Shinmei-ryū (神鳴流 shinmei-ryū "Gods'-Cry School") is the name of a fictional style of kenjutsu used by several manga and anime characters created by Ken Akamatsu. It is also the name of the fictional organization of kenshi ("swordsmen", but the term also includes "swordswomen") who use the style. Most of the Shinmei-ryū's attacks are sword skills infused with ki.
Known Users Edit
In Ken Akamatsu’s second series Love Hina, Motoko Aoyama is the successor to the Shinmei-ryū school of swordsmanship. She became successor after her sister and fellow Shinmei-ryū swordswoman Tsuruko Aoyama married, leaving behind the responsibilities.
Setsuna Sakurazaki in Mahō Sensei Negima is a former member of the organization called the Kyoto Shinmei-ryū. She acts as a bodyguard, classmate, and close friend of Konoka Konoe, the daughter of Eishun Konoe, who is also a Shinmei-ryū swordsman as well as the head of the Kansai magic Association.
Tsukuyomi is a child currently in training with the Kyoto Shinmei-ryū, much as Setsuna was.
Motoko and her family, who are the only ones identified to use the Shinmei-ryū style in Love Hina, were portrayed as expert demon slayers and exorcists. The Kyoto Shinmei-ryū of Negima are very similar, but in addition to demon slaying, the swordsmen of Kyoto often act as aides or hired mercenaries to the Kansai Magic Association with whom they have long-standing ties. In the past, the partnership of the Shinmei-ryū's swordsmanship and Kansai's traditional magic was a formidable combination.
Same Universe, Parallel Stories, Different Characters Edit
Many fans combine Ken Akamatsu's works A.I. Love You, Love Hina, and Mahō Sensei Negima into a single continuity called the "Akamatsu-verse." This is supported by the fact that in Negima, and more recently, UQ Holder, references to the earlier series are made. Some considered it a fanon assumption that the orphaned Setsuna was taken in by Motoko and Tsuruko's family, the Aoyama Clan, and was trained in their ways. In chapter 303 of the Negima manga, Setsuna has a flashback of herself as a child with Tsuruko, who teaches her about the Hina Blade, which Tsukuyoi is revealed to be in possesion of in that chapter. Tsukuyomi is believed to be a student of the Shinmei-ryū who either went off the path of bushidō after completing or discontinuing her studies, or was thrown out of the school for her dishonorable mindset.
The Shinmei-ryū is a style primarily based on swords, katana in particular. However, all practitioners are expected to be adept at unarmed combat, and generally other weapons beside the sword as well.
Early on, Aoyama Motoko wields the Shisui ("Calm Water"), a Shirazaya (or a white-wood katana without a tsuba) that was given to her by her sister. Later, she uses an initially cursed katana called the Youto Hina as a replacement to her first sword.
Swordsmen of Kyoto Shinmei-ryū use a more diverse selection of weapons. Both Touko and Setsuna use the nodachi, the Japanese anti-cavalry war sword. Most normal swordsmen cannot wield the nodachi with dexterity due to its great length, but Shinmei-ryū swordsmen handle it with precision and speed due to their higher-than-average strength and speed. The nodachi is the most common weapon of the Kyoto Shinmei-ryū because they are effective against large opponents such as the monsters that Shinmei-ryū swordsmen subdued in the past. Setsuna's sword is named Yuunagi ("Evening Calm"); later on, she also wields a shorter artifact sword (possibly a kodachi or wakizashi) of which that she can summon multiple copies at once. Setsuna also displays great skill with as mundane a weapon as a deck brush.
Tsukuyomi’s choice of weaponry is a pair of kodachi. Her skill with the smaller blades and close-fighting style almost allowed her to defeat Setsuna's longer blade in their first encounter. She also has enough skill to use her swords to deflect bullets.
Along with formidable physical combat skills, Kyoto Shinmei-ryū warriors also learn onmyōdō magic (traditional Japanese yin-yang magic) and use shikigami (special constructs of limited intelligence made of paper and controlled by magic). Also unique to Kyoto Shinmei-ryū is the inclusion of grappling techniques, which supplement a warrior’s attacks whenever she or he is without a weapon. Shinmei-ryū warriors fight with whatever weaponry they have on hand, be they swords, knives, deck brushes, chopsticks, or their bare fists.
List of Attacks Edit
The Shinmei-ryū style uses ki to increase the strength of attacks and produce different effects. They are generally elemental attacks (lightning, wind and earth are common elements) or normal empowered physical feats.
