Yamada Asaemon Shion (山田浅ェ門 士遠 Yamada Asaemon Shion?) is the 4th rank Asaemon in the Yamada Clan. After the shogun sent criminals to Kotaku to find the Elixir of Life, he was tasked with being Akaginu's executioner.
Shion is a blind man with short, spiky silver hair in a faux hawk cut. He has three long, distinctive scars crossing his face; two vertical running from forehead to cheek crossing the center of each eye, and one horizontal across the top of his nose through each eye. He wears the standard attire of the Asaemon, however, he does not carry the bell around his collar.
Shion is a strict but kind man. He is well aware of the brutal nature of his work as an executioner, opting to spend the rest of his time helping others, such as when he saved Tenza from a life of crime by taking him in and training him in the way of the sword. Like the other Asaemon, he possesses a strong loyalty to the Yamada clan. Although blind, he is able to "see" by perceiving the unique "waves" of all the things in the world. Because of this, Shion is extremely perceptive. He also has a witty sense of humor, often making puns and jokes regarding his eyesight.
Shion has a fondness for dodoitsu poems. Because of this, Sagiri notes that Shion had a bad habit of assuming people's romantic intent. When Sagiri expressed her worries over Gabimaru, Shion blushed thinking that she had feelings for him, much to her annoyance.
Since he is a teacher, Shion would sometimes act as such during certain matters. After escaping Zhu Jin, Shion hit Tenza with the hilt of his sword for his sloppy swordsmanship and quickly corrected him. Even though he refused to become her teacher, Shion was unaware that he was teaching her the proper way of using a sword while fighting the Sōshin. After settling in one of the buildings in Hōrai, Shion clapped his hands to get everyone's attention and review what they know about Tao.
Shion is shown to be very fearless. He showed no fear or hesitation in facing against Mu Dan in his Kishikai form and stated that he gladly accepted death if it meant that he could take him down. Because he was forced to flee and leave Tenza to fight Zhu Jin, Shion felt responsible for his death. This action filled him with regret and caused him to push himself to the extremes in order to not have history repeat itself. Even though he lost a lot of blood and could barley stand, Shion stood his ground and forced himself through Mu Dan's vines in order to kill him once and for all.
Shion is one of the Asaemon assigned to escort a criminal searching for the Elixir of Life on an island ordered by the Shogun.
After arriving on the island, Shion is almost immediately accosted by Akaginu when she tries to seduce him. However, Shion executes Akaginu due to her breaching the rules of the assignment. Having completed his mission, he tries to find a suitable current to return. However, the one optimal current he found was overshadowed by strange sounds and an unfamiliar presence. Shion decides to search for other Asaemons to help him escape the island.
Lord Tensen ArcEdit
Later, Shion encounters Tenza and Nurugai as they are running from an unknown immortal being. He throws his sword and decapitates the immortal while he is regenerating, allowing the three of them to escape into the forest. He is relieved to see Tenza alive, but promptly begins lecturing Tenza on his sloppy fighting against the immortal. Shion tells Tenza and Nurugai of his experience on the island, but then turns his sword on Nurugai, asking Tenza why he is covering for his criminal. While he is aware of Nurugai's past, he points out that the Asaemon are simply blades for the era to wield, and Tenza's rebellion could put the Yamada clan in danger. But Tenza is able to convince Shion that Nurugai is worth protecting, preventing Shion from carrying out the execution. When Shion says he will allow her to live, Tenza and Nurugai are astonished that he could tell Nurugai's gender.
As the three are discussing a plan for dealing with the immortals, it appears behind Tenza and Nurugai in its female form. Shion manages to grab the two out of the way, narrowly avoids being killed by her, but gets his throat cut in the process. Enraged, Tenza attacks her, only to be severely wounded. As Shion moves to attack the immortal, Tenza desperately tries to yell at him to run. Hearing this, Shion, knowing they are no match for the immortal, grabs Nurugai and runs away while Tenza sacrifices his life to buy them time. As they are retreating, Shion swears he will take vengeance for Tenza.
