The Asuka Ninja (飛鳥忍者) is one of the most important factions in the series, if not the most important. It's the home clan of most of the playable cast, thus players represent the clan in actions, affecting the perception that warlords, ninja clans and Utakata citizens have of the Asuka.
The Asuka have long been feared and respected as a powerful, neutral army, and protectors of Utakata. While the clan's massacre encouraged their enemies, it didn't deter from the threat the surviving members still impose.
The Asuka Village is the hometown and base of operations of the clan. During Way of the Ninja it remains in ruins and abandoned, but by the time of the events in Revenge of Zen it has been rebuilt with the aid of the House of Ichijo and acts as the player's hub.
The clan's name, Asuka (飛鳥), literally translates as "Flying Bird", as such all of the original Asuka aliases follow a bird theme.
The clan held a generations-long alliance with the House of Ichijo to preserve the peace and protect Utakata, and resided in the secluded Asuka Village (飛鳥の里 Asuka no sato). But one day a member of the clan, Goh, accidentally freed the evil Gamuran and caused the destruction of the village and most of the clan, leaving himself, Kinu and Zaji as the only survivors.
As explained in Way of the Ninja, the founder of the Asuka Clan was a yamabushi who fought Gamuran for a scroll containing the forbidden art of necromancy. He defeated Gamuran, sealed him within a shrine far away from civilization, and created the Asuka Clan so they would keep Gamuran sealed and the scroll safe. The Asuka accomplished this for 900 years before Goh, out of curiosity, opened the shrine and released the sorcerer who later destroyed the clan and tried to take away the scroll. Goh would later atone for his mistakes by putting an end to Gamuran's existance with the sacred sword hidden in the village shrine, presumably the same sword used by the ancient Asuka to defeat the sorcerer in the past.
As of Revenge of Zen the clan has been slowly rebuilding with the aid of the Ichijo Clan. They are temporarily joined by Zen, a member of the Fuka Ninja, and later Kaede, the mirror image of Zen's deceased lover.
Abilities and Disciplines Edit
As a ninja clan, the Asuka are masters of stealth. They can make themselves unseen in the dark, perform their missions swiftly and silently, use different and unusual tools to distract their enemies, and travel great distances and heights with agility. They are experts in multiple mercenary jobs such as scouting, espionage, robbery, kidnapping, bodyguarding, assassination and sabotage.
What truly separates the Asuka from most ninja clans however is their talents of assassination. They have developed many different ways of efficiently disposing of targets regardless of terrain without calling attention to themselves, and can even maneuver struggling targets for the killing hit. They can accomplish this both armed and unarmed.
The Asuka are specially trained in physical combat. While they have extensive knowledge of the weaponry of their trade (ninjato, shuriken, caltrops, explosives, etc.), is in martial combat where their true potential shows. They have knowledge of different throws and grapples to corner their enemies and turn the tables in a pinch and quick, continuous, diverse attacks, both armed and unarmed, to surprise the enemy. Added to this is their strength, which allows them to lift a man equal or bigger their size and, with some momentum, fling them away. From a gameplay perspective (and perhaps due to their status as playable characters), the Asuka have the biggest number of combos and grapples.
Unlike the rest of her clansmen, Kinu uses a more orthodox style of combat and an unusual weapon of choice: the Bladed Flail.
Besides their martial and guerrilla expertises, the Asuka clan are also masters in the arts of Alchemy, allowing them to concoct diverse medicines, poisons and bombs to aid them in their missions. This also means the Asuka are talented at identifying and using medicinal and poisonous herbs and, as some cutscenes and artworks imply, cultivating them.
- Goh the Crow
- Zaji the Blackhawk (Current leader)
- Kinu the Canary
- Taiga the Great Eagle † (Former leader)