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Not to be confused with the similarly spelled Momiji.
177 cm (5'10")
|Dominate Hand:|| |
Taking naps, relaxing in the sunshine
|Favorite Food(s):|| |
Anything Hotaru makes
(especially steamed and simmered dishes)
|Unfavored Food(s):|| |
|Live Action Actor(s):|
|First Appearance:||Geten no Hana|
|Original character roughly based on Sandayū Momochi.|
Naomitsu Momoji (百地 尚光, Momoji Naomitsu) is a secondary antagonist in Geten no Hana. He returns in the sequel as a secondary character. Momoji can be unlocked as a romanceable character by the player's second playthrough of the main story in both games.
Role in GamesEdit
Momoji is the lone successor of his family's craft, one of the three influential branches of the Iga ninja. He had lost his parents and siblings when he was barely old enough to comprehend his surroundings. Despite his personal hardship, he braved his ninja training when he was six years old and, after several years of training and missions, matured to be the finest shinobi of his home. He can use any ninja technique, but Momoji prefers to be an expert with hand-to-hand combat.
When he was twenty-one years old, the village had to lay two of their own to rest. Their lone daughter, Hotaru, wept uncontrollably by their grave. Momoji stood over her and patronized her to cease her crying as the dead won't come back to life. He left her when she insisted on wailing her sorrows until an order from the village elder brought him back. The elder gave him the responsibility of looking after the orphan and teaching her in her parents' absence. Momoji bluntly offered her the choice to either stay there or live as a shinobi. Hotaru stood and chose the latter. As he trained her rigorously through her protests, the pair soon bonded as they lived together. He would be called away for an occasional mission, but Hotaru would always anticipate his return to their home.
Six years later, a lower class shinobi stole an elite ninja scroll from the village treasury. Momoji was the only shinobi who had the expertise of catching him, evading the boy's traps within the forest. He fought the boy and wounded his arm. Before he could retrieve the ninja scroll, an explosion and smoke back at the village halts his movements. Fearing for Hotaru's safety, Momoji reluctantly gave up the chase. The village elder informed him that it was a smoke screen and the boy's final ruse. The elder understands the reasons for the boy leaving and privately requests for Momoji to keep an eye for the scroll's whereabouts later. Punishment for the runaway would have to wait until he finds him again. As per her instructions, Momoji stays quiet about the incident to Hotaru.
In the same year, on his way back home from a completed mission, Momoji experienced déjà vu when he happened to spot a young man crying at a grave. The young man was a samurai noble yet strangely alone and unattended. When Momoji subconsciously came to chide the man to stop his tears, the youth broke down and confessed his every worry to him. As he listened, it didn't take long for Momoji to learn the youth was Nobuyuki, well aware of the Oda's meanderings near their village. The shinobi was compelled to stay near the lad and silently observed his supposed followers turn against him. When Shibata threatened to kill Nobuyuki, Momoji was prepared and had secured measures for Nobuyuki's immediate escape.
Upon seeing Nobuyuki dumbstruck by the sudden betrayal, Momoji was frank and thoroughly explained Shibata's change in judgement for him. The truth struck harder than the shinobi had expected when Nobuyuki became obsessed with murdering Nobunaga. The youth recognized the shinobi's usefulness to him and offered to pay for his services. Momoji accepted the proposal and returned to his village once to report his new mission to the elder. He chose to go without telling Hotaru, not noticing that the girl had tried in vain to chase him when he left. The shinobi serves as Nobuyuki's secret confidant and has lived in a hidden hut near Azuchi Castle. He wears a mask when he is on active duty.
Momoji is vaguely aware of Hotaru's presence when she first arrives to the castle, reporting the news of a rival spy to his master. Choosing to act quickly against the new threat, Nobuyuki orders him to assassinate Nobunaga within the week. Momoji observes the lord's mannerisms and finds his chance to strike after Ieyasu's tea tasting meeting. As he readies to kill the lord with a blow dart, Hotaru discovers him and ruins his cover by throwing a warning kunai near Nobunaga. While the Oda lord and his page are alarmed by the projectile, Momoji sneaks behind the enemy spy and readies to decapitate her. The shinobi immediately stays his hand once he leans closer and recognizes his pupil. Nobunaga hurries towards their location before she can react, forcing them to flee and avoid capture. Momoji uses a smoke bomb to mask his escape.
Players will not see him in their first playthrough until Hotaru receives the mission to assassinate Nobunaga. Since their masters are now allies, Momoji removes his mask and reveals his identity to her. He sees her hesitating to accept her duty the night she receives her final mission, patronizing her to remember their ninja teachings. Nobuyuki has ordered him to be on stand-by, meaning that Nobunaga's fate lies solely in her hands. If Hotaru refuses to throw the fatal kunai in the default route, Momoji will again scold her sympathy and throws his own in her place. He is disgusted when she panics at Nobunaga's injury and disowns her as his apprentice.
Subsequent playthroughs will include supplementary scenes with him and Nobuyuki reacting to the main story events. After he escapes, he reports his failed assassination attempt to Nobuyuki. Rekka boasts the elder is overrated and swears to do a better job. Over the following weeks, Momoji allows the other ninja to do as they please and acts as reconnaissance for the castle patrol. He keeps his past and knowledge about Hotaru a secret from his master and business partners.
