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Katsuzane Taira
Katsuzane-haruka2artwork
Character Information
Birthday:
April 18
Age:
20
Height:
182 cm (6')
Bloodtype:
B
Family:
Father,
mother,
unnamed elder brother,
Chitose (younger sister),
uncle
Occupation:
Noble of the Heike
Kyoushiki Shoujou
Innate Element:
Wood
Weapon(s):
Bow and arrows (arrows may be fired as darts of energy instead)
Favorite Scent:
Baika
Favorite Color:
Asagi (bluish-teal)
Favorite Flower(s):
Japanese gentian (autumn)
Heavenly bamboo (winter)
Favorite Spot(s):
Ichijo-modori Bashi (Ichijo-modori Bridge),
Hosshou-ji (Hosshou Temple),
Matsunoo Taisha (Matsunoo Grand Temple)
Voice Actor(s):
Live Action Actor(s):
First Appearance: Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2

Katsuzane Taira (平勝真, Taira no Katsuzane) is one of the Eight Guardians in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2. He acts as the Seiryu of Earth (地の青龍, Chi no Seiryuu) for his era's White Dragon Priestess.

Katsuzane's occupation (京職少進) is an archaic government title for a peace keeper of the capital; Katsuzane is specifically a middle class version of the rank. The ministers' primary designation was to regularly patrol the capital and report any local disturbances. Kyoushiki had the right to imperially judge and authorize public order on the spot due to their status as nobles. Often these peace keepers were assigned to specific districts and were limited to small numbers. During the Heian Period, their importance was on the verge of collapse due to the superb coordination of kebiishi units. Eventually the rank ceased to exist during the Warring States period as the nobles lost power and "sold it off" to become influential daimyou.

His occupation dictates his political affiliation for the Emperor (帝, mikado). If he is the first guardian the protagonist meets, they will activate the Emperor story route. The player's choice affects the presentation of the game's story events.

Role in GamesEdit

Background StoryEdit

The Taira clan has been political rivals with the Minamoto and Fujiwara clans. His uncle (his father's younger brother) is serving as the highest ranked governor of an unnamed province (国守, Kokushu). His family is high enough to at least be mid-class nobles within the capital. Isato's father served under Katsuzane's father, so Isato's mother was the one who raised the children between the two families. She breastfed the boys 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).

During his childhood years Katsuzane was bored with the stiffness of nobility. While his father and older brother dedicated themselves to doctrines and formality, Katsuzane neglected his studies. By the time he was ten-years-old he frequently ran away from his family's manor to play with the children in the slums. The children in the city accepted him without restraint, a first for young Katsuzane. He and Isato enjoyed the company of their friends as they played light-hearted pranks or pretended to be superheroes of the streets.

When he was twelve-years-old, a raging fire scorched the left division of Kyou. Katsuzane and Isato were with their friends at the time and were caught within the flames. As the friends panicked and scattered, Katsuzane was trapped under fallen rubble and unable to move. He heard the dying cries of several people and was paralyzed with fear. A group of samurai eventually found him and rescued him from the wreckage.

However, they only arrived to save him while forsaking hundreds to the flames. Katsuzane later learned his younger sister and father were the ones responsible for sending the samurai and angrily distanced himself from them. In reality, she asked for their father to save him and his friends. Their father was the one who limited the order to just Katsuzane. His decision was mainly driven by Katsuzane's social status rather than chivalry.

Several days after the fire, Isato left Katsuzane's home to join his brothers as a monk. Katsuzane experienced his manhood ceremony on the same year and gained his current government position. On his father's insistence, his uncle pulled some strings to grant his nephew a formal rank of nobility with the title Office Secretary of the Fifth Order (蔵人五位, Kuro-udo Goi). Though granted a minor governmental position, Katsuzane feels obligated to use it to save whoever he can in the capital. He is often riding on horseback by himself.

Story EventsEdit

If Karin chooses to treasure bravery over all other traits, the White Dragon will assign her to the Seiryu duo. She arrives in the parallel world in the middle of a street, moments before being run over by a speeding horse. If she moves out of the way, Katsuzane breaks his horse's sprint in time. He quickly dismounts to apologize and to check for any injuries. Before he can depart for his job, Misono and Yukarihime arrive to explain her origins. Before the Star Clan can elaborate their arrival, a vengeful spirit attacks them. Katsuzane defends Karin and accompanies her to the twins' manor.

Karin's confused expression upon awakening has Katsuzane believe that maybe she is a girl from the parallel world who simply lost her way home. At the twins' request, he skeptically plays along with the idea of Karin being the Priestess of the Dragon God. He accompanies her when Karin tries to declare her status as a priestess to the nobles at the Imperial Palace, proving his earlier presumptions wrong with her blatant ignorance. When her words fail to convince the nobles a second time, Katsuzane commends her drive but tells her to give up. He reveals that his sister is already the Priestess of the Dragon God and Karin being there can't change that. Her fierce will to remain positive surprises him and reminds Katsuzane of his own duty to protect Kyou. Invigorated by her spirit, he agrees to work together with her to protect the capital. He proudly accepts her as the priestess after she obtains the Four Gods' talismans.

Katsuzane meets his polar opposite, Yoritada while trying to gain Seiryu's trust. Their clans have a sordid history of attrition, which leaks into their personal interactions. During the Emperor's story route, Yoritada is depicted as a probable opponent who fails to explain his reasons for investigating the Four Gods' talismans. Katsuzane's wild accusations for the warrior provides often rebukes any peace between them. In the Retired Emperor's story route, Katsuzane questions Yoritada and Karin's suspicious behavior. As they reach the talisman's location, the guardians' agreement to protect the capital from danger blesses them with Seiryu's talisman.

The trio search for the talisman of the eastern divine aide, opposing Shirin in either story path. He frequently loses patience with finding the talisman yet tries to sacrifice himself to protect Karin. During the Retired Emperor's story route, Yoritada accuses his counterpart of failing to protect Karin. Katsuzane is separated from her twice, and both men gripe over the other's methods. Conversely, the Emperor's story route draws doubt on Katsuzane's loyalties since he is seen talking with the demon. When Katsuzane's body is used against his will on the final day, the samurai defends his comrade's integrity.

If Karin doesn't have high bonds with him for the final battle, he may accompany her as an optional partner in her party.

Harukanaru Toki no Naka de Yume no Ukihashi has him and Yoritada either act as the priestess's starting guardians or be amongst those being held prisoner within the central gates. The scattered guardians work together to reunite their comrades and to find a way back to the parallel world. Katsuzane joins forces with Takamichi to break the seal of one of the gates in the Heavenly Realm. The two gentlemen are united by their desires to save Kyou upon their return.

Personal RoutesEdit

Karin may become intimate with Katsuzane in either story scenario. During the Emperor's story route, he doesn't have his complete memories so his attitude changes during the scenario. Katsuzane agrees to have Karin accompany him during one of his patrols around the capital. As they circle through the streets albeit randomly, he gradually admits that his days are frequently uneventful. He privately explains the predominate success of the kebeishi units practically renders his actions meaningless. Feeling that his power to save people is worthless, Katsuzane admits he feels he has given up on himself. Karin assures him otherwise, and she encourages him to believe in himself.

Upon retrieving his third Heart Piece, he regains his memories of his past. Though it takes him time to properly express his thoughts, Katsuzane tells Karin about it. He reveals his half-hearted dedication was him trying to bury his weaknesses and guilt from the disaster. The story lowers Karin's spirits so he promises to make up for it later. When he does, he confesses his admiration for her undying integrity against all odds. She is an outsider to the capital yet her will to save Kyou inspires him to finally believe in the future.

The Retired Emperor's story route begins with Katsuzane and Karin trying to infiltrate the former ruler's preferred temple. When a patrolling samurai is looking to kill the "Emperor's lackey", Karin forces Katsuzane to hide within a small storehouse and covers for him. She then learns he suffers from claustrophobia and is severely shaken from the experience. Once he regains his wits, however, he demands Karin to keep what she saw a secret. As compensation Katsuzane makes a promise to someday become strong. On their second outing, she volunteers to accompany him on a quiet job to stand guard along a mountain path and direct nobles to a temple meeting; in other words, he is the informal guide for the event. Katsuzane feels he is again showing her weakness and renews his oath to her.

