Player nickname: Jade
Player LJ: drinksteapots
Way to contact you:
Are you at least 15?: Y
Current Characters: None.
- Issun grew up in Poc’tan village in Yoshpet in the northern region of Nippon. Like the other young Poncles there, he studied and trained under his grandfather and village elder Ishaku. (Definition of Poncle in 'other' section.) Ishaku saw in Issun’s paintings both talent and promise. He pushed Issun’s abilities by being extra critical and firm; unfortunately, Issun only saw his grandfather’s mentoring as hurtful.
- When wandering around the frozen forests of Yoshpet, Issun happened upon the young Onia tribe girl Kina. He saved her by leading her safely out of the forest and back to her village. They became good friends, and soon Issun spent more time learning of her tribe and the other inhabitants: the first step to expanding his worldview. One day back in Poc’tan, Ishaku scolded Issun for disregarding his duties for play. This was the final argument for Issun. Believing that he could never satisfy his grandfather and wanting to find inspiration in the grander world, he stole Ishaku’s famous painting of the tree spirit Sakuya and left the village, running all the way to Nippon. Whether because of shame from stealing the painting or lasting resentment from Ishaku’s mentoring, Issun has not spoken with his grandfather since then.
- By traveling around Nippon, Issun became the wandering artist that he introduced himself at game start. He had a natural eye for beauty, which often took the physical form of women and treasure. With Sakuya’s portrait he eventually was able to locate the village in which she resided. Kamiki was a quiet, charming place with a local legend of a great white wolf and hero slaying a ferocious eight-headed dragon. Taking a liking to the area, the people, and Sakuya herself, Issun decided to stay there (or rather, in the comfy ‘valley of Sakuya’s chest’).
- Surprise, surprise: the legend of the wolf and dragon turned out to be true. Upon the dragon’s revival, the land that was touched by his dark aura became cursed. To save the land, Sakuya revived the white wolf from the 100 year old legend (who turned out to be the first Celestial Brush God Amaterasu) and asked Issun to guide her. Issun found himself communicating for Amaterasu when others (read: mostly all) could not understand adorable wolf-speak. He promised to help her as long as she was able to obtain all thirteen Celestial Brush Techniques so that he could ‘steal’ them to learn them for himself. He was surprised that the techniques came so naturally to her while he had trouble mastering the first ‘Rejuvenation’ technique in the past. Throughout their journey, Issun developed some sort of fondness for his partner. As Amaterasu gained more brush techniques, he grew anxious for when he would have to leave her when all 13 would be discovered.
- At one point in their travels, a prophet named Waka hinted at Issun’s thievery of his grandfather’s portrait and of Issun running away from his duty. The subject was still sensitive to Issun, and he immediately snapped at the prophet. Later on, Amaterasu and Issun's adventure took the two back to Poc’tan village. Issun refused to go into his home and waited outside for Amaterasu to return. Within the village, Amaterasu was able to talk with Ishaku. Ishaku recalled being her Celestial Envoy 100 years ago. He was interested in learning who she would select as the next Celestial Envoy, but already had an idea of who was chosen. He was proud of Issun.
- When Amaterasu obtained the final Celestial Brush Technique, Issun waited until she was about to board the Ark of the Yamato—the final level of the game—to say goodbye. He told her he had been practicing the Celestial Brush Techniques and demonstrated the Bloom stroke to create a small puff of petals. He went on to say that by not going with her, he honored their initial promise. It was not until Waka landed on Amaterasu’s side of the Ark and told Issun that it was impossible for him to accompany her anyways that Issun decided to stay with his god. When attempting to return his spot between the wolf’s ears, he was suddenly knocked back by the Ark’s barrier. Waka’s words were true. Issun was neither Celestial nor God, so the Ark rejected him. As Amaterasu and Waka battled the forces of evil inside, Issun realized that Amaterasu needed people to believe in her and to give her their hope and prayers that she would use to fuel her divine power. He set out and spread Amaterasu’s adventures and heroic deeds with paintings and speeches all across Nippon. The act made people believe in the god that helped them, and it was his first true act as the Seventh Celestial Envoy.
