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The Skull Man, real name Tatsuo Kagura, is the eponymous villain protagonist of the 1970 one-shot manga Skull Man by Shotaro Ishinomori.

He is a psychic mutant whose parents were a pair of scientists that were murdered while he was still an infant. After being rescued by Garo, a psychic, shape-shifting mutant, Tatsuo became the masked vigilante Skull Man to seek revenge against the one responsible for his parents' murder, his wealthy grandfather Kogetsu Chisato.

Biography

Tatsuo was the child of two super-intelligent scientists, born with superhuman abilities due to experiments by the couple. He also had a sister named Maya, who was blind and mute but also a psychic mutant capable of communicating through telepathy. Fearing that his child's experiments would bring the end of mankind, Tatsuo's grandfather Kogetsu Chisato had his son and his son's wife assassinated and burned down their house. Tatsuo survived however, having been rescued by Garo, another mutant created by his parents with the power to shape-shift.

After Garo brought Tatsuo to safety, he began raising him to seek revenge for his parents' murders. He managed to get Tatsuo adopted into the Kagura Group, a wealthy yakuza family, and using the family as cover Tatsuo became the vigilante Skull Man, going on murdering sprees against those affiliated with his grandfather and anyone else he deemed rotten or sinful.

In order to keep tabs on the investigation, Tatsuo inserted himself into it in his civilian persona and offered his family's resources to the Tachiki Detective Agency in order to help track down the identity of Skull Man. Police Chief Tachiki soon recognized that something was suspicious about Tatsuo but chose to keep him in the investigation in order to keep tabs on him, eventually deducing he was the identity of Skull Man.

However, Skull Man outmaneuvered Tachiki and cornered him, demanding to know who was sponsoring his investigation into him. Tachiki answered that Kogetsu Chisato was the one backing them and, after getting the location of his residence Skull Man went off to confront him. Upon seeing Skull Man, Chisato welcomed him in but Skull Man tried to kill him. He was stopped, however, by Maya who revealed that Chisato was his grandfather and she was his sister. Chisato then explained the truth to Skull Man, how he had murdered his father and mother - his own son and daughter-in-law - because of the experiments they were doing, which he believed threatened mankind. He also revealed that he had kept tabs on Tatsuo ever since he escaped in hopes of bringing him back into their family. As Skull Man stood in shock, Chisato chose to burn down his residence with himself, Maya, Tatsuo and Garo inside, with them all dying together.

Trivia

  • Skull Man, created Shotaro Ishinonomori, served as the basis for his much more popular creation, Kamen Rider, and was made by him while developing the show. Because the one-shot manga was deemed too dark, Kamen Rider had many changes made to its content.
  • Interestingly, Skull Man's backstory as a psychic mutant is also similar to one of Shotaro Ishinomori's later creations, Inazuman in 1973.