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 action-RPG game, made by Vanillaware and released for the Wii, that tells the stories of Kisuke, a fugitive Iga 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.In 2013, the game was ported to thePlaystation Vita as "Muramasa Rebirth" (still just Oboro Muramasa in Japan), with an updated script and controls. In addition, it was announced that Muramasa Rebirth would be getting Downloadable Content, which took the form of an alternate mode; called "Genryoku Legends", it features nothing regarding Muramasa or his Demon Blades, instead focusing on completely different/new characters with 2-3 chapter long stories that take place in the same universe.
The first story is Fishy Tales of the Nekomata (released in January 2014), starring a Tortoiseshell Cat named Miike. When her masters, Okoi and her brother, are murdered on the command of the despicable Netsuzo Wakamiya purely for his own self-benefit, Miike becomes a Nekomata and starts down the dark path of revenge to slay Wakamiya, the people he hired to kill Okoi, and anyone who gets in her way. She's able to fight using three forms; "Okoi", her default human form which fights purely with hard-hitting scratches and slashes of her claws; "Miike", her original cat form which can summon supernatural blue fireballs in a variety of patterns(or summon a massive army of Tortoiseshell Cats from the sky tooverwhelm her enemies); and "Avatar", where she becomes a monstrous cat demon in one of two ways("Monster Cat" where she becomes a giant ferocious cat, and "Avatar" where she joins with a bunch of other Cats to form a giant floating Cat Head).
The second story is A Cause to Daikon For (released in February 2014), starring a farmer named Gonbe(whose concept was inspired by Harvest Moon). With all the farmlands of Oone dying and unable to yield much crop, and their Governor Mamedayu Hatono taxing them to death, Gonbe sets out on a quest to save his village from starvation, one way or another. In addition to fighting with a Hoe, a Bamboo Spear and throwing Sickles, Gonbe is aided by his fellow farmers, Tagosaku and Moheiji, whom he can call in to fight alongside him; he's also assisted by the spirit of his deceased wife Otae, who hoists and tosses him around for most of his attacks and can also force Gonbe's soul back into his body on death during battle, reviving him.
The third story is The Tale of the Seven Night Ghostly Curse, starring a Ninja named Arashimaru. A runaway Shinobi after destroying a holy mirror at an ancient shrine, Arashimaru is dealt a life-threatening curse for seven nights as divine punishment. Fending off wave after wave of assassins, what awaits him at the end of his ordeal? Unlike Kisuke, who relies solely on his sword-fighting skills, Arashimaru fights with Kunais, bombs and a Kusarigama; it's also been confirmed that he can learn skills such as Triangle Jumping, and Ninjutsu such as Utsusemi or summoning a giant white snake named Shirohebi.
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.
Ambidextrous Sprite: Tries to justify it for characters in cutscenes 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.
And the Adventure Continues: Kisuke's second and third endings. The narrator even lampshades it one of them by mentioning that the events of the game are the first story of 20.
Momohime's second ending is also like this, with her leaving her new adopted home to unravel the secrets behind her Identity Amnesia.
Animalistic 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.
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.
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.
Author Appeal: Naturally. Big breasts (Kongiku), big butts (Yuzuruha), muscular women (Raijin) and delicious-looking food (even the simplest rice ball).
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.
Momohime's third ending, though it arguably counts as a Downer Ending as well. While Jinkuro avoids stabbing Momohime and possessing her, it's highly implied that instead her fiance (Jinkuro's intended target) was possessed instead...giving Jinkuro lots of power that Momohime couldn't give and allowing him to cause lots of chaos. Of course, Momohime tends to bring out the best in Jinkuro, and it's not like Yukinojo didn't have it coming, so it's not as bad as it could be.
If not for the purposefully ambiguous hope that Arashimaru might be saved and Shirohebi freed, the Seven Ghostly Nights' Curse's second ending would be dark as all get out.
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/Night of Absolute Chaos." 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 and horse and bull demons, with huge amounts of hit points, high combat resistance 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/Night of Absolute Chaos 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."
The Vita port was re-translated to fix this, leading to the language becoming a lot more flowery and accurate to the spoken lines.
Bragging Rights Reward: The Narukami Bracelet/Thunderous Bangle won after winning the Total Pandemonium/Night of Absolute Chaos enemy lair. This accessory makes all your blades unbreakable, meaning you can spam Secret Arts, block everything without wearing down the blade, go on a slashing spree, in short, it makes you practically invincible. However, you get it by beating the secret final dungeon and there's nothing left in the game at that point.
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 or by devouring the souls of defeated enemies.
Contemptible Cover: One of the Japanese covers for the game's soundtrack has one of Oodako's tentacles covering Momohime's otherwise exposed crotch and her breasts almost falling out of her kimono. Another has Yuzuruha sitting in a seductive pose, lifting her kimono with her foot acting as a Scenery Censor, a third has Torahime naked in a Boobs-and-Butt Pose with one elbow covering her breasts and her buttocks obscured by her flesh turning transparent, and a forth is of a naked Momohime seen from behind with her shoulders, back, and butt covered in tattoos, glaring over her shoulder while drawing a sword.
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. More are added for Rebirth; the first main character is Okoi, a female Nekomata, and the second is Raiyaki, a small Oni girl. Meanwhile, Gonbe is assisted by his wife's still-attractive ghost, while Arashimaru's snake familiar is actually a shapeshifting minor deity out for his blood.
