| Ahoy! This here is the 4th Featured Article.
"Kurama" has been featured, meaning it was chosen as an article of interest.
Kurama, more commonly known by his alias Byakko, is the current Fleet Admiral of the Marines; making him ideally known throughout the world as the strongest the World Government has to offer in terms of pure fighting force. He is a man feared across the land by pirates cut from all cloths, especially among those who have consumed Logia-type Devil Fruits due to the nature of his own fruit power; the mythical Zoan-type, Yoko Yoko no Mi. Kurama is known to be a person that comes across as an ally of good and a devout follower of the Marines' code of Justice, and this is definitely true of the Fleet Admiral, but there lies a far darker existence to this man that only those closest in his circle of trust could ever hope to understand; the most prominent being his attendant, Haruka.
Rather average height of those who have carried the title of Admiral in days past, Kurama is known best for the long flowing silver hair that adorns his shoulders and hangs down toward the small of his back. His face seems almost innocent and caring, like that of a father figure who warmly attends to the needs of his subordinates, but his eyes display a fierce but quiet intensity that coupled with the man's smooth and deep tone of voice makes him feared even among his own subordinates. Kurama finds himself accustomed to wearing rather simplistic clothing, a basic martial arts uniform which appears to be of Chinese origin with the classic Admiral's jacket worn over his shoulders.
Rather fitting for a man who wields the power of a mythical fox, Kurama is an incredibly difficult to understand individual that comes across as off-putting; among pirates and marines alike.
On his surface, Kurama is portrayed as a caring leader among the marines. His soldiers affectionately refer to him as "Byakko-san" rather than with any more appropriate honorific. He is known to never show any signs of emergency, displaying a calm and composed demeanor even while others around him would panic. In battle, he further demonstrates this personality by both openly praising and mocking opponents, even ones that require a great effort to deal with and may seem as though they could have the upper hand against him. Ultimately, Kurama owes this relaxed demeanor to the idea that the world moves as it is supposed to, and that if his time to die has arrived, then so be it, but until then, he will continue to face each day with a leveled head and a grin. Of course, that being said, Kurama is known to display a shocked expression when certainly outrageous situations have arisen, though these are quite rare.
While he doesn't truly care for each of his subordinates, even sacrificing them for his own purposes, those he considers to be within his "inner circle" are like family to him. Among them, the most prominent are Sparrow D. Ryan and Turner Dyan; both of which are Vice-Admiral level and stand together with him on many of his assignments when he is in need of assistance. However, since this is rarely the case, both of them are often on assignments by Kurama himself, being trusted with a slew of marine soldiers. Furthermore, an example of his trust in both of them is that, with his authority as an Admiral, he has given both of them the right to execute a Buster Call if it is ever needed.
In battle, Kurama is never one to differentiate between men or women, attacking both of them ruthlessly, but will not strike down children. He states that the reason for this is that children have the potential to grow and continue becoming stronger, which means killing them prematurely means to destroy any chances of seeing them grow up and become strong enough to be a challenge one day. Kurama relishes a challenge regardless of the circumstances. He will often ignore the orders given to him by the fleet admiral or the commander-in-chief if it means getting the chance to face a powerful opponent; going as far as to issue a challenge to a Yonkō or a Shichibukai if he should feel a possible opportunity for a thrilling fight, despite the fact that those two aforementioned groups are those that exist to balance the power between pirates and the marines.
A rather rare perspective for a marine to have, Kurama does not appear to outright despise the existence of pirates nor does he believe in ending the age of piracy like so many marines and those allied with the World Government desire. In fact, he believes so strongly in the ideals of order that he believes pirates and marines are both in need of each other. Pirates must pursue freedom while marines must pursue order. Without one, the other's existence becomes unnecessary. Kurama does appear to have an interest in finding the One Piece. However, he does not appear genuinely interested in what the treasure might be but rather in what it represents. It was the existence of One Piece that sparked an upsurge of piracy a total of three times throughout history, which led to the strength of pirates to continue increasing as the marines themselves stepped up to plate and strengthened the soldiers in their ranks. The existence of both parties is needed for one another to thrive and to evolve, with the One Piece serving as that catalyst. If he should ever find it, he wishes to once again seize it and hide it away in order to once more spark forth a golden age of piracy.
If Kurama despises anything, it would be the existence of the Revolutionaries. As aforementioned, Kurama firmly believes in the balance between pirates and marines. It is their ongoing struggle that keeps the world in proper balance, but the Revolutionaries are an anomaly that seek to throw that order into chaos; something that Kurama cannot allow. Rather than seeking freedom like the pirates do, they instead seek to undo the work of the marines, and as such, Kurama has made it his goal to eradicate their existence.
Abilities and PowersEdit
As one of the three Admirals that compose the World Government's Super Powers, Kurama boasts incredible skill and power reigned in through training and experiences that span his entire life. His mere presence strikes fear in the hearts of not only his enemies but his very subordinates for they have witnessed the sheer strength that this man possesses and the destruction he causes wherever he has designated to be his battlefield.
Like all Admirals, Kurama possesses the authority to order a Buster Call to any location of his choosing.
Kurama is a remarkable martial arts master of superior skill that puts him at a level where only the best can stand.
