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This article, Kenta Kanata, is property of SoloStar2.

The article Kenta Kanata is a part of the Embers of the Waterfall storyline, a closed storyline including specific characters.
This article is part of the Naruto Fanon Hall of Fame, in recognition to its stellar quality, detail and creativity.

"I'm a criminal because I'm doing the job this world desperately needs, but can't possibly dare to do. We don't live in a naive world of shining absolutes and diamond certainties—the peace we enjoy is built upon the bloodstained hands of those who've already accepted the cost of revolution."
— Kenta Kanata

editKenta Kanata
KentaManga
(Kanata Kenta)
Debut
Appears in Anime, Manga, Game, Movie
Voice Actors
English Will Wheaton
Japanese Toshiyuki Morikawa Icon - Search
Personal
Birthdate Astrological Sign Aquarius February 11
Gender Gender Male Male
Age 28 (Deceased)
"(Deceased)" can not be assigned to a declared number type with value 28.
Height 179 cm
1.79 m
5.873 ft
70.472 in
Weight 78 kg
171.961 lb
Blood type A
Classification Missing-nin
Occupation Border Guard Team
Affiliation Takigakure Symbol Takigakure
Rank
Ninja Rank Jōnin
Ninja Registration T12629
Academy Grad. Age 14
Chunin Prom. Age 18
Family
Nature Type
Jutsu
Tools

Kenta Kanata was a Jōnin level shinobi from Takigakure. An incident involving his mother led to him and his entire family being branded as a family of traitors, which Kenta worked hard to overturn—eventually winning the favour of his village and its higher ups as a talented and loyal shinobi. Living modestly and leading his life at a leisurely pace, Kenta's had tried to believe that one should do only what was necessary for the so called betterment of the village, instead of chasing 'fruitless ambitions of power'. However upon being exposed to a shocking revelation to what Takigakure actually truly was underneath, as well as a massive plot to weaponise Pseudo–Jinchūriki to start a new Shinobi War, Kenta turned into a sleeper agent working with an organisation of freedom fighters known as the Viper's Nest and an ancient shinobi known as Hougou, to rid his home village of its' power insane top brass, sabotage their plan and prevent the next Great War.

In a two year build up to his mission, Kenta reconciled with his mother, found love, grew massively in power, crafted an intricate master plan and inherited the Earth Grudge Fear from his mentor. While growing steadily in power, Kenta was always paranoid over the idea that the Earth Grudge Fear (which had manifested a form in his mind), would take control over him one day. Finally succeeding in stopping the Pseudo–Jinchūriki plan, killing the corrupt elders and faking his death in a bloody battle which ravaged Takigakure, Kenta realised that the plot he had just foiled was one of many led by an international criminal network known as the Sons of Freedom. This led to Kenta and Hougou infiltrating the underworld after they fled from Takigakure, Kenta leaving his family and his pregnant girlfriend to wage a seven year long war against the Sons of Freedom. Aided by some powerful connections, Kenta one mindedly pursued and eliminated each major player in the Sons of Freedom cruelly and methodically, becoming ever more brutal as he began to succumb to the mental instability instigated by the Earth Grudge Fear; and further fostered by the atrocities he underwent and observed in his first three years away from Takigakure.

Kenta's descent into madness became too apparent as he alienated his closest allies, and began murdering innocent civilians to reach his goals—creating new problems for his benefactors and a potential international crisis. As Kenta was fully losing himself and becoming fully controlled by the Earth Grudge Fear's mental manifestation, his mentor Hougou, fulfilled the promise Kenta asked him to make eight years earlier—and killed Kenta by impaling every inch of his body with his own Earth Grudge Fear. Kenta died just short of fully eliminating all the Sons of Freedom, but his last thoughts were filled with regret as he realised he had sacrificed too much without ever being able to hold his own son, a trade off which in the end, he realised was never worth it.

As Kenta's death had been made official in the battle of Takigakure seven years prior to his actual death, his allies did him one last favour by never revealing his true identity to the world. His identity in the international Bingo Books as the vigilante "Wrath" was maintained, and subsequently listed as 'Eliminated' under the same name. The would forever guard Kenta's identity and his family, as all his exploits as the Wrath would go a long way in paving the road for vigilante justice in the shinobi world again, as vigilantes began teaming up with the Great Allied Forces to tackle organised crime.


Background

Early Life

Kenta was born in the village of Takigakure as the firstborn son of a young couple, both of which were talented shinobi serving their village. However, in an unexpected twist of events, Kenta's mother suddenly defected from the village when he was just a toddler of 2; killing a senior Jōnin of the village before managing to make her escape—all with seemingly no explanation. Thus the young Kenta and his little brother were raised singlehandedly by their father, with the dubious distinction of being family members of a traitor. Kenta grew up never understanding the reasons behind his mother's betrayal, and he began to convince himself that he didn't care; harbouring immense resentment toward his mother: not for defecting, but for leaving him. However, Kenta sought to prove his loyalty towards his village, and shake off that black mark his mother had unfairly left upon him, and his efforts would officially begin.

Despite declaring his intention to join the Ninja Academy when he was 6, the odds were not in Kenta's favour as his father picked up an old habit again—alcoholism. Kenta was forced to stay home most of the time to watch over his 4 year old brother, as their father carelessly spent time either at the bar, or knocked out in bed when he wasn't on a mission. The young boy was forced to wait until the time his brother would be able to care for himself, and so he did, patiently. Thus, the years passed and Kenta enrolled into the Takigakure Ninja Academy—one which was well recognised for producing excellent shinobi, as their village made up for the lack of military quantity with impressive quality. The trials and lessons were tough for the son of a traitor; as if the gruelling curriculum wasn't enough, Kenta had to deal with the spite and scorn of his peers, who judged him for something he had no control over. For a youngster who was far from being a prodigy, Kenta made his way through the Academy slowly, but surely. Kenta followed his life's principle and only did what was necessary to ensure he ascended to the rank of Genin. He trained, he studied, he sharpened his mind. Kenta never looked up to his prodigious peers for inspiration—he saw no need to, as he focused completely on a different way of doing things. It didn't take long for his instructors to see his own potential, too. The youngster was visibly skilled with the bare fundamentals of shinobi combat—misdirection, stealth and sheer cunning. He simply didn't need powerful abilities, he was already a formidable weapon on his own. Kenta was eventually promoted to the rank of Genin, and assigned to a three man squad; a customary practice.

Hence, Kenta's four year tenure as a Genin began, assigned under one of the stricter taskmasters Takigakure had to offer. Together with his two teammates, Kenta carried out the most basic ninja jobs one could imagine throughout his first year, a boring period of time which seemed to be less ninja work and more towards odd jobs, while building understanding between the young trio. By his second year, the squad had begun taking on minor C-rank missions and eventually on his fourth year as a Genin, Kenta's squad also had two B-ranked missions under their belts. This long period of Geninhood ensured that this particular squad possessed a rather wide wealth of experience; having already participated in serious fights against Chūnin and even Jōnin level opponents, garnering praise with their victories and precious knowledge from their defeats. It was eventually time for Kenta to take the next step in his service to the village; the Chūnin Exams, after he and his squad had finally earned the trust of their mentor.

Chūnin Exams

Taking part in the Chūnin Exams held at Kusagakure, Kenta's first obstacle was a rather straightforward written test, in which almost all the contestants managed to pass. It became obvious to the other contestants that this was indeed designed to be easy, as this exam was going to fully focus on the second stage to weed out the participants—a gruelling week long stay in the giant jungles of the Land of Grass, a daunting environment which the remaining thirty five teams would be pit against each other; nipping at each other's scrolls to progress. The terrain of the jungles proved to be terrible to say at best. Kenta and his team slogged on, tough and steely due to the training they received, but many other teams were not as experienced, agewise or maturity wise. Pacts were formed and several groups began teaming up to cut the younger participating teams out of the competition, while Kenta and his squad watched on apathetically, intent on finishing without alliances. The jungles catered to Kenta's skill with stealth; his teammates spotted the scroll carriers of several teams—Kenta went in to retrieve them. Their methods were quick and clean, involving no necessary combat, laying hidden and stealing their target.

Kenta and his squad tended to stay away from enemies as they navigated their way through the scream filled jungle, searching for the exit. Upon reaching the exit, they were confronted by a team from Kumogakure who had decided to lie in wait near the exit and steal another team's two scrolls to progress. Having generally avoided bloodshed 'til now, Kenta had no problems with showing it at this moment. A team was seeking to impede his progress, delay his dreams. He didn't take kindly to that. As the six contestants clashed, the Kumo team had the overall advantage—they were smart, they possessed fancy attacks, and they were fast. But they had not the grit that Kenta possessed. Kenta allowed the right attacks to hit him, as these attacks opened up holes in his enemies defences which he and his team graciously exploited mercilessly. Rigging his Water Clone with several explosive tags, Kenta made use of the opposing team's quick fatigue, badly burning all three with heated water and ending their challenge after detonating the rigged technique. For all their power, they couldn't endure as much as the Takigakure trio. Their training had been all about the muscle, not the spirit.

Thus, Kenta and his squad made it to the knockout stages—the one on one duels. For the one on one duels, the benefit of teamwork wasn't on Kenta's side any longer. He was forced to slog hard against his very first opponent, a Fire Release user from the Leaf, despite having the natural elemental advantage. Despite eventually managing to win, Kenta sustained burns to his left leg—but was determined to carry on, desperate to become a Chūnin as he could no longer afford any more delays. Thus, the then teenager staged the most brilliant play in his life, making a meal out of his injury to make it seem even worse than it was, to goad opponents into underestimating him. This trick helped him win his second matchup rather easily, taking his opponent out rather dirtily after being allowed the briefest glimmer of a chance. Having had this 'advantage' of injury being blown, Kenta's injury revealed itself to be the true impediment it was, as he faced the front runner of the exams himself—a hotshot genin from Iwagakure who was on his second try at the exam, a year older than Kenta. Capitalising on Kenta's wound, the Iwa-nin moved swiftly to eliminate him quickly, forcing Kenta to take hit after hit and maintain a defensive posture to somehow stay in the battle. Kenta fought back whenever he could, but his speed had been greatly reduced, and as such he could only strike from close range during a counter attack; which also opened him up even further. However, Kenta finally spotted the opening he needed and landed a crucial attack with his Fūma Shuriken, slashing the ankle of his opponent and dragging the tie into a clumsy but heated brawl. Both contestants were eventually inseparable in terms of tactics, and the match ended in a stalemate—Kenta wrapping his opponent's neck with his own chains while having his own neck choked by the Iwa-boy's leg lock. Despite being too injured to carry on, both boys were promoted to Chūnin nevertheless and spent the next day in opposing beds at the infirmary. The tournament was eventually won by a Genin from Konohagakure, a teammate of the boy Kenta won against in the first round.

The Servant of the Waterfall

As a Chūnin, Kenta continued to improve on his abilities, growing into a further respectable warrior, and one whom young Genin could look up to for inspiration. As a Chūnin, Kenta now had the platform he needed to prove his worth to the Waterfall, and make up for the rotting honour his mother had gifted onto him. Kenta obsessively took up missions and ensured he cleared them, performing to the standard the Waterfall required, or even beyond. If the Waterfall wanted something done, Kenta was the man they'd ask for. From high risk, to lower-than-shinobi duties, Kenta did what was required and never complained. The higher ups liked this in him, a soldier who never asked questions, a soldier who could perform his duty to the best possible level. Kenta's skill saw him take B-ranked missions with surprising frequency, and his tantō became the last sight of many beings that threatened the safety and tranquility of Takigakure. Slowly but surely, Kenta turned into the model Chūnin of a village that was a manufacturing mill of excellent young ninja, a poster boy of loyalty personified. Soon the days of his treacherous mother were forgotten, the Kanata family's sole representative was the now 20 year old Kenta. The deep secret that not even his father or brother, or even he knew was that this loyalty was not genuine from the depths of his heart, it was just there to prove that he wasn't his mother, to prove that he was not the same as a woman who had just left him to be subject of scorn, whose lack of thought doomed his whole family. His loyalty was the result of hatred towards the woman.

But even the now christened 'Servant of the Waterfall' would be thrust into grave combat with his own demons, demons he couldn't keep locked in the closet that was his heart. One fine day, the enemy broke into Takigakure itself before fleeing with stolen information, and the Servant of the Waterfall, now planning to sign up for his Jōnin Exams, was part of the team sent to hunt them down, kill them and retake these stolen scrolls. The criminals were fast, but the Waterfall's retrieval squad caught up with them. To his horror Kenta realised that they were dealing with the Viper's Nest, a group of savage missing-nin who specialised in information theft and assasination, whose fearsome skill saw even ANBU level opponents fear them. Ignorance was bliss among Kenta's squad, and despite his pleas, his Jōnin supervisor would not listen. Upon entering the jungles, the seven man squad were cut down to just two; victim of a preplanned trap executed from the high trees, where a hail of arrows and projectiles met the taskforce when they scaled the trees, raining blood upon the lush forest floors. Kenta and the Jōnin survived this incident, albeit not for long. The apparent leader of the criminals himself leaped down onto the two, and despite Kenta's own skill, he was swatted aside by the man's superior reflexes in moments. The Jōnin fought, but Kenta could have done a better job. The criminal leader wove wizardry with his twin Sai, taking an eye, piercing a trachea and completing a horizontal slash from forehead to chest, before the Jōnin could even angle his kunai to block; before Kenta could even draw a breath. As the Jōnin's mutilated body dropped in front of Kenta, only the spreading pool of sticky, red liquid brought him out of the magical trance the criminal's swordplay had rendered him in.

As the other criminals perched upon the surrounding trees, their leader approached Kenta. As his thick fur coat parted, Kenta noticed the slender physique of a woman, and as her mask came off, Kenta's eyes bulged at the sight of the woman's true face. His mother. In a split second, Kenta allowed his rage to take over, springing at her with the ferocity of a lion, his tantō aimed for the middle of her cold eyes, to pierce through flesh—but her skill was beyond his own, easily stepping aside, snapping his wrist and then tripping him, planting her foot into the nape of his neck. As Kenta hurled curses and swore, she bent over. Kenta expected the knife to slide through his head. But it never did. She whispered to him to be still and again surprisingly, he did. A thousand different thoughts raced through his head as his mother's hands stroked his head, her touch convincing him to let her speak. A touch that conveyed something he hadn't felt since he was a toddler of two. A mother's love. She hit the point straightaway—informing the young man that he was serving a gang of traitors, whom had turned Takigakure into a place of great evil and strife, beneath the seemingly peaceful exterior. Kenta spat at his mother, accusing her of trying to twist his mind, but the woman went on unfazed by her son's foul tongue. She revealed that ever since the time of Fū, a Jinchūriki, the village had been conducting cruel experiments on children by attempting to infuse the chakra of Takigakure's tailed beasts into them, while also subjecting them to cruel indoctrination. To create a perfect Pseudo-Jinchūriki army and finally propel Takigakure into the big stage. Though shocked that such immoral events could be condoned by the leadership, Kenta continued his defiance, accusing his mother of slander.

The woman summoned her subordinate, who instantly placed his hands on Kenta's temples, linking him to a trove of memories which served as proof to these events revealing that his mother had also been involved in the procedures as a lead scientist due to her expertise in genetic modification. Kenta watched these memories in horror, as little babies and toddlers were tortured with the powerful chakra of the tailed beasts, as well as being injected with various serums to increase their compatibility factors, while also being subjected to various surgeries to boost their natural abilities. Many kept dying, and the process was repeated endlessly, until Kenta's mother decided to take the ultimate risk—to offer her unborn child as an experimental tool itself, as it was revealed that she was compatible with the tailed beast's chakra. However, she began to grow fond of the unborn baby, her maternal instincts kicking in as she named the still unborn child 'Kenta'. Thus on the day of Kenta's birth, she refused to hand him over, furiously declaring that she would not experiment on her own baby boy; much to the anger of the leadership and her fellow scientists. Kenta's mother knew that she had to play her cards right from now on, doubling her work rate and finally coming up with the winning formula; however she stumbled across a plan concocted by the higher ups to forcibly kidnap her children to be experimented upon, after killing her and her husband. This coupled with her guilt on experimenting on all those poor children spurred the woman into action. Thankfully, the shrewd woman had made prior plans over the past two years, and executed them flawlessly.

