As with much of Stan Sakai's Usagi universe, Ino is inspired by Japanese culture and existing samurai stories. He is based on the famous character Zatoichi. This character stared in 26 movies made from 1962 to 1989 as well as other guest appearances, he appeared in over 112 episodes of a tv program that ran from 1972-1974, and three modern cinema versions have been made. The two characters share many traits in common.
Both characters share the title 'Zatō'. This is the title of the lowest of the four official ranks within the Tōdōza, the historical Japanese guild for blind men. Both appear to be a harmless blind anma (masseur). Giving massages was a traditional occupation for the blind, since both the blind and masseurs were considered lowest social level. In Edo Period Japan it was commonly thought that the blind were also mentally deficient or perverted.
Neither character carries a traditional katana, as all blades were outlawed for non-bushi in the Edo period. Rather, each caries an exceptional Sword-Cane (shikomi-zue) that they use as their walking stick and guide cane. Typically they both fight with an underhand stance.
- Caste: Peasant
- Profession: Masseur
- Known Fighting Proficiencies: Kenjutsu, Iaido
- Weapon of Preference: Sword-Cane (shikomi-zue)
- Anthropomorphic Identity: Pig
Ino was born blind, and learned to get by using his other senses, especially smell. He became a travelling masseur, a common profession for the blind in Edo period Japan. Also common for the period, Ino has been harassed his whole life. At some point, he learned how to defend himself from tormentors with his swordsmanship. This however has only led to problems for Ino.
All he wishes is to have a peaceful quiet life. However, he is constantly tormented. At first his tormentors are hecklers and bullies, but later people who’ve heard of his exploits. They seek him out for the bounty on his head, or to match swords with the legend. Inevitably, these challengers lose, increasing his renown (and bounty). This huge bounty has made it impossible for Ino to settle down anywhere. This drives Ino’s anger towards the world and his cynicism.
Major Story Arcs & Events:
The Blind Swords-Pig
When Usagi and Ino first meet they are quick friends. Unfortunately, Ino’s deeds catch up and the two cross swords. Ino loses his nose. He is able to replace it with a wooden prosthetic, but he vows revenge on Usagi.
Although Ino has not yet appeared in any of the Usagi animations or video games, he was made into a limited edition statue by RokuToys.