Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Thunderbolt Fantasy: Protagonists

Go To

Index | Heroes | Season 1 | Movie 1 | Season 2 | Movie 2 | Season 3

WARNING: Unmarked spoilers ahead, please self-advise. Various tropes here contain major plot spoilers!
Note: In the Taiwanese Hokkien language broadcasts, all male characters are voiced by Huang Huei-Fung

    open/close all folders 

    Lin Xue Ya
Click to see full body image 
Click to see current concept illustration by Sinov Mimori 
Click to see initial concept illustration 
Click to see portrayal by Yuzuru Kurenai on stage 

"Hey there, Traveler. You're not planning on stealing that umbrella, are you?"

Name: 凜雪鴉 Lǐn Xuě Yā (ZH) / Rin Setsu A (JA) / Austere Snow Crow (EN)
Title: 掠風竊塵 Lüè Fēng Qiè Chén (ZH) / Ryoufuu Setsujin (JA) / Enigmatic Gale (EN)note 
Alias: 鬼鳥 Guǐ Niǎo (ZH) / Kichou (JA) / Demon Bird (EN)
Discipline / Position: Illusionist, Strategist, Master Blacksmith, Phantom Thief, (Reluctant/Former) Magic Swordsman
Weapon Name: 煙月 Yān Yuè (ZH) / Engetsu (JA) / Foggy Moon (EN)
Date of Birth: Unknown.note 
Voiced by: Kosuke Toriumi (JA), Chen Si-Yu (ZH)
Stage Actor: Yuzuru Kurenai (Takarazuka Revue)


The Deuteragonist of this series, Lin Xue Ya is a beautiful young man filled with immense mystery. Erudite and adept at the art of strategy, he is shown to be graceful and composed.