After Nobunaga leaves from the castle for the capital, Momoji is the one who infiltrates the gaols to free Nobuyuki, Rekka, and Shigure in most scenarios. He and the other ninja help their master's attack at Honnōji and are present when the temple is set ablaze. When Hotaru finds him at the temple grounds, Momoji insists he is only following his contract when she protests the repercussions of toppling Nobunaga. He comes clean about his lord's inability to rule to her, sharing his opinion that Nobuyuki's life is over even if he should happen to kill his brother. The shinobi remarks Nobunaga may live if he has heaven's favor before disappearing.
During the "Shield of Azuchi" route, however, the sullen Nobuyuki discourages Momoji from freeing him from his cell. He silently leaves his master alone to brood.
Yumeakari takes place after Nobunaga's survival from Honnōji. Momoji had assisted Nobuyuki's rebellion and, after concealing himself and avoiding capture, returns to Iga for the first time in six years. The elder welcomes him and quickly gives him another mission to be a go-between messenger for one of their clients. Since the job has light responsibilities, the elder informs him of the letter she received from Hotaru. Its contents inquire for Momoji's whereabouts and highlights her loneliness without him. Concerned for their star pupil, she entrusts Momoji a secondary task to appease Hotaru at Azuchi Castle.
A few nights after Kanbei and Hanbei's arrival to Azuchi Castle, Hotaru leaves her quarters to train at her usual spot. Momoji tests her awareness by posing as an enemy shinobi, chastising her when he is able to blind and disarm her. He explains his reasonings for being present and instructs her to meet him within the forest to train. Beside herself with glee and relief for his safety, Hotaru embraces and thanks him. Momoji shrugs away her sentiments and underlines that he will not assist her in her mission.
Moments after Hotaru is defeated by the man in the bamboo hat and receives his letter, she is concerned by the implication that her home may be planning to overthrow Azuchi Castle. She visits her mentor to verify its authenticity. Momoji immediately identifies the letter as a forgery made by someone who knows her identity as the Shield of Azuchi. The person made it to confuse her, asserting that his disciple should stay quiet about her discovery. He warns her that the Oda will turn on her if she blurts about the letter without evidence to prove their home's innocence. As a precaution, Momoji leaves to warn Iga of a possible attack and prepare defenses. If Hotaru goes to train in his absence, she will instead face a training dummy.
In the default ending, Momoji's cynicism for samurai becomes a reality and he quickly reunites with Hotaru. Though he is sore over the turn of events, Momoji accepts it and admits that Iga has no chance of winning. They return home and report the news to the village elder. Momoji suggests abandoning the village and going into hiding, a plan which is reluctantly put into place. Quickly after their report, the Oda troops have arrived and have set fire to their home. Momoji is last seen assisting the rear guard to protect the escapees, his whereabouts thereafter unknown.
Hotaru follows her mentor's advice to stay quiet about the forged letter in the majority of the story routes. The Yumeakari ending is the only one she speaks against him, placing faith in her comrades' integrity and their shared dream of peace. Unable to deter her in their bickering, Momoji resumes his normal departure with low expectations for her success. He admits to have misjudged the Oda and her optimism during the second lantern gathering, uttering his praise for Hotaru before leaving Azuchi Castle. Hotaru doesn't hear him; she believes his brief presence at the castle could have been her imagination.
Hotaru feels it's imperative for her to focus on her ninja training the day after her encounter with the masked man. As she trains, she begins to wonder why the enemy spy spared her. She senses Momoji's presence, and he drops down from his treetop perch to chastise her form and focus. He slurs her with the familiar nickname from her childhood before leaving with a warning to not interfere with his job. Suspecting that he could be her mentor, Hotaru keeps up her training in the hopes of once again seeing the masked man. She gradually becomes nostalgic for her childhood beside him as she keeps practicing.
Momoji vigilantly keeps tabs on Hotaru while ensuring that the other ninja do not notice her presence. After Shigure is captured, Rekka tries searching for her and voices his frustrations to Momoji outside the castle. The veteran brushes aside his concerns with a reply to focus on his current mission, remaining passive to the accusation he knows something. When the younger shinobi leaves, Momoji demands for the eavesdropping kunoichi to reveal herself. The kunoichi walks into the open and asks him to remove his mask. Momoji replies he might consider if she can prove herself to him. She chooses to comply, and the ninja engage in a fist fight. Hotaru finds an opening on his left side, but her skills aren't a match for Momoji's perceptiveness. As she lies beaten, he repeats his warning to stay out of his way and leaves.
She rises to her feet moments later and realizes that he had held back. His lecturing and his merciful blows reminds her too much of her master to be a coincidence. Therefore, Hotaru chooses to actively search for the masked man once her strength recovers. Momoji briefly drops from his perch to once again warn her to keep her distance, yet Hotaru doesn't want to give up until she sees the man underneath the mask. After successfully completing a session of personal training, she chases after him in the nearby thicket. He states he is annoyed with her tailing him and uses a smoke bomb to daze her. Then he knocks her out with the blunt side of his blade. An unconscious Hotaru dreams of the day when her mentor left the village, her regret at not trying harder to follow him, and her loneliness with his disappearance. Once she awakens unharmed, she knows she is completely unmatched yet doesn't want to give up on her mentor again.
