Known as Samurai Spirits in Japan, this SNK Playmore one-on-one Fighting Game series is set during the closing years of the Edo period. The first game was the debut of the Weapon Fighter subgenre, and the one of the first fighting games to introduce a super meter, the Rage Gauge. Once filled, this gauge increases the strength of attacks; starting with the second game, Samurai Shodown 2, each character also has a super move that empties the gauge after successfully connecting. Samurai Shodown 2 is also credited with introducing the first "parry" system.Overall compared to its numerous fighting game brethren, Samurai Shodown stood out from the crowd namely by being more about finesse and less about chaining super combos. Specifically, thanks to the high damage output of singular moves, the battles here would run either incredibly quick or maddeningly slow. It leads to a more chess-like experience with a focus on hit-an-run tactics that makes play quite unlike most other 2-D fighters. However, for this very reason, its remained mostly in the cult favorite realm as high-speed super-combo-chaining fighters have taken nearly complete prominence. Also, on a lesser note, its rather bloody to say the least...it may not have focused on the gore aspect like say... Mortal Kombat, but it can fill almost as many buckets.A total of six games were made for the original Neo-Geo (MVS and AES) system, with Samurai Shodown V Special being the last game to be released for the system. Other two games, Samurai Shodown 64 and Samurai Shodown 64: Warriors Rage, were released for the ill-fated Hyper Neo-Geo 64 in the late nineties, while a Distant Finale game, sharing the title (losing only the "64") Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage was later released for the Playstation, much to the confusion of the players; in Japan the games are known as Samurai Spirits 2 Asura Zanmaden and Kenkaku Ibunroku - Yomigaerishi Soukou no Yaiba - Samurai Supirittsu Shinshou respectively. Samurai Shodown VI was released for the Atomiswave arcade board and Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny was released for the Taito Type X2.Ports of most games existed — including two for the Neo-Geo Pocket — but were not numerous. A few Spin Offs were made, like Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits: Bushido Retsuden, (aka Samurai Shodown RPG) for the Neo-Geo CD, Nakoruru ~Ano Hito kara no Okurimono~ for the PC, as well as a pachislot game. A few characters have appeared in crossover games like the Capcom Vs. SNK series, and the third Days of Memories game features only Samurai Shodown characters.While perhaps not entirely historically authentic — the period between Sengoku and Bakumatsu was awfully short on fire-breathing kabuki actors, green cavemen, and clockwork robot onmyoji, and none of the Tokugawas was a Handsome Lech who wielded eight swords at once — the game is notable for its atmosphere, which enthusiastically recalls the Edo period's music, style of dress, etc.Incidentally, the title is deliberately misspelled, a sort of portmanteau of "showdown" and "shodo" (calligraphy). That doesn't mean that the games' English translations aren't full of accidental misspellings and "Blind Idiot" Translation, though...It is in its own way, a sort of spiritual predecessor and inspiration for the current dominant weapons fighter- Soul Calibur. It even gets some small nods in various outfits for the characters that echo those found in Samurai Shodown.
Affably Evil: Genan, who boasts of becoming the Demon King (King of Evil in SNK translation). Yet at the end of the day, he's just a disfigured oni-like creature with a glove inspired by Freddy Krueger, with a loving wife and kids he even brings with to work. See his ending in Samurai Shodown VI.
Alien: Can be found being cooked in a pot in Gen-An's Samurai Shodown 2 stage. Apparently creators thought it was not enough, and used him as main mascot of Yuga - who has some alien-based symbolics (can be found on her 1st boss form clothes and on some arenas), and in her 2nd and 3rd boss forms she has an Alien growing out of her back (with his head growing from the back of Yuga's humanoid head and their mouth movements being synchronized).
Another example is that of Charlotte-Oshizu-Haohmaru. Charlotte and O-Shizu were both in love with Haohmaru, but he is a Celibate Hero, dedicated entirely to fighting. While O-Shizu is depicted as being permanently interested in him and Haohmaru returning her feelings to a degree (he even kisses her in his SS 2 ending, though he also tells her she's better off without him), Charlotte eventualy renounces to her feelings (Important Haircut and all) once she finds Haohmaru and O-Shizu together at the end of the second game.
Already Done for You: Happens in Samurai Shodown IV - your rival kills the boss first if you don't reach the boss in time and you get the bad ending.
Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Amakusa's stage in the first game (and to an extent in the third, but he's not the boss). Mizuki's stage qualifies as well, seeing how its located in the Mt.Osore entrance to Demon World (Osore Zan Hell in SNK translation), and is filled with bizarre visuals.
in SSIV, either combatant reaching low health transforms the background into muted colors emblazoned with an image, symbolizing desperation.
Ambidextrous Sprite: Genjuro has a diagonal scar on his back. Yagyu Jubei has an eyepatch. They flip when the characters turn around.
That's not the worst of it. Haohmaru doesn't look as bad as some others (two-handed grip can just shift). One-handed weapon wielders (Charlotte, Cham Cham, Ukyo) can be handwaved by saying they're holding it in their other hand. Some two-handed wielders can get away with this too. Then there's Gen'an and Neinhalt Sieger, withtheir huge GLOVE weapons. Those..don't switch that easily...
The worst offender is Youkai Kusaregedo. He has presumably eaten off his own right forearm, leaving only a big, sharp bone as his weapon. This arm, of course, switches sides when he turns around.
Ambiguous Gender: Yumeji's - which was done intentionally. Amakusa (although male), often gets confused for a woman. Yuga's first form uses male body, while second and third use female body.
Ambiguously Brown: What are Tam Tam and Cham Cham, anyway? Their village appears to be in Venezuela. Their worship of Quetzalcoatl and use of the Nahuatl language suggests that they're Mexican Aztecs, although Tam Tam's fighting style is supposedly Mayan, and the Palenke Stone presumably refers to the Mayan city Palenque. There are a few hints that they're African (the Tangiers Stone, chimpanzees, Cham Cham's tiger-skin outfit), and Cham Cham's boomerang suggests that she's Indigenous Australian...
Anachronism Stew: The games are set in 1788-1811. Texas and San Francisco are part of the United States (Texas joined in 1845, California in 1850); Amakusa Shiro (1621-1638), Yagyu Jubei (1607-1650) and Hattori Hanzo (1542-1596) are all alive; Prussia is a feudal kingdom with castles, armored knights, and an Arthurian king; the White House has its modern appearance; and there are robots (well, "mechanical dolls"). So we have French knights, American ninja, and pseudo-Mexican warriors fight against fictionalized figures from Japanese history. In SS RPG, Sieger marries Queen Victoria, who wasn't even born until 1819.
Edge of Destiny ups the ante with, among others, a Western Knight, a Native American, a Toreador, a Cow Boy, a clone of Afro Samurai and a Viking.
And don't forget VI, which featured a Crane disguised as a maid, and someone who may be Andrew Jackson (as in "7th President of the United States" Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)).
Also Earthquake's neon-colored punk-ish clothing is soooo 1980-1990.
Anti-Magic: Yuga's energy shield that automatically forms in front of her against any attacks and dissipates when attacks end. It was so prominent that it got own card in Card Fighters' series, being the only ability of Yuga to ever get outside of Samurai Shodown series.
Arm Cannon: Hanma Yagyu and his mechancial counterpart Karakuri Hanma are armed with these. Sieger's gauntlet has limited shooting capabilities as well (mostly used for close-range fire blasts).
Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Genjuro Kibagami, who is pretty much always angry, has an intense rivalry with Haohmaru, and is just a sociopath in general. The only time he ever seems to enjoy himself at all is when he's cutting someone to shreds.
Also, Wan-fu, a gigantic Chinese royal who believes the path of the sword is "Possessing absolute power to crush his enemies." His character bio states he can kill a tiger in under three seconds, and that he insists he has no flaws and idolizes no one.
As Long as There Is Evil: Ambrosia and its servants are subjects of this trope. In RPG, its revealed that Ambrosia draws strength from negative emotions of humanity.
Ass Kicks You: Earthquake (a ton of fun), whether from above or his Fart of Death grapple; Wan Fu (still a big guy), from above, just sticking it out at the enemy on land, or sitting on the enemy in a grapple; Hanma (another big guy) sticking it out; Brutes and Kusaregedo by diving at opponent with their butt forward. And, for some reason, Cham Cham (the Cat Girl) does this too from above.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Gaoh, who is a ruler of one of Japan's provinces, leader of a rebel army, has deadly spear skills and can turn into a demon mid-battle by tapping into Dark Emperor's powers.
Enja's and Enja.Kazuki's behaviour also matches this trope.
An Axe to Grind: Garros and Black Hawk wield axes, and Asura has a giant living axe weapon. Notably, none of the Japanese characters wields such a weapon. (Garros is a viking, Black Hawk an american native and Asura well... is a demon.)
Badass: Tachibana Ukyo, obviously. Care for an explanation? This guy practices iajitsu, the art of sheathing the sword after each strike, simply because it looks cooler. Furthermore, he applies the Rule of Cool to himself, preferring to look stylish and lose, than to win by baser, or uncool, means. Finally, he fights with his back to his opponent. All the time. Most notably, if he fought head-on and kept his sword out, he would be even faster and more lethal, but his own adoption of the Rule of Cool outweighs such concerns. Badass to the max.
Oh, right, he also throws an apple in the air and cuts it into pieces before it hits the ground, and he coughs often, even coughing up blood, because he is supposed to be dying of tuberculosis. Ukyo's badassery just happens to be eclipse most of the other Badasses, who would be badass enough in plenty of other series (Jubei, for example).
Badass Back: The same Ukyo, who fights backturned all the time (at least in 2D games)
The Bad Guy Wins: In only one year after being defeated in Samurai Shodown 64, Yuga comes back, successfully enslaves Haohmaru and Shiki, plunges the world in darkness and nearly merges it with the Demon World. Then Asura unexpectedly comes and deals with Yuga for good...which doesn't change much since Asura is another bad guy.
Bald of Awesome: Samurai Shodown 2 had 5 bald characters at once (Genan, Wan-fu, Earthquake, Sieger and Nicotine) which equals to 1/3 of game's roster!! Sieger even was one of Chosen Ones in the plot. Since then players were introduced to Hanma Yagyu (owner of alternative palettes that made him bald), Daruma (old man who curiously wasnt bald in the artwork only) and Oboro (old balding last boss). In the epic display of baldness, Genan, Wan-fu, Earthquake, Sieger and Nicotine gather in Gaira's Samurai Shodown 5 ending and shave his head, making him a member of their bald group. With that, Gaira appears absolutely bald in Samurai Shodown 6, raising count of included bald characters to 6. While not technically bald, Youkai Kusaregedo exhibits male pattern baldness and only has a thin, if long, friars cap on his otherwise bare head.
