Altanae Stark is the enigmatic Revolutionary leader seeking to overthrow the World Government and usher in a new world order. It is therefore suggested that he is, without a doubt, the World Government's greatest enemy and subsequently the most wanted man in the entire world. He has confronted Fleet Admiral Kurama in many battle throughout the Grand Line to the point that the tales of these clashes have been elevated to the status of legends. Through his tremendous displays of skill and power on the battlefield, he has become known throughout the land as the "Black Dragon Emperor" (黒竜帝, Kuroryūtei).
Bearing an intimidating presence tinted with fatherly overtones, Altanae is significantly tall and possess a distinct facial structure. He has long black hair that reaches down his back, generally left loose, with a scruffy beard and mustache, with mutton chops that frame his face. Befitting of a militant ruler, he is generally seen wearing a white, double-breasted trench coat with large buttoned cuffs and lapels, white trousers, and trench boots. Over this, he wears a tattered, ankle-length black cloak, which has a red ribbon near the neck and is fastened to the left with a single large button.
- "What we're doing is not justice. But although it is not justice, it must be done. Because we live in a world where justice doesn't always win."
- —Altanae speaking with his fellow revolutionaries.
Wielding a gaze that focuses on a brighter future for all, Altanae is the incarnation of revolution; a true candidate to be considered the successor to the work of Monkey D. Dragon. He is a man that is centered upon the bigger picture for the world, believing that no matter how much chaos he and his gang wreck, it is all justified for the sake of bringing about a new world.
In his youth, Altanae truly believed in justice. His father, who served as a proud marine soldier, instilled a strong sense of justice in the boy and even inspired him to one day seek employment in the marines. He was raised to believe that no matter what evil someone commits, they will be punished by the heavens with the proper retribution. It is the place of the marines to carry out that punishment when heaven is unable to do so. And he carried that belief for many years, well into his young adult years. But his world view was promptly shattered when his father was killed by a young Kurama. Surely the man who did this was just a criminal, right? Just some hoodlum who would be captured and executed by his father's fellow marine soldiers, right? Wrong. Not even two months following the death of Altanae's father, he received word that the World Government had just appointed the new Fleet Admiral. And it was none other than the man who unjustly murdered his father in cold blood. Justice? Retribution by the heavens? All lies.
Altanae was lost for many years after this event. He abandoned the marines, though considering his low rank in the organization, nobody really batted an eye at his departure. He became exceedingly distant, unable to reach out to anybody around him, and eventually lost all contact with his remaining family members. His expression was cold and callous as he ventured across the world, traveling from island to island, and in his journeys, he had seen even greater atrocities than the murder of his own father. And the culprits of such heinous extortion and corruption? The very same marines he had revered as heroes in his youth. Altanae eventually could not stomach such sights and even went as far as to lash out at the corrupt soldiers, reaching points where he had liberated entire villages, and even began to kill indiscriminately if he believed it would put an end to the evil in front of him. In a fight, this serious level-minded persona carries through and proves to be a valuable asset of his. He is never shown to betray his instincts or to second guess his actions, carrying through with his intentions until they are completely carried out. However, he is shown to have some sense of arrogance, having incredible pride in his prowess and never hesitant to make his skill known, whether by his actions or by some form of boasting. Although, despite this, Altanae is almost always able to back up his claims, going beyond his limits to ensure he succeeds.
Over the years, the pain he tried so hard to hide within him, born from the terrible criminal acts he had committed under the belief of helping those in need, had split his soul and eventually led to him developing dissociative identity disorder. While his main persona is usually in control, he will sometimes find himself lost to one of the other four personalities within him; born from the events of his father's death, learning that his sense of justice was nothing but a lie, his interactions with the corruption caused by those he once considered heroes, and eventually his willingness to kill without remorse despite being against the notion of violence. Of course, as he came to learn of the acts he was committing under the influence of those personalities, he slowly became aware of them and eventually learned to how consciously switch between them. When he must commit an act he is uncomfortable with, he is able to switch over to a different persona to carry out the deed. As Altanae had once said, it is as if he and his four personalities are all in a room together in his head, often in discussion with each other.
Because he became aware of the other personalities and regularly engaged them in conscious conversation, each of them carries their own name to distinguish their identities within him. Of course, as Altanae himself is the primary personality, he is the one known as Altanae Stark. But among the four, each have their own names and roles within his mind.
