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all teeth, but not smiling (
2016-12-06 06:54 am (UTC)
Takasugi Shinsuke | Gintama | Reserved
: Takasugi Shinsuke | Alias: Tani Umenosuke
: Full AU
: 1 ½ years - Takasugi has been around long enough to acquire functioning illegal trade deals with several criminal organizations. Upon his arrival, he was installed as the leader of the 'Kiheitai' - a resistance movement founded in violence and devoid of political principal. Over time, he's expanded its influence over the Quad and out into the J. He hasn't directly participated in any significant developments during this time, instead strengthening his position and waiting for the right opportunities.
: Post Shogun Assassination, Pre Rakyou - abducted during his coma
: Takasugi Shinsuke is originally from Leith | Tani Umenosuke has Westerly citizenship
: Resistance Leader / Terrorist - He deals in illegal arms trade, dabbles in the drug trade, and is known for high-casualty terrorist attacks. Right now, his focus is political upheaval.
✿ SWORDSMANSHIP - Takasugi is a formidable swordsman, first teaching himself as a child and then learning from his teacher on Edo.
✿ LEADERSHIP - Very adept at fanning the flames of anger and inspiring loyalty, Takasugi was able to raise an army during the Edo Rebellion and retains high regard among those who remain from the conflict.
✿ STRINGED INSTRUMENT - While Takasugi typically favors the shamisen, an instrument from Edo, he has good aptitude for any similar instrument.
✿ POETRY - A skilled wordsmith, Takasugi has always found putting words to paper somewhat calming, and has a good sense for composition. He doesn't share it often, however.
"I simply destroy."
Takasugi Shinsuke defines himself as a man whose singular interest is destruction. To him, there is nothing in the world worth protecting, and thus no part of it has any business existing.
Destruction is at the core of Takasugi's behavior. Growing up, his restlessness bred his desire for strength while his weakness betrayed his ability to keep himself on the path to a real future. Now, as an adult, his mantra has become "I simply destroy," and he holds to it. He makes no deviations from his goal, and he will employ any attrition necessary to achieve it. Wiping out an entire village, city, or planet is not too steep of a price to pay.
"We're free to force a checkmate or knock over the board itself."
Control is very important to Takasugi - he pulls many strings and will involve himself in many plots in order to accomplish his goal. In his position, having everything tied around his finger is of utmost importance. However, he also thirsts for control in all other areas of his life. From expressing displeasure at his own high-officer's disobedience to declining a powerful ally in order to remain absolute over his own smaller army, Takasugi is not one to fantasize about 'letting go'. Takasugi's singular childhood desire was to become stronger. While so many aspirations have fallen to the wayside in favor of destruction, that particular drive has not diminished. Control, being a clear display of strength, is one of the things he seeks in this pursuit.
Takasugi is incredibly capable of motivating people. He sees their 'fangs' and spurs them to often violent action. In doing this, he extends his violent impulses further. He manipulates many individuals within the series, such as Gengai and Itou, with varying levels of importance. At the festival, the chaos he produced seemed isolated to indulging the beast within him while Itou's crippling of the Shinsengumi served to aid his greater plan.
From Takasugi's skill in manipulation rises his charisma. Holding together all sorts of radical warriors in a volunteer army, the Kiheitai general commands great respect from his men. He inspires this using every avenue available to him, from looking the part to displaying his strength. With a casual demeanor that implies ease of interaction, the man is shrewd in discovering what element of behavior those around him are attracted to.
"I, too, can only see a single path before my eyes. I don't care if my comrades or anyone falls by the wayside."
When it comes to people, Takasugi has two reactions. He either removes himself with abundant apathy or develops deep bonds that may twist into obsession. Even high ranking members of the Kiheitai are susceptible to being discarded, should they fall in the line of battle. However, Takasugi's focus on Shouyou is what drives him. It is precisely because he cannot move on that he lashes out at the world. For the small group of people whom Takasugi considers worth his emotional investment, he would ignite anything. From the small group of people who Takasugi knows understand him, he expects an equal measure of focus.
Takasugi is quite adept at humoring people, no matter their value. He has demonstrated this with close friends (Katsura) and members of his militia (the three officers immediately below him engage in comedy routines often in his presence). He takes the idiosyncrasies of others in stride, perhaps for not wanting to appear thrown off by anything.
"He won't stop. If you want to stop him, you have to kill him."
All of his life, Takasugi has never given up on a goal. Whether it was fighting Gintoki however many times it took to beat him as a child, or propelling himself towards the destruction of the Bafuku, the man is tenacious to a fault. His determined nature has skewed into something more dangerous - a single-mindedness that arises from raw unrest and deep seated hatred rather than a strong work-ethic.
"Would he give it a rest with his pretentious bullshit already?"
Takasugi has a great deal of pride. He seeks to be the strongest warrior, refuses to give up on ambitions, expects certain behavior from his militia, and can typically be found with a smug smirk on his face. To project all of this further, Takasugi takes care of his image. He dresses in elaborate, fashionable clothing that shows off his musculature while lounging in typically traditional Japanese settings. Even in opening/ending scenes, he is often standing at the bow of his ship in the sky, watching the moon or the sunset. So much as this plays into his image, Takasugi also seems to have a deeper appreciation for the aesthetic around him.
"We can't stab ourselves with our blades, but we've got someone far better than ourselves to cut."
