|“||So begins my life as a rogue shinobi...today's not my day".||„|
|~ Hibana says to herself in Nightshade.|
Hibana (in Japanese: 緋花 meaning "Scarlet Flower") is a government employed kunoichi who is tasked with eliminating the members of the Nakatomi Conglomerate. She is the main protagonist of Nightshade (2003). Hibana is a jaded young woman who works for the the Japanese government. Though not technically an official shinobi, Hibana was born into the Oboro clan's head household. At an early age, she was placed in the care of the Mukuro clan, where she was instructed by her master, Jimushi, and where she developed her shinobi skills. Hibana successfully fulfills her missions with a callous disregard for her superiors. After the Nakatomi Conglomerate unsuccessfully attempted to acquire the shards of Akujiki, an ancient and demonic blade, Hibana was ordered to retrieve the shar and destroy the Hellspawn that wreaked havoc upon Tokyo.
Hibana is a slender young woman, in her early twenties, and clad in a white, black, and crimson shinobi suit. She has raven black hair and chestnut eyes. She wields Utsushiyo (Japanese: 現世), which is a replica of Akujiki, and the Futabablades (Japanese: 二羽), which are a pair of short swords that were given to her by Jimushi.
In Nightshade, the player can unlock two extra costumes for Hibana. The first costume is elegantly comprised of a pair of black boots, black leather shorts, and a black bustier that are embroidered with red floral patterns. The second costume is the more casual combination of jeans and a brown jacket. This costume also supplies Hibana with a guitar, which is an indication that Hibana may have musical talent.
Hibana was born into the Oboro clan's head household, alongside her relatives Hotsuma and Moritsune. According to Oboro clan tradition, women are not permitted to become the clan's leader. As a result, Hibana was sent to live with the Mukuro clan (Japanese: 躯氏族), which is a separate branch of the Oboro. Because she felt as though she was abandoned by her family, Hibana channeled her sorrow into her training and became a prodigy in the Oboro Ryu shinobi arts. The Oboro elders noticed Hibana's prowess and introduced her to Jimushi, who was a former Oboro ninja that worked for the Shinobi Agency. Jimushi accepted Hibana as a pupil, and they developed a prosperous relationship. For the first time, Hibana felt close to someone. Eventually, Jimushi became disillusioned with both the government and the Oboro and left the agency. Hibana interpreted his departure as a personal act of abandonment, and she developed a bitter resentment towards him.
Race to Retrieve the Demon Blade
A year after Hotsuma's triumph over the mad sorcerer Hiruko Ubusuna, the capital city was annihilated and new government agencies were temporarily established in Osaka. In order to defend Tokyo from the dark forces that emanated from within the ruins of the Golden Palace, the Japanese government ordered Kagari Ubusuna of Kumano Shrine to construct a powerful force field called the Ariake Seal, which is a barrier composed of powerful Yang energy. Kagari broke Akujiki into nine shards and spread them throughout Tokyo, in key locations, to form the barrier.
The Nakatomi Conglomerate claimed that they sent their ninjas to Tokyo to eradicate any remaining Hellspawn, but it was rumored that they hired mercenaries to retrieve the shards of Akujiki. Thirteen days after the seal's creation, as the Nakatomi mercenaries were arriving in Tokyo, Hibana assumed her position atop a large skyscraper. She was ordered to engage and incapacitate these intruders. Hibana dispatched her foes and their cybernetic ninja, Kurohagane. After she leapt from a burning Nakatomi aircraft, she paused to cast her gaze toward the ruined Golden Castle and sensed trouble. Shortly thereafter, in Marunouchi, Hibana was informed that the Ariake Seal had been broken, the Hellspawn had been unleashed upon the city, and that she must eradicate them. Hibana made her way across the Tokyo skyline and destroyed the Hellspawn in her wake. She encountered and slew a Hellspawn Lord that was produced by a shard of Akujiki, and she was then ordered to locate and acquire all the shards. Her commander informed her that he received strange astral readings in the 55th district, and he ordered her to investigate. It was there that Hibana encountered Jimushi, his newest pupil, two unidentified men, and Kurohagane. She was informed that Jimushi's group were Nakatomi mercenaries that intended to acquire the shards of Akujiki. Shocked by this revelation, Hibana vowed to kill Jimushi and retrieve the shards herself.
Hibana embarked on her mission. She pinpointed the location of another shard, which was inside a ruined and Hellspawn infested subway station. She passed through the station and into the city sewers. Inside a large underground chasm, she encountered and defeated another Akujiki possessed Hellspawn Lord and acquired a second piece of the demon blade. Some time later, Hibana entered the city streets of Shinjuku, where she encountered Jimushi's mercenary group. Hisui, the shinobi of water and Jimushi's newest pupil, easily dispatched a nearby Hellspawn Lord, and Kurohagane absorbed its Akujiki shard. As the group made its escape, Hibana engaged the shinobi of wind, Kazaguruma, who relished the opportunity to stay behind and test Hibana's strength. After an intense battle, Hibana cut him down and resumed her mission.
Hibana's mission led her to a shipping container yard. Here, her blades spilled the blood of yet another Akujiki possessed Hellspawn Lord and its underlings. As she collected her third shard, Hibana was informed that a nearby truck was en route to a Nakatomi weapon research facility. She was ordered to follow the truck and investigate the site for suspicious activity. Hibana followed the truck into a highway tunnel where she encountered Onibi, another mercenary from Jimushi's group. Ever the trickster, Onibi informed Hibana that he held a shard of Akujiki and that she could have it if she could kill him. In an attempt to weaken her resolve, he tormented her over her troubled relationship with Jimushi. Hibana ignored his provocations, cut him down, and took the shard. She then headed toward the weapon research facility.
Hibana located the facility. She was informed that the facility may contain valuable information on Kurohagane and Nakatomi's true motives. Inside of one the facility's research chambers, she discovered that strange experiments had been conducted, and that information about the Oboro clan was being collected for some unspecified purpose. She encountered and defeated another Hellspawn Lord and acquired a fourth Akujiki shard. Soon after, the facility's security system detected an intrusion, and a self-destruction sequence was initiated. Hibana fought her way out of the facility, where a rebuilt Kurohagane was waiting for her. After Hibana defeated the mechanical ninja, Jimushi appeared and destroyed what was left of the weakened cyborg, and then he escaped with the remaining Akujiki shard. After his escape, Jimushi contacted Hibana and told her to meet him at the docks in Shinogawa.
The Final Meeting with the Master
Hibana arrived at the docks and engaged her former master in combat. After Jimushi was defeated, he implored Hibana to take responsibility for Akujiki. He entrusted its fate to her and explained that, because Akujiki is an Oboro artifact, and because she is a shinobi of the Oboro, it was her duty to ensure that the blade is not used for foul deeds. He explained that he didn't abandon her but, because he felt that the Oboro had lost their way, he couldn't stay with the agency. Hibana began to walk away and, as Jimushi attempted to give her the final shard of Akujiki, they were suddenly attacked by Kurohagane.
The cyborg took the shard from Jimushi and launched spiked projectiles at Hibana, but Jimushi interrupted the shot and received a lethal blow to his back. As Kurohagane escaped, Hibana mourned the death of her master. In the cold evening rain, Jimushi drew his final breath, and Hibana wept in silence.
Hibana raced across the ruined harbor road in pursuit of Kurohagane. Along the way, she was attacked by Hisui. Aggrieved by the sudden loss of her master, Hisui vowed to gut Hibana with her own hands in revenge. Hibana's prowess proved superior, however, and Hisui was defeated. As Hisui collapsed, the asphalt beneath her began to crumble. Although Hibana saved Hisui from falling to her death, Hisui was still consumed by grief. Hibana pulled Hisui to safety and then declared, "If you need to hate someone, then hate me." Hibana told Hisui that she could blame her for the unfortunate circumstances, and that she could find and kill her when she's ready. Seemingly invigorated by this new purpose, Hisui muttered, "I will. Don't worry...I will.".
