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Kagato (神我人 Kagato?) is a fictional character in the anime Tenchi Muyō!, serving as the main villain of the original OVAs. A second, alternate incarnation of the character was the antagonist of the initial TM! television series, Tenchi Universe. His name does suggests to be a sentence or a statement of sort, by the kanji 我人, possibly meaning "my people" or the name together roughly translating to "I am God Person"

Tenchi Muyō! Ryō-Ohki

"Ruins Buster"

He is Washū's former student, assisting her in the creation of her daughter, Ryōko, and in the building of the massive battleship, Sōja. Kagato has largely the same superhuman abilities as Washū and Ryōko, though whether he was born with these powers or achieved them by genetically altering himself is unclear. Kagato caught word of a historical artifact, one said to hold the "greatest energy in the universe". Ambitious with an amoral curiosity, he imprisons his mentor within her own ship, taking Sōja for his own and using it to pillage the galaxy (Washū would remain in his company for the next five thousand years). While not a psychopath who kills for the sake of killing, Kagato is not concerned with mortals or their feelings, thinking them "worth nothing more than dust"; they have their occasional use as tools, but are overall beneath his notice and not worth killing. However, he will not hesitate to kill should they offend him or if it coincides with a greater purpose; those caught in the collateral damage of his "scientific methods" are similarly out of luck.

Having a powerful psychic hold over Ryōko through the gems, Kagato uses her as his puppet to execute his orders, sending her on archaeological excavations as he scoured the universe for hints on his own. Once observed a location would be razed, whether it be populated or not, lest someone else replicate his research. In all, 3,326 ruins were destroyed, with great loss of life and innumerable cultural artifacts stolen. It was during this time Kagato earned the name "Ruins Buster" and a place on top the Galaxy Police's Eternally Wanted List. Slaves under a ruthless space pirate, Ryōko and Ryō-Ohki were recognized as major threats themselves.

Eventually, Kagato found the power was linked to Jurai and consequently its royal family bloodline, and Ryōko was sent on an errand to retrieve it. While successful in infiltrating the planet's defenses and causing considerable damage, Ryōko failed, and was pursued away from the planet by the First Prince Yōshō. Their psychic link severed - thanks to Yōshō confiscating the gems into his sword's pommel - Kagato abandons her for dead and commits to the exploration and collection of relics on his own, destroying whatever caught in his wake.

Arrival on Earth

Seven hundred years later, Ryōko is accidentally awakened by Tenchi, who gives her one of the gems to wear on her left wrist (she had asked for all three) in order to summon Ryō-ohki; the psychic link restored albeit weakened, Kagato sets course for Earth to reclaim his property. Once there he is pleased to find Ryōko has unwittingly collected all that he desires - Jurai's heir (Yōshō) and its royal princesses, (Ayeka and Sasami). He kidnaps Ryōko from the family onsen and greets the rescue party with mock geniality, sarcastically placing the trouble on Ryōko before Tenchi steps in with his sword. Seeing it as the key to unlocking the great power he'd sought, Kagato warns the boy not to swing around others' property so lightly, telling Tenchi to give up the sword and not his life. He is fascinated when Ryōko intervenes, wondering what she could ever see in the boy. Kagato reasserts his control over Ryōko (Kagato's control manifests itself in Ryōko's eyes; when she possessed all three gems her eyes glowed red, but with only one gem the whites of her eyes became light green, the same color as Kagato's sword) and has her take Tenchi hostage as he interrogates; Ayeka, Mihoshi, and Sasami stand by as Kagato wonders if Tenchi is aware of the sword's power and whether the boy is suitable to unlock it.

Tenchi is able to break free from Ryōko's grasp and attacks, but does nothing but nick Kagato's cheek (which quickly regenerates, but not before drawing greenish blood). Angry, Kagato engages the boy in swordplay to test him, and is sorely disappointed by the result. Reaching out for the sword, he is kept from collecting his treasure by its true owner, Yōshō; the two fight a fairly even match even with the enslaved Ryōko attacking in tandem. After severing Ryōko's left hand, freeing her of her gem and Kagato's control, Yōshō throws the weapon into his royal tree. Thinking his rival has given up, Kagato tries to retrieve it for himself, and is quite literally shocked when he grasps the sword handle: he is not ordained to be its owner. Realizing Tenchi is the sword's successor, Kagato teleports with Ryōko back to his ship, bidding the group to improve their skills as they'll be waiting for them.

He makes good on his word, attacking Ayeka, Tenchi, and Mihoshi from Sōja as they approach in a hybrid of Ryō-Ohki/Ryū-oh, all the while wondering why such fools would throw away their lives for someone as worthless (defective) as Ryōko. During the onslaught, Tenchi attempts to use the ship's Light-Hawk-Wings as a weapon rather than their intended purpose as defense, and it proves costly as they are overwhelmed; the bottom half of the ship is destroyed, with Tenchi caught along with it.

Fight aboard Sōja and aftermath

Ryoko is able to free herself and mounts a last ditch effort for revenge with the others, not caring if she kills herself so long as Kagato dies with her. She and Ayeka personally engage Kagato, as Mihoshi gets lost along the way and accidentally frees Washu from the reverse side of the ship (though they're unable to get back). Neutralizing the threat, Kagato mentally prods Ayeka before trying to take her blood into himself to learn the secret by force, but finds he is blocked from doing so by the very object of his pursuit - Tsunami, First Ship of Planet Jurai and future incarnation of Sasami. Washu is able to free her daughter from her side of the ship in the meantime, but Ryoko is unable to fight to her full potential due in part to Ayeka's presence.

What everyone did not know at the time was that Tenchi had survived the first attack, although the lower half of his body was destroyed by the blast. The remaining upper half was preserved by a branch of Ryu-Oh and the guardians Azaka and Kamidake until Tsunami arrived. Once aboard her ship, Tsunami was able to fully regenerate Tenchi's body and revived him. She then informed him about the battle with Kagato, for which Tenchi wanted to help. Tsunami agreed, but she also told him she could not accompany him... mostly because she didn't want to endanger Sasami as well.

Talking face to face again to his mentor after so many millennia, Kagato decides to show Washu a few new tricks. He draws in power from both Ryoko and her gems and the large scale ones he'd crafted aboard Sōja, meaning to cause the destruction of Earth as an experiment to reminisce about the old days. Tsunami again steps in to stop the blast as Kagato has anticipated, though he doesn't count on the shot being reflected back at Sōja in bursts, bypassing the ship's shields. Kagato then plots to kill Ryoko on the spot so the full power of her gems will be Sōja's to use.

Tenchi is able to save Ryoko by severing Kagato's arm, though after the initial surprise the young man is beset, with Kagato taking the time to toy with him before invoking the power of the gathered gems into himself. As he draws Tsunami into his ship, Tenchi is despondent over his failure to save everyone, until he is reminded by a past talk with Tsunami to rely not on the sword, but on himself. Thinking him not quite sane, Kagato fires a shot at him directly, and is aghast to find Tenchi not only very much alive when the smoke clears but having produced Light-Hawk-Wings of his own - the only non-ship entity able to do so. Kagato is initially surprised, as the power from Tsunami that allows Light-Hawk-Wings to be created has been cut off from the rest of the universe, but he quickly realises that these Wings come from within Tenchi himself and do not rely on any connection to Tsunami.

As Tenchi is able to ward off all projectile attacks, Kagato engages Tenchi point blank, and their dueling sword strokes hew each other in half. But while Tenchi is able to regenerate, Kagato finds he can not. He maintains his composure in his last moments, intrigued for the last time on how superbly done it all was. With Sōja cut in half as well, Tenchi and the others scramble to escape before it explodes.

The girl Kagato

In the final episode of the third OVA, it was revealed that Kagato was actually a hermaphrodite, having long discarded the female half out of spite for the gender. That gentler female half had resided within Noike Jurai, whereas Dr. Clay had placed a seal on the girl, preventing the female Kagato from completely merge with Noike. This had allowed Z to spy on the family through Noike's eyes while he plotted to kill Tenchi.

During the battle with Z, Tenchi was cut in half when he went to save Ryoko from a similar fate. It was during the brief instant in-between that Tenchi was able to meet the girl Kagato, who was found crying during a battle. Tenchi was able to comfort the girl, telling her everything was alright. Girl Kagato then asked if she could stay with him forever, which he agreed. But before Tenchi could inquire about something she said (during the battle, she pleaded, obviously to her male half that she was a Kagato too), he was drawn back into the battle with Z, with the girl pleading him not to leave her.

After Washu had noted that, before Z's attack that she knew that he was spying on them through Noike, it was found out that the Kagato cells were in her (the cells had Clay's logo on them), Tokimi used her powers to remove the female Kagato from Noike. Soon, Washu was able to remove the seal, and the female Kagato soon fully merged with Noike.

It is never explained, however, exactly how or why the female half of Kagato ended up residing in Noike, or why she was placed there in the first place.

Tenchi Muyo! novels and manga

File:Naja Akara.jpg

Naja Akara, clone-base of Kagato.

Masaki Kajishima's novels shed a little more light on Kagato. Naja Akara was a student at the "Jurai Imperial Academy", and upon meeting Washu the two became close friends. Both were near equals in intellect, with outstanding academics that ranked them as elites of their class or any other. In fact, their diligence and commitment to academy affairs over the years was the driving reason behind divorcing the institution from the Juraians' control and reestablishing it themselves as the "Galaxy Academy".