Karin assures him that he shouldn't force himself to fit a predetermined ideal, saying that she believes in him already. Touched by her genuine acceptance, Katsuzane freely admits his real motivations for making his promises. He wants to protect her, but he felt he lacked the confidence to live up to his desires. However, her kindness and trust in him convinces him to let go of his presumptions. Although he thinks he can't offer her much, Katsuzane confesses his sincere admiration for her and his honest wish to be her loyal shield.

Harukanaru Toki no Naka de Yume no Ukihashi has Beidou Xingjun use three dreams as traps to lower Katsuzane's confidence in his profession and noble status within a replica of Kyou. Karin is dragged into these events each time. The first dream ends with a priest blaming Katsuzane for being the root of a reoccurring vengeful spirit, one that is fueled by the weakness of the human heart. A vengeful spirit impersonates Karin in the second dream, who insults Katsuzane by vocalizing his doubts aloud. Before he gives in, the real Karin arrives and reveals the fake's identity.

Beidou Xingjun appears personally before Katsuzane in the third dream, tempting the guardian to serve under him as a heavenly general. The god reasons that the duty is profitable and glorified, adulation which Katsuzane is guaranteed to never receive if he returns to Kyou. Though Katsuzane agrees with him on a few points, the guardian ultimately refuses and frees himself by declaring that he already has an irreplaceable duty. When they return to the Heavenly Realm, Karin asks his reasons for looking rejuvenated. He replies that it's due to her, and while she doesn't understand his meaning, he fondly embraces her and explains she has saved him long ago. During his ending, it's implied that he remembers the Heavenly Realm events, fondly calling her his precious hope.

Special has him share his twin ending with Isato. He scolds his "younger brother" to stop climbing a maple tree within the Heavenly Realm, warning him to not fall. 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.

Character InformationEdit

DevelopmentEdit

Katsuzane was designed to be the wild-looking one of the cast. The cut sleeves of his kimono, his tattoo, and his improperly worn winter robe (袷, awase) are meant to follow this concept. His hair is meant to mimic the cloud and lion emblem on his winter robe. Tohko Mizuno remarks that she was careful to keep a "cute side" to his character.

PersonalityEdit

According to those within nobility, Katsuzane is a snappy, rude and obstinate officer. He speeds through the town streets on horseback, dresses in a vulgar fashion, refuses to address them by proper titles, and rarely bows to their every request. Katsuzane hardly accepts those within the nobility as his equals and ignores their daily nuances. Instead, he feels more at home watching over the common folk within the streets. Due to his fond memories of the slums during childhood, the young noble feels obligated to treat the townsfolk politely and with utmost respect. Katsuzane takes pride in his power to alleviate their woes, conducting himself with a professional and bold image to those seeking his help. He likes to wander the streets even when not on the job, fond of learning life beyond the capital's imperial domain and endearingly listening to whatever stories the residents may choose to tell him. From their conversations, Katsuzane harbors a secret desire to someday travel eastward once the capital is at peace.

While he may act like a confident and protective homebody, Katsuzane's dignity is not without its faults. His profession, for example, insists that he carry a sword on his person at all times. Since he lacks confidence in his swordsmanship, Katsuzane only has his bow on his person, which is considered an outlandish image in the time period. The youth is also fully aware of his crumbling profession, and his middle ranked social status is actually powerless to completely repay those he wants to protect. Katsuzane feels his routine patrols are an endless maze of futility, as though his actions do little change to their constant strife. The fire from his childhood has seared deep regret within him, as it not only gave birth to his claustrophobia, but it caused him to blame himself for lacking the necessary power or strength to aid those in need. He thought he would be able to change these feelings as he matured, but Katsuzane's optimism has only withered with the passage of time. Simultaneously unable to completely forsake his duties, Katsuzane continued his daily regime with dismal self-esteem. He is especially sensitive to experiencing failure or having his weaknesses exposed, whether it be as a guardian, as a Kyoushiki, or as a person.

At first Katsuzane regards Karin as a hopeless girl who wouldn't last long in her foreign surroundings. However, he is surprised when she dauntlessly fights against the extreme skepticism against her. Her cocksure enthusiasm is armed with an endless smile, never giving up on a future of unity. Katsuzane sees in her the past in which he thought was abandoned. Inspired by her fierce will and kindness, he eventually revitalizes his previously lost motivation for his dreams. While she may not always be fully aware of his inward dilemma, he believes her optimism saved him from losing himself to doubt. In his eyes, Karin is a truly strong and invaluable person who has earned his earnest trust and admiration. He wishes to live for the future, ideally together with her.

