|Debut:|| Manga: Chapter 4|
Game: Strider (NES)
|Weapon:|| Sword concealed in walking cane|
Kuramoto (クラモト) is a character exclusive to the Strider Hiryu manga and its NES adaptation, where he's simply called The Chief. His function in both versions is basically the same, but the manga gives him much more prominence and actually shows his fighting abilities, while in the NES game he is merely a character the player must encounter once to proceed further.
Kuramoto is the founder and present Director of the Striders organization. Back in his active days, he was feared for his skills and known as the Shinigami (死神, lit. "God of Death"). As the head of the Striders he's an important and well-respected man worldwide, with strong connections with several heads of states. Even though he gave the impression of being an old, frail and senile man, he was still quite a capable fighter, able to take on multiple assailants at once.
He's shown fighting with a concealed sword using the Japanese art of Iaido, moving and attacking with incredible speed despite his advanced age.
During the incident in which Mariya suddenly became insane, there was no agent that could match her skills, and so Kuramoto took the decision to send in her own brother, Hiryu, to take her down. Kuramoto would later regret having taking this decision, as her death took a heavy toll on Hiryu's mind and he became erratic and borderline suicidal.
Six months after the incident, Kuramoto decided to sent Hiryu on a very difficult mission: he had to rescue Dr. J. Hogan from the terrorist group known as the Phantom Unit, led by the dangerous Zangi Brothers. When Kain storms into his chamber angrily demanding to know why he sent Hiryu alone knowing very well his state of mind, Kuramoto coldly reminds him that Hiryu is no novice and that the group has no need for "emotional" agents carrying around past traumas. When he's alone on the outside of the headquarters' hangar, however, he reveals he sent Hiryu on this mission knowing that, if he survives, he'll be able to overcome his grief and move on. He then prays for Hiryu's success against the Zangi Brothers.
After the mission's end, Kuramoto is visited by Kain again. He tells the old man that he has figured his plan: allowing Hiryu a "special" retirement from the Striders now that he's no longer fit to be an agent. Kuramoto simply tells him that "Strider Hiryu" is dead.Matic took over all leadership duties within the organization as the de-facto leader. While Matic led the group with tyranny and associated himself with Enterprise and their ZAIN Project, Kuramoto spent his days watching historical Japanese drama movies and plays in his chambers within the Striders' base, his favorite being The Seven Samurai. Even though Matic kept an eye on him, everything indicated Kuramoto was afflicted by senile dementia.
While Hiryu and Kain infiltrated Enterprise' headquarters, a group of Striders violently entered Kuramoto's room, with orders from Matic to force him to broadcast his retirement and Matic's ascension as new Director of Striders worldwide, and then kill him. Kuramoto at first seemed scared and surprised, but just as the leader of the group turned his back on him, he revealed his true character. Unleashing his hidden sword, Kuramoto slaughtered the whole group. His senility was a ruse, and now that Matic's betrayal had been uncovered, Kuramoto rallied the remaining Striders and recovered his authority over the group.
Now with the Striders on his side, Kuramoto raided the Enterprise building and faced Matic during the latter's battle with Hiryu. Cornered by Kuramoto and the Striders, Matic was finally killed by his own ambition when the Mother ZAIN pierced him through. He's last seen talking with Kain about Hiryu.Japan. He's aware of the existence of the ZAIN Project, but is unable to do much in his current position. When Hiryu comes looking for information about the project, Kuramoto comments on Hiryu's strength and gives him a disk recording revealing the true nature of the project, and commands him to destroy the ZAIN Terminal found in China.
After the destruction of Yggdrasil, Kuramoto asks Hiryu to return to the Striders. Hiryu declines the offer and leaves.
Kuramoto is one of two manga characters who exists in Isuke's scenario draft. In this text he's established as the Headmaster (宗家) of the Striders' central family, rather than its direct founder. Kuramoto led a reestructuring of the organization following Midori's assault on Japan in order to modernize the Striders and restore the group to its former glory. He encouraged Strider agents to master specific skills, created a system where members were assigned on teams focused on specific missions based on requirements and skills and pushed for the creation of a weapons' development division.
Kuramoto would later personally certify Hiryu as the youngest ever Special-A Class Strider after he showed outstanding performance during missions. Following Hiryu's deployment to eliminate the "Man" ruling the world, Matic led a revolt within the Headquarters which ended in the Striders' disbandment. After beheading Matic, Kuramoto pondered over the reasons behind Matic's betrayal and, later with Hiryu, if it was worth bringing the Striders back as a bussiness endeavor.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 119. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
- ↑ Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 4, Pg. 120. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.
- ↑ Wada, Tatsumi (December 1988). "Comp Comic". Strider Hiryû Gaiden, Pg. 311. Kadokawa Shoten.
- ↑ Wada, Tatsumi (November 10, 1989). Strider Hiryû. Chapter 1, Pg. 31. Kadokawa Shoten. ISBN 4-04-713009-5.