Name: Nuriko (柳宿)
Real Name: Chou Ryuuen
Also known as: Kourin
Family: Mother, Father, older brother Rokou, younger sister Kourin (deceased)
Place of Birth: The textile quarter, Eiyou, Kounan
Power: Physical strength.
Seiyuu (Japanese): Sakamoto Chika (Anime) Takayama Minami(Drama CDs)
Voice Artist (English): Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
Nuriko is the second child of three, born in an affluent home in Kounan''s capital city, Eiyou. His father is in the textile trade, and is a successful merchant in this line. His older brother Rokou is something of a coward, always looking to the young Ryuuen for help and defence, and so growing up his closest bond was always with his little sister Kourin. However, when Nuriko was ten years old, Kourin was killed in an accident with a horse, dividing them forever. Struck by grief, Ryuuen decided to become his sister, so that they would always be together, and she would not really be dead.
At seventeen, he travelled to visit an uncle in the northern border village of Yukigase, where he encountered the demon Yukiyasha and defeated her, thus testing his Suzaku powers properly for the first time. It was during this visit that he also met the transvestite Tamatama who taught him to properly conceal his gender and dress as a woman convincingly enough to fool anyone. During his time in Yukigase he also met a young girl called Byakuren who had once been saved by Hotohori when they had been children. At first rivals, Byakuren fell in love with Nuriko despite being confused by Nuriko's apparent feminine gender. Byakuren's ambition was to get to the harem and thank him for his kindness, but sadly she was killed by Yukiyasha before she could carry out her wish. Nuriko, feeling an obligation to the young girl, travelled back to Eiyou to carry Byakuren's message for her by joining the Imperial Harem. Although initially only intending to pass on Byakuren's thanks, on seeing Hotohori for the first time Nuriko fell in love and so remained in the harem, concealing his true gender from everyone except the close friend he made there, Houki.
Nuriko is possibly the most complex of all of the Seishi. He's been referred to as 'gay' or just as a cross-dresser, but Yuu Watase herself mentions in the manga that that is over-simplifying the nature of Nuriko's mindset. In truth, as he says himself - "kokoro wa otome yo" (translated more or less as "I have a woman's heart/soul" - wow, guess where the website name came from...lol!). Though Nuriko is biologically male, his manner, dress and tone of voice are all very feminine. Quite often he will call his fellow male Seishi to book on how they are acting, criticising Tamahome in particular when he hurts Miaka's feelings. Ironically, his situation living on the cusp of being male and female allows him to understand the heartbreak of a woman jilted much more easily than any of the other men do (dare I say every woman's dream?!). However, despite his overt femininity, Nuriko is actually a very practical person, able to think clearly and concisely in a crisis situation, and usually able to come up with a smart comment or retort to lighten the situation. (In some respects, this reaction could be seen as disassociative, however, which is a key aspect of his overall character. Nuriko, in a sense, hides his true self all of the time, either behind women's clothing, the guise of a Seishi, his sister's identity or his wit and humour.) Nuriko is charismatic and enigmatic, and extremely loyal where his friends are concerned. His feelings on most subjects run very deep, although he doesn't always allow those feelings to be fully seen or understood by his companions. He is also capable of being selfish, manipulative and scheming, and to begin with is reluctant to become a Seishi simply because it means pandering to Miaka who he takes an irrational dislike to right from the first moment he meets her. And yet, even though his early actions are driven by self-serving motives, as time goes on he puts other people first more and more often, and this is probably because, before he became part of the Suzaku set-up, and despite his obviously priveleged background, he really had noone else to rely on but himself. Although his family appear to have been somewhat supportive, Nuriko's actions are bound to have put something of a divide between them and him over the years.
To begin with, when he's first introduced, Nuriko gives his name as Kourin as well as Nuriko. He never actually reveals his true male name until much later, and when he rescues Miaka and Tamahome from the falling building, he is dressed completely in the robes of a female consort. Surrounded by maids, none of them have realised their mistress is a master, either! Nuriko's position as a consort for Hotohori in the 'harem' is quite an interesting thought, all in all - we know that he has been there a year (so since he was seventeen), which means that up until that point he was living with his family (most likely) as his sister (Aside of course from the trip he took to Yukigase). This doesn't seem to have been noticed by his brother, however, because when the Seishi go there in the second OVA to claim Nuriko's memory jewel, no reference is made at all to the cross-dressing. We really don't know how his family took it, when he suddenly decided he was going to become his little sister. However, from the way Rokou reacts, it seems likely that Nuriko was not shunned for his choice. (Perhaps it can be said to be a trait of the Chou family that none of them find it easy to let go of dead relatives!)
It's made clear that although he's been at the palace for a year, Hotohori has never noticed Nuriko and this is part of the reason why he reacts so violently to Miaka's instant 'buddy buddy' routine with the Emperor. However, although we don't really ever meet any of the other ladies of the harem, it seems likely that he was quite popular among his companions - certainly he was respected by the maids who served him to a confidential level (enough to take them into his confidence about his plot to get Miaka soaked in the lake). Hotohori himself explains that he became introduced clearly to Houki not long after Nuriko's death, as if Nuriko himself had made the match from beyond the grave. (It's also important to note that - if you consider Eikoden to have any bearing on anything - when Nuriko is "reborn" as himself, Houki refers to him as "Kourin" not as "Ryuuen". This implies that Nuriko was known to and friendly with Houki before he became an official outed member of the Suzaku Seishi - and perhaps even in his own absence, he sought to secure Hotohori's happiness in the same careful manipulative way he does his best for Tamahome and Miaka, even after he dies.)
Nuriko's initial jealousy of Miaka's closeness to Hotohori is a good example of his underlying femininity, for he takes these feelings far more to heart than a male character might, and reacts in a very girlish way - scheming and plotting instead of resorting to fists. In fact, even after Miaka discovers the truth about his gender, he still refers to himself in the feminine - his confession "atashi wa otoko" even uses the more feminine form of watashi ("I"). Though this is not picked up in the English dub, Nuriko's continued use of feminine language structures indicates that although he claims he's giving up his 'gay' act and stopping trying to be Kourin, actually his behaviour is a lot deeper rooted in him than just his trying to imitate his sister's memory. Even when he's teasing Miaka and talking about being more like a man, he still uses feminine language...in fact I can't remember Nuriko ever using "boku" or "ore" to refer to himself (which the other warriors tend to do), only "atashi" or occasionally "watashi". And he certainly continues to use "kashira" as well as "kana" even after he has cut his hair. His behaviour does change slightly - instead of standing back from conflicts (such as when the gangsters attack Miaka and Tamahome in the early episodes) he charges into battle with Ashitare on two occasions, one of which results in his death. Yet when he advises Tamahome in the bar about his relationship with Miaka, he seems to understand on a feminine level - Tamahome even says that he sounds like a woman giving the advice of a big brother. Such is the contradiction that is Chou Ryuuen ^_^.
Nuriko's behaviour is feminine on many levels. It is no accident that it is Nuriko who is often seen preparing food for the Seishi when they're on the move - significantly at Tamahome's family's home and also on the boat for Hokkan. Miaka is actually somewhat disturbed after the first battle with Ashitare when Nuriko starts talking more like a man - she doesn't know how to react to it! His level of manipulation and emotional understanding is far more feminine than is is masculine - and despite his incredible strength, he's not usually the first one to charge into a battle situation. Rather, he's usually the one trying to pull people out of it - in particular, when Tamahome attacks Suboshi from grief at his family's death, it is Nuriko who steps in and prevents him from destroying his own life - not only for Tamahome's sake, but also for Miaka's. Though Nuriko *is* physically strong, he's also very strong emotionally as well - despite the things that stand in his way he knows what he wants, he looks for ways to try and get it and, perhaps most importantly, he's able to let that strength rub off onto his companions (such as when he, Miaka and Tamahome are shipwrecked and reliant on both his physical and mental strength to prevent from being killed by Soi's lightning). Perhaps because he doesn't fit into any stereotypical categories, he's more able to have a wider overview and see things and people more clearly for what and who they are.
