|“||Because it was no other than the man named Ri Boku...the man who overwhelmingly crushed the two legends, Ou Ki and Geki Shin..the most noteworthy man in all of China right now!!||”|
|Epithet||Three Great Heavens|
Ri Boku is the former Prime Minister for the State of Zhao's and is now a fugitive.
A tall (but not bulky) man with a sturdy build body riddled with multiple scars that are hidden by his clothing.
A humble and kind person to those around him, he neither cares about fame nor glory. He just wants to live on a peaceful farm and live a life without war and pain. He also doesn't mind doing physical labor, as seen during his tenure in Gan Mon, and later during his exile after the Coalition Army's defeat.
As a strategist though, he is shown to be ruthless to his enemies and willing to go to any means for victory. He allowed and commended the idea of attacking Ou Ki from behind in his duel with Hou Ken, He also was willing to betray Qin once the alliance helped them gain the strategic region of Sanyou after defeating the Wei forces led by Ren Pa; realizing leaving San You in Qin's hands and Qin's expansionary policies were a threat to Zhao and the rest of the Warring States.
In his youth, Ri Boku lost half his entire family through the strife of war. Consumed by a bottomless sense of rage, he lost further friends and family in an unknown war after goading his battalion into recklessly charging into the heart of the enemy army. While he succeeded in killing the enemy commander, he was the sole survivor. Sometime after surviving as the last remaining soldier of his unit, he was chased by enemy soldiers deep into a forested mountain. Half dead and delirious from exhaustion, he encountered the mysterious figure, Hou Ken. While the cloaked figure initially threatened him with death for crossing his path, he spared Ri Boku after learning that the latter had lost his will to live. Hou Ken then spoke of the gods, which he cryptically referred to as the voices of the earth, told him that he still has a role to play and would be his guide to the answer he sought. Later, Ri Boku wakes up and finds himself somehow to be healed of injuries and wonders to himself if that man he saw was even real. But upon seeing the number of corpses everywhere, which were his pursuers slain, he realizes that was no dream. Afterward, Ri Boku left and distanced himself from the Zhao military due to weariness from the constant battles and decided to investigate the mysterious tribe knows as Bushin. Upon meeting at least one of their number, who focused on meditating, Ri Boku would learn more about their history despite being treated with contempt as an outsider.
Ri Boku is a great general from Zhao before he made a name for himself he was mostly known for subduing the Xiongnu threat to the north which constantly raids the northern part of Zhao, a feat which no other Zhao General had achieved before. In the past, he lost his parents and brothers in a war. Consumed by rage, he and his battalion recklessly defied orders and charged the enemy camp. While he succeeded in killing the enemy general, he was the only survivor. As a result, he realized that his reckless act of vengeance led to further loss of friends and family. Due to this, he learned to value the lives of his subordinates and became more patient as a commander. Later, he is sent to northern Zhao as a general and met Kaine, who would become one of his trusted subordinates.
Upon first arriving in Gan Mon province during his first tenure as a general, he was able to stop Xiongnu raids by simply avoiding conflict. Instead of facing them, he ordered that the villagers evacuate with all their livestock and supplies while taking shelter inside the walls of Gan Mon castle during the attacks. When pressured by the veterans as to why he took this course of action, he explained that Gan Mon was mostly open ground, enabling the Xiongnu to use their cavalry to their fullest potential. In addition, Gan Mon did not have hundreds of thousands of troops or specialized soldiers needed to crush the raiders in a head-on battle.
Initially, Kaine did not get along with him. Along with her archer friend Zhao, she didn't like this strategy and always wanted to face them head-on instead of cowardly staying in safety, seeking revenge for her family's death at the hands of the Xiongnu. Ri Boku was forced to strike her unconscious and imprison her for a day to prevent her from risking her life recklessly. Over time, she soon came to realize that Riboku had suffered the same past as her; having been orphaned in a war and losing his brothers and of how his reckless pursuit of revenge resulted in his entire battalion being wiped out. Instead of choosing to remain the path of revenge, he chose to become a strategist in order to save as many lives as he can. Still believing Kaine still resented Ri Boku, Zhao reported to Kanten that Ri Boku was neglecting his duties. As a result, so Ri Boku was recalled back to Kanten for questioning and was replaced by yet another hot-headed commander. The result is devastating, Gan Mon Castle was overrun, the replacement general was killed, the majority of Zhao's forces in the region were killed, and refugees were forced to flee south. In the aftermath of a battle, Zhao was killed and besides Kaine, there were only a handful of survivors. Meanwhile, Kaine was wounded, regretting what Ri Boku's exile did to Gan Mon. Soon after Zhao and her comrades were buried, Ri Boku returned and started anew; much to Kaine and the survivors' relief. Some time afterward, he and Kaine were able to amass enough skilled soldiers to wipe out the next army of Xiongnu raiders; a battle that Yo Tan Wa witnessed the aftermath of upon setting out on her own campaign against the horsemen tribes.
