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Video Game / Genji

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Genji is a Hack and Slash adventure game series developed by Game Republic and published by Sony.

The series is loosely adapted from the classic Japanese novel The Tale of the Heike, which in turn was a romanticized account of the actual Genji and Heike war. The Taira clan has conquered Japan with the help of some magic stones called "Amahagane" (litt. Heavenly Steel) which grant great powers to their wielders. The young swordsman Yoshitsune finds out that he's the rightful heir of the Minamoto clan and with the help of the Amahagane, the Tamayoribito clan and Benkei he has to stop the villanous plans of the Taira and recover the Amahagane stones.

Had a spiritual successor in the form of Folklore.

Although it's quite a humble-seeming series, you may know the game better as its second installment being the game featured in Sony's infamous E3 2006 conference featuring battles with giant crabs that actually (not really) took place in ancient Japan.

Genji (or more precisely, said E3 2006 conference) is a trope namer for:

Genji contains examples for:

  • Action Command: When you use the Kamui power in Dawn of the Samurai, you must press the Square button at the right time in order to one-shot/ damage the enemy before he hits you. Days of the Blade replaced them with QTE-style button prompts.
  • An Ice Person: frost enchanted weapons and at least one Ashura-like boss.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Kagekiyo is really cocky and skilled with his swords.
  • Artistic License – History: The series in general, and the second game in particular, was billed as being based on "ancient battles that actually took place in Japan." Aside from the obvious (and you should know what we're talking about by now), the stories the games are based on themselves took a few liberties with actual events.
  • Attack Reflector: Perfomig a Kamui against ranged enemies results in the character kicking/slamming the incoming arrow/fireball back at the shooter.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Kiyomori Taira. Keep in mind that he needs the Amahagane for that. Kagekiyo is slightly more suitable.
  • Back from the Dead: Subverted with Kagekiyo in 2: The one you see is actually a war deity, Buson, who has chosen Kagekiyo's body as a vessel (given how though he was). The real Kagekiyo is dead. In the second game, Benkei commits an Heroic Sacrifice to take down the Heike fleet, but he's briefly brought back to help the heroes fight Kuyo.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Kagekiyo uses poison attacks
  • Bad Powers, Good People: yet, also Yoshitsune and Benkei have at least one poison enchanted weapon in their inventory.
  • Bald of Evil: Kiyomori Taira, contrasting Kagekiyo and other characters, is completely bald, save for a thick moustache. Given his robe, it makes him look like a buddhist monk.
  • Big Bad: Kiyomori, leader of the Heike Clan.
    • Kuyo in the second game, leading the Heike Remnants and manipulating Yoritomo from the shadows.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Benkei is capable of sending hordes of enemies flying when unleashed in battle.
  • Body Horror: Moritoshi after being resurrected by Kuyo, sporting purplish, miasma-spewing flesh with gross muscles and glowing eyes.
  • Body of Bodies: Kuyo's skeleton monster is composed by countless corpses and skeletons mashed in a humanoid body.
  • Boring, but Practical: The moment you'll master Kamui, you probably won't use anything else to conclude battles.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Benkei's main weapons. Not really strong, but can do a powerful Charged attack. In Days of the Blade, they become his main weapon.
  • Call-Back: Halfway through Days of the Blade, the party is sent to the Netherworld, where they visit locations from the previous game and ends up meeting Kiichi Hogen and the real Taira Kagekiyo.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Seen in both the elemental effects of the weapons and the tomoe-shaped icons in the menu. Fire is red, ice is blue, lightning is yellow and poison is dark purple.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: essentially Kamui's powers, with a bit of Bullet Time in it. It becomes a Game-Breaker as soon as you learn how to use it well.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Sort of. The Iwayashiro boss (which looks like a floating stone shrine with four stone pillars around) is an interesting variation. Benkei must take down the pillars, which then turn into a flying laser-spitting stone, in order to expose its main core (the shrine).
  • Darker and Edgier: While the first game was, overall, a mythological-themed adventure, and in spite of its many dark moments, was nothing too heavy. Then comes the second game: the Heike returns with a new weapon to turn their armies into monsters, Yoshitsune's allies die one by one, Yoritomo falls to the Dark side and in the end, Benkei dies.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: With Benkei, at least.
  • Degraded Boss: The first boss is a Heike General wielding a sword: by the time you get to the Heike Mansion, you start meeting weaker counterparts armed with both swords and yari.
  • Doppelgänger: Both Yoshitsune and Benkei during their final test in the Golden Temple of Shukenten. They perfectly replicate all their movements and acts like intangible reflections, and will only react to Kamui.
