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» Joshua Kiryuu, TWEWY [SPOILER WARNING]
Joshua Kiryuu
 Posted: Feb 23 2015, 11:36 PM
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JOSHUA KIRYUU
"Only by allowing strangers in, can we find new ways to be ourselves."
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Canon: TWEWY canon
Alignment: True Neutral: Joshua is committed to maintaining a balance, not rescuing everyone nor dooming everyone (though they may choose to rescue or doom a large swathe of people by comparing the effects to the whole). They are not motivated by good or evil, they are motivated by what works and keep themselves in a rigid state in between--desiring connection but refusing it to themselves on the basis of its temporary and (outwardly) insignificant nature.
Age: Appears 15
Gender: Bigender and genderfluid; the most accurate set of pronouns is probably “they/them,” because Japanese doesn’t specify often so Joshua rarely thinks of themselves in those terms specifically. But they’re also referred to with a reverent “He/Himself” and Joshua doesn’t object to any particular set; when they were alive they often alternated between “he” and “she” where necessary, and since, as the Composer, they can take on whatever form they please, it’s impossible to know the actual gender they were assigned at birth. (Their current form seems most often taken for a “he,” but this has more to do with their choice of clothing than the shape of their body; for instance, if they were to dress in clothes from Lapin Angelique or Natural Puppy they’d be taken for a “she”--as Neku most likely discovered.) So this profile is in “they,” but in practice, their pronouns will occasionally shift based on how they’re feeling, what they’re wearing, what the weather’s like, or whether the stars just so happen to be in position. (This is a more internal flexibility than external and not something Joshua expects other characters to keep up with nor something I expect people to reflect in their posts.)
Species: Deity
Aliases: Yoshiya, the Composer, Josh, Prissy Kid, Pretty Boy, Pink Rainbow

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Personality/Analysis: (Not enough is known to make too many clear decisions about Joshua’s true nature and character, much of which is fabrication, so much of this is headcanon and a possible explanation for what surface actions we see Joshua take--but it’s far from confirmed truth about the series and one of many valid routes. Also, Joshua operates in a multiverse of their own, meaning this is not the same Joshua who visited Bad End in the past.)

The Composer is inherently possessed of unconditional love.

But it’s not a quality born into anyone who takes that role; that comes later, when the consciousness that surpassed the last Composer joins with the consciousness that regulates all of Shibuya, or whichever realm is being remastered. In Joshua’s case, they are sharpened innocence; goodwill turned iron. It looks selfish on the surface because this is specifically what Joshua intends, but it’s also a symptom of the child they still were when they became frozen forever in this state. Loneliness and pettiness crystallized inside them, brought on by a consistent rejection in life (neither they nor their gender were ever accepted, and children can be cruel), and the Composer’s status only mitigates so much of that. Still, it ensures that Joshua does not take action against the whole of Shibuya without this quality shaping it. Joshua does still possess a child’s ego as well, but that ego sustained damage, and Joshua’s position as a Composer is not its concern. Instead, Joshua feeds it by being clever and industrious and appearing to take every negative comment in stride, but in truth they burrow into Joshua and scrape against old wounds. They don’t deign to show this, especially since most negative comments about them are not untrue or are what they feel is their due for their role.

But it’s also nothing as maudlin as pushing people away because they somehow can’t deal with their bloated spirit and immortalized self. Joshua is just efficient, at least in their own mind. They are working on Shibuya around the clock, monitoring both the Realground and the busybody infrastructure of the Underground. Stopping and getting attached to individual humans in the midst of that not only slows them down, it leaves them vulnerable to attack; a truth that every Composer must subsist with. Joshua’s means of coping, not only with their role but with the unconditional love they feel for the people under their jurisdiction, is distance and skin-deep revelations. So they might pretend to open up, but it’s only a fraction or an oversimplification of their true feelings because to be that honest is too dangerous to them and to Shibuya. Furthermore, if they do have to be close to someone, they may intentionally antagonize that person to prevent any kind of bond from forming. (And this can be easily achieved by coming on too strong, which Joshua doesn’t hesitate to do around people their own age or older, because their mingled god and child status rules out most people when it comes to having an equal and so Joshua’s never serious in their flirtations.)

