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Yōō Kurogane
黒鋼 鷹王
Kurogane
Kurogane as he appears before he is sent on the journey
Series Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle
xxxHolic
Profile
Also Known As Big Doggy
Various nicknames (Kuro-chan, Kuro-pon, Kuro-wan-wan, Kuro-tan, etc)
Relations Father - Lord of Suwa in Nihon
Mother - Priestess of Suwa in Nihon.
Residence Nihon
Powers Highly skilled swordsmaship
Characteristics
Gender Male
Hair Black
Eyes Red
Appearances
First Appearance
(Manga)
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Chapitre 2
First Appearance
(Anime)
Tsubasa Chronicle Episode 1
Last Appearance
(Manga)
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Chapitre 232
Last Appearance
(Anime)
Tsubasa: Shunraiki Episode 2
Voices
Seiyuu Tetsu Inada
Yumiko Kobayashi (child)
English Chris Sabat
Luci Christian (child)
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Yōō[1] Kurogane (黒鋼 鷹王) is one of the companions of Syaoran in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. In the anime adaptation, adult Kurogane is voiced by Tetsu Inada and young Kurogane is voiced by Yumiko Kobayashi. He is voiced by Chris Sabat in English. He is one of the two original main characters in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, not having coming from any previous Clamp work, the other being Fay D. Flourite.

Personality

While he seems rather irreverent, he is also very loyal, especially to Tomoyo. He is likely the most experienced fighter in the group and wiser than he appears. He becomes Syaoran's sword fighting teacher, presenting the boy with the same philosophy he believes in: a sword is used to cut only when needed and not used to cut anything if it is not necessary. While serious, Kurogane is very easily irked by others, especially by Mokona Modoki and Fay, who keeps calling him ridiculously cute nicknames such as "Kuro-puu", "Kuro-wan-wan" or "Kuro-rin". However abrasive and ruthless Kurogane may seem, he has a compassionate nature and a desire to protect. An example of this would be how Kurogane continually questions Fay on his actions and character, and lets the wizard know that he should stop hanging onto his past and embrace the future with his new companions. Or, Kurogane's own statement that "If someone wants to take away the ones I want to protect, I'll kill them too."

History

Tsu40

Young Kurogane and his parents

Kurogane grew up in the province of Suwa in Nihon. His father was the lord of the province and a great warrior whose job was to protect Suwa and its people. His mother was a miko who also protected the land with a magical barrier or protective ward (called a kekkai) that prevented demons from entering.

Kurogane was an energetic and outgoing child who never wanted to disappoint his mother and wanted to be just like his father. Under his supervision, Kurogane was trained in the use of the katana and also learned his father's special technique, Hama Ryū-ō Jin, which later on became his trademark. His ambition was to become stronger, not for the sake of being strong, but so he could use his strength to protect the people of Suwa and his parents.

When Kurogane became a teenager, trouble began. His mother had tuberculosis and would often collapse, coughing up blood, and Kurogane would strain himself to make sure she felt comfortable. His father was also away most of the time fighting against the demons and protecting Suwa's wards. Finally, one day, Kurogane came home to find his father seriously injured and his katana in shards. Seeing that he needed more power, Kurogane's father decided to take the katana Ginryū (silver dragon), their family heirloom, to fight the demons. With the blessing of Kurogane's mother, his father left to fight, leaving Kurogane to protect his mother at home and told him that he should always use his strength to protect the ones he loves.

Right after he left, Kurogane's mother collapsed again. Even though she was in a critical condition, she insisted that she be taken to the Inoriba shrine (meaning Place of Prayer) to pray for success against the demons. Moments later, Kurogane found his mother in the Inoriba, impaled by a large sword with a peculiar bat-like carving for its hilt that had suddenly appeared out of a void and disappeared before Kurogane could react. Despite his efforts, he could not stem the blood flow and she died. At the moment of her death, the kekkai broke and the demons swarmed through the province. One of the demons approached Kurogane carrying his father's severed arm, the hand still carrying Ginryū in its death-grip. As the demon devoured the arm, the katana fell to the ground. Kurogane's resolve broke and, in fierce rage, he took up his father's sword and charged towards the demons.

Kurogane and Tsukuyomi

Kurogane and Tsukuyomi

Hours later, the Empress of Japan, Amaterasu (Kendappa-ō of RG Veda), arrived with her army. She deduced that both the lord and the lady of Suwa had died, and demons swarmed the province as predicted in the dreams of her younger sister, the miko-princess Tsukuyomi. They found that all the demons were killed with Kurogane still in the ruins of his home. As Amaterasu approached Kurogane, who was too shocked to fully comprehend all that had happened and was still carrying his mother's body, he attempted to attack her. The empress ordered her ninjas to attack, but soon realized that Kurogane had lost his sanity and would do more harm than good when he killed all her warriors with ease. Amaterasu decided to personally subdue him, but was interrupted by Tsukuyomi.

