Heihachi Mishima in Tekken 6
|First game||Tekken (1994)|
|Designed by||Aya Takemura (Tekken 3–5, Tekken Tag, Soulcalibur II, Namco X Capcom)
Takuji Kawano (Tekken 4–5, Soulcalibur II)
|Voiced by (English)||John Paul Shephard (Tekken: The Motion Picture)
Kevin Michael Richardson (Soulcalibur II)
Jamieson Price (Tekken: Blood Vengeance, Street Fighter X Tekken)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Banjō Ginga (Tekken, Japanese dub of the Tekken film)
Wataru Takagi (Tekken 2)
Daisuke Gōri (Tekken 3 - Tekken 6, Tekken: The Motion Picture, Soulcalibur II, Death by Degrees, Namco x Capcom, Ridge Racer 6)
Unshō Ishizuka (Tekken: Blood Vengeance - ongoing)
|Motion capture||Syuichi Masuda (Tekken: Blood Vengeance)
Kouji Kawamoto (Tekken: Blood Vengeance) (stunts)
|Portrayed by||Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa|
|Nationality||Japanese (although it was denied by the Japanese government)|
|Fighting style||Mishima-ryu Karate (based on Goju-ryu karate)|
|Occupation||Head of Mishima Financial Empire (Tekken, Tekken 3, Tekken 4)|
Heihachi Mishima (Japanese: 三島 平八 Hepburn: Mishima Heihachi?) is a fictional character and one of the main antagonists of the Tekken fighting game series, given that he is almost always responsible for the series' events, though his impact has appeared to decrease as the series goes on as of Tekken 5 to onwards. He is one of only three characters (the others being Paul Phoenix and Nina Williams) to have appeared in every game in the series, making one appearance within the series as the main character and two as the final boss.
Conception and creation
Tekken series director Katsuhiro Harada has stated that Heihachi is his favorite character in the overall series and the character he most frequently selects when playing. He further described Heihachi as a "very human character", stating that while focus had been placed on his appearance he found the character's philosophy more interesting, and that in the series he was a "perfect portrayal of the evil that lurks in mens' hearts", an evil "far more hideous than any made-up monster or demon."
In video games
Heihachi is the son of Jinpachi Mishima, the husband of the late Kazumi Mishima, the father of Kazuya Mishima and Lars Alexandersson, the adopted father of Lee Chaolan, and the grandfather of Jin Kazama. He fights with Mishima style of Karate and is the founder and the Commander of the Tekken Force Unit. He has hosted half of the King of the Iron Fist Tournaments with the second, fifth and sixth King of Iron Fist Tournaments being hosted by Kazuya, Jinpachi, and Jin respectively.
Heihachi is better known as the only son of Jinpachi Mishima, a famous martial artist who founded the Mishima Zaibatsu company. Decades before the events of the original Tekken, Heihachi overthrew his father out of his control of Mishima Zaibatsu as he sought to control it as an industrial company. When Jinpachi attempted a coup d'état, Heihachi quickly captured and imprisoned him below the Mishima compound Hon-Maru and left him to starve to death.
Later, in an attempt to eliminate his son's "weakness", whose upbringing by Jinpachi is always blamed by Heihachi, he tossed Kazuya, his then 10 year old son, down a deep ravine, claiming that if he were truly his son, he would be able to survive the fall and climb back up. To further motivate Kazuya, Heihachi adopted Chinese orphan Lee and raised him as a rival to his true son. Through the Zaibatsu, he also funded the production of a series of robots designed for military use, the Jacks, as well as ordering a raid on a Native American tribe to search for a mystical necklace capable of controlling evil spirits kept by the Native Americans (revealed to be owned by Michelle Chang). After Kazuya had traveled abroad and became an undefeated champion, the 52-year-old Heihachi announced the King of Iron Fist Tournament in order to test him. Kazuya won the tournament, tossed Heihachi off the same cliff and assumed control of the Zaibatsu. Heihachi survived the event, went to train and meditate extensively, then returned two years later in the second tournament to defeat his son, and tossed Kazuya's body into a volcano to kill him.