Physically, the Admiral is quite sturdy. Having went through the training of a marine soldier in his lifetime, he has built up an incredible degree of strength that allows him to overpower most normal adversaries with minimal movement on his part. With a simple strike of the hand, Kurama can demolish structures composed of even concrete with little effort on his part and lift massive boulders with a single hand to throw at his enemies. While not actually being as strong as him, Kurama's physical strength has been compared to the late Monkey D. Garp on multiple occasions by those that have witnessed him in battle due to the abnormal feats he is seen performing. The Admiral has demonstrated throwing cannonballs from his battleships with his bare hands, carrying such speed and force behind the throw that they create an even more violent explosion than the normal cannons which fire them. Kurama's leg strength gives him the capability to move with tremendous speed that allows him to cover a vast distance on foot. During his own training regimens, he would challenge himself to race around the entirety of Sabaody Archipelago a total of one hundred times in under three hours. It took him ten years of training, repeatedly trying to complete the challenge he set upon himself, and each time that he failed to do so, he would have to undergo a punishment of some kind of alternate exercise which pushed him to his limits. Kurama, as a younger man, was known to visit many mountain ranges in the Grand Line in order to further his physical training; climbing them straight to the top with no breaks, and often times, carried heavy rocks on his back to make it harder upon himself. Once reaching the top of those mountains, he would lower the boulders and conditions his fingers, palms, elbows, and even knees through repeated strikes against the boulders, until managing to break them apart. He eventually reached the point where his strength allowed him to shatter these rocks with a single strike.
Kurama's fighting style is a constant shift in tides between the nature of hard-type and soft-type martial arts. Like the waves of the ocean that crash as hard as stone and flow as soft as air, Kurama moves through the battlefield upsetting the flow of the fight in order to better suit his intentions. Simply put, it isn't possible to pinpoint exactly what Kurama's fighting style is, as it encompasses the very fundamentals of what makes up martial arts themselves; allowing the Admiral to change his method of fighting on a whim should the situation demand it.
Having went through the obligatory training of the marines, Kurama is trained in all six techniques of the Rokushiki martial art discipline. However, it is not that he has only managed to become proficient in this art form, but rather that he has grasped the very concept of what the Rokushiki actually is: embracing the ideals of the six powers of conquest. It is not his mastery over each individual power that makes Kurama's Rokushiki so feared throughout the world, but rather, the degree to which he is able to apply the concept and teachings of all six powers to one another in order to create a single unified fighting force rather than six individual techniques creates an offensive power that obliterates any foe that stands before him and an absolute defense with nary an opening to exploit.
Tekkai (鉄塊, "Iron Mass"): Otherwise known as "Iron Body", it is the pinnacle of physical defense for a martial artist to achieve. Embracing the very notion of being like that of steel itself, a master of the Tekkai is like a piece of iron: immovable and unbendable in their existence that none may pass through. It is the utmost precipice of hard-style in the martial arts, attainable only when one has resigned themselves to the perfection of bodily conditioning. To most practitioners, the Tekkai is nothing but the act of tightening one's muscles at the point of impact so as to resist damage. They have fine-tuned this basic control of their body that by tightening their muscles and focusing on their stance, their bodies become so durable that they can resist attacks that would normally cause them immense injury and pain. But for Kurama, who has mastered this skill, his very existence is Tekkai. Facing many training trials in his quest for greatness, he practiced every day to properly hone the Tekkai skill as something natural; not as a technique but as a way of being. It is for this reason that Kurama is one of very few Rokushiki Masters that can maintain the Tekkai even while in motion, but this merely scratches the surface of what it truly means to grasp at the very nature of Tekkai. For one to be capable of doing so, it suggests a complete mastery of their muscle control; a refinement of martial art fundamentals. Should the fist of an opponent make contact, slowly pushing forth to project force into the body, Kurama's skill with Tekkai allows him to actually tighten his muscles at the instant following the fist's initial contact; bouncing off his opponent's assault. But then, in order to not expend any unnecessary stamina, he can once more allow his muscles to relax and once more tighten when he strikes. In other words, there is no absolute way to determine when Kurama will perform the Tekkai simply because his mastery over the Iron Body technique is such that it is an aspect of himself without requiring conscious effort on his part. In order to overcome the Tekkai, Kurama's opponent must force their way through, for allowing themselves to try and predict the rhythm to which Kurama's Tekkai behaves is nothing but folly. Kurama's Tekkai is great enough to resist tremendous force, resisting the force of even gunfire and cannonball explosions, and then shrugging them off like dust on his jacket. Only the greatest of powers can ever hope to pierce the absolute defense that is Admiral Kurama's Tekkai.
