Video Game: Onechanbara

All this, and you get to fight zombies!

Onechanbara is a series of third-person hack-and-slash games developed by Tamsoft, originally appearing as part of Simple Series budget game line released only in Japan and Europe. The games involve a team of sisters, Aya and Saki, who are among the few survivors of a zombie outbreak. Complicating matters, both sisters suffer from a curse known as "Baneful Blood", which drives them crazy when they come in contact with the zombies' blood. They have vowed to use everything in their power to drive back the zombies so that they can once again live in peace.

Two games from the series have been released in the United States: Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad (for Xbox360) and Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers (for the Wii). There's also a live-action movie based on the game series.

A new game called Onechanbara Z: Kagura was released on 1/19/2012, in Japan for Xbox360. Instead of Aya and Saki in this game, we have Kagura and Saaya: a pair of vampire sisters. The game was the first of the series that was not a budget game like its predecessors, and the marketing has been rather big. However, due to its Xbox-exclusivity, it failed to attract a wide audience (not that it was making any pretense to). The game had an Updated Re-release on the PS3 (release date: Oct. 24, 2013), featuring NoNoNo, a character from D3Publisher's other franchise, Dream Club series.

A sequel to Onechanbara Z for PS4, titled Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, was released on October 10, 2014 in Japan and July 21, 2015 in the United States. It features upscaled graphics, full 60 FPS, and two new characters.

The Onechanbara games use the following tropes:

  • Action Commands: Onechanbara Z: Kagura uses this for finishers against bosses, and later, Degraded Boss(es). This is not only for show however, Action Commands that has you slicing off wings, hands, limbs, or what-have-you do decrease the monster-du-jour's attack repertoire, making it easier (theoretically) to finish them off. For bonus points, whomever between the two sisters performs the finishing move gets to have the Boss's power for the rest of the game, so strategic thinking is there, if a bit limited. Oddly, the game insists on the term "Quick Time Kill", rather than the usual QTE.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: It says something when your bonus Meido costume with lots of strategic openings ended up being more tasteful than the default costume.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Kagura loves doing these, with some hilariously cheesy Engrish thrown in. The final one however, does come off really badass.
  • Badass Adorable: Saki. Later Saaya
  • Badass Biker: Ada.
  • Badass Cape: Aya gains a bitchin' cape as part of her redesign for Onechanbara Z. How she manages to make a black frilly cape look freaking badass is anyone's guess.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. The game makes a point bordering on fetishistic to show the heroines drenched from head-to-toe with blood.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Happens in almost every game in the series.
    • Onechanbara 2 ends up with Eva being killed and EATEN by Reiko which makes a Face-Heel Turn.
    • In Bikini Samurai Squad Himiko is killed, but Annna's brother David dies and it is hinted that Saki may lose control over herself in future.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The amount of blood in the game just turned up to 11 in Z. It really is bordering on fetishistic, such that the soundtrack album cover is of the two characters holding hands on a thoroughly bloodied floor.
  • Canon Immigrant: NoNoNo, from Dream Club ZERO is joining the Updated Re-release of Onechanbara Z. The Japanese cover art hilariously lampshades this by making the featured duo looking apprehensively at the new character whose head pokes into the camera view.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: Vamp Skills in Z are skills that you obtain from draining the blood of bosses that decreases hitpoints when used. Fortunately, they do not decrease the maximum recoverable HP, so using Blood Recovery to regain lost HP is simple, if time-consuming.
  • Chainsaw Good: Saaya. Her ultimate version of it combines it with a V8 engine.
  • Cute Bruiser: Saki, later Saaya and her more innocent-looking face and her tendency to get scared. Not that she is any less badass, mind you.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The "Baneful Blood" curse induces a rage-like state when they come in contact with zombie blood. It greatly increases their strength and agility, but slowly burns away at their life force until they die. Under certain conditions, a second, more powerful rage state can be induced.
  • Defeat Means Playable: In Bikini Zombie Slayers, you have to win the end boss battles against Reiko and Misery (i.e. complete Story Mode as Aya and Saki, respectively) to unlock them as playable characters.
    • Subverted in Onechanbara Z. The new duo main characters never conclusively defeat Aya or Saki, and they are never playable. That is, until the Aya & Saki DLC came out.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: David.
  • Dual Wielding: Aya and Kagura's twin swords and Reiko and Anna's Sword and Gun combo.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Keeping with the whole budget game theme having the word "The" in the beginning, the first Onechanbara was actually titled "THE Oneechanbara". Needless to say, this naming convention has since fallen into disuse.
  • Epic Flail: The misleadingly-named Morning Star, Saaya's special weapon, is actually a heavy flail. Rather good for crowd control, but not as effective as Kagura's Hydra Blade, and doesn't have combo abilities.
  • Essence Drop
  • Excuse Plot: Scantily clad young women slice up thousands of zombies, spilling gallons of blood and Ludicrous Gibs in the process. What did you expect? If you answer "a deep plot with complex characters", you will definitely get that, although that certainly isn't the main drawing point...
  • Expendable Clone: Reiko; all those encountered so far are merely eyes and ears (and lab rats) of her real self that is wired into a supercomputer somewhere far away.
  • Expy: In Bikini Samurai Squad there are zombies that look nearly like Hugo Andore
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The subtitles for the US releases, "Bikini Zombie Slayers"
  • Evil Counterpart: Surprisingly, Kagura and Saaya, since their benefactors are the bad guys.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Reiko in Zombie Hunters 2.
  • Fanservice: Of the sexy, "barely clothed" variety, and the cute, "innocent" variety.
  • Five-Man Band: An all-female team formed and disbanded in Onechanbara Special.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Aya's outfit has the bikini and feather boa. Kagura's outfit is very similar, although she doesn't really need a boa due to her awesome hair.
  • Fur Bikini: Since feather-trimmed ones count.
  • Gratuitous English: Kagura sure loves some Engrish.
    • Two nameless pilots in the beginning of Z also gets in on it:
      Pilot A: "We will get to a diving point in five minutes. Make bats in the back-cage prepare to dive.
      Pilot B: "Roger, activate condition red"
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Saki now sports some gothilicious dress as part of her killing routine. Note that this hasn't diluted her badassery even for one bit.
  • Guns Akimbo: Annna
  • Heel-Face Turn: Saki
  • High-Pressure Blood
  • Improbably Female Cast: Considering the niche, it isn't surprising.
  • Info Dump: Quite unfortunately, most games often dump text as plot rather than integrating it to the gameplay. It isn't until Z that they tried something different and they still did ended up doing a text dump in the middle of the game. To be fair, with the exception of Z, Onechanbara games really were budget games, and so most resources went into the gameplay and not plot. VorteX and Revolution can really be adequately summed up as an interactive novel interspersed with bikinis, zombies, and hack and slash to break the boredom.
  • Involuntary Dance: According to trailers, part of NoNoNo's power is to forcibly make zombies and other abomination dance with her.
  • Jiggle Physics: Oh so very much, it's just part and parcel to a fanservice game.
  • Joshikousei: Saki
  • Karmic Death: Eva
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Aya's weapon of choice. She can use two of them at once if things go south. Ditto Saki, once she thinks that fists aren't cutting it (no pun intended) anymore. Also ditto Kagura, who uses two of them exclusively.
  • Knife Nut: When not using her swords, Aya can use her throwing knives/kunai instead.
