The SCIENCE! Behind Genji in Overwatch – The Most Deadly Character

Dear Blizzard, Hi, it’s me! Austin! Your worst nightmare! Actually that may not be quite true. I’m guessing the looming irrelevance of World of Warcraft is your worst nightmare. But, thankfully, you’ve found what appears to be your next smash hit in the MOBA-esque first person shooter Overwatch, which, incidentally, has me certifiably hooked. 2016 has been the year that got me back into first-person-shooters (fuck you, Fallout 4 is not a first person shooter, it’s an action-rpg with some first-person-shooter mechanics), but even more impressively, Overwatch has managed to convince me that killing complete strangers over The Internet is actually fun. Of course, being the Let’s Make the World Better Before We Die person that I am, I play almost exclusively support characters–specifically healers. Which means my worst enemy is…well, everybody to be honest. Lucio has probably the best survivability, but god damn Mercy is made of tissue paper and runs like she’s stuck in a goddamn sludgy marsh if there isn’t a teammate nearby to zip away to.

But nobody is more terrifying than that Robotic Cyborg Freakshow Monster that is Genji. When I hear him pull out his sword and shout his little “I’m going to fuck you with the terrible end of this turgid, pulsating rod of death” scream in Japanese, I just accept my fate. Lucio’s sound wave, his wall ride, Mercy’s little “oh god help me fly away” thing, Ana’s sleep bullet can just be deflected away, and even fucking Zenyata’s special are all useless against his this living, unfeeling meatgrinder in the shape of a human being that is Genji Shimada.

Genji is a cyborg death machine who was once entirely flesh and blood like the rest of us. Along with his brother Hanzo, he is a member of the Shimada family, a ninja clan of criminal assassins; however, when Genji refused to take a more active role in Ye Olde Family Business, a fight broke out between himself and Hanzo. Unlike, I don’t know, normal brothers who just, like wrestle a bit and break your favorite lamp, they fought for realsies and Hanzo murdered the fuck out of Genji–or so he thought. Genji was rescued by Mercy, and Overwatch promptly turned him into Darth Vader, if Darth Vader were 1,000 times more badass. Fitted with robotic prosthetics and other unknown upgrades, Genji’s formidable ninja skills are now cranked up to 11, being able to dash fast-as-fuck, defy the laws of gravitation, and deflect fucking ANYTHING with reflexes that are almost quite literally lightning-fast. Part of what makes Genji so utterly terror-inducing is the mystery surrounding him. Ninjas, to people in The West especially, are enigmatic figures. So let’s dispell some of this mystery and figure out some of the raw SCIENCE behind Genji, and, perhaps, once we shed light onto this Blender for Human Souls, we’ll once and for all leave our fear at the door and be able to sleep at night.

Genji has several superhuman abilities, each more incredible than the next. Let’s take a look at the first, and most basic: his shurikens. Shuriken are actually pretty diverse weapons, and weren’t always in the shape of stars. Shuriken were used by samurai in battles to distract, disorient, and annoy, and rarely to kill, at least immediately. Swords, bows, and arquebuses were much more capable of immediately dispatching foes; however, they certainly could be fatal, and as you’ll see in a moment, in the hands of a person possessing terrifying robot strength, can be god damned shitty for your self-esteem. I discovered this week that there are meter markings in the practice range that is going to make many, MANY of my calculations both this week and in the future a hell of lot easier. To that end, Genji’s main attack is to throw three shuriken in quick succession. Genji’s Shurikens zip across 20 meters in 200 milliseconds, faster than the average person can fucking blink.

Now, shurikens had many, many shapes and sizes, and we have no idea what future Polymeralloytanium Genji’s weapons are made out of, but most shurikens weighed anywhere from 35-150 grams, which means Genji’s stars are delivering between 175 to 750 joules of energy PER PROJECTILE, which is like getting shot with a goddamn gun. These things are deadly-as-fuck, and in the higher ends would actually be capable of piercing through steel. Genji’s throwing stars are no joke, and there’s no way a real-life human would be able to pull numbers like this, but who the hell cares? Genji has goddamn robot hands.

