origins: Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, manga
played by: Shana
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro is set in modern Japan; normal enough, it would seem, save for the fact that there is a separate world for demons connected to it. If they are strong or determined enough, like Neuro, they can rip their way through the divide. Few are inclined to do so however; Neuro is driven to make the jump in pursuit of more mysteries to eat after solving all that Hell could offer, as well as to seek the Ultimate Mystery. Upon entering the human world, he senses a fairly complex murder and follows the trail, eventually finding Yako who is grieving over her father's brutal and unexplained murder. After convincing her of what he truly is, Neuro solves and eats her mystery, but gives her the credit in order to obey a rule stating that demons must keep a low profile while in the human world. Though Yako initially believes they will part, Neuro ends up forcefully binding the girl to him through a potent mixture of gratitude on her part and threats and vicious abuse on his.
He continues to pawn off all of the credit for his deductions on Yako, causing her to gain fame for being such a 'proficient detective' while still in high school, as well as for her inhuman appetite. As this brings more and more mysteries to their door, Neuro makes sure to continue the cycle, making her more and more renowned. They obtain their office as payment for solving a murder case for a loanshark organization, though Neuro forces one of the loansharks, Godai, to stay with them as an odd-jobs man. The man is abused just as much as Yako and frequently claims that he wants nothing to do with them, but eventually becomes a trusted and powerful ally. Once they settle into their office, they discover a corpse sealed in one of the walls. The demonic energy Neuro emits allows the spirit of the corpse to control the braid of hair hanging from its corpse. The ghost can even use the braid to type, revealing that her name is Akane and earning her a spot as their secretary.
Most of the cases that the agency takes on forces them to work along side the police force. Treatment of Yako varies from officer to officer, as while there are many who idolize her for 'her work' and fame, there are also many who resent her 'butting in' to their work, especially because of her age. She is more than a mere puppet, however; through the series, Yako matures into a person who is able to understand the criminal she faces and get in their head, wither to talk them down or to derive their motive. She covers a blindside of Neuro's, specifically the human heart, and also comforts the family and friends of the victims.
From arc to arc, Neuro's presence seems to be a beacon to all the other oddities of the world. During each case, once the culprit has been singled out and the murder method explained, the murderer's form will warp demonically. Often they will attack, only to be subdued by Neuro, with the help of his Demon Tools (of which there are 777 'normal' ones, with 7 even more powerful ones) and promptly drained of their mystery. Foremost among the numerous antagonists presented is an amnesiac, shapeshifting serial-killer by the name of Monster Robber X.I. (Kaitou Sai) who becomes obsessed with the idea of dissecting Neuro. Sai is known for tearing up his victims and leaving behind the remains in a glass box. He does this in the misguided belief that it will help him understand what his true form is; when this yeilds no results, he sets his sights instead on the demon, sure that his body will hold the answers.
No less crucial to the series is HAL, an AI with ambitions of a fantastically destructive nature. During his case, as well as Aya Asia's, Yako truly shines. With HAL she extensively researches his creator and model's past, finding out that his true purpose was to recreate the mind of the woman that his creator loved, whose name also doubled as the password needed to allow Neuro access to the A.I. to devour his mystery. This earns her the respect of HAL, and she deletes him at his request. During Aya's case, while Neuro figures out the method, Yako is able to discern the reason that Aya would kill two of her dearest people, as well as the fact that Aya wanted to be brought to justice for it. This earns her a longterm friend, even after the older woman accepted a hefty prison sentence.
During the final arc of the manga, the strongest and most malevolent enemies yet are introduced. The New Bloodline is a coalition of mutant terrorists who believe that they actually have evil bred into their genes, and wish for nothing less than the complete eradication of the 'lesser' human race. At their head is Sicks, a heinous individual and the progenitor of Sai, who he kidnaps and brainwashes. Though Neuro does eventually whittle down his forces and kill him (with the help of Sai, who unfortunately dies in the process), many innocent people die and he is left so weakened that he must return to his original dimension. Though Neuro tells Yako that there is no way to tell how long he will be gone due to the nature of travelling between the worlds, she promises to wait and to keep improving in his absence. I'm taking her from several months into this wait.
