|Kurogane from Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE|
|Series:||Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE|
|Other names:|| Youou(Real name),|
|Relatives:|| Lord of Suwa Region (father, deceased)|
Priestess of Suwa Region (mother, deceased)
Princess Tomoyo (master)
|Residence:||Nihon Country (Japan)|
|Powers:||Highly Skilled Swordsman, Inhuman Strength|
|First Appearance(Manga):||Chapter 002 - "The Price of Memory"|
|First Appearance(Anime):||Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE - Episode 1 - Destines Converge|
|Last Appearance(Manga):||Chapter 233 - "The World Returned To"|
|Last Appearance(Anime):||Tsubasa Shunraiki - Episode 2 - The Latter Part|
|Japanese:||Tetsu Inada, Yumiko Kobayashi(younger)|
|English:||Chris Sabat, Luci Christian (younger)|
Kurogane (黒鋼, "Black Steel") is one of the companions of Syaoran in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. A ninja from feudal Japan (Nihon), he sports a black outfit (which is part of the reason why Fai D. Flowright calls him "Mr. Black", additionally the first character of his name means "black") and he carries around a katana named "Ginryū" (銀竜, "Ginryū"? meaning "Silver Dragon"). He is one of the two original main characters in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, not having coming from any previous CLAMP work, the other being Fai D. Flowright.
Kurogane is a ninja warrior directly under the service of Princess Tomoyo (a crossover character from Cardcaptor Sakura's Tomoyo Daidōji) of Shirasagi Castle. While he is undoubtedly the most powerful warrior in Nihon Country which is the the kingdom of Japan, he shows no mercy to any assassins who try to invade the castle, killing them on the spot, even though Tomoyo has asked him numerous times not to kill them. Short-tempered and a dear friend/servant to Tomoyo, the princess eventually decides that he needs to be sent to Dimension Witch Yūko Ichihara. Before she sends him off, Tomoyo curses him such that whenever he kills someone needlessly, he will grow weaker so that he discovers what true strength is.
Kurogane, upon his arrival in the shop of the Dimension Witch, is the least informed as to who she is, but the most certain about what his wish is: he wants to return to his own world. Like his soon-to-be travelling companions, he must pay with what he values most to gain the ability to traverse dimensions. For Kurogane, it was his sword Ginryuu. He reluctantly agrees to give up the sword, but asserts that he will come back for it someday.
Kurogane is serious and extremely perceptive, being able to quickly discern Syaoran's fighting ability (along with Syaoran's blind right eye) as well as Fai's true nature and fighting capabilities. While he seems rather irreverent, he is also very loyal, especially to Tomoyo. He is likely the most experienced fighter in the group and wiser than he appears. He becomes Syaoran's sword fighting teacher, presenting the boy with the same philosophy he believes in: a sword is used to cut only when needed and not used to cut anything if it is not necessary. While serious, Kurogane is very easily irked by others, especially by Mokona Modoki and Fai, who keeps calling him ridiculously cute nicknames such as "Kuro-puu", "Kuro-wan-wan" or "Kuro-rin". However abrasive and ruthless Kurogane may seem, he has a compassionate nature and a desire to protect. An example of this would be how Kurogane continually questions Fai on his actions and character, and lets the wizard know that he should stop hanging onto his past and embrace the future with his new companions. Or, Kurogane's own statement that "If someone wants to take away the ones I want to protect, I'll kill them too."
He had told Syaoran in their first world, the Hanshin Republic, that the quest has nothing at all to do with him. In the next world they visit (Koryo Country) however, Kurogane offers his services to help raid the castle of an evil lord, and stays behind in battle to let Syaoran go on ahead. Eventually, he risks a loss in strength to avenge his comrades' "death" (they were of course still alive) by defeating their killer in battle. It is noted that after he finds out Fai and Syaoran are still alive, he lost his passion for the battle.
He obtained a new sword in Ōto called the Sōhi (Blue Ice) and taught Syaoran the skills of sword fighting and sensing attacks from the left. Thanks to Fai, Kurogane could summon his sword from his left hand in a similar way to Syaoran in case Mokona was not there to give him his sword. However, he sacrified this arm along with Sōhi to let Fai escape from Celes after hearing Tomoyo speak to him through telepathy, saying "If you wish with all your heart to keep him by your side, exchange for him that of equal magic." Kurogane shows much more inner compassion from his actions in the latest chapters, such as the aforementioned rescuing of Fai from Celes.
