OneeChanbara or Onee Chanbara or Onechanbara (お姉チャンバラ OnēChanbara?) is a series of hack-and-slash video games themed around zombie outbreaks and beautiful women wielding Japanese swords. Developed by Tamsoft and published by D3 Publisher, the series started out in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 as part of D3 Publisher's Simple 2000 budget series. It has since then become a full-fledged franchise with its many titles ported to Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam, as well as the production of two movies based on the series. The name OneeChanbara is a portmanteau of the Japanese words Onee-chan? (お姉ちゃん), which translates to "big sister" or "young lady," and Chanbara? (チャンバラ) which derives from an onomatopoeic word meaning "sword fight."
Often advertised by D3 Publisher as "sexy and grotesque sword fighting action," the OneeChanbara series is iconic for its bloody and gory hack-and-slash gameplay and for the fact that the main character of the series, Aya, battles zombies in her trademark fashion sense of wearing a cowboy hat, a fluffy scarf, and a bikini. Since the first title, Aya has been joined by other playable sword-wielding beauties throughout her various zombie-slaying adventures.
The latest title in the series is OneeChanbara ORIGIN, a remake of the first two games in the series that commemorates its 15th anniversary by featuring full HD, optimized storytelling, modernized hack-and-slash gameplay, and a new art style reminiscent of Japanese animation.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Playable Characters
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Main Titles
- 5 Update Titles
- 6 Spinoffs
- 7 Mobile Titles
- 8 Other Media
- 9 Trivia
- 10 References
- 11 External Links
- 12 Navigation
The OneeChanbara series mainly follows the central protagonist Aya, a beautiful master of the sword and an Undead hunter. She is partnered with her half-sister and deuteragonist Saki, who was the instigator of the first zombie incident before joining her sister in the zombie-hunting business. The half-sisters are members of the Baneful Bloodline, a powerful ancestry whose descendants are blessed with physical conditioning beyond peak human standards yet cursed with the potential fate of losing their sanity. While fighting the urge to lose themselves, Aya and Saki have participated in several zombie incidents throughout the series, slaying zombies and battling the instigators of each incident, each of whom are in some way or another after their Baneful blood. The Baneful sisters have been aided by Zombie Punitive Force (Z.P.F.) soldier Anna and later Vampiric sisters Kagura and Saaya.
- Main article: Characters
- Main article: Aya
The central protagonist of the OneeChanbara series. She is an Undead hunter with an aura of "cool beauty" and the eccentric fashion sense of wearing a cowboy hat and a bikini in battle. She is a master of katanas, able to seamlessly switch between single-sword and dual-sword fighting styles. She is also adept at the use of throwing kunais.
- Main article: Saki
The deuteragonist of the series and Aya's younger half-sister. Unlike her older sister, Saki dresses more modestly in a Japanese school uniform due to her greater susceptibility to Rampage compared to Aya. She is proficient at wielding the heavy tachi and can also fight with her fists via armored gloves. She is able to produce slash-shaped energy projectiles from her sword.
- Main article: Anna
A soldier from the Zombie Punitive Force (Z.P.F.), making her debut in Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad as one of the main playable characters. She befriends Aya and Saki and aids them in their battle against The Organization, a nefarious organization that performs unethical research into the Baneful blood. She is a gun expert, able to wield dual pistols, a shotgun, an uzi, and grenades.
- Main article: Reiko
A recurring antagonist and playable character. First debuting in THE OneeChanbara 2, Reiko is a clone created by The Organization. Reiko can deftly wield a katana, a shotgun, and an uzi. She is re-imagined in OneeChanbara ORIGIN as Lei.
- Main article: Misery
A recurring antagonist and playable character. Misery first debuted in Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad as an ally of The Organization with the intention of crossing swords with members of the Baneful Bloodline in order to consume their blood and make herself stronger. Her violent insanity can be seen as a reflection of those of the Baneful blood who give in to their madness. She wields a serrated sword that can function as a regular sword and as a whip-like segmented blade weapon for longer reach.
