Yoshida Shoin is a Japanese alchemist, and founder of the Shoin Institute.
Shoin is fond of puzzles and very self-impressed with his own achievements. He is a brilliant alchemist (of which he is well-aware), but not necessarily the best engineer. He seems to consider himself both an incredibly generous healer, but also superior to everyone else, and refers to his kobolds as "minions." He is very impatient, and does not tolerate things not going his way.
When he was still a child, Shoin arrived at the future site of the Shoin Institute, which is a facility on a small island just off the coast of Okinoshima. It apparently used to be some sort of ruin/keep that was built long ago to create some sort of military presence on the island before it was abandoned. Later, a lighthouse was built on top of the ruins, although this building usually never housed more than one lighthouse keeper. Some time ago, the lighthouse and the ruins of the old keep were retrofitted to contain facilities which were created for an unknown purpose — possibly a sanitorium. Shoin whipped the facility in the shape it's currently in and established the Shoin Institute, a busy school (according to Cel in episode 134). At some point, he met Cel and they talked about alchemy.
In the last few years, Shoin has been openly going 'weird' (episode 141), and the school was shut down in the last 3-5 years. Shoin declared himself somewhat of a 'feudal lord', sending lads & blokes to attack nearby villages to acquire resources to expand his operations. These actions, on top of the severe weather conditions, have left Okinoshima decimated, except for Cel's village.
Unbeknownst to most of the outside world, Shoin was interested in expanding his consciousness beyond the limitations of his material form. His research was partially motivated by a desire to be able to control how this type of technology might be distributed to the world. His work put him in contact with Francois Henri, ordinatist and the creator of Mr. Ceiling, as discovered in a letter in the notebook (translated in episode 148.) Henri helped Shoin with his technology, and they discussed fluidics systems, semiotic transference, semantic systems, and organic growth methods; they were both interested in connecting brains to infrastructure. However, Shoin left Henri behind, considering him “a dim man.”
Oscar Wilde also believes that Shoin received simulacra shipments from Damascus, and the party find research pertaining to the simulacrum in Shoin's study, specifically relating to its the circulatory nervous system. However, the circulatory system is much larger than that of a normal person, and resembles an enormous fungus.
After a eureka moment, Shoin succeeded in briefly hooking himself into his entire infrastructure. This transcendent moment allowed him to have several extremely profound alchemical insights, such as drastically reducing brew times, before Shoin ultimately abandoned alchemy, believing it irrelevant beyond the means to achieve transcendence. Seeking to sustain these consciousness-expanding moments, Shoin placed himself in this sealed bubble to protect his body. This sealed bubble is in a dome under the sea near the Shoin Institute on top of an active geothermal vent (a backup power source), connected by a series of tunnels both to the mainland and the Institute.
Around this time, Shoin discovered a cave system inhabited by kobolds (including Skraak.) Deciding that they would be a convenient form of labour, Shoin enslaved tens of thousands of kobolds with the help of his employed humans. He used a green drug or "catalyst" that rendered the kobolds compliant and reduced their ability to fight or think, and kept them in individual cages in a large underground cavern.
Shoin eventually succeeded in spending the majority of his time hooked into his institute, only checking into his body occasionally. He became increasingly frustrated by his body. Additionally, he sought to create things that could go out into the world, so that he could experience more of it. After discovering a kraken washed up on the seabed, Shoin created mechanical krakens that were networked using the lighthouse. The lighthouse (in addition to the geothermal vents) also powered his institute. Over time, Shoin lost control of the mechanical krakens, and they are believed to be responsible for the strange weather phenomena around the world, as krakens (according to legend) can affect the weather, but are extinct.
By this point, Shoin has delegated all of his earthly concerns to his employees and the enslaved kobolds, although he does not seem to have done a fantastic job at managing his employees and they became increasingly "thuggish" over time. Additionally, the institute itself fell into disrepair, and many of his alchemic experiments appeared to be running loose on the upper floors of the institute.
People began to investigate the Shoin Institute. Shoin, a little bit bored, designed traps for five or six adventuring parties that came around, using his favourite Harrison Cambell book, In the Eye of Your Love, as inspiration.
Within the six months prior to the LOLOMG's investigation of the Institute, an adventurer, a cleric of Hephaestus made it Shoin's body underneath the sea. Shoin plugged the cleric into his machinery and had a brain-to-brain conversation with him, unaware that the cleric was infected with blue veins. Shoin himself became infected. Terrified, Shoin managed to halt the infection, possibly by abandoning his body, placing his brain in an orb that could plug into his machinery, and cutting the corpus callosum between the two hemispheres, confining the infection to the left hemisphere. Shoin also believed that he had the means to transmit his solution across his network, but was not sure if he would be able to retain enough of himself that he might be able to enact this. Based on the incoherence of his diary after this point, Shoin seems to have been affected deeply by his measures.
Shoin begins communicating with the party through loudspeakers in episode 142, encouraging them to do his puzzles (and getting angry when they don't) and telling them riddles. He claims he can "see all and hear all," though this does not appear to be entirely the case. As he speaks, he repeatedly mutters "shut up, shut up" to an unknown entity. He eventually forces the party to battle a mechanism made of a giant pipe organ and his brain orb, and controlled by the same green drug that subdued the kobolds. The party defeats the mechanism in episode 147 and retrieves the brain orb. They also discover his diary, which Cel reads to the group in episode 149 and which reveals the majority of Shoin's history.
- Alchemy, allowing him to hook himself into his institute and several mechanical krakens
- Speaks English, Japanese, French, and Czech, based on his notes.