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Webcomic / No Need for Bushido

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Volume 2 cover

Ina: Look samurai boy, I have no need for bushido! Now put me down, go back there, and die with honor!
Yori: Sorry, too busy rescuing you.

No Need for Bushido is a webcomic set in feudal Japan, the plot starts out with a princess looking to escape an Arranged Marriage to the son of an infamous warlord. Almost as soon as she runs away from home, she stumbles upon a group of bandits, and is saved (well, sort of saved) by a kind if ditzy young samurai. Turns out the young man is the same guy that she was supposed to marry, and he too has fled his clan, albeit for slightly different reasons.

As tensions between their clans rise, the two start encountering all sorts of weird characters who will have their roles to play in upcoming events. By the time they've gotten to the major showdowns, the team consists of:

  • Yorikiro Wataro (Yori), our Hero, son of the most hated warlord in Japan. A bit of a ditz sometimes and often naive and overly idealistic, but his heart is in the right place, and he's much more capable than one would guess from the surface.
  • Ina Senshin, our Heroine, a strong-willed and loud-mouthed girl. When she gets her way, it's often because she bullied her teammates into obeying her. She tends to be the Only Sane Man and the brains of the operation.
  • Cho Teko, a blind Taoist priest. Comes off as a Cloud Cuckoo Lander due to endlessly spouting Ice Cream Koans. An absolute master of kung fu despite both his blindness and general obliviousness. Has several running gags, including one about misreading the gender of any new character who he meets, and another about how the world will end after a blind Taoist, a Hindu, and a cleric walk into a bar together, and Cho keeps trying to walk into bars.
  • Kenta Daisuke or Ken, the guy with the huge sword. Enjoys sake, combat, Kabuki plays, and beating people up for money, or just for laughs. The Big Guy who's motivated by revenge for his clan, which used to be a rival to the Wataro clan but got massacred by Yori's father when Ken was a child.

Of the above, only Ina can't hold her own in combat, although she's proved herself to be an excellent strategist. Which is a good thing for the group, because they need all the help they can get as they try to prevent a war and survive clashing with a squad of powerful assassins, not to mention the ninja mercenaries, kung fu priests, genocidal warlords, gun-toting armies, a prophecy about the end of the world, and worst of all, family baggage and dynastic politics.

The comic went on a long hiatus in July 2012, but returned in August 2013 until its official completion in May 2019.

This webcomic contains examples of:

  • Action Girl:
    • Ina, although it takes her a while to level up.
    • The Izuma Ninja Clan, which is led by an Action Girl (Suzuka) and has at least two more (Ayame and Yumiko) in its ranks, despite being almost 99% male otherwise.
  • The Alcoholic: Ken, very much so. At one point, while the other characters are fighting a major battle, Ken, after kicking metric tons of mook ass, runs out of sake. Solution? He goes and slaughters an entire enemy camp, and takes all of their sake. Then, when that runs out, he repeats the process. Multiple times. Until he finally passes out. And upon waking up back in camp, he wants more.
  • Anachronism Stew:
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Genchu tells Hirotomo he loved the latter lays dying from a gunshot from his son who Hirotomo believed was not his own and was the result of Genchu cuckolding him. Until he was shot, Hirotomo had been about to murder an unarmed Genchu. Yes, it's very anguished.
  • Animesque: The later chapters.
  • Art Evolution: When the comic started, it was... Not bad, but not great. Probably about as good as the first bits of Sluggy Freelance. These days every panel could be lifted from a high quality cel-animated movie. Not to mention Font Design Evolution, because it was a badly used Comic Sans MS, and now it's an exclusive font.
