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Shiki (Black Cat)

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Shiki is a major antagonist of the manga Black Cat and its anime adaptation. She is one of the few surviving Tao Masters from the "other continent" of Yamto, who master the mystical art of the Tao. Shiki and her friend and fellow Tao Master Maro want to spread the use of Tao in the entire world. Shiki is the second-in-command of the Apostles of the Star and one of Creed Diskenth's closest advisors but she ultimately learns that she and Creed do not have the same goals in mind.

It must be noted that Shiki is a woman in the original Japanese manga but that she was made into a male character in several Occidental translations as well as in the anime adaptation. This may be due to the fact that her true gender remains unknown until she takes off her mask.

Background

Shiki was born in the "other continent" of Yamto, a faraway and mysterious island inhabited by Taoists, who mastered the mystical art of Tao (mastering the ki -life energy- to use special powers and spells). Shiki was part of the main Taoist clan, which was somehow involved with Chronos: a powerful secret organization which controls one third of the word's economy and politic. The exact relationship between Chronos and the clan of Taoists is unknown but 25 years before the start of the series, a war broke out between the two factions. Apparently, the Tao Masters wanted to overthrow Chronos and rule the world with the power of Tao but this was never fully explained.

Chronos sent out all his assassins in this war, including the thirteen Chrono Numbers, the world's strongest fighters. After an entire month of fights, the Taoists were nearly wiped out and only three Chrono Numbers were left. Shiki was too young to take part in this war, something she resents strongly. Aggravated by the Taoists' defeat, Shiki swore to make the entire world recognize the power of the Tao. She underwent an extremely arduous training in order to master her own power of Tao and all the Taoists' techniques and knowledge to the point of perfection.

Shiki and Maro wandered around the world looking for a way to fulfil their goal, until two years before the start of the series when they met Creed Diskenth, a renegade assassin from Chronos. Shiki revealed Creed's own power of Tao and they helped him create the Apostles of the Star. Their ultimate goal was to destroy Chronos and to take over the world, so that they could reshape it following their ideals. For unknown reasons, Shiki and Maro accepted to follow Creed's orders, with Shiki serving as Creed's right-hand-woman and second-in-command of the Apostles of the Star.

Personality

Shiki is calm, observant, calculating and slightly sarcastic. She is very prideful and considers herself to be the heir of the Tao. She is also very proud of her status as a Tao Master and her mastery of every arcana of Tao, and considers Tao to be the most powerful technique in existence, superior to any other fighting style. As such she considers the Tao-wielders as superior to any other warrior.

Because of this she harbours great contempt for her own clan, believing that they tarnished the pride of their ancestors by losing to the Chrono Numbers, and for her opponents in a general way. However she is far from arrogant or delusional. She is rather good in analyzing the situation she is in, she acknowledges any fighter to his or her rightful worth and she can recognize a danger when she sees one; even if she does consider herself able to overcome it.

Shiki devoted her entire life to the Taoism and for her, spreading its use all over the world is more of a reason to live than a mere goal. She has a strong sense of duty and honour, leading her to resent Creed upon learning that he simply considers the Tao and the Apostles as disposable. Despite this, she remains devoted to the Apostles of the Star and to her cause, but when she is beaten by Train Heartnet, she admits defeat and gives him advices, in gratitude for the respect he displayed.

Powers and Abilities

And you will know... that you and your powers before a true user of Tao... Are just like the dust that litters the ground!
~ Shiki (to Train and River)

Shiki is an extremely powerful Taoist. When she releases her full power, only the primary protagonist Train Heartnet surpasses her, and only Creed at Level 3 and the Chrono Number I Sephiria Arks can rival her might. She wears a turban-like mask soaked with a special potion that considerably restrains her ki. This enabled her to control her power without wasting her ki and thus, her power increased over the years. The more she unveils her face, the more ki she releases and the stronger she becomes. When she removes her mask, Shiki releases her full might and her ki becomes so powerful that even those without a power of Tao can feel its sheer pressure. Even with her mask on she is already powerful enough to surpass any other Tao Wielder, with the exceptions of Creed, Doctor and Maro.

