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    Background[edit source]

    Azuma joined Border after it went public, approximately four years before Chika Amatori and Yūma Kuga enlisted.[1] He was Border's first Sniper and together with the members of the first generation of Azuma Squad he climbed to the No. 1 position in A-rank.[2] The members of the unit except for Azuma himself left it in unknown circumstances, to be replaced by Yukimaru Ichijō, Takaaki Katagiri and Karin Yuitsuka.[3] Eventually, Azuma Squad reached its current composition, which in Noboru Koarai's case was due to him clinging to Azuma's leg for over an hour.[4] Apart from his teammates, Azuma took on a great number of students in both strategy and sniping, such as Mirai Hatohara,[5] Reiji Kizaki, Tōru Narasaka, Isami Tōma[6] and Ren Tsukimi.[7] At some point in time Azuma was selected for an away mission to the Neighborhood and was told about Cronin being a Neighbor.[8] After Hatohara absconded to the Neighborhood, Azuma was one of the few Border agents in the know.[9]

    Introduction Arc[edit source]

    Azuma Squad presumably takes part in the extermination of all Rads in Mikado City.[10]

    Border Enlistment Arc[edit source]

    On the official Border enlistment day on January 8[11] Azuma is one of three Snipers, the others being Tetsuji Arafune and Ken Satori, serving as instructors to the new recruits. He is puzzled by Chika asking him if she has to run after shooting, to which he replies that she doesn't. The other trainees are amused by her inquiry, but, since that aspect of sniping is taught only to B-rank, Azuma infers that her mentor believes her to be capable of climbing up the ladder. After she inadvertently punches a hole in the base while trying out Ibis,[12] he assures her that there is no problem and says that Satori, as the supervisor, will take the blame, which he reaffirms when she fears that he people at Tamakoma Branch will get in trouble on her account. When a furious Motokichi Kinuta barges in and starts venting on Satori, Azuma explains what transpired. Seeing him soften as he talks to Chika, Satori assumes that he has a soft spot for little girls, with Azuma remarking that she probably reminds him of his daughter. Concluding that Tamakoma Branch chose not to report her Trion levels to enhance the shock, he assumes either Yūichi Jin or Takumi Rindō to be responsible.[13]

    Large-Scale Invasion Arc[edit source]

    Azuma Squad is deployed by Masafumi Shinoda to prevent the initial wave of Trion Soldiers sent by Aftokrator from reaching Mikado City. Border's traps buy them enough time to arrive on the scene, which Azuma reports as he shoots down a Bado the successful suppression of the Trion Soldiers. Just as Azuma Squad is about to go support other units after disposing of the Trion Soldiers in the area, he notices a Rabbit emerging from a carcass[14] and hears more Trion Soldiers approaching. As soon as Tsuneyuki Okudera takes his eyes off the Rabbit, it attacks him and sends him crashing through multiple houses. Azuma warns Koarai to wait for their teammate before taking it on, but Koarai does not listen and is quickly immobilized by the Trion Soldier. Azuma attempts to shoot it, but the creature deflects his blast. Azuma then changes targets to Koarai, saving him from capture by forcing him to Bail Out. He then tells Shinoda about the Rabbit and its goal to capture agents.[15]

    Azuma and Okudera are able to escape the Rabbit, and Shinoda orders the other B-rank units to meet up with them.[16] and Taichi Betsuyaku reaches him moments before Ranbanein is warped right next to them.[17] Azuma tells Betsuyaku to fall back and lure him into their range, taking note of the irregular Gate he came out of. Chano Squad attacks him, but before Azuma can warn them that Ranbanein is about to open fire, the Neighbor obliterates their trion bodies. Azuma and Betsuyaku run away, but, contrary to Azuma's expectations, Ranbanein rapid-fires at them, causing the Suzunari First Sniper to bail out. Arafune Squad attempts to snipe him, but he defends and his retaliation removes Yoshito Hanzaki and Atsushi Hokari from the battle.[18] Azuma manages to get away, but even as more B-rank agents join him, they are still forced into hiding by Lamvenein's superior firepower, with Azuma wondering if the deadlock was what the enemy wanted to free up the Rabbits in the south.[19]