  • Awful Truth: Yori's father knew that Nataku arranged for the his wife's death for years now, but the damage was done. He couldn't let the world know they destroyed the Daisuke clan on false pretenses, so he maintained the lie in the hopes that Yori would become his heir and wipe away the clan's sins. Worse, he did it because he thought he'd been cuckolded by his best friend, and that was a lie too.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Reconstructed version, Hiromoto stops a sword from killing him by grabbing it with one hand. His hand is injured and bleeding due to this action, and it probably only works because the blade he grabbed ahold of was slowed down because it impacted off something else first, but it keeps Hirotomo from getting killed.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Averted, because the Rule of Funny apparently stated that falling on Ina's back with no serious injuries would be better.
  • Berserk Button: Nataku is very sensitive about the fact that he lost a finger when he dueled Genchu. Do not call him "Nine Finger Nataku." He will make you regret it.
  • The Bet: Details still hazy, but Matrix and Lex appear to have a wager going on Yori's success or failure, respectively, with Matrix not above intervening with the plot to help Yori along. They're dragon spirits of Chaos and Order who bet whether Yori would bring peace to the clans. Matrix (Chaos) is unsurprisingly kind of a cheater over the whole bet.
  • BFS: Ken's sword is 12 feet long. The Red Dragon Zanbatou he gains in 599 is somewhat shorter, but still bigger than he is.
  • Blood from the Mouth: A few times. Including one fake-out when Yori actually just bit his lip during combat.
  • Boring, but Practical: After spending most of his screentime trying to get rich by selling guns to Japanese warlords, Ricardo the Portuguese merchant comes up with a safer way to get rich: buy lots of cheap Japanese goods and sell then at a markup in Portugal, where they'll be rare and exotic.
  • Bound and Gagged: Ina ends up like this in at least one set of comics.
  • Breakable Weapons: Genchu is explicitly very good at cutting straight through swords with his own. It's not because of his own sword's really sharp or anything, he's just that good.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: addressing readers and some other things.
  • Brick Joke: Many.
  • Buffy Speak: "Don't do the wavy hand thing. I hate the wavy hand thing."
  • Calling Your Attacks: Yori does this a lot early in the comic. Eventually, he realizes it's a bad idea and stops doing it.
  • Captain Ersatz: Ken and Yori's early appearance and first fight is ver reminiscent of Sanosuke and Kenshin of Rurouni Kenshin. This quickly became a subversion, however. While Kenshin is a case of Obfuscating Stupidity, Yori is more like Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass. (Also, unlike Kenshin, Yori has no problem with killing the bad guys). Meanwhile Sano's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who, despite his street punk ways and love of fighting, has a very strong moral core, while Ken's a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk who routinely steals from and threatens the lives of innocent merchants and is downright terrifying when set loose on groups of mooks.
  • Catchphrase: Yori's "Holy Shnikies!" When he saw Ken's zanbatou, it was upgraded to "Holy flipping shnikies of demonic destruction!"
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Cho, in spades. He says things that are so off the wall and seem so random that it's easy for both the other characters and the reader to ignore him, only to be shocked when it turns out that some of the seemingly random things Cho says are downright prophetic.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: While the humor and fun never leaves, the comic started off as a very lighthearted Affectionate Parody, later it becomes concerned with things like Machiavellian plots and counter plots, politics, the wiping out of entire clans, etc.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The trick blade. Subverted twice. It's only a trick blade when it comes to stabbing; for slashing attacks it's entirely functional. And when slamming it hard into somebody's won't impale them, but it'll still be something akin to getting slugged with brass knuckles. It finally gets played straight when Yori dispatches of Uso.
    • Lex and Matrix are dragon spirits of Order and Chaos, with their choice of clothing coordinating the spirits they are. As The Rant for the comic revealing this points out, this was hinted at in comic 699 with the Dragons Up the Yin Yang symbol for Cho's monastery and Matrix lurking listening to Cho explain them.
  • The Chessmaster: Yukizane, Ina's seemingly useless uncle. He's an excellent player of both the in-universe equivalent of chess and surprisingly shrewd at political maneuvering. And it turns out Ina is better.
