Kouga Saejima is a Makai Knight and successor to title of Garo the Golden Knight and is the protagonist during the events of Chapter of the Black Wolf, Demon Beast of the Midnight Sun, Makai Flash Knight, Red Requiem, and Demon Dragon of the Blue Cries; by the events of The Makai Flower, Kouga passed on his title to his son, Raiga Saejima, by the time of The Makai Flower.
Personality & CharacterEdit
Kouga is a very unsociable person who always keeps his feelings to himself and puts up a deadpan face all the time, yet possesses a noble and kind heart. Kouga was raised almost without friends during his childhood and surrounded almost exclusively by people with Makai backgrounds, as such brought up to think little else other than slaying Horrors. His father was the one who started his training at an early age and he still trains on a daily basis to sharpen his skills. Since childhood, originally having a naive view of the world, Kouga was raised by his father Taiga whom he respected despite him not to associate with anyone besides Jabi, Amon, and Gonza while hunting Horrors. But after causing his father's death by who he thought was a Horror (in actualty, the killer was a former Makai Knight Barago), a devastated Kouga is assured by Zaruba as he convey Taiga's final thoughts: Take the title of Garo and to be brave. He is assigned to the Eastern Region at the start of the series.
To that end, wanting to master use of Soul Metal, Kouga undergoes the path of becoming a Makai Knight like his father. Under the mandated alias of Shiro, which was placed so to protect the child's identity should he failed to graduate as a Makai Knight, Kouga befriended three other boys as they are all placed under the guidance of the Makai Knight Wataru. Though Kouga learned the value of friendship, he is forced to watch friends being devoured by the Horror Raizon, keeping the beads they got from Wataru on his person in memory of them. Though he later trained under the Makai Knight Kengi, it still took over a decade since his father's death for Kouga to finally be strong enough to lift the Garoken from its resting place to become the current Golden Knight. By that time, Kouga reaches a conclusion of what he should fight for from his two teachers' ideal: one being that any person, good or bad, has not only the right to live, but also the potential to save many lives on their own in the process; the other being that one should try to his best to save another person, regardless of how slim the chances might be.
Kouga meets Kaoru when he was slaying Anglay where she happened to be stained with Horror blood, a condition that will kill her in 100 days in an excruciatingly painful manner. Though expected to kill her to spare her a painful death, Kouga spared Kaoru's life because she reminded him of his mother. However, Kouga never told Kaoru about her situation and claimed to Zaruba and the Three Priestesses of the Eastern Watchdog that he kept her alive to be of use as a Horror bait. Eventually, saving Kaoru's life while falling in love with her, Kouga learns the truth of his father's death to be at the hands of the rogue Makai Knight Barago, who later kidnaps Kaoru to enact his plan to bring Messiah to the living world. While fighting a losing battle against he Priestesses' servant Kodama, who seemingly murdered Jabi, Kouga's refusal to discard his armor when the time limit was up caused his negative emotions to turn him into mindless Lost Soul Beast Garo while killing his opponent. After Zero saves him, Kouga battles Messiah and not only defeats her but Kiba as well, with the later at the cost of Zaruba. Some time later, Kouga is bidding an emotional farewell to Kaoru, as she would be heading to Italy to further her studies in art. She gave him the final product of her father's book with the last page painted, and Rei handed Kouga a restored Zaruba as a token of their friendship, which was reforged by the Western Watchdog. Though he still has his same old personality, he bears no past memories of his time with Taiga and Kouga, even stating that he didn't like the name Kouga gave him.
Skills & Abilities Edit
- Makai Knight Training: ?.
- Zaruba: ?.
- Garoken (牙狼剣 Garōken, Fanged Wolf Sword): ?.
After his mother died while he was three years old, befriending Makai Priest Amon's apprentice Jabi, Kouga was trained at a young age by his father to become a Makai Knight. At that time, Kouga accompanied his father in Horror hunts and learned the hard way that Horrors are untrusting creatures when fooled by one posing as a toy salesman.
One night, hearing Gonza Kurahashi's concern for Taiga, Kouga follows his father to the woods where he witnessed Taiga battling Barago. At the time, Kouga thought his father was fighting a Horror as he came out of hiding. This led to Taiga's death when he uses his body as a shield to keep Barago from harming his son, passing Zaruba to Kouga so the boy would know his final thoughts: Take the title of Garo and to be brave. As Taiga's sword was made of Soul Metal, Kouga was forced to leave in the forest for ten years until he fulfills his father's last request.