- Main article: Kagura
The main protagonist of OnēChanbara Z: Kagura and one of the four protagonists in Onechanbara Z2: Chaos. Kagura is a half-Vampiric, half-Baneful warrior of the Vampiric Clan who dresses in a cowboy hat and a bikini with the intention of provoking Aya. As a thrill seeker looking to battle strong opponents, Kagura is adept at wielding dual swords and dual daggers, which she attaches to chains in order to attack at longer range. She also wields bladed boomerangs.
- Main article: Saaya
The deuteragonist of OnēChanbara Z: Kagura and one of the four protagonists in Onechanbara Z2: Chaos. She is Kagura's younger half-sister. Also a half-Vampiric, half-Baneful warrior like her older sister, Saaya is the calm-minded and level-headed of the two, but she can be very passionate when it comes to her beloved sister. Saaya dresses in a black school uniform and wields her trusty chainsaw Jayson. She also uses armored gloves to fight with her fists and swings around a giant flail for crowd control.
NOTE: This section explains the gameplay and mechanics of the OneeChanbara series in a general sense (unless specified otherwise). Certain titles such as Onechanbara Z2: Chaos and OneeChanbara ORIGIN make alterations to staple mechanics such as Ecstasy Combination and the Berserk and Xtatic Forms.
The OneeChanbara series features hack-and-slash gameplay that puts players in control of the lone Japanese sword-wielding maiden Aya (or in later entries after the first title, a tag team of two characters) against a legion of undead. As a pure action series with few adventure elements (like puzzle-solving and exploration), most of its entries will see the player navigate through several small, arcade-style stages, completing objectives (such as finding a key and unlocking a door with it or clearing a room of enemies) to advance to the next area in a stage. When the player reaches certain areas in a stage, their path will be blocked by spiked gates (or transparently colored barriers in ORIGIN), indicating to the player that they must clear the area of zombies and/or other enemy types, sometimes spawning multiple waves of enemies, before proceeding. Sometimes right before the end of a stage, a boss battle will occur. Most boss battles are typical high health, high damage, smarter AI type affairs, encouraging smarter play. Upon the defeat of enemies and bosses, Yellow Orbs that serve as experience points to level up and strengthen characters (and in recent entries, currency for the in-game shop) will appear. These orbs are totaled after the completion of the current stage, leading to level-ups that grant points that allow the player to allocate these points to a handful of skills such as Vitality, Power, and Reach. In recent entries, the player is also graded for their combat performance during a stage, with the highest rank being "V" rank (which stands for Violent). The higher the rank that is achieved, the more Yellow Orbs (currency) that are earned.
Depending on the game, the player has access to after story challenges such as a gauntlet mode that features an infinite number of floors against enemies and bosses (a good way to level up characters), and missions with specific objectives that players must fulfill to complete them. There are also "Quests" which are stage or mission objectives that players can complete by performing certain actions multiple times, such as performing Ecstasy Combinations many times or taking no damage against multiple bosses. Completing these Quests will unlock rewards such as artwork and Rings to be purchased at the shop.
- Cool Combination
The OneeChanbara series's signature staple is the Cool Combination (or Cool Combo for short), a mechanic that sets the series apart from other hack-and-slash games. It is possible for the player to fight enemies and bosses by simply mashing the attacks buttons. However, if they time a button press just as the player character's attack would land on the enemy, the speed and power of the next attack will be increased. Depending on the game, this is visually represented by either a brief blurring of the screen or a blue light emitted from the player character's weapon. Mastery of this mechanic will see the player performing perfect Cool Combo sequences, leading to quicker kills on enemies and bosses and higher rankings at the end of the stage. In addition, the last, most powerful attack in a given combo cannot be performed unless the player performs a perfect Cool Combo sequence. Not only can Cool Combo attacks be chained together, but dodging and jumping during Cool Combos will change that dodge or jump into a Cool Dodge and Cool Jump respectively. These Cool variations of dodging and jumping are useful for maintaining the current Cool Combo sequence. Although not given a name, Quick Reload also has a Cool Combo variant.
