This is Sanyo news! The warmth of summer has just arrived, the odd chill that was spring is now gone! We got some strange news for you rumor mongers though. It seems that there is a cherry blossom tree atop the Bubble. All attempts to have it taken down seem to have failed. For now it still seems to be under investigation.
Nickname(s): Mamochan, as coined by both fond underclassmen and mocking peers. He doesn't encourage it as a nickname, but will immediately respond to it regardless.
Age, D.O.B.: 17 - July 3rd, 2002
Category: Persona User
Arcana: XIII - Death
Grade/Career: Third-year at Mishiro High. Sporadically maintains several different part-time jobs that he cycles through as their demand for another pair of hands fluctuates and odd jobs throughout the city.
Ritsuko Kariba [狩場 律子] (Mother, estranged, 49)
Tatsuo Kariba [狩場 達夫] (Father, estranged, 56)
Mamoru is taller than the average Japanese teenager at ~5'11", but his build is notably lithe. He has a runner's frame if anything, and months of scarce exercise and malnutrition are pretty clear in the way that his strength and endurance have atrophied considerably, visibly so if one knew him before his senior year. He has scarce few outfits, and tends to hide the fact that he usually wears the same shirts by almost always having on a heavy coat of some kind- the more flamboyant the better, his favorite being a rather loud red with fur lining the collar. He certainly goes for a flamboyant, punkish look if he can- he recently started dyeing his hair with a red streak, for example- but depending on his current budget this can range from leather collars, metal chains and exposing his midriff to just... looking a bit more scruffy than the average student.
He's fairly pale, with an unhealthy tinge at recent points, though he's hidden this by getting into the habit of tanning. His eyes are bright and tinged red, and his black hair is fairly sleek and well-kept in comparison to his health- his concern over keeping up appearances is pretty apparent there. Mamoru can just as easily walk around in a dress shirt and slacks as he can in whatever 'delinquent' outfit he's concocted for the day (though he'll look miffed the entire time), and at times if actually attempting to look formal he'll wash the dye out of his hair and find his best shoes (shoes he sets aside specifically for these sorts of instances and never walks around the city in).
Likes: The Internet (his cell phone is one of the few commodities he still holds onto and tries to pay for whenever possible, and Internet cafes are a hell of a thing- a chat room can't judge him nearly as well as a person can), summer days, animals (he tends to feed the strays), pastries (he has a hell of a sweet tooth, but not for candy), long walks, academic learning (he doesn't show up nearly as often as he used to and when he does he usually sleeps through at least one class, but he loves hearing about new things)
Dislikes: Commitment, tradition, strict busybody types (because they're the ones who'll chew him out for being 'out late'), gossip, large social situations (three or four people is his limit, after that, he gets pretty flighty)
Hobbies: Sketching/life drawing, running, sightseeing, and a little bit of experimenting with tea brewing.
Goals: Live. Keep living. Make it up to Ayame if he can, and if he can't, find out how to keep going. Finding a stable place to anchor himself to is honestly pretty low on his goal priorities because he's afraid.
Mamoru before his third year was so painfully bland that he would have been held up as a model student in all regards. Polite, on time, courteous, intelligent, eager to answer a question and eager to give a helping hand. He was exemplary, but in such a 'normal' regard that he could be passed over just as easily as every cookie-cutter image of the ideal highschooler (according to traditional parents, anyway). He's transmogrified deeply, though, in the last few months, something that's only immediately apparent to those who knew him before. As far as he's concerned, anybody who hasn't met him only needs to know the personality that he is now, the personality that's more concerned with appearances, but more incapable of keeping them up.
Mamoru's still kind to a fault, polite to a fault, and courteous. He's a bit flighty and nervous (especially around women), but he will go out of his way to offer food he set aside for himself to a stray or give directions to the lost, and then walk with them to make sure they get there. He does attempt to give a more standoffish aura, not only in appearance but in personality, but these attempts crumble pretty quickly. He does have a neurotic sense of always doing right, however. He has to do the right thing. He absolutely must do the right thing, because if something bad happens to Mamoru, it surely happened only because he didn't do the right thing. Was he held up by a thug? It was because he didn't think to donate to the shrine today with the bonus he got. He's constantly haunted by Ayame, by her sudden departure, and despite knowing very well what exactly went 'wrong' there, the way his life turned afterwards has convinced him that any mistake is a mistake that could cost him what he still has. He still tries to be suave, however, oddly enough, projecting the 'cool upperclassman' persona both to try and instill some self-confidence in himself and deflect any suspicion about how he's living. This complex over screwing up is amplified around women, however- because Ayame was the only girl he really socialized with beyond greeting and light conversation, because he doesn't know what to say and he's certain that what he does know how to say will only lead to a mess for both of them.
