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Mortal Kombat Movie: Who is Raiden?

The upcoming Mortal Kombat movie is set to boast a wide cast of characters. From iconic fighters such as Sub-Zero and Scorpion to new faces such as Cole Young, the latest adaptation of the popular video game franchise is going to have a lot of different faces that you'll need to keep up with.

Of all the characters that will be appearing in Mortal Kombat, however, Raiden is perhaps one of the most important. Although we haven't seen much of what this iteration of the character will be like in the latest movie reboot, it stands to reason that he'll be vital to the narrative. As such, it might prove helpful to familiarize yourself with the character a bit more to understand his backstory from the video games, his previous appearances in the other Mortal Kombat movies, and what you can expect from him in this newest adaptation.

Raiden's Backstory and History

In the video game series, Raiden is one of the original characters that first appeared in the initial Mortal Kombat all the way back in Since that time, he has also shown back up in every subsequent Mortal Kombat installment, making him one of the only characters to achieve this feat.

Within the video game lore, Raiden hails from Earthrealm and is the God of Thunder, which means that he essentially is immortal. The abilities he boasts include teleportation, flight, and the ability to wield lightning. He also has wielded weapons such as a staff and hammer at various times throughout the fighting series. Later on in the series, Raiden at one point became even more powerful and gained the title of Elder God.

As for his role in the story of Mortal Kombat, Raiden is basically a guide and mentor to the other champions from Earthrealm. He guides characters such as Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Sonya Blade, and Jax, to name a few. Since he is the protector of Earthrealm, he also is eternally locked in battle with those from Outworld, most notably with Shang Tsung and Shao Khan.


Original Mortal Kombat Movie Appearance

Raiden Mortal Kombat

In the original Mortal Kombat movie from , Raiden was notably played by Christopher Lambert. Much like the video games, Raiden in this adaptation assembled and mentored the champions of Earthrealm that included Sonya Blade, Liu Kang, and Johnny Cage. After training the three combatants, they all travel to Outworld to take part in the Mortal Kombat tournament.

In the sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Lambert didn't return and Raiden was instead played by James Remar. The film deviates quite greatly from the video game series and reveals that Shao Khan and Raiden are actually brothers, which is something that isn't considering canonical. As a whole, the movie once again places Raiden in a leadership role as the Earthrealm warriors, which this time around includes new faces such as Jax.


Mortal Kombat Reboot Appearance

In the latest Mortal Kombat movie, Raiden will be portrayed by Tadanobu Asano. Previously, Asano is likely most well-known for his role as Hogun in the Thor film series. He has also appeared in other projects such as 47 Ronin, Battleship, and Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan.

As for the role that Raiden will be playing in Mortal Kombat this time around, there's still a lot that we don't know. Based on the trailers and other accompanying footage that has released so far, Raiden will again be seemingly assisting the Earthrealm champions, much as he typically does.


That being said, it doesn't look like Raiden will be a passive player in Mortal Kombat whatsoever. While some adaptations have mainly left Raiden on the sidelines which he watches the other Earthrealm warriors fight, it looks as though the God of Thunder will have his own big fight scenes to take part in as well. Perhaps the most notable tease that we have seen at this point in time involves a clash between Raiden and Shang Tsung.

While we'll have to wait a bit longer to see what this iteration of Raiden has in store, the movie will be released before we know it. Mortal Kombat is set to arrive both in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday, April 23rd.


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Mortal Kombat: Why Raiden&#;s Role In MK1 Was Retconned

Raiden rose to prominence as a Mortal Kombat 1 fighter - which makes it all the stranger that he's now said to have never fought in the tournament.

Raiden is typically considered one of the most intrinsic fighters to Mortal Kombat as a series. The character has been around since the first game, and he's returned for most of the important entries, Mortal Kombat 3 being a notable exception. The game's creators eventually decided to retcon their story to say Raiden never fought in the first Mortal Kombat tournament featured in the games - which might seem odd, since it's part of the reason why anyone knows his name in the first place. The move does have a logic behind it, however, according to one of Mortal Kombat's co-creators.

As a thunder god, Raiden is the central protector of Earthrealm and the leader of his fellow defenders, including familiar Mortal Kombat fighters like Liu Kang and Sonya Blade. His lightning-based powers are suitably fierce, and arguably some of the most impressive in the series. Some of his only direct competitors in Mortal Kombat are the likes of Kronika and Cetrion, who rank higher in the universe's pantheon.

Related: Raiden In Mortal Kombat Movies: How Is Different To Previous Versions

MK's Raiden was always intended to be a "mentor" figure and a "literal god," perceived as a "higher power" than Mortal Kombat's other characters, co-creator John Tobias explains on Twitter. That's why there aren't many other gods in the series, at least not as playable options. To develop and solidify this role, it was deemed necessary to make Raiden more than another tournament fighter. So as the series progressed, Mortal Kombat's initial setup was gradually written out.

What Role Does Raiden Serve In Mortal Kombat Now?

This isn't to say Mortal Kombat's Raiden became unplayable, of course. In fact he serves a vital role in both the plot and gameplay of the recent reboot series, and is included in its stock roster despite characters like Sindel and Mileena occasionally being relegated to DLC. Developers have learned the hard way that omitting Mortal Kombat 1 characters can be tantamount to heresy, since players are very vocal about the idea. Memory issues have sometimes forced characters out, but that mostly ceased to be a problem after Mortal Kombat Trilogy, which skipped arcades and went straight to consoles.

Conceivably Raiden could be sidelined for plot reasons. Another MK1 favorite, Goro, is missing in from the story modes of both Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat  In the latter the character has been killed, and players even get to see his corpse sitting in his lair. Killing off Mortal Kombat's Raiden would likely upset too many players, but making him sit out the next game in the interests of focusing elsewhere (which, considering how Mortal Kombat Aftermathended things, might actually happen) might not be considered the worst crime, since players know he'll likely return eventually.

Next: Mortal Kombat Arcade Cabinets Secretly Tracked Fighter Choices

Source: John Tobias/Twitter


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Mortal Kombat: 10 Things You Never Knew About Raiden

Of all the characters in the Mortal Kombat franchise, Raiden has been one of those who have been playable in all of the main titles. This being of flight and lightning is the God of Thunder in most timelines and in terms of lore is one of the most powerful beings in the universe, only really being outclassed by the Elder Gods, Titans, and the One Being.

RELATED: Mortal Kombat 10 Easter Eggs Only Die-Hard Fans Of The Games Noticed

Many gamers are familiar with his duty as a protector of Earthrealm and his stalwart defense of humankind, however, there are some lesser-known facts about this deity that might surprise even a few fighting game veterans.

10 Raiden's Character Is Inspired By A Japanese God

In Japanese mythology, there are quite a few powerful deities that preside over the world. One of these kinds of gods is Raijin, which literally translates to "Thunder God". Raiden's powers and name are directly inspired by these lords of storms. It is also worth mentioning that Raiden is one of the first gods of any kind to appear as a playable character in a fighting game.

9 Raiden's Appearance Is Inspired By A Movie Character

While Raiden's name and powers are derived from the Japanese Raijin, his appearance was inspired by a character also named "Raiden" from the John Carpenter action movie Big Trouble in Little China. This character wore a straw hat that obscured most of their face and also had the power to control electricity.

8 Countless Cameos

Not only has Raiden been in all of the major Mortal Kombat games, but he has also appeared in countless others as a bonus character, a secret character, cameo, or another noticeable form. Probably the most well-known out of these are his appearances in  Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflictand Injustice 2, however, he has also been in titles very dissimilar to fighting games, such as NFL Blitz and NBA Jam: Tournament Edition.

7 Original Fatality Was Censored

The first Mortal Kombat game that was released in received fairly wide distribution, however, when it appeared on the SNES, some changes had to be made in order to comply with Nintendo's strict no-blood policy.

RELATED: Which Mortal Kombat Movie Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac?

As such, many of the fatalities in the game were altered, one of which was Raiden's (or Rayden, as he was known for copyright reasons at the time). Instead of decapitating the opponent, the target was instead zapped into a pile of ash.

6 Similar Stances In Mortal Kombat 4

In terms of martial arts techniques, Raiden has been rather inconsistent throughout the franchise, ranging from using Jujutsu to Judo and beyond. In Mortal Kombat 4, the God of Thunder shares their stance with Johnny Cage despite both characters using vastly different movesets. This is likely just a coincidence, albeit an interesting one for the more keen-eyed fans.

5 Interesting Alternate Costume

For the first time in the entire franchise, Raiden was seen without wearing his trademark hat in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. This can be witnessed if the player changes Raiden into his alternate costume, however, he still carries his famous hat on his back.

4 Raiden Wasn't Supposed To Be In Mortal Kombat: Deception

Initially, Raiden was not supposed to appear in Mortal Kombat: Deception, as he was meant to be replaced by another god: Fujin.

RELATED: Mortal Kombat 10 Best Characters In The Movie, Ranked By Their Accuracy To The Games

However, when fans learned about this, they were immensely upset and voiced numerous complaints. This was such an ordeal that the developers decided to swap out Fujin for everyone's favorite deity, much to the joy and satisfaction of everyone. Fujin does appear in the game, though only sparsely and not as a playable character.

3 Arcade Ladder Love

Out of all the characters in Mortal Kombat (), Raiden appears the most in the arcade ladders of various characters. In total, he appears in 8, more than anyone else, and even appears on his own ladder, meaning that players will need to best the God of Thunder using his own strengths if they wish to be successful.

2 Shockingly Underwhelming Attack

In Mortal Kombat X, X-Ray moves were introduced as a new kind of attack that references the title of the tenth installment of the franchise. While these new assaults are very cool to witness and seem like they would be devastating on opponents, some are rather lackluster. Raiden's X-Ray move; which breaks the jaw, explodes the liver, and electrocutes the foe; takes only 31% of the opponent's health. This is among the weakest of all the X-Ray attacks along with Sub-Zero's and Reptile's respective moves.

1 The End Of Two Gods

At the end of  Mortal Kombat 11's story mode, Chapter 17 is shown from Shang Tsung's perspective. During this portion, the mighty sorcerer does battle with both Fujin and Raiden and canonically defeats them, however, contrary to a lot of the buzz and hype made on the internet, these godly characters do not die. Shao Kahn and Sindel desire to finish off the weakened deities, however, Shang Tsung suggests that they should be kept alive and imprisoned in order for them to be continuously siphoned of their essence; a fate far worse than death.

NEXT: Every Major Villain In The Mortal Kombat Series, Ranked According To How Evil They Are


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Raiden Destroys Everyone Fight Scene 4K ULTRA HD - MORTAL KOMBAT X

Lord Rayden : You must first face your fears if you are to conquer them. You, Johnny, are afraid you're a fake, so you'll rush into any fight just to prove you're not. You'll fight bravely enough, but foolishly carelessly and you'll be beaten. You, Sonya, are afraid to admit that even you sometimes need help. If you are afraid to trust, you will lose.

[goes to leave; Liu Kang follows] 

Liu Kang : Wait. Wait! What about me?

Lord Rayden : Oh, you. You fear your own destiny. You already fled it once when you went to America. It has brought you guilt for the death of your brother.

Liu Kang : I AM responsible for Chan's death.

Lord Rayden : No. Every mortal is responsible for his own destiny. Chan believed this. Why can't you?

Liu Kang : I tried.

Lord Rayden : Despair's the most dangerous fear of all. I know this, and so does Shang Tsung. He can peer into your soul and use the fear he sees there against you. You must be prepared.


