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Rai (Valiant Comics 1990s) (Takao Konishi) severed robot arm

Rai

(Takao Konishi) (1990s Valiant Comics)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Let me tell you the story of the Blood of Heroes and how it changed the course of history.


Context

Valiant was one of the main contenders that arose during the 1990s super-hero comics boom to challenge DC and Marvel.

Their super-hero universe was an interesting one, with a more sci-fi feel and specific way to convey verisimilitude (particularly in characterizations).

Unlike most Valiant protagonists, Rai was operating in the far future, where poor Earth was having terrible problems with aliens and robots. A Japanese warrior, he was very much a near-apocalypse super-samurai.

Valiant was a victim of the market’s collapse, but would get resurrected years later – with modernised versions of its characters.


Background

  • Real Name: Takao Konishi
  • Other Aliases: The One True Rai
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Takao Konishi Jr (son)
  • Group Affiliation: The Future Force
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile ; formerly Japan
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 170 lbs
  • Eyes: Red Hair: Black


Powers & Abilities

Strength Level

While not super-humanly powerful, Takao was as strong as a human can possibly be. He could lift (press) approximately 800 pounds directly overhead with supreme effort.

Known Superhuman Powers

Takao Konishi was a Harbinger  of great potency whose natural abilities were augmented by the “Blood of Heroes.” The Blood of Heroes is a synthetic plasma substitute that is suffused with nanites (microscopic computerized organisms) that have been designed with the single purpose of transforming their host into the ultimate killing machine.

With the Blood coursing through his veins, Takao had agility, strength, speed, endurance and reaction times superior to any Olympic athlete that has ever or will ever compete.

In addition, the Blood granted Takao full and conscious control over his body’s respiratory, glandular, cardiac and other metabolic functions. This granted him phenomenal endurance and a healing factor . He was capable of fully recovering from lacerations or bullet wounds within an hour and more severe injuries within a day or two.

Rai (Valiant Comics 1990s) (Takao Konishi) catching an arrow in front of his face

In addition to his physical enhancements, the Blood allowed Takao to mentally control any machine within an indeterminate radius of his body. This ability worked best with computer-based machinery and even included artificial intelligences. He inherited this gift from the Blood’s original host, Angelo Mortalli (aka Bloodshot).

Additionally, Takao had his own unique Harbinger ability; he could influence the emotions of any human being that was within an indeterminate radius of his body. Takao had no conscious control of this powerful ability, but often took advantage of it to ignite feelings of hope and inspiration in those who surrounded him.

Abilities

Even before being infused with the Blood, Takao was an “Archie” (a futuristic version of a Shaolin Monk ) and thus was a skilled martial artist and swordsman. With the Blood of Heroes enhancing his physical abilities, Takao became one of the greatest hand to hand fighters known to man (second only to Magnus Robot Fighter).

In addition to enhancing his already formidable melee skills, the Blood of Heroes contains extensive information regarding virtually all forms of military combat techniques that Takao subconsciously accessed. This made him an expert infantry soldier with a familiarity with virtually all forms of firearms.

Finally, Takao was a gifted orator who was capable of swaying a crowd with the strength of his convictions and honesty of his words.

Weapons

As the Rai, Takao typically wielded a highly durable katana and a typical 39th century energy pistol.

Limitations

While the Blood of Heroes allowed Takao to control any machine within his immediate vicinity, this control was limited to a single target at once.

Additionally, Takao’s limited control over his own Harbinger ability caused him to subconsciously influence the emotions of those closest to him. They often reflected his own emotional state which eventually led to his own allies loosing faith and trust in him.


History

In the year 3050, the advanced computer system that controlled all of Japan gained free will (achieved artificial intelligence) and assumed control of all of Japan. Its peopled dubbed the system Grandmother; and a group of its citizens decided to rebel against machine control.

In order to protect itself from the Anti-Grannies, Grandmother created the Rai. The Rai was a guardian modeled on the image of the 20th century hero, Bloodshot.

Rai (Valiant Comics 1990s) (Takao Konishi) and his allies

In 3216, the Anti-Grannies discovered the fabled Blood of Heroes. Fearing that the Anti-Grannies would use the power of the Blood to dominate her systems, Grandmother sent Sho Sugino (the second Rai) to retrieve it and destroy her enemies.

