Raiden Ei (Japanese: 雷電影 Raiden Ei, "Shadow of Thunder"), also known by her Archon name Beelzebul, is the God of Eternity and the current Electro Archon who presides over Inazuma. She is a member of The Seven.
This body is the noblest and most eminent of all in this world.
It should hold absolute control over this world.
It once promised its people a dream: the never-changing "eternity."Raiden Ei
Makoto and Ei were twin gods who won the Archon War together. When Makoto established the Shogunate, Ei became her kagemusha (Japanese: 影武者 "shadow warrior"), or body double. As far as the world was aware, there was only one god named Baal, the Raiden Shogun of Inazuma.
Seven ideals for seven gods, and of these, Eternity is nearest unto the Heavenly Principles.Beelzebul, as quoted by Zhongli
Based on various descriptions of her, Ei is portrayed as rather self-centered and boastful: she claims that her ideal is "nearest unto Heaven," calls her body the "noblest and most eminent of all in this world," and sees her reign as eternal. She is honorable in her conduct, but due to the losses she suffered during the Cataclysm and fearful of the erosion that would occur, she chose to move herself to the Plane of Euthymia to meditate, reflect, and keep the "eternity" she always remembered. While she slowly accepts that change is inevitable, she also possesses a curious mind over life in the present day. She is shown to be relatively slow in catching trends.
A year prior to the events of the game, Ei came to see Visions as divine blessings, believing that they should be under the exclusive dominion of a deity and that those not controlled by her are a threat to her "eternal" rule. Being deceived by the Fatui, she initiated the Vision Hunt Decree to seize most, if not all Visions in her domain and give them to a statue of the Thousand-Armed, Hundred-Eyed God.
As of the game's current events, it has been a full year since an Electro Vision has appeared in Teyvat. In a conversation between Ei and Yae Miko in the Plane of Euthymia, it was said that this was because Ei believed that humans pursuing their dreams and aspirations would give them more suffering and loss. However when asked about this by the Traveler, Ei explains that the Archons actually have no control over Visions appearing, and in fact, she too was surprised by this fact.
Ei's modern appearance is of a woman with dark purple hair tied into a long braid. She has bright purple eyes, much like the Electro element, and has a beauty mark under her right eye. She wears red eyeliner as well.
During the Chapter II Prologue, she is depicted as a tachi-wielding woman with long violet-colored hair that was worn down. She wore a kimono which is similar to the one she wears in the present day.
Little is known about the history of the twin gods Makoto and Ei. The two gods won the war together, before deciding to "split" — Makoto would serve as the actual ruler of Inazuma, while Ei served as her kagemusha, or body double. They governed Inazuma together; Ei was close friends with Sasayuri, Mikoshi Chiyo, Kitsune Saiguu and Yae Miko. She also met Morax and Barbatos while accompanying her to one of the Seven's occasional reunions. Another god, Orobashi, was left alone as long as it respected the Shogunate's boundaries. For reasons unknown, it inexplicably attacked Yashiori Island, setting off a brutal war between the Watatsumi people and the Inazuman mainland that Ei participated in. During the war, Sasayuri was killed in battle, while Ei finished off Orobashi herself with the Musou no Hitotachi in the present-day Musoujin Gorge.
During the Cataclysm, the threat of the Abyss prompted Ei to take up arms once more alongside Makoto, Chiyo, and Saiguu. Chiyo was swallowed by a "beast of sin"; while she broke out, she was corrupted by its taint and drew her sword against Ei. In the ensuing fight, Ei sliced off Chiyo's horns and her sword-arm, but did not chase after the corrupted oni. Around this time, Saiguu was killed while confronting the Abyss, and sometime later, Makoto was killed. After returning from the campaign, Ei assumed her sister's position in both the Shogunate and a member of The Seven. The incident left her deeply scarred from "erosion."
