|“||Heh heh heh... The most notorious war criminal in history, as soft as a pillow. I wonder what the rest of humanity would think if they saw you like this.||”|
–Chronus to That Man, Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-
That Man, also referred to as the Gear Maker (ギアメーカー, Gia Mēkā?), is a major character in the Guilty Gear series. He is the creator of the Gears and Justice, and the target of Sol Badguy's revenge. He has three servants: Raven, I-No, and Jack-O' Valentine, who frequently act on his behalf while he remains behind the scenes.
That Man's face and body are rarely seen, as they are usually covered by flowing, hooded cloaks, however he has been shown in flashbacks to have pure white hair and an average build.
In his earliest appearances, he wore a largely featureless red and blue cloak, but beginning in Overture his design was updated to predominantly white with black and red details, with a heavy cross motif and text accents featuring biblical allusions. This design was largely carried over in Vastedge XT and Xrd.
In Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-, he is revealed to have a youthful face and blue eyes, with a wing over his right eye, an inverted red cross design on his bangs, and what appear to be pointy red ears.
That Man is a self-righteous individual who will burden himself with the weight of his sins to achieve his goals, and seeks redemption for inadvertently causing the Crusades. While ultimately well-intentioned, he is often manipulative and not above using others like chess pieces in a game. He has also described himself as rebellious, and this is extended to his belief that humanity should have complete control over the course of their own fate, including their evolution.
Contrary to the fear he may inspire in others due to his reputation, That Man is an unassuming and humble individual, and has a placid and benign nature. I-No even tells him to consider being a little scarier after he offers Axl sweets to go with his tea. In fact, That Man is rather soft of heart, as he admits to living a century without confessing to anyone because he is terrified of losing his connection to Frederick, even if that connection is Frederick's hatred. He also wants to save Raven and I-No from their fates.
Although much of his past has been revealed, the chronology of events remains unclear. That Man is one of The Original's disciples, the other being Chronus. That Man was chosen over Chronus to possess the "seeds" of the Absolute World. Afterwards, the Original learned of his Universal Will's rebellion and returned to the Backyard for the last time. That Man and Chronus would await his return to no avail, but began searching for a way to stop the Universal Will on their own.
That Man was also a prodigy who completed his study of Biology as a youth and was instrumental in the completion of basic Magic theory. As his pursuits led him into the field of bioinformatics, That Man befriended fellow researchers Frederick Bulsara and Aria Hale who were assigned to the Ecosystem Evolution Project. Serving as chief officer of applied magical research, they achieved the stabilization of magic-infused Gear cells in 2015. However, fearing the implication of their research, That Man confided in Frederick that he would only relinquish their research data to the government under four conditions; otherwise, he planned to destroy it.
Around this time, Aria had contracted an incurable disease and both That Man and Frederick elected to place her in cryogenic sleep until such time that medical technology was advanced enough to treat her. In a misguided act of sympathy for the lovers, That Man converted Frederick into the Prototype Gear without his consent; granting him increased longevity that would enable him to survive how ever long for a treatment to be found for Aria, while subsequently transforming Frederick into the Flame of Corruption. That Man would go on to sabotage the Ecosystem Evolution Project's experiments and disappeared with Aria. This forced the cancellation of the project and research was postponed indefinitely, with all related data becoming classified. Frederick, unaware of That Man's intention, would swear vengeance against him.
In 2042, That Man resurfaced when the United States government reinitialized the Ecosystem Evolution Project (now called the "Gear Project"); only participating to mitigate any potential misuse of the research. To his regret, in 2065, the government began mass production and rapid deployment of combat-ready Gears which resulted in the rapid occupation of countless nations. In 2073, in an effort to correct this flagrant abuse of power, That Man converted Aria into the commander-type Gear, Justice, with the capability of controlling other Gears. But upon her activation in 2074, the Universal Will seized her as its vessel and attempted to transform the citizens of Japan into anti-matter Gears. That Man was able to divert disaster by overriding her motor functions, and used her Gamma Ray on Japan to stop the entity's materialization.
Her psyche was shattered by the incident. That Man saved half of Aria, but the other half—Justice—reacted to the Gears' status as little more than slaves and rebelled. Justice thus gathered an army of Gears and declared war on humanity. Responsible for the Crusades that followed, That Man was branded a war criminal. He then disappeared from the world, seeking for a way to restore Aria.
Guilty Gear X
In Guilty Gear X Lightning the Argent, That Man sends Raven on an assignment in England to investigate the appearance of the mysterious Solaria and gather information on her, specifically her ability to resonate with Gears with her singing.
In Sol's third ending, a conversation between That Man and one of his servants is seen, in which he cryptically says "To think there was a daughter... most interesting", which is a reference to Justice being Dizzy's mother.
Guilty Gear XX
In Sol's first ending, he appears after Sol defeats I-No. He greets Sol and Sol attempts to strike him down. However, he blocks Sol's attack and counters with an explosive blast. He warns Sol that a menace will soon appear on Earth that will make the Crusades seem like a dim memory. He states that he will need Sol when the time comes to confront this threat.
In Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus, after I-No escapes her confinement for her activities in Guilty Gear XX, That Man, Raven, and Mito Anji attempt to set a trap for her.
Material Collection stories
Sometime afterward, under Raven's watch, That Man performed an procedure that would allow him to retrograde his body's age to that of a teenager's. The restoration was completed without complication, using non-human juvenile hormones, thanks to the memory backups he had.
Guilty Gear 2: Overture
That Man appears as a boss before Sol at Valentine's gateway to the Backyard. During the battle, he seems to be testing Sol and informs him about Valentine's intentions. Despite transforming into his Dragon Install, Sol is unable to harm That Man and is defeated.
That Man approaches Sol again after Valentine is defeated. He reveales that Valentine is involved with a "Merciless Apocalypse". He then helps Sol return to the real world and reunite with the others. In the last scene of the story, That Man and Raven have a conversation, wherein they reveal that Valentines are being made everyday.
Guilty Gear Vastedge XT
That Man appears in Harden Fort to confront and fight Sol, though his reasons for doing so are unknown.
Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-
That Man comes into contact with Axl Low, who possesses a coded message from the Original which only he could understand. He later collaborates with Dr. Paradigm in order to dismantle the Cradle and halt the Conclave's movements. He collaborates with Sol to destroy the Cradle's Felion defense. That Man tries to prevent Justice's body from being recalled to the Backyard, but ends up being obstructed by Bedman, who seals him away in an isolated space.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-
That Man is having difficulty returning to the real world due to Bedman activating Absolute Defense: Felion to prevent his escape. While he works to free himself, Chronus appears and helps him realize who the enemy's true identity: the Universal Will is Ariels. Chronus frees That Man, and tells him to put an end to the history of bloodshed between humans and Gears by telling Sol everything. That Man admits to being terrified of losing his friend. Chronus trusts him to stop the Universal Will.
Together with Jack-O', That Man meets with Sol, Dr. Paradigm, Ky Kiske and Leo Whitefang and reveals the truth about the Universal Will, the Absolute World, Sol's conversion, and Justice's rebellion. They all strike an uneasy alliance to rescue Elphelt Valentine and stop Ariels' eradication of humanity. He brings Paradigm and Zappa into his old laboratory to fire the Saint Oratorio that will give Jack-O' the adequate power she needs to merge with Justice. Despite the complications that follow, Ariels dies and Jack-O' is able to forcibly overwrite Justice's consciousness and complete the merging, restoring Aria as a singular being.
In the aftermath, there is still unresolved hatred and tension between That Man and Sol. He lowers his hood and shows his face. Sol tells Sin that those are they eyes of a man trying to pick a fight, and finally calls That Man by his name: Asuka R. Kreutz (飛鳥＝Ｒ＝クロイツ, Asuka R. Kuroitsu?).
In Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2's After Story A, Raven and I-No no longer work for Asuka, but Asuka talks to Raven, perhaps for the last time. Raven says that Asuka will have a month to carry out his plans before G4 is held. Raven also reflects how Asuka once made it sound like he wanted him to live as a "storyteller". Asuka says that he wanted to part as friends, not as master and servant. Raven tells Asuka his story—not having done so previously—, and concludes that an immortal storyteller might even be able to truly save people. Upon Raven's request to say his usual line, Asuka thanks him and says he'll "leave the rest to him", parting as friends. At the end, Asuka surrenders himself to the U.S. government.
While he is extremely powerful, That Man rarely engages in direct combat, which leaves the full scope of his abilities mostly unknown. His capacity for magic is unmatched, having earned Dr. Paradigm's admiration, and he is known to easily overpower Sol in his Dragon Install state in Overture. He is able to conjure glyph barriers that disperse both physical and magical attacks, rendering himself almost invulnerable, or he can alternatively make himself intangible. He can create monolith walls for both defense and offense, and summons mechanical bits that rapidly fire lasers and energy bullets.
He uses a large quill-like blade to write runic symbols in the air for different magical effects, such as immobilizing a target, materializing a massive energy blade in the shape of a crucifix or manifesting large arms composed of magical energy for melee combat. He can also release a myriad of magical blasts from his hands and his grimoire. He can also materialize two massive devices known as Proteus Universe to fire intense beams of energy.
That Man can withstand the Backyard's dense informational pressure and can bestow on others temporal protection against it. Physically, it is suggested that he has incredible physical strength, as he manages to block Sol's sword thrust with his bare hands in Guilty Gear XX. He has also repelled attacks from Baiken with seemingly no effort.
- "The Man" - Guilty Gear 2
- Seemingly following the series' naming conventions of referencing musicians and bands, That Man's real name is very similar to that of American classical music composer Arthur R. Kreutz.
- Sin Kiske and That Man share the same English voice actor, Yuri Lowenthal, who also voices Bedman in Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-.
- Ironically, Asuka shares his Japanese voice with Ragna the Bloodedge, one of the main characters of Arc System Works' other fighting game series, BlazBlue, and the counterpart of Sol Badguy.
- In Guilty Gear Vastedge XT, Asuka is shown carrying a tome similar in appearance to the one the Sage possessed that contained a compilation of all the knowledge he obtained about the Backyard. Whether this is the same tome or simply a magical grimoire is unknown.