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Guan Yu
Dynasty Warriors 9 artwork
Character Information
Force(s): Han
Gongsun Zan's Forces
Cao Cao's Forces
207 cm (6'9½")
Weapon Type: Guandao
Significant Battle(s):
Playable Debut: Dynasty Warriors
Historical Information
Real name:
Guān Yǔ
Chinese name:
關羽 - 关羽
Style name:
Chinese name:
長生 - 长生
雲長 - 云长
It's debated whether or not his style names are a result of a typo in historical records. It's currently accepted that he changed his style name to Yunchang later in his life. Listed to have been born in 162 in the Dynasty Warriors series.
Warriors Orochi Info
Kiyomori Taira Force (Under Kiyomori's spell)
Ma Chao Cadre
Liu Bei Resistance's
Edo Castle (WO1)
Initially available (WO2)
Mt. Dingjun (WO3)
Tedorigawa (WO4)
Character Type:
Power (WO1~2)
Technique (WO3~4)
Personal Item:
The Spring and Autumn Annals
Sacred Treasure:

Guan Yu (onyomi: Kan U) is arguably one of Liu Bei's bravest and strongest generals. Despite his spotty military record and supposed arrogant behavior, he was known to still remain loyal to Liu Bei even in his final days. His Romance of the Three Kingdoms portrayal is known for being a mighty warrior with a studious mind who could cleave apart an "army of thousands with ease." His well-kept beard was famous, and he was nicknamed "Beautiful Beard" (鬚髯) by his peers. Years after his death, he has been dubbed one of the Five Tiger Generals and worshiped as Guandi (関帝, lit. Emperor Guan) or Guangong (関公, lit. Duke Guan), the God of brotherhood, justice and righteousness; thus to this day it is common to see statues of him on altars at various Chinese shops. His historical children are Guan Ping and Guan Xing.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms and other Three Kingdoms fiction portrays him as the noble and dignified oath brother for Liu Bei and Zhang Fei, though it was noted that akin to his historical self, Guan Yu eventually let arrogance get the best of him which caused most soldiers from the Wu kingdom hold to grudge against him and thus bring about his downfall. His fictional children are Guan Suo and Guan Yinping.

Gamecity's Dynasty Warriors 7 character popularity poll has his Dynasty Warriors incarnation at thirty-fourth place out of sixty-two characters and fifty-sixth in the Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends poll. The latest poll for the eighth installment puts him in fifty-first. The character poll for overseas fans puts him in third place for the Shu division and twelfth in the semi-final round.

His character's height in Kessen II is 185 cm (6'1").

Role in Games

"What is it that you desire, warrior of yore?"
~~Nobunaga; Warriors Orochi

Dynasty Warriors

Guan Yu is a powerful general who is considered to be a hero in each kingdom. He meets and joins Liu Bei during the Yellow Turban Rebellion and follows his lord in the Allied Forces. In most titles, he and his brothers duel Lu Bu while at Hu Lao Gate. Following Dong Zhuo's downfall, Guan Yu is eventually separated from his brothers and is often captured by Cao Cao. Momentarily serving his new master until knowing his brother's whereabouts, he decides to repay the kind gift Cao Cao gives him at Guan Du and has special quotes if he cuts down Wen Chou and Yan Liang. If he spots his brother in Yuan Shao's army, Guan Yu will lay down his arms and retreat.

Tied by his oath he has to Liu Bei, a few games depict him leaving Cao Cao and journeying through five passes to reunite with his brothers. A few titles also has Guan Yu reinforce Liu Bei's flight at Chang Ban by guarding the boats for their escape. While his brother leads a campaign against Liu Zhang, Guan Yu is left to guard Shu's foothold in Jing Province. Aside from a few select scenarios, he often dies in Jing Province at Fan Castle.

In Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends during Diaochan's musou mode, it is the only time where Guan Yu appears in later stages without Red Hare, due to never being gifted it by Cao Cao and Lu Bu still being alive, rather, riding a generic white horse.

His Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends details his defense at Xia Pi. Surrounded by Cao Cao's army and his men's morale faltering, Guan Yu fights to protect the horse carriage holding Liu Bei's wife. He attempts to cut open an escape path for them while simultaneously braving the enemy's attack. As his generals try their best to keep the castle's gates sealed, Guan Yu may need to ring the castle's gongs to keep foes from over flooding the inner walls. Upon realizing that their ideal routes are blocked, he orders the carriage to proceed through the castle's water gates and flee towards safety in the north. Zhang Liao appears once the carriage is escorted, offering an official plea for Guan Yu's surrender. He accepts on the condition that he could leave once he hears news of his brother's safety.

Guan Yu, a notable figure in Dynasty Warriors 5, served in the front at Si Shui Gate. Liu Bei, in recognition of their service at Hu Lao Gate, is granted the lands of Xu. However, their peaceful existence is disrupted when Cao Cao launches an attack. Guan Yu is separated from his brothers and eventually captured by Cao Cao. However, when he witnesses Liu Bei fighting alongside Yuan Shao's army at Guan Du, he decides to abandon Cao Cao and reunite with his brothers. In his escape, he takes Liu Bei's wife with him. Despite his actions, Guan Yu carries a sense of guilt for slaying Cao Cao's guardsmen, as he deeply appreciates the kindness shown to him by his former master. Although he desires to apologize someday, he repays his debt to Cao Cao by allowing him to escape from Chi Bi. As the Three Kingdoms take shape, Guan Yu becomes the protector of Jing Province, defending it against the forces of Wei and Wu. This eventually leads him to confront Cao Ren at Fan Castle in an attempt to achieve his dreams alongside his sworn brother, Zhang Fei, as one of the Five Tiger Generals.

The oath brothers share a Legend Mode together in the Xtreme Legends expansion, and it depicts their first meeting at Lou Sang Village. Guan Yu went to the village based on a rumor of a virtuous man being there, but is surprised to see the villagers under attack by the Yellow Turbans. As he saves the innocents, he meets Liu Bei and convinces Zhang Fei to see the former in a better light. Driving the rebels away, he swears to join the two men from then on. Guan Ping and Xing Cai share his other Legend Mode at Mai Castle. With the castle's defense crumbling from Cao Ren and Lu Meng's siege, Guan Yu and his son fight bravely in the face of defeat. He guards his son's leave from the front lines with hopes that the youth can gather reinforcements.

Guan Yu's ending scene in Dynasty Warriors: Online has him and the player share a drink underneath a grove of peach trees. While making an oath of brotherhood with one another, a sudden breeze scatters the peach blossoms around them, causing Guan Yu to deem the event as a positive sign. Pleased with what they just saw, he vows to preserve the peace with his newfound sibling.

In Dynasty Warriors 6, Guan Yu joins the imperial draft to suppress the Yellow Turbans and search for a noble lord. He becomes friends with Zhang Fei and meets their leader, Liu Bei. Guan Yu defeats Zhang Jiao and is approached by Liu Bei. Guan Yu asks Liu Bei about his intentions for the land and is pleased with his virtuous answer. The trio decides to stay together and Liu Bei declares them as brothers. Guan Yu's talents catch the attention of Cao Cao at Hu Lao Gate. Cao Cao tries to persuade Guan Yu to join him. Later, when Liu Bei stays with Cao Cao, Cao Cao demands a trade. He will lend troops to Liu Bei only if Guan Yu stays with him. The trade is made and Guan Yu remains with Cao Cao. Despite being in Cao Cao's domain, Guan Yu remains loyal to his brothers. After serving at Guan Du, Cao Cao realizes he cannot change Guan Yu's mind and allows him to return to Liu Bei.

Guan Yu does not know his brother's actual whereabouts, but he reunites with Liu Bei before the Battle of Chi Bi and fights against Cao Cao. With the Three Kingdoms formed, Liu Bei leads a campaign in Yi Province. To protect his brother and the future of Shu, Guan Yu and his son designate themselves to be protectors of Jing Province. Confronting Fan Castle, Guan Yu's army claims the position for Shu. Following the battle, a worried Liu Bei rides to their side on the belief that Guan Yu would have needed help. Both brothers are glad to see the other alive and well. With Wu the first to fall from the wars, Guan Yu joins the final showdown against Wei at Wu Zhang Plains. The land is under Liu Bei's reign after their victory, and Guan Yu is made the Commander of the army. Though there is no more need for armies or wars, Guan Yu honorably accepts the title to preserve the land's serenity.

