Building Character: Hazama & You

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

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BlazBlue | Hazama Crest

I’ll let you feel the most exquisite pain! Does it hurt? DOES IT HURT?!

The BlazBlue series isn’t exactly known for its simplicity. There are time loops, constantly shifting alliances, long names for important story elements, and just about everyone has some secret or ulterior motive that isn’t brought to light until the last possible moment. There are characters from every walk of life and a myriad of personality types; one for just about everyone. But there is only one character that truly understands and encompasses all of us. That truly gets us.

And that character is none other than good old Hazama.

Hazama | BlazBlue

Hazama? You say, Clearly you jest.  Have you lost your mind? He’s insane! You’re insane!

My friends, I can assure you my mental health is in no danger.

But before we begin, a bit of background.

While originally not even a playable character, once he became so, Hazama quickly became a fan favorite. He appears to be calm and even harmless at first. He even guides Noel on her mission to Kagutsuchi with the air of a compassionate and concerned superior.  Underneath all that, we soon discover, is a detached, selfish, manipulative psychopath — just like us.

Did we not start off as background characters in our own lives? As babes, did not our mere presence cause discomfort to those that actively made choices around us? Then did we not, at some point, become aware of ourselves and begin to become active… become playable in our own lives?

BlazBlue | Hazama Hat

Now, unlike us, Hazama himself isn’t actually human. He is a vessel created from the Azure Grimoire (also called the BlazBlue). This, to put it simply, is a piece of the Azure used to connect to the actual Azure which is a source of power located in the Boundary.  So, while Ragna the Bloodedge has an Azure Grimoire arm and Nu has an Azure Grimoire eye-patch, Hazama’s whole body is made from the stuff.  Now, dear readers, have you not felt as if you too were made of greater stuff? That you were cut from the cloth of the Gods? And not just an arm or a piece of you, but your entire being? Of course you have.

Haven’t you at one point felt like two different people? Well, Hazama is two different people — maybe three! To make things a bit more confusing, in a series of official light novels there is another character who looks, acts, and enjoys eating eggs whole much like Hazama. In BlazBlue: Phase 0 we were introduced to a boy named Kazuma. Taking place 100 years before the events of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, we find Kazuma to be a quiet, nice, and sweet kid — if a little weird.

BlazBlue | Kazuma Kuvaru

And then, over time we see his personality twist and turn into something grotesque. He begins to grow suspicious of those around him. He grows more detached. He stops caring for his friends at all. Then we watch Kazuma going so far to even manipulate Trinity Glassfille, who was madly in love with him, of his own volition.

And then he helps kill her.

We don’t actually know what happened to Kazuma. It’s assumed that he was killed, but could Kazuma be Hazama? I don’t know. Do we really know who we are? Are we ever certain of our deeper selves?

What we do know is that both of these characters have yet another entity linking them together: a being named Yuki Terumi. As I mentioned before, Hazama is a vessel as was Kazuma before him. Their job was to be a lifelink of sorts and be able to house this Terumi. Most sources agree that Terumi was probably a human at one point and is now a ghost of sorts. With Kazuma, Terumi was able to have a separate body in the beginning, but later just hangs out in the back of his mind. With Hazama the two are intertwined, switching back and forth, and there is only way to tell the two apart. Terumi takes his hat off, speaks a bit rougher, and has spikey hair.  I know I hate it when I take off my hat, and that angrier personality comes out shouting at people.

BlazBlue | Yuki Terumi CG

What makes Terumi so important is that he is the force behind all of Hazama and Kazuma’s actions. When Terumi fuses with them they become the epitome of cruelty and madness. Even their attacks mock the player. With Terumi’s character in Chronophantsama, one of his specials involves literally kicking the opponent when they’re down. In one of his winning taunts he does the same and, although the player is already defeated, his stomps continue to count as a combo as he cackles away.

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma | Terumi

For reasons that aren’t quite clear yet, Terumi (in Hazama’s body) single-handedly destroyed Ragna and his siblings’ relationship, murdered their caretaker, and burned down their house… for the hell of it. He seems to enjoy the mere act of ruining people’s lives. He mocks everyone he comes across, poking at sensitive topics. That deep spirit leaks out into Hazama and Kazuma’s personalities so that they become almost identical. When Kazama decided to betray his friends and colleagues by removing a spell on Terumi, he did so because he felt like it. Knowing that Kazuma used to be a “good guy” one would think that once he was away from Terumi’s influence he would return to the “good side.” But he doesn’t. That influence corrupted his very being.

Or it just brought out his true self.

Readers, have you heard that quiet voice in the back of your mind? The one waiting. The one feeding you ideas that your rational mind immediately tries to cast out? Are you certain that is it you? Are you certain that it is not a something deep within you pulling at your mind and twisting it in perverse and grotesque ways?

Of course you’re not.

BlazBlue | Yuki Hazama

The creator of Blazblue, Toshimichi Mori, has described Hazama/Terumi as “Having no redeeming quality.” But why do we like him so much? Why can’t we get enough of this jackass troll? Even their existence is annoying. Is it Hazama or is it Terumi? How do we even know to address them while writing an article about them? Why, we ask, why do we like them so much?

It’s simple really.

Because, deep down, there’s a part of us waiting to break. There’s a part of Terumi and Hazama inside us all fueling our paranoia, fueling our hatreds. We know this unconsciously and relate. We relate to his utter determination, to our dissatisfaction with the world we were given. We praise their inability to die. We praise the fear that they put in the other characters. That, even when faced with defeat, they never lose face and continue to mock their opponents. Their wild laughter and sneers that gives them a mental advantage in all situations.

How many times have you gotten fed up with the world’s lies? The utter cruelty and madness of it all? How many times have you wanted to take those that look down upon you and destroy them? To leave no trace of their existence left in the world?

No, no. You might say. I don’t think those thoughts at all! I think Hazama is terrible.

You’re lying, dear reader.

And that means you’re already more like Hazama than you think.

About Antonin Kořenek

Antonin has been playing video games since before he could read. Once he did, he fell in love with their stories and worlds. He spends most of his gaming time with either story-based or strategy games. As an aspiring novelist, he blames games like Earthbound and Final Fantasy Tactics for getting him started. Antonin graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI with a degree in English Literature. When not gaming, he can be found reading, obsessing over something on Twitter, or researching strange folklore.