[Application] Hinode, Koharu

Hello all. I've got a pitch for you, so let's get to it.

Koharu Hinode is a woman who has lived her life (both of them) by a singular ideal: that power should be used to benefit those who are weak and helpless. As a human, she was the bastard-born daughter of a disgraced Taira clan samurai who earned a place in the world on the weight of her skill with a blade. As a soul in the Rukongai, she was a ronin, a wandering-warrior who fought for food, money or shelter. And now, as a Shinigami, she serves in the Sixth Division, arresting those who break the laws of the Serireitei and, due to the recent crisis, cutting down the very people she once thought to help. You see, Koharu of practicality and principles. She understands that no peasant, or even a group of them, can possibly change the way things are done in the Soul Society, and so joined the Gotei in order change it from within. The problem is, institutions have a way of swallowing people- and Koharu is no exception.

Placed in the Sixth Division straight out of the Academy, Koharu has served for the last ninety-six years as both an enforcer of the Seireitei's will and an executioner for its enemies. Her growth stewarded by the ever-stalwart Ichiro Watanabe, Koharu grew in both skill and power, eventually rising through the ranks of the Sixth to become its Fifth Seat- but then, plague struck the human world, driving the Soul Society into chaos with the vast numbers of souls arriving every day... and with them a growing resentment of the status quo in the peasant population. Never mind the hundreds of new recruits being shoved out of the Academy as nothing more than meat shields thanks to this "Asauchi" invention (which she likes in theory but sincerely dislikes in it's current practice).

Stuck between her sense of morality and the deeply instilled obedience that comes from nearly a century of service, Koharu is torn between what she believes is right and what she has been called to do as a member of the Sixth, a tension that is slowly ripping her apart. She agrees with the populists, would even support them if she could, but her position (and her own reluctance to sacrifice her comfortable lifestyle) keep her from stepping out, which manifests itself in the form of a simmering, explosive anger that is just waiting to erupt. This, combined with her strong work-ethic, propensity for deception (both self and on others), and subtle but profound bloodlust make her a volatile woman- perfect, I think, for what you all have going on.

Koharu's Personal Goals
1). Master the use of her Zanpakuto, in both its sealed and unsealed state.

2). Get a handle on her growing anger issues.

3). Either overcome or embrace her role as a Shinigami

4). Maybe find a few friends who she actually, you know. Likes.

Plot-Related Goals
1). Serve in her capacity as 5th Seat and aid in the resolution of the current population crisis.

2). Protect and guide any new recruits she feels need a helping hand, preferably keeping them alive.

3). Find a workable solution to her place in the Seireitei (Help the populists? Don't help?) that doesn't compromise her comfortable lifestyle.

Hinode, Koharu
日の出, 佑日里

“Small Spring Sunrise”

5th Seat || 6th Division


Personnel File
Birthday: May 15th
Gender: Female
Ethnicity: Japanese

Physical Specifications
Height and Weight:
178 Cm || 67 Kgs
Eyes: Sky blue, sharp, and bristling with tightly leashed passion.
Hair: Pink, straight, and surprisingly soft; falls to the top of her breasts when not bound in a ponytail. Sports a single, slightly shorter section on the right side of her face that hangs to about her chin.
Reiatsu: Koharu’s Reiatsu is a brilliant amber, and it roars to life when roused, curling and undulating from her limbs like fire. Dense and heavy, it bends in on itself like smoke and coils about anything it touches, a python ready to feed. Like most Shinigami, the hue of her Reiatsu seeps into Koharu’s irises when in moments of intense spiritual resonance, staining the edges of her usual sky blue gold.

General Appearance: Koharu is what one would expect of a Shinigami who has lived by the strength of her blade for decades: tall, lithe, and yet mesmerizingly feminine. Her frame is coated in layers of hard, lean muscle, accented by a full, firm bust and generous curves. She prefers to wear her hair up in a tight ponytail, adorned with vibrant black and red headpiece in the shape of a sunburst, but does occasionally let it down when not on duty. Her features are strikingly Japanese, with hints of her Taira ancestry in the tilt of her nose and the height of her cheekbones.