Aside from her powers, Shiki is an adept fighter able to move fast enough to dodge bullets. She masters her ki to the point of being not only able to feel others' ki and to increase her own strength, but to detect a dormant power of Tao in someone as well. She is also the only one who can brew special potions, including the Shinkito (Spirit Drink) which reveals someone's power, and the potion which soak her mask.

Insects

Shiki's own power of Tao is called "Insect". She can materialize her ki to create insects with a life of their own that she telepathically controls. Every kind of insect she creates has different abilities and different purposes. Shiki's known insects are:

  • Shiki's strongest bug

    Shiki's Flying Blade Insect

    Flying insects which channel anything they see into a crystal ball, enabling her to keep an eye wherever her insects are patrolling.
  • "Puppet Bees" which enable Shiki to take control of anyone they sting. Shiki mostly uses these insects to control her victims' body while they remain conscious, but she can also take complete control and turn her victims into mindless slaves, even if it means killing or maiming someone. Those whom she controls to this point cannot feel pain.
  • Blue Moths which can secrete a powder, enabling those who inhale it to no longer feel pain.
  • Swarms of countless flying insects which she either surrounds herself with in order to fly at high speeds, or launches at her enemies.
  • Huge and powerful insects with sharp claws and fangs, which she uses as weapons and which she often rides in battle. These insects usually look like giant, mutated butterflies, mosquitos, wasps or caterpillars. Shiki can also use these insects to bind her enemies and neutralize them, which she often does in the anime.
  • "Flying Blade Insect", the strongest insect that Shiki can create with her mask on. This huge mosquito-like monster can fly at incredible speed and its stinger his sharp enough to slice a well-built body in two without hitting its target full-on. When it charges at full speed it can even slice metal. The insect's body is hard as steel and as such, it can use its wings like a shield. By spinning around at full speed, it can even deflect back projectiles like bullets from a machine gun and possibly grenades.


When she releases her full power, Shiki creates insects impossibly stronger than before. Moreover, she is now able to resurrect the insects she created, even if their body is completely broken. The insects are linked to Shiki's mind and as long as Shiki is conscious, they will regenerate themselves without end, meaning that knocking Shiki out is the only way to fully destroy them. Even worse Shiki can increase her insects' (already high) power, making them much bigger and stronger without even decreasing their speed.

Setsuki

Setsuki

Setsuki

Shiki's most perfect creation, which she can only create without her mask on. Setsuki, the Demon Insect of War, is a highly powerful, humanoid, hopper-like insect which somehow looks like Cell's first form from Dragon Ball. It is fully sentient, it has human-level intelligence, it can talk and it is blindly devoted to Shiki.

Setsuki is incredibly strong, fast and proficient in hand-to-hand combat, having fighting skills rivalling that of a Chrono Number, no less. It can catch bullets with its fingers at point blank range, it can counter stealthy attacks from behind, and it is not above using feints and dirty tricks. Setsuki can also fly with its wings, though it is never seen doing so, and it can use its tail-like stinger like a piercing weapon. Its most powerful attack is called the "Screaming Laser": it open its "mouth" and emits a supersonic scream, before firing a laser-like beam of high-pitched sound waves, that can cut through nearly everything.

Fuda techniques

Serpent Flamboyant

Shiki's most powerful attack

Aside from her power of Tao, Shiki masters the Tao-based art of Fudas: pieces of papers with an incantation written on it. By channelling her ki through the Fuda she can cast a spell. Shiki is only seen using Fudas with her mask off; (aside from the anime, in which she only uses it to summon her strongest insects). She might be able to use Fudas to cast regular spells but she only uses them for battle.

Shiki can throw Fudas which cause a huge explosion whenever they touch something or someone, even when hit by bullets, meaning that they cannot be blocked. She was seen sending them in succession to overwhelm her foes. Shiki can also use her Fudas to fire powerful beams of pure ki (including the fearsome Spirit Cannon: a star-shaped, five Fuda formation which hurls a gigantic beam of ki) or to create a spherical shield of ki around her.

Moreover, Shiki can shape several dozens of Fuda into a "magical" sword which she wields with immense proficiency. She can channel her ki to the sword to unleash highly powerful fire-based attacks, including "Hellfire" a gigantic and devastating fireball and her most fearsome attack "Homura no Orochi" the "Scorching Serpent": a gigantic dragon-like snake of fire which attacks as if it were alive and can reduce everything it strikes to ashes.