  • Made of Iron: Both the Baneful Blood and Vampire sisters are shown to have far greater strength than an ordinary human. Case in point, when Kagura's parachute fails her and she crashes so hard it makes a crater, she simply uses her Blood Recovery and she got off none the worse. Kagura's more concerned about dying from blood loss instead of internal organ failure or broken bones, and this is all Played for Laughs.
  • Mega Twintails: Kagura's hair can give Hatsune Miku a run for her voicebanks.
  • Mini-Game Credits: Taking a page out of Devil May Cry, the ending of Onechanbara Z has Kagura and Saaya face off Aya and Saki for the last time. This time however, you are invulnerable while they aren't, to give you a chance.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Survival Mode.
  • My Nayme Is: Annna.
  • Nice Hat: Really, half the appeal from Aya and Kagura is not only their outrageous bikini, but from their cool as all hell cowboy hats.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Apparently, the vampire clan's decision to backstab and kill Kagura and Saaya along with Baneful Blood sisters wasn't the most thought-out plan. Thanks to that, Kagura and Saaya discovered their employers' true plan and joins the Z.P.F in a mission against them. The icing on the cake? Aya and Saki ended up surviving anyway.
  • One-Winged Angel: Carmilla from Z essentially morphs from her human form into this.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Kagura and Saaya seem to do perfect fighting in the sunlight. The trailers explain they're Dhampyr born from a union of a vampire and women who had Baneful Blood.
    • Also a case of Our Zombies Are Different - Reiko in her story arc within Bikini Zombie Slayers mentions that most zombies encountered during the outbreaks are in fact not former humans (although contact with zombie bodily fluids can still cause zombification) but made of the very stuff of Earth itself, leading her to wonder if the zombie crisis is merely nature's revenge against the greed of humans.
  • Portmantitle: The title, 'Onechanbara', is a portmanteau of 'onē-chan', an affectionate Japanese term of address for an older sister or a young woman, and 'chanbara', a word referring to the genre of samurai films, particularly the classic ones (much like Wild West films over here in the West). note 
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Kagura's Exceed is a boomerang blade that can keep an enemy stunned in place.
  • Press X to Not Die: Early in Z, Kagura's parachute malfunctions, sending her slamming to the ground at terminal velocity. At this point, you must press the button combination for Blood Recovery shown on-screen. Failure to do this results in an early game over. Survive, and you can press the button combination again whenever you like as it has an in-game usage.
  • Psycho for Hire: Reiko and Misery.
  • Red Is Heroic: Even if it's a bikini.
  • Sailor Fuku: Saki's preferred go-to costume. Until Z. See Gothic Lolita entry above.
  • Sexy Packaging
  • Sexy Walk: Aya especially.
  • Sibling Team: Aya and Saki. Later Kagura and Saaya.
  • Shower Scene: The opening to VorteX/Bikini Samurai Squad is of Aya having a shower before being interrupted by news of zombie attack while her sister Saki hands her a Modesty Towel.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Averted, Kagura's technically shorter than her younger sister Saaya, but she's hot-headed and would rather strike cool poses spouting Engrish before kicking ass than think about what they were doing. This gets lampshaded by Saki during their fight, and comes to bite Kagura in the figurative ass when Bullard, their employer backstabs them.
    Saki: "The younger one actually has brains!"
  • Spell My Name with an "S": D3Publisher can't decide if The Dragon's name in Onechanbara Z is Bullard (makes sense), or Vlard (absolutely not).
  • Stripperiffic: Most of the female characters, but mainly Aya.
    • Turned Up to Eleven with Kagura's Limited Edition costume, which has her wearing sling bikinis!
  • Surprisingly Good English: It seems that D3Publisher roped some bored Englishman and made him do this trailer. The English is good, but the delivery leaves a lot to be desired.
    • The opening theme of Bikini Zombie Slayers/Revolution, Danger in Disguise, is sung in perfect English. For some reason though, the vocalists sound like a gospel choir.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kagura & Saaya to Aya & Saki; but more so Kagura because she wears an outfit similar to Aya and carries twins swords. Though Kagura seems to have a cockier attitude compared to Aya going by the first trailer.
  • Swipe Your Blade Off: An overarching gameplay mechanic, as blood accumulates on weapons quickly as you slice through the zombie hordes, and getting too much blood on it will cause them to get stuck. This also holds true even for fists (Saki and Saaya), even though blood on fists is less of a problem than a blade. This is essentially a rare example of a reload mechanic for swords.
  • Sword and Gun: Reiko can switch between a regular sword and either a shotgun or SMG.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: Aya apparently has a curved tattoo on her lower backside, for whatever meaning there is.
  • Time Abyss: Himiko is 300 years old human.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Both Kagura and Saaya recovered really well after their employer sent missiles to their faces to rid them with their quarry, the Baneful Blood Sisters.
  • Updated Re-release: After a year, Onechanbara Z is finally coming to PS3, which means there is no need to import an Xbox 360. To sweeten the deal, they are also throwing a free Canon Immigrant to boot!
  • Vampires Are Rich: The main villains of Onechanbara Z Kagura are the ruling cadre of a vampire clan that raised Kagura & Saaya, sent the pair to fight the new zombie crisis, and then proceed to double-cross the heroines mid-story.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Bikini Samurai Squad allows you to customize the appearance of your characters. Ditto Onechanbara Z, with the ability to change costume, accessory, hat, hair, glasses, etc.
  • Whip Sword: Eva's weapon which is later used by Misery. Kagura uses an elastic rope dart-like variant consisting of two knives with long ribbons tied to the handles called Hydra Blade.
  • World of Action Girls: Every single woman in the series is a total badass.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The new zombie crisis in Onechanbara Z is in fact the doing of the vampire clan that had sent Kagura and Saaya, aimed at luring out and then exterminating the threat of Baneful Bloods (i.e. descendants of the Baneful Blood, with Aya and Saki deemed to be the most dangerous of them all). When they find the heroines in the middle of a duel with Aya and Saki, they decide that the dhampyr sisters must be disposed of as well.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Saki used to sport some before changing to gothloli dress.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Repeatedly.