Mortal kombat raiden

Characters / Mortal Kombat - Raiden

Mortal KombatMain Character Index
Main series: MK1 | MK2 | MK3 | MK4 | Deadly Alliance | Deception | Armageddon | MK vs. DC Universe | MK9 | MKX | MK11
Spinoffs: Mythologies: Sub-Zero | Special Forces
Non-video game: The Movie | Conquest | Defenders of the Realm | Movie
Individual Characters: Scorpion | Johnny Cage | Liu Kang | Raiden | Shang Tsung | Sub-Zero II | Kitana | Mileena | Shao Kahn | Shinnok and Quan Chi | Kronika

Spoilers for Mythologies will be unmarked

"Thunder take you!"

Debut game: Mortal Kombat (Carlos Pesina)

Other appearances: Mortal Kombat II (Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat Trilogy (Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat 4 (Michael Garvey/Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (Carlos Pesina), Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (Michael Garvey), Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, (Richard Epcar), Mortal Kombat 9 (Richard Epcar), Mortal Kombat X (Richard Epcar, English; Gerardo Reyero, Latin American Spanish), Injustice 2 (Richard Epcar, English; Santos Alberto, Latin American Spanish), Mortal Kombat 11 (Richard Epcar, English; Christopher Lambert, English (Voice and Face Model, Klassic MK Movie Skin Pack DLC); Gerardo Reyero, Latin American Spanish)

Non-game appearances: Mortal Kombat: The Movie (Christopher Lambert), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (James Remar), Mortal Kombat: Conquest (Jeffrey Meek), Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm (Clancy Brown), Mortal Kombat: Legacy (Ryan Robbins), Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge (Dave B. Mitchell), Mortal Kombat () (Tadanobu Asano), Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms (Dave B. Mitchell)

Raiden is the eternal God of Thunder and former protector of Earthrealm. Being a god, he possesses many supernatural abilities and an outlook on life radically different from that of mere mortals.

When Earthrealm was young, Raiden was its protector. With the aid of the Elder Gods, Raiden managed to defeat Shinnok, a rogue Elder God who wished to rule it, and managed to banish him in the Netherealm. Some time later, Shang Tsung invited Raiden to participate in Mortal Kombat. Aware of the threat posed by this tournament to the future of Earthrealm, Raiden took human form to compete. One year later, the Thunder God found that he had no choice but to accept Shang Tsung's offer of Mortal Kombat in Outworld. When Shao Kahn reached the Earthrealm by merging it with the Outworld, Raiden was able to protect the souls of his Choosen Warriors, but couldn't join the fight himself. Following Liu Kang's defeat of Shao Kahn, Raiden and his warriors again entered battle when Shinnok escaped the Netherealm to once more wage war against the Gods; when the Forces of Light emerged successful, he was granted the status of Elder God and turned over his position as Earthrealm's protector to Fujin.

As an Elder God, Raiden could not interfere when Shang Tsung and Quan Chi killed Liu Kang many years later. Disgusted at his peers for their refusal to intervene, he renounced his position as an Elder, gathering his warriors to stop the Deadly Alliance. This time, disaster struck the heroes. Raiden confronted the two sorcerers in front of the Soulnado chamber, but was defeated by the Alliance as Onaga, the Dragon King, entered the scene. In a desperate measure, Raiden released his godly essence, the effect of which was a single, massive explosion that apparently killed him but did not harm Onaga. While Raiden's essence soon gathered again in the Earthrealm, since his essence was corrupted because of Onaga, he had now became furious with the way Earthrealm's inhabitants had treated their own realm. He started by punishing Shujinko for his unwilling role in the Dragon King's return. His doings in Deception caught the attention of the Forces of Light; Raiden joined their ranks during the Battle of Armageddon in an attempt to secretly uncover and prevent any plans that could harm Earthrealm.

Raiden is the linchpin of the entire plot of Mortal Kombat 9. Having received visions of his future self's death at the hands of the Outworld emperor, he believes it is his duty to avert the terrible fate that awaits the realms at the end of the timeline. However the visions are unclear and do not specifically indicate what must be changed, leaving Raiden to interpret them of his own However, Raiden does not realize the meaning of his visions until it is too late, and by then, most of Earthrealm's defenders are killed off (save for himself, Sonya and Johnny Cage). Things do not get better in Mortal Kombat X as Shinnok mounts an invasion, hoping to corrupt the Jinsei, Earthrealm's life force. Raiden manages to save Earthrealm by purifying the Jinsei, but the process corrupts him. He is now in his DarkRaiden persona, where he vows to go on the offensive to protect Earthrealm from external threats after presenting Shinnok's head to the new rulers of the Netherrealm, Liu Kang and Kitana.

Meanwhile, another Raiden is tasked by the Elder Gods to avert a Temporal Armageddon in Mortal Kombat 11 and formed an Enemy Mine with Kotal Kahn over Kronika's alliance with Shao Kahn.

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  • The Ace: He's the Protector-God of Earthrealm, but the events of MK9 and MKX have transformed him into a Broken Ace. It's implied he's lost all faith he had in the Elder Gods after MKX.
  • Accidental Murder: During the finale of 9, when Liu Kang tries to attack him with an Elemental Punch of fire, Raiden defends himself with a blast of lightning, and the combination of Liu Kang's fire and the lightning burn Liu Kang to death, much to Raiden's horror.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge, he thinks this of Johnny Cage's assumptions that the Mortal Kombat tournament is actually a movie set.

    Liu Kang: He has no idea what he is doing. Should we tell him?
    Raiden: His journey is one of discovery. Besides, I find it amusing.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Raiden is more human in appearance than the Oni-like fat, ugly Raijin of Japanese mythology he's based on.
  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: His iconic hat has been present in all of his outfits.
  • All Myths Are True: Seems to be the case if his relationship with Nightwolf is any indication.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: His unlockable second costume in 9 is Raiden (post-Deadly Alliance as Dark Raiden).
  • Ascended Meme: "I must consult with the Elder Gods"
  • Badass Baritone: Raiden is often depicted as having a deep, commanding voice.
  • Badass Cape: Gets a pimpin' one in Deadly Alliance and the DC crossover.
  • Battle Aura: In the first game, 4, and Deadly Alliance, his body constantly generates lightning bolts.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening Fujin is going to end with Raiden using his staff to turn you into a lightning rod. Don't you agree, Frost?
  • Big Brother Instinct: He cares about his younger brother Fujin dearly.
  • Big Good: He is one of the only gods who actively help the Earthrealm warriors and guides them as their mentor. Made more visible in 9, where he tells the characters to act according to his visions. This doesn't end well, however. In fact, by the time 9 rolls around he could quite easily be read as a deconstruction. God or not, Raiden is exactly as fallible as every other character on the roster, and it costs Earthrealm dearly.
  • Blood Knight: His ending in the first game has him challenging other gods to Mortal Kombat because the other contestants don't provide enough of a challenge.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: He's a god with power over lightning,
  • Brought Down to Badass: Even if he was in the Netherrealm in 9, he still managed to hold off against Quan Chi's revenants.
  • Brought Down to Normal: He gives Revenant Liu Kang his powers, which causes a Fusion Dance between him and both Liu Kangs, turning him into a Thunder and Fire God. After Kronika is defeated in both Good and Normal endings, Raiden becomes mortal, and decides to guide Liu Kang into building a better timeline.
  • Brain Bleach: Offers an in-universe version in his combat intro in 11.

    Raiden: Do you remember being a revenant?
    Sub-Zero: I recall beingQuan Chi's slave.
    Raiden: Let us purge that memory.

