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Is Guilty Gear: Strive’s Slayer the most dandy vampire in fighting games?

Guilty Gear is not the only series with well-groomed bloodsuckers. Dandy vampires are in Tekken, Blazblue, Melty Blood, and more.

Slayer from Guilty Gear Strive
Arc System Works

Guilty Gear: Strive is coming straight out of a horror movie ever after revealing its final Season 3 DLC character, the much anticipated dandy vampire himself: Slayer.

“Show me your dandyism”

Besides being a vampire, which is interesting in itself, Slayer has a breadth of character depth to him. He is the descendent of an ancient vampire lineage, born with a silver spoon, but lost all he had and watched his fellow vampires’ numbers dwindle over the eons.

Slayer figured the most righteous way to get a consistent blood source for his survival was to become an assassin to protect the weak by drinking the blood of elites abusing their power. So yeah, Slayer is vampire’s Robin Hood.

Slayer had a habit of going around the world and changing characters’ lives for the better. He was responsible for saving the life of Nagoriyuki by vampirizing him, and giving the protagonist who was calling himself “Badguy” out of guilt, the more positive “Sol Badguy” moniker.

On top of being a stylish vampire who is insanely fun to play, Slayer runs a guild of assassins. Rather than forcing his Assassin’s Guild to be coldhearted murderers, he instead encourages his loyal assassins to stay true to the principle of “dandyism”.

The Dandy

Believe it or not, dandyism is a nod to a 19th-century French poet by the name of Charles Baudelaire, a connoisseur of wines and a man who considered himself a dandy.

Contrary to what a lot of thoughtless people seem to believe, dandyism is not even an excessive delight in clothes and material elegance. For the perfect dandy, these things are no more than the symbol of the aristocratic superiority of his mind.

Charles Baudelaire, “The Dandy”

We can modernize and vampirize Baudelaire’s definition by breaking “the dandy” down into three core components.

  1. Drip: Does the vampire dress for success? Do they look stylish even while fighting?
  2. Boujee: Is the vampire living life to his or her fullest? Do they have fancy hobbies? Do they duel honorably?
  3. Rizz: Is the vampire popular at parties, or do they just suck at socializing? When the vampire talks, do they sound sophisticated yet casual?

And since Slayer is the only vampire who seems to want to be out in the sun so the world can appreciate his dandyism, how do other iconic fighting game vampires stack up against his values? Would Slayer invite them to his guild?

Guilty Gear: Strive

Slayer wouldn’t have to go far outside his coffin to find his vampire-in-training. Nagoriyuki is unique on this list as a vampire cyborg samurai, of all things.

Nagoriyuki from Guilty Gear Strive
Credit: Arc System Works

Drip: A+++. Somehow ahead of his time despite having been asleep for decades. To start, he wears a designer white coat like a traditional samurai haori. He also wears leggings AND sandals. On top of that, he acts like Blade. And, of course, his swords and mask have the fashionable anachronistic quality of being technologically advanced yet old-fashioned.

Boujee: A+. Nagoriyuki enjoys writing haikus and meditating. While those hobbies don’t sound particularly expensive, he once rented a first-class high-rise to meditate in for decades on end. One might say that was a “decade-ent” purchase.

Rizz: A+. A quiet but very friendly man when he’s not being mind-controlled by Happy Chaos. Even when mind-controlled, he still took the time to honorably correct Sol Badguy’s mistakes in his fighting style.

Darkstalkers

Darkstalkers, fittingly named “Vampire Savior” in Japan, is a monster mash created out of desperation when Universal Studios denied Capcom’s pitch to have their classic monsters beat each other up. The result was a ridiculously creative roster with attacks that turn the absurdity to the extreme.

While the series is most popular for its sexy succubus Morrigan Aensland, as well as featuring dhampirs (half-vampires and half-humans) like Donovan Baine, Demetri Maximoff is the only pure vampire in Vampire Savior. A 15th-century Transylvanian vampire prince of an aristocratic family who certainly dresses and acts the part of the classic movie monster.

Demetri Maximoff win quote in Darkstalkers
Credit: Capcom

Drip: A+. Demetri prides himself on his fashion sense, and dresses like a nobleman in a very form-fitting blue suit, only barely hiding his demonic form. He also wears a cape that becomes his bat wings when he transforms, adding points to his stylish fighting. He even sprays perfume on himself in one of his taunts.

Boujee: D-. Demetri’s hobbies include drinking the blood of virgins (which tastes like good wine to him) and seeking world domination by setting up fighting tournaments for literal monsters. However, he also forcibly changes the sex of his male opponents before sucking their blood, which doesn’t seem very dandy at all.

Rizz: B-. Despite all the aforementioned, Demetri has a sizable lineup of women in the background of his castle stage who seem more than obliged to live in his company. However, it is suspect that the humans who he drinks the blood become mindless servants of his castle.

Tekken 7

Eliza is a narcoleptic vampire who tried to take a nap one day and ended up sleeping for 600 years in her coffin. Whether fortunate or unfortunate, the wealthy oil baron De Rochefort family built a mansion above Eliza’s coffin, protecting her from hunters for all those centuries.

Eliza in Tekken 7
Credit: Bandai Namco

Drip: A+. Eliza is a trendsetter who seems to have borrowed her gothic Victorian fashion sense from her potential sister Lili de Rochefort. Her red corset with daring roses on her sleeves and around her ankles complement her red eyes. Though she does not conform to any fighting style, she looks elegant as hell when she fights.

Boujee: F+. Napping and drinking blood seem more like the hobbies of a couch potato than a dandy elite.

Rizz: C-. Eliza tends to cut right to the chase of what she wants out of any fight, which is either to win and drink her foe’s blood or to suddenly take a nap to heal herself. However, she hardly cheats any more than the rest of the fighters.

Blazblue: Centralfiction

Rachel Alucard is another Transylvanian aristocrat, quite bored with her impartial life as a “Bystander”.

Rachel Alucard from Blazblue
Credit: Arc System Works

Drip: B. The quintessential “gothic lolita” look. She wears a very long and frilly black dress and expensive-looking high heels. Rachel is often carrying around her cat, Nago, which can transform into an umbrella. While fighting, she even floats down like Mary Poppins.

Boujee: A-. Tea, and lots of it.

Rizz: F. Rachel is often blunt and impolite, but ultimately cares for her friends. Being a Bystander meant she couldn’t express that love, however. Spontaneously transforming your dress into kitchen utensils is not often seen in an honorable duel.

Soulcalibur V

At the start of the Soul series, Raphael Sorel was not a vampire, and his story follows the tragic tale of becoming one.

Raphael Sorel in Soulcalibur IV
Credit: Bandai Namco

Raphael was born to a noble French family and trained in the art of fencing. However, he was cast out by his family when he killed a nobleman-turned-monster in self-defense. Both as revenge against his family and to protect young orphan Amy, Raphael tries to wrest the powerful sword “Soul Edge” from its wielder.

Its wielder, Nightmare, handily defeated Raphael, leaving him near death but alive. However, the stab wound from Soul Edge caused him and Amy to become “malfested,” the same monster transmogrification of the nobleman he killed. His ideals and monstrous insanity converged into making the world better for Amy by “malfesting” it completely.

Drip: C. Raphael has sported a lot of looks over the years, each more vampiric than the last. In Soulcalibur II, he had a bog-standard nobleman’s outfit. By the later games, his outfits are virtually identical to Castlevania’s Alucard, Vampire Hunter D, and Van Helsing. Certainly losing points in originality.

Boujee: C+. While fencing, medicine, and taking care of an orphan are noble professions, Raphael never does anything extravagantly fun on the side of his world domination. Has a straightforward fencing style.

Rizz: F. Beneath the whole “world domination” thing, Raphael’s love for Amy is heartwarming at its core. However, his only friends nowadays are his brainwashed minions.

Melty Blood: Type Lumina

Melty Blood, an adaptation of the massive visual novel Tsukihime, has a lot of vampires, and anyone on the roster who is not or has not ever been a vampire is certainly supernaturally related to vampires in some way.

Only three characters are usually vampires. Roa and Vlov are members of the “27 Dead Apostle Ancestors,” basically this universe’s aristocratic vampire elite. However, Arcueid Brunestud has them both beat, as she is a “True Ancestor,” or the original bloodsuckers treated as vampire royalty.

Arcueid, or Arc for short, is one of the protagonists of Tsukihime. Only after being accidentally murdered by Shiki Tohno (it’s a long story) did Arc learn about life. Arc and Shiki are basically a power couple now.

Arcueid Brunestud in Tsukihime
Credit: Type-Moon, HuneX, Aniplex

Drip: A. Arc is so powerful that she can walk around in broad daylight and only feel mildly sleepy. That ability affords her the luxury of dressing like an absolute fashion icon with several fits that can be formal dresses befitting a moon princess or very simple streetwear befitting a fashionable 17 year old girl who is secretly centuries old.

Boujee: B+. According to her profile, Arc enjoys movies, reading, dates, and being verbally abused by Shiki. While not fancy, those are simple pleasures other royal vampires might envy.

Rizz: B. This is a toughie. Arc is affable at first glance, having the happy-go-lucky personality of a 17 year old and the dry humor of an immortal vampire. However, after being killed by Shiki, her vampiric impulses have a chance to truly go batty and rampage the world.

Reflecting on those without reflections

Vampires are cool in any media, but they have a special and rare place in fighting games as consistently interesting characters with unique backstories and playstyles. Sure, there is always the obvious design choices to have them fly around as bats and bite the necks of their opponents, but incorporating fencing or umbrellas makes them stand out in casts of weirdos.

To me, Slayer is a truly special character, one of whom has felt long overdue to return in Strive. The combination of his explosive rushdown gameplay with his gentlemanly design and demeanor is a perfect blend for a likable character in every aspect.

Seeing how Guilty Gear’s creator, Daisuke Ishiwatari could have been partially inspired by older characters like Demetri Maximoff to create a more cordial version of Demetri was a nice discovery. Likewise, Slayer’s influence on video game vampires as a whole has become more apparent to me, and only adds to my admiration of the dandy vampire.

Written By

I'm a freelance writer who loves all things fictional and absurd. I graduated from Duquesne University in 2023 with a degree in psychology and a minor in film.

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