Bare-Fisted Monk: Enja.Kazuki fights exlusively with punches, and Suija.Sogetsu with kicks. They have no weapons... becase they ARE weapons. They were the spirits residing in Kazuki and Sogetsu's weapons, and then took over their bodies.
Gaira literally looks like one, but is not - his massive beads are his weapon.
Barehanded Blade Block: A gameplay element implemented since the very first game and used in several (if not all) of the rest. Few players knew of its existence, though, and fewer took advantage of it, as it was hard to pull out (though not as much as the parries in the second game).
Beam Spam: Hanmen no Asura, and to far bigger degree - Yuga.
The Beastmaster: Nakoruru (with Mamahaha), Purple Nakoruru/Rera (with Shikuru), Galford (with Poppy), Cham Cham (with Paku Paku), Genjuro and Kyoshiro (with unnamed frogs), Mizuki (with Maju/Haon in RPG), Bizuki (with Haon in RPG), Rimururu (with Konru), Rinka (with Tetsunosuke), Mina (with Champuru).
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: All of the male characters even the very young Shizumaru can be cut into pieces in Samurai Shodown 3 but all of the female characters are immune.
Averted in Samurai Shodown 5 Special, where all female characters, even the extremely young and cute Rimururu, can be crushed, cut in half, eaten, dismembered, decapitated, or simply exploded into a rain of blood. Even in the versions without fatalities, the characters can still be cut in half at the conclusion of battle.
Become a Real Boy: Rasetsumaru plans to do this by killing Haohmaru and taking his place.
Berserk Button: Enja.Kazuki's Insanity Awakening (if you thought he couldnt get any more insane). Rasetsumaru's Death Curse move (he cuts himself to increase own rage).
Better to Die than Be Killed: The "suicide" (some of them aren't actual suicides) moves from Samurai Shodown 4. Worth only one KO, though, and can be used to ender "Raged" condition at beginning of next round.
Big Bad: Ambrosia, Yuga and Dark Emperor (each has a separate story arc).
Big Bad Wannabe: Sankuro is the embodiment of this trope. Also Genan, to lesser degree.
The Big Guy: Sieger and Wan-fu, Gaira, Hanma, Garyo, Walter and Garros. Those are the "powerhouse" class characters with "good" aligment.
BFS: Suzuhime. Asura, Hanmen no Asura and Yuda also carry very long swords in Sephiroth fashion. In fact, developers mentioned that Asura's sword was initially so long that its attacks had fullscreen range, so they were forced to shorten it for the sake of balance. Asura also has giant Beelzebub battle axe, impact of which can cause landslides.
Blade Below the Shoulder: Genans and Tashonmao's claw gauntlets. Kusaregedo's too, sort of (its a bone sticking out of his arm).
Subverted by Sieger's, Hanma's and Karakuri Hanma's gauntlet weapons that lack blades
Blade Lock: Sword Clash Competition gameplay element in all games of serie - which triggers a button-mashing contrest to overpower and disarm your opponent. Though it's a little silly when the claws disarm the giant beads.
Blade on a Stick: Kyoshiro, Taizan, Jin-Emon, Gaoh and Jinbei are all polearm users, which grants them extended weapon reach.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: All of the games in the series are full of this. One rather unusual example in the second game looks like an exception, when Cham Cham is regarding the SNK Boss right after she's declared her intent to 'eat, eat you all': 'Shit! You really make me mad!'
Samurai Shodown IV is always happy to declare "victoly!"... which is counterweighted with a "fatarity!!".
The referee's statement after anyone's second fight in 2 is "ki ga warui" (meaning, roughly, "something's not right" or "something strange is happening"). It was translated literally into English, into the immensely quoteworthy "Horrible atmosphere."
Bloodier and Gorier: From the third game onwards, blood became much more abundant and kills were more detailed and frequent. Fatalities could be used by the fourth installment and the very gory "Zetsumei Ougi / Overkill" was added to Samurai Shodown V Special. Then Samurai Shodown VI left out blood and death entirely, but by Edge of Destiny, they added back some very graphic death scenes.
Blood Knight: Haohmaru, who is on the scene just looking for a good fight. Almost everyone he encounters, especially bosses, will get this kind of response from him: "Hey, you gotta be strong, huh? All right, this is gonna be a good fight!"
Boisterous Bruiser: Haohmaru is one of the few who are main characters. He fights, he loves it, he likes boozing off with his sake, he tends to inspire a lot of the younger generations (like Red-Headed Hero Shizumaru) with his stern advice about battle. In fact, if there is trouble on the land, he's usually wandering around looking for good fights here and there, and either the Big Bads have to hunt him down themselves for their purposes, or he just approaches them demanding to know whether they're strong. Saving the world is for the heroine Nakoruru.
Bonus Boss: Also known as "intrusion characters", those are: Kuroko in Samurai Shodown II, Gandara in Samurai Shodown 64 and Asura Zanmaden, Sugoroku in Samurai Shodown VI.
Boring, but Practical: Few things are better for punishing an opponet's mistake than a simple fierce slash; given the high damage levels used in the series, this often becomes an extreme case of the use of this trope. Oh, and while it's true that landing a disarming desperation attack tends to make the fight easier, there are still several cases when merely causing a good amount of raw damage is much better.
Bowdlerise: The overseas home releases were infamously censored changing the blood color to white; sometimes it could be seen even in the arcades. The worst example was Samurai Shodown V Special, which got deaths and the fatalities removed/censored (even in Japan), reportedly causing bugs in the game. This led to a massive recall of games, but players were refunded with new copies that added the fatalities back in, but as modified Issens that caused a massive spray of blood and nothing else. There are currently 3 emulated versions of the game: one with the original fatalities and gore intact, another with completely white blood, no gore, but the fatalities still intact , and the last being the one with very little blood, no gore, and the Issen fatalities.
Break Meter: Samurai Shodown 1 is probably the Trope Codifier. Blocking too much or trading hits with a counter swing may lead up to weapon loss.
Samurai Shodown V retconned several things just for the sake of making at least some events to fill game's story mode with.
Samurai Shodown V Special had no storyline, and VI was an uncanon dream-match
Edge of Destiny looks like alternative universe too, or either it is one big retcon.
Can't Take Anything With You: While Asura traveled 20 years forward (as Yuda), he apparently left his memories behind, together with mastery of Seven Ancient Weapons.
Caramelldansen Vid: Here. To be more specific, this was based on "Nakoruru: Ano hito kara no okarimono" side game, known as Nakoruru ADV on the west.
The Care Taker: Ukyo to Kei Odagiri. Hanmen no Asura to Shiki. Jushiro to Saya and Rinka.
Catgirl: Cham Cham's got ears, mannerisms, a tail, walks on all fours, and scratches herself. Coincidentally, she's quite similar to Felicia from Darkstalkers...
Celibate Hero: Though Haohmaru has a girlfriend, his priority is fighting and O-Shizu knows that very well. Nakoruru is well aware of Galford's love for her, but she's too Married to the Job of being the priestess/spirit of Nature. The Nakoruru-centric OAV also hints that, if Nakoruru ever got married, much misfortune would follow. It happened to Nakoruru's parents, after all. But we don't know if said OAV is 100% canon or not...
Chainmail Bikini: Charlotte has the breastplate, what may be gloves, and what once looked like armoured (if heeled) boots that seem to turn a bit sexier in later games. Neinhalt Sieger is a more masculine example, bearing one (HUGE) gauntlet as well as greaves and kneepads. Torso protection? His big bare Teutonic chest.
Compilation Re-release: Samurai Shodown Anthology (Wii, PSP, PS2), which includes parts one through six in the series - but does not include Samurai Shodown V Special. Incidentally, this is the only way US and European players can play Samurai Shodown VI without resorting to importing the game from Japan. Luckily for them, Samurai Shodown VI has all Unlockable Content available from the start.
The Corruption: Rasetsu modes of characters. Particularly Haohmaru becomes a cold-blooded killer known as "Sword Demon Haohmaru", while Kazuki and Sogetsu become possessed by the gods.
Counter Attack: Jubei is famous for those, being able to catch opponent's weapon with one sword and counterattack with other, starting from Samurai Shodown 2. In later games, more characters gained reversal moves.
Creepy Child: This trope sometimes applies to Shizumaru and to Mikoto (especially in her childhood).
Creepy Doll: Karakuri Hanma. Especially with that BIG smile.
Creepy Monotone: Mugenji is the master of those. Basara takes the second place.
Cross Over: Versus series, Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2 and Card Fighters series featured (among others) characters from Samurai Shodown.
Cursed with Awesome: Basara, first appearing in Samurai Shodown 3, is a ghost. In the living world, Basara can teleport through shadow, transform into a shadowy bat, and control his chain blade with his mind. He wants his "accursed" existence to end so he can stay with his beloved Kagaribi in the afterlife. After Samurai Shodown V storyline retcon, in his Samurai Shodown V ending, he recovers a repressed memory: he, not Zankuro, had killed Kagaribi.
Cute Monster Girl / Cat Girl: Cham-Cham, Tam-Tam's little sister. How much is her outfit and how much is real is hard to tell. What doesn't help is she tends to scratch for fleas at times. And asks the Kuroko referee 'Is it OK in this direction?' when doing so.
Dark Chick: Role of Mizuki, Han-In to nari shi Shiki, Mikoto and Angelica.
Darker and Edgier: The whole series can get dark in tone, but it varies from game to game. III and IV in particular have a bit of a mournful tone and a dark color palette. VI is the exception: it has a matsuri (festival) setting, and notably, no blood.
Dark Messiah: Amakusa is the embodiment of this. If not enough, there is Aku Amakusa who is even more fanatical and evil.
Delinquents: Yaci, Haito, their Shibito gang, Brutes, Ran Po, Minto.
Earthquake, Sankuro and their gangs rise above being mere delinquents by having more experience and ambitions.
Demonic Possession: Amakusa over Shinzo Hattori's body. Mizuki over Bizuki's body. Enja and Suija over random ninja bodies and then over Kazuki and Sogetsu's bodies to form Enja.Kazuki and Suija.Sogetsu. Dark Emperor over Yunfei and then over Gaoh. Yuga partially over Shiki, and then over Mikoto.
