The Jiang Shi (Chinese 殭屍) is an enemy in the Castlevania series. It is an undead creature from Chinese mythology. It first appeared in the parody game Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun and later as a secret and optional miniboss in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.
The Jiang Shi, conceived in China, is a vampire that leaps around, killing living things in order to absorb their life essence. They are said to be created when a person's soul fails to leave the body, usually due to an improper death, an act of suicide, or the simple desire for trouble. The name literally translates to "stiff corpse".
Their appearances range from ordinary to extraordinarily horrifying. Its hopping motions usually come from the intense rigor mortis and stiffness of the corpse. Their skin is usually pale green and furry, covered with mold, and they usually have long white hair (although some representations may leave this out).
Jiang Shi represented in popular culture tend to wear gaudy funeral clothes, as if they are the dead bodies of famous persons in China.
The story of the Jiang Shi began from the folk practice of "Traveling a Corpse Over a Thousand Li", where families who could not afford much in the way of traveling expenses for a deceased family member who died far from home would hire a Taoist priest to transport the body. The priest would tack a talisman onto the body's forehead, which would enable the body to find its way back to its original home for proper burial by hopping. Taoist priests would only transport the bodies at night, and would constantly ring bells to warn other nighttime pedestrians that a Jiang Shi was coming their way; the pedestrians, of course not wanting to be seen by a Jiang Shi, would vacate the area immediately. To protect themselves, the priests would wear a headdress that had a veil covering their faces; this way, the Jiang Shi they were transporting would travel alongside them without the temptation to devour the priest.
Such a practice was popular in Xiangxi, where many people left home to find work in other areas. After they died, their corpses were transported back to their rural hometown using long bamboo rods. When the bamboo flexed up and down, the corpses appeared to be hopping in unison from a distance.
The Jiang Shi is found at the end of the Large Cavern as a secret miniboss, and must be defeated in order to complete Irina's final quest: "An Unwelcome Guest". It moves only by hopping around the room, attempting to hit the player directly. After several hops, it will stop and cast a large white homing orb which does massive damage. Eventually, it will also summon a miniature version of itself. As the fight continues, it can become difficult to hit the Jiang Shi due to the overwhelming amount of homing orbs and hopping summons that crowd the screen. They can be countered, however, as the orbs can be blocked with Melio Scutum and the miniature Jiang Shis can be beaten normally.
This fight is the only place in the game where the Fidelis Mortus glyph can be absorbed; however, sometimes the Jiang Shi may take a very long time to cast it. It appears that if the player does not destroy the homing energy orbs and instead lets them remain on the screen as more are summoned, there will be a greater chance for the Jiang Shi to cast the spell.
Once the Jiang Shi is defeated, it will freeze in place, immobilized by a small piece of paper with a spell fastened to its forehead. If the Jiang Shi is hit again, it will come back to life and the battle will begin anew. However, all the player has to do is to exit from the left side of the room if this happens (considering the boss door is still open).
A viable strategy to fight the Jiang Shi consists in using Volaticus to keep on the move while the player keeps on wearing down the monster with the rest of their abilities, switching to the Melio Scutum glyph as necessary to block off the orbs.
- The Jiang Shi in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is technically not considered to be a boss, but instead a very powerful enemy, as it does not drop a Boss Medal and also a Magic Crystal will not appear after defeating it, in addition to being able to be fought as many times as desired by awakening it again each time it is defeated.
- Even so, Dissonant Courage, a music track commonly used for boss battles, will play in the background while fighting it.
- Fidelis Mortus (summon Jiang Shi familiars)