churchbelle: (do the watermelon crawl)
hazel grouse ([personal profile] churchbelle) wrote2016-07-08 03:38 pm

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Player Information

Name: Laura
Contact: melodrama @ plurk
Age: I'll be 25 during this app week, lol
Other Characters: Kija/bighand

Character Information

Name: Hazel Grouse
Canon: Saiyuki
Canon Point: volume 9 of Reload, before Ukoku shows up to ruin everything
Age: 20
History: I wrote it out over here.

In the most general sense, Hazel is well-intentioned but ultimately still a huge jackass. He's arrogant, prejudiced, and careless with other people's lives, but he does genuinely want to help people! Human people specifically, with zero regard for the equally present youkai in society. What ultimately shapes Hazel is his pride; in himself, in his actions, in his philosophies. He has a very extreme set of values and sticks to them religiously (ironically, he does not stick to his supposed faith religiously at all). Because of this, he's very driven and determined, but can also be really gullible and easily lose perspective on reality. He tries—but his own talents tend to get in the way of learning any valuable life lessons, or at least do for a long time.

The first taste of Hazel people get is his cloying politeness. He's very nice - even charming, depending on who you are, but much of it is facetious. It's likely he picked up this faux-politeness habit after his master died and he set out on his kill-all-youkai revenge mission, because in the flashbacks to his childhood we can see that he was an ornery, mistrustful, generally bad-tempered kid around strangers. He has hangups about what gives him worth as a person and how he can be useful - which he decides young is the power to help people, no matter what that power is. Fast forward ten years, and he's practically a celebrity, because he's just so nice and helps grieving humans no longer need to grieve by reviving their dead. It's easy for him to come into a town, say some nice words and perform a miracle or two, and then have what amounts to hero status in that town forevermore—people who've met him before roll out the red carpet for him and give him free lodging and etc if he comes around again. And to this hero-worship regard, Hazel... takes full advantage of it. He's very casual about it, and while he'll put up a front of humility when people are actually giving him things and praising him, he'll drink all their expensive wine and brush off the treatment with, "I've been here before." There's some basic gratitude there, but for the most part it's arrogance.

And Hazel is very arrogant. He's always been prone to over-estimating his skill level, as shown in his youth when he desperately wanted to prove his skill at exorcism even though he had no formal teaching in any of the spells. Now that he has a power that revives the dead, it's only exacerbated his arrogance problem. He calls it a wretched power and says he doesn't like to use it because obviously someone will have to die for him to use it, but given that he uses it shamelessly, this is blowing hot air. He's a showoff; he loves to swoop in and save the day with a miracle, and be the center of attention when a bunch of townspeople need his help with something. He thinks so highly of himself (and possibly so lowly of God) that even though he used to spend a long time praying daily, he's since switched to telling others that gods don't do anything and prayers are pointless—so if they'd like to direct their prayers to him instead, he can work the miracles they ask gods to perform.

Hazel's power adds to this arrogance problem, but also causes him to be reckless and downright careless with people's lives. Because he can bring the dead back to life (under the right circumstances), he's lost a little perspective on the value of a life. The people he revives don't come back exactly as "living," either, but more along the lines of animated golems; if they "die" again, they crumble into dust, and Hazel's bodyguard Gat says that they don't need to eat or sleep although they can if they want to. This fate, of being somewhere in between life and death, is not the most ideal for a lot of people - Gat, for example, was exiled from his people when Hazel reanimated him after he was accidentally killed - but Hazel doesn't seem to realize or just plain doesn't care. The act of reanimation is where he finds satisfaction, and whatever those people do afterwards isn't his concern. He's reckless with it in basically everything he does with Gat, too; because he can revive or "repair" Gat in any fight that kills one of the other guys, he allows Gat to lay down his life and die/lose limbs repeatedly. He even scolds Gat for getting in trouble when there isn't a soul handy for Hazel to revive him with, as if he's blameless in the whole situation.

In terms of his carelessness, there are two scenes in the series that demonstrate Hazel's seeming lack of value of any life, whether it be human or youkai. The first and most obvious one is when the group is confronted with youkai who have kidnapped human women and are using them as shields such that the group can't attack without hurting them. Hazel immediately suggests that the women sacrifice themselves and says threatening to kill the hostages "won't work on me," justifying his proposal by saying that he'll be able to revive them anyway once the youkai are killed. When the rest of the group objects and kills the youkai themselves, Hazel's response is just an idle comment on how he thought they weren't going to interfere— it's pretty cold, and he shows no regret for what he asked the women to do or that he would have gone through with it if not interrupted. The other scene is when he repeatedly tries to kill the youkai child that keeps coming across the group; he goes so far as to kneel down in front of the kid and tell him that everything will be better if he gives up his life for a human baby. When the kid eventually says that he doesn't want to die, Hazel backs off, but not out of a change of heart; he's actually disappointed in the stalemate that that puts him and the Main Four in. There's also the fact that he collects souls like postage stamps, and really, he is not the best at valuing others because of his overconfidence that he can fix the problem of loss indefinitely. He'll learn.

