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Kaoru Mashiko (益子 薫 Mashiko Kaoru?) is a first-year high school student of Osafune Girls' Academy.

Appearance

Kaoru is a 15-year-old girl with long pink hair, light blue eyes, a petite physique and fair complexion. She styles her hair into twin ponytails, and part her hair resembles a pair of dog ears. She wears the uniform of Osafune Girls' Academy, although her small stature causes her vest to flop down her shoulders, along with white thigh-high socks and high-heeled Mary Janes.

Nene is often seen perched on top of her head.

Personality

She is typically seen as a sluggish, taciturn girl that always conserves her energy. She prefers to use "ore" when pertaining to herself in the first person. Although it may seem that she displays an indifferent attitude towards Ellen, she actually cares about Ellen and relies on her a lot.

Background

Kaoru is a member of the Mashiko family, that passes down the guardian youkai Nene as well as the okatana Nenekirimaru. At a young age, Kaoru is aware about the threats caused by Aradama and was once repulsive towards Nene for being an Aradama. However, after being lost in the forest one day, Nene came to bring her back to her family, and they have been close friends since.

After enrolling at Osafune Girls' Academy, she met Ellen and became her friend, and they started working for Mokusa (although citing Ellen as the main reason for joining the group) at some point.

Chronology

She joined Ellen as the representatives of Osafune Girls' Academy in the National Swordsmanship Tournament. She lost to Mai easily, although she would later admit that fighting Aradama is more important to her than engaging in tournaments with other Toji.[1]

Kaoru and Ellen would later join the many Toji who were held within the Origami Family estate after a failed attack on Yukari Origami involving fellow participants Kanami Etou and Hiyori Juujou. This, however, did not last long, and they were able to plan a beach trip to Shonan the next day.[2]

Although Kaoru was able to enjoy rest time with Ellen at Shonan Beach, Sana Maniwa, president of Osafune Girls' Academy, immediately deployed them to Ebisu, where Kanami and Hiyori were spotted by the Special Sword Administration Bureau, and refused to take no for an answer, even bringing back Kaoru's okatana that was supposed to arrive at Osafune's campus. Eventually, Kaoru and Ellen reached Ebisu, and they confronted Kanami on a two-on-one ambush, which was later intercepted by Hiyori after having second thoughts on going separate ways with Kanami. Due to a team effort by Hiyori and Kanami, Kaoru and Ellen were unable to subdue the two fugitives, even with two S-Equipment pods sent their way.[3]

After admitting defeat, Kaoru and Ellen met up with Hiyori and Kanami, this time revealing their real intention: to test whether the two fugitives were worthy to join Mokusa, a group that opposes the Origami Family. Kaoru and Ellen, themselves members of Mokusa, officially allowed the two to join the group. Meanwhile, the Elite Guard, composed of Maki Shidou, Suzuka Konohana and Yomi Satsuki, set up an operation to capture and detain Hiyori and Kanami. Using Yomi's ability to summon swarms of butterfly-like Aradama, the four Toji were separated, with Kaoru forced apart from her newest allies. In this attack, Kaoru's life was almost endangered until Nene saved her from falling off a cliff. Upon seeing Nene's injuries, Kaoru decided to take things more seriously and headed towards Yomi, the source of the swarm, and defeated her by overcoming the Aradama swarms using the sheer power of her okatana.[4]

Kaoru fell asleep after her victory over Yomi, only to wake up to the news that Ellen had not yet returned from the encounter with the Elite Guard. However, with Kanami and Hiyori's journey to Irozaki as top priority, she decided to trust Ellen's decision. Eventually, they would return to Ebisu as a fight broke out between Ellen, who was able to break out from the custody of the Elite Guard, and Yomi who injected several vials of Noro into her bloodstream to empower herself. Although unable to defeat Yomi, the four Toji were able to survive the clash with enough time for Ellen to call a nearby Mokusa submarine to make an escape.[5]

The submarine of Mokusa, operated by Richard Friedman, eventually took them to the base of the organization and allowed Kaoru, Ellen, Kanami and Hiyori to reunite with Kanami's tournament teammate Mai Yanase and Renpu Girls' School's Sayaka Itomi, along with Akane Origami, the founder of Mokusa, and President Maniwa, revealing herself as a member of the group.[6] After being informed about the truth behind the Great Disaster of Sagami Bay and Yukari Origami,[7] Kaoru joined the girls in training for group combat by senior Toji of Osafune Girls' Academy, in time for a local festival. However, at the second night of their stay in the base of Mokusa, their location was discovered by the Special Ritual Riot Squad and a raid took place, forcing the leaders of Mokusa and the girls to made a desperate escape. Albeit successful in running away, Mokusa lost many of their members that night and the following day as a result of a widespread investigation.[8]

Although saddened by the arrests of their fellow Toji in the Mokusa base raid, Kaoru joined the girls in gathering the resolve to fight back against Yukari's actions, vowing to avenge the townsfolk who were affected by the raid. Eventually, with Kanami's idea, Kaoru joined the others in performing a direct attack on the headquarters of the Special Sword Administration Bureau by using S-Equipment to even the odds.[9]

Combat Abilities

Expert Swordsmanship: Kaoru specializes in slow but powerful strikes that are better designed against Aradama than against human-sized targets. Despite this, receiving one blow from her sword is too powerful to be dealt with directly, making her style threatening even against experienced Toji. On the other hand, because of the slowness of her strikes, she tends to be disadvantaged at tournament-style combat.

  • Swordsmanship Style: Yakumaru Jigen-Ryu (薬丸自顕流?) - A style that practices the idea of "attack is the greatest defense" by specializing on the "dragonfly" stance, performing a splitting shout called "monkey's scream", and delivering a single lethal blow to the opponent. Although an "unsheathing" sword technique exists, it cannot be performed on the Nenekirimaru, so the style's essential technique of "striking" is used instead.

Immense Strength: She possesses tremendous physical strength, capable of swinging her huge okatana with ease, causing immediate destruction to her surroundings.

Average Stamina: Kaoru is capable of fighting at long durations despite the sheer size of her okatana, but tends to fall asleep after a "serious" battle.

Utsushi Proficiency: She is capable of maintaining Utsushi for a long time. She even capable if maintaining it while enduring many slashs.

Equipment

Okatana: Nenekirimaru (祢々切丸?) - A massive katana whose blade alone is two meters long. The name Nenekirimaru, according to legend, was derived when the sword leapt out from its scabbard and slew a youkai named "Nene".

Trivia

  • Kaoru always had upright forelocks. It was when Nene started sitting on her head that her hair became messy. (Source)

References

  1. Toji no Miko Episode 01, "The Point of a Sword".
  2. Toji no Miko Episode 03, "Thoughtless Sword".
  3. Toji no Miko Episode 04, "Weight of Resolution".
  4. Toji no Miko Episode 05, "Night of the Mountain Hunt".
  5. Toji no Miko Episode 06, "The Gap Between Humans and Disgrace".
  6. Toji no Miko Episode 07, "Heartache".
  7. Toji no Miko Episode 08, "Day of the Disaster".
  8. Toji no Miko Episode 09, "After the Festival".
  9. Toji no Miko Episode 10, "Resolve for Tomorrow".