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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 sword that feeds from the Yin energy of countless souls and it plays a major role in the 2002 videogame Shinobi and its sequel Nightshade.

History

Shinobi

No one knows the specifics of Akujiki's origin, but it is known that it actually is an ancient metaphysical parasite. This parasite can lay dormant for centuries, but awakens from the taste of blood, and feeds on the concept of Yin; the collection of all the dark and impure feelings of its prey. The archaic and sentient, demonic entity, Akujiki has consumed the Yin of human beings and spirits alike since before the Warring States Era.

Sometime over 60 years ago, Hiruko Ubusuna, a heretical Onmyoji, came across the Akujiki and with his dark rituals, forged it into a sword. This eldritch abomination would be named Akujiki; the Devourer of Evil, and Hiruko would use it to claim the souls of many victims. With each life taken, the sword's power grew exponentially. But the parasite from which the blade is made from still holds sway over the sword; for if denied the blood of enemies and left unfed of fresh Yin energy, the parasite within the blade will slowly drain the Yin of the sword's owner, until he kills a foe or dies from Akujiki's vile hunger. This would cause even the Four Pillars (Hellspawn Lords), powerful, high-ranking Hellspawn under Hiruko's command to fear it.

However, as Hiruko attempted a cursed ritual to take over the world using the Hellspawn Weapon Yatsurao and Akujiki as his template, the Oboro shinobi came and slew Hiruko and stole Akujiki from him. Hiruko's soul would never perish easily, and so with his body, he was sealed deep within Kumano Shrine, guarded at all times by his descendants, the Ubusuna clan.

To silence Akujiki, the Oboro clan created a ritual, that should an heir be defeated in a duel to the death, his own Yang; the positive energies of the spirit, would be sacrificed to Akujiki, placing the demonic presence inside the blade in stasis. The Oboro would continue to watch the sword for decades, seeking a way to end its bloody carnage forever.

Years later, 3 young children of the Oboro Clan who were named Hotsuma, Moritsune, and Ageha were playing and then found a chest in a shed at the Oboro village. They discovered that what was inside the chest was the sword they heard in tales that eats the souls of men. When Ageha held Akujiki in her hands, it began to glow and slowly drain her life force. Moritsune grabbed the blade and saved his best friend's life, but at a price -- it scarred him across the face and forever changed him.

When they were teenagers, Hotsuma and his brother fought in a duel that decides the next leader of the Oboro and the responsibility of keeping the Akujiki sword. Hotsuma won and reluctantly slew his brother with the Akujiki. Moritsune's pure spirit crippled the Akujiki, and reinforced the seal on the blade.

4 years later, the present-day capital city of Tokyo were shaken a strange earthquake with the appearance of the mysterious Golden Palace risen out of the earth and the demonic legions of Hellspawn were set loose upon the world of the living, Hostuma, now the last leader of the Oboro Clan, made his way to avenge the murders of his clansmen whose corpses were reanimated and cursed to serve their old enemy, Hiruko Ubusuna. Interestingly enough, Hiruko is seeking the Akujiki for his plans, so he sent the possessed Oboro ninjas and the Hellspawn to acquire it. Hotsuma fought and slew many Hellspawn demons as well as his possessed former comrades and asborbed their yin and even their souls abate Akujiki's insatiable hunger. He even faced 3 of the 4 Hellspawn Lords and killed them using Akujiki.

Hotsuma confronted Hiruko at the corporate factory of the Nakatomi Conglomerate while trying to rescue the mad sorcerer's direct descendant Kagari Ubusuna whom Hiruko sought to sacrifice to reanimate the giant called Yatsurao. He defeated Yatsurao and saved Kagari but the immense yin of the fallen giant was quickly asborbed by Hiruko, transforming himself into a powerful young sorcerer with deadly magic. He tried to slay him but standing in his way was Hotsma's dead sibling, Moritsune who is controlled by Hiruko himself.

He went to Kan 'ei Shrine to confront Hiruko and Moritsune, but along the way Hotsuma was stopped and attacked by Agaha who revealed herself to be the traitor who resurrected Hiruko in order gain his help in bringing back the man she loves. Even after her failed battle against her former childhood friend and leader, Ageha's dream finally came true but it was a lie; Ageha was murdered by the possessed Moritsune who was controlled by the Hellspawn Lord known as Aomizuchi. Hotsumla fought the heartless demon and slain him, freeing the souls of the 2 people he knew and loved.

After making his way into the Golden Palace, Hotsuma confronts Hiruko who needed the power of Akujiki with the Yin-filled might of Yatsurao to create a perfect, pure soul to cleanse and rule the Earth. Hotsuma and Hiruko then fight to the death. Hotsuma won. And Hiruko released all the dark energy that now flows into Akujiki as the sorcerer slowly reverts back to his old and withered form and dies at the feet of his greatest enemy.