He's unquestionably overemotional. Mamoru isn't one to rage or snap out, but he's very vulnerable to simply breaking down, though he has what could almost be called a talent for keeping himself together until he's more than 100% (because 100% just isn't safe enough) certain nobody is in earshot. He's very anxious- previously happy to talk with any classmate and any clubmate, Mamoru's very defensive and withdrawn, because he knows any conversation could lead to a point that he could fumble with an inconsistency or a lie. His primary motive is to not be found out, to fix things himself so none of his peers or teachers know what happened in the first place, and this shows in how quickly he'll try to disengage from questions or steer the conversation to a general point where he knows his own personal life won't be taken into account- some of his favorites for this sort of thing are questions of philosophy and taste in food, but he mentally strategizes before every conversation due to how paranoid he is about it.
He's street-smart and book-smart, but again, his heart overwhelms his mind greatly. Mamoru knows where not to go and what not to say, but will say those things and go to those places regardless if he has 'a feeling'. He's always quick to pick up on new concepts, but blinds himself to options that he knows very well are available in order to preserve his own feeling of control and self. He could ask to stay with a friend, but that would require a friend knowing- so why not learn the spots of least traffic in the city and set himself up there instead? He's self-sufficient, but self-destructive, and Mamoru shows no signs of changing- even if he stops drifting.
Mamoru Kariba was, all things considered, born into a plain, if conservative, family, in a plain, if conservative, house. His parents? Plain office workers, seeking a new household in Sanyo to work with their corporations' new branches. Growing up with a mother and a father who neither spurned nor encouraged the thoughts and trends of his generation, from a young age he was very open and very eager to learn more- not out of disdain for his home, but because such a hands-off style made him more than happy to learn of his neighbors, of their families, of their thoughts and their lives. Ascribing to a little bit of Buddhism, a little bit of Shinto, and calling himself both, he was generally set to follow the rails to be a salaryman and be perfectly content with where life took him.
This made Mamoru fairly popular in school, from being the 'befriend-everybody' type in primary school to discovering a niche in popularity in secondary school in track and field. Certainly, he was no Olympian, but he was still good, and his parents were nothing if not encouraging in this regard- their son was doing fine, of course, but keeping him away from any potential mishaps in the landmine known as meandering around town after school hours was a bonus. They never did take Ayame into account. Ayame- the childhood friend, the neighbor, the traditional first pick. Mamoru and Ayame had always paired up, in all regards- he certainly wasn't unattractive, he saw her as completely beautiful, and if anything it seemed that their magnetism and friendship towards each other from youth would be convenient to their families- what better way to keep tabs on potential in-laws than to live right next door? Ayame was always there, and always would be there, and he would be there for her.
Festivals? They would go together. Hobbies? They would indulge each other. Ayame would be at every track meet, and Mamoru would meet her every weekend evening on Sanyo Bridge where she worked on her art- abstract, realistic, a thousand styles with a hundred little twists added in every time. Every day she told him of a new technique she picked up, or that she read about, or that she heard from a friend, always working adeptly and brightly, and this left him so enamored that he honestly tried to pick up a little bit of the hobby. Just a little bit- he'd never outdo her, and he didn't want to, after all. They were never in the same class, but they would always meet for lunch. They were never strong in the same subjects, but they would collaborate on homework together, even when Ayame was accepted into Futaba High and Mamoru- an average member of the pack- was accepted into Mishiro, to the surprise and disappointment of nobody. Mamoru and Ayame had a very odd dynamic of being perfect for each other but just not quite but working through it anyway, because they were quite sure what they had was love, and no matter what happened until graduation they would find some way to work together, live together, be together and be content with it all.
