‘Onimusha,’ Netflix’s Japanese action anime, charts a hero’s demon-hunting journey as he faces off against the evil surrounding him alongside the one within. Renowned swordsman Musashi Miyamoto undertakes the mission to defeat Samurai Iemon before his rebellious descent takes him too far. In order to do so, the former man equips the help of an ancient artifact, the Oni Gauntlet, which lends him the ability to fight otherworldly creatures, even if at the cost of his own humanity.
The show pitches a blend of moral quandaries and gory supernatural battles, providing an enthralling and engaging narrative. The characters who form Musashi’s team, including Sayo, the young girl orphaned by her entire village, whom the group picks up during their mission, raise the stakes for the warrior as he arrives at his destiny. Naturally, viewers must have some questions about how this perilous journey ends for Musashi and his friends. SPOILERS AHEAD!
When news comes of conflict brewing among the peasants in a territory, their Lord sends his best samurai, Iemon, as a scout to learn about the details of the civil unrest. However, the man ends up betraying his ruler and goes rogue. Consequently, the Lord is forced to move against the other man but wishes to maintain secrecy for his reputation’s sake.
As a result, the Lord employs the help of Musashi Miyamoto, a legendary warrior. He’s also paired with a team consisting of the Lord’s swordsman instructor, Matsuki Kensuke, along with his four disciples, skilled Gensai, sharp medic Sahei, falconer Goro-maru, and Heikuro. Yet, before Musashi travels to the village, he stops by the Master Unsyo and his monks’ temple. After singlehandedly besting Unsyo’s fighters, Musashi earns the Master’s favors, who allows him to take a revered wooden box with him on loan for thirty-three days.
As insurance, Unsyo also sends his trusted monk, Kaizen, with Musashi to keep the box and its contents safe. Afterward, Musashi and his team, now including Kaizen, travel to their destination, the village under Iemon’s control. On the night before their planned attack, while the group camps out in the woods, Musashi divulges that there are traitors among the group.
At first, Sahei, Goro-maru, and Heikuro take high offense at the claim since everyone except Musashi and Kaizen have trained together their entire lives. Nevertheless, Matsuki reveals the symbol on his arm that marks his loyalty to Iemon. Matsuki believes in Iemon’s cause, fascinated by the man and his ideas. As such, Musashi and Matsuki engage in a duel, but the latter is hardly a match for the former.
Yet, when Gensai enters the battleground, things take a turn. While Gensai would normally have been unmatched in Musashi’s skill, he has been possessed by demonic Genma spirits, allowing him to forge a connection with Iemon. Thus, the fight proves much more difficult in Gensai’s demonic form. Therefore, Kenzai decides to open the box, bestowing the mystery item inside, the Oni Gantlet, to Musashi.
The legendary gauntlet, infused with the power of the Oni, was made to kill supernatural creatures and store their souls within to increase its own power further. Although the gauntlet helps Musashi win the battle, it also takes a toll on his humanity. For the same reason, he decides to use the item only when necessary.
The next morning, the group traverses into the village only to find it entirely abandoned, except for one little girl, Soya, whose family was killed by Iemon. Soya reveals that the conflict in the village was actually the discovery of a gold mine. Since the Lord wanted to keep the gold for himself, he sent Iemon to take care of the affair. However, the man utilized the opportunity to increase his power by overpowering the villagers and taking the workers with him into the mines.
Musashi and his team decide to confront Iemon and travel to the mines and face challenges along the way, namely the warrior’s old foes, the Yoshioka Brothers, reincarnated with demonic powers. In the ensuing battle, Musashi loses Kenzai and Gora-maru and gives in to the power of the bloodthirsty gauntlet a little more, jumpstarting a capricious descent into becoming an Onimusha, a demon warrior himself.
Onimusha Ending: Does The Oni Gauntlet Turn Musashi into An Oni?
Narratively, The Oni’s influence over Musashi perfectly parallels the power that the Genma have over Iemon. Iemon believes that the current Samurai class is not suitable enough for the coming times and that they have become complacent and less ferocious. He wishes to build an army of his own with improved samurai, touched by the Genma’s power.
In contrast, Musashi only takes on the Oni Gauntlet to fight back against Iemon and his demonic opening acts. In fact, on numerous occasions, Musashi tries to avoid the item’s usage, aware of the toll it’s taking on his soul. The gauntlet, ripe with the power of the Oni clan, yearns for the soul of the Genma, who destroyed them. As a result, it wants Musashi to kill as many demons as possible so that it can get stronger and further its hold on the man.
While battles against the likes of the Yoshioka Brothers, or their vengeful sisters, have a damning effect on Musashi, it isn’t until he confronts Iemon in his lair that the gauntlet truly overpowers him. After traveling through the tunnels, Musashi and his remaining team arrive at an opulent palace in the central gold mines. There, Iemon’s butler, Alfred, maniacally reveals the power that Iemon holds with Genma’s magic and immeasurable gold by his side.
Nonetheless, Iemon’s old friends, Heikuro and Sahei, have no interest in turning their loyalty to him. Consequently, a fight breaks out, with Alfred revealing Iemon’s cavalry, made of centaurs. Such a fight would have heightened the Oni’s hold on Musashi since he couldn’t have fought without the gauntlet. However, Heikuro steps up and uses his ultimate self-sacrificial weapon to save his team.
