Hyouma Muroga (室賀 豹馬, Muroga Hyōma) is a member of the Kouga Manjidani clan and one of the ten ninjas selected by Danjou to participate in the war against the Iga. He serves as Danjou's second-in-command and was Gennosuke's teacher.
Hyouma has long, black hair and dresses all in black. He has three, small circular markings between his eyes, which he almost always has shut. His outfit consists of a kosode, a haori and hakama, which are tucked into his socks. He wears traditional sandals and also a pair of black gloves, which only cover his wrists and the back of his hands.
Before the WarEdit
As the second in command to Lord Danjou, Hyouma was assigned to be the sensei of Danjou's young grandson Gennosuke, who was also his nephew since Gennosuke's deceased mother was Hyoma's older sister. Over the years, Hyouma successfully taught his pupil to call upon the Dojutsu technique in their bloodline as well as how to rely on other senses besides sight, even though Gennosuke originally believed the lessons to be pointless. Hyouma's most important lesson however was when he revealed to Gennosuke the truth of the world; that despite whatever differences may exist between people, they are still humans who live, feel, and die the same way. It was due to Hyouma's teachings that Gennosuke was able to see past his clan's hatred for the Iga and seek a harmonious coexistence until the blood shed following the dissolval of the Hattori truce called for a decisive end to the conflict by one way or another.
Years later Hyouma bares witness to Kagerou leaving Juubei's room in a fit of rage and enters the room to find out the reason for her anger. Juubei tells him he refused to tell Kagerou what the future held in store for Gennosuke and Oboro's marriage. Hyouma mentions that he is also interested in the outcome but Juubei refuses to inform him, telling him that he doesn't give away other people's fortunes. Hyouma understands Juubei's position but is left slightly disappointed.
The Iga InvasionEdit
Hyouma is briefly seen with Saemon, Kagerou and Gyoubu when Juubei is reading the stars. The group listen as he predicts that Danjou and Shougen's lives are in danger. Gyoubu offers to go and check on them but Juubei decides that he should be the one to go and sets out for Sunpu to find them.
Later on Hyouma is seen again with Kagerou and Gyoubu discussing his fear for Danjou and Shougen. When the topic shifts to Gennosuke's upcoming wedding Kagerou claims that Gennosuke is only marrying Oboro for peace and that she would like to kill Oboro herself. Hyouma quickly silences her, clearly disapproving of her remarks. The group is interrupted by the arrival of Saemon, who informs the group he has sent his sister Okoi to Iga to check on Gennosuke and Jousuke. Hyouma and Gyoubu praise the idea, knowing Gennosuke and the Iga wouldn't be so harsh on discovering a woman entering. Suddenly Hyouma hears the approaching footsteps and is able to discern that it is a group of Iga ninja, one of whom is a woman, coming from the north. Hyouma quickly evacuated the Kouga woman, children and elderly to the hidden shelters before sending a squad of ninja under the command of Gyoubu to intercept the Iga.
Following a brief and violent struggle Hyouma, accompanied by Kagerou and Saemon, appears before the Iga leader Tenzen Yakushiji and demands to know the meaning for the unprovoked attack. Tenzen claims he and the others came as friends to tell the Kouga that Gennosuke was staying as their guest at Tsubagakure for a few days and that the Kouga were the ones who attacked them first, displaying a Manjidani shuriken thrown into his sword scabbard as proof. He throws the shuriken at Hyouma but it is quickly deflected by Kagerou. With no evidence to prove the attack was not started by the Kouga and the safety of Gennosuke most likely at risk Hyouma made no attempts to stop the Iga esacping, simply watching as the group disappeared into a swarm of butterflies summoned by Hotarubi.
Later, during a meeting with the other Kouga ten, Hyouma theorizes that for some reason the Hattori truce had been absolved and charges Gyoubu and Saemon with infiltrating Tsubagakure to learn the truth of the matter and if necessary retrieve Gennosuke to safety.
Attack on GennosukeEdit
Gyoubu and Saemon return to Manjidani with Gennosuke, though without the now deceased Jousuke and Okoi. The group then sets out directly for Sunpu as Gennosuke wants to speak with Ieyasu Tokugawa to learn the reason behind the battle. As they travel Hyouma puts his hear to the ground and determines that no one is following them. Gyoubu points out that the Iga couldn't catch up with them so fast but Hyouma says he fears they may use an unknown Iga route to catch them.
