Waifu Wednesday: Nariko (Heavenly Sword)

Last week’s Waifu Wednesday was in celebration of a throwback one woman army type of leading lady, and today’s one is no different. Nariko, the main character of 2007’s grossly underappreciated action-adventure hack and slash video game from Ninja Theory is both an absolute queen and power house. What’s not to love?

Spoilers mentioned.

Who is Nariko?

Nariko is the protagonist of Heavenly Sword, a headstrong, combat ready heroine whose birth lines up with the legend of the rebirth of the Heavenly deity who defeated the original threat of the land – the Raven Lord. In present day Nariko’s clan have been thrown into turmoil no thanks to antagonist King Bohan putting his villainous plan into motion in order to rule the land by taking control of the titular divine sword.

However, said hero of the story, Nariko is undermined and dismissed due to her being a daughter rather than a son. Within her very own clan she is deemed unworthy of such a status and all hope that was once placed on such a promising prophecy has been lost on the clan members ever since. But Nariko is having none of that, despite also believing that she is not playing to the tune of any such prophecy. Nariko is going to prove her own worth with her own actions alone.

Why we love her

With Heavenly Sword being a mixture of a sort (as far as its storyline is concerned) between Witchblade and Claymore, with both being two of my favourite IPs out there, Heavenly Sword really goes the extra mile in being something worth losing yourself in. Be it for the spectacle or empowerment of its leading lady in question.

Nariko’s reasoning behind her journey goes from proving herself to taking revenge pretty quickly and the fact that the reason for her power increase throughout the story is always caused by her accepting the shortening of her own lifespan really shows that her heart is always in the right place. She is mostly driven to fulfil the prophesy tied to her name, even if it results in her untimely demise. On top of the divine weapon actively draining her lifeforce the more she depends on it, she pursues her fate because it will bring peace not only to her clan, but especially to those she holds dearest.

Even despite the sullen truth of her father’s reaction to her birth being of similar (and even more tragic all things considered) distain by those within their clan, her love and loyalty for those she values most is never misplaced. It’s only one example of plenty of her most impressive traits to her character.

Why you will love her

Nariko pulls out all the stops in showing just how much of a hero she is throughout her deeply personal and heavy journey. She proves her worth countless times when putting the wellbeing and safety of her clan members over her own, and still they continue to shun her. Her father even attempted to eliminate her upon her birth as he had also struggled with accepting her initially, but Nariko’s mission is kickstarted by her determination in rescuing him.

Nariko willingly sacrifices all that she can to see her mission through. The end result is one you can expect from everything she exhibits as a hero since she ends up choosing to give up her own life to save Kai, the closest person in her own life. Kai also suffered a sad, lonely and tragic past up until she got to live alongside Nariko who she views as an older sister. Even before that conclusive moment hits Nariko is defying death until she fulfils what she deems is her life’s purpose, granting us an emotional and impactful send-off with a single act that showcases just how incredibly fearless and noble she is.

As a healer to some, a saviour to all and an absolute unit to anyone who dares oppose her, Nariko is one for the “best heroines in video games” book. See for yourself by purchasing a copy of it on the PS3.

Lilia Hellal
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