- Kaisar (カイサー, Kaisā): Despite Altanae being the one normally in command, the task of dealing with giving out orders and convincing others to join the revolutionary cause usually is given to Kaisar. He is known to be charming and manipulative, a truly capable leader, as he normally issues the missions that will be needed to be carried out by the revolutionary army. Despite his cold and calculating methods, he does seem to have a genuine degree of concern for his subordinates, preferring not to send them on suicide missions. He is often criticized by Ikaros as being "too soft" while Nikolas describes his concerns as being "generally pointless". Despite this, Altanae seems to rely upon Kaiser more so on average than the others. Despite his calculating demeanor, he is often shown with a slight smirk.
- Nikolas (ニコラス, Nikorasu): Cynical and nihilistic, Nikolas is the side of Altanae that believes that there is no purpose to the world and its destruction is inevitable. Despite sharing Altanae's understanding of the new world, he does often make a point of stating his belief that creating a new world would be meaningless as it too would just be corrupted again. Among the five, Nikolas possesses the greatest insight, and as such, he produces the strongest Kenbunshoku Haki; in contrast to Ikaros. He generally berates Ikaros for his wild and unruly behavior, often telling him to settle down during a fight.
- Ikaros (イカロス, Ikarosu): Where all of Altanae's rage and frustrations lie, Ikaros is a foul-mouthed and aggressive individual that is by no means subtle. Among the personalities, it is the only one that demonstrates perverted emotions. Coupled with his demeanor, he is often seen belittling females or even making crude sexual comments toward them. Ikaros generally arises whenever Altanae is forced in a battle on the defensive, causing Ikaros to lash out aggressively toward his opponent and tends to insult Altanae verbally for being too weak. In contrast to Nikolas, Ikaros possesses the strongest Busoshoku Haki.
- Linos (リノス, Rinosu): In order for Altanae to make peace with the violent crimes he has committed in the name of peace, Linos is the sensitive and caring personality that caters to the emotional grief stored within Altanae each time he is forced to kill somebody or cause devastation, among other heinous crimes. He and Ikaros are often shown to be on odds with one another, with Ikaros constantly belittling him while Linos does his best to simply ignore him. Among the four, he is the only one who is visibly disturbed by the actions of the other personalities, but understands that everything they do is for the goal of creating a world where kind-hearted people may live in peace.
As the leader of the revolutionary army, Altanae wishes for a world where his father's words were not lies. He dreams of a world where justice always wins. And for that world to exist, the current world must be destroyed. In the pursuit of such a goal, he seeks to crush the World Government and take their place as the imposing ruling power in the world. Some part of this is personal, for the leader of his enemies, the marines, is none other than his father's murder. But it coincides with his plans to usher in a new world of justice. For the world to be born anew, the very symbol of hatred for Altanae — Fleet Admiral Kurama — must be killed. Altanae has an imposing demeanor, capable of attracting others to his cause and even subjugate other revolutionary factions under his command, but those under his wing are treated like family. Despite being an introvert, he is regarded as quite charming, and willingly interacts with his fellow revolutionaries in casual settings. But very rarely will he ever feel comfortable enough to let a person get too close to him, relying upon his alternate personas to help him deal with personal issues and concerns.
Abilities and PowersEdit
With the power to make the World Government acknowledge him as the greatest threat, Altanae carries a tremendous might that solidifies his standing as the head of the revolutionary army. He has managed to draw together multiple organizations that have identified themselves as rebellious elements in opposition to the World Government, whether by force or by his charm, and his following has reached levels that they can be considered a true army in every sense of the word. His ability to coordinate their efforts, even while on multiple battlefronts, has led to some of the greatest victories for the revolutionary army.
Altanae possesses a rather remarkable physique. Regardless of the persona in command at the moment, Altanae is capable of various feats of strength that is shown most prominently in his method of fighting. While traditionally a swordsman, he is known to engage his enemies in hand-to-hand combat as well. An aggressive nature concealed within a cold composure, Altanae spares no time in attacking, preforming well-executed strikes with no wasted movement. Perhaps what makes his abilities in hand-to-hand fighting so deadly is his emotionless expression while engaged in violently dealing with his adversaries, therefore making it almost impossible to ascertain his unpredictable movements, but what also makes him a dangerous contender is his lack of restraint, capable of dealing any form of killing blow to his opponents without a shred of mercy. However, that being said, Altanae is not without modesty. His techniques are never "over-the-top" and only seek to subdue and/or defeat the opponent (depending on his intentions) in as quick a manner as possible. Despite this, he very rarely initiates a fight, preferring to instead assume a defensive stance against an opponent.
