The Messengers (in Japanese: Shimeisha) are a group of five people chosen to protect humanity from the Fallen and their invading demons. Spirit Guardian is their leader. According to Tama, they are the only ones in the world who have the power to use the holy sword Tzohar and the four sacred weapons, the Shigentoku.
Here are their profiles, complete with angsty pasts and random irrelevant personal stats.
the Messenger of Love
- Kedaka Kinami (family name first)
- (Her legal name is actually Yoshimitsu Kinami.)
- March 12, 1998
- Blood Type
- Favorite Flower
- White Rose
- Window shopping, listening to music (her favorites are Hamasaki Ayumi and Franz Ferdinand)
- To be a singer/songwriter
- Tzohar, the spirit sword
- Special Move
- "Sacred Corona"
Gloomy, quick-tempered, and generally unfriendly, Kinami hardly seemed a likely choice for the Messenger of Love. When Tama told her that her destiny was to be Spirit Guardian, Kinami was reluctant, first stubbornly refusing to get involved in their problems, then doubting her abilities. She has some trust issues, mostly stemming from the fact that her father abandoned their family when she was five.
In spite of all this, God must have seen some potential in Kinami. Tama and Kei wonder how long they'll have to wait until they can see it too...
the Messenger of Justice
- Tozaki Toyomi
- April 24, 1998
- Blood Type
- Favorite Flower
- Venus Flytrap
- Arcade games, building stuff, biking
- To write RPG storylines
- Manna Lash (whip)
- Special Move
- "Bountiful Harvest"
Toyomi grew up with a single father and two brothers, so it's not surprising that she's a bit of a tomboy. Lively, open-hearted, and optimistic, she is very easy to get along with. However, she's not exactly the brightest person you'll ever meet. She and Kinami are polar opposites, but somehow become very good friends.
Toyomi's best quality is probably her honest acceptance of herself and others. Her worst quality is the same taken to an extreme: she has a tendency to be complacent, and to avoid her problems rather than face them. She'd be the first to help out a friend, but the last to admit she needs help herself.
the Messenger of Temperance
- Soyokaze Chou
- June 5, 1998
- Blood Type
- Favorite Flower
- Volleyball, flirting
- To become a detective, get married, have 1.5 kids, and live happily ever after
- Makon Blade (chakram)
- Special Move
- "Harmonious Refrain"
Chou seems to have it all: good grades, tons of friends, a spot as captain of the volleyball team, and boys lining up for a chance to date her. As the class president, she likes rules and order, almost as much as she likes being in charge. She has a long-standing rivalry with Kinami, whom she writes off as a delinquent. Kinami in turn dismisses her as a shallow popular priss. Naturally, this means they will be forced to work together. Perhaps God has a sense of humor?
Chou is rarely seen without a boyfriend. It's not that she's dependent on men--relationships to her are more of a status symbol than a source of emotional support. She leaves a long trail of broken hearts in her wake.
the Messenger of Wisdom
- Sazanami Michie
- February 29, 1997
- Blood Type
- Favorite Flower
- Stargazing, writing poetry, painting
- To be a diplomat and travel the globe
- Leviathan Spear (trident)
- Special Move
- "Lucid Fountain"
Michie is a free-spirited intellectual searching for her place in the world. Artistic but rather scattered, she has a habit of starting projects and never finishing them. She embraces the philosophy that everything is relative, and believes the purpose of life is to discover the truth within oneself. She is willing to challenge preconceived notions, and is the only one of the Messengers to question whether Tama and Kei are actually on the side of good.
Water Guardian is reluctant to join the others at first, feeling that they don't have the right to tell her what she can do with her power. Tama feels that Michie is dangerous, and disapproves of Kei's choice to give her free rein. Kei himself is frustrated by her rebellious nature, but nonetheless seems to favor her... at least, until Hiiaka shows up.
the Messenger of Fortitude
- Akagishi Hiiaka
- December 20, 1997
- Blood Type
- Favorite Flower
- Bird of Paradise
- Gardening, ikebana, hula
- She's not sure yet
- Pureion Hammer (war hammer)
- Special Move
- "Devotion Crucible"
A Japanese-American from Maui, Hiiaka is the daughter of a wealthy resort tycoon. When the girls first meet her, she seems aloof and snobby. But in the rare moments she finds to herself, a different side of her emerges. She is a nature lover who enjoys quiet places and simple things. Secretly, she has grown disillusioned by her life of luxury and feels confined by her status. A vague sense of guilt and regret gnaws at her, the constant feeling that she is at a stalemate. The arrival of the other Shimeisha provides a much-needed upset in her routine. She quickly becomes Kei's new favorite, which sparks a rivalry between her and Michie.
