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Video Game / Onechanbara

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All this, and you get to fight zombies!


Onechanbara is a series of third-person Hack and Slash games developed by Tamsoft, originally appearing as part of Simple Series budget game line released only in Japan and Europe. The games involve a team of sisters, Aya and Saki, who are among the few survivors of a zombie outbreak. Complicating matters, both sisters suffer from a curse known as "Baneful Blood", which drives them crazy when they come in contact with the zombies' blood. They have vowed to use everything in their power to drive back the zombies so that they can once again live in peace.

In 2009, two games from the series were released in the United States: Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad note  (for Xbox 360) and Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers note  (for the Wii). A live-action movie based on the series was also released in the same year.


The fifth main game, Onechanbara Z ~ Kagura ~ , was released in Japan on January 19, 2012 for Xbox 360. Instead of Aya and Saki, the game stars a pair of vampire sisters named Kagura and Saaya. Unlike its predecessors, Z wasn't a budget game and its marketing has been rather big. However, due to its Xbox-exclusivity, it failed to attract a wide audience (Not that it was making any pretense to do so...).The game had an Updated Re-release for PS3 on October 24, 2013, featuring NoNoNo, a character from D3Publisher's other franchise: the Dream Club series. One year later, a PS4-exclusive sequel, Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, was released on October 10, 2014 in Japan and July 21, 2015 in the United States. The game was later released on PC through Steam.

In September 2018, Onechanbara: Origin was announced for a 2019 release in Japan exclusively for the PS4, with a western release confirmed for October 14th in 2020. It is a remake/reimagining of the original PS2 games, fusing the two titles into one and adding new features.


The Onechanbara games use the following tropes:

