Kyoka Izumi

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Sensei, won't you go to do research there? When I buy this villa of good fortune...?
—Kyoka Izumi

Kyoka Izumi (泉 京香 Izumi Kyōka) is a primary ally featured in Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan.

Kyoka is an editor working at Shueisha, who is assigned to Rohan Kishibe to assist him in publishing his manga in Weekly Shonen Jump, most notably his series, Pink Dark Boy. In Millionaire Village, when she hears about a certain village where accepted residents suddenly become rich, she decides to try buying a property there. Rohan accompanies her to the village to get inspiration for his one-shot.

Kyoka makes a return in Hot Summer Martha and Drip Painting Style. She is also a prominent character in the live-action TV drama, featured in every episode.

Appearance

Kyoka Appearance.png

Kyoka is a rather petite woman. Her hair is combed back and on each side it loops into puffy curls. She wears a long-sleeved, almost turtleneck, loose top under a dark colored skirt. The skirt hangs from her shoulders down to her mid-thighs. On the bottom of a cut-out section at the chest of the skirt sits a diamond-shaped brooch. A thick black belt with a light outline surrounds her waist. Later on, while hiking, Kyoka wears a jacket with a belt. The jacket is only over her torso and is accompanied by a small backpack.

In the TV Drama, Kyoka's attire appears much more elaborate. In addition of her curls, she also ties her hair with ribbons resembling bow ties. Her top is decorated with frou-frous and her skirt bears patterns on it. Her leggings are replaced with tights.

Color Schemes

The series is known for alternating colors between media, the information presented below may or may not be canon.

Skin(Fair, orange lips)
Hair(Peach)
Eyes(Black)
Outfit
(Light yellow top, dark blue skirt, brown belt, silver brooch)

Skin(Pale, peach lips)
Hair(Peach)
Eyes(Dark red)
Outfit
(White top, dark blue skirt, green belt and yellow brooch)

Personality

Kyoka Izumi is a naive and perseverant woman. In general, Kyoka has a mildly arrogant attitude hidden behind her easy-going demeanor. For instance, she casually disregards one of Rohan's ideas for a new manga after briefly feigning interest, in order to subtly push her own suggestions unilaterally. She is also described by Araki as being highly ambitious and coming from an upper-class family.[4] In accordance with that description, Kyoka becomes very interested in the millionaire village, which could make her rich.

Nonetheless, Kyoka is also altruistic and brings Rohan along to give him an interesting event to witness. She also sees an injured baby bird and plans to help it go back to its nest after buying the villa.

In the TV Drama, it is shown that Kyoka also cares for her mentally troubled boyfriend, Taro Hirai. Her motivations for trying to buy a villa are even partially shifted towards showing support for Taro, as the villa in the mountains was the first thing Taro took an interest in since he was involved in a car accident. She tries her best to help Rohan as his editor, despite the manga artist always kicking her out of his house.

History

Millionaire Village

Offering to take Rohan with her

Kyoka is a Shueisha manga magazine editor seen having a discussion about Rohan Kishibe's new one-shot about the solar eclipse. Izumi mentions that he should write about a village in the mountains she decided to live for the price of 3 million. Rohan's seems confused as to the relevance behind this, but Izumi claims that the house is located in a village of 11 Palatial mansions. Each mansion is owned by a millionaire who had all mysteriously become rich at the age of 25 after moving into the village. She asks Rohan to come with her when she buys the house, since the legend may end up becoming a good prompt for his one-shot.

Telling Rohan to have manners

On the way, Kyoka mentions that the people in the village don't tolerate bad manners, not selling it to anyone without manners, and will eventually kick them out. She feels hesitant, as Rohan tends to put himself as #1. She practices with him before entering the village, but is cut-short when they find a baby chick who had fallen from a tree. Izumi places the chick in a candy box, and decides to find the nest later. The front door to the gate opens and a butler-like boy walks out. The boy reveals his name to be Ikkyu, and his job was to escort them from the main entrance to his master's house, who was selling it. He leaves them with some tea in one of the rooms and goes to call for his master.

When the butler leaves, Rohan suspects something to be amiss. He senses that some type of test has commenced, and drinking the tea properly may possibly be a test to see if they have proper manners. He thinks that someone may be watching the room, but Kyoka disregards his warnings and drinks the tea.

