|“||If you keep talking like that, I'll cut you to pieces!||”|
–Baiken to I-No in Guilty Gear XX
Baiken (梅喧; Baiken) is one of the few characters of Japanese descent in the Guilty Gear fighting game series (others being May and Anji Mito). Baiken was a hidden character in Guilty Gear, but became a normal character in later installments.
Character Design Edit
Baiken has pink hair worn in a ponytail, a scar over her left eye, a red, black and white kimono with the sleeves tucked in the sides of a black vest, gold and black greaves, sandals, a clawed grappling hook for her right arm, peach eyes and a sword covered in a blue sheath.
In Xrd, her kimono is almost unchanged, though she now has a jacket that she wears on her shoulders like a cape. Her footwear now resemble boots with the back of the heel and toe missing. She also wears an eye patch made of glass over her missing eye and her hair has become fuller with two tufts pointing upward like cat ears. The sheath of her sword is now red. It's also revealed she wears a sarashi under her kimono like shorts.
Baiken is an aggressive, brash, impulsive and anti-social person motivated solely by revenge, wanting to kill That Man. She has remained bitter over her family's demise and intensely hates Gears. Despite this, she tolerates Anji Mito to a certain extent. And though she dislikes the idea of the Japanese being treated like a special race, she occasionally expresses pride towards her heritage. Baiken also comes off as a masculine female character, and she mentions that she has abandoned her gender. She also accepts the natural consequences of her actions and has solemnly consigned herself to damnation for her sins.
Six years after the events of Guilty Gear XX, her personality seems to have mellowed slightly, allowing her to express herself more amiably towards people. While she still desires revenge for the death of her family and destruction of her country, she no longer actively pursues That Man and knows when to prioritize the greater good over her personal vendetta.
In one of her Accent Core Plus endings, Baiken loses her sanity and becomes addicted to killing people.
During the Crusades, the nation of Japan was destroyed by the Gears. Following this, those of Japanese descent who still lived were declared cultural treasures and placed in special colonies. When Baiken was a child, the Gears attacked the Japanese Institute she was living in at the time. During the invasion, she witnessed the bloody death of her parents and other people, her right arm was severed and her left eye gouged out. Amidst the flames, she could only see the silhouette of That Man, and swore revenge on him and his creations for what they had done. She trained herself in the use of the katana, acquired an arsenal of weapons and dedicated herself to hunting That Man down.
Guilty Gear Edit
Baiken was a hidden boss and secret character in this game, and thus was not a major part of the story. It is said that she entered the tournament to seek out the creator of the Gears and as well as get revenge on Justice. However, Justice overwhelmed her in their battle and she was forced to withdraw.
Guilty Gear Xtra Edit
Baiken investigates the cause of the falling Gears and eventually encounters Tyr, Ky Kiske, Mizuha and her grandfather at a Japanese colony. After cleaving through an enormous Gear arm and being reprimanded by Ky for destroying vital evidence, she discerns that Mizuha is the reason that the Gears are falling from space and initially threatens her. However, this results in an intervention by Ky Kiske, who says that he wishes to take Tyr and Mizuha into police custody since they are witnesses in this incident and can help him ascertain the situation. Baiken, irritated, decides to attack Ky and the two engage in a heated duel. Tyr attempts to assist Ky in subduing Baiken by releasing Fenrir, but the energy from Fenrir reacts to the weakened dimensional barrier of the colony, causing it to distort violently and the backlash blasts Tyr and Mizuha to London. Baiken and Ky cease their battle after realizing what happened.
Baiken idly notes that Tyr and Mizuha got away, which irks Ky, who assumes that Baiken still wished to harm them. Before another confrontation could ignite, Mizuha's grandfather tells them to cease bickering and concentrate on finding the children. Ky states that since Tyr was a member of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights, his medallion can lead him to their location, though only if he is within ten kilometers. Coming to the conclusion that they are somewhere out of range, Ky apologizes as he believes he is partially responsible. Mizuha's Grandfather reassures him that it's fine since Mizuha wished to see the outside world. When Ky protests, Baiken nonchalantly states that it's fine as long as the old man says so, which prompts Ky to point out that she triggered this entire event. As Baiken begins to lose her temper again, Mizuha's Grandfather asks Ky to forgive her and explains how Baiken lost her parents to the Gears during the Crusades, causing her to be obsessed with revenge.
