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Kekkaishi (job)

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Kekkaishi (結界師, Barrier master) are demon exterminators that serve as the traditional guardians of the land of Karasumori. They are trained from a very young age in the use of the Hazama-Ryu Kekkai technique, begin patrolling the grounds as early as age seven[1], and appear to carry out their duties until they either die or are succeeded by a younger heir (and even then, they are likely to return to action as needed). The only two active Kekkaishi families remaining are the Sumimura and Yukimura.

History

The Kekkaishi tradition began with Tokimori Hazama, the first guardian of Karasumori. He discovered his powers at a very young age, and practiced until he became incredibly proficient with them. Noticing that normal people found them odd or even frightening, he adopted a policy of maintaining the natural world as much as possible, though spent much of his time dealing with the supernatural one. Hazama wandered from place to place, either destroying demons for a price or placing them under his command. He eventually came to work for the Emperor of the ancient Karasumori Clan, who entrusted him chiefly to ward off Ayakashi and protect his daughter, Princess Tsukikage. [2]

As his power began to weaken, Hazama took on several students from The Shadow Organization, entrusting them with the protection of the Karasumori site. He left behind many scrolls detailing his techniques for them, though some of these are only meant for the eyes of those deemed to be his Legitimate Successors. Initially, there were many guardians of Karasumori, but the rivalries between them (admittedly inspired by Hazama himself) led to bloodshed, until only the Sumimura and Yukimura remained, and even they only maintain an uneasy partnership.[3] Each family is headed by a Legitimate Successor, a chosen person who bears the Houin Mark, a visible symbol of their connection to Karasumori. Though Legitimate Successors are of greater importance to both the family and the land, every family member who is able typically becomes a Kekkaishi, with the only known exceptions being if they lack the necessary power or skill to do so.

Duties

Kekkaishi generally live by an established code of conduct, which they follow at all times (not just when on duty).

Primary Duties

The protection of Karasumori from supernatural threats, which includes:

  • capturing, destroying, and/or removing Ayakashi or similar threats from site as quickly as possible
  • preventing humans from being harmed by (or gaining knowledge of) supernatural beings or events
  • repairing any damage the site suffers from supernatural events
  • assisting Lord Uro as needed

Uniform & Equipment

Kekkaishi clothing

Yoshimori and Tokine in uniform

For the most part, all Kekkaishi trained in the Hazama style wear similar uniforms, based on standards handed down by Tokimori Hazama himself.[4] The Houin Mark is prominently displayed in several places on the uniform, regardless of the wearer's actual status. All Kekkaishi carry Shikigami paper and a Shakujō (often called a Tenketsu after the technique it is utilized in) bearing a design unique to their family (the Shakujō is wrapped in cloth for long trips or civilian dress). However, some Kekkaishi make modifications to suit their personal styles.

  • Instead of the usual sandals, Yoshimori Sumimura prefers sneakers.[4] He typically brings along a backpack, though this is generally for storing snacks.
  • Tokine Yukimura carries at least four kunai in a sectioned holster, attached to a belt that supports three holsters each around her waist.[5] She also carries smoke bombs.
  • Masamori Sumimura initially wears a traveling cloak with a tilted Houin Mark on the back over his uniform.

Kekkaishi trained outside of the Hazama style are very rare, and in some cases are merely spell casters who can also produce Kekkai.[6]

Ayakashi Companions

Yoshi-mada

Madarao and Yoshimori tracking an Ayakashi

Young Kekkaishi are traditionally accompanied by an Ayakashi companion (kept under control by means of a seal that doubles as a collar) that assists them in their duties and offers needed advice. In the Sumimura and Yukimura families, this role is filled by the respective family's demon Honshū Wolf. As Ayakashi themselves, the wolves can easily pick up the scents of other Ayakashi, and if necessary, fight or devour them to defend Karasumori and their masters. The wolves' physical remains are kept in the family's doghouse, sealed within orbs which in turn are contained within a large rock. If the wolves are severely injured or destroyed, they will simply regenerate and re-emerge with sufficient time to rest.

Additionally, both families have a well that houses a sealed nekomata. The nekomata are entrusted with introducing qualified Legitimate Successors (the only people they ever seem to have contact with, in fact) to the family's most advanced techniques, and are greatly attuned to the condition of Karasumori.

Teams

Chiefly because their main duty is the protection of Karasumori, which outsiders can rarely appreciate or feel an equal amount of loyalty toward, Kekkaishi almost never join permanent, organized teams. Still, Kekkaishi do typically form strong bonds with each other despite personal differences, and several Kekkaishi do end up in mutually beneficial partnerships, however temporary they may prove to be.

21st Legitimate Successors

  • Members: Shigemori Sumimura & Madarao, Tokiko Yukimura & Hakubi
  • Senior: Tokiko's brother
  • History: In their youth, Shigemori and Tokiko both protected Karasumori together. It is unclear what role Tokiko's brother played, if he was a Legitimate Successor, or what his feelings on the family feud were. However, judging by Tokiko's brief (and sole) mention of him, at the very least he would not have allowed Shigemori to accompany he and Tokiko to repair Lord Uro's bed.

Sumiko's Team (1 mission only)

  • Members: Sumiko Sumimura, 3 Shadow Organization members
  • History: Sumiko performed only one job for the Shadow Organization, during which she slayed the god of a Shinyuuchi, though she was originally only ordered to seal off the area so that her teammates could calm the god. However, Sumiko's actions allowed the god's offspring to become the new master of the Shinyuuchi.

