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I believe Shigure has the most potential to surpass the Elder and become the head master at Ryozanpaku for the following reasons:
1) She's a prodigy a natural born fighter who's talent and skill(not talking about work ethic or power) is probably unrivaled by any other master besides the Elder and maybe Apachai because i consider him a prodigy too.
2) She's already considered one of the most powerful masters in the world seeing as she's a member of the Ryozanpaku( the worlds strongest dojo) and perhaps the most powerful master class weapon user in her time.
3) At the age of 22 She's already strong enough to fight on par with TOP master class fighters pretty impressive considering Tanaka is only 20 and he's yet to reach master class (sorry Tanaka).
4) All masters have the potential to get stronger and improve their skill such as Alexander of OSNF when he copied Akisame's secret technique or Apachai in learning how to hold back his strength. She's so young she has plenty of time to get stronger as a master, improve her skills and perhaps challenge the Elder one day. Ma is in his forty's just imagine how much stronger Shigure can become by then(god forbid what she'll will look like) and she is arguably just as strong as Ma right now because its been implied that all the masters at ryozanpaku(excluding the Elder) are at equal strength.
All the other masters(Ma, Akisame, Sakaki, and Apachai) have the potential to surpass the Elder, but Shigure in my opinion has the most.
Last edited by BASED Shinigami; November 14, 2011 at 12:06 AM.
I think the elder is a rather unique case. Reaching him seems unlikely IMO. The elder is by all intents and purposes a perfect fighter. He does not have a real named martial art and has 108 techiques which seems to have extreme battle applications regardless of the martial art used (say, ryusui seikuken does not have a particular martial art it belongs to and would actually boost any style just the same). In turn the other ryozampaku masters would actually appear to be bounded by their own styles and the weaknesses inherent to them. Now, if the matter is not surpassing but rather taking his place as leader I would have to vote for akisame. Akisame is basically the smartest of the group by quite a bit and perhaps in many forms the wisest. He is the most fit for any leadership positions in ryozampaku.
Reaching the Elder doesn't seem plausible, but if he decided to retire, I would think the next in line would be Akisame. He seems like the leader of the group (if you factor out strength), and definitely seems to be the most intelligent by far.