Analysis: Battle Arena Toshinden
Battle Arena Toshinden 3: Counterpart ClashesIn Toshinden 3, the game notably has “evil” counterparts in comparison to the main cast. Looking at them closely, their themes and even attacks are conflicting with each other. For a series that had been left in the dust as a video game series for its time, their characters and their backstories are something of the deepest to be found in the world of obscurity!
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The God Agon Theos
A main antagonist figure in the series, while not seen, Agon Theos is the god of the Organization, whom its members seek to serve and appease, through magic and ritual sacrifice. While not mentioned in any way of its own origins, its name is Greek in origin. Agon Theos, is a name that can be translated as literally, “God of Agons/Conflict”. Agon itself is an ancient Greek word that has several and very influential root meanings.
- One definition is that it refers to is of competition of many fields, from athletics and racing, to even literature and music, especially during festivals and religious based events, including the Olympics.
- In ancient Greek literature, the word means of the struggle with in a work, which the forces of good and evil come to clash over, and add moving action and drama to the overall story. In plays in ancient Greece, it also meant a debate of views and sides through which the protagonist and antagonist had, and which the crowd themselves came to judge upon.
- In The Western Canon by Harold Bloom, the term agon refers to the attempt by a writer to resolve an intellectual conflict between his ideas, and the ideas of an influential predecessor, in which "the larger swallows the smaller".
- In sociopolitical theory, the word agon can refer to the idea that conflict between two opposing forces can bring about beneficial growth and progress.
- In the pantheons of Ancient Greece, Agon is also a minor god, said to be the embodiment and divine manifestation of contests and competition. Inevitably, his icon is located in Olympia.
Eiji and Leon
- Playing with Fire vs An Ice Person
- Tiger Versus Dragon
- Most interestingly, Tiger Versus Lion
- Samurai vs Pirate
- Jerk Jock with a Heart of Gold vs Jerkass Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy
- Protagonist vs Anti-Villain
- Good Colors Bad Colors
- Personality – Cocky, but competitive and fair. Upbeat and while with an “in your face” attitude, is humanistic and caring.
- Background – A wandering samurai like martial artist, seeking to get stronger through regulated and fair duels, but also will fight for the right thing to do. Wanders as an adventurer also for the seek of the thrill and excitement of life.
- Attack Themes – Fire themed attacks, and attacks named signifying a sort of technique or feat.
- Character Design Themes - Japanese literary theme coloring, red indicating heroics and bravery, with white also representing purity. Born on the year of the Dragon, which is also a symbol to represent the Eastern World. Wields the Byakko Katana, which in Asian mythology, represents the animal of the Metal Element, the White Tiger, signifying kingship of the element.
- Personality – Extremely cocky, tenacious and outright vile in competitiveness, believes that killing someone is a sign of strength. Power hungry, yet loyal, as a front for underhanded means. Foul mouthed and extremely disrespectful.
- Background – Hardcore criminal and pirate like member of the Organization, who appears to seek thrills and excitement through breaking the law and vices.
- Attack Themes – Ice themed attacks, attacks rooted with the end word “Stalker”, indicating a bloodthirsty and depraved person, and attacks with cruel or dark names, like Skull Crusher or Midnight Beyond. Super and Desperation attacks bear the prefix “Iron”.
- Character Design Themes - His name also means Lion. Born in the year of the Tiger, which is a symbol to also represent the Western World. Japanese literary theme coloring with Western theme coloring, with his red outfit signifying respectively, high amounts of bravado, and a sign of ultra belligerence and rampaging attitude, coming from pirate flags. Blue hair signifies negative traits and even antagonistic role, while also a cool blue, representing a hotheadedness and “cool” attitude.
- Both of them are out in the world for the pure seek of the thrill, although Eiji does so by being an ever curious and respectful martial artist and traveler, where Leon is hinted to be a hardcore criminal and seafaring modern day pirate.
