Kat (Gravity Rush)
|Gravity Rush character|
|First appearance||Gravity Rush (2012)|
|Last appearance||Gravity Rush 2 (2017)|
|Created by||Keiichiro Toyama|
|Designed by||Shunsuke Saito|
|Voiced by||Sanae Kobayashi|
|Fighting style||Martial arts, psychokinesis|
Kat, known in Japan as Kitten, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Gravity Rush series. A young woman with retrograde amnesia, she awakens in the city of Hekseville after falling from the sky, and sets out to discover the origins of her power to shift gravity. She becomes a hero to the people of the city after defending them from the threat of mysterious creatures called the Nevi. Her powers stem from Dusty, a supernatural, catlike organism that is bound to her, and whom she later realizes is a type of being known as a guardian. Her rival and, later, ally is Raven (Crow in Japan), a fellow shifter with a crow guardian named Xii who is said to be Kat's other half.
Kat was noted by the developers as a fan-favorite character, and has received critical praise for the unique nature of her powers, leading to inventive gameplay scenarios, as well as her optimistic personality, which runs in contrast to typical superheroes. In addition to the two Gravity Rush games and an anime short, she has had numerous cameo appearances in other titles of varying genres, and been depicted as an action figure.
Kat is a young woman with tan skin, red eyes, and blonde hair. She wears a black romper held on her body by elastic, decorative pieces of gold metal. She also wears a cape-like scarf on her back, a matching headband, and two bracers, as well as tall socks with gold high heels. Aside from her normal outfit, she is able to equip a number of alternate outfits, some mission-specific, including a French maid uniform, a Phantasy Star Online 2 costume, and a downloadable content costume based on 2B from Nier: Automata, a crossover decided on the spot when developers from both games met at a PlayStation Matsuri event to celebrate Nier's Japanese launch in February 2017. Her personality is heroic, "naively innocent" and upbeat.
Dusty is able to transform into a larger and more powerful being, Panther, when in combat, and Kat can temporarily merge with Dusty for enhanced combat strength and health recovery, a transformation called "Panther Mode" that is unlocked for free use in Gravity Rush 2.[q 1] Xii is capable of a similar phenomenon, becoming Phoenix. In that game's DLC (downloadable content) chapter, The Ark of Time - Raven's Choice, Bit, one of the world's gods and creator of the guardians, reveals that both Kat and Raven are two halves of a single being.[q 2] When Kat combines her guardian with Raven's, they create Gryps, a far larger griffin-like creature with immense power. If Raven initiates the transformation instead, they create the similar Sphinx.
Kat initially awakens after falling out of the sky and landing in a playground in Hekseville, a city attached to the World Pillar, a massive, vertical stone cylinder with no obvious bottom or top. Realizing she has amnesia, she sets out to look for the origins of her gravity-shifting powers and begins helping people in Hekseville. Eventually she discovers the threat of the Nevi, mysterious interdimensional beings that begin attacking the citizens of Hekseville, and becomes the city's defender, the "Gravity Queen". She comes into conflict with Raven, a fellow gravity shifter of unknown origin, who later becomes her close friend and ally, helping her save the city from the Sea Anemone, an anti-Nevi weapon created by the ruthless Alderman D'nelica.
A two-episode anime OVA, Gravity Rush: Overture, bridges the gap between Gravity Rush and Gravity Rush 2, showing the daily life of Kat, who teams up with Raven in a final confrontation with a new mysterious enemy, later revealed to be creations of Dr. Brahman, a deranged scientist who presents himself as the city's savior from the Nevi, but actually seeks to permanently slow down time.
In Gravity Rush 2, Kat is taken through a portal into a parallel universe, that of Jirga Para Lhao. She saves its people from oppression and goes back to Hekseville, where she foils the plans of Dr. Brahman once and for all by defeating his adoptive daughters, Durga and Kali Angel. While the game seemingly ends, Kat is confronted by a mysterious Shining Girl in the postgame who beckons her up the World Pillar. Climbing to its top, she realizes that she is actually Queen Alua, ruler of the kingdom of Eto. Xicero, an advisor, attempted to murder her for wanting to save Hekseville from an oncoming black hole. She escapes the clutches of the evil gravity-shifting King Cai and returns to Hekseville, where she stops the Shining Girl's true form, Elektricitie, and then prevents its destruction and rebirth at the hands of a dark force that has merged with Cai's guardian, the deer-like Wolp. She seals away the black hole, seemingly perishing in the process. A final scene, presumably from Kat's perspective, shows her encountering Raven a year later, as Raven reacts with shock.
In the side-story The Ark of Time - Raven's Choice, a prequel to the second game, Kat is shown helping Raven in an attempt to open the Ark, an ancient transportation device carrying lost children from Boutome, a makeshift town at the very bottom of the World Pillar. Dr. Brahman's plan to unlock it backfires, freezing time and damaging the fabric of the universe, and causing beings called Collectors to appear that threaten to destroy the Ark. Dusty ultimately assists Raven in reuniting with Kat, and Raven prevents Kat from being purged from existence, fusing Xii with Dusty to defeat a giant Collector.
