Name: Himura Hotaru
Age: Actual age unknown; appears around 19/20
Birthday: November 15
Height: 152 cm (5'0")
Weight: 54 kg (120 lbs) (Most of it being muscle mass)
Affiliation: Gotei 13, Onmitsukido, Soul Society
Occupation: Third Seat of the Second Division, Corps Commander of the Onmitsukido's Detention Unit
Previous Occupation: Fourth Seat of the Eleventh Division
Team: Second Division, Onmitsukido
Previous Team: Eleventh Division
Base of Operations: Second Division HQ, Seireitei, Soul Society
Relatives: Uncle, Aunt (both alive, residing in the 3rd District of the West Rukongai)
Theme Song: Beautiful Fighter (Angela) and Strawberry Gashes (Jack Off Jill)
Hotaru is a relatively slender young woman with pale skin, dark violet hair and magenta eyes. Before and during the Winter War, when she was a member of the Eleventh Division, Hotaru's hair reached her mid-back and she wore it in a high ponytail, secured with a black hair clip. Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat, she cut it short, the tips just touching her shoulders. It's also wavy and has a slight bounce to it.
She's rather petite, exactly five feet tall, leading many to underestimate her physical strength. Most forget that she was once a member of the most ruthless faction of the Gotei 13 and then was accepted into the Second Division and promoted by Soifon herself to rule over the Nest of Maggots with an iron fist. Although more on the slender side, Hotaru has an athlete's build, giving her an advantage when it comes to hand-to-hand combat and agility. Hotaru knows her small body is a disadvantage and tries to compensate for it by training longer and harder every day.
On the down side, this extensive training has given her many scars, in addition to the ones she gained during her time with the Eleventh. She covers most of them up with clothes and accessories, but not at the cost of restricting her movement.
She wears a customized version of the Shinigami uniform, as required for members of the Onmitsukido, which is sleeveless, though not backless. She opted to retain the back of her uniform to hide the scars she received during training. In addition, she also modified the hakamas to stop a few inches above her knees, with slits on either side, exposing a portion of her thighs. Her hakamas were slightly longer – around knee length – when she was a member of the Eleventh Division, but after being promoted to the Second, she shortened them even further to ensure maximum mobility. She wears a dark purple obi around her waist that holds her zanpakuto and a similar-coloured shitage underneath her Shihakusho.
Most of the scars on her arms are covered by long, purple tekkou that extend past her elbows and cover the first three fingers on each hand in a manner similar to gloves, leaving the other two fingers bare. Instead of the traditional footwear, she wears simple black ballet flats, allowing her to kick them off easily, if necessary, and leaves out the tabi entirely.
Hotaru, like most Shinigami, does not remember her previous life as a human. She lived with her parents in their large, ancestral house on the outskirts of a bustling city in Japan. Her death was the result of an unfortunate kitchen accident, causing the entire left side of the mansion to burn down. Even though her father managed to escape, she and her mother were both killed in the fire.
Hotaru was killed some time after her mother and so, upon entering the Soul Society, was given a different ticket and sent off in the direction of the West Rukongai. Unknown to her, her mother was sent to the North Rukongai. She wandered the initial few Districts for a while, looking for her mother, but couldn't find her.
Eventually, she stumbled across a middle-aged couple who lived in the 3rd District of the West Rukongai -- Hokutan. The couple took her in and raised her, and in return, Hotaru offered a helping hand around the restaurant they owned. In time, she came to know them as her Aunt and Uncle and together, they formed a comfy, close-knit family.
Living conditions in Hokutan were good, and Hotaru had a relatively normal, comfortable childhood. Even at a young age, she didn't socialize much with the other children in the District, but she was happy enough on her own. Her aunt and uncle didn't push her to go out and interact with kids her age because they always had an inkling she was different from them. Just the fact that she had to eat to sustain herself was proof of that.