She had gathered copies of the experimental records and left a direct message with the leadership: if her family were to be attacked or experimented upon, she would release the information to the Great Nations, and bring the leadership to its knees. However while attempting to flee, she was confronted by the head of the project and the duo engaged in vicious combat, with Kenta's mother proving victorious. Upon doing this, she fled without explanation, with the dubious distinction of being a murderous traitor, knowing that her family would be safe. And as such Kenta had grown up believing her to be an evil, hateful woman; when she was directly the opposite. Kenta knew that it was true, he didn't even bother being defiant. He allowed himself to stay in the embrace if his mother, his tears signalling his appreciation for everything his mother had sacrificed: but now, she had a task for him. The situation between her and Takigakure was a deadlock, and the experiments were still continuing. Soon Takigakure would have their perfect army, in a year or so, but Kenta's mother knew that this was an evil plan, with evil desires fuelling it. She implored Kenta to continue the fight she couldn't, and to save those children; and prevent another catastrophic war which Takigakure wouldn't mind starting—to stand atop the world powers. Having known of Kenta's feigned loyalty to cleanse his family name, she asks him to finally allow himself to follow his own heart and do right; to become a silent agent and end this programme, while maintaining the trust of the higher ups. She begged him to train in the shadows and grow strong, to save all those innocents.

Kenta's grim determination kicked in. All his life he had chased a false goal to simply redeem his name and distance himself from his mother. But now, he wanted to be as close to this heroic woman as possible, he wanted to finally freely forge his own path. Kenta agreed, to his mother's and her team's pleasure. Dealing a mock injury to him to fake a scuffle, the team left Kenta, who returned to Takigakure; putting on an act that he was the only survivor, which nobody doubted the slightest bit due to his supposed credibility. He was only the Servant of the Waterfall on the outside, inside, he was the trump card of the Viper's Nest, there to end the tyranny going on in his home village.

The Camouflaged Viper

See also: A Hermit From The Past and Leaving the Cave

After his encounter with his mother, Kenta returned to the village bruised and apparently having narrowly escaped certain death. As an investigation was launched to discover the identities of these criminals from Takigakure's perspective, Kenta put his own plans into motion. Feigning illness that would keep him out of action for a few months, the young Chūnin took it upon himself to seek out and train under a man whom his mother had begged him to find—Hougou. Having been forewarned that Hougou was a harsh taskmaster, Kenta took several precautionary steps to ensure that his absence would not amount to even the slightest suspicion. Having utilised the same excuse to both seniors, peers and even his father and brother, Kenta sought out Hougou, tracking his abode to a cave behind a waterfall at the outskirts of Takigakure.

Upon his arriva, it didn't take too long for Kenta to meet Hougou, after the former strode into the cave complex. Greeted awkwardly by Hougou's traps, tension was alleviated between the duo once Kenta mentioned his mother's name to Hougou. Kenta learned that Hougou had indeed been a sympathiser with the rebels, even sharing their ideals that Takigakure had gotten truly rotten; and that it needed to be cleansed. Hougou thus agreed to Kenta's request, deciding to turn Kenta into a fearsome shinobi that could function flawlessly as a sleeper agent come assassin for Viper's Nest to foil Takigakure's military plans. Kenta would discover throughout the first day that Hougou was the breathing definition of eccentricity; but the young man also quickly noted that behind Hougou's occasionally inexplainable quirks, he was remarkably powerful and experienced; a shinobi to be reckoned with even against the best. Laying low for the next weeks, Hougou's intensive training began latching onto Kenta, steadily improving his skill set by leaps and bounds despite the relatively short timeframe.

Hougou quickly identified Kenta's main flaws while observing him under his experienced gaze as the boy trained. He began tackling the most obvious ones head on, such as Kenta's lack of focus on Genjutsu; and most perplexingly his narrow skill with the Water Release, despite showing that he had immense innate potential with it as shown in a random test Hougou had put him through. Kenta was forced to slog day and night, undergoing various physical labours while also refining his Water Release—quickly being able to perform B-ranked techniques after numerous sessions dedicated to refining and manipulating his chakra flow as well as shape transformation. As the trials grew more daunting, Kenta began truly opening up to Hougou, as the young man learned more about the man disfigured by his own strings, learning that Hougou was the very man to have invented Takigakure's infamous kinjutsu, hundreds of years back. While Kenta's respect in his sensei bloomed into full fledged trust and admiration, Hougou had also grown fond of the boy, who seemed to finally be finding himself after years spent in a wilderness which left him with no self identity. Kenta also began to hear of a former student of Hougou's, Jouman, who had forged a reputation as a fearsome Warden of the Blood Prison, a high security holding area for the strongest criminals to be incarcerated.

Kenta was also able to communicate with members of Viper's Nest by means of a labyrinth of tunnels which surrounded Hougou's hidden, outskirt home along the Great Waterfall ahead of the Village. The maze of tunnels led beyond Takigakure's border detection barrier, which meant he could receive news and advice of his mother's movements to effectively time his moves wisely, with a certain degree of outside help. Kenta thus procured detailed Intel on his targets, including their records of combat and other service, while his mother silently built up her forces in number and power. Kenta's plan was now in its skeletal stages; he knew how he would go about with his mission, as he had decided to wipe off every single guilty member of Taki's leadership from the world of the living. The initial stage would be to boost his skills under Hougou, return to the fold after his 'leave of medical absence', gain his promotion to Jōnin and thus receive access to more classified meetings as well as information. When the time and trust levels were right, Kenta resolved to personally sabotage the Pseudo Jinchūriki program by shutting down the nutrient conduit and forcing the process to grind to an abrupt halt (his mother's preferred and targeted solution; though there was the emergency plan: poisoning the nutrient supply the experiments were kept floating in; inevitably killing them in the final stages prior to full fledged activation. This action would undertaken during Viper's Nest's launch a guerrilla style attack on the village, which would wreak havoc. Havoc which Kenta would also use to directly go for the bunker which would hold the members of Takigakure's council of elders; and face off their fearsome Elite Guard before eliminating his targets and fleeing. This later part of the plan was one Kenta kept to himself, not a plan his mother had left him with. The true challenge to Kenta was how to keep the peace in Taki, and prevent evil from taking root all over. Twelve months was the estimated time his mother had given him to attempt the saboteur mission, fourteen with a great modicum of luck. Kenta was now approaching his second month under Hougou's training. As such, Hougou decided to take Kenta with him on a mission beyond their Waterfall sanctuary, to the Land of Grass.

This mission was quickly revealed to actually be Hougou's way of uniting his old student, Jouman, with Kenta, his new student. Kenta would thus meet the colossal presence that was Jouman, middle aged and intimidating; as Hougou sheepishly suggested that they have a picnic together. In the meeting, Jouman who hadn't had a proper battle in a while, suggested that he and Kenta have a spar; which Hougou eagerly agreed too. Eager to test the results of his own training, Kenta agreed, as both combatants took their stances across the wide field opposing the Blood Prison's daunting silhouette. In a flash Kenta was off, sprinting at Jouman with incredible speed granted to him by a mixture of subconscious chakra flow and the sleek, defined muscles his extreme training had granted him. Utilising smoke bombs and clones, Kenta was able to pincer Jouman, who turned the surprise attack on itself with his fierce experience. As Jouman's attack hit the false Kenta, the real Kenta pounced on the opening, attacking Jouman from his blind spot upon which the older man successfully evaded with his signature move in tow; revealing that he was a sensor. The bout was short, but fierce, as Kenta silently beamed at his own abilities, which were far superior to his own before he stepped into the Cave. Jouman noted the boy's skill as well, noting that he had the talent to make it to the créme of the shinobi world in a year or two, even.

The two men would then rejoin Hougou for the impromptu picnic, as Hougou shocked Kenta by stating that both he and Kenta were in preparation for a coup d'etat. Kenta had always assumed that Hougou would help, but never directly participate in such a treasonous affair, to which Jouman nodded to. As the men talked about power and the shinobi world, Kenta and Hougou soon took a quick stroll as Jouman sat in silence with his thoughts. Kenta took the opportunity to confirm if his mentor really wanted to be apart of the violence to come, as it would be damaging to anyone's soul to descend into such impending darkness. Darkness which Kenta iterated was only his to shoulder. With a mocking laugh and then a kind smile, the old Hougou placed a firm hand on Kenta shoulder, revealing his true past identity to Kenta. Kenta had always known that Hougou was no stranger to murder; but it was the revelation that Hougou was once the legendary Ripper of Takigakure, that truly shocked Kenta.

The Ripper had been a famed and feared combatant in the years of the First and Second Wars, a famed assassin whose methods of murder were as fearsome as they were brutal. High value targets and their defenders, mutilated in their hundreds by the brutality and invulnerability of the Ripper. But Hougou had grown pained by the senseless violence, killing because Taki's big men wanted their enemies; not necessarily evil adversaries, dead. Thus the Ripper had disappeared first, followed by Hougou. Upon hearing this Kenta was silent, before Hougou interrupted again, willing to redeem his honour by truly fighting for a just Takigakure, and for the world's wellbeing again...but most importantly because he had come to be fond of his student, and couldn't send him to his death alone. Touched by his words, Kenta asked Hougou to serve as the new Leader of the Waterfall after the revolt. A hero who would 'defeat' Taki's invaders and thus seize the throne by means of the power Taki so desperately worshipped. But Hougou declared, stating that his sins had rendered him unfit for the job. Then Kenta remembered a moment from the past two hours at the Blood Prison's fields.

The look in Jouman's eyes as they had spoken about the world. The look of not knowing oneself. A look Kenta had seen in the mirror so much, that he knew all too well.

The suggestion of Jouman's name as the last piece of the Coup d'Etat's jigsaw drew agreement from Hougou, as he called the large man over, forwarding the suggestion. While Jouman had initial doubts, he agreed that the Blood Prison tested his resolve as a human being, and that he wanted to be somewhere where he could oversee true change. He agreed. He would be the man to defeat the Vipers and get Taki to chant his name to the throne of the Waterfall. The first step to the oncoming battle had been complete. Kenta's plan had taken shape, and he now had two huge allies. The game was now on, as Hougou and Kenta parted ways with Jouman, who would submit his resignation soon and return to Takigakure, where his greatest acting ploy would commence.

The Twin Snakes

Related article: Lighting the Final Candle

Almost four months had now passed since Hougou had taken Kenta under his wing. Together with ancient supplements and techniques utilised in the days of the Warring States, Hougou had managed to maximise Kenta's learning capabilities far beyond his normal levels. Four months of training had imparted enough wisdom into Kenta as two years of training would—granting Kenta incredible control over the Water Release, as well as great Taijutsu prowess. Hougou and Kenta had also expanded the underground tunnels, linking different portions of Takigakure to the cave complex which Hougou called home; painstakingly bypassing certain loopholes in the barrier system which encapsulated the village. The time of Kenta's medical leave to expire was almost at hand, thus Kenta reentered his home, Takigakure. He was welcomed back by his superiors and peers, and having survived a 'rare terminal illness', Kenta was treated as somewhat a celebrity for a few days.

As Jouman had also returned a month earlier and rejoined the military forces, Kenta set his sights on another important post he would have to acquire to ensure his plans remained efficient. Promotion to Jōnin. The Jōnin of Takigakure were respected and revered, and this was for no small reason; Taki's Jōnin Exams were noted to be extremely difficult—it was said that half of Konoha's Jōnin would probably fail the test. They tested one's mental strength and heavily emphasised combat ability; with realistic and brutal 'obstacle courses' that had taken many lives in the past. Kenta looked forward to this actually, but set about carrying out his regular Chūnin duties again, as a sort of warm up to the exams. These B-ranked side missions were carried out rather easily by Kenta, as he noticed that Hougou's methods has really transformed him into a much more skilful and thoughtful shinobi. The old veteran continued to train Kenta as well at the end of each day, as Kenta continued training for a minimum of three hours every evening before returning home to his family.

As his first two weeks back on duty ended, Kenta's life would forever be changed. He came across an enigmatic Chūnin, only a year younger than himself; a woman whose beauty was matched only by her immense skill in combat, a stunning hurricane of destruction. Her name was Inoue and Kenta had heard of her before, one of those whose names stood out among the exceptionals in Takigakure. As he carried out the mission alongside her, Kenta knew that this was a feeling that he hadn't the liberty to feel earlier: love.

Of course, these feelings didn't just simply ignite in Kenta. After their first mission together, it was obvious that the two worked very well as a team, and a team was exactly what they became. Kenta got to know that Inoue was an orphan, whose parents had been killed in the Fourth Shinobi War, almost twenty years earlier. She had grown up in the Orphanage and been selected to join the Academy after the annual village aptitude tests. The rest as they said, was history, and she had proved herself to be an excellent young prospect. But it was her open charm and cheery attitude that truly wove strings around Kenta's heart—as she cracked his usually cold and apathetic exterior. They grew to laugh and enjoy each other's company in the weeks and missions that followed; perfect opposites in terms of personality which seemed to endear them to each other even more. When he was with Inoue, Kenta subconsciously put his prioritisation of the mission aside and though this weighed down on him, he couldn't will himself to fight the flow that pulled him to her. Though quick, Kenta took the opportunity to ask her out on a date one night; and as the two dined in luxury outside the village walls, the topic of the Jōnin Exams popped up.

Kenta learned from Inoue that this year's Jōnin Exams would be radically different from the others: there would be so called, 'guest adjudicators' passing their opinions on important calls throughout the exams, and options would be made available for instant promotions, where a Chūnin could be promoted at any portion of the exam at any point if they inspired the judges enough to see their potential. While unorthodox, Kenta sucked it in; but he began to suspect that Inoue was hiding things from him—especially when he enquired how she obtained the info in such detail, but she brushed him off suspiciously. However he respected this, as her secrets were her business, as his were his own. Kenta and Inoue enjoyed the rest of their date and bonded well before Kenta decided to visit Hougou the next day. Kenta suspected that this was a very intended show of force from Takigakure, as he recalled there had been an extensive weeding process for candidates of the Jōnin Exam. That was unusual, as only those who felt extremely prepared even signed up for the Exam in the first place—it seemed to Kenta that Taki was inviting foreigners to witness the power of their incoming Jōnin, to remind the outside world that they weren't to be trifled with in any circumstance. Preparations for war.

Having procured this information, Kenta decided to take it straight to Hougou the very next day. He was greeted cheerily by his mentor, as Kenta brought news on Jouman's good work in settling into Takigakure, as well as how smoothly their plans were proceeding so far. Noting Kenta's obsession towards the mission, Hougou tried to gently bring him out of his ferocious attention toward eliminating the leadership; to which Kenta revealed his guilt towards how he had treated his mother after being mislead by the higher ups, and his hatred towards how they were going to mercilessly wage a violent war for their own needs. But Kenta listened to Hougou, and the topic was changed. As the student and teacher began to talk, Hougou decided to ask Kenta about his personal life—where Kenta told his mentor about Inoue. Describing how she made him feel in great detail, Kenta was coaxed on by the ever curious Hougou; who began to shed some light on his own personal life to Kenta. Hougou talked about his old lover from over a century earlier, a woman known as Reikou.

