Tong Lingmei (トン リンメイ Ton Rinmei Chinese: 同昤媄 Tóng Língmei) is a character appearing in the Soul series of fighting games. She made her first appearance in Soulcalibur III and returned in Soulcalibur IV. She is the first deuteragonist of the Soulcalibur: Kinouishi fanverse.
What lies in her soul is Transcendence.
Lingmei was the daughter the Tong family, a wealthy lineage skilled in martial arts. Her father, Tong Wufan, trained her in sword arts with the jian, and her mother trained her in traditional dance, giving her a fluid and graceful, yet effective fighting style. Historically, the Tong family had some connections to the Seong family in Korea, and the latter's techniques had influenced the former's style over the course of the Ming Dynasty. It was said that Tong Wufan had trained with both Seong Hanmyeong and his father in his youth.
In her late teens, a wandering Japanese samurai appeared at her father's martial arts school. Easily defeated by one of his students, her father insisted on training the young man to teach him discipline. Though she initially looked down on him, the two quickly became close friends. She always enjoyed his war stories, which partly inspired her desire to make a name for herself.
As malfestation spread to China, it reached the Tong family's home town. Lingmei was among the first to help fend them off. She and a band of local warriors successfully protected the town, and few malfested attempted to enter again.
Shortly after the malfested invasion, her old friend Seiji Kazemaru passed through the town, claiming that he was on a journey for Soul Edge.
Lingmei had a desire to make a name for herself, rather than live the rest of her life in her father's shadow. She volunteered to join her friend on his quest. While her father was initially against it, he accepted, hoping that she would become a greater sword master than him, when the time comes for her to inherit the school.
On their travels, Lingmei and Seiji met a Chinese warrior monk who tested them in combat. The duo were very close to victory, until the monk turned the tides and defeated them. He asked the young samurai why he was searching for Soul Edge, and he simply replied "because my lord asked it of me". The monk then warned him of its true evil power, and of the Azure Knight Nightmare, telling of the effects it has had on the world. Seiji made it his new goal to instead find its opposite sword, Soul Calibur, or as this monk called it, Krita-Yuga. Lingmei's goal would remain unchanged; now his goal had more in common with hers. For a short period of time, the monk even agreed to train the two, refining the vigilante's concentration and overall skill, and expanding the samurai's knowledge of Chinese martial arts. As a gift, the monk rewarded Lingmei with a pair of armored gauntlets.
Lingmei and Seiji would continue to fight malfested in Algol's dimension, until Siegfriend Schtauffen defeated Nightmare, and the whereabouts of Soul Calibur seemingly disappeared. Shortly after recovering from the battle, Lingmei returned to China.
When she returned, Master Tong noticed that she carried herself more maturely and wisely. Only a few years later, he would retire and hand the school over to Lingmei, confident that she was a worthy successor, and acknowledging that she is strong in her own right, rather than simply using her family name for fame.
Wanting to make a name for herself, she instead established her own school called the New Tong School, while she allowed her younger brother, Tong Lingyang, to inherit their father's school. Her name and her deeds in tracking down Soul Calibur slowly but surely spread throughout the jianghu. Men and women alike would come from all over China to train with her and hear the stories about her and her samurai friend.
Putting the life of traveling behind her, Lingmei was now married to her childhood friend Wu Chun, who was also one of her father's students. She continues to maintain her martial arts school, while her brother continued to manage the original school of their now-late father. Her school was one where many women came to make names for themselves as their teacher had.
In 1607, her old friend Seiji Kazemaru, now a ninja and a high ranking general, visited her dojo while taking another journey to Europe. She refused to follow him due to wanting to manage her dojo. However, she allowed him to train with her students for a brief time while they caught up. During this time, she revealed that she was married to his old sparring partner Wu Chun, who also welcomed him with open arms. While her old friend stayed, she also hosted Ryuki Arakachi, a Ryukyuan warrior that Wu Chun met on a diplomatic mission to Ryukyu.
After a few days, he left the New Tong School once again, joined by Ryuki to continue his pilgrimage.
Later Life and Legacy
In her later years, Tong Lingmei would continue to manage her martial arts school, and her children and descendants would continue to inherit it.
Upon marrying Wu Chun, the family that ran the school would bear the name Wu, though it carried the Tong bloodline with it. Some called them the Wu-Tong family, out of respect for the style's roots with Master Tong.
It was said that a grandson of Tong Lingmei founded an offshoot of her school in Taiwan, and his son would return to the Arakachi family in Ryukyu, living with them and influencing their family martial arts.
Lingmei, having grown up around weapons, has always been fascinated by combat and self-improvement. Due to being surrounded by her father's students and later her own, who are of diverse backgrounds all over China and even as far as Japan, she has a desire to explore.
In her later years, she becomes content with managing her school, and puts the development of her students above all else.
Lingmei is a pale Han Chinese woman of average height, with shoulder-length black hair with a purple tint, usually in a bob style. Her main outfit consists of a green hanfu with grey pants and dark red kung fu shoes, and a black headband. In Soulcalibur IV, armored gauntlets are added to her outfit. Her second player costume is a blue sleveless form-fitting qipao with lightly-armored gauntlets.
Appearances in Other Media
Lingmei appears as a playable character in Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires. Her fighting style is identical to Cao Cao. She is said to have appeared during the events of Warriors Orochi, where she reunites with Seiji, and the two fight against Orochi.
Lotus Garden (SC3)
- Lingmei was originally planned to be a love interest for Seiji. However, the author decided that he liked it better if they were simply best friends. He does reference the original idea, claiming that Seiji once had romantic feelings for her, though they were short lived.
- A much earlier draft of the story had Seiji failing his mission to obtain Soul Edge (as opposed to simply finding information on it), and abandoning his post as a samurai to marry Lingmei and settle down with her in China, partially out of love for her, and partially out of fear of punishment for his failure. He would adopt the Chinese name "Wu Zhen". However, the author scrapped this, feeling that it would make Seiji look like a coward, and thus made Wu Zhen a separate character, though in his mind the two are similar. There also existed an unused idea that while Seiji would return to Japan, the two would have an illegitimate child much like Kilik and Xianghua having Xiba.
- As of early 2017, the illegitimate child plot was reinstated. While the two carry themselves as best friends, it is revealed that the two shared a handful of moments of intimacy along their journey, and that Lingmei would carry Seiji's illegitimate child, who would be adopted by Ji Gang.
- Lingmei's story is very similar to Seong Mina's.
Tong Lingmei on Another Stage of History (Note: User "The Strongest Bad" is PutYaGunsOn under another name)