Pop Cultural Folklore – The Anime and Manga that Influenced Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Pop Cultural Folklore – The Anime and Manga that Influenced Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice


Welcome back fellow folklorists to another
video on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Today we will be taking a look at something
a bit different than Sekiro lore. Instead, we will be taking a look at some
of the inspirations for the game. Just like how Berserk inspired Dark Souls,
there are plenty of sources that provided inspiration for Sekiro either thematically
or from a design perspective. You’ve probably already heard of a few of
the examples on this list before, but I’m willing to bet you haven’t heard of every
example on the list either. I’ll be listing these from least relevant
to most relevant so while some of the selections on this list may not have actually had a direct
influence on the game, they should at least make for good watching or reading for those
of you who would like more content like Sekiro. So without further ado, let’s get this list
started. Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue – This manga, based
off of the novel Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa is a fictionalized account of Miyamoto Musashi’s
life. Musashi was a famous swordsman of the Sengoku
Era with a record of being undefeated in 61 duels, earning him the title of Kensei. Kensei is a title that fans of Sekiro might
know better by the literal translation, Sword Saint, which is only granted to those who
are considered true masters. As for the rest of the series, there is so
much to it that I really can’t summarize it here but I will note that Musashi is not the
only Sword Saint to appear in the series and that this series is a must read for anyone
who would want to see the kind of path a young Isshin may have once walked. Dororo by Osamu Tezuka – This story written
by the father of manga himself tells the tale of Hyakkimaru, a Ronin who at birth had his
limbs, facial features, and even internal organs stolen by 48 demons who his father
had made a pact with before sitting him adrift in a river. Fortunately, he is rescued by a doctor who
crafts him prosthetics so that he can set out on a journey to slay the 48 demons and
recover the missing parts of his body. Along the way, he encounters a young thief
named Dororo who becomes his travelling companion. Originally written by Osamu Tezuka, this tale
was first given an anime in 1969 but has recently been remade by MAPPA and Tezuka Productions. The series has even had a live action film
and video game based off of it. As a result, it is a series that has inspired
a number of others since it’s creation and Sekiro definitely seems to be one of them
given the similar origin for and use of prosthetics. Sword of the Stranger by studio Bones – This
movie by the animation studio behind such hits as My Hero Academia and Fullmetal Alchemist
follows the tale of a ronin, Nanashi. Who by chance meets a young boy by the name
of Kotaro and his dog Tobimaru and rescues them from unknown assailants. After then being hired by Kotaro as a bodyguard,
Nanashi sets out with the pair on their journey, all the while being hunted by a group of almost
inhuman warriors who seem determined to obtain Kotaro at all costs. I can’t go into every similarity between Sekiro
and the film for risk of spoiling it, but there are multiple themes in the film that
relate to Sekiro besides the obvious similarity between the main characters and Kuro and Sekiro. In addition, it’s just an overall beautiful
film so I highly recommend this one to anyone who wants to enjoy more of the beautiful landscapes
and cinematic swordfights of Sekiro. Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura – This
series is probably one of the most well known inspirations for Sekiro. The story follows Manji, a samurai who is
cursed with immortality at the hands of Yao Bikuni. In a quest to end his immortality, he is determined
to kill 1000 evil men and along the way, he meets a young girl named Rin who asks for
his help in avenging the death of her parents. This story definitely served as an inspiration
for Sekiro with the inclusion of Yao Bikuni along with Manji’s immortality, which is caused
by bloodworms that infest his body in a similar manner to the centipedes of Sekiro. Miyazaki himself has even said as much in
an interview. However, in the very same interview he also
mentions that Blade of the Immortal actually had more of an influence on Bloodborne’s designs
than Sekiro. If that’s the case, is there another series
out there that may have had a larger influence on Sekiro than Blade of the Immortal? The answer to that question is yes but before
I talk about that, I would like to mention a few minor titles that you might think of
as honorable mentions since I think they are worth including even if they don’t quite
fit with the other works mentioned here. The Inugami Family directed by Kon Ichikawa
– This mystery horror film from 1976 is based off of one of the Kindaichi mystery novels
but I mention the movie specifically because of one famous scene that has since been recreated
in other series, including Sekiro. Yes, the strange bodies in Mibu Lake with
their legs sticking straight up are actually a reference to a scene in this film. Unfortunately though, I still haven’t watched
it myself so I can’t say for sure if there are any other references, but the iconic pose
alone makes it worth at least a mention on this list. The Legendary Musings of Professor Munakata
and The Case Records of Professor Munakata both by Yukinobu Hoshino – These series follow
the titular character, Professor Munakata, as he travels across Japan and the World in
his study of folklore. I can’t be sure that this series was actually
an influence in any direct way, but as a folklorist, I just couldn’t refuse a chance to mention
these series. They are a great look into some of the folklore
of Japan and the many ways that the famous tales have changed and evolved over time. However, I should note that while it is usually
accurate, this series can drift into the realm of fantasy from time to time so make sure
to take everything with a grain of salt. But if you are interested in learning more
about the folklore of Japan and some of the folklore used in Sekiro, you couldn’t find
a better series. So now that we’ve covered everything else,
it’s time for us to discuss the series with the biggest influence, and the series that
without a doubt had a huge influence on Sekiro’s design is…what?! No, not Naruto, GRIMM! Just because they both feature ninja doesn’t
mean they are related. The real answer to that question is a bit
of a tie, but only because both are written by the same author. Basilisk: The Koga Ninja Scrolls and Y…is
that Y plus M or Y and…and the Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan. These are both adaptations of stories by author
Futaro Yamada, and it’s no surprise. Futaro Yamada’s work was quite prolific and
featured ninja heavily. His numerous stories have been adapted into
television, film, manga, and anime and for many, his works have set the standard for
Ninja so it’s no surprise that his works would have influenced Sekiro as well. So let’s take a more in depth look at these
two series. Basilisk adapted by Masaki Segawa – “My beloved…please
die.” Set in the very end of the Sengoku Jidai,
this story follows the members of the Koga and Iga clans, two ninja clans whose blood
feud has raged for hundreds of years until they are forced into a ceasefire as both clans
are entered into the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu. However years later a war for succession begins
brewing between Tokugawa’s grandsons and all out war is on the horizon. To prevent this, Tokugawa breaks the ceasefire
between the two clans and enters them into a proxy war to determine which of his grandchildren
shall become Shogun. It’s decided that the top 10 ninja of each
clan shall fight to the death and whichever clan wins shall gain the favor of the Shogunate. However, included in this conflict are the
heirs to each clan, Gennosuke and Oboro who were previously betrothed in an attempt to
finally quell the animosity between the two clans. Now forced to face one another in a battle
to the death, they face an impossible dilemma. Can their love bloom, even on the battlefield? This tragic tale of war between two opposing
ninja clans is definitely worth a look, although the content is definitely more on the adult
side. It’s also another story that Miyazaki personally
mentioned as an influence on the design of the game, but I think he mentions Basilisk
mainly because he was hesitant to mention… The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori
Clan also by Masaki Segawa – This adaptation of another of Futaro Yamada’s works is also
by Masaki Segawa and…my god. Sorry, I’ll talk about the story in just a
minute but first I’m going to need to turn on GRIMM’s adult content lock. It’s no wonder Miyazaki might hesitate to
mention this series because it is full of sex and violence to an almost ludicrous degree. I’m not joking either. This is an excellent series, but I’m not even
sure I’m old enough to watch it at times. However, if Berserk is the main influence
for the Dark Souls series, then the Yagyu Ninja Scrolls could be considered the Sekiro
equivalent. “The number of snake eyes is Seven.” This message painted on the wall by a stranger
in a Hannya Mask sets the stage for a tale of revenge against the Seven Spears of Ashina. In an indirect sequel to Basilisk, the story
begins in 1642 with a failed uprising by the Hori Clan against the current corrupt daimyo
of Aizu, Kato Akinari. After the uprising is quelled by the intervention
of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Hori men are marched to their doom by the Seven Spears
of Ashina, Akinari’s personal enforcers comprised of the best warriors from the Ashina clan. On their march, they stop by Tokei-ji, a temple
famous as a refuge for women where the Hori women were hidden before the uprising. Forcing their way inside the temple forbidden
to men, the Seven Spears round up the Hori women and massacre them in front of the men
as punishment. Their massacre is only stopped by the intervention
of Senhime, the wife of a previous Shogun, but by then only seven Hori women are left
alive. Swearing revenge for the massacre of their
clan, Senhime requests the help of famed monk Takuan Soho to help train the women. Takuan, for his part. recruits Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi, the famed
swordsman and former instructor to the Shogun for the task and their training begins. It’s clear that this series had a large influence
on Sekiro. The Seven Spears of Ashina, the Hannya Mask,
the Snake Eyes, and the group of warrior women are all references that appear in just the
first few chapters. The rest of the series has more references
that seem to have inspired Sekiro but I won’t spoil them for you here as I encourage you
to read this series if you want to learn more. Just…be careful where you choose to read
it, please. Well, that about covers all of the major inspirations
for Sekiro. There are definitely a few other series that
most likely provided their own inspiration and if you know of any major ones I may have
missed or just other series that you think Sekiro fans may enjoy, please feel free to
mention them in the comments below. As always, if you enjoyed this video, please
make sure to like and subscribe for more content like it and I will see you all next time. Until then, fellow folklorists.

3 thoughts on “Pop Cultural Folklore – The Anime and Manga that Influenced Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

  1. Another amazing video is very interesting to see the inspiration of this amazing game. Too bad this game doesn't get DLC so many things I wanted to know more about this universe, like: Isshin Rebellion / more about Owl and Dogen / The Sculptor and their relationship with Kingfisher. These stories are likely not to be approached in a sequel that I think has a good chance of getting one. How amazing it would be to see games like "shadow die twice" in another culture (Correa or Chinese) with the same level of detail and respect that the first one had with Japanese culture. Before I had not quoted Tomoe because I believe she has great chances of appearing in the sequel since probably one of the themes that a second game will address would be the whole nucleus related to The Divine Dragon. (sorry for my english)

  2. i definitely don't know the manga mentioned at 6:00 but the title pronunciation is written in japanese. the title is Y10M beaucause the 十 in the middle is the symbol for 10 in japanese! great video by the way πŸ™‚

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