- "Man, that would've been awkward if this were one of those romantic harem comedy manga."
- —Seno Nakagami
- "Give it a rest, husband. You're starting to wear the humor thin."
- —Motoko Nakagami
Seno Nakagami (中神 瀬乃, Nakagami Seno) is a fictional character and primary protagonist in Kuro Arashi: The Black Storm. He is one of the members of Kuro Arashi and lives at the Hinata-Sou, sharing room 302 with his wife, Motoko. Like Motoko, he is well-versed in the arts of Shinmei-ryū, having studied the style alongside his future wife for several years during childhood.
After having been withdrawn from Shinmei-ryū, his swordplay grew at its own pace, mostly being self-taught by copying various techniques from anime or video games. He is by far the most casual of any known practicioners of Shinmei-ryū, and so far lacks the 'Demon Eyes' that many are known for, though he has yet to engage in combat against an opponent that has truly enraged him.
His predisposition towards pop culture makes him genre savvy enough to be aware of, and frequently lampshade, practically every standard storytelling convention he encounters, usually with a related one-liner or quote to apply to the situation.
Seno was born July 6, 1989 in Tokyo, Japan. His father, Totoya, was an executive at Sony's Japanese branch, and his mother, Jane, was American. At age 5, he was sent to Kyoto in order to train in the ways of the Shinmei-ryū, as was customary for the Nakagami family, his own father being the one exception in several generations. It was here that he first met his future wife, Motoko, along with her sister, Tsuruko Aoyama. Seno and Motoko swiftly became inseparable friends and, like Keitaro Urashima and Naru Narusegawa, made a promise of future marriage. He was present when Motoko was informed that Setsuna Sakurazaki was to be adopted into the Aoyama family, and became the young hanyou's first non-familial friend.
Over the years when all three were at the dojo in Kyoto, they became something of a 'terrible trio' in that they spent all their free time concocting and executing as many practical jokes as their young minds could conceive. However, this did not last for long, as first Setsuna was taken to live with Konoka Konoe as a "bodyguard," though her role was more that of a playmate, and then Tsuruko chose to marry rather than fulfill her role as the heiress of the dojo. Shortly after this, Seno's parents withdrew him from training when they moved out to Hinata.
It was here that Seno met another of his lifelong friends, the three-years-older Keitaro Urashima, whose dream in life was to get accepted to Tokyo University in order to fulfill a promise he'd made with a girl whose name and face he could no longer remember. Seno found his new friend's goal noble, which helped to cement their friendship. Unfortunately, Seno himself soon fell victim to a similar form of amnesia, forgetting over the course of the next several years that he'd ever been trained in Shinmei-ryū at all, as well as the promise with Motoko, as well as who she was entirely.
As Seno was smaller than average for his age, he, like Keitaro, was often bullied in school. Unlike Keitaro, however, he never backed down from a confrontation, standing up for himself and Keitaro whenever possible, and usually ended up making the former bullies into, at worst, friendly acquaintances. On the home front, his father's position as a Sony CEO meant that there was no shortage of electronic entertainment for the young Seno to enjoy, which fueled the permanent gaming aspect of his personality. He divided his time evenly between video games and playing with Keitaro, coming to know Haruka Urashima, Kanako Urashima, and Granny Hina and being regarded as like a distant relative.
With the high school years rolling around, Seno opted into an exchange program that sent him to Pensacola High School in Florida of the United States, where he stayed with his mother's parents for the duration of the four years. He took an immediate liking to his grandfather, a retired US Army senior non-commissioned officer who awakened the pop culture aspect of Seno's personality. The romanticized stories of his grandfather's tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam during the wars also brought about Seno's immense respect for the military, which he briefly pondered as a career. He also rediscovered his interest in swordsmanship while in America, his long-forgotten training serving as the foundation upon which he began to create his own style, which mostly mimicked things he saw in movies or video games.
