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Joe Musashi was created by Sega's Noriyoshi Ohba in 1987 and is the protagonist of the original Shinobi series of arcade and video games (Shinobi I to Shinobi III). The Shinobi series is known for being one of the most unforgiving series of games ever and Joe was only capable of taking one hit before dieing. To counter this Joe is given many different forms of attack including: ninjitsu spells, charge attacks, and shuriken tossing.
Joe's mission is to rescue a group of school children in pink pajamas and to topple a crime syndicate known as Zeed by defeating it's powerful leaders, the Ring of Five. With his mission completed and the syndicate brought to its knees Joe hands the name of Shinobi down to his son Hayate and his canine companion Yamato for the arcade spin-off Shadow Dancer.
The evil crime syndicate, now reformed under the name Neo Zeed, draw Joe out of retirement by butchering his Oboro clansmen and kidnapping his fiancee Naoko.
Zeed, thought to have been vanquished 2 years earlier has returned and is being led by "The Shadow Master". Only Joe, the last keeper of the Oboro ninjitsu techniques, can rid the world of their evil for good.
While Joe only appears as the main protagonist in the first 3 Shinobi adventures, he is an unlockable character in the PS2 games Shinobi and Nightshade.