“If there’s a limit to how strong this thing will make me, I haven’t found it yet.” -Nobuyuki referencing the power of the Soul Embrace
Nobuyuki Honda is the main protagonist of Soul Embrace, making his first appearance in The Fires Rise and appearing in every installment onward.
Nobuyuki is much taller than the average Japanese teenager, standing at about 188 cm or 6’2″. His hair (which he usually keeps very shaggy thanks to inspiration from the Biblical story of Samson) was originally brown until his first meeting with Delilah at the age of ten, where it somehow became white as snow. He is very physically fit thanks to a consistent workout regimen, though now has several permanent scars thanks to his constant battles with demons.
Nobuyuki is renowned for his intelligence and kindness to his underclassmen at Dai Tenshi High School, earning him a solid circle of friends as well as a reputation as the “Crown Prince of Dai Tenshi” according to Yukina Suzuki. He has all the traits of a respectable young man, possessing a strong sense of justice and strength under pressure. Despite this, he can occasionally crack a smart aleck one-liner or two if the situation calls for it.
In combat against the demons, Nobuyuki’s personality becomes that of a hardened warrior, and should he ever be pushed to his boiling point, he can become an unstoppable force of destruction that leaves even the archdemons fearful of him.
Nobuyuki (born on November 1st) is the only son of Atsuko Hiyama and Kenta Honda, and was born in Rengoku‘s Danketsu Cathedral (also known as the Church of Izanagi) when they ventured there to receive a blessing for their yet-to-be born child. He has lived in Rengoku all his life, making solid friends in Yukina Suzuki and Akira Hayabusa in his elementary school days. In those early years, his father made sure to keep him active and prepared for a fight whenever it would arise, teaching him martial arts starting at six and eventually gifting Nobuyuki with his trademark katana at age nine, saying it was to be a gift presented to him by a grandfather he never knew.
The night after meeting Yukina at age ten, Nobuyuki was visited in the night by two succubi: Lilith (who forced herself upon him and fawned over him like a doting mother figure) and Delilah. When asked who he would rather spend the night with, the prior experience as well as Delilah’s more innocent nature convinced him to choose her, much to the anger of Lilith. The elder succubus then attempted to attack Delilah, only for Nobuyuki to defend his chosen friend and force Lilith to flee. He promised Delilah he would never forget her after that night, though convinced himself both demons had been nothing more than a dream when he woke the following morning to find no trace of either of them.
The Fires Rise
Seven years later, the evil cult Shinkokira began a string of murders throughout Rengoku and began to put the entire population in a perpetual state of fear. Nobuyuki began to privately investigate the phenomenon at school, but he was in for a far bigger surprise when he encountered a foreign woman on the train ride home who later confronted him in his bedroom. After a brief fight (during which the woman revealed herself as a succubus), Nobuyuki realized that the woman is Delilah. Alas, what little joy he had was wasted when he found she had no memory of him. At his insistence, she departed, leaving him more convinced to look into Shinkokira’s exploits.
Continued history under construction…
It goes without saying that Nobuyuki is very skilled in combat, his father having taught him a very fast and aggressive style of karate from a young age. He stays in top form at all times, previously due solely to his rivalry with Ryuuji Hasashi but now a requirement for his mere survival. He is also highly adept with his katana, mastering a self-taught style to keep opponents on their toes and fearful of what he may do next.
After forming a Soul Embrace with Delilah, Nobuyuki started to unlock several supernatural abilities as well. Chief among these were of course enhanced strength and endurance, but he also gained the ability to channel pure energy into his sword and release it as a pressurized wave. The Soul Embrace naturally develops the longer its user has it, so only time will tell how powerful Nobuyuki becomes.
Nobuyuki’s childhood memory of Delilah helped to keep her pure in his thoughts even after she returned with no memory of him. By then, he had developed feelings for Yukina, but nevertheless relented and allowed Delilah to live with him after forming a Soul Embrace with her. Instead of jumping headlong into the relationship as she clearly wanted, he decided to take it slow and see if he could really identify with her as a person. He is slightly annoyed at her constantly making suggestive passes at him and vying for his attention, but she quickly grew on him to the point where his feelings for her began to take on a new form.
Akira is one of Nobuyuki’s closest friends, as well as one that will gladly follow him through the worst of conflicts. The two met shortly after the death of Akira’s mother, Akira himself crippled with grief when Nobuyuki found him and conversed with him. The two see each other nearly every day thanks to being closely affiliated classmates, and Akira was glad to help Nobuyuki uncover more about Shinkokira when presented with the opportunity. Unfortunately, his close affiliation with the cult’s primary target led him to be hunted by the lamia Shiiva, and later the archdemon Leviathan.
Following a rocky first encounter when both were eight years of age, Nobuyuki and Ryuuji formed something of a friendly rivalry, challenging each other to sparring matches well into their adolescent years. Though both end up with grievous injuries from these bouts, neither can claim to respect the other any less. If anything, they both appreciate how they continue to push each other to get stronger.
Additional relationships under construction…
“Rebellion” – Linkin Park feat. Daron Malakian
- Nobuyuki’s general appearance is inspired by Dante, the main protagonist of Capcom’s Devil May Cry series of video games. Personality-wise, he is inspired by Kenshiro, the main protagonist of the shonen manga Fist of the North Star by Tetsuo Hara and Buronson.
- Nobuyuki is also partially inspired by the Biblical figure Samson, renowned for his incredible strength given to him by God in exchange for leaving his hair uncut. Samson was later betrayed to the enemy of his people by a woman named Delilah, who first cut his hair to render him weak. To further this reference, Nobuyuki’s katana has Samson’s name inscribed on it in kanji characters.
- Nobuyuki’s favourite video game is Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.