Nurugai (ヌルガイ Nurugai?) is the last remaining member of the Sanka and a wrongly convicted death-row criminal. After the shogun called for convicted criminals to acquire the Elixir of Life from the dangerous island known as Kotaku, in exchange for a pardon for their past crimes, Nurugai accepted the invitation to be a part of the competition mission. Upon taking the mission, Yamada Asaemon Tensa was chosen as her assigned monitor.
Shortly after, Nurugai became a part of a united front formed from the remaining surviving criminals and executioners to defeat Lord Tensen, work together in capturing the elixir, and have everyone escape the island.
Nurugai has quite an androgynous appearance, with her Asaemon having only figured out that she was a girl after undressing. She has dark tanned skin and long, black, messy hair that reaches down past her shoulders when left untied; although she usually ties the hair up above her head. Later in the chapters, Nurugai's hair becomes smoother. Her body is also noticeably muscular.
She is seen wearing very scrappy clothes, her top lacking sleeves, a bone necklace, and bandages wrapped around both of her wrists. She also wears black pants that end somewhere halfway down her calves, also lacking any footwear.
After briefly settling in Hōrai, Nurugai changed into an orange vest with a mandarin collar and black pants. She keeps her bone necklace and carries her sword on her back.
Nurugai originally looked down on samurai, viewing them as stupid. Her disdain for them stems from the fact that they were partially responsible for killing her people. Because of this incident, Nurugai felt a strong guilt for leading her village's extermination, even believed that the reason why she is on a dangerous mission is because she was receiving divine punishment for her actions and accepted death. However, after Tensa makes Nurugai take her own desires into account, Nurugai realizes that she wants to stay alive to return back to her home. After being influenced by Tensa and being by Shion's side, with his task of protecting her, Nurugai's opinion of samurai may have changed and sees that not all of them are bad.
Nurugai cares greatly towards the people she has a deep connection with. She cherished the time she had with her grandfather and felt that she needed to be punished for causing his death. After the death of Tensa, Nurugai begged Shion to teach her swordsmanship and his ability to sense Tao to avenge him, stating that she could not stand by and watch as more people she cares for die in front of her. During her and Shion's fight with Zhu Jin, Nurugai ran out of the Taisoku Temple with tears running down her face after Shion begged her to leave him as he prepares to sacrifice himself to kill the Tensen. However, after remembering how Tensa opened up her resolve, Nurugai returned to save Shion and counselled him into giving up his vengeance.
Nurugai is also very helpful. She was generous enough to guide a group of samurai that were lost (not knowing that their mission was to execute her people). She removed Senta's flowers from his Arborified body just in time, tried to help Yuzuriha by unknowingly using the Tao restoration and assisted Sagiri in helping Shion fight Mu Dan in his Kishikai. Nurugai also showed that she has a lowest level of modesty, having no shame when she exposed her naked body to Tensa. Despite not always expressing it, Nurugai can sometimes bring out her feminine side. After being charmed by Tensa's chivalry, Nurugai vowed to make him her groom and wanted to try on new clothes with Yuzuriha.
Nurugai was raised with the Sanka Mountain People in a village where she had lived with her grandfather. Nurugai and her grandfather were in a friendly, familial relationship where she would learn off her grandfather's wisdom.
Her village however were considered rebels against the current shogunate, refusing to submit to Tokugawa. Because of this, samurai were sent to locate the hillside tribes they defined as Emishis. One day, Nurugai crossed paths with a party of lost men, encouraging Nurugai to offer her help by seeking rest in the security of her village. Nurugai recognized her mistake when she realised that these men were samurai under the order of Tokugawa, who began a mass killing of her village that would leave her as the sole survivor.
The samurai later imprisoned Nurugai in order to reveal the location of other Sanka settlements; promising to execute her once they had gotten what they needed. During her captivity, Nurugai met Yamada Asaemon Tensa who invited her to partake in the search for the elixir to avoid execution.
