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Voiced by: Ben Peel

An Irish-born English sailor, William lost his parents in an unknown conflict when he was a child, which also took his life, until the Guardian Spirit Saoirse resurrected him. Thanks to Saoirse's ability to find Amrita, William was able to find the powerful spirit stones, making him an invaluable privateer by the English government. When he stumbled upon a secret military project by the English to weaponize Amrita in their war against Spain, William is imprisoned in the Tower of London, awaiting his execution. His escape with Saoirse serves as the start of Nioh.

  • Bilingual Dialogue: Zigzagged - he's able to understand Saoirse, who speaks Irish Gaelic (given William is Irish himself in Nioh). Also, when he meets Nekomata, he's granted the ability to speak and understand Japanese when it possesses him, but played with when it's implied his Japanese isn't entirely spot on. Lampshaded by Tachibana Muneshige in the post-mission dialogue for their duel, who states his use of their language is crude.
  • Captain Ersatz: William is Geralt of Rivia with an Irish accent clothed in Samurai armor.
  • Childhood Friends: Saoirse's been William's Guardian Spirit since he was a child, though the in-game encyclopedia suggests their bond is more than mere friendship.
  • Death Faked for You: At the end of the game, William convinces Hattori Hanzo to report to Tokugawa Ieyasu that he's Killed Off for Real, knowing the Ninja is sent by his master to assassinate him after completing his quest, wishing to live the rest of his life in relative obscurity - away from the eyes of those who'd further seek to exploit him and Saoirse for their own ends.
  • Determinator: Nothing will stop this man from rescuing Saoirse, not even Yokai.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: William is seen swimming when he is shot off the Tower of London, but In-Universe, if he falls into deep waters, he dies instantly.
  • Guardian Entity: William can equip upwards to twenty Guardian Spirits that will provide him with active and passive benefits.he various characters he meets, and probably plays a role in Okatsu falling in love with him.
  • I Choose to Stay: After all the fighting is finally over, William comes to the conclusion that others will inevitably come seeking Amrita in Japan. He decides to stay and protect the country from the shadows along with Hanzo whose probably his only mortal friend in the world.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Played with - although William learns basic weapon techniques from a book he finds aboard the Liefde during his journey to Japan, advanced abilities and skills from the skill tree can only be acquired by completing training regiments in the dojo learned from Hanzo, Narume Nagayoshi, Fuku, Yagyu Sekishusai and Hozoin Inei.
  • In-Universe Nickname: Kuroda Kanbei suggests the Japanese name "Anjin" ("pilot") for William, a reference to him being a seafarer. The historical William Adams was given the name "Miura Anjin" when he became one of the Shogun's top advisers.
  • Magic Compass: Left behind by Saoirse, this guides William to her location in Japan. After killing Edward Kelley, the compass points him back to London for him to confront Sir John Dee; once defeated, the compass stops working, signaling William is free to pursue his own destiny rather than be guided by one (though he winds up returning to Japan of his own volition.
  • Magic Knight: He is a Samurai who can draw upon ki, channel the power of a Guardian Spirit into his weapons, and uses ninjutsu and Onmyōdō magic. For bonus points, he can acquire European plate armor and weaponry in the prologue level and in the last story mission.
  • The Musketeer: As well as being able to use a variety of melee weapons, he can also use ranged weapons such as bows, hand cannons and musket rifles.
  • Pet the Dog: Whenever he finds a kodama and the player selects "Guide back to shrine", the way William kneels over and talks to them makes it appear as if he's gently talking to a small child.
  • Power Copying: William often gains new Guardian Spirits from those he defeats.
  • The Quiet One: Despite being able to be understood by the locals via Translator Microbes, as well as understanding the Japanese language, William doesn't usually speak unless it's important to the plot.
  • Race Lift: The historical William Adams was English, but the Nioh version is Irish.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Justified; as per Saoirse's own words, so long as she exists, William can come Back from the Dead.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: His mission is to save Saoirse, his original Guardian Spirit, from Edward Kelley.
  • Spell Blade
    • Using onmyōdō amulets imbues William's equipped weapon with the elemental powers of earth, fire, lightning, water or wind.
    • Channelling a Guardian Spirit's power into a "Living Weapon" also causes said weapon to be wreathed in the Guardian Spirit's elemental power.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: The kusari-gama is one five primary weapons available to use, alongside ninjutsu weaponry such as explosives, kunai, shuriken and smoke bombs.
  • Truth in Television: Played with - there was a historical European named William Adams in the 17th century, the first Caucasian westerner to be given the title of Samurai by the Shogunnote , and the first Englishman to reach Japan. William being Irish, however, is fictional.
  • Walking Armory: William can carry two melee and two ranged weapons on him at all times, in addition to various offensive items via Stock Ninja Weaponry.

