The main protagonist, a boy whose face inspires fear, but whose true nature is that of a kind-hearted boy. His gentle and caring actions mostly frighten those around him due to misunderstandings and he's used to getting hit for no apparent reason at all (except for his terrifying features). As well as his conditioned reflexes and unfortunate coincidences, his appearance has made others mistake him not only as a delinquent, and sometimes even the Devil itself, but as the Guardian (an outdated title of strongest school thug) of his high school.
Characteristically of the series, the angel-hearted Kitano would misunderstand the actions of the people he faces (or forced to face), never even thinking ill of them, while the reverse is almost certainly true. This is the main running gag that serves as the center of the story.
Kitano appears as a normal boy with the stark exception of his face. He has tiny black irises and nearly non-existent eyebrows that looked shaved off (that he inherited from his father) and ghostly-pale skin that make him look like a heroin addict and bags under his eyes (which he inherited from his mother). He also has terrible bed-head that spikes up so he uses a heavy amount of hair gel to slick his hair back to keep it under control. Because of his lack of eyebrows, he appears to have a perpetual furrowed brow, giving him an angry look. By Chapter 3 onward, he is almost always seen with his mouth open in an ominous-like smile, giving people the assumption he has an evil look, despite what he is really feeling. Physically, he is skinny and somewhat lanky and because of how pale he is, he is mistaken for a heroin addict.
After Chapter 2, gains a huge scar on his face after his confrontation with Yuji Takehisa. While it is normally invisible, it can become bright red and visible and reappear when he is extremely agitated. This has only happened once during the war against Hakuun when he believed Takehisa was trying to commit suicide again.
During Chapter 1, Kitano was shown with a longer face and his mouth was able to be closed normally. Mid-way from Chapter 2 onward, he keeps his mouth in his standard menacing-looking grin. As the series develops, the artwork shows Kitano with a wider forehead, smaller eyes, and more round head.
Despite his frightening and evil-looking appearance, Kitano has a pure and golden heart. He is normally a very positive person and always looks on the bright side, despite the terrible misunderstandings he gets himself into. He's aware that people tend to run away or are frightened because of how he looks, but he doesn't let that deter him and continues to view life in a positive light. Because children tend to run away from him, he's not very good at dealing with them.
Kitano is afraid of violence and prefers to talk things out diplomatically. Because of his klutzy actions, however, his attempts at being diplomatic turn into violence without him being aware of it. When driven to a corner, or if someone close to him is in trouble, he will push them out of the way with surprising strength. He tends to scream out "KIEEEE!!!!" which is sometimes in place with something he means to say, though is completely unintelligible to others (another trait he inherited from his father).
Kitano values all his relationships with those around him and doesn't keep a low opinion of anyone, even if they are frightened of him. He likes making new friends and is lonely when people avoid him. He is good friends with Takehisa and Kuroda, even though they think he's the Guardian. Ryoko Koiso, her friend Ikuko Hirayama, and Ikuno Shirataki (his three female friends) also know his true nature but are friends with him for their own reasons. He has a happy and loving relationship with his mother and father, never shown to even get in family arguments with them.
He is very naive and tends to mistake the gang underworld for something else entirely, depending on the situation. Part of his misunderstandings come from silently thinking of the reasons to himself and not voicing out loud what he guesses is happening, unless he is directly asked. Because of this, he tends to think that his being attacked is because of something he did and not simply from other people drawing their own conclusions about him.
When in a panic, Kitano will usually scream "KIEEE!!" and run full sprint upright with his arms stretched upwards. Even though he is yelling "KIEEE!!" and that's all people hear, he is usually trying to say something normal like "Are you ok?!" or "You can't die!!" Unfortunately, this is never conveyed and is confused as Kitano's war cry to the others. He will also shout "KIEEE!!" when sneezing in place of "Ah-CHOO!!" like the others.
While his looks make it seem he is not strong, he has a natural ability to move instantly along the direction of the hits thereby suffering little to no damage as a result from being randomly beaten over the years. If he fights for too long, his body will eventually start to wear down, even if his mind feels the same. If he is on his back, he is unable to use his reflexes and will take the full force of a hit. He has amazing willpower and always manages to get back up or remain standing, despite his injuries, no matter how serious. Kitano's speed and reflexes advance to a near inhuman level. His reflexes are at the level where they can keep up with a martial arts master's attacks while his speed is great enough that using he becomes a blur and simultaneously avoid three martial artists and even a camera shutter.