Ikkyu appears almost immediately after she drinks the tea and asks them to leave. He mentions that Izumi had already breached three rules of good manners and will not sell the land to rude people. Kyoka is confused, but Ikkyu goes on to explain that the first rule that was broken was that, as guests, they should have not shamelessly sat in the "seats of honor," which are located across the entrance. Until the host arrives, the proper thing to do was to wait in the lower seats facing the other wall. The second rule that was broken was that they should have not stepped on the edges of tatami mats of a Japanese-style room. Finally, the third rule was when one's knees are higher than the height of the table, it is proper to drink while holding the saucer. It was apparently unrefined to hold the teacup by placing the fingers through the handle. With the explanation over, Ikkyu asks for them to leave again.

Kyoka crying after bad news

Kyoka begs Ikkyu for another try at displaying good manners, which the butler complies and goes to ask his master. Rohan seems uneasy about the situation, and suggests they leave. He reaches into his pocket briefly, only to realize his hand had been covered in blood. While he pulls out what appears to be the candy box the bird was in from his pocket, Kyoka's phone goes off and she answers it. Apparently, her mom had a sudden heart attack in the car and crashed. Kyoka's fiance had also been in the car. They were both killed. Rohan notices the bird in the box is dead, as multiple critters are crawling out of it.

Ikkyu returns and Rohan quickly becomes threatened. Ikkyu says the owner gave permission to retry showing their manners, but Rohan disregards this and quickly uses Heaven's Door on the butler to find out what's going on. He learns that the village is under a certain curse where those who show manners gain something, while those who don't lose things one by one. Rohan realizes the true identity of the master was that of The Gods of the Mountain. Rohan continues to read the butler's information and realizes that he too had broken a rule regarding turning the butler into a book without permission, and thus Kyoka suddenly starts having a heart attack.

Kyoka leaving with Rohan

Rohan begs the butler to forgive her, but he says there is no compromise when it comes to manners. Rohan is given another chance at showing good manners and passes the test, as well as tricking Ikkyu into stepping on the edge of a tatami mat, breaking a rule. To do this he writes "I cannot see the edges of the tatami mats" with Heaven's Door. Rohan claims victory and asks for Kyoka's things to be returned to her. Thanks to Rohan, Kyoka recovers from the sudden heart attack.

Ikkyu says Rohan cheated, and that cheating would incur the wrath of the gods. He asks Rohan again if he would like to try again to show proper manners, but Rohan declines the offer, and states that he is leaving and will never come back. He carries Kyoka outside of the village and notices the chick in the candybox had returned to a healthy state. In the OVA, it's revealed that Kyoka's mother and fiancé were just being rear-ended, and they are all safe.[5]

Hot Summer Martha

On July 7, 2021, Kyoka calls Rohan regarding concerns she has for his Hot Summer Martha design, because having three circles in the design could lead to consumer complaints. However, Rohan rebukes that three circles is a design that even ancient Celts would have drawn. During their video chat, a woman trespasses onto Rohan's backyard and Kyoka says she'll teach her a lesson since Kyoka is headed to his house for their meeting. Rohan then accidentally knocks over his ink all over his manuscript and blames that his mask is cutting off his oxygen, making him do stupid things. He's also stressed about not being able to go out anywhere due to COVID-19, so he's unable to do research for his manga. Kyoka attempts to comfort Rohan by saying they could go on an overseas trip once the state of emergency is lifted but Rohan knows she'll just wish him good luck to meet his deadline after that. He storms out of his house for a walk, claiming that Bakin is the only one on his side.

Throughout the next three months, Kyoka has conversations with Rohan's doppelgänger via text messages and meetings to discuss his work. Kyoka has a designer change Rohan's design to have four circles instead of three. Kyoka sends Rohan text messages about Hot Summer Martha being a major hit and that his work is a masterpiece. The real Rohan eventually reads these messages on October 7, confused as to what she's talking about. He immediately calls Kyoka asking what she did to his manuscript and why she changed his design to have four circles instead of three without telling him. Kyoka is extremely confused and mentions she already returned his manuscript to him two weeks prior after they scanned and published it.

Rohan is replaced by his doppelgänger again for the following three months until January 7. While Kyoka is at Rohan's house, Eve stabs her neck with a syringe, drugging her. Eve assumed Rohan was cheating on her with Kyoka and disliked how intimate Kyoka was with Rohan, sitting on his work chair without permission. The real Rohan finds Kyoka without a pulse in his closet and begs Eve to call an ambulance to save her. In the end, Rohan manages to trick Eve to revert all of his doppelgänger's actions and Kyoka is healed. Kyoka wakes up and assumes she must have fallen asleep, petting Bakin on her way out.[6]

Drip Painting Style

Kyoka arrives at Rohan's office and is impressed to see his drip painting style but points out that the way Rohan is doing it isn't improvised or random since he's precisely aiming the drops of ink. She offers Rohan café au lait and then pretends to spill some on his manuscript, before laughing that she's just kidding. However, she notices that Rohan is crying. Confused, Kyoka mentions that she thought the Pink Dark Boy story he's working on has a happy ending. Rohan starts describing "Episode 11". It's the story of an interview he did at a respectable person's home. Although he usually draws manga with the intention of providing hope to his readers, there isn't a single positive thing in this story.

