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Mukuro Rokudo (六道 骸 Rokudō Mukuro?) is a fictional character in the Reborn! manga and anime series created by Akira Amano. Portrayed as the series' first primary antagonist, Mukuro Rokudo is introduced as a 15-year-old Mafia criminal who is the leader of the Kokuyo Gang, which consists of heinous criminals who have recently escaped from prison. However, later on in the series, after possessing the body of Chrome Dokuro, he takes on a more supportive role for the series' main characters, becoming somewhat of an ally rather than an enemy, though he prefers to not want to associate with them. Apart from the manga and anime, Mukuro has also appeared in other media from the Reborn! franchise including video games and novels.

Mukuro's character has been well-received by readers since his introduction, ranking as one of the most popular characters in every official Shonen Jump poll of the series. Also, his and Kyoya Hibari's character CD entitled "Sakura addiction", peaked at seventh place on the Oricon charts.[2] Their performance earned each of their voice actors a Seiyū Awards' nomination for "Best Musical Performance", in addition to Toshinobu Iida being nominated as the "Best Rookie Actor" for his portrayal as Mukuro Rokudo.[3] Numerous anime and manga publications have commented on Mukuro's character, mostly receiving positive reviews.[4][5] Merchandise based on his appearance has also been released including key chains and action figures.[6]

Character outline

Personality

Mukuro is often seen with a playful smile and seems apathetic to the suffering of others. Appearing as the series' first antagonist, Mukuro is not averse to disposing of those who get in his way, and is not easily intimidated, usually speaking to others in a very direct and arrogant manner.[7][8] Prior to his first appearance, he, along with Ken Joshima and Chikusa Kakimoto, is mentioned to have been locked up in a high security Italian prison, which is reserved for the most dangerous of Mafia criminals, who have even committed crimes against the Mafia itself.[9] He cares little for others, and simply considers people to be "toys" he can sacrifice in order to get to what he wants.[10] However, despite claiming this, he seems to tolerate both Ken and Chikusa, and even protects them, as well as sacrifice himself for them, when need be, though does not do so in front of them.[11] To keep his identity hidden, Mukuro periodically controls several people, most notably Lancia, whom he uses as a "fake Mukuro".[12][13]

Mukuro is implied to have a strong dislike for the entire Mafia underground, due in part to the experimentations he suffered as a child at the hands of the Estraneo Mafia family. When Mukuro killed his captors, he offered Chikusa and Ken, who were also victims of experimentation, a chance to join him in his quest to destroy the world.[14] However, not only does he want to take revenge on the Mafia by destroying it, he also wants to cleanse the world of its filth by invoking universal suffering through a world war.[15] Even after becoming the Vongola's Mist Guardian, Mukuro still claims to no longer be part of the Mafia, having been exiled from it, and continues to view the organization with great contempt.[8][9]

Weapons and abilities

Known as someone who has driven both the Mafia and police into dangerous and desperate of situations, Mukuro is a deadly opponent.[16] Though Mukuro's main weapon is a trident, and is capable of using combative skills, he is first and foremost a master of illusions, thus he is not easily deceived by illusions that are cast by others. His abilities lie in his "Six Paths of Rebirth" (六道輪廻 Rokudō rinne?), six different skills which he claims has been carved into his memories by having had his body go through all six paths to Hades.[10] When using his skills, a Japanese numeral, corresponding to the realm he has entered, appears in his right eye. The skills granted from the individual paths varies from enhancing his physical and mind-controlling abilities, as well as his power of his illusions, to enabling him to control and summon animals.[17][18]

Mukuro also possesses the Estraneo Family's Possession Bullet, a forbidden bullet which enables a person to possess the body of another person when the possessor is shot with it. With this, Mukuro is able to possess and control the body of anyone that he has cut with his trident. He can possess several bodies simultaneously, and he is also still able to enter the Six Realms, granting him the ability to use a different skill for each body.[19]

Plot overview

File:Future Mukuro color.png

After arriving in Japan from Italy, and enrolling in Kokuyo Middle School, ten days prior to their first appearance, Mukuro, Chikusa, and Ken, started a gang made up of Mafia criminals, and began their quest to find the Vongola's tenth generation boss. After having his subordinates attack the strongest students in Namimori Middle School, he successfully draws out the tenth boss, Tsuna Sawada.[10] During Mukuro's fight with Tsuna, he reveals his plans of taking over Tsuna's body in order to take revenge on the Mafia.[19] However, he loses the battle to Tsuna and he and his friends are imprisoned by the Mafia's guardians, the Vendicare.[14]