After assuming control of Mishima Zaibatsu once again, Heihachi formed the Tekken Force, an elite army whose actions would ultimately lead to world peace. Fifteen years later, during a Tekken Force expedition at an Aztec Temple located somewhere in Mexico, Heihachi witnessed the Tekken Force being obliterated by a mysterious being called "Ogre". Realizing that Ogre had immortal blood, Heihachi sought to obtain its blood in order to create an "ultimate life form". Around this time, he is also met by a teenager named Jin Kazama, who claimed to be his grandson and begged Heihachi to train him in order to take revenge against Ogre for apparently murdering his mother, Jun, a request which he accepted. Heihachi then announced The King of Iron Fist Tournament 3 four years later to lure Ogre out. At the conclusion of the tournament, Heihachi betrayed Jin by shooting him in the head after the latter defeated Ogre. However, Jin transformed to Devil and knocked Heihachi out before he took flight.
Afterwards, Heihachi collected the remains of Ogre and attempted to combine his own DNA with that of Ogre, but discovered that he would need the Devil Gene as a catalyst, held by both his son and Jin. Unable to find Jin, Heihachi learned Kazuya had been resurrected by G Corporation, a rival company. To lure both to him, he held the fourth King of Iron Fist Tournament two years later with his very company's ownership as the grand prize. After the Tekken Force captured Jin upon arrival, Heihachi defeated by Kazuya in the finals, and took him to Hon-Maru. However, the two would be later defeated by Jin who escaped after sparing Heihachi's life.
Immediately after Jin's departure, an army of Jack-4s built and sent by G Corporation invaded Hon-Maru. Heihachi was seemingly killed in the attack, but in reality was blown a long distance away after the Jacks detonated. It is revealed in Tekken 6 that he was unconscious for the duration of the fifth King of Iron Fist Tournament. Upon his recovery, he discovered that Jin had taken control of the Mishima Zaibatsu in his absence, and so he entered the sixth King of Iron Fist Tournament to take back the Zaibatsu. He appears as an enemy in the Scenario Campaign, the story mode in the console version of Tekken 6 whose main character is Lars Alexandersson, Heihachi's illegitimate son. Heihachi apparently forgot about Lars, as he was quite surprised when Lars recalled his past. At first, Heihachi tries to make an alliance with Lars, but he refuses and tries to kill Heihachi through shooting, though he easily dispatches the bullet. Lars leaves, telling Heihachi that he will be the "last person" Heihachi ever meets. Heihachi is confirmed to appear in the upcoming Tekken 7.
Though unrelated to the story of the series, in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken 3D: Prime Edition, Tekken Revolution, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Project X Zone, Heihachi appears to have regressed back to his original appearance. Katsuhiro Harada commented on Heihachi's new voice actor for the game as former voice actor Daisuke Gōri passed away in 2010. Heihachi now for the first time, is seen with a full head of hair. According to his character profile on the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 website, this is because he drank a rejuvenation serum.
Other video games
Heihachi makes a brief appearance on the Tekken spin-off game Death by Degrees as an optional boss. He also makes an appearance as a playable guest character in the PS2 and HD Online versions of the fighting game Soulcalibur II, and as an unlockable narrator in Ridge Racer 6, one of the launch titles for Xbox 360.
Heihachi is one of the bonus characters available to play as or against in Anna Kournikova's Smash Court Tennis for the PlayStation (alongside fellow Namco characters) and is an unlockable character in Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament 2. He also makes guest appearances in the role-playing game Tales of the Abyss (as one of Anise's custom dolls) and in Pac-Man Fever (alongside several other Namco characters).
In the crossover tactical RPG Namco × Capcom Heihachi appears as one of playable characters representing the Namco universe. He also appears in the crossover fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken with Kuma as his official tag partner. Heihachi's younger incarnation appears as a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale with Kuma assisting him in one of his super attacks. He appears in the Capcom, Namco-Bandai and Sega crossover game Project X Zone initially as an enemy and later as an assist character.
In other media
Heihachi appears in both the anime Tekken: The Motion Picture, voiced by John Paul Shepard, and the 2010 film Tekken, Heihachi is portrayed by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. In the former, he is the main villain, while in the latter, he is initially a villain but becomes a much more sympathetic and honorable character (similar to his father Jinpachi) than in the games, as he is willing to give his life to save Jin from the Tekken Corp soldiers. He also appears as the main antagonist in the 2011 CGI animated film Tekken: Blood Vengeance, which is an alternate retelling of the events between Tekken 5 and Tekken 6. In it, he was supposedly killed by Kazuya four years ago, though in reality he is hiding and had conducted the M-cell experiment (taken from the Devil Gene) on a high school class to test immortality. However, all of the subjects died with the exception of Shin Kamiya, who managed to gain immortality as Heihachi desired. Heihachi is absent for most of the film until the climax, where he reveals that the experiment was just a ruse; he instead tries to take the Devil Gene from Kazuya and Jin, which gives its users increased power. After killing Shin, he fights Kazuya and Jin, awakening the Mokujin spirit for help, though he is ultimately defeated by Jin.
