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Humans? Can there be a time when they see us as something other than weapons?

Testament is a recurring character in the Guilty Gear series. A humanoid-type Gear that once was under Justice's control during the Crusades, Testament is the adopted child of Kliff Undersn. Able to wield blood magic and a crimson scythe in battle, Testament fights alongside their succubus familiar, EXE Beast.

Design

Testament has a pale complexion, red eyes, as well as straight, thigh-length black hair. Across most of their appearances, they exclusively dress in black (or dark violet, as seen in their Λ Core artwork) clothes: they wear a midriff-baring top with a mantle covering their arms, and a mid-calf wrap skirt connected by two belts, and secured by another at the waist. They have an arm warmer on one arm and a fingerless glove on the other, as well as a choker with silver studs and a pair of knee-high boots.

In Strive, their redesign retains the overall idea, but changes the top for a sleeveless white shirt and frilled cravat, below a black waistcoat with silver buttons on the front flaps, connected to the black mantle over their forearms. The skirt now has buttons and a number of brown waistbelts with skull adornments. Retaining the black boots and arm warmer, they now wear fingerless gloves on both hands: a white one on the right, and black on the left. Testament now also wears a black top hat, with a skull on the band.

Testament wields a scythe in battle. In Guilty Gear, it had a silver blade and was held with the blade facing down, near their right leg. For the rest of the series, it is crimson red and is wielded with the blade level to their head.

Personality

Prior to their Gear conversion, Testament was a diligent and curious individual who abhored violence. Especially fond of children, Testament had a philantropic side: they'd try to provide shelter for those who have lost their homes, and preferred to find ways to reform and educate those who fell from the righteous path rather than blame and condemn them for their crimes.[8]

Kind and gentle,[5] Testament was a noble soul who placed the needs of others before their own,[8] wanted to protect the innocent—remembering their oath as a knight even decades later—,[9] and dutifully wished to repay Kliff for his kindness.[6][10] Yet, the forced conversion caused Testament to become extremely distrustful of humans and cynical.[9][11][12] The annihilation of mankind,[13] however, is not something they truly desire. Kliff attributed such madness to whatever Testament saw during the war, all the bloodshed,[6] but it was a command forcibly planted by Justice. Because Testament had a strong will,[5] emotional fortitude,[8] and great love for Kliff,[6] they were semi-independent[13] from her orders, retaining their consciousness and memory but unable to disobey.[8]

After Justice's death, Testament regains their true self but is tormented by the horrific things they had done under her control. Choosing to isolate themself from humanity,[8] Testament latches onto the idea of protecting the innocent Dizzy, and later the Forest of Demons, as a new purpose in life.[1] Feeling guilty, this is a way to atone for their sins, but by Strive it ends up bringing back Testament's human sensibility.[7] Despite their distrust, Testament is often reluctant to fight humans—resorting to verbal intimidation first—even as they affirm that killing men is a Gear's personality,[9] and feels a certain kinship with fellow victims as "friends of war".[14][15] Eventually, watching over Dizzy's "parents"[16] has brought Testament peace of mind,[7] and they no longer look on humans with hostility.[16]

Story

Background

Born in Switzerland[8] during the Crusades, Testament was orphaned at a young age and was taken in by Kliff Undersn, the long-time commander of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights.[6] Deeply grateful,[5] Testament intended to inherit Kliff's name and eventually become his successor.[8] In 2127,[17] in defiance of Kliff's wishes, Testament joined the Order,[17] volunteering despite their hatred for violence, thinking it would make their father happy.[6] Before Testament could make their intentions a reality,[8] in 2128, they met with an untimely end while carrying out a reserve unit's mission on behalf of the Order. Their body was never found.[17]

In truth, Testament was captured by government agents[8] of Nation A.[5] They became the subject of a number of experiments designed to develop new weapons,[18] and transformed into a Gear[8] regardless of their intention[5] by a certain organization.[14] Although Testament managed to remain self-aware after the process,[18] it wasn't long before they turned their fangs toward humanity in accordance with Justice's command of eradicating mankind.[5]

Illustration.

