Amaterasu is an aggressive, combo-oriented fighter. She's noticeably more agile on the ground than in the air, though not at all to Little Mac levels.
Her moves see her using the three types of Divine Instrument: a Reflector (a shield that flies like a close-range boomerang), a Rosary (a chain of beads she uses as a whip), and a Glaive (a big sword). The specific weapons of each type will actually change with each alt costume. After you perform a move with a certain weapon, that weapon will remain on her back until she uses another one, similar to how Pit works.
-- NEUTRAL SPECIAL: CELESTIAL BRUSH --
This is a little unconventional, but I want to begin with her specials. Specifically her neutral special, Celestial Brush. It's somewhat key to her gameplan, after all.
Upon hitting the B button, you'll lose control of Amaterasu, and instead control a brush with cursor-like movement. By holding A, you can draw on the screen. If you draw one of many specific patterns, you'll cause something to happen that depends on the pattern (called a Celestial Brush Technique). We'll go over all the CBTs... er, maybe we shouldn't call them that. We'll go over all the CB techniques later, but there's some details of this move I want to go over.
Above Ammy's damage meter are three ink pots. These serve as a cooldown for her Celestial Brush techniques. Each technique will expend one to three pots, which Ammy will gradually recover over time.
Earlier, I stated that you'll lose control of Amaterasu, but what exactly does that entail? Well, in Ōkami, time stopped completely while using the Brush, but that'd be crazy in a fighting game. Here, Amaterasu goes into slow-motion and sepia tone while using the Brush. If you use it in the middle of an attack, she'll still complete the move while you're drawing.
I went into this with the philosophy that if the Brush can do it in Ōkami, it'll do something in this game. I don't want Ōkami fans to have to remember which techniques are included. They should just do them the same way they've been doing 'em, even if they don't work the same way. The full list of techniques are:
- SUNRISE: Draw a circle in the sky. Costs 2 pots of ink. The sun will remain in the sky for about twelve seconds. While it's there, all character's defense is increased. This will also change the time of day on Battlefield, Big Battlefield, Small Battlefield, Gaur Plain, Minecraft World, Smashville, and Town and City.
- REJUVENATION: Fill in a missing or destroyed part of the stage. Costs 1 pot of ink. The missing element will come back. Works on basically any stage where things go away.
- POWER SLASH: Draw a horizontal line across at least one damageable object. Costs 1 pot of ink. This creates a slashing attack with high knockback. It's one of your go-to moves, and is good for ending canvas combos.
- BLOOM: Sub-technique of Greensprout. Draw a circle around a character. Costs 2 pots of ink. For about twelve seconds, that character's speed will be increased.
- TREE SEED: Sub-technique of Bloom, a sub-technique of Greensprout. Draw dots on the ground. Costs 1 pot of ink. They'll sprout into trees that knock enemies upward, and stick around as brief (but easily-destroyed) walls.
- WILDFLOWER: Sub-technique of Bloom, a sub-technique of Greensprout. Scribble on the ground. Costs 0 pots of ink. Wildflowers will sprout. Doesn't actually do anything.
- WATER LILY: Sub-technique of Greensprout. Draw a circle on the water. Costs 1 pot of ink. Creates a temporary platform on top of the water.
- VINE: Sub-technique of Greensprout. Draw a line from a ledge to a character. Costs 2 pots of ink. That character will be pulled toward the ledge by a vine.
- CHERRY BOMB: Draw a circle with a line coming out of the top. Costs 1 pot of ink. Creates a bomb that rolls around. Attacking it will cause it to fly around like a crate. It will eventually explode. Unlike in Ōkami, it'll hurt Ammy.
- WATERSPOUT: Draw a line from water or water-based hitboxes. Only gameplay-effecting water counts. Costs 1 pot of ink. The water will move along the path you drew, dealing damage to foes it hits. Powerful, but tricky to make work. Similar to Inferno, Thunderstorm, and Blizzard.
- DELUGE: Sub-technique of Waterspout. Draw two vertical lines. Costs 2 pots of ink. Creates rain that causes a minor downward windbox, harming recovery attempts. Also starts the rain on Distant Planet.
- FOUNTAIN: Sub-technique of Waterspout. Draw a swirl around a Mermaid Spring. It's too bad there aren't any of those in the game...
- CRESCENT: Draw a curved arc in the sky. Costs 2 pots of ink. The moon will remain in the sky for about twelve seconds. While it's there, all character's offense is increased. This will also change the time of day on Battlefield, Big Battlefield, Small Battlefield, Gaur Plain, Minecraft World, Smashville, and Town and City.