Hiiaka's parents had an arranged marriage. Her mother was once in love with someone else, but turned her back on genuine affection for a cold and empty union that would satisfy her family. Reflecting on her mother's choices, Hiiaka asks herself how much she would be willing to give up for her ideals.
Fallen are those who have, one way or another, devoted their lives to serving the devil. There are twelve in total. They have codenames corresponding to the zodiac signs of western astrology, which indicate the sector of heaven they were promised to rule when their plot for global domination succeeds. They have the power to summon monsters by releasing the darkness in a person's heart. At first, Kinami assumes that they're demons, but later discovers that they are human, just like her. And that's not the only thing they have in common...
Messenger of Sloth
She represents sadness, uncertainty, or the sin of sloth, and frequently preys on people who are unsure of themselves. The first enemy to appear, she spends most of her time tormenting Kinami, playing on her reluctance to become Spirit Guardian. She fights with a pair of daggers. Augeas, another of the Fallen, is Selenia's older brother. Though they care for one another on some level, they have drifted apart during their years with the Fallen.
Messenger of Gluttony
Belit is a woman with all the social graces of a charging bull. She urges her victims to indulge in their every whim without regard for consequences. When Toyomi starts to balk at the responsibility of being a Messenger, Belit uses her favorite video game to lure her into a trance and summon a monster from her.
Messenger of Envy
He represents the sin of envy. He shows great respect for Longinus and Augeas, but his obsessive, competitive nature leads him to resent anyone who seems to hold their favor more than him. Though he and Jezebel were once friends, they become bitter rivals. Iago hates that Augeas showers her with praise while ignoring him, though he is clearly the more competent warrior.
Messenger of Lust
A seductive temptress, Jezebel represents the sin of lust. She is the only one of the Fallen who does not summon monsters, but instead takes control of her victim's body. She is aware that she is the weakest fighter among the Fallen, so she prefers to manipulate others into doing her dirty work for her. When forced to fight, she uses a bola. Though Jezebel despises Selenia, at heart they are quite similar. Both have low self-esteem, but while Selenia copes by projecting her negativity onto others, Jezebel uses her numerous lovers to make herself feel wanted. She is involved with Augeas, but secretly longs for Narkisso.
Messenger of Greed
By day she masquerades as an investment banker, and helps to finance and oversee the Fallen's operations in the human world. She cares only for personal advancement and would probably betray the other Fallen if she thought she could get away with it. Everything is quantified in her mind; anything that cannot be counted is irrelevant. Though she is a good planner, she lacks initiative, always holding out for something better. Augeas thought Malestro's eagerness would provide a good counterbalance to her caution and ordered them to team up. He thought wrong.
Messenger of Wrath
Malestro has an impulsive, hot-headed personality. He rarely pauses to think and is instead ruled by his emotions. Augeas treats him as a pupil of sorts, often helping him pick his targets. He is assigned to work with Ariya, but they end up getting in each other's way more often than not.
Messenger of Pride
He represents pride or arrogance; his preferred victims are arrogant much like himself. (Even his name refers to narcissism.) His weapon is a set of brass knuckles. He is a coward, quickly retreating when threatened. Even so, he is actually one of the most powerful Fallen. He is attracted to Selenia and flirts with her constantly, but is always rebuffed.
Legatus of Destruction
One of the five higher-ranking fallen. In short, Diluvian is insane. At some point in the past, he was a zealot bent on punishing anything he perceived as wickedness. Over time, his quest for justice warped into a sadistic enjoyment of other people's suffering, and he joined the Fallen. His wrath is unpredictable, and even his allies fear him a little.
