|“||You'll probably find my answer hard to believe. Hou Ken...Represents us and all of mankind.||”|
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Hou Ken is a muscular man with a large build who has long black hair and a scar across his face, There are tattoos on his forearms and he wears a large, poncho-like cloak that goes up to his knees in length.
Personality[edit | edit source]
He is very alert of anyone's martial 'potential' and is even willing to kill those as young as Shin and Kyou Kai in spite of them being children just because they might one day be a threat to him, To him, there can only be one being that the heavens fear and that person is him. His daunting presence inspires fear in men, causing them to freeze up when they come face to face with him.
Hou Ken is also quite pragmatic and accepted beating Ou Ki when the great general was shot in the back by Gi Ka in spite of Ou Ki destroying his glaive. He also always speaks in old Chinese as seen saying "Thou" on many occasions. The closest thing he has to a friend is in the form of the Zhao great general Ri Boku who has been able to convince him to become involved with the affairs of the warring states.
History[edit | edit source]
As a little baby, Ken was the son of a couple of benevolent Chi healers who did nothing but help the poor townfolk along their travels. As his parents were practicing their craft and healing the ill, an unnamed Bushin emerged from the surrounding forests and killed them both, kidnapped their baby while reaping the life of every single person that crossed his path on his way out of the village. Nothing is known about the gruesome training that the child Hou Ken would receive from his master, but when he reemerged as an adult, he had the same tattoo on his forearm that his kidnaper did, and wielded a very similar glaive while wearing practically the same outfit.
In 255 B.C. while in the middle of training and honing his skills by decapitating and fighting tigers deep within a forest, Hou Ken came across a severely injured young soldier by the name of Ri Boku. As the young soldier was laying on the ground while on the brink of death, the Bushin initially threatened him with his blade as it so happens to all and any who cross his path, Ri Boku had completely lost his will to live just as he had lost everyone he cared about. Hou Ken then spared him, saying that voices of the earth whispered to him that fate had brought them together, for it was Ri Boku who would be his guide to find the Answer the Bushin sought. Later, Ri Boku woke up to find himself somehow healed of his injuries and wondered to himself if that man he saw was even real. However, the doubt soon dissipates as soon as he witnessed the trail of the corpses of his pursuers, mercilessly slain by Hou Ken.
Later Hou Ken appeared during the conquest of Bayou to fight Kyou, one of the Six Great Generals, as her presence drew him out of his training. Hou Ken easily cut through her elite bodyguard soldier before Kyou herself arrived on the scene. She was killed by him in combat and he was, in turn, severely wounded and nearly killed by an enraged Ou Ki who gave him a scar across his face before his body was riddled with arrows. After the Qin army had left, Hou Ken was believed to be dead. But he somehow was to survive his massive blood loss and crawled off the battlefield to recuperate and do more training as his might was nowhere near that of the man who just defeated him. It took him 3 years to recover from his wounds and he took another 6 years to train before he was approached by Ri Boku to be involved in Zhao's future plans against the state of Qin.
Story[edit | edit source]
Hou Ken is first seen arriving at the Zhao royal capital of Kantan where he is given command over the state's army by King Tou Jou to devastate the Qin. He sets off from Bayou with his generals when he hears that Ou Ki is coming with an army to fight their forces. They arrive at Bayou at the same time that Ou Ki's forces do and he asks Chou Sou why the Qin general does not attack. After the first battle, he retreats to the headquarters to rest leaving the Zhao strategist in charge of the army.
Appearing at night in the campgrounds of Kan Ou and Roku O Mi's armies, he began to massacre the nearby troops. As he makes his way around the camp, his path crosses with those of the Hi Shin Unit and he cut down several of them instantly. After declaring himself a calamity of the heavens, he continued to kill more Hi Shin Unit members until Shin arrives to stop him from killing Bi Hei. He blocked all of Shin's attacks and dodged that of Kyou Kai's before stating that they were the ones who summoned him and he would take their lives despite their age.
Hou Ken then attacked Shin, knocking him unconscious, when the two attempt to use a pincer maneuver against him and faced off against Kyou Kai who begins the Priestess Dance. After blocking her attacks, he noted that she was one of the "god summoners" and declares a competition to see which of them is the rightfully chosen warrior of the heavens. Though Kyou Kai scored a minor blow, he slowly began to match her pace, commenting that it had been a long time since anyone had made him bleed. Seeing Kyou Kai reach her limits, he went on the offensive but she manages to dodge until the recoil from her technique caught up with her and slowed her down. She yelled at the rest of the unit to run, but he cut down several of them, stating that none shall leave until the battle is finished.
