Guardian Ape is found in the Sunken Valley region in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, located just below the Bodhisattva Valley Sculptor’s Idol, which is handy just in case you die a few times and have to retry. Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Like a lot of the bosses in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Guardian Ape is an absolute pain in the arse and is very difficult to defeat, but he is beatable providing you learn his attacks and how to react accordingly, and display patience in waiting for the correct time to attack yourself. He’s also one of those annoying bosses who only displays one Deathblow mark but actually takes two, which is always annoying. Thankfully, I’m here to talk you through every step of the fight. Let’s get started.
The first thing to bear in mind with the first phase of Guardian Ape is that he comes at you fast and from all directions, and I personally think that his attacks are so quick, varied, and aggressive that Deflecting isn’t an option. It’s all about waiting for your opportunity to get some free hits in and working away at his Vitality. Because of that, keeping a safe distance from him is absolutely key, so you need to keep moving. Keep him target locked and sprint around him in circles at a fair distance at all times, this should stop you getting hit by most of his attacks. The second thing to remember is that Guardian Ape is classed as a Beast during the first phase, so your Shinobi Firecracker is your best friend.
Drop into the valley and approach the Guardian Ape, who is sitting with his back to you in front of the cave that he’s guarding. As you get closer he’ll turn his head and look over his shoulder before turning to face you. It’s game time. Don’t run towards him – back off and wait for his attacks.
Let’s start with the Shinobi Firecracker. Using it on Guardian Ape at the right time when you’re in front of him will cause him to fall down in a stunned stance, giving you an opportunity to get some hits in. Other than the more aggressive instances of use which I’ll explain later, use your Shinobi Firecracker defensively. If the Guardian Ape ever gets too close for comfort, drop your Firecracker to stun him. This will temporarily blind him and cause him to stand up on his two back legs before falling forward to the floor. Always run around him in circles when he stands upright as he’ll try and fall on top of you, so you need to keep moving. When he lands, get a few swipes in and then retreat and wait for his next attack. On occasion, attacking him while stunned will cause him to fall back into a second stunned state when he starts to get up, so use this to get another round of hits in if the opportunity presents itself.
The rest of the fight is about reacting accordingly to each of Guardian Ape’s attacks, so knowledge of them is key. Luckily for you, I’ve listed all of them for you below.
Guardian Ape will perform a swipe combo where he swipes with his left arm, then with his right, then rolls over and swipes with his right again before jumping towards you. Just keep sprinting around him slightly out of his reach while he does this move and when he lands you’ll have a short window of opportunity to get one or two of your own hits in before he recovers. This also gives you an opportunity to drop a Shinobi Firecracker and stun him again if you so wish.
He also performs a swipe with his left arm which causes him to lose his footing, which results in him thrashing around on the floor having a mini-tantrum. Run around him again while he does this, but as he’s starting to slow down move towards him and you’ll have a chance to get three or four of your own hits in before he gets back to his feet. It goes without saying, but avoid going near his arms when you close in on him.
Guardian Ape also performs another swipe with the back of his right arm, this time knocking himself into a seated position. It’s tempting to attack him when he does this, but I’d advise you to steer clear. When he knocks himself into the seated position he has two reactions. The first sees him sit there for a second or two (this is where you can get a hit in if you wish) before standing up and, well, farting. If you get caught in his fart (never nice) you’ll take poison damage, so be careful if you’re going for a hit.
His second reaction to knocking himself into the seated position is to quickly turn around and start slamming the ground angrily. You won’t have any time to get a hit in if he does this, and you’re in trouble if he catches you. It’s almost impossible to judge which reaction he’s going to have when he falls on to his behind, which is why I personally advise to just leave him be and keep your distance when he performs this swipe, or you might end up getting caught and having to use your Healing Gourd, like I did below.
If you thought farting was bad, wait until you read this next one. On occasion, Guardian Ape will step forward, squat down, poo in his own hand, and throw it at you. If you see him squatting and doing the deed, just keep sprinting in either a sideways motion or backwards if you think you can create enough distance between you and the turd hurdler. If his projectile dump hits you, you’ll take Vitality damage and Poison damage, so make sure you’ve got some Antidote Powder. When he lands from throwing his turd at you he’ll be vulnerable for a second or two, so get in a hit or two while you’ve got the chance if you’re close enough. If you’re too far away then just leave him be and wait for the next attack.
You’ll have noticed by now that Guardian Ape has a sword stuck in the side of his head (ouch). This can be used to grapple to when given an opportunity. Guardian Ape will let out a roar and the grapple symbol will appear on his head – grapple to him and get a few hits in while he’s slow to react, and then drop a Shinobi Firecracker to stun him and get some more free hits.
Guardian Ape has two Perilous/Red kanji attacks in his first phase. The first is a jumping lunge where he tries to grab you, which is avoided by running backwards. You’ll have a brief window of opportunity to get some hits in when he lands too, so I advise getting a hit in and then dropping a Shinobi Firecracker to lock him into another stun for some more hits. His second Perilous attack is grab that can be avoided by either running backwards or jumping over his arm as he swings it to grab you. You can see both below.
Keep at all of this and you’ll eventually cut his Vitality bar right down so that you can hit that Deathblow, and you shouldn’t have taken much damage either. Please note that you have to hit two Deathblows to end the first phase, so make sure you’re paying attention and hit each one when prompted. Hitting the second Deathblow will see you use the sword that is stuck in his head to behead him, but don’t start celebrating – the job isn’t done yet.
You would think chopping somebodies head off would be enough to finish them, but not in Guardian Ape’s case. After a few seconds his headless body will stand up, pick up his decapitated head and the sword that was previously stuck through it, and come back at you. As you can imagine with somebody who hasn’t got a head, his movement is a bit more random and staggery (is that a word? I’m pretty sure it isn’t), but his attacks are easier to counter, so we should be able to get through this as long as we know what we’re doing.
The first attack to look out for (he usually starts the fight with this) is a lunging attack where Guardian Ape dives forward onto his front and swipes across with the sword. You can Deflect this, but it does a lot of Posture damage and by the time you’ve recovered he’ll be up and away, so I’d advise to run backwards when he dives forward so that the swipe misses you and then run back at him while he’s on the floor and get a couple of free shots in.
His other counter-able attacks are a variety of swipes with his sword, all of which can be Deflected for some Posture damage. Always keep an eye on your own Posture bar when blocking his attacks, as his combo’s are often long and can break your Posture if you’re not careful. If it’s staring to get close to breaking point, back away and give it a chance to recharge and then re-engage.
After unleashing a few of these swipes (and hopefully you’ve Deflected them all), Guardian Ape will often stand up tall and raise the sword into the air in his right arm. This means that he’s about to slam the sword down on you, and it’s our greatest opportunity of the fight. When he slams his sword down, a perfectly-timed Deflect will stun Guardian Ape, allowing you to get around five or six hits in for some serious damage. Don’t get greedy – get your hits in, back away, and wait for the next attack. Performing this stun and getting these hits in is your route to victory in this fight, so make sure you get the timing right.
Other than that, you need to be aware of his Perilous/Red Kanji attacks and avoid them. He has three of them in the second phase, all of which are as follows:
Guardian Ape takes a deep breath (which is clearly visible) before letting out a loud scream. Getting caught in this scream causes both Vitality damage and starts to fill your Terror bar, so as soon as you see him taking a breath just run backwards out of the way. If you do get caught in it, use a Pacifying Agent to get rid of the Terror effects.
His second Perilous attack is one which sees him swipe his sword from right to left over a fair distance. If you see him pull the sword back in his right hand and the red kanji symbol appears then just run backwards and get out of the way.
His third Perilous attack sees him jump in the air and go for a big swipe of his sword when he lands. Thankfully, he hangs in the air for quite a while so you have plenty of time to react – simply run backwards and out of the way when you see him jump and you’ll be fine.
Keep avoiding all three of those Perilous attacks, Deflecting his swipes, and locking him into that stun to get some hits in and you should wear him down relatively quickly and open him up for that Deathblow. Once again, he takes two Deathblows in the second phase so pay attention and watch for the prompt. Hit the two Deathblows and you’ll finally defeat Guardian Ape.
Killing him will reward you with exp, Memory: Guardian Ape which can be used at a Sculptor’s Idol to increase Attack Power, and Slender Finger which can be used to create the Finger Whistle Prosthetic Tool.
You can now grab the Guardian Ape’s Watering Hole Sculptor’s Idol, and the Lotus of the Palace item is found in the cave. Now put your feet up and have a well earned rest – you deserve it.