Tenchi Muyō! Ryō-Ohki
Kagato is the former assistant of Washu Hakubi, the greatest scientific genius in the universe, assisting her in the creation of her daughter Ryōko, her battleship Ryo-Ohki, and in the building of the massive battleship, Sōja. Kagato has largely the same superhuman abilities as Washū and Ryōko, though whether he was born with these powers or achieved them by genetically altering himself was unclear until the release of the True Tenchi Muyo! novels (see the True Origins section below). Kagato caught word of a historical artifact, one said to hold the "greatest energy in the universe." Ambitious with an amoral curiosity, he imprisons his mentor within her own ship, taking credit for her creations, taking Sōja for his own, and using it to pillage the galaxy (Washū would remain in his captivity for the next five thousand years). While not a psychopath who kills for the sake of killing, Kagato is not concerned with mortals or their feelings, considering them "worth nothing more than dust." They have their occasional use as tools, but are overall beneath his notice and not worth killing. However, he will not hesitate to kill should they offend him or if it coincides with a greater purpose. Those caught in the collateral damage of his "scientific methods" are similarly out of luck.
Having a powerful psychic hold over Ryōko through the gems, which are her energy source, Kagato uses her as his puppet to execute his orders, sending her on archaeological excavations as he scoured the universe for hints on his own. Once observed, a location would be razed - whether it be populated or not - lest someone else replicate his research. In all, 3,326 ruins were destroyed, with great loss of life and innumerable cultural artifacts stolen. It was during this time Kagato earned the name "Ruins Buster" and a place on top of the Galaxy Police's Eternally Wanted List. Slaves under a ruthless space pirate, Ryōko and Ryō-Ohki were recognized as major threats themselves.
Eventually, Kagato found the power he was searching for was linked to the imperial planet Jurai and its Royal Family bloodline, and Ryōko was sent on an errand to retrieve it. While successful in infiltrating the planet's defenses and nearly decimating it, Ryōko failed, and was pursued from the planet by the Prince Yōshō Masaki Jurai. Their psychic link severed - thanks to Yōshō confiscating the gems and affixing them to his sword's pommel - Kagato leaves Ryoko for dead and commits to the exploration and collection of relics on his own, destroying whatever might obstruct his goals.
Arrival on Earth
Seven hundred years later, Ryōko is accidentally awakened by Tenchi Masaki, the grandson of Prince Yosho, who gives her one of the gems to wear on her left wrist (though she had asked for all three) in order to summon Ryō-Ohki; the psychic link restored albeit weakened, Kagato sets course for Earth to reclaim his "property." Once there, he is pleased to find Ryōko has unwittingly collected all that he desires - Jurai's heir (Yōshō), and its princesses, Ayeka and Sasami. He kidnaps Ryōko from Tenchi's home and greets the rescue party with mock geniality, sarcastically placing the trouble on Ryōko before Tenchi steps in with his sword. Seeing it as the key to unlocking the great power he'd sought, Kagato warns the boy not to swing around others' property so lightly, telling Tenchi to give up the sword and not his life. He is fascinated when Ryōko intervenes, wondering what she could ever see in the boy. Kagato reasserts his control over Ryōko (Kagato's control manifests itself in Ryōko's eyes; when she possessed all three gems her eyes glowed red, but with only one gem the whites of her eyes became light green, the same color as Kagato's sword) and has her take Tenchi hostage as he interrogates; Ayeka, Sasami, and First Class Detective Mihoshi Kuramitsu stand by as Kagato wonders if Tenchi is aware of the sword's power and whether the boy is suitable to unlock it.
Tenchi is able to break free from Ryōko's grasp and attacks, but does nothing but nick Kagato's cheek (which quickly regenerates, but not before drawing greenish blood). Angry, Kagato engages the boy in swordplay to test him, and is sorely disappointed by the result. Reaching out for the sword, he is kept from collecting his treasure by its true owner, Yōshō; the two fight a fairly even match even with the enslaved Ryōko attacking in tandem. After severing Ryōko's left hand, freeing her of her gem and Kagato's control, Yōshō throws the weapon into his royal tree. Thinking his rival has given up, Kagato tries to retrieve it for himself, and is quite literally shocked when he grasps the sword handle: he is not ordained to be its owner. Realizing Tenchi is the sword's successor, Kagato teleports with Ryōko back to his ship, bidding the group to improve their skills as he'll be waiting for them.
He makes good on his word, attacking Ayeka, Tenchi, and Mihoshi from Sōja as they approach in a hybrid of Ryō-Ohki and Ayeka's Royal Treeship, Ryu-Oh, all the while wondering why such fools would throw away their lives for someone as worthless ("defective") as Ryōko. During the onslaught, Tenchi attempts to use the ship's Light Hawk Wings as a weapon rather than their intended purpose as defense, and it proves costly as they are overwhelmed; the bottom half of the ship is destroyed, with Tenchi caught along with it.
