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|"I don't want illusions. I want the real thing. If I can't have that..then I don't want anything else"|
-Ren to Lord Devil
"Atsushi Ren" (also known as "Nero" or just "Ren") is the protagonist of The Boy Who Fell. He had just transferred schools when he was dragged into Hell under mysterious circumstances and forced to participate in the Hell Tournament in order to go home.
Ren's mother believes he bears a strong resemblance to her at 13, going as far as making him wear his hair almost shoulder-length to maintain the image. Ren is slight in build, and, while not given a specific height, is one of the shortest characters in the series.
Ren is most frequently seen dressed in the black gakuran school uniform, white buttoned-up undershirt, and white sneakers he was wearing when he fell. In battle, he wears the white Hell Kitchen apron with the red double circle sigil emblazoned on the front over his uniform; he is usually seen in "travelling mode," wearing just his gakuran and carrying the scarlet backpack Lord Devil gave him.
In "Chapter 00-The Boy Who Fell," he has recently transferred to a new school, the latest of four that he has attended. He lives alone with his mother, his father having passed away at some point prior to the series. It has also been suggested that Endou Yuu, whom he meets in the pilot chapter, is Ren's first friend, having had none growing up. It was mentioned that Ren took martial arts lessons when he was eight, but did not particularly excel at them and ultimately gave up.
While he only recently met Yuu, it is revealed in the bonus comic "Brothers" that he encountered Yuu's family as a young child. Initially mistaking him for a lost little girl, the Yuu brothers wash and clothe Ren in Yuu's borrowed clothes, additionally giving him the stuffed animal that would become his favorite toy, Cherurin, as a gift and bringing him to a carnival, before finally taking him to the police station.
In The Boy Who Fell Edit
Arrival to Hell Edit
At his new school, Ren is punished for falling asleep during class by being made to stand in the hallway. There, he meets Endou Yuu, a local delinquent who inadvertently intimidates Ren into seeing "the best part of this school," the view from the rooftop. Going over the railing for a better view, the two are awoken by the sound of the lunch bell; however, when Ren turns to follow Yuu back into school, a mysterious black tentacle strangles him from behind, dragging him over the edge.
As he falls, Ren calmly contemplates the irony of his death before losing consciousness. Coming to, he finds himself in the arms of Lord Devil, whom he at first mistakes for his father. Over tea, the Devil helps Ren come to grips with his current situation, advising him that only a wish has the power to return him home. To win it, Ren must enter the Hell Tournament, a competition in which he must battle powerful demon foes competing for the power of the ancient and mystical Hell Kitchen. Against the rules of the Neutral Council, the governing body maintaining balance between Heaven and Hell and that conducts the Tournament, Lord Devil offers his personal assistance by giving Ren a Hell Kitchen-enchanted backpack with all the equipment he might need, before promptly whisking him out of his castle, encouraging him to seek "adventure."
Unsure of where to go next, Ren climbs a tree for a better view of the road, getting stuck when he becomes too scared to climb back down. He is rescued by Lord Devil's servant Ramia, who has come to provide Ren with basic knowledge about the world of Hell. She explains that her world is powered by suffering human souls, which are stored and processed in Higher Hell to be fed into Lower Hell, the realm they are in now. Unaware that he had been brought to Hell by Lord Devil deliberately, Ren asks why his soul is in the Lower Hell instead of Higher, which Ramia pretends not to know.
She warns Ren to avoid the various races that populate Hell, but most of all cautions him to avoid demons, who would likely eat him if they found out he was human; she further advises him to not let on about Lord Devil's assistance, and to stick to the road. Ren thanks her and bows before being chased off.
Ren hears a cry of distress from the surrounding forest and is forced to respond when the road begins to mysteriously dissolve. He finds a girl caught in one of the many magical traps surrounding Hell's Administrative Bridge, whom he frees using a knife pulled from the backpack. Doing so, however, activates a second phase of the trap, awakening a giant monster, which is quickly dispatched by the girl's "Sorian Bomb."
