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I'll make it back to Megumi. No matter what. That's the promise I made. To myself!

Axl Low is a recurring character in the Guilty Gear series. He is a gang leader from the 20th century who, due to a twist of fate, got caught into a time slip that bounces him around irregularly through time and space. He wishes to return to his own time period so as to see his girlfriend, Megumi, once again.

Design

Axl has blue eyes and straight blond hair below the shoulder, always covered by a red bandanna; in the first game, it has tulip pattern on it, while from Xrd onwards, it has a white saltire on it. He is quite muscular and of a fair complexion, and always wears brown boots and fingerless gloves.

In the original Guilty Gear, he wore a tied white tank top, denim vest and shorts, and boots with the Union Jack on their toe boxes. His next outfit—coupled with a seemingly slimmer build—during Guilty Gear X and XX consists of a Union Jack long-sleeved T-shirt, another denim vest, as well as blue jeans.

In Xrd, Axl returns to wearing denim shorts, with two sashes hanging from his belt: one with the Union Jack, the other blue. He also wears a collared white shirt with a black tie, and a rolled-up denim jacket with a white hood. In Strive, Axl sports a dark-grey trouser, and a sleeveless blue shirt with three zipper teeth below a letter jacket. The jacket's body is red with a tartan pattern, while the sleeves are mostly white, and it has black and white print of a clock with "Thanks Luck" written above on the back. His bandana is now black instead of red; the saltire remains white, however.

Personality

Despite his troubles, Axl retains an optimistic and amiable nature, being a relentlessly "glass half full" sort of person,[1] living by with "A little sloppiness is just right" as his personal motto.[2] Although he rarely thinks about anything very hard, and is generally content to just get the gist of things or go with the flow,[1] he is very much capable of calmly observing and analyzing a situation[7] and taking the best course of action when faced with a predicament.[2] He is not especially good at constructing logical arguments, however (mostly because he tries to find answers that will satisfy everyone), so other people tend not to take him very seriously.[1]

Compassionate to a fault,[6] if someone is in trouble, Axl cannot ignore them, and is unable to willingly leave someone behind.[1] Though he is always getting into fights, and enjoys sparring with others, whenever he loses the strength to throw a punch, he cannot get anything out but tears.[8][9] Axl despises the very idea of death,[7] and refuses to take a life regardless of circumstances.[1]

While he enjoys flirting with other women[10] and is something of a playboy,[7] he loves Megumi above all and would never betray her.[2] Axl wants to return to her side no matter what,[11] but he has proven that he will do the right thing if he has to choose between the present and the past.[12]

Story

Background

Sometime in 20th century England,[4] Axl was born to a wealthy father and his wife[8] in one of the worst parts of London's East End.[4] While Axl grew up desensitized to violence, seeing it every day as a warring gang factions fought for control of the town, he abhorred it deeply and was determined to end the assault on his neighborhood peacefully,[4] getting into fights despite his compassionate nature. Somehow, everyone always ended up on his side in the end. Back then, Axl had a girlfriend in Megumi; they swore their futures to one another, throwing away their old lives and names.[8]

Illustration.

Thanks to his unusual martial arts prowess, within half a year, Axl successfully cleaned up his neighborhood without a single casualty, friend or foe.[4] However, in May 14, 1998,[13] at the very moment he was sure the peace would last, he was caught in a "time slip"—a random disturbance in the space-time continuum—and was hurtled 200 years into the future.[4] Unbeknowst to Axl, he had just become a tenuous lifeform, a "possibility" spun out of a broken future, who survived due to the fact that his ID and I-No's overlapped through a freak miracle. As such, all the irregular time laws applied to her were also applied to him.[14]

He arrived in 2178, three years after the Crusades ended. Axl searched for a way back home[4]—to Cotswolds Street[13]—to no avail, and two years passed. Just as he begun to give up hope, Axl heard of a rumor about a fighting tournament in which the champion would get whatever they could wish for.[4]

Guilty Gear

Axl enters the Sacred Knights Tournament, but it turns out to be a farce. Justice is released by Testament from her dimensional prison to resume her attack on humanity,[15] although she is killed by Sol Badguy.[16] Surviving the ordeal, Axl's heart remains heavy as his only clue about getting home has turned out to be a lie. He thinks of his friends, filled with grief, until the crowd appear to thank him. The cries of jubilation get to Axl, who reflects that the new world isn't so bad and that he can make new friends. But when Axl is about to reach the crowd, he is once again hurtled through time.[15] For three years he slips back and forth, to numerous time periods.[5][7]

