YMMV / Sano Ichiro

  • Iron Woobie: Hirata, after he is severely injured in The Assassin's Touch, starts down a dark and horrible path that sorely tests his previously honorable, good-natured character. He decides to embark on mystical martial arts training to compensate for his handicap. He is forced to leave his wife Midori and children for months at a time (which causes major resentment from Midori), and eventually falls in with a group of mystical conspirators that want him to use his skills for their own plans to change the course of Japan. When Hirata threatens to leave after realizing they intend to destroy the Tokugawa shogunate, they threaten to kill Sano; their superior skills force him to protect said master by keeping quiet about what is going on and remain under their control, infuriating Sano and making it impossible to stick up for his retainer. Eventually, the conspirators beat him nearly to death and allow the ghost of a vengeful general take over his body while he is in a coma. After killing his former companions since They Have Outlived Their Usefulness, General Otani forces him to kill and steal for Ienobu over the course of five years and never lets him go home, eventually forcing his own master Sano to label him a traitor and creating a deep hatred in Midori for abandoning them and turning them into outcasts with his traitor status. When he finally appears in the final battle at the palace in The Iris Fan, the General tries to make him kill his own master to prevent his plans from being stopped. Hirata fights back so hard against the ghost's control so hard he snaps his bones, tendons, nerves, and even his own spine to stop the attack. Although he manages one last mental attack on Ienobu to thwart the general's plans for good, the strain is too much for him. He dies in Midori's arms a few hours later, now at peace the General's scheme has been stopped, and named as a hero by a grieving Sano.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Chamberlain Yanagisawa, whose scheming and manipulations to rule over the shogun and Japan have ruined hundreds, if not thousands, of lives and destroyed the honor of many. Not to mention making Sano's life absolutely miserable at every turn.
  • Replacement Scrappy: When Lord Matsudaira took over as Sano's main antagonist, there was general consensus that he wasn't as good an antagonist as Yanagisawa.