  • Color Wash: After Yori is drugged by Uso, comics with pastel colors and green tint indicate that you are seeing things through the Yori's eyes, and since Uso can conjure illusions to use against people he has drugged, you should not believe anything you see.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Murasaki fights dirty.
    • Hiromoto Wataro would have been killed by Genchu if Yori didn't pop up and distract Genchu. Hirotomo wasted absolutely no time taking advantage of the opening by stabbing Genchu in the arm with the blade of a broken sword.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Yori comes across at first glance as an incompetent fighter and a coward but is actually a very competent fighter.
    • The other example is Yukizane. See the entry under Obfuscating Stupidity below.
    • Cho's this too; you don't really expect the Cloud Cuckoolander who spouts Ice Cream Koans to be a master martial artist who can cause a mini earthquake by stomping his foot.
  • Determinator:
    • Rule #1 of Ken's Combat Rules: Don't stop not dying.
    • It matters not how many times his escapes are prematurely ended from letting his guard down by his embarrassment of Accidental Pervert moments toward the ninjas' Stripperiffic Action Girls, Masuhiro will keep trying!
    • After Ricardo loses almost all of his stock of guns from his ship sinking, he rebounds with greedy hope, reasoning the remainder are extra rare and valuable now.
      • And then, soon after being upset because all of his guns have been lost to him, he resolutely realizes he can just buy a bunch of cheap junk in Japan and sell it back home for a ridiculous markup.
  • Disability Superpower:
    • Cho lacks sight and has to rely on Tao's guidance to attack. He is the best fighter in the group.
    • There's also Ryoku, one of the four Demons of Sorrow, who is also blind. He uses echolocation to get around.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: as a Running Gag, Ina's father keeps making escape attempts from the sexy ninjas who captured him, but ultimately ends up knocked unconscious following an Accidental Pervert moment.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Hirotomo's the paranoid daimyo of Wataro whose aggressive actions seeking to start a war with the Senshin clan to destroy it are what powers the plot, but Nataku's the real reason Hirotomo's like that, and he hired the Daisuke ronin who murdered Hirotomo's wife which started him on his downward path.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Ken, while Training the Peaceful Villagers. It turns out a loud, foul-mouthed Anti-Hero is a natural for the whole "tough as nails" drill sergeant with harsh training methods.
  • Dual Wielding: Yori, after comic 606.
  • Every Japanese Sword is a Katana: Averted. The comic has introduced more than one type of sword; introduces the name of the sword as well at times.
  • Eyeless Face: Cho always wears a hat that covers his eyes. It doesn't always cover the place where his eyes must be. He actually lacks eyes. Creepy.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Lampshaded by Word of God in the comments here:
    It's highly probably a lot of impaired vision fighters pop out an eye just to gain the intimidation factor, why not!
  • Firearms Are Revolutionary: The comic is set during the beginning of widespread use of flintlock muskets in Japan, bringing about the end of the age of melee warfare and warrior-nobilities.
  • Four Is Death: The Four Demons of Sorrow, Hirotomo Wataro's elite soldiers. Their orders to challenge Yori one at a time quickly takes a toll on their number, although one member dies fighting other enemies. Also, one previous member died before the start of the comic and had to be replaced.
  • Four-Star Badass: Nataku, who is such a badass that... you know that enormous thing Ken swings around? Nataku clashes with it head-on with his fairly normal sword, and from that position overpowers Ken causing his BFS fly out of his hands. The visual effects make it clear that Nataku has some sort of Super-Strength.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: General Tanaka is on the side of the Senshin clan. His army helps save the villagers and the main protagonists, but Tanaka himself is an obstinate jerk who repeatedly voices the opinion that Ina should Stay in the Kitchen, disparages the farmers and Maru despite the work they did to stall the Wataro invasion, and ignores the warning of Genchu and Ricardo about the Wataro army arming themselves with guns. He's a valuable ally, but nobody in the cast actually cares for him.
