- "Anyway, when you mess up, at least make it interesting. Later, losers."
- — Shoka to the Wicked Twsiters
Shoka is a young woman with pale skin. She has long straight black hair that reaches her waist and gray droopy eyes. She appears to have some darkness around her eyes giving her a tired look.
Shoka wears an oversized, hooded jacket that appears to be themed after Mr. Mew, complete with cat ears and a tail. Unlike the original Mr. Mew, however, this version has a golden hooped earring on the left ear. The jacket is held closed with a red belt with a silver buckle cinched around her waist. The hoodie is a signature piece from Gatto Nero, a relatively new brand that has recently taken Shibuya by storm.
Beneath her jacket, she wears a gray plaid sailor dress with a black bow on her chest, hemmed with ruffled eyelet lace. Her jacket sleeves end in white cuffs. She also wears white crew socks with pink and black stripes and black, hightop sneakers. Shoka also wears a necklace and red lipstick.
Shoka is a rude, blunt teen who is very condescending to Rindo and Fret to the point where she is arguably a bully. She quickly states that she expected Rindo and Fret to get "slaughtered" as soon as they entered the game. She also tells the duo point blank about them being dead and in the afterlife. Other, lesser instances of her bluntness is her calling their initial team name stupid and dubbing the duo as losers. She seems to enjoy teasing the players and likes getting a rise out of people, calling Rindo "Rindykins", asking if the missions are too tough for him, and always departing with a "Later, losers." At one point, having had enough of her attitude, Rindo tells Shoka to get lost, shocking her and causing her to wander away.
Shoka is less than enthused with her job of monitoring the Players and views it as one would view any other boring job, not caring about climbing up the Reaper corporate hierarchy as it just means more work. She is quick to leave once her shift is done, even if that means leaving new players in the lurch without proper explanation for the game (it is possible she did this to Nagi Usui hence her confusion). Having grown bored of the Reapers' Game in its current state, she not-so-secretly hopes someone will come along and shake things up. She shows considerable annoyance toward Players who are slow to learn the rules, such as when she calls Rindo and Fret "dummies" and "bozos" when they were unaware of the UG. Despite this, she does also provide some helpful information such as informing them of the need to come in first to escape the game and explaining the differences between the RG and UG.
Shoka is an avid fan of Gatto Nero, enough for the Reaper who tasked them with dressing up with the brand from head to toe to instantly regret it, her saying that the task itself is a 'piece of cake' immediately after it is given out. Her smartphone case is themed after Mr. Mew. She describes herself as being directionless until finding Gatto Nero upon arriving in Shibuya.
Prior to this time, Shoka was rather uncaring about life in general, and rarely made her own decisions, instead going along with whatever happened. She claims that she didn't care whether she was erased or not when she first played the game, and she also became a Reaper in large part because she simply saw no reason not to. At first, Shibuya made her uncomfortable because it forced her to make decisions and define herself among the people of the city, but once she found Gatto Nero, she became more enthused with creating her own style and defining herself on her own terms, eventually bringing her to love the city. The fact that she did not care about returning to the RG also greatly suggests her human life was quite lonely.
Shoka's brash and uncaring exterior hides her true feelings, to a certain extent. While she did genuinely enjoy being a Reaper, she also ends up becoming disillusioned with it when things go too far, putting Shibuya and the Wicked Twisters in jeopardy. Shoka becomes distressed at this, and ultimately chooses to side with the Twisters in order to help save both them and the city she has grown to love. Being fired from the Reapers and her FanGO accounts being lost causes her to re-evaluate her life priorities. She forms friendships with Rindo, Fret, and Nagi, and decides that she doesn't want to lose them to Shiba's plans. She cares deeply for the team, in particular with Rindo, with whom she played FanGo for three years, and who she eventually becomes friends with in real life. She also has strong friendships with many of the Shinjuku Reapers such as Ayano, who she considers a big sister, and even Shiba and Susukichi, though she seems to not want to admit it.
Shoka became a Reaper about a year before Shinjuku's Inversion, not wanting to return to the RG after she won her game, wishing to continue using the powers she was granted as a Player. She formed a strong connection to all of the Shinjuku Reapers, especially towards Ayano Kamachi who taught Shoka her Reaperly duties, and Ayano even named her iguana after Shoka. Although Shoka found amusement from being a Reaper, she eventually grew bored of the job. Shoka did not care about clmbing up the Reaper hierarchy, preferring her more leisurely role on the streets.
