With the premiere of the Heroes Reborn mini-series tonight, a new crop of heroes have emerged yet an all too familiar sword has also resurfaced in the hands of a female warrior searching for her missing father.
When we first meet Miko Otomo (Kiki Sukezane), she is inside her condo in bustling Tokyo as a young man enters her home unexpectedly. Ren Shimosawa (Toru Uchikado) claims that he has cleared a ridiculously high level in the online game Evernow and as a result was given her address. Miko is extremely confused that someone she doesn’t know is in her apartment and tells him to leave immediately. Undeterred, Ren soon returns and explains that he’s a gamer and that he recognized her as Katana Girl, a character in the Evernow that’s never been unlocked. He even brings her a manga (Japanese comic book) that shows the story of Katana Girl.
Miko kicks him out of her place for a second time, but curiosity gets the best of her and she starts to read through the manga. It happens to be written by her father, Hachiro Otomo who has mysteriously vanished. Strangely enough the character does seem to deeply resemble her. Eventually Miko goes into her father’s study, which appears to have been untouched for a long time. She sees a missing katana from the wall and looks down to find a floor compartment with the helix symbol/glyph engraved on it. The hiding place reveals a very recognizable sword that bears the helix glyph on its hilt as well. This must be Hiro’s Kensei sword, but the question is how did come to the possession of Hachiro Otomo?
Aside from the katana, Miko’s father also left her a note that reads, “Save me…the sword is the key.”
As soon as she removes the blade from its scabbard she is transported to the digital world of Evernow (much like Tron!). She begins to fight old school Japanese minions in the quest to find her father. Meanwhile Ren comes to apologize, probably feeling guilty from acting like an obsessed fanboy. He enters an empty apartment and sees Evernow loaded on Miko’s computer. He starts to see Katana Girl in action and can’t help himself as he joins her in the game.
Hachiro makes an appearance and says thank goodness she’s finally arrived and that they have a lot to do. Their reunion is short lived unfortunately as he is literally pulled by an invisible force into a menacing looking tower. Miko gets knocked out but luckily manages to sheath the sword again to return to the real world. Upon regaining consciousness, she tells Ren that everything he’s said is true. She really is Katana Girl and her father has somehow been trapped inside a video game.
Is Hachiro himself an evolved human with the ability to create and manipulate digital worlds that live on a different plane of existence?
Miko’s resolve remains strong and she decides to go back into the game to rescue her father. Interestingly enough, a real world version of the tower exists in Tokyo and it happens to be Yamagato Tower, likely the same Yamagato that Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) and Ando Masahashi (James Kyson) had worked for. Hiro became CEO of the company in season 3 after the death of his father Kaito (incidentally he also came to possess the sword at one time).
Katana Girl is ambushed in Evernow by a bunch of goons and as she logs out, she finds herself in the lobby of Yamagato Tower surrounded by the company’s security guards. She begins to fight them in real life and it feels like Tron even more where possibly some evil Yamagato executive trapped Miko’s father in the virtual world.
This new ability of the Kensei sword to transport people into a virtual reality is like a familiar character exhibiting a newfound power. The blade was such an important item in the original Heroes series that it’ll be intriguing to find out the journey it’s been through in the last five years.
But first how did it become known as the Kensei sword? The katana was originally created by a swordsmith in Otsu, Japan and somehow it came into the possession of the warrior Takezo Kensei. Hiro first encounters the blade at the Museum of Natural History in New York City (back in Heroes season 1) where he manages to steal it by slowing down time. Unfortunately it was only a replica and the real sword was in the possession of Daniel Linderman (Malcolm McDowell). Linderman had been collecting items relating to evolved humans.
Hiro manages to pinch the real Kensei sword from Linderman’s collection in Las Vegas. Upon acquiring it, he was able to reactivate his abilities after not being able to summon his powers for part of season 1. Hiro though leaves the katana with Ando before going to fight Sylar (Zachary Quinto) in New York. He avoids injury during the battle by teleporting himself, but soon discovers that he has jumped back to the year 1671. There Hiro meets Takezo Kensei/Adam Monroe (David Anders), who now possessed the blade. Adam is another evolved human with the power to regenerate (much like Claire Bennett), but the man doesn’t turn out to be the hero that Hiro expected him to be. After a lot of fighting, the time traveler leaves the katana with Yaeko (Eriko Tamura), the daughter of the swordsmith (and love interest to both Hiro and Adam), before returning to the present.
Let’s also not forget that precognative Isaac Mendez painted Hiro with the blade (and fighting a dinosaur) and all those encounters with future Hiro who had the sword with him.
The sword is still in Hiro’s custody during season 2 and likely through to season 4 when Heroes ended. However at some point within the five years between the original series and Heroes Reborn, Hachiro becomes its owner. It’ll be lots of fun to see how that happens and also more importantly how future Hiro ends up getting the sword back.
For an item that’s been linked to so many different evolved humans in the Heroes universe it certainly cannot be just any plain old blade. Of course there is the possibility that this is a different sword all together, a twin perhaps? In any case its crafted details like this that makes the viewing experience all the more entertaining where even a sword gets its own subplot.
Tonight’s premiere of Heroes Reborn feels reminiscent of Heroes season 1 and reminded me why I loved the series in the first place. Although we have a whole new set of characters and locations, it doesn’t dismiss what happened in the original show and builds on it. Additionally while there is a large mysterious event happening in the background, the storylines focus on how people are dealing with being different in a world that often hates what it doesn’t understand. Solid performances all around for both new and old cast members and a job well done in the writing department. If they can continue this momentum throughout the rest of the series, fans will definitely be wanting even more.
You can catch Heroes Reborn on NBC Thursdays 8/7 central.