In games unrelated to the Gravity Rush series, Kat appeared as a playable DLC character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and Everybody's Golf 6. A costume of Kat was added to Ragnarok Odyssey Ace, and she was added to Destiny of Spirits as a summonable spirit.
Kat's gravity shifting abilities were inspired by The Incal, a 1981 graphic novel series by Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky depicting a sprawling city. Its main character was shown being thrown from a building in one of its earliest moments, similar to how Kat "falls" through the air. Her cat Dusty was inspired by The Eyes of the Cat, a 1978 work by the same authors. Keiichiro Toyama, the series' director and designer, stated that he made Kat a female lead so that she would look "cute" even if the player failed, because her movement was difficult to control.
During the development of the original Gravity Rush, scenario writer Naoko Sato was initially worried that Kat would come off as "too Japanese" for overseas audiences, which the game was also targeted at, and that being a young or female heroine would be a negative. Saying that Japanese audiences felt that youth and innocence was "sacred", while foreign countries judged it as "inexperienced and prone to death", Sato thought that a "cool and tough" female heroine would be better received. However, he was encouraged by an American staff member to do what he was best at, and decided to retain Kat's characterization.
Nevertheless, the developers attempted to appeal to overseas tastes when creating Kat's visual appearance and dialogue. The development team went through many iterations of Kat's design, trying to make her seem exotic, like she did not belong to any particular real-world country, including the "nonsense language" she speaks. Sato believed that Western audiences found characters who react realistically to situations relatable, so he decided to have her comment on the absurdity of situations within the game through her dialog. A scene in which Kat attacks Syd after she sees him changing clothes was modified due to feedback from overseas players, who felt her reaction was too violent and unfair to Syd, ultimately having Syd slip backwards in a panic instead after Kat's bath towel accidentally comes loose. Ultimately, Sato felt that Kat's personality was well-received overseas, with reviews describing her as "likeable".
Kat's concept and in-game artwork was drawn by Shunsuke Saito, who continued to Tweet additional fan art and animations of her on his personal account for years, including a diagram of how Kat puts on her signature outfit, and personal interpretations of a younger and older version of her. He departed Japan Studio on March 31, 2021.
An articulated Figma figure of Kat was released in 2017, featuring two equipable sets of gear representing her Lunar and Jupiter style, different faceplates and hands, including a special one holding an apple as a Good Smile order bonus, and a rendition of Dusty.
Ludwig Kietzmann of GamesRadar+, describing Gravity Rush as a "beautifully disguised superhero game", praised Kat as "unflinchingly upbeat" and just trying to figure out her place, and contrasted her exuberant personality and scarf with the typical notion of a superhero as a "tortured dude in a cape". Noting that she was a "delightful klutz", an aspect that tied into the game's initially imprecise controls, he stated that "there's an art to being utterly graceless in Gravity Rush". Writing that he imagined her apologizing to the people caught up in her gravity powers as she passed by, he concluded that Kat's "optimism in the face of her innate clumsiness" made her special, with her inelegance causing her to be believable and in "lock-step" with the player's own journey. Jenni Lada of Siliconera expressed similar admiration for Kat's personality in Gravity Rush 2. While she characterized Kat's mysterious origins as unremarkable, she nevertheless stated her belief that Kat's "delightfully optimistic, sometimes snarky, and always heartfelt" conversations with other characters made the game feel more plausible and sold her as a heroine. Describing Kat and Raven as feeling like sisters, she said that it was a "wonderful thing" seeing them open up and care about one other during their bonding moments.
Steven Strom of Paste Magazine stated that while Kat's amnesia was clichéd, it freed her from the typical superhero origin story, noting that such elaborate backstories reflected a cynical lack of belief that superheroes would perform selfless acts without an outside reason. In contrast, he highlighted that Kat helped people due to her natural empathy rather than a past tragedy that befell her. He called what Kat does with her powers "endearing", since she uses them for "smaller, kinder acts of heroism", "literally gain[ing] a wider perspective on the world". Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku called Kat not "exactly the ideal heroine", characterizing her as an "accidental mass-murderer" due to her penchant for collateral damage, despite her pure intentions.
Patrick Klepek and Austin Walker of Vice stated that, in Gravity Rush 2, while Kat is initially a "cheery optimist" who assumes the best in people and is easy to fool, she gradually has her eyes opened to the inequality of Jirga Para Lhao and must become less naive to take on the oppressive Council that controls it. Klepek called one of his favorite moments in the game the choice to let Kat decide whether to deliver a barrel of fuel to the wealthy upper residents, or instead violate her orders and assist the poor lower denizens. They were divided on their opinion of the game's epilogue, calling it "forced", but also saying it provided thoughtful context for Kat's attitude after falling from Eto. They called her motivation to shelter evacuees from below an impactful moral choice, and an impressive metaphor for a national leader facing a refugee crisis.
Sammy Barker of Push Square wrote that Kat had been "mistreated" by Sony, citing the company's rapid shutdown of the Gravity Rush 2 servers and the closure of Japan Studio, as well as her apparent removal from a banner celebrating International Women's Day on the PlayStation Store, calling it a "cardinal sin".
- ^ Patterson, Mollie L. (12 January 2017). "New Gravity Rush 2 ad isn't kitten about the power of gravity". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
- ^ a b c Romano, Sal (11 January 2017). "Gravity Rush character designer reveals how protagonist Kat puts on her unique outfit". Gematsu. Archived from the original on 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- ^ Sahdev, Ishaan (2 April 2012). "Next Gravity Rush DLC Turns Kat Into A Mystery Solving Maid". Siliconera. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Barker, Sammy (2 February 2017). "Gravity Rush 2's Phantasy Star Costume Is Kat's Craziest Yet". Push Square. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Sato (23 February 2017). "Gravity Rush 2's Kat To Get A 2B Costume From NieR: Automata Collaboration". Siliconera. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Swalley, Kirstin (26 April 2017). "Dress up Kat in 2B's Outfit with Free DLC for Gravity Rush 2". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ a b Helm, Jordan (27 December 2016). "A (Gravity) Rush of Blood to the Head: Overture's Promising Albeit Flawed Interquel". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
- ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (15 November 2012). "PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale DLC to add Gravity Rush's Kat and Starhawk's Emmett". Eurogamer. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Hannley, Steve (30 August 2012). "Watch: Gravity Rush's Kat in Hot Shots Golf". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Sahdev, Ishaan (23 April 2014). "Gravity Rush DLC Coming To Ragnarok Odyssey Ace This Week". Siliconera. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Sato (3 April 2014). "Gravity Rush's Kat, Raven, And Yunica Drop Into Destiny of Spirits". Siliconera. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ a b Siliconera Staff (16 December 2011). "Gravity Rush Was Ten Years In The Making". Siliconera. Retrieved 25 February 2023.
- ^ Brooks, Nicholas (19 April 2021). "How Legendary Artist Moebius Inspired PS Vita Classic Gravity Rush". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 25 February 2023.
- ^ a b Shinichi, Yamoto (21 August 2012). "［CEDEC 2012］"Too Japanese"だから受け入れられた「GRAVITY DAZE」の制作手法。プロデュースとシナリオから見る海外で評価される考え方". 4Gamer.net (in Japanese). Retrieved 21 February 2023.
- ^ Clements, Ryan (16 March 2012). "Gravity Rush: On Cats and Comics". IGN. Retrieved 25 February 2023.
- ^ @sshun3 (24 October 2019). "Just a doodle,not official concept art" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- ^ @sshun3 (23 December 2019). "Grown Kat" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- ^ Kiya, Andrew (31 March 2021). "Gravity Rush Character Designer and Animator Shunsuke Saito Leaves SIE Japan". Siliconera. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Jacob, Whritenour (18 January 2017). "Gravity Rush's Kat Receives Figma Figure". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Kietzmann, Ludwig (5 February 2016). "Why I Love: Being a clumsy Kat in Gravity Rush". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- ^ Lada, Jenni (17 January 2017). "Gravity Rush 2 Relies Heavily On Relationships And Ambiance". Siliconera. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- ^ Strom, Steven (1 February 2017). "Gravity Rush 2 Draws Heroism out of Empathy, Not Tragedy". Paste. Archived from the original on 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- ^ Eisenbeis, Richard (17 February 2012). "Gravity Rush Makes You an Accidental Mass Murderer". Kotaku. Archived from the original on 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- ^ Klepek, Patrick; Walker, Austin (27 January 2017). "A Deeper Conversation About Class and Inequality in 'Gravity Rush 2'". Vice. Archived from the original on 26 January 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- ^ Barker, Sammy (8 March 2022). "Gravity Rush's Kat Cropped Out of International Women's Day Promo on PS5". Push Square. Retrieved 11 April 2023.
- ^ Tutorial: Panther Mode: Hold touchpad when Kat's Panther Power is full to transform into the Panther. While in Panther Mode, Kat will recover health and unleash devastating attacks. (Gravity Rush 2 Episode 19: Dimmed Light)
- ^ Bit: Raven, you can't do this alone. [...] Your other half. The other Shifter. You need to come together. [...] Yes, the other Shifter's guardian can help. Together, you can be whole. (Gravity Rush 2: The Ark of Time - Raven's Choice Episode 6: Unshed Tears)
- Female characters in video games
- Video game characters introduced in 2012
- Queen characters in video games
- Video game superheroes
- Video game characters who can move at superhuman speeds
- Fictional characters with gravity abilities
- Fictional characters with amnesia
- Fighting game characters
- Sony Interactive Entertainment protagonists
- Teenage characters in video games
- Fictional female martial artists