Muramasa: The Demon Blade

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Momohime and Kisuke, a couple of real sharp dressers.

Legend tells of the swordsmith Muramasa Senji, whose blades, though unparalleled in quality, carry with them a terrible curse. Though these 'Demon Blades' can cut through anything, they compel their wielders to uncontrollable bloodlust, and they must draw blood before being resheathed... whether that blood is from an enemy or the swordsman himself.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade (or just Oboro Muramasa in Japan) is a 2009 Vanillaware game released exclusively for the Wii that tells the stories of Kisuke, a fugitive Iga-ryu Ninja determined to recover his lost memories, and Momohime, a Narukami princess who is possessed by the spirit of an evil swordsman, Izuna Jinkuro, and is helping him to return them both to functional bodies. Armed with Muramasa's earthbound spirit and his demonic blades, the pair battle through Feudal Japan, searching for their destinies on battlefields soaked in blood.

Made by Vanillaware, the same developers of Odin Sphere.


Tropes used in Muramasa: The Demon Blade include:
  • 108: The total number of blades to obtain and forge.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade:
    • The Demon Blades of the title can cut demons, gods, dragons, and pretty much anything else. As with the Muramasa blades of legend, dip one into a river and any leaves floating by will be cut in half. And in his second ending Kisuke manages to cut Jinkuro's soul out of Momohime without harming her. Now that's sharp.
    • The Oboro Muramasa, which can only be acquired after forging all of the 107 other swords, is so sharp that it cuts fate. Or, in practical terms, it allows for Mental Time Travel. Just because the sword is really, really sharp.
  • Accidental Pervert: Averted with Kisuke's initial run-in with Momohime (wearing nothing but a towel) in one of the hot springs, who won't react at all to his presence, while Kisuke simply tells her he won't ruin her hot springs experience by peeping.
    • Played straight on Momohime's run when she runs into Kisuke in the same place, though Kisuke plays it a lot cooler than most examples of this trope and just gets annoyed and explains that he got there first.
  • Action Girl: Torahime and Momohime; Sayo the Onmyoji, as well.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Raijin
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Tries to justify it for characters in curscenes by giving them turning animations in which they swap whatever they're holding to their other hand. Out of cutscenes, though, everyone does this, with few exceptions.
  • Anti-Hero: Kisuke. He's the nicer of the two, by the way - Momohime is virtuous enough, but Jinkuro, a master swordsman, possesses her. He's not kind.
  • Arranged Marriage: Momohime has one with Yukinojyo. Though it's purely political on his side, she doesn't seem to mind the idea.
  • The Archer: Torahime
  • Army of the Dead: Torahime's undead bushi.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Momohime's fourth boss Ippondatara. You have to fight his giant foot first (which refers to a legend regarding one of Kyoto's mansions), then his huge body. From time to time he will turn into the harmless Inosasao (a giant boar with bamboo leaves on his back).
    • And then there's the giant centipede, the second boss in Kisuke's story.
  • Awesome but Impractical: A lot of the Secret Arts take a long time to figure out how to use right.
  • Big Bad: Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the Shogun, was the one who was ultimately behind the attack on the Kagami clan and the theft of the Kuzuryu Muramasa, which kicks off the plot for both Momohime and Kisuke.
  • BFS: The Long Blade weapons are actually larger than the characters.
  • Black and Grey Morality: It can hardly be said that any of the characters are particularly nice people. It's pretty easy to forgive them, though.
  • Bonus Boss
  • Bonus Dungeon: There are several dead end paths that serve this purpose. When you beat the game once with both characters, all boss dungeons are available, turning them into this. Finally, the enemy lairs are bonus dungeons, including the aptly named level 92 Enemy Lair "Total Pandemonium." You have to fight through multiple waves of almost every type of enemy in the game. This includes some of the bosses as well as clones of the player characters.
  • Boss in Mooks Clothing: Onis, with huge amounts of XP and plenty of attacks that can instantly break your sword. The green ones are even worse, as they take longer to stun than the red or blue ones.
    • One of the Enemy Lairs require you to fight four onis at once, and Total Pandemonium makes you fight five, all with boss-level health. Good luck with that.
  • Bowdlerization: Not as bad as the ones the 80s and 90s were infamous for, but it's gotten a lot of flack for being overly concise and cutting poetic language (and sometimes whole lines that don't matter to the plot) out in favor of getting straight to the point. This seems to be an unfortunate habit of producer Ignition -- when they don't simply go for a full-blown Blind Idiot Translation.
