Name:Her full name is Namikawa Aizu-no-kami Namazuhime Ayuko (浪川会津守鯰姫 鮎子), an obscene mouthful. Namikawa is her surname, picked by herself during the Meiji restoration's establishment of surnames. Aizu-no-kami is a courtesy name, roughly meaning "protector of the Aizu domain", Namazuhime literally means "princess catfish" (an occupational name, really). Ayuko is her given name, and can be used for summoning her - hence the reason she keeps it so hush-hush.
The nickname "Aizu" sprung from her courtesy name, and is generally the one she enjoys using. Her passport lists her as Aizu Namikawa (浪川あいず)
Age:She believes her "birth" to have been shortly after the Edo earthquake of 1855, making her about 159 years old. Physically, she appears sixteen years old, which frustrates her— she can't get drunk.
Height & Weight:5'1" (155 cm) and 115 lbs (52 kg) in human form. As a youmu, she's roughly 10 feet (130 cm) TL.
Race:Youmu. To be precise, she's a namazu.
Occupation:A waitress at Miwa's adorable cafe, because she's poor
PHYSICAL POWER: 3
SPIRITUAL POWER: 14
Heavy vitality, defence, and spiritual power make her a heavy-duty tank that can land consistent magical damage over a long period of time. However, she can't dodge any opposing attacks, moves slowly, and has... pitiful upper-body strength.
Expertise:Being somewhat alive and very observant during the late Tokugawa and Meiji periods means that she's ridiculously good at 19th and 20th century history (excluding post-war), much to the confusion of her human peers. She's also extremely sensitive to supernatural disturbances in the air—she'll often "feel" non-tactile things without touching them ("You feel like cheap paper and despair"), and can sense the presence of barriers and other youmu in this way. Her senses can be taken as far as to "read" the emotional atmosphere of a situation accurately. She's also developed a rather fine taste in luxury clothes, which means she's extraordinarily good at putting on and resewing kimono. This isn't a particularly useful area of expertise, but still.
- Her creepy ass teeth and stomach acid.
- Her more visible hairpin, which transforms into a yari (Japanese spear). It's essentially useless, as it requires a Spirit World Warrior's grip to change into its real form. It's more of a keepsake accessory, to remind her of her humanity (read: that one time she got stabbed).
- She has a less-visible hairpin tucked into her other bun; it's a rather plain thing. It was given to her by her shitty human boyfriend, so, being a hoarder, she refuses to take it out and probably rubs her face on it a lot. What? Don't look at me.
- BOTTOM FEEDER:Her main and most useful skill. Catfish eat everything, including their own kind; Aizu is no exception. When a monster has been significantly weakened (whether through disease, a Spirit World Warrior battling it, or otherwise), Aizu can open her mouth and swallow it whole. A good youmu can keep her fed for about a week. However, the youmu rocks are not digestible, and she'll have to cough it back out, not unlike a hairball. It's very unattractive, and this embarrasses her.
- SEIGAIHA:A huge, invisible wall appears between her and her opponent, docking them -6 SPEED stats and any flying projectiles for 30 seconds. It slows everything down, basically. Think the impediment jinx.
- SHOCKWAVE:When in namazu form, she thumps her tail on the ground, sending a strong tremor through the earth and towards an opponent. Effectiveness based on dice roll (rolling a 1 means that nobody feels anything, max number means there's going to be a small-scale earthquake).
A rather scenic Chinese garden-style pond on the Eastern side of Nagatsuki Park, lined by grasses and inhabited by a bunch of frogs. Upon Aizu's arrival in Nagatsuki back in 2011, she had been living in the sewers; the existence of a pond had been of much convenience, and she promptly moved into it (much to the ignorance of the Japanese Parks Board). The newest addition to the pond is a single, pitiful goldfish that
Sagiko was talked into winning for herAIZU WON ALL BY HERSELF.
DISCLAIMER: Do not throw money, food, or any item of sentimental or monetary value into the pond, or Aizu will interpret it as an offering and force you to make a wish on the glorious catfish god.
