Shiranui is the wolf heroine who defeated the evil, eight-headed serpent Orochi
100 years before the events Okami
. She was given the name because of her snow white fur. It is revealed that Shiranui was in actuality an incarnation of the sun goddess Amaterasu
, manifesting the full potential of her incredible power. The incarnation of Amaterasu who walks the earth in the modern setting starts off with a fraction of her former power, and will need to earn her strength back.
Kamiki Village had an annual festival in which a maiden was offered to Orochi
as a sacrifice, in exchange for the village's protection. During the night of the festival, a white wolf appeared before Kamiki's villagers, keeping a close eye on them and making sure nobody wandered outside of the village's boundaries. This leads to the people of Kamiki village to believe Shiranui as Orochi's familiar, who comes every night of the festival to take the next sacrificial maiden to the dreaded serpent. Nagi
, a swordsman who claims himself to be the "greatest warrior who ever lived," always challenged Shiranui, but lost every time because of Shiranui's better fighting ability and speed.
That night, the maiden Nami was chosen as sacrifice to Orochi. Enraged, Nagi disguised himself as the maiden to get into the Moon Cave, where Orochi resided. Nagi
went on to face Orochi and fight the serpent with all his might, but his sword couldn't penetrate Orochi's hard skin. As Nagi was about to be killed, Shiranui appears and protects him. Shiranui then fights all of Orochi's eight heads with her powers. In the end, Nagi and Shiranui defeated Orochi, with Nagi dealing the final blow with this sword. But, it came with a terrible price. As a result of receiving wounds from battling Orochi, Shiranui was poisoned. Nagi carried the wolf back to Kamiki Village, but it was too late. The people of Kamiki Village christened Shiranui as a hero and erected a statue of the wolf. This would lead to the game's beginning storyline, where Orochi is released and brings darkness all over Nippon, as well as the reincarnation of Amaterasu from Shiranui's statue.
100 Years Later...
enters the Spirit Gate in the forest of Yoshpet, she and Issun
go 100 years back in time, during the night of the Kamiki festival. Believing Amaterasu to be Shiranui, Nagi attacks her, but he is defeated and knocked unconscious. When Nami is chosen as the maiden of sacrifice, Amaterasu takes this opportunity to steal the maiden's sacrificial robe and put it on the unconscious Nagi so that it won't stray far from the original legend. Carrying Nagi on her back, Amaterasu rushes to the Moon Cave and fights Orochi
. Nagi shows up in the nick of time to deal the final blow on Orochi, matching the original legend when Shiranui and him emerged victorious. However, the real Shiranui appears to save Nagi from a falling boulder; Amaterasu and Issun
escape and go back in the present day.
During the battle with Lechku, Shiranui repays Amaterasu by following her into the future to aid in the fight. They emerge victorious, though Shiranui gets injured as a result. Her mission done, Shiranui goes back in her own time to die of her wounds from the demon Lechku. In the final battle with Yami, lord of darkness, Amaterasu's powers are restored to full power, allowing her to transform into her true form; the same appearance as Shiranui 100 years past, and allowing her to defeat the dark lord and restoring peace in the land of Nippon
Shiranui is also the original wielder of the 'Solar Flare' reflector, which Amaterasu obtains upon retrieving all 13 Brush techniques. The Karmic Transformer #7 also allows Amaterasu to transform to her original appearance as Shiranui after completing the game and starting a new one. The player has to get an 'S' Rank on praise earned to obtain this particular Karmic Transformer.
Male or Female?
Although Shiranui and Amaterasu are mostly considered female, there are also times during the game hinting that they are male. However, this contradicts the fact that Amaterasu is referred to as "mother to us all," further raising confusion to what their genders really are.