Note: MAJOR Spoilers! If you ever wish to play Okami (and why wouldn’t you?!), this will ruin a lot of great storyline pieces and many side stories. Play the game, because these characters and stories are too great to miss out on!
#25 – Jamba
I love the Sparrow Clan. Their design is fantastic and saving Chun is a fun little quest. But it’s the leader of the clan, Big Daddy Jamba, that makes the list. The incredibly lazy Jamba doesn’t talk, choosing instead to respond to everything with a resounding “CHIRP!”, he has his underlings do the talking for him. One of the best moments is if you go to headbutt Jamba, he doesn’t react. Instead his underlings do it for him!
#24 – Gen
Gen is the crazy inventor who lives in Sei’an City. He’s eccentric and a bit of a scatterbrain, much to Issun’s annoyance. He is one of the few characters to give us a decent feel of the mysterious Moon Tribe (more about that later!), which is nice. He’s obsessed with technological advancements and is quick to throw down new inventions, even if they don’t quite work right all the time. He teaches you the advanced Thunderbolt brush ability when you bring him a Gimmick Gear.
“Oh, thank you, my fine furry friend! When my masterpiece is complete, I shall write your name in small letters near the end of my encyclopedia of contraptions!”
#23 – Sleepy
Sleepy is a silly character you bump into in Hana Valley early on, and later in Agata Forest. His main purpose is to be involved in a ridiculously frustrating rolling minigame where you help Sleepy switch to other items to balance on. The expression he makes when you bring him new items is worth a few laughs, and that alone makes him amusing. Supposedly, his design is based on Totoro!
#22 – Raiden
Raiden is the rather depressing ghost you find in Sei’an City. Struck by lightning, he’s now forced to roam the world as a ghost. He doesn’t serve much purpose other than providing you a source for lightning during the later parts of the Hayazo the Thief quest. If you use Thunderbolt on him, it actually makes him feel a bit better. He has great dialogue and his sadness about being lonely because no one can see him gives him an interesting character quirk.
“Why do you look so surprised? I thought it was normal for a ghost in Nippon to not have any legs.”
#21 – Urashima
Urashima is the kind-hearted fisherman you first find being picked on by children on the beach of North Ryoshima Coast. He almost drowned years ago, but was saved by the Dragonians, and ever since he’s become obsessed with meeting the emissary of the sea Orca and returning to the Dragon Palace. He has a strange disorder which allows him to retain his youthful looks while his wife and others age. There is a quest which allows you to find an item that’ll remove this curse from Urashima, allowing him to rapidly age, allowing him to grow old with his wife. This little side story is really cute, and I love Urashima’s character.
Urashima is based upon the story of Urashima Taro. A fisherman who saves a turtle (from bullies, which the bullies in Okami who pick on Urashima are also based on) and is rewarded by being allowed to visit the palace of the Dragon God. When he returns, he finds that 300 years have passed in just three days. The box that “contains his old age” also exists in this story.
#20 – Mr. And Mrs. Cutter
The evil old couple that kidnaps Jamba’s little daughter Chun, with the plans of cooking and eating her. Mr. and Mrs. Cutter are actually Crow Tengu demons living in Taka Pass. When they’re exposed to the light of the moon, they enter their true form and allow Ammy to put an end to their evil ways. I love the characters because of the story behind them, and Mrs. Cutter is creepy as hell! Something satisfying about blowing a hole in the roof and dragging her screaming into the light.
Also, check out Mr. Cutter’s bitchin’ blade ‘stache!
The Cutters, and the entire Sparrow Clan, are based on an old story, Shita-kiri Suzume or “The Tongue-Cut Sparrow”, which is about an old man who rescues a baby sparrow and grows to love it. His greedy wife doesn’t like that he’s paying more attention to the bird, so she cuts out it’s tongue. The sparrow returns to the Clan of the Sparrows, and the man visits, where he is rewarded with a choice of boxes. A large box and a small box. He chooses the small box which has treasure in it. His greedy wife learns of the bigger box, and goes to get it. When she opens it, she finds monsters inside and dies. This is why Mrs. Cutter carries a large box on her back with the dark monsters in it, and Mr. Cutter has a small box on his head.