Speaking of robot appendages, let’s go south of the border and take a look at Genji’s two other superhuman abilities: his double jump, and his terri-bad swift strike. Let’s talk about jumping for a bit. Contrary to what video games would have you believe, human beings are actually pretty terrible at jumping. I mean, we certainly can do it. People train their entire lives to be as good at jumping as other animals. The world record for the high jump is Javier Sotomayor, who leapt over 8 goddamn feet high. Jesus Christ. Anyway. Most people can’t jump half that well, let alone do so twice, but double jumps are a major staple in games far and wide. So how would they work? Complicatedly. A person jumps by pushing down into the ground. The earth, being quite massive, does absorb that force, and subsequently pushes back, the whole Isaac Newton, equal-and-opposite reaction bullshit. Anyway, you’ve got nowhere to go but up, so you do. The reason we can’t double-jump in real life is that, well, the atmosphere is soft.

Like really soft. It’s so soft, in fact, that it just moves the hell out of the way when your body touches it. Go ahead, try and grab it–you can’t. Now, in theory, if you exerted enough force all at once against the atmosphere, it would react like a solid and allow you to push yourself upward. The problem is that, well, that would look something like this. In order to exert enough pressure on the atmosphere to allow yourself to lift off as though it were solid ground, you’d have to unleash a ton of energy–enough energy to shove these atoms together in the form of an incredibly dense shockwave. Forget Lucio’s sonic amplifier, the force from this would quite likely crack the earth’s crust. So, unfortunately, I don’t think you’re going to be pulling off any double-jumps of your own any time soon. However, not all is lost. Remember, a jump is created by your foot pushing down and a relatively equal force pushing back upward onto it, minus some friction and–well, other stuff.

Anyway. There’s no rule stating that this force needs to be exerted by the earth. If, for example, you had some means of propulsion on the bottom of your feet that were calibrated to perfectly match your weight, and then dial in its propulsion so that it exerted matching for to your foot as you jumped, you would, in theory, be able to jump in the air again. Using me for an example, a rocket boot would have to exert exactly 1pounds of upward force to cancel out my downward movement, and as I tensed my legs and pushed upward, they would have to exert 1pounds + x pounds to cancel out that extra energy. The method of propulsion doesn’t matter that much, although most of them create some serious issues for anybody considering themselves to be a real ninja. You see, jet engines, compressed air, and rockets create upward force by pushing down–and down, there’s air. Air, when pushed away incredibly quickly, creates sound waves–kinetic energy carried away in the form of vibrations. The amount of force it would take to cancel out 135 pounds and more of human would be incredibly loud, like a goddamn gun going off.

Not, you know, super stealthy. Of course, maybe, I don’t know, Genji just uses electromagnets that interact with the earth’s magnetic field. Whatever. In either case, it’s never explained why Genji is limited to only performing two jumps, since the only limiting factors I can think of are electricity and fuel. Maybe it’s against his ninja code to perform a triple jump. That’s just too unfair. Which brings us to Genji’s next totally fucking badass ability. His swift strike, wherein, like an anime legend of yore, he dashes forward and slashes anybody between point A and Point B in a display of pure ninjitude.

Genji crosses a distance of exactly 15 meters slightly slower than he can throw his ninja stars, moving at a terrifyingly quick 90 meters-per-second, or over 200 fucking miles per hour. That’s the speed of a goddamn Formula-1 Racing car. Even more impressively-and-or-pissy-pants-inducing, Genji reaches his top speed in 66 milliseconds, and stops in just 33 milliseconds, which means his body experiences over 275 Gs. G-Forces, for those of you who don’t know, are the forces that something experiences due to inertia when it accelerates. Something that’s moving at a steady pace, or in this case standing still, wants to stay the way it is.

It wants to stay still. So when it begins moving, there’s resistance. This isn’t a huge deal in most instances, although G-Forces can be fatal, causing internal pressure differentials that can rupture major arteries and even damage organs, and if you experience high g-forces for long enough, your heart will be unable to properly distribute your blood, and you can pass out or even die. The human body can experience over 100 gs for a short period of time during a car accident, and fighter pilots can pull 9 Gs continuously using trained breathing and special suits that help contain the blood flow like body-sized cock rings. Basically the amount of forces Genji’s body are under are equivalent to you being on a Japanese bullet train traveling at top speed and it hitting the side of a mountain.

