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Souren Araya

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Nasuverse character
Souren Araya
Araya-Movie 5-02 1
Japanese name: 荒耶宗蓮
Franchise: Kara no Kyoukai
Appears in: Kara no Kyoukai
Japanese VA: Jōji Nakata
Character type: Magus
Gender: Male
Height: 183cm[1]
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Black

Souren Araya (荒耶宗蓮, Araya Sōren?) is the main antagonist of Kara no Kyoukai, being the driving force behind the actions of the other antagonists.

ProfileEdit

BackgroundEdit

Souren was a former Buddhist monk hailing from Tamil Buddhism who has lived for around 300 years. He witnessed endless death, and this gave him the twisted purpose of finding a reason for human death. He was excommunicated by his master because he saw the origin of people.

He later entered the Mage's Association Clock Tower in London with Touko Aozaki and Cornelius Alba. At first, Touko and Araya took interest in each other as fellow countrymen and it started off with them exchanging views as two people with similar ideals. Though their paths differed, their relationship was that of rivals aiming toward the same goal.[2] Souren Araya attempted to reach Akasha by tracing the roots of the soul, something that is there but not there, in order to reach a group consciousness.

  • Araya witnessing countless death.
  • Photograph of Araya, Touko and Cornelius when they were in the Clock tower.
  • Araya encountering Lio
  • Araya encountering Kirie
  • Araya encountering Fujino

Personally interested in the Demon Hunter Organization families, he especially set his sights on Shiki Ryougi, with the intention of using his knowledge of her Origin of "Nothingness" as his last resort as a means of reaching the Origin.

During 1995, he encounters Lio Shirazumi with the initial intention of using whatever knowledge he could attain from his Origin, after prompting Lio to awaken his Origin of "Consumption". Lio was the first chess piece Souren Araya prepared, and also the one he saved for last.[3] Having nearly driven Shiki to her death during the 1995-1996 murders, Araya stopped Lio from conducting his murders in order to prevent him from causing further problems for his plan. It is at this point that Araya deemed Lio to be a failure, resorting to using other powered individuals to divert Shiki's attention while keeping Lio at bay.

Araya later approached Fujino Asagami, and Kirie Fujou, pressing them to awaken their innate abilities. He planned Fujino and Kirie to fight against Shiki in hopes that they would be able to surpass Shiki's inner potential, but also in part so that the Counter Force would overlook his own operations by being distracted towards the conflict created between the three.

Ogawa Apartment ComplexEdit

In his attempt to reach the Akasha, he perform an experiment on an apartment complex in Kayamihama, Mifune City. He used Touko's architecture blueprint to create the Ogawa Apartment. The apartment walls has been inscribed with strange patterns which caused people to go into depression leading them to become insane thus driving them to their deaths.

He collaborated with Cornelius who was responsible for the system at the Ogawa apartment and in return; he'll help kill Touko. Araya created the Apartment Complex to create a cyclical loop in which the puppet residents repeat their last day before death as a means to discover an access to the Spiral of Origin.

Tomoe Enjou was able to escape from the repetitive spiral, something that Araya didn't expect. Before Tomoe left, Araya supposedly implanted an unconscious imprinting in this puppet to have an interest in Shiki. He plans to retrace the path of the Spiral of Origin by using Shiki's Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. To do so, Araya plans to transplant his brain into Shiki's body.

AppearanceEdit

Souren appears to be a man of around forty-five years old, but he has lived for hundreds of years. He has a face carved with grief and an unusually robust body for a magus, characteristics that exert immense pressure on his opponents to the point of seeming almost nauseating.[4]

PersonalityEdit

Araya is a tragic figure. Originally a wandering monk, his inability to save the lives of so many gave way to depression. His faith in humanity nearly crushed, he had decided to collect knowledge surrounding the finality of lives as a way of bringing some form of meaning or purpose to the endless cycle of "pointless" deaths around him. Despite his future goals stemming from this exact mentality and reasoning, over many years he would come to forget this, only finally recalling it before his death.