  • Brainwashed and Crazy: A side-effect of using the Kamidogu to track the source of it's corruption. The possession happened twice: the first time, he fought Scorpion only to get nearly strangled by his chained kunai. The second time, he relapsed, impaled Fujin to a wall and used his thunder powers to shock everyone on Shang Tsung's island under Havik's orders.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to him in both timelines. The rebooted timeline shows how his vain attempts to avert Armageddon ultimately led to a lengthy Trauma Conga Line that not only drove him past the Despair Event Horizon, but culminated in his Face&#;Heel Turn at the end of Mortal Kombat X after his Heroic Sacrifice. It seems that save for a few changes in the timeline, most of the goings-on in the new timeline hasn't changed much - the more things change in this new timeline, the more they seem to stay the same - indicating that Armageddon might trigger in a different way.
  • Breakout Character: Originally a random Jerkass God in the first game, Raiden&#;s look and abilities made him popular with players, resulting in him being promoted to the Big Good of the series and eventually one of the most important to the story in the wake of the live action film&#;s portrayal of him as the Mentor Archetype for the heroes.
  • Broken Ace:
    • Though he is the protector god of Earthrealm, mentor to Liu Kang and Kung Lao, and a faithful supporter of the Elder Gods, he starts to become more of this. He gets corrupted (and reforms as DarkRaiden after doing a Heroic Sacrifice to stop Onaga, and becomes disillusioned with the way mortals have treated their Earthrealm. By Mortal Kombat 9, he constantly screws up in choosing his decisions,misinterprets and fails to understand the visions he gets from his future self,loses many of his friends over the course of the game,is spurned by the Elder Gods for technicalities and accidentally kills Liu Kang in self-defense(but not before Liu Kang calls out on him). This Guilt Complex carries over to MKX, where he is still distraught over the loss of Liu Kang and Kung Lao, and is unable to restore the remaining revenants (blame Scorpion for his Revenge Before Reason). Ultimately it takes an emotional toll on him, where he has to deal with Shinnok's attempted invasion of Earthrealm. He finally snaps at the end of MKX, when he decides that he will take a moreaggressive approach to defending Earthrealm (he adopts a much more ruthless persona after purifying the Jinsei). In his arcade ending in MKX, this even spirals into something much worse, where he attempts to invade Outworld by brute force until Kotal Kahn invokes Mortal Kombat in order to stop Raiden; Raiden is suggested to start becoming more like Shao Kahnby adopting crueler methods to make Earthrealm "safe" from external threats.
    • Raiden's character arc seems to show that even gods can be subject to the same flaws as mortals, and allows for more Character Development; instead of a "goody-goody" god that we saw in the original timeline, we now see a god who is willing to help the heroes. The rebooted timeline also shows the personal toll it is taking on him, something which continues to grow and he never recovers from it. Crossing the Despair Event Horizon (losing many of your heroes and friends, being stressed out of dealing with multiple invasions and being unable to restore most of the fallen heroes to the side of good) and carrying a big Guilt Complex (failing to interpret visions,being called on by your protege and accidentally killing him) are indicative of a broken man who has lost perspective. Ultimately, this leads him to finally snap and pull off a Face&#;Heel Turn after being put through multiple rounds of hell.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Even though he is the protector-god of Earthrealm and a father-figure for Liu Kang and Kung Lao, his desperate efforts to reboot the timeline leads to a chain of events that not only would lead to the deaths of many of his champions (especially Liu Kang, who dies athis own hands by accident, but not before he blames Raiden for their situation), but culminates in his own Face&#;Heel Turn at the end of X.
    • In both timelines, Raiden started out with great faith in the Elder Gods only to lose it due to their inaction. He even calls themout several times for their slackness in maintaining the stability of the realms.
  • Butterfly of Doom: In 9, his attempts to change the future end up with very drastic consequences:
    • He saves Smoke from being captured and cyberized by the Lin Kuei, which leads to the Lin Kuei capturing and cyberizing the second Sub-Zero instead, as well as the Lin Kuei swearing loyalty to Shao Kahn.
    • Then, he encourages Kung Lao to fight Kintaro instead of Liu Kang. Immediately after Kung Lao wins, Shao Kahn snaps his neck from behind, killing him.
    • Finally, he rams Motaro through a bridge to stop him from killing Johnny Cage, killing him. At this point, Shao Kahn stops fooling around and sacrifices Shang Tsung to empower Sindel, who kills nearly all of Raiden's warriors.
  • The Cameo: He appears as an unlockable character in Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict (with Shao Kahn serving as the announcer), NFL Blitz, and NBA Jam: Tournament Edition (alongside Shinnok), as well as making a bonus round cameo in a pinball machine, Bally's World Cup Championship.
  • Character Development: The rebooted timeline portrays him as one of the gods who was willing to aid many of his fellow Earthrealm defenders (especially Liu Kang, Kung Lao and Johnny Cage).
  • Characterization Marches On: Raiden&#;s ending in the original game portrayed him as an arrogant God who came to replace Mortal Kombat with a tournament for gods that will destroy the world with its scope. The rest of the franchise seems to have treated this as Canon Discontinuity.
  • The Chooser of The One: Later games reveal that the title of "Chosen One" which defines Earthrealm's champion is entirely up to Raiden's definition, and that no other god or realm needs to behold to it or even agree with it. In fact, some openly mock or question Raiden's judgmentuntil Liu Kang proves why he is deserving of such a distinction.
  • Complete Immortality: Raiden has lived for millions of years. At the end of Deadly Alliance to try and stop Onaga he self-destructed by releasing his godly essence only to reform lateras a darkerversion of himself. Similarly, at the end of Mortal Kombat X, he releases his essence to purify the Jinsei, but it corrupts him, turning him into Dark Raiden once again.
  • The Cynic:
    • He becomes this in the original timeline, where he's dismayed at his fellow Elder Gods for their decision to stay firm on their decision not to interfere. Disgusted at his peers for not stepping in, Raiden relinquishes his Elder God status and returns to Earthrealm to gather support against the coming storm, and informs his allies of the impending threat of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in Deadly Alliance.
    • In the new timeline, he becomes increasingly cynical about the Elder Gods' refusal to intervene on behalf of Earthrealm against Shao Kahn's invasion in 9. This, along with Liu Kang's and Kung Lao's deaths, ultimately push him into the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The deaths of Liu Kang and Kung Lao, along with the Elder Gods' refusal to intervene on behalf of Earthrealm in 9 have made him increasingly cynical.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Mostly in the movies such as the first one, but it pops from time to time in the games.
    • He is also portrayed this way in the Conquest live action series and the Defenders of the Realm animated series.
    • Raiden does this quite a bit more in pre-fight banter in Mortal Kombat X, especially if he's facing a comedic character.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Seems to have crossed this in Mortal Kombat X. The deaths of Liu Kang and Kung Lao, along with the Elder Gods' refusal to intervene on behalf of Earthrealm in 9 have made him increasingly cynical.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: In MK9, Raiden has visions of future events As seen by his past/future self. Trying to take advantage or ignore these visions causes much of the strife of the game's story mode. Raiden either still contemplates or is still receiving visions in MKX, which causes him to send Cassie Cage to kill Shujinko before he can release Onaga and start the path to Armageddon.
  • Drop the Hammer: Raiden had a War Hammer in MK4, before it was placed on the top of the Sky Temple.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the middle of a Bookends moment in 9, he's re-empowered by the Elder Gods, and he manages to put the Big Bad in his place. Sadly, this doesn't do anything gameplay-wise, aside from making hisvoice distorted.
  • Enemy Mine: In the intro for Deception, he briefly joins Shang Tsung and Quan Chi when attempting to stop the Dragon King. He considered doing it again with Quan Chi in 9, to save Earthrealm from Shao Kahn's invasion but Quan Chi had already allied himself with Shao Kahn.
  • Energy Ball: His signature projectile attack sends a bolt of lightning flying at his opponent.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • During the climax of 9, he points out to Quan Chi that Shao Kahn can only merge the realms through victory in a Mortal Kombat tournament; otherwise, he will face the judgment of the Elder Gods. As soon as he says this, Raiden realizes that the message "He must win" actually refers to Shao Kahn himself; as his invasion of Earthrealm is considered an unlawful breach of the rules of Mortal Kombat, Shao Kahn must be allowed to merge Earthrealm with Outworld so the Elder Gods can punish him.
    • In 11, during a dispute with Past!Liu Kang that nearly comes to blows and him nearly going on the path his future self took, he realizes this feels very familiar and notes the two fighting each other has happened before. Not just in this and the original timeline, but countless timelines before. He then reaches the conclusion that Kronika has been dictating their actions and actually pitting Liu Kang and him against each other so they won't unite to stop her plan. After which, he quickly regains his senses and reconciles with Past!Liu Kang, preventing another tragedy and his corruption.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: The motif behind his alt. in Deadly Alliance (which would be passed on to his darker persona in Deception). Among other things, his pants are replaced by hakama and a katana is fashioned to his waist. The costume also reveals Raiden to have long hair (it's somewhat noticeable in his default costume, but you have to squint).
  • Failure Hero: He becomes this in Mortal Kombat 9. His actions to change the future only makes things worse, he slowly loses the trust of Liu Kang, gets many heroes killed through his indirect actions to change the past and only barely wins the battle because the Elder Gods arrive to help him at the last moment.
  • Fallen Hero: Liu Kang sees him as this in 9. He actually becomes it at the end of X.
  • Faith&#;Heel Turn: He started out with great faith in the Elder Gods in both timelines, only to lose it because of their inaction.
  • Fatal Flaw: His biggest weakness is that he tends to deal in half-measures. He had many opportunities in MK9 to swing the momentum over to Earthrealm's side, whether it's his bargaining with Scorpion, him advising Cyrax to go against the Lin Kuei, doing nothing while Sub-Zero is taken or only telling Liu Kang to defeat Shao Kahn instead of finishing him, but his moves were sort of wishy-washy. In contrast, Shao Kahn is far more decisive, snaps Kung Lao's neck, unleashes a hyper-powered Sindel on Earth's special forces as soon as things become troublesome and unleashes armies on Earthrealm to aggressively push for a total victory.
  • The Fettered: In contrast to his less-restrained persona, Raiden is respectful of other realms, possibly to a fault. He believes that the only real way to deal with other realms is to stay out of their business and tend to Earthrealm's needs only, even if those other realms are demonstrating hostility. Sadly the Elder Gods don't really give him any support in his way of doing business, which either makes him look ineffective or causes him to descend into a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Forced to Watch: Shinnok forces Raiden to watch as he corrupts the Jinsei in X.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Kotal Kahn tells him his future self was corrupted after Shinnok's defeat, and does not take it well at all. The Elder Gods consul with him that he can avert heading a dark path to prevent this from happening.
  • God Is Displeased: He is the Guardian of the Earthrealm, standing against Shao Kahn and other realm menaces and recruiting Earth warriors to fight with him. That, until Mortal Kombat: Deceptionin which Raiden died at the hands of Onaga. Reviving later with desire of vengeance and seeing Earthlings don't learn from their mistakes, the god goes by himself in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge leaving Earthrealm to its own luck and reviving Liu Kang as a Revenant Zombie for his own goals.
  • God in Human Form: He has an ethereal true form, but takes the appearance of a human to fight and interact on the mortal plane in the series.
  • God Is Flawed: In spite of his godly power, he has some trouble interpreting correctly his visions in 9. It screws up things badly for the heroes' side, leaving only Johnny Cage and Sonya as the survivors among his champions.
  • God of Good: One of the few gods of the series who actively helps the heroes.
  • God of Thunder: Like his Japanese mythological counterpart.
  • God Was My Copilot: He of all people supports Mileena's rule because she is the only just claimant to Outworld's throne, regardless of her leadership capabilities. Although according to multiplayer conversations, her stubbornness is really getting in the way of his efforts to help her. However, Raiden may very well be Playing Both Sides to Earthrealm's advantage, as he only asserts Mileena's legitimacy when facing Kotal. Against Mileena herself, Raiden either refuses to be entangled in the current situation or forgoes neutrality to tell Mileena that her rebellion must end.
  • Godzilla Threshold: He hits it in 9 when the Elder Gods refuse to aid Earthrealm against Shao Kahn's invasion, especially after Sindel slaughters most of his warriors. This leads him to approach Quan Chi in the Netherrealm, offering the souls of his deceased warriors, and his own, to him in exchange for his aid in fighting the invasion. Sadly, Shao Kahn had already made the same offer to Quan Chi in exchange for the Netherrealm aiding Outworld.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Even at his most benevolent, Raiden has no issue with consigning Geras to the depths of the Sea of Blood, dooming him to be submerged forever.
  • Good Wears White: His outfits are either white or white and blue. He is also the Big Good of the franchise.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Subverted. Many people assumed that he was speaking Japanese during his torpedo move, but Midway later clarified that Raiden was only speaking gibberish.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: He gets retroactively deemed as one when we learn that his actions, in every timeline Kronika has created, have continuously thwarted her plans. In a major sense, this places Raiden as the greatest force for good in the overall MK verse, as even the Elder Gods don't have the power to defy Kronika.
  • Guilt Complex:
    • Gets one in 9. He constantly misinterprets the message his future-self sent and doesn't realize what it really meant until the final chapter. By then, his attempts to change the original timeline resulted in terrible repercussions for many characters. He realizes this is all his fault. By MKX, it is shown that he still hasn't recovered from this, and mentions to Bo Rai Cho that he still deeply regrets losing Liu Kang and Kung Lao to Netherrealm's evil, and is desperate to restore the remaining revenants to the side of good. But before he could do anything, Scorpion unwittingly dooms them to stay as revenants by killing Quan Chi, thereby dashing any hopes of Raiden restoring them to the living.
    • In 11, after finding out his future self became corrupted, it becomes clear that events that lead to his second Start of Darkness puts him on edge, and he is terrified at the prospect of accidentally killing Liu Kang. In one ending, he sees it to empower Liu Kang while he is Brought Down to Normal to prevent this from happening.
  • Hammerspace: He usually pulls his staff out of nowhere when he uses it.
  • Healing Hands: In the new timeline, he displays the ability to heal other kombatants' wounds using his lightning powers. He does this to Jax in 9, to Johnny Cage in X and to Scorpion in 11. Cage lampshades it in Aftermath when he calls it the "Thunder Hands massages".
  • The Hero: His role in 9 is ultimately revealed to be this, albeit in a Supporting Protagonist fashion.
  • Heroic BSoD: Seems to have crossed this threshold in 9 with the deaths of most his allies (including Liu Kang, whom he accidentally killed himself), the futility of his actions to prevent Armageddon (including getting called out by Liu Kang), and the Elder Gods turning their backs on him due to technicalities. He was about to strike up an alliance with Quan Chi, for Fujin's sake! He further plunges into this after his Heroic Sacrifice at the end of MKX.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Fujin and Bo' Rai Cho, being his fellow God and serving a Mentor Archetype role for Raiden's champions, respectively.
  • Hot God: He takes the form of a handsome man in blue and white and wearing a hat. In his alternate outfits for Deadly Alliance to Armageddon, he goes shirtless with a great mane of white hair.
  • Hurting Hero:
    • It's hard not to feel sorry for Raiden during the events of Mortal Kombat 9. His actions slowly keep making things worse for Earthrealm, the heroes die one by one under his watch, and the Elder Gods seem to be pulling a major The Gods Must Be Lazy trip. By the end of the game, his actions narrowly prevented Armageddon from happening, but at the cost of practically all of Earthrealm's champions. Even Liu Kang, Raiden's favored champion, is dead (although unintentionally) by his own hand at the end, after having first turned on him for the tragedies he so far caused. He carries the guilt of his actions throughout the entire game and you can tell it takes its toll. By the game's ending, he's emotionally exhausted. And The Stinger at the end just makes it even worse. Seriously, the guy probably needs a hug badly when all's said and done.
    • This gets even worse in X. It seems that at least some of the villains (Kano for sure, possibly others) are only too eager to remind him it was his fault. The guy just can't catch a break.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • A glaring one in Mortal Kombat 9 has Raiden standing back and doing nothing as Lin Kuei cyber-ninjas attack Sub-Zero and take him away, even going as far as to stop Smoke from helping out. This is despite the fact that, in a nearly identical situation involving Smoke, Raiden didn't hesitate to blast all of the cyber-ninjas with lightning, taking them out and saving Smoke. He stated that if he got involved that it would make the situation worse, but even then that was a flimsy excuse at best especially considering his attempts to not intervene in the game's events were only making things worse.
    • Another moment in the comics: he uses one of the Kamidogu in an attempt to track down the source of it's corruption. Afterwards, not only can he no longer use the Jinsei to heal himself, but he's now prone to the Blood Code's corruption too, to the point where Havik manipulated him into shocking everyone fighting in Shang Tsung's island, allowing Reiko to abduct Mileena, Ermac, Sonya, Johnny and Kotal Kahn to offer as sacrifices. For someone dedicated to protect Earthrealm, he may be just as prone to endanger it.
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Uses his staff as a makeshift lightning rod in one of his Fatalities in X.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In 11 and Injustice 2, Raiden bears a resemblance to his voice actor, Richard Epcar.
  • In-Series Nickname: In 9, Nightwolf (one of the few spiritually aware Earthrealm dwellers; he's apparently communed with Raiden a few times in the past) occasionally refers to him as Haokah, the spirit of thunder and lightning in Lakota mythology.
  • In Spite of a Nail: He transforms into Dark Raiden following the events of MKX. This time, instead of being corrupted by Onaga's energies, it's the negative essence of Shinnok that Raiden exposed himself to in order to cleanse the Jinsei is what did the thunder god in.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Even in modern games, his name is still pronounced "Ray-din" instead of the more accurate "Rye-den." This may have to do with the situation in the Spell My Name with an "S" example.
  • Jerkass Gods:
    • At the end of X, he takes a hardline stance in Earthrealm's defense, starting off by beheading Shinnok and threatening the new rulers of the Netherrealm - Liu Kang and Kitana - with a similar fate if they think of invading Earthrealm. The Ladder Mode endings show his new philosophy in action when he swiftly invades Outworld and crushes its weakened army.
    • This was how he was depicted in the first game as a god who had no interest in protecting Earthrealm and simply participated in the tournament to prove his own superiority. His ending in the first game has him invite other gods to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament and the ensuing battles result in the world being destroyed. This characterization has been ignored in following games and other media where he is depicted as the Big Good.
  • Kid Sidekick: Possibly what Kidd Thunder is to him. We're not entirely sure.
  • Large Ham: He occasionally is prone to making dramatic statements with vocal emphasis, especially once Richard Epcar started voicing him. Christopher Lambert's portrayal isn't too far off either.
  • Large and in Charge: Second-heaviest of the kombatants at pounds. Goro has him beat by pounds. He is also 7 feet tall according to canon (although, like most heights in this series, it's not accurately conveyed in most cases).
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Same warning as with Liu Kang. If you plan to play Armageddon, remember that Raiden became Darker and Edgier.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Uses his electric powers to stop Johnny Cage from becoming a revenant, and also to heal his stab wounds in X. His healing powers have also been used on Jax (9) and Scorpion (11).
  • Like a Son to Me: In X, he mournfully expresses this sentiment towards Liu Kang and Kung Lao.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The usual side effect of many of his electric fatalities is to have the opponent violently explode.
  • Magic Staff: In Kai's ending in MK4, Raiden gives him his staff saying it will grant Kai command over lightning and will make him immortal.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Well, Behind the Woman: Seems to be behind Mileena's rule in Mortal Kombat X, because she is the only just claimant to Outworld's throne, regardless of her incompetence. Although according to multiplayer conversations, her stubbornness is really getting in the way of his efforts to help her.
  • Meaningful Name: Raiden is Japanese for "thunder and lightning." It is also an alternate name for Raijin, the Shinto god of thunder, lightning, and storms.
  • Megaton Punch: One of his fatalities is an explosive uppercut that literally blows his enemies into pieces.
  • Mentor: To Liu Kang. Perhaps most evident in the movie, the DC crossover, and 9.
  • Mini-Me: His Friendships from MKII and MK11 have him summoning a miniature version of himself called "Kidd Thunder!"
  • Mr. Fanservice: In his alternate outfits from Deadly Alliance to Armageddon.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After he accidentally fries Liu Kang in self defense in 9.
  • My Greatest Failure: Losing a lot of his fellow Earthrealm defenders, especially Liu Kang and Kung Lao, to the Netherrealm's evil in 9. This takes an emotional toll on him and spirals into a Guilt Complex in X, in which he never recovers from. The death of Liu Kang in particular hangs over him like a shadow as he is the one responsible for it, delivering his soul straight to Quan Chi himself. Not only were his misinterpretations the reason for Liu Kang's loss of faith but he adds the ultimate cherry on top at the end and harshly blames himself for giving Liu Kang genuine reason to embrace his role as a Revenant. Even his intro dialogue with certain characters in Injustice 2 lament what he allowed to happen to Liu Kang.
  • Mystical White Hair: Ever since the first MK movie, Raiden has been depicted as having white hair.
  • Nice Guy: Very much a wise and benevolent God who cares for Earthrealm and innocents outside his jurisdiction. However, both timelines have him undergo events that do a number on him. His past self continues to be well meaning and sincere when he shows up in 11.
  • Nice Hat: An iconic feature of the character is his conical rice hat, which sometimes is given a samurai war hat motif in various costumes. In particular, his Master of Storms variation in MKX has him wear a hat that sparkles with lightning and has glowing kanji.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His role in 9 ultimately falls into this. Most of the casualties on the heroes' side can be traced to his doings. He deeply regrets this.
  • One-Man Army: Is able to take on the entirety of the army of fallen heroes that Quan Chi had resurrected to serve him. This is while away from Earthrealm, where Raiden's powers are at their strongest.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The normally calm and composed Raiden angrily threatens Shao Kahn that he will "strip the flesh from [his] bones" after seeing Kung Lao having his neck snapped by the Emperor.
  • Out-Gambitted: The ending of 9 shows that Shinnok had been manipulating the events of the story the whole time, and it is strongly implied that he, too, messed with the timeline just as Raiden did (for example, Quan Chi, his servant, was not present in the original events, but features heavily here). So really, Raiden didn't actually make things worse at all, since Future Raiden could not account for the Elder Gods and in retrospect Raiden made barely any significant changes, and his role in the new timeline is actually roughly the same it was in the first.
  • Parental Favoritism: In Annihilation only, which shows Shinnok favoring Shao Kahn over Raiden as his son.
  • Physical God: It's been stated his true form is ethereal, but he has to take a physical form to participate in mortal events.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: His Animality from Trilogy.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: In 11, he earns back Liu Kang's faith by the extent he goes to in order to save him and prevent both their falls to darkness.
  • Red Baron: Defender of Earthrealm and the God of Thunder.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Fujin's bio for the Aftermath DLC for 11 reveals that he and Raiden are brothers, something that never came up in the original timeline. In Annihilation, Raiden is Shao Kahn's brother and son of Shinnok.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He calls outthe Elder Gods for their inaction in both timelines.
  • Retcon: Raiden's story in the first title was much more self-serving, as he had been invited by Shang Tsung to compete and does so in order to prove mortals are puny when matched with a god. His ending from that game has him overthrow the tournament and turn it into a showcase of the gods (that eventually destroy the world). Later games throw this characterization out the window and instead portray him as a concerned protector who feels he must participate in order to avert disaster (as this happens after the first movie also changed the entire story of the first game).
  • Retroactive Precognition: Just before his death in Armageddon, Raiden sends a cryptic message back in time to his past self, kicking off the events of MK9. This is presumably connected to his ability to exist "outside of time", expanded upon in MK11.
  • Ride the Lightning: Whenever he teleports, there's a bolt of lighting that strikes his position.
  • Senseless Sacrifice:
    • During the intro of Deception, he sacrifices himself and releases his godly essence into a massive explosion in order to kill Onaga, but the Dragon King is unharmed.
    • His final actions at the end of Armageddon, which set up the events of 9, could also be seen as this, since his past self really does make things MUCH worse before they get any better.
    • He does manage to purify the Jinsei and rid it of Shinnok's taint at the end of X, but the process has corrupted him, turning him into Dark Raiden.
  • Shock and Awe: He is the God of Thunder, after all. He controls lightning in many different ways.
  • Shotoclone: Starting in MKX when he got the Rising Thunder as an anti-air. His projectile is the signature lightning bolt and his forward dash is the Electric Fly.
  • Silence, You Fool!: In the first movie. And he's a GOOD guy.
  • Simple Staff: Since Mortal Kombat 4, Raiden has frequently been seen with a staff that is sometimes used in gameplay.
  • Spanner in the Works: MK11 reveals that Raiden has upset Kronika's delicate balance in every single timeline she has ever created, requiring her to restart time and try again. Him beheading Shinnok in MKX becomes the last straw for her, and this time she decides to completely break time and write an entirely new history without Raiden. The problem (for her) is that erasing Raiden would take massive amounts of energy which also takes time to gather.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the console ports up to 4 and side material such as the movies, TV series and comic books, Raiden is sometimes called Rayden, because of copyright issues as a Shoot 'em Up was also named Raiden, or possibly to keep from confusing him with Raiden from the Fatal Fury series. Curiously, sketches from Deadly Alliance also use the Rayden spelling.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Becomes this during the events of Mortal Kombat 9, with most of the plot revolving around his attempt to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Stance System:
  • Stealth Pun: One of his Fatalities involves using his staff while electrocuting the opponent. Basically, he's using a lightning rod.
  • Straw Vulcan: He attempts to be this in his MK11 Arcade ending after he obtains the Sands of Time, thinking that pure logic will prevent more devastation throughout the realms. Unfortunately, decisions based on pure logic are just as bad as decisions based on anger and fear, so he travels to the dawn of time and chooses to meditate so he can find a balance between love and logic and bring true peace to the realms.
  • Stripped to the Bone: In one of his DC crossover fatalities, he uses his electric powers to burn off all the opponent's flesh, leaving behind their smoking skeleton.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Mournfully expressesthis sentiment in regards to Liu Kang and Kung Lao in the new timeline, considering how they've been turned into killing machines by Quan Chi.
  • Tele-Frag: One of his Brutalities in Mortal Kombat X. The opponent is briefly confused as to where Raiden has gone to, then blow apart messily.
  • Teleport Spam: He's always had a teleport but it becomes the focus of his "Displacer" variation in MKX, which allows him to zip back and forth mid-combo in order to attack his enemy from both sides (he can also do a delayed teleport in this mode, allowing him to phase out briefly then phase back in once his opponent is confused where he'll reappear).
  • Time Abyss: As a god, he's millions of years old if not older.
  • Took A Level In Cynicism: Becomes this in MKX, as he's not only mournfully expressing his sentiments regarding Liu Kang and Kung Lao, but also grows increasingly tired of constantly defending Earthrealm from external threats like Shinnok and Shao Kahn.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Pretty much the events of 9 and X are this for him. The rebooted timeline shows the personal and emotional toll it is taking on him, something which mushrooms and he never recovers from it. Crossing the Despair Event Horizon (losing many of your heroes and friends, being stressed out of dealing with multiple invasions and being unable to restore most of the fallen heroes to the side of good) and carrying a big Guilt Complex (failing to interpret visions,being called on by your protege and accidentally killing him) are indicative of a broken man who has lost perspective.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In 9 he rams Motaro through a bridge to save Cage, killing Motaro. Unfortunately, this action causes Shao Kahn to take off his kiddie gloves and empower Sindel with Shang Tsung's soul (and all of the souls Shang absorbed by proxy), leading to her bloody No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of the heroes and their subsequent resurrection and enslavement at the hands of Quan Chi.
  • Your Head A-Splode: His Fatality. And yes, it's related to electricity. A continuous jolt to the neck and KABOOM!