Her beauty and bloodline, however, are largely irrelevant to her duties as a Shinigami, which is reflected in both her mannerisms: straight-backed with a firm stride and shoulders squared, every muscle resting in the perfect balance of tension and calm, ready. Her face is fixed in a seemingly perpetual grimace, at once projecting her intensity and a distinct displeasure with whomever is in her field of view. All in all, Koharu gives the impression of being a warrior on the edge, as if the smallest thing might set her off, an impression that is wholly inadequate when compared to the storm that roils beneath the surface.

Because of this, Koharu’s movements often seem quick and jerky, as if she were being pulled by invisible strings. The only exception to this is in battle, which causes a remarkable transformation to take place: gone are the awkward fits and starts, replaced instead with the fluidity and grace of a master dancer, every step and swing flowing into the next with breathtaking precision that nonetheless retains her trademark intensity. It is there, in the throes of combat, that the truth of who Koharu is seems most evident- she is a blade, sharp and cold and deadly, when put to the right use.

Unsurprisingly, Koharu maintains her Shikauksho with the same rigorous intensity that she applies to everything, and it is rare to find her wearing anything less than a perfectly trimmed uniform, every sash and fold in just the right place (even if that neckline is a tad low). She wears her Zanpakuto on her left hip, blade side up, the wakizashi over the katana.

When not on duty, Koharu’s outfits offer a much more vibrant picture of the woman, as she favors bright blues accentuated by red, with floral and leaf patterns throughout. As a whole, her wardrobe is both boldly feminine and inherently classical, with many pieces that would fit right in at any Imperial function and others that would make even the most jaded street courtesan blush.

Psychological Profile
“You cannot cage a storm; at best, you can only hope to direct it.”

Koharu is a woman driven by a deep and ever-bursting well of passion that has been tempered and leashed by decades of discipline and duty in the Sixth Division. Experience and circumstances have thrust leadership into her hands, but that has not changed Koharu’s attitude towards life or her duty: she believes now, as she did at the first, that the Seireitei can only be changed from the inside out, that it must be changed, no matter the cost.

One day, she’ll figure out how to do it, too.

On the surface, Koharu seems to be the model Shinigami: polite (if tense), dutiful to a fault and ready to draw her blades at the first sniff of a fight. This impression isn’t entirely far from the truth, as she is deeply motivated by her ideals to be respected and trusted by both her comrades and superiors. That she enjoys the simple pleasure of a job done, and done well, is simply an added bonus.

Beneath the choppy waters of her facade, however, lies a dangerous secret: a core of seething resentment and disgust at the injustices of the Seireitei that boils and writhes through her soul. She hates how the Soul Society treats those it views as “lessers” (having been one herself), and that hate has manifested in a ferocious, slow-burning temper that, when it erupts, is truly spectacular to behold. This is not to say that Koharu is all seething anger and tightly leashed passion, as she can be quite personable (even light-hearted) when not on duty, though this is a rare sight with the current crisis.

As stated earlier, Koharu prefers to do things well –she sees no point in half-assing anything– and this preference leads her to train with fanatical intensity, particularly when it comes to the use of the blade. She will put hours upon hours into practicing her kata, pushing herself to exhaustion for that one half-step of extra speed, that slight edge of strength or skill that can mean the difference between victory and defeat. She even takes this attitude into her only hobby, drawing, and will spend hours on a portrait if given the chance.

Zanpakutō File
Zanpakutō Spirit:
Tatemae (建前; Lit. “Built up,” Fig. “Facade”) is, in many ways, the light to Koharu’s shadow: bright, bubbly, and almost saccharine-sweet in her seeming childishness, she takes the form of a tall, regal-looking woman with jet-black hair and amber-gold eyes. Clad in the finest of Imperial Regalia, all white, Tatemae appears at first glance to be exactly what her apparel implies- a queen, an Empress who presides over the unwashed masses with all the aloof dignity befitting her station.

The illusion is shattered, however, the moment she opens her mouth: at once both childishly mischievous and deceptively cruel, Tatemae is a spirit who revels in lying, misdirection, and subterfuge, not for some grand purpose, but simply because she can. Her every action is layered in meaning, and oftentimes she will play tricks on Koharu (such as when they first met and she pretended to be a mangy dog), trying to get her to believe something that isn’t true- or, if she sees through the deception, teach her some lesson she finds important.

Tatemae embodies both the childishness of Koharu’s ideals (which she resolutely denies) and her inherent tendency for deception, both towards herself and others. She lives in a perpetual paradox of wanton, reckless abandon and an ever more tangled web of lies and facades that ought to be impossible to keep up with, yet aren’t. This is not to say there are no similarities between wielder and spirit, as they both share an intense well of passion, and when pressed Tatemae has confessed she agrees with Koharu’s idealism- but whereas Koharu drifts ever deeper into the depths of frustration and depression, stubbornly refusing to bend, Tatemae never fails to find enjoyment in what she does, even if she finds it distasteful.

Inner World
The Palace

Koharu’s Inner World manifests as a sprawling, labyrinthine palace of solid marble whose corridors twist around upon themselves in impossible ways, creating a maze of walls and rooms that is all but impossible to navigate. At times unbearably hot and bone-shatteringly cold, sometimes from one step to the next, the Palace is light by a series of floating orbs that emit light only when a person is present- however, that light is often twisted by Tatemae, presenting her with a puzzle or challenge to overcome before she can meet with the spirit.

Sealed Zanpakutō
Koharu’s sealed Zanpakuto manifests as not one but two blades: a katana, 102 Cm from kisaki to koshira, and a wakizashi, 56 Cm. Both blades are kept in immaculate condition, as she has them cleaned and polished regularly, to the point that they all but shine even in the dimmest of lights.

The blades are stored in a pair of blue saya decorated with swirling splotches of color -red for the wakizashi, gold for the katana- and are lacquered to an almost reflective sheen. Their tsuba’s match, forming an iron-black circle of lines that spiral out from the center, while their menuki differ: the wakizashi sports silver menuki in the shape of pouncing tiger, while the katana has gold menuki cast in the form of a coiled, eastern dragon. Both blades have matching tsuka-ito of blue silk, interwoven with black, and are capped by flat kashira of polished iron.

Shikai Appearance
"Blind, Tatemae"
Tatemae’s Shikai does not create any outward change in the blade’s form- however, it is accompanied by a glow along the length of both weapons, as if the light around them were being twisted and shaped by some unknown force. This glow shifts and folds in on itself constantly, granting the blades a cloudy, almost tempestuous appearance not unlike a miniature tornado (albeit one that changes color repeatedly).

Shikai Abilities:
Tatemae’s ability is deceptively simple: once released, Koharu has the ability to craft “hard” illusions that are made of light bent and twisted around itself, then given a solid form by her Reiryoku. These illusions, while three-dimensional and possessing a physical form, are not capable of causing harm, as the slightest touch will cause them to blur and distort, and can easily be scattered if one simply waves an arm through one a few times.

Documented History

Born the bastard daughter of a disgraced Taira samurai and a whore in Nara, Koharu grew up an urchin, fighting for food and shelter from the time she was kicked out of the brothel at six. Forced to scavenge for herself, she developed into a fierce (if crude) fighter, and eventually worked her way into a local robber gang, fighting both bandit and samurai alike. It was here that Koharu learned to wield a sword, and began to develop a sense of morality, eventually breaking off from the brigand group to form her own band who fought, not for riches, but to defend those who needed help.

By the time she turned twenty, Koharu had developed something of a reputation, a woman who fought with the men, who fought like a man, and that reputation drew the attention of the local lord, who sent out his Samurai to put down “the demon woman and her fellows.” Needless to say, Koharu and her fellow bandits were no match for the full might of the lord’s garrison; though they fought hard, the band was slaughtered, with Koharu herself dying when an archer loosed an arrow that went right through her left eye.

Her life had been short, full of violence and brutality- but while her body was quickly pulled aside and burned with the rest of the bandits, Koharu’s spirit lived on.