Tohru Fujisawa featured Heihachi as a cameo in his manga Great Teacher Onizuka, modeled after his younger appearance in Tekken. In it, he engages in an arm wrestling competition with protagonist Onizuka, shouting out controller inputs while the crowd shouts for him to "Do a combo!" Though Heihachi strains him for a moment, Onizuka defeats him, calling him "triangle head" as an insult. Heihachi cameos again in a later issue briefly, overseeing students as they clean graffiti from the school's walls. Heihachi also makes a cameo appearance in the Puchimas! Petit Petit Idolmaster ONA series.
In 2006, Namco released a Heihachi figurine as part of a Tekken 5 set based upon his promotional artwork for the game. While not posable, the PVC figure came with equipable clothing items modeled after those in the game. A "statue" of Heihachi modeled after his Tekken 5 attire also appears in the Namco-themed lounge available for Japanese PlayStation Home users.
In 1996, Japanese magazine Gamest named Heihachi the 15th best character of the preceding year, and in December 1997 he placed 40th on their list of the best video game characters. Gaming Target listed him as the best Tekken character, citing his strength despite his age. IGN called him "...one grandpa you don't want to come across in the retirement home", citing his ruthlessness in their profile of him. GamePro in their preview of Soul Calibur II's console ports called Heihachi's appearance in the series a landmark both as the second Tekken character to appear in the titles and as the first unarmed fighter in the series. Complex ranked Heihachi as "The 24th Most Dominant Fighting Game Character", commenting "The King of the Iron Fist Tournament son". Complex also ranked Heihachi as the 7th best Tekken character, commenting "The old man who's responsible for everybody's misery, Heihachi just won't be killed. Computer and Video Games also listed him as one of the angriest gaming characters as a result of his actions towards Kazuya made to eliminate his weakness.
GameSpot named him one of the top ten villains in video games at number three, describing him as one of the most interesting villains in fighting games and adding comments on his little changed design across the series. In PS2Planet's "Top 5 PSOne Villains", Heihachi was third with comments on him being the most realistic villain because of the themes the character touches. He was listed as the 78th "most dastardly ne'er-do-wells" villains on video game by GamesRadar. Edge described him as "a legendary fighting game villain", and cited the impact of his supposed death in Tekken 5.
GameDaily named his hairstyle one of the weirdest in gaming, stating "Heihachi Mishima is a tough old bird, and he's got the wings to show for it." His younger appearance in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 resulted in surprising reactions by critics who mainly pointed his hair. Both Kotaku and Game Informer have labelled him as one of the worst parents in video game history because of how he treats his relatives Kazuya and Jin. In 2012, he was listed as one of the most "ridiculous" Tekken characters by Game Informer, who said "Now that he's young again, his hair, eyebrows, and moustache all line up in a series of inverted Vs. Does he seriously think that looks cool? Apparently Heihachi's cure for old age couldn't turn back the clock on his dementia".
In a GamesRadar article by Michael Grimm, a fight between Heihachi and M. Bison was written as one of the ones players wanted to see in Street Fighter X Tekken because of their two similarities such as being their franchises' villains and other characteristics. Now Gamer listed Heihachi and Gen as one of the rivalries they want to see in Street Fighter X Tekken. FHM listed Heihachi and M. Bison as one of the "10 Awesome Fantasy Fights in Street Fighter X Tekken", adding "These dudes fight like a boss. M. Bison with his fancy psychic techniques and megalomaniac tendencies, and Heihachi with his old-man grit, and constant teeth-grinding ruthlessness". In 2014, What Culture ranked him as the 8th greatest character in fighting games, calling him "one of the most iconic and important characters in the Tekken series, and even hardcore fans may have lost track of how many times he has died and come back to life."
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- Heihachi's Soul Archive page (Japanese)