- At the end of the game, it is revealed that he was the one narrating the story between the chapters and that the paintings shown throughout the game were all his.
- I plan to start playing Issun a little bit before his canon begins.
- Upon first meeting Issun, he appears to have a one track mind of nothing but himself. His promise to help Amaterasu on her quest only if she gathers the 13 Celestial Brushes is made solely with the intention of using the divine techniques to help his own art. Not too far into their journey, he learns that the wolf he helps is the first Celestial Brush God. There is no doubt that he sees the irony in that he has become an interpreter for a god, despite running away from his formal Celestial Envoy training. It seems that he cannot escape his destiny set out about by his grandfather. Regardless, years of training are not for nothing: he like every Poncle exhibits a deep loyalty to the deities. He cannot in good conscious let the god wander around the changed Nippon all on her lonesome or let some unspeakable evil force wreak havoc on the gods’ creation.
- Simply put, Issun adores beauty and wishes to capture its essence on a canvas. He would be able to, too, if he wasn’t so easy going or charmed by it in the first place. He expects nothing negative from the attractive and will embark on any quest for a pretty face, especially if the person is pained. Truly, he has to harbor a great deal of suspicion to doubt anything that fits his idea of beauty. For example, he once thought Queen Himiko a bad ruler for letting her city go to waste, but once her face was revealed he instantly falls for her. This happens with every woman beside Amaterasu, who he sees only as a Brush God in the form of a wolf. He thinks himself a charmer, but really he is the one that becomes enchanted. He is talented and unmotivated; aesthetic beauty is not enough to inspire the young artist. He needs something more to make his brush dance. The excitement and sorrow (with a good helping of divine inspiration) of the adventure turns out to be just the thing for which he was searching.
- Issun can be quite stubborn at times and boasts that he may be just as obstinate as Amaterasu. He will speak informally to anyone he first meets. Upon knowing them better he treats them with respect as long as they do the same. It takes much for someone to rub him the wrong way, but when he does finds a character that he dislikes his stubbornness readily kicks in full. The greatest example would be when Issun runs from the pressures and responsibilities for training to become a Celestial Envoy after stealing his grandfather’s painting. Despite many years passing and the fact that his grandfather forgives the theft, Issun still refuses to return to the village. Of course, this instance has a double interpretation: Issun might feel shameful for stealing in the first place; thus, he does not want to return until he regains his honor.
- Issun is thoughtlessly brave and optimistic, and for a good reason: he is too damn lucky. Nothing too terrible ever happens to him in Okami. Because he believes that he’ll turn out okay like he always does, he usually goes in head first without thinking of negative consequences. When exploring a dungeon he will be the one to suggest trying something risky. Two quotes of his are testament to this: "Leap before you think!" and "There's no stoppin' me once I've made a decision!" In social situations, his thoughtlessness may allow him to come off as needlessly rude or informal to the audience. None of his bold comments elicit an unkind retort from another NPC (Waka is the exception.) Issun does not mean to be rude; it is just that no one has told him better.
- Issun is very sensitive about his size. When characters call him fun sized (or annoying sized) and tell him he’s helpless to fight against the big bad of the world, Issun defiantly tells them they’re wrong. Of course, there is a certain truth to what the characters believe of Issun. He is only the size of a bug, and because of this both the effectiveness of his sword and Celestial Brush is reduced greatly. Indeed, the only time the player sees the Poncle display any worthy sword skill is when Amaterasu is shrunk to his size. His sensitiveness to his size stems from the underestimation he believes characters couple with it. Being hurt from underestimation is traced all the way back to his grandfather, who’s constant critiquing Issun interpreted as such. Also because of his size, sometimes NPCs mistake that Amaterasu is the one speaking instead of Issun.
- Issun is energetic. When he speaks, he tends to hop up and down up to distances seven times his size. It is a rare cut scene when he sits still.
