The Sisters (whose real names are Karasu and Washi) are the secondary antagonists of the 2016 stop-motion film Kubo and the Two Strings.
These spectral twins are both the Moon King’s daughters and his most powerful and ruthless assassins. They are the sisters of Kubo's mother but have never treated family above themselves, only when obeying their father. Identical in voice and appearance down to their chilling Noh masks painted with a frozen smile, the Sisters are in charge of dispelling their father’s worries and hunting down his enemies. They do not need to eat, nor to sleep, and they shall not let anything stand in the way of them capturing Kubo and fulfilling the wishes of their father. They are voiced by Rooney Mara.
The Sisters both wear peasant hats with disturbing Noh masks covering their true faces. Washi’s mouth was revealed, showing that her lips are blue. It is unknown if Karasu also has blue lips. They also have dark black armour and capes made out of feathers. Washi wields a katana and Karasu a chain scythe. Both of the sisters have jet black hair that is loosely tied back. Their eyes are all-black, representing a lack of soul for possession.
Powers and Abilities
- Deity Physiology: As the daughters of the Moon King, the Sisters are indeed goddesses and can preform supernatural feats.
- Sisterly Bond: Perhaps their most uncanny ability is their synchronization with one another, often finishing each other’s sentences, speaking in unison and seeming to know where the other sister is at all times, and becoming stronger when the other one perishes. They are twins and this is because of twin telepathy.
- Immortality: As Deities, the Sisters are immortals and cannot die, as shown when Washi (鷲) was hit with a sword to her chest she got up without a scratch. Because of this, their deaths might have been false , they both could have been faking or their physical forms died and their divine essences returned to the heavens.
- Flight: The Sisters are capable of levitation and flight, floating over the ground, negating the need to walk, even transforming into gliding rivers of black fog to sneak into places and even turning into pure divine energy that travels at the speed of light.
- Divine Magic: The Sisters are able to manipulate divine energy in the form of orange or blue light and can use it in many ways.
- Curse Inducement: The Sisters cursed Hanzo into a humanoid beetle, also removing his memories so he only gets “scraps” that are mostly false.
- Umbrakinesis: the Sisters have complete control over anything having to do with shadows and darkness. They easily create illusions of shadows. This ability could only be used with a special kiseru pipe that Washi (鷲) used as shown when kubo broke it her control over the shadows faded away instantly.
- Telekinesis: Washi (鷲) Could telekinetically throw Hanzo (半蔵) to a nearby wall.
- Master Hand to Hand Combatant/Martial Artist: Karasu (烏) is an extremely formidable combatant and martial artist, having crushed beings larger than the Earth itself. She was able to fight on par against her sister Satiaru in her monkey form and nearly kill her, leaving a ghastly cut.
- Master Scythe Wielder: Karasu (烏) is extremely skilled with her kusarigama, able to use it in very lethal and effective ways quickly.
- Master Tactician/Manipulator/Leader: Washi (鷲) was an excellent tactician, she manage to set a trap and ambush her family at Hanzo's Fortress, manipulating her nephew Kubo, her brother in law Hanzo, and sister Satiaru and leading her sister Karasu (烏) in an attack on Kubo's village, showing Karasu when to unleash her power.
- Master Hand to hand Combatant/Martial Artist: Washi (鷲) was a formidable combatant and martial artist, able to match and nearly best her sister Satiaru during their confrontation.
- Master Swordswoman: Washi (鷲) is extremely deadly with her katanas, during her sword fight with her sister, she was able to easily counteract her attacks and gain the upper hand, taking advantage of her sister's wound and dominating the battle while disarming her, only losing due to Hanzo's interference.
As their basic appearance is virtually the same, the exact could be said for their personality. To be blunt, the Sisters are completely psychotic and the textbook definition of a persistent stalker. Cold, cruel, calculating, dark, creepy, and homicidal to the core, they take pleasure in ending anyone that is foolish enough to interfere with their resolution to catch Kubo. The Sisters are shown to be quite sadistic as well, enjoying the suffering and sorrow of others and laughing uncontrollably when they saw how frightened Kubo was in their presence during their first confrontation. They hate and despise anything that is pure or light, preferring to embrace the darkness of night as an old friend. They claim they hunt Kubo because they love him, but like Coraline‘s Other mother, their “love” is deeply warped. They are very similar to the Japanese archetype Yangire; therefore, insane and stalking when it comes to protecting family (for the Sisters, it’s the Moon King that is worth “protection”). They treat Saraitu as if she were dead and talk about her as if she died. They “miss” her and feel as if she left them on purpose to make their father mad. Instead of being sad, they lash out dangerously. This could be because of the Moon King’s teachings.
- The Sisters are both voiced by Rooney Mara, who previously had roles in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Pan. This also explains why the voices of the sisters are eerily identical.
- The Sister's names are Karasu 烏 (attacked on Kubo's boat) and Washi 鷲 (attacked at Hanzo's fortress). In English, their names translate to "crow" and "eagle", respectively, to reference their capes.
- The Sisters are based off of the female Samurai warrior; Tomoe Gozen, who was a prominent warrior in Feudal Japan, and had a face claimed to be as beautiful as porcelain.
- The jet black feathered cape sported by the two Sisters included 861 laser-etched feathers, each uniquely sized and shaped, giving the appearance of a large raven cloak.
- Their porcelain noh masks are traditionally costume items used in Japanese theatre, and is a subtle callout to No-Face from Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away.
- Both the Sisters share a striking resemblance to Kagetane Hiruko from the anime: Black Bullet. Both have similar personalities-psychopathic and sociopathic, and both wear noh masks.
- LAIKA's puppet lab supervisor considers the masked identical Twin Sisters to be one of her career's highlights. Hayns says there's always a puppet that you're most proud of on a project, but the Sisters are the puppets she's "most proud of in her entire career."
- Since The Sisters are the sisters of Kubo's mother, they are technically his aunties...the very sinister and bloodthirsty type.
- Washi was originally named Yukami.