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Charden Flamberg is an anti-villain in the manga Black Cat and its anime adaptation. He is one of the first members of the Apostles of the Star to be introduced in the story, who wants to destroy Chronos, the secret organization to which Creed Diskenth belonged. Charden is a very polite and courteous man, who fights for a cause he believes right and he ultimately defects from the Apostles of the Star, upon realizing Creed's lack of interest for his own followers. The reason why he holds a grudge against Chronos is never fully explained.
Charden is an extremely polite and courteous twenty-four-year old young man, who speaks formally to friends, colleagues and foes alike. He respects the other Apostles, (especially his friend and partner Kyoko Kirisaki, and also Maro and Leon with whom he is often seen interacting) and regards them as his comrades. He is also dead-serious and very refined, although he dresses and behaves in a somehow out-of -fashion way.
Charden is the most genuinely likable antagonist of the series, in spite of being a prominent member the Apostles of the Star. Yet, he remains a highly dangerous terrorist and a cold-blooded murderer who can prove to be absolutely ruthless, even though he does so because he is convinced that the Apostles' goal is noble. To that extent, he can be considered as an adept of the "End justifies the means" policy. Even if he has no qualm about killing people, he almost always warns them that they would better run away beforehand.
Charden's most defining trait is his hatred for the secret society Chronos, which he believes to be corrupt and malevolent; and his conviction that taking it down would help to make the world a better place. The members of Chronos are among the people Charden would kill without second thought. No one really knows if he has a personal vendetta against the organization or if he acts out of conviction, but the former seems more likely, as he dedicates his entire life to destroy it.
Powers and AbilitiesCharden's power of Tao is called "Blood" and likely comes from his liking for horror fictions. He is able to make his blood flow in and out his body at will to shape and manipulate it as he pleases. He uses his power to create blood figures, usually shaped like skeletons, skulls or Grim Reapers, which he uses to attack his enemies with claws or a scythe, depending on the form it takes.
He can also create blood replicas of himself, through which he is able to see and talk, or streams of blood with which he binds his enemies, often squeezing them to death. Charden can make his blood solid or turn it into acid, which he does when performing his "Bloody Rain" technique: Countless drops of acidic blood which he hurls in every direction and are very hard to dodge, even for a Chrono Number. He can also make his blood figures go underground to form a network of bloody Grim Reapers that surrounds his enemies and attack them from every side.
Charden is a highly powerful warrior but using this power does not come in handy for him, as he needs to cut himself to activate it, and cannot use it as freely as the other Apostles. Moreover, he cannot use his blood when it is not linked to his body. However, Charden can absorb his victims' blood through his own, which means that when he strikes his enemies, they are already as good as dead.
Also, because of all the blood he has assimilated, Charden has an amount of blood way over the usual quantity at his disposal, making his "ammunition" close to limitless, and rendering him virtually impossible to kill through blood loss. Wounding Charden would very likely only serve to increase his access to his weapon. In the manga, shooting the blood figures with a gun is useless, while in the anime, Train Heartnet often destroys them with a single bullet.
Finally, Charden appears to be the most able (or at least the most trained) to feel other peoples' ki among the Apostles of the Star, enabling him to locate anyone in a defined perimeter and to sense whenever someone is using a power of Tao around.
Role in the Manga
Charden first appears alongside Maro and Kyoko during the confrontation between Creed and his former partner, the main protagonist Train Heartnet, an extremely powerful gunfighter known and feared worldwide as the "Black Cat".
Charden later goes with Kyoko to Rubeck City, a town where a deranged assassin named Ganzer Lejick uses the power of Tao that the Apostles revealed to terrorize the population. Charden and Kyoko are tasked to recruit Ganzer as he promised in exchange for revealing his power, but Ganzer's power turned him into a barbaric homicidal maniac. While he recognizes the two Apostles and agrees to listen to them, he refuses to follow them and orders them to get out.