    • Fujin has a line in the Japanese (to Raijin) that amounts to "I love your fat ass." The English has "I'm very fond of you." And there's plenty more where that came from.
    • It's particularly bad when some things are just plain wrong within the scope of the gameplay: "You can no longer carry any more items" should have been "You can no longer carry any more of this item."
  • Breakable Weapons: The swords in the game have a "Soul Power" meter, which wears down whenever you block attacks or use each swords' unique "Secret Art". As per the legend of the Muramasa swords, they repair themselves when they are resheathed.
  • Break the Cutie: A low-grade version. It seems to be a Running Gag that every man who meets Momohime either loutishly hits on her (in the case of the Comedy Commoners) or insults her (in the case of Jinkuro and Kisuke).
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kongiku to Jinkuro. She at one point comments that she hopes Jinkuro isn't growing too fond of Momohime - otherwise, she'd have to rip the girl to shreds.
  • Combat Tentacles: The optional/repeatable boss of Momohime's story, Oodako the giant octopus, with his attack style being Whip It Good.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: See the entry for "Ninja" below. Then again, when you match up a lot of normal ninja against one with Implausible Fencing Powers described below...
  • Creepy Centipedes: The giant Oomukade boss.
  • Cute Monster Girl: We're talking a game set in Feudal Japan. Kongiku and Yuzuruha are standouts here. Raijin (who resembles an oni) is quite attractive, but her beauty is mostly overshadowed by her brash and aggresive nature (almost to Ladette levels, go figure). The only times it surfaces is when she's knocked out of the sky (she lands on her rump and takes a moment to tend to her rear in a typical Dojikko fashion; notably, her voice raises from sultrily deep and tough to innocuously cute) and briefly after the Boss Battle with her when Fujin calms her down. And once you beat her, she is just adorable.
  • Damage Sponge Boss: Several.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: An interesting juxtaposition considering the optional Harder Than Hard difficulty and scaling enemy level: while it's extremely easy to die, doing so outside of a boss battle just causes you to respawn in the same screen you were killed with full health and swords at full strength, retain all experience points earned, regain any health items you used during the fight, and you might not even run into the same battle that killed you previously. On the other hand, you can't cook stat-boosting meals within battles, so the items remain consumed unless you reload a save. On Shigurui difficulty, you really want to make use of those stat-boosts, especially against some of the bosses, but you die--and die a lot--so it's a matter of deciding if it's worth cooking a meal and being prepared for the tedium of resetting the game if you run out of ingredients.
  • Demonic Possession: Jinkuro accidentally possesses Momohime while trying to possess Yukinojyo. Kisuke is possessed by Jinkuro's master, Senjyu.
  • Doppelganger Attack: Kisuke's Haze and Phantom Secret Arts and Momohime's Flash Secret Art.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The fight with Inugami has this in spades. The entire battle is incredibly disturbing, with organic wound-like holes appearing midair to stab you with skeletal swords, the boss's body distorting disturbingly, and with one attack involving him becoming something that resembles an near-infinite spear of teeth and mouth.
  • Every Japanese Sword Is a Katana: Averted. The many, many swords Muramasa can forge for the heroes are pretty evenly split between katana and nodachi, which are longer.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The vertical spin (Cyclone, Gale, Wind) and horizontal spin (Hell Spinner, Dragonfly, Swallow Saw) Secret Arts.
  • Faux Action Girl: Possibly Torahime. We get told that she's a fearsome warrior, but her main role in Kisuke's story is to be the love interest and get into a lot of trouble that Kisuke needs to save her from. On the other hand, she was previously a boss, with a one-hit sword breaking arrow attack.
  • Food Porn: The food that you can buy at any of the restaurants or cook yourself. And then eat via repeated presses of the A button. This game will make you hungry.
  • Foot Focus: Momohime in this artwork that comes with the official soundtrack. Also includes Naughty Tentacles.
  • Fuuma Shuriken: Two are used by Kurozaru, the first boss that Kisuke fights against.
  • Gainaxing:
    • Kongiku wobbles a great deal, whether she's moving or not.
    • The snow maidens.
  • Gender Bender:
    • Jinkuro possessing Momohime.
