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Overview

Historical artwork of Masamune Date.

Masamune Date was an officer and warlord of the late Warring States-era and the early decades of the Tokugawa shogunate. He lived from September 5, 1567 to June 27, 1636, and took over the position of the Date clan daimyo in 1584 upon his father's retirement. As a child, he lost sight in his right eye due to smallpox. He subsequently had the eye physically removed, though it's not clear if he performed the deed himself or had it extracted by a retainer. Shortly after coming to power, he waged war against the Ashina clan, eventually winning in 1589. His attitude toward war and his physical appearance led to his receiving the nickname "The one-eyed dragon." He was also known for wearing a distinctive kabuto helmet adorned with a crescent moon shape on the forehead.

Date would later go on to serve Hideyoshi Toyotomi and participated in the invasion of Korea. Ieyasu Tokugawa granted him control of the Sendai domain, in which Date managed the successful growth of a small village into a prosperous city of Sendai.

Samurai Warriors

Masamune Date has appeared in all entries in the Samurai Warriors series to date. In the first game, he uses a pair of wooden swords as his weapons and features an unusually small character model to emphasize his youth. However, in the sequels, the size of his character is roughly on par with other characters in the game. His fighting style is also changed to make use of a sabre and pistols. In the series, he is depicted as a brash warlord and often crashes battles by attacking two factions that are already in the midst of battle with each other. Date also appears in the Warriors Orochi series.

Sengoku Basara/Devil Kings

Date Masamune is depicted as cool and ambitious samurai who wants to unify Japan. He speaks in a cool manner, to the point that he inserts English words and phrases into his lines. He is equipped with six swords, which he carries three to a hip. He usually fights with just one sword, but on some occasions he fights with all of his six swords with three in each hand. When he is using all six swords he can attack faster and more ferociously but he is less capable of defending himself.

In the games localized under the Devil Kings name, Date's name is changed to Azure Dragon.

In the anime adaption, Date Masamune is portrayed as being very impulsive, often charging straight into battle, with no regard for safety. He is accompanied by his horse which has "ape hanger" handlebars and long exhaust pipes attached to it, like a chopper style motorcycle. Masamune leads his group of warriors from Oshu, most of which look and behave like typical Yakuza. Date prefers to fight one-on-one, often starting battles by issuing the a challenge to the enemy general and having his army stand back to watch and wait. During battles he shown to mainly use only one of his swords, although he will draw all six of them if it is necessary.

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