Awaking in the midst of a sprawling shantytown of decrepit shacks and primitive hovels, Koharu wandered about for days, confused and increasingly hungry, until at last she encountered a group of people. Unfortunately, the men she ran into turned out to be brigands, just as she had once been, and they accosted her, thinking to take advantage of her apparent weakness. Hungry though she was, Koharu dispatched the men without fanfare, cutting them down with an ease that surprised even herself.

Taking the dead men’s provisions (including a pair of swords), Koharu kept walking, looking for a place to call her own. Occasionally she would encounter people, be they bandits or farmers, and each time she did her best to deal with them according to her values, but as the years wore on (and the memories of her human life faded) she found it increasingly difficult to follow any form of moral path: bandits stole from farmers, yes, but they only stole because they had nothing, so how was she help the one and condemn the other?

Twenty years passed like this with no real end or solution in sight, but fate (or perhaps just luck) intervened: one of the hovels Koharu passed through in the Outer Rukongai was plagued by a beast that struck from the shadows and devoured men whole, and she set out to slay it for the people, as Shinigami rarely went past the 80th district, let alone out into the wilds where she was. That beast, of course, was a Hollow, and it was far beyond Koharu’s ability to fight- indeed, the monster easily snapped her blades in half, battering her with its massive limbs.

Bloodied and beaten, Koharu should have died… but from the depths of her soul a voice, light and playful, spoke in her mind, and before the Hollow could finish her off she struck, two beautiful swords materializing in her hands. The weapons, a katana and wakizashi, cut through the Hollow’s thick skin with ease, cleaving its massive white mask in twain and Koharu watched it break apart into motes of dust just before she passed out.

When she awoke, days later, it was not in the clearing where she had fought the Hollow, nor was it in the small village she had hoped to help with her quest. No, it was on a wonderfully soft bed in the middle of a stone building, surrounded by people in white uniforms. As it turned out, a Shinigami had actually been dispatched to deal with the Hollow she killed, but by the time he arrived she had already done the deed- and, unknowingly, manifested her very own Zanpakuto. The Shinigami had collected the unconscious Koharu the moment he pieced things together and brought her to the Shin’o Academy, the place where all Shinigami are trained.

Koharu was to be a Shinigami… whether she liked it or not.

Relevant Background
Despite an initial reluctance to learn the Shinigami arts, Koharu quickly adapted to her circumstances and became a model student, surprising both her teachers and herself with how quickly she picked up not only the combat skills, but reading, writing, and logic as well. She even learned how to draw. Though she strove to be perfect in everything, Koharu excelled at Zanjutsu in particular, utilizing her twin-Zanpakuto (which, she discovered, was even rarer than a Rukon-rat such as herself manifesting a Zanpakuto) to devastating effect, though unfortunately never managed to contact her Zanpakuto Spirit.

Her six years at the Academy were some of the best of her life; in its serene halls Koharu eventually developed her moral philosophy further, at last putting into words what she had long felt. Ironically, the revelation came through the writings of a Western poet who extolled that the virtue of nobility is not its higher status, but its use of that status and power for the betterment of those beneath them.

Upon graduation, Koharu was placed in the Sixth Division, and it quickly proved to be a fortuitous match: her initial duties of rounding up drunken Shinigami, tracking down those who had left their post, and routinely heading to the world of the living to slay Hollows instilled in her a sense of purpose and fulfillment that she had lacked for most of her life, driving her to work hard and excel. This brought the attention of the Lieutenant of the Division, Ichiro Watanabe, who noted her potential and, along with her fellow comrade Takahiro Hidekawa, began to steward her growth.

During this period of growth, however, something happened that shifted Koharu’s world substantially. Sent out on a routine mission with some of her more experienced comrades to track down a Shinigami who had gone AWOL, they quickly discovered that the Shinigami had done quite a bit more than simple desert: he had organized a small but fierce group of peasants into a proper force of soldiers, teaching many of them the Shinigami arts.