Three years prior to NEO, Shoka relocated in Shibuya with the rest of her Reapers. Shoka did not really mind the transition, even preferring Shibuya over Shinjuku, although Ayano took it much harder, especially because Ayano had longer relationships with her friends and acquaintances.
At some point in time, Shoka began playing the game FantasyGO, and met Rindo through her account "Swallow".
Shoka serves as an initial guide to Rindo and Fret, explaining the game to the two and connecting them to the RNS. She shows up several times during the initial days of the game to both observe the duo and help them by providing information on the game. She also appears to be planning to make the game more exciting in conjunction with Shiba, Ayano, and Kubo.
Rindo consistently messages her throughout the first week, unaware she is Swallow, she replies often, but does not reveal who she is or her affiliations to Rindo.
During Week 2, Shoka starts indirectly aiding the Wicked Twisters, most notably in Day 5, where she makes the clues the Players need to find very obvious. Due to the aid she gives the team, she becomes a target during Day 6, where Motoi Anazawa confronts and attempts to fight her, however the Wicked Twisters are able to, through a series of Replays, arrive before the fight starts, where Motoi reveals he took credit for Shoka's help, and then reported her in his attempt to become a Reaper.
On Day 7, Shoka is fired from the Reapers and is demoted to a Player, causing her to fend for herself. She gets into a fight with Noise and is rescued by Rindo and his team. Afterward, she is offered a spot on the team, to which she is shocked by, but agrees. After the Wicked Twisters, Variabeauties, and Purehearts all work together to take down the Ruinbringers, Shiba mentions that Shoka originally defected to spy on the Wicked Twisters to learn about Rindo's Replay ability, and gives her an offer to rejoin the Reapers. Shoka declines, deciding that she won't allow the Shinjuku Reapers to destroy Shibuya, which saddens Ayano and Shiba.
When Ayano goes missing and is infected by Plague Noise on the second day, Shoka is quick to call the party to help her, and possibly convince her of leaving the Reapers. However, Ayano is too infected to be saved, a fact that Shoka cannot accept, leading to her asking Nagi to Dive into Ayano's mind, eventually getting overpowered by the Noise inside. Rindo uses Replay to go back in time to numerous points in the day to convince Shoka that fighting Ayano may be their only option, which she eventually accepts, and helps in defeating Ayano's Noise form.
On Day 5, Shoka has to fight a Noise pretending to be Ayano, she is able to without much hesitation when she learns it isn't the real Ayano, however Nagi suggests she play her favorite game, Elegant Strategy if she starts feeling too depressed.
During Day 6, she has to fight another one of her old friends, Susukichi, as that is the only way he'll tell the Twisters where Shiba is. Susukichi leads them to the Shibuya River, under the Shibuya Stream, where the team is trapped, as Susukichi wishes to spare them in case Shibuya was Inverted, as the stream had been spared during Shinjuku's erasure, despite its source being in Shinjuku. Susukichi fails and Rindo uses Replay to avoid the trap, confronting Susukichi. Shoka is angry and Susukichi for not telling her what he was planning to do, and sad when he finally fades away. However, she gains the resolve to confront Shiba.
After defeating Shiba in the first iteration Day 7, Shoka, along with the rest of the city besides Rindo, is erased. Her fate is also the same in the second iteration of the final day, but before she is erased, she reveals that she was Rindo's online friend Swallow, and that she didn't respond to him after joining the Wicked Twisters as her account had been suspended after leaving the Reapers.
In the third and final iteration of the final day, Shoka is asked by Kaie if she wishes for her account back, at the cost of rejoining the Reapers, she is grateful for the offer, but declines. Shoka works with Hishima and Shiba to deal with Noise while Operation: Awakening is occurring. Once the operation is complete, Shoka and the team fight the Noise created by the leftover Dissonance, Phoenix Cantus.
Once Phoenix Cantus is defeated and the game is over, Shoka reveals that she is going to be erased, as is fate for all those who are demoted from being Reapers according to the Shinjuku Reapers' rules, however Shibuya's Composer, Joshua decides to allow her to return to the RG, but decides to hide her from Rindo. Weeks later, the two finally meet up again by chance, Shoka angry that Rindo ignored her FanGO friend request she sent with her new account days before, complaining she's back at level 1. After Rindo accepts her friend request, she comments that she and Rindo are officially friends.