Having become a magus, he had fully internalized what is normally a common goal in magecraft: to locate the Spiral of Origin. Unlike standard magi, he had fully accepted this goal as his true calling, in which he intends to reach the Origin as a means of bringing about the destruction of reality and in doing so, the end of humanity.[5] He believes that by bringing about the destruction of reality he will be able to govern its remnants, believing that it would allow him to view the records of every single individual human's life on Earth. By gaining this power and governance over reality, he wishes to pinpoint what he would consider to be the happiest moment (or at least the peak point) of every single human during their lifetime, with the intention of bringing a sense of contentment and finality in his mind. Araya literally described this goal as seeking "true wisdom within [himself]".

Despite seemingly always calm and collected, Araya was not above masking his own true emotions. He kept an image of indifference as a means of preventing his opponents from recognizing his moments of failure and weakness. He is often mentioned to have an imposing appearance; with Kirie viewing him as a man surrounded by a cold dark void, and with Fujino actually feeling fear towards his presence despite rarely ever doing so towards another person. Touko herself commented that he was "a man of hell". She also describes him as a man who's brash nature lends itself to making mistakes in his methodology yet his strong confidence is what allows him to surpass anyone else.

Whilst seemingly shown as acting out of genuine kindness based on his actions towards Lio, Fujino, and Kirie, these were done for his own self-benefit as Araya was only concerned with using others in order to further reach his goal. For example, he lied to Kirie about being her father's acquaintance and helped pay Kirie’s hospital bills after her family died, in order to prepare everything for victory.[6] Although Araya put great efforts in his plan, he couldn't predict for Shiki falling in love with a normal person, or the loss of the first person he scouted, and Tomoe Enjou's existence, who caused his downfall.[6] Though it seems that he hates humans, Touko refutes that notion, claiming that he is only infatuated with the ideal image of humanity and unable to tolerate the humans of the ugly and shameful world. He is not doing it for the sake of humanity, but rather for his delusions of a non-existent ideal.[7] Filling the void left by the hollowness within him, he is an eccentric collector of death.[8]

DevelopmentEdit

The title of the work, Boundary of Emptiness (空の境界, Kara no Kyoukai?), reflects Araya's character role as he symbolizes the paradoxical spiral, that which divides the inside from the outside and the most important event in the story.[9][4] He embodies the "accident of not knowing what is true and false", and the "accident of not learning the truth that has become common knowledge". Resulting from that, it was determined to be absolute that the paradox would persist until the very end.[4] Lio's role as an antagonist did not fit within the full scope of Kara no Kyoukai, which served as more of Araya's story surrounding his manipulations. As such, Lio's role was supposed to end before Araya had presented himself as the "the evil mastermind". However, in order to provide a resolution to the story of Mikiya Kokutou and Shiki Ryougi, Lio's role as the true serial killer was a vital factor in his becoming the series' final antagonist.[3]

Kinoko Nasu jokingly blames Araya for the American subprime crisis and the delay of DDD Volume 3 sale.[10]

RoleEdit

Kara no KyoukaiEdit

Chapter 4: The Hollow ShrineEdit

Before Araya left the hospital, Araya was using an artificial body passing as a doctor in the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine.[11] The ghost that attacked Shiki when she awoke from her coma was Araya's doing.[10]

Chapter 3: Remaining Sense of PainEdit

In the anime adaption, Shiki received Araya's ID card from Touko.[12]

Chapter 5: Paradox SpiralEdit

In November 1998, Tomoe brings Shiki to his apartment where he supposedly killed his parents. However Shiki revealed the true nature of the apartment to Tomoe and revealed the real corpses of his family. While they were in Tomoe's real apartment, they were attacked by reanimated corpses. Araya meets Shiki the second time when she kills all the reanimated corpses. Shiki had difficulties reading his death lines because of his Śarīra. Araya subdue Shiki by imprisoning her within a barrier isolated from space. He allowed Tomoe to escape because he knew it would be a matter of time for him to expire.

When Cornelius was knocked out by Touko, he intervened and faced Touko. Touko seemingly defeated Araya with her Projection Machine but Touko soon realized the Araya she defeated was a puppet. Touko was later incapacitated by the real Araya when he pulled out her heart from behind. However she did not die as Araya kept her in a frozen state: he decapitated her and stored her head in a jar. He didn't kill her because he knew that the next Touko would respawn when she dies. He destroyed Touko Projection machine by destroying her briefcase. He handed over Touko's head to Cornelius.