In the forest, Shion demonstrates his perceptive powers when Nurugai attacks him from behind. He knocks Nurugai's sword out of her hands, moving her out of the way before the sword comes back down and hits her. Although Nurugai begs him to teach her swordplay, he refuses, stating that they do not have the time for her to master the sword. Shion intends to fight the battle alone, unwilling to let another young life die before him. However, upon further pleading from Nurugai, Shion explains how he "sees" by perceiving the "waves" of everything around him, which allow him to sense his surroundings as well as boost him physical abilities. He explains that, to tap into this power, one requires a balanced spirit, not too intense, not too tranquil. When the two are approached by the Sōshin, Shion begins teaching Nurugai the proper stance and grip for swordplay. Nurugai wonders whether Shion has changed his mind or is simply absent-minded. Shion cuts down the Sōshin as he explains, telling Nurugai that he will not be her sensei, but that she is free to learn as she sees fit. He wonders, however, how he will be able to develop his swordmanship enough to be able to kill the monster that killed Tenza.
Shion and Nurugai arrive at the gate to Hōrai as Sagiri, Senta, and Yuzuriha are fighting Mu Dan. Shion faces Mu Dan alone, testing the use of his Tao attribute and successfully deals some damage. However, Mu Dan laughs as flowers bloom from numerous gashes on Shion's body from Mu Dan's vines. Shion quickly reacts, slashing all the flowers from his flesh but briefly dropping to his knees from blood loss. Sagiri and Nurugai join the fight, coated with Yuzuriha's fluid to protect them from the scratches that causes blooming. Sagiri suggests that they act as decoys while Shion strikes from behind to cut through both the monster's tanden, what she believes to be its weak point. The three fight Mu Dan, slowly overwhelming him as he takes longer and longer to regenerate each time. While Shion continues losing blood, he is driven by his hatred and regret at Tenza's death, swearing to kill the monster or die trying. When Sagiri immobilizes Mu Dan, Shion gets behind the monster and concentrates his Tao into his sword.
Just before he striking, Shion hesitates, unable to sense strong waves of Tao emanating from the tanden. Senta, helped up by Yuzuriha, yells that the ovule, at the centre of the petals, is the true weak point. Shion dives to cut through the ovule just before the vines attack the place where he was standing, finally killing the monster. Shion and the rest of the group then comes to Senta and watches as he passes away in peace. After burying his body, Shion recommends taking a break and figuring a way out. He then listens to Sagiri's resolve in having the criminals and executioners cooperate to survive and return home.
The group enter Hōrai and take settlement in one of the buildings. Shion starts to review everything they know about Tao, including the attributes and how they can exploit it to use against Lord Tensen. After Nurugai brings up the Elixir of Life, Yuzuriha tells them that the elixir they are looking for is not beneficial. Shion figures that they can not return home without it but Sagiri mentions Gabimaru's village chief benefitting from the elixir. However, Yuzuriha explains the possibilities of the chief using an illusion to fool others into thinking he is immortal. He then becomes one of the few to listen to Yuzuriha's theory of Gabimaru's wife being an illusion. He later changes out of his blood soaked clothing and meets with Sagiri feeling depressed over the deaths of her clansmen and for Gabimaru's situation. As he was about to make the conclusion that she has feelings for Gabimaru, Sagiri stops him and denies this claim. She explains to him that she feels pity for Gabimaru if it turns out his reason for survival has been a lie. Shion sympathies with Sagiri and believes that he is in no position to criticize, saying that he will "overlook" this matter. This causes Sagiri to laugh at his pun which delights Shion.
The next day, the group goes back to the gate to see if others were able to make it to Hōrai. After coming outside, the group becomes captivated with the clear setting. Once they reached the gate, they encounter Yamada Asaemon Fuchi, Tamiya Gantetsusai, Gabimaru unconscious, Mei, Tōma, and a Dōshi. Seeing how there a small amount of survivors, Shion expresses his regret but is told by Tamiya that it was pointless since the condemned criminals were fated to kill each other including the executioners that were tasked with the mission. Looking towards Gabimaru's injured body, Shion senses that he has lost too much of his Tao and senses a particular aura. After waking up, Sagiri sees that Gabimaru is not who he was before. Shion and Fuchi block a sudden attack from Gabimaru and hears Sagiri explain that he has lost his memories. Shion senses that Gabimaru's soul has been damaged due to his extensive amount of fighting. After refusing to cooperate, Sagiri pins Gabimaru down to restore his Tao. Shion becomes surprise with Sagiri's approach and comments on how they have a connection in which he can not understand.
The group relocate to a cave to not be sensed by Lord Tensen but is warned by Shion that they should still be cautious. He then looks towards Gabimaru about his experience fighting one of them. After Yuzuriha informs him that his wife may be an illusion, Shion and the rest of the group listens to Gabimaru's confidence that she is real. Shion senses that Gabimaru's Tao has grown and believes that this sensation gives proof that his wife exist since people become strong if they have something to lose. He is later called out, along with Tamiya, Tōma, and Nurugai, by Gabimaru who requests that they help him train. After Gabimaru tells Tōma to use his hatred towards him after fighting his brother, Shion warns him that he will not allow it and is prepared to cut him down. The group then engages in sparring while Gabimaru starts to understand Tao and planning out how to defeat Lord Tensen.
Abilities and PowersEdit
As the 4th ranked Asaemon, Shion is recognized by the Yamada Clan as one of its strongest members and is viewed by the Yamada Clan as being one of the next suitable heads. While traveling on Kotaku, Shion became one of the first few in 1,000 years to have managed to survive the ordeals the island had to offer and reached Hōrai where Lord Tensen currently resides. During his fight with Mu Dan at his strongest, Shion was able to hold his own against his attacks and ultimately kill him.
Shion possesses great speed, reflexes, and agility. After noticing Zhu Jin behind Tenza and Nurugai, he was able to quickly grab them out of the way from his attack and was able to arrive on time to save Sagiri and Yuzuriha from being attacked by Mu Dan's stingers. During his fight with Mu Dan in his Kishikai form, Shion was fast enough to quickly avoid his stingers while running along the golden head statues. When combined with his swordplay, Shion can execute extremely fast sword strikes and cut objects into many pieces in an instant.
Shion has shown to possess impressive endurance. After sprouting flowers from Mu Dan's stingers, Shion didn't hesitate in cutting away at his body in order to remove them. Also, despite losing large amounts of blood, Shion had enough strength left in him to continue fighting and ultimately kill Mu Dan. He also possesses enough physical strength to send Mu Dan far back with a single kick.
- Further information: Tameshi Ittō-ryū
Shion is a master swordsmen. He is skilled enough to wield his sword using both the normal and reverse-grip style and execute swift sword slashes with great precision. Being an Asaemon, Shion is capable of decapitating his victims with a single cut of his blade. Shion's sword drawing speed is so fast that he is capable of using Iaidō where he unsheathes his blade to rapidly slash his enemy and then re-sheathes it after completing the attack. Combined with his ability to sense Tao, Shion is able to time his sword strikes perfectly well enough to counter oncoming projectiles. He was able to easily kill multiple Sōshin and defend himself against all of Mu Dan's attacks and lasted long enough to finish him off.
- Tameshi Ittō-ryū: Demon Rain (試一刀流 鬼雨 Tameshi Ittō-ryū: Oni Ame?, Literally meaning: One Sword Style Test Cutting: Demon Rain): A sword technique where Shion swings his sword from above and below to cut his opponent. This is called Ittō-ryū School: Fiend's Flurry in the Viz Manga.
- Tameshi Ittō-ryū: Long Autumn Rains (試一刀流 秋霖 Tameshi Ittō-ryū: Shūrin?, Literally meaning: One Sword Style Test Cutting: Long Autumn Rains): While in the air, Shion drops downwards delivering a series of quick slashes. This is called Ittō-ryū School: Autumn Rains in the Viz Manga.
- Tameshi Ittō-ryū: Autumn Shower (試一刀流 村時雨 Tameshi Ittō-ryū: Mura Shigure?, Literally meaning: One Sword Style Test Cutting: Autumn Shower): Shion lifts his sword up to release multiple slashes in an instant to shred his target into bits. This is called Ittō-ryū School: Harvest Shower in the Viz Manga.
- Further information: Tao
Shion possess Wood-attributed Tao. Shion awakened the ability to sense Tao to compensate for his blindness, which he describes as perceiving the signature "waves" that flow around all things. The sensation allows him to operate as well (or better) than a person with sight, as he is able to throw his sword with pinpoint accuracy and defend attacks from all angles. After experimenting with Tao, Shion learned how to cloak himself in it and use it in conjunction with his swordsmanship.
As a teacher, Shion has high knowledge of swordsmanship. He critiqued Tenza's swordsmanship from his fight with Zhu Jin and instructed Nurugai in how she should properly wield a sword. Similar to Gabimaru, Shion showed that he is a fast learner that is able to figure out the nature of certain things without any proper guidance. After experimenting on the Sōshin, Shion was able to quickly learn the properties of Tao in just a single day.
As an executioner, Shion carries around his own katana.
- Shion ranked 1st in the manga's 1st Character Popularity Poll with 2797 votes.
- Shion and Jikka are the only known Asaemon to not wear their funerary bell attached tied to their collars. The reason for Shion's being that the noise made him feel uncomfortable.