Last updated on January 11, 2023
Kaito Shizuki | Illustration by Yongjae Choi
The story and lore of Magic has been told in many different ways throughout the years. Novels, short stories, video games, and, most importantly, cards. I personally think cards and online short stories are the best way to open the door to the lore and history of the worlds we delve into.
Sagas are the perfect way to explain the lore of the game in my opinion. All the effects on the cards have some connection with the event they depict while the art features in-universe depictions of how these events are remembered and written down. The names of the cards themselves can invite players to search and read up on these events.
Today I’m going to talk about the history of Kamigawa, both the events of the original set and what happens in Neon Dynasty. And sagas will definitely come in handy.
What is Kamigawa?
Boseiju, Who Endures | Illustration by Chris Ostrowski
First thing’s first.
Kamigawa sits far from every other plane we know in the Multiverse. This world hinges on the relationship between its two realms: Kakuriyo or Reikai, the spirit world that’s home to the kami, and Utsushiyo, the realm of mortals.
These two worlds interconnect to create Kamigawa. And the clash between the inhabitants of these two realms once came close to ending all life on the plane, as the plane’s history shows us.
Kamigawa is a plane with a long and complex history, arguably longer than most. Its history has ramifications and consequences that don’t only affect Kamigawa, but other planes too.
Even though the original Kamigawa block came out years into Magic’s history, the story that was told through that set was chronologically placed before the events of Dominaria. This is an ancient story, and it begins with the Kami War and its protagonists.
The Kami War, Original Story by Daniel Holt
The kami, inhabitants of the Kakuriyo realm, are the spirits of basically everything that exists in Kamigawa. They’re fundamental to the life and existence of the world and a huge source of magic. They were revered as holy and even gods, adored by mortals throughout the world.
But the veil between the Kakuriyo and the Utsushiyo started to thin. Lord Konda, the human daimyo of Eiganjo, saw this as an opportunity. With help from his soratami sorcerers he managed to steal the unborn child of O-Kagachi, the great dragon ruler of all the kami. That Which Was Taken was then put into a stone disk that gave Konda immortality and foresight. But this trespassing and disrespect made O-Kagachi furious.
Filled with rage, the dragon turned all of the kami against the mortals, beginning the kami war. The spirits started attacking mortals, especially humans, and ravaged everything in their wake. The humans were confused as to why their gods had turned against them and fought back. It was a tiring and pointless fight since the spirits defeated in the physical realm would only return to keep fighting.
After twenty years with humanity tired beyond reason, the world ravaged by the war, and Konda growing more and more insane, the conflict reached its end. Michiko Konda, Lord Konda’s daughter, enlisted the help of the samurai Toshiro Umezawa to bring an end to the conflict. They stole That Which Was Taken and liberated it, releasing the kami that took the name of Kyodai and who then destroyed both Lord Konda and her own father, O-Kagachi, putting an end to the war.
Michiko's Reign of Truth, Original Story by Emily Teng
Michiko and Kyodai worked together to establish a prosperous and working rule for Kamigawa after the deaths of their fathers. Most of the inhabitants of the plane didn’t know the true reasons for the war so they still considered Lord Konda a protector against the rage of the kami. Michiko revealed the truth of the conflict to the people of the plane with Kyodai’s support.
Far from solving most problems, the people were shocked and disheartened at learning this. And they doubted Michiko to be capable of ruling as an heir of Lord Konda. Not to mention those who refused to believe her. But time would prove them wrong. It was Michiko’s honesty and truthful desire to heal and rebuild Kamigawa that allowed the plane to truly move on beyond the scars of the Kami War.
Even though she refused the title of emperor, it was given to her after her death, claiming her to be the first emperor of a new Kamigawa. It was her truth and her actions that led to the recovery of the world.
The Shattered States Era, Original Story by Grace Fong
After the death of Michiko Konda it was up to her descendants to work with the great kami Kyodai to preserve peace in the plane. And they did for a great deal of time. But as generations passed, the desire to keep the peace in Kamigawa gave way to new conflicts and in-fighting.
Eventually, the emperor died young and without an heir, sparking a succession dispute. The conflict between those who supported her brother and those who supported her husband as the next emperor escalated to the point of a civil war. Eiganjo was in crisis, and warlords from all around Kamigawa saw this as a chance to seize power for themselves.
Later on, a young soldier of the Yamazaki, a family of faithful retainers with an unshakeable sense of duty, decided that the conflict had gone on for too long and had taken too many lives. The soldier managed to assassinate the emperor’s widowed husband but found her brother ready to fight in the throne room.
Seeing the violence happening in her own room, Kyodai, ended the conflict by removing any right to the throne from the Konda family. She declared that from that moment onward emperors would be chosen based on their qualities and commitment, not blood rights.
Era of Enlightenment, Original Story by Grace Fong
Kyodai guided the following emperors in building a better and more peaceful world, ushering in an era of peace and prosperity. An ancient school known as the Minamo Academy, where scholars honed their knowledge in the floating city of Otawara, had a part in helping Lord Konda start the Kami War was reformed. Its purpose was now, though, to improve the lives of everyone in Kamigawa. The arts flourished and performers flooded the streets.