Seeing Man Goku arrive on the scene, he was attacked by Kan Ou's forces and started killing all nearby Qin. By now, Shin had recovered and he and his unit devised a plan, which allowed him to land a blow against Hou Ken. He moved in for the kill but was hit in the stomach by the end of Hou Ken's glaive. Kyou Kai tried to stop him from killing Shin and was knocked down as well, After telling them that they were mere offerings to his "god", he attempted to strike down Shin, only to be blocked several times by Bi Hei, Bi Tou, and Taku Kei. After this, the Hi Shin Unit took that opportunity to retreat with their leader, and Hou Ken returned to the HQ.
Hou Ken appeared at the Zhao camp and was greeted by General Chou Sou. When Mou Bu's army storms the Zhao HQ, he came face to face with the Qin vice general before retreating, luring the enemy forces into a trap along the way. He leaves some of his men to engage Mou Bu's troops before seeing General Ou Ki appear with his army to assist the Qin vice general. Seeing the Qin general tearing through Zhao troops, he threw a spear at him and misses, killing 3 Qin soldiers in the process, before both armies give way for the two to duel.
They started to fight, and though at first, it seemed like Ou Ki's strength had waned in the nine years since Kyou's death, his wrath was brought out and they continued fighting. To his amazement and bewilderment, was being beaten back by Ou Ki, whose strength begins to overwhelm his own. Ou Ki was about to deal the final blow when he stopped in light of Ri Boku's army arriving on the scene.
As they continued their fight, inflicting serious wounds on one another, both Hou Ken and Ou Ki were at a stalemate until the Qin general broke the blade on Hou Ken's weapon. Ou Ki was about to deliver the finishing blow when an arrow from Gi Ka pierced his back, halting him in his attack which allowed Hou Ken to pierce through his chest with his broken glaive, inflicting a fatal wound. After the battle, he stated that he still didn't feel like the victor and retreats to the mountains for more training.
A few years later, Hou Ken was approached by Kei Sha who convinced him to accept the command of their army and invade the state of Yan. He personally killed Yan's Great General Geki Shin and ended the war in a day. He told Ri Boku that it was boring, but Ri Boku reassured him that it was just the beginning of a greater battle.
Hou Ken wasn't present during the attack on the Kankoku pass but was secretly sent as part of Ri Boku's army, which used a mountain passage that leads to the middle of the southern pass to Kanyou, bypassing Qin's defenses. He appeared when Duke Hyou broke through Ri Boku's Ryuudou. He engaged in a dual with Duke Hyou and killed him. However, in the process, Duke Hyou had found out who Hou Ken was. Hou Ken was a buffoon who would never feel the strength that flowed through men from the battlefield and would never understand why he was defeated by Ou Ki. The battle continued, which ended in Duke Hyou's death and Hou Ken's broken arm.
The Bushin made another appearance in the last days of the Battle of Sai and dueled Shin. Noting that Shin had encountered him three times and lived, he stated that he cannot allow him to survive and engages him in battle. During the duel, both Hou Ken's and Shin's horse fell. Despite serious injuries, Shin managed to wound Hou Ken, scarring him on the face exactly where Ouki scared him as well. After that, Hou Ken retreated with Ri Boku and the rest of the Zhao army, saying that he would remember Shin's name.
Hou Ken was in the wilds by himself once more, honing his skills in a forest some distance away from the Battle at Shukai Plains, in the state of Zhao. On the 9th day of the battle, the Bushin sensed when Shin used Ou Ki's Glaive to deal a massive killing blow that took the life of 10.000 men general Gaku Ei in a single strike. As Hou Ken felt the power Shin tapped on, he roared in rage as memories of his nemesis, Ou Ki, resurfaced in his mind.
On the 14th night of the Battle at Shukai Plains, the Bushin suddenly appeared at Qin's left-wing, killing all who stood in the way to the command tent. He had traveled far and hoped to find Shin to drown Ou Ki's legacy in a pool of blood and severed body parts. However, Shin was actually at the opposite side of the Qin army, fighting at the right-wing. The left-wing HQ being mauled by Hou Ken was not manned by the Hi Shin Unit, but by Mou Ten and his Gaku Ka Unit. During that bloody affair, old man Ko Zen (who was like a father to Mou Ten), was among those who perished delaying Hou Ken's advance, but unlike others, he managed to surprise the Bushin by actually stabbing him. After killing everyone around and realizing he was at the wrong place to find Ou Ki's heir, Hou Ken then disappeared in the surrounding wilds once again.
