ageha's good at a stunning array of skills - subterfudge, swordfighting, diplomacy, spycraft. He also likes to randomly drop by and just solve everyone's problems.
  • Animal Motifs: Butterflies, of which his name is a reference to.
  • Badass Gay: Ageha is a Badass Bisexual.
  • Bi the Way: Casually interested in both men and women. But he was in love with Shido after all.
  • Dies Wide Shut: This being a metaphor for dying for a cause and looking to the future.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Even though he's 6'3 and with broad shoulders, people frequently mistake him for a woman. He's apparently just that beautiful.
  • Eyepatch of Power: After sacrificing his left eye to save Sarasa's life when she was a child.
  • Last of His Kind: There are no other known survivors of the nomads he came from.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Well you knew it was coming
  • The Not-Love Interest: The prophecy where Ageha would die for a woman would normally mean a love interest. However, he ends up sacrificing himself for Sarasa. Ageha may have lovers and Foe Yay but they all take second place to Sarasa and the rebellion and the cause she represents.
  • Poisonous Friend: Serves as this for Sarasa carrying out assassinations and plots that are necessary but that she can't bear to order or carry out.
  • Sex Slave: As part of his Dark and Troubled Past, he was a child slave to Shido's dad.
  • Tsundere: A charitable description of his feelings for Shido. He equally loves, lusts and hates him. It doesn't help that Shido's a constant thorn on the rebellion's side and Ageha's willing to put duty about everything.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: In his "Kicho" persona, a dancer for the Butterfly Circus.

Hayato

A young man from Dazaifu who joins up with Sarasa early on. Cheerful and skilled with a bow, he grows from a childish, immature boy to Sarasa's right-hand man, and a reliable leader in his own right. He holds the sword of Suzaku.

  • Achilles in His Tent: Runs away into the mountains after the new government falls apart
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows
  • Cowardly Lion: Is introduced as a braggart pretending to be Tatara something that will continually inform his characterization. Despite, this he always pulls through.
  • Distressed Dude: In the Abashiri Prison arc.
  • Hidden Depths: Besides his Cowardly Lion personality, he's also fairly smart and a capable leader something the narrative glosses over. He did successfully pretend to be Tatara while she was in Okinawa. He's implied to lead the country after the rebellion.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: He does some truly outrageous things with his bow, shooting through ropes and people's eyes among them.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Develops this after the war, when fighting in the new government leads him to pull an Achilles in His Tent. After a He's Back, he turns into a Knight In Sour Armor
  • Keet: He grows out of this as he matures, especially after a stay at Abashiri Prison.
  • Out of Focus: Hayato is Tatara's first non-Byakko ally and his Number Two. Yet after Abashiri prison, he's increasingly relegated to the background as the narrative focuses on other characters.

Raizo

A man from Kanto who's the leader of La Résistance there, although he initially appears to be working under the false Blue King as "the Count". He holds the sword of Seiryu.

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The Japanese Government

    The Japanese Royal Family 

Shuri, the Red King

The youngest of Emperor Ukon's children, prophesized to be a source of disaster for his father. Because of this, he was branded as a slave as a child. He rules over Saikoku's endless deserts alongside Shido, his Child Hood Friend and right-hand man. Although proud and ruthless towards his enemies, he's a fair ruler who abolished slavery within his realm, and the capital of Saikoku he created is prosperous and peaceful.

He runs into Sarasa at hot springs with no clue as to her real identity, and the two fall in love over time.


