Yukio the Wild One first appeared in the 1982 Wolverine limited series by Claremont and Miller.
This was a key step in developing Wolverine (James Howlett) as a character. And particularly his relationship with Japan. Or at least Japan as imagined by 1980s American japanophiles.
Yukio remained one of the main friends of Wolverine in Japan. She also developed ties with his fellow X-Men member Storm (Ororo Munroe).
She is a mix of nutty, rebellious Tōkyō alternative scene wild girl – and elite, acrobatic ninja agent.
For everyone’s reading comfort — especially smartphone users — this entry is presented in two chapters.
This two-parter covers everything up to early 2012.
- Real Name: Unrevealed. Her actual given name presumably is Yukiko (ゆきこ).
- Other Aliases: The Wild One, “Ninja Mother” (occasional nickname from Amiko).
- Known Relatives: Kobayashi Amiko (foster daughter, presumably spelled あみこ 小林), James Howlett (aka Wolverine, aka Logan, adoptive father of Amiko).
- Group Affiliation: Former member of Xavier’s Mutant Underground.
- Base Of Operations: Tōkyō.
- Height: 5’3” (1.60m). Weight: 100 lbs. (45 Kg.).
- Eyes: Brown. Hair: Black.
- Other distinguishing features: Dragon tattoo across her back and buttocks.
- Note: Officially, Yukio is 5’9” (1.75m) and 130 lbs. (59 Kg.). The above values are for how she’s usually drawn.
Powers and Abilities
The Wild One is fast and agile. She’s a superb acrobat and fighter.
Her two main martial arts forms seem to be :
- Jujitsu. These are pragmatic close-combat techniques for warriors.
- Shurikenjutsu. These are techniques for thrown small blades, historically taught at jujitsu schools.
She also seems trained in kenjutsu (swordswomanship) and knows some ni-to-kenjutsu (paired swords).
Her fighting style is highly acrobatic and evasive. On the offence, it favours :
- Low kicks.
- Fast, precisely-placed shuriken. She reliably can kill three men surrounding her by hurling three blades in a single motion.
The Wild One is known for consistently pulling off reckless tactics. A typical move was vaulting over an opponent and throwing herself off a mountain, gambling that the high winds would blow her back. It worked, allowing her to attack her surprised foe from behind.
Yukio operates at a cinematicThe level of power and (un)realism found in a spectacular action movie. but not super-heroic level. She will dominate goons under most circumstances, especially if she has throwing blades. But an entire squad of Hand genin, or a master like Ogun or Shingen, is clearly too much for her.
Psylocke (Elizabeth Braddock) also outclasses Yukio, but not by a huge margin.
Yukio’s intrusion skills include :
- Weapons concealment.
- Escape artistry.
- Climbing over difficult surfaces.
She’s pretty good at those, especially stealth. However, she doesn’t seem to have B&E skills such as lockpicking or security systems expertise.
She is highly knowledgeable about Japanese martial arts lore.
She also knows a lot about the Hand – its history, factions and politics. Much of her information about the Hand came from defector Goro the Poisoner (since deceased), but she clearly has some sort of network keeping tabs on Hand activities.
Yukio also evidenced immunity to specific toxins used by ninja assassins.
Yukio’s flat will usually have a hidden crate with about 100 kilos of bladed weaponry, climbing gear and other field equipment.
She will also often have a tanto or sai on her. But those never actually get used.
What she does use is her arsenal of throwing blades – shuriken, bo-shaken, throwing knives, etc.. These are usually hurled in volleys. When expecting to face Hand footsoldiers or similar opponents, she will sometimes get a katana from her stash.
Yukio also uses sophisticated, but not cutting edge, surveillance equipment. Mostly audio equipment and night vision goggles. Combined with her stealth and daring, this is normally sufficient to run surveillance on even highly secure areas.
She will have a trendy keitai , of course.
The big bad Canadian badger bloke
In her earliest appearance, Yukio was able to stay hidden from Wolverine (who has animalistic super-senses).
She then felled him with a single poisoned blade.
These are impressive feats. But she never performs again on that level.