When pushed to a corner, or protecting one of his friends, Kitano will also occasionally uses a special finishing move: a double-palmed push. It is simply just a shove to push someone away. It has been observed repeatedly of having the capability of lifting the victims off their feet and sending them soaring several feet away. Because of the force of the push, very few get up from it.
In his previous school, Kitano was beloved by the students and faculty alike. While they also were scared of his face at first, they looked past it over time and saw him for the kind and good boy he is (although his face still startles them from time to time).
The Guardian of Hekikuu High Edit
On his first day in Hekikuu, on the way to his new school, Kitano tried to help an older man carrying a lot of weight, though the man ran away in fear instead. At first he was disheartened by this, but quickly hurried to school. When he arrived, he met the principal and his aide, Shiraishi. The principal, also fearful of Kitano denied he was the good student they were waiting for in a fury, hurting his feelings. Shiraishi then asks for identification to prove his identity and Kitano complies by giving them his CD store rental card, with his photo attached, shocking the principal further. While the principal laments, Shiraishi decides to take Kitano to his classroom.
As they walk down the hall, Shiraishi apologizes for the principal's behavior, explaining he comes from a generation that judges based on appearances. Kitano explains he's used to it since it's always been that way. He tells Shiraishi he just wants to get along with everyone, but they always run, causing him to cry (unaware that he still looks frightening even when sad). For his class introduction, Kitano tries to explain to the class that despite his looks, he is timid and shy and hopes they will be friends. The class silently doesn't believe him, frightened of him, and misinterpret it to mean he was threatening them. As a result, everybody made sure to face forward silently and made no attempt to talk to him.
When the homeroom teacher arrives energetically, he is surprised to see the class quiet and still.He tries to keep the positivity going by looking for Kitano and was frightened at his face when he saw him. In an attempt to keep a fun atmosphere, he tries to make a pun using Kitano's name. While Kitano did find it funny and complimented the teacher, he unfortunately looked like it upset him, causing the teacher to beg for his life.
Later, during class, Seikichi Kuroda and his friends storms into the class demanding to know who the transfer student is, violently demanding a student where he is. Kitano stays seated, in fear about getting tangled with thugs so suddenly. Instead, Kuroda, frightened after seeing Kitano , pretends a student in front of him is the transfer student instead and drags him away to beat him up. Kitano silently believes that the student was also a transfer student and that that was the real reason the students were so shocked and thinks the class will be fun soon, despite the fact the class feels Kitano striking fear into the Guardian made them feel despair.
After school ends, Kitano notices nobody leaving and leaves first. After he leaves, he overhears the students expressing relief that he left and how scared they were, confirming his thoughts that they were quiet because of him. He is sad at first after he tried to introduce himself and that it was his fault the class was so gloomy. Outside, he stretches and lifts his spirits and believes that someday they will understand him after feeling cheered from looking at the blue sky and clouds. As he expresses his gratefulness to everything around him, Tokiyama nearby believes he must be upset since he can't hear what he's whispering to himself. Kitano decides to clean up the school to express his gratitude and begins to clean up the trash. enthused with the idea.
Later, Kitano tosses a bag full of trash away. Before he calls it a day, he notices a small tree that was broken off the stump, which he suspects was from a typhoon some time ago. As he wonders why the student body didn't do anything about it, he notices a tossed aside can, unaware it was Kuroda who tossed it earlier. Kitano rounds the corner and sees Kuroda and his friends, while still holding the tree trunk. They scream and then his friends urge Kuroda to fight, pushing him towards Kitano. He is frightened at finding them and tries to run away, but because his legs are shaking so much, he trips over his own feet and stumbles forward from the tree's weight. He tries screaming at them to get out of the way (it only comes out as "KIEEE!!") and slams the tree trunk into the wall after tripping over a rock, narrowly missing Kuroda. Kitano hurt his face from slamming into the tree in recoil and has a bloody nose. He looks down at Kuroda and silently worries they will be mad at him. They abandon all pride and beg for Kitano to spare their lives and not kill them. Kuroda decides to give his Guardian title to Kitano while they are begging, not listening to Kitano try to say he should be the one to apologize, not them. Kitano and the others then decide to be Kitano's underlings, greeting him formally and offering to carry his bag. While the teachers were happy to hear the original Guardian group was disbanded, Kitano's class was even more afraid of him.
Meeting Yuji Takahisa Edit
A week later at night, Kitano looks up at the night sky from his balcony, admiring the stars. He sees a shooting star and makes a wish for peace and goodwill to all. He summarizes how it's been a week and still hasn't made any friends, wondering if he should have wished for a friend instead. He dismisses the idea saying world peace is more important and picks a little star to wish on instead and wishes on it for a friend. He sees the star twinkle and feels optimistic about tomorrow.