  • From Bad to Worse: Subverted during the village battle. It appears that Fujio died, the villagers were massacred, Maru was mortally wounded, Ina was breaking down, and Cho was beaten by the two Demons of Sorrow who only just appeared. As it turns out, this was all being seen through the eyes of Yori, who was under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug.
  • Funny Background Event: The protagonists' group are rearming after being in custody for a spell...and Yori hugs his sword.
  • General Ripper: General Nataku, as opposed to every other military figure in the series, is a brutal warmonger who actively opposes peace at every turn. He also arranged the murder of his lord's wife out of disgust for her peaceful nature and the positive effects it was having on his boss, making him more-or-less directly responsible for every major conflict in the series.
  • Genre Savvy: Yori. Right from the outset he seems to instinctively know he's in an Affectionate Parody of shonen manga, but it's highlighted very much during Ina's planned defense of the strategic choke point, where he demonstrates genuine fear at Ina's ability to destroy an army. By this point, he's Genre Savvy enough to fear that running in terror like he should will shift her from a Tsundere to a Yandere.
  • Good Old Ways: General Tanaka is sure that guns pose no real danger to his army because of the long time they need to reload, which he's sure will allow his men to get close enough to cut down the riflemen. He overlooked the strategic ways they could be used when there are enough men wielding them to fire in teams, thus compensating for the reload time. Boy did Tanaka come to regret that.
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Cho is an extremely skilled martial artist, able to defeat (most) of his armed adversaries without breaking a sweat. Badass enough on its own; more badass when you consider his handicap.
      Ken: Wait a sec, so you're, like, as blind as a...uh...blind...guy.
      Cho: Indeed, I lack that particular sense.
    • Ryoku is also blind, and is an exceptional swordsman.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Usually accompanied by the Unsound Effect: SPEWING!!
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Besides the regular, sneaky ninja, there are some that really stick out.
  • Hostage Situation: A few here and there, with Ina being taken to get Yori into a duel in one case. Nataku's solution is to Shoot the Hostage should the problem arise for him. Observe here.
    Genchu: Keep back, or I will kill the ambassador.
    Nataku: Nah, I don't do the hostage thing. He's just collateral damage! [Goes to attack]
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: While Yori and Ryoku participated in a Quick Draw duel at the end of their fight, the master of this art is Tadashi, who can apparently draw his sword, strike a dozen times, and resheathe it in a single panel without the blade ever being visible.
  • Ice-Cream Koan:
    • Cho loves these, though they do occasionally seem to actually mean something. Occasionally.
    • Lampshaded in the post-hiatus recap, where Ina asks whether he's just making them all up on the spot. Cho claims they're words of wisdom that he picked up from reading his deceased master's ancient scrolls. When Ina points out that he's blind, Cho says that was "A minor setback."
  • Ignored Epiphany: Ken goes to watch a Kabuki Play in 127, next we see him, this happens:
    "I feel like that play exposed the true shape of the human condition that we only glimpse as shadows upon the walls of our lives. It's almost enough to make one question the morality of bashing random strangers for drink'n money....Nah"
  • Improbable Weapon User: One female ninja uses fans.
  • Improvised Weapon: Yori has to do this often. Broken sword, his sheath, trick sword... after Matrix gave him one of her swords, he's back to being properly armed, but he still uses the trick sword.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Genchu and Hirotomo were once best friends, but unknown to Hirotomo, Genchu is only attracted to men, and Hirotomo specifically. Hirotomo, meanwhile, is straight and went on to live his life, getting married, having children, etc. Genchu wished for him to be happy and kept his crush on his friend a secret. Unfortunately, Hirotomo not knowing his friend's orientation made it possible for Nataku to plant the idea in Hirotomo's mind that Genchu and his wife were having an affair...
  • Insulted Awake: Played for Laughs. If Ken is passed out (because of sake, combat, or both) when he's needed, Fumio will surely make an off-hand insult while saying how much they need him. He doesn't take it very well. (See I Resemble That Remark!)
