- This is the article on the next potential carrier for the name, Gabimaru the Hollow. For the series protagonist, head to Gabimaru. For other uses, see Gabimaru (disambiguation).
After the shogun came to Iwagakure for assistance in retrieving the Elixir of Life from Kotaku, having become impatient with the first group, Shija and a squad of Iwa ninja was assigned by the village chief to the second team to hasten the completion of the mission. In actuality, the Iwagakure shinobi squad's true mission was to kill Gabimaru, who was assigned to the first team, and take back the alias, which became Shija's personal goal.
Shija had long, slick dark hair, slight hints of shadow below their eyes, and a shade of lipstick. Underneath their hair covered a scar on their forehead above their right eye, which was self-inflicted in their past attempt to mirror Yui. Their attire consisted of the standard uniform of a Iwagakure ninja, which was a black robe with long sleeves that are frayed, a black tattsuke bakama, and a white sash tied at the waist. They also wore a hannya mask that was later cut in half by Kiyomaru.
As they prepared to go into battle, Shija tied their hair into a small bun in the back and had a bang parted to the right side of their face.
While working on missions, Shija had the complete mindset of a shinobi and only spoke when it was necessary. As a shinobi, Shija viewed themselves as a pawn for their master and only prioritized on the orders they had been given on a mission no matter what the situation was. To this extent, they also held no sense of concern for their ninja allies since they too follow the same belief. After Kiyomaru ordered Kumokiri to kill himself, Shija was unfazed by his death and merely followed his orders of leading the squad before his passing. Another example being how they ignored the fact that a hand full of their subordinates were slaughtered by a Mōnshin and simply gave the order to one of them that was still alive to kill it despite the state they were in. Shija was also loyal to Iwagakure and held the chief's orders above those of the missions they took.
Shija had respect and a deep infatuation towards Gabimaru. Whenever they met or even had a mere thought about Gabimaru would caused Shija to break out in an excited, love-struck behavior. They believed that the current inheritor is truly worthy of the name "Gabimaru" and would not stand by as others doubted him. Even after he had defected from the village and was seen as an embarrassment by the chief, Shija still maintained their respect for Gabimaru, believing that the dangers of Kotaku would not be enough to kill him. However, Shija's love for Gabimaru could be seen as being a twisted, borderline obsession. They thought of themselves as Gabimaru's supporter and was driven to commit horrendously violent acts from the shadows for his sake in the past. They also outwardly admitted to Gabimaru that they were even willing to die by his hands and that the only person they desired to kill was him, showing mental signs of insanity. After being sent to Kotaku, Shija was driven to find and engage in a death match with Gabimaru no matter what and disobeyed one of Shugen's orders to do so even though it was their duty as a shinobi to follow them while on the mission.
In terms of loyalty between Iwagakure and Gabimaru, Shija had been pointed out by the latter to be a loose cannon that could either chose to give in to their feelings and become his ally or put the village's orders first and serve as his enemy. However, upon reuniting with Gabimaru and being requested of their support, Shija ultimately chose him over Iwagakure and help him albeit in a warped way of doing so by bringing out his true fighting instincts in a death match.
In battle against their opponents (with the exception of Gabimaru), Shija was very sadistic as they fought by exploiting their opponent's vulnerability, or their "love", and took pleasure in it, believing that battles were not won through strength but by playing dirty. While fighting Rien, Shija took advantage of the ships being of high importance to the Tensen by attempting to set them on fire and passed the Elixir of Life to the ninja, presenting them an opening to attack with shuriken and set Rien ablaze while distracted. Through this, Shija was shown to be very perceptive as they figured out that Rien was holding back her power to not damage the ships and knew that the gourd she had on her was the Elixir of Life based on her reaction to when they stole it.
For reasons unknown, Shija had a rather odd perspective of men and women, viewing everyone they encounter (with the exception of Gabimaru) as being old regardless of their correct age and referred to them as such.
