I am Kotaro Ushiwaka, I come from the land of light. (光の国からやってきた、牛若小太郎だ。)
Kotaro Ushiwaka wears yellow ninja garbs, red fingerless gauntlets, and a white mask over his mouth. He has a red rope tied around his waist, presumably functioning as a belt, and as a holster of sorts for his dagger which is tucked underneath it. He also wears a pair of sandals which resemble the Japanese zōri with long blue tabi socks.
Kotaro Ushiwaka is a mysterious figure, said to have been born from light itself. In his first appearance, he alludes to having come from a "land of light" while pointing to the sky.
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Kotaro Ushiwaka is an extremely skilled hand-to-hand combatant, able to hold his own in battle barehanded and even disarm his opponents. In episode 2, he took down Aobozu and three of Coonjo's minions at once using a series of swift punches called Omni-Fist (八方拳. Kotaro is also incredibly agile, able to perform flips and high jumps, such as to land on the branch of a tree. While in the air, he may perform a downward slicing attack with his naginata or a strong Hurricane Kick Happōken) (ハリケーンキック to an enemy's head. Kotaro demonstrated his physical strength in episodes 77 and 87, when he used a single chop of his hand to split a metal bear trap in half and shatter a stone, respectively. Harikēn Kikku)
Kotaro Ushiwaka uses a long staff with a bladed tip, called a naginata (薙刀), as his weapon of choice and keeps a shorter dagger-like weapon, called a wakizashi (脇差), as a sidearm. In episodes 1 and 2, Kotaro called upon the Dance of the Bottomless Fall (千尋落下の舞, Senjin Rakka no Mai)[note 1] a maneuver in which he alternates slashing vertically and horizontally to take on a large group at once. In episode 12, Kotaro vaulted himself using his naginata to repeatedly kick Yamanosei.
The blade of Kotaro's naginata, called a crescent (三日月, is detachable and can be used to perform a Crescent Throw mikazuki, lit. crescent moon) (三日月投げ, in which it is thrown like a boomerang. While restrained in episode 51, Kotaro detached the crescent using his feet and performed a Sweeping Crescent Mikazuki Nage) (流れ三日月, in which it spun in circles to cut the ropes tied around him, Nyudo and Uragira, before returning to his hand. Nagare Mikazuki)
Kotaro also keeps a number of small throwing dagger-like projectiles tucked beneath his belt and may throw his wakizashi as an additional ranged weapon. If disarmed, he may wield the weapons of his allies or opponents, such as Coonjo's sword or Nyudo's club.
Though scarcely used, Kotaro Ushiwaka's signature finishing move is the Eight-Phase Slash (八相斬り, performed by assuming the Eight-Phase Light stance Hassō Kiri) (光八相の構え. Kotaro projects a number of reflections of himself to confuse the enemy, before attacking with a barrage of slashes from his naginata. This was used to great effect in his first battle against Coonjo's Dark Clan, dispatching four yokai at once. Hikari Hassō no kamae)
Being an individual born of light, Kotaro often harnesses sunlight as a weapon against his opponents. In episode 1, Kotaro's appearance caused blinding flashes of light and lifted the area of a thick haze, while in episode 2, he used his Eight-Phase Light stance to blind Coonjo. Beginning with episode 4, he demonstrated the ability to reflect sunlight off of the blades of his naginata and wakizashi by crossing them over each other. This is referred to as a Light Sword Cross (光十字剣. In episode 67, he performs this using Coonjo's sword in place of his wakizashi, and in episode 82, he reflects sunlight directly off of Coonjo's sword to ward off the Darkness Yokai. Hikari Jūjiken)
In episode 118, Kotaro combated the Bloomed Flower Yokai's magical powers using a Spell Interception (魔力遮断, in which he reflected light off of his naginata to blind her and sever her hold over him. Manryoku Shadan)
In episode 44, Kotaro appears to demonstrate some manner of teleportation; after being double-crossed by the Deceptive Yokai and blinded by a noxious gas, he leapt into the air and disappeared into clothing, only to reappear a short distance away.
Transformation and Reversal Techniques
In episode 139, Kotaro demonstrated two ninja jutsus, or techniques. The first, the Transformation Technique (変わり身の術, involved Kotaro feigning death before swapping himself out for a double and reappearing a short distance away. He then used the Reversal Technique Kawarimi no Jutsu) (逆転の術 to combat Ukareme's magical flute playing by feeding the sound of the flute into a megaphone and blasting it back at her. Gyakuten no Jutsu)
Kotaro Ushiwaka's primary weakness is a lack of access to direct sunlight. Over the course of the series, he was also weakened or incapacitated by:
- Poisonous gas hidden in a scroll in episode 5
- The Hannya's cursed spike being driven through a drawing of him in episode 9
- Shokera's venomous claw in episode 13
- Kanennushi's hypnotic koban coin and garment in episode 18
- Explosions caused by the yokai who emerged from a vase in episode 28
- An unnamed yokai's metal club in episode 30
- Biron's extradimensional projectiles in episode 33
- Main article: Kotaro Ushiwaka/Gallery.
- Kotaro Ushiwaka was the last tokusatsu hero to appear on Nippon TV's Good Morning! Children's Show block. He was the only of Toho's contributions to the segment to not transform into a giant.
- In its second appearance, the Senjin Rakka (千尋落下) portion of its name is reversed, instead becoming Rakka Senjin no Mai (落下千尋の舞).
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