Alright, I know I've made jokes that Takeru & Kouga are alike & they are, they're both dotting swordsmen, they both had similar childhoods, they both have giant fucking swords & ride horses. They were both isolated at a young age & had to train to live up to the expectations placed on them. But Kouga & Takeru are two different people, as well as characters. Yes, they both have similar attributes that drew me to playing them, but they are also v. different. & the reason why I decided to app Kouga in the end was because A) I was told that I played him differently than I played Takeru & B) I noticed in the end that, that was true. Anyway, let's continue on.
[ 1 ] Kouga primarily trained with his father, Saejima Taiga. Due to this, he wasn't exposed to normal things like going to school. The only people he was really allowed to associate with were people from the Makai world. Zaruba: his Madou ring, Jabi: a priestess in training, Amon: a Makai priest & Gonza: their butler. It seemed he had a v. lonely life, following after his father & training alone with him. At least, this is what was what we got from the first season of Garo. However, in Garo: Makai Senki, there's an episode dedicated to part of Kouga's training as a Makai knight; he was sent to a village to be trained with numerous other children. Again, he was only allowed to associate with people from the Makai world. He was in the group of four that was considered to be in last place ( Shiro as Kouga, Purple, Madder red & Yellow ), but they persevered & they were all made to realize the bonds that they had with each other. An important thing to note is that these four children ( as well as the other children too ) didn't know each others' real names. Every child had their name taken away & was replaced a color for a name. This was to protect the identities of those that eventually succeeded in becoming Makai knights. Even the fact that Kouga was the inheritor of Garo was hidden; there were rumors that he was within that camp, but no one knew his identity. Despite this, they create solid bonds with each other because to them they were comrades. This bond was acknowledged by their tutor, Wataru, & he gave them bracelets to remind them of their bond.
However, this scene comes up: when Wataru tells Kouga that he wants to see a rematch & it seems like everything is happy-- except a Horror called Raizou attacks the village & takes out Yellow & Black right in front of Kouga's eyes, devouring them whole. Then Purple shoves Madder Red out of the way & gets killed by Raizou. Madder Red runs & tries to hide, but Raizo manages to get a hold of him & while Maddder Red is struggling & yelling to let him go because he's going to be a Makai Knight, Raizou devours him in one bite. This all happens in front of Kouga's eyes, where he's helpless to do anything.
The scenes changes & then it flashes back to the present Kouga who takes Raizo out, finally, taking revenge for his lost comrades. & then at the end he sees his three friends running past him & they give their approval & leave everything to him while holding out their bracelets. Bracelets which Kouga still keeps on his person, tied to his jacket. Another indicator of this is that he wears a white jacket-- yes, it's the original outfit that Saejima Taiga wore, but it also represents the fact that Kouga was 'Shiro'. At least, I think so.
So this shows that Kouga knows how to create bonds, that he's HAD bonds with people. & that he honors & remembers them.
[ 2 ] Unlike Takeru, Kouga has a love interest. Yes, it's a small reason, but because of Kaoru, he ends up figuring out why he's a Makai knight, why he fights to protect people. Because of Kaoru, he ends up opening himself to the idea of being in love with someone. Kaoru ends up becoming his whole world in a way because she ends up being embedded into his honor, his life, his heart, everything.
[ 3 ] Let me backtrack. Kouga had an inability to 'love' in the first season & the reasons why he pushed Kaoru away were revealed by Amon here. Basically, Kouga still has the pain of losing his father. He knows that it was because Taiga loved him that he sacrificed himself to save him. & that creates a disconnect in his head because it makes him think that if he loves someone, someday they'll have a 'cruel parting.' So he unconsciously rejects the love of people. Obviously, he overcomes this, which I'll get into later.
