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Video Game: Heavenly Sword

A Hack and Slash game set in an ambiguously Asian empire where everyone speaks with British or Australian accents. It was developed by Ninja Theory and released exclusively on the PlayStation 3 in September 2007.

The plot concerns Nariko, the unwanted daughter of a clan whose duty is to protect the titular sword, which the ambitious King Bohan believes will grant him godlike power. Nariko and her clan sister, Kai, flee with the sword and spend the remainder of the game attempting to rescue Nariko's father and end Bohan's reign of terror. Though the plot is hardly new, it's solidly executed, with excellent voice acting and motion capture (due to the involvement of Andy Serkis and Weta Workshop) and a surprising amount of humor.

On August 31, 2012, Nariko was announced at PAX Prime as a playable fighter in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Tier-wise, she's not doing so bad.


Provides Examples Of:

  • Action Girl: Nariko.
  • Anime Hair: Nariko again.
  • Anti-Villain: Roach. It's made clear that he's only doing what he does to try and please his father, and is a great deal more sympathetic than the other villains.
  • Arrows on Fire, a specialty of Kai's.
    Kai: I love fireworks!
  • Automatic Crossbows: Kai uses one, for starters.
  • Ax-Crazy: Flying Fox.
  • Badass: Nariko.
  • Badass Grandpa: Shen.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Nariko.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Nariko has just carved a bloody swathe through hundreds of soldiers, personally defeated Bohan, and finally collapsed in the dust to die...and through all this she looks like a model for skin cream. This is especially noticeable in the penultimate cutscene, where a long shot of Nariko's face shows off how clean it is.
  • Berserk Button: When Nariko starts taunting Whiptail back whilst blatantly saying that her master doesn't care about her and that he was the one who made her so insane, she repeats the taunt Whiptail had previously used to great effect: "Ohhhhh, it's so much better when you're angry!" Whiptail then proceeds to go even more insane.
    • Just being reminded that Roach is his son seems to instantly turn Bohan from relatively calm to the point of blowing like a volcano.
    • And if you hurt Kai, Nariko will thirst for your blood.
  • BFG: In several levels, Nariko wields cannons like overgrown shotguns.
  • Big Bad: King Bohan, until the very end, when it's heavily implied that he is in fact The Dragon for the raven that's been sitting on his shoulder throughout the game.
    • The animated series indicates that the Big Bad is The Raven King, who the original wielder of the Heavenly Sword fought and defeated. Presumably, he's taken the form of a raven, and Bohan is helping him claim the weapon that led to his original defeat.
  • Big "NO!": Nariko lets out a grief-stricken "NOOOOOOOOO!" after Kai's apparent death (and, shortly after, a variation which just has her screaming Kai's name).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nariko gets ample opportunity for revenge in the end but succumbs to her Deal with the Devil as the titular sword takes her life.
  • Black Comedy/Crosses the Line Twice: Whiptail's death.
    Whiptail: I can't feel my legs...!
    Bohan: That's alright. I'll feel them for you.
  • Break the Cutie: Kai is already broken. Then Flying Fox breaks her more.
  • The Caligula: King Bohan.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Whiptail's outfit is basically this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: King Bohan's raven.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Kai.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Nariko trades in her longsword for the Heavenly Sword after being cornered by Bohan and his army. It ends the way you'd expect given the trope and the sword's well-documented history of eventually causing its wielder to die in excruciating pain.
  • Deal with the Devil: Nariko makes such a bargain with the Heavenly Sword.
    • Bohan sells his soul to gain the power needed to face Nariko, and it isn't enough to defeat her.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Heavenly Sword.
  • The Empire
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Nariko, of course.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Bohan and his generals breathe this trope, but Bohan is the one who manages to be scary because he is so hammy.
  • Eye Scream: King Bohan suffers this towards the end of the game when the Raven pecks out his eyes for failing him.
  • Fat Idiot: Roach.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Bohan.
  • Fiery Redhead: Nariko.
  • Five-Bad Band
  • Foregone Conclusion: Nariko death by the sword's curse is shown at the beginning of the game. Still, she manages to wipe out Bohan and his army one last time before she's gone for good.
  • For Massive Damage: Lampshaded by Kai.
  • Friendly Sniper: Kai.
  • Groin Attack: This game is particularly fond of them, both implied and executed. It affects all other surrounding mooks as well.
    Kai: Maybe I should attack your weak point, for MASSIVE DAMAGE.
  • How We Got Here
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Bohan's behavior around Nariko shortly after he captures her.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Whiptail.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Nariko.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Due to the implementations of the sixaxis controller, Kai is a damn good shot, depending on the player.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Nariko, though the Heavenly Sword is alive, so its improbability may be justified. Far stranger is her ability to steer corpses and other improvised weapons in midair after throwing them or shooting them. Kai can do much the same thing with her arrows.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Subverted with Bohan, who seems incompetent and acts like a complete goofball more often than not, but routinely performs monstrous acts in order to further his own ambitions.
    • Played a bit straighter with his son Roach.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Bohan looks exactly like an older, more scarred-up Andy Serkis. All of the other main characters resemble their voice/motion actors in some way, too.
  • Ironic Name: Nariko is a Japanese name that means "Gentle Child". She's anything but.
  • Kick the Dog: Bohan does most of the kicking, and the dog is usually named Roach.
  • Kill the Cutie: Averted. Kai turns out to still be alive after her presumed death.
  • Klingon Promotion: In one of the animated shorts which describes Bohan's Start of Darkness, he ascended his throne through poisoning the former king.
  • Large Ham: Bohan and Flying Fox practically define this trope. Whiptail also definitely counts.
  • Laughably Evil: Bohan and Flying Fox manage to be funny even when being complete bastards.
  • Mama Bear: Harm Kai while Nariko's around and you will be sorry.
  • Minion Shipping: Whiptail is Bohan's mistress, as well as one of his generals. While she seems to genuinely care about him, his feelings aren't exactly mutual, as is evident in her death scene.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Nariko.
  • Nariko Is About To Stab You: The cover.
  • Neck Snap: Bohan does this to Whiptail.
  • No Indoor Voice: Most of Flying Fox's lines are yelled at the top of his voice. In fact, one of the few times he doesn't yell is when he's dying.
  • No One Could Survive That: Kai is hung by her neck after being dropped from a great height, and presumably dies instantly. As it turns out, she's still very much alive, though weakened. Overlaps with No One Should Survive That, since that type of injury should cause instant death, or at least asphyxiation, and no explanation is given as to why it doesn't.
  • No Flow in CGI: Averted.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Lampshaded with Flying Fox during a cutscene.
    King Bohan: How does he do that?
  • One-Man Army: Nariko.
  • The Ophelia: Kai isn't all there...
  • Overlord Jr.: Roach.
  • Panty Shot: Nariko does plenty of high-flying flips in a skirt.
  • Parental Issues: Nariko and Shen, Roach and Bohan.
  • Le Parkour: The player can make Kai vault over several types of obstacles, which comes in handy when she has to evade enemies in a maze of random junk.
  • Pet the Dog: As Bohan is lying on the battlefield - defeated, broken, weakened and blinded - Roach, still ever-loyal, comes to his aid. Up until this point, Bohan's interactions with Roach have consisted of little but verbal, physical and psychological abuse towards him, but, this time, it seems that, deep down, he does care for Roach in his own way: "Roach... is that you? My son..."
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: This is one of the keys to defeating the Raven-possessed Bohan.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Roach, Bohan's mentally-challenged illegitimate son. Who appears to be playing with the corpses of Flying Fox and Whiptail like a dolly at the start of chapter 5.
  • Psycho for Hire: Flying Fox.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: While the heroes are usually deadly serious, the villains are often prone to silliness - even King Bohan.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Nariko.
  • Recurring Boss: Flying Fox.
  • Red-Headed Heroine: Nariko.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: If she weren't already dead, Nariko could probably stop wars just by showing up and glaring a little bit. She's that scary given that she literally tore through an army to get at the last person who pissed her off.
  • Say My Name: "KAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIII!"
  • Scenery Porn: And how!
  • Snake Talk: Whiptail. It's even in the subtitles.
  • Start of Darkness: One of the animated shorts details how Bohan got to be King (unsurprisingly, it involved poisoning the guy before him).
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Nariko's clan despises her for being born female, as their prophecy specifies that only a male child is destined to protect the Heavenly Sword. Her father even went so far as to attempt to kill her while she slept for this unpardonable offense, but was unable to bring himself to do it. Her clan continues to treat her like crap even after she's saved their lives numerous times at great personal risk.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Flying Fox tends not to stay in one place during any conversation, but we never see him move.
    Bohan: How does he do that?
  • Stripperiffic: Whiptail's outfit.
    • Throughout the game, Nariko wears the right half of a skirt and a top that leaves her midriff and right shoulder/arm uncovered.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: It turns out that Bohan's bird is in fact The Raven Lord, the ancient warlord that started this whole mess in the first place. A pity he wasn't mentioned in the game proper before that point.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Kai doesn't remember the death of her mother, until Flying Fox forces her to remember.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Kai. See No One Could Survive That above.
  • Volleying Insults: Whiptail and Flying Fox seem to be particularly fond of hurling rather inventive insults at each other, much to Bohan's immense annoyance.
  • The War Sequence: Nariko at the start and near the end.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Bohan rather cruelly does this to Whiptail after she's been defeated by Nariko - she lies on the floor, impaled by the Heavenly Sword, whimpering to him that she's scared, he leans in to kiss her... and then casually snaps her neck, before brutally yanking the sword out of her body and tossing her body aside.
    • The Raven Lord gives Bohan the same treatment after he loses to Nariko in the Final Battle. The Raven pecks out Bohan's eyes while he's pleading for mercy and another chance before flying away.


