Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ranger Villain Profile: Gekiranger Rio

Gekiranger Rio

Rio (理央, Rio)

    "As purely fierce as a lion, as powerful as a lion. The one destined to rule the world, my name is the Black Lion Rio." (丈きこと、獅子のごとく。強きこと、また獅子のごとく。世界を制する者、我が名は黒獅子リオ, Takeki koto, shishi no gotoku. Tsuyoki koto, mata shishi no gotoku. Sekai o seisuru mono, waga na wa Kurojishi Rio)

    "Pure fierceness, pure power, Leaving the world, one without equal." (強きこと、猛きこと、世界において、無双の者, Tsuyoki koto, takeki koto, sekai ni oite musō no mono.)

    "As purely fierce as a lion, as powerful as a lion. The one who will obliterate the Evil Dragon, my name is the Black Lion Rio." (丈きこと、獅子のごとく。強きこと、また獅子のごとく。邪龍を葬る者、我が名は黒獅子リオ, Takeki koto, shishi no gotoku. Tsuyoki koto, mata shishi no gotoku. Jaryū o hōmuru mono, waga na wa Kurojishi Rio)

He is the leader of the Confrontation Beast Hall, the youngest to lead the Akugata and Confrontation Beast Lion-Fist (臨獣ライオン拳, Rinjū Raionken) expert, able to assume the fighting form called Black Lion Rio (黒獅子リオ, Kurojishi Rio), donning black and gold armor made of his own Confrontation Ki. Rio's only interest is in gaining strength, due to a time in his past when a monster murdered his family the night Sha-Fu found him and took him under his wing, with Rio making it his sole pupose in life to become stronger so he wouldn't suffer such pain again. While assessing his strength, Rio saw his senior Dan to be an ideal opponent to test his abilities on in vain. Eventually dissatisfied with his progress in the Beast Arts, Rio turned to the Confrontation Beast-Fist Akugata as the means to become strong enough to surpass Dan. Gou, whom Rio came to consider his closest friend, attempted to stop him, only for their friendship to end that day. Surviving Gou's attack, Rio mastered the Akugata and later battled Dan, only to learn that Dan was mortally wounded prior and thus was denied a true win in their battle. But Dan's dying words gives Rio a sense to hope await the coming of his "destined" rival: Jan.

Setting up base on the Confrontation Beast Hall, Rio brought back from the dead the Akugata's ancient warriors, using the Rinrinshī to cause despair and sadness in humanity for power after receiving the Fist Demons' Bracelet. To speed up his goal, Rio took the True Poison fang from Braco to revive the Fist Demons Kata and Rageku. In the process, Rio learned from Kata to acquire Confrontation Ki from his own fear and hatred, as well augment it with his jealousy for Dan while under Rageku's guidance. However, Rio is soon told by the two Fist Demons that the existence of Fierce Beast-Fist artists, as well as remnants of its training in himself, represent the limit of his power. Rio then, through a Confrontation Command Ceremony (臨命式, Rinmeishiki), swearing absolute loyalty to the Confrontation Beast-Fist and the destruction of the Fierce Beast-Fist school, purging himself of all traces of the Beast Arts.

Though he easily defeats the Gekirangers in battle, he spared them after witnessing Jan manifesting Extreme Ki, the very same power possessed by Dan. He soon took Sha-Fu as a hostage in turn for allowing the Gekirangers incentive to achieve the Extreme Ki power, as Sha-Fu claims it would be a much more fulfilling victory. But it was holding Sha-Fu hostage, that Rio's fear of his past still haunts in spite of becoming stronger. Rio, refusing to accept the truth, attempted to kill Retsu and Ran until Jan defeats him as Super GekiRed. With their fight leaving him wounded in both body and pride, Rio realized Jan's relation to Dan and refuses to accept this "humiliating defeat". As a result, and being in a state of rage, he resurrects Maku to learn from him. However, Maku overthrew Rio with no intent to teach him how to master the Fury Confrontation Ki, forcing Rio to serve him until his rage of his growth slowing down in power manifests into his own Fury Confrontation Ki. However, Rio's Fury Confrontation Ki was only a spark compared to Maku, leading him to attack Gorie to learn of Beast Origin Village and the power it holds. But after learning he needs the SoZyuTo to enter it, Rio battled Maku upon returning until Mele stopped it and Rio is imprisoned. However, Mele soon frees Rio and presents him the SoZyuTo so he can make his way to the Beast Origin Village. Though Maku attempted to punish him, Rio is defiant by saying that he doesn't care about the Fist Demons or their desires as long as they stay out of his way.

After the awakening of his potential due to SaiDain's Beast Power Blooming, Rio realizes that now he and the others exposed to it are all now stronger than even Maku himself. Confirming it after challenging GekiRed to test his theory that the Gekirangers' potential is also unleashed, Rio tells GekiRed to defeat Maku and end to the war between their mentors so that their own war may commence. Upon Maku's defeat, Rio resumes his place as sole leader of the Confrontation Beast Hall as Long finally reveals himself and offers Rio greater power under the Mythical Beast-Fist's guidance. At first, Rio didn't believe Long's words that he is destined to become the Mythical Beast King. However, after facing Suugu and revealing his ties to Jan, Rio undergoes the Blood-Oath Ceremony, gaining a new fighting form, Mythical Beast King Rio (幻獣王リオ, Genjūō Rio), that gives him mastery over the Mythical Beast Gryphon-Fist (幻獣グリフォン拳, Genjū Gurifonken) style. Through the stronger one, Rio spares Jan and the Gekirangers so the former may train for their final confrontation. Though Rio was later defeated in that battle, it actually allowed him to fully awaken as the Destroyer, his mind corroded into a more animalistic mentally bent on killing everything. In this state he turned into a giant and not even SaiDaioh could stop him, but his feelings for Mele restore him as she tells him that Long used them. After fully learning the truth and that everything he lived for was a lie, a devastated Rio is forced to watch Long abduct Mele, the reason he was able to return to his normal self. But thanks to Jan's words, Rio gains a new purpose in life and joins the Gekirangers in rescuing Mele and fighting Long as an act of his own will, renouncing his position as the Mythical Beast King in the process.

After Long was defeated, Rio is invited to SCRTC along with Mele. However, only Ran and Retsu are reluctant to have them live with them, and so Rio decides to undergo the Fist Judgment, knowing full well that his life may be sacrificed in the process. To symbolize the end of the Confrontation Beast Fist, Rio burns the Confrontation Beast Hall to the ground before taking on Retsu in the Fist Judgment, fully intending to sacrifice himself. However, Sanyo and a revived Long interrupt the proceedings as Long assumes his true form. After Mele's selfless sacrifice, Rio takes a small remnant of her Ki into himself and decides to eliminate Long, despite Jan's protests. As a final act, he gives the Gekirangers the last remaining Confrontation Ki that was given to him by the Fist Demons as penance for his deeds, and sacrifices himself in order to stop Long's rampage, promising Jan a rematch in the future. Upon arriving in the afterlife, he is met by Mele and the two walk off, hand in hand. During the finale, both Rio and Mele guide the three Gekirangers into the Confrontation Beast Hall and reveal the Fist Demons before them, showing the path to unifying the two Beast Fist schools.

    * His name is a play on leo, the Latin word for "lion".

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