It is due to his constant calm composure that his techniques never reveal any form of emotional wavering, each strike centered to kill and annihilate the opponent(s) by whatever means necessary. While he retains his defensive position, when he attacks, he prefers to strike with knife-hand techniques. In doing so, his attacks are like that of a blade, which fits with his swordsman stature; stabbing through a target with utmost ease and precision, while not making much of a mess of his victim. When using both hands, however, against an opponent which requires a bit more effort on his part, his stance changes to reflect a more poetic form of fighting. His strikes are no longer mainly direct thrusts but now deal in more circular motion, making spins with his hips in order to take advantage of the built-up torque to deal more devastating blows to the opponent while also striking them with constant assault, overwhelming them with his precise and powerful attacks, but also serve the purpose of helping him to restrain his enemies and holding them down to deliver finishing blows. In this barrage-like method of fighting, even the most skilled of warriors find themselves having difficulty in stepping into Altanae's space in order to deal a decisive counterstrike.
He demonstrates a level of speed that is akin to the Soru technique, flashing away and reappearing a distance away, which allows him to easily overwhelm any number of opponents. In order to properly develop this speed, he underwent enormous degrees of resistance training; starting from his childhood. His father had even begun to teach him some of the fundamentals behind the Rokushiki. While he never came to actually learn any of the techniques, the concepts he did learn from his father was enough for him to supplement his own physical capabilities and gave him a sense of direction when he was training.
Born as the son of a famous Marine swordsman, Altanae was trained in swordsmanship from the very moment he could pick up a sword firmly in hand. His father would make him train relentlessly, polishing his fundamentals and his stances daily, until his foundation as a swordsman was flawless. Instead of focusing right off the bat with advanced techniques, Altanae was taught that no matter how tall the building may be, it will come crashing down if the base is weak. Before learning technique, Altanae mastered the basics, spending his entire childhood practicing only the most simplest of sword strikes until he made them perfect. Sadly, his father met his end before being able to pass on any of his actual techniques to his son, leaving Altanae alone to find his own means of advancing his swordplay. He scoured the world after leaving the marines, further mastering his craft through battle experience, but also coming across many others which played a role in helping Altanae's skills. He would seek out swordsmanship schools in the hopes of being able to learn from them and their techniques, taking what he deemed useful and applying it to his existing style in order to create a perfect sword art.
Training himself based upon his father's teachings, Altanae's foundation in swordsmanship is so highly developed that he is capable of understanding any type of sword technique simply by glancing at it. He would visit many different sword schools throughout the world, watching them conducting their practice, while some even allowed him to participate. Altanae's swordsmanship is at a level where he can dispatch most opponents with a simple motion. His blade is unpredictable as it does not follow a thought-out style but is designed to address whatever situations may come about.
Altanae's general kenjutsu method appears to revolve around Kendō-like techniques and strikes in order to test an opponent's might and effectively defeat them with his overwhelming strength. Despite how extravagant he comes off as, his movements are all but wasted. His body motions itself in an almost regal manner when engaging in combat, so finely tuned that he can stop his attacks at a moment's notice and subsequently execute lethal attacks with absolute precision while retaining calmness and composure. His extreme cutting strength is also evident as he is capable of easily cutting through a basic pirate's Busoshoku Haki which is harder than steel. His precision and striking power is so great that he could effortlessly slash apart a tall building many meters away from him with a mere flick of the wrist. His master-level skills and strength with his sword make it so he is capable of always fighting with one hand free. While not as often, Altanae also makes use of Iaidō, as shown when moving to cut opponents in an instance whom attempt to charge straight at him. He displayed his Iaidō prowess during his a fight against a well-known pirate captain, where after he blocked the pirate's blade, Altanae proceeded to draw his blade with his opposing hand and cut the pirate down straight down the middle, all in a matter of a second; a speed so quick, the unfortunate captain did not realize he had been struck until after he fell to the ground in a puddle of his own blood. Altanae would later claim that he had attempted to bifurcate the latter but sarcastically retorted that he didn't put enough strength into the strike, implying that he was most likely holding back the full brunt of his force.