Shigan (指銃, "Finger Gun"): Otherwise known as "Finger Pistol", the Shigan of Admiral Kurama is a ruthless single-fingered thrust delivered with such speed that it outstrips even arrows, its accuracy allows it to split bullets right down the middle, and its strength annihilates cannonballs. It is the culmination of Kurama's training on the mountaintops by conditioning his hand repeatedly. There is a tale many fledgling marine soldiers would often hear their instructors discuss during their training for the Shigan, but this is a tradition of the past which has long since lost meaning in the modern generation. A warrior held a great reputation throughout the world for being able to strike an opponent with such force and precision that it appeared as though a pistol shot clean through the victim. He was feared and respected as a great martial arts master with few equals, but in truth, this skill was a rouse perpetrated onto the populace by the crafty individual who sought glory and fame for martial talent. It was a mere illusion; the trickster had himself a pistol hidden on his body which would be fired by his other hand at an angle in which it would look as though it was his finger jab which caused the injury a moment after the strike. To those who witnessed this from afar, the trick looked as though it was reality; a warrior with the skill to shoot down his foes with a mere thrust of his finger. But among the crowd, a single martial artist who witnessed the event was not one to buy into this farce. If this feat was truly a reality, the rhythm of the performer's body did not match the resulting effect on the victim's body — the movement performed by the performer did not match the strike force — and thus this entire situation was an unusual circumstance that did not add up together. This was something only an experienced martial artist could ever discover, and while the young warrior was disgusted by this ludicrous carnival act, the idea left him much to ponder. Could a finger carry the same speed and force as a pistol? Rather... Was it possible for man to best machine even in piercing strength? He went off to train in order to discover the answer. And after three months of solitude, he had believed to have done it. In a triumphant return to civilization, he heard tale of the performer who continued to profit off of the gullibility of his spectators, and so, the martial artist eventually came to find him and challenged him to a match. Whoever would manage to strike the other one first would prove themselves as the true master of the finger pistol technique. And so the two began their match. It lasted only a mere moment; a blink of the eyes and it was over. The martial artist's finger penetrated, for all to see, clean through the chest of the performer; blood squirted from the wound as the man fell to the ground, defeated, with the pistol hidden in his clothes falling out for all to see. Those who witnessed the feat would not have noticed, but the reality to the martial artist's victory lay in the fact that in the time it took for the performer to pull the trigger — which, in truth, was the act of moving a single finger to perform an action — the martial artist's finger had already begun to move and penetrated the performer's chest all under that single iota of time. Prior to the fall of his opponent, the martial artist so subtlety yet confidently remarked, with a clear intention of portraying the irony of the situation... "A bullet isn't needed to pierce the human body." And his opponent, in folly of his rouse, fell to his death for his heart had been pierced by the Shigan. In truth, the Shigan is a power which penetrates all opposition, moving at a speed that surpasses machine itself as it outstrips even a pistol. For Kurama, the Shigan is a weapon of instantaneous silent slaughter; little can hope to stand against it. The Admiral has used it as his strike of choice, cracking even blades that attempt to block its force. The motion of the Shigan is subtle, with very few being able to tell when it is coming, but it can also be fired with the force of a cannon, causing the air around it to swirl around viciously as all opposition before it is smashed apart to smithereens. Because of its penetrative force which is focused on such a small space as the fingertip, even Busoshoku Haki has a difficult time of resisting the Shigan's attack, especially when utilized by Kurama himself.
- Taihōken (大砲拳, literally "Cannon Fist"): When one comes to master the depths of Rokushiki, it no longer exists as six techniques but truly lives up to its name as six powers — with six techniques evolving into six martial arts in their own right. For Kurama, who has become accustomed to the finger pistol and familiarized himself with the very underlying concept of the strike, the Shigan is no longer a technique but rather that every strike he performs is in actuality the Shigan. Kurama's punches, his palm thrusts, his kicks, even his elbows; his entire body is the very personification of the finger pistol. This is what is known as the Taihōken, or "cannon fist". In this sense, the Shigan technique in Kurama's hands has become its own martial art. The fundamental concept of the Shigan is to strike with speed and to ignore strength. Velocity and kinetic force brings out its own strength, it does not require the performer to contribute; he must give himself to the ideal of the strike's shot. A person who strikes by using strength blindly causes vibrations when they strike, causing anywhere between a large to minimal excessive release of force from the point of impact; these are what are known as the unnecessary motions. However, this is easier said than done, as even the most greatest of martial art masters can not completely diminish the excessive moves in their techniques, especially in the heat of battle. In order to overcome this, Kurama designed his own clever training method. He would wear a bell on his waist and attempt to dash forward without making even a single sound in the bell. For this to work, one would have to understand how a bell functions. When a bell swings in one direction, it makes no noise, but when swung back and forth, a sound is brought forth. In relating this to martial arts, the bell sounds are the excessive moves of a martial artist, and therefore, to perfect the precision of one's strikes, Kurama would have to move without causing the bell to make even a peep. It was difficult, but several months of devoted training eventually led to him being able to even climb a mountain at full speed without allowing the bell to make even a single ring. This allowed him to master the Taihōken, as each of his movements were the epitome of precision, and as such, this allowed him to perform Shigan with any part of his body. The name for this martial art comes from the large-scale version of using his fists instead of his finger for the Shigan. Rather than a bullet, a punch would yield a force akin to a cannonball moving at bullet speeds.
Soru (剃, "Shave"): Truly, its name as "Shave" is a fitting one, for its very existence was born out of a necessity to transcend the limitations of what a human being was capable of doing. It is said that the birth of the Soru inspired the martial art masters of old to first formulate the basics of what would later go down as becoming Rokushiki, which is why many regard the Soru as being the most fundamental technique of the aforementioned style. As the story goes, there was once a man who was in need of traveling to a village a ways away from his own home village for medicine for his sick children. Unfortunately, the path ahead was a treacherous one, for the mountain that stood between the villages was one of such ill repute and danger that the villagers were resigned to accepting the deaths of their sick loved ones who could not be cured. But this father refused to give up on hope, for his children were all he had in this world, and so he set off to transverse the mountain. Upon reaching the base and making his way up, it didn't seem so bad; almost as if the entire legend of the mountain was exaggerated. But he spoke far too soon. The mountain steps were far too steep at a certain point to even continue moving further. However, that was not the end of his troubles. Vicious animals ran about, plants with harmful spikes that appeared to be almost alive and ready to devour any traveler, and unsteady paths along the mountain where the rocks below merely gave way under the weight and crumbled were among the greatest of these difficulties. For