Her uncle consulted a group of Shinigami who were in charge of patrolling the District and they confirmed the fact that Hotaru possessed a higher level of reiatsu than was considered normal for a citizen of the Rukongai. Her aunt and uncle sat Hotaru down and explained to her that she had a choice of attending the Academy and becoming a full-fledged Shinigami. Hotaru carefully pondered the idea for a while, and eventually agreed.
Hotaru passed her entrance exam on the second attempt and finally managed to enroll herself in the Academy. She was an all round average student -- nothing too brilliant or prodigy-like, but not stupid either. She excelled at Hakuda, but struggled with Kido. The Asauchi zanpakuto she was given upon entering made contact with her relatively early and Hotaru managed to learn its name just a few days before graduation. After graduating, she was granted a low position in the Eleventh Division, as she still hadn't mastered Shikai, despite knowing her weapon's name.
Life in the Eleventh Division was difficult, initially, because Hotaru was severely unmotivated and rather lazy. It took a few years, some brutal training, and having her ass handed to her by Ikkaku more times than she could count for Hotaru to truly dedicate herself to the Division. She fought alongside them against the Arrancar, during the Winter War.
After Aizen's defeat, she was promoted to Fourth Seat, a position she held for a few months. Incidentally, it was Yumichika who noticed that while she enjoyed a good fight, her fighting style differed from the rest of the Division and suggested that she try her luck with the Second. Even though she wasn't quite ready to leave the Eleventh, she was intrigued and applied for a transfer anyway.
Soifon was reluctant about letting a member of the Eleventh Division into her own, but after evaluating Hotaru's technique, she agreed that it was better suited to the Second Division and Onmitsukido. However, she was still iffy about letting Hotaru occupy the Third Seat that she applied for, which would make her a Corps Commander of the Onmitsukido -- a responsibility she wasn't sure Hotaru could handle.
She eventually approved the transfer, on the condition that Hotaru went through a trial period as the Division's Sixth Seat. Hotaru was disgruntled at having to occupy a seat lower than the one she was giving up, but agreed. Even though she wasn't too fond of Soifon, life in the Second Division went relatively smoothly. Hotaru trained her brains out until even Soifon had to acknowledge her growth.
Within a year, she was officially promoted to Third Seat -- the position she had initially applied for -- and assumed leadership of the Detention Unit and the position of head supervisor of the Nest of Maggots. To date, she continues to hold this position.
Sharp, secretive and somber are three of the words that describe Hotaru the best. She has a blunt, unemotional manner, bordering on deadpan, and a rather sardonic sense of humour. This gives people the impression that she's an introvert who dislikes company and is an all-round closed person.
She learnt a few hard lessons during her time with the Eleventh Division, which was important for Hotaru because it played a huge part in shaping who she was. To date, she still remains a sharp observer who can think on her feet and while she's no prodigy, she's extensively street smart.
Upon joining the Second Division, she worked hard to keep her feelings tucked close to her and maintain a careful poker face, both necessary traits for an assassin. Being the Third Seat, she's in charge of the Nest of Maggots, and she knows well that displaying too many emotions before dangerous criminals could be her undoing.
Seeing her as she is now, many would claim that while she's a capable Shinigami, she doesn't have the more innate qualities required to a be a member of the Gotei 13. Namely, loyalty and trust. While she was almost fiercely dedicated to Kenpachi, she doesn't extend it to Soifon and dislikes the woman. But with Hotaru, it's not so much disloyalty as it is self-preservation; she'll always put herself first. Knowing this, many of her subordinates are quite apprehensive about working with her as they are convinced she will turn around and stab them in the back, if and when anything goes wrong.
Despite having switched from one brutal Division to another, Hotaru isn't what you'd call sadistic. She enjoys fighting and she's always up for a good spar, but she doesn't derive any particular pleasure from watching her opponents suffer. In fact, she'd rather finish up quickly than draw it out. When it comes to her job, she is clean and efficient and a bit of a perfectionist.
