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 to the second team to complete the mission and supposedly provide support to the first team. In actuality, the Iwa ninjas' true mission is to kill Gabimaru who was assigned to the first team and take back the alias.
Shija has long, slick dark hair, noticeable shadows below their eyes, and a shade of lipstick. Their attire consists of the standard uniform of a Iwagakure ninja, which is 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 prepare to go into battle, Shija ties their hair into a small bun in the back and has a bang parted to the right side of their face.
While working on missions, Shija has the complete mindset of a shinobi and only speaks when it is necessary. As a shinobi, Shija views themselves as a pawn for their master and only prioritizes on the orders they have been given on a mission no matter what the situation was. To this extent, they also hold 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 is also loyal to Iwagakure and puts the chief's orders above those of the missions they take.
Shija has respect and a deep infatuation towards Gabimaru, admiring his skills in ruthlessly killing his targets. Whenever they met or even have a mere thought about Gabimaru would cause Shija to break out in an excited love-struck behavior. They believe that the current inheritor is truly worthy of the name "Gabimaru" and will not stand by as others doubt him. Even after he had defected from the village and is now seen as an embarrassment by the chief, Shija still holds their respect for Gabimaru, believing that the dangers of Kotaku would not be enough to kill him. However, Shija's love for Gabimaru can be seen as being a twisted, borderline obsession. They think 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 has been pointed out by the latter to be an unpredictable individual that can 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, Shija is very sadistic as they fight by exploiting their opponent's vulnerability, or their "love", and takes pleasure in it, believing that battles are not won through strength but by playing dirty. While fighting Rien, Shija took advantage of the ships being of high importance to him 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 him ablaze while he is distracted. Through this, Shija can be very perceptive as they figured out that Rien was holding back his power to not damage the ships and knew that the gourd he had on him was the Elixir of Life based on his reaction to when they stole it.
For some unknown reason, Shija sees all men (with the exception of Gabimaru) and women as being old regardless of their correct age.
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. Among the candidates was a boy who Shija had developed feelings for and saw him befitting of inheriting the title of "Gabimaru", which they made sure would happen by killing the other candidates one by one. 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. Throughout the years, Shija spent their time carefully observing the young shinobi and happily watched him become the next "Gabimaru" as they had hoped. On the night of the Rite of Succession 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.
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 ninja. They then watch in delight as Gabimaru kills the ninjas 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 the 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 objective of Iwagakure on the mission is 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.
Shija arrives at the underground floodgates hoping that Gabimaru would arrive as well and approaches Rien who prepares himself to leave to the mainland. The Dōshi are ordered by Rien to attack Shija but are quickly defeated after the ninja uses the Ninpō: Fire Monk. Shija then orders the shinobi to destroy the ships except for one while they handle fighting Rien. Shija takes note of Rien's mystic abilities 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, giving Shija the chance to quickly grab the Elixir of Life right from under him. Shija tosses the elixir to the shinobi and orders them to take it outside.
Shija retreats from their battle with Rien by substituting themselves with another shinobi and takes on their face by using the Transformation Jutsu. Having done this, 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: Fire Monk, 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.
Abilities and Powers
Having been chosen to become the next successor to the alias, Gabimaru the Hollow, Shija is recognized by Iwagakure as its current 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 and the next successor, Shija has the authority over the genin and has the capabilities of leading them. Despite not being a Tao user, Shija was capable of holding their own against Rien and managed to easily steal the Elixir of Life from him without any trouble.
Shija possesses 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 cease their attempt. Shija is also fast enough to keep up with Gabimaru in a fight, whose Tao abilities allowed 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. Their endurance is also superhuman as they were able to continue running on foot trying to keep up with the pace of the Mōnshin carrying the Asaemon to Hōrai until nightfall.
Along with their speed, Shija is also inhumanly strong, able to destroy a large statue after sending Gabimaru flying with a single kick. They can even match Gabimaru in physical strength, hand-to-hand combatant, and taijutsu techniques, which not even Kinkakubō, one of Iwagakure's elites, and a coordinated squad of Iwagakure genin, could accomplish.
- Iwagakure Style: Gooseneck (
石 隠れ流 鎌 首Iwagakure-ryū: Kamakubi?): A taijutsu technique where Shija throws a strong roundhouse kick to their opponent.
- Iwagakure Style: Hooking Strike (
鉤 当れ流 鉤 当て Iwagakure-ryū: Kagiate?): 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 Style: Heel Talon (石隠流
踵 爪Iwagakure-ryū: Kakatotsume?): A taijutsu technique where Shija throws a strong heel kick.
- Iwagakure Style: Sword Capture (
石 隠れ流 刀 捕Iwagakure-ryū: Katanatori?): A taijutsu technique used against Gabimaru. This is called Iwagakure Style: Katana Hunt in the Viz Manga.
- Iwagakure Style: Firing Pin (
石 隠れ流 撃 針Iwagakure-ryū: Gekishin?): A taijutsu technique used against Gabimaru.
- Iwagakure Style: Shadow Sewing (
石 隠れ流 影 縫い Iwagakure-ryū: Kage Nui?): A taijutsu technique used against Gabimaru. This is called Iwagakure Style: Shadow Stitch in the Viz Manga.
- Iwagakure Style: Broadsword (
石 隠れ流 大 鉈Iwagakure-ryū: Ōnata?): A taijutsu technique used against Gabimaru. This is called Iwagakure Style: Onata Blade in the Viz Manga.
As a shinobi, Shija is capable of using ninjutsu that range from transforming their body, hair manipulation to releasing fire. Gabimaru even credited Shija to having a much bigger arsenal of ninjutsu than he does.
- Ninpō: Fire Monk (忍法 火法師 Ninpō: Hi Hōshi?): 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: Fire Bridge (忍法
火ノ 橋Ninpō: Hi Hashi?): 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.
- Transformation Jutsu (変化の術 Henka no Jutsu?): Shija restructures their face to have it look identical to the person they are trying to impersonate.
- Ninpō: Body Replacement (忍法 変わり身 Ninpō: Kawarimi?): 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: Hairforged (忍法
髭 打 物Ninpō: Hige Uchimono?): Shija uses their hair to shape kunai that are just as sharp as the real ninja tool.
- Ninpō: Flashhand (忍法
瞬 手Ninpō: Shunte?): Shija swiftly come in to deliver a chop to their opponent.
- Ninpō: Hair Binding (忍法
髮 縛り Ninpō: Kami Shibari?) is a ninja art used by Shija where they control their hair to dig underground and restrain their target. This is called Ninpo: Knotted Locks in the Viz Manga.
Shija is 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 him. 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 has skills in stealth and infiltration, capable of entering and escaping a fortress made by Hattori Hanzō's descendants that is meant to confuse shinobi spies with its maze-like layout and traps. Through unknown means, Shija was also 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.
- In a twitter reply, Yūji Kaku confirmed that Shija's gender is unknown. They have also been classified as such in an omake in Volume 10, along with their age.
- In terms of referring to themselves, Shija uses 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 dislikes vegetables.
- Shija's hobby is flaying.
- Shija's specialty is flaying.