Demoted to Extra: Several characters in the Samurai Shodown series, including Earthquake, Wan-Fu, Genan, Sieger, Jubei and Cham Cham (although a few of them returned as playable characters in later games, and Jubei was included in certain ports of Samurai Shodown III).
Desperation Attack: Samurai Shodown 5 introduced a mechanic called Mu no Kyouchi ("State of Nothingness"), which caused the opponent to slow down and allowed the use od damaging Issen attack - but could only be accessed after one already lost a round and had lost a certain level of health. Also inverted with the game's Death Ougi finishing attacks, which only worked if the opponent had already lost a round and a certain amount of health.
Determinator: Enja.Kazuki and Suija.Sogetsu in Fire Emperor and Water Emperor modes respectively (they gain constant superarmor). Garyo and Tashonmao too, since they can cast 1-hit superarmor on themselves.
Gandara takes the cake, being in superarmor at all times, being unable to get thrown or knocked down, having higher than average defence and LOTS of unblockable attacks. He can literally chew you, spit you out and squash you afterwards.
Devil but No God: Reoccurring theme in series, since the heroes play the part of devil's counterpart instead.
Double Jump: Aerial - Iroha in Samurai Shodown VI, and Yunfei too - with help of special move. If wall jump is counted - then most light characters in series AND Earthquake.
Double Knockout: Samurai Shodown games count this as a win for both fighters (and go into a 30-second sudden death mode if it happens both times). In the 3D titles, Issen Competititon activates instead to decide the winner.
In the earlier games, a double knockout was called a Double Fatality, even though the characters would stand up after the end of the fight. In SS 5 Special, characters could actually be cut in half during a double knockout, but would continue to fight in the next round.
Downer Ending: Ending of Nakoruru ADV game Yantamu dies trying to save Nakoruru, then she dies as well, and its implied they happily reunited in afterlife. Many of the characters have downer endings in several games, ending in the demise of themselves or a loved one. Mina's SS 5 ending is possibly the worst, as she has to kill her adorable pet, after which it is heavily implied that she kills herself.
The Dragon: Gandara, Deku, Hanmen no Asura, Yumeji and coincidentally named Draco.
Dragon Ball: Kazuki, Enja, Kazuki and Enja are all considered nods to it, based on immediately recognizable looks, haircut and powers (giant fireballs anyone?). In most of his appearances, Kazuki even had Goku-resembling alternative palette (black hair, orange outfit), and his upgrade to Enja.Kazuki (later separate character Enja) featured color change to blonde - a nod to the Super Saiyan change.
Interestingly, Suija's third palette (black hair, brown pants) in Samurai Shodown V Special became widely known as "Raditz palette" amongst japanese fans, again due to certain similarities to that character.
Eldritch Abomination: Ambrosia and its stage in Samurai Shododwn RPG; then Hanmen no Asura's stage in Samurai Spirits Asura Zanmaden (which apparently was influenced by aforementioned Ambrosia setting).
Elemental Punch: Samurai Shodown 2 had Wan-fu channel flame through his weapon. Which might be a bit of overkill, since the weapon involved is a huge stone pillar. Galford, Enja and Suija are all subjects of this trope as well.
Elemental Powers: Out the yin-yang. Galford uses electricity, Hanzo, Kyoshiro, Kazuki and Enja use fire, Yunfei (and to some) degree) Haohmaru use wind, Sogetsu and Suija use water, Rimururu uses ice. Hanmen no Asura uses light, shadows and dark electricity at once.
Based on his special move names, Jubei's projectiles and super are composed out of "reflected moonlight"
Notably, fire is pretty prevalent in 2. Hanzo, Ukyo, Kyoshiro, Sieger, Charlotte, Wan Fu, Earthquake, Nakoruru, Cham Cham, Caffeine Nicotine, and final boss Mizuki ALL have at least one manoeuvre that leaves you engulfed in flame. That's ELEVEN out of seventeen fighters. And the guy who runs by in the background? He tosses firebombs at the fight every so often, too.
The Emperor: Suija.Sogetsu and Enja.Kazuki could enter Fire and Water Emperor modes that fused them with their elements. Yuga's full name is Kaitei Yuga (lit. "Emperor of Destruction Yuga"). Then we got Dark Emperor (Kuraki Sumeragi in japanese) as last boss of Samurai Shodown V (fused with Gaoh).
Golba made few moves that affected countries across world, so he is partially a subject of this trope.
Enemy to All Living Things: Mizuki and Rasetsumaru. Kusaregedo - when he is hungry (almost constantly). Also, Asura/Yuda - to all things that happen to stand in his way.
Enemy Mine: Haohmaru and Genjuro, Asura and Hanmen no Asura.
Kazuki and Sogetsu are subjects of this trope as well, but only formally (as Sogetsu actually has no intention to execute his renegade brother).
Enemy Within: Enja, Suija, Yuga and Dark Emperor to Kazuki, Sogetsu, Shiki/Mikoto, and Yunfei/Gaoh respectively.
Enigmatic Minion: Draco, although it may be explained by Golba simply hiring him.
Epic Flail: If we're going to count kusarigama, then Earthquake should be here. With a justified reason why the blunt head at the end of the chain is as big as a normal person's head — so are his fists.
In III, IV, 64 and its sequel playable characters have "Shura" (Asura, localized as Slash) and "Rasetsu" (Rakshasa, localized as Bust) modes. The "rasetsu" modes are the "heel" versions (either more evil, bloodthirsty, or using forbidden techniques), while "shura" modes are basically everyday "face" versions of characters. This was done to add more variety to gameplay and increase number of characters without need to draw new sprites. Warriors Rage (PS), V and later do not have these modes, but Rasetsumaru (based on Rasetsu Haohmaru) and Rera (based on Rasetsu Nakoruru) became separate characters instead.
Subverted by Hanmen no Asura who is a (standalone character) Good Twin to Asura, while serving as his "Rasetsu" version in game's roster.
Evil Weapon: Can't get more evil than Asura's Seven Ancient Weapons, which are forms taken by demon lords that rule over seven deadly sins.
Also backstory of Genjuro's weapon reveals that his sword drove its wielder into killing frenzy and could make him insane (the swordsmith being the first victim), and it traveled from person to person causing various accidents, and was feared as cursed blade.
Oboro's weapons are said to be inhabited by evil spirits. Mikoto's and Rasetsumaru's weapons are classified as cursed weapons as well. Mikoto's was given to her by Oboro, and Rasetsumaru (as demon) probably brought his sword from Hell
Both male and female Deku have swords similar in style to Asura's and Oboro's weapons (same ornaments and eye inscriptions), most likely being of hellish origin as well.
Excited Show Title!: The Neo Geo Pocket Colour versions of Samurai Shodown are called Samurai Shodown! and Samurai Shodown 2!
Expy: Kim Hae-Ryeong shares the family name (Kim) and the same general look of a certain King of Fighters character, but it is a very common Korean family name and the look seems fairly basic... until he confronts Draco with "Aku wa yurusan!"
Eyes Do Not Belong There: Asura's Seven Ancient Weapons have eyes all around them, the eyes actually move and watch the opponent.
Eyepatch of Power: Since Jubei is supposed to be the one from real life, he wears an eyepatch.
Face: Shura/Slash version of a character in series.
Disc One Final Boss: Yuga's male form. In Samurai Shodown 64 after Yuga's defeat, its body just falls down like broken doll as another entity emerges from it and flies away only to disappear with characteristic laugh. In the sequel, we are introduced to Yuga's female form which is the true boss.
Fanservice: Almost entirely avoided in the first, third and fourth games (the second game had Cham Cham). Then came Mina, and let's not even talk about Iroha, whose special attack involves her getting her opponent behind two shoji doors, stripping naked and then beating up the enemy. Yeah...
Fartillery: One of Earthquake's grapples. Literally. Slashing wrong image in his dublication technique also leaves a gas bomb, as opposed to Hanzo's fire bomb or Galford's electric bomb.
Fat Bastard: Earthquake, the 1,380-pound ninja. From Texas. One hundred years before Texas existed. In his profile, it's stated that he likes people fatter than he is, and dislikes "skinny people".
Fetus Terrible: An embryo appearing in the center of eye on giant sphere in Mizuki's stage (Yuga's fetus symbol may be related to it too) - it symbolizes the rebirth of Dark God in the realm of humans.
Unborn children that were changed by Yuga's magic are the subject of this trope as well.
Also Yuga's spirit escaping into Shiki's daughter (Mikoto) before she was born.
Field Trip to the Past: Hero and his party going 200 years back at one point the second chapter in Samurai Shodown RPG (where Mizuki is the main antagonist), to participate in the past battle against Mizuki.
Finishing Move: Under special circumstances, Samurai Shodown IV and V Special allow the winning player to perform an unique fatality-like move on the opponent (those are often gory) - while conditions were never mentioned anywhere in-game). Most of games also allow generic finishers, where some slashes can actually bisect or cause High-Pressure Blood to erupt. - although characters with blunt weapons have no access to dismembering generic finishers, and only can do a "wall slam" finish. Also, suicide motion allows characters to perform a fatality on themselves - in IV, V and V Special.
Fireballs: Nearly everyone has them, and Kazuki can used them as powerups (aside of using them as projectiles).
Flaming Sword: Kazuki in Samurai Shodown wields a flaming sword. Enja has flaming fistcuffs, Sieger and Wan-fu can set their weapons on fire during special moves.
Flash Step: Incorporated in the techniques of Ukyo, Seishiro, Tohma, Haito and Daruma.
Flight: Hanmen no Asura, Han-In to nari shi Shiki, Ran Po, Minto, Yunfei.
Also Nakoruru when carried by her hawk, Shizumaru when gliding on his umbrella. Suija's special move are executed exlusively from air, and his gameplay consists from jumping and diving through air, although he actually flies only in his intro/win poses. Suija.Sogetsu shows ability to fly only during his super.
Freak Out: Basara and Mugenji. Kazuki once possessed by Enja.
Free-Range Children: Shizumaru who wanders the country in all the games. Apparently Haohmaru started to do this being 15-years old. Next we have 14-years old Suzuhime doing this in Samurai Shodown Sen.
Dont forget Nakoruru, Rimururu and Mina who are pretty young as well.
