Aoba Kuronuma (黒沼 青葉 Kuronuma Aoba) is a character introduced in volume 4 of the light novels. He is a first year student in Raira Academy, and is Mikado's kouhai, who he refers to as "Mikado-senpai". He is the original founder of Blue Squares. He has a bright personality and is always seen smiling, but has a darker side that is actually highly manipulative and cunning. He's described as being akin to "a younger version of Izaya Orihara". He appears in the second season of the anime. He is involved with the events of Durarara!! SH.
Physically speaking, Aoba is an average looking teenager with dark blue hair and brown eyes. In the light novel, his features are usually described as girlish and child-like and he is short enough to be mistaken for an elementary or middle school student. He wears a standard Raira uniform at school and usually wears a light blue hoodie and a t-shirt as casual clothes. He has an average physical frame but is surprisingly decent in a fight. His true strength lies in his mental capabilities as he is a thorough planner and an effective manipulator.
As stated earlier, Aoba initially appears very cheerful, outgoing, and friendly. Mikado even states that Aoba even reminded him of Masaomi in a way upon first meeting him. However, it is quickly revealed that Aoba is actually very devious, manipulative, and ambitious. He mostly keeps people at an arms length with very few exceptions such as the Orihara twins, especially Kururi. Those who know his true personality consider him to be a younger version of Izaya which is true to a certain extent. Like the aforementioned info broker, he is very cunning and enjoys toying with others but unlike Izaya, who loves humanity, Aoba despises humanity with all his heart. He views most people as a means to an end and even uses his own brother as a figurehead leader for his gang when things went sour. Albeit, their relationship was very far from ideal. As Ran thoroughly abused Aoba for years before the fact. The fact that he was still willing to set his brother up for prison-implies a high degree of ruthlessness on Aoba's part.
Despite these negative feelings towards humans, Aoba also fears isolation. After seeing the similarities between himself and Izaya, and seeing how isolated Izaya had become from almost everyone who knew him, Aoba begins to take a conscious effort to connect with others more often, mostly with the Orihara twins who he has mixed feelings towards. While he still remains distant from others, Aoba slowly begins to open up more around his friends and his outlook on life slowly starts to change.
BackgroundEditAoba's life was fairly normal during his early years although he was no stranger to family drama. Aoba's older brother, Ran Izumii, would occasionally abuse and bully him due to jealousy over their parents treating Aoba better than Ran. Aoba normally took these beating without too much complaint but would periodically get back at Ran in the form of pranks. In one instance, when Ran had overdone it, Aoba set his brother's room on fire and blamed it on his smoking habit.
Aoba started Blue Squares when he was in middle school but handed leadership over to Ran in order to use him as a scapegoat should things go south. Ran proved to be a poor choice as he frequently made decisions without Aoba's permission and even initiated a gang war with the Yellow Scarves. The resulting conflict with the police caused Ran to get arrested and nearly destroyed the Blue Squares, much to Aoba's annoyance. He then received and invitation to join the dollars and accepted, seeing it as an opportunity to rebuild his gang.
At some point during middle school, Aoba walked downstairs to find Izaya Orihara sipping tea and chatting with his mother. Izaya apparently claimed to be Aoba's cram school tutor and had come to give his School ID back to him. Aoba knew that this was a blatant lie as he had his ID on him at that time but he didn't want to cause a commotion in his house. He and Izaya stepped out and discussed why Izaya had come. Izaya is suprised that Aoba was able to obtain his personal information through the Dollars network while Aoba is surprised that Izaya tracked him down so quickly. Aoba and Izaya immediately begin to dislike each other mostly due to the fact that their personalities are too similar.
After the opening ceremony for the new year ends, Aoba approaches Mikado and Anri in the hallway. Aoba easily overwhelms the two of them with his cheerful personality (which vaguely reminds them of Masaomi) and asks if they can give him a tour of Ikebukuro since he doesn't know the area very well. Not really giving them the option to say no, the three of them set a date for the next day. Later on, during class, Aoba is placed in the same room as Kururi Orihara. He sees Kururi's desk vandalized by several bullies. He realized that the only reason they were bullying Kururi was because Mairu was actually able to fight back while Kururi wasn't. Aoba simply ignored it until the teacher started asking who was responsible. Aoba ratted out the bullies without a second thought, much to their surprise. He didn't do it out of a sense of right and wrong but simply because someone asked him a question that he had the correct answer to. The bullies later confronted him about it and asked why he betrayed them. Aoba replied that he was never on their side to begin with and notices one of the girls bags on fire. After the bullies ran away, Mairu and Kururi show up and comment on how fast they can go. As Aoba realizes that it was probably Kururi who lit the bag on fire, he is kissed on the lips by Kururi as thanks for helping her. Before this information can register, Mairu also kisses him in order to get an indirect kiss from Kururi. As the twins leave, Mairu warns Aoba that, despite her appearance, Kururi is actually very aggressive. Aoba is left speechless.