Underneath the hardened, secretive exterior she maintains, Hotaru is a determined, intuitive and magnetic young woman who knows exactly what she wants from life and has the steel will to achieve it, through any means necessary. She maintains a few close friendships with only those select people she genuinely cares about, and if you've managed to earn her respect, she'll go to hell and back for you (however, at the moment, this applies only to one Kenpachi Zaraki).
Some of her flaws, however, include insensitivity towards certain people and events, slight selfishness, and a general lack of regard for authority that tends to get her in a lot of trouble, especially with Soifon. She can also be very obstinate and hard-headed and gets jealous easily. She tends to have a compulsive and obsessive streak, especially concerning her job, resulting in her being somewhat of a workaholic.
Hakuda: Hotaru's greatest strength is her hand-to-hand combat ability. She picked up most of her skills amongst the Eleventh, where she had to be on her toes every second to avoid being ambushed. As the Third Seat of the Second Division, she is the Corps Commander of the Detention Unit and is responsible for the imprisonment and supervision of all criminals within the Seireitei. Due to the fact that no one is allowed to carry any weapons into the Nest of Maggots, she further honed her skills in hand-to-hand combat. Because it is a compulsory requirement for the position, she aims to constantly maintain her skills to be able to subdue the strongest criminal in the Nest of Maggots at any given point in time.
High Spiritual Power: Though only a Third Seat, Hotaru has a considerably high spiritual power, almost at a Lieutenant's level. Her reiatsu is highly condensed and compressed within her body, to be brought out and expanded only when she feels her strength failing and needs an extra boost to keep her standing. Due to her small body size, she uses a considerable amount to sustain herself when she goes hand-to-hand with a larger enemy and as a result, most of it is exhausted quickly. Her spiritual energy is a pale lavender.
Advanced Strategist and Tactician: As one of the Commanders of the Onmitsukido, Hotaru is both insightful and shrewd. Like most of her other skills, she picked this up in the Eleventh Division. She's capable of understanding situations and reacting effectively, a trait that proves most useful when dealing with unpredictable and dangerous criminals. This, combined with her sharp observational skills, allow her to gauge an opponent's strengths and weaknesses quickly.
Shunpo: Despite being a member of the Second Division and being a Commander of the Onmitsukido, Hotaru's speed is not up to par with the rest of the members of the Division. This is mainly because of the weight of the spiritual pressure she compresses in her body that aids her in both stamina and constitution. It slows her down considerably, which is why she mostly leaves the lengthy chases to the Patrol Unit. She's trying to improve her speed, but not to the point where it interferes with her hand-to-hand combat.
Shunko: Hotaru is relatively new to Shunko, so this technique is more of a 'weakness' than a 'strength' at the moment. While her hand to hand combat is above average, her Kido skills are severely lacking, which results in a technique that's not as strong as it could be. Due to this, Hotaru only really uses a (rather weak) version of Shunko when she's backed into a corner and utterly desperate for even a moment's distraction.
Kido: Hotaru's Kido skills are lower than average. Despite having learned them, she never got a chance to practice them or use them in combat, due to her placement in the Eleventh Division fresh out of the Academy. She wishes she was better at Kido because when dealing with a larger, more dangerous criminals, a good binding spell tends to go a long way. Her Kido is nowhere near good enough to produce a Shunko technique as strong Soifon or Yoruichi are capable of.
Zanjutsu: Hotaru's swordsmanship is neither here nor there, simply because of her less-than-ideal relationship with her zanpakuto. She sometimes uses the sealed form to block an attack or two and being a melee-type, the Shikai gives her an advantage in close-combat battle, but despite the pros outweighing the cons, Hotaru tries not to depend on her weapon too much. Their personalities and views clash greatly, and while there is grudging respect, there is no affection. Thus, she is unable to draw out her zanpakuto's full potential.