Guilty Gear X

In 2181, having learned of That Man as a "time traveler", Axl joins the incident with the Gear to investigate.[17] Axl is also looking for Faust in hopes of being cured by the doctor. In one path, after his examination, Faust tells Axl that his condition has no cure, and theorizes that his involuntary time-slipping is caused by there being two Axls in the same timeframe, the watches as Axl time-slips again.[18] In his other path, Axl fights Kliff Undersn and Justice, and then realizes that he has been thrown back in time once again.[19]

Sometime afterward, Axl is to meet with Anji Mito to exchange info,[20] when Tyr and Mizuha teleport in front of him.[21] Axl subsequently befriends the duo,[22] buying Mizuha new clothes[23] and treating them to lunch. However, they are attacked by Geena. Axl subdues her until she blows apart a bell tower, which will land on a child. Axl releases her and rescues the child in time, and Geena wounds Axl from behind. Axl begins to time-slip, but is relieved to see that Anji has arrived and will help Mizuha and Tyr before being sent hurtling through time once again.[20]

Guilty Gear XX

Illustration.

Sometime later, Axl is wandering about when he meets I-No for the first time and flirts with her; unbeknowst to him, she has ulterior motives when she asks that Axl tell Sol that she is looking for him. Axl does as I-No asks, however, and soon informs Sol of her.[10]

In one path, he meets That Man, who tells Axl that Raven is an "identical existence", which causes Axl to time-slip because they naturally repel each other.[24][note 1] In another path, Axl fights Zappa, and afterwards wonders how Megumi is faring.[11] In his third path, Axl ends up meeting a future version of himself, who says he will get his happy ending as long as he doesn't give up; he asks "himself" if he will see Megumi again, but receives no answer.[25]

After giving the matter a lot of thought, Axl decides that That Man might know how he can return to his own time period, and leaves on a journey to find him. He asks I-No, but she attacks him instead.[26] He is eventually confronted by Crow of the Post-War Administration Bureau, who tries to capture him with a Justice copy. In one path, Axl resists and defeats the imitation, only to slip through time again, this time to his own timeline. Jubilant, Axl sees Megumi and is about to greet her, only to be cruelly flung through time yet again.[27] In the other path, Axl doesn't fight the copy and slips through time again into a warzone, running for his life from an army.[28]

Guilty Gear Xrd

Wandering about, Axl ends up once again in a desolate future: Babylon in October 22, 2192. A voice calling himself The Original tells him that, if he wishes to progress further, he must deliver a message to That Man. Axl wonders how he can do that, but shortly time-slips to October 25, 2187, ending up in Bedman's Nightmare Theater. He yells for the old man, but only Bedman shows up and almost kills him. Axl is saved by I-No, who calls him back to 2192 to kill him for knowing about the Original. Axl says he was only told to deliver a message, which I-No agrees to do as it may change this dull future.[13]

Axl realizes she could send him back to 1998, but she sends him to That Man's field inside the Backyard in October 29, 2187 for now.[13] There, I-No takes him to That Man and Axl lets off a string of gibberish that neither he nor I-No understand. However, That Man acknowledges his message.[29]

A week later, Axl decides to find I-No to have her send him back to 1998. Axl finds her on November 15 at Heaven's Edge, when she is tracking down Jack-O' Valentine, but I-No says the past Axl wants to return to "has no recollection of [the current] world". Jack-O' then reveals to Axl and I-No the origin of their powers, and warns that if Axl returns to "his" world, the current one will become another possibility—essentially destroyed.[14]

Seeking advice.

Depressed due to the unlikelihood of ever finding home, Axl contemplates what to do as both his options feel like discarding something. I-No, shockingly, comforts him, reminiscing about her own past in which she used her powers to change things, but reality became little more than "fiction" she wrote. She tells Axl if he ever feels like leading a more dishonest life, he is free to join her.[14] Sometime later, Sol asks for his help in locating Elphelt Valentine, but Axl says he cannot do it, afraid of his own powers.[30][31] Axl subsequently meets up with I-No again, and she asks whether he has decided how to use his powers; when he says he is afraid, I-No tells Axl to find his own perspective.[32] To do so, he also asks Bedman his reasons for wanting power.[33]

In the end, Axl chooses to remain in the current timeline and helps defeat Ariels, trying to be a man that Megumi could be proud of. He uses his powers to compress time itself, and gives Sol enough time to use Dragon Install and amplify the Saint Oratorio that merges Jack-O' with Justice, before the cannons of Daryl's fleet can destroy them.[12]

Guilty Gear -Strive-

Following his decision to stay in the current world, Axl is looks for a way to live in it without looking back on the past.[34] Having learned to control his powers, Axl realizes that he could trade places with Megumi to bring her to the current world at his own expense.[35] While thinking of her, Axl finds himself at a marketplace in L'oro Di Illyria when he 'feels' that something bad is gonna happen there.[36] Visiting the same spot every day on December 2187, a merchant tells him that those in search of their past simply have "forgotten how to look for" a new path for themselves, and advises him not to get stuck in the past when there is a lot to see in the present. However, their conversation is interrupted by another 'premonition' where he sees Happy Chaos, who claims hasn't seen Axl since 2192.[35]

Rattled, Axl seeks Sol out, and warns him and Jack-O'—who are on the highway to L'oro Di Illyria—that something bad is about to happen. Soon enough, Chaos destroys a building to free Nagoriyuki, but Axl saves everyone inside by stopping time at the moment of its explosion. Teleporting the rescuees to a coast nearby, he attracts I-No's attention, who dares him to erase her. Axl tells her if she keeps up like this, she will never remember how to see her path, then teleports away with the victims.[35]

After I-No ascends to godhood during the G4 Summit and fights Ky Kiske, Axl saves Ky and tries to talk sense into her, not wanting to fight her. Recalling what she said about people having to find their own right to keep living, Axl says that people carve a happy memory into themselves so that they can remember it at the end of their lives. They are soon interrupted by Jack-O', who wishes to sacrifice herself to make I-No human. However, Sol convinces her not to do it, and has Ky distracts I-No—backed up by Axl, who steals Marlene from her—until he hits I-No's weak point with the Outrage thanks to Nagoriyuki. Axl implores her to remember something, anything, his tears jogging her memory as she (seemingly) dies. With the crisis averted, Axl finds himself alone in a park. Megumi then appears, relaying a message from I-No: "I'm giving you my unfair way of life. You asked for this."[9]

Abilities

Ever since childhood, Axl has had unusual martial arts prowess, and with his favorite weapon, the dual chain sickle, it is said that not even bullets are a threat to him[4] thanks to his innate superhuman reflexes[1][5] making him exceptionally agile. Axl has also taught himself magic,[37] having mastered the ability to manipulate fire,[38] although it is unknown when he acquired this skill prior to the tournament. He is also able to wrap his opponent in his bandanna, which expands to fit the victim.[39]

A reluctant time-traveler,[17] Axl is a "causal anomaly" who is able to disrupt the linear timeline most people perceive.[40] Axl thought of his "time-slipping" affliction as traveling through the space-time continuum via random accidents, but it is his subconscious controlling them.[30] In fact, Axl has the same abilities as I-No regarding meddling with causality,[14] their existence being described by himself as the "axes of time",[35] as all the irregular laws applied to her were also applied to him after their IDs overlapped. He has no past or future,[14] and has been presumably rendered ageless.[5]

Only after he learns the truth from Jack-O', Axl gains some semblance of control over this power,[33] learning fast[35] thanks to his intuition.[34] Theoretically, he can travel to "any" world he wishes,[14] but choosing timelines can turn others into possibilities, thus destroying them.[14][31] At will, Axl can exit to and from That Man's field in the Backyard,[32] or even Bedman's dream realm.[33] He can also call people to any time he wishes,[41] but he has yet to demonstrate this. Axl has, though, shown the ability to compress time in a given area, in which everything that occurs there happens in an instant for the rest of the world.[12] He could change the moon's position if he wished, like I-No, but he lacks the magical and physics knowledge to do so.[34]

Gameplay-wise, Axl is a zoning character. His gameplan revolves around keeping the opponent at bay via his powerful anti-air moves at all directions and ranges, some being able to reach more than half-way across the screen. His weakness, however, is his lack of pressure and offensive momentum. Some of his moves also extend his hurtbox, making his misses dangerous.

Quotes

Music

  • The March of the Wicked King - Guilty Gear  
  • Make Oneself - Guilty Gear X  
    , Guilty Gear XX  
  • Dogs On the Run - Guilty Gear XX ♯Reload Korean OST  
  • Drunkard Does Make Wise Remarks - Guilty Gear Isuka  
  • A Slow Waker - Guilty Gear Xrd  
  • Out of the Box - Guilty Gear -Strive-

Allusions

  • Axl owes his name and appearance to Guns N' Roses lead singer, Axl Rose. Even more, it is said they have a similar outlook and playboy tendencies. Considering Axl's friendship with Sol, Axl Rose is also known to be a big fan of Queen and starred at The Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert in London 1992, whom he honors as a major influence to the band's music and his style.
  • Axl's surname may originate from Testament's album Low.
  • His first theme is named suspiciously similar to Queen's "The March of the Black Queen" song, and seems to have been inspired by "You're Crazy" by Guns N' Roses.
  • His "Make Oneself" theme could be an allusion to Incubus' album "Make Yourself". The vocals for its vocal version sounds very akin to "Even Flow" by Pearl Jam.
  • When Axl performs either Bentei Gari or Byakue Renshou, inside the fire circle his kusarigama creates, for a split-second the image of a woman playing a guitar can be seen. This woman could be Benzaiten, a Japanese deity of music and wisdom.
  • Axl, as a British time-traveller, alludes—likely by coincidence—to Doctor Who, in which its protagonist travels through time and space but rarely can control his destination.
  • His One Vision move is likely named after the Queen song of the same name. Visually (the screen turning grey) and sound effect-wise (a clock ticking), it may be a allusion to the time-stopping effect used in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The pose Axl strikes is identical to Jotaro Kujo's in Heritage for the Future when using it.

Trivia

  • The day that Axl desperately wants to return to (May 14, 1998) is the same day that the original Guilty Gear was first released in Japan.
  • Daisuke Ishiwatari said that Axl was "created assuming that Mr. Nanba would voice him".[42]
  • Axl's ending involving Raven caused some fans to theorize that Raven was Axl's parallel self, hailing from a future timeline, but Ishiwatari dismissed the idea in the Memorial Book (quoted in the Codex), with Sign showing Axl's first (canon) meeting with That Man, and Revelator finally revealing the source of Axl's condition. They might be connected in some way, however, as per the Material Collection.
  • Axl shares the same birthday as Dizzy and Elphelt Valentine.
  • Axl's theme in Guilty Gear Xrd, "A Slow Waker", contains a few nods to his original theme, "The March of The Wicked King".
  • Axl's English voice actor also voiced Ky Kiske, in Guilty Gear 2 -Overture-, and Johnny.
  • Axl shares many traits with Billy Kane from the The King of Fighters and Fatal Fury series: they both hail from London; share the same birthday, height, weight, blood type, hair and eye color; have a fighting style based on a long ranged weapon and fire attacks, and their designs are heavily influenced by Axl Rose.
  • Axl has made a guest appearance in Code Shifter.

Gallery

External links

Notes

  1. This ending is explicitly non-canon, as Axl and That Man's first-time meeting is shown in Sign Chapter 4A.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 [GGWorld - "Axl Low"]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 [GGWorld2 - "Axl Low"]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Guilty Gear Complete Bible, pg.36-37
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 Guilty Gear manual, pg.15-16
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Guilty Gear Codex, pg.9,51,57,59
  6. 6.0 6.1 AXL | CHARACTER | GUILTY GEAR -STRIVE- | ARC SYSTEM WORKS
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 GuiltyGearX.com
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Guilty Gear -Strive- script § "Intruder"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Guilty Gear -Strive- script § "Strive"
  10. 10.0 10.1 Guilty Gear XX script § "Possible answers"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Guilty Gear XX script § "Axl Path 2"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Fireworks"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- script § "Axl"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Axl"
  15. 15.0 15.1 Guilty Gear script § "Axl"
  16. Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- manual, pg.3-4
  17. 17.0 17.1 Guilty Gear X manual, pg.4,28
  18. Guilty Gear X Plus script § "Axl Path 1"
  19. Guilty Gear X Plus script § "Axl Path 2"
  20. 20.0 20.1 Guilty Gear Xtra § "Butterfly Dancing in Chaotic Flowers"
  21. Guilty Gear Xtra § "Barrier Distortion"
  22. Guilty Gear Xtra § "Old Friends"
  23. Guilty Gear Xtra § "Unspoken Feelings"
  24. Guilty Gear XX script § "Axl Path 1"
  25. Guilty Gear XX script § "Axl Path 3"
  26. Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Fruitless search"
  27. Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Resist path"
  28. Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Better run path"
  29. Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- script § "Kaleidoscope A"
  30. 30.0 30.1 Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Contact A"
  31. 31.0 31.1 Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Contact B"
  32. 32.0 32.1 Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Sense B"
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Cause B"
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 【ネタバレ注意】『ギルティギア ストライヴ』インタビュー。カイのドライン、イノの目的、ファウストの変貌……などなど、気になることを聞いてきました | ゲーム・エンタメ最新情報のファミ通.com
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 Guilty Gear -Strive- script § "Encounter"
  36. Guilty Gear -Strive- script § "Chaos"
  37. Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Record ♯5470"
  38. [GGWorld - "Spell"]
  39. [GGWorld - "Bandanna"]
  40. [GGWorld - "Causal Anomalies"]
  41. Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- script § "I-No"
  42. Guilty Gear X Drafting Artworks, pg.??


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