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Segata Sanshiro (せがた三四郎 Segata Sanshirō?) is a fictional character created by Sega to advertise the Sega Saturn in Japan between 1997 and 1998. He is a parody of Sugata Sanshiro, a legendary judo fighter from Akira Kurosawa's Sanshiro Sugata. He is also a playable character in Project X Zone 2.
Sanshiro is a Judo master that tracks down and punishes those who do not play the Sega Saturn. His name sounds similar to the phrase "You must play the Sega Saturn!" (セガサターン、シロ! Sega Satān, shiro!?) as well as "Sega Saturn, White" (セガサターン、白 Sega Satān, Shiro?), a reference to the new white color version of the Japanese Sega Saturn which followed the original gray version.
Sanshiro lives as a hermit high on a mountain, devoting his life to intensive Sega Saturn training. He trains physically every day by carrying around a giant Sega Saturn on his back and punching buttons on its giant controller, as well as mentally by breaking stacks of blocks with his head. His intense training has resulted in his ability to make people explode twice by throwing them, which he does with ease. He also frequently visits the city to seek out people who are not playing the Sega Saturn, and harshly teaches them a lesson. Sanshiro is a serious man with a firm sense of duty, who believes that playing video games is one of the most treasured activities in life.
The character became very well known in Japan, and helped make the Saturn successful in that country. When the CD music single was released, it sold more than 100,000 copies.
When the Saturn was phased out and the Sega Dreamcast released, Sanshiro's end came in the form of a commercial involving a missile directed at the Tokyo headquarters of SEGA, implied to be launched by Sony and Nintendo. Sanshiro heroically jumps off the roof of the building, onto the missile, deflecting it into the atmosphere while riding it, in which he lives his last few moments chanting out "Sega Saturn Shiro!!" for one last time, and is killed in the subsequent explosion. Shinji Nakae narrates that "Segata Sanshiro will live on in your hearts," followed by a display of the game Segata Sanshirō Shinken Yūgi, a Sega Saturn game in which Sanshiro plays a major role.
Segata appeared in Rent-a-Hero No.1, Sonic the Hedgehog of Archie Comics (In issue 269), and in Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, riding the rocket from the final commercial and carrying a giant Sega Saturn on his back (though he only appears in the final lap of Race of Ages). He also once fought Chuck Norris in ScrewAttack!'s Death Battle.
Segata's theme is "Sega Saturn, Shiro!"
A powerful man who has mastered the way of play.
To the feckless youth of today, bored by their ephemeral existence, he strives to communicate the value of devoting oneself tirelessly to a task, using himself as the ultimate example. "Segata" is his surname, but everyone always says it first.
Blessed with superhuman reflexes, he is an expert in many martial arts, his many honors including a 1st degree black belt in karate, a 3rd degree black belt in judo, and a 4th degree black belt in battoudo.
He can also break ten tiles with his head, return a baseball from a pitching machine with a kick, and fillet a fish like an expert.
The quintessential man among men, he has a supernatural power called "Dragon Force" that allows him to make identical copies of himself.
You must play the Sega Saturn!
- The Path of Play (Special): Segata begins by flying forward with a jump kick, followed by a surprisingly powerful roundhouse kick, sending his opponent flying away. Segata then uses his impossible speed to dash forward ahead of his enemy as they continue soaring. Just when the foe is about to hit the ground, he grabs them, throws them against the screen, and they bounce off, exploding upon hitting the ground, whilst Segata walks away from the blast.
- Dragon Force (MA): As an aura exudes from him, Segata summons an army of duplicates of himself to charge forward, tearing his enemies apart. Said enemies then get sent into the air, and fall into a perfect pile in front of him. Sanshiro finishes them off by performing a downward headbutt, damaging all of them.
|Serious Play||B||Block Crush|
|Sega Saturn, Shiro!||50||Other||Random||Segata's mastery of gaming lets him create fresh, mind-melting, gameplay experiences.|
|Burn in Winter!||120||Self||Move +2||Segata's leg strength is on the level of a professional athlete.|
Auto Skill List
|Name||CP Cost||Activation Rate||Effect||Description|
|Use Your Head!||0||Start of Turn: 100%||Block Crush Damage +50%||Use your head like Segata, and you can break through anything!|
|Rescue Lives!||500||Start of Turn: 100%||Heals self when Rescuing||Segata's intense mouth-to-mouth breathes life back into the fallen.|
|Master Manager!||750||Start of Turn: 100%||Support Cross Hit||Segata's innate leadership skills make even soccer team management a snap.|
|Nice Play!||1250||Start of Turn: 100%||Cross Break Damage +50%||Any move is fair game to Segata, even those that seriously bend the rules.|
|Fight Together!||1000||Start of Turn: 100%||Join Counterattacks||Segata encourages everyone to join together and play as one.|
- Segata Sanshiro is the first character to be featured in the Project X Zone series that did not originate from a video game property (though he did eventually get a game of his own).
- Segata's theme is also the first song in the Project X Zone line to originate as an advertising campaign song.
- Many of Segata Sanshiro's moves originate from the commercials he starred in. His relationship with Sakura Shinguji is also based on one where he was in a romantic relationship with her.
- His voice actor, Hiroshi Fujioka, most notably portrayed the original Kamen Rider.
- In his recent appearance of the game, Segata also recognizes the producers from other games such as Katsuhiro Harada from Tekken or Yoshinori Ono from Street Fighter as the characters in the actual game (Ryu, Ken, Jin, and Kazuya) became confused about their producers from their respective games.