Scaramouche is first encountered as the main antagonist of the Unreconciled Stars event.
Scaramouche first appears as "???" during the Unreconciled Stars Event Quest The Crisis Deepens, where he introduced himself as a "vagrant from Inazuma." While he appeared to be friendly at first, he learns of the Traveler's identity as the Honorary Knight and tries to strike them down, only to be stopped by Mona, who realized his intentions and helped the Traveler escape just in time.
It is later revealed that he traveled to Liyue to investigate mysterious meteorites and entered a dream where he realized that the stars and sky are a "lie" and that "The Jester" had intentionally sent him without forewarning what would happen. After leaving a promising threat against the Traveler, he took his leave to confront the senior Harbinger.
He later headed to Inazuma to oversee the creation of Delusions at a secret facility and confronted the Traveler, recognizing them from before. Rather than facing them head on, he incited them into succumbing to the old gods' wrath, but the plan was partially foiled when Yae Miko walks in. She then negotiated for their safety by offering Ei's Gnosis, which he accepted and allowed her to leave with them.
After obtaining the Gnosis and Signora's death, Scaramouche cut off contact with the Fatui, causing them to believe he had gone rogue. Childe went to Inazuma to track him down to no avail. During this time, Scaramouche snooped into the warehouse holding the Kaedehara Clan's property to search for something, but he was met with no success and was forced to leave Inazuma by boat soon after. Kamisato Ayato suspects that he might have been looking for the papers that Kaedehara Yoshinori had hidden in a bonsai plant containing his account of his encounter with Scaramouche.
According to rumors heard by Viktor, Scaramouche is not well-liked. Some say he has a disagreeable personality, being difficult to get along with, while others say he doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. Even his fellow Harbingers appear to dislike him. Presumably like the other Harbingers outside of Childe, Scaramouche tends to have an air of authority and arrogance to him, as he frequently insults others on a whim.
As a Harbinger, Scaramouche is naturally a cunning individual. Possessing the wit and power to back him up, he is an unpredictable person.
Scaramouche is described as a man with a slender figure and a handsome face. He has a youthful appearance, short in height with indigo hair that covers his ears, as well as indigo eyes with bold red eyeliner.
His attire consists of black shorts and black sandals, and a large hat with four upwards-curving hooks along the circumference, and what seems to be his mask on the center. Two ornamental accessories hang from red threads attached to the back of his hat. At the back of his hat hangs a translucent black veil separated into two, with ombré brown swirls near the bottom. Scaramouche wears a short-sleeved shirt with a crest resembling the Electro symbol on it, as well as a purple checkered pouch on his back. His overall attire resembles traditional Japanese wear.
Scaramouche was originally created by Ei as a test into the technology of making puppet bodies. He was not meant to perfectly resemble her, only to test if creating a puppet body was possible. As his creation was successful, he was considered the prototype for the puppet she now uses as the Raiden Shogun. While he was intended to serve as a vessel for Ei's Gnosis, he shed tears upon his creation, leading her to deem him too gentle for such a task. She did not wish to kill him, so she instead sealed his power as a divine creation and allowed him to take control of his own life. He spent his early days in Shakkei Pavilion.[Note 2]
For a time, Scaramouche settled in Tatarasuna after Inspector Mikoshi Nagamasa's yoriki, Katsuragi, found him in the pavilion. Nagamasa's group referred to him as the "wandering eccentric," as he had no name at the time. Scaramouche grew close with Katsuragi and, after the forging of the Daitatara Nagamasa, performed a sword dance with him. Sometime later, for reasons unknown, the group pursued Scaramouche but was unable to find him. After learning of Katsuragi's "misconduct," which was likely related to the reason they were searching for Scaramouche, Nagamasa flew into a rage and slew Katsuragi. This divided the group, who believed Nagamasa was too obsessed with purity to understand Katsuragi's good intentions. Nagamasa and Scaramouche would later clash, with Nagamasa's fate afterwards left unknown. Scaramouche also took on the name "Kunikuzushi."
At some point in time, the Futsu, Hyakume and Senju arts of Inazuma's famous five bladesmithing practices, the Raiden Gokaden, fell from grace as a result of Scaramouche's manipulations, done in an act of revenge against "the bladesmith," likely referring to Nagamasa. Scaramouche then turned his attention towards the Isshin art and sabotaged a diagram of a Goshintou blade, which caused all of the Isshin craftsmen to create defective blades and flee when the deadline approached. Kaedehara Yoshinori and the Yashiro head at the time proceeded to hunt the craftsmen, but were led to Scaramouche who confessed to the crime before dispatching the entire group with ease. However, he appeared to recognize Yoshinori and asked him if he knew of "Niwa," which he confirmed. Scaramouche then told him to let "her" know his name of Kunikuzushi before leaving. The incident caused Yoshinori and the Yashiro head to never speak of the incident for fear that Scaramouche would destroy the remaining two schools of the Gokaden.