When Tomoe entered his workshop through the sewers and found his original brain, Araya reveals his true nature as a puppet. Araya claims that Tomoe's love for Shiki is merely fabricated and that he simply imprinted such a desire in Tomoe's mind. Araya taunts Tomoe to confront him where he'll be waiting at the 10th floor.

Enjou last moments

Araya kills Tomoe

As Tomoe takes the elevator to confront Araya, he grabs Shiki's knife. Tomoe finds Araya standing before him. He confirms his determination to kill Araya for his sake and his parents' death, claiming that they weren't sinful enough to die in such a cruel way. He charges head-on but Araya uses his bounded field to stall him. Tomoe's limbs are slowly torn away as he manages to stab Araya in the chest. He is eventually killed by Araya's power, commanding Tomoe's body to cease existence. Araya found out that Alba died when he met the next Touko.

As Touko provided first aid for Mikaya, Araya asked Touko if she wanted to resume the fight but Touko claimed it was foolish to fight him again inside the building even if she has chance of winning with her Sealed Box. Araya thought Touko might rely on the Counter Force and told Touko about his barrier alienating it from the outside world. Touko laughs at Araya for his mistake to imprison Shiki within a barrier isolated from space rather than locking her physically. She revealed to Araya that Shiki cut down his barrier, which caused him to suffer pain from inside as the Ogawa Apartment is linked to his body. Due to Tomoe leaving behind Shiki's katana, Kanesada Kuji (九字兼定, Kuji Kanesada?), inside the Ogawa Apartment's elevator, Shiki is able to easily break free upon finally gaining consciousness, and confront and outmatch Araya in battle. Araya realizes that Shiki wasn't using her full potential against Fujino Asagami.

Araya, after jumping from the apartment, tries to crush her by collapsing the apartment complex, but Shiki reaches him as he falls and stabs him on his line of death. Before landing on the floor, he activates a Bounded Field to protect himself and thus saves Shiki as well. Touko has a final conversation with Araya, where Touko asks why he was obsessed with the Spiral of Origin. Araya reveals that after witnessing so many humans die, he wanted to preserve the entirety of humanity in a record. Touko states that his downfall was caused by Tomoe's love for his family as well as his breaking out of the cycle created by Araya. Before his death, Touko surprises Araya by revealing that he shares his name with the collective will of humanity, Arayashiki. After she asks if he is going to continue seeking the Spiral of Origin, Araya says that he doesn't have any more spare bodies and dies, although he says that when his soul returns to the material world, he will continue his research even if he is alone after hundreds of years. [3] With Araya's death, Lio was able to realize his own desire.[3]

Chapter 6: Oblivion RecorderEdit

It was revealed by Satsuki Kurogiri that he was contacted by Araya to help awaken Shiki's forgotten memories.

AbilitiesEdit

Araya, as someone who's lived for centuries by using different bodies as containers for his soul, can be considered more a monster or a living dead person than a human.[13] He has excellent long-range attacks and a powerful fighting style befitting his imposing stature. An all-rounder capable of fighting from any range, Araya is a Power Type on par with Nrvnqsr Chaos and Kishima Kouma, but he is at a disadvantage when he is faced against Aoko Aozaki. Himon Yoruma mugen roku (秘紋・夜摩無間禄, ?) is an unknown special move.

MagecraftEdit

Araya can considered an average magus at face value with only thirty Magic Circuits, which is not many compared to a first rate magus like Cornelius Alba. He can still be considered a genius with overwhelming power resulting from the anguish that he ceaselessly accumulated through the ages.[14] He is highly skilled in the creation of Bounded Fields. Souren has the ability to see people's Origin and at the same time, he is capable of awakening one to their Origin, however he must receive consent from the person beforehand. The origin that he has is "Stillness" (静止, Seishi?). Touko believes that he differs from magi who would fade away should they ever touch the Root, and that at least some shade of himself will remain in the world and possibly bring great destruction.[7]