It is also shown that fifteen years before the Koku You Campaign that Ri Boku was attached to Zhao's Zan Men Army to oversee a truce and prisoner exchange during the Tragedy of Rigan. During this time period, he observed Ki Sui for the first time.
They later appear and it is revealed that he is the mastermind behind the whole war. Once Ou Ki is surrounded, he goes to the battlefield himself, but only from afar to observe. Once Ou Ki dies, he orders a retreat to the Zhao army, having accomplished their goal of killing Ou Ki and seeking to prevent any more losses to the Zhao army.
By the Zhao's King orders, as a newly established-prime minister, Ri Boku personally comes to Qin's capital, Kanyou. The reason for this was because one of the Zhao king's favorite lovers a beautiful official called Shun Pei Kun was kidnapped. As Ryo Fui was a merchant before becoming a chancellor, he knew Shun Pei Kun very well and sent a message to him to meet to discuss the organizing of his funds. When Shun Pei Kun came, he was kidnapped by Ryo Fui. Ryo Fui later blackmailed the Zhao king, Tou Jou, who had to make Ri Boku go to Kanyou and negotiate to bring back his male lover.
Ri Boku and his vassals are receiving the news about the war between Qin and Wei. He is surprised about Kan Ki and Ou Sen's talent since until now it was hidden from the world. At first, he claims that Wei should be able to win 9 out of 10 battle scenarios, however when he learns about Ren Pa and Mou Gou facing each other in the past he changes his mind and says that the outcome is once again unknown.
When news of Ren Pa's defeat reaches him, Ri Boku states that the entire continent could be stirring into action depending on what Qin does next. After Sanyou is renamed "Tougun" and realizing Qin's intention to expand its borders, Ri Boku orders General Kou Son Ryuu to muster an army and call both Man Goku and Ri Haku. His intention is to attack the state of Yan with an army of 100,000 Zhao troops with Hou Ken as the Commander-in-Chief.
Later, he met with Shun Shin Kun at the Chu/Qin border to discuss the coalition initiative, Seeing Shin at their location, he apologizes for his presence there and challenges the boy to a duel, saying he will reveal his plans if Shin defeats him. Knocking back Shin, he comments on his growth before leaving to visit the King of Wei.
During the Battle of Kankoku Pass, Riboku was stationed with the commander in chief of the coalition army, Shun Shin Kun, and was moving the strings behind the scenes. With the events of the 15th day and Qin's momentum, Ri Boku suggested that the coalition army should withdraw their forces and reconsider their strategy. During the night, Riboku secretly departed the HQ with unknown direction, leaving only one request: All army generals should pick 1000 elite soldiers and have them follow Ri Boku's trail.
Two days later, as the Qin officials were discussing their next move that would ensure their victory, news came to the capital that an unknown army was attacking city after city in the southern pass, slowly making their way to Kanyou. To everyone's surprise, it was soon revealed that this army was lead by no other than Ri Boku himself.
During the Battle of Sai, Ri Boku sieged the city of Sai for six days and nights, relentlessly, but due to the citizens' high morale, the city wouldn't fall. On the seventh day, his army finally managed to breach the city gates, but it was then when the Yo Tan Wa Army arrived at king Ei Sei's aid. Ri Boku realized he couldn't confront the mighty mountain warriors and have enough strength remaining to capture Kanyou, so he sounded the retreat.
After reuniting with the rest coalition generals, they led their armies against the state of Qi. The Coalition Army managed to conquer some minor cities but was forced to disband due to general Mou Bu's assault.
After the Coalition War, Ri Boku was blamed by the king of Zhao for his failure as leader of the state's military. As a result, the former prime minister was stripped of his title and exiled in the small city of Domei, near the Zhao-Wei borders. There, along with Fu Tei and Kaine, he helped the locals with their labor while planning his next moves.