  • The All-Solving Hammer: In the final episode of season 1, after Shang Bu Huan demands to know how he intends to fix the world-ending problem facing them after the destruction of the Sword of Divine Retribution, Lin Xue Ya suggests stealing another holy sword from the nearest shrine to replace it. He is a thief after all.
  • Animal Motifs: He is associated with birds, with the character for "Crow" in his real name and the character for "Bird" in the false name he uses to fool those who don't know him already.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: In the manga of chapter 14, Sha Wu Sheng refuses to join his party thinking it might be another of Lin Xue Ya's tricks. Lin Xue Ya then breaks a jar and holds up one of the glass shards to his neck, threatening to kill himself, knowing Sha Wu Sheng will never allow it as he wants to kill Lin himself. Sha Wu Sheng reluctantly joins the party, after Lin Xue Ya promises him that he will allow himself to be killed at the end of their journey.
  • Anti-Hero: He's centrally responsible for denying an opportunity of redemption for Xing Hai and Sha Wu Sheng. He makes Shang Bu Huan's life filled with greater problems than necessary. While he doesn't inflict misery on powerless bystanders, he shows minimal remorse for the collateral damage his actions caused.
  • Anti-Villain: He defines himself as one. Though given his nature as a thief, it's hard to know if he's telling the truth. He states that as a thief he enjoys tricking the proud. It just so happens the most arrogant are evil and therefore more fun to trick.
  • Batman Gambit: His plans are structured around the personality, ethics, and behavior of the victim being targeted. He strips away the choices and options his targets have, leaving them with no choice but to accept the humiliating scenario he imagined for them. It's only when individuals like Mie Tian Hai do something he doesn't expect when such plans go off the rails.
    • He enacts an incredibly multi-layered one in season 3 to go after first Wan Jun Po and then someone else he finds more interesting: He first feigns changing alliegance from Shang Bu Huan to join Wan Jun Po and Yi Piaomiao to infiltrate the Void Junction to get closer to Xing Hai, who already does not trust him after their own personal pasts. Then, he spies on Xing Hai long enough to discover she intends to resurrect Zhao Jun Lin, which he reveals to both Wan Jun Po and Yi Piaomiao. All seems lost when he is forcibly entranced by the Seven Blasphemous Deaths, and then Xing Hai uses him to murder Juan Can Yun to use his corpse to attack Dan Fei. However that all truly ends up falling apart once Dan Fei meets up with Lang Wu Yao in the Void Junction to investigate matters for herself and Wan Jun Po begins his plans to use the Sorcerous Sword Index to stop Zhao Jun Lin himself, freeing the entranced Lin Xue Ya in the process. Dan Fei immediately recognizes that the Lin Xue Ya she encounters is her husband Juan Can Yun in disguise and both frees him from the Seven Blasphemous Death's control and removes the enchantment that disguised him as Lin Xue Ya, as the real Lin Xue Ya knew that no one truly trusted him so no one could tell if the disguised Juan Can Yun was acting out of character. Xing Hai, who has been seeking to turn Juan Can Yun's corpse as a zombie to attack Dan Fei discovers it is actually Yi Piaomiao, who was tricked into using the same magic to be disguised as Juan Can Yun in order to steal the Sorcerous Sword Index from Shang Bu Huan directly as he would trust Juan Can Yun wholeheartedly. Meanwhile, the real Lin Xue Ya is disguised as Yi Piaomiao, who has not only made direct contact with Huo Shi Ming Huang but has been tailing Wan Jun Po to see what his true intentions with the Sorcerous Sword Index are, and he now has a new target in sight.
  • Big Good: He may be a manipulative backstabber but he genuinely wants to take down the main villain and is sincerely concerned about Yao Tu Li's threat in the end, and is the sole driving force behind all the opposition to Mie Tian Hai. While Shang Bu Huan is the true hero, he acts more like a pointy stick for Lin to point at obstacles. The other real heroes (Juan Can Yun and Dan Fei) are dragged along helplessly behind him.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Lin Xue Ya is forced by Xing Hai to look at Seven Blasphemous Deaths' charms and becomes brainwashed after Xing Hai finds out he ruined her plans to resurrect her elder sister. As a result, he falls victim to the Seven Blasphemous Deaths' powers and becomes her new wielder. He later murders Juan Can Yun in cold blood under Seven Blasphemous Deaths' influences. This ends up subverted when it is revealed that the Lin Xue Ya that was brainwashed was Juan Can Yun disguised as him while the Juan Can Yun killed was Yi Piaomiao in disguise when he tried to steal the Sorcerer's Sword Index from Shang Bu Huan, while Lin Xue Ya is actually alive and well disguised as Yi Piaomiao.
  • Call to Adventure / The Chooser of The One: To Shang Bu Huan.
    Lin Xue Ya: "To ignore the call to duty is to show cowardice, wouldn't you say, most honorable hero, Shang Bu Huan?"
  • Calling Your Attacks: The Finishing Move of his swordsmanship style, White Heavens: Lunar Crater Vapor
  • Chekhov's Skill: He tricks Can Xiong (who wants to kill Dan Fei) into fighting Shang Bu Huan by messing with his perception via smoke and make him think that he's Dan Fei. It wasn't really mentioned again until Episode 8, when he tricks Dan Fei (who wants to kill Mie Tian Hai to avenge her brother) into fighting Shang Bu Huan with that same exact technique. At that point, it's of huge importance to the plot.
    • It's established in series 1 that he can make a perfect replica of an item if he's seen/touched it for long enough. This comes back in Season 2, allowing him to copy and replace Xiao Kuang Juan's glasses with a fake pair.
    • His duel with Mie Tian Hai in Season 1 reveals he knows how to defend against opponents who know Teleport Spam. When Lou Zhen Jie tries to sneak attack him with a teleport attack during Second 2 he easily blocks it.
  • The Chessmaster: Able to manipulate a lot of people by joining his "team" in a plan to steal the Tian Xing Jian all for himself.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He grievously wronged both Sha Wu Sheng and Xing Hai in the past, and has betrayed Shang Bu Huan and Dan Fei in an attempt to gain Mie Tian Hai's trust and backstab him.
  • Consummate Liar: Even when he tells the truth, there's at least one lie in a sentence before or after it. Even his first and temporarily last words to Shang Bu Huan were lies.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: He criticizes Shang Bu Huan for not being upfront about his true abilities, pointing out they didn't need Shou Yun Xiao, Juan Can Yun, Xing Hai, or Sha Wu Sheng for the quest. The two of them could have done everything without additional help. His hypocrisy is rather humorous, given he never tells Shang Bu Huan everything about himself either.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As he explains to Dan Fei about his Bird Master skills, he claims that being generally prepared to deal with all sorts of people is pretty much his only advantage.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Yes, he's one hell of a despicable jerk, but his ability to sword fight makes him a valuable player when times are right. ...or maybe not.
  • Crouching Scholar Hidden Badass: In Episode 12, after learning Mie Tian Hai's true pride is not in collecting fancy swords but collecting fancy swords worthy of his ​skill, Lin transforms his pipe into a saber and says the best way to steal Mie Tian Hai's pride is to kick his ass in a sword fight.
  • Cruel Mercy: Despite being the best swordsman in all of Dong-Li, Lin Xue Ya would rather have villains live with their pride utterly destroyed than kill them outright. This is how he dealt with both Xing Hai and Sha Wu Sheng, and how he had hoped Mie Tian Hai would react.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Though he was aware Shang Bu Huan was more powerful than first appearances showed, he never imagined Shang Bu Huan was a combat powerhouse of legendary rank. Shang Bu Huan's sudden willingness to solo through Mie Tian Hai's territory without the assembled party is when his original plans flew off the rails.
    • He's genuinely surprised that Mie Tian Hai would actually take the extra step of destroying the sword that could seal the demon god. He also did not anticipate Mie Tian Hai was more powerful than Sha Wu Sheng, or that Mie Tian Hai would take the hilt of the Tian Xing Jian outside his fortress.
    • He did not anticipate the existence of magic artifacts that could neutralize high-tier illusion magic. He voices annoyance at being unable to overcome Xiao Kuang Juan's spectacles and steals them as the ultimate solution.
    • He misjudged Xiao Kuang Juan as a Type 2 Lawful Evil invoked individual when it turned out the man was closer to Type 1 Chaotic Neutral. He never broke Xiao Kuang Juan's pride because he never had any to begin with.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: And a very fancy one.
  • The Dreaded: His nom de guerre the Enigmatic Gale strikes fear into the Dong-Li Imperial law officer when Xiao Kuang Juan asks if the name is familiar.
  • Due to the Dead: Despite their enmity, Lin Xue Ya doesn't let Sha Wu Sheng's body fall into the ground after he's killed, and instead catches him before that happens. At the beginning of Season 3, Lin Xue ya also visits Sha Wu Sheng's grave, which he apparently personally enacted, and conveys genuine words of respect and reminiscence before he departs to meet Bu Huan's party.