    Dark Raiden

There are fates worse than death.

  • Advertised Extra: Despite appearing in the reveal trailer and being the character's default appearance, Dark Raiden doesn't make it past the first chapter as Kronika's timequake sees him replaced by his Big Good past self from 9 for the remainder of the story.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: His skin is grayish-white like the revenants, albeit without the Volcanic Veins.
  • Anti-Villain: Applying the Sliding Scale of Anti-Villains, he qualifies as both a Type II (having his hand be forced into being a ruthless protector by invading forces and the incompetence of humans/the Elder Gods) and Type III (protecting Earthrealm is still his priority, but his new methods are similar to those of his enemies).
  • Artifact of Doom: Dons Shinnok's amulet on his pectoral as his Battle Trophy at The Stinger of MKX and wears it into 11.
  • Battle Trophy: He is seen wearing Shinnok's amulet in The Stinger of MKX and wears it as part of his costume in 11.
  • Badass Boast: More like an ultimatum/warning to the new rulers of the Netherrealm, Liu Kang and Kitana:

    Dark Raiden:Time and again, we've defeated our enemies. But we've exacted no retribution. Demanded no remuneration. What have we gained for our mercy? More intrigue. More senseless violence. As the new rulers of the Netherrealm, heed me. No longer will I simply defend Earthrealm. I will seek out and destroy all who threaten it. No mercy will be shown. No quarter given. (brings out and tosses Shinnok's still-living head to the floor) Shinnok was an Elder God. Impossible to kill.There are fates worse than death.

  • Badass Cape: Tattered and torn in Deception, Armageddon, and 9. He drops this in X, though his concept art in Mortal Kombat X shows that he was intended to keep it.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: In his MKX arcade ending, he starts to become more like Shao Kahn after attempting to conquer Outworld. In the same game, Kotal Kahn's ending shows him invoking Mortal Kombat to defend Outworld in response to Raiden's attempted invasion of Outworld; this effectively reverses Raiden's role into becoming what he once fought against.
  • Berserk Button: Threaten Earthrealm, and he will not hesitate to destroy your realm.
  • Black Knight: Has this as an alternate outfit in MK9 and MKX, and as the default costume for Deception and Armageddon.
  • The Bus Came Back: He is absent from Mortal Kombat 9, given that he was essentially erased from history, but it doesn't stick, as Raiden becomes dark again following his purification of the Jinsei at the end of X.
  • Came Back Wrong: A less extreme example than most, but according to Fujin, he should have been resurrected as a blank slate. Instead, he comes back Darker and Edgier. In the new timeline, he is now corrupted after absorbing Shinnok's evil and purifying the Jinsei at the end of MKX.
  • Character Development: After he Came Back Wrong, Raiden becomes a Knight TemplarJerkass God who uses underhanded and devious methods in defending Earthrealm in both timelines. This is further expanded in his MKX arcade ending, where he goes on the offensive by invading Outworld with brute force, and plans to conquer other realms in order to "protect" Earthrealm.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Does Electric Torture to Shinnok before beheading him in the opening of MK11.
  • Continuity Rebooter: In 9, he sends a message to his past self on the brink of destruction at Shao Kahn's hands, which starts the entire alternate timeline of the series.
  • The Conqueror: Attempts to conquer Outworld by brute force in his MKX arcade ending. Also gives hints of this at the end of X.
  • Cool Hat: Even his iconic straw hat gets a darker variant in both timelines.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Becomes a cynical and jerkass god after he Came Back Wrong in both timelines.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In his MKX arcade ending, he swiftly invades Outworld and crushes its weakened army. Kotal Kahn's ending shows him invoking the Mortal Kombat tournaments in a last-ditch attempt to stop the thunder god from destroying Outworld.
  • Dark Messiah:
    • After his attempt to destroy Onaga failed, he reconstituted darker, and became disgusted with the humans' doings. Shujinko's screw-up souring him only made things worse.
    • It's unknown how he becomes Dark Raiden again in MKX(likely by absorbing the corruption of the Jinsei Chamber) but he exhibits very much of the same behavior. He's a little less jaded because so far he has yet to demonstrate any disgust with those he is sworn to protect but everyone else is fair game (to the point that he gets so aggressive towards Outworld in Kotal Kahn's arcade ending that Kahn attempts to get the Elder Gods to invoke Mortal Kombat against Raiden).
    • In his non-canon Deception ending, he still kills Shujinko, despite the fact that he managed to save Earthrealm.
  • The Dark Side: After he Came Back Wrong at the end of MKX, he begins to adopt a He Who Fights Monsters mentality in dealing with threats against Earthrealm.
  • Dark Is Evil: His Evil Costume Switch in both timelines indicate his changed nature and grim outlook.
  • Darker and Edgier: Happens to him in both timelines, as he takes a more aggressive approach to defending Earthrealm.
  • Darth Vader Clone: More so in the new timeline. Felt the Elder Gods have done nothing to stop the other realms from invading Earthrealm and sees them as more burden than help. Came Back Wrong after absorbing the Jinsei's corruption, and Driven to Villainy after beheading Shinnok at the end of MKX. As shown in his MKX arcade ending, he goes on a warpath by conquering the other realms, starting with Outworld. This effectively reverses his role into what he was originally fighting, with Kotal Kahn invoking Mortal Kombat to stop Raiden's invasion.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Implied, though the short window of opportunity he has to act upon makes it hard to tell which case it is. Right as Shao Kahn is about to drop the hammer, Dark Raiden's eyes return to their original blue coloration as the beaten and bloodied thunder god utters "He must win" with his final breaths.
  • Decapitation Presentation: At the end of MKX, Raiden after exposure to dark magic brought all of his repressed feelings of anger about Earthrealm constantly being put in danger to the surface, approaches the new rulers of the Underworld revenant Liu Kang and Kitana and warns them that he is going to take a more proactive approach to keeping Earthrealm safe by seeking out and destroying any threat to it. He demonstrates that his threat is not an idle one by tossing the head of Shinnok, who is still alive thanks to his immortality as a former Elder God, at their feet.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Gives shades of these in his Badass Boast at the end of X. Threaten Earthrealm, and you will face an angry thunder god who would not hesitate to kill you AND destroy your realm. Also does this in the original timeline.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In 11, he's only present in the intro cutting off Shinnok's head and making a distraction in the first chapter during the raid on Liu Kang and Kitana's fortress to give time for the Special Forces to sneak inside and blow it up. Once Kronika puts her plan into motion in the 2nd chapter and merges the timelines, this summons Past!Raiden. But as two gods can't be in the same timeline, Dark Raiden ends up disintegrating as a result before he knows what's happening, only leaving Shinnok's amulet behind.
  • Driven to Villainy:
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Has this as an alternate outfit in MK9, and as the default costume for Deception and Armageddon.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Samurai-likearmor, Shoulders of Doom, Badass Cape, a darker variant ofhis iconic straw hat, Hell-Bent for Leather, red lightning and Femme Fatalons? Is it a no-brainer that he became evil after his Face&#;Heel Turn in both timelines? Both his main and alternate outfits are more or less unchanged from Deadly Alliance, but the color schemes are now primarily darker colors, mostly blackish-red in Deception. He functions as this for normal Raiden in 9 and X; an alternate costume/cutscene cameo in the former, and an alternate costume/resurrection in the latter.
  • Evil Former Friend:
    • Bo' Rai Cho's MKX Arcade ending shows him severing his friendship with the thunder god when the eccentric drunk gets wind of Raiden's surprise assault on Outworld. His dogma being "No realm deserves to be subjugated", Bo' Rai Cho decides to train the Outworld warriors in order to deny the thunder god a chance to destroy Outworld.
    • He becomes this to the revenants who haven't been revived at the end of MKX.
  • Evil Overlord: In his MKX arcade ending, it's shown that he's set his sights on conquering Outworld, and possibly other realms. The same game also shows Kotal Kahn (who took over Outworld after deposing Mileena) invoking Mortal Kombat to stop Raiden from invading his realm, in a reversal of roles.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Or at least, Darker and Edgier Sounds Deeper.
    • His narration in Deception (in his ending, where he kills Shujinko) is a fair bit deeper than that of his narration from Deadly Alliance.
    • As part of his Badass Boast at the end of X, his voice starts to have Power Echoes similar to the revenants.
    • In 11, the present Dark Raiden&#;s voice has a noticeably deeper tone than the normal Raiden from the past.
  • Evil Wears Black: Wears an all-black outfit after he Came Back Wrong in both timelines.
  • Face&#;Heel Turn: After his resurrection, he becomes disillusioned with the way of humans and tried to destroy anything that could possibly harm Earthrealm. In the alternate timeline, the Jinsei's corruption was the final straw for him, indicating that he is willing to destroy anybody that wants to harm Earthrealm after presenting Shinnok's head to the new rulers of the Netherrealm, Liu Kang and Kitana, as an example.
  • Faith&#;Heel Turn: In both timelines, he has begun to see the Elder Gods with disgust.
  • Femme Fatalons: Gains these as part of his Evil Costume Switch at the end of MKX. They are black, like his new outfit.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Pretty much what he does in MK9. After the events of Armageddon, he sends a message across time and space to his past self of the first game's timeframe, in order to prevent a repetition of events. He believes that, with proper warning, his past self will not make the same mistakes that brought the fate of the timeline which ends with Armageddon. However, in the rebooted timeline, his past self fails to interpret the message properly, constantly making the wrong choices until it was almost too late. Also, even if the events were slightly altered here and there, most of the goings-on in the new timeline hasn't changed much - the more things change in this new timeline, the more they seem to stay the same - indicating that Armageddon might trigger in a different way.
  • Forced into Evil: Happens to him after he Came Back Wrong in both timelines.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: During Deception and onward, combined with Red Eyes, Take Warning (Supernatural Gold Eyes in MKX).
  • Good Is Not Nice: He's an Omnicidal Neutral at best. He will not hesitate in outright killing anybody who so much as threatens Earthrealm, or giving them a Cruel and Unusual Death while he is at it. Worse if you are immortal, as Dark Raiden's grand reappearance in The Stinger of X is presenting what hehad done withShinnok to Liu Kang and Kitana.

    Dark Raiden: "There are fates worse than death."