    When Kōhei Izumi, Shun Midorikawa and Yōsuke Yoneya join the fight, Azuma describes Ranbanein's Trigger.[20] After Midorikawa cuts off his leg, Izumi lures the Neighbor towards Arafune and Azuma, who manage to shoot off pieces of Chelidon. Noticing that he now has less focus to spare, Azuma advises his allies to capitalize on their numerical advantage and pressure him until he shows an opening.[21] This decision results in Ranbanein's eventual defeat, immediately after which he is rescued by Mira, whom Azuma identifies as a Black Trigger user. He instructs his allies not to give chase. B-rank agents are then assigned to defending the southern area, while the A-rank agents go help the trainees. Azuma thanks them and promises to treat them to a meal,[22] a promise which he honors after the invasion is foiled. As a result of his actions, he is the recipient of an Outstanding Distinguished Service award[23] as well as a Distinguished Service award as part of Azuma Squad.[24]

    B-Rank Wars Arc[edit source]

    Round Two[edit source]

    During the four-way Rank War of the day division on February 5,[25] Azuma bails out due to Katori Squad, Ōji Squad and Yuba Squad focusing their fire on him.[26]

    That night Azuma is invited as a commentator for Tamakoma Second's match against Arafune Squad and Suwa Squad. He is surprised by the map chosen by Tamakoma Second, as Cityscape C greatly favors Snipers. After the match begins, Azuma realizes that the selection was prompted by the unit wanting to form a natural alliance with Suwa Squad against Arafune Squad.[27] He continues to analyze and describe the match[28][29] and, after its conclusion, gives his overall commentary, focusing in particular on Tamakoma Second. When Shōhei Kodera explains to Futaba Kuroe just how decisive the unit's strategy was, Azuma light-heartedly comments that he has nothing to add.[30]

    Round Four[edit source]

    On February 11[31] Azuma listens to Koarai and Okudera squabbling over the complexity of the map to pick against their opponents in the upcoming match. After prompting them to share their analysis and ideas coherently, he voices his preference for a simple map before making sure they remember his tenets and exhorting them to create a winning strategy.[32] Sometime later, he authorizes Koarai to tweak the weather conditions. They eventually settle on Cityscape B with a snowy terrain.[33]

    On Saturday February 15,[34] once the battle starts, Azuma spawns in the eastern area of the map, hidden with a white Bagworm. He spots Yūma and Sumiharu Inukai, and recognizes a third trion signature as Osamu Mikumo's from his movements.[33] When Inukai engages Osamu, Azuma begins to move towards them. After two Attackers of Azuma Squad as well as Shinnosuke Tsuji converge into the building the battle has moved to, Azuma takes out the captain of Tamakoma Second by sniping through the walls.[35] He moves away after the shot, and, when Chika opens fire, he rushes towards her, preventing her from bailing out on her own and taking note of her position for his teammates, although Kageura Squad allows her to flee.[36] The Attackers of all four units begin a melee fight during which Azuma manages to shoot off Yūma's leg. He notices Yuzuru Ema bailing out and sees Hiro Kitazoe's Meteor shower, which he intercepts before targeting him directly. Masataka Ninomiya however shields Kitazoe before defeating him himself. Caught unawares, Azuma is unable to intercept the Gunner's final round of explosives.[37] A few minutes later, only Azuma, Masato Kageura, and Ninomiya survive. The Sniper is keen on running out the clock unless either opponent makes a move, and tells his teammates that the snow ended up working well for the map.[38]

    Galopoula's Invasion[edit source]

    The following day, Azuma is invited by Shinoda to an emergency response meeting[39] to address the possibility, mentioned by Enedorad, of an impending attack from Galopoula or Rhodokhroun. When Jin states that he hasn't seen any agents or civilians being abducted or killed, Azuma speculates that the enemy is interested in something else, such as tech or intelligence. To the surprise of the agents present, Masamune Kido announces that the interception will be carried out confidentially. Azuma suggests enlisting Tsukihiko Amō's help, not to have him fight but to rely on his Side Effect.[40] After the meeting he catches up with Kyōko Sawamura before asking Shūji Miwa if he's eating enough and inviting him out for a meal.[41]

    Round Five (Night)[edit source]

    On February 19,[42] the night of Galopoula's Invasion, Azuma Squad fights a rank war against Kageura Squad and Yuba Squad.[43]

    Round Six[edit source]

    Azuma Squad fights against Ninomiya Squad, Kageura Squad, and Suzunari First in the night division of the sixth round of rank wars. The team ties with Suzunari First while Kageura Squad and Ninomiya Squad lead with three points. No unit receives the survival bonus due to there being multiple survivors,[44] one of them being Azuma.[26]

    Round Seven[edit source]

