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Visual Novel / Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

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"This is not a story of heroes. No one can be a hero here."

Full Metal Daemon Muramasa (装甲悪鬼村正, Soukou Akki Muramasa) is a Visual Novel by nitro+. It was written by Ittetsu Narahara (of Hanachirasu fame), with artwork by NamanikuATK.

Since time immemorial, warriors called musha have ruled the battlefield, granted supernatural power by their enchanted suits of armor - Tsurugi (劒冑), powerful sets of armour which can only be crafted by special smiths, who infuse their own soul into it at the point of completion. Any man or woman who wields a Tsurugi is known as a Musha (武者 - Warrior) and will gain powers beyond belief.

Minato Kageaki is one such musha, driven by duty to don his crimson armor and challenge the greatest evils of an age. But though madmen and tyrants fall to his blade, never will he claim that his battle is right.

For the tsurugi he wields is cursed Muramasa, which five centuries ago brought ruin to the land, and innocent blood is the price it demands in exchange for its terrible might.

"Where there are demons, I slay them. Where there are saints, I slay them."

These words are an oath, the unbreakable Law binding him to his armor. But they also tell the story of his past, and of the future to come.

Originally released in October 2009, on time to nitro+'s 10th Anniversary. In 2010 the Fandisk Janen-Hen, or Stories of Evil Thoughts, was released featuring an after story to the main plot to wrap-up the loose ends, different sidestories involving minor characters and some other nifty extras. A short spinoff/sequel was written by Mutsui Tsukasa titled Shokuzai Hen that puts Akitaka Kikuchi as the main character and serves to close out some loose ends.

A spinoff, Series:Space was serialized in 2016, and a sequel currently titled Project VERMILLION was announced in 2020, with Shima Nagare as writer.

In 2021, JAST USA announced an English localization of the game, which was released on August 2021. In 2022, a streamer friendly version was also made available on with the full version being accessible some time later.