Brute force and stealth have failed her, so Hotaru believes she should try to approach him with her transformation spells. She transforms into a bird and flies near Momoji. Whilst in this form, she plots to untie the strings for his mask while acting natural. Her winged form doesn't make the task possible, so she transforms into her princess disguise. She attempts to approach him with an invitation to entertain her, dispirited when Momoji insults her bad impression. Hotaru says that his knowledge of her bird and princess transformations is proof that he is from Iga, pleading for him to show him her face. Finally giving into her request, Momoji reveals himself. He is surprised when Hotaru tearfully embraces him moments later and voices her joy for their reunion.
Telling her to part from him, he readies to leave and refuses to tell her his destination. Their past can't change their current allegiances and their missions, something which Hotaru understands. Even so, she voices her wish for them to spend a little more time together. Momoji uses the time to castigate her; if he wasn't fighting her, she would have been dead countless times already. Apologizing on reflex, Hotaru is happy to once again receive her mentor's scoldings and can't bring herself to hurt someone so precious to her. He is exasperated by her sentimentality, yet she lightly protests that he held back in their encounters. Ignoring her observation, the teacher scoffs at his pupil's naivety. He instructs her to stay alive if she wishes for them to reunite again. Since he disappears from her sight for the next four days, Hotaru continues her training to relive her memories with her mentor.
Nobunaga's speech from the casual firefly gathering still remains with Hotaru, distracting her from her training the next day. Momoji reveals himself then, asking if she is becoming empathetic for the conqueror. Once he begins lecturing her again, Hotaru believes he has been worried for her and thanks him for watching over her. He stops himself from continuing, choosing to instead accept her unchanging candidness with her feelings. The smile which he allows on his face causes Hotaru to realize her peaceful days spent beside him are still precious to her. She wonders if Nobunaga's dream of unified peace could someday make her memories a reality.
Rekka is behind bars a few days later, and Hotaru receives her final mission from Mitsuhide to assassinate Nobunaga at the firefly viewing banquet. The kunoichi's hesitation for ending Nobunaga's dream is clear to her mentor. Rather than leaving her to brood on her thoughts alone, Momoji guides her outside the castle for another lesson. He reminds her the requirements for all ninja: to be unfeeling machines for completing the mission. Arming himself with his kunai, he instructs her to think of him as Nobunaga and fight to kill. Hotaru complies and once again finds the previous opening in his attacks. Although he barks for her to be merciless, she instinctively reverses her blade in her strike. Momoji easily catches the weak blow and surmises she would rather cling to her dreams. Hotaru apologizes, yet he warns that her feelings cannot change her mission.
The kunoichi continues to ponder between Nobunaga's dream of peace or her kunoichi duty to complete the mission. Midway the week before the banquet, Momoji approaches her in nightfall and is not surprised to see her undecided. Stating that it is his mission to watch her, he escorts her to the river outside the castle to entertain her mushiness and shares his past meeting with Nobuyuki. After his story, he believes he misspoke earlier when he told her to kill her emotions. Momoji rewords his warning to instead focus on nothing else but her mission. As she absorbs his history with Nobuyuki and his ninja views, she feels morose and requests an embrace to warm herself like they did in the past. Hotaru uses his words against him, so he entertains her wish.
Whilst in his arms, Hotaru is comforted by his scent and smiles for the first time in days. She uses the opportunity to thank Momoji for raising her, stating her life long admiration for him. She believes Nobuyuki must have felt truly happy to have met her mentor. The kunoichi wants to know if he was happy back then too as she now realizes she was quite the burden for him. When Momoji shares his joy to her, she wonders if her mentor felt the same loneliness being apart from her. The shinobi admits he did which pleases her. As she smiles at him, he shoves her away and warns that he might mistake her to be a woman. Hotaru is sheepish by his comment so he returns back to the castle by himself.
Her mentor lifted her spirits, but her internal dilemma continues on the night before the banquet. She strolls the grounds for the banquet in her princess disguise when Nobunaga and Ranmaru discover her. The Oda lord demands to know the reasons for her somber expression, ordering her to speak her honest thoughts to him. Hotaru stutters her curiosity regarding his possible failure to achieve his dream. Nobunaga hushes Ranmaru's reprehensions and deduces she thinks he will stop aiming for his ambition if he doesn't succeed. He proudly responds that no one can predict the future. Working for the dream of peace, he reasons, is more important since moving towards it will still cause something to change. Inspired by his words to believe in the Oda's dream, Hotaru resolves herself to protect Nobunaga and thanks him.
After Hotaru excuses Oito from her quarters, Momoji drops into her room. He had overheard her earlier chat with Nobunaga and figures she is sympathetic to the Oda cause. He agrees Nobunaga may have the potential to unify the land but deems her admiration a distraction in her mission. Hotaru protests his death may mean the end of peace, something even her mentor admits is ideal. He rationalizes with her by stating the grim consequences of going rogue and the countless innocents who have died at the hands of the samurai she respects. When she continues to stammer her belief in the dream of unification, Momoji has heard enough. The shinobi instead informs her that he will carry out the assassination if she can't do it the next day.