Reiatsu-Limiting Technique (Unnamed): Hotaru has been interested in the technique ever since she read about it in a medical textbook. She likes the concept of being able to control/limit how much reiatsu her opponent can summon/use during a fight, by targeting only their body's pressure points. Especially given her strength and close-combat skills, she felt she'd be good at it - except that she had no knowledge of the body's systems or reiatsu flow. She beseeched Unohana to teach her, but the Division Four Captain refused to take any steps until Hotaru had permission. After a lot of pleading and arguing, Soifon reluctantly agreed, but the condition was that it shouldn't interfere with Hotaru's duties. Unohana teaches her privately and currently, Hotaru's only a beginner, unable to limit the reiatsu of anyone stronger than a Division Four Unseated Officer, but she hopes to get better at it with time.
Hotaru is a tactician and strategist, preferring to fight intellectually rather than with instinct. She's a natural-born assassin, quiet and stealthy, if not the fastest. Unlike many Eleventh Division members, she hates drawing out her fights for the purpose of "enjoyment" and prefers to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Torture is not something she enjoys; unless she's interrogating a criminal, she never chooses to actively torture her opponents or derive sadistic pleasure from her fights.
Her greatest strength is hand-to-hand combat. She has no formal technique or special attacks that she uses at present; her fighting methods are quite idiosyncratic and they vary with the skill of the one she's facing. She's a sharp observer and intuitive, able to detect subtle changes in her opponent's technique and react accordingly. This, coupled with the natural grace and agility of a dancer, make her a force to be reckoned with, even when she doesn't have a weapon in hand.
In addition, she's crafty and can be downright devious if she's ever backed into a corner, using dirty tricks and every advantage available around her. Upon entering the Second Division, she quickly dropped the "honour code" that the Eleventh Division members maintained; she won't hesitate to stab someone in the back, if it will get the job done.
Hotaru has a high tolerance to pain, but even she knows when she's reached the point where her hands are useless without the aid of a weapon. In these cases, when she feels like her limbs won't suffice, she uses her zanpakuto. For smaller fights, she refrains from releasing it, only using the sealed form to block an attack. For more difficult fights, she releases her blade and switches between both offense and defence effectively.
Zanpakuto: Hone Onna (Bone Woman)
Hone Onna is smaller than a usual katana, instead taking the form of a wakizashi. The hilt is black with a silver-plated tip and criss-crossing white wrappings. The tsuba is also silver and oval-shaped. The sheath is grey with a black tip on either end. Hotaru wears Hone Onna at her waist, secured in her obi.
Hone Onna's appearance is that of a tall woman with long black hair that she always keeps swept up and tied in a traditional Japanese way with a silver decorative clip and soulful grey eyes. She has extremely pale skin and in certain lights, it causes her face to look skeletal. Her skin only extends so far as her collarbones and begins to disintegrate beyond that; mid-chest down, she is composed entirely of bones, with no skin or flesh. She keeps this terrifying appearance hidden under a kimono of grey satin with a black border lining. The obi that keeps her kimono fastened is of black satin and it is tied in the front, unlike the normal practice to tie it in the back. She wears no footwear on her skeletal feet, but this is rarely noticed as her kimono falls past her ankles and sweeps the floor behind her as she walks.
She maintains a mild, dignified manner most of the time, greatly contrasting her horrifying form. But it is because of this frightening appearance that Hone Onna does not judge others by theirs and treats everyone with equal kindness and respect. She's not the type who is easily angry or annoyed, and if she does, it's never to a great extent. She sometimes expresses concern and sympathy about certain events and people - friend or foe - which often puts her at odds with Hotaru, who places duty before her emotions and believes that a job is a job, no matter how heartless.
Relationship with Shinigami:
Due to their contrasting views, Hone Onna and Hotaru have no genuine affection for each other. Over time, and as a result of partnering up for a countless number of missions together, they develop respect for each other (although it's more of a grudging respect than anything). It's difficult for Hotaru to put her pride behind her and attempt to reach middle ground with her zanpakuto and equally difficult for Hone Onna to get over the insult of being brushed aside for so many years by her shinigami. However, they are both still trying their best to reach a truce and find middle ground.
Hone Onna's inner world is seen as a desolate landscape. Vegetation is sparse, usually consisting of a few skeletal trees, dead and greying, with one or two silver leaves still hanging on. Bones litter the ground and the sun never shines, casting the entire world in shades of grey. Strange squeaks and screeches fill the air and the wind is always slightly chilled. Overall, it is very bleak and gloomy.
Release Phrase: "Break, Hone Onna"
Upon release, the wakizashi splits into a pair of tonfas. The handle of each tonfa closely resembles a human femur bone, albeit much smaller than one. The longer shaft of the tonfa consists of a slightly-curved black blade, closely resembling an 'S' shape. The blades are extremely sharp, capable of slicing through a variety of metals, depending on Hotaru's own strength and reiatsu.
The blades can also be used to defend and to ward off blows. The bone handle primarily acts as a hook to catch the opponent's weapon, but if necessary, Hotaru will use it to inflict blunt force trauma.
Being a melee-type zanpakuto, Hone Onna's usefulness depends on Hotaru's own strength and skill. The weapon does not have any special or flashy moves, leading many to underestimate her true strength, including Hotaru herself.
Not yet achieved.
(They can barely have a conversation without getting into an argument, Bankai is still a far-off dream...)
-- Hone Onna's obi is tied in the front instead of the back because it was customary for Japanese prostitutes to tie their obi in the front – and that's what Hone Onna is based off. However, prostitutes did not dress or conduct themselves as she does and therefore, it's only a vague aspect of her appearance – simply on a whim, because I liked it that way.
-- Because of her mild and mellow personality, Hone Onna gets along well with many of the other zanpakuto spirits. Her relationship with Hyourinmaru and Senbonzakura stand out in particular because she enjoys their quiet, dignified presence and companionship.
-- Hotaru considers Ikkaku and Yumichika her closest friends and training-buddies even after transferring Divisions. When they're not beating each other up in the Eleventh Division training grounds, they're drinking themselves stupid in some shady bar in the Rukongai. Hotaru doesn't have much capacity for alcohol so she usually trusts them to get her back to her own barracks.
-- It's no secret among the Onmitsukido and Second Division members that Hotaru only obeys Soifon because she's Captain. And there are even more hushed whispers that she's only biding her time until she can - quite literally - sink the blade in and assume Captaincy for herself. Hotaru neither affirms or denies these rumours; they amuse her to no end.
-- Despite learning about reiatsu flow in the body from her and respecting her, Hotaru does not admire Unohana until she learns that the gentle Fourth Division Captain was the one who gave her idol, Kenpachi, the permanent scar on his face. Because she discovered it by accident, she can't ask the woman about it, but she desperately wants to know the story behind that scar. And since then, she's started to see Unohana in a different light and is actually quite wary of her.
-- Hotaru cannot stand small, bratty children which is why hates it whenever she's forced to babysit Yachiru. Technically, that's Ikkaku and Yumichika's job, but they usually dump it on her, even after she switches Divisions. Yachiru, on the other hand, loves being with Hotaru - not because she has any affection for her, but because the Second Division barracks, with its floor heating and indoor Jacuzzis, is her favourite place to hang out.
-- Yachiru's nickname for Hotaru is either 'Firefly' or 'Glow Worm', or when she's feeling particularly nasty, 'Scar Face'. Firefly seemed to stick and majority of the Eleventh Division still refer to her by that name. Hotaru does not approve.
-- Hotaru has fought Kenpachi only twice in her life. The first time was a rite-of-passage where all new Eleventh Division recruits had to fight him. Kenpachi didn't go easy on her just because she was a girl and Hotaru lasted only a few minutes (after which she had to be taken to the infirmary). The second time was after Aizen's defeat, just before she transferred to the Second Division. She lasted slightly longer than the first time and against Kenpachi, she actually considers that quite an achievement. However, she spent the following week in the infirmary.