Friendly Enemy: Haohmaru and Genjuro, somewhat. Haohmaru wont even recognize him as an enemy, only as a rival.
Honorable mention for Mario from Warriors Rage (PS)
The Gambler: Genjuro is an avid player of hanafuda, and cards from it figure heavily (though perhaps figuratively) into nearly all of his special moves. Gambling also seems to one of sources of his income (aside of being a hitokiri - a killer for hire).
Gang Bangers: Yaci, Haito, and their Shibito gang. Also Brutes.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Not that the series needs it with all the gore it's displayed historically, but the credits of SSIV list a certain programmer who uses the alias of "LLAOYLLAKCUF◊". Sounds like gibberish? Try reading that backwards.
Ghost Lights: Basara can summon one called Soul of Nue, as his special move. He also can dissolve into similar form himself, and reform into humanoid form at other location.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Ma Gaoh. There's no lead up to his appearance, he doesn't quite fit the lighthearted festival atmosphere of SSVI, and he's never spoken of again up on his defeat. He fits all the requirements for this trope to a tee.
The Glasses Come Off: Andrew of Samurai Shodown removes his glasses before fighting. This is not the case for other three glasses-wearing characters (Taizan, Samurai and Jinbei).
Also the queen in Charlotte's Samurai Shodown 1 intro (exclusive to portable version of game) - who was possessed by the demon.
Good Wings, Evil Wings: Asura is an anti-hero, who is shown having 8 black feathered wings (although he only had 2 in OVA). Hanmen no Asura is an anti-villain with 4 white feathered wings. Yuga is a villain with 2 small demon wings that can grow to form bigger, insect-like wings. Mikoto is shown having one white and one black wing, which represent good & evil halves of her personality (the latter being a result of Yuga possession). Yuda is an anti-hero who is show having single black feathered wing - that happened after he lost 7 Ancient Weapons (and 7 out of 8 wings) as Asura. Also, his weapons happen to be the seven demon lords, that show in humanoid forms in his ending, each having single black feathered wing as well.
Gonk: Genan Shiranu is so terrifically ugly that it is impossible to even tell his species. (He's not a tengu, and he's not an oni, but he definitely isn't human...), who somehow managed to get a hot wife. There's also obese Texan ninja Earthquake, and then there's Kusaregedo, who's uglier than Genan and Earthquake combined (thats ''while his design was based on aforementioned two characters').
Mai Shiranui sometimes is named as Genan's descendant, but according to SNK, they just share family name and are not related. Additionally, Mai kills Genan in his Samurai Shodown 1 ending.
Good Bad Translation: Samurai Shodown series never got around to fixing the title either. Considering SNK's track record on weird translations, whether or not this was intentional from the second game onwards is anyone's guess.
Speaking of Samurai Shodown, this classic from the fourth game in that series: "VICTOLY!"
Absolutely ridiculous translations. That's SNK. And don't forget it, dweebenheimer!
The original US title of the game was actually supposed to be Shogun Shodown. The name was changed before release, but the intentional misspelling was kept.
Gory Discretion Shot: While Samurai Shodown usually averts this, a couple of characters use this for particularly gruesome finishing moves. Kusaregedo for example, hauls the enemy offscreen before devouring them. He then lumbers back onscreen and coughs up their skull. Suija lifts his enemy offscreen, crushes and liquefies him/her and let their blood rain down on him!
Half the Man He Used to Be: A longtime feature of the Samurai Shodown series is being able to slice your opponent in half if you hit them hard enough. This is usually either at the waist or a Diagonal Cut. Vertical cut is present in Samurai Shodown IV fatalities and in Samurai Shodown V Special as one of generic finishers.
Handsome Lech: Yoshitora Tokugawa ... who can actually run away from the middle of a fight if a girl calls his name. Oh, and he's also the heir to the friggin' Tokugawa shogunate. Also subverted by Ukyo, who has the 'handsome' part, but not the 'lech'.
In Samurai Shodown IV and Asura Zanmaden, all characters can recover a part of life while they delay their get up from ground. Samurai Shodown VI offers this only for console-version exclusive "Animal Spirit" groove.
Heel: Rasetsu/Bust version of a character in series.
Heel-Face Turn: Shiro Amakusa Tokisada from Samurai Shodown turns into a good spirit, since evil half of his soul got separated from him (Samurai Shodown IV). He then sacrifices himself to protect the heroes in Samurai Shodown II.
Helpful Mook: Mario (NPC, one of Mikoto's servants) in Warriors Rage (PS).
Henchmen Race: Deku and Gandaras produced en masse during Asura Zanmaden (you can even see a Gandara plant in one of game's stages). They were a kind of Elite Mooks in previous game.
Hero Antagonist: Haohmaru in Warriors Rage (PS). He wants to save Mikoto, but at that moment she is technically one of the villains, and good guys want to kill the villains, so Haohmaru clashes swords with the main hero Seishiro (in drama CD) and Hanzo (in game itself).
Heroes Love Dogs: Galford, the All-American hero from Samurai Shodown has his loyal pet dog as a combat gimmick.
Hide Your Children: Averted - in all but one game (and there only by accident), the finishing moves are useable on everyone, regardless of age.
A literal use comes into play with one of the installments: a couple of kids attempt to play in the streets of a largely abandoned village complete with the SS3/4 Empathic Environment right before a match. A lady (presumably their mother) quickly comes in and gets them to run off. Good move.
Highly-Visible Ninja: Galford (doesn't cover his head, he wears blue, and he fights with his dog who follows him even when he is invisible) and Earthquake. Good god Earthquake.
High-Pressure Blood: Kill any opponent with a blade attack while they are on the ground and you might see them eject their entire circulatory system before they slump to the ground, obviously dead from exsanguination. Occasionally sprayedall overthe winner in some of the games.
Hitbox Dissonance: Hattori Hanzo's super in Samurai Shodown III had a hitbox that stuck around nearly a second after the actual explosion. Worse, it did not combo with the rest of the attack, meaning that a person who blocked the attack could let off the block a moment too early, and end up taking the full brunt of it anyway. Most of hitboxes in that game heavily suffered from lack of testing.
Another case would be Bust Galford in the same game, who possesses a move that can be performed either with or without his weapon. When he has his weapon its a moderately damaging attack, but when he's unarmed, it becomes the second strongest move in the game that isn't a Rage super as not only does it do massive damage but it also has a ridiculous amount of hitstun that allows you to chain the move into itself until you win or stun the other fighter if it's not blocked.
Hoist by His Own Petard: In Samurai Shodown V Special, demon characters have unique effects if subjected to Basara's decapitating fatality. Enja's (fire demon) head will explode, Suija's (water demon) head will collapse into puddle of water, and Kusaregedo's (flesh-eating demon) head will melt into a fleshy mess.
Image Song: Some image songs for Samurai Shodown exist, at least for Nakoruru and Rimururu (like Egao de Iru for the latter).
I'm a Humanitarian: Kusaregedo is a huge, deformed, demonic creature who got to be that way by eating people, and his goal in entering the tournament is to track down and eat one of the other fighters. In his ending, he eats his daughter instead.
Implacable Man: Gandara. He is in full-fledge superarmor mode all the time.
Important Haircut: Charlotte Christine Colde grew her blond hair long in SS 2. When she saw her crush (Haohmaru) was already spoken for (by Oshizu), she decides to not pine away for him and cuts her hair short with her rapier.
In his Samurai Shodown V ending, instead of killing Yumeji, Ukyo just cuts off the ponytail.
Impossibly Cool Weapon: Azure and Crimson Flash swords (wielded by Seishiro and Tohma) have transparent, crystallic blades. Asura's and Hanmen no Asura's weapons are also subjects of this trope.
Improbable Weapon User: Wan Fu (stone pillar, but only in the second game - in the first he used a broadsword), Neinhalt Sieger (giant gauntlet with built-in cannon), Kafuin Gaira (prayer beads), Hanma and Karakuri Hanma (gauntlets with built-in cannons), Morozumi Taizan (giant calligraphy brush), Hisame Shizumaru (umbrella). One of Asura's Seven Ancient Weapons is a shield, that attacks opponent with spikes. Honourable mention for Cham Cham, who uses a sharpened boomerang as a melee weapon.
Storyline-wise, Hanma created his weapon based on Sieger's.
Giant prayer beads like Gaira's were developed specifically for use as weapons when carrying conventional ones like swords was made illegal in ancient China.
Incurable Cough of Death: Subverted by Ukyo Tachibana, who was designed with the apparent intention of being killed off by illness, but (with the exception of an obscure and unpopular side game) never has been, due to his popularity among the gamers.
In Love with Your Carnage: Amakusa to Haohmaru (even mentioned in his Samurai Shodown 1 info tab)...later led to Amakusa's creation of Rasetsumaru.
Instant Runes: Amakusa (from the 3rd game onwards) and Mizuki can make rune-like images to attack. Asura also has own rune-like font, which is used for inscriptions on his weapons, as well as in game's intro and in OVA when he names his attacks.
Interface Screw: Caffeine Nicotine had a move like this in Samurai Shodown 2; so did unplayable boss Mizuki. In Mizuki's case, being hit by the attack while suffering from it reverses the reversal. Shiki and Taizan also possess such powers.
Joke Character: Kuroko, the fight referee, is playable in some games. Poppy, Galford's dog companion, is playable in Samurai Shodown V. VI adds Sugoroku;
Characters like Genan, Earthquake, Hanma, Karakuri Hanma, Minto, Tashonmao and Kusaregedo are clearly series' fun factor fodder.
In SS 2 and possibly some others, Kuroko is in fact a Game Breaker (playable in the home versions), just as strong or maybe stronger than the final boss: partly because of his large arsenal of attack Shout Outs to other SNK fighters and weird attacks other characters have trouble countering, including a ranged attack that pulls in the opponent and stuns them which can be repeated for an infinite combo, the ability to split in 2 horizonally when hit by the opponent's attack and have one half of him blow up, and an extremely powerful and quick Desperation Attack that takes out roughly 90% of the opponent's health if it connects.
Ki Attacks: An explanation to a number of special moves, as probably in every fighting game. Particularly, Yunfei specializes in channeling his ki through the air to create a cutting wind, and also can drain ki from opponent's body.
Kick Them While They Are Down: Ground Pursuit (of a downed opponent) is a gameplay element starting from Samurai Shodown IV. In Asura Zanmaden, some special moves get this function too. And if you were knocked down during boss fight vs Yuga, she would spam so much spells that you probably wont get up alive.