Joshua didn’t choose this path to avoid connection, either. If anything, Yoshiya Kiryuu valued connection. They valued it so much that they died for it. Joshua is the result of a spirit who battled their way up the ranks with a goal in mind besides limitless power, as no Composer who scrabbles for the top with only that envious and base motivation ever seems to last. No, Joshua and the Composers before them have designs.

Joshua’s design was naive.

Growing up seeing the dead all around them was hard. Watching those dead disappear into an unknown void was worse. Blessed (or perhaps cursed) with the ability to see what they did, Joshua couldn’t help learning the rules of the Game before ever dying, nor could they help growing determined to fix what was wrong with Shibuya. But a living person chasing after partnered Game combatants was a problem, and one that had to be remedied. The same Composer who Joshua would later deprive of his throne fired a bullet at the child’s head. (Joshua never did forget, but they later understood the order and would have enforced it themselves under the same conditions. The methodology was efficient enough, it so happened, for later use.) The voice which had instructed all those others was Joshua’s entry fee to participate in the Game, and for all they knew they would never hear it again (which is probably why these days Joshua doesn’t hesitate to bless another person’s ears with it). They made do, but when they were chosen and their partner callously erased, Joshua refused the life they won back. They had an underlying goal even then, but that wasn’t their only motivation; their connections in life had not been meaningful and Joshua could make nothing of those. Joshua stayed, and thus Joshua’s design meant to change Shibuya’s Game.

But it wasn’t as easy as all that. In climbing the ranks, Joshua saw other problems. Shibuya and the other districts were plagued with bureaucracy; the Game was not the result of frivolous boredom at the expense of the dead but a complicated entropic balancing act engineered by forces well above the Composer’s head, enforced by Angels. Dramatically and unequivocally changing the rules of the Game would only ensure Shibuya’s failure and eventual eradication. So Joshua knew, by the time they reached the Composer’s right hand and became the Game’s Conductor, that they did not have total freedom with regard to Shibuya. Shibuya might take on the shape that Joshua willed, but the Game’s ruthless conflict would continue unabated; in fact, once Joshua could finally see it all directly, the only place they seemed to have any flexibility was in ensuring fewer spirits escaped the Game. Joshua learned the necessity of sacrificing the few for the sake of the many, and Joshua became colder, and colder.

This set the stage for their decision that Shibuya was not worth existing. It would mean laying down the balance in that district, and hoping that others would do better in its absence. It would be a hard decision for an adult to make, and so adults opposed them, but Joshua never did become one of those. The call to end Shibuya was their response to pressure, filtered slowly into a god’s deliberation through a child’s understanding and clicking into harsh and terrible finality with the red snap of rejection repeated--as Joshua realized that Shibuya’s refusal to flourish could also construe total disregard for its Composer.

From the moment Joshua elected to enter the Game of their own volition, they had lost.

They underestimated the connections that they would make and how those might change them, how reaching out on an individual level would satisfy the hungering human part of them and permit them to go on. And they reached into a callous world and took the person they saw as most callous--Neku was not, by far, but perhaps the person who first shut Joshua out had spoken like him--and in the end, they lost to his empathy. A worthwhile defeat.

They cede it to be true through Hanekoma’s guidance, but they do not completely understand the change in themselves. Joshua is only so given to self-reflection, and for all their wisdom and power they are still very young for their tottering throne. Neku will one day die, and they will bear the loss of that connection, and Shibuya may suffer the consequences.

Or so they dreaded, in search of a solution, before it all came to an end.

Roleplay Sample:
The room’s not dark or bright. It’s more more like it’s bathed in static; white noise that’s hard to distinguish in sound and sight from the board between them. Joshua’s arms rest at the edge like toppled columns, glowing and shifting with power, and across from them Hanekoma is just as relaxed.

Neku Sakuraba wakes, and the king’s pawn at Joshua’s end marches to battle.