Ky states that she should leave such hatred behind, but Baiken ignores him. She, however, apologizes for her earlier impetuosity and advises Ky to find Anji, since as she believes that he, Tyr and Mizuha may be able help him resolve the mystery of the falling Gears.
Guilty Gear X Edit
Baiken is still seeking her revenge, hunting down "monsters," including Gears such as Sol Badguy and others she considers to be demons, including Potemkin and Faust. Her first ending has her nearly killing Testament and Dizzy, but then letting them go; her stated reason being that she can't find That Man. Her other ending has her accompanying Johnny for a drink.
Guilty Gear XX Edit
Baiken continues her search for That Man. She eventually runs into Anji Mito, who is also seeking That Man, but Anji does not wish to kill him; instead, he wants to ask him questions concerning Gears. Therefore, in order to save the keeper of such knowledge, Anji attempts to halt Baiken. In one of her endings, she meets That Man, but is unable to harm him. In the second, the Post-War Administration Bureau sends a brainwashed May and a Robo-Ky after her, and she has a fairly easy time dispatching them. In her third ending, Anji stalls her, but she spares his life on the condition that he shares the information he managed to gather from That Man.
Guilty Gear XX Λccent Core Plus Edit
In this game, Baiken continues her search for revenge against That Man. Ultimately, she fails on finding him, but Anji insists on becoming her new accomplice. In her first ending, she is shown with Anji at her side vowing to protect her as he also quits his status as a follower of That Man. He states that he "doesn't want her to die", and brings Baiken to the cold realization that That Man is beyond both of them. Anji suggests that they travel together and Baiken reluctantly agrees, seemingly giving up on her pursuit for vengeance. Her second ending (after killing I-No) portrays Baiken still on the run and seeking vengeance, with Ky Kiske chasing her for her crimes as "Baiken the Killer". It's very likely that the first one is the canonical ending.
Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR- Edit
In episode mode, on November 9, 2187, Baiken almost kills an operator who has a collect call for her by an unknown client (who is revealed to be Anji). Anji needed her to return to the colony in order to guide the authorities for their investigation. Baiken then learns more from the client about the Intel gathered and though she almost swears that she will cut him down if he hid more secrets from her. She later encounters Chipp's right hand man Answer, learning about the reasons for his visit and the likelihood of the Colony turning into a battlefield.
Baiken is brought by May to Kum Haehyun, who is in need of assistance with the sudden illness in the Colony. Baiken escorts them to a sacred tree that has had generations of Ki infused into it, which will allow her to use her tuning abilities to her fullest. After confirming that Haehyun's motivations are altruistic, Baiken swears to guard her.
Baiken is known to be the series' most iconic defensive fighter, having a plethora of unique guard-cancel-specials ranging from the anti-air Zakuro/Youshijin to the side-switching Mawarikomi. It is due to the advantageous nature of her special moves opponents are forced to commit less often as well as limit their blockstring pressure from a slight distance, especially since these said special moves don't cost any meter on their own unlike a Dead Angle Attack. Baiken is also able to control the neutral game with her iconic Tatami Gaeshi technique, either as a neutral space-combo tool in the corner, or in midair, as a powerful zoning tool due to the flipped-mat falling to the ground (which can halt many forms of approach and/or act as a lockdown tool for Baiken).
Her defensive-reversal control becomes even more dangerous with the use of her Baku-series of Overdrives, which when they connect, respectively seal-off specific options of her opponent for a duration. Baiken can also use meter to cancel most of her guard cancel specials powerfully for a solid amount of combos (especially if one masters their FRC timings), especially since her j.K is able to launch for a jump-cancel-able extender.
Baiken isn't without her weaknesses however, as her primary offensive potential is rather linear with only just a few offensive special moves on-hand compared to her array of versatile guard-cancel-specials. She is also plagued with having both one of the worst defensive modifiers and stun modifiers of the cast, meaning she normally needs to require a form of "perfect-play" lest she gets blown up due to misuse of her momentum. Despite her powerful defensive-match control, she also struggles notably vs. zoning matchups, since her tools mainly cover mid-to-close physical range, while people aware of the matchup against her may also attempt to carefully space their footsies more often.
Command List Edit
Main article: Baiken's Command List
Powers & Abilities Edit
Whereas other characters possess supernatural abilities or Gear powers, Baiken is one of the few fully "normal" human characters in the series. Her thirst for vengeance made her incredibly skilled in the use of the katana, becoming deadly despite only having one arm. She also has many hidden surprise weapons 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. These items are collectively referred to as "Demon Tools" by Baiken, but whether they were specifically created to kill demons or made from demons is unknown. She also has the ability to manipulate Ki for offensive purposes and in the form of seals, though she is not reliant upon it nor as versatile in its usage as other Ki users. She also has knowledge of summoning magic (which she uses to conjure the tatami mats for her Tatami Gaeshi).
Musical Themes Edit
- Momentary Life - Guilty Gear
- Momentary Life II - Guilty Gear XX
- Ricochet - Guilty Gear XX #Reload Korean OST
- Drumhead Pulsation - Guilty Gear Isuka
- 六文 - ROKUMON (Six Sentences)- Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2
Character Quotes Edit
See: Baiken Quotes
References and Allusions Edit
- Baiken was heavily inspired by Kenshin Himura, to the point where her initial physical appearance in the first game was a pallette swap of Kenshin. It is said that Daisuke Ishiwatari (the character designer) got the idea when he saw a picture of Kenshin and mistook him for a woman.
- Aside from the superficial similarities to Kenshin, the concept of a one-armed, one-eyed samurai seeking revenge for his/her clan was directly lifted from Hayashi Fubo's popular literary hero, Tange Sazen. Sazen has been the subject of several stage and film adaptations in Japan. Originally a man, the character has also been portrayed as a female in several films, which is most likely where the inspiration for Baiken emerged from.
- One of Baiken's special moves, Suzuran (すずらん), is named after the Japanese name for 'Lily of the Valley,' a sweet scented but poisonous flower. English rock band Queen feature a song by the same name on Sheer Heart Attack, a favorite album of series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari. Baiken's quest shares parallels with the lyrics of the song.
- Her Instant Kill as of X is known as "Garyou Tensei", which is usually a four-character idiom/term for adding the finishing touches to a work/project, as it literally means "painting in the dragon's pupil", nodding to the most difficult-and-final part of the process.
- Baiken is likely named (using different kanji) after Shishido Baiken (宍戸梅軒), an Edo period samurai known for his mastery of the kusarigama (chain sickle) and having been in a duel with legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Notably, the song Sun and Steel by Iron Maiden is in tribute to Musashi; much like Lily of the Valley, the parallels between the lyrics and her backstory are in tune with her character.
- Her use of an eye patch resembling a sword guard in Xrd -Revelator- is likely a reference to Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi, a legendary swordsman whose clan were the sword instructors to the shogun.
- Baiken's special move "Tatami Gaeshi" is a reference to trap-doors in straw panel flooring (tatami), which are a cliché in Japanese period dramas.
- Additionally, "Tatami Gaeshi" also references the "Tsubame Gaeshi" technique reportedly favored by Sengoku era samurai Sasaki Kojiro.
- A majority of Baiken's attacks are named after Japanese terms, but with their kanji being different which makes them double as puns (e.g. Sakura literally meaning "Tearing Gauze" instead of "Cherry Blossom", and Kikyou literally meaning "Ogre Sutra" instead of "Bellflower").
- Her Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2 theme, 六文 - ROKUMON, is a reference to the saying "It only takes six mon to cross the Sanzu River." Mon were a type of currency used in Japan throughout the Muromachi period, and were used at funerals in reference to the saying. The Sanada, a samurai clan, even used six mon as their crest.
- Her standard Overdrive, Tsurane Sanzu Watashi, also is literally named after the said river.
- Baiken is one of (and perhaps the only) the Guilty Gear characters that has been able to actually murder and/or fatally wound I-No, though that scene is not considered to be canon.
- It has been implied that Baiken is much older than she appears as remarked by I-No. Since she was a child during the destruction of Japan, this indicates that she may be well over 100 years old, possibly due to her Japanese heritage and affinity to Ki.
- The skull imprinted on the right shoulder of her jacket is possibly a reference to the Crest of the Horror Punk band "The Misfits" which is a skull, both look remarkably similar to each other.
External Links Edit