in this mockup we are attacking in 3 directions. first, we're attacking to the NE. the second attack is due East. then we do a third attack to the SE. (i've looped it, of course) even with only 8 angles for the sword sprite, we should be able to do this fairly easily.
one of the things that bothers me most about alot of 2d action adventures is that they only do things in 4 directions. in minish cap, you have enough coverage with the sword strokes, but with many of the other weapons, 4 directions is simply not enough. if you can move in 8 directions, you should be able to act in 8 directions.
the mockup would be more obvious if i did the thrust, instead of the stroke, in the same directions to show off the angles. the spear class standard thrust should be able to be done in 8 directions as well. i'll do the spear next.