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Akeginu

Image:Basilisk Akeginu.jpg
 

Akeginu (japanese: 朱絹, hiragana: あけぎぬ, rōmaji: Akeginu) a major character featured in the Japanese anime Basilisk Kouga Ninpou Chou (known in English as Kouga Ninja Scrolls). Akeginu was chosen to be one of ten ninja to represent the Iga Tsubagakure clan against the chosen ten of the rival Kouga Manjidani clan. The kanji forming her name translates to 'red silk' which matches her manner of dress exactly.

As the bodyguard and confidant of Princess Oboro, Akeginu is more forgiving of Oboro's lack of ninja skills than the rest of their clan. Regardless, her first loyalty is to the whole of Iga. So when word of the Hattori truce's cancellation reaches her, she holds no reservations about deceiving Oboro while aiding her comrades in their attempt to assassinate the Koga ten - including Oboro's lover Gennosuke. In light of her obligations, Akeginu does feel sympathy for Oboro's predicament and is the only member of the Iga ten besides Koshirou who doesn't ostracize Oboro after she makes the decision to seal her eyes. She even keeps safe from the other Iga the flute Gennosuke left in Tsubagakure so that Oboro would have a memento of her lover after the war ended.

A highly attractive woman, Akeginu (like Kagerou, her counterpart in the Koga ten) is representative of the traditional concept of the Kunoichi in her ability to use her sex appeal against members of the opposite sex. In battle, her technique grants her control over her blood; secreting it out of her pores and allowing her to squirt it into an opponent's face to distract them or create a fine mist to grant her the cover to move and attack in near complete stealth. Additionally, her technique can be used to "tag" any opponent who specializes in covert movement (as evidenced by her aide in Yakushiji Tenzen's fight with Kasumi Gyoubu). She's also in love with Tenzen's student Chikuma Koshirou, whom she had wished to marry in the future.

In the anime, Akeginu is voiced by Misa Watanabe.

Akeginu VS Jousuke (episode 4): Upon learning of the Hattori truce's absolvement, Akeginu escourted both Gennosuke and Udono Jousuke to Tsubagakure so the Iga could keep them under surveillance. Later that night, Akeginu met with Amayo Jingoro who suggested that they use this oppurtunity to cross both Gennosuke's and Jingoro's names off the battle scroll; despite Tenzen's orders for them to take no action until he returned. After enduring all of Jousuke's lecherous advances, Akeginu was more than willing to take care of him herself while Jingoro dealt with Gennosuke.

Attempting to catch him off guard, Akeginu snuck into the locked room where she had previously secured Jousuke only to find him gone. As she went outside to look for him, Akeginu found herself seized by her intended victim who promptly began to grope her. After a brief struggle, Akeginu was able to wiggle free of Jousuke's grip (though it cost her kimono to do so) and challenged him to a fight, promptly surrounding him with a mist of blood to obscure his vision. Akeginu used her cover to sneak up and slice Jousuke in the head with her sword, but since Jousuke's obesity gave his body the consistency of rubber, the blade merely bounched off without inflicting any harm. Shortly afterward, Oboro arrived to see what was causing so much commotion and Akeginu broke off her attack to keep Oboro from learning of the renewed conflict between the clans.


Akeginu VS Gyoubu (episode 14): While traveling by boat to Sunpu to intercept the Koga, the remaining five Iga members found themselves under siege by Kasumi Gyoubu who had broken off from Gennosuke's party to finish them off on his own. Gyoubu's first victim was Tenzen whom he strangled while Akeginu and Amayo Jingoro were on the opposite side of the ship. Upon discovering Tenzen's body, Jingoro panicked and began to wildly slash the planks of the ship before Gyoubu materialized beneath him and hurled him into the sea. As the salt water began to dissolve him, Akeginu shed her kimono and dove in to save Jingoro but was too late to stop him from being broken down completely. Akeginu took a moment to mourn her fallen comrade before vowing to avenge him as she climbed back onto the ship and was almost knocked off when a crewman fell overboard during Gyoubu's fight with the freshly revived Tenzen. Waiting until Gyoubu was distracted, Akeginu climbed over the railing and used her blood mist to mark him as he attempted to merge with the decks, allowing Tenzen to deliver the finishing blow as Gyoubu's outline transferred from the deck to an exterior wall of one of the ship's cabins.

In the manga, Akeginu is distracted by Gyoubu and Tenzen's fight and decides killing the enemy has a higher priority than rescuing her comrade. After spraying Gyoubu with her blood mist, she turns back to Jingoro but finds him gone with only a few shreds of his clothes left floating amidst the ship's wake.


Akeginu VS Kagerou (episode 20): Emotionally distraut by Koshirou's death, Akeginu accompanies Oboro to an Inn where Lady Ofuku keeps them under constant guard. Hearing a disturbance outside, Akeginu was shocked to see Ofuku's samurai assaulting Tenzen and immediately ordered them to stand down. As he accompanied her into the Inn; Tenzen revealed to Akeginu that Kagerou was the one who killed Koshirou, not Muroga Hyouma as she originally thought, and that he knew where she was located. After retrieving Koshirou's scythe from her quarters, Akeginu was guided by Tenzen to the bridge where her enemy stood waiting.

Slipping her arm out of her kimono for more ease of movement, Akeginu hurled herself at Kagerou with a ferocity fueled by vengeance for Koshirou and all of the Iga who had been killed. As she ruthlessly swung Koshiro's scythe against Kagerou's tanto, Akeginu soon overpowered her and knocked Kagerou to the bridge's deck as she tore off her kimono to create a blood mist that blanketed the entire bridge in a crimson fog. Under the cover of her technique, Akeginu charged forward to deliver the killing blow when someone grabbed her from behind. Akeginu looked over her shoulder and was shocked to see her ally Tenzen holding her back as Kagerou dove forward to plunge her dagger into Akeginu's heart. Not realizing the man holding her was actually Kisaragi Saemon in disguise, Akeginu stared at him with a look of betrayal as she dropped into the river below and disapeared into the current, the blood from her technique staining the water a dark scarlet in the early evening light.

Although she serves as Oboro's attendant in both the manga and anime, Akeginu's relationship with her is more distant in the manga where she doesn't seem to display major personal concern for Oboro other than her professional duties, and is quite less emotional than her anime incarnation. An example would be when she and Oboro stumble upon Koshirou's corpse and Akeginu stabs Hyouma's body in her fury. When Oboro says that disgracing Hyouma after he fought so valiantly against Koushirou was an offense to Koushiro himself; Akeginu in the anime begrudgingly accepts that Oboro was correct, while in the manga she bitterly scolds Oboro for saying something so idealistic in the midst of such a bloody conflict.

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