- Both share a theme of temperament; while both are jerks, Eiji is a jerk with a heart of gold, cocky, competitive, driven and even known to taunt and jest at his competition, later on he does what's best and shines through as a growing man and hero, where Leon is an arrogant, cutthroat, selfish, and brutal jerk, wanting to win at any costs, and by any means necessary- From not holding back onto his opponents, to even winning by outright killing them. His taunting is also way more raunchy and offensive; not only known to give out middle fingers, one presumed reason why he was not given an English voice over was due to the fact he constantly uses insane amounts of rude Japanese and the Japanese equivalent of the F word when executing his attacks.
- In addition, both have an elemental theme between them, with Eiji's fiery attacks clashing with Leon's icy attacks, and East Vs West, with Eiji coming from Japan and born in the year of the Dragon, with Leon coming from the States and born in the year of the Tiger.
- Their outfits are also significant of their traits; red is a common color used in Japanese literature and has its origins to Kabuki theater, signifying bravery and heroic figures. Eiji does have red in his theme, but a subtle amount of it with his white shirt, indicating a sort of purity, a color more related through Shinto roots. Leon appears to be an inverse take on a protagonist role, something akin to a protagonist-like anti villain, with his outfit completely red, indicating greater amounts of bravado and recklessness; in addition, red was the color for belligerence and warring attitude amongst pirate flags in Europe, amplifying the East VS West theme even more. Notably, Leon has blue hair to accompany his look. Blue is an opposing thematic color in Japanese literature, signifying negative and even villainous traits; this could hint at Leon being poor in moral and virtue, as well as being driven for the wrong reasons in his battles.
Kayin and Ten Count
- Bounty Hunter vs Professional Killer
- Dark Is Not Evil vs Light Is Not Good
- Upbringing Makes the Hero / Misery Builds Character vs Wicked Cultured / Evil Feels Good
- Micheal Jackson : Beat It vs Smooth Criminal
- Byronic Hero vs Faux Affably Evil
- Personality – While cool and collected, is also full of turmoil and emotional depth, from guilt and a desire to seek a peaceful life from a bloody and chaotic past.
- Background – A bounty hunter who works in the underworld to seek the truth behind his family's affairs, but whose experience has done nothing but bring his life guilt and misery, and even onto the lives of others, including his foster daughter, Naru. Has tragically repeated the past as his foster father did onto his own father.
- Attack Themes – Attacks are named with coolness like Sonic Slash, to things of nature related to the sky , like Rainbow Splash, and Rising Sun, and to that of punishment and gloom, like Terror Comet and Hell's Inferno. Soul Bomb is dark in theme, making the use of a gloomy purple energy, signifying a weathered outlook on life.
- Character Themes – His correctly translated name would have been Cain, alluding to Cain's sin of killing his own brother, and to his theme of tragic murder and grief brought about assassination. In comparison with Ten Count's Micheal Jackson theme, Kayin bears a red jacket, somewhat hinting to another one of MJ's popular songs, “Beat It”, alluding to Kayin's belief that fighting only brings about grief.
- Ten Count
- Personality – Suave, cool, collected, but hides an extremely cruel and bloodthirsty side. Wicked cultured, and sees his hitman career as a sort of enjoyment and celebrity job, playing with his victims before he kills them, and has absolutely no regrets towards his actions, even reveling in his reputation with delight.
- Background – A long time hitman for the Organization, notorious for his namesake method, the “Ten Count”, counting down before he chases down his victims and kills them. Likely has a connection to Amoh, as he was once an assassin for the Organization and wielded a sword.
- Attack Themes - Many refer to the moon and an illuminated night sky, along with themes of illumination and flash by itself. Super and Desperation attacks also bear the prefix Lunatic, also keeping in theme with his moon attacks and to the emotional and temperamental associations, but to more of a psychotic and twisted nature. Soul Bomb makes use of bright luminous and eye catching energy, signifying his blissfully ignorant outlook on life. While also making use of kick attacks like Kayin, his bear more resemblance to dancing.
- Character Themes – The idea of a spoiled and utterly undisciplined assassin, driven into his vileness with such a gleeful outlook and without regret or consequence. Costume is also a shout out to the song “Smooth Criminal” by Micheal Jackson, fitting his character themes to the song's namesake and also clashing with the song “Beat It”.
- Both of them are bounty hunters and hitmen, working in the underworld for their own goals and desires. From this, they both share a theme of experience and outlook; where Kayin's life has been nothing but hell and a vicious cycle to both he and his foster daughter in the underworld, Ten Count revels in his wet work and vicious career, going as far as naming himself as his favorite method to hunt down and kill his targets.
- Kayin, while working in the underworld, does so to uncover the truths behind him and his family's affairs, while Ten Count has done so for the hell of it, without any conscience and for the pure fun of it, treating it all the while like play and stardom.
- Both of them also hold something of an elemental theme in their Soul Bombs; Kayin's Soul Bombs are a ghastly purple, where Ten Count's are flashy and highly luminous, alluding even more to their own character themes.
- Their outfits seem to hint at the famous pop singer Micheal Jackson's most popular songs, Bad and Beat It, with Kayin wearing a red leather jacket, being a "bad boy" and has experience of why not to work in the underworld, and Smooth Criminal, with Ten Count wearing a white suit and fedora, living off of a criminal career akin to stalking and mass murdering, and his starring movie Moonwalker, where Kayin is the one protecting his beloved daughter from the criminals of the story, in this case being Ten Count and the Organization.
Sofia and Zola
- Casual Kink / Dominatrix : Bondage and Discipline - Proper Lady / Ojou vs Dominance and Sadism - Evil Is Sexy / The Baroness
- Beauty Equals Goodness vs Beauty Is Bad
- Break the Haughty vs Inferiority Superiority Complex
- Silk Hiding Steel vs Femme Fatale
- True Beauty Is on the Inside vs Narcissist
- Batman: Private Detective vs Professional Criminal
- Personality – A Russian Ojou-like noblewoman, but also with humanity and self carrying heartfeltness. Greatly enjoys the company of humble and modest people, as hubris and overtly proud people are what she despises and dislikes entirely. While beautiful, has a deep philosophy and belief on beauty, that you must take care of it and is a great responsibility.
- Background – A private investigator with amnesia regarding the KGB and the Secret Society, Sofia has made her way to the Toshinden countless times to uncover her past, but without no avail or success. While she is enemies with Zola, she does not remember this.
- Attack Themes - Many bear a deep, nature related, and inner and outer beauty invoking theme about them, from Aurora Revolution, Thunder Ring, and some also bear a theme of love and romance, from Love Lover to Call Me Queen. Very modest invoking, yet also truthful and beautiful by themselves, while indicating a sort of refined taste.
- Character Themes – While scantily clad and wielding a whip, she is not signified to be whorish, and appears to resemble more of an Upper Class Callgirl to aid with her investigation activities; while admitted to be a sort of bondage character, she likely represents Bondage and Discipline in the acronym BDSM, as hinted by her dislike for self absorbed and overly proud people; this is further hinted to her attack Call Me Queen, to instill a sort of humility and modesty into her clients. She also appears to have great skill in rhythmic gymnastics and dancing, with her aptitude shown in her attacks, and is said to be highly skilled in piano, having been taught in Chopin's pieces.
- Personality – While appearing to be graceful and beautiful on the outside, Zola is really spiteful and a real femme fatale in her double life as an assassin for the Organization. Was once in a relationship with Amoh, Kayin's foster father, but was ultimately in an unrequited relationship, leaving her bitter. Her love of cats appear to pour into her personality and behavior, even mimicking feline actions.
- Background - A famous opera singer by day, Zola becomes an infamous assassin in the darkness of the criminal underworld and the Organization, alluring her victims before she slays them. Having a past with Sofia, and realizing that she is also needed for the ritual, Zola takes on the task of hunting her.
- Attack Themes – Zola makes use of attacks with flaunting and showy themes, from Flash Prelude and Golden Ballerina, indicating a vain personality. Her Hidden, Super and Desperation Attacks, all have common themes of negative emotions related to romance, from Jealously Symphony and Hatred Waltz.
- Character Themes – Zola's themes all appear to be lifted from Catwoman of Batman, but what helps stand her out is her other traits about her, rather than being a copycat of her basis. Her rivalry towards Sofia also is similar, as Sofia herself is a private investigator like the Dark Knight. Like Sofia, she also appears to have a theme focus related to bondage, but that being Dominance and Sadism of the BSDM acronym, unleashing her bitterness and hatred- And even going too far with her spiteful indulgences.
- Both of them are hinted to have a rivalry that has long since followed from the past, one which Zola knows about, but in turn Sofia doesn't.
- Both of them have careers that are something of professional fields, with Sofia being a private investigator, and Zola being a opera singer and assassin, and are also highly talented and have a thing for musical appreciation, with Sofia on piano and Zola at opera singing.
- Their themes are of something on beauty and degrees of modesty; Sofia's profile states that one of her most disliked things in the world are those who are too proud for their own good, and her attacks both hint at a love for natural, modest beauty and her enjoyment of skimpily clad fashions and whip to instill a sort of humility and love in others, ie Call Me Queen, Aurora Revolution, where Zola's attacks hint to flashy and exhibitionist, and even dark, malicious uses for her S&M style, ie Golden Ballerina, Jealousy Rondo.
Rungo and Adam
- Nature Hero vs Killer Robot
- Man Versus Machine
- The Power of Love vs What Is This Thing You Call Love?
- Personality – Caring, has a big heart, and stern, a family man. When pushed, Rungo will push back, and if threatened, he will not hold back.'
- Background – Once an innocent miner, uncovering a vein of uranium excavated by the Secret Society got him into the mess of the Toshinden, with his family kidnapped and under threat from the elusive criminal group. Now under fire from the Organization, Rungo fights now not only for his family, but his friends and fellow fighters also hunted by the evil group.
- Attack Themes – Rungo's attacks often make use of qi waves and enormous feats with his physic and strength. In Japanese, his attacks often began with the prefix “Great/Mother Earth”, and mentioned the action performed thereafter.
- Character Themes – Rungo, while basic in his background, resonates heavily as a sort of everyday hardworking man, though extraordinary in his own right. Loving comic books, catching up on professional sports, and weightlifting, Rungo is something of an ideal everyday man. Outside of the ring, Rungo loves nature, and while also accepting towards technology, he does not tolerate pollution of any sort- The city is the last place you would find him at.
- Personality – While not having any expressible emotion, he is longing and has desire, most of all towards the goal of finally having a human body. However, he is also something naïve and doesn't not have full understanding of abstract and social concepts regarding humans, something that ultimately directs him to be guided to perform heinous acts.
- Background – A robot from an unknown manufacturer, Adam was built specifically for the designs and goals of the Organization as a killing machine. However, he met a human woman on a mission, and soon discovered that he fell in love. Asking his masters to give him a human body, Adam would be granted so, but only if he were to kill and hunt those his masters desired for their plans.
- Attacks – Adam, built as a killing machine, and armed with a large laser Gatling cannon, has attacks ending with the word “System”, which refers to him utilizing his various functions of his body and workings to execute his attacks. He uses many attacks possible with machines: tank treads, firing rockets, perpetual and continuous joint movement, and even hidden body cannons. One notable attack however, his Super, Sword of the Id, likely refers to that he does likely have a consciousness and sentient cognitive mind.
- Character Themes – Adam is the series' second appearance of a robotic character, but has heavier roots in his robotic and mechanical nature than either Replicant and Bang Boo. His name likely refers to him being the “first” of his kind, a full fledged, self aware and autonomous android in the Toshinden World. While a robot, his desire to have an organic, human body, shows that he may be more than he appears, and themes similar to this are often rooted in the genres of sci fi regarding existential topics of robotics, human relations, and transhumanism.
- Both are heavyset fighters, and clash amongst a theme of heart, Nature Versus Technology, and Man Versus Machine.
- Rungo is a miner, who enjoys weightlifting, is a nature man who is environmentally conscious and dislikes pollution, and has a loving family of his own he fights for to protect them from the evils of the world, while Adam is a robot, used as a killing machine, who fights to be a human upon discovering the emotion of love, despite his methods of getting there, and likely sees Rungo as the ideal human he wishes to become.
- Their attacks and Soul Bombs are also significant of their clashing themes. Rungo's attacks in Japanese were actually majorly named with the prefix "Great/Mother Earth", involving him using his qi and fighting spirit in his attacks and his Soul Bomb has him slamming forth a mountain, with Adam's attacks often end with the noun "System", with him using his mechanical components to attack, from gliding on his tank treads and firing off his chest core's energy, with his Soul Bomb slamming forth a tank.
- Duke and Balga: Both are of blood descended from those most notable and influential in the history of Europe, with Duke hailing from France, and Balga hailing from Norway.
- Despite fictional clans and and families, European history states that the remnants and descendants of Norse invaders fought over sovereignty since the eve of the Viking Age on the soil of Normandy and Western France, being granted territory, while culturally assimilated into the hold of Christian monarchy and knighthood to subdue them under soft power and negotiation. Amongst Balga's backstory, he is likely a descendant of Norman dukedom who are still committed to their Norse invader roots, despite his use of knight-like swordsmanship and martial arts, and his family is likely highly committed to the destruction of the Rambert family due to many of the battles and political intrigue on the soil of Francia, against them on the battlefield from attempts to hold reign in said realm for centuries.
- Through this, both hold themes of honor and reflection; where Duke's family has maintained the peace and stability of his beloved home of France, defending its shores and watching its people with an ever vigilant and caring eye, his heritage and their outlook motivates him to fight with honorable chivalry and courtly gentlemanly behavior, where Balga desires the goals of his own family, unable to swallow centuries of defeat with humility and honor, instead tenaciously desiring to do anything in their power to defeat and outright obliterate their opposition any means necessary, showcased in his fighting manners, using dishonorable attacks like kicks, has attacks indicating a sort of crazed and bloodlust like mentality, ie Nightmare Splash, Killing Sword, Genocide Crusher, and whose said family is hinted to have also been in league with the Organization centuries ago since.
- Tracy and Rachael: Both are long lost sisters, with a career related to martial and national defense careers, with Tracy being a cop and Rachael hinted to be a mercenary.
- They hold a theme of upbringing; where Tracy was raised right, cared for and grew up to be a police officer despite her wild ways, using her talents for the safety of society, Rachael was abandoned and neglected, forced to wander orphanages and grew up to be one who would do anything, right or wrong, for a living.
- Their energy elemental themes in their attacks are symbolic of their own emotional temperament; Tracy has an electricity theme and something of a night theme, representative of her potential excitability and love for excitement and fighting, yet can be controlled when unnecessary, and shows she can be humanistic and calm outside of battle, where Rachael has an atomic, nuclear theme and something of a sun theme, representative of her own anger, emotional instability, and explosive temperament, unable to stop her dark past from fueling her need and desire to fight and controlling her life.
- These energy themes are also something hinting at the history and reputation of the two most important modern energies of today's world, being the stable, highly invested, and potentially adaptable force of electricity, being Tracy's theme, against nuclear power, themed with Rachael, whose potential has been seen only in a bad light, with the stigma of destructive and disastrous capabilities, and requires more care and understanding in to properly guide and harness. These themes also hint at both of the professions of the sisters, with Tracy being a law abiding cop, where electricity can be used to subdue perpetrators, or electrocute them should they go too far, with Rachael being a mercenary for hire, her nuclear theme alluding to weapons and indiscriminate destructive power needed in her field of expertise.
- Mondo and Toujin: Both are assassins from Japan, with Mondo being part of a secretive ninja clan and Toujin being a lone known assassin.
- They clash amongst a theme of motivation and fighting for their loved ones; where Mondo is stated to have a wife, and is in participation to avenge the attack on his home and slain clan, Toujin solely fights for the sake of his dying and terminally ill wife in the leagues of the Organization, in hopes to find the secret of eternal youth and life.
- They also have something of a clash between themes in Japan's ninja and warrior world of the supernatural; Mondo's attacks and Soul Bomb give hints to his clan's abilities making the use of esoteric Buddhism, where in Japan, its introduction was considered something akin to magic, made use of like spells amongst the aristocracy and made its way into ninja clans for its teachings, mystical history, and deities to worship involving stealth and fortitude, where Toujin's attacks refer to Japan's own mythologies and supernatural creatures, most notably tengu and oni, where many of Japan's own legendary warriors like Kintaro were taught and trained under their tutelage, such as the legendary tengu Sojobu; in addition, Toujin has a long nose much like a tengu's.
- From this, there also appears to be a theme of sufficiency; Where Mondo relies on secret methods of his family's traditions, born from man and handed down from generations in his warrior clan, Toujin appears to rely entirely on the secrets and methods of others, even of the occult and the supernatural, and will do anything to get his hands on it, and as long as it gives him the answer he is looking for. While Toujin does not appear to be a villainous character, it appears that his ways have lead him down the wrong path, even into the employ of the vile Organization.
- David and Judgement: Both are childhood friends who have come from the same orphanage. They share a theme of temptation; where David declined his fate to be the vessel of Agon Teos, as his talents, personality, and abilities proved worthy, Judgement desired power, selling both his soul and his humanity in turn.
- While Judgement appears to be based off of Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series, with his unstoppable grab, high resilience to attacks, notable hockey mask, blue jumpsuit and grimy brown alternate outfits, David appears to resemble a teenage Dr. Samuel James Loomis from the Halloween series, wearing a brown longcoat, armed with a gun, and has backstory with the now horrifying monstrosity that is Judgement.
- In addition, David has a theme of fire to his attacks, reminiscent of Halloween II's ending and his own backstory, where Judgement's are more akin to hellish and ghoulish themes.
- Bayhou and Cuiling: Both are successors and inheritors of the fighting style of the late Fo Fai, taught in his assassination martial arts.
- They clash amongst a theme of conscience; Cuiling, although an assassin, finds herself questioning of her own morality and profession, where Bayhou is a curious, yet feral primate, who has perception and a willing to learn, but ultimately does not have such sense of morality, taught only fighting and, though naive of his actions, does not know the consequences of his actions, going as far as hauling around Fo Fai's decapitated head and thinking those of the Organization have come to “play” with him with their “metal sticks”.
- Their fighting styles are quite similar yet different, in which Cuiling's fighting style is an exact replica of Fo Fai's own and that she moves and fights from within an elegant and fluid-like manner while Bayhou's fighting style incorporates some of Fo Fai's moves and techniques and that he fights from within a rougher and wild-like manner.
- Chaos and Schultz: Both have histories as members of criminal organizations, but as Chaos remains a part of the Secret Society no longer and has moved on, free from their brainwashing and is revealed to be a pleasant guy, Schultz is still a member of the Organization, dedicated to their goals and still active in their criminal acts.
- Both have a theme of horror and disgust, and root of vileness; where Chaos manipulates his bodily functions with the Genbu Shield, is capable of walking around like a spider on all fours, and is constantly loud and excited, he is crazy and vile merely on him being insane from been experimented on and capable of grotesque and disgusting feats, where Schultz is vile on the account he is the head of the Organization's own blood sacrifice and magic rituals, practicing them without remorse or pity for the children and victims he slays for them, for the sake of the Organization's own goal of reviving an ancient dark god of fighting, which he perceives is good and righteous in contrary to public belief. In addition, Schultz has a hidden outfit featuring him as a jester-like clown, which adds more to his horrifying nature.
- Nagisa and Vermillion: While Vermillion should be the counterpart for Eiji, he and Nagisa are truly paired for their theme of ethics and sides of the law; where Nagisa is a strict law enforcing cop, Vermillion is a wild outlaw.
- Both of their arsenals and play styles are significant in their themes; where Nagisa is limited to a handgun and telescopic baton, but is extremely straightforward, capable of firing barrages and allowed to reload completely, Vermillion has access to a variety of weapons, from his sawed off shotgun and revolver, to even wire tasers and flasks of sulfuric acid, but requiring underhand tactics and lots of strategy, only allowed to reload one bullet at a time to due the mechanics of his firearms, yet also featured with one of the most cheapest attacks in the game.