    • According to the original myth, Raijin is male.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: The first part of the Ippon-Datara boss fight involves you having to avoid his giant foot while attacking it and eventually riding it up into the clouds where the actual boss is.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: Many of the bosses, such as both characters' first ones, come out of nowhere.
    • In particular, Momohime's final boss. The story goes from storming main adversary Rankai's base (thought process: the final fight might be against Rankai, and perhaps he'll even pull a One-Winged Angel), to Yukinojyo showing up with the blade that Jinkuro's been searching for the whole game (thought process: a rematch for the blade), to two random Gods appearing due to your Rage Against the Heavens, taking the blade, and forcing you to fight them and a giant statue.
      • Another possibility was Amaterasu, who was the one who sealed the gate to Heaven in Ise after Jinkuro beat Raijin. You'd expect the Sun Goddess to take matters in her own hands when Jinkuro tries to enter Heaven again, but unfortunately you do not get to battle her.
  • Giant Spider: Tsuchigumo.
  • Going Commando: Momohime was stated in an interview to not be wearing underwear.
  • Grand Theft Me: Happens to Momohime in the first act, pushing her original soul out of her body.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Momohime's normal and second ending both involve this.
  • Henohenomoheji: Scarecrows have these on their faces.
  • Here We Go Again: Momohime's second ending basically puts her in the same position Kisuke was in at the start of his story.
  • Hellish Horse: Torahime rides atop a phantom horse with its skeleton visible.
  • Hot God: Raijin. Fujin is more a "Cute God" than anything, but he still counts. The two double as a God Couple.
  • Hot Springs Episode: The protagonists can talk to monkeys, who lead them to a hot spring in the mountains. It serves as a healing pool, a place to resharpen any broken blades, and a Fan Service opportunity.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Fujin and Raijin. Raijin is a hulking, muscular woman while Fujin is tiny (and green). To a lesser extent, Kisuke and Torahime as well.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Eating restores health and grants you "Spirit," necessary for forging swords. Subverted in that you do need to wait in between eating anything for them to get hungry again, but it never takes you any longer than maybe 30 seconds to digest a whole bowl of noodles and be ready to keep eating (and the Mad Tummy skills given by certain swords and accessories can further reduce that time).
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: "Muso" for "Easy" and "Shura" for "Hard." The creators describe Muso as being more RPG-like, while Shura is more arcade-like. Then there's the unlockable "Shigurui" mode, which has the same difficulty as Shura, but also permanently keeps your Life Flame at 1.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: The Oboro Style both characters use is all about this. They explicitly state that mastering it not only makes you immune to the bloodlust that wielding Muramasa blades normally causes (and by that extension, the insanity caused by the countless angry recently-dead spirits wandering a battlefield Kisuke visits), but also allows you to battle the God(dess?) of Thunder with a metal blade. And those are just the side effects of the actual purpose of the fighting style, which is of course being able to easily kick metric fucktonnes of ass.
  • Just Eat Him: The Big Oni to Jinkuro and Momohime. It results in a stomachache for him.
  • Kitsune: Kongiku and Yuzuruha.
  • Lady of War: Torahime.
  • Les Yay: Konjiku is infatuated with Jinkuro... who's now in Momohime's body. Ooops...
  • Level Scaling: Enemies are always scaled to correlate to your level. Even when overleveled, enemies never get any easier. The earlier Enemy Lairs don't fall too far behind when you are dozens of levels above the recommended levels, the bosses get more vicious, and the regular enemies deal more damage and have more hit points. In fact, considering that you recover full health when you level up, Enemy Lairs become much harder if you level up to 99 before entering them.
  • Like a Badass Out of Hell: Momohime, although Kisuke can go there after the player sees both endings.
  • Metroidvania: An extremely borderline case. Rather than granting you new abilities that help you overcome obstacles, the game just lets you use swords to open doors without gaining any new skills from them.
  • Miko: Torahime was one when she was alive.
  • Mirror Boss: Kisuke acts as this for Momohime, and Momohime for Kisuke. And at the end of Total Pandemonium you face both of them together.
  • Modesty Towel: Momohime's "attire" at the mountain hot spring.
  • Money for Nothing: While you'll be running low on cash for most of your initial playthrough, it's not much of a problem since Death Is a Slap on The Wrist and most items are best used during boss fights. Once you beat the game and start re-beating bosses/beating enemy lairs so you can get new accessories and swords (and level up high enough to be able to use the latter), you'll soon end up with far more cash than you can ever spend. The same goes for Souls and Spirit, which are used to forge new blades, and so do nothing but pile up once you've forged 'em all - Spirit is especially egregious, as it's exceedingly inexpensive to grind and comes in quantities resembling Pinball Scoring, so you'll never be all that hard pressed for past the early stages of the game.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Momohime, Yuzuruha, Kongiku...