Return to Hinata
Following high school graduation, with no immediate plans to pursue a higher education, Seno returned home to Hinata. As a graduation gift, his parents presented him a red-and-silver 2002 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R and the Nakagami family ancestral weapon, Shinaijou. Feeling pretty good about himself, Seno decided that he'd drop by to see his old friend Keitaro, having been told by his parents that the Tokyo University hopeful had recently returned to town. The swordsman arrived at the Hinata-Sou just in time to witness Keitaro engaged in a fierce fantasy duel against Kentaro Sakata, and decided to intervene on behalf of his friend to spare him further embarrassment. Motoko, now living at the Hinata as well, did not recognize her childhood friend, and challenged him as an intruder. Seno, likewise oblivious to her identity, warned her repeatedly not to fight him, but finally relented and defeated her by fighting dirty, knocking her unconscious in the process.
Afterwards, Seno introduced himself to the rest of the tenants, and upon learning that Keitaro was the new manager of the apartments, asked to rent a room for a few days so that he, on suggestion of his parents to catch up with his old friend, would have a place to stay during a planned renovation of his home. He was summarily informed that the apartments had become an all-girls' dormitory, which didn't upset him, as he stated he'd simply get a hotel. As he was leaving, Haruka took him aside and informed him of the abuse that Keitaro often suffered at the hands of the tenants, expressing the intent to find some way to allow him to stay there so he could deflect as much of the abuse as possible. Agreeing to help, Seno went on his way. Motoko, upon regaining consciousness and learning of Seno's need for residence for a few days, was the first to voice that he should not be turned away, prompting the others to relent, at which point she volunteered to go looking for him to inform him. Seno met her at the playground near the bay, where both apologized for their previous behavior and he agreed to her request to be sparring partners.
Thus began Seno's 'brief' stay at the Hinata, which soon grew to become more. Initially, he attempted to remain as inobtrusive as possible to the other tenants, as he considered himself to be a temporary guest. Almost the only times he left his room were for meals, to train every other day with Motoko, and to intervene in uncalled-for violent actions against Keitaro. Thus he remained separate from much of the shenanigans for the first several days, including the fiasco with the vanished rent money. He was not suspected of stealing it as both Shinobu Maehara and Kaolla Su had seen and overheard him playing Halo 2 in his room.
The events surrounding Motoko's first time wearing feminine clothing marked the beginning of Seno's true involvement with the crazy antics of the Hinata's tenants. He was surprised to hear that Motoko was trained in Shinmei-ryū, as his only recent memory of the style was what his father had told him after he returned from America, none of which involved his own previous training nor his relationship to Motoko. He provided a more accurate history of the style than the rumors and hearsay that the other tenants had heard. Later on in the day, while out perusing the latest video game releases, Seno ran into Motoko, who was wearing more feminine clothing since all of hers were being washed, and masqueraded as her boyfriend in order to chase off a bunch of guys who were hitting on her. On their way back to the apartments, he remarked that the frilly dress did not suit her, but commented on her attractiveness--much to her embarrassment-- as he lent her a hoodie to wear over it.
Later, his XBox was one of the numerous random devices that had gone missing, much to his annoyance, for he had new games to play. Joining up with the others to hunt for Tama-chan, believed responsible for the thefts, he differed from the others, who wore anonymous beige fatigues, by dressing in US Air Force combat fatigues, to include tactical body armor. He claimed it was all cosplay gear, anyway. When Motoko arrived in a new dress she had been loaned by Haruka, Seno veritably fell in love with her on the spot, though he at least managed not to reveal it at the time, and could keep his focus on the mission at hand.
With the giant, self-evolving Mecha-Tama revealed as the team's adversary, Seno stepped forward to battle, revealing his own ability to manipulate ki for battle techniques, though his are obviously lifted entirely from video games, and themselves are mostly ineffective against the giant mecha. In order to finally defeat the beast, Seno and Motoko combined their--at the time--most powerful ki attacks in a single partnered attack.
The entire incident with the kissing machine saw Seno with his room locked and barred from the inside. Screw that nonsense.
When the repair bills for the Hinata required the tenants to pitch in, Seno initially had a fit at the cost of 10,000 yen, as he was still accustomed to thinking of money in terms of US dollars rather than yen, where 10,000 yen was merely $100 USD. Upon learning this, he promptly paid out his portion of the bill, revealing that he was a paid video game beta tester for Microsoft, as well as earning money at anime conventions by performing weapon demonstrations.