At some point after the Cataclysm, Ei created an experimental puppet as a proof of concept to see if she could "escape" erosion, giving it the name Kunikuzushi. Kunikuzushi proved to be successful; Ei, taking apparent pity on him, decided to seal his powers and set him loose in the Inazuman countryside where he would eventually be discovered by the Fatui and took on the name Scaramouche. She soon had a puppet version of herself created, making sure that it followed her ideals before moving her consciousness into the Mussou Isshin with what she learned from Yae.
A year before the game's current events, Ei was deceived by the Fatui and enacted both the Vision Hunt and Sakoku Decree, shuttering her nation from the rest of Teyvat. According to Zhongli, the mortal vessel of Morax, she had ordered the Inazuma Shogunate to collect all of the Visions in the country, where they were laid into the Statue of the Omnipresent God for reasons unknown. No one, including her people, has since been granted an Electro Vision.
During the Rite of Descension, Morax faked his death to see if Liyue could survive without him. He guessed that Beelzebul would learn of his "death", which would cause her to accelerate her plans.
During the Vision Hunt Ceremony, the Shogun drags the Traveler into the Plane of Euthymia, where they meet Ei. In this encounter, she defeats them, but the Traveler manages to escape, thanks to Thoma's intervention. While trying to figure out the situation in Inazuma, they meet with Yae, who reveals that the Shogun is a puppet. The one they saw in the plane was Beelzebul herself, referring to her as Ei and that she had taken an interest in them. After defeating her once more with the aid of the seized Visions' aspirations, Ei agreed to rescind the Vision Hunt Decree and returned all of the seized Visions back to their owners, provided they could be found. Upon learning of the full extent of the Fatui's chaos in Inazuma, she promptly ordered the Tenryou and Kanjou Commissioners put under house arrest and attempted to change the Shogun's protocols to her new notions of Eternity.
- Chapter II
- The pinnacle of Makoto and Ei's swordsmanship is the Musou no Hitotachi (Japanese: 無想の一太刀 Musou no Hito-tachi, "One Slash of No Conception"), the symbol of ultimate power. The sword skill is said to be only witnessed during "divine punishment."
- According to the in-game archive description for Shibas, Ei was once allegedly quite fond of the dog breed.
- Several aspects regarding Makoto, Ei, and the Raiden Shogun's identities were hinted at before the Archon Quests revealed it:
- The Raiden Shogun's character teaser and character demo heavily emphasized the imagery of two Raiden Shoguns, which are meant to be Makoto and Ei.
- The English name for Vajrada Amethyst Gemstone hinted that the Raiden Shogun seen in Inazuma is a puppet. The real Ei is inside her weapon: At the time of the reveal, it was the only gemstone that did not derive its name from a Hindu god. Instead, its name comes from Vajra, the weapon wielded by Indra, the Hindu god of rain and thunder.
- In Shinto mythology, Raiden (Japanese: 雷電 Raiden) is another name for Raijin, a god of lightning, thunder, and storms. Raiden also means "thunder and lightning" in both Japanese and Chinese.
- Ei is loosely based on Raiden Mei, a character from Houkai Gakuen 2 and Honkai Impact 3rd, other games created by miHoYo. Raiden Mei, Makoto, and Ei are strikingly similar to each other:
- Raiden Mei, Makoto, and Ei all have purple eyes and long purple hair.
- Raiden Mei, Makoto, and Ei all harness the power of lightning (Electro).
- Raiden Mei is the 3rd Herrscher (the Herrscher of Thunder), while Baal is the third among the Seven Archons to appear.
- Honkai Impact 3rd also has an official manga titled "Escape from Nagazora." It has a chapter called "The Wrath of Baal", which showcases Mei's first appearance as the Herrscher of Thunder.
- Raiden Mei, Makoto, and Ei are all voiced by the same voice actress in Japanese, Miyuki Sawashiro (沢城みゆき) and the same voice actress in Chinese, Juhuahua (菊花花).
