Ifurita is the Demon Goddess of ancient legend, a living doll who helped wipe out
much of an ancient civilization. Her name is only mentioned in nervous whispers.
Even her disappearance for several millennia did nothing to diminish her legend.
She truly is a being to be feared.
Or is she? Could this beautiful creature with her ivory skin, her piercing, emotive eyes, and her flowing bluish-lavender hair be the monster of ancient legend? How could this woman, who first greeted Makoto with tears of saddened joy also be the same person who would willingly blast a hole in him the next time she saw him? That is one of the many mysteries a person will explore as he or she delves deeper into this wonderful character.
The first time we seen this woman, we see her in her most fragile and emotional state. Makoto encounters her in a tomb underneath his school. Upon her awakening, she greets him with a loving embrace and tears in her eyes. She is saddened that Makoto does not recognize her, but knows that she cannot dwell on it, for she only has enough time to start a long chain of events that will lead back to this very event.
The next time we encounter her, she is revealed as the legendary Demon Goddess, a creature of immense destructive power. When she encounters Makoto again, gone is the look of tearful love, and in its place is a look of cold indifference. That is until Jinnai orders her to kill the boy, which she attempts to do with extreme prejudice.
Only when assaulted with images of the loving and emotional Ifurita that dwells in Makoto's memory, does the cold and mechanical Demon God stop her assault, if only for the moment. It is this paradox sparked within her that is the first step to her transformation.
However, that transformation is very slow in nature and merely the idea that Ifurita could be something other than a destructive slave is not enough to stop her from following her master Jinnai's destructive orders. It would take several encounters between her and the boy Makoto before she would begin to change, and those encounters almost proved very costly for Makoto and the Alliance.
However, it is Makoto's determination to free this enslaved beauty from her fate that finally sets her free. By destroying her obedience circuit, Ifurita is no longer bound to the evil whims of her masters. She is finally free to make her own choices and with that new freedom, she chooses to help Makoto and the Alliance.
However, things are not resolved then and there as a bigger threat is revealed. It is then that Ifurita, using her free will, volunteers herself to stop a force even more destructive than herself, the Eye of God. She does this, knowing that she will be sent far away from the first people she's ever grown to care for. However, she knows that she must do this, not just because she feels remorse for her destructive acts and this is a way to do some good, but because she now understands the reason why Makoto knew her before she was awakened. She now realizes that she is living in a paradoxical cycle and she must go meet Makoto on Earth, lest she will never gain her freedom.
Thus Ifurita completes the cycle. However, the trip to Earth and the 10,000 year wait for Makoto's fated arrival in the tomb have worn her body down. After she sends the confused boy to start the cycle all over again, she knows that she will die soon. The instrument she used to keep her powered up, the Zenmai (also called "the Power Key Staff"), is on El-Hazard. However, the thought only mildly distresses her as she is thankful that after millennia of enslavement, she finally managed to live her life on her own terms. She was allowed to choose and even to love. She knows that she can die happy and prepares to do such. However, it appears that is not to be, as Makoto, a bit older, appears in front of her. The two are reunited because Makoto's love for her was as strong as her desire to maintain the cycle.
From there, their future is uncertain, but one can only assume that as long as they are together, their future will be a happy one.
Ifurita is the character whom the entire story of El-Hazard revolves around. All other characters are attached to her in some way or another, be it to understand her, to obtain her, to defeat her, or to free her. Without Ifurita, the story of El-Hazard would never exist.
Yet for all the connections to all the other characters in El-Hazard, one stands out more than any other. That relationship is the one she has with Makoto Mizuhara. It is this relationship that separates Ifurita into two characters: Ifurita and one I call "The Demon Goddess"
The Demon Goddess represents cold machine essence of Ifurita. She is a machine, a tool used for destruction. Ifurita is aware of this and for the most part accepts it. She has no emotional attachment to her orders, be they good or evil, nor does she show emotion when she battles. She has no real feelings of malice when she fights, but rather she fights because that is what she was made to do. In reality, if she has a desire, it is for her pointless existence to end.
Ifurita on the other hand is that human side that is uncovered by Makoto's touch. No one is sure why Makoto in particular had this effect on her, but perhaps, with his special ability, not only was he able to see into her mind, he might have transferred to her some of his own humanity. After this initial encounter, she begins to change, subtly at first, but being still bound to her control circuit which ties her to the commands of her master, there is little she could do about openly and thus she denies these changes even to herself. However, with the bonds of slavery broken by Makoto, she becomes fully sentient of her own will.