To that end, after learning the basics from Zaruba, Kouga joined a training session for youths training to become Makai Knights but was ranked among the lowest and placed in Wataru Shijima's Yamabuki Squad under the alias of Shiro. Though the Yamabuki Squad improved greatly over time, Wataru praised them more for their comradery when they placed the wellbeing of their teammate above the challenge. But in the end, Kouga was forced to witness the friends he made slaughtered by the Horror Raizon. Kouga later became an apprentice of Kengi in mastering using Soul Metal weapons, adopting the senior's ideals as his own. Once Kouga finished his training, he returned home and succeeded to lift the sword out of the ground as he assumes his place as the new Golden Knight.
Having killed a multitude of Horrors under the guidance of the Three Priestesses of the Eastern Watchdog Castle, Kouga's life changes when his mission to slay the Horror Angrey has him cross paths with Kaoru Mitsuki. Though he was supposed to kill her after her skin came in contact with Horror blood, Kouga spared her life while explaining to Zaruba of his intent to use the girl as bait for attracting Horrors. But over time, contending with both Horrors and Rei Suzumura, Kouga began to develop feelings for Kaoru as it appears her father met Taiga and created the incomplete picture book Black Flame and the Golden Knight. During an event where Horrors will be unable to travel to the human world, Kouga uses that time to visit Amon and engages the Makai Priest in a Barchess match. While Amon offers to help Kouga save Kaoru by fetching the Barankas fruit from the Crimson Forest, he gives the youth a revelation that Barago still lives and that events will soon unfold where Kouga must know who to truly trust.
After losing Kaoru's trust with a dying Haru revealed that he used her to get to the Horror, Kouga learns that Amon was being apparently killed by Jabi and that she stole twelve sealed Horror blades. But as he could not believe Jabi would kill Amon, Kouga learns his murderer was a Makai Knight as he ends up facing Rei before Jabi gets him and the captive Kaoru to safety. After Kouga wins back Kaoru's trust, he agrees to help Jabi send the blades to the Makai in return that she helps him get the Barankas fruit in Amon's place. But the interference of Kodama and the apparent death of Jabi causes Kouga and Rei to be overwhelmed by a giant Horror created from the Horror blades before it was absorbed by the Horror-eating Makai Knight responsible for Amon's death. Kouga is forced to travel to the Crimson Forest on his own and defeat Grou Dragon to win the Baranka fruit that he uses to save Kaoru.
But after an encounter with a revenge-driven Kamisugawa, Kouga learns that Kaoru has an Inga Gate tattooed on her neck as he is presented with a series of revelations that Barago masterminded recent events in a scheme to summon the Horror propagator Messiah. Furthermore, having long deluded himself into thinking that a Horror murdered his father, Kouga briefly questions himself while knowing his enemy is Barago as Rei joins forces with him to confront the Three Priestesses. However, unaware that the priestess were given a host body to leave their domain, Kouga learns too late that Barago captured Kaoru to begin the ritual to summon Messiah.
Driven to save Kaoru to the point of madness, Kouga is confronted by Kodama who drove him more to the deep end with remembering Jabi's demise to the point to assuming his Lost Soul Beast Garo form to slaughter Kodama before climbing up the building. Luckily, Rei manages to get through Kouga's mind and save him. While Rei deals with Glum, Kouga confronts Barago before he ends up fighting Kaoru after Messiah possessed her body to devour the fallen Makai Knight for outliving his use to her. After he and Rei managed to knock the possessed Kaoru out, Kouga enters the Makai through a portal in Kaoru's subconscious to face Messiah in her domain. But Kouga is overpowered by Messiah and is overwhelmed by her Horror spawn as she begins her ascend to the Inga Gate. But Kaoru manages to give Kouga an advantage by transforming him to Tsubasabito Garo to ground Messiah, discarding his armor to land the deathblow while her guard is down. Kaoru manages to pull Kouga back to their reality when Messiah dissolves into a black vortex.
However, they are followed by Barago as he fully embraces being the Darkness Knight Kiba. Rei and Kouga couldn't summon their armors due to Kiba's influence, so Zaruba had Kouga throw him into the mystical tear to try to summon his armor. After an intense fight from the building tower to the docks, Kouga was finally able to summon his armor and deal the deathblow to kill Barago for good. But Kouga's victory came at a cost as Zaruba used all his energy to help Kouga summon his armor and dissolves after the fight. Later, after Zaruba is reforged by another Watchdog, Kouga bids Kaoru farewell as she leaves for Italy to improve her artistic skills. Kaoru gives Kouga a finished copy of the Black Flame and the Golden Knight, with the illustration on the final page bringing Kouga to tears.
