With a name related to the Japanese kami and use of katana, Kamui is quite obviously an Easterner. This might not seem as obvious looking at his facial features, lacking the long-slit eyes and small lips characteristic of the “snake foreigner face” (蛇の異人顔) by western detractors or “dragon foreigner face” (竜の異人顔) by the occasional endorser. However, this inconsistency can be attributed to him sharing a character model with Gotthard. Both members of the Black Hand are identical save for their swords — in fact, Gotthard’s corpse was erroneously left with Kamui’s weapon instead of swapping it out for his own distinctive twin blades; the developers also failed to notice that the “corpse” still blinks. This leaves little doubt that Kamui just suffers from FromSoftware recycling assets for a hostile NPC most players won’t ever get a good look at. Kamui proves to be more than just a clone of Gotthard.
Snake Foreigner Face
Face of a foreigner that has signs of small, long-slit eyes and thin lips. Called a “dragon foreigner face” when extolling this.
His familiarity with their peculiar dual-blade style suggests that he was once a samurai, and an accomplished one at that. His first and main blade Onikiri (鬼切) translates to “onislayer” or more literally “oni-cutter”, implying that he had used it to cut down the horned giants so prevalent in the far East. Whether it was a one-off occurrence or his regular source of prey for his blade, his weapon’s skill of the same name proves the strong technique he learned wielding an otherwise ordinary katana against such extraordinary foes. However, it seems that his luck on the battlefield eventually ran out. According to the weapon’s description, Kamui traveled all the way from the East before finally stopping at the Undead Settlement. This plus his use of Estus would indicate him banished from home for turning Undead. Much like Shiva and his shadow in the original Dark Souls, the samurai had to live as a vagabond with nowhere to go except the land where all manner of curses were allowed to gather. Whether it be facing oni or fellow Easterners in their endless civil wars, Kamui lost once and so lost everything.
But that isn’t the pathetic end to his tale, as there in town he forged a new shorthand katana Ubadachi and became one of Lothric’s hunters. Considering that Lothric normally doesn’t bring Undead into its walls, the king of Lothric must have first reached out to find a new royal assassin among the dregs of his realm. We do see the government hire Easterners for assassination in more recent times, and Kamui’s case reinforces the implication that the royal government brought in new hunters from Undead assassins lurking in the squalid town. Perhaps Kamui’s skill stood out from the rest of the needy and seedy townsfolk, or perhaps his draconic features stood out to the wyvern-loving government. Whatever the case, the Eastern warrior was ultimately given the chance to climb out of his hole and have a purpose to his talents again. Indeed, his Onislayer skill performed with Ubadachi is nigh identical to the leaping, decapitating slash whilst dual-wielding claws loved by Eastern spies, so Kamui’s techniques were already suitable for an assassin; he just needed the second blade to complete the imitation.
Twin blades of a hunter called the king’s Black Hand. Choice weapon of Kamui, who protected the Prince.
One of the twin blade weapons.
It is said that Kamui, who arrived at the Undead Town carrying Onikiri, there made Ubadachi and became the king’s hunter.
Battle art is “Onislayer”. Gently leap forward and cut apart to open wounds with the two blades.
Weapon that spies of an eastern land prefer to use. It is said that the parallel lacerations don’t readily heal.
Two-handing equips it in both left and right fists.
Battle art is “Monkey Slash”. Greatly leap forward and aim to slice off the head. If as planned, it can have a headshot effect and deal great damage.
There is, of course, a deeper meaning to him forging an entirely new blade, and one need only look at what he named it: Ubadachi, meaning “old woman-slayer” or more literally “old woman-severer”. No longer were his targets oni — now he only slew men. Naturally, this implies that the king at the time wanted an old woman dead. And given that the Hunter exists to covertly regulate the three Pillars, this old woman was most likely a High Priestess. In that case, who? And why? Given that Kamui earned a title reserved solely for those who have served across multiple kings’ reigns, the monarch who brought him into the hunters must, at minimum, be the predecessor of the current king Oceiros. And the only High Priestess known to have served during that period would be the now shrine handmaid. In other words, the grandmother may have only become the immortal caretaker thanks to manifesting the Undead curse beforehand, similar to Andre. Being assassinated by her own lord and liege would also certainly add to the woman’s jaded outlook in the present day.