On the 15th day, the Bushin reappeared on horseback among the Zhao ranks as they were being stomped by Shi Ryou and her cavalry. Hou Ken single-handedly stopped the Qin momentum, obliterating the cavalry vanguard and roaring with such anger that made all of their mounts unwilling to move ahead, even under the whip of its riders. He then ordered the soldiers of Zhao to take him to where Ri Boku was, which they sheepishly complied with. As Ri Boku was summoned to meet him, the Bushin told the Zhao general that he had come for the "Answer" that was promised to him by Ri Boku a long time ago. Ri Boku replied that he was the one to guide the Bushin to his Answer, but the one who held it was none other than Shin, of the Hi Shin Unit.
As the Hi Shin Unit broke through the Zhao's defenses in the left flank and charged straight to Ribo Ku's Headquarters, Hou Ken once again stood alone against the Qin, this time on foot but still dismembering the Hi Shin cavalrymen in the vanguard, including veteran Kyo Gai and several riders of Duke Hyou who immediately tried to avenge their former master. Hou Ken would certainly have killed Ga Ro and Gaku Rai too if it wasn't for the timely intervention of lieutenant Kyou Kai.
By using all her breath at her Priestess Dance, Kyou Kai moved her sword in a chilling speed, slashing Hou Ken's body multiple times but still unable to deliver a decisive blow. In a supreme effort, she was able to cut two fingers from his left hand, making it harder for her opponent to manipulate his glaive and for a second there, the Qin thought she would kill him, but Hou Ken scoffed at her ability, stating that while she was a mere god caller he was a host for a god himself, he was a Bushin.
Hou Ken managed to grab Kyou Kai by her ankle and slams her repeatedly to the ground like a rag doll. However, even as she suffered from each blow, the lieutenant of the Hi Shin Unit still had enough fight in her to stab him in his the forearm, enraging the Bushin, who then beat her even harder and tossed her aside like nothing. Her limp body is then caught by Shin as he arrives at the scene and watched in anger at the sight of his comrades butchered all around before the feet of Hou Ken.
Final Showdown[edit | edit source]
With the arrival of Shin, Hou Ken is sent into a mad rage once he saw the young commander was carrying Ou Ki's Glaive. The Bushin attacked the captain of the Hi Shin Unit with such ferocity that the blow threw him aside to a place filled with Zhao cavalrymen - who immediately jumped at the chance of killing the Qin captain. Hou Ken would have none of it however as he cuts through the Zhao with the same ease as he had done to the Qin up until that moment. Chased by Hou Ken, Shin focused on dodging his opponent's mighty attacks (that kept slaughtering the surrounding Zhao soldiers all around like those men weren't even there).
Shin and Hou Ken started to go at each other again and again, but every time they crossed blades the captain of the Hi Shin is repealed by the Bushin's might. In one of those confrontations, Shin finally managed to withstand his opponent's strength, as they both locked blades surprising everyone in the vicinity since no one had come not even close to resist Hou Ken since the start of the 15th day. But not even Shin could hold for long, and he was eventually overpowered one more time, escaping death by blocking a blow to his body in the last second (a blow that crushed his armor and created a gushing wound to his chest). To the astonishment of the crowd gathered around the duel, Shin instantly rose to his feet and renewed his attack.
If Hou Ken was already puzzled by Shin's inhuman tenacity he became even more so after a half-dead Shin was able to not only stop his swings but unbelievably push him back. The path seeker then saw Ou Ki's form looming behind Shin and ended their stalemate by knocking Shin down with a kick to his wounded ribs, following with vicious strikes with his glaive while the young captain had his back to the ground. As Shin defended himself as best as he could against Hou Ken's relentless onslaught, the Qin soldiers decided to interrupt the duel and save their captain, but the men and their mounts were instantly stopped by the Bushin gaze, which was so alien that they simply couldn't move.
No matter how hard Hou Ken struck, Shin was slowly and painfully rising. At this point, the usually silent Bushin inquired his enemy about why he was so persistent, to which an annoyed Shin replied "For fuck's sake...How Many Times...Do Have I to tell you this? A Great General of the Heavens!!" - meaning that the combined strength of all his fallen friends and vanquished foes were gathered within him. The pair then went after each other's heads once again, but this time evenly matched. As Shin began pushing forward against Hou Ken, the Bushin responded with a flurry of blows making several strikes at his opponent's arms and armor, dropping him to his knees. In a surprising twist, instead of losing consciousness altogether, Shin delivered a huge upwards attack, this time dropping Hou Ken to his knees for the first time.