- What exactly is Issun? A Poncle! Standing no more than an inch tall, the Poncle race is often mistaken for insects. Of course, dressing in leaves and wearing large helmets with antennas does not help this perception. What distinguishes them from normal bugs is the fact that they constantly glow with an inner light. Most of the Poncles live in the tree stump that is the village Poc’tan. They age and die, but their overall lifespan is greater than a normal human. Apparently, '200 years is nothing' to a Poncle; however, no number on their average lifespan has been established. For Issun's age, he's just wayyyy older than he looks. They can talk to animals, humans, and gods (because in the Okami world, gods cannot easily communicate with life).
- Poncles are intensely loyal to the gods. While the gods’ legends may fade in the human minds, the Poncles still believe in them. They are taught that the true gods protect them from evil and keep the world turning, doing the little good things in life that count as luck or miracles.
- The Poncles train in hopes of becoming a Celestial Envoy of the Gods. The Envoys speak on the gods’ behalf and spread their messages and good deeds, telling the people of Nippon how they are protected and blessed. Ikashu was the Sixth Celestial Envoy chosen by Amaterasu 100 years ago to speak on her behalf. By the end of Okami, Issun becomes the Seventh. Although most of the time people do not notice the gods or their workings, they still use all their power to help creation. At the end of the game, Issun reminds the people that "We shouldn't just pray when we want something", meaning that humans should give thanks for the great lengths Amaterasu goes to protect them.
- He strongly dislikes baths.
ToothpickSword: Denkomaru. One end is a blade, the other is a brush. In game, the sword end is mostly only effective against creatures his size. Only during a few cutscenes does Issun display more than this (for example, he is able to cut clean through the Spirit Gate).
Celestial Brush: When a Celestial Brush technique is used in game, a scroll appears and the view of the world is rendered through an antique filter. The symbol for the technique is drawn over the outline of the objects that appear through the scroll. After correctly completing the symbol, the technique is activated. The amount of times they can be used depends on the ink supply.
Strength: Similar to an ant’s ability to carry fifty times their weight, Issun has extraordinary strength. Remember that fifty times his weight isn’t much.
- There are many references to actual Japanese legends and myths in Okami; most notably is Amaterasu herself. It would be a shame to forsake all the traditional stories and mythos surrounding ancient Japan. So, the myths will be divided into ‘Old’ for the classical tales and ‘New’ for the stories involving the Brush Gods. Issun himself is Shinto, and no doubt he would have learned both legends and its philosophy while he trained.
Youtube video 1 (view at 5:54) and Youtube video 2 (view at 3:37) for how the Celestial Brush is used.
Threadhopping: Go for it!
Fourthwalling: Okami has its own take many traditional Japanese legends; Issun is no exception. So if your character knows of the story of the One-Inch Boy, he/she could probably fourth-wall him.
Offensive subjects (elaborate): Issun is very trusting and forgiving, so many times he will brush off offense (this is especially true if your character is female).
Hugging this character: Sure, why not? Just as a warning, he doesn't like touch.
Kissing this character: He’ll be surprised, that’s for sure.
Flirting with this character: Go ahead.
Fighting with this character: [See below.]
Injuring this character: If your character is angry enough want to fight him, s/he might be more than disappointed with the brawl. Remembering that Issun is only once inch tall, it would be easy to do severe damage on him. That being said, he’s very quick at dodging. As of now he only knows one Celestial Brush technique, but later on he'll be learning more.
Killing this character: No thank you. Not without a resurrection plan in the works.
Using telepathy/mind reading abilities on this character: Go ahead. It’s easy enough to tell what he’s thinking, most of the time: painting, sword, girls. His three biggest secrets are (1) he stole his grandfather's painting,(2) he really should be doing his duties as a Celestial Envoy and (3) anything about the Celestial Brush.
Once he starts canon, Issun’ll be learning how to ~warp reality~ with Celestial Brush Techniques. In addition, he’ll be protected by the goddess Amaterasu—so any harm coming his way will have to deal with a divine giant wolf before coming close to Issun.
From time to time, Issun will be drawing around the community, or DDD posts his pictures accidentally. OOCly, all pictures can be found on Photobucket or Imageshack.
Get your own copy of the IC/OOC Permissions meme!
