172 cm (5'8")
Father and mother, two unnamed elder brothers
|Innate Element:|| |
Khakkhara (shakujou, Ringed monk staff)
"Staying on my feet" (moves around a lot)
Bites his thumbnail when he's nervous
|Favorite Scent:|| |
|Favorite Color:|| |
Usubeni (light red)
|Favorite Flower(s):|| |
Hardy begonia (autumn)
Christmas camellia (winter)
|Favorite Spot(s):|| |
Gion-jya (Gion Temple),
Hinomiko-sha (Hinomiko Shrine),
Nonomiya (Nono Temple)
|Voice Actor(s):|| |
|Live Action Actor(s):|
|First appearance:||Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2|
Monks during this particular period of history were better known for tending to their temple grounds. They would live within the temples and dedicate themselves to enlightenment, chanting ancient mantras or meditating to achieve a state of nothingness. When they weren't studying, the monks either cleaned the temple they resided in or patrolled the nearby streets for alms. Monks were trained in basic martial arts to defend themselves against robbers during nightly outings. Warrior monk brigades being employed for support in war would happen during the following century. The fearsomely powerful yet martially disciplined "evil monk" image is an invention of the Edo Period and is not accurate with this interpretation.
Isato doesn't actually affiliate himself with any political party due to his peasant status and his distaste for nobility. From a different perspective, monks residing at a giant temple within the capital were historically ostracized by the imperial court for ambiguous reasons, the monks' strong influence on the populace being speculated as the cause. However, since Isato is the designated opposite of his Earth counterpart, the protagonist will activate the Retired Emperor (院, in) story route if he is the first guardian they meet. The player's choice affects the presentation of the game's story events.
Role in GamesEdit
Isato comes from a commoner family who once served under the Taira clan. His parents served Katsuzane's father as daily housekeepers. Isato's mother raised both her children and Katsuzane's male sibling, breastfeeding both sets of children when they were infants. Katsuzane and Isato share a sense of kinship with each other since they were breastfed by the same woman (乳兄弟, chi-kyoudai). Isato's older brothers were childhood friends with Katsuzane and his brother, so Isato treated Katsuzane as though he were his elder sibling. Together they played with other children in the slums.
When Isato was nine-years old, a rampant fire spread across the streets in the capital. Isato was separated from his friends, but he tried his best to search for survivors. When he saw the samurai brigade in the vicinity, Isato was the one who guided them to Katsuzane's location. In spite of his efforts, Isato failed to save many of his friends and relatives from the blaze.
His immediate family survived the fire, but his parents lost faith in the world due to the devastation left in its wake. Therefore, they retired their services to the Taira clan and returned to the slums, taking Isato with them. Since his elder brothers were already noteworthy monks, Isato was admitted to the same temple. Occasionally, Isato spots Katsuzane in the capital, but the men don't try to actively keep in touch with one another.
If Karin chooses to treasure kindness over all other traits, the White Dragon will assign her to the Suzaku duo. She arrives in the middle of the world's imperial palace and is quickly hailed to stop by guards. Isato calls for Karin to come to him and, if she accepts, he'll drag her away towards the city. He explains that he couldn't idly watch nobles picking on her, so he came to her rescue. Once he realizes Karin has no idea what to do, Isato kindly offers to let her stay at the temple he is training at. Misono and Yukarihime appear to halt the monk and to introduce Karin as a priestess.
Upon learning that he is supposed to be one of Karin's guardians, Isato doesn't buy the claim since the words are coming straight from a noble. He is also aware that there is already another Priestess of the Dragon God, so the Star Clan's attempts to convince Isato only irritate him. However, he promises to keep an eye on Karin to protect her from being manipulated by the twins. When Karin wants to see Chitose in person, Isato explains that no one can since the priestess is locked away and praying for the capital's relief. The people think she can grant them passage to Buddha's mercy in the afterlife, a land in which there is no suffering and grief. Hence, Chitose is a beacon of hope to the common folk living their lives in despair and poverty. Still, since Isato has never seen the priestess in person, he can't believe if Chitose or Karin are the genuine article.
As Karin becomes the victim to a vengeful spirit's curse, Isato is suspicious that Karin really isn't a Priestess of the Dragon God since she is so vulnerable to malevolent energies. He demands that Karin give up trying to be something that was imposed on her, thinking that she is being oppressed. Karin assures him otherwise and tries harder to attend to her priestess duties. Impressed by her resolve, Isato gradually admires Karin's spirit, no longer caring if she is the real priestess or not. Her willpower to beat the odds is enough encouragement for Isato to accept his own duties as a guardian.
