Volume 4, Lesson 15: Panic Transferred Student! (Negima!? Neo)
Kotarou Inugami (犬上 小太郎, Inugami Kotarō) is a fictional character from the manga series Negima!: Magister Negi Magi, created by Ken Akamatsu. He is a half-demon first seen as one of the three mercenary children helping Chigusa in Kyoto. While he is also the only supporting character who does not appear in either of the first two anime series, he does however appear in the OVAs Mahō Sensei Negima! : Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba and Mō Hitotsu no Sekai Another World.
Because he's a hanyō, Kotaro unnatural canin-like features, including dog ears, hair and sharp fangs. He has spiky and long brown hair that goes down to his mid-spine, it is tied up in a ponytail fashion, with the rest of his hair being very spiked and a distinctfringe forming at his forehead with two visible bangs at the sides of his face. He wears a casual attire, consisting of a brown jacket which is unbuttoned, exposing a cream colored V-necked short-sleeved shirt and with this he wears brown pants, and sneakers.
Background & Personality
Kotaro is a dog Hanyō, evidenced by his pointed ears and furry tail. Despite being hotheaded, Kotaro is a chivalrous person and would never hit a woman unless she was a truly powerful fighter - and even then is so uncomfortable about the idea he never uses his full strength. He has a strong dislike of Western-style magic, with Negi being one of the few exceptions.
Kotaro has a very lonely past, because being a hanyō has made him, from birth, an outcast of both human and dog-yōkai tribes. This makes him value both his friendship with Negi, and living with Chizuru and Natsumi, as they become the only true friends or family he's ever had.
Many aspects of Kotaro's character serve as foils to Negi's; more experienced fighters such as Kaede remark that Negi is in need of Kotaro's "straightforward" personality in a friend. He is energetic and outgoing, and likes to follow his gut rather than think through battles. He rarely places any doubt in his own ability, and plays down any failings he has in front of others. This is at a contrast to Negi, who is reserved, intellectual, plans his battles and plays down his successes. In this way Kotaro serves to show how atypical Negi is as a shōnen protagonist.
Though he is clearly not very "book smart" (unlike Negi) he is quite "street smart" and often understands/catches on to things that Negi does not. He does show good practical knowledge on strength, and has more battle history than Negi.
In Chapter 261 it's been revealed that after his match with Rakan he has an interest in becoming a Magister Magi.
He was used by Chigusa to try to prevent Negi and Asuna from delivering a letter to the head of the Kansai Magic Association. To do this, he trapped Negi and Asuna inside a dimensional loop, but was defeated by Negi, with unexpected help from Nodoka, who had followed Negi and, via her Pactio item, found out about the fight between the two, and was trapped in his own loop. That night, he intercepted Negi again as he tried to stop Chigusa's summoning ritual, demanding a rematch. This was interrupted by Kaede, who fought and defeated Kotaro while Negi continued on (although Kaede realized that Kotaro wasn't giving his best then).
After the Kyoto Arc, he was placed under the custody of the Kansai Magic Association, where his abilities to transform and summon dog spirits were sealed. During this time, Fate approached him again, offering to free Kotaro if he would assasinate Negi. Kotaro refused, and later escaped on his own to find Negi to have another rematch (he considered Negi a rival, being the only person he's met of his own age who can fight with him on even terms). When he arrived at Mahora, he ran into Graf Hermann and The Slime Sisters, and learned their plan to attack Negi. He fought them, stole the bottle that Graf Hermann had been released from, and escaped. However, in an attempt to warn Negi, he was injured and hit with a confusion spell, causing temporarily amnesia. Chizuru Naba and Natsumi Murakami, two of Negi's students, found him and nursed him back to health, thinking he was just a stray dog.
Graf Hermann tracked Kotaro to their dorm room, and attacked him in an attempt to retrieve the bottle, kidnapping Chizuru after she saved Kotaro from being petrified. Kotaro joined Negi in defeating Graf Hermann in order to rescue her and the other girls taken by the demon. For helping Negi battle against Graf Hermann and the Slime Sisters, he was pardoned and his powers restored. Kotaro decided to transfer to the Elementary school at Mahora Academy in order to hang around with Negi, whom he had befriended after the battle, and Kaede. He currently lives with Chizuru, Natsumi, and Ayaka Yukihiro in their dorm room, at the former's insistence, under the identity of Kotarō Murakami, Natsumi's younger brother.
