Samanosuke Akechi (明智左馬介秀満), later known under the moniker Tenkai Nankobo, is the main protagonist of the first and third installments in the Onimusha series: Onimusha: Warlords and Onimusha 3: Demon Siege. He also appears as a supporting playable character in the fourth game Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams as Tenkai, and as one of the combatants in the fighting game spin-off Onimusha Blade Warriors. He is loosely based on the historical figure, Akechi Hidemitsu.
Samanosuke was born in the year 1535, during Japan's Sengoku Period. The circumstances of his birth (location, exact date) are unknown, but it is implied in Onimusha: Warlords that Samanosuke was a samurai in service to the Saito clan of Mino province (now Gifu Prefecture). A struggle for leadership in the clan (the first game references the historical in-fighting between Dosan Saito and his son Saito Yoshitatsu), previous to the events of Onimusha: Warlords, saw Samanosuke separate himself from the clan and travel the world, effectively becoming a ronin. During these travels, he encountered and befriended the female ninja Kaede, who became his partner and confidant. Over the next four years, they developed trust, honor, respect and deep feelings of love for each other (as seen in Onimusha Blade Warriors). Upon his return somewhere in 1571 (months after the events in Onimusha 2), Samanosuke and Kaede return to assist his uncle, Akechi Mitsuhide, in absolute secrecy. For the next eleven years, Samanosuke and Kaede travel all over Japan, slaying Genma wherever they may find them.
Samanosuke is first seen in the game's opening cinema on a cliff overlooking the Battle of Okehazama in 1560. The battle ends with Nobunaga being fatally shot through the throat on the eve of his victory. The opening cut scenes of the game go on to illustrate that it’s one year later and that Samanosuke has returned to Japan to honor the request of Princess Yuki, daughter of Dosan Saito. In her letter to him she expresses fear at the strange events taking place in her home, Inabayama Castle, and pleads for Samanosuke to "save her". He responds, but is too late to stop two demon ninja from abducting her. The opening cinema closes on a shot of an apparently live and well Nobunaga, seated atop a fierce warhorse at the head of a massive army.
Samanosuke catches up with the ninja on the outskirts of the castle and fends them off, but his reunion with Princess Yuki is brief as Osric, a giant red demon wielding a massive club, springs from the ground. The battle between the two is short-lived, and Yuki is taken away by the demon as Samanosuke loses consciousness. While unconscious, Samanosuke is met in a void by the spirits of the Oni clan (this was translated as "Ogre" in the first game, and subsequently as "Oni" for the rest of the series). They give him their power in the form of a magical Gauntlet, which allows Samanosuke to absorb the souls of fallen demons and equip various weapons charged with elemental energy, tasking him to defeat the demons.
As Samanosuke adventures through the castle and the surrounding areas, he uncovers a plot by Nobunaga's general Tokichiro Kinoshita (the game asserts that this man becomes Hideyoshi Toyotomi later in life) and the demon scientist Guildenstern to use Princess Yuki as a sacrifice for a dark ritual to give the resurrected Nobunaga untold power. As Guildernstern's notes explain, the Genma (the name of the demons in the Onimusha universe) have made this contract with other humans in the past (examples cited by Guildenstern include Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan); in exchange for loyalty to the Genma and a guarantee of constant human sacrifice, the Genma give the contractee their power and superior technology. To perform the dark ritual, the Genma require the blood of a pure woman who was born in the land the contractee is from, held within a chalice made from her skull, which is to be blessed by the Genma King Fortinbras and drunk by the contractee to seal the deal. Through his efforts in the game, Samanosuke manages to thwart the plans of the Genma, tranform into a True Onimusha and kill Fortinbras at the game's climax. The epilogue of the game explains that Samanosuke's whereabouts are unknown. The player can assume that Samanosuke survived, however, as a cut scene after the credits show him looking upon Inabayama Castle from a distance.
Samanosuke does not appear in the plot of Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny, but the effects of the first game are registered in several documents found by the player in the game. He appears on a scroll at the beginning of the intro to the game depicting the events that took place prior to Onimusha 2, including his battle against Fortinbras. He is mentioned by name in one particular document labeling both him and Jubei Yagyu, the protagonist of Onimusha 2, as high-level threats. He can also be seen in a teaser trailer included with the game for Onimusha 3.
It is later explained by Samanosuke who says that he was able to escape and hide himself away from everyone. After Samanosuke destroyed Fortinbras, he couldn’t remember what had happened to him. When he woke up, he saw Nobunaga looking down at him. He saw that Fortinbras had been killed, but not by human hands. He then feared that if he was in his full Oni form again, he wouldn't be able to control himself if he started hurting the people he loved, mainly Kaede. Samanosuke went away for 10 years until Kaede found him. Samanosuke discovered that Marcellus was once an Oni Warrior during the Oni-Genma Wars, killed purposely in battle, and that Guildenstern took Marcellus's dead body and modified him into a Genma. Samanosuke feared that if he didn’t find a way to understand the Oni powers inside of him, Marcellus' fate might have befallen him. During the years that he was away, Samanosuke was able to fully understand and master the mystic powers of his Oni gauntlet.
During the events of Blade Warriors, Samanosuke and Kaede team up with Jubei and some of his teammates.
After Onimusha 2, Nobunaga is defeated by Jubei Yagyu but is not destroyed as Jubei was not powerful enough and didn't have an Oni gauntlet to take Nobunaga's soul. He is revived again in 1582 as the King of the Genma and begins anew his conquest of Japan. Akechi Mitsuhide, Samanosuke's uncle, rebels against his former master and launches an attack at Nobunaga, who is at Honnoji Temple (this mirrors his Incident at Honnoji, though the events depicted in the game are altered to conform with the series storyline). Nobunaga sends for reinforcements in the form of a Genma tank (depicted as a giant creature resembling an insect) and surrounding forces. In the opening cinematic of the game, Samanosuke (dressed as a ninja) intercepts these reinforcements and ultimately destroys them, including their commander Gargant in a duel. He then sets off to join Mitsuhide in the final assault.