If the handmaid truly was Kamui’s mark, then it begs why she needed to die. The kanji for sever (断) is also used to refer to a decision or judgment as well as a refusal or dismissal, adding a possible wordplay of the king resolving to cut the old woman off from her current position. If the issue wasn’t personal, then what aspect of her professional duties might have unnerved him? The most obvious element is the holy woman’s influence on his son. Recall that Oceiros developed an incredible religious fervor, undoubtedly nurtured in no small part by his wet nurse. The king may have therefore been concerned about the High Priestess’ grip on the future of the royal line and sought to sever these bonds before they doomed the royalty’s independence in its own affairs. After all, what would happen to the kingdom if his heir was beholden to just one of the Pillars? He couldn’t afford to let the High Priestess prey on the young prince’s vulnerable character, and the Hunter was the means excise that political cancer.
Even so, this still wouldn’t explain why the king went to the effort to hire Kamui when he had at least two existing hunters able to take on the unseemly task. Perhaps this particular job was too dirty to entrust to the traditional hunter. Gotthard was singled out from among the knights, and the same was liable to be true for his unnamed comrade. And at least in the case of the former, that chivalric spirit carried over into his work as a hunter. Upon being summoned as a phantom, Gotthard immediately raises his sword like a musketeer, as if vowing on his honor as a knight — embodied in that blade — to help us achieve victory against the boss ahead. His individual handling of Sulyvahn and Gertrude likewise betray his desire for a strong, faithful, but independent Lothric. This isn’t the behavior of a man who performs his assassinations without pride and patriotism. He is a Black Hand because his loyalty is to his country, not any one of its kings.
With that in mind, killing an innocent old woman in service to the gods simply for fear of her potential manipulation of the future king might have raised doubts among former knights whose old Pillar shares close ties with its religious counterpart. Under those circumstances, the king would be wise to depend on an outsider, someone with the skills but without the history to question this mission — boosting his chances of them successfully following through. The person ultimately recruited was Kamui, who was glad to forge a new blade just for the job; the fact that he is still a hunter to this day proves his success in this and subsequent endeavors. If the king of his country of residence wanted some old woman dead, he would oblige. If he had to live in the castle’s shadow, let it be from within its walls rather than below them.
However, if the king’s goal was to temper his son’s religiosity, then it failed miserably, and may have even exacerbated the problem. There is no doubt that the prince would, at some point, know about the royalty’s secret assassins. Moreover, his wet nurse’s martyrdom would reinforce Oceiros’ poor impression of his family, namely in failing to live up to their spiritual duty as mediators’ for the firelinking. This surreptitious act against the faith could do nothing except earn the prince’s enmity. It is possible that Oceiros’ rise to the throne was even a direct response to the assassination. The deafening silence on his family before marriage is ominous. Where was his mother in all this? Did he even have siblings? Or was he alone with only a kindly wet nurse to raise him? When she was gone, did he assume the crown because his father died of natural causes? Or did political maneuvering over and under the table put him in the king’s seat early? Oceiros has proven willing to do anything to reorient the royalty towards loftier goals, and his progeny know the consequences of his temper.
Whatever the truth, Kamui has suffered no blowback for his part in the killing and in fact gladly served a new master. Still, his reasons are hardly reputable. Similar to Kamui, Gotthard’s swings his main sword largely the same as a Lothric knight. The second blade, presumably added after becoming a hunter, builds upon this chivalric sophistication to create a swift and flowing swordplay, overwhelming the assassination target with constant offense. But unlike Gotthard, Kamui cares not for this elegance. Although both utilize a composite bow for rapid-fire but close-range shooting, Gotthard uses it with ordinary feather arrows while Kamui employs poison arrows — and the latter doesn’t require well-placed shots to guarantee death. The Easterner is more than willing to rely on ugly, underhanded tactics. He has no roots to this land nor sense of kinship with its people, and what samurai-equivalent to the code of chivalry he might have once possessed has long since fallen by the wayside in the wake of his exile. Kamui’s only incentive is to maximize his own benefit, without honor or finesse.
Such mercenary attitude earned him the wide-brimmed hat and explains why the Black Hand now protect Princes Lothric and Lorian alongside Albert and Kriemhild. His last king went mad and is unlikely to survive deposition should the kingdom pull through the present civil unrest. If there is any hope for maintaining job security, it is with the man’s heirs. Whether or not Kamui understands the larger cosmological implications to the Twin Princes’ actions — or rather, inaction — he obviously isn’t all that bothered. The other two hunters can squabble over how to end the infighting and restore peace to the realm. So long as there is a kingdom still standing by that point, Kamui need not concern himself with the Age. And if there is to be a royal government, there must be a royalty. If the Undead can safeguard the princes, then his subsequent eternity will enjoy relative comfort and purpose as their secret assassin. That is how it has been, that is how it should be.