The third Overwatch animated short is out! It’s called “Dragons”, and it takes a closer look at the relationship between the Shimada brothers, Hanzo and Genji.
Before this short, many seemed to think that Hanzo was good, and Genji, bad. Allow me to clear that up quickly with this quick blurb from both their bios, which sets the scene for this animated short perfectly…
The Shimada family was established centuries ago, a clan of assassins whose power grew over the years, enabling them to build a vast criminal empire that profited from lucrative trade in arms and illegal substances. As the eldest son of the family’s head, Hanzo was bound by duty to succeed his father and rule the Shimada empire.
Upon the death of his father, the clan elders instructed Hanzo to straighten out his wayward younger brother so that he, too, might help rule the Shimada empire. When his brother refused, Hanzo was forced to kill him. This act broke Hanzo’s heart and drove him to reject his father’s legacy, ultimately leading him to abandon the clan and all that he had worked so hard to attain.
Hanzo believed that he had killed his brother, but Genji was rescued by Overwatch and the intervention of Dr. Angela Ziegler. The global security force saw Genji as a potential asset in its ongoing operations to combat the Shimada clan. As Genji’s injuries left him clinging to life, Overwatch offered to rebuild his body in exchange for his help. He was put through an extensive process of cyberization, which enhanced his natural speed and agility and augmented his superlative ninja skills. Transformed into a living weapon, Genji single-mindedly set about the task of dismantling his family’s criminal empire.
If you didn’t know all that already, I’d imagine “Dragons” (HA see what I did there?) will make a lot more sense now. Here it is again, in case you’ve not yet watched it.
How cool? I think that may just be my favourite animated short of the lot!
Anyways, let’s break it down. What cool little details and such did Blizzard hide within? I’ve watched the clip over 9000 times or so now, and I’ve spotted the following…
Here we have Mount Fuji, and a very familiar shrine. This short is undoubtedly set in Hanamaru, which also happens to be playable map in Overwatch. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!
Here we have the Murloc mascot from said map. It’s nice little reference to Warcraft, and also a good indication as to where we are specifically location wise. This is just outside the starting area for the attackers.
Damn Hanzo, those are some nice kicks! I bet they’d be quite useful when it comes to, oh I don’t know, climbing a wall or something.
Speak of the devil, Hanzo does just that. He climbs up that gate in no time at all – just like he would in-game.
As you know, Hanzo is breaking into his family home. Why though, and why are there so many guards there? Why is this one so sleepy? And what’s with the hair? SO MANY QUESTIONS!
Hanzo actually doesn’t have an electric arrows in his arsenal. I’d like to think that this is an interpretation of what happens when one is hit in the heart with a sonic arrow – one of his supposedly non-lethal abilities. That, or he just fired off a regular projectile into the heart of this innocent Omnic.
Speaking of which, that robot there is quite an interesting inclusion. In the world of Overwatch, are Japan ok with the Omnic being around? Or does the fact that this one is a mobster say something else, like they’re only used for evil purposes?
I guess phones are still a thing in the future. What brand is that, Apple or Samsung? It’s kind of hard to tell, because they all look the same at the end of the day really.
Whatever it is, at least screen technology has improved vastly. Hanzo puts an arrow right through that poor phone, and it’s still on somehow!
Who is this guy? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but his face rings a bell…
Ok look I’m sorry, I know that was a bad joke! The reason I included this picture is because, again, it gives an indication of where we are location wise. This is the first capture point of Hanamaru
I didn’t pay too much attention to the moon in this short when I first saw it. Reddit user vitev009 however, reminded me that it is colonised. Remember Winston’s short, “Recall”? It showed him up there as a baby!
At least, the staging ground of the upcoming battle! This room also happens to the final capture point of Hanamaru.
Oooh Shimada blades! One is missing, which I presume, is in Genji’s possession (unless he is using something else entirely). Another remains, which I presume is Hanzo’s. Maybe he refuses to wield it until he has restored his honour? There’s damage on the blade too. I wonder if it is a result of his initial battle with Genji all those years ago?
I bet this is collateral damage from that encounter too.
