I Love Hanzo And No One Can Convince Me Otherwise
So not gonna lie, I was pretty damn salty toward Hanzo for a long time, But the more I think about it and the more I watch the Dragons short, the more I realize that all my salt was misplaced
Now, Hanzo has done some pretty not-good things, that’s a given. But the majority of Overwatch characters have. And I don’t see people hating on McCree for all his gang activity. If it were All Good Decisions All The Time, then it would make for pretty boring lore. But we’re just focusing on Hanzo right now.
Let’s start with the Shimada Clan as a whole. Clearly up to some shady business. That’s our first strike against Hanzo. But the clan was his family. It was the life he was born into, chances are it was all he knew. How many times have you been in a situation where your parents were pressuring you into doing something, but you couldn’t really refuse because they’re your parents? And considering what the Family Business consisted of, it doesn’t really seem like a good idea to disobey. Because someone did try that once. And look what happened to him.
This is the part people always get on his ass about. “He killed Genji! Therefore he is a terrible person!!”
Now don’t get me wrong. This probably could have been handled better. And I do not condone killing your siblings, kiddos. But the Clan was clearly very strict, or else they never would have ordered to have Genji killed in the first place. Not to mention the fact that Genji was very young (Estimated around 25) when it happened. I mean I can only speak from my own experiences, but I don’t know many twenty-something-year-olds that really have their lives together. Especially when their family doesn’t really have to worry about financial things, which the Shimadas clearly never did.
So we’ve got Hanzo, who’s been given an order. He realizes that this is what happens if you disobey. And chances are, they Clan knows that they’re putting this thought into his head. It’s not only a punishment for Genji, but a warning to Hanzo, as well. “You may be the Master of the Clan, but you are not all-powerful”.
He’s left with two choices: Kill Genji himself, or allow the Clan to kill both of them.
And really, these are the only two options he can see. After all, the Clan isn’t exactly filled with nice people or amateurs. If they want Genji dead, he will end up dead. And if Hanzo refuses, then he’ll only share his brother’s fate.
So he does as he’s told. But that makes him realize that the Clan, everything he’s worked for his entire life, isn’t what he thought it was. He spends years mourning, regretting what he’s done, to the point where he risks his life in order to honor the one he took. He knows that the Clan has been sending assassins after him, but he still goes to the same place every year.
But he doesn’t want to admit that he’s hurting. In a crime family, you have to distance yourself. Any negative emotion can be used against you when you need to remain focused. And that’s where another argument against him comes into play.
“Hey my brother is actually alive? Cool, now I can trY TO KILL HIM AGAIN”
He’s tense, he’s angry. And honestly? He has a right to be both of those things. Not only was Genji alive for all these years while he was mourning him, but then Genji shows up one night out of the blue, taunting him about what happened and pretending that he’s an assassin. Which is seriously a dick move.
But there’s more to what Hanzo’s feeling, and major kudos to the animators for being able to capture it.
He’s fighting someone whom he assumes is trying to kill him, and suddenly the “stranger” reveals a technique that no one else should have.
There’s shock, there’s confusion. Who is this person? How can he do this? But then, just a split second of something else. “Could it possibly be him?” But of course it can’t be. Genji is dead, there has to be another answer.
But Genji’s not dead. And when he reveals himself, we’re met with another onslaught of emotion.
Skepticism, astonishment, the thought that maybe, just maybe, things could be okay. There’s even the tiniest traces of a smile toward the end. This is a man discovering that he is not alone against the world anymore.
But then, what does Genji do? He has just insulted Hanzo, re-opened wounds that were still healing, made him believe that his life was at stake. Only to tell him he was alive, give a quick “I forgive you”, and proceed to leave.
This forgiveness is, presumably, a decade in the making. But Hanzo has only known about his brother’s survival for a few seconds. Less than a minute before, he was under the impression that he was going to die.
So of course he’s angry about this. But this is where his past comes back into play. As I said, the Clan deals with crime, and emotions that could be seen as weak have no place.
What I’m getting at is that Hanzo doesn’t know how to express what he’s feeling.
So he does it in the only way he knows how. He lashes out, he draws his weapon, he gets angry.
But here’s the thing. Genji’s back was to him. He could have fired that arrow. But he didn’t. He lets Genji leave, and he’s left to try and sort out everything that’s running through his head.
And it will take time. But if what we see in the Reflections comic is any indication, he’s working toward forgiving himself. One step at a time.