Ren is at first terrified by the girl, but she claims her gratitude and introduces herself as Sorian Pafhelo, a warrior from the "most powerful clan in all of Hell." Sorian dubs him "Nero," explaining that names are extensions of the soul and Ren must take an alias to protect himself from the ensnarement of demons. Furthermore, she claims that, per Pafhelian honor code, she must repay her debt, offering to help him win the Tournament by being his trainer and teammate, an offer Ren reluctantly accepts. With Sorian's help, the rest of the journey is uneventful and they reach the nearby town of Aruna by the next day.
Aruna Monster Fight EditSorian warns Ren that although demons lack the ability to "sense" humans, he must learn to blend in to protect his identity. Spotting an advertisement for the Aruna Monster Fight, Sorian decides to enter Nero, arguing that it will serve both as a gauge of his ability and to allay suspicion, as no sane human would voluntarily participate.
At the registration desk, the mortified look on Nero's face nearly gives him away to a demon event coordinator. Luckily, when the coordinator attempts to use a soul scanner on him, the machine malfunctions. As he and Sorian are waved through, Nero considers the possibility that Lord Devil might have remotely intervened.
Although the prospect of fighting monsters terrifies Ren, it excites Sorian, who also decides to enter, leaving him with the instructions to go to the reception himself if she doesn't return soon. However, before Ren gets the chance to decide whether to run away or stay, Ibias, a Neutral Council official and announcer for the event accidentally runs into him, and escorts him to the waiting room. He contemplates running away, even trying the door, but finds himself stuck. On a television screen, he watches awed as Sorian quickly and easily annihilates her opponent, Jotun the Crusher.
As Ren begins to panic, Ramia appears to him via a nearby mirror. She tells him to check his backpack, explaining that its magic responds to "need"; when he opens the bag, he finds an apron and a salt knife. While Ramia, like Ren, is confused about the contents, she encourages Ren to trust the Kitchen and persuades him to stay and fight, reasoning that because he is already dead he shouldn't fear dying again. He reluctantly goes out to face his foe, the gigantic Heranzolan snail monster Shelly the Death Bringer.
Ren puts up a paltry show of a fight until, with Ramia's encouragement, he analyzes his opponent for weaknesses. He correctly deduces that Shelly's weak spot is underneath its enormous hard shell, and Ramia informs him that he only needs to damage its skin to incapacitate it.
Knowing that the safest way to approach the monster is from behind, he formulates a plan to climb the rim of the shell to the opening for the head. While doing so, Sorian manages to stir the crowd into cheering him on. Poising himself over the nape of the snail's neck, Ren attempts a stabbing downward jump; however, the attack is futile and Shelly is unharmed. It fires an acid spit at Ren instead, driving him into the shell.
Inside, Ren hears once again the mysterious disembodied voice, which instructs him how to defeat Shelly. With only seconds left in the match, Ren causes Shelly to spectacularly explode, and he accepts his win considerably shaken. Afterwards, Ibias gives Ren and Sorian their prize: two airway tickets to Moska City, where in one month the entrance rounds of the Hell Tournament will take place. Ramia privately warns Ren to be wary of the Neutral Council and reiterates her warning not to let on about Lord Devil's intervention.
The Hellhound Edit
Sorian compliments Ren's fight with the snail, but decides the month would be best spent training his defense. In the forest outside Aruna, Sorian conducts defense-through-speed training, instructing Ren to run through the forest and collect orobo berries, which become poisonous by nightfall. In addition, she places a tracking spell and an "extra something" on him. Ren is sent off armed with a new knife from the backpack.
While searching for the berries, Ren realizes that the "extra something" Sorian promised is a spell that makes his body heavier the longer it remains stationary. Shortly after finding the orobo berries, Ren runs into a note from Lord Devil, which offers to "help" with his training, including the cryptic poem: "To have none is darkness / Fear is the light". Ren turns around to face Hond, a blind hellhound. Terrified, he runs away, significantly impeded by both fatigue and Sorian's spell.
