| Spoiler Alert: This page contains major spoilers from the events of the games. |
Read at your own risk.
|“||He was a tool to unite Takeda. We created an ideal ruler who would act for the good of all people, a perfect warrior who would win every battle he took part in... We needed someone who would lead us in reality, not a god who would not show himself. That is why he took that form.||”|
—Sanada Tourin, explaining the purpose of Takeda Shingen.
|Skill levels||N/A (?)|
|Appeared in||Sengoku Rance|
|Mentioned in||Kichikuou Rance|
Takeda Shingen was the leader of Takeda House. A legendary warlord who was equally feared and respected across JAPAN, he was believed to be the perfect warrior who excelled in all fields of warfare, being an invincible fighter, a genius tactician and a charismatic and beloved leader. He was worshiped by the people of Takeda with the reverence of a god, an image that was further increased by his mysterious nature, as no one but his four closest generals had ever seen him without his mask on.
In truth, Takeda Shingen did not actually exist, and was in fact simply a suit of armor worn in rotation by the four generals of Takeda House. The character of Shingen was created during a meeting of the four held before Takeda's reunification, where they agreed that, even if they were to combine their individual talents to unify JAPAN, the country would not truly achieve an era of peace unless it was led by a single person that its people could look towards for hope. However, at the same time they feared that if any one of them were to become the absolute leader of Takeda, they would become corrupted by the power given to them by the position and would turn into an oppressive tyrant. Shingen was created for the purpose of preventing this from happening. By having each general achieve victories through their unique talents while wearing the armor, Shingen would appear to be a flawless leader that the country could depend on to guide them towards a better future while the four of them secretly led the nation together as equals. The plan produced excellent results, and Shingen quickly grew to become a famed figure throughout JAPAN.
Following the destruction of Takeda House by the forces of Oda House and the deaths of three of the four men behind Shingen, Sanada Tourin, the sole survivor of the attack, chose to reveal the truth to Rance, the man responsible for toppling Takeda. Rance scoffed at the idea behind Shingen's creation, claiming that it was naive to rely on a false god to give hope to people, and that the only true way of creating the ideal country was through force. While Tourin did not agree with Rance's ideology, he admitted that the thinking behind Shingen was flawed from the start and that he regretted doing it. It was also during this time that Tourin came to recognize Rance, through his unbending determination to achieve his goals and his honesty about his intentions, as being the man who was capable of uniting the world that he believed did not exist.
In additional playthroughs, Rance can gain the option of attempting to assassinate Shingen with the help of Suzume, discovering the truth about his identity in the process. Rance himself then wears the armor and calls for a meeting with the four generals, who each gradually become stunned at the discovery that Rance had uncovered their biggest secret. Fearing the fallout that would occur if the people of Takeda discovered that Shingen was a lie, the four decide to disband, causing Takeda House to immediately fall without their leadership. Each of the four then join a different house, allowing Oda the chance to capture and recruit them as commanders. This event however, is considered completely non-canon.
Personality and Appearance
As the character of Shingen relied entirely on the armor shared by the four generals to create the illusion of a single person, the armor possessed a very distinct, intimidating visage. It was large, heavy-plated samurai armor in a deep red color that had a helmet with a sinister face engraved onto it. The helmet featured a large white mane along the top of it, and the face carving featured both a pair of eyebrows and a mustache of matching colors.
Shingen was created with the purpose of being the ideal leader who could be admired by all people. All of his public appearances happened while Yamagata Masakage was wearing the armor, allowing for him to give passionate, eloquent and inspiring speeches to make him appear to be an intelligent leader. Whenever all four of the generals were forced to appear before the public together alongside Shingen, the armor would be positioned in a tall, powerful upright stance and silently stand beside them, causing him to develop a reputation of being a quiet and mysterious man who reserved his words only for the most important of occasions.
