Gennosuke Kōga (甲賀 弦之介, Kōga Gennosuke) is the heir of Danjō Kōga and therefore heir to the Kōga Manjidani clan. He is one of the ten Kouga ninja picked by his grandfather to represent the Kōga in the battle against the Iga. He is engaged to the princess of Iga, Oboro.
Gennosuke is a handsome young man with long black hair tied in a ponytail and brown eyes. His eyelashes are unusually long, giving him a slightly feminine appearance. He wears a blue kosode with a long white haori over the top and dark blue hakama, tucked into his black socks. He also wears brown gloves which cover only the back of his hands and his wrists. He looked similar as a child, even wearing the same clothing, but minus the haori.
Before the WarEditGennosuke was selected by Danjō and was therefore taken to meet Hanzō Hattori the 2nd. There he met with Ogen and Oboro for the first time. The children were taken outside by Kyōhachiro, when the conversation became more serious and there Gennosuke told Oboro he believed Tsubagakure to be a horrible place. Oboro tried everything to convince him otherwise and eventually he believed her, telling her he would like to visit it someday.
At Manjidani he was put under the care of his uncle, Hyōma Muroga. Hyōma trained him how to use the Dojutsu technique and how to fight, using blinfolding to help him to learn to fight blind. Gennosuke disliked the blindfold training, but gradually became a proficient fighter. He also picked up many of Hyōma's beliefs from his teachings.
Years later, Gennosuke, accompanied by Danjō and Jōsuke Udono, was taken to meet Oboro to arrange their marriage. He waited in a room with Danjō and Ogen until Oboro entered, carrying the tea. Nervous, she tripped and spilled it all over him. Despite this mishap, Gennosuke was instantly enchanted by Oboro's innocent nature and agreed to go ahead with the marriage with the hope of breaking the hatred between the clans. He often met Oboro in the mountains to practice the traditional fan dance they would perform at their wedding, with Gennosuke playing music with his flute and Oboro doing the dancing.
In many ways, Gennosuke is as much an oddity among his clan as Oboro is among hers. An idealist and scholar who believes in looking to the future instead of being dominated by the past, Gennosuke views the pursuit of any grudge to be an ultimately pointless and self-destructive practice. His sense of principles remain even after learning of the renewed conflict between Kōga and Iga, prompting him to lead the Kōga on an expedition to Sunpu to plead with former Shogun Ieyasu and Hanzō Hattori the 4th to reinstigate the treaty before any more senseless bloodshed occurs. Yet, despite being a man of peace, if pushed into a corner, Gennosuke is more than capable of killing anyone, who threatens him or his clansmen.
- Dōjutsu: Gennosuke's bloodline contains an inherited power called Dōjutsu which he learned to control from his teacher and uncle Hyouma. A hypnosis technique, Dōjutsu reverses the homicidal intent of anyone who meets the stare of its user directly. In other words; if someone expresses hostility toward him, Gennosuke is able to will his enemies into killing themselves instead of him. Unlike his uncle's dōjutsu, Gennosuke's is not permanently enabled and can be triggered at will. When activated, Gennosuke's corneas turn crimson red and his pupils shine a brilliant gold color.
- Enhanced Senses: Due to his training with Hyouma, Gennosuke learned to rely on his other senses in the event his eyes should become disabled. As a result, despite being temporarily blinded with the same Seven Days of Darkness Potion Oboro used, Gennosuke was able to function without being dependant on others for support.
- Kenjutsu: Aside from his Dōjutsu technique, Gennosuke is extremely skilled with the sword and was able to match and even defeat Tenzen Yakushiji, despite still being blinded and Tenzen having two centuries of experience over him.
Before the cancellation of the treaty, Gennosuke sought to build a lasting peace between Kōga and Iga by marrying Oboro, the Iga Princess whom he loved to a great extent. His feelings for her remain even as the body count among both clans rises, filling him with torment as he struggles to reconcile his personal feelings with the duty demanded of him as his clan's leader. In the anime, Gennosuke carries with him a flute that he often plays for Oboro and which represents their hope of bringing peace to the clans. After learning of the Hattori Truce's absolvement, he leaves the flute behind in Tsubagakure as a farewell present for her.
Gennosuke held a great respect for his uncle and believed in the teachings he had learned from him. However, as a child, he had disliked him and found his lessons to be boring and pointless. Despite becoming the leader of the Kōga Manjidani clan, after Danjō's death; he still valued Hyōma's opinion highly.
Gennosuke seemed to have a good friendship with Jōsuke, despite Jōsuke's often embarrassing behaviour. Despite their friendship, Jōsuke was still aware of Gennosuke's authority and complied with all his orders. Jōsuke was chosen by Gennosuke to accompany them to Tsubagakure, when he was to meet Oboro.
Differences between Manga, Anime and Novel VersionsEdit
Gennosuke in the manga tends to be less sentimental than his anime incarnation. After learning of the truce's cancellation, despite his affection for Oboro and his desire for peace, he's more willing to accept her as his enemy and even showed signs of beginning to accept the grudge his clan carried for the Iga as his own. He still only fights if the Iga attack first, but unlike in the anime, he coldly smirks when his clan attains a victory over their opponents.
Additionally, while Gennosuke and Oboro's marriage in the anime was arranged between their two families by Hanzō Hattori the 2nd; in the manga, Gennosuke is the one who proposes the union with the intention of building a definitive peace between Kōga and Iga. Upon meeting Oboro however, Gennosuke was captivated by her innocence and his diplomatic ideals became subjacent to his desire of spending his life with her.
In the original novel, Gennosuke's personality is a mixture of the manner he's depicted in both the manga and anime. While he still views the pursuit of vengeance as pointless, his anger over the death of his comrades after learning of the Hattori Truce's dissolution gradually gnaws at his spirit and sanity as he sinks into confusion and despair over the possibility that Oboro (whom he was unable to harbor malice towards even in the bloodiest of fighting) deceived him regarding the renewed conflict. After learning that Oboro had sealed her eyes and meeting with Hattori Hanzo; Gennosuke resigned himself without bitterness to letting Oboro kill him as a means of showing his regret for mistrusting her and intentionally left himself open to attack. As in the anime and manga, Oboro instead kills herself just before Gennosuke recovers from the Seven Days of Darkness, whereupon he writes that Oboro is the winner and then follows her in death.
Appearance in Other MediaEditGennosuke is in the 2005 live-action movie Shinobi: Heart Under Blade, played by Joe Odagiri. He looks drastically different (he wears a sleeveless red cape and brown scarf around his neck. He also sports a hairstyle with a mohawk formation at the top) and even his technique is changed. It still depends on his eyes (manifested as they glow a golden color) and operates by sending a round golden aura surging from where he stood, but it appears to manipulate time instead of reflecting a person's malice upon them, even if he mainly used the technique in a counter wise manner. Either that or it merely increases his reaction time to inhuman levels, making it look like everything else is around him moving in slow motion. Throughout the movie he refuses to get involved in the battles between the clan, frustrating his comrades, especially Koshirou. In the end of the movie, he leaves himself open and allows Oboro to kill him, being unable to bring himself to kill her, and entrusts upon her his final wish; that Ieyasu will spare the two villages.
- (To Oboro) "I never wanted...to kill anyone. I never wanted anyone...to die, forgive me."
- "We are all the same in birth and in death. All of us are human. We need to break these bindings of hatred and revenge which hold us. We need to open our eyes to the other side. To the Iga, even if it is only one of them. Then that when we'll try to know and better understand."