He has a Śarīra, the sacred remains of devout Buddhist masters, embedded within his left arm. It belonged to an enlightened one who achieved "becoming extinguished, alive", so it has a resistance to the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. The ability to kill it by slashing the lines of death would require Shiki to decipher "advanced lines of death" that are levels higher than the normal concept of death, so she is unable to view such vulnerable parts by looking upon it. They are still just bones in the physical sense, so they are susceptible to burning to ashes and the force of a large impact is able to destroy them even with their natural protection.[15][16]

He is effectively immortal in a sense due to his consciousness surviving even if his body should rot and crumble to dust. He differs from a puppet master who prepares bodies they created in advance in case they should die, but he instead cannot be said to die at all and simply switches to a spare body that slowly acclimates to his soul. The magical circuits, the wiring moving his physical form, reaches through the body and sublimates the temporary body into the real thing. With much experience in bringing physical bodies under his control, having gone through many bodies in his life, he can complete the process in half a day. He is a solitary existence, so he cannot flee if his body is destroyed, though Touko notes he will eventually return in time.[17]

Bounded fieldEdit

Despite being average as a magus, his talents relating to Bounded Field construction is exceptional. They are what divides that which is inside from the outside, so he must first complete himself to construct a complete world from his own body. He has no exceptional talents, but was able to become a first-class Bounded Field master by completing himself through the accumulation of ages and sheer determination. Normally something impossible, his accomplishments are like achieving the pinnacle within a field while being completely oblivious of even the name of this subject field.[4]

He personally carries Rokudou Kyoukai (六道境界, ?), a three layered bounded field that completely surrounds his person and hides his presence. All those who enter the perimeter of the outer field are completely frozen in place in accordance with his origin of "Stillness", and as it is mobile, something normally impossible to accomplish, he can freely use it as a weapon. It is constantly crumbling with the passage of time, and it takes a length of time for Souren to recreate it. He calls the names Fugu (不倶, ?), Kongou (金剛, ?), Dakatsu (蛇蝎, ?), Taiten (戴天, ?), Chougyou (頂経, ?), and Ouken (王顕, ?) when he uses it.

He has also constructed Hounouden Rokujyuyonshou (奉納殿六十四層, The 64 Layers of the Hounou Temple?), a bounded field that completely surrounds his workshop, Ogawa Apartment. The original architect was Touko Aozaki, and it is a shrine for the Taikyokuzu, the diagram of the supreme ultimate. The building can be called the embodiment of his internal world, very similar to the concept of a Reality Marble, which gives him complete control over its internal workings.[18] He has the ability to teleport though walls, send projections of his mind to different locations, and it also allow for regeneration after he is sliced by Shiki.

The building is a red, round, and symmetrical ten story building with five rooms on each side. It is used for Souren's experiments to find the meaning of death by watching the lives of the sixty-four families that take residence there. All of the collected families have life issues, including the family of Tomoe Enjou, and he drove them to suicide and murder with designs on the walls and floors. Afterward, he removed their brains and created identical puppet bodies for them to control. He began using them to create a “miniature world that concludes in a day”, where he would have all of the puppets act out their daily lives, with each day concluding by having them kill each other.

Souren, hoping for their deaths to deviate from the previous days, revived the bodies by morning, where they would simply restart with the memories of the final day of their lives. The puppets live on one side, and the other side, hidden by a rotating elevator, is used to store their original corpses. He manages to hide the massive experiment, which would normally cause suspicions from even the smallest irregularity and the trail of information in modern society, by making it out to be a normal apartment. The purpose is to have the building form a taiji, a graphical representation of the Yin-Yang theory, and with Shiki, another Taiji placed inside the Taiji of the building, Araya would be able to reach the Root.

Taiji is a philosophy that originated in ancient China that attempts to capture the essence of everything on a conceptual level. Activity is defined as Yang, represented in the color white, and stillness is defined as Yin, represented in the color black. It symbolizes opposing concepts such as day and night, light and darkness, and male and female. At the same time, it can also be called a condensed version of the ever-changing, dynamic World. There exists a point of Yin within Yang and a point of Yang within Yin, indicating that the distinction between Yin and Yang is not absolute. These "points" are called the Ryougi.[19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Haru to Tsuki to Sora to - page 96
  2. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3
  3. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3
  4. 6.0 6.1
  5. 7.0 7.1
  6. 10.0 10.1

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