    Edward Kelley
Voiced by: Nicholas Boulton (English), Hiroyuki Kinoshita (Japanese)

  • Alchemy Is Magic: Despite his label as an alchemist, there's little actual alchemic techniques seen from Kelley in Nioh; instead, most of his sorcery is based on incantations and spell-casting.
  • Artificial Human: As seen in the lower dungeons upon returning to the Tower of London, Sir John Dee grew Kelley in a laboratory, with multiple backup copies of him.
  • Animal Motifs: Snakes, from his Guardian Spirit, Ouroboros, to his teleportation and transformations taking the pattern of a snake's scaly skin.
  • Bald of Evil: The rare sight of him without his hood reveals that he hasn't a single strand of hair on his head.
  • Dark Is Evil: Clothed entirely in black, and makes no effort whatsoever to hide his sinister, vile nature.
  • Didn't Think This Through: His complicated plan to resurrect Oda Nobunaga to keep the war going falls apart completely because Kelley has no way to actually control Nobunaga once summoned, who promptly tells him to piss off and goes back to the afterlife voluntarily without complaint.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: He's constantly barefoot (as seen in the image profile on the right).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even though he's overall a pretty despicable person, he is genuinely shocked that when he threatened to kill Ieyasu's daughter that he had hostage, Ieyasu balked at his demand and said that Okatsu meant nothing to him.
  • Evil Brit: He's an imperialistic agent of the British Empire.
  • Expy
  • The Heavy: The primary antagonist of Nioh who fights William but the ending reveals he is simply an agent of Sir John Dee.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Most of the cast exhibit slight improvements on their historical appearances at minimum, but Kelley is the most extreme example, going from a bearded, hunched, and decidedly weedy old man to a handsome, muscular, youthful hunk. Justified when Kelley is an Artificial Human, thus his physical traits were engineered to render him as such.
  • Large Ham: Has moments of this, particularly when he's yelling.
  • Master of Disguise: Played with - Kelley can magically change his appearance to whomever he wants; if it's a warrior, he can even mimick their fighting style and weapons. Demonstrated when William finds Muneshige in the Daizaifu catacombs, but Tachibana Ginchiyo sees through his disguise immediately and attacks Kelley until she spots her wounded husband. William apparently inherits the ability, both implicitly with the Hidden Teahouse's "Transform" option, and explicitly in the final stage, where he apparently impersonates a Kelley clone to re-infiltrate the Tower of London.
  • Necromancer: Resurrects several historical figures who are dead by the time of Nioh such as Lady Nō and Oda Nobunaga and uses them as his pawns.
  • Obviously Evil: He simply appears evil and makes no attempt to hide his vile nature.
  • One-Winged Angel: Transforms into Yamata-no-Orochi, the strongest Yokai in Japan, for the final battle in the main story.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: He's directly responsible for most of the chaos in the game with clear, red irides.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The appearance of Ouroboros; Kelley even fuses it with the Amrita to become Orochi.
  • Sadist: He is Ruthless, cruel and utterly delights in the slaughter he initiates.
  • Squishy Wizard: Done painstakingly straight - when players finally get the chance to fight him, Kelley resorts to long-ranged magic attacks and Teleport Spam. His defense is not significantly better than previous humanoid bosses, and his Ki is so piddling that a few solid whacks to his guard will consistently break it.
  • Tattooed Crook: Has multiple tattoos on his body, from his arms to his chest and head.
  • Telepathy: He is able to speak Japanese via telepathic communication.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Nobunaga defies becoming his servant and returns to the afterlife by besting William in combat, Kelley decides to transform into Orochi for the Irishman to deal with. Back at Edo Castle, Kelley is incensed when Ieyasu refuses to sacrifice his life in exchange for sparing Okatsu.