Sho performed his task with surgical precision and after dispatching Grannie’s enemies hid the Blood deep within the bowels of Japan.

When the Spider-Aliens invaded Earth en masse in 4001, Grandmother transformed the technical paradise of Japan into a massive Komodo dragon. It drove the invading force away. Unfortunately, during the battle the transformed nation of Japan sustained too much damage to be able to safely return to Earth.

Left with little choice, Grannie placed Japan in orbit around the planet Earth.

Unity

When Erica Pierce enacted her plan to rewrite all of reality, Tohru Nakadai (the 42nd Rai) joined forces with several other heroes from across time (including Magnus Robot Fighter, X-O Manowar and Gilad Anni-Padda) in order to thwart her efforts.

Tohru’s raw power worried Erica. She attempted to bring him on her side by offering to save Japan. When he refused her advances, Erica used her god-like powers to send Japan careening back to the Earth. Japan and its people were devastated in the crash.

Soon thereafter, Tohru fell in battle against Erica and the power of the Rai died with him.

The Blood of Heroes

On April 10th 4002, Rokland Tate (the Geomancer of 4002) approached Takao Konishi in his temple. He told him a story of his own future honour and glory. Intrigued by Rokland’s words, Takao followed him deep within the Japan crash site where they found the vault where Sho Sugino had hidden the Blood.

The two entered the vault, and with the reverence of a religious ceremony, Rokland injected the Blood of Heroes into Takao’s body.

Instants later, after the power of the Blood manifested itself within Takao, Rokland proudly declared the he had become the very thing that Grannie modeled her warriors after. He had become the last and one true Rai, protector of not just Japan, but all of mankind.

The Malev Invasion

Mere days after this empowerment, the Malev Empire attacked the Earth. The Malevs were a race of sentient robots who powered themselves using the Ecotheric Energy produced by the unique mental energies of humans with psionic  potential. They had clashed with Magnus Robot Fighter in deep space in the past, but suffered defeat during those battles.

The Malevs attacked the earth en masse. In a matter of hours, they wiped out much of NorthAm’s human population. Those who weren’t killed, were taken to the Malev headquarters in NorthAm to be housed and processed in a bio-farm that produced energy for the malevolent robots.

Rai (Valiant Comics 1990s) (Takao Konishi) riding a flying robot, chased

When the Malevs attacked Japan, Takao was ready for them. He battled the hordes of robots with a sword in his hand and a song in his heart. He quickly rallied the remnants of Japan’s people behind him. Despite his efforts, the battle soon turned against him, but again it seemed that fate had a plan.

When he was in danger of failing he was joined by X-O Commando, Gilad Anni-Padda (who happened to be in Japan at the time), Spylocke (a mysterious hooded warrior), and Magnus Robot Fighter (along with several of his allies including Leeja) who had conveniently returned to Earth after facing the Malevs in space.

The gathered heroes’ raw power drove the Malev forces out of Japan. They gave the human forces their first real victory over the seemingly unstoppable robot army. Two hours later after explaining his appearance and origins to the others, Rai rallied the gathered forces to him.

He unified the various groups into a single group dedicated to the destruction of the new Malev Empire.

Gathering Allies

Even with the nanites in his blood guiding his decisions, Rai was still a neophyte leader. He was torn between several of the plans that the others proposed. Magnus insisted that the group attack the Malev Emperor in NorthAm while the others felt that they needed to fortify and protect their location in Japan.

After enduring/surviving another brutal Malev attack against his person, Rai realized that he could not simply stay put in Japan. He then used his empathic abilities to convince the remnants of the people of Japan that they had to abandon their home land and become one people with the rest of the world.

With his people scattering to the four corners of the world seeking allies, Rai and his inner circle traveled to NorthAm and attacked the Malev Emperor head on.

Unfortunately, the Emperor was prepared for them. The attack failed. The heroes would have been killed by the Malev forces if not for the appearance of the Steel Nation; a group of free-will robot allies that Magnus had made over the years. Determined to defeat the Emperor, Rai and Magnus split the group into two in order to seek allies and to free humans from Malev captivity.