Since the second title THE OneeChanbara 2, players have access to a practice mode where they can view the frame data of attacks and practice Cool Combo timing.
- Splatter Gauge and Reload
The more the player attacks enemies (except statue and machine enemies), the more that bloodstains build up on the player character's body and, more importantly, the more the Splatter Gauge (represented by a sword on the bottom-left of the screen) is filled. The player's attacks will become slower the greater that the Splatter Gauge is filled, and in the first few titles, if the player attacks a zombie while the Splatter Gauge is at max, the sword will become lodged into the zombie, making the player stuck and vulnerable to enemy attacks. To keep the player character's weapon at tiptop shape and maintain maximum attack speed, the player need only press the Reload button to shake off all the blood on the weapon and completely empty the Splatter Gauge. If the player presses Reload during an attack, a quicker but less effective version called Quick Reload will be performed.
- Stain Gauge and Rampage/Berserk Form
Similarly to the Splatter Gauge, the Stain Gauge, represented by either a bar or a circle on the bottom-left of the screen, will fill the more the player attacks enemies. The Splatter Gauge can also be filled via two more methods: by picking up Blood Crystals dropped by enemies, or by using a Blood Clot, obtained by ripping the heart out of a Mudman. Once the Stain Gauge is completely filed, the player character will enter a mode called Berserk Form which greatly increases the player's attack power at the cost of gradually draining health. In the first few titles, Berserk Form could not be ended without either dying, reaching a Goddess Statue, or completing the current stage. In later entries, Berserk Form will still drain health but the Stain Gauge will gradually decrease, eventually reaching zero and ending Berserk Form. Picking up Blood Crystals while in Berserk Form will replenish health, while using Blood Clots will have the same effect but greater. Berserk Form not only greatly increases attack power, but it allows players to dispose of Mudman zombies without the need of a special thrust combo.
- Character Switch
Players are given control of a tag team of two characters, chosen from several (sometimes a multitude of) sword-wielding women like Aya, each with their own unique play style. At any time during a stage, the player is able to freely swap between their two chosen characters. This mechanic not only leads to more varied gameplay, but it also allows the swapped out character to recover the grey (or blue) portion of their health bar if they previously sustained damage. It is also useful for temporarily halting the gradually draining health aspect of the Berserk (or Rampage) Form.
Introduced in Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad. If the player dodges an enemy attack at the last second, the game will briefly enter slow-motion, indicating that a Predict was successfully performed, allowing the chance to perform a powerful counter attack.
In ORIGIN, counterattacks cannot be performed after a Predict, but doing Predicts will significantly fill the Ecstasy Gauge.
- Weapon Switch
From Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad onwards, most playable characters can switch between two weapon types. For example, Aya can switch between one katana and two katanas, Saki can switch between a tachi and knuckles, Reiko can switch between katana and guns, etc. Weapons can be switched during combos, making it possible to perform an infinite combo string.
- Ecstasy Gauge and Ecstasy Combination
Introduced in Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, (with regard to entries before ORIGIN) the Ecstasy Gauge (represented as three bars at either the bottom-left or top-left of the screen) is filled by performing Cool Combos on enemies and bosses. At the expense of a single filled bar, the player can perform an Ecstasy Combination, a powerful move that each character has a unique version of. In the Onechanbara Z titles, Ecstasy Combinations increase in duration and power depending on how many bars were previously filled. Unlike the other gauges, the Ecstasy Gauge will gradually deplete at all times unless the player maintains the gauge with Cool Combos.
In ORIGIN, the Ecstasy Gauge and Ecstasy Combination are slightly renamed to "Xtasy Gauge" and "Xtasy Combination."