Due to his desire to distance himself from his noble upbringings, Katsuzane has mixed feelings for his family. On one hand, he is thankful to them since they did save his life. Yet they regularly feign ignorance to the degraded state of the capital, turning a blind eye to the common folk. He has barely seen his own sister, Chitose, so he insists she is practically a stranger to him. Again, political status and customary tradition are the reasons for tearing them apart, a tiring excuse which frustrates Katsuzane. Once he gains faith in Karin's priestess powers, he doesn't hesitate to declare Chitose as his foe and is openly hostile to her during their confrontations. Even so, he does occasionally worry about her health, especially when she is driven out of the Retired Emperor's domain. The siblings reconcile their differences and enjoy one another's company during the game's bonus epilogue scenario.

Character SymbolismEdit

Katsuzane's symbolic item is a branch from a willow tree. The tree has mixed purposes in various folklore. It can stand as a protector or sign of good fortune to those hiding underneath its branches. On the other hand the tree is thought to be the bridge between the living and the dead, hence the reason why ghosts or spirits may appear near them.

In a famous legend regarding Prince Saga, the tree also acts as a divine match-maker. He prayed to Kannon Bodhisatava to grant him a beautiful woman for his mistress with a heart who could capture his like no other in the world. Many days had passed, and the prince maintained his single prayer. As he slept one night, Kannon came to him and told him to look for a woman underneath a willow tree. When he woke the next morning, he followed Kannon's message and found the one he desired. The nameless woman became his concubine and was well loved for her lovely perfume and preaching the gentle teachings of religion. Since she doesn't have a mention in the royal family records, it widely believed that she is a woman who never existed.

Baika (梅香), Katsuzane'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. Baika is aptly named for the image it is meant to invoke when burned: blooming plum blossoms. The scent was used to celebrate spring. It is a famous fragrance found throughout Heian period folklore and literature, being treasured by nobility and common folk alike.

The Japanese gentian represents sorrowful love or morality in the flower language.

His favorite winter flower is Heavenly bamboo, also known as nanten (南天) in Japanese. It's largely thought the name kept its Chinese roots in memory of the plant's origins for Japan. It blooms small white star-shaped flowers during the summer months. Within the flower language these flowers symbolize someone falling in love with their loved one. Their feelings for the person grows as time passes. During the winter months the plant provides poisonous yet vibrant red fruits along its branches, which is how the flower appears in the game. Heavenly bamboo is often used as a charm for decorating new years flower arrangements or food in Japan. It's the star of a traditional superstition that the fruit's toxicity is strong enough to drive away demons or evil spirits. As such, the flower can also mean protecting a good household or fortune for one's family.

Katsuzane's favorite color is a tint thought to be named after the Asiatic dayflower. The flower is also known in Japan as "tsuyukusa" or, in ancient times at least, "tsukikusa". The archaic reading for the flower has the moon as its namesake. The Asiatic dayflower has been described to have been a romantic flower with its distinct blue petals, as if they were tinged to be like moonlight. Japan has historically used the flower for blue dyes, especially being favored for clothing during the Heian and Edo Periods. Bakumatsu fans would recognize the color adorning the coats for the Shinsengumi. As the petals are crushed a light bluish pigment is created, which allegedly provokes childhood memories of playing alongside a clear stream. The sense of nostalgia it brings is thought to be responsible for its meanings within the flower language: respect and longing memories. It can also be used to represent someone's change of heart.