The next day, when Aoba, Anri, and Mikado meet, they are immediately approached by several remnants of the yellow scarves looking for revenge. They are chased off by Kyohei and his group but the trio are also shoved into Togusa's van in the process. Aoba sees the twins also in the back and is visibly surprised. After Toramaru catches up with them, the 9 occupants begin a frantic chase through the Ikebukuro streets, eventually being joined by Celty. Eventually, Celty tells the others to run while she holds off Toramaru. Kyohei drops off Aoba and the others near a police station while he and Saburo went back to help Celty. Aoba and the twins head back to the overpass out of curiosity and watch with confusion as Egor and Ruri dispatch Toramaru. Later, he attends the Hotpot party at Celty's apartment.
Several weeks after the incident with Toramaru, Aoba invites Mikado and Anri on another tour through the streets of Ikebukuro since their last one was interrupted so suddenly. Mikado, having just received the warning from "Masaomi", tries to get out of it, saying he had errands to run. Aoba accepts it without any objections but also starts to (not so) subtly flirt with with Anri, even going so far as to switch from using "Sonohara-senpai" to "Anri-chan" without any warning. Although Anri doesn't initially pick up on it, Mikado panics and says that he actually will accompany them tomorrow and that his errand can wait. Aoba is visibly pleased.
The next day, as Mikado wonders what to do about the apparent attack on Toramaru by the dollars, Aoba comes knocking on his door. As Mikado wonders how Aoba found out where he lived, he also notices that Aoba wasn't the only one there. Several thuggish looking individuals were also standing behind Aoba. He asks Mikado to accompany them, saying that it's very important. Not having much choice, Mikado follows Aoba and his thugs to an abandoned warehouse where he finally asks why Aoba took him here. Aoba immediately asks Mikado if he's wondering about the Dollars attack on Toramaru. Mikado asks how Aoba knew that and Aoba plainly admits "We did it." while still smiling. As Mikado absorbs this information, Aoba also says that, while they are all members of the dollars, they also go by the name "Blue Square" It is revealed that the reason Aoba attacked Toramaru so violently was due to the fact that they interrupted his tour with Mikado and Anri several weeks ago and he was just venting his anger. He and Mikado receive several messages from the dollars website about Toramaru attacking dollars members and Aoba says that it's finally started. Aoba then makes a strange offer to Mikado. He asks Mikado to become the next leader of the Blue Squares, intending to use him as a figure head like his brother Izumii Ran. He wishes to absorb the Dollars into his gang and bring the Blue Squares back to their former glory. Aoba says that they'll do anything Mikado asks of them, even if it meant sacrificing themselves to Toramaru. As Mikado denies this offer, saying that he could never order them around like that, Aoba steps closer to Mikado and claims that to be a lie, asking if Mikado knew he was smiling.
Dollars and Blue Square ArcEdit
As Mikado tries to stall for time, Aoba is confused as to why Mikado hasn't made a decision yet. Despite his timid exterior, Aoba could sense the resolve Mikado could summon when the situation called for it such as with the incident with Yagiri pharmaceuticals or with the yellow scarves. Aoba soon comes to the conclusion that one of his long time enemies, Izaya Orihara must be involved somehow. He guessed that Izaya was trying to manipulate Mikado for his own reasons but Aoba refused to admit defeat. Aoba soon starts pressuring Mikado to make a decision by making subtle threats towards Anri. He says that if Mikado can't decide yet, Aoba can meet Anri while he stayed here to think about everything. Unbeknownst to Aoba, this action sparks a swirl of black emotions to form in Mikado's heart. The meeting is soon interrupted by the ringing of Celty's phone. With her hiding spot exposed, Celty walks into the warehouse but tells them not to mind her and continue. As Aoba wonders what the headless rider would want with them, Toramaru also bursts into the scene. Aoba identifies Mikado as the leader of the Blue Squares, which cause Toramaru to turn their focus onto him. Celty and Mikado run while Aoba and the Blue Squares hold off Toramaru on behalf of their "Captain."
