Kurei is the son of Ōka and his mistress Reina, and is Recca Hanabishi's older half-brother. Like Recca, Kurei possesses the ability to produce and manipulate flames, but his flames are shown to be of a different color than Recca's. Due to the fact that his flame's main form is that of a Phoenix, Kurei also has the ability to absorb the souls of deceased humans into his flame and make them fight for him (the prime example of this being Kurenai). Although initially introduced as an antagonist, Kurei becomes more of an anti-hero as the series progresses.
In contrast to Recca who resembles their father, Kurei bears more resemblance to his mother, Reina. Kurei's appearance stays generally the same throughout the series. His hair is black with a blue tint, and in the anime, his eyes are violet. As he recovers from his injuries at the hands of Renge, his hair grows longer. On each ear, he wears a spherical earring. He is always seen wearing a seal on his right arm to protect himself from his own powers but in the anime, he wears the seal on his left arm instead of his right arm to make a contrast to his younger-half brother. He is always seen wearing a black, cloak that falls to his knees. His cloak is red in the anime and wears black pants and black boots. His fingernails are long and sharp, similar to claws. He is a tall, fit shinobi, and he almost always wears a white mask, with a few differences between them. He has worn three masks throughout the series. Under his mask he has a burn, which was inflicted by Kurenai beneath his left eye after he made Kurenai as his flame on her death.
When he was in Recca's age who hires Neon and her sisters to become maids and being brutally beaten by his adopted father, Kōran Mori due to his upbringing abuse as well as killing his own adopted daughter, Kurenai due to their love for each other. He was seen without a scar beneath his left eye before being burned by Kurenai after her death and revived as a flame. He wears the civilian outfit rather than his cloak consist of brown formal sweater jacket with a blue turtleneck shirt, black pants and black shoes. His fingernails are cut short instead of long.
As a child, Kurei is seen wearing a pale blue kimono during the meeting with the Hokage clan until a year later where he stabs Recca's left cheek, he wears a dark red kimono and white sandals.
One of Kurei's most seen traits, is his willingness to be cruel, and sometimes even sadistic to both friend and foe. Kurei is able to inflict fear in many who either oppose or work with him, something he clearly knows and takes advantage of. However on another side, he also has a great capacity to love just as deeply. After the death of Kurenai, his primary motivation is to save his adopted mother by whatever he sees as necessary.
His love for his mother was apparent, as he was willing to kill a baby Recca to make his mother happy and end the suffering they endured. This marks the point where Recca serves as the primary source of Kurei's hatred, as he beliveved if Recca never existed, he and his mother would never have suffered. He also grew very attatched to his adoptive mother after she took him in when he arrived in the present time, and more or less, all of Kurei's actions are driven by his will to protect her.
Even as a child, Kurei has almost never shown his emotions. When about to be killed by a Hokage ninja at the age of five, Kurei never even flinched, and when his life was spared, he showed no relief. He has continued to hide his emotions as a adult, even to the point of telling blatant lies about neither wanting nor needing companions or friends. While it has not been revealed why Kurei wears his mask, it is implied by Joker that he does so to prevent people from seeing his emotions. He is described by Joker as being very dishonest, saying one thing, but thinking, and even doing another.
After Uruha disbanded, Kurei was left with very few allies. Even though he was mistreated by the Hokage for much of his early life, Kurei is regardless strongly loyal to the clan his mother held so dear. He even begins to proudly wear the Hokage symbol on his mask in a reverse fashion to affiliate it with Uruha, renaming his new team as Ura Hokage Uruha, showing his loyalty to both groups.
SynopsisKurei was born in 1571, and is the firstborn son of Flame Master Ōka and his mistress Reina. He was initially recognized as the next leader of the Hokage clan due to his innate flame powers, but the Hokage elders label him as a cursed child when his younger half-brother, Recca Hanabishi, also exhibits the same powers. Kurei was supposed to be killed in order to save the clan, but due to Kagerō's intervention, Kurei and his mother are exiled instead. Kurei then eventually attempts to kill Recca, and ends up imprisoned for his crime. He eventually escapes the prison when it is destroyed during Oda Nobunaga's raid on the Hokage village, and he jumps into the time portal Kagerō opened in order to save Recca by sending him into the future.