#19 – Princess Fuse
A priestess of the Gale Shrine, Princess Fuse is kind, but also very tough. Her husband Yatsu dies, but Ammy eventually see’s him in ghost form and is able to earn her trust and gain entrance to the Gale Shrine. When Yatsu’s spirit finally passes, Fuse seems to hint at actually being able to see him go, knowing that he’s gained closure and can rest in peace. I love this little subtle story hint, as it really shows Fuse as a strong character.
Fuse is determined when it comes to her role as protector of the Shrine, and spends a lot of her time as a trainer and leader of the Eight Canine Warriors. Speaking of the Eight Canine Warriors…
#18 – The Eight Canine Warriors
Rei, the Honor Orb. Chi, the Knowledge Orb. Tei, the Brotherhood Orb. Gi, the Duty Orb. Jin, the Justice Orb. Chu, the Loyalty Orb. Ko, the Wisdom Orb. Shin, the Faith Orb. The orbs actually represent the different concepts of Zen Buddhism.
The Eight Canine warriors are scattered around Nippon. Each one carries an Orb that is used to seal the Gale Shrine. These strong warriors are a bit hard to deal with at times, but they are truly devoted to their jobs as protectors and they all love Yatsu and Fuse very much. Because of their unquestioning bond, they are incredibly tough when together. The different subtle personalities and tactics of each dog makes them fascinating characters. When you fight the Kusa 5, the five that stay behind to defend the Shrine, the other three will eventually show up.
#17 – Mr. Orange
A jolly old man and elder of Kamiki Village. I love Mr. Orange is a caring old man who has a knack for not tolerating Susano’s nonsense. One of my favorite little minigames is Mr. Orange’s hilarious Konohana Shuffle! Interesting note, during the Konohana Shuffle, he makes a Viewtiful Joe-esque pose, another game made by Clover Studios.
“*mumble mumble mumble* Oh Konohana, my beautiful blossom, how about a date sometime?”
Speaking of characters that make Viewtiful Joe poses…
#16 – Onigiri-Sensei
You gotta be pretty tough to train a GOD! Amaterasu is taught many useful moves by Onigiri throughout the game whenever she visits his various dojos. He seems to really like money, since he tends to tell you you’re not worthy, but teaches you anyway if you pay him. I love his incredible aggressive, harsh attitude towards Ammy when he’s teaching.
#15 – Mr. Bamboo
Mr. Bamboo is a kind, caring old man you bump into a few times throughout the game. His silly old-man nature blends perfectly with his desire to build great things out of bamboo. What really makes Mr. Bamboo special is his relationship with his grand daughter Kaguya, which ends with one of the greatest scenes in the game. The single tear dropping out of Mr. Bamboo’s eye gets me every time.
“Ho, so that wolf was a god? Perhaps I should have made an offering of my bamboo ware. It may be my fault that the sun has ceased to shine.”
#14 – The Celestials
The Celestials are unfortunately completely extinct by the time the events of Okami begin. However, when you board the Ark of Yamato at the end of the game, the spirits of four Celestials stay behind to guide you. They’ve waited patiently aboard the Ark, where they were all wiped out by the evil Yami, to tell Ammy about the history of the Ark. Once they achieve this goal, their spirits are finally sent to rest and the Celestial race is no more. While you don’t get to know them too well, the impact of a dead race of beings waiting in the afterlife to guide Ammy gives them some personality and watching them fade away is quite sad.
#13 – Moley
This is a bit of a silly inclusion, but Moley is hilarious. A gang-leader mole that you come across in Taka Pass. After a mini-game to get back a stolen golden tea cup, Moley reveals that he was simply doing all these bad things to get attention because he’s… wait for it… LONELY! Moley’s love for Amaterasu because she visits him pays off, because you can keep going back to that mini-game for more prizes. Because of how silly his character is, and how heartbreaking his comments about being lonely are, I love Moley and always enjoyed visiting him. Plus, come on, the Molsters are adorable!
