Kenzoku (眷族 in Japanese) are fictional monsters from the manga Otogi Matsuri: Dark Offering and serve as major antagonists of the manga. They are created for one purpose only: Destroy region of Miyakono and its populace.
Their creation goes back to Muromachi Period, Japan.
In year 1400s there were two brothers: Kazuomi Rokujo and Shigeomi Rokujo. Two brothers were born to a Daimyo (Japanese equivalent to a baron) named Norifuji Rokujo who ruled Miyakono region. When their father died Kazuomi succeeded him as the new Daimyo of Miyakono who handled all the political matters on the surface, while his younger brother Shiogemi handled all the internal matters, covert ops and black operations. It seemed the two brothers were inseparable and the Rokujo clan would continue go on being prospered.
One day a senile old woman who claimed to be the midwife of the twins, ranted and raved about the twins have been switched and the true legitimate heir to the late Norifuji was actually Shigeomi. Fearing the potential problem regarding family leadership Kazuomi's escorts had the old woman swiftly executed. This was also noticed by Shiogemi's vassals and family. Fortunately for Kazuomi his brother Shiogemi was perfectly content with the way things are and thought his brother would never betray him, much to the uneasiness of his vassals.
Kazuomi was constantly egged by his retainers to neutralize Shiogemi and his followers before Shiogemi does to them. Kazuomi dismissed them repeatedly at first but eventually caved in. It was the fateful decision he would not only come to regret, but affect his land centuries later. Kazuomi's soldiers launched a surprise attack on Shiogemi residence and purged all members of his family and retainers. In one single night Shiogemi house hold ceased to exist: only Shiogemi himself was spared from death and was exiled to remote Unagami Island (then a no-man's land). Extremely embittered by the betrayal, treachery and by the rejection of his loyalty, Shiogemi, who was also a very talented conjurer, used his life force to the last vestige to create Kenzoku. Kenzoku then proceeded to demolish and slaughter anything and everything in Miyakono.
Realizing Kenzoku are the result of Shigeomi's curse, Kazuomi has unlocked an ancient power of Jingi that he inherited from his late father. Jingi are divine weapons containing the power of Four Sacred Beasts Suzaku (Phoenix), Seiryu(Blue Dragon), Byakko(White Tiger) and Genbu(Tortoise-Serpent). Jingi bestows its wielders godly powers, but in return The Four Beasts demand the wielders' most precious things as sacrificial offerings. Kazoumi bestowed the power of Jingi to his four most trusted retainers. Kazuomi's four retainers armed with Jingi sets out to battle Kenzokus to defend Miyakono and their lord. Thus began the battle between Kenzoku and Jingo users.
The battle went on for a long time. After utterly demolishing Miyakono Region with its populace decimated in mortal battle against Jingi users, Kenzoku were sealed by the divine powers of the Four Sacred Beasts. Kazuomi, with the help of what was left of his followers, arrived in Unagami Island and saw the decomposed remain of his brother. Having lost his all to due that fateful decision he made, Kazuomi tearfully begged his dead brother who can no longer hear him for forgiveness. Instead of Shigeomi however, Four Beasts appeared before Kazuomi and left an ominous prophecy:
|“||With our power the Kenzoku has been sealed. But this age's resentment has not disappeared yet. Ye humans who are playing with the power of gods... When ye forget to worship, thou must remember that the hatred shall revive. From the side, we shall bear witness... to the course of sins ye humans have created.||„|
Centuries later. Ryuichi Ezo, an archelogist and history teacher at Miyakono High School who would also be the one to become one of four Jingi user, inadvertently knocked out a small shrine that housed Seiryu, awakening it and causing the barrier of the Four Sacred Beasts that had been sealing Kenzoku to be weakened. To make matters worse, overdeveloping of lands and excessive devastation of nature by greedy corporate profiteers caused further destruction of barriers that sealed kenzoku. Shrine priests and Ezo desperately attempted to dissuade developers to halt their projects, but their warnings were no avail: especially when the country was hit with economic recession. Eventually barriers that sealed Kenzoku were deactivated, allowing Kenzoku to materialize in human world and wreak havoc in modern era. But Kenzoku in this new era have a new objective: collect human souls through either eating or killing humans, go to Rokujo Shrine where Essence of Shiogemi Rokujo is sealed within the shrine and feed human souls to Shigeomi in order to resurrect him. Fortunately for Jingi users, Kenzoku this time would resurrect and appear one at a time in a year's span, in contrast to past in which they rampaged all at once.
At first the existence of Kenzoku was kept secret from public. But as more and more powerful Kenzoku emerged and casualties/witnesses inevitably followed, the city official was forced to reveal the existence of Kenzoku along with the existence of Jingi. Jingi users were then integrated into police force to protect City of Miyakono.