After the fight, most of the Toramaru members were either beaten or went after Mikado while everyone in Blue Square stood victorious. While stepping on another man's face, Aoba contemplates what to do next and sends one of his members, Gin, to take one of Toramaru's bikes and follow Mikado. Aoba soon notices another bike, Varona's (which was supposed to be bait for Celty), and finds a thin black thread attached to it. Out of curiosity, Aoba and the Blue Squares follow it. As they go along, Aoba gets frequent updates from Gin who is watching the fight between Toramaru and the Dollars as well as the fight between Anri and Varona. Aoba soon develops an interest in not just Mikado but in Celty and Anri as well. After Toramaru retreats and the fighting dies down, Mikado calls Aoba back to the warehouse to discuss their agreement. Mikado expresses his desire to fix the dollars and decides that teaming up with Aoba is the best way to do that. Aoba is amazed at how easily Mikado is falling into his hands and begins making plans for the future. Aoba juggles different plans in his head including how to get Izaya out of the picture, how to manipulate Celty into working for him as well as how to make his move on Anri.
Mikado soon proposes a written agreement to make their alliance official. Aoba is surprised but figures that he expected as much from Mikado. When he looks at the paper Mikado gives him, several alarms ring in Aoba's head. It comes too late as Mikado stabs Aoba's hand with a ballpoint pen. As pain erupts through Aoba's arm, he turns to ask Mikado what was going on. Aoba's words die in his mouth when he sees nothing but a cold, piercing glare from Mikado's eyes. Mikado states that his reason for this are for putting Anri in danger as well as attempting to take control of the Dollars. Mikado orders Aoba to "stomach the full wrath of his anger." Before his men can react, Aoba tells them to back off. Aoba realizes that Mikado wouldn't back down-or let go of the pen-until he agreed. Aoba states that Mikado can use the Blue Squares however he wished and Mikado does a complete 180 in his personality. Mikado yanks out the pen and proceed to expertly treat and bandage the wound. Despite his docile and friendly personality, the fact that Aoba witnessed how flawlessly Mikado was able to switch between his two personas sends a chill down his spine. When Aoba leaves, he wonders in his head if Izaya had realized how they had underestimated Mikado and how he had far from shown his true nature. After all his planning, instead of the Dollars being absorbed by the Blue Squares, it was the Blue Squares that ended up devoured by the Dollars.
Aoba becomes Mikado's second in command as he begins his "Cleansing" of the Dollars, however, Mikado still suspects that Aoba want to take control of the Dollars somehow. Most of the time, Mikado, Aoba, and the Blue Squares hunt down the "negative elements" in the Dollars (i.e. thugs who are simply using the dollars name as a scapegoat to increase their reputation) beating them up severely and banning them from the website. A flashback shows that Aoba went over to Celty and Shinra's apartment alone and attempted to make friends with Shinra but they were cautious since Aoba gives off the same vibe as Izaya. Shinra, in addition, threatened Aoba with a scalpel and warned him not to try anything that would put Celty in danger.
After the hunt for Adabashi Kisuke begins, Mikado and Aoba manage to corner him by Mikado posing as Ruri Hijiribe to lure Adabashi into a trap. While Aoba and the Blue Squares deal with his followers, Mikado opted to deal with Adabashi directly in order to take revenge for Shinra. After Mikado and Masaomi have a falling out, Aoba and the Blue Squares carry an injured Mikado to the hospital.
Aoba also joins the chat room at the invitation of Mairu and Kururi under the handle "Pure Water 100%" along with several others. Also, unbeknownst to Aoba, his brother, Ran Izumii, was recently released from prison, has joined up with Izaya, and is out for revenge against him.
Dragon Zombie ArcEdit
Aoba is seen hanging out with Mairu and Kururi at the Raira Academy pool. The three of them discuss what Izaya has gotten himself involved with as he has been out of contact for a while even in the chat room (Izaya had switched to the alias "Chrome" without anyone knowing.) Aoba wonders in his head about how to get rid of Izaya but finds it hard to concentrate with the Twins in front of him. It's at this point that Aoba realizes that he has no idea how to act around girls at all. Eventually, the three of them part ways and Aoba gets a call from Gin. As they talk, Aoba realizes that Gin was talking on the cellphone while in the middle of another one of Mikado's missions. Gin is jealous that Aoba has two girls to hang out with and brings up the question of what Aoba would do if no one were close to him. Aoba ends the call and actually questions that possibility. Aoba shudders at the thought of being alone mostly due to the fact that he doesn't want to end up like Izaya who has isolated himself from even his own family. Aoba walks home, still wondering how to take Izaya down.