Though he favors his standard method, Altanae's sword style changes depending upon which personality is in control. When Ikaros is in command, his fighting style becomes aggressive and straightforward. He abandons all notion of defense in order to take down his enemies by any means necessary. However, this is not necessarily a weakness, as it tempts others into attacking him as well. It will only be when they try to match Ikaros' sword that they will truly understand the hellish brute force behind this persona's swordsmanship. His strength is capable of smashing apart steel and concrete as if he was simply passing through dust. On the other, Nikolas' presence shifts the focus of Altanae's swordsmanship from direct offense to a sort of balanced style that hinges upon counterattacks. Rather than engaging the opponent, he responds to an opponent's strike by first either parrying the attack or dodging it, and then using the momentum of the previous move to perform a finisher. In this sense, each move in this method of swordsmanship is intended to be multiple steps, appearing almost dance-like in nature and seems very elegant. Linos is exclusively defensive, preferring to neutralize his opponent in as harmless a way as possible, while Kaiser's style is to dominate the opponent until they are on their knees in defeat. Since the personalities are consciously aware of one another and Altanae is able to shift between them, this contributes to his considerably chaotic fighting style and makes it all the more difficult to effectively fight him, much less defeat him in a one-on-one confrontation.
His sense of perception is quite frightening, able to use Kenbunshoku Haki to determine the actions and behavior of multiple enemies at once with strict ease. Having to had worked out a way of handling his personality disorder, Altanae's mind is conditioned toward dealing with multiple patterns of thought as well as instantaneous shifting of paradigms. As such, his Kenbunshoku Haki reflects this by allowing him to perform feats which would seem almost impossible to other practitioners. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his Kenbunshoku Haki is that it is capable of pulling in tremendous amounts of information. Most human brains have to work in such a way that they must choose what information they take in. If the brain tried to process and take in every detail and piece of information that the individual is capable of perceiving, the brain would eventually overheat and even shut down. However, the benefit to Altanae's multiple personalities is that they are capable of actively helping Altanae maintain the flow of information drawn in by the Kenbunshoku Haki. Though it took a great deal of time and training to perfect this method, Altanae mastered the ability to override his brain's natural tendency to choose what it deems "useful information" and to ignore "useless information", being able to now take in all information through his Kenbunshoku Haki. In doing so, his degree of perception seemingly appears like some sort of omniscience, as his mind takes in everything around him and his other personalities help to sort the information out so that his brain can handle such strain. Over the years, it has become second nature.
Altanae is able to take in information via Kenbunshoku Haki and use to create multiple possible outcomes for any situation around him. His mind is even capable of separating the possibilities based upon probability and likeliness. Even when approached by multiple opponents, Altanae's Kenbunshoku Haki allows him to work out every possibility of the enemy's movements, so that he can designate the proper response. As with the overriding method, it took Altanae a while to get the hang of this in order for it to be used efficiently in battle, but now he has reached the point where he can determine all obtainable information with his Kenbunshoku Haki through his perception, sort through it, isolate the possibilities, and develop a response for each individual occurrence all within the timespan of an instant. This makes it nearly impossible to surprise Altanae unless one manages to strike at him in such a way that he cannot possibly have perceived the offensive prior to connecting.
When the Nikolas persona is in control, Altanae is said to possess "the strongest Kenbunshoku Haki". What this exactly means, however, is still unknown. Despite this, it should be noted that given his already remarkable capabilities with Kenbunshoku Haki, to entertain the thought that within him is an application of the observation Haki that exceeds even his normal skill is truly frightening.
Altanae is in possession of potent Busoshoku Haki, being able to easily coat any part of his body with the invisible force. It is incredibly durable, protecting Altanae from all but the very strongest of attacks. To pierce his Busoshoku guard is something impressive in its own right, with even cannonballs fired directly at him being unable to so much as scratch his body. So intense is his Busoshoku Haki that when his body is completely coated by the force, his skin becomes just as black as his hair. The way in which his Busoshoku Haki presents itself is noted as being quite strange, as it seems to spread like a shadow running down his body. It seems to give off a chilling presence as well, making him seem very off-putting even to the most seasoned and experienced warriors, perhaps due to Altanae's own personality and the fact that Busoshoku Haki itself is a manifestation of the wielder's own willpower taking physical form.
