Freedom has remained a constant, familiar thread throughout Irui's story. Always searching for the key to open the proverbial door, he has found himself imprisoned further and further, more he struggles.
First and foremost, his struggles begin with his relationship to the Mikiri Clan, an already heavily-secretive clan, further exacerbated by his unique home-situation. His widowed mother, Soma married into the Mikiri Clan from the Takagari. With the death of her husband, Soma is forced to raise Irui as a single mother, tip-toeing around the customs of the two Clans. Both Mother and Son, rejected as outsiders by their families, and Irui born into aa life constantly walking the edge between both worlds. The Takagari would never accept him, and the Mikiri would never accept his Soma. This sculpted Irui's worldview and personality from a young age.
Irui throughout his life has been constantly held back, trying to pull himself free from the restrictions of his Clan. These constraints are only further compounded by centuries-old agreements between the Mikiri and Hidden Cloud. He feels restless, and simultaneously rejected. As fate would have it, Mora Mikiri, the Lady Superior of the Orthodoxy takes him under her wing. She promises him the secrets of the Clan, in exchange for his loyalty to the Church. Hungry for acceptance by another Mikiri, Irui readily accepts. Under Mora's tutelage, he grows emboldened, and arrogant of his own capabilities, especially with Genjutsu. Overtime he grows closer and closer with the church, meeting them in secret. Mora continues to push him, to prove his loyalty to the Church by participating in torture and eliciting confessions from political targets. Eventually, coming to a head when Irui kills his first man during Drug Lord Assassination
. It's Irui's first taste of his own strength, and he wants more.
Goaded by Mora, Irui escapes the land of Lightning to participate in the Chuunin Exams. He becomes overconfident in his skills, believing his illusions will win the day. He feels that psychological warfare will cut his opponents down. He is sorely mistaken however, when Yoshitsune returns the favor with a searing Wind-and-Fire Style combination. She leaves him battered and scarred. Still licking his wounds, Kitsuki of the Hidden Mist adds salt, undercutting him further by making his isolation apparent. He has no true allies, no team to fall back on. Irui realizes he is truly and utterly alone in the Shinobi world. He begins to see that Mora has only dangled a carrot in front of him.
Returning to the Hidden Cloud, Irui meets Niko, a kind and warm Jounin Kunoichi. While their relationship is brief, he experiences true support from a Jounin commander; someone who wants to further his talents and provide emotional nourishment. She reminds Irui that he has the freedom of choice, and that while life seems dark, he doesn't have to follow the path set for him by the Orthodoxy. Summoning his courage, Irui finally returns to St. Memori's Cathedral, knowing full-well that Mora Mikiri has no patience for failure.
In "Communion", Irui lashes out angrily at Mora ripping at his clothes to show her the scars; proving to her that he is worthy of the Orthodoxy's teachings. To his horror he is met with violence from his Sensei. Irui's sense of self and pride begins to disintegrate. Laughing at the incredulousness of it all-- the rejection by his family, the village, the church, the exams and others--he retaliates with Lightning Style. The two Mikiri proceed to clash savagely through the Cathedral, in a wild and dazzling display of Ninjutsu. Windows, statues, and more are destroyed in their wake . Irui no longer sees Mora as a Sensei, but an enemy and a means to an end. Once Mora gains the upperhand and sets him aflame, Irui madly laughs, and springs a trap of his own: severing her arm with a Fuinjutsu.
"Welcome to the Afterlife" and "Resurrection" showcase an astonishingly wounded Irui. Now taking the identity of Kojin, and working for Shimiko Chinoike, he bears the scars of immolation. he has seen through the rot of the shinobi world. Plagued by incessant itching, drugs, and medical treatments, Irui's former life has been utterly destroyed. In "Black Site" and "For the People" he is released into the world, bearing the immortality of Jashinism. Gone is his care for others, as they've never returned the favor, he has lost all compassion and sympathy for his opponents. In the Land of Earth, Irui readily doles out destruction and bloodshed upon the innocent, and much like Mora, goads his new rival Ashitaka Inuzuka into following his footsteps.