Tenka Hyakken is a Japanese multimedia franchise. Recently, it was revealed that it will be receiving a short anime series, which is presumably meant to raise its profile in its target market. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Tenka Hyakken:
1. The Name Has Been Translated As “Abundant Heaven, Hundred Swords”
The name of the franchise has been translated to mean something along the lines of “Abundant Heaven, Hundred Swords” in various places. However, since that is a big mouthful, it seems safe to say that interested individuals will continue to use Tenka Hyakken even if the Japanese doesn’t mean anything to them. With that said, while tenka sounds the same as a kind of Japanese ghost light as well as the Japanese rendering of the Chinese concept of tianxia, the version used in Tenka Hyakken has a different second character, thus explaining the different meaning.
2. Runs on Moe Anthropomorphism
Regardless, the Tenka Hyakken franchise pretty much runs on the concept of moe anthropomorphism. For those who are unfamiliar, moe anthropomorphism means giving human appearances to non-human beings, concepts, or other things, with a particular emphasis on characteristics that can be interpreted as endearing from the perspective of an otaku. The basic concept has been popular for multiple decades, which explains much about the sheer range of such characters that can be found in anime as well as anime-adjacent entertainment.
3. Centered on the Mitsurugi
Tenka Hyakken is centered on characters called Mitsurugi. In short, the Mitsurugi are anthropomorphizations of famous or at least relatively famous swords from Japanese history. Some people might be wondering how Japan has enough such swords to support the number of characters that can be expected from such franchises. However, if so, there are a number of factors that have combined to make it possible. For example, the Japanese are known to have named some of their swords. Furthermore, the popularity of swords saw a surge throughout the Tokugawa Bakufu because of the bureaucratization of the samurai, which combined with the romanticization of the Sengoku period as well as end of the Tokugawa Bakufu to ensure that there would be plenty of stories to survive about the prized weapons of various famous individuals. Finally, it should be mentioned that the Sengoku period was in the 16th and early 17th centuries while the end of the Tokugawa Bakufu happened in the 19th century, meaning that there are plenty of records as well.
4. Set 300 Years After the Battle of Sekigahara
Speaking of which, it is stated that Tenka Hyakken is set exactly 300 years after the Battle of Sekigahara. For those who are curious, the Sengoku period came to a conclusion because of three individuals sometimes called the Three Unifiers, who were Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Battle of Sekigahara happened in 1600 because Hideyoshi had died while leaving an infant heir, with the result that his subordinates split into an eastern faction and a western faction. Both sides had Hideyoshi loyalists, but the victory of Ieyasu at the head of the eastern faction ensured that it would be the Tokugawa who went on to found the Tokugawa Bakufu while the Toyotomi heir would eventually be killed at the Siege of Osaka in 1615.
5. Set in Alternate Version of the Meiji Era
In any case, Tenka Hyakken is actually set in an alternate version of the Meija Era that lasted from 1868 to 1912, which corresponds to the reign of Emperor Meiji. This was a very important time in Japanese history, seeing as how it featured the transformation of a backward, isolated country at serious risk of being colonized by western powers to becoming a colonizing great power in its own right.
6. Its Meiji Era Is Written Using Different Characters
On a related note, it should be mentioned that Tenka Hyakken’s Meiji Era is written using different characters with the result that it means something along the lines of “Legendary Rule.” This is wordplay meant to refer to mei, which are the signatures of Japanese swordsmiths on the tangs of Japanese swords. Said signatures are very useful for people who are curious about the origins of Japanese swords, but it is amusing to note that their usefulness is nonetheless limited because people have been producing Japanese swords with fake signatures for centuries and centuries.
7. Had Initial Reveal in Dengeki G’s Magazine
The Tenka Hyakken franchise revealed its initial reveal in Dengeki G’s Magazine. Despite the name, each issue of Dengeki G’s Magazine is huge with more than 300 pages, which can be explained by the fact that the publication covers news about bishoujo games as well as bishoujo game-related entertainment while also serializing some of that bishoujo game-related entertainment. Those who are unfamiliar with the concept should know that bishoujo games are Japanese video games in which the focus is on interactions with attractive girls, meaning that they are very much oriented towards heterosexual males.
8. Not Quite a Bishoujo Game
As stated earlier, the Tenka Hyakken franchise is a multi-media franchise. As a result, it has had manga, novels, and a smartphone game. The smartphone game isn’t quite a bishoujo game, but it is aimed at the same audience, meaning that it shares a lot of similarities when it comes to the general gist of things. This can be seen in how its characters are designed with appearances that appeal to its audience, which are then packaged with traits that various otaku segments find appealing.
9. It Is a Gatcha Game
The Tenka Hyakken game is a gacha game. In short, gacha refers to vending machines that sell capsule toys, so it should come as no surprise to learn that gacha games incorporate a digitalized version of such setups. Gacha games can be very profitable for game companies because the chances of interested individuals getting exactly what they want are very low, thus incentivizing said individuals to spend money for the purpose for buying more in-game currencies. This is particularly true if game companies choose to use game design to encourage this, with an excellent example being offering a large amount of “free” in-game currencies in the early parts of the game before cutting off that flow once the player has become accustomed to spending those in-game currencies on the gacha system.
10. Not Exactly the Most Original Premise
On a final note, it should be mentioned that there are many, many Japanese franchises as well as non-Japanese franchises that are founded on a similar premise. For instance, Touken Ranbu also features anthropomorphizations of famous Japanese swords that fight nebulous enemies, though it is differentiated from Tenka Hyakken in that its anthropomorphizations are male while those in Tenka Hyakken are female.