Circa 2140,[note 1] Testament and Kliff met in the battlefield under unknown circumstances, but fighting on opposing sides, Kliff was forced to kill Testament. However, Testament survived the encounter[6]—somehow brought back to life for reasons unknown[8]—and continued to serve Justice, but they and Kliff wouldn't cross paths for the remainder of the war.[6] At some point, Testament presumably met Sol Badguy and learned that he was a Gear.[19]

In 2175, Justice was sealed in a dimensional prison by the Sacred Order, ending the Crusades. While a large majority of Gears became dormant[20] and others gained a will of their own,[21] Testament could not escape her influence. Still forced to comply with her directive, they resolved to free Justice[6] from her weakening seal[17][note 2] to resume her rampage.[19] Unknowingly manipulated by the Conclave,[22][7] Testament worked behind the scenes[10] of the Second Holy Order Selection Tournament organized by the United Nations[20][23] to gather enough energy to revive Justice.[10]

Guilty Gear

In 2180, after the worldwide announcement, Testament frees Zato-ONE, claiming he may be able to exact his revenge on Millia Rage, and Dr. Baldhead, returning to him his scalpel, from prison so that they may participate.[20] During the tournament, Testament appears before the winner—that is, Sol[23]—, revealing the deception, and fights since all that is required is the blood of one more sacrifice. Testament is defeated, but uses their blood to break Justice's seal.[19][6] In another account, Testament revives Justice but, as she is "incomplete", they offer their blood to her.[13] Ultimately, Justice is defeated by Sol and Ky Kiske,[24] killed by the former.[25]

In Kliff's ending, upon defeat, Testament tells their father to cheer up and seemingly dies. Before Kliff can follow his child to hell, he defeats Justice, claiming responsibility for Testament. The dying Justice learns of their connection and that Testament's feelings for their father were, perhaps, the reason why her power was limited. After she breathes her last, Kliff dies, claiming his duty has been fulfilled at last.[6]

Guilty Gear X

Having regained their original personality due to Justice's death, Testament evades capture, but without a purpose to live, desperately wanders[5] into the village where Kliff is buried. While laying some flowers on their father's grave, Testament meets a blind girl named Josephine, whom Venom tries to kidnap to force Faust to join the Assassin's Guild. Testament protects Josephine, fleeing into the Forest of Demons where Josephine introduces them to her friend, Dizzy. When Josephine is hurt, Testament and Dizzy take her to Faust's office at the village; while waiting, Testament reveals to the lonely Dizzy that they are also a Gear. The villagers then try to kill Dizzy by burning Faust's office, and she loses control of Necro and Undine. Seeing her plight, Testament vows to be at Dizzy's side from now on, and subdues her.[1]

Forest refugees.

When Dizzy is rejected by Josephine as a demon, Testament accompanies her back into the forest.[1] Following the incident, in October 2181,[note 3] the world learns of her existence and Ky comes to investigate,[23] but after Dizzy defeats him,[26][23] a W$ 500,000 bounty is issued for her death.[27] Testament takes upon themself the duty of fighting off everyone who comes near, until she decides to leave the forest and accepts Johnny's offer to join the Jellyfish Pirates.[28]

In one path, Testament and Dizzy's efforts somehow convince people not to come to the forest anymore; Dizzy wonders if it'll take humans a thousand years to forget about the Crusades, and Testament privately vows to protect her no matter how long it takes. In the other, Testament remembers Kliff's words about a knight's duties, and encourages Dizzy to leave the forest; in turn, she convinces Testament to come with her.[9]

Guilty Gear XX

Weeks later, Testament arrives on the May Ship unannounced to visit Dizzy, only to find that she's been knocked off the ship by I-No. Mistakenly cursing the crew's carelessness, Testament storms off to find Dizzy.[29] In one path, they find Dizzy dead, the one responsible killed by Johnny; in their grief, Testament kills Johnny and vows to annihilate humanity after laying Dizzy to rest in the Grove.[11] In another path, Slayer and Sol warn Testament that the P.W.A.B. and That Man have returned.[14] In their third path, Testament finds and frees the Necro-possessed Dizzy; after waking up, she defends her crew's innocence and Testament takes their leave before April and May meet with Dizzy.[30]