Momoji returns to Nobuyuki's side to deliver his report about Hotaru's mannerisms, hesitatingly stating that the plan will proceed smoothly. An assured Nobuyuki rants on the long journey to realize his dream of ending his brother's life. The Oda lord is pleased to hear Momoji's opinion that it is only human to dream small. Nobuyuki brings up a nagging concern he had when he visited Rekka in the gaols earlier the same week. The incarcerated one shared his opinion that Momoji and Hotaru may have some previous connections with one another, an allegation which Momoji swiftly denies. Nobuyuki is satisfied with his answer and excuses him.
On the day of the assassination, Hotaru is resolved to save Nobunaga and fights her mentor atop the designated rooftop perch ideal for throwing the deadly kunai. This time she takes advantage of her mentor's weak spot by using it as the opening she needs to block his field of vision of the banquet below. The shinobi argues that they are powerless to defy the land's fate, yet Hotaru is confident in Nobunaga's words and declares that even someone as soft as her can change the world. When the scheduled signal for the assassination passes, a paranoid Nobuyuki suspects betrayal. He becomes upset at the thought of Momoji throwing his lot with the Akechi kunoichi, losing his temper to an inquiring Ieyasu and unsheathing his sword to strike his brother. Hotaru throws her kunai and knocks the blade from his hands. Momoji immediately flees to avoid detection and Hotaru transforms into a bird to continue observing the scene. Mitsuhide is amused by his kunoichi's spontaneity since he still achieved the results he had wanted. He explains the true motive for his plot to the apprehended Nobuyuki and later to Hotaru when they return to the Akechi manor.
Mitsuhide ends their contract, yet Hotaru is worried about her mentor's plans. She excuses herself from Nobunaga's audience to instead prepare for Momoji's jailbreak, using her transformation spells to remain undetected within the gaols. Nobuyuki is relieved to see his shinobi come to free him, apologizing to his servant for ever doubting his loyalties to him. Before Momoji can break the lock on his cell, Hotaru reverts into her kunoichi form and opposes him. Since they are now in the eyes of his master, Momoji swiftly beats her. A battered Hotaru remains defiant and continues to block the lock, pleading her mentor to stop. He apologizes before immobilizing her with a poisoned needle to her neck.
Hotaru comes to during the same night, unable to move or speak but able to listen to the events around her. Nobuyuki gives his final commands to his ninja. Rekka is ordered to head to Honnōji first and begin preparations for setting the temple on fire; Shigure is to deliver his lord's message to their allies abroad; Momoji is given the task of rallying Nobunaga's discontent vassals to arms. After Rekka and Shigure leave for their assignments, Nobuyuki calls attention to the kunoichi and is aware that she is still breathing. He orders Momoji to finish the job. Both Hotaru and Nobuyuki are surprised to hear him refuse, stating that it isn't necessary to end the life of his precious disciple. His master is too obsessed by the thought of killing Nobunaga to be upset with his shinobi's previous lie, leaving him to make the needed preparations.
Momoji approaches her fallen state and admits defeat, confessing his own wish to live in a world of peace due to her persistence. Even so, he can't bring himself to betray Nobuyuki when the youth has been abandoned countless times already. His explanation of his master's final orders grants Hotaru the power to rise. Momoji chastises her to keep resting since even a weakened tonic is enough to throw off her senses. The kunoichi is determined to keep moving and to protect Nobunaga. Before she leaves, she suddenly embraces Momoji again for a small boost of confidence. She thanks him for being her mentor and flies away.
Although she doesn't have time to provide details, Hotaru reports Nobuyuki's escape and his army march towards Honnōji to a surprised Mitsuhide. Taken off guard by the news, he prepares troops to pursue and entrusts Hotaru with the task of protecting Nobunaga. Hotaru arrives after Nobuyuki's forces and hurries inside to see Ranmaru fighting soldiers and the Oda siblings dueling one another. She interrupts them with news of Mitsuhide's reinforcements. Before she can step into the fight, Momoji holds her back. He insists his obligation to Nobuyuki was finished the moment he had led the troops to the temple, yet assures that he will prevent Hotaru from interfering with the Oda sibling duel. Nobunaga takes delight in the masked man's prowess before promptly ending his fight with Nobuyuki. Ranmaru hurries to his lord's side the moment a wounded Nobuyuki falls, realizing he arrived too late to provide assistance. Nobunaga commands his page to arrest his brother and escapes from the flames.
Momoji takes the tired Hotaru into his arms and escapes after the duel is finished. He advices her to ask for Nobunaga's service if she wishes to protect his dream. Pleased to see her unwavering, he then abruptly tells her that this is their final goodbye for both their sakes. He reasons she can't understand the adult "loneliness" she is feeling and that she can get used to never seeing him again. Leaving her before she can protest further, Hotaru decides to catch up with Nobunaga and request service under him. Mitsuhide's earlier description of her abilities and her independence amuses him so he accepts. As she sees a wounded Nobuyuki being dragged away, she thinks about her mentor and her deeper intimacy for him.
Hotaru returns to her village once to report the news to her elder. Time passes. The kunoichi has completed several missions for her master yet she can't stop thinking about her mentor. One day, during her leisure, Nobunaga catches her sighing and fibs that he should fire her for ignoring him. His jest gets her full attention so he gives her the mission to search for the person most dearest to her, surmising that she must be longing for the masked man from Honnōji. He wants her to at least see the man again, waving away her bashful protests with the condition to convince the shinobi to serve him if the opportunity presents itself. Accepting her lord's blessings, Hotaru flies away in search of Momoji.
