Onimusha Season 1 Ending Explained – Is Musashi still alive?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 2, 2023 (Last updated: November 5, 2023)
View all
Onimusha Season 1 Ending Explained
Onimusha Season 1 | Image via Netflix

Onimusha is the latest surprisingly good animated video game adaptation to appear on Netflix, and it’s a nostalgically gruesome adventure through Warring States Japan. The ending of Onimusha Season 1 delves into the show’s essential themes of battling both one’s nature and demonic evil, and leaves the fate of the main character, Musashi, deliberately ambiguous.

The first season’s plot revolves around Musashi’s quest to defeat rogue Samurai Iemon with the help of a mythical artifact called the Oni Gauntlet. He forms a team of friends and undergoes various battles and betrayals throughout as he fights not just to keep otherworldly horrors at bay but to preserve his own diminishing humanity.

See, Musashi can only take on Genma spirits with the help of an Oni Gauntlet, which is provided to him by Master Unsyo in a special wooden box that he gets on loan for thirty-three days. The problem is that using the gauntlet whittles away Musashi’s humanity, so he can only use it sparingly.

Onimusha Season 1 Episode 8 Recap

Musashi’s mistrust of the Gauntlet’s power is the exact inverse of Iemon’s lust for the Genma’s strength since he believes the Samurai class can only be improved through the Genma. The Oni clan, the power of which resides in the gauntlet itself, would be happy for Musashi to kill as many Genma as possible to increase its power. This, though, would sacrifice more and more of Musashi’s humanity.

It’s a classic Catch-22. Musashi must use the gauntlet to defeat Iemon, but in using it, he loses himself.

Does Musashi become an Onimusha?

Musashi’s essential morality is especially tested when Iemon uses Sayo’s possessed parents to kill her. At their request, Musashi is forced to intervene, and beheading them both is, to him, an abandonment of the humanity he has fought so hard to preserve. When Musashi is forced to battle the reincarnated, Genma-infused version of his famed rival Kojiro Sasaki, he allows the Oni gauntlet to overtake him. It begins to transform him physically.

In killing Kojiro, Musashi would be giving himself over to the Oni, becoming an Onimusha. This is a sacrifice he’s willing to make, but Sayo does not allow him to by reminding him that killing her parents against his better judgment was the ultimate act of humanity. In this way, he doesn’t succumb to the gauntlet.

Who is the third traitor?

Throughout the season, Musashi’s team has been beset by betrayals, which he enigmatically predicted at the start of the series. The third of these “traitors”, so to speak, is revealed to be the only surviving member, Sahei, whom Musashi implores to take Sayo out of the mines.

During their escape, Sayo and Sahei happen across the torso and head of a somehow still-living Iemon, whose arms and legs Kojiro lopped off once he was resurrected. He has managed to crawl away from the undead army ransacking the place and begs Sahei to save him.

While it initially seems like Sahei is doing so, he is taking an opportunity to smother the Samurai to death. He reveals to Sayo that he is an undercover agent of the Lord who dispatched Musashi and the rest of the team. His job is to ensure nobody survives to reveal anything about the secret mines.

However, Sahei has had quite enough of the mines and decides to let Sayo be. He walks away alone though he is caught in the collapsing mines.

Does Musashi die?

It is certainly implied in the Onimusha ending that Musashi, too, is killed in the collapse of the mines. As he battles Kojiro, the rocks fall around him, presumably sealing his fate. Sayo watches the mountain collapse in on itself from a safe remove.

This is the last we see of Musashi in the series, so his fate remains uncertain. However, there is a small implication that he might have survived.

How does Onimusha Season 1 end?

After Sayo returns to civilization and uses a chunk of gold to pay for some accommodation, Season 1 of Onimusha ends back where it started, with Master Onsyu. The gauntlet has been returned to the temple, though nobody saw who returned it. Onsyu notes that it feels heavier than before, a testament to the Genma Musashi killed with it.

What happened here? There are two possibilities. The last we saw of the gauntlet, it was at Musashi’s feet in the mines. It should have been buried with him. Even though we never – unless I missed it – saw Sayo take the gauntlet, it’s possible she did so and then returned it secretly.

However, the much likelier explanation is that the return of the gauntlet within the thirty-three-day loan period is intended to imply that Musashi survived the duel with Kojiro and somehow escaped the collapsing mine with it. This ambiguous hint implies he still lives.

What did you think of Onimusha Season 1 Episode 8 and the ending? Let us know in the comments. 

RELATED: Onimusha Season 2: Everything We Know

Endings Explained, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Recaps
View all