In first-person shooters, the only one who loves snipers is the person playing the sniper. Everyone else in the game will despise them, for their ability to instantly kill a foe from long distances. This anger has spread to Hanzo from Overwatch, who has inspired a hatedom that far outstrips the love that the players who main him feel. There is no denying that Hanzo is a difficult character to master and can be unfairly powerful in the hands of the right player. Is that really enough of a reason to hate a character? Because he rewards skill and dedication? It seems so, as we will see many times over on this list.
We are here today to show some love for the most polarizing figure in all of Overwatch. From his original design to his most high profile player.
Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Hanzo!
15. Hanzo & Genji Were Almost The Same Character
Hanzo’s whole gimmick is that he is an archer. His special moves are based around trick arrows and killing people from a distance. This wasn’t always going to be the case, however, as the original design for Hanzo included lots of elements from Genji.
The original Hanzo looks like he did the Dragon Ball Z Fusion Dance with Genji. He has the overall body armor design of Genji, with some of Hanzo’s outfit (like the boots) as his clothes. This original Hanzo was going to use both a sword and a bow, in order to make him a more versatile character.
Hanzo’s original design was created out of the Overwatch development team’s desire to include a ninja character. It was quickly decided that a dual sword/bow user would have lacked focus and may have had too much utility in combat. The decision was made to split Hanzo into two separate characters, with each one focusing on a different weapon.
14. Dragons Into Wolves
Hanzo’s Ultimate attack is called the Dragonstrike. When the Dragonstrike is fully charged, it allows Hanzo to fire an arrow that summons two massive dragons made of energy. These move forward in a straight line and will damage all enemies that are caught within them. The Dragonstrike is highly situational but is devastating when correctly pulled off. It is best saved for natural chokepoints within a map or for the times when the enemies gather around the payload.
The ability to control dragons is a trait of the Shimada family, which is why Genji’s Ultimate also allows him to summon a dragon made of spirit energy. It seems that the ability to control dragons is limited to the clothes that the Shimada wear, as it is possible to turn Hanzo’s dragons into wolves. If Hanzo is wearing the Lone Wolf or Okami skin, then the twin dragons of the Dragonstrike will change into two wolves. All of Hanzo’s quotes that refer to dragons will also switch to talking about wolves.
13. Hanzo Is Less Desirable Than Roadhog
It is no secret that Overwatch has inspired the creation of a lot of pornography. There are countless illicit images of Overwatch characters online that have been created since before the game was even released.
Porhhub graciously released a list of the most popular Overwatch character searches on their site. The most popular by far is Tracer, with D. Va coming in at a distant second. In fact, the whole top ten is dominated by female characters, with the exception of Lucio, who is placed at #10.
You might think that Hanzo has a high place on the list, due to the fact that he is one of the few male characters who doesn’t wear a mask (at least in his basic costume) and looks like a handsome older man. Hanzo is actually placed at #16, with Roadhog at #15. Yes, more people searched for Roadhog nudes that Hanzo. The incredibly obese Borderlands reject is considered to be more desirable than Hanzo.
12. He Was Inspired By An Important Figure From Japanese History
Hanzo’s name is a reference to Hattori Hanzō, who was a famous figure in Japanese history and was believed to be an actual ninja.
Hattori Hanzō was the son of a minor samurai, who earned a fierce reputation in battle. He rose in rank and led hundreds of soldiers into battle. Hanzō was responsible for saving the life of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who would go on to become the Shogun of Japan. Ieyasu is considered to be one of the major historical figures who managed to unite Japan’s separate warring states into a single country. Hanzō worked closely with Ieyasu and had a huge part in helping to establish his administration.
There are numerous locations in Japan that are named after Hattori Hanzō, as well as relics of his life that have survived into the present day, and are considered to be national treasures. As such, there have been numerous depictions of Hanzō in Japanese fiction, such as in Nioh.
11. Hanzo Is The Heir To A Huge Criminal Empire
Overwatch is a game that doesn’t require you to know any of its backstory in order to enjoy it. A lot of players see Overwatch as nothing more than a game about teams of superheroes with unique powers/fighting styles who like to fight each other. Blizzard has created a story for Overwatch, yet they decided to mainly put it into sources that exist outside of the game, such as in animated features and comics.
