The Masamune is a weapon in Final Fantasy XII. It is the strongest katana in the original version, and technically also the strongest katana in the Zodiac versions. The Zodiac versions added an upgraded version of it, the Kumbha, which is a one-handed weapon. Rather than being categorized "Katana (1H)", the Kumbha is categorized as a one-handed sword, but still otherwise keeps the stats of a katana.
In the original version the Masamune has a 40% combo rate, while all other katana have 13%. This is the highest combo rate besides the special weapon Wyrmhero Blade. This number is an allusion to the Masamune in the original Final Fantasy, which had a critical rate of 40%. What makes that weapon's critical rate significant is that it was the product of the critical hit bug, which uses the ID of the weapon as the rate, and so the last-listed Masamune has the highest critical rate. This bug seems to have been known to the developers since it appears to have been deliberately preserved in all later remakes.
In the Zodiac versions, most weapons have had their combo rates increased, but the Masamune's has been lowered. In the original version, Masamune is a good weapon for fighting superbosses, as with the damage cap weapons with high combo rates often surpass weapons with strong attack power. With the damage cap lifted in the Zodiac versions, this is less of a case, but Masamune remains a good weapon for the Bushi. The combo rate can be boosted further by equipping the wielder with the Genji Gloves.
In the original version, its license costs 155 LP. In the Zodiac versions, its license costs 130 LP and it can be used by the Bushi.
In the original version, Masamune is obtained from the bazaar (Master-crafted Blade) or from the Gilgamesh hunt. In the Zodiac versions, Kumbha replaces Masamune in the bazaar, but the blade is still associated with the Gilgamesh hunt in that it is acquired from the room where Gilgamesh is fought the second time; when the player is doing the hunt is likely the first time they venture to the deepest part of the Lhusu Mines, although activating the hunt is not needed to get the treasure. In the Zodiac versions, it is also available from the Hunt Club (give all Rare Game trophies to Atak and then buy the Masamune from the Shifty-Eyed Merchant for 700,000 gil) and stolen from Gilgamesh in Trial Mode Stage 94.
Vaan wields the Masamune in his attacks when in EX Mode. Vaan's weapons are from Final Fantasy XII, and his normal and EX Mode weapons are among the weakest and strongest equipment in their respective equipment types.
Etymology and inspiration
Masamune Okazaki, a legendary Japanese blacksmith of the Kamakura Era employed under the Kamakura Shogunate. He was famous for his forging process of soshu kitae and nijuba, the strongest method for the body of katana, layering different consistencies of carbon steel for tensile composition and in such a way they were forged twice, and cultivating the aesthetics of katana through having refined and merged traits of quality with those of beauty.The Masamune is named after
His works were often compared to those of Muramasa, and sometimes mistaken for the other in fiction or fantasy novels, though always the better of the two. According to legend, the two swordsmiths set a sword of their making into a nearby stream as contest to see who made the better sword, with Masamune's blade said to have ignored all things that came near it. Though Muramasa belittled Masamune, a monk came to be the final judge and praised Masamune's swords for having benevolence, cutting only what it was meant to cut while Muramasa's cared little for what it cut. From this tale, Masamunes are said to be the marks of an internal peaceful and calm warrior, the opposite of Muramasas who were deemed bloodthirsty and cursed blades.
In Japanese sword-smithing, engraving is not only done to remove flaws and lighten the blade as according to the smith's discretion, but also to confer enchantments for its user. The red lacquer painted on the lightning based bohi, or "blood grove", signifies that the sword is a shintai or yorishiro, being either the physical body for a kami or a sacred object that attracts kami; a similar object are torii gates placed before jinja Shinto shrines. Take no Mikazuchi is the deity who united Japan and is a patron of swords, lightning, and the martial arts and sumo wrestling, and is worshiped during the purification process before creating swords.