After leaving Dizzy with the Jellyfish Pirates, Testament goes back to protecting the forest, determined to keep it safe from invaders as atonement ("...Will the world ever forgive me?"). Their isolation is soon interrupted when Johnny and May bring Dizzy for a visit, but she loses control of Necro and Undine due to Crow's Justice imitation.[31] In one path, Testament pursues Crow but is unable to catch him, and returns to protect the forest, vowing to do so as long as they can.[2] In the other, after Slayer's warning, Testament returns to find the forest burning and resigns themself to die with it, sure that humans will bring about their own downfall in time.[15]

In Dizzy's first path, Testament warns Dizzy—who wants to learn about her origins—not to trust Ky. When she proves her determination to go with Ky, Testament tells her not to return for they are still unable to forgive humanity, but Dizzy believes there'll be a day when they can. They wish each other good luck and part ways.[12]

Guilty Gear -Strive-

At the Kiske household.

In the following years, Testament keeps in touch with Johnny,[8] sometimes hanging around the May Ship II[32] despite Dizzy no longer living on board.[16] Testament also somehow ends up living with the elderly couple who once took care of Dizzy,[7] from before she and Testament met.[1]

In December 2187,[note 4] Testament reconnects with Dizzy, who invites them to her and Ky's estate after the G4 Summit ends. There, Testament meets her son Sin, as well as the sisters Ramlethal and Elphelt Valentine.[34]

Abilities

Originally, Testament joined the Sacred Order of Holy Knights,[6] presumably learning the knights' techniques to combat Gears. After being converted into a Gear themself, Testament gained the abilities associated to these creatures: senses, healing and physical strengh that surpass by far the average of a normal human's, and was rendered ageless. They are one of the few human-type Gears, and one of a small number who managed to remain self-aware after the injection of Gear cells;[18] even under Justice's control, Testament was a semi-independent Gear[35] due to their powerful force of will and emotional fortitude.[8]

Despite their powerful mind,[8] Testament was only a mid-class Gear after the conversion[6] and was easily defeated by Kliff. However, they somehow survived and became stronger than before.[8] Thanks to their rapid healing, Testament has a fighting style that relies on using their own blood for variety of moves, even creating from it the massive scythe they wield. Testament is also able to use force fields and bend time and space to move in and out of other dimensions. They are well-versed in advanced magic,[8] such as breaking dimensional prison-level seals,[20][19] and can summon a succubus by the name of EXE Beast,[8] who can shapeshift and attacks during certain techniques. Under normal conditions EXE Beast conceals itself as a crow and hovers near Testament.[36]

Gameplay-wise, appearing as the sub-boss of Guilty Gear and Guilty Gear X, Testament belongs to the trap-laying archetype, able to pollute the screen with stationary attacks, projectiles, and disjointed hitboxes in order to force the opponent into a disadvantageous position and then apply pressure. In Strive, Testament has been reworked heavily, losing their invisible traps, but now able to put an opponent in the Stain State on contact with certain moves, which will cause an automatic follow-up attack.

Music

Quotes

Allusions

  • The character owes their name to American thrash-metal band Testament. One of their Overdrives in Strive, Nostrovia, is named after one of their songs.
  • Several of Testament's attacks are named after bands:
    • "Badlands" is a reference to the blues rock band Badlands.
    • "Warrant" could be named after the German speed metal band or the American glam metal band.
    • "Grave Digger" is named after a German heavy metal band.
  • One of their Overdrives, Master of Puppet, is likely named the 1986 album and song by Metallica.
  • Their second Instant Kill, Seventh Sign, is an allusion to Yngwie Malmsteen, as it is the name of one of his albums. It is also the name of a 1988 American horror film; the title and plot reference the seven seals described in the Bible's Book of Revelation.
  • The move Unholy Diver is likely a reference to the song "Holy Diver" or the album of the same name by American heavy metal band Dio.