For a brief period of time, someone weighing 135 pounds would feel like they weight 35,000 pounds. Human bodies are not built to withstand these kinds of forces, and would be crushed and ripped apart in a spectacular fashion. FUCK. Genji, though? Genji is apparently made out of some kind of Ultraplastic Polymerfuckfuck Adamantium shit, because he doesn’t even break a sweat. He’ll do that shit all day long. What a fucking badass. God DAMMIT I wish I were a robot Ninja. Which brings us, at last, to my favorite part. The creme-de-la-creme, the amuse-bouche, the ménage à trois as it were: Genji’s bullet deflection. Oh shit, OH FUCKING SHIT I CAN’T–I CAN–I CAN’T FUCKING CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT THIS IS–YOU GUYS, LET’S, okay. Let’s. Let’s fucking BREAK DOWN THIS ULTIMATE NINJA SKILL OF ULTIMATE NINJANESS. Bullet deflection. This is, like, the greatest pop culture phenomenon of the century. Or millennium, whatever. Almost exclusively done by ninja, but also falling within the purview of Jedi, bullet deflection is the most badass display of both swordsmanship and spiritual purity, for one could clearly only accomplish such a feat if they were properly one with the universe.

Genji, when properly motivated, can block almost any projectile in the game for 2 whole seconds. Speed and frequency are no object. But Genji isn’t your normal ninja badass, hell no, he goes even further. Not only does Genji stop bullets fired at him, the motherfucker sends them right back from whence they came, as if to say “Oh, you’re shooting at me? Oh fuck no. No. You take your bullets. You take them right back. Have some of your own goddamn lead medicine. Asshole.” In fact, this move is one of the most beloved counters to one of the most berated characters in the entire Overwatch Arsenal: Bastion.

Bastion, the adorable Wall-e misfit of the Overwatch cast, is capable of putting aside his adorableness to take the form of a deadly fucking minigun, capable of turning anybody unfortunate enough to get in its path into fucking Swiss cheese. And I’m talking about that Sbrinz shit that cheese rebels distributed against the will of the Swiss Cheese Union, no, I mean Elemental, the shit with all the holes in it. That’s you, if you meet Bastion. Miniguns in our real world fire 7.62×51mm NATO rounds at a human-pate-makingly fast rate of 2000 or more rounds per minute. Each round carries an intense 3300 joules of energy, an incredibly huge amount of power. That’s why the damned things have to be bolted to something solid–they’re ridiculous. Bastion, actually, fires almost this quickly. This is surprising because most games that feature miniguns don’t even come remotely close to an actual minigun’s firing rate.

Bastion unleashes 1800 rounds per minute. Phew. No wonder people fucking hate him. Anyway. In order to stop one 7.62×51mm NATO round, you have to cancel out all 3300 joules of energy. Genji does this with his sword. Well, one of his swords. Genji is a practitioner Daishō and carries two sets of swords, one big, and one little. The sword he blocks rounds with isn’t his weird plasma-lightsaber katana, but rather his smaller kodachi, or wakizashi. Now, in order to stop one bullet, Genji has to swing his sword and meet the bullet with 3300 joules of energy, arresting its movement. Effectively, Genji has to cancel out the kinetic energy of a 7.62×51mm NATO by creating kinetic energy of his own. The average wakizashi weighed roughly 460 grams–at this mass, Genji would have to met the oncoming bullet at 119 meters-per-second, or over 266 miles per hour. Holy shit. All-star baseball batters can swing bats at 90 miles an hour, and you definitely, DEFINITELY wouldn’t want to get hit with it. They’d split your skull. This is several times faster than that. Jesus fucking christ. But, speaking of baseball, you’ll notice that this is how fast Genji would have to swing his sword just to STOP the bullet–but that’s not what he does–he also sends it back with JUST AS MUCH FORCE as it arrived.

In order to send a single bullet back just as quick as it came–phrasing–Genji would have to swing his sword even faster. At 169 meters-per-second, or 378 miles per hour, Genji can impart as much force into the bullet as it delivered, and he can send it soaring back from whence it came to ruin the day of the fucking evil robot demon shithead that sent it there. Of course, for any of you who have ever seen a car accident, you know that we’ve run into a bit of a problem. Genji’s sword will be, for a fraction of a millisecond, experiencing over 6000 joules of impact force–this is enough to turn every sword ever made in the history of man and machine into smithereens.

