- "If you think this is a dream, then there is one easy way to find out. Go to the back of the hut and take a piss. If your wet and warm afterwards, then wake up."
- —Garian to Kentaro.
|Previous Affiliation|| The Philosophers|
|Previous Occupation||Member of The Philosophers|
|Previous Team||The Philosophers, 4th Division|
|Previous Partner|| Shintai Misuto|
|Base of Operations||Monte Rosa|
|Relatives|| Unnamed Wife (Deceased)|
Takeshi Shinjo (Son)
Ino Hiroshi (Adopted Daughter)
|Bankai||Not yet Revealed|
Garian Shinjo (ガーイアン新庄, Shinjo Gāian), known famously as the First Sage (最初仙人, Saisho Sennin) as well as the Mountain Sage (山仙人, Yamasennin), is the man directly responsible for the creation of the Seireitei. He was the first Captain of the 4th Division of the Gotei 13, creator of the legendary Kyūtai sans Sasaeru, as well as a former member of the Shiseiten's Fourth Generation. In addition he is one of the Four Sages of the Planes, being responsible for the World of the Living.
Garian is a statuesque man who easily stands seven foot tall. His physical appearance is greatly at odds with his advanced age, with Kentaro often joking that his wrinkles have wrinkles. Despite this he's often described as a wall of muscle and can easily perform feats of strength many would consider superhuman, even by Shinigami standards. His snow-white hair is unruly and unkempt, with bushy sideburns and heavily cloaked eyebrows that appear to frame his entire face. His whole head is lionesque, with his hair appearing somewhat like a mane. He has craggy weather-beaten features, coupled with a stern exterior. His hooded bushy eyes signal a "don’t-mess-with-me" demeanour. He has a firm jaw and strong chin that only add to his stern exterior.
Out of tradition and perhaps continued loyalty, Garian still clothes himself in the Shihakushō (死覇装, Garment of Dead Souls) often associated with the Shinigami. His is colored a dull, weathered black and is possibly just as old as he is. His kosode is black with white lapels that hangs somewhat loosely to his huge frame, with a thin shitagi worn beneath. His hakama are the same coloration as his kosode with a somewhat tattered appearance that have been mended a few times in the past. From his ōbi sash hangs his sealed zanpakutō in the traditional manner, sheath threaded through at an angle. To complete the uniform he usually wears a pair of wooden geta with black straps.
Even in his younger days, Garian was described as a statuesque man with the same imposing physical appearance he has carried throughout the years, though lacking the penetrating and formidable gaze he gained in later life. While younger he wore his almost scarlet-colored hair in several spikes at the back, with long sideways bangs to frame his face; accompanied by several pointed strands hanging between his brows to shadow his eyes from sight. His Shihakushō at this time consisted solely of a light black-colored kosode that parted in an V shape to show his muscular physique, with a darker black jacket worn over the top for warmth that he commonly left open at the chest. To complete the uniform, Garian favored simple hakama trousers colored the same shade as his kosode with a golden-colored button set in their center. Even at this young age he seemed to favor the geta over the more common waraji and usually went without tabi, though when he did wear them for warmth they were usually white in color and quite plain.
- "You know, for an old man you move and talk a lot without actually helping.
Your right. I'll sit down and talk, while you can light the fire."
- —Kentaro and Garian.
Garian's personality fits very well with his stern and weather-beaten appearance. He is a hard, rough and difficult to please man who not only expects perfection from his students, but demands it. Kentaro believes that he is an even harder man than Maki Zhijun, who is well respected and widely acknowledged as one of the most difficult teachers to tutor under. This attitude makes him come across as gruff and uncaring, though this is only half true. He is gruff and as blunt as a dulled sword edge, though he does indeed care for those he comes to either respect, trust or train. If in a bit of a roundabout manner. For instance, he forced Kentaro through three days of battle in the Dangai than anyone other than Garian would describe as horrendous torture to thoroughly test his abilities before allowing him to attempt the rescue of Akiye. Up until he saw Kentaro's resolve he was even considering accompanying his young student, but ultimately relented, believing that it was Kentaro's time to shine.
Much to his students collective annoyance, Garian is openly sarcastic and enjoys poking fun at anything he happens to turn his eye on. This leads him to be quite critical in how he addresses a situation or other people, something he seems to be very much aware of, yet doesn't make the effort to rectify at all. When he does give compliments they are often back-handed, though the meaning is clear. Kentaro believes that Garian's antics could very well try the patience of even the most calm and serious individual, and wonders how long Naibu Shizuka could listen to him without snapping. Garian has also been shown to be very old-fashioned, both in how he lives his life and how he trains his students. Calling his methods medieval would be an understatement. He likes, in his own words, "a good old fire instead of some new fangled oil-heating" and absolutely hates anything technological, like phones or computers; describing them as an illness that needs curing; once breaking Kentaro's mobile beneath his foot because it was "annoying him with that infernal ringing".
