Yagyuu Tajima-no-Kami Munenori (柳生但馬守宗矩, Yagyū Tajima-no-Kami Munenori?), Class Name Saber (セイバー, Seibā?), is a Saber-class Servant summoned by Ritsuka Fujimaru in the Grand Orders of Fate/Grand Order.
- 1 Profile
- 2 Role
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Forms and Alternate Versions
- 5 Development
- 6 References
Profile[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
One of the strongest swordsmen of the Edo Yagyuu. A genius of the sword known as the child of Yagyuu Sekishuusai and the father of Yagyuu Juubei. It has been said that, during the Siege of Osaka (1615 AD), he protected the Shogun Hidetada by cutting down seven warriors in an instant. After his death, Shogun Iemitsu extolled him as “Peerless in Swordsmanship.”
It has been recorded that the Third Shogun Iemitsu would call Munenori by the nickname “Ryuutan”. A nickname formed by taking one kanji character each from “Yagyuu” and “Munenori”.
A strategist and politician. Not only has he instructed many Daimyou and their younger relatives in the Shinkage-ryuu, but he also sent his disciples to serve influential Daimyou as swordsmanship intructors. In historical novels and historical plays, he is often regarded as an extraordinary plotter. This is probably out of the notion that, in the early Edo period, it would be impossible to raise the Yagyuu Clan up to a social position of a Daimyou with 12,500 koku just by being honest and upright.
With excellent foresight, it has been said that he quickly saw through the expansion of the Shimabara Rebellion. In the 14th year of the Kan'ei era (1637 AD), right after news of a rebellion by Christian believers arrived, Munenori frantically tried to hold back Itakura “Naizen-no-Kami” Shigemasa, who was tasked with leading a punitive expedition. It has been said that, when asked why by Shogun Iemitsu, Munenori answered “religious wars are always a serious matter” and “Mr. Shigemasa will likely die in battle.”
The situation progressed as Munenori predicted. Shigemasa - a Daimyou of 15,000 koku - was lacking in strength despite leading all the western Daimyou and found himself forced into a hard fight as a result. As he saw the situation turn grimmer, Shogun Iemitsu dispatched his chief vassal, Matsudaira Nobutsuna, to act as supreme commander, but Shigemasa became impatient upon learning that and attempted an assault on the enemy camp before Nobutsuna arrived, dying tragically in the process.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Personality[edit | edit source]
A demon of rationality that gazes at everything with a reasoning of ice, unswayed by emotion. Methodology equals rationality; in other words, by mastering the sword, everything will naturally be fulfilled without any futility—
Never speaking of his passions, he does not become impetuous or impatient. He thoroughly carries out the optimal, shortest measures in order to achieve an objective with the utmost coolness. A man of ice and steel who is reliable as an ally, but extremely terrifying once he becomes an enemy.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
- Miyamoto Musashi
- There are anecdotes of Munenori having criticized Musashi’s existence during his lifetime. He said things such as “Musashi is a member of the Western Army” and “an enemy of the Tokugawa.”
- In his lifetime, Munenori never clashed with nor even met Musashi, but was in fact mindful about him—or so has been established in this work. Thus, he was fixated with a showdown with Musashi during "The Tournament of the Seven Heroic Spirit Blade-Masters” despite knowing that she was a different person than the “Miyamoto Musashi” from his own world.
- The Munenori who was summoned to Chaldea as a Heroic Spirit has recognized Musashi’s skills and way of being. As for what he thinks of the “Miyamoto Musashi” of his own world... that remains unknown for now.
- Once he is summoned, he will faithfully obey with Master as his second lord. He could be summoned to destroy the world or summoned to fight to save the world. He accomplishes his task without changing his facial expression once.
Role[edit | edit source]
Fate/Grand Order[edit | edit source]
Musashi Trial Quest[edit | edit source]
During Musashi's travels through alternate worlds, she fights Munenori briefly before deciding to run away. As she enters through the portal to the next world, he lands a strike that hits her head, knocks her out, and causes her brief amnesia in the next world. After she disappears, he says he will remember her name.
Subspecies Singularity III: Shimosa[edit | edit source]
Disguised he and his fellow Swordmasters first encounter Ritsuka's party as they tried to cut through a bamboo forest to reach Onui and Tasuke's hermitage. He reprimands his fellows for not focusing on killing the group as ordered. He then demands the group hand Houzouin Inshun over, stating everyone will be massacred afterwards. Inshun fights him with the aid of his Noble Phantasm while the others escapes. He eventually pierces his heart, but finds he cannot move his spear. Munenori reveals such attacks would kil a human or Heroic Spirit, and introduces himself by his Cursed Name. He then orders Ashiya Douman to case the Curse of Annihilation to turn Inshun into the final Swordmaster: Lancer of Purgatorio.