  • Enemy Mine: A demon and a Psycho for Hire both hate him for reasons unexplained (although indicating from Sha Wu Sheng's dialogue, he probably stole something valuable from both of them) and only agree to work for him for a common cause. Also, after he reveals his true nature, this could definitely apply between him and Shang Bu Huan, who seem to work together to try to steal the Tian Xing Jian from Mie Tian Hai.
  • Enemies Equals Greatness: He's thrilled at the idea of being loathed and hunted by the most powerful evil threats in the world, and leaves them alive (or falsely believing he's weaker) despite having more than enough power to kill them.
  • Exact Words: After Sha Wu Sheng tells Lin Xue Ya that he would kill him, he explicitly mentions that it would only be if he guided them through the labyrinth. An episode ago, he, Shang Bu Huan, and Dan Fei skipped the entire labyrinth by tricking several birds.
    • When he gives Yi Piaomiao Juan Can Yun's outfit to disguise himself in order to steal the Sorcerous Sword Index from Shang Bu Huan, he questions if it will work. Lin assures Yi that "it will be so thoroughly applied, it won't even come off in death". True to those words, he is soon murdered by the real Juan disguised as Lin under the influence of the Seven Blasphemous Deaths, and his disguise isn't undone until Xing Hai attempts to resurrect him.
  • Fingerless Gloves: He wears them under the sleeves.
  • Foreshadowing: He is more aware of the Wasteland of Spirits than he lets on, mentioning creatures and tribes that should only be known to someone who has traveled through it. However Shang Bu Huan and Lang Wu Yao don't seem to catch on to this...
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Paying attention in Episode 2 would notice that when Dan Fei gives Lin Xue Ya the guard of the Tian Xing Jian, he isn't seen with it until the camera shows him wrapping it back up. Mie Tian Hai thought it was a clever trick that he had the sword part all along, but we learn that this isn't true— he crafts a fake to give to Mie Tian Hai with his magic but leaves the real article hidden around the area.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Everyone except Dan Fei was at least wary or suspicious of him. By Season 2, Shang Bu Huan is willing to work with him, but doesn't exactly like him.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Lin Xue Ya is a master blacksmith who is able to create a wide range of weaponry ranging from swords to Magic Staff.
    • Fakin' MacGuffin: In reality, he uses his skills to forge the treasures he's eyeing and swap them out from their original owners without them noticing the difference. Dan Fei becomes his target by forging the Tian Xing Jian guard and swap it out from her way before they entered the Demon Spine Mountains.
  • Gentleman Thief: Most of his associates know him as the Enigmatic Gale, and for his thievery. However, it's not always material goods he's after. Instead, he's a thief of Pride, particularly of the haughty and outright villains. In the series proper, he fights Mie Tian Hai into a stalemate but in the end, it's clear that he has the better swordsmanship skills and his implied victory was to humiliate Mie Tian Hai. And despite Shang Bu Huan's possession of three dozen magical swords more powerful than any of the Shen Hui Mo Xie in Dong-Li, he has no reason to steal anything from him because of Shang Bu Huan's absolute humility. In the movie and light novels we learn what happened that led Sha Wu Sheng and Xing Hai to want him dead:
    • In Thunderbolt Fantasy: The Sword of Life and Death, Lin Xue Ya steals Sha Wu Sheng's chance of redemption from his destiny of being a murderous assassin after he rigs the Sword Art Assembly's Sword Saint tournament in Sha Wu Sheng's favor by killing or injuring most of the other contestants with Shou Yun Xiao's skills. He frames Sha Wu Sheng as the architect of all that had happened because he knew that his swordsmanship skills would be wasted by living an honorable and peaceful life as the new Sword Saint and he would be better suited to live out his life as a cold-blooded assassin. Lin Xue Ya also used the opportunity to wipe out the entire Sword Art Assembly as he felt that they had no right to call themselves judges of all swordsmanship. Regardless of the outcome, he knew Sha Wu Sheng would end up fighting his former teacher Tekkisen and would undoubtedly win and kill the man who was the source of this farce in Lin Xue Ya's eyes.
    • In Thunderbolt Fantasy Gaiden, Lin Xue Ya steals Xing Hai's heart, home, and source of magical energy through Ren Jou Shi by tricking both women into fighting one another; Ren Jou Shi has been luring in human men to kill for Xing Hai's spells, who in turn gave Ren Jou Shi a youth elixir to stave off her true advanced age. After this, all Xing Hai desired was Lin Xue Ya's death and the restoration of her demon god brethren.
  • The Gloves Come Off: When Lin draws his sword, the world's most powerful swordsman quickly discovers he's been demoted to the world's second most powerful swordsman (and had he lived longer would have learned he's reduced to the world's third most powerful swordsman).
  • Good Is Boring: He has openly stated that Shang Bu Huan, Juan Can Yun, and Wan Jun Po are so morally upstanding, that he has zero interest in personally architecting their downfall.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The second season starts off with Lin Xue Ya pretending to be a peacekeeper operative of the Imperial Central Office under his name Gui Niao once more.
  • Guile Hero: Demonstrates almost no combat prowess outside of a few tricks built into his pipe, but he's very good at acquainting himself with people who have the talents they'll need to fulfill their mission, and knows exactly what to say to get them on board. This includes two people who utterly despise him.
    • However, this is a front as he is by far the greatest swordsman in all of Dong-Li. However, he soon realized that becoming that powerful and haughty was a dark path to follow in life, so he gave up swordsmanship and took up the life of a thief. Instead of killing those who stand for evil, he goes after their pride to humble them.
  • Hero of Another Story: Shou Yun Xiao, Xing Hai, and Sha Wu Sheng each had villainous plans that were thwarted by him in the past.
  • Heroic BSoD: While it's a bit of a stretch to classify Lin as a "hero" in the traditional sense of the word, he experiences this when Mie Tian Hai, instead of the tear-filled Villainous Breakdown Lin desired, destroys the Tian Xing Jian and dies laughing, both denying Lin his prize and dooming the world that Lin (after a fashion) loves. Which made Lin himself go into Villainous Breakdown.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: While he presents himself as a Guile Hero to the point of nearly being a Non-Action Guy, this is purely by choice. In reality, he's easily the title holder of the greatest swordsman from Dong-Li.
  • I Have Many Names: According to Shou Yun Xiao, Lin Xue Ya has undergone various aliases to conceal his identity. He calls himself Gui Niao to Dan Fei and Shang Bu Huan, while Sha Wu Sheng and Mie Tian Hai know him as the Enigmatic Gale.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: He pretends to be incapable of swordsmanship when traveling in the Wasteland of Spirits with Lang Wu Yao, to observe the bard's fighting skill. Instead, he pretends to be an alchemist proficient in fire techniques. He also says he wants to see Lang Wu Yao in action, as he wants to know just how powerful he must be if Shang Bu Huan has decided that he's worthy of being his ally.
    • He possesses very in-depth knowledge about necromancy and demonic sorcery. He figures out Xing Hai's time travel magic, an original type of spellcraft that even impressed Azibělpher with the ingenuity involved, after just observing it once. Yet he prefers to cast illusions and simple parlor tricks.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Lin Xue Ya claims to Shang Bu Huan that he enjoys taking away people's "Pride". As when a person falls from his arrogance, they would most likely earn the ability to humble themselves and live a happier life. As pretty as he sounds, this doesn't make him less of a Jerkass one. BIT.
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: He has the skills of a Bird Master to summon birds to help him send messages to whoever he wants to contact.
  • Jerkass: Subtly forcing Shang Bu Huan to join a quest he didn't really want to join. Also, he has done things to piss off both Xing Hai and Sha Wu Sheng. Tricking Can Xiong into thinking that Shang Bu Huan was Dan Fei, basically forcing the two into battling each other to the death. Even worse is when he tricks Dan Fei into thinking that Shang Bu Huan was Mie Tian Hai. What he did to Sha Wu Sheng was probably the worst, stealing Sha Wu Sheng's chance at redemption.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: As stated in "Troll", he enjoys manipulating and humiliating people, but finds good people too easy. So instead he does it to the arrogant and evil.
  • Large Ham: When pretending to be an Imperial lawman in front of Shang Bu Huan and Xiao Kuang Juan, the manner he delivers his lines are different from his usual speech pattern. He's over the top in being a fair play figure who stands up to evil. Shang Bu Huan figures out that Lin Xue Ya has found new prey and goes along with the trickster's plan without retrieving the lost Divine Sword he's been chasing after.
  • Latex Perfection: He has a cloth bag that can turn someone's head (and voice) into his when that someone puts it on. He lets Shang Bu Huan put it on so that Shang Bu Huan can be disguised as him to lure Mie Tian Hai away while he attempts to steal the hilt of the Tian Xing Jian out from Mie Tian Hai's safe. In season 3, Lin Xue Ya uses more cloth bags to disguise himself as Yi Piaomiao as part of an elaborate scheme that also has Juan Can Yun disguised as Lin Xue Ya and Yi Piaomiao disguised as Juan Can Yun. While Lin Xue Ya manages to infiltrate the Order of the Divine Swarm and meet Huo Shi Ming Huang, the Seven Blasphemous Deaths ends up brainwashing the disguised Juan Can Yun, who ends up killing the disguised Yi Piaomiao while under its influence. The cloth bag's magical properties is revealed to last even through death, as Yi Piaomiao's disguise does not fall apart until Xing Hai attempts to reanimate his corpse.
  • Leitmotif: "coldsnowcrow"
  • Long Haired Prettyboy: Has very long white hair.
  • Master Forger: He can create a perfect forgery of any item that he's seen and held for long enough, and standard practice for him in his thievery is to switch out the genuine item with the fake.
  • Mystical White Hair: A mystical character with white hair.
  • Never Split the Party: During the third season he reveals a long-range communication device, in the form of a doll that looks like him, to ensure he's always in contact with everyone else.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His duel with Mie Tian Hai may look cool and all, but Mie Tian Hai turns the tables and destroys the Tian Xing Jian along with killing himself so that the Yao Tu Li will roam the world however it likes, which not only makes Lin Xue Ya himself "taste his own defeat," but also leaves him unable to provide backup plans to run from the wrath of Shang Bu Huan's scorn.
  • Non-Action Guy: Of all the cast, he is the only one who doesn't do martial arts and purely manipulates the actions of others to get where he wants to go. However, this is averted at the end of Episode 12, as he forms a blade with his pipe as he prepares to fight Mie Tian Hai.
  • Not So Different: With Shang Bu Huan. Both men conceal their true swordsmanship style, prefer to converse with the enemy, will offer to spare an enemy from death, are laidback when not in danger, on the run from powerful enemies, and secretly carry a powerful magic sword... though three dozen in Shang Bu Huan's case. Both are also thieves, as it's highly unlikely Shang Bu Huan was given the dozens of blades he carries.
    • Both abandon the idea of using their true strength in combat, unless there is no other scenario to escape (even if that means being cowardly) is possible. Shang Bu Huan does it because he deems it a sin and wants to feel the weight of the lives he takes. Lin Xue Ya does it because he thinks fighting to resolve problems is boring and that the path of swordsmanship is one that brings people down to their lowest point rather than elevating them.
  • Not So Stoic: The only time Lin Xue Ya truly loses his cool is when Mie Tian Hai destroys the Tian Xing Jian out of spite and even smiles as he dies.
    • In the manga, he was very pissed off after finding out Mie Tian Hai knew his plans to steal the hilt and that's why he took it with him.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: In swordsmanship and sorcery, he's at the pinnacle of the list. He hides these awesome abilities because it brings nothing but trouble... and being the best turned out to be absolutely boring to him.
  • Pet the Dog: Although he's still a jerk like his counterpart, in the manga adaption he's shown that he cares about his master, Lian Qi deeply according to his inner monologue about him. However, he refuses to show his emotions to everyone and keeps a calm, stoic composure. After he discovers his master's corpse, he wants to give him a proper burial.
  • Phantom Thief: True to Mie Tian Hai's words, Gui Niao, otherwise known as the infamous thief the "Enigmatic Gale",note  is not someone to trust. The entire first season's adventure has been for the sake of stealing the Tian Xing Jian out from under both Mie Tian Hai and Dan Fei's noses all to destroy Mie Tian Hai's pride. If you pay close attention to Lin Xue Ya's actions during the first season, it's easier to spot.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Oh yeah, he curbstomps Mie Tian Hai's ambition to be the greatest swordsman in the land, but he never did expect that his enemy's pride would lead to him destroying the weapon that could seal the demon god that was about to awaken. He also doesn't get to see any remorse or regret from Mie Tian Hai, making it so that Mie Tian Hai actually won that battle with Lin at the end.
  • Rage Quit: Lin Xue Ya's machinations to steal Xiao Kuang Juan's pride fall apart after Xiao Kuang Juan resolves that he never had any pride in what he did, despite the fact that he is now a wanted man in both Dong-Li and Xi-You. Xiao Kuang Juan then goes on to say that only a moron would get satisfaction from smugly humiliating others and caring about pride when one is evil. Lin Xue Ya is so infuriated by this indirect insult that when Shang Bu Huan approaches him for help in tracking Xiao Kuang Juan down later he refuses and loudly proclaims he no longer wants anything to do with him.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Has red eyes, and it is revealed that his intentions for the quest were initially for not-so-good purposes.
  • Renaissance Man: Knowledgeable about tactics, culture, arts, gadgets...and can apparently fight as well. Lin is the complete package.
  • Running Gag: Throughout the two seasons he keeps plotting to give the villains some Laser-Guided Karma due to his scheming, but they all backfire:
    • Mie Tian Hai kills himself instead of despairing.
    • Xiao Kuang Juan decides to be corrupt and go all the way in his machinations.
  • Sanity Slippage: Subverted. Lin Xue Ya completely loses his sanity after being exposed to the Seven Blasphemous Deaths' charm curse for too long. He is no longer the same person from before and doesn't care about his allies anymore. He becomes so obsessive about obtaining the Seven Blasphemous Deaths back after Xing Hai chains him into a dungeon cell and takes it away from him. It is later revealed that it was actually Juan Can Yun in disguise, and he is soon dispelled from the charm by Dan Fei.
  • Ship Tease: He had some with Shang Bu Huan, Sha Wu Sheng, and Xing Hai.
  • Shirtless Scene: Twice in the manga adaptation. The first when he was seen bathing in the hot spring with the other guys and he has an average slimmed build. The second well, he shows off only his chest to Diao Ming when he asks him for a change of clothes and he lied about ripping his clothes. This was in order for Shang Bu Huan's disguises as him to work.
  • Smoking Is Cool: It can even cause illusions, as shown in the first and eighth episodes. He can trick his targets into thinking that the person they're fighting is somebody else, and with enough personal rage, the target potentially fights that person to the death. He tricked Dan Fei into fighting Shang Bu Huan by making her think that he was Mie Tian Hai.
    • In the manga, it can also put his targets to sleep.
  • Sore Loser: He does not take it well when his targets act in ways he doesn't predict and end up spoiling his plans.
    • He angrily rages at Mie Tian Hai who chooses to die instead of living with the humiliation of being beaten in a sword fight. To add insult to injury, he breaks the sword the heroes needed and dies with a smile, screwing them over in the end.
    • He then refuses to even speak to, or about, Xiao Kuang Juan when the latter skips over his Despair Event Horizon and decides to Take a Third Option and become evil.
  • Spoiler Title: Lin Xue Ya's name is revealed in promotional materials, but to the characters, it's definitely a name of an infamous man who is very untrustworthy and would go out to steal the Tian Xing Jian.
  • Troll: His stated purpose in life. He enjoys tricking and humiliating people, seeing it as the greatest enjoyment.
  • Tron Lines: In Episode 12, his final attack against Mie Tian Hai invokes an incongruous array of them behind him, perhaps to show just how strange and different his techniques are.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He did not realize Mie Tian Hai was a far better swordsman than Sha Wu Sheng. He also did not detect Shang Bu Huan was a warrior equal to him or carried three dozen superweapons.
  • Victory Is Boring: As it turns out, he's one of the greatest swordsmen in the land, if not the greatest. However, he grew bored and disillusioned with swordsmanship once he got to the top and found his new calling in life as a thief.
  • Walking Spoiler: There's a good reason why Urobuchi didn't reveal his nature until the last third of the series.
  • Wild Card: Once he reveals his true nature as a thief, no one but himself knows what he's truly after. He could simply be after Tian Xing Jian for its power or just wants to troll Mie Tian Hai as he states.
  • World's Best Warrior: He easily defeats Mie Tian Hai while holding back. In other words, he did a Curb-Stomp Battle on the man who did a Curb-Stomp Battle on someone who was the nation's greatest known swordsman. Lin Xue Ya explains that because he is such a good swordsman, the only path for improvement would have been to become a world-destroying evil, so he decided to Take a Third Option and Troll those who would pursue that path instead. The only person whose skill takes him aback is Shang Bu Huan's, but he knows that Shang Bu Huan is a righteous man even with his skill. And Shang Bu Huan has no pride worth stealing.

    Shang Bu Huan
Click to see full body image 
Click to see current concept illustration by Satoru Minamoto 
Click to see initial concept illustration 
Click to see how he appears in the 2nd movie 
Click to see concept illustration for his appearance in the 2nd movie 
Click to see portrayal by Hiroki Nanami on stage 

"I get it. No need for you to feel shame anymore. Because I'm gonna get serious too!"

Name: 殤不患 Shāng Bù Huàn (ZH) / Shou Fu Kan (JA) / Unconcerned with Dying Young (EN)
Title: 刃無鋒 Rèn Wú Fēng (ZH) / Jin Muhou (JA) / Edgeless Blade (EN)
啖劍太歳 Dàn Jiàn Tài Suì (ZH) / Tanken Taisai (JA) / Sword-Plundering Nemesis (EN)
Discipline / Position: Ki Manipulating Swordsman (Magic Knight variant), Demon Sealer / Divine Sword Guardian note 
Weapon Name: 拙劍 Zhuó Jiàn (ZH) / Sekken (JA) / Formless Sword (EN)
Date of Birth: September 23.
Voiced by: Junichi Suwabe (JA), Tu Xiao-Ya (ZH)
Stage Actor: Hiroki Nanami (Takarazuka Revue)

"Neither sudden storms nor fierce winds that would ruin an umbrella are enough to halt a man's journey. Should I come across murky waters on my travels, I shall continue forward unburdened by that which may hold me back."

The Protagonist of this series, Shang Bu Huan is an enigmatic wandering swordsman from the neighboring nation of Xi-You with a single sword as his weapon. He may appear to be cynical towards others, but is compassionate at heart. His inadvertent encounter with Lin Xue Ya had him engulfed within the feud of the Xuan Gui Zong pursuing Dan Fei's part of the Tian Xing Jian, and reluctantly joins the journey with Lin Xue Ya and Dan Fei to retrieve the missing half of the Tian Xing Jian.

He is secretly the holder of the Sorcerous Sword Index, a portal to a dimension that holds 36 magical swords from Xi-You that he is trying to get rid of so the likes of Huo Shi Ming Huang and the Xi-You government can't get their hands on them for evil.

  • Appropriated Appellation: The moniker Edgeless Blade is supposed to be an insult. Shang Bu Huan, however, kinda likes it. Overlaps with Meaningful Name, since it (entirely coincidentally) accurately describes his fighting style.
  • Audience Surrogate: Shang Bu Huan's more of a Type-B Meta Watson.
  • Bad Impressionists: In episode 10, Lin Xue Ya has Shang Bu Huan disguised as him to lure Mie Tian Hai out of the way in an attempt to steal the hilt of the Tian Xing Jian. But seeing how Shang Bu Huan pulled this off in episode 11, he proved to us that he was either a really bad actor, or wasn't even bothering to impersonate.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: After observing Shang Bu Huan expertly fight against a horde of zombies, Sha Wu Sheng theorizes that Shang Bu Huan has only recently taken up swordsmanship, and has had much more practice in hand to hand combat. Indeed much of Shang Bu Huan's strength is in his physical strikes, using his sword only when necessary.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Instead of catching the blade directly, Shang Bu Huan blocks the arm and redirects it away for an elbow counterattack to Can Xiong on his first attempted attack.
    • Shang Bu Huan blocked Can Xiong's initial strike by the hilt with both of his arms crossed in the manga.
  • Batman Gambit: A three-layer one to defeat Lou Zhen Jie and the Seven Blasphemous Deaths. First, he has Lin Xue Ya stab him with the Night of Mourning, turning him into Lin's mindless puppet who is now entirely immune to the Seven Blasphemous Deaths' charm magic. Second, after the Seven Blasphemous Deaths directs Lou Zhen Jie to attack Lin Xue Ya to destroy the Night of Mourning, which is revealed to be one of Lin's illusions and Lang Wu Yao has the actual Night of Mourning which he uses to free Shang Bu Huan who then attacks Lou Zhen Jie while Lin has the Seven Blasphemous Deaths wrapped up in chains. Finally, as Shang Bu Huan strikes Lou Zhen Jie with his sword, Lou Zhen Jie blocks the attack as he had done to other sword wielders' attacks earlier by pincering the blade between his elbow and knee. Shang Bu Huan then unleashes his Formless Rogue Sword: Specter Shattering technique, which if you remember from season 1 can explode a human ribcage from the inside out. This is all just enough to fatally weaken Lou Zhen Jie so they can finally trap the Seven Blasphemous Deaths back in the Sorcerous Sword Index. Or so they think.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: The only time Shang Bu Huan uses a legitimate sword is when he's fighting an Eldritch Abomination. For massive points, the sword he's using is a legendary weapon that can send things to the farthest reaches of outer space.
  • Battle Aura: After being tremendously weakened by a lethal poison, Shang Bu Huan receives an antidote that neutralizes it. After taking it the poison rapidly leaves his body. As poison gets neutralized his Ki strength steadily returns, creating a wave of energy that draws to him and then surges back out with enough force to push back his opponents. One can even be heard whimpering when it occurs, as he knows a Mook Horror Show is about to be unleashed.
  • Beyond the Impossible:
    • Steel swords and other steel-bladed weapons in this world are prized because they allow the wielder to perform Ki Manipulation with great ease. Shang Bu Huan doesn't need any metal let alone a sword. He fights with nothing more than his fists and a wooden stick painted to look like a sword. He either possesses an extraordinary ability that no one else does or is so incredibly skilled that he's surpassed the limitation. He does, however, claim that fighting this way exhausts him.
    • The Goukouken, the sword he summons to defeat Yao Tu Li, is forged from some sort of crystalline substance. It backs up his comments to Diao Ming that weapons made of metal are overrated and shortsighted.
  • Bookends: He gets caught up in Dan Fei's quest after selfishly taking an umbrella from a Buddha statue to avoid the rain. He ends his involvement in Dan Fei's quest after selflessly giving an umbrella to the same Buddha statue while entering a severe thunderstorm. In both cases, Lin Xue Ya had something to do with the umbrella.
    • Season 2 starts with him trying to leave the Sorcerous Sword Index in the hands of the Hu Yin Shi of Xian Zhen Fortress. It ends with him still in possession of the Index and now with three more Shen Hui Mo Xie in his possession after using up the Absolute Phantom: Jie Huang Jian on Yao Tu Li at the end of season 1 and losing the Seven Blasphemous Deaths to a dying Lou Zhen Jie in the Demon Spine Mountains.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lin Xue Ya, Shou Yun Xiao, Xing Hai, and Sha Wu Sheng treat him as such because they're Underestimating Badassery. This is especially noticeable during the first two trails of their quest, as they throw him into danger to assess his skills and worth.
  • Calling Your Attacks: When performing a Finishing Move of his swordsmanship style.
    • Formless Rogue Sword: Eight-Way Arrival was used to defeat Can Xiong. It causes the opponent's weapon to explode.
    • Formless Rogue Sword: Specter Shattering was used to defeat Diao Ming. It causes the opponent's chest to explode.
    • Formless Rogue Sword: Impact Screen was used to stop Xie Yingluo. It creates an impenetrable barrier that explodes when the opponent touches it.
    • Formless Rogue Sword: Wild Dance of Swords was used in his (non-canon) sparring match with Sengo Muramasa. It's mostly used to explode a bamboo fence that happened to be near their fight.
      • It gets used again in a fight against a "revived" Lou Zhen Jie alongside Lin Xue Ya's own Lunar Crater Vapor variant of the same attack against Sha Wu Sheng in the Nitroplus 20th Anniversary drama. This time they're wielding the Sengo Muramasa and Mikazuki Munechika against their foes. And this time the attack kills both their enemies but also sends them to the digital interface of the DEVA.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody believes that anyone could actually survive a trek across the Wasteland of Spirits, so his claims of doing so make everyone but Lin Xue Ya and Dan Fei suspicious of him.
  • The Chosen One: Lin Xue Ya pretty much pits him into this story's journey, much to his displeasure.
    • Zhao Jun Lin explains the most powerful weapons in the Sorcerous Sword Index, require an individual who possesses near limitless spiritual stamina and has a mind strong enough to bend their power to the wielder's will. The Holy Hand Grenade types can even refuse to lend their power to anyone who is a Black Mage or Black Magician Girl. This makes Shang Bu Huan one of the few individuals in the world, who can actually use the entire arsenal it contains.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's reached the age his hair has grown silver streaks. He also tends to call younger opponents "junior" when giving them Old Master words of wisdom or lessons about experience.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: After observing him in combat, Shou Yun Xiao, Xing Hai, and Sha Wu Sheng regard him as a capable warrior, but possessing a number of weaknesses that prevent him from being a threat on their level. Their scoffing includes: a lack in confidence, overcompensating swordsmanship, and total ignorance of Lin Xue Ya. In reality he's been Holding Back the Phlebotinum, concealing his true fighting style with a wooden sword that weakens his attacks, and has traveled from another country beyond an Eldritch Location.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Shang Bu Huan doesn't expect Lin Xue Ya to betray him by ambushing them and murdering Juan Can Yun, and he gets captured by Xing Hai for interrogation.
  • The Drifter: He's seems used to sleeping outside and everyone refers to him as a vagrant.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: He's a pacifist, fights with a wooden stick painted to look like a sword that significantly reduces his combat power, and refuses to utilize any of the 36 Infinity +1 Swords that he secretly carries in Hammerspace. Lin Xue Ya even mentions that had he known any of this, the two of them could have completed the adventure together without anyone else, and probably saved a few lives in the process.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Invoked against Xie Yingluo when he discovers that she has a temporary alliance with Xiao Kuang Juan to hunt him down. He asks if she's really fine with joining forces with an agent of the Hegemonic Empire, and mentions the Greater-Scope Villain she's working for might get upset about it. She retorts with a half-hearted insult that reveals she isn't totally sure about it either.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: His name and appearance design may not be Japanese,note  but his mannerisms, way of speaking, and sword style all point to Shang Bu Huan being most definitely being created with a samurai or Ronin in mind.
    • His sword is a shikomizue / shirasaya and his techniques are distinct with the iaido style.
  • Fight Magnet: Lin Xue Ya delights at the idea that Shang Bu Huan is destined as one for his possession of the Sorcerous Sword Index, and secretly follows him in anticipation that adventure will never be boring where he goes.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Throughout season 1, Shang Bu Huan constantly questions the purported magical properties the people of Dong-Li claim that the Tian Xing Jian possesses. When he finally gets to examine the guard that Dan Fei keeps on her, he further doubts the legends about the sword, claiming that people have always fabricated grandiose stories about well made swords all the time.
    Shang Bu Huan: "If the Tian Xing Jian is powerful as you claim, why did you not use it to defeat Mie Tian Hai?"
    • He is of course proven right when it is revealed that the Tian Xing Jian did not slay the demon god Yao Tu Li but simply sealed it up beneath the Dan Clan's holy grounds. When Yao Tu Li awakens, he then summons up the Sorcerous Sword Index for the first time and pulls out one of the 36 weapons he has that have actual power far beyond the Tian Xing Jian, ultimately choosing one that sends Yao Tu Li to the depths of outer space rather than back to the Demon Realm.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Every time he sheaths his sword it makes the sound of wood hitting wood. Everyone else sheathing their swords makes the sound of metal clashing or sliding on metal.
    • During a conversation with Sha Wu Sheng, the assassin tried imagining several attacks that could cut Shang Bu Huan's head off in a single strike. Despite how many scenarios he ran through his head, not one of them would break Shang Bu Huan's defense.
    • The more he hears about the Tian Xing Jian, the less convinced he becomes of its power.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When he makes the Badass Boast that even hair and cloth can instantly kill an opponent, the edge of his cape hits an Elite Mook with a Decapitation Strike.
    • When he's going through his list of swords, three other Pili character's swords can be seen: Gǔ Líng Shì Yān's Bǎi Dài Kūn Wú, Lěng Bié Fù's Qīng Dēng Gū Zhào, and Cháo Tiān Jiāo's Huáng Dāo Dié Shā. Also included is the Yāo Jī: Qī Shā Tiān Líng from the Japanese Red Dragon tabletop roleplaying game turned anime Chaos Dragon originally developed by nitro+. This one ends up being more important in season 2 when it is revealed it is called "Seven Blasphemous Deaths" and it is more evil than the others, with mind-controlling powers, sights set on world domination, and Aoi Yūki's voice.
  • Frontline General: Upon reacquiring Night of Mourning he demonstrates experience at commanding troops to fight along side him. Xiao Kuang Juan claims this means Shang Bu Huan has been a battlefield leader at one point in his life.
  • The Gloves Come Off: When Shang Bu Huan decides to fight seriously, weapons and the people who wield them start to explode.
  • Gotta Catch Them All!: Shang Bu Huan never reveals his identity completely, and we don't learn terribly much of the truth about his past through the two seasons and the two movies. The most we know about him is that he's been on a quest to gather up the deadliest Shen Hui Mo Xie from Xi-You to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, but those wrong hands would stop at nothing to get them back. Hence he managed to travel to Dong-Li to see if there was a safe location to store or dispose of the dozens of magical swords he's stolen from various sages or evil emperors so they cannot be used for a genocidal war or worse.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: As powerful as he is and despite possessing 36 weapons that even the gods would fear, he's running from enemies who want those weapons and will take them by force. He's confident they've lost his trail for now, but equally certain they'll show up again unless he can safely dispose the 36 weapons.
    • In season 2 we see that these enemies include Huo Shi Ming Huang and his guild of insect-themed assassins of whom Xie Yingluo belongs and the Xi-You imperial government with a special team to hunt him down lead by Xiao Kuang Juan.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Shang Bu Huan defeated dragons, half demonic tribes of cannibals, and other nameless horrors while crossing the Wasteland of Spirits, an Eldritch Location that divides the two kingdoms of Dong-Li and Xi-You. He's the main reason why powerful warriors can now survive the journey across it. He downplays his feats and tries to change the subject.
  • Healing Hands: He can use his chi to heal other people's minor or major physical injuries. He is also able to heal himself after being grazed by Diao Ming in the manga adaption. In season 2, it takes all of his energy to keep Xie Yingluo's poison from killing him once he can concentrate it in a particular part of his body with chi.
  • The Hero: A wandering hero at that.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: According to Xiao Kuang Juan, he's the most wanted criminal of Xi-You, who stole countless treasures from the emperor and killed several government officials.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: with Lang Wu Yao in the second season.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: He doesn't reveal his true fighting style until the penultimate episode of the first season, and in the final episode reveals he possess dozens of forbidden Infinity +1 Swords that can One-Hit Kill divine and demonic immortals.
    • Deconstructed in the second season when Lang Wu Yao angrily points out that Shang Bu Huan's pacifism and unwillingness to draw a true sword causes greater problems and the suffering of more innocent people than necessary. He also cites it could be the world's Darkest Hour if Shang Bu Huan should fall under mind control because he's easily tricked and constantly exposes himself to such dangers.
  • Humble Hero: He saves Dan Fei and tells Lin Xue Ya that it was the Buddha that saved her.
    • His conversation with Juan Can Yun and Shou Yun Xiao in Episode 5 and 6 reveals that he doesn't care about fame or titles.
    • And we later learn he goes out of his way to fight with an incredibly useless weapon that takes a physical toll on his body when he uses it seriously, because he shouldn't be able to kill others so easily. That and he has no use for the three dozen legendary swords he's got hidden away unless the world's about to end.
  • Hunk: More prominent in his 2D depiction.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The Sorcerous Sword Index. It's a magical scroll that's a key to a pocket dimension containing 36 legendary swords.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: He's likely to be the title holder of greatest swordsman from Xi-You. He effortlessly defeated Yao Tu Li's tentacle attack with his left arm behind his back.
    • We later learn that he managed to wipe out or cripple nearly every demonic roadblock living in the Wasteland of Spirits single-handedly.
  • I Am Who?: After showing how much of a badass he is in episode 12, Juan Can Yun actually thinks that its possible for Shang Bu Huan to be a renowned hero from Xi-You. Before Juan Can Yun can question his identity further, however, Shang Bu Huan cuts him off.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: He's fond of sheathing his sword after drawing it. Because he's trying to conceal it's a fake and made of wood.
  • Improbable Weapon User: In season 1 episode 12, he throws away his sword to save Juan Can Yun who is unarmed and now blind in one eye, only to be met with mockery by Diao Ming who believes he has the man cornered. That's when he picks up a stick off the ground and starts slicing the Mooks up with it as if it was made of steel and blowing their heads off. In the middle of the fight he decapitates a man with the edge of his cloak.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: He secretly carries dozens of them and seeks to rid himself of them, but in a manner that prevents the weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Internal Reveal: The reason Shang Bu Huan has knowledge of the Void Junction and its scrying mirrors is because he has already travelled through time as a result of the mirrors before the Void Junction was seemingly created, having discovered it in ruins prior.
  • Ki Manipulation: Episode 12 revealed his main fighting format is this. He pumps his Ki into any object to use as a sword to pierce or just plain explode his opponents. Shang Bu Huan explains that since he's a Pacifist, in order to decrease his chance of taking someone's life, he uses his Ki skills to exhaust himself from fighting, deliberately to remind him the weight of a person's life.
  • It's All My Fault: Shang Bu Huan blames himself for Mu Tian Ming losing her sight because he refuses to retreat from a fight against the powerful enemy Huo Shi Ming Huang sooner. As a result, he feels too guilty to see her until he finds a solution.
  • Knight Errant: He fits the archetype well. While his other companions are suspicious about his place in the group and his lack of any logical motivation, and rightly so because of the group's leader, the simplest explanation is probably the correct one: he's a wandering vagabond-knight type who wants to help this girl on her quest.
  • Leitmotif: "show-no-feel"
  • The Man Makes the Weapon: Surprising since the everyone associates the Tian Xing Jian with power.
  • Magic Knight: He's a swordsman with Ki skills capable in healing internal wounds and sword buff.
  • Meaningful Name: Shou Yun Xiao and Sha Wu Sheng both notice that his fighting style is wild and undisciplined compared to the immense power in his strikes. His art name, "Edgeless Blade", is reflected in that his fighting style seems to be meant for a blunt weapon, not a light, fast sword like the one he's been using for the entire series to this point.
    • Episode 12 revealed that he hasn't been given an Art Name up until that episode, and it was Juan Can Yun who gave him that name.... Well, it's mostly to Sha Wu Sheng's credit of observing Shang Bu Huan's fighting style; Juan Can Yun just wants to mock Shang Bu Huan with this name, but Shang Bu Huan ends up liking it. He soon proves the name is apt by singlehandedly taking down around six Xuan Gui Zong mooks and Diao Ming with nothing but a stick he picked up off the ground and his cape after he threw his actual sword aside to save Juan Can Yun from being killed, at which point Juan Can Yun discovers the sword is just a blunt piece of wood painted silver to look like a sword.
      • The 2nd movie reveals he does have an Art Name of sorts, at least one given to him by the Xi-You Imperial Government: the Sword-Plundering Nemesis.
  • Mic Drop: Or in this case: Stick Drop. After killing all his minions in a Curb-Stomp Battle and delivering Badass Boast after Badass Boast, he causes Diao Ming's chest to explode during a Single-Stroke Battle, then tosses aside his weapon with utter confidence the fight was over (and it was).
  • Mook Horror Show: His enemies from Xi-You, though in opposition themselves, are willing to temporarily join forces to defeat him because he's an expert at Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Multi-Melee Master: He comments that ANYTHING can be used as a weapon, while performing a Curb-Stomp Battle on Elite Mooks with a tree branch and the edge of his cloak.
  • Named Weapons: Out of the 36 swords he has hidden away to dispose of, he chooses the Absolute Phantom: Jié Huāng Jiàn (須彌天幻・劫荒劍), or "The Absolute Phantom: Vast Expanse Sword", to dispatch Yao Tu Li to the edge of the universe. The other 35 swords he has hidden away have similar Names to Run Away from Really Fast, including three that are Freeze-Frame Bonus references to other Pili productions and another that references another project from nitro+ (and later becomes the Greater-Scope Villain of season 2). In a later short film, we find out another is the Sengo Muramasa, but that was on April Fools Day, and another special feature he pulls the Shining Trapezohedron out of the Index to help Kurou Daijuji and Al Azif fight Master Therion.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: As season 2 opens, he plans on leaving the Sorcerous Sword Index in what he believed were the safe hands of the Hu Yin Shi of the Xian Zhen Fortress, but he doesn't realize that Xie Yingluo has arrived in Dong-Li and has been stalking him for months, waiting for the time to steal the Index when he isn't looking.
    • The only reason why his enemies (and allies) can cross the deadly Wasteland of Spirits is because he either killed or crippled the fearsome monsters and evil tribes that lived within it. As a result, it's no longer impossible to cross between the two kingdoms. Lin Xue Ya is incredibly impressed, commenting that anyone who tries to challenge Shang Bu Huan in a fair fight would inevitably be defeated... thus it makes sense his enemies would stoop to use poisons, deception, and hostages to win. Even Lin Xue Ya says he would try to cheat in a duel with Shang Bu Huan, if they had to battle.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: Shang Bu Huan's attitude towards the magic weapons in the Sorcerous Sword Index. The Xi-You government has used them to commit war crimes, and giving them to the rebels would just perpetuate the Cycle of Revenge. Shang Bu Huan ultimately seeks to destroy them all, but until that's possible he's keeping them himself and refusing to use them except in the most dire emergences.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: Once he finally reveals his secret in episode 12:
    Shang Bu Huan: "You need to stop making dumb assumptions. See, I was never using a sword in the first place. Did you think only sharpened metal could form an edge?! Don't presume so much, boy! If you channel the right force into it, then hair and cloth can split flesh and shatter bone!"
  • Noodle Incident: Somehow, Shang Bu Huan manages to have acquired all the legendary swords in his possession...however sealing the Seven Blasphemous Deaths has to take the cake, since looking at the sword compels the onlooker to lust after sword above their own how did he manage to seal something without looking at it?
  • Not Hyperbole: Shang Bu Huan's story that he crossed the impassible Wasteland of Spirits desert has been met with disbelief. Also, after the debacle in episode seven, Shang Bu Huan is so angry that he leaves and tells the group that he'll handle Mie Tian Hai and his goons all by himself. As time goes on, it seems more and more likely that he was telling the truth. Episode 12 has him singlehandedly taking down several Xuan Gui Zong mooks and Diao Ming with nothing more than a stick, and episode 13 shows his true colors as he does the same with the demon god Yao Tu Li, but this time with one of the 36 Infinity +1 Swords he's been keeping hidden because he's trying to get rid of them before they can be used for evil.
  • Not So Different: With Lin Xue Ya. Both men conceal their true swordmanship style, prefer to converse with the enemy, will offer to spare an enemy from death, are laidback when not in danger, on the run from powerful enemies, and secretly carry a powerful magic sword... though three dozen in Shang Bu Huan's case. Shang Bu Huan is also a thief like Rin, as it's highly unlikely he was given the dozens of magic swords he carries.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • He's the first human who's successfully crossed the monster infested apocalyptic Wasteland of Spirits that splits the nations of Xi-You and Dong-Li.