Despite her intellect and standing, Naja had a bipolar yet jocular disposition, always trying to surprise her friend with an outstanding party or event (much to Washu's chagrin). For almost 15,000 years, the two would research the power of Washu's gems and ancient archaeological remnants, determined to unlock their full potential. Before their plans could come to fruition, Naja went missing while doing research on planet K-1190 under a pirate attack and was presumed dead (though her body was never found), but before doing so, rescued a number of refugees from the planet... including Ayeka and Sasami's future grandmother Seto, who was at the time orphaned by the attack. Grief-stricken over the loss, Washu attempted to clone Naja as some means of bringing her friend back by combining a lifeform known as Masu and Naja's own DNA.

The clone, however, exhibited behavior much different from the real Naja. Once the clone was born, she and Washu experimented on creating a being to control the power of the gems (research that would eventually lead to Ryoko's birth). During this time, the Naja clone spiritually possessed a male Ryoko prototype, and took the name "Kagato". Shortly thereafter, Kagato sealed Washu away, and pursued his own goal of figuring out the Unified Field Theory. After this, Kagato, with the help of an enslaved Ryoko, went on a 5,000-year crime spree that gained him his reputation. He is also the reason that Azusa came to meet Funaho, as he had lost in battle against Kagato and fled to Earth. Kajishima himself has hinted that Kagato may still be alive in some shape or form. This is possibly referring to the female half of Kagato, which is presumably the result of the female Naja clone possessing the male prototype. (See Noike Jurai for more details.)

Kagato has also made appearances in Naoko Hasegawa's novels and Hitoshi Okuda's two manga series, but all these books are considered outside "official" canon. In Okuda's manga, Kagato reappears in the form of a clone who holds all the memories of the original, but has a much more submissive personality and acts merely as a subordinate to a former student of the original.

Tenchi Universe

In the first television series, Kagato has a different appearance and origin than his OVA counterpart, as he is a great swordsman connected to Jurai's Royal Family (for that reason, he is also called Kagato Jurai by fans). He would have been the legendary hero instead of Yosho, but he became obsessed with power, committing countless destructive acts in his pursuit of more power. Yosho defeated him, and Kagato's name and likenesses were erased from Jurai's records and cities.

But years later Kagato would return to pose as Yosho, having greatly increased his power having spent his time in the Darkness of the Universe (presumably Hell). Such power granted him, among other things, Eternal Youth and a Master Key of his own (which resembled a dark bastard sword, as opposed to Tenchi-ken's tsurugi-like appearance). By posing as Yosho and displaying a fraction of his great power, he was recognized as Jurai's returning King and Emperor. Kagato then declared Ayeka and Sasami wanted for treason, all a part of his plan to eliminate the rest of Jurai's royal bloodline and to get revenge against his former friend Yosho. This forces the Tenchi family to leave Earth and journey to Jurai to clear their names.

After Katsuhito reveals that he is Yosho, Kagato confronted him at the old Jurai Palace. Although Yosho - and later, Ryoko - was no match for him, when Kagato saw Tenchi, he noticed his resemblance to Yosho and quickly realized that Tenchi is Yosho's descendant.

Taking Ayeka with him and leaving Yosho and Ryoko severely injured, Kagato told Tenchi that if he made it to the Jurai palace then he would challenge him, using Ayeka as leverage to draw Tenchi into the fight. With the help of his friends, Tenchi is able to ascend to the throne room and fight the false emperor directly. However, Kagato is far too strong and skilled for the fight to go evenly. He decides to instead kill Ayeka and end the fight at his leisure. Seeing what's about to happen, Tenchi is able to tap into his true potential. Similar to the original OVA the two trade sword blows, and it is again Kagato who falls. He doesn't reproach his killer in death, flashing back to how he lost to Yosho and how similar in the end it was.

Cultural references

  • The costume and design of all things relating to the Kagato of the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki series revolve around snakes and a clerical, religious motif.
    • The collar of his costume resembles a clerical one, and on it he wears a three-armed emblem composed of the same sort of arms that a crucifix is made of.
    • The interior of his ship has an organ and in its two rows of gothic arches resembles a Christian cathedral. He even refers to it as a chapel prior to Ayeka and Ryoko's attack.
    • His ship's name, Sōja, means "temple consecrated to several gods," and so refers to the plundered artifacts. The name also translates to "twin serpents", "double-headed serpent", or "serpent's nest", represented by the cobras who serve as sentries over Washu and the crest holding her in place. This also may reference the 'twin dimensions' that exist within it. The name can even mean "Bad Religion".
    • "Kagato" is given in kanji as "I am God-like" or "God Ego Man" but in common Japanese, the name merely means "heel". The word "naja" is the term given to the genus of snakes commonly referred to as cobras, with "naga" being used for many things relating to serpents in literature and folklore.

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