Boss: Leaf Man is one of the harder bosses in the game and I wouldn’t recommend fighting him without at least one equipment upgrade or his weakness, Giant Axe. He has an extremely predictable pattern, but it’s a tough one to dodge all the same. He starts by tossing one of his boomerang-like Leaf Cutters in the air and another one on the ground, which are straightforward enough to dodge, but he immediately jumps into the air after tossing the cutters and will attempt to land on Mega Man. He also proceeds to follow Mega Man for a few seconds after landing, making him one of the few Robot Masters which actively try to hurt Mega Man through contact damage. Even if you get away from him after he lands, you need to maintain a solid distance to avoid his vine whip attack, which sends out a triple spreadshot of thorns. As the final part of his attack pattern, Leaf Man once again leaps into the air and sends out another thorny tripleshot. Each part of his pattern on its own is simple enough, but he starts each attack while Mega Man is in the middle of dodging the previous one, so you have to be both quick and constantly aware of your position in relation to that of Leaf Man’s. This is a fight where your best bet is to memorize his pattern and to focus on defense as getting hit just once can throw off your momentum for the rest of the fight and make it hard to recover.
Stage: As far as themes and gimmicks go, Leaf Man’s stage is, to put it bluntly, extremely bland. The only defining trait of his stage comes in the form of spears which jut out from clearly visible holes in the floor; they’re never difficult to dodge or detect and they add even less to the stage than Trash Man’s destructible blocks. Speaking of Trash Man, while his stage at least had a creative robot graveyard/scrapheap aesthetic going on, Leaf Man’s stage consists mostly of remarkably generic trees and platforms. That said, what it lacks in environmental hazards and appearances it makes up for with its enemies. Giant mets launch upward out of pits to shoot bullets at diagonal angles while bush-like mets shoot out thorns in all directions, birds suddenly swoop out of the sky, and leafy cocoons block the way and explode into bullets when destroyed. Enemy attacks come from just about every angle possible and you need to constantly be ready to react to one threat or another in order to avoid being shoved into a pit or simply killed from taking one too many hits. As to the miniboss, it’s a strange, stationary bird-plant hybrid which shoots out exploding lemons and, when it gets low on health, a few bullets; the fight is an easy one and is simply a matter of getting the timing down to jump over the explosive fruit and counterattack, but, like with Leaf Man himself, momentum is important as the lemons actually can deal a large amount of damage and getting hit can throw off your timing.
Weapon: Leaf Cutter is a mostly standard boomerang weapon, though that’s not a bad thing. It moves fast in a straight line, has plenty of horizontal range, and you can have two of them out at once. Like with most weapons of this type in Mega Man games, it can be used to grab items, so it’s nice to have around to safely avoid hazards while trying to get a 1-up or a large piece of healing energy and it’s usually the weapon of choice for fighting enemies positioned over pits, just in case they drop something nice which would otherwise be lost. As an added bonus, Leaf Cutter recovers half the energy it used if Mega Man catches it, though it uses so little energy anyway, especially once you get the Energy Saver, that this rarely matters. In terms of its usefulness as an actual weapon, it’s actually fairly good because it will cling to an enemy for a short time after it initially hits them, making it a cheap and fast way to take out very mobile enemies or ones which are positioned in such a way that it is difficult to hit them more than once or twice at a time.