Guilty Gear design comparison: BAIKEN

Baiken is a hodgepodge of samurai tropes. While her initial design does come from Kenshin of Rurouni Kenshin (whom Ishiwatari thought to be a woman at first,) Baiken is quite a lot more than just that. She gets her scar and lost arm from the literary character of Tange Sazen, though which eye has been scarred has been switched around. While Sazen is a man, the very second movie the character starred turned things around and starred Michiyo Okusu as Lady Sazen in Lady Sazen and the Drenched Swallow Sword.

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She may lack the Demon Tools, but Lady Sazen cuts people down like grass

Certainly we can trace some elements of Baiken’s designs to characters like Tezuka’s Hyakkimaru as well, but all this really is to show that Baiken encompasses characteristics from an archetypical ronin samurai stories, including her traumatic past and thirst for revenge. Hell, she even kicks tatami up with a special move, and let’s not forget she gets her name from Baiken Shishido, who probably influenced her use of Demon Tools through his proficiency with the kusarigama, the sickle-chain. However, I do argue that Lady Sazen and Kenshin were the main influences here, and everything else was more or less a supplement to fit popular samirai tropes.  Hell, she even has a pose where she holds her chin like Sanjuro from Yojinbo. Let’s get it on after the jump.

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Guilty Gear design comparison; Johnny

Johnny Sfondi didn’t enter the series until Guilty Gear X, but what I remember from that time he quickly became the favourite on many feminine guys who played the game. To some Johnny has always been part of the series, if you jumped in during the XX craze. Of course this was to be expected from an adolescent audience, but it does tell volumes of Johnny’s design overall. It may be rather simple without huge as hell belt buckle thrown into the mix, but his shades combined with that self-confident as hell attitude just works and has a balance to it. Johnny is, after all, an eye candy that works both in visual flavour and in gameplay.

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Guilty Gear design comparisons; DIZZY

The reason why both Dizzy and Jam get so much attention from me is that they were the characters I mained. Seeing them back is great, and I got to pay my respects to ArcSys for going through and respecting the poll they had about what should be the character to be added.

This is gonna be an image heavy entry.

Dizzy as a character was set up to be a tragic one. Born from one of the most hated Gears in history, fathered by a hellhound roaming the Earth and being targeted for the sake of being a Gear, most stories would’ve end up her hating humanity or have her meet a bloody end. Instead, Dizzy was shown compassion by numerous different characters who couldn’t give less a damn about the world history and the fact that she’s probably one of the strongest Gears in the story. She was allowed to have a chance at a normal life as an air-pirate alongside May, until she had an accident due to an enemy and met Ky. Now, she’s probably one of the best mother’s out there, despite that one situation where she needed to seal herself.

Xrd, AC and X respectively
Xrd, X and AC respectively. Remember to click for full-sized versions

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First look at the Mega Man of 2017

I got a bombshell this evening after a long day of spending time with some friends; the first look at the new Mega Man that’s coming in 2017 from Dentsu Entertainment USA and DHX Media, executive produced by Man of Action Entertainment known mainly for their Ben 10 series. Let’s dig into their press and CAPCOM Unity release and give it a look…

Dentsu Meg Man

Deadline Hollywood broke this story as well. Essentially, Dentsu will manage global rights for the cartoon in Asia, while DHX will handle the rest of the world. Aimed at children just under age ten, essentially young boys, and instead of rolling with the name Rock, his civilian persona is Aki Light. Protodude has a very short description on what the series will be about, and it looks like the show will be more generic than anticipated. It doesn’t help that it sounds like they’re going to add a stupid generic helper character, like Godzuki, to the franchise in form of Mega Mini. Mega Man already had a vast cast of characters to use, you’d only need to introduce the school setting.

I’m not going to talk about the logo though, there’s nothing special and I’ve been over that already. It’s just another re-design.

Here’s the thing; Mega Man is very hard to make as it is portrayed in the games. Hitoshi Ariga managed to weave a story around the games because he took the best parts of then, and made them nicely episodic. The Ruby-Spears cartoon did the same, but just made its own plots and it honestly was pretty good. However, for Western audiences, especially to North Americans, it is more approachable and easier to make a story about a robot boy trying to fit in and be a normal kid while hiding his super powers from everybody. Y’know, like with Spider-Man originally and loads of other masked heroes. For whatever reason, that clicks with them.

This isn’t the first time this approach has been used with Mega Man. Dreamwave’s Mega Man comic used this exact same premise, but only four issues were printed before Dreamwave folded. It was pretty close to the game designs, visually, but the content was very different, and Rock was renamed to Rocky. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a bad comic, just very generic child hero serial.

And that’s what I’m afraid this one will be as well, especially in wake of Ben-10 and the like. If Mega Man is to have a civilian personality and have that robot-human interaction, there must be better ways than this, more original and imaginative ways to utilise the setting. The thing is, that is Mega Man X’s story. X is the one that had the human element to him, the first robot ever to be able learn and was beyond anything that had been before. I like to give the example what X was compared to others through Iwamoto’s Rockman X manga; he was able to cry.

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What was Mega Man’s story was simple; he was programmed with a strong sense of justice, of right and wrong and will to help those in need, and when he saw what the Robot Masters were doing under Wily’s rule, he felt a need to fight back, thus asked Dr. Light to convert his body into a that of a war machine.

But this is not my Mega Man. This is Mega Man for the new generation of children and I shouldn’t stand in their way of enjoying possibly good piece of entertainment. This does not negate the Mega Man I grew up with and played, those memories and games won’t go anywhere. Mega Man Classic had a good run, all things considered. I hope this new Mega Man can stand up to the challenge and as a franchise be superior in every regard. If not, then all of it has been useless. Make the old games and cartoons obsolete, make them look like pale shadows, that’s all I ask for.

But, let’s get to the meat of the design. If this design is what they will go with, or have some variation of it, it’s clear where they’re coming from. Aki Light Mega Man overall is the Classic Mega Man in proportions and shapes, with some cues taken from Mega Man X. Helmet design is the most prominent place to find X’s influences with extra ridges around the rim as well as having a gem on the forehead. From down from there, the torso is largely nondescript, similar to Ariga’s Mega Man in that there are added detail compared to the original. Shoulders have faux-pads, while the arms are largely ported from X directly, excluding the three energy bars. Classic Mega Man had yellow segments instead of blue, and I guess this could be used to indicate charge/energy levels. He seems to be wearing skin-tight boxers from the Classic, and the legs are very similar to Smash Bros. design revamp.

Personally, while the elements are there to make a good design, the way they are implemented look garish. Extremely so. The constant neon blue glow from every seam is overused and clichéd at this point in time, dating the design harshly instead of trying to make it timeless. As a friend put it, It looks something somebody drew in Flash in 2006 and he is right in that. Even now the design is dated. This makes the design look less like a real Mega Man, and more a Chinese pirate copy.

Rockman X3Rockman Zook

Add in the fact that Tron energy lines is overbearingly overused at this point, and you have largely a design that’s not just uninspiring, but also generic to a fault. He looks less like a character for Mega Man, and more something that could pop-up in Kingdom Heart’s Tron section. Maybe that’s their intention, but at least turn the lights off and give those blues lighter shades. The only reason those blues are so dark with black hands is that the neon lights would glow through.

To be completely honest, even when noting that this is a completely new Mega Man product and is to stand apart from the previous ones, this design doesn’t instill confidence. On the contrary, it makes me worry that they are aiming for a rather generic and flashy look, to have it be just a flash in the pan instead of impacting popular culture like the original games did. This new Mega Man has a legacy to stand up to. It doesn’t help that the neon light darker blue Mega Man was already done for Mega Man Universe, so its unique stance among all the designs is further diminished to near nil.