Kurogane bears a striking resemblance to his father. He has red eyes and black hair that is complicatedly spiked up. As he is a warrior, Kurogane appears to be very muscular and strong. He is slightly tanned, and is very tall.
Kurogane grew up in the province of Suwa in Nihon. His father was the lord of the province and a great warrior whose job was to protect Suwa and its people. His mother was a miko who also protected the land with a magical barrier or protective ward (called a kekkai) that prevented demons from entering.
Kurogane was an energetic and outgoing child who never wanted to disappoint his mother and wanted to be just like his father. Under his supervision, Kurogane was trained in the use of the katana and also learned his father's special technique, Hama Ryū-ō Jin, which later on became his trademark. His ambition was to become stronger, not for the sake of being strong, but so he could use his strength to protect the people of Suwa and his parents.
When Kurogane became a teenager, trouble began. His mother had tuberculosis and would often collapse, coughing up blood, and Kurogane would strain himself to make sure she felt comfortable. His father was also away most of the time to fight against the demons. Finally, one day, Kurogane came home to find his father seriously injured and his katana in shards. Seeing that he needed more power, Kurogane's father decided to take the katana Ginryū (silver dragon), their family heirloom, to fight the demons. With the blessing of Kurogane's mother, his father left to fight, leaving Kurogane to protect his mother at home and told him that he should always use his strength to protect the ones he loves.
Right after he left, Kurogane's mother collapsed again. Even though she was in a critical condition, she insisted that she be taken to the Inoriba (meaning Place of Prayer) to pray for success against the demons. Moments later, Kurogane found his mother in the Inoriba, impaled by a large sword with a peculiar bat-like carving for its hilt that had suddenly appeared out of a void and disappeared before Kurogane could react. Despite his efforts, he could not stem the blood flow and she died. At the moment of her death, the kekkai broke and the demons swarmed through the province. One of the demons approached Kurogane carrying his father's severed arm, the hand still carrying Ginryū in its death-grip. As the demon devoured the arm, the katana fell to the ground. Kurogane's resolve broke and, in fierce rage, he took up his father's sword and charged towards the demons.
Hours later, the Empress of Japan, Amaterasu (Kendappa-ō of RG Veda), arrived with her army. She deduced that both the lord and the lady of Suwa had died, and demons swarmed the province as predicted in the dreams of her younger sister, the miko-princess Tsukuyomi. They found that all the demons were killed with Kurogane still in the ruins of his home. As Amaterasu approached Kurogane, who was too shocked to fully comprehend all that had happened and was still carrying his mother's body, he attempted to attack her. The empress ordered her ninjas to attack, but soon realized that Kurogane had lost his sanity and would do more harm than good when he killed all her warriors with ease. Amaterasu decided to personally subdue him, but was interrupted by Tsukuyomi.
Rather than let her sister subdue Kurogane, Tsukuyomi suggested that she do so. Using her magic, she stopped Kurogane from attacking her, knelt beside him and whispered, "Let's let your mother sleep, shall we?" as she closed the dead miko's eyes. At those simple words, she managed to snap him out of his madness. Realization swept over him and he broke down in tears, and finally, exhausted, he fell asleep.
When he woke up, he found himself cleaned and his hand in bandages. Beside him, little Tsukuyomi, carrying Ginryū in her lap, explained that he was in Shirasagi Castle. She introduced herself as Princess Tomoyo; Tsukuyomi was a hereditary title given to the miko princess of Shirasagi Castle. Kurogane asked that Ginryū be buried with his mother's body since his father had no remains. Tomoyo agreed to grant his request and also informed him that she would commission another katana exactly like Ginryū for him so that he may continue to fulfill his father's wishes.
Later, Kurogane was accepted as a ninja of Shirasagi Castle, yet he still continued to search for the carrier of the sword that killed his mother. He never found another sword like it and only recently discovered (from Syaoran accidentally viewing Kurogane's memories in the Book of Memories in Rekoruto) that the one responsible for his mother's death was the same person (Fei Wang Reed) who attacked Sakura when her feathers appeared in the Kingdom of Clow.
Fei Wang originally intended to turn Kurogane into his "pawn", similar to what he did with Fai. However, Yūko foresaw this happening and used her powers so that Kurogane would fall under Tomoyo's command, avoiding Fei Wang's grasp.
JourneyAt the beginning of the story, Kurogane tells Syaoran that he would not help in finding Sakura's feathers, since it was not related to him. Anyway, he ended up aiding Syaoran and the others, teaching Syaoran how to fight and use a sword as well.
Kurogane showed a strong reaction when he saw another Tomoyo in Piffle World. After hearing how she met Princess Tomoyo in a dream, he hesitantly asked her how Princess Tomoyo is. Just before he left, he affirmed that he will definitely go home.
In the Tokyo arc, Kurogane was involved in a short fight with Kamui. Later, he wished to Yūko to save Fai's life, after Fai's eye was ripped out and eaten by the clone Syaoran. Through an arrangement by Yūko, Kurogane and Kamui mixed their blood and forced Fai to drink it. Fai thus became a vampire and survived. Since it was not Fay's wish to live but Kurogane's, Fai can only take blood from Kurogane. Fai refrained from calling Kurogane nicknames from then on, in an effort to distance himself from Kurogane. Fai felt that by calling him the nicknames he had "crossed the line" that he himself had drawn to avoid getting too close to anyone, though it is inevitable that their relationship will change.
Kurogane noticed that Fai and Sakura were up to something in the Infinity world, but he did not say anything. After Sakura left, he finally spoke up, refusing to let Fai give up his eyesight to go to Celes. Kurogane told Yūko they would all pay a fourth of the price to go save Sakura's body from Celes.
In the latter parts of Volume 20, King Ashura used his magic to show Syaoran, Kurogane, and Mokona visions of Fai's tragic past. This caused an angry Kurogane to unsheath his sword and attack Ashura and Fay. He and Fay fought fierce battle that devastated the room around them. In the mayhem, Kurogane destroyed the body of Fai's twin and managed to overpower Fai in that moment of weakness. Kurogane then turned on Ashura, demanding to know why he'd shown them Fay's memories. The king responded by saying that he only wanted Fai to "grant his wish" and kill him. Ashura then launched vicious spells against Fai, Kurogane, Syaoran, Mokona, and a defenseless Sakura's body in order to force Fai's hand to kill him. In the chaos that followed, one of the massive ice stalagmites that he conjured pierced Kurogane through his lower right side.
Kurogane is then apparently spared the damage due to the protective spell that placed upon him before leaving Japan by Tomoyo. He then stabs Ashura, and after the king's death, Fai's second curse activates.
Fai's second curse caused him to suck up the world of Celes destroying it from the inside. Fai tries to transport Kurogane and the others out of the small sphere that Celes has become, but he doesn't have enough magic to do so. He only succeeds in transporting Syaoran, Sakura, and Mokona. Then Mokona's earring (a magical tool made by Yūko) was able to drill a hole into the sphere Fay and Kurogane were being held in, but only one person could pass through. When Fai told Kurogane to leave him, Kurogane cut off his left arm and pulled Fai through, leaving it and Sōhi as a sacrifice to rescue Fai.
In Chapter 167, Kurogane wakes up and finds himself back in his country, with Princess Tomoyo by his bed. Tomoyo welcomes Kurogane home and asks him if he has found out the true meaning of strength, to which he replies that he doesn't know. However, he explains to Tomoyo that he doesn't regret giving up his arm to take Fai with him, and tells her that he knows that some things can't be protected only by (physical) strength. This surprises Tomoyo, but she acknowledges that Kurogane has definitely realized the true meaning of strength. She then lets Fai into Kurogane's room. Kurogane seems genuinely pleased to see Fai, while Fai doesn't express much emotion, until suddenly - he punches Kurogane. Kurogane doesn't quite react to this, far too startled. Fai then smiles at him, saying "This is payback, Kuro-sama." The smile seems like the real thing, and Fai has gone back to using suffixes on Kurogane's name. Kurogane grins back, promising to beat Fai up for that. Their relationship seems to go back to normal after this, melting the ice that was lodged between them and deepening their bond.
In Chapter 169, Kurogane is approached by Fūma who has come to Nihon Country with an artificial arm from Piffle World, however Kurogane refuses the arm by saying that he "will not pay anything to that witch for it." Fai replies by saying that he had agreed to pay the price while he slept, and gave up the last of his magic. In the second to last page of 169, Kurogane is seen with the arm attached, but claims that it "feels weird." He then allowed Syaoran to battle Seishirō and enter the dream world alone.