Rather than let her sister subdue Kurogane, Tsukuyomi suggested that she do so. Using her magic, she stopped Kurogane from attacking her, knelt beside him and whispered, "Please allow your mother to rest now." as she closed the dead miko's eyes. At those simple words, she managed to snap him out of his madness. Realization swept over him and he broke down in tears, and finally, exhausted, he fell asleep.

When he woke up, he found himself cleaned and his hand in bandages. Beside him, little Tsukuyomi, carrying Ginryū in her lap, explained that he was in Shirasagi Castle. She introduced herself as Princess Tomoyo; Tsukuyomi was a hereditary title given to the miko princess of Shirasagi Castle. Kurogane asked that Ginryū be buried with his mother's body since his father had no remains. Tomoyo agreed to grant his request and also informed him that she would commission another katana exactly like Ginryū for him so that he may continue to fulfill his father's wishes.

Later, Kurogane was accepted as a ninja of Shirasagi Castle, yet he still continued to search for the carrier of the sword that killed his mother. He never found another sword like it and only recently discovered (from Syaoran accidentally viewing Kurogane's memories in the Book of Memories in Rekord) that the one responsible for his mother's death was the same person (Fei Wong Reed) who attacked Sakura when her wings appeared in the Kingdom of Clow.

Fei Wong originally intended to turn Kurogane into his "pawn", similar to what he did with Fay. However, Yūko foresaw this happening and used her powers so that Kurogane would fall under Tomoyo's command, avoiding Fei Wong's grasp.

Kurogane is extreme in his loyalty to her.

Storyline

Kurogane is a ninja warrior directly under the service of Princess Tomoyo (a crossover character from Cardcaptor Sakura's Tomoyo Daidōji) of Shirasagi Castle. While he is undoubtedly the most powerful warrior in Nihon (the Kingdom of Japan), he shows no mercy to any assassins who try to invade the castle, killing them on the spot, even though Tomoyo has asked him numerous times not to kill them. Short-tempered and a dear friend/servant to Tomoyo, the princess eventually decides that he needs to be sent to Dimension Witch Yūko Ichihara in order to discover true strength. Before she sends him off, Tomoyo curses him such that whenever he kills someone needlessly, he will grow weaker.

Kurogane, upon his arrival in the shop of the Dimension Witch, is the least informed as to who she is, but the most certain about what his wish is: he wants to return to his own world. Like his soon-to-be travelling companions, he must pay with what he values most to gain the ability to traverse dimensions. For Kurogane, it was his sword Ginryuu. He reluctantly agrees to give up the sword, but asserts that he will come back for it someday.

At the beginning of the story, Kurogane told Syaoran that he would not help in finding Sakura's feathers, since it was not related to him. However, he ended up aiding Syaoran and the others anyway, teaching Syaoran how to fight and use a sword as well.

Kurogane showed a strong reaction when he saw another Tomoyo in Piffle World. After hearing how she met Princess Tomoyo in a dream, he hesitantly asked her how Princess Tomoyo is. Just before he left, he affirmed that he will definitely go home.

In the Tokyo arc, Kurogane was involved in a short fight with Kamui. Later, he wished to Yūko to save Fay's life, after Fay's eye was ripped out by the clone Syaoran. Through an arrangement by Yūko, Kurogane and Kamui mixed their blood and forced Fay to drink it. Fay thus became a vampire and survived. Since it was not Fay's wish to live but Kurogane's, Fay can only take blood from Kurogane. Fay refrained from calling Kurogane nicknames from then on, in an effort to distance himself from Kurogane. Fay felt that by calling him the nicknames he had "crossed the line" that he himself had drawn to avoid getting too close to anyone, though it is inevitable that their relationship will change.

Kurogane noticed that Fay and Sakura were up to something in the Infinity world, but did not say anything. After Sakura left, however, he finally spoke up, refusing to let Fay give up his eyesight to go to Celes. Kurogane told Yūko they would all pay a fourth of the price to go save Sakura's body from Celes.

In the latter parts of Volume 20, Ashura used his magic to show Syaoran, Kurogane, and Mokona visions of Fay's tragic past. This caused an angry Kurogane to unsheath his sword and attack Ashura and Fay. He and Fay fought fierce battle that devastated the room around them. In the mayhem, Kurogane destroyed the body of Fay's twin and managed to overpower Fay in that moment of weakness. Kurogane then turned on Ashura, demanding to know why he'd shown them Fay's memories. The king responded by saying that he only wanted Fay to "grant his wish" and kill him. Ashura then launched vicious spells against Fay, Kurogane, Syaoran, Mokona, and a defenseless Sakura's body in order to force Fay's hand to kill him. In the chaos that followed, one of the massive ice stalagmites that he conjured pierced Kurogane through his lower right side.

Kurogane is then apparently spared the damage due to the protective spell that placed upon him before leaving Japan by Tomoyo. He then stabs Ashura, and after the king's death, Fay's second curse activates.