She finds him in the forest they once lived and quickly confesses her genuine love for him. Momoji insists she is too young to understand the meaning behind her words, trapped by her childhood neediness for him, and leaves her. Hotaru begins to cry yet remembers her mentor's words from her past to keep moving for her desires. She therefore chooses to pursue him and finds him again at the nearby river. She transforms into a frog and surprises him by embracing him from behind. She insists she won't let go until he at least acknowledges her love and loneliness living without him. This time Momoji gives in and admits his mutual affections for her, which he meant to take with him to the grave. Whenever Hotaru is off duty, she now looks forward to returning to the new home he made for them. As she naps within his arms one day, Momoji voices his endearment for her in soliloquy.
His Yumeakari route has Hotaru adhere to his offer to train with him. She regularly thanks him and reports her daily activities to him. When Hotaru is not around, Momoji secretly pays homage to the incarcerated Nobuyuki by leaving behind horsetail. Nobuyuki catches onto him and, when he is left alone, chides his former shinobi to leave him his favorite dried persimmon next time as his thanks.
Four days after he reunites with Hotaru, Momoji inquires about the recent activity near the castle river. She explains the lantern gathering to him and scoffs at its unneeded flamboyance. Whether Hotaru agrees with him or not can't alter his curiosity for her dream of peace. His disciple has become stronger by working for it, causing him to wonder if their traditional ninja teachings could be dated. He intends to evaluate her new life's worth for future ninja. His words are stringent yet Hotaru takes them as praise for her current efforts. Momoji is willing to chit-chat with Hotaru after their spars, intending to gauge her mental fortitude. One day before their training, the shinobi is late because he had to defeat a wild canine within the vicinity; he warns her to watch herself on her patrol.
An evening after the lantern gathering, Mitsuhide gifts Hotaru with a spare lantern unused from the festivities. Remembering her mentor's praise for her dream of peace, she wishes to share its glow with him as a show of gratitude. Momoji is strangely quiet to her simple gesture so she invites them to remember a time when he comforted from one of her childhood crying fits. She still feels indebted to his kindness since he helped her persevere and find a purpose for herself. Hotaru shares that her time beside him are still the happiest days of her life and dubs her mentor to be the most important person in her life. Momoji cuts off her esteem there and patronizes her to choose her words carefully; he doesn't have tolerance for a misspoken love confession. The kunoichi wonders if she offended him while he disappears.
A week later, when Hotaru comes to train, she brings up her hunch about the current animal attacks and inquires if there is a scroll of ninja magic that can control animals. Momoji remembers the theft six years ago at their village but keeps quiet about it to Hotaru. He inquires about the location of the monkey attack before dismissing the issue as none of his concern. While sadden by the dead lead, Hotaru is invigorated by his words to try harder in her investigation.
Hotaru slips into her princess disguise and walks in the town streets for clues. She is surprised to see Momoji in civilian clothing and calls out to him. He takes her to a secluded alleyway to patronize her to consider her current form; it's too suspicious for a samurai princess to talk to a no-name commoner. Hotaru realizes he came into town because the monkey attack caused him to worry for her and wishes to spend time with him. She adheres to his criticism and disrobes her upper layers for plainer attire. They walk the streets together with his consent.
Their original priority is to investigate the missing monkey, but the ninja are quickly distracted by their merriment being together. Momoji entertains her curiosity for the stalls. Hotaru may protest to being treated like a child if he treats her to grilled tofu. He spots a souvenir shop that has a plate adorned with a bird resembling Hotaru's avian form. While they take a peek at its wares, Hotaru remembers that Momoji once gave her a wooden tiger as a present and fondly treasures the memory he claims to have forgotten. He asks if she would have been happier with the city life and is pleased when Hotaru asserts her value for the days they shared together. The vendor mistakes them to be a married couple and wonders if they are purchasing a tiger themed present for their child. As Momoji ushers Hotaru to leave, the man contests that the Ming consider the feline a protective god for children and that it would be fine gift for any child. Momoji takes off to let her resume her search. Hotaru realizes the mistake the vendor made afterwards and notices Momoji's embarrassment by his tinted ears.
One evening later, Momoji is late for her training so Hotaru waits for him. She reminisces about her childhood when she would often wait for him to return from his missions. When she welcomes him, Hotaru warmly shares her elation being with him in the town and never wants to part with him. Momoji's hopes are squashed when she is ignorant to the deeper implications of her words. He chastises her again, affirming that he can't entertain her childish want to be with him in adulthood. Surprised by his reprimand and swift departure, Hotaru ponders his warnings and wonders if she is romantically in love with him.
In the morning, Hotaru finds herself thinking about her mentor and her feelings for him. Seeking consolation for her dilemma, Hotaru gathers her courage to ask Mitsuhide for advice with romance. She wants to know how she can differentiate fondness from intimacy since she has never experienced the latter. He jests at her seriousness and neglect for her misison before sharing that someone as dense as her will be in love if she yearns for another person's touch. As compensation for his help, Mitsuhide wants to know the object of her affections once she has verified her feelings. Considering his tip as she moves away, Hotaru remembers that she felt lonely when Momoji didn't return her embrace from three weeks prior. She hopes to confirm her proper feelings by meeting her mentor at nightfall.