Tokio & Yomi

  • Members: Tokio Yukimura, Yomi Kasuga and Yoki
  • History: Yomi's familiarity with Tokio's nature implies that they worked together several times on jobs for the Shadow Organization, and she further implied that they were of the same rank (Yomi was unfamiliar with Sumiko, who was ranked higher). Judging by Yomi's inexperience with Karasumori, these jobs occurred elsewhere.

22nd Legitimate Successors

  • Members: Yoshimori Sumimura & Madarao, Tokine Yukimura & Hakubi
  • Senior: Masamori Sumimura
  • Assistants: Gen Shishio, Souji Hiura
  • History: Before Yoshimori became an active Kekkaishi, he would accompany Masamori to Karasumori and learn from him. Tokine was also active at this time, and when Masamori stepped down to allow Yoshimori to take over, he asked Tokine to keep an eye on him. With the increasing threat of attack by Kokuboro, Masamori assigned Gen Shishio to assist the Kekkaishi duo, which eventually cost Gen his life. As a result, the duo received more frequent support from the Night Troop in various forms. They did not receive another full-time assistant until Souji Hiura was ordered to assist them.

Power & Abilities

Hazama-Ryu Kekkaijutsu

All traditionally trained Kekkaishi are taught Tokimori Hazama's signature style, which is based largely around the principle of creating and using a Kekkai in a large variety of ways. Some higher level elements of the technique are either too advanced for everyday use or strictly concealed, and passed on only to either experienced users or Legitimate Successors of sufficient skill, power, and dedication. In addition, individual Kekkaishi families have either developed certain aspects on their own, or simply have access to a slightly different set of teachings.

  • Fundamentals that all active Kekkaishi appear to be capable of:
    • Kekkai: A Kekkaishi's most commonly used skill is the creation and control of Kekkai, which can be customized for a wide variety of situations. Generally, a Kekkai is used to entrap an Ayakashi, and then collapsed to destroy it. Kekkai cannot be seen by normal people. It was stated by Shigemori Sumimura that the farther away the Kekkaishi goes from his/her Kekkai, it will get weaker until it disappears all together. Also, Kekkai can be used as platforms that can make it easier for a Kekkaishi to look for or chase threats.
    • Tenketsu: Uses a Shakujo to transport Ayakashi remnants to another world and prevent regeneration.
    • Nenshi: Energy threads produced from the palm, used for binding and capture. It can also be used for torture, if the "squeeze" is activated. Nenshi can also be used in the repair of damaged Shinyuuchi.
    • High Agility: Though not a specifically named skill, all Kekkaishi are extremely agile, and capable of impressive vertical leaps. They can reach the top of a two-story buildings in mere seconds, leap from rooftop to rooftop, or jump over high gates and walls (most notably that of Karasumori Academy) that other people would have to climb physically.
    • Supernatural Sense: The natural ability to sense the presence of supernatural beings (including Ayakashi, ghosts, spirits, and gods). Kekkaishi are especially sensitive to any evil presences within Karasumori, to the point where Ayakashi must completely suppress their power in order to avoid instant detection.
    • Shikigami: Paper dolls that follow a Kekkaishi's commands. Shikigami can be shaped into exact human replicas, small paper dolls, birds, or big paper dolls the same height as the user. They are typically used to repair grounds damaged by battles with Ayakashi.
  • Higher-level elements of greater difficulty:
    • Shuufuku: Restoring objects to their original state. Generally not used outside of Karasumori.
    • Sekkai: A technique that dispels Kekkai created by another Kekkaishi. Rarely seen because Kekkaishi do not typically engage in serious combat with each other.
  • Expert-level elements only for advanced users:
    • Zekkai: A powerful dark aura that surrounds the user, able to repel attacks or destroy virtually any opposing force that touches it.
    • Dimension Manipulation: The ability to manipulate dimensions, including using portals and repairing damaged space.
    • Spatial Phasing: The ability to examine and then pass through a foreign technique, without disrupting the technique itself.
    • Musou: A blank state of mind which greatly boosts the effectiveness of the user's Kekkai. The user must successfully create and summon a landlord to maintain the connection to their heart.
    • Utsusemi: The ability to assimilate another being's power, thus rendering attacks of the same nature ineffective. If used for an extended period, there is a risk of extreme exhaustion.[7]
  • Master-level elements accessible only to a select few:
    • Shinkai: A light aura used to establish the conditions of a new world, protecting or repairing that which is desired, and erasing that which is not.

Alternate Styles

While the Hazama-Ryu Kekkaijutsu is the only fully developed skill set for Kekkaishi, lesser, incomplete styles have surfaced over time. In particular, the Shinyuuchi Hunters employed young ability users as Kekkaishi, but the training appeared to be limited largely to accessing the spirit world of a Shinyuuchi (via a tool similar to a shakujo), and establishing communication with the area's god.[8] However, this method was both incredibly dangerous and often fatal for the users.

References

  1. Kekkaishi manga, Chapter 135: Mini Gaiden
  2. Kekkaishi manga, Chapter 313
  3. Kekkaishi manga, Chapter 316
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kekkaishi anime, Episode 2
  5. Kekkaishi anime, Episode 8
  6. Kekkaishi manga, Chapter 306
  7. Kekkaishi manga, Chapter 327
  8. Kekkaishi manga, Chapter 260, page 12

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