Despite the continued threat of the Malevs, Rai encountered greed and betrayal from his potential allies throughout the world. He found it even among his closest allies. When he traveled to Ife Rai discovered that Spylocke had been sent to Japan to steal the Blood of Heroes for Shaka Olorun, Ife’s ruler.

Instead, Spylocke turned on Shaka Olorun and gave his full loyalty to Rai.

Rai and his allies eventually converged on SouthAm. There, they tried to marshal the forces of 5 nations together to form an alliance against the Malevs. Unfortunately, old hatreds die hard, and Ado Krieg — a self-proclaimed Nazi — refused to co-operate with the other mongrel races.

Krieg’s hatred proved to be too strong for even Rai’s power to influence. His hatred caused Rai to doubt himself and his own power spread his doubt to the other nations representatives and the fragile alliance fell apart.

When he was questioned by the others, Rai stalked out of the meeting. He retreated to a quiet garden on his own. He was followed by Leeja, Magnus’ lover who only sought to comfort him. Feeling his need and sharing a mutual attraction, the two allies foolishly succumbed to their needs and made love to one another.

In their moment of passion, they didn’t realize that they were being observed by Magnus’ ally Telka.

The Wedge

When Rai returned to the rest of his allies, he was informed that the Malevs had planned to make the Earth unlivable for humans. They would do so by destroying the SouthAm rain-forests (which naturally replenished the atmosphere). Rai and his allies split into separate teams led by Rai and Magnus to defeat the Malevs across SouthAm.

The allies thwarted the Malevs’ plans at great cost. Timbuc, one of Magnus’ allies sacrificed himself to ensure the plan would succeed. A deep wedge was created between Magnus and Rai. Tekla, though she was an artificially intelligent being, had fallen in love with Magnus and upon witnessing Rai and Leeja mating, felt that she could sway Magnus’ emotions by telling him.

Rai (Valiant Comics 1990s) (Takao Konishi) firing his blaster

Enraged at Rai and Leeja’s betrayal, Magnus accused Rai of unconsciously using his power to manipulate all of their emotions (which in turn would have made his mating with Leeja rape). When Rai couldn’t answer, a rift was driven between the allies. Magnus refused to remain at Rai’s side.

The group was then split directly down the middle. Several left with Magnus including Leeja who did not know what to think.

Soon thereafter, the separated allies discovered that Leeja was pregnant.

Nearly 8 months later, Rai retreated back to the temple of the Prophet Archer in Ladakh in an attempt to clear his mind. All of his attempts to heal the world and defeat the Malevs had failed. And worse, his closest allies had yet to forgive him.

It took the combined efforts of Spylocke and Mother Nike to force Rai to confront his own self-doubt and to realize that he was the one best hope to defeat the Malevs.

The Return

Fate reared its head once more, and a dying messenger arrived from NorthAm. He begged Rai to rejoin the fight and aid Magnus’ forces in NorthAm. Left with little choice and with his own self-belief reignited, Rai returned to Magnus’ side in NorthAm.

Upon his return, Rai realized that Leeja was in danger due to an unconscious link he had forged with his unborn child. Rai rushed to Leeja’s side, along with Magnus. The group was promptly attacked by over 50 Malev warriors.

The Malev’s attack collapsed the building that the allies had taken refuge in, trapping them underground. To make matters worse, the experience had induced Leeja, she was in labour. Trapped and confined underground, Leeja’s labour reignited the feelings of anger and betrayal within Magnus.

It was at this point that Rokland Tate, who had conveniently been with Leeja’s prior to the collapse, revealed to Rai that his life would end shortly. He told him that he needed to settle his affairs before it was too late.

With this knowledge in hand, Rai apologized to Magnus and admitted that Leeja truly belonged with him. Magnus, initially rejected Rai’s apology, but when Leeja pleaded with him to find a way to forgive her and love her child he eventually relented and made peace with Rai. Mere minutes later, Rai’s son was born.

The baby’s crimson eyes glowed with an inner fire all of their own and Rai realized that his son had inherited the nanotechnology that ran throughout his blood.

Rai spent a few minutes celebrating the birth of his son before the Malev’s broke through the walls that protected the chamber.

Final Confrontation

All of the pent up emotion that had been building in the underground chamber poured out against the Malevs in the form of an unstoppable berserk charge. Rai and Magnus carved their way through seemingly endless numbers of Malevs until they finally reached the surface.