  • The Ace: Shuri's good at everything - court politics, city building, sword-fighting, military strategy. Especially compared to the rest of the family who are either a Manipulative Bastard or Warrior Prince but not both. Most of them (especially Asagi) resent him and are trying to kill him for it.
  • Always Someone Better: He's better than Asagi at pretty much everything and Asagi hates him for it.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Sacrifices an arm to take down Hiiragi
  • Artificial Limbs: After the main series, in the side story Kanata, Kikune makes an artificial arm for Shuri that is full of weaponry. He eventually admits that it is "fun".
  • Benevolent Boss: He might be utterly ruthless to enemies and traitors but the Red King recognizes and handsomely rewards competence and loyalty. He also listens when people disagree and is willing to accept the occasional mistake.
  • Break the Haughty: Several times over. He loses Suou twice over, is exiled the first time and then sold into slavery the second time. It helps him become a better person.
  • Deuteragonist: Shuri's journey is almost as important as Sarasa's.
  • Guile Hero: He's very cunning and resourceful.
  • Heroic BSoD: When he finds out who Tatara really is.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: First with Shido, then with Nakajin.
  • Hot-Blooded: Shuri subverts, invokes and occasionally plays this straight. A lot of his Hot-Blooded moments are often masks for whatever scheme he's planning and he plays it up to distract and confuse enemies. That being said when you push his Berserk Button, he can run into battle without thinking.
  • Lady Killer In Love: Though the Lady Killer is a bit of an informed trait. Shuri's only ever attracted to Sarasa and we never see him womanizing.
  • Made of Iron: Shuri regularly survives what should be fatal wounds. He attempts seppuku, gets shot at by arrows, burns his back (on purpose) etc. He once looses his arm and is bleeding profusely and still manages to give a Rousing Speech.
  • Magnetic Hero: The man radiates charisma, no matter how injured or desperate or down on his luck he is.
  • Manipulative Bastard: If not quite to the extent of Asagi or Ginko.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Take a shot every time Shuri is shirtless. In one scene, Shuri is fighting on the front lines in a swamp and he's randomly shirtless and soaking wet.
  • Noble Demon: As the Red King. He's ruthless towards his enemies but an otherwise fair and competent ruler.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Shuri's Hot-Bloodness and reckless personality is almost always a front hiding whatever scheme he's cooked up.
  • Plausible Deniability: Shuri loves this trope. I'm not burning down a shrine, I'm retrieving an ally. The Europeans aren't supporting me they're just setting off fireworks for my birthday.
    • A good deal of his Character Development is growing out of this tendency as he realizes that lying harms and confuses his allies and it's better to be honest to his subordinates and trust that they will make the right decision.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: The manga gets a lot of comedy and mileage out of Shuri taking his wealth and status for granted and delights in Break the Haughty. He's also surprisingly naive about how bad life gets outside of his kingdom.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Both a brilliant military strategist and city planner.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: The resident dark haired mysterious Mr. Fanservice. Occasionally crosses with Tall, Dark, and Snarky but not always.
  • Warrior Prince: Leads his men into battle and fights on the front lines.

Asagi, the Blue King

Initially introduced as captain to the Blue King's guards, he's soon revealed to be The Man Behind the Man and the true Blue King where the one on the throne is a stand-in to avoid being killed by his father for being a threat. Beautiful and deadly with a sword, he infiltrates Tatara's army in the hopes of sowing discord, but eventually starts to side with them.


  • Animal Motifs: Snakes, fitting with his treacherous nature.
  • Character Development: Asagi slowly gains confidence allowing him to establish himself as a separate person from Ginko and the royal family.
  • Child by Rape: Unknown even to himself, he's Ginko and Ukon's child.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: He's very obviously up to no good when he first joins up with Tatara's army, but nobody seems to think much of it except Sarasa. They don't wind up suspicious of him until his status as the Blue King is revealed, by which point he's already Becoming the Mask.
  • Easily Forgiven: He causes considerable trouble for Sarasa early on, including molesting her while she's blind in an effort to cause Shuri pain. Sarasa lets it slide as soon as he starts siding with them for real.
    • Asagi never gets any mention of or comeuppance for the things he does as the Blue King. It helps that his power was limited but he contributed to the poverty and misery in his kingdom. Compare him with Shuri whose gets way more grief despite being a better ruler.
  • Everything but the Girl: Eventually gains friends, allies, respect, followers - everything he's wanted. But his love for Sarasa is unrequited.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He flipflops between both sides, but in the end his true allegiance is with Sarasa.
  • Ill Boy: He's shown to have been frequently sick as a child, and even as an adult is physically weak and tends to come down with fevers when he overexerts himself.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Took a Level in Badass: As he gains confidence and experience, Asagi starts becoming an effective leader and warrior. Also since he gets regular exercise, he's much less sickly.
  • Tsundere: He tries very hard to deny any attachment to Sarasa and his other friends in the rebellion.
  • The Unfavorite: He was essentially raised by Ginko, who often compared him unfavorably to Shuri. It's part of the reason why he hates Shuri so much.
  • Unknown Rival: He hates Shuri with a passion and wants nothing other than to bring him low and take away anything that matters to him. This is largely one-sided, even when his plans start working and he humiliates Shuri again and again.

Ginko, the White King

Eldest of Ukon's children and his only daughter, she was married to Awajishima to cement relations between them and the throne, but Ukon soon grew paranoid enough to attack them anyway and reclaim her. She lost her husband and the ability to walk in the process.


