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Shuriken.png This article is about a/an Rider in Hero Retold: Kamen Rider Shinobi. Shuriken.png

Kunimitsu Ashikage was the incumbent Head of the Ashikage Royal Family and the bearer of the Azure Hyoutan, who transformed into Kamen Rider Kenzai. He was later revealed to be the true biological brother of Iroha Kagura. His actions made him a major antagonist in Hero Retold: Kamen Rider Shinobi.

Character History

Past

The son of the former Ashikage Clan's Head and his first wife, Kunimitsu succeeded his father after his passing, just as the Clan had decided to reenact the Kumite of Shinobi and end the Crimson Year once and for all. Seeing this as a chance to slay the Seven-Colored Serpent and rule over the world, he pretty much led the Royal Family under an iron fist, dismissing his father's original Shinobi Cloning Project and instead conspired with Gamano and the Niji no Hebi clan to find notable sacrifices that can serve as temporary bearers that he could defeat. He also initially ordered the retrieval of his biological sister when she disappeared, but upon learning that she could be a potential threat to his plans, he went on to take an infant Haruka Ashikage and made her the Heir instead, turning her to Iroha's Kagemusha and appease a few retainers questioning his rule. He later manipulated some of the events in order to fulfill his ultimate goal of assimilating all of the powers of the Shinobi Hyoutans.

The Sixth Month

Kunimitsu first appears in the 31st episode as Kenzai in a pretty shocking fashion, immediately executing the Kaito-Nin by decapitating her in front of Shinobi and Saizo. He also easily defeats the two Riders with his swordsmanship alone before disappearing. He later appears in front of Isamichi during his fight with the Gray Yami Nin-Ju, overpowering the beast and beating it down beyond the belt's blinking, before proceeding to murder the monster and its host in cold blood. When Hattari asked why he killed Matsubara, he just calls the man a lowlife and that he performed a fitting execution on him, prompting the gold Rider to attack him, though he beats him with one shot. At the end of the episode, he cancels his transformation and enters his home, where he entertains the company of Secretary Noemi Sakurada, who had previously requested his presence over an important matter.

After demonstrating his "Perfect Tuning" in front of the politician and her aides, it is revealed that he's been manipulating the events from the shadows, ordering Noemi Sakurada on how to proceed with the Ninja Act and Code Red Situation moving forward. Then out of a whim, he decides to visit Isamichi in his office just to antagonize him. Riling up the Vice-CEO, he immediately kicks Isamichi and challenges him to a fight, not minding the consequences as he nearly attacks one of the Konjo Group employees with his sword. After transforming and defeating Kamen Rider Hattari, he leaves upon recognizing a particular presence, only to appear before Yabe and the Blue Yami Nin-Ju, attacking the latter. Later on, when Shino transforms into a Yami Nin-Ju a second-time, he appears before the beast and tries to kill it once again, even sentencing Yabe to death as he deems him a lowlife. However, when he tried to strike down the innocent officer, the Nin-Ju shields him and takes the attack, sacrificing its life as Kunimitsu amusingly watches.

The Two Heirs

When the Yaminin assumed the Mysterious Figure's persona to kidnap Iroha, Kunimitsu angrily confronted him for his insubordination, especially when it came to the Yaminin manufacturing his own Mirai Driver. After nearly coming to blows, he instead manipulated the rest of the Riders to confront the Niji no Hebi leader, while altering the captive Iroha's memories. After Shinobi defeated the Yaminin, he just walked past the Riders who were surprised by Iroha's betrayal, before executing the dying Yaminin and taking back his sister as the rightful Heir to the Royal Family.

With the Ninja Act being reinstated, he later ordered his retainers to capture Haruka and bring her back to the Royal Family's castle. There, Iroha and Gamano branded the young girl for death, due to practicing Tuning and repairing Hyoutans despite not being the actual Heir of the family. Kunimitsu stops them but then forces Haruka into marriage, which triggers an arriving Kyoya's rage, transforming to confront Kunimitsu, though Kenzai defeats him with ease. Using this opportunity, he forces Kyoya to turn into the Camo Cho Nin-Ju, before using the Sanzu Starter to seal its powers. To his surprise, the Nin-Ju just absorbs the Shuriken and powers up, overwhelming Kenzai for the first time, which prompted Shinobi and Isamichi to appear and confront the beast, before saving Haruka.

The Kage-Nin Mode, Killing Shinobi

With the Cho Nin-Ju rampaging in a harbor, Kenzai teams up with Shinobi and Hattari to defeat the beast, while a horrified Haruka looks on. He nearly hits the Nin-Ju with his technique, but Shinobi double-crosses him at the last minute, allowing Hattari to stab multiple Starters to the Camo Cho Nin-Ju and save Kyoya. Enraged due to the deception, he battles the two Riders who upgrade to Jonin-Saizo and finally defeat him, forcing him to retreat.