Though our game stats partially take these achievements into account, they are toned down since :
- 1982 Wolverine was still being defined. He also was less powerful than he would eventually become.
- It likely was an instance of neglecting the characters’ capabilities to expedite the plot.
Yukio’s debut is contemporary of the debut album from BOØWY, an important Japanese rock band with glam and punk influences.
Yukio usually operates from a near-derelict, unfurnished studio apartment in a Tōkyō slum.
One small problem is that there are no such areas in Tōkyō. Even back in 1982.
Our No-Prize HypothesisA made-up explanation to plug a plot hole is that there is a subculture of Tōkyōites living in parts of the town that were razed by giant monster attacks. These are kept cordoned off while the radioactivity dies down.
Everybody ignores these rag-tag houses. Until the time comes for rebuilding and these kaijuJapanese term for a rampaging giant monster, like Godzilla.-enabled squatters have to move away.
Despite living in a hovel, Yukio has no problems taking international flights and partying in exclusive night clubs.
Wolverine implies that Yukio living in poverty is a choice. Perhaps she seeks to emulate mediaeval roninA samurai without a master aesthetics.
In the Wolverine animé, Yukio has a safehouse at at Shinjuku 8 chōme, though the only furnishing is a couch. This suggests that the flats seen in the comics are but boltholes, not living places. There are plenty of cheap places to spend the night or day in Tōkyō especially if you have connections.
8 chōme is pretty upscale, but also heavily under construction. And it’s within walking distance of Kabukichō, one of the seediest areas in Tōkyō with plenty of clubs and mobbed-up businesses. Yukio would most likely be a regular.
In 2000, to raise Amiko, Yukio moves to a huge (by Tōkyō standards) and luxurious flat. It may be in an area such as Roppongi or Shinjuku. She implies that she stole a windfall (a huge one, given Tōkyō prices), making her wealth even more difficult to assess.
History (part 1)
“Yukio”, aka the Wild One, is a woman without a past. She is an enigmatic drifter, a masterless outlaw living in Japan.
Her actual first name seems to be Yukiko (“fortunate girl”). However she always goes by Yukio (“fortunate man”). She refuses to discuss why. Even with her close friend and occasional lover Wolverine (James Howlett).
Wolverine indicated that Yukio took a man’s name when she also started wearing her hair in a more masculine cut. These minor bits of gender-bending contribute to her fame among the Japanese underworld.
Yukio may have had ties with the Hand, given how much she knows about them.
She was once described as a “half-ninja”. This may have been about her ancestry or her original training – who knows.
Et Lebeau veut sa revanche
In the past she was an international thief who occasionally clashed with Remy Lebeau, the future Gambit.
Once, in London, Yukio informed the police about Lebeau to facilitate her own operations. But her rival outmanoeuvred her and she was arrested by the Met.
They also clashed in Singapore and Milan.
If you are not using a sliding timeline, these clashes occurred during the 1970s.
In 1982, Yukio was working for the Yashida clan. Who are key players in Japanese politics, industry and crime.
The clan had recently returned under the leadership of the dreaded Lord Shingen. He married off his daughter Mariko to cement a political alliance. The marriage took place against Ms. Yashida’s will, and her new husband was beating her.
Shingen knew that a romance had been developing between his daughter and a Canadian named Logan (James Howlett, aka Wolverine). He had Yukio shadow Mariko.
When Logan came, Yukio took him down with a throwing spike lacquered with poison.
The gaijin only survived his subsequent honour duel against Yashida Shingen thanks to his mutant healing factorThe power to heal wounds and regrow tissues, like Wolverine.
Under cover of the night
Intrigued by Wolverine, Yukio convinced Shingen-san to have her become Wolverine’s friend, so she could surveil him.
To make Yukio’s lies seem more credible, Shingen had a squad of Hand killers attack and nearly kill her.
Fixated on Yashida Mariko, Logan turned down Yukio’s advances. But Shingen manipulated him into going berserker before Mariko’s horrified eyes.
