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Ukyo Tachibana (橘たちばな 右京うきょう, Tachibana Ukyō) is a character introduced in Samurai Shodown who continues to appear in most titles of the series.
Ukyo is an expert iaijutsu swordsman with a body stricken with tuberculosis. Despite having several women chasing for his affections, he treasures only his lone confidante, Kei Odagiri. He avoids developing further feelings for her due to his limited lifespan and her noble status, but continues to fight for her as a show of love for her. In Samurai Shodown, he hears news that the ultimate flower resides in Makai and decides to present it to Kei in gratitude. In Samurai Shodown II, it’s revealed that Ukyo successfully obtains the flower but then realizes it was not the “ultimate blossom” he sought. Having heard of this “ultimate blossom” from an ancient scholar of Musashi-no-Kuni, he once again sets out for the Demon World to find this bud that blossoms at the heart of Hades.
In Samurai Shodown III, Ukyo decides to visit his old training dojo that teaches Shinmusou Ittou Ryu. Upon entering the dojo he finds a sea of blood and the remains of disciples scattered about the floor. His barely breathing master tells him of “The Demon” and dies shortly after. Ukyo vows revenge and looks for the demon. He continues to fight for Kei throughout the series until she marries another man.
Beginning in Samurai Shodown 64-2, Ukyo moves on to another woman named Saki who also suffers from the same disease. In his ending, he finds a cure for both of their illnesses but chooses to give it to Saki rather than take it for himself. He dies shortly after.
Like Genjuro, his death is believed to be retconned in the newer sequel. In this game, he hears that Kei’s husband had taken part in an off-the-record inspection of an American ship. However, the shogunate lost contact with the party, causing Kei to become very worried. Since he knew of the mysterious foreign ship, Ukyo decided to ensure Kei’s husband’s safety and alleviate her stress. In his ending, he succeeds in his goals. After seeing Kei’s thankful smile, Ukyo leaves and laments the longevity of his life.
He is the embodiment of a Japanese gentleman of the 1700s, often reserved and doesn’t express himself due to his introverted nature. As an archaic show of romanticism, he often composes haiku to best describe his thoughts during and after fights to avoid sounding brash while having much on his mind. His poetry, however, is often omitted in most of the English translations, save for his ending in Samurai Shodown IV and Samurai Shodown 64.
- Quick Draw – Ukyo can draw and sheath his sword at quicker rate than other characters.
- Multiple Attacks – Ukyo can deliver several slashes at once.
- Fire Projectile – Ukyo has the ability to project a fiery image of a swallow.
- Reflector – Ukyo can reflect a projectile back to its sender.
- Energy Attacks – Ukyo can fuel his sword with ki energy.
- Afterimage – Ukyo can give off afterimages of himself via illusions.
- Teleportation – Ukyo can translocate himself to another place.
- Fighting Style
- Ukyo is relatively defensive, relying on his quick sword strikes to punish his opponents’ mistakes. Much of it focuses on quick draws of both battōjutsu and iaijutsu; in older games, Ukyo’s stance was rather unique since it faced towards the background, while in later games it has been developed more into being akin to a battōjutsu-styled stance; both examples were stances that had him somewhat facing away from his foe (most likely due to his tuberculosis) which was a unique thing at the time in fighting games.
Though his sprite is of average size, Ukyo jumps slowly, almost as slowly as bigger characters like Earthquake or Tam Tam, and may be an open target if he jumps carelessly.
One of his moves, Hiken: Tsubame Gaeshi (Secret Sword: Swallow Return), is a direct reference to his historical inspiration. Players may use this move whilst in the air to counter most aerial or ground assaults, but it is only airborne-based despite this. His version of the famed technique is also often written in either hiragana or katakana instead of kanji.
His unique move is the Hiken: Sasameyuki (Secret Sword: Small Snowflakes), a move where he tosses an apple out of many he eats (as a diversion) only to rapidly slice up his target as it falls down. The fake version makes him throw up the apple with no followup (which also follows a pun-styled prefix akin to Haohmaru’s fake Senpuu Retsu Zan). He also tosses up an apple for one of his stronger techniques, the Tsubame Rokuren (Swallow Six Chains). Other techniques are named via a mist/fog-motif.
Description by snk.fandom