When Karin searches for Suzaku's talisman, Isato meets his Earth counterpart Akifumi. During the Retired Emperor's story route, Isato is wary that the prince is spying on them. He realizes that Akifumi is mislead by Shirin to believe that they are trying to curse the capital. Their misunderstandings dissipate when the trio confront one another before the talisman and protect Karin from the demon. The Emperor's story route has Isato at first believe Akifumi is someone who is lost and generously escorts the youth to his destination. Once he learns Akifumi is royalty, Isato angrily blames the prince for the capital's ruined state and runs off. Istao later feels he may have overreacted and apologizes when the trio appear before the Suzaku talisman. However, he isn't convinced that the nobleman's intentions are entirely pure. Before he can accuse Akifumi further, Shirin conjures an earthquake in an attempt to kill the trio. She almost succeeds until she is interrupted by Akram. Since Akifumi risked his life to save Isato from falling into the manifested gorge, the prince earns a fraction of Isato's trust.
Karin, Isato and Akifumi work together again to search for the southern divine aide's talisman. They confront Kazuhito and Tokitomo in either story route. While Akifumi struggles to reveal the truth of his aunt's crime, Isato is annoyed by the prince's hesitation. He believes Akifumi should be clear to Kazuhito rather than keep it a secret and thinks Akifumi's rebuttal to be self-conceited excuses. His opinion changes once he learns Kazuhito's arrogance firsthand, thinking for the first time that he needs to protect the capital. Isato then fully supports and trusts Akifumi as the rightful heir to the throne.
If Karin doesn't have high bonds with him for the final battle, he may accompany her as an optional partner in her party.
When Karin chooses Isato at the start of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de Yume no Ukihashi, he and Akifumi will join forces with Yorihisa, Tenma, Yuzuru and Kagetoki. Alternatively, Akane or Nozomi can select the listed guardians to have Isato join their starting party. The scattered guardians work together to reunite their comrades and to find a way back to the parallel world.
Isato joins forces with Eisen to break the seal of one of the gates in the Heavenly Realm. The two gentlemen chant mantras to see past the illusion.
Karin may become intimate with Isato in either story scenario. During the Retired Emperor's story route, Isato doesn't have his entire memories so his behavior changes during this route. At first, Isato is friendly and happily escorts Karin to local specialties or pleasures. He is ecstatic to learn that Karin is enjoying herself during her trips and promises to continue these outings.
Upon retrieving his third Heart Piece, however, Isato remembers about the fire and confesses to her his thoughts about it. The results from the disaster has Isato feel that the nobles will never care for the people, and that death is an inevitable and violent conclusion to life. Everyone around him, including his own family, are concentrating their prayers for a peaceful afterlife rather than focusing on current events. Dwelling on his thoughts about death, their reactions has him think he should never try or expect anything from life. Karin rebuffs that it's not hopeless to help others, as death can't bring joy to everyone. Happiness should be earned from trying to live to the best of one's abilities.
Isato considers Karin's words carefully and, on their fourth outing, apologizes for losing confidence before her. To him, Karin's words were the revelation that he was hoping to hear since his childhood days. Though embarrassed by his own actions, Isato then tries to confess his infatuation for her by embracing her and pleading for her to not leave the parallel world. The youth amends his words slightly once he escorts Karin back to Yukarihime's manor. Karin can choose to do whatever she wants once her priestess duties are over, but Isato's feelings for her will never change.
The Emperor's story route has Isato naively believe that Karin, as a Priestess of the Dragon God, has the power to wish away every strife within the capital. Therefore, he has some faith in Karin's abilities. However, after the couple experience a nobleman berating them, Isato realizes that Karin's powers aren't completely omnipotent to solve everything. Feeling helpless to reshape his home, he throws a tantrum blaming nobles as the cause. Karin chides him to not lose himself to anger and to calm himself. With her help, Isato controls his explosive behavior to consider other people. Realizing that he was acting self centered, the youth admires Karin's unabashed kindness and generosity to others, regardless of their political standing. Thinking highly of her gentle nature, Isato's thoughts for the future change for the better.
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de Yume no Ukihashi has Isato dream that he is within Kyou with Karin. He asks Karin to fold up a letter for him. Since the term he used means something else to Karin, she earnestly folds a paper crane. Although Isato teases her for failing to understand him, he is amazed that Karin could create a toy only using paper. Shortly after, they overhear an elderly grandmother and her starving grandchild. The young girl is pleading for food, but the grandmother insists she attend to her prayers for the afterlife instead. Isato is disgusted when he sees the young girl obey, stating in anger that nothing good has ever happened in the capital. While Karin disagrees with this claim, the paper crane she folded magically flies out of her hands and into the air. It inspires every onlooker to smile and cease their praying.
