Ginji (銀次) is one of the main characters of Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi series and is the young master of Tenjin-ya. He is a nine-tailed fox ayakashi who was the first ayakashi in the Hidden Realm to show Aoi real kindness on her first night in Tenjin-ya. He initially runs a small restaurant in the garden of Tenjin-ya but does not receive many customers. Later, he asks Aoi to work with him after tasting her human style food.
Ginji is similar in age to Ōdanna, being more than three hundred years old.
Ginji's normal appearance is that of a young man with layered white, wavy hair, long bangs, light blue eyes, and white fox ears. His white nine tails are very rarely seen in this form in the anime (although his tails are included regularly in the promo art). His teeth are perfect rows with no fangs. As one of the ayakashi present when Aoi first arrived in the Hidden Realm, he once wore a white fox mask with red and yellow markings to hide his face.
As a nine-tailed fox, he is able to transform into nine variations of himself. It is unclear if his normal appearance is included in these nine.
- Little Boy: First seen in episode one. Per Ginji, this is the form he finds the least threatening, and is the transformation he takes when formally introducing himself to Aoi for the first time. He is still recognizably himself but with childish features. His white nine tails are prominent and are proportionally larger than his body. The tenor of his voice changes to suit his youthful appearance. Two small fangs on the upper row of teeth are visible when he speaks. This is one of Ginji's "low power" forms, and he uses it to manipulate and get closer to people.
- Young Woman: First seen in episode one. Ginji takes on the form a young woman with a slender face and pink glossed lips. His nine tails are proporitionally larger than his body. While his normal and little boy forms have layered and wavy hair, as a young woman his hair is long, sleek, and straight with no bangs. Same as his normal form, his teeth are perfect rows with no fangs. The color of his clothing also appears to lighten. His voice becomes much softer and more gentle. Ginji tells Aoi that this form was intended entirely for the ceremony, during which his female form wears a ceremonial miko-style set of formal wear, to perform the night kagura dance alongside Ranmaru.
- Tiny Fox: First seen in episode one. This form is truest to that of a fox, albeit with his white nine tails. His eyes are closed as narrow, slanted lines and his eyebrows are large dots with a purplish tinge. The fur on his body is short but he has a thick collar of fur around his neck and over his chest. Ginji acknowledges that he is quite fluffy in this form. When he speaks, his mouth does not move. His voice takes on a slightly higher pitch. This is Ginji's lowest power mode, and he converts to it when his spiritual power is depleted or when he is ill.
- Grown Kitsune: First seen in episode eighteen. This form closely resembles the size of a kitsune and looks like an older version of his Tiny Fox form. His eyes are narrow and are an icy blue color. There are three small red streaks below his eyes and one short streak above it, on each side. Another two streaks lie in the center of his muzzle. The uppermost closely resembles a stretched diamond which ends halfway on his muzzle. The second is roughly the same shape, but thinner, and begins where the first ends while ending just before the tip of his nose. Ginji has sharply pointed ears with white tuffs of hair inside. He has the same thick, fur collar around his neck and shorter hair on his body. This is a comparatively "high power" mode for Ginji, and he uses it sparingly, but it is particularly strong and capable of flight.
Ginji is a kind-hearted individual who seems to care deeply about Aoi, to the point where he even brings her food without Ōdanna knowing. He seems cheerful and friendly. He respects Ōdanna, calling him a "wonderful ogre." However, several people refer to him as manipulative, clever, sneaky, and even treacherous, though it is unclear how much any of these appellations is earned. He has shown himself to be clever and manipulative on several occasions, though usually he turns these talents toward peacemaking, getting closer to people, and avoiding paying the bill for dinner. He is a workaholic, throwing himself into his duties until he makes himself sick, and often forgetting to eat and otherwise take care of himself. He is also an enthusiastic drinker, eager to bring about Aoi's drinking debut, and often having sake on his own in the evenings.
Ginji behaves extremely kindly and encourages Aoi in her cooking, showing himself to be effusive in his praise of her, and he is very vocal in her defense. He is the only person to provide her with a way to repay her debt to Tenjin-ya, which in turn would allow her to avoid marrying the master innkeeper, despite Ginji's professed support of the match, and he supports her unfailingly in the running and promotion of Moonflower. At Orio-ya, Ginji also reveals himself to be overprotective, working hard to keep Aoi away from the ceremony and its attendant dangers, and telling her very little about it until he has to. He is skilled at avoiding conversations he doesn't want to have, and extremely stubborn and defiant in Ranmaru's presence, disliking his adopted brother's ruthlessness, tactlessness, ambition, and tyrannous nature, especially when it affects Aoi.
As a child, he never lost a fight--usually trapping or tricking his opponents--and was very defiant, hating to study and speaking up in his adopted mother's defense, even in the face of a high noble from Youto.
Ginji started working at Tenjin-ya about fifty years before the action of the novels and anime begins, and can be seen in the photograph taken of the inn's staff and Aoi's grandfather. Previously he worked for Tenjin-ya's competitor, Orio-ya, in the South. He was a founder and the young master of that inn, working alongside Ranmaru for two hundred and fifty years. He was an orphan kitsune in the blighted Southern land, alongside a young Ranmaru, before both of them were found and adopted by Iso-hime, the former hachiyo of the South.
