✿ Suzumi Nagase ❞
18 ✧ She/Her ✧ AFAB ✧ April 3 ✧ Aries ✧ Bisexual
❝ Even when the gods held sway in the ancient days, I have never heard that water gleamed with autumn red as it does in Tatta's stream. ❞
— Ariwara no Narihira
— Ariwara no Narihira
Proxy of Suijin, representative of spring and the element of water, and resident of Matsudo, Chiba prefecture.
Suzumi resembles her element of water in personality. She tends to go with the flow of things, and does her best to adapt to change in her life. Positive traits for the most part, except Suzumi's taken them to the extreme and warped them into something not so positive. She's perpetually cheery and agreeable, almost to the point of being a doormat. Quick to avoid confrontation at all costs, Suzumi often downplays her own feelings to avoid inconveniencing others.
On the surface, Suzumi effortlessly comes across as the average Genki Girl, which suits her needs just fine. She wants people to see her like that, as someone who's enthusiastic about everything in life. Consequently, she's adopted a cheerful, sunny attitude to meet people's expectations of her; she just isn't sure if that's the real Suzumi though. After all, she hasn't been true to herself in a long time, choosing instead to hide behind bright smiles and laughter.
Even though she's well-liked among her peers, Suzumi is more closed off than she'd like to admit. She's bubbly around others, but that's because she'd rather let them think that there's nothing on her mind, nothing bothering her at all. The more she doesn't want someone to know about how she really feels, the more she'll keep smiling as if nothing's wrong. The more she doesn't want to let go of something, the less she'll bring it up. She's passive to a fault, and knows it too.
She'll settle for average if means less trouble for her.
A part-time florist at her aunt Mariko's flower shop.
Misaki Yatabe as Tae from Mushishi: The Next Passage.
The daughter of a Japanese father and a Polish mother, Suzumi's felt like an outsider all her life. Suzumi's conception wasn't planned, and resulted in Kenjirou's hasty proposal to his girlfriend at the time. The eventual marriage, however, crumbled soon after Suzumi's birth—Karina didn't want to spend the rest of her life in Japan, and the love she had for her husband and child wasn't enough to make her stay. She went back to her homeland after the divorce and cut off all ties, leaving Kenjirou as a single father of a toddler Suzumi.
While he did his best to provide stability for Suzumi, Kenjirou had a job that was just too demanding. He eventually transferred physical custody of Suzumi to Mariko, his sister. Suzumi was thirteen at the time, and secretly happy to settle down somewhere. Since Suzumi had to transfer schools so often during her childhood, there wasn't much opportunity for her to settle down and call any one place home. She didn't make any lasting friendships, which shook her confidence to the core.
Nowadays, Suzumi still finds herself struggling with fitting in. As a person of mixed ethnic heritage, she sticks out like a sore thumb in Japan, and her appearance makes her an easy target for unwanted attention. Suzumi does her best to shrug off the jeers by swimming away her troubles—the water has always been a place of belonging.
Suijin is something akin to a surrogate mother for Suzumi, strangely enough.
Suzumi's very close with her father, Nagase Kenjirou. A second rank captain in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Kenjirou is a calm, even-tempered man who wants the best for his daughter. He's currently on patrol and Suzumi isn't sure when he'll be back, though she hopes that he'll make it home in time for the holidays.
Karina Winograd is Kenjirou's Polish ex-wife and Suzumi's mother. Neither of them have heard from her ever since the divorce and well, Suzumi doesn't really care either way. Good riddance because if she can't even be bothered to write a letter, then Suzumi's not going to put in the effort either. She barely remembers what Karina looks like, save for photos.
Suzumi lives under the Shirakawa roof with Takashi and Mariko. Takashi is a down-to-earth man who manages accounts for a construction company. Good with his hands and good at striking up relationships with people due to his easygoing nature. He strikes a nice balance with his peppy, upbeat wife. Mariko is Suzumi's self-proclaimed "cool aunt" who owns a pretty well-to-do flower shop located along the way to Hondo-ji temple. The shop's just a stone's throw away from their humble home. Miyuki and Kiyoshi are Takashi and Mariko's fraternal twins. Suzumi gets along well with them both, but finds it easier to confide things in the bookish, reserved Kiyoshi.
Akano Sayuri is Suzumi's crush during the main events of canon, and girlfriend post-canon.