Samanosuke takes part in the siege on Honnoji Temple and corners Nobunaga and his retainer Ranmaru Mori in the flaming temple (Around this time Jubei had gone into hiding, to avoid being hunted down by genma minions of Nobunaga). He defeats Ranmaru without much effort, and then Samanosuke and Nobunaga duel for a short period in which it becomes clear that Nobunaga is superior. Before the Genma Lord can deliver the final blow, Samanosuke and the body of Ranmaru are sucked into a strange vortex and disappear. Samanosuke reappears in Paris in the year 2004 and briefly encounters Jacques Blanc before Jacques is sucked into a similar vortex and also disappears. Through a meeting with the genma scientist Guildenstern, Samanosuke learns the year in which he has arrived and also learns that the genma have been experimenting with time travel, a process by which they can travel to any point in history. Meanwhile in the year 1582, seven days before Mitsuhide's assault on Honnoji Temple, Jacques Blanc appears near Mount Hiei. He is given a similar magical gauntlet to Samanosuke's by an Oni spirit who tells him the only way back to his original time is to aid Samanosuke in defeating the genma. The Oni spirit also gives Jacques a partner, a small raven-winged being identified as a tengu named Ako, through whose power Jacques can communicate with others around him and with Samanosuke in the future. He then encounters an alternate Samanosuke of a different timeline, and promises to help him.
Samanosuke and Jacques battle against the genma in their respective times, at certain points aiding each other indirectly. During this, the Samanosuke in Paris encounters a revived (and mutated) Ranmaru Mori, and is forced to battle him on several occasions, the final of which takes place atop the Eiffel Tower where the genma have installed the time fold generator. Defeating him, Samanosuke engages the generator and waits. In the past, Jacques Blanc and Samanosuke reach Honnoji Temple to battle Nobunaga. Nobunaga defeats (but does not kill) the alternated Samanosuke easily and then squares off against Jacques. In a duel Jacques defeats the Genma Lord, seeming to have vanquished him, and helps Samanosuke to his feet. He is then consumed by the vortex of the time fold, only to watch helplessly as Nobunaga recovers and kills the alternate Samanosuke.
Samanosuke returns from the future after speaking with Jacques and, after absorbing the power in the fallen alternate Samanosuke, transforms into an Ultimate Onimusha, looking similar to the Oni form (True Onimusha?) that he took in the climactic final cinematic of Onimusha: Warlords to vanquish Fortinbras. In the final battle, Samanosuke destroys Nobunaga and absorbs his soul into the gauntlet, preventing him from returning again. In the epilogue, the narrator tells us that Samanosuke has embarked on a new quest: to seal the gauntlet containing the soul of the Genma Lord. The end-credits cinematic of the game shows Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who appeared in both Onimusha: Warlords and Onimusha 2 at the head of an army, saying it is now his time to rule, as his eyes glow eerily red. This sets the stage for the next game in the series.
In Dawn of Dreams, a mysterious monk named Tenkai Nankobo resides at the temple ruins on Mt. Hiei. Sensing an air of evil starting to spread across the land, he eventually discovers Hideyoshi's bold and insidious scheme, and sets out on a journey to find the person that possesses the power of the Oni to help him bring Hideyoshi down. Tenkai's companion is Arin, a girl with mysterious powers. (It is discovered that Arin is really Ako, his tengu assistant from Demon Siege.) Tenkai's combat style is similar to that of Ekei from Onimusha 2 and Heihachi from Onimusha 3: Demon Siege. In addition, most of the monk's pole arms are named after Hindu deities: Varuna, Indra, and Raksasa. Tenkai's skills are based on Buddhist and Hindu terminology, such as Enlightenment and Nirvana. During the game's end credits, it is revealed that Tenkai is none other than Samanosuke from the original game.
The last we hear from Tenkai is that he is off on another journey, this time, to seal the Oni Gauntlet, once and for all.
See Samanosuke's weapons.
Historical information Edit
Mitsuhide Akechi was the man historically credited to have actually killed Nobunaga Oda. It is rumored that Samanosuke is an alternative name for one of Mitsuhide's actual nephews, and may have been born in 1536 or 1538. It is also rumored that he went by the name Hidemitsu Akechi, which is used in Onimusha 3: Demon Siege. Some speculate that he is a nephew or cousin to Mitsuhide (others say son-in-law), but not much is said about Samanosuke (Hidemitsu), just that he helped Mitsuhide in the attack on Nobunaga, and lived somewhat longer than Mitsuhide. His death is also a mystery; it was either seppuku or death in battle against Hideyoshi's troops. In the game, Nobunaga is "killed", to be later resurrected by demons, in the Battle of Okehazama. Historically, he was mistakenly reported to have been felled by an arrow in the Okehazama battle.
- Capcom used the face of Japanese/Taiwanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro in the first and third games for Samanosuke's character model. Kaneshiro also provided the Japanese voice talent for Samanosuke in both Onimusha: Warlords and Onimusha 3: Demon Siege. In the English versions of the games, he was voiced by Tig Fong in Onimusha: Warlords, in Onimusha Blade Warriors and Onimusha 3: Demon Siege by Robin Atkin Downes, and in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams by Joshua Keaton.
- Tenkai's first alternate costume is Ken Masters from Street Fighter, and the second is Sieg Wahrheit from Chaos Legion.