Over the past two days, I have tried to give new players as well as veterans the necessary background to fully understand the events of Blazblue: Caladmity Trigger in preparation for its expanded sequel, Blazblue: Continuum Shift II. There is a reason that I had to do this, and it ties in directly with how the events of the game are actually told. Each character's story has branching paths where they meet multiple times with other characters, often creating completely different results. What makes it all the more confusing is that all of these events and conversations are considered canon, even the ones that seem to directly conflict with one another. Just how this is possible is one of the cleverest story tricks I’ve seen in a video game. Before going into why this is possible, I feel it is pertinent to give a sense of all the possibilities for all the playable characters. Despite all these disparate stories, the one common thread is how the story begins with the arrival of Ragna in Kagutsuchi.
His appearance brings all the other characters together for their own reasons, and they all begin to interact with one another. In Ragna’s case, he is able to evade capture by all of the vigilantes except for Taokaka, whose simple mind doesn’t recognize him as the Grim Reaper. Instead, she forces him to buy her food and since then refers to him as “good guy.” He also encounters Arakune, who seeks the Azure Grimoire, and defeats him but decides to spares his life at Litchi's request. Ragna then discovers Jin, who has gone near insane at his brother's appearance. The two brother's duel and Ragna wins, sparing Jin before he goes to the Cauldron. In front of the Cauldron, Ragna meets Hakumen and is able to survive long enough for Kokonoe to teleport the Hero away. Finally, Ragna confronts Nu, who abandons the robotic personality that has for every other character and tells Ragna of her love for him. She insists that by literally joining with her, they would be able to destroy the world, and it would be only them forever after. Ragna promptly rejects the proposition, but Nu is able to defeat him in battle and force him to do as she says. Together, they fall into the Cauldron just as Jin appears and leaps after them.
Jin's story follows his search through all of Kagutsuchi for his brother. He is first confronted by Bang who wishes to avenge his master and then Carl who wishes to take Yukianesa away from him. He also fights his way through Noel until he is able to confront Ragna in battle. Finally, he has the opportunity to fulfill the destiny he was promised as a child long ago and kill the Black Beast. However, Nu interrupts and drags Ragna into the Cauldron with her as Jin gives chase. There is also an alternate path where Jin’s search for Ragna is interrupted by Rachel. She treats him like a child and mocks him before giving him the option of becoming a “true hero.”
Noel's story also takes one of two paths. One is mostly humorous where she is targeted by a drunken Litchi to play dress-up, but the other follows her mission to hunt down the rogue Jin. She quickly discovers that Hazama refuses to help her in any significant way, preferring instead to lead her in the right direction. He says multiple times that he doesn't have an aptitude for battle and would prefer to leave that to her. During her search, she is plagued by memories of her time in the Military Academy and how Jin has changed so much from those days. She is finally able to find and stop Jin but the activation of Nu catches her attention. As Noel tries to understand Nu, she begins talking in the same manner as her. She defeats her but blacks out into memories she doesn't recall. However, if she loses to Nu, Hazama and Rachel appear. Hazama is panicked at Rachel's appearance and expresses disappointment at Noel's loss. Rachel says she's only there to observe, but it still unsettles Hazama.
Rachel’s story begins with her talking about how something is starting over again as she has her morning tea. She is mostly musing to herself and cryptically wondering about the world’s end. Despite these thoughts, she finds herself bored and decides to meddle in the affairs of those in Kagutsuchi. When she leaves though, her butler, Valkenhayn, is approached by a mysterious figure who talks of old times. Once the figure has left, the butler begins to worry about his mistress. Rachel is fine though as she meets several of the characters. One of the first is Noel who she accuses of being unable to do anything without her Nox Nyctores Bolverk. To prove her point, she takes Bolverk away from Noel temporarily which leaves the NOL agent a mess. Rachel laments about Noel’s inability to change the world, gives back the weapon, and leaves. In other alternate paths, she encourages Ragna to continue fighting no matter what may happen. She also has a conversation with the mysterious man about how certain things have changed. Finally, she chats with Kokonoe and informs her that Terumi has returned, alarming the scientist. In every event, she laments that she is only a bystander until humanity can save itself.
Taokaka's story is one that intersects with many but lacks the impact of the other events. In some cases, her quest to capture Ragna, or Rawrgna as she puts it, leads her directly to him where she fails to recognize him. Instead, she forces him to buy her a large meal and refers to him as “good guy” from that point on. In others, she meets up with Bang and tells him of her wish to be a vigilante. He takes her under his wing and tries to teach her what it means to be a vigilante. In another, she rescues Litchi from Arakune and while the two run from it, they stumble across Hakumen. Taokaka is able to defeat the warrior but loses sight of Litchi. She finally stumbles across Kokonoe who decides to try out a new machine by launching Taokaka back to Orient Town. The catgirl's impact creates a hole that fills the Kaka village with light and mistakenly completes her mission.
Tager's story details his mission to retrieve Hakumen. The only way to do that though is by setting up several beacons that will eventually allow Kokonoe to transport the Hero back to her lab. While Tager is setting up these beacons, he comes across Litchi who he tries to force to come back to Sector Seven with him. Even though he is victorious, Jubei protects her and prevents Tager from taking her away. In one of his endings, he is confronted by Arakune and is able to defeat him when suddenly the Black Beast emerges from the Cauldron. The Beast eats Arakune as he screams about the Azure Grimoire while Tager is left unable to do anything. In another scenario, he finally catches up to Hakumen who questions his loyalty to Kokonoe. Tager tries to remain resolute in his answer but is still shaken by the implication that Kokonoe doesn't deserve his trust.
Litchi begins searching Kagutsuchi as soon as she hears of Ragna's arrival. She knows that Arakune will be on the move and trying to steal the Azure Grimoire. One of the first sights Litchi encounters however is a fight between Taokaka and Carl Clover. She breaks it up and cares for Carl's injuries though he's suspicious of her interest in Nirvana, whom he calls his sister. Litchi also encounters Ragna and begs him not to kill Arakune if he is attacked by him. He relents, and she reconsiders everyone's opinion of him as a bad guy. She then visits the Kaka village and speaks with the Elder. Litchi tells the Elder of the tribe’s limit of one hundred members in exchange for information on Arakune. In one ending she confronts Arakune and is forced to kill him to prevent any further deaths.
Arakune's story is simply a hunt of Ragna. He comes across various characters and depending on his mood either eats them or lets them go. Sometimes he is killed in his search while other times he stands alone among the fighters. He is rarely taken on a tangent and either achieves his goal or dies in the process. Meanwhile, Bang's tale goes on one of three tangents: his hunt for Ragna, his attempts to tell Litchi his true feelings, and his quest for revenge against Jin. Bang finds Ragna and defeats him, mainly because Ragna didn't use his full power. In his exuberance he forgets to actually capture the criminal and runs off to tell Litchi. What follows is him challenging anyone that may be a paramour for Litchi. Eventually, he's able to confess to her, but she takes it the wrong way and agrees that they should always be friends. This leads a heartbroken Bang to come across Jin and alternately defeats him and loses to him. Even in victory, Bang refuses to kill Jin preferring to make him apologize for his actions which is something that Jin refuses to do.
Carl's motivation initially seems to be driven by Ragna's bounty, but he actually desires the Azure Grimoire believing it'll free his sister from her doll form. Certain characters wish to take Nirvana from him, but he never allows them which also fuels an intense distrust of adults. This is challenged by Litchi who recognizes Nirvana but can't bring herself to take the doll from Carl. As he attempts to take the Blazblue from Ragna he is interrupted by Nu and is soundly defeated. He is protected from death by Litchi but Nirvana is destroyed in the process. In another scenario he meets Bang who takes him under his wing as a fellow vigilante and begins to train him. He is also given advice from Rachel that he will be unable to fulfill his desires unless he takes either Jin's or Noel's Nox Nyctores. In either choice he is at times victorious or defeated.
When Hakumen is rescued from the Edge by Kokonoe, he is mistakenly transported to the middle of Kagutsuchi and encounters Taokaka. His body is still struggling to substantiate itself in the real world and is severely weakened from the process, but he still fights the catgirl. After defeating her, he encounters Jubei who informs him of Terumi's return, alarming Hakumen. As Hakumen is continually teleported around Kagutsuchi, he fights Bang, Tager, and finally Ragna, each time recognizing the other as a warrior and questioning their motives. It isn't until he encounters Rachel that the mystery of Hakumen is revealed.
Finally, there is Nu. As she searches for Ragna she encounters both Carl and Jin, terminating them on sight as long as she is the victor of their fights. She also comes into contact with Noel who begins to speak like her and mentions that one, or even both of them, is a clone. When she finally finds Ragna she again acts out the events of one of his endings, mainly the two of them falling into the Cauldron together while Jin gives chase.
Again, these disparate events and interactions are confusing, but they do serve to tell how the characters relate to one another and provide hints to the true goings-on in Kagutsuchi. The answer isn’t necessarily what you’d expect, but it does show that Blazblue has one of the best stories among fighting games, as long as you can unravel it. Be sure to come back Monday for the final installment of Blazblue Deciphered, where I reveal the final events of this crazy tale.
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