  • Dirty Coward: The man who was in charge of Yoshitsune in Oushu sells them to Kagekiyo in exchange for one single amahagane, but Kage has other plans...
  • The Dragon: Kagekiyo, the strongest Heishi General. Ends up killing Kiyomori and stealing his powers.
  • Dual Wielding: Yoshitsune and Kagekiyo: the former wields one sword normally and a second one in Reverse Grip, Kagekiyo sometimes attacks with both his swords when not using them as a lance.
  • Elemental Crafting: the local blacksmith can make you powerful weapons if you bring him the right ingredients.
  • Elemental Powers: only four, and usable by the enemies or by your weapons if they're enchanted. They also causes negatives status, including: Fire (set ablaze), Ice (freeze), Thunder (block your movements) and Poison (which, well, poisons).
  • Every Japanese Sword is a Katana: Yes, Yoshitsune uses a lot of katana blades, but some of them have a totally different shape and a straight blade.
  • Evil Knockoff: The second game features the Heike army using the "Mashogane", the demonic counterpart to Amahagane.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Applies to the Heishi in both games.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Yoritomo becomes a full-fledged villain in the sequel due to Kuyo, but survives.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: It doesn't matter if you mop the floor with Kagekiyo in the first chapter: after being bested he simply knock both Yoshi and Benkei down by drawing his second sword.
  • Fat Bastard: Kiyomori is a tyrannical lord and, unlike his subjects, seems completely out of shape.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Yatagarasu (Messanger Crow) boss. Subverted because in Japanese Folklore it's a Heavenly creature.
  • Fisher King: At first subverted, Heiankyo and the surroundings are beautiful in spite of the tyrannical Heishi. However, once Kuyo unleashes the evil power using the Amahagane, the land turns into a spectral wasteland deprived of water, with crevices exhuding deadly miasma all around.
  • Flipping Helpless: The infamous Giant Enemy Crab from Days of the Blade.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: This happens whenever the Mooks meet Benkei's club.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: The Japanese and European release of the first game was simply titled GENJI with no subtitle.
  • Fragile Speedster: Yoshitsune. He has low stamina, but he's very fast and can slice&dice enemies without being hit quite easily.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: They're actually based on the legendary "Heike-gani", crabs with face-like patterns on their shells: according to legends, these crabs host the restless spirits of the dead Heike soldiers that died in a naval battle. So, they do have a raison d'etre (though it's unlikely that the speaker nor the fans were aware of this).
  • Giant Mook: The huge armor-wearing Heishi soldiers, who are also Mighty Glacier and take Two Kamui attacks before biting the dust
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: the huge Nue boss isn't a surprise. But his Palette Swapped counterpart, the Raiju, which appears in the very same area in the third act is totally out of thin air.
    • Inside the Mansion you can find a document regarding the experiments on the Raiju, but you usually read this when he's already dead.
  • Harder Than Hard: there are only two levels of difficulty: Normal and Hard. Seems allright? Wroooong! in the Hard mode you can't level up or purchasing/obtaining items! Simple yet cruel.
  • Heart Container: sort of, when you receive an Amahagane from a boss, you give it to Shizuka who will merge the stone together and lenghtening the Kamui bar.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Subverted with Kagekiyo in the sequel: he's actually, Buson a deity of war who took his appearence and body, because he was powerful enough to clash against Yoshitsune in the past. The real Kagekiyo is still hostile.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Only Heike soldiers wears helms, Yoshitsune, Benkei and even Kagekiyo fight without them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The old Tamayoribito priest Hogen in order to save Yoshitsune and Benkei from Kagekiyo. In the sequel, is Benkei's turn.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The Yatagarasu boss is seemingly on fire, though it doesn't stop Yoshitsune from hurting him.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: for Yoshitsune we have the "Master Lightning" swords, for Benkei the Kiwami (if you choose war clubs) or the Blue Dragon (if you're into spears).
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Hellish Lions for Yoshitsune and Red Dragon for Benkei. You can only get them in the New Game Plus.
  • Jerkass: The Heishi in general. One of the first things we see in the opening video is a heishi soldier kicking a poor child out of his way.
  • Karma Houdini: Kuyo. You do, however, get to kill her in the sequel.
  • Large Ham: Not that large, but Benkei has a theatral monologue right before battling a small army of Heishi soldiers at Gojo Bridge.
  • Light Is Not Good: The final bosses of both games have majestic, divine-like appearences, but are evil to the core.
  • MacGuffin: the Amahagane stones.
  • MacGuffin Super-Person: Lady Shizuka, the only person capable of using the Yosegane ritual, which merge two Amahagane together making them stronger. The Heishi plan to use Yosegane to fuse all their Amahagane in order to create a Super powerful one. they succeed in the end.