He has come to figure out methods of focusing and condensing his Busoshoku Haki without needing to coat it around his body. By channeling the Haki and coating only his hands with them, causing a powerful aura to be emitted from them, he is able to externally manifest the Haki away from his body into a new form entirely. The most basic method of this skill is to condense the Busoshoku Haki at his fingertips and fire it off as a projectile via a flick of the thumb or finger. They pierce like bullets, striking even stone from a significant distance away. He is even able to create a massive barrier, with his body serving as the center, in order to protect allies around him. In particular, he has learned to create swords out of his Busoshoku Haki when dealing with an opponent that he feels is not worthy of facing the Naraku. Altanae has shown that he can even use Busoshoku Haki in such a way that he can manifest physical shields in front of him or even platforms by which he can reach great heights and remain standing in midair. This has allowed him to transverse vast distances, even across oceans, without the need of a ship.
When using his infamous sword, he is able to empower Naraku by imbuing it with his Busoshoku Haki, causing a swirling vortex of energy to encircle around the blade. Each time the Naraku is swung in this state, a reverberation of screeching sound erupts forth as multiple waves of force ripple outwards, slashing apart everything in its wake and rendering all before the sword onto nothingness. The aura surrounding the blade is noted as quite intense, almost as if the sword itself was a materialization of pure energy; appearing as though black flames dance along its edge. When Naraku is swung, the force generated by the Busoshoku Haki coating the blade is sufficient in smothering flames, electricity, and other similar supernatural abilities generated by Altanae's opponents. Furthermore, any Logia-type struck by the forceful wake of the empowered Naraku's swing will still receive the same damage as if the sword had actually hit their physical body, mainly due to its Haki component which is carried with the wave. Visibly, it is as if Altanae is generating crescents of energy with every swing, but this is merely a result of the Busoshoku Haki surrounding the sword, when in reality, it is merely a simple sword strike.
When assuming Ikaros' persona, Altanae is said to possess "the strongest Busoshoku Haki". Having only demonstrated it once before, the usage of this power causes a tempest of black aura to surround Altanae's body as it unleashes tremendous strain on the entire battlefield. What it exactly entails is unknown but it is suggested that it is a releasing of all of the rage and frustration of Altanae that was cast off into the Ikaros persona, taking the form of a tremendous storm of destruction.
Similar to many famous swordsman before him who have come in contact with the "cursed swords" (妖刀, Yōtō), Altanae had been stricken with the condition aptly known as the Sword Curse. In his youth, he suffered various symptoms such as narcolepsy and schizophrenia as a result of the cursed sword, Naraku, which had come into his possession after his father's death. Through a tremendous willpower and constant training, however, he soon came to learn of the sword's own will and managed to conquer the sword curse's power as his own. No longer was he and the sword separate entities but were now one and the same. As such, Altanae is never seen carrying Naraku, but is capable of actually manifesting it to his hand with a mere whim. Though, as he and Naraku exist as a single being, it is possible for Altanae to channel the power of the sword curse without requiring the sword itself to be in his hands.
When accessing the power of the sword curse, an intense darkness surrounds his body and latches onto his upper face, turning into a shroud that displays multiple eyes. The darkness seeps downwards, running down his black cloak, as it gathers together into the shape of what can be discerned as a dragon's tail. Darkness seems to also surround the body of his Naraku blade.
- (To an unnamed Vice-Admiral) "We are monsters of a different guise. But even so, we are the same. As a fellow monster, therefore, you should be able to understand this much. A monster is something not born from a person, but rather something only born among the blood-stained karma. This conflict of ours... is destined to never end until one side is completely decimated. Until the karma has been wiped out entirely. Which will it be, we revolutionaries... or you corrupt marines? If you plan on winning this war, you better come at us with everything you got. Otherwise... We won't stop until every single one of you is dead."
- "We go back, and finish them. It's not over until they're all dead. They don't get to live."
- (To Liemeux Pelleas) "If we have to kill, we kill. Everybody that we have to. Whatever it takes, we have to be willing to do it in order to bring forth the new world. No matter what the sacrifices are, nor how horrible the act. We do what we need to do... and then we get to live. Until then, we cast aside our humanity and accept that we are... nothing but monsters."
Behind the ScenesEdit
He shares his seiyū and english voice actor with Makoto Shishio from the anime and manga series, Rurouni Kenshin, who was also ironically the basis for this character's creation.