  • Action Commands: In Onechanbara Z, Kagura uses this for finishers against bosses, and later, Degraded Boss(es). This is not only for show however, Action Commands that has you slicing off wings, hands, limbs, or what-have-you do decrease the monster-du-jour's attack repertoire, making it easier (theoretically) to finish them off. For bonus points, whomever between the two sisters performs the finishing move gets to have the Boss's power for the rest of the game, so strategic thinking is there, if a bit limited. Oddly, the game insists on the term "Quick Time Kill", rather than the usual QTE.
  • Alien Blood: Or "technicolor blood" in Zombie Slayers as you are given an in-game setting that allows you to freely change the color of zombie blood from the default Red, to the other colors such as White, Yellow, Purple or Green.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: It says something when Aya's bonus Meido costume with lots of strategic openings ended up being more tasteful than her default costume, which is little more than a bikini and a cowboy hat.
  • Badass Adorable: Saki, who remains demure and withdrawn even while chainsawing hordes of zombies. Later Saaya, who's smaller and punches zombies to bits instead.
  • Bag of Spilling: Quite the aversion in Z II Chaos, Kagura and Saaya start the game with their best weapons from the previous game, Z Kagura, then work their way up with a few more upgrades. In comparison, Aya and Saki have more weapons in the same game since they weren’t (normally) available in Z Kagura, thus they start from scratch on their way to get their ultimate weapons.
  • Battle Aura: The characters emit a bloody-red aura when they are in their Rampage state.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. The game makes a point bordering on fetishistic to show the heroines drenched from head-to-toe with blood.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Happens in almost every game in the series.
    • Onechanbara 2 ends up with Eva being killed and EATEN by Reiko which makes a Face–Heel Turn.
    • In Bikini Samurai Squad, Himiko is killed, but Annna's brother David dies and it is hinted that Saki may lose control over herself in future.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The amount of blood in the game just turned up to 11 in Z. It really is bordering on fetishistic, such that the soundtrack album cover is of the two characters holding hands on a thoroughly bloodied floor.
  • Bottomless Magazines: When guns are used, they never seem to run out of ammo, even if it's a zombie cop/soldier firing off the one in their hands.
    • Taken to a ludicrous extreme in the film Bikini Samurai Squad where Reiko fires dozens of bullets from a sawed off double barrel shotgun and never once needs to reload.
  • Canon Immigrant: NoNoNo, from the hostess club series Dream Club ZERO joins the Updated Re-release of Onechanbara Z. The Japanese cover art hilariously lampshades this by making the featured duo looking apprehensively at the new character, whose head pokes into the camera view.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: Vamp Skills in Z are skills that you obtain from draining the blood of bosses that decreases hitpoints when used. Fortunately, they do not decrease the maximum recoverable HP, so using Blood Recovery to regain lost HP is simple, if time-consuming.
  • Combos: In Zombie Slayers, you can chain attacks after another only when you execute the attack on a specific frame during the previous one. This is referred to as "Cool Combination Attacks" and a visible motion blur signals your chance to create combos. The Skill parameter extends the time of the frames, allowing you to chain attacks easier.
  • Cute Bruiser: Saki, later Saaya and her more innocent-looking face and her tendency to get scared. Not that she is any less badass, mind you.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The "Baneful Blood" curse induces a rage-like state when the afflicted come in contact with zombie blood. It greatly increases their strength and agility, but slowly burns away at their life force until they die. Under certain conditions, a second, more powerful rage state can be induced.
  • Defeat Means Playable: In Bikini Zombie Slayers, you have to win the end boss battles against Reiko and Misery (i.e. complete Story Mode as Aya and Saki, respectively) to unlock them as playable characters.
    • Subverted in Onechanbara Z. The new duo main characters never conclusively defeat Aya or Saki, and they are never playable. That is, until the Aya & Saki DLC came out.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Z2: Chaos allows the ability to swap between the different characters on the fly. It takes some getting used to, and you'll need to be familiar with all four of them, but look at the fruits of your labor.
  • Dual Wielding: Aya and Kagura's twin swords and Reiko and Anna's Sword and Gun combo.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Keeping with the whole budget game theme by having the word "The" in the beginning, the first Onechanbara was actually titled THE Oneechanbara. Needless to say, this naming convention has since fallen into disuse.
  • Essence Drop: Yellow Orbs for experience points and Red Orbs for filling up the Rampage gauge.
  • Excuse Plot: Scantily clad young women slice up thousands of zombies, spilling endless gallons of blood and Ludicrous Gibs in the process. What did you expect? If you answer "a deep plot with complex characters", you will definitely get that, although that certainly isn't the main drawing point...
  • Expendable Clone: Reiko exploits these for all they're worth; all those encountered so far are merely eyes and ears (and lab rats) of her real self that is wired into a supercomputer somewhere far away.
  • Expy: In Bikini Samurai Squad, there are zombies that look nearly like Hugo Andore.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The subtitles for the US release, "Bikini Zombie Slayers".
  • Evil Counterpart: Surprisingly, Kagura and Saaya, since their benefactors are the bad guys although later Subverted when they realize this after they're almost blown up by said benefactors, and set to correct their mistake by going after their betraying bosses.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Reiko in Zombie Hunters 2.