Rindo is Shoka's online friend, unknown to him. The two had never met in real life until Rindo came to the UG, at which time they met and developed a rather antagonistic relationship. Initially, Shoka would mock Rindo, though she would also give him legitimate advice when possible. This extra help eventually resulted in her being kicked out of the Reapers and ultimately aligning herself with the Twisters, leading Rindo and the other Twisters to reconsider her prior actions and improve the relationship between them. Although he was upset when he found out Shoka had given the other Reapers information about the Twisters, Rindo became relieved when Shoka refused to go back to them, and was happy to have her on the team for real. After this, the two are allies, and eventually become good friends. It is possible that Shoka may also have a crush on Rindo, based on her frequently blushing around him. Once reunited in the RG, they play FanGo together again, with Shoka commenting that the two are real friends now that Rindo has accepted her friend request.
Ayano was the one who cared for Shoka and helped her when she first joined the Reapers. Shoka considers Ayano like a big sister to her, and Ayano cares deeply for Shoka as well, calling her things like "darling", and even taking on Noise in an attempt to bring Shoka back to the Reapers. She also pleaded with Shiba to allow Shoka a second chance, despite this potentially jeopardizing her own standing in the Reaper hierarchy. Shoka was deeply upset at the prospect of having to fight Ayano, and was saddened in the wake of her erasure.
Nagi and Shoka become friends after Shoka joins the Wicked Twisters. Nagi is one of few people that Shoka is generally polite to following their team up. Shoka tends to use more respectful language with her and sometimes address Nagi as "sis". Nagi tries to cheer Shoka up and comfort her after Ayano's erasure, and suggests she should try playing EleStra sometime. Their amicable relationship may be due in part to Nagi's attempts to help Ayano.
- "Is it time to eat yet?" (Nagi: "A just question!") (0% fullness)
- "Time to eat." (placing order)
- "Tastes pretty good to me." (eating liked food)
- "Low-key, I kinda love this." (eating loved food)
- "Are you kidding? More new Players? And here I thought I was done for the day."
- "You even managed to avoid coming in dead last. Believe me, I'm just as shocked as you are. I was sure a couple of noobs like you would get slaughtered in seconds."
- "You're tougher than you look. Like, suspiciously so."
- "Uh, no - but your team name did. Have you considered changing it to something less stupid?"
- "You nerds seriously thought you were still in Shibuya? This is the UG, dummies! Think of it as the flip side of the RG - y'know, the Realground, the world you call home?"
- "Pfft. If I had a yen for every time I heard that one. "Please, Miss Reaper, there must've been some sort of mistake! I simply couldn't have died!" Always the same old sob story."
- "Ooh, somebody's mad. What's the matter - is the mission too tough for ya?"
- "Hah! Shouldn't you aim a little higher than just "getting by"? Well, far be it from me to hold you back from underachieving!"
- "Aww, Rindykins... But I want to. ...Psych! I'm not hanging around here by choice, dum-dum. It's my job."
- "Don't tell me you're waiting for someone to say this is all some sick joke. Snap out of it. This Game is 100% real. Maybe you could at least try to act like your lives are at stake here? And shake things up while you're at it. Everything's been so predictable."
- "We can't pause the Game to talk about our feelings. But honestly, it's probably for the best that we've got other things to do. Keeps us from thinking too much..."
- "This'll be easy." (entering battle)
- "Geez, intimidating much?" (entering battle)
- "All bark and no bite, I'd say." (entering battle)
- "Well, got nothin' better to do." (entering battle)
- "Fine, guess I'll put you out of your misery." (entering battle)
- "Don't do anything stupid."
- "Uh... are you sure we can still do this?"
- "---" (Rindo: "I'm impressed.")
- (Rindo: "Did you see that?") "I did, and?"
- "That didn't totally suck." (Fret: "I know right?!")
- (Fret: "Aw yeah, did you see that!?") "Wasn't watching."
- (Nagi: "I shall leave it to you.") "So then what are you gonna do?"
- (Nagi: "Much obliged, milady...") "Let's just say you owe me one."
- "You're surprisingly helpful." (Beat: "Hell yeah, I am!")