Nightshade

After that incident that ravaged Tokyo ended with Hiruko's death at the hands of Oboro leader Hotsuma, the Japanese government retrieved Akujiki among the rubble and ordered Kagari Ubusuna to help seal Akujiki away from the wrong hands for good. Kagari performed a ritual called the "Ariake Seal" (in Japanese: 有明結界 Ariake Kekkai; Ariake Barrier) to break the Akujiki into 9 shards and placed them all across Tokyo as a barrier seal to ward off any Hellspawn from entering their world again, with the backing of the government performing this task.

Everything returned back to normal for a brief period of time, until the Nakatomi Conglomerate once again disrupted the order of control in Tokyo and putting the world's safety at risk. Nakatomi hired several expert mercenary shinobi's, especially one called Jimushi who before belonged to the now deceased Oboro Clan, along with 4 others:

  • Hisui - The young prodigy kunoichi and newest pupil of Jimushi.
  • Onibi - Reckless and womanizing shinobi specializing in projectile fireworks.
  • Kazugurama - An old shinobi expertly trained with wind attacks and awaiting his 1000th opponent.
  • Kurohagane - The cyborg ninja created by Nakatomi and sent to retrieve the pieces of Akujiki.

To counter the assault of Nakatomi, the government sent in their most talented ninja, Hibana to stop Nakatomi from taking the Akujiki shards and allowing the Hellspawn to return back to Toyko.

Hibana finally confronts Kurohagane for the last time, he finally absorbs the last piece of Akujiki while stealing the other shards Hibana had collected herself and finally fused Akujiki into it's blade form. Doing this, his cybernetic body disintegrated by the power of Akujiki and he transformed into a clone of Hotsuma.

With his trademark long scarf, his crossed arm and stoic posture. He was the dark mirror image of Hotsuma after Akujiki managed to consume his soul even after death when he fell into the ruins of the Golden Tower. Not only that, but Kurohagane also seemed to possess traits of his Hotsuma's brother, Moritsune with his craving for power.

It's interesting to note but before Kurohagane transformed into the false Hotsuma, he acknowledged that Hibana would be in fact Akujiki's new master (perhaps Hotsuma wanted to test Hibana if she was capable of handling it's powers and carrying on the Oboro clan's legacy). He even said Hibana was 'the daughter of Oboro' and queen of the souless.

After Hibana defeats Kurohagane, the grasp of Akujiki powers are released from his body and is deactivated for good. Hibana then collects the Akujiki blade (strangely so, the blade consuming powers doesn't even flinch her) and now waits to hand it off to the Government.

When that time comes, she becomes hesistant to give Akujiki to them but finally does. It's interesting to note that Hibana see's the carrying case the scientists are carrying that have come to collect Akujiki has the Nakatomi Clan symbol on it.

Hibana's taskmaster radios to her that her task is complete and that she is to keep a low profile until further notice. As she walks away she hears the soldiers being given orders to go 'capture Kurohagane' which makes it sound like the Government is now either partnered up to Nakatomi, or the government wants to retrieve Kurohagane for their own purposes.

When Hibana takes off her helmet, we see that the Utsoshiyo blade she has on her back suddenly starts glowing red. No doubt, it's actually Akujiki the whole time, and she gave the guys the Utsoshiyo blade instead.

Even still, Akujiki does not even seem to flinch Hibana at all, so Hotsuma soul in the sword probably is there protecting Hibana after his approval to carry on the Oboro duty of Akujiki onto her.

Hibana says to herself "So begins my life as a rogue shinobi...today's not my day".

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.

Trivia

  • Despite being a sword, it was revealed according to Japanese website sources that Akujiki was created from an ancient parasite by Hiruko Ubusuna himself.
  • In Nightshade, the protagonist Hibana is tasked with collecting the shards of Akujiki.
  • Akujiki bears similarities to the titular blade Soul Edge from the Soul series (often referred to as the Soulcalibur series) of fighting videogames as it is a demonic soul-sucking weapon that is possessed by a malevolent spirit. In Nightshade, it is shattered into pieces which prompts a hunt for the shards similar to how Soul Edge was shattered in a couple of games, which lead to the entire world searching for the scattered pieces.
  • Akujiki's shards in Nightshade raged out of control creating insectoid Yotsubashira class Hellspawn.
  • It is heavily implied that even if Moritsune won the duel, he would never be able to control Akujiki. Because it had already tasted his blood and soul, the sword's cursed status would have killed him quicker.
  • Akujiki's name is also known as the "Meat Eater" alluding to the breaking of Buddhist Vows and eating the flesh of once living creatures. This alludes to the fact that Akujiki devours the physical essence of those who die by its edge.

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