Legatus of Fear
One of the five higher-ranking fallen. His weapon is a bow. He and Flagra sometimes work together.
Legata of Lies
One of the five higher-ranking fallen. She fights with a whip, but prefers to ensnare her enemies with words.
Legatus of Oppression
The second-highest ranking of the Fallen and Longinus's right hand man. His power seems to focus on guilt and regret. He also appears to enjoy distorting the piety of devout believers, often targeting religious leaders. He is Selenia's older brother and Jezebel's lover. As a result he often finds himself in the middle of their feud.
Prince of the Fallen
The enigmatic leader of the Fallen. He seeks to capture Tama, Kei, and Spirit Guardian. According to Tama, he wants to open the Dark Gate, a portal that will unleash the devil's full power on Earth. His motivations for doing so are unclear.
Major Secondary Characters
People who are, for better or for worse, part of the Shimeisha's lives. Family, friends, love interests, and maybe an unexpected ally or two--all of them have an important role to play in the story.
Kinami's mother. She struggled to raise her daughter alone after Kinami's father abandoned them. Most of the time, she wears a cheerful smile to hide her worries. Since dropping out of college, she lost all her confidence and had trouble finding a job, so she wound up depending on her boyfriends for financial support. This has led her into a vicious cycle of failure and low self-esteem.
A graduate of Munamata High School, she is a fun-loving free spirit with a rebellious streak a mile wide. For a while, she is Kinami's only friend. Her father threw her out of their home because she failed her college entrance exams, and since then she has been living as a "ronin" in a tiny apartment.
A mysterious (and handsome) guy who starts following Kinami shortly after she first becomes Spirit Guardian. Somehow, he already knows about Spirit Guardian and the Fallen. He acts as a vigilante, sometimes aiding the shimeisha, other times apparently working against them. His intentions are not clear, but he is a man on a mission... a mission that puts him at odds with Kei, with whom he has some kind of history.
A student in the architecture program at Mukogawa Women's College. She came to Kiseki Town to do her professional study, restoring the Minaga Cafe which is owned by her uncle. She has a hard time trusting people and is terrified of making mistakes. Some incident in her past has left her riddled with guilt, but she won't talk about it. She and Mikhail were childhood friends.
A boy who works in the Minaga Cafe, where Kinami and her friends like to get together. His family used to own the cafe, but his mother was forced to sell it after his father died and they fell on hard times. He lives with her in a room above the restaurant. Kinami is cold to him, in spite of his attempts to be friendly. But after an accident leaves her owing the Cafe a large debt, she ends up as his coworker...
A student at Munamata Junior High. He is a member of the school's struggling kendo team. A bit of a blockhead, he has a habit of saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. His large frame and gruff nature are intimidating, but in truth, he's a marshmallow. Later on in the story, he and Chou start dating.
Munamata Junior High's resident techno-geek and video game master. Ryuuga has an astronomical IQ and a hair-trigger temper. Everything about him is intense. At times, he takes himself way too seriously. Toriyama Yusuke has been his best friend since childhood, and Ryuuga is very protective of him.
A student at Munamata Junior High. Weak-willed and sensitive, but stubborn. He was born with a blood disorder that keeps him out of a lot of activities, which has made it hard for him to make friends. At heart he is a kind and generous person, but he has trouble connecting with others, so he hides beneath a brittle shell--not unlike Kinami. Ryuuga is the one of the few who really understands him.
Kinami's wayward father. Though he's rarely around, not a day passes that Kinami and Satsuki do not feel his absence. He and Satsuki had a rocky romance when they were young, which only grew more strained after Kinami was born. They finally broke up for good, and Akira left on his bike to travel the country, but occasionally returns to Kiseki Town to rough up whatever man Satsuki happens to be dating at the time. Satsuki is full of bitterness toward him, yet some part of her clings to the irrational hope that he will come back and settle down with her.
Suzume's uncle and Daiichiro's boss. He is one of the wealthiest men in the city. He appears to be a stern figure, but he has a kind heart. He is clever and a bit of a schemer. When the Minagas were forced to sell their beloved restaurant, he bought it, and promised to pass it on to Daiichiro when he retires on the condition that Daiichiro work for him until then.
