Spirit Guardian of Japan
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Sho Sugino draws on an unknown form of energy that gives him great strength and the ability to form energy weapons that include shurikens, scythes, swords, staffs, triple iron, spears, and a bow and arrows.
Sho Sugino possesses access to the Nerveweb, the pathway network that gives Grandmother control of the city, which allows him to move anywhere instantaneously.
"My father said: ‘a man does not sell his soul for a bowl of ramen noodles’"
In her time of need, Grandmother, the freewill caretaker of Japan, summons Sho Sugino, a crippled outcast shunned by the great houses, to serve Japan as the second Rai and defeat the Anti-Grannies, an organization of Japanese citizens who feel oppressed by their lack of control over their lives and believe that Japan's fate belongs to its people.
The Outcast Rai
In 3216, the Anti-Grannies obtained the Blood of Heroes, the very plasma that once coursed through the veins of the legendary 20th Century hero Bloodshot twelve hundred years earlier, and once they found a suitable host, he would possess mental control over all electronic devices.
Sho Sugino was a poor crippled outcast who lived in the septic control system below the city–state of Japan. When Grandmother found him and asked him why he kept on living, Sho told her that he came from a line of lowly men shunned by the great houses whose sole legacy throughout their generations was hope, which for him was a better destiny than his father, which to his shame he had not found. When Grandmother asked Sho to serve Japan as her champion in exchange for comfort and security, it reminded him of a saying his father had and he balked, but when she offered him a better destiny, he agreed to share his father’s legacy with her so that they might hope for something better together.
Sometime later in Grandmother’s inner sanctum, Sho underwent an unpleasant empirical process that infused every cell in his body with a special energy that only he could control that transformed him into Rai. Days later, Sho requested that Grandmother give him his sword back while he engaged a group of robots as part of his training, but instead she told him that he could use the energy with which she had empowered him to create infinitely superior weapons by simply imagining them. Focusing his inner energies, Sho materialized a sword and destroyed the robots, which pleased Grandmother.
With the energy, Sho could travel in a manner like no other through the pathways of Grandmother’s nerve network, which transported him anywhere linked to her system at the speed of thought. With this ability, Sho located a secret Anti–Grannie meeting and slaughtered everyone in attendance, and in the days ahead, he and Grandmother sought out those who opposed order and discipline and those who threatened the security of Japan, and dispensed swift retribution together as he became her avenger.
A year later, after Sho defeated a group of Ninjatrons at the Osaka district spacedock while the Anti–Grannies escaped before Grandmother could shut down the launch bays, a crowd of citizens that knew who he had been called him ratman, beggar, and thief, and then told him to return to the sewers.
Sometime later, Grandmother found Sho back in the sewers from where she liberated him and asked him if he was not well, as she did not understand his unhappiness and he told her that he had realized that his life was just different and not better than before. Sho then told Grandmother that the people shunned him because, while he was a fighter, he was an outcast unworthy in the eyes of Japan, who would not accept him as its champion as they did Shiro Yagami, the first Rai, who was a respected nobleman but not a warrior.
After Sho told Grandmother that she could take the man out of the gutter but he feared that she could not take the gutter out of the man, he traveled to the Skull Dome, where she told him that she had a quest for him.
While she showed Sho a hologram of the Blood of Heroes, Grandmother told him that in the late 20th Century a series of nanocomputer experiments resulted in the creation of the legendary warrior known as Bloodshot, whom she patterned him on to invoke the spirit of his heroic exploits in the people.
When Sho expressed confusion as to the importance of the blood, Grandmother told him that the Anti-Grannies found it and that if they injected it into a suitable latent psionic that being would posses, amongst other powers, total mental control over all electronic devices, including her.
After Grandmother told Sho that she found the Anti-Grannies’ hidden base in a place outside the normal space-time continuum that its inhabitants called the Lost Land, a hub at the center of time where she held no dominion, she opened an entrance and sent him to retrieve the Blood of Heroes and destroy her enemies. Armed with an energy gun in case the effects of traveling through the warp might temporarily dampen his abilities and garbed in a suit designed to lessen the effect, Sho stood at the mouth of the entrance and, though he suffered a premonition that made him briefly hesitate to cross it, he leapt inside.
Upon his arrival in the Lost Land, Sho was amazed at the bits and pieces of a million cultures and times collected on a horizon that stretched on forever and wished that his poor, wretched father could see him. After what could have been only measured in days, Sho found the Anti-Grannies’ citadel.
After a scuffle with Bionisaurs and Anti-Grannies, Sho found Uejo and demanded that he give him the Blood of Heroes, but Uejo told him that the only way he could have it was if he fulfilled his programming and killed him, as he did not wish to live in a world controlled by the likes of his master.
After Sho killed Uejo with two swift strokes from his swords, he stood over his corpse and asked his father’s spirit what he had become. As Sho grabbed the container that held the Blood of Heroes, he wondered aloud if Bloodshot controlled his own destiny, or, if like him, he was its slave.
Sometime later, at a predetermined rendezvous point, Grandmother opened a portal back to Japan and took possession of the container that held the blood. Troubled, Sho told Grandmother that he wished to discuss certain things with her, but she told him that she had reevaluated her selection program and, having realized that she made a mistake in choosing her champion, determined that the people would never accept him and she had to pick her future Rai from a lineage bred for that purpose.
After she informed Sho that she had picked the House of Nakadai for her breeding program, Grandmother told him that his service was no longer required, and that while she could not bring herself to terminate him as he served her well, he knew too much to roam free, so she decided that he would stay in the Lost Land. As Sho cursed Grandmother, he rushed to the portal, but it vanished before he could cross it.
Years later, while Sho feasted on the carcass of a Bionisaur he had killed, a voice asked him why he continued, and as he drew his sword he demanded that the voice show itself.
As Mothergod materialized before him and said that she had heard about the Rai, the wandering scourge of the Lost Land, Sho dared her and her monsters to attack, but instead she urged him to tell her why he continued to hold out hope when outside that plane centuries had passed and his world was gone.
After he asked Mothergod if Grandmother still ruled Japan, Sho told her that he had hope for justice when she told him that she did. Impressed with Sho’s resolve, Mothergod offered him a better destiny in exchange for his help to tame the wilderness for her seat of power from which she could reshape the known universe.
With nowhere to go, and with no true purpose for his life anymore, Sho allied himself with the queen of Hell and fought in her unholy war, but he had merely pretended to sell his soul for a bowl of ramen noodles, as the truth was that he still held out hope.
Aware that his destiny was to face Mothergod in battle, Sho embraced it, for it was still a better destiny than the one he had before.