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Mao (摩緒) is the title character and protagonist of the story MAO.
Born approximately 900 years ago, Mao grew up at an orphanage owned by the Kou Clan which also served as training ground only for children who were tested if they could see spirits. During his training, he became close with an earth user called Daigo who saw him as a younger brother and longed to be called in the temple, which he succeeded by working hard, and a few years later thanks to Daigo who spoke of him to the master was himself called into the temple where he met the master's daughter Sana and her pet cat Haimaru who originally didn't like being touched by anyone other than his owner but surprisingly had a liking to him. He was asked to become the master's attendant, which got the jealousy of a member called Shiranui, and much to his own and the other members' surprise, was soon selected by the master as his successor despite his limited skills.
Shortly after, he found his master murdered in a sanctuary shrine, in which only his master and successor were allowed, and saw a cat demon eating a book of secrets which contains a technique to control people’s lifespans. A massacre followed, and as Mao was on the verge of death, the cat demon who was also wounded told Mao that he can survive by offering his body to him, which meant becoming the cat’s vessel and live within him, but Mao decapitated the cat with his Seventh Star Long Sword, but the cat demon still lived as only his head and flew away. Mao nevertheless woke up alive, for the cat demon’s leftover body fused with him, which made him cursed. His sword as well for having gotten bathed in his blood, became cursed. He then set to find the cat demon to dispel the curse.
To be added
Mao appears to be a young man with white and black long hair tied back, red eyes, and a strange mark at the left side of his face right under his left eye.
He wears a blue cape over a white shirt, black pants and a red obi belt where he holds a sword.
Throughout his long life, Mao has remained mature, reserved and somewhat aloof. He tends to dwell on his past and what he can't remember, which drives his obsessive search for the byōki who cursed him.
Mao favors onmyodo exorcism and healing techniques, and avoids curse techniques. When in his byōki form, Mao is outside the bounds of the Chinese elemental cycle, allowing him to attack at will without the threat of being exorcised.
- Seventh Star Long Sword:
Mao's potential successor to the byōki curse, which has given them both the same powerful but deadly blood.
Shikigami of Mao's who assists with his onmyouji practice and exorcisms.
Once Sana's pet cat, Haimaru always seemed to like Mao more than the others at the Kou Clan Manor.
Despite some initial animosity, Hyakka often visits Mao at his onmyouji practice. In the Heian era, Hyakka was an upperclassmate of Mao's at the Kou Clan Manor, and one of the five called to the Five-Color Shrine.
His first love although she was apparently in love with his friend Daigo.
Occasionally joins forces with Mao. In the Heian era, Kuchinawa (then known as Kamon) was an upperclassmate of Mao's at the Kou Clan Manor, and one of the five called to the Five-Color Shrine.
Treated Mao like a younger brother and was Sana's lover.
To be added
- He has some characteristics that are similar to Takahashi's previous protagonist: