Blade Master of Mibu

The unique game based on the Shinsengumi origin story where you need to have quick reflexes, be able to do simple calculations under pressure and exercise your memory by learning Japanese characters.

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Features

  • Upper, middle and lower attacks and defenses gives you the feel of a fluidly choreographed sword fight
  • Not a button mash game. Requires timing and mental alertness
  • Learn some Japanese during the memory challenge as you are forced to remember the correct reading to successfully defend against an attack
  • Tests your ability to calculate simple maths under pressure
  • Based on the true story of Japan's famous Shinsengumi
  • Endurance challenge for those just wanting a physical reflex challenge.
  • Dojo training mode to help you practice memorising Japanese.

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Story

Historical Background

The story starts in Edo (which is now Tokyo) in 1863 where the Shogun prepared to make his historic journey to meet the emperor in Kyoto to discuss the ever increasing threats of the US black ships lead by Commodore Perry and his intent to force open Japan's borders to trade. To make this trip he had to recruit some of the country's most skilled swordsmen to protect him on this journey. The threat came from anti-shogun rebels who called themselves the Ishi-shishi (or the Men with a Higher Purpose) who wanted to overthrow the shogun and hand back the military and governing power to the emperor.

Of the 260 or so recruited swordsmen, the majority were rounin. Master-less samurai, most which were struggling with poverty from the lack of employment. The man who was in charge of hiring the rounin actually had an ulterior motive and wanted these new recruits to be trained to become Ishi-shishi and once they arrived in Kyoto these recruits were ordered to turn around and return to Edo to serve the emperor. Most returned but some 13 decided to stay behind. One man who stayed behind, named Serizawa Kamo, had notable connections to the Aizu clan through his brother. By using those connections he and the remaining rounin were granted permission to form a group to police the common quarters of Kyoto. They called themselves the Roushigumi.

The Roushigumi were a fearsome police force loyal to the shogunate. They were split into 3 different factions. The 3 faction leaders were Kondou Isami, Serizawa Kamo and Tounichi Yoshio. They had acquired a infamous reputation for being an aggressive and corrupt murder squad mostly in part to Serizawa's temper and self-importance and Tounichi was only slightly better.

One day Serizawa and his men along with Kondou, Okita and Hijikata were sent to patrol Osaka and they encountered a lone sumo wrestler approaching them. Serizawa told the sumo wrestler to move out of the way and, because they had not being wearing their uniform that night, the sumo wrestler didn't recognise them as the Roushigumi and hesitated. That hesitation caused Serizawa to be "insulted" so he cut the sumo wrestler down where he stood with one strike and killed him. The Roushigumi continued past and eventually stayed at a pleasure house where after a few hours they noticed a group of 20 sumo wrestlers carrying clubs and looking for revenge outside on the street. Serizawa and his men immediately drew swords to engage them. Kondou, Okita and Hijikata had no choice but to join the fight. Immediately 5 sumos were killed with the Roushigumi only receiving minor injuries. Once the sumo wrestlers realised they were dealing with skilled samurai they surrendered. The sumo wrestlers were forced to later to officially apologise and paid the Roushigumi in ryo for the "offence" that they had caused.

On another occasion Serizawa and his men sought to extract a loan from a wealthy silk merchant. When the silk merchant refused to give the loan Serizawa and his men used a cannon, borrowed from the Aizu clan, to shoot down the merchant's store. When the store erupted in flames, Serizawa forcibly prevented anyone from putting the fire out and thus the store burnt to the ground and was completely destroyed.

The series of incidents of corruption, exhortion and violence increased to the point that Aizu clan daimyo Matsudaira Katamori secretly ordered Kondou Isami to assassinate Serizawa Kamo along with his men. The first amongst the men to get eliminated was Niimi Nishiki who was cornered, whilst at a store in the Gion district of Kyoto, by Kondou's faction whilst he was alone and forced to commit seppuku due to raising money privately and deviating from the path of bushido which were both punishable offenses by death according to the Roushigumi. Had Serizawa been present at that time he would never have allowed Niimi's seppuku and despite Niimi's exceptional skill with the sword there was nothing he could have done against Kondou's men.