Role in the Manga

Shiki (masquée)

Shiki with her mask on

The warriors that Creed has assembled are among the very best, elite even among the elite. And with the addition of our Tao abilities, we should have more than enough power for our revolution.
~ Shiki

Shiki first appears alongside Creed Diskenth, after the primary protagonists Train Heartnet (the former Chrono Number XIII, known worldwide as the Black Cat) and Sven Vollfield have defeated the weapon dealer Torneo Rudman and rescued the young nanomachines-infused girl named Eve. Shiki uses her Puppet Bees to force the policemen in charge of Torneo to shoot him, as he was of no further use for the Apostles of the Star. Shiki then follows Train and his friends to the city of Elcida, where she uses her Puppet Bees once again to make four guys attack him. Train deduces that someone is using Tao and manages to find her location. Shiki then tells him that Creed wants to meet him atop the Lunafort Tower.

Later, Shiki is present during the meeting between Creed and Train, watching over Creed's hostage, the thief-for-hire and friend of Train, Rinslet Walker. After Train manages to defeat Creed, Shiki uses her Blue Moth to erase his pain and calls forth all the Apostles of the Star. During Creed's coma, Shiki keeps monitoring the Apostles' actions as she did before.

When the Apostles of the Star reveal themselves to the entire world by slaughtering anyone in the World Conference, Shiki simply kills some soldiers, confident that Creed would manage to reach the world's leaders on his own. Shiki is also the one who gathers all the Apostles when Durham returns, after having been defeated by Train. She berates Durham and demands to know why he vanished but he refuses to speak until Creed himself asks him. After Creed kills Durham, Shiki asks him if he plans to recruit a new Tao-wielder and what would be his next move.

Shiki spots Rinslet Walker in Stoke Town, prompting Creed to bring her into his castle, because they suspected that Rinslet was a bait used by Chronos. When the Chrono Numbers V, VII and XI storm the castle, Shiki watches the fight with great expectations, as it would be a confrontation between the Tao and the world's strongest warriors, but the Numbers manage to escape the fight. Irked, Shiki prepares to kill them on her own before they reach Creed, but the demented anarchist tells her that he already prepared an experiment with nanomachines to get rid of them.

Shiki is very displeased to learn that not only Creed is not relying only on the Tao, but that he never told her anything about his experiences on the nanomachines. This dismay turns to outright anger when she witnesses the depth of Creed's obsession towards Train Heartnet. She angrily berates Creed and tells him to realize once and for all that Train would never join him, only to be silenced. Shiki is later seen demanding explanations to Doctor, as the Apostles are leaving the castle, which is about to be blown up ... another thing that Creed did not tell her.

Though she feels betrayed, Shiki does not defect from the Apostles of the Star because the terrorist organization remains her best chance to fulfil her quest. Yet, she understands that while Creed values her strength and her advices, he feels no gratitude for what she has done for his cause, and that he only regards his own selfish goals. Shiki is likely granted all the explanation that she lacked, as she is seen alongside Doctor approaching Dr Tearyu Lunatic, despite her dislike for nanomachines.

Later, Shiki learns about the creation of a Sweepers League meant to defeat the Apostles of the Star. She reports it to Creed, who tells her that no sweeper can be a threat for them, save from the one and only Black Cat. Shiki still keeps an eye on the League, and sets out to destroy them when they head for the Apostles' hideout of Clarken Island. She greets them on a Flying Blade Insect, only to find out that Train Heartnet is part of the league. Shiki, who knew that the Black Cat would one day rise against them, resolves to destroy him. She kills two bounty hunters and manages to destroy their boat, forcing the remaining ones to jump at sea, but Train destroys her Insect with a point-blank, Rail Gun shot, preventing her from chasing them.

Shiki returns to Creed's manor and dispatches all the Apostles of the Star, ordering them to destroy the Sweepers League. She sends Maro, Leon and Deek to deal with Train, Eve and Sven, whom she labels as the top priority. However, the protagonists manage to defeat their opponents and Shiki is forced to take the matter in hand. She confronts Train and another powerful bounty hunter called River Zastory and reveals her true face.