Muramasa contains examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: The Rokuhara are downright tyranical rulers which has earned them the ire of pretty much everyone. It is revealed that this was by design courtesy of the GHQ, making them such despised despots that it would eventually incite a revolution and allowing them to swoop in and act as the hero, saving Yamato from the Rokuhara, and thus taking it with minimal effort.
  • Arc Words
    • "Where there are demons, I slay them. Where there are saints, I slay them. Mine is the way of the sword!"(鬼に逢うては,鬼を斩る。仏に逢うては,仏を斩る。ツルギの理,ここに在り!)
    • "You just killed me, you demon!"
    • "Is there no justice in this world?"
    • "Sore demo" (それでも) normally translated as "Even so" but sometimes as "And yet" and other synonyms. Particularly in the Hero route, but also in the other two.
  • Alternate History: The existence of the God of Metal and Dwarves / Emishi brought Tsurugis into the medieval battlefield. Japan maintained its Kamakura Shogunate, which was uprooted during an early stage of the Warring States period. The America colonies never left the British Empire, and it is a plot point. Socialism is discarded by European intellectuals. World War II took place in the 1930s. The game itself takes place in 1940.
  • Antagonist Title: The title of each route (Hero, Nemesis and Conqueror) refers not to the main character, but to the pivotal antagonist of the route: Ichijo in Hero, Kanae in Nemesis, and Ginseigo herself in the true route Conqueror.
  • Astral Finale: The final battle with Ginseigo occurs in space, just inside of Earth's orbit.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Golden Dawn plan headed by the Green Dragon Society has been in the works for centuries, continuously manipulating things from the shadows to try and bring the plan to fruition. However, due to the conspiracy's age, practically no one in the society knows what the true purpose behind it was beyond the main execution of it.
  • Anti-Villain: There are some people who oppose Kageaki that are more moral than him. Ichijou becomes one in her route's ending and the after story of the canon ending. Shishiku and the leaders of the Continental Army may count too as they fight for nothing besides their countries.
  • Anyone Can Die: The VN doesn't even complete its first chapter before it is made clear that things such as Plot Armor is in critically short supply with just about anyone dying at any moment being a real possibility.
  • Arc Symbol: A broken kabuto, symbolic of going Beyond the Impossible.
  • Armies Are Evil: From the get-go it is established that the Rokuhara military forces are a bunch of ruthless, bloodlusting assholes who care not about innocent lives. At the start of the game it shows Rokuhara soldiers slaughtering and pillaging a little village simply because its citizens granted a fugitive shelter. The GHQ isn't much better but at least they don't kill random people just for the heck of it.
  • Battle Couple: Kageaki and Muramasa eventually evolve into a real ass kicking couple as their route progressess.
  • Beneficial Disease: A coma caused by heavy metal poisoning on Hikaru made her synchronize better with Muramasa the Second.
  • BFG: The vibrocannon prototype on Arahabaki and the refined versions found on the Type 00 units are gigantic cannons able to melt through even tsurugi armor. The Guts Eider meanwhile has a huge 76mm cannon hidden in its chest compartment that fires HVAP rounds.
  • BFS: Most tsurugi use a sword of some kind and some of them can get quite big with Muramasa's nodachi chief among them.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Rokuhara Shogunate and the GHQ appear to be the main antagonists at first. However, the "Tyrant" route eventually reveals that the Society Of The Green Dragon are the ones who actually pull the strings behind the scene.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Ashikaga clan, ruling body of Rokuhara, is a family driven by a Might Makes Right mentality with constant backstabbing and infighting among even close relatives. Rape and brutality is also common within it. The Otori is similarly an utter mess of absolutely deranged individuals with equally screwed up agendas. And as it turns out, the Minato family is almost as bad, mostly thanks to the elderly patriarch who is willing to resort of incest if an heir cannot otherwise be procured.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: While the Rokuhara Shogunate is a vicious and tyrannical dictatorship, most of the other factions are hardly any better and are willing to do just as vile things if not worse to accomplish their own goals. Even the heroes are composed to morally ambiguous and flawed characters with even the most heroic of them not being above things such as assassination and manipulation.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After Kanae's route has been completed, you can get an additional option at two points in the story to complement Sayo on her looks, with her wondering if you're doing this deliberately to see if there are any extra H scenes with her. The real purpose of these choices is to prevent the player from developing Ichijou's or Kanae's affinity too much by providing a neutral option, but you do get a bonus H scene with her if you continue on with Kanae's route.