Kenta learned that Reikou and Hougou had fallen in love in pretty much the same way he had with Inoue. Together with the fact that he had greatly valued her company, Hougou had been awestruck by the fact that she didn't fear his Earth Grudge Fear, or the person he was. Reikou had accepted him for who he was, and was a supportive presence in the life of a man who even then, was easily misunderstood and feared. Hougou and Reikou had gotten together and decided to share a moment of intimacy one night, and as Hougou was overcome by the joy of acceptance and love, he kissed Reikou under the moonlight. What woke Hougou from his euphoric, beautiful dream was a nightmare that encapsulated his life in pain and suffering ever since. His love lay in his arms, impaled by hundreds of strings from his Kinjutsu, which he had lost control over in his moment of passion. Surrounded in a rapidly expanding pool of his lover's blood, Hougou's guilt and suffering incinerated him as even upon her dying breaths, Reikou held onto him, stating it wasn't his fault. Reikou's death had awoken Hougou to the fact that the will of Jiongu was powerful, and evil; a byproduct of his mindset when he had created it—propelling greed, selfishness and anger to the forefront; and thus it sought to eliminate whatever he loved. Despite this, due to his remarkable power he had been pardoned and simply returned to duty by Taki after a one month suspension; when by normal custom he would have been executed. The agony and pain drew Hougou into further isolation and contributed to his becoming the Ripper of Takigakure.

Upon learning about Hougou's tragic past, Kenta gained newfound admiration for Hougou; for hiding such pain and suffering in a terribly long life, compounded by isolation and the fact that almost nobody knew he existed. But above all else, he understood that Hougou's inner demons were very real, and that Jiongu was a terrible, vile curse to life. Hougou's great power came at the cost of love; and what a price that was to pay. Kenta informed Hougou of what he had learned from Inoue the previous night; about the Jōnin Exams. Hougou then stood up, asking Kenta to demonstrate a technique he had taught the boy back when they had started training, and Kenta couldn't master at the time. Kenta responded by emulating the technique, but not to the calibre it was supposed to be unleashed, prompting mild worry from Hougou. As the exams were going to be different and highly intended to strike fear in others, Hougou correctly interpreted that it was going to be of superb quality where contestants were concerned. As such, he wanted Kenta to be way above the competition—which despite his progress, he still was not. At this, he suggested something Kenta would forever remember—that Kenta accept the Jiongu, or risk having to take the exam when he could fight without risking a serious injury or worse. Though perplexed at first and stunned that such a vile curse was being offered to him, Kenta thought of the importance of the exams; how urgently he needed to become a Jōnin—to gain more access to files on Taki's military movements and mission schedules, all of which would be necessary to plan an effective attack when Taki's strength was as low as possible. Though unwilling to accept something to dangerous to him emotionally and spiritually, Kenta accepted. He realised that the reason Hougou had told him about Reikou had also been to prepare Kenta for what Jiongu would be; to make him know what he would be going into. Kenta accepted the Kinjutsu with courageous determination, to end his village's evil schemes once and for all.

Hougou began the procedures immediately, operating on Kenta in a gruelling process that saw him insert the Kinjutsu into Kenta, as well as initiate its own adaptation to the young man's body . While Hougou struggled to keep him alive, Kenta entered his subconscious, where he was greeted by a beautiful woman. Though evidently stunning and well mannered, Kenta noted an ominous aura around her, a sense of pure evil with every word she uttered—and when Kenta asked her who she was, she responded by stating he already knew who she was. And he did.

She was Jiongu.

KentaJiongu

Jiongu's manifestation in Kenta's subconscious.

When Kenta awoke, he was greeted by a relieved Hougou; who immediately briefed him on his abilities due to the special modifications made to his Jiongu. A more defence orientated variant of the Earth Grudge Fear, Kenta's Kinjutsu was made out of liquid strings that functioned like blood normally, but could be ejected and solidified partially to form closer range projectiles and weapons. They could be directed to parts of the body to lessen blunt force trauma or withstand certain attacks, and had enough strength to crush steel. However there were drawbacks in comparison to the original Jiongu, such as range and the ability to add hearts; which were slightly different. Wasting no time, Hougou asked Kenta to test his abilities on a few dummies in the cave; upon which Kenta showed immediate difficulty in controlling the Kinjutsu. While Hougou noted that Kenta would obviously require much more practice, the now floored Kenta came to terms of what had just happened. He had the Jiongu within him, and it had already made contact, appearing as a beautiful, alluring woman. Kenta knew it, he was already finding it to be a beautiful thing in his psyche—and a loss of control would be very probable. After hearing Hougou's story, that much was evident. Kenta looked Hougou in the eye and made the ancient shinobi promise him something—that if the day ever came where Jiongu conquered Kenta, and Hougou realised it; Hougou would have to kill Kenta himself, without hinting it to him or so much as telling him. Hougou was stunned at this request, but also knew that this request was a very valid priority. Hougou was determined to never let Jiongu conquer Kenta, and therefore agreed to the deal—to further motivate himself to never let the evil will conquer his beloved student.

And so Kenta had to train even harder with Hougou every day, with barely enough time to rest. Though strenuous, Kenta began seeing results in his ability to control and suppress the wild, erratic power of his Earth Grudge Fear. He was training at such a rate to ensure beyond all doubt that he wouldn't lose control and reveal it during the Jōnin Exams—a most troublesome turn of events, if it did occur. When on his own, Kenta tried to focus on the defensive aspect of Jiongu that Hougou had informed him about. This training was simpler but most important in the short term to Kenta: by focusing his attention to certain parts of his body, the strings responded by hardening substantially under his skin to intercept an attack. In one day, he was already able to protect small portions of his body and in two, he was able to harden a wider are under his skin to absorb more impact. However, upon the third day of obtaining Jiongu, another person would notice it.

Kenta had greatly underestimated Inoue's perceptiveness when he met her at Taki's marketplace: he had offered to carry her groceries for her in customarily a gentlemanly gesture and when their hands had brushed against each other, Inoue first felt mild indentations of his stitches made by Hougou, and then observed the minimal folds in his skin around the underneath of his wrists. After she posed the question to Kenta, he knew just how careless he had been with hiding his augmentations. Kenta initially tried to cover it up by claiming it was a skin disease; a remnant of his 'illness' which had set him out of work for months earlier (when he actually was training with Hougou), but as they continued walking, the girl was very adamant that those were stitches without any signs of threads. Instantly Kenta attempted to switch the conversation by bringing in the Jōnin Exams, asking her aimlessly if she had any idea of an accurate guest list of adjudicators or VIPs. Though still obviously suspecting that Kenta was up to no good, Inoue went with his flow nevertheless, going on about famous names and reputed shinobi in attendance. Kenta however paid no attention, instead focusing his thoughts on keeping such mistakes from repeating themselves: especially in worse places. And understandably, his tough training with himself and Hougou, went on as usual.

Kenta's next major assignment was one beside Inoue; again, around two weeks later. Part of a five man squad, they had been chosen to investigate a series of disturbances along the very fringes of the roads beyond their village—where a Genin from Taki had recently been found mutilated and murdered. This disturbing twist coincided with the rise of a group of extremists who had defected from neighbouring villages; Takigakure included. This small group's demands had been obvious from the start: to break these smaller Western villages from the clutches of the Five Great Nations and operate independently as a separate power. To Kenta, this mission obviously was just a hopeless attempt from Takigakure to distance themselves from this type of ambition, seeming to be the paragon of undivided loyalty. They didn't want any eyes on them that would deter their very well guarded plans. A trick classically and theatrically employed before turning the tables on the Great Nations with their super-Jinchūriki-soldier army. Kenta as expected, did not complain and the group set out; intent on also tracking reports that mysterious movements had been spotted all along the roads.

Half way into the mission as they were scouting the outskirts, Kenta noticed that it was too quiet; the classic hallmarks of an ambush, or at least amounts of paranoia: something not quite right. A look to his right made him realise that he wasn't alone; Inoue's unease showed in her eyes. In a sudden moment everything turned upside down as the squad leader halted abruptly, turning around with two kunai emerging from his sleeves. His cold unfeeling eyes focused on Kenta as he brought the blades across two of their teammates' necks, cutting the throats of both the Chūnin boys open without hesitation. But Kenta was already prepared. All those days of being shocked, surprised and unconventionally 'trained' by Hougou at inopportune, unexpected moments paid off as sheer instinct took over. In a smooth movement, Kenta brought his Fūma Shuriken in the middle of himself and his former nakama-turned-traitor, intercepting both kunai. At this moment the trees around the roads rustled and several figures clad in black sprang at them. As Inoue moved to intercept them on behalf of the blade-locked Kenta, the traitor held Kenta in his gaze hatefully. Perhaps he couldn't fathom how Kenta had been able to react when the surprise attack should have ended with two kunai in his chest. Kenta answered him with a mild sneer as he rotated his body viciously, ruining the man's balance and sending him sprawling. Before he could get up, Kenta detached the massive Shuriken and flung it at the grounded man, pinning him by his shoulder to the ground. Though he writhed and moaned, Kenta showed him only marginal pity. With a careless and unfeeling stomp, Kenta broke the fellow's nose and dislodged at least six teeth, sending the traitorous bastard unconscious.

Scanning their surroundings, Kenta spotted seven figures in full black garbs around them. Inoue was already standing guard with her two Katanas drawn, sizing up their opposition. Kenta wanted to show them he meant business. Using the other two blades of the Fūma Shuriken, he slowly drove the blades into the remaining arm and one of the legs of the unconscious traitor, skewering him completely to the ground. Three more figures arrived from the bushes and rejoined the prior seven, making a grand total of ten. One of the figures surrounding them spoke out, claiming the numerical advantage and their goal. Kenta's eyes widened as they stated that they wanted Kenta and Inoue to surrender, and accept their status as hostages. They wanted to use two blooming talents important to Taki to force a deal—money for citizens. Rebellions and uprisings were expensive work, Kenta could imagine, and sometimes funds could be obtained if one were willing to be creative. The man speaking to them then further clarified that the initial goal had been just Inoue Amemori, as she alone was apparently treasured by the leadership; but seeing that Kenta Kanata was also a darling of the leaders of the village, they felt like reeling him in as a bonus as well—at least until he had brutally maimed the traitor that had been revealed to have been one of their sleeper agents all along. Now his friends wanted Kenta's blood. Inoue and Kenta prepared themselves for a fight, Inoue unwilling to be used as a bargaining chip, and Kenta understandably unwilling to be maimed by a group of vengeance seeking thugs. The trees rustled again and around a dozen more figures emerged in the shadows of the trees. Overkill, but possibly their full might. The man speaking all along had probably been the leader.

What transpired would lead to Kenta and Inoue being christened as the "Twin Snakes". In unplanned and unpracticed efficiency, they doubled up to mount a seemingly suicidal charge against more than twenty opponents; all estimated to be Jōnin or high tier Chūnin who had defected. Inoue seemed to finally break free of her shackles, demonstrating raw power and speed which Kenta had never seen from her before, despite having praised her skill and admired it so frequently in missions gone past. She was far beyond that, she was a tempest, as she acrobatically met them head on, landing well aimed kicks and slashes with her Katanas. But Kenta was not one upped in this battle. He had trained with the best. No matter how fast and skilled these men and women were, they were not nearly as skilled or as fast as Hougou was. Kenta dove at them, cutting one by one down after neat sidesteps, rolls and feints. He moved like the wind, digging weapons into enemies that had been neutralised by his quick Taijutsu combinations. The enemies that hit him were met by a seemingly diamond hard surface which was Jiongu at its defensive best; causing their punches to shatter their own fists as Kenta capitalised. Kenta and Inoue stayed close, covering each others' blind spots. Their Water Release techniques combined well with their Taijutsu and manoeuvring. Twenty enemies became fifteen, fifteen became ten. Ten became five, but still the Twin Snakes ferociously whipped about, knocking out the lucky ones; instantly killing those of lesser luck. But in the chaos, their enemies had become infuriated. Gone was the need for a hostage situation, now overtaken by a desire to avenge fallen comrades.

Their leader had managed to stay standing; and while Kenta engaged in high speed combat with two of them, the man snuck up behind Inoue, poised to drive his schimitar into her neck while she held another woman in a blade lock. Without thinking twice, Kenta leaped into action. He called on Jiongu, channeling his focus into the Kinjutsu as his arm surged forward, launched by the blood coloured threads in his body. They were nowhere near as long ranged as Hougou's, but they did the trick, slamming his fist through the man's heart and yanking it out of him before he could drive the blade into Kenta's love. Inoue screamed Kenta's name, not in shock of the technique she had just seen, but because of what was coming from behind him. In those split microseconds Kenta swore that he felt the air around them turn denser, with malignant chakra, the moment she screamed, but his instincts had already taken over. However, he had already seen the danger coming. The two shinobi he had abandoned earlier to save Inoue thought they had finally succeeded, attempting to bring their kunai upon his head; but the threads from his other free hand burst out at them; impaling them like a flurry of projectiles. Their bodies shook violently as Kenta momentarily allowed his Jiongu to respond in tandem to his will, penetrating every portion of the torso of the two men, until their limp bodies hit the ground in a blood soaked splash. Retracting his limbs, Kenta knelt on the ground, his hands to his eyes. He had revealed Jiongu to the world, and now Inoue had seen it too. He had done it to save her but now, now he was truly in trouble. If Takigakure figured this out, the revolution would end, everything would end, war would return. But before these thoughts could overpower and shut Kenta down, the warmth of another human body pressed against his own. It was Inoue, and she only uttered one sentence.

Nobody will ever know about this.

Shuddering, Kenta looked upwards and she held him even tighter. There wasn't any need for words. He had protected her. She was protecting him. Even in all this violent chaos, there was beauty. Kenta allowed the moment to remain as he stayed in the arms of the woman he knew he loved. As they expressed their feelings for each other in a kiss, Kenta came to feel the way he was sure Hougou had felt over a hundred years earlier towards Reikou. When even monsters found people to love, beautiful people. Close to nothing felt greater. But inside, Kenta knew that Jiongu was writhing. It was a foul will that detested love, and had robbed Hougou of his. But Kenta was determined that he wouldn't let Jiongu conquer his feelings; even if it did conquer every other part of him. With that, another mission had been successfully finished by Kenta. It transpired that they had eliminated the full bulk of the troublesome group of missing nin, who had made the mistake of travelling in full force on that day. Who would have expected two Chūnin to massacre fifteen and seriously injure eight? But Taki was proud of this fact, and gloated about its two Chūnin sensations. Kenta now had to deal with the unfortunate excess of attention, which did not do his quest too many favours.

The Jōnin Exams

After the ambush that he and Inoue had thwarted, Kenta began to significantly compartmentalise his life. His relationship with Inoue became much more physical in the days that followed. The simple joys of innocent mutual love quickly evolving as the young pair became more and more adventurous. The time Kenta spent with Hougou consisted on planning his next moves and training to control his Jiongu emotionally and physically. The time spent with his family consisted of unwinding and relaxing. The time spent with Inoue consisted of their discussing the ever closing in Jōnin Exams, in the space of their excessive flirting and coddling. Kenta also devoted a certain amount of his time to brooding about his mission, mainly thinking of Jiongu. Though it hadn't broken through, Kenta felt it bubbling dangerously close to his skin whenever he spent time with Inoue. It was just like Hougou said, it reacted viciously to love. It was a disconcerting feeling that Kenta was truly troubled over.

Needless to say, Kenta became more and more skilled with his Jiongu as Hougou monitored him closely. By the time the Exams were exactly a week away, Kenta had mastered the defensive capabilities of Jiongu to the absolute pinnacle. This was a period of a month and a half or so after obtaining Jiongu, and two and a half months after returning to Taki, around six months after first meeting Hougou. It was now well confirmed that the Jōnin Exams were going to be extremely combat orientated instead of academic, as usual. It shared a similar gladiatorial concept to the Chūnin Exams, Kenta suspected that this was to obviously flex military muscle. Though villages like Konohagakure and Iwagakure had declined to send Jōnin candidates for this battle royale, Kirigakure, Kumogakure, Sunagakure and the other smaller villages had all sent numerous representatives. Selection of their candidates would be finalised by the villages themselves, but scorers would be held for each village and each individual shinobi. Kenta wasn't going to take chances, he was going to go in against some hardy people, and try to emerge up top. There were no two ways about it. They'd have to see how powerful he was so that they realised how much they needed him. And needed to trust him.