“It’s just that… well, I was lonely. No matter how long I wait down here, no one comes to see me. That’s why I behaved the way I did.”
#12 – Shakuya
After finding themselves 100 years in the past, Ammy and Issun find a rather familiar little girl. This littler girl is none other than the child version of Sakuya, the tree spirit. The reason I included Shakuya instead of Sakuya is because she’s just so damn cute and the scene between her and Issun is worth a laugh. Her S-lisp makes her that much more charming. Of course, eventually, she grows up to be a bit more… um… well… busty.
#11 – Benkei
Benkei, the avid fisherman and sword collector, is somewhat of a mystery. You first meet him in the cursed Sei’an City guarding the bridge to the Aristocratic Quarter. He says he won’t lower the bridge, and tells Ammy and Issun of his adventures to collect 1000 Swords. He has 999 and is currently after the legendary “Living Sword”. However, upon fishing it out of the moat beneath the bridge, it’s revealed the “Living Sword” is actually a giant fish! This leads him to give up sword collecting, as he realizes that fishing is far more exciting.
Benkei’s character is somewhat silly, but he has such an interesting past that he makes you wonder about his somewhat carefree nature. He actually is based on the same Japanese folklore that Waka’s character is from, Yoshitsune and Benkei, where he is a warrior Monk who fights men and, you guessed it, claims their swords. The 999 sword legend also comes up, but plays out differently. As he fights Yoshitsune for the 1000th sword, he loses and instead decides to serve the warrior.
#10 – Ishaku
Why Ishaku? Um… he’s the freakin’ Celestial Envoy for freakin’ SHIRANUI?! How about THAT for a reason? Issun’s grandfather, who you meet late in the game, is one of the reasons that Shiranui was able to defeat Orochi 100 years ago. He even helped nurse the injured Shiranui back to health.
Unfortunately, you only get to experience Ishaku in a little tiny part of the late-game. His immediate enthusiasm and warm relationship with Ammy however makes it quite an impact. He really shows the connection between the Celestial Envoys and the Gods perfectly. He’s a strict teacher to Issun because he wants Issun to succeed as an Envoy as well, and ultimately it seems he does help in the final transition of Issun from uninterested to true hero. Ishaku deserved more screen time, for sure.
#9 – Camille And Camellia
“Sis, this dog really is wearing some kind of make-up.” — Camellia
This travelling sister duo really sums up a lot of the depth behind the world’s relationship with the Gods. You see, Little Camellia can see the markings on Ammy, the sign that she is a God. Most people can simply see a strange, white wolf and no longer have true faith in the Gods. It’s the central point of the Praise system. Camille on the other hand, cannot see the markings and has mostly lost her faith in the Gods. There whole sidequest involves using various brush techniques to make things happen around Camille, slowly increasing her belief in the Gods.
In the end, you’re finally able to restore some of Camille’s faith, and at the end of their arc, she begins to see the markings on Ammy! It’s a beautiful moment that gives you faith in the people of Nippon and the belief that soon they will be able to finally restore their faith in the Gods and help fight back evil.
“Oh! Not this again! I only believe what I can see.” — Camille
#8 – King Wada aka The Water Dragon
King Wada is actually around perhaps even LESS than Ishaku, at least in this form. But he makes a pretty powerful, dare I say, SPLASH? The King seeks to protect the Dragon Palace, and in doing so, steals the Dragon Orb and turns himself into the feared and powerful Water Dragon. However, he’s driven mad by the darkness enveloping the land and becomes a monster. When Ammy and Issun finally take care of the enraged Water Dragon, King Wada appears before them and tells them of his plight, aids them in their quest, returns the Dragon Orb, and passes away with one of the more heartbreaking and powerful statements in the game.
“Alas, my end is near. I have slain many innocents while in the grip of madness. I pray that their souls may rest in peace in these watery depths, these deep blue waters the people of Ryoshima Coast so dearly love.”
Saying goodbye to his wife, Queen Otohime, and showing that he never meant to harm the people and kingdom he loved is really quite powerful considering we just met this guy. But not only is King Wada’s part awesome, but the Water Dragon itself deserves a nod for having some amazing moments in the game.
A fun dungeon, and one of the best action cinematic sequences in the game. Plus, the Water Dragon has a cool theme.
It’s kinda hard to even count Susano as just a side character, since he’s such an important part of the mythology. He’s the decendent of the great hero Nagi, who fought side by side with Shiranui to defeat the mighty Orochi 100 years ago. And as such, he believes he’s tough stuff.
Of course, he’s mostly just a bumbling drunk who gets in the way.
However, despite his irritating personality, he’s quite a likable character. Providing a lot of comic relief with his over-inflated ego getting knocked down by his clumsy antics. After Ammy inevitably uses her power to help him with whatever he’s trying to achieve, he takes all the credit and his boisterous demeanor is restored. But what makes Susano so great is that despite his ups and downs, he’s actually a real hero deep down. He steps up when it’s necessary and plays a big part in things Ammy may not be able to handle on her own.
But mostly it’s for the laughs!
Other than the um… two obvious reasons people really like Rao, I have my own reasons. She’s a fun character. She’s smart, but also plays off her sex appeal. She’s the one who spends a lot of time helping you free Sei’an City from it’s curse. On of my favorite things about Rao is that she is actually HELPFUL. She helps you out in the sunken ship dungeon by using her magic seals to ward off ghosts. It adds a different feel to that particular dungeon that makes it quite enjoyable. Drawing a line from Rao to the ghosts or cursed doors to throw a seal at them. Fun times.
Of course, this isn’t actually Rao. You never meet the real Rao. You meet Evil Rao! It turns out she’s been under the influence of Ninetails this entire time! When Rao finally reveals she’s simply an evil husk and an imitation of the real Rao, you have a real sense of sadness that a person you never actually met is probably dead. Of course, Evil Rao is a fun fight, and with the fox mask, she looks ridiculously bad ass.
#5 – Queen Himiko
Queen Himiko wouldn’t have been so high up on this list if it wasn’t for the awesome end to her story. For most of her time in the game, Himiko is viewed by the player, and by Issun, as a coward and a weak leader who refuses to do anything to help her people overcome the horrible curse that has taken over Sei’an City. The truth is that she’s locked herself away to pray and cares deeply for her people. Her sadness and grief over not being able to help them shows through when her full plan is discovered.
When Ammy and Issun head to find Rao after encountering the Fox Rods, fearing they’re going to kill her. When they find Rao, they follow her through a hidden passage to Himiko’s Palace. Inside, they find Himiko dead. Slain by the evil Ninetails.
But when Himiko really shines is when it’s revealed that dying is all part of her plan. The crystal ball on Himiko’s head is said to be able to tell where the mysterious Oni Island is located. But Ninetails attempts to destroy the ball by swallowing it. After Ammy kick some ass, the ball is spat out and we think that all hope is lost without Himiko to use the crystal ball. Of course, it’s soon revealed that Himiko locked her spirit inside the crystal ball and, while inside Ninetails, used the beasts own powers to find Oni Island!
Himiko’s strange and complex plan is beautifully written, and it makes her death that much more sad. Putting all her faith and trust in Amaterasu to save her people and to stop Ninetails, shows that Himiko is a strong leader who will do anything to protect the people she cares so much for. This makes you want to end Ninetails that much more, and makes the march on Oni Island even more meaningful.
#4 – Waka
“Waka, the gods’ gift to man, is here! Bonjour!”
