Raven is a recurring character in the Guilty Gear series. He is one of three servants of That Man, and his right-hand man. With an immortal body that cannot die of natural causes, Raven has lived about a thousand years, and nothing stimulates him anymore, except pain.
Raven's most defining trait is the silver-colored metal spike driven through his head, which protrudes from his forehead like a horn.
In XX, Raven's skin is a light cold blue, and his long, waist-lenght hair a medium gray. A ragged vertical scar runs across the right side of his face and eye, which emanates a silver light, and a series of small needle piercings run parallel to the scar. He wears a black body suit with a bird-shaped breastplate and long boots. His shoulders, forearms, and calves are pierced with long needles, and his forearms are loosely wrapped in bandages.
Prior to Overture, his skin fades into a more natural pale white hue and his—now shoulder-length—hair fades into white. His right eye is no longer damaged, but the pupil of his left eye is replaced with a golden coin. He dons a black wing-shaped cloak with a collar that resembles feathers; when closed, it covers his entire body. Its back bears the kanji 鴉 (karasu?, lit. crow), and his chest, a green bird emblem. Beneath the mantle he wears a black body suit, and a kilt with hanging leather straps. Raven wears an mask with a cross-shaped visor and a golden coin on its left side, as well as rings with long needles affixed to them on the index and middle fingers of both hands.
In Revelator, with his face now entirely visible, Raven retains his needle rings and black wing-shaped mantle, but it now has a hood with six white protrusions instead, and his shoulders are draped with water green straps with cross-shaped silver buckles. A silver wing design is emblazoned on the back of the mantle. Beneath, he wears a black V-shaped sleeveless vest with crisscrossed white bands, and black pants with baggy chaps attached to his waist with oversized buckles.
Raven has a mature personality, being stern but also calm and level-headed, that others can calmly communicate with because he isn't swayed by emotions. Although he has good intentions, Raven has grown incredibly jaded with the world, and has lost interest in life, having forgotten what it is like to be a normal "human". Even so, he remains capable of gentleness and empathy. Why he fights for That Man is a mystery, but he agrees with his actions, and his loyalty is absolute. It seems that, in his immortal life overriden by boredom, That Man was able to inspire Raven and offer new stimulation, for which he is extremely grateful.
After living for close to a thousand years, in a constant state of perpetual life, Raven can no longer be moved by any of his five senses. In fact, being in agony and pain have become his only source of pleasure. An unapologetic masochist, the closer Raven comes to death, the more he feels alive, for which he relishes imminent pain with anticipation.
Close to a thousand years ago, Raven was born during the reign of the Holy Roman Empire, somewhere in the Kingdom of Germany. He lived a very average middle-class life, until he was enlisted as a soldier in his mid-twenties and sent far away. He became an accomplished knight, waging war in foreign lands, but the campaign quickly became an unsustainable one a little over a year after it had begun. The unit to which he belonged attacked a small village to obtain supplies, but their enemies had planned for it and attacked them in the middle of the night.
Raven woke up and, sensing danger, left his room. Avoiding the enemy soldiers, he fled on horseback but he—and the horse—were struck down by a hail of arrows. Defenseless, he was stabbed to "death" by five soldiers. However, rather than dying, he found himself in a strange cylindrical space, as if caged with birds of prey, and felt immeasurable pain. After a few minutes, the pain abruptly ended, and he woke up in a pool of his own blood. Somehow alive, his wounds had closed, leaving faint scars. His aging halted on this first recovery from death, Raven thus began his infinite circle of death and life.
At some point, Raven settled in a village and started using his powers to help people, at times healing the sick and wounded, and at other times overthrowing tyrants. For these deeds he was punished and even executed, but his many returns were celebrated as miracles, and they began to view him as a god. As word of his deeds spread, outsiders sought his aid and left the village to help other settlements. When things settled down, he returned to the first village thinking that he would be welcomed back with open arms, but instead found that the villagers blamed him for every problem that occurred during his absence. Raven then realized that he was no god, but a simple repairman to them.
In time, Raven grew apathetic and tired of living, and attempted suicide many times, only to be met with failure. It was then that he drove an experimental device with spikes on either end through his skull, in an attempt to prevent his brain stem from regenerating, but this too was unsuccessful. Eventually, he met That Man, who gave him a new lease of life, and pledged his allegiance to him.
Guilty Gear X
In October 2180, after Justice's death at Sol's hand during the Second Holy Order Selection Tournament, That Man learns that his design plans for her still exist, and asks Raven to secure and delete the samples. He eventually intervenes, confronting Sol Badguy; Sol attempts to incinerate Raven with a powerful Tyrant Rave, but Raven simply regenerates his charred flesh and expresses disappointment that he didn't feel even a little warmth. He later recovers the sample from Faust and Ky Kiske, defeating Faust in battle in extra-dimensional space. Before vanishing with the specimen he tells Ky to warn Sol not to approach the resonance.
In 2181, the world learns of a self-reliant Gear Dizzy, on whom a large bounty is placed. In one of Sol's paths, after Raven's report, That Man is surprised to know that "there was a daughter" and orders Raven to keep an eye on Dizzy without being detected.