The next day as Kitano walks to school, Kuroda and his friends walks up and greets Kitano and insists to carry his bag. Kitano tries to kindly refuse and silently appreciates Kuroda taking care of him every morning, despite his scary looks, unaware that Kuroda is simply afraid of angering him. Before he enters his classroom, he starts to feel depressed, expecting everyone to be still and silent again. He overhears the class talking about him and one of the students questions if he really is evil, thinking he might actually be earnest. They don't believe her and when she points out he never gets mad, they dismiss it saying he's always in a bad mood, ready to explode. She continues saying that she can't see him as a bad guy and may actually be a very nice person, giving Kitano hope his wish was heard, but the class doesn't believe he's anything but evil. She defies them saying she'll be the one to tell him hello, but when she sees Kitano when she opens the door, she is immediately frightened and cries, to his dismay.
During break, Kitano leaves the class and notes how everyone is still frozen in their seats, almost like his leaving this way is a ritual and laments how he won't make any friends if this keeps up as he walks off down the hall. When he walks back a little later, the class quickly returns to theirs seats, paralyzed with fear, and discovers Yuji Takehisa sitting in his seat. He silently realizes Takehisa is in the wrong seat but doesn't want to tell him to move since it would sound contemptful. He continues to stare at Takehisa contemplating what to say without sounding pushy. Takehisa finally caves in to Kitano's intimidating looks and walks away from the class. Kitano wonders if maybe he thought he was weird for not saying anything. He feels he blew it and needs to apologize to Takehisa since he might be worried about it unaware that the class started spreading the rumor of their exchange.
After class, Kitano is looking for Takehisa. wanting to apologize. He then gets worried and thinks that his mean-looking attitude might have hurt Takehisa's feelings or attempt suicide and wants to find him quickly. When he rounds the corner, he accidentally bumps into Takehisa. In a panic, Takehisa pulls out his switchblade knife, threatening to cut him with it. Kitano doesn't hear him and only notices that Takehisa's pose places the knife's blade near his wrist, causing him to tear up thinking his silent staring hurt him more than he thought. Kitano rushes Takehisa, screaming incoherently to stop and tries to get the knife away from him, but misses. Kitano tries again, but Takehisa flails in fear and accidentally slices Kitano's face in the process. Takehisa is surprised by this, wondering if Kitano is not afraid of his knife. Takehisa quickly recovers and says he followed through on his threat, hoping that will get him to leave, as the onlookers scream in fear at the scene. Kitano sees that Takehisa moved the knife away from his wrist and lunges at Yuji, striking the knife's butt to plunge it safely into the wall. He notes how dangerous that was since it could have pierced through his hand if he had missed. He then tells Takehisa not to toss his life away so easily. Takehisa bows down, apologizing, saying he understands the power difference between them and promises not to disobey him ever again, to Kitano's confusion. From that point forward, Takehisa became Kitano's first friend and acts as his enforcer and loyal follower, but the class is now more distanced from Kitano as a result.
Takeshi Kojima Arc Edit
As Kitano waits for the bus to school, various people try to sit down next to him only to be frightened and stand waiting, not facing him. Unaware of his surroundings, the bench behind him is occupied by three Hakuun High School delinquents mocking about Kuroda's defeat to the 1st year transfer student, talking about the frightening rumors about him, but believe it's a bluff. The delinquents then look at the sole person the people refuse to sit next to and find out it's Kitano, frightened at how he looks like a demon. They recover and order him to stop staring at him, but Kitano only just becomes aware they are talking to him, but notices the bus approaching. He gets up to get to board it, but the delinquents mistake it for him challenging them as he walks to the bus behind them. They finally submit to their fear of him, and run away promising revenge.
During break, Kitano once again leaves class, wondering when they'll get used to him, and decides to visit Kuroda. When he arrives at their usual hangout, he finds Takehisa unconscious on the ground, and screams, to Kuroda and the others confusion. Unaware he was attacked by delinquents, Kitano believes he tried to commit suicide and starts to get upset. He then runs towards him, unintelligibly screaming for Takehisa to not die. While Kuroda misunderstands and runs after the delinquents that knocked out Takehisa, Kitano checks on Takehisa and finds that he's still breathing, determined not to take his eyes off him for a second. He then takes him to the infirmary. Unknown to him, his legend began and started to grow about him and Hakuun while he tried to explain the wonders of life to Takehisa, to his confusion.
One morning, Kitano tries to turn in a wallet he found to the police station. Unfortunately, he was chased away and shot at as he escapes. Back on the street, he remarks how scary it was and decides to just deliver the wallet himself. He looks inside and sees it belongs to a Hakuun High student named Takeshi Kojima.
Kitano finally arrives at the school and marvels at how big it is. He wonders if he can find someone who knows Kojima and sees Hayami (on his way to round up the other underlings and arm them in their upcoming war against Hekikuu's thugs after he and Kojima learned what happened). He asks Hayami if he knows Kojima, frightening Hayami. Hayami demands to know what he wants from Kojima and Kitano introduces himself. Kitano repeats asking if he knows Kojima, but Hayami instead introduces himself as Hakuun's #2 and will take on Kitano instead. Kitano misunderstands it as meaning Hayami will take him to see Kojima and walks forward, causing Hayami to jump backward (Hayami believing Kitano is a super experienced fighter for crossing the gap between them with no fighting stance). Kitano thinks Hayami has a weird way of walking, but brushes it off as there are all types of people in the world. As he continues to walk forward, Hayami continues to jump backward. As Kitano snickers at Hayami's jumping, finding it funny, Hayami takes the chance to punch Kitano. Kitano looks back with a venomous look, scaring Hayami, but silently chastises himself for laughing at how another person walks. Because he sees it as the lowest act he can imagine, he feels disgusted with himself and approaches Hayami so he can hit Kitano again as retribution. Scared for his life, Hayami wildly runs backward to get away from Kitano. Kitano screams KIEE at Hayami to wait as he runs after him, also noting how Hayami runs weird and surprised he can move fast like that. Hayami trips and falls backward and smacks the back of his head on a planter box, stunning him. When he goes to check on Hayami to see if he's ok, he hears someone yelling for Hayami and sees the angry Kojima looking over him. They lock eyes and Kojima feels an intimidation coming from Kitano. Hayami warns Kojima that he was the one who beat up Kuroda and Kojima demands to know from Kitano what he's doing here, asking if he's picking a fight with Hakuun. Kitano is still unsure what they're talking about and tries to get Hayami to lie back down after seeing him try to get up. Hayami keeps dodging Kitano's hand as Kitano tells him to stop moving since he hit his head. He tries to tell the panicking Hayami to settle down as Hayami begs him not to get any closer. Before Kojima can attack, he is stopped by Tanabe, the school's Guidance Counselor, and threatens him to return to class. As he passes by Kitano to collect Hayami, Kojima promises to pay back Kitano for what happened. When Hayami calls Kojima by his first name, Kitano realizes that was the Takeshi Kojima he was looking for. He is then stopped by Tanabe, Hakuun's Guidance Counselor, and frightens him when he looks at him. Kitano politely bows and apologizes, saying he should have checked into the office first, to Tanabe's confusion and suspicion. Kitano then thinks since he missed his chance to give the wallet to Kojima, he'll just give it to the teacher instead, believing he can trust him with it. Tanabe yells at Kitano defiantly demanding to know what he wants and warns him he's not only like the Guidance Counselors from his school, he also won't yield to threats. Kitano silently says to himself that the teacher is making a mistake and that he should return the wallet and hurry back to school. He reaches into his gakuran jacket and starts to tell Tanabe about the wallet, only for Tanabe to mishear it as "knife" (wallet = saifu, naifu = knife). Tanabe panics, thinking Kitano is trying to stab him, but Kitano is certain that if he pulls out the wallet, it will resolve the misunderstanding. Tanabe quickly pins Kitano's hand to his chest using his shinai, preventing him from pulling out the supposed knife. Kitano musters as much strength as he can to pull it out, determined everything will be cleared up as a funny story for them. Kitano screams something untranslatable as he breaks free from Tanabe's shinai pin and pulls out the wallet. He holds the wallet up in the air to show Tanabe, but Tanabe has already run away in fear of being killed.
The next day, it was confirmed by Tokiyama that Kitano was called into the principal's office for sneaking into Hakkun High and defeating Hayami. Instead of being suspended, he was only let off with a severe warning. Later that day in the empty classroom, Kitano resolves his determination to go back to Hakuun and give Kojima back his wallet, completely unaware his actions have sparked a war between Hakuun's thugs and Hekikuu's.
Seikichi Kuroda Edit
Yuji Takahisa Edit
- "I want to get along with everyone but they always run away..."
- "I feel like something good will happen tomorrow."
- "You shouldn't be so quick to die. Life is a precious thing..."
- "KIEEE!" (catchphrase scream)