Trivia

  • Regarding Testament's gender, Arc System Works marketing rep Riku Ozawa has stated that Testament is specifically agender (無性, musei?), neither male nor female, and that the character was previously portrayed as androgynous/bigender (両性, ryōsei?), but that the team chose to change that in the new game.[37][38] Both musei and ryōsei are categories of X-gender, the Japanese equivalent of the word 'non-binary'.
    • In an interview, Daisuke Ishiwatari reportedly said that "They're androgynous. In fact, they've transcended human existence. Just like me."[38][39]
    • In XX, Testament yells 私の秘密に近づくな (watashi no himitsu ni chikadzuku na?), or "don't get close to my secret", during Shigekiteki Zetsumei Ken, hinting at perhaps atypical sex characteristics.
  • Testament's dislike for Sol isn't due to anything he personally did to Testament, but rather, it is because Kliff revered Sol in his youth and it became a complex for Testament, who feels similarly about Kliff.[40][10]
  • In the Guilty Gear X drama CD, Testament says that they haven't written a letter in 50 years.[41] If Testament was aged 18 when they joined the Order in 2127, that would make them 71 years old by the time of the original Guilty Gear.
  • The succubus that accompanies Testament during battle was nicknamed Zio by a number of fans due to this name being used in a Guilty Gear doujinshi.[source needed] Guilty Gear Xrd's Library Mode finally revealed that her official name is EXE Beast, previously assumed to simply be the name of the attack.
  • Testament picked up a staggering amount of hobbies in the process of finding themself between XX and STRIVE, with a record number in the series (35).

Gallery

External links

Notes

  1. Testament mentions that "it's been forty years" since the encounter. The game takes place in 2180.
  2. GGWorld indicates that, in 2176, the prison's seal weakens "for unknown reasons", causing anxiety in those aware. Whether this was the work of Testament or the Conclave hasn't been established.
  3. Endings and May's backstory involve Johnny's birthday, which falls on October 24.
  4. The events of Strive take place "three weeks"[33] after Revelator (November 7—20).

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Guilty Gear X Drama CD Vol.2 script § "???"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Testament Path 1"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Guilty Gear Complete Bible, pg.66-67
  4. 4.0 4.1 Guilty Gear XX script § "Report ♯3360"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 GuiltyGearX.com
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 Guilty Gear script § "Kliff"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 TESTAMENT | CHARACTER | GUILTY GEAR -STRIVE- | ARC SYSTEM WORKS
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 [GGWorld - "Testament"]
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Guilty Gear X Plus script § "Testament"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Guilty Gear Codex, pg.14,49,60
  11. 11.0 11.1 Guilty Gear XX script § "Testament Path 1"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Dizzy Path 1"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Fierce tournament"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Guilty Gear XX script § "Testament Path 2"
  15. 15.0 15.1 Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Testament Path 2"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 【ネタバレ注意】『ギルティギア ストライヴ』インタビュー。カイのドライン、イノの目的、ファウストの変貌……などなど、気になることを聞いてきました | ゲーム・エンタメ最新情報のファミ通.com
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 [GGWorld - Chronology]
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Record ♯3360"
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Guilty Gear script § "Sol"
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Guilty Gear manual, pg.2,17,21
  21. Guilty Gear 2 -Overture- script § "Cynical Wise Man"
  22. Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- script § "Kaleidoscope A"
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- manual, pg.3-4
  24. [GGWorld - "Holy Order"]
  25. Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- script § "Sign A"
  26. Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Dizzy"
  27. Guilty Gear X manual, pg.4
  28. [GGWorld - "Dizzy"]
  29. Guilty Gear XX script § "Human failure"
  30. Guilty Gear XX script § "Testament Path 3"
  31. Guilty Gear XX Λ Core Plus script § "Forest protection"
  32. Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- script § "Johnny"
  33. Guilty Gear -Strive- script § "Prologue"
  34. Guilty Gear -Strive- script § "Strive"
  35. Template:Quotes
  36. [GGWorld - "Succubus"]
  37. 【日本語配信】ARCREVO America 2021 Finals
  38. 38.0 38.1 Translation by AmaranthSparrow
  39. ギルティギアシリーズを補完しよう
  40. Guilty Gear 10th Memorial Book, pg.??
  41. Guilty Gear XX Drama CD Black script § "???"


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