"Did you hear it?" "Did you hear my sword's roar?"
Tatewaki Kuno was arguably the most formidable martial artist in Nerima prior to Ranma's arrival on the scene (one could argue that Akane beat him quite often, but he also seemed to let her), however he would not refer to himself as such. For Tatewaki Kuno, or just "Kuno" to his friends and foes, it has always been about kendo and the art of the sword. Kuno's father was a distant and erratic figure, and his family life is pampered but unstable, as his sister often tests her latest poisons or other dirty tricks on her 'dear brother.' Perhaps not surprisingly, Kuno lives in a sort of fantasy land, or samurai western, where he is the romantic and quixotic hero. Overly dramatic, Kuno is often a comedic feature to those stronger than him, and a more frightful one to those who can't simply punt him away. Beneath his veneer of civility, Kuno is (like his sister) rather unscrupulous and opportunistic... though this is rooted more in delusion than actual malice. The so called "Blue Thunder" of Furinkan High's Kendo Club, he is a champion in that style, having competed successfully in tournaments overseas. He is perhaps one of, if not the, finest living swordsman in the world.
He developed an instant and mutual dislike with Ranma when he learned the Saotome heir was living with Akane (who he publicly wanted for himself). While Ranma was rarely in any danger during his fights with Kuno, the older boy never hesitated to team up with others, try and find Ranma's weaknesses (like his fear of cats), or otherwise interpose himself in local affairs. He was also instantly smitten with Ranma's cursed female form, calling her his "pigtailed goddess." After two years of making a nuisance of himself, Kuno graduated and left for the University of Kyoto with a kendo scholarship.
Service Record Edit
Squad: India (Hibiki, Kumon, Tzu, Kuno) out of Seiran, under Cptn Ben-Solomon. Assigned rank acting Squaddie (Oct, 2006); Squaddie 1st class (Dec, 2006). Participated in AB17 Alpine Echo Seven (December, 2006). Fiftieth Kill recorded (January, 2007). Temp assignment to Luna (2007). (see: Service Record, attached) (see: Psionic Profile, attached). See: weapons procurement regarding replacement sword (attached) and gauntlets (on request).
Underwent two month mentor program (Srg. J. Hanley), standard psionic imprinting (see: psi-gym usage). Note: subject has very high psionic strength but has progressed very slowly in development of higher techniques. Nonetheless, not every solider with an integral armor amp needs to use the thing like a virtuoso. PsiDev have focused on optimizing psionic defenses.
T. Kuno was not initially expected to be entered into the experimental 'martial arts squads' program, but has fit into India Squad well over the last few months. Despite some early difficulties adapting, he has become a rather popular and well liked figure on base. Not expected to advance to NCO or CO programs. Solid Squaddie material. Has learned to follow orders and support team. Demonstrates high degree of commitment and lethality as necessary. Morale and loyalty are considered VERY GOOD. Because of high innate psionic strength, and existing attachment to Seiran: India, the Squaddie is recommended for inclusion in CLEANSLATE. We will need as many 85+ psi-str grunts as possible when we finally put our boots on Mars.
Tatewaki is the current master of the Kendo Ryu which is based on the Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryū. While Kuno has mastered kendo, he knows several different sword styles directly applicable to actual kenjutsu.
Kuno's style is the most rigid of all his peers' so it takes a fair amount of practice for him to adjust to the use of new weapons and other gear. It also doesn’t help that he isn't naturally ambidextrous like most of the other Nerima crew. It is because of this that through out the series he has worked diligently to overcome all weaknesses, such as working on sword drawing techniques that incorporate letting go of the weapon and moving it out of the way without losing speed or momentum.
After receiving the Tenrai Hououken Kuno founded the Hououkendo- ryū. Due the fact that the sword is made of alien alloy that doesn’t bend or deform, it allows him to push his techniques to levels that he simply couldn’t accomplish with a regular weapon.
Hidari Katate Hirazuki: A powerful parallel sword thrust technique developed by the assistant leader of the Shinsengumi, Toshizo Hijikata. It's simple but effective execution led it to becoming the basis for other swordsmen's special styles. Hirazuki is a versatile stance which begins with the user holding his katana parallel to the ground and up near the shoulder. From this position, a quick, powerful and extensive thrust can be initiated and then, if necessary, altered to form a sideways slash. This makes the Hirazuki quite versatile in combat.