After the Qin's victory over the Battle of Koku You Hill, He is shown with Shun Sui Ju and Ba Nan Ji, two mysterious generals of Zhao. While he was happy to discover Kan Ki's weakness he also was angry and saddened at the news of his protege Kei Sha death’s and vowed revenge with his own hands.
He was dispatched to escort Ou Ken, King of Qi. After meeting up with the Qi king, Ei Sei met up with him. Not wasting time, he offered something that nobody expected: a 7-nation alliance, which was equal in terms. But Sei declined, leading him to issue a threat to the King of Qin that as long as he was present, the unification was in vain, and left Kanyou.
Even before the invasion of Zhao Ri Boku had planned its defense thoroughly. When the Qin Military eventually made its move, he acted as supreme commander of the Zhao forces. Despite Ri Boku's achievements (or perhaps because of 'em), King Tou Jou grew suspicious of his General's ambitions and denied his requests to utilize the support of the elite troops protecting the capital city of Kantan during the invasion.
Ri Boku did not waver and led his men into the Battle at Shukai Plains, where he took control of the center army who was destined to face the Ou Sen Army itself. During this battle, however, Ri Boku would not be constrained to a strategist position as he rode among the Zhao Right Wing during a surprise attack to collect the head of Ma Kou - a powerful Ou Sen retainer. He also devised an ingenious battle plan to take out A Kou, who was leading the Qin against Zhao's Left Wing, but his plan was frustrated by the timely intervention of A Ka Kin, who saved his commander from the brink of death.
When Ri Boku's army eventually clashed with the Ou Sen army in the center, it was revealed that after his battle with Duke Hyou during the Coalition Invasion Arc, the Zhao general was able to study the Instinctual General, deconstructing and deciphering the mechanisms regarding how instinctual types wage war. He then proceeded to hammer that knowledge into the soldiers at his command, thus creating a hybrid army that combined the strengths of both strategical and instinctual fighting forces. His "Origins Tactics" (as it was informally named by Ou Sen), proved to be very effective against all sorts of formations and even against sheer brute force. The initial success of such tactics was not meant to last, however, as general Ou Sen was able to quickly read and counter them.
After this exchange, Ri Boku and Ou Sen decided to talk face to face. Ou Sen asked Ri Boku to join him and create a new kingdom. Ri Boku, however, refused, saying that while Ou Sen might be someone who can easily lay waste to swathes of kingdoms but can never be a man who is capable of raising and nurturing one. He then said he won't hesitate to risk his life for Zhao's sake. Disappointed Ou Sen decided to finish the conversation by sending his soldiers to attack and the battle continued on.
When Qin forces were pushing their way through Zhao's front lines Hou Ken suddenly appeared in order to talk to him. Ri Boku told him that the promise he gave him 20 years ago will be fulfilled on this day and that Shin is the one that holds the answer he seeks. He then sent Fu Tei and Ba Nan Ji to pincer Ou Sen's HQ and ordered Earl Rai and Earl Kou to return back to the rear. However, Ou Sen's life was saved by Ou Hon and Mou Ten who returned to HQ to help their commander. Meanwhile, Hi Shin Unit was able to overpower Kin Mou Army and close in on Zhao's HQ but was stopped by Hou Ken. Ri Boku decided to stay and watch the duel between Shin and Hou Ken. When Hou Ken lost Ri Boku ordered a full retreat and attack on Kan Ki Army. However, due to Zhao Army being severely weakened and Ou Sen's forces attacking his rear he was unable to recapture Gyou in time and the city gates were opened.
Ri Boku decided to surround the city and starve Qin forces inside. He realized Qin might use the river for food transport, so he ordered a blockade. After a while, King Tou Jou's men came to arrest him for losing the battle, and on his way to the capital, he realized that Qi might help Qin to resupply. However, it was already too late and supplies had reached Gyou's walls. Ri Boku begged Kaku Kai to make peace with Yan, mobilize the Northern Zhao armies and sent their eastern forces to the Gyou region, but he didn't do any of that.