Fight aboard Sōja and aftermath
Believing Tenchi to be dead, Ryoko is able to free herself and mounts a last ditch effort for revenge with the others, not caring if she kills herself so long as Kagato dies with her. She and Ayeka personally engage Kagato, as Mihoshi gets lost along the way and accidentally frees Washu from the reverse side of the ship (though they're unable to get back). Neutralizing the threat, Kagato mentally prods Ayeka before trying to take her blood into himself to learn the secret by force, but finds he is blocked from doing so by the very object of his pursuit - Tsunami, First Ship of Planet Jurai, patron of the Royal Family, and future incarnation of Sasami. Washu is able to free her daughter from her side of the ship in the meantime, but Ryoko is unable to fight to her full potential due in part to Ayeka's presence.
What everyone did not know at the time was that Tenchi had survived the first attack, although the lower half of his body was destroyed by the blast. The remaining upper half was preserved by a branch of Ryu-Oh and the guardians Azaka and Kamidake until Tsunami arrived. Once aboard her ship, Tsunami was able to fully regenerate Tenchi's body and revived him. She then informed him about the battle with Kagato, for which Tenchi wanted to help. Tsunami agreed, but she also told him she could not accompany him… mostly because she didn't want to endanger Sasami as well.
Talking face to face again to his mentor after so many millennia, Kagato decides to show Washu a few new tricks. He draws in power from both Ryoko and her gems and the large scale ones he'd crafted aboard Sōja, meaning to cause the destruction of Earth as an experiment to reminisce about the old days. Tsunami again steps in to stop the blast as Kagato has anticipated, though he doesn't count on the shot being being reflected back at Sōja in bursts, bypassing the ship's shields. Kagato then plots to kill Ryoko on the spot so the full power of her gems will be Sōja's to use.
Tenchi is able to save Ryoko by severing Kagato's arm, though after the initial surprise the young man is beset, with Kagato taking the time to toy with him before invoking the power of the gathered gems into himself. As he draws Tsunami into his ship, Tenchi is despondent over his failure to save everyone, until he is reminded by a past talk with Tsunami to rely not on the sword, but on himself. Thinking him not quite sane, Kagato fires a shot at him directly, and is aghast to find Tenchi not only very much alive when the smoke clears but having produced Light Hawk Wings of his own - the only non-ship entity able to do so. Kagato is initially surprised, as the power from Tsunami that allows Light Hawk Wings to be created has been cut off from the rest of the universe, but he quickly realizes that these Wings come from within Tenchi himself and do not rely on any connection to Tsunami.
As Tenchi is able to ward off all projectile attacks, Kagato engages Tenchi point blank, and their dueling sword strokes hew each other in half. But while Tenchi is able to easily regenerate, Kagato finds he can not. He maintains his composure in his last moments, intrigued for the last time on how superbly done it all was. With Sōja cut in half as well, Tenchi and the others scramble to escape before it explodes.
Abilities and Traits
Notably, much of Kagato's appearance and traits either involve or evoke the thought of cold. His pale skin, white hair, and the drab colors of his attire hint at this. Also, a bit more noticeably, it seems that when he is on a planet, it grows cold to the point of snowing; it would seem this happens in a localized area, though. Finally, it can be seen with the color of his energy swords and blasts - Whereas most times such energy constructs are used they are a fiery orange, Kagato manifests a mellow green energy. Notably, when he has weak, but viable control over Ryoko, her sclera become green; as well, he has greenish blood, and most energies he produces have similar green tones.
As mentioned, Kagato is able to use energy blasts and swords - the second to display these abilities on his own, after Ryoko. He also displays other similar abilities, such as teleportation, telekinesis and accelerated regeneration. However, his abilities seem a fair bit more potent - for example, his energy swords are larger and more defined, possessing the actual shape of a blade; as opposed to those used by Ryoko, and even those used by Washu, which are basically just rods of energy. As well, his regeneration seems much faster, capable of regenerating a severed hand, very similar to a wound sustained by Ryoko earlier, at a much faster pace; where Ryoko's hand seemed to take at least a minute to regenerate, Kagato's hand regenerated in what couldn't have been much more than a few short seconds. Kagato's telekinetic powers are also so strong that he can block or change the course of blaster shots fired at him with such little effort that he is able to laugh casually in a completely relaxed state. As well, one of his energy blasts was so powerful that, even after Tenchi's newly-awakened Light Hawk Wings took most of the attack's power, enough force was left that a pillar behind Tenchi was blown through.
