Kagerou is a highly attractive woman and (like Akeginu, her counterpart in the Iga ten) is representative of the traditional concept of the Kunoichi in her ability to use her sex appeal against members of the opposite sex. She keeps her black hair tied in a ponytail and places traditional, decorative combs and needles in it, leaving some hair to cover her face. She wears a light pink kimono tied with a purple sash and a yellow cord. She wears red lipstick and has violet coloured eyes. She is a good friend of Gyoubu Kasumi's, and also has a brotherly-relationship with Saemon Kisaragi. By being a cousin of Gennosuke Kouga, it is not known if she is Danjou's granddaughter or Hyouma's niece.
Before the WarEdit
It is also known she was a very vocal opponent of the upcoming wedding. Gennosuke's grandfather Danjou must have seen how extreme Kagerou's conduct was becoming as he told Hyouma before setting out for Sunpu that perhaps it was time to find a man for Kagerou to have a child with. Despite Saemon Kisaragi's doubt of that ever happening, Hyouma revealed that there were actually several men in Kouga willing to sacrifice all for one night of pleasure with her.
Attack on Manjidani
Kagerou sits in conversation with Hyouma and Gyoubu on the subject of Gennosuke's pending marriage to Oboro. Hyouma is the most understanding with respect to Gennosuke's intentions, that Gennosuke intends the best for the future of both Kouga and Iga alike. Gyoubu Kasumi is hostile towards the whole idea, having his reasons for wanting the destruction of the Iga. But even Gyoubu's hostility gets dwarfed by Kagerou's openly stated resentments against the marriage. She suggests that Gennosuke is going through the marriage more out of political practicality than any genuine love for an Iga woman, and that the Kouga should kill 'that little tramp'. Hyouma is always quick to come to Gennosuke's defense and chastise her for her comments. She demures each time, and at one point is seen bitterly biting her own lip.
Hyouma, through his own superior sense of hearing, announces that enemies are on their way to Manjidani. His prediction proved correct, as Tenzen, Nenki, Hotarubi, Koshirou, and Rousai arrive in the hopes of eliminating the remaining members of the Kouga Ten in one fell swoop. A ferocious battle erupts in which many Kouga Ninja are slaughtered. Hyouma arrives and demands to know what is going on. Tenzen replies that the Iga were attacked first, and thus were forced to defend themselves. Tenzen then produces as evidence a Kouga shuriken that was stuck in the hilt of his sword. He then flings his sword in an arc motion in order to hurl the shuriken at Hyouma. Kagerou places herself in front of Hyouma, and effortlessly blocks the shuriken with one of her own hairpins, scowling furiously at the Iga. Tenzen and the others leave.
Gennosuke's Return to Manjidani
After the Iga leave, Kagerou mutters "Gennosuke-sama ..." to herself, showing that she is worried both by the Iga's renewed hostility, as well as the fact that Gennosuke is in Tsubagakure visiting Oboro. This worry continues as she is shown waiting tirelessly for his return once he does come to Manjidani after Gyoubu and Saemon have informed him of the end of the Pact and of the Iga's intentions.
Gennosuke holds a conference with the surviving members of the Kouga Ten upon his return, and Kagerou wastes no time in trying to use this as an opportunity to drive a wedge between Gennosuke and Oboro. She repeatedly accuses Oboro of trying to lure Gennosuke into a trap, but is just as often rebuked by Hyouma, who is alive to the possibility that Tenzen and other members of the Iga may have been working behind Oboro's back. Unable to make apparent progress, she even goes as far as to accused Gennosuke of being gullible and susceptible to Oboro's manipulations. Hyouma is swift to chide her again, reminding her that it is not her place to criticize Gennosuke as the new leader of the Kouga.
Gennosuke, meanwhile, is in inner turmoil, unable to reconcile the feelings he still has for Oboro and his loyalty to the Kouga, some of whom have just recently been brutally slain by the Iga. He then chooses to journey to Sunpu in order to learn from Ieyasu Tokugawa the reason why the No Hostilities Pact has been broken. His decision to try and end the conflict just as it has started, plus his inscrutable silence leading up to that decision, becomes a source of agony for Kagerou as she has no way of knowing if he is resolved on breaking with Oboro.
Journey to Sunpu
Gennosuke takes Gyoubu, Hyouma, Saemon, and Kagerou with him on the journey to Sunpu. They stop briefly at a pool. Kagerous is seen preening herself, and also gazing longingly at Gennosuke, who appears not to be giving her any attention. A hornet rests briefly on her kimono, and then starts to fly away. It soon falls dead in an instant, having been killed by Kagerou's poisonous breath as she was becoming desirous towards Gennosuke. It becomes thoroughly obvious by now that her professed hatred towards the Iga is really an extension of her personal resentments towards Oboro.