A police officer who Satsuki has been seeing on and off for several years. He has been hoping for something more than just casual dating, but she tends to shy away from commitment after what Kinami's father did to her. Masahiro tries to be understanding, but he's beginning to feel that he can't wait forever. Meanwhile, Kinami resents him, viewing him as a rival for her mother's attention and an intruder on their family. Eventually, she has a change of heart when she realizes that Masahiro makes her mother happy in a way that she cannot. But by then, it may be too late.
Characters who appear for an act or two, and play a small role in the story.
The star outside hitter on Munamata Junior High's volleyball team. Her life revolves around sports and her dream of being in the Olympics. She is by far the most dedicated player on the team, but can be self-absorbed. Because of that weakness, she is targeted twice by the Fallen. Tama believed she was destined to be Wind Guardian, but when a Fallen attacked the school, it was Chou who answered the call and became a Shimeisha.
A high school student who used to be best friends with Kinami and Youko. They drifted apart as they got older. She attends a Catholic private school in Osaka (though she's an atheist) and earns top marks in all her classes.
What's the meaning of life? What does it mean to know God? How do I become a successful, joyful, healthy, holy person who is ready to face whatever God has planned for me in this life?
...these are all questions that won't be thoroughly answered here. Sorry, but I'm just not smart enough to explain the universe. What I can do is share with you what I believe, and what has led me to believe it. So here are the bare-bones basics of the Christian faith, according to a suburban middle-class white girl. Your Mileage May Vary. (Yes, that is a link to TVtropes. See you in four hours.)
God Loves You!
Do you believe that? If so, great! We're on the same page. If not, I'm sure you have your reasons. Please bear with me for a second. I cannot and will not attempt to make you believe in God, but hopefully this explanation can provide you with a better understanding of the Christian worldview.
As a Christian, I believe that God created the universe and that he loves all the people in it as His children. If there are aliens, He created them and loves them too. As to whether that creation took six days or a few billion years... well frankly I have no idea, but that's beside the point for now. The point is that God made us, not because He was bored or lonely or needed us for anything, but because He had so much love that He wanted someone to share it with. And He wants us to love Him back.
Well, there's a small issue with that.
We're Not Perfect
For most people, this premise is pretty easy to accept. Everyone in this world is flawed. The Bible says as much in the book of Romans:
Don't take my word for it. Look out the window. Better yet, look in the mirror. If you're like me, it won't be too hard to think of a time recently when you were less than perfect. (Yesterday? Today? How about within the last five minutes?) And don't think you're off the hook if you haven't actually done anything—even bad thoughts count.
This imperfection, which Christians call sin, separates us from God. What happens when we're separated from God?
It Gets Worse
All sin, no matter how small, eventually leads to death. Harsh! You might be thinking that God seems pretty unreasonable at this point. But think of it like this. You're trying to jump across a huge canyon. It doesn't matter if you make it halfway or if you miss the opposite ledge by three feet—you'll end up in the same place. Either you make it, or you don't. And nobody does.
It's not that God is eager to put people to death, but He's so perfect that He can't put up with any sin. So the smallest flaw sets us on a path away from Him, and the ultimate trajectory of a sinful life is death.
For many Christians, "death" in this sense also means Hell, complete with fiery torment and/or life in eternal darkness without hope—in other words, being completely cut off from God and all his goodness forever. (Not all Christians believe in Hell. Some think that sinners face a "second death" and simply cease to exist, and there are a multitude of other views. This is a complex discussion which I won't be getting into here, but the main point is that without God, we aren't headed for anything good.)
So we seem to have a problem here. On one hand, we have a loving God who wants us to be with Him. On the other hand, God is also just, and that means he can't allow us in his presence if we aren't perfect. Which nobody is.
But Wait! There's a Way Out
Are we all doomed, then? Thankfully, no! Let's take a look at the second half of that verse.
Ever heard people say that Jesus is the answer? This is what they're talking about. Jesus is God's way of giving us a second chance, a way back to Him without being perfect ourselves. This is a free gift, meaning we don't have to (and can't) do anything to deserve it.
But a gift isn't free for the giver, and God didn't just write off our sins. Because He is just, He demands that a penalty be paid, a sacrifice.
(Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.)