The Noh Assassins
- Kabuki/Ukiko - The protagonist of the series, Ukiko is a beautiful but tragic young woman struggling with her sense of self, following years of social withdrawal, mental conditioning and a severe assault during childhood that horribly disfigured her face. Ukiko acts as the top enforcement agent of The Noh, executing potentially dangerous individuals before they become national-level threats. She is also the voice of the airwaves and a national icon, updating the people of Japan with daily news and weather reports. When her biological father, Ryuchi Kai, begins to compromise the Noh, Ukiko sets out to eliminate him. She starts a difficult sequence of events that ultimately allows her to assess and actualize her own identity. Ukiko's Kabuki-Noh costume is a variation of the Japanese flag, her weapons are Ainu farming sickles, and her mask is based on her mother's face.
- Scarab/Keiko - Considered the secondary character of the series, the codename "Scarab" was given to her because it is her duty to clean up the scenes left by the other Noh assassins, very much like the scarab beetle. Initially a street orphan alongside close friend Seiko, she encountered a young motorcycle hooligan named Yukio and quickly fell for him. However Yukio's involvement with the Yakuza results in him and her friend Seiko being killed. Keiko was granted amnesty for her part by a government agent named Kenji in exchange for the infiltration of various underworld social groups. Alongside this she was also given combat and weaponry training, ultimately leading to her placement as a Noh assassin. Following Kabuki's betrayal, she and fellow agent Tigerlilly inadvertently form a deep friendship whilst in pursuit. Her Noh costume is a spiked, dominatrix-like bodysuit based on one of Yukio's drawings, and her mask bears a swirling insect-like pattern.
- Tigerlilly - She is a fellow Noh assassin who befriends Scarab after being rescued by her, following a confrontation with Control Corps during their abduction of Kabuki. Very little is known about her early life, although she treasures her sister-like bond with Scarab, and often confides in her despite The Noh's strict no-fraternization policy. Before her life as a Noh operative, she was a comic book artist which was a profession she maintained as a cover-role while working as an assassin. When the agents invade the Control Corps installation, Tiger Lily vanishes, presumably to target Kabuki; it is assumed she survived the incident based on Akemi's letters in Kabuki Volume 6: The Alchemy. Also in this volume, Ukiko briefly encounters a woman comic artist on her airplane to America, with a very high suggestion that this may have been Tigerlilly's civilian persona. Her Noh costume was initially a very revealing set of lingerie, with her hair tied back in a French plait. However, she switches to a more practical t-shirt and combat trousers on Scarab's advice. Her mask bears the stripes of her name, and she wields a short sword.
- Siamese - A pair of twin assassins who always work together as one Noh agent unit, they are often sent on missions that require their unique synchronicity. Born conjoined at the arm, they each have a prosthetic replacement, other than this very little is known of their background. One sister (the left twin) is quite talkative and taunts her targets, whereas the other is more taciturn and chooses to talk only when situations require. Kabuki Volume 4: Skin Deep sees Siamese standing over Ukiko's corpse, presumably having killed her. With the entirety of the next two volumes acting as a flashback, Siamese take on a darkly, sinister tone, appearing briefly, but always after an act of brutal violence – the build-up to their confrontation is slow and full of dread. Ironically the quiet right twin of the two is revealed to be a fan of Kabuki's on-screen persona and despairs over their mission. Siamese's Noh costumes are sleeveless t-shirts bearing the Japanese sun and rotations of stockings and trousers. The prosthetic arms act as weapons by being fitted with various attachments, and their masks are halved and monochromatic.
- Ice - Nothing is revealed about this particular agent's identity or backstory. However Ice's personality makes her prominent. She is the most dedicated of the Noh assassins, never questioning orders and correcting those who do so. In the wake of Kai's death, Ice takes the initiative and becomes the de facto field leader, directing the other agents to locate and eliminate Kabuki. Of all the agents, Ice's costume is the most inconsistent. Initially she has thin, wiry hair, a transparent bra, and armoured combat trousers, but on occasion, she sports razor-tipped cornrows and no chest cover at all. Ice's weapon set, however, makes her one of the most formidable of the agents. Her arms are surgically adapted to contain sub-zero ice picks which she fires as weapons, and hence her name. Alongside this, her fingers are also diamond-tipped claws containing poison-tipped shurikens. Her Noh mask is relatively simple, with a curled spiral between the eyes.
- Snapdragon - The most mysterious of all the agents, Snapdragon is depicted as being a quiet, observing individual, much like Kabuki although much more savage. There is a strong indication that Snapdragon is also just as dissociative but with a greater flair for ambush and violence. Snapdragon's costume includes gauntlets bearing the Japanese sun, a scant pair of black leather trousers and nipple tape, with occasional additions of netting and a matching jacket. The weaponry she wields includes a kusarigama chain-and-blade weapon. Snapdragon's mask bears a black band around the eyes like a blindfold, with a similar, thinner band from the mouth.
- Butoh - The final Noh assassin, her codename literally translates as "Dancer", an apt name, considering the nature of her costume and weapons: a white ballet leotard and tights with razor-edged folding fans. Little is revealed about Butoh's past or even her present, though Volume 3: Masks of The Noh sheds a brief light on her thought process. She is very methodical, or even mechanical, in her training and activities for The Noh. However in her narrative, she states that even she is not what she appears – something which is never expanded upon. Her mask is a simple smiling face with rosy cheeks.
All Noh assassins bear a dragon tattoo on the back. The dragon wings spread to cover both shoulders, while the tail reaches to the lower back area. A bulletproof kabuki mask covers the face, to conceal the identity. The mask is made of the ceramic lightweight material that used for Japanese bullet trains, and is stronger than metal. Boots and utility belts are included. The eyes of the mask are connected to a red visor, which allows the assassin to share their vision with the Noh via camera-link, all while processing data. The general color and clothing is black leather and silk, which makes it easy for an assassin to avoid detection while moving about in shadows and darkness. The silk is mostly used to cover the arms to conceal arm movements. The body armor worn is bulletproof. All assassins have individual designs to suit them. For example, spikes are worn as part of Scarab's assassin garb, because her armor design is based on a sketch that Yukio drew in his spare time. Scarab's appearance may be considered the most fancy look among the eight assassins. The Noh assassins are highly skilled with Neo Warsaw Pact and NATO firearms, Okinawan black market weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, and attack and defense using the environment. The preferred weapons of choice are usually handguns, and various bladed weapons. The long fingernails are sometimes dipped in poisoned nail polish. Each assassin has her own favorite weapons that she normally prefers to carry out her missions.
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Famous quotes containing the word assassins:
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—Benjamin Disraeli (18041881)