a full day, the man could not even rest for a single second as he had to evade danger after danger looming over him in all places. Exhausted and mentally drained, the man fell to the ground and resigned himself to death. But he could not. Whether an illusion of the mind, born from hunger and fatigue, or a deity above attempting to push him forward, he saw a visage of his children frolicking about; happy and healthy. And in the moment the father formed a light smile under the weight of his exhaustion, the kids fell to the ground, their faces blue and blood slowly staining the ground; their father who was unable to bring them the medicine they needed. A roar of defiance burst from the tired old man as he forced himself back to his feet, his eyes coated with an empty whiteness as he lost himself to the singular purpose of surviving and retrieving the medicine he so desperately needed. It is said that driven by this heightened emotional state, in which his conscious mind had already shut down, the father was able to channel explosive force with his kick-offs so as to run faster; his state of mind made it possible to ignore the pain and blood splattering about as he forced his legs to move faster and harder than they were meant to. In essence, he was able to shave off time from his own speed, for he knew time was a factor he did not have an abundance of, and that no matter what happened to him, he needed the medicine for his children. In the end, his speed and leg force allowed him to climb up mountain ridges and kick off from them before they crumbled, allowed him to outstrip the dangerous animals and plants alike, and in the process, he managed two successful trips back and forth; bringing the medicine to his children. But sadly, as he was not one that had remarkable physical strength, the injuries had taken their toll eventually and the father was left a crippled man. It is why immense conditioning is required before any may attempt to master the six powers. Soru is an act of explosive power. Whereas the Tekkai is about compression and the Shigan is about the reliance on pure speed, the Soru utilizes the body's strength at its utmost ability in order to move its limbs repeatedly with tremendous force. The result is a localized explosion-like effect which causes the user to essentially launch themselves off in the direction of their choosing, making it appear as though they have disappeared. In doing so, Kurama is able to perform overwhelming displays of speed that boggle the minds of even the most seasoned warriors; pirates and marines alike. Despite having mastery over all six powers, Kurama claims that he is the greatest master of the Soru technique. Coupled with his mastery over Shigan, Kurama can ideally refine the explosive power of his movements so that unnecessary releases of force do not ripple from his departure point; making it all the more difficult for even a master of Haki to pick up on his movements and even anticipate his steps. His speed has been shown to be great enough to cover vast stretches of land in under moments, but also to move so incredibly fast that in the wake of his departure, the vacuum left behind is shown to have an afterimage of his very being which can be mistaken for his real self. What makes Kurama's Soru so dangerous is that its concept is utilized beyond simple speed enhancement. The very idea of taking advantage of explosive power to move faster is one that has numerous applications. Applying the same concept to his arms instead of his legs allows Kurama to strike at speeds almost unfathomable. Together with the Taihōken, Kurama can fire off punches and strikes with such strength, precision, and speed that the resultant force produced is monstrously frightening; leveling battleships with ease and eradicating opponents to naught but broken masses of flesh and bone. Because this method also makes his movements refined, via his training with the Shigan, he is able to alter his strength output on a whim and control himself so that he may change his movements depending on the circumstances without expending unnecessary force. He is also able to channel his striking force with such refinement that Kurama can send off shockwaves with his punches of considerable power that can level buildings and even large ships alike. The same can also be said for Kurama's kicks as well, which can also serve as mediums for the other powers.
Rankyaku (嵐脚, "Storm Leg")
Geppō (月歩, "Moon Step")
Kami-e (紙絵, "Paper Drawing")
Rokuōgan (六王銃, "Six Kings Gun")
Being a master of the martial arts, Kurama has demonstrated the ability to control every aspect of his body through a fundamental discipline known as "self-control" that all martial artists should have fully mastered when reaching a certain point. While he hasn't shown the extent of his skill with the Life Return, he has demonstrated several techniques which make use of his body's features to the utmost degree.
- Kami Shibari (髪縛り, Kami Shibari; literally meaning "Hair Bind"): By lengthening his silver hair, he can utilize it as an additional limb and control it during combat. When in his Kitsune form, Kurama can apply the same technique to his single lavender tail, causing its size to expand quite considerably.
- Main article: Yoko Yoko no Mi
Kurama possesses the power of the Yoko Yoko no Mi, meaning "demon fox" (妖狐), which is a Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit; stated to be even more rare than that of the Logia themselves. It essentially transforms the user into the mythological Kitsune, while subsequently granting said individual the powers and abilities associated to the creature. Having been acclaimed to have completely mastered the fruit's powers, at least on a fundamental level, Kurama can enter the transformation state attributed to the Zoan-type fruits on a whim with little to no indication of the shifting; allowing him to enter and release the form instantaneously. When entering a complete transformation, he loses his humanoid shape and greatly increases his size to a point where he just about surpasses a Pacifista in height. His build also appears to widen as he assumed a considerably more bulky body structure. His entire body takes on the form of a fox with silver fur, growing nine fox tails, which can be used as additional limbs in close-quarters combat; in particular, Kurama is known to use his tail to strangle his victims or to hold them in place while he delivers a point-blank finishing blow, or even to smash his enemies down with brute force. However, a complete transformation is not needed to invoke certain aspects of the Yoko Yoko no Mi's powers. For instance, only transforming his eyes allows him to use the hypnosis abilities of his fruit, causing anyone caught in their gaze to fall victim to his ability. This demonstrates just how far Kurama has come to master his devil fruit's powers.
As the Kitsune is still technically a fox, the fruit bestows Kurama with the attributes of a fox. This includes an enhanced sense of smell and a sharpened hunter instinct which provide him with an edge in battle. It also grants Kurama an incredible increase in physical strength, speed, and durability. His strength is roughly four to five times that of his normal base strength, which make it possible for the Admiral to perform various impressive feats such as launching massive boulders with ease or smashing apart steel. What is perhaps Kurama's most impressive feat is that, while in this form, he managed to impose a significant crack to a considerable sized piece of Kairoseki before managing to actually smash through it with a following blow. Of course, this required some degree of effort on Kurama's part to accomplish. Kurama's speed is enhanced to a degree rivaling the concept of Soru, as he vanishes and reappears a vast distance away, manages to actually leave behind afterimages in his wake, or manages to escape narrow assaults with little space to move. His durability has also increased to a degree that he can take on a tremendous amount of damage without faltering enough to lose ground in a fight. So powerful is Kurama in this form that merely roaring is enough to shock the entire land and even disable the Haki by weaker individuals in the vicinity, even up to Vice-Admiral class. It is said that only the Yonkō would be capable of handling the Fleet Admiral once the latter has entered his awakened state. His power in the full transformed state is said by many to equal that of Kaido, the one that was once known as the strongest creature in the entire world.