She raised the two of them in a shrine near the sea, teaching them to be the guardian beasts of both the shrine and of the Southern land, particularly as the preparers and performers of a tricentennial ceremony conducted to please and quell the Umi-bozu. During preparations for Ranmaru and Ginji's first ceremony, Ginji was baited by Raijū to defend Iso-hime and behave defiantly toward him, giving Raijū a reason to abandon and betray the Southern land before he helped them find one of the necessary treasures for the ceremony, and it failed. It was because of that failure that Iso-hime died, drawing the resulting disasters and miasma to herself in the undersea Dragon Palace, and leaving Ginji and Ranmaru alone.
Ginji and Ranmaru then founded the original Orio-ya with Ougon-douji, and Ranmaru became hachiyo of the Southern land, following in Iso-hime's footsteps. They worked together there, building up the Southern land's economy and trying to bring prosperity to the place of their birth, for more than two hundred years, until Ginji became utterly unable to watch how much Ranmaru was changing, and allowed himself to be recruited to work for Tenjin-ya. He promised Ranmaru that he would return for the ceremony, but they parted on bad terms. Orio-ya sees him as a traitor.
For unknown reasons, Ginji appeared to Aoi when she was a child, watching over her while she was left alone by her mother in their abandoned home. He wore a mask common to the Southern land, and fulfilled three wishes for Aoi--speaking her name, staying with her during the thunder storm, and giving her something to eat. Aoi claims that this ayakashi saved her life, and that he was her first love. She remembers him telling her that he would come back for her when she grew up, that he would marry her, and that he would like it if she would come to love him first.
When they meet again, Ginji refuses to directly answer whether he was this ayakashi--finding ways to avoid the conversation when it is brought up--but he drops several artful hints throughout the series. He mentions knowing her favorite food several times without being told (Aoi wished for her mother's curry rice, which he could not provide), and piles Moonflower high with curry roux so she can always make it. He notes when she is imprisoned by the kitchen crew that she must have been especially frightened, being cold, alone, and hungry--an implication that he knew what the worst moment in her life was like for her.
Ginji claims that he has never known love, despite being three hundred years old, and that he has been too busy to have a girlfriend. When he and Aoi are eating and having drinks alone, he comments on how fun it is, but is notably awkward about being asked if he is romantically involved. Whenever Aoi is sick or injured, Ginji typically sticks by and takes care of her.
Powers & Abilities
Shape-shifting into nine different forms using fox magic. Examples are a handsome man with handsome fox ears, a young boy with adorable fox ears and nine fluffy tails, a beautiful woman, and a baby fox with nine tails. However, out of those he seems to spend most of his time in his adult male form. It is unclear what his other four forms are.
As a large kitsune, Ginji is capable of some flight, and he can purify his body of miasma and regenerate himself, especially with the aid of a shrine or spiritual energy provided by sustenance.
Ginji is an able assistant cook, and especially good at sourcing ingredients and tools. He is knowledgeable about food and ingredients from all over the Hidden Realm and Apparent Realm, and creative about menu planning and sake pairings.
Ginji seems to care about Aoi and he is very friendly with her. In the form of a little boy, he sneaks a meal to her on her first night at Tenji-ya, thinking correctly that she might be hungry. While Aoi is against marrying Ōdanna, Ginji encourages and supports the match, but does not press her on the matter. It was Ginji's idea that Aoi open a restaurant in the garden annex at Tenjin-ya. His continued encouragement helps Aoi come to the decision to do so herself, and he helps her run the eatery thereafter, finding ingredients, going shopping with her, helping plan the menu, and serving at important events, as well as acting as a taste-tester. When everyone at Tenjin-ya was cruel to Aoi or avoided her, Ginji was her only friend. When Ginji overworks himself and grows ill, Aoi is moved to tears at the idea of losing him. Ginji tells Aoi that he loves Moonflower, the eatery that they created together, and even after they have been kidnapped, they speak often about new menu items they want to bring back to Moonflower. Aoi comments on that fact that she doesn't know what he is to her, but that he always guides her and that she admires him. Ginji is extremely protective of her when they are at Orio-ya, taking on Ranmaru several times and confronting Raiju forcefully for cursing and threatening her. When Raiju asks him if he has ever considered eating her, Ginji rejects the idea with disgust, and tells Raiju that, to him, Aoi represents hope. Aoi helps Ginji reconnect with Ranmaru as brothers, even if it means he might stay in the Southern land and not return to Moonflower with her. As the ayakashi who watched over and saved her life, Aoi has confessed to Ginji that he was her first love; unfathomably, he encourages her to tell the master that story, ostensibly changing the subject to her feelings about Ōdanna instead of himself.