In battle, Garian maintains his blunt and sarcastic tone, though he now appears to reveal yet another side to his love of poking fun at others expense; this time in the form of taunts and cutting words that rile up his enemy and ultimately leave them more open, while serving to give Garian all the fun he could hope for at their expense. In battle he usually goes on in a monotone voice, telling his opponent how unlucky they were, how weak they're last strike had been, or how slow they were - all traits he turns on Kentaro because of the latter's uncontrolled emotions help him get a better reaction. Even young Itazura and Mariko fell prey to this manipulation, though it did serve as the catalyst for Itazura's controlled anger; which ultimately made him sharper during battle.
In his younger days, Garian expressed a level of impatience at odds with his now old-fashioned persona and was much more hot-headed than the grizzled old veteran he became in later life. He liked nothing more than taking life one day at a time, and once he set his mind to something he gave it his full attention until it was either completed, or life simply swept him away on his next adventure. This belied a level of recklessness as well, expressed through the often insane stunts he pulled and the fights and arguments he got into, which his sharp wit and quick tongue didn't serve to help him avoid. Its a safe assumption that the only traits carried over from his youth were his sarcastic nature, sense of companionship and colorful attitude; even in light of the darkest situations the Garian of that time found himself in.
It wasn't until he met the matter-of-fact and law-abiding Nasu Shiba that Garian began to slow down and truly work for the benefit of all around him, turning his great and impressive powers towards a shared goal which eventually culminated in the formation of The Philosophers, and an improved health system farther down the road. Even after this change however, Garian was still very much a free-spirited individual with a bright and cheerful outlook on life which served to benefit countless youths of that era, including Jiro Kazuki, Ryouta Hachirou and Koichi Hiroshi. Him fathering a child, Takeshi Shinjo, served to be the final nail in the coffin of the old Garian and the catalyst which resulted in the creation of the sarcastic, stern and indomitable man he now is; funny enough exhibiting traits saw in other members of The Philosophers, especially the three Shiba brothers and a certain fun-loving Shihōin.
Garian grew up in a mountainous region of Northern Rukongai. As a young man he undertook a long pilgrimage to study the ancient Keidō martial art, eventually mastering the style and cementing himself as one of its foremost practitioners. He would eventually befriend the three Shiba brothers: Nasu, Nikkō and Yūyami. Garian developed a competitive rivalry with the three though he was notably closer to Nasu, the two being close to inseparable. The four discovered the existence of Hakyoku, who was a Tenjin-like entity, during their travels in the west. The foursome met and defeated the fallen God in battle and Garian oversaw its sealing into Nasu so its destructive power could be turned towards something positive.
As they grew the four all went down separate paths: Garian, specifically, sought knowledge. He wished to understand how the world had come into being and set out with Anika Shihōin to learn how. He had earlier drawn the conclusion that beings such as Hakyoku may have been responsible and wished to test his hypothesis, though Anika came along solely because she noted Garian to have a habit of getting into trouble. The two set out on a journey seeking a fable: the legendary Kyūtai. They sought Sasaeru specifically because all rumours and tales agreed on one fact: Sasaeru was as ancient as the world itself and they believed it could answer their questions.
Garian played a vital role in the Shinigami Civil War. He served as the de-facto leader of The Philosophers, alongside Sōritsu Kuchiki, and was mostly responsible for the creation of the Seireitei and the advent of the Noble Houses. He allied with Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto and became the first Captain of the 4th Division in the Gotei 13. He earned himself a reputation as a bloodthirsty killer by taking part in the slaughter of the Quincy, though he would later regret his role in the massacre. Garian was one of those who found something to protect in the years of peace that followed: he set his sights on the future, resolving to ensure the bloodshed that mired his youth would not be repeated again. This belief led Garian to completely revolutionize the techniques and teachings of the ancient Keidō martial art into something completely new: he dubbed this new art Kidō. He passed this knowledge onto the newly formed Gotei and also taught it to the aspiring students of Yamamoto's new school. This contribution was considered especially important to the history of the Soul Society by the Soul King, which led to Garian becoming a member of the latter's Royal Guard.
Garian took an active role as a teacher and instructor of various battlefield forms and non-battlefield pursuits. He trained Sousetsu Shiba, Jiro Kazuki, Tadashi Kori and Shin Nagakura, amongst others. He was also responsible for the first defeat of Averian.
At an unknown point in the past Garian was named the Sage of the North, becoming one fourth of the Four Sages of the Planes. His domain was the World of the Living and he was tasked with its protection. He is noteworthy for being the longest reigning sage. This was known to have occurred following his promotion to the Royal Guard and was also the reason why he left the organization. He set up his new home on the slopes of Monte Rosa. Anika noted him to have retreated from public life at this point though he occasionally took on students, notably Kusaka Kori, Kentaro Hiroshi and Itazura Kori.