Kunikuzushi eventually chanced upon a group of Fatui. Deciding they were interesting, he joined their ranks, wherein they unlocked the innate power he had as a creation of an Archon. The Fatui also gave him some additional modifications, and eventually, he climbed to the position of The Balladeer, the Sixth of the Eleven Fatui Harbingers.
Quests and Events
- Unreconciled Stars
- Hues of the Violet Garden
- The Palace, Dyed in Black (flashback)
The following characters mention Scaramouche in their character stories or voice-overs:
- While playing the Archon Quest Delusion, the dialogue changes depending on whether or not the player experienced the Version 1.1 event Unreconciled Stars. The Archive entry for the quest only lists the version where the player did not experience Unreconciled Stars.
- Even though Paimon and the Traveler are only ever hear him go by "The Balladeer," Paimon later refers to him as "Scaramouche," a name which only given to the player during his introduction screen in Unreconciled Stars and in his dialogue boxes. This discrepancy is the result of the English localization using "The Balladeer" and "Scaramouche" interchangeably for a single Chinese term, 散兵 Sǎnbīng.
- Scaramouche (Scaramuccia in Italian) is derived from a stock character in commedia dell'arte, a type of Italian theatre.
- Scaramouche ("Little Skirmisher") is usually an assortment of different villainous traits, but is primarily unscrupulous and unreliable with a penchant for intrigue, which lands him into difficult situations.
- Unlike his fellow Harbingers, Scaramouche does not wear a mask on his face, but on the top of his hat. This could relate to the original commedia dell'arte actor Tiberio Fiorillo, the role for Scaramouche, who played without a mask.
- Scaramouche's stylized kasa hat may be a reference to the character's costume; it consisted of a large loose hat that hung down over his neck.
- The term scaramouche has become associated with a class of puppets with extendable necks, which may be attributed to the fact that Scaramouche was originally a prototype for the Raiden Shogun's puppet.
- Kunikuzushi (Japanese: 国崩), the name he currently uses for himself, literally means the "Country Destroyer" in Japanese.[Note 1]
- Kunikuzushi is a villainous stock character in kabuki, a traditional form of Japanese popular drama, which also exists in the Genshin universe as Inazuman traditional theater. Kunikuzushi typically appears in works whose theme is O-Ie Soudou (noble family disputes), where it plots to usurp a country. Kunikuzushi is considered to be one of the most heinous yet energetic and prominent stock characters in kabuki, and its importance usually demands the role to be played by the head or the star of a kabuki troupe.
- Various aspects of Scaramouche's character, particularly pertaining to his appearance during Unreconciled Stars, reference the lyrics of the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" by British rock band, Queen, which has a famous line that goes "Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?"
- The soundtrack that plays during Scaramouche's first appearance in the event is named "Ominous Fandango."
- The lyrics mention "Beelzebub," an alternative form of Beelzebul, who is Scaramouche's creator. The song's speaker addresses his "mama" several times, which may be an interpretation of the type of bond between Beelzebul and Scaramouche.
- "Thunderbolts and lightning" are mentioned in the lyrics, which is symbolic of Inazuma, the Electro region, where Scaramouche originates from.
- The lyrics "Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?" show the song's speaker having doubts about the natural order of the world. The song also makes reference to Galileo Galilei, who was known for challenging beliefs about the astronomical model during his time. Towards the end of Unreconciled Stars, Scaramouche makes a discovery that prompts him to declare: "The stars, the sky... It's all a gigantic hoax. A lie."
- In Mandarin, the word 国崩 guóbēng unambiguously means the collapse of a country. This contrasts with the Japanese usage of Han characters wherein 国崩 has two equally possible interpretations: the collapse of a country (Japanese: 国崩れ kuni kuzure) and the destroyer of (or the act of destroying) a country (Japanese: 国崩し kuni kuzushi). Historical canons, traditional stock characters, and the English name of the in-game character follow the latter reading.
- The Chinese description of Shakkei Pavilion. See its Trivia section for translation details.
- Referred to as his original name Kunikuzushi.
- Artifact, Husk of Opulent Dreams: Bloom Times
- Bilibili: CN VA Self Announcement (Timestamp: 2m 2s)
- Twitter: JP VA Announcement
- Raiden Shogun's Voice-Over: About Kunikuzushi (as Ei)
- Artifact Set: Husk of Opulent Dreams
- Event Labyrinth Warriors Quest: Away With Obsessions and Falsehood
- Event Hues of the Violet Garden Quest, True Tales of the Violet Garden, Act IV: The Five Colors' True Form
- World Quest: Equivalent Exchange
- Archon Quest, Chapter II, Act III: Wishes
- Interactible: Rather Aged Notes
- Artifact Set: Pale Flame
- Kabuki Play Guide: 歌舞伎用語案内：国崩し
- Artifact Set: Husk of Opulent Dreams