Kukuri-Hime-no-Kami (菊理媛大神, Kukurihime ōgami ), also known as Kukuri (くくり, Kukuri) for short, is the resident God of the Land of the Hakusan Shrine. She guards over the Kamioka region and disperses the curse, assisting Kazuya in his job as an exorcist.
Due to her status as a God of the Land, Kukuri doesn't age regardless of how much time passes. Instead, her appearance is tied to the amount of power she possesses, boasting a youthful but adult aspect when at full-strength but rejuvenating when her power decreases. Some traits are consistently carried over, such as her green hair and blue eyes, and always sports the same attire consisting of an orange haori, a kimono jacket, and a pair of black hakama, divided troursers that extend all the way to the ankles, as well as a white bandana. Because of certain circumstances and, after her test to appoint Kazuya Kagami as the new Exorcist of Kamioka, Kukuri suffered a drastic change in looks that resemble that of a very young girl. On her daily life when not attending her duties as the Local God, she's also seen wearing all different kinds of casual clothing typical of girls of her physiological age.
Kukuri is a very friendly and cordial individual that keeps an amiable disposition towards those around her. Despite her status and position, she's always broke as she lives entirely of donations from the local population and barely receives any offerings for living, resulting in her living an extremely humble life with barely any comforts. For a long time she and her assistant Kokuyou lived in very poor conditions. After the destruction of their temple during the appointment of Kazuya as Kamioka's Exorcist, they found themselves homeless and having to spent what little money they had for its repairs, even having Kokuyou work on part-time jobs in order to get money, forcing them to live an even more vagrant life by eating grass and living on a children's park. While she puts up with it she's always frustrated and distressed by their lack of money. However, Kukuri herself is a very humble individual that treats everyone with respect regardless of their position, inherently lowering herself to living a life akin to that of average human beings.She's diligent, regularly overextenting herself in order to purify her region from Curse, while also attending to more mundane tasks like washing the dishes or helping with the cooking on Kazuya's house without being asked to collaborate. In spite of her simplistic lifestyle, she still has her pride as the God of the Land and would often remark her status as a deity, but she struggles to be seen as an imposing and mighty figure regardless of her efforts, and is often ridiculed by those with more assertive personalities like Kiriha. She is quite scatterbrained, clumsy, and works hard to be taken seriously but generally comes off as just pitiful by those around her. She's surprisingly childish and cheerful, with her behavior often resembling that of a real kid in both appearance and conduct. She's also very prudish and somewhat innocent, heavily contrasting with the indecent Kiriha who regularly exposes her in all sorts of embarassing situations, where she tends to easily lose her cool and panic.
Despite her demeanor making her come off as pitiable and miserable, at moments of crisis, she proves to be a very reliable ally and she's still highly regarded and respected by allies in such situations, who have complete faith in her knowledge and abilities. She cares deeply about Kazuya, who she grows to love very much throughout the series. Their relationship appears to be closer to that of an elder brother and sister, but there's shown strong implications of being romantically interested in him in more than one occassion. Naturally, she's willing to do anything within her power in order to protect him, even going as far as placing a barrier throughout Kamioka in order to prevent Azami's entrance, which severely weakened her in the process and left her vulnerable. She also greatly values her subordinate Kokuyou, and will be thrown in a binding rage if she was hurt. She has a rocky relationship with Kiriha, as their personalities directly contrast with the other and they're constantly competing with the other. Kiriha finds great amusement in making fun of her prudish nature, which greatly irritates Kukuri.
Kukuri was one of the esteemed three thousand Gods of the sacred mountain of Kaga and was at some point considered powerful enough to carry the title of a God of the Land, assigned to the region of Kamioka to act as its major deity, as well as getting a Stone Shard from the celestial pillar implanted inside her body. She carried the responsability of purifying the curse of the land for an unknown period of time. Kamioka had a reputation of being a particularly unstable region, where high-level aberrations would often be formed, and as such the exorcist applied to her area was one of incredibly high skill. At an unknown point, Tsuzura Temple assigned one their strongest exorcists Shinkurou Shishizaki, and he became the regional exorcist after passing Kukuri's test. Shishizaki quickly fell in love with Kukuri and regularly and happily acted as her personal servant, with Kukuri being mostly uncomfortable with the awkward relationship.Eventually, Shishizaki is very well-regarded for his talent as an exorcist and, believed to have an ideal personality to be an instructor in Tsuzura Temple, he's requested to go the temple in order to teach young cadets. He strongly refuses the offer however, as he wants to stay with Kukuri, but his position is offered to the young talent Kanaka Kagami, who is given permission to take his position. Shortly after, Kanaka arrives to the Hakusan Shrine alongside her partner the obi tsukumogami Kiriha. Kukuri welcomes them to Kamioka and introduces herself, but Shishizaki is still adamant about leaving, so Kanaka proposes a duel between the two, with the winner earning the right to become Kamioka's exorcist. While Kukuri is not supportive of the idea, she gives in as both are motivated for it, so she provides water dolls and acts as a referee for the match. Their battle ends with Kanaka's victory. Despite his loss, Shishizaki still refuses to leave and begs Kukuri to allow him to stay. Kiriha shreds Kukuri's clothes and exposes her vagina to Shishizaki, causing him to enter an unconscious euphoric state, requiring others to escort him away.
Kiriha and Kanaka enter Kuruki's temple, with Kuriki having changed into a gym bloomers provided by the local weather god Kane. Kiriha mocks her attire and her and Kanaka rummage through the other clothes provided, prompting Kukuri to demand more respect. The two perform Tsuzura Temple style of arm wresting to determine who will be forced to wear the clothes. Kiriha loses and is forced to wear a bunny suit. Kanaka joins in and is able to defeat both of them, forcing them into skimpy bikinis. During their bath later Kanaka began caressing and fondling Kukuri, giving the water deity her first experience of Kanaka's "skinship". As they have now been assigned to Kamioka, Kanaka and Kiriha end up living at the temple since they have no other place to go. Oriobana would later arrive to give Kanaka a school uniform to go to school and complete her education, where Kiriha would attend school with. During the following years, Kukuri would provide support and advice to the exorcist and her partner, as well as letting them live in her temple until Kanaka got married with Kazuaki Kagami.Noticing her depression over the lack of challenging battles, Kukuri was in charge of arranging the hunting of Frozen Stock for Kanaka, aberrations of low-priority and extreme difficulty that had been postponed. Years later however, Kiriha would speak with Kukuri, Kazuya and Kasumi about Kanaka's depression and her suspension for ignoring warnings. She indirectly requested the God of the Land to fight her, since what they need to cheer her up is an enemy strong enough to intimidate her, but Kukuri declines saying that Gods are not allowed to use their real power unless their lives or lands are threatened. The depressed Kanaka looked into the mirror to see a vision of herself telling her to destroy everything. The vision is interrupted by Kazuya, who goes to his mother to cheer her up, telling her that he will become strong enough for them to fight on equal ground. A smile is brought to Kanaka's face, who thanks her son. Shortly after, Kazuya has surpassed his sister and Kanaka begins sparring with Kazuya herself.
One night months later, Kiriha appeared on her shrine with an unconcious Kazuya. She would tell her about an incident with Kanaka, who had been possessed by an amasogi created by Kazuya. Seeing no other option and following Kanaka's own request, Kiriha killed her to protect Kazuya, but his mother's death proves too much for the boy to bear and was thrown into despair, developing a suicidal grief that quickly amassed a large concentration of curse around him creating amasogis to fulfill his suicidal impulses. After Kiriha knocked him out, she'd decided to ask Kukuri for help, who proposed to seal all his memories about the incident, including any memory related to his mother and Kiriha. However, as being forgotten by her owner is almost equal to death for a tsugumomo, she was hesitant to carry over this plan, but Kiriha agreed regardless. Before sealing Kazuya's memories, Kukuri put her to sleep in her original obi form, increasing the chances of a reunion between Kazuya and Kiriha if the seal on his memories were to be removed.