  • In the Back: How Nataku kills Atsumori.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Ricardo. Serious emphasis on the intrepid with regards to his merchanting - every setback he suffers (of which there are many with him being escorted by two monks and Genchu who all want him to be as unable to sell his guns as possible) depresses him for but a moment before he thinks of a new idea for turning a profit.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Ken punching Fumio for saying he wasn't "agreeable". Later he decking Fumio across the town for calling him a "homicidal maniac".
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Ken's preferred interrogation technique.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A small one, and buried deep, but it's hinted that Ken is one of these.
  • Jidaigeki: A story of love, war, and rival clans set in Feudal Japan... well, an alternate universe version of Feudal Japan with a lot of Anachronism Stew.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Yori's gotten rather Bishōnen with Art Evolution, and his hair worn down goes past his torso!
  • Long-Lost Relative: Yumiko of the Izuma ninja clan is one to Ken; she is (as far as she knows) the only other surviving member of the Daisuke Clan.
  • The Lost Lenore: Flashbacks imply that Hirotomo's wife was this to him, and it was her death or rather, her murder that served as his Cynicism Catalyst.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Not only did Hirotomo plan to have Masuhiro assassinated right after Yori and Ina's marriage so Yori would inherit control of the Senshin clan, but there are subtle hints that he wants Yori to defeat the Demons of Sorrow, presumably to toughen Yori up and turn him into what Hirotomo would see as a more suitable heir. See here and here, and put that together with Tadashi's statement that Hirotomo specifically ordered the Demons of Sorrow to attack Yori one at a time. Tadashi confirmed here that he saw Hirotomo's orders as manipulating the Demons of Sorrow to test Yori.
  • Master of Illusion: Uso induces illusions through hitting his enemies with a poison creating the affected's worst fears... and later the poison gets worse and makes them see a platoon of Usos attacking them.
  • Master Swordsman: Any number of them.
    • Genchu used to be top dog as far as swordsmen go with Hirotomo on almost the same level, but the wounds the two gave each in their duel may mean that neither is in the top tier anymore. (Genchu's arm wound in particular appears to be a Career-Ending Injury, and his encounter with Nataku shows that he's not as good as he used to be.)
    • Tadashi is quite a skilled and superhumanly fast fighter, particularly in his skill as an Iaijutsu Practitioner. And that's despite the fact that he fights with a broken sword.
    • Yori, who's had the benefit of training under both Genchu and Tadashi, has enormous potential despite his naiveté, especially since Matrix got him to realize that he's better suited for Dual Wielding than in using only his katana.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Shounen" is boy in Japanese, which he is. Also, Uso's name means lie, and he uses illusions.
    • It doesn't matter how much he insists, Murasaki's name means purple, not indigo.
    • General Nataku's warmongering might have been an inevitable reaction to him being named after the Japanese god of war.
  • Moment Killer:
  • Mood Whiplash: As Genchu renounces his oaths to Hirotomo and kills former brothers-in-arms in self-defence...Eijiro watching with Yori quips that means his sword has just brought an end to a hundred and two men.
  • Mook Chivalry: Enforced with the Demons of Sorrow. An offhand comment that they were specifically ordered to attack Yori one at a time by Hirotomo. This appeared to be subverted when a group of them attacked Yori once during the War arc, but it turns out that two of the Demons are just hallucinations, and Uso is the only one really there.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Male ninja in the Izama ninja clan are generally mooks. Sometimes more talented than the average mook, but still mooks. Its most dangerous and badass members, and of course its leader, are all women.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Tadashi has a very strong reputation for this and while he mostly follows it, he has sometimes used his reputation to get away with certain things that would go against Hirotomo's orders when there were no witnesses around, the most notable being sparing Genchu's life.
  • Ninja: A clan of ninja mercenaries figures prominently into the story.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: The ambitions of the Wataro clan under Hirotomo, as well as their enthusiasm in embracing firearms, somewhat brings to mind the real life Oda clan under Oda Nobunaga.