After he finishes telling the story, Kyoka warms up pasta in the microwave. When Rohan asks Kyoka what she's doing, she asks if he wants some. Rohan angrily points out that he has never permitted food in his workroom and that Kyoka's tomato sauce dripped onto his manuscript, making two orange dots. After he yells at Kyoka to leave, she reveals to Bakin that she did it on purpose, thinking it would cheer Rohan up since he can't draw while being all gloomy. Although she thinks that the story had a happy ending, Kyoka looks dejected as she leaves.

TV Drama

The information below derives from a source not written by Araki. As such, it may or may not be considered canon.

Millionaire Village

Kyoka's story remains largely the same in the drama adaptation although with notable changes to her backstory. Her boyfriend is now fleshed out as Taro Hirai, whom she cares for even after some accident left him seemingly brain damaged. She also has a little dog named Maron. Several other details about her life can be gleaned when Rohan turns her into a book. Her father died when she was 5. In junior high school, she frequented the broadcasting club. In her second year of college, Izumi had a boyfriend for two weeks but he dumped her because he was tired of being with her. She majored in humanities at the university.[7]

Kyoka was a fan of Taro's work as a photographer, and also loved Mai Katahira's work on interior design, having bought her book that was incidentally published by Shumeisha. One year prior the the events of Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan, Kyoka bumped into Taro. From then on, she became his girlfriend and tried to gently push him into resuming his activity.

Kyoka Izumi is Rohan Kishibe's newly appointed editor

In the TV Drama, Kyoka Izumi is appointed as Rohan Kishibe's editor at "Shumeisha". She decides to go to his house to greet him and bring him books on crime for his next one-shot. When she knocks at Rohan's door, Rohan doesn't answer, but the door is unlocked so she can enter. Rohan tells her to go away as he's exercising before working, but Kyoka doesn't listen and insists on giving him the books. Kyoka then discovers the burglars peacefully tied up and sitting in the corner of Rohan's office. They even tell her that they are willingly cooperating with him. Rohan rudely shoos Kyoka out of his house and hands her the bag of books before shutting the door.

Kyoka and her boyfriend Taro

Later Kyoka has a rendezvous with her boyfriend, Taro Hirai. Sitting at a café, Kyoka proceeds to tell him how eccentric Rohan is, although she acknowledges that he's a great creator. Taro asks her if she enjoys her work, to which Kyoka answers that she finds it interesting due to Rohan's quirks but that she doesn't enjoy it that much and would prefer working in a fashion magazine. Kyoka asks if Taro has found anything interesting, but he says no. The conversation turns somewhat awkward as the subject of Taro's mental illnesses resurfaces, and he's seen putting an abnormally high amount of sugar in his drink. However, Taro then says that he's found something interesting and shows it to Kyoka.

Kyoka convinces Rohan to come with her buy a villa

Kyoka returns to Rohan, who complains about her barging in when he's about to begin work. They talk about Rohan's next one-shot. Rohan has just read an astronomy book and suggests a story about annular solar eclipses, but Kyoka suggests a story about buying a villa in the mountains. Rohan is frustrated at Kyoka's passive rebuttal of his idea; when he hears that a luxurious villa is for sale in a remote village for only 3 million yen, he claims that it is a scam. However, Kyoka explains that it is a village where all of the residents are millionaires and that they all became wealthy shortly after moving there in their twenties. Furthermore, there are mysterious selection rules that make it hard for the owner to sell the villa to someone. Kyoka wishes to fill a recent vacancy and move in to purchase this lucky villa. She also confesses that she's doing it for Taro's sake since this village is the first thing he's taken an interest in since he had a car accident. Though interested in the village, Rohan refuses to go, but Kyoka argues that it will be a unique experience that could inspire him. She convinces Rohan to accompany her for research he could put into a new manga story. Rohan accepts and asks if the editorial department has a helicopter.