During the events of Demon Beast of the Midnight Sun, initially skeptical at first, Kouga was approached by Rin Yamagatana when she has a message from Amon. Kouga learns that Jabi did not die as he believed, but is trapped in the Makai Forest within the stomach of the Makai Beast Miki. Kouga leaves for the northern Kantai region, contending with its resident Makai Knight Tsubasa Yamagatana before Garai gives Kouga permission to complete his mission to rescue Jabi. After a tough battle against Makai Beast Miki and reviving Jabi, Kouga receives new orders to contain the threat of the Horror Legules with Garai providing historical information about the Horror to prepare. But the group comes under attack by Legules's Karakuri, Kouga refusing Legules's offer to "join" his family while temporarily defeating him on his first attempt on the Phosphorus Arrow. But when Legules abducts Rin and the arrow, Kouga learns a rescue party through Naraku Forest before facing Legules in his true form. Using the Phosphorus Arrow when Legules infected him, Kouga becomes Phosphorus Garo and destroys Legules before seeing spiritual images of his parents. Kouga later returns to the Saejima Estate where he finds Kaoru had returned and welcomes her back.
Sometime later welcoming Kaoru home, Kouga received orders from the Watch Dogs to hunt the Apostle Horror Karma. Kouga's search takes him to a city from his past, meeting Akaza and saving his team of Makai Priests from the cannibalistic Apostle Horror Babel. Though Kouga and Akaza's group have a common enemy in Karma, he finds opposition from the Makai Priestess Rekka who is revealed to be Kengi's daughter and has a personal vendetta against the Horror for killing her father. Tracking down Karma and her servants to their lair in a nightclub called Crime was a difficult task, as Akaza was bribed by Karma with a mirror that allows him to see his family again, but the more difficult challenge is entering Karma's mirror realm to regain the stolen Garo armor and return to the real world. An alternative was to use the Demon Sword of Rubis (a blade made with Horror fangs) as it is the only item that grants entry to Karma's realm to kill her and safely exit without harm.
However, Karma and her Horrors would later occupy an abandoned building as they lure the group into a trap with Akaza and Shiguto containing the evil as Kouga and Rekka battled through the building to locate Karma with the latter taking out Shion. During their battle, Rekka faced and killed Shion. She then found Karma's mirror and alerted Kouga. The two then fight Kurusu and managed to use the Demon Sword to enter Karma's realm, with Kouga regaining the Garo armor to destroy the Horror before facing Karma in what quickly becomes a losing battle. However, with Akaza sacrificing himself to enter Karma's realm to give the woman her flute, Rekka rallies the souls of the Makai warriors Karma killed over the years to give Kouga the power to destroy Karma as Dragon Formation Garo. With his mission over, Kouga leaves for home as Rekka gives him a Small Makai Dragon in case he needs her assistance at a later date.
After being promoted to the personal Makai Knight of the Senate for his vanquishing of the Apostle Horrors, answering to Grace, Kouga Saezima is assigned the task to slay the Horror Cigarein. In the aftermath, Kouga finds himself attacked by a mysterious figure in a red mask who branded him with a Seal of Destruction, giving him little time to live. With the genius Makai Priest Leo Fudō assisting him in dealing with the Horrors while hiding his affliction from Kaoru. While escorting the arrogant Makai Priest Ratess as he is transporting the pelt of a Spirit Beast so the material can be used to make more Makai Brushes, Kouga realizes it is a trap as he faces the red-masked figure who reveals his desire to return to the Makai Order to how it was before the Makai Knights came to be. Though Kouga attempts to have the Rekka's gift pursue the red-masked man, the Small Makai Dragon that Zaruba named "Kaoru" was dispatched by her quarry.
Later, Kouga takes Kaoru and Gonza on a picnic during his visit to the Tower of Heroic Spirits to undergo a cleansing of the Inga that he accumulated from his battles. It was soon after that Kouga find himself facing Zaji, an accumulation of the revenge-driven spirits of the many Horrors that he and his predecessors slain. Kouga manages to defeat Zazi by damaging the statue that the entity emerged from to restore the proper flow of time. Under the statue's face, Kouga and Kaoru notice ancient Makai writing that Zaruba translates to say "When the protector finds a light worth protecting, an ordeal will begin", implying that Kouga was being tested as a result of his attachment to Kaoru.