Kisaragi Saemon is also at the edge of the pond. Though he normally keeps his eyes closed, he is able to observed what happened to the hornet. He also understands what this means, that Kagerou's feelings are resurfacing stronger than ever.
The Kouga then stay overnight at an inn. Saemon explains to Hyouma that he is afraid of what Kagerou may do now that her old feelings are coming back. Hyouma then explains the nature of Kagerou's predicament. Her breath turns into a deadly poison that can kill in seconds when she is sexually aroused. This, coupled with her beauty, makes her the perfect ninja to assassinate a man through seduction. Hyouma also relates how Kouga Danjou told him that it was time to find Kagerou a man who could give her a child. Saemon expresses surprise at this, as for any man to be caught in a sexual situation with Kagerou would mean certain suicide. Hyouma then reveals that several men in Manjidani are willing to 'put in all on the line for her' in exchange for one night of pleasure with her. Saemon then replies that she is indeed beautiful, but that is what makes her even more frightening.
Kagerou, meanwhile, is taking her time bathing herself, and apparently dreaming of intimacy with Gennosuke. Once she is done and dressed up, she goes to Gennosuke's room to make conversation about events for the next day. Gennosuke is lukewarm in his responses, and is quick to tell her that it is time to retire for the night. This pushes Kagerou's bottled-up feelings to the forefront, as she then embraces Gennosuke on the sudden. Becoming aroused, her breath starts to poison Gennosuke, who barely manages to save himself by using his Doujutsu to deflect her technique away from himself and back onto her.
Gennosuke wonders what has gotten into Kagerou. Kagerou then declares that she wants to die, and preferably together with Gennosuke in his arms. Gennosuke tells her to wait until the rest of the Iga have been slain. Kagerou jumps on this, and presses Gennosuke on whether he is willing to kill Oboro. Gennosuke says he is, but he's less than emphatic in saying it, and may simply have been telling Kagerou what she wanted to hear while he himself remained in inner turmoil. Kagerou meanwhile expresses with glee a desire to seduce and kill the Iga men with her technique, while Oboro (women won't be effected by Kagerou's poison) will be left for Gennosuke to kill.
Kagerou's poison leaves Gennosuke weakened, and he is unable to prevent himself from getting blinded by the Seven Nights Potion that Hotarubi's snake had been carrying.
Kagerou and Saemon soon notice Hotarubi's butterflies, and then give chase to the Iga. Saemon manages to wound Hotarubi in her thigh with a Kunai dagger. Hotarubi escapes by using her butterflies as a diversion. Saemon intends to chase Hotarubi down. Kagerou wants to help him, but he insists on doing it alone. Here there is a difference between the Japanese version and the English dubbed version. In the English dubbed version, he tells Kagerou that she should watch over Gennosuke. In the Japanese version, Saemon tells her she needs to go back and apologize to Gennosuke for her role in getting him blinded.
As events progress, Hyouma kills Nenki with his Doujutsu, and Saemon has for the time being been unable to track down Hotarubi. One scene shows Kagerou staring discreetly yet intensely Gennosuke, while he himself is facing the door leading out of the inn room, completely oblivious to towards Kagerou. Kagerou finds herself in an unenviable situation. The resumption of hostilities with the Iga give her hope, however misplaced, that she can finally have her desire fulfilled. And yet Gennosuke continually shows no unequivocal resolve to renounce Oboro, or any eagerness to start a relationship with Kagerou. He is at times even cold and distant with Kagerou. This situation causes Kagerou's bitterness and resentment to escalate, and will play a vital role in the story as it progresses.
These themes continue while the party waits for Saemon to return from his task of killing Hotarubi. Kagerou is bathing his face, but Gennosuke tells her somewhat impolitely to stop. Furthermore, Hyouma questions the wisdom of Gennosuke continuing the journey to Sunpu after he has been blinded. Gennosuke remains resolute, leaving Kagerou in the dark on where Gennosuke's feelings lie.
Border Bridge between Oswari and Misaka
The group of four continue their journey. Kasumi Gyoubu, meanwhile, has pursued the Iga aboard their ship. He eventually dies in combat with Tenzen Yakushiji. Gyoubu's technique, plus his getting sprayed with Akeginu's blood, plus getting run through by Tenzen's sword, has left his body inside a wooden board of the ship. The board itself conveys a horrific and bloody image of Gyoubu having died in pain. Tenzen leaves Gyoubu's body inside the board near the border bridge between Oswari and Misaka as a way to taunt the remaining Kouga. Kagerou, like the other Kouga, is shocked by what she witnesses. The Kouga have the board lie flat on the riverbank. Kagerou then picks flowers and leaves them on the board as an impromptu funeral. The Kouga then set the board floating down the river. The petals of the flowers that Kagerou picked are picked up and carried off by the wind, suggesting the passage of Gyoubu's spirit into the afterlife.