In Dynasty Warriors 7, Guan Yu fights with his oath brothers against the Yellow Turbans to protect helpless villagers, and later joins Yuan Shao's coalition army to defeat Dong Zhuo. At Sishui Gate, Guan Yu kills Hua Xiong, showing everyone how great of a warrior he is. Afterwards, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei accompany Liu Bei as he wonders the land and fight alongside him in the Battle of Xu Province. After Lu Bu betrays Liu Bei by stealing Xu, Liu Bei allies with Cao Cao to defeat Lu Bu. In the Battle of Xiapi, when Liu Bei laments how their flood attacks will destroy the people's crops, Guan Yu assures his brother that the people will be happy once Lu Bu is gone. He also gains Cao Cao's interest and defeats his rival, Zhang Liao. Then, as Liu Bei hesitates with his orders from the emperor to kill Cao Cao, Cao Cao steals Guan Yu from him as well as Xu Province. In the Battle of Guandu, Guan Yu fights under Cao Cao, which causes Yuan Shao to turn on Liu Bei and accuse him of treachery. However, Guan Yu betrays Cao Cao and returns to his sworn brother to keep his oath.

During the battle of Chibi, Guan Yu is sent by Zhuge Liang to help Zhao Yun in taking down Cao Cao, but Guan Yu allows Cao Cao to escape as he cannot find it in his heart to do so. Guan Yu then heads for southern Jing to defeat Han Xuan, but finds that Han Xuan has been killed by Wei Yan, and the people immediately surrender. Huang Zhong pleads for Guan Yu to spare the people and to do whatever he wants with Wei Yan and himself, but Guan Yu does not hurt anyone and shows mercy, stating that Liu Bei will take care of all of them.

When Liu Bei decides to attack Chengdu, Zhuge Liang entrusts Guan Yu to take care of Jing Province while he goes to aid their lord. Guan Yu and his sons, Guan Ping and Guan Suo, attack Fan Castle but are soon surrounded by enemy forces. Guan Yu and Guan Suo escape to Mai Castle while Guan Ping stays behind and dies. During the escape, Guan Yu is injured by an archer. He encounters Lu Meng and learns that Wu had betrayed Shu for their own gain, which Guan Yu finds unforgivable. Near a river cliff, they are cornered by enemy troops. Guan Yu sacrifices himself by pushing his son into the river and stays behind to fight, resulting in his death.

Guan Yu's first Legendary Battle depicts how he returns to Liu Bei after he leaves Cao Cao, having to fight through several Wei forces to do so. His second Legendary Battle is the Battle of Mai Castle, where he and his sons must fight a horde of Wu forces to stay alive.

Dynasty Warriors Next begins with Guan Yu meeting his future oath brothers at Lousang Village. His feats from the previous title are repeated except he tries to flee with Liu Bei at Xiapi. He briefly agrees to serve Cao Cao's army until he learns his brother's whereabouts in the next chapter. Xiahou Dun leads troops to pursue his desertion, yet the brothers safely reunite to enact Xu Shu's strategy at Xinye.

Guan Yu's fate at Fan Castle depends on the scenario. In Wei's chapter, he is on the verge of cornering Cao Ren's men but is caught off-guard by Wu's reinforcements. He perishes in a duel with Pang De. Wu's chapter has him claim the castle but be overwhelmed by the combined forces against him. Lu Xun delays his escape long enough for Lu Meng to slay him. He also appears as one of Lu Bu's personal rivals in the latter's own scenario. He and his sons prevail against their enemies in Shu's chapter, yet he is concerned how Wu's betrayal will affect Sun Shangxiang's mental state. Guan Yu later opens a path for the main army at Xuchang and celebrates their victory with his brothers in this scenario's ending.

In Dynasty Warriors 8, Guan Yu reprises his role from the previous game. However, if the player fulfills certain requirements before the battle at Fan Castle, Pang Tong and Xu Shu will reinforce Guan Yu and save him from death. Reporting his victory and Wu's betrayal, he later appears among the reinforcements at Luoyang, praising Guan Xing and asking him to swear an oath of brotherhood with Zhang Bao. He lives in the hypothetical ending with his family and allies.

In Wu's hypothetical route, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei receive a letter that falsely accuses Sun Shangxiang of betraying Liu Bei and returning home to fight him, leading them to attack Wu at Jiangxia. When Lu Xun clears up the misunderstanding, they are attacked by Wang Yi, who is responsible for setting them up so she can defeat them. Making amends with Wu, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei work together with them to repel the Wei forces. In the end, he joins his brothers in attending a banquet held by Sun Quan.

In Wei's historical route, Guan Yu will actually stay behind until the conclusion of the Battle of Guandu, and will also be present in sparing Cao Cao at Chibi, before finally fighting Cao Ren at Fan Castle. In the hypothetical route, he will assist Liu Bei's escape at Nanjun and will die when Wei forces breakthrough Baidi Castle.

In the expansion, Guan Yu still plays various pivotal roles in both Shu and Wei's expanded stories. In Shu's story, Guan Yu accompanies his brothers and Sun Ce in their campaign against Lu Bu. His personal contribution is defeating Lu Bu for the first time when he rides out. He appears much later in the final confrontation against Cao Cao at the Wuzhang Plains. In Wei's story, Guan Yu will appear at the altered Fan Castle, and will be slain if enough damage is done to the Wei army. If he survives Fan Castle, then he will fall back to Mai Castle with the Wei forces hot on his tracks, and he will eventually be slain. He also appears in a fictional scenario at Xinye, where he pushes on after his victory at Fan Castle. In Wu's story, he appears among his brothers' forces at Xu province, defending it against Sun Ce and Lu Bu.

In Lu Bu's story, Guan Yu will appear at Hulao gate, piquing the interest of Lu Bu and Zhang Liao. In the historical route, he will appear beside Liu Bei at Xiapi after the city is lost. Although he and his brothers attempt to retake it, they are forced to relinquish control to Lu Bu. After being relocated to Xiaopei, Guan Yu joins the attack against Yuan Shu at Shouchun, but chooses to turn against Lu Bu after the battle, and defies him at Xiaopei. He is present with his brothers in the final showdown at Xiapi, witnessing Lu Bu's death. In the hypothetical route, he will appear as one of Xu Province's defenders against Cao Cao. Like his brothers, he turns against Lu Bu at Chang'an, but is defeated.

In Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed, Guan Yu is the second most relevant figure in Shu's scenarios after Liu Bei, with his role in Fan Castle reprised. One mission has the player protect him from hordes of Wei and Wu soldiers as he recovers from a poisoned arrow injury.

During Guan Yu's bond story, his slaying of Hua Xiong catches Cao Cao's attention. Though the warlord attempts to recruit with him various gifts, Guan Yu chooses to remain faithful to his brothers, eventually cutting his way through numerous foes to rejoin them.

When Wu seemingly invites him to a banquet for peaceful negotiations regarding Jingzhou, he sees through their ploy and comes alone as a sign of mockery to the hosts. To add insult to injury, he subtly uses Lu Su as a hostage to ensure his own safety during the party. Guan Yu's growing arrogance is later used against him by Lu Meng who lulls the warrior into a false sense of complacency by faking reports of his illness. Cornered by both Wei and Wu, he cannot help but feel powerless in this age of chaos.

Acting as a wanderer in Dynasty Warriors 9, Guan Yu volunteers for the Yellow Turban Rebellion in the hopes of finding a worthy master. While his services earn him the attention of Sun Jian and Cao Cao, his loyalties are found with Liu Bei, whose simple desire to protect the people moves the warrior. Only after the rebellion, however, does Guan Yu find that the government is horribly corrupt. Though they aid Gongsun Zan and the alliance against Dong Zhuo in slaying the tyrant, his death only leads to many other warlords fighting and squabbling among one another.