Kurei is then found and adopted by Tsukino Mori, the wife of one of the series' main antagonists, Kōran Mori. Kōran raises Kurei to become a "machine", repeatedly telling him that he does not need human emotions and that he should just throw them away. Upon seeing how much Kurei loved his mother, Kōran has her transferred to a different house and keeps her under house arrest. When Kurei ends up falling in love with Kurenai, Kōran Mori's adopted daughter, Kōran has her killed. This causes Kurei to despise his adoptive father, but since Kōran is holding his mother hostage and has a bomb implanted in her body, he obeys Kōran's orders.
Kurei is the leader of the Uruha, a group of skilled warriors hired to serve Kōran Mori and to assist Kurei in missions that Kōran orders him to undertake.
Part in Story
Waking up in the present day, Kurei was found by a kind woman, Tsukino Mori. She took him as her own child, raising him with care. However, her husband Kōran Mori could be said as the most evil man alive. When Kurei began to show his flame power, Kōran took him in and began training him as his emotionless right hand man, by force. To do so, he took Tsukino as a hostage and planted a bomb in her body. In case Kurei would do anything crazy, he would blow Tsukino up.
Kurei was given a villa to stay while he resumed his training for being a ruthless assassin. He was given a personal servant, Raiha, who would become attached to him, and also brought in three sisters, Neon, Miki and Aki, as his maids. One day, Kōran introduced him to Kurenai, a girl who would be staying alongside Kurei in his mansion. The cold hearted Kurei slowly started to fall in love with Kurenai, and he also started smiling, something he hadn't done in years.
However, when Kōran learnt what happened, he started beating up Kurei and forced him to kill her with his own hands. Kurei was extremely hesitant on this and didn't do it, although he formerly said 'Whatever happened to this woman is none of my business'. On the top of that, Kōran took a switch and pressed it. It turned out that he planted Kurenai with the same bomb he planted to Tsukino and this killed her outright. Kurei was deeply saddened on this. Kurenai also stated that she'd like to be with him forever, even though she might get a little ugly. As a response, Kurei used his flame to turn Kurenai into his flame spirit in form of an angel. He felt responsible for taking Kurenai's life away, so as a first act, he ordered Kurenai to burn part of his face.
As time passed, Kurei returned to his usual cold hearted personality, resuming the role as a 'son' to protect his mother, donning a mask to cover his face. However, his charisma remained intact. He started the search for various madōgu and almost collected all of them. Kōran formed the group Uruha to help him in his task, and amongst them Kurei appointed 10 individuals to be called his 'Ten Gods' or 'Jyūshinshu' as his strongest subordinates. The lineup was Raiha, Neon, Jisho, Genjuro, Joker (joined rather late), Kai, Noroi, Mikoto, Rasen and Meguri Kyōza. However, only the first 8 other than Joker would be the ones who showed up in public the most. He's known to be the defending champion of the dark tournament called Ura Butō Satsujin, sponsored by his 'father'. Little did he know that some of the Uruha spied on him for the sake of Kōran.
Kurei's Mansion Arc
Eventually, Kurei was given another mansion, which resembled more like a castle filled with traps and a research center. Since Kōran put up a mask as a kind donating philanthropist, Kurei also acted as his 'gentle hearted son'. Eventually, one day Kōran revealed his true desire : Immortal life. He was desperately seeking a way to achieve it, and eventually found his way to achieve it... A girl with healing powers, Sakoshita Yanagi. Kurei was given the task to capture her. He also received another task to capture Tatesako Fumio, a teacher with deep knowledge on madōgu, but he sent an Uruha junior member Kaoru Koganei and an Uruha underling Mokuren Nagai to do the job. However, coincidentally they captured both Tatesako and Yanagi.
Kurei made his researchers interrogate Tatesako, while he put up experiments on Yanagi, testing her healing powers. However, Yanagi's friends were coming to rescue her: Domon Ishijima, Fūko Kirisawa, Tokiya Mikagami and finally Recca Hanabishi. Kurei first thought that this Recca was the one he hunted long ago, and it proved to be true. When the group reached him, Kurei displayed his sheer power and obliterated them one by one. However, Recca, with the help of Kagerō, unleashed his hidden flame, the 8 Karyu. Taken by surprise, Kurei took a blow, but could still go on. However, he was interrupted by Raiha, Neon, Jisho and Genjuro, who bore a message that Kōran requested his audience. Kurei then spared Recca and went off. Outside, he found Koganei defecting, but he spared the boy too.
Ura Butou Satsujin Arc
As a next move to capture Yanagi, Kurei requested Kōran to open the third Ura Butō Satsujin, invite Recca and the group and make Yanagi as their prize. Kurei organized his group to consist himself, Mikoto, Kai and Noroi as Uruha Kurenai. However, he secretly put Joker as the fifth member of his team. The plan was going rather well, but when he heard Recca managed to defeat Genjuro, he became rather interested on how Recca had grown. However, Neon executed Genjuro afted he was exposed as a traitor.