Blue Thunder Attack: Kuno's primary move. He jabs his sword so fast it becomes almost impossible to distinguish one strike from another launching lances of piercing air pressure that fly through the air. Within a body length or so, they are powerful enough to crack solid stone. Even twelve or thirteen feet away, they still retained enough force to knock a man off his feet, and punch holes in him.
Watermelon Cyclone Slash: A conditioned reaction, usable to greatly boost the speed and power of his strikes, although the training to learn it rendered him amnesiac. When in the presence of watermelons, Kuno can spin rapidly, creating a forceful torrent of wind, and easily slices through all watermelons in sight. His defense in this state is almost impenetrable, and his assault taxing to avoid, even for Ranma himself. Even outside of their presence, Kuno's regular attacks repeatedly got through Ranma's guard/held him/her at sword-point, and kept his female form strictly on the defensive/running for her life.
Hououkendo (Phoenix Sword Techniques)Edit
Tenchi Raimei (Heaven and Earth Thunder): Kuno jumps doing an uppercut motion with his sword and comes down with his sword extended, with chi-manifested blue lightning.
'Kokuzan '(Sky Arc Decapitation): Kuno sweeps his sword up, creating a circular distortion in the air (or solid air" as Kuno liked to think of it) used to block attacks. Though shield of solid air only lasts for a second or two it is strong enough to stop bullets.
'Kokuzan No Ougi' (Secret Sky Arc Decapitation):
'Shin Kokuzan '(True Sky Arc Decapitation): A more powerful version of Kokuzan that creates a solid wall of air strong enough to block ki attacks.
Amekiri Kokuzan (Rain Cutter Sky Arc Decapitation): A barrage of vertical strikes in an instant unleashing a series of tiny air pressure blased that rip opponent to pieces.
'Tenchi Jouzensatsu' (Heaven and Earth Imperial Massacre): Kuno's penultimate sword technique, using vacuum strikes to pin an opponent and then strike them with a powerful lunge using his Tenrai Hououkendo (his alien alloy sword).
'Sokushi Tenrai '(Instant Death Heavenly Thunder): A special technique developed with the help of his fellow India Squad members on the orders of Ryoga Hibiki. The technique aims to overcome Kuno’s weakness in range and Taihenjutsu (body movement). The Sokushi Tenrai is a thrust that takes all the force used in the Blue Thunder Attack and accumulates it into a single lunge, causing Kuno to surge forward with all his strength and fighting spirit without hesitation; taking the rest of his body along for the ride. However it only works in a straight line, and can only be utilized a limited distance before he completely loses control. Despite this the technique is strong enough to split a man in two.
Kuno Family Treasure Sword: One of two Treasure Swords in the Kuno Families possession is over four hundred years old, dating from the Suo-Koto Period of sword design.
Tenrai Hououken (Heavenly Thunder Phoenix Sword): Created by the Senior Fabrication Technician Hans Fischbach to replace the Kuno Family Treasure Sword the Tenrai Hououken is very light, about only a kilogram. The hilt is that of the family sword, at least on the outside, but there was a new hand guard (still in the shape of a rectangle but with two holes on either side), and an attached tassel of red and white cloth reminiscent of a baby phoenix's tail.
The blade is around 26 inches, or 66 centimeters long, making it a little shorter than the average katana. The point is curved to a long tip referred to as an o-kissaki. The curvature is centered on the middle of the blade (making it tori sori), rather than the bottom. There is almost no taper between the hamachi and the yokote (virtually the entire length of the sword), making it rather wide. A single perfect groove ran down the right side but not the left. The sword is made of a combination of exotic alloys with a scandium-aluminum alloy used as the stable core, which also evens out the weight. It's of basically uniform density, so while not as flexible as a regular sword, it won't chip or break – it isn't brittle - and the metal itself is corrosion resistant. Meaning blood even sulfuric acid won't be a problem. In addition Fischbach colored the plasma he used to treat the hamon to make it more decorative.
The blade utilizes special memory metal that allows it to shift between three phases through a hidden trigger. The transformation itself takes only a second and a half to complete and solidify.
Zero Phase: The blades default form is that of a blunt bokken.
- First Phase: The memory metal forms a plasma treated edge that’s just a couple of molecules thick.
- Second Phase: The blade reforms flattening and lengthening from 66 to 99 centimeters. As the metal shifts, a second blood groove on the left side, forms, as the curve of the katana becomes more of a straight edge. The design of the second "phase" is based on Ganryu Kojiro's famous sword Monohoshi Zao.