Attacked by Cao Cao for defending Tao Qian, Guan Yu and his brothers are able to hold long enough for the conqueror to withdraw. Their hospitality and kindness, however, backfire, as the sheltered Lu Bu takes Xiapi and the rest of Xu Province from Liu Bei. With little choice, they find sanctuary with Cao Cao at Xuchang. Flooding Xiapi and killing Lu Bu, the province is once again returned, but Guan Yu warns his brother that Cao Cao eliminates any that stand against him, even innocents.

The joint forces of Cao Cao, Liu Bei, and Sun Ce later take out Yuan Shu after he tries to declare himself Emperor via the Imperial Seal. With Cao Cao invading Xu Province to prepare for the upcoming battle against Yuan Shao, Liu Bei and Zhang Fei flee north, while Guan Yu stays behind to stall their escape. Meeting Zhang Liao, Guan Yu is persuaded by his friend to live on and temporarily join Cao Cao's forces. After Guandu, Guan Yu leaves his lord to rejoin Liu Bei, and they successfully escape, gaining additional officers in Zhao Yun and former Yellow Turban Zhou Cang, who was impressed with Guan Yu during the Yellow Turban Rebellion and asks to become his disciple, which Guan Yu accepts. Lacking a strategist, Liu Bei employs Xu Shu at Xinye, but the man is forced to leave for the sake of his mother after their victory.

Though Xu Shu is gone, Zhuge Liang takes his place and Guan Yu helps achieve victory at Bowanpo, Changban and Chibi. However, during Cao Cao's retreat from Chibi, Guan Yu and Zhou Cang, despite serving as an ambush unit on Cao Cao's escape to Jiangling, let him pass due to Guan Yu being reminded of the debt he owed Cao Cao from serving him at Guandu, though Guan Yu warns this is the last time he will show mercy because of his former time serving under Cao Cao. As Wei and Wu are preoccupied with each other, Liu Bei seizes the opportunity to take the four counties of the south of Jing Province. Though they are successful, this drives a rift between them and Sun Quan, especially after Liu Qi's death.

To placate Wu, during a meeting with Lu Su, Guan Yu returns Guiyang and Changsha to Wu, but requests holding onto Wuling and Lingling until after Shu and Wu capture Hanzhong and Hefei respectively. Lu Su accepts, but warns Guan Yu that there are radicals in Wu who would rather take Jing Province back by force if all four counties are not returned soon. Guan Yu then takes Zhou Cang with him to reinforce Liu Bei as he attacks Hanzhong to oust Cao Cao from it, trusting that Guan Ping can watch over Jing Province in their absence until they return.

Upon returning to Jiangling from the Hanzhong campaign, Guan Yu, supporting his brother, leads an assault on Fan Castle to maintain Shu's control in Jing Province with his children and Zhou Cang until Liu Bei returns everything to Sun Quan and Wu, allowing Guan Yu to return to Chengdu. However, there is concern between Guan Ping and Zhou Cang about Wu betraying their alliance after failing to take Hefei while Shu succeeded with capturing Hanzhong. Additionally, Lu Su had passed away, leaving the more volatile Lu Meng as his successor. Nonetheless, Guan Yu goes ahead with the attack on Fan Castle to clear the way to Xuchang.

Flooding the Wei army, Guan Yu accepts Yu Jin's surrender, but this move only increases the need for more supplies. Knowing that accepting the surrender was a costly move, Guan Yu remembers that doing so was also for his brother's compassion and his own code of honor. After seeing his children's growth, Guan Yu swears to bring the world of compassion to reality. In the end, betrayed by Wu, Guan Yu joins Zhou Cang and Guan Ping as they help cover the retreat of their allies, and the trio fight to their last together.

Word of their deaths is delivered to Liu Bei and Zhang Fei by Guan Xing, Suo, and Yinping, and devastated over their deaths, Liu Bei plans a retaliatory strike against Wu in revenge.

Guan Yu's death differs based on which kingdom's Story Mode it takes place in. In Shu's, Guan Yu, Guan Ping, and Zhou Cang go down fighting against the enemy forces together, while in Wei's, surrounded by Wei archers, Guan Yu remains defiant until Xiahou Dun arrives to tell him it's over. Explaining that everything he's done up to now was in the name of humanity, Guan Yu has no regrets for what he's done. As he and Xiahou Dun prepare for a final strike against each other, when they clash, Xiahou Dun deals the fatal strike to the God of War, who exchanges one last goodbye with Dun before collapsing and passing on. In Wu's, Guan Yu is confronted by Sun Quan, Lu Meng, Lu Xun, and Zhu Ran after being surrounded by the Wu infantry. Accepting defeat with dignity, Guan Yu sits down and asks that Lu Meng be his executioner. Lu Meng grants Guan Yu's last request and ends the life of the God of War personally before Sun Quan's troops celebrate their victory as Sun Quan claims Guan Yu's weapon.

In Fa Zheng's DLC scenario, Guan Yu is rescued when Fa Zheng leads reinforcements with Zhang Fei. Through this, Guan Yu outlives his original death, and he participates in the campaign against Wu as payback for their betrayal.

In Lu Su's scenario, Guan Yu and his family are rescued by both Lu Su and Lu Xun, and the pair implore their lord to drop their grievances and work together against Cao Cao. Convinced by their sincerity, Sun Quan agrees and apologizes to Guan Yu thus renewing Wu's alliance with Shu. A grateful Guan Yu is then invited to help the Wu attack on Hefei as the Wu forces were still frightened of Zhang Liao from their previous defeat. Afterwards however, just when his section of Jing along with Jiangling were being assaulted by the Wei forces after Lu Su and co. managed to liberate Xu Province, the lot rush back to help Guan Yu's forces to drive back Wei in unison for a final assault on Chang'an and Luoyang.

Warriors Orochi

Guan Yu is one of the generals forced to serve Orochi in Warriors Orochi. To assure his brother's safety, he and Zhang Fei often side together in battle. He and Zhang Fei are eventually stationed at Edo Castle when Zhao Yun's resistance moves in on the castle. Though it is revealed to be a trap laid by Da Ji, Zhuge Liang's betrayal allows the Shu forces with Zhao Yun to capture her. After both Guan Yu and Zhang Fei explain themselves, Zhuge Liang responds that killing Liu Bei at this point would only turn him into a martyr to his men, and this eventually convinces both Guan Yu and Zhang Fei into joining Zhao Yun.

During one of the Gaiden stages, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei attempt to make amends by attacking Dong Zhuo's army at Mikatagahara. Thanks to surprise reinforcements from Zuo Ci and Xiahou Dun, the pair are able to defeat the tyrant's army.

In Warriors Orochi 2, Guan Yu remains in Shu with his brothers, Liu Bei and Zhang Fei. When Zhang Fei notices the forces of Lu Bu approaching at Nagashino, Guan Yu asks to be the one to battle. Zhang Fei replies that he saw Lu Bu first, and Liu Bei agrees to allow Zhang Fei to lead the force to attack Lu Bu and asks Guan Yu to guard the main camp. Later, at Jia Meng Gate, when the Shu forces are against Kiyomori, Liu Bei allows Guan Yu to take the lead since he was asked to stay behind in the previous battle. In the battle, Dong Zhuo sets fire to the main Shu camp and Sun Wukong sends forth phantom soldiers. Guan Yu is then reinforced by his old friend from Wei, Zhang Liao, who helps in dispatching the sorcerers who control the phantom soldiers. During the battle, Guan Yu is also able to dispatch Sun Wukong's doubles with ease.

He shares two dream mode scenarios. First is with Kenshin and Xu Huang to rescue Ieyasu's army at Mt. Qi, among his part rescuing Ina. Second is with Xiahou Dun, and Lu Meng at Odawara Castle. Despite all three being on shaky terms with each other, they all cooperate to save Liu Chan from the Toyotomi attack led by Hideyoshi. His personal contribution to the battle is rescuing the various isolated generals scattered by the attack.