Kid Hero: Out of series' main heroes: Shizumaru is experienced (in killing people) 14-years old swordsman; Seishiro is basically a 17 years old Master Swordsman, and Suzuhime is a 14-years old princess that wields a giant sword, can lift a person with it and spin them overhead.
Kid Sidekick: Shizumaru and Takechiyo to Haohmaru, somewhat. They were his disciples for short periods of time.
Kill It with Fire: Abundance of fire-based attacks in series. ESPECIALLY in Samurai Shodown 2.
Les Collaborateurs: Genan, Earthquake and Genjuro to Mizuki in Samurai Shodown 2; Genan and Earthquake to Amakusa in first OVA.
Like a Badass out of Hell: Samurai Shodown VI boss Ma Gaoh (Ma stands for Makai no Suberubeshi - oppressor of demon world). A demon-possessed version of Gaoh, who managed to take over Hell by abusing power of Dark Emperor (who possessed him in first place), and riding him like own horse (!). And if thats not enough, the first picture that greets you before fighting Ma Gaoh is him stomping the head of Lucifer.
Living Weapon: Asura's Seven Ancient Weapons are the forms taken by seven demon lords under his command. They show living traits in weapon forms too, such as moving the eyes inscribed on weapons to look at the opponent, and turning red when they become raged.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Currently, series have around hundred of characters (without counting lots of NPC that get mentioned here and there).
Loony Fan: Fuyo to Sankuro. He also expressed desire to sell her into a brothel, should he become short on money.
Love Makes You Evil: The only reason Basara's still "alive" is because of his love for his wife Kagaribi.
Made of Iron: Characters hit each other with swords and big blunt objects but cause no visible wounds. Somewhat needed, though, otherwise these games could be very, very short (as was seen in case of Samurai Shodown 3 where matches could end in 3 hits).
Made of Plasticine: A single sword strike, at the very end of the match, can split a character in half.
Magnet Hands: Characters can drop their weapons only after being hit by certain moves, although they are just stuck in the ground and can be picked up quickly. however the fast paced, high-damage nature of the game means that if this happens, only a skilled player will be able to escape painful. In most of 3D titles, characters cant drop their weapons at all.
The Man Behind the Man: Ambrosia behind Amakusa and Mizuki, Jigen Taishi behind Oboro, Dark Emperor behind Gaoh.
Manipulative Bastard: Golba, succeeded to manipulate several countries into waging a war, and caused all kinds of political turmoil around the world, so his own country would come out stronger compared to others.
Market-Based Title: Samurai Spirits is known as Samurai Shodown outside Japan: an odd case considering the international title actually misspells the replacement word ("Showdown").
Mask Power: Tam-Tam, to the point that he was brought back to life by having his mask returned to him.
Meteor Move: Hanzo Hattori and Galford from Samurai Shodown also have a "grab your opponent, leap up and slam his head into the ground" move. Unusual because, at least in the first game, the Mighty Glacier types didn't have any throws or grabs outside the basic ones, but these two lightweight Ninja did. And could leap into the air with all but the biggest one of them.
Kusaregedo has own version of such grab, where he jumps with opponent in air, and then falls knee pressing their head against the ground. This is the most damaging command grab amongst 2D titles, and deals 40% damage.
Mighty Glacier: Earthquake, who somewhat subverts the trope by being a half-ton ninja, as well as Wan-Fu, Gaira, Hanma and Karakuri Hanma.
Garyo the Whirlwind would be fitting for this trope (at least visually), had he not earned the "Whirlwind" nickname based on his movement speed.
Mind over Matter: All of Yuga's melee attacks directly attack the opponent by transcending space, similarly to telekinesis. Mikoto (who is possessed by Yuga) can telekinetically toss her weapon in various trajectories across the stage. Suija seemingly uses telekinesis in his fatality, although this can be explained by his water powers used to manipulate opponent's body water.
Mirror Match: In different games of series, some characters have special pre-battle dialogue when entered in a Mirror Match; for example, Ukyo Tachibana remarks "Cutting same face...feels bad..."
Miyamoto Musashi: Haohmaru is a direct Shout-Out to Musashi, just like Ukyo Tachibana is one to his rival Kojiro. Takechiyo is too, with his (younger) version of Musashi design being ripped directly from beginning of Vagabond manga.
This also the main occupation of Champuru, subverted by the fact that he isnt human.
Moveset Clone: Aside of Shura/Rasetsu character mode pairings, there are 3 distinct examples:
Nakoruru and Rimururu with the latter starting as a headswap of the former.
Questionable at best, since Nakoruru hails from the first game, while Rimururu doesn't even appear until Samurai Shodown III. You can be the judge. Their Samurai Shodown III sprites are in the top center.
Hanzo and Galford. They are headswaps of each other and share a good deal of their movesets.
Haohmaru and Genjuro, played up as rivals canonically. Both have fireballs, anti-airs, and body projectile moves, but do not play identically.
My Name Is ???: Kuroko's name card in the non-continue game credits for Samurai Shodown 2 is obscured and "????" is read below, regardless if you fought him or not. Suppossedly what's obscured is his real name (Kuroko is an alias).
Tohma (who only thinks how his swordsmanship has no equal and only cares about himself) may be a subject of this trope as well.
Nature Hero: Nakoruru and her sister Rimururu in Samurai Shodown. Subverted that although they are very much aware that they fight for the preservation of nature, they are much more intelligent and aware of the outside world.
Nature Spirit: Any game after Samurai Shodown 2 chronologically, Nakoruru.
Probably her adoptive (post-Samurai Shodown 5 retcon) sister Rimururu, too. (weird she dosn't age in the 20 years between SS64-2 and Warrior's Rage (the PS game))
She haven't aged because she was sealed by Oboro and surrounded by protective ice for those years. This is evident by the fact that she acts very surpirsed seeing Haohmaru being old and wearing a beard.
Near Villain Victory: In only one year after being defeated in Samurai Shodown 64, Yuga comes back, successfully enslaves Haohmaru and Shiki, plunges world in darkness and nearly merges it with Demon World. Then Asura unexpectedly comes and deals with Yuga for good.
Nice Hat: Caffeine Nicotine wears a nice-sized one. When armed, he swings it as his weak slash/punch. When unarmed, he just swings it for all side moves. And if he does a dive roll, the hat itself is what's seen as rolling along its brim. Ushiwakahime from SS RPG uses her hat as her main weapon. Later we got Daruma, who had a hat that could probably cover him whole, had an angry red face on it, and in one of endings he uses it as a boat(!)
The Nicknamer: Minto. She even affected names of Mugenji's special moves.
Ninja Scroll: Some of the character designers also worked on Samurai Shodown, reflected most blatantly in the design of Dakuan, who could be easily confused for Caffeine Nicotine. Kibagami Jubei's name comes from Kibagami Genjuro and Yagyu Jubei. Mujuro is reminiscient of Tachibana Ukyo and of course has the same gimmick as Zatoichi.
Not to mention some of the other devils.
Benisato shares similarities with Shiki from Samurai Shodown 64.
Yurimaru is sorta similar to Amakusa in a way.
Shijima = Basara, although he didn't appear until 2 years later in Samurai Shodown 3.
And finally Genma, whose mechanical arm makes him a clear predecessor to Sieger.
Non-Human Sidekick: Mamahaha to Nakoruru, Shikuru to Purple Nakoruru/Rera, Poppy to Galford, Paku Paku to Cham Cham, unnamed frog to Genjuro, Maju to Mizuki, Haon to Mizuki & Bizuki, Konru to Rimururu, Tetsunosuke to Rinka, Champuru to Mina. Most of those animals are even playable separately, in latter games.
Kagaribi to Basara, in a way (since she is a ghost that accompanies him).
Non-Linear Sequel: Every 2D Samurai Shodown has been a non-linear sequel since Samurai Shodown II. III and IV are set after the original game but before II, while V and VI are prequels to the first game. Oddly enough, the 3D games are all true sequels to Samurai Shodown II, although the PS version of Warriors' Edge (which is a different game from the arcade version) takes place in the distant future of the other games.
Not So Invincible After All: Ukyo Tachibana was set up for this with his tuberculosis, but due to his popularity, SNK has never followed through, except in the (canonically happening near end of series) Samurai Spirits Asura Zanmaden (Samurai Shodown 64 Warriors Rage). This was retconned seeing how he is alive and well in Edge of Destiny which happens few years after Asura Zanmaden.
Numbered Sequels: All seven of the 2D Samurai Shodown games received consecutive numbers from II to VI (plus V Special) for their English-language releases. The original Japanese releases of each game had a variation of the original Samurai Spirits title and some were prequels. Still, Samurai Shodown V is known in Japan as Samurai Spirits Zero. The fictional chronology of the 2D titles goes like this: V, I, III, IV, and II; with VI being set in an alternate universe with all the characters from the previous games. Thus, all the numbered sequels after II were really prequels in terms of plot.
The Obi-Wan: Yunfei is the embodiment of this trope. Also old Haohmaru in Warriors Rage (PS).
Oddly Named Sequel: In Japan, Samurai Spirits Shinsho (PS game) is a sequel to Samurai Spirits: Asura Zanmaden (arcade game). English titles of both versions named them Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage, fooling many people into believing that the PS game was a port of said arcade game.
Older than They Look: Enja, Suija, Nicotine and Yunfei (the first two show their actual age during their suicide moves - they turn into skeletons and then into dust). Shockingly, Nicotine is the youngest of four.
Amakusa is quite old as well, but it doesnt counts since he is an undead. Asura is ancient but he doesnt looks quite human, too.
Old Master: Haohmaru's master, Caffeine Nicotine (Yes, that's his name). Also Yunfei (master of Enja and Suija) is a Very Old Master, being more that 1000 years old. Old Haohmaru and Daruma from Warriors Rage (PS) are variations of this trope, as well.
One-Dimensional Thinking: Samurai Shodown II is the first and probably only Fighting Game in which you can just lie down on the floor in order to dodge a horizontal swipe or a projectile.
This maneuver is also available in Samurai Shodown V, V Special and VI
One-Hit Kill: Zankuro's Desperation Attack in the fourth game, but only if he hits you mid-air, for some reason. Samurai Shodown V Special had the "Zetsumei Ougi or Overkill", which would kill the opponent (if a round had been already won, though), ending the match in a very gory fatality.