Momoji is absent when she arrives so Hotaru trains alone as she waits for him. Her mind wanders to a time when she met a boy during her childhood who ran away from her and left behind his copy of Sonshi. Her mentor promised to return it to him to deter Hotaru from chasing after the boy. Before she can ruminate on who the boy was, Momoji drops down and urges her to conceal her presence in the shade of the nearby trees. While he drags her into his arms to silence her, Hotaru's thoughts echoes Mitsuhide's earlier advice and her heartbeat begins to race. The shinobi notices and hides his embarrassment by patronizing her to regain her composure.
The bandit Momoji had tracked nears their hiding spot so they apprehend him. Momoji draws his kunai to kill him until Hotaru's eyes implores him to spare his life. The bandit is knocked out and his pet monkey refuses to leave his side. Hotaru concludes that Momoji must have done this to help her, yet he insists that is a part of his own agenda. Keeping silent about his thoughts, he snubs her to do her job and vanishes. Left without the answer she had sought, Hotaru focuses on fulfilling her duties and improving her ninja abilities for the time being.
Before the martial arts tournament, Hotaru seeks her mentor's company. She spies him lost in thought in a tree and transforms into a bird to observe him. He is contemplating about what to do with Kageroumaru and Hotaru, letting his thoughts slip aloud and perking her attention. Momoji notices her when she reverts her transformation and orders her to mind her business. The kunoichi has realized her true feelings for him and confesses, explaining that she wants to aid the person she loves. Momoji spurns her. Forbidding her return to keep their teacher-student ties, Hotaru realizes she has been rejected by her first love. She fights against her tears and wills herself to complete her mission to protect Azuchi Castle.
Hotaru ruins her Shichisuke disguise by throwing a kunai in public and agonizes over her actions. Fretting the repercussions of carelessness, she eavesdrops on the conference held to determine the Oda's next move. Hotaru is surprised to learn about the forged letter and ninja scroll the patrol have found, accidentally stepping back in her shock and creaking wood. Momoji notices her fault and causes a larger noise from the ceiling to cover for her. While the Oda vassals attempt to inspect his distraction, Hotaru escapes and rendezvous with Momoji on the roof. Fleeing to the forest area together, Momoji elaborates on the events that she had missed. He believes this trap is made by the same person behind the earlier forged Iga letter. Faced with immense stress and appreciating his concern for her, Hotaru begins to cry. Momoji hugs her and tells her to regain her focus.
Once Hotaru stops crying, they begin their strategy to find the true culprit. Momoji demands to be told the details for the first animal attack. Hotaru starts to say during the falconry outing before she remembers what happened to her before the lantern gathering. She thinks the wild canine she encountered coincides with Momoji's warnings, suspecting that they are being collected within a den dug around the castle. In her case, her findings led her to foil the beginnings of a water attack. The shinobi is familiar with another hole he had spotted during his patrol. Rather than reveal his side to her, he directs her to learn the results of the conference while he checks. Hotaru is relieved to hear that Nobunaga has given her time to prove her innocence; Momoji inspects the mountain path and its exits, concluding that the runaway shinobi is responsible for the current case.
Hotaru follows orders to stay put at the manor while another conference is held. Talks continue late into the evening, giving Momoji a free window to enter the Akechi manor. Knowing the foe's true plot, he urges Hotaru to come with him to interrupt the hearings. She conceals herself in his clothing through one of her animal transformations, and Momoji drops into the main keep before the bickering Oda retainers. He silences them by declaring that they have fallen for the enemy ruse, expertly deflecting the two retainers who attempt to cut him down. Nobunaga finally speaks to address the warning. Momoji reveals the precise exit of the hidden mountain path, cautions that the current situation is a tactic set by the enemy, and tells them he is from Iga. The room is out for his blood so he eludes the retainers with a smoke bomb. Hanbei, who sees this as his chance to slip away from the public eye, pretends to chase after Momoji through the smoke. Hideyoshi pursues him but loses sight of his strategist within the castle walkways. Hanbei discreetly paralyzes Hideyoshi with a sleeping drug to prevent his interference.
On the rooftop of the main keep, Momoji shares his doubts that the Oda will believe him. Hotaru reverts her transformation to voice her trust for her comrades, determined to defend the castle by herself. Her mentor is aware of the anger directed towards her and gives her the tools to blow up the mountain tunnel. Mitsuhide and his guards are at the hidden path's entrance when the ninja drop down from their perch, but they are too late to stop Hanbei's feral hounds. One guard falls in his foolhardiness, alerting the patrol to take arms and heed Momoji's directions. Hotaru saves a guard from being poisoned and helps defend the castle grounds. Reinforcements are slow and the numbers seem endless. Mitsuhide inquires if ninja trickery is afoot and, once his hunch is verified, suggests cutting off the source.
Although he knows the one responsible, Momoji is reluctant to leave until Hotaru declares her confidence as his disciple. She confesses her honest fright to Mitsuhide when her mentor disappears, doing her best to defeat the hounds nearby. Before they lose to fatigue, Ranmaru and thirty other retainers arrive to assist. Mitsuhide is certain the situation is under control and permits Hotaru to regroup with Momoji. When she does locate him, he has already beaten Hanbei and hands her the ninja scroll he had been using. Momoji briefs her on the strategist's true past to give her justification for his punishment. He denies Hanbei death by knocking him out, cautioning Hotaru to keep Hanbei gagged to prevent him from biting off his tongue. Presuming that the Oda will be curious about him, Momoji instructs her to tell them he has vanished. Hotaru protests at the thought of receiving all the credit for his deed, but her mentor demeans her sentiments. Momoji acted on two reasons only: to keep Hotaru alive and to settle the score with Hanbei. He leaves Azuchi Castle to report the incident to their village elder.
