Those of you who have been following the Warriors Wednesday series of videos will know that in each of Warriors Orochi’s campaigns, I’ve found one warrior in particular who has proven to be an ever-reliable killing machine that I can fall back on in most circumstances.
In the Shu campaign, which we’re currently embroiled in the middle of at the time of writing, that warrior is Ginchiyo Tachibana, someone who erstwhile protagonist-of-sorts Zhao Yun and friends stumble across in the very first mission.
She’s grown to be a formidable force on the battlefield and one of my favourite characters to play as — so let’s take a closer look at who she really is.
The Tachibana clan of feudal lords originated in the Sengoku era as vassals of the Ōtomo clan, frequently battling the latter’s great rivals in the Shimazu clan. In the mid-16th century, Akitoshi Ōtomo attacked the Tachibana clan in their castle in Kyūshū and ended up taking not only the stronghold but also the clan name, too; from hereon, he was known as Dōsetsu Tachibana.
According to legend, Dōsetsu once took shelter under a tree during a storm, and was struck by lightning. Furious at this rather inconsiderate assault by the Thunder God, he used his sword Chidori to cut said deity inside the lightning bolt, allowing him to survive the ordeal. Understandably, he subsequently renamed Chidori to Raikiri — or “Lightning Cutter”.
Dōsetsu had no sons, so he decided to appoint his daughter Ginchiyo as his successor. Ginchiyo quickly proved herself to be more than up to the task and unwilling to be bound by societal convention; she recruited women into her elite guard, and trained the maidens of her castle in the art of war in order to intimidate visitors. One would not have expected a Sengoku-era maidservant to be able to kick your ass, after all.
Dōsetsu’s assault on Tachibana Castle had put him in conflict with his former clanmate Sōrin Ōtomo, but Sōrin was a useful person to have on side, as his meetings with some of the first Jesuit missionaries to reach Japan as well as his (supposedly strategic) conversion to Christianity gave him access to a variety of knowledge, goods and weapons from Europe. These included firearms, which subsequently Ginchiyo was more than willing to make use of in her formidable forces of girl power.
In the Warriors games, Ginchiyo Tachibana is depicted as wielding mastery over the element of lightning; her sword crackles with furious purple electrical energy, and many of her attacks result in powerful bolts of lightning being spewed out around her. This is a reference to her father’s legendary sword — while the collectible weapons of Warriors games may raise questions over whether or not she is actually wielding Raikiri itself, the comparisons to her father’s weapon are obvious.
In development terms, Ginchiyo Tachibana was created for a very simple reason: to be a sword-wielding female character. Female characters in the Warriors games up until this point had all wielded somewhat unconventional weapons, such as Sun Shiang Xiang’s “wheels” in the Dynasty Warriors series.
The original intention behind her character design was to have her resemble a valkyrie, but for the early installments of the Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi series in which she appeared, this concept was mostly eschewed in order to make her fit in better with the Sengoku period. When Samurai Warriors 3 for Wii eventually rolled around, however, the team eventually relented and gave her a very obviously valkyrie-inspired makeover.
Personality-wise, Ginchiyo is a pretty obstinate, stubborn young woman who rarely shows a softer side. She is one of a few characters in the cast keen to demonstrate that women are just as capable of kicking ass as men — very much in keeping with her historical counterpart. However, in true tsundere style, she has difficulty admitting her own faults or showing any sort of weakness — including emotional weakness towards anything that might cause her to crack her formidable facade. Such as, you know, cute things.
Interestingly, early in Warriors Orochi she finds herself fighting alongside Yoshihiro Shimazu, who in her original Samurai Warriors timeline is someone she considers a great rival, even a nemesis. The circumstances under which they meet in Warriors Orochi, however, dictate that she is honour-bound to help him and his companions out — and it is thus that she finds herself allying with the Shu group of Zhao Yun and his companions.
Gameplay-wise, she’s a joy to fight as thanks to her swift and deadly sword attacks, combined with her natural elemental effects. In Warriors Orochi, many of her charge attacks carry the lightning element, which can add up to devastating damage if supported with appropriate ability attachments on a weapon. A well-equipped Ginchiyo Tachibana can stride into a huge group of enemies with confidence and let rip with a truly explosive blow that scatters her weaker foes in all directions while dealing considerable damage to officers.
So far in my Shu playthrough of Warriors Orochi, she’s proving to be an ever-reliable backbone to the team, being a good choice to step up to the plate if things get a bit hairy for her two comrades. And thus she joins the ranks of Lu Xun and Taishi Ci as being one of my favourite “In Case of Emergency…” characters, who pretty much always has a space on my team.
I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how she performs in the other Warriors games, because she appears to have made pretty regular appearances ever since the second Samurai Warriors title in 2006, even playing a prominent role in unusual Wii spinoff title Samurai Warriors Katana from 2007.
For now, though, Orochi’s forces better say their prayers if they happen to see a distinctly sword-shaped bolt of purple lightning wending its way towards them from the distance…
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