Waka is a strange character when you first meet him. In fact, he’s almost irritating. His arrogant nature, his very poetic way of speaking, and his vague prophetic speeches make him a hard character to place. Is he Amaterasu’s enemy? Is he trying to help the Sun God? Why is his flute-sword called “Pillow Talk”? (Note: There is a weapon in Bayonetta called “Pillow Talk” that sorta resembles Waka’s! Nice lil’ callback by Platinum to their Clover days)
Waka pops up throughout the game and, indeed, predicts upcoming events. You fight him a couple of times, and it seems as though he has his own personal agenda, and that’s all. But you soon begin to learn that Waka may not be all he seems to be. Through some sidequesting in Sei’an City, you can uncover some strange facts about Waka and his origins. And just when you think Waka is done surprising you… he shows up at the end, right before the final boss.
Waka’s fighting off Yami side by side with Ammy proves to be a shockingly powerful scene. And when you think he’s dead… you end up surprised just how sad you feel for it. Waka’s true nature finally comes through at the end of the game, showing all that he’s done had a different meaning than you may have expected. Waka went from a kind of irritating side enemy to one of the best characters in the game.
And just to drive it home, here’s an awesome picture.
#3 – Kaguya
If Kaguya’s outfit looks a bit strange, that’s because she’s not of this world. Literally.
Kaguya is one of the few people related to the Moon Tribe that you meet during the course of the game. At first, you find her held captive by the corrupted Emperor. Once you free her though, that’s when her story takes a surprising turn.
You find out that she is Mr. Bamboo’s grand daughter! Well, not really…
When you meet up with them back at the Sasa Sanctuary, she asks Amaterasu’s help in discovering her origins. By digging up… wait for it… a giant rocket ship! It turns out that as an infant, Kaguya was actually the princess of the Moon Tribe, but a horrible catastrophe wiped out her people. At the last minute, she was placed into a rocket and sent away. This is where Mr. Bamboo found her, in her rocket, as a baby.
The emotional scene between the two when Mr. Bamboo proclaims that despite not ACTUALLY being related to him, she is still very much his beloved grand daughter, is one of the most beautiful scenes in the game.
“Good bye, grandfather dear. I will always remember you and my dearly departed grandmother as my real family.”
#2 – Tobi
It’s… a sentient scrap of paper…
“Scrap of paper? Do not dishonor me with such an unflattering name. My name is Tobi!”
And it’s one of the most surprisingly tragic characters I’ve ever experienced in a game. They don’t give you much time with Tobi, he’s simply an obstacle to overcome on Oni Island, but by the end, you will be blown away by how much impact he has. Racing him through the obstacles seems to give him some strange sense of happiness. His little back-and-forth verbal sparring and rivalry with Issun makes him seem almost like an indifferent third party, and not a demon trying to hinder your passage.
But at the end, when you defeat him in one last race, Tobi doesn’t get angry… he seems… at peace. Happy. His final speech not only affects the player, it also seems to touch Issun, who’s reaction is almost out of character. Tobi’s death scene is the single most spectacular piece of writing I’ve ever seen in a game because of how surprising the impact actually is. Taking such a simple character and giving it such a touching and moving ending speaks volumes about the writing of the game.
Seriously… feeling sad about the death of a piece of paper? That’s impressive. And a lot of gamers and Okami fans cite this as one of the most amazing scenes they’ve witnessed in any game. The speech he gives is amazing for what it is. And he leaves us with a beautiful flower. Gets to me every time. *sniffles*
Who could possibly top that? Well, it’s pretty obvious…
#1 – Oki
“When one tries to master something, it ends in either success or failure. But it is in the attempt itself where you find the true value. Believe in your own power and walk your own path.”
Maybe one of the greatest characters I’ve ever seen in a video game. Oki’s back story, the awesome boss fights, battling side by side with him during the battle with Lechku and Nechku, the amazing scenes with Shiranui, everything… Oki is bloody awesome.
I could write a whole blog dedicated to Oki. Instead, I shall end this blog with my favorite song from the Okami soundtrack… Oki’s theme…