This is a story about reviving hopes, set in the high-growth period of a fictive country that looks just like Japan. This period is called "Taisho".
Thanks to high growth, technology developed itself rapidly and resources like coal or electricity have been replaced by a new resource called "Guiding ore". This Guidance stone can supply anything. Likewise, it can be used to create "Guiding katana", a special type of blade that can be held by anybody in possession of a special seal.
When a Guiding katana takes the life of somebody, it transforms into a red sword, a "Blood Katana", and thus doesn't need flesh to accumulate Guidance. As a small country, to surpass foreign countries and to protect itself, a war broke out. Basho, the leader of the empire, formed an army of elites to fight neighbor countries. They are called "The Celestial Stems" and are praised by everybody. "This is a privilege to serve and protect one's country and one should sacrifice their life if it helps making the country great and powerful"; such are the words of the Emperor.
However, this dictatorship led the Celestial Stems unit to divide into two factions. At the center of the rebel faction, those against the law established, there's Emperor Basho's own son, Kikyou Saionji.
The rebel army's trump card came true with the completion of 3 fighters named "Shakevolt". Their sword counterparts, Kikyou and his team, made a ritual. The ritual consisted of 3 members wishing to sacrifice their life to become powerful swords.
Kikyou and the others also created Blood Katanas, just like the Empire. But they bitterly regretted it and swore to turn this regret into power and win, no matter what. The soul shaking battle between the anti-imperial organization, the Gekkas, and the Celestial Stems, between justice and evil, is about to begin.
Aircraft n°1 - Kinsenka passengers
Guide: Tsubaki Shinjo
19 years old Zodiac: Kinoe
VA: Sayaka Kinoshita
She was a member of the Celestial Stems, but rebelled against the foolishness of using a sword and revolted against the empire. She killed Sumire, whom she considered her sister, and became a guide of the Blood Katana, which now possesses a soul. In order to cut down on her past mistakes, she renounces her female identity and now dresses as a man.
Guardian: Sumire Asaka
18 years old Zodiac: Kinoto
VA: Mayuko Takahashi
A girl who accepted to become a spirit for Tsubaki. Killed by Tsubaki's hand, she now lives in a Blood Katana. As an orphan, she was raised by Imperial Officer, and her teacher, Hiiragi.
Aircraft n°2 - Kochoran passengers
Guide: Botan Saionji
18 years old Zodiac: Mizunoe
VA: Hana Takeda
She performed the ritual with her big brother Kikyou and stole his life. She was helping the Celestial Stems but since she used to be a princess among the Saionji family, she's not part of the group anymore. Her aviation mastery is gold and she's quite the lively type. She wants to see a world devoid of conflict. She lost her sight when she performed the ritual, but gained in return the power to see Guidance around her.
Guardian: Kikyou Saionji
22 years old Zodiac: Hinoe
VA: Masahiro Yamanaka
His father, Emperor Basho, killed his mother, Sakura. He used to be a top member of the Celestial Stems, but ever since he discovered the truth behind the Blood Katanas, he started a rebellion. To stop all this slaughtering, and to destroy his father who took his mother's life, he offered himself to a Blood Katana and became a guardian. His beloved little sister Botan helped him and thanks to her, Kikyou became even stronger as a spirit than he could ever be as a human.
Aircraft n°3 - Yaezakura passengers
Guide: Shion Kobayakawa
17 years old Zodiac: Tsuchinoe
VA: Yagi Kaori
She saved the life of Suzuran, a girl whose brother Aogiri Sanada (Zodiac: Kanoe) was about to kill her. Together, they escaped the country and met Kikyou. Ready to sacrifice her life, Suzuran offered herself to Shion and created a Blood Katana. Now bound with the blade, Shion lost her youth in return.
Guardian: Suzuran Sanada
16 years old Zodiac: Kanoto
She wants to save her brother Aogiri, who, consumed by madness, is being controlled by the Empire. Her brother and his thirst for blood nearly killed her, but fortunately, she could escape with Shion. She sacrificed her life to become a guardian.
Akai Katana is a side scrolling shooting game. You control a guide in an aircraft, the Shakevolt, and with the help of a spirit guardian, you have to fill up a gauge. When filled, you can become a giant guardian and shoot. Your goal is to defeat the Celestial Stems, the elite army of the Empire.
How to attack
The airplane and the option can fire. By pressing rapidly the shot button, the speed of the airplane increases and the shots become more powerful. That's Defend Mode. When you press the Shot button down longer, the speed of the airplane decreases and the option's shooting becomes more powerful. That's Attack Mode.
With bombs, you can cancel all the bullets on the screen and damage all the enemies. You have a limited number of bombs however. In case an enemy hits you during your last life, you will be forced to activate your remaining bombs anyway.
Once the Guiding gauge is filled, you can switch your airplane to your guardian. As a guardian, the option disapears and the shooting method differs. During this phase, the Guiding gauge decreases little by little. Once it hits 0, you won't be invincible anymore (in Akai Katana and Zetsu Akai Katana, you can only be hit in Attack Mode). You have to press the Soul-shift button once more to switch back to your airplane.
How to play "Akai Katana" and "Zetsu Akai Katana"
[1.First, fill the Guiding gauge up !]
Approach an enemy and hit it in Defense mode or approach an enemy and hit it with your option. This way, you'll gather Guiding items and your Guiding gauge will fill up. You can grab Guiding objects with your option in Attack mode. Once you release the Shot button, all your items will finally be consumed. The more your gauge is filled, the longer the Soul-shift mode.
[2. The danger of Defense mode in Soul-shift Mode]
You can counter every bullet in Soulf-shift mode. No matter how many bullets run into you, you can countershield them. But your shooting is rather weak and some bullets will keep coming at you, so be extremely careful when you run out of Guidance and switch back to Defense mode.
[3. The opportunity of switch to Attack mode in Soul-shift mode]
You can fire a powerful laser while in Soul-shift mode Attack mode. Destroying an enemy with this laser will destroy all the bullets around it, creating a reaction chain and allowing you to gain Score items. Those items will gravitate around you and the more you chain, the more you'll make enemies drop Score items. When Soul-shift mode stops, you'll gather all your items at once. But only one hit from an enemy will cancel Soul-shift mode and you'll be back at Fighter mode and all your items will be destroyed.
[4. In summary]
Collect Guidance Items and go Soul-shift mode. Protect yourself in Defense mode and counterattack your enemies' attacks in Attack mode. In Fighter mode, gather Guidance Items and go Soul-shift mode, and repeat this cycle again and again. The base strategy is to understand this flux and repeat it. You're invincible in Soul-shift mode, so collect your Guidance items carefully in Fighter mode.
How to play "Akai Katana Shin"
[1. Collect Guidance items and Hagane items]
You collect Guidance items in Attack mode and Hagane items in Defense mode. When you gather enough Hagane items, Hagane stocks appear around your ship. Once you gathered enough Guidance items and Hagane items, go Soul-shift mode !
[2. Fire Hagane when in Soul-shift mode]
Let's see what happens in Defense mode after a Soul-shift mode. If you gather Hagane with your airplane, you can make it gravitate around your guardian. In Attack mode, you can transform the Hagane around you into katanas and thus hit the enemy and the bullets before you. Be careful that if the Guidance gauge runs out of Guidance ore, the Hagane will disappear alongside the guardian.
[3. Generate katanas and fire them !]
Attack an enemy in Attack mode and destroy it to create Katana Items. The more you gather them, the more katanas will appear behind the guardian. When Soul-shift mode finishes, all the katanas behind you will run into the direction you're facing, destroy the bullets before them and hit the enemy if it's in the katanas' way. They cause great damage and generate a lot of Score Items. However, if you don't fire the katanas before the Guidance gauge reaches 0, they will disappear alongside the guardian.
[4. In summary]
Use the Attack and Defense mode wisely and collect Guidance and Hagane items. When the enemy's attacks become intense, switch to Soul-shift mode and fire Hagane. Likewise, collect katanas in Attack mode, go Soul-shift mode and fire katanas before the Guidance gauge goes down to 0.
Compared to "Akai Katana" and "Akai Katana Zetsu", there are more attack methods and more opportunities to eliminate bullets when using Soul-shift mode. The katanas are powerful, and you'll definitely make fireworks out of powerful enemies like bosses or strong characters.
About the laser attacks of the enemies
In addition to normal bullets, some enemies fire lasers in a straight line without interruption. Although you can predict their trajectory since the lasers shine before being shot, they may be difficult to avoid and you might get struck between the laser and the bullets, should you retreat. The good news is that this type of enemy doesn't have a lot of life, so kill them quickly.
[1. Being hit by a laser as a fighter]
When being hit by a laser, your Life gauge will deplete, naturally. But if you manage to endure it, in return, your Guidance gauge increases. And that's your chance to kill the enemy ! ...On the other hand though, if you're too confident in yourself, you might be killed before finishing the enemy so...like they say: Better be safe than sorry.
[2. Being hit by a laser during Soul-shift mode]
You can disable lasers. However, in "Akai Katana" and "Zetsu Akai Katana", the lasers will fire back, and in "Akai Katana Shin", you'll get items if you're being hit.
[3. What happens when you destroy a laser shooting enemy ?]
The laser disappears the moment you destroy it, allowing you to obtain a large number of items. If you're fighting a boss, destroying a laser will deplete the boss's Life gauge. The type of items you will get differs for "Akai Katana", "Zetsu Akai Katana" and "Akai Katana Shin", and also depends on the fighter you're using.