Yako is a very sweet and empathetic person, having sympathized with and comforted murderers numerous times. She often wants to think the best of people, and it can be said that she is too nice for her own good. She has a history of bending to the will of others, generally because the individual who imposed his will on her to do for a long span of time was an abusive demon. However, she can be quite stubborn when she sets her mind on something.
She makes friends easily, often inspires loyalty in others, and tries her hardest not to be a burden. She has an amazing appetite, and eats ridiculously large amounts of food. It is possible that this is a result of a blend of a fast metabolism and an eating disorder, as she has stated before that she eats when she "feels happy or upset." Yako sticks to her morals; if something strikes her as wrong or unfair, she’ll do her best to change it. She’s also incredibly loyal to those who win her respect and friendship. She makes sure to look after and help those precious to her, in any way she can, and often puts herself in harm’s way to take others out of it.
However, despite her overall cheerful demeanor, Yako is still depressed over the death of her father and several of her friends. Much of her deep loyalty and concern for others seems ingrained from the start of the series, but a portion of it definitely has roots in the New Bloodline Arc of the manga, during which several of her friends died. She blames herself for not being perceptive enough or acting quickly enough to prevent those deaths. Fumio Hongou, a mathematical genius who had been a close friend, was revealed to have been working for Sicks (the leader of the New Bloodline, a 'race' with evil 'bred into their blood', likened to the evolutionary progression of horses) and had allowed him to run tests on his own beloved daughter. This was ultimately the death of her and the cause of an earlier arc in the manga where, at the end, Yako was forced to essentially euthanize an AI created by and based upon a brilliant doctor who had loved Hongou’s daughter but failed to save her. Hongou helped Sicks set a trap that nearly killed Yako and Neuro, and lead to the death of Sasazuka, a detective who was a dear friend of Yako's and who viewed her as a second sister.
Sasazuka's family had been killed by Sicks, and used as an example for Sai, Sicks’s shape-shifting, serial killer clone, to follow with his later murders. Because of this, during college he sank into the criminal underworld to find their killer. When it is revealed that Sicks is the culprit, he chooses to revert to that criminal mentality and sets a deadly trap. While most of Sicks associates and bodyguards die, he survives and kills Sasazuka after allowing Eleven (the brainwashed, female form of Sai) to scan his memories. Yako berates herself violently over not seeing the change in him, believing she could have saved him somehow. After his death she confronts Hongou, who tells her of his admiration and connection to Sicks, before injecting a deadly fluid into his neck and jumping off a bridge, killing himself right before her eyes. Unsurprisingly, this leaves a rather large emotional scar on Yako.
Her faith in others is restored when she is comforted by Aya, who broke out of prison just to do so. She finds a document from Hongou in the house he left her before taking his life. It contains a note apologizing, saying that "he couldn't betray that man in life, but could do so in death" and contained vital information on the New Bloodline. This series of events ultimately strengthens her resolve to help and save people, as well as her belief that almost everyone has some spark of goodness in them, no matter what their circumstance.
Yako sticks to her morals; if something strikes her as wrong or unfair, she’ll do her best to change it. She’s incredibly loyal to those who win her respect and friendship. She makes sure to look after and help those precious to her, in any way she can, and often puts herself in harm’s way to take others out of it, as shown when she risks her life to save a child’s life, despite being on a rapidly shrinking timetable to repay a debt to Neuro. Despite the facade of complacency Yako sometimes projects, she has an incredible amount of back bone when properly riled.
Once she has her mind set on something, Yako rarely gives up. This too could be a major part of why she stays with Neuro. She is intuitive, often able to discern what people truly feel after talking with them for a while, but very much capable of being blindsided by a particualrly crafty or seemingly innocent person.Though initially she merely wishes to repay him for solving her father's mystery and fears his constant threats, through the series her motives deviate more and more. She begins to see Neuro as a friend, and through that, feels the urge to help him in whatever ways she can. She's an extremely protective person at heart, and usually thinks of others, especially those in pain, before herself.
