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|“||Akujiki has consumed the Yin of men since ancient times. If left unfed, Akujiki will eat away at its wielder's soul.||„|
|~ Ageha about the cursed blade Akujiki.|
|“||Akujiki has awakened. It feeds on the souls of the slain, each death strengthening its cursed blade. Akujiki shall spill the blood of your enemies, and in the end, 'Tate' shall be the key to your victory.||„|
|~ A Shinobi game description (about the Akujjiki).|
The Akujiki (in Japanese: 妖刀「悪食」Youtou "Akujiki"; Evil Eater), also referred to the "Demon Blade", is the legendary katana sword that acts as a demonic parasite as it feeds from the Yin energy of countless souls, and it plays a major role in the 2002 videogame Shinobi and its sequel Nightshade.
60 years ago, Hiruko Ubusuna of Kumano Shrine, a heretical onmyoji, of Kumano Shrine, forged Akujiki using forbidden dark magic. Apart from its awesome sharpness, Akujiki's true feature was the ability to increase its ungodly attack power indefinitely by consuming Yin, the impure feelings and bitter thoughts of the slain, piece of the soul that animates the body returns to the earth upon death. The more Yin it consumes the stronger it becomes. But this can only be achieved by awakening Akujiki, by exposure to pure quality Yin energy. Once awakened, the sword rages out of control, consuming the Yin of all who die by its edge. But if there is a break from battle, the dreaded curse from the evil sorcery will cause the blade to feed on the Yin of its owner. And so whosoever used Akujiki would be doomed to a life of never ending slaughter, with death as their only release. However, there was also a way to place Akujiki into stasis, by forcing it to consume a high quality Yang.
When Hiruko attempted to use the sword to invoke a cursed ritual, the Oboro ninja clan slew him. However, Hiruko's vile soul would not perish, and he was sealed in the Kumano Shrine, which was then guarded at all times by the Ubusuna clan. The Oboro clan acquired Akujiki and guarded the sword for decades. The clan elders sought a method that could completely end the demonic blade's carnage, and they eventually devised a ritual that would suppress its demonic essence. The ritual ordained that the eldest heirs of the Oboro must engage in a duel to the death to decide who shall become the clan's leader. The victor would claim Akujiki and use the foul blade to kill his opponent, and the sacrificial offering would provide the sword with his Yang, which would ensure that the demon sword would remain dormant for the next six decades.
One day during their childhood, Hotsuma, Moritsune, and Ageha went out to play. The children entered the Oboro temple and found a chest with a sword inside. When Ageha held the blade in her hands, it began to glow and drain her life force, and the children realized that the demonic blade from their fairy tales was not only a legend. As Hotsuma ran to find master Kobushi, Moritsune attempted to wrest the blade from Ageha's hands and wounded himself in the process. On this day, Moritsune was cursed by the blade and his fate was sealed. Ten years later, when Hotsuma and Moritsune were subject to the Oboro's wicked ritual, Hotsuma defeated his brother and reluctantly ended his life with the demon blade. Moritsune's pure spirit diminished Akujiki's power and reinforced the blade's seal.
Four years later, Tokyo was shaken by a sudden and powerful earthquake, and a mysterious golden palace rose out of the earth. Shortly after, the demonic Hellspawn invaded the world of the living. After he was mysteriously released from his seal, Hiruko slaughtered the entire Oboro clan, reanimated their corpses, and sent them and his Hellspawn underlings to acquire Akujiki. When he learned that the Oboro were slaughtered, Hotsuma vowed to avenge their deaths. He slew many Hellspawn and many of his former comrades, and Akujiki absorbed their Yin to satisfy its insatiable hunger.
When Hotsuma learned that the shrine maiden, Kagari Ubusuna, was being pursued by the Hellspawn so that Hiruko could sacrifice her upon Yatsurao's altar, he tried to prevent her from being kidnapped but ultimately failed. He followed Kagari's captors into the Nakatomi factory where Yatsurao was held. Although Hotsuma defeated Yatsurao, the mechanical giant's immense supply of Yin was released, and Hiruko absorbed it and transformed. Hotsuma attempted to attack Hiruko, but Moritsune's reanimated corpse blocked his path and they escaped to Kan'ei Shrine.
