160 cm (5'3")
Father and mother (deceased)
|Live Action Actor(s):|
|First Appearance:||Geten no Hana|
Hotaru (ほたる) is the main protagonist and player character in Geten no Hana. Her name can be changed to the player's preferences in the game, but she will be known by her default name in official media. If the player uses her default name, it will be audibly spoken by characters.
Throughout the game's script, Hotaru may be alternatively known under one of her aliases: Kikyō (桔梗) as a princess or Shichisuke (七介) as a man.
Role in Games
Hotaru is a descendant of the Fujibayashi clan, one of the three influential branches of the Iga ninja. Her father taught her how to transform, but both he and her mother died when she was six years old. She would have kept crying at their tombstone, but Momoji was ordered by their village elder to take care of her. He raised and trained her as his sole apprentice.
Though his training was strict, Hotaru enjoyed a happy childhood by his side. When she was twelve years old, Momoji mysteriously left the village on a mission without saying goodbye to her. His sudden departure was painful to her, yet it simultaneously encouraged her to continue her training with renewed interest. She felt she needed to honor his teachings in his absence. Out of the ninja in her village, she became the most proficient ninja with transformation spells. She arms herself with kunai when she wishes to defend herself.
Azuchi Castle's infiltration is Hotaru's first field mission, a job she gladly accepts from the village elder at the start of the main story. Since her chief fears for her safety, she gives Hotaru a powerful transformation scroll from their village's inventory. It allows her to transform into any form the user desires once. The elderly woman warns that the scroll will severely drain the user's life force if used so it must be reserved as a last resort.
After Hotaru accepts it, she transforms into a bird to sneak inside the castle in order to locate her anonymous contractor. Mitsuhide, her employer, immediately apprehends her in private and clarifies his identity to her. He explains that ninja from an unknown benefactor have been targeting Azuchi Castle; he believes they are likely sent by one of Nobunaga's many enemies. Mitsuhide hires Hotaru to capture them and gather information on their master. To allow her easy access to the castle's surroundings, he orders Hotaru to pose as Kikyō, his fake younger sister from Sakamoto Castle who is visiting him for the month. Mitsuhide introduces her to his lord and cohorts as an "odd princess" to help explain her wandering tendencies and her occasional misconduct. He simultaneously issues a public post calling for the immediate capture and brutal torture of any ninja found on the premise to deter her from deserting her mission.
For the following two weeks, Hotaru juggles between her disguise as Kikyō and her real kunoichi duties. She routinely reports any suspicious activity to Mitsuhide and successfully defeats two enemy ninja, Shigure and Rekka. While she pursues Rekka's retreat, she learns Nobuyuki is the true ringleader of the assassination attempts on Nobunaga's life. Hotaru is therefore shocked when Mitsuhide reveals he is colluding with Nobuyuki. He then orders her to assassinate the young lord during a firefly viewing banquet, a festival which is spontaneously planned to be celebrated before Nobunaga leaves for the capital.
During her time spent as Kikyō, Hotaru learns Nobunaga's noble if idealistic dream to unite the land for peace. As she is able to witness his character in person, she echoes the wishes of his retainers to make it possible. Her mission to assassinate the land's possible savior leaves her visibly distraught. As she prepares for the best spot to fire her kunai during the banquet, her mood and concentration gradually worsens. She continues to stipulate over the consequences of Nobunaga's death even when the promised time of his assassination presents itself.
The player can choose to either carry out her mission faithfully or stall at this point; both options lead to a similar conclusion but throwing the kunai closes other story paths which could be unlocked. Should she throw it, Nobunaga deflects it. If she stalls, Momoji patronizes her hesitation and throws one of his own towards Nobunaga. He is hit, but he survives since it was a shallow cut. Hotaru flees from the scene to avoid capture and reconvenes with the conspirators to accept her punishment. In the latter scenario, she feels she has betrayed her master's trust yet confidently believes in protecting the Oda's dream. Hotaru boldly proclaims her thoughts to explain her failure.
While Mitsuhide threatens to torture the kunoichi for her disobedience, Nobuyuki stands in her defense and assures that another chance will come in the future. His act of kindness causes him to be exposed to Nobunaga, who concealed himself and overheard their conversation. Mitsuhide then explains that the assassination and his feigned allegiance to Nobuyuki is an elaborate ruse to expose the younger brother's treachery to Nobunaga, who refused to believe the claim unless he saw it himself. Nobunaga is the sole person besides Mitsuhide to be aware of the plot in advance and trusted his retainer enough to feign ignorance. Realizing that he had been betrayed, Nobuyuki loses his composure and draws his sword to attack Mitsuhide. Hotaru intervenes and successfully protects her master.
Nobunaga leaves for the capital at daybreak and his retainers return to their respective duties away from Azuchi. Mitsuhide is charged with protecting the castle in his lord's absence. Since Nobuyuki is locked away in the castle's gaols, Mitsuhide frees Hotaru from her contract and congratulates her on a job well done.
Here, the default storyline can split into three different endings. If she threw the kunai at the banquet, the kunoichi returns home. When she arrives, her chief tells her that Nobunaga was killed at Honnōji several days prior. Bewildered, Hotaru wonders if she could have prevented his demise.
If she refused to carry the assassination, Hotaru decides to return home at nightfall. Once she arrives, the chief receives a report that Nobuyuki's army is marching towards Honnōji. Hotaru hurries towards the temple with the hopes of saving Nobunaga, but she arrives too late to save him. Ranmaru dies while fighting Nobuyuki's troops, the Oda siblings perish due to their duel, and a broken Mitsuhide commits suicide to join his lord. With no one to command the Oda, the land falls into another dark age of war.
The third path can be seen after completing the other good endings within the game. Rather than leave Azuchi Castle, Hotaru chooses to stay on her own will, as she worries that Momoji might be plotting something. She implores Mitsuhide to cancel the other retainers' trips and to escort Nobunaga to Honnōji with a well supplied army. Despite his initial suspicions for her plea, he agrees and explains her true identity to the rest of the Oda retainers during the trip. When they arrive at the temple, she asserts her genuine loyalties to Nobunaga and is warmly accepted by the young lord.
Due to her precautions and Nobuyuki's reluctance to raise arms, the trip to Honnōji ends after many days without incident. Hotaru henceforth decides to be the secret guard of Azuchi Castle. Several months later, the Oda soldiers begin to believe they are being protected by a benign spirit. Hotaru has earned the nickname "The Shield of Azuchi" (安土の盾, Azuchi no tate) with rival ninja.
Yumeakari continues from an alternative ending of the first game with Nobuyuki and his conspirators setting Honnōji ablaze. Hotaru uses her transformations to hurry to Hideyoshi and Ieyasu's locations and ask for their reinforcements. During the fight in the temple's flames, Nobunaga and his closest comrades collectively learn Kikyō's true identity as a kunoichi. Nobuyuki is captured and placed on house arrest. Believing in the Oda's dream of peace, Hotaru chooses to stay at Azuchi and is employed as Nobunaga's kunoichi. She works hard in her newfound duties and earns fame as the mythical "Shield of Azuchi" with castle residents and rival ninja. Hotaru continues to pose as Mitsuhide's younger sister for her daily disguise and reports her ninja related activities to him.
Hotaru starts the story one month after these events with one of her nightly patrols as a bird. Rain ends her flight and causes her to land in the castle town. She soon overhears two bandits hassling a man wearing a bamboo hat; the kunoichi decides to save the man by first transforming into Shichisuke to beat the bandits and then using her Kikyō prestige to intimidate them to flee. When the man wearing the bamboo hat tries to question the princess, Hotaru pardons herself and escapes into an alleyway. She transforms back into a bird and flies to the castle to continue her watch.
Next morning, Hotaru accompanies Mitsuhide to a banquet within Azuchi's main keep to celebrate the unification of Chugoku, where she is introduced to Kanbei and Hanbei. After the festivities, Mitsuhide instructs her to keep her true identity a secret from the two strategists as a precaution for Nobunaga's safety. As a test of their loyalty to the Oda, Mitsuhide gives her the mission to learn what she can about them in four days' time. Her ongoing mission from then on is to build bonds the other generals as a princess in order to gather information from them for future endeavors.
The following morning Nobunaga summons his closest retainers for his plans to raise morale after Honnōji by setting water lanterns adrift in the river near Azuchi. He gives the Akechi siblings the responsibilities of preparing for it. Hotaru's mission from Nobunaga is to invite Nobuyuki to see it. Three days afterwards, Hotaru finds and defeats a spy during her nightly patrol. She ties the enemy shinobi to a tree for the castle guard to find, reporting her observations and asking Mitsuhide to strengthen the gaps in the night shift.
Once she finishes the task given to her by Nobunaga, Mitsuhide orders her to attend to her "Shield of Azuchi" duties by inspecting disturbing rumors he heard from the castle residents. One is about odd packs of feral dogs surrounding the nearby mountain area, and the other is about strange voices near the mouth of the river. Hotaru pacifies one pack of dogs, discovers the setup for a water attack and finds a giant hole dug in Azuchi's forest area. She suspects something is awry with both encounters, believing that their foe is a cunning shinobi. Mitsuhide is concerned yet there are too many suspects that fit her description to pin any suspicions at this stage. He tells Hotaru to put the matter aside for now and focus on the spectacle Nobunaga wishes for his people to enjoy.
After she enjoys the festivities, Hotaru retires as a princess to her room in the Akechi manor. She senses someone's presence and is suddenly pinned to the walkway outside her window by Kanbei, who had found an opening in the night guard to see her. Taken by surprise, Hotaru tries to focus on protecting her kunoichi identity and does nothing to defend herself. Kanbei sees her trembling and pulls back, stating that he fell in love with her at first sight. Hotaru is dumbfounded by the love confession and broods over it the next morning. Hanbei greets her and quickly deduces that his friend is responsible for her distress. While he understands her shock over Kanbei's behavior, he encourages her to have the courtesy to someday to give an honest answer to his friend's affections, whether or not she chooses to accept him. Hotaru considers the offer to learn more about love in order to mature.
Their conversation is interrupted by Ranmaru who urges them to accompany him to the main keep. Ranmaru and Ieyasu explain to those gathered that Nobunaga was attacked during his falconry hunt. Hanbei laughs at their grave expressions when they reveal the culprit is Nobunaga's pet hawk, Akatsuki, and the seriousness over the matter fades. Mitsuhide orders Hotaru to find the runaway hawk and she does within a week. Nobunaga ushers his inner circle to join him once his pet is returned to him, wanting to prove to them that the hawk has regained its senses with a normal flight. Hotaru believes she knows the cause of the attack after observing the hawk's behavior and feels confident enough to explain her suspicions to Mitsuhide and Ranmaru. She explains that Akatsuki was likely controlled by ninja magic, a technique only taught to the most elite families of her village. Each family has their own craft to pass to the next generation, showing them one of her own ordinary looking ninja scrolls as an example. She insists that it is possible they are being targeted by a formidably skilled shinobi. Mitsuhide instructs them to stay silent about their knowledge until they can find a viable suspect and to strengthen security around Nobunaga.
A week after the hunt, Nobunaga greets Luís and guides his foreign friend into the castle town. An overwhelmingly concerned Ranmaru and Hotaru insist on accompanying them. They witness Hideyoshi capturing a mischievous monkey who was stealing from the local stores. It appears to be tame so Nobunaga reaches out to pet it. The monkey suddenly arms itself with a dagger when he approaches and attacks. Nobunaga defends himself from it but it flees from the scene; the kunoichi's mission is to learn its whereabouts and capture it. She learns from spying on the villagers that the monkey is usually adored by the locals and nicknamed Yamabuki. It is fond of gold so she plans to ask Mitsuhide to give her some as bait. Moments after she makes her request, Oito announces that Nobunaga wishes to see him and permits his entry into Mitsuhide's room. He is aware they are hiding something from him and demands an answer. They are interrupted by Oito's terrified scream as Yamabuki huddles into the manor's halls. The events of its first attack repeat, however, this time the monkey left incriminating footprints for Hotaru to track.
Hotaru decides to pursue Yamabuki at the end of the week late in the night. She overhears two ruffians shrieking over its presence in the castle town. She transforms into Shichisuke to conceal her identity and to save them from the monkey. After she knocks it unconscious, she prepares to take it back with her to Azuchi Castle. A man draws his sword and presses its tip against her back. He claims to know her identity as the "Shield of Azuchi" and urges for her to undo her disguise. With no other means of defending herself, Hotaru complies. The man sheathes his sword and identifies her as his comrade, giving her a secret scroll to attack Azuchi with Iga and the "Shield of Azuchi"'s name on it. Hotaru wants to know the man's connection with Iga and tries to use force to get him to talk. Though they clash blades, the man reveals nothing and leaves.
At a loss what to do, Hotaru searches for her master in the nearby forest. Since he hasn't received any sort of order from the village, Momoji identifies the scroll is a well crafted forgery made to incriminate her. As he talks her through possible suspects, Hotaru mentions the man who had given the scroll to her. She couldn't see his face well, but his mannerisms resemble Kanbei. She then wonders if the strategist's earlier love confession was a ruse to lower her guard. Until she can certain of her suspicions, Momoji advises her to keep the scroll a secret from the residents in Azuchi Castle while he leaves to warn and prepare Iga for a possible attack.
In the default route, Hotaru does keep quiet. Familiar with the man's fighting style, she wants to confirm her hunch by participating in the spontaneously planned martial arts tournament with the Oda retainers, which is announced to take place in four days' time. The grand prize for the tournament is Nobunaga's prized horse, Kurogane. Although disturbed by the secret she carries, Hotaru rigs the match ups so she can fight Kanbei as soon as possible and trains to prepare herself. She transforms into Shichisuke for the tournament and makes it to her match with Kanbei. Before the signal sounds, Kurogane suddenly stampedes out of control and nearly stomps on Nobunaga. Hotaru blows her Shichisuke cover by throwing a kunai at the horse's feet to startle and halt its sprint. Onlookers are alarmed by the ninja tool and, after Kurogane is calmed, they suspect Shichisuke of being an enemy spy. Since Hotaru fled to conceal herself, she is unaware that the Oda patrol somehow find the scroll prosecuting Iga until her master informs her later.
Aware that her impulsiveness placed her home and her future at Azuchi in jeopardy, Hotaru is restless when the conference with the Oda retainers is held the next day. Mitsuhide tells her to wait in her quarters until the charges against her are cleared, but she can't calm herself and decides to sneak into the main keep to discreetly listen to their proceedings. The Oda vassals are furious and bark for an attack on Iga immediately. Nobunaga and his inner circle are skeptical of Hotaru's connection with the secret scroll, yet they lack the evidence to prove her innocence to their followers. While personal routes will have different results depending on the character, the default route has the conference end with an order to raze Iga and appease the disgruntled majority.
Hotaru is shocked and has two options for herself. She can either fight for her village or she can choose to stay at Azuchi to try to locate the real usurper. If she stays at Azuchi, she fails to find anything about their real foe and is unable to help her home. With her loyalties questioned, she is unable to continue her kunoichi duties without rousing further skepticism against her. Hotaru is forced to live the rest of her life as Kikyō. Choosing to fight for home results in her leaving Azuchi with her mentor to report of the attack. Their quaint village is defenseless against Nobunaga's numbers so Momoji advises for everyone to abandon their homes and escape with their lives. He and a handful of ninja risk their lives to distract the Oda army and bide time for the survivors. Hotaru assists yet is sadden that her home is being burned to the ground by the same people she once trusted. Several days later, the kunoichi helps her village chief find a new home to live and receives news of Nobunaga's downfall. In either ending, Hotaru regrets not doing more to locate the real spy at Azuchi.
The third ending, titled Yumeakari, can be unlocked after viewing other character's good endings. She refuses to follow her mentor's advice to stay quiet after receiving the secret scroll and wants to present it to Nobunaga and his inner circle without delay. Although she knows she faces the death sentence if they doubt her, Hotaru has faith that they will believe Iga's innocence. Much to her joy, they do and agree to work together to find the spy. She informs them that she suspects Kanbei of treachery and wishes to duel him to confirm her hunch. She invites him to the castle training grounds at night and duels him. His fighting style matches with the man who gave her the scroll so she seeks to apprehend him. Kanbei will come quietly but makes a final request to return to Hashiba manor to speak with Hideyoshi. They overhear Hideyoshi chatting with Hanbei, who reveals himself to be the true ringleader behind the three attacks.
Soon after, Hideyoshi and his strategists reveal the criminal to Nobunaga and his inner circle. Hanbei explains his origins and confesses his crimes to the Oda lord, surprised when Kanbei and Hideyoshi insist on sharing his punishment. Amused, Nobunaga decrees that the strategists remain in Hideyoshi's care and to continue their campaign to pacify Shikoku. His retainers are surprised that he chose to annul the standard means of punishment (execution) yet appreciate his act of mercy. Several days later, Nobunaga orders for another water lantern festival to be held to commemorate the Oda's new bonds of unity. Hotaru enjoys the sight with him and his retainers, each choosing to state their dreams in honor of the sight. Nobunaga praises her and fondly dubs her as the "light of hope" which fuels their dreams.
The player may choose to alter the game's events by interacting with other characters. Different scenarios may trigger depending on their ties with Hotaru.
- If a male character has a high affection rating and their personal events are successfully completed, Hotaru can stay by the character's side in their good ending in Geten no Hana. The assassination, the revealing of her identity, and Honnōji's events will be different in each scenario. Yumeakari follows a similar mechanic.
- If a male character has a high affection rating in Geten no Hana yet doesn't have all of their events completed, he can say goodbye to Hotaru after Nobuyuki's incarceration in the default storyline. He gives her a present and a fond parting message as she leaves the castle. These endings can be seen after unlocking their good ending.
- Should a male character have a high doubt rating, he will suspect Hotaru as an enemy kunoichi which leads to her imprisonment. Yumeakari has a similar series of bad endings for a maximum doubt rating.
- Failing to win duels during key events or failing to meet the requirements needed for the main story events leads to several premature bad endings.
On one hand, Hotaru is focused on completing her job. She believes in the ideal of a flawless, graceful shinobi who never commits error. Constantly driven to become her perceived image of perfection, she is compelled to strictly follow the tenets she was taught since childhood. Her master is the lone law she is obligated to abide. Training the body is a means of training the spirit. Deception is mandatory for the mission. Outsiders should never learn her true identity least she desires death. The mission only ends once her contract to her employer is over. To her, these perceptions for her duty are obvious means of proving her worth to her elders with the Iga ninja. Her dream and ninja abilities empowers her with confidence and pride, causing her to criticize those she deems to be lazy. Many of her bad ending routes magnifies these traits to sound negative and soulless.
Yet, canonically, Hotaru is an optimistic dreamer fresh in her profession. When not on the job, she is fascinated by the world around her and enjoys the quaint comforts of warm camaraderie. Due to her sheltered upbringing, she tends to be inexperienced with proper social conduct of the time period, which may lead to clumsy or awkward moments during her disguises. Her intensive, strict training did nothing to kill her compassion for fairness and nothing to stifle her honest selflessness. Though her behavior may be considered odd by observers, Hotaru's genuine concern for others is always welcomed. The emotional dilemma of following her duties under the stress of lying to those around her is a hurdle she must overcome in every story path. In the good ending routes, she stays true to her heart and desires for peace. Even if it means failing her mission and being shunned for her actions, Hotaru doesn't want to follow an idea she deems unjust. Her pure passion shapes her ideals for her profession into a personal goal for herself.
Throughout the story, Hotaru's fixation to mature into a reliable shinobi can be traced back to her profound respect and admiration for her mentor, Momoji. She addresses him as "Master" (師匠, shishou) at all times and dreams to be his expert successor. Regardless of whether the player romances him or not, Momoji's approval is dear to her. If she feels that his safety is threatened, Hotaru gladly sacrifices herself to protect him. In the cases in which their relation is platonic, she considers him her lone family. She still remembers the trauma she experienced with her parents' deaths and doesn't want to experience it again with Momoji's sudden demise.
Hotaru's symbolic flower is the spotted bellflower. The flower also doubles as her namesake within the game. Her pseudonym, Kikyō, is an archaic spelling for the Japanese bellflower; it is often argued to be the model for the Akechi coat of arms.
Her character is sometimes associated with the number seven. In Japanese Buddhism, seven is considered a fortunate number since it a unit of measurement said to have been founded by Buddha. Like Western thought, it often means good luck and wishes for a prosperous future. Ancient Japanese practices of Chinese philosophies and Shintoism correlates the number as the highest peak in the heavens, or the North Star. The deva associated with it rides Genbu and can expertly judge between good and evil. When coupled with the Sixth Heaven Demon King, it figuratively means that she is the good-willed guardian for him and his comrades.
- "Hello. What are you doing today?"
- "Um, uh, I came to see my brother."
- "Should I tell my brother about this...?"
- "(Drats. I think I wasn't supposed to say that.)"
- "(Ah, now he changed the story to make me sound like I'm a loon...)"
- "(...I hope I can see Master again someday.)"
- "Understood, sir."
- "This disguise should work for now."
- "I'm sorry to say you two are nothing compared to the ninja I've faced."
- "(My objective is to proceed with the mission. Killing him shouldn't interfere with this. I've been able to succeed my orders so far without having to take another's life...)"
- "(How could the dream of peace end like this...?)"
- "...Regrettably, I cannot estimate the enemy numbers. In exchange, I swear that no one will endanger Lord Nobunaga on my watch. I will stop them, even if I lose my life in the process. That is why I am here now."
- "You followed me!? Heh, you're one scary woman. Suppose I should give you credit for doing in Shigure."
- "...I have some questions for you."
- "Then ask me with your blade."
- "As you wish."
- ~~Hotaru and Rekka
- "Master, have you been slacking off in your chores again?"
- "And what if I have?"
- "That's no good. I can't calm down when the place is a mess. Jeez, Master's an expert with everything. But when it comes to housework, he really-"
- "Really what?"
- "... Nothing. I still respect Master, even if he is a slob."
- "Who're you calling a slob?"
- "Uh, going to clean up now!"
- ~~Hotaru and Momoji
|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|