Yamada Asaemon Tensa
- Main article: Island Arc
After coming to Edo, Nurugai is grouped together with death row criminals and was told the details of the mission. She asked if the Elixir of Life doesn't come to exist on the island but the questioned was ignored. They were then told to massacre until only a few were available to leave for the island. After the massacres ends, Nurugai survives and leaves for the island with Yamada Asaemon Tensa.
After making land, the two stumble upon a monster, however Tensa manages to slay it. He decides to take Nurugai to the shogun's ship so she can return back to the mainland, believing that she is innocent. While talking down to him, Nurugai felt that it would be pointless to return since she didn't acquire the elixir. Tensa assured her that he would talk to his superiors but Nurugai doubted that would work. After the fog clears, Tensa finds the ship but later turns out to be wreckage from the boats that were departing. Nurugai then notices two shadows through the fog.
Tensa draws his sword but Nurugai warns him not to. A large tentacle then suddenly attacks them, but they manage to dodge it in time. They are then surrounded by more large tentacles. Tensa suggests that they find a boat to escape. While running, Nurugai thinks back as to how she led her grandfather and her people to their demise. The two stop and find the blooming corpse of Yamada Asaemon Kishō who causes Nurugai to envision her dead grandfather. She gives up on trying to survive and believes that she is receiving divine punishment for her crimes. Tensa refuses to allow her to be killed by the creature and tells her that he couldn't accept her resolve and asked her whether or not if she wanted to make the choose to live or die. Remembering the peaceful times she had with her grandfather, Nurugai tells him that she wanted to live and return home. Tensa gives Nurugai a sword and tells her to fight alongside him until they can get to Kishō's boat.
The two managed to escape from the beast and landed back on the island, later washing off the blood. As Nurugai begins to undress, Tensa notices that her body is quite feminine for a male, which she corrects him, saying that she was female by exposing herself to him. Tensa becomes shocked and shrugs off her statement of making him her groom. After cleaning and dressing themselves, Tensa suggest finding an escape route and find his fellow Asaemon for help.
Lord Tensen Arc
- Main article: Lord Tensen Arc
While wandering aimlessly on the beach, Nurugai and Tensa are unable to find a current away from the island. They then run into a mysterious woman who transforms into a man and starts to attack them. Tensa is injured but fights back and tells Nurugai to run, however, he catches up to them. The man is then beheaded by a sword thrown by Yamada Asaemon Shion
As they are given an opportunity to run to safety, Nurugai notices that despite him being blind Shion was maneuvering well in the forest. After relocating to a save area, Tensa introduces his master Shion to Nurugai who scolds him for his sloppy swordplay against his opponent. Shion reveals to them that while he was prepared to leave he found an optimal current that could lead them away from the island. He then draws his sword towards Nurugai and asked for an explanation as to why Tensa was protecting her. At first Shion could not accept Tensa's actions in protecting her because she was innocent but he is later convince by Tensa to not carry out the execution. Nurugai greets Shion by calling him sensei but Shion says that calling him sensei was not necessary since he did not teach her anything. They are then shocked that despite his blindness that he was able to tell that Nurugai was female.
Before they could go to the current, they take into account of the immortal being that attacked them and try to come up with an plan. However, it instantly shows up behind Tensa and Nurugai as a female and prepares to attack. Shion pushes them out of the way but has his throat slashed by her. Tensa engages in battle against the female but is hit by a devastating blow. Nurugai runs towards him in horror but is stopped by Shion. After Shion senses Tensa's desperate plead for them to escape, Shion grabs Nurugai and runs off. Nurugai begs him to stop but he explains that he was honoring Tensa's last wish and he will avenge him.
In the forest, Nurugai tries to attack Shion but is easily intercepted with his perceptive powers. Nurugai pleads for Shion's to teach her swordsmanship and his surrounds, explaining that she doesn't want to see the people she cares for to die. Shion refuses but explains to Nurugai that his perceptive powers comes from sensing waves within everything around him and tells her that it would be difficult for her to learn. Although he objected, Nurugai receives lessons from him while fighting the Sōshin and wonders if he is either doing this on purpose or if he is absent-minded. The two then continue to move forward.