Likes and Dislikes:✓ Raw seafood (generally fish, sometimes shellfish, rarely actual meat)
✓ Shades of blue, especially muted teals and navies✓ Green teas
✓ Kimono; she has a collection going, and is serious about preserving them✓ Saving money, and by extension, bargains. By making other people pay for her food, usually✗ Cats; she's moderately ailurophobic. Felines can often smell the fish on her, even in human form, and will allegedly smell her out within a ten-mile radius✗ Human wars; the mere mention will put her on-edge✗ Foreigners, particularly Americans✗ Youmu that try to live like humans✗ Talk of the future
arrogant | adaptable | empathetic | stubborn | slow | sensitive | hoarder
Born out of transition, Aizu is fluid and adaptable; she, more than anybody, understands the ever-shifting sands of time and humanity's invariable progress through the ages. While she acts traditionalist and conservative in many ways, she's quick to wrap her mind around a new concept and try it with her own hands. It's this skill, she maintains, that keeps a youmu from being killed: Adapt or die. Reflecting this, her speech is a curious mix of the flowery pomp and circumstance of a Heian-era court and the sassy dulcet tones of a regular teenager.
It could be argued that Aizu is far, far too comfortable in her own element. When at ease, she will put on airs and generally act like a little princess to anyone who's foolish enough to strike up a conversation. Her age and powers gives her a sense of extreme and unwarranted superiority bordering on crazed belief that she's a god. While her condescending old-fashioned speech is rather ham-fisted at worst, it lends itself unpleasantly to other facets of her personality: she's stubborn, and often convinced that she's the most intelligent person in the room (despite the fact that she's actually rather slow). It's difficult to sway her from a decision once she's made her mind up, in part because of this. Ironically, she's very emotionally sensitive, and often quite merciful because of her empathy— it's not unusual to hear her constantly going "well, I'll cut you a break this time, just because I'm so kindly!"
She feels there are irreconcilable differences between youmu and humans, leaving them as chess pieces in a stalemate at best and a predator-prey cycle at worst. However, she can never truly hide the extent of a bond she had with a human once before. Sometimes, a human will say something that strikes her as uncannily endearing, and her eyes will visibly soften, much to her own embarrassment. One could nearly argue that she has a soft spot for what Aizu sees as livestock; pets, even.
Spirit World Warriors are a completely different story; if humans are livestock, Spirit World Warriors are the electric fence. She's unsurprised by their existence, but they are, nevertheless, constantly out to hurt her; having little experience with them, save second-hand from other youmu, she tends to have some odd and outdated notions about them. Being someone who jumps to conclusions easily, she paints them as a ridiculous Nazi caricatures more than real people due to her inexperience.
She doesn't see other youmu as allies at all— rather, she often measures herself up to them, trying to figure out who is more powerful. In finding herself lacking, she'll often turn quite timid; almost... lovestruck. If she finds them inferior, the most common outcome, she'll proceed to laugh at their backward land-dwelling mammalian ways.
Most youmu will assume a human form to blend in, and while Aizu is quite good at her human form, her ability to blend in is shoddy— despite her arrogance, she's easily tried by nervousness. She's prone to forgetting her modern-day speech and smiling in the most UTTERLY TERRIFYING manner which tends to frighten all but the most fearless. Her socializing is learned mostly from trial and error, of which she's had little time to err, so it tends to be on the awkward side when she's not in full God-mode.
In the end, Aizu's most crippling flaw is her own ignorance— her self-isolation has ensured a degree of idiocy. It's the only thing that might be fixed with time.
Ayuko was born in the late Tokugawa period in Edo (what is now modern-day Tokyo), in the silty estuaries off the coast of the Japanese archipelago. Due to the circumstances surrounding a youmu's birth, she's not entirely sure when, or even how she was born. Rather, Ayuko wasn't exactly concerned with petty details like how she had come into existence. As a mindless and hostile youmu of chaos, her only thought was to destroy and her only rudimentary emotion was a soaring euphoria at destruction. As a monstrous catfish, she took childish glee in possessing humans and generally wreaking havoc, sending tsunamis crashing down on coastal villages. Much akin to a toddler's fascination with crushing ants, humans appeared attractive to her in their fragile bodies and their seemingly ephemeral lifespans. Ayuko began to be feared as a reckless god, and it went directly to her head, quite firm in her belief that she was a reigning and all-powerful god of ocean chaos.