    Hattori Hanzo
Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa

  • Badass Baritone: Courtesy of Toshiyuki Morikawa.
  • Bad Liar: After Kelley dies, William asks Hanzo to lie to Ieyasu about being assassinated by the Ninja as per orders from his master once Kelley is defeated; Hanzo does. However, Ieyasu Lampshades how he doesn't believe for a second Hanzo did what he asked after his mission debriefing.
  • Cunning Linguist: One of the few Japanese characters who can converse with William in English, albeit heavily accented.
  • First-Name Basis: As William's Only Friend in Japan, it's fitting he's the only one who always addresses as "William" rather than "Anjin".
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a subtle one across the left side of his lips.
  • Hammer Space: Just where was he storing that cat in his tunic?
  • Legacy Character: Played with; he is not the historical Hattori Hanzo, but rather the third person to inherit the name, the grandson of the original.
  • Ninja: Current head of the Iga ninja and the clan's present successor.
  • Only Friend: There are a number of people in Japan who William likes and respects, but Hanzo is the only one he has an actual, ongoing friendship with, which is why he agrees to fake William's death to Give Him a Normal Life. Upon seeing a vision of Hanzo in peril from Sir John Dee's Amrita orb, it convinces William to return to Japan.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Hanzo's historical prototype had died in battle during the second siege of Osaka, with his younger brother picking up the mantle and becoming the fourth Hattori Hanzo. Nioh's Hanzo simply decides to step into the shadows with the war over.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry: More true to this than William, Hanzo's Weapon of Choice is a ninjato, including an arsenal of explosives and kunai. In the dojo training sesssions, he will also use poison shuriken and smoke bombs that emit the paralysis status effect.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: Despite the obvious accent, some players were impressed with Toshiyuki Morikawa and his grasp with English.
  • Truth in Television: His ability to tell time using a cat is based on an actual survival technique used by ninja.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Ieyasu; even though Hanzo admits his master is a Well-Intentioned Extremist, he is bound to him in servitude as his clan has from the beginning.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Hanzo can't help but admit his father "Hanzo the Oni" still can't pass up a chance to teach his son a lesson.

Voiced by: Emi Takei

  • Action Girl: In the penultimate mission, Okatsu joins William as a Non-Player Character and fights alongside him and Hanzo.
  • Animal Motifs: Her Guardian Spirit is Gyukuto, a golden rabbit. In her Brainwashed and Crazy boss fight, whenever Okatsu summons Gyukuto, she gains an increase in mobility by hopping around the room, often evading attacks by side-stepping.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Kelley brainwashes her at Edo Castle, forcing William to fight her when he reaches the top of the fortress.
  • Canon Immigrant: Subverted; Okatsu is the same-named Original Generation character from Tecmo Koei's Kessen series. However, she is heavily based on one of Ieyasu's favorite concubines Eishoin - instead, her Nioh counterpart makes her Ieyasu's estranged daughter.
  • Cunning Linguist: Like Hanzo, she can also speak English to an extent.
  • Daddy Issues: Okatsu's father, Tokugawa Ieyasu, killed her mother and brother to defend his family name, causing her to hold a strong grudge against him. Ironically, she also works for him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: During her introduction, Okatsu cements herself as dry-humored when she tells William to pass on a message to Hanzo, but won't do it herself (in English, no less).
    Okatsu: "I dislike the company of drunk samurai."
    William: "Hey! I am no samurai!"
    Okatsu: "So a common drunk. Even worse."
  • Does Not Like Shoes: She's barefoot during her boss fight.
  • Expy: Of Ayane from Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden - both characters are young kunoichi who come across as an aloof, uncaring person on the surface, but is actually a deeply insecure Broken Bird, desperately longing for affection and love in spite of her own denials.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Okatsu is too proud to admit it, but she has always wanted to be acknowledged by her father, and for him to show her genuine parental love like any other child. He never does, and it's through this that she gradually developed her cold, icy demeanor towards men, along with her resentment of the Samurai lifestyle.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Okatsu is pretty much her voice actor Emi Takei given a different haircut.
  • Ninja: Trained as a kunoichi (female ninja) by the Iga clan after she runs away following the death of her brother.
  • She's Got Legs: Apparently feudal Japan invented the miniskirt.
  • Tsundere: It's subtle, but her budding affections for William stems from her view that he is not like other Samurai - arrogant and selfish. However, she still acts aloof around him, but comes across as a jilted lover when he leaves Japan.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Her father may be a chubby old man who was clearly at the back of the line when they were handing out chins, but she's still as beautiful as any other Team Ninja heroine from Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Stoic as he might be, the face William makes the moment he first lays eyes on her indicates this is in effect. Okatsu keeps up her attitude for most of the game, but it's heavily implied she does so only as a self-defense mechanism for fear of being hurt again, crying for William almost like a jilted lover when he decides to head back to England to confront Sir John Dee. Considering she is not present for the events of the DLC, things don't evolve beyond that.

