|"We all start somewhere. It's my job to make sure our roots aren't cut. That is bravery."|
|— Hisao, during a confrontation with a racist station car rider in Chapter Five (Lost My Heart in Soyokari) of Strange Chemistry|
Hisao Kitadōro Susumu (Proper: 進 久雄 北道路, Susumu Hisao Kitadouro) is a human hailing from the Euthorica Islands region of Euthora. He is the main protagonist of the Alter Timeline plot, Strange Chemistry, and is one of the youngest ranking captains of the Azuman colonial Navy.
In the Alter Timeline, he is introduced during the Quadrophenia Arc in Cult of Ustream as a cameo ally.
Hisao is tall with a body type of a lean man, standing at 6'3" but having some more developed muscles on his legs, despite being rather slow.
He has sea-green eyes that will sometimes shift to a sort of teal and to sea blue, slightly wavy dark brown hair neatly combed with a good portion of it combed frontwards and styled up like a sort of horn. Hisao is rather organized, showing that kind of personality trait with the limited amount of clothes he wears on a day-to-day basis. Not one to really stray onto wearing extravagant and often out-worldly garbs, nor traditional ones of his people, Hisao usually sticks to just a white button up shirt, dark brown or black pants with straps that rest on his shoulders to keep them from falling, black worker shoes and a fabric ivy cap (also known as a newsboy cap)
When at work or generally when he is deployed somewhere, his basic attire is replaced with a black thick coat neatly tucked in with his equally colored pants, midnight blue shoulder pads and white short fabric gloves. The ivy cap is replaced with a white captain's hat with the classic black visor and gold adornments.
Because of his work on the fields for a great portion of his life on top of living in an island like Azuma, Hisao is of a caramel tanned skin color.
A gentle soul to many, Hisao does not carry himself highly as he should with the position he carries in the navy. There is a general positive aura around him that often makes it easy for the man to communicate effectively and form connections with little to no effort. Generally fearless in putting himself "out there" and not taking any offense to anyone who criticizes his tastes, Hisao is seen as someone who generally marches under his own drum.
There is a sort of kindness within him that he spends his time trying to use and gain a general sense of self-fulfillment. As shown with his encounter with Emma in Strange Chemistry, Hisao often pushes himself towards self improvement in keeping relations and making sure people around him are happy, even though inwardly he constantly feels insecure about his attempts at being kind.
Though having the potential to become great, the young Captain has little to no desire to be that way. There is a general satisfaction he carries with himself, showing that he is confident and well of self-esteem. Out of the entire cast, Hisao seems to be the most average and mild-mannered... and prefers to keep it as such.
Apart from all that, complexity does not escape him. Under his general happy and gentle demeanor lies a fiery will and passion. It is almost easy to offend him with very sensitive issues that are personal and he takes fierce guardianship over protecting marginalized groups and cultural ideas. Though willing to put his all in helping, as shown in Chapter 9 of Strange Chemistry, at one point in his childhood Hisao was a rather timid coward when he failed to stand up for his cousin Goro from abuse.
Skills and Abilities
- Propulsion: With his fondness towards the ocean, Hisao found it rather difficult to travel on water in a speedy matter. At the time, he was only limited to manipulating surface tension to only stand on water. Using his knowledge of magic learned from some of his master's own children, Hisao formulated a series of spells that would work in conjunction with his tension. Simply known as propulsion, he can use magic to propel himself forward and therefore glide around on water. This can specifically control his momentum and even balance. Though it has a reputation of helping with sea gliding, it's use is subtly shown in non-oceanic activities such as boosting his jumping and time reaching grand heights.
- Tension: Although he already has this power, Hisao has also created a magical crest that grants a limited use of willing tension. This has been made specifically for his brother Takao, who does not have this power. This earned him and Takao the nickname of "The Tension Brothers". And solely because of it's effectiveness, other people within Takao's unit have been using this under his permission and watch.
- Nimble: Hisao's mobility is notably great [...]
- Close Quarters Combat (CQC) Ranging from being able to disarm assailants at a close range to engaging in tactical physical combat. Hisao has been trained from his enlisting in the Navy to be capable of shutting down enemies quickly with strength and prediction.
- Identifying and striking: This relates mostly to pressure points or vulnerable points. Hisao has been taught about the common points of a human's body where one would hit to shut down the fight. Plus, he is able to read enemies for their own unique points, should they have them.
- Basic Survival: This ranges from making campfires to making water drinkable and dressing wounds.
- "Emergency Conditioning" (ECO)" : Bearing the most weight in the military, Emergency Conditioning is a psychological skill aimed at conditioning the mind in advance of emergencies, thus producing psychological strength in times of crisis. This is also referred to as "battle-proofing" or "battle inoculation."
- Trigger Creation: Another psychological skill requires Hisao to create what can be considered a "Trigger" in his mind and would be used to ignite many of the essential qualities needed to survive.In it's purest essence, triggers can be things he identifies as the most important things to him. Once doing so, Hisao would make a mental portrait and train his mind as such. This is often an ever-changing skill.
- Emma Isokoski: Hisao shows a deep curiosity and fascination towards Emma the moment she arrives in his home port city of Soyokari. Having never met an outsider before, Hisao finds it very hard to keep away from her. Wanting to know her reasons for being there, her name, and so on. Beyond that, Hisao feels a strange, unspoken sense of understanding with Emma, to which the feeling is also mutual on her end. The two of them seem to trust each other rather well and Hisao genuinely takes interest in trying to see her happy but most of all, make her feel like she belongs. To him, she reflects a lot of qualities he seems to be all too familiar with, but never really clarifies if those qualities are his or someone else who was/is significant in his life.
- In later chapters of Strange Chemistry, Hisao and Emma begin to develop a deep bond over the foundation of trust and understanding. Often times Hisao is seen letting Emma into his personal sphere of life such as allowing her to become informed of his personal matters and even know his well-kept personal history. It is seen that he enjoys and feels incredibly comfortable being himself around her and tries his best to get her to like his interests as a way to bond with her more. When the situation grows dire, Hisao acknowledges Emma's strength and helps her grow in that aspect instead of inhibiting her. However, Hisao takes it upon himself to always be her voice of reason and most of all her humanity.
- Takao Susumu: There is a lighthearted and strong bond between Hisao and his younger brother Takao. Hisao is often "babied" around by his brother despite their age gap, mostly out of Takao's general maturity level and worry over his brother's well-being. Both Susumu brothers hold a high degree of trust between each other, with one notable example being that Hisao can easily stay at his brother's home unannounced and not get in trouble for it. Despite that, Hisao enjoys Takao's company and acts completely natural around him.
- Goro Kodotsuta: Revealed in Chapter 9 of Strange Chemistry (Paint Him Red), Hisao and Goro have a special bond that transcends that of cousins. Goro had always been his mentor while they were children and Hisao often looked up to Goro for examples of strength and, of course, tenacity. Although he does not fully agree with much of Goro's rather hateful view against Sky serpents, Hisao cares deeply for Goro's safety and is visibly disturbed and worried once learning about his arrest.
After Strange Chemistry
- Tarma Yuichi Susumu: It has been shown in Night Kaleidoscope that Hisao and Tarma Yuichi have a bit of a rocky relationship as father and son. Hisao feels a great pride over his own first born, though this has unfortunately been the cause of the now Admiral projecting his ambitions and profession onto his own son in order to continue the emerging legacy of the Susumu family in the Navy. Being just that, this among other things related to his job as Zuttou's Admiral had caused a rift to separate him from his eldest son. Hisao often feels guilt for not being there for Tarma Yuichi's biggest acomplishments, however, even though his own son seems to downtalk him behind his back and act cold in front of him, Hisao always feels a warmth towards his own and thus receives Tarma Yuichi with open arms each time. However when the times call for it, it's been shown that Hisao could be really strict with Tarma Yuichi and sometimes even unforgiving and hard to sway when his son commits grave mistakes. An example being him reprimanding his son loudly and even going so far as not bailing his own son out of prison because of his son's treason against the navy.
- Like his son, Hisao is passionate about stories and story tropes but most of all, bad jokes. The only thing that keeps their interactions less strained. Overall, Hisao loves his son deeply no matter what.
Hisao was born into a small plantation in the island of Namine in 1699 of the Mantuanese calendar. Not much is known about his upbringing aside from being forced to work off his parent's indentured servitude debt by working the fields until the age of 14. Because of profits, his master couldn't allow new workers to be distracted. This resulted in Hisao, Takao, and Goro to be separated from their parents at the age of 4, though the three ended up working in the same area of their master's property.
As a young boy working in the harsh realities of legal slavery, Hisao witness many accounts of abuse and was not one to be exempted from it. In Chapter 9 of Strange Chemistry (Paint him Red), Hisao witnessed a brutal and humiliating act of punishment unleashed upon Goro. Hearing his cousin's screams and the ravenous chants of the supervisors, Hisao was too frightened to stand up for his cousin, attributing this to not being brave enough and wanting to keep attention away from him. Despite all that, he claims to have had a rather "calm childhood."
The children of the master often expressed some sort of fascination towards Hisao because of his general persona and ability to learn things quickly. A child in particular named "Xue" secretly took care of Hisao and managed to convince her father behind the scenes to allow Hisao access to home duties at times. When Hisao would successfully be transferred to home duty, she would give little Hisao lessons on controlling mana and how to use magic, citing that he is "just as important to us like our serpent kin."
At 14, Hisao had left the plantation along with Goro and Takao under unknown circumstances, though it is implied that they worked their way out of there. Hisao had a generally more educated view of the outside world thanks to Xue, who was unfortunately killed prior to his freedom. He is convinced to run off to the island of Azuma where he and Goro would "take a city there by storm" and make something of themselves to prove that humans were capable creatures. However, this quickly fell apart.
It was not long until Hisao witness the police unfairly arrest Goro. As his last words to Hisao, Goro advised him to get into some sort of powerful position in society so that he wouldn't fall victim to this apparent injustice. Though he felt a degree of resentment, this triggered something within Hisao. It made him look back at what he was and where he would be going. The young man was one with barely any education, class, or notable skills. To the general public, he was often branded as a Hick or "Snake Pest" because of this and his misuse of the Suikaitana language. Eventually he resolves to "fix" himself and go through radical self-improvements and enlisted into the Navy at age 15.
Because of this change, Hisao found a better purpose in life. A much more satisfying one than his empty past. He juggled work in the Navy with work in various businesses to support his younger brother. After he graduated from basic training, he encouraged Takao to make something of himself as well. This resulted in the two working together in the Navy.
The Azuman Sea Command
Hisao started off as a general crewman for the ASC-Minami kanshō, a light cruiser. After two years, he was promoted to a Lieutenant.
His services were often directed towards recon and general defense fortification of Azuman maritime territory, thus he was often reassigned to many ships during his 15 years in the command. At one point in his career, he was assigned as Commander of the Tekase Air Unit and spent his time on it's flagship Aircraft Carrier where Takao was stationed at.
At around 1722, he became the Captain of the ASC-Wareme, a nuclear ballistics submarine.
- "Hey, be good! And if not, invite!"
- “I’ll take and angry spout from you any day if it comes with that smile.” -Hisao to Emma in Chapter Eleven (Reemerging Wounds) of Strange Chemistry
- “My Rae you sure are one Teacup who likes to jump rope!”
- "Hmm, that’s quite the choice bit of calico ain’t she?”
"You're on the trolley with that one..."
- “With talents like mine, I was born a natural at this.”-Hisao to Emma when the latter asks if he even knows how to drive.
- “Ahheh?" Boy, what a cute sound that was! Is that a *Saiyel thing? Nevermind." -Hisao to Emma after the latter shows a more happy and innocent side. [*In Azuma, Syelsumoiis are referred to as "Saiyerujin"(サイイェルジン）. However, since Hisao does state he often visits Syelsumoii culture restaurants, he's learned to incorporate the L. ]
- Hisao's full name can be roughly translated as "Proceeding the long lived man of the Northern Road."
- He is an exceptional tap dancer.
- Despite living in a world where dragons and serpents can speak along with people having Soul Phantasms (himself included), Hisao can be easily disturbed by unusual phenomena.
- Hisao's character was loosely inspired by Zaiek Kierrmi, ironically a character who completely contrasts him in terms of morality. It is said that he'd be a Zaiek who might have turned out well had he not met Starr and was born and raised in Azuma Island.
- In addition to that, Hisao's free-loving persona and some of his skills were inspired by two 1920-style cover songs covered by the Postmodern Jukebox group, one literally having a tapdancing portion incorporated that inspired his eventual trait of being an exceptional tap dancer.
- Hisao Susumu was formerly known as "Unnamed Father." However in August 2015, it was decided that he was to become a full-fledged character.
- Hisao was originally supposed to appear in Vera's intro (Cult of Ustream's Season 0), but after some thought it was decided that his brother should take his place instead.
- During his early concept stages, Hisao was originally supposed to be a double agent and a wildcard for Ivan and Eskar. This would have eventually put him at odds against Emma specifically, due to the sensitive nature of his would-be work and the people he would've worked with. The idea was quickly scrapped.
- Though he is an honorable position in the military, Hisao still uses slang quite a lot, showing his humility even when in a high status of power by keeping himself "original" and close to his roots, speech-wise.
- His surname "Susumu" is an incorrect spelling of "Suzumu" that had been normalized/officialized a century before SCT. Their meanings remain the same.
- It is heavily implied that Xue Zhan-li and Zaiek Kierrmi are relatives. Therefore, it would mean that Hisao/Takao and Zaiek's history with each other may have started much earlier than thought.