|“||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..||”|
|“||So you must be the "Great Blaze" Ri Boku.||”|
—Duke Hyou meeting Ri Boku.
|Epithet||Three Great Heavens|
A tall (but not bulky) man with a sturdy build body riddled with 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.
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 calvary 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 Xiongu. 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 afterwards, 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.
He latter appears 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 prime minister, Ri Boku personally comes to Qin's capital, Kanyou. The reason for this was, because the Zhao king loved a beautiful official called Shun Pei Kun. As Ryo Fui was a merchant before becoming a chancellor, he knew Shun Pei Kun very well. He sent a message to him to meet. 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 Shun Pei Kun.
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 being 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 to 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 planing his next moves.
He showed up after the Battle of Koku You Hill, with Shun Sui Ju and Ba Nan Ji. He was happy he found out Kan Ki weakness but he also was angry at Kei Sha death’s and vowed revenge with his own hands.
|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 was nearly undefeated in history. His stats make him one of the strongest character overall in the series. The only characters who surpassed him were 'Military God' Gaku Ki (93/100/98) and Ren Pa (97/98/96).
Unlike most strategists, his plans and tactics are based on real experience as a soldier/officer in the front line 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 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 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 manoeuvre 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 deduce predict their actions or analysis preparing his own strategy and the manoeuvres of his troops in such a way as to crush his opponents. 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 ultimately forming the invading coalition.
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 just managed to kill Rinko, challenged him to a fight. Ri Boku easily kept up and even had the upper hand against Shin in their brief bout.
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.
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 defenders 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.
Ri Boku also possesses amazing skills in building and modifying castles. After the battle of Koku You, he ordered the construction of several outposts in western Zhao creating an elaborate multi-layered defence that would take at least ten years to conquer which later forced Qin to make a risky 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.
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 an 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 Gyou region he cut three Qin armies from any comunication between each other as well as from the outside as part of his trap.
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 men behind the creation of Coalition Army convincing other states to fight together against Qin. In addition, Riboku kept good relations with Quanrong tribe from Ryouyou, which enabled him to use them during Qin's invasion of Gyou region.
- [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 matyrdom 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, thats 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, 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 aquiring territory is all there is to warfare, you will never be able to defeat me in this life." (Chapter 259, page 17)
- Riboku 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 Ousen ("Wang Jian"), Ren Pa ("Lian Po") and Haku Ki ("Bai Qi").