Otachi Skill: [Midare Sakura].
A multi-hit skill of surging waves that shoots out hundreds of slashes in mere seconds.
Those slashes are way too fast for the eye, and its name originated from a story that said the sight of it reminded them of the falling petals of sakura trees.
That way too sharp swordsmanship doesn’t even allow the other party to notice they have been cut.
It is only after the attack ends that the one who was on the receiving end of it will be able to realize that they were cut down.
This is the description that was in the official page of Nekomimi Neko before the game came out.
Of course, people still didn’t know about the disappointment of Nekomimi Neko at this point in time, so when the gamers heard this description, they had so much expectation about it and their hearts were set afluter.
The developers must have known that the attention people gave to this skill would be high too.
In the first preview video of Nekomimi Neko, this skill was showcased as well.
It was still publicized as an MMORPG, so I wasn’t that excited about Nekomimi Neko at that time, but the moment I saw that video, it made me think ‘I would like to have this game’ for a little bit.
That’s how cool the video was.
The first time [Midare Sakura] was shown at the very end of the skill showcase, it was something simple that lasted 3 seconds.
It was at the time when the Midare Sakura skill was in its animation, and it was a samurai-looking man unleashing countless slashes towards a dragon.
The people who saw the intensity of the slashes and the beauty of the effects gulped their breath, and then, the man swung his sword exaggeratedly as if wiping away the blood on it.
Then, in the background, letters with cool typography appeared saying ‘Otachi Skill: [Midare Sakura]’, the dragon falling right after. That’s the short and intense video it was.
But well, no matter what mental gymnastics you do, the slashes don’t look like sakura petals though.
I remember getting all excited on my own seeing that video.
After that, the game actually came out, and with how terrible it was, it got the name Nekomimi Neko. The expectations plummeted, and most people who had their hearts pump at the video were saying they quitted Nekomimi Neko.
But me and a small minority of players were still taken in by the beauty of the Midare Sakura in the video, and we wanted to try using it one day.
However, a lot of time was needed in order to make that dream come true.
Midare Sakura is an Otachi skill, but the Otachi itself is hard to obtain to begin with.
Even if you obtain the Otachi after strenuous efforts, the weapon proficiency of the Otachi is obviously 0.
There aren’t many who would throw away the weapon they have gotten used to to switch to an Otachi, moreover, the Otachi is big and heavy, so increasing the proficiency is a chore.
Also, you won’t be reaching the Midare Sakura simply by using the Otachi.
The weapon proficiency in order to get there is abnormally high, and it is proficiency that you definitely wouldn’t be able to get with normal play.
You have to do tasteless and boring weapon proficiency training everyday, or rely on hidden techs like the Master Torch or you won’t ever be able to get there.
And then, even though you have finally gotten there with grueling effort, you will discover that you can’t use it for some reason.
People assumed it was a bug again, but this one actually wasn’t.
To the surprise of everyone, the stamina consumed is twice that of your initial stamina value.
Stamina doesn’t increase from level ups, so you have to either use equipment and spells to increase it in order to even use it.
I am a different story since I can use a lot more accessories than in the game, but raising your stamina to 200% in the game is not a simple endeavor.
It is only after overcoming numerous trials that you can finally arrive at Midare Sakura.
Overcoming all hurdles, the ones who have seen the Midare Sakura will be shown the effects just like that of the preview video…no, you will be moved and amazed by the gorgeous effects that surpass even that.
“Ultimate Skill: [Setsuna Samidare Giri]!!” (Souma)
The one who reacted immediately was, of course, the father of Mitsuki, the master of the dojo: Asahi Hisame.
“Back off!” (Asahi)
With that shout that made the air of the dojo tremble, all the disciples jumped back.
Can only call this an exemplary decision.
I don’t know if he can see the vibrations of the air like Mitsuki, or maybe he is reading an unknown something like killing intent.
Anyways, with that one shout of Asahi, all the disciples jumped back, and a few moments later, a rain of slashes were unleashed at a distance that could scrape their noses.
A number of the disciples that hadn’t changed their expressions until now couldn’t help but let out their voices in surprise.
Even the remaining disciples that barely managed to hold their voices in had their faces warp in fear and surprise.
Because the Otachi is a rare weapon, the skills that come with it are also rare by nature. That goes doubly so for Midare Sakura. It would be impossible to see that from anyone aside from a player.
A multi-hit attack from a weapon like the Otachi with very long reach.
That intensity would be a threat for anyone who has seen it for the first time.
“A skill like this…”
“Just how can you win against it…?”
“If not for Asahi-sama’s warning…”
It is because they have gone through no normal training that they can tell how outrageous this skill is.
Words of weakness were coming out here and there from the disciples that should have accumulated arduous training and don’t show their agitation to the outside much.
But that can’t be helped either.
Up, down, left, right, diagonally; severing slashes were drawing lines in every direction feasible for the human body.
Every single one of them is sharp and fast.
It is impossible to catch each and every one of them with the eye, and it makes you think that you have been attacked from every single angle at the same time in one instant.
That wasn’t a line attack anymore, but an area attack.
No, it was unleashed ahead of me, so it would be a semi-circular attack.
Like a sword barrier.
An impenetrable semi-circular zone that was created from the fearsome speed of the sword slashes.
That was created in front of me…or at least, that’s how it looks at a glance.
“Hmph. What a silly smokescreen.” (Asahi)
The father of Mitsuki, Asahi, said this plainly.