- "We totally killed that!" (Noise erased)
- "I pretend I do not see it." (running away)
- "Surprise, surprise." (★-rank victory)
Shoka's first name (紫陽花) is derived from the Japanese word for the hydrangea flower, while Sakurane (桜音) contains the kanji for cherry blossoms and sound, which together can mean "the sound of cherry blossoms". Notably, Sakurane is usually spelled as 桜根, using the kanji for root. A surname involving cherry blossoms, and pronouncing 音, the kanji for sound, as "ne" draws heavy parallels to Neku Sakuraba's name. Nomura came up with Shoka's surname, Sakurane, around a decade before NEO was released, as the name for the next protagonist, since it greatly resembled Neku's surname. It was later decided that "Kanade" was more suitable for Rindo, and so Sakurane became Shoka's surname.
- Tetsuya Nomura considers Shoka to be the heroine of the main story. She was designed to contrast with Tsugumi, the heroine of the Shinjuku side of the story, and he did not want to reveal Shoka's role in the game due to spoilers. He mentions a lot of her early game dialog did not seem endearing, so Shoka's Japanese voice actress was heavily directed to sound appealing during recording. Nomura mentions, "I've never had a heroine that was so difficult to handle in so many ways."
- According to the director of NEO regarding the cast's food preferences, Shoka prefers spicy food.
- Shoka uses the phrase "That's rough, buddy". This is most likely a reference to the character Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Something which many fans have pointed out is that according to the timeline, it would appear Shoka was 17 years old when she began befriending a 12 year old Rindo online. When Shoka is seen joining the Reapers four years ago, her sprite is the same as her current one (minus the clothing change), and she is said to have an apparent age of 16 in the guidebook. Because it is essentially confirmed in the guidebook Reapers do not age, this also means Shoka is technically a 20 year old woman in the body of a 16 year old, while Rindo is 15 by the end of the game. It can be assumed that she has resumed aging due to no longer being a Reaper.
- Shoka's outfit was displayed at the Square Enix Cafe, along with Nagi's and Ayano's.
- Week 3, Day 2 of NEO: The World Ends with You.
Shoka: I mean, it took me a while to find my niche with Gatto Nero.
Rindo:...Your cat hoodie?
Shoka: Yeah. It's the first thing I bought in Shibuya.
- Week 3, Day 2 of NEO: The World Ends with You.
Shoka: To be honest, when I first came to Shibuya, I didn't really know what to make of it.
Rindo: What do you mean?
Shoka: Everyone just does their own thing here like it's no big deal. I guess I envied that. So I kept wandering around, trying to find myself or whatever. And that's when I stumbled upon Gatto Nero. And it was just like... "This is it," y'know?
|Characters in NEO: The World Ends with You|
|Rindo Kanade • Fret • Nagi Usui • Beat • Shoka Sakurane • Neku Sakuraba • Sho Minamimoto Shiba Miyakaze • Susukichi • Tsugumi Matsunae Fuya Kawahara Kanon Tachibana Motoi Anazawa Koki Kariya • Uzuki Yashiro • Coco Atarashi • Sho Minamimoto Shiba Miyakaze • Tanzo Kubo • Ayano Kamachi • Kaie Ono • Hishima Sakazuki • Shoka Sakurane • Susukichi • Tsugumi Matsunae Aadiv • Aika Kuribayashi • Akari Minamino • Akira Ishiwa • Aoi Kyobe • Genzo Koitabashi • Hirofumi Itoguchi • Hiromu Takahara • Izumi Ariyoshi • Jo Makita • Jun Sonobe • Kana Inada • Keiichi Okada • Ken Doi • Kohei Suzukawa • Linda Watanabe • Mai Iseya • Masaya • Miharu Nakano • Miki Saionji • Miko Yamamoto • Mitsuhide Tojo • Momoko Owada • Naoto Kuwata • Rei Mogi • Renka Sakuma • Rieko Kawahara • Rina Todo • Rintaro Nakagawa • Ryoji • Ryoma Utsumi • Sakura Koga • Sayoko Morohoshi • Shinobu Sato • Sumire Chiba • Suzu Ito • Takumi Miyano • Tamao Sasai • Tomoko Hirasawa • Tomoyuki Kondo • Tsukihime • Wataru Koketsu • Yotsuba Sano • Yudai Miki • Yumi Takita Eiji Oji • Eiru • Hazuki Mikagi • Honoka Kondo • Itsuki Kaneda • Joshua • Ken Doi • MKN • Mr. Mew • Rhyme • Ryoji • Shiki Misaki • Swallow|