  • Heel&#;Face Revolving Door: He becomes a heel in Deception, but reverts to a face at the beginning of 9/end of Armageddon. Raiden goes heel again at the end of X, when he vows to go an a warpath against those who dare to attack Earthrealm.
  • Heel&#;Face Turn: Implied in the last few seconds of his life in the original timeline. As he sends his message, his glowing red eyes slowly turn blue again.
  • Heel Realization: Quite possiblythe entire reason he attempts to change history in 9, coupled with Shao Kahn's victory. His revival of Liu Kang is one of the key events shown in the flashback message he sends to his past self.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: His Evil Costume Switch has a slight leathery feel.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: His Badass Boast at the end of X indicates that he will go on a warpath and destroy any realm that might pose a major threat to Earthrealm by reducing Shinnok to a mere living head, and seems to have further plunged into it in his MKX arcade ending by invading a still-recovering Outworld. The same game also shows Kotal Kahn invoking Mortal Kombat to stop Raiden's invasion in a reversal of roles.
  • Horns of Villainy: Invokes these in his Cool Hat.
  • Idiot Ball: If he would have been more specific with his message, the amount of casualties suffered on the heroes' side would have most likely been avoided. Though in all fairness, he did have a warhammer seconds away from his skull.
  • Jerkass God: Some of his intros in MKX seem to indicate that he's taking a more aggressive and militaristic stance on defending Earthrealm. The ending cutscene at the end of MKX also shows this personality change this following his Face&#;Heel Turn. His MKX Ladder Mode ending shows his new philosophy in action when he and the Shirai Ryu launch a surprise assault on Outworld and swiftly crush its weakened army.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: After he Came Back Wrong at the end of MKX, Raiden believes that the Elder Gods have become more burden than help, as he saw that both Shao Kahn and Shinnok mocked them for their cowardice and incompetence, hence why he took matters into his own hands and decided to take a more hardline and militaristic stance in defending Earthrealm.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: After purifying the Jinsei, he quickly crosses this after his Face&#;Heel Turn at the end of MKX, starting off by decapacitatingShinnok and then threatening Liu Kang and Kitana with a similar fate if they think of invading Earthrealm, and further plunges into it by invading Outworld in his MKX arcade ending.
  • Knight Templar: As part of his Badass Boast at The Stinger of MKX, he becomes this.

    Dark Raiden:No longer will I simply defend Earthrealm.I will seek outand destroy all who threaten it.No mercy will be shown.No quarter given.

  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: He beheads Shinnok as a warning of what could happen if anybody dares to invade Earthrealm at the end of MKX.
  • Leave No Survivors: In both timelines, he wouldn't hesitate to destroy anything and anybody if they harm Earthrealm.
  • Light Is Not Good: Though he generates lightning, Dark Raiden is pretty much a Jerkass God version of the thunder god who Came Back Wrong in both timelines.
  • Make an Example of Them: He beheadsShinnok and threatens Liu Kang and Kitana with a similar situation if they dare invade Earthrealm at the end of MKX.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: He goes ballistic in his non-canon ending for Armageddon, has powers now greater than the Elder Gods themselves, uses them to eliminate all other realms, automatically making Earthrealm forever safe for there is no other realms to ever harm it again, and also serves as the inspiration for DarkRaiden'sreturn speech at the end of MKX.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Turns to dust when his past counterpart is brought into the future in 11. When Johnny brings up how the other fighters have to deal with their younger selves, the heroic Raiden presumes that his nature as an immortal demigod could've affected him differently.

    Johnny: Yeah, about that. What happened to Dark you? How come you're an only child and I've got an evil twin?

    Raiden: As an immortal, I exist outside the normal laws of time. That could explain why I am affected differently.

  • Omnicidal Maniac: See the Murder Is the Best Solution trope above.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: At the end of MKX, he decides to go on a warpath after seeing Earthrealm get invaded too many times.
  • Paint It Black: See the Evil Costume Switch trope above.
  • The Paranoiac: After he Came Back Wrong in MKX, Raiden fits this personality type quite well, as years of war, the deaths of many of his allies (especially his protege), and a massive Guilt Complex have turned him into a ruthless Control Freakdetermined to protect Earthrealmat all costs (even if it meant invading other realms), and who rarely ever has a Pet the Dog moment.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Beheads Shinnok at the end of X and threatens Liu Kang and Kitana, the new rulers of the Netherrealm, with a similar fate if they think of invading Earthrealm again.
  • Pet the Dog: In Scorpion's MKX arcade ending, he makes the Shirai Ryu ninja as the Jinsei's guardian for eternity.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Happens to him in both timelines:
    • In the original timeline, he starts off as Earthrealm's protector-god and mentor to Liu Kang, then becomes an Elder God in Deadly Alliance only to resign his status, and after he Came Back Wrong in Deception, he becomes a vengeful god who wishes to lash out and destroy those who have harmed Earthrealm.
    • In the new timeline, he again starts off as Earthrealm's protector-god and mentor to Liu Kang, but this time, their relationship becomes strained to the point that they're Arch Enemies at the end of MK9, and after his Heroic Sacrifice at the end of X, he Came Back Wrong as a revenge-seeking godwho will go ona warpathto destroy Earthrealm's enemies, and seems to have Jumped Off The Slippery Slope by beheading Shinnok. He further plunges into villainy in his MKX arcade ending by launching a surprise invasion of Outworld, and plans to conquer other realms.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: In both timelines, his Evil Costume Switch is black, and the lightning he radiates is red.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Complete with demonic glow.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Implied, though the short window of opportunity he has to act upon makes it hard to tell which case it is. Right as Shao Kahn is about to drop the hammer, Dark Raiden's eyes return to their original blue coloration as the beaten and bloodied thunder god utters "He must win" with his final breaths.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Should Shang Tsung win at the end of Aftermath, this is the form Raiden will take as one of his brainwashed minions.
  • Rogue Protagonist: Becomes this at the end of Mortal Kombat X, when he vows to go on the warpath and destroy anybody who threatens Earthrealm.
  • Shadow Archetype: Serves as this to his original self in 11. Dark Raiden is what happens when Raiden takes his status as Protector of Earthrealm to the worst possible extreme. Having thrown away his mercy and compassion, Dark Raiden will completely destroy all other forces who would dare to threaten Earthrealm, without exception. He'll evne go so far as to obliterate entire realms.
  • Slasher Smile: Briefly sports one in the opening of MK11, as he's about to behead Shinnok.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: After his Face&#;Heel Turn, Raiden beheads Shinnok at the end of X and threatens Liu Kang and Kitana, the new rulers of the Netherrealm, with a similar Fate Worse than Death if they think of invading Earthrealm again.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: A lot of Raiden's aggression comes from the Trauma Conga Line that his Face&#;Heel Turn brought him in the first place in both timelines.
  • Stance System:
    • In Deception he has Nan Chuan and Jujutsu as unarmed styles, and Staff as weapon style.
    • In Armageddon he drops Jujutsu.
  • Start of Darkness: After his Face&#;Heel Turn at the end of X, he begins to adopt extremist and dictatorial methods when it comes to protecting Earthrealm, and things go downhill when he invades Outworld in his arcade ending. Irony abound as Kotal Kahn is forced to invoke Mortal Kombat in a reversal of roles.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Gains these as part of his Evil Costume Switch in both timelines.
  • Taking You with Me: In Deception, he tries to pull this off against Onaga, but in vain. It actually works straight when used as a Fatality in that same game.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • All promotional art of Raiden in Deception as well as his appearances throughout most of that game's Konquest Mode use his depiction from Deadly Alliance, perhaps as to not spoil the transformation he had undergone there.
    • A similar thing occurs in X, where the trailers showed Raiden delivering his "fates worse than death" line but looking completely normal when it was definitely Dark Raiden who said it.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Becomes this after he Came Back Wrong at the end of MKX.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Certainly gives shades of this following the events of MKX, when he decides to take matters into hisown hands and aggressively protect Earthrealm from external threats.His grim outlook and cynical view mark a stark contrast from his pre-Face&#;Heel TurnGod Is Good attitude.
  • The Unfettered: In both timelines, he wouldn't hesitate to destroy anything and anybody if they harm Earthrealm. The new timeline shows him adopting a no mercy, no Pet the Dog approach to protecting Earthrealm by beheading Shinnok. His MKX arcade ending further indicates that the he has no qualms conquering other realms.
  • Villain Corner: Raiden undergoes this treatment in both timelines, but more explicitly in the new one.
  • Walking Spoiler: While his appearance in Deception and Armageddon is treated as a Late-Arrival Spoiler by fans, his reappearance at the end of X certainly is a Wham Episode.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Saving the Earth first by resurrecting Liu Kang and making him into a killer zombie, and then by destroying all the other realms, even those that were harmless to the Earth itself yeah.
    • Certainly gives shades of this in his Badass Boast in MKX, as he is willing to destroy anybody if they dare try to invade Earthrealm.
  • We Used to Be Friends: In his MKX arcade ending, Bo' Rai Cho severs his friendship with Raiden after the eccentric drunk gets wind of the corrupted thunder god's surprise invasion of Outworld. Also becomes this to Liu Kang, Kung Lao and the revenants that have not been restored to life.
  • Wham Episode: Came Back Wrong as a darker version of himself in both timelines.
  • Will Not Be a Victim:
    • In his MKX arcade ending, it's shown that years of defending Earthrealm from outside threats have yielded no results, especially after Shinnok's second defeat at the end of MKX. In a change of tactics, he decides to preemptively attack and invade Outworld, which was weakened by the civil war after Shao Kahn's death. Kotal Kahn, who now leads Outworld (after usurping the throne from Mileena), is unprepared by this surprise attack and desperately invokes Mortal Kombat in order to stop Dark Raiden's invasion. This event effectively reverses Raiden'srole intowhat he once fought against.
    • Also gives this as part of his Badass Boast at the end of MKX to Liu Kang and Kitana, the new rulers of the Netherrealm:

      Dark Raiden: Too long have I allowed Earthrealm to endure the horrors of war. Time and again we've defeated our enemies. But we've exacted no retribution. Demanded no remuneration. What have we gained for our mercy? More intrigue. More senseless violence! As the new rulers of the Netherrealm, heed me. No longer will I simply defend Earthrealm.I will seek outand destroy all who threaten it.No mercy will be shown.No quarter given.[Opens up a satchel and tosses the severedhead of Shinnok on the floor] Shinnok was an Elder God. Impossible to kill. There are fates worse than death.
      [Raiden teleports away, leaving burn marks on the carpet. The camera then pans to show who Raiden was talking to - Liu Kang and Kitana, who have become the new rulers of the Netherrealm. They look at the severed head of Shinnok before looking at each other and have puzzled looks.]

  • Who's Laughing Now?: Tired of seeing his realm constantly invaded, Raiden finally snaps at the end of Mortal Kombat X. He sure had enough of it and vows to go on a warpath against those who dare attack his realm, as part of his Badass Boast.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Less so in the original timeline, but in the new one he is certainly sick of having the realm he sworn to protect under constant threat. His speech gives traits of both Then Let Me Be Evil and Will Not Be a Victim.
Mortal Kombat X - Raiden (Displacer) Klassic Tower (VERY HARD) NO MATCHES LOST

Raiden (Mortal Kombat)

Mortal Kombat character


Raiden in Mortal Kombat 11 ()

First appearanceMortal Kombat ()
Created byEd Boon
John Tobias
Designed byJohn Tobias (early games)
Luis Mangubat (MK:DA, MK:D, MK:A)
Herman Sanchez (MKvsDCU)
Atomhawk Design (MK)
Portrayed byMichael Garvey (MK Mythologies)
Christopher Lambert ( film)
James Remar ( film)
Jeffrey Meek (television)
Ryan Robbins (web series)
David Lee McInnis (web series)
Tadanobu Asano ( film)
Voiced byJon Hey (MK, MKII)[1]
Ron Feinberg (MK:TJB)
Clancy Brown (MK:DotR)
Ed Boon (MK4)[1]
Carlos Pesina (MK:DA)
Chase Ashbaker (–)[1]
Dan Bakkedahl (MK:SM)[1]
Rom Barkhordar (MK:A)
Richard Epcar (–present)[2]
Christopher Lambert (MK11; premiere skin)
Dave B. Mitchell (–present)
Motion captureCarlos Pesina (–)[3]
Sean Okerberg (MKvsDCU)
WeaponWar Hammer (MK4)
Staff (MK4, MK:DA, MK:D, MK:SM, MK:A)
FamilyFujin (brother)
Fighting stylesNan Quan (MK:DA, MK:D)
Jujutsu (MK:DA, MK:D)

Raiden (Japanese: 雷電) is a fictionalcharacter in the Mortal Kombatfighting game series by Midway Games and NetherRealm Studios. Based on the Japanese deity Raijin, he is depicted as the god of thunder who possesses control over lightning. He debuted in the original game and has appeared as a playable character in every main installment except Mortal Kombat 3 () and its first update.