- Beelzebub (also spelled Beelzebul) was the name of a Philistine deity and is known in Demonology as one of the Seven Princes of Hell. Many Christian theological sources recognise the name Beelzebub as another name for Satan.
- The source for the name Beelzebub comes from the Book of Kings in the Hebrew Bible, written as בַּעַל זְבוּב, Baʿal Zəvûv. As such, Ba'al was a title and honorific meaning "owner" or "lord" in antiquity.
- So far, Beelzebul is the only Archon name that does not appear in the Ars Goetia.
- Beelzebul as a shogun is most likely inspired by Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603–1868).
- The Japanese name of her constellation is Tenkabito-za (Japanese: 天下人座 "Seat of the Person under the Heaven"). Tenkabito means a person who virtually holds the reins of the nation and usually refers to three powerful warlords: Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, of which the last is the only tenkabito who became a shogun.
- Although the official decree of Sakoku was issued under the reign of his grandson, there were several precursors of the Sakoku decree during Ieyasu's reign.
- Like Ei, Ieyasu was skilled in swordsmanship. He is said to have mastered the Ichi no Tachi (Japanese: 一之太刀 Slash of One) in his later years, the ultimate sword art of the Kashima Shintou school that only a chosen few were allowed to learn, which may have inspired the "Hitotachi" (Japanese: 一太刀 One Slash) part of the Musou no Hitotachi (see later part for "Musou").
- Ieyasu also patronized two swordsmen and their schools: Yagyuu Munenori of the Yagyuu-Shinkage school and Ono Tadaaki of the Ittou school. The former school may have inspired the swordsman Iwakura Doukei in the game (see the article for details). The latter school is known for the semi-legendary sword art Musouken (Japanese: 夢想剣 Sword of the Dream), which may have inspired the name of Musou Shinsetsu (Japanese: 夢想真説 True Teachings of the Dream), the Elemental Burst of the playable Raiden Shougun (but not "Musou" in the Musou no Hitotachi during the story and in past legends, which has a different kanji).
- There is a conspiracy theory that Ieyasu had a kagemusha (body double) and the kagemusha took the place of real Ieyasu at some point in the history. It is not taken a serious consideration by historians but is a popular theme in Japanese historical fictions. This theory may have inspired the in-game lore that Ei was originally a kagemusha of Makoto.
- Ei as the God of Eternity is likely inspired by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu's faith in Pure Land Buddhism.
- Her title "Plane of Euthymia" is called "Pure Land of One Mind" (Japanese: 一心浄土 Isshin Joudo) in the East Asian versions, which refers to the realm of perfect purity and quietude in one's mind, namely a Buddhist version of idealism that all beings arise from mind and thus buddhas and their meditation realms (Pure Land) also reside in one's own mind. Historically, Ieyasu was an avid follower and patron of the Pure Land School (Japanese: 浄土宗 Joudo-shuu), and he adopted the school's slogan "Abhor the Impure Land, Aspire to the Pure Land" (Japanese: 厭離穢土 欣求浄土 Enri-Edo Gongu-Joudo) as his banner sign.
- Unlike other schools of Buddhism (which are generally anti-dogmatic and embrace impermanence), Pure Land Buddhism emphasizes a strong faith in Amida (Japanese: 阿弥陀), the Buddha of Infinity. The name Amida comes from the Chinese name Ēmítuó (Chinese: 阿弥陀), which in turn is the combination of two Sanskrit names: Amitābha (Sanskrit: अमिताभ) meaning "Infinite Light" and Amitāyus (Sanskrit: अमितायुस्) meaning "Infinite Longevity." Both properties of Amida match Ei's orientation to eternity (especially eternal longevity).
- After the cataclysm, Ei claimed her body was the most eminent in the world and promised never-changing eternity to her people. Similarly, Ieyasu was posthumously deified as a dai-gongen, or a great manifestation of a buddha as a Shinto god, because he claimed he wanted to be a guardian of the nation even after his mortal life ended. In addition, Ieyasu's slogan "Abhor the Impure Land, Aspire to the Pure Land" is alleged to represent his determination to end the cataclysm of the Sengoku period (Warring States period) and build a pure land in this world by bringing peace.