Afterwards, he sent Joker to infiltrate on Recca's group, the Hokage. Soon after, he heard that Neon was defeated by Recca again. For some reason, Kurei didn't punish her. He also became interested with a new Uruha division, Uruha Ma, led by the mysterious Magensha. Neon informed that Magensha killed Jisho. Although Kurei brushed off the information at first, he was rather crushed hearing it. As a result, he used his flame again to turn Jisho into his flame spirit in similar fashion to what he did with Kurenai.
He had to face his loyal servant Raiha, sole member of the one-man team Uruha Rai, in the semifinals. But Raiha held back and eventually forfeited the match. Not long afterwards, Kurei learnt that Magensha was hiding something from him. To cover Joker's presence, Kurei brought in a pawn named J-Keeper, and they both interrogated Magensha once he lost to Domon. It turned out that Magensha was secretly going away from the match to capture Yanagi and deliver her to Kōran Mori. Disgusted, Kurei stated that he could do the job himself, and as a punishment for that, he ordered J-Keeper to kill Magensha. The rest of Uruha Ma were spared. Recca soon came and the two brothers engaged in a brief fight, in order to gauge one another's powers. Kurei was in a good mood so he left them, although he claimed that he was a bit disappointed on Recca's strength. But when he realized that Recca's attack caused him to bleed, he laughed like a maniac.
In the night before the final match, Kurei instructed Joker to do his ultimate task, kill Koganei who joined Hokage and dispose J-Keeper as he became useless anyway. However, Joker ended up wounding Saichō of Kū instead. At the same time, he heard Neon telling his past to Recca. Angered, he began beating her up, but in the end spared her life again.
During the final match, Kurei didn't even show up, confident that Noroi alone would be enough to destroy the Hokage. However, when he learnt Noroi was losing and was eventually defeated by Domon, Kurei showed up and gave a rare compliment, which ended as an insult regarding the recent attack on Saichō. Recca was soon taken away, and Kurei watched as his team fought Recca's. However, Kai lost his life, and Mikoto was severely beaten by Fuko shortly after her victory, for showing disrespectful behavior; nonetheless they still provided a score to his team. But, Joker was defeated by Koganei, and Recca didn't even show up. After listening to Koganei's reason to fight, Kurei instead proceeded to beat him up, causing the other members to fight him, with the permission of Kōran. But even though he was surrounded, Kurei still proved to be far stronger than all of them combined. Eventually, Recca showed up and the proper final match took place. Kurei also deemed that the result of this final battle would determine who was the rightful leader of the Hokage.
The battle turned out to be very brutal, to the point that both Flame Masters couldn't even use their flames. In the midst of battle, Kurei found out that he wasn't the only one fighting with the burden to preserve his mother. Recca was also fighting to cure Kagerō's immortality and to protect the one he swore to protect, preventing himself to turn into the ninth Flame Dragon. In the end, Kurei ended up defeated. However, deep inside he felt rather calm.
Just a short moment after his defeat, Kōran betrayed him and gunned him down. He introduced Renge, the clone of Kurei and Kurenai, and learnt that Kōran never trusted him and used Ura Butō Satsujin as a way to kill Kurei. On the top of that, he 'disbanded' Kurei's Uruha and claimed that he would take everything dear to Kurei away. As a final act, Kōran pressed the switch to explode the bomb in Tsukino's body. Thinking that his mother was dead, Kurei screamed in rage and attempted to attack him again. Renge was about to intercept and kill him, when suddenly Neon rushed in and saved him. As a result, both fell through a cliff and were presumed dead.
In the anime, they finally fight each other equally and despite Recca's efforts to defeat him, he was ineffective from getting burned from his flames. He summons Kurenai to disperse Recca despite Recca's efforts for using Madoka's barrier, Kurei's flames are strong enough to break the barrier. When Recca finally shows all of the seven flame dragons on his body all at the same time, this also requires to summon Resshin unaware of both of them that Resshin the eighth dragon is actually their father, Oka who tells Recca to fight Kurei in a duel between two brothers after his refusal to join him which Kurei berates him when Resshin refuses to join him and the seven dragons.