  • Not Quite Dead: Subverted after Genchu stabs Honou-ko in his armpit past his excellent armor. He pulls the wakizashi out declaring it's not enough, and yells Die, Genchu!...and then slumps down, continuing "Die soon, so we may fight again...and again...and again..." as he goes prostrate to the ground, dead.
  • Now or Never Kiss: A variation here, because death isn't entirely imminent for the two, but the situation is seems nonetheless rather dire.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Yukizane, at the beginning of his negotiations with Ayane. Lampshaded with Ayane's realization: "And another thing! You're—... you're... not nearly as dumb as you look".
  • Only Sane Man: Ina
    Ina: I said it was a bad idea, but no one listened. Nobody listens to the voice of reason!
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Twisted all over. Ina was supposed to marry the eldest Wataro son, Yori, but he abandoned his clan due to his father's warlike policies, and his brother took his place. Ina, hearing she was being set up for an arranged marriage, ran away. Yori and Ina met, neither of them aware of who the other was, and fell in love. Unfortunately, by the time anyone realizes all this, the Wataro clan is no longer interested in peace—if they ever were.
  • Perpetual Frowner: The Ambassador. The man doesn't drop it at all, even when his life is threatened.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Four Demons Of Sorrow, Hirotomo's secret assassination squad. The group consists of: Tadashi, Hirotomo's Noble Top Enforcer with Super-Speed and superhuman Iaijutsu abilities, Ryoku, the Blind Weaponmaster, Uso, the sneak and devious Master of Illusion, and Honou-ko, the heavily armored Blood Knight who wades into battle, allows his enemies to destroy their own weapons on his armor, and then slaughters them.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking:
    • Masuhiro, the daimyo of the Senshin clan, turns out to be the best warrior we see from the clan. When he gets ambushed by an entire ninja clan he fights back without hesitation, and is only captured because one of the ninja's manages to score a shallow cut on him with a drugged weapon. He then uses both his wits and ass kicking abilities to escape imprisonment from these ninjas repeatedly, defeating numerous foes along the way. (Sure he gets captured again almost as many times due to coming across their Action Girls and getting Distracted by the Sexy, but that's neither here nor there). In the final battle of the comic, he and Genchu work together and defeat the last member left of the Wataro clan's elite assassins.
    • Hirotomo Wataro turns out to be a great warrior and swordsman himself, as a flashback to his final confrontation with Genchu (who was widely considered the great swordsman and warrior in Japan at the time) shows him fighting nearly evenly with Genchu, something nobody else had been able to do, and when Genchu has Hirotomo beaten and at his mercy, a momentary distraction and a bit of Combat Pragmatism was all Hirotomo needed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • Runaway FiancÚ: Both Ina and Yori.
  • Running Gag:
    • Cho seems to be less than competent at guessing the gender of people he's never met. The humorous nature of this is what makes his accurate assessment of Matrix's gender a shock which adds to the general Mood Whiplash present. This may point to Cho Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • And all people who find out that he's blind tend to do that wavey-hand thingy to test whether he really is blind. He doesn't like it when people do that.
    • Also, Ina has pushed over Yori a lot, though one of creators said he never even realized that and it wasn't intentional.
    • Ina's father is constantly distracted by boobs and captured with knock-out drugs. Lampshaded in a flashback.
    • Cho is a part of prophecy about a blind Taoist, a Hindu and a cleric entering a bar and ending the world. And he keeps trying to walk into bars. As of page 490, the Hindu and the cleric appeared in the comic. And the final page has all three of them at a bar, though since said bar is an outdoor stall they technically didn't walk into it and thus the world might still be safe.
    • Ken regularly threatens merchants that whatever they're selling better be the best he's ever had, or he'll kick their ass. He has yet to kick a merchant's ass.
    • As a meta example, Made-up sound effects are used often.
  • Samurai: Quite a few.