- The Statue of the Thousand-Armed, Hundred-Eyed God is most likely a reference to Senju-Kan'non (Japanese: 千手観音 "Thousand-Armed Avalokiteśvara"), a manifestation of the bodhisattva Kan'non (Japanese: 観音; Sanskrit: अवलोकितेश्वर Avalokiteśvara), one of the two main assistants of Amida.
- In her realm, Ei meditates in the sitting position of hanka fumisage (Japanese: 半跏踏下 "half-lotus pendant"), a variant of the half-lotus position (but not necessarily a foot has to be placed on a thigh). In Buddhist art in Japan, this position is commonly used to depict the bodhisattva Miroku (Japanese: 弥勒; Sanskrit: मैत्रेय Maitreya), an object of worship in Pure Land Buddhism that predates worship for Amida. Miroku is said to confine himself in his realm of Pure Land for meditation to achieve enlightenment and bring salvation to all sentient beings. Until the expected achievement of his enlightenment, he is believed to send his avatars to help this world on behalf of him. Beelzebul's self-confinement in her realm of Euthymia ("Pure Land" in the East Asian versions) and her use of a puppet for the mundane world may be inspired by this belief.
- Ei's ultimate sword skill Musou no Hitotachi is most likely a reference to the Munen-Musou no Uchi (Japanese: 無念無想の打 "Strike of No Design, No Conception"), created by the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, who is often called a "sword saint."
- Musou is short for Munen-Musou (Japanese: 無念無想 "No Design, No Conception"). According to Victor Harris, a former Keeper of Japanese Antiquities at the British Museum in London, munen-musou in Japanese swordsmanship means "the ability to act calmly and naturally even in the face of danger. It is the highest accord with existence when a man's word and his actions are spontaneously the same." (some spelling changes from the original text of Harris)
- According to Musashi's The Book of Five Rings (translated by Victor Harris), "In this method, when the enemy attacks and you decide to attack, hit with your body, and hit with your spirit, and hit from the Void with your hands, accelerating strongly. This is the "No Design, No Conception" cut. This is the most important method of hitting. It is often used. You must train hard to understand it."
- Ei's (alleged) past fondness for Shiba dogs is most likely a reference to Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the fifth shogun of the Edo Bakufu (Tokugawa Shogunate). He was nicknamed as the Dog Shogun (Japanese: 犬公方 Inu-Kubou) because of his eagerness to enact animal protection laws.
|Language||Official Name||Literal Meaning|
- (EN) Twitter - VA Announcement
- (CN) Genshin Impact - Official Character page
- (JP) Twitter - VA Announcement
- Version 2.1 Special Program Livestream (KR)
- Vajrada Amethyst Gemstone item description
- Archon Quest Chapter II, Act 3: Wishes
- As stated by Zhongli in The Fond Farewell
- World Quest: Endless Research
- Archon Quest Chapter II Act 3 - The Omnipresent God
- Follow the Wind - Cutschene.
- Kotobank:塚原卜伝 (Tsukahara Bokuden)
- Japanese Wikipedia:徳川家康の影武者説 (Kagemusha Theory of Tokugawa Ieyasu)
- 己心の弥陀・唯心の浄土 (Grand Dictionary of Joudo-Shuu, New Edition: Amida of Self Mind, Pure Land of Only Mind)
- 新纂浄土宗大辞典：厭離穢土欣求浄土 (Grand Dictionary of Joudo-Shuu, New Edition: Enri-Edo Gongu-Joudo)
- Tokyo Museum Collection. Portrait of Tokugawa Ieyasu
- Miyamoto Musashi. Book of Five Rings - The Water Book (translated by Victor Harris)