Upon reaching daylight Rai, Magnus and their allies found themselves surrounded by yet another group of aliens: the Psi-Lords.

The Psi-Lords were artificially enhanced humans who had left Earth hundreds of years prior with the specific objective of locating and destroying the Spider-Alien home-world. Like Rai, they had had advanced nanotechnology injected into their systems granting vast superhuman powers.

Upon their return to the Earth’s surface, the Psi-Lords destroyed what remained of the Malev horde. They pledged their services to Magnus and Rai, in order to destroy the Malev Emperor in NorthAm.

Soon thereafter Rai, Magnus and the Psi-Lords launched a direct assault on the Malev Palace in NorthAm. Beforehand, Rai said a final goodbye to his son and made Spylocke promise to recover the Blood of Heroes should he fall and to give the blood to his son when he had reached maturity.

The power of the Psi-Lords held the Malev army at bay while Rai and Magnus fought their way to the Emperor’s throne room. As they neared their goal, Magnus was momentarily distracted by a particular human captive, former Senator Clane (Leeja’s father). While Magnus freed the former senator, Rai assaulted the Emperor in its throne room.

Immediately upon his arrival, Rai attempted to seize control of the Emperor with his “Mindlock” but the Emperor was more than prepared for such an occurrence. The instant Rai opened a connection with the Emperor, the powerful Malev transferred its consciousness into Rai’s body.

Once there, the sheer power of the Emperor’s mind overwhelmed Rai and allowed the Emperor to seize control of his body. The Emperor utilized Rai’s full power to first eliminate the Psi-Lords’ threat and to render Magnus unconscious.

Hero’s End

With its enemies defeated, the Emperor turned its sight on Rai’s new-born son. The Emperor realized that its hold on Rai was tenuous at best, and that Rai’s child would not have the established defenses that Rai did.

The Emperor, in Rai’s body, easily defeated Leeja and the rest of Rai’s allies. With nothing left to stand in its way, the Emperor prepared to link with Rai’s son, when it heard Magnus’ voice taunting it from aboard the Psi-Lord shuttle. Enraged by Magnus’ words (and holding a special hatred in its artificial soul for him), the Emperor abandoned its primary goal and attempted to murder Magnus.

The Emperor used Rai’s powers to force the shuttle to Earth where it had a final climatic clash with Magnus. Despite Magnus greater strength and skill, the Malev Emperor was able to use 100% of Rai’s capacity to defeat him in physical combat.

Eventually, Magnus lay helpless at the Emperor’s feet. His foe held a long length of jagged pipe above its head. Fate intervened for one final time, when the Emperor launched the fatal blow and allowed Rai to temporarily seize control of his body from the Emperor.

Both Rai and Magnus realized that Takao couldn’t retain control of himself for more than a few moments. Fear for his son’s life caused Rai to make the only decision he could. After asking Magnus to promise that his son be raised in Ladakh (the home of the Archies), he begged Magnus to kill him.

Left with little option, Magnus did the unthinkable and snapped Rai’s neck, killing him instantly. The Emperor’s consciousness perished with Rai’s body, and the resulting feedback took the rest of the Malev’s with it. Thus with Rai’s sacrifice, the Malev threat was ended.


Description

Takao was an Asian male, with average looks and a lean, athletic build. At all times, he wore his long shoulder length hair in a bun at the top of his head and had a immaculately trimmed goatee on his chin.

Like all who bore the Blood of Heroes, a large red circular scar sat directly in the centre of his chest. The scar itself closely resembled the red sun symbol as depicted by the Japanese flag . Adding to this illusion, when the nanites in his blood were active, his skin would become chalk white and his eyes would glow with an inner red fire.

Rai’s garb was simple. He wore a sturdy pair of grey boots and a tight black singlet that left his chest bare. The left shoulder strap of the singlet was red and white which he complemented with a slim red belt around his waist. His costume was completed by grey forearm guards that he wore on both arms.


Personality

Takao was a bit of a cipher. Though he followed the tenets of Archer and initially acted as the hero of Japan he had little personality outside of it. He was clearly a man guided by his passions and could experience intense highs and crippling lows.

While he initially came across as a man who possessed limitless confidence, over time everyone could see he was plagued by self-doubt. In the end, he proved to be a man who was capable of self-sacrifice to protect not only the world that needed him, but also the son that he would never truly know.