Hanzo is a member of the Shimada family, who once worked as assassins. They eventually used their position to form their own criminal organization. Hanzo was the heir to the leadership position and seemed ready to take over the responsibility. His younger brother, Genji, was content to use the family’s money to fund his playboy lifestyle, which worried some of the high ranking members of the Shimada organization. When Hanzo’s father died, he was forced to try and straighten out Genji, in order to stop him from wasting his life. The two fought and Hanzo mortally wounded his brother.
When Hanzo realized (incorrectly) that he had murdered his own brother, he rejected his family’s legacy and went rogue. Hanzo has been a free agent for over a decade, though he still has to repel assassination attempts from his former criminal colleagues.
10. Hanzo Is A Better Swordsman Than Genji
Genji wasn’t quite as dead as Hanzo thought. His life was saved by the members of Overwatch, who revived him in order to help them take down the Shimada crime family. The two brothers were finally reunited a decade after their first fight, which was seen in the Overwatch animated short, called “Dragons“.
The details of the original fight between Hanzo and Genji are sketchy at best. It is believed that the two had a sword fight, with Hanzo overpowering his brother. The reason this is believed is because the creators of Overwatch have outright said that Hanzo is a better swordsman than Genji. He likely stopped using a sword after almost killing his brother with one.
In “Dragons”, Hanzo is seen visiting a shrine, where he lights incense as part of his annual prayer for his brother. The shrine holds a sword with a light blue hilt, which also has a chunk missing out of the blade. Was this the weapon that Hanzo used to try and kill his brother?
9. Hanzo’s Animated Powers
One of Hanzo’s most useful attributes in Overwatch is the fact that he doesn’t need to reload. He can use an infinite amount of arrows in a match and never has to worry about stopping to reload. The tradeoff for this is that he has to pull the arrow back in order to increase its power, which slows his movement speed down to a crawl. A fully charged Hanzo arrow is a deadly thing, however, as a headshot from it can kill most characters in a single hit.
In “Dragons”, Hanzo’s powers and limitations were changed. He only carried a few arrows into battle with him, which became an issue when he ran out during his fight with Genji. This meant that he was forced to run around collecting his used arrows. The way Hanzo used his arrows was also different, as he was shown to be able to change their flight path after they left the bow. This cannot be done in Overwatch and it is weird that they would misrepresent how he actually plays in the game.
8. The Main Hanzo Insult
The term “Hanzo Main” has become something of an insult online. While it is certainly a refreshing change of pace from the usual racist/sexist/homophobic insults that are usually thrown about online, it is still an odd thing to be used as a derogatory term. Is someone’s choice of video game character truly an insult? If the Internet was as prevalent in the ’90s as it is today, would we be angrily calling people “E. Honda main” or “Mr. Mime main” in online chat?
In March of 2017, a parent took to Twitter to complain about how her daughter had got into trouble for calling another student a “Hanzo main” at school. The teacher didn’t even get the reference and penalized the child for no other reason than it was clearly intended to be an insult. Word of the story got out and the official Overwatch Twitter account responded favorably to the story. They reiterated their love of Hanzo and their hatred for name calling, but they still commended the kid for her love for Overwatch.
7. Hanzo Wants To Be The Best… Like No One Ever Was
Blizzard used to have a very close relationship with Nintendo. As a company, they used to be called Silicon & Synapse, and they produced several games for the Super Nintendo. These included titles like RPM Racing and The Lost Vikings. As time went on, Blizzard moved towards the PC gaming market, which has become their main focus. They still port some of their games to consoles, but these usually take a backseat to the PC versions of the games.
The director of Overwatch was asked about the possibility of a port of the game on the Nintendo Switch. He didn’t seem positive but didn’t rule it out entirely either. It’s entirely possible that Blizzard is waiting for the Switch to ship more units before making a decision on a port, as it already takes them a lot of resources to update the numerous versions of the game.
Overwatch includes its own subtle references to a Nintendo title in the game. One of Hanzo’s voice lines is “I choose you, spirit dragon”. This is a reference to the Pokémon anime series, as Ash Ketchum would often shout a similar phrase when calling one of his Pokémon into battle.
6. Reflecting Hanzo’s Ultimate
When it comes to character matchups in Overwatch, Hanzo has the most trouble when facing off against his brother. Genji is all about getting up close and personal with his sword. His melee prowess, coupled with his fast movement speed, makes it hard for Hanzo players to hit him at close range. The true anti-Hanzo weapon in Genji’s arsenal is his Deflect ability, as this allows him to reflect Hanzo’s arrows straight back at him.
