|“||Oh, mademoiselle...You are like a weeping girl adrift in a sea of blood. The epitome of human life!||”|
Baiken is a recurring character in the Guilty Gear series. She is a wandering samurai of Japanese descent, whose home was raided by Gears during the Crusades. Having witnessed the horrible deaths of her parents and friends, she has sworn revenge on That Man at any cost.
Design[edit | edit source]
Baiken has long pink hair, which in her first appearance looked reddish-orange, worn in a ponytail, as well as peach eyes. A red tattoo adorns her right eye and forehead, while her permanently-closed left one has a scar over it; in Xrd, she wears a goggle-like eye patch with a tsuba in it. She has a clawed grappling hook in place of her missing right arm.
Across her appearances, she wears a red, black and white kimono with a torn right sleeve, as well as black greaves and sandals. In Xrd, Baiken also has a black gakuran with a white skull on its right sleeve, which she wears over her shoulders like a cape. Her sandal footwear resembles boots, and uses a sarashi to cover her groin area. Baiken's hair has become fuller with two tufts pointing upward like cat ears. The sheath of her katana was originally black, but is now red.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Deeply traumatized by her loss, Baiken remains bitter over her family's demise and is motivated solely by revenge, wanting to kill That Man beyond reason. A mannish woman and natural-born warrior, Baiken claims to have cast away her gender for the sake of her goal, and accepts the natural consequences of her actions, having solemnly consigned herself to damnation for her sins. As implied in Λ Core Plus, her quest entails the danger of giving in to her bloodthirsty side.
At the same time, Baiken is coarse, quick to lose her temper and impulsive, often taking action before thinking. An anti-social person, she seems to value others insofar as they can prove themselves in battle. Despite this, she tolerates Anji to a certain extent.
Having struggled with uncertainty in Λ Core Plus, her personality in Xrd seems to have mellowed slightly, allowing her to express herself less crudely towards people. While she still desires revenge for the death of her family, she knows when to prioritize the greater good of her people over her personal vendetta.
Story[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
At the very beginning of the Crusades, the nation of Japan was destroyed by Justice, and those of Japanese descent—amongst whom were Baiken and her parents—were placed in colonies for their protection. However, while she was still a child, Gears raided the institution she was living in. Small and weak, Baiken could do nothing to stop the attack, and could only watch the chaos around her. During the raid, she lost her arm and eye, and witnessed the horrible deaths of her parents, who gave their lives to protect her, as well as her friends.
The massacre was the work of the Gears, but what was etched into Baiken's memory was the image of a man surrounded by dancing flames and his creations. She became acutely aware, even in the absence of evidence, that he was an enemy. With an unfading memory of the event, Baiken vowed to search for the true identity of That Man and exact her revenge.
Guilty Gear[edit | edit source]
Baiken appears a secret character and has no part in the story. Justice's Story Mode in Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus, which is a re-telling of the tournament, shows that Baiken is the first to fight Justice after she is completely revived by Testament, but is promptly defeated.
Guilty Gear X[edit | edit source]
In Guilty Gear Xtra, Baiken decides to visit the colony, only to find out that Gear parts are falling from the sky and the colony's barrier is weakening. She cleaves through a fallen arm, and Ky Kiske reprimands her for destroying evidence. Baiken rapidly discerns that someone is invoking them, that person being Mizuha. Baiken attacks Mizuha, but Ky and Tyr protect her. Baiken, irritated, engages Ky in a heated duel. Tyr attempts to join the fight, but releasing Fenrir causes the weakened barrier to distort and the backlash teleports Tyr and Mizuha away. Mizuha's grandfather tells Baiken and Ky to cease fighting and concentrate on finding the children, and Ky unsuccessfully tries to use his Order medallion to locate Tyr. After Baiken's nonchalant remarks, the elder asks Ky to forgive Baiken, explaining her past. Ky states that they, as survivors, should leave their hatred behind. Baiken expresses annoyance and withdraws, telling Ky to find the children and Mito Anji.
After a bounty is issued on Dizzy's head, Baiken is searching for That Man and is on a path to kill "monsters", such as Sol Badguy, Potemkin and Faust. Claiming that she won't let any Gear get away, her first ending has her nearly killing Testament and Dizzy, but then letting them go, no longer in the mood as she couldn't find That Man. Her other ending has her accompanying Johnny for a drink.
Guilty Gear XX[edit | edit source]
A few weeks later, Baiken meets and pursues I-No, whom she suspects is connected to That Man. In her first ending, she defeats I-No and That Man appears. Despite her continuous attacks, Baiken is unable to harm him; he apologizes to her and prays that someday, when his life finally ends, her anger will fade. In the second ending, the Post-War Administration Bureau sends a Robo-Ky after her, which Baiken takes as a declaration of war. In her third ending, Anji warns Baiken not to go after That Man; Baiken claims she will take Anji's life, but quickly says she will call it even just this once if Anji shares the information he got from That Man.
In Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus, all Baiken took from meeting That Man was confusion and distress, which makes her question herself: Should she seek revenge, or look for a new way of life? She turns her attention to the P.W.A.B. to find an answer through battle. In her first ending, an encounter with I-No leads Baiken to meeting Anji again. After a fight, he states that he doesn't want her to die, and earnestly will let himself be cut down by Baiken if she promises she won't go after That Man—who isn't something they can handle—anymore. Baiken gives no answer, but lets Anji tag along for a while.
In her second (non-canonical) ending, Baiken kills I-No and gives in to her bloodlust, presumably becoming a serial killer. She comes to be known as "Baiken the Killer", and is ultimately chased down by Ky and the International Police Force for her crimes.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-[edit | edit source]
In her Episode Mode in REV 2, on November 9, 2187, Baiken almost kills an operator who is following her for a collect call. The man on the phone is none other than Anji, who wants her to return to the Colony to investigate the Illyrian presence. Baiken inquires about the "other case", but Anji is reluctant to speak. He nevertheless convinces Baiken to take care of the Colony. A week later, Baiken finds Answer snooping around and attacks him, even as he tells her he is investigating the Universal Will. He warns Baiken that the Colony may soon become a battlefield and flees.
Baiken is found by May; she tells Baiken of the current crisis and calls her over to meet Kum Haehyun, who is working to protect the colony. Baiken escorts them to the colony's sacred tree that has had generations of ki infused into it. After confirming that Haehyun's motivations are altruistic, Baiken swears to protect Haehyun even if it costs her life. During the final battle against Ariels, Haehyun keeps the Information Flares at bay, while Baiken, May and Answer protect her from the Phalanx.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Boasting the claim that there is nothing her blade cannot cut, Baiken is considered to be a fearsome fighter, using her secret weapons and traditional Japanese katana with great skill despite the loss of her eye. Her secret weapons, designed to surprise her opponents, are hidden within the sleeve of her severed arm: a Japanese mace, a feudal cannon, a bladed fan, a chain rope, a hook, a claw, and a spear. Being of Japanese descent, Baiken seems to possess the ability to manipulate Ki in the form of seals, although she is not reliant upon it nor as versatile in its usage as others in the series. She also seems to have knowledge of summoning magic in order to conjure tatami mats for her attacks.
In terms of playstyle, Baiken is a defensive fighter, with her gameplan revolving around understanding the opponent's offense and punishing them for it. She has a plethora of unique special moves that she can activate while guarding, forcing opponents to commit less often and limiting their pressure. She is also able to control the neutral game with her iconic Tatami Gaeshi technique, and her Baku Overdrives respectively seal off specific buttons of her opponent for a duration. Baiken isn't without her weaknesses however, as her offensive potential is rather linear and limited, and has one of the worst defense and stun modifiers of the cast.
Musical themes[edit | edit source]
- Momentary Life - Guilty Gear
- Momentary Life II - Guilty Gear X, Guilty Gear XX
- Ricochet - Guilty Gear XX ♯Reload Korean OST
- Drumhead Pulsation - Guilty Gear Isuka
- 六文 -ROKUMON- - Guilty Gear Xrd
Quotes[edit | edit source]
Allusions[edit | edit source]
- Baiken's design was heavily inspired by Himura Kenshin from the manga/anime series Rurouni Kenshin. It is said that series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari got the idea when he saw a picture of Kenshin and mistook him for a woman.
- Baiken is likely named, although using different kanji, after Shishido Baiken, an kusarigama-wielding Edo period samurai who had a duel with legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Notably, the song "Sun and Steel" by Iron Maiden is in tribute to Musashi.
- Her wearing a tsuba for an eyepatch in -REVELATOR- could be allusion to the Shishido Baiken depicted in the videogame Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan.
- The concept of a one-armed, one-eyed samurai seeking revenge for his or her clan seems to be directly lifted from Hayashi Fubo's popular literary hero, Tange Sazen.
- Tatami Gaeshi seems to be a pun of the "Tsubame Gaeshi" technique reportedly favored by samurai Sasaki Kojiro, while referencing tatami trap doors, a cliché in Japanese period dramas.
- Her "六文 -ROKUMON-" theme is a reference to the funeral custom that a toll of six mon must be paid before a soul can cross the Sanzu River to reach the afterlife. Her standard Overdrive, Tsurane Sanzu Watashi, is literally named after said river.
- The white skull imprinted on her gakuran jacket looks remarkably similar to the crest of the American horror punk band Misfits.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Baiken's move, Suzuran (爵走?), is a homophone to 鈴蘭?, meaning "lily of the valley". The English band Queen features a song of the same name on their album Sheer Heart Attack, a favorite of series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari. Baiken's quest shares parallels with the lyrics of the song.
- Likewise, several of Baiken's other moves double as Japanese homophones/pun to common terms in the same exact fashion, all written in different kanji than their original versions.
- In Guilty Gear XX, her bounty described her as "A merciless swordswoman who slices her opponents into ribbons with her arsenal of dark weapons."
- Baiken has made guest playable appearances in the following games: Brave Frontier, Last Period, Chain Chronicle, Epic Seven, Crusaders Quest, Elemental Battle. She has made a non-playable appearance in: #COMPASS.
- Both Baiken and Kuradoberi Jam possess a move called "Mawarikomi" (Wraparound) which serves the same function of being an invulnerable non-standalone-input dash that can switch sides with the opponent.
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