Fay's second curse caused him to suck up the world of Celes, to destroy it from the inside; Fay tries to transport Kurogane and the others out of the small sphere that Celes has become, but he doesn't have enough magic to do so. He only succeeds in transporting Syaoran, Sakura, and Mokona. Then Mokona's earring (a magical tool made by Yūko) was able to drill a hole into the sphere Fay and Kurogane were being held in, but only one person could pass through. When Fay told Kurogane to leave him, Kurogane cut off his left arm and pulled Fay through, leaving it and Sōhi as a sacrifice to rescue Fay.

In Chapter 167, Kurogane wakes up and finds himself back in his country, with Princess Tomoyo by his bed. Tomoyo welcomes Kurogane home and asks him if he has found out the true meaning of strength, to which he replies that he doesn't know. However, he explains to Tomoyo that he doesn't regret giving up his arm to take Fay with him, and tells her that he knows that some things can't be protected only by (physical) strength. This surprises Tomoyo, but she acknowledges that Kurogane has definitely realized the true meaning of strength. She then lets Fay into Kurogane's room. Kurogane seems genuinely pleased to see Fay, while Fay doesn't express much emotion, until suddenly - he punches Kurogane. Kurogane doesn't quite react to this, far too startled. Fay then smiles at him, saying "This is payback, Kuro-sama." The smile seems like the real thing, and Fay has gone back to using suffixes on Kurogane's name. Kurogane grins back, promising to beat Fay up for that. Their relationship seems to go back to normal after this, melting the ice that was lodged between them and deepening their bond.

In Chapter 169, Kurogane is approached by Fūma who has come to Nihon Country with an artificial arm from Piffle World, however Kurogane refuses the arm by saying that he "will not pay anything to that witch for it." Fay replies by saying that he had agreed to pay the price while he slept, and gave up the last of his magic. In the second to last page of 169, Kurogane is seen with the arm attached, but claims that it "feels weird." He then allowed Syaoran to battle Seishirō and enter the dream world alone.

Recently, Kurogane has decided to go with Fay and Syaoran to find the Real and Clone Sakura. In order to find out the location of the Sakuras, they must pay a price. The price has been paid for by Watanuki as he wanted to repay Syaoran for saving him.

Kurogane later talks to Tomoyo about how Fei Wong planned to use him but Tomoyo reassures him that he wouldn't be easy to control thinking back on how he would never listen to anybody. He then requests the real Ginryu from Tomoyo, stating he'll have to commit the sin of digging up his mother's grave. But Tomoyo reveals that before his mother died, she requested that Tomoyo hang onto it until her son needed it. Kurogane, with the real Ginryu in hand, leaves for Clow Country with Syaoran and Fay.

Upon arriving there and after realising about the time-loop, it is confirmed by him that the mechanichal limb hurts after all.

After 'Syaoran' gets into a fight with his clone Clone, he and Fay deal with the rest of Fei Wong Reed's soldiers, and later, with the man himself. He, Fay and Syaoran keep fighting him to no avail, until the reincarnated clones arrive at the scene. After they, along with their original counterparts, get sucked into the tube and later break out, Kurogane takes advantage of Fei Wong's confusion and strikes him, presumably killing him.

Powers and Abilities

Perceptive Fighter: Kurogane is serious and extremely perceptive, being able to quickly discern Syaoran's fighting ability as well as Fay D. Flourite's true nature and fighting capabilities.

Expert Swordmansman: His orginal sword was given to the Dimensional Witch, but he obtained a new sword in Ōto called the Sōhi (Blue Ice). Thanks to Fay, Kurogane could summon his sword from his left hand in a similar way to Syaoran.

Trivia

  • 'Kurogane' means black steel in Japanese. His first name, 'Yōō', means "Eagle King".
  • In the Hanshin Republic, Kurogane's kudan resembles Magic Knight Rayearth's mashin Celes.
  • An omake in the manga explains that Kurogane is hooked on reading ninja manga he finds in different worlds.
  • Another omake explains that Kurogane doesn't move when he sleeps. Yūko remarks that it would be funny for a ninja to have strange sleeping patterns.
  • Yet another omake reveals that milk doesn't agree with his digestive system.
  • In another omake it is revealed that Kurogane attempted to give Yūko a demon as his White Day present but was denied and thus still has to get her a gift.
  • In the anime his childhood name is Haganemaru; it is discarded when he comes of age. This name is not an official CLAMP name. His original name, Youou, was eventually revealed in Chapter 182 of the manga.
  • In the Tsubasa Character Guide, Kurogane's fighting abilities are scored as a perfect 500/500, making him the best combatant in the series in terms of physical prowess (as rated by himself). In the same character guide, his early character designs are seen as an older-looking version of himself (although his outfit is identical to the one drawn with it).
  • Tsubasa, Kurogane and Fay appear in episode 20 of Kobato. Since Sakura is not with them, and taking into account the clothes they are wearing, Tsubasa is still on his journey to find a way to restore his parents' bodies. As the group met Ioryogi, Fay and Mokona start teasing at both, saying that the plushie dog is Kobato's world Kurogane (which is a pun of the fact that they share the same seiyuu, and that Kurogane has been refered as a dog several times before).

References

  1. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle chapter 181

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