Raven is a recurring character in the Guilty Gear series. He is one of three servants of That Man, and his right-hand man. An immortal from birth, Raven's body will completely regenerate even if it's reduced to ash. He ceased aging at the moment of his first "death," and has lived about a thousand years.
Design[edit | edit source]
Earlier in the series, Raven's skin was originally a pale light blue, which later faded into a more natural white hue. His most defining trait is the metal spike driven through his head, which protrudes from his forehead like a horn.
In his appearances prior to Guilty Gear 2: Overture, Raven wears a black body suit with a bird-shaped breastplate and long boots. His shoulders, forearms, and calves are pierced with long needles, and his forearms are loosely wrapped in bandages. His hair is long, varying between shoulder and waist length depending on the artwork. A ragged vertical scar runs across the right side of his face and across his right eye socket, which emanates a silver light, and a series of small needle piercings run parallel to the scar.
In Guilty Gear 2: Overture, Raven wears an elaborate mask with an asymmetrical cross-shaped visor and a golden coin placed over his left eye. He wears a wing-shaped black mantle with a collar designed to look like feathers; when closed the mantle cloaks his entire body. The back of the mantle bears the kanji karasu, the interior of the mantle is decorated with large glyphs, and he wears a green, bird-shaped emblem on his chest. Beneath the mantle he wears an armored black body suit with fin-like extensions on his arms and a kilt with hanging leather straps around his waist. He wears armor rings which have long needles affixed to them on the index and middle fingers of both hands, which he uses like claws in battle. His hair is shoulder length.
In Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator, Raven wears a wing-shaped hooded mantle; the hood features six metallic protrusions and is decorated with shapes that resemble eyes. A silver wing design is emblazoned on the back of the mantle. His shoulders are draped with green leather straps with cross-shaped silver buckles, and a larger cross buckle rests on his chest with the word "yata" written on it. Beneath the mantle he wears a black sleeveless vest with crisscrossed white bands, black pants, baggy black chaps attached to his waist with oversized buckles, and fold over boots with spiked studs and cross buckles. He wears black fingerless gloves and cross-shaped armor rings which have long, glowing red needles affixed to them on the index and middle fingers of both hands, which he uses like claws in battle. His hair is much shorter than previous appearances, his right eye is no longer damaged, and the iris and pupil of his left eye is replaced with a golden coin.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Raven is generally calm and polite but has a penchant for masochism, as intense pain is one of the few sensations his immortal body can feel. After living for more than a thousand years, Raven grew incredibly jaded and bored with the world, discarding the values he once held.
After encountering That Man, his life was given new purpose, and in gratitude Raven swore allegiance to him. Also as shown in REV 2's After Story A, Raven throughout his services towards That Man, has eventually considered him one of his only few friends in existence while recovering his prior values and what he was trying to achieve in life.
Story[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
Raven was born in medieval Germany, over a thousand years before the events of Guilty Gear. As a young man he was recruited into an army and became an accomplished knight, waging war in foreign lands. During one campaign he and his allies were cut off from their supply lines and were ultimately ambushed in a night raid. After attempting to flee on horseback he was struck down by a hail of arrows and was then brutally stabbed to death by his enemies.
However, rather than dying, he found himself in a strange "cylindrical space" filled with window-like mirrors. There, he had the sensation of being caged with predatory birds, and felt their stares boring into him, eventually transforming into excruciating pain that pierced every inch of his body until he experienced the maximum amount of pain a human can experience.
He awoke in a pool of his own blood to find that all his wounds had healed, wondering if he had been rejected by Valhalla; this was his first "death," and the first manifestation of his immortality. After this point he ceased aging and spent the next thousand years wandering the world in search of meaning.
At some point during his travels he settled in a village and started using his powers to help people, at times healing the sick and wounded, and at other times overthrowing tyrants. For these deeds he was punished and even executed, though his immortality allowed him to return; each resurrection was celebrated as a miracle by his people, and they began to view him as a god.
As word of his deeds spread, outsiders sought his aid and he began to travel to other settlements. When he finally returned home he believed that he would be welcomed back as a savior, but instead found that the villagers had come to take him for granted, and blamed him for every problem that arose during his absence.
In time he grew apathetic and tired of living, even attempting to end his own life by driving a specially-designed instrument with spikes on either end through his brain stem. Eventually he met That Man, who gave his life purpose, as a storyteller who would bear witness to history.
Guilty Gear X[edit | edit source]
In Lighting the Argent, Raven is sent by That Man to recover a sample of Solaria's resonance data. Appearing first as a mysterious entity identified only as "The Watcher," he observes the events. He eventually interevenes, confronting Sol Badguy; Sol attempts to incinerate Raven with a powerful Tyrant Rave, but Raven simply regenerates his charred flesh and expresses disappointment that he didn't feel even a little warmth. He later recovers the sample from Faust and Ky Kiske, defeating Faust in battle in extra-dimensional space. Before vanishing with the specimen he tells Ky to warn Sol not to approach the resonance.
Raven appears briefly in Sol's third ending of Guilty Gear X Plus, along with That Man and his other two servants. He is ordered by That Man to monitor Dizzy.
Guilty Gear XX[edit | edit source]
Raven is a recurring non-playable character in several of the story paths and endings in Guilty Gear XX #Reload and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core, typically travelling with That Man or acting on his behalf as a messenger. He notably puts an end to I-No's rampage by sealing her in a crystal prison.
Guilty Gear 2: Overture[edit | edit source]
He appears before Sol, Sin Kiske, and Izuna in Illyria Castle and is attacked by Sol, who mistakenly believes That Man to be behind the ongoing incident. After Sol defeats him using the power of the Backyard, Raven declares Sol to be "one of the wheels that moves the world" and laments that he can't kill him yet, then vanishes. After Valentine's defeat he discusses the possibility of more Valentines appearing with That Man, and informs him that Sol's Dragon Install is beginning to erode. Raven expresses concern that Sol may stand in their way again, but That Man tells him not to interfere and to allow history write its own course.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-[edit | edit source]
Raven is sent by That Man to help Sol and Sin rescue Elphelt by recovering Jack-O', so that she can take her place as the vessel for Justice. When confronted by Sin about That Man's goals, Raven explains that he, I-No, and That Man have grown apathetic due to their unnaturally long lifespans, and wish to prevent mankind from suffering a similar fate by correcting a past mistake. After Sin defeats Jack-O', Raven offers them his gratitude and teleports himself and Jack-O' away.
Raven and Jack-O' were watching how the events were developing while waiting for Asuka to return. When the Gear Maker is finally back he send Raven to Sin and Ramlethal's location while he went with Jack-O' to Illyria Castle.
In the final battle when Sol was trying hard to stabilize Justice and was at Ariels mercy, Raven showed up alongside Ramlethal who could stabilize Justice so Sol can fight against her. Ramlethal had her left arm and leg bandaged meaning that Raven not only saved her from death but he also healed her.
In the aftermath, Raven meets Asuka one last time before the latter makes preparations of turning himself in to the American government. Raven tells Asuka his story while inquiring how the Gear Maker defines God, believing his role as storyteller will bring him close to it as he and Asuka part ways as friends.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Raven fights using needles which are capable of stunning opponents and creating "Slowfields," which slow the flow of time on an object or person. He possesses a variety of other abilities including teleportation, dissipating into a cloud of feathers, and summoning ravens. It is said that his abilities in material displacement and spacial distortion outstrip even the likes of Faust, who is considered a virtual prodigy of Magic, which was demonstrated in their battle within extra-dimensional space during the Blackard incident in London. He is also abnormally strong, in spite of his lean and seemingly emaciated physique, as he idly blocked a sword thrust from Sol with only two fingers and the latter was unable to budge him. Due to his immortal body, he is incapable of experiencing any bodily sensation, including pain. Because of the nature of his immortality, he is capable of manipulating causality because of his constant and unchanging existence, as demonstrated when he easily pulled I-No from the past of the Crusades back to the present timeframe. Because he lacks the capacity to feel pain, he is able to contort and dislocate his limbs for unpredictable, long-range attacks. He can also regenerate from injuries, including decapitation, immolation and disintegration within seconds. In battle, Raven's excitement and murderous intent increases when his opponents are actually able to inflict pain upon his body, causing him to unleash more powerful attacks in turn. He can create explosions of raw magical energy, hurls spacial distortions as projectiles at his opponents and the coin in his left eye is a magical detonation device that is powerful enough to disintegrate both his opponent and himself.
He is also well-versed in the art of healing magic, often using it to heal the sick and wounded in his travels.
He has yet to exhibit his full strength as he rarely engages in battles due to his role as an observer and his masochistic nature.
Musical themes[edit | edit source]
Quotes[edit | edit source]
Allusions[edit | edit source]
- His name may be a reference to the pioneering British heavy metal band, Raven.
- His whole character might also be a reference to the comic book anti-hero "The Crow".
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The story of Raven's first death matches up with the events of the historical Fifth Crusade, during which a German army of crusaders occupied the Egyptian port city of Damietta, but were forced to retreat due to dwindling supplies and were ultimately massacred in a nighttime ambush. This would likely indicate that Raven was born shortly before the dawn of the 13th century and experienced his first death in 1221.
- Raven's character portraits in Guilty Gear XX are traced from Ishiwatari's black and white illustrations in Guilty Gear X - Lightning The Argent, and his color scheme in these games is inconsistent with later appearances.
- In one of Axl's endings in Guilty Gear XX he encounters That Man and Raven, and Raven seems to know who Axl's parallel existence is. Prior to the reveal of Raven's backstory in Guilty Gear 2 fans theorized that Raven was Axl's parallel self, perhaps hailing from a future timeline. However, in the Guilty Gear 10th Memorial Book and the Guilty Gear Codex, Ishiwatari stated that the fan theory was incorrect and that Raven's immortality and Axl's time slipping are unrelated. However, while he denies the idea of Axl and Raven being the same existence, he has maintained the notion that they are connected, as he stated in Guilty Gear 2: Overture Material Collection.
- The kanji on Raven's mantle in Guilty Gear 2 is "鴉" (karasu), the Japanese word for "raven." Several pieces of his clothing as well as his needles are branded "LIVE." The letters etched on his visor read "oreno yutaka terada nawoittomiro," meaning "My body is a temple? We'll see about that." The text on his chest reads, "And mortal life shall cease, / A life of joy and peace."
- The coin placed over Raven's left eye is a reference to the Roman tradition of placing coins on the eyes of the dead; the use of a single coin is meant to convey that he's "half dead."
- The silhouette of Raven's mantle was designed to reflect his crow motif, and also as to resemble the capes worn by the heroes in Gatchaman, which Ishiwatari is a fan of.
- In Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator, the silver cross on his chest has the text "yata" etched on it, derived from "yatagarasu," a mythical Japanese crow with three legs that's sent from heaven to act as a guide.
- Raven's uncredited voice actor in the XX series was Shigeru Sakano, who also voiced Kliff Undersn. His Japanese voice actor in Guilty Gear 2 and Xrd is Hiroki Yasumoto, who also voices the similarily-named Crow as well as Azrael from BlazBlue. Raven's English voice actor, Jamieson Price, also voices Leo Whitefang, who is likewise of German descent.
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References[edit | edit source]