Samurai Supiritto Supesharu!
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I better say this now since I’ll be real busy later on. (This editorial was actually typed up three months ago.) “Jubanme no otanjoubi omedetou Samurai Spirits!” Wai!
When I wanted to bring this editorial up, I wondered what topic I should talk about. After some thinking, I decided that I should talk about Samurai Spirits’s background for the most part. I felt that this would be appropriate.
A while back, after I just reviewed Nakoruru - Ano Hito Kara no Okurimono/Nakoruru - The Gift Behind That Person, the new Nakoruru anime, which is based on the game of the same name for the Dreamcast and PC, someone watched it and liked it, but that person had never played a Samurai Spirits game and wondered about the information behind the series. Well, have no fear! That’s what this editorial is for. Okay, there are guides also, but you will learn a lesson from this editorial.
Samurai Spirits or Samurai Shodown for some of you is a fighting game from SNK that started in July of 1993. Samurai Spirits was described early on as “Street Fighter with swords” and that was a pretty good description back then. It still is now. Anyway, there are four 2D games, two 3D games, a role playing game for the Saturn and the Nakoruru-chan adventure game I talked about earlier, as well as other home ports and such. (Man! When will I get a word on the situation behind the Nakoruru-chan game? I want to play it now!) The series takes place around the 1790’s, the Edo period.
Well, I bet many of you people still wonder why is the series called “Samurai Spirits” or “Samurai Shodown”. First off, yes, I am aware that many of the characters are not samurai, like Galford, while some are, like Jubei. My guess is that “Samurai Spirits” is a better sounding title than “Warrior Spirits”. As for those wondering about the “Spirits” part, well, these fighters have a drive to carry out some kind of mission. That’s why the title is called “Samurai Spirits”. In terms of the title that’s used outside of Japan, I can’t think of any kind of explanation. Maybe someone decided to play some kind of prank by using some employee named Sho and decided that the title outside of Japan should be called “Samurai Shodown”.
So many of the characters are based on some Japanese historical figures, some Japanese fictional characters or some Japanese related elements. Obviously, Haohmaru is based off of Miyamoto Musashi and Jubei’s background shows that the Yagyus were real polished samurai in the old days. Charlotte is based on Oscar Francois de Jarjayes, the main character of Versailles no Bara/The Rose of Versailles, a very old shoujo anime/manga series and I still don’t know if someone from SNK liked Ranma ½ back then, but Shizumaru does resemble a bit like Hibiki Ryouga. Genjuro shows us the many elements of the hanafuda card game. You can find information like this on various guides and books.
Some of the other characters not related to some Japanese element, here’s what I have to say. Nakoruru-chan and Rimururu-chan are two kawaii Ainu fighters and not many Ainu live in Japan now these days. Why is Rim-chan called by two names: Rimururu-chan and Rimnerel-chan? I don’t know. Galford is American, despite what some say because, though San Francisco was not part of America back then, my guess is that Galford must be one of the few Americans who lived out in the western part of North America and as he trained to become a ninja, he picked up some Japanese along the way. I can go on and on with these stories, but I don’t want to.
Now, here’s the 1,000,000-yen question. Felicia or Cham Cham: who came out first? Before I give out the answer, I want to bring one point up. If you’re wondering where did Capcom and SNK get the idea of having a neko-chan (cat girl) in the first place, the only reasonable anime/manga series (or a anime/manga series that came out before 1994) I can think of that have cat girls are Bannou Bunka Nekomusume/All Purpose Cat Girl Nuku Nuku and Dominion. Anyway, the answer is Felicia. The Vampire/Dark Stalkers series came out a few months earlier in Japan before the second Samurai Spirits game.
I was still in elementary when I was introduced to this series. Many video game fans will say that this is their first sword fighting game series. I can say this myself. Yes, the fighter I chose first was Nakoruru-chan and to this day, I still pick the Ainu sisters most of the time. Honestly, it’s because of them I decided to learn some Ainu and their history. (“Irankarapte!” is the formal way to say “Hi!” in Ainu and I decided to greet in Ainu because I love the Ainu sisters. That’s why.)
I have to say that honestly, I think that the games did not get better as the series aged for the most part. I love the six-attack system, but I never liked any other idea, especially the 3 slashes and 1 kick system in the third and fourth game. Although the theme got darker later on, in some cases, the art got worse. The music is some of the best I have heard, especially Shizen no Utage/Silent Hill, which is Nako-chan’s first theme if you don’t know. Music, seiyuu, the audio is fine, though I still want Rim-chan being played by Tomoe. The games are fun, but like I said, I think that the games did not get better as the series aged for the most part. The second game is by far a game many people love and it definitely is my favorite, even though there’s the fact that Nako-chan was one of the weakest characters in that game. Despite what I have said here, this is one of the best series ever. Arigatou gozaimasu SNK!
Wow! This sure is one long editorial! Well, I better get going. Ako mahal Samurai Spirits! Samurai Supiritto daisuki yo! Mata ne!