One-Winged Angel: Literally - Yuda's design. Like Sephiroth, he has single black wing over his shoulder (when its not visible, he has black wing tattoo there isntead), has similar design of shoulder pads on straps, he also has very long sword, and in his ending he grows a number of white wings aside of single black wing - akin to Safer Sephiroth. Also, inscription on his official artwork reads "Angel of Death - One-Winged Death God - Yuda" (?????????????, Shi no Tenshi ? Katayoku no Shinigami ? Yuda), which is a throwback to Sephiroth's music theme "One-Winged Angel (?????, Katayoku no Tenshi), which is a trope namer.
Each of the seven demon lords that serve him (as Seven Ancient Weapons) also has a single black wing.
Asura's design also shares few throwbacks to Sephiroth, being tall, long-haired man in a black leather outfit, wielding very long sword, and although his hair is black, it turns white in rage.
Regarding actual application of this trope (final forms of bosses), Yuga has 2nd and 3rd form in Asura Zanmaden, while Gaoh can transform into Dark Emperor in Samurai Shodown V.
Onmyodo: Practioners of it (onmyouji) include Nicotine, Taizan and Ochamaro's unnamed creator. Nicotine uses O-fuda cards for spells and summons (including Shikigami summons), while Taizan uses Five Elements seals. Of course, both have exorcist practice. Ochamaro is basically a mechanic onmyouji and was created to seal demons.
Our Elves Are Better: Most characters in series that originate from Makai (Demon World) seem to have pointy ears - that includes Asura, Hanmen no Asura, Yuga, Yuda, and, in some depictions, Enja and Suija. Hanmen no Asura and Han-In to nari shi Shiki have alternative palettes which make them look like High Elves. Moreso in their primary palettes their (as well as Asura's, Yuga's and Yuda's) skin is grey and also Han-In to nari shi Shiki's hair is white, similarly to Dark Elves.
Ouroboros: One of Yuga's symbols depicts an Alien-based serpent eating his own tail (actually one of two tails) to form 8-like shape. Warriors Rage (PS) has another throwback to this, with characters referring to Yuga as to "Serpent of Time".
Outlaw: There are lots of those, including but not limited to: Earthquake, Genjuro, Zankuro, Sankuro, and many members of Samurai Spirits Shinsho.
Out of Focus: Cham Cham, although popular, has only appeared in a few games. Also. Earthquake and Gen-an, followed by other "lost after SS 2" characters such as Wan-fu, Sieger and Nicotine.
Asura appeared in only one game of series, and got a cult following - the demand for him was so high thar developers were forced to include him to Neo Geo Battle Coliseum. Also true for Shiki, but she managed to appear in several more games before that.
Palette Swap: Used in 2D games of series as a way to gradually change skin color as characters Rage more.
Another famous example of the skin-color aspect of this trope is Nakoruru. Her 2nd player palette made her look like her own Evil Twin. The idea was developed on with subsequent games, and evolved into body-sharing character Purple Nakoruru/Evil Nakoruru, and later in separate character, Rera
In same fashion Kim Ung Che was created as "separate" character from Gaira in Samurai Shodown VI.
Paper Fan of Doom: In the first two games, Kyoshiro's projectile is a burning folding fan; he also uses fans to hit his opponents at close range.
Also, Ochamaro's weapon of choice is a pair of fans, albeit metal ones.
Parasol of Pain: Shizumaru Hisame. He does have a concealed sword, but the umbrella is his primary weapon.
Pirate: Garros from Edge of Destiny. There also was a pirate stage in Samurai Shodown VI.
Pistol-Whipping: Draco from Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny takes this to its logical extreme, using a shotgun primarily as a melee weapon. Actually makes a certain amount of sense, considering all the playable characters use standard melee weapons...and while he does actually shoot with his gun, it doesn't kill or incapacitate instantly, and he has to reload after two shots.
Andrew is much the same, primarily using a bayonet on the end of his rifle.
Jushiro subverts the trope by having gun built inside his sword's hilt, with sheathing resulting in machine gun mode
Planet Eater: Figuratively - one of Mizuki's famous catchphrases is that she will "eat the world whole".
Playing with Fire: Kazuki, Enja and their fusion Enja.Kazuki. Miscellaneous fire users include Kyoshiro, Tam Tam, Wan-fu, Sieger, Nicotine and Karakuri Hanma.
Less prominent examples include Genan, Hanma, Karakuri Hanma and Tashonmao
Power Limiter: Asura's bondage gear which is infused with Yuga's power, and so he cant take it off while Yuga is alive. Also the whole deal of Ambrosia and Yuga being very powerful yet unable to get out of Makai (Demon World) unless they come into possession of certain artifact. And when Yuga later possesses Mikoto, she is unable to fully overpower her and use body as her own.
Power Tattoo: Shiki, Deku, Gandara, Yuga, Asura, Han-In to nari shi Shiki, Enja.Kazuki, Suija.Sogetsu, Yuda, Enja, Suija. All those are interwined with various magical powers. Enja displays those only during fatality and Suija only during winpose though.
Earthquake too posesses a tattoo (over his face), but it was done solely to improve his looks. Tashonmao's facial tattoo is a ceremonial one, apparently done accordingly to his temple's traditions.
Precision-Guided Boomerang: Cham Cham has one of these as her primary melee weapon (her heavy slash is basically to toss it about a metre in front of her). This actually makes it one of the best projectiles in the game, since it will plow through and disrupt all but a few other projectiles in the game: it can't destroy other melee weapons, and some projectiles escape just by not being where the boomerang goes. And it always returns, even while she's being grappled and pummelled. "Oh! How dangerous a boomerang is!"
Shizumaru can do the same with his umbrella, and such "physical" projectile destroys other projectiles it encounters in same fashion as Cham Cham's. Mikoto can do the same with her pudao-like weapon.
Magic sphere which appears in Mizuki's super move, moves in a boomerang fashion as well.
Prophecies Are Always Right: Jigen Taishi's rebellion scheme was postponed to the moment when "two misfortune dragons appear" (according to his prophecy) and so Oboro was left waiting for the two strangers who would be his future companions (Tohma and Mikoto). They eventually appeared, starting the events of Warriors Rage (PS).
Public Domain Soundtrack: Samurai Shodown VI uses Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" as a background theme for the USA stage, rearranged as a military march.
And the arranged version adds the National Anthem (Star-Spangled Banner) in the beginning, then goes into a rock version of Stars and Stripes Forever.
The Punishment: In the past, god Ambrosia had its body destroyed and its spiritual form banished to demon realm of Makai. Led to Ambrosia becoming the Dark God of Makai, ruling over demons and drawing strength from humans' negative enrgy. Also its body could be resurrected with the help of Palenke and Tangil stones, serving as source of Ambrosia's evil plots.
Rain of Arrows: Mina and her endless arrow supply. Thats while Asura can shoot max 3 arrows at once.
Rain of Blood: During Suija's Impartial and Divine Judgement fatality in the non-violent Samurai Shodown V Special. In the non-violent Samurai Shodown VI, same animation was reused in his ending only to summon the water rain. Then, image of him summoning water rain became his card in Card Fighters DS. Talk about Badass Decay (Even more so if you consider that in censored version of game, the rain was white)
Asura stands under rain of blood in one of the official Asura Zanmaden artworks.
Razor Wind: Yunfei is a master of this. Also is used in projectiles of Ukyo, Yumeji and Zankuro.
Although Enja, Suija and Yunfei all are over 1000 years old as well, part of those years was passed in suspended animation, so they may or may not qualify for this trope. By the way, Enja and Suija show their actual age during their suicide moves - they turn into skeletons and then to dust.
Recruiting the Criminal: Sometimes shogunate uses services of Genjuro - a famous hitokiri (killer for hire) with the love for dirty work (because it allows him to kill more people) - just because he is effective. Yet technically, he is still an Outlaw.
Recycled Title: "Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage" was used as overseas title for both Samurai Spirits Asura Zanmaden, and its sequel Samurai Spirits Shinsho. This led to big confusion amongst non-japanese fans.
In addition, there were two Samurai Shodown games for Neo Geo Pocket called "Samurai Shodown!" and "Samurai Shodown! 2". The first two arcade games were also called that, minus the exclamation marks.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Asura's eyes become red when he is raged. One of Shiki's eyes becomes red when she is partially under Yuga's control, and when she becomes Han-In to nari shi Shiki (full Yuga's control) both of her eyes become red. Yuda, Mikoto, Tohma and Oboro are permanently red-eyed.
Red-Headed Hero: Shizumaru in Samurai Shodown III, Kazuki in Samurai Shodown IV.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: In order of appearance - Kazuki and Sogetsu, Enja.Kazuki and Suija.Sogetsu, Seishiro and Tohma, Enja and Suija.
Red Right Hand: Asura's demon-controlling gauntlet, which becomes red should he get raged.
Religion of Evil: The religion Amakusa was preaching after his death and resurrection as Ambrosia servant. Ironically, the classic christianity he preached before death was regarded in same fashion by the government.
Rule of Two: Played in Oboro's dialogue with Kuno Seishiro in Shinsho/Warriors Rage, and later in Sankuro's dialogue with Genjuro in Samurai Shodown V.
Rurouni Kenshin: Character homages circulate both ways (quick example: Shishio Makoto's initial appearance was based on Genjuro, while Izurugi Raijuta served as basis for Zankuro). This also resulted in Last Blade series having more homages to Rurouni Kenshin characters. Later its creator (and avid Samurai Shodown fan), Nobuhiro Watsuki designed new characters for Samurai Shodown 5; some of which were (again) homages to Rurouni Kenshin characters.
Samurai: Yagyu Jubei is technically the only actual samurai in the game, until Samurai Warriors Rage for the PS, which featured members of Oniwabanshu.
Since the PS game is the last in series storyline-wise, it could be said that was until Edge of Destiny's Sugamata Jinbei.
Said PS game also had generic characters named "Samurai".
Yuga is also a subject of this trope, using remotely-controlled male body first, then appearing in her own body later.
Scarf of Asskicking: Both Hanzo and Galford of Samurai Shodown wear scarves. The scarves were short in the first two games, but when SNK redrew their sprites for Samurai Shodown III, they became long tripping hazards. In 3D games Galford's normal model lacks scarf though, and in Samurai Spirits Asura Zanmaden, Rasetsu Galford has short scarf again (possibly to show that Hanzo is the more experienced ninja). In same fashion, Hanzo's sons wear short scarves in his Samurai Shodown VI ending, while he wears a long one. Talking about scarf hierarchy right here.