Ginji greatly respects Ōdanna. He calls him a wonderful ogre, as well as someone cool-headed, merciless, and bighearted at the same time. He adds that Ōdanna is greatly well-liked and respected by his employees, and that he is an ogre-god who is among the most powerful and high-ranking ayakashi. Whenever someone threatens to take Aoi away from Tenjin-ya, Ginji frames her importance as the master's fiancée in order to protect her. He purports to support the match and often asks Aoi how things are going in their relationship, and listens to her anxieties about the master's aloofness and mysterious interest in her. He is also her chief supporter at Moonflower, the only enterprise capable of freeing Aoi from the obligation of marrying the master of Tenjin-ya, and subtly competes with Ōdanna for her attention, affection, and trust, but always does so with seeming innocence and plausible deniability--a tribute to his own manipulative capabilities.
Ranmaru is Ginji's childhood friend and his foster brother, as both were adopted by Iso-hime, the late hachiyo of the Southern land. Despite having conflicting personalities, they were close as brothers, with Ginji looking up to Ranmaru as his older brother. After Iso-hime's death, Ginji and Ranmaru were both found by Ougon-Douji, who invited them to work for Orio-ya and help to make sure that the next ceremony would not fail. Ginji made a promise to Ranmaru that he would stay with him and help him, but later found that Ranmaru's personality had drastically changed to the point where Ginji could no longer bear to see him the way he was, so when Ōdanna scouted him to come to Tenjin-ya, he left in order to escape what Ranmaru had become, causing a deep rift between them. Upon his return, they constantly snipe at each other and get into loud arguments, especially where Aoi is concerned. Ginji finds Ranmaru oppressive and ruthless, and is almost instinctively defiant in the face of it, even when it will not aid his cause. Ranmaru in turn goads him freely, expecting Ginji to prove his loyalty and usefulness again and again, and making unreasonable demands of everyone around him, including himself. Ginji admits to Aoi that Ranmaru is his family, and that he wants to be close to him again. They both see their mother Iso-hime in the mists of the magical hanging scroll, which shows the observer their desires, and lures them into danger with those wishes.
Oryo refers to Ginji as "the last good catch" at Tenjin-ya, and blames Aoi for moving in on him, but Ginji seems to have no consciousness that anyone sees him that way, nor why. He does not seem to spend much time with his fellow employees, telling Aoi that he spends his evenings alone with his sake, when he is not at Moonflower. Though she seems to see him as a good catch, Oryo is never shown flirting with or even speaking much to Ginji.
Ginji seems to have a healthy respect and fear for Byakuya, anticipating the head accounting bringing the hammer down on Moonflower on more than one occasion, and accepting with resignation the prospect that Byakuya might cut his salary for failing to adequately protect Aoi while she is preparing the anniversary dinner for Nuinoin and Ritsuko.
Ougon-douji founded Orio-ya with the help of Ranmaru and Ginji, after the death of Iso-hime. She was apparently an old friend of Iso-hime, prompting her to take the boys in after her death, as they were still quite young. Despite this, and perhaps because of her nature, Ougon-douji behaves coldly toward Ginji when she orders him to return to Orio-ya, treating him and both inns like her belongings that she may rearrange as she pleases.
Princess Iso was his and Ranmaru's foster mother, and he is shown to have cared for her greatly, crying for days after her sacrifice. He may feel guilty over her death, as his defiant protectiveness caused him to fall into Raiju's trap, resulting in the failure of the ceremony and the subsequent need for Iso-hime's sacrifice in the Dragon Palace to save the Southern land.
- Ginji claims that inari-zushi is the only food he knows how to make, but he shows himself to be quite capable when helping Aoi run Moonflower, and very knowledgeable about the foods of both the Hidden and Apparent Realms.
- Ginji discovers Aoi's cooking ability by asking her to make him omurice (omelet rice), because the egg wrapping reminds him of fried tofu curd (the classic kitsune favorite food).
- Oryo refers to Ginji as the last good catch (last good "property") to be found at Tenjin-ya, after Aoi's apparent capture of the master, and she claims that Aoi is moving in on Ginji as well.
- The first food from the Hidden Realm that Aoi ever ate was a mysterious glowing mass, given to her by Ginji when she was a child. Ritsuko tells Aoi that the food of the Hidden Realm can sustain human life and help them to live longer than they otherwise might have done. As Aoi claims that the ayakashi she met saved her life, it is likely that the food Ginji gave her changed her fate and sustained her until she was found.
- In a dream, Aoi suddenly remembers her childhood ayakashi savior telling her that he would take her away someday and marry her. In the same episode, Ginji says that "that Aoi still exists," referring to the child version of her he met when he saved her, and tells Raiju that Aoi gives him hope. It is possible that Ginji was watching over Aoi before her grandfather came for her, to stop other ayakashi from eating Aoi due to her high spiritual power.
- Aoi learns in the Southern land that there are only two purposes for human girls--to eat them or to marry them, because marrying human girls can help an ayakashi to raise their status, though Nene does not tell her why this is. As he has been working very hard as the young master innkeeper of two different inns over three hundred years, without any advancement and without making a match, it is likely Ginji in particular could benefit from such a boost to his status.