    • Another instance is Kageaki's dream sequence in Chachamaru/Muramasa's route where Hikaru places him in a high school romance VN situation complete with choices and cameos by various nitro+ heroines.
  • Brown Note: Ginseigou's song drives people insane and makes them slaughter each other.
  • Came Back Wrong: Konatsu in Kanae's route. Sorimachi abuses her, gives her drugs, and forces her to pilot Guts Eider; this is after she was brutally raped and dismembered.
  • Cast from Calories: The Tsurusgi run on the calories of their wielders. As such, too much or reckless use of them can have very serious effects on the users health.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • The tsurugi Shinkai allows the user to control fluids, but can't affect opponents inside tsurugi. One user improvises an attack by blinding his opponent with his own blood.
    • Muramasa, Ichijo's tsurugi, has several techniques that do this.
    • In a much broader sense, Muramasa the Second/Ginseigo and Hikaru. Ginseigo boasts otherworldly speed and strength to the point where no one can stand a reasonable chance against her except Kageaki and Muramasa the Third, and that's in certain routes. This is noted as being seemingly impossible, as tsurugi draw power from their pilot in the form of heat. It's accomplished by absolutely debilitating Hikaru, to the point where she's bedridden and barely clinging to life despite the best medical care available when she's not piloting Ginseigo.
  • Combining Mecha: Guts Eidernote . A very twisted version too.
  • Crapsack World: And it only gets worse.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The ending for the Conqueror route intially seems to finally end on a happy note with Kageaki finally manages to let go of his guilt and that him and Muramasa can finally start to look for somewhere quiet to settle down. Then cue Muramasa suddenly being stabbed through the chest by Ichizo.
  • Cute Bruiser: Ayame, Chachamaru, Inada and Hikaru.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Specifically mentioned by Subaru as a reason never to kill. This comes into play later on for poor Ichijou.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Kageaki Minato.
  • Darker and Edgier: This is by far nitro+'s grittiest, bleakest and most brutal entry, even compared to earlier works like Phantom of Inferno or Saya no Uta. Even Hanachirasu looks like a light-hearted ride through Candyland in comparison.
  • Dark Messiah: Kageaki in the canon ending develops an unique way to promote peace.
  • Death of a Child: The most extreme case being poor Greywand, "collected" by Kageaki minutes after she was spawned.
  • Death Seeker: Minato Kageaki. In multiple routes, he gets his wish.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Nitta Yuuhi.
  • Deconstruction: The entire story deconstructs the concepts of Heroism and Justice. The story posits that the karmic difference between killing a bad person and killing a good person is fundamentally zero- there is no inherent "worth" to any good or bad individual that can be measured in a physical sense. Thus, killing people is still pretty horrible regardless of whether or not they deserve it. Instead of trying to justify your actions by coming up with pretty words or heroic motivations, you should accept that killing is universally wrong and prepare yourself for the consequences of doing it. And while killing can sometimes be the only solution or even necessary, it should never be mistaken as some kind of just act.
  • Destructive Savior: The game of the trope, since Kageaki has to compensate the numbers of enemies slayed by offing the same amount of allies and innocent civilians.
    • Later, it is implied that he founds a mercenary army based on Muramasa's curse, leaving one of their employer's allies alive to spread the word of their price, so that people will become more reluctant to wage war.
  • Disappeared Dad: One of the main factors that sets Hikaru in motion.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Muramasa's original blade. Kageaki has to kill holders of its fragments or it's spawns to retrieve them one by one.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Ichijou begs Kageaki to tell her that he had no choice but to kill all those innocent people, that he didn't want to do it, any excuse so that her ideals don't force her to kill him.
  • Downer Ending: Pretty much every ending. Though the True End is more bittersweet than anything.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Moriuji Ashikaga dies off-screen in the "Hero" and "Nemesis" routes, with only a Newspaper frontpage relating to it. He gets marginal more on-screentime in the "Conqueror" route before he's unceremoniously killed by Chachamaru.
  • Eagleland: The GHQ is pretty much the embodiment of Flavor 2.
    • In the earlier chapters they are technically British instead of American, because they lost the revolution. In the Conqueror arc they became the American Dreamers.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: The reveal that Kageaki is in fact Hikaru's blood father and that this is the source of his Guilt Complex turns everything about their interactions completely on its head. With this knowledge in hand, repeat readings will appear very differently.
  • Elite Four: Discussed. Kageaki mentions that the Four Generals of Rokuhara fit this trope.
  • End of an Age: In Muramasa's route, Chachamaru notes that with the advent of long range weaponry capable of downing a tsurugi such as the HVAP and Vibrocannon, the age of the tsurugi and most notably the age of heroes and face to face combat is coming to an end similar to how the advent of guns in our world put an end to the age of knights and samurai.
  • Enigmatic Minion: A lot of side characters are in fact members of the American Dreamers or Society of the Green Dragon.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Rokuhara versus GHQ.
  • Evolving Credits: After a route is completed, the intro seen at the start of the game will randomly show an image from that route.
  • Exact Words: In the intro, a Rokuhara officer offers to spare a village harboring a rebel fugitive if they hand him over. After they refuse, the rebel comes forth himself and is killed. The officer notes that since they didn't give up the rebel themselves, he has no reason to spare them. Slaughter ensues.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Ootori Kanae. She later subverts it, and turns out there was a good reason.
  • Fan Disservice: Muramasa has several sex scenes, and all save those including the main heroines are designed to be terrifying and/or disturbing. All save one are rape scenes, and even the scenes with the main heroines aren't exactly a picnic, as they demonstrate a disturbed side of the main character.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Emishi are pretty obvious stand-ins for Japans indigenous Ainu population. A similar people is mentioned as living in Europe, dwarves' with porcelain white skin referred to as Judea, being a counterpart of the Jews.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During Suzukawa and Kageaki's battle in their tsurugi, we have a POV view from Shinkai's cockpit where a meter can be seen at the bottom steadily depleting as the battle goes on and depleting greatly after Shinkai's waterspout attack. When it gets low enough, what looks to be a warning of some sort appears in the upper left corner. And then everything goes gray and stops working because Suzukawa runs out of calories. Really should've been a little more curious about how the ABCs of tsurugi piloting, Ryobu.
  • For Want Of A Nail: There are numerous storyline routes, and the player often gets to see the results of choosing a different one.
    • In the Hero route, the distraction Ichijo causes by fighting Doshin allows a group of rebels to rescue Sakurako Okabe and both she and Kuniuji are still alive by the end. In a different timeline, the confrontation doesn't happen and Sakurako and Kuniuji end up killing each other.
    • In the Hero route, Ichijo and Masamune stop a force of Ginseigo-maddened GHQ soldiers from attacking Katase with no civilian casualties, in the Nemesis route she's already dead, so the soldiers break through the police barricade and kill over nine hundred civilians before they're stopped.
  • The Four Gods: The Four Generals of Rokuhara draw some inspiration of this. Doshin's tsurugi has a turtle motif, Chachamaru has an association with tigers including her half-tsurugi form, which looks like a white tiger and Raicho's garish red/orange clothing and fiery hairstyle are evocative of a Phoenix. Shishiku is the odd one out.
  • Gallows Humour: The characters know they won't stay on the stage long.
  • Gambit Pileup: By Muramasa's route it becomes clear that there are a whole heap of plans and schemers all going on at once behind the scenes, each trying to one-up the others or reconfiguring their plans on the fly to account for shifting circumstances.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The awakening of the God of Metal.
  • Gorn: Expect to hear "splat" a lot.
  • Green Aesop: Hikaru got heavy metal poisoning because of a modernized factory drained waste into a country river.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Chachamaru is a half human, half Tsurugi, created when her mother forged her own soul into a Tsurugi while she was pregnant.
  • Hate Plague: Silver Star's song causes those hearing it go insane and start killing each other.
  • Healing Factor: Anyone who uses a true Tsurugi often have grater self-healing abilities than regular humans with Kageaki for instance healing a wound that went to the bone in just a matter of hours.
  • Heroic BSoD: Pretty much any and all of the protagonists, but the biggest ones happen to Ichijou when her entire paradigm is challenged by circumstances. Repeatedly. Heck, even her Tsurugi suffers a BSOD at one point, it's so bad.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Ichijou Ayane and Yuuhi.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Kageaki.
  • Historical Domain Character: Hidden everywhere throughout the story.
  • Honor Before Reason: Muramasa's curse.
  • Hope Spot: Two in rapid succession for Kageaki in Muramasa's routes.
    • After defeating the God of Metal and Ginseigo, Kageaki becomes even more depressed over his role as a killer, tries to assault Muramasa, runs away, and eventually comes to a suburb with people who have lived there and refugees. He tries to bridge the gap peacefully and makes headway at doing so. Then they find out his identity as the killer musha and he's forced to run away.
    • Afterwards, he decides to travel far away with Muramasa, whom he comes to love, finally in good spirits for the first time in the game; then Sorimachi shows up, stabs her through the chest, and kidnaps her.
  • I Am a Monster: Kageaki fits this to a T; because of the killing (especially those deemed "good") the curse of Muramasa forces him to do, he views himself as such. He has a breakdown when his murders are brought up (the characters didn't know he killed the victims), and is a Death Seeker in multiple ways.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The game of the trope.
  • Kill All Humans: The motivation of the Silver Star's Musha.
  • Kill the Cutie: Being aesthetically pleasing and\or moral in this game guarantees a Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Large Ham: Shinnou and Masamune.
  • Light Is Not Good: Silver Star / Hikaru Minato.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Hikaru, for her father.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Wolf Sievers. He's often referred as Prof. Underpants.
  • Madness Mantra: Guts Eider.
  • Meaningful Name: Ichijou's name is written in a way that refers to a straight and narrow path that is impossible to deviate from, much like her personality.
  • Meaningful Rename: When he finally gets his original sword back, Kageaki decides to name it Kotetsu which, in Chachamaru's ending, is revealed to be her Tsurugi name.
  • Mini-Mecha: Tsurugi are not really huge. Most of them are about 3 - 6 feet larger than a fully-grown human.
  • Mook Promotion: The God Of Metal took its form and mind after a deranged old soldier first shown in Chapter 2.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Ichijou's Route: After defeating Kageaki in a duel, but at the cost of Masamune, a now jaded and sour Ichijou now wanders a now ruined Yamato with Muramasa in tow, enacting the Law of Balance to those who seek it. This is easily the bleakest of endings, with Kageaki and his allies all but dead, and Yamato in near complete ruin thanks to Ginseigo wrecking havoc across the country.
    • Kanae's Route: With Rokuhara and the GHQ at a stalemate, Prince Haruhiro and the rebels manage to gain enough foothold to restore Imperial rule. However, Kanae and Kageaki, both seeking death at the other's hands as penance for killing the other's close relative, end up kill each other in a duel, though with the implication they are both Together in Death.
    • Chachamaru's Route: Abruptly ends with Fudaraku destroyed with both Chachamaru and Kageaki wondering how to proceed next.
    • Muramasa's Bad End: After taking out Hikaru for good, Kageaki now lives in near constant despair. Eventually, Muramasa does at least manage to convince him to seek a peaceful life elsewhere. However, just as they were about to board the train, Muramasa is suddenly stabbed by Sorimachi. Now almost completely broken and drowning in rage, Kageaki finds Sorimachi and kills him, but the Law of Balance takes hold for one last time and he is forced to kill Muramasa as well, leaving him completely empty.
    • Muramasa's True End: Similar to the above, except Kageaki does not kill Sorimachi, and instead embraces and accepts his nature as a villain. Later, it's revealed that Kanae and Ichijou were in on this all along. It ends with Sorimachi satisfied that Kageaki has cast aside his hypocrisy, Kanae vowing to watch over Kageaki from afar, and Ichijou vowing to face him and deliver justice. In a distant epilogue (that plays before the True End), Kageaki has established a mercenary colony near Ezo, enacting the Law of Balance for those who yearn it, but leaving one of his allies alive to tell the tale that War Is Hell. With the British Empire/League of Nations all but in complete turmoil, the Russian Empire is now making moves to invade Yamato. Refugees from both the North and South pile up into Kanto, bring discriminated from the locals. Yamato itself isn't all that better with Rokuhara and the GHQ now gone, but the situation is still optimistic with flea markets being opened and people going out more.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Doushin made his old friend-turned-enemy's head into a mask, both honoring and humiliating him.
  • Only Sane Man: Shishiku Ootori is the most normal, practical and soldier like among the four lords of Rokuhara. He uses no extravagant decorations, does not cross dress, is not engaged in any Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same and Our Elves Are Different: The Emishi as well as their mentioned European counterparts, the Judea, are all well known as excellent smiths and pointy ears as well as their short lifespans. However, the Yamatoan Emishi have dark skin while the European Judea have porcelain white.
  • Painting the Medium: Depending on the persona speaking, the text boxes will change orientation depending on if the character in question is speaking Japanese or English without the need for the actors to actually change their language. Vertical with the text going from up to down when speaking Japanese, horizontal with the text going left to right when speaking English.
  • Police Are Useless: Kamakura's cops have become an extension of the Rokuhara Shogunate and so have been restricted to hunting down rebels and dissidents rather than solving crimes. Thanks to Loophole Abuse, however, the Commissioner can give missions to a deputized individual like Kageaki, who isn't a member of the force. Even then, he doesn't get much in the way of support.
