After Sora’s arrival finally sealed the deal for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate list, I can finally say what I’ve been holding back for years: The game doesn’t have too many “anime sword users”. It’s the most shouted complaint about the game, and it drives me up a wall. While I understand where it’s coming from, it’s also completely exaggerated and inaccurate. I’m not saying you shouldn’t bother about this – variety is the spice of life and no one wants an overabundance of the same type of character. But it’s nowhere near as big a problem as sword haters would have us believe, and I’m here to prove it in every scientific and absurd way imaginable.
First, let’s break down the term “anime sword user”. What does that actually mean? The term “anime” makes no sense as none of the characters in Smash are from a real anime. They are all original video game characters. There is no anime to be had.
Perhaps you are now saying, “You are arguing with semantics. she look like anime characters. “I guess? I mean, when you say they look like Japanese cartoons, news flashes: almost the entire list falls within that distinction. In fact, the only non-Japanese fighters are Banjo Kazooie, Minecraft Steve, and, to put it technically, the tie-wearing Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and King K. Rool (because Rare, a British studio, invented these guys) even though Nintendo who owns characters).
Do not care about me; I’m just making fun of that objectively silly part of the complaint. I know the term “anime sword user” originated from the perceived plethora of Fire Emblem characters, fighters who best match the prototypical “anime look” (whatever that is). What people really mean is that there are too many Fire Emblem reps in Smash, although even that criticism barely holds up well. Has anyone counted the list? There are eight Fire Emblem fighters in a game with over 80 characters. Really take this in. Of 82 characters (89 with Echoes, but we’ll stick with the official number) only eight come from Fire Emblem, barely 10 percent of the squad is too many?
Ultimate’s roster includes 11 characters from the Mario series. Twelve if you include Donkey Kong (which he absolutely counts, but I’m ultra-specific for the sake of reasoning). That’s about 14 percent of the squad, still very little in the overall concept, but why doesn’t anyone open the lid? Not only that, people yelled at Sakurai to add Waluigi! Hey, I’m one of them – I’ve wanted this purple nonsense in the game for years. But I also don’t complain that any series has too many representatives. I smell a certain bias towards Fire Emblem.
Would it be acceptable if Luke Skywalker, a US-made swordsman, was added to the list? This is a rhetorical question as I know the main problem lies with the swords themselves. But for those who just hate anyone who uses a weapon like this, no matter what they look like or where they’re from, let’s break down how many pure swordtails the game really has.
Of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s 82-character list, only 22 use a sword as their primary weapon. Here they are below:
- Dark pit
- Meta knight
- Mii swordsman
- Pyra / Mythra
- Toon link
- Young connection
These fighters make up almost 27 percent of the total, or a little more than 1/4. That may sound substantial, but it also means that 60 characters don’t use swords as their main weapons. Sixty characters! Most fighting games are lucky enough to have 30 or 40 characters in total. “Too much” would mean that at least half of the squad wield a sword. You don’t! To further clarify this point and because nothing says better than a visual aid, I have carefully created this helpful and exciting pie chart as a reference:
As you can see, the visual representation of non-sword users is similar to Pac-Man. Do you know who doesn’t use a sword either? Pac-Man. Conicidence? I do not think so. What does it mean? Some.
If you look at it that way, you will find that there are an overwhelming number of fighters out there who would not fall into the category of loathed swords. So in reality there are plenty of alternatives for those who despise sword users with the burning passion of thousands of hotheads. Why do we still talk about “too many sword users”?
There are also some caveats to note that further reinforce my reasoning:
- Sora’s keyblade is not a sword. It’s a big old key. Sure, he wields it like a sword, but no one would call me a swordsman if I waved a broom around. It turns into something blade-like at times, but not in Smash (probably due to Disney’s lack of involvement).
- Pit / Dark Pit are essentially the same characters, so it could be argued that they are considered a sword user. They also wield double swords that play more like twin daggers than anything else. Not your grandmother’s sword user at all.
- The Link Trio plays largely the same with a few minor differences, so one could argue that they are just variations by a single sword user.
- Steve barely manages to crack this list as his sword is definitely not the star of his moveset. It could easily be cut.
- Nobody cares about Mii Swordfighter. Period.
Look, I’m not saying you have to like Sephiroth, Lucina, or Shulk. I’m fed up with Ike beating me up like his personal shuttlecock. I’m just saying that now Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is effectively done, it’s time to do the lame, worn out “Why can’t I hold all of these anime sword users?” complain about it. Just say you don’t like her. The numbers don’t lie. Ornery fans on the other hand? Maybe just a little.
* Final notes to suppress some potential rebuttals:
- Ganandorf wasn’t there because he throws hands as often as he draws his broadsword.
- It’s a knife that Joker uses.
- Are you serious about trying to lump Kirby together? For real?