Note: Attacks are shown in romaji and in kanji form. Liberty has been taken on the translations. Some attacks are also shown with the possible chapters in Love Hina (for Motoko) and Negima (for Setsuna and Tsukuyomi) where they are first utilized.
Ougi 奥義 - Ultimate Secret Technique
Hiken 秘剣 - Hidden Sword Technique
Kessen Ougi 決戦 奥義 - Decisive Battle Ultimate Secret Technique (seems to be only applicable to Shin Raikouken, most probably denotes a powerful area-effect technique)
Ken 剣 - Sword Techniques Edit
- Zanganken 斬岩剣 ("Stone-Cleaving Sword")
- - Ougi, infuses ki into the sword to cut a boulder in half. First used by Motoko, Chapter 6, also used by Setsuna in Chapter 29 and by Tsukuyomi in Chapter 32.
- Zanganken Ni-no-Tachi 斬岩剣 弐の太刀 ("Stone-Cleaving Sword, Second Strike")
- - Ougi, cuts an object behind a person without injuring the person. Used by Motoko in Chapter 70.
- Zanmaken 斬魔剣 ("Evil-Cutting Sword")
- - Ougi, disperses demonic spirits. Used by Setsuna, Chapter 74.
- Zanmaken Ni-no-Tachi 斬魔剣 弐の太刀 ("Evil-Cutting Sword, Second Strike")
- - Ougi, cuts a demonic spirit behind a person without injuring the person. First used by Motoko in Chapter 40 and onwards.
- Raimeiken 雷鳴剣 ("Thunderclap Sword")
- - Ougi, a slashing attack with lightning energy infused onto the sword. Used by Motoko, Chapter 74, also used afterwards by Setsuna and once by Touko (Chapter 140).
- Raimeiken Ni-no-Tachi 雷鳴剣 弐の太刀 ("Thunderclap Sword, Second Strike")
- - Ougi, a lighting-slash attack that cuts possessive demon without injuring the person it possessed.
- Shin Raikōken 真・雷光剣 ("True Lightning Sword")
- - Kessen Ougi, infuses lightning energy into the sword and causes an explosion that destroys an area.
- Aoyama Motoko-ryū Kokuhakuken 青山素子流「告白剣」 ("Aoyama Motoko-Style 'Confession Sword'")
- Not necessarily a real Shinmei-ryū ougi; performed by Aoyama Motoko when she battled her older sister Tsuruko while confessing to Keitarō Urashima, Chapter 108.
Zan 斬 - Slashing Techniques Edit
- Ryūhazan 竜破斬 ("Dragon-Breaking Slash")
- - Unknown, seems to work well against reptiles, one of the techniques used by Motoko when she went berserk against multiple turtles, Chapter 65.
- Samidarekiri 五月雨斬り ("May Rain Cutter")
- - Hiken, instantly cuts into a falling object.
- Goutatsu Amakiri
- - Unknown, Motoko uses it to cut vegetables in mid-air for soup, Chapter 49.
- Hien Battō Kasumi-kiri 飛燕抜刀霞斬り ("Flying Sparrow Sword-Draw Mist Cutter")
- - Hiken, instantly cuts multiple objects with two swords. Motoko uses it to chop wood (with hatchets) in Chapter 73.
- Hyakuretsuoukazan 百烈桜華斬 ("Hundred-Strike Cherry Blossom Slash")
- - Ougi, draws a circle with the sword, and cuts multiple enemies at once. Used only by Setsuna, Chapter 30 and onwards.
Sen 閃 - Flash Techniques Edit
- Zankūsen 斬空閃 ("Air-Cutting Flash")
- - Hiken, releases ki in a circular fashion to cut the enemy. First used by Motoko, Chapter 26, also used later on by Setsuna in Chapter 31 and onwards.
- Zankūsen Kai 斬空閃・改 ("Air-Cutting Flash, Revised")
- - Hiken, unknown, a stronger version of Zankūsen, one of the techniques used by Motoko when she went berserk against a mob of turtles, Chapter 65.
- Zankūsen Ni-no-Tachi 斬空閃 弐の太刀 ("Air-Cutting Flash, Second Strike")
- - Cuts an enemy behind a person without injuring the person.
- Jakuzankūsen 弱斬空閃 ("Lesser Air-Cutting Flash")
- - Hiken, used to blow an object far away. Used by Motoko to send Keitarō flying in Chapter 84.