Kagato is also able to control and manipulate energy to a variety of other affects that Ryoko can't. This includes creating flames of presumably any size to light up a small area or room, creating spherical teleportation portals with his energy that allow him to travel between locations(besides regular teleportation) and even shrink them in size once inside, as well as use energy attacks much more easily: where as Ryoko must use her hands and arms, Kagato is able form, control and fire energy blasts merely by sheer force of will.
Disturbingly, it seems that Kagato's body is not entirely corporeal; while it is easy to overlook, his gloves cover no visible hands. It seems that Kagato possesses ghostly abilities - such as creating "shadows", or illusory replicas that collapse with green flames once killed, and invading unconscious minds. The latter seemed to coincide with Sasami's situation of being fused to Tsunami, while Kagato seemed to display an ability to subsume someone's consciousness when not given resistance; such as where he disguised himself as Yosho in an attempt to pry information about the ship Tsunami (as well as other secrets of Jurai) from Ayeka.
Kagato is notable for being a bit of a "Renaissance man", not only skilled with various fields of science similarly to Washu, but also having talent in playing at least the organ. He seems to enjoy "collecting" things and keeping them to himself; from the mysterious organ onboard the Sōja, to the way he stole the ship itself, to how he possessively sealed Washu in a crystal and hypnotized Ryoko. Overall, it seems that whenever Kagato sees an object or person that intrigues him, he wants them to be his and his alone; if such an object cannot be his, then Kagato is content with making it so that no one else can have it, even if he has to destroy it.
While he stole credit for many of Washu's inventions, one of his own inventions proved incredibly potent: Kagato was able to find a way to create his own "gems," with power that seemed to surpass Ryoko's own use of the original gems. However, there was a drawback - he was unable to replicate the compact nature of Ryoko's gems. While his were possibly even stronger, they were so gigantic that Kagato was forced to mount them on the Sōja itself.
Despite his callous nature and lack of value for life, Kagato had some surprisingly affable traits; actually apologizing to a few of the girls when accidentally walking into where they were bathing. However, this fails to diminish his cruelty - even after Ryoko begged him to not kill Tenchi and to instead kill her, his simple response was that he would kill them both. However, he still took his eventual loss gracefully; actually congratulating Tenchi with a dry smile.
- Main article: Noike Kamiki Jurai
In the final episode of the third OVA, it is revealed that Kagato was actually somewhat of a hermaphrodite, having long discarded the female half out of spite for the gender.
During the battle with Z, Tenchi was cut in half when he went to save Ryoko from a similar fate. It was during the brief instant in-between that Tenchi drifted into the past and met the girl Kagato, who was found crying while Kagato attempted to destroy her. Tenchi was able to comfort the girl, telling her everything was alright. Girl Kagato then asked if she could stay with him forever, which he agreed. But before Tenchi could inquire about something she said (during the battle, she pleaded, obviously to her male half that she was a Kagato too), he was drawn back into the present, with the girl pleading him not to leave her as she drifted to a different time.
The little girl was found by the woman who Noike Kamiki Jurai knows as her mother. However, a child this old would have interfered with her attempts to hold on to a man. So Noike's mother had Dr. Clay perform illegal modifications to regress her back into a baby. As a result of the procedure, female Kagato's consciousness split into two forms; the personality as the white haired girl saved by Tenchi, and a new personality who became Noike. The little girl's consciousness reverted into astral form while the new Noike consciousness kept the physical body, the latter taking control while the former did things subconsciously.
Dr. Clay, being very arrogant, had a habit of placing his mark on all of his work, and put his seal on the cells of astral female Kagato, which also prevented the two personalities from fully merging and becoming whole. Dr. Clay's seal could also be used as surveillance to see through Noike's eyes, allowing Z to watch Tenchi. In the end of OVA 3, Washu removed the programming and female Kagato fully merged with Noike after telling her that they should try their best in regards to their love for Tenchi and saying that they should have dinner and take a bath with him again.
- Main article: Naja Akara
Series creator Masaki Kajishima's "True Tenchi" novels shed a little more light on Kagato. Naja Akara was a student at the "Jurai Imperial Academy," and upon meeting Washu the two became close friends. Both were near equals in intellect, with outstanding academics that ranked them as elites of their class or any other. In fact, their diligence and commitment to academy affairs over the years was the driving reason behind divorcing the institution from the Juraians' control and reestablishing it themselves as the "Galaxy Academy."
Despite her intellect and standing, Naja had a bipolar yet jocular disposition, always trying to surprise her friend with an outstanding party or event (much to Washu's chagrin). For almost 15,000 years, the two would research the power of Washu's gems and ancient archaeological remnants, determined to unlock their full potential. Before their plans could come to fruition, Naja went missing while doing research on planet K-1190 under a pirate attack and was presumed dead (though her body was never found), but before doing so, rescued a number of refugees from the planet. Grief-stricken over the loss, Washu attempted to clone Naja as a means of bringing her friend back.
The clone, however, exhibited behavior much different from the real Naja. Once the clone was born, she and Washu experimented on creating a being to control the power of the gems (research that would eventually lead to Ryoko's birth). Because of its great power, the Naja clone assimilated with a male Ryoko prototype, and took the name "Kagato." Shortly thereafter, Kagato sealed Washu away, and pursued his own goal of figuring out the Unified Field Theory. After this, Kagato, with the help of an enslaved Ryoko, went on a 5,000-year crime spree that gained him his reputation. He is also the reason that Juraian Emperor Azusa Masaki Jurai came to meet his first wife Funaho, as he had lost in battle against Kagato and fled to Earth. Kajishima himself has hinted that Kagato may still be alive in some shape or form. This is possibly referring to the female half of Kagato, which is the result of the female Naja clone possessing the male prototype and then being discarded by its male half. (See Noike Kamiki Jurai for more details.) Or possibly referring to Naja herself.
Kagato has also made appearances in Naoko Hasegawa's novels and Hitoshi Okuda's two manga series, but all these books are considered outside "official" canon. In Okuda's manga, Kagato reappears in the form of a clone who holds all the memories of the original, but has a much more submissive personality and acts merely as a subordinate to a former student of the original.
The costume and design of all things relating to the "Ruins Buster" revolve around snakes and a clerical, religious motif. The collar of his costume resembles a clerical one, and on it he wears a three-armed emblem composed of the same sort of arms that a crucifix is made of. The interior of his ship has an organ and in its two rows of Gothic arches resembles a Christian cathedral. He even refers to it as his "chapel" prior to Ayeka and Ryoko's attack. His ship's name, Sōja, means "temple consecrated to several gods," and so refers to the plundered artifacts. The name also translates to "twin serpents", "double-headed serpent", or "serpent's nest", represented by the cobras who serve as sentries over Washu and the crest holding her in place. This also may reference the 'twin dimensions' that exist within it. The name can even mean "Bad Religion".
"Kagato" is given in kanji as "I am God-like" or "God Ego Man" but in common Japanese, the name merely means "heel". ("Heel", ironically, is inside jargon for "villain" in professional wrestling, later adopted by the TVTropes wiki.) The word "naja" is the term given to the genus of snakes commonly referred to as cobras, with "naga" being used for many things relating to serpents in literature and folklore.
In Tenchi Universe's continuity, Kagato has a different appearance and origin than his OVA counterpart, as he is a great swordsman connected to Jurai's Royal Family (for that reason, he is also called Kagato Jurai (樹雷 神我人, Jurai Kagato) by fans). With his great potential and brilliance, he would have been the legendary hero instead of Yosho, but he became obsessed with the Jurai Power, the ultimate power of the Jurai royal bloodline, committing countless destructive acts in his pursuit of more power. Yosho defeated him but for some unknown reason was unable (or possibly unwilling) to kill him. Afterwards, Kagato disappeared into the unknown and his name and likenesses were erased from Jurai's records and cities.
But years later, Kagato would return to pose as Yosho, having greatly increased his power having spent his time in the Darkness of the Universe (presumably Hell). Such power granted him, among other things, eternal youth and a Master Key/Sword of his own which resembled a dark bastard sword, as opposed to Tenchi-ken's tsurugi-like appearance. By posing as Yosho and displaying a fraction of his great power, he was recognized as Jurai's returning King and Emperor. Kagato then declared Ayeka and Sasami wanted for treason, all a part of his plan to eliminate the rest of Jurai's royal bloodline and to get revenge against his former friend Yosho. This forces Tenchi and his extended family to leave Earth and journey to Jurai to clear their names.
After Katsuhito reveals that he is Yosho, Kagato confronts him at the old Jurai Palace. Although Yosho - and later Ryoko - was no match for him, when Kagato saw Tenchi, he noticed his resemblance to Yosho and quickly realized that Tenchi is Yosho's descendant.
Taking Ayeka with him and leaving Yosho and Ryoko severely injured, Kagato told Tenchi that if he made it to the Jurai palace then he would challenge him, using Ayeka as leverage to draw Tenchi into the fight. With the help of his friends, Tenchi is able to ascend to the throne room and fight the false emperor directly. However, Kagato is far too strong and skilled for the fight to go evenly. He decides to instead kill Ayeka and end the fight at his leisure. Seeing what's about to happen, Tenchi is able to tap into his true potential. Similar to the original OVA, the two trade sword blows, and it is again Kagato who falls. He doesn't reproach his killer in death, flashing back to how he lost to Yosho and how similar in the end it was.