It was first revealed that Seno's sword had mystical abilities during the time period that Keitaro was babysitting the daughter of Noriyasu Seta, as he was able to effortlessly call out her lies. Though it was merely believed to be exceptional perception on Seno's part at the time, he demonstrated Shinaijou's ability to detect and respond to truth, dishonesty, love, or heartbreak by calling out Keitaro's dishonesty about how the sudden arrival of Seta upset him concerning the standing of his own relationship with Naru. This incident also marks the only time that Seno has sincerely turned violent on Keitaro, when the tenants were trapped in an underground cave and Keitaro confessed for Naru rather than to her, Seno himself was the one to knock Keitaro out.
Not So Typical Summer Vacation
With summer came the span of time working at the tea house on the beach, during which the tenants also put on a play of Journey to the West, in which Seno did not have an acting role, rather working as a stagehand. He commented on the appropriateness of Naru playing the role of Sun Wukong. As the play progressed, and the tea house was destroyed, and forced to relocate to an ancient amphitheater uncovered by Seta, Seno remained out of the spotlight, observing with interest the duel between Seta and Motoko, commenting on how she had progressed since he had first arrived. Later, as Keitaro stepped up to do battle, this time with Naru as the prize, both kayfabe while at the same time being understood that whoever won the fight would have the right to pursue Naru romantically, Seno refused to step forward and fight on Keitaro's behalf, despite his own opinion that his friend would "get Falcon Punched into next Tuesday." His only involvement was to step in and deflect the staff Keitaro was using when it got caught in Naru's bikini, deflecting it in such a direction that it didn't inadvertantly pull off her top, thus allowing the battle to proceed. To the surprise of everyone involved, Keitaro held his own for a time against Seta, though sheerly through luck rather than skill, and both Seno and Haruka believed that Seta was deliberately holding back. However, in the end, the duel was ultimately interrupted by the upwelling of water into the crater created by a particle cannon blast, courtesy of Kaolla, earlier in the show.
Once the tea house was repaired and used as a restaurant, Seno served as a bouncer, forcibly ejecting troublemakers, including Seta and Motoko when they started a fight in the restaurant. Later, he went along with the others when they decided to investigate a shipwreck on a nearby island, mostly to ensure Keitaro wouldn't dig himself any more graves. Upon discovering that Motoko was there on an investigation of a demonic presence, Seno decided that tagging along and assisting her was preferable to any involvement in the inane plans cooked up by Keitaro's two friends.
After Naru was possessed by the demonic spirit, Seno, like Motoko, found himself confounded by his lack of any usable swordplay techniques that could defeat the spirit without causing harm to Naru. At the subsequent strategy meeting with the others, he promptly responded to Kentaro's disdain and disbelief in anything supernatural by punching him out. When Motoko mentioned the Zanmaken Ni-no-Tachi technique as a possible solution, Seno collaborated this with part of the tales of Shinmei-ryū that his father had told him. Later, as she attempted to discern the technique by trial-and-error, Keitaro suffered the effects of many failed attempts, and notably, Kentaro fell under the bullet as well, though Seno called Motoko out on failing the effort on purpose against Kentaro for his discrediting Shinmei-ryū.
Like the others, Seno was impressed with Keitaro's determination to continue to stand as Motoko's practice target, not wholly understanding his friend's reasoning until it was pointed out by Seta: That a person who acts to protect someone they love is possessed of true strength. At this, Seno smiled as he saw the wisdom in Seta's words. When Keitaro returned to continue the attempts, Seno stepped in, telling his old friend to step aside, that it was his "turn to take a few bullets." However, before the training could resume, Haitani had fallen victim to the possessed Naru. When the spirit switched bodies from Naru to the man-hating fangirl of Motoko and attempted to drown Keitaro, Seno arrived in time to push Keitaro away, becoming trapped by the possessed girl himself, who then taunted Motoko over her inability to harm itself without killing Seno and the girl, and claimed that Motoko was destined to never find love. Seno laughed at this proclamation, dared the spirit to do its worst, and expressed his utmost confidence in Motoko's ability to perform the technique. When she successfully performed the maneuver, just before it struck, when the spirit declared that it would not allow her to be happy, Seno answered that it would be he who determined Motoko's happiness. Aside from the spirit, only Keitaro overheard this, making him the first of the tenants to become aware of the swordsman's attraction to Motoko.
