| Spoiler Alert: This page contains major spoilers from the events of the games. |
Read at your own risk.
|“||The spirit of the samurai is the determination to be able to die for your own pride. Tourin. You follow through on bushido, the determination to die for someone else. What's stopping you right now is your true loyalty to Takeda. We're not as strong as you.||”|
—Yamagata Masakage, imparting his final words to his lifelong friend Sanada Tourin.
|Affiliation|| Takeda House|
|Level limit|| 34|
|Skill levels|| Sword Combat Lv1, Spear Combat Lv1, Leadership Lv1|
|Appeared in||Sengoku Rance|
Prior to the reformation of Takeda House, Masakage was the head of the Yamagata Family, one of the four most prominent families in the territories that would go on to make up the nation. At some point, these four leaders held a meeting between each other, united by the common goal of bringing peace to the chaotic JAPAN. While all four of them excelled in different areas, they understood that, even if they were to combine their powers, the country could only be completely unified if it had a single leader to follow. This led to the quartet creating the character of Takeda Shingen, a "living god" clad in red who excelled in all areas that the people of JAPAN could look to as a leader, when in reality it was simply the four of them each taking turns in the armor to utilize their own specific talents. Due to his excellent leadership ability and talent for giving speeches, Masakage took on the role of Takeda Shingen whenever he made public appearances.
During the events of Sengoku Rance, the forces of Oda House, led by Rance, succeeded in taking Takeda's territory and destroying the nation. As Takeda Castle burned to the ground, the four generals had one final discussion about their next plan of action. While Baba Shouen believed that they should have launched one final attack on Oda in order to die in a blaze of glory, Sanada Tourin believed that they should have retreated in order to continue towards their goal of bringing peace to JAPAN. Though Masakage acknowledged that Tourin's idea was the correct one, he could not overcome his own desire to die as a warrior, and decided to fight to the death alongside Shouen, leaving the future of JAPAN in Tourin's hands while he assaulted Rance with his remaining troops, where he was ultimately killed.
On additional playthroughs, Rance can gain the option of attempting to assassinate Takeda Shingen prior to destroying Takeda House, which results in him exposing the truth about his identity and forcing the four generals to disband and ally themselves with different houses. Masakage can be fought and captured in battle during this time, allowing him to fight for Oda as a commander. After joining Oda, Masakage develops a large amount of respect in Rance's abilities, similarly to his friend Tourin, and decides to trust him with the future of JAPAN.
Personality and Appearance Edit
Masakage was a stocky, bald and middle-aged man with a large, upwards-curling mustache and a frowning, serious face. Rance frequently noted his physical resemblance to a daruma doll due to his stout body and distinct face. This resemblance was further enhanced by the dark red Takeda armor that he wore at all times.
A devoted follower of the code of Bushido, Masakage embodied the ideals of a great samurai, being both extraordinarily noble and fiercely loyal to his friends. He worried greatly about the future of JAPAN, and worked hard alongside his allies to forge a path towards a brighter future. His devotion to the way of the samurai proved to be his undoing, however, as he chose to die in a magnificent battle over living on and continuing to struggle to unify JAPAN. Unlike Shouen, however, he was more hesitant when making this decision, and admitted to Tourin that he did not believe that it was the correct one, showing that even in his final moments he still thought of his country's future.
Within the dynamic of the four generals of Takeda, he took on a sort of unofficial leadership role, with his superb negotiational skills allowing him to mediate discussions between the serious Tourin, the hotblooded Shouen and the carefree Yoshikage. In this sense, he could be considered to have been the "true" leader of Takeda, though he had no more power than his peers beyond his talent for leading people.
While he was great friends with all three of his peers, he seemed to be especially close to Tourin, looking to him as a trusted advisor when making decisions. His profound bond with Tourin was best shown during the fall of Takeda, where he entrusted him with achieving their dream of creating a peaceful, unified JAPAN. His death deeply impacted Tourin, who continues to think about his departed friends even after fulfilling their lifelong dream.
Abilities EditMasakage was a versatile warrior who was skilled in both swordsmanship and spear fighting. In battle, he rode a Tebasaki with a great amount of skill, allowing him to be quick and maneuverable on the battlefield. He possessed a Level Cap of 34 which, while above-average, was quite low when compared to the majority of JAPAN's national leaders, particularly his three incredibly strong friends.
Though he was somewhat unimpressive as an individual fighter, Masakage truly shone when leading an army. His leadership abilities were considered to be the best in JAPAN and some of the best in the entire Continent. Masakage was capable of bringing out the full potential of every single soldier working under him, causing them to fight with a devastating combination of strength, speed and efficiency. Additionally, he, like all of the other leaders of Takeda, was capable of performing the secret technique Fuurinkazan, which drastically increased the capabilities of his army, increasing its power even further, to a point where it was nearly invincible when encountered on the battlefield. When the four attacked their enemies, Masakage's army would always strike last, nearly guaranteeing that he would lay waste to whatever remaining resistance his opposition was putting forth.
Besides his skill as a military leader, Masakage was well-versed as a political leader as well. His talent for organization and management allowed Takeda to optimize its national power when combined with Tourin's tactical genius, and his skill at speeches was capable of inspiring an amazing amount of passion into even the most ambitionless person.
- Masakage is based on the real life historical figure of the same name, who served as one of the famous "Twenty-Four Generals of Takeda" during the Sengoku period. The historical Masakage was known for being an outstanding commander who led Takeda's legendary red fire cavalry unit, as well as a close personal friend of Takeda Shingen. Notably, Masakage is the only one of Takeda's four generals that uses the full name of the person he is based on.
- Each of the Takeda generals is meant to represent one of the principles of Fuurinkazan, the battle standard used by Takeda Shingen derived from Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Masakage embodies the concept of a warrior being "unshakeable as the mountain", which is referenced by his in-game title of "Firm Warrior". A further reference can be found in Masakage's name, which includes the kanji for mountain (山).
- Masakage is the only Takeda general whose special talent is never explicitly stated, due to being in the Takeda Shingen armor during the house's introduction, though his leadership and political abilities make his talents obvious.
- During his free time, Masakage enjoyed playing shogi.
- During early drafts of Sengoku Rance's story, when it was intended to be a traditional RPG in which Rance allied himself with Takeda rather than Oda, the representative of the Yamagata family among Takeda's four generals was to be a man named Yamagata Shukei. While still the leader of one of Takeda's cavalry units, Shukei was otherwise markedly different from the character he would become, and was described as being a vibrant and youthful 48-year-old who was recognized as JAPAN's second-strongest warrior after Uesugi Kenshin. Shukei was to serve as a major supporting character who would assist Rance's party during several large-scale battle sequences before dying halfway through the story defending Takeda's territory from Oda while Rance was trapped in Izumo. Shukei's position as Kenshin's rival for the title of JAPAN's strongest would eventually be transferred to Masakage's colleague Baba Shouen in the final version of the game, while his general character as a fun-loving middle-aged man would be given to Masakage's colleague Kousaka Yoshikage.