In order to keep up the illusion of Shingen being a real person, the four generals of Takeda would always refer to him as if he were actually alive, even when in private meetings with each other. They respectfully addressed him as "our lord" and treated whoever was currently wearing the armor with the same respect a subordinate would give to their leader. When one of the four desired to hold a meeting, he would don the Shingen armor and temporarily assume a leadership position above the other three. While they were all aware of the truth of his identity, they were nonetheless still inspired by the image of Shingen being the key to bringing peace to JAPAN.
As he was designed with the intention of appearing to be the perfect ruler, Shingen utilized each of the greatest strengths of his four creators to great effect. When appearing before the public, Yamagata Masakage would wear the armor, using his excellent leadership ability to win the hearts of the people of Takeda and make Shingen appear to be highly charismatic. When organizing strategies, Sanada Tourin would take on Shingen's identity and use his tactical genius to make Shingen appear to be a master of warfare. When fighting on the battlefield, Baba Shouen would utilize his amazing strength and skill to portray Shingen as a ferocious warrior. When all of Takeda's forces launched an assault on an enemy, Kousaka Yoshikage would use his speed and stealth to silently disappear from the battlefield and return wearing Shingen's armor, furthering the illusion that he was a separate person from the four of them. Special precaution was taken to make sure that Shingen would only appear when victory was guaranteed in order to maintain his image as an invincible warlord, thus he was noticeably absent whenever Takeda was in a difficult situation, causing him to never actually be fought on the battlefield throughout Sengoku Rance.
While the majority of his strength was based around the combination of the various talents of the four generals of Takeda, Shingen's armor was also notable for its amazing quality. It was made from an incredibly hard and durable substance that granted it a nearly impenetrable amount of defense, allowing its wearer to block swords using only their hands and shrug off the powerful attacks of Uesugi Kenshin with ease. As a trade off for its defensive excellence, however, the armor was incredibly heavy and required a great amount of effort even to simply move around in. Of the four generals, only Baba Shouen possessed enough strength to move around fluidly in the armor for extended periods of time, and even he would become exhausted after wearing it for more than a few hours.
Beyond the abilities bestowed to him by the incredibly resilient armor and the four talented men who wore it, the most notable skill Shingen possessed was the great effect he had on the people of JAPAN. He served as a powerful symbol of military excellence that captured the hearts and minds of the citizens of Takeda, and it was the universal belief that he could lead them towards a better tomorrow that allowed Takeda's army to become one of the greatest in all of JAPAN. Above all else, Shingen was a unifying force that brought out the inner strength of the people through the promise of peace he carried with him.
- Shingen was based on the historical figure of the same name, who was one of the most powerful warlords active during the late Sengoku Era. Like his Rance Series counterpart, the historical Shingen was known for his large and intimidating armor and exceptional and well-rounded military expertise.
- In the earliest drafts of the story of Sengoku Rance, Rance was intended to ally himself with Takeda House rather than with Oda, and Takeda Shingen was meant to appear as an actual character rather than merely a suit of armor worn by multiple people. This Shingen was designed as the spitting image of Rance physically, but was much kinder and more courteous than him in terms of personality. Rance would take advantage of this resemblance and impersonate Shingen, allowing him to gain total control over Takeda's forces to conquer JAPAN with. This scrapped idea is slyly referenced in Rance 01 by Horikawa Nami, an escaped princess of Takeda House, who claims that Rance reminds her of her brother. Because of this reference, it is possible that the character Takeda Shingen was originally intended to be did in fact exist in canon, but was killed at some point prior to the events of the games.
- Shingen's true identity as Takeda's generals impersonating their deceased leader is a reference to the plot of the Akira Kurosawa film Kagemusha, wherein Takeda's generals are forced to hide Shingen's untimely death from the public in order to avoid plunging the nation into political turmoil. The original idea for Rance to pretend to be Shingen mirrors the film's plot even more closely, as the generals later recruit a common thief with an uncanny resemblance to Shingen to take his place as the leader of Takeda.
- While Shingen himself does not appear in Kichikuou Rance, his name is referenced in the item Shingen's Tactics, which is a book of strategies supposedly written by him. It is very likely that he was not intended to not actually exist at that point.