Later, during a tender moment between Keitaro and Naru, when the eavesdropping Haitani threw a beer can at Keitaro out of impatience, Seno, who had been passing by, proceeded to open a can of his own on the two for interrupting the scene. Unfortunately for them, his can was of Whoop-Ass, not beer.
The next day, Seno went with the rest of the Hinata crew to the summer festival, where he revealed that he is a terrible marksman, unable to hit any target with a firearm despite knowing practically everything else about their use and maintenance. He separated from the others for a while after that, eventually running into Motoko and Shinobu after they split off from the others as well. The trio watched the fireworks together, prompting Seno to remark on a memory he had when he was a child, of attending a similar summer festival with a girl with whom he had made an important promise, though he couldn't remember her name or the promise. Motoko shared a similar memory, but neither thought anything more of it at the time.
A few weeks later, when Lamba Lu arrived at the Hinata for a visit, Seno instantly recognized that the lookalike was not his old friend, but otherwise remained largely uninvolved with the events surrounding Lamba's visit and the marriage shenanigans concerning Kaolla. Despite this, he was also a confidant in Lamba's plan to switch with Keitaro.
Shortly afterward, Seno left on a circuit tour of anime conventions across Japan, causing him to be absent from the Hinata for subsequent events, including Mei Narusegawa's visit and the subsequent sequence of events. He was also absent from the Hinata for the short fiasco surrounding Tsuruko's visit in order to hand over the Shinmei-ryū dojo to Motoko, an incident that would have had adverse effects on all involved had it not ended the way it had.
Altering the Status Quo
A few weeks following the incident with the cursed blade at Kyoto, Seno determined that enough was enough as concerned the dancing around their feelings that Keitaro and Naru had been doing. On the 25th of July, 2006, he visited Keitaro at night and gave him a pep talk, then forced him into Naru's room to confess while he stood outside to guard against any of the usual interruptions. This preparation proved warranted, as nearly on cue, Motoko emerged from her own room, and would have intervened in the confession had Seno not stopped her the only nonviolent way he could: by kissing her. At the exact moment this occurred, Keitaro's confession was also succeeding, an event marked by Seno's sword, which began to glow brilliantly as was its nature when exposed to an abundance of love.
This single event completely changed the atmosphere around the Hinata. The next morning, the two new couples revealed their relationships to the other tenants, to a round of surprise and well-wishes. Life continued almost as usual, though with a reduction to nearly zero of violent events against Keitaro. Seno began to focus his side of the training spars with Motoko to learning how to fight with deprived senses, a form of blind fighting he referred to as Zanshin.
As their relationship budded, the pair would be struck with tragedy.
The return of Kawakami Gensai, who possessed Seno in order to be released from his bonds, raped Motoko using Seno as the middle man. The resulting duel at Hinata would lead to Seno's death, albeit a short lived happenstance. Mutsumi Otohime would arrive shortly after the duel and Gensai's reappearance. The woman then would, with the aide of Naru, revive Seno. In turn, Naru's powers as an angel would also be revealed.
Though celebration took place quite swiftly in the Hinata-Sou fashion, Seno would remain somewhat at unease. The following morning, the residents would awaken to find that Seno had left for Kyoto to seek Tsuruko. There, he swiftly explained the situation and requested Motoko's hand in marriage. Tsuruko declined at first, stating it was much too short a time for him to even begin thinking about that... but then she recanted after seeing how true Seno's affections were and demanded one condition; a duel.
The ensuing duel at Kyoto would find Seno and Tsuruko locked in battle. Motoko, Keitaro and Naru eventually arrived as well, having followed after Seno for fear that he might take the blame for Motoko being raped and fear that Tsuruko might take it out on him, rather than the true culprit, Gensai. In the end, it would be Motoko who emerged victorious from the duel, finding her true feelings and stance, standing against Tsuruko to protect the man she loved. In result, Tsuruko granted Seno and Motoko permission to marry, with the ceremony and announcement to the rest of the Hinata residents taking place in the days to follow.