Hiding in a ravine, Ren decodes the Devil's message and realizes that the hound senses, and "sees", fear; however, Ren cannot stop being afraid, contemplating "I've been a coward all my life."
As he is hunted down by Hond, Ren becomes increasingly more crippled by fear and self-doubt. It is when he remembers that his struggles are so that he can return home, see his mother, and go to school again that he finally gains his courage, which
also releases Sorian's heavy spell. Ren takes the orobo berries, which have toxified with the sunset, and bathes his knife in the juice.
Because its prey has found his courage, Hond loses the light and becomes agitated. Ren takes advantage of the hellhound's confusion by taking higher ground and surprise attacking it from above, leaping onto its back and slitting its throat. Hond survives the attack and seems poised to counter, but Ren's resolve holds and Hond gives up and succumbs to his injuries.
Ren waits until morning, when the berries become edible again, to bring the rest to Sorian. She explains that her spell can only be undone by a clear, resolute mind, and determines Ren's resolve to continue training with her. Ren, agreeing, passes out from exhaustion.
Moska City Entrance Rounds Edit
For the next 3 weeks, Sorian continues to train Ren in speed and evasion, while Lord Devil's interference sending monsters for battle sharpens Ren's offensive and tactical capabilities. During one such training run, through Aruna's Commercial Area, Ren notices a cloaked figure spying on him and deduces that it is another one of the Devil's tests. Ren loses sight of him temporarily, only to later be cornered in an alley. The two scuffle and the assassin gains the upper hand, only for Sorian to appear and rescue Ren, while the assassin is forced to flee.
Sorian comments on Ren's steadily increasing ability but notes that he still isn't strong enough to compete in the tournament, adding that she has a "plan" that will help. Later that day, they board the airship for Moska City and Ren, still shaken from his encounter with the assassin, contemplates some of Lower Hell's similarities to his home. When they land, they find the city crowded with entrants and discover that the qualifying rounds have already begun. Sorian immediately enters the both of them in an entrance round fight to ensure spots in the competition proper, which Ren easily wins.
While Ren was waiting for Sorian to win her match, the assassin returns and abducts him. Without anyone to rely on to save him, Ren calls on the Hell Kitchen directly for the first time. The Kitchen explains that it can use the power it has stored from Ren's previous fights, which have been gathered by the apron and knives, to help Ren but only if he can facilitate the attack by getting close to the assassin. Meanwhile, the assassin reveals he knew Ren is a human, and threatens to sell him on the black market, or torture and eat the boy himself. As he taunts Ren, however, the assassin gets too close, and Hell Kitchen beheads him.
Later Ramia appears to inform him that the Devil will suspend his contribution to Ren's training, but further warns Ren that it is highly probable that the Devil may pull another stunt like sending the assassin. Ren responds by stating that he "understands". When Ren finds Sorian and they depart for the unveiling of the first-round match-ups, he denies his disappearance having anything to do with the assassin. Sorian takes the opportunity of the long wait time and the massive crowd around the match-ups board to educate Ren about the differences among various Hell races, including the difference between first and second class demons.
When they reach the board, they find that they have not yet been assigned foes. Ren and Sorian decide to spend the remainder of the day sparring, but the match only serves to highlight Ren's weaknesses. Ren, fearing that his weakness will make him a target for another demon like the assassin, becomes despondent that no matter how hard he tries, he will still only be human. To lift his spirit, Sorian tells him about the last human in Hell and reassures him that she would protect him
Some days later, Sorian, who has been randomly attacking Ren as training, confronts him in the Moska hall where their match-ups have finally been announced. Ren leads Sorian on a destructive chase around Moska, disturbing local townsfolk and stirring up a street brawl. While Sorian has no trouble with her attackers, Ren is just barely saved by the intervention of the Demonic State Apparatus. After the DSA let the two of them go, they are approached by Ibias, who will be announcing the first round and who invites them to see the parade welcoming the Grand Folds. There, an incognito Lord Devil joins them in the crowd to explain what the Grand Folds and invite Ren to come talk to him soon.