- GALESTORM: Draw a swirling loop or spiral. Costs 1 pot of ink. Creates a gust of wind in the direction and location of the brushstroke (spirals count as up). This makes a windbox that can aid or harm recoveries.
- WHIRLWIND: Sub-technique of Galestorm. Draw three horizontal lines. Costs 2 pots of ink. Creates a small tornado around Amaterasu, which sends opponents up and does significant damage. Drawing the lines longer will make the attack more powerful but shorter.
- INFERNO: Draw a line from fire or fire-based hitboxes. Only gameplay-effecting fire counts. Costs 1 pot of ink. The fire will move along the path you drew, and will drag enemies along it if it hits them (though it'll always do the same amount of damage and end by knocking them at the same angle). Similar to Waterspout, Thunderstorm, and Blizzard.
- FIREBURST: Sub-technique of Inferno. Draw a lemniscate (∞). Costs 2 pots of ink. Summons a big ball of fire that does significant damage.
- VEIL OF MIST: Draw two horizontal lines. Costs all 3 pots of ink. Slows down time for two seconds. Because of its cost, you can't use the Celestial Brush during this time.
- MIST WARP: Sub-technique of Veil of Mist. Draw an X on an Ultimate Origin Mirror. It's too bad there aren't any of those in the game...
- CATWALK: Scribble on a wall. Costs 1 pot of ink. For about 12 seconds, Amaterasu becomes able to cling to that wall like Sheik (among others) can. Probably not that useful.
- THUNDERSTORM: Draw a line from electricity or electricity-based hitboxes. Only gameplay-effecting electricity counts. Costs 1 pot of ink. The electricity will move along the path you drew, dealing damage to foes it hits. Powerful, but tricky to make work. Similar to Waterspout, Inferno, and Blizzard.
- THUNDERBOLT: Sub-technique of Thunderstorm. Draw a vertical zigzag. Costs 2 pots of ink. Summons significantly-damaging lighting.
- BLIZZARD: Draw a line from ice or ice-based hitboxes. Only damaging ice or frozen opponents count. Costs 1 pot of ink. The ice will move along the path you drew, dealing damage to foes it hits. Powerful, but tricky to make work. Similar to Waterspout, Inferno, and Blizzard.
- ICESTORM: Sub-technique of Blizzard. Draw an X with a line through it. Costs 2 pots of ink. Summons damaging, freezing shards of ice.
Wow, that's a lot!
Anyway, if there's only one Ammy in a match, the ink is black and the effect on Ammy is sepia-toned, like in Ōkami. If there's multiple, however, these effects will instead match the player color. P1 gets red ink, P2 gets blue, P3 gets yellow, P4 gets green, et cetera. This is just a visibility thing.
Oh, yeah! Since this is all a neutral special, Kirby can do all this stuff too! His ink is a pale rainbow color, and his copy hat gives him the coloration and markings of a Celestial Brush God.
-- SIDE SPECIAL: TSUMUGARI --
Compared to her monstrously complicated neutral special, her other specials are quite simple. She uses her Glaive (Tsumugari in her default costume) for a chargeable dash attack. In the air, she actually rides Tsumugari downward at an angle! The charge will continue while using the Celestial Brush, so you can use Icestorm (for example) to keep your opponent busy while you charge it.
-- UP SPECIAL: DEVOUT BEADS --
This move is an eight-directional recovery move that uses Amaterasu's Rosary (the Devout Beads in her default costume). It's a tether recovery, but it's actually not very effective - it's more useful as an attack than anything. Ammy's better off using Vine if she can spare the ink.
-- DOWN SPECIAL: DIVINE RETRIBUTION --
For this move, Ammy spins her Reflector (Divine Retribution in her default costume) in front of her. If an attack or projectile hits it, there'll be a great deal of freeze frames before Ammy retaliates or reflects it respectively. Yes, this is a counter move, don't kill me.
However, this move serves a greater purpose than just being "the thing the Reflector does". Waterspout, Inferno, Thunderstorm, and Blizzard require you to use specific elemental hitboxes. And yes, they're all basically identical to effectively give the same attack more things to activate it with, but even so, how are you supposed to catch Roy's sword or a Water Shuriken with your brush? That's where this move comes in. You can use the large amount of freeze frames on this attack to activate the Celestial Brush and draw a line from whatever it is that hit you.