  • Powered Armor: The Tsurugi's in the East and the Cruxes in the West are armors crafted by smiths that offer incredible protection on top of greatly increased physical strength as well as flight. Many also come with something called a shinogi, special abilities that are able to warp reality in various ways. And it is speculated in universe that they are in fact the attempts of the god Konjin to create some kind of offsping.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: It's common for Emishi (dark skinned, short people with pointy ears) and Dwarves (white, western equivalent) to brand their souls into tsurugi, and they're considered master blacksmiths.
  • Rape as Comedy: As a reward for his service, Yusa Doushin offers his young male page's services to Kageaki. Kageaki firmly declines despite the page's offers.
  • Relationship Values: Subverted. The affinity chart starts off with the second column entirely filled up in black. As Chapter 2 concludes, you soon realize that developing the affinity chart too much will result in Kageaki killing the person it corresponds to due to the Law of Balance. In practice, each character never goes above 4 blocks in the chart despite there being 10 blocks per character.
    • Double-subverted with Muramasa herself, as the way to obtain the true ending is to develop her affinity as much as possible before Chapter 5 ends.
  • Samurai: Japanese who use Tsurugi are called Musha. Westerners who use Tsurugi are called Crusaders.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Some of the tsurugi's present in the story certainly lean towards the more flashy end of the design spectrum with little regards to actual practicality, often ordained with huge crests, spikes and plates of armor facing every which way. The Muramasa line is perhaps the worst with all of the ones shown having a huge spike at the center of the chest that would make swinging a sword quite awkward.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The dream sequence in the Nemesis route where Chachamaru conducts a trial with Kageaki as the accused has a crude but very recognizable crayon drawing of the Ace Attorney courtroom as a background.
    • The dream sequence where Hikaru tries to find out what kind of girl Kageaki likes is a conga line of Nitroplus characters including Ein, Nya, Saya, and Super Sonico, the company's mascot.
    • The Monster of the Week boss George Cargett for Chapter 3 is a shoutout to George Gercke, an American military filmmaker who oversaw the democratization process of Japanese films in the 1940-50s.
    • When Chachamaru introduces herself to Kageaki on the racetrack she initially presents herself as "The Emperor of Mankind".
    • In Nemesis, when Kanae talks about having asked some questions from a priest, Sayo jokingly wonders if he revealed that "They worship a giant octopus who sleeps in an underwater city deep in the South Pacific".
    • In Muramasa's route as Chachamaru lays dying, she jokingly suggests that Kageaki try to reach Konjin by shooting himself out of a cannon by which he replies that he would rather not end up on the moon, referencing both the movie A Trip to the Moon and the book it was based on.
  • Sissy Villain: Imagawa Raichou, but he's a very likeable example. The assassin Houma is a stranger example.
  • Starfish Alien: Koujin, the God of Metal is speculated by some characters to be of extraterrestrial origin and that all the tsurugis produced from quenching armor in its water is actually a form of reproduction for it. It is such a strange being that it can cross over into Eldritch Abomination territory. As if to support this, it's motif BGM is called Shining Trapezohedron.
  • Title Drop: "Full Metal Daemon" at the end of the final battle with Hikaru in the Muramasa ending. In full in the epilogue — "This is not a story of heroes: This is the story of Full Metal Daemon Muramasa."
  • The Government: The Rokuhara Shogunate.
  • Villain Protagonist: Deconstructed. Although, Kageaki does come close in the traditional sense while under Ginseigo's influence in Chachamaru/Muramasa's route.
  • War Is Hell: The country still hasn't fully recovered from the brutality of the Rokuhara Shogunate. Violence begets more violence. Loyalties shift like the wind. This is also connected to the true meaning of Muramasa's curse; it is actually supposed to expose the fact that there is no such thing as a just cause for war, hopefully revealing the true horrors of war to humanity and getting them to stop killing each other.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Inverted, it is another race, the Emishi, which are short lived. Although they don't visibly age much, their average lifespan is just around 30 years with a handful few hitting their 50s.
  • Wham Line: "I saw you. I was there that night, in the hut on that mountain."
  • You Killed My Father: Otori's reason for wanting to kill Kageaki is the fact that he killed Nitta Yuhi, her long-lost cousin. She kills Kageaki's father (not knowing that was their relationship) for an entirely separate reason, which in turn drives Kageaki after her musha (he isn't aware Otori is the pilot).
  • You Hate What You Are: Kageaki really, really hates himself for having to kill, especially because of the curse.

Alternative Title(s): Soukou Akki Muramasa