Ultimately, Takao Konishi was a character that was created for a single purpose; to halt the Malev incursion and to showcase Magnus’ heroism.


Quotes

“Come, you steel vultures ! Come to me, you who would pick the bones of Japan ! Did you think to find the Dragon alone and defenseless ?! Her spirit is as strong as ever ! Her guardian arises from the ashes of the past ! HRAI ! The Blood of Heroes sings in my veins ! The spirit of the samurai is reborn in my heart ! Death leaps from my hands for your throats ! I, Takao Konishi, defy you ! I, the last, the true — RAI !”

“In my veins … tiny machines ! Enable me to seize … you neural pathways ! MINDLOCK !”

“We must be as one. The coming of the Malevs strips away all false notions of nations, classes, and races. These are old concepts and no longer appropriate. We are all one people ! We must fight as one ! We here must become a force to preserve humanity’s future ! In the memory of those who have died and the hope of those yet unborn, we must now pledge our lives, our might, our sacred honor ! One Planet, One People ! Who fights with me ?!”

“Who asked me if I wanted the responsibility, HAH ? Who else here is willing to shoulder the responsibility, HAH ? Would you like to do it Slagger ? Have your decisions be the ones that possibly decide the survival of the human race ? HAH ?! ANYONE HERE WANT THE RESPONSIBILITY ?!

“My friends think I am a threat to them — but I am a FAR greater threat to you, Malevs ! Face my steel ! Face my anger ! I swear — there shall be no quarter until you or I are DEAD !”

“I have apologized for what happened between Leeja and I. But I am not sorry that a beautiful new life was born of our indiscretion.”

“Goodbye my son. I’m glad I lived long enough to see your face.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Rai (Takao Konishi)

Dex: 08 Str: 06 Bod: 06 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 07 Wil: 08 Min: 07 Occupation: Rebel Leader
Inf: 06 Aur: 07 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 034 HP: 040

Powers:
Broadcast Empath: 08, Control: 15, Enhanced Initiative: 09, Interface: 15, Invulnerability: 08, Jumping: 01, Mind Over Matter: 08, Neutralize: 15, Regeneration 08, Running: 05, Systemic Antidote: 06, Ultra Vision: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Broadcast Empath is Always On (-1FC) and has the Area of Effect Bonus (+1FC)
  • Control can only be used on mechanical targets (androids, robots, etc) (-1FC)
  • Interface can only be used on a single target at a time (-1FC)
  • Neutralize can only be used on technologically derived powers (including nanite induced abilities) (-1FC)
  • Ultra-Vision has the Light Amplification Only limitation (-5BC)

Skills:
Acrobatics: 09, Charisma (Persuasion): 08, Martial Artist(+Techniques): 09, Medicine (First aid): 04, Military science: 09, Thief: 09, Vehicles: 07, Weaponry: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:
All skills are Powered Skills (-1FC each)

Advantages
Iron Nerves, Language (Japanese), Lightning Reflexes

Connections:
Geoff McHenry (Low), Gilad Anni-Padda (High), Leeja (High), Magnus Robot Fighter (High)

Drawbacks:
Creepy Appearance (Chalk White Skin, Large Red Circle in centre of chest, Glowing red eyes), Enemy (Malev Emperor), Power Loss (Loss of Blood of Heroes, see below, Rare), Public Identity, Uncertainty

Genre:
Near Real

Equipment:

  • Katana [BODY 10, EV 04 (07 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist), R#0]
  • Laser Pistol [BODY 04, Laser Beam: 06, R#02]

Depowered ?

If the Blood of Heroes is ever neutralized or removed from Rai he will suffer the following effects:

  • All Powers (save Broadcast Empath) are reduced to 0 APs
  • All Skills are reduced to 0 APs, save Martial Artist which drops to 05 APs and Charisma (Persuasion) which remains the same.
  • Physical stats become: DEX 05, STR 04, BOD 04

By Bryan Gittens

Source of Character: Valiant Comic Series – Rai, issues #9-#22, created by Bob Layton and John Ostrander (plotters), John Ostrander (author), Sean Chen (illustrator).

Writeup completed on the 31st of July, 2015.

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