Fearing that Mariko would never love him again after seeing his animalistic rage, the despondent Wolverine became Yukio’s lover. Which nearly killed them both after she insisted on having sex in the path of a bullet train – just for kicks.
He’s the best there is at what he does
Now in love with Wolverine, Yukio betrayed Shingen. She killed the Yashida agents sent to murder Logan in his sleep.
However, Logan mumbled Mariko’s name in his sleep. Yukio ran off in tears, wanting to commit suicide.
During her preparations to have a spectacular death, she accidentally ran into and killed a friend of Wolverine, an intelligence officer named Asano. This led to Wolverine realising that Yukio had been a Shingen agent all along. The Wild One fled again.
Yukio attempted to convince Shingen that she had never betrayed him. She used Asano’s death as a “proof”. While it briefly seemed successful, Shingen wasn’t fooled. He was killing Yukio when Wolverine returned and invaded the Yashida compound.
During the subsequent battle, Mariko’s husband attempted to take his wife hostage to stall Wolverine. The Wild One killed him.
Owing her for Mariko’s life but unable to forgive the death of Asano, Logan let Yukio leave after she tearfully kissed him goodbye.
History (part 2)
Wolverine later returned to Japan to marry Mariko.
As she was spying on him, Yukio spotted the Silver Samurai (Kenuichio Harada). She attacked him before he could ambush Wolverine and the X-Men.
During the fight Yukio met Storm (Ororo Munroe). They were instant friends.
As Yukio and Ororo were investigating the Samurai’s handler the Viper (Ophelia Sarkissian), Storm was badly wounded. Yukio saved her life by rushing her to an hospital.
By this point Storm had been experiencing a mounting malaise about her identity. As she recovered from her wounds, she decided to change her style to be more like Yukio.
The pair created a leather punk look for Storm, complete with a mohawk.
However, a mind-controlled Mariko rejected Wolverine, cancelling the marriage. To Yukio’s frustration, Logan was unable to get over Mariko.
Storm and shadow
In 1985, Wolverine returned to Japan to find his missing teammate Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat).
Yukio attacked him for thrills. She then helped him investigate the Shigematsu yakuza clan, who seemed to be behind Pryde’s disappearance.
The Wild One was instrumental in recovering Pryde, and in breaking the mystical domination that ninja master Ogun exerted over Kitty.
She also twice fought the renegade sumotori Shumai, who was working to take over the Shigematsu clan.
It was later implied that Storm and Yukio had unchronicled adventures during the second half of the 1980s.
Techno-ninja and techno-aliens
In 1992, Yukio prevented the Death Touch Cult (a Hand splinter led by Tsurayaba Matsuo) from killing Jubilee (Jubilation Lee), a friend of Wolverine.
She even evaded the deadly cyborg Cylla (Cylla Markham).
Gambit (Remy Lebeau), now a member of the X-Men, later contacted Yukio. He wanted her to help Wolverine out of a depression after the Hand murdered Yashida Mariko, but she refused. Presumably, she feared becoming a disposable rebound romance.
Two years later, killer aliens called the Phalanx tried to manipulate Yukio into leading them to the X-Men. The wary Yukio only met with Storm in a Manhattan nightclub. Three Phalanx agents attacked, but narrowly failed.
To Yukio’s annoyance, Gambit came in to help, and saved her from drowning.
The Phalanx hunters were then destroyed using teamwork.
Battle without honour
Yukio later realised that Wolverine was doing an annual pilgrimage to Japan. He’d go to the temple where he and Mariko had planned to marry.
She then determined that others had learned of this.
When Yukio got there, Tsurayaba’s killers were already on site. They might have killed Wolverine, who was weakened by the removal of the adamantiumAn indestructible metal in Marvel comics within his body.
However, Yukio bluffed them. She pointed at Wolverine’s bone claws and weak healing factor to convince them that this was an impostor.
Sugar and everything nice
Fearing that he would soon die or lose his mind, Logan reunited with Yukio. They apparently became lovers again.
He handed over to her his two main responsibilities in Japan :
- The Yashida clan honour sword.
- His adoptive daughter Amiko.
