Is the Onimusha Anime, a better experience than the Games?

Onimusha

The Onimusha franchise, despite its somewhat limited presence in today’s gaming landscape, holds a special place in the hearts of Capcom fans. The unexpected news of a Netflix anime adaptation brought immense joy to fans globally, sparking hope for the series’ future, including the anticipation of a potential new game announcement.

However, there are critics who express skepticism about the anime’s direction and harbor a generally negative perspective on how Capcom is managing the Onimusha IP. Today, we’ll explore whether these concerns from fans are justified or does the Onimusha anime acts as a better introduction for this demon-riddled version of the Japanese Sengoku Period, compared to the original games.

Onimusha and Nobunaga’s Moustache

Onimusha Nobunaga
Image Courtesy: Capcom

The Onimusha series burst into existence as the result of a wild night out between Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, and a tipsy reading of Sun Tzu. Picture it: Keiji Inafune had this conceived as a Sengoku Period Resident Evil, and voila! In 2001, the PlayStation 2 witnessed the glorious birth of a game that’s essentially the lovechild of Capcom’s coolest franchises and a touch of Sun Tzu wisdom, which culminates into one epic package.

The series follows a samurai named Samonosuke Akechi, who is tasked with the rescue of Princess Yuki from the clutches of the demonic Genma, who are being led by a reanimated zombie Nobunaga Oda (Former Warlord of Japan, who is weirdly obsessed with showing off his mustache) in his quest to yet again lay siege of Japan and force unification of the states under the banner of Demon Lord.

Samanosuke Onimsuha
Image Courtesy: Capcom

Onimusha easily has one of the best subversions of the traditional ancient Japan trope, by turning up the dial on the supernatural and just having fun with these real historical figures by putting them in completely outrageous situations like time travel and whatnot, and that somehow works extremely well for the badass tone that the series generally tries to present.

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The Boring Life of Miyamoto Musashi

The Onimusha Anime takes a distinct departure from the tone of the games, opting for a more serious narrative devoid of the nostalgic 2000s cheese found in the game’s writing. This rubbed off wrongly on long-time fans, who felt like the creators were trying to distance themselves from what made the Onimusha games cult classics in the first place. But now that the fires have drowned, how is the actual show?

Onimusha anime

The plot follows a familiar Sengoku Era template. Japan’s beloved Samurai, Miyamoto Musashi, is once again thrust into the spotlight. Tasked with a mission alongside five companions, they must take down the renegade Ronin Ieomon. Along their journey, they encounter the Demonic Genma, seemingly under Ieomon’s control, who, having sacrificed his humanity, now reigns as a Demon Lord. To combat this supernatural threat, Musashi reluctantly turns to the forbidden gauntlet of the Oni Clan, a powerful but perilous tool that could cost him his humanity.

Onimusha the Anime uses the games as a template for its world and that’s it, because while it delivers a rather strong tale of retaining your Humanity against insurmountable evil, it lacks any identity that the original games had in spades. It is quite literally a reversion of the game’s subversion of Sengoku Era Japan, making it a rather conventional take on plots set in that period. This does not make it necessarily bad on its own, but it is still a rather poor adaptation.

Musashi vs Kojiro Onimusha
Image Courtesy: Netflix

Conclusion

The Onimusha anime offers a decent watch for those seeking a fresh take on ancient Japan and its mythologies in anime, despite its fairly ordinary writing. However, it falls short as an adaptation for fans of the Onimusha series. It steers away from the elements that endeared the games to fans, excluding beloved characters and even snubbing the iconic Nobunaga, mustache and all. It’s practically a crime against Onimusha aficionados.

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