In classic Japanese mythology, the Kitsune are best known for their trickery and deceit. This is due to the fact that they possess an incredible ability to create lifelike illusions, which is known as "Absolute Hypnosis" (完全催眠, Kanzen Saimin). Kurama has shown the use of illusions to often mislead his opponents and to throw them off to his actual presence. He is able to create a vast amount of illusionary clones completely indistinguishable from the real thing. Furthermore, he can even place others under a state of hypnosis, which is an extension of a Kitsune's power to deceive. In doing so, Kurama has amassed a rather significant amount of contacts around the world by manipulating certain individuals under his hypnosis and controlling them to do as he pleases. At first, his hypnosis caused those he placed under the technique to display a rather dazed expression while performing whatever he ordered them to do, but after training his skill and practicing it enough times, he can place a person under hypnosis and have them do as he wishes without the slightest change in their demeanor; almost as if each and every choice they make as a result of Kurama's influence is their own. What makes this even more frightening is that even the observational Haki cannot tell whether or not somebody is under hypnosis, but it can alert the user should they be targeted for hypnosis, allowing them to resist it to some degree. His skill with the supernatural deception skills of a Kitsune are proficient enough that he can even throw off a user of Haki with relative ease. However, that being said, an elite warrior with a sharpened Haki sense can still see through his illusions and even resist hypnosis, if not shatter it outright. However, this is also dependent on the victim's willpower in comparison to Kurama's own, which becomes the deciding factor.
Having surpassed the title of Vice-Admiral, to which the requirement is a steady grasp on the concept of Haki, Kurama possesses an immense command over both the observation and armament colors of Haki. It is, however, unknown if the Admiral is capable of producing Haoshoku Haki.
To know the world and understand the flow of the universe... That is what is known as Kenbunshoku Haki. Kurama is able to feel out the presence of all things with his willpower. Haki itself is the manifestation and manipulation of one's willpower to serve a variety of tasks. On the physical level, one's senses manifest through their body's capabilities; the ears hear, the eyes see, the nose smells, and so on. But when manifested through the power of Haki, one's senses can reach beyond what they can physically manage.
One of the more unique uses of Kenbunshoku Haki that Kurama often employs is to utilize it to "throw" his Haki in order to fool the Kenbunshoku Haki of an opposing enemy. In this sense, he utilizes his Haki as a feint in order to disable or at least severely hinder one's ability to predict his movements. Combined with Haoshoku Haki, which allows him to slow down time in certain instances, it becomes nearly impossible to overcome Kurama one-on-one unless he is somehow struck while his guard is down.
Truly befitting the man who stands at the top of the Marines, Fleet Admiral Kurama has demonstrated a vast mastery of Busoshoku Haki. Perhaps his greatest feat with Armament Haki, however, is that he has learned to apply it to all of his martial art skills. As Haki itself is the materialization of one's will, when one comes to master its power, the uniqueness of one's spirit becomes all the more prominent in their Haki usage. His level of Haki reached such an extent that he is regarded as one of the foremost masters of the craft and has inspired an entire generation of Haki practitioners.
Merging together his Armament Haki with Shigan, Kurama can employ a variety of methods to enhance the effectiveness of his finger pistol technique. The most common method is to coat his finger in an intense black aura which coats his finger black, enforcing the strength of his fingers like steel itself. However, he is able to perform far greater feats. By extending the reach of his Haki by essentially "throwing" his spirit, like that of a kiai, his finger pistol extends outwards like a black spear at frightening speeds that can slay victims from a vast distance. Kurama mastered this method to the point that he does not need to thrust his fingers to perform the technique, simply holding his finger at the desired target and allowing the narrow thin yet steel-like black spear to strike without warning. He is able to create the spear instantaneously and have it disappear just as fast as it appeared, forming another one in succession to create a barrage of black spear strikes in order to overwhelm the opponent. Kurama can create projectiles using Armament Haki via the finger pistol as well, with the same strength as the spear variant but with tremendous speed outstripping the speed of sound itself; causing the bullet to erupt with a brief sonic boom upon firing. It is said that once the target has heard the firing of the black bullet, it is already too late, for the bullet has struck its target.
Kurama is able to merge together the Armament Haki with his Rankyaku technique to create physical black blade projectiles from his kicks that move at the speed of sound. While they are regarded as physical constructs, they appear and vanish within the same instant they strike, making it seem as though they may not have existed in the first place. But the damage they wrought in their wake cannot be ignored. Not only does this allow Kurama to vastly extend the range of his Rankyaku's influence, but its strength is so great that it can slice through most standard defenses, even among those forged from Haki itself. According to Kurama, only an Armament Haki that has matured and been refined to channel the uniqueness of one's will can hope to stand up to his Haki-enhanced Rankyaku. The frightening speed, strength, and appearance of his kicks have been often compared to the slashes of the late Dracule Mihawk who wielded the black sword, Yoru. While not verified, there is a rumor among the marines that Kurama has used his Rankyaku to quite literally split the seas themselves so as to travel from island to island on foot. But, of course, these are but rumors lightly dipped in truth.