[ 3a ] But Kouga's reasons are different from Takeru's reasons. Takeru's reasons for pushing people away was because of his father's death, YES I KNOW, but also because of the tremendous lie he was holding on his shoulders due to being a kagemusha. & due to this lie he's practically suicidal, willing to throw his life away & rushing recklessly into danger despite how it worries others. Takeru felt like his life was worth nothing. Takeru felt like HE was nothing. Kouga NEVER felt that way, EVER. Kouga has never felt the need to discard his life ( yes, he's shortened it considerably but that's different ) or felt that he was a 'shadow' or even that he shouldn't live at all. Despite everything, Kouga is conscious of his own life & its worth & he never makes any actions to throw it away. Even in the end of Garo: Makai Senki, when Rei thinks Kouga wants to be the one to die to bring Idea to life, Kaoru contests that. She contests it by saying that Kouga would never want that because Kouga believes that every life is important & should be saved. Because Kouga believes that one life can save many.
[ 3b ] Let me expand on the not feeling like a shadow bit. Kouga follows in the steps of his father, yes, but he never feels as if he's a replacement for him. He spends nearly a decade training with Wataru, as well as Kengi, to master the use of Soul Metal enough so that he can pick up the Garoken & finally be able to call upon the Garo armor. Kouga works his ass off to become 'GARO: THE STRONGEST KNIGHT' & he's proud of it-- he holds himself with a nobility & grace & maturity due to it. Yes, he doesn't have the fact that he has to lie about his upbringing or anything because, well, Kouga is technically the rightful inheritor of Garo. As I've explained in the Garo world post, Makai armor is usually passed down from father to son. I'm not saying Takeru is weaker for this, no. & I'm not saying Takeru didn't work hard or isn't strong because he did & he is. I'm saying that Takeru, even though he fought & trained to become as strong as he was, he didn't do it because he was trying to become the next Shiba head like Kouga was trying to become the next Garo; he did it because it was the only thing he really had to define him as a whole. That strength, that sense of duty-- that was who he was. So what I'm saying is that there were different circumstances for them both that made them who they are.
[ 3c ] When Juuzou accuses Takeru of becoming weaker because he's begun to value his life & because of his bonds, this causes a disconnect to happen within Takeru's head. & he ends up pushing the others away. Strength is thought of differently in Takeru's head at that point. Yes, I have to say that point because the Takeru now or at the end of the canon series is entirely different from that. But, anyway, this situation never happens for Kouga. Kouga never sees himself as weaker for caring. In fact, he cares a lot about the sanctity of human life. Even when Amon accuses him of pushing Kaoru away & being unable to tell her the truth about how she's going to die, he retaliates with the fact that she's the one who gave him a reason to fight as a Makai knight. To him, her existence represents everyone's existence-- the way he wants everyone's life to shine. & that's why he fights. Another example of this is the fact that in the Makai order there are laws & one of the laws is to cut down any human who's stained by the blood of a Horror. This is not cruelty, though. The reason for this is that a person stained by Horror blood will die within 100 days, a horrible, painful death. & that they'll constantly attract other Horrors. Kouga can be seen as either cruel or not for sparing Kaoru's life, but he does it because he wants to SAVE HER LIFE. Instead of cutting her down, he searches for a way to cure her. & he sees this as something that makes him strong, this caring for other people.
[ 3d ] I feel this is important to mention. Even though I mention that Kouga's creed is basically that every life is important & etc, I am not saying that Takeru doesn't see every life as important. I am saying that Takeru has a different view of protecting people than Kouga does. He doesn't think of ONE LIFE SAVED = MANY LIVES SAVED or how one life can affect another in that way. He thinks of protecting people because he wants to protect them, to preserve life, to do his duty & etc. They both want to protect, but they both have different ideas concerning it.
[ 4 ] Kouga is way more deadpan than Takeru. Takeru shows a variation of different faces during the entirety of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. Kouga . . . doesn't. No, really. Look at his icons. All of them are basically the same fucking face.
[ 5 ] Kouga is way more open to people during Garo: Makai Senki. As well as Red Requiem. He ends up making friends with Rekka, trying to teach her how to become a better person as well as fighter. Trying to teach her his own creed as well as views on the sanctity of human life. He also accepts Leo almost right away. This is something Takeru doesn't do. His first reaction to people is to usually criticize them or be a dick to them-- it's kind of like a habit. There's even a clip of it in Takeru's journal, sob.