At the same time, Kenta noticed that his actions were already garnering the suspicion of his family, namely his younger brother. Eiji Kanata openly voiced his questions over the supposed illness that had seen Kenta disappear for two months (to undergo extensive training in Hougou's lair). He also noted that Kenta was repeatedly coming home up to three hours after conventional duty hours; while he hadn't been doing so before his supposed ailment. Making up a complicated story on how he had supposedly sought treatment from the hermits in the Land of Silence, Kenta was able to sway his brother's doubts—silencing him by stating he had only recently begun seriously training for the Jōnin Exams, the truth to a certain regard; but the threat was clear to him already. Too many people were catching whiff of his actions. First Inoue with the Jiongu, now Eiji with his alibi. It also alerted him to the now very real possibility that his family could actually interfere with his plans.

Before the start of the official Inter-Land Jōnin Exams, it was mandatory for the candidates to undertake a written test, a formality present for all the normal villages' usual local Jōnin Application Test. This occasion was held two days before the actual event, and Kenta was able to comfortably pass it. Having made the first step, Kenta learned that the Jōnin Exams were to be held in a special stadium in the Land of Lightning—where large scale events usually were held. It was more a tournament than an exam, and over a week, the candidates would be involved in a massive battle royale where they had to impress a board of judges (who were going to be extremely famed shinobi) to proceed to each stage. Every participating village had also agreed on one perk for the winner: the champion of the First Intervillage Jōnin Trial would be named assistant to the Jōnin Commander of the said village; a new rank recently introduced. One Kenta was sure would hand many benefits to his cause.

Finally the first day of the Jōnin Exams arrived. Having the liberty of a matchup only an hour after the opening ceremony, Kenta was able to observe the opposition from a front row seat with Inoue. The first few rounds convinced Kenta that every village was serious about reputation. The contestants fought fiercely and violently, showing little to no mercy. Attacks were savage and showcased killing intent, and the end of the first three rounds resulted in three close calls. Like the Chūnin Exams, this would be a place where accidental deaths would be...regretted. Already a huge number of famous faces were in the audience, as Kenta managed to pick out four out of the five Kage and their aides (the Mizukage was absent), the five Daimyō, the Jinchūriki of the Eight Tails, Shikamaru Nara, Makaze Kantoku the famed inventor from Ryūseigakure was present with a small group from his village, Samui of the Hidden Cloud, the former ANBU director of the Land of Stars, the former Fifth Hokage and a whole group of famed Fourth War heroes. The judges were equally illustrious, but only one famed name stood out among the row of ordinary citizens seated behind the VIP box, as Kenta watched him shake the hand of Kantoku. Densetsu Uchiha was his name, the feared Pyrokinetic from Konoha, present to watch proceedings with his son and daughter. Somehow he must have declined to sit in the same row as his famed allies, but Kenta didn't bother.

Kenta's turn came quickly, matched against a certain tattooed, menacing young man from Kusagakure named Hi Arakawa. Arakawa sought to quickly display his dominance in the Earth Release, utilising his element to an advantage as he turned the sandy arena on Kenta. Spikes erupted from the ground, some being launched directly at Kenta who leaped, dodged and rolled out of the way. As he quickly closed the distance, Kenta played cautiously, reading the speed at which Arakawa formed hand signs and channelled his chakra. Finding a pattern, Kenta moved in quickly as Arakawa simply couldn't pressure him enough. Threading a flawless move after utilising his superior agility to dodge an array of Earth based spears, Kenta utilised his Jiongu to enhance his feet, smashing through the Earth Wall Arakawa had desperately crafted to buy time. Capitalising on the shock, Kenta now channelled the Kinjutsu to his fists, slamming knuckles harder than metal into his opponent's jaw, sending Arakawa flying into the wall and ending the match, winning the match by default with three '8' scores and one '9' score and one '10' from the panel of judges.

His matchup had already began showing the intended result. The five who governed Takigakure stood up from the box of VIPs, loudly applauding Kenta with smug looks on their faces. As the first Takigakure Nin, Kenta had already outclassed his opposition. Kenta's eyes were focused on one of them, the old but once formidable Nishijima-sama, who pulled the most weight across the council. Among the five there, his opinions on Kenta would matter most, being the most well versed at combat. Kenta raised his tantō in tribute to them, before making his way back to the contestants' box. Kenta spent the rest of the day observing the other victors of their respective bouts and jotting their displayed abilities on a notepad; as the day quickly turned to night. Takigakure's representatives had made it through, with only two falling to superior opponents. Upon returning, Kenta compiled it and shared the data with Inoue, who helped him deduce weaknesses to exploit, no matter how minimal.

The next day saw Kenta breeze through against his opponent, being the opening fixture. A Chūnin skilled with three nature releases, Kenta had simply taken cover behind some rocks while the girl had pummelled him with vicious fire, water and wind style attacks; before sending out a pack of ninken to distract her. In her terrified state, Kenta clobbered her with a clone combo, winning the bout. This time, for finishing the match rather effortlessly, Kenta received a full ten each from the judges. He was met with smug applause from the VIPs as well, notably Nishijima. Unknown to him, his poise and style of combat was beginning to draw the attention of Densetsu, who admired his quick wit and ability to tactically compensate for his weaknesses. The sly Uchiha monitored Kenta's movements and conversations from afar, curious to his nature. The following day passed similarly, though Taki's entire representative team was wiped out, with the exception of Kenta and Inoue. Inoue however sustained an injury to her foot, which she suspected would bog her down in the following two rounds. The next day saw her inevitably get eliminated, though she managed to bag a score of all 9's: an exemplary performance and intense battle that had left the entire stadium on the edge of their seats. She however was promoted nevertheless to Jōnin by Takigakure's observing seniors, who seemed very proud of her. To Kenta's envy.

Kenta was quick to identify the man who beat Inoue as a big threat—Jinpachi Kirisaki, a man who had declined the Jōnin Exams for ten years and had also served in the ANBU for two months—an unfair addition to the crop of contestants in Kenta's eyes. Kenta won his match for the day as well, showing off his physical prowess as he fought and overcame a violent brawler from the Valley of Hawks hellbent on stopping him from forming hand signs. Though battling until he was severely bruised, Kenta's Jiongu helped him quickly break the boy down with the minimal amount of attacks launched. Kenta's victory was scored lower in comparison to his previous battles, but he still progressed by default. With one round remaining, Kenta was the last contestant of Takigakure left standing, and the hopes of his village rested with him. Upon further discussing it with his mother when he returned after the day's contest, she informed him that the quick elimination of so many from Taki would definitely have been a blow to the Leadership's egos. They'd want to restate their dominance after their initial ploy had backfired so embarrassingly. Kenta agreed and quickly the final day of normal competition arrived. After the final round, the victors would face each other in a series of straightforward, ten minute battles until they advanced to the final two, which would face each other in a Grand Final two days later.

Kenta was given an easy final round, taking down a cocky teenaged brat from Kirigakure in a battle that still cost Kenta half his smoke bombs. Kenta had done it, he was still standing, one of the representatives of Taki after an intense tournament, finally in the dying stages. Then came the draws for the final portions of the tournament. It was the last draw on earth that Kenta had wanted. He was facing Jinpachi Kirisaki in the second ten minute battle. Worse came the fact that Jinpachi was fully rested, his opponent having bowed out after being promoted herself by her village Kusagakure, preferring not to waste her skin against someone like him. Kenta had no such luxuries however. The leadership still hadn't given any signs of promoting him, unlike they did to Inoue and three others. All the better for Kenta, since he wanted to keep going anyway. He'd show them what he truly was. However despite his own skill, Kenta realised he was fighting an opponent from the ANBU, and the one who until now, had received perfect or almost perfect scores for every one of his battles. Earth Release, Genjutsu and Lightning Release at his fingertips, together with a humongous build that served him well in Taijutsu. Unluckily for Kenta, Jinpachi Kirisaki was also terrifyingly quick on his feet. Luckily for Kenta, his guardian angel materialised in the form of Densetsu.

"You're fighting an ex-ANBU thug here kid, these buggers prepare for everything. You've read him and he's read you. I wish I could just say good luck and let you handle it the way you've done, but if you get behind cover where you can't see him, you're the dead one. Your girlfriend may have done you a favour though, she gave him a knock on his right rib that'll keep him awake for months—he's gone slow on the right side and doesn't notice; mainly 'cause he's naturally slow on the left side defence, so he still concentrates on his left. Force him enough to play on that right side and you can win hand to hand. Play this any other way, you'll probably lose, bar him getting a stomachache."
— Densetsu to Kenta before the latter faced Jinpachi Kirisaki.

Having watched all of Kenta's and Jinpachi's matches beforehand, the veteran shinobi had decided that Kenta was massively disadvantaged, especially since his enemy was ex-ANBU—a perk Densetsu was very aware off. As compensation, Densetsu shared a very minute yet significant weakness that Jinpachi possessed, detected only thanks to the older man's legendary Sharingan. According to Densetsu, Inoue had succeeded in dealing a good blow to Jinpachi's right rib, and it was apparently slowing him down when he shifted onto his right side to fight or defend. Jinpachi's natural weakness was however an opening in his guard on the left side, and he was still attempting to guard that weakness. So much so he hadn't picked up the fact that his right side was more vulnerable. Nor had his previous opponents. According to Densetsu, if Kenta could take Jinpachi Kirisaki on in an open, quick fight while staying on his right side; he stood a chance of winning. Though thankful for the trove of information, Kenta was surprised as to why Densetsu would be so interested in his chances as to personally help him. The Uchiha simply told Kenta that he was interested in seeing a fair fight, and allowing an ex-ANBU to participate in Jōnin Exams was 'simply overkill'. But upon further deliberation, he admitted to Kenta that he had seen something in Kenta all along, a sort of silent determination and purpose in the resourcefulness he had employed to win so far—something beyond just becoming a Jōnin. Something that reminded him very much of himself once. With that, Densetsu left Kenta to prepare for the match.

Kenta entered the arena, facing a well rested and nonchalant Jinpachi Kirisaki. The huge ex Spec Ops man glared the much smaller Kenta down, as they saluted. The match went under way. Jinpachi charged in, bringing his huge axe down toward Kenta, who immediately dodged to target his right side. He was countered by an acrobatic movement from Jinpachi, that placed Kenta directly in the line of fire again. With ease, Jinpachi brought out a slew of Lightning Release abilities, shattering their rocky arena and forcing Kenta further back, drawing him behind cover. When behind cover, Kenta remembered Densetsu's words on the ANBU being prepared for everything: this small memory saving his life. The ground rumbled, as spikes made out of earth shot upward. Kenta dodged this, but as he leaped upwards, Jinpachi materialised from the ground directly beneath him. Kenta realised just how dangerous this man was, as Jinpachi fired a sharp, spear of Lightning Chakra towards the exposed Kenta. Instantly Kenta was able to form a sphere of water around him, as Hougou had drilled him so often, channeling the Lightning into different sections of the area, smashing bits of concrete walls on the ground.

Without hesitating, Kenta utilised the Water Hydra Technique, forming a single head of a dragon from his sphere which struck Jinpachi head on, sending him flying into the audience with a massive crash. Wanting to make use of this confusion, Kenta charged forward upon touching the ground. Launching himself upwards toward Jinpachi, he prepared to smash a pressurised Jet of Water into the man's chest while he was disorientated. But Jinpachi saw him coming. As Kenta prepared to exhale, Jinpachi shot upward, creating a shockwave in the audience's area as people scattered. He met Kenta midair with a savage punch, knocking Kenta into the centre of the area again with a massive plume of dust. Kenta shot out straight from the smoke, flinging his Fūma Shuriken forward as Jinpachi started forming hand signs. The speed at which the projectiles were launched distracted Jinpachi, preventing his hand signs. Providing time for Kenta to close the gap. With rapid punches, Kenta attempted to unload into Jinpachi's face, but shockingly, was able to simply dodge them by popping his head left and right. Dashing back for an instant, Kenta attempted to catch him off guard with a back wheel kick, but Jinpachi quickly evaded, flickering behind Kenta poised for a blindspot punch. Kenta tanked the punch, letting his Jiongu gather where the punch impacted. As his fist made contact with a substance harder than metal, Jinpachi staggered back in shock and pain, but Kenta capitalised.

He turned quickly, whipping his foot into the right side of Jinpachi. Densetsu was spot on. Whatever injury Jinpachi possessed, it was preventing his arm from getting across to block quickly, and it was affecting the twisting of his hips to evade. Kenta's foot dug into Jinpachi and the man howled in agony, instantly gasping for breath. He staggered back but Kenta pressed forward, lashing two quick roundhouse kicks to Jinpachi's side again. Jinpachi clumsily booked the first kick, but wasn't fast enough to block the second as it landed in the same spot again, aggravating his pain. Having messed up Jinpachi's breathing, Kenta already had a massive advantage. Jinpachi's movements became laboured and clumsy as he desperately tried to outfox Kenta. But Kenta stayed close, preventing Jinpachi from using hand signs, keeping him pressed against the edge of the arena to also stop him from flickering. With precision, Kenta ducked low, launching an uppercut that tossed Jinpachi into the air and knocked him against the wall. Kenta finished the bout with a stomp to Jinpachi's chest. The match bell rang. It had been a spectacle. And a perfect score was the reward. Ten minutes up.

Being the only one to receive the perfect score, there was a bonus for Kenta. Automatic placing in the final. Kenta was in the final. And he received news that he had gotten his promotion to Jōnin. All that was left was to win this like he had planned. There was more luck in store for Kenta. As he and the woman he would fight in the final two days later stood in the centre of the area soaking up the crowd's cheering, the woman stumbled and crashed to the ground writhing, blood leaking from her lips. As the medics arrived on scene and rushed her to a hospital, news came out an hour later that the tournament had officially ended. She had suffered a punctured lung internally in her battle but the damage had only been revealed later on. There was no way she'd be in fighting shape for a long while. Kenta was the victor of the tournament by default. The semi finalists tried to prove a point to earn themselves a final berth, but the judges were clear. Takigakure's leadership were in jubilation, celebrating in the box like a bunch of madmen. The crowd roared for Kenta as he hoisted the trophy he had set his eyes on all those months back.

Several of the VIPs were waiting for Kenta in the changing rooms below the arena, as big names who had never heard of him before the tournament shook his hands and offered kind words of praise. Lady Fifth Hokage, Makaze Kantoku, the Tsuchikage Ōnoki, Temari of Suna, two of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen...the list went on as for once, Kenta was genuinely star struck by the attention he received. At the end came Inoue's personal word of congratulations, where she quickly skipped out after declaring she'd chat with him further back home. The final congratulator walked in, no other than Densetsu. The famed warrior seated himself next to the battered Kenta, who offered him his huge thanks for spotting Jinpachi's weaknesses. Densetsu was quick to brush it off, again citing fairness; but then confronting Kenta on his motives. It has been Kenta's drive and vigour that Densetsu had observed from the start. Kenta would have been promoted anyway with the skill he demonstrated in the first two rounds, but unlike the other contestants, Kenta has fought so fiercely and prepared so thoroughly—Densetsu theorised that something else aside from mere victory was propelling that determined look in Kenta's eye, but he couldn't discern it.

He could only recognise it, because it reminded him of himself. Kenta was silent, as the man's experience gained him insight into his younger counterpart's soul. Kenta asked him on one of his most famed exploits, his adventures as the vigilante, the Human Torch. His motives, his reasons. Kenta asked all he could because in the legendary Uchiha, Kenta saw a figure he sought to emulate in a way. They were both men who fought for something else that wasn't their own, or directly theirs: the greater good. With each answer, Densetsu was met with more questions. Kenta's way of revealing all too subtly to the Uchiha that just like him those defining years ago, Kenta was also on his way to do the right thing. Kenta finally asked him, if he would ever compromise on what was right for the sake of his allegiances, his bonds, his loyalties. Densetsu stayed silent. But this was an answer Kenta had come to expect. Densetsu Uchiha had been a fearsome vigilante twenty years ago because he had nothing to lose. It was common knowledge that he now had a family, a village, friends. He had an identity. That's why the fierce Human Torch was now reduced to a mere diplomat, and an off and on spear for his village and land. The scars on his face and arms were all in the past, symbols of sacrifices he did not have to make.

