Bakumatsu Rouman

There's a lot of history and mythology worked into the Last Blade, and while I can't hope to be a huge resources on it, I thought I'd share what knowledge I have; I know it certainly helps me in adding to the feel and the atmosphere of the game.

Bakumatsu Period
This is where the history from the game is drawn; it is set in a time when there was a lot of upheaval in Japan. The Bakumatsu period was from 1860 to 1899, at the end of the Edo era, before the Meiji era began. At this time, Japan had finally opened its waters and its cities to the outside world; for the first time in her existance as a country, foreigners were allowed to come and go, and the first forms of trade and commerce started. Japan's culture and lifestyle was a strange thing to the Americans and Europeans entering her, and the Westerners were just as strange to the Japanese. Yet there was much fascination from both sides, and Japan began to pick up Western styles, cultures, clothing, ways of interaction.. in a way, Japan began to discard herself and her history in favour of this new, foreign one.

You'll probably notice plenty of evidence of this throughout the Last Blade game. The one that sticks in my mind the most is the beautiful, distinctly Japanese clothing that Moriya wears -- with the huge Western coat hanging from his shoulders. There is plenty more evidence in the backgrounds, too, if you watch carefully; the fascinating clash and merge of Japanese and Western.

If you're interested in reading up on more history, just do a search at your favourite search engine on "bakumatsu".. there's a few things here and there. Although if you're interested in some visual representations of the change, check out Japanese Old Photos in Bakumatsu-Meiji Period.

(Oh, and if you're wondering about the title of this page, it's taken from the Japanese title of LB2, and means Romantic Story of the Bakumatsu Period. ^_^)

The Four Gods
The four gods that guard Hell's Gate in the game are directly taken from Japanese mythology, a mythology that dates right back to having come from China. Actually, if you want to get technical, it is worked into both their astrology and astronomy. Each of the Gods represents a different cardinal direction, a different season of the year, and a different set of constellations in the sky.
These Gods, as you will probably recognise within the game, are:

Suzaku Suzaku, the red bird (sometimes phoenix) of the South and of Summer.
Byakko Byakko, the white tiger of the West and of Autumn.
Genbu Genbu, the black tortoise (sometimes tortoise mating with sea snake) of the North and of Winter.
Seriyuu Seiryuu, the blue dragon of the East and of Spring.

There are actually five directions, the fifth one being the 'centre', or earth. If you spend much time immersed within Japanese culture at all, you will find references to the four Gods popping up all over the place; I first noticed it in anime. ^_^ I'm not going to go into exhaustive detail about it all, but if you're interested, there's a very informative page about it called Star Charts and Moon Stations. Take a look!

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