One summer day, Sayuri crosses paths with Suzumi, who's busy chomping away at her second popsicle, near the entrance to a temple. She approaches Suzumi's flower cart to buy a bouquet and strikes up a casual conversation with her. Afterwards, Suzumi offers to show Sayuri around Matsudo, and the two begin a tentative acquaintanceship.
They don't meet again until the main events of Yuugen are in play, which is when everyone gets thrown together into the celestial games. Sayuri and Suzumi both see just how differently the other behaves in a group setting: Sayuri keeps herself at a cool distance, while Suzumi hides behind easy smiles and laughs things off. Sayuri quickly notices how Suzumi puts on a cheerful face around the rest of the cast, which sparks her initial interest: she senses a kindred soul who distances themselves from others too. Sayuri decides that it'd be fine for now if she only got close to Suzumi and played nice with the rest.
As Sayuri tries to get closer to her, Suzumi squashes her own feelings down and wonders if she's thinking too highly of herself "because Akano-san couldn't possibly be interested in me." It's a mixed bag on Suzumi's end. She's attracted to Sayuri from the get-go and tries to interact with her a lot, all while wondering what's going on behind that neutral expression. She can't help but feel a little uneasy about it sometimes.
Contrary to what Suzumi thinks, Sayuri finds herself growing more and more interested in Suzumi: she wants to understand why Suzumi hides behind fake smiles, wants to peel away that good-girl face to see the real Suzumi.
The Tanabata festival rolls around, and Sayuri and Suzumi make plans to attend the celebration together. As Sayuri waits for Suzumi to walk through the torii, she smooths out the folds in her yukata and hopes to herself that Suzumi will find her pretty. Suzumi tumbles through the gate shortly after, stares right at Sayuri, and manages to say that she looks beautiful. That comment earns blushes on both ends.
The two end up walking around, eating at the food stands, and catching goldfish together. There's a few moments when Suzumi makes her heart beat a bit faster, but Sayuri just brushes it off as nerves. When it comes time to write down their wishes, they both already have something in mind.
"I wish I can get closer to Akano-san."
"I wish to understand Nagase-san better."
Sayuri finally realizes that she's got it bad for Suzumi when she finds herself thinking it'd be nice if she was the one who could make Suzumi happy. The one who'll be there to support her, see her through thick and thin. The attraction grows out of wanting to see a different side of Suzumi for simple curiosity, as if she were a scientist looking through the microscope lens, into a genuine desire to accept everything. She falls in love slowly, less quickly than Suzumi did, but her love is just as strong.
Sayuri and Suzumi sit on their feelings for the longest time since they're also trying to develop and maintain other relationships with the rest of the proxies. If they were only interacting with each other and no one else, they actually wouldn't be that healthy for one another in way of growth. It could easily turn into a powerplay of "I want to see you without your masks" and implicitly "I want to see you vulnerable." Sayuri's a little bit of both of those things, but it turns into this: "I want to see you without your masks and be yourself around me. I want to see you vulnerable so i can protect you and support you. We can support each other and I'm not afraid to be weak around you."
Sayuri and Suzumi have a transparent conversation after the events of the main canon, acknowledging their feelings for each other. A relationship, however, gets pushed off the table for the time being because once the two become spiritual advocates, they lose their abilities to travel through the torii. In other words, they can't see each other as easily anymore due to the distance.
The two then keep in contact as much as possible, even while attending separate universities. One day, Suzumi musters up the nerve to take the plunge and visit Sayuri in Kumamoto. She's always been a passive person in life, and so this marks a significant change in character as she decides she'll go see Sayuri to confess that nothing's changed. Of course it wouldn't, she knew that right from the moment they separated.
Now in their early twenties, Sayuri and Suzumi meet at the train station and head back to Sayuri's house, going up to her room. Suzumi confesses that her feelings never changed and Sayuri, after a long moment of silence, says she feels the same way.
Post-graduation, Sayuri moves to Tokyo to be with Suzumi. The two have a busy city life before eventually finding their way together to the countryside, where Suzumi opens her own flower shop and coaches a high school baseball team on the side. She also finds time to be a personal trainer and ends up quite successful as one. As for Sayuri, her writing and translations earn worldwide recognition and she goes on to write some books based on the Yuugen adventures. The two get married around their late twenties.
Suzumi's canon is set in the mystical world of Yuugen, which features an ensemble cast of nine people from different parts of Japan.
In battle, Suzumi wields a jumonji yari that can control the movement of water. It's shaped somewhat like a trident.
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