When people go through BlazBlue: Central Fiction, they have five new playable characters to choose from. Es, Nine, Hibiki, Naoto, and Izanami are all immediately available to choose from at the start. While getting to finally control Nine and Izanami is something we’ve wanted since we’ve known about their existence and involvement in the BlazBlue storyline, Es, Hibiki, and Naoto are outliers. They’re cool characters, but you might wonder if they really have a place here. Each one fits perfectly within this storyline and offers answers to questions we might not even know we had, elaborating on their own roles and the nature of the game.
Hibiki seems like the most innocuous of all five immediately available new BlazBlue: Central Fiction cast members. He’s Kagura’s servant and an assassin, someone who just seemed to be there in BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma. While having someone with that skill set as a playable character is interesting, especially since he makes use of shadowy abilities and clones to attack enemies, his real strength comes form the way in which he’s used in the plot. He’s one of the characters to have Act 1, 2, and 3 storylines in the arcade mode, following his activities throughout the game. We watch as he becomes something of the ultimate tool. Through him, we get to see how the wants and needs of someone who doesn’t seem to have any would be exposed and exploited. He’s interesting in the same way Litchi is, as both are flawed characters who are descending into some dark places. Through him, we learn more about himself and some of the other characters.
With Es, we gain a better understanding of her character and how everything she has done influenced the BlazBlue series. In her own XBlaze – Code: Embryo and XBlaze – Lost: Memories stories, we saw her interactions with Legacy Weapons like the Sealed Spear: Izayoi and the Master Unit, watched her decide to stay in the Boundary with the Embryo, sealing the Wadatsumi Gate and creating the Phantom Field. All of these things end up factoring into BlazBlue: Central Fiction’s storyline in some way and, with her presence, we see the role she’s destined to fulfill after her previous, happy life. We understand how her presence will help Ragna achieve his destiny. Her connection to the Azure gives us an additional opportunity to comprehend something that may otherwise be beyond us.
Naoto is interesting, in that his presence helps us better understand the nature of timelines and realities in the BlazBlue universe. We always had some idea that the novel series he’s from, BlazBlue: Bloodedge Experience, was a prequel to the video game’s timeline. As we go through his act in the arcade mode of BlazBlue: Central Fiction, we better understand the true nature of his world. We’re able to see how it connects to the one we’re more familiar with and understand more about people like Izanami, Hazama, Relius, and Rachel. The interactions he has with other characters and the comparisons to Ragna, the Bloodedge we’re more familiar with, helps define him as well. Through his storyline and conversations with other characters, we begin to learn more about the Naoto from the video game’s timeline and his family, and more about how this conclusion impacts his own time and place. Naoto’s inclusion makes me believe Arc System Works is giving us a hint as to the future of the BlazBlue series after BlazBlue: Central Fiction.
Izanami is an interesting force, more so in her own arcade storyline than anywhere else. Though, her appearances throughout BlazBlue: Central Fiction offer more information than we’ve ever had about the nature of her existence and motivations. We finally know exactly who and what she is. We understand what she wants, what her desire is. Thanks to her increased presence in every storyline, as well as her own, we end up knowing absolutely everything we’d want or need to know about Saya, Noel, and everyone who shares a bit of these characters. With her presence, we’re getting answers to questions we’ve had since BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger.
I like to think Nine is the most important of all the new playable characters. Her limiters are removed and she’s freed. She’s working to achieve her goals and shares responsibility for much of BlazBlue: Central Fiction’s plot. In a game filled with Observers and Chosen, she’s one who’s overseeing many people’s desires and plucking important parts to create something that can change the world. She’s as complex to play as she is to understand, and through her storyline and interactions with characters like Celica, Kokonoe, and Ragna, we finally understand why one of the Six Heroes would suddenly be one of BlazBlue’s biggest bads. I’d even suggest saving her arcade mode storyline, as well as Ragna and Noel’s, for the very end, due to the truth that comes from knowing exactly why she’s doing everything she does.
Each one of BlazBlue: Central Fiction’s new characters carries so much weight. These new fighters each have an important place in the storyline. By going through each of their storylines, we’re learning more about themselves, this world, existing characters, and maybe even the future of the series. Characters like Izanami and Nine are very obviously major players. They have been for some time. But these other new contenders are more critical to the plot and future of the series than they might otherwise suggest. While people tend to have their favorites in a series such as this, I strongly recommend playing through Es, Naoto, Hibiki, Nine, and Izanami’s arcade modes. The things you’ll learn will do you good.
BlazBlue: Central Fiction is available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.