Kyoka and Rohan make an exhausting trek up the mountains

Before her departure, Kyoka puts her dog Maron in Taro's care. Rohan and Kyoka proceed to make the exhausting trek up the mountains to reach the villa for sale. Unfortunately for them, the rules forbid buyers from coming in with a helicopter. Kyoka is initially very enthusiastic, but soon the trek exhausts her, and she has to take a break by a river. For his part, Rohan actually exercises, so he is less fatigued. Rohan mentions that he's done some research and that the land used to be sacred grounds, so people were forbidden to enter. Kyoka dismisses these legends and says that anyone can see anything from above with new technology nowadays, which frustrates Rohan. As they are about to arrive, Kyoka receives a message from Taro and reveals that the selection rules are based on manners. Thus, she asks Rohan to behave himself, which ticks him off.

Kyoka and Rohan sitting in the "lower seats", as etiquette demands

When they reach the mansion for sale, they are welcomed by the butler Ikkyu. Despite his young age, the little boy displays impeccable manners and leads his guests to a room where they will be interviewed. Mindful of their manners, Rohan and Izumi try to follow etiquette as best they can. They take off their coat and bow before entering the villa's grounds and place their shoes facing the exit. Inside, they awkwardly sit on the chairs that face the wall. Ikkyu leaves to bring refreshments, allowing Kyoka to break the silence and confess her nervousness. Rohan says that they were being tested ever since they reached the entrance of the mansion. He reassures Kyoka by confirming that they are sitting in the correct seats, as sitting in the seat of honor while being guests would breach etiquette without explicit permission. Ikkyu brings some tea and invites the guests to switch to the other sofa before serving them. Seeing Ikkyu observing them, Kyoka realizes that the tea is also a test but has no idea how to handle an English tea set.

Kyoka learns through the phone that her dog and Taro have died

Deciding that it is best not to take out their phones to look up how to drink tea, Kyoka lifts her cup and tries to drink properly, but Ikkyu immediately requests that she and Rohan leave and try their luck next time. He explains that Kyoka breached etiquette by putting her finger inside the handle of the teacup. Kyoka asks for another chance, but Ikkyu announces that she will pay the price for her breaches of etiquette and lose something dear to her for each mistake. Kyoka accepts her second chance without thinking but the phone rings, and she answers it. Kyoka breaks down when she hears Taro informing her that Maron is ill, and then she suddenly hears a car crash into Taro. Ikkyu then reveals that answering the phone was her second mistake and for that, she lost both her dog and her boyfriend. Panicking, Kyoka rushes out of the room to go back to Taro, but Rohan turns her into a book to prevent her from making any other mistake, writing a command in her book to compel her to stay unconscious for a while. Rohan manages to save Taro and Maron, and makes Kyoka believe that she was simply rejected. Kyoka hopes that the experience was a good inspiration for his work, but Rohan shoots down the idea before coldly telling her to leave.

Kushagara

Kyoka meets with Rohan at the café

One day, Kyoka visits Rohan again. Nobody answers when she knocks so she enters the house, but she sees that Rohan is absent. She finds him in a café nearby and begins her "meeting" with Rohan. She informs him that his one-shot was well-received and that the editor-in-chief is thinking about making it a series. Rohan asks about his main series Pink Dark Boy, but Kyoka tells him that the series would only be one new volume. Besides, Pink Dark Boy is a monthly series. Annoyed, Rohan leaves the place and gives her Jugo's banknote. Kyoka finally catches up to Rohan, who gives her a napkin to wipe her mouth. On their way, Rohan and Kyoka discuss the list of forbidden words. Kyoka says that she doesn't know of such a document and even then, editors wouldn't hand it to manga artists. When Rohan says that Jugo got it, Kyoka reveals that his editor has completely disappeared. Kyoka theorizes that the word kushagara could be a typo, and although Rohan briefly thinks that she could be right, he realizes that the word is correct, even if it seemingly doesn't exist. In his office, Rohan decides to search for the word in his library while Kyoka also helps, by looking it up on her phone. Rohan dismisses online resources because of their unreliability and much prefers books for their physicality. Kyoka mentions that Rohan still searches things online, but Rohan angrily retorts that he doesn't completely reject the internet.

Later, Kyoka meets up with Taro Hirai, her boyfriend. Taro is reading articles about himself on a tablet. However, he feels disconnected from his former self. Kyoka tries to cheer him up and tells him to find "himself" with real information and not the internet, but Taro doesn't react much to her words. Kyoka suddenly has an idea. Inspired by Rohan's words, she decides to look for the editor herself and inquires about him from his parents, who actually know where he is. Kyoka finds the editor in a warehouse and asks him about "kushagara". He reacts angrily to the word, stating that he was about to forget about it until Kyoka ruined it. The editor also adds that he failed to find the word but passed it onto Jugo because he had faith he would find it, expressing his relief at this.