The Final Battle: Kunoichi versus the Phantom Blade
Hibana made her way to the Golden Palace. She cut through the hordes of Hellspawn that blocked her path. As she made her way up the tower, she encountered a Hellspawn Lord that Kurohagane summoned in order to defeat her. After she killed the demon, Hibana was confronted by Kurohagane, who absorbed the final shard of Akujiki. Possessed by the shard, Kurohagane was free to exercise Akujiki's will. The demon possessed cyborg declared that, because Akujiki has no soul, it can only be truly controlled by soulless creatures, and it compelled Hibana to offer her soul in exchange for its power. Hibana refused and declared that she will forge her own destiny. In response, the cyborg declared that it would destroy Hibana and absorb her soul into the blade, and it assumed a new demonic form. After a grueling battle, Hibana defeated Kurohagane. With one final slash, the mechanical ninja was incapacitated and relinquished of Akujiki's influence. After the battle, a number of military personnel arrived to retrieve the demonic blade. Though Hibana was initially reluctant to do so, she eventually gave them the sword. Hibana was surprised to see that the agents placed the sword into a container that was emblazoned with a Nakatomi crest, which confirmed the suspicion that she was being manipulated into retrieving the sword for Nakatomi. Afterward, Hibana walked away from the site, removed her helmet, and smiled. Upon her back, Akujiki's red aura permeated its sheath; Hibana cleverly provided the Nakatomi agents with her replica and kept the true Akujiki for herself. "So begins my life as a rogue shinobi. Today's just not my day," she exclaimed, as she cast her helmet to the ground and walked into the distance.
Although Hibana is highly skilled, she was never very passionate for her work and, while on missions, she will often assume a disinterested and cold demeanor. Her troubled past is primarily responsible for her cynical attitude. When she was sent to live with the Mukuro clan, she felt unwanted by her family, which instilled within her a deep sense of sorrow. Her bitterness drove her to prove that even she could become something magnificent. After Jimushi's departure from the agency, the happiness that she developed with him was ultimately undercut, and her old emotional wounds reopened.
Despite the fact that Hibana despises her work for the government, she maintains a sense of humor, and will sometimes make wisecracks. She also has her own sense of duty and lives by her own code of honor, not only as an Oboro but as herself, as shown when she cut ties with the Agency upon witnessing their corrupted nature first hand after her mission, and taking Akujiki in secret to prevent the demon blade from being misused. Unlike Hotsuma, she is mentally stronger, having powered through her sadness from her childhood and Jimushi's death to become more powerful. Now that she acquired Akujiki and fully subjugated it, which all her predecessors failed to do, she lives as a ninja unbound by the Oboro and the Agency, living by her own code of honor and justice.
- Hibana's outfit is white, black, and red; this color scheme is a tribute to the original shinobi, Joe Musashi. The outfit's design was influenced by Hotsuma's costume.
- While it is true that her birth name was Oboro Hibana, it is safe to assume that she was forced to change her name when she was adopted into the Mukuro family.
- Atsuko Tanaka, Hibana's Japanese voice actress, also voices the characters Trish (Devil May Cry), Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell), and Bayonetta (Bayonetta).
- Although she is of the Oboro clan bloodline, being a girl meant she was unable to vie for the leadership of the clan. Instead, she was sent to be raised by the Mukuro Clan, a branch of the Oboro. She then encountered Jimushi from the Shinobi Agency who taught her the way of the ninja. Finally feeling a sense of acceptance, she grew close to Jimushi, but then one day he suddenly vanished.
- Having been abandoned twice, once by the Oboro and again by Jimushi, Hibana has lost all interest in life. She now merely follows orders, generally with a surly and uncaring attitude. Her mantra is "Today's just not my day".
- She fights using two swords. The larger one, Utsushiyo (現世；Transient World), is a prototype weapon created by analyzing the accursed Akujiki and then copying its powers. The smaller blades, Futaba (二羽 Two Wings), were given to her by Jimushi when she went out on her first mission for him.
- Hibana makes an appearance in Project X Zone 2 as a support character. She is a solo unit that can be assigned to any of the pair units. While she is formally introduced during the game's prologue, she is actually the final solo unit to officially join the team. She joins the party during the events of Chapter 23, "The Shade of the Night". Her theme is a remix of Vengeful Beauty, Hisui's boss theme.
- Hibana is the first and only Oboro to ever defeat Akujiki and fully subjugate it. Now she can use Akujiki without it trying to feed on her.
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