Project X Zone 2’s Japan-only cast: a primer

Project X Zone 2 releases next week, and it’s a mash-up of all sorts of Bandai Namco, Sega and Capcom franchises (with a few Nintendo ones for good measure). Some of them haven’t exactly been seen outside of Japan, though! Here’s more on those fighters whose games have yet to hit our shores.

project x zone 2 sakura wars

Sakura Shinguji, Ichiro Ogami and Erica Fontaine (Sakura Wars)

In the first Project X Zone? Yes.

Those who played Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love will recognize one of the game’s four Sakura Wars characters: Gemini Sunrise. She’s joined by three characters from earlier in the series. The first, Ichiro Ogami, was the playable protagonist of the first four games. (You may have seen him briefly in So Long, My Love; he’s Shinjiro’s uncle and commanding officer.) The important thing to know about him? His decisions were largely up to the player, so mostly you just need to know that he also has a big mech and generally inspires groups of people to save the day.

Sakura Shinguji is the namesake of the series, and is most prominent in the first two Sakura Wars titles. (In some other media, she’s the protagonist, and Ogami is written out almost entirely.) She’s shown up in almost every game since, though, so it’s no surprise at all to see her here. She’s paired with Ogami, as that’s likely the canon pairing in the series. She also has impressive fighting skills and a mech, which generally seems inefficient. Right? If you focused one way or the other, wouldn’t you be more formidable?

Erica Fontaine, the last of the Sakura Wars roster, joined the franchise in the third and fourth games. Set in Paris, those installments had a somewhat different feel than their Japan-based predecessors. As a friend pointed out, this is all you really need to know about Erica Fontaine. (Not kidding. It’s actually one of her special moves.)

All of these characters are used to tactical turn-based strategy, so their movesets aren’t exactly a stretch.

project x zone 2 segata sanshiro

Segata Sanshiro

In the first Project X Zone? No.

Segata Sanshiro is a weird case, because he’s not really a game character, though he did eventually end up with his own minigame collection. No, Sanshiro is a commercial mascot for the Sega Saturn, a parody of a character from a Kurosawa film and a punny reference to the Sega Saturn he was created to promote. He’s since made a lot of cameos, including one referencing his heroic demise steering a missile away from Sega headquarters in Sega & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

What you need to know about him when playing is this: he’s sort of the Japanese answer to Chuck Norris, a profoundly disciplined and trained martial artist who can — get this — make people explode just by throwing them. Also he really likes the Sega Saturn.

He really is quite great.

project x zone 2 god eater 2

Nana Kouzuki and Ciel Alencon (God Eater 2)

In the first Project X Zone? No.

You’ll know these two soon: God Eater 2 is on its way to the West this summer! Until then, here’s what you need to know: Ciel is very quiet and strict, and wears gothic lolita attire. Nana is very boisterous and cheerful to a fault, and styles her hair to look like she has cat ears. Also both of them have preposterously enormous weaponry because they’re from God Eater and that’s just what people do there.

Generally, these big hammers and sword-guns look very cool in the Project X Zone battle system. Which is definitely a plus.

project x zone 2 valkyrie

Valkyrie (Valkyrie no Boken)

In the first Project X Zone? Yes.

Remember the Famicom classic Valkyrie no Boken? Of course you don’t. It was Namco’s take on the Zelda-style top-down adventure, starring Valkyrie on her quest to save Marvel Land from darkness. The one biggest difference between the original Zelda and Valkyrie is a scrolling world. We don’t know much about her, as the game was incredibly light on text. In that way, she’s a female analog of Link: a silent vessel to contain the values and personality of the player.

An arcade/PC Engine sequel saw her return with co-op help from an ally, but she was absent from the third and final game, a prequel on the SNES. Even so, Valkyrie has lived a long life through occasional cameo appearances ever since. There are references in many Tales games, and costume options in Soul Calibur II and III. In the Project X Zone games, she’s once again a cameo, filling one of the last few spots on the support roster.

project x zone 2 reiji xiaomu

Reiji Arisu and Xiaomu (Namco X Capcom)

In the first Project X Zone? Yes.

The PS2’s Namco X Capcom is basically Project X Zone 0, and it also had its original characters to tie everything together. Reiji wields both swords and guns in his fight to avenge his father. Crazy fox-god girl Xiaomu is almost 800 years old and was Reiji’s dad’s investigating partner, but she flirts a lot with Reiji anyway. It’s strange.

Reiji and Xiaomu serve as the Namco X Capcom’s protagonists in the struggle against fellow fox-diety Saya and her rival organization. Their replacement in this role in the first Project X Zone didn’t return for the sequel, so they sometimes serve that function again in 2 when needed.

project x zone 2 aty

Aty (Summon Night 3)

In the first Project X Zone? No.

While we just got Summon Night 5 on PSP in the West through the efforts of Gaijinworks, the first four main-series entries have eluded us and will likely continue to do so. Still, at least one localized entry means you can get familiar with the tone of the games themselves: they’re sprawling strategy-RPGs with the sorts of minigames and extras that could only come from being birthed in the PS1/PS2 era. Also there’s a bit of relationship-building in there, too.

Aty actually appears in Summon Night 5, but her starring role was in the third game, in which she shows her tendencies to both teach and be too trusting for her own good.

Also on the roster

Bandai Namco

Kite and Haseo (.Hack); Alisa (God Eater); Yuri, Flynn and Estelle (Tales of Vesperia); Jin, Kazuya, Heihachi and Ling (Tekken); Natsu (Soul Calibur V); KOS-MOS (Xenosaga).


Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey (Ace Attorney); Captain Commando (Captain Commando); Demitri, Morrigan and Felicia (Darkstalkers); Dante and Virgil (Devil May Cry); X and Zero (Mega Man X); Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil); June Lin Milliam (Star Gladiator); Ryu, Ken, Ingrid and Chun-Li (Street Fighter); Strider Hiryu (Strider).


Hibana (Nightshade); Zephyr, Vashyron and Leanne (Resonance of Fate); Gemini Sunrise (Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love); Ryo Hazuki (Shenmue); Hotsuma (Shinobi); Ulala (Space Channel 5); Axel (Streets of Rage); Akira, Kage-Maru and Pai (Virtua Fighter); Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima (Yakuza).


Chrom and Lucina (Fire Emblem: Awakening); Fiora (Xenoblade Chronicles).

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