Nobunaga gives the Hashiba army the same punishment as other routes, yet Hanbei is too weak to travel. Hideyoshi volunteers to go alone while his strategists regain their health and offer tactics from Azuchi Castle. The village elder decides to let the case die and leave the runaway to his new life. Hotaru and Mitsuhide spend a day clearing out the mountain tunnel and hounds, yet the kunoichi doesn't feel proud of the praise the Shield of Azuchi has been receiving. Not only did she not solve the case, she couldn't help the person she loves. Mitsuhide interrupts her mental agony with a summons from Nobunaga. Her master congratulates her and wants to make the masked man who helped him an Oda general.
Momoji has returned to Azuchi Castle and contemplates on his changing perceptions for Hotaru that he kept hidden over the last four weeks. He feels it's only a matter of time before he gives into his attractions for her, unsure of his final decision on the matter as he swims in the nearby river. Hotaru is by the riverbed when he emerges and forcibly dries him with a towel. She passes on Nobunaga's position for him, and he rejects it on beat. He informs her his original mission is nearly over and his plans to continue working in the east. Momoji promises to never again help someone who will threaten the Oda; Hotaru is mulling on the fact he is ignoring her. He restates his contentment with his current lifestyle to assure her otherwise; Hotaru asks if he even wants her. She hasn't given up on her love for him and wants a straight answer from him. If he hates her, she won't force him to keep seeing her.
When she says her feelings for him, he walks away from her. Hotaru chases after him and repeats her confession, noticing his blush even if he tells her to stop each time. Momoji spats that she deserves someone better than him as a deterrent. Determined to get her feelings across, Hotaru challenges him. If she can land a single blow on him, he must concede to listen. He obliges to her dare and compliments her for trying to answer him through hand-to-hand combat. Momoji declares that he will hold nothing back, yet Hotaru knows he is lying based on the force of his strikes. When he floors her a second time, he is concerned when Hotaru doesn't immediately rise to her feet and lowers his guard as he comes near her. Hotaru uses this chance to hug and kiss him. While he is flustered by her underhanded victory, Hotaru responds that she can only give him her heart and wonders if that alone is lacking. Finally caving in to the reservations he had placed on himself, Momoji warns that there is no going back for either of them as he kisses her.
Later that day, Hotaru reports her mentor's rejection regarding his potential post to Nobunaga. She adds that the masked man will always come to Azuchi's aid if the time calls for it. Nobunaga spots her admiration for him and reckons that they are lovers. While Hotaru sputters at his assessment, the Oda lord applauds their union and gives his open permission for her to be with her lover any time she has leisure. Hotaru resumes her duties and writes a love letter for Momoji to Iga. Several days later, Momoji returns from his mission in the east. He drops the Sonshi in his possession at Hanbei's room, leaves dried persimmons for Nobuyuki at his manor, and rests the bird plate from the town stall at Hotaru's window. While the parties appreciate their gifts, Hotaru rushes into the castle town to meet Momoji. As they spend the day together, the kunoichi admits her second dream in life is to provide for Momoji's happiness. She requests for his whims and flights of fancy; Momoji wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life loving her. He states the rest of his endearment for her through soliloquy.
His downloadable scenario takes place on a night after the couple reconcile their feelings. They have finished a training session and Momoji is ready to leave for his next mission. Wanting to spend a little more time with him, Hotaru burns kunoichi incense to ground him. Realizing its immediate effects on him, Momoji tries to excuse himself. Hotaru may come near him to demand an explanation, reveal her loneliness without him, or apologize for offending him. Touched by her honesty, Momoji embraces her. He instructs her to use the incense only on him before chiding her to become self aware of her conduct in the future.
Momoji is a perceptive and rough shinobi who has no delusions about his profession or the era. He should be an unquestioning machine driven to completing the mission and his contract. His employers are not interested in his opinions or his means; only the results matter to them. Death comes to everyone so it's futile to doubt when taking another's life. Breaking a contract and going rogue means a future of being hunted and silenced by the people of his home. Accepting these simple absolutes shaped him to be the seasoned and soft-spoken master of his village. The shinobi knows his place in the world and has long lost his youthful viridity to change it. He focuses on remaining faithful to his teachings to survive the land's wars. In order to accomplish this, the shinobi actively stifles his emotions to concentrate on objective reality. Even so, he may occasionally answer people with deadpan sarcasm.
Hotaru's sympathy and good cheer exasperates him. On one hand, he commonly associates her natural reactions with his failure to teach her the essentials of being a heartless ninja. He barks at her with unfaltering nicknames such as "Spoiled brat", "Sap" or "Doormat" (甘ったれ, amattare) as a means of berating her sloppiness to her duty and her immature dependency on him. Aware that her emotions could possibly cost her her life, Momoji seeks the steady and logical deconstruction of her ideals. On the other hand, many of her innocuous observations and comments perfectly mirror Momoji's hidden emotions. He tries to keep his deepest thoughts to himself or ignores her, refusing to sound hypocritical or adolescent whilst disciplining her. Hotaru remains mostly oblivious to this trait until she reaches adulthood.
When they first met, Momoji acted as the strict and annoyed mentor. She would cry in his arms whenever she remembered her parents, nag at him to do the housework, try to pull pranks on him and whine in her training. Yet he gradually grew attached to her quirks and was happy fostering his pupil. Parting from her was harder for him than he thought; he thinks he was only successful because he didn't say his farewells to her. Momoji still considers her the same "pushover" from six years ago when they reunite again. The shinobi is compelled to keep protecting and disciplining her like he did in their past. It is therefore conflicting for him when he becomes romantically attracted to Hotaru's adult determination and convictions. Her ability to speak against him on equal ground surprises him. While Hotaru isn't bothered by it, Momoji is unnerved by the age gap between them and feels unworthy of her. He insists she would be better off with a man who is guaranteed to live with her. If Hotaru convinces him that she has the same type of love for him, Momoji is truly flattered and moved. He is more willing to be open with her in the original game yet is embarrassed to convey his thoughts honestly in the sequel.
Nobuyuki is his master, so Momoji composes himself with subservient formality before him. His first meeting with the Oda lord reminded him too much of Hotaru; his decision to reveal himself before Nobuyuki was a rare impulse. Momoji feels partially responsible for causing Nobuyuki's emotional collapse after Shibata's betrayal. The shinobi is aware that the noble is much softer than he claims and is inwardly pained to see the young man forcing himself. Yet his contract prevents him from voicing these thoughts aloud to his master. While he claims otherwise, Momoji mainly accepted his servitude to Nobuyuki in order to provide the lonely lad some form of comfort and companionship. He wants to help free Nobuyuki from the traumas of his past. Momoji believes Nobunaga's death will likely not save Nobuyuki, but acting upon the desire can at least fulfill one of the nobleman's strongest regrets in his life.
Momoji's symbolic item is maple leaves, a famous tourist attraction for Iga or modern day Ueno city, Mie Prefecture. The rows of maple trees have stood for generations within the area, admired by spectators since at least the Heian period. Within the same vicinity stands Iga Ueno Castle, one of the castles rebuilt by Tōdō Takatora after the Takigawa clan was dismissed from it. The castle is most famous for housing Iga ninja (in popular folklore) or rioters (plausible historical truth) when it became one of the stations used by Momochi Sandayu to oppose Nobunaga in 1579. Sandayu's alleged fight to the death in Iga –like most other last stands– has been romanticized since the Edo period, and the castle continues to be a recommended spot for ninja enthusiasts to this day. The prominent maple trees standing within the vicinity of his supposed demise led to maple leaves being commonly associated with ninja in various fictional mediums.
The maple leaf has been endeared as a seasonal beauty for centuries in Japanese culture. Traditional aesthetics particularly praise the changing shades of the leaves and how the leaves scatter when falling, tying into the Buddhist philosophies for cherry blossoms except in autumn. The trees were thought to have been named based on the shape of the leaves, which apparently was thought to resemble a frog's foot (kaede). Residents particularly adored the stark crimson of the leaves (momiji) over time and preferred to name the maple after them. Both terms continue to be used today, although momiji is reserved for when the leaves are a vibrant red. Many Japanese locals are so familiar with the leaf's distinct shape in Japan that they call maple found elsewhere "Western maple".
Within the Japanese flower language, the leaves symbolize restraint or self-control, especially if they are still green. Red maple leaves tend to represent nostalgia or cherished memories.
- "Worried I was gone for so long, huh. Came back just now. ...You spoiled child."
- "A shinobi doesn't need a heart."
- "That has nothing to do with the mission."
- "Then let me be the one to cast the first stone."
- "I would say that he's too pure, a feeble man devoured by a land of war."
- "Even a peasant can understand that Nobuyuki is heading down a path of no return."
- "I warned you once before and I'll do it again: do not follow me."
- "You've made progress, but you're still too soft."
- "Stop complaining. This is how the world works."
- "Yo, Student. Ni-no-Maru is surprisingly easy to infiltrate. Even with the traps set in place. The security needs to be redone if you want to keep ninja out. Tell that to Mitsuhide."
- "You win, Hotaru."
- "Hotaru... If the man you believe in... If Nobunaga has Heaven's favor, he will survive this."
- "Momoji! Why, are you here?"
- "Why? Because you ordered it. I should protect you if the worse were to come to pass."
- "Ah, right... You're right. I did say that... I thought you were colluding with Mitsuhide against me."
- "No, never. I protect my contracts."
- "Is that so... It has to be! Forgive me. I doubt you, and this is what became of it. Ah, thank the gods. I was right to hire shinobi for the job."
- ~~Nobuyuki and Momoji; Geten no Hana
|Geten no Hana • Yumeakari|
|Geten no Hana|
|Hotaru • Nobunaga Oda • Mitsuhide Akechi • Hideyoshi Hashiba • Ieyasu Tokugawa • Ranmaru Mori • Naomitsu Momoji • Nobuyuki Oda|
|Geten no Hana Yumeakari|
|Kanbei Kuroda • Hanbei Takenaka|