By combining together Haki with the Soru technique allows Kurama to create a far more fluid variation of the stepping method. He identified that Soru's most glaring weakness lies in the fact that it behaves like an accelerated step. Because of this, Soru only allows its user to move in straight directions, requiring an additional step to change directions and therefore it becomes far too easy for the opponent to track the Soru's movement. In essence, Soru restricts its user to two-dimensional movement. Using the invisible force of Busoshoku Haki, Kurama can create compact footholds beneath his feet that allow him to glide whenever engaging in high-speed movement with Soru, essentially making it seem as though he were riding rails that change direction on a whim and are unable to be detected easily for they can allow Kurama to move in any direction that is possible within a three-dimensional space. Taking it a step further with Geppo allows Kurama to actually perform feats of flight, becoming his most preferred method of travel. He is known for watching over battlefields from high in the skies above, standing in judgment of both his soldiers and his enemies.
Perhaps his greatest contribution to the Busoshoku Haki form is the creation of Busoshoku: Kaito, which he had solely mastered and eventually taught to certain officers within the Marines. However, much to his chagrin, it would appear as though over the course of the technique being taught throughout the Marine ranks, several pirates have come across its usage and learned to wield it themselves.
With the understanding that Busoshoku Haki produces an invisible force, Kurama has taken his mastery to allow him to actually project a full-bodied version of the armament force away from his person in order to create an "invisible self" (冥々我, Meika). In doing so, the invisible Kurama produced by his Busoshoku Haki can interact with the world around him, allowing him to engage in both offensive and defensive behavior. While they are mentally controlled by Kurama, because they are forged from his willpower, they are able to act in the same way that Kurama himself would act; meaning that they are capable of independent movement and little focus on Kurama's part is needed to maintain them. They are capable of incredible strength, most likely tied to Kurama's potent willpower rather than his physical strength, meaning that it is very likely that these invisible selves are able to perform feats of strength that Kurama's own physical body is unable to accomplish. Kurama has demonstrated these invisible selves to be powerful enough to actually deal critical blows to enormous beasts, while also being able to restrain an opponent, leading them to believe that Kurama has somehow managed to paralyze them. However, that being said, they are not without their limitations. Kurama is only able to maintain any individual invisible self for a maximum time of three minutes; though, given that they are meant for instantaneous action, this is not really a hindrance in their use. In addition, these invisible selves can only be maintained for up to eighty-five meters away from Kurama's main body before they dissipate. He is only able to produce six invisible selves at any given time. Because these "shadows" of Kurama are forged entirely of Haki, only attacks containing Haki are capable of dealing any damage to them. In a similar regard, it is absolutely impossible to see nor to sense their presence without the assistance of Kenbunshoku Haki. However, even with a fundamental grasp on Haki, it is generally difficult to keep up with their actions unless one has truly come to master their Haki; presumably one that is on the same level as an Admiral or a Yonko. By combining Haoshoku Haki's teleportation aspect with his invisible self produced by Busoshoku Haki, Kurama is able to actually switch places with his invisible selves at any time.
Having awakened the power of the conqueror during his tenure as a lower-tier Marine Captain, Kurama paved his way toward the title of Admiral by revealing himself to be one of the few in all of the World Government's history to awaken Haoshoku Haki. Through his training and years of study, Kurama came to learn how to harness the power of Haoshoku Haki and become a force to be reckoned with throughout the entire world. While many factors may have contributed to his ascension to power, one that stood out to be the most prominent was the revelation that he alone mastered the Haoshoku Haki to a level equaling, if not surpassing, the Yonkō of old.
Kurama deduced that Haoshoku Haki, at its most basic level, is the act of manifesting the conqueror's willpower; the will of a king. In this sense, the most common method of applying this form of Haki in battle would be to impose it onto those around the user in order to dominate the enemy's will and essentially knock them out without requiring an actual confrontation. Perhaps it can be attested to a mere multiplier of presence, in which Kurama enhances the effectiveness of intimidation on those around him, but that does not account for the fact that a sufficiently powerful Haki is capable of influencing the surroundings; in particular, Kurama has shown that his Haoshoku Haki can quite literally impose a pressure onto the area that allows him to smash apart inanimate objects that stand in his way. But even more so, intimidation can be refined in various ways, such as even controlling a victim's actions and even their emotional states of mind by overpowering their hearts with the Haoshoku Haki. Kurama has mastered the skill to a degree that, as the Fleet Admiral, he has garnered many criminal contacts to utilize as informants for the sake of the Marines. This also shows that the effects of his Haki seem to linger for a significant degree of time, up to even years so long as nothing manages to interfere with its effects. The sheer force and control of Kurama's Haoshoku Haki is such that it imposes a tremendous effect on its surroundings when released. It has been compared to the "willpower [Haki] of nature itself" in that it can quite literally bring forth a thunderstorm and a heavy rain when released in sufficient degree. So powerful is the Haoshoku Haki that an opponent who was unlucky enough to face its wrath that it threatened to swallow the island that they were fighting on.
What sets Kurama apart from others that have awakened Haoshoku Haki is that he came to realize the truest extent of the power; a feat that was only achievable by the Yonkō in the past, such as the legendary Shanks. It is a power of control. One's will transcends the material as it becomes a force that intertwines with that of the universe itself, allowing for the user's will to influence the world around it. That being said, it stands to reason that the advanced form of this power is the ability to control their state of existence. Shanks often demonstrated this ability by being able to teleport over certain distances with time not being a factor, allowing him to effortlessly intrude onto a battlefield full of skilled masters of Haki that could not pick up on his presence until the last moment. In a similar way, Kurama himself is able to utilize the teleportation aspect of Haoshoku Haki. However, for those that Kurama must first dominate the wills before being able to control them via Haoshoku Haki, he is also able to teleport other individuals whether to aid them or to put them at a disadvantage during battle. But this is primarily used as a supportive power rather than an offensive one, as it makes Kurama all the more difficult to handle in a fight. Using the same application of Haoshoku Haki, Kurama demonstrated the ability to actually slow down time itself; a skill shared between him and Shanks as well. In another vein, Haoshoku Haki being used in such a way allows Kurama to manipulate his body should his movements be incapacitated by any means. If his body is poisoned or paralyzed, he may use Haoshoku Haki to force his body to move by willpower alone, as if his will were the strings and his body the puppet being manipulated. He can also accelerate certain aspects of his body, such as organ functions, nervous system responses, neuron firing, or even natural healing systems. By accelerating the neuron firing of his brain, he can think on a higher level and process the world around him as if everything was moving that much slower. Haoshoku Haki can also be applied offensively by imposing one's conqueror's will on the molecular level; forcing particles apart and then forcing them to collide into one another, the impact of which is then focused and guided into the form of powerful red lightning. Like Shanks before him, Kurama is able to produce an intense red lightning through his mastered Haoshoku Haki. He can concentrate the lightning around his person and cause it to devastate the entire area around him.