Genji’s Deflect ability also has another use in battle, though you need to have amazing timing to pull it off, as you can only use it for two seconds before it needs to recharge. When Hanzo uses his Dragonstrike ultimate attack, it is possible for a Genji player to get in front of him as the dragons are let loose and hit it right back. If the Deflect ability is used at the right time, then it is possible to reflect the dragons right back at Hanzo and his teammates. This is incredibly difficult to pull off but is devasting if you can do it.
5. It’s Raining Hanzos
The Konami Code is one of the most famous cheats in all of gaming. It is a set of button commands that originated in several different Konami games that appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The first game to use the Konami Code was Gradius, though the game that popularized it was Contra. When the Konami Code was used in Contra, it would give the player another thirty lives to use. As time went on, the Konami Code would appear in games produced by companies other than Konami. The Konami Code spread to the Internet, where many websites will react if you input the code into the browser.
At one point in time, the official Overwatch website would respond to the Konami Code. If you inputted the code, then it would cause it to rain Hanzos. The Konami Code would make lots of little Hanzo sprites appear and they would descend slowly from the top of the screen. If you try and use the code on the website now, then it will rain D. Vas instead.
4. Hanzo & Genji Were Inspired By A Real Set Of Brothers
In “Dragons”, Genji tells Hanzo that he has forgiven him for his sins. The question remains whether Hanzo can forgive himself for what he has done in the past. It seems that the story of the two characters will be linked going forward and that the fate of the brothers will be their contribution to the upcoming events of Overwatch.
The relationship between Hanzo and Genji is actually based on a real set of brothers. In 2011, a documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi was released. It was the story of an elderly chef, named Jiro, who is considered to make the best sushi in all of Japan. Jiro has two sons, who both followed in their father’s footsteps. The elderly son is expected to remain at his father’s business, so that he may take it over someday. Jiro’s youngest son was allowed to open his own branch, in the Roppongi Hills, where he is free to form his own legacy. The creators of Hanzo & Genji have cited Jiro’s sons as the inspiration for the two characters.
3. Hanzo Wants To Stay In The Grave
In October of 2016, Overwatch ran its first Halloween themed event. Halloween Terror ran for three weeks and it featured its own unique items that could be found in loot crates. These included horror themed skins, sprays, and voice lines, as well as a unique co-op brawl match, called Junkenstein’s Revenge.
One of the unique item’s that can be earned during Halloween Terror is a victory pose, called “R.I.P”, that depicts the character trying to escape from the grave. Every character in the game has one of these poses, except for Orisa, who was not available during the first event.
Hanzo’s R.I.P pose is unique, in that he is the only character who is not trying to escape from the grave. Every other character has an arm (or robotic appendage) sticking out of the dirt. This seems to suggest that Hanzo desires death, due to the guilt that he feels over trying to kill his brother.
2. Hanzo & Genji Originated From Sombra’s Design
As previously mentioned, Hanzo and Genji were once the same character, who fought with a sword and a bow. What we didn’t mention is that the origin of the character predates the idea of either Hanzo or Genji.
The notion of a ninja style warrior, who fought with a mixture of short and long ranged weapons actually started with a character who never made it into the game. This character was called Omniblade and she fought with a mixture of shuriken & kunai, as well as possessing Genji’s double jump, and Hanzo’s ability to reveal the location of enemies. Omniblade started out as a Japanese woman before her design was changed to make her Mexican, at which point she had her name changed to Sombra. Omniblade/Sombra’s design was eventually scrapped and replaced with the original Hanzo/Genji fusion character.
1. The Donald Trump Insult
It seems that insulting people for maining Hanzo has left the classroom and spread into real life.
The creators of Cards Against Humanity decided to pool their efforts in order to prevent Donald Trump from winning the Presidential election. They did this by hiring a billboard that depicted Donald Trump yelling at his computer, with a slogan saying “Donald Trump mains Hanzo and complains about team comp in chat”. The billboard advertises a website, called Trump Isn’t A Team Player. One of the first images on the site is Donald Trump dressed like Hanzo.
Trump Isn’t A Team Player lays out all of the reasons that you shouldn’t vote for Donald Trump, interspersed with images of him dressed as Overwatch characters. The websites efforts were creative, but ultimately in vain, as Trump won the election. This caused Overwatch fans all across the world to shudder at the thought of a Hanzo main becoming the most powerful man in America. We can only hope that Congress stands ready to block his anti-Genji policies going forward.