Unimpressed, Charden departs stating to an aggravated Kyoko that a madman like him would only be a hindrance for the Apostles of the Star. Charden and Kyoko are ordered by Shiki to remain in town, and Charden later senses Ganzer's ki increasing, as he is fighting against Train and his team. The two Apostles witness the end of the fight and Ganzer's death, before introducing themselves to Train's team.
In the following night, as they are waiting in a graveyard for the Apostles' airplane, they meet Belze Rochefort, the Number II of the Chrono Numbers (Chronos' elite brigade) who came to dispose of them. Kyoko and Charden engage a fight against Belze, who is too powerful for them one-on-one but is in serious danger when they team up. However, Shiki interrupts the fight before it can start and takes them away.
Charden later reunites with the other Apostles on Clarken Island, before the Apostles' large-scale terrorist attack on the World Conference.When Durham is killed by Creed, Charden is the only Apostle who voices an objection. Upon hearing Creed's explanation, he realizes that the demented swordsman only regards his followers as mere tools, and is deeply disturbed by this. He confesses his doubts to Kyoko, who shares his opinion but is more interested in seeing his face without his sunglasses; (which he removed in his reflexion).
After the Apostles base themselves in an ancient castle near Stoke Town, Charden participates in killing the numerous bounty hunters who came after Creed and his 3 billion yen bounty. Maro remarks that Charden seems upset, which Sharden dismisses despite Maro being right, (since he is still bothered by Durham's case). When the Chrono Numbers V, VII and XI storm into the castle, Maro, Charden and Leon engage a short battle against them, but the Numbers manage to flee.
Upon learning that Creed hid his experiences on nanomachines to most of his followers, Charden has enough and takes profit of the chaos caused by the battle against the Chrono Numbers to defect from the Apostles of the Star, followed by Kyoko. Back in Stoke Town, they meet Train and his friends and confess that they defected. Charden also cryptically states that he has not much time left and that he still wants to destroy Chronos.
Later, Charden is attacked by assassins from Chronos, who stand no chance against him and are quickly killed. Charden spares one of them until he tells him where he can find Chronos' supreme elder, whom he intends to kill. The soon-to-be-dead assassin tells him that only a few superiors know about the supreme elder, including the Chrono Number I Sephiria Arks, whom he resolves to track down. Shortly after, Charden asks Train to ensure that Chronos would no longer target Kyoko, and departs to pursue his fight, never to be seen again in the manga.
At the very end of the final chapter, Charden is seen coughing blood, both implying an illness and following his previous statement about not having much time left. His final fate and the outcome of his personal war against Chronos is never revealed, much to many fan's dismay.
Role in the AnimeIn the anime, Charden seems to be more violent and devoted to the cause of the Apostles of the Star. He and Kyoko still serve as field agents tasked to recruit new members. To do so, they visit several towns following a river and organize a massive break out from a jail, noticing the most promising criminals and offering them Shinkito to reveal their power of Tao, (if they have one) in order to recruit them; among these criminals figure Igor Planter and Ganzer Lejick.
Charden and Kyoko still defect from the Apostles of the Star after the showdown of the ancient castle, but contrary to the manga, Charden does go after Sephiria Arks. Train Heartnet witnesses the fight between Charden and Sephiria and manages to stop it, stating that there is better in life than seeking revenge.Charden reappears alongside Kyoko, shortly before the battle against Eden and the Zero Numbers. No one knows how he learned about the threat but he might have sensed the strong concentration of Tao or more simply have been warned by Kyoko. The two then join the heroes, the sweepers and the remaining Chrono Numbers.
Charden no longer wears his glasses or his silk top hat, and he confesses that he reflected about what would be his purpose in life after abandoning his goal of destroying Chronos, (which ironically has been destroyed by the Zero Numbers) and that his research lead him here. Charden takes part in the invasion of Eden and is later seen departing, finally in peace with himself.