|"Hmm, I don't remember that one. It mustn't be that important."
This article is about a subject from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." Its canonicity within the continuity is disputed, therefore reader discretion is advised.[?]
Zandatsu (斬奪 - "cut and take") was a special technique used by Raiden to extract fuel cell electrolytes from enemy cyborgs and unmanned weapons. By targeting their weak points in Blade Mode, Raiden was able to grab their power cores and recharge his fuel cells and health instantly.
- See also: Raid at World Marshal, Ambush in Africa, Abkhazian Coup, Investigation in Guadalajara, Raid in Denver, and Operation Tecumseh
Raiden employed the Zandatsu technique during the World Marshal Incidents after his body was rebuilt by Doktor. Doktor explained that the technique was possible due to all military cyborgs equipped with CNT muscle fiber using a single electrolyte medium for their internal MCFC (Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell) batteries, meaning Raiden could extract material from their fuel cells without worrying about compatibility. When Raiden asked about doing the same with civilian cyborgs out of idle curiosity, Doktor pointed out that civilian cyborg chassis did not use military-grade fuel materials and the materials they did use would be utterly incapable of keeping up with his cyborg body's demands. Raiden later utilized Zandatsu on Steven Armstrong to finish him off, due to his claytronic nanomachines making it impossible to stop him otherwise.
Behind the scenes
Zandatsu is a technique that was originally supposed to appear in Metal Gear Solid: Rising. In that game, it was intended that Raiden had to utilize Zandatsu in order to continue living. When the game was revamped into Metal Gear Rising, it was retained, although with some differences, namely that Zandatsu was only required to implement a quick way to recover instead of needed to maintain vital signs.
Samuel Rodrigues and Blade Wolf also use the Zandatsu in their respective DLC, although they perform them a bit differently: Sam places the removed electrolyte cores over his Murasama blade as if it were a towel rack, and then splits them apart. Blade Wolf meanwhile uses his manipulator tail to yank out the electrolyte core and then crushes it over himself.
During the 25th Anniversary celebration, series creator Hideo Kojima proceeded to cut the cake via zandatsu.
Almost all enemies in the game can be killed using Zandatsu rather than standard sword strikes. When Zandatsu is possible, a red square will appear over the enemy's weak point in Blade Mode; a cut which intersects this point will expose the fuel cell and allow Raiden to grab it with Circle / B. A crosshair will appear inside the box if the Blade Mode aiming line intersects the box; if Blade Mode is entered with full FC, the aim line will automatically line up for a perfect Zandatsu slash. Multiple Zandatsus can be chained if several enemies are cut correctly in a single use of Blade Mode, either with one carefully-aimed slash or by turning to attack each enemy in turn when surrounded. Raiden is invincible during the grab animation and while the grab is performed in slow motion, there is a brief point when he crushes the fuel cell where time flows normally. This can be exploited to evade attacks or have grenades detonate without harming Raiden, but the player must be wary of any enemies who start attacks during the animation and ready to evade / block / parry as soon as it ends.
Standard enemies can be cut in Blade Mode at any time, while tougher enemies require softening up with light attacks, ambushing with the Ninja Kill (Circle / B behind or above an unaware opponent) or stunning with counters. If an enemy is stunned and Raiden has full FC, a Triangle+Circle / Y+B prompt will appear, allowing Raiden to perform an Execution on that enemy which will put him in a position to perform Zandatsu after a short animation. The Stun Blade weapon has a chance of putting an enemy in this state with every swing, up to 20%.
A successful Zandatsu restores all of Raiden's health and the entire FC gauge.
It is entirely possible to continue hacking at an enemy after making the Zandatsu slash to increase combo score, but one must be wary. Failing Zandatsu is also possible, and happens if:
- A strike lands too close to the power unit and destroys it before the Zandatsu strike is made.
- The power unit falls outside slashing range before the strike is made or beyond Raiden's grab range after it is made.
- Raiden fails to grab the power unit before FC runs out, he touches the ground (if he is in the air), is knocked out of Blade Mode by an enemy attack, or an Execution ends before he has grabbed the power unit (particularly common with Fenrirs as their execution ends suddenly and with no warning).
- The player intentionally cancels Blade Mode after a Ninja Kill or Execution by pressing L1 / LB.
In extremely rare cases, it is possible to perform another Zandatsu grab after the crushing animation has already finished; this can only happen if another power unit falls into Raiden's grab range while the animation is playing out.
If the power unit lands on the ground, it will become a power unit (damaged), which can still be picked up but is worth less FC and health. Hammerheads do not appear to have a weak point to target; neither do boss enemies, including the first Grad UG.
Zandatsu is one of the categories used to allot points for ranked battles during a stage; each power unit recovered using Zandatsu increases the count by one.
It is worth noting that performing Zandatsu's grab animation does not stop the timer in VR challenge missions; during "reach the goal" missions in particular, it is often necessary to perform a single slash and then quit out of Blade Mode after a Ninja Kill in order to beat the first place time.
During a successful completion, Raiden will be heard yelling "Bullseye!" or "Dead On!" while grabbing the electrolyte core.