In his second dream, the capital is completely different. As opposed to being gloomy and decrepit, the streets are bustling with activity and people are enjoying themselves. Isato responds they're in the sector that was burned by fire and invites Karin to help rebuild with him and the other residents. When Karin asks him the reasons for the change, he thinks it's due to the paper crane she made. Promising to make another one as the dream ends, the third dream begins with Isato ruining the original letter she wrote in the first dream. He tried to redo the folds for the crane after reading the letter, but he tarnished the bird's shape. Isato laments that he is always breaking things, even when he is trying his best to make people happy. Already aware that they are in a dream, Isato takes the failure personally. If he can't even succeed in his own dreams, then he feels he can't do well in real life. Karin insists that a dream isn't reality. It just means he needs to try harder for the real thing and to learn from his experiences from his dreams.
Back in the real capital, Isato runs into Karin's room asking her to make a paper crane for him. As he watches, he asks her to teach him each fold properly. When she asks why he wants to learn, he bashfully gives the crane he folded to her as a present. He promises to keep practicing in secret so he can someday teach it to the children in the capital. He excitedly watches Karin fold another crane to study each fold again. In his monologue, Isato explains that he saw a bright and cheerful capital is his dream. He promises to someday have his dream become a reality as his real present to her.
Special has him share his twin ending with Katsuzane. Isato is climbing a maple tree within the Heavenly Realm and is chided by Katsuzane to watch himself. Although at first offended, Isato soon remembers that he once fell whilst climbing a tree when they were younger and injured his head when he fell. He embarrassingly accuses Katsuzane to stop worrying about him. They reminisce about their childhood memories regarding a maple tree they used to play at, lamenting that it was lost in the fire. Karin cheers them up, suggesting that they plant a new maple tree in its honor. The trio agree to take her there when they return to Kyou. The men subconsciously remember their promise to her and take Karin to their former play spot. They reveal that a maple tree was growing in the old tree's spot, their wish magically fulfilled by the gods from the Heavenly Realm. Thrilled by the tree's perseverance, the guardians renew their desires to save Kyou with Karin.
Tohko Mizuno states that both Isato and Akifumi were designed with the attempt to present matured versions of the previous Suzaku duo. She considers Isato to be "Inori's older brother", remarking that both characters look related to one another. While she admits his design closely follows the common image for a monk, Mizuno altered it slightly to make it "easier to move in".
Isato is the hero to peasant children everywhere in the capital. He is their upbeat, gregarious and fearless neighborhood watchman who encourages everyone to support one another. Isato catches troublemakers in the streets without the relying on nobles. When residents fight amongst themselves, Isato is the one who steps in to find a practical solution. He does this while simultaneously balancing his duties to the temple and his family shrine. A bustling youth with energy to spare, Isato tries his best to help anyone he thinks needs it. The youth's bold charisma and eagerness to volunteer has many residents accept him as a trustworthy figure in the slums. Children refer to him as their "older brother" since he frequently chides them to behave to his guests or their families. Though they scold him for his lax studies of the temple's mantras and practices, the monks and his family's opinions of Isato echoes those heard in the streets. He dreams of one day seeing the capital a peaceful place in which family and friends can share bread with one another.
His words to everyone he meets are always honest to his feelings at hand. It is easy to tell when he is happy, upset or embarrassed, almost on a childish level. Not everyone, however, knows his real reasons for his hatred of nobles. During his tantrums, he will often blame them as the cause for the people's suffering. He points out their negligence to the people and their frivolousness, all complaints which have a ring of truth in them. His profuse spite for them and samurai finds their roots to their reaction to the fire in the past, in which they did nothing to help reconstruction efforts.
Even so, these accusations are actually fueled by frustrations that Isato has with himself. The lives lost in the fire made him realize that everything in life -whether it be personality, achievements or expectations- mean nothing before the face of death. He has abandoned any hopes for the future when he was a child, trying his best to ignore the finality of death by rigorously patrolling the streets. At the same time, he struggles to accept the predetermined future already laid out for him by his family. Isato would follow in his older brothers' footsteps once he completes his training and become the head monk to a temple. With his parents and friends egging him on to become a monk, Isato feels as though he has no choice in the matter. Over the years, however, no one else has said an agreeing alternative to him, and he is stumped in his thoughts for a different fate. Loathing what he considers to be his weakness, Isato inwardly feels he is pathetic to blame others for his own mishaps.
