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Video Game / Onmyōji

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Onmyōji is a Sino-Japanese smartphone RPG developed by NetEase Games. It basically does to the Heian period what Sengoku Basara does to the Sengoku era. It features a world where humans and Youkai coexist and follows the protagonist Abe no Seimei on his quest of restoring peace and order to the land. The game features stunning scenery, beautiful character designs, elements of Japanese culture and mythology and a highly inaccurate portrayal of history. Well, it's a fantasy game, after all. In 2018, a spin-off Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game entitled Kessen! Heian-kyō has been released, which features a number of characters from the original game. A musical adaptation was also performed in Japan in March of the same year.

This page provides tropes on the game's storyline, characters as well as mechanics for both the original game and the MOBA spin-off. All tropes relating to specific characters go on the character page.

Unrelated to the Japanese film series.

Arise, tropes! The time has arrived!

  • Actually Four Mooks: All PvE enemies, be it in the story mode or the dungeons, with very few exceptions.
  • All There in the Manual: Almost all characters have in-game autobiographies that reveal their backstories and touch upon aspects of their personalities that are not present in the game's main plotline. These autobiographies can be unlocked via completing quests.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Certain skins for given Shikigami are not purchasable and have to be unlocked by beating specialized challenge dungeons. See Bragging Rights Reward below.
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  • Animesque: Even though the game is based on Japanese mythology, has Japanese voice actors and audio, uses game mechanics inspired by Japanese games, and has an anime-inspired art style, the developers, NetEase Games, is based in Hong Kong. In fact, even some Chinese players were initially confused that the game is made by an all-Chinese studios instead of being a Japanese game re-released in China.
  • Artistic License – History / Anachronism Stew: Most characters wear clothes that do not reflect Heian period dress, save for maybe Seimei who at least somewhat looks like a low-rank government officialnote . And there's also the fact that nearly everyone speaks modern Kantō dialect, with a few people using archaic vocabulary and regional accents as their "unusual" traits (though this is certainly for readability purposes, as Heian Japanese is as hard to parse for native Japanese speakers as early Middle English is for modern English speakers).
    • The game has had crossover events with series that clearly don't take place in its era, namely Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan and Hoozuki no Reitetsu (modern time) and InuYasha (Sengoku period). While at least Hoozuki is excusable by virtue of all three (technically four) characters being thousand-year-old oni who existed during the Heian era, one has to wonder whether Time Travel was involved in the other cases.
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    • Subverted in the case of the city's name. It is never mentioned in dialogue and is only ever referred to as "Kyoto", but it means "the capital" and not Kyoto in the modern sense; signs in the background shows that the city is, in fact, named Heian-kyō, like how it was actually called in this period. It is also called this way on the game's official Twitter page and the spin-off game.
  • Asian Rune Chant: When using the Summoning feature, the kuji-in and some variations can be heard recited by Seimei. You can even hear a variation chanted by Yaobikuni if you're extremely lucky.
  • Augmented Reality: One summoning feature allows players to summon shikigami in the real world à la Pokemon Go. First, the player has to have a printed template, then enter this feature which connects to the smartphone's camera. Once you point the camera to the template, the game will recognize it and turn it into a summoning circle on the screen. The player then drags-and-drops summoning talismans into the circle. A video demonstration can be found here.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: SSR shikigami are flat-out the most powerful in the game, but usually require an incredible investment of time and effort before they start to get really good, or even to work at all. As well as being by far the costliest shikigami to Awaken/Evolve, a lot of their power is tied to maxing out their skill ranks, which requires investment of rare Skill Daruma (as even if you could get multiple copies of the SSR in question, you will want to trade them for tickets at the shrine instead). Susabi is one of the most-prominent examples, as until you max out his Scourge: Star ability, he completely lacks the board-clearing devastation that makes him worth using, as well as needing to rank up his Stellar Field to get it to trigger more reliably. This also applies to some SR shikigami as well (like Chin, who is almost useless until you rank up her Poisonous Beauty) with the added drawback that it's even harder to justify using Skill Daruma on them when you have SSRs waiting to receive them.
  • Bishōnen: The game has enough to qualify as Cast Full of Pretty Boys.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Certain unlockable skins for a select few Shikigami are this, since obtaining them requires the player to be able to surmount very hard challenge dungeons where the odds are ever stacked massively against them and the AI blatantly cheats without even being remotely subtle about it.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Everyone. They either do this or exclaim something else before every single attack.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Kickstarted by the chapter with Sakura-no-sei. It becomes known to the heroes and the players that there's a Big Bad who looks like and smells like the hero out to destroy the city and the hero's life. Yay.