It takes a quick eternity, weeks flying past to calculated moves and Hanekoma is oh so very careful with his queen. He knows Joshua’s eye is on her, and he knows she will be defeated, holed up in her defenses as she is. Joshua takes her anyway in a flash of light that eradicates them both. As the crowned goddesses of the board join the fallen, the king’s chosen pawn revives untouched. The sacrifice leaves them evenly matched.

But it doesn’t take long for Joshua to start tightening the noose. They’re too good at this and they know all the tricks, all the shortcuts--but they still don’t expect it when Hanekoma throws, not a queen reborn, but his king into battle. It’s unlike him. Too desperate. Pitiable.

Meaningless.

The king must have moved on his own, and his defeat is inevitable regardless. White encroaches on all sides, crushes him, his own tricks turned against him, and this time there is no queen to take the final blow. It’s the king’s pawn that stands before Hanekoma, triumphant, as Joshua reaches for the sooty monarch at the center of his trap. Seizes his crown.

I could erase you, you know.

What grand dreams the owner of this cap had; the one that seems to photograph most closely to a color hex of #314159. The Composer adds it to the heap.

But I think I’ll leave that to you.

Joshua stands as the fallen king rolls towards the edge of the board until Hanekoma stops it with a hand. “I trust you’ll make it more of a challenge next time.”

Hanekoma only smiles.

History: Some of the nuts and bolts are here, but I take issue with some things (like Joshua’s gender and misanthropy) and not a whole lot is known and I’ve elaborated on it above.

In summary (and this is mostly headcanon or unconfirmed in-game gossip), Joshua was able to see the dead from very young and, rejected by their peers, sought to help those playing the Game. The Composer at the time eliminated Joshua on purpose to destroy this advantage and Joshua accepted death instead of life, becoming a Reaper and ultimately climbing the ranks to Conductor and eventually Composer by defeating the person who killed them in the first place and being blessed in his place. It’s highly likely they used Hanekoma’s help to do this, but that’s up to Hanekoma’s player since this isn’t clear. They were twisted by what they had to do as a Reaper and a Game Master, but held on to the belief that they could change Shibuya for the better as long as they assumed the Composer’s throne, and that naivete was dashed from the moment they did. Eventually it seemed to them that Shibuya must be destroyed, since it had rejected its Composer in Joshua’s mind but it was also out of despair and to a degree a child’s self-loathing. Joshua was committed enough to lose Hanekoma’s trust, but ultimately their connection to Neku and the others (as well as bearing witness to Neku’s connections and shift in perspective over the course of the game) made them reconsider.

After the events in Shibuya, Joshua was briefly caught up in a bit of an offshoot that landed them in two different Traverse Towns more or less at once, because as far as they were aware the only way to put their decision into action was to briefly divorce Neku and his friends from the limitations of their own world (which would only have permitted one or two to survive) and borrow the power of another. As far as they’re aware, the dream versions of Neku, Shiki, Beat, and Rhyme who joined them in that world were the same versions as the ones from his dimension, but Joshua embraces the possibility that they were also from alternate, similar universes (especially since Shiki still resembled Eri). It was also a dream world not necessarily operating under the same logic as the real world, which necessitated some playing along and softening the explanations of what was going on for the strangers who intervened--so Joshua retains the memories from it but had limited influence there, as here, without access to their full capabilities in Shibuya. Their own personality in that world was somewhat softened by the limitations of the dream, but also the result of their decision and their ability to interface with so many on (mostly) common ground. They were returned to Shibuya for a short time before the world’s end, which is when Hanekoma questioned their decision not to join Neku and his friends for their reunion. But Joshua knew that this was a relationship they’d spent on Shibuya--and on themselves--in the Realground; one that could only be sustained in a brief dream. Watching over Neku and the others was their place now, as it had always been.

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Abilities: Composer at Rest - They exist somewhere between dead and alive anyway, but Joshua is nearly immortal. They can absolutely be destroyed (killed is redundant at this point) by someone with greater power over them, like an Angel (whose abilities rival if not surpass theirs), and Joshua subdued the Composer before them to take the title. Normally they’re much more indestructible than they are just now, but they’re far from Shibuya and trapped in this comparatively fragile original body. Their powers still extend to mind and body, though; Joshua’s mind is very efficient and capable of monitoring a lot of things at once (fewer than when they’re at their full status, though).