After numerous attempts and suffering defeats after defeats at the hands of Jingi users to resurrect Shigeomi Kenzoku, killing many lives and inflicting enormous property damage, Kenzoku ultimately succeeded in reviving him to modern era by volume 10 of the manga. Shiogemi then uses his powers of life and death to resurrect his dead retainers of the past to restore his clan. His revived followers, who can transform into various Youkai with their renewed ancient hatred towards Miyakono once ruled by their killer, proceeded to turn Miyakono City into a living hell. Much to the annoyance of Jingi users, Shigeomi Rokujo kept resurrecting those killed by Jingi users so unless Jingi users kill Shigeomi it would be pointless to go on fighting. And to continue keeping up with monsters who are incredibly powerful and keeps reviving along with few surviving Kenzoku that are even more powerful than previous ones Jingi users are also forced to sacrifice more and more of what they have to upgrade their Jingi weapons.
Eventually, after enormous casualties and second total destruction of Miyakono, Jingi users, with the help of Japanese Self Defense Force, finally slew Shiogemi Rokujo this time for good. With Shigeomi's death almost all remaining followers and Kenzoku also perished with him... Except Shusaku Kago who managed to retain his revenant state even after his master ceased to exist, would ultimately be killed by Yosuke Tsuga (who was critically wounded and almost killed by Shusaku shortly after his victory against Kenzoku)
Members and their Abilities
These are orders of Kenzoku that appeared. They would appear from various location of Miyakono and its outskirts:
- Nekogumo - The first Kenzoku to appear after Ryuichi Ezo accidentally knocked out a small shrine that housed Seiryu, awakening it and causing the barrier of the Four Sacred Beasts that had been sealing Kenzoku to be weakened. Although Nekogumo attempted to eat Ezo and Irori Mikawa who happened to be at the shrine, it failed and was forced to make a retreat (but not before devouring a shrine priest and his assistant). This Kenzoku possesses the head of a cat and body structure of a spider. Besides having inhuman strength it has ability to pass through solid objects and can send Morito Dolls (semi-sentient dolls that were human sacrifices to Nekogumo. But they could not be passed onto heaven and have their souls controlled by Nekogumo) to seek out its intended preys. It is a man-eater and devours only human flesh. It is focused on hunting down moving targets. It was destroyed by Yosuke Tsuruga, who wields the Bow of Suzaku when it attempted to eat him and Yomogi Inaba who is a teenage priestess and a granddaughter of the deceased shrine priest.
- Kagerou - The second Kenzoku to appear. This Kenzoku has the ability to command a huge swarm of demonic insects (also named Kagerou) that is capable of inducing very high fevers. If left unattended sickened victims could succumb to disease within one day. It also has the ability to form and disengage a body using Kagerou swarms. Its only weakness is its single big eye. Kagerou and Insects controlled by Kagerou are also invisible to ordinary humans. It uses its namesake insects to drain and feed the life force of human victims. Kagerou insects, for reasons unknown, can only fly low altitude in Miyakono City. Destroyed by combined effort of Yosuke Tsuruga and Ryuichi Ezo (who wields Lance of Seiryu).
- Unagami - Aka the Sea God in rural legend. Unlike other Kenzoku this one is almost harmless and is considered to be affably evil: Its primary task is to gather souls to certain amount and send them to the afterlife. The only time this Kenzoku can be dangerous is that when ochigami (fallen soul or fallen one) who refuses to accept his/her fate to be sent to the afterlife and evade himself/herself from Unagami to accomplish his/her unfulfilled objective. Unagami then attacks any living humans indiscriminately in order to either fill the void left by ochigami who are scheduled to be sent to the afterlife or ochigami fulfills his/her objective and return to Unagami. So rural people who live in area where Unagami appears do not go outside during the time Unagami is active to avoid becoming Unagami's soul replacement. Originally Kenzoku are created to eat human body and soul but Unagami was sealed by another conjurer prior to Kenzoku's rampage on Miyakono during Muromachi Era, being forced to limit its activity once a year. Unagami then changed its objective from eating humans to sending their souls to the afterlife. Also unlike other Kenzoku that had been sealed for centuries Unagami was active due to the weak seal in the region. So it was able to exist (albeit once a year) within human societies for centuries. Destroyed by Yomogi Inaba.
- Yashawani - This Kenzoku has a face of an oni and body of a shark. It is a ferocious man-eater and devours humans where they stand. This Kenzoku has the ability to swim freely underground as if earth is a water to it. Yashawani utilizes this ability to full advantage when it ambushes unsuspecting human victims from beneath the ground. It also has armored skin that could prove to be difficult to penetrate even to the Jingi users. However, it cannot pass through concretes or lead materials. It is also weak against Peach tree that emits strong Yang energy. Destroyed by combined efforts of Yosuke Tsuruga and Irori Mikawa (who wields Shield of Genbu).