Karin's proactive approach has Isato think otherwise. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, she perseveres for a positive outcome. Nothing can deter her from her faith in hope, something which Isato at first envies. As he tries to question her beliefs with his own, Isato gradually realizes that he has found someone to believe in his world. He too can see the world in a new perspective, one that is genuinely cheerful and optimistic, if he has the will to commit himself to it. She quells his stubbornness with the kindness Isato had secretly yearned for since his childhood. He then desires to live in order to truly believe in himself and others. His relationship with her renews his desire to see his dream in person.
Though Isato's stance for nobles is remarkably low, he has never thought that Katsuzane has wronged him. He still considers him his "older brother" and treasures their past together. Both are reluctant to mend their distant ties, mainly because it means dredging memories of the horrible fire. At one point after the fire, Isato even offered to remain friends in spite of their social status. Katsuzane ultimately refused to accept due to his own trauma and regrets from their parting. Respectful of Katsuzane's wishes, Isato stopped trying to keep in touch. During their own personal story paths, however, both men mention that they have tried to reconcile. They are openly friendly to one another in the series's dream game.
His symbolic item is the lotus. From Japan's perspective, the flower originated from China and is a flower of spring. It is regarded as one of the beautiful signals for warmer weather, thus leading it to be known as a flower of happiness. Within the flower language, it is instead known for symbolizing the admittance of one's suffering or understanding someone's heart. The meaning is tied to a legend surrounding Dryope and Iole, two sisters in Greek mythology. One day they sought to pick lotuses growing along a river as a sacrificial offering to the gods. Dryope began to pick the flower until she saw blood seep from the broken stalk. This was because a nymph named Lotis had transformed into the flower to escape the clutches of Priapus, the god of fertility. Dryope immediately abandoned the flowers and tried to flee, but her legs were already turning into flora. Before the transformation completed, the elder sister was able to warn Iole to cease her actions. Dryope's life as a human ended, and she is said to have lived the rest of her days as a lotus.
Kayou (荷葉), Isato's favorite scent, is said to be one of the six essential components for understanding the beauty and supposed therapeutic properties of incense during the Heian Period. When burned, the incense's fragrance is supposed to invoke the image of a lotus in bloom. It is the only incense of the six to be recommended for the summer months with the hopes to keep lasting nostalgia for spring. Reportedly the scent is one that uplifts the spirits of those who smell it.
The hardy begonia, Isato's favorite flower in autumn, is an anachronism for the game's setting as it was introduced to Japan from China sometime during the Edo Period. It's famed for its "heart shaped" leaves, its long stems, and unique pinkish tint whilst in bloom. When in bloom the flower represents love for nature or the ability to love oneself. However, when the flowers close into compact buds, its alternative meanings in the flower language are negative. Since the leaves do not wither when the flowers shut themselves away, the hardy begonia instead means unrequited love or trouble falling in love.
His favorite winter flower, the Christmas camellia, means humbleness, ideal and painstaking love, or to overcome all obstacles. Again, like his autumn flower, Chinese traders introduced the flower to Japan during the 17th century. Its meanings in the flower language originate from the fickle nature of the flower's preferred growing spots and germination. It can only grow in specific soil and temperatures, additionally requiring frequent management within plantations. The rate at which the flower grows in the wild is becoming less frequent in Japan as a result as they can only be spotted within northern regions of the islands.
Isato's favorite color is a tint which has two different readings. Usubeni is its contemporary reading, but it was called usukurenai in ancient times. While best known as a light reddish tint, the color was once used as a heavy and vibrant red dye. As the fabrics which used usubeni aged, the dye turned into its currently known peach-like shade. Usubeni dye was created by drying and then crushing the petals of a safflower. Ideally, the process began once the flower's yellow petals faded to a red-orange tint. Thus, the safflower's modern name in Japan is benibana (ベニバナ) or "red flower" in spite of its initial appearance in bloom.
The flower was in Japan during the Heian Period and was known as suetsumuhana (末摘花), which is roughly translated as "flower of the end". Readers of Japanese folklore may better recognize it as the name for a maiden in the Genji Monogatari. She was mysteriously introduced as a princess "marred by tragedy" who had beautiful long hair. However, her facial features (namely her elephant like nose and unnaturally thin cheeks) were so odd that the promiscuous hero, Genji Hikaru, blushed in embarrassment at the thought of harboring any attraction for her once he saw them. The safflower's meanings within the flower language are tied to this description in which one becomes excited or wants to lavish themselves. A recipient of the flower is also considered an important and special person by the sender.
- "Outta my way!"
- "I'm just on top of everything today!"
- "No worries! I've got your back!"
- "You said it, Karin! It's payback time! Eat this!"
- "Of course! Who do ya think you're talking to here?"
