- The eventual victory of Toranaga. It is difficult to summarise in a few sentences, given that the whole Doorstopper book is a Gambit Pileup, but suffice to say it is absolutely glorious.
- All of Toranaga's plans count as this, whether it's his escape from Osaka, his excellent game of Xanatos Speed Chess when he realises that Yabu has him at a huge disadvantage and his only chance is to bullshit his way through it, or his totally convincing faked defeat, if there is a situation where some truly awesome scheming is required, Toranaga always does well.
- Toranaga is also one of the few characters who can make a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness awesome rather than a petty Kick the Dog moment. The offhandedness with which he sentences his treacherous ally Yabu to commit seppuku is extremely satisfying, if only because the victim was a really annoying Smug Snake.
- Pilot-Major John Blackthorne:
Blackthorne: "... unless you WIN."Toranaga: "Ha ha ha! Yes, Mister Foreigner with the Impossible Name. You name the ONE mitigating factor."
- He has one whenever he manages to pull off a particularly difficult nautical manoeuvre, because even though it's a regular occurrence for him, it is repeatedly stated that there are only a few pilots in the entire world at that time who are equal to his skill. A stand out example of this is during the escape from Osaka, which is a Moment of Awesome for both him and Rodrigues.
- His faking insanity to distract Ishido from Toranaga being disguised as a woman during the escape from Osaka at great personal risk is treated as one in-universe by the other characters. As is his valiant attempt to hold off the ninja attack.
- Managing to hold his own amongst all his enemies at Osaka. Considering how instrumental he was in Toranaga's escape even his enemies are impressed that he is able to hold his head high when he has to return.
- However, perhaps his greatest one is his attempt at seppuku, which is when he fully earns his place among the samurai. Not only that, but he actually manages to stand up and walk after it, which is considered exceptionally strong even by samurai standards.
- For even more awesome context: Blackthorne was told that he was to learn Japanese language and customs within a set time frame. If he did not, then every man, woman, and child in the village would be held responsible for his shortcomings, and Yabu would have them crucified. Blackthorne then stated that if this happened, he would not be able to live with the shame, and threatened seppuku. At first Yabu dismisses this threat as empty... but soon realizes that if anything happened to Blackthorne, Toranaga would hold HIM responsible for it. When Yabu doesn't back down, Blackthorn stabs himself, and Omi just barely manages to wrestle the blade away from him. Yabu then relents and states that "Whatever you learn will be fine."
- And then there's his "revolution" debate with Toranaga. Blackthorne tries to explain a scenario in which rebellion is justified. But Toranaga states that there ARE no mitigating circumstances when overthrowing one's sovereign lord.
- Mariko Buntarou:
- Whenever she plays around the Yamato Nadeshiko expectations, proving that to be a true YN you must be both very classy and plucky as fuck and showing just how strong she is. Stand out examples include her fighting alongside the men during the escape from Osaka, telling Toranaga to his face that he has to become Shogun (which has been something of a Berserk Button for him), playing Yabu like a harp whenever she has to deal with him, and being completely untouched by her drunken husband's explosive temper.
- However, an entire period of awesome comes during the return to Osaka. Publicly standing up to Ishido, trying to fight her way out, attempting (and intending) seppuku, and finally committing it during the ninja attack while loudly declaring that she'll die honorably (and also out-gambitting the ninjas). Even Magnificent Bastard extraordinaire Toranaga describes Osaka as a "glorious" moment for her.
- The end of chapter one for Headman Mura. Facing a man twice his size and capable of the stuff mentioned above being pissy about taking a bath, Mura instantly paralyzes him with two well-timed jabs and forcibly bathes him. And then he, his mother, and his wife take turns discussing the size of Blackthorne's erection.
- Mariko's last letter to Blackthorne, and the dream it inspires.
- Buntaro shooting four arrows at a target he can't even see, all of them hitting dead on after passing through the same hole in the house's paper door. While drunk off his ass. Blackthorne, who really doesn't like the guy, immediately gives an order that the arrows are not to be removed, as a testament to his skill.
- Dirk preparing to go up against Gorth with a fighting iron (even though someone else beats him to it in the end.
- Dirk paying the Brocks off with a Scrooge Mc Duck-sized pile of silver. "The Noble House decided to pay cash." Then calmly walking away once the receipt has been tendered, leaving his worst enemy responsible for a huge pile of silver.
- Culum refusing to become a puppet for either Brock or Cooper-Tillman and ordering Stride Orlov to go aboard Brock's ship and fetch Tess.
- Jamie McFay just after Malcolm's death when he confronts Norbert Greyforth and punches him right in the face for insulting Malcolm.
- Ian Dunross escaping destruction, securing a lucrative business for the future and forcing Gornt to return the airline to Struans or face ruin.
- "Yes Asian One" the reveal that Roger Crosse is a triple agent and that Sevrin is possibly a trap he created