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Rin Asano (Jpn. - 浅野 凛 - "Asano Rin") is one of the two main characters of the manga Blade of the Immortal, the other being Manji. She is sixteen years old. Rin is the lone survivor of the massacre of every student enrolled in her father's sword school, the Mutenichi-ryū, which ended with her father also being murdered and her mother being raped and kidnapped.Rin often wears a red kimono with a bright blue flame design on the sleeves and skirt section. However, in some of the art from the series, the flame design is depicted as being pale yellow instead of blue. Prior to the timeline of the story(in flashbacks) she is shown in a kimono with a flowery pattern, and on one occasion, a child's kimono. There have also been times where she has changed her clothes(and her hair) in order to pass as someone else. The first instance of this occurred in Volume 8, The Gathering; she borrows the kimono of the Meshimori-onna of the Inn that her, Manji, and Shira stay at in Naito Shinjuku while persuing Anotsu. (Volume 7, Heart of Darkness.)
The second instance of this occurred in issue #128 (collected in Volume 19, Badger Hole.) where she and Dōa dress in rags in order to pass as beggars. This continues on and off throughout her and Dōa's infiltration of Edo castle, with both Rin and Dōa changing back and forth from their beggar disguises to their usual clothing and vice versa. Though Rin has changed her clothes a few times and has quite a striking design on her civillian kimono, perhaps the most peculiar thing about her physically is her odd hairstyle. She often wears her hair in two plaits secured with gold rings. In these rings she usually conceals both poison and medicine, but this is probably only a secondary use(the primary use being to secure her hair). There have also been times where she has changed her hair; again, in Volume 8, The Gathering, she wears her hair in a "youthful fashion" while pretending to be the Innkeeper's wife's sister, Sawa. She also sometimes ties her hair back into a bun with a plain rag, but this is at leisure.
Two years prior to the events of Blade of the Immortal, on an unknown date (which is also Rin's birthday), Rin's father was murdered (and her mother kidnapped) along with the students of her father's sword school, the Mutenichi-ryū. The perpetrators of this event were the Ittō-ryū, and their leader, Kagehisa Anotsu.
At the beginning of the series, Rin meets Yaobikuni while at her father's gravestone. Yaobikuni convinces her to find "the strongest, toughest yojimbo of all," the now-immortal Manji. After walking seemingly all day, Rin finds a small hut out of town and sleeps there. The next morning, it is revealed that this hut is the home of Manji.Rin begs him to accompany her on her vendetta. Manji refuses at first; he'd already had five other people come up to him asking him to kill for them, and he can't be sure whom are the real victims - the ones who want revenge or the ones who have been slighted. Rin first offers him money, and then her body. The latter angers him so much that he smacks her because she reminds him of his little sister. Just as Rin gets up to leave, Manji offers to walk her back into town and they both end up finding Kuroi Sabato, the man who killed Rin's father.
Manji becomes Rin's bodyguard after finally killing Kuroi. Together, they wander Edo, picking off Itto-ryu members as they come(though some with more difficulty than others, and Manji does not kill Magatsu Taito or Makie Otono-Tachibana), and looking for Kagehisa Anotsu.
Some time after Manji kills Aaraya Kawakami, Rin and Manji come into contact with the Mugai-ryu, a pack of criminals from death row who share Rin's goal of bringing down the Itto-ryu. They team up for a short while, but when a planned ambush goes horribly wrong, and Rin wrongly ends up a wanted criminal, she departs Edo and leaves for Kaga, where Kagehisa Anotsu is travelling to. During this time Rin grows as a character and slowly becomes much more intelligent and self-sufficient than she once was; away from Manji, she is forced to do a lot of things herself.
While travelling to Kaga to find Anotsu, she slowly burns out from lack of food (and money) and meets Anotsu by chance. She plans to tail him wherever he goes, to seize a chance to kill him, but when he contracts tenatus and subsequent lockjaw, she has second thoughts. She aids him in defeating a group of Shingyoto-ryu members, not wanting him to be killed before she could kill him. Soon afterwards he is unable to even stand, and, out of compassion, Rin offers him busu poison from her hair rings, which he declines.
Some time later, while buying some food from a farmer, she is caught by the last few remaining members of Shingyoto-ryu and ordered to lead them to Anotsu. Overcome with emotion, Rin screams in defense of Anotsu's illness before Manji arrives. Rin is then forced to watch Manji take on a few of them before Magatsu and Makie respectively also arrive to fight the Shingyoto-ryu. When they are all dead - as Anotsu is ill and Makie is present - Rin chooses to simply go home rather than have Manji face either of them.
When Manji is imprisoned for experimentation, Rin befriends Ittou-Ryu members Doua and Isaku. Rin and Doua eventually figure out Manji (and later, Isaku ) is being held underneath Edo castle, and they team up to infiltrate it. They make it deep inside the castle before being caught, and Rin offers to take all the punishment (painful, sword-delivered tataki) to save Doua from being injured. Rin nears unconsciousness and her shoulders become dislocated before being saved by Ozuhan, another Ittou-Ryu member who had been following them.
Eventually Doua finds Isaku's body and Rin is left on her own until she finds Manji. In his cell she violently fights off the doctor who had been doing experiements on him. During Manji's rescue, Habaki Kagimura appears and he and Manji begin a battle. Renzo appears after a great flood begins, holding Manji's washed-away arm, and refuses to give it to Rin when he realizes Manji is still alive.
Rin returns to Master Sori's house, along with new characters Meguro and Tanpopo. She runs into Anotsu Kagehisa again and they converse for awhile. Anotsu tells her he and his fighters are leaving Edo for Satsuma, and that they will board a ship in Hitachi. He requests Rin ask Manji to go with her when she follows them. Manji agrees to accompany her, but warns her that because of his missing arm he may not be able to protect her very well anymore.
Rin suggests they take palanquins to save their energy, but she is kidnapped by Shira who learned of their whereabouts via Meguro and Tanpopo. Shira submerges most of her body in a freezing pond, tying her wrists to dock posts. Rin is watched over by Renzo, who is conflicted between letting her die or saving her life. Rin watches Manji and Shira's fighting from across the water, until Manji realizes where she is and comes for her. While attempting to save her, Rin, having been tied with iron-enforced rope to a large rock, sinks to the bottom of the pond. Manji passes out from the cold, but he and Rin are finally saved by Tanpopo.
Rin eventually recovers to an extent, but has trouble with her legs due to frostbite and uses a walking stick to walk. When she and Manji continue their journey after Anotsu, Manji piggybacks Rin one more time, as he had done before. They arrive at the coast where Anotsu and Makie are fighting. Manji, at Rin's request, joins Makie's side and helps her fight. They eventually part and Manji takes on a very formidable foe, shortly after Rin joins his side. Manji is nearly permanently killed, and Rin saves his life by cutting her wrist over his body to give the illusion he is bleeding out. She explains that Manji died in her place, so she doesn't mind being sacrificed.
This extra time gives Manji's body enough time to heal, and he finishes the battle after tying a tourniquet around Rin's wrist. Hyakurin watches over Rin as Manji continues to fight. During these final battles, Anotsu Kagehisa is seriously wounded, but manages to board one of his ships. When he turns, he sees Rin running toward him and she runs him through, killing him.
Summer arrives once again and Rin talks to Hyakurin about her pilgrimage. The two observe Manji walking away; he is leaving because he is a wanted man. Rin seems calm, but eventually breaks down before Hyakurin and sobs late into the night. Manji is next seen during the Meiji era (90 years later) and runs into Yaobikuni who has a young girl with her. The girl is Rin's granddaughter, and she hands Manji the dagger and hilt that Doua had given Rin. The dagger was to be carved (along with Doua's initial carving for Rin, the hilt is carved with the "manji" symbol surrounded by flames) and given to a lover.
Based on Yaobikuni's explanation, Rin began a new sword school and married, bearing two sons.
At the start of the series, though immediately showing unwavering determination for revenge, Rin is quite naivé and at times, immature. She also has a tendency to cry a lot. Eventually she matures and becomes stronger, more intelligent, and more independent. When concerning Manji's safety, she can be very tough and even violent. Although many of her other personality traits may be subject to change, one thing she has always shown is compassion, even for an enemy.
Relationships to other charactersEdit
Perhaps Rin's best developed relationship with another character is her relationship with Manji, with Anotsu following close behind.
Although Rin and Manji's relationship had quite an edgy beginning(with Manji smacking her for offering herself to him), both of them quickly get used to each other. Still, there are some tense moments between them. However, while it sometimes awkward between them, Rin has had to - perhaps out of desparation - cross the boundary, drawing advice, and even comfort from Manji at times.
As Manji tends to think of her as a little sister, it could be said that Rin may think of him as a surrogate brother. She does think of him as a male figure, though it is never certain which kind; she tells herself that she would be angry if her father, or hypothetical brother hired a prostitute, which shows that she likens him to a family member. However, this is all done to determine that she is not jealous, and so she may instead think of him as a potential lover.
Weapons and fighting skillEdit
List of appearancesEdit
- All Volumes except for Beasts, where she appears only on a page signifying the start of a chapter.
All Issues except for;
- 1; Prologue: Criminal
- 30; Dark Shadows part 2
- 48; Comrades part 1
- 49; Comrades part 2
- 50; Comrades part 3
- 51; Comrades part 4
- 52; Comrades part 5
- 53; Comrades part 6
- 58; Secrets part 1
- 59; Secrets part 2
- 60; Secrets part 3
- 63; Husk
- 66; Beasts part 1
- 67; Beasts part 2
- 68; Beasts part 3
- 69; Beasts part 4
- 70; Beasts part 5
- 71; Autumn Frost part 1
- 72; Autumn Frost part 2
- 73; Autumn Frost part 3
- 74; Autumn Frost part 4
- 75; Autumn Frost part 5
- 76; Autumn Frost part 6
- 77; The Wind and the Heron
- 78; Cherry Blossom
- 86; Mirror of the Soul
- 95; Confession
- 101; Trickster part 3
- 103; Pity
- 109; Shortcut part 3
- 110; Shortcut part 4
- 112; On the Perfection of Anatomy part 1
- 113; On the Perfection of Anatomy part 2
- 114; On the Perfection of Anatomy part 3
- 115; On the Perfection of Anatomy part 4