Tropes regarding the Movie are:

  • Bastard Bastard: In the movie, after Nariko was born, Shen produced bastard offspring in an attempt to remedy the prophecy. Kai and Loki are his bastard children.
  • The Chosen One: After Nariko finds out that Loki is Shens father and her half-brother, she believes that he is the warrior the prophecy spoke of. After freeing him and giving Loki the sword, he is beheaded seconds afterwards by Flying Fox.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Whiptails death scene differs from the game. In the game, after being impaled by the sword, she whimpers to Bohan that she is scared of dying and begs him to help her (before he snaps her neck). Here, she instead accepts her fate with a smile and taunts Nariko before her body sinks to the watery depths.
  • Large Ham: Alfred Molina's Bohan is still pretty hammy, but is more tamed than Andy Serkis'.
  • Mordor: Bohans fortress in the game had a normal, garden-like design. But in the movie, his fortress is surrounded by Lava.
  • Off with His Head!: Loki, courtesy of Flying Fox.
  • The Starscream: After Flying Fox takes the sword from Loki's cold dead hands, he states that he intends to betray Bohan by taking the swords power for himself. This is compared to his game counter-part, who, whilst expressed by Bohan to be somewhat untrustworthy, never showed any signs of treachery.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Loki is set up to be a major character, but is only given a few minutes of screen time, and is then anti-climatically decapitated by Flying Fox.


Enslaved: Odyssey to the WestCreator/Ninja Theory    
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alternative title(s): Heavenly Sword
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