You know, after the shocker that was the Oshi No Ko premiere, it’s nice to have protagonists in other anime that feel functionally immortal, like Gabimaru in Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku. Why? Because, listen. We’re here for a good time, not a long one. But having characters that we are attached to last more than an episode is really nice. Especially when you consider how violent Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku is. Then the survival really feels earned.
That’s not to say that Gabimaru is actually immortal, you know? Like, as much as he’s really resilient to most forms of execution and torture, the fact is that he can be hurt. But by the end of the manga, Gabimaru had been able to utilize some of the regenerative properties of Lord Tensen, who was immortal. Then again, that incident was a one off thing that we never saw Gabimaru repeat, so it could’ve been situational, a product of utilizing Tao, etc. However, we wouldn’t say Gabimaru is inherently immortal because of it.
I mean, the very first episode was the series disproving that theory, right? Like, as strong and clever Gabimaru is, he can still bleed. There is still some survival instinct in him that evades danger. That alone is enough explanation. But, then again, you’d also do anything to survive in the hellscape that is Shinsenkyō, an island that looks like a dream but actually hosts some of the most monstrous beings straight from your wildest nightmares. It’s not just about power alone, you need some nuclear level plot armor to stay alive and come back from Shinsenkyō.
And considering Gabimaru wasn’t the only one who did, it isn;t hard to see why him being immortal is more of a hyperbole than anything. Of course, that doesn’t mean he isn’t the strongest, by the end of things. But his strength and motivations are exactly what we shall be discussing today in a segment of Lore Analysis. Let’s figure out if the great Gabimaru The Hollow is truly immortal or just really, really resilient.
Gabimaru the Hollow: The Infamous Assassin
So, before we can discuss whether Gabimaru is immortal, it’s best to look into his origins and see if others have ever showcased something similar. And the answer to that is no. Despite being from a place known for its powerful Shinobi, living forever was never something that the people residing in it boasted about.
However, Gabimaru’s namesake is somewhat immortal. ‘Gabimaru The Hollow’ is a mantle reserved for the most powerful Shinobi in the village of Iwagakure. It’s a codename being passed down to a new Gabimaru when the old one passes away. Gabimaru himself isn’t the original Gabimaru The Hollow, but an orphan who was stolen from his family by Iwagakure’s Chief. From there, he was trained to become the assassin he is today, to carry forward the legend of Gabimaru the Hollow.
The training was grueling, even cruel. And by his adolescence, Gabimaru was as emotionless as a rock, killing as easily as it was for him to breathe. With no remorse or family holding him back, he became the stuff of hushed whispers, a monster that attacked from the shadows and slinked right back in. However, all of that changed when he was married off to the Iwagakure’s Chief’s daughter, Yui. Initially, it was just a political arrangement, a reward for Gabimaru being the ruthless killer that he was. But Yui’s kind heart and gentle notions changed his world view, which was always blood tinted.
However, when he did try leaving the life of a Shinobi to follow Yui into a happy life, he was betrayed by the village itself and captured by the Shogunate. But he still hopes to reunite with Yui, and therefore simply refuses to die.
Why Do Fans Believe Gabimaru Is Immortal?
The honest reason why a lot of people initially believed that Gabimaru was immortal was because no matter what torture the Shogunate put him through, he came out alive. Being beheaded, boiled alive, assaulted by a thousand arrows, simply nothing worked.
And the reason for that isn’t Gabimaru being insanely strong or somehow immune to physical attacks. But to an outsider, that immunity might appear as immortality. However, the truth is that he just doesn’t want to die. This is explained better by Yamada Asaemon Sagiri, his executioner, when she sees him go through multiple execution attempts and survive them all. The only time he was really, truly in danger, was when she fought him head on and managed to slice her blade through his cheek, leading to bleeding.
That alone shows that he isn’t immune to being hurt. Rather that most things that would kill a normal human being, are nothing that could hurt him. Sagiri only got as close because she herself is a very strong fighter, coming from the infamous Yamada Asaemon clan, known for its ruthless and efficient executioners. And she happens to be the direct heiress to the clan, despite the men looking down at her for being a woman.
So she knows something about defying all odds to focus and make the impossible a reality.
Gabimaru Returned A Changed Man:
Now, Sagiri has stated before that if Gabimaru truly wanted to die, he would let people kill him without any fanfare. He controls how he reacts to ambushes and stuff, so if he had no will to live? Well, he wouldn’t be here today. I mean, he is a very well known assassin, with plenty of enemies. So why doesn’t he die?
Well, that is due to Yui. Even though Gabimaru was duped by the Iwagakure Chief into confiding his plans to leave his personal army and live his life out simply with Yui, he still believes that that future is available to him. Just because he is away from his wife, the only silver lining he has, doesn’t mean he gives up and dies. It’s why he so readily accepted the mission to go search for the ‘Elixir Of Life’ in Shinsenkyō, a suicide mission involving those criminals that were on Death Row like him.
Like, the danger is explained to him. No one has really come back from the mysterious island intact. But he’d rather take those odds than give up on reuniting with his wife. And so, amidst the murdering, the monsters and general dread, he holds on. He adapts to the strangeness of the island, even taking on its biggest force and using his own powers against him. And together with the rest of the survivors, he makes it out. Fuelled solely by the promise of meeting Yui again.
And it’s because of how he fought Lord Tensen, manipulating his Tao to match his and gain regenerative properties, that many started thinking that Gabimaru was immortal. But while it’s unclear whether that’s the case or not, one thing is for sure. His wife and their love has always been his true strength.
We see Gabimaru through Sagiri’s narrative point of view, from the very start. And she confirms just as much, stating that he’s a changed man since he met Yui. She can’t just generalize him as a murderous monster who deserves to die by her sword, and that his life is more complex than that. And I think that showcases just how much his non Shinobi wife has influenced him, proving that love is a power that transcends reasoning.
But hey, not like there’s any one left to contest his immortality now. So, if you want to believe Gabimaru is immortal, go right ahead!