  • Abusive Parents: She raised Asagi and while not as bad as Ukon, she constantly resented and mind-gamed him. While it's understandably justified, Asagi turned out really messed up due to her parenting.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Her bodygard Hiiragi was also her first love, although their relationship is considerably more complicated now since he was the one who killed her husband.
  • Break the Cutie: Her backstory was one traumatic event after another.
  • Broken Bird
  • The Chessmaster: She's behind Kanto's fall, Shuri losing Suou, and the Japanese mainland's attempt to invade Okinawa, among other things. She'll never admit it, but the rot and withering of her father (who she might have believed to be an indomitable monster even then) meant that SHE was the true power behind the throne.
  • Consolation Prize: Gingko's title is essentially an empty apology/bribe from Ukon for all he put her through.
  • Death Seeker: In a "taking you with me" kind of way.
  • Evil Cripple: Definitely. Any trace of her mercy was ripped apart by her father and her brain-damaged former friend when they took her ability to walk; Hiiragi executed her husband on her father's orders and accidentally crippled her when he smashed through her palace, then her father finished the job by crushing her pelvis with his pelvis.
  • I Will Wait for You: Gingko's last actions are to wait for her bodyguard to come rescue her, even as the palace crumbles around her. At no point does she believe that he could be beaten.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Even early on, she tries to play Asagi and Shuri against each other.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: As Asagi says, all Ginko wants is to destroy everything even herself.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Her marriage was arranged when she was only 12, but they wound up falling in love anyway.
  • Rape as Drama: By her father, no less. Asagi is both her son and her brother, and never stood a chance of getting any real love or approval from her.
  • She Is the King: Her title, although she's also referred to as the White Mistress or White Lady.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: It's astonishing to see her sweet innocent kid self.

    The Four Elders of the Capital 

Momonoi of the North

Leader of the four elders and Emperor Ukon's right hand man. He's both ruthless and not nearly as competent and he thinks.

  • Abusive Parents: Is barely above Ukon on the terrible parenting.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely loves his son and wants the best for him. How he goes about this is...not great.
  • Kick the Dog: Capturing Renko and allowing her to be tortured and gang-raped to get his son to stay in line.

Hagiwara of the South

Youngest of the four elders, and leader after both Momonoi and his heir dies. He was raised wealthy and wanting for nothing, and longed for something he could call his heart's desire as a child. He's decided that what he really wants is the Japanese throne.

  • Big Bad Wannabe: Hagiwara tries to seize power and rule but he's stymied by Gingko and Shuri at every turn.
  • Informed Ability: Hagiwara's brought up as a dangerous and powerful manipulator. None of his plans succeed and he's near effortlessly outwitted and used by other people. He also severely underestimates Gingko and Shuri, something that no one not even Tatara does.
  • Out-Gambitted: By Ginko. He really can't hold a candle to her scheming.
  • Smug Snake: This Fatal Flaw. He puts down and dismisses everyone else to his detriment.
  • Spoiled Brat: When you come down to it. A side story shows that his ambitions come from when he was a child.
  • The Starscream
  • Underestimating Badassery: Dismisses Shuri and Asagi as spoiled, overprivileged royalty and Gingko as a women. Bad idea.

Tachibana of the West

Righteous and noble, and easily the most popular of the four elders. He's loyal to Ukon (and the monarchy) despite the emperor's utter incompetence and fits of cruelty, and hopes to bring monarchy back some of its former glory.

Sakurada of the East

A member of the four elders who was raised among commoners, having been a bastard son of the former elder of the east. He was found and raised up after the former elder found that he had no other heirs. Despite his status, he still prefers the company of other commoners, and often skips out on his duties to play othello at local dives.

  • Brilliant, but Lazy: He's more clever than he looks and sees through Sarasa's buddha heist, though not early enough to actually do anything about it. Near the end, Shuri entrusts killing Ukon to him should Shuri fail to return from a battle with Tatara, and he helps Ageha foil Operation Pomegranate.
  • Heroic Bastard

    The Four Virtues 
A group of agents who work for Asagi on behalf of the White King. All their names contain references to plants.

Muratake

Leader of the Four Virtues, whose meek, mild manners belie his skill as an assassin and healer. Unlike the other members, his loyalty is to Asagi rather than the White King. He's the only one of the Virtues who was not opposed to accepting Kikune into their ranks just because she's a girl.

  • Butt-Monkey: Asagi seems to like trolling him.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Nachi mistakes him for a woman when they first meet.
  • Floral Theme Naming: His name contains the character for bamboo.
  • Hypocritical Humour: He chides Kikune for not establishing boundaries and getting too close to Sarasa and her friends. Mere panels later, Nachi and Hijiri spot him and invade his personal space like they're close friends.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Asagi.

Kikune

The sole female member of the Four Virtues, a cheerful Wrench Wench who Sarasa first meets when she's undercover as a maid for the Black King's wife. They become close friends during Sarasa's time in Shikoku and then their trip together to Kyoto.

  • Action Girl: A more downplayed version than the others. Kikune's not as skilled or strong as the other Virtues and relies more on her wits and gadgets
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: She starts off in love with Muratake, but ends up falling for Ichimatsu, who she argued with constantly when they first met.
  • Floral Theme Naming: Her name contains the character for chrysanthemum.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Not much of one, though. She does her best to help Sarasa within the parameters of her position as an agent for Asagi and Ginko almost as soon as they meet, and finally betrays the other Virtues outright for her.
  • Wrench Wench: She even invents a mechanical prosthetic for Shuri.