Secondary Movement - Their body is just malleable enough to grant them wings if they so desire. But this is a much more ostentatious display than Joshua’s normally comfortable with and they stick to smaller tricks, like slipping out of sight through a little noticed hole in reality and reappearing when necessary. (This is not to imply that they can show up anywhere they like; magic by people who specialize in it can shut them out, and since they’re generally not looking to betray who and what they are to anyone, Joshua makes as much a game of being absent where they’re expected as showing up where they’re not invited.)

Sight-reading Souls - Joshua is generally capable of ferreting things out through an understanding of other souls, but this is mostly limited by their intuition; they are, however, able to sense the potential for others’ abilities as long as they’re within (approximately) a ten foot radius of someone (based on the content of their spirit, which allows Joshua to determine potential but the specifics are also determined by the other person’s ability to cloak themselves). However, they can’t know the contents of someone’s head or heart without directly touching someone and establishing a conduit between the other person’s soul and theirs. It generally feels like a jolt, like being seized while in motion and held still for a moment, so it’s not just invasive but it can be unpleasant. As a result, Joshua reserves it for people whose trust they aren’t going to need again or for emergencies, preferring to rely on their assessment of people and refine that first. (Obviously, this active form will not be an ability Joshua uses without consent of the player.)

Jesus beams and sody pop - Joshua can attack in swathes of light and drop vending machines on people from literally nowhere. It doesn’t matter if there are vending machines nearby or not, it could be the middle of an icy wasteland, but one is falling out of the sky now so you better get used to the idea and move. It’s pretty crude and they only do it when they’ve really got to; their abilities as Composer are much more comprehensive but Joshua doesn’t need them here anyway.

Equipment: Joshua’s phone appears to have inherited a few minor capabilities specifically programmed in by Hanekoma (such as the ability to take a picture and dial back a few days to see what might have been happening at that location), but of course that’s ridiculous and their Producer could never have done this that’s impossible as long as Hanekoma’s player says it is anyway. This is also the means by which they drop vending machines on things.

Weaknesses: Mortality (sort of) - The form they take on is definitely destructible, but takes some time to get rid of, also because Joshua isn’t the type to willingly risk themselves without a backup plan. They also have no reason at this point to seek a higher form to return to; they may miss their former near-omniscience, but only for its usefulness and not as a function of their ego. It’s possible that they could be destroyed and then revive as more aspects of Shibuya bled into the world, but it’s also not something Joshua’s out to experiment with.

Childhood - Joshua never is actually going to grow up. They exist in a strange state of an extended childhood that began idealistic but turned petty and bitter with time, and even if they come to grasp some of the concepts that would make their life easier, there’s no guarantee the intensity of their emotions will permit them to put every concept into practice. At times they feel like they’re stagnating, and this unconscious impression played a role in the decision to end Shibuya’s own stagnation.

Shibuya - The loss of Shibuya is keen and deep. It is a hole that will never close.

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Player Name: Ax
Last Three Posts: THERE’S THREE HERE I kinda lost track, and sorry for posting this now of all times! I've just had this monster lying around for a while and wanted to have a chance to get it up at least.
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Ren
 Posted: Feb 24 2015, 08:32 PM
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Man, Ax, this profile is really, really dense. There's a lot in here, and I reread it a few times to make sure I was catching everything. That's not to say it's purple prose-y, just that there's a lot to it. Which, to me, shows your depth of thought and understanding you've given to Joshua.

I've got to say - I was really, really surprised by this app. This is probably one of the most unique takes on Joshua I've seen, since most people emphasize their misanthropy that I didn't even consider Joshua might not be misanthropic, having never played TWEWY myself before. But... with everything you've said - from their eternal childishness to their loneliness to their attempt to keep their definition of a "balance" - it... makes a lot of sense? Of course the Composer is unconditional love gone astray, not hate. I like that. I like that a lot.

This is a very well-written app with an interesting interpretation, so.

ACCEPTED!

Also. Genderfluid Joshua can I get a hell yeah.

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aerith, psyche, vriska, rocma, envy
(claims: chane laforet)
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