  • Samurai Ponytail: Second type worn by Genchu, a Rōnin who left his clan due his daimyo's ruthlessness.
  • Say My Name: HIROTOMO!, as Genchu cuts through Hirotomo's guards on his way to kill Hirotomo.
  • Seppuku: Tadashi commits this after being defeated in battle against Yori, with Genchu serving as his second.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Some Leg: Courtesy of Suzuka, resulting in Masuhiro's failure...multiple times.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Yori, during the first half of the battle with Ryoku.
  • Smart Ball: Eijiro may have a lot to learn about politics, Plausible Deniability, the importance of having a casus belli for war, or the dangers of a mercenary group like the Izuma ninja clan using Exact Words against you, but he has his moments. He immediately sees through the Senshin clan attempting to hide Ina's disappearance, and he is quickly able to figure out how to work Ricardo's guns and also how to best use them in battle.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Ken, as seen here.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Ennosuke Nakamura, famous kabuki actor and playwright. Ken is his biggest fan.
  • Stone Wall: This is a major part of the fighting style of Honou-ko, who wears armor specially made to break swords. As such, one tactic he employs is to deliberately leave "openings" for his opponents, allow them to attack him, and he strikes back after their weapons either prove useless or break and they are disarmed.
  • Straight for the Commander: Part of Yukizane's backstory involves ending a war by engaging the enemy commander in a one-on-one battle... in a game of chess
  • Strawman Has a Point: Ricardo points out there's not much point in selling weapons to a pacifist. He has a point, but Genchu points out a pacifist is far less likely to shoot you after the deal is done, which Ricardo acknowledges is a good point as well.
  • Stripperiffic: All the female ninjas. Justified in that they dress like that to distract their enemies. This is why Suzuka beats the otherwise ultra-competent Masuhiro every time. Possibly lampshaded in 754 where Nataku throws his sword at Yumiko (who, ironically enough, is the least stripperiffic of the ninjas), which goes straight into her bare midriff.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: It turns out Ina is even better at strategy board games than her brilliant uncle.
  • Super-Speed: Tadashi's movements and iaijutsu abilities are fast enough to qualify for this.
  • Super-Strength: A number of characters.
    • In his prime, Genchu was known for routinely cutting through the swords of his opponents. A flashback from Yori shows Genchu killing two men with a single swing while also cutting through both of their blades.
    • The artwork pretty clearly shows that Nataku has some version of this.
    • Ken is a more downplayed example than the two above, but being able to carry and swing his gigantic zanbatou as easily and quickly as he does shows just how strong he must be.
    • It's somewhat unclear if it's physical strength or mystical Tao abilities, but Cho and the Wu Tang brothers are able to send people flying with a punch, knock over trees, and create a mini-earthquake by stomping a foot.
    • While it's pure Rule of Funny and a one time gag, what else could you call "Ninja lifts Mt. Fuji"? Downplayed somewhat when he finally reappears onscreen and it turns out to be the peak of Mt. Fuji, although even that is an enormous chunk of rock, much bigger than the ninja himself.
  • There Are No Rules: Sorta.
    Ken: Here's Ken's rules to fightin': First, in battle, yer either killin' or dyin'. So whatever you do, don't ever stop not dyin'. Second, we don't have time for stupid rules, so stop standing around there like a bunch of idiots, and start beating the crap out of each other!
  • Those Two Guys: Fumio and Fujio.
  • Title Drop: At least twice, most notably so far at the beginning:
    Ina: It looks more like you're running away to me.
    Yori: The code of bushido, the way of the warrior, would never allow me to just run away!
    Ina: Look samurai boy, I have no need for bushido!
  • Token Evil Teammate: Ken is this for the good guys. He's not straight up evil, but being a bully, a jerkass, and consistently intimidating merchants and robbing random people, and the Mook Horror Show he puts on when he gets to fight the Wataro soldiers puts him very low on the scale of anti heroes.