Prideful as he is, Takasugi also harbors self-destructive inclinations. Consumed not only by hate and lust for revenge over his teacher's death, but also guilt, Takasugi has thought numerous times about turning his sword on himself. His own weakness that caused such devastation and should destroy him as well - but instead it drags him forward. His endeavor is not only to reduce the world to rubble, but to kill Gintoki and thus harm himself more than suicide ever could. Though this is not to say he plans on living beyond reaching his objective.
"We don't get Bushido, we're just a couple of good-for-nothing warriors."
Takasugi's favorite form of self-deprecation is calling himself a 'no good brat' who does not understand Bushido. He isn't honorable, he isn't someone who is capable of laying his life down for principles or society or people he doesn't know. Takasugi fights selfishly: to gain power, to protect or destroy, to settle a score. All of his reasoning surrounds himself and himself only - a fact which he recognizes.
"246 wins and 246 losses"
Competition is a healthy habit that Takasugi has not completely forgotten. As a child and a teen, he relished in finding worthy opponents and fights hard won. He is so focused on his rivalry with Gintoki that he keeps score of their matches. He was fairly easy to goad into competing over basically anything as a teen, though this has fallen to the wayside in his adult life as his goal overshadows everything else. Still, he competes with Kamui on several occasions so the inclination has not completely vanished.
"Thrashing about all day and all night, saying in my ear, 'Kill. Kill the enemies of my friends."
Takasugi feels. Emotions affect him viscerally as an uncontrollable beast within him. It bids him to lash out and destroy what's around him until it's satisfied. Vulnerability is not acceptable to Takasugi, so when emotions threaten to tear into him he is likely to rip into something else before they overtake him. None of his officers seem to have communicated with him about this, though he may ruminate on verse to express himself while he is alone. The only people he's reached out to are Gintoki, Katsura and Shouyou - people he feels can understand him.
"Just where are you headed?" "Beats me. My life would be much easier if I knew."
At the base of it all, Takasugi is and always has been restless. As a child, he didn't know what he wanted. Becoming strong was his singular goal, yet before Shouyou he was lost along his path to even such a simple desire. Aspirations grew and changed, but the feeling of being 'lost' never quite dissipated. One of the reasons he was so drawn to Shouyou was due to the other's admitted ongoing experience with the same issue. During the war, Takasugi had a goal, but failing that, he no longer has any footing to stand on aside from destruction. He wants to give in to the beast and tear things down until it stops whining - a very vague calling that betrays the inability to be at peace that has lurked within him his entire life.
This condition created a habit of isolation. No one understood - not even him - so how was he to form meaningful connections? Takasugi didn't gain many, but the ones he did foster were and are intensely important to him.
"Don't ever call Gintoki my friend again. There aren't any warm feelings between us anymore."
Takasugi regards Gintoki as his other half. Gintoki is the one who showed him a fight worth striving to win, the one who introduced him to Shouyou and the one who understood him best. Gintoki and Takasugi would often compete in every way. Not talking for months after getting into a conflict over a prostitute or arguing when meeting a new ally, the two were brats through and through. But Gintoki is also the one who betrayed Takasugi's trust by executing the man who gave Takasugi a path in life. Gintoki moved on and Takasugi resents him both for his bond with Shouyou and for his ability to go forward. It's a complicated relationship - best friends and rivals and perfect enemies.
"A comrade? I didn't know you still thought of us that way."
Katsura was Takasugi's first friend. As a child, Takasugi was a loner, but Katsura simply approached and called him an idiot. Takasugi considered Katsura the same, but through mutual needling and teaching, they helped each other grow to understand one another. Even after the war and the death of their teacher, Takasugi corresponded and cooperated with Katsura until their methods broke apart. It does not appear that Takasugi carries as much resentment for Katsura as he does Gintoki, though he hasn't made an effort to reconnect.
"I would like to kill the crows of three thousand worlds and sleep in late with my master."
Shouyou is the man who defined Takasugi. When the boy could not find himself, he told him that was alright. He was lost as well, and they would both find their paths. The idea of a samurai as one who fights their weakness, who improves themselves and struggles for personal strength is a concept which Takasugi has taken to heart. There is no way to overstate Shouyou's importance to Takasugi at all stages of his life. He felt more for his teacher than he ever felt for his family, he spent years fighting to rescue Shouyou and he's set on exhausting himself to avenge his death.
"They're simpletons, but I don't hate them."
Among his men, Takasugi is the charismatic yet often silent figure of authority. He is more candid with his officers - Hanpeita, Matako and Bansai - though even they do not receive many glimpses into his deeper motives. He will discuss private matters, but not open himself up to vulnerability. However, this group is compared to Katsura's joui and Gintoki's yorozua as Takasugi's 'found family', and so his relationship with them is likely deeper than he recognizes or will allow.
"It's more fun to dance with a batshit crazy idiot than a plain old idiot."
Takasugi's interest in Kamui stems from the boy's power. Being strong for the sake of being strong, being reckless and enjoying the thrill of a fight are all mentalities which Takasugi can understand, so he was drawn to Kamui and has no trouble communicating with him. While he cannot completely control the Yato, he doesn't find the other's tendency to cause chaos a hindrance. Rather, whatever connection they've developed stems from mutual respect and an almost healthy competition between them.
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