- Toranushi - A diminutive Kenzoku but by no means less dangerous than others. This Kenzoku has the ability to possess a human by ripping his/her body and entering him/her. Local legend says that when humans roam in a river where Toranushi is active, it asks a person, "are you being naughty?" when a person turns his/her back, Toranushi is nowhere to be seen. Then Toranushi, from behind, asks "are you being naughty?" second time. If a person turns his/her back the second time, Toranushi would declare "yes, you are!" and rip their eyeballs out. The only way to avoid eyes being ripped out by Toranushi is that one must return to and enter his/her home without ever looking back. Upon possessing a human this Kenzoku displays amazing strength, dexterity, agility, jumping, resilience, endurance, reflex, regenerativity, persistence and melee combat skills. Toranushi can also burn off anyone who comes into his grip. Its blood is also highly toxic and burning. True to the legend this Kenzoku is very fond of eating eyeballs of his victims. Destroyed by Kenji Kai (who wields Claws of Byakko).
- Sesshohime - A female Kenzoku and a daughter of Shigeomi Rokujo. Unlike previous Kenzoku this one retains her memories of her previous life during Muromachi period. She is aware of existence of Jingi and displays intense hatred towards Kazuomi bloodline. She has the ability to assume appearances of those who she kills. She also has the ability to kill people with her deadly toxic touch. This Kenzoku is affiliated with trees and woods: she can manipulate her hairs to integrate with any trees and utilize tree roots for ranged combat as if they are parts of her own body, can regenerate her damaged fake body (only her head is her real body) so long as there are trees. During Muromachi period when Kazuomi's soldiers raided Shigeomi's mansion she was first to fall. In her previous life she was called "Fusahime". She was revived as Kenzoku by her father. She sets out to free her father and avenge the injustice that was done to her and her family by destroying Miyakono City. She can be very disadvantageous to melee combatants due to her tree manipulation that allows her to attack from afar. Destroyed by Yosuke Tsuruga.
- Madara Taisho - A giant hydra possessing four heads of child human faces. It was worshipped as "Lord Madara" by people from countryside and believed if improperly worshipped it would bring calamity to the region. The four heads will endlessly stretch and infinitely regenerate unless damaging the real body which is located at the back of the Kenzoku. The four faces display emotions of anger, cry, no emotion and smile. It is speculated that this Kenzoku was based on one of Shigeomi Rokujo's retainers who lost their lives due to Kazuomi's treachery who was pregnant with quadruplets. Apparently when she became Kenzoku she integrated with her unborn children. Although this Kenzoku caused a lot of property damage, miraculously no lives were lost. Destroyed by combined effort of Yosuke Tsuruga, Mikawa Irori and Ringo Yamato.
- Namazu Onishiki - A gargantuan, catfish-like Kenzoku. It can swim freely deep underground and create huge earthquake through loud roar. (around magnitude 7) Fortunately, unlike natural earthquake with magnitude 7 earthquake created by Namazu has its radius effectively small: while it affected Miyakono its other neighbor cities are not much affected. Additionally it uses its baleens to deflect any oncoming projectiles. By this time Jingi users and police force were successfully cooperating and exchanging infos and were able to counter this Kenzoku with minimal losses of lives. Destroyed by combined effort of Yosuke Tsuruga and Yomogi Inaba.
- Kago Clan - This Kenzoku is unique in a way that five people consist of one Kenzoku. And unlike other Kenzoku even if the tablet is destroyed they still have to be killed separately. Along with Hidora this Kenzoku caused huge destruction and enormous losses of lives. Just like Sesshohime, they retain memories of their former lives as humans during the era of Muromachi. With their appearance Otogi Matsuri: Dark Offering takes even darker turn.
- Kago Leader - addressed only as 'The Leader'. The diminutive leader of Kago Clan. His unique feature is that he bears the scar of having his nose being cut off. He displays amazing swordsmanship, incredible strength, agility, endurance, persistence and regenerativity. Additionally he has the ability to walk on waters and can put up barriers that deflect bullets. On top of these factors he is protected by members of Kago clan who are presumed to be his children: his clan members display even more amazing skills and powers than him. This ironically makes him the weakest of the Kago clan despite being the leader. Destroyed by combined effort of Yosuke Tsuruga and Yomogi Inaba.
- Shusaku Kago - The eldest son of Kago Clan who is undeniably the most powerful member of the clan and possibly, the most powerful of all Kenzoku. He made his grand entrance by claiming lives of dozen policemen who stood in his way of slaughter with his wizardry. He is a master of onmyoujutsu who utilizes combination of destructive magical talismans and five star barriers for offensive and defensive fights. With high intelligence, lethally proficient with his sorcery and possessing lots of tactical/strategic senses Shusaku is proved to be extremely tough enemy to beat and inevitably became the archenemy of Yosuke Tsuruga. In their first encounter Shusaku suffered mortal defeat by Yosuke after bloody battle that involved several twists and turns. However, Shusaku transferred his soul to origami at the last moment to escape death and became a revenant. In his revenant form he cannot use onmyoujutsu but because he is a revenant he is invulnerable to conventional weapons, can freely teleport and unaffected by space limitation. Shusaku uses this form to launch surprise attacks against Jingi users who are already being taxed in their struggle against Hidora. After Hidora died by Kenji Kai Shusaku, who was riding along with Hidora unnoticed, immediately proceeded to release his master Shigeomi Rokujo from centuries-long imprisonment. For his contribution Shusaku was restored to life by his master. After this he, along with resurrected retainers of Shigeomi, participated the destruction of Miyakono City with his powers. After gaining ability to read minds from Dorimaro by eating him, he defeats Ryuichi Ezo in a duel and captures him. Then Shusaku meets and fights his nemesis Yosuke the second time but is once again defeated with his arm lost. Undaunted, Shusaku runs to Shigeomi to be healed but with clever scheme of Irori he was killed by revived Ezo. But, as he died Shusaku once again transferred his soul to become a revenant. In this way he survived mutual destruction after the death of Shigeomi. Just when everything seemed to be over, he appears unexpectedly and stabbed Yosuke with his ethreal dagger. With Jingi weapons no longer exist and no conventional weapon can damage Shusaku in his revenant form, Shusaku boasts he would take over Japan... Only to be backstabbed by Yosuke with the dagger he stabbed him with and died this time for good.
- Shunen Kago - The daughter of Kago Clan. Her body is said to have been integrated with a swallow that enable her to fly and swoop her opponents from above. Additionally she can use wires wrapped around her fingers to thrash her opponents like whips. Although she possess abilities which are nothing less of envious by many, she is unhappy with her abilities because they prevent her from living the life of an ordinary woman. Destroyed by combined effort of Kenji Kai and Irori Mikawa.
- Toji Kago - The second son of Kago Clan and a man of few words. He is a deadly martial art master who has the ability to stretch arms as long as he needs to. He is also very skilled in dual daggers. Destroyed by Ryuichi Ezo.
- Kagyu Kago - The youngest child of Kago Clan. He was famously known to be a giant during his life in Muromachi period. He is armed with superhuman strength and durability, stamina and obsession. In addition he can solidify his body to be indestructible and impenetrable. His hardened body can withstand attacks of Byakko's Claws which is specialized with melee fight and considered to be the most devastating of the Jingi weapons. He is however, not too bright and incapable of making his own decision. Destroyed by combined effort of Kenji Kai and Irori Mikawa but not before severely injuring Kenji and causing a huge railway accident.
- Hidora - A wingless and gigantic, Kaiju-like Kenzoku sealed in Mountain Daimonji and second most destructive of the Kenzoku. Worshipped by locals as a fire god. It spits off sets of destructive fireballs (capable of destroying gunships and armored vehicles) that travel more than 1km. It displays inhuman strength, reflex, stamina, incredible mobility due to its gargantuan size, and can petrify itself under downpour to protect itself. While in petrified state, nothing, even Jingi weapons, can penetrate him. Hidora also displayed potential to grow even bigger after the rain by growing from 50m size when initially appeared to 100m after the rain. Unlike other Kenzoku Hidora along with Shusaku Kago displayed astonishing role in destruction of Miyakono City. It was This Kenzoku's death at the hands of Kenji Kai that eventually shattered Miyakono shrine and allowed Shigeomi Rokujo to resurrect into modern Miyakono City to cause a living hell for everyone in the city. But it did not die: Shigeomi Rokujo brought Hidora back to life to continue destroying Miyakono City, much to the shock of Jingi users and JSDF. Only with the death of Shigeomi was Hidora completely destroyed.
All Kenzoku have Emas (wooden tablets that has pictures and names of them) embedded in their bodies. When Kenzoku are destroyed they leave their Emas behind. If Emas are destroyed while Kenzoku are still alive they die: the sole exception being Kago Clan.
- Nekogumo was first used in arcade shmup game Guwange.
- The victim and host of Toranushi, Satoru Kurokawa, was inspired by one of the bosses in ESP.Rade.
- Emas are tablets used by Japanese as offerings to shrines in order to have their wishes granted and also offered to shrines as gratitude when their wishes are fulfilled.
- Although Shusaku Kago was of a low status and looked down on by Shigeomi's retainers because of it, they knew Shusaku's true powers and did not dare to cross him too far when push came to shove.