Kyoka visits Rohan, but at the same time Jugo invades his house

Kyoka reveals what she's learned to Rohan, but Jugo suddenly comes, repeating the word "kushagara" in his every sentence. When Kyoka asks what is up with "kushagara", Jugo turns violent, assuming that she knows something. Rohan defends Kyoka and Jugo grabs Rohan to shout at him. During the argument, Kyoka spots something like black tentacles in Jugo's throat. Rohan tells Kyoka to step outside and she hurries out of the office. Kyoka waits outside for a while until Rohan opens the door, telling her that she can come back in. Rohan then wakes Jugo up with his head feeling refreshed. With no idea what happened to him, he is surprised to see Rohan with him and is told that he's in Rohan's house. Rohan creates an excuse to erase Jugo's confusion and persuade him that nothing unordinary happened, stating that Jugo came to his house to discuss his new story. Now feeling as if he has a good idea for a new story, Jugo finally decides to go home. Thus, Jugo immediately leaves Rohan's house. Kyoka is surprised by Jugo's completely different behavior, but Rohan tells her that he's used hypnosis to tame him. Although there may be inconveniences, he declares that everything should be fine. Rohan forbids Kyoka from repeating "kushagara" and not obsess over this word. However, Kyoka says that she saw something in Jugo's mouth. Rohan tries to deny it but Kyoka insists. Forgetting about the incident, Kyoka asks if Rohan can teach her hypnosis. Exasperated, Rohan throws Kyoka out of his house, only opening the door again to hand over her bag.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid

One day, Kyoka observes Rohan idly playing cee-lo. Rohan rolls the number 1 on all three dice before obtaining a 4-4-4, impressing Kyoka since the odds of rolling two consecutive triples are so low. She calls it a miracle, but Rohan argues that this merely has a one-in-a-thousand chance of happening and that miracles are impossible by definition. Kyoka asks Rohan to listen to her ideas for a one-shot, but Rohan already has a theme: "What entails a real miracle?" Kyoka insists, but Rohan guesses that Kyoka wants to use Taro as an inspiration since he survived a terrible accident and even survived through a temporary cardiac arrest. Rohan refuses because he thinks plots about amnesia are all the same. However, Kyoka mentions that Rohan can use "hypnosis," referring to how he had managed to free Jugo Shishi of the curse of "kushagara" with Heaven's Door. She wants Rohan to use his hypnotherapy to cure Taro, but Rohan has had enough of her and throws her out of his house again.

Taro, Kyoka, Rohan, Mai and Mao meet each other

Kyoka meets Taro at a café, and she complains about Rohan's refusal. Taro thanks her for caring for him despite being busy, but Kyoka says that she actually has a lot of free time. Kyoka wants Taro to resume his photography, but he isn't sure about what he wants to shoot. Nonetheless, Taro has brought his camera after listening to Kyoka's previous words. Kyoka and Taro cross paths with Rohan at the same place and incidentally, Mai Katahira and Mao Katahira are passing by. Kyoka asks Rohan to try his hypnosis on Taro, to Rohan's exasperation. While Rohan and his editor argue, Mai passes near Taro, and Mao pulls Taro's shirt, saying "Hello" in reverse to him. Unfortunately, the tug makes Taro fall and bump his head on a wall. While everyone else goes to a hospital to have Taro treated, Rohan is intrigued by Mao's eyes.

At the hospital, Kyoka and Mai learn that Taro's injury is fortunately not serious. When Rohan arrives, he inquires about Mai's daughter, but Mai keeps Mao hidden underneath her shawl. Kyoka intervenes and calls out Rohan for his rudeness. Kyoka recognizes Mai as a famous interior decorator she admires and who published a book at Shumeisha. Kyoka formally introduces Rohan but claims that he is a hypnotherapist as a sort of cover story to prevent anyone from recognizing him and ask him for autographs. After Mai leaves, Rohan and Kyoka stay at the hospital for a bit. Rohan asks Kyoka if Taro could have taken photos for Mai, but Kyoka debunks his theory since Taro used to specialize in exterior photos while Mai is an interior decorator. Kyoka also states that Mai's book was, in fact, published while Taro was hospitalized. Kyoka had met Taro last year and has been helping him get back to taking photos since. Rohan takes a definitive interest in Mai and decides to find her, using Kyoka's connections at Shumeisha to find her address. Rohan goes to Mai Katahira's home and abruptly enters her apartment.