Matsudaira Katamori had ordered Kondou Isami and Tounichi Yoshio to assassinate Serizawa Kamo but explicitly forbade Kondou himself from carrying out the assassination, most likely due to his life being too important to risk since he was to be the future leader of the group. After the assassination was over, Kondou had secret orders to also get rid of Tounichi since he was not much better than Serizawa and Katamori wanted stability.

One week later the planned attack took place on Serizawa Kamo and his men. They had known that Serizawa and his men had planned celebrations that night with heavy drinking involved and so Kondou sent his four highest ranked men to the Yagi estate to assassinate Serizawa at night. Although there is some speculation of exactly who was involved the most accepted theory was that the four men were Hijikata Toshizo, Okita Souji, Yamanami Keisuke and Inoue Genzaburou. The four assassins entered the Yagi estate at night and found Hirayama Gorou first sleeping closest to the doors. Hirayama had started to wake when he was immediately attacked and received a fatal slash that almost completely decapitated him. Ume, Serizawa's lover, was the next one closet to the doors and she was also violently slain with her face left unrecognisable. Serizawa was the furthest from the doors and had time to run to the other room where he made the fatal mistake of tripping over a small desk. There is a slash on roof beam above where he is believed to have tripped. This is either caused by Serizawa when he floundered with his sword or possibly Okita when he followed in pursuit. This slash can still be seen today at the Yagi house in Kyoto. As soon as he tripped Serizawa was met with a series of slashes from his assassins and was slain lying down on the house's kotatsu.

Characters

  • Saitou Hajime(斎藤 一)

    The story in Blade Master of Mibu is told from Saitou's perspective. Originally known as Yamaguchi Hajime, Saitou Hajime is extremely skilled in kenjutsu with legend stating that he would often surprise his opponents by using a left handed attack. Saitou took the opportunity to flee Edo by joining the Roushigumi because he had accidentally killed the son of a retainer. His father urged him to flee and told him to meet his friend named Yoshida who owed him a favor and ran dojo in Kyoto. In Kyoto he changed his name from Yamaguchi to Saitou to avoid being recognised. Saitou taught at this dojo and eventually encountered Hijikata Toshizo whom he befriended and then was recruited into Kondou Isami's group.

  • Serizawa Kamo (芹沢 鴨)

    One of the 3 faction leaders of the Roushigumi

  • Kondou Isami(近藤 勇)

    One of the 3 faction leaders of the Roushigumi

  • Hijikata Toshizo(土方 歳三)

    One of the captains reporting to Kondou Isami. Extremely loyal to the group and was a an admirer of the story of The 47 Rounin where 47 Rounin gave up their lives to avenge their dead master.

  • Yamanami Keisuke(山南 敬助)

    One of the captains reporting to Kondou Isami

  • Okita Souji(沖田 総司)

    One of the captains reporting to Kondou Isami. Along with Saitou Hajime, Souji Okita are both the youngest in Kondou Isami's faction and amongst the most skilled.

  • Inoue Genzaburou(井上 源三郎)

    One of Kondou's students from his Tennen Rishin Ryuu dojo. Inoue is one of Kondou's closest friends and was trained with Kondou before the Roushigumi was formed.

  • Hirayama Gorou(平山五郎)

    Serizawa's right hand man. As a child he had suffered from an accident involving fireworks which left him blind in one eye. Despite only having one eye, Hirayama Gorou was a highly skilled swordsmen.

  • Niimi Nishiki(新見 錦)

    Second in command in Serizawa's faction. A highly skilled swordsmen who had achieved Menkyo Kaiden status

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Music Credits

"Chanter", "Killers", "Mechanolith", "Mystic Force", "Ripples", "Satiate - only strings" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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