After enlisting Jabi's help to take Zaruba to be restored at the Life-Circulating Waterfall within the Jewel Forest, warned by her not to trust Makai Priests after her encounter with the red-masked man, Kouga learns his mentor Wataru attacked Tsubasa. But it turned out that Wataru was under the influence of the red-masked man's enchantment as Kouga and Tsubasa work together to free him. Soon after, Wataru recognizes Kouga as his former student and parts on good terms. While helping Rei track down was is later revealed to be a Gōryū with the vague aura of a Horror, Kouga confronts the red-masked man before being shocked to find Leo's face behind the mask. Despite how it looked, with a conflict between Makai Knights and Makai Priests rising, Kouga expresses his doubts about Leo's treachery and learns that someone erased the Makai genealogy records. It was while pursuing Ratess when he is revealed to be the red-masked man's spy within the Senate walls, Kouga sees Leo facing the mysterious figure while revealing himself to be a Makai Knight. After the red-masked man ran off, Kouga learns the truth from Leo that their enemy is the latter's older twin brother Sigma Fudō and is acting on a plan to create ultimate Gōryū, Magōryū Idea, to permanently eliminate the Horror blight with the power of the Horror Gyanon at using impure humans as fuel.
Sigma later makes a public announcement for all Makai Knights to either renounce their titles and give up their Makai armor or face death from their Seals of Destruction, with the exception of Kouga for his continued interference. But this turned out to be a trap to gather the Makai Knights in one place and trap them in a barrier so his spell can take effect while he uses the key to the Madō Train he took from Ratess to reach the True Makai to create Idea there. Left with no choice, Kouga makes a contract with Gajari to be teleported to the Madō Train to aid Leo as they manage to derail the Madō Train while breaking Sigma's spell. But Sigma reveals he has a backup plan as he has Kouga assimilated into Gyanon's corpse as he begins a ritual in Amber Rock Valley dig site opens a gateway to the True Makai while beginning to fashion Idea. Luckily, a group composed by Rei, Leo, Rekka, Jabi, Kaoru, and Gonza arrive at the Amber Rock Valley to free Kouga as Sigma takes his creation into the True Makai to complete it.
But in an unexpected turn of events, Sigma revived Gyanon as he absorbed the Makai Priest before converting Idea into an extension of himself to lead an army of Horrors into the human world. Luckily, every Makai Knight and Makai Priest arrives to fend off the Horrors as Kouga destroys the bodiless Gyanon after Idea is completely destroyed. Despite the victory, Kouga needed to honor his contract with Gajari to reclaim a part of the entity, the Fang of Sorrow, within the Promised Land. After bidding goodbye to his friends, Kouga was about to say his farewells to Kaoru. But he finds a dying Sigma, who escaped Gyanon's body at the last second, and engages the powerless man in a final battle. Though he initially held back, Kouga reveals that they met as children in Makai Knight training and must cut him down to honor their promise and kills Sigma as his manor breaks apart. Kouga forms the Garo armor around himself and Kaoru to save the latter, telling her must leave but promises to return once finishing his contract. Before he goes, Kouga bids Kaoru farewell with a final kiss before leaving her to be found by Gonza.
During the events, Garo: Soukoku no Maryu, Kouga arrives in the Promised Land and finds himself without his coat and Zaruba while witnessing his Garoken transformed into the Red Dog. Meeting a mysterious girl named Meru, Kouga learns the Promised Land is home to objects that have been lost in the human world and have become anthropomorphic beings. After finding Zaruba, Kouga then meets Kiria and finds himself facing the Promised Land's despot Judam as she and the rogue Kakashi are fighting over which of them would become the legendary dragon of destruction known as the Maryu. Kouga makes a truce with Kakashi to save Meru when Judam intends to sacrifice her at the Seas of Lamentation so she can become the Maryu to extract her revenge on humanity. After saving Kakashi while reclaiming his coat and blade, Kouga attempts to reason with Judam before she merged with the Maryu scale to become the Maryu. With Kakashi sacrifice his life energies to give the Makai Knight the strength to destroy the Maryu, Kouga manages to reach the dying Judam to forgive humanity. Soon after making his peace with the dying Kakashi, revealed to be a training dummy from his day as a child, Kouga passed Gajari's rest by having understood the dream-based symbiosis between the Makai Knights and Gajari. Before returning to his world, Kouga reveals that he knew Meru is his Makai Dragon Kaoru as she reverts to her true form to join him. Sometime after, learning of a competition in his absence and facing Rei, Kouga finds Kaoru at the park in the aftermath of her book's successful launch.
As would later be revealed in GARO: The Makai Flower, Kouga married Kaoru and the two had a son together: Raiga Saejima. However, due to an event that occurs in their son's adult life, Kouga is forced to leave the five-year-old Raiga as he enters a portal to save Kaoru after she has been displaced in time by Eyrith. Though technically alive, Kouga willingly passed the Garo title to Raiga once he was of age and indirectly added his son during his fight with Zaji.
References & ArticlesEdit
Notes & TriviaEdit
- Kouga is never seen laughing in the entirety of the Garo franchise.