Later the Kouga realise that Gyoubu has gone missing and, with Hyouma unable to hear him nearby, determine that he has left to act on his own. It then begins to rain so the ninja stop at a roadside inn, unaware that Nenki and Hotarubi are chasing them to assassinate Gennosuke. That night Hyouma and Saemon hear a commotion coming from Gennosuke's room and enter to find that Gennosuke's eyes have been sealed closed by the medicine hidden within Hotarubi's snake. Angered, Saemon and Kagerou run outside and follow Hotarubi off into the darkness. Hyouma stays behind with Gennosuke and soon after Kagerou and Saemon leave Nenki arrives, determined to kill them both. He mocked them both for being blind but upon Gennosuke's command Hyouma openied his eyes, triggering his dojutsu and forcing Nenki to crush himself to death with his own hair. Not long after, Saemon and Kagerou return having been tricked by Hotarubi. Gennosuke tells Saemon that Hotarubi will have headed in the opposite direction of her butterflies and Saemon once again sets out to find her, this time having stolen Nenki's appearance.
Journey to SunpuEdit
After Saemon returned the group once again set off for Sunpu, with Gennosuke and Hyouma now wearing hoods that covered their faces. Saemon had taken Gennosuke's appearance so it would appear that Nenki and Hotarubi had failed to blind Gennosuke. They eventually come across a wooden wall from a ship and within it is Gyoubu's body. The group mourn him by putting flowers on the wall and sailing it out into the ocean. The group sense they are being watched by Iga ninja but ignore them and continue on their way.
That night Ogen's hawk flew over the Kouga carrying the scroll, enticing Saemon and Kagerou to follow it. Hyouma stays behind with Gennosuke, who calls out to there would be assailant. From out of the tall grass, Tenzen emerges with his sword drawn and announces his intention to kill them both as he slices Hyouma's travelling hood open. Yet despite Tenzen's taunts and threats, neither Hyouma nor Gennosuke make any move against him. Instead, Hyouma asks Tenzen to return with the other Iga to Tsubagakure until Gennosuke and the other Kouga return from Sunpu. The challenge Gennosuke had originally sent was merely to save face among the other Kouga. His true intention was to plead with retired shogun Ieyasu to reinstigate the Hattori truce and finally bring an end to the 400-year cycle of violence and revenge that the Iga and Kouga had been trapped in for so long. With a mixture of amusement and contempt, Tenzen rejects their offer and launches himself into battle against Hyouma until his sword presses against his enemy's throat. Before Tenzen could administer the finishing blow, Gennosuke gives his teacher permission to look and Hyouma unleashes his Dojutsu, which forces Tenzen to slice his own throat open instead. Kagerou and Saemon return and praise Hyouma's work and then turn to look at the scroll that Kagerou had taken from the hawk. They realise Jingorou Amayo's name has been scored out too and thank Gyoubu for his work. The group then set their sights on the remaining Iga; Oboro, Akeginu and Koshirou.As Saemon stayed behind to take Tenzen's appearance for himself, the other Kouga continue on their way to Sunpu as Gennsouke orders his men to kill the next Iga they came across regardless of who it was. But although Gennosuke had signed his lover's death warrant, Hyouma determined by his heavy gate how deeply his leader's decision was making him suffer. As he prays for Gennosuke to remain conflicted until he was the last of the Kouga, Koshirou appeared before them and furiously launched both his vortexes and his scythes in an attempt to finish the remaining Kouga himself. Taking cover behind two nearby rocks, Hyouma orders Kagerou to take Gennosuke and run, his parting advice to his student to always look to the truth of the world should he ever lose his way. Kagerou leaves her sword to aid him and Hyouma throws himself into battle as his comrades run to safety. Koshirou blocks Hyouma's sword strike with his scythe as Hyouma attempts to use his Dojutsu. But with his eyes destroyed from his fight with Gennosuke, Koshirou is completely immune to Hyouma's powers. Koshirou counters with another vortex and Hyouma blocks the attack with Kagerou's scabbard, although the edge of the vortex succeeds in wounding his right ear. Realizing he won't survive another attack, Hyouma puts some distance between himself and his enemy before throwing his travel pack and Kagerou's scabbard onto the road. The scabbard lands first and Koshirou throws his scythe at the noise, revealing his position. The travel pack lands behind him to distract him, leaving him open for the finishing blow. Unfortunately for Hyouma, he forgets that Koshirou's scythes return when thrown and is forced to defend himself when the blade comes back for a second pass. The impact of Koshirou's weapon off Hyouma's sword reveals his position to Koshirou, who immediately creates a vortex that shreds Hyouma's face to pieces. Hyouma's final words are for Gennosuke to live and he then dies on his feet, his sword bracing him up as the life flows out of him.
