Rao is a character encountered in Ōkami. She was a priestess who was killed and impersonated by the Oni Island demon Ninetails.
Miss Rao really is an incredible person. She's actually head of Ankoku Temple on the edge of Ryoshima. But Queen Himiko commanded that she come here to serve as regent.Soldier
BackgroundEditThe real Rao was killed by Ninetails and her remains were discarded in the hidden passageway behind Ankoku Temple that leads to Himiko's palace. Ninetails then impersonated her human form to gain access to Queen Himiko.
Her true identity is revealed when Amaterasu and Otohime see a dark apparition attacking 'Rao' in the Dragon Orb, which was retrieved after King Wada's death. Amaterasu and Issun rush to Ankoku Temple, where they follow the real Rao's ghost into a hidden underground passageway that leads to Himiko's Palace. After finding Himiko's attendant unconscious by the elevator, the two hurry to Himiko's room, only to find the queen dead with her crystal ball next to her body, and Rao standing, supposedly frightened, by one of the pillars. Rao tells Amaterasu that "a great beast ten times "her" height attacked Himiko and killed her." However, Amaterasu saw through the priestess's lie, and attacked her. This caused Rao to show her true form, which was actually Ninetails.
Rao is very beautiful, and as a result a large number of characters seem to be attracted to her. She has a large chest that is the focus of Issun's attention, causing Issun to nickname her "busty babe". She wears a nun's hood, a necklace of red beads and a purple dress with a yellow sash. In death her formerly red beads change to blue(i.e image shown above). When Ninetails' impersonation has been revealed and she changes to her 'Evil Rao' form, her outfit changes as well. She gains a fox mask and arm guards, and moves her hood back to allow space for her ears. She wields a smaller version of Ninestrike. The sword has a brush on the end of it, but she never uses it.
There are some obvious differences between the "Real Rao" and "Evil Rao" in terms of clothing: Although their outfit is mostly the same, Real Rao shows both of her eyes, but Evil Rao covers one eye with her hair to conceal the fact that she is missing an eye. Also, if Evil Rao's shown eye is closely inspected, it has a beauty mark below it.
Not much of the real Rao's personality is revealed due to her death before Amaterasu gets a chance to meet her, but Evil Rao's impersonation was so accurate that nobody could tell the difference. Rao appears to be a kind-hearted and generous person who honors Queen Himiko and is very loyal in her position as Regent of Sei'an City. Most of the residents of the city have come to see her as a figure of hope and trust. However, she acts oddly in some instances, which later causes Amaterasu to discover her true identity (for example, she abandons Amaterasu and Issun when they are attacked by the Water Dragon).
Oddly, Rao does not seem to notice Issun's attraction to her. This may be because she is not used to the ways of humans.
- Rao is based on the Japanese legend of "Yao Bikuni"(「八百比丘尼」?; The Eight-Hundred-Year-Old Priestess). This story is about a young girl who accidentally eats the meat of a mermaid, and when the girl reached adulthood she suddenly stopped aging and became near immortal. However, after marrying many times and outliving all of her families, she became a nun. After embarking on many pilgrimages to other countries, she returned to her home village and hid herself inside a cave to die.
- In Okami, this story was used for Urashima where the story of Yao Bikuni was mixed with the story of Urashima Tarou.
- Interestingly, Evil Rao's original Japanese name, Tsuzurao, is a pun that acts as a hint to her true identity. The name is actually a pronunciation of (「九尾」?; 「つづら.お」・"Tsuzura.o"; nine tails) when the kun'yomi pronunciation is used. On the other hand, the kanji phrase is more commonly known by the on'yomi pronunciation "kyūbi" (「きゅうび」?) with the same meaning. Also, "Tsuzura.o" is the pronunciation for 「九十九尾」(「つづら.お」?; ninety-nine tails).
- It is noticeable that the real Rao was originally very strong, because many of the citizens in front of her home said that she had saved them, and that they wanted to thank her for her actions.
- Rao is a different spirit from Yatsu and Raiden in terms of interactions with Amaterasu. Instead of talking to her about where her body has been dumped, she only silently guides the Sun Goddess to the site. This may due to the cause that she was never properly buried, or she is so much as a stoic and quiet person both in life and death that she would rather remain silent in her interaction.
- In the Ōkami Official Complete Works, it is revealed that the real Rao would be reborn as a flower in front of the secret passage, near a grave which has been built for her remains. This event may occur sometime after Ōkamiden as the flower does not appear in the game.
- In Ōkamiden, items belonging to the real Rao (ie: her blue bead necklace and prayer slips) can be found and returned to the new head priest of Ankoku Temple as a Manifest sidequest.
- Even though Rao is actually the Demon Lord Ninetails in disguise, Amaterasu can still use Bloom to make "Rao" pet her. She also reacts to Power Slash and Cherry Bomb, like ordinary NPCs. It is likely that this was all part of her elaborate act.
- The secret passage behind Ankoku Temple is gone in Ōkamiden, covered by a wall. Examining it will cause Chibiterasu's partner to wonder what is behind it.
- Rao's veil is an ama zukin (「尼頭巾」?) a hair covering used by Buddhist nuns.
- Rao appears to be wearing high-heels, which are a possible anachronism.
- Real Rao's beads were blue, but evil Rao's beads were red.