While the majority of the Warriors Orochi cast is drawn from the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series — at least in its first installment — there are a few new characters in the mix, too.
Besides Orochi himself, who we actually don’t see all that much until each faction’s respective final (and secret) missions, probably the most prominent and persistent of these new characters is Da Ji.
But who is this mysterious and devilish woman with a penchant for deception? Where did she come from? And what’s with the weird feet?
Da Ji isn’t an original creation for Warriors Orochi. Like many of the other characters who show up in the series that haven’t previously been seen in other games, she has her origins in folklore — in this case, Chinese folklore.
Actually, that’s not quite accurate; history does record an individual known as Da Ji from the mid-to-late 11th century (well after Dynasty Warriors’ time, hence her absence from that series) who was apparently the favourite consort of the Shang dynasty’s last ruler, King Zhou. This Da Ji was, to put it mildly, not a nice lady, and in Chinese culture is still considered as a classic example of how a beautiful woman can cause the downfall of an entire empire.
There are various accounts of how this came about, but they usually involve Da Ji causing King Zhou to become so intoxicated with his feelings for her that he began to neglect state affairs and derive pleasure from cruelty, much as she apparently did. One legend suggests that Da Ji’s crafty nature was the result of the “real” Da Ji being killed at an early age, then becoming possessed by a thousand-year old nine-tailed fox spirit. This would certainly be in line with subsequent popular depictions of Da Ji herself being portrayed as a malevolent fox spirit.
How cruel are we talking? Well, again, accounts vary, but she apparently invented a form of torture and/or execution involving a metal cylinder that, depending on the account, is either filled with burning coals or covered with oil and placed atop a pile of burning charcoal. The victim of this cruel and unusual punishment is then made to either “hug” the cylinder as it heats up to red hot temperatures, or walk across it as it slowly heats up atop the charcoal. Either way, the result was usually the victim burning to death — and the amusement and arousal of both King Zhou and Da Ji.
This is all thoroughly unpleasant, yes, but you may be wondering how it brought down the Shang dynasty; surely the people would be terrified of potentially suffering such a horrible fate? Well, that’s just it; a reign of terror generally doesn’t last forever, because at some point the people will, to paraphrase the entire process somewhat, stand up and say “hold on a minute” and then set about overthrowing the tyrannical despot who has been causing them such misery. And indeed, this is exactly what happened to King Zhou, with Da Ji supposedly ending up both exorcised and executed shortly afterwards.
The Da Ji of Warriors Orochi isn’t anywhere near as unpleasant as her historical and/or literary counterpart, thankfully, but she’s still very much “one of the bad guys”. Acting as a persistent antagonist throughout the entirety of Warriors Orochi’s various narrative paths, Da Ji is a cunning strategist, a skilled weaver of illusion, a formidable combatant and an entrancing beauty.
She’s introduced as Orochi’s strategist, and her powers of deception are frequently seen in various missions to provide “gotcha” moments for the player, where a seemingly simple objective is actually much more complex than it initially appeared. She is particularly fond of impersonating people whom a particular force is trying to rescue or rendezvous with, only to reveal herself at the last moment and attack.
In terms of overall series lore, the Da Ji of Warriors Orochi is a runaway immortal being who became bored of everyday eternal life. She found herself sympathising with the imprisoned Orochi and releasing him, setting the events of the series into motion, and agreed to serve as his strategist primarily as a means of entertaining herself.
Some elements from her historical and literary depictions remain in her Warriors incarnation. While she’s not shown actively torturing anyone throughout Warriors Orochi, there are certainly implications there, and her… “creativity” is often put to use through her inventing machines of war. In particular, her supposed invention of large cannons calls to mind the aforementioned method of torture, which was colloquially referred to as the “Cannon Burning Punishment”.
The idea of her being the sort of woman who could bring down a dynasty is very much present and correct, too. While she appears loyal to Orochi throughout the first game, it’s also clear that she’s rather flighty, fickle and very much engaged with the whole situation on her own terms.
She’s empowered, confident and sexually aggressive; she knows what she wants, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get it with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. She’s perfectly aware that appealing to gentlemen’s baser instincts is often a particularly effective way of achieving one’s goals. And she’s devious and untrustworthy; every bit the cunning fox she’s depicted as in other media.
In other words, probably not the sort of person you’d actually want as your waifu… but if the various accounts of her beauty are to be believed, once you fall under her spell, it’s probably already too late for you… you can kiss that dynasty of yours goodbye!
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