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Demon King Nobunaga

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Some people just don't understand 'sarcasm' when they hear that 'dairokuten-maou' term. Well, it can't be helped.

"Worship me. Die for your crime of defying the House of One Hundred Demons, and repent in the afterlife. There are none before me, and will be none after me. I am the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven, Oda Nobunaga!" [Dramatic Cape Flourish]
Nobunaga, Sengoku Basara anime, "Episode 1"

According to the Jesuit Father Luís Fróis, Oda Nobunaga called himself "Demon King of the Sixth Heaven" (dairokuten-maō), a title properly belonging to Māra, the Buddhist counterpart of Satan (though portrayed in mythology as a Noble Demon). While Nobunaga was most likely being sarcastic, and in any case he's not the only daimyō of the Sengoku Jidai whose ruthlessness has inspired a Historical Villain Upgrade, many popular depictions of Nobunaga literally demonize him, or at least give him supernatural powers.

The biggest inspiration of this usually comes from one of Nobunaga's biggest Shoot the Dog (or most commonly believed as a kick) moment: The burning of Mt. Hiei, taking out the Buddhist Warrior Monks of Ikko-Ikki and leaving none alive, including women and children. Whoever has the higher moral ground was unclear at that point (whether Nobunaga was just being callous, or the monks themselves were really disruptive and just adding on chaos in Japan that needs to be quelled no matter what, even if they use religion as a way to excuse their behavior), but considering Buddhism eventually recovers and once again becomes one of the major religions in Japan, Nobunaga's actions towards those Buddhists were not going to win him some fans from the future Buddhist storytellers, so they tend to use his previous sarcasm and make it a literal statement.

Depending on the context of the story, though, the Demon King factor of Nobunaga could be played totally straight (mostly) or may even be given either a Noble Demon or Dark Is Not Evil treatment.

A subtrope of Historical Villain Upgrade. Compare We Didn't Start the Führer and Dracula (as Vlad Tepes).


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     Anime and Manga  

  • In Black Lion, Nobunaga is actually possessed by alien invaders who equip his armies with high-tech armaments so he can conquer Japan as a beachhead (probably; the backstory isn't covered much).
  • In Samurai Deeper Kyo, Nobunaga was Japan's fiercest warlord who has a massive hate on for the main character. True to his nickname, his powers all revolve around Grim Reaper based attacks. Shou Hayami voices him here.
  • In Wrath of the Ninja, Nobunaga appears to be the chief antagonist for the 3 heroes, conquering Japan with demonic help and seeking to be transformed into a demon himself. This time, however, there's a Man Behind the Man, a demon looking to use the bloodshed of war and Nobunaga's cruelty to power the demons themselves, and Nobunaga is just his patsy.
  • In Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma, Nobunaga doesn't directly appear, but the story takes place at the height of his conquests, and he influences the story since the main character is a ninja serving the Takeda clan when it opposes Nobunaga, and because the brutality of Nobunaga's conquests is giving power to the Yoma demons. At one point the main character thinks about Nobunaga's brutality and wonders if he is a demon. While he's doing this, Nobunaga and his army are seen in a montage, and all of them have glowing red eyes.
  • In Ghost Sweeper Mikami, the vampire lord Nosferatu is actually Oda Nobunaga. Or if Father Karasu's theory is correct, Nosferatu murdered a young Nobunaga and stole his identity. Either way, Akechi Mitsuhide eventually discovered his master's demonic nature and that was the reason for his betrayal at Honno-ji.
  • In the second Peacock King OVA, Castle of Illusion, a resurrected Nobunaga rebuilds Azuchi Castle as a fortress of evil and commands an unholy army of Cherubim.

     Live Action Television  

  • In Kamen Rider OOO's movie, the Kougami Foundation created a Homunculus copy of Nobunaga; since he was made from the same materials as the villainous Greeed, he ends up becoming a similar creature. However, this is revealed to be involuntary, instead acting as a Super-Powered Evil Side who comes forth to seek revenge on the descendants of those who killed the original Nobunaga.

     Tabletop Games  

  • The Call of Cthulhu supplement Secrets of Japan reveals that Nobunaga is but one of Nyarlathotep's thousand masks, and that the Outer God still occasionally pulls him out for, of all things, business meetings.
  • GURPS Who’s Who 2 has an entry for Nobunaga which discusses the possibility of playing him as a literal demon, with reference to some of his more infamously ruthless actions.