The complete knowledge of Ifurita's past is now long lost to the annals of ancient history. She was built so long ago that her creators or even the civilization to which they belonged is now long extinct. We only learn a few scant details as new artifacts and information is discovered.
What we know is that Ifurita is only one of a series of Demon Gods, much alike in both power, and sometimes even appearance. These beings were created to fight in the ancient civil wars of El-Hazard. However, they were either voluntarily or involuntarily sealed away and, eventually, forgotten.
Why were they sealed away? Was their power too great to be controlled? Did her creators fear that even with her bonds, that she would one day turn against them? This is only one mystery of many. Why were they given human-like bodies? How similar to humans are they really and what purpose did that replication serve?
Theories abound, ranging from possible subterfuge functions to use as concubines. Only Ifurita may know for sure and one must wonder if she does remember or if she wishes to simply forget her past altogether.
Moving on, Ifurita was created as a weapon and she is a powerful one at that. She can fly, she is very strong, and she is very skilled in battle. This stems from both years of combat experience, but also from her special ability. She has the power to learn and duplicate the effects of any attack or weapon used against her, even if she has seen it only once. This makes her the most deadly of opponents, because even if an opponent happens to know an attack she doesn't, the opponent will only have one chance to use it and hope it defeats her. Otherwise, the opponent might find himself or herself at the mercy of their own technique, much like Afura Mann discovered when she tried to take on Ifurita with her "Badger Slash" attack.
However, as a weapon, she does have weaknesses. The most important one to consider is that she needs to be re-energized by a key-like staff device (that also acts like her primary weapon.) Since she cannot wind herself, she must have her master do it, which may not be convenient. If she were to wind down in battle, the next person to wind her would automatically become her master, which might not be good for the former master.
Ifurita is such a fascinating character that one could write an entire book on her. She is the sleeping beauty awakened by the prince and the lion whom the warrior removed a thorn from its paw. She is the living doll of death and more human than some real people I know. She is the essence of El-Hazard.
Of all the characters common to both the original OAV series and "The Wanderers",
Ifurita is, by far, the most changed by the transition. Where the original is an
imposing, statuesque beauty, the TV version is meek, ditzy, and more cute than beautiful.
Where the former is womanly, the latter is girlish. Where the former is tragic,
the latter is comic. Her overall appearance has changed just as drastically, with
lavender tresses replaced by raven locks, and exotic, Arabianesque garb replaced
by a less elaborate outfit that makes her appear almost like a giant wind-up toy.
Of course, this new Ifurita isn't COMPLETELY unlike the original. Aside from possessing the same name, they are both Demon Gods, ancient and powerful legendary weapons capable of incredible destructive power. They both are powered by winding them up with the key-shaped staves they possess, and both are absolutely loyal to the one who has done the winding.
Nevertheless, the differences outweigh the similarities, and Ifurita fills a role in "The Wanderers" very different from the one she filled in the OAV. As was the case with the original, it all begins with a desperate chase between the forces of the Bugrom and the forces of Roshtaria, to reach the tomb where the Demon God lies imprisoned before the other force arrives. The chase is resolved when Jinnai manages to take Ifurita's Power Key Staff and wind her up with it, making her his servant. Ifurita opens her eyes and examines her shifty-eyed new master...
And then pretends to go back to sleep.
That's only a hint of what is to come. Jinnai isn't taken in by Ifurita's poorly thought-out ploy, and insists that she awaken and do his bidding. Though somewhat reluctant at first, Jinnai manages to win her over with a few well-placed, if incredibly transparent lies, establishing her as his trusted partner in crime. He would soon be wishing that he hadn't made the effort...
You see, Ifurita doesn't really have the hang of this whole Demon God shtick. Half of the time, she can't figure out how to make her attacks work properly, and the other half of the time, they DO work, but end up blowing up the wrong target (all too frequently, Jinnai), or they go completely out of control. She frequently misunderstands the orders that she's given, or simply doesn't have the heart to carry them out, being a very gentle and kind-hearted person. She understands that her master is evil, but is rather confused on the whole good/bad thing, due largely to the fact that Jinnai explained that being evil meant being kind and good-natured.
In general, Ifurita gives the impression of being lost and confused, trying her best to get by on what she knows, which isn't much. But even given all that, Ifurita is not someone who should be taken lightly. She IS a Demon God, after all, and has a virtually unlimited arsenal of attacks at her command. On rare occasions when she's been on the ball, she's proven herself more than capable of defeating a Great Priestess in combat, and on one occasion, easily subdued both Miz Mishtal and Shayla-Shayla at the same time. And that's to say nothing of what she's capable of when in control of the Eye of God... But more on that in a bit.