But Kenta saw hesitation in those wise, brown eyes. A sort of fear that any minor misstep would endanger his loved ones. In this moment, Kenta realised a few things. The path he was taking was a path Kenta Kanata couldn't take. It was beyond Kenta Kanata. It would hurt Kenta Kanata's family, his friends. His enemies would attack his loved ones to get to him. He's be as vulnerable as the formidable Densetsu Uchiha. The cruel reality set in that he would have to change into something far superior. The Jiongu had been the first step in that long, dark path. But Densetsu had already taken the hint from Kenta's words. He knew not what Kenta had to do, but he knew that the stakes could rise much higher than mere individuals. Densetsu recognised the look of revolution when he saw it, though there was never any sure way to tell what revolution it would be. So he stood up with a chuckle and headed for the door where his son and daughter stood almost like guards. He paused at the door and peered over his shoulder, glancing at Kenta with one beady eye. I learned that there was only so much the Human Torch could do alone. So I got friends, big ones. Most of my life under the mask was spent fighting fries, but the stories you hear, the ones that immortalised me; I always had help. With that and a wink, he was gone. Kenta had engaged in one of the subtlest, but most meaningful discussions in his life. One which had seen him not only peer into Densetsu Uchiha's soul, but his own as well.

The Soliloquy

What Kenta had learned was that it would be necessary to adopt an entirely new persona for him to succeed in the mission. There were no ifs. In a perfect world, Kenta's mask would never come off in his mission, and he wouldn't be beaten. Everything would be perfectly normal after the events of that night, and Kenta would continue living in his new utopia: but the world was far from perfect. If he failed and everything came crashing down, it would be disastrous if Kenta Kanata was the one caught in his act of treason. It would be a repeat of Minatsuki Kanata's famed betrayal eighteen years earlier, the repercussions would eternally haunt Kenta's family and friends, and drive an unsealable rift between Takigakure and his family. Kenta dreaded it the more he thought about it, realising that Kenta Kanata would possibly have to 'die'. He would have to live at least temporarily in hiding, and one fine day he'd reveal himself to his loved ones and all would be well again—a temporary sacrifice that would be worth the wait. Open treason was a crime he did not want to entangle with.

Kenta also had heard rumours of a new drug circulating, one which induced Genjutsu on targets, which could be controlled by the user of the drug. By linking it to ones own chakra and mixing it, the user would just have to ensure the drug made contact with the victim's skin. Going by the name of ES-23, the drug was very costly and difficult to produce, which was why Takigakure's scientific division had decided to keep the project on hold. It was common knowledge however that existing samples of the drug were kept in cold storage in the development facility. Kenta believed that this drug would prove to be useful to him in the upcoming months, devising plans to enter the facility and steal samples of it for his own use—with the goal of pulling strings when necessary. ES-23's perks were just too good to resist in his eyes. Now that he had been promoted to Jōnin, he'd have access to a whole slew of tactics to access the drug's storage site.

Aside from setting his sights on the drug, there were other parts of his plan that needed attention. Kenta needed a sound strategy to carry out his plan on the day of the battle, a way to divert enemy attention to allow him to infiltrate the laboratories without too much resistance. He recalled an event in Iwagakure perpetrated by the legendary terrorist Deidara, which involved setting off explosives to divert military attention to facilitate his escape. Inspired by the brazen effectiveness of Deidara's breakout, Kenta decided to also work with explosives. He quickly pinpointed the key alarms around Takigakure, sirens which wailed in times of crisis. His plan was to exploit Siege Protocol, an emergency countermeasure drilled into each member of Takigakure, to facilitate his breaking into the laboratory.

In the meantime, the news of disappearing civilians began growing longer. A truly suspicious set of recurring events, since those who expressed even minute displeasure with the ruling of Takigakure or its policies vocally and openly were the victims going missing. Kenta always regarded this as a set of events perpetrated by Taki's increasingly power hungry regime, as the initial policy Takigakure had adopted was to banish naysayers or protestors from the village, revoking citizenship. He assumed the same had happened recently, until a meeting held between Hougou, himself and one of his mother's generals one night under the Cave. The general revealed that vocal critics were actually being silenced by hit squads, producing dodgy video evidence of 'traitors' being torched alive by masked men despite begging for their lives. Kenta tho it he recognised those faces. Those seemed like people he had seen around the village. While Hougou shook his head in spite, Kenta grit his teeth in anger.

Not only were Taki's leaders planning for a war; they were executing their own citizens. Abusing their power by killing protestors. Ensuring their plan went through without flaw, even at the cost of the lives they were supposed to protect. Another idea grabbed at Kenta's subconscious: the need to eliminate these scumbags together with their Jinchūriki Program. Red lines were being crossed, and Kenta's initial disgust was evolving into seething hatred.

In the midst of all his concerns, Kenta still had to deal with his missions—which were even more difficult now he was a Jōnin. Battle orientated missions became more common place, as Kenta was forced to deal with criminal activities which directly threatened the wellbeing of Takigakure. While combat wasn't something Kenta was shy of, violent situations were proving to be challenging to him, to hide his Jiongu. Nevertheless, he succeeded in most of the missions he partook in, but still excelling in the missions he failed in. As one of the now increasingly infamous Twin Snakes, Kenta also attracted the attention of the shrewd village elder known as Rakuen.

Rakuen demanded an audience with Kenta one day, demanding the youngster to undertake a personal mission for him—functioning as his bodyguard for the day. The mission paid well and it was a chance to curry favour with an elder, so Kenta accepted. On his day job, Kenta was part of the old man's security team as he attended a summit in Kusagakure. Kenta found the arrogant and rude old man to be thoroughly repulsive, even more so after noting that Rakuen always eyed young teenaged girls with lustful eyes. However his subservient attitude won Rakuen over and at the end of the day with a bottle of sake in his hand, Rakuen blurted out a series of words that Kenta would hold with great spite eternally. He insulted Kenta's mother, calling her a treacherous whore, while demanding that Kenta stay as a loyal dog as payment for her sins.

Kenta resisted the temptation to kill Rakuen on the spot, bowing instead and agreeing with the intoxicated old bastard behind tight, clenched lips. As the drunken fart rattled on, Kenta spotted a piece of paper sticking out on Rakuen's desk. It was a recently missing woman, one of those going missing of late. Though the glance was fleeting, Kenta knew he was a vertical red line on it. Three days later, she was found dead in the forest around Taki. Kenta knew that the red lined photograph probably had been an ordered hit. Rakuen was cutting off objectors, and he'd been careless that day.

Kenta delivered these clues to Hougou and his mother, who all agreed that too much had happened to turn a blind eye any further to the sins of Takigakure's leadership. Their ambition and savage pursuits of military had been their flaw, but now murder was on their hands. Murder never went unpunished. When his mother left, Kenta coolly informed Hougou that these injustices were punishable only by death. Kenta went on further, voicing out thoughts he had kept submerged, but had risen to the surface in light of the recent killings. He'd eliminate them himself. Hougou eyed him with curiosity, thinking that Kenta had just wanted to aid his mother's guerrilla forces to their task—now realising that Kenta planned to shoulder the entire attack on his own. Again Hougou agreed, further declaring that he'd provide his power to ensure Kenta succeeded in this new set of endeavours. Both men decided to keep their plans a secret from Kenta's mother and her forces. Secretly, Kenta was becoming more and more aware that whoever played the biggest role in the attack—would be forced away from Takigakure. There wasn't a happy ending behind all this. Coupled with the eventual murders of every council member involved in the killings of civilian protestors: staying in Takigakure would be a major risk, even if the perpetrators were never discovered.

Now in possession of the shinobi rotation schedule that the Jōnin had access to, Kenta observed the guard shifts at the development facility. He decided to choose a day where two relatively incompetent and overweight guards were on shift, to smuggle a vial of ES-23. He eventually entered the facility one night while evading the guards and avoiding a bulk of the alarms. Since ES-23 was generally a secret and few knew of its worth, it was relatively unguarded. Kenta smuggled a vial of it, replacing the stolen vial with a dummy vial. There had been a lack of attention and alarms here because the drug was experimental, and wasn't seen as an important tool in Taki's arsenal yet. He made it out smoothly with his prize.

Between more missions, training with Hougou and secretly assembling explosives for his attack plan on the night of the attack which was ever looming, Kenta and Inoue continued to go stronger as a couple. The battles and constant teamwork led to them being experts on each other, being able to read each other's thoughts and actions with an ever subconscious ease. Their chemistry in battle was further fuelled by their powerful feelings for each other as lovers, which led to both giving their all to protect the other from enemies with wildly ranging levels of ability. This subtle expertise in reading each other led unsurprisingly, to Inoue being able to sense great angst and tension developing in Kenta. He hid his crusade very well from her, but she was still able to tell that something was causing him great mental and physical duress. As a pair of lovers, there was only one thing the two of them had not done, and not one of them had brought it up yet.

One month before the decisive battle, Kenta had finished preparing his explosives, while also having implemented a proper plan to use ES-23. He'd use the drug first on his sibling and father, using its powers of suggestion to make them do his bidding. This would alter their memories while also removing them from the line of fire in what would be a brutal night. His brother was a Genin, and Siege Protocol, the emergency procedure detailed for attacks on Taki, dictated that Genin escort civilians to shelters while avoiding battle at all cost. Kenta added all of this to his plan, with Hougou and his mother constantly reviewing—while Hougou and Kenta devised means to ultimately cut off Kenta's mother from the attack as well. All the time Kenta had to defy the increasingly vocal urges of his Earth Grudge Fear as it gained more strength through his own suffering and stress. Hougou helped Kenta contain the fiendish technique with a few tips and exercises to keep it at bay, however Kenta began to grasp just exactly what he had gotten into. The biggest test he would face in shackling the Jiongu came one starry night as Kenta lay in the field, staring at the heavens.

Alone to his thoughts and worries and in the midst of solidifying his strategies when Inoue found him. In the empty field was nobody else, except the grass and the stars, and the trees that surrounded them. She sought to give her lover respite from the unknown pain he was hiding from her, and she knew better than to ask him what troubled him. When she gave the signs, Kenta followed. He wanted the respite, he wanted the comfort she could give despite not being able to unload his worries upon her shoulders as well. Kenta knew all too well, the story of Hougou's lover, Reikou. Impaled and murdered by the cursed Jiongu of Hougou, an unknown quantity of power in those olden days. Kenta felt the violent urges of his Jiongu as he and Inoue consummated their love by uniting their flesh; but he powered through, his sole desire hellbent on erasing the entire world, just for one night. No resistance, no war, no Jinchūriki, no corruption. Just him, and the woman he loved most, beyond all. His strong feelings and knowledge of Jiongu's lust to eliminate all semblance of love kept it from breaking through, as man and woman made love under the starry sky; and for one night—Kenta experienced the luxury of being just Kenta Kanata for the first time in almost two years.

A Raging Inferno

See main article: Into the Inferno

The day which would define Kenta's two year effort finally arrived. The next morning, Viper's Nest would storm Takigakure as they had planned for all that time in Hougou's cave labyrinth. Hougou and Kenta had also decided to take a few things in their own hands, without the knowledge of Viper's Nest. Feeling his mother had suffered enough with false charges and persecution, Kenta drew up a plan with the abilities of Jouman and Hougou as his tools, to permanently isolate his mother from the fight, and clean her name in its aftermath, while also finally rooting Jouman firmly as the future head of the power worshipping Takigakure populace. He would bear it all alone, while publicly faking his death and crafting a phantom to attack Taki.

The infiltration would be disguised as an attack to eliminate Nishijima, the widely regarded alpha of Takigakure; and to craft an elaborate impression that there had been a power struggle amidst Takigakure. A plan clearly leaving Jouman as the only survivor and preferred candidate to lead Takigakure. Jouman would play an important role as Takigakure's knight against Hougou, who was supposed to go berserk in the administration areas to terrorise locals. Kenta had also rigged several neighbourhoods with explosives, including his own, while cutting off certain alarms. There would be havoc that night, organised chaos to buy the limited forces of Viper's Nest crucial time. That night was also one where a majority of Takigakure's best were away from the village, including Inoue. Kenta feared that her abilities would throw a major wrench into his plans should the Vipers run into her.

That evening, Hougou and Minatsuki had a talk as the Viper's Nest forces gathered under the cave, preparing themselves for the attack. Talking in private in a secluded chamber, she and Hougou conversed about the Jinchūriki Program, and its cruel purpose. All while Kenta hid behind the shadows, listening in to the conversation. As the two adults spoke, Minatsuki told Hougou about the legendary child who had been the true, complete project. A beautiful baby girl who had survived the procedures immediately, the orphaned baby that had stepped in to take the purpose Kenta had originally been conceived for. Upon her success, the project had continued; scientists reverse engineering applicable serums for all the subjects to accept without side effects. However because of her rare biological gifts, the other applicants could still not adapt as quickly as her, and were forced to remain in tanks for a period of almost two decades before the project was complete.

As she mused and regretted over getting Kenta involved as well as the fate of the mysterious baby, Hougou steeled himself to reveal Kenta's greatest secret to her. Minatsuki crushed herself with doubts over whether Kenta would survive the whole mission, or whether he would ever be able to live a good life ever again should he succeed. Hougou attempted to ease her fears, by finally revealing that Kenta had accepted his Kinjutsu, the infamous Earth Grudge Fear. As expected, Minatsuki froze in terror, rage and shock. She unleashed her anger onto Hougou, berating him for leaving Kenta with a horrifying curse that had destroyed many lives in the past, a technique so terrifying it had been Takigakure's most regretted and feared creation until its theft.

Kenta stepped in from the shadows, confronting his mother to confirm that it was his decision in the end. Mother and son engaged in a ferocious exchange of words and ideals, as Kenta finally managed to neutralise his mother with a paralysis technique and a powerful knockout drug to keep her from escaping. His mother heartbroken, Kenta revealed to her that they'd save her, as Jouman would bind her to a Curse which would prevent her from revealing her involvement with Viper's Nest or Kenta for as long as Jouman lived. Similar to a Root technique in Konoha.

A technique which would finally allow her to regain her standing among the people of Taki, at the cost of Kenta.

Kenta felt that this would be his payment to her for all the years of false anger he had held against her, and the suffering she had endured for 20 years. Replacing her with a complex dummy created and handled by Hougou with his Earth Grudge Fear threads, they stowed her away in the sealed and soundproof chamber, intending on using the dummy as a stand in to her throughout the battle ahead. Hougou urged Kenta to spend some time with his family before he undertook the attack, which Kenta agreed to.

Having dinner with his family and enjoying their company seemed even more painful to Kenta, as he accepted that there was a huge possibility that there could very well be Jinchūriki on the field that night, especially since he had overheard rumours of the surviving 'miracle baby' earlier. A contingency they had planned for a long time, from the start of the project. Early finishers. Kenta had laced his father and brother's drinks with the powerful ES-23 drug, altering their memories just for that night, and keeping them under an induced Genjutsu just for the night, to prevent them from being caught up in the battle that was brewing. With a heavy heart but steely determination, Kenta leaped out of his window as they slept later, eyes set on a revolutionary goal that would define the Shinobi World.

Meeting with Hougou, the Vipers and the very well crafted "false Minatsuki", Kenta commenced the attacks. Their elaborately planned multi directional attack immediately worked to great effect as they expertly navigated the massive underground complex of caves and tunnels that most of Taki knew nothing about. The attack force split into several squads, attacking specific areas of the village to separate the enemies to allow Kenta's squad direct progression to the command bunkers, where the leaders would be housed in the event of Siege Protocol, when the village was under attack. At the same moment, Kenta detonated the explosives he had been setting, in heavily populated areas, maximising collateral damage and panic while minimising civilian casualties, thanks to careful planning. All these tactics spread Taki's defenders thinly as Kenta's specialised Squad 10 moved through the village. The fighting became intense, as Squad 10 relied on cover from the other squads as they took to high ground, taking down resistance as they sped through.

