Taira no Chouki
Taira no Chouki
ta̠iɾ̠a̠ no̞ t͡ɕo̞ːkʲi
Chouki in Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle
|Abilities||Making souls conform to them|
Taira no Chouki (平 蝶鬼) is an evil spirit consumed by revenge who wants to destroy Taira no Fumikado. They used to be a human servant of Fumikado, becoming a spirit as part of their plan to revive Taira no Masakado, but when they were unable to assist in the plan, Fumikado cut ties with them. The Dragonfly Army supports them and wants Chouki to be the new emperor of Mugenri.
At first, Chouki might seem cordial and proud of being the "new emperor". However, Chouki will explode with rage if Fumikado's name is mentioned, because of their resentment towards them. Most of their actions is to get revenge and kill Fumikado, for abandoning them in the past. However, it seems that they still care about Fumikado and couldn't kill them when they had the chance.
- Making souls conform to them
This is more so a description of an inherent trait of their character, rather than a concrete ability. Their danmaku implies they are able to control spirits to some degree, as well as being capable of inducing curses.
- Employing Shikigami
Originally a child of a Taira branch family, Chouki's parents died during a political conflict, and they were adopted by Taira no Iwakado. They were raised to become Fumikado's servant. When they were older, Chouki assisted Fumikado with the plan to resurrect "the True Emperor", but they needed to control the "Saeda" flute to control the spirits necessary for the plan. Chouki made a deal with a god who controlled the dead, in order to have a body "in the verge of life and death" and gain control over the flute. However, their sacrifice was in vain, since the god of the dead removed Chouki's breath and rendered them unable to play the flute.
Fumikado decided to dismiss Chouki afterwards (possibly out of concern for them), but Chouki felt betrayed that they had been discarded by Fumikado and held a deep grudge against them, becoming an evil spirit. In order to become powerful enough to defeat Fumikado, Chouki trained under the tutelage of Garaiya Ogata.
Their full name is Taira no Chouki (平 蝶鬼). Taira (平) is an old Japanese surname, which they share with Taira no Fumikado. The characters in their given name Chouki (蝶鬼), separately, mean "butterfly" and "oni".
Chouki has wavy black hair, red eyes, and fangs. They wear golden hairpins and two red headbands, one with a lit candle on top, and the other with two white horns. In their mouth, they hold a torch that is lit on both ends. They wear a beige furisode, seen to be over red and white robes respectively. They wear a maroon sash around their shoulders, holding a mirror along their waistline. The furisode sleeves have long red laces tied in bunny-ears styled knots, then split into two gold tassels. They hold a broken dagger in their right hand, and a golden mini-hakkero in their left. Instead of legs, they have a ghostly orange tail. Chouki's burabura shikigami is dark red, with a fiery interior, with a single eye and white horn on top.
Their design is heavily based on Takiyasha-hime (滝夜叉姫), a sorceress in Japanese mythology, and Taira no Masakado's daughter. As seen here, they are seen holding a blade in one hand, with a dual-lit torch held in their mouth.
When enraged, their sclera will turn black, and a dark, flame-like aura surrounds them.
- Brilliant Pagoda or Haze Castle
While training under the tutelage of Garaiya Ogata, the Dragonfly Castle appeared before Chouki, which they took as an omen acknowledging them as the New Emperor. The idealistic Garaiya wanted for the emperor to be a “hero figure” to Mugenri, but unknown to them, Chouki actually had no interest in ruling. Knowing that Fumikado will eventually come to the castle and fight for the emperor’s title, Chouki waited for them inside the castle, with the intention to kill and have revenge on Fumikado.
In all endings, Chouki is defeated and leaves the castle, not before revealing that they had nothing to do with the sudden appearance of the Dragonfly Castle. In the New Emperor Team, Fumikado and Chouki do reconcile. Fumikado realizes that the reason why Chouki did not succeed in killing them is because Chouki wasn't really trying and still cares about them. They part ways and Fumikado proclaims that they and Chouki will fight to the death for the emperor's title someday in the future.
- Taira no Fumikado - Former ally, hated enemy
- Taira no Iwakado - Adoptive grandfather
- Garaiya Ogata - Mentor and ally
- Para - Fellow enemy of Fumikado
Chouki raging in BPoHC
- One of the crests featured on Chouki's spell backgrounds is the Bishamon-Kikko crest (毘沙門亀甲｜lit. Bishamon Turtle Shell), said to be the pattern on the war and fortune god Bishamon's chain mail. The Bishamon-Kikko crest is a variation of the Kikko crest (亀甲｜lit. Turtle Shell), which represents longevity. The Bishamon-Kikko crest is thus said to represent financial fortune and longevity. However, there seems to be no obvious link between Bishamon and Chouki.
- Original Japanese name of the woodblock print Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre.
- Portmanteau of 骨格 (kokkaku skeletal structure) and 格子 (koushi lattice).
- Possibly a reference to Taira no Onikado (平 鬼門) and Chouki.
- Wordplay on two different ways of writing the word kaeru (帰る, to return). "帰る" connotates "returning" in a physical context, such as returning home from one's workplace. "還る" connotates "returning" in the abstract, such as "returning to nature" or "returning to the earth". (Webpage with explanation of difference)
- Reference to the noh play Utou, after the bird of the same name. The adult birds cry out (rendered as "utou" in Japanese), followed by a response ("yasukata") from their chicks to inform their parents of their location. The play features the tormented ghost of a hunter who mimicked the parents' cries to hunt the chicks.