That night, Ren sneaks away from their camp to the Devil's Moska City apartments. There, Ren encounters a vision of his mother and Endou Yuu conjured by Lord Devil. After inviting Ren to talk about all of his travels, Lord Devil says he is proud of him and gifts him enchanted knife holsters. The meeting proves to be a very positive and fun experience for Ren, according to Ramia in a narration "the first and last time I saw Nero truly laugh". The next day, Ren and Sorian attend the Devil's commencement ceremony in the Moska Battle Stadium announcing the official beginning of the Hell Tournament.
Ren's first fight is on the second day, first wave of the tournament, against the power demon Malum. Emotionally and physically incapable of defeating the giant, Ren quickly forfeits. Sorian, sensing Ren's uncertainty, reveals her plan: to have Ren forfeit all of his fights while Sorian wins all of hers. Because of the rules of the Hell Tournament, this plan will allow them to continuously, albeit slowly, advance without endangering Ren and without risking disqualification. In the interim, Ren will continue his training until Sorian decides he is ready.
3 weeks later, Team Pafhelo (as they are officially enrolled) sits at 53rd place in the rankings, with Sorian and Ren gaining notoriety as "Sorian the Ripper" and "Nero the Forfeit King".
Having survived the initial rounds in Moska, Ren and Sorian prepare for Phase 2 in Gondotha, raising money to buy airship tickets. Ramia appears to Ren to anxiously request he start fighting in his next match, telling him that Lord Devil is becoming irritated with his lack of progress. Ren assures her that it would be best to stick to Sorian's plan, and that she shouldn't worry; she in turn warns him to "be careful where you tread".
In a "special training" session, Sorian introduces Ren to Seel, a powerful force conjured by Hell residents that, with practice, could help him defend himself. She awakens his body with a very active Seel and for a moment, Ren suddenly and powerfully senses the exact location of all of his blood vessels; she leaves him with a gold piece, instructing him to cut it in half using only his Seel. Struggling to conjure his Seel, Ren suddenly finds himself in a dark canyon. There, he encounters a humanoid figure that introduces itself as the Hell Kitchen.
The Kitchen reveals that it has transported Ren's consciousness to the lowest part of Hell in order to help bring Seel into his body; however, to do so it requires a piece of Ren's soul. When Ren refuses, the Kitchen explains that it is not a demon but a sentient power, and that all it needs is a small piece of Ren's memory. Knowing that he needs the power of Seel to survive the Tournament, Ren surrenders the memory of what he last ate. Once again, he feels the magnificent sensation, but this time grabs hold of an energy in front of him. When he wakes up, he finds he has summmoned black seel.
He excitedly returns to Sorian, and conjures a small piece of grey seel, which Sorian says can be used to bolster his defense. She also reveals that while Ren was training, she gathered the rest of the money needed for the tickets. When Ren, excited about his newfound potential, asks Sorian to continue the training, she playfully warns him to be careful not to use too much Seel, as it is his life force.
This causes Ren to stop and pause. He tells Sorian that it cannot be his life force as he has already died, and that his death was how he got in Hell in the first place. Sorian, however, explains that in Heaven, the Human Fold, and Hell, life and death are constant and that Ren is not dead but "a living human stuck in hell". Suddenly realizing that Lord Devil has been manipulating him all along, that he hadn't died as he had believed but had been kidnapped, Ren dashes for the Devil's apartments.
There, he attacks Lord Devil, demanding that the latter send him back home. The Devil, however, is nothing but amused by Ren's anger, and he instead taunts the boy, saying that without his interference Ren would have died a long time ago and that Ren needs his continuous help in order to keep surviving. The encounter traumatizes and emotionally breaks Ren, who runs out of the suite, pursued by an apologetic Ramia. Ren resolves to continue playing the Devil's game until he wins his way back home, but promises that he will hate the Devil with his whole being.
Later that day, Ren asks the Kitchen how much of the damage he receives is converted into latent power. The Kitchen responds with an estimate of 60%, but that much of that power is used to heal his injuries. Ren decides that if he can master Seel to improve his defense, he will allow the Kitchen to focus on gathering more power.