Hyouma is cautious and intuitive, and following a surprise attack on Manjidani is the first member of the Kouga ten to realize that the Hattori truce may have been absolved. Although he distrusts the Iga, Hyouma admires Gennosuke's efforts to establish peace between the two clans and supports him whole heartedly regardless of what personal cost he may endure.
Hyouma is Gennosuke's uncle as his mother was Hyouma's elder sister, He was his teacher during childhood and Gennosuke disliked his lessons, but at some point seems to have learned them, and during the story, Hyouma is respected by Gennosuke as his mentor and probably the only character besides Oboro and Danjou to have influence over him.
Hyouma was Danjou's second in command. which means he was trusted by Danjou. By being Gennosuke's uncle means that he could be Danjou's son, but it was never implied in both anime nor manga.
Hyouma gives her councils but always without hiding the truth from her, and kagerou always gets more angry about Gennosuke and Oboro. Kagero is Gennosuke's cousin which means Hyouma could be her uncle too.
- Dojutsu: Hyouma possesses the same Dojutsu skill as Gennosuke, a skill which was passed through the family. The Dojutsu skill allows Hyouma to manipulate his opponents, forcing them to kill themselves or each other simply by looking into his eyes. Unlike Gennosuke's dojutsu, Hyouma's is permanently activated, forcing him to keep his eyes shut at all times to avoid killing the wrong person at the wrong time.
- Enhanced Senses: As Hyouma has to have his eyes closed at all times he has learned to enhance his other senses to make up for his lack of sight. His hearing in particular is superior to everyone elses in that it is almost like a radar, allowing him to hear the Iga approaching from far outside of Kouga. He could also hear the number of ninja and distinguish between male and female footsteps. This makes him impossible to sneak up on.
- Kenjutsu: Hyouma's main weapon is his sword, which he uses with great proficiency despite being unable to see. When fighting he tends to use his sword and scabbard in unison.
Differences Between the Manga, Anime and Novel VersionsEdit
In the manga, Hyouma lacks the humanist beliefs of his anime version and was just as pleased as the other Kouga upon learning that the truce had been dissolved; expecting Gennosuke to willingly fulfill his obligations as clan leader. In contrast, following Gennosuke's return from Tsubagakure in the anime, Hyouma was the only one who realized that in all likelihood, Oboro was just as unaware of the situation as Gennosuke was, much to Kagerou's outrage. Additionally, when asked by Gyoubu in the manga if Gennosuke would be able to kill Oboro, Hyouma answered he would, whereas in the anime he remains silent, knowing full well the inner turmoil his student was experiencing.
Unlike the anime, Hyouma in the original novel is capable of deactivating his Dojutsu. But because he was born with light-sensitive eyes, Hyouma is only able to open them at night or other low-light conditions. (This holds true in the manga as after killing Nenki Mino, Hyouma admits that during the day he is blind but at night he can open his eyelids and can gain limited vision). Also, instead of having his hair simply loose, in the novel Hyouma wears his hair in a topknot to mark his status as one of the Kouga's higher ranking members.
Appearance in Other MediaEditHyouma appeared in the live action movie Shinobi: Heart Under Blade played by Takeshi Masu, where he was slightly altered. In the movie, he didn't possess the Dojutsu but was instead a seer (in a way combining the attributes of Juubei Jimushi with him) who could locate the position of people independent of great distances, as well as feeling changes in nature and decipher their means. He was also an adept sword user, favoring the shikomizue in close combat, which caused him to bear a strong resemblance to Zatoichi. He also maintained his mentor relationship with Gennosuke. He mounts a sneak attack upon the Iga and kills Tenzen Yakushiji in the process, before moving to kill Hotarubi and Oboro. When distracted by Hotarubi's butterflies, he is stabbed from behind by the recently-regenerated Tenzen.
- (Moments before being struck by Koshirou's whirlwind) "I've made a mistake."
- (Upon his death) "You cannot die, Gennosuke-sama. You must live past this day."