Haoshin Mode (覇王神モード, Haōshin Mōdo; Japanese for "Supremacy God-King Mode"): Perhaps what can only be called the furthest heights of Haoshoku Haki, Kurama alone possesses the ability to enter into what he has termed the "Haoshin Mode". It is the result of unifying his mastery over Haoshoku Haki with that of Life Return, allowing him to induce control over his environment. In order to activate this ability, Kurama begins by first accumulating a tremendous amount of Haki within himself. When a certain type of Haki is invoked, the power must first be gathered together and focused, before being expressed as one of the three types. However, the body can only maintain enough Haki at any given time before giving out to the strain caused by such an act. In some cases, this can be mitigated through Devil Fruit abilities, allowing certain people to retain such immense levels of Haki within them that go beyond any normal individual. This can sometimes lead to heightened states in which the user's capabilities are enhanced several times over. However, in doing so, because such a massive amount of Haki is being actively channeled at a steady rate, the user is often left in a state of exhaustion where their bodies require a particular amount of time to recharge Haki before it can be reused again. In other words, their Haki burns out and their bodies are rendered immobile due to extreme fatigue, making it dangerous when in a one-on-one confrontation without allies to provide support. Through his mastery of Life Return, Kurama pushed himself to find a means of accumulating and then utilizing a gargantuan amount of Haki at an active rate. It was through the Life Return discipline that he managed to manipulate his body in certain ways to allow for the increased output of power. He would then express that immense concentration as Haoshoku Haki. The result was an ascended form where his silver hair and eyes shifted into a bright scarlet red, as an intense aura surrounded his being, permeating throughout the space around him. When used in his Devil Fruit's fox form, the white fur covering his body becomes red.
Being able to channel such a tremendous concentration of Haoshoku Haki allows Kurama to impose his conquering will onto a massive terrain. When Haoshoku Haki is normally invoked, it is done so in small bursts. Eventually, it must fizzle out. However, the benefit of the Haoshin Mode is that it allows for an immense degree of Haoshoku Haki to be channeled for a long period of time at a continuous rate. Simply entering into the Haoshin Mode allows him to grasp the range of an entire island through his will alone. With Kurama already having Life Return active in perfect harmony with his Haoshoku Haki, he is able to combine the two while in this form. It is through Haoshoku Haki that it becomes possible by a true master of the skill to impose their conqueror's will in such a subtle way that they essentially turn everything that is reigned in by their Haki as an extension of themselves. If Kurama spreads his influence over an entire island, it would be as if the island and Kurama himself were one and the same. This unification allows him to freely alter and manipulate the aspects of the land and air around him. Kurama could move the terrain itself to act as his limbs, impose his other forms of Haki onto the area around him — thus expanding his Kenbunshoku Haki's range or perhaps to fortify his will-controlled terrain with Busoshoku Haki — perhaps even express his Rokushiki techniques through the environment itself. Kurama could motion rocks and debris to act upon his will as Shigan, move the wind itself to produce Rankyaku, or even create an absolute defense with Tekkai. This control is not limited solely to the existing environment but even changes in the climate brought upon by Devil Fruit abilities. Despite how overwhelmingly powerful the Haoshin Mode is, it too possesses the drawback of eventually burning out Kurama's Haki and requiring time for his Haki to recharge. However, thanks to Life Return, Kurama's body is able to overcome the fatigue that would normally render him incapable of fighting further. It is unknown exactly how long it takes for his Haki to recharge but it is fair to assume it demands at least fifteen to twenty minutes.
Many legends surround the Fleet Admiral Kurama, from humble beginnings to his training as a marine to his ascension to the top as commander of the World Government's mighty naval military, but none so more strike pirates with dread or marines with pride over their commander-in-chief than the infamous battle between Kurama and the Pirate Captain, Yagami. For those that studied the history books, Yagami was a Pirate Captain that came after the era of the Straw Hat Pirates; taking storm in the New World as an up and coming rookie with an impressive bounty of over three hundred and eighty thousand, as he had caused multiple problems for the marines all across the Grand Line. At the time, Kurama himself was merely a Captain, and eager to prove himself in hopes of being promoted, he personally volunteered to hunt down Yagami and take him down before he could start up trouble. While many are aware of how this tale transpired, there are certain details that have remained omitted to even those that were in action during that time.
Kurama wanted to become stronger and become higher ranked in the marines, but all for superficial reasons; glory, prestige, attention. But because of this, the ideals of justice escaped him. Sure, good should prevail over evil, but Kurama had no real personal affliction over maintaining peace. It was just a job to him. And he thought nothing of justice other than that. While it took some time, and some honest detective work, Kurama eventually tracked down the pirate Yagami. He was surprised to see how carefree and jovial an individual Yagami was, despite being depicted by the marines as a dangerous vicious criminal; in another lifetime, he and Kurama could very well have become friends. Nevertheless, Kurama had a job to do, and he intended to bring Yagami to justice. So, the two engaged in a great duel that lasted hours upon hours. But despite the enormous time and effort spent, neither yielded. Eventually, both retreated to recover from their wounds.