Thankfully, her primeval reign of terror over the coastline rural villages eventually came to an end. Spirit World Warriors drove her up the mouth of the Agano River, severely wounding her. While they did not successfully kill her, her body sustained serious damage; a particularly aggressive Spirit World Warrior had managed to lodge her spear into Aizu's side. For the first time since her birth, she felt real pain from real wounds. Until she could recover, her urge to kill was muffled by pain: it left her with a great deal of time to slowly develop more consciousness. In her weaker state, she moved farther inland to the region of Aizu in western Fukushima, where she was quite sure no Spirit World Warriors were present. It was where she decided to make her home, set in the mud banks of the river. She named herself after this location because she considered it home— and, being old-fashioned, she didn't fancy it very odd to name yourself after your geographic origin. Before Aizu, she had been a mindless monster; it was here that she began to truly nurture her human emotions, which excited her. As for the spear that had been wedged in her side by a warrior, she eventually wrenched it out of her flesh (amid much babyish crying and tears). Being a Spirit World Warrior weapon, upon being withdrawn from Aizu's body it immediately reverted to the form of a hairpin. No matter how much she prodded it, the hairpin refused to turn back into a spear— since she was a youmu, the weapon refused to budge for her. As her first material acquisition, she tucked it into her bun— there it has stayed, for well over a hundred years.
All new emotions aside, newfound feelings like pleasure and giddiness did not necessitate more complex emotions, such as empathy; she especially loved going to the entertainment districts of Tokyo to get rather drunk (in namazu form, wrapped up in a kimono. I am not joking). Her morals were not yet very well-developed, and so when a baby fell into her river she thought nothing of taking the baby's body for her very own. Youmu were known to kidnap children, and it appeared nothing more than a terrible accident to the baby's distraught mother. Unfortunately for Aizu, however, it meant that she was confined to a human bodily aging process. Being forced to wander about as a toddler was infuriating to her- she caught herself unhappily thinking that human bodies were, indeed, quite overrated. On top of the physical indignity was the fact that her human body felt quite a bit of pain; no longer did cuts, bumps or scrapes go unnoticed. She realized very quickly that owning a female body was a horrible mistake around her teens— menstrual cycles interrupted all her otherwise plans with riverbed sobbing, suddenly unprotected sex wasn't an altogether feasible option, and above all— nobody took her seriously. The only perk it seemed to have was that Aizu could suddenly partake in the world of humans, even if only for a few hours at a time. It wasn't a perk that Aizu exploited often, choosing to soak in her river all day rather than inflict upon herself the vulnerability of a human form amongst simple-minded human townsfolk.
Unfortunately, Aizu never had to seek them out— the townsfolk came to her instead. People often came to her river to bathe, wash their clothes or simply swim; when they did, they would drop things— shoes, a kimono sleeve or two, handkerchiefs. Aizu viewed these things as unnecessary litter, and would often, irritated, place them back on the riverbank where they had been dropped. When the surrounding townspeople noticed that their forgotten things were being returned (and often being consciously hurled to high ground by rather huffy large waves), they came to the conclusion that the river was inhabited by a friendly kami. Naturally, they built her a shrine, and began to leave little wishes on paper and sacrifices; this was an aspect of godhood that Aizu had never experienced before. Rather than striking fear into the hearts of these people, she was inspiring love and kindness; she had never been asked to do things before, so, with a rather grim determination, she did her best to fulfil the wishes of the townspeople within her grasp. It's still one of Aizu's favourite moments of her life to happily recall; when it comes down to it, a lifetime of action is preferable to endless decades of lethargy.
On an early summer morning during the early Showa period, when her body was still in its child stage, Aizu wound up rescuing something somewhat bigger than a handkerchief. A curious boy, no older than ten, had leaned over to prod at minnows beneath the depths. Perhaps it was a nearly-human woman's face appearing deep within the waters that caused him to topple into the river in surprise, and it was with mild interest that Aizu watched the small body sink through the water, almost ghostly in the light. She knew that humans exhaled bubbles as they swam, and this boy appeared to be doing the same: therefore, she did not give him much thought. The child was obviously swimming. It was only when the bubbles slowed to a thin, pitiful trickle did it occur to her that this was what drowning was. Somewhat reluctantly (he was a rather chubby boy, and he clung to her neck very painfully), she pulled him out of the water with her own hands, leaving him to cough and splutter in the shallows. It was no different than pulling out a particularly heavy man's shoe, or so she thought.
She firmly decided that the boy owed her his life, and kept an eye on him as the years went by. He kept his silly interest in minnows, and loved taking them home in jars; as time went by, Aizu became less and less shameless in her observation, until one day, she allowed her head to break the surface and look him in the eye. If Aizu wished, she could have convinced him that she was a human girl; however, his hometown was a small one where everyone recognized each other, and it wouldn't have flown over very well. The boy was not an idiot, contrary to his actions, and it was a nasty shock for him to realize he was eye-to-eye with the local shrine god that had saved his life as a child.
Aizu knew all too well that humans aged quickly, but none seemed to age so quickly as her human boy; it seemed naught but a month (in reality, years) until he was easily taller than her, with a deep voice and huge hands. Conscious of the time he had left, she noticed her heart had started to ache when she watched his retreating back vanish over the hill; something had to be done. In the end, there was no action taken— her actions in themselves were transparent to anybody perceptive enough to see it, and the boy she had saved eventually became her lover. What had caused this lapse in judgement (in her opinion) was anybody's guess; any time she tried to desperately ask herself why she was willingly exposing herself to invariable heartbreak, there was no answer but a rush of water in her ears, like the flooding of a basin. She continued to protect him through his teenage years, cherishing his easily-extinguished human flame of life so that she could be at least granted a fleeting lifetime with the boy.
Despite these careful precautions, she couldn't save him from everything, in the end. Aizu did not foresee the Second Sino-Japanese war, nor the conscription of every eligible male that came with it; a coward, still wary of the ocean, she wouldn't dare follow him back down the Agano River and into the open Sea of Japan to watch over him on the little islands so far away from herself. Just when she thought the war was over, the Pacific War began in the south; Aizu scorned of petty human wars, sitting there in her river, as miserable as she had ever felt. The shrine visits were overflowing during those years; no more were there wishes of reciprocated love or safety, but begging for victory and for returned sons. Aizu wished as hard as any of them for returned sons, but there were few that came back— it was not in good taste to surrender.
The boy did not come home to her river, and there was no victory. Aizu gradually withdrew from the town that she had cherished for so long, abandoning their hopes and dreams; she was a useless failure of a god if she could not stop such puny, insignificant humans from ripping each other apart over stupid human things. She was a failure if she couldn't protect a single boy from American bullets. She abandoned her human form, and sank into the sediment at the bottom of the riverbed. From her resting place, thousands of feet below the surface, the bombs felt like muffled roars.
Her human body eventually died off, having reached the end of its lifespan; her shrine fell into disuse, there being nobody to answer it. She was dismissed as a wartime superstition by the younger generation. She had never before lost something so terribly important to her, and she fancied herself far too weak to deal with the loss; rather than confront it, she chose to hibernate, and surrender herself to a sort of self-inflicted oblivion instead. Aizu slept through VJ day, Allied occupation, and the San Francisco Treaty— she also slept through the remainder of the Showa era, right up to 2011.
She was then woken up, rather unpleasantly, by an earthquake.
When she formed a second body— wearily resigning herself to re-integrate back into the world she left— she took care to craft herself around the age of twelve, so as to save herself the indignity of a child's form. As of current, her prior life's memories have become fuzzy and unsure from decades of sleep and dreams. She wishes to keep it that way; after all, she's doing so well at current, it would be a shame to recall the bitter and sweet memories alike.
- Her theme song is Swamper
- Much to my own shame, she actually has her own 8tracks playlist because I'm garbage
- Her voice is Kanae Ito: 0:18-0:23 when she's pissed off, 0:50-1:07 when she's (slightly) calmer (but still pissed off).
- I imagine she looks a bit like Youki Kudou.
- Aizu can digest and gain nutrition from almost any living thing— this includes grass, other youmu, invertebrates, and human flesh. You'll have a right job getting her to admit it, since she hasn't gone for humans in several decades: especially when easier and more morally-correct food sources are in abundant supply.
- She's nursed herself a phobia of earthquakes; it brings back memories from a dark time that she's nearly forgotten about, when she was the one causing them. An irrational part of her is afraid that she'll revert back to her youmu state of lost control if one occurs.
- In all forms, she has a long, thin scar across her back, ending in a rather ugly patch of raw skin from where a spirit world warrior's weapon was lodged in there. She carries it rather haughtily, like a battle scar.
- When she's nervous or strained, she smiles like Totoro. It doesn't help that when she's anxious, her control appears to slip over her human form— barbels will spring out of her cheeks, and her eyes will spread apart and become a little glassy. It's unnerving, to say the least.
- She sleeps with her eyes open, because she has a third eyelid. It's terrifying.
- Her forehead is huge enough to land a helicopter on it. She's insecure over this.
- Her hands are rather small and chubby for her body, and often clammy with short fingernails.
- Her skin is very pale with cold undertones; her veins appear to be rather eerie blue-green webs under her skin.
- AMEMIYA KOTARO (雨宮 浩太朗):
Kotaro and Aizu are both stubborn, and it certainly clashes; even so, there's something about an insecure twentysomething working minimum wage that stirs the small reserves of pity in her cold, cavernous heart. She doesn't fear him like she would a normal Spirit World Warrior, even despite his size and red-bloodedness; he smells like a Cleaner, is from a Cleaner family and destroyed rocks for her, which makes Kotaro a cleaner in Aizu's head. There's something about his go-getter attitude that she thinks she's rather fond of.
What a shame his father is so attractive, especially since Mr Amemiya is very determined to exterminate her like a house pest.
Also, she fucking hates his cat.
- INAMINE JUN (河合 美和):
Reluctant coworkers, Aizu can't help but be a little wary of him. He smells like dogs. Dogs and bloodlust.
- KAWAI MIWA (河合 美和):
Back in the early Meiji period, it's implied that the two were somehow connected or acquainted; there was some kind of "incident" that Aizu alludes to when prompted, although she doesn't elaborate further (although Miwa doesn't remember, being far too old for this shit). Miwa is possibly the only youmu on earth that Aizu defers to; perhaps because of her sheer age and power, but perhaps also a bit because she's simply the type of kind person that nobody can act haughty at.
Being the only other youmu in Aizu's acquaintance upon her move to Nagatsuki, she asks Miwa for a job at her cafe. Thus, technically, Miwa is her boss. Aizu loathes to ask more favours of her, but she has a bad feeling that she might have to.
- KONDOU MASARU (近藤勝):
Somehow, this incredibly tall freelance photographer dad is squirming his way into Aizu's cold, clammy heart. While she can't help but think he acts childish - not unlike a young widower, and she has her suspicions - she can't help but appreciate him endlessly for his unwavering (and perhaps naive) faith in her as a god. She also adores his young daughter, Aya, and spoils her rotten, much like a grandmother without boundaries.
These strings of delusional lies might be catching up with her, which is making her panic. Masaru's faith gives her a standard that she feels she might not be able to reach. More importantly, it's becoming more and more difficult to keep her youmu identity a secret, especially from one with a keen ear such as Masaru. Gods do not lie- but nor do they complicate matters by revealing things that don't need to be said.
- MAKIHARA SAGIKO (槙原鷺子):
Aizu isn't sure why she bothers with this girl, except perhaps in blind admiration of her "tuberculosis pallor" (which is, in reality, sleep deprivation and lack of Vitamin D). She knows all too well that Sagiko is a Spirit World Warrior – a capable one, at that, and one that asks nosy questions that press deeper than intended. Perhaps it's something about the way she's so terribly full of crushingly low self-esteem and terrified stammers. She's always had a thing for injured animals. She can't help but develop a sense of camraderie with someone she's fought alongside. She had never worked together with someone to defeat a youmu, and it surprised her how right it felt.
Perhaps in light of this, Aizu claims that neither of them will kill the other because youmu and Spirit World Warriors are in a détente of sorts - a mutually benefitting relationship. She hopes her claim turns out to be true, because she is absolutely in love with Sagiko's house (but mostly her copy of Dynasty Warriors 8 and her television).
- SHIRATORI ITARU (白鳥 至):
He seems a charming pushover, something that greatly appeals to Aizu. A little bit of a big brother figure, maybe- it's been a long time since she's had such a thing, but his advice is grudgingly welcomed in a world where she's at a disadvantage.