  • Multiple Endings: Three each for both characters. The second ending for both characters involves fighting the other character to more or less a stalemate instead of their usual final boss, while the third uses the ultimate sword's ability to "cut even fate itself" to return both characters back to the moment in time when their story would've normally begun, but with all their memories up until that point intact as well as carrying the eponymous Oboro Muramasa. For Jinkuro, this isn't a particulary good deal, since the reason he used the body possession skill to begin with was because his own body was close to dying anyway...which he does soon afterwards.But it is heavily implied that he took over Yagyu's body before he died to be married to Momohime. Between him acting differently, all the sudden disagreeing with his father, and naming his "new" fighting style (which is actually just Oboro style) Izuna style, Izuna being Jinkuro's last name. In the end he fooled EVERYONE, even most gamers. Not bad for an old guy.
  • Narrator: In any given ending. Breaks the fourth wall hard.
  • Naughty Tentacles: The infamous Play Magazine [{{[http|//img840.imageshack.us/img840/6564/momohime.jpg cover}} that had "suspiciously positioned" tentacles covering Monohime. Of course, there was nothing of the sort actually happening in the game.
  • Ninja: Kisuke is a ninja. Some of the Mooks are ninja as well.
  • Won't Work On Me: If you attempt to use a Quick Draw during the second ending boss fights, the other Muramasa user will employ the same technique, and the two will cancel.
  • Obake: The kitsune that serve Inarimyojin assist Kisuke and Momohime, with Yuzuruha and Kongiku taking human form to serve as guides; tengu and kappa are common enemies, as are the karakasa-type Obake, although they look slightly different from their usual form (that being a one-legged umbrella monster with a single eye and a mouth with a long tongue). Every boss (other named characters like Kurozaru and Torahime) are based on famous Yokai and legends.
  • One-Winged Angel: Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, after being defeated, is taken over by the spirit of the Inugami (literally "dog god") inside the Kuzuryu Muramasa and transforms into a huge demon dog.
  • Power-Up Food: Although any food with an effect like this has to be cooked by you, unless you just want the healing or Spirit.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The man himself, Muramasa Senji, appears in this game to make swords for you.
    • Additionally, many of the swords you earn by defeating bosses are historical blades; swords like Nagasone Kotetsu and Ichimonji Norimune (and ironically enough the Goro Masamune, forged by Muramasa's rival) feature prominently as barrier-breakers.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: After failing to find Kuromitsu Blade in Hell, Jinkuro assaults Heaven in order to obtain immortality. Kisuke impulsively plans to cut Amitabha (the reigning deity, basically) in his normal ending, but quickly abandons the idea as futile once he actually meets him in person. Likewise, Momohime's path consists mostly of Jinkuro hacking his way through the Japanese pantheon until Heaven gets annoyed enough to send down one of the Thirteen Buddhas to tell him to cut that shit out.
  • Reincarnation: In Kisuke's first ending, Kisuke and Torahime, after Torahime pleads Amitabha to allow her to reincarnate with Kisuke until he achieves Nirvana.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Kisuke.
  • Scenery Porn: To be expected of rural Japan.
    • Then again, this is by the same developers as Odin Sphere.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Inugami, the Dog Demon, inside the Kuzuryu Muramasa.
  • Secret AI Moves: The attack both characters rarely use on you when you fight against them in the second ending, which is unblockable and works more or less like a melee version of the spam attack described below. Considering how few human-sized opponents with large amounts of HP the game has (and the few it does fall easily to repeated spamming of the Game Breaker special attacks described above the second you knock them down), being unable to use it isn't that much of a loss from gameplay perspective. Not that it wouldn't be nice if you could...
  • Shoryuken: The Phantom and Meteor series of specials. The former is of the normal, single-hit sword variety with an increasing amount of shadow clones for higher levels of the move performing it simultaneously, up to covering pretty much the entire screen horizonally with them, while Meteor is a quickly repeated multihit variety that also creates a geyser of energy with each attack.
  • Shout-Out: Wait, Momohime? You mean her name is Princess Peach?
