Our Magical, Terrible Journey Through the Blazblue Wiki

Series: Blazblue Type: Fighting Game Franchise with innumerable spin-offs Rating: Anime

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Oct 28 2016, 8:00pm

Blazblue is a fighting game. Like any fighting game, it has a massive abundance of something it doesn't need anything of at all: a story. Blazblue is a little unique for having so much spinoff apocrypha; visual novels, manga, radio dramas, etc.

Diving into the wiki for Blazblue requires a certain kind of courage. It takes even more to rate and chronicle the experience. But with enough time and patience, you, too, can understand what's happening here.

Courtesy of Aksys Games

It is absolutely too easy to make fun of the Blazblue wiki, so easy I don't want to make fun of it? I ended up not being very successful at this but if you only focus on how ridiculously nonsensical the Blazblue wiki is out of context, it's easy to miss how ridiculous the context itself is, that it's more overwhelming and strange that Blazblue does make sense than that it doesn't make sense.

It's truly ridiculous for how obsessively it makes sense out of itself; as a game about anime characters fighting each other, it doesn't actually need to make any sense, or at least, nowhere near the amount of sense it tries to make.

What Blazblue is ultimately "about" are characters trapped in a recursive loop of time, creating fictional solutions to fictional problems as an ad infinitum mirror of the creators of the games making shit up to explain other made up shit and solve cliffhangers and dangling plot threads.

I'm not exaggerating very much? Very seriously, and very literally, this is actually the storyline of Blazblue, and the characters coming up with ways to find a solution to the setting's dream logic kind of seems to mirror the creative process of writing Blazblue.

Part of me wants to correctly say that this makes Blazblue VERY stupid. Another part of me spent several hours browsing the Blazblue wiki, and that part of me wants to slightly disagree, because I loved it?

You can follow a hyperlink and read a full and detailed explanation for whatever fucking nonsense that the Blazblue wiki throws at you, and of course, obviously, it is just going to be more fucking nonsense, but somehow my brain is fully compelled by it. I love knowing more about it even if it's all the functioning of completely made up plot devices that have no relevance to the real world, and no meaning other than the way they interlock together. It's engrossing. It's scary!

Mai Natsume

From the Blazblue wiki page

Type: Character
Rating: oh no honey honey

I try to be cautious about reading sublimated desires into fiction, it's easy to read too much into things, to project what you want to see, to feel like you know an author when you're only seeing this single slice, but with all that in mind, oh my god? This is so overwhelming?

The specificity is what devastates me, there are a million works of fiction that are like, "whoa, haha what if I could turn into a girl wouldn't that be cool I mean weird," and whether that's sublimated desire bubbling or personal projection is whatever, but I feel like an extended narrative about resocialization is just a lot, compared to the usual story that stops at the magic pill​ or whatever.

I don't blame you if you didn't read that whole paragraph but there's a sentence towards the end summarizing: Mai feels isolated, the weight of her father's expectations make her feel like a puppet, and that is kind of a lot? The literal narrative is her living as a woman makes her feel like a person so find another way to read that I guess? Maybe the greatest value of unwieldy overwrought multimedia franchises is that things like this swell up in them.

This was someone's idea and someone wrote it and to that person I really want to say: Honey. Are you okay? Like, but, are you really okay? You should feel like it's okay.

Izanami

From the Blazblue wiki page

Type: Manifestation of Death
Rating: Me

There's something actually amazing, incredible, even inspiring, about how the main antagonist of this game's master plan is for things to literally happen. She just wants a world without all this stupid time travel bullshit. As the representative of the reader's desire, I am rooting for her beyond anyone else.

Kokonoe

From the Blazblue wiki

Type: Catgirl (rude)
Rating: The Best Character In The Game

There's one more thing you need to know about Blazblue and unfortunately it's this:

Celica A. Mercury

From the Blazblue wiki

Type: Clone
Rating: Fucking Time Travel

Celica A. Mercury is a time-displaced clone of a person who was in the past the love interest of the main character, thrown back in time from the present, at which the point at which he was the future Celica A. Mercury's surrogate child. I know that every screenshot of the Blazblue wiki proves my point about Blazblue, but this also gives us an opportunity to talk about time travel.

