Tekken Character Countdown Part 1: Kazuya Mishima

As a way of counting down the time to the release of Tekken 6 for the PS3 and Xbox360, I’ve decided to begin this weekly series of lengthy, character-specific articles, each one featuring one of the 40 or so competing warriors in the latest and greatest King of Iron Fist Tournament. Hopefully, by the time we finish and reach character number 40, we’ll have the console version of Tekken in our hands already.

But that’s many, many weeks from now. At the moment, let’s busy ourselves with talking about our first Tekken fighter in the limelight… who else, but the original Tekken Bad Boy himself, Kazuya Mishima.

Kazuya Mishima. Bad to the Bone, or just Misunderstood?

Kazuya Mishima
Distinguishing Features: Vegeta-like hair. Vampiric hairline. Red, metal-studded gloves. Left eye glowing evilly red.

Strengths: Aggressive, powerful Mishima-style martial arts and the Electric Wind Godfist technique. Has mastered his Inner Devil. Slick fashion sense. Intimidating aura.
Weaknesses: Just may be a sliiiiiim chance he’s really just a softie deep down inside. REALLY deep down inside. Gets really angry when mistaken for Demitri Maximoff.

Affiliation: G-Corporation. As the new head of the Mishima Zaibatsu’s opposition, Kazuya seeks first and foremost to terminate his son, Jin. Not for any other reason than so he can take over the world himself, naturally.

Background: Waaaaay back in the original Tekken, Kazuya was the ‘Ryu’ of the roster. He was your main good guy, your well-balanced fighter and wandering martial artist. But where all the other fighters had their golden boys good, honest heroes at heart, Namco saw fit to give Kaz a different attitude altogether. How many of us found ourselves doing double-takes as we watched Kazuya throw a helpless Heihachi- his own father- off a cliff (and then smile about it afterwards)? Obviously, Kazuya wasn’t your usual goody-two shoes, that was for sure. And as expected, he’d go on to take over his father’s corporation- the ever-present Mishima Zaibatsu– and turn it into an even more evil and powerful force than it was ever before.

But to be fair, Kazuya’s dark streak wasn’t without cause. When he was five years old, his old man Hei threw him off a cliff, to test his strength. Near death, Kazuya made a deal with the Devil and thus bound his soul to an evil will and destiny. Since then, the guy has always been a bad boy, at times seeming to act a little good or positive, only to show his true, despicable colors at the very end.

But of course, bad begets bad, and so Kaz’s reign at the top didn’t last long, and soon he was taking a dirt nap after Heihachi dropped him into a volcano after Tekken 2. You can’t keep a bad boy down though (especially one with a Devil in his genes), and faster than you can say genetic resurrection, ol’ Kaz was back in Tekken 4 (Tekken Tag Tournament also saw him back, but that was non-canon) care of the new big player in Tekken’s storyline, G-Corporation.

Since then, Kaz has been back in the high seat, even after getting his ass kicked by his son, Jin, at the end of Tekken 4. The events of Tekken 5 ended with Jin taking control of the Zaibatsu, but at the same time, Kazuya took control of G-Corporation. Seen as the new sheriff in town by the world in the face of the obvious evil of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Kazuya puts a bounty on his son’s head, starting the events that would culminate in the announcement of the sixth King of Iron Fist Tournament.

Character Analysis: Let’s be straight- Kazuya is EVIL. Unapologetically, unabashedly evil. Forget that crappy Tekken anime which made him out to be this lost soul driven by revenge. The Devil may have started him off, but judging from how Kaz has never been conflicted or ever blemished by any shred of something that can be called a conscience shows that he’s whole-heartedly into the bad guy role. His crimes include the murder of Eddy Gordo’s parents, countless atrocities during his reign as Zaibatsu head in Tekken 2, and most recently the wholesale murder of G-Corporation’s execs (including Leo’s mom) prior to Tekken 6.

But then, we may wonder, how the HECK did he and Jun get it on? Details are scarce about how their union was (perhaps along the same lines as Bulma and Vegeta?), but in the end Kaz never really was there as a father to Jin (being dead most of the time in a volcano probably didn’t help), and the evil residing in Kaz probably made sure there’s no lost love between father and son.

However, it still stands that Kaz has no shortage of fans. What can we say? People like bad guys. Villains are interesting, and Kaz is bad-ass as well as being bad. Similar to characters like Vegeta in Dragonball Z or Demitri from Darkstalkers, Kaz is an anti-hero who’s power and bad-assedry cannot be denied. He’s slick, he’s strong as heck with his in-your-face pure Mishima-style karate, and he’s the only one with enough clout to take on Jin’s Tekken Force.

What lies in Kazuya’s future? As Tekken 6 begins, both father and son are poised on opposite ends of the chessboard, gathering their pieces and powers and getting ready for the big confrontation of the ‘Two Evil Stars’ foreseen by Zafina’s prophecy. As I see it, the winner will take it all- Jin is certainly dog meat if Kazuya wins, and the world will surely be all the darker under his Iron Fist. No matter what happens though, whether he wins or loses, it’s pretty sure that this eternal bad boy will somehow survive and end up stronger when all is said and done.

Tekken 6 for PS3 and Xbox360 is set for release in Fall 2009.

NEXT WEEK: We’ll talk about the Father of All Troubles… Heihachi Mishima!


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