QuotesEdit

  • "I've got this!"
  • "Time to get serious!"
  • "Let me take care of it already!"
  • "I'm trusting your judgment on this one."
  • "You're going to be in a world of pain if you get in my way!"
  • "If you're trying to mess with me, then don't even try it."
  • "You've got something to say? Then say it!"
  • "I'm a Kyoushiki. If there's an enemy of Kyou, I'll be the one taking care of them."
  • "It's not like that. I just wanted to guard you... That's all."
  • "I can't ever give up my desires for protecting you."
  • "Please hear me out. Even if it's for a moment, please listen to me. I don't want to leave you, and I never want to lose you. Please stay beside me, always."
  • "You're feeling down? That's because you don't have enough spirit!"
"...What?"
"If you're all fired up, you won't have time to sulk and you'll be better. Right?"
"...Hey, can I ask you something?"
"What is it?"
"Does 'Priestess of the Dragon God' mean 'stupidity'?"
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"No, never mind. It just came to me. Don't worry about it."
~~Karin and Katsuzane; Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2
  • "Oh, now you come back. Weren't you supposed to be protecting Karin!?"
"Indeed, it is as you say. Focus on driving the enemy away from the priestess. Take the flank, Katsuzane."
"Ah... got it!"
~~Katsuzane and Yoritada; Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2
  • "The monsters at a horror house wouldn't be real, but when a girl gets scared by some crazy spook, she'll latch onto your arm in no time. ...Or something like that. It's what I'd want to see during a date."
"Karin fights vengeful spirits on a daily basis. I don't think any monster can frighten her now."
"... You got a point. Hey, Kurou. What would you do?"
"Why me all of a sudden? Hmm, if I were to be asked... I would bring her to the mountain depths for training. A clash of swords can say more than the exchange of words."
"Karin doesn't use a sword. ...Don't tell me you just train with your priestess all the time."
~~Tenma, Katsuzane, Kurou; Harukanaru Toki no Naka de ~ Yume no Ukihashi

Fighting StyleEdit

Katsuzane has a low magic stat, but he has above average strength and defense. His physical attributes are the second strongest among the guardians, having a slight preference for strength over defense. His magic casting abilities are more versatile than Yoritada's spells during boss fights, his second spell being especially useful in the battle against the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons. If he is hit by a damaging attack and is not paralyzed, Katsuzane may randomly perform a quick counter.

Special AbilitiesEdit

These abilities are only available in Yume no Ukihashi.

  • Unified Spirit (精神統一, Seishin Touitsu)
Cost - 2 Will
Katsuzane uses one turn to charge for a powerful blow. Once he is powered up, he can perform the attack several times without using extra Will. He only needs to charge once per vengeful spirit.
  • Counterattack (逆襲, Gyakushuu)
Cost - 2 Will
Attacks opponent based on the amount of damage Katsuzane has suffered. In other words, if he is undamaged he won't hurt his opponents. If Katsuzane is in critical health, he will deal massive damage. May be blocked by bosses.
  • Counter (反撃, Hangeki)
Cost - none (passive)
Randomly counters attacks.

MagicEdit

  • Shourai Geki (沼雷撃)
Cost - 2 Wood
Lightning attack. Strikes foe with a burst of lightning. Deals moderate damage.
  • Shin Mei Baku (神鳴縛)
Cost - 3 Wood, 2 Metal
Damages and paralyzes an opponent. Status effect works against bosses.
  • Tenshin Rakurai (天震落雷)
Cost - 5 Wood, 5 Earth, 1 Metal, 3 Water
Stronger lightning attack. Deals heavy damage to opponent.
  • Seiryu Shoukan (青龍召喚)
Cost - 5 Wood, 2 Fire, 3 Earth, 1 Metal, 4 Water; requires Katsuzane to have Seiryu talisman equipped
Summons Seiryu to hit opponent with a lightning storm. Wood elemental magic.
  • Kōzanze Myō-Oh Shu (降三世明王呪)
Cost - 5 Wood, 4 Fire, 2 Earth, 3 Metal, 5 Water; requires Yoritada in party and completely successful retrieval of eastern talisman
Seiryu guardians summon Kōzanze Myō-Oh to hit target with a destructive storm. Ultimate wood elemental magic.

These unique spells are only available in Yume no Ukihashi.

  • Tenmeigeki (天鳴撃)
Cost - 2 Will; requires Takamichi in the same party
Strong wood magic.
  • Gonki Meiteki (金気鳴鏑)
Cost - 2 Will; requires Yorihisa and Yuzuru in the same party
Strong metal magic.
  • Haten Raigou (覇天雷轟)
Cost - 5 Will; requires Tenma and Kurou in the same party
Ultimate lightning magic.

GalleryEdit

TriviaEdit

  • Katsuzane never uses his mandatory sword in the games. He is only seen using it in the theatrical production.

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