~*A Guide to How Your Characters Will Perceive Amaterasu and Other Kami*~
In Okami the white wolf, main character, and the fluffy thing that Issun is jumping up and down on is the god Amaterasu. She is a Shinto omikami of creation, one of the great three gods (the two others are her brothers) that rule over the others, and arguably the most integral (arguably as if you were to argue that Zeus, Amon-Ra, and Odin were the most revered in their pantheons). Her symbol is the sun, and she is often mistaken for being only a sun goddess because it is an obvious symbol for life/creation by the warmth and power the rays bring. Her red marks and the weapon she carries on her back (called ‘Divine Instrument’) can only be seen by characters with certain circumstances. I’m not planning on having her in many of my entries, but here’s an explanation of Amaterasu’s appearance just in case she’s running around in a video. (This will probably be up until someone decides to rp Amaterasu—in which case I’ll leave that player to decide their own specifics and take this one down.)
Amaterasu does not intentionally hide her form from others. That other characters are able to perceive her for who she really is depends mostly on spirituality rather than, age, experience, or any sort of given magical power. There are both really old and really young characters, as well as characters with great power or no power, that do or do not see Ammy with stripes. Surprisingly, even the great oni Jorōgumo (a demon spider boss of sorts) could not see Ammy as anything more than a canine. Even if a character may see both the markings and the Divine Instrument on her back, Ammy’s godhood may still be hidden. Because of these curious exceptions, I’m going to go with a slightly Shinto route in the explanation.
Two important themes about perception:
Peace of mind, heart, and body makes the Sight most clear.
The Truth is always present, but it is the state of the people and environment that determines whether it is visible.
Here's a quick analogy:
You are an observer of a certain situation in which there is a tree in a forest. A person walks by the tree, and at the same time the tree falls. You see it fall, you hear it fall, you feel the ground shake when it does, and you smell the musk rising from its leaves. This is your truth.
The person walking by does not notice the falling tree. Maybe the person is listening to music instead of the forest. Or maybe he/she is too absorbed in his/her own thoughts. Both the state of the environment (music) and person (thoughts, emotions) are offered as explanations to why the truth (that the tree fell) did not reach the person passing by. Shinto offers one additional explanation, and that is spirituality (inner peace or enlightenment).
My character doesn’t believe in kami. At all. This is the determining factor. Your character may be the goodiest good person that ever gooded good or the most treacherous wizard that ever lived; however, if there’s no belief, Ammy will appear only a wolf despite truly being a kami. In Okami, the kami's power comes from everyone’s hopes, beliefs, prayers, etc. This belief has been decreasing over the years. The only time the kami seem to be bothered by this is when they need that power to prevent evil. If nothing believes in kami and there’s an evil out there that can only be handled by kami, well...life is screwed until the belief in kami is renewed. Regardless of whether creation believes or not, the kami still have reality warping powers and do what they can to help. Remember this is not a disbelief in magic, but only a disbelief in kami—feel free to attribute any scientific or magical explanation to what Ammy might be doing in the background.
My character has murdered and doesn’t give a crap. Your character will probably only see a white wolf, but read for more: Part of a Shinto belief is that if the killer has taken a life without regret or showing respects to the dead, or if the one who was killed was not ready to die, the killer will be under a urami (grudge) held by the ones s/he has slain. Shinto teaches that murder is a costly, spiritual burden on the mind, body, and soul. The defense mechanisms people employ to compensate for these costs are the very things that make people less aware of kami. Both the grudge held by those who were killed and the defense tactics unconsciously used to help themselves taint the murderer. Anyways, it’s the remorse part that’s key in determining if your character can see the stripes/etc or not.
My character is always emotionally unstable/angry/sad/insincere/hell bent on revenge. Most likely, Amaterasu will appear as a white wolf. This is a bit similar to the above. In the Shinto world, revenge is a vicious cycle unless one is willing to show remorse, forgiveness, or mercy. The strong emotions of revenge and animosity, or simply strong emotions, will make your character less spiritual.
My character is an overall good person. There are both many ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters in Okami that cannot see Ammy’s markings. Again, it doesn't matter if your character’s a hero or villain or an angel or a devil, for it mostly pertains to what emotions and understanding are going through the character’s head. In accordance with the belief of spirituality coinciding with tranquility, the character must exhibit a certain degree of peace of mind and understanding of the universe and the creation/life within it.
So my character sees what?
Just a wolf: Your character does not believe in kami; has little no spirituality or is only somewhat spiritual; holds a lot of hatred or angst; mind is clouded; is not sorry for a crime; or has murdered enough so that the grudges obscure his/her spirituality. Regardless of any level of purity/goodness/etc, if your character does not believe in kami s/he falls into this category.
Red stripes: Your character is spiritual and demonstrates a level of purity, believes in kami.
Divine Instrument: Your character is very spiritual and pure, emotionally stable, is sorry for any crimes committed, forgives or shows mercy to oppressors, and believes in kami.
Amaterasu as a woman: There has been only one person in Okami that has seen Amaterasu not in wolf form, and that person is both dead and holy to begin with—and sacrificed his sight for an ‘inner eye’. In comparison, his wife who is both a loved princess and benevolent priestess only sees Ammy’s stripes and weapon. This one is primarily reserved for god characters and characters that’ve died and gained an inner eye. Remember, however, that even gods do not always meet these Shinto criteria, and can loose their divinity, and ability to see the truth, because of it. A god must understand both themselves and things that are mortal.
'Kami' and 'Gods'
For the purpose of simply being…simple, ‘god’ and ‘kami’ will be used interchangeably. And before anyone questions, yes. Both kami and gods are all-powerful, omniscient , generic god stuff, etc. etc.
Shinto describes their gods as ‘kami’. This literally translates as ‘forces of nature’. Of course, literal translations always have the need to be interpreted further. To begin with, the force of nature as we describe it is physics, a set of rules and motions upon which all things behave. The kami are physics itself, as they both are and determine how the world runs. There is a natural force, along with a descriptive rule, for everything from how friction occurs to how neurochemistry works. This natural force is the kami. And forever how many things or forces exist in the world, there is a kami for it.
There is a certain duality to the kami, meaning that they both give and take. In Okami, this could not be more apparent with each step Amaterasu takes. As she moves, flowers flourish. The seed is given from nothing and the energy, time, and substance that is needed to fully grow is all provided for with a single step. As she withdraws her touch, the same energy and time is taken away and the flowers wither and die, vanishing into nothing. [It is similar to the walk of the 'Spirit of the Forest' in Miazaki's Princess Mononoke.]
Tracing back Asian mythology all the way to the early Vedic myths, this ‘force’ by which all things obey is the ‘cosmic order’, or Rta. Whereas the Vedas separated the gods from the Rta, Shinto groups Rta and kami as the same force. As with the Vedic mythology, time is viewed as cyclical. There is both creation and oblivion, birth and apocalypse. The kami include both aspects; that is, the next cycle and universe will be created by them and will be destroyed by them. Think of it as, well, physics. The force created the world, and by the same force it will be destroyed. This is on the grander scale of things; human, trees, bacteria, mountains—all contribute to both creation and destruction, and nothing of what they do is viewed as totally unnatural. For example, spiders synthesize their web, they have the brain and ability to do so, and it is a process which many view as natural. Likewise, humans create technology because they also have the capacity to make it. Technology is a natural byproduct of human intelligence. If it is within their ability to create something, whatever is created is viewed part of their nature. As with everything else, they can destroy with what they make. Creation and destruction is part of nature, and nature itself cannot be without one or the other. Humans screwing things up only contributes to the world naturally moving to destruction. That is, if humans destroy the world by nuclear bombs and drive species to extinction, it is their natural
Forces of nature do not only describe what happens next according to the rules. They determine the cause and cascade of the events. They are “that which moves the world”. This is the “kotowari”. Kotowari is one of many Japanese words for “Truth”, and this particular one means “truth of reason/motivation”, a “truth of logos”. All of the words describe the pure force that lets the worlds be created, exist, and turn to chaos. The underlying force, the truth, is always there, no matter how obscure it may seem, no matter if humans, objects, plants, spirits, and even other gods cannot see it. Without a truth (a reason, motivation, or force), the world would not move according to it, or not move at all.
ETA: EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY OKAMI. Or here’s a short playthrough, if anyone's interested.