T A K A M I N E M I K U M O
T A K A M I N E M I K U M O
T A K A M I N E M I K U M O
“There's no need for any further introduction. Show me your resolve, and my sword will answer.”
Full Name - Takamine Mikumo (高嶺 美雲)
Nicknames - Her family and the old ladies in her neighborhood often call her "Miku-chan."
Age - 17
Gender - Female
Year - Second Year
Club Position - Fukusho - Vice-Captain
Stern and Silent
Mikumo is not a person who makes a good first impression. With a perpetually harsh gaze and blunt words, she has little tolerance for or capacity to make small talk. She's a girl who always has a goal in mind, and will always take the most direct route to achieving it. But while this does make her an effective instructor and organizer, it makes her a very poor conversationalist.
Hard Work Always Works
Mikumo might be rather bad at thinking outside the box, but though her methods lack subtlety, her dedication is second to none. If there's a problem she can't solve, she'll study it until it makes sense to her. If there's an opponent she can't defeat, she'll train until she can. Her answer to any and all problems is to simply redouble her focus and her efforts, and to throw herself up against them with grit and gusto.
Though Mikumo's own reputation precedes her, it pales in comparison to that of her father and elder brother -- figures to whom she has been compared one way or the other for most of her life. Though she admires them greatly, that doesn't change the way it stings when she's referred to as "Takamine Mikoto's little sister" or "Takamine Masashi's daughter" -- nor can she entirely escape the lingering feeling of inadequacy that that's all she'll ever be seen as.
Beneath the Ice
Though her frigid demeanor and taciturn personality scare away many of those who might otherwise seek to befriend her, truth be told she's not deliberately cold so much as socially inept. Her frankness often gives cause for unintended offense, while her own self-consciousness causes her to avoid overt displays of emotion or interest that might be seen as unbecoming of her image. And, making matters worse, her lack of awareness causes her to either misread or completely fail to notice social cues that would warn her away from such behavior. But underneath it all, she's actually a surprisingly sweet and caring girl... if only she could just learn to relax a little.
As one who has studied the art of Kendo since she was old enough to hold a sword, and who has benefited from the generational experience of her family in their long history as professional Kendoka, it comes as no surprise that Mikumo is quite skilled for her age. Although unlike her more prodigious brother she only holds the rank of second Dan, she makes up for this gap in the overall breadth of her knowledge with a firm mastery of the fundamentals.
Possessed of lightning-quick reflexes and a keenly analytical eye, she is well-suited to predicting the intentions of her opponents, and countering them with a wide array of simple-yet-effective techniques. Her swordsmanship is neither flashy nor subtle, but rather exactly as swift and direct as her own unwavering personality would lead one to believe. She turns her opponent's blade, then immediately retaliates with her own, pressing the attack for as long as her momentum remains unbroken. Or, should she be unable to remain on the offensive, she's equally capable of adjusting to a more passive posture, weathering the opponent's blows without offering up any openings for them to capitalize on, and simply enduring until they make a mistake.
Adaptability is thus, first and foremost, her greatest advantage, allowing her to take a wide range of different tactics and integrate them harmoniously into her own style, shoring up gaps in her own knowledge and weak points in her strategy, while picking and choosing the right stance and the right move for any given matchup.
...The problem is not her abilities or aptitudes, then -- it's her willingness (or lack thereof) to make use of what should be her greatest strength. Hardened by a lifelong inferiority complex, her mindset is far too rigid to accept that some tactics and techniques are ill-suited for her physique, build, and relative proficiency. She's far too preoccupied with trying to do things "right" -- or, more precisely, with trying to do things the way Mikoto would.
Because of this, she's not satisfied with victories earned through simple endurance. Mikumo wants to overwhelm her opponents, advancing decisively and proactively to meet and overcome them in a head-to-head contest of strength. Because of this, she's dead-set on mastering a highly aggressive Jodan strategy of relentless aggression, pressuring the opponent with overhead strikes even when she might be better served by winding around the opponent's sword instead of clashing with it directly. But while she has height, she lacks the same brute strength as her brother possesses -- and that is a gap she will likely never be able to close. Perhaps in this manner, too, she is doomed to forever languish in her brother's shadow -- so blinded by his radiance that she never thinks to notice the glimmer of talent that she alone possesses...
Part of the reason why Mikumo was so quickly scouted for and so highly placed within Akimitsu Academy's Kendo team, despite only recently having transferred to the school, is that she has cultivated a certain reputation due to her performance in tournaments back in Junior High. It's uncertain where the name originates from, but apparently, she was known previously as the "Sleeping Dragon of Harugaoka Junior High." She seems to rather strongly dislike this sobriquet, and has repeatedly asked people to stop calling her by it, but that only seems to have solidified the name in the hearts and minds of her new schoolmates. Though, it's questionable whether this is because people actually believe in her much-exaggerated reputation, or simply because some of her male admirers greatly enjoy seeing her flustered by it.
Her dialogue Hexacode color is #B90050.
Ever since her transfer at the start of the second year, the girl named Takamine Mikumo has taken Akimitsu Academy by storm.
Well, that's probably an exaggeration. But be that as it may, it's admittedly rather difficult to ignore someone so visually striking. Standing at a height of 171 cm/5'7", she stands almost a head taller than most of her female classmates, and can even look down on some of the boys. Coupled with her long, sometimes-neat, sometimes-wild mane of ink black hair, piercing wine-red gaze, and her clear, commanding voice, one almost can't help but take note of her natural charisma.
Her figure plays more than just a small part as well, of course -- it's a secret only to her that most of the academy's male population finds her rather easy on the eyes. The only flaw in her otherwise tremendous physical appeal comes in her lack of expressiveness. When her face's entire visible emotional range lies somewhere between vacant disinterest, stoic resolution, and the occasional scowl of frustration or scorn, it's a little hard to do more than just observe her from afar. After all, she's a lot less pretty when it's you she's glaring at.
But bold souls will ever and always struggle and strive in the face of great challenges, and accordingly, there is a rumor that has been circulated among the male student body. Anyone who can make the ice queen of the Kendo Club smile will be blessed. Your acne will clear up, your sleep schedule will resolve itself, your grades will improve, your lost cat will come home, and you shall be graced with miraculous good fortune until the end of your days... probably.
The noble art of Kendo has been passed down the Takamine family line for generations.
Tracing their lineage proudly back to an old samurai family, each successive heir of the family has gone on to raise their name to still loftier heights. Her grandfather founded a prominent dojo which her family still runs to this day, while her father achieved national honors in the sport and now serves as a Kendo instructor to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. And her brother, though only one year older than Mikumo herself, has already proven himself a prodigy in the art of the sword, earning the rank of first Dan by unanimous vote almost the moment he became old enough to undertake the examination for it, second Dan exactly one year after, and third Dan two years after that, held back only by how quickly his teachers would allow him to undertake testing.
In any other household, Mikumo's own skills would likely have stood out more. However, there is a sharp line between "talent" and "genius" -- and she, unfortunately, falls short of that line. As her brother's progression outstripped her further and further, then, how could she not feel as though she was wasting her father's time with her incessant questions and failures to grasp what Mikoto had mastered so easily? With no other peers to compare herself to, the young Mikumo's view of her own competence became warped -- and the fact that despite her shortcomings, her father still took the time to try to instruct her only made her more painfully aware of this perceived inadequacy.
She likely would have set aside the sport entirely, had she been forced to continue any longer in such a manner. But in Junior High, things changed. Following as she did in the footsteps of her esteemed elder brother, the Kendo club's hero, it was impossible to shake the expectations of her new classmates -- classmates who almost immediately offered her a place on the team.
She could have said no. Maybe she should have. But Mikumo's wounded pride had yet to heal, and the expectant eyes of her classmates soothed her sense of inadequacy. And much to her surprise, she was anything but inadequate. Before she knew it, she was recognized as the second coming of their club's hero, in deed as well as in name, filling in for her brother as team captain once he graduated to High School and advanced to national-level competition. For the first time since she had set out as a child to learn the art, she felt... pride?
...A pride that was doomed to be short-lived. For although she, in her third year, stood where her brother once had, basking in the acclaim that had so long eluded her, there were no shortage of those who occupied what had once been her own place. Admiration turned to resentment, as the approval which other talented clubmates desired was instead heaped solely upon her, their prodigious young captain. And just like that, the place she thought she had finally found was gone, as her classmates turned to spreading rumors and mockery behind her back, and the club she had helped lead to victory fell apart around her.
Her parents tried to salvage the situation as best they could. Her father, hoping her love of the sport would not be soured by this bad experience, tried to arrange for her admission to the same high school as Mikoto. He must have surely hoped that in such an environment, she would be surrounded by equals who would respect her skills and accomplishments, and that Mikoto would be able to protect her from any doubts or insults leveled by those who refused to.
But mo matter how benevolent her father and brother's intentions might have been, the last thing she wanted was to go back to meekly dwelling in Mikoto's shadow. She wanted to strive, to accomplish, and to excel on her own terms. So it was that after only a year at her first high school, she talked her mother into letting her stay with her grandparents, and transfer to a different school closer to their home -- one with a Kendo team only slightly less prestigious than the one which her brother now captained, and on which she herself had so briefly competed.
Only this time, she would not be following in Mikoto's footsteps. She would enter the school as just another Kendoka, seeking to draw no attention to her name or to her troubled history with the sport -- succeeding or failing solely on her own merits, and hers alone.
...Were it only so easy.