I don’t know what to make of this, but I know it must have some significant explanation. What’s with the feather/quill? Genji drops one later too.
Why exactly Hanzo is here is a mystery at this point. We later find out though, that he is here to honour his “dead” brother…
… who just so happens to be hiding in the shadows. Why hello there, Genji! Oh, keep in mind that at this point, Hanzo still thinks his brother is dead. He believes this mech ninja is here to assassinate him.
Holy crap, Hanzo can fire off arrows that arc! I’m so glad he can’t do that in-game.
What’s a cyborg ninja without a shuriken or three? Here, Genji makes use of standard attack.
Hanzo prepares to unleash a scatter arrow – one of his signature moves. This retaliation is understandable really, I’m not a fan of having shurikens thrown at my face either!
This forces Genji to push “E” to activate his deflect ability…
And then he dashes off with another of his signature moves, swift strike.
Nothing significant here, I don’t think. I just really like this shot.
Uh-oh, Hanzo has his ultimate all lined up. Ryuu ga waga teki wo kurau! (thanks for the spelling and explanation, xDha).
Poor Genji. I knew him well!
Of course he wouldn’t die. Genji has his own cute little dragon that he can command obviously! In-game, it allows him to insta-kill enemies with a single blow. Here though, it allows him to redirect Hanzo’s – he is not deflecting it.
Take note of how Genji’s dragon steers away from hurting Hanzo. He is hurt by his own instead.
Oh hey, we actually get to see Genji’s face. It looks very withered, scarred and burnt. Is that the result of some serious burns perhaps? I wonder if Hanzo believed he died in a fire or something?
Genji says, ‘the world is changing once again Hanzo, and it’s time to pick a side.” This leads me to believe that this short takes place sometime after Winston’s and Widowmaker’s. How long after though, I’m not entirely sure.
Genji does his ninja thing, and disappears in a cloud of smoke. He leaves a feather however, which I’m still not too sure about. What exactly does it mean?
UPDATE: several people (Uttrik on Reddit, and Theo in the comments below) have now pointed out that the feather could have some tie to Genji’s alternate skin that goes by the name ‘Sparrow‘. Perhaps that was a nickname for him in his younger days?
The short ends with the camera panning up, to a painting that illustrates the very dragon tale we’ve been listening to. Speaking of which…
The Dragon Tale
I wanted to throw in these screenshots and bits into my post above, but I feel they work better when presented together. Here’s the Dragon Tale in its entirety…
My family tells of an ancient legend about two great dragon brothers; the dragon of the north wind, and the dragon of the south wind. Together, they upheld balance and harmony in the heavens.
But the two brothers argued over who could better rule their land. Their quarrel turned to rage and their violent struggle darkened the skies, until the dragon of the south wind struck down his brother, who fell to earth, shattering the land.
The dragon of the south wind had triumphed, but as time passed and he realised his solitude, the sweetness of victory turned to ash.
For years, the bereft dragon’s grief threw the world into discord, and he knew only bitterness and sorrow.
I just want to pause here to point out quickly that this here is where we can directly tie the story of the dragons to Hanzo and Genji’s. Here we can see Hanzo’s bitterness and sorrow first-hand. Anyways, as you were!
One day, a stranger called up to the dragon and asked, ‘old dragon lord, why are you so distraught?’
The dragon told him, ‘seeking power, I killed my brother, but without him, I am lost.’
The stranger replied, ‘you have inflicted wounds upon yourself, but now, you must heal. Walk the earth on two feet as I do. Find value in humility. Then, you will find peace.’
The dragon knelt upon the ground. For the first time, he was able to clearly see the world around him, and he became human. The stranger revealed himself as his fallen brother. Reunited, the two set out to rebuild what they had once destroyed.
From beginning to end, the dragon tale encompasses exactly what has happened between Hanzo and Genji. This includes their past, and even what happens in this cinematic.
The ending however, is not applicable to the two, at least not yet. I’m pretty sure that Hanzo will see the light though, and join Genji, and by extension, Overwatch, as a good guy later on in the story.
I’m sure we will find out more answers at some stage. Otherwise, if you have spotted anything I may have missed, please be sure to let me know!
Last Updated: May 17, 2016