Kurogane later talks to Tomoyo about how Fei Wang planned to use him but Tomoyo reassures him that he wouldn't be easy to control thinking back on how he would never listen to anybody. He then requests the real Ginryu from Tomoyo, stating he'll have to commit the sin of digging up his mother's grave. But Tomoyo reveals that before his mother died, she requested that Tomoyo hang onto it until her son needed it. At this point, Kurogane's true name (that only Tomoyo knows) Youou is revealed. Kurogane, with the real Ginryu in hand, leaves for Clow Country with Syaoran and Fai.
In order to find out the location of the Sakuras, they must pay a price. The price has been paid for by Watanuki as he wanted to repay Syaoran for saving him.
When they arrive at the ruins, Syaoran imparts his story to Fai and Kurogane, for the battle ahead, and because he had witnessed both their pasts. He explains that he rewound time, creating distortions that may have changed Kurogane's past - Kurogane's parents might not have died in the same manner has Syaoran not chosen to save Sakura.
It is revealed that the 'stagnant' time is actually the day that the seal was placed on Sakura. They encounter Fei Wang and the Clone Syaoran. Syaoran fights with the Clone while Fai and Kurogane deal with Fei Wang's minions. Syaoran is again defeated by the Clone, knocking him to the ground and seemingly stabbing Syaoran through the chest. The Clone drags Syaoran's seemingly lifeless body toward Fei Wang. This is a ruse, the Clone having stabbed his own foot, as Syaoran takes Hien from the Clone and stabs Fei Wang with it. As Fei Wang attempts to retaliate, the Clone stands in the way, protecting Syaoran from the blade. The Clone tells Syaoran to take the feathers to Sakura. He manages to apologize to the entire group before he dies.
Syaoran, Fai and Kurogane then strike at Fei Wang, only to find it is an illusion created by Kyle, who dies of the wound shortly after. Fei Wang then appears in front of the group, holding clone Sakura's body. Time begins to move again, Fai and Kurogane tell Syaoran to take real Sakura's hand, but she is seemingly consumed. The time-space continues to collapse revealing that Tokyo is in fact Clow's past, the "power of the ruins" is actually the feather that she left in Tokyo.
Kurogane and Fai attack Fei Wang to distract him in order for Syaoran to take Sakura's hand. He grabs her, finally, but then she is pulled back to Fei Wang's seal. This choice also caused that Yuko would be called back to her death.
Before her death, Yuko releases Syaoran's parents who use their magic to "cleanse" the memories in the feathers, thus restoring the world and everything Fei Wang destroyed.
After they, along with the originals, get sucked into the tube and later break out, Kurogane takes advantage of Fei Wang's confusion and strikes him, delivering the final blow.
At last, after escaping from the void, "Syaoran" returns to Clow, where he meets "Sakura", Kurogane, Fai and Mokona. Both Syaoran and Sakura absorb a feather that the clones left behind.
"Sakura", "Syaoran", Kurogane, Fai and Mokona are back at Clow Country.
Kurogane and Fai hold a conversation, in the which they argue about the last events, how "Syaoran" is now left alone in the world, left behind, without his parents and wants to change that reality (which is why he chose the price he did). Additionally, they explain that the feathers that the originals absorbed are actually the clones' memories- or souls.
Later on, Syaoran and Sakura meet at the clones' favorite place. Kurogane and Fai argue what their next move is, and find Mokona in the way. At this point, Kurogane, Fai and Mokona arrive at the scene, the three of them planning to join "Syaoran" in his new journey, though Mokona asks Kurogane about Nihon, but he replies that he "already told Tomoyo he'd take a while". And still desires to give the clones a proper beating.
Mokona shows them Black Mokona's ring, which had stored Watanuki's and Clone Sakura's memories inside. This way, they'll be able to return to Clow and visit Yuko's old shop often.
Afterwards, Sakura decides to stay in Clow, wishing and knowing that they'll meet once more.
Chapter 192 of xxxHolic reveals that the black Mokona had a dream in which Syaoran's group returned to Piffle. Mokona also reveals that a new arm was made for Kurogane at Piffle.