Whether it be in the raunchy Ikki Tousen, the long-running video game franchise Dynasty Warriors, or this season’s Soul Buster anime, Japanese media is filled with homages to the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms–which was first released in the fourteenth century. The story isn’t easy to summarize, but basically, three kingdoms (with lots of generals and other war officials) are fighting against each other to reunite the land of China under their own flag. With so many characters and tales available to use, it’s no wonder that they’ve been utilized in popular culture again and again, each piece of media adapting the characters into a different form.
Soul Buster is no different, with the anime and the original Chinese web comic it’s based off of changing the characters completely. Here’s some information about the characters that the ones in Soul Buster are based off of:
Zhou Yu (Shuuyuu)
A male (I repeat: male) general of the kingdom of Wu known for his intelligence and beauty. He is most remembered for his strategies used during the Battle of Red Cliffs against the ruler Cao Cao and his kingdom of Wei. He was best friends with the ruler of Wu, Sun Ce, and went on to serve Sun Ce’s younger brother Sun Quan after his death. Despite his loyal servitude and many exploits, Zhou Yu died at the age of 35 from illness before he could complete his vision of reuniting the country.
Wei Yan (Gi En)
Wei Yan was a foot soldier-turned-general in the army of Liu Bei, the leader of the kingdom of Shu. He was nominated to hold off Cao Cao’s forces by Liu Bei, which he successfully did despite the large number of troops he had to face. Unfortunately, Wei Yan was killed by his ally Ma Dai when the latter accused the former of treason.
Zhou Cang (Shuu Sou)
The Yellow Turban Rebellion was a rebellion started by peasants that began the fall of China’s Han dynasty. One of these rebels was Zhou Cang, a warrior who impressed future Shu general Guan Yu with his honor and courage. After the rebellion ended, Zhou Cang went on to become a saber carrier for the general until his untimely death at the hands of the kingdom of Wu. Zhou Cang committed suicide out of grief afterward.
Cheng Pu (Tei Fu)
A general who served the Sun Family–a clan that led the Wu kingdom. Cheng Pu served the family’s head Sun Jian, as well as his sons Sun Ce and Sun Quan. He is famous for saving the elder brother Ce from bandits when he was surrounded. He fought not only in the Yellow Turban Rebellion, but in the battle against the tyrant Dong Zhuo. His date of death is unknown.
© Baimao・SHANGMAN／SOUL BUSTER ANIMATION PROJECT