Rohan interrogates Mai, who reveals her tragic history and anxiety over Mao's abnormal features. Plus, she adds that she fears that her genes may somehow by responsible for the many accidents happening in her life and she hopes that Rohan can do something. Kyoka waits outside of Mao's plush tent while Rohan examines Mao. Rohan comes out but says that he won't change Mao. Mai insists on a second examination, which upsets Mao, who disappears in front of Kyoka and Rohan. Kyoka says she's just vanished but Rohan says that it must be some illusion instead, and explains that Mao's power is due to how Mai kept hiding her all her life. Suddenly, Mao opens the front door. The three realize she's gone out, but they lose her trail. Rohan thinks for a moment, and then they decide to go to the hospital. However, neither Mao nor Taro are present. Rohan asks if Mao knows Taro but Mai states it was the first time that Mao approached anyone. Kyoka makes a connection: Mai's accident and Taro's accident happened six years ago. Kyoka reveals that Taro received organs from an unknown donor, and Mai also reveals that her husband was a registered organ donor. At the park, Mai reunites with Taro and Mao. Kyoka notices that Taro has never been so lively until she saw Taro play with Mao. After saving Mao from a car, Rohan turns everyone into books to confirm the link between Taro and Mao.

Kyoka wonders at how many strange things happen around Rohan Kishibe

It seems that Taro separates himself from Kyoka, presumably to make a new life with Mai and Mao. In Rohan's office, Kyoka wonders how the accidents near Mai are just a coincidence. Rohan tries to rationalize Mai's history as something that is not impossible, but Kyoka insists on it being a miracle. However, Rohan wonders more about how Mao could have known about Taro, theorizing that genetics could contain the soul's memories. Thus, Mao was carrying some of Akira Katahira's soul and was connected to him. Kyoka views this as Mao guiding her mother to her late father's soul and finds the whole story romantic. Although she feels some sadness, she acknowledges that it was for the best. Taro took up photography again, but his photos are different from the ones she used to like. Kyoka suddenly remembers that Rohan explained Mao's powers in a strangely calm manner. She wonders why it seems Rohan acts like supernatural powers are common, but he dismisses it as a hallucination. Exasperated with Kyoka's curiosity, Rohan throws Kyoka out of his house, only to open it up again and give her back her umbrella. Kyoka promises to come back tomorrow. On the way down, Kyoka reflects that so many things happen in the world and, looking back at Rohan's house, adds that they happen especially around Rohan Kishibe.

The Run

Rohan meets up with Kyoka to ask for an advance payment

After the realtors visit Rohan's house, Kyoka meets up with him at a café and finds him looking at a De Stäel art book. Kyoka asks if it's the same author who wrote the "Crime" and "Punishment" novels, to which Rohan numbly corrects her that it's a single novel titled Crime and Punishment, and that it was written by author Dostoevsky. Her obliviousness toward De Stäel's paintings irritates Rohan, who comments on her "unprofessionalism" as an editor for arriving six minutes early to an appointment with a manga artist such as him. Suddenly, a boy approaches them, asking an autograph from Rohan as a fan of his work Pink Dark Boy. Though Kyoka attempts to send him away, aware of Rohan's short-tempered attitude as he is currently busy, Rohan nonetheless signs the manga in an instant. Awed, she tells her that she's surprised that he gives fan service to his fans. He merely replies that he always puts his readers first.

After the boy leaves, Rohan then asks Kyoka a favor: request Shumeisha to give him an advance payment because he has gone bankrupt. Adding to her shock, he also has to sell his property in a month. The only thing he has left is De Stäel's art book which she didn't even notice initially. When she asks him how he went bankrupt, he replies that it was to gather story materials - specifically, a mountain range that houses legendary yokais. Kyoka comments that he should have considered visiting the mountains instead of buying them, but Rohan rhetorically asks if he can do that in between his workload of publishing a weekly manga, a one-shot collaboration, a full-colored manuscript, and book illustrations at the same. Not only that, but if he goes after he is free, the land would have been off-limits and the price would increase due to an ongoing resort project in the area. Still in disbelief, Kyoka argues that if the legend was fake then the purchase would have been fruitless. However, Rohan insists that yokais do exist, and begins to narrate the story of Yoma Hashimoto while keeping his own involvement in the story anonymous.

Kyoka researches about Rohan's story

After his narration, Kyoka questions how one of the men (who was actually Rohan, though as a secret) won the running competition, but Rohan bluntly explains that "he" must have been a fast runner. Because of this, she has trouble believing his story, dismissing it as an urban legend since it wasn't in the news. He tells her that the police were involved, though they could not establish links because of a lack of evidence. Kyoka also adds that the story has nothing to do with his reason for buying the mountain range. Rohan reveals that location is important in hunting yokais, and a hill is one of these places. Arriving at his house, he only tells Kyoka to let him know what the editor-in-chief says about his request and shuts the door in front of her. Outside, she bitterly mutters that she can't believe that they're losing his house.

A while later, while researching on people who died in gyms, Kyoka discovers an article about a missing woman found in Mutsu-kabe Hill Village.

From Behind

Kyoka encounters spirits in an alley

Continuing her research on Mutsu-kabe Hill Village, Kyoka stumbles upon Hirasaka (平坂, lit. "flat hill"), but is disappointed to see that it is not a hill but an alley. However, while browsing on Hirasaka in an urban legend website, she reads that she must never look back while walking through the spot. Before she can read what happens once she hears the tune of Kagome Kagome, she overhears the Toryanse tune and accidentally looks back. Seeing that nothing happened to her, she brushes off the urban legend as a fake. Suddenly, she feels a strong breeze. Kyoka senses a presence behind her, not knowing they might be spirits, and nearly turns around again until a call distracts her. Thanks to the editor-in-chief requesting the minutes of the meeting report, she leaves the alley in a rush.

Sometime later, Kyoka meets up with Rohan in his house and sees him packing up. She asks if he's leaving town to escape his bankruptcy situation and tells him that the editor-in-chief is already taking care of his advance payment. She even offers to help him gather story materials to ensure that he can still draw manga and protect his house. Unamused, Rohan sarcastically thanks her concern for his house. He also reveals that he is only temporarily leaving to gather more story materials and will return in two or three days, with the manuscript ready in tomorrow's time. When Kyoka asks him if he's gathering information about Mutsu-kabe Hill, Rohan is surprised that she knows of it. She reveals that she has been researching on it based on his story of the running man - while it didn't make the front page news, the article talked about Mutsu-kabe Hill Village. Since he had warned her to be careful around hills, she quickly deduced that he bought the mountain for the yokai legend in Mutsu-kabe Hill. This inference impresses Rohan, and Kyoka simply tells him that she is only doing her job as an editor getting to know the person she's working with.

"Kyoka Izumi's List of Urban Legends with Hills"

While unpacking the cake she brought over, Kyoka tells Rohan that he shouldn't expect anything in Mutsu-kabe Hill because there were no specific legends about yokais in the area. However, this further convinces Rohan to visit it despite having no credibility, as he knows that writing or talking about the legend is taboo. Furthermore, if the legend happened in the modern times, it would be simply forgotten as something that "just happened". Kyoka then presents him a handpicked list of urban legends and stories that involve hills. He is annoyed that they were stories taken from the Internet, and she defends that she has been checking these places out, such as the hill that was completely flat despite its name. Rohan explains that it does not matter whether the hill has a slope or not - this is because the word "hill" (坂) is a wordplay on the word "boundary" (境目), which means that it is set as a line that one should not cross nor get involved with. This is also supported by the taboos tied to the locations, such as "don't look in", "don't open", and "don't look back". Because of the prominence of hills acting as borderlines in Japanese mythology, Rohan becomes more interested in them, and is even willing to cross over the taboo to find his story material. When Kyoka enthusiastically mentions a cursed hill where a person will die in ten years if they trip on it, he gets irritated and kicks her out of his house, saying that he needs to get started on his manuscript.

Rohan becoming the next yokai possessing Kyoka's back

On the way down the street from Rohan's house, Kyoka notices a suspicious man with his back to the wall, but quickly ignores him to focus on her research about hills. The next day, when she returns to collect Rohan's manuscript, he only slightly opens the door to quickly hand the manuscript over and closes it. Kyoka notices his fatigue, thinking that he pulled an all-nighter. Rohan then fears that he could make Kyoka suffer his fate, prompting him to exert his will and keep calm about his situation. Suddenly, a deliveryman opens the door to deliver a package. Rohan has to bend into a wheel pose to hide his back. The deliveryman also hands him a note from Kyoka containing information about the alley she had visited, which gives Rohan an idea. Around this time, he sneakily texts Kyoka to tell her that he wants to meet up in the area.