As time went on, more and more people noticed kami inhabiting their homes or roaming about the streets. The monks of the Order of Jukai discovered that the mortal and kami worlds were overlapping and slowly merging into one unified realm.
With the help of the imperials of Eiganjo and the Minamo Academy, the monks created the “merge gates” through which the kami would enter the world. On each of these, there would be Jukai monks ready to receive the kami and welcome them to their new home.
The Modern Age, Original Story by Emily Teng
Slowly but surely, Kamigawa moved forward after the age of the Kami War. Power remained in the hands of the usual few, with the Eiganjo imperials sitting at the top. But the merging of the worlds allowed for everything to drastically change.
Easier access to the powers of the kami and the ever-evolving technologies of the plane meant that power could be more easily accessed than ever before. The akki artisans of Sokenzanshi and their enhancers and the Saiba Futurists who figured out a way to draw power from the spirit realm were instrumental in this democratization of power.
This led to the technological revolution that boomed across the plane and a massive modernization. This revolution wasn’t without detractors of course. The imperials do whatever they can to control the advancements in technology to avoid power being taken away from them, while the Order of Jukai warn that the way this technology uses kami power could alter the world. The kami themselves are divided in their opinions, some opposing this use of their powers while others are eager to see how it’ll evolve.
New kami associated with these technologies started appearing, a clear sign that the soul of Kamigawa itself was changed. This is the era in which the story of Neon Dynasty takes place.
With the world completely changed from the last time we visited Kamigawa back during the Kami War, our story now follows that of a young boy named Kaito Shizuki. I’m going to cover the stories available at Wizard’s page for those who don’t want to read through several short stories.
If you want the better written, more immersive, properly detailed version of the stories I’m about to tell, make sure to check out the original work by the original authors. And we need Wizards to know we appreciate these short stories and that they should keep doing them instead of whatever the War of the Spark mess of a storyline was, but that’s a rant for another day.
A Stranger in Eiganjo, Original Story by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Our story opens with a young Kaito sneaking through the kitchens of the imperial palace. Stealing two mochi from the kitchen and running away was easy for him thanks to his telekinetic powers. Unluckily for him, the cook notices him stealing and chases after him to teach him a lesson. Kaito escapes through the corners and roofs of the palace with incredible dexterity.
He then makes it to the palace garden, arriving only to hear a voice scolding him for being late and covered in flour. His twin sister, Eiko, helps him clean up before Kaito gives her one of the mochi.
Eiko insists that Kaito has to choose a specialty since they’ve been in training for too long, but before their conversation can go on they’re interrupted by Light-Paws, a seven-tailed kitsune, as gracious as could be, radiant and noble. This is Kaito and Eiko’s teacher and the closest thing they have to a guardian since their parents died.
Kaito always craved Light-Paws’ approval, even if he doesn’t really enjoy all the rules of imperial life. That approval always seemed to come easier for his sister, for whom imperial life was more suitable.
Light-Paws is about to run the feeling deeper. The kitsune informs Kaito that his sister would no longer be his sparring partner. She chose a specialty and would study to become a kami diplomat.
After Kaito and Eiko have their moment, Light-Paws informs Kaito that Swift-Arm, the leader of the most elite samurai school in the empire, is waiting for him. He’s surprised by this but welcomes the distraction.
The first time Kaito talks to the Emperor it’s completely by chance. He snuck around the castle as he always did and ended up in a private garden. There he sees a paper screen with a shape sitting behind it.
Before he can escape from the garden a voice calls out to him and asks what he’s doing. It’s the voice of a girl that he doesn’t know is the Emperor. He’s confident that a girl his age wouldn’t tell on him to Light-Paws, so he tells her of his mischief and sneaking. She immediately likes him so they spend almost an hour talking until Kaito has to leave for a lesson. He looks back at the garden as he leaves so he knows where to return to talk to his friend when he realizes he was sitting in the Emperor’s gardens.
Day after day he goes back to visit her. He’s never told her name since it’s improper for the Emperor to tell anyone their name. Their conversations continue every day and they become pretty good friends.
Kaito makes his way to the training area where Swift-Arm is waiting for him. Once there the kitsune informs him that he’s to be respectful but also treat these lessons as any other. Then a young girl with white hair walks in. As soon as she speaks Kaito knows who she is. It’s the first time that he’s seen the Emperor’s face.
The two friends spar, pretending not to recognize each other in the face of their kitsune master. Kaito attacks confidently, unaware of the Emperor’s true skills. She swiftly disarms him and makes him yield, with a smile showing right at the corner of her lips.
As the years go by the friendship between the two grows as they train together and share private conversations in their free time. But the world around them changes. There’s talk of uprisings being organized in Sokenzan city. The Futurists grew more and more uncomfortable with the imperial regulations over technology. The relations with the kami in Jukai forest are still tense.