He is not, however, very worldly. Despite having traveled across whole continents and been involved with many types of youkai and people, he's still really set in his ways that youkai are all trouble that need to go, and humans are superior simply by being human. It makes him gullible, as seen in how he's easily fooled by corrupt humans into starting a human-youkai war. The humans manipulate him into firing the first shot, as it were, and then after their plot is revealed they tell him that since he started it, he's obligated to help them revive their dead. Hazel doesn't like this—but he still agrees. He's ashamed and angry at letting himself be played, but it's still Gat and Sanzo who have to step in and tell him that he doesn't have to help them just because they're human. He isn't anything close to overly trusting - he doesn't trust anyone except Gat, really - but he's easily manipulated because of how extreme his values are.

And... his values. Obviously, he values humans over youkai, which all goes back to how his master was killed by one and he couldn't do anything about it. Even after gaining his resurrection power, he couldn't revive his master, and so he's off on a very long jaunt to eradicate all youkai. He has no interest in listening to youkai who haven't been affected by the Minus Wave yet, working under the assumption that they'll all lose control and kill humans sooner or later, and this is a thought he carries with him for the greater part of ten years. It isn't until he meets the Main Four that he even begins to consider that youkai aren't all scumbag human-killers, and even then it takes a while. But for the most part, his ire is subtle; sure, when he's confronted about wanting to kill them all, he says it without hesitation, but he doesn't broadcast it. He'll say things like "For what purpose?" when asked if his resurrection works on youkai as well as people, and he'll spend days with three youkai without referring to any of them by name, and things like that. He paints a picture of his prejudice as more about helping humans than getting rid of youkai, but really, it's the latter. It's totally the latter.

His eventual paradigm shift is slight and not very big; midway through the story he tells Ukoku that he's not sure his beliefs are 100% rock solid, but doesn't act on this and still tries to set up the same youkai who caused this change in him (the Main Four, minus Sanzo) to show their "true colors." When this actually happens and there's a big youkai fight, his first response to Hakkai falling and being close to death is to go for his pendant to collect the soul—so, honestly, he's a work in progress. But he's getting closer to judging humans and youkai on a case-by-case basis instead of painting with a wide brush, which is hammered in explicitly when Gat is literally sliced in half at the end of the series. Hazel finally realizes that he values Gat as more than just his easy-fix-it bodyguard, because he's been Hazel's only companion for so long, and he wants desperately to grab a soul to prevent him from dying. The available souls are three youkai, and two humans who are both sanzo priests he sort of likes—and he goes for Ukoku Sanzo instead of the youkai. This moment illustrates his shift from pure bias to a more careful observation and understanding of the world and people around him, even if it doesn't work and Gat still dies...

With other people, Hazel is obviously cagey - unless he wants them to like him, in which case he's all but clingy and annoying. Gat is his most valued companion and only trusted person after the death of his master, and Hazel depends on him pretty much entirely for protection from everything - Gat even sits at his bedside and guards him in his sleep. He's (almost) completely open with Gat, not even putting up a front when Gat points out Hazel's frequent nightmares (of his master's death, for the record). Even though he treats Gat like a disposable shield much of the time, he outright says at the end of the series that their bodyguard-guardee arrangement doesn't matter anymore and he values Gat for other reasons. Then there are the sanzos, because Hazel can't seem to have a normal interaction with any of them. Genjo Sanzo is, as Hazel tactlessly points out, a lot like him; they have almost identical childhood circumstances as orphans taken in by masters who died protecting them, and Hazel is pretty unrelenting in trying to get Sanzo to join forces with him. This shows him being more open with people he actually wants to like him, because he's a lot more frank about his intentions even if he's still putting a veneer of politeness on everything. Ukoku Sanzo is the priest who visited his master when Hazel was a child and screwed him up, basically. He toyed with Hazel's morals and left a "dark spot" in his mind, as well as manipulated him into doing stupid things with exorcism spells. Hazel is friendly with Ukoku when they meet again, but also readily admits that he doesn't trust Ukoku at all and knows there's something incredibly wrong with him. But for the most part, everyone Hazel interacts with gets the outer layer of politeness, with varying degrees of realness and occasionally blatant passive-aggression.

At Hazel's core is his pride, which has caused him problems and, on one memorable occasion, saved his dumb ass. Even as a child he felt that he deserved to be taught exorcism spells, because he definitely would be able to do it! and because he wanted to help his master, who he valued more than his deceased parents. This pride leads him to get involved with Ukoku, obviously a bad idea. Later, ten years later at the end of the series, his pride saves him - after Ukoku spills the beans on Hazel's repressed memories of his master's death. As it turns out, the youkai that killed Hazel's master was severely weakened by that battle, and took up refuge to recover... inside of Hazel. This is the reason he suddenly developed the ability to transfer souls, but because he repressed the trauma of his master's death, the youkai was unable to surface in his consciousness. Until Ukoku rips open the old wound, of course, at which point it immediately takes over his body. Hazel initially gives up - he retreats into his mind in shame and guilt over having acted the way he has about youkai for so long with one of them in him, and him using its powers. But after Sanzo and Hakkai insult him mercilessly, calling him pathetic and a coward for running away instead of fighting back in his usual arrogant manner, Hazel is able to overcome the demon literally by being more full of himself than it is. He keeps it subdued by sheer force of prideful will, and it's this final moment where he comes to terms with what he is and the things he's done that he understands what it means to value life and death and to have pride that isn't empty self-righteousness.

So. In sum, Hazel is a young man who carries himself as cheerful, polite, and pretty full of himself, with an undercurrent of slowly changing extremist philosophies. He's learning to care about life in all its forms, gradually.

Hazel can remove souls from bodies and transplant them into other things. He removes the soul from a body (usually demons, but it works when removing human souls too) and puts it into a different body. This serves one purpose, which is to revive bodies from the dead. Moving the soul does not change the deceased's personality in any way (it's more like soul = life force, in that sense), except sometimes his revived people are known to go crazy and murderous. This doesn't always happen, and Hazel while "admits" he can't control that part of his power, it's possible that he can; but for convenience purposes we'll say no... And it is shown that there's at least one whole town that was revived by Hazel after being killed by demons, and they function perfectly normally without going berserk - same for his revived-multiple-times-bodyguard, Gat. People he revives all come back with yellow eyes, for some reason. They also don't need to eat or sleep, but they can if they want.

He also can store souls in inanimate objects, in the event that there isn't anyone who needs reviving nearby at the time. Canonically, this item is a pendant (shaped like the Star of David... for no apparent reason...). He does not need any item to use his ability, only to store souls between bodies A and B.

It's important to note that Hazel has this resurrection/soul tennis ability in the first place because there is a demon trapped inside his body. The demon is the ability's originator, although Hazel doesn't know there's a demon in him and so he believes it's an exorcism skill he honed himself.

As a priest/exorcist, he also presumably has knowledge of relevant exorcism spells. The only ones that have been shown are an "anti-demon" spell that dispels demonic creatures with a blast, and a similar spell that forces enemies back with a... smaller blast. Considering he has traveled around quite a lot and made a name for himself as a famous exorcist, it's probable that he can... perform exorcisms... however those work. With spells.

Aside from that, he's surprisingly fast and agile—like, acrobat agile—and notably effective with a good kick, but has no special prowess with weaponry. Sometimes he's charming.

As for weaknesses, he's physically small and kind of delicate, and is not accustomed to having to dodge from any attacks - so he's bad at it. He's also gullible when something is framed as helping others, prone to nightmares, and arrogant to the point where he loses a decent amount of perspective.

Also, without his pendant, his soul-transfer ability can only be done in the moment, so in the absence of the pendant it's effectively useless unless there are enough dead people around at the same time.

Strengths: smooth-talking, determined, proud, friendly, capable
Weaknesses: arrogant, gullible, prejudiced, rude, careless

God/Shinki: God
Why?: He literally tells a bunch of townspeople that gods are useless and don't do anything, and to please address prayers to him. So now he'll know what it's like. For less karmic reasons, when he was little he was told that God exists inside everyone and he kind of forgot about that for a while, so this is a good enough reminder.
Top 3 Choices: Aengus (Irish, god of youth), Apsat (Svan, deity of birds), Khepri (Egyptian, god of rebirth)
God Type: The proud kind. Pride moves Hazel and he won't care much for the idea of conforming to what his predecessors have done beyond the surface level (like, god of youth/beauty?? Well he's youthful and beautiful, how appropriate!). He'll go for prayers that suit his vanity, whether that means he'll get a ton of recognition really fast or he knows he'll be able to do it easily, so he can show off.
Power: Object teleportation: The ability to teleport any object besides himself. Like a remote control, or someone trying to walk away from him, etc. Within reason, one object at a time up to the size of maybe a bike or a big rock.

Writing Sample

Sample: here


Anything Else?: nah