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One of the more well-known names in the history of Japanese Warring States. For good or bad, you decide.
Akechi Mitsuhide is one of the most trusted vassals of Oda Nobunaga, having served other lords before coming to Nobunaga's services. He's talented in arts, excelling in warfare and pretty much has the makings of a really wonderful man. Too bad for him Nobunaga is a Bad Boss, so he gets insulted here and there, starting from getting yelled at in front of guests, or being called 'kumquat head'. Mitsuhide tries to endure, bless him, but then he finally snaps during one certain incident wherein his mother is killed by his hostages' angry retainers because Nobunaga killed the hostage leader, not even knowing that Mitsuhide's mother was there. The insults, combined with his mother's death becomes too much for him.
At one point, Mitsuhide is told to reinforce Hashiba Hideyoshi who's trying to take down the Mouri clan. Mitsuhide complies... then suddenly makes a turn and instead strikes a resting Nobunaga at Honnoji Temple (immortalized by the oft-quoted "The enemy is inside Honnoji!") This attack surprises Nobunaga since he's at minimum forces. In the end, Mitsuhide seizes power from Nobunaga and the latter is Driven to Suicide.
Mitsuhide tries to appeal to the other lords, but no clans will support him, since they dislike and mistrust him for his betrayal, not even the Hosokawa clan who are linked through marriage with his daughter Tamako (later known as Hosokawa Gracia). Within 13 days of his rule, Toyotomi Hideyoshi decides to take revenge and confronts him and beats the tar out of him in the Battle of Yamazaki. Mitsuhide retreats... then gets killed by peasants with bamboo spears. Although there were rumors that Mitsuhide didn't die, but instead retired, and later resurfaced as a monk named (Nankobo) Tenkai.
Opinions to this day vary about Mitsuhide, and probably split into two main camps. One camp see Mitsuhide as being justified in his betrayal, or they like giving Nobunaga a Historical Villain Upgrade, so in turn they promote Mitsuhide to the Lovable Traitor. The other camp think he's a disgrace to the Samurai name and prolonged the war by halting Nobunaga's unification of the country; he's essentially the Judas Iscariot of the Sengoku era (though Nobunaga himself isn't Jesus Christ material anyway...)
Maybe he's not a very prominent daimyo, but Mitsuhide remains a popular figure in the Sengoku era, if only because he took down the primary juggernaut of the time.
References to Mitsuhide appear in the following works:
- A gender flipped Meganekko version of Mitsuhide appears in Sengoku Otome. She's loyal to Nobunaga to the point of lovesickness, and is willing to partake in shady operations to ensure success. She's also not very fond of Hideyoshi.
- She crosses into full Yandere territory when she torches Honnou Temple with Nobunaga passed out drunk inside, then goes into the huge fire after her so they can "always be together." They both survive.
- In Hyouge Mono Mitsuhide is presented as a calm, stoic and very honourable man, torn between loyalty to his liege lord and the continued bad treatment he suffers from Nobunaga. Hideyoshi, presented as one of the heads of a conspiracy to replace Nobnunaga, outright tries to manipulate him into rebelling.
- Appears in the novel Shogun under the name of Akechi Jinsai.
- Sengoku Basara portrays him as a psychotic, sado-masochistic vassal of The Devil King Nobunaga, wielding two scythes in battle, basically a full-fledged villain second only to Nobunaga himself. He reappears in the third title as Tenkai Nankobo, 'serving' Hideaki and sporting a mouth-concealing mask to hide his identity attempting to resurrect his dead master Oda Nobunaga so that he can kill him. Only Oichi recognizes him and Motonari hints when fighting him that he also knows who he really is.
- It should be pointed out that the two people mentioned are the only ones who recognise him. Even when he succeeds in resurrecting Nobunaga, Nobunaga claims not to know who he is at all.
- Ironically, while Mitsuhide does have an ending where he kills Nobunaga in the previous game, canonically he does not.
- Capcom did also give him a better role in Onimusha 3, where he gets a cameo (and despite being voiced by Norio Wakamoto of all people). He becomes playable in one of the games too.
- Samurai Warriors series opted for the "hero" Mitsuhide, who can be seen as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who eventually becomes disgusted by Nobunaga's behaviour and decides to finish him off.
- Mitsuhide appears in a villainous role in the Japanese scenario of Age of Empires II Conqueros.
- In Sengoku Rance of the Rance Series, Mitsuhide is a relatively weak tactician unit you get at the beginning of the game. You can later replace him with his daughter Gracia.