So, you’ve fought your way through the Ashina Castle and now it’s time to fight Genichiro himself – you know, the guy who chopped your arm off a while back. This one is really difficult, and you’ve probably come here because you’re stuck and can’t beat the guy. Fear not, it may be a toughy, but I’m here to talk you through every step of the fight.
Before you even get to Genichiro Ashina, however, you have to go through Jinsuke Saze, an Ashina Elite who waits for you in the room below Genichiro. He’s pretty deadly, as he hits you with lightning pace and can take you down in record time if you aren’t quick to react, but he’s actually really easy to kill. He’ll come at you with the same attack over and over, a fast, two-strike combo that comes immediately after you see his sword glimmer. Just Deflect both of these attacks over and over and you’ll break his Posture pretty quickly and open him up for a Deathblow – he takes two Deathblows to kill, but the fight doesn’t change throughout, so follow this tactic twice and you’ll kill him in no time.
Once you’ve killed Jinsuke Saze, read the hanging scroll behind where he was waiting. It reads, “Ghosts once lurked the lands of Ashina. The ghosts’ lightning was of the Foundtainhead gods, unstoppable by normal means. Avoid ground, reverse the lightning.” This will bring up a tip on how to perform a Lightning Reversal, which can come in handy during your battle with Genichiro if you’re skilled enough. You can also pick up some Eel Liver from just in front of the scroll, which can be used to reduce both lightning and Shock damage, which could also come in helpful later on.
Now that he’s out of the way, jump out of the open window and run around the roof to the right. Grapple to the point above you and then grapple again onto the tiled roof, this will put you into a cutscene that leads into the fight with Genichiro Ashina. Things are about to get serious.
Although Genichiro Ashina’s Vitality bar shows two Deathblow markers, there are actually three phases to the fight, and you need to complete all three without dying or you’ll have to restart the whole thing again. That’s a real pain in the arse and it can lead to long periods of frustration, but it’s much easier if you know what you’re doing. To win this fight, you’re going to need to know when to Deflect, when to Mikiri Counter, when to attack, and when to simply get out of the way. This fight is all about causing Posture damage, picking away at his Vitality to make his Posture bar break quicker, and keeping a careful eye on your own Posture bar.
Genichiro Ashina has two weapons – a bow and a sword. As soon as you start the first phase he’ll fire his bow at you from a distance, block this and he’ll come rolling towards you and start swinging his sword at you. He has a number of normal swipe attacks, all of which can be Deflected for some Posture damage, and you can get a few hits of your own in inbetween his attacks to pick away at his Vitality. He does attack pretty quickly, and Deflecting his attacks still causes a lot of damage to your Posture, so it’s imperative that you keep an eye on your own Posture bar and back off if necessary. You’re also likely to experience one of his Perilous/Red kanji attacks early on in the fight.
After blocking a number of normal attacks, Genichiro Ashina will often jump in the air and perform a downward attack with his sword – either dodge or Deflect this attack (if you have enough Posture) and he’ll usually go straight into a Perilous attack. The red kanji symbol will appear and his sword will glimmer, signifying that he’s about to perform a thrust attack. Use your Mikiri counter to stamp his sword into the ground and cause some Posture damage, and then get a hit of your own in too. Genichiro will sometimes use this Perilous attack independently without performing the overhead attack first, so keep your eye out for it at all times and Mikiri Counter it.
On occasion, Genichiro Ashina will slowly ‘wind up’ an attack and then launch into a long, powerful combo – you can Deflect all of this if you have enough Posture yourself, but it causes so much damage to Posture that I rarely (if ever) found myself having enough to deal with it without taking Vitality damage, so I recommend just jumping backwards and keeping out of the way if you see him launching into this move. He’ll be vulnerable when he’s done, so jump back towards him and get an attack of your own in to pick away at his Vitality.
He’ll also fire arrows at you every time you’re at distance or trying to heal; you can block or Deflect these arrows if you like, but I preferred to Step Dodge out of their way as it gave my Posture bar a chance to recover. You also need to look out for his other Perilous attack, which sees him grab you before punching you in the stomach for massive damage. Just jump backwards out of the way when you see him do this, then jump back in and get a hit of your own in.
Don’t back away from Genichiro Ashina too much unless you need to give your Posture bar a break. For the most part you need to stay close to him and be aggressive – take the fight to him and you should deal with him fairly quickly. Follow these tips and you’ll soon break Genichiro Ashina’s Posture for the first time and get your first Deathblow in.
On to the next phase then, and thankfully it’s almost identical to the first. The fight continues straight from your first Deathblow, so go on the offensive straight away. He’ll come back at you with all of the same attacks that you’ve just dealt with in the first phase, so follow the exact same tips and keep being aggressive. He’ll pull out one new trick in this phase in the form of a new Perilous attack where he sweeps his sword around; he usually performs this in place of his thrust Perilous attack following an overhead attack, but he will sometimes catch you off guard and use his thrust attack too, so you need to pay attention to what he’s doing and react accordingly. If he’s starting to sweep his sword around then jump and jump again when you’re above him to perform a Jump Kick and cause some Posture damage, then get an attack of your own in.
Keep at this and his Posture will be broken a second time and you’ll get your second Deathblow in and be taken into a cutscene. Don’t celebrate yet, it isn’t over. The third and most difficult phase is about to begin.
For the third phase, Genichiro Ashina will shed all of his armour and become Genichiro, Way of Tomoe. This is both good and bad – good because we can kill him quicker if we can Deflect and get hits in, bad because he now has new attacks and is deadly as hell. You’ll experience the first of these new attacks as soon as the phase starts, where he dives at you from a mile away looking to cause a lot of damage. Thankfully, this counts as a thrust attack, so some quick thinking and good reflexes will allow you to pull off a Mikiri Counter and get some damage in straight away. He uses this attack at other points throughout the fight too, so look out for it and react accordingly.
His other new attack is his lightning attack, which is an absolute pain in the arse. Remember that stuff about Lightning Reversal right at the start of this guide? It’s time to try and put that into practice. Genichiro will jump in the air and summon lightning into his sword that he then hurls at you. The trick is to jump into the air just as he throws it and press the attack button before you land. This will cause you to ‘catch’ the lightning and throw it right back at him, locking him into a stun that allows you to get a few hits of your own in. Getting the timing of this right is incredibly difficult and will take a lot of practice, and messing it up will lead to almost certain death, so brace yourself for some frustration before you manage to nail it. If you’re struggling to pull off a Lightning Reversal, you can jump or Step Dodge out of the way of the lightning if you can read it well enough, but that’s easier said than done too. Don’t forget that you can also use the Eel Liver to reduce both the lightning and Shock damage that you take.
The rest of his attacks are the same as before, so combining these new tactics with the tactics from the previous phases will see you through the fight. Thankfully, his lack of armor in this phase makes him pretty vulnerable if you’re able to counter all of his attacks, so you’ll finish him pretty quick if you know what you’re doing. I’d advise you not to try and heal throughout this phase of the fight because he’s so aggressive that you’ll just be leaving yourself vulnerable, so try and get through it without healing unless it’s absolutely necessary.
When you do break his Posture, you’ll have to perform two Deathblows one after the other, so pay attention and don’t miss your cue or you’ll have to carry on the fight. Hit the two Deathblows and wipe the sweat from your brow – it’s over.
Defeating Genichiro Ashina will reward you with Memory: Genichiro, which you can use at a Sculptor’s Idol to enhance your Attack Power, your first Ninjitsu technique called Bloodsmoke Ninjitsu, and a bunch of experience.
Time for a cup of tea and a lie down.