They later attempt a breakout, but Mukuro uses himself as bait, and ends up being thrown into a lower level jail cell.[11] Whilst strolling in his illusions, he comes upon Chrome Dokuro, who was on the verge of death, and possesses her, saving her life with illusionary organs.[20] He then makes a bargain with the Vongola to become one of the ring guardians in exchange for Ken and Chikusa's safety.[21] Now sharing an existence with Chrome, Mukuro later helps her defeat Mammon after he emerges in his own form.[8]

In the story's alternate future (nearly ten years later), Millefiore member Glo Xinia gloats about having defeated him to a displaced Chrome,[22] who had been transported into the future by the Ten-Year Bazooka. However, the future Mukuro had possessed Glo's owl and helps Chrome defeat him in battle.[23] While spying on the Millefiore Family, Mukuro engages Byakuran in battle but is severely wounded.[24] He reappears as an illusion during the Vongola's battle against the Six Funeral Wreaths fighting Byakuran in order to give the Vongola enough time to escape.[25] Later on, Mukuro's apprentice, Flan, frees his body from Vindice Prison in order to assist the Vongola in their fight against the Funeral Wreaths.

Appearances in other media

Besides his appearance in the original manga series and its anime adaptation, Mukuro has appeared in other Reborn! works, including all of the series' video games.[26] Mukuro also appears in the first light novel, Hidden Bullet: Mukuro's Illusions, where the events of how Mukuro took over Kokuyo Middle School are revealed.[27] Also, in the series' character book, Vongola77, there is a short story of how Mukuro uses his spiritual powers to control the body of a small boy in Japan in order to once again try to take over Tsuna's body despite being imprisoned in Italy. After failing and realizing that he is incapable of residing in his host body for a long amount of time due to their unstable "connection", he thought of later taking Chrome's body instead.[28]

On November 7, 2007, Pony Canyon released a character CD entitled "Sakura addiction", which features both Mukuro and Hibari. It contains duets and individual songs sung by both voice actors: Toshinobu Iida and Takashi Kondō.[29][30] The song "Sakura addiction", which was sung by both voice actors, is used as the fifth ending theme for the anime series.[31]

Reception

Mukuro has been highly popular with the Reborn! reader base, having ranked as the most popular villain in the second official Shonen Jump poll of the series, which was divided into heroes and villains.[32] In the third poll of the series, Mukuro ranked as the third most popular male character, losing to Tsunayoshi Sawada and Kyoya Hibari, who took second and first place, respectively.[33] Mukuro then placed in both popularity polls the fourth time around, which was divided into current characters, where he placed fourth, and as characters who fans would most like to see in their future forms, where he placed fourteenth.[34] In the fifth poll, he ranked as the fourth most popular overall character. The Japanese music distributor Recochoku has made two annual survey of which anime characters that people would like to marry. In both years, Mukuro ranked fourth in the category "The Character I Want to Be My Groom."[35] In an Animedia character popularity poll, Mukuro has been featured as the 11th most popular anime character.[36] In the latest character popularity poll, Mukuro has been featured 21st.[37] A plethora of merchandise has been released in Mukuro's likeness including key chains,[38] plush dolls,[39] and action figures.[6]

Mukuro and Hibari's character CD, "Sakura addiction", became the most successful Reborn! character CD, debuting in ninth place in the Oricon charts.[40] The single reached its peak at seventh place,[2][41] but remained in the chart's Top 40 till mid-January 2008.[42] The second annual Seiyū Awards nominated both Toshinobu Iida and Takashi Kondō for "Best Musical Performance", and Toshinobu also received a "Best Rookie Actor" nomination for his portrayal as Mukuro Rokudo,[3] but he did not win either.[43]

In publications focused on manga and anime reviews, Mukuro's concept has received praise and acclaim. Leroy Douresseaux of comicbookbin.com views him as "murderous and supernaturally powerful," as well as being a "slippery and formidable villain" by the way he attacks Tsuna and his friends.[5][44] Sam Kusek of Manga Recon likes Mukuro as the enigmatic villain, though believes him to be a "big creep". He also praises Akira Amano for the originality of Mukuro's techniques, viewing it as "one of the most interesting ideas I've seen," and making him, along with Tsuna, the "real winners overall" of volume 9.[4] However, David Rasmussen from mangalife.com commented that the fight against Mukuro in the manga is a "long, long, DragonBall-Z-sized struggle". As such, he mentioned that the fight is very likable for readers who enjoy "super-powerful people" and long fights.[45]