Following the years after Orochi's second defeat, Guan Yu fought in the name of his brother to pacify various riots throughout the land. He was attacked by the serpent forces at Fan Castle and subsequently placed under Kiyomori's spell; becoming one of the serpent army's mindless pawns. His earliest story appearance is at Mt. Niutou where he is attacking his own son, Guan Suo. When Toshiie and company travel to the past at Mt. Dingjun, he is beaten back to his senses. Grateful for their assistance, Guan Yu joins the coalition.

When Da Ji later directs the coalition to obtain Liu Bei and Ieyasu's allegiance, Guan Yu and company return to the past to confront Yangping Gate. Accepting his younger brother's tantrum, Guan Yu is the one who explains the coalition's reasons for allying with Da Ji at the end of the conflict. He later helps gain Cao Cao's allegiance by assisting the attack on Fan Castle.

In Ultimate, he, No, Taigong Wang and Zhang Fei are suddenly attacked by his youngest son's forces and soon finding out that the cause is a fake Bao Sanniang that manipulated Guan Suo. In the Mirror realm version, Taigong Wang advises the general to fake his own death to lure out Guan Suo. Once Guan Suo is successfully convinced to lay down his arms, the two move to attack the impostor Bao Sanniang.

He is later among the forces sent to Fu Xi's past to secure an unbroken Divine Mirror. He meets Yinglong and helps defend the mystic realm from Kyūbi's army.

Guan Yu and Zhuge Liang's forces were separated from Liu Bei's forces when the worlds were distorted again in 4. By pure chance, the pair spot Xu Shu engaged with Sima Yi and Masamune Date at Tedorigawa and help secure victory against the Date-Wei army.

After rejoining his brother, Guan Yu engages some of his children at Hanzhong, with Guan Xing and Guan Suo refusing to divulge their true motives. It is later learned that Liu Shan had been captured and was used as a hostage to secure the services of the Shu officers. Hoping to rescue the prince, Guan Yu joins Yukimura in leading the diversionary force against Zhao Yun and Athena. When Liu Shan is rescued and arrives on the battlefield, the Shu officers turn and join the Coalition. Guan Yu also accompanies his brother when they rescue Cao Cao's forces at Nagashino.

Dynasty Tactics

This game features a unique cutscene in which Zhang Fei believes Guan Yu to have betrayed Liu Bei by serving Cao Cao of Wei. The brothers fight until Guan Yu convinces Zhang Fei that the former was captured by Cao Cao. After, the brothers charge into the ranks of Cao Cao and successfully repel his forces.

Should Guan Yu be stationed alongside Zhuge Liang in Fan Castle, he will be persuaded by the latter to have his daughter marry Sun Quan's son to help ease tensions between Shu and Wu. This event prevents his historical death from ever occurring.


Guan Yu is a starting character for Shu in Kessen II. Like the novel, he is one of Liu Bei's oath brothers and a fearsome general in battle. He is probably the fastest unit in Liu Bei's army and rides Red Hare into battle (though it's never mentioned how or where he obtained the horse). He was the one who encouraged his brother to fight for Diao Chan. Early in the game, he also helps with his brother's policies and battle planning. He's an old friend of Zhang Liao and the two once fought over a woman ten years in the past. However, Guan Yu let his friend win the bout and the woman married Zhang Liao. He has a lifelong fear of frogs, a fact that Zhang Fei jokes about during one of his drinking binges. He's implied to also like his friend, Mei Sanniang, and will declare plans to avenge her if she's routed.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, Guan Yu is distinguished as the most overall complete officer among figures specialising in War, with his overall personal stat total being among the highest in the series. Guan Yu is primarily distinguished by his extraordinary War stat that lands consistently in the high 90's, dwarfed only by Lu Bu and his brother Zhang Fei while his Leadership also places in the higher 90's and is often the highest among all figures associated with Shu. In reference to his good reputation, Guan Yu possesses a high Charisma stat in the lower 90's making him a good candidate for recruiting free officers while his Intelligence lies in the mid-70's and Politics falling in the mid-60's. Guan Yu's specialisation in War and Leadership renders him one of the best generals to be deployed on the field while his good Intelligence allows Guan Yu to avoid the significant weakness to enemy ploys and traps that other militarily-oriented officers can suffer from.

The fourteenth instalment in the series gives Guan Yu the unique character trait, Divine General which increases the Assault and Defense stats of all nearby allied units, rendering any army led by Guan Yu a significant threat when deployed for battle. Guan Yu's unique battle tactic, War God inflicts significant damage to nearby enemy units as well as increasing the morale of all nearby allied units by a large amount.

The fictional what-if scenario for the fourteenth instalment, "The Han's Loyal Retainers" has Guan Yu serve as the primary officer of Dong Cheng's faction after the attempt to rescue Emperor Xian from Cao Cao's hands goes awry and results in Liu Bei's death. Having retreated to Luoyang, Guan Yu is accompanied by Liu Bei's two wives, Sun Qian and Mi Zhu while Zhang Fei has gone into hiding. The power-up kit for the fourteenth instalment also has Guan Yu lead his own faction in the fictional "A Dance of Heroes" scenario. Based in Luoyang, his faction is composed of his personal retinue from Shu as well as figures who either were friends with or coveted Guan Yu's services including Cao Cao, Zhang Liao and Xu Huang.

Character Information

Guan Yu 15th Anniversary Artwork (DWEKD)

Shin Sangoku Musou 15th Anniversary artwork.


Guan Yu is a stalwart general who firmly believes in justice and virtue. Normally calm and benign, he stands with an air of noble dignity and has respectful manners. A man who also excels in literary studies, he gains many admirers from each kingdom with his might and has earned the nickname "God of War/Army God". In the Asian script, he speaks in an archaic tone befitting a warrior.

His indomitable loyalty to his brothers is his first and foremost duty in life. He will not abandon either one of them and treasures each one with unfaltering confidence. He acts as the calm advisor to Zhang Fei and as the faithful middle brother to Liu Bei. Guan Yu calls them different forms of "Brother", but he is known to sometimes call Zhang Fei by his full name or his style name. Before they swore brotherhood, Guan Yu had already thought highly of Liu Bei and called him "Lord Liu Bei". He acts as a good father figure for his children, and he may become self-sacrificing for their safety.

He gains new friends during his time in Wei, some of whom include Cao Cao, Zhang Liao, and Xu Huang. In a few titles, Guan Yu's courage can even make his enemies at Fan Castle praise him. The attention he gets as one of the land's greatest warriors doesn't suit Xiahou Dun very well, though Guan Yu bears no ill will towards the former and has always considered the one eyed general to be one of his good friends.

Despite this however, one trait that sticks with Guan Yu tends to be that his honor can easily backfire into making him rather stubborn towards specific situations at hand, which in later Musou Warriors installments, makes it the focal point of why he adamantly refuses to compromise with the Wu forces in regards to the affairs of Jing Province.

During the Warriors Orochi installment, Guan Yu is recognized and respected by some of the Samurai Warriors cast as a God of War, such as Kenshin having his legacy embedded deep into their history as well much to his surprise, as well as Tadakatsu, Magoichi, Gracia, Toshiie Maeda and Kanetsugu Naoe in 4.

Character Symbolism

Guan Yu's characteristic appearance in Three Kingdoms fiction draws inspiration from his description in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. He towered over others at a height of nine chi (approximately three meters or ten feet in modern conversions), had a well kept beard that was two chi long (about 48 cm or 1'7" in modern conversions), and he had a crimson face like a matured date. It became a popular image for his appearance in Taoism and as the basis for male leads in Beijing opera and for the many statues of him seen in modern day.

His beard is famed to be particularly beautiful in the novel, impressing all that gazed upon it during his duels. The famous mention of his hair is when Cao Cao glimpsed at the general's decapitated head. While speaking his marvel for his departed friend, the mouth of Guan Yu's head opened and its hairs spiked on their ends. The sight terrified Cao Cao to the point he fainted, but he praised the general nonetheless and had it buried with honors. Based on this tale, Guan Yu is often seen wearing some sort of headwear to cover his hair. However, in the sixth Warriors title, Guan Yu's hair is left uncovered.

