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Aza Tōma ( () () (とう) () ) is the younger brother of Aza Chōbei. After his brother was arrested, Tōma infiltrated the Yamada Clan in order to reunite his brother in prison. After Chōbei accepts a mission to retrieve the Elixir of Life from an island for the shogun, in exchange for the pardon, Tōma acted as his executioner monitor and soon joined with the surviving criminals and executioners in defeating the island's rulers known as Lord Tensen.

A year later, Tōma aids his brother as his strategist as he starts his reign of terror in British Hong Kong.

Appearance

Tōma is a young man with long black hair, eyes, and has an androgynous appearance. Tōma's hair later becomes short, after he cuts it to show his dedication to Gantetsusai in wanting to become stronger, and makes a small braid on the left side, mirroring that of his brother's. He also receives a small scar on the right bridge of his nose after Chōbei accidently injured him in a rampaging state.

For his attire, Tōma wears the Yamada clan's standard uniform, which is a white robe with a red lining running down the collars, a hakama with a single red band at the left gusset that is held together with a red waist cord, which holds his katana at his left hip, a funerary bell tied to a red piece of cloth at the center of his collar, and sandals. He later loses his funerary bell after trying to stop his brother from going berserk.

After a year passed since escaping the island, Tōma grows his hair back to its original length and supports a longer braid. The scar on his nose has also seemingly vanished. As for his attire, Tōma wears Chinese clothing with a dragon at the center of his robe.

Gallery

Personality

Tōma believes that the key to surviving in life is adapting to ones environment and views his brother as a prime example. He is very caring and loyal to Chōbei since he has been his protector since they were children and stresses out whenever harm comes to him. Because of how his father died fighting for his allies, Tōma is reluctant to cooperate with anyone except for his brother. In his own eyes, Tōma views himself as an extension of his brother instead of an ally and stated that the bandits that followed the two were merely pawns for them to use. However, Tōma soon realizes that his reliance on his brother to protect him interferes with his growth rate to look after himself. Upon being separated from Chōbei, Tōma was willing to swallow his pride and cooperate with the survivors if it meant that he could reunite with his brother and become strong enough to not only fight by his side but to rely on his own strength to fight his battles.

When away from his brother's side, Tōma tends to act rather unfriendly when someone tries to communicate with him on friendly terms. He also displays a cocky attitude. After withstanding the Tao lessons Gabimaru and Yuzuriha instructed, Tōma smiled thinking that he has surpassed Gantetsusai after seeing him heavily exhausted from the training.

History

Past

Tōma and Chōbei were born as sons to a retainer under the service of the daimyō of Akō Domain, Asano Takunori. However, after Asano Takunori attacked the court official Kira Yoshinaka at Edo Castle, he was sentenced to commit seppuku. As a result, their father and the rest of the retainers had their status removed and were left as rōnin, leaving their family in poverty. Their mother eventually died of an illness and their father was executed for being a part of the Akō Incident, leaving the two siblings left alone to defend for themselves. They were eventually taken by bandits who planned on selling them but later came to live amongst them after Chōbei managed to become their leader.

During their years as bandits, Tōma and Chōbei were cornered and were about to be arrested. Chōbei tells Tōma to escape and trusts that he would come and rescue him from prison. After infiltrating the Yamada Clan and rising to their ranks in a month, Tōma was given a chance to take on an execution. He then comes to free Chōbei in prison by presenting him the mission given by the shogun to find the Elixir of Life.

Island Arc

Main article: Island Arc

After Chōbei became one of the few that survived the massacred order by the shogun, Tōma was assigned to be his Asaemon and they departed to the island.[2]

Before arriving on the island, Tōma watched as Chōbei was being strangled by Hōrubō but managed to break out and kill him. His Asaemon, Yamada Asaemon Jikka, then thanked him in gratitude and returned to the main land. Once they arrived on the island, the two were approached by monsters and fight them off. Later, the monsters started to speak and Tōma became fearful of them. Hearing them speak of sin, Chōbei unleashes his rage on them and slaughters them while Tōma watched in admiration. Chōbei declares that he will kill all of the criminals on the island and they will claim the elixir for themselves. Tōma smiles and makes a statement to Chōbei, saying that only the strong will survive the dangers of the island while the weak will not.

Tōma and Chōbei defeated by Ju Fa.

During the next day, the two brothers continue to slaughter the monsters in their path. Tōma sees Chōbei drinking the monsters body fluids to keep himself hydrated, commenting on how he is adapting too well. After Chōbei asked about the Hermits mentioned earlier, Tōma describes them as immortal, superhuman old men who possessed magic, however, Chōbei wasn't convinced but declares that he will kill them if he were to come across them. The brothers then discover two females sitting on top of ruins having sexual intimacy. Chōbei becomes frighten by one of them and sees them as monsters. The first woman asked if they wanted to join, much to their confusion, while the second turns herself into a man and says that he will kill them, causing Tōma and Chōbei to go on guard. They are then defeated by the man.

Lord Tensen Arc

Main article: Lord Tensen Arc

Chōbei carrying Tōma out of the pit.

After their defeat, Tōma and Chōbei were dropped down a pit of blooming human corpses. Tōma gazes in horror and finds his brother entangle in vines. He rushes to his aid but is also entangle by the vines. Chōbei later escapes along with Tōma on his back by climbing his way up. Tōma suggests leaving the island and tending to their wounds but Chōbei vows revenge on the two. He recommends devising a strategy but Chōbei says that he had already figured out their weakness. Chōbei then offers him a severed limb from the pit for nourishment but turns it down. While talking they are approached by a monster called a Dōshi who politely ask them to return to the pit. Chōbei refuses and engages in battle. The Dōshi becomes furious with his behavior and summons the Sōshin to attack. Tōma is ordered by Chōbei to fight the Sōshin while he handles fighting the Dōshi.

After the Dōshi ends their battle by ripping out Chōbei's throat, Tōma screams in horror and rushes to his aid but sees that Chōbei wakes up with his neck fully healed. Chōbei then asked Tōma why he wasn't fighting the Sōshin which caused Tōma to apology and continues where he left off. While fighting, he worries over Chōbei's condition. After the Dōshi receives damage from Chōbei, he tries to call forth the Sōshin but Tōma smiles stating that he had already killed them, allowing Chōbei to end their fight. Tōma notices that the markings on Chōbei were beginning to spread. He then gives him a frightening gaze and asked Tōma if there was anything wrong. Tōma tells him that there was nothing wrong and apologies. This scene starts to make Tōma become even more worried.

The next day, Chōbei and Tōma has the injured Dōshi guide them to Hōrai where they stumble upon Gabimaru, Gantetsusai, Fuchi, and Mei. Chōbei attacks Gabimaru while Tōma is ordered to fight the other three. Tōma attacks Gantetsusai first since he sees that he is missing his left hand. However, Gantetsusai catches and his blade and easily strikes him down. Gantetsusai becomes furious with Tōma that he attacked him first because of his handicap and demands that he picks up his sword so they can begin fighting.

Gantetsusai fights Tōma.

Tōma is unable to land an attack on Gantetsusai and takes on direct blows. He is then criticized by Gantetsusai on his lack of battle experience because of how he resorts to relying on his brother and how it would have been a wise choice to team up with his party. Tōma expresses his hatred for alliances and tells him how he is only an extension of his brother. After adjusting the grip on his blade, he orders the Dōshi to attack Fuchi and Mei. Tōma then suddenly watches in fear as Chōbei transforms into a demonic form to fight Gabimaru. Remembering what Gantetsusai told him about Chōbei fighting to protect him, Tōma rushes to try to save him from losing his sense of self and ends up getting attacked. The brothers are then caught in a massive crater created by Mei trying to stop Gabimaru from ending his life with his next attack. Chōbei pushes Tōma out of the way and tells him to wait for him. He is then hit by rocks thrown by Gabimaru, causing him to fall down the valley.

Tōma pleading to Gantetsusai to train him.

Tōma falls into despair and is forced to accompany the group traveling to the Hōrai gate where they meet Sagiri, Shion, Yuzuriha, Nurugai and Hōko. The group then relocates to a cave to hide from Lord Tensen. Tōma follows Shion, Gantetsusai and Nurugai who are called out by Gabimaru to help him train. Gabimaru insists that Tōma uses his hatred towards him to take revenge for his brother. After being given Gantetsusai's sword, Tōma rushes in to strike. Gabimaru senses the movements of Tōma's Tao and dodges his attacks. Later, after finishing their sparring, Tōma begs Gantetsusai to teach him how to wield a sword and shows his resolve by cutting off his hair. Gantetsusai agrees to teach him and moves to another spot to train in private. While following him, Tōma states to himself that he sets on becoming strong so that he can fight equally alongside his brother and hopes that he waits for his return.

The survivors joining forces to complete the mission and escape the island.

Later, Tōma thanks Fuchi for treating his nose injure but has his gratitude rejected by the Asaemon. The group is then warned by Mei that someone or another group has arrived on the island. Shion and Fuchi believe that it is Shugen and the other Asaemon who were sent as reinforcements by Eizen, along with another group of criminals. Although Sagiri vouched for his cooperation, Shion denies this after explaining the full story of the Silver Serpent's group execution and how he does not cooperate with criminals or allow any Asaemon to work with them as well. Moving on, Shion presents his strategy of finding the Tan elixir and an escape route by separating everyone into two teams and using their Tao attributes to hinder and defeat each member of Lord Tensen. However, Yuzuriha suggests finding a way off the island and go into hiding. Shion takes her recommendation into account and gives everyone the option of working separately or working together in completing the mission. Unanimously, everyone decides to follow Shion into the cave and work together for their own personal reasons.

Hōrai Arc

Main article: Hōrai Arc

Using the information Mei provided, the group strategies on how to escape the island by using the ships located within Hōrai and learns that the elixir is located in Rien's laboratory. Shion then pulls Gabimaru and Yuzuriha over to have them instruct the group on espionage using Tao. After the lessons were over, Tōma sees Gantetsusai exhausted from the training and comments on how he might have become stronger than him, which irritates the swordsman and challenges him to a fight. Tōma is then placed in the Escape-Route Team along with Gantetsusai, Shion, Fuchi, Nurugai, and Mei. Gantetsusai suggests that they should have Mei depart alone without having to wait for the Elixir Retrieval Team since she wishes to leave the island. However, after Mei confesses to everyone that she wants to reunite with Rien and Xu Fu to ask them why they underwent a major in the past before leaving, Gabimaru promises to fulfill her wish. After reviewing their strategy to infiltrate the palace, the group decides to make their move tonight.

Tōma and Chōbei fight against Ju Fa for the second time.

The Elixir Retrieval Team sneaks into the palace and signals the Escape Route Securing Team that it is okay to enter. The team advances into the palace but are met by a sudden mist, causing Tōma, Gantetsusai, and Fuchi to get separated from Shion and Nurugai. The three then encounter Tao Fa and Ju Fa who plan to offer them as sacrifices to the grandmaster. Knowing that their plan to avoid Lord Tensen has failed, the group moves on to their second plan of fighting against them. Tōma then reunites with Chōbei and is allowed by Gantetsusai and Fuchi to be by his side without worrying about him being their enemy. After walking upstairs to join his brothers, the two smile and attack Ju Fa and Tao Fa. Chōbei comments that Tōma became slow but the latter objected saying that he knew that his undone braid signaled that what he was saying before was a lie. Chōbei corrects him saying that he meant that he was talking about his movements but then retracts his statement and says that he is impressed with Tōma's new improved skills. The Aza Brothers fight against Ju Fa after he has fully healed and manage to gain the upper hand with their new skillsets. Tōma sees Chōbei about to enter his transformation but stops him with full confidence that they can defeat Ju Fa. However, they see Ju Fa reaching out to grab a transformed Tao Fa's hand and fuse together, resulting in activation of their Kishikai.

Tōma and Chōbei agreeing to fight alongside Gantetsusai and Fuchi.

Chōbei prepares to jump in to attack the fused Tensens. Tōma tries to stop him but is told by his older brother not to. Chōbei commences his attack but is quickly defeated, causing Tōma to panic. Tōma then defends his brother after Chōbei and Gantetsusai start to insult each other after Fuchi suggests that they should team up. Ultimately, the brothers agree to cooperate after Fuchi brings up the point that the monster is their main target. While Tōma argues to Gantetsusai and Fuchi that they need to follow his brothers orders, the three are about to be attacked by the monster but are protected by Chōbei. Tōma then comes in to cut one of the vines that was about to attack Chōbei and grabs Fuchi's hand to use their idea of strengthening the Asaemon's Metal Tao to harm Tao Fa. Gantetsusai jumps in to attack but cause the monster to flee in the air. Tōma complains to Gantetsusai for his actions but is warned by Chōbei that the monsters form has changed. He then places Tōma and Fuchi together to take down Tao Fa while he partners with Gantetsusai to attack Ju Fa. Tōma asks his brother what he should do but is hit in the head by Chōbei, telling him to think for himself and that he has faith in his abilities.

Tōma and the others defeat Ju Fa and Tao Fa.

The four fend off against the monsters vine attacks. Gantetsusai rushes cutting away at the vines to give Tōma and Fuchi an opening to attack. Tōma senses the monsters spore attack aimed at Fuchi and protects him with his own body, reasoning being that his Tao is important in his brothers strategy. After Gantetsusai enters the pool and slices through the Kishikai body from the bottom, Tōma senses Tao Fa located at the bottom right and relays the information on to Fuchi to attack. Fuchi and Chōbei deliver the final strike to the two Tensen's tanden, putting an end to the Tensen's Kishikai.

Jikka attempts to make a deal with Tōma and Chōbei.

The four take the time to recover but are told by Chōbei's about Rien's plan of creating more Tan from the humans on the mainland. They then feel the palace starting to shake after the second team uses the Mōnshin to breach the palace's walls and are caught in a three-way conflict with the Iwagakure shinobi, who have been ordered by Shugen to eliminate the criminals, and the Dōshi sent by Rien to eliminate all invaders. After making their way out, Tōma and Chōbei temporary splits with Gantetsusai and Fuchi to find an escape route. The brothers are then stopped by Jikka and surrender after being outnumbered. Jikka then tries to strike a deal with the Aza Brothers in that he will offer to write up a false report to the shogun about the brothers having died on the island if they can manage to kill Shugen, as well as Sagiri and Shion if they get the chance, so that he can take his place as the head of the Yamada clan.

The two landing parties join forces.

While walking with their hands restrained, Tōma panics as Chōbei suffers from his arm sprouting flowers after Zhu Jin fuses with the Banko. With the out of control Zhu Jin taking over Hōrai, Tōma and Chōbei's bindings are undone by Jikka and follow him to the Rentan Temple where he proposes to everyone gathered that they should cooperate in order to survive. With everyone on board after realizing the situation their in, the group form duos in accordance to the Tao Restoration and go off to destroy the Banko's tandens.

After arriving at the Banko's Wood tanden, Tōma and Chōbei are confronted by clones of Tao Fa created from the tanden and are forced to try to get pass them. Tōma asks his brother if afterwards they should escape with the others or go along with Jikka's request earlier but wonders if they can trust him. Tōma then worries for Chōbei as he starts to suffer from his condition while unknowingly succumbing to the effects of the Tan particles in the air. He then panics as Chōbei undergoes his transformation to wreck havoc until the others prepare for the coordinated attack on the tandens.

Tōma mourning his brother's death.

Later, after the sound of the next conch signal by Yuzuriha, Tōma watches as his brother destroys the Wood tanden that manages to sync with the destruction of the other tandens. However, due to it already being morning, the Zhu Jin-fused Banko remains alive after being rejuvenated by the sunlight, which starts to cause its tandens to slowly regenerate. Tōma suggests to Chōbei in leaving behind their task and escape the island than have him die in the same way as their father. Despite Tōma's plea, Chōbei sees that he is the only one who can put an end to it all and sends his vines to reach the roots of all the tandens and destroy them to cut off the regeneration link to the main body. Tōma cries out to his brother and painfully watches as he slowly passes away. He then starts to mourn Chōbei's death and holds onto what seems like a plant ovule.

Departure Arc

Main article: Departure Arc

While still sadden over Chōbei's death, Tōma encounters Gui Fa who offers to help revive his brother by placing his plant ovule in the Basin while having Tōma use his Tao to increase the process. Later, the two watch from afar as Rien's puppet crumbles away on her ship after she came to accept Xu Fu's passing. Tōma then acquires a ship and sails away from the island with his brother fully revived.

Epilogue

After escaping the island, Tōma and Chōbei arrived in Hong Kong, right after the British occupied the colony, and began to increase the amount of chaos that was already set forth between the British forces, the underworld, and the secret agents of the Qing Dynasty. The pair then became known as the Way of the Twins, with Tōma acting as his brother's strategist.

At some point, Tōma stands by Chōbei's side as he takes down the occupying British soldiers and declaring himself the ruler of the underworld. After one of the men insults Chōbei on his height, Tōma translates for him and witness his brother unleash his transformation to kill the Brit. Though he is annoyed that he was forced to ruin his clothes, Tōma reminds Chōbei that he has a wide collection of apparel.

Abilities and Powers

Despite not being an official Asaemon, Tōma was trusted to take on the shogun's life risking mission, testifying to his abilities. He was strong enough to easily kill multiple Sōshin, who were trusted by Lord Tensen to eliminate any trespassers, and soon became one of the first few in 1,000 years to have managed to survive the ordeals the island had to offer and reach Hōrai where Lord Tensen currently resides. After training under Gantetsusai and undergoing Tao lessons, Chōbei and Ju Fa noted that Tōma's skills has improved considerably, being able to keep up with his brother in fighting the Tensen and deal damage, which he was unable to do the first time they fought, and was able to handle the Tao lessons taught by Gabimaru and Yuzuriha, which Gantetsusai, the one who improved his swordsmanship, could not endure.

Kenjutsu

Further information: Tameshi Ittō-ryū

Tōma is very talented with the sword, being credited as the fastest member in the Yamada Dojo to earn his license after only a month and easily massacred the Sōshin without any aid. With the skills he gained from the Yamada clan, Tōma is capable of decapitating his target with a single cut of his sword. Although he is talented, Gantetsusai noted that Tōma had yet to release his full potential.

After training under Gantetsusai to improve his skills, Tōma's swordsmanship has become a lot higher than it was before, being taught to face danger head on and strike. This was shown as he managed to land a critical hit on Ju Fa during their rematch.

Tao

Further information: Tao

Tōma possesses Earth-attribute Tao. After learning how to awaken and use it by Gabimaru and Yuzuriha, Tōma is capable of at least sensing the Tao around him.

Weapons

Tōma carries around his own katana.

Creation and Conception

Early concept art of Tōma and Chōbei were included in Jigokuraku Kaitai Shinsho.

Trivia

  • Aza Tōma rankings in the Popularity Polls:
    • In the first popularity poll, Tōma ranked 12th place.
    • In the second popularity poll, Tōma ranked 8th place with 626 votes.
  • In the Jigokuraku Fashion Review of Volume 2, Tōma and Chōbei's attires were given 3 out of 3 stars.
  • Though he is recognized as being a Yamada Asaemon on the mission, Tōma has yet to carry out an execution, which is a requirement for a member of the Yamada clan to earn their name.
  • Tōma is one of the three people Gantetsusai has chosen to switch to addressing by name instead of a nickname.
  • Tōma is able to understand English.
  • According to Rien, Tōma was fated to have a bad omen in his future in accordance to the I Ching she used. What events at the time that connected to the prophecy remains unclear, however, it could be possible that the ritual referred to him losing his brother after the Zhu Jin-fused Banko's chaos came to an end.
  • Top 8 popular male characters according to the Jigokuraku Kaitai Shinsho Q&A: Shugen > Tōma > Jikka > Eizen > Tenza > Fuchi > Shion > Kishō

References

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