Immediately after sealing his memories and Kiriha's return to a regular obi, Kukuri decided to bury Kanaka's body and dispose the remnants of the black obi tsukumogami that'd possessed her. However, it was then that she noticed that the black obi retrieved by Kiriha was a substitute double. Kukuri was quickly capable of understanding the meaning of it, concluding that Kanaka had somehow survived. She sat on the outside of her shrine awaiting for Kanaka's appearance, who would arrive shortly after with her chest covered by multiple obi layers to prevent her from dying of blood-loss. Kanaka survived the encounter when Azami covered the hole in her heart. The possessed Kanaka tells Kukuri that she would have to kill Kazuya's "Guardian Angel" in order to get to him, mockingly asking Kukuri if that'd be a strong enough reason to force her to use her true strength, leading an unamused Kukuri to confirm her statement. Immediately after, the two engage in a brief but incredibly fierce battle in which Kukuri manages to come out victorious over Kanaka. However, she needs to have Kazuya and Kiriha finish her off to prevent the massive curse backlash to hit.Before Kukuri could restrain Kanaka, she is attacked by her tsukumogami Azami, who attempts to escape from Kukuri. Refusing to let them get away, she activates the Divine Water Fortress, a water barrier that can trap those it comes into contact with. However, Azami manages to get away from Kukuri's grasp using a teletransporting ability. Kukuri extended the barrier throughout the entire region of Kamioka hoping it would catch her, but as she noticed her lack of success she was made aware that Kanaka and Azami had managed to leave the region, away from Kukuri's domain. She decided to leave the Divine Water Fortress activated to make it function as a protective barrier to prevent Kanaka and Azami from entering Kamioka, however, as the barrier represents a huge burden to keep activated, she's left uncertain over how long she'll be able to maintain it while also fulfilling her role as the God of the Land purfying the curse, as well as keeping the seal on Kazuya's memories. Following the incident, she immediately talked with Kanaka's family, Kazuaki and Kasumi Kagami, explaining them everything that'd happened. Kazuya's father decided to move to another house, away from their previous home that carried over painful memories. His sister expressed an even stronger desire to protect him, and continued training as a local exorcist after being provided with the hourglass tsugumomo Saori.
After a couple of years, Kukuri became increasingly weaker due to the barrier around Kamioka as her divine power grew low, she was reduced to a child form. She quickly requested for a divine servant to assist her, meeting Kokuyou in the process. Shortly after, Kukuri became incapable of properly purifying the curse of Kamioka, and the seal blocking Kazuya's memories weakened as well as Kukuri was unable to keep everything up. With both of these things lacking in efficiency, the still oblivious and amnesiac Kazuya finally encountered a wig amasogi as curse gathered close to him, but the weakened seal also allowed Kiriha to be awakened once again, who up until then had been carried by Kazuya as his mother's memento, and she saved him from the amasogi.
Abilities and Powers
As a God of a Land tasked with supervising an area's circulation of Curse, as well as preserving one of the highly valuable Stone Shards, Kukuri is recognised as one of the most powerful entities in the world. However, Gods of the Land are prohibited from making use of their powers unless it's either for testing someone for the position of an Exorcist, or if their own life is threatened.
She has the authority to select and test individual to become the Exorcists of her given region, as well as oversee their performance and training. She has the ability to Purify the activity Curse on Kamioka, reducing its influence to prevent as many aberrations as possible, and it is one of her most important duties that she has to perform on a daily basis. As Kamioka in particular is peculiar area with even higher contrations of Curse, this is strenuous and demanding job. She's also capable of creating barriers that can either prevent the entrance from specific outsiders or disable those inside from leaving. The size of her barriers can range from a single house to the entire district of Kamioka, but the bigger the barrier the more demanding it is to keep it in place, periodically weakening over time.
Weakened State: Akujou MaskInitially at the beginning of the series, as a consequence of the barrier she's deployed over Kamioka, Kukuri's been drastically weakened to only a small fraction of her originals strength. Because of this, she heavily relies on the special Ceremonial Masks, which grant her the ability to borrow the powers of the original Youkai the mask represents, like a Tengu Mask granting her the herculean strength of a Tengu. In particular, she makes use of the "Akujou" Mask, a mask that represents the divine fury of a deity. With this mask, Kukuri is capable of temporarily using her original powers as the God of the Land, even allowing her to return to her adult appearance. However, this mask carries many drawbacks. If the mask falls off or is destroyed, Kukuri immediately loses all her powers and is once again reduced to her weakened form. Additionally, the Mask only has effect in the Sacred Ground established by the God of Land, which is her Temple. Anywhere else, the Mask's only use is merely cosmetic.
When using the Mask to its full potential, Kukuri is able to employ several techniques that would otherwise be unable to in her weakened state:
- Water Bullets (みづまり, Midzumari): Kukuri shoots a barrage of water drops at blitzing speeds. Not a particularly strong attack, but of simple and effective use.
- Water Spear (みづやり, Midzuyari): Kukuri gathers enough water to form a short spear that she shots to her opponent. Considerably stronger than the Water Bullets. Potent enough to easily tear apeart Kiriha's Double Layered Shield Weave.
- Water Bulwark (みづがき, Midzugaki): Kukuri raises a torrent of water to serve as a sturdy protective barrier.
- Frozen Water Bulwark (しむみづがき, Shimu Midzugaki): A more powerful version of the regular Bullwark. She lowerts the water's temperature until it's frozen, furtherly increasing its resistance.
- Water Mirage (みづかげろう, Midzukagerō): Kukuri forms a projection that allows her to dodge enemies' attacks and catch them by surprise.
- Minazuchi (
水槌, Minadzuchi):One of Kukuri's most powerful attacks, it requires a chanting on Formal Language. Kukuri summons a massive flood from the heavens, crushing the target under a huge mass of water.
- Water Wheel (みづぐろま, Midzuguroma): Kukuri creates a wheel of water which spins at high speeds and launches it at her target.
- Suzuro Mizuchi (すずろみづち, Suzuro Midzuchi): Another of Kukuri's most powerful moves, it also requires a chanting in Formal Language. Honoka was impressed when revealed that Kazuya managed to block it.
Weakened State: NormalWithout the use of her Masks, Kukuri's weakened state presents her with a lot of limitations, like her Purification of Curse being more exhausting and lacking in effectiveness. She also becomes incapable of employing most of her more powerful techniques without being ridiculed to pathetic extents, with the tremendously powerful Minazuchi being reduced to a tiny water spray that would kill little more than a fly.
However, while her weakened state would suggest that she's in a vulnerable and helpless position, Kukuri still remains a formidable opponent that very few people could potentially defeat.
- Water God Fist (
水神拳, Suijinken): While most of her more advanced attacks become inaccessible for her, Kukuri's primal fighting style actually revolves around the use of a combination of her control over Water with an extremely refined level of martial arts. With this style, Kukuri "wears" her water as an empowering tool on her fists and feet, increasing her strength and speed enormously. She can also shoot this water through punches, similar to the Water Bullets but with a considerably higher potency, as she's launching them with her own fists. When making use of this fighting style, Kukuri's impacts are powerful enough to easily tear apart through flesh and bone indiscriminately, as most of her opponents would be torn to pieces without being given a chance to react.
She's an extremely skilled martial artist, with inhuman reflexes and mobility. During the Assassination Arc, Kukuri employed this combat style to defeat six Tsugumomo on her own, all of which wielded power comparable to an experienced Exorcist. After reading her, Mimane claimed that even eight of Mayoiga's Elites would be unable to defeat her on her current state.
- Water Needle (
水針功, Suishinkō): Kukuri uses all her strength to shoot a powerful bullet of water towards her opponent, penetrating in a straight line at an inconceivable speed and destroying everything in its path.
Fully-powered StateWhen Kukuri is at full strength her fighting ability skyrockets to extraordinary levels, gaining access to all the techniques she would wearing the Akujou Mask. Her combat style primarily revolves around the use of the Water God Fist as well, occassionally combining it with other large-scale attacks like Minazuchi as well. During this state, she becomes nearly unbeatable to the point she was able to swiftly and effortlessly defeat the Legendary Tsugumomo Miurahi who had a Stone Shard embedded inside his body. She was also able to quickly dispatch the corrupted Obi Tsugumomo Azami in a brief encounter, despite the latter having been strong enough to inflict fatal wounds on lesser Gods like Kaneyama. The only one that was able to give Kukuri an even fight when at full strength was the extraordinarily talented Exorcist Kanaka Kagami.
- Divine Water Fortress (
水天陳, Sui Tenjin): One of Kukuri's most powerful moves. She extends a film of water until it contacts with an specific target, capturing and restraining his movements on that instant. The amount of distance she can extend it is seemingly limitless, but the bigger it is the more energy it consumes. Kukuri utilized this technique to serve as a barrier around Kamioka when it failed to capture Azami, which she left activated for many years in order to prevent her entrance.
- Water Moon Kannon (
水月観音, Suigetsu Kannon): Kukuri's definitive technique and trump card. She covers her body with what resembles a water tunic, vastly increasing her combat ability. On this form, Kukuri was strong enough to overpower even Kanaka on their first encounter, with it being the only time on her life that the Exorcist was bested on the battlefield, and on their second encounter it was required an extreme level of affinity between Kanaka and Azami to reach Ascension for her to finally be able to overpower this form.