His trademark weapon in Three Kingdoms fiction is a yǎnyuèdāo (literally a weir moon blade) often nicknamed as a "guāndāo" (関刀) in ode to his iconic usage of it. Guan Yu's yanyuedao is famously named as the Qīnglóng Yǎnyuèdāo (青龍偃月刀, lit. Azure Dragon Weir Moon Blade), which is commonly translated as the "Green Dragon Crescent Moon Blade". Within Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Guan Yu received the famed blade after swearing his oath with his brothers. Its weight is 82 catties which is the equivalent to about 18 kg or 39 pounds, often deemed to be an impractical weapon to be wielded until later revisions of it were made. Despite Guan Yu's association towards it, a majority of historical records show that the blade itself was not in development until the Song Dynasty, making its usage a fictional anachronism at best; historical records also note Guan Yu to have wielded a halberd/ji instead via mentioning his attacking motions, which is his base weapon set in the third and seventh installments.

According to legends regarding the weapon's creation, Guan Yu asked a blacksmith to merely forge him a rare sword without any particular specification. The blacksmith pounded a blade out with a greenish-blue tint, carefully forging the steel with several blows. As it neared the finishing touches in the furnace, a strange phenomenon occurred. The blade suddenly shot out a beam of light and hit the sacred green dragon in the heavens. Its blood forged the long hilt and carved out the crescent shape for the blade. As the frightened craftsmen fled, Guan Yu observed the area and claimed the famed long blade for himself. Other legends state that a dragon's blood was frozen over the blade, and it was named after its white-blade as Lěngyànjù (冷艷鋸, lit. Cold Glazing Saw). Originally taken by Pan Zhang in the novel as a spoil of war upon Guan Yu's execution, Guan Xing eventually bested him and claimed the blade back to rightfully inherit it during the battle of Yiling.

Legends of his weapon personifying itself as a spirit are known to appear in Chinese literature; by this proxy within Koei's titles, Green Dragon Crescent Moon Blade is often affiliated with the Azure Dragon of the East due to Japanese conceptions of the "green/blue" character. Defeating Seiryū in Nobunaga no Yabou Online randomly awards the player this weapon, which is also a part of Koei's tradition to have the long blade appear in non-Three Kingdoms related titles.

In the Japanese version of Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires, Guan Yu is given the nickname of "The God of Battle" while the English version changes it to "The Impregnable Wargod of Shu" or "The God of War." As a ruling general in Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, he calls his five greatest warriors the "Five Blue Dragon Generals."

Divine dragons continue to form the namesake for Guan Yu's weapons in the Dynasty Warriors series, which may refer to his divine status as Guandi as there are Chinese legends of dragons being tied to sovereigns. His fourth and level 10 weapon are named after Huanglong while the original and localized names of his fifth and level 11 weapon are named after Shenlong, the latter being one of the nine traditional types of dragons in Chinese mythology that possesses five fingers instead of four who also shares the aforementioned Qinglong's color of green/blue.

The dragons named in his Skill (Bailong) and Strength (Heilong) weapons are considered opposites within the Five Elements. They are said to share an antagonistic relation with one another.

The original name of his personal item in Warriors Orochi is the Chunqiu Zuoshiyun (lit. "Spring Autumn Zuo Family Tradition"), which is better known as the Zuo Zhuan, which was specifically an in-depth documentary on the original Spring and Autumn Annals by Confucius. According to legends surrounding Guan Yu, this was his favorite book to read and study. Though in an ironic sense here is that supposedly, historical texts have stated that Guan Yu was not one to enjoy being around scholars.

Voice Actors

  • Yasunori Masutani - Dynasty Warriors series, Warriors Orochi series, Dynasty Tactics series, Sangokushi Koumeiden (Japanese)
  • Douglas Kirk - Dynasty Warriors 2 (English)
  • Sin Seong Ho - Dynasty Warriors 2 (Korean)
  • Peter Barto - Dynasty Warriors 3 (English-uncredited)
  • Xu Jianchun - Dynasty Warriors 3 (Chinese)
  • Lee Jae Yong - Dynasty Warriors 3~5 (Korean)
  • Claus Brockmeyer - Dynasty Warriors 3~4 (German-uncredited)
  • John Snyder - Dynasty Warriors 4 (English-uncredited)
  • Marc Alfos - Dynasty Warriors 4 (French-uncredited)
  • Crispin Freeman - Dynasty Warriors 5 (English-uncredited)
  • Liam O'Brien - Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends & Empires (English-uncredited)
  • Dave B. Mitchell - Dynasty Warriors 6~8, Warriors Orochi 1~2 (English-uncredited)
  • Brian Brathwaite - Dynasty Warriors 9 (English)
  • Ding Zhang - Dynasty Warriors 9 (Chinese)
  • Song Joon Seok - Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed (Korean)
  • Beau Billingslea - Dynasty Tactics 2 (English-uncredited)
  • Steven Blum - Kessen II (English-uncredited)
  • Hideyuki Hori - Kessen II, Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series (Japanese)
  • Jamieson Price - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (English-uncredited)
  • Park Seongtae - Romance of the Three Kingdoms: The Legend of Cao Cao (Korean)
  • Masaya Takatsuka - Romance of the Three Kingdoms 12 (Japanese)
  • Takeshi Ohba - Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 (Japanese)
  • Tsuguo Mogami - Sangokushi Legion (Japanese)
  • Katsuyuki Konishi - Shin Sangokushi (Japanese)
  • Takaki Ootomari - Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV (Japanese)
  • Ringo Yoshioka - Sangokushi Heroes
  • Motsu - Youkai Sangokushi (Japanese)
  • Hiroshi Shirokuma - Sangokushi Hadou, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Japanese)
  • Masahiko Tanaka - Sangokushi Three Kingdoms TV series

Live Action Performers


See also: Guan Yu/Quotes
  • "Zhang Fei! You aren’t making a fool of yourself by getting drunk on the train, are you?"
  • "It is a tremendous honor for me, Zhang Liao, to fight at the side of the great Guan Yu!"
"No, I have heard yours is a name feared throughout the land. It is I who feel honored."
"Then the time for words is past."
"Indeed, let our weapons do our speaking for us!"
~~Zhang Liao and Guan Yu; Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires
  • "Surely these acts repay the debt my brother owed you. Master Cao Cao, I will return to my brother's side."
"Will you not stay with me? Do you know where Liu Bei has gone?"
"Red Hare and I shall roam the land. If we follow the smiles of the common folk, we will find my brother!"
"I am unable to sway your mind? Farewell. May your duty never be more than you can bear."
~~Guan Yu and Cao Cao; Dynasty Warriors 6
  • "I still have a long way to go in my training. What can I do to become more like you, Master Guan Yu?"
"You cannot perfect the art of war by following me. You must travel your own path."
"I should search for my own inner strength. Is that what you mean?"
"I have nothing more to say. It is time to let our skills in battle do the talking."
~~Xu Huang and Guan Yu; Dynasty Warriors 8
  • "What a wonderful beard you have. And you know what they say about men with beards..."
"What are you, a pogonologist?"
~~Okuni and Guan Yu; Warriors Orochi
  • "Hey there, like the beard. Bet the girls love it too, huh?"
"Silence, fool! You just wish you could grow one."
~~Keiji and Guan Yu; Warriors Orochi 2
  • "Would the brave generals of Wei, Xiahou Dun, Zhang Liao and Xu Huang, happen to be your nemeses?"
"I would consider each of them my equal, but we are not connected as you are to Master Shingen. One day, I hope to find a rival so great that when we meet in battle, we reach new heights together."
~~Kenshin and Guan Yu; Warriors Orochi 3
  • "Hahaha! You there, with the big flowing beard! You've got a fine weapon there, now haven't you!"
"Big flowing-- do you mean me? Indeed, this is my Green Dragon Crescent Blade. A weapon of considerable heft, it was forged specifically for me."
"Humm, yes, I see. It is very nice. I understand why you have such pride in your voice when you talk about it. Now then. How about handing your pride and joy over to me?"
"Hummm. You appear to be a follower of some kind of religion, but in truth you are a bandit of some kind?"
"Say what you like. This is what I live for. All the gods aligned couldn't stop me from collecting my weapons."
"If you want this one, you will have to take it by force. That will be no easy task, I assure you."
~~Benkei and Guan Yu; Warriors Orochi 4
  • "Lord Cao Cao gave me his word upon my surrender that if I discovered the whereabouts of my brother, I could return to his side. If he breaks his word, I will just fight my way out."
~~Guan Yu; Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII
  • "We were once outlaws and were scorned by everyone! That changed! That day I decided I would do anything for Brother Liu Bei!"
~~Guan Yu; Kessen II


See also: Guan Yu/Movesets

Dynasty Warriors 9



Keys: Square Flow Attack • Triangle Reactive Attack • Circle Musou X Jump/Mount

Guan Yu is affiliated with the crescent blade in this title. When equipped with it, Guan Yu can perform the following unique attacks listed below.