    Tokugawa Ieyasu
Voiced by: Masachika Ichimura

  • Big Good: How Nioh treats him, considering he unites Japan by the end of the game (as well as real life), putting an end to the Warring States Period.
    • It doesn't portray him as a saint however. When Kelley had Okatsu, his daughter, at his mercy and demands he trade places with her or watch her die, Ieyasu tells him stoically that she means nothing to him, which throws even Kelley off guard. He also orders Hanzo to kill William after his mission is over to keep Amrita a secret from the general public. To his credit, he is privately happy that Hanzo didn't go through with it after the fact.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Ieyasu doesn't enjoy making the ruthless decisions he's made throughout history, as the cloud of miasma and vengeful spirits William saw surrounding him shows. His Spirit Division (and his literal pain of sacrificing Torii Mototada to buy himself time for the Battle of Sekigahara) detailing the pain he feels in carving a path of blood, regardless of whose it is, in order to achieve peace is what convinces William that Tokugawa is a worthy leader.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Previously a vassal of Nobunaga, Ieyasu carried on his master's dream of conquering and uniting Japan following his death.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Well not everyone, but the last thing we hear before the credits is Ieyasu's content laughter after stating to himself that Hanzo is a Bad Liar and that William lives. Something he's obviously happy with.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He earnestly wants to unify Japan, but makes plenty of ruthless decisions to ensure his complete victory. Justified when feudal daimyo committed less than ideal deeds to ensure their clan's survival.
  • I've Come Too Far: He's sacrificed the lives of his family and followers for the path of ending the Civil Wars that have plagued Japan. Even before the Battle of Sekigahara, Ieyasu cannot back out no matter what.
  • Meaningful Echo: Ieyasu refusing to give his life in exchange for Okatsu's at Edo Castle is reminiscent to his own childhood, where he was offered up as a political hostage to the Imagawa clan by his father. The Oda clan took advantage of the situation and intercepted the young Ieyasu (then Takechiyo) as he was traveling to the Sunpu Province. The leader of the Oda clan at the time, Oda Nobuhide, threatened to kill Takechiyo if his father and clan did not sever their ties to the Imagawa. Takechiyo's father refused; out of respect, Nobuhide spared the boy's life and kept him as his own hostage. The similarities end with Okatsu freeing herself.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Much like his Real Life counterpart, Ieyasu makes a couple of decisions that seem morally ambiguous, such as leaving Mototada to die at Fushimi Castle when Ishida Mitsunari's army attacks it, which will give Ieyasu time to mobilize his other troops for Sekigahara. Regardless, Nioh establishes him as the Big Good.
  • Tanuki: His Guardian Spirit is Narimaka Tanuki, contrasting Mitsunari's Kitsune Guardian Spirit. Another true-to-history example as Ieyasu has always been associated with the tanuki due to his combined wisdom and cunning the creatures were once looked down upon for.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Orders William assassinated after his monumental efforts to win Ieyasu the war so that he could bury the influence of foreigners and yokai on history. Luckily, Hanzo does not follow through with the order. Also Subverted, as he knows Hanzo didn't follow the order, but is more then happy to let the lie stand.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The man wants to bring an end to the Civil War that has torn Japan apart for over a century. His methods of doing so, however, are a bit harsh.
  • Written By The Victors: Justified; having seen the extent of what Amrita is capable of, Ieyasu ensures no record of what happened at Sekigahara and William's exploits (or any foreigners) against Kelley and Yokai must ever be told to the public.

Example of: