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Fanfic / The First Saniwa

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The First Saniwa is a Touken Ranbu/Onmyōji (2016) crossover fanfic written by Ki_no_Shirayuki as part of the Memories of Heian series, preceded by Mononofu. The story is crossposted on Wattpad with an official Japanese title of Saniwa naru Onmyōji ("an onmyōji who is also a saniwa").

The History Retrograding Force is targeting the Heian period with the purpose of converting the onmyōji Minamoto no Yorimitsu, the titular first saniwa who possessed magical powers that would eventually get passed down the bloodline and become that of the current saniwa, to their side, which will not only alter history but also cause touken danshi to be Ret-Gone and all people with saniwa powers, including the present one, to become evil. The sword warriors then embark on a mission to this era to stop this plan.

The fic takes the tone of a straightforward action/fantasy and each chapter except the prologue and epilogue is in two segments. Since this fic is the Continuation for Onmyōji (2016) canon, beware canon spoilers.

As of July 24, 2019, it has a sequel entitled Who Cares What My Name Is Anyway?

The First Saniwa tropes:

  • Action Girl: Kuzunoha is able to wipe out a band of Revisionists with the help of Yasuna's distraction.
  • Action Prologue/How We Got Here: The prologue has the Genji brothers along with some Onmyōji characters right smack in battle, with Higekiri heavily injured. The story proper shows how they get to that point.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Yorimitsu; in canon, he's very much a bad guy who commits genocide. In this fic, he's inexplicably become The Cassandra and wants to make up for his wrongdoings by preventing the extermination of mankind and slavery of demonkind.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Yorimitsu suffered much bullying because of his powers when he was young.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the epilogue, after the mission is over, the swords including the Genji brothers are quickly assigned a new mission.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Yorimitsu's younger half-brother Yorichika, who bullied him in their childhood and continues to speak ill of him when they've grown up.
  • Anti-Hero: Aoandon, who refuses to give up her goal of vengeance on humans and only sides with the heroes because of her implied crush on Nikkari.
  • Artifact Domination: As explained by the current saniwa/Professor Shiraha, since Yorimitsu couldn't fully manifest the souls of swords as corporeal beings, his method of creating "touken danshi" is basically facilitating the possession of living brainwashed hosts by the sword spirits.
  • Artifact Title: Despite the title, Yorimitsu doesn't properly appear until chapter 10. Even if we take his childhood flashback into question, he's among those with the least screen time out of all the named characters, despite being right there in the title.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Kagura and Yasusada vs. Revisionists, even when the former are on the losing side.
  • Back for the Finale: Nearly everyone introduced over the course of the fic make an appearance right before the final battle.
  • Battle Couple: Susabi and Miketsu in the climax.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Susabi and Miketsu show up to help the rescue party destroy the kekkai over the Minamoto estate before they break in.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The evil plan is foiled, Yorimitsu's saved and corrupted allies are returned to normal, but the age of yōkai will eventually come to an end, Yorichika doesn't seem to get any comeuppance for his actions, Susabi has broken the laws of nature to save Hiromasa and Shishiō, everyone from the Onmyōji side is presumably dead, Onigiri will be replaced by Higekiri, Revisionists are still running amok in the timestream and Aoandon does not get together with Nikkari.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Shishiō (the sword), courtesy of corrupted Hiromasa.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Do the Revisionists genuinely call themselves Dark Heralds, or is the name slapped on them by Heian folks?
  • The Cassandra: Yorimitsu correctly predicts the danger approaching humanity, but stopping short of being the most hated man in Japan because of his actions, he knows no one will believe him. He decides to prepare to stop the threat on his own.
    • Ishikirimaru is easily the biggest Cassandra in the fic. With his enhanced senses, he warns city folks of malicious energy, but he and his team get kicked out of 5 inns because the owners don't believe him, Hasebe yells at him and makes the team stay at a shabby one that is actually a trap laid out for them. Everyone else faces the consequence of not listening to him too little too late – at the cost of two Minamoto swords on the team being abducted.
  • Cassandra Truth: Izuminokami overhears two demons planning to Kill All Humans, but Kasen dismisses his concern as "hallucinations". As if to drive the trope home further, the title of the chapter in which this takes place is yudantaiteki (油断大敵 – unpreparedness is one's greatest enemy/be unprepared and the enemy will grow more powerful). Similarly, Ishikirimaru warns everyone of high levels of malicious energy in the city, but no one believes him as Yamata-no-orochi is defeated at this point.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Susabi and Miketsu; they're introduced way in chapter 9, but reappears 10 chapters later to help the rescue party.
    • Yorimitsu himself. Barring his childhood flashback, he only gets a painfully brief introduction in chapter 10 before showing up for the final battle.
  • Continuation: The fic is set after Yamata-no-orochi is defeated.
  • Continuity Nod: There are brief mentions of the events of the previous fic in the series, Mononofu. Kasen's act of silencing his brother with an onion to the mouth, Mikazuki and Juzumaru's discussing food and Nikkari's playing the èrhú is shared with the Tales of the Undiscovered Swords series by the same author. The saniwa and the Citadel are the same ones in a saniwa-centric oneshot also by the same author.
  • The Corruption: The effect of the Revisionist's magic attack on Hiromasa, Kuzunoha and Seimei, even when he was still in her womb. It's implied that this very magic is the origin of Kuro Seimei, if Miketsu's saying it can't be removed without breaking the laws of nature is anything to go by.
  • Crossover
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Aoandon and Nikkari don't actually become a couple.
  • Dreadful Musician: Nikkari plays the èrhú, Chinese two-string fiddle, and his playing is stated to be "grating". Though why he has it with him on a mission is anyone's guess. He is later joined by Mikazuki and his biwa in the epilogue.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Shuten-dōji sides with the Revisionists and turns his back on his friends. Onigiri isn't amused by this.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From Monjumaru, the clan punching bag with a bit of magical powers and only one supportive parent, to Yorimitsu, the fearsome and ruthless warlord we see in canon.
    • How the Mighty Have Fallen: … to a guy who brought shame upon his family by being canonically beaten by his shikigami, is hated by demons for canonically waging war on them and having to prepare himself to face the approaching calamity alone.
  • Fusion Fic: The fic frequently uses one game's canon to explain the other's. For example, Yorimitsu's being unable to actually create sword personifications in the strict sense allows Onigiri and Higekiri to exist in the same universe, and the origin of Kuro Seimei is explained as a side effect caused by an attempt of the Revisionists on Kuzunoha's life.
  • Glamour: The kekkai trapping Hizamaru's team inside the Minamoto estate also fools their brains into perceiving it as the Citadel and an enemy coming to take Higekiri and Hizamaru away as Nansen. The same magic causes Yasusada, Imanotsurugi and Iwatōshi to perceive the place as a festival instead.
  • God Couple: Susabi and Miketsu are a married couple when the fic takes place.
  • Good Parents: Mitsunaka seems to be the only member of the Minamoto who treated Yorimitsu nicely, recognizing his magical gift, teaching him the arts of Onmyōdō and granting him the right to wield the clan's swords.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Kagura and Yasusada have this dynamic: the latter is a melee attacker with his blade, while the former fires magic bullets from her Parasol of Pain.
  • Happily Married: Susabi and Miketsu, which further accentuates their Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl dynamic from canon.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Susabi willingly breaks the laws of nature to remove corruption magic from Hiromasa and Shishiō at the cost of himself being greatly weakened. His eventual fate is unknown.
  • Honor Before Reason: Yorichika is so obsessed with restoring his clan's honor that he willingly works for the Revisionists.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: Onigiri. The fact it shouldn't be possible for his sword size is lampshaded in the story.
  • I Am Not Weasel: The usual calling Kohaku by the wrong specie, this time committed by Izuminokami.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming/Foreign Language Title: Each of the chapters except the prologue and epilogue are titled with a four-kanji proverb. The proverbs' meanings relate to the chapters' contents at varying degrees.
  • I Have Many Names: Yorimitsu, Yorichika and Seimei are called by their childhood names Monjumaru, Fugenmaru and Dōji respectively in the childhood flashback.
  • The Illegible: Yaobikuni writes in all kanji with an indecipherable penmanship, because of which Yagen can't read the list of medicine ingredients she gives and has to bring Kasen along to translate. Bonus point for her playing a medic role.
  • Inferred Survival: Susabi's state after he risks himself to remove corruption magic from Hiromasa and Shishiō looks like he's dying, but he denies this. It's unknown if he says this just to ease his wife and whether he really is still alive after this.
  • In-Series Nickname: Revisionists are referred to as "Dark Heralds" by characters from the Onmyōji (2016) side.
    • "Kuroha" for the saniwa when they go insane.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Or rather Shiraha & Kuroha, the latter being a nickname bestowed upon the saniwa after they start exhibiting this behavior as a result of Hiromasa's succumbing to The Corruption.
  • Karma Houdini: Yorichika was a bully as a child and a Revisionist sympathizer as an adult, and yet he's seemingly vanished from the narrative after he's protected from being offed by the very creatures he's siding with without even a passing mention as to whether he's punished for his wrongdoings.
  • Kill All Humans: The Revisionists' actual goal. They want to prolong the age of the yōkai by exterminating all humans, and having the powerful onmyōji Yorimitsu on their side will make it easier to force the demons that don't agree with their goal to work for them whether they want to or not.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: After Hiromasa is corrupted and takes Shishiō away, Kagura and Yasusada head off on their own to bring them back, prompting all their friends to chase after them.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Inverted; at the start, the eighteen swords sent on the mission aren't all stationed at one place – one team is based at Seimei's house, one team inside the city and one at the Minamoto estate. Circumstances then force the former two teams to head to where the last one is based – the Minamoto estate.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Hizamaru's team when they're trapped inside the kekkai over the Minamoto estate, which fools them into thinking they're home and forgetting about their mission. Yasusada, Imanotsurugi and Iwatōshi instead get a festival illusion.
  • Meaningful Name: The saniwa's name, Shiraha Yadachi, sounds very close to the expression shiraha no ya ga tatsu.
  • Motherly Scientist: Yaobikuni, who in this fic has medical expertise and even attempts to carry out experiments, while still retaining her Yamato Nadeshiko personality from canon.
  • My Future Self and Me: Higekiri and Onigiri eventually meet in chapter 18. 一期一会 – Ichigoichie indeed. Too bad they never get to properly introduce themselves. The sequel have them interact more by straight-up bodyswapping them.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Kuzunoha was struck with a very minor magic wound before she married. The corruption she was infected with was then passed on to Seimei in her womb.
  • Mystical Waif: Young Yorimitsu/Monjumaru with all his unique powers and eerie spellcasting that make him borderline Creepy Child.
  • Naginatas Are Feminine: Kuzunoha.
  • No Name Given: Averted in the fic for the saniwa, who is named Shiraha Yadachi.
  • Original Character: Yorimitsu's father Mitsunaka, his unnamed mother and younger half-brother Yorichika; Seimei's father Yasuna (at the time of writing). All fall under Historical Domain Character.
  • Origins Episode: Chapters that cover Yorimitsu's childhood (2 – 5) and Kuzunoha's brush with corruption magic (12 and 13). The former explains Yorimitsu's powers and the latter presumably explains the origin of Seimei's Evil Within.
  • Polyamory: Mitsunaka is stated to have sired children with many women. Truth in Television as concubinage was commonplace among men of high social standing in the Heian period.
  • The Professor: The saniwa is literally a professor who teaches at a university (specifically Shizuoka). They're stated to conduct researches, take their swords as guest speakers to seminars and discuss literature.
  • The Quisling: Yorichika.
  • Ret-Gone: Lampshaded; the touken danshi know this is what will happen to them if the Revisionists are allowed to do as they please and their mission is to prevent this from happening.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: Once Hiromasa is corrupted from his magic wound, the present saniwa starts going insane.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Hiromasa is struck with a Wound That Will Not Heal. That alone would have been enough, but when Yaobikuni has to resort to experimenting on him and asks three swords to gather ingredients for her, he has already succumbed to The Corruption from the wound the second they return from their gathering trip before any experiment could take place. Furthermore, according to Miketsu, said corruption is permanent, meaning that any experiment would have been meaningless anyway.
  • Spoiler Title: The penultimate chapter in which the final battle takes place is named ikkenrakuchaku (一件落着), essentially giving away the outcome of said battle.
  • Tagline: Minamoto no Yorimitsu ga jikan sokōgun ni nerawareteiru (Minamoto no Yorimitsu is targeted by the History Retrograding Force) written in red on the Wattpad cover.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Yorimitsu/Monjumaru commanded his first touken danshi equivalent to grievously wound his brother and gave him an intimidating speech at the age of fourteen. Mitsunaka was understandably horrified at this.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kagura and Yasusada run off on their own to face an army of enemies in order to bring Hiromasa and Shishō back. They also inadvertently endanger their friends by making them have to come to their aid.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Kuzunoha can take either a humanoid form or transform into a white fox at will, in line with mythology canon.
  • Wham Line: "The Minamoto estate had become the base of operation of the Dark Heralds and their followers."
    • It's already stated Hizamaru's team is trapped inside a kekkai many chapters before, but it isn't until chapter 17 that it's also revealed that they're also under glamour.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mitsunaka's whereabouts are unknown. It can be presumed he's dead when the mission rolls around.
    • It's also unknown what happens to Susabi after he saves Hiromasa and Shishiō at his own expense.
  • The Worf Effect: Seriously, if not even Seimei can shatter the Minamoto estate kekkai, it only goes to show how effective it is.
    Seimei: Everyone considers me the genius onmyōji, but it is the Minamoto onmyōji who possess secret techniques that even I never expect.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: A magic attack by a Revisionist on Hiromasa's shoulder renders any healing attempt by Yaobikuni pointless, prompting her to decide to start experimenting on him, a move that would still be pointless as Miketsu revealed in a flashback that The Corruption from the wound is impossible to dispel unless the laws of nature is broken which is exactly what her husband later does to save Hiromasa and Shishiō.
  • Xenafication: In mythology canon, Kuzunoha never took a combat role and was saved by Yasuna. Here, she is a naginata-wielding Action Girl who fends off her pursuers and saves him from being overpowered by the enemies.
  • You Have Failed Me: The leader of the band of Revisionists that waylays Hiromasa offs its underling for spotting the wrong Minamoto. They proceed to corrupt Hiromasa anyway.

Who Cares What My Name Is Anyway? tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Yorimitsu easily rivals Higekiri and his (canonical) tendency of this. The name of his servant Yasue isn't that hard to remember, but Yorimitsu calls him with a different name each time, gems include "Chazuke", "Hazure" and "Basuke". He later gets his just deserts when Higekiri, in Onigiri's body, misnames him as "Toshiyori".
  • Antiquated Linguistics: When Ishikirimaru asks "Higekiri" what year it is, the latter says it's Kannazuki of the first year of Tenryaku, which in modern linguistics translates to October 947.
  • Anti-Villain: Minamoto no Kanemasa; he may have obviously caused the body-swap, but he is completely unaware of the body-swapping, harbors no ill will and is just a Manchild who is unaware of the effects his weak onmyōdō skills have.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Shoyō to Kanemasa, though stated to be consensual. The former is constantly annoyed by the latter's Manchild actions.
    • Yasue, who's so sick of working for the Minamoto he's decided to quit for good until Yorimitsu repeatedly unknowingly interrupts him.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Kanemasa again; he may be a ditz who cares about nothing but poems and field trips, but he's also an active onmyōji who's guilty of successfully magically chaining a strong demon like Onigiri and performing mind alteration feats.
  • Bound and Gagged: Izuminokami by Shoyō, using ink.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: When Dōdanuki recalls other swords' bitching about the food every time he's put in charge of kitchen duty, the list of short remarks is ended with a lengthy and scathing Gordon Ramsay-esque insult obviously courtesy of Kasen.
    "I was going to call this dish inelegant, but fortunately enough, my better judgement prevented me from doing the stupid thing that is granting that compliment to this… travesty that I can't find, nor do I wish to find because my tongue has been defiled enough, an expression foul enough to refer to as. This dish personally insults me, not because it tastes horrible, but because apparently someone thought serving this to everyone sitting in this dining hall a good idea. May whoever supervised the preparation of this thing meet ten thousand deaths."
  • Brick Joke: After a mention of the tenshiki Noodle Incident, when Yorimitsu storms over to Seimei's house to ask for help, Seimei brings it up again thinking he still doesn't know what it means.
    Yorimitsu: I'm not asking that!
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Kanemasa can compose poems, use onmyōdō and acquire a shikigami, but he is way too childish for his own good and the entire fic's plot is set off by his idiocy.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Apparently the Minamoto, and this is stated to be what makes them badass and feared… until (supposedly) Onigiri suddenly falls unconscious or Yorimitsu discovers what "tenshiki" means.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": It's not Kanemasa-sama, it's Kane-san.
  • Foil: Kanemasa seems to be one to Seimei; they are both onmyōji of known clans with a love for poetry, but while the latter is wise, responsible, competent and mindful of his use of his art, the former is childish, airheaded and doesn't mind flinging out the spells he can't even control properly.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The entire plot, with Higekiri and Onigiri as the victims.
  • Fun with Homophones: Shuten-dōji calls Onigiri (Higekiri in Onigiri's body) Yorimitsu's wakashū. Higekiri thinks he's calling him a poetry collection (和歌集) rather than a receptive partner in a male-male relationship (若衆).
  • Hypocritical Humor: Yorimitsu is outraged at Higekiri in Onigiri's body's misnaming him, yet constantly misnames his manservant.
  • Lighter and Softer: Decidedly more humorous than the first fic.
  • Manchild: Kanemasa, dear gods.
    In fact, not just his looks, his very being exuded an innocence so youthful that was impossible to believe could be possessed by someone his age.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Kanemasa to Shoyō; it's frequently stated how the former's overly childish personality messes up the latter's life and makes him a Beleaguered Assistant, but the latter remains loyal to the former despite this.
    [Shoyō] willingly traded his formerly peaceful and quiet life for constant interruption of supposedly silent moments to appreciate beauty or compose poetry.
  • Mental Time Travel: One victim of the body-swap is from the Heian period and the other from the 23rd century.
  • Noodle Incident: One word: tenshiki. It's stated Yorimitsu's finding out the meaning of this term caused a clan-wide chaos only rivaled by Onigiri's (Higekiri in Onigiri's body) falling unconscious unwarranted.
  • Original Character: Minamoto no Kanemasa. Also a historical figure.
    • Yasue, Yorimitsu's unfortunate manservant.
  • Shout-Out: "Tenshiki".explanation 
  • Title Drop: Chapter 9 Sekkankangen; the magical ink Shoyō uses to bind Izuminokami turns into these characters.
  • Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization: Kanemasa's poor taste in fashion shows just how much of a Manchild he is.
    It was as though his mind was filled with nothing but poetry and scenery to the detriment of even his fashion sense – Shoyō failed to ever understand his master's insistence to always wear that cyan haori that eye-searingly clashed with every single of his kimono.
  • Warrior Poet: Kanemasa may be absolutely crappy at onmyōdō, the fact he can use it at all and even sets the fic's plot in motion with it while being a poet certainly makes him qualify.