Kaito, now older, makes his way to the Emperor’s garden and sees a soratami Futurist standing in one of the gardens. A group of Futurists from Otawara have come to the palace to speak with the Emperor’s representatives, and he must’ve gotten ahead of them.
Kaito approaches the man just as he releases a folded metal drone into the air with a message. The futurist quickly realizes that Kaito, while an imperial, doesn’t really fit with them. The conversation swiftly turns to both of their childhoods. It turns out that they shared similar tragedies, both of their parents having died in accidents that could’ve been prevented by access to better and newer technology, something the futurist blamed on the imperials and their restrictions.
As a token of compassion the soratami gifts Kaito a drone in the shape of a crane. A small token of an entire world that Kaito is just now realizing he knows nothing about. A world beyond the walls of Eiganjo.
As the man leaves he offers Kaito an invitation to visit the Futurists and work for them. The young man feels incredibly alone. He can’t tell anyone about this, considering how all of his closest ties are extremely loyal to the empire.
The months pass and his talk with the Futurist remains Kaito’s secret. He’s able to talk with the Emperor about how his ideals are changing. She doesn’t exactly approve of it, but she doesn’t oppose him either.
Everything else in Kaito’s life seems to stay the same, unchanging. Until one day he doesn’t find Swift-Arm for his sparring lessons, but rather Light-Paws, stern and waiting. She informs Kaito that he will no longer be receiving any sparring lessons. He’s now an adult and has to choose his path. But in doing so she also reveals that the privacy he thought he’d shared with the Emperor was but an illusion. Light-Paws knew about their talks, and about his differing ideals, for quite some time.
Kaito responds with rage and defiance. He questions Light-Paws' vision of the future, her loyalty to the empire, the comfort that the Eiganjo residents enjoy while they deny it to others in Kamigawa under the pretext of safety. She sternly declares that those ideas have no place in the castle, to which Kaito promptly replies that it’s him that has no place there.
Kaito is wide awake that night when the alarm of the palace goes off. He grabs his crane drone and rushes out of his room to Eiko’s room, but as talk of intruders and uprisers in the building reaches him, he realizes that Eiko is safe while the Emperor could be in danger. He sneaks through the roofs towards the Emperor’s chamber only to find the door open.
He uses his crane’s camera to spy into the room. It’s empty, no intruder or Emperor to be found within it. The door to Kyodai’s chamber is open, and from within it comes a loud sound like a scream, a song, and a whisper all at once. Kaito hurries into the room.
This is his first time seeing the enormous kami, Kamigawa’s guardian. She’s lashing and turning on the floor as if she’s in incredible pain. Before Kaito can call the guards and inform them of what’s happening, he sees a man rise from the fog beside the huge kami.
The man is dressed in chrome armor that looks completely foreign to Kamigawa with a metallic arm that ends in a monstrous claw. He leaps away from the fog and onto the balcony and Kaito runs after him. The young boy chases the man over the rooftops, tiles breaking under the man’s determined steps. With a quick spell, the man flings Kaito off the roof and onto the ground below.
He tries to climb back up but the man has already disappeared. He makes his way back into Kyodai’s chamber. The guards and officers are deliberating and trying to pin the attack on the Uprisers. Kaito tries to tell them about the weird man, but the mention of a metal arm drives Light-Paws’ focus towards the Futurists. Kaito desperately tries to explain that the man was a stranger to Kamigawa and not a Futurist, but no one listens to him.
Kaito pleads furiously for anyone to listen to him. He’s filled with rage and anger. They all ignore him and keep going on about the Futurists. Kaito knows then what he felt for too long. He leaves the temple with tears streaming down his cheeks and heads to his room. Ready and determined he abandons the palace, climbing its walls for the last time. He then scours the world to find the man with the metal arm, and his missing friend.
Lies, Promises, and Neon Flames, Original Story by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Ten years had passed since the Emperor disappeared. Since Kaito’s best friend went missing. Kaito is running along the roofs over Towashi, scanning the streets with his new tanuki-shaped drone, looking for someone.
He’s had the drone for a few years now. It replaced his old crane drone from his childhood, but he doubted he’d ever be able to replace this one if he needed to. Her name is Himoto, and it’s more than a simple drone. It’s also the kami that was there when his planeswalker spark ignited. Thanks to her he found out that the man he saw that night ten years ago was also a planeswalker.
Kaito jumps down into the street and Himoto transforms into a tanuki mask. With the mask on he hurries through the streets and heads towards the heart of Towashi. Soon he reaches an apartment building guarded by samurai. He climbs up the sidewall and slips into one of the rooms through the window.
Inside Kaito and Eiko meet in secret. Kaito is no longer an imperial, but his sister is an important imperial diplomat. She gives him some updates on the situation in Kamigawa, especially on the Asari Uprisers in the Sokenzan mountains. But he isn’t here just for an update on the political climate of Kamigawa.
Eiko has some information that she thought Kaito really needed to hear. Information that she wasn’t sure he’d want to hear at all. Eiko tells her brother that Tameshi, Kaito’s best friend, was involved in some illegal experiments and trading and has been seen dealing with a man with a metal arm.
Kaito is furious and refuses to believe his sister. But he knows her and trusts her more than anyone else. With doubt and anger raging inside him, he leaves the apartment.
Weeks pass and Kaito has to do something he dreads. He has to follow his best friend and spy on him. He has to lie to him. But he needs to make sure that Tameshi isn’t working with the man with the metal arm. And with every little thing that he learns, he’s more and more convinced that Tameshi is hiding things from both Kaito and the other Futurists.
Kaito sneaks into Tameshi’s compound where he works. A quick search through his files reveals a coded message. It doesn’t take long for Kaito to decipher it, revealing a meeting in the Undercity that same night. The Undercity is no place for regular business, so it has to be something very illegal. Before leaving Kaito finds the blueprints for a strange device. It’s thin and square, with what looks like jellyfish arms.
Kaito has no trouble moving through the Undercity. It’s dark and busy and easy to sneak through. It isn’t common to see many moonfolk down here, so Kaito has no trouble finding Tameshi’s trail.
He follows his friend down to the docks. It’s dark and there are plenty of spaces to hide, so he has no trouble getting closer. His attention is focused almost completely on a warehouse up ahead.
Kaito’s tanuki drone goes ahead and sneaks into the warehouse. Whatever she sees Kaito can also see through his own eyes. The building is filled with metal crates except for an open area that has tables full of lab equipment, surgical instruments, and other equipment for experiments. The kind of experiments that Kaito has never seen any Futurists perform, nor anyone else in all of Kamigawa.
As Himoto spies on the lab, Kaito can hear two voices coming in. He sees a huge, unnatural shadow with a voice like metal scraping against metal. The creature walks into the light. It’s a huge monster made of chrome with clawed arms, a curved spine, and exposed ribs. Its face looks bird-like in a disturbing way.
The creature orders some henchmen, members of the Reckoner gang, to load the giant crates into vehicles and take them away. Kaito hears a scream ringing from within the crates. It’s the sound of kami screaming.
One of the reckoners throws a beaker filled with neon liquid against the rest of the equipment that they hadn’t already taken away, and the whole thing explodes into flames. Kaito runs into the warehouse to try and recover some evidence to find out what’s been happening there.
As he tries to find something that can help his investigation amidst the blazing flames a moan rings out from behind Kaito. He turns around to find Tameshi lying in a corner. His chest was slashed by a metal claw, and bleeding. He’s dying.
As life leaves Tameshi he fights to remain awake. He recognizes his mistakes to Kaito. Kaito wants to give his friend a last moment of peace, but he needs to know the truth so he can save someone else. With his last breath, Tameshi tells Kaito the name of the man with the metal arm: Tezzeret.
With tears in his eyes and his breath choked in his throat, Kaito takes the key card to Tameshi’s lab. He closes his friend's eyes, mutters a silent goodbye, and walks away from the blazing warehouse.
An Unexpected Alliance, Original Story by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Kaito follows any lead he can find on Tezzeret after Tameshi’s death. He goes into Otawara’s libraries, searches through every archive he can find, and speaks with the plane’s most revered living historians. Tezzeret is like a ghost. He doesn’t exist in any file or tale.
Except for one memory. A historian tells Kaito of a nezumi village that was attacked and destroyed five years before. One of the survivors of the attack was a kid named Nashi. He heard the name of the man who ordered the attack was Tezzeret, but he was betrayed by his own men and left for dead. The nezumi found the man and kept him until the day a dragon arrived asking for his body.
Kaito heads down to the swamps to talk with the nezumi and see if he can find Nashi. But he’s met with resistance, hostility, and silence. The nezumi doesn’t trust outsiders. Kaito follows a drone the nezumi themselves sent through Himoto to where he suspects Nashi is living now, up in Otawara.
While Kaito searches the houses to find where Nashi might be, a soratami appears before him. She tries to turn Kaito away from his search, asking him to stay away from her family, but the young man refuses. A combat between Kaito and the moonfolk woman ensues, but the fighting is cut short when a spell from her leaves Kaito completely paralyzed.
As soon as Kaito makes it clear that he has no intention of hurting Nashi in any way, the woman offers to erase his memory. Kaito, desperate, explains to her why he’s after the young nezumi, her son, and why he felt it was so important that he spoke to him. The mention of Tezzeret is enough to make her reconsider. And so, with the proper introductions, Tamiyo leads Kaito to her home.
As the two planeswalkers talk, Nashi enters the room. He immediately shows interest in Kaito’s drone. But before Kaito can ask Nashi anything, Tamiyo asks him not to mention Tezzeret so that he won’t be hurt again by the things that happened. Once Nashi is gone she tells Kaito everything she knows about Tezzeret, why he attacked Nashi’s village, and why he was in Kamigawa.