Nuriko is bi-sexual, (a fact confirmed by Yuu Watase) and at one point seems to confess feelings for Miaka. However, the nature of those feelings are unclear. It seems unlikely that he loves her in the same way that Tamahome does - and he even observes as much, that had his sister not died, maybe he would have been torn up that way over a woman. Considering his wild jealousy towards Miaka in the beginning, he does not inflict the same actions on Tamahome when he realises Miaka is important to him. Quite the opposite, he goes out of his way to ensure that things are okay between Miaka and Tamahome, heading off to what ends up being his death because he wants to give them some alone time together. He also tells Tamahome that he loves all of the Seishi dearly as well, which suggests to me that his affection for Miaka is almost the same as that he held for his younger sister. Maybe, in some strange way, Nuriko has replaced Kourin's memory with his bond with Miaka, which would explain why he is so attentive to her and Tamahome's problems and why it is he is so dedicated to her even beyond death. Nuriko's subconscious desire to protect Kourin has effectively transferred onto Miaka, and ultimately leads to Nuriko's death. Yet, even when dying, Nuriko is adamant that he will always be there to protect Miaka. This he later proves, as his magic bracelets not only help save Miaka from the Genbu Seishi's spell but also by returning as a spirit and continuing to advise and be there for her when times are tough. At the end of the TV series, he returns in the nick of time to save Miaka from falling masonry, and he asks Nyan-Nyan if he can use her body once more, just so he can hug Miaka one last time before she goes back to her world. In a sense, even this is a very feminine gesture - and it makes you wonder if Nuriko is trying to be more male simply because he knows he has feelings of some kind for Miaka. He still refers to his feelings for Hotohori as those of the "woman" in him, and this probably best displays his bisexual confusion, in that he's not quite sure who he has to be in order to pursue those feelings. It seems likely to me that Nuriko knows that he's too female to be properly male yet there is a male element to his nature which makes it impossible for him to be completely female. Yet I still hold the view that he is more a girl than he is a boy, and that his feelings for Miaka - whatever they truly mean - are the only thing that pulls him towards becoming more masculine. In fact, he almost says as much when he realises he can't protect Miaka looking like a woman - the change in his behaviour and appearance is because he is a Suzaku Seishi and therefore his overriding purpose in life is to protect the Priestess before anything else.
Nuriko's desire to become a woman seems to be more than just the wish to be Kourin and live her life for her. As he confesses in the cave, he did not want to let his sister's memory go. However, the fact that he does continue to be feminine for the rest of the season in one way or another indicates something else about his personality. In many respects, Kourin's death more likely just brought out in the young Ryuuen something that was already there - a confusion over his identity and sexuality that came to the forefront after she died. In some ways it can perhaps be seen that the close bond he formed with Kourin over his elder brother in an era where there is a strong distinction between male and female activity/behaviour indicates that he was more comfortable in female company even at that time - and that when she died, he no longer had that connection to that side of himself. His own admission that he has a woman's heart is often borne out by his actions, and suggests to me that he is not 'gay' or 'transvestite' (the English dub likes to censor half of the references to Nuriko's sexuality under the term "cross-dresser", which is highly lame and totally off the point) but actually transexual - genuinely a female spirit in the form of a man.
It might also be worth mentioning at this point that because Nuriko has chosen to live his life as a woman, he's not actually that good a fighter. Although he is tremendously strong, and extremely empathic, his battle form is not usually so hot and sometimes it is only his seishi strength which gets him out of trouble. As a child he used this gift to get his older brother out of trouble, and on occasion he will make inelegant lunges into battle situations with abandoned cart halves or (on Mt Reikaku) tables as weapons. However, he shows nothing of the genuine battle skill that his comrades each display from time to time. There are two occasions where he is unable to defend himself from a Kutou assassin's arrow attack, and he is also unable to properly defend Miaka from the bandits at Mt Reikaku - although he breaks the sword of one, it takes Hotohori to really rescue them from danger, and when Hotohori and Miaka are in trouble, he darts in only to be felled by one of the bandits' traps. He is taken off guard on two occasions when on horseback, unable to spot the enemy's presence and almost getting sucked down into a whirlpool by the undead of Choukou. Even when faced with Ashitare, on both occasions he struggles to fight in the way that Tamahome or Tasuki might fight without having to stop and think - in the first encounter he uses strategy rather than his physical strength to drive Ashitare off, rather than engaging him in combat. He also doesn't seem aware that Ashitare is tracking him into the mountains until after he has reached his destination - when he is well out of the way of help's reach. It is probably his inexperience and lack of training that costs him his life against Ashitare in the end - although adrenalin drives him to semi-slay his opponant, he is taken off guard and his reliance on just his strength to see him through makes him potentially weak against a foe that is at least as strong as he is. When Tamahome leaves Nuriko to protect his family against the Kutou assassins, Nuriko is unable to properly do so - getting caught in the assassin's webs despite his attempts to fight back. In this respect, perhaps, Nuriko's lifestyle choices have become his weakness in physical combat even as they are his strength in emotional manipulation. (Perhaps also his ability for empathy has become a weakness too - we will never know whether his interference in Tamahome's attack on Suboshi and then Soi were ultimately beneficial or otherwise, but he was clearly driven by concern for his friend over his desire to beat the enemy.)