Incensed over the Riders getting in his way, he orders Noemi Sakurada to manipulate the law into isolating Isamichi from his friends, branding him as a criminal and taking him secretly to the Foundation X base. There, Kenzai confronted Hattari and unveiled the Shinobi Clones to him, using them as a distraction to defeat the Rider and steal his Hyoutan. He later uses the Gold Hyoutan's powers to turn the clones into Gold Cho Nin-Ju, who proceed to attack the arriving Riders. Afterward, he destroys one of the beast and seals it into the Gold Shuriken Starter-S to confront Shinobi, finally gaining the Kage-Nin Mode to defeat the Rider and steal his Hyoutan. When a reformed Iroha confronts him, Kenzai attacks his sister, only for the heavily injured Isamichi to take the blow, while Rentaro tries to attack him one last time. Using the Ashigaken Blade, he cuts down Rentaro, mortally wounding him.

Descend to Madness and Death

Relishing in the death of his adversary, Kunimitsu very nearly collects all of the Jonin Starters when he is confronted by Kyoya and Johnny who proceed to battle him; the former gaining access to the Zen Saizo form. The two manage to steal the Jonin Starters from Kunimitsu, angering him to the point of insanity. He publicly stated in a hologram that he would release the Seven-Colored Serpent if the Riders did not return to him the Starters, holding the world's peace hostage by the moment. This triggers an all-out battle between Rentaro's allies and Kunimitsu, with Hattari Shine-Nin Mode matching Kenzai Kage-Nin Mode in battle.

After basically running the Shine-Nin Mode out, a still transformed Kenzai nearly kills Isamichi until a revived Rentaro enters the battle and surprises him by transforming to Kamen Rider Sanzu Shinobi, using the silver form to overpower him and his grunts. Terrified by this berserker form, Kenzai begs the Riders to stop Sanzu Shinobi, before trying to fight it off, only to be overwhelmed and badly defeated. With the Azure Hyoutan's power stolen from him by Sanzu Shinobi, the Silver Rider performs the Sanzu Secret Art: Clear Moon Still Water technique on the now powerless Kunimitsu, decapitating him.

Personality

As the Head of the Royal Family, Kunimitsu was given the highest respect by high-ranking people like Noemi Sakurada, as well as the other retainers in the Clan, bowing before him and acting respectfully in his presence. This, however, gave him much of a superiority complex over the people he thought was beneath him, often referred to them as "lowlifes". He never once felt insubordination and often got handed what he wanted, especially when it comes to his retainers who followed and accomplished his orders to the letter. He also had no problems punishing those who could not follow through his commands, even branding them for death. He was very arrogant and often thought that his logic was always correct and would dismiss any opposition he faced, usually through violence.

As a Rider, Kunimitsu was shown to be ruthless and demeaning, killing people without any remorse or regard for their well-being. He doesn't even think about the consequences of his actions, justifying his killing as befitting of his victims. He can also be emotionally manipulative, often using other people's angst and hatred against them, as seen when he goaded Kyoya through his sister, before taking advantage of his anger to knock him back. He later does the same with Isamichi, defeating him after he whispers a hint about Iroha's true identity to him.

Despite his motives being beneficial to save the world, his corrupt mindset and arrogance still made the other Riders oppose his plans as they saw him as very dangerous and would ultimately use the combined Hyoutan's power to rule the world in tyranny.

Skills and Abilities

  • Complete Ninjutsu Mastery - Kunimitsu is a master of ninjutsu, often employing the most powerful and advanced techniques in his battles. He is also shown to overpower other techniques thrown at him, often overwhelming opponents with his ninjutsu.
  • Swordsmanship - Kunimitsu is very proficient with the sword, as he is often seen carrying the Ashigaken Blade with him even when not transformed. In his first showing, he was able to defeat two Riders using his sword alone. His uncanny skill is actually peaked by his signature technique, the Sanzu Secret Art: Clear Moon Still Water.
  • Perfect Tuning - Unlike the other Shinobi Riders, Kunimitsu does his own tuning of his Hyoutan, due to his complete mastery of the Sanzu Secret Arts Technique. Thus, he can not only purify the Sanzu Waters but also synch them in his own abilities, amplifying them to such a degree.

Forms

Kamen Rider Kenzai

Kamen Rider Kenzai

"(Japanese modern music) Rinzai! Kansai! Manzai! Shinobi, Kenzai! BANZAI!"
―Transformation announcement

Rider Statistics

  • Rider Height: 186.7 cm
  • Rider Weight: 76.4 kg

Ability Parameters

  • Punching Power: 44.6 t
  • Kicking Power: 56.3 t
  • Maximum Jump Height: 75.0 m
  • Maximum Running Speed: 100 m per 1.8 sec

Kunimitsu's default Rider Form, accessed through the Azure Hyoutan. He pours out the Sanzu Waters from the container, forming the Mirai Driver around his waist, he then pulls out the Sai Starter and places it on the driver, before pushing its Menkyo Kaiden Plate right side, initiating transformation. The driver summons the Kurogane Kajiki-Ryu to equip his rider suit.