  • Token Good Teammate: Tadashi and General Atsumori are in this position for the Wataro clan, being about the only Wataro members shown besides Yori himself who aren't evil, jerkasses, or bloodthirsty warmongers.
    • Tadashi is a Noble Top Enforcer who, like many fictional samurai, is caught between his loyalty to lord and clan and disapproving of the orders of his lord and the direction of his clan. Like many samurai, he resolves this by usually maintaining a front of My Master, Right or Wrong, but where he can, making small choices for the greater good of his lord/clan, such as secretly sparing Genchu's life.
    • Atsumori is an honorable Only Sane Man who prefers peace to war and is desperately trying to preserve the honor of the clan. When ordered to go to war he tries to do so in a way to minimize bloodshed on all sides, as opposed to the approach of General Nataku, who would go straight into Rape, Pillage, and Burn writ large.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Yori does, right around the time the Art Evolution really kicks in. Turns out he was always skilled, but Rule of Funny-induced bad luck concealed it before.
    • Ina during the defense of Lord Maru's village. She drew up the battle plans and commanded the defenders, buying time for the Senshin reinforcements to arrive. Then she turned right around and led a (somewhat) successful rescue of her father. In the end, however, Yukizane really saved the day.
  • Tragic Villain: Hirotomo. As a young man he was an idealist who made peace between his clan and their longtime rivals the Daisuke clan. Unfortunately the warmonger Nataku arranged both the murder of Hirotomo's wife by disgruntled Daisuke Rōnin and convinced Nataku that his greatest friend, Genchu, had been carrying on an affair with Hirotomo's wife prior to her death. This changed him into the cynical, ruthless, and paranoid man he is today.
  • Tsundere: Ina's a bit swingy.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Ken tends win most of his fights with brute strength and ferocity, with no regard for strategy. This trips him up when he comes up against opponents who are not only just as strong, if not stronger, but are also skilled.
  • Unsound Effect: All the time.
    • Among notable others are the commonly-used DOOM! and the once-used DRRAAAAMMMMAAAAA, as well as the ever popular HEAD... BUTT!
    • Not to mention SHOCKWAVE! and OH? NO! HE DIDN'!! (sic).
    • And, of course, ITSATRAP!!, immediately followed by NICE!
    • DA FACE!!!
    • CHILDHUG!, Which is probably supposed to be an incredibly cute sound.
    • FLAMEWAR!!!
    • Lampshaded by "insert your sound effect here".
    • And don't forget the best one of all "IMPLAUSIBLE!"
  • Vicariously Ambitious: Ryoku states that the reason he stopped being Eijiro's bodyguard, joined the Demons of Sorrow, and is chomping at the bit to kill Yori is because he wants to personally ensure that Eijiro will be guaranteed to be the heir to the clan. Which turns out to be impossible since Hirotomo falsely believes that Eijiro isn't actually his son.
  • Wall Bang Her: Yori and Ina, in one piece of filler art.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Masuhiro's flashback reveals that Ina has at least two sisters... but they're never mentioned outside of that flashback and there's no explanation for why one of them couldn't have taken Ina's place in the Arranged Marriage like Eijiro took Yori's.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ina gets called out because she's more concerned about her own problems when Ken and Yori have lost their clan and Cho is far more hurt than he lets out and she's still the rebellious princess who ran away because she only cared how it affected her.
  • When She Smiles: Ina is very pretty, make no mistake, but her face lights up like the break of dawn whenever she smiles.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Long before Genchu renounced his ties to Hirotomo, they were basically best buds.
  • The Worf Barrage: Ken's ludicrously big sword rarely hits anyone important. Not only that, but the taoist monks and Nataku managed to block it outright. Nataku later ups the ante from that, and just overpowers Ken while clashing with his BFS head-on.
  • Yandere: After seeing her plot the destruction of large sections of an enemy army without showing any emotion at all, Yori seems to fear that Ina has secretly been this.