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Shō Kusakabe, also known as the Third Pillar, is a major antagonist in Fire Force, and the younger brother of the main protagonist, Shinra Kusakabe. He is the Third Pillar and the former young commander of the White-Clad's Knights of the Ashen Flame.
He is voiced by Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese version and Justin Briner in English.
Due to being raised by the Evangelist, Shō is a cold and ruthless boy who is distant towards his family relationships, having no feelings towards his biological family members and seeing the Evangelist as his true parent. He is usually calm and composed, even when taken by surprise. He is initially alienated towards emotions and can't comprehend why Shinra loves him so much, but once he sees Shinra's memories, he regains his own memories and bursts into tears. When Shinra ended up impaled by Shō's katana upon rematerializing, Shō is filled with horror before Haumea shows up and reclaims him.
After he reconnects with Shinra after having been mind-controlled by Haumea, Shō begins to show the emotion he was stripped of and a curiosity for the wonderful things he was deprived of when he joined the White-Clad. After meeting his mother post-mortem via an Adolla Link, he learns of the familial love that his brother felt and promises to keep themselves safe. Shō concludes that Shinra is the image of the saviour humanity desires and that he must become his guardian angel. From then on he becomes an earnest supporter of his brother and shares his goals of stopping the Great Cataclysm.
When Shō was a baby, he had a loving life under the care of his mother and older brother Shinra. One fateful day, an Infernal appeared in their household and Shinra was the only resident to be saved. Shinra's classmates accused him of starting the fire and killing his own family, perpetuated by the traumatized grin on his face, but he refused to believe the accusations and swore to find out more details about what happened, along with finding the demonic Infernal that was present during the fire.
After joining Special Fire Force Company 8, Shinra heard that his little brother was still alive and vowed to search for him. When the Fire Force came to Vulcan Joseph's workshop to combat the White-Clad followers, Shō arrived with Arrow. Shinra recognized his brother on sight and wanted to talk to him, but Shō did not recognize him and attacked him with his katana. He was able to overwhelm Shinra and his allies before they could react, and was about to exact his plan to capture Shinra and kill the rest when an explosion sounded and everyone escaped via a pick-up truck. Shō tried to attack the truck before Joker intervened.
Later, Company 8 made the decision to enter the Netherworld to retrieve Shō, located in an abandoned railway station. While the group ends up getting separated, Shinra and Viktor Licht eventually find Shō within the depths. The brothers engage in a duel, but Shō is able to counter him through his Severed Universe. However, Shinra refuses to give up on him no matter what, to Shō's confusion. During the battle, Shinra manages to Severed Universe, with Viktor theorizing that Shinra is moving so fast (faster than the speed of light) that his body is splitting into subparticles and reassembling. Even after his efforts, he ends up badly injured from Shō's attacks. Still persistent on saving him, he creates an Adolla Link with his memories of their family's past to get through to his fallen brother, and splits into particles to inject more and more memories into him. Shō is initially annoyed and disgusted, but starts to feel emotions after he starts to recognize their real mother. He sees a memory when he was crying due to a newspaper covering his face, before Shinra lifted it up and comforted him, which compares to his life covered in darkness before Shinra gave him light. Shō regains his humanity and cries while hugging his brother, before realizing that he had rematerialized in the middle of his katana, impaling himself, to Shō's shock. Suddenly, Haumea comes in and attacks. Shō asks what she intends to do, before she mind controls him and uses her abilities to make the Netherworld crumble. Shinra is rescued by his team and later sent to a hospital, while Shō ended up under the Evangelist and Haumea's control once again.
After Shinra survives the surgery to remove the sword from his chest, he is visited by Lieutenant Leonard Burns. He later tells Shinra the truth about the traumatic incident that divided his family: a young Haumea activated Shō's fire powers and turned their mother into the demonic Infernal that burned their house down, before abducting the youngest child. Shinra is horrified to find out that the demon he'd wanted vengeance on was his mother the whole time.
Powers and Abilities
Katana Expertise: Shō is an expert at wielding his katana in battle. Combined with his own abilities, it gives the impression of super speed.
Adolla Burst and Link: Shō was born with the Adolla Burst, a rare energy that gives the user flames more powerful than any other abilities. These flames come with the Adolla Link, an telepathic ability that causes Adolla Burst carriers to sense each other's emotions and even communicate with the Evangelist.
Severed Universe: Shō's signature technique, which allows him to heat up air particles around himself in order to slow down time around himself. By doing so, he can sneak up on his foes and strike them unnoticed. However, this causes his body to become cool down rapidly to the point of freezing. When he stops Severed Universe, the cold on his body evaporates and turns into steam, which gives clues to how it works. This ability is tied to his Grace of the Evangelist; without his master's blessing he cannot use it.
- Shō's first name is Japanese for "phenomenon".
- During Shō and Shinra's childhood, their mother joked that they would be sent to the Nether if they misbehaved, and Shinra told Shō not to fear the Nether as he would protect him. This eventually predicted Shō's fate, since he really was taken to the Netherworld.
Knights of the Ashen Flame
Knights of the Purple Smoke