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Moriya Minakata in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
|Full name||Moriya Minakata|
|Birthdate||September 23, 1841; 22 years old|
|Height||179 cm (5'10.5")|
|Weight||60 kg (132 lbs)|
|Family/Relatives||Gaisei (adopted father, deceased), Kaede (adopted brother), Yuki (adopted sister)|
|Weapon||Katsura of the Moon (月の桂, Tsuki no Katsura), a katana|
|Fighting style||Kassatsu Ittō-ryū (活殺逸刀流, means Life-or-Death Stray Blade Style)|
Moriya Minakata (御名方 守矢, Minakata Moriya) is a character in The Last Blade series. He is voiced by Jun Hashimoto. His symbolic item is the full moon and his official slogan is Moon Destiny: 月の宿命に生きる士 (Tsuki no Shukumei ni Ikirushi, lit. Living One in the Predestination of the Moon).
He was modeled after Kagehisa Anotsu from the Blade of the Immortal manga. His red hair is a tribute to Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin. It is possible that his coat, worn like a cloak, is meant as a tribute to Kenshin's master, Hiko Seijūrō.
Moriya is a young swordsman in training under a legendary teacher named Gaisei. Under his tutelage, he became a great swordsman along with Kaede and Yuki. For many years, they lived happily together while learning bushidō.
One day he discovered his master dead, and the killer was nowhere to be found. Kaede saw Moriya standing over the body. Kaede resolved to slay Moriya under the belief that Moriya slew Gaisei. Without a word, Moriya set out on the run. Not only did Moriya wish to avoid this confrontation, but he also sought the real killer, a man named Shinnosuke Kagami, in order to clear his name. However, after over five years of searching, Moriya failed to find Kagami. Kaede would defeat Kagami before Moriya could.
After failing to take revenge upon Kagami, Moriya secluded himself in the wilderness to improve his skills and technique. During this time, he finds within himself an urge to “return” to the portal known as “Hell’s Gate.” Ceasing his training, he sets out in order to seek the truth.
He was always quiet as a youth and more skilled than Kaede during training sessions, a fact that Gaisei somewhat lamented as it also made him more distant to his siblings. He was apparently warm to them before, but began to act coldly and placid to them and other people after his mentor's death though he still cares for his adopted family.
He may have harbored a grudge against Kaede as a result of falsely being implicated for their master's death, something that has persisted long after the misunderstanding was cleared.
Regardless, he protects his foster siblings by ignoring them, determined to solve their problems with the Hell's Gate quickly and alone.
- Quick Draw - Moriya can draw and sheath his sword at quicker rate than other characters.
- Multiple Attacks - Moriya can deliver several slashes at once.
- Energy Attacks - Moriya can infuse his sword with ki energy. When using this power, his slashes may take the shape of a full moon, or may be increased in range to strike from a distance.
- Celerity - Moriya is extremely fast, a feat demonstrated by his Iaijutsu technique. Not only that, but he can also move in bursts of speed, and by doing so, may appear behind an opponent in the blink of an eye. By focusing all his might, he may attack the opponent with a blinding barrage of slashes, all in such high-speed that the opponent can do nothing to react.
Kassatsu Ittō-Ryū is the foil to Kaede's fighting style as it targets vital points of the body and works to quickly punish mistakes with minimal effort. It relies on Moriya's speed to succeed, as it involves very heavy use of quick and covering sword strikes with two-handed gripping, and heavy focus on battōjutsu and iaijutsu.
Moriya's take on the style also has a visual moon motif, with moon-based names such as:
- Shingetsu (New Moon).
- Tsukikage/Getsuei (lit. Moon Shadow; used as a term for moonlight/moonbeams).
- Tsukuyomi (Moon Reader, the name of the Shintō god of the moon; acts as the unique name for his Repel in NeoGeo Battle Coliseum).
- Jōgen and Kagen (lit. Upper Chord and Lower Chord; part of his named standing and crouching repel respectively and are terms used for the first and last quarters of a moon).
- Izayoi (lit. Sixteen Nights; a term for a sixteen-day-old moon).
- Hakuya (lit. White Night; also read as "Byakuya" and is a term for either a night at either the North or South Pole, a short night or a night under the midnight sun).
His normal attacks also have names of their own from the more in-depth Moriya guides, also expressing a lunar-month-based motif in tandem:
- His weak slash normals are named Kisaragi (5A), Boshin (4A), Tsukimizu (2A) and Seishin (j.A). Kisaragi (lit. Similar Month) is the second month of the lunar calendar, while Tsukimizu (Month Sightless) is a part of the location name Tsukimizu no Ike (Lake of Month Sightless).
- His strong slash normals are named Yayoi (5B), Kirizuki (2B), Kannatsuki (6B), Kazan (4B) and Kagura (j.B). Yayoi (lit. Increasing Life) is the third month of the lunar calendar, Kirizuki (Paulownia Moon/Month; also written as Kiritsuki or Hizuki) is a Japanese surname, Kazan (Flower Remnant) is part of the term Hananokoshizuki (Flower Remnant Month), the fourth lunar month, while also having a Tsui (Chase) variation as his Repel followup attack. Kagura (God Ease) is the same term used for Shintō music and dancing.
- His kick normals via the Taitō (Sash Blade) naming are Hakuro (5C), Hakuro Gedan (2C), Kanro (6C), Kanro Gedan (3C), and Usui (j.C). Hakuro (White Dew, also written as Shira'tsuyu) is a term for solar/glistening dew, Kanro (Cold Dew) is a term for cold dew in the late-autumn and early-winter, while Usui (Rain Water) is also another solar term.
- His unique command normal, 3A (down-forward weak slash) is named Minatsuki/Minaduki (Godless Month), the sixth month of the lunar calendar.
- His "Pounce Attack" is named Shoku (Eclipse), which its kanji is also derived from the kanji for "eat".
- Satsuki'ame (lit. Fifth Month Rain) is the name of his basic throw, a term for the early-summer rain.
He also has a 'teleport glitch' in The Last Blade 2 that allows him to cancel the recovery animation on his Hogetsu early for pressure, something many pro Moriya players often exploit. However, as a nod to his tactics on punishing mistakes, this also effects his gameplay as well, due to his laggy moves plus ground-based stationary focus and thus excels at whiff-punishing (via his sword style being precision-based storywise). He is said to be a hard character to master but is very deadly when done so.
The first Last Blade game saw his gameplay, particularly at speed, to be effective. In Last Blade 2, his Power mode becomes more effective and rewarding, and is fearsome when played to his full extent in the secret EX mode. Thanks to his teleport, he also has no trouble in dominating and controlling matches. However, Moriya's attacks tend to be a bit laggy, and must rely on acting in accordance to his opponents' moves (and be in a good space to zone his foe as well).
His Ittō: Oboro (Stray Blade: Haze) is similar to most 3-way directional delayable attacks, being the precursor to Johnny Sfondi's Mist Finer from Guilty Gear and being predated by Yamazaki's Hebi Tsukai (Snake Tamer) from Fatal Fury.
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