In the storyline of the games, Raiden is the protector of Earthrealm. He fulfills his duty by selecting and training the warriors who defend Earthrealm from various threats, while also participating directly in the realm's defense. Raiden generally serves as a mentor figure to the franchise's heroes, although he sometimes assumes a darker role in the story, which sees him become more ruthless in his protection of the realm.

One of the franchise's central characters, Raiden has appeared in various related media outside of the Mortal Kombat games, including guest appearances in NBA Jam Tournament Edition (), NFL Blitz (), Unreal Championship 2 (), and Injustice 2 (). He has received a positive reception and remains among the series' most popular characters.


Mortal Kombat games[edit]

When Earthrealm was young, Raiden was its protector. He fought the rogue Elder God Shinnok, who wished to overthrow his fellow gods, in a war that threatened to destroy Earthrealm. With the aid of the Elder Gods, Raiden managed to defeat Shinnok, then banished him to the Netherealm and secured his amulet of power in a secret location — a Temple of the Elements tucked away in Nepal's highest mountains. Raiden charged four gods with guarding the amulet — the gods of Wind, Fire, Earth, and Water. When Bi-Han, the elder Sub-Zero, stole Shinnok's amulet from the temple for the sorcerer Quan Chi several millennia later, Raiden appeared before the Lin Kuei warrior and ordered him to enter the Netherealm to steal it back as his powers do not work there, lest Shinnok use it to free himself. Sub-Zero's mission was a success and Shinnok's threat was averted for a time. However, it was later revealed that Quan Chi had acquired the real amulet and gave Sub-Zero a counterfeit, which Raiden never realized.

In the original Mortal Kombat, Raiden is invited to compete in the titular tournament by its grandmaster sorcerer Shang Tsung. Raiden accepts and takes on a human form to compete. In Mortal Kombat II, watching events unfold from above, Raiden realizes Outworld emperor Shao Kahn's intentions. He warns the surviving members of the original tournament, Liu Kang and Kung Lao, of Shao Kahn's threat before venturing to Outworld. Despite Shao Kahn taking every soul on Earth as his own, Raiden was able to protect the souls of Liu Kang and other chosen warriors. Initially unable to participate due to the merger of Outworld and Earthrealm, Raiden sacrifices his immortality in order to help his chances against the Kahn after the Elder Gods refuse to assist him in Mortal Kombat Trilogy. In the end, Shao Kahn's forces are defeated and Earthrealm is restored to its original state.

In Mortal Kombat 4, following Outworld's failed invasion, Shinnok, with the aid of Quan Chi, again sought to rise from the Netherealm and conquer the other realms. However, with Liu Kang again uniting Earthrealm's warriors, Raiden's Forces of Light emerge successful. Now granted the status of Elder God, Raiden turns over his position as Earthrealm's protector to his brother, the wind god Fujin.

In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Raiden could not interfere when the titular alliance of Shang Tsung and Quan Chi kill Liu Kang due to his Elder God status. Disgusted by his fellow Elder Gods for their refusal to intervene, Raiden relinquishes his position and gathers Kung Lao, Sub-Zero, Jax Briggs, Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, and Kitana to stop the sorcerers. However, Raiden's allies except Sub-Zero are all slain.

In Mortal Kombat: Deception, Raiden confronts the Deadly Alliance himself. When Onaga, the Dragon King, enters the fray, Raiden momentarily sets aside his differences with the Deadly Alliance and assist them in their attempts to repel Onaga. Raiden releases his godly essence, resulting in an enormous explosion that kills the alliance, but fails to harm Onaga. Raiden's essence soon gathers again in Earthrealm, albeit corrupted and reformed into a darker variant of himself. Raiden has become furious with the way Earthrealm's inhabitants had treated their realm, which increases once he learns that Shujinko had foolishly unleashed the Dragon King. With his patience exhausted, Raiden chooses to take matters into his own hands. Exhuming Liu Kang's corpse, he takes it to an underground temple that belonged to the Houan, an ancient sect of necromancers whom he had destroyed centuries earlier, and revives his former ally. Liu Kang's reanimated corpse became the enforcer of Raiden's will as he sent it on a mission to wreak havoc on those he believed did harm to Earthrealm.

This caught the attention of Shinnok, who appears before Raiden and offers him an alliance. Despite being aware of the former's deceptive nature, Raiden accepts in an attempt to secretly uncover Shinnok's plans.[4] Raiden's story is further expanded in the Konquest mode of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, when he encounters Taven and reveals to him that he had struck a deal with Shao Kahn, agreeing to let the Emperor conquer and rule all other realms so long as Earthrealm was left alone. In return, Raiden agreed to hunt and eliminate Taven for the Kahn so that he could claim Blaze's godlike power for himself. Raiden confronts Taven, only to be defeated. Raiden would later fight against Shao Kahn when the two became the last surviving warriors. The latter emerged victorious, but the former was able to send a message to his past self before Shao Kahn could finish him off.

In the Mortal Kombat reboot, Raiden's past self receives an ominous vision from his future self and works to avert the events of Armageddon. Although he succeeds and kills Shao Kahn with the assistance of the Elder Gods,[5] his decisions resulted in many of Earthrealm's defenders, including Liu Kang, being killed and turned into Quan Chi's undead revenants.

In Mortal Kombat X, Raiden and Fujin join forces to defend the sky temple from Shinnok, Quan Chi, and the revenants. In the process, they manage to defeat the fallen Elder God and trap him in his amulet as well as revive the fallen Jax, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion. Twenty years later, Raiden discovers Shinnok's amulet was stolen and works with Earthrealm's new defenders to retrieve it. However, he fails to stop Quan Chi from releasing Shinnok, who takes Raiden prisoner so he can corrupt Earthrealm's Jinsei. After Cassie Cage defeats the Elder God, she helps Raiden purify the Jinsei by drawing Shinnok's energy into him. Following this, Raiden confronts the Netherrealm's new rulers, Liu Kang and Kitana, and presents them with Shinnok's decapitated head to prove he will show no mercy to those who threaten Earthrealm.[6]

In Mortal Kombat 11, having used Shinnok's amulet to become Dark Raiden once more, he leads an assault on the Netherrealm with the Special Forces to destroy their cathedral and succeed.[7] In doing so however, he unknowingly angered the keeper of time and Shinnok's mother, Kronika, who decides to rewrite history to undo his interference. She creates a time storm that erases Dark Raiden from history, but brings a younger version of him from the past due to his being immortal. After learning of his future self's fate, Raiden works with the Special Forces, Kotal Kahn, and past versions of his allies to defeat Kronika,[8] only to learn that the Elder Gods had been killed.[9] As a result, Raiden slowly gives into his dark impulses and uses Shinnok's amulet to empower himself like his future self did. When his version of Liu Kang tries to stop him from attacking Scorpion, Raiden sees visions of other timelines where they fought and realizes Kronika manipulated them all because she fears his and Liu Kang's combined power. Once Kronika learns of this, she kidnaps Liu Kang, forcing Raiden and his allies to mount a rescue mission to save him. Along the way, he confronts Liu Kang's revenant and merges with him and the past Liu Kang to become Fire God Liu Kang,[10] who goes on to defeat Kronika. Once he does so, a mortal version of Raiden joins Liu Kang to advise him on forging a new history since the battle took them to the beginning of time.[11] In the DLC story expansion, Aftermath, the mortal Raiden attempts to stop Shang Tsung after he approaches them and claims they cannot use Kronika's Hourglass without her Crown of Souls, though Liu Kang allows the sorcerer to go back in time to retrieve a past version of it.[12] While in the past, Shang Tsung works with the past Raiden and his allies to secure the Crown and attempt to save the future,[13] though he betrays everyone during the final battle. When Raiden and Fujin try to stop him, the sorcerer defeats them and drains their souls while keeping their bodies alive for future use. In the expansion's bad ending, Raiden serves Shang Tsung in conquering the realms.[14]

In the crossover fighting game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Raiden fights Shao Kahn until the former sends him into a portal that causes the latter to fuse with Darkseid and turn them into Dark Kahn, which in turn fuses the Mortal Kombat and DC Universes. Despite clashes with members of the Justice League, Raiden works with Superman to defeat Dark Kahn and undo the fusions; later imprisoning Darkseid in the Netherrealm. In his arcade ending, Raiden returns to his realm to find that exposure to his world's sun has weakened him greatly. Quan Chi offers him a jade amulet of unknown origin that can restore his powers. Raiden is given a choice between a life of servitude to the sorcerer or mortality.

Other games[edit]

Raiden also appears as a secret character in NBA Jam Tournament Edition,[15]NFL Blitz,[16] and Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict.[17]

He was also included as a playable DLC guest character alongside Sub-Zero in Injustice 2. In his arcade ending for the game, after mysteriously being transported to the Injustice universe and defeating Brainiac, Raiden is warned by a dying-Doctor Fate that "armageddon is coming". To avert it, he helps found the Justice League Dark and becomes its leader.


As designer John Tobias sought inspiration for more characters in Mortal Kombat, he visited the Field Museum of Natural History and in their Japanese artifacts display of the Asian antiquities wing, he found a statue of the Raijin, and decided that the game needed a Japanese thunder god. On his research of the Raijin, Tobias decided to take in the deity's alternate spelling of Raiden, and seeing that the traditional Shinto Raijin was usually portrayed as a small, red-skinned demon-like creature that beats a drum to create thunder, opted to employ a different design. Tobias took inspiration from the character Lightning from the film Big Trouble in Little China, a lackey with the ability to ride and control lightning and wore a conical hat.[18]

Raiden's name was spelled this way in all of the original arcade games and in every game since Mortal Kombat 4. However, the PC and console ports released until Mortal Kombat Trilogy, along with both movies and the TV series, changed the name to "Rayden", fearing the original spelling would lead to copyright issues from a shoot 'em up game called Raiden.[19]Ed Boon personally hated that Acclaim spelled it with a Y.[20]

In an interview featured in Deception, Ed Boon said that the hat that actor Carlos Pesina wore to portray the character in the earlier Mortal Kombat games was ruined as a result of Pesina repeatedly performing falls during production. Mortal Kombat and Deadly Alliance states that Raiden is seven feet tall, but his sprite was the same height as the other fighters. His coolie hat is his most recognizable feature, and he occasionally wields a quarterstaff that holds the power of thunder and lightning. The Chinese character for thunder, 雷, is visible on most of his costumes. A saya (katana scabbard) appears on Raiden's secondary costumes in Deadly Alliance, Deception, and Armageddon, but he is never seen actually using the sword. Raiden has electricity pulsating across his body in Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 4, and Deadly Alliance. He has glowing white (occasionally blue) eyes, which glow red in Deception and Armageddon.