- Zantetsusen 斬鉄閃 ("Iron-Cutting Flash")
- - Releases ki in a spiral fashion to attack the enemy. First used by Motoko in Chapter 9.
- Zankōsen 斬光閃 ("Light-Cutting Flash")
- - Unknown, seems like a ki release technique.
- Kakusan Zankōsen 拡散斬光閃 ("Scattering Light-Cutting Flash")
- - Releases ki in all directions.
- Messatsu Zankū Zanmasen 滅殺斬空斬魔閃 ("Annihilation Air and Evil-Cutting Flash")
- - Ougi, releases a giant blast of ki from sword to destroy the enemy, Motoko's strongest technique.
- Zanmaken Ni-no-Tachi Issen 斬魔剣 弐の太刀 一閃 ("Evil-Cutting Sword, Second Strike Flash")
- - concentrates the ki from Zanmaken Ni-no-Tachi and releases it, except it can be performed bare-handed.
- Hyakka Ryōran 百花繚乱 ("Many Flowers Blooming in Profusion", Del Rey "Chaos of a Hundred Flowers")
- - Hiken, fires off ki and petals in a straight line to strike down an enemy. First used by Motoko in Chapter 25, and also used afterwards by Setsuna.
Shou 掌 - Palm Techniques Edit
- Zankūshō 斬空掌 ("Air-Cutting Palm")
- - Ougi, releases ki like a bullet.
- Zankūshō - San 斬空掌・散 ("Air-Cutting Palm, Scatter")
- - Ougi, releases multiple ki projectiles like bullets. Used by Setsuna.
- Zanmashō Ni-no-Tachi 斬魔掌 弐の太刀 ("Evil-Cutting Palm, Second Strike")
- - Inner 78 Style, breaks clothes without injuring the body. Seems to be used by Motoko to subdue Kanako.
- Ōrō Gekka 桜楼月華 ("Cherry Blossom Tower, Moon Flower")
- - A ki-based strike emitted from the palm. Used by Setsuna in Chapter 181.
Ken 拳 - Fist Techniques Edit
- Gurenken 紅蓮拳 ("Crimson Lotus Fist")
- - Fist strikes with infused ki. Used by Motoko. Possibly also by Setsuna during her semi-finals match with Negi, however the technique was not explicitly named.
Hi 飛 - Ranged Techniques Edit
- Fūjinranbu 風塵乱舞 ("Chaotic Dance of Wind and Dust")
- - Hiken, releases multiple projectiles from hand. Used by Motoko to strike down targets in a booth, Chapter 36.
Nagewaza 投げ技 - Grappling Techniques Edit
- Ukigumo - Tsumuji Issen 浮雲・旋一閃 ("Floating Cloud, Spiral Flash")
- - Shinmei-ryū throw technique. Grabs onto the opponent's shoulder while locking one foot behind the opposite leg and ankle, then flips oneself into the air, bringing the opponent with them before knocking them into the ground. Used only by Setsuna in her fight with Asuna.
- Ukigumo - Sakura Sanka 浮雲・桜散華 ("Floating Cloud, Falling Cherry Blossoms")
- - Shinmei-ryū throw technique. Grabs onto either side of the opponent's head with both legs, then flips backwards to throw the opponent into an overhead spin into the ground. Used only by Setsuna on her semi-finals bout with Negi.
Note: List to be updated as more info is researched.
Other Info Edit
- Due to the same name of sword styles, some fans of Ken Akamatsu have believed that he intended a crossover of Shinmei-ryū attacks in Love Hina and Negima.
- Another probable but not proven Shinmei-ryū swordsman is Eishun Konoe, the father of Konoka Konoe, and who also serves as the Chief of the Kansai Magic Association. He also fought beside "The Thousand Master" Nagi Springfield during a war 15 years ago. In one chapter, shown in a picture with Nagi and his comrades is a much younger Eishun with a katana, similar to that of Motoko’s. Interestingly enough for a Japanese swordsman, Eishun's name (詠春) is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese martial art wing chun, first popularized in the west by Bruce Lee.
- The word shinmei comes from the words shin "god, gods" and mei "cry (of birds, animals, etc.)"; shin can also be pronounced kami, and mei as na(ku). However, if the kanji are reversed, and na(ku) is pronounced na(ru), it becomes na(ru)-kami, an alternate form of kaminari "thunder". Therefore, the "cry of the gods" is "thunder".