“I got kicked out of a reform school for beating the sh*t out of the gym teacher. You think I’m afraid of the cops in this town?” – Ryuuji after Kasume chastises him for having a gun.
Ryuuji Hasashi is one of the main protagonists of Soul Embrace. He has harboured a rivalry with Nobuyuki Honda from an early age, though now their relationship borders on friendship with the arrival of Shinkokira and the events that follow.
Ryuuji stands at 188 cm, or 6’2″, making him much taller than the average Japanese teenager. He has very shaggy black hair that he doesn’t do much to take care of. He is one of the few Dai Tenshi students that never wears his uniform (though the dress code isn’t enforced, anyway), instead prefering a leather jacket that many people have said makes him look like a member of a biker gang. He still has several scars from his bouts with Nobuyuki, and it’s not uncommon to find his face flecked with dried blood, though this has at least left him well-built as a result. He also has a pair of studs on his left eyebrow and is rumoured to have a tattoo of a crow somewhere on his body.
Fitting with his appearance, Ryuuji is a very cocky and rebellious young man, giving him a reputation as a very dangerous delinquent (not helped by him being expelled from a reform school before he was enrolled at Dai Tenshi). As such, many people are too frightened to even go near him, let alone speak to him. Essentially, if Nobuyuki is the crown prince of Dai Tenshi High School, then Ryuuji is the black knight.
As far any opponents are concerned, he is very arrogant and constantly cracking jokes for his own amusement. His end goal in every fight (except those against Nobuyuki) seems to be humiliating his opponent before booting them away like little more than pointless trash.
When it comes to Shinkokira, however, Ryuuji at least shows some sense of justice, desiring to do something to stem the tide of fear in his hometown. Unlike Nobuyuki, however, Ryuuji doesn’t plan on planning anything out. If he can get away with it, he prefers to go in guns blazing and damning the consequences later.
Much of Ryuuji’s past is an enigma, and he’d prefer to keep it that way. Anyone asking him about his history will simply receive a bitter look, followed by him growling that it’s none of their business. The only family he has left is his mother who he has grown disassociated with over the years. Where his father is and whether he had any siblings has yet to be revealed, though he seems to have a certain attachment to someone named Rumiko.
Ryuuji first met Nobuyuki at age eight, their parents working for the same company and meeting for business. After staring angrily at Nobuyuki for some time, Ryuuji instigated a fight, all the while displaying a certain sadness that the young Honda felt pity for. While Nobuyuki won the fight, he allowed Ryuuji to strike him just enough to let his aggression out, and by the time the two were pulled apart, a certain bond had been forged between them. Not necessarily friendship, but a certain respect that they honor to this day with regular monthly bouts. The win rate these days is usually 50-50.
After getting arrested for vandalism at age fifteen, Ryuuji spent his first year of high school at a correctional institution near Hiroshima. What transpired there is not entirely known, but he was eventually expelled after assaulting a gym instructor, the headmaster stating that he was a lost cause and would be in jail by the time he turned eighteen. How he ended up enrolled at Dai Tenshi is unknown, though it’s likely because principal Jiro Sasaski saw something within the young delinquent that could be fashioned into a greater force than he knew.
The Fires Rise
By the events of Soul Embrace, Ryuuji is now eighteen and a third-year student at Dai Tenshi. Though he doesn’t get directly involved with Nobuyuki’s plot against Shinkokira until after the latter’s duel with the archdemon Astaros, he had been researching the cult for some time beforehand and plotting to make his own move against them. He was quick to share any information he had, ensuring him that he would have his rival’s back no matter what happened. Indeed, Ryuuji was the first to rush to Nobuyuki’s aid during the fight against Baal on the Seishin Bridge.
Continued history under construction…
Though their rivalry is a fierce one, the two most noteworthy students of Dai Tenshi High School have a great deal of respect for each other as they constantly press each other to get stronger. The relationship every once in a while borders on some level of friendship. Ryuuji wouldn’t be caught dead admitting it, but he considers Nobuyuki the one thing keeping him going in life as well as the one thing that had the strength to drag him out of the most depressing time of his life. During the battle against Shinkokira, he pledges his loyalty to Nobuyuki and swears to stick with him through thick and thin, stating that he’d be the only one taking the white-haired samurai down anytime soon.
Much like Nobuyuki, Ryuuji is very skilled in one-on-one fist fighting. Unlike Nobuyuki, however, Ryuuji never learned any specific martial art and instead uses a self-taught style reminiscent of wrestling. It’s an aggressive and brutal style that aims to cause as much damage in as little time as possible, and he’s heavily injured Nobuyuki several times using it.
Ryuuji also owns several guns that he acquired through somewhat shady means, and he is very skilled with just about all of them. His personal favourite is his sawed-off shotgun, mostly due to its welcome usage for crowd control and close quarters combat. He has wished to learn to use a blade, however, and it’s rumoured that he has one such item tucked away somewhere to finish forging.
“Toxicity” – System of a Down
- As far as language is concerned, Ryuuji is Soul Embrace’s most vulgar character.
- Ryuuji’s favourite anime is the 1997 adaptation of Berserk.
- Ryuuji can speak bits of English, but he only seems to remember curse words and insults. The first phrase he learned, in fact, was “F*ck you!”.
- In the original draft of Soul Embrace, Ryuuji was a spoiled and lecherous young man inspired by Kazuharu Fukuyama from the anime series Girls Bravo. This along with many others elements was changed when the story was rebooted because it clashed too heavily with its dark aim and made him too unlikable as a character.
- Ryuuji is the author’s favourite character, with Delilah in a close second.