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File:AkaiKatana Website Art 553.jpg

Akai Katana is a Bullet Hell Shoot'Em Up by CAVE. It is Cave's third Horizontal Scrolling Shooter and revisits the concept of the pilot and gunner being different characters, such as in Progear and Ketsui. Programming was done by S. Yagawa of 8ing/Raizing fame. Music was composed by the late Ryu Umemoto. There is an Xbox 360 port, titled Akai Katana Shin. Those with a Japanese X-box 360 can download a free trial of the first two stages. It has been localized for Europe and the US by Rising Star Games as simply Akai Katana (although having the same content as Akai Katana Shin).

Set in a parallel world resembling Japan's Taisho period, the people have discovered the powerful Blood Swords, the titular Akai Katana. Requiring human sacrifices to unleash their immense destructive power, these swords have been used by the empire to crush neighbouring countries. However, all the bloodshed and power gained through sacrificing close family members has made some of the swordsmen reconsider. With new fighter planes and the powered up swords at their disposal, this small band of rebels now fight back against the tyrannical empire.

  • Type 1 (Marigold, strong straight-forward shot)
    • Phantom: Sumire Asaka
    • Guide: Tsubaki Shinjo
  • Type 2 (Orchid, fast homing shot)
    • Phantom: Kikyou Saionji
    • Guide: Botan Saionji
  • Type 3 (Sakura, weak spread shot)
    • Phantom: Suzuran Sanada
    • Guide: Shion Kobayakawa

Tropes used in Akai Katana include:
  • Absolute Cleavage: Nazuna, the boss of stage 5 (Akai Katana Shin only), wears an outfit with this.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Emperor Basho Saionji is this to Kikyou and Botan.
  • The Atoner: All of the rebels.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In-game, the 'human' half of the player's team appears larger than the plane half and the boss models are giants as well. This is not Gameplay and Story Segregation.
  • BFG: The spirit ninjas carry big guns, even relative to the size of their bodies.
  • BFS: Part of some of the new game modes in Shin. Killing things while being in Ninja mode summons giant blades around your character that are unleashed when the player switches back to the plane (but not when the green bar runs out).
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Botan Saionji is this for not just katana, but also piloting a fighter plane.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Shumeigiku, the boss of stage 2, wears a butterfly in her hair.
  • Cast From Lifespan: Shion Kobayakawa, the pilot of the third set of characters, bonded with a Blood Katana but lost her youth in the process.
    • Also part of the game system. Having fewer lives will increase the length of the spirit bar (i.e. let you stay in Ninja mode for longer).
  • Cute Is Evil: All of the cute child-like characters are evil, including Suzuran.
  • Darker and Edgier: It might be the darkest game CAVE put out since DaiOuJou. Doesn't help that Treasure of Gunstar Heroes fame was involved in it as well...
  • Dieselpunk: The game's setting has the visual aesthetic and technology level of World War Two.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Tsubaki kills herself with the Blood Katana in order to bring Sumire back to life, but then Sumire decides to kill herself because she doesn't want to live without Tsubaki.
    • Suzuran crushes Shion to death so that she can have the Blood Katana all to herself, but she ends up losing her youth to it just like Shion had.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: For starters, Emperor Basho killed his own wife just to get his own Blood Katana. This also happens to Suzuran.
  • Dual-Wielding: The final boss does it - one Blood Katana made from his wife, and one made from himself.
  • Evil Mentor: Hiiragi is this to Sumire.
  • Flower Motifs: The three planes are named after flowers. Marigold, Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) and Orchid.
  • Guide Dang It!: Played with. Many a player have expressed their frustration online about being unable to figure how to play the game, only to be told that pressing B will give them a tutorial.
  • Hitbox Dissonance
  • Human Sacrifice: The Blood Katana require these to be created.
  • Imperial Japan: The empire is explicitly described as similar to Taisho-era Japan.
  • Incest Subtext: The two holding hands in the cover, title screen and pretty much every picture? That's Kikyou and his sister Botan. Yeah...
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja
  • Katanas Are Just Better: As if the title of the game was not enough, all of the player characters also carry one inside of their airplanes.
  • Mismatched Eyes: Botan has a red eye and a blue eye.
  • More Dakka: This goes with the genre, but is made even more explicit in this particular game because the spirit ninjas also carry massive rotary cannons.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: These ghosts are humongous phantoms with massive weapons, including chainguns that are the size of trains.
  • Pinball Scoring: Maybe not on the same level as Giga Wing, but in some modes, it's possible to reach the first extend in Stage 1.
  • Recurring Boss: Hiiragi is fought twice.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Progear.
  • Summon Magic: The bosses use this to summon mundane things like battleships, aircraft carriers, hordes of fighter planes and so on.
  • Supporting Protagonist: The first pair of characters, the ones initially highlighted upon game start-up. The box art for the Xbox 360 port features the second pair of characters. It's sort of ironic when you read the trope directly below.
  • Tank Goodness: Yep, goes with the typical CAVE enemy design.
  • Together in Death: Sumire decides to do this to be with Tsubaki.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Tsubaki Shinjo, who decided to live like a man to atone for her past.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: These seems to have happened to all of the imperial loyalists.
  • Younger Than They Look: Shion Kobayakawa, who is only 17 years old, but looks like she is in her 70's. This also happens to Suzuran when she ends up with the same curse that Shion had.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Sumire, Botan, Shumeigiku and Nazuna all wear this.
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