At Katori Shrine, Munenori disagrees with Douman that Inshun fulfilled his role as a Swordsmaster, saying he failed to take even a hundred lives. Despite that though, Amakusa Shirou says Inshun still served as an excellent cornerstone for the Onriedo. Douma agrees with him and Munenori, saying the souls of Heroic Spirits are insufficient to manifest the Onriedo. Thus, the grieving souls slaughtered by the Swordmasters are also needed. After Amakusa Shirou leaves to prepare for the Onriedo's arrival, Douman and Munenori both agree he doesn't see Musashi as a threat. Munenori questions if Douman is up to task of killing Musashi, as she was to ble to kill Inshun. He dismisses Katou Danzou's offer to assassinate Ritsuka and Mash, pointing out a mechanical doll like her could never hope to be a match for Musashi. He also dismisses Douman's orders for her as the latter playing with dolls.
Later as Tajima-no-Kami, he leads a procession of 500 samurai, all of whom are veterans from the Shimabara Rebellion, from Edo to Toke Castle town. He introduces himself as chief inspector for the shogunate. He explains he and the other samurai are on a official mission to bring the monsters (calling them bandits) slaughtering innocents in southern Shimousa to justice with Matsudaira's cooperation. He then confronts Musashi, recalling they dueled six months ago. He decides to duel her to determine her intentions when monsters fly in from the south. As another wave comes, he orders Sakon to get the townsfolk out of the vicinity. After the monsters are slain, Munenori assumes they were a scouting party. He orders Sakon to tell Matsudaira to deploy archers. He also orders to concentrate their forces to the south, believing the castle can have the bare minimum of soldiers. After the samurai leave, Ritsuka tells Munenori their assumption that Tomoe (whom they only know as Archer) is leading the monsters. Munenori tells the group that a hundred of his finest men will confront Tomoe as a diversion while they ambush her from behind. He advises them to go through the mountain pass to do so. He then introduces Danzou as the spy who saw Tomoe leading the monsters. She will also serve as the group's guide through the mountain pass.
After Tomoe is slain, Munenori tasks Musashi with checking Shimosa for any remaining monsters. He and Kiyohime later meet with Ritsuka's party in Toke Castle after learning a letter was sent there, threatening to assassinate her. He gets her to not stand so close to Ritsuka after she refused to listen to her guard. He also redirects her to the matter when she confesses she can communicate with snake. She tells the group that many were killed when the letter was delievered. Despite having the castle guards and 300 of Munenori's samurai to protect her, she asks the group to protect her also. Munenori agrees with Kiyohime's guard that allowing the group to protect her would threaten the clan, if it were peace time. He asserts a skilled warrior's station in life is irrelevant if they're ready and willing to fight the monsters. He can attest to the group's skills himself, recounting his samuari are stll singing their praises. He then leaves the room threatening to behead the group if they fail to protect Kiyohime.
At Katori Shrine, he reports the great pentagram being drawn in secret via Jesuit sorcery is nearing completion, adding to Douman's own report that Chiyome and Danzou have laid the groundwork for the Onriedo by spreading fear. He considers it a hassle they have to wait to destroy humanity, wanting to cut them all down at once. He asserts the only difference between humans and straw is that humans bundles themselves together of their own accord and call it society.
The next night at Toke Castle, Munenori orders his samurai to increase security. He claims his samurai were slow to act against Chiyome last night because of their large numbers while asserting that keeping them small would invite monsters to quickly adapt. He soon senses that Chiyome has returned. He leads his samuari against her monsters while the group slay the Orcochi she summoned. He then witnesses them fight Chiyome and the entranced Kiyohime. During the battle he ordered Danzou to remain outside the castle.
After Chiyome is slain, Munenori has Ritsuka's party removed from the castle, claiming they'll disrupt his plan to keep Kiyohime safe. He also has Danzou accompany the group to ensure they safely return to the hermitage, while gathering information around Shimosa. He also ordered her to help them slay the remaining Swordmasters.
When Toke Castle became Onriedo Castle, Munenori and his samurai slay the monsters long enough for most of the survivors to escape.
On the Onriedo Castle's 4th floor, Munenori seemingly slays Douman when he tried to ambush Musashi. He removes his disguise to reveal himself to be Saber of Empireo, the final and only human Swordmaster. He assures he is still human, as Fuuma Kotarou pointed out a not even a Servant can withstand the transformation that comes from having the Curse's karma implanted in them. He merely ventured off the righteous path, declaring he's already gathered all 108 Buddhist defilements. He finds it ironic that he was praised as Shimosa's protector when his true goal was the opposite. He then confesses his motive for becoming a Swordmaster, and readies himself to duel Musashi. After Kotarou and Senji Muramasa leave for the 5th floor, Munemori brings himself and Musashi into the blood-soaked battlefield for their duel. Eventually Musashi awakens her ultimate techinque to breakthrough his god-like swordsmanship. Munenori then dies thanking her for the duel. She thanks him for enabling her to awaken it. Munenori thanks her for the duel and dies.