As she tells Kaito her story, Tamiyo mentions Tezzeret’s plan to create some kind of weapon called the Reality Chip. She mentions how the Wanderer, another planeswalker she met, has some good knowledge on it. The Wanderer was there when Tezzeret tried to control Kyodai with a prototype of this weapon but instead ignited her spark. The Emperor’s spark.
Tamiyo then explains that the chip messed up the Wanderer’s ability to planeswalk. It was erratic and she couldn’t control it as other planeswalkers could. And if the Reality Chip was what set off the problems with the Wanderer’s spark, maybe it could be the thing to fix them.
In an attempt to get more leads, Kaito heads up to Tameshi’s lab. Inside he finds the bodies of several kami, alive but shriveled and weak, suspended in neon liquids. The kami whose screams he heard back in the warehouse. Kaito searches through his late friend’s lab.
He eventually finds a small device, thin and square, with wires that look like a jellyfish’s arms. He saw this before, when he went through Tameshi’s office. The blueprint. And now he knows exactly what it is: The Reality Chip.
Kaito grabs the chip and leaves. But before he can escape the building a looming figure blocks his path, forcing him to a halt. The horrifying monster that killed Tameshi was standing in front of him. The creature talks to Kaito, but at the same time it sounds as if it’s just analyzing him coldly. It refers to itself as Jin-Gitaxias.
A group of henchmen appears from behind the monster and don’t waste any time before attacking Kaito. He skillfully fights them off, but they are too many for one man alone. He uses one of his tricks to electrocute them and then escapes through the compound doors.
As Kaito runs through the city streets he sees the henchmen approaching behind him, and above them is a huge mech in the shape of a dragon. The dragon positions itself atop a building and starts charging a powerful attack. Kaito senses the Reality Chip moving in his pocket. He takes it out and its tentacles lash out towards the dragon.
Before the chip can do anything the energy in the mech turns off. The robot slices in half, its pieces falling to the earth, and behind it stands a white-haired figure. Kaito recognizes her immediately, even though ten years have passed. The Emperor locks her gaze on Kaito’s. Before any of them can say anything, Tamiyo casts a spell to protect them from the henchmen.
Tamiyo, Kaito, and the Emperor, finally reunited, all leave the city of Otawara in silence.
The Break-In, Original Story by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Ten years have passed since Kaito last saw the Emperor, since the last time he set foot in the imperial palace, and it’s the same for her. They both feel out of place there now after so long.
The Wanderer disappears into Kyodai’s temple, barely paying any attention to Kaito. As he stands there talking to Tamiyo they can both hear Kyodai’s cry. Kaito rushes into the room with the image of Tezzeret from ten years ago fresh in his mind. What he finds instead is his friend and the kami finally reunited.
The Wanderer is still unstable and remaining in Kamigawa isn’t easy. As a desperate measure to help her they give her the Reality Chip, which attaches itself to her hand. And she finally looks at peace for a moment.
And then a sudden pain runs through her as she sees visions of Jin-Gitaxias and his plans. He informed Risona and her Asari Uprisers of the Emperor’s return, wanting them to attack Eiganjo before word of her return makes it through the plane.
The conversation quickly shifts subjects. The Wanderer knows Kaito was looking for her, and she’s been looking for him too. Finally, the tone of the conversation loses its solemnity, and again they’re two best friends reunited after too long.
Tamiyo returns with Light-Paws and Eiko. The kitsune can barely believe her eyes, but there’s no time for formalities. The Wanderer explains what she knows about the Asari Uprisers and orders the imperial samurai to prepare themselves.
But they have other things to worry about. They need to figure out what to do with the Reality Chip and what it’s really capable of, not to mention Jin-Gitaxias and whatever his real plans are. Kaito offers himself to destroy Tameshi’s compound and try to put an end to the monster’s plans using a confiscated illegal explosive. Tamiyo offers to go with him and help him take care of it while the Emperor decides that staying in the palace and being there for her people against the Uprisers is her best option.
Kaito and Tamiyo leave for Otawara, which they find to be strangely calm. No guards, no patrols looking for them, the gates to the compound unlocked. The two planeswalkers become more and more uneasy with how easy this mission is. It’s only when they pass through the unlocked gates that it hits Kaito that Jin-Gitaxias probably already moved everything away.
He rushes into the lab to find that none of the kami he saw remained. There’s only the ash as the only evidence of them dematerializing. But before either of them are able to do anything a low voice speaks behind them. Tezzeret and Jin-Gitaxias are ready and waiting for them.
The kami were only a replacement for what the Phyrexians truly needed, and that was planeswalkers. And now there are two of them inside their lab. Even though the planeswalkers try to put up some resistance, Tezzeret quickly subdues Tamiyo and forces Kaito to give himself up after destroying the detonators. The Wanderer arises from another vision. She knows what happened to her fellow planeswalkers.
With the help of Kyodai and the Reality Chip, the Wanderer focuses all her strength to planeswalk right into the compound. With a flash of light, she abandons Kyodai’s temple in Eiganjo.