  • Slap Slap Kiss: If you take Kisuke's second ending as canon, the protagonists' interactions in the hot spring can be taken as this... or, if you squint, as She Is Not My Girlfriend.
  • Smoke Out: The some of the aforementioned Mook ninja do this, although they usually use it to reappear back to their original spawning location on the screen. Those same ones also tend to carry regular bombs. Can be done by yourself to escape battles you don't feel like fighting.
  • Spam Attack: The Earth Hornet series of specials, consisting of rapid stabs as can be expected from the sword variety. Stronger versions of the attack can be extended by mashing attack repeatedly, which also propels them forward at impressive speeds. The final sword's special also qualifies, combining it with lots of shadow clones that shoot out pretty much every other type of projectile from other types of specials, finishing it all off with the user shooting out a huge Sword Beam.
  • Spin Attack: Lots of varieties. The vertical ones are by far one of the best specials in the game, as they have a large damage area, are easy to use, can be used repeatedly without breaking the sword, grant a long perioid of invincibility and one variety of them also has full horizontal control during its activation.
  • Spiritual Successor: As said above, Muramasa is one to Odin Sphere, which in turn makes this game one to Princess Crown [1] by proxy. Muramasa was even referred to as Princess Crown 3 during development.
  • Sprite Polygon Mix: Seemingly hand-drawn 2D characters and backgrounds accompanied by 3D special effects and background objects.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Exaggerated Trope with Raijin, by far one of the tallest women encounter in the game.
  • Stealth Pun: Raijin has thunder thighs.
  • Sword Beam: Not quite as many types as others, mostly limited to the Cresent type specials as others generally take the form of projectiles and shockwave.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Oboro Muramasa, only forgable once you've collected every other sword in the game and required to unlock the last two endings. Unusually, it is also the game's strongest weapon and there is no Infinity+1 Sword to eclipse it.
  • Taking You with Me: Kisuke does this in Momohime's second ending.
  • The Unfought: Fudo-Myou and Amitabha. For the first, you only get to tear up a statue of him, and when the real one shows up he immediately overpowers Jinkuro in a cutscene. For the second, Kisuke targets him at the end of the game, but gives up the idea once he realizes just what he's up against.
  • Theme Naming: Some of the barrier-breaking swords you get from bosses are named after them or something related to them (the boss fight in Iga nets you the Iganokami Kanemichi, defeating the Tsuchigumo earns you the Kumokiri (literally "spider slicer"), etc.)
  • Those Two Guys: Yasohachi and Kumagoro.
  • Title Drop: The final sword is called Oboro Muramasa, which is the game's Japanese title.
  • Tsundere: Raijin (go figure) is a fair example, though she's a lot more "tsun" than some others listed on that page.
    • The way Jinkuro treats Momohime occasionally seems like this as well. Particularly given that he sacrifices his soul for her in two of her endings... and ends up marrying her in Yukinojyo's body in the third.
  • To Hell and Back: Also known as the point the enemies become dicks.
  • Unorthodox Sheathing: Kisuke does this by throwing the sheath in the air and catching it with his sword.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: None of the villagers seem the least bit put off by the half-dozen skulls hanging from Kisuke's waist.
  • Uptown Girl: Torahime (high family), Kisuke (common ninja).
  • Variable Mix: Area music seamlessly switches instrumentation during battles.
  • Villain Protagonist: Jinkuro, whose entire story is basically him repeatedly trying to cheat death by various means and bulldozing over anyone who gets in his way.
  • Voices Are Mental: Averted, but when Jinkuro is borrowing Momohime's body, "her" voice is noticeably lower than in the few instances she gets to use her own mouth. Amusingly, Momohime Jinkuro also uses "washi" -- a personal pronoun used exclusively by old men.
  • Walk the Earth: Kisuke and Momohime's second endings, as well as Kisuke's third.
  • Womb Level: Momohime and Jinkuro's story, in an oni's stomach. With stomach acid that deals damage if you stand too long in the stuff and don't get to slicing.
  • Yandere: Kongiku, who on one occasion threatened to tear apart Momohime's soul if Jinkuro got too fond of her.
  • Youkai: The game's based on Japanese mythology. Naturally, there are plenty.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Although Momohime is wearing a kimono rather than a skirt, the hemline for it is quite high, exposing her thighs and thigh-high stockings.
  1. a 1997 Sega Saturn game made by members of Atlus who went on to become Vanillaware