Sdrawkcab Name: Names of all the attacks of Asura and Hanmen no Asura. This is because their powers bear names of demons and angels, and reading those in reverse to summon their powers is a common occult practice. This backwards writing is also true for all words in the intro of game those two characters appear in.
Seven Deadly Sins: Personified in Asura's Seven Ancient Weapons. Each weapon is a form taken by demon lord who rules over particular sin: Asmodeus (lust) - bow, Belphegor (sloth) - pike, Leviathan (envy) - scythe, Lucifier (pride) - sword, Mammon (greed) - shield, Beelzebub (gluttony) - battle axe, Satanas (wrath) - staff.
Sexy Backless Outfit: Shiki wears a backless tight dress and her back sports a massive snake tattoo and a Yuga symbol.
Shape Shifter: Yumeji in Samurai Shodown V can morph into other characters to perform their signature moves.
Shapeshifter Weapon: Yuga's female form can form various weapons (axes, spears, swords, bows, etc) by shapeshifting own arms. Also, swords of Deku and Hanmen no Asura too have ability to grow in size and length.
Shapeshifting Lover: The basis of Iroha's Back Story in Samurai Shodown VI. During one of her super moves, during which she disrobes and attacks the opponent behind a screen, her silhouette briefly flickers into that of a crane's.
Shaping Your Attacks: Many characters, including Amakusa (ghost-shaped blast), Ukyo (swallow-shaped slash) and Gaira (Asura-shaped flash).
Shock and Awe: Galford can access lightning powers via ninjutsu, while Nicotine, Taizan and Yuga do this via spells. Since Hanmen no Asura is more Bad Ass, he calls on powers of anger of thunder Ramiel instead.
Shoo Out the Clowns: When Samurai Shodown III came around, SNK decided they wanted a "darker" atmosphere. This resulted in drastic redesigns for most of the characters (Large Ham Kabuki actor Senryo Kyoshiro apparently Took a Level in Badass), and the removal of the more light-hearted characters, including Genan, Cham Cham and her brother Tam Tam, Caffeine Nicotine, Yagyu Jubei (?!) and Charlotte. Samurai Shodown IV came around and added some of them back in, and by Samurai Shodown VI, the entire cast of 2D games has been reunited.
Shoryuken: Part of characters has such anti-air moves, for example Ryu and Ken style Haohmaru's and Genjuro's anti air moves - while Wan-fu had one that set opponent on fire.
Shotoclone: Haohmaru's Senpuuretsuzan and Kougetsuzan moves.
Although its Charlotte whose moveset allows for classic "slow hadouken, fast hadouken" trap
If we're letting kusari-gama in, then Earthquake's rig belongs here too. Of course, a sickle for him is about scythe-sized for the rest of the cast. Even doubly odd, his seems to be sharpened on the outside of the curve, given the animation of his heavy slashes.
SNK Boss: Most bosses, specifically Zankuro Minazuki , Gaoh and Yuga.
Some Dexterity Required: Some nearly-impossible super move motions in Samurai Shodown 2, 3, Warriors Rage (PS), and then for secret moves in V, V Special and VI.
Something about a Rose: Charlotte design is borrowed from the Rose of Versailles series. She is quite fond of roses, even catching them after winning when someone drops one from above for it, and mentioning how she is "A rose with thorns" in her winquotes. Coincidentally, she tends to stab people a lot in the games.
The Soulless: Asura and Yuda seem to lack emotions and act like this. Curiously, Hanmen no Asura seems to play the role of "soul" for both of them.
Also, Karakuri Hanma (obviously).
Spam Attack: In close quarters, multi-hitting moves like Ukyo's "Snowfall", Jubei's "Eight Aspects Blast", Charlotte's "Splash Fount", Rimururu's "Blizzard Spear", Haito's "Rending Wind Blade" and Daruma's "Blowing Sakura of Pontocho" - the latter two do like a hundred of hits. Amakusa and Mizuki also had multi-hitting slaps (later they gained multi-slap and multi-claw swipe moves respectively). Kyoshiro's "Eight-Headed Serpent" move bombards opponent with multiple fiery projectiles range of which generally expands with each next projectile. Regarding long-range spam, we should mention Jushiro with his machine gun sword, and Mina with her endless arrows supply. And lets dont even get started on Yuga's 2nd and 3rd forms which are the walking embodiment of this trope.
Spell My Name with an S: Genjuro as "Genjyuro" in SVC and NGBC. Other materials also have Rimururu as "Rimnerel", Haohmaru as "Haohmal", Konru as "Konril" and Champuru as "Chample" or "Ceasar".
Spirit Advisor: Kagaribi to Basara. Tenhime to Amakusa in the end of Samurai Spirits RPG. Hanmen no Asura to Yuda, and Nakoruru to most of cast in Warriors Rage (PS).
Split Personality / Superpowered Evil Side: The whole Shura/Rasetsu (Slash/Bust) split character concept present in series. Also, Enja.Kazuki to Kazuki. Suija.Sogetsu to Sogetsu. Aku Mikoto (Yuga) to Mikoto. Rera is basically Nakoruru's long-time repressed angsty side created partly by her father's dissapearance and her lack of will to fight. Not evil per se, but really pissed off.
Somewhat subverted by Rasetsumaru. While he is based on concept of evil Haohmaru, he is a separate entity, rather than part of Haohmaru's sub-consciousness. Storyline-wise he was Amakusa's attempt to create his version of Haohmaru, but since Amakusa wields demonic powers we all know how it ended.
Amakusa has this as well in part 4. The evil side, dubbed "Aku Amakusa" by fans, is the first of 3 bosses you face. His Shura/Rasetsu (Slash/Bust) mode always opposes the mode of player's character. He has different, darker move graphics, his voice is more evil and warped, and his skin is purple. He also has some slightly different winposes. Storyline-wise he is a lost evil half of Amakusa, which got separated after his defeat in original Samurai Shodown.
Spoiler Opening: The Samurai Shodown II intro briefly shows the secret character Kuroko.
Stalker with a Crush: Shiki subverts this trope by stalking Haohmaru due to Yuga's bidding. Nevertheless according to plan they should have sexual intercourse just because theoretically body of their child would be a perfect vessel for Dark God's incarnation - at least according to Samurai Shodown 64 storyline
Stripperiffic: Mina, who fights in bikini (yet her intro pose shows her in the full-body priestess dress and large hat, which she tosses away before battle). Apparently fighting semi-naked is yet another of her weapons.
Stronger Sibling: Sogetsu to Kazuki (although it was mentioned that Kazuki has hidden potential); and undeniably, Seishiro to Tohma.
Super-Deformed: A special move (unique for each character) lets you turn your fighter into one of these in Samurai Shodown II and VI. Also, all characters look like this in portable versions of games (Gameboy and Neo-Geo Pocket Color titles).
Super Move Portrait Attack: Big character portraits appear during several attacks in Samurai Shodown 64. Samurai Shodown V and V special had a variation too, although portraits appeared when they activated State of Nothingness mode instead of appearing during some kind of super attack.
Partially true for Galford and Yunfei too, but those two mostly rely on their bladed weapons though.
Super-Persistent Predator: Rasetsumaru, even when he is in decapitated condition. Also Kusaregedo, although he failed to eat Rimururu in any of his endings, he later made up for it by hunting all the game's cast in his Samurai Shodown VI ending.
Superpowered Evil Side: Enja.Kazuki, Suija.Sogetsu, Aku Amakusa, Aku Mikoto (Yuga), Rera to Nakoruru, and Dark Emperor to Yunfei and later to Gaoh.
Super Title 64 Advance: The Hyper Neo Geo 64 was an attempt to update the Neo Geo, but it didn't work. They still got Samurai Shodown 64, though.
Yuga is also a subject of this trope, using remotely-controlled male body first, then appearing in her own body later.
Swiss-Army Weapon: Technically, Asura gauntlet's ability to summon different weapons, which looks as decomposing and recomposing them from dark energy wielded by gauntlet. Also, Jushiro's katana has a gun hidden in its hilt, and additionally can enter machine gun mode - upon sheathing.
Sword Drag: Jubei and Zankuro both have dash-while-dragging-sword-along-ground special moves. Those consist from shoulder charge chained into sword attack.
Sword Lines: Slash trails in games remain on screen (and sometimes remain lethal) even well past when they were 'drawn' by the tip of her sword.
Synchronization: Of movements of both of Yuga's "faces". Yes, I talk about the one growing from the back of her head. Hanmen no Asura is also a subject of this trope, as his life energy is based on Yuga's and once Yuga dies, his life will vanish as well.
Take a Third Option: The most obvious options involved when fighting Mizuki at the end of the second game are Kill or Be Killed. However if Kyoshiro fights her and wins, instead of killing Mizuki he exorcises her spirit from Bizuki's body and rescues the Miko from over a thousand years of Demonic Possession.
Temporal Paradox: Yuda, who crossed 20-years gap between games via temporal rift.
Terrible Trio: Laura, Bobon and Gororo (antagonists in Cham Cham pachinko game) are the classic application of this trope.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Defeating the foe with the right move (usually the strongest slash a character has but there are some exceptions) will cause them to be bisected and golden charms to fall out, leaving only their weapon in the ground.
Then Samurai Shodown IV introduced "Agony Ougi" which were effectively character-specific fatalities which left opponents sliced in pieces with blood graphically spurting out.
Asura Zanmaden game also added ability to cut off opponent's arm.
It gets even worse: In the original version of Samurai Shodown V Special, you could, under certain conditions, perform a (very violent and graphic) move called the "Death Ougi" which would actually kill your opponent (thus ending the match); the relevant part is that, for a number of characters it went beyond just cutting the opponent up: some of them would litterally destroy the opponent's body leaving nothing behind, save perhaps a head, a skull or a rain of blood. Thats aside of plethora of generic "cut / stab / smash" finishers initiated at the end of the match if opponent was killed by normal attack
Samurai Shodown Sen/Edge of Destiny features ability to cut opponent in half; stab him for the fountain of blood, cut his arm off; decapitate him; or impale him and leave the weapon in his body.
Timed Mission: The arcade mode of Samurai Shodown IV has a time limit, and the ending of any given character can only be seen if the game is completed within the limit.
State of Nothingness (time slow mode) in Samurai Shodown V, V Special and VI resembles this, although its meant to show fastened reaction/reflexes of the character who activated it.