Phase 2: Gondotha Rounds Edit
Shortly after landing in the Heranzola North Eastern Region, Ren and Sorian discover that in order to reach the suspended city of Gondotha, they must first cross the Gondotha Spire Forest, an ever-changing ocean of large, sharp stone spikes; midway through their journey, they are ambushed by a posse of disqualified competitors seeking to avenge partners killed by Sorian in the opening rounds. While Ren is initially able to put up a fight, he becomes distracted by traumatic memories of the assassin and the Devil's betrayal; he is saved at the last second by the sudden growth of new spires. However, this poses a new problem, as the unbreakable spires separate Ren and Sorian, who must find their own ways to Gondotha.
Sorian warns Ren about what she calls killing aura, which he is weak to and which will cause demons he forfeited against in the past to hunt him down. She, does however, express greater confidence in his ability and gives him instructions how to reach Gondotha. With that, Ren is on his own.
The next day Ren is contemplating his weakness when another sudden spire growth launches him into the sky. He is rescued by the appearance of a rock demon, Quartz, whom he recognizes as his opponent in the next round. The seemingly friendly demon, however, seems oblivious to this fact and kindly offers to help Ren find his way out of the forest. When Ren's attackers from earlier return to finish him off, Quartz tries to defuse the situation but flies into a murderous rage when they continuously ignore him. He kills two, including the leader Golgo, and traps the third. He then orders Ren to kill him.
When Ren responds by punching the demon, Quartz jeers him, calling him "weak" and revealing that he knew Ren was going to be his opponent and was trying to gauge his strength. Quartz says he won't kill Ren now, as it is against the rules, and will instead do so in the ring. Instead of feeling humiliated or defeated, however, Ren is inflamed by the remark.
Later, after reuniting with Sorian (who, incidentally, had been travelling with Quartz's partner Saffron) he asks to be allowed to fight in the next match; Sorian refuses. Ren resolves to listen to Sorian and not allow Quartz's taunts to bother him. Arriving in Gondotha, they find that their fights will be back-to-back, with Ren facing Quartz after Sorian faces Saffron.
During Sorian's fight, Ren becomes increasingly concerned as Saffron's abilities are revealed, even asking Sorian to forfeit. As the fight turns more and more in Saffron's favor, it's Ren insistence that eventually convinces her to concede. Afterwards, Ren approaches her and she reveals that her Seel felt as though it had suddenly been sapped by a Seel trap. Ren immediately expects Lord Devil's foul play.
In his match with Quartz, Ren holds the fate of Team Pafhelo in his hands. Quartz attacks him with a rock barrage, which Ren easily maneuvers thanks to his evasion training. However Ren cannot attack Quartz directly, as when he gets too close Quartz encases himself in an impenetrable rock barrier. Quartz proposes a one-on-one "no tricks" battle; Ren, fearing that the proposal may be a trap, tries to analyze his opponent.
He realizes that his initial impression of Quartz as an unthinking and brash person were wrong, and that Quartz had purposely separated Ren from Sorian in the forest of spires in order to assess Ren's fighting ability himself, disregarding his fight history. He also realizes that, in spite of his cautiousness, Quartz is egotistical and sensitive to slights.
Ren and Quartz's engage in close combat; the former's sudden tenacity and surprising skill stirs the crowd into cheering for him, which irritates Quartz. Quartz then begins his own onslaught, attacking Ren with another rock barrage and scoring several glancing blows before launching him off the platform. When Ren taunts Quartz for cowardice, Quartz responds by rearranging the stones of the arena to crush him. Ren is protected by the Kitchen's black Seel which has also burned a path straight to a vulnerable Quartz.
Ren catches the rock demon by surprise, and Quartz too late encases himself in his barrier, trapping himself and Ren inside. When the rock wall crumbles, Ren emerges victorious, but he realizes that he has won by killing and decapitating Quartz. As the crowd roars in approval, Ren breaks down disgusted by the "truth" he knew deep down he "had to accept".