The four remaining Kouga continue their journey towards Sunpu along the Tokaido road. Kagerou notices that Ogen's hawk is flying nearby carrying the scroll, and immediately resolves to kill it. Hyouma warns her not to pursue it too far. Saemon joins her in the pursuit. Although Kagerou verbally acknowledges the warning, she immediately reaches the conclusion that in the wake of Ogen's death it is now Oboro who controls the hawk. Kagerou's motives thus become apparent, killing the hawk will be the next best thing to killing Oboro herself.
At some point, Kagerou notices somebody (possibly Koshirou) is guiding the hawk by twirling a stick. Kagerou hits the stick with one of her kunai daggers, forcing the hawker to flee. Kagerou wants to continue the pursuit, assuming that it is Oboro. Saemon reminds her that Oboro has no abilities beyond Mystic Eyes, and thus she could not possibly conceal herself from the Kouga. Saemon also expresses concern that both Kagerou and himself have played into a trap set by the Iga to split the Kouga apart. It is becoming obvious that Kagerou's hatred of Oboro has become so intense that is overpowering her own sense of care or danger. This slight turn in Kagerou's character is what will ultimately doom her as the story nears its end.
It turns out that Saemon's assessment was correct, as Hyouma was forced to use his Doujutsu to kill Tenzen. Kagerou relates the news that the hawk got away. Gennosuke issues a command to kill both and its hawker next time. Kagerou asks the expected question of whether that command extends to Oboro as well, and she gets the answer that she wants to hear. Meanwhile, Saemon grabs the opportunity to use Tenzen's seemingly dead body to take on the apperance of Tenzen as a disguise. Gennosuke, Hyouma, and Kagerou press on ahead.
The trio get approached from behind Koshirou Chikuma. Kagerou is nearly slain by Koshirou's Death Song ability, but Gennosuke saves her at the last second by diving into her and pulling her down. She mutters his name with an eagerness to interpret the saving of her life as a romantic gesure. Although Koshirou is blind and thus cannot aim his Death Song as accurately and powerfully as he used to, he is still dangerous and the three Kouga are forced to keep a quiet distance. Hyouma speaks to Kagerou through a secret code and tells her to take Gennosuke away to safety, offering himself to hold up Koshirou. It is a command that Kagerou is only too eager to accept. She leaves behind her shikomizue sword-cane behind for Hyouma to use against Koshirou, and she leads Gennosuke away.
Koshirou kills Hyouma in the ensuing battle with his Death Song ability. However, Hyouma remains standing. Koshirou is thrown off when he can't hear Hyouma fall to the ground. Koshirou's confused state provides an opportunity for both Kagerou and Saemon to get close enough to kill him. Saemon uses his voice to mimic Akeginu's, and tells Koshirou that the Kouga have murdered Oboro. The lie throws Koshirou into turmoil, thus lowering his guard even further. The dialogue allows Kagerou to get close enough to Koshirou and embrace him. She and Koshirou (thinking that Kagerou is actually Akeginu) kiss, which proves fatal to Koshirou in mere seconds.
Gennosuke returns, and notes that Koshirou has fallen dead. This causes a moment of visible embarrassment to Kagerou, as it cannot help but remind Gennosuke what would happen were he and Kagerou ever to physically embrace.
Saemon and Kagerou conspire to set a trap for one of the remaining Iga, Akeginu. Kagerou remains in waiting at the bridge. Saemon, in disguise as the Tenzen, travels to the taverns where Lady Ofuku, Oboro, and Akeginu are staying. Saemon is refused entry by Lady Ofuku's retainers, so he uses his hand to hand combat skills to injure some of the retainers in order to get Akeginu's attention. Akeginu comes out, and is fooled by Saemon's disguise.
Saemon then convinces Akeginu that it was Kagerou who murdered Koshirou. He makes the ruse more convincing by pointing out that Koshirou died despite having no open wounds on his body, and describing Kagerou's ability to poison men (and only men) with her breath. The ruse works perfectly, helped in part due to Akeginu having romantic feelings towards Koshirou. She immediately resolves to seek revenge on Kagerou.
Saemon and Akeginu reach the bridge, where they find Kagerou waiting expectantly. Akeginu pulls out one of Koshirou's kamas and begins attacking Kagerou. Kagerou is able to defend herself at first, but Akeginu soon overpowers her and knocks her into the bridge railing. Akeginu then uses her command over her own blood to blind Kagerou, and then rushes in for the kill. However, Saemon soon restrains Akeginu from behind. Kagerou seizes the opportunity and fatally stabs Akeginu in the chest with a dagger. The Kouga then dump Akeginu's body into the river below.
Saemon is partially conflicted over his role in Akeginu's death, although Kagerou gleefully congratulates him for being able to lead the Iga into the trap. She also insists that she be the one to kill Oboro personally.
Saemon and Kagerou can both hear Lady Ofuku's retainers approaching, and they nod in agreement with each other. Saemon will remain behind to continue his infiltration of Lady Ofuku's party, while Kagerou departs. Unfortunately for her, she cannot see or know that Tenzen has returned to life and kills Saemon.
Due to the upcoming wedding of Genosuke and Oboro, Kagerou has become distraught; resulting in a jaded persona filled with envy and bitterness. Her hatred of Oboro began to consume her and the things she would say often resulted in her getting a swift reprimand from Hyouma. When the Kouga finally learn that the Hattori truce had indeed been absolved, few were happier about the news than Kagerou who saw it as an opportunity to seek revenge on Oboro for taking what Kagerou felt should have rightfully been hers.
Poison Breath: Kagerou's sensuality is her deadliest weapon as her breath becomes poisonous when she's sexually aroused. According to the Kouga, it's an ability shared by all the women in her family. The poison is extremely potent and she can kill an opponent in just seconds in one kiss. As it was suggested by Saemon Kisaragi's statements, her breath will not become poisonous once she has children.
Combat Specialist: Kagerou is considered to be an expert combatant. She carries a shikomizue in her walking cane and is highly adept at shurikenjutsu, shown when she is able to hit Ogen's hawk as it is flying swiftly through the sky. She was also breifly seen using a dagger during her fight with Akeginu, who Kagerou was able to hold off despite Akeginu's enraged state.
Despite being Gennosuke's cousin, she is deeply and madly in love with him. However, due to his relationship with Oboro and her special ability, she's unable to be with him either emotionally or physically.
Kagerou's favorite target for her frustrations is Oboro and is quick to belittle and criticize her at every chance she gets. She believes that Gennosuke is hers and that he only wants to marry Oboro for peace, causing her hatred for Oboro to reach an almost fanatical scale.
They are great friends and work well together.
Difference between Manga, Anime and Novel VersionsEdit
Kagerou's hatred and jealousy of Oboro is far more accentuated in the anime than in the manga. While she still greatly resents her rival for Gennosuke's love, except for the scene where she wants to die with Gennosuke. Kagerou's manga self is very reserved about the matter, and mostly keeps her feelings about the marriage deal to herself.
In the novel, Kagerou possesses the same quiet bitterness as her manga counterpart rather than openly protesting Oboro and Gennosuke's relationship. During a chapter about her, it states if any Kouga member was asked who was the deadliest ninja in Manjidani, all of them would answer Kagerou. Ever since she was a child, she loved Gennosuke, and as woman of Lord Danjou's bloodline, she was qualified to marry him. However, her poisonous breath developed during puberty and Kagerou realized she could never be his wife which makes her seethe when Gennosuke's wedding with Oboro is announced. Kagerou's described as having a face like a tree peony while her breath smells like apricot blossoms.
Appearance in Other MediaEditPlayed by actress Tomoka Kurotani, Kagerou was featured in the live action movie Shinobi: Heart Under Blade with some minor changes. While still sporting her signature poison breath and kiss of death, she didn't need to be sexually aroused to perform either of them. Her ability was also changed from an inherited skill to one that was trained by ingesting increasingly potent doses of various poisons. She is also able to release it in poisonous mist form, but prefers to leap away whenever she expels them in the said manner to avoid the risk of saturating her clothes with the poison. She engages in a duel with Tenzen Yakushiji but is defeated and impaled through the stomach. Before she dies Tenzen, wishing to die, kisses her on the lips. Her poison manages to kill him and the pair die together.
- She based on a slightly altered version of Kagerou. A central character in the anime movie Ninja Scroll released in 1993. She has a different appearance and dies differently, but she is also a Kouga kunoichi (female ninja), who can poison enemies through sexual contact.
- The kanji of Kagerou's name can translate to "mayfly" or "heat haze". A mayfly is an insect that is notorious for it's brief adult lifespan; often only living for 30 minutes or, depending upon the species, a day. The only function of an adult mayfly is to reproduce.
- (To Oboro) "Oboro, you foul stinking wench, I will kill you! I will strip your soul from your body if I have to use my last breath to do it. I will send you to hell like I did Akeginu. These men can't hold me forever."
- (About Gennosuke) "There is no safe place. Nowhere for you and I to go. Nowhere we can be...together."
- (Upon her death) "My breath...I have no more."