Surging through the heavy fighting, they reached the emergency bunkers: where they were met by members of Takigakure's famed fighting unit, the Elite Guard. Squad 10's veterans engaged in combat with these elites, as Hougou aided in the attack, blasting through them as Kenta surged forward to the massive bunker complex. The leaders were inside, and the tanks containing the pseudo Jinchūriki were under the building. He was running low on time. He and Hougou skilfully cut through the other soldiers in the building, as mentor and student matched each other in terms of ferocious and malignant grace. It wasn't their abilities that made them invulnerable as much as it was the bond of trust they shared. Clearing out opposition, Hougou went to deactivate the power supply, all to enable Kenta the chance to break through the electronic fortified doors where the leaders were sheltering behind. As the duo parted ways, Kenta faced more resistance, as he fought his way through with a mixture of complex techniques and great Taijutsu prowess.

As he approached the leaders, the sound of explosions rocked the entire complex, as Jouman arrived according to the plan. He and Hougou would do incredible battle, as Jouman's stage was set to prove his valour and power to the people. With ferocious booms and cracks resonating through the empty blood soaked corridors, Kenta utilised his Kinjutsu's threads to rip through the thick metal walls separating the Elders of Taki from him. Inside were Rakuen, Nishijima and their peers; as Kenta cold bloodedly impaled Rakuen as he broke through, killing him instantly. Shutting the door behind him, Kenta proceeded to rattle the remaining men with his furious words, removing his balaclava to reveal his true identity to them.

Nishijima attempted to attack, but was quickly batted aside by Kenta. As shock overtook them, Nishijima stood up to him, accusing him of the same treachery that his mother had demonstrated. Kenta accepted his insult, while revealing that a new Takigakure would be built upon their deaths, revealing his intricate plan to pile the blame on a supposed power struggle between Nishijima and Rakuen. With cold blooded cruelty, Kenta killed the remaining three men, while rounding up on Nishijima, deciding to strangle him to death. With his dying breaths, Nishijima laughed down Kenta, declaring that the program in Takigakure was just the beginning, and a plan beyond any of them was blooming. As he raised his eyes to a symbol on the wall, he yelled a final praise to his organisation, as Kenta realised in horror, that this was just the beginning.

An organisation known as the Sons of Freedom. Several high pitched screams were heard outside, as he heard several of Hougou's ninjutsu blaze to life. He knew that their worst case had come true, and there were Jinchūriki on the ground. Hougou would face them in individual combat. Kenta had no time to fear for his teacher, as he rummaged through the drawers of the tables in the blood soaked room. What he found terrified him. Letters, documents and plans. Blueprints for terrifying feats of human engineering. Takigakure's power in the world after a Shinobi War would have been to set up the base for the Sons of Freedom to conquer the world. A plan decades in the making. The Sons of Freedom had spread its feelers far and wide, the organisation that these men had played a crucial part in. Many of these documents were redacted in places, to apparently conceal identities. But these were all letters written to high positions in various governments, the Land of Fire, Wind, Water and so on. A shocking worldwide underbelly that had just been starting off with the Takigakure Jinchūriki Initiative (as it was called). Kenta pooled these resources together, attaching them to his summon for safekeeping as a new mission had dawned upon him. To stop this organisation, before the whole world fell to its clutches.

Kenta steadied himself psychologically after this heavy revelation, deciding to finish his mission before worrying about the future. All that was left was to deactivate the tanks holding the specimens for the Jinchūriki Initiative with the master key (a pendrive with stop codes and bring the project to a halt) that his mother had given him weeks before. Kenta accessed the underground facility using Rakuen's clearance pass, entering a huge labyrinth. He made his way further down the underground of the science laboratory, finally entering the huge chamber where the floating green tanks were. Seven tanks were empty, implying that seven of them were now battling Hougou.

Kenta made his way to the main monitor, the huge computer that displayed the vitals of each specimen while also controlling the internal conditions of each tank, intent on plugging in the master key. He was ambushed however, as the master key was destroyed a projectile flung by his enemy. Kenta was shocked to discover that his mysterious opponent was Inoue, as she slowly stated that she wouldn't let Kenta go ahead with his plans. Kenta rounded up on her, declaring that he didn't have time to argue and that he was stopping a truly terrible fate from befalling all of them, and by plugging the key in, he would be able to save the test subjects as well. Inoue revealed that there was no stop code, and that the codes had been removed after Minatsuki Kanata's defection all those years ago—terminating the process now would kill every subject in each tank. Kenta however grit his teeth and proceeded with now, the manual termination sequence. As she continued to protest, Kenta drew out his threads, displaying the terror of his Kinjutsu to her, in an attempt to remind her that he had monstrous power, and force her to stand down, despite her continued pleas for him to stop.

Kenta's arrogance and underestimating of Inoue led to him absorbing a brutal attack, as a tail created from pure condensed chakra smashed into him, blasting him through the walls of the facility and away from the main monitor. To his horror, the whole picture finally pieced itself together in front of him. Inoue always seemed to have inside information, even that which she shared with him during the Jōnin Exams. She was always missing on missions containing details she preferred to keep to herself. She had always been close with the higher ups, and she possessed superhuman chakra and athletic abilities, despite not being as athletically built as she should have been. He recalled the story his mother had told Hougou in the cave all those hours earlier. The beautiful orphaned baby girl, the gem of the entire project, and the one who stepped into shoes Kenta was originally meant to fill. It was Inoue Amemori, his lover and now, ferocious opponent.

Kenta had no time to soak in the cruel strings played by fate's orchestra, as she surged at him, in her tailed beast cloak. Kenta's Jiongu went head to head with her marvellous raw power, as both combatants unleashed a flurry of ninjutsu at each other. Smashing each other through racks, shelves and walls, their powerful attacks rattled the entire facility as both sought to use knowledge of each other's abilities against the other. Despite Kenta's durability and skill, he wasn't able to compete in terms of raw power, as Inoue dominated him and dealt crushing blows onto him. Her physical Taijutsu punished Kenta, caving his face inwards in many areas, physically deforming him as the fight progressed. Eventually Inoue's relentless barrages sent Kenta barrelling into the corridors of the facility, where he was forced to dodge a powerful Tailed Beast Ball launched by Inoue.

Kenta was able to rally, putting together an intelligent trap as he immobilised Inoue with his Jiongu's threads and tensile strength, constricting her with force as her Tailed Beast Cloak began to yield in chakra concentration. She refused to yield, forcing Kenta to unload a series of Jiongu enhanced blows to her face, shattering her defences completely and breaking her nose and cheekbones, as she slumped to the ground in agony. Though badly hurt, she spat vicious words at Kenta, accusing him of treachery and violence, words which hit hard at Kenta's sore mental state. Traumatised by the allies he had to take down and the actions he undertook against his village and stressed by the new revelation that was the Sons of Freedom, Kenta was overtaken by rage and the Jiongu, emphasised by the fact that even she couldn't understand him. As he was about to strike the killing blow, Inoue revealed that she was a month pregnant with Kenta's child; a gift from their night under the stars. This revelation brought Kenta back to his senses, but put him under even more severe duress.

Torn between wanting to stay and raise his son and his responsibility to stop the Sons of Freedom, while also bearing the burden of almost killing his own unborn child with his attacks, Kenta descended into a vulnerable state. However, he regained his composure again. Overtaken by the sole desire to create a better world for his child, without the wars and conflict that the Sons of Freedom would bring. This news had been the courage Kenta had needed to power through a night of heartbreak and revelations, as he tearfully embraced his lover one final time, declaring that he would make a better world for his child, no matter the cost to him. With that, Kenta whipped away, heading back to the main monitor, despite Inoue begging him to stay with her, to stop his mission. Kenta deactivated the monitor, as all the test subjects began convulsing in their tanks, green colourless liquid transforming into a deep, dirty red which obscured view of the shaking bodies.

The last members of the Vipers were captured or dead, as Kenta met Hougou in the centre of the devastated village. Though his clothing was in tatters and he had clearly sustained his fair share of a beating, Hougou had defeated his adversaries; and together the two men stood against the remainder of Taki's infantry, outnumbered and cornered. In a seeming last stand, Hougou and Kenta charged, attacking Taki's shinobi in a last ditch, terrifying assault. As they cut through the soldiers like ribbons, Jouman rejoined the battle (after tending to Minatsuki under the cave and executing the plan). After a fierce exchange, he 'defeated' Hougou and Kenta, blasting them into oblivion with his signature ability. As far as Taki was concerned, he was the saviour, redeeming an entire village from the clutches of a cruel pair of monsters and their army. Takigakure had been liberated, on the surface and beneath.

Continuing the Never Ending Fight

Jouman reconstructed Kenta and Hougou as the intended, allowing them to escape from the village, where the next stage of their plan would come to fruition. Now away from the village in self imposed exile, Kenta revealed the existence of the Sons of Freedom to Hougou, as well as his battle with Inoue, the revelation of her status as the surviving Jinchūriki and his child in her womb. Takigakure would find Kenta's "blood" splashed across the debris of Takigakure's marketplace, where he had tragically "lost" his life in the battle between Hougou and the Jinchūriki, which levelled significant portions of the village. As far as Kenta was concerned, this was the story his father and brother would forever believe as well, with only Jouman, Minatsuki and Inoue knowing the truth. Kenta had successfully faked his death, dying as a hero. The entire village mourned his loss in the open together with the dozens of others that had been killed in the conflict.

With the knowledge that Inoue held Kenta's child within her, Jouman accepted to watch over Kenta's loved ones in his absence, going out of his way to ensure their safety from all possible threats. One of these was the status of Kenta's unborn child as a vessel of incredible power, with the existence of its mother as a Jinchūriki and its father as a holder of the Jiongu (with radically transformed genetic information). If the child was born, it would possibly hold incredible traits and power, which would make it hot property for kidnappers should the parentage be revealed. Jouman made these statements clear to both Minatsuki and Inoue in a personal meeting between all of them. In repentance for her eternal guilt in orchestrating the entire project and failing to save all those children, Minatsuki was more than willing to take in Inoue, whom she regarded to be her own daughter, in addition to the fact that her grandchild grew within Inoue.

Jouman protected the members of the Vipers Nest which had survived, a power gained from his promotion to Head Elder, after the remaining village elders who were uninvolved in the murderous underground schemes saw him as the only worthy successor and defender of the village to inherit the prestigious title. While Jouman steered Takigakure back on the right course, Kenta continued to play his cards, enlisting the aid of Densetsu. Producing the paperwork he had salvaged from that fateful night in a meeting between himself, Hougou and the Uchiha's right hand man, Kenta was able to convince Densetsu of the very real existence of this threat. They agreed that the situation was dire, as the papers available here hinted at infiltrations in the highest level of governance for each village. The raising of this threat led to the Kage convening in secret to discuss the matter, with the Kage of Ryūseigakure, Makaze Kantoku pledging his direct aid to Densetsu.

There was a unanimous agreement for a high level counter attack to be led by Kenta and Hougou, while the Great Nations backed them up logistically in secret, with Densetsu running a huge cover up and conceal plan. They would constrict the Sons of Freedom, and move in when there was no chance of escape. This was a plan Kenta accepted, and became actively invested in, all as he grappled with fear of his own rapidly growing powers, as his Jiongu became evidently stronger with each passing day. Kenta and Hougou began recruiting their own allies and spies by force, infiltrating the underworld for additional knowledge and manpower, scouring the lands for the Sons of Freedom, as another deadly adventure loomed over the horizon.

The days of Viper's Nest and a fiery revolution were over, as a new threat loomed larger. But as the Sons of Freedom mobilised and grew, they would be met and matched and overcome by the might of Kenta Kanata—the Wrath of Takigakure.

The Plunge

The Promise Fulfilled

See main article: An Old Promise.

Appearance

For a twenty year old man who's supposed to be in the prime of his youth, Kenta acts like an individual who could care less about his appearances, perhaps due to his strong priorities. He possesses a straight mane of jet black, unkempt and uncombed hair which is neck length lying on top of a sharp face which he inherited from his gaunt father. Kenta is considered to be a striking young man with smooth skin and good overall features, with a body and face largely free from scars thanks to his more covert approach in fights. Fair skin and unblemished tones however do not take away from his most stunning attribute; his eyes. Kenta has a pair of glowing, unnaturally bright blue, stunning eyes which inspire different feelings in different people. Fitting to his withdrawn nature, Kenta is almost always seen with a poker face, revealing little, if any at all; or a default smirk. Not of a noteworthy height, Kenta however has a smaller, but well muscled frame which is a result of his gruelling training rituals.

KentaAnime

Kenta shortly after beginning his training under Hougou.

He is almost always seen with a blue yukata when off duty, prowling around the village in his signature wooden sandals. Kenta does however possesses limited formal wear, while also wearing light coloured shorts and white undershirts off and on as well. When on missions, Kenta dons a full black body suit, adorned with his Fūma Shuriken strapped to his back. He caries a black belt upon which he hangs his kunai upon, together with a few apparel like smoke bombs—for easy access. He also has a weapons pouch strapped to his right thigh, containing his other tools and devices, while a black balaclava completes his traditional shinobi outfit, the Takigakure forehead protector strapped across his neck. While dressed in his casual yukata, Kenta carries two Katana by his left side, ready to draw them with his right hand if the need were to arise.

While training with Hougou, Kenta's outfit underwent a change. His casual wear and training wear became one and the same; a tracksuit with a white inner sweat shirt. Kenta's utility belt was left behind in his home, while his apparel consisted of a single weapons pouch and now just a single katana. Kenta had now stopped wearing the Takigakure forehead protector temporarily as well; while changing his footwear to the typical field sandals to a pair of jogging shoes. Over the time of his stay with Hougou, Kenta also gained a stubble together with lengthier hair; tied in a neat ponytail. Kenta gained even more muscle, his body now taking a toned and chiselled shape as a result of the consistent and rigorous exercises Hougou ran him through.

After the events of the Siege of Takigakure, several aspects of Kenta's appearance had changed. Receiving a heavy beating from Inoue Amemori in their battle had taken its toll on Kenta, even with the regenerative powers of his Earth Grudge Fear. Most notably, Kenta had seven teeth knocked out, leaving him with a far less attractive smile when he doesn't use dentures. His jaw also seems to always be clenched, as it was loosened by the force of Amemori's monstrous blows. These thunderous blows also left him with a lasting twitch in his left eyelid, which revealed itself more prominently when he was fatigued. These deficiencies were only as a result of Jiongu's accelerated healing, which sealed up injuries and fractures before Jouman Gankai could properly heal his physical trauma. As a result, though his more serious injuries were healed and his overall appearance somewhat saved, Kenta still has several disproportionate portions on his face, a lasting reminder of the pain he inflicted and received from his village, and his loved ones.

Personality

Kenta is a rather complicated individual due to the various struggles he faced in his childhood. As a result, his true feelings and thoughts are generally impossible to be understood and interpreted by most, including at times, himself. Throughout his teenage years and childhood, Kenta was a very confused individual deep inside, distraught as to why his mother had left him and also bestowed such a dubious title of being a Traitor's Son onto him, and this led to a very insecure disposition creeping in. The cold treatment and harsh words he endured as a child somewhat scarred him emotionally, and throughout his youth Kenta was forever plagued by the burdening question of not being good enough. This was also the driving factor which saw him obsessively want to clean his name by putting on a great external effort to portray extreme loyalty to Takigakure, despite not truly being so fanatical deep down. His driving goal was the need to distance himself from his mother from any ways possible, and that was all there was to his childhood. Working towards goals that had been forced upon him, in a way.