Kadota's Coma ArcEdit
Ran also confronts Aoba at some point in the novel, but he spares him for some reason (likely because he has something else planned for him later). Aoba holds a Blue Squares meeting with Mikado and he tells the news about Kyohei. Later he is shown with Mikado and Celty when Akabayashi comes in and asks them if they wanted to be allies with the Yakuza.
Hours after the talk with Akabayashi Aoba is shown talking to a blue squares member in a van when the yellow scarves ran in the blue square's base. Aoba wakes up a big muscled kid named Hoji to beat the guys up. Later Aoba is yelled at by the other members of the Blue Square because of his actions.
Showdown Atop Tokyo Hands arcEdit
He was with Mikado when he got a phone call from Chikage. Mikado runs off to find his childhood friend and Aoba just walked off to the city. Then due to the slasher fest he is slashed by one of the people in the slasher army led by Takashi and Haruna.
Aoba is shown to have changed his appearance a little bit, and to still be friends with Mikado.
Aoba is now a senior in the third grade at Raira Academy. He seems to be on good terms with the new Raira students. During a conversation between Yahiro and Kuon regarding Shizuo Heiwajima, Kuon mentions that Aoba takes care of him (most likely making sure he's safe), and he should not pick a fight with Shizuo no matter what.
Somewhere in an abandoned building, Aoba attended a Blue Squares gathering where he silently listened to Horada, who sat on a sofa, speaking about how important he was to Blue Squares in the past. As Yoshiriki sat next to Aoba and gave glares to signal him wanting to kill Horada, Aoba surprised him with a glance, then smiled and gave Horada some recognition, saying he heard of Horada’s legends from his seniors. Aoba speaks about how his seniors said that without Horada’s presence, the Blue Squares of today couldn't have been at all. Aoba then brings up that he always heard about him from his brother, which prompts Horada to become puzzled and question who Aoba’s brother is as he opens a can of beer in his hand. Aoba reveals that his parents divorced, so that’s why he and his brother names are different. After revealing that his brother was Ran Izumii, he watches as Horada spurted out the beer he was drinking, and his face becomes green. Aoba speaks about how his brother is currently in the Awakusu-kai, but how he’ll make his way to find Horada once he finds out that Horada is out of prison.
Horada slowly rose from the sofa and began to walk while telling Aoba to send his regard to his older brother, while showing his fear of Izumii in his voice. Aoba mentions that since Ei Libei returned to Dragon Zombie, they've been scuffling all this time. He asks Horada to be the Blue Squares backer so they could have confidence to upscale their fight into a proper war, but Horada tries to turn the offer down while breaking into a cold sweat and quickly leaving the building leaving Aoba and the other Blue Squares members.
With Horada leaving, Aoba and the other members begin to talk to each other regarding what happened to make Blue Squares die one time. With one member mentioning how Horada not even knowing about Ei Libei, and how he’s pretty much an outsider already, Aoba agrees and says that Blue Squares doesn’t really need him. After sitting down in the same sofa Horada was sitting in earlier, Aoba mentions the injuries Horada had, and asked if they were from Shizuo. After getting confirmation that they were from Shizuo, and apparently Horada was following his juniors from high school to pick up girls, and the one they tried picking up was Kururi Orihara, Aoba became silent for a moment with his face giving the expression that what was said wasn’t a joke. Aoba speaks up and says that if Horada did touch her, he’d be swimming in a sea of blood by now. Yoshikiri teases Aoba about how he claims Kururi isn’t his girlfriend, yet he’s so passionate. Aoba changed the topic to Shizuo and brings up how Shizuo has softened, but isn’t any weaker. Now with that annoying informant off the streets, it might be time for that guy to disappear from the world of gang fights. While speaking words of wisdom, Aoba speaks about how everything gets passed to new generations eventually, but sighed after some thought about how there’s no one to succeed Shizuo Heiwajima.
Later on Aoba hears a rumor about a high school student that could fight Shizuo, but his words upon asking about it contained clear doubt, but also surprise thinking about how impressive it would be if this was true. At a time approaching midnight, Aoba and his companions went out into the city and were wandering randomly. He receives a message from Mairu saying that she and Kuon were looking for a girl named Tatsugami Ai, and to get the details from Kuon. Since Kuon didn’t attend the Blue Square gathering, he had yet to do anything. Thinking about asking Mairu and Kururi about things tomorrow at school, he hears a rumor about how Shizuo was really beat up, and how he nearly lost. Aoba believed the rumor was ludicrous, but had his curiosity piqued enough to check with his smartphone. He found the news on IkeNEW, an Ikebukuro information site he knew, but only half-believed things at the moment until he saw the video on the Shizuo fight. Aoba went silent as he watched the ‘boy in the Raira uniform’ dodging fists and trading blows with Shizuo in the poor quality video. While he couldn’t tell who the boy was that was fighting, he recognized that the other boy in the corner slowly getting to his feet was Kuon.