    • Think that's bad enough? How about the revelation that Yaobikuni is actually the henchman of a bigger, stronger villain?
  • Chainmail Bikini: Largely averted with most humanoid characters' clothing's covering enough for battle save for a few who are very obviously designed for Fanservice (or Disservice).
  • Containment Field: The inkai barrier. Once holes have been poked in it, the air reeks of negative energy and malicious yōkai run amok.
  • Counter Attack: Equipping a shikigami with four mitama grants them a 35% chance to automatically swat their enemies right back using their normal attacks when they receive damage.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Kind of. The theme song "Kekkai" is performed by Nana Mizuki, who has roles in the game, and Mamoru Miyano, who doesn't.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Before the update in which Sakura-no-sei is released as an attainable shikigami, her skills are exactly the same as Momo's. Now A.I Sakura's skills still are, which becomes The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard when you realize A.I Sakura can resurrect while yours can't.
    • The first two side stories are the only ones in which none of the main characters appear.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Frog Shikigami added alongside Tamamo-no-Mae award the player with a free SSR provided they manage to collect all 14 of them. The catch is that these N-grade Shikigami have about the same abysmally-low drop rate as a standard SSR, only provide one shard per hit in Demon Parade, and are complete Joke Characters to boot.
  • High School A.U.: The MOBA game has a set of skins that transforms certain characters into high school versions of themselves who attend the "Heian-kyō High".
  • Hollywood Medieval Japan: Not technically "medieval", but there is quite a number of liberties taken in the game's portrayal of the Heian period.
  • Jidai Geki: Of the Heian period.
  • Joke Character: The frog versions of the SSR shikis. Not only are they super rare to get (being as unlikely to drop from a Broken Amulet as an SSR is from a normal one and only giving you 1 shard rather than the usual 4 you get for N shikis when you hit one in the Demon Parade) leading to the nickname "SSNs", but to add insult to injury they're all deliberately underpowered, with their weaksauce versions of their SSR equivalents' moves so weakened (with practically all utility removed) as to make them useless. Perhaps most notable is Yoto Hime Frog; while Yoto Hime's Savage Combo hits 6 times for 50% of her ATK per hit (adding up to 300% of her ATK), moving to a new target whenever she kills the previous one and (once maxed out) adding an additional 2 hits, Yoto Hime Frog's Savage Combo hits 6 times... for 10% of its ATK per hit. That's worse than just using its basic attack, especially since Yoto Hime Frog doesn't even have Extra Slice for the chance of triggering additional damage! The only reason they're even in the game is to accommodate a new achievement that gives you a free SSR if you can collect all of them- and good luck with THAT!
  • Kimono Fanservice: Everyone, for both types. Most of those are not what people actually wore in the Heian period, but still…
    • Averted with Yoto Hime and Aoandon; what they are wearing is, while sexy and revealing, not a kimono (except in Yoto Hime's Scarlet Saber skin).
  • Lost Forever: Applies to certain crossover shikigami. Due to Rule of Three, a given collaborative crossover will only happen at most three times per franchise, giving each player only a short time to gather enough summon shards to acquire their desired SSR shikigami. Once the third phase ends, that will be it, unless one can scrounge up enough shards by trading with other players, which may or may not be easily possible due to the overall finite amounts of these. Once every possible shard of a certain crossover SSR have been traded or combined on a given server, said shikigami is truly lost forever.
    • Potentially averted in the case of the InuYasha crossover, however, due to the introduction of Kikyou taking place on the second event rerun.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The game has had crossover events with enough series to qualify. In chronological order: Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Mononoke, Hoozuki no Reitetsu and InuYasha. The latter three have appeared in the English version; Nura ran into licensing issues which have held it up, if not aborted it altogether.
  • The Musical: A musical adaptation performed between March 9 and March 18, 2018.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules:
    • At any given moment the player is only given an 8-slot Mana bar that fills passively, or via the skills of certain Shikigami. This presents a very limited resource that one must carefully ration so that the units who need it most can have access to (enough of) it to activate their skills. The AI team never has to concern with this, as each unit on their side has its own bar that more often than not is close to or at full capacity as soon as the match starts, allowing them to drop their skills on turn 1 without hassle. Certain AI units in skin dungeons can have as few as one bar of Mana, ensuring that they will always be able to use their skills on turn unless somehow disabled, which is harder than it sounds.
    • An AI-controlled Sakura-no-sei can revive dead allies due to her skills being a holdover from before Momo-no-sei was introduced. Players using her have no such luck.
    • Some "boss" shikigami in the story mode are unbelievably annoying to beat due to them boasting two special mitama effects at once. Barring the two-piece sets obtainable from world bosses, it is just flat out impossible for any player to replicate this.
    • The skin dungeons boast this proudly as their conditions for some bosses. These boss shikigami behave for the most part like their player-usable counterparts up to about level 5 of the dungeon, whereupon all bets are off and they suddenly gain new modifiers to up the ante.
  • Never Say "Die": The filter in the chatroom and shikigami comment sections does not allow posts containing the Chinese character for "death" 死. While Japanese players can get around this by using kana, this is a problem for Chinese and Taiwanese players.
    • The character for "kill" 殺 isn't allowed either.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A Twitter user has discovered this ad depicting Seimei and Hiromasa with the caption "Which one is your type?", making the game look like an Otome Game even though it isn't.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Or rather, 2 stats working on concert: Crit and Crit DMG. The game is unique in that almost everything can crit, not just damaging attacks- heals and even shields can crit, multiplying their effect by the shikigami's Crit DMG modifier (150% at base). So almost every shikigami that isn't pure utility (like orb providers, accelerators and tanks) wants Crit and Crit DMG. The ideal is to have enough Crit on the secondary stats of souls to get the shikigami to 100% Crit or near enough to it without needing to use a Crit primary soul in the 6 slot, freeing it up for a Crit DMG primary soul instead. Ask any Onmyoji player which stats to build on any shiki that isn't a utility or tank and the answer will always be "Crit".
    • Also SPD. With very limited exceptions, the shiki that acts first wins.
  • Paper Talisman: Of course.
  • Party in My Pocket: The Player Party comprises of the onmyōji Player Character and three to five shikigami depending on the battle, but outside of fighting, all you see is the onmyōji walking around. Justified since the player character is actually shown performing a summoning ritual before every battle.
  • Player Character: The game has four. All players get Abe no Seimei as their first PC, and the rest (Kagura, Minamoto no Hiromasa and Yaobikuni) has to be unlocked as the game progresses.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Almost all Awaken-able yōkai get their hair color changed when Awakened.
  • Rare Candy: The materials used to Awaken shikigami, which comes in four types and three tiers for each type. These can only be collected in the four Awakening dungeons — each one giving only one type — or given as a reward along with high-quality mitama after fighting an Octopus.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: PvP battles frequently come down to which side has the faster acclerator (usually Yamausagi or Kamaitachi). Even if there's only one point of speed difference between them, the faster one will speed boost their entire team, which will then all get to act before any of their opponents, often leading to the slower team getting blown off the board without even getting a single action; even if they don't get completely wiped out, they'll have taken serious damage (and the faster team will also have already set up any defensive skills they have), meaning they have a massive uphill battle if they want to have a chance.
    • Subverted at higher tiers, however, where more powerful players often try to outlast each other, rather than outspeed. Such strategies would often involve a very speedy Shōzu to increase the team's survivability, on top of bringing Shikigami with powerful counters to negate the enemy's advantage of speed with free hits. As such, merely being faster doesn't guarantee a win unlike at the lower tiers, since matches could drag out for ages as long as each player's cornerstone units are still alive.note  Furthermore, at such levels, savvy players are very likely to include a reasonably-upgraded Higanbana in their formations, whose crowd-controlling effects are the bane of any accelerator who needs to be active on their turns to actually be of any use.
      • On the other hand, the use of CC Higanbana to counter accelerators really only proves the overwhelming power of being able to go first since Higanbana, who subverts the normal turn order by automatically hitting opponents immediately at the start of their turn, technically always goes first.
  • Series Mascot: Seimei, Kagura and Kohaku are often featured on the game's icon.
  • Summon Magic: Since this game is about Onmyōdō, this one is very much expected. The player can summon any yōkai present in the game at varying levels of rarity as shikigami to aid them in battle. Acquiring a new shikigami requires the player to enter the "Summoning" room and use a variety of talismans (which can either be bought or earned by winning battles and completing quests).
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The 1-year anniversary CG short gives away Yaobikuni's return and the climax of chapter 26
  • Useless Useful Spell: The Forced Sleep effect functions exactly the same as Stun, but with the added drawback of the victim waking up when they're attacked.
    • However, this is still devastating when you put Shy Soul (the soul which causes the shiki to cause sleep on hit) on Higanbana. CC effects applied by souls only last 1 turn anyway, and Higanbana's passive hits the enemy at the start of their turn. Shy Soul makes them fall asleep as soon as their turn begins, then wake up after sleeping through their action, looking embarrassed. It also has a higher chance of triggering than Freeze (from Snow Spirit) or Daze (from Priestess) and isn't as unpredictable as Confuse (from Temptress) or the randomly-chosen CC of Mimic.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 8 and episode 18.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Blue, purple and pink hair all make appearances.
  • Youkai

Alternative Title(s): Kessen Heian Kyo, Onmyoji Arena