NAMCO MALE AGE RULE?! (part 3)
*NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED*
*THESE ARE PURELY MY OPINIONS/TAKES ON WORKS OF NAMCO*
This is the last part about the “NAMCO MALE AGE RULE.” After seeing the many number of Tekken and Soul guys who aged throughout the series, unfortunately, there are victims of the “rule.” Like the female counterpart of the “rule,” the unlucky guys were either:
• Replaced by a younger/newer character inheriting their fighting style
• Dropped entirely from the series
First, let’s see the guys who were replaced as the series progressed:
The token hulk robot of Tekken, the Jacks have been present in all canon installments except in Tekken 4. However, technically speaking, the Jacks in each installment are different robots. In the first Tekken, the Jack was simply a robot designed to hunt down Kazuya Mishima. In Tekken 2, a different unit was upgraded to Jack-2, a version with human characteristics. It is that unit which saved a young girl named Jane. However, Jack-2 was destroyed and Jane, who had become a scientist after 19 years, was determined to revive the robot. In Tekken 3, Jane was able to create a new version, Gun Jack, but she needed additional programming from the Mishima Conglomerate. However, Gun Jack was destroyed by the Tekken Forces and Jane soon joined G Corporation, a powerful biotech firm. Jane soon developed Jack-5 to fight in Tekken 5. In Tekken 6, Kazuya, who became the leader of G Corporation, demanded an upgraded version of Jack to combat the Jacks developed by the Mishima Conglomerate. With future Tekken installments, expect a bigger, more badass version of Jack!!
Tekken’s resident wrestler was King, the luchador who wears the iconic jaguar mask. Debuting in Tekken, King was a favorite due to his wrestling moves, grappling arts and chain combos. However, by Tekken 3, Namco decided to add an element of drama to the plot. It was revealed that the original King was killed by Ogre, the God of Fighting. However, his spot in the series was assumed by King II, who was an orphan raised in King’s orphanage. King II went on to carry King’s legacy in succeeding Tekken installments.
The Tekken series is also known to add intelligent fighting animals in their roster. The first fighting animal introduced was Kuma, Heihachi Mishima’s pet bear. After being taught some martial arts, Kuma became Heihachi’s bodyguard in the first Tekken installment. However, he was defeated by Paul Phoenix and since then, Kuma has loathed the red-clad Judo fighter. Sad to say, Kuma died of old age. However, Kuma had a cub that became Heihachi’s second pet. By Tekken 3, Kuma Jr. was taught some martial arts and also developed hatred against Paul. Kuma Jr. has since appeared in succeeding Tekken installments.
Namco decided to add another notch to their roster of fighting animals. With a touch of comedy, Namco introduced Roger, a kangaroo who wears boxing gloves in Tekken 2. Roger was a product of genetically altering a kangaroo’s DNA combined with a martial artist’s genes. Despite being absent in Tekken 3 and Tekken 4, the boxing kangaroo returns in Tekken 5 with Roger Jr. in his mother’s pouch. Roger Jr. is the son of Roger, who disappeared after he was born. Wanting to find his father, Roger Jr. entered the tournament in Tekken 5 only to find his father living a carefree life totally unconcerned about his family! The adventures of Roger Jr. continue in Tekken 6 so that he and his mother can win the prize money to support themselves.
The “other wrestler” of Tekken, Armor King was the bitter rival of King. Introduced in Tekken as an unlockable character, Armor King’s fighting style was similar to King but he had extra special moves which made him more useful than King. Technically speaking, Armor King survived the “rule” as he was a background character in Tekken 3, where he trains King’s replacement to avenge King’s death. However, before the events of Tekken 4, Armor King was murdered by a Vale Tudo fighter, Craig Marduk. In Tekken 5, a new Armor King appears, who is revealed to be the younger brother of the first Armor King seeking vengeance.
The big bad guy of the Soul series, Astaroth was introduced with an “executioner” theme in Soul Calibur. Wielding a giant axe, he is a solid fan favorite due to his arrogant personality, easy set of moves, long ranged attacks and rush attacks that virtually guarantees an easy ring out! In the story, Astaroth was a golem created by Kunapektu to find and obtain Soul Edge. After massacring the entire crew of Maxi, Astaroth wanted to obtain Soul Edge for himself. After Soul Calibur IV, Maxi finally defeats Astaroth. However, Astaroth’s core was retrieved by Kunpaektu as he decided to create an even more powerful golem. He created a second Astaroth, who appeared in Soul Calibur V.
Another fighting style that has been a favorite since its introduction in Soul Calibur is the Manji Ninja Arts. The honorable leader of the Manji Clan, Yoshimitsu originally desired Soul Edge to take revenge against a feudal lord who massacred his men. Upon learning of the sword’s evil nature, Yoshimitsu changes his plan to destroy Soul Edge instead and organized a new group to his cause. 17 years later, the first Yoshimitsu was slain by his dearest disciple; a ritual of succeeding the former leader. The new Yoshimistu is to continue the legacy of the Manji Clan.
And now, here the characters who were dropped from the series:
Prototype Jack (P. Jack for short) was introduced in Tekken as an unlockable character and a more powerful version of the playable Jack. In Tekken 2, P. Jack boasts flying stomps and several useful techniques as compared to Jack-2. P. Jack was indeed more powerful but his design was too plain for a robot and as a video game character overall. The fact that most of his moves were slow didn’t help either as he was deemed a low-tier character. After Tekken 2, P. Jack has not appeared in another canon installment. However, his useful moves were incorporated in the fighting style of the newer Jack versions in succeeding installments.
Debuting as a palette swap for Roger in Tekken 2, Alex was known the genetically altered boxing lizard of Tekken. However, Tekken 2 has remained his only canon appearance. We know that both Roger and Alex have no big impact in Tekken if basing on the story alone but if Roger had a Roger Jr., doesn’t Alex deserve to have an Alex Jr.? I guess not as that would require an additional storyline for Alex.
It was Devil that possessed Kazuya Mishima before the events of Tekken 2. Yes, his fighting style and his appearance may be similar with that of Kazuya, but in fact, they are both distinct and different characters. Devil was the spirit who made Kazuya more powerful and seemingly, he was the root cause of the Devil gene in Kazuya’s lineage. After Kazuya’s defeat, Devil tried to possess Jun’s unborn child but was defeated. After Tekken 2, Devil was dropped from the series but the continuity of the Devil gene within the series gives a speculation that Devil will return in a future Tekken installment.
SEONG HAN MYEONG, HWANG SUNGKYUNG and HONG YUN-SEONG
The Korean swordsman style has been consistent in the Soul series. In Soul Blade, Hwang Sungkyung wielded a Chinese sword and was introduced as a principled warrior ordered to obtain Soul Edge for his country. Hwang’s dojang master, 53-year-old Seong Han Myeong, was an unlockable character who uses the exact fighting style of Hwang. In the story, it was his greatest wish that his daughter Seong Mi-Na would marry Hwang, his best student. Soul Blade had been the only canon game Han Myeong has appeared and Hwang was brought back in the next installment, Soul Calibur, but this time, he wields a Chinese blade. By Soul Calibur II, the Korean swordsman style was inherited by Hong Yun-Seong, another student in Han Myeong’s dojang who wanted to obtain Soul Edge to prove his strength. By Soul Calibur III, both Hwang and Yun-Seong were present in the series emphasizing the slight difference in their respective styles. By Soul Calibur IV, Yun-Seong was the sole Korean swordsman and by Soul Calibur V, the Korean swordsman style seems to have been dropped. This was a big surprise to the Soul community as both Hwang and Yun Seong were too young to be dropped (In the period of Soul Calibur II-IV, Yun-Seong was only 18 and Hwang was already 32). Additionally, their styles were regarded as being mid to high tier.
The Soul Series’ original Nunchaku wielder, Li Long was very popular among the early fans of the Soul Series. Li Long’s story reveals that he was a Chinese assassin hired to obtain Soul Edge. Li Long eventually falls in love with a Japanese woman named Chie. However, Chie was thought to have been killed by a wandering samurai. Li Long resolves to find Chie’s alleged murderer and obtain Soul Edge. However, Li Long was absent during Soul Calibur and Soul Calibur II. But by Soul Calibur III, 31-year-old Li Long made a comeback. To emphasize the difference against another nunchaku wielder, Maxi, Li Long wields 2 BLADED nunchakus while Maxi only had one REGULAR nunchaku. However by Soul Calibur IV, Li Long was seemingly dropped and was never heard of again.
Nathaniel William Adams, or simply nicknamed Rock, was the big good guy and the original giant axe wielder of the Soul Series. He was English adventurer who, after a shipwreck, was eventually washed upon the shores of the New World (present-day United States). He eventually learned the ways of the land and adopted a native boy Bangoo. His plot centers on the rescue of Bangoo (who was kidnapped in Soul Calibur). Despite being absent in Soul Calibur II, 42-year-old Rock was back during Soul Calibur III and Soul Calibur IV, but this time, he wields a giant mace. Rock is one of the less popular characters in the series. His slow attacks can easily be evaded and his main tactics which composes of different grappling techniques is easily escapable. Despite these shortcomings, a lot of fans speculated that Rock will be replaced by Bangoo in Soul Calibur V. Alas, when Soul Calibur V was released; there was neither Rock, nor Bangoo…
Arthur was basically a palette swap of Heishiro Mitsurugi, substituting for him in territories were the image of the Samurai was discouraged. Arthur’s story reveals that he was a young English sailor who visited Japan, where he was soon adopted into a local family. He was, however, not accepted by the community and was an outcast. Leaving his home, he became a swordsman. After settling with a local woman and having a daughter, Arthur hears about the cursed sword, Soul Edge. Believing that he’ll be accepted into society if he obtains the sword, Arthur was determined to conquer Soul Edge. Arthur reappeared in Soul Calibur III at the age of 31 and with a slight difference in fighting style compared to Mitsurugi. He was unsuccessful in obtain Soul Edge but he was able to bring home a shard of it. However, that shard was believed to have caused the death of his wife. Blaming himself for the tragedy, Arthur sets sail once again but this time, to destroy Soul Edge. Arthur has not appeared in any installment since Soul Calibur III.
CHARADE and OLCADAN
Mimic characters are also present in installments of the Soul Series. In Soul Calibur II, Charade was a creature formed from a man who was tracking down fragments of Soul Edge was murdered. The man’s tenacity soon activated the fragments’ power and thus, Charade was born, determined to seek out the remaining shards of Soul Edge. By Soul Calibur III, Olcadan, a master of all fighting arts dares challenging the gods. He was punished by transforming his head into that of an owl and was imprisoned in a labyrinth beneath the earth. Centuries later, Olcadan was able to escape and would seek challenges after his imprisonment. As a summary, the storyline of both Charade and Olcadan, has no impact to the main plot and it’s understandable that neither will return in future installments.
The lone black guy in the Soul Series, Zasalamel was positively received in the Soul community due to his badass weapon and cold personality. Zasalamel was introduced in Soul Calibur III as a tribesman tasked with the protection of Soul Calibur. However, he tried to take control of the sword and afterwards, was shunned from his tribe. Being an outcast, Zasalamel soon learned the art of reincarnation. As time goes on, he grew tired of his reincarnations but he was unable to break his cycle. Believing that the powers of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur will bring death to him, Zasalamel seeks both swords, eliminating obstacles that would prevent him from his goal. By Soul Calibur IV, Zasalamel had a glimpse of the modern world and he shifted his plan to use the power of the swords to obey his will. However, Zasalamel was absent in Soul Calibur V and it seems that he was dropped. His absence was surprising considering his storyline where he was supposed to be an immortal.
That’s a wrap! I will continue to update this post for updates if ever.
I would also like to have a special mention to the following Tekken guys who were introduced as badass old men since their first appearance:
Dr. Boskonovitch (96 years old in Tekken 3)
Jinpachi Mishima (108 years old in Tekken 5)
In my opinion, the concept of the “Namco Male Age Rule” is almost similar to real life. When men grow old, they became wiser, stronger and more matured in their decisions. However, if applied in Video games storylines, I think that male characters will have the advantage that they will have character development in their history thus gaining more appreciation from fans.
As a conclusion just like in my previous post, I am NOT criticizing Namco’s decision to allow male characters to age throughout the series. Also, I am NOT criticizing their decision if they want to drop/replace characters due to their importance or popularity in the storyline. Again, they are the developers, they are the ones who have the final decision over these matters and it’s up to us, the audience/players to give the proper feedback about their games. Besides, a game wouldn’t be successful if it weren’t for the fans playing the game.