Nuriko's true love in the series is the Emperor and his fellow Seishi Hotohori, who also has his cross-dressing moments and occasionally gets mistaken for a woman (although there is no ambiguity over Hotohori's gender preference). Nuriko's affection for Hotohori is another example of how feminine his spirit really is - his devotion and dedication to the Emperor through all things is much more in the manner of a girl's crush rather than a man's attraction. Nuriko's bond with Hotohori is a strange one - they are friends, and Hotohori knows (but pays little attention to) the fact Nuriko is in love with him. However, Nuriko often acts as guardian of Hotohori's feelings as much as anything else - punching Tasuki on several occasions when he's tactless about Miaka's love for Tamahome in the Emperor's presence. They are friends of a different sort from Tasuki and Nuriko - in some respects, Hotohori's over-riding sovereignity probably acts as a barrier between them on some levels, although Hotohori often calls on Nuriko to rescue him from awkward situations (such as when the drunk bandit from Tasuki's gang decides to make his move...LOL.) Hotohori's reaction when he discovers that Nuriko is a man is not shock or horror that a man has been hiding in his harem, but rather that there exists another man who is as beautiful as he is! It could be said that Nuriko's obsession with Hotohori is some subconscious desire to make his dead sister's memory the wife of the Emperor of Kounan, yet Nuriko's own feelings for Hotohori persist beyond his "change of heart", indicating that they are his own as much as his desire to keep Kourin alive within him. When he claims that he's leaving his 'other self' behind forever, it is Miaka's mention of Hotohori that sends him back into very girlish confusion about his feelings.
Ironically, the only character Nuriko ever kisses - or even tries to kiss seriously - is Tamahome, and then only to make Miaka jealous, because he wants Hotohori. Trying to define Nuriko's emotions towards other characters into either male attraction or female attraction is actually impossible - I think Nuriko's attraction to his companions operates on entirely a different level from the rest and can't be so easily defined. Just as Nuriko himself cannot be easily pigeonholed as male or female, nor can his interactions with other people. He loves, but he loves uniquely, and that's about the easiest way to explain it.
That all being said, the choice of music for Nuriko's death (first the insert song "Winner" and then his own song "Kaze No Uta") is quite telling. The lyrics to Winner - which is also used for Miaka and Tamahome's relationship uncertainty at invervals - talk about unreturned feelings and seizing happiness in the end...and in Nuriko's case, is played alongside a montage of Nuriko in the real world with Miaka, almost in the position of a lover. And yet, despite the fact it's obviously meant to signify that, there are a number of odd things about this montage. Firstly, the real-life element - is Nuriko seeing these images? Is he able, for the first time, to see Miaka's world clearly enough to project an image of himself there? Or is it just a random montage built up from his supposed feelings for Miaka? This raises the second point - the things that Miaka and Nuriko are doing in the montage are fun, hanging out kind of things - they're not romantic in the same sense as Tamahome and Miaka's images always are. This, to me, further indicates that Nuriko's love for Miaka is on a deep, friendship level - he does love her, but his very nature prevents him from being in love with her in a typical male/female sense. What he's picturing, in short, is hanging out with someone on the level of friend, sister, confidant, partner - but not lover.
Kaze No Uta is significant too for several reasons. Firstly, Nuriko is the ONLY Seishi to get a dedicated closing theme for his death episode (in some respects, far more is made of Nuriko's death than of any other character in the entire series, and I think this helps define his role as something of a guardian angel Seishi even beyond his own death). It can be no coincidence that, surrounded by the animation of them all crying and mourning his body, the first word of the song is "Stop". The lyrics of the song indicate satisfaction - that he's died not only finding peace but also knowing who he truly is, and that he'll be all right, even if he's not with them any more. The implication is what he says to Miaka and Tamahome before his death - he'll always be there to protect and look out for them, no matter what. In essence, Nuriko does not want them to mourn his passing, but to go on and succeed in what they intend to do - that his death has had a greater purpose, and that, at the end of the day, he's not sorry for anything that he's done in the name of his friends. The song also mentions a voice calling for him on the wind, and I guess that voice is meant to be Kourin, since he seems to see his sister's spirit in the sky not long before Tamahome and Miaka reach him. His prophetic words about being there to watch over them come true when the seishi face Tomite and Hikitsu of the Genbu-Shichi-Seishi, when power from his bracelets helps Miaka to break their ice spell over her. Although the Genbu warriors explain this as being her own true power, Miaka refers to it as Nuriko saving her again. Whether he actually is there in spirit form through his bracelets to save her or not is debatable, but that the memory of him and his words to her are enough to rouse Miaka into fighting back - that is more important. It signifies that no matter what his fate, Nuriko's influence still holds strong over Miaka's life and choices, and continues to do so throughout the series. Whenever Miaka is feeling like success is impossible, it is always the memory of Nuriko's last words to her that keep her strong and focused on raising Suzaku.