  • The Magic Goes Away: By the end of Days of the Blade, the Gods decide to remove both the Amahagane and Mashogane from the world of the living.
  • Mirror Boss: The last Trial of Shukenten: the clones imitate all your movements and weapons, and can't be attacked. The only way to beat them is using Kamui and counterattacking them in time.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: In the third act, you start meeting monsters among the Heishi, including fat, green ogres who fight with sumo attacks and ferocious, dragon-like humanoid monsters with tails and fire breath.
  • Oddly Shaped Sword: Master Lightning (massive, arrow-shaped swords sparkling with electricity) and Hellish Lions (straight forked swords with fire in the middle).
  • Organ Drops: Many Bosses drop unique ingredients when hit by a Kamui attack. In some cases is part of their bodies (like the Nue's Claws and the Crow's Feather.)
  • One-Hit Kill: Kamui on anything except for bosses and heavily-armored Heishi soldiers.
  • One-Winged Angel: Kagekiyo uses the power of the Ultimate Amahagane to turn himself into a being of pure light with god-like powers.
    • Some of the Heishi Generals from Days of the Blade assume a monstrous form to fight.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Yup, before going on the final mission of the chapter you should look everywhere carefully.
  • Prehensile Hair: Kuyo, in a variation, uses her hair as a scorpion's tail thanks to the spiked ornament she wears.
  • Purple Poison: Often appears as violet gas named "Shouki".
  • Puzzle Boss: Kuyo in Dawn of the Samurai: she teleports around the arena when you approach, and her giant monster is invincible. However, once you damage it enough, Kuyo will be forced to use her sorcery to repair it, allowing you to clubber her (alternatively you can use Kamui to wound the giant, then her).
  • Raijū: The Nue boss from the first act is replaced by its palette-swap cousin Raijuu, who uses lightning rather than non-elemental attacks and whose claws are needed to make the game's Infinity -1 Sword for both Yoshitsune and Benkei.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Hidehira Fujiwara does asks to Yoshitsune and Benkei to fight under him, but when they kindly refuse, he doesn't make a fuss over it and allows them both to rest and train in his domain.
  • Recurring Boss: Kagekiyo and Moritoshi are both fought twice. then the latter got zombified and the former does a One-Winged Angel, so is three times each.
  • Red Baron: Taira no Moritoshi goes by the nom de guerre of "The Mask". In the original Japanese he's "Shouki" (lit. the Forked Ogre), which explains why he drops the Shouki Gauntlet when hit by a Kamui.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Otohiko, the ninja who helps out Yoshitsune at the beginning of Dawn, is actually Lady Shizuka in disguise.
  • Say My Name: The revived Moritoshi can only groan Yoshitsune's name in a creepy, reverberating voice.
  • Shout-Out: The enemies and bosses of the first game's trials are a mishmash of various asian Hinduist / Buddhist styles: In Yoshitsune's heavenly trial, the albino monkeys are identical to Hanuman from the Thai Ramakien, the multi-armed boss is reminiscent of Indian Trimūrti like Vishnu and/or Shiva, and the Yagatarasu boss is more reminiscent of the Fenghuang. In Benkei's earthly trial, the mooks have armors seen in sino-japanese mythology deities, the shīsa dogs are straight out of Ryukyuan mythology, and the Asura boss is taken from Japanese iconography.
  • Spared By Adaptation: By the end of the second game, Yoshitsune and Shizuka get their happily ever after, as everyone else thinks they're dead.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Taira no Noritsune, a Heishi General, is infatuated with Shizuka and costantly tries to seduce her during the course of the game.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: After completing the trials of the Golden Temple, Shukenten gives you two weapons, the Light Ring katanas and the Steel God club. They're not really powerful, yet the former gets stronger as you use it in battle and the second grows longer when used for a charged attack.
  • Tennis Boss: Kiyomori. In order to crush down his barrier you have to send his lasers back to him. or you can just attack the barrier itself until it breaks
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kichiji, Hidehira's vassal, is ready to sell Yoshitsune to the Heike in exchange for some Amahagane. He even expected that Kagekiyo was going to keep his word. Luckily for him, he survives.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Shizuka. In the first game she serves as a gentle shrine maiden with a plot-relevant power who's eventually kidnapped, bewitched somehow by Kuyo and forced to merge the Heike's Amahagane into one. In the sequel, she's one of the playable characters, using sorcery and knives to bring down enemies.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Sort of, it's actually based on the Heike Monogatari, which in turn is loosely based on history. Of course, the supernatural elements such as the Amahagane are all original stuff.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Both Kagekiyo and Kiyomori in Dawn react badly to their defeat, especially Kagekiyo. In Days, Atsumori Taira goes insane after finding out that she got scars on her face during the battle.
  • The War Sequence: Unlike the first game, the second one has many of these sequences during the war between Taira and Minamoto.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Mainly Yellow.