It was towards the end of December, the end of his second year, when it didn't quite work out anymore. They had loved each other, they always had, but Mamoru had only impulsively acted on everything he ever felt for Ayame then, and she was just as eager. They were young, they were foolish, and precautions were a far thought, and if they were made for each other there was nothing wrong, right? Right.
Wrong. Mamoru found out about Ayame's pregnancy from a source other than her- from his furious parents, who found out from Ayame's furious parents just next door. Mamoru's parents had always been even-handed, steady, calm, because they never did have a real reason to discipline his son or discourage him from seeing certain people, but the embarrassment and shame of what he'd done was a snapping point for them. Ayame's parents reacted similarly- there was one key difference. When Ayame left, she left of her own free will, and she left Mamoru with a note that she had somebody else now. Mamoru didn't leave- left no notes. Mamoru was forced out, given a few hours to pack his things and get as far away as possible from his house, from his neighborhood, from his city. And Mamoru, the life he knew and satisfied himself with tossed out the door over the span of a single day, left with his tail between his legs and all direction in his life lost.
But there was still a little bit of stubbornness there, the stubbornness that encouraged him to go back to school the next spring and act as if nothing had happened at all, the stubbornness that encouraged him to never tell anybody what had happened- because his parents would rather pretend him dead than speak of what had happened to anybody else- and the stubbornness that encouraged him to live day by day. He started looking for work. Fill-ins, seasonal positions, part-time jobs, day in and day out. An hour working was an hour he didn't have to figure out somewhere to stay, and more money in his pocket to ride out the week. He still showed up to class with a few convenient excuses under his belt and even more convenient excuses to drop track and field as immediately as he became a third year, polishing off his typical, good exterior with a bit of a more 'fringe' look in hopes of fending people off. He hopes people will just write this off as a rebellious streak and not bother him about it. He hopes he can make contact with Ayame at some point- hopes he can either find a way to make amends and work with her or find closure and an agreement to completely separate. He hopes for a lot of things, but he's too caught up in fearfully maintaining the appearance of an average Japanese high school life to do anything about all of those hopes.
A pocket knife recently obtained for reasons of self-defense- however, he has no believable excuse to be carrying around a knife over the legal limit in length, so it's well-hidden and part of the reason Mamoru is so paranoid about keeping track of his duffel bag and who may be getting near it. (Slash)
Mamoru tends to carry around both a large duffel bag and a mismatched, smaller gym bag at all times- the gym bag carrying things that are more portable and more immediately convenient, like school books and toothbrushes. The duffel bag will generally be left behind and hidden if he's at a location where he knows he'll be able to stay for more than a few days- otherwise, it's always with him.
He tends towards either smaller bridges or Internet cafes for places to stay. Internet cafes are naturally preferred, but after a few days Mamoru gets paranoid that the owners of the establishment are going to start questioning why it is he buys out booths for such long periods of time, leaving him to avoid it for several weeks- he has a carefully-researched map of cafes in the area and logs the dates he stays, cycling between them. Otherwise, he'll keep himself active all night and all day by working graveyard shifts and occupying himself to give the illusion of him just being a bored teenager and not homeless- which leads to him snoozing through class most of the time, but it's the effort that counts, right?
One of the many ghostly hellhounds that terrorize the British Isles, Black Shuck (also shortened to simply Shuck) is a chronic haunt upon East Anglia, most commonly appearing in misty areas such as dark forests, graveyards, and coastlines. Approximately the size of a horse and often lurking within a foggy veil with bright, hellish eyes, Black Shuck is usually interpreted as an agent of the devil and an omen of almost immediate death and calamity for those he approaches- though whether he warns of death or is the one that brings it is uncertain. Black Shuck is noted to sometimes appear with no head, and on rare occasions his quarries escape from their encounter without a death curse, but with a terror that will haunt them until they do expire. Particularly infamous for an accounted rampage and destruction of two churches in Suffolk during a storm- though there are more uncommon stories of Black Shuck trailing women traveling alone as a guardian.
Mamoru's mask is masquerade style in shape, and metallic in composition, but has no luster and is a dull, dark grey in color- where it would normally end entirely near his nose, it instead briefly extends into the shape of an upper snout with the 'jaw' barbed by sharp, needle-like points, the top of the mask crowned on either side by two additional prominent sharp points (don't poke them, ow) in a mimicry of two thin, clearly canid ears.