Due to Prince Ka's decree of freeing critics of Tou Jou, he was released. He organized a council to discuss plans to evict Qin out of Gyou when he was shocked to realize that Sen, not Ka is the heir to the throne. After the announcement of prince Ka's removal from the line of throne succession, he and his subordinates were attacked on the royal palace by assassins. He escaped with prince Ka on a carriage while heading for Houshou. However, on their way, they were ambushed by another army and he fought too. After that, an army led by Ba Nan Ji stalled the Kantan army in order to allow Ri Boku and prince Ka to escape to Houshou. The next day, when they arrived there, Ri Boku chose to return to Ba Nan Ji instead of going inside Houshou with prince Ka.
|“||Ri Boku, the strongest member of Three Great Heavens in all of history.||”|
|I am always: aiming for something|
The man who surpassed Ou Ki as the strongest general of the time and the primary antagonist for Shin. He is considered Zhao's best Great Heaven and a commander of an unprecedented level. His stats make him one of the strongest character overall in the series. The only characters who surpass him in stats are the 'Military God' Gaku Ki of the State of Qi (93/100/98) and Ren Pa of Zhao's previous generation of the Three Great Heavens (97/98/96).
Unlike most strategists, his plans and tactics are based on real experience as a soldier/officer in the front lines which makes them much more effective, allowing him to operate in almost all situations. In examples shown so far, his strategies seem to be focused on the situation before the battle begins. This was seen during the Coalition War when he devised a contingency plan for the worst scenario before fights even started. He deliberately chose for Zhao the battlefield closest to the southern path and was sending his men to the Bu Pass, a few thousand at a time. To send tens of thousands of troops to the southern path without anyone catching on would take numerous days, however since they were being sent from day one, Riboku could quickly turn the tides after Ka Rin's plan failed.
Against Yan, he was able to move his HQ to the right of the Yan, giving him a significant advantage, while against Ou Ki, the misinformation and movement speed of his army was able to completely overcome The Monstrous Bird of Qin. Ri Boku's tactics were enough to defeat an army of 200 000 Xiongnu in a way that was later described as "completely one-sided slaughter" with only 130 000 men.
Ri Boku has a talent for being able to maneuver his own headquarters and troops in ways enemy generals do not expect often with devastating consequences. Utilizing his own talents he often methodically researches his opponent's strengths and military records to predict their actions. His two most notable achievements utilizing this skill has led to the defeat of Ou Ki and Geki Shin. Ri Boku's own analysis of war also allowed him to see through Shou Hei Kun's invasion of Wei as a potentially checkmating move, and thus, he deemed it necessary to form the Coalition Army in order to prevent that.
Manipulation of Information: Ri Boku is adept at manipulating information flow. During the battle of Bayou, he created information lock-down on Zhao's northern border that enabled him to hide his army and intrude into the battle from the side. In addition, he purposely leaked information that Hou Ken was a general in Zhao in order to lure Ou Ki into his trap. He also used a similar method as a key stratagem to form the coalition of armies that invaded Qin, hiding the alliance from Shou Hei Kun. Later during Qin's invasion of the Gyou region, he cut three Qin armies from any communication between each other as well as from the outside as part of his plan.
Military Formations: He is one of two known generals that are able to perform highly advanced defensive tactic known as Ryuudou. Its purpose is to use the flow of soldiers to split the attackers into smaller groups and drive them away from the HQ. The more the enemy tries to close in on the defender's HQ, the stronger the flow becomes. Usually, the commander needs a high vantage point to make this technique possible, but Ri Boku is able to see the entire field while at ground level and doesn't require the tower to use it.
All the officers in his army are well educated in warfare and capable of quickly reading the enemy's moves and reacting accordingly even without Ri Boku's command. This was showcased when they created an iron wall defense with Halting Point Formation and other defensive field tactics or when they used Widened Arrow Formation to trap the pursuing Qin forces. When on the attack, the army can form Great Crane Formation that utilizes "origin tactics" to make almost unstoppable advances.
Ri Boku's knowledge of field tactics also allowed him to analyze Ou Sen's advanced defensive formation. Other strategists like Ou Hon and Chou Ga Ryuu couldn't grasp it, but Ri Boku was able to find its weakness after a brief observation which resulted in A Kou's defeat.
Assassination Tactics: Ri Boku is capable of personally leading a detachment of soldiers in order to hunt down and slay the commander of an army. It was a strategy originating from his and Kaine's days fighting off the overwhelming Xiongnu back in Ganmon. He waits for the right moment when enemies are vulnerable to completely surprise them thanks to the extraordinary speed of his cavalry. By using this tactic he was able to catch off guard and swiftly kill Ma Kou as well as numerous Xiongnu leaders during his time at Ganmon. Such a tactic enabled the Zhao to paralyze the Xiongnu due to the latter's leaders fearing for their lives in the midst of battle.