Event: Tokugawa's World-Changing Labyrinth[edit | edit source]
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Although able to withstand his sword strikes, Miyamoto Musashi says this swordsman far surpasses her and runs away from the battle. Munenori is a Sword Saint, and his sword has reached the level of One.
Skills[edit | edit source]
Class Skills[edit | edit source]
- Magic Resistance (C Rank): Cancels spells with a chant below two verses. Cannot defend against magecraft on the level of High-Thaumaturgy and Greater Rituals.
- Riding (B Rank): Most vehicles and animals can be handled with above average skill, even vehicles that did not exist in the time period one was alive in, for they are no exception. However, cannot ride the likes of Phantasmal Species such as Monstrous Beasts.
Personal Skills[edit | edit source]
- Shinkage-ryuu (A++ Rank): Has completely studied the secrets of the Yagyuu Shinkageryuu. From infancy until he was 24 years old, Munenori was raised while learning about the sword directly from his father, Munetoshi (Sekishuusai). Being endowed with over A Rank in this skill, Munenori possesses not only sword techniques but also resistance to mental attacks. An expert of the Shinkage-ryuu - which views zen meditation as indispensable - has no doubts nor hesitates.
- Suigetsu (B Rank): One of the deepest levels of the Shinkage-ryu. To peer into those eyes right away without letting your guard down, that is the true form of Suigetsu.
- Swordless Capture (A Rank): A secret elucidated by Yagyuu Sekishuusai, first devised by the master swordsman Kamiizumi Nobutsuna. It is said that, even without holding a blade, an expert of the Shinkage-ryuu wins over an armed opponent. In other words, this is a more advanced version of that trick of “catching” a swinging sword barehanded. 
Noble Phantasm[edit | edit source]
His Noble Phantasm is Peerless in Swordsmanship - Zen and the Sword As One. After learning that Yagyuu had been summoned in Chaldea, Musashi speculated that if the two of them were to fight again, Yagyuu may just be able to beat her, despite her having already defeated Yagyuu's Heroic Spirit Swordmaster counterpart. She explains that the Heroic Spirit Yagyuu must have peered beyond the veil, achieved enlightenment, and become a Sword Saint beyond compare. She doesn't mind it, as it just means she'll have to take her zero sword to the next level.
Forms and Alternate Versions[edit | edit source]
Saber of Empireo[edit | edit source]
Saber of Empireo is the living counterpart of Yagyuu Munenori from the Parallel World that would later become the Shimosa Singularity that was modified by Caster of Limbo's Curse of Annihilation which turned him into a Heroic Spirit Swordmaster, greatly increasing his power. Berserker of Saṃghāta Hell claims she wouldn't dare mess with Caster of Limbo and Saber of Empireo due to her having a "weak little Spirit Origin". If Rider of Kālasūtra Hell and her had to fight them, she'd want to at least have the same bodies and power that they did when they were alive. Empireo also boasts an immense aura on par with Houzouin Inshun's own Magical Energy. When fighting him, Houzouin regards Empireo as a true master of the art of the sword and a person with monstrous abilities much like Musashi just from exchanging a few blows with him. Although he's very strong, he is unable to block Houzouin's Hazy Inverted Moon - Eleven Forms which completely destroyed his heart. However, due to him having the ability to regenerate granted by Caster's curse, he was able to defeat Houzouin. Despite him claiming the reason he defeated Lancer was that his sword had even surpassed the gods and the Buddha, and ascended to true supremacy, to the realm of Empireo, it was made very clear that had he had the body of a Heroic Spirit, Houzouin would have won. Nevertheless, Empireo is a TRUE master of the sword who achieved a level that even surpassed Miyamoto Musashi's father. Although the essence of Musashi's Niten Ichiryu lied in adapting to hundreds if not thousands of possibilities, this fighting style proved to be useless against Saber of Empireo due to her being unable to read his next move. To defeat his Suigetsu, she had to enter the realms of the gods herself. She had to find the one right answer that lay beyond every possibility by slashing through the unbreakable heavens themselves. In other words, she finally reached the void. By striking him with her new developed Ishana Daitenshou, she defeated Saber of Empireo in a one on one duel.
Development[edit | edit source]
Creation and Conception[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Fate/Grand Order material VI - Profile of Yagyuu Munenori, translated by Smoof101.
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 15: The Stage of Carnage, Onriedo (Ending)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 2: Purgatorio (Middle)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 5: Inferno (Middle)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 6: Inferno (Ending)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 7: Paraiso (Beginning)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 8: Paraiso (Middle)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 9: Paraiso (Ending)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 10: Kalasutra Hell (Beginning)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 11: Kalasutra Hell (Middle)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 14: The Stage of Carnage, Onriedo (Middle)
- Fate/Grand Order - Shimosa Province: The Stage of Rivers of Blood and Mountains of Corpses, Section 15: The Stage of Carnage, Onriedo (Ending)
- Fate/Grand Order - Yagyu Munenori Interlude: Kenjutsu Musou, Kenzen Ichinyo