As a result of Keitaro fleeing the country, Seno, Motoko, Shippu and Naru find themselves on their way to Pararakelse with the aide of Kentaro Sakata and his jet ship. With sparse conversation from Naru, it does not take long before it is revealed that Tama has stowed away upon the ship. Upon sight of the turtle, Motoko promptly faints. Seno resorts to kissing her on her neckline to wake her up, much to her embarrassment.
Motoko's return to consciousness was short-lived, however, when the rest of the group notice a flock of flying turtles fleeing the island in exodus. Unable to continue their flight path, according to Kentaro, Naru decides that they've come far enough for her to continue her search on her own, and resorts to jumping out of the craft, smacking Kentaro in the face with one of her wings in the process. Seno leaps out as well, using a parachute, and aides the still unconscious Motoko in releasing hers.
Seno and Motoko finally manage to track down Keitaro, who was in the midst of stealing some food from a work camp with the help of Nyamo Namo. Finally corralling their friend, Seno and Motoko give Keitaro a five minute head start before they punk his ass for running away from Hinata. Little do they know, Keitaro uses that time to assemble his and Nyamo's supplies to head across the desert, leaving again. Seno and Motoko give pursuit, realizing that their friend is seriously aiming to cross the desert.
Powers and Abilities
- Shinmei-ryū: Shinmei-ryū (神鳴流 Shinmei-ryū), meaning "God's Cry School", is an ancient Japanese martial art with roots in Kendo. Shinmei-ryū blends the sword technique and discipline of kendo with an additional, secret art of ki manipulation, for the ultimate goal of slaying demons and upholding honor and justice. The power of this fighting style is said to be able to divide the heavens and cleave mountains in half.
- Iaiken: Iaido (居合道 Iaidō or just Iai 居合) is a modern Japanese martial art associated with the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard or saya, striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard. Seno's skill with iai is such that he can strike faster than the eye can follow, and often strikes from a posture with his arms crossed to fool his opponents into believing that he's not in an attack posture.
- Raizensoku: An iaijutsu strike in which Seno tenses, then draws his blade, moves forward, and strikes outward in less than a second. He accomplishes the strike so fast that he leaves an afterimage of himself, tensed, where he had been standing. This technique is only effective within five feet, but within that range, this technique cannot be dodged or blocked. The only way to avoid Raizensoku is to be outside its range, or strike while he is tensing for the technique.
- Advanced Projectile Deflection: Superhuman reaction times and reflexes, acquired as a result of years of Shinmei-ryū training and a close, almost-preternatural bond with his weapon allow Seno the ability to knock away any projectile attack that he is aware of, up to and including gunfire. This ability does not allow him to wade effortlessly into a storm of machine gun fire without taking any hits; he can at most deflect up to ten projectiles in any one action.
- Shippudageki: A wind-powered strike that is more likely to score a critical hit.
- Tsuinryu: A rapid twin strike against two targets that are flanking Seno. Can only be used when flanked.
- Zangaken Shishikokoro Rendan: This special tandem attack can only be performed with Motoko. Motoko infuses her blade with ki, which spreads to Seno's sword(s) on contact. The pair will then make a total of four charging strikes at a single target, culminating with the couple driving their blades into the target at the same time.
Seno in Other Media
Like many other characters from Project: Arashi, Seno appears in the fusion fan fiction, New Mobile Report: Shooting Stars which sees the entire cast of Gundam Wing replaced with characters from Love Hina. In this, Seno replaces the incompetent Alliance officer Sally Po, having only appeared in one chapter so far. It is not yet revealed what his role in the story shall be, or if he retains any of the abilities he has in Kuro Arashi.
- The Inquisition Mahora Epilogue (Mentioned only)
- Interludes: Steel and Heart
- Kuro Arashi: The Black Storm (First appearance)
- Kuro Arashi: The Prequel Story
- New Mobile Report: Shooting Stars (Non-canonical)
- PokéFiends (Non-canonical)
- The Unsung War (Magical recreation only)
- Wish Upon a Snowflake - A Kuro Arashi Special