Ishida Mitsunari from Sengoku Basara

Before Ishida Mitsunari's first appearance in Sengoku Basara 3 I was already a long time fan of the series. I was admittedly really skeptical of the new characters: they made young and stumpy Ieyasu into a grown up hunk and then there was this slouching, weird-headed, skeevy looking version of Mitsunari. But I think because the third game took on a much more serious approach than its predecessors (which are largely comical, full of samurai riding up mountains while standing on horses and six-sworded English yelling maniacs), the characters and story really sealed the deal for me and I proceeded to spendalotofmoneyonsenbasamerchandise. (I still do sometimes.) Because even funny, hilarious, meme-worthy games are capable of Feelings.

"Just when I thought my mood couldn't worsen."

Now, let me talk to you about Mitsunari, the Angry Edgelord of Sengoku Basara, my almost-always-yelling prince of darkness. He is Angry with a capital A. He is, in fact, So Angry to the point that it is actually almost Sengoku Basara levels of comical. Senbasa 3 can basically be summarized as "Ishida Mitsunari's jealous and angry tirade against the ally who snubbed and killed his lord, Hideyoshi, before moving on to conquer Japan all by himself". Playing Mitsunari's route will put you face to face with various warlords: either slicing them down for betraying Hideyoshi or allying with them to go to war with Ieyasu. And while it is actually really hilarious to watch Mitsunari yell super edgy speeches ("MAY BLOOD RAIN DOWN, BAPTIZING ME, ABSOLVING ME, ALLOWING ME TO PURGE THE TRAITORS FROM THESE LANDS!") or scream Ieyasu's name at the sky in all his emo frustration, his lore in the Senbasa universe is most definitely one of the sadder and darker ones.

Mitsunari and Ieyasu were once generals who fought at the side of Hideyoshi. Ieyasu, recognizing the corrupt and quickly changing nature of the powerful daimyo, rebelled against him and killed him, whereas Mitsunari stood by him and sung his praises even long after his death. Not only this, but in his attempt to bring unification to Japan Ieyasu had wooed many of Mitsunari's own allies to his side. It felt that he had taken everything from him—and it was due to this that Mitsunari grows such a deep-rooted hatred from Ieyasu. He makes it his personal vendetta to avenge Hideyoshi and seeks out Ieyasu: demanding that he offer up his life as penance, or Mitsunari will take it himself. The end result of taking Mitsunari's campain in Sengoku Basara 3 is neither satisfying nor happy: it's quite bleak and cold, almost unsettling, at the way Mitsunari continues killing until there's nothing left within the bounds of his country just to prove himself to a dead man.

Though I think that Mitsunari's anger is really misplaced and that he is actually quite difficult to relate to as a character, he's one of the more interesting "villains" of the series (although I would argue that there is really no good guy or bad guy in Senbasa and it's all really relative to whose story you're playing). He's so blinded by his fealty to Hideyoshi and consumed by hatred for Ieyasu that he cannot see the corruption that stands before him, nor the darkness that has consumed his soul. After Hideyoshi's death and failure to unify Japan, his hatred for Ieyasu becomes the only driving force for continuing to live. No matter how many around the land tell him that his cause is pointless, it falls on deaf ears and he continues to slaughter and kill only to hope to avenge his Lord—when in actuality nothing he does can bring Hideyoshi back to life.

For me, Mitsunari is really interesting to dig into as a more troubled, darker character: the psyche behind his insanity is really intriguing. Because the Senbasa universe for the most part is so cheerful and funny, I like to think that maybe in some alternate ending, Mitsunari will find peace. Sengoku Basara 3 however, is refreshingly brutal in its honesty about the corruption of warlords and what that in turn can do to their retainers who are loyal almost to a fault.