The young man is also considerably aloof and introverted, maintaining distance from the other villagers and even his own teammates. Kenta still sees everybody the same way; as people who had mocked him and looked down upon him as a child, and thus, he secretly wishes to be rid of their attention even once they started singing his praises and looking up to him as a model Chūnin. However despite this, he hates none of them for it, just merely choosing the form of apathy to be the best option. This mysterious, somewhat bad boy image eventually led to him being very popular among some women of the waterfall, who liked his shady personality and reserved nature and found these traits of his to be attractive. Aside from this apathetic outlook, Kenta is also more of a silent man, preferring to hold his tongue instead of speaking, which sends people on the wrong way at times. This habit of silence is not one that is meant to convey rudeness, but ironically happens to be the way Kenta shows his respect to others. His silence also hides his true helpful nature; evidently displayed when Kenta still undertakes D ranked missions very frequently even after becoming a Chūnin and then Jōnin; a rather odd habit considering that shinobi of that level almost exclusively dealt with missions ranked C and higher. Kenta does this to 'serve the Waterfall' directly while also atoning for his mother's actions to the people, willing to perform strange jobs such as catching animals, helping with repairs and such—activities so insignificant of the ninja line of work. Despite this seeming contradiction between his willingness to help and his proclaimed apathy towards his fellow villagers, Kenta is yet to discover whether he is bound to them by bonds of love, or by bonds of duty. Or both. As a result this situation illustrates Kenta's conflicting mindset rather well; going out of the way to help people he'd have every reason avoid.

Despite preferring to keep away from fights, Kenta is very merciless when battle actually calls, choosing the quickest ways to end battles, never hesitating to drive his blade through the enemy. With lethal intent. If they threaten his life, he eliminates them. The young man believes that if his blade is drawn, he must strike; and he lives strongly by this principle—to remind him that the sword should not be brandished easily let alone drawn from the scabbard for no rhyme or reason. Kenta's lack of hesitation and cold calmness when looking for the killer blow is a rarity even among sane, experienced killers, as he maintains his sanity together with demonstrating a vicious, methodical swiftness. This lack of hesitation once his mind is set proves to be the best tool that aids his efficincy in this regard. All this being said, Kenta is one to always try to work his way around trouble instead of directly confronting it; which proves that he's a pacifist only until forced to play his hand—believing that fighting is usually a waste of precious time, energy and life; despite having taken dozens of enemy lives already. Calmness and a cool gaze are what separate Kenta from the fiery pace of a bloody battle, and his cool head is what always, always keeps him alive.

Coming off as apathetic and coldly logical, at his core Kenta is a man of admirable ideals. After witnessing how truly atrocious the plans of Takigakure were, Kenta followed his mother's footsteps and began to work against his own village to prevent a next war; despite the great risks involved. When he was able to be convinced of his mother's innocence, he did not hesitate in taking her side, despite the obvious risk—finally admitting to be thrilled to chase something he himself truly wanted, and was not forced to do. Kenta has demonstrated that he prioritises the presence of peace as a whole, and will gladly trade his village's military strength and standing for the promise of serenity. However while his initial goal was just to save Takigakure, this side of Kenta would be developed even further in his time with Hougou, when he admitted that he was fighting to save the world from another potential conflict—even though Takigakure would almost definitely win if such a battle were to arise. He made it clear that if needs be, he would sacrifice his entire village to prevent a global war. A steely resolve such as this would prove to demonstrate that Kenta was truly ready to weigh the wellbeing of the shinobi world in his young palms; possessing the knowledge that peace would not come without great loss, whichever way it went. Kenta became the type of person to merely choose the path which would lead to less death.

Unlike most modern ninja, Kenta is surprisingly following of authority, despite many recognising him to be not a mere follower. He rarely defies authority, and quickly realises when he should hold his tongue against superior officers. This humility extends to his role as a student, seen when he accepted Hougou's brashness and unorthodox methods, deciding to trust in Hougou's experience and skill instead. Thus, Kenta doesn't irk others, or cause reason for dispute, leading to a mutual satisfaction between he and his superiors. Unsurprisingly, Kenta is therefore able to maximise and capitalise from his experience under various people who possesses more experience than he, making him the perfect subordinate, and a very bright student.

Abilities

As a Chūnin ranked shinobi, it was originally needless to say that Kenta possesses a set of skills to be proud off; especially to be regarded fairly throughout Takigakure—a land noted for producing sterling combatants. Indeed his prowess is respectable to the point where he had been known to hold of a Jōnin level opponent for a brief period of time, and also carry out combat against four Chūnin level enemies without injury. The village also respects his abilities enough to entrust him with squad orientated combat missions, where assassinations have also been involved. Kenta initially maintained a fairly modest skillset, sharpening only what he deemed to be necessary for effective service; deeming too much versatility to be an unnecessary effort. Kenta mainly practiced Ninjutsu and displayed great skill with Taijutsu as well, with notable and praiseworthy emphasis on Bukijutsu. After training under the ancient Hougou however, Kenta's skills have grown immensely, turning him into a truly formidable enemy and a priceless ally—a roughly ten month period which has seen him turn into a Bukijutsu master and greatly skilled Ninjutsu genius, while also becoming proficient at Genjutsu. Due to his exemplary conduct and skill, Kenta quickly received his promotion to Jōnin after his 20th birthday, having now evolved into a truly dangerous shinobi tasked to undertake high risk operations. Having learned to channel his Water Release into all facets of shinobi skill, Kenta has blossomed from a humble and respected Chūnin, to the leading breathing example of what Takigakure's youth system stood for; a feared Jōnin with a skillset to be reckoned with.

Ninjutsu

As a practitioner of the original shinobi arts, Kenta prefers to work on the skills which would help render him invisible, choosing not to massively expand on his Water Release or to foray into prodigious complexities such as Space-Time Ninjutsu. Gathering together his basic academy techniques, Kenta has made sure that his grip on the basics are as strong as possible—he genuinely understood that many battles could be won with the mere fundamentals, provided one took the opportunities and knew when to retreat when out of his league. The important thing to Kenta's preferred line of work (sabotage, infiltration, theft and subterfuge) lay within his abilities to blend with the shadows and strike from the shadows, before disappearing completely. As such, he has employed diversionary tactics such as the Body Replacement Technique with admirable skill many times, drawing as many attacks as he could before substituting himself with a log having successfully drawn the enemy's attention away from a point of escape or interest. Kenta's smooth and quite flawless mastery of this very basic technique also enable him to rig these substitutes of himself with a great deal of cunning devices, ranging from a few explosive tags, to intricately planned prepared snares; all of which can be nasty impediments to enemies who believe that they'd gotten in the final strike. Kenta can also utilise the Body Flicker Technique with great ease when necessary, disappearing silently from any location without much of a trace, or launching a surprisingly quick attack in a fleeting instant. Though he wasn't capable of using it commonly to transform himself into a speed demon, his simple executions of the technique were nevertheless effective when called upon to strike or survive.

Aside from this, Kenta is seen using the Clone Technique off and on to confuse those with doubtable perception, able to trick his enemies into chasing the false double, or distracting them to give himself a shock advantage. Kenta also displays the ability to utilise the Summoning Technique, being able to summon Ninken to aid him in combat, or such. These summons fulfil various purposes, but Kenta is mainly seen summoning two giant mastiff like beasts to aid his offensive barrages. These canines are deceivingly quick and powerful, with jaws that clamp onto their enemies like the jaws of death himself. Though possessing these two beasts, Kenta also summons various other species of canines in battle for various effects—some sacrifice strength for mobility, others form effective killer packs despite being useless alone, and others are even capable of Fūinjutsu. His use of Ninken in combat has also gained him the moniker of Hellhound of the Waterfall. Together with his packs of ninken, Kenta is also a very adept individual when it comes to tracking anything and anyone; able to chase down fleeing enemies with alarming speed, completely disregarding distance—making him a truly cherished presence in raids or infiltration missions. The young man is also fairly proficient with the Transformation Technique, able to transform into a variety of beings and creatures of different sizes; provided they aren't too small or too big. Kenta frequently uses this technique to turn into a dog himself, using this form to scout around enemy bases from a safe distance, pretending to sniff the ground or do 'dog things' while actually making notes of his enemies defences and positioning.

Kenta is also apparently adept with basic Fūinjutsu, as under Hougou he managed to learn and utilise the String Light Formation technique, which he used cleverly to restrict his opponents and cut off their movements. Several times Kenta has applied this basic technique and walked away with effective results, as he can extended it to use with his clones, or after setting up several diversions. Additionally, he relies upon the Unsealing Technique to access his various bukijutsu armaments as well, often instantly without any effort, highlighting his mastery in a nevertheless extremely basic portion of Fūinjutsu.

Water Release

Kenta possesses a natural affinity to the Water Release—an element which defines his natural gentle, free flowing, forceful grace; which easily can transform into an unshackled tempest when the situation called for it. While not initially relying on his Nature Transformation in his younger days, he still was rather skilled at it—even more so after beginning his training with Hougou. Kenta's inclination towards this Release manifests itself in the form of misdirection and subtlety, as his moves aren't as flashy as they are mysterious. He prefers to utilise one of the most abundant elements in nature to a silent advantage, in ways his enemy would probably and could probably expect; but would never see coming. Thus, even after being rigorously drilled by Hougou to the point of near complete Water Release theoretical knowledge, Kenta mainly keeps his skillset modestly and deceptively simple. Though he can quickly break down fellow Water users' key abilities, he only openly displays the most straightforward techniques which can be deciphered even by academically average Genin. Kenta's trump cards are far more complex in nature, but usually slip into the battle amidst the heavy plastering of C-ranked and D-ranked ninjutsu; stealthily trying to end the battle before the enemy could anticipate a role reversal.

He has been seen mainly employing the Water Clone Technique when utilising this element, for offensive, defensive and strategic purposes. Just like any other successful clone technique, this technique is merely an extension of its user's will, limited only by their wishes, which Kenta has demonstrated countless times. Aside from blindly attacking an enemy, or intercepting an attack, or laying the foundation for a collaborative attack, Kenta also is fond of booby trapping his clones; or utilising them to lead his enemies into traps. He enjoys rigging his clones with explosive tag and makibishi, sending deadly shrapnel towards his enemies when he rigs the clone to explode—a suicide bombing trick employed by many numerous terrorists to inflict great damage upon their victims as well as grievous injury. His usage of Water Clones is also highly unpredictable in nature, as he likes to often shift them about in areas with massive amounts of water, to approach the enemy from various angles. He also can utilise the Water Release: Wild Water Wave, a most basic offensive Water-type ninjutsu which involves blasting a jet of pressurised water from the lips towards any target, with rather good aim and power. Kenta is capable of generating enough power to blast lone opponents many metres backwards with a well aimed strike, or even knock weapons from the hands of his opponents on a good, lucky day. Despite the sheer simplicity of the technique, Kenta can also cause a certain degree of harm with it, having shattered ribs with a direct hit once before; as the strength of the technique depends directly on how much chakra one is putting behind it. With sufficient focus and concentration, Kenta was able to deal serious injury to an opponent by rupturing not one, but several internal organs after the technique struck the man's abdomen unstopped.

Another useful technique Kenta has picked up and polished to commendable perfection is his Water Release: Black Rain Technique, whereupon he can manipulate the moisture around him to turn into a flammable, oil like substance which is actually made up of this nature transformation. The enemy usually only has enough time to watch in confusion as a black substance falls upon them like raindrops, before realising in horror that they'd met their match, as his explosive tag lit them up, saving them the need for a funeral pyre. This attack can be modulated by Kenta to varying ranges of short and medium, though this range has since expanded to almost long range capabilities. This allows him to now coat larger groups of enemies with the flammable substance, subsequently killing more birds with the same spark. Kenta also possesses an ability passed down within generations of shinobi from the Waterfall, the Takigakure Style: Watercutting Sword, which a loses him to craft a sturdy blade from sharpened currents of water, which functions as a blade strong enough to effortlessly slice through human flesh. This blade can also be used in conjunction with actual Kenjutsu, to clash with actual steel blades, and its length and width can also be freely manipulated in battle, meaning that a sudden thrust of chakra from Kenta while in a bladelock could spell the end of his opponent by means of a nasty skewering. Kenta also likes to extinguish and re-craft the blade frequently in battle, and he displays shocking ease at reforming it, often confusing enemies to make for an unexpected counter.

Upon further expanding his prowess in the Water Release, Kenta coined the Hidden Aqueous Hands Technique, a very complex manifestation of water manipulation which links an opponent to the user's chakra infused water release, binding the opponent to a Water Clone (or several clones, all or any of which can also be hidden by keeping underneath a certain body of water) and effectively controlling their physical movements. This highly creative move is a trump card in Kenta's arsenal, functioning over a variety of ranges and even against multiple foes (though this is significantly harder to achieve, and three times more taxing mentally and physically). As it is his most useful and dangerous trick, Kenta is extremely careful not to reveal the mechanics of this technique to his opponents, which is why he only utilises it when absolutely necessary. This closely guarded secret remains undiscovered even throughout the years, testament to Kenta's ability to mask the true extent of his abilities. Kenta is also a master in the much easier, parent version of this technique: Water Release: Moisture Paralysis Technique. This relatively basic, lower Chūnin skill has been used many times by Kenta to distract or incapacitate his enemies long enough to land the decisive, battle ending blow; or to direct a battle in his way, no matter how marginally that may be.

A very useful ability learned by Kenta was actually obtained from a scroll stolen by Takigakure. The Water Release: Water Mirror Technique once had been a signature technique utilised by a select, elite few in Kirigakure, including the Fourth Mizukage. Kenta made use of the technique's incredible usefulness frequently in battle, utilising it to cancel out his enemies' attacks when they least expected it. Kenta is able to repel almost any physical attack by conjuring an exact copy of the attacker together with their technique, to turn it on themselves. As this is a considerably advanced form of Ninjutsu and possibly Kenta's strongest defensive option, it drains him of quite some chakra and understandably, he cannot use it too often in any single battle.

Earth Grudge Fear

The legendary cursed technique of Takigakure, it had become the stuff of legend in the form of stories and tales of Kakuzu the Fearsome and the Ripper of Takigakure which were told to scare children. A painful gift that forever changed Kenta's life the day he received it, one that actually changed the course of shinobi history and helped him in many great travails, from becoming a Jōnin to preventing a massive war from breaking out. Had Kenta's exploits with Earth Grudge Fear or Jiongu been more widespread, his legend would quite possibly have stood together with Kakuzu in stature—but despite the lack of praise ever heaped on him, his execution of the Jiongu's various abilities were masterful at very least in the final years of his life.

Specifically tinkered with by Hougou, Kenta's Jiongu is very much different from the conventional Kinjutsu in appearance. The stitches that close Kenta's skin up are perfectly skin coloured, and sewed together in such a way that they leave his skin wrinkly; reminiscent of a persistent but only mildly unsightly rash. The threads so synonymous with Earth Grudge Fear are tailored and adapted to Kenta's anatomy, taking the form of an almost blood like liquid substance when not called forth. When utilised, they whip out of his body with the flexibility of normal threads; becoming more reminiscent of the original technique displayed by Kakuzu and Hougou and can be utilised in a variety of methods. The range of Kenta's Jiongu however is much less than that of previous users, functioning optimally at a medium range of attack.

The penetrating power of Kenta's Jiongu is very high, able to pierce metallic substance with ease. Kenta can slash through most blades and shinobi weapons with not too much effort, rendering many traditional, normally crafted weapons useless against him. Kenta can penetrate armoured foes without resistance most of the time, whipping down his threads on them viciously to rip opposers to shreds. When he achieved full synchronisation with his Earth Grudge Fear after several years of training, Kenta was able to fire his Jiongu threads at massive pace; thrusting dozens of them a second at an opponent while manoeuvring himself around his enemies. This creates a rapid stabbing multitude of weapons raining down on an opponent, while their wielder (Kenta) danced around enemies to forcibly break their defence. Kenta could clump several of these threads together and channel a certain degree of shape manipulation with the Kinjutsu, forming blades made out of the technique which could be manipulated height and width wise, before being slashed across an enemy.

