BlazBlue character blowout

You don’t need us to tell you that Street Fighter IV is still awesome or that King of Fighters XII looks great. The fighting game genre is kicking and punching its way through a revival, and we’ve been playing and previewing some of the best sequels of all time. And that’s what concerns us, because lately, we’ve also been playing a lot of BlazBlue.

With unique characters, gorgeous backgrounds, complex gameplay mechanics, and a lengthy story mode, BlazBlue is hands down one of the best original fighting games we’ve played in a long time. But as its June 30th release date draws nearer, we’re worried that BlazBlue may suffer from the it’s-not-Street-Fighter-IV syndrome and will wind up being lost in the shuffle of shoryu-ken spamming Kens and hype for King of Fighters XII, Tekken 6, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and others.

Above: BlazBlue is shaping up to be a solid fighter. But it may be lost in the shuffle of big sequels

That’s why we bugged the hell out of Mori Toshimichi, the director and creator of BlazBlue, to bring you some exclusive character art, design sketches, and behind-the-scenes details on the crazy cast of fighters in his latest game.


GamesRadar: Why did you want to create this character?

Mori Toshimichi:
There are two main reasons behind his creation:

1. I wanted to make a formless, bizarre, and eerie character.
2. When I was a child, I once saw a character with a mask similar to Arakune's and it was TERRIFYING. I wanted to recreate that feeling.

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT: Arakune has probably come the closest to finding out the secrets of this world, but only in exchange for everything that made him human. However, in gaining knowledge, he has become a key to understanding the mysteries of the BlazBlue universe. In other words, if you can figure out WHY Arakune became what he became, then you will hold all the secrets to the world of BlazBlue.

GR: Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT: Given the nature of his being, I wanted this character to be able to morph into almost anything imaginable. His curse? Well, that helps add to his scariness, don't you think?

Above: Arakune’s movements are never normal. He’s always contorting his body into eerie shapes as he moves about the screen

Noel Vermillion

GR: Why did you want to create this character?

MT: I packed almost everything I like about a character into this one. I would even be willing to call it the "soul" of all my knowledge.

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT: Noel is the character who must keep order in this world; nonetheless, she hesitates in almost everything she does. I tried to bring those conflicting expressions to life, and Noel is what I ended up with.

Above: A close look at the bottom of Noel’s heel 

GR: Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT: I watched a certain movie, and was heavily influenced by the fighting scenes within it... Let’s just leave it at that.

Rachel Alucard

GR: Why did you want to create this character?

MT: Well, every Japanese anime and/or game is required to have the obligatory gothic-loli character. In Rachel's case, however, I wanted her to seem omnipotent but leave some childish qualities behind. I guess that's what Rachel is...

Above: BlazBlue’s obligatory gothic-loli girl comes wrapped in Victorian children’s clothing with extra black, upside down crosses, and a big cat 

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT: Rachel has lived longer than any of us can even imagine, and I'm sure she has seen the human race from almost every angle - even the loathsome and unsightly ones. Nonetheless, Rachel fights alongside and against these unpleasant creatures to find a shred of hope that might change something. That's the kind of character she is.

GR: Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT: Rachel is a hard character to learn and master, but I feel that once you can get past a certain threshold, the possibilities with her fighting style become endless. One of the reasons she can control the wind is to expand her possibilities.

Above: Proof that gothic-loli undergarments are complicated

Ragna the Bloodedge

GR: Why did you want to create this character?

MT: Frankly, I really didn't think too deeply about Ragna. I figured a protagonist was necessary for any story, and tried to draw what might look like one in the BlazBlue universe.

Above: If you want to start a rebellion, Ragna’s the guy you want to talk to

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT: For some reason, in my mind, I just got the idea that red represents rebellion and blue represents order, which is why Ragna's attire is, well, very red.

GR: Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT: I wanted to give Ragna a fighting style that would mirror his somewhat "immature" and reckless personality. Likewise, his Drive attacks are high-risk, high-reward, since they can either leave him wide open, or consume the opponent's life. His HP also leaves much to be desired.

In terms of his techniques, he is equipped with a relatively run-of-the-mill set of commands that every fighting gamer would recognize, and beginners can pick up with ease.

Above: A closer look at Ragna’s blade 

Jin Kisaragi

GR: Why did you want to create this character?

MT: Jin is Ragna's arch rival so I wanted to make him Ragna's opposite in almost every way possible - from his silhouette to his personality, to his color.

Above: Sometimes good guys don’t only wear white. Blue works too 

GR: Why did this character HAVE to look the way he/she does?

MT: He is the "Hero" of the BlazBlue universe, so I drew him like the statue of a heroic monument - or at least what I thought one might look like. Heroes are always lonely creatures by nature. They give off this aura, so people find it hard to approach them and understand the world through their eyes.

GR: Why is this character’s fighting style the way it is?

MT: Like Ragna, I gave him a set of moves familiar to anyone who has played fighting games before, since he is the protagonist’s arch rival, and is the other character that the cursor defaults to. Jin's Drive attack stems from his cold and heartless personality, so I found it appropriate to give him the ability to freeze his opponents in their tracks.


  • RaIdEn - July 2, 2009 12:39 a.m.

    me wantee
  • Corsair89 - July 1, 2009 6:55 a.m.

    Looks awesome, definitely a must buy. One of a few other fighting games I must get this year, along with MvC2 and Tatsunoko vs Capcom. I counldn't care less about Tekken 6, personally. Damn it, I keep calling it "Blueblaz" instead of "Blazblue." I feel stupid now. :(
  • norid - July 1, 2009 5:34 a.m.

    when does it come out?
  • zayleffein - June 30, 2009 11:22 p.m.

    Looks pretty awesome, tho I am not too interested in the story with these vague descriptions that do nothing to evince interest. But, fighting games don't really need a story to be exciting or challenging ;)
  • Japanjack - June 30, 2009 6:29 p.m.

    I'm going to pick it up right now. Epic pre-order :D
  • Skykid - June 30, 2009 2:02 p.m.

    I see this as a great possibility for a great game. Great character variations. They make for a great game.
  • revrock - June 30, 2009 5:42 a.m.

    Looks like a cool mix between "Guilty Gear" and "Darkstalkers" how can you go wrong?
  • AnonymouZ - June 30, 2009 4:47 a.m.

    yeah this games LOOKS good... but i'm not too fond of fighters... much less if there's not many jiggly boobs or upskirt shots. and you know there's thousands just like me in that regard. ;)
  • Suicide - June 30, 2009 3:44 a.m.

    These characters look insane! I gotta play this!
  • chucknorris69 - June 30, 2009 12:44 a.m.

    only a complete faggot would wanna play this dumb chink game
  • Amnesiac - June 29, 2009 11:08 p.m.

    Cool. Can't wait for this game.
  • Skyly - June 29, 2009 10:58 p.m.

    Fancy this game quite a bit. wonder when it hits the U.K...
  • jamminontha1n2 - June 29, 2009 10:39 p.m.

    dude im gonna be controlling that kid with the puppet when this comes out
  • winterwolf - June 29, 2009 8:06 p.m.

    Looks pretty interesting... specially since the limited edition of the game is only $60 and comes with the game, two-disc soundtrack, and a blue-ray disc. Sweet.
  • Robusken - June 29, 2009 8:01 p.m.

    Thats it, I need to get a 360.
  • MercurysPhoenix - July 4, 2009 2:25 p.m.

    Ever wondered what the bottom of Noel's shoe looks like? Well BAM, there it is! Arakune looks a hell of a lot like No Face from the Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away. I wonder if that's the character he aluded to. Maybe not, but there must be some sort of influence. Blazblue is looking awesome - just hopes it comes to Europe on the 360. It seems to have a lot of hype surrounding it, so I wouldn't be worried about the imminent release of KoF XII.
  • DeathbyFira - July 1, 2009 3:36 a.m.

    I am a huge fan of fighting games and this game looks freaking sweet i cant wait to get it but i dont know wich syestem to get it on i have Both a 360 and a PS3 that is the hard part
  • FlyinMX - June 30, 2009 10:53 p.m.

    can't wait to play this. It looks like a refreshing departure from the fighting games I'm used to.
  • norid - June 30, 2009 6:19 p.m.

    i really hope this game doesn't get pushed aside by the mainstream games alas though i have a feeling it will :(
  • crumbdunky - June 30, 2009 12:05 p.m.

    Some mighty good lookung art on the go here. I always find the way that Japanese games of certain genres HAVE to include certain character types quite quaint-even in a pretty new media they manage to have conventions to follow rigidly. Like the idea of a "D fighting game NOT having a Gothic-Loli character is somehow unthinkable. It's fantastic ow the Japanese national psyche even pervades the newest parts of life. I'm sure this probably applies to western games and media too though possibly in ways we're often too close to to realise. Maybe like how 90% of modern FPS leads have a skinhead, IDK. Still, another great looking fighter in a year full of them-so it's prolly the wrong time to still hope Rare might come up with a new KI, no?

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