Aoi Tsubaki (津場木 葵, Tsubaki Aoi) is the main character of Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi. She has the ability to see ayakashi when she was very young.
Aoi is a beautiful young woman with shoulder-length brown hair that has bangs swept to the right and purple eyes. She usually wears a light blue colored dress with a bluish gray jacket or wears a green or blue kimono. She usually wears her hair down or in a ponytail when wearing a kimono.
Aoi is a very kind, caring and friendly young woman, though that is not to say she can not be stubborn when she feels the need. This is best exemplified by her refusing to become the ogre's bride and rather paying off her debt on her own. She also tends to help those around her, and will take support if it supports her goals.
As a child, Aoi was able to see ayakashi, an ability inherited from her grandfather. Her mother was unable to put up with her ability and she abandoned her, which forced Aoi to reside in an orphanage. All alone and close to starving, she meets a kind ayakashi who gave her food. Soon, Shirō Tsubaki (Aoi's grandfather), found and adopted her. Prior to his death, Shirō taught Aoi how to cook in a manor that would be enjoyed by ayakashi. After his death, Aoi lived on her own, only then to be taken by the ogre and start her new life in the hidden realm.
One day, shortly after the death of Shirō Tsubaki, Aoi gives a boxed lunch to a hungry oni (ogre/demon). To her surprise, he responds by whisking her away to the Hidden Realm where ayakashi live and declaring that she will become his bride. The oni explains that he is the master of an inn for ayakashi known as “Tenjin-ya”. Her grandfather, the only known human able to cross freely into the ayakashi world, had during his lifetime racked up a debt of 100 million yen at the inn. Lacking the money to repay the inn owner, he instead offered the hand of his granddaughter in marriage.
Furious, Aoi refuses to marry the oni and declares that she will instead work off her debt by finding a job at Tenjin-ya. However, the various ayakashi employees treat her coldly and refuse to work with her. The sole exceptions are Kasuga and Ginji, a shapeshifting nine-tailed fox. Ginji used to own a restaurant on the inn’s grounds, but it failed due to a lack of customers. After the two bond over cooking for one another, Ginji suggests that Aoi reopen the restaurant and cook food from the human world, which ayakashi find extremely delicious.
Powers & Abilities
Aoi has the ability to see ayakashi which is not visible to the normal human eye. She is also an excellent cook with an ability to make food that ayakashi find delicious.
When sent to the adoption center, Shirō gladly takes Aoi in and raises her. He teaches her how to cook food delighting the ayakashi palate. She attended his funeral when he fell down the stairs and hit his head, having him sent to the hospital. She wanted to cook for him before he died, but his last meal was hospital food. It was Shirō's fault that Aoi has to live at Tenjin-ya in order to pay off the debt he left before he died. Aoi continues to learn move about her grandfather from the ayakashi she encounters in Tenjin-ya.
While passing by, Aoi meets a masked man and gives him food. She then meets him again and is left a wrapped box as well as a hairpin resembling a flower. She proceeds to open this and is sent to the hidden realm to be Ōdanna's bride. As collateral for Shiro's debt of 100 million yen, Aoi is forced to marry him. She immediately declines and decides to work to pay off her grandfather's debt.
Since arriving in Tenjin-ya, she has grown comfortable with Ōdanna and enjoys learning more about him as they spend more time together. At first, she feared him because he enjoys eating human girls, but soon she came to respect him. Aoi does develop feelings for the ogre that she struggles to admit to and she eventually stops correcting Ōdanna when he calls her his bride to others, proving how she’s grown comfortable with the idea of marrying him. The two almost kissed in their mission to obtain a mermaid scale, which Aoi would have let happen, had Ōdanna not pulled away first.
Aoi meets Ginji on her first night at Tenjin-ya. He gives her food and shows her his shapeshifting abilities. Ginji is the one who urges Aoi to open her own restaurant so that she can earn the money needed to pay back her grandfather's debt. Ginji has proven to be a loyal friend and is always willing to help Aoi. Although many at Tenjin-ya are suspicious of Ginji, since he was originally from Orio-ya (a rival inn), Aoi is one of the only ones to fully trust Ginji.
At first Oryō does not like Aoi. Oryō also liked the master and didn't think Aoi was good enough to marry him. She also didn't think a human should be working at Tenjin-ya, as Oryō worked hard to get where she is at the inn. However, after Aoi cares for Oryō when she falls ill, the two become closer and Oryō comes to respect Aoi as a chef and a good person.
Like most of the other staff at Tenjin-ya, Akatsuki doesn't think Aoi belongs at the inn. However, after Aoi nurses Akatsuki back to health, he comes to like her. He enjoys her cooking and even helped hang the new sign in Aoi's restaurant.
As chief of the accounting office of Tenjin-ya, Byakuya thinks Aoi is destined to fail in her attempts of opening up her eatery. However, after Aoi receives a successful review in a newspaper, the restaurant becomes prosperous, thus leading to Byakuya's respect. Aoi also caught Byakuya playing with the tube kittens in the forest, which he found embarrassing.
Chibi is a Kappa Aoi is fond of. He later joins her in the hidden realm claiming to be her sidekick. He is devoted to Aoi and doesn't hesitate to join her on any of her adventures that she sets out on even if he is scared. He is always happy to eat cucumbers (and other foods) from Aoi.
When Aoi calls for Chibi to come back, thinking he will disturb the umi-bouzu, the latter suddenly becomes sad and scared. Aoi further lifts the blinds to discover the small child with Chibi clinging to the umi-bouzu. Aoi touches the scared ayakashi and is given a vision of how lonely and hungry he always feels - a feeling that Aoi is empathetic to due to her own loneliness when she was a child. She then decides to gather everyone on the island to eat and share company with the umi-bouzu. Everyone has a good time until it is time for the umi-bouzu to return to the sea. Before he leaves, Aoi asks him if he wanted to stay with her but he cannot due to his job of protecting the Southern Land. He leaves, saying he will see them in 100 years - although Aoi notes she may not be around by then.
- The name Aoi means "hollyhock, althea" (葵) (aoi).
- Shirō's surname Tsubaki means "port" (津) (tsu), "place" (場) (ba), and "tree" (木) (ki).
- Aoi is afraid of thunder and lightning, due to the fact that she was abandoned by her mother at a young age.