A flash of light is the only thing announcing her arrival. She doesn’t ask questions. She doesn’t look for her friends or introduce herself. The Wanderer’s sword slashes down through the air and across Jin-Gitaxias’ metallic chest. She fights her way through the henchmen as the monster’s scream fills the room. The Wanderer releases her friends from the surgical tables they’re tied to, hands Kaito a dagger, and gets ready to fight the henchmen they can hear approaching.
Threads of War, Original Story by Akemi Dawn Bowman
With Tezzeret paralyzed by one of Tamiyo’s spells, Kaito and the Wanderer slice through the ranks of Jin-Gitaxias’ hired henchmen. The mechanic monster’s half-sliced body lays unmoving on the floor. The three planeswalkers are swift in taking down their enemies.
Once the battle is over only Tezzeret remains. The Wanderer decides they should take him to Kyodai so he can answer for his crimes against the kami. They don’t make it far before Tezzeret uses his mental powers to manipulate the Reality Chip.
Pain courses through the Wanderer’s body and she can see Kyodai suffering in her chamber as if their minds were connected in her visions. The Wanderer feels herself on the verge of planeswalking just as Kyodai’s voice asks her to remain and protect Eiganjo, which is under attack.
Kaito flings two metal crates at Tezzeret, one hitting his spine and the other landing on his head, knocking him out cold. But the damage is done. The Reality Chip affects the Wanderer and her ability to remain in Kamigawa. Tamiyo carefully removes it from her hand as all three of them wonder how they’re going to carry Tezzeret all the way back to the palace and fight off the invaders there.
They know the Reality Chip is capable of increasing one’s capabilities. Tamiyo is able to perform telekinesis so she plugs the chip into her own hand. They carry the knocked-out planeswalker to the edge of Otawara so they can take one of the mechs there.
They crawl on the back of a huge mech shaped like an origami reptile. With the help of the Reality Chip, feeling its power run through her body, Tamiyo starts to control the giant mech.
As they fly over Eiganjo, the three can see the Uprisers already there crossing the gates. Tezzeret then awakes with a swift movement and manages to free himself of his captors with Kaito’s smoke bombs. He hurls himself off the mech. Tamiyo loses control, plunging down to the ground. The Wanderer manages to jump and just as she hits the ground sees the giant mech crash into a building and explode.
Kaito and Tamiyo manage to get themselves out of the rubble as the battle rages just steps away from them. Kaito spots the Emperor running after Risona, who managed to slip past the more dense areas and is headed for Kyodai’s temple. And right behind the Emperor is Tezzeret, following her.
Tamiyo and Kaito fly towards him and start chasing him over the roofs as Kaito sends his tanuki drone down into the city. He’s unable to spot them until Kaito telekinetically hurls a lantern at him. As Tezzeret stumbles he’s able to spot Tamiyo above him and, more importantly, the Reality Chip on her hand. He throws Tamiyo off balance, making her drop her scroll, but before he can do anything else Kaito unleashes a slew of attacks on him.
The two planeswalkers face each other the way they had ten years ago, but now Kaito is ready and determined to get retribution for what Tezzeret has done. He drops all his gear and weapons, knowing full well Tezzeret can manipulate them if he wants to. His fists meet the planeswalkers face repeatedly.
Finally, Tezzeret is able to catch the young ninja’s fist with his metal claw, but before he can do anything to Kaito a sharp dagger lodges right into his leg. Down in the courtyard, Eiko sent Kaito a salute, Himoto by her side with another dagger in her hand.
Tamiyo paralyzes Tezzeret. Just as Kaito is about to leave to get a cell readied for him, the Reality Chip in Tamiyo’s hand comes alive with a flash. She loses control of her magic and recoils in pain. Tezzeret grabs her by the shoulders and opens a portal with a crackling of electricity and vanishes through it, taking Tamiyo with him. They’re both gone right in front of Kaito’s eyes.
Risona and the Wanderer face each other inside of the temple. The planeswalker dealt with her enemy’s men easily. The Wanderer is calm and avoiding the fight while Risona throws strike after strike, tired, eyes glowing with rage.
Risona accuses the emperor of abandoning her people and her plane and readies herself to strike. The Wanderer is ready to strike back when a rock hit Risona’s head and knocks her unconscious. The Wanderer stares at Kaito aghast, right before she bursts into laughter, a sound she hasn’t allowed herself to make in years.
With Risona bound the Uprisers quickly surrender or flee. The battle is over. But there’s no celebration to be had. The Wanderer is hunched over in pain. She doesn’t have much time left on the plane. She asks Kaito to find Light-Paws, who’s already going up the temple’s stairs with Eiko. He quickly explains to them everything that happened.
With Kyodai’s blessing the Wanderer names Light-Paws her replacement for as long as she’s gone. She will rule over Kamigawa while the Wanderer is away. Light-Paws bows in front of the Emperor as she looks at Kaito with a smile. But before she can say anything to him, she’s gone.