  • Fanservice: Of the sexy, "barely clothed" variety, and the cute, "innocent" variety.
  • Five-Man Band: An all-female team formed and disbanded in Onechanbara Special.
  • Another all-female team forms in Onechanbara Z2: Chaos:
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Aya's outfit has the bikini and feather boa. Kagura's outfit is very similar, although she doesn't really need a boa due to her awesome hair.
  • Fur Bikini: Worn by Aya and Kagura, since feather-trimmed ones count.
  • Gratuitous English: Kagura sure loves some Engrish, constantly adding English words and phrases to her otherwise Japanese dialogue.
    • Which appropriately becomes Gratuitous Japanese in the English dub of Z2.
    • Two nameless pilots in the beginning of Z also gets in on it:
      Pilot A: "We will get to a diving point in five minutes. Make bats in the back-cage prepare to dive.
      Pilot B: "Roger, activate condition red"
  • Headbutting Heroes: Even though Kagura and Saaya realize that Aya and Saki were NOT the cause of the zombie outbreak in Onichanbara Z: Kagura, the two pairs of sisters challenge each other to a fight at the end of the game (due to the instinctive rivalry between the bearers of the Baneful Blood and Vampiric Clan just being too strong to ignore), and start a brawl with each other that continues right into the intro of Onechanbara Z2: Chaos. Even when the story mode of Onechanbara Z2: Chaos begins (when the attack of the new villains force the feuding sisters into Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, all of them (well, all except for Saaya) take every chance they have to trade insults and wisecracks at each other's expense
  • High-Pressure Blood
  • Improbably Female Cast: Considering the niche, it isn't surprising.
  • Info Dump: Quite unfortunately, most games in this series often dump text as plot rather than integrating it to the gameplay or cutscenes. It isn't until Z that they tried something different, and even then they still did a text dump in the middle of the game. To be fair, with the exception of Z, Onechanbara games really are budget games, and so most resources went into the gameplay and not plot. VorteX and Revolution can really be adequately summed up as interactive novels interspersed with bikinis, zombies, and hack and slash to break the boredom.
  • Interface Screw: In Zombie Slayers, blood is splattered across the screen (and will "realistically" drip downwards) every time you hack zombies into bits. Kill multiple enemies in a single attack and almost the entire screen will be covered in blood, but all these effects will last for a few seconds.
  • Involuntary Dance: According to trailers, part of NoNoNo's power is to forcibly make zombies and other abomination dance with her.
  • Jiggle Physics: Oh so very much, it's just part and parcel to a fanservice game.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Aya's weapon of choice. She can use two of them at once if things go south. Ditto Saki, once she thinks that fists aren't cutting it (no pun intended) anymore. Also ditto Kagura, who uses two of them exclusively.
  • Knife Nut: When not using her swords, Aya can use her throwing knives/kunai instead. Kagura has her Hyrda Blades
  • Limit Break: In Chaos, both the Baneful Blood and Vampire Sisters get an upgrade from their enraged state. Aya and Saki get Xtatic, and Kagura and Saaya gain access to Dare Drive. Their transformations work similar to Devil Trigger as a Super Mode, though you still lose some health or are more susceptible to damage just like the enraged state. The girls can recover health by killing zombies and getting random drops of blood crystal from them. Also, the girls become more stripperific due to their transformations with the exception of Saaya.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Annna and Reiko specialize in this with their guns; especially the latter.
  • Made of Iron: Both the Baneful Blood and Vampire sisters are shown to have far greater strength than an ordinary human. Case in point, when Kagura's parachute fails her and she crashes so hard it makes a crater, she simply uses her Blood Recovery and she gets up no worse for wear. Kagura's more concerned about dying from blood loss instead of internal organ failure or broken bones, and this is all Played for Laughs.
  • Mini-Game Credits: Taking a page out of Devil May Cry, the ending of Onechanbara Z has Kagura and Saaya face off Aya and Saki for the last time. This time however, you are invulnerable while they aren't, to give you a chance.
  • Mirror Match: In the Free Play Mode of Bikini Zombie Slayers, you can play as the character who is supposed to be the boss fight of that stage, assuming that you have already unlocked Misery and Reiko to be able to count in their respective boss fights in the stages where they appear in Aya's and Saki's storylines.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: From Z to Z2, there are many, many recycled assets, levels, enemies and bosses. In fact, there were more stuff copy-pasted from Kagura than there were brand-new things introduced in Chaos, somewhere around 65% old to 35% new. Had Kagura been localized, critics that were already merciless on this series would have been even more unkind to Chaos.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Survival Mode.
  • Nice Hat: Really, half the visual appeal from Aya and Kagura is not only their outrageous bikinis, but from their cool as all hell cowboy hats.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Apparently, the vampire clan's decision to backstab and kill Kagura and Saaya along with Baneful Blood sisters wasn't the most thought-out plan. Thanks to that, Kagura and Saaya discovered their employers' true plan and joins the Z.P.F in a mission against them. The icing on the cake? Aya and Saki ended up surviving anyway.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Aya is a Fur Bikini-wearing, cowboy hat-wearing samurai, which makes her a Bikini Cowboy Samurai.
  • One-Winged Angel: Carmilla from Z essentially morphs from her human form into this.
  • One-Word Title
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Kagura and Saaya seem to do perfect fighting in the sunlight. The trailers explain they're Dhampyr born from a union of a vampire and women who had Baneful Blood.