Universe Mega
But to be fair, MMU’s Roll was pretty damn cute

In 2017, Mega Man will live in a new form. I will give it a chance and will do design reviews as they drop in, and I will be fair. I’m not playing favourites, I don’t do that with âge’s pieces either, but I have been worrying about this series for a while now, and I really hope that it will be something phenomenal instead of run-of-the-mill action cartoon. Mega Man has potential to be more, we’ve seen it before. Despite them saying this show is also meant for the older fanbase, that is only lip service. We, the veterans, are only cashcows for to be milked with re-releases. This is meant to revitalise the franchise from grounds up, and by God I hope they do. Mediocrity is not tolerated this time. It needs to be damn good.

And I hope they won’t introduce X or later series’ characters. Just keep it Mega Man and no time travelling, please?

Black is still Black in Guilty Gear designs

We haven’t seen one glimpse of Dizzy, and while I’ve been holding back from going into any new Guilty Gear character design comparisons, the time’s been too long since we ventured into this territory.I admit going way overboard with Jam, and from now on I’ll stick with two characters per post. That’ll keep me from going into too much useless detail.

This time we’ll go over two returning cast members; Raven, who originally appeared in XX #Reload as a non-playable story character, and Elphelt’s Revelator redesign.

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Above we have Raven’s Guilty Gear 2: Overture and Xrd: Revelator designs as a comparison. The change in style is drastic, but he had a different look originally.

Raven mock

The only real thing that has survived across Raven’s designs are the spikes. His original visage above is basically a black, skin-tight bodysuit with dark grey skin with the occasion spike coming from his body. His left eye is completely white, and while it’s not clear from this angle, he has a crack going just over his eye, running down to his jaw with spikes jagged next to it. The chest plate he has us supposed to be some sort of bird, but looks more like generic chest hair. It’s not the most unique design out there, and feels rather 1990’s in its own way.

The bodysuit theme survived into Overture, as we can see from his left arm, but now he dons a mask, dropped painting his skin in grey and seemed to have moved to more tactful finger spikes. Because the promo pictures have him don that cape like a little prance, we’ll need to check some of the books for a better visual.

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I can’t fault ArcSys for consistency and sticking to the idea. Raven’s Overture suit carries the bird motif further with far better, if not more generic green chest plate, added feathers and he is supposed to have the kanji 烏 (karasu) on it, meaning, crow or raven. It’s pretty much what you get, especially how they hammer in his resurrection power with LIVE tamped unto him. Of course, the whole Raven motif itself is from the UK heavy metal band. There’s not much subtly in him. The coin on his eye is taken from the Roman tradition of giving the dead a coin to the grave so they can pay the ferryman over Styx.

The same really goes for his Revelator design. The only thing that really got carried from the previous incarnations was the spike driven through his head, as even the finger sticks he has have been redesigned to have golden rings instead of steel ones. The cape saw an overhaul with more slender and ragged feather ends to it with a hood, and much like with other Revelator designs, he has text stamped into him pretty much everywhere. He also looks far more slimmer, nearly anorexic.

The bird on his chest has been dropped, and while the cape governs most of his design, the constant raven references have been tidied down to the YATA reading on his crosses. This is of course a direct nod at Yatagarasu, or the Three-Legged Crow. The bird from his chest has been moved unto the cape’s back. The second element that governs his design are the two, immensely large belt buckles on his waist. These two don’t keep anything up and are simply for showcase. Raven’s design overall is rather neat, but I would argue that the existence of these two bits drops its effectiveness. Prior to this designs, Raven has been rather lean and lacking in any bulky accessory, and now he has these two. The weird thing is that in-game these two buckles are much smaller and sit far more in his sides rather than in front of him. His lanky outfit also is supplemented by his baggy pants with generic metal plates on them, which of course don’t seem to have any weight to them.

Raven’s design is contrastive to the rest of the cast in that it’s very 2010’s in every regard. From the broken neon-mint straps on his shoulders to the bandage design on his torso, it looks more like how a modern designer would create a Guilty Gear character. The rest of his colour scheme is very subdued, laden with broken colours outside the white and black. He looks the part, but perhaps

The last two notable things, outside his open shirt he wears, is that his hood has what looks likes eyes, and the rest of the spike on his forehead forms a raven’s head. The second one is that Raven uses his cape to fly, like Gatchaman. Raven’s edgy, and he looks the part.

Now, until redesigned newcomer, Elphelt.

GGXRD_Elphelt_Portrait
She dropped red and opted for black because of plot

Whoever decided that Elphelt needed a redesign because of plot reasons should’ve gone back to the workbench. The overall character silhouette is still the same and recognizable, but the amount of tweaks is large.

First off, she doesn’t haven have a wedding gown any more. She now dons more or less a dress and with a corset with black undergarments. These garments are largely the key to her design look, as they are ragged and ripped, unlike her original trim and proper “strawberry” patterned one. She lost the bulky half belt and spiked ends in exchange for a white-striped black belt with only two hanging crosses. One big one without a red centre sits on her left hip. Strange that they didn’t that consistent.

Original design had spikes, or rose thorns around her body, and the redesign pretty much just paints them black. Elphelt changed her gloves though, and the wrist belts grew in width, as did the buckle on them. She lost her spiky bow and replaced it with what looks like a black tiara. She also lost her soft collar with the clover, which got replaced with a large dog’s collar with a chain coming from the back.

What was pink is now green, and what was red is now black, outside the roses on her back.  Her hair lost its colour and went white, and the laces she had from her hair and under her bust are gone. While her expression hasn’t changed, her eyes are more green with far smaller pupils. The rose markings on her headdress/hat’s “ears” were also replaced with something else.

The change Elphelt went through, visually speaking, is from pure bride to a more Gothic one, someone who has gone through some rough shit. Spoilers here, but in Xrd she’s a sleeper agent, programmed to get close to the main cast, observe them and ultimately taken them down. Seeing how she’s very bright, smiling and positively lovely, being used in that way really dents her conscious self-image, and the redesign reflects this. Then again, being a Gear with developed feelings must suck. Her nature in Revelator is partly amnesic, remembering the basic points, but e.g. can’t remember who Mother was.

She also has small shields on her shoulders instead of puffy shoulder pieces, connected by two red straps
She also has small shields on her shoulders instead of puffy shoulder pieces, connected by two red straps. Note how the collar doesn’t sit on her shoulder naturally, but floats in the air just in front of her chin. They should’ve done away with it, or at least make it far smaller

However, I must say that the redesign is not all that successful. While both contain some elements of wedding as a theme, Revelator version should’ve stand more apart from the original. Going with black  and white is far too obvious choice. The collar on her neck should’ve really been much smaller, as it looks tacky, maybe the worst huge-as-hell accessory in the franchise and that’s saying something. However, much like with Raven’s two buckles, the collar looks more reasonable in size in-game.

Despite the plot changes, pretty much all of her animations and after-match scenes are largely unchanged, giving this redesign overall a half assed feeling. Even Elphelt’s Instant Kill stayed the same, despite being a right opportunity to play with her new status. At least Elphelt got a new intro, which was pretty much the only thing couldn’t get away with. If her redesign was supposed to reflect her shattered persona, all that’s coming through is the easy way they chose to go with.

Elphelt also has larger hips in the new illustration, and I think we all can approve that.

 Next time, whenever that is, maybe we’ll tackle Sin and Leo. Unless Dizzy is revealed.

Continuing with Guilty Gear design comparisons; Kuradoberi Jam

Kuradoberi Jam is an interesting character in Guilty Gear Xrd. Not because she got a new voice actor or new moves, but because she is a good example on how 2010 character design sensibilities often clash with late 1990’s/early 2000’s. Jam was designed fifteen years ago, and the time shows itself.

Jam’s overall visuals have stayed relatively same to the point that she can be recognised as the same character, much like how Ky can be recognised despite all the little changes. Unlike Potemkin and Millia, Jam’s design follows the same school of updating as Sol’s; tweaks and exaggerations. I’ll be using Jam’s Guilty Gear X and Accent Core designs to contrast her Xrd design. In reality, her design went through a lot of small changes with each new illustration, changing little things here and there, like touching up the can on her head, but let’s just stick with the original and AC design. This entry will be long as it is.

From left to right; Xrd, X and AC. While the Xrd illustration makes Jam look a bit scrawny, her in-game model is much softer and fuller
From left to right; Xrd, X and AC. While the Xrd illustration makes Jam look a bit scrawny, her in-game model is much softer and fuller

The main points we notice from Jam’s design is that her sleeves have grown again. Originally, they were low key, but you still noticed them. They’ve now grow to half of her body length and have a kanji for centre on them with cooking flames above them. This element is very much something BlazBlue would have. Litchi’s main theme may be mah-jong, but her outfit and theme carries some elements from Jam. It’s not too farfetched to assume that the centre kanji 中, which happens to be the red dragon tile in mah-jong, was put on Jam’s sleeves to reference Litchi back. Hell, Litchi’s name itself is a reference to riichi, thou the name is directly taken from Lychee, the Chinese plum. Fits her colours and all. Speaking of sleeves, the straps that kept them together are now connected with one bigger buckle rather than two, despite there’s still two straps. It must have a some sort weird locking mechanism inside. There is also an additional piece under armpits that connect to the sleeves somehow, leaving her shoulder exposed. This most likely has something to do with keeping hose sleeves better in place. It’s a nice additional detail.

To keep with exaggerations, Jam’s hair has more volume now, especially towards the bottom and top. The hair that’s coming from the oolong tea can has now consistent shape, making it look like an upside down omega. Her forehead hair is sleeker and she wears a pink pin to keep it in place unsymmetrically. She had shorter, wilder forehead hair before. Hair in general has been a point in character design that changes a lot, and currently we’re in an era where sleek, unruly and even hair is most utilised. Compare to either GGX or AC Jam to see how there’s less strands and more even mass. Speaking of the can, it also got a visual update. The can itself reads 烏龍茶 for oolong tea, and was originally modeled after Pokka oolong cans in colour, but the current one seems to be revised to look similar to Suntory’s oolong can. While the can carries that metal sheen-rye colouring to it, the black shield where the text is placed can’t be mistaken. The kanji also dropped 茶 for tea, simply reading oolong. It even has that small underlining text to it, reading OolongTea. What is important that with these changes the can is more prominent detail than before.

Nice perky tits, eh?
Jam’s makeup is far more feminine than before, which fits her vain nature. Then again, she is a headstrong character that does her way and does it the best she can

Jam’s face has gone through some revisions. Much like every other character contracted some sort of face cancer in GGXX until AC’s revisions, Jam’s face went from quote round to sharply shaped to this modern pseudo-round with visible bones. In-game Jam’s face is much rounder, much like her eyes and mouth. While you still recognize her, they’ve done some significant tweaking. For example, Jam’s jawline has been revised completely and her cheekbones are of different roundness. Similar tweaking was done to her qipao’s collar, where it has a black angular design on it to expose it. Before she had a very traditional high collar.

A closer look at her hair as well as her collar
A closer look at her hair as well as her collar

Similar things have happened elsewhere in her design as well. Jam has always had an attractive physique, and as that’s something that changes with time, her physical appearance has become slightly rounder from before. Jam’s frontal assets i.e. honkers have gained a bit more volume to, and in-game that actually changes her overall visual balance. Combined with the larger hair and longer sleeves, Jam’s a much more filling character on-screen. This contrast is best seen in her Asanagi no Koukyuu (Morning Calm’s Breath), (22+K/S/H), where before her breathing and circular hand motions kept it tight, but the Xrd version has a lot more happening in there, mostly due to the sleeves and her hitting fist to palm at the end with a slight knees bent stand. For those who don’t know the idea behind the move most likely just see Jam waving her arms around, which is sad to see as the whole idea behind Asanagi no Kokyuu is that Jam uses a breathing technique to control her chi in order to charge her moves up. I haven’t found if the form she does is on any wushu system, her older animation charges the chi at middle tan t’ien at the level of her heart. This fits, as the middle center is place of storing chi. The newer animation implies that she breathes for the lower tan t’ien located just below the navel. This center is more about the root of all things, where the purification of essence into qi begins. As such, it’s a place of regeneration, but also for sexual energies and is an essential spot for life. Worked for Jam. It should be noted that the effect animations have shifted too, as the old one vanished in Jam’s lower center while the new one finishes higher. The new effect also has a taijitu to it in red and blue.


Jam’s GGXX guidevideo shows the same basics that still pop up in Xrd

That CHESTO-ARU! is spot on from the new voice actor

Breathing has been part of Jam’s idle pose from the beginning, her taking sharp inhales and exhaling out while lower her arm. Xrd version of her still has this in, but it’s a bit toned down from previous. Her breathing rate has also been upped a slight amount, but like before, there’s no real sign of her controlling her breath during moves. It’s nothing major, but breathing is often described as one of the main methods of controlling one’s chi. Another example for this sort of approach would be Hokuto Shinken’s Tenryuu Kokyuu Hou from Fist of the North Star, which results Kenshiro losing his shirt. Jam actually had a parody Overdrive of Hayakuretsuken in GGAC in form of Tosai Hyakuretsu Ken.

From this angle you notice that there are a bit more sharp corner on her, like on the upper parts of the sleeves. The extra black knotted lace also is very visible
From this angle you notice that there are a bit more sharp corners on her, like on the upper parts of the sleeves. The extra black knotted lace also is very visible

Her qipao is in overall shape the same. Main changes are the little tassels on her chest are again more exaggerated. I’m glad they’re not gone, but they could be far more animated in-game like the sleeves. Jam’s overall design is very simple, and details like this add character to her. Modern Jam is still simple in comparison to some others, but the few spots where that simplicity has been exaggerated gives off another kind of flavour. Sometimes these details aren’t even all that big but add information, like the new little straps in her qipao’s sides. On her left hip she has an additional tassel, which looks really nice, but again could be bit more animated. The skirt has lost its black trimming and the round emblem has been changed to straight hard angled variant of it. She also wears a black underskirt instead of white. This actually throws her colours scheme off-balance a little bit. Previously she had black in places to further enhance the rest of colours on her outfit, the red and yellow, but with the sleeves being bigger and her shoes getting more exaggerated with black line on them, she’s darker than before. The black underskirt also cuts the light visual cue from her upper body to her legs. Arguably this brings her legs out a bit more.

Her in-game stance is similar to previous games. The center kanji is visible from this angle
Jam’s in-game base stance is very similar to her original. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s not exactly different either. The center kanji is visible from this angle

Her shoes’ collars were already exaggerated in GGAC’s design, and in Xrd those and the belt have ended up being even larger. Her shoes are also a shade duller than the rest of her outfit, which is really strange considering the red on her has been consistent to this point. In-game model still uses the same pallet, which is only a good thing. She’s also wearing a red garter on her left thigh, and while we’re going into this territory, Jam still retains some panty shots. Like previously, her qipao’s skirt doesn’t bounce around too much and is almost strategically placed at times. At times you don’t see any flashing, but seeing how Jam’s design is a bit more full this time, rest of her design shines through, especially with legs and torso. I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing it out. While Jam has been accused of panty flashing, this isn’t really the case. Most remember one of Jam’s winning pose where she goes over the opponent to wonder on stuff, but outside that one there’s not many spots where there’s gratuitous flashing. Her fame is a bit undeserved in this regard. She is a flirty character, being flashy in every aspect is to be expected.

The changes to Jam's facelines are pretty jarring when they're not in a right angle. Compare to the previous screenshot
The changes to Jam’s facelines are pretty jarring when they’re not in a right angle. Compare to the previous screenshot

In gameplay Jam hasn’t changed in how she’s approached. Still a rushdown character, still doing only bits of damage that you need to combo together, but she’s gotten some new moves, some moves have been changed to look different, but these changes make her feel like she’s been progressing with her style. The same can be said of GGX Jam compared to her GGAC iteration. During GGXX Jam got a whole slew of new options to work with and tweaks how she works, and in GGAC she became a character that was fun and easy to pick up, but required good execution skills to utilise her moveset properly. Since GGX, Jam has been my choice of character because of these points.

Jam’s new voice actress is Rei Matsuzaki. While she does good job and everything, I do have a personal preference towards Manami Komori’s way of pronouncing things and having an interesting depth to her yells. They’re both fine really, it will just take some time to get used to how Matsuzaki ends most move names in a very, very different fashion from her predecessor. I do love her Chest-aru! yell a lot already.

One last point I want to make is about her Instant Kill, Gasenkotsu. The kanjis used are 我羨惚, standing for Self, Admiration and falling in love with. The last one also can stand for Idiot. As with names like this that play with words, Gasenkotsu is something like Admiring One’s Self-love, but as per her IK animation, it might just as well be Admiring One’s Idiocy. Narcissism doesn’t really cut it, but fits in the allotted slot.

During Gasenkotsu kanjis for Tenjou Tenge Yuiga Dokuson, 天上天下唯我独尊, appear. This line is traditionally translated as I alone am honored in heaven and on earth, and it can be transliterated as Above heaven, under heaven, I alone am worthy of honour. It is believed that Buddha Śākyamuni said this after his enlightenment. Thus, Gasenkotsu is Jam proclaiming her admiration for herself in how she has gained enlightenment. Because of the kanji 惚, she’s also proclaiming her stupidity and self-conceit on the matter. You always knew there was a reason why Jam looked like an idiot during her Instant Kill. All in all, as Jam’s character is about having her own way and seeing it as the true one out of all, Gasenkotsu reflects this attitude. She admires herself for choosing what she sees as an enlightened path.

Her stuff always gets screwed up ever since she got the reward in GGX…

Let’s take a look at Guilty Gear Xrd redesigns

Guilty Gear’s an old franchise at this point. It has a slew of main series games and their updates, it has spin-offs on three different hand held consoles and it was almost replaced with another weaker franchise. Much like other fighting game franchises from the 90’s, Guilty Gear’s visual direction has changed only slightly throughout the years, for better or worse. The character designs have mostly stayed the same. 2D fighters rarely change the designs of their characters, mainly because that way they can then reuse the sprites in pretty much everywhere. Whenever characters go through under a redesign, it’s a refreshing breeze of something new while still having the same core in there. Then again, King of Fighters’ Kyo got changed from his fight style few times around, ranging from tweaks to a complete revamp. Still, changing how the characters look makes sense from the natural point of view. None of us wear the exact same set of clothes day after day unless forced.

By changing character’s clothes you don’t lose the character’s own design as long as the new clothes fit the already set look of the character. The aforementioned Kyo is a good example here, where his white jacket design fits how Kyo is portrayed. The design is slightly arrogant, bold and Kyo mostly fights in a way that it won’t get dirty. Later Kyo’s design was revised to have a black leather jacket, that looks less pompous but still has that air of arrogant bravery in there. Good changes overall. This kind of changes in character’s appearance are always good, as it gives a sense of evolution and a level of progression. Then again, the redesign can backfire horribly if not done properly.

The actual reason why the new visual direction was chosen most likely lies with the fact that the game is now in 3D, and to represent the characters properly they needed a different, more sleeker and comical style for that. In the upcoming comparisons you can see more plain areas than those with details, especially with muscles. It was also a clear intention to take the visuals towards more contemporary comic style now in Japan whilst sticking to the Guilty Gear design elements… which clash with each other to an extent. Guilty Gear always had certain sense of grittiness inspired by Heavy Metal and other Western comics, but those are absent here.

Guilty Gear Xrd is a changing point in the series, where pretty much everything is new from platform and engine to music and designs. Like it or not, Xrd always meant a changing point for the series ever since they started running the XX mill. This is a good thing overall, as the series has been on hiatus a bit too long and it needs to attract attention outside the core fans. It’s expected to see core fans to complain about the revised designed, especially if they’re drastically different, but then again these are the same people who would hate to see this game becoming a hit with the general public. No fear, no fighting game will be the new Street Fighter II with current gaming paradigm. As such, this time we’re going to take a look at three Guilty Gear Xrd character designs and see if the visual direction has evolved or just changed. However, Guilty Gear has been out there for a long time, and it’s style has never evolved or changed, so a lot of core fans will hate most if not all redesigns simply because it looks different. Well, let’s get to the show.

Sol

Sol got tired of the long loincloth

Well, of course we need to start with Sol, the main character of the series. Guilty Gear maintained it’s 90’s aesthetics for a long time, and the new Sol design mainly updates the old look for a new decade. You can make a point about muted colours right off the bat, as Sol looks a bit brownish everywhere. They should’ve left the reds alone. Overall, the design hasn’t changed, just the style it’s drawn in. The details have been arranged and changed, but at a glance you know what character its supposed to represent. Fireseal, Sol’s sword, has changed the most, from somewhat grunch-realistic square sword to more a giant lighter with razor edges. Granted, Sol’s sword always had that lighter element in there, but with the redesign they decided to overblow those elements. Then again, redesigning swords isn’t anything new in Guilty Gear, just check how it looked in Guilty Gear 2. Sol actually lost a belt from his waist, which was replaced with a comically large one. That actually describes Sol’s redesign in a way; sleek and slightly comical. Not a bad one, but nothing good stands out from it, which on the other hand gives stage for all the bad ones.

Now some of you may start thinking why I’m saying that Sol’s design is the same while I’m arguing that TSF designs are different. The difference is that this is a redesign of one character using the same elements. TSFs have been designed to be a step above the previous unit.

Potemkin

Potemkin’s design is the one that got changed the most here, basically getting a complete character design revamp. Gone is the bare dark skin, replaced with German inspired attire in military green. The gauntlets went through slight redesign, while the legs… the shoes are pretty horrible to be honest. Whoever designed those needs a slap in the face. To be honest, If you wouldn’t know it beforehand, you wouldn’t recognize this as Potemkin. This also shows a somewhat hilarious contrast between the two worlds of colours and between the two visual directions; the old one has muted colour in the hair and bright colours in the body, the new one has them the other way around. Staying with muted colours is a safer bet for sure, but looking at the two side by side like this really makes me miss the bright red even more. I’ve heard the location testers say that while he might not look like Potemkin, he does play like him.

Potemkin is a drastic change. It doesn’t really tell much about the character outside the military aspect. Then again, the old one just tells that he is big and strong. On one hand, old Potemkin did look a bit dull with interesting points here and there. On another hand, the new Potemkin is a generic German brute with horrible shoes.

Millia

Funny thing with Millia Rage; I really love her new design. Her old design is good by its own rights, but overall it’s rather uninteresting. The new one plays some Russian tones in there with the hat, but the hair is a bit too overplayed. Sure, Millia has had a flower theme before, but now the amount of her hair is in excess. Then again, that’s nothing new. They’re both good designs from different starting points, and they contrast each other well enough. It looks like the designers aimed to make Millia more into a high class maiden than the pure maiden she was portrayed as before, and that’s fine with me. Seeing how she has acted before does give leeway to her character to grow to that direction, if we even will have any sort of character growth in these games. We can always say that this is Millia’s take on taking a stand to be apart of the Assassins’ Guilt she isn’t part of anymore.

Surprisingly, Millia’s redesign seems to be most dividing at the moment, with some hating the hat, belt and button on her collar while other people just like it. By Guilty Gear standards her redesign is very toned down in bullshit accessory department; she even lost some belts, which is a bit surprising as Millia’s original design was rather bare bones to begin with. I don’t give two shits about shoes in general, but dang those shoes Millia has look hot. Unlike with the previous, Millia didn’t really lose her colours, but her hair did go through some muting. If I were to change one thing from new Millia, it would be the plaque on her forehead. I’d change it to some ornate gem or similar, or just remove it altogether. Then again, we haven’t seen license plates used as accessories in Guilty Gear yet.

I’m eagerly waiting for Jam’s redesign. I make it no secret that I main Jam simply because I’ve always played rushdown characters in fighting games, and Jam is just perfect with her Chinese arrogance. I’d also like to see Dizzy, and I really hope she’d get similar redesign as Millia did. Actually, I hoped every character getting a complete overhaul.