And so these conflicts between the two began. Kurama continued the chase, and fought against Yagami multiple times, with each fight ending in a draw. However, upon their fifth encounter, Yagami managed to secure a victory over Captain Kurama and sent him crashing into the ground. Despite this, Yagami chose not to kill Kurama, and instead, decided to leave him there and left. Kurama, to say the least, was completely set aback by this mercy. A pirate surrendering a chance to finish off a marine? It was unheard of. But none more bothered him than the absolute rage burning from the shame of being spared by a pirate. No, not even that. As a martial artist, to be spared by a fellow warrior as if he were a helpless child, the anger consumed Kurama's heart. No longer was this a job or some... mission. Now, he had a personal vendetta to settle. Slowly recovering and resuming the chase, Kurama eventually found Yagami once again. Empowered with the rage of being shamed by mercy, Kurama managed to take down Yagami and even the score between them. But in this, Kurama chose to also spare Yagami, stating that it was "a life for a life". And that the next time they met, Kurama would kill him. But what shocked Kurama was that Yagami merely laughed it off and responded by saying that he "can't wait for their next fight".
Kurama and Yagami would meet once more, and unbeknownst to them, this would be their final encounter. As they battled, with neither side giving an inch, they were interrupted with the sudden appearance of a Revolutionary officer that sought to kill Kurama after tailing him for quite some time while he was vulnerable and distracted. Managing to wound Kurama on the back, he went for a killing blow before being stopped by Yagami himself. But the craftiness of this Revolutionary was not to be underestimated, as his attack caught the defending Yagami and struck him down with what appeared to be a poisonous weapon. "A pirate defending a marine is no better than a marine itself!" Those words were cried by the rebel as he moved in to finish off Yagami, but once Kurama gained his second wind, he struck aside the Revolutionary and ran for Yagami. Coughing up blood, Yagami cursed his "bad luck", and apologized to Kurama for not being able to finish their battle. In Yagami's twilight moments, Kurama asked him why he chose to protect him, and furthermore, why he even bothered to spare him the first time he won. Yagami said that this time spent fighting Kurama made him stronger and allowed him to appreciate what it meant to fight another warrior such as Kurama. Sparring him was not done so out of mercy, but in the hopes that they could continue fighting and becoming stronger for it. As Yagami breathed his last, Kurama came to understand that marines and pirates were not just enemies but were in need of one another so as to help one another mature and grow. In that sense, they were both enemies and teachers to one another.
Overcome by both grief and realization, a bright aura enveloped Kurama's body and exploded outwards in a wave of pressure that flattened the surroundings. The Revolutionary officer charged in, after being thrown aside by Kurama, only to feel the pressure slamming into him hard as he could barely move. Shooting him an intense glare, the rebel could not even move nor blink; doomed to merely stare in absolute fear at the beast he had now awakened. Kurama made his way over and with a sudden move, thrust his finger straight through the man's chest, causing blood to squirt out profusely before the rebel's life ended. Though he did not realize it at the time, what he had awakened was none other than the Haoshoku Haki; a power that only truly appears when those gifted with its potential come to an epiphany about their existence and have acquired their conviction. Since that day, Kurama's philosophy regarding the balance between the marines and the pirates would become the driving force behind his actions that would eventually lead to him becoming the Fleet Admiral.
- Kurama vs. Pirate Captain Yagami (multiple draws, one loss, one win)
- "It's not necessarily a sense of justice. If you measured good and evil deeds by current laws, I would be responsible for many crimes; actions most unfitting of a marine. What I do is done for the purpose of prolonging my existence as a marine. Without "pirates", there can be no "marines". And without "marines", there would be no need for "pirates". It's not justice at all. For the sake of maintaining the cycle of this world, so I can continue to seek my interests in this world... I will not play fair. I am a dishonest, cheating human being who hates losing."
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Despite bearing a different name, this character has a fellow fanmade counterpart in the anime and manga series, Bleach, named Seireitou Kawahiru.
- Kurama's name, epithet, and the nature of his Devil Fruit was all inspired by two sources: Kurama from the anime and manga series, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Kurama from the anime and manga series, Naruto. Ironically enough, the Kurama from the former series was the inspiration for the latter mentioned Kurama.
- After considering what approach to take with Kurama in terms of the grand scale of the One Piece universe, with the introduction of his "Fox Fire", the author decided that Kurama would serve as a pirate's worst nightmare. He wants Kurama to serve, neither as an antagonist nor as an antihero, but rather a phenomena itself in the story that when he appears, it means the characters in the story need to consider their options very carefully. In essence, Kurama no longer serves as a character but as a plot tool, meant to push the story forward and to put pressure on the characters as well. Kurama also is meant to represent actual severe consequence in the story, as his power allows him to essentially rid a person of their Devil Fruit power for good if he is successful in doing so.
- According to the author, Kurama is intended from the start to eventually be defeated and killed during the story. Subsequently, the Yoko Yoko no Mi will respawn and ideally become an important focus of a potential story arc involving its capture. With Kurama displaying the tremendous power of the Yoko Yoko no Mi throughout the course of the story, the author hopes that it will become a Devil Fruit power so highly desired that the realization of its re-spawning will prompt many pirates, marines, and perhaps even revolutionaries alike to pursue it relentlessly. The author goes on to state that if it should reach such a point, he would like to serve as the Gamemaster for that potential future arc.