Kamen Rider Kenzai's stats surpass all of the other Riders, including Shinobi in his Jonin Forms. He has stronger punching and kicking strength than both Bakugo and Kurenai respectively and is also much faster than the latter, while also having higher jumping abilities than Shinobi. Physical prowess aside, Kenzai is also very versatile with Ninjutsu, with his techniques being much more advanced than the ones utilized by the other Shinobi Riders. He also has complete mastery in controlling the Sanzu Waters, even employing the Sanzu Secret Arts technique as a weapon in battle. Unlike the other Riders based on ninja tools, he rarely makes use of his Sai-based weapons, instead opting for his signature Ashigaken Blade.

Kenzai's attacks include:

  • Biri-bari Ninpo: He can summon powerful electrical currents that can shock and incapacitate opponents. His ability extends to even calling lighting from the sky.
  • Strong Ninpo: He can create and manipulate the flames to attack his opponents. He can also use them to augment his attacks, engulfing the Ashigaken with flames for added damage. Unlike Shinobi's version, Kenzai's flames are blue.
  • Megaton Blade Ninpo: He can summon a powerful tornado with winds so fast that it can cut opponents while they are being lifted away. Unlike Shinobi's version, Kenzai's technique is blue.
  • Flicker Ninpo: He can move at very fast speeds, allowing him to dodge attacks as if it is phasing through him.
  • Naiagara-Ken Ninpo: He can shoot concentrated water blasts that are powerful enough to bore through concrete. He can also summon a much larger wave of water that swallows his opponents.
  • Summoning Ninpo: Summons Kurogane Kajiki-Ryu to aid him in battle.
  • Seibai Ninpo: A combination technique using Water-based Ninjutsu. Kenzai freezes the ground, immobilizing his enemies, before performing a spin kick, with his feet covered with rapidly swirling Sanzu Waters, drilling the opponent on impact.
  • Sanzu Secret Art: Clear Moon Still Water: Kenzai's deadly signature move. An Iaijutsu-style technique where he dashes towards his opponent at a high speed while quickly drawing his katana to perform a powerful slash, before sheathing it back. This technique is powerful enough to cut through a Nin-Ju in half, killing it along with the host. Unlike his other techniques, the Mirai Driver does not announce its attack, rather Kenzai namedrops it whenever he's performing the technique.

Kamen Rider Kenzai Kage-Nin Mode

Kamen Rider Kenzai Kage-Nin Mode

"Shadow Ninjutsu!"
―Transformation announcement

Rider Statistics

  • Rider Height: 186.7 cm
  • Rider Weight: 76.4 kg

Ability Parameters

  • Punching Power: 66.9 t
  • Kicking Power: 84.5 t
  • Maximum Jump Height: 75.0 m
  • Maximum Running Speed: 100 m per 0.9 sec

By inserting the Gold Shuriken Starter-S in the Mirai Driver's D '9 Slot and spinning it, Kenzai can access the Kage-Nin Mode, the dark equivalent of Hattari's Shine-Nin Mode. In this mode, Kenzai is engulfed with aura coming from Black Sanzu Waters evaporating into steam. This powered-up state increases Kenzai's strength and speed by the minute, allowing him to surpass and overpower any opponent with ease. Unlike the Shine-Nin Mode, this state draws power directly from the Shuriken Starter-S rather than the Azure Hyoutan, filling it with hatred and malice over his defeat at the hands of the Rider. As such, the Starter only dissolves once all of its power is used. However, this doesn't affect Kenzai one bit as it still maintains its transformation, allowing him to still fight even when the Mode abruptly cancels.

This mode's finisher is the Shadow Ninpo, a standing Roundhouse Kick powered by the Black Sanzu Waters.


Equipment

  • Azure Hyoutan - One of the seven small gourd-shaped bottles that house Sanzu Waters for their transformation.
    • Mirai Driver - Kenzai's main transformation device.
    • Sai Starter - Saizo's transformation key

Weapons

  • Ashigaken - Kunimitsu's signature katana blade which has been passed down to the Heads of the Clan for many generations. He also carries this sword outside of transformation.
  • Shuriken Variations
  • Chainmail Cloth - An absurdly durable cloth that he conjures to protect himself from attacks.

Mecha

  • Kurogane Kajiki-Ryu - A giant robotic swordfish that Kenzai can summon for battle. This also houses his Rider Suit for transformation.

Fan Casting

Kunimitsu Ashikage is portrayed by Shunsuke Nishikawa, who previously portrayed Takaharu Igasaki/Akaninger in Shuriken Sentai Ninninger. As Kamen Rider Kenzai, his suit actor is Yugo Fujii who was also the suit actor for Akaninger from Episodes 1 - 8.

Appearances


Notes from Writer

  • Kunimitsu Ashikage is the third Rider in the series being portrayed by a former Super Sentai actor, the other two being Rentaro Kagura and Rekka Ayano.
    • This also reunites Shunsuke Nishikawa with Hideya Tawada from their Shuriken Sentai Ninninger days, though this time, the former portrays a villain in the season, opposite the latter.
  • The name Kenzai is actually lifted from the Japanese term 'kensai' (剣聖) which is a title given to warriors who are exceptionally skilled in swordsmanship, described to have "a higher degree of perfection, possibly encompassing a moral dimension." This actually relates to Kunimitsu's unnatural ability with the sword, as well as his own moral superiority complex, which is twisting the philosophy into his own image.
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