The crowd was speechless. The combatants were both exhausted and on their knees when Shin began to hallucinate, talking like he was answering to his dead comrades who were there to lend him their strength. As they stood up, a drowsy Shin belittled Hou Ken saying that since the Bushin was all alone, his blows had no weight at all. Hou Ken's answer initially came in the form of such a powerful attack that sent Shin to his knees again, but he also lectured Shin saying that the relationships he championed were exactly what's wrong with humanity, chains that keep mankind from moving forward, and that he, as the Bushin, was there to break those chains.
As general Ri Boku watched the duel from afar, he pondered that Hou Ken was a person who aimed to elevate mankind to a higher existence by demonstrating his superhuman might, but since he could not defeat Ou Ki, and since he's not being able to squash Shin, that could mean only one thing: no matter how desperately one struggles and tries to claw their way upward, man cannot transcend itself. Even as Hou Ken reached the pinnacle of martial might through individual effort, there was a strength diametrically opposed to that of the path seekers in the likes of Shin and Ou Ki - a strength that stems from all of those who have come and gone in their lives, woven like cloth from the legacies they passed down to them. In the end, the Answer that Hou Ken so fervently sought created a Contradiction that could only mean that the path seekers had been wrong all along.
The duel raged below the Zhao HQ's vantage point, Hou Ken and Shin hammered each other in a bloody frenzy. The Hi Shin Unit shouted with encouragement, but even when Shin managed to create an opening in Hou Ken's guard, he was too weak to take advantage of it. After receiving so much punishment Shin eventually slipped into a semiconscious state while he kept fighting as a man possessed. Every time he fell to his knees he would come back striking harder and harder. As he grows even more perplex, Hou Ken begins to realize he could actually have been wrong all along, and that the path he had chose to walk in order to elevate mankind had never even existed in the first place.
But ever true to himself, Hou Ken brushed the negative thoughts aside from his mind and once more crossed blades with Shin. This time, however, his blade broke, shattering into pieces. Instantly, Hou Ken used his momentum to turn around using his cape to block Shin's line of sight and lunged his shattered spear backward aiming straight at Shin's exposed torso. The Captain of the Hi Shin Unit narrowly dodged that fatal stab and brought his glaive down while howling his opponent's name. Despite having lost two of his left hand's fingers during his duel with Kyou Kai, Hou Ken still managed to use his glaive's handle to block the full blunt of Shin's weapon. However, Shin's pressure was just too much, and the blade slowly came closer and closer to Hou Ken's body until it finally hits his left shoulder.
When a small trickle of blood came from the wound in his shoulder, Hou Ken looked into Shin's eyes and screamed "You! ... You, and them!", right before he received a fate that he himself had delivered to so many of his opponents. As the handle of Hou Ken's glaive completely broke in two, he was finally cleaved in twain.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
|“||You could say he's pure to a frightful extent. A crystallization of martial skill.||”|
—Shou Bun Kun telling the court about the mysterious Hou Ken.
|Intelligence||I am not stupid|
|Bushin degree: 100!|
|Intelligence||I am not stupid|
|Bushin degree: 100!|
|Intelligence||I am not stupid|
|Bushin degree: 100!|
As a Bushin Hou Ken was one of the greatest warriors in the series and was able to slay multiple Great Generals. His martial ability is such vast that he was even compared to a natural calamity, rather then a single warrior. Since he's not walking the "path of a general" he doesn't possess any commanding skills and can lead an army only with the help of other commanders like Ri Boku or Chou Sou. Despite this, he was given the position of a Great Heaven and thanks to his title he can boost the morale of Zhao soldiers with his presence alone.
Glaive Master: Hou Ken has tremendous mastery in wielding his glaive as he can instantly cut through multiple armored soldiers with one swing and defeat powerful enemies, such as Kyou of the Six Great Generals and Duke Hyou. He can block multiple javelins thrown at him but redirect them to damage those nearby or stop the rain of arrows by spinning his glaive. He also claims to be superior to Ou Ki in terms of technique, but was unable to overcome him due to the lack of weight. He is shown to be an intelligent fighter as he spun two dead bodies with his weapon as a shield to block oncoming crossbow bolts from Kan Ou's troops, shocking all present. During the Battle of Bayou he survived Kyou Kai's rampage in Priestess Dance by reading and predicting her moves and skillfully blocking her attacks until she run out of breath. 