Chizuru's maternal attitude to Kotaro (such as her hugging him to her well-endowed chest in public) frequently embarrasses him. He also regularly chastises Negi for being "involved" with so many girls, only to have his relationship with Chizuru thrown in his face (it's a little unclear whether this is because he has a crush on her or whether it's just simple embarrassment). While Kotaro likes to think of himself as a "lone wolf", Negi teased him by saying "You're more like a dog." His views also seem to draw him into arguments with Yue, which he usually loses. He also holds Kaede in high regard, due to her strength. Though since he refuses to use his full strength against women, it is unknown who is the stronger fighter
At the Mahora Legendary Martial Arts Tournament he quickly defeated Mei Sakura in the first round, but was annihilated in the second by Albireo. This lopsided defeat causes him to question his ability as a warrior, and he fears that Negi will no longer acknowledge him. Kaede approaches him and offers him to train with her after everything has settled, and he awkwardly makes up with Negi in succeeding chapters. He spends a little time with Negi, Chisame, and Chachamaru when Negi goes to see Ako and the Cheerleaders' concert, and in the process learns a little more about how to treat girls than he ever wanted to. He seems to be somewhat over-protective of Natsumi.
Like Negi, Kotaro has a somewhat limited view about the world in general, and he is more or less ignorant when it comes to the emotions of girls, although when artificially aged into a handsome teenager, he seems pleased when one of them finds him attractive. His stance on becoming the strongest only in combat leaves him unprepared for things that do not involve fighting.
Kotaro did not appear after Chao had succeeded in revealing magic to the world. After the time jump back to the final day of the festival, Kotaro appeared to help Negi while fighting his way to Chao's airship. After the festival, he was brought in by Evangeline as a sparring partner for Negi's next level of training. He accompanies Negi overseas to search for his father. He was temporarily knocked out by one of Fate's accomplices in the attack on the gateway, but was revived by Anya, and quickly rejoined the fight. After the destruction of the portal platform, he was transported to a jungle far from the gateport, but managed to find Negi, Chisame, and Chachamaru again on his own. After helping Negi get over a fever, he and the group must evade bounty hunters who are after them under a false charge of destroying the Gateport.To avoid recognition, he and Negi use the Red Age Deceiving Pills to assume their teenage forms again. He has recently discovered that his "sister" Natsumi is lost in the Magic World as well, and he and Negi enter a tournament in order to save her, Ako, and Akira from slavery. He does not join Negi on his journey to Rakan preferring instead to become stronger through tournament battles. Later he has rejoined Negi at the grand tournament at Ostia. When Fate confronted Negi Kotaro rushed off to help. Chisame, Nodoka and Haruna have gotten themselves in trouble with one of Fate's companions and Kotarou arrives in time for the rescue. He then brings Nodoka to the site of Negi and Fate's confrontation so that way she can use her abilities to find out Fate's real name. During the confrontation, Kotaro was partially petrified as he protected Nodoka from Fate's attacks. However, he was easily healed by Konoka after she and Rakan arrived at the scene.
He started to traning with Negi with the help of Theodora, Seras, Ricardo and "the fake" Eva to beat Rakan in the tournament. He has also made a pactio with Natsumi under Haruna's persuasion, despite originally thinking the idea was "creepy." There was reluctance from both parties, but when Kotaro admitted he loved Natsumi, the two finally become partners. Natsumi admitted she had feelings for Kotarou as well, but she ran away before he could understand what she said. When Fate attacked the Governor's Ball, he and Natsumi witness the death of Chief, who watched over Natsumi, Ako, and Akira while they were slaves.