Dead All Along: Most of the central cast are undead: Momohime doesn't really count, although she was presumed dead after Jinkuro cut her; Kisuke was mortally wounded by his brethren after betraying the clan for love, and returned to life through fusing with an angry ghostly swordmaster; Torahime was assassinated by the Shogun, and is sent back by Amitabha for a limited time to exact vengeance and save the world from the Inugami alongside her army of ghosts.
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/Fury 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.
Decoy Protagonist: While the story selection screen claims Momohime's story is about her, she has little involvement with it. The real focus of the story is on Jinkuro.
Demonic Possession: Technically he's human, but Jinkuro's (accidental) possession of Momohime's body counts as this. Averted for Kisuke; he was granted his knowledge of the style by Jinkuro's master, Senju, but the technique used is more like a spiritual Fusion Dance, essentially causing Senju to cease existing but imparting ALL his knowledge and abilities to Kisuke, whose personality isn't changed to any significant degree. There's also The Shogun, who is possessed by the Inugami... Though since he DID want the sword the Inugami was sealed into in the first place, and we never see his personality before you fight him, the extent of the possession is a bit muddled...
Drought Level of Doom: In the DLC "A Cause to Daikon For" money is, fittingly enough, extremely difficult to come by. Unless you grind for an absurd period of time, you're not likely to be able to afford more than a single meal or a few radishes to cook on your own throughout the entire story. The drastically reduced availability of healing is offset somewhat by abilities you can gain that increase healing received or allow you to revive once per battle, though these only typically become available toward the end of the story.
Endgame Plus: Once you beat the last boss and see an ending, you'll be taken to before the boss fight the next time you load, but additional features and weapons will unlock depending on which ending you viewed.
Evil Weapon: The Muramasa swords, which drive their wielders mad with bloodlust and can only be sheathed once they've tasted blood, as per Japanese folklore. In setting too, they regenerate if broken, faster if drenched in blood, and contain terrible magical powers. The protagonists are able to resist the less-savory aspects of their use with their Supernatural Martial Arts.
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.
Full Boar Action: The boss Ippon-Datara has two forms: a giant demon whose foot is larger than the player, and an enormous boar named Inosazao. Momohime's interactions with him in a hot spring after the fight indicate that the latter is his true form.
Fuuma Shuriken: Two are used by Kurozaru, the first boss that Kisuke fights against, and some of the higher-level ninja enemies wield them as well.
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.
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.
Here We Go Again: Momohime's second ending basically puts her in the same position Kisuke was in at the start of his story.
Hero of Another Story: Momohime and Kisuke to one another. Aside from occasionally encountering one another in hot springs and in certain endings the two do not interact with one another.
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 Fanservice 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/Rapid Digestion skills given by certain swords and accessories can further reduce that time).
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 tons of ass.
Just Eat Him: The Big Oni to Jinkuro and Momohime. It results in a stomachache for him.
Kitsune: Kongiku and Yuzuruha, as well as the other fox spirits that accompany them.
Level Scaling: Enemies are always scaled to correlate to your level. Even when over-leveled, 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.
Level Up Fill Up: Leveling up restores your life, which can come in handy in a boss fight or Evil Lair.
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.
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.
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. However, it is heavily implied that he took over Yukinojyo's body before he died to be married to Momohime. Between him acting differently, all of a 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.
Named Weapons: Each Muramasa's sword has its own name. The Vita re-release translates many of them into English.
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 the Kuromitsu Blade in Hell, Jinkuro assaults Heaven in order to obtain immortality. Kisuke impulsively plans to cut Amitabha (the reigning Buddhist 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 are reincarnated after Torahime pleads Amitabha to allow her to reincarnate with Kisuke until he achieves Nirvana.
Secret A.I. 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...
Shared Life Meter: The game is... complicated about this. Bosses have two health bars, one large one and one small one (that keeps feeding the large bar whenever it's depleted while slowly depleting itself in the process.) Whenever multiple bosses are fought at once, they have separate large bars, but they all get health from the same small bar (although the small bar is then split up into separate bars, one for each boss, denoting their own portions of the health meter.)
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.
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.
Spell My Name with an S: Momohime's fiance's name is Yukinojyo in the original Wii release and Yukinojo in the Vita rerelease.
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* a 1997 Sega Saturn game made by members of Atlus who went on to become Vanillaware 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.
Stockholm Syndrome: Momohime suffers from it big time, to the point where her first ending has her become a nun for Jinkuro, despite a fair portion of the plot being his fault and him possessing Momohime because she took the hit intended for her lover.
Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Kisuke and Momohime encounter the ghosts of murdered women as NPCs. Skull-headed onryo also appear as enemies and launch "Flames of Rancor" that can be deflected back at them. Torahime also qualifies, considering she came back from the dead for revenge on the Shogun.
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.
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.)
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.
Also qualifies with Kisuke and Momohime if you choose to see Kisuke's second ending as canon, where he becomes Momohime's protector.
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.
Visual Innuendo: Momohime's artwork has her holding a nodachi in a suggestive pose.
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: 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 than named characters like Kurozaru and Torahime) are based on famous Yokai and legends.
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.
Zip Mode: There are people and boaters who will take you to other regions for a fee. Additionally, once you see a story's ending, you gain the ability to warp between shrines with that character.