As Hotsuma passed through the shrine, he was stopped and attacked by Ageha, who revealed herself to be the traitor that resurrected Hiruko. After Hotsuma's and Ageha's confrontation drew to a close, Ageha ran to the shrine. There, she met Hiruko and Moritsune, and was relieved when she heard that her lover was resurrected. However, Moritsune, who was controlled by the Hellspawn Lord Aomizuchi, murdered her. Hotsuma fought the heartless demon and freed the souls of his brother and childhood friend.
Hotsuma confronted Hiruko in the Golden Palace. Hiruko wanted to absorb the Yin inside Akujiki and rule the Earth, but Hotsuma cut him down. To seal Akujiki, Hotsuma deliberately stayed inside the collapsing Golden Palace and sacrificed his life in order free himself of Akujiki's influence.
Resurrection of Akujiki
One year after Hotsuma defeated the wicked sorcerer Hiruko, the Japanese government retrieved Akujiki and ordered Kagari Ubusuna to seal the demon blade. Kagari broke Akujiki into nine shards and placed them all across Tokyo. Then, she invoked a magic ritual and erected the Ariake Seal (in Japanese: 有明結界 Ariake Kekkai; Ariake Barrier), which is a barrier composed of Yang energy that repels Hellspawn. Thirteen days after the Seal's formation, the Nakatomi Conglomerate hired several expert mercenary shinobi to acquire the shards of Akujiki. Among them were:
- Jimushi: A former Oboro clan elder and the master Shinobi of Earth.
- Hisui: A young prodigy kunoichi and Jimushi's newest pupil, the Shinobi of Water.
- Onibi: A sadomasochistic and womanizing shinobi that specializes in explosives and the Shinobi of Fire.
- Kazaguruma: The elderly Shinobi of Wind who awaits his 1,000th opponent.
- Kurohagane: Nakatomi's prototype cyborg ninja that was sent to retrieve the shards of Akujiki.
In response, the Japanese government sent the young and talented Hibana to stop Nakatomi from stealing the shards. Hibana traveled though a ruined Tokyo to acquire the shards, where she fought numerous Nakatomi ninja and Hellspawn. One by one, she dispatched the Hellspawn Lords and Jimushi's elite mercenaries. When Hibana defeated Jimushi, he entrusted Akujiki's fate to her and explained that, because she was the last member of the Oboro, it was her responsibility to ensure that the demon blade does not fall into the wrong hands. Hibana pursued Kurohagane into the ruins of the Golden Palace. She climbed the the tower and challenged Kurohagane for the last time. The cyborg absorbed the last shard of Akujiki and was possessed by the demonic blade. After an intense battle, Hibana prevailed against her cybernetic and demon-possessed foe.
After the battle, Hibana met with her government contacts, but was hesitant to relinquish Akujiki. Instead, she handed over her replica and kept the true Akujiki for herself, the blade completely under her control. Since that day, Hibana disappeared and took Akujiki with her into the shadows, and her whereabouts a mystery.
Powers and Abilities
Akujiki serves as a powerful weapon capable of slicing and slaying enemies in two. It is also possessed as demostrated when it went flying and hulring at Hotsuma. If left unfed, the Akujiki shall consume the life energy of its wielder and kill them.
- Akujiki's name can also be translated as "Meat Eater" which alludes to those that break the Buddhist vows and eat meat. Akujiki devours the physical essence of those who die by its edge.
- According to Japanese sources, Akujiki is a demonic katana forged with dark sorcery by Hiruko Ubusuna himself.
- In Japanese spirituality, it is believed that people's souls are composed of Haku (魄 spiritual Yin energy) and Kon (魂 spiritual Yang energy). Haku is the corporeal essence that is left behind by the dead. in other words, the departed soul's dead vessel.
- Akujiki bears similarities to the titular Soul Edge from Soul Calibur, as they are both demonic soul-sucking weapons that are possessed by a malevolent spirit. In Nightshade, Akujiki is shattered into pieces, which prompts a hunt for the shards, and this scenario is similar to when Soul Edge was shattered, which lead the entire world to search for its scattered pieces.
- It is heavily implied that, even if he won the duel, Moritsune would never be able to control Akujiki because it tasted his blood and may have killed him quicker.