[ 6 ] Takeru basically follows Bushido. Kouga does not-- yes, he has his own code of honor, but these two are inherently different because Takeru is a Samurai & a Clan head/Lord, whereas Kouga is basically a rich dude. So Kouga didn't grow up with the Samurai way of life or as someone who would basically be a Lord with Vassals. Kouga grew up as a 'bocchama' it that makes sense. & unlike Takeru, who makes & gives orders, Kouga takes orders from the Makai Senate. He's promoted to a higher position within the Order, but he still has to take orders from the higher ups.
[ 7 ] Takeru, even though he's a solitary person, is also the leader of a team. Kouga is not. Despite the fact that he does team up with other Knights & Priests/Priestesses like Suzumura Rei, Fudou Leo, Jabi, Rekka, Yamagatana Tsubasa & etc. He is a solitary fighter. When he goes out, he fights as Garo: The Golden Knight; he usually doesn't take anyone with him. Not like Takeru with the Samurai Sentai Shinkengers. ( yes, Takeru WAS a solitary fighter for most of his life but the Shinkengers change that because a monster is usually defeated by the entire team or parts of the team; it's rare that it takes one Shinkenger to defeat one ).
[ 8 ] The way Takeru reacts to things is different from how Kouga would react to things. For instance, Takeru usually gets AKLHFS or EH?! or WTF @ Demyx when Demyx says ridiculous things. Kouga, if placed within the same situation, would not do that. He would deadpan. He would deadpan, then blink, then not give a fuck & move on in a calm manner. Takeru honestly has a broader range of emotions than Kouga. This is probably because Takeru has Genta & Genta brought out a lot of his personality ( there's this one scene where Genta gets Takeru to start hysterically laughing! ). Kouga . . . did not have anyone like Genta, sorry to say.
[ 9 ] Strangely enough, Takeru IS FASHIONABLE. What he wears is incredibly in fashion & looks good on him. He has a variety of different outfits he wears. Kouga . . . does not. He wears the same fucking outfit every episode. No, really. All he wears is his Kaiba Coat. Even when he's out on a picnic with Kaoru, or out watching a play with Kaoru. It's the same fucking outfit. You want to know how long it takes for him to change his outfit? TWO SEASONS. He gets a new outfit in the upcoming movie: In which he looks like he belongs in Lord of the Rings. ( I am going to put up a fashion post for Garo too, but basically all the Makai people wear Final Fantasy Lord of the Ring outfits despite normal people wearing their normal stuff. How no one notices this is beyond me. But, hey, that's toku logic. ) [ edit: i lied he does change outfits once. ONCE. he wears a black suit in the poker episode. ]
[ 10 ] Takeru's sword fighting style is based on Kendo. More specifically, it seems to center around Tate? [ Matsuzaka: I’ve done a little Tate ( sword fighting ). It’s a bit like Kendo. Yeah, because I played a samurai role. If in the future there is a scene that uses both Chansung’s Kendo and my Tate acting experience that would be great. ] Kouga's is not. & though Takeru does have some hand to hand combat skills, I'd have to say Kouga's skills in that area surpasses his because his hand to hand combat style is basically magical matrix kung fu.
[ 11 ] This is small, but it's related to the hierarchy of-- what's the word. Worlds? Fighting? Or something like that. Takeru & the other Shinkengers basically protect all of Japan from the Gedoushuu. Kouga protects the East & is considered to be the Golden Makai Knight of the East because Makai knights are assigned to sections of the world. Because Takeru isn't a part of a separate world/order like Kouga is. The Makai Order is large & spans through the world with basically an army of members. Instead of just 7 members, the Makai world has HUNDREDS within their ranks.
[ 12 ] Takeru can dere. Kouga cannot. He does it once when he's a kid & then it's like nope.
--- okay i have more reasons but I just stayed up like the entire night & I need sleep. I will expand on this when I wake up.