I always say in narrative design less is more, but sometimes, terrifyingly, more is more, and Blazblue is the most. I don't think it's good or interesting — everything that happens in Blazblue is incidental, assuming it happens at all, and most things that happen in Blazblue don't!

It is indisputable that time travel is complete bullshit, but it comes up again and again in science fiction because it is compelling bullshit. Time travel is fascinating; time travel is fucking stupid. Time travel opens infinite possibilities; time travel ties it all in a bow in the end so none of it happened.

Time Travel is the wikia of science fictional plot devices: infinite information without contextual meaning. Increasingly elaborate paradoxes that require increasingly elaborate solutions.

Time Travel narratives are as recursive and meaningless as the story of Blazblue: it's about a knot that keeps getting bigger because you keep trying to untie it, knowing you could just cut it.

Is it because I like some of the characters, or just, is it because watching that knot is inherently compelling on some level? Information for information's sake. Kinda scary? This nonsense charms my brain just because A connects to B and B to C. I want this big thing in my brain that makes sense out of everything, I guess!

Logic

From the Blazbue wiki

Type: Definition
Rating: Logical

The most disappointing thing about this article is that it's the most logical explanation in the world for explaining the concept of things that exist outside of logic (I think it is a little clever that something clearly fictional like a vampire exists outside logic, even if every single other character in Blazblue is a robot magic catgirl).

Still, is this not terribly boring? A fire made outside of logic just burns people like normal? Unmentioned in this article — but pertinent I guess — is that you can scar and wound someone's soul with magic because souls also exist outside of logic and maybe that too is a little bit cool, so I'm mostly just bored aesthetically? I know that shooting fireballs has to look like a power you have in a video game but toss around this sequence of words in your head "a fire outside of logic," and tell me: are you imagining something much more interesting?

You beat a thing outside of logic with another thing that exists outside of logic, but if things that exist outside of logic behave so logically, isn't that kind of unimaginative? You know, I have my tastes when it comes to worldbuilding, but does magic not lose all flavor and interest when reduced to another set of rules?  

Clarke's Inverse Law: Any Sufficiently Documented Magic Is Indistinguishable From Science. And it's true though—and especially in Blazblue — magic and science literally are indistinguishable, used in conjunction by almost everyone.

Embryo Storage

From the Blazblue wiki

Summary: Word salad, kind of hypnotic
Rating: Blazblue

Two best things about the Blazblue wiki: 
1. Every single page is like this
2. There is so so so much of it

This was the first thing I got when I hit "show me a random page on this wiki" and it is also exactly like all the other pages I found when I kept pressing that button. It is the simplest thing in the world to turn to any random Blazblue wiki page and learn a plot-crucial dream-logic word salad fact like "The Embryo Storage is also called a Manifestation Boundary Interface Prime Field Device (示現境界接触用素体 Jigen Kyōkai Sesshokuyō Sotai)."

The Blazblue wiki is the opposite of an encyclopedia: the definitions make everything more confusing, the explanations of explaining how the logic of the universe works is ultimately all in the service of explaining why nothing happened and the status quo was maintained but for an incremental storyline advancement.

Blazblue's visual novel stories are kind of unbearable, but that kind of story absolutely makes for the best wiki to read; it's utterly captivating and looping, each entry just raises further questions, like a nonlinear potboiler. This is every wiki, but it's especially so with the Blazblue wiki.

Maybe information is just hypnotic? You would do this on Wikipedia, the wiki for our actual reality, too wouldn't you—going from page to page to find out explanations and context for things that actually exist.

In Blazblue, everything is self referential and provides not even an interesting narrative function, no real point at the end—or no point in and of itself, it's all about the character drama. Or it's all there is in place of the character drama, because it can't really pull it off. What I mean to say is Blazblue is bad, the worldbuilding is not good: but weight of detail is scarily compelling.