Time Stands Still: Yuga's ability in Samurai Shodown 64. Mikoto has such one as well, but hers only stops the game's timer and not the opponent.
Time Travel: Hero and his party going 200 years back at one point the second chapter in Samurai Shodown RPG. Also, Yuda crossing 20 years arriving to times of Warriors Rage (PS).
Basara also got time-travelling abilities that allowed him to appear in Samurai Shodown V, and also serve as basis of his endings in V and VI.
Token Mini-Moe: Rimururu, Suzuhime and probably Minto (although she's not nearly as popular as previous two).
Token Motivational Nemesis: Draco may very well be this to Galford, since he killed his father which served one of Galford's main motivators in his quest for justice.
Also Seishiro to Tohma; Hanzo Hattori to Oboro; Oboro to Jushiro and Saya.
Tomboy: Cham Cham, Rimururu, Minto.
Too Powerful to Live: Ambrosia, Yuga, Asura and Dark Emperor. Subverted by each of them having some form of Power Limiter (unability to leave demon world, sealed powers, or in Dark Emperor's case, limited screentime).
Tragic Hero: Shizumaru is a seriously depressing character.
Tykebomb: Hanmen no Asura is a subversion of this trope (since he isnt a young child).
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Genan Shiranui is one of the ugliest Fighting Game characters in history. His wife resembles a Jungle Princess. One of his win quotes is even "No one calls me a freak and lives! ...except my wife, that is."
The Undead: Amakusa, Mizuki, Basara, Kagaribi, Kusaregedo.
Storyline-wise, Genan was killed in first game and resurrected by evil forces in second, however he gained no undead atributes whatsoever.
Unhand Them, Villain!: Hazuki Kazam was taken hostage by Aku Amakusa in Samurai Shododwn IV, then by Yuga in Asura Zanmaden, then by Enja and Suija in Samurai Shododwn VI.
Although Gen-An has poison breath and Earthquake had poison gas bomb in Samurai Shodown 2, those dont activate poison status which deals damage over time.
Unstoppable Rage: Rage System is the central gameplay element. Damage taken by characters adds energy to their Rage Gauge, and when its filled they enter Raged state - which grants stronger attacks, ability to use super moves (like Weapon Flipper) and enhanced special moves. Later games also add Rage Explosion, which removes character's Rage Gauge but for the short period of time grants character a big power boost and ability to use few devastating attacks.
Kazuki and Enja are the subjects of this trope. Enja also sports the fastest Raging rate in all games he appeared in.
Unusual Eyebrows: Asura lacks eyebrows. This is compensated by black eye shadow and few tattoos under his eyes.
Updated Re-release: Samurai Shodown V Special introduces new backdrops, a new interface, various character and mechanic rebalances, a different roster, re-added death scenes and introduced the infamous Zetsumei Ougi to counterbalance a certain game-breaking mechanic in the original V.
The Vamp: Mizuki, Han-In to nari shi Shiki, Aku Mikoto.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: In all the games in the series, it is possible to "accidentally" kill an enemy by using the right attack on the right part of their sprite as a finisher, usually cutting them cleanly in half. Samurai Shodown IV introduced actual fatalities which were messier. In most games in the series, Nakoruru (the Nature-Loving Girl) and Rimururu (her younger sister) were immune to any death effects. In V Special, however, not only was it easier to kill an opponent, but these two characters were no longer death-exempt. There is something disturbing about chopping the twelve-year-old in half◊ or making her cute sister explode in a shower of blood and body parts◊.
Video Game Historical Revisionism: The games are set in 1788-1811. Texas and San Francisco are part of the United States, Amakusa Shiro (1621-1638) and Hattori Hanzo (1542-1596) are both alive, Prussia is a feudal kingdom with castles, armored knights, and an Arthurian king, the White House has its modern appearance, and there are robots.
Because of the time frame, those are explained as mechanical puppet constructs, so-called Karakuri. Karakuri Hanma has no personality, and Karakuri Ochamaro has personality infused by the means of magic, since this puppet was created by a sorcerer.
Don't forget Yagyu Jubei (1607-1650). Don't understand why SNK didn't invent some equivalents; didn't seem to have a problem with this for Axel Hawk or Terry Rogers. (Amakusa, at least, has an in-game explanation, that he made a deal with Ambrosia to return from the dead.) As for the seaport and southern wilderness locations needed for Galford and Earthquake's stages, any Northeaster port town (like Boston) and Atlanta would've worked fine. Puzzling.
Villain Protagonist: Asura, who is basically an emotionless killing machine and Hell's strongest warrior, and just happens to oppose the same villain that heroes do - Yuga - to avenge his past defeat and apparently to wrestle back the control over Hell.
In the sequel, where he stars as Yuda, demon lords that serve him eventually state his position as "The Demon King".
Villainous Crossdresser: Mainstream perception of Amakusa (although he wears elongated sorcerer robe which isnt exactly feminine, and makeup is just his hobby, an he just happens to have somewhat high pitched voice... although at this point no one cares about that).
Villainous Glutton: Earthquake from Samurai Shodown is a tremendously large and fat ninja, who is actually rather agile. Kusaregedo is even bigger and fatter Youkai.
Villains Out Shopping: Shiki and Mikoto when not under Yuga's controls. Between Samurai Shododwn 64 and Asura Zanmaden, Shiki lost memories of being Yuga's servant and lived on as a normal woman named Kanae.
Villain with Good Publicity: Jigen Taishi. Being a celebrated priest, his presence in Ritenkyo made it difficult for the shogun to take direct action since it would cause civil dispute with one's faith. It was eventually decided that the government would send a handful of their most loyal retainers in the secret service to deal with the threat.
Visionary Villain: Amakusa, Mizuki and Yuga all wanted to resurrect the Dark God, while Oboro wants to create a martial society in the place of current one.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: Basara can turn into shadow and into one or several bats; Hanmen no Asura can turn into shadow sphere and Han-In to nari shi Shiki into energy sphere. Asura's Seven Ancient Weapons are demon lords that shapeshifted into weapon forms. Finally, Yuga can shapeshift own body from male form into female form.
Wall Jump: Many characters are capable of a 'triangle jump', bouncing off the edge of the screen. This includes the ninjas. Even the ones who weigh over 500 pounds.
Warrior Poet: Ukyo Tachibana, who composes haiku and frequently uses them as winquotes. He also recites haiku poem during one of his supers.
Weapons Kitchen Sink: Unless you can tell me how a rapier is going to parry a longsword, bastard sword, greatsword, kusarigama, naginata, and HUGE STONE PILLAR, it fits. Or perhaps you'd like to watch Andrew Jackson block a shot from a sledgehammer with his rifle? Or maybe a Cat Girl using a boomerang to block a polearm is more your flavour. Run (your opponent through with) what you brung.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Kyoshiro hopes to one day surpass his own father in Kabuki acting. Despite his success, he doesn't think he's even close.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Yunfei, whose longevity revolves around his wife, a demon called Dark Emperor (looks like a piece of evil armour), being possessed by said demon and killing his wife. An epic battle with his mentor and his pupils sealed himand the demon to stop him.
Wild Card: Genjuro. Even though he can be hired, but ends up killing anyone who "pisses him off", which may or may not include his employer. He is known as "Wild Blade" because of this.
Wild Man: Tam-Tam, again. Cham-Cham fits in as well, as a rare Cat Girl who worries about fleas..and deals with them..
Womb Level: Ambrosia's stage in Samurai Shododwn RPG. Hanmen no Asura's stage in Asura Zanmaden.
Worthy Opponent: Genjuro to Haohmaru, Kazuki to Sogetsu, Jushiro to Jin-Emon, Gaoh to Yoshitora.
Wrecked Weapon: Samurai Shodown II and VI have Weapon Breaker moves that break opponent's weapon as opposed to simply flipping it out of hands. And is Samurai Shodown 1, weapons could break if they stroke each other (but not the characters) several times.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Galford's preference for these (and, conversely, Kyoshiro's desire for Foreign Fanservice) is All There in the Manual (Haohmaru and Ukyo like these too! Haohmaru's girlfriend Oshizu and Ukyou's lady of liege Kei Odagiri hit every single part of the trope). Among the female characters, the closest to a Yamato Nadeshiko would be Nakoruru, in a Cute Bruiser / The Beast Master way (and guess what, she's the girl Galford REALLY fell for).
You Can't Fight Fate: Ukyo's and Genjuro's endings in Asura Zanmaden; Tohma's ending in Warriors Rage (PS)
This trope is subverted by Basara's and Zankuro's Samurai Shodown VI endings.
Ukyo, Hion, Suija.Sogetsu and Suija have blue hair;
Basara, Kagaribi and Sogetsu have dark blue hair;
Kyoshiro, Amakusa, Kazuki and Reon have red hair;
Genjuro has purple hair;
Cham Cham and Hazuki have green hair;
Enja.Kazuki and Enja have yellow-fire colored hair that turns into red-colored when raged.
Ushiwakahime and Zankuro have white hair. Asura has white hair when raged hair;
Han-In to nari shi Shiki, Mikoto, Mina and Andrew have white hair with a shade of violet hair;
Ran Po has part-blue part-violet hair;
Minto has part-teal part-pink hair;
Yantamu has teal hair;
Rera, Sankuro and Genshinsai have violet hair;
Ukyo's female followers come in variety of hair colors mentioned above.
Youkai: Youkai Kusaregedo obviously. Genan, Basara and Champuru seem to be too. Basara is a yurei (vengeful ghost) which is a subclass of youkai).
You Killed My Father: The reason Galford and Black Hawk seek vengeance against Edge of Destiny's sub-boss Draco.
Your Soul Is Mine: "Your soul is my power" is of Amakusa's winquotes. Mizuki also frequently expresses her desire to consume opponent's soul. In Asura Zanmaden game, Yuga has ability to snatch opponent's soul out of his body, and Yunfei does the same in his Samurai Shodown V Special fatality, then proceeding to cut the soul in two, killing the opponent.
You Shall Not Pass: Subverted by Sword Demon Haohmaru who is guarding the entrance to Yuga's lair. His catchphrase there is "You had nowhere to go but here...".
Zigzag Paper Tassel: Is found on Mizuki's weapon, as well as on Nicotine's Samurai Shodown 2 stage and Haohmaru's Asura Zanmaden stage
I fight not for me but for the blind babe Justice!