Kyoka later encounters an exhausted Rohan sitting down near a wall. He tells her to stay away from her, but the invisible clinging yokai behind him continues to tempt him to show his back to her. After she tells him that he's acting weird, Rohan begins to laugh. He asks her if she remembers what she had told him about the taboo of not looking. Since she initially rejected the idea, she then revised her document about Hirasaka in her note to him, to which Rohan commends her for. With the reveal that he had texted Kyoka earlier, he begins to monologue out loud to the yokai about multiple stories of one being forbidden to look behind them in the Bible and in Greek and Japanese mythology. In particular, he mentions the Yomotsu Hirasaka, which Kyoka remembers being about a hill that leads to the underworld. Finally understanding what Rohan meant, Kyoka realizes that the Hirasaka alley is one of many "Yomotsu Hirasaka", despite having different kanji characters in its name. When the tune in the alley shifts from Toryanse to Kagome Kagome, he calls out to her to have a look at his back. This allows the yokai to look behind itself and towards the direction of Kyoka, but Rohan immediately turns her into a book. She then drops to the ground. Repeating the alley's taboo, the area begins to grow dark when the yokai is grabbed by a mob of spirits, and Rohan is finally freed of the curse. Kyoka wakes up not long after, asking about the Kagome Kagome tune she heard, unaware of the events that had occurred. Rohan says nothing, only telling her that she mustn't casually step foot into borderlines. Finally obtaining a reference for his story material, the two head back to his home.

Mutsu-kabe Hill

The day has finally come for Rohan to visit Mutsu-kabe Hill. In his house, Kyoka wishes him well on his journey, although he is grumpy since he should have already went there if not for the yokai on his back disrupting his plans. She assumes that it was just his exhaustion and even praises him for his manuscript being better than usual. After finishing his sketch for his fans, Kyoka immediately takes them and leaves in order to make it in time to assist him, much to his chagrin.

Kyoka and Rohan in the mountains

At the village, Rohan finds Kyoka at a rendezvous spot, who explains that she took a taxi from the station to catch up to him. Annoyed, he then realizes that he arrived late because she took the only taxi he was supposed to catch. Suddenly, the two notice a boy staring at them. Rohan tells her that the news of him buying the mountain forest has spread as according to the station master. When the boy realizes they're staring back at him, he gasps and leaves, and Rohan comments that he had the look of someone who is going to bring his friends when he comes back. He also tells Kyoka to do her job as his editor properly, as he isn't in the mood for any fan service at the moment.

The two continue their trek up the mountain looking for hills, since their map didn't have any names of its hills. Rohan reveals that despite the village being called "Mutsu-kabe Hill", there currently isn't a hill with that name after the Mutsu-kabe legend became a forgotten taboo, and thus why he had to buy the entire mountain range. They then stumble upon a private land - the biggest hill in the village - that leads to an ancient house. While discussing the map, a car passes by. Kyoka assumes that the passenger must be the lady of the house when the boy from earlier finds the two of them, this time with his friends, asking for an autograph from Rohan. Rohan quickly flees to compile his thoughts but is joined by Kyoka with the lady of the mansion, Naoko Osato, not long after, who is asking for an autograph as well. Kyoka encourages him to talk to her and soon leaves as well to gather information from the children.

Rohan meets Kai Osato

While Rohan talks with Naoko, Kyoka meets the boy named Kai, her son. Kyoka introduces him to Rohan when they see him leave the house, but he leaves before she can finish. The two then trek up the mountain at some point. When Kai tells her of a yokai that makes humans do everything for it, he suddenly trips. It is around this time that Rohan realizes that the yokai, which first charmed Naoko Osato, is a parasite that feeds on humans to reproduce, alluring humans the moment it dies. With this revelation, he rushes to find Kyoka, and thankfully only finds her carrying Kai on her back after he got tired of walking. She introduces the boy to Rohan, who asks for his autograph at the back of his shirt before leaving. Kyoka tells Rohan that she had him show her around because he had an interesting story about a yokai, but claimed to have forgotten everything. He stares at her for a moment, then decides to head home after completing his info gathering.

Back in Rohan's home, Kyoka delivers the news of his advance payment getting approved, which meant that he can finally buy his house back. She asks Rohan if he'll still be going back to Mutsu-kabe Hill for more information, since she noticed that the name Mutsu-kabe (六壁坂) has the kanji for six (六) in it. She presumes that there may be six yokais living in it. Rohan scoffs, but ultimately agrees with her. He also tells her that he won't be gathering references for a while, satisfied with the ideas that he picked up on the way for his already-planned 5-part series with 35 pages. Excited, Kyoka says that their editor-in-chief will surely agree to it and offers to make tea. As usual, Rohan kicks her out before he begins writing his manuscript.

On her way down from his house, Kyoka happily proclaims that Rohan Kishibe's next work will be a masterpiece.

Chapters/Episodes

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Trivia

  • Kyoka's design is possibly based on the model Lindsey Wixson from Vogue Japan's "Working on Her Colors" photoshoot in August 2012.

References

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