Origin Tactics: Ri Boku has demonstrated the ability to find the "origin" of the workings of armies on the battlefield. After his battle with Duke Hyou, he was able to deconstruct and decipher the mechanisms of how instinctual generals wage war. He then proceeded to hammer that knowledge into the strategical type soldiers under his command. Emerging from that crucible was a new army that combined the strengths of both the strategical and instinctual.
Ri Boku also possesses amazing skills in building and modifying castles. After the battle for the Koku You Hills, he ordered the construction of several outposts in western Zhao creating an elaborate multi-layered defense that would take at least ten years to conquer which later forced Qin to make a risky and somewhat suicidal attack on Gyou. He also modified Retsubi as a way to be easily recaptured and upgraded Gyou to the point where it was considered by Ou Sen to be the perfect city that is impossible to take from the outside. This enabled him to cut off the enemy's supply line and turn the entire region into a deadly trap.
As proof of his battle experience, he was shown to have numerous scars on his body. It was stated by Shin and the generals who were present during his appearance at Kanyou that he has a terrifying and overwhelming martial presence that is a sign of living through a ridiculous number of battlefields as a warrior. It was later proven when Shin, who managed to kill Rin Ko, challenged him to a duel. Ri Boku easily kept up and even had the upper hand against Shin in their brief bout.
As one of Three Great Heavens Ri Boku is a living symbol of the Zhao Military. It was noted that after his victory in the Battle of Bayou he became extremely popular among the common folk. The loyalty of his vassals runs so deep that many of them like Kaine  and Shin Sei Jou  are ready to sacrifice their lives for him. With a leadership stat of 99, Ri Boku ranks among the best leaders in the series.
As the prime minister of Zhao, Ri Boku is a talented politician and diplomat. After the Battle of Bayou, he made a temporary alliance with Qin that enabled him to invade Yan. He was also the man behind the creation of the Coalition Army convincing other states to fight together against Qin. In addition, Riboku kept good relations with the Quanrong tribe from Ryouyou, which enabled him to use them during Qin's invasion of the Gyou region. Ironically, his relationship with the current king Tou Jou is so severely negative, he was treated like Ren Pa, with utter contempt.
- [To Kaine]
"It's enough to make your heart bleed. This is why I dislike warfare." (Chapter 171, page 9)
- [To Sei Mei]
"Understand that there are two types of commanders. The first are those who once slain will result in their soldiers completely losing morale and ending the battle right there. While the other becomes a symbol of martyrdom upon death and causes their soldiers to instead fight to their deaths." (Chapter 172, page 5–6)
- [To Ryo Fui]
"I was never the type of man who wished to stand above the others, to begin with. To be appointed by the people and the state is a heavy responsibility. Neither can I get accustomed to the elegant streets and houses. If possible I would rather return to the countryside and protect the land there with my comrades, perhaps build a family, raise some sheep, and leisurely spend my days till I go gray, that's the sort of peaceful life I most desire." (Chapter 176, page 8)
- [To Shin]
"The purpose of an alliance is not simply for the sake of preventing an enemy from attacking you. Rather, the importance lies in what one can obtain after the alliance. As well as your actions after the alliance." (Chapter 259, page 16)
- [To Shin]
"So long as you continue to believe that acquiring territory is all there is to warfare, you will never be able to defeat me in this life." (Chapter 259, page 17)
- [To Kaine and Fu Tei]
"Warfare is directly linked to politics. A defeat in war often leads to interior conflict breaking out within the courts." (Chapter 366, page 16)
- [To Ou Sen]
"This is only a guess, but though you may be someone who can easily lay waste to swathes of kingdoms...you will never be a man who is capable of raising and nurturing one." (Chapter 608, page 6)
- [To Ou Sen]
"I can tell you from experience...it is only when you find something worth protecting that your passion will burn brighter than ever." (Chapter 608, page 8)
- [To himself]
"An eye for an eye... a pincer for a pincer." (Chapter 614, page 20)
- Ri Boku is based on the famous historical general, Li Mu who was distantly related to the Qin general, Li Xin whom the main protagonist, Shin is based on despite the manga's differences of being a war orphan and the two presumably being unrelated to each other.
- Wikipedia lists him ("Li Mu") as one of the four generals "commonly known" as the greatest generals of the Warring States period. That's alongside Ou Sen ("Wang Jian"), Ren Pa ("Lian Po") and Haku Ki ("Bai Qi").