    The members of Azuma Squad then meet up to strategize ahead of Their Match against Tamakoma Second, Kageura Squad and Suzunari First.[45] In the few minutes before the battle begins, Tamakoma Second is revealed to have added a new member, whom Koarai recognizes due to having sparred with him a few days before. Azuma exhorts his teammates not to lose heart, as gaining experience dealing with the unexpected is the point of rank wars. Shortly afterward, the map chosen by Suzunari First is revealed to be Cityscape D.[46] Koarai and Okudera discuss the map selection, which Okudera senses to be motivated by something other than a decision to obstruct enemy Snipers. Azuma observes that that feeling is important, as sometimes instinct can precede reason. He then comments that the match will test their ability to improvise and, after making sure that they remember one of his tenets, thinks to himself that the battle will allow him to gauge their growth.[47]

    Azuma spawns right next to the central mall and immediately dons his Bagworm. Azuma ponders whether to observe the other teams from outside or go into the mall, and in part due to the night setting opts for the latter. When Okudera tells his teammates that he is engaging Osamu, the other members of Azuma Squad begin to converge on the two fighters.[48] However, as the clash moves to the upper floors[49] and Osamu manages to escape, Azuma stops his chase and begins scattering Dummy Beacons throughout the mall.[44] He warns Koarai and Okudera when he spots Hyuse and Yūma vaulting towards the top floor.[50] The two catch Ema in a pincer attack which forces him to escape by letting himself fall towards the atrium, but he is sniped mid-fall by Azuma.[51]

    The three members of Azuma Squad proceed to target Hyuse and Yūma, who, together with Chika, are the only opponents left. Koarai and Okudera close in on the two from the south, Azuma from the north. As he does, he has Mako Hitomi assist him with the Dummy Beacons, which they turn on. In response Chika blows up half of the mall, accidentally removing Okudera from the fight and injuring Koarai's foot. When they are shocked by the development, Azuma points out that they cannot rely on their opponent not being able to shoot, and asks them what he should do next. Okudera correctly responds that he should stay close to Hyuse and Yūma to avoid being hit by a second round. Azuma then asks them what their best course of action is,[52] while Hyuse seals off the exits. Okudera opts for a full retreat, and Koarai begrudgingly agrees. To allow Koarai and himself to get far enough from Tamakoma Second to be able to bail out on their own, Azuma takes control of some of the beacons and sends them towards Chika's general location before turning them off in an attempt to rattle Osamu and have Hyuse and Yūma relinquish their position. As a result, Yūma heads towards Chika while Hyuse continues to hunt down the opponents inside the ruins of the mall.[53]

    Azuma thus sets a trap[53] by attaching his Bagworm to his Lightning and having it hang off the edge of the first floor, while disguising his own trion signature with a Dummy Beacon's.[54] When Koarai lures Hyuse in the right spot,[53] Azuma switches from Lightning to Ibis, causing the Bagworm to fall and catching Hyuse's eye. The opponent fires half of his bullets at the cloak, giving Azuma an opening to inflict fatal damage; however, Hyuse manages to injure Azuma's leg before bailing out. The Sniper tells his teammates that their next move ill be determined by Tamakoma Second's. As a Meteor barrage rains down on the remains of the mall, Azuma urges Koarai to bail out and does the same, decreeing the end of the match.[54] Despite the commentators' praise of their decision, Koarai feels like all he could do was run away, but Azuma interjects that both Attackers properly judged the battle and authorizes them to equip Triggers to their Sub.[54]

    Round Eight[edit source]

    Right after the match, Azuma is summoned by Eizō Netsuki to decide how to best deal with the rumor, spreading among trainees, that Hyuse is, in fact, a Neighbor. Netsuki decides to manufacture a different rumor, specifically that Hyuse is from Canada and that he had been training in secret with Tamakoma First for years to replace Jin, only to be added to Tamakoma Second instead when Jin stopped using Fūjin. As the two explain to Osamu, who soon joins them, Azuma agrees to begin spreading it at joint Sniper training the following day through other official agents, who will cite Azuma as the source of the rumor; if asked, Azuma will concede that the rumor is plausible without confirming to be the source. Should Hyuse's identity eventually be revealed, Azuma is to say that Netsuki ordered him to lie. The two proceed to notify agents who already know about Hyuse's and Cronin's provenance.[55]

