Friday, October 21, 2011

Character Closeup: Naotaka

I'm going to keep going with this series until I run out of names. The tricky part now is that I'm going to start talking about characters that don't get introduced until later in the story.  Still, these folks are going to have bigger roles as the series goes on, so it seems appropriate to talk about them.  Thus, I'm going to try to be obtuse about who and what they are, but I will try to give a bit of their background.

Naotaka is very similar in appearance to Keisuke.  Michael notes that they could be biological brothers, when in reality they're simply sworn brothers.  Naotaka is bald, where Keisuke has hair, but they both sport the same fu-manchu mustache.  Naotaka also enjoys puffing on his pipe.

Nao's family and Keisuke's have been closely linked for ages.  While Keisuke's family has protected an ancient power, Nao's family has protected the protectors, so to speak.  The men in Naotaka's family are "gifted," or granted special powers as protectors when they come of age.

Nao grew up in Japan with Keisuke before they fled together after a close.  They were as close as brothers for many years, even marrying at the same time.  It was only when Keisuke left for America that he left Naotaka behind.  There are reasons there that I won't spoil.

Service is the cornerstone of Nao's existence.  He takes his sworn duty very seriously, treating Keisuke as both brother and master.  There was a time when Naotaka may have been one among many protectors, but as time progresses, ancient powers are forgotten, and fewer men are willing to give their lives and families to such a cause.  While Keisuke's ancestry would display more of a linear pattern, Naotaka represents a much larger group that has dwindled over the years to just him.

When his master leaves, Naotaka finds himself adrift.  He remains and does what he can to continue in his duty, though he must remain apart from his sworn brother.  He focuses on raising his kids, and keeping a safe refuge should Keisuke ever decide to return.  Though, the two men live a world apart, they still remain in contact with each other.  Keisuke sees Naotaka as his "safety valve" as he explores life in America.  Bad memories may keep him away, but Naotaka is still his brother.

Naotaka is bound to the spirit of a wolf, a wily pack animal that never gives up a fight.  As always, feel free to prod me for spoilers in the comments if you want more information.


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