Raiden was voiced by Midway employee Jon Hey in the first two games. He became well known for yelling randomly while performing his "Torpedo" move (aka "the Superman move"). Fans originally believed that he was yelling in Japanese, while others believed it to be mangled English phrases such as "Your momma's from LA",[21] or "Get back in the car". John Tobias revealed that Raiden was merely speaking gibberish and not actual Japanese, as it was originally intended.[22]

According to the Konquest mode in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Raiden has mastered all of more than documented varieties of jujutsu, which is his secondary fighting style.


Raiden's Fatality in the original game, in which he obliterated his opponent's head with a lightning strike, was drastically altered in the Super NES version due to Nintendo's strict no-blood policy at the time. The decapitation was changed to the opponent simply turning into a gray pile of dust and a skull. In the same game, by using Raiden's finishing move on the final opponent in the third Endurance match, Goro appeared with a glitchy body that was the same shade of gray as the ashes of Raiden's defeated opponent.

Raiden was originally going to use his staff as a weapon already in Mortal Kombat II, but Midway was forced to omit it due to memory constraints.[23][24] He was unplayable in Mortal Kombat 3 where he appeared in the attract mode to state that he was forbidden from participating in the game's conflict. He also appeared as part of Nightwolf's Friendship, which saw Nightwolf transform into Raiden alongside a Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet. The Friendship would include one of two quotes, "I've never seen a Kano transformation", or "No, But I Can Do a Raiden Transformation", both of which were based on false reports that Kano was secretly playable in Mortal Kombat II and Raiden likewise in Mortal Kombat 3. After Raiden became playable in the update Mortal Kombat Trilogy, the Nintendo 64 version changed the Friendship.

Other media[edit]

Raiden appears in the Mortal Kombat comic books in his usual role as the guide and mentor of the Earthrealm warriors. He and Shang Tsung were often portrayed as bitter enemies, and he was forbidden from intervening in the mortals' affairs, as shown when Johnny Cage was to answer one of the questions in the Tao Te Zhan. However, in a departure from the storyline of the first game, he was not allowed to participate in the tournament in the miniseries Blood & Thunder, due to his godly status.

Raiden co-starred in his own three-issue miniseries Rayden & Kano. In this miniseries, it is stated that, while his fellow gods stay out of mortal affairs, Raiden never remains silent, and always tries to give the good side an advantage in the eternal struggle. Raiden saved Kano's life and attempted to give him a sword called "Ebbonrule", which drew strength from an evil man who turned to the side of good. Raiden hoped Kano would slay Shao Kahn using the sword's power, but Kano gave the sword to Shao Kahn instead in exchange for godlike powers, which left Raiden to realize that his actions would never tip the balance of good and evil. During the last Tournament Edition issue, Raiden commandeered the group of heroes in Shao Kahn's tournament. He ultimately sacrificed himself to save the team from an ambush by Kano, Kintaro, Goro and Smoke. Raiden was depicted as having two female servants, named Wynd and Rayne.

In the first Mortal Kombat movie, Raiden, who is played by Christopher Lambert,[25] is disallowed from participating in the tournament, but remains the guiding god of thunder, bent on doing all within his power to help Earth's chosen warriors gain victory. His wardrobe consisted of a robe which hides his attire from the first game (his rain hat was worn only once at the beginning of the film). His eyes occasionally displayed his true nature and he was seen teleporting only once. Raiden also possessed a dry sense of humor that was sometimes lost on the other characters, often prompting him to apologize after making dry remarks. According to the 'Making of Mortal Kombat' published by New Line Cinema, Raiden's role was "to protect the Earth Warriors and make sure Shang Tsung's forces don't cheat to win". On the ship taking all tournament contestants to Tsung's island, Raiden informed the Earth warriors that he had looked into all their souls, and one of three would decide the outcome: Liu Kang, Johnny Cage or Sonya Blade. Raiden also appeared in the animated film Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins as the guide of the protagonists.

Raiden was played by James Remar in the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. He was depicted as the brother of Shao Kahn and the son of Shinnok in the film's original storyline, which included both Raiden and Kahn sporting a dragon tattoo that was explained to be a family crest bestowed to his family's bloodline, and allowed its bearers to travel safely between realms. A fight scene he was planned to have with Sheeva was included in the shooting script, but it was eventually cut from the film; Raiden instead fought a pair of Reptile clones while Sheeva died after being crushed by a falling cage. In the end, he became an Elder God in the place of his father.

Jeffrey Meek played Raiden in the live-action series Mortal Kombat: Conquest. Unlike his film and game incarnations, this Raiden is far more upbeat, with a sarcastic personality making him less aloof toward humans. He was Kung Lao's mentor since childhood, and constantly reminds the young warrior of his duty to find new fighters to protect Earthrealm and to prepare for the next Mortal Kombat tournament.

Raiden was a regular in the animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm and was voiced by Clancy Brown (who had risen to fame portraying Christopher Lambert's nemesis in the movie Highlander). He was depicted in his Mortal Kombat II attire and retained the dry wit and sarcasm of his Conquest counterpart, clashing with Sonya and Jax in several episodes.

Raiden is one of the many re-imagined characters in Mortal Kombat: Legacy, featured in the sixth episode and portrayed by Ryan Robbins. He crashed landed to Earth to participate in the Mortal Kombat tournament, but he, unfortunately, landed within the bounds of a mental hospital. He is found by a young female patient named Blue, whom he befriends, and taken in by orderlies. After three months of therapy, his doctor believes that Raiden is still under the delusion that he is the God of Thunder, and constantly vomits a blue substance. He is swiftly lobotomized, but due to his supernatural abilities, recovers from it. He attempts to escape but is lobotomized once again. Blue finds him and locks the door to the room, and Raiden tells her to stab him. After a tearful goodbye, Blue stabs him, causing him to disintegrate into lightning and smoke. Raiden reappears elsewhere and takes his signature hat from an old Chinese man. David Lee McInnis plays Raiden in the second series of Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

David B. Mitchell voiced the role of Raiden in the animated movie Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge and the sequel Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms.[26]

Tadanobu Asano portrays Raiden in the reboot film Mortal Kombat.[27]

Raiden appears as an Easter Egg in the Shazam! (film) as during a montage where Billy Batson is testing out his new superpowers as Shazam, there is a scene where and Freddy Freeman play Mortal Kombat together and ironically, Billy plays as Raiden, which could potentially reference Shazam's power to shoot lightning bolts.



This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March )

Raiden is often included on the list of the top characters of the Mortal Kombat franchise. He was ranked as the 10th best character from the series by, who praised him as one of the iconic characters from the franchise.[28] He was sixth in Game Revolution's ranking of top ten "old school" Mortal Kombat characters, noting him for his gibberish and the Fergality.[29] In UGO's list of the top Mortal Kombat characters, Raiden placed fourth.[30]

In , UGO ranked his hat as the 14th coolest headgear in video games and commented "Kung Lao’s got a slick topper that he can also use as a weapon, but Lord Raiden’s conical straw hat is untouchable."[31] It was ranked as having the fourth best headwear in video gaming by GamePro in [32] In , Paste listed Raiden's Fatality in the Mortal Kombat game as the sixth best from that game, and his Fatality from the original Mortal Kombat as the second-best from that game.[33] In , Complex ranked him as the 32nd "most dominant" fighting game character.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcd"Raiden Voice - Mortal Kombat franchise | Behind The Voice Actors". Retrieved May 22, Check mark indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources.CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  2. ^Richard Epcar interviewArchived at the Wayback Machine - Kingdom Hearts Insider. Retrieved on
  3. ^Dorkly (June 14, ). Mortal Kombat (Game Kast) Gets Reunited
  4. ^Raiden's bio from Armageddon. Official Mortal Kombat Armageddon website. Retrieved on
  5. ^"Who Actually Won Mortal Kombat? - Features". Retrieved
  6. ^S. Prell (). "Wassapugeddaw! Raiden revealed for Mortal Kombat X". Joystiq. Retrieved
  7. ^NetherRealm Studios (). Mortal Kombat 11. Warner Bros. Level/area: Chapter 1: Next of Kin (Cassie Cage).
  8. ^NetherRealm Studios (). Mortal Kombat 11. Warner Bros. Level/area: Chapter 2: Timequake (Kotal Kahn).
  9. ^NetherRealm Studios (). Mortal Kombat 11. Warner Bros. Level/area: Chapter 5: Truths Revealed (Jade).
  10. ^NetherRealm Studios (). Mortal Kombat 11. Warner Bros. Level/area: Chapter Cutting the Strings (Raiden).
  11. ^NetherRealm Studios (). Mortal Kombat 11. Warner Bros. Level/area: Chapter End of an Era (Fire God Liu Kang).
  12. ^NetherRealm Studios (). Mortal Kombat 11. Warner Bros. Level/area: introduction sequence.
  13. ^NetherRealm Studios (). Mortal Kombat Aftermath. Warner Bros. Level/area: Chapter Winds of Change (Fujin).
  14. ^NetherRealm Studios (). Mortal Kombat Aftermath. Warner Bros. Level/area: Chapter Checkmate (Shang Tsung).
  15. ^"NBA Jam: T.E. Cheats, Codes, Unlockables - Macintosh - IGN". Retrieved
  16. ^"NFL Blitz Cheats, Codes, Unlockables - Arcade - IGN". Retrieved
  17. ^"Raiden: The Unreal Champ - Xbox Feature at IGN". Archived from the original on July 31, Retrieved
  18. ^How Mortal Kombat's Raiden Was Inspired By Big Trouble In Little China
  19. ^John Tobias on Twitter
  20. ^@noobde (). "Can it go back to being spelled Rayden? /via @Slit Noobde: God NO! I always f***ing HATED the way Acclaim spelled RAIDEN with a Y!" (Tweet). Retrieved &#; via Twitter.
  21. ^"The history of Mortal Kombat - Page 2". GamesRadar. Retrieved
  22. ^"The Minds Behind MKII". GamePro (58): May
  23. ^GamePro 58 (May ), p
  24. ^"Mortal Kombat II - In Development: The Characters who didn't make the final cut". Retrieved
  25. ^"History of Mortal Kombat - Cheat Code Central". Retrieved
  26. ^Couch, Aaron (). "Animated 'Mortal Kombat Legends' Sequel Arriving This Summer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved
  27. ^Kit, Borys; Galuppo, Mia (August 16, ). "'Mortal Kombat' Movie Adds Fistful of Fighters (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 16,
  28. ^"Top 11 Mortal Kombat characters". Retrieved
  29. ^Severino, Anthony (). "Top 10 Old School Mortal Kombat Characters". Game Revolution. Retrieved
  30. ^"Top 50 Mortal Kombat Characters - Mortal Kombat". Retrieved
  31. ^Meli, Marissa (). "The Coolest Helmets and Headgear in Video Games". Archived from the original on Retrieved
  32. ^Koehn, Aaron (). "Video Game Hats: The 17 Best Pieces of Headwear in Gaming". GamePro. Archived from the original on Retrieved
  33. ^"The 17 Best Fatalities from Mortal Kombat 1 & 9". Retrieved
  34. ^Elton Jones, The 50 Most Dominant Fighting Game Characters,, May 17,

Now discussing:

Calm down, we will now finish and go home. So come on back. The three of us returned to the room.

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