Determined to stamp out what they deemed “a revolt in the making,” Koharu’s comrades sent word to the Lieutenant of their findings, and were soon granted permission to put the peasants and their former comrade down. Horrified, Koharu tried to object, but was handed an ultimatum; she could either assist in putting the peasants down, or she could be put down with them.

Koharu complied, and the group attacked the village where their former comrade had set up shop; the battle, if it could even be called that, was short and brutal, with the Shinigami slaughtering the peasants with contemptuous ease, Koharu included. Their former comrade, however, proved more slippery than they thought, and escaped while the farmers were being slaughtered. Determined not to let the man get away, not after what she had been coerced into doing, Koharu gave chase, leaving her superiors behind.

She eventually caught up with the man, still coated in the blood of the peasants she had killed, and the two of them fought. He was stronger and more skilled than her, and before long Koharu found herself backed into a corner, bleeding from several wounds and once more facing death. Just as it had done once before, a voice spoke from the depths of her soul in the moments before she died- but this time, she didn’t merely hear the voice, Koharu saw who it came from. Pulled into her Inner World in the blink of an eye, Koharu was brought face to face with her Zanpakuto Spirit for the first time… and instantly felt that something was off, as before sat a rather mangy dog.

The dog spoke with a cultured voice, gravely declaring that she was barely worthy of her attention, but Koharu quickly realized there was more going on than what she could see, as the dog, though very lifelike, did not seem to be breathing. Or moving at all when it spoke, actually. She voiced her suspicions and, much to her surprise, the dog laughed, dissipating in a burst of light that revealed a far different presence- a woman, black haired and regal, who pronounced that she was “fun to play with.” Koharu, though, was quite annoyed, and snapped at the spirit, demanding to either be told her name or be sent back to the fight to die (it was, after all, why she’d been called into her Inner World, wasn’t it?).

The Spirit’s laughter did not cease, though it did grow a touch mocking; of course it had called her here for that. The question was not, however, whether Koharu needed to know the name of her Zanpakuto- the question was if she was worthy of it. This implication (that she wasn’t worthy) infuriated Koharu, but she had no other options but to ask, so she did:

“How do I prove my worth?” She asked. The Spirit, surprisingly, answered with something rather straightforward.


The statement, far from angering Koharu further, seemed to settle something inside of her, as if a piece herself had at last clicked back into place. Without thinking about it, Koharu did what the Spirit asked of her, telling a simple lie about how she enjoyed the Spirit’s prank with the dog that had the dark-haired woman smiling- and with that smile came a name, plain and beautiful all the same, that sang out from her lips as she returned to the fight:

“Blind him, Tatemae.”

Utilizing her newly acquired Shikai on nothing but instinct, Koharu was able to even the odds, blanketing his face with a cloud of blackness that allowed her to deflect his killing strike and land a decisive blow of her own before collapsing from her wounds. When she awoke, hours later, Koharu was greeted by the comrades she had left behind- and congratulated not only for killing the deserter, but for unlocking her Shikai as well.

Koharu was given a promotion soon after the mission, rising from an unseated recruit to 17th seat, but with her new position came more responsibilities, and with those responsibilities a growing sense of frustration and antipathy towards the Seireitei and its methods. She had been forced, as a recruit, to kill civilians simply trying to protect themselves in the name of putting down a rebellion- what else would she be forced to do, now that she was in a seated position?

She would spend the next eight decades finding out, rising through the ranks of the Sixth through a series of decisions that pushed her to act against her morals, each time at the cost of lives she deemed innocent. Yet Koharu never spoke out, never fought against it: instead, she simply seethed, the anger at herself and the Seireitei building ever hotter, but not yet reaching the point where it could no longer be contained.

Now the Fifth Seat of the Sixth, Koharu has been tasked with aiding her comrades in rooting out a new, populist movement within not only the Rukon but the Seireitei itself- all while a plague ravages the World of the Living, flooding the afterlife with more souls than in at any time in history and a new, controversial invention allows for Shinigami to be recruited in far higher numbers than ever….

Here's most of her sheet- I'll update it when I finish the History.
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