    The meeting is adjourned, and Osamu apologizes to Azuma for causing him to be involved. Azuma is unconcerned and tells him that agents who had been to the Neighborhood, like himself, already knew. He then proceeds to enquire about Chika's condition after the match,[55] since Hatohara, who, like Chika, was unwilling to shoot others, had a severe reaction the one time she accidentally hit someone in a rank war. Despite acknowledging that the circumstances may be different, he advises Osamu to keep an eye on Chika. He then confesses that, after being told that the rank wars would end after the eighth round, he did not believe that Tamakoma Second would be able to make the cut for the expedition. Netsuki comments that Azuma should not be rooting for any specific unit, to which the Sniper responds that he is simply amused by the manner of Tamakoma Second's ascent through the ranks. When Osamu apologizes before leaving, Azuma and Netsuki are both impressed. Netsuki floats that he might be trying to save his reputation, but Azuma lets him know that he tried to recruit Jin into Tamakoma Second, from which they can infer that Osamu does not care about it. Azuma notes that though he does everything he can to help others, he does not think about himself at all. The following day the rumor is successfully planted, as Azuma and Osamu report to Netsuki.[56]

    On March 5,[57] Azuma Squad faces off against Kageura Squad and Ōji Squad in the day division of rank wars. Azuma Squad wins the battle, which took place in Exhibition Hall, with a final score of 4-3-3, after Okudera's distraction allows Azuma to snipe Kageura.[58]

    Away Mission Test Arc[edit source]

    Azuma, along with most of the upper/mid tier agents and select A-Rank agents participate in an examination to prepare for the upcoming away mission. He is immediately selected by Ninomiya for his Squad 8. His team is composed of Ninomiya as their captain, Kagami as their operator, and Ema, Chika, and himself.

    References[edit source]

    1. World Trigger MangaBorder Briefing File (p. 271)
    2. World Trigger MangaChapter 112 (p. 18)
    3. World Trigger MangaVol. 20 Character Profile
    4. World Trigger MangaVol. 14 Character Profile
    5. World Trigger MangaChapter 110 (p. 7)
    6. World Trigger MangaVol. 5 Character Profile
    7. Daisuke Ashihara: Q: What is the relationship between Tsukimi and Tachikawa? (Tachikawa's birthday comes earlier so he's older, isn't he)?
      A: Tsukimi is Tachikawa's childhood friend and mentor when it comes to strategy. It goes Azuma, Tsukimi (and many other pupils) and then Tachikawa.
      Source: Volume 8, Question Corner 6
    8. World Trigger MangaChapter 176 (p. 21)
    9. World Trigger MangaChapter 106 (p. 14)
    10. World Trigger Manga and Anime Vol. 2 Chapter 11 (p. 15) and Episode 6.
    11. World Trigger MangaChapter 32 (p. 18)
    12. World Trigger MangaChapter 34
    13. World Trigger MangaChapter 37
    14. World Trigger MangaChapter 44
    15. World Trigger MangaChapter 45
    16. World Trigger MangaChapter 49
    17. World Trigger MangaChapter 53
    18. World Trigger MangaChapter 54
    19. World Trigger MangaChapter 58
    20. World Trigger MangaChapter 59
    21. World Trigger MangaChapter 60
    22. World Trigger MangaChapter 61
    23. World Trigger MangaChapter 83 (p. 9)
    24. World Trigger MangaChapter 83 (p. 11)
    25. World Trigger MangaChapter 94
    26. 26.0 26.1 World Trigger MangaChapter 173 (p. 5)
    27. World Trigger MangaChapter 88
    28. World Trigger Manga and Anime Vol. 11 Chapter 89 and Episode 40.
    29. World Trigger MangaChapter 90
    30. World Trigger MangaChapter 91
    31. World Trigger MangaChapter 110 (p. 5)
    32. World Trigger MangaChapter 110
    33. 33.0 33.1 World Trigger MangaChapter 111
    34. World Trigger MangaChapter 103 (p. 19)
    35. World Trigger MangaChapter 112
    36. World Trigger MangaChapter 113
    37. World Trigger MangaChapter 114
    38. World Trigger MangaChapter 115
    39. World Trigger MangaChapter 116
    40. World Trigger MangaChapter 117
    41. World Trigger MangaChapter 120
    42. World Trigger MangaChapter 123
    43. World Trigger MangaChapter 124 (p. 1)
    44. 44.0 44.1 World Trigger MangaChapter 169
    45. World Trigger MangaChapter 164
    46. World Trigger MangaChapter 165
    47. World Trigger MangaChapter 166
    48. World Trigger MangaChapter 167
    49. World Trigger MangaChapter 168
    50. World Trigger MangaChapter 170
    51. World Trigger MangaChapter 172
    52. World Trigger MangaChapter 173
    53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 World Trigger MangaChapter 174
    54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 World Trigger MangaChapter 175
    55. 55.0 55.1 World Trigger MangaChapter 176
    56. World Trigger MangaChapter 177
    57. World Trigger MangaChapter 183
    58. World Trigger MangaChapter 184
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