Their battle becomes brutal when Kurei's mask is broken from Recca's combined flames after it defeated Kurenai's humanoid form, Kurei eventually overpowers him when Kurenai changes form into a phoenix and Resshin chooses Kurei because he uses the sacred flame. Both Kagero and Oka knew Kurei is not a cursed child as he realizes that Recca is unable to beat him. As Recca stands up knowing of his state and trying to keep Resshin's mouth shut, Kurei beats him down berating him that his mother will lost for eternity because of immortality and Yanagi will become Kōran's experiment making Recca to risk his own life by removing the gauntlet on his right arm causing Kurei to get mad as his cloak burns from his own flame and wants to kill his own younger half-brother but Recca survives his attack as his body is smoldering in flames to block most of Kurei's attack. Both brothers intensively beat each other physically in a bloody pulp as Kurei knocks Recca out and keeps berating him to die as Recca also berates him that he has friends that he cares about and his family which he knocks Kurei with a straight punch as the latter retaliates stating that he was fighting for himself which Recca knew it was his own problem and not his and also tells that he is fighting for his problems are just running around by himself as both are soon knocked down from the punch through their faces. Just as both of them get up, Kōran arrives and became despicable to see their match. To everyone's surprise another Kurei appeared which happens to be Kōran's ultimate puppet. Koran has no use for Kurei to become his killing machine as all others are trying to protect Yanagi but they are overpowered by his ultimate puppet. As Kōran sees them he let his ultimate puppet breaking the seal and cause havoc around the ring. Kurei eventually gives Recca his gauntlet back and knowing of his destiny to live or die accoording to his own terms. Both brothers use their combined flames to destroyed Kōran's ultimate puppet while being aided by Resshin. After he and Recca defeat Kōran's ultimate puppet with both of their flames combined and they were aided by Resshin in the ordeal. Kōran was tackled by Kagero for his evil schemes as he quickly escapes which Kurei pursues him. Upon Kōran's escape by riding his own car, Kurei steps in which Kōran attempts to hit him which it successfully hits him and both were presumed dead after the car was blown in explosions.
Sealed Lands Arc
For several days, Kurei stayed unconscious until he had a nightmare that woke him up. He found himself inside their old villa, and Neon had been nursing him to the point that she became rather pale and skipped eating (but she dismissed it with the excuse being on a diet). Kurei showed a rather rare concern on her, but when he remembered the betrayal, he fell into a depression, claiming that when he fights, he'll lose something dear. However, Neon suggested that he could stop fighting and if they wanted, they could live in a far away place. Moved by emotion, Kurei pushed her on the bed and they shared a genuine kiss followed by hints that they made love.
During the night, Kurei was thinking of Neon's words and was considering to lead a peaceful life. However, Mori's assassin Ma-Kun attacked him. Neon attempted to help him but was helplessly tossed aside and was about to be killed. Kurei became angry and for a moment, he was agreeing with Recca's philosophy of fighting to protect. He thought that he'd never be allowed to have a peaceful life. When Ma-Kun got too arrogant, Kurei ripped away his limbs and burnt his body (after asking how he liked to be burnt : raw, medium or well done, as if cooking a steak). He decided to go on fighting and claim his revenge on Mori. He left Neon on a clinic and left her a message 'You must live a happy live, even without me'. His next move was to get into the house where his mother used to stay. But the place was infested with Mori's men and Tsukino wasn't around. And thus, he burnt the place down and slaughtered everyone in there.
Arriving at the Sealed Land and escorted by Joker, Kurei met Kōran after fusing with Tendō Jigoku, fighting Recca. He faced Kōran, but brushed Recca aside, stating that he got in the way. He was also reunited with Raiha, who successfully rescued Tsukino and defused the bomb in her body. For a while, Kurei unwillingly fought alongside Recca against a common foe. Eventually, Kōran fled, and Kurei left. However, he stated that he's now fighting under 'Uruha Hokage', to honor his clan, and after he's done with his former father, he'll be targeting Recca next.
Several weeks passed, and Kurei was having a dream on his childhood and his father, whom he respected. When he knew Kōran's hideout at the fortress city of SODOM, Kurei bid farewell to Tsukino and went ahead to the city, accompanied with Joker. On the other hand, Raiha and Neon were also heading there.
While passing on a forest, Kurei found the corpses of various Kū fighters, killed by one of the Uruha Shishiten group leaders, Kadotsu. Acknowledging their deaths, Kurei temporarily made them his flame spirits. When he met Kadotsu, he unleashed the flame spirits to burn the monstrous man to death. He was going after Saichō next, under the pretense that Saichō was following Recca and thus must die. But Joker stopped him, telling him to preserve his flames for someone else he wanted more. Kurei moved on, sparing Saichō.
Eventually he separated with Joker, but he later felt like Joker was gone from the world. Regardless, he moved on.
Coming closer to the final chamber, he faced his clone, Renge. Disgusted with her naivety and her existence, considering it an insult to him and Kurenai, Kurei put up a lot of insults on her and severely beat her up. He gave a chance for Renge to burn him, motivating her. However, he found her flame even inferior to Recca's. Just when he was about to finish her off, he was distracted with Kōran Mori's voice. This chance was used for Renge to escape, but Kurei didn't care, as he claimed that her fate had been set. Soon after, Renge was betrayed and killed by Tendō Jigoku.
When Kurei arrived at the final chamber, he found Recca under great sorrow that Yanagi had 'died'. He started expressing his disappointment, while ignoring everything Tendō Jigoku boasted to him (although he did attack him, even though it was futile). Eventually, Kurei said that Recca was experiencing something similar to him: losing a beloved one. He said that his answer was the flame spirit of Kurenai and asked for Recca's answer. And the next thing Recca did was summoning Resshin and turning Yanagi into his flame spirit. With that, Kurei gave Recca his full respect and brushed aside Tendō Jigoku. As Yanagi removed all of Tendō Jigoku's strength, Kurei obliterated the majority of his body, and Recca ultimately destroyed him.
As the spirits of Flame Dragons were ascending to heavens, Resshin (Ōka) apologized to Kurei, and he bowed to his father in respect. The power of Hokage was fading. Kurei then bid farewell to the spirits of Jisho and Kurenai, who would also ascend to heaven. Before he lost all the power of Hokage, he activated Jikuryūri, stating that he had an unfinished business. However, at this rate, he wouldn't become immortal. He gave his thanks to Raiha and Neon, and officially disbanded Uruha. In the same time, he made peace with Recca. As he jumped to the portal, Koganei followed him.
Kurei returned to the Warring States Era, exactly when Akechi Mitsuhide pulled the coup that would be known as Incident at Honnōji. He snuck into Nobunaga's chamber and killed him, fulfilling his final revenge for his clan. He then lived his life in the past, accompanied by Koganei.
Abilities and Techniques
Expert Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Kurei is an incredible hand to hand combatant.
Enhanced Strength: Kueri hasstrength far above that of a normal human as seen when he easily defeated Hokage without the use of his fire, even breaking Domon's arm with a single attack.
Kurei has been called a genius flame master more than once over the course of the series by Kagerou, as well as Koku, a powerful Flame Master in his own right. Like his father and his half-brother, Kurei has the power to produce and manipulate fire. As a Flame Master, Kurei has the ability to control the temperatue and intensity of his flames. Kurei's flames have been said to burn at 1,800 degrees Celcius, while he was fighting at less than 10 percent of his potential. His flames are easily hot enough to blast clean through steel. He is also not limited to simply releasing his fire in standard bursts, as he sometimes fashions his flames into blades to sever the limbs of his targets.
The main form of his flame is the Phoenix, and is shown to be of a different color compared to Recca's (Kurei's flames are violet in the anime series and a different shade of red in the Flame of Recca video games). Kurei has the ability to absorb souls into his flame, and use them to produce humanoid flames that fight for him and obey his commands. Since as living humanoid flame they are formless they are incapable of being cut or extinguished with fire.
The first time Kurei absorbed a soul into his flame was when he absorbed Kurenai's soul right after Kōran killed her. The second instance of this was when he absorbed the soul of a loyal member of the Jyushinshuu named Jisho (this is not shown in the anime).
His power is not limited to absorbing just one soul at a time, as shown by his absorption of several souls, including Minamio, after Kadotsu slaughters many Kuu in the last arc of the manga. This allows Kurei the potential to fight with an army of unkillable flame allies.
Kurei's skill with manipulating his flame has grown over time. He has become capable of only allowing a small part of Kurenai's flame to leave his body. From just an arm and face to her wings this ability is on a totally different level than he was when had to release her completely.
Kurei is also capable of executing non-flame based techniques.
- In the Filipino version, the cutscene where he burns Yanagi's uniform to knock her down in nude leaving her wearing her school socks and shoes has been cut off due to censorship.
- Towards the end of the anime, Kurei is seen being hit in the car by his adopted father and it exploded while in the manga, he was severely injured by Renge and being rescued by Neon as his adopted father disbands Uruha for Ura Uruha.