When they were young, Shija and their brothers underwent intense ninja training, along with many other children, to become Iwagakure's next "Gabimaru the Hollow". While they managed to endure the gruesome training, Shija was left as the only surviving sibling and one of the few children to survive the screening. At some point, Shija was tasked by the village chief to confront one of the candidates in a trial match but immediately ran away after the boy radiated a sense of danger to Shija. After being overwhelmed with a sensation of what seemed like fear for the first time, Shija developed feelings for the young boy and saw him befitting of inheriting the title of "Gabimaru", which they made sure would happen by killing the other candidates one by one. Shija also spent their years carefully observing him and received training.
As a result of completing their ninja training, Shija found that they were living a dark and gloomy life due to their inability to feel any form of pain. However, after coming close to death at the hands of the young man they were admiring, Shija realized that they are still capable of dying and developed a fixation for it, which also caused their infatuation for the young man to grow even more. When the time came for a new "Gabimaru the Hollow" to be appointed, Shija happily watched the young shinobi become the next "Gabimaru" as they had hoped after completing the Rite of Succession ceremony. After the ceremony, Shija noticed how a few of their peers became jealous of Gabimaru and dealt with them by skinning them alive. Shija was then found by Gabimaru at the scene and confessed their love, explaining that they have been supporting him ever since they were young and would be honored to either die by his hands or have the opportunity to kill him. After receiving news that Gabimaru married the village chief's daughter, Yui, Shija became envious and made an effort to appear the same as her by burning their forehead.
During one mission, Shija, along with the other elites led by Gabimaru, were task with retrieving a ledger from the Temple Commissioner. The squad completed the mission but were oddly ordered by Gabimaru to only knock the men unconscious and not cause any bloodshed, causing them to become suspicious of him as a shinobi. Later, the squad takes on a mission to kill their previous employer and his wife but instead attack Gabimaru after he had refused to kill them. Shija becomes outraged but is informed by Kumokiri that they were carrying out orders from their chief to test Gabimaru's worth as a shinobi. They then watch in delight as Gabimaru kills the ninja and allows the employer and his wife to walk freely.
Lord Tensen Arc
- Main article: Lord Tensen Arc
Having become impatient with the first departed group to capture the Elixir of Life from a mystic island, the shogun hires Iwagakure and holds a screening where criminals had to fight to the death to determine the next participants. Shija participated in the screening and became one of the four ninja that had survived. Having caught wind that Gabimaru is part of the first expedition team, the Iwagakure chief assigns the ninjas with their main task of eliminating him while following the orders of the four hired Asaemon on the mission: Kiyomaru, Isuzu, Jikka, and Shugen. Shija is then told by the chief that they have been chosen as the next successor to become Gabimaru the Hollow but must first kill the current Gabimaru in order to take their rightful place.
During the departure, Shija's mask is cut off by Kiyomaru after boosting about his skills. He then orders Kumokiri to kill himself to prove their loyalty, but before following through with the order, Kumokiri passes on the task of leading the genin to Shija, which they accepts. Having proven himself, Shija assures the Asaemon of their duties and asks that they put their faith in them.
Upon arriving on the island, Shugen breaks down into tears after finding the corpse of Yamada Asaemon Eizen and holds a prayer. While this was proceeding, Shija takes note of the Asaemons odd personalities and remembers their duties of eliminating Gabimaru. The group are then attack by a horde of Mōnshin led by a Dōshi. Shija stands by and orders the genin to assist the Asaemon in killing the monsters. After finishing his prayer to the deceased Eizen, Shugen takes down the Dōshi and attempts to extract information from him. Shija requests that the ninja handle this task since they specialize in interrogation.
- Main article: Hōrai Arc
Shija reports to Shugen that the genin have found traces of two more deceased Asaemon and found the Mōnshin nest for Shugen to use the Horse Flute to summon the Mōnshin. After using the flute, Shugen has the Mōnshin carry the Asaemon to Hōrai while the ninja follow them on foot.
After the second landing party arrives and infiltrates Hōrai, Jikka tells Shija that he could tell that Iwagakure has their own plans in store on the mission but is told by Shija that the shinobi are only here to kill who they are ordered to. Despite this statement, Shija remembers their leader's goal, as well as their own ambition, of finding Gabimaru in order to kill him. Shortly after, Shija arrives at the underground floodgates hoping that Gabimaru would arrive as well and approaches Rien who prepares to leave for the mainland. The Dōshi are ordered by Rien to attack Shija but are quickly defeated after the ninja uses the Ninpō: Hibōshi to burn them. Shija then orders the shinobi to destroy the ships except for one while they handle fighting Rien. Shija takes note of Rien's mystic powers and regeneration and opts to cause distress to the Tensen by having the shinobi burn the ships. Rien tries to stop the shinobi from doing so, which gives Shija the chance to quickly grab the Elixir of Life right from under her and toss it to the shinobi, ordering them to take it outside. Later, Shija retreats from their battle with Rien by substituting themselves with another shinobi and takes on their face by using the Transformation Jutsu.
Shija reunites with Shugen and relays everything that has happened and gives him the captured Elixir of Life. Shugen tells them that the flower bed in front of him hides the bodies of Tamiya Gantetsusai and Yamada Asaemon Fuchi and orders them to confirm the convicts death and have the Asaemon cared for and brought to him if he is still alive. After he leaves, Shija undo's their disguise and ignores Shugen's orders by throwing two kunai at the flowers to make sure the two individuals are dead. They then order the shinobi to follow Shugen to the floodgates while they go look for Gabimaru to have him dead. Shija jumps on top of a roof and becomes captivated by the scenery of the palace while taking note that the the large flower monster causing chaos can not be stopped by mere mortals. They then jump for joy of the thought of facing Gabimaru in a death match with this setting and asks that he wait for them.
Later, Shija manages to find Gabimaru, along with Yamada Asaemon Sagiri at his side, at the location of the Banko's Metal tanden and takes out clones of Gui Fa. Shija becomes overjoyed to finally reunite with him and has a hard time putting their thoughts into words. After seeing Sagiri put her hand on him, Shija becomes furious and comes in an attempt to kill her but is ordered by Gabimaru to cease their assault. They are then asked by Gabimaru for their support, which they happily agree to do. However, Shija finds that the only way they can help is if they engage in battle with him in order to bring out his true self as "Gabimaru the Hollow" to complete the mission. Having said that, Shija rushes in to attack and thanks Gabimaru for the honor of fighting against them. Shija starts off by creating and launching multiple hair kunai and engages in hand-to-hand combat against Gabimaru. After the two clash with their own Ninpō: Hibōshi, Shija tells Gabimaru that they are capable of predicting his every move and thoughts, giving them an advantage against him. However, because of his Tao abilities, Gabimaru says that he can counter against their intuition. Shija sends Gabimaru crashing towards a giant statue with a kick and figures that he allowed this to happen in order to make an attempt to destroy the Banko's tanden. Shija also says that they can tell that Gabimaru was trying to protect Sagiri and wonders if she is the reason for his current state. Shija double knees Gabimaru's body and becomes saddened to see that he has lost his deadly nature from the effects of his weakened Tao regeneration. Knowing that one of the only ways he can recover is through a Tao Restoration, Shija realizes that Sagiri is here for this reason and furiously targets her.
Shija pins Sagiri down but backs away after she tries to use a shinobi drug she had on her. Shija asks Sagiri as to why she is trying to help Gabimaru since her job on the mission is to be only his monitor. Sagiri answers that she has come to understand that it is possible to form an understanding with others including Iwagakure. Upon hearing her answer, Shija restrains Sagiri and makes her take harmful drugs as they describe the ways of Iwagakure. Shija looks back at Gabimaru and asks why he is desperately clinging to life, to which he answers that he desires to live a normal life with his wife. Shija begs Gabimaru to revert back to his former identity as they try to explain that the purpose behind the marriage was to mask the murders committed in the past. After saying what needed to be said, Shija looks at Sagiri who begins to smile and then looks back at Gabimaru who is completely recovered after Shija confirmed to him that Yui exists. Shija is warned by Gabimaru that he will end their life if they continue to get in his way, causing them to cry with tears of joy after having heard his resolve. Shija once again clashes with Gabimaru but takes damage while he recovers. Despite the circumstance, Shija continues to enjoy their battle and uses everything they were taught by Gabimaru in the past in how to fight. After using the Fire Monk, Shija comes in to strike Gabimaru's heart, which earned them praise from the shinobi for almost succeeding in killing them if he had maintained his humanity, and is set ablaze by his Ninpō: Hibōshi Saidai Karyoku.
Shija falls back with their body completely scorched and remembers the time they developed feelings for Gabimaru. With their last bit of strength left, Shija creates a whistle from their hair to command the Iwagakure shinobi to kill themselves in order to clear path for Gabimaru. Shija then tells him that Yui is indeed alive and has not been harmed by the chief and asks him if they were to be reborn would he fight them again, to which Gabimaru answers yes. Shija happily thanks Gabimaru and wishes him luck in his upcoming battles ahead as they die.
Abilities and Powers
Having been chosen to become the next potential successor to the alias, Gabimaru the Hollow, Shija was recognized by Iwagakure as its strongest shinobi. During a screening held by the shogun where criminals had to fight to the death, Shija was capable of killing every criminal on the spot. As an elite shinobi, Shija had the authority over the genin and had the capabilities of leading them as well. Despite not being a Tao user, Shija was capable of holding their own against Rien, the strongest member of Lord Tensen, and managed to easily steal the Elixir of Life from her without any trouble. Among the Iwagakure shinobi who were sent to kill Gabimaru, Shija was the only one who could handle going toe-to-toe with him (albeit at a weaken state at the time but nevertheless still fought inhumanly) and received praised from him, stating that if it were not for his regeneration abilities he would have died by their hands.
Shija possessed speed at an inhuman level, being able to quickly take out clones of Gui Fa in a blink of an eye and instantly got behind Sagiri without her noticing and almost came close to slitting her throat if it were not for Gabimaru's order to stand down. Shija was capable of keeping up with Gabimaru's speed in a fight, despite his Tao abilities allowing him to read their movements, and was even able to bypass Sagiri's Tao sensory, who has been noted to read and react to Tao movements better than Shion. Shija's stamina and endurance was also superhuman as they were able to run on foot to Hōrai, while also keeping up with the pace of the Mōnshin carrying the Asaemon until nightfall. At a young age, as part of Iwagakure's training, Shija endured taking a drug that stimulated their pain receptors for three days and nights and became one of the few children to survive.
As an Iwagakure shinobi, Shija's body was built incredibly sturdy. During their battle with Gabimaru, Shija received devastating blows but was still capable of fighting properly. Shija also admitted to having a high tolerance to pain, which they found to be troublesome for them in the past as an Iwagakure shinobi.
Along with their speed, Shija is also inhumanly strong, able to destroy a large statue after sending Gabimaru flying with the force of a single kick. Their combat prowess was also good enough to match him while handicapped.
- Iwagakure-ryū: Kamakubi (
石 隠れ流 鎌 首? Literal meaning: Hidden in Stones Style: Sickle-Shaped Neck): A taijutsu technique where Shija throws a strong roundhouse kick to their opponent.
- Iwagakure-ryū: Kagiate (
鉤 当れ流 鉤 当て? Literal meaning: Hidden in Stones Style: Hooking Strike): A taijutsu technique used where Shija throws an open handed hook strike to their opponent. This is called Iwagakure Style: Thorn Prick in the Viz Manga.
- Iwagakure-ryū: Kibisuzume (石隠流
踵 爪? Literal meaning: Hidden in Stones Style: Heel Talon): A taijutsu technique where Shija throws a strong heel kick. The kick has demonstrated to be powerful enough to counter a sword attack from an Asaemon.
- Iwagakure-ryū: Katanatori (
石 隠れ流 刀 捕? Literal meaning: Hidden in Stones Style: Sword Capture): A taijutsu technique used against Gabimaru. This is called Iwagakure Style: Katana Hunt in the Viz Manga.
- Iwagakure-ryū: Gekishin (
石 隠れ流 撃 針? Literal meaning: Hidden in Stones Style: Firing Pin): A taijutsu technique used against Gabimaru.
- Iwagakure-ryū: Kage Nui (
石 隠れ流 影 縫い? Literal meaning: Hidden in Stones Style: Shadow Sewing): A taijutsu technique used against Gabimaru. This is called Iwagakure Style: Shadow Stitch in the Viz Manga.
- Iwagakure-ryū: Ōnata (
石 隠れ流 大 鉈? Literal meaning: Hidden in Stones Style: Broadsword): A taijutsu technique used against Gabimaru. This is called Iwagakure Style: Onata Blade in the Viz Manga.
As a shinobi, Shija was capable of using ninjutsu that range from reshaping their face, hair manipulation to releasing fire. Gabimaru even credited Shija to having a much bigger arsenal of ninjutsu than he does.
- Ninpō: Hibōshi (忍法
火 法 師? Literal meaning: Ninja Art: Fire Monk): Shija sets themselves on fire by raising their body temperature to ignite the oil in their skin. Using this technique, Shija is capable of engulfing and incinerating their opponents. This is called Ninpo: Ascetic Blaze in the Viz Manga.
- Ninpō: Hihashi (忍法
火ノ 橋? Literal meaning: Ninja Art: Fire Bridge): Shija takes a deep breath and expels a large torrent of fire to ignite their target. This is called Ninpo: Pyro Bridge in the Viz Manga.
- Henge no Jutsu (変化の術 Literal meaning: Transformation Jutsu?): Shija restructures their face to have it look identical to the person they are trying to impersonate.
- Ninpō: Kawarimi (忍法 忍法 変わり身? Literal meaning: Ninja Art: Body Replacement): Once their opponent drops their guard, Shija instantly switches themselves with another object of the same size. To escape from Rien, Shija used this technique by quickly replacing themselves with a Iwagakure shinobi using the Transformation Jutsu to act as their body double. This is called Ninpo: Substitution in the Viz Manga.
- Ninpō: Hige Uchimono (忍法
髭 打 物? Literal meaning: Ninja Art: Hairforged): Shija uses their hair to shape whatever tool they wish.
- Ninpō: Shunte (忍法
瞬 手? Literal meaning: Ninja Art: Flashhand): Shija swiftly comes in to deliver a chop to their opponent.
- Ninpō: Kami Shibari (忍法
髮 縛り? Literal meaning: Ninja Art: Hair Binding): Shija controls their hair to dig underground and restrain their target. This is called Ninpo: Knotted Locks in the Viz Manga.
- Ninpō: Harisen Hon (忍法 針千本? Literal meaning: Ninja Art: Thousand Needles): Shija controls their hair to form sharp tendrils and aims them at their target.
Shija was well-versed in the fundamental shinobi tactic of exploiting their opponent's weakness in battle through psychological warfare. Knowing that Rien's ships were carrying valuable cargo, Shija ordered the genin to burn them to have the Tensen go into a state of panic and become distracted, giving Shija openings to attack and steal the Elixir of Life right from under her. They were also clever in mixing in their mask with the Elixir of Life after Rien tried to stop the genin from taking it outside but was unable to tell which one of the two items was the elixir.
Shija had skills in stealth and infiltration, capable of entering and escaping a fortress made by Hattori Hanzō's descendants that was meant to confuse shinobi spies with its maze-like layout and traps. Through unknown means, Shija was somehow able to get past Rien's Tao sensory and instantly arrive at the underground floodgate in a matter of seconds after just arriving in Hōrai.
- Shija's name is based off the Hannya mask known as Shinja (真蛇), which is also the mask that Shija chose to wear on missions.
- Shija's jealously towards Yui that caused them to burn their face, as well as their ability to use fire-based ninjutsu, reflects as to how the Shinja mask is known to symbolize a woman whose intense jealousy caused her humanity to burn away.
- On Twitter, Yūji Kaku confirmed that Shija's gender is classified as unknown. They have also been classified as such in an omake in Volume 10 and Jigokuraku Kaitai Shinsho, along with their age.
- In terms of referring to themselves, Shija used the Japanese pronoun "boku" (僕), which is most commonly used by males.
- Shija's single bang covering the right side of their face might possibly be a homage to the way Gabimaru's hair is fashioned.
- According to the omake in Volume 10:
- Shija disliked vegetables.
- Shija's hobby was flaying.
- Shija's specialty was flaying.
- Jigokuraku Kaitai Shinsho, page 70
- Jigokuraku Chapter 36, page 8
- Jigokuraku Special Chapter, page 13
- Jigokuraku Chapter 88, page 16