Guilty Gear XX
In Eddie's third ending, after Eddie fails to make Dizzy his host due to I-No's interference, That Man orders Raven to take Eddie as a sample, while he chats with Dizzy. In Axl's first ending, That Man tells Axl that Raven is an "identical existence" to Axl, which causes Axl to time-slip because they naturally repel each other.[note 1] In I-No's first ending, she is about to kill Sol, but Raven orders her to stand down, while That Man is forced to punish her transgressions.
At some point, Raven oversaw the process in which That Man rejuvenated his body. Due to the program's flaw—high probability of causing haziness and loss of memory—, That Man had to receive backup memory data to ensure nothing was lost. Raven noted a disturbance, but That Man assured him that it was merely a memory that incited some nostalgia.
Guilty Gear 2
In 2186, in the aftermath of a battle between Valentine's forces and the Illyrian knights, That Man seals Ky Kiske away in Illyria Castle's throne room. When Sol, Sin Kiske, and Izuna come looking for him, Raven appears before Sol, subtly confirming his master's participation in the ongoing incident. Raven and Sol fight for a bit until Raven backs off, noting Sol to be "one of the wheels that moves the world" and laments that he can't kill him yet, then vanishes.
After Valentine's death at Sol's hands, Raven discusses the possibility of more Valentines appearing with That Man, and informs him that Sol's Dragon Install has started to encroach. Raven expresses concern that Sol may stand in their way again, and vows to protect That Man, but he tells Raven to let history write its own course, for Raven's responsibility is simply to be there at that time.
Guilty Gear Xrd
After That Man is imprisoned by Bedman on November 2, 2187, Raven finds him, but That Man is unable to break free, and instructs that Jack-O' should be awakened, for she is to replace Elphelt in restoring Justice to humanity. However, when she is awakened by I-No, Jack-O' decides to get some fresh air and runs away. On November 9, Raven is forced to ask Sol for help, who brings Sin and Ramlethal along.
Thanks to I-No, they find Jack-O' at Heaven's Edge; during the encounter, Raven explains to Sin that immortals like himself unavoidably grow apathetic, and That Man is trying to prevent humanity from following the same path. Raven, in turn, is taken aback by Ramlethal saying he treats Jack-O' too coldly for being "a doll". Finally, Sol pieces from Raven's explanation that Justice was Aria Hale all along, but Raven offers them his gratitude and teleports away with Jack-O'. Back at the Sanctuary, Raven chastises Jack-O' and, after briefly discussing Happy Chaos, leaves to find I-No. At Neo New York, she refuses to return. Though Raven shares her pain, I-No says that he is now on the "other side". As they are to part ways, Raven is upset when I-No says it's not like they ever were friends, so she adds that they might still see each other from time to time as she leaves.
Raven then returns to the Sanctuary, and watches alongside Jack-O' how events unfold while waiting for That Man to return. Noticing her leg wound, Raven heals it. Jack-O' says there is no need and wonders why he is being so nice; Raven reflects that he wantonly hurt Ramlethal's feelings earlier, but he himself has forgotten what being human is like, to which Jack-O' calls him a "softie".
When Elphelt's signal appears in Scandiva, That Man returns, and Raven leaves to check the signal. When Ramlethal is unable to get out of a Gear's explosion range, Raven manages to save her, though everyone is led to believe that she died. Upon healing her wounded leg and arm, Raven and Ramlethal go to the Celestial Altar to unexpectedly contribute to Ariels's defeat and the successful merge of Justice and Jack-O'.
In the aftermath, after That Man—or rather, Asuka—issues his challenge to Sol, Raven meets his former master one last time to inform him that preparations are complete. Asuka is about to say his usual farewell, but stops as Raven no longer works for him. Raven asks why Asuka once seemed to want Raven to live as a "storyteller" when peace finally came. Asuka admits that he just wanted to part ways as friends. Raven then tells the story of how he once tried his hand at playing God, concluding that as a storyteller he might be able to truly save people. Vowing to live up to those words, as a friend, he asks Asuka to say the line, which he does. Afterwards, Asuka turns himself in to the American government.
Guilty Gear -Strive-
Raven's weapons of choice are four rings that have long needles affixed to them. Wearing them on the index and middle fingers of both hands, he uses them as if they were claws.
Apparently born with special body, Raven's most defining ability is that he is ageless and undying, and can regenerate his entire body, even if ground into dust, almost instantly. It is unknown if there is anything that can kill him, as piercing his own brain stem did not kill him, and decapitation is likely to be ineffective as well. He postulates in his win quote to Bedman that destroying his soul could be the only viable means to kill him permanently, but is uncertain. Because he has seemingly become desensitized to pain after centuries of many a death and injury, he is able to contort and dislocate his limbs for unpredictable, long-range attacks. He is also seems to be abnormally strong in spite of his lean and seemingly emaciated physique, able to block Sol's attack with only his index and forefinger.