Ranmaru

A member of the Four Virtues, he's ultimately loyal to the White King's goals.

Umekawa

Like Ranmaru, a member of the Four Virtues who's loyal to the White King.

    The Yarogumi 
A group that acts as Kyoto's police force, serving the emperor and the four Elders of the Capital.

Hachiya

Leader of the Yarogumi, his family served the Emperor's for generations until they were disgraced. He desperately desires to prove himself and work his way back up into the Emperor's good graces.

Hisoka

A member of the Yarogumi and Hachiya's second.

  • Master Swordsman: The acknowledged best of the Yarogumi.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He appears to be a good-natured, bumbling fan of Ageha's Kicho persona. Not only was he the one to figure out that Ageha was the one assassinating officials in Kyoto, he's the most skilled fighter in the Yarogumi.
  • Undying Loyalty: Unlike Hachiya, he has no particular desire to serve the Japanese government. His loyalty is to Hachiya himself, who saved him from a life of banditry.

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     Others 

Shido

Childhood Friend to Shuri, and his loyal right hand man. They built Suou together as Saikoku's capital.

  • The Dreaded: As Shido's primary enforcer, his name terrifies the rebellion.
  • Hidden Depths: He's kind and loyal to supporters and friends, a great city-planner and also a ruthless enforcer. Shido's apparently good at separating different aspects of his life.
  • Kick the Dog: Using Hayato as a fake Tatara to lure out supporters and executing them all in one go.

Senju

A noblewoman and Shido's fiancee. Delicate and beautiful, she nevertheless has an inner strength to her.

Other Characters

    Okinawa 

Nakijin

A karate master from Okinawa who helps nurse Sarasa back to health. Despite a rocky start, he becomes fast friends with Shuri after Shuri helps him defend Okinawa's independence from Japan. He follows Shuri to Japan and becomes one of his most loyal supporters.

    Shikoku (Capital of the Black King's Realm) 

Murasaki no Ue

The Black King's estranged wife, she's wise and beloved by the people of Shikoku.

Hida no Ichimatsu

The Black Army's admiral, a tall, imposing man with a fearsome reputation. He's actually a bit of a Mama's Boy and utterly devoted to Murasaki no Ue, who adopted and raised him.

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Kikune. He proposes to her as soon as he wakes up from a coma after falling into an icy lake. Her reply is "You're so annoying!"
  • Covered with Scars: He's covered in scars from head to toe. In an extra, he claims to have inflicted some of them on himself on purpose to mar his face, which he disliked because it was excessively feminine and pretty.
  • The Faceless: He's introduced only as Murasaki no Ue's attendant, and his large winter hat completely obscures his face. He doesn't take it off until several chapters in, when he's revealed to be a bigshot admiral and covered in scars.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rides off alone to prevent the Black King from returning to Shikoku and ruining Shuri's plan to let Murasaki no Ue rule. He triggers a trap that throws everyone, including himself, into an icy lake.
  • Hot-Blooded: And one of the few purely straight examples in the story.
  • Incoming Ham: Ichimatsu of Hida AT YOUR SERVICE!
  • Perpetual Smiler: Smiles a lot, even when he's angry.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Murasaki no Ue. He's willing to do anything for her, including lay down his life or kill his master, the Black King. Or both, as it happens.

Mogami no Kata

The Black King's concubine, and mother of his son. She schemes to have her own child inherit and oust Murasaki no Ue once and for all.

    Shikoku (Four Nations) 

Shima

Beautiful daughter of one of the leaders of Shikoku and a hostage held by the Black King with other family members of the Shikoku leaders to ensure their compliance. She falls in love with Shuri and stays behind with him after her family and the other hostages are freed.

  • Hopeless Suitor
    • Unrequited Tragic Maiden: Shuri barely even acknowledges her existence beyond the times when she's useful to him, and outright ignores her affections. When she finally does try to make a move, he completely rejects her and storms off.
  • Love at First Sight: Combined with Rescue Romance. The first time she and Shuri meet, he's saving her and the other Shikoku captives and she falls in love with her Prince.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: The Guile Hero subtly manipulative, influence judo version.

     Kyoto 

Taro

A reporter who hopes to witness history in the making and tell the world what happened. He's one of Ageha's old friends and has connections everywhere. Although his family actually runs a prosperous business selling pickled vegetables, he's left inheriting the business to his older sister and her husband.

  • Chick Magnet: Implied to be popular with women, and it's one of the ways he gets information.
  • Dies Wide Open: His eyes stay wide open even after he's decapitated, staring into the future of Japan.

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