Kaito feels his heart break as his friend vanishes in front of him again. Kyodai lets out a wail of pain and Eiko gasps. Light-Paws keeps kneeling towards the empty space that held the Emperor a second ago. She then stands and faces the two siblings as an eighth tail forms behind her.
There’s no sign of Jin-Gitaxias’ body back in the compound. Or anywhere in Kamigawa, for that matter. Kaito knows he has to be somewhere, along with Tezzeret and Tamiyo. He visits Tamiyo’s family and promises them he’ll find her and bring her home. And Nashi promises him back that when he’s of age, he’ll help with the search too.
Kaito finally goes to say goodbye to his sister since he promised he wouldn’t leave without seeing her. He leaves the palace for the second time in his life with no intention to return any time soon.
He would scour the multiverse. He would find Tamiyo. He would find the Wanderer. He would bring both of them home.
In a lab somewhere, Tamiyo wakes to the sound of Jin-Gitaxias’ voice. She takes one of her scrolls from her satchel and watches as the language it’s written in changes and morphs. She can read the phyrexian text perfectly, as if she’d always known how to, and feels content to do so too.
There’s a strange, patchwork-like chrome on her arms and wires connecting her to a machine. She feels nothing but gratitude towards the monster. She’s ready to protect Phyrexia the way she always protected her own family.
Tezzeret enters the room. Tamiyo distrusts him, and feels like he might betray Phyrexia, her new home. And he dislikes her too. But Jin-Gitaxias assures her she has nothing to worry about from the planeswalker.
She wants to protect her home. Her family. And Phyrexia is her family now. She will help Jin-Gitaxias with his research. The work moves ever forward.
Azusa's Many Journeys, Original Story by Emily Teng
Azusa was a member of the order of Jukai Forest of monks. During the Kami War she set off in a series of journeys to record the lives of those affected by the war. She wrote diaries upon diaries of stories, lives, and events which then became pivotal to the preservation of Kamigawa’s historical records.
Fearful that Kamigawa’s history and knowledge would start to fade away she partnered with Reki to create the Living Historians and keep these stories and ideas alive.
She finally vanished while walking through the Tendo Peaks. It was centuries until the kami finally allowed anyone to read her final diary, left at an altar in Jukai forest. In that final tome, she described a frozen land where trees grew in spirals and strange beasts swam through the snow.
To this day it’s unknown if this place was in Kamigawa, if Azusa crossed into the spirit realm, or if this was a new place altogether. Any attempts to find this place in Kamigawa failed.
The Dragon-Kami Reborn, Original Story by Emily Teng
The five dragon kami that lived through the Kami War were either killed or terribly wounded. Yosei died guarding Eiganjo, Jugan was killed while aiding the Jukai monks, and Keiga died in Minamo Academy. It was only centuries later that Kokusho fell while protecting the Takenuma swamp against the oni. Ryusei was the only one who managed to survive.
During a violent oni attack, the orochi resurrected Jugan who joined Ryusei in protecting the mortals. But Jugan, who had lain dead for a long time, noticed that her connection to Kamigawa wasn’t the same as it once was. She knew that the dragons would have to come back as new incarnations for them to be able to properly connect to Kamigawa as they once did.
Jugan collected the essences of all of the other dragons into an egg. Then she and Ryusei placed themselves in it and fell into a deep slumber. For fifty years the egg remained inside Boseiju, being nurtured. When it hatched open the five dragons emerged reborn into their new forms.
Teachings of the Kirin, Original Story by Emily Teng
The orochi didn’t always live all throughout Kamigawa. Long ago they used to be the guardians of Jukai Forest. And legend has it that they had legs like any of the other mortals, too.
For centuries the orochi lived in harmony with the kami in Jukai forest. But the construction of the city of Towashi and its intrusion into the forest upset the kami. The spirits kicked anyone who had been living within the forest out, including the orochi.
They struggled to fit in with the other mortals. The technological advances carried out by the akki and the soratami were almost impossible to understand for them, and they couldn’t draw from the kami’s power as they used to anymore.
Desperate as the world moved on without them they pleaded to the kami for help. It was the kirin that eventually answered, but they refused to become the new patrons of the orochi. Instead, they made the orochi understand that the kami of Jukai forest had cut off anyone who drew strength from them through various tasks and quests. They could regain that power, but they’d have to do so by sacrificing their legs and a pair of arms. They’d revert to a more primitive form and integration with the other mortals of Kamigawa would become even more difficult.
The kami didn’t expect the orochi to actually agree to these terms. But the orochi not only accepted willingly but also offered their remaining pair of arms as well. Touched by the orochi’s devotion, the kami let them keep their last set of limbs and granted them power greater than they had ever had, changing their shapes so they could better adapt to their new powers and limbs.
It’s unclear how much of this tale is true and how much of it is just a fantasy to impress the importance of kami reverence on young orochi. But it is one of the most important tales in orochi society.
Boseiju Reaches Skyward, Original Story by Emily Teng
One of the most important events of Kamigawa’s modern age was the rapid expansion of Towashi. The city was house and home to akki, soratami, nezumi, and humans alike, in a way that would’ve been completely unthinkable centuries ago.
The city needed to make space for all of these new inhabitants, and it slowly started creeping on the forest of Jukai. The trees were torn down and the kami that lived there found themselves being displaced. The enraged kami started fighting back, destroying buildings and attacking workers.
The emperor decided to broker an agreement with the kami to prevent another war between the realms. The kami agreed to stop attacking the city and its inhabitants as long as the city was forbidden from expanding into the forest any more. The city could develop and grow as much as they wanted in the spaces they were already working on, with one major exception: they were strictly forbidden from cutting Boseiju, which was trapped in the city. So Jukai forest was closed off for mortals.
As time went on and the city couldn’t expand outwards the buildings grew taller and taller, and soon Boseiju was lost to sight. Until one day the ancient tree started growing again. It steadily surpassed all of the structures surrounding it. The old tree became tall and huge, and no matter how much builders tried to make structures taller than it, the tree grew again and left them behind.
Boseiju was sending a very clear message. The city of Towashi may be there now, but they were not allowed to forget Jukai forest or act like it hadn’t been there first. Boseiju remains the tallest structure in Towashi, casting its immense shadow over the city.
Life of Toshiro Umezawa, Original Story by Daniel Holt
Kamigawa’s most unexpected hero was one full of twists and changes. Toshiro Umezawa was an outlaw, skillful in the use of a sword and jitte, and a notable mage. With a disinterested attitude and greed to spare, he was untrustworthy and disliked. He was constantly faced with life-threatening situations that led him to develop a strict philosophy of always putting himself first.
He always acted in his best interest and made sure that any fight he was in was an unfair one. He always made sure to get what he wanted.
Toshiro’s greed led him to the Sokenzan mountains where he met the oni-worshiping ogre Hidetsugu. He convinced the monster to join forces with him, creating the group that would grow to be known as the Hyozan Reckoners. The members of this group were loyal only to each other. If one was to cause harm to another member it’d be the rest of the group’s responsibility to avenge them. Most of them even swore a blood pact.
Toshiro eventually found a way out of the blood pact and betrayed the Reckoners for greater power. He eventually found his strongest ally as an acolyte of Myojin of Night’s Reach. This was a powerful kami that had control over darkness and granted Toshiro access to her abilities, including that of traveling through shadows.
Toshiro was a man of many enemies and even more challenges which brought some serious troubles his way. Some of those include:
- Being hunted by the moonfolk for interrupting negotiations.
- Fighting against a horde of kami-empowered akki.
- Having a mischievous moon kami try to trick him.
- Being captured by orochi only to break free and return their powerful kami to the spirit realm.
- Stealing a priceless treasure from a powerful crime lord.
- Trapping an ice kami and stealing its powers.
- Setting a demon loose on Minamo.
- Stealing one of Eiganjo’s giant moths.
- Being captured by orochi. Again.
- Having to fight off soratami that tried to invade his dreams.
- Evading capture by the imperial army and the plane’s most powerful kami.
But it would be the Kami War that brought forth Toshiro’s greatest adventures. And arguably his most noble ones, too.
Most records paint Toshiro as a selfless noble who was sworn to princess Michiko. In reality he knew that having a princess in his debt would be extremely convenient. It was in an ironic twist that this selfishness allowed for Kamigawa’s salvation. His efforts to help Michiko led to him stealing That Which Was Taken and finding a way for it and the princess to communicate. This led to Kyodai being released, and her and Michiko finally ending their fathers’ war.
But this adventure didn’t end well for Toshiro. To steal Kyodai and save Michiko he had to use Myojin of Night’s Reach’s powers beyond what she allowed him to. As punishment, she banished him from Kamigawa, into a different plane.
There may be some in Kamigawa who still remember his face, and maybe even some who carry on his family name. But the Umezawa name lived on far away from Kamigawa. The Umezawa family has a notable history on the plane of Dominaria. Especially Tetsuo Umezawa who, not unlike the adventures of his predecessor, betrayed and killed the elder dragon Nicol Bolas way before he became an all-threatening planeswalker.
Tamiyo's Compleation | Illustration by Dominik Mayer
The history of Kamigawa is a long one. Being a plane that takes a ton of inspiration from real Japanese culture and religion, there are plenty of nuances to consider. I personally love the stories of both the original Kamigawa and Neon Dynasty.
I’d dare say that the story is currently at a high point that it hasn’t been in for years. I love the way sagas are being used to show stories, with the art setting the sagas themselves in the world through various cultural ways to share stories and preserve the past. And the new transforming sagas are a great improvement on the card type.
But enough about me. Did you like the stories from Kamigawa? Would you like me to cover the remaining stories and sagas? Be sure to leave a comment down below or let us know over on Twitter.
That’s all from me for now. Have a good one, and I’ll see you next time!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: