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Asano Rin
Blade of the Immortal
Volume 24, chapter 162 (Japanese)
4th Walling: For now, you may use the information your 4th walling character has for lulz, but please don't tell her she's fictional.
Val ☓ 23
Kikoujutsuka [AIM]

This app contains SPOILERS throughout the whole series.

☓ Name: Val
☓ Personal journal: [ profile] lanoyee
☓ Age: 23
☓ Other characters in The Devils See: N/A
☓ Email: yumejin[at]gmx[dot]net
☓ AIM/MSN/Yahoo! Messenger: Kikoujutsuka [AIM]

☓ Name: Asano Rin
☓ Series: Blade of the Immortal
☓ Reference: Wikipedia entry, Wikipedia list of characters.
☓ Canon point: Japanese volume 24, chapter 157.
☓ Age: Seventeen on all accounts.

☓ Background: The setting is Edo (modern Tōkyō), Japan, late 18th century. Originally, Rin comes from a pretty well-established samurai family, her father having been the head of a sword school, the Muten-ichi-ryū. This comfortable life, however, ended on the night of her fourteenth birthday, when Anotsu Kagehisa and his gang, the Ittō-ryū, showed up at their doorstep and, after already having killed all students of the school, had her father killed and her mother brutally raped, all in Rin’s presence. The reason for this was an old feud between their grandfathers as well as Anotsu’s goal of reviving his idea of a true warrior’s spirit by forcefully taking over other dōjōs. Rin herself got away physically unharmed, but her psychological wounds were deep and she swore revenge on Anotsu Kagehisa.

Two years later, she meets an old nun who recommends her to hire Manji, an immortal rōnin, as a bodyguard, which Rin manages to do, after some initial troubles with Manji. From then on, the unlikely pair repeatedly runs into Ittō-ryū fighters, among them the man who killed Rin’s father, a young man named Magatsu Taito who’d been present at Rin’s unusual birthday party and carries a sword that belonged to Rin’s father, an immortal like Manji, a female sword fighter named Makie who is close to Anotsu, and the man who raped Rin’s mother. They kill all of them except for Magatsu, from whom they get the sword back, which will from now on be Rin’s weapon; and Makie, who would have killed Manji if not for Rin’s intervention.

After that, they get an offer from Mugai-ryū, a mysterious organization with ties to the government, for teamwork in finding Anotsu Kagehisa. They accept reluctantly and are told by the Mugai-ryū that Anotsu will be leaving Edo for the Kaga province soon - in the disguise of a woman, no less. Seeing as Anotsu, according to their information, is sending out several decoys as bait, the group splits up, hoping to catch the real deal that way. Rin is paired up with Shira, whose true nature she has to find out the hard way when he tortures the decoy troupe they’d been following and nearly rapes the woman who impersonates Anotsu. The woman is saved from that by the arrival of Manji, who cuts Shira’s arm off. All of them are discovered by passersby, at which point Shira flees.

Not much later, Rin decides to go to Kaga by herself, as Manji, being a wanted criminal, cannot leave Edo. On the way, she quickly finds out that she is wanted now, too - someone had reported her and Manji for the murder of two merchants, probably Shira. Subsequently, Rin pleads with a woman working at the inn they’d been staying at and gets herself a disguise. From then on, she begins the trip to Kaga. At the Kobotoke turnpike, she has to take the high risk of disguising herself as a local inn owner’s relative - as a wanted criminal, she can’t get a permission to pass the turnpike, and if she is found out, it will cost her her head. She manages to get through and continues on her journey, being robbed due to naivete in the process. Eventually, she makes it, but collapses in the forest, and is found by none other than Anotsu Kagehisa himself.

She decides to follow him and they spend a time traveling together, trying to escape Anotsu’s followers all the while, as he has been betrayed by the government and the sword school which he’d made a pact with. Rin is hoping to kill him while he’s asleep or otherwise off guard, but instead ends up carrying him around when he falls ill with tetanus. When caught by his followers, she surrenders, not wanting to be tortured for her enemy’s sake, and leads them to his hiding place. A grand showdown follows, including Manji, who’d followed Rin and finally caught up. It ends with Anotsu winning, his followers destroyed, and Rin giving him a promise that one day, she’ll come to kill him.

Back in Edo, life goes on peacefully until Manji has an interlude, first with Giichi, then with some Ittō-ryū, among them Magatsu. It ends well, though, with Manji, Giichi and Magatsu all alive.

After that, however, Manji is invited to the house of Habaki Kagimura, leader of the nigh disbanded Mugai-ryū and also the government official invested in the pursuit of Anotsu Kagehisa. He does not return from this visit, and Rin worries. She moves from the hut they’d been living in back to her home dōjo, thinking it will be safer there. The night she moves in, she gets a visit from two Ittō-ryū fighters, Dōa and Isaku, who’d been hoping for a place to spend the night. After a short scuffle, she grants them shelter, and they life at her place for a while. When they have a run-in with the police due to some trouble Dōa caused earlier, Isaku is taken away, too, and the girls team up to find their men.

In the end, it turns out both Manji and Isaku are being held prisoner beneath Edo Castle, where “experiments on immortality” are being held. A lot of people are convicted on feeble grounds at the same time and being used as test subjects as well.

After a lot of trials and tribulations, the girls succeed in breaking into the prison, flooding it and killing several guards in the process. They also manage to free the other men who were being held prisoner.

A short period of rest follows, in which Dōa and Isaku leave Edo, Dōa leaving Rin with an engagement dagger and her sword as keepsakes. Rin and Manji go back to a sort of peaceful lifestyle. Manji builds a new, shabby hut and spends his days fishing while Rin comes to live with Sōri, her father's good friend.

Soon, however, Manji is attacked by members of a new group in Habaki's service, the Rokki-dan, while Rin has an unexpected run-in with Anotsu, who chats her up quite cheerfully and tells her he's going south. Rin promises to follow him.

In the end, all relevant parties go on their way to Mito, via which the Ittō-ryū are said to go to Satsuma province. While traveling per palanquin, Rin is attacked and kidnapped by Shira, who intends to use her as bait for Manji.

It is from this situation that she will arrive in The Devils See.

☓ Personality: Rin is, in her heart of hearts, a pretty average seventeen-year-old girl. She's at a point in life where everyone around her tells her she's still a kid while she herself feels that she's an adult already – though this is no doubt also affected by her experiences.

Because she's seen a lot of awful things, and they have left their mark on her. She has a definite consciousness that life is hardly ever easy, and she sometimes has trouble making the more difficult decisions she is faced with. There's that eternal conflict within her: she is angry and bitter and wants to get back at the people who've made her suffer, but on the other hand, she is also fundamentally against taking lives.

Once she's made a decision, however, she stands by it, steady as a rock, even if that decision is not one hundred percent morally sound. Because if there's one thing that Rin definitely is, it is determined; once she's made up her mind about something, she will not be deterred, and “giving up“ is not part of her vocabulary. This, along with her bravery, allows her to pull off some daring stunts. That bravery also means she will stand up for other people, even if they are associated with enemies, and valiantly tries to hold her ground even against utter monsters.

Which doesn't mean that she doesn't know fear. To the contrary, she is frequently scared and even terrified of things and people. It merely means that sometimes, in extreme situations, she's able to set aside that fear and act against it.

It also doesn't mean she always succeeds. Indeed, she frequently fails, for she is not very physically strong. She has a lot of cleverness to make up for it – for example, she hides pellets of poison and medicine, respectively in each of her hair rings, and she is able to making things up as she goes. She is also intelligent, as shown by her habit of looking at matters in a complex way, usually considering multiple sides to a problem, and her ability to look past her own situation and consider other points of view, as well.

However, this is often hindered by her impulsivity. Rin is, by nature, more spontaneous than planning, and thus, she often ends up saying or doing things without thinking them through, and this frequently gets her into trouble. She is, however, a thinker: though it isn't always shown, it's pretty likely she's one of those people who have a constant running commentary going on in their thoughts. As the series progresses, she learns to plan ahead more, too, though her plans are never perfectly thought-out master schemes.

She's not exactly street-smart; once, she is fooled by a man pretending to care about her things which she'd left behind for a bath and subsequently highway-robbed. You could also call her naive about certain things, though that naiveté gradually fades. Generally, she has a habit to trust people or at least give them the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise, but she's also good at judging people.

She has a working creepdar and can find out how a person ticks pretty quickly; which she is willing to use to her advantage – namely, she can be a manipulator. This way, she manages to make Dōa somewhat pliable to her will. In the same vein, she can also be a passable actor if the situation calls for it, though she is generally very frank and straightforward and basically an open book about her emotions. This reflects physically, too: she has very vivid and rapidly fluctuating facial expressions and gestures.

All in all, she is very emotional and very sensitive. She cries quickly, a lot, and about any number of things; she throws up at the sight of corpses and gets height-sick. The amount of emotional energy she has is kind of impressive; she may still shed tears even when utterly exhausted after fighting her way through a lot of obstacles.

Despite the many setbacks she experiences, however, Rin is deeply, thoroughly, honestly a nice person. She is the most humane of killers: willing to help and team up with enemies and to let an opportunity slip by in favor of playing fair. On the other hand, though, she is far from a saint: she is capable of using people, and of making decisions which, while also having a compassionate component, are awfully convenient for herself. She can be selfish.

Due to her niceness and the aforementioned willingness to give people a chance, but also the fact the her main drive is revenge, she canonically almost exclusively surrounds herself with people who aren't morally spotless: people who have killed and do still kill on a regular basis. This is okay with her; as long as someone's still not an overall too unpleasant person or outright sadistic, it works.

☓ Abilities: The power of happening to be the heroine which, in this story as in most, means nigh-invincibility.

Really, though, she's an ordinary human. She's got no supernatural powers, and even though she considers herself a swordswoman, she's not very good at it. While she's probably better than the average woman of her time, she is surrounded by impossible badasses, so that was that.

What she's got going for her are thus mainly her cleverness, her determination, and the sheer amount of intestinal fortitude she sometimes displays.

☓ Weaknesses: Okay, let's ignore what I said up there for a moment and face the fact that Rin fails at fighting. Seriously, she does. While she isn't exactly clumsy with her sword, she probably never had anyone to train with before meeting Manji, so she was basically just dry-practicing her kata. And there is the “surrounded by impossible badasses” thing.

Her Flight of the Golden Wasps attack is really a hit-and-miss thing. She doesn't even look where she's throwing the things, so her aim is less than stellar. On a meta level, the move basically exists to spoof the “Rule of Cool” that is prevalent in so many manga – i.e., show that stuff that looks cool would often be horribly ineffective in real life.

On the personality side, her cleverness is often hampered by her impulsiveness. Sometimes, she just acts and reacts without thinking very much, and it gets her into trouble.

I already mentioned her selfishness, and sometimes, she also has an air of self-righteousness about her, which is most apparent in her discussions with Dōa, and several meet-ups with her enemies; and some of her decisions, while she often obviously means well, are just morally uncomfortable – such as deciding to fake her bodyguard's death to a kid whose father and only living relative was just killed by said bodyguard. Of course she recognizes that the path of revenge is walking is not exactly a good one, and it's understandable that she wants to prevent another kid from walking the safe path, but it is a choice that is awfully convenient for her.

She's also kind of failing at this whole revenge thing, at least when it comes to Anotsu.

☓ Strengths: On the physical side of things, Rin has learned a few kata with the sword and is capable of cutting a branch falling from a tree into six pieces before it its the ground. She also has her “standard attack”, Flight of the Golden Wasps, which usually is of... debatable effectiveness, but works as a distraction.

She is surprisingly effective with her fists; girl's got a mean punch. Can kick a man across the room, if duly provoked – so she has more physical strength than one would guess for a girl of her size.

However, her main strength really lies in the mental area. She makes plans and figures stuff out and puts two and two together. If the situation calls for it, she can get quite... creative. She's intelligent and capable to look past her own concerns at the bigger picture, as well as clever and able to think outside the box. For example, she is able to update her signature move by greasing her daggers, lighting them on fire and using them to ignite bags of gunpowder from a distance, thereby creating a kind of long-range bomb.

Another thing that works to her advantage is her sheer boldness and the aforementioned determination, which, frankly, sometimes borders on the insane. We're talking about having her belly slit to illegally pass a checkpoint or dislocating her own thumb to escape being tied up.

She can also be a good actor, again if the situation calls for it.
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「浅野 凜」 Asano Rin

February 2016


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