Arc System Works announced a new expansion pack for Blazblue Cross Tag Battle at EVO 2019 last weekend, the release of which coincides with the game’s 2.0 update. The pack, available for $24.99 on November 21, adds nine new characters to the multi-franchise tag-battle fighting game. Four of those nine characters have been announced, including Yumi from long-running ecchi beat-em-up franchise Senran Kagura, as well as RWBY antagonist Neo Politan. There’s also a sentient tank with a skull for a face named Blitztank? And also it’s probably a Nazi?
Blitztank — as well as the fourth announced fighter, Akatsuki, who is not a sentient tank with a skull for a face — are both deep cuts from an indie Japanese fighting game called Akatsuki Blitzkampf, which originally released on PC in Japan in 2007. Set in an alternate history version of Earth, Akatsuki Blitzkampf‘s character designs are heavily inspired by World War 2-era Nazi and Imperial Japanese military uniforms, which gives the whole thing a really uncomfortable tinge, to say the least. The main character, Akatsuki, is a high-ranking officer in the game’s version of the Imperial Japanese Navy, who awakens in a dystopian future after being frozen in the arctic circle for several decades.
No English translation was ever released for Akatsuki Blitzkampf, fan or otherwise, so it’s difficult to know what the actual context for any of this stuff is. I decided to take some time and look into the characters and their affiliations, with an eye towards learning if any of them are actually Nazis (or equivalents), or if anyone in Akatsuki Blitzkampf is beholden to ideals espoused by Axis countries during World War 2.
I found protagonist Akatsuki’s Nazi-alignment status to be probable, but ultimately, inconclusive. He’s an officer in a stand-in for Japan’s Axis-aligned Imperial Navy, and multiple wikis make reference to him returning to his “mission” after waking up — both of these things could be construed as evidence of a pro-Axis/Imperial Japan bent for the character.
However, since every Akatsuki Blitzkampf story synopsis available in English is roughly the same top-level, copy/pasted look at the game’s premise, none provided any further character motivations or details. There are no English translations for Akatsuki’s arcade mode dialogue either, which means that there is nothing that I, an English speaker, can definitively point to and say “Yes, this character is a member of Axis forces and everything that entails.” But it doesn’t look too much like he ain’t a complicit member of Axis forces, either.
Blitztank, on the other hand, is almost definitely a Nazi. I’m talkin’ like, 98 percent chance this tank with a skull for a face is a Nazi. It was created by “Gesellschaft,” a secret German society running the background machinations of Akatsuki Blitzkampf, which is clearly intended as an allusion to the SS, based on the arcade mode ending for Mycale, a character belonging to the group.
Really weird choice to put a sentient tank that’s almost certainly supposed to be a Nazi into your fighting game, Arc System Works!