The sacred katana was later handed over to the Silver Samurai. But Amiko-chan stuck with Yukio.
Amiko’s parents had been killed during a kaiju rampage. Her dying mother asked Wolverine to take care of her daughter.
Using clan Yashida resources, the Canadian arranged for him and Mariko to be declared Amiko’s foster parents. After Mariko’s murder, Wolverine set up a trust fund via the Landau, Luckman & Lake firm to compensate a second foster family.
But the foster agency bungled the case. The new foster parents were atrocious and probably abusive. Wolverine forcibly removed Amiko from her wards.
He then asked the famously irresponsible Yukio to raise Amiko.
It worked. Yukio took good care of Amiko.
She also used the trust fund to have a local couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kuan, handle the parts she couldn’t. One of both Kuans may have been paedopsychiatrists, since they played an important role in helping Amiko get over her childhood traumas.
Wolverine visited when he could, which was seldom.
Once Amiko was in her early teens, Yukio started training her in stealth, athletics and the martial arts. Proper parenting, I say.
History (part 3)
During the mid 1990s, Yukio rescued American government agent Havok (Alex Summers) from the assassin Fatale.
She also nearly stole the Red Ronin giant robot for a joyride. But it was accidentally activated by Wolverine and Sunfire (Yashida Shiro) before she got in.
When Elektra (Elektra Natchios) sought intel about current Hand activity, the Silver Samurai told her to work with Yukio.
Though they didn’t find their actual target, the super-ninja Kuroyama, they killed a Hand officer. And Yukio found leads allowing Elektra to continue her mission of vengeance.
Keeping brains clean
Some months before, Tsurayaba and his Death Touch Cult had kidnapped Yukio and Amiko to gain revenge on Wolverine.
Though Wolverine and allies narrowly rescued them, nobody realised that Amiko had been brainwashed by the Hand. They had convinced the kid that Wolverine had killed her mother.
Before she left, Elektra pointed out that there had to be a Hand informer close to Yukio. Since there had been clear leaks about her mission. That Amiko had been brainwashed was thus established… and never mentioned again.
Our No-Prize Hypothesis is that Yukio simply called Storm to have a X-Men telepath remove the conditioning.
Some months later it was Yukio’s turn to be brainwashed. This was part of a revenge attempt against Wolverine, led by the Viper. The case was closed when Wolverine honoured his old promise to marry the Viper.
As Amiko grew up, Yukio renounced her dirt-poor ronin lifestyle. She moved to an affluent part of Tōkyō.
Amiko-chan abandoned her unhealthy childhood fixation on mediaeval Japan, but now tended to imitate her foster mother. She hung out in bad parts of town, had an attitude – and beat up bullies.
Wolverine’s visits to his foster daughter and his apparent lover became more frequent. And after a lengthy absence (caused by mind control making him a Horseman of Apocalypse), he realised how much Amiko-chan resented his absences.
In 2002 the feared Kaishek clan, a Mongolia-based international mob, came to Japan to carve out turf.
The Silver Samurai requested that Yukio and Wolverine assist the Yashida clan, and they agreed.
Yukio was then attacked by Kaishek soldiers. Though she killed three attackers, she was forced to surrender when they threatened Amiko.
The Kaishek leveraged the captive Yukio and Amiko to force Wolverine to become their agent. Not only did that fail, but Yukio and Amiko narrowly escaped after killing their guards.
Yukio then embarked on a mission of vengeance against the Kaishek in Outer Mongolia.
Wolverine tracked her down and found her as she was about to kill the last Kaishek chief. He requested that he let her do the deed so he would be the one to bear the blood debt.
The distraction resulted in Yukio getting shot, but Amiko (who had been accompanying Wolverine so he could protect her) intervened and saved the Wild One.
The Kaishek stronghold then burned to the ground.
This profile continues in its second half.
Source of Character: Marvel Universe (chiefly Wolverine and X-Men titles).
Helper(s): Chris Cottingham, Frank Murdock, Pufnstuff, Tom Eilers, Darci.
Writeup updated on the 22nd of December, 2013.