- Main Article - Bleach (Kenji Hiroshi).
Part I Edit
- Main article -- Bleach: Sun and Moon Chronicles.
Trickster arc Edit
Part II Edit
- Main article -- Bleach: War of the Worlds.
Part IV Edit
- Main article -- Bleach: Cataclysm.
Meian's Legacy mini-arc Edit
Musabori: (むさぼり, Japanese for Devouring) is one of the seven Kyūtai which has been in Garian's possession since before he retired from the Gotei 13. While it usually takes the form of a silver-colored orb known as the Devourer of Swords, Garian commonly keeps it wrapped around the sheath of his zanpakutō; giving it an iridescent silver-coloration. Musabori grants its wielder various powers, not all of which are known. The ones Garian has demonstrated are listed below:
- Immortality: The Musabori grants Garian immortality, not eternal youth, nor does it make him invincible. He doesn't age a day beyond the time he first bonded the orb to him, which explains his old and weathered features. But he can still be killed by normal means and tires at the same rate as anyone else.
- Hardened Skin: By manipulating and hardening Garian's impressive spiritual energy, the orb becomes a liquid which suffuses his body and limbs in a metallic sheen that makes him all but immune to bladed weapons, either Bakkōtō or Zanpakutō. Only abilities which specifically ignore defenses or imbue the strike with a tremendous degree of cutting power can hope to slice through it. This sheen also serves other effects:
- Enhanced Strength: Due to the metallic properties now suffusing his limbs, Garian's blows are heavier and much more powerful than they once were. Coupled with his already immense strength, this serves to make Garian a terror in close range combat, with a single punch proving to be almost fatal to those who don't defend themselves accordingly.
- Decreased Speed: As a result of the metallic properties making up his defenses, Garian suffers from reduced speed; though because he becomes all but immune to being cut by bladed weapons and gains an increase in physical strength, he reckons its a downside he can life with.
- Invisibility: By pooling the Musabori around his body and willing it to conceal his limbs, it bends light around him and erases his spiritual signature; effectively hiding him from both visual and sensory detection for as long as the cloak is worn.
Powers and Abilities Edit
- (To Kentaro about his Pyrokinesis) ~ "Don't think of it as pyromania, boy; you just really know how to light up a room!"
- (To Shinzō) ~ "You really make me feel intelligent - especially when you talk."
- (To Kenji about his second battle with Naishō Kawahiru) "So your the lads father? On another note, your one of the young fanatics with a grudge against my mountain! Would you like it if I went and fought in your home? Bring avalanches raining down on your head!? Well, boy, what have you got to say for yourself!"
- (To Kentaro and Kenji) ~ "You say you both graduated the Shinō Academy, right? That is surprising. I thought you'd show them just how much of an overhaul their education system needs."
- (To Kentaro and Kenji yet again) ~ "What makes you both think I haven't shot a bolt of lightning from my arse? Your ancestors must be terribly proud. You've obviously never heard of my battle with Hakyoku."
- (To Kentaro once again) "You want me to tell you why you fail? You really like me busting your balls, don't you? Very well. If you'd look at the life of great men like Nasu Shiba, Shintai Misuto and... well me, you'll see that each of them has done something you have yet to. They gained mastery over themselves. Their own self-discipline. You've yet to win that first great victory, boy, and until you do; you will always fail."
- (To Kentaro) "Whats all this chat of your legacy outshining your fathers? Are you dead? I didn't think so, so why in tarnation are you worrying about something that won't mean a damn until after your dead and buried? And even then people will twist your legend in countless different re-tellings until the story is nothing but deceit; a mere shadow of the tale in question. So instead of death, start thinking of living your life instead, lad, because life is a strange and wonderful thing, Kentaro. Think of those who are no longer with us, for one second, if you would? If two people died - say a simple farmer and a teacher - do you think said life didn't have meaning? Don't be an utter fool! That farmer left a harvest, a home and eighty acres, the faith and love for growing things in his young son's heart. And that teacher left her wisdom in the minds of lots of children: and did her best to give them all a better start. Start living for others and not just yourself, and you'll leave a true legacy when you do leave this world."
- (To Shinzō) "So what if you wield Fushichō? Do you want a medal, boy? Because I'm sure I've got one somewhere I could give you."
- (To Kusaka and Meiwaku) "I like these two. They know how to have fun, even though their humor sucks."
Behind the Scenes Edit
Due to his immortality, Garian serves as the living link between the distant past and the present saw in my universe.
His first name was taken from the protagonist of the game called Dark Savior, which was released for the Sega Saturn gaming console back in 1996. It was one of the authors favorite games growing up because of its parallel system and annoying puzzles, which he still plays occasionally when the mood strikes. His pet parrot, named Jack, is also a homage to Dark Savior, as the protagonist's own feathery companion was named Jack.