Notes and references

  1. Script error
  2. 2.0 2.1 Script error
  3. 3.0 3.1 Script error
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sam Kusek (October 14, 2008). "Manga Minis, 10/14/08". Popularshock. Manga Recon. Retrieved October 19, 2008. I really like Mukuro as a very enigmatic villain, even though he is a big creep. I’ve always said that the best villains have the most original techniques. Mukuro’s “Six Wheels of Hell” eye is one of the more interesting ideas I’ve seen all year, so much praise to Akira Amano. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Leroy Douresseaux (June 27, 2008). "Reborn!: Volume 8 By Leroy Douresseaux". Comicbookbin. Retrieved October 19, 2008. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "付箋(6種)". Reborngoods. Retrieved June 14, 2008. 
  7. Amano, Akira (July 1, 2008). "Target 63". Reborn!, Vol. 8. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1665-9. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Script error
  9. 9.0 9.1 Amano, Akira (July 1, 2008). "Target 65". Reborn!, Vol. 8. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1665-9. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Amano, Akira (October 7, 2008). "Target 74". Reborn!, Vol. 9. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1666-7. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Amano, Akira (October 6, 2009). "Target 116". Reborn! 13. Viz Media. p. 189. ISBN 978-1-4215-2438-2. 
  12. Amano, Akira (October 7, 2008). "Target 72". Reborn!, Vol. 9. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1666-7. 
  13. Amano, Akira (July 1, 2008). "Target 67". Reborn!, Vol. 8. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1665-9. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Amano, Akira (January 6, 2009). "Target 81". Reborn!, Vol. 10. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1667-5. 
  15. Amano, Akira (January 6, 2009). "Target 80". Reborn!, Vol. 10. Viz Media. pp. 13–14. ISBN 1-4215-1667-5. 
  16. Amano, Akira (July 1, 2008). "Target 68". Reborn!, Vol. 8. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1665-9. 
  17. Amano, Akira (October 7, 2008). "Target 77". Reborn!, Vol. 9. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1666-7. 
  18. Amano, Akira (October 7, 2008). "Target 75". Reborn!, Vol. 9. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1666-7. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Amano, Akira (October 7, 2008). "Target 76". Reborn!, Vol. 9. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1666-7. 
  20. Amano, Akira (October 6, 2009). "Target 115". Reborn! 13. Viz Media. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-4215-2438-2. 
  21. Amano, Akira (October 6, 2009). "Target 168". Reborn! 13. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-2438-2. 
  22. Script error
  23. Script error
  24. Script error
  25. Script error
  26. Script error
  27. Script error
  28. Script error
  29. Script error
  30. Script error
  31. "霧の真実". Artland. Reborn!. TV Tokyo. October 6, 2007. No. 52.
  32. Script error
  33. Script error
  34. Script error
  35. "Survey: K-ON's Mio, Reborn's Hibari are #1 Bride, Groom". Anime News Network. October 14, 2008. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  36. Script error
  37. Script error
  38. "家庭教師ヒットマンREBORN!ラバーキーホルダーVer.2". REBORN GOODS.COM. Retrieved June 14, 2008. 
  39. "ぬいぐるみ(3種)". Reborngoods. Retrieved June 14, 2008. 
  40. Script error
  41. Script error
  42. Script error
  43. Script error
  44. Leroy Douresseaux (January 5, 2009). "Reborn!: Volume 9 By Leroy Douresseaux". Comicbookbin. Retrieved 2009-13-29.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  45. David Rasmussen. "Reborn! v9". Mangalife. Retrieved December 16, 2008. Reborn and their friends made between Volume 1 and now are facing a seemingly-unstoppable force in the form of an evil being named Mukuro. And that's basically the whole point of Volume 9, a long, long, DragonBall-Z-sized struggle against Mukuro (both a fake and the real thing), with all the trappings of a supernatural action title, with people going all super-powerful and doing amazing things, and all that bonding between friends and stuff between fights and whatever... In other words, if you like series with super-powerful people going at each other for some cause or another and having long fights that last for ever and ever, then this is for you. 

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