- Xtasy and Dare Drive
Introduced in Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, Xtasy and Dare Drive are transformations boasting far greater attack power than Berserk Form in addition to sporting a bestial or demonic appearance. The Xtatic Form is a transformation exclusive to Aya and Saki while Dare Drive is exclusive to Kagura and Saaya.
The Xtatic Form was reintroduced in ORIGIN with overhauled mechanics.
- Main article: Games
THE OneeChanbara / Zombie Zone
- Main article: The OneChanbara
The first title in the OneeChanbara series, it was released in Japan in 2004 for the PS2 as part of the Simple 2000 series, Simple 2000 Series Vol. 61: THE OnēChanbara. It was later released in Europe in 2005 under the title Zombie Zone. Players join the lone swordswoman Aya in her battle against the Undead forces of her vengeful sister Saki.
THE OneeChanbara 2
- Main article: The Onechanbara 2
The second title of the series, it was released for the PS2 in 2005 in Japan as Simple 2000 Series Vol. 90: THE OnēChanbara 2. This title was never released outside of Japan, but its update THE OnēChampon did release in Europe as Zombie Hunters 2. Saki and Reiko join Aya as playable characters in the story mode.
OnēChanbara VorteX / Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad
- Main article: Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad
The third title in the series and the first OneeChanbara title to be released on Xbox 360. It is also the first OneeChanbara game to be released in North America, alongside Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers for the Wii. The game features a deeper story and fully CG cutscenes. Aya and Saki are joined by the Z.P.F. soldier Anna in their battle against The Organization.
OnēChanbara Revolution / Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers
- Main article: Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers
The fourth title in the series and the first OneeChanbara title to be released on a Nintendo platform, the Wii. It was released in 2009 in North America alongside Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad. The game's control scheme utilizes the motion capabilities of the Wii Remote. The antagonists from previous entries Reiko and Misery join Aya and Saki as playable characters, each character having their own 8-stage story mode.
- Main article: Onechanbara Special
A 2011 Japan-exclusive PSP game, OnēChanbara SPECIAL is a celebratory title gathering the most popular characters in the series thus far. The playable cast of this game is made up of Aya, Saki, Anna, Reiko, and Misery.
OnēChanbara Z: Kagura
- Main article: OneChanbara Z: Kagura
The second OneeChanbara title to be released on Xbox 360, it was released exclusively in Japan in 2012. This is the first title in the series to not feature Aya as the main character; instead, that role is taken up by the half-Vampiric, half-Baneful warrior Kagura. She is joined by her half-sister Saaya, also a half-Vampiric, half-Baneful warrior. This is the first game to utilize more modern camera and hack-and-slash controls and a simple "stylish combo action" system.
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos
- Main article: Onechanbara Z2: Chaos
The direct sequel to OnēChanbara Z: Kagura and the first OneeChanbara title to be released on PS4. It is also the first title to be released in the West since Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad and Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers. The protagonists of Z: Kagura Kagura and Saaya are forced to join forces with original series protagonists Aya and Saki in order to combat the new worldwide zombie outbreak instigated by the mysterious Evange. True to the title's namesake, players are able to utilize all four girls simultaneously to create chaos and mayhem on the zombie-filled battlefield.
- Main article: OneeChanbara ORIGIN
The latest title in the OneeChanbara series and the second title to be released for the PS4. As a commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the long-lived series, it is a re-imagining of the events of THE OneeChanbara and THE OneeChanbara 2, featuring full HD visuals, optimized storytelling, an anime-esque artstyle, and modernized hack-and-slash controls. In a world infested with Undead, the young swordswoman Aya sets out on a journey to search for and reconnect with her missing father Oboro and her half-sister Saki. Little does she know that nefarious entities are after members of the Baneful Bloodline, including her family.
Main article: Games
THE OnēChanpurū / Zombie Hunters / Zombie Zone: The Other Side
- Main article: Zombie Hunters
Initially released in Japan and later in Europe under the title Zombie Hunters / Zombie Zone: The Other Side, THE OnēChanpurū is an update to THE OneeChanbara featuring a new costume for Aya and quality of life improvements such as a mini-map with an objective indicator.
THE OnēChampon / Zombie Hunters 2
- Main article: Zombie Hunters 2
Initially released in Japan and later in Europe under the title Zombie Hunters 2, THE OnēChampon is an update to THE OneeChanbara 2, similar to THE OnēChanpurū.
OnēChanbara Z: Kagura - With NoNoNo!
- Main article: Onechanbara Z: Kagura - With NoNoNo!
A Japan-exclusive PS3 port of OnēChanbara Z: Kagura, this update features the Dream Club character NoNoNo as a playable guest character, unlocked by completing 5 Quests to level 3.
Main article: Games
School Girl/Zombie Hunter
- Main article: School Girl/Zombie Hunter
A third-person shooter set in the OneeChanbara universe, it was released for the PS4. Players follow five girls from Kirisaku Academy as they use their firearm skills (and their stripped-off clothes) to survive the zombie outbreak plaguing their school. Although she doesn't appear physically, Anna plays a minor role in the story, communicating with the girls via an emergency communicator and occasionally sending care packages via UAV.
THE OnēChanbara Mobile
A Japan-exclusive mobile game based on the OneeChanbara series.
Z.P.F. Anna ~OnēChanbara Tokubetsu-hen~
Z.P.F. Anna ~OnēChanbara Tokubetsu-hen~ (Z.P.F.アンナ～お姉チャンバラ特別編～ Z.P.F. Anna: OneeChanbara Special Edition) is a Japan-exclusive mobile game featuring Anna, who debuted in Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad.
OnēChanbara Kurenai (お姉チャンバラ紅) is a manga based on the OneeChanbara series, published by Champion RED Comics.
OnēChanbara THE MOVIE
OnēChanbara THE MOVIE VorteX
- Given the Japanese origin of the series name OneeChanbara (お姉チャンバラ), it is not agreed upon as to the official way to write the title in English. For the series's first titles on the PS2, the series name was scrapped entirely for wholly English titles such as Zombie Zone and Zombie Hunters. The Xbox 360 title, Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad, began the trend to spell the series as Onechanbara for over 10 years until the release of OneeChanbara ORIGIN. Even then, the latest OneeChanbara title has been written as either OneeChanbara ORIGIN or Onee Chanbara ORIGIN by public media outlets and online retailers.
- During a D3 Publisher presentation at Tokyo Game Show 2018, D3 Publisher producer and series producer Nobuyuki Okajima and series lead director Shunsuke Tezuka came up on stage to speak about the newly revealed OneeChanbara ORIGIN while giving surprising and humorous details about the origin of the first OneeChanbara title.
- Okajima revealed that the title was originally going to be dubbed THE Nēchan (THEねーチャン), but the name changed to THE OneeChanbara because he wanted to add in a pun.
- Tezuka revealed that the main character of the first title was originally going to be Saki, while Aya would have been the final boss. Okajima added that they switched the roles because it was better that way.
- D3 Publisher stage live broadcast (9/21) (TGS2018) Starting from 6:00:35. (Japanese, no subtitles)
- Translated: "At the OnēChanbara ORIGIN presentation." game.watch.impress.co.jp. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
- Official OneeChanbara website
- Official OneeChanbara Twitter (Currently suspended)
- Official OneeChanbara Saki-bot Twitter
- Officially licensed OneeChanbara fansite (Outdated)
Zombie Zone (Zombie Hunters) · THE OneeChanbara 2 (Zombie Hunters 2) · Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad · Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers · OneeChanbara SPECIAL · OneeChanbara Z: Kagura (With NoNoNo!) · Onechanbara Z2: Chaos · OneeChanbara ORIGIN
THE OnēChanbara Mobile · Z.P.F. Anna ~OnēChanbara Tokubetsu-hen~