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Video Game / Oninaki

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Oninaki (Oni no Naku Kuni) is a JRPG by Tokyo RPG Factory, the same developers responsible for I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear. It is a notable departure from their previous works, being an Action RPG instead of a turn-based game with an ATB battle system.

The game follows Kagachi, a "Watcher" who serves as a shepherd of lost souls. In Oninaki's world, those who die are reincarnated into a next life, unless they are weighed down by grief and regret, whether it be their own or those of their loved ones. The Watchers' role is to sever these bonds as to allow these spirits to pass on peacefully, creating a culture where the mourning of the dead is discouraged.

The story centers around Kagachi's encounter with Linne, a mysterious young girl with no memory of her past, who's being hunted by the Night Devil, an ominous swordsman who pursues her for unknown reasons.


It was released on August 22nd, 2019 for Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and on PC through Steam.

Oninaki contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Many of the game's terms are elaborated on in the glossary, such as what the shadowless are (mentioned in Treize's and Lucika's memories) or an explanation of precisely what the Oni is. The official guidebook also contains short stories that expand on the pasts of many characters, such as Kushi and Mayura (including what exactly Mayura was apologizing to Kujo for before she passed on).
  • Anyone Can Die: The only character with Plot Armor is Lobelia. The first half of the game ends on a Kill 'Em All note, including even Kagachi, and while the cast in the second half fares a bit better, in all but the Downer Ending, Sara will die and Kagachi can potentially die again.
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  • Armor Is Useless: The city guards' heavy armor is utterly useless against a single peasant slashing them with a sword, exactly the type of blow armor like that should protect against. Taken to a further extreme when Soju, in full plate armor and a Badass Cape, is killed with a single stab to the back by peasant with a short knife.
  • As Long as There is Evil: As long as there is regret, to be precise. Souls carry hopes and dreams with them to their next lives, but their regrets are discarded and feed the Oni. Therefore, as humans continue to despair, the Oni will exist, though in the same vein, once the Oni destroys all of humanity, it too will disappear.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Kagachi and Linne's dynamic. Kagachi is an aloof soldier of sorts, while Linne is a little girl with no fighting ability (though she'll occasionally use Healing Incense on you in combat).
  • Big Bad Friend: Linne/Sara ultimately turns out to be the Oni Priestess and orchestrated all of Kagachi/Soju's misery and suffering for the sake of awakening the Oni.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Both endings where Kagachi chooses to defend humanity. He saves the world, but has nothing left and, at this point, either chooses to end his life or watch the living alone from the Beyond.
  • Black Knight: The Night Devil, with a Cool Mask and In the Hood for good measure, as a powerful and mysterious antagonist whose origins form a large part of the storyline—and who, despite being an embodiment of despair and hatred, is more of a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds than pure evil.
  • Blind and the Beast: Kagachi is far from ugly, but the fact that Yut is blind means she can't tell that he's the Night Devil aka an infamous Serial Killer. Their journey together marks the only time Kagachi gets to be treated as himself and not the Night Devil—especially notable as it comes immediately after a stranger tried to knife him for the latter part.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In a sense. Zaav's backstory actually reveals plot-relevant info, but you won't realize it until the flashback is being played out, all but confirming that Zaav was the Blood Guard Captain who let Soju live.
  • Childhood Friends: Kagachi and Mayura have known each other since they were children.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: All of your daemons' memories do not end happily. It's telling that one of the first things you learn about your companions is that they haven't been able to move on due to lingering regrets.
    • Aisha was a princess, who fell in love with the prince of a small country. The two of them eloped but were hunted down by their families, were caught, and committed suicide together. Aisha spent several years wandering the beyond until she finally learned that her lover had bailed at the last minute, married another princess, and started a family. She ends her tale about how desperate she was for love, however fleeting.
    • Dia was the daughter of a noble family and The Un-Favourite of her father, after her mother died giving birth to her younger brother. Surrounded by sycophants, he was her only joy, until they were caught in a storm and her brother was presumed dead from a landslide. Dia became the head of the house, constantly suffering from Survivor's Guilt and the shadow of her brother, the former heir apparent. Then, she learned her brother was still alive, and she started going out in disguise to the slums that he was living in, until one day she is unceremoniously stabbed from behind by an unknown assailant. She dies desperately wondering what her brother would have thought, lamenting that all she ever wanted was to be herself, and how desperately she wants a reason to exist.
    • Gavod was a soldier who fought for the sake of his wife and daughter. After the war took them, too, he was left the Sole Survivor of his nation's army and moved to a new country to start another life. He ran an orphanage and found some measure of peace helping them smile again. Then war consumes that country, too, he fails to protect any of his wards, and he now forever wanders the Beyond looking for some reason to exist, even if he believes himself to be useless.
    • Wil was a member of a tribe of especially long-lived scholars and scientists, who made their trade selling their knowledge and inventions to other kingdoms. One day, Wil's brother and many others are hired for an extremely lucrative contract with a distant kingdom, only to never be heard from again. Assuming they simply found a better home, a jealous Wil went in search of that city. When he arrives, he learns that his brother and his people had been experimented on in the search for immortality; at this point, his brother is described as no longer human, but still able to beg for death. Wil euthanizes all of his former tribesmen before he is gunned down by the guards by the lingering hatred for them is what keeps him from moving on.
    • Lucika was the Sole Survivor of a highly advanced civilization before the one found in the game. Her people were highly advanced and worked to create measures against the Scourge, which ultimately proved useless. She managed to find some way to create energy out of willpower but thanks to her failing body, decided to become a Daemon so she could continue her research and work till the end of the universe itself.
    • Rigan was an amnesiac raised among assassins, who didn't care for the work but persisted out of loyalty to the only family he knew. They had him kill who was implied to be his long-lost sister, before they betrayed and disposed of him as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: Oninaki is noticeably bleaker and more oppressive than the studio's previous games, so much so that the game's staff was concerned about the rating due to the game's content.
  • Death by Childbirth: Dia's mother died giving birth to her younger brother.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: When you fight the Night Devil in the Eternal Garden, one can guess that it isn't the Final Boss, seeing as the game still hasn't even remotely hinted what the titular Oni(naki) is.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Wil, The Berserker of your Daemons, is very cheerful and pleasant, even as he eviscerates countless hordes of Fallen with devastating ax attacks.
  • Downer Ending: If you choose to defend the cycle of reincarnation and let the Oni awaken, bringing about The End of the World as We Know It. Even Kagachi seems to despair over the decision, as the screen goes to black.
  • Drone Jam: Inexplicably, Linne has collision detection, even in butterfly form. As such, she often ends up slowing down your attempts to maneuver in more heated battles where it's easy to lose track of her.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: Players can shift between the land of the living and the spirit realm at will, and this ties into exploration and gameplay where visiting one area might be required to make progress in the other.
  • Excessive Mourning: Played With. Because of the way the cycle of reincarnation works in Oninaki's world, Kagachi's society frowns heavily upon any grieving of the dead, because it prevents spirits from moving on and being reincarnated. This is displayed very clearly in the beginning of the game, where a young Kagachi is told not to mourn for his parents. It's implied that this had a negative effect on him, turning him into the cold and aloof person he is as an adult.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Night Devil is this to Kagachi, literally. They're two halves of the same soul, with the Night Devil being the manifestation of Soju's hatred and despair and Kagachi being what got reincarnated.
  • Fighting Spirit: The game possesses a variant of this called Daemons, spirits which have not been able to move on and have lost most of their memories, which are used by the Watchers to fight off monsters. Throughout the game Kagachi collects different daemons, all of which grant him different abilities.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: When conversing with Daemons at the waypoints, they'll behave as though they still have amnesia, even if you've unlocked their memories by then.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Lobelia is a mediocre sovereign at best, with some of Kagachi's Daemons even commenting that she ought to be deposed when she runs off to hide during Szaka's disaster. While she does seem to have a Heel Realization thanks to Kagachi, that timeline is destroyed, undoing any progress made.
  • The Hero Dies: At the midpoint, Kagachi pulls off a Heroic Suicide to defeat the Night Devil. He does die... and then the Wham Episode starts off the last half of the game. However, he can again die in one of the endings, and this time it sticks.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Kagachi's original weapon (and what he'll use in cutscenes no matter what you have equipped) is the sword.
  • Heroic Suicide: Knowing that the Night Devil will try to possess him, Kagachi waits for that moment before he—with or without hesitation, depending on the player—stabs himself to kill them both.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: If Kagachi decides to fight. The Oni is gone for now, but as long as humans carry regrets, it may return. Still, Kagachi believes that humanity can change (and if they can't, then so be it), whether or not he lives to see it.
  • Inherent in the System: In the end, there's no winning when it comes to how the dead are handled. If they don't pass on, they can't be reborn and run the risk of becoming Fallen. If they do pass on, their lingering regrets will feed the Oni, bringing the world one step closer to the apocalypse.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Humans don't usually come with a slumbering monster capable of destroying realms, but the Oni is meant more as a representation of humanity's flaws than anything. Whether or not Kagachi agrees that humanity is beyond hope determines the Philosophical Choice Endings.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Kagachi names Linne after her linnaea flower necklace.
  • Long-Lost Relative:
    • At the midpoint, it's revealed that Linne and Kagachi are essentially this for each other, as Kagachi is the reincarnation of her late twin.
    • It's heavily implied that Rigan is Dia's brother, thought to be dead, given the explicit mention of red hair in both their descriptions, and that the endings to their stories align.
  • Lost in Translation: Unless you're paying attention to the Japanese voiceover, the game's title won't make much sense and seems like a random made-up word. It's a shortened form of the Japanese title (Oni no Naku Kuni), translating into "the land of the wailing Oni". Presumably, that was a little too wordy for an English title.
  • Mercy Kill: How slaying the Fallen is viewed. They're essentially humans utterly warped by despair and obsession, with no hope of turning back, so death is the only way to free them.
  • More Than Mind Control: While Kagachi wants to believe that it was all the Night Devil's doing, Kushi admits that it fed off his despair over losing Mayura.
  • Multi-Melee Master: The combat system encourages you/Kagachi to become this, as you can master no less than 10 different weapons.
  • Mysterious Waif: Linne. Being a Daemon explains the lack of aging, but her amnesia conveniently conceals anything else about her origins. Kagachi keeps her around to use her as The Bait to lure the Night Devil.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: How Soju met his end. While he did several things that might've warranted punishment, he got caught thanks to the one thing that didn't: a half-dead Lost requested a Mercy Kill, which he granted. Her son promptly stabs him in revenge for the supposed murder.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Linne is the heroine of the game, but her being a child (with Kagachi explicitly seeing her as an Annoying Younger Sibling) makes it clear there's no romantic context. Similarly, Sara fulfills this role in the latter half, also being Kagachi's actual sibling.
  • One Twin Must Die: There can only be one sovereign. Cue Soju's Trauma Conga Line and Start of Darkness.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Kushi for Kagachi, after the latter's parents died.
    • In life, Gavod was this to an orphanage , after he lost his own wife and daughter.
  • Philosophical Choice Endings: Is it inevitable that humanity's despair and regrets will be its downfall? It's implied that the society's extreme aversion to Excessive Mourning may have been flawed, especially after Kagachi witnesses a past society's tradition of praying to the dead—embracing their ties to the living, rather than severing them. Kagachi can choose to accept the way things are and wait for the Oni's awakening; otherwise, he chooses to believe that humanity can move on to a healthier outlook.
  • The Promise: Soju and Sara made one to meet again where the linnaea flowers bloom.
  • Psychopomp: The Veil Watch serve as human-made organization of these, traveling between the realms of the living and dead to guide souls through the cycle of reincarnation.
  • Reincarnation: The main topic of the game. After the dead pass on, they're reborn later on, and thus everyone lives knowing there's still life after death. Maintaining this cycle is why the Watchers are needed, as the Lost are souls stalled from being reincarnated.
  • Save the Villain: While she doesn't quite remember what it is or why, Linne is driven by a desire to save the Night Devil. Kagachi disagrees, believing the Night Devil is too dangerous to be anything but killed. However, he changes his mind upon realizing its true nature, and does what he can to give it some measure of peace.
  • Serial Killer: Kagachi's missions as a Watcher often involve catching one of these. The Night Devil is a particular infamous one.
  • Sole Survivor: A frequent element in your Daemon's backstories.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Aisha, in her backstory. It led to her trying to elope with her love, only to be unable to find him in the afterlife.
  • Suicide Pact: The Ark of Life cult promises people that they will be able to stay together with their loved ones after death, something not normally guaranteed to people due to the bureaucracy of the afterlife. They claim that the way to do this is with a massive suicide pact.
  • Title Drop: When Leshan's father tells Kagachi what they call the land Kagachi knows as the Inner Kingdom: Oni no Naku Kuni (Wailing Realm).
  • Together in Death: Or rather, together in the next life. It's not uncommon for someone to become a Lost due to a (still living) loved one, in which case the most practical solution as a Watcher is to assist them in a suicide so that they can (try and) be together.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Among the Daemons Kagachi can recruit, Treize has virtually no heroic qualities, as his first episode has him casually admit that he set fire to his home and killed his mother. Notably, unlike the other Daemons, he didn't become Lost so much because he had regrets as it was that he was still too curious about the world to pass on.
  • The Un-Favourite: Dia was this to her father, in contrast to her younger brother. It's unknown if this may have anything to do with their mother dying giving birth to him.
  • The Unfettered: Choosing to be this leads to the Downer Ending, as Kagachi remains devoted to the cycle of reincarnation, as he has all his life. In the other endings, he becomes The Fettered instead.
  • Was Once a Man: The Fallen are Lost who were unable to pass on and eventually became consumed by their negative emotions.
  • Wham Episode:
    • After you defeat the Night Devil in the linnae field, Kagachi fuses with the missing half of his soul and commits suicide to end the threat. Linne suddenly transforms into her adult form and cradles him in her arms, weeping and talking about this timeline being doomed as a massive lost emerges from the canyon. Then, you wake-up in jail, as the Night Devil, with Kushi suddenly alive once more and a guard, not a Watcher...
    • At the climax of the second act, inside the Oni's realm, the Oni Priestess reveals herself and happens to look shockingly like Sara. By the final battle, she reveals herself to have been manipulating Soju all along to help feed the Oni.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Downplayed example. Kagachi is not shown to be evil, but he is extremely cold and often insensitive when dealing with lost souls or their loved ones, much to Mayura's irritation. This is implied to be because of the loss of his parents as a child.