Shiki then gives birth to the most powerful insect she can create, the fearsome Setsuki, and orders it to kill them, in order to show them the true power of the Tao. Setsuki is a highly dangerous opponent, and it takes cooperation between Train and River, and two Rail Gun shots to defeat it. Unfortunately, Shiki resurrects her Insect and vastly increases its offensive power, forcing River to fight it one-on-one while Train challenges Shiki herself.

Shiki battles Train with her formidable Fuda techniques and proves to be a match even for the legendary Black Cat, managing to wound him several times. During this fight, she reveals her will to prove the might of the Tao and her contempt for the Tao Masters who were defeated by Chronos 25 years ago, prompting Train to scold her for her obsession.

Black Claw

Train defeats Shiki

Train resolves to utterly defeat Shiki, and "the chains of the Tao that robs her of her freedom" along with her. He then wastes his last Rail Gun shot to prove that he can win without it. Infuriated, Shiki delivers a barrage of sword strikes, and upon Train's request, she unleashes her most powerful attack, the "Homura no Orochi." However, Train manages to defeat Shiki before being hit, by using his trump card the "Black Claw." With Shiki knocked out, Setsuki vanishes right when it was about to finish River off.


Right now I have no intention of covering him. He betrayed me, betrayed the Tao and ran to the power of science.
~ Shiki (about Creed)

With this victory, Train proves to Shiki that there is more in life than binding oneself to one's sole beliefs, and convinces her to live her life following her own wishes instead of her past. Impressed by Train's resolve, Shiki tells him where he can find Creed and warns him that the nanomachines of immortality might be already realized. Train and River departs, leaving their former enemy to reflect upon how Creed and Train are complete opposites. Shiki later witness Creed's defeat and departs along with Maro to travel freely around the world.

Role in the Anime

Shiki (animé)

Shiki as seen in the anime

Shiki is a male character in the anime.

A huge difference with his manga counterpart is that Shiki does not mind the nanomachines and does not really care about spreading the Tao all over the world, being more of a generic power-hungry villain. Another big difference is that Shiki is far less powerful in the anime, as taking his mask off does not change his power. As such, he never summons neither Setsuki nor even a Flying Blade Insect, though he remains one of the most powerful Apostles.

Shiki and Maro meet Creed and grant him his power of Tao while the demented swordsman is still in Chronos. Shiki is first seen when he interrupts the battle between Train Heartnet and the Chrono Number I Sephiria Arks, binding them both with his insects and demanding that Train come with him. However, Shiki is unexplainably distracted by Saya Minatsuki's song and forced to flee.

Later, Shiki is seen as the second-in-command of the Apostles of the Star like in the manga, though he is Creed's only right-hand-man, while Doctor is rather distant and Echidna only serves as Creed's confidant. Moreover, the experiment with the "Lucifer" nanomachines does not exist in the anime, so there is no subject of disagreement between Shiki and Creed. Shiki takes part in the attack of the World Conference and the showdown in the castle but he is never seen fighting during the war at Clarken Island. Shiki then plays a major antagonistic role in the anime exclusive Eden arc.

When Creed is defeated, it is revealed that Shiki is part of the Zero Numbers, another terrorist group created by the renegade Chrono Number XII Mason Ordrosso, alongside Doctor and possibly Maro, who died earlier. During the war between the Tao and Chronos 25 years ago, Mason came to a secret agreement with some Tao Masters and gained a power of Tao. He, Doctor and Shiki worked all those years to create Eden a fusion between Tao and nanomachines that would unify the consciousness of everyone in the world in a so-called paradise under the control of the Zero Numbers.

The Zero Numbers kidnap Eve and link her to Eden to enact their plan. They later get infused with Tao-powered Nanomachines which link them to Eden, resurrecting them whenever they are killed. When Train, Sven, the Sweeper League, the remaining Chrono Numbers and the redeemed Apostles of the Star invade Eden, Shiki and the rest of the Zero Numbers engage a fight against them. Shiki gets killed by the Chrono Number VI, Anubis (who only appears in the anime and is... a talkative wolf!) but he is revived by Eden and confronts the protagonists again when they reach Eden's core. Shiki and the other Zero Numbers ultimately die when Train manages to destroy Eden.

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