In the Spotlight: Kazuya Mishima

Few fighting games manage to conjure up as ridiculous a story line as Tekken has achieved, and at the centre of Namco Bandai’s venerable brawler stands one family: the Mishimas. Chief among this clan of crazed, power-hungry corporate bigwigs is Kazuya Mishima, son of Heihachi Mishima and protagonist of the original Tekken. Kaz is perhaps renowned just as much for his daft hair as his fighting prowess, a feat that only long-time rival Paul Phoenix has managed to match. Still, make no mistake; Mishima Jnr is among the cream of the crop of Tekken combatants, and remains a firm fan favourite some 17 years after the series’ inception. As such, he has bagged a well-deserved place in the latest ‘in the spotlight’ series.

In direct contrast to his father, Kazuya isn’t intrinsically an evil sod, rather adopting his now-infamous dastardly persona after making a deal with the devil himself. But, more on that later. Poor Kaz lost his mother, Kazumi, at an early age and was subsequently raised by Heihachi—if you can call it that. Indeed, the Mishima family patriarch didn’t exactly go easy on the poor lad, subjecting Kazuya to intense practice sessions in the art of Mishima Karate and generally frowning upon his son’s timid, benevolent nature. As far as Heihachi was concerned, Kazuya was weak and almost worthless, and punished him accordingly. His brutal upbringing of his son culminated in Kazuya being thrown off a cliff, resulting in Kazuya making a pact with the devil in order to survive the ordeal. Heihachi later adopted a Chinese male named Lee Chao Lan to further encourage Kaz’s training, a move that sparked an intense rivalry between the pair.

Naturally, after spending much of his adolescent years under Heihachi’s boot heel, Kaz was pretty miffed at daddy. As such, when Heihachi announced the inaugural King of the Iron Fist Tournament, Kazuya saw an ideal opportunity to vent his anger by pummeling pops into submission, and joined up. Battling his way to the final round, the young Mishima Karate master found himself face-to-face with Heihachi. A long, arduous scrap ensued, with Kazuya eventually emerging victorious, and lobbing his unconscious father off a cliff—payback’s a bitch, ain’t it? Unfortunately, Heihachi survived the fall, and desired revenge. Enter the King of Iron Fist Tournament 2, this time helmed by Kazuya himself, who in the years after his victory in the original tournament had been completely seduced by the devil within, leading the Mishima Zaibatsu with a callous, iron fist. He killed those who opposed him (including Eddy Gordo’s father), extorted money and hired bulky bodyguards to carry out his nefarious activities.

Eventually Heihachi would defeat Kazuya in battle before chucking him into a raging volcano, but not before Kaz utilized his dreamy-eyed devil powers to lure the vulnerable Jun Kazama into his arms, leading to a one-night stand that later resulted in the birth of his son, Jin. Nineteen years passed until the opening of the King of Iron Fist Tournament 3, which saw the defeat of Heihachi and ancient god-like foe Ogre at the hands of Jin Kazama. Kazuya, meanwhile, was too busy being brown bread to participate. However, he was later discovered and subsequently resurrected by a bio-research firm named G-Corporation, who experimented on the now 40-something Mishima man in order to learn the secrets of the Devil Gene that resided within Kazuya’s body. However, Heihachi, keen to create the ultimate life form and requiring that very gene to do so, raids one of G-Corp’s labs and steals much of its research. They later penetrate the same base Kazuya is being held, only to be decimated by the revived Mishima Karate practitioner, who proves he still packs a mean punch despite being dead for nearly 20 years.

Furious at Kazuya’s intervention, daddy plots the fourth entry in the King of the Iron Fist Tournament to lure his son out. Kazuya enters, batters all opposition in his path, and faces off against Heihachi—only to lose once again. However, instead of clobbering Kazuya there and then, Heihachi leads his son to a mysterious temple deep within the Mishima Zaibatsu compound, where Kaz eyes his son for the first time. Unfortunately for daddy however, Devil overtakes Kazuya’s body, blasts Heihachi out of the room, and faces off against Jin in hopes of absorbing the power that lies within his body. Jin ultimately defeats his father and later Heihachi, before sprouting wings and taking flight through the temple roof.

Minutes later, the new and improved Jack series invades the compound, forcing father and son to team up. The pair pummels countless Jack robots, but with every one that ends up scrap metal, another half a dozen or so take their place. Realising their battle is futile; a cheeky grin graces Kazuya’s features as he lobs Heihachi into the approaching Jack horde, leaving him for dead. The robots then detonate, obliterating the compound and seemingly kill Heihachi in the process. Sensing G-Corporation are behind the attack, Kazuya jumps at the chance of entering the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5—hosted by a then unknown party—to flush out his betrayers. Ultimately, it turns out Heihachi did not perish in the explosion, and Kazuya’s grandfather, the ancient Jinpachi Mishima, hosted the tournament and is infused with the same demonic powers that plagues the Mishima bloodline. While not triumphing in the actual tournament itself, Kaz is ultimately successful in flushing out the perpetrators behind the attack, brutally massacring several G-Corporation bigwigs and assuming control of the conglomerate himself. This combined with Jin’s victory at the tournament and subsequent takeover of the Mishima Zaibatsu inaugurated a full-scale global war between both parties, as Kazuya was never going to concede world domination to anyone, least of all his own son.

G-Corp’s military might was successful in holding back the Mishima war machine, and Kazuya and co were viewed by Joe Public as heroes for their actions. Kazuya, however, was using the façade of military intervention to bolster his company’s public influence enough so that he could ultimately put a bounty on Jin’s head. He did just that, and his son responded by lifting the curtain on the King of Iron Fist Tournament 6. Quite what the official canon here is remains unknown, though his ending sequences depicts him assuming full control of the Mishima Zaibatsu after giving Devil Jin a firm battering. However, I have a feeling he’ll get the short end of the stick once again. We’ll just have to wait and see.