Nuriko's closest bonds in the series are probably with Miaka, Tamahome, Hotohori and Tasuki. To Miaka he is like a big sister - she often turns to him in times of upset, such as when Tamahome's family are slaughtered by Suboshi in the village. When they are trapped in the cave after falling overboard on the way to Hokkan, Miaka has to stop and think for a moment, "Oh yeah, Nuriko's a guy." and Nuriko never has any qualms about stripping Miaka's clothing whenever there's a need (i.e when she's injured or likely to catch cold). Though Miaka occasionally reacts to this, it's interesting that she is more bothered about any of the others seeing her naked than she is Nuriko. This proves in some respects that in Miaka's mind, Nuriko is more big sister than big brother. However, when talking to him shortly before Nuriko's death, Tamahome admits that Nuriko is more like a big brother to him than anything else. Nuriko's bond with Tasuki has occasionally been hinted at as a potential romantic connection, but I don't see it that way - to me it seems like a close friendship formed. Tasuki dislikes women, but he and Nuriko often hang out together, bantering and teasing, and when Nuriko dies, Tasuki's reaction is extremely emotional - both disbelieving and grief-stricken at the loss of his friend. Even after Nuriko's death, this bond between Tasuki and Nuriko seems to remain - although it will never be quite at the level of connection Nuriko has with Miaka or Tamahome.
The true definition of Nuriko's character is in Miaka's eulogy, when he dies. She says that he wasn't a man, or a woman. He was just Nuriko - and that seems to sum him up. Tasuki also admits that he couldn't figure out if Nuriko was a man or a woman, but he was just cool as he was. Nuriko crosses social boundaries and because of his lifestyle, understands things about both genders that maybe none of the others really do. Even after they all know he's a man, he still refers to himself as a 'good girl', and it is often Nuriko's quick brain that finds resolution to a problem - for example calling Hotohori and Tamahome to account for simply screaming Miaka's name when she's potentially bleeding to death and needs urgent medical treatment, ripping his own gown to bandage her wounded chest.
Nuriko's relationship with his older brother is significant too. Whilst the Seishi are at the Chou family home, hunting for one of Tamahome's memory jewels in the second OVA, Nuriko finds it hard to take the sobriety seriously and feels compelled to break the serious atmosphere by pulling faces and making Tasuki laugh. His brother's grief at his passing seems secondary to Nuriko than the cause of the Seishi in hunting down Tamahome's memory gems, indicating that the Seishi have become more important to him than his own family and that his only real connection to them in some respects was Kourin. The fact that his family told him to forget Kourin when she died may have been a part of that - but he certainly doesn't seem to regard his brother in the same dedicated way he remembers his sister. In a weird twist of fate, however, he finds himself on the other side of the regret equation. He says that it's been two years since his death and that his brother needs to get over it now. Whether he feels this because he spent eight years not getting over Kourin or whether he truly feels that his brother is being pathetic is unclear. Maybe it's a bit of both - perhaps he doesn't want his elder brother to fall into the same trap he did, and spend his life venerating the memory of someone who isn't going to come back. (Or maybe, as I've already suggested, Nuriko knows that his masquerade as Kourin stems from deeper desires in him to be female than it does to become his sister's memory).
Because he has lived eight years of his life as Kourin and the other ten as Ryuuen, Nuriko's main issue in the series is really finding out who he is. It's my belief that his acceptance of Kourin's death and his attempt to put it behind him is simply this - his desire to discover who he truly is without the shadow of his sister's memory hanging over his life. It is for this reason that he cuts his hair, and attempts to act like a man - though even at the end he seems to realise that he's not like the others in that respect. As mentioned above, his death image song, "Kaze No Uta" sums up in a lot of respects the way that he feels when he dies - that at last he's discovered his true identity- Nuriko of the Suzaku-Shichi-Seishi. Regardless of whether he is Ryuuen or Kourin, he is still a Celestial Warrior and he still has a place where he belongs and is accepted by those around him.