Excelling at combat, due in no small part to his immortality, Raven possesses a variety of abilities at his disposal. He is able to teleport himself and others by dissipating into a cloud of feathers, or simply fade away. He also seems to have a certain mastery over Spatial Deformation magic, beating Faust. Another techniques at his disposal are Slow Field needles, which reduce his opponent's movement speed via time manipulation, summoning crows, and energy orbs. Raven is also well-versed in the art of healing magic, able to heal wounds and illnesses. He has yet to exhibit his full strength as he rarely engages in battles due to his role as an observer and his masochistic nature.
Gameplay-wise, Raven first appeared as playable character in Overture, sharing servants with Valentine. In the Xrd games, Raven has a versatile arsenal with unique movement, and has an excitement gauge that gives him better damage and combos as it rises. He does, however, have a low stun and poor defense modifier.
- His name may be a reference to the pioneering British heavy metal band, Raven.
- Raven's conception might also be inspired by comic book anti-hero The Crow.
- The coin on Raven's left eye is a reference to Charon's obol. Popular, but unlikely, etiology maintains that a pair of coins were placed on the eyes of the dead; according to Daisuke Ishiwatari, the use of a single coin signifies that Raven is only "half-dead".
- The silhouette of Raven's mantle, designed to reflect his crow motif, was modeled on the capes worn by the heroes in Gatchaman, which Ishiwatari is a fan of.
- In Revelator, the silver cross throughout his outfit have the word "yata" etched on them, derived from Yatagarasu, a mythical crow-god that serves as a symbol of guidance. (Incidentally, crows are seen as a mark of rebirth and rejuvenation in Shintō.)
- Raven's story about being celebrated as a God in a village, only to later return and be met with ungratefulness and selfishness is similiar to the story presented in the song "Holy Diver", by legendary heavy metal songwriter Ronnie James Dio.
- Raven's portraits in Guilty Gear XX are traced from Ishiwatari's black and white illustrations from Lightning the Argent, and feature a completely different color palette compared to his later appearances.
- The story of Raven's first death matches up with the events of the historical Fifth Crusade, during which a mostly German army occupied the Egyptian port city of Damietta, but were forced to retreat due to dwindling supplies and were ultimately decimated in a nighttime ambush. This would likely indicate that Raven was born shortly before the dawn of the 13th century and experienced his first death in 1221.
- Axl's ending involving Raven caused some fans to theorize that Raven was Axl's parallel self, hailing from a future timeline, but Ishiwatari denied the idea in the Memorial Book (quoted in the Codex), with Revelator finally revealing the source of Axl's condition. They might be connected in some way, however, as per the Material Collection.[source needed]
- In Overture, pieces of his clothing and needles are branded "LIVE". The letters etched on his visor read "oreno yutaka terada nawoittomiro," meaning 'My body is a temple? We'll see about that.' The text on his chest reads, "And mortal life shall cease, / A life of joy and peace".
- Raven's uncredited voice actor in XX, Shigeru Sakano, also voiced Kliff Undersn; this was first revealed in the 10th Memorial Book. From Overture onwards, he is voiced by Hiroki Yasumoto, who also voices Crow, as well as Azrael from BlazBlue.
- Raven's English voice actor, Jamieson Price, also voices Leo Whitefang in Xrd -Sign- and Strive.
- Raven has made a guest appearance in the game Code Shifter.
- This ending is explicitly non-canon, as That Man and Axl's first-time meeting is shown in Sign Chapter 4A.
- Cite error: Invalid
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- Guilty Gear 2 -Overture- script § "Gaze of the Chronicle"
- Guilty Gear 2 -Overture- Lore § "Raven's Profile"
- [GGWorld - "Raven"]
- Guilty Gear Xrd Visual Book, pg.56-57
- Guilty Gear 2 -Overture- Material Collection, pg.?? - "Ode to a Blood Puddle"
- Guilty Gear 2 -Overture- Lore § "Raven's Profile II"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Raven"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Contact B"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Sense B"
- Guilty Gear Codex, pg.34,53,64
- Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 script § "After Story A"
- Guilty Gear X Lightning the Argent § "Commander & Beast"
- Guilty Gear script § "Sol"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- manual, pg.3-4
- Guilty Gear X Lightning the Argent § "???"
- Guilty Gear X manual, pg.4
- Guilty Gear X Plus script § "Sol Path 3"
- Guilty Gear XX script § "Eddie Path 3"
- Guilty Gear XX script § "Axl Path 1"
- Guilty Gear XX script § "I-No Path 1"
- Guilty Gear 2 -Overture- Material Collection, pg.?? - "Isotope & Isolation"
- Guilty Gear 2 -Overture- script § "Budding Keyhole"
- Guilty Gear 2 -Overture- script § "Curtain Call"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- script § "Showdown B"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Opening"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Jack-O'"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Sol"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Sin"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Ramlethal"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Face A"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Face B"
- Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Fireworks"
- Guilty Gear -Strive- script § "Prologue"
- Guilty Gear -Strive- script § "Strive"
- Guilty Gear 10th Memorial Book, pg.138