    • Also a case of Our Zombies Are Different - Reiko in her story arc within Bikini Zombie Slayers mentions that most zombies encountered during the outbreaks are in fact not former humans (although contact with zombie bodily fluids can still cause zombification) but made of the very stuff of the Earth itself, leading her to wonder if the zombie crisis is merely nature's revenge against the greed of humans.
  • Portmantitle: The title, 'Onechanbara', is a portmanteau of 'onē-chan', an affectionate Japanese term of address for an older sister or a young woman, and 'chanbara', a word referring to the genre of samurai films, particularly the classic ones (much like Wild West films over in the West). note 
  • Press X to Not Die: Early in Z, Kagura's parachute malfunctions, sending her slamming to the ground at terminal velocity. At this point, you must press the button combination for Blood Recovery shown on-screen. Failure to do this results in an early game over. Survive, and you can press the button combination again whenever you like as it has an in-game usage.
  • Psycho for Hire: Reiko and Misery.
  • Red Is Heroic: Even if it's a bikini.
  • Ring of Power: In Zombie Slayers, the Rings dropped by defeated Bloody Mists provide gameplay bonuses from increasing stats, extending time frames of special moves and evades, and providing more bullets for Reiko's guns, as well as other benefits.
  • Sexy Packaging
  • Sibling Team: Aya and Saki. Later Kagura and Saaya.
  • Shower Scene: The opening to VorteX/Bikini Samurai Squad is of Aya having a shower before being interrupted by news of zombie attack while her sister Saki hands her a Modesty Towel.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Averted, Kagura's technically shorter than her younger sister Saaya, but she's hot-headed and would rather strike cool poses spouting Engrish before kicking ass than think about what they were doing. This gets lampshaded by Saki during their fight, and comes to bite Kagura in the figurative ass when Bullard, their employer backstabs them.
    Saki: "The younger one actually has brains!"
  • Shout-Out: One of Saki's stage introduction quotes in the Free Play mode of Zombie Slayers is "Don't make me angry. You won't like me when I rampage."
  • Spell My Name with an "S": D3Publisher can't decide if The Dragon's name in Onechanbara Z is Bullard (makes sense), or Vlard (absolutely not).
  • Stripperiffic: Most of the female characters, but mainly Aya.
    • Turned Up to Eleven with Kagura's Limited Edition costume, which has her wearing sling bikinis!
  • Surprisingly Good English: It seems that D3Publisher roped some bored Englishman and made him do this trailer. The English is good, but the delivery leaves a lot to be desired.
    • The opening theme of Bikini Zombie Slayers/Revolution, "Danger in Disguise", is sung in perfect English. For some reason though, the vocalists sound like a gospel choir.
    • The theme song of Z2 Chaos follows suit, but with a single female vocalist this time around.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kagura and Saaya to Aya and Saki going by the trailers for Z: Kagura. Though it's subverted in the actual game and story (other than Kagura carrying twin swords and dressing similar to Aya), both the former have different personalities and fighting styles from the latter pair.
  • Stance System: A staple of the series that also doubles as Real-Time Weapon Change. Aya can switch from single to dual wielding swords, and Saki has access to grapple moves with her fists, Reiko pulls out a shotgun or SMG, and Misery's sword becomes a Whip Sword (the latter two ladies are playable in Bikini Zombie Slayers). Kagura and Saaya more so count as real time weapon changing, but the game(s) themselves count them as stances.
  • Swipe Your Blade Off: An overarching gameplay mechanic, as blood accumulates on weapons quickly as you slice through the zombie hordes, and getting too much blood on it will cause them to get stuck. This also holds true even for fists (Saki and Saaya), even though blood on fists is less of a problem than a blade. This is essentially a rare example of a reload mechanic for swords.
  • Taunt Button: Surprisingly absent in Chaos due to the new configuration in controls for ability and character switching. All of the others previous games had one.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Both Kagura and Saaya recovered really well after their employer sent missiles to their faces to rid them with their quarry, the Baneful Blood Sisters.
  • Updated Re-release: After a year, Onechanbara Z came to the PS3, which meant there was no need to import an Xbox 360. To sweeten the deal, they also threw a free Canon Immigrant to boot!
  • Vampires Are Rich: The main villains of Onechanbara Z Kagura are the ruling cadre of a vampire clan that raised Kagura and Saaya, sent the pair to fight the new zombie crisis, and then proceed to double-cross the heroines mid-story.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Bikini Samurai Squad allows you to customize the appearance of your characters. Ditto Onechanbara Z, with the ability to change costume, accessory, hat, hair, glasses, etc.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Thankfully averted in Z2 Chaos. Even if one of the girls die, it's not game over unless all four are dead.
  • Whip Sword: Eva's weapon which is later used by Misery. Kagura uses an elastic rope dart-like variant consisting of two knives with long ribbons tied to the handles called Hydra Blade.
  • World of Action Girls: Every single woman in the series is a total badass.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The new zombie crisis in Onechanbara Z is in fact the doing of the vampire clan that had sent Kagura and Saaya, aimed at luring out and then exterminating the threat of Baneful Bloods (i.e. descendants of the Baneful Blood, with Aya and Saki deemed to be the most dangerous of them all). When they find the heroines in the middle of a duel with Aya and Saki, they decide that the dhampyr sisters must be disposed of as well.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Repeatedly the main setting and theme of the franchise.

Alternative Title(s): Oneechanbara


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