The two arrive in Hōrai and lend their aid to Sagiri, Yuzuriha and Senta in facing off against the monstrous Lord Tensen. Nurugai removes the blooming flowers from Senta's head and assures Sagiri's worries about Shion. The three then watch in amazement as Shion fights on par with the monster. However, they are shocked by flowers emerging from Shion's scratched body. Sagiri makes the decision to join him after seeing him loose blood from removing the flowers but Nurugai recommends not to because of her condition. Despite this, Sagiri says that she could not stand by as Shion risks his life. Her words encourages Nurugai to join her but Yuzuriha decides to not help them since she does not have enough energy. Thinking about the time she was with her grandfather and Shion, Nurugai embraces Yuzuriha and Sagiri as way to restore their strength. She and Sagiri then wrap themselves in bandages and have Yuzuriha coat them in her fluid to prevent them from being infected by the monsters stingers.
After relaying their plan to Shion, the monster comes up to Nurugai and attacks. However, she manages to dodge and cut its stingers. She then sees it extend its hand towards her but Sagiri comes in and intercepts it, as well as protect her from the rest of its oncoming attacks. After Sagiri cuts every one of its vines, Shion gets behind the monster and kills it with his sword. Once the battle was over, Nurugai and the rest comes to Senta and watches as a dies in peace in Yuzuriha's arms. Nurugai then listens to Sagiri's resolve to have every criminal and executioner cooperate to return home safely.
The group enters Hōrai and settles in a building. Yuzuriha and Nurugai take the time to change outfits and listen to Shion's review of Tao and how they can defeat Lord Tensen. Nurugai then changes the topics about finding the Elixir of Life. Yuzuriha points out that from what she learned from Mu Dan the elixir does not benefit humans. Sagiri interjects saying that according to Gabimaru, his village chief is immortal because of the elixir, but Yuzuriha explains the possibilities of the chief using an illusion to fool his villagers. Later, she sleeps with Yuzuriha during the night.
The next day, the group heads to the gate to see if the others have made it to Hōrai. After arriving at the gate, they are met by Yamada Asaemon Fuchi, Tamiya Gantetsusai, Gabimaru unconscious, Mei, Tōma, and a Dōshi. The remaining survivors then relocate to a cave to hide from Lord Tensen. Nurugai, Shion, Tamiya, and Tōma are then asked by Gabimaru to assist him in his training. After Tamiya and Tōma made their attacks, Nurugai joins in as well. Gabimaru sees her attack coming and grabs and swings her to knock Tamiya, Tōma, and Shion back. Nurugai becomes impress with Gabimaru's skills and finds that he is strong enough to fight Lord Tensen but the ninja says that he is far from ready. The group later gather together and are 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 came and work together. Nurugai then punches Shion thinking that he wanted to leave her after giving everyone the two choices.
- Main article: Hōrai Arc
Using the information Mei provided, the group strategies on how to escape the island by using the ships located within the palace and learns that the elixir is located in Rien's laboratory. The group then sits in on Gabimaru and Yuzuriha's lessons on espionage using Tao. Later, Nurugai, Tamiya and Fuchi are seen exhausted from the training. After being put in the Escape Route Securing Team, Nurugai prepares to ask Shion a question but is told by the Asaemon that he has not forgotten. The group then review their strategy on infiltrating the palace. Once they were finish, the two teams decide to deploy tonight.
After sneaking into the palace, the Elixir Retrieval Team 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 Nurugai and Shion to get separated by Tamiya, Fuchi and Tōma. The two then encounter Zhu Jin once again, who plans 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.
Nurugai watches form the sidelines as Shion continuous to cut away at Zhu Jin's body until he loses Tao. She then tells Shion that he has cut them two hundred and fifteen times. Zhu Jin manages to reform back but in a weakened and attacks them with his corpses. Nurugai becomes frighten and worries for Shion's condition. Shion knew that Zhu Jin was attempting to buy enough time to recover and cuts the corpses to bits. Shion continuous to attack but becomes exhausted from using too much Tao, causing Nurugai to rush to his aid. Shion tells her to stay back and is suddenly crushed by Zhu Jin's corpses. However, he escapes and dodges his broken blade manipulated by Zhu Jin, giving him a chance to fall back into the water. Shion and Nurugai becomes shock after Zhu Jin emerges from the water fully recover in their Yin form and partially transforms in her Kishikai.
Nurugai and Shion fight together against Zhu Jin. Shion becomes determine to kill Zhu Jin at all costs. He disembodies Zhu Jin, opens up her tanden to reveal the plant ovule, and presses his sword down to end the Tensens life but is assaulted with vines. Nurugai begs Shion to stop since he will die if he goes any further but is told by Shion to leave him to avenge Tensa. Nurugai, unable to do anything about the situation, painfully forces herself to leave the temple. However, after remembering Tensa's words to her, Nurugai sees a vision of him in front of her. Having seen his face once again, Nurugai remembers the words Tensa said that made her realize her will to live and returns to the temple to save Shion. Nurugai jumps in to push Shion away from his sword, removes the vines from his body, and embraces him to restore his Tao. Nurugai tells Shion that Tensa's final wishes was not have them sacrifice their lives to get revenge but to keep on living after witnessing how he smiled knowing that he protected the both of them. Instead of seeking revenge, Nurugai asks that Shion come with her to regroup with the others and tell her more about Tensa later. After hearing her plea, Shion agrees to leave Zhu Jin (who is slowly regenerating) and expresses his gratitude to Nurugai for saving him.
As they walk off, Nurugai listens to Shion as he promises to be her protector until they return to Japan and find a suitable home for her. Unexpectedly, the two starts to feel the palace shaking and finds themselves cornered by Iwagakure shinobi from the second landing party who have come to eliminate any criminals alive and a Dōshi army tasked with eliminating all intruders. Nurugai and Shion try to escape from the warfare but are forced to stand down after Yamada Asaemon Kiyomaru appears with the intent of executing Nurugai. As Shion lays down his weapons to surrender, Nurugai witnesses Zhu Jin emerging out of the Main Temple completely fused with the Banko, causing Hōrai to be taken over. With the situation changing, Nurugai, Shion, Kiyomaru, and the Iwagakure shinobi regroup with everyone gathered at the Rentan Temple where Jikka proposes that everyone cooperate to defeat Zhu Jin.
Abilities and Powers
Nurugai was capable enough of surviving the massacre of multiple strong death row criminals. Her muscular build suggests that Nurugai underwent extensive training.
Nurugai is very agile and has fast reflexes, shown as she avoided a direct attack from Zhu Jin, who themselves complimented on her quick movement. Even Sagiri was amazed by how nimble Nurugai was when she managed to evade and cut Mu Dan's stingers easily.
With a sword at hand, Nurugai displayed enough skill to help Tensa slash away at the giant monsters tentacles and escape.
- Further information: Tao
Nurugai possesses Water-attributed Tao. At first, Nurugai started off not being able to use Tao due to her being unable to believe what she cannot see. However, after soon overcoming this inability, Nurugai managed to unlock this power and used it to sense the Tao of the monsters created by the Zhu Jin-fused Banko and swiftly cut them down.
Nurugai wields a sword given to her by Tensa.
- "More like my grandpa's wisdom. He was always telling me to economize in everything I do."
- "But now I know. This IS Divine Punishment. Punishment for getting gramps killed... For getting them all killed..."
- "Of course I don't! I wanna go back to the mountains!"
- Nurugai ranked 10th place in the manga 1st Character Popularity Poll with 241 votes.