Kotaro, along with Natsumi, Yue, and others, are on a mission to rescue Anya and Asuna from the Gravekeeper's palace. When they encounter Fate, Kotaro believes he has the opportunity to finally defeat him out of revenge. However, Kotarou realizes the power difference between Fate and him, and decides not to attack -- believing that provoking Fate would only result in a quick death. When negi gets taken over by the darkness and is unable to move as well as turn to stone as a result everyone else comes up with a new plan to take out fate and get asuna back. This plan somewhat succeds as they did get asuna back even if only temporairly and fate seemed to have been defeated by chachamaru's artifact but survived the attack and quickly attacked them. Kotaro battled fate as a means of stalling and allowing the others to escape but was defeated. He was found by Kaede later. After saving the world they went back to Mahora. The trio went on a date with the cheerleader from class 2A ,after they met. They went to the karaoke place to sing. While everyone was having a good time mean while Madoka went to the bathroom, she was thinking how Kotaro was still acting like a child. She bumps into two thugs in the hallway ,after that Kotaro rescues her from the thugs,and she realizes she has fallen in love with Kotaro.
Powers and abilitiesKotaro is trained under the Garyū Inugami-ryū which is basically a self-taught school. Kotaro is an expert in ninjutsu and charms, and has the power to summon inugamis (dog spirits), which he can use as a ranged attack, to restrain foes, or to fly by forming them into wheels on his feet. But he must be careful as to use them, as sometimes they may come back right back at himself rather than his target. He prefers to fight hand to hand rather than using magic from a distance. Kotaro also has the ability to transform into a small black and white dog using a paper charm, or to a stronger part/half/full beast form. He claim that most of his fighting technique (including the use of ki power) was made up by himself. His capability to correctly analyze Negi's technique supports his ability to achieve such a task. He can transform into a Humaniod Beast Form and a full beast form in which he takes the apperance of a black wolf, which he calls "Kuon Eisou" which isn't any actual words but is made of the kanji for "dog", "sound","shadow" and "attire". He also has limited powers of shadows as he was able to move between shadows to save Haruna, Nodaka and Chisame and escape with them as shown in chapter 227. The kani for Kuon Eisou also reflect Kotaro's powers. His powers limited power of shadows. His use of dog spirts and beast powers. The power to release shockwaves from his first as well as from just yelling and his transformation powers.
- Shundo (Instant Movement)
- Kage Bushin: A technique taught to him by Kaede it allows him to make multiple shadow clones of himself.
- Kuonbakusaiken (Howling Burst Knuckle)- Kotaro focuses a massive amount of his dog spirits into his hand to release a highly destructive burst-like punch. This technique is able to rival Negi's Oukahouken and Raika Houken.
- Shikukokuroga( Black Wolf Rapid Air Fang)- Kotaro fires a large amount of power dog spirts off at high speed to attack his enemies.
- Kuzoku Juuka (Dog Tribe Beast Transformation): In this Form he involkes his beast powers. Though still looking human he gains a beast like apperance. All of his abilities are greatly increased while in this form.
- Partial Body Transformation: Kotaro can transform parts of his part into beast form. He usually does this for his hands to increase their power.
- Kuon Eisou: Quite possibly Kotaro's strongest form. In this form he completely transforms into a beast, fully transforming into a black dog.
- Negi Springfield: Kotaro and Negi are rivals, but also best of friends. Kotaro was originally an enemy of Negi in the Kyoto Arc, where he appeared as a mercenary responsible for disrupting Negi's mission. After his defeat, he is imprisoned, but eventually escapes to Mahora Academy to warn Negi of an impending attack. After fighting alongside Negi against Graf Hermann, he decides to stay at Mahora and has been friends with Negi ever since. Kotaro's street smarts are a perfect balance to Negi's intellect, and he's not afraid to call out Negi on his brooding or negative feelings. When in his dream world from the Magic Lantern Circus, his dream world has him locked in combat with Negi. The two are constant tag team partners, fighting together in both the Mahora Festival and Ostia Festival tournaments. However, Kotaro appears jealous of Negi's rapid power development. Kotarou himself admitted to Kaede during the Mahora Festival is afraid that if he is too weak, Negi would no longer like him.
- Fate Averruncus: Fate was originally Kotaro's partner during the Kyoto arc. Chapter 303 reveals that when Kotarou was imprisoned after the events in Kyoto, Fate was willing to release him if he assassinated Negi. Kotaro refused, but escaped anyway in order to warn Negi. He still holds a grudge against Fate, but realizes he is no match for his power.
- Natsumi Murakami: Natsumi originally met a wounded Kotaro when he first came to Mahora, when he was initially disguised as a dog. They got off to a rough start (Kotaro attempted to hold Natsumi hostage) but Chizuru forced Natsumi to pretend Kotaro is her brother, so their other roommate, Ayaka Yukihiro, would not get suspicious. Natsumi eventually develops feelings for Kotaro, although she is reluctant to admit it. She follows Kotaro to the magic world because she is worried, eventually learning about magic and pactios. She is constantly confused about her feelings for Kotaro, since he alternates between his child form and disguise form -- a handsome teenager. Kotaro eventually realizes Natsumi's feelings for him, as well as his own affection towards Natsumi as family, and the two form a pactio together. Recently, Kotaro proposed that Natsumi should accompany him on mercenary missions, since her artifact is ideal for stealth. They end up getting married at the future-based conclusion of the series.
- Chizuru Naba: One of Kotaro's other roommates. Kotaro originally was defiant against Chizuru, but she threatened him into obeying, eventually forcing him to assume the role of Natsumi's brother. A recurring gag is that Chizuru wants to shove a leek up Kotaro's anus, a folk remedy for curing colds. Chizuru appears to frighten Kotaro, although his reluctance to talk about Chizuru is misinterpreted as a sign of love, not fear. Despite her overbearing traits, Chizuru's nurturing personality makes her a mother figure to Kotaro, and two appear to have a familial bond. Out of pure feat, when asked, he rates her 400 points.
- Kaede Nagase: After Kotaro's embarrassing loss to Albireo Imma, Kotaro becomes upset over his lack of power. Out of sympathy, Kaede offers to train Kotaro. As a result, Kotaro has developed a student-teacher relationship with her, and is seen using ninja techniques like shadow cloning that she had taught him. Kotaro has great respect for his master, even offering to dance with her at the Governor's Ball during the Magic World arc. However, their relationship appears to be strictly platonic, and no romantic feelings are apparent. When asked, he rates her 120 points.
- Yue Ayase: Although she and Kotaro have a bit of a rivalry (during the Mahora festival, Yue intimidates Kotarou with her intellect), Kotaro appears to have respect for her -- especially during the Magic World Arc, which showcases Yue's great development in skill. When asked, he rates her 60 points.
- Mei Sakura: Mei and Kotaro originally fought against each other in the first round of the Mahora tournament. Despite Kotaro's vow to not hit women, Kotaro was able to defeat her with some creativity. Ever since her defeat, Mei appears to idolize Kotaro to a certain degree, and is eager to bring up her training and improvement to him. During the Magic World arc, Mei has a similar respect for "Kojiro", Kotaro's teenage alter-ego, even asking for his autograph, though she is aware that Kojiro and Kotaro are indeed the same person. Natsumi is quick to notice Mei's possible crush on Kotaro. When asked, he rates her 60 points.
- As stated above Kotaro does not appear in either anime series. The Kyoto arc, where he is supposed to appear, is depicted in the first anime series as a drastically shortened one because of lack of material at the time of production; while Negima!? follows a different storyline and presents different circumstances regarding Konoka and Setsuna, therefore preventing a Kyoto arc-like scenario (although he appears twice in the Summer OVA, first in a group picture from the manga of some of the contestants of the MahoraFest Tournament that is shown during the opening credits, and at the end, when his face is on a fan Chizuru is holding, he is not actually present). He is present, however, in the games, wherein his voice is provided by Sachi Matsumoto. Akamatsu promises in his blog that Kotaro will be included in the Shiroki Tsubasa Ala Alba OVAs; Marina Inoue will play his voice. However Kotaro make appearances in Negima!? Neo from chapter 16 onward.
- Kotaro's concept and characterization are possibly driven from the title character of InuYasha, as Ken Akamatsu admits to be a fan of that series -- Kotaro shares Inuyasha's rough language, bluntness, and body language, both are dog hanyō and his Beast form also bears a minor resemblance. When Asuna witnessed Kotaro's transformation for the first time, she mentioned about seeing it before in some manga.