     Video Games  

  • In MapleStory: Mark of Honor, Nobunaga's Evil Plan is to become the reincarnation of the Sixth Heaven Demon King.
  • Double Subverted in Onimusha: Nobunaga starts out as human, gets an arrow through the throat, and is revived by demons to work for them—but winds up taking control of the demons who wanted him for a lackey! Incidentally, he pulls a One-Winged Angel twice in the second game, once in the third.
  • In Persona 2 there are monsters/Persona based on Nobunaga called "Demon King", in Japanese, it's called "Dairoku Tenmaoh". Later, in Persona 4, Kanji Tatsumi's evolved Persona is a shortened version of these demon/Persona: "Rokuten Maoh".
  • In Sengoku Basara Nobunaga is, once again, a cruel, ruthless S.O.B wielding a sword and shotgun combo and a nasty cape that can also attack enemies. It's also quite possibly the most Obviously Evil depiction of him ever: a Tin Tyrant decked out in Spikes of Villainy and often seen reclining on his throne of skulls. And when you have Norio Wakamoto as the voice actor, ham is, of course, to be expected.
  • Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love has Nobunaga as the Big Bad commanding The Legions of Hell.
  • A Japanese-exclusive game for the PC-98, Zan: Yaksa Enbukyoku (A crossover between Yaksa and Zan, two of the earlier Wolf Team's games for Japanese computers) has an interesting twist on this trope: Not only the main characters have to fight against a demonic Nobunaga, they also have to fight against infernal versions of both Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi as well. In this case this is semi-justified because the heroes are Christians, but it might not make any sense because Nobunaga is actually a fan of foreign stuffs like Christianity. On the other hand, the MegaDrive version of the same game removes Ieyasu and Hideyoshi from the evil trio, leaving only Nobunaga leading an army of demons in their place, not to mention it also removes any reference about Christianity in the game.
  • Downplayed with Nobunaga in Samurai Warriors. He plays the Evil Overlord angle to the hilt and wields a blade shrouded in darkness, but he's big on Pragmatic Villainy, and is really no more exaggerated than any of the other playable characters in the series. The only time he's closest to this trope is in the first installment where he's decidedly more brutal and embracing his 'Demon King' persona, and the installment where his struggles against the Ikko-Ikki sect got a big highlight. Koei rarely touched on that afterwards. Voiced by Juurouta Kosugi here. Outright subverted in the Warriors Orochi series, where he's consistently on the side of the heroes fighting against Orochi.
  • Subverted in Pokémon Conquest, of all places. Despite being the Big Bad, Nobunaga is actually a rather sympathetic character. Noticeably, his choice of partner Pokémon is Zekrom, which may look like it would put him in this territory, but in the main series lore it is considered not inherently evil, but rather it and its white counterpart Reshiram are both known for having been used in the past by Well Intentioned Extremists and Knight Templarswhich historians consider the actual Oda Nobunaga to have been.
  • Zig-zagged in Nioh: In this game, he really did mass-murder women and children for sport, but treats his crimes as just another hobby in addition to taking long strolls in the countryside and dancing, and also appreciated life and death to the fullest. He demonstrates this by flipping the bird to the necromancer who brought him back, then giving the protagonist his pet phoenix before leaving to the afterlife, even though he was given the demonic power to rule the world uncontested. Most of Nobunaga's former retainers say that he was a strange, unpredictable man. He's voiced by Kou Shibusawa, a major head producer at Koei Tecmo. Notable for the fact that despite following the trope very closely, even as a fabled Demon King, Nobunaga was portrayed not as a megalomaniacal super villain, but more of a Noble Demon.
  • In Ninja Masters's Haoh Ninpo Cho, Nobunaga was supposedly dead and then suddenly reappeared as a demonic lord, having made a Deal with the Devil with a powerful demon named Haoh. So naturally, the cast decides to go to Nobunaga's Golden Palace to destroy him... In Nobunaga's own ending, however, he ends up conquering the world.
  • Ikemen Sengoku depicts Nobunaga as a deeply flawed but ultimately sympathetic person who has quite understandably earned the hatred of multiple characters for his ruthless killing of countless people but also has just as understandably earned the loyalty and admiration of multiple other characters with his charisma, Tough Love for his men, and genuinely well-intentioned ambition to create a world in which no one has to suffer from poverty or class-based discrimination. He has no supernatural powers in this game, but is given the "Devil King of the Sixth Heaven" moniker by Kennyo, a monk who witnessed his killing of other monks and has vowed to kill him in revenge but is portrayed as being Not So Different from him.
  • Fate/Grand Order: The Gender Flip of Oda Nobunaga, having originated from a gag manga, has this trope generally Played for Laughs. Nobu tries to be a Card-Carrying Villain, proudly calling herself Demon King, but she's such a goofball (as well as extremely short) that she just ends up looking the opposite of threatening. However, because Historical Villain Upgrade is an in-universe factor that can posthumously warp Servants, Nobu gets a "Demon King" trait which allows her to shapeshift into a more threatening form to fit her reputation. She only uses it to make her boobs bigger.

Alternative Title(s): Demon Lord Nobunaga