|“||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|
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 Yan Men, 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 Yan Men 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 Yan Men castle during the attacks. When pressured by the veterans as to why he took this course of action, he explained that Yan Men was mostly open ground, enabling the Xiongnu to use their calvary to their fullest potential. In addition, Yan Men 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, Yan Men 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 Kaine was wounded, regretting what Ri Boku's exile did to Yan Man. Soon after Zhao and her comrade 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.
Battle of Bayou ArcEdit
Ri Boku is first seen when Ou Ki's army battles against Zhao forces led by Houken and he stumbles on a watchpost occupied by Qin strategists who are wary of his presence. 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, Tojou, who had to make Ri Boku go to Kanyou and negotiate to bring Shun Pei Kun.
Sanyou Aftermath ArcEdit
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 Kouson 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 Houken as the commander-in-chief.
Coalition Invasion ArcEdit
Later, he met with Shun Shin Kun at the Chu/Zhao 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.
Battle of Kankoku PassEdit
During the Battle of Kankoku Pass, Riboku was stationed with the commander in chief of the coalition army, Shunshinkun, and was moving the strings behind the scenes. With the events of the 15th day and Qin's momentum, Riboku 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 Riboku's trail.
Battle of SaiEdit
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 Riboku himself.
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.
Conspiracy in the Court ArcEdit
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.
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. Against Yan, he was able to move his HQ to the right of the Yan, giving him a significant advantage, while against Ou Ki, his misinformation and movement speed of his army was able to completely overcome The Mysterious Bird of Qin.
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 presence. 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 battle.
Ri Boku has a talent for being able to maneveur 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 opponents strengths and military records to deduce predict their actions or analysis preparing his own strategy and the maneuvers 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.
He is one of two known generals that are able to perform higly 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'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. Ri Boku is also adept at manipulating information flow using this as a key strategem to forming the coalition of armies that invaded Qin.
- [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 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)
- 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").