Unique Attacks
Unique Flow Attack Finisher: Enemy Standing + Square Square Square Square: Guan Yu's finisher has him send out a tornado by twirling his weapon in an overhead manner. Foes struck by this attack will be flung into the air.
Unique Trigger Attack: R1 + Triangle: Delivers a slanted rotating swipe to lift nearby enemies off their feet, setting them up for an aerial flow attack.
Special Technique: R1 + Circle: Reaps blade forward to the lower right, causing it leave behind a trail of dark red streaks. Based on Guan Yu's second EX attack (C6-EX) from the last installment, but is imbued with the slash element.
Musou Attack: Circle: Unleashes several hefty spinning-outward slashes in a row while moving steadily. Guan Yu then finishes the assault by briefly stroking his beard and delivering a fiery diagonal slice that causes a fire tornado to erupt in front of him, setting nearby foes aflame. The initial repeating motion is taken directly from Guan Yu's old Musou attack from past games before Dynasty Warriors 6 while the finisher takes cues from the more recent titles (a combination of Heavenly Gale and Stormy Rage).
Aerial Musou Attack: X Circle: Spins in mid-air before striking the ground with a fierce vertical slash, producing a pillar of lightning that sends groups of enemies flying. Based on Guan Yu's Ascending Dragon Musou Attack from the eighth game.
Horse Maneuvers
Summon Horse: L2: Summon horse to the battlefield. Holding L2 as the horse approaches will allow the character to automatically mount them.
Auto-Run: Riding Mode + L2: Automatically runs towards a specified destination. If a destination has not been set, the horse will instead run towards the location of the player's currently selected mission.
Sprint: Riding Mode + Direction + R1: Causes horse to run at a faster pace. Doing so depletes their stamina each time.
Jump: Riding Mode + Direction + R2: Causes horse to jump high while running.
Horse Fast Attack: Riding Mode + Square: Performs a fast and seamless attack while mounted. The attack itself varies depending on what type of weapon is equipped and whether the enemy is grounded or airborne.
Horse Trigger Attack: Riding Mode + Triangle: Performs an attack that sends enemies flying into the air. May vary depending on what type of weapon is equipped.
Horse Musou Attack: Riding Mode + Circle: Causes horse to sprint by consuming Musou instead of stamina.
Dismount Horse: Riding Mode + X: Dismounts from horse and resumes default fighting stance.
Bow Maneuvers
Shooting Mode: 🡻: Pulls out bow and assumes archery stance. Can be cancelled by tapping 🡻 again.
Switch Arrows: 🡸 or 🡺: Switches between different types of arrows.
Bow Attack: Shooting Mode + Square: Fires current arrow at a target. Can lock on targets by tapping R3.
Lower Bow: Shooting Mode + X: Lowers bow while squatting down.


See also: Guan Yu/Weapons

Dynasty Warriors 8

Guan Yu still uses the crescent blade as his default weapon in this title.

Historical Information

Guan Yu Ming Dynasty Painting

Ming Dynasty Painting

Early Life

Guan Yu’s birthdate is historically unknown, but his place of origin is recorded as from the Xie County. From his youth he had shown an interest in the Zuo Zhuan, which he would recite from. Early into his life, Guan Yu committed a crime and fled the district to Zhou region. While there, the Yellow Turban rebellion broke out. Wanting to join into the fight, he joined forces with Zhang Fei and Liu Bei, forming a brotherly bond with the two. They primarily served under Zou Jing, earning the rank Major of Separate Command.

Yunchang followed Liu Bei to Xu province after the rebellion was destroyed. When Liu Bei blost the province to Lu Bu, Guan Yu accompanied him to plead with Cao Cao for aid. In order to elect his serves, Liu Bei and his brothers had to submit to serving Cao Cao, during which time Guan Yu and his brothers served with a cautious eye. Eventually Cao led a force against Lu Bu and defeated him, gaining the province back.

In Cao Cao's Service

Wanting the land back, Liu Bei killed Che Zhou along with Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, seizing back Xu providence. Unfortunately for them, Cao Cao responded to this move leading his armies once again to Xu province against Liu Bei’s army. During the confusion of his elder brother’s defeat, Guan Yu was captured by Cao Cao’s forces. Although a general of the enemy, Cao Cao had long admired Guan Yu and sought to win him over to his side.

To this end, Gaun Yu received numerous gifts from Cao Cao, including getting him the rank of Lieutenant General from the emperor. While under the service of Cao Cao, Guan Yu formed a friendship with both Zhang Liao and Xu Huang, the former whom Cao Cao used to sound out Guan Yu’s faithfulness to his lost lord. Upon learning from Liao of Yu’s desire to leave, Cao Cao found himself only more respectful for Guan Yu’s ability. The Wei leader eventually sent Guan Yu to Baima to fight Yuan Shao’s forces with Zhang Liao. During the battle against Shao’s forces, Guan Yu spotted the general Yan Liang and slew him. Having paid Cao Cao back for the gifts and learned Liu Bei’s whereabouts, Guan Yu took his leave from the Wei leader, leaving all his gifts behind him. When the other Wei officers wanted to give pursuit, they were ordered to refrain, as Cao Cao could only feel respect for Guan Yu’s loyalty.

Guarding Jing Providence

Back into Liu Bei’s ranks, Guan Yu joined him with Liu Biao until Cao Cao’s forces drove them further south. When fleeing at Changban, Guan Yu provided the fleet for escape for Liu Bei. He would also assist in Chibi and the follow up capture of Jing province.

Later, when Liu Bei wanted to capture Yi province, Zhuge Liang recommended Guan Yu remain behind to guard Jing province from Wu or Wei capture. Guan Yu followed these efforts successfully in the following years outside of deteriorating relations between Wu and Shu when he refused to marry his daughter to one of Sun Quan’s son. He also met some trouble in the fight between his forces and Lu Meng’s forces, who he was unable to repel and required a compromise of yielding a few counties to keep his hold over Jing province.

Battle of Fan Castle

In 219 CE Guan Yu decided to follow Liu Bei’s success at Hanzhong with an assault on Fan Castle. At first, he met with success in his siege, using the downpour of rain to destroy the reinforcements led by Yu Jin to defeat him and his army. He captured and spared Jin after he begged for life and executed Pang De when he refused to surrender. However, the table would begin to turn on him when Xu Huang came with further reinforcements and broke the encirclement of Fan castle. When learning Xu Huang led the forces, Guan Yu asked him why he would attack his old friend, to which Huang replied it was an affair of the state and not personal.

Adding to Guan Yu’s troubles, the Wu forces had secretly allied with the Wei forces, who offered them Jing for their efforts. Thus Lu Meng was able to sneak his army up behind Guan Yu undetected, partly due to Yu’s subordinate officers Mi Fang and Fu Shiren defected to Wu out of fear of future punishment by Guan Yu (though Mi Fang in particular still had a grudge towards Liu Bei for abandoning one of his concubines who happened to be related to Mi Fang closely). Now caught between two armies, Guan Yu attempted to reach his home base, but found the Wu forces in command and in control of his army’s families, provoking most to desert him. Guan Yu attempted to withdraw to Maicheng, but was cut off by the Sun officers Zhu Ran and Pan Zhang, who captured him and executed him with his son, Guan Ping.

After his death, Guan Yu’s head was sent to Cao Cao, who chose to honor him with full burial than to bring disrespect on the officer of Shu.

Other notes

Via some records such as Chen Shou's writings, he was noted that Guan Yu's personality was known to be that of one who often gave into flattery, while also being over-confident in his skills via evidence of a poor military record. It was from there that others have argued that Cao Cao merely put Guan Yu in a position without any interference by him during the campaign against Yuan Shao, and that Guan Yu simply left of his own accord. He was also recorded to be angry and upset that Huang Zhong shared a rank akin to his (whom Guan Yu deemed as a nobody at the time).

It was also noted that some historians have pointed out that Guan Yu's personality also lead to poor leadership overall, resulting in his defeat at Fan Castle (and in some debates, leads to solid reasons of why many of his soldiers defected). Another notable record that lead to his defeat at Fan Castle was what Guan Yu had done to enrage Sun Quan; first was to bad mouth the ambassador that offered a political marriage between one of Guan Yu's daughters with one of Sun Quan's sons, while the other was that he was forced to raid Wu's nearby supply depots for extra supplies for his recruits at Fan Castle. These two deeds were the final straw that caused Sun Quan to order Lu Meng to move against Guan Yu at Fan Castle via a pincer attack with Wei (since they had just established independence after the battle of Ruxukou).

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Guan Yu Romance of the Three Kingdoms Portrait

Guan Yu from Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

"Peerless indeed was our Lord Guan Yu, of the latter days, Head and shoulders stood he out among the best; Godlike and terrible in war, elegant and refined in peace, Resplendent as the noonday sun in the heavens, Haloed as are the noblest of those early days, He stands, the brightest model for all ages, And not only for the strenuous days he lived in." – Chapter 77 of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Early Years

Guan Yu appears first at the very beginning of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, swearing his famous oath of brotherhood with Liu Bei and Zhang Fei in Zhang Fei's peach tree garden. Being the second oldest, Guan Yu is appointed second brother of the three, with Liu Bei taking the lead of the trio. He immediately accompanied his two brothers into battle against the Yellow Turbans, slaying Cheng Yuanzhi in his first encounter, cutting the man in two with one blow. Guan Yu continued to serve under Liu Bei throughout the Yellow Turban Rebellion, following his elder brother as a guard after the rebellion was squashed alongside Zhang Fei.

In Chapter 5, Guan Yu accompanied Liu Bei to join under Gongsun Zan against Dong Zhuo, receiving ridicule from Zan for not holding an important office. Yu bore this insult and others silently until he announced his intentions to slay Hua Xiong, offering his head in replacement for failure. Having convinced Cao Cao, one of the lords in this coalition, to support his efforts, Guan Yu has his victory wine poured before he leaves, returning after his battle with Hua Xiong's head before his wine had even cooled. He later joined his brothers at Hulao Gate in holding back Lu Bu with their combined might.

After the defeat of Dong Zhuo, Guan Yu continued to follow his brother, fighting for Gongsun Zan against Yuan Shao and helping Taishi Ci save Kong Rong from Guan Hai, whom Guan Yu personally slayed. By chapter 11, Guan Yu helped Liu Bei break the siege around Tao Qian's fortress. He also encouraged his brother, vainly, to accept Tao Qian's offer to give Xu Province over to Liu Bei.

Guan Yu stayed by his brothers' side as Liu Bei does eventually gain governorship over Xu Province. He strongly disagreed with the presence of Lu Bu in their army, but submitted to Liu Bei's will. In chapter 14, he accompanied Liu Bei in attacking Yuan Shu's forces, which are led by Ji Ling. They clash for 30 bouts without a clear victor before both withdraw. The next officer to issue forth in challenge, Xun Zheng, is also met in combat by Guan Yu, who promptly slew him with a single blow. He would accompany his brother in the combined assault against Yuan Shu, putting down the warlord with enough audacity to declare himself emperor.

When Lu Bu seizes the lands from Liu Bei, Guan Yu remains true to his brother, fighting stoutly to defend against Gao Shun and Zhang Liao's assault when Lu Bu eventually turned on Liu Bei. Although scattered, he rejoined his brother in the offensive against Lu Bu, engaging both Gao Shun and Zhang Liao's forces to help defeat Lu Bu.

After the defeat of Lu Bu, Guan Yu accompanied his brother to the capital with Cao Cao for his rewards in his efforts in destroying Lu Bu. During their time at the capital, Yu joined Liu Bei, Cao Cao, the emperor, and many other court officials on a hunt. During this hunt Cao Cao disrespected the emperor, provoking Guan Yu to approach the future Wei leader with the intent of cutting him down. Liu Bei stopped Guan Yu, his reasoning being at a later time that he did not want to risk the emperor's life for the sake of one rebel.

In chapter 21, Guan Yu once again joins his brothers in assault on Yuan Shu's forces, this time utterly decimating his army. Afterwards, Guan Yu killed Che Zhou, Cao Cao's replacement governor for Xu Province, to the land for Liu Bei. Although Liu accepted the role back, he feared such actions would provoke Cao Cao into attacking.

By the following chapter, Liu Bei's fears came true as a vanguard sent by Cao Cao approached the brothers, falsely bearing the banner of the prime minister. Guan Yu volunteered to learn if Cao was truly present. When the officer Wang Zhong appeared, Guan Yu lifted him from his saddle and took him hostage, allowing Liu Bei to learn about the ruse.

Despite these early victories, Guan Yu and his brothers are separated from one another in the following assault by Cao Cao in chapter 24. Guan Yu found himself isolated due to his service as protector of Liu Bei's wives. Drawn out of the city by trickery, Guan Yu is forced to hole himself up on a hilltop outside Xiapi. Zhang Liao brokered surrender from Guan Yu, convincing him of the importance of continuing protecting Liu Bei's wives over dying in battle.

Although persuaded to surrender, Guan Yu stoically issued three criteria for him to willingly surrender. Guan had three conditions before he would surrender. His first was to officially surrender only to the emperor and not Cao Cao, his second was Liu Bei's two wives would be well cared for and unmolested, and his third requirement was he be allowed to return to Liu Bei once Guan Yu learned he still lived and where he was located. Cao Cao reluctantly agreed to Guan Yu's conditions, secretly plotting to keep him in his service through bribery.

In service of Cao Cao

"Fortune dealt a stunning blow, still he played his part; Partitioning his dwelling proved his purity of heart. The crafty minister desired to win him to his side, But felt that failure was foredoomed however much he tried."

Cao Cao quickly implemented his bribery plan for Guan Yu, organizing extravagant feasts and lavishing him with gold, servants, and valuable items. However, Guan Yu consistently redirected these gifts to his sister-in-laws. Among the presents, three exceptions stood out. Firstly, Guan Yu received a superior tonic to replace his worn-out green one, which he concealed beneath his old robe. Secondly, he was given a silk bag to neatly hold his massive beard while riding into battle. Lastly, he was gifted the renowned horse, Red Hare, previously owned by Lu Bu. During this period of service, Guan Yu was honored with the title of General Who Serves the Hans and earned the nickname Man of the Magnificent Beard from the emperor.

Concerned about Guan Yu's loyalty, Cao Cao dispatched Zhang Liao, an officer who had formed a friendship with Guan Yu, to ascertain his intentions. Guan Yu admitted that he still intended to leave as soon as possible but wanted to repay Cao Cao's kindness first. He seized the opportunity to fulfill this favor during the battle of Baima against Yuan Shao's forces, where he single-handedly killed the formidable general Yan Liang. This heroic act earned him the title Lord of Hanshou. To fully repay his debt, Guan Yu also slew Wen Chou, who sought revenge for Yan Liang's death. After accomplishing these feats and spotting Liu Bei, Guan Yu decided to depart with Liu's wives, leaving behind his treasures and the seal of office bestowed upon him by Cao Cao. He chose to keep only Red Hare.

Guan Yu's Journey back to Liu Bei

Guan Yu's departure saddened Cao Cao, but he could not bring himself to order pursuit in chapter 27. Despite being allowed to leave in peace, Guan Yu faced trouble at several of the passes along the way back to Liu Bei. He had to fight and kill Kong Xiu at Dongling pass first, whom he defeated mightily with one blow. Yu's troubles did not end there, as the governor at Luoyang, Han Fu, along with Meng Tan set a trap for Lord Guan. Feigning defeat in battle, Meng Tan attempted to lead Guan Yu into firing range, but the speed of Red Hare allowed him to overtake the officer and slay him in one blow. Despite this success, the archers in waiting fired upon him and one hit him in the arm. This wound did not hinder Guan Yu from cutting down Han Fu almost immediately afterwards, however.

Having already braved two passes and slain three officers, Guan Yu continued to encounter troubles as he made his way back to his elder brother. At River Si pass, Bian Xi plotted to ambush and kill Lord Guan while pretending to give him refreshment at a local temple. Fortunately for Guan, Pu Jing, a man from his hometown, warned him of Bian Xi's plot. Now aware of the danger, Guan Yu slayed Bian Xi and kept his sisters-in-laws safe.

Guan Yu then came next to Yingyang, which was governed by Wang Zhi, who wanted revenge against Yu for killing his relative, Han Qu. Faking kindness, Zhi drew Guan Yu into his city with the intent of slaying him. However, the officer selected for this deed, Hu Ban, happened to be the officer Guan Yu carried a letter for from Ban's father. When Guan Yu delivered this dispatch, Ban decided to save Guan Yu instead of killing him with a surprise fire attack. Having escaped this attack, Guan Yu killed Wang Zhi along his escape and he continued to make his way north with the two ladies.

Yunchang finally reached the Yellow River Ferry, which was guarded by Qin Qi, who once again refused to allow him to pass without a fight. As before with the previous officers, Guan Yu killed Qin Qi in a single blow and convinced the boatmen to ferry him and his sister-in-laws across. Once across, he was accosted by Xiahou Dun, only to receive explicit commands from Cao Cao to stop attacking Guan Yu. Finally reunited with his brother, Guan Yu killed the approaching Cai Yang, out to capture Runan for Cao Cao, in one blow to prove his loyalty to Zhang Fei.

Gaining Jing Province

Although overjoyed by their reunion, Guan Yu's happiness was short-lived, as he found himself driven out of Runan by Cao Cao's forces, fleeing south with his brother to Liu Biao. While under Biao's service, Guan Yu serves in the first battle against Cao Cao's forces at Xinye, following Shan Fu's (Xu Shu) plan of attack. He, along with his brother Zhang Fei, disapproved of the difficulty in recruiting Zhuge Liang, but ultimately continued to submit to Liu Bei's will out of honor and respect. His poor opinion quickly turned around after witnessing how well Zhuge Liang could plan and manage a battle.

By chapter 42, Liu Biao died shortly afterwards, allowing Cao Cao to take his lands. Liu Bei was forced to retreat from Changban, and Guan Yu was the officer who brought the ships for safety along with reinforcements provided by Liu Qi. He continued following his elder brothers moves even as Zhuge Liang began to prepare to repel Cao Cao's forces at Chibi. He kept Liu Bei safe from assassination by Zhou Yu by merely accompanying him to their meeting, as his reputation by this time scared all those around him.

At the battle of Chibi, Guan Yu was assigned by Zhuge Liang to keep Cao Cao from escaping at the very end of his ambush plans. Lord Guan agreed to sign a document offing his head should he fail in killing Cao Cao after every ambush cut him off from the aid the Wei leader needed to survive. Despite these strong words, Guan Yu's sense of honor got the best of him and he allowed Cao Cao and his remaining soldiers to pass on without battle. Fortunately for the great warrior, Zhuge Liang had anticipated this action and had actually planned upon Guan Yu's inability to kill Cao Cao.

By chapter 60, Guan Yu is left behind in Jing Province to defend it while Liu Bei mounts his campaign against Liu Zhang. He maintained this post even after Zhuge Liang, Zhang Fei, and Zhao Yun were called to the east to help in defeating Liu Zhang's forces.

Guan remained in his post as defender of Jing Province while Wu began the process of demanding the territory back, a promise Shu and Guan Yu made with no intention of keeping. Tiring of Guan Yu's resisting Jing's return, Lu Su invited Yu to a banquet in chapter 66 with the intent of getting him to submit of slaying him with assassins. Lord Guan saw through the ploy and went anyways, only attended by Zhou Cang as his sword bearer. He placed Guan Ping up the river with an escape ship ready but still entered the Wu camp unaided, relying on the fierceness of his appearance and fear of his reputation. So intimidating was Guan Yu's appearance and actions, and his clever use of Lu Su as a shield by keeping him close, allowed Guan Yu to attend this banquet and escape unscathed.

Siege of Fancheng

In Chapter 73, Guan Yu was appointed as the guardian of Jing Province and given the title of Tiger General. He was tasked with attacking and capturing Fancheng. Guan Yu's first target was Xiangyang, defended by Cao Ren. Guan Yu tricked Cao Ren's forces into an ambush by pretending to retreat, killing the Wei officer Xiahou Cun. Cao Ren locked himself inside Fancheng and called for help from Cao Cao.

Reinforcements led by Yu Jin and Pang De arrived. Guan Yu went out to defeat them with his son Guan Ping, leaving Liao Hua to continue the siege. On the first day of battle, Guan Yu and Pang De fought each other 100 times without a clear winner. Both sides withdrew to prepare for the next day. On the second day, Pang De shot Guan Yu in the arm with an arrow. Guan Yu took 10 days to recover and then planned to defeat Yu Jin and Pang De by flooding the river. He successfully captured Yu Jin and executed Pang De, thus destroying their army.

Emboldened by his success, Guan Yu split his army between attacking Fancheng and Jiaxia. He personally approached the walls of Fancheng unguarded, issuing challenges and insults until Cao Ren had a bolt fired at him, once again wounding Guan Yu in the arm. Unlike the last two arrow wounds, this one would not heal, causing a skilled physician to be sought. Hua Tuo was found and he treated Guan Yu's wound by scraping the poison off the bone where the wound was. In order to keep morale high during this procedure, Guan Yu had the surgery completed without anesthetics and while continuing a game of Go with Ma Liang. Once treated, Guan Yu's arm finally began to heal, allowing him to resume the siege firsthand.

Guan Yu's fortune turned when Lu Meng led Wu forces into Jing and captured his fortifications, along with his men's families. Xu Huang's arrival with reinforcements worsened his situation, and his wound prevented him from defeating the Wei officer. Wu's capture of his army's families caused most of his men to desert him, leaving him defenseless. Guan Yu attempted to flee but was caught by ambushes and executed by the Wu army, ending the alliance between Shu and Wu. Despite his death, he appeared as a spirit seeking his severed head and informing Liu Bei of his death in a dream. His spirit possessed Lu Meng and tormented him, leading to his death. Guan Yu's downfall was attributed to bad judgment and arrogance.



  • As a part of the Yoshimoto Musou Project for Dynasty Warriors 7, Japanese comedian from the Yoshimoto performance group, Wacky, acted out a skit of him dressed as Guan Yu defeating several supposed-Wei "soldiers".
  • During the Koei-Tecmo company visit in the Weekly Toro Station's broadcast, Toro and Kuro meet the Dynasty Warriors 7 version of Guan Yu when they enter the meeting room. Kuro even quotes a popular Japanese Internet meme associated with the historical figure due to Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Sangokushi comic by exclaiming, "Geh! Guan Yu!" (げぇっ 関羽).
  • The first Blu-Ray/DVD original short for TV anime Kuragehime (Kuragehime Heroes Sono Ichi Mayaya-sama no Maki) includes the younger Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI portrait of Guan Yu.
  • One of the lunch date spots in Kiniro no Corda 3 AnotherSky feat. Amane Gakuen is a temple dedicated to Saintly Emperor Guan in Yokohama's Chinatown.