If it were made out of any metal currently in existence, including the incredibly strong and durable mangalloy steel, Genji’s sword would be totally fucked, sending deadly shards of deadly metal flying in all directions, harming friend-and-foe alike. Perhaps, though, his sword isn’t made out of metal. Today, in this very day and age, we’re still discovering tougher and tougher materials. Like Graphene, which is a material made up of a single layer of carbon atoms linked together like a honeycomb. Able to disperse vibrations incredibly quickly, it’s ten times more impact-resistant than steel, and stronger than spiderwebs, one of the most durable materials in nature. Perhaps, through some miracle, Genji’s sword is made out of some mega-durable material. And I should hope so, because we’re not even fucking CLOSE to done with him yet. You see, Genji doesn’t just stop one bullet and send it back. He doesn’t just stop ten. No, Genji is capable of going toe-to-toe with everything Bastion can send at him for 2 entire seconds.

At 1800 rounds-per-minute, Genji is capable of deflecting over 60 rounds right back into Bastion’s stupid little face. Or, at least, that’s what I thought. Until I realized that Genji? Genji isn’t capable of stopping just one Bastion. Oh no. He can stop an entire team of six Bastions, who collectively unload over ten thousand rounds per minute, meaning Genji can deflect three hundred and fucking sixty bullets in 2 seconds. In 2 seconds Genji quite literally unleashes the energy released by 1 quarter of a kilogram of TNT. In order to deflect all these bullets, Genji has to accelerate his sword up to over 300 miles per hour to catch the first bullet, and within 5 milliseconds stop and accelerate in the opposite direction up to 300 miles per hour to deflect the next one–his sword would be pulling over 6226 Gs. For that brief 2000 milliseconds, Genji’s 1 pound wakizashi would feel like it weighs over 6000 pounds–it’d be like trying to carry a goddamn adolescent elephant.

The air in front of him would probably be hot-as-fuck, too, as his sword cleaving through it and sending over 300 bullets flying back at over twice the speed of sound would leave his blade and the surrounding air hot enough to toast bread. I hope to fucking-fuck he has a robot brain processor going on in that head of his because there’s NO FUCKING WAY a human could have reflexes that fast, let alone maintain a grip on a sword that’s undergoing the kind of g-forces a goddamn asteroid does when it makes contact with the earth. Genji is a motherfucking badass. So. That’s cool. In either case, it’s a good thing Genji’s mostly goddamn robot, because otherwise just the sheer act of being himself would tear his body apart.

Earlier I called Lucio the most overpowered character in Overwatch, so I guess that makes Genji the most dangerous fucking ninja robot on the entire planet. Yes, I’m looking at you, Raiden. Ya weirdo. Sincerely, Austin P.S. Hah! You thought it was going to be an ad. Nope. Here’s a picture of pie. In honor of this pie, I’d like to thank Tommy, one of the Machinima Artists for the Storyteller and editor for BDobbins FTW, for playing our ninja Genji for a host of the experiments, and Andrew aka Stalli111, the host and editor of Hidden History, Alex, the creator of the Asynchrony YouTube channel, our Fisto episode AND the new show Psycho, Michael, who has his own YouTube channel “Wonderside” where he creates Brotherhood Redacted Travis Wheeler, co-host of the Pokemon podcast, Miles Tormani, and last but certainly not least, John Seguine.

Without their help I couldn’t have possibly gotten every shot I needed for this episode and it would’ve just been “in theory Genji can block six Bastions” instead of “CHECK THIS THE SHIT OUT LOOK AT IT HAPPEN.” So thank you guys so, so much. Follow their YouTube channels and Twitter accounts, those that have them, and throw them a thank you for me. And while you’re rummaging around on Google for the address and phone number of the nearest bakery, hop on over to Twitch.tv/shoddycast, where right now I’m playing ranked Overwatched and probably just getting totally rekt by the other team’s skill, my team’s incompetence, or my own ego. ALSO ALSO, starting next Monday, August 1st, I’ll be hosting an Amateur Overwatch Tournament on our twitch channel. Links to the sign-up form and entry rules are in the description, and follow the Shoddycast twitter account for more info and updates.

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