And to a large degree, I think it is this which Nuriko seeks most of all. Not to define himself as a man or as a woman - but to find people and a place where he has acceptance and purpose. It is this, in the end, which makes him content even at the moment of death - and able to give his all in the battle against Ashitare, knowing that even in his sacrifice, he is helping to take his friends a step closer to their ultimate goal. Selfish as he can be, and manipulative too, in the end he gives up his own life unselfishly to help his comrades - since it's very possible that, had he not used his final strength to move the rock blocking the way to the Genbu Shinzahou, he might have been able to hang on until Mitsukake arrived to heal him. Since Mitsukake and the others arrived literally seconds after he had passed on, it seems likely that he would not have died had he not chosen to move the rock and clear the path.
Though Eikoden was not written by Yuu Watase, it was accepted by her as a sequel to the other FY series. Whether this makes it canon or not is up to the individual, and this is why I have placed it in a seperate section here (although to my mind there is no reason why it should not be canon...it doesn't contradict anything that's said in the series or other OVAs and more significantly, Nuriko appears as a little girl at the market in the titles for the final OVA2 episode (and drawn in the manga for the final volume, too) - this seems to lead directly into Eikoden and indicates that it should be considered canon, at least to some degree. (I consider all of the "Gaiden" novels to be a form of FY canon BECAUSE of Watase Yuu's heavy involvement/support/guidance in their production. Eikoden being animated from one of these novels, it must be accepted in some form :))
In Eikoden, Nuriko is resurrected as a young girl which Tasuki and the others meet at a marketplace. Cheeky, gregarious and self-serving, she shows a lot of the signs of Nuriko's early series incarnation, and it is significant that he should have chosen to return as a girl, not a guy. This is just another indication that Nuriko is truly a feminine spirit at heart, whatever his physical form. When he returns to his own self, it is Nuriko who pulls together the strands of confusion and spells out for his companions what Miaka has done in sending her baby into the book to help save Kounan. In a sense, he proves that as ever, he knows Miaka's mind and actions as well as any of the others, but on a different level - that of a woman intuitively understanding another woman.
Nuriko is my favourite of the Seishi, simply because his character is so complex. However, I have noticed something weird from having watched him in both Japanese and English. When you hear the Japanese voice, even though it's a blatantly female voice, somehow you can accept it as being just Nuriko - the enigma that he is. But the voice artist in the English dub makes him a lot more feminine somehow - to the point where it's hard to remember that he isn't a woman. It's interesting how a voice artist can change perception of a character!
Another thing to note is that his name is Nu-Ri-Ko (equally pronounced syllables, the nu as in the North American way of saying "new" and the ko as in the start of "confidence")- not Nu-Ree-Koh as the English dub seems to label him (giving too much emphasis to the middle syllable). That's one of the more annoying features of the English dub!
Despite Nuriko's death in episode 33, he still seems to play a more prominent role in the series and subsequent OVAs than fellow Seishi Mitsukake and Chiriko seem to do on occasion. Ironically.
Perhaps its because of all the Seishi, Nuriko has longest to adjust to the idea of being dead. But whatever it is, it seems that he has a unique attitude to deadness just as he does to life. Unlike his fellow deceased seishi, he does a lot of flying, floating and occasionally materialising. He is also the most adept at working out ways to gain physical contact with other people - generally using his bracelets in such a way that he can pin down Tamahome or pound Tasuki or his own brother where and when is necessary. It's just another element of his enigmatic charm - even dead, he's very much alive ;)
And a final and random note: I found out recently that the Suzaku constellations cover the quarter of the year including my star sign, Pisces. And not only that, the birthdate Watase Yuu gave Nuriko (March 10th) makes him Pisces, too ;) No wonder I have such an affinity with him! But it does explain his dual gender nature - the two fish swimming very decidedly in opposite directions!
Random Nuriko Quotes (Anime):
"I'm a man. What are you gonna say about that?" (Stating the obvious, as Miaka discovers there's something missing beneath Nuriko's dress. TV Series)
"I have a woman's heart, so I'm the one to treat her." (On why its okay for him to see Miaka undressed - TV Series).
"Don't cry, Miaka. Noone's dying." (In denial, on the slopes of Hokkan - episode 33)
"I think I always loved Miaka as a man." (Confessions over alcohol, episode 32)
"Miaka-chan! Stupid as ever, I see!" (Friendly greetings on Miaka's return to the palace from her trip to Kutou, TV Series)