Immense Strength: Hou Ken's strength was completely monstrous even among Bushins, he could throw a spear with enough strength to kill 3 men as well as overpower entire units single-handedly. It has been revealed in Chapter 217 that Hou Ken's martial strength is Over 100. This puts him as the strongest character in strength in the series. Even without a weapon, he is extremely formidable due to his pure brute strength; having killed a tiger with his bare hands and crushing a Yan soldier's helm-clad skull with just one hand.
Immense Speed: His massive frame belies his supreme speed and reflexes as he could match Kyou Kai's lightning-fast agility. He also outlasts Kyou Kai when she used her Priestess Dance to its furthest extent. He was able to follow her movements and block some of her attacks when she was using the same technique that beheaded 5 assassins in the blink of an eye.
Immense Endurance: In addition to this, his immensely robust constitution grants him the tenacity to survived massive wounds that could kill ordinary men. Such as a volley of thousand arrows, falling off a cliff and being cut across his face by Ou Ki.
Immense Durability: His body is also extremely durable and resilient to damage, that only the strongest fighters are capable of injuring him.
Chi Manipulation: As a Bushin, Hou Ken had the ability to indefinitely manipulate his Chi in order to achieve a level of strength on par with Clan Shiyuu's Priestess Dance, but without a time limit. Kyou Kai commented that he gives off a sensation of a Shiyuu utilizing her Chi.
- Chi Strike: He also can use a technique where he hits opponent with back end of his glaive in order to send his Chi inside the enemy's body and destroy them from within. When used on Shin it was strong enough to seriously wound the young and nearly kill him.
- Healing Techniques: Similarly to his parents, Hou Ken seemed to be capable of using his Chi for healing purposes. This was showcased when he healed a nearly dead Ri Boku during their first meeting.
- Chi Sense: Hou Ken had the ability to sense the chi of other people. He claims that the presence of a powerful warriors is what "summoned him".
Duels[edit | edit source]
- vs Kyou: Won
- vs Ou Ki round 1: Lost
- vs Shin round 1: Won
- vs Kyou Kai round 1: Won
- vs Shin round 2: Won
- vs Ou Ki round 2: Won (due to outside intervention)
- vs Geki Shin: Won
- vs Duke Hyou: Won
- vs Shin round 3: Interrupted
- vs Kyou Kai round 2: Won
- vs Shin round 4: Lost
Gallery[edit | edit source]
matching Kyou Kai's sword play speed.
Lines[edit | edit source]
[Narrator]: "It was as if a natural calamity had descended upon them. In the face of that overpowering violence...There were those that could not even stand...Those that ran away...And those that could not move."
From Hou Ken: "The "violent god" that resides within me will not allow the existence of any other powerful warriors."
Hou Ken to the Kyou Army: "Soldiers, Armies, Zhao, Qin...You are all insignificant. The only thing of import is that right here, there are two beings which the Heavens fear, Apart from me...there is one more. Even if the heavens were to split and the earth were to sunder...That cannot be allowed!! I AM THE BUSHIN, HOU KEN. COME OUT AND FACE ME, O'ENEMY OF MINE."
Hou Ken to Kyou Kai: "The ability to read an opponent's moves...Obviously does not belong exclusively to you."
Hou Ken on Shin & Kyou Kai: "Though, I may have let my down my guard down, nevertheless, A most incredible pair of children you two are. For mere offerings to my "god"...You have done well."
Ri Boku to Kaine: Hou Ken was originally a path seeker who had discarded all worldly desires, but after the event of nine years ago, he became an entity of vengeance. A path seeker who has veered off the path is a contradiction. It is only when Hou Ken fights selflessly that his original form is revealed. So long as he can achieve that state once again, he should be invincible.
From Kei Sha on Hou Ken: "I finally understand the rumors of you being known as the "manifestation of violence".
Hou Ken to Shin: "Just this once, I will allow you to live. However, I shall remember your name, Shin."
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Hou Ken is similar to Lu Bu, whose great skill as a military commander is replaced with pure martial skill. The only difference between Hou Ken and Lu Bu is that fact Hou Ken stayed loyal to Zhao while Lu Bu is infamous for his many betrayals.
- He is still chasing Ou Ki's shadow as his targets while training has the general's face on them.
References[edit | edit source]
- Chapter 143 Page 14
- Chapter 145 Page 14
- Chapter 166 Page 10
- Chapter 142 Page 2
- Chapter 621 Page 13
- Chapter 142 Page 8
- Chapter 140 Page 7
- Chapter 149 Page 11
- Chapter 146 Page 6-7
- Chapter 623 Page 11
- Chapter 140 Page 4