“C-Could it be…!”
He stepped into the rain of slashes without any hesitation.
That instant, the body of Asahi was torn into smithereens by the slashes that assailed him from all directions…or not.
Seeing Asahi standing inside the rain of slashes with an air of composure, the disciples were dumbstruck.
Seeing those shocked faces as if they didn’t know what was going on, I remembered the time when the Midare Sakura had come out to light.
It was the same as that time.
The ones who saw the Midare Sakura will be shown the effects just like that of the preview video…no, you will be moved and amazed by the gorgeous effects that surpass even that.
However, the moment you use that technique on an enemy, everything will turn around.
That’s right, at that instant, the world of Nekomimi Neko swirled into chaos.
As aforementioned, in the description of the Midare Sakura: That way too sharp swordsmanship doesn’t even allow the other party to notice they have been cut.
The ones who have been hit by this skill will finally notice they have been cut the moment the attack ends.
The old me would have simply found that to be a cool description, but now that I have gotten used to Nekomimi Neko, you can also interpret it like this: This skill won’t deal damage until the animation of the skill ends completely.
In other words, you have to finish the skill completely in order to show its effect.
Well, this is something I can say now, but it is not like I don’t understand the appeal of wanting to try that scenario of the enemy falling the moment your attack ends.
It is true that my heart actually throbbed at the video, and I thought it was cool.
But what would happen if you actually do that in the game?
Think about it.
The reality is that the players that used Midare Sakura in their glee were shocked.
Dealing damage only at the end means that, in the middle of your multi-hit animation, you are completely defenseless.
This multi-hit animation that lasts for around 18 seconds looks as if you are doing a special attack that doesn’t allow enemies to approach, but the reality is that you are rooted in place with no way of evading or defending in front of your enemy.
Monsters would normally just ignore the slashing effects and go straight for you.
All the players that used Midare Sakura would have the monsters in front of them easily approach and get hit.
Also, it is only when the skill has ended properly that the damage will take effect.
Properly ended means that you either finish all the animation of the skill, or cancel it to finish it.
The other ways of ending it are to get interrupted in the middle of your skill by getting hit, or when the effect of the skill disappears.
It would be great if you could at least cancel it in the middle of the slashes, but the first Cancel Point is before you do the slashes, and the next Cancel Point is right after you finish the slashes.
You can reduce your time of vulnerability by doing the second Cancel Point, but you are simply canceling the last bit of the animation where you wipe off the blood from your sword which would reduce your animation lock from 19 seconds to 18 seconds.
The Nekomimi Neko players that learned about this were in despair.
Midare Sakura is cool and strong.
It has a big aoe and if you use it on an immobile enemy, it can show incomparable power from other skills.
But it can’t be used when fighting strong enemies.
You get hit in that 18 second slash animation, and if you get hit by a strong enemy like that while defenseless, your skill gets interrupted.
Moreover, because the stamina consumption is heavy, you won’t be able to use skills properly for a while.
If it were a random skill, I would be able to give up on it, but it was obtained through strenuous efforts, and the attack power in itself is nothing to scoff at, so it leaves you with hazy feelings and it is mortifying!
It is not like it is sad or angering, but more like…disappointing!!
And so, in this way, the other name of the Midare Sakura, Setsuna Samidare Giri, was born. <The name can be read as Instant Ceaseless Slash or Sad Early-Summer Rain Slash>
“Is it okay to step into it so carelessly?” (Souma)
But even an explosively sad ultimate skill like that can serve as a deterrent against real people.
Cause you know, the sword is clearly being swung, so you normally wouldn’t think nothing would happen even if it hits you.
The only reason I can think otherwise is because I know this world is a game, so the damage registering is not because the weapon hits you, but because there’s an attack hitbox in it.
I stepped into that gamble thinking this, but looks like I missed.
“Don’t look down on me that much, Souma-kun. I felt fearsome killing intent right before the attack began, but that was all. I feel no pressure from that sword anymore. It is probably some sort of illusion, but that won’t work on me, you know?” (Asahi)
Asahi said this within the rain of slashes without breaking a sweat, but I was the one who had cold sweat run down my forehead.
Seeing through that much, as expected of the master of the Hisame Dojo.
(Reading killing intent. Is this a fantasy? Right, it is a fantasy.) (Souma)
Just as he says, there’s no damage at all from the slashes.
If he approaches and attacks me, I wouldn’t be able to resist.
No, not only that, I might easily die.
It is a completely despairing situation.
But even at this moment, Asahi was not lowering his guard.
“4, come.” (Asahi)
Asahi speaks to the disciples, and from within the 9 disciples, the 4 that were the closest to Asahi stepped into the rain of slashes and the remaining ones stayed in place.
The reason he left 5 must be to keep a rear guard for the case when these slashes actually have effect.
The 4 moved to both sides of Asahi without saying anything, and took out their swords as if surrounding me.
The situation where I had no escape from has completely become a deadend.
“Looks like you are done for. Well, no need to worry.” (Asahi)
As he said this, the 5 of them turned their reverse-bladed katanas at the same time.
The curved dull part faced up and the straight bladed side faced down.
“We are simply striking you with the back of the sword…you know.” (Asahi)
The 5 of them raise their reverse-bladed katanas at the same time.
(It is over…) (Souma)
I muttered this in my heart.
In the first place, I can’t move until the skill is over.
I have no leeway in stamina to Cancel the skill.
That’s why I looked at the raised swords, and gulped…