With Iemon’s brute force approach failing, he strikes for an emotional wound next and brings out Sayo’s parents, who are alive but under Iemon’s control. Although they try to warn her, Sayo is overjoyed to see her parents alive, only to realize they are trying to choke her moments later. As a result, Sayo’s parents helplessly beg Musashi to kill them and save their daughter, while Sayo breathlessly discourages him from doing the same.
Ultimately, Musashi makes his decision and beheads both of Sayo’s parents, fulfilling their wish and saving their daughter. The darkness of such an act compels him to perceive himself as immoral, even as he sheds tears for them. Soon, Iemon comes out of the shadows and reveals his grand plan of overtaking Japan alongside the West with the help of the Genma. When Musashi refuses to join him, Iemon reveals the final ace up his sleeve, Kojiro Sasaki, Musashi’s most famed rival.
Similar to the Yoshioka brothers, Kojiro has been brought back to the dead, infused with the Genma’s demonic powers. Yet, Kojiro has no interest in being a pawn in Iemon’s tiring game and simply de-limbs the man before delving into a fight with Musashi. Their battle is long and moves across the palace. Eventually, Kojiro unleashes his Genma form, a demon with four hands. While Musashi tries to fight him as is, he has to soon give into the Oni gauntlet, allowing it to take over him.
Thus, Musashi changes form as well, skin blued under the Oni’s power and eyes shot purple. If Musashi kills Kojiro with the gauntlet, the item would be too powerful, given its existing hold on the warrior, and entirely turn him into an Onimusha. In the last moments before Musashi moral defeat, Sayo, whom the samurai had instructed to run away, returns for him.
Sayo urges Musashi to hold on to his humanity. When he argues that he had forsaken the same by killing her parents, she makes him realize that he had performed the most humane act of all by killing her parents before they did something that would have robbed them of their own humanity. As a result, Sayo is able to talk Musashi out of his momentary moral misstep, and the man returns to his human form, freeing himself of the Oni Gauntlet.
Does Sahei Switch Allegiance To Iomen?
While Musashi fights Kojiro, a different game unfolds on the other side of the palace. After the reborn samurai attacks Iemon and renders him immobile, a swath of zombie villagers flood the arena in bloodthirst for Musashi and his friends. Therefore, the warrior commands Sahei, the sole member of his team still alive, to take Sayo and get her to safety outside of the mines. While the spectacled man attempts to do the same, running through the tunnels, his journey comes to a stop once he notices a trail of blood leading to a room inside the mines.
Although Kojiro has cut off Iemon’s arms and legs entirely, the man still refuses to die and crawls himself out of the bloodbath. Now, as he lays– only a torso and a head— in front of Sahei, he calls for his former friend to help him restore his form and better it by turning him into Genma. In response, Sayo spews hatred at the man who wrecked her entire village and urges Sahei to pay him no mind. Yet, the warrior decides to help his battle brother and carries him to a slab.
Sayo thinks Sahei has forsaken his duty and finally succumbed to the temptation of the power that Iemon offers. Nevertheless, Sahei reveals it was only a ploy by smothering and killing the other man through poisonous herbs. A man of many surprises, Sahei also reveals he was tasked with the secret mission of ensuring no one who has knowledge about the gold mines walks out of this altercation alive.
The Lord, whom Sahei devotedly serves, is hellbent on ensuring the mine remains a secret and planted an inside man within Matsuki and Musashi’s team. Still, the mine is much more than what Sahei signed up for, full of its demonic eccentricities. As such, he decides to walk away without harming Sayo or Musashi. Sahei’s brother disciples, Guromaro and Heikuro, alongside the monk Kaizen, have laid their lives to protect Sayo.
Consequently, Sahei doesn’t wish their sacrifices to be in vain and lets Sayo live. As for Musashi, Sahei is smart enough to know he could never harm the man. In the end, before Sayo leaves to ensure Musashi retains his humanity, Sahei bids the girl farewell, turning on his own path that will leave him out of the mines to safety. Or it would have if the mountains above his head hadn’t crumbled at the last moment, dooming every soul inside, including Sahei and even Musashi.
Is Musashi Dead?
After dropping the Oni gauntlet and returning to his old ways to fight Kojiro, Musashi watches Sayo walk away from the mines. As such, when the rocks crumble around the two warriors as they face off against each other on uneven footing but matched skills, Sayo is long out of danger and back into the forest. She watches the mountains collapse and sends a prayer for the souls inside, presumably including Musashi.
Although we see Sayo return to civilization with her one block of gold affording her accommodation and comfort, the same isn’t provided for Musashi. Given the warrior is last shown in the midst of a battle against the demonic Kojiro, surrounded by deadly falling rocks, his apparent death is the natural conclusion for the viewers to come to.
Still, before the story ends, Master Onsyu receives the Oni Gauntlet, returned to his doorstep. Upon inquiry, Onsyu finds no one has spotted anyone dropping it off, yet it sits by his temple within the thirty-three-day period that the monk had agreed to loan it to Musashi. Therefore, although there is no fixed answer about the samurai’s death, this instance suggests the man may have escaped from the doomed gold mines with his life. Ultimately, unless the Oni Gauntlet has a penchant for materializing in Onsyu’s care on its own– this could be a big hint about Musashi’s survival.
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