At least, before food enters the equation.
Yako's appetite is often used as a comical gag; the stereotypical shock value of a tiny girl taking in enough food to fill up a pack of burly men. But it's something that does ripple out into her life. Food is constantly on her mind. Her hunger, and the moments it's featured, reveal a different side of Yako. It makes her seem more human, and less saintly. She is a girl who will go on about the similarities between shrimp and insects to 'unintentionally' get her disgusted friend's food. A girl whose only motivation to get into a good school was the lunches. She doesn't do these things out of malice, or some repressed and oddly transmitted desire to control others instead of vice versa. Instead, her gluttony sometimes takes the place of true ambition or even common sense, though much less often than earlier in the series. Yako, as stated before, has more than just a physical dependency on food; it's an emotional support for her, and one that she leans on heavily. It is referenced that her constitution is a product of her mother's destructive culinary skills, and therefore shows that her reliance on food--good food, made by somebody less inclined to obliviously poison people than her mother--started at a young age, and grew to be a part of her. Because of this, most times she doesn't think too much of her ravenous appetite unless somebody else brings it up through their fear, disgust, or her unwanted moniker of the 'piggish detective'. It is second nature for her to pursue food first, above all; an unintentionally conditioned response, only strengthened by her use of it as a source of comfort following the tragedy in her life.
She is also incredibly persuasive, generally knowing what buttons need to be pushed with people to bring them around to her side or point of view. Neuro influences her heavily, and his constant urging for her to continue to evolve no matter what pays off. Through him, she learns to strive to improve herself, and eventually finds her own drive to succeed.
Abilities & WeaknessesEdit
It's debatable whether it is an actual ability or not, but Yako's body is shown to be incredibly resilient, easily absorbing blows and taking falls that would kill, cripple, or grievously injure others. Her healing rate appears to be accelerated as well; she's never seen to have a wound for more than a day. However, as these can also be chalked up to being overstatements for the sake of humor, despite being present in nearly every single chapter, I’m more than willing to let the MODs decide whether or not to count them as actual abilities. Should it count, as a limitation it could be lowered to just a slightly above-average healing rate.
She also has a large appetite, and an incredible constitution. Her stomach can apparently negate weak drugs and poisons. During a chapter where she and Neuro go to a gym during the New Bloodline arc, Yako is shown to have amazing physical abilities when under duress, moving at high speeds and undergoing great strain when properly motivated (i.e. under threat of grievous bodily harm from Neuro). In the mental area, Yako is shown to have an aptitude for psychology and discerning the motivations of others. She is shown to attend an elite school, indicating that she.can be a good student when she bothers to buckle down and apply herself, though she states that she only chose it because of the delicious lunches it provided.
For all of her equanimity in the face of the bizarre and murderous rages, Yako is a person who either hides her true feelings behind a smile and an assurance that she’s fine, or is overcome by her emotions. After the deaths of Sasazuka and Hongou, and her subsequent separation from Neuro, Yako falls into a deep depression. She won’t even touch food offered by her classmates, which shocks and worries them deeply. She is also very emotionally dependent; this is shown when she overcomes her depression (thanks largely to the comfort given by Aya) and returns to Neuro, offering to submit herself to him completely.
This goes beyond simple humility. Yako met Neuro at a time of great stress and upheaval—just after the unexplained and brutal murder of her father—and earned her gratitude and loyalty. After that, their relationship could be likened to Stockholm syndrome, or the generalized view of the average abusive relationship. Yako is obviously in a situation disadvantageous and harmful to her, but stays by his side nonetheless. She has a purpose with Neuro, and a way to help others the way she had desperately needed in the wake of her family’s tragedy. It is likely that, set adrift in a completely new world, Yako will form bonds even more easily than usual, and be a bit too quick to trust.
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