      • Lin Xue Ya expresses surprise that Lang Wu Yao, and others from Xi-You, have all made it through the Wasteland of Spirits as well. As he begins to list off these monstrosities such as a fire-breathing dragon and a clan of half-demon cannibals, Ling Ya says they posed no threat. And each time, Shang Bu Huan sheepishly adds that he had already dispatched them, meaning the only reason anyone can get through the Wasteland of Spirits is because he single-handedly wiped out the most dangerous obstacles within.
    • How did he manage to get the Sorcerous Sword Index and its 36 legendary swords anyway?
    • There are strong indications he knows more about invincible demon gods and how to defeat them than anyone else.
  • One-Hit Kill: Shang Bu Huan's true swordsmanship kills with a single strike.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: In the manga, Shang Bu Huan received an injury from Diao Ming when he was caught off guard. Shang Bu Huan uses his chi on himself to stop the bleeding, leaving only a small scar on his right side of his torso.
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to the rest of the cast, he's really close.
  • Perma-Stubble: His initial 2D concept doesn't have facial hair, but the puppet version of him does. Later illustrations go with his stubble.
  • Pet the Dog: In Otome Gen'yuuki, where it is revealed that during his travels to Dong-Li, he once encountered a tiger and helped get a broken wooden stick out of it's paw. He gets along with the tiger's cubs very well.
  • Platonic Life-Partners:
    • With Dan Fei. Although he shows no romantic feelings toward her and even mentions that he dislikes women with ingenue personalities, he truly cares for her deeply as a trustworthy ally and companion.
      • In both manga adaptions, Shang Bu Huan protects and saves her a lot of times from certain danger. He is like a father or uncle figure to Dan Fei.
    • With Mu Tian Ming. He doesn't show any romantic feelings toward her and he sees her as an ally and trustworthy comrade.
  • Power Corrupts: He strongly believes this. He has spent his life gathering magic swords so others cannot use them and he plans on throwing them away when he has the chance. He even uses a piece of wood carved to look like a sword instead of the various magic swords he has as a way to remind himself of the weight of taking another's life.
    • It's also why he stole the contents of the Sorcerous Sword Index from the Xi-You imperial treasury. He found out the army was planning on using the weapons to enact a genocide against peoples in the southern region of their empire.
  • Primal Fear: When he is disguised as Lin Xue Ya and travelling via Demon Bird, it is hinted that he is afraid of heights. The manga adaptation makes it a lot clearer that he is.
  • Reluctant Hero:
    • Shang Bu Huan would rather not involve himself with anything happening in Dong-Li and just continue his travels. But after Lin Xue Ya's machinations, he's forced into the quest to defeat the Xuan Gui Zong who are now hunting him down.
    • It's ultimately revealed that Shang Bu Huan isn't heartless or uncaring at Dan Fei's plight, he just has thirty-six other reasons why he can't carry the burden of a thirty-seventh problem.
  • Scars Are Forever: In the manga, after he healed his wounds, Shang Bu Huan gained a small scar on his right side where Diao Ming inflicted a serious injury on him.
  • Screw Destiny: He and Sha Wu Sheng have a conversation with Armor Piercing Questions about the reasons they draw their swords to fight. Shang Bu Huan reveals possible hints on why he became a pacifist, asking if Sha Wu Sheng ever has doubts about killing the wrong people. The assassin answers that it's destiny if someone dies by his hand. This upsets Shang Bu Huan, who strongly disagrees on the matter.
    Shang Bu Huan: "I don't give a damn about fate. I choose when to draw it and when to strike. That's my sword!"
  • Sealed Good in a Can: After Xing Hai captures Shang Bu Huan, she places him inside a magic-suppressing wooden box that drains his magical energy and prevents him from escaping or stopping her plan to resurrect her sister.
  • Ship Tease: To Lin Xue Ya, sometimes.
  • Shirtless Scene: Twice in the manga, as the limitations of the puppet technology prevents it. The first instance is in the hot spring when he is (implied) to be nude, and the second was when he is disguised as Lin Xue Ya and asks Diao Ming for a change of clothes before he is to meet with Mie Tian Hai and trade the Tian Xing Jian's hilt.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: His special techniques to kill Can Xiong and Diao Ming were executed to only need a single strike.
  • Stable Time Loop: Lin Xue Ya reveals he has learned Xing Hai's plans for the Void Junction are to be able for it to not only travel across worlds but back in time, something that doesn't immediately surprise Shang Bu Huan. When pressed by his travelling companions, he reveals he has already traveled through time via the Void Junction but when he first encountered it it was already in ruins, meaning Xing Hai will succeed in her plans of travelling through time and possibly reviving Zhao Jun Lin from her imprisonment in the Seven Blasphemous Deaths.
  • Sword Beam: Razor Wind example. Only the most skilled swordsmen in the world can unleash such attacks, and he can manage to do it with a mere stick he picked off the ground, ranking his abilities among the world's greatest legends.
  • Sword and Fist: Shang Bu Huan seems to be just as adept at close quarters combat as he is with swords. In fact, it's generally a ploy to avoid revealing the sword he carries with him is nothing but a piece of wood painted silver. That doesn't mean he's not as deadly with or without it.
  • Technical Pacifist: Shang Bu Huan generally uses force as a last resort, mainly because he doesn't see the point in needless killing. He even uses a dull (and wooden) weapon to handicap himself so that killing becomes a deliberate and weighty action.
    • He only kills an opponent if they refuse to leave him in peace or steals one of his forbidden swords. He always attempts to negotiate a nonviolent resolution, and if a villain can be reasoned with, he's willing to let them go.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Through episodes 2, 3, and 10, the audience concluded Shang Bu Huan has a thing for Shao Bings, mainly due to the bread being able to preserve longer on the journey and suits best for a non-stop traveler like him.
  • Unblockable Attack: When Shang Bu Huan reveals his true swordsmanship style, every attack he unleashes breaks through his opponents' defenses with One-Hit Kill counters...with a simple stick he picked off the ground.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Because of his Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass and Holding Back the Phlebotinum traits, the rest of his "allies" think poorly of him.
  • Unwitting Pawn: This is how he got stuck with this holy weapon retrieval mess. Lin Xue Ya sets him up to save Dan Fei from enemies, then sets Can Xiong with the illusion covering Shang Bu Huan as Dan Fei so that Can Xiong would chase after Shang Bu Huan instead of Dan Fei and Lin Xue Ya himself.
  • Walking the Earth: After the events in Season 2 reveal no fortress in the world is strong enough to protect the Sword Index, he comes to the realization his ultimate fate is to wander the world until a way to destroy the weapons is found. The idea saddens him, as he truly hoped his journey could come to end and admits it was this small selfishness that convinced him into leaving the scroll to someone else in the first place.
    • His predicament gets worse at the end of Season 2 as he agrees to protect the three holy weapons of Xian Zhen Fortress until a suitable fortress is constructed. He originally started with 36 Infinity +1 Sword that cannot be allowed to fall into evil hands, but despite disposing of two over two seasons, now has 37 of them.
  • Weapon of Choice: In a world filled with beautiful weapons and Nom de Guerre, Shang Bu Huan's sword is surprisingly plain. The sword lacks a guard and is held together with twine. Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that the sword's grip is a simple wooden handle whose grip has been whittled away for comfort reflecting his Combat Pragmatist tendencies. And the blade is dull, showing his pacifist nature.
    • In reality, the blade is not dull, but rather it isn't a blade at all. His sword is just a wooden stick he painted silver to make it look real. He is so adept at channeling his chi that he doesn't need a metal blade to fight with, as he displays in a Curb-Stomp Battle using nothing more than a stick he picks up off the ground and quite literally the clothes on his back. He would rather overexert himself by channeling his chi through pieces of wood to carry the weight of taking another person's life than whipping out one of the 36 Infinity +1 Swords he's been keeping hidden from everyone when those swords' powers range from causing earthquakes that produce vast impassible chasms, opening up wormholes into the furthest reaches of outer space, creating mindless zombie armies out of unwitting pawns, possessing sentience and an insatiable bloodlust that takes over human minds, and being Sengo Muramasa.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He's quick to call Lin Xue Ya out for using him to deal with the bad guys.
  • Who Are You?: He gets asked this quite frequently. So far his answers have been: a traveler, the Edgeless Blade, and just a human.
  • Willfully Weak: After displaying his true powers in front of Dan Fei and Juan Can Yun, they say he must be truly skilled to use chi so easily, but he retorts that it is actually physically exhausting for him to fight in that way. He also reveals he uses a wooden sword as it is much more difficult to kill another person with it, so if he must do so, he will feel the pain of having to have taken another life with his subpar weaponry. There's no telling how strong he would be if he was willing to use an actual blade, let alone the Sorcerous Sword Index for anything shy of the apocalypse; in themselves they would qualify Shang Bu Huan as a Person of Mass Destruction several times over.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Just Better: His sword is basically a lump of thin wood painted silver. It's not even like a bokken, which at least has a cutting edge and enough weight to be used as a club. This doesn't make him any less deadly with it.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Xie Yingluo manages to poison him during the fight at the village she takes over with the Night of Mourning, and while he manages to manipulate his chi to get the poison into a point below his right knee, he cannot move around much or the poison will surely kill him. If he was not poisoned, and had Xie Yingluo had not turned a bunch of innocent villagers into her mindless slaves, he would have very easily wiped the floor with her. But now, he has to sit still while Lang Wu Yao and Lin Xue Ya travel to the Wasteland of Spirits to obtain the horn of a dragon (the very one Shang Bu Huan has already crippled during his travels) to counteract the poison and save his life.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He has no intention of ever fighting Dan Fei or Lie Mei. However, when it comes to Xie Yingluo, all bets are off.
    • He was going to utterly wreck Mei, Juan Can Yun and Shou Yun Xiao just interrupted the fight so he didn't have to. He'd just finished his "are you sure you're ready to die today?" check list and was getting ready to curb stomp them all when Juan Can Yun jumped in.
  • Wrecked Weapon: When using his true swordsmanship style, it casually destroys any weapon that tries to block his attacks. Of course, this "swordsmanship style" is using a stick he picked up after throwing his real "sword" aside.

Alternative Title(s): Thunderbolt Fantasy Lin Setsu A, Thunderbolt Fantasy Syou Fu Kan, Thunderbolt Fantasy Main Characters


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: