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Characters / Mortal Kombat – Raiden

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Mortal Kombat Main Character Index
Main series: MK (1992) | MK2 | MK3 | MK4 | Deadly Alliance | Deception | Armageddon | MK vs. DC Universe | MK9 | MKX | MK11 | MK1
Spinoffs: Mythologies: Sub-Zero | Special Forces
Non-video game: The Movie | Conquest | Defenders of the Realm | 2021 Movie
Individual Characters: Scorpion | Sub-Zero I/Noob Saibot | Johnny Cage | Liu Kang | Raiden | Shang Tsung | Sub-Zero II | Kitana | Mileena | Shao Kahn | Shinnok and Quan Chi | Kotal Kahn | Kronika

Spoilers for Mythologies will be unmarked

"You face the TRUE god of thunder."

Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Carlos Pesina)
Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat Trilogy (Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat 4 (Michael Garvey/Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (Allan Stagg/Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat: Deception (Herman Sanchez), Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (Michael Garvey), Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, (Richard Epcar), Mortal Kombat 9 (Richard Epcar), Mortal Kombat X (Richard Epcar, English; Gerardo Reyero, Latin American Spanish), Injustice 2 (Richard Epcar, English; Santos Alberto, Latin American Spanish), Mortal Kombat 11 (Richard Epcar, English; Todd Dakins, Face Model; Christopher Lambert, English (Voice and Face Model, Klassic MK Movie Skin Pack DLC); Gerardo Reyero, Latin American Spanish), Mortal Kombat: Onslaught (Travis Willingham); Mortal Kombat 1 (Vincent Rodriguez III (Mortal Raiden) and Travis Willingham (Thunder God Raiden), English; Armando Guerrero (Mortal Raiden) and Gerardo Reyero (Thunder God Raiden), Latin American Spanish))
Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Christopher Lambert), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (James Remar), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Jeffrey Meek), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Clancy Brown), Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Ryan Robbins), Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge (Dave B. Mitchell), Mortal Kombat (2021) (Tadanobu Asano), Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms (Dave B. Mitchell)

Raiden (pronounced "RAY-den") is the eternal God of Thunder and former protector of Earthrealm. Being a god, he possesses many supernatural abilities and an outlook on life radically different from that of mere mortals.

When Earthrealm was young, Raiden was its protector. With the aid of the Elder Gods, Raiden managed to defeat Shinnok, a rogue Elder God who wished to rule it, and managed to banish him in the Netherealm. Some time later, Shang Tsung invited Raiden to participate in Mortal Kombat. Aware of the threat posed by this tournament to the future of Earthrealm, Raiden took human form to compete. One year later, the Thunder God found that he had no choice but to accept Shang Tsung's offer of Mortal Kombat in Outworld. When Shao Kahn reached the Earthrealm by merging it with the Outworld, Raiden was able to protect the souls of his Choosen Warriors, but couldn't join the fight himself. Following Liu Kang's defeat of Shao Kahn, Raiden and his warriors again entered battle when Shinnok escaped the Netherealm to once more wage war against the Gods; when the Forces of Light emerged successful, he was granted the status of Elder God and turned over his position as Earthrealm's protector to Fujin.

As an Elder God, Raiden could not interfere when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi killed Liu Kang many years later. Disgusted at his peers for their refusal to intervene, he renounced his position as an Elder, gathering his warriors to stop the Deadly Alliance. This time, disaster struck the heroes. Raiden confronted the two sorcerers in front of the Soulnado chamber, but was defeated by the Alliance as Onaga, the Dragon King, entered the scene. In a desperate measure, Raiden released his godly essence, the effect of which was a single, massive explosion that apparently killed him but did not harm Onaga. While Raiden's essence soon gathered again in the Earthrealm, since his essence was corrupted because of Onaga, he had now became furious with the way Earthrealm's inhabitants had treated their own realm. He started by punishing Shujinko for his unwilling role in the Dragon King's return. His doings in Deception caught the attention of the Forces of Light; Raiden joined their ranks during the Battle of Armageddon in an attempt to secretly uncover and prevent any plans that could harm Earthrealm.

Raiden is the linchpin of the entire plot of Mortal Kombat 9. Having received visions of his future self's death at the hands of the Outworld emperor, he believes it is his duty to avert the terrible fate that awaits the realms at the end of the timeline. However the visions are unclear and do not specifically indicate what must be changed, leaving Raiden to interpret them of his own... However, Raiden does not realize the meaning of his visions until it is too late, and by then, most of Earthrealm's defenders are killed off (save for himself, Sonya and Johnny Cage). Things do not get better in Mortal Kombat X as Shinnok mounts an invasion, hoping to corrupt the Jinsei, Earthrealm's life force. Raiden manages to save Earthrealm by purifying the Jinsei, but the process corrupts him. He is now in his Dark Raiden persona, where he vows to go on the offensive to protect Earthrealm from external threats after presenting Shinnok's head to the new rulers of the Netherrealm, Liu Kang and Kitana.

Meanwhile, another Raiden is tasked by the Elder Gods to avert a Temporal Armageddon in Mortal Kombat 11 and formed an Enemy Mine with Kotal Kahn over Kronika's alliance with Shao Kahn. As it turns out, this Raiden is from the past, specifically around the time the events of II take place during the rebooted timeline. Due to his existential nature as a god, the past Raiden's existence ends up overwriting the existence of the current Dark Raiden, thus erasing him completely. Raiden learns that he has run afoul of Kronika, the mother of Shinnok and Titan of Time. By rendering Shinnok incapacitated, Raiden had permanently undone Kronika's intended balance of the realms, and she now seeks to not only reset the timeline, but also erase him out of existence forever. Learning that she has been purposefully manipulating Liu Kang against him for countless other timelines, he ends up making an unexpected decision when confronted with Liu Kang's Revenant: he sacrifices his divine essence to purify the corruption within Liu Kang, turning him into a god.

Following Kronika's defeat, a now-mortal Raiden briefly advises Liu Kang to create a new timeline as the new Keeper of Time. Before they can begin, however, Shang Tsung suddenly appears through a portal and tells them that without Kronika's crown, history cannot be changed and their attempt would result in a potential Time Crash. Raiden ends up once again forced to repeat the events that had just transpired, but now with Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, and his brother Fujin's intervention in order to retrieve Kronika's crown. Unfortunately, his suspicions about Shang Tsung are eventually proven correct when it's revealed his true plan is a coup d'etat to take the crown for himself and become the new Titan of Time in Kronika's stead. By the time he realizes this, however, it is too late. Shang Tsung takes control of the crown and drains him of most of his soul, placing the thunder god in a near-death state. Depending on the ending chosen, he either ends up reset alongside the timeline or enslaved by Shang Tsung, becoming Dark Raiden once more.

In the New Era created by Fire God Liu Kang, Raiden is now a mortal living in the village of Fengjian alongside a new incarnation of Kung Lao. Designated as a new Champion of Earthrealm by Liu Kang, Raiden is now being trained in the ways of kombat. For tropes about him, check here.

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  • The Ace: He's the Protector-God of Earthrealm, but the events of MK9 and MKX have transformed him into a Broken Ace. It's implied he's lost all faith he had in the Elder Gods after MKX.
  • Accidental Murder: During the finale of 9, when Liu Kang tries to attack him with an Elemental Punch of fire, Raiden defends himself with a blast of lightning, and the combination of Liu Kang's fire and the lightning burn Liu Kang to death, much to Raiden's horror.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge, he thinks this of Johnny Cage's assumptions that the Mortal Kombat tournament is actually a movie set.
    Liu Kang: He has no idea what he is doing. Should we tell him?
    Raiden: His journey is one of discovery. Besides, I find it amusing.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Raiden is more human in appearance than the Oni-like fat, ugly Raijin of Japanese mythology he's based on.
  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: His iconic hat has been present in all of his outfits.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: His unlockable second costume in 9 is Raiden (post-Deadly Alliance as Dark Raiden).
  • Ascended Meme: "I must consult with the Elder Gods"
  • Badass Cape: Raiden is depicted with a grand-looking cape in Deadly Alliance and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
  • Baritone of Strength: Raiden is often depicted as having a deep, commanding voice befitting a powerful god who commands thunder and lighting.
  • Battle Aura: In the first game, 4, and Deadly Alliance, his body constantly generates lightning bolts.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening Fujin is going to end with Raiden using his staff to turn you into a lightning rod. Don't you agree, Frost?
  • Big Brother Instinct: He cares about his younger brother Fujin dearly.
  • Big Good: He is one of the only gods who actively help the Earthrealm warriors and guides them as their mentor. Made more visible in 9, where he tells the characters to act according to his visions. This doesn't end well, however. In fact, by the time 9 rolls around he could quite easily be read as a deconstruction. God or not, Raiden is exactly as fallible as every other character on the roster, and it costs Earthrealm dearly.
  • Blood Knight: His ending in the first game has him challenging other gods to Mortal Kombat because the other contestants don't provide enough of a challenge.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Since MKII, the predominant colour scheme of his main costumes is blue and white. Aptly, his MK1 self was more of an Anti-Hero and lacked any blue highlights to his costume. His Dark Raiden persona inverts his colour scheme to Red and Black and Evil All Over.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: He's a god with power over lightning,
  • Brought Down to Badass: Even if he was in the Netherrealm in 9, he still managed to hold off against Quan Chi's revenants.
  • Brought Down to Normal: He gives Revenant Liu Kang his powers, which causes a Fusion Dance between him and both Liu Kangs, turning him into a Thunder and Fire God. After Kronika is defeated in both Good and Normal endings, Raiden becomes mortal, and decides to guide Liu Kang into building a better timeline.
  • Brain Bleach: Offers an in-universe version in his combat intro in 11.
    Raiden: Do you remember being a revenant?
    Sub-Zero: I recall being Quan Chi's slave.
    Raiden: Let us purge that memory.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: A side-effect of using the Kamidogu to track the source of it's corruption. The possession happened twice: the first time, he fought Scorpion only to get nearly strangled by his chained kunai. The second time, he relapsed, impaled Fujin to a wall and used his thunder powers to shock everyone on Shang Tsung's island under Havik's orders.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to him in both timelines. The rebooted timeline shows how his vain attempts to avert Armageddon ultimately led to a lengthy Trauma Conga Line that not only drove him past the Despair Event Horizon, but culminated in his Face–Heel Turn at the end of Mortal Kombat X after his Heroic Sacrifice. It seems that save for a few changes in the timeline, most of the goings-on in the new timeline hasn't changed much - the more things change in this new timeline, the more they seem to stay the same - indicating that Armageddon might trigger in a different way.
  • Breakout Character: Originally a random Jerkass God in the first game, Raiden’s distinct look and abilities made him popular with players, resulting in him being promoted to the Big Good of the series and eventually one of the most important to the story in the wake of the live action film’s portrayal of him as the Mentor Archetype for the heroes.
  • Broken Ace:
  • Broken Pedestal:
  • Butterfly of Doom: In 9, his attempts to change the future end up with very drastic consequences:
    • He saves Smoke from being captured and cyberized by the Lin Kuei, which leads to the Lin Kuei capturing and cyberizing the second Sub-Zero instead, as well as the Lin Kuei swearing loyalty to Shao Kahn.
    • Then, he encourages Kung Lao to fight Kintaro instead of Liu Kang. Immediately after Kung Lao wins, Shao Kahn snaps his neck from behind, killing him.
    • Finally, he rams Motaro through a bridge to stop him from killing Johnny Cage, killing him. At this point, Shao Kahn stops fooling around and sacrifices Shang Tsung to empower Sindel, who kills nearly all of Raiden's warriors.
  • The Cameo:
    • He appears as an unlockable character in Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict (with Shao Kahn serving as the announcer), NFL Blitz, and NBA Jam: Tournament Edition (alongside Shinnok), as well as making a bonus round cameo in a pinball machine, Bally's 1994 World Cup Championship.
    • In the series proper, the Thunder God version of Raiden appears at the beginning of Chapter 14 of 1 as one of Fire God Liu Kang's allies.
  • Character Development: As the focal character for most games set in the rebooted timeline, Raiden gets arguably the most nuanced development out of all the classic characters. His outward demeanour as a wise, benevolent and invincible god is undermined by his critical moments of indecisiveness, intense regret over his failure to protect his allies, and his growing cynicism and resentment towards the Elder Gods whom he once obeyed unquestioningly. This proves that, beneath the surface, he is as flawed as any mortal. While he struggles with his faith, his staunch determination to find "he who must win" and prevent Armageddon is what allows him to save the world, albeit at great personal cost.
    • Though it is primarily caused by merging with the Jinsei, his eventual Face–Heel Turn transformation into Dark Raiden is more of a natural progression of his worsening mental state. His transformation is similarly justified in the original timeline, where he also loses all of his allies to the Deadly Alliance and pointlessly sacrifices himself in a vain last-ditch attempt to kill Onaga, resulting in his reincarnation into a darker persona.
  • Characterization Marches On: Raiden’s ending in the original game portrayed him as an arrogant God who came to replace Mortal Kombat with a tournament for gods that will destroy the world with its scope. The rest of the franchise seems to have treated this as Canon Discontinuity.
  • The Chooser of the One: Later games reveal that the title of "Chosen One" which defines Earthrealm's champion is entirely up to Raiden's definition, and that no other god or realm needs to behold to it or even agree with it. In fact, some openly mock or question Raiden's judgment... until Liu Kang proves why he is deserving of such a distinction.
  • Complete Immortality: Raiden has lived for millions of years. At the end of Deadly Alliance to try and stop Onaga he self-destructed by releasing his godly essence only to reform later as a darker version of himself. Similarly, at the end of Mortal Kombat X, he releases his essence to purify the Jinsei, but it corrupts him, turning him into Dark Raiden once again.
  • The Cynic:
    • He becomes this in the original timeline, where he's dismayed at his fellow Elder Gods for their decision to stay firm on their decision not to interfere. Disgusted at his peers for not stepping in, Raiden relinquishes his Elder God status and returns to Earthrealm to gather support against the coming storm, and informs his allies of the impending threat of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in Deadly Alliance.
    • In the new timeline, he becomes increasingly cynical about the Elder Gods' refusal to intervene on behalf of Earthrealm against Shao Kahn's invasion in 9. This, along with Liu Kang's and Kung Lao's deaths, ultimately push him into the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The deaths of Liu Kang and Kung Lao, along with the Elder Gods' refusal to intervene on behalf of Earthrealm in 9 have made him increasingly cynical.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Mostly in the movies such as the first one, but it pops from time to time in the games.
    • He is also portrayed this way in the Conquest live action series and the Defenders of the Realm animated series.
    • Raiden does this quite a bit more in pre-fight banter in Mortal Kombat X, especially if he's facing a comedic character.
  • Deal with the Devil: One that would cost everyone dearly, if Quan Chi hadn't already received the same offer from Shao Kahn. With few options left, Raiden reluctantly heads to the Netherrealm to bargain with Quan Chi, giving over the souls of all the Earthrealm defenders killed during the war against Outworld, including himself if he dies, in exchange for help.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Seems to have crossed this in Mortal Kombat X. The deaths of Liu Kang and Kung Lao, along with the Elder Gods' refusal to intervene on behalf of Earthrealm in 9 have made him increasingly cynical.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In MK9, Raiden has visions of future events As seen by his past/future self. Trying to take advantage or ignore these visions causes much of the strife of the game's story mode. Raiden either still contemplates or is still receiving visions in MKX, which causes him to send Cassie Cage to kill Shujinko before he can release Onaga and start the path to Armageddon.
  • Drop the Hammer: Raiden had a War Hammer in MK4, before it was placed on the top of the Sky Temple.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the middle of a Book Ends moment in 9, he's re-empowered by the Elder Gods, and he manages to put the Big Bad in his place. Sadly, this doesn't do anything gameplay-wise, aside from making his voice distorted.
  • Enemy Mine: In the intro for Deception, he briefly joins Shang Tsung and Quan Chi when attempting to stop the Dragon King. He considered doing it again with Quan Chi in 9, to save Earthrealm from Shao Kahn's invasion... but Quan Chi had already allied himself with Shao Kahn.
  • Energy Ball: His signature projectile attack sends a bolt of lightning flying at his opponent.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • During the climax of 9, he points out to Quan Chi that Shao Kahn can only merge the realms through victory in a Mortal Kombat tournament; otherwise, he will face the judgment of the Elder Gods. As soon as he says this, Raiden realizes that the message "He must win" actually refers to Shao Kahn himself; as his invasion of Earthrealm is considered an unlawful breach of the rules of Mortal Kombat, Shao Kahn must be allowed to merge Earthrealm with Outworld so the Elder Gods can punish him.
    • In 11, during a dispute with Past!Liu Kang that nearly comes to blows and him nearly going on the path his future self took, he realizes this feels very familiar and notes the two fighting each other has happened before. Not just in this and the original timeline, but countless timelines before. He then reaches the conclusion that Kronika has been dictating their actions and actually pitting Liu Kang and him against each other so they won't unite to stop her plan. After which, he quickly regains his senses and reconciles with Past!Liu Kang, preventing another tragedy and his corruption.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: The motif behind his alt. in Deadly Alliance (which would be passed on to his darker persona in Deception). Among other things, his pants are replaced by hakama and a katana is fashioned to his waist. The costume also reveals Raiden to have long hair (it's somewhat noticeable in his default costume, but you have to squint).
  • Failure Hero: He becomes this in Mortal Kombat 9. His actions to change the future only makes things worse, he slowly loses the trust of Liu Kang, gets many heroes killed through his indirect actions to change the past and only barely wins the battle because the Elder Gods arrive to help him at the last moment.
  • Fallen Hero: Liu Kang sees him as this in 9. He actually becomes it at the end of X.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: He started out with great faith in the Elder Gods in both timelines, only to lose it because of their inaction.
  • Fatal Flaw: His biggest weakness is that he tends to deal in half-measures. He had many opportunities in MK9 to swing the momentum over to Earthrealm's side, whether it's his bargaining with Scorpion, him advising Cyrax to go against the Lin Kuei, doing nothing while Sub-Zero is taken or only telling Liu Kang to defeat Shao Kahn instead of finishing him, but his moves were sort of wishy-washy. In contrast, Shao Kahn is far more decisive, snaps Kung Lao's neck, unleashes a hyper-powered Sindel on Earth's special forces as soon as things become troublesome and unleashes armies on Earthrealm to aggressively push for a total victory. Moreover, his future self's warning was too vague and laconic to be useful, which further influences his past self's indecisiveness.
    • His blind faith in the Elder Gods is portrayed in both a positive and negative light. On the one hand, his faith usually pays off in the end. On the other, the Elder Gods are blatant Jerkass Gods who prioritise arbitrary, convoluted rules and regulations over the safety of mortal lives, so Raiden's dedication to them alienates his mortal allies, namely Liu Kang.
    • His arrogance. He takes great pride in being Earthrealm’s protector. While he isn’t overly boastful, he often proclaims his status as god of thunder. And unlike his brother Fujin, he doesn’t believe partaking in mortal activities or fraternizing with them casually. Whether it be due to his strict adherence to his role or because of his status as a god.
  • The Fettered: In contrast to his less-restrained persona, Raiden is respectful of other realms, possibly to a fault. He believes that the only real way to deal with other realms is to stay out of their business and tend to Earthrealm's needs only, even if those other realms are demonstrating hostility. Sadly the Elder Gods don't really give him any support in his way of doing business, which either makes him look ineffective or causes him to descend into a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Forced to Watch: Shinnok forces Raiden to watch as he corrupts the Jinsei in X.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Kotal Kahn tells him his future self was corrupted after Shinnok's defeat, and does not take it well at all. The Elder Gods consul with him that he can avert heading a dark path to prevent this from happening.
  • God Is Displeased: He is the Guardian of the Earthrealm, standing against Shao Kahn and other realm menaces and recruiting Earth warriors to fight with him. That, until Mortal Kombat: Deception in which Raiden died at the hands of Onaga. Reviving later with desire of vengeance and seeing Earthlings don't learn from their mistakes, the god goes by himself in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge leaving Earthrealm to its own luck and reviving Liu Kang as a Revenant Zombie for his own goals.
  • God in Human Form: He has an ethereal true form, but takes the appearance of a human to fight and interact on the mortal plane in the series.
  • God Is Flawed: In spite of his godly power, he has some trouble interpreting correctly his visions in 9. It screws up things badly for the heroes' side, leaving only Johnny Cage and Sonya as the survivors among his champions.
  • God of Good: One of the few gods of the series who actively helps the heroes.
  • God of Thunder: Like his Japanese mythological counterpart.
  • God Was My Co-Pilot: He of all people supports Mileena's rule because she is the only just claimant to Outworld's throne, regardless of her leadership capabilities. Although according to multiplayer conversations, her stubbornness is really getting in the way of his efforts to help her. However, Raiden may very well be Playing Both Sides to Earthrealm's advantage, as he only asserts Mileena's legitimacy when facing Kotal. Against Mileena herself, Raiden either refuses to be entangled in the current situation or forgoes neutrality to tell Mileena that her rebellion must end.
  • Godzilla Threshold: He hits it in 9 when the Elder Gods refuse to aid Earthrealm against Shao Kahn's invasion, especially after [[spoiler: Sindel slaughters most of his warriors. This leads him to approach Quan Chi in the Netherrealm, offering the souls of his deceased warriors, and his own, to him in exchange for his aid in fighting the invasion. Sadly, Shao Kahn had already made the same offer to Quan Chi in exchange for the Netherrealm aiding Outworld. He then hits another threshold when he realises that Shao Kahn is "he who must win", so he accepts Outworld's victory, though this gamble actually pays off. Just.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Even at his most benevolent, Raiden has no issue with consigning Geras to the depths of the Sea of Blood, dooming him to be submerged forever. In general, he is more than willing to kill and maim (often brutally, since it is Mortal Kombat) to defend peace.
  • Good Wears White: His outfits are either white or white and blue. He is also the Big Good of the franchise.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Subverted. Many people assumed that he was speaking Japanese during his Torpedo move, but Midway later clarified that Raiden was only screaming random gibberish.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: He gets retroactively deemed as one when we learn that his actions, in every timeline Kronika has created, have continuously thwarted her plans. In a major sense, this places Raiden as the greatest force for good in the overall MK verse, as even the Elder Gods don't have the power to defy Kronika.
  • Guilt Complex:
    • Gets one in 9. He constantly misinterprets the message his future-self sent and doesn't realize what it really meant until the final chapter. By then, his attempts to change the original timeline resulted in terrible repercussions for many characters. He realizes this is all his fault. By MKX, it is shown that he still hasn't recovered from this, and mentions to Bo Rai Cho that he still deeply regrets losing Liu Kang and Kung Lao to Netherrealm's evil, and is desperate to restore the remaining revenants to the side of good. But before he could do anything, Scorpion unwittingly dooms them to stay as revenants by killing Quan Chi, thereby dashing any hopes of Raiden restoring them to the living.
    • In 11, after finding out his future self became corrupted, it becomes clear that events that lead to his second Start of Darkness puts him on edge, and he is terrified at the prospect of accidentally killing Liu Kang. In one ending, he sees it to empower Liu Kang while he is Brought Down to Normal to prevent this from happening.
  • Hammerspace: He usually pulls his staff out of nowhere when he uses it.
  • Healing Hands: In the new timeline, he displays the ability to heal other kombatants' wounds using his lightning powers. He does this to Jax in 9, to Johnny Cage in X and to Scorpion in 11. Cage lampshades it in Aftermath when he calls it the "Thunder Hands massages".
  • The Hero: His role in 9 is ultimately revealed to be this, albeit in a Supporting Protagonist fashion.
  • Heroic BSoD: Seems to have crossed this threshold in 9 with the deaths of most his allies (including Liu Kang, whom he accidentally killed himself), the futility of his actions to prevent Armageddon (including getting called out by Liu Kang), and the Elder Gods turning their backs on him due to technicalities. He was about to strike up an alliance with Quan Chi, for Fujin's sake! He further plunges into this after his Heroic Sacrifice at the end of MKX.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Fujin and Bo' Rai Cho, being his fellow God and serving a Mentor Archetype role for Raiden's champions, respectively.
  • Hot God: He takes the form of a handsome man in blue and white and wearing a hat. In his alternate outfits for Deadly Alliance to Armageddon, he goes shirtless with a great mane of white hair.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • A glaring one in Mortal Kombat 9 has Raiden standing back and doing nothing as Lin Kuei cyber-ninjas attack Sub-Zero and take him away, even going as far as to stop Smoke from helping out. This is despite the fact that, in a nearly identical situation involving Smoke, Raiden didn't hesitate to blast all of the cyber-ninjas with lightning, taking them out and saving Smoke. He stated that if he got involved that it would make the situation worse, but even then that was a flimsy excuse at best... especially considering his attempts to not intervene in the game's events were only making things worse.
    • Another moment in the comics: he uses one of the Kamidogu in an attempt to track down the source of it's corruption. Afterwards, not only can he no longer use the Jinsei to heal himself, but he's now prone to the Blood Code's corruption too, to the point where Havik manipulated him into shocking everyone fighting in Shang Tsung's island, allowing Reiko to abduct Mileena, Ermac, Sonya, Johnny and Kotal Kahn to offer as sacrifices. For someone dedicated to protect Earthrealm, he may be just as prone to endanger it.
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Uses his staff as a makeshift lightning rod in one of his Fatalities in X.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In 11 and Injustice 2, Raiden bears a resemblance to his voice actor, Richard Epcar.
  • In-Series Nickname: In 9, Nightwolf (one of the few spiritually aware Earthrealm dwellers; he's apparently communed with Raiden a few times in the past) occasionally refers to him as Haokah, the spirit of thunder and lightning in Lakota mythology.
  • In Spite of a Nail: He transforms into Dark Raiden following the events of MKX. This time, instead of being corrupted by Onaga's energies, it's the negative essence of Shinnok that Raiden exposed himself to in order to cleanse the Jinsei is what did the thunder god in.
  • Jerkass Gods:
    • At the end of X, he takes a hardline stance in Earthrealm's defense, starting off by beheading Shinnok and threatening the new rulers of the Netherrealm - Liu Kang and Kitana - with a similar fate if they think of invading Earthrealm. The Ladder Mode endings show his new philosophy in action when he swiftly invades Outworld and crushes its weakened army.
    • This was how he was depicted in the first game as a god who had no interest in protecting Earthrealm and simply participated in the tournament to prove his own superiority. His ending in the first game has him invite other gods to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament and the ensuing battles result in the world being destroyed. This characterization has been ignored in following games and other media where he is depicted as the Big Good.
  • Kid Sidekick: Possibly what Kidd Thunder is to him. We're not entirely sure.
  • Large Ham: He occasionally is prone to making dramatic statements with vocal emphasis, especially once Richard Epcar started voicing him. Christopher Lambert's portrayal isn't too far off either.
  • Large and in Charge: Second-heaviest of the kombatants at 350 pounds. Goro has him beat by 200 pounds. He is also 7 feet tall according to canon (although, like most heights in this series, it's not accurately conveyed in most cases).
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Same warning as with Liu Kang. If you plan to play Armageddon, remember that Raiden became Darker and Edgier.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Uses his electric powers to stop Johnny Cage from becoming a revenant, and also to heal his stab wounds in X. His healing powers have also been used on Jax (9) and Scorpion (11).
  • Like a Son to Me: In X, he mournfully expresses this sentiment towards Liu Kang and Kung Lao.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The usual side effect of many of his electric fatalities is to have the opponent violently explode.
  • Magic Staff: In Kai's ending in MK4, Raiden gives him his staff saying it will grant Kai command over lightning and will make him immortal.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Well, Behind the Woman: Seems to be behind Mileena's rule in Mortal Kombat X, because she is the only just claimant to Outworld's throne, regardless of her incompetence. Although according to multiplayer conversations, her stubbornness is really getting in the way of his efforts to help her.
  • Meaningful Name: Raiden is Japanese for "thunder and lightning." It is also an alternate name for Raijin, the Shinto god of thunder, lightning, and storms.
  • Megaton Punch: One of his fatalities is an explosive uppercut that literally blows his enemies into pieces.
  • Mentor: To Liu Kang. Perhaps most evident in the movie, the DC crossover, and 9.
  • Messianic Archetype: MK9 really emphasises Raiden's Christ-like qualities as he endures many painful sacrifices and challenges to his faith in the Elder Gods. While being beaten to death by a newly-empowered Shao Kahn, Raiden cries out to the Elder Gods, asking why they have forsaken him, exactly like Christ on the cross. His faith barely pays off in the end, as the Elder Gods arrive to grant Raiden the power to defeat Shao Kahn and prevent Armageddon, but the costs are so heavy that he finds himself wondering if it was even worth it.
  • Mini-Me: His Friendships from MKII and MK11 have him summoning a miniature version of himself called "Kidd Thunder!"
  • Mr. Fanservice: In his alternate outfits from Deadly Alliance to Armageddon.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After he accidentally fries Liu Kang in self defense in 9.
  • My Greatest Failure: Losing a lot of his fellow Earthrealm defenders, especially Liu Kang and Kung Lao, to the Netherrealm's evil in 9. This takes an emotional toll on him and spirals into a Guilt Complex in X, in which he never recovers from. The death of Liu Kang in particular hangs over him like a shadow as he is the one responsible for it, delivering his soul straight to Quan Chi himself. Not only were his misinterpretations the reason for Liu Kang's loss of faith but he adds the ultimate cherry on top at the end and harshly blames himself for giving Liu Kang genuine reason to embrace his role as a Revenant. Even his intro dialogue with certain characters in Injustice 2 lament what he allowed to happen to Liu Kang.
  • Mystical White Hair: Ever since the first MK movie, Raiden has been depicted as having white hair.
  • Nice Guy: Very much a wise and benevolent God who cares for Earthrealm and innocents outside his jurisdiction. However, both timelines have him undergo events that do a number on him. His past self continues to be well meaning and sincere when he shows up in 11.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: His role in 9 ultimately falls into this. Most of the casualties on the heroes' side can be traced to his doings. He deeply regrets this.
  • One-Man Army: Is able to take on the entirety of the army of fallen heroes that Quan Chi had resurrected to serve him. This is while away from Earthrealm, where Raiden's powers are at their strongest.
  • One Myth To Rule Them All: It's implied that Raiden is supposed to be an amalgamation of various thunder gods from real world mythologies and religions. In addition to being (partly) named after the Japanese thunder god Raijin, he has a rarely used Thunder Hammer which brings to mind the Norse thunder god Thor. In 9, Nightwolf refers to Raiden as Haokah, the Lakota spirit of thunder and lightning.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The normally calm and composed Raiden angrily threatens Shao Kahn that he will "strip the flesh from [his] bones" after seeing Kung Lao having his neck snapped by the Emperor.
  • Out-Gambitted: The ending of 9 shows that Shinnok had been manipulating the events of the story the whole time, and it is strongly implied that he, too, messed with the timeline just as Raiden did (for example, Quan Chi, his servant, was not present in the original events, but features heavily here). So really, Raiden didn't actually make things worse at all, since Future Raiden could not account for the Elder Gods and in retrospect Raiden made barely any significant changes, and his role in the new timeline is actually roughly the same it was in the first.
  • Parental Favoritism: In Annihilation only, which shows Shinnok favoring Shao Kahn over Raiden as his son.
  • Physical God: It's been stated his true form is ethereal, but he has to take a physical form to participate in mortal events.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: His Animality from Trilogy.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: He saves the realms from Shao Kahn and prevents Armageddon, but Earthrealm is left in a ruinous state by the invasion and he loses the vast majority of his allies who lived longer lives in the original timeline. Not only that, most of his chosen warriors become Revenant slaves to Quan Chi.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: In 11, he earns back Liu Kang's faith by the extent he goes to in order to save him and prevent both their falls to darkness.
  • Red Baron: Defender of Earthrealm and the God of Thunder.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Fujin's bio for the Aftermath DLC for 11 reveals that he and Raiden are brothers, something that never came up in the original timeline. In Annihilation, Raiden is Shao Kahn's brother and son of Shinnok.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He calls out the Elder Gods for their inaction in both timelines.
  • Retcon: Raiden's story in the first title was much more self-serving, as he had been invited by Shang Tsung to compete and does so in order to prove mortals are puny when matched with a god. His ending from that game has him overthrow the tournament and turn it into a showcase of the gods (that eventually destroy the world). Later games throw this characterization out the window and instead portray him as a concerned protector who feels he must participate in order to avert disaster (as this happens after the first movie also changed the entire story of the first game).
  • Retroactive Precognition: Just before his death in Armageddon, Raiden sends a cryptic message back in time to his past self, kicking off the events of MK9. This is presumably connected to his ability to exist "outside of time", expanded upon in MK11.
  • Ride the Lightning: Whenever he teleports, there's a bolt of lighting that strikes his position.
  • Senseless Sacrifice:
    • During the intro of Deception, he sacrifices himself and releases his godly essence into a massive explosion in order to kill Onaga, but the Dragon King is unharmed.
    • His final actions at the end of Armageddon, which set up the events of 9, could also be seen as this, since his past self really does make things MUCH worse before they get any better.
    • He does manage to purify the Jinsei and rid it of Shinnok's taint at the end of X, but the process has corrupted him, turning him into Dark Raiden.
  • Shock and Awe: He is the God of Thunder, after all. He controls lightning in many different ways.
  • Shotoclone: Starting in MKX when he got the Rising Thunder as an anti-air. His projectile is the signature lightning bolt and his forward dash is the Electric Fly.
  • Signature Headgear: An iconic feature of the character is his conical rice hat, which sometimes is given a samurai war hat motif in various costumes. In particular, his Master of Storms variation in MKX has him wear a hat that sparkles with lightning and has glowing kanji.
  • Silence, You Fool!: In the first movie. And he's a GOOD guy.
  • Spanner in the Works: MK11 reveals that Raiden has upset Kronika's delicate balance in every single timeline she has ever created, requiring her to restart time and try again. Him beheading Shinnok in MKX becomes the last straw for her, and this time she decides to completely break time and write an entirely new history without Raiden. The problem (for her) is that erasing Raiden would take massive amounts of energy which also takes time to gather.
  • Spell My Name with an S: In the console ports up to 4 and side material such as the movies, TV series and comic books, Raiden is sometimes called Rayden, because of copyright issues as a Shoot 'Em Up was also named Raiden, or possibly to keep from confusing him with Raiden from the Fatal Fury series. Curiously, sketches from Deadly Alliance also use the Rayden spelling.
  • Spock Speak: Being a god, he is always formal in his approach to speech, using large vocabulary and avoiding contractions and slang.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Becomes this during the events of Mortal Kombat 9, with most of the plot revolving around his attempt to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Stance System: In Deadly Alliance he has Nan Chuan and Jujutsu as unarmed styles, and Staff as weapon style.
  • Stealth Pun: One of his Fatalities involves using his staff while electrocuting the opponent. Basically, he's using a lightning rod.
  • Straw Vulcan: He attempts to be this in his MK11 Arcade ending after he obtains the Sands of Time, thinking that pure logic will prevent more devastation throughout the realms. Unfortunately, decisions based on pure logic are just as bad as decisions based on anger and fear, so he travels to the dawn of time and chooses to meditate so he can find a balance between love and logic and bring true peace to the realms.
  • Stripped to the Bone: In one of his DC crossover fatalities, he uses his electric powers to burn off all the opponent's flesh, leaving behind their smoking skeleton.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Mournfully expresses this sentiment in regards to Liu Kang and Kung Lao in the new timeline, considering how they've been turned into killing machines by Quan Chi.
  • Tele-Frag: One of his Brutalities in Mortal Kombat X. The opponent is briefly confused as to where Raiden has gone to, then blow apart messily.
  • Teleport Spam: He's always had a teleport but it becomes the focus of his "Displacer" variation in MKX, which allows him to zip back and forth mid-combo in order to attack his enemy from both sides (he can also do a delayed teleport in this mode, allowing him to phase out briefly then phase back in once his opponent is confused where he'll reappear).
  • Time Abyss: As a god, he's millions of years old if not older.
  • Took A Level In Cynicism: Becomes this in MKX, as he's not only mournfully expressing his sentiments regarding Liu Kang and Kung Lao, but also grows increasingly tired of constantly defending Earthrealm from external threats like Shinnok and Shao Kahn.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Pretty much the events of 9 and X are this for him. The rebooted timeline shows the personal and emotional toll it is taking on him, something which mushrooms and he never recovers from it. Crossing the Despair Event Horizon (losing many of your heroes and friends, being stressed out of dealing with multiple invasions and being unable to restore most of the fallen heroes to the side of good) and carrying a big Guilt Complex (failing to interpret visions, being called on by your protege and accidentally killing him) are indicative of a broken man who has lost perspective.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In 9 he rams Motaro through a bridge to save Cage, killing Motaro. Unfortunately, this action causes Shao Kahn to take off his kiddie gloves and empower Sindel with Shang Tsung's soul (and all of the souls Shang absorbed by proxy), leading to her bloody No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of the heroes and their subsequent resurrection and enslavement at the hands of Quan Chi.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The further from Earthrealm he is, the weaker he grows. His powers are particularly drained in evil realms such as the Netherrealm and Outworld.
  • Your Head A-Splode: His Fatality. And yes, it's related to electricity. A continuous jolt to the neck and KABOOM!

    Dark Raiden
  • Aborted Arc: Various arcade endings in MKX heavily implied that Dark Raiden would become a major player in a future instalment, with plot threads setting up his planned invasion of Outworld and offensive against the Netherrealm. Only the latter gets addressed in MK11, though only in the first chapter, after which Dark Raiden gets unceremoniously removed from the plot entirely.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Raiden appears to be slightly more amicable than his counterpart from the old timeline. For one thing he doesn't resurrect dead warriors and send them to kill Shaolin Monks such as with zombie Liu Kang in Deception and, despite being clearly evil in 11, he's still able to interact with the Special Forces in a reasonable way with no threats or coercion, even attempting to console Cassie when Sonya dies.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite appearing in the reveal trailer and being the character's default appearance, Dark Raiden doesn't make it past the first chapter as Kronika's timequake sees him replaced by his Big Good past self from 9 for the remainder of the story.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: His skin is grayish-white like the revenants, albeit without the Volcanic Veins.
  • Anti-Villain: Applying the Sliding Scale of Anti-Villains, he qualifies as both a Type II (having his hand be forced into being a ruthless protector by invading forces and the incompetence of humans/the Elder Gods) and Type III (protecting Earthrealm is still his priority, but his new methods are similar to those of his enemies).
  • Artifact of Doom: Dons Shinnok's amulet on his pectoral as his Battle Trophy at The Stinger of MKX and wears it into 11.
  • Battle Trophy: He is seen wearing Shinnok's amulet in The Stinger of MKX and wears it as part of his costume in 11.
  • Badass Boast: More like an ultimatum/warning to the new rulers of the Netherrealm, Liu Kang and Kitana:
    Dark Raiden: Time and again, we've defeated our enemies. But we've exacted no retribution. Demanded no remuneration. What have we gained for our mercy? More intrigue. More senseless violence. As the new rulers of the Netherrealm, heed me. No longer will I simply defend Earthrealm. I will seek out and destroy all who threaten it. No mercy will be shown. No quarter given. (brings out and tosses Shinnok's still-living head to the floor) Shinnok was an Elder God. Impossible to kill. There are fates worse than death.
  • Badass Cape: Tattered and torn in Deception, Armageddon, and 9. He drops this in X, though his concept art in Mortal Kombat X shows that he was intended to keep it.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: In his MKX arcade ending, he starts to become more like Shao Kahn after attempting to conquer Outworld. In the same game, Kotal Kahn's ending shows him invoking Mortal Kombat to defend Outworld in response to Raiden's attempted invasion of Outworld; this effectively reverses Raiden's role into becoming what he once fought against.
  • Berserk Button: Threaten Earthrealm, and he will not hesitate to destroy your realm.
  • Black Knight: Has this as an alternate outfit in MK9 and MKX, and as the default costume for Deception and Armageddon.
  • The Bus Came Back: He is absent from Mortal Kombat 9, given that he was essentially erased from history, but it doesn't stick, as Raiden becomes dark again following his purification of the Jinsei at the end of X.
  • Came Back Wrong: A less extreme example than most, but according to Fujin, he should have been resurrected as a blank slate. Instead, he comes back Darker and Edgier. In the new timeline, he is instead corrupted after absorbing Shinnok's evil and purifying the Jinsei at the end of MKX.
  • Character Development: After he Came Back Wrong, Raiden becomes a Knight Templar Jerkass God who uses underhanded and devious methods in defending Earthrealm in both timelines. This is further expanded in his MKX arcade ending, where he goes on the offensive by invading Outworld with brute force, and plans to conquer other realms in order to "protect" Earthrealm.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Does Electric Torture to Shinnok before beheading him in the opening of MK11.
  • Continuity Rebooter: In 9, he sends a message to his past self on the brink of destruction at Shao Kahn's hands, which kickstarts the entire alternate timeline of the series.
  • The Conqueror: Attempts to conquer Outworld by brute force in his MKX arcade ending. Also gives hints of this at the end of X.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Becomes a cynical and jerkass god after he Came Back Wrong in both timelines.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In his MKX arcade ending, he swiftly invades Outworld and crushes its weakened army. Kotal Kahn's ending shows him invoking the Mortal Kombat tournaments in a last-ditch attempt to stop the thunder god from destroying Outworld.
  • Dark Messiah:
    • After his attempt to destroy Onaga failed, he reconstituted darker, and became disgusted with the humans' doings. Shujinko's screw-up souring him only made things worse.
    • It's unknown how he becomes Dark Raiden again in MKX (likely by absorbing the corruption of the Jinsei Chamber) but he exhibits very much of the same behavior. He's a little less jaded because so far he has yet to demonstrate any disgust with those he is sworn to protect but everyone else is fair game (to the point that he gets so aggressive towards Outworld in Kotal Kahn's arcade ending that Kahn attempts to get the Elder Gods to invoke Mortal Kombat against Raiden).
    • In his non-canon Deception ending, he still kills Shujinko, despite the fact that he managed to save Earthrealm.
  • The Dark Side: After he Came Back Wrong at the end of MKX, he begins to adopt a He Who Fights Monsters mentality in dealing with threats against Earthrealm.
  • Dark Is Evil: His Evil Costume Switch in both timelines indicate his changed nature and grim outlook.
  • Darker and Edgier: Happens to him in both timelines, as he takes a more aggressive approach to defending Earthrealm.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Implied, though the short window of opportunity he has to act upon makes it hard to tell which case it is. Right as Shao Kahn is about to drop the hammer, Dark Raiden's eyes return to their original blue coloration as the beaten and bloodied thunder god utters "He must win" with his final breaths.
  • Decapitation Presentation: At the end of MKX, Raiden after exposure to dark magic brought all of his repressed feelings of anger about Earthrealm constantly being put in danger to the surface, approaches the new rulers of the Underworld revenant Liu Kang and Kitana and warns them that he is going to take a more proactive approach to keeping Earthrealm safe by seeking out and destroying any threat to it. He demonstrates that his threat is not an idle one by tossing the head of Shinnok, who is still alive thanks to his immortality as a former Elder God, at their feet.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Gives shades of these in his Badass Boast at the end of X. Threaten Earthrealm, and you will face an angry thunder god who would not hesitate to kill you AND destroy your realm. Also does this in the original timeline.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In 11, he's only present in the intro cutting off Shinnok's head and making a distraction in the first chapter during the raid on Liu Kang and Kitana's fortress to give time for the Special Forces to sneak inside and blow it up. Once Kronika puts her plan into motion in the 2nd chapter and merges the timelines, this summons Past!Raiden. But as two versions of the same gods cannot coexist in the same timestream, Dark Raiden ends up disintegrating as a result before he knows what's happening, only leaving Shinnok's amulet behind.
  • Driven to Villainy:
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Has this as an alternate outfit in MK9, and as the default costume for Deception and Armageddon.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Samurai-like armor, Shoulders of Doom, Badass Cape, a darker variant of his iconic straw hat, Hell-Bent for Leather, red lightning and Femme Fatalons? Is it a no-brainer that he became evil after his Face–Heel Turn in both timelines? Both his main and alternate outfits are more or less unchanged from Deadly Alliance, but the color schemes are now primarily darker colors, mostly blackish-red in Deception. He functions as this for normal Raiden in 9 and X; an alternate costume/cutscene cameo in the former, and an alternate costume/resurrection in the latter.
  • Evil Former Friend:
    • Bo' Rai Cho's MKX Arcade ending shows him severing his friendship with the thunder god when the eccentric drunk gets wind of Raiden's surprise assault on Outworld. His dogma being "No realm deserves to be subjugated", Bo' Rai Cho decides to train the Outworld warriors in order to deny the thunder god a chance to destroy Outworld.
    • He becomes this to the revenants who haven't been revived at the end of MKX.
  • Evil Overlord: In his MKX arcade ending, it's shown that he's set his sights on conquering Outworld, and possibly other realms. The same game also shows Kotal Kahn (who took over Outworld after deposing Mileena) invoking Mortal Kombat to stop Raiden from invading his realm, in a reversal of roles.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Or at least, Darker and Edgier Sounds Deeper.
    • His narration in Deception (in his ending, where he kills Shujinko) is a fair bit deeper than that of his narration from Deadly Alliance.
    • As part of his Badass Boast at the end of X, his voice starts to have Power Echoes similar to the revenants.
    • In 11, the present Dark Raiden’s voice has a noticeably deeper tone than the normal Raiden from the past.
  • Evil Wears Black: Wears an all-black outfit after he Came Back Wrong in both timelines.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After his resurrection, he becomes disillusioned with the way of humans and tried to destroy anything that could possibly harm Earthrealm. In the alternate timeline, the Jinsei's corruption was the final straw for him, indicating that he is willing to destroy anybody that wants to harm Earthrealm after presenting Shinnok's head to the new rulers of the Netherrealm, Liu Kang and Kitana, as an example.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: In both timelines, he has begun to see the Elder Gods with disgust.
  • Femme Fatalons: Gains these as part of his Evil Costume Switch at the end of MKX. They are black, like his new outfit.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Pretty much what he does in MK9. After the events of Armageddon, he sends a message across time and space to his past self of the first game's timeframe, in order to prevent a repetition of events. He believes that, with proper warning, his past self will not make the same mistakes that brought the fate of the timeline which ends with Armageddon. However, in the rebooted timeline, his past self fails to interpret the message properly, constantly making the wrong choices until it was almost too late (though the vagueness of the warning didn't help matters). Also, even if the events were slightly altered here and there, most of the goings-on in the new timeline hasn't changed much - the more things change in this new timeline, the more they seem to stay the same - indicating that Armageddon might trigger in a different way.
  • Forced into Evil: Happens to him after he Came Back Wrong in both timelines.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: During Deception and onward, combined with Red Eyes, Take Warning (Supernatural Gold Eyes in MKX).
  • Good is Not Nice: He's an Omnicidal Neutral at best. He will not hesitate in outright killing anybody who so much as threatens Earthrealm, or giving them a Cruel and Unusual Death while he is at it. Worse if you are immortal, as Dark Raiden's grand reappearance in The Stinger of X is presenting what he had done with Shinnok to Liu Kang and Kitana.
    Dark Raiden: "There are fates worse than death."
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He becomes a heel in Deception, but reverts to a face at the beginning of 9/end of Armageddon. Raiden goes heel again at the end of X, when he vows to go an a warpath against those who dare to attack Earthrealm.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Implied in the last few seconds of his life in the original timeline. As he sends his message, his glowing red eyes slowly turn blue again.
  • Heel Realization: Quite possibly the entire reason he attempts to change history in 9, coupled with Shao Kahn's victory. His revival of Liu Kang is one of the key events shown in the flashback message he sends to his past self.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: His Evil Costume Switch has a slight leathery feel.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: His Badass Boast at the end of X indicates that he will go on a warpath and destroy any realm that might pose a major threat to Earthrealm by reducing Shinnok to a mere living head, and seems to have further plunged into it in his MKX arcade ending by invading a still-recovering Outworld. The same game also shows Kotal Kahn invoking Mortal Kombat to stop Raiden's invasion in a reversal of roles.
  • Horns of Villainy: Invokes these in his hat.
  • Idiot Ball: If he would have been more specific with his message, the amount of casualties suffered on the heroes' side would have most likely been avoided. Though in all fairness, he did have a warhammer seconds away from his skull.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In spite of all the changes made to the timelines, Raiden goes dark in both the original and rebooted timelines, albeit through different circumstances. MK11 strongly implies that this is partly due to Kronika's subtle manipulations.
  • Jerkass Gods: Some of his intros in MKX seem to indicate that he's taking a more aggressive and militaristic stance on defending Earthrealm. The ending cutscene at the end of MKX also shows this personality change this following his Face–Heel Turn. His MKX Ladder Mode ending shows his new philosophy in action when he and the Shirai Ryu launch a surprise assault on Outworld and swiftly crush its weakened army.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: After he Came Back Wrong at the end of MKX, Raiden believes that the Elder Gods have become more burden than help, as he saw that both Shao Kahn and Shinnok mocked them for their cowardice and incompetence, hence why he took matters into his own hands and decided to take a more hardline and militaristic stance in defending Earthrealm.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: After purifying the Jinsei, he quickly crosses this after his Face–Heel Turn at the end of MKX, starting off by decapacitating Shinnok and then threatening Liu Kang and Kitana with a similar fate if they think of invading Earthrealm, and further plunges into it by invading Outworld in his MKX arcade ending.
  • Knight Templar: As part of his Badass Boast at The Stinger of MKX, he becomes this.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: He beheads Shinnok as a warning of what could happen if anybody dares to invade Earthrealm at the end of MKX.
  • Leave No Survivors: In both timelines, he wouldn't hesitate to destroy anything and anybody if they harm Earthrealm.
  • Light Is Not Good: Though he generates lightning, Dark Raiden is pretty much a Jerkass God version of the thunder god who Came Back Wrong in both timelines.
  • Make an Example of Them: He beheads Shinnok and threatens Liu Kang and Kitana with a similar situation if they dare invade Earthrealm at the end of MKX.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: He goes ballistic in his non-canon ending for Armageddon, has powers now greater than the Elder Gods themselves, uses them to eliminate all other realms, automatically making Earthrealm forever safe for there is no other realms to ever harm it again, and also serves as the inspiration for Dark Raiden's return speech at the end of MKX.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Turns to dust when his past counterpart is brought into the future in 11. When Johnny brings up how the other fighters have to deal with their younger selves, the heroic Raiden presumes that his nature as an immortal demigod could've affected him differently.
    Johnny: Yeah, about that. What happened to Dark you? How come you're an only child and I've got an evil twin?
    Raiden: As an immortal, I exist outside the normal laws of time. That could explain why I am affected differently.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: See the Murder Is the Best Solution trope above.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: At the end of MKX, he decides to go on a warpath after seeing Earthrealm get invaded too many times.
  • Paint It Black: See the Evil Costume Switch trope above.
  • The Paranoiac: After he Came Back Wrong in MKX, Raiden fits this personality type quite well, as years of war, the deaths of many of his allies (especially his protege), and a massive Guilt Complex have turned him into a ruthless Control Freak determined to protect Earthrealm at all costs (even if it meant invading other realms), and who rarely ever has a Pet the Dog moment.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Beheads Shinnok at the end of X and threatens Liu Kang and Kitana, the new rulers of the Netherrealm, with a similar fate if they think of invading Earthrealm again.
  • Pet the Dog: Averted. In Scorpion's MKX arcade ending, he makes the Shirai Ryu ninja the Jinsei's new guardian for eternity. This would seem like a pretty cool thing to do, were it not intended to be a punishment for Scorpion recklessly putting his vengeance against Quan Chi before the safety of the realms. Scorpion is notably in the process of committing seppuku before Raiden interrupts him.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Happens to him in both timelines:
    • In the original timeline, he starts off as Earthrealm's protector-god and mentor to Liu Kang, then becomes an Elder God in Deadly Alliance only to resign his status, and after he Came Back Wrong in Deception, he becomes a vengeful god who wishes to lash out and destroy those who have harmed Earthrealm.
    • In the new timeline, he again starts off as Earthrealm's protector-god and mentor to Liu Kang, but this time, their relationship becomes strained to the point that they're Arch-Enemies at the end of MK9, and after his Heroic Sacrifice at the end of X, he Came Back Wrong as a revenge-seeking god who will go on a warpath to destroy Earthrealm's enemies, and seems to have Jumped Off The Slippery Slope by beheading Shinnok. He further plunges into villainy in his MKX arcade ending by launching a surprise invasion of Outworld, and plans to conquer other realms.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: In both timelines, his Evil Costume Switch is black, and the lightning he radiates is red.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Complete with demonic glow.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Implied, though the short window of opportunity he has to act upon makes it hard to tell which case it is. Right as Shao Kahn is about to drop the hammer, Dark Raiden's eyes return to their original blue coloration as the beaten and bloodied thunder god utters "He must win" with his final breaths.
  • Reforged into a Minion: If Shang Tsung wins the final battle of Aftermath, he turns Raiden and Fujin into his brainwashed slaves to conquer Earthrealm and Outworld, complete with an Evil Costume Switch. This third version of Dark Raiden later appears as one of Shang Tsung's alternate-timeline minions during Mortal Kombat 1.
  • Rogue Protagonist: Becomes this at the end of Mortal Kombat X, when he vows to go on the warpath and destroy anybody who threatens Earthrealm.
  • Shadow Archetype: Serves as this to his original self in 11. Dark Raiden is what happens when Raiden takes his status as Protector of Earthrealm to the worst possible extreme. Having thrown away his mercy and compassion, Dark Raiden will completely destroy all other forces who would dare to threaten Earthrealm, without exception. He'll even go so far as to obliterate entire realms.
  • Slasher Smile: Briefly sports one in the opening of MK11, as he's about to behead Shinnok.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: After his Face–Heel Turn, Raiden beheads Shinnok at the end of X and threatens Liu Kang and Kitana, the new rulers of the Netherrealm, with a similar Fate Worse than Death if they think of invading Earthrealm again.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: A lot of Raiden's aggression comes from the Trauma Conga Line that his Face–Heel Turn brought him in the first place in both timelines.
  • Stance System:
    • In Deception he has Nan Chuan and Jujutsu as unarmed styles, and Staff as weapon style.
    • In Armageddon he drops Jujutsu.
  • Start of Darkness: After his Face–Heel Turn at the end of X, he begins to adopt extremist and dictatorial methods when it comes to protecting Earthrealm, and things go downhill when he invades Outworld in his arcade ending. Irony abound as Kotal Kahn is forced to invoke Mortal Kombat in a reversal of roles.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Gains these as part of his Evil Costume Switch in both timelines.
  • Taking You with Me: In Deception, he tries to pull this off against Onaga, but in vain. It actually works straight when used as a Fatality in that same game.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • All promotional art of Raiden in Deception as well as his appearances throughout most of that game's Konquest Mode use his depiction from Deadly Alliance, perhaps as to not spoil the transformation he had undergone there.
    • A similar thing occurs in X, where the trailers showed Raiden delivering his "fates worse than death" line but looking completely normal when it was definitely Dark Raiden who said it.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Becomes this after he Came Back Wrong at the end of MKX.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Certainly gives shades of this following the events of MKX, when he decides to take matters into his own hands and aggressively protect Earthrealm from external threats. His grim outlook and cynical view mark a stark contrast from his pre-Face–Heel Turn God Is Good attitude.
  • Undeathly Pallor: In Deception, he has extremely pale skin to complement his new demonic appearance.
  • The Unfettered: In both timelines, he wouldn't hesitate to destroy anything and anybody if they harm Earthrealm. The new timeline shows him adopting a no mercy, no Pet the Dog approach to protecting Earthrealm by beheading Shinnok. His MKX arcade ending further indicates that the he has no qualms conquering other realms.
  • Villain Corner: Raiden undergoes this treatment in both timelines, but more explicitly in the new one.
  • Walking Spoiler: While his appearance in Deception and Armageddon is treated as a Late-Arrival Spoiler by fans, his reappearance at the end of X certainly is a Wham Episode.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Saving the Earth first by resurrecting Liu Kang and making him into a killer zombie, and then by destroying all the other realms, even those that were harmless to the Earth itself... yeah.
    • Certainly gives shades of this in his Badass Boast in MKX, as he is willing to destroy anybody if they dare try to invade Earthrealm.
  • We Used to Be Friends: In his MKX arcade ending, Bo' Rai Cho severs his friendship with Raiden after the eccentric drunk gets wind of the corrupted thunder god's surprise invasion of Outworld. Also becomes this to Liu Kang, Kung Lao and the revenants that have not been restored to life.
  • Wham Episode: Came Back Wrong as a darker version of himself in both timelines.
  • Will Not Be a Victim:
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Tired of seeing his realm constantly invaded, Raiden finally snaps at the end of Mortal Kombat X. He sure had enough of it and vows to go on a warpath against those who dare attack his realm, as part of his Badass Boast.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Less so in the original timeline, but in the new one he is certainly sick of having the realm he sworn to protect under constant threat. His speech gives traits of both Then Let Me Be Evil and Will Not Be a Victim.