Sometime after the fight, Ren dreams of being back home again, but the dream is quickly tainted by the appearance of Quartz's headless body. Ren is awoken from the nightmare by a mysterious figure in a cloak. The figure grabs hold of Ren, saying he wants to "show him something" before transporting the two of them to an illusion of Ren's school, which the strange man says "represents the current state of [Ren's] world" . They find that everything is frozen in time and the man explains to a confused Ren that this world is his end goal, and that the question is whether he will die before reaching it or return home a broken shell.
Ren awakens again, still traumatized by his battle with Quartz. However, the more he thinks about it, the more his resolve grows to do whatever it takes, including eliminating whomever he must, to survive. Later Sorian finds him, and the two prepare for their next matches.
During Sorian's fight against Gato the Beast Master, Ren observes to a member of the audience that to defeat her, Sorian must either break through her Seel shield herself or defeat the final tier beast that controls it. He becomes angry at the thought that Sorian is struggling in the match because of the continuing effect of Lord Devil's Seel trap.
After the surprise appearance of Sorian's sister Celas Pafhelo, Ren worries how she will react to his impersonation of a Pafhelo. Sorian reassures him, saying that Pafhelians only care about trustworthiness, and Ren contemplates whether his recent transformation will convince Celas.
Skills and Abilities Edit
- Agile: Under Sorian's training, Ren has improved his speed and reflexes to allow him to dodge attacks
- Hand-to-hand combatant: Ren has trained to fight in the hell tournament, sparring both with and without weapons.
- Seel: Ren's seel is surprisingly powerful, able to create force capable of destroying solid stone and rock.
- Enchanted Backpack: Using the power of the Hell Kitchen, the backpack can summon whatever item Ren needs at time time. In addition, Ren can communicate with the Kitchen, allowing it to provide more specific services, such as grant Ren access to his seal.
- Knives: Blood spilt using the knives the kitchen provides goes to powering it.
- Knife Holster: Also powered by the Hell Kitchen, Ren's knife holster can summon his knives, the composition and material of which he can also change.
- Apron: Absorbs the energy from attacks Ren receives, softening the blow. The energy gathered can also be used to mend Ren's wounds.
Sorian Pafhelo Edit
Lord Devil Edit
Hell Kitchen Edit
- Ren is the first (known) human in Hell since the death of the Last Human.
- ↑ http://starfleetrambo.tumblr.com/post/144250165113/can-you-explain-a-little-bit-more-about-seel-like
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 http://demitasse-lover.deviantart.com/art/10-Facts-OC-Meme-410424151
- ↑ http://67.media.tumblr.com/62e71b78ee3bf9b7be072571296cfa53/tumblr_inline_nyv4sogylc1qbsvcw_500.jpg
- ↑ http://img14.deviantart.net/34ef/i/2013/279/c/f/nero_character_sheet_by_demitasse_lover-d6pezhm.jpg
- ↑ http://66.media.tumblr.com/17d6219c751dc9fd34a6563b5ead8957/tumblr_mmo8ri1ImV1rv94hxo1_500.jpg
- ↑ http://starfleetrambo.tumblr.com/post/122076488943/does-ren-have-any-living-relatives
- ↑ http://www.boywhofell.com/comic/ch03p15
- ↑ http://demitasse-lover.deviantart.com/art/Brothers-Ch-1-1-404170674?q=gallery%3Ademitasse-lover&qo=4
- ↑ http://demitasse-lover.deviantart.com/art/Brothers-Ch-1-4-404854091?q=gallery%3Ademitasse-lover&qo=0
- ↑ http://demitasse-lover.deviantart.com/art/Brothers-Ch-2-1-405501963
- ↑ http://www.boywhofell.com/comic/ch19p13
- ↑ http://www.boywhofell.com/comic/ch22p01
- ↑ http://www.boywhofell.com/comic/ch22p06
- ↑ http://www.boywhofell.com/comic/ch24p04
- ↑ http://www.boywhofell.com/comic/ch3220
- ↑ http://www.boywhofell.com/comic/ch3309