So, in short, the ancients of El-Hazard built an insanely powerful ultimate weapon with artificial intelligence who was too kind, gentle, and, above all, incompetent to actually be an effective weapon. Just what were they thinking?!? As is usually the case with the ancients of El-Hazard, the answer is shrouded in mystery. There are some hints during the series that indicate that Ifurita may be malfunctioning; that she was awakened improperly, and that that is the reason for her strange behavior. Another possibility is that she's faking the whole thing in an attempt to hide her true nature, and thus prevent Jinnai from taking advantage of her true power (though, this seems unlikely, given that she seems to be just as much a ditz alone as she is when around others). Or, perhaps her antics are a failsafe program, to make certain that, if she were ever to fall into the wrong hands (and hands just don't get a lot more wrong than Jinnai's), she would be worse than useless to them. That way, only her proper masters would know where Ifurita's true power lies...
When Ifurita pilots the Eye of God, her personality changes completely. She becomes cold, emotionless, ruthless, and deadly; in short, she truly becomes a Demon God. Ordinarily, this would make Jinnai ecstatic. Unfortunately, in this mode, Jinnai does not have the authorization to give her instructions, and so she resorts to her default programming: Destroy the world. Unfortunately, in the Eye of God, such a goal is more than just possible it's very likely. This doesn't make Jinnai particularly happy, or anyone else for that matter. Fortunately, the royal bloodline of Roshtaria DOES have the authorization to instruct her in this mode, so everything works out in the end.
Ifurita's attitude towards others can be summed up in two words: Unconditionally friendly. She likes everyone she meets and tries to get them to like her, as well. She's friendly towards Diva. She tries her best to please Jinnai. When Nanami and Rune Venus are kidnapped by Jinnai, she spends a lot of time with them, and even forms a fast friendship with the Princess herself, who was initially quite set against her, due both to the fact that she is feared weapon of legendary power, and to the fact that Rune Venus is afraid that she might be competition for Makoto's heart. She has nothing to fear on that front, though, but it is true that Makoto was the first of them to believe that Ifurita was actually a kind soul. Even when confronted by hostile Priestesses, Ifurita's first instinct is to avoid conflict and make friends.
To sum up, Ifurita is very friendly, absolutely loyal to her master, and completely useless as an ultimate weapon. Almost every attempt to use her backfires, making her more a liability in combat than an asset. Which could explain why her sole task throughout most of the latter part of the series was sweeping the Bugrom Hive. That, it seems, she can do quite well. ^_^
To a viewer who has seen the original OAV series, liking this version of Ifurita can be difficult. She practically seems to be a parody of the original Ifurita, and for those who were especially fond of the relationship that Makoto and Ifurita share in the OAV, the formulaic romance between him and Rune Venus in "The Wanderers" may seem a poor substitute. If that can be set aside, though, TV Ifurita can be very fun to watch, with laughs around every corner, and she's cute to boot!
A note of interest: The black haired version of Ifurita was the model for the character Ifurina in the El-Hazard Radio Program and that character serves the same purpose and acts exactly like the TV version of Ifurita. - Ed.
This version of Ifurita is a rebirth of the OVA version of the character, but with
a few cosmetic changes. Her general appearance is still the same, though she seems
just slightly shorter now. Also her outfit and Zenmai staff were given overhauls.
Also, her place of slumber is changed from the forbidden island, to underneath the
The most important thing of note of this version of Ifurita is that we see much more of her past. This is vital information for understanding Ifurita as a person.
We learn that Ifurita was not always the cold, callous machine that she appears when she was first resurrected by Jinnai. That personality was one she created in order for her to live with her actions as a war machine.
We learn that she used to be much like a human woman, happy and kind. However, she was not built for that purpose and her creators were most displeased by this development. It appears that they had made her TOO human. She had a conscience and that is something that is inconvenient for a weapon to have.
Thus, her creators tried to instill a ruthless attitude in her and when that failed, they created the obedience circuit (represented physically as a shackle on her leg), which would erase her personality if her disobeyed her orders, leaving her with the choice of killing or losing herself. She chose to maintain her personality at the cost of her soul, until she met Makoto Mizuhara.
I really like this version of Ifurita a lot. The manga really shows the inner struggle that is going on inside Ifurita as she tries to regain her humanity, making her triumph all the more satisfying.
This version is pretty much the same comic relief sidekick to Jinnai that she is in the Wanderers with the exception that if you do certain things in the game, there is an ending where Ifurita and Makoto hook up.