- "This guy's nothing to get worked up about. This'll be easy!"
- "What're ya doing giving me that hopeless look for? I know already, okay?"
- "Yo, um... Don't look at me so much. Your eyes are making me lose my focus a bit."
- "Hey, I'm the one protecting you, remember? You've got nothing to worry about!"
- "Keep your smiles for me. I always want to see you happy."
- "They say that precious things are things you can't see. But I think that's a lie. I can see you, can't I? I look at you and you smile. If that isn't precious, then what is? Just as how birds need the sky and the sky needs a sun, I need you. Okay? That's what I've decided."
- "Everyone seems to be paying their respects to this shrine lately. Looks like it's in high demand."
- "I know, right? This shrine here? It's got a history to it. They say the god here can smack retribution into nasty kids so bad, they get a fever from guilt!"
- "Do you know this because of personal experience?"
- "No way! I know because one time Katsu-... I mean, it doesn't matter how I know, okay? We're done here. Let's go."
- ~~Karin and Isato; Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2
- "Are you stupid!? Choosing one over the other won't change a thing! You aren't doing anything to fix this mess!"
- "Even I realize this! I understand this, but I don't know what I should do. I just want everyone to be happy. That's all I want!"
- "Don't feed me that crap! You can't make everyone happy. You're just thinking about satisfying the nobles. ...Nobles only think for themselves!"
- ~~Isato and Akifumi; Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2
- "I gotta do it. If I hike up a mountain, then I can properly say how much I like Karin."
- "So you're looking to build up the gall to confess? How about climbing the tallest mountain? That way, once you've beaten that sucker, you can have all the confidence in the world!"
- "Yeah, and then I can tell her my feelings without choking up! Thanks, Inori! You're a lifesaver! Now I know what I gotta do to make Karin notice me!"
- "You guys should listen to yourselves. You're an embarrassment to men everywhere. It's true it takes courage to climb a tall rock, but how 'bout thinking how your woman would feel if you left her behind? Better yet, don't you think you should ditch the hike and stay beside her? She'd appreciate that more. Right, Milady?"
- "Really? Is that true, Karin?"
- ~~Isato, Inori, and Hinoe; Harukanaru Toki no Naka de ~ Yume no Ukihashi
Isato excels in attacking his opponents with above average attack and magic, which makes him the strongest attacker for Metal opponents. His defense takes a hit so don't bring him in fights against Water opponents. However, since there aren't many Water type foes in the games, Isato can be an overall reliable comrade to bring into most fights. Isato is also prone to delivering critical hits compared to other guardians, regardless of his intimacy ratings with Karin.
These abilities are only available in Yume no Ukihashi.
- Decisive Strike (捨て身, Sute Mi)
- Cost - 2 Will
- Isato performs a devastating attack at the cost of lowering his defenses for one turn. May be blocked by bosses.
- Quick Strike (連打, Renda)
- Cost - 2 Will
- Isato performs two normal attacks in one turn.
- Steamed Chestnuts (蒸し栗, Mushi Kuri)
- Cost - 3 Will (outside battle and events only)
- Isato serves the snack to heal the entire party's health.
- Kaen Jin (火炎陣)
- Cost - 2 Fire
- Strikes foe with a fire attack. Deals moderate damage.
- Enki Jyouka (炎気浄化)
- Cost - 3 Fire, 2 Earth
- Damages and poisons an opponent. Status effect works against bosses.
- Gouka Meishou (業火滅焼)
- Cost - 1 Wood, 5 Fire, 5 Earth, 3 Metal
- Stronger fire attack. Deals heavy damage to opponent.
- Suzaku Shoukan (朱雀召喚)
- Cost - 4 Wood, 5 Fire, 2 Earth, 3 Metal, 1 Water; requires Isato to have Suzaku talisman equipped
- Summons Suzaku to hit opponent with a fire attack.
- Gundari Myō-Oh Shu (軍茶利明王呪)
- Cost - 3 Wood, 5 Fire, 5 Earth, 4 Metal, 2 Water; requires Akifumi in party and completely successful retrieval of southern talisman
- Suzaku guardians summon Gundari Myō-Oh to hit target with a fierce blaze. Ultimate fire elemental magic.
These unique spells are only available in Yume no Ukihashi.
- Mumiyou Geki (無明激)
- Cost - 2 Will; requires Eisen in the same party
- Strong water magic.
- Shouryu Raika (昇龍雷火)
- Cost - 2 Will; requires Inori and Kurou in the same party
- Strong wood magic.
- Eisen Ranbu (炎精乱舞)
- Cost - 5 Will; requires Inori and Hinoe in the same party
- Ultimate fire magic.