Despite the power it adds to Kenta's attack, this specialised Jiongu deals more exclusively with defence more than offence. As each individual thread possesses enough strength on its own to shatter a thick steel bar, when accumulated, the threads can group into portions of the body according to Kenta's will to intercept a physical attack. For a bare fist or foot attack, the opponent would make impact with a substance many times harder than most metals, possibly causing them great injury depending on the intensity of the attack, and their own resilience. After sufficient practice, Kenta had very quickly gained the ability to solidify large portions of his entire body from the inside. With this aspect of his defence nailed down, Kenta has survived unbelievable dangers; such as surviving after being blown off the face of a mountain and plummeting to supposedly inevitable death, shrugging off dozens of blades launched at him by means of a replication technique, tanking blows by some of the strongest fighters on the planet head on and such. Kenta could also effortlessly survive being buried under heavy boulders, collapsed buildings and other structures rigged to collapse upon him. His Jiongu also would instantly stitch up wounds he received in battle, allowing his body to keep going even after receiving brutal punishment.

Nature Transformation

Though naturally only able to wield the Water Release, Kenta gained the ability to use the Earth Release and the Lightning Release by using the signature ability of his Earth Grudge Fear: the consumption of shinobi hearts. Carefully selecting the hearts of only extremely skilled combatants, Kenta gained immense power in terms of these two nature transformations. Kenta's Earth Release techniques function as a defensive set of options, enabling him to create walls which split him from his enemies, or stood as barriers between him and certainly lethal attacks. He is also able to raise the ground beneath his enemies with the same technique, adding an element of surprise to the mix as he bamboozled his opponents.

In terms of the Lightning Release, Kenta's options with it were very straightforward and not overly complex. His abilities in this field existed only to cause carnage and quickly kill his enemies without too much hassle. Kenta explored the potency of these techniques extensively in the later days of his battle with the Brotherhood, where began showing less remorse and exhibiting more sadistic tendencies. Kenta's proficiencies allow him to immediately fire streams and jets of superheated lightning from any part of his body towards opponents, ripping through flesh, armour and most types of conventional cover with ease; while also causing fires when used in heavy concentration. Able to summon these 'bolts' of devastation on a whim, Kenta can dispatch multiple opponents with minimal preparation, while also being given the option to seriously maim even from rather long distances. His strongest ability here is one that allows him to summon forth a huge cage of spherical lightning around himself, which expands in the form of a shockwave and incinerates any living life form in its path, without much resistance.

Taijutsu

While basic hand to hand combat is something all shinobi have at least some knowledge in, Kenta's skill extends beyond mere basics. He is a talented martial artist, highly trained in the ancient fighting style of Karate—a famous martial art with indigenous origins, where skilful unarmed combat is heavily emphasised upon. He is noteworthily very difficult to best barehanded, a fairly quick hitter with almost impeccable balance. He was able to disarm even an ANBU ranked shinobi from Konohagakure despite being obviously less skilled than the former, proof that he was no pushover in martial arts. Though rather rudimentary, Kenta sees no need to focus on learning flashy kicks or acrobatics; preferring to keep to simple kicks and punches which have been improved upon by years of practice. While not possessing natural, superhuman reflexes or incredible reaction times, Kenta has trained on his reflexes to keep them sharp, to the point his movement and skill with dodging can be related to experienced boxers. Light footed and graceful, Kenta knows just when to switch off his free flowing fighting style and put enough sudden explosive force behind his attacks to break the right bone, or shatter an opponent's balance.

Having practiced his martial arts for so long, Kenta is also quite agile and dexterous, despite his more energy conserving style. He can use nearby structures in the environment to his advantage in fights, such as using walls as literal stepping stones to help suddenly alter his momentum for a surprise windmill kick, or grab onto a set of crates to set himself up for a well executed horse kick. Kenta's frequent moving around in combat facilitates this love for utilisation of the environment, as he's always aiming to bring enemies closer to him in areas where he can force them to a corner. Kenta also possesses the strength necessary to excel in Taijutsu, with a muscular, medium sized build which still affords him mobility but packs a rather explosive punc; he has proven to be strong enough to lift an enemy taller and much heavier than him over his shoulders, before smashing him onto the ground with a toss. His physical strength has also seen him be able to dominate blade locks consistently, able to press his enemies back with sheer brute force before smashing through their defences.

Bukijutsu

Bukijutsu is one of Kenta's fortes, the young man is an expert at choosing and utilising his weapons despite his youth and rank. Proof of his extreme confidence in his tools would be the fact that he frequently engages in combat with a Fūma Shuriken as his melee weapon of choice; despite most preferring to use it as a ranged option. An unorthodox and somewhat personal trait, Kenta's spinning Fūma Shuriken has been shown to be an effective weapon even against Kenjutsu practitioners, it's four blades rotating viciously almost as one, an extension of its user. While this style comes with its disadvantages, Kenta's creativity ensures that he can compensate for these drawbacks, slashing and twirling the giant shuriken with blinding malevolence which has seen him take off limbs with surprising ease. The overgrown weapon can also be detached easily with the help of wire strings, turning the flow of his attacks to a completely different direction at the briefest moment, to suddenly incapacitate any unsuspecting enemy; or suddenly separating the blades and manipulating he, with his fingers in a split second, reminiscent of a puppeteer. As Kenta has trained himself in this weird fighting style for many years, his manipulation of each string for even the subtlest movement can bring about the most efficient results with minimal error. He can manipulate each blade of the huge shuriken as though he were wielding four swords with four hands.

Kenta also wields normal shuriken with exquisite skill, able to hit moving targets with expectable and consistent accuracy; or easily deflect the projectiles of others with his own. In fact, Kenta's shurikenjutsu is so advanced that he can literally hit enemies based on muscle memory. He rarely has the need to pause, aim, or steady himself; all he needs to know is his enemy's location, and he can then hit his target with a flick of his palm. To a certain degree, he has also mastered a variety of trick shots with his projectiles. Kenta knows how to bend his shuriken by hitting them with other projectiles at certain angles; changing their trajectory midair to hit enemies behind cover, or who have avoided his initial attack. Kenta is also shockingly able to redirect enemy projectiles at their owners by hitting the incoming weapons with his own. This is also done by watching the manner in which an enemy fires the weapon, imitating their body movements after estimating the amount of force behind their throw; a terribly difficult, advanced technique taught to him by Hougou. Again, these specific skills are due to the effort Kenta devoted into the essentials of shinobi combat, instead of the advanced techniques.

Kenta's usage of Wire Strings are also well documented, setting up disguised traps with explosive tags or deliberate impediments to ruin an opponent's day. Kenta also frequently attaches his own weapons to his fingers with wire strings in order to manipulate them freely if they are to be knocked from his grip, doing this even in mid combat with surprising ease and stealth that can slip past enemies unnoticed, leading for a shock attack later on. Aside from this, his arsenal also comes loaded with flash bombs and smoke pellets, designed to buy him time or erase his presence from the enemy's senses. Carrying these weapons bestows Kenta with a sense of deeply rooted pride in his roots as a ninja, as thus, he has ensured that he mastered the greatest fundamentals of utilising smoke pellets and flash bombs to the greatest degree of proficiency. He prioritises stealth and subtlety, and unsurprisingly is an expert at losing his enemies. As such, he also carries various scrolls with him where he stores these ninja tools, always prepared to utilise a variety of bladed gadgets against whatever for he may face.

Other Skills

Aside from this roster of talents, he shows the ability to wield a blade rather well; a truly underrated swordsman whose abilities have seen him last long against even rather celebrated swordsmen in the Waterfall. Kenta also has surprising theoretical knowledge on Fūinjutsu, able to even deduce how certain users of the art ply their craft in battle, and suitably counter. Kenta also possesses the capability to easily dispel most low level Genjutsu techniques, and even recognise how to avoid falling prey to higher ranked ones.

Kenta also possesses a good mind which has held him in good stead in numerous tight spots. Observant and somewhat analytical, he is capable of identifying his foes weaknesses very quickly through mere observation—be it an error in their stance, or a gap in their swordplay; the young man has always sought openings he could exploit. Aside from that, Kenta has naturally tuned himself to be a cunning, wily fox, using well maintained misdirection and well put on acts to deliberately cause his opponents to underestimate him; before quickly turning the tide of the battle on its head before the said opponent could fathom that they had been duped. Kenta knew that the key to beating stronger opponents was to simply convince them never to go all out, before exploiting their overconfidence.

Stats

Stage Ninjutsu Taijutsu Genjutsu Intelligence Strength Speed Stamina Hand seals Total
Part I 3.5 4 2 3.5 3.5 3 3 2 24.5
Part II 4 4.5 3.5 4.5 3.5 4 3 3.5 30.5

Legacy

Seven years passed since the Takigakure attack, and Kenta had already succeeded in wiping out at least 95% of the Sons of Freedom. However as he had feared all those years back, the Earth Grudge Fear had almost fully taken over him. What remained of Kenta was only an outer shell, but he had truly gone mad with power, and his desires were no longer altruistic and hopeful, but deeply disturbing and megalomanic. Horrifyingly brutal and willing to kill anyone and everyone, Kenta's methods had crossed too many red lines, and the Great Nations began seeing him as a massive threat—and no longer an ally. As he drove a wedge between himself and his allies, Hougou was finally able to steel himself for the job he had promised Kenta almost nine years earlier—killing Kenta to stop his Earth Grudge Fear from manifesting any further.

With his dying breaths, Kenta regained his sanity, finally freed by the mentally corrosive influence of the Earth Grudge Fear. Before falling over a cliff, Kenta requested that Hougou take care of his son, now seven years of age, and keep him safe from harm. As his life flashed in his eyes while he sank to the bottom of the lake in the chasm, Kenta was haunted by regrets and the pain of never being able to hold his son, nor raise him, accepting that all his sacrifices in the end were simply not worth it; as his efforts had simply doomed him. Kenta died a miserable and deeply hurt man, filled with fear and loneliness. Hougou would eventually retrieve his body, burying him beside the lake where he died, marking his grave with his signature Fūma Shuriken.

The Allied Shinobi Forces were informed of Kenta's death via two letters penned to Densetsu and Makaze Kantoku, who oversaw the entire project diplomatically and logistically respectively. Protecting Kenta's identity to the very end, Densetsu attributed his crimes to a forever unknown entity, labelling Kenta as "eliminated" under the pseudonym of the Wrath, Kenta's vigilante moniker. This way, Kenta's official death date was listed as seven years prior, during the Assault on Takigakure. Kenta would forever remain a symbol of Takigakure, one of the heroes who had died for his village that night. The world would not know him as a mass murdering vigilante, nor would it know of his true exploits and heroism. The good and the bad would both be buried in a web of secrecy his allies would take to their graves. As the Wrath, Kenta had inspired a new line of vigilantes, rekindling interest in taking justice into the hands of the people—a trend that had died when the Human Torch had gradually retired from the field. This time the age of vigilante justice was here to stay, as the Union of the Shinobi Forces had not eliminated crime at all, in fact making it far worse.

The discovery of the Sons of Freedom's successful covert operations until Kenta weeded them out acted as a massive wake up call to the Allied Shinobi Nations. As such, they were quick to sanction the Gakuinkisai Initiative, where they recruited the famed Shenron Uzumaki to begin an elite schooling program where future super operatives would be trained to always keep tabs on the underworld and mitigate the threat posed by ever creative sleeper organisations such as the Sons of Freedom. The Uzumaki recruited a team of celebrated Shinobi to form the teaching force, as they together moulded a formidable group of students in a safe environment to form the future espionage elite. Kenta's and Hougou's massive attack on the Sons of Freedom left a huge void in the underworld, which facilitated the rise of the next world dominating organisation—Zenith, which controlled territories and materials the Sons of Freedom had ingloriously vacated with their sudden disbanding and implosion.

While Kenta's battle with the Sons of Freedom kickstarted a massive political string of upheavals and chaos, his death and descent into evil would forever plague the people he loved most. Inoue (neé Amemori) and Minatsuki Kanata had both settled in permanently into Takigakure with Kenta's son Kaworu, and his father and brother (whose memories had been successfully altered by the super drug ES-23); but both would live eternally feeling guilt and pain over the path Kenta took. Kaworu Kanata, Kenta's son, would grow up never knowing his father, living under the impression that Kenta had been killed defending the people of Takigakure; and aspiring to be like him in every aspect in the open. Kaworu would however secretly pine for his father, and deep down he was eternally plagued by the insecurity that he hadn't been as important to his father as the village had been, which caused him a little internal grief. While his father had come to terms with his death, Kenta's brother Eiji would always have doubts about the activities his brother had participated in prior to his death. Eiji would eventually begin digging into the activities of his brother, on the cusp of unraveling Kenta's cruel part in the moving of circumstance.

Perhaps the person who suffered most personally from Kenta's death was his own mentor, Hougou. As the person who had given him the Kinjutsu knowing its power, Hougou would be eternally wracked by grief and deep pain. His regret and tumultuous feelings in regards to Kenta began to finally truly tip Hougou over the edge, as he exhibited a stunning loss of self control by blasting a huge rift many kilometres long into the western lands of the Allied Nations. Forever haunted by the memory of his student and feeling he failed him, Hougou's gradual mental deterioration was compounded by the fact that he still possessed Kenta's heart with him, a lasting reminder of his dear student; both good and evil times. However, Hougou would keep himself sane with the task of protecting Kaworu, a task he truly took to great importance, while also confiding in Jouman to alleviate his pain.

OVA

  • Santa's Evil Reign: In a true nightmare before Christmas, an elf brings stunning news that Santa Claus himself has decided to unleash true terror on the world! It's all up to Kenta, Hougou and a band of skilled ninja from different village and nations to form a misfit task force with only one goal: to end Santa's Evil Reign and save Christmas.

Behind the Scenes

I first started writing Kenta as just a mere Chūnin character for a special challenge proposed by Ash, just an example of a decent charger with no special abilities beyond some C-ranked Water techniques and Karate for taijutsu. I did however begin to see more potential for Kenta to grow as a bigger character himself—despite being at the very bottom of my list at the time (2015). I only began to act on this feeling when Erin approached me to give his character a student. What started out as a teacher student set of roleplays actually grew between us, as we devised a huge timeline of events from start to finish for Kenta and the various characters in his story.

Kenta's story is significantly dark and violent. His is a story not created to be comfortable with all age groups, but it is designed to stand out in terms of sheer brutality and uncompromising grit, as it's a story of how the best people can become the most corrupt. I had a lot of fun writing for Kenta, his different phases in life, and each act he performed—from the most heroic, to the most bizarre, to the most cruel. He had multiple layers as a character, and the fact that Erin and I allowed ourself to break free of the chains of conventionalism and censorship gave us the chance to come up with a very shinobi-like, dystopian and over the top version of the shinobi world that Naruto gave us.

As my second main character, Kenta's story arcs also allowed me the freedom to craft a more painful and realistic ending for a character that chose a violent path; one that I never got to give my main character due to my conforming to the Shonen dynamic of the Naruto universe. Kenta is proof that good intentions and a good heart sometimes aren't enough to keep you going, or to protect the ones you love. Sometimes, we become victims to our own desires, as our good intentions can turn into obsessive compulsions that destroy us, and the people around us. After all, not all tales can end with reformation, forgiveness and acceptance. In this one, huge actions have huge consequences, and all players pay their due. As much as it is violent, Kenta's is a tale of caution in a familiar world which is at the same time, so grotesquely contorted.

Trivia

  • The name Kenta means 'health', while Kanata means 'distance'.
  • Kenta has been created in order to participate in the Naruto Fanon Mizukage's Challenge.
  • Kenta's favourite words are fortitude and perseverance.
  • Kenta's favourite food is Teriyaki Chicken, and he has no hated meals.
  • Kenta's favourite past time is skipping rocks.
  • Kenta is in the Top 50 longest articles on Naruto Fanon.

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