Gallery – Zen Kari
Don’t let his looks fool you. He might have the handsome boyish charm of a man much younger than he is, but this Kari man was groomed by his father, Kazuki to be the Shield of the Kari. If I had to pick one among the Kari Clan that is the most dangerous, by far it is Zen Kari. With the blood of the Kari and the Waichia he can replicate anything he sees or hears as well as read minds.
He is easily a man that is misjudged due to his smaller frame, but he is an accomplished swordsmen and an expert at hand-to-hand combat. During the historical days he served as a General for the Aslann military along side Commander Oro Ishi.
Zen is the youngest Kari to ever pass the trials of manhood. He was nine years old. Considered a prodigy. He attended Harvard at twelve. Graduated Summa cum Laude with a degree in Engineering at sixteen. Did two years of graduate school, and then went on to get his Ph.D. in Engineering Physics.
Zen served as the Shield of the Kari and was Chief Design Officer of the Kari Foundation until Tadayoshi retired as CEO. He held both positions until he fell ill. Disgusted with the state of the Kari he refused to announce a successor for his position as Shield and the Kari Foundation he transferred control to Tationy Tylo, much to the dismay of his clan.
The loss of Tadayoshi Kari was a striking blow for Zen who considered him a friend and a brother. They had grown up together and the slightly older Tadayoshi was a mentor who helped guide Zen in the ways of the Kari. Tadayoshi was the only person that Zen informed of his sexuality.
Zen had several relationships, some far more serious than others. Despite, being a gay man when called upon to marry by his clan he did so without hesitation.
Zen’s son Tsuna is mentioned in The Exiled Prince, The Exiled Prince Reloaded, and Aslann. The only time we see his face is when the gods are passing judgement. Tsuna is also mentioned in The Exiled Prince Rebooted Prequel, but his relationship to Zen is purposely left out. However, there it is stated that Tsuna’s wife had a child. From this information, we know that Zen has at least one grandchild that is around during reality days.
Would it surprise you to find out that the person that Miso Yamada intended for Tationy to marry in The Exiled Prince Rebooted Prequel was none other then the son of the Elder of the Kari, Zen. However, Zen was never the son of the Elder of the Kari and he was never as young as he was in the prequel in the canon story. He is a few years younger then Tadayoshi who was in fifties during the modern age. Interestingly enough, toward the end of The Exiled Prince story Tationy and Zen live together and even Hiko questions their relationship.
Do not misunderstand. They are more like siblings or a parent and child. A lot of what we learn about Tationy throughout the series comes about because of her relationship with Zen. He is one of the few Kari that she feels comfortable being herself around.
However, with that said, Tationy and Zen do not meet as they did in The Exiled Prince. In fact all of the events involving the two in the series start are false. While Tationy as Tatsuya knows Zen as a General of the Aslann military, Tationy herself does not meet Zen until the modern age despite both being active during the historical period.
Many Kari struggle to find a balance between modernization vs tradition. It is not uncommon for Kari in the series to be extreme one way or the other. Zen’s father insisted that Zen adopt a modern appearance to help bring the Kari into the new age. Despite other Kari doing the same, Zen is the only character to find balance between modernization and tradition. Thus he is able to move seamlessly in both worlds.
While he is seen often without his glasses, Zen is actually farsighted and refuses to get contacts in the modern age.
Despite the very short hair we see in the modern age of Aslann, I personally only picture Zen with long hair. One of the conditions of his modernization was that he cut his hair. He and I, both feel the same about it. Despite wanting to grow it out and keep it long as is the way of the Kari, he had it cut at sixteen and it remains short until the day he dies.
Zen Kari might look like that geeky boy next door, but he will rip your heart out and feed it to you before you even realize what has happened.