Main Article: Ran Izumii
Aoba's relationship with his brother was never a positive one. Ran was always jealous of Aoba because he believed Aoba received preferential treatment from his parents. As a result, Ran physically abused Aoba frequently. Aoba usually tried to act nice around Ran but always made sure to get payback whenever Ran abused him (even going so far as to set his room on fire and blame it on Ran's smoking habit). Aoba would also frequently use Ran as a pawn in whatever scheme he was devising and used him as a figure head leader for the blue squares. When Ran was arrested, Aoba refers to him as useless and was frustrated at the prospect of having to rebuild the gang from scratch again.
Mikado Ryuugamine Edit
Main Article: Mikado Ryuugamine
Initially, Mikado and Aoba got along rather well. Aoba appeared to view Mikado as a sort of mentor to him and would frequently ask him questions about Ikebukuro as well as the Dollars. This was later proven to be a front when Aoba revealed himself to be the leader of the Blue Squares. Aoba simply wanted to get closer to Mikado so that he could use him to revive the Blue Squares to their former glory. When Mikado's dark side shows itself, Aoba's condescending tone is replaced by a more fearful one. Although Mikado is acting as the leader of the Blue Squares, it becomes very clear that he isn't a mere scapegoat for the police like Ran was. Aoba acts as Mikado's second in command, and they mutually benefit from the other. During the last volume, Aoba states that he truly did want to 'swim together with Mikado-senpai' and that they'd widened the tank for the Blue Squares to swim in, considerably. Aoba's initial fear of Mikado's darker nature had been short-lived, and turned into something akin to respect. He makes sure to tell Masaomi and Anri that, when he visits Mikado in the hospital. However, after having received a warning from Akabayashi, Aoba assures Mikado's friends that he will not be dragging him back to any dangerous activities.
In Durarara!! SH, they are still shown to be on friendly terms with one another.
Main Article: Anri Sonohara
Aoba initially had very little interest in Anri when they first met. He acted like a friend to her in much the same way he did to Mikado but did not hesitate to threaten her in order to make Mikado submit to his demands. When Anri revealed Saika during her fight with Varona, Aoba became much more intrigued with her. However, he is more preoccupied with trying to regain control of his gang rather than uncovering Anri's relation to Saika.
Main Article: Izaya Orihara
Aoba and Izaya have shared a rivalry of sorts since Aoba was in middle school. The two shared many similarities in the way they handled various situations and people. However, there was one major difference. While Izaya loved humanity, Aoba hated humans. Aoba has very few actual friends and only deals with others as much as he deems necessary for his goals. He considers Izaya his rival due to both of them trying to manipulate Mikado towards a certain goal, however, it is unclear if Izaya feels the same.
Mairu and Kururi OriharaEdit
Unlike with their brother, Aoba's relationship with the Orihara twins is actually very positive. Aoba is frequently seen hanging out with them, much to the jealousy of his underlings, and behaves in a far friendlier manner towards them than anyone else. It is implied that Kururi may have a crush on Aoba since he saved her from some bullies earlier. Aoba's relationship with Mairu is a bit unclear as Mairu only kissed him after Kururi did, though she at least considers him a friend. Aoba is unsure about how he feels about the Orihara twins. He is shown to care about them to a certain extent as he told his gang to refrain from attacking them should they see them in the street then warned them later on when Ikebukuro became more dangerous. He prefers Kururi over Mairu because Kururi is more gentle, it's implied he may have feelings for her. In Volume 09 he expresses his fear of being alone and without any friends (much like Izaya), which could mean that he is growing tired of his rather isolated lifestyle.
- His name Aoba translates to "Fresh Leaves", while his last name Kuronuma translate to "Black Swamp". Izumii, his former last name before his parents divorced is close to Izumi which translates into "Fountain".
- The author of the series, Rhyogo Narita, has expressed interest in writing a story with Aoba, Kururi, and Mairu as the leads.
- He was originally supposed to be the main male protagonist of Durarara!! SH.
- Aoba's character song is called "Romantic Ga Tomaranai"
- Aoba claims to be around the 600th person to join the Dollars, but that his name isn't on the list due to the site going down and losing data.