Once again, we feature another theory from bronze frog from Gamefaqs!
That one promotional image that everyone has seen, talked about and made meme magic out of. You know the one.
We’ve all talked about how Rean looks, what he’s wearing, and especially whatever is that image behind him. And that’s the focus of today’s theory!
First off, congratulations to all the guest contributors and the hosts for their submissions! Lots of food for thought was enjoyed.
So let’s start with the number one guess with that image: It’s Crow behind Rean.
Why is that? Well, the dark coat, the white hair, Crow’s hair was pointed to the left, he was left handed. And the person behind Rean is holding something in their left hand.
But take a few things into account.
That’s not like Crow’s old coat, that one had belts crossed over the shoulder to attach to the back. Whatever they’re wearing is like an inverse color version of what Rean is.
That person isn’t wearing a bandanna.
If that is the infamous double saber in the left hand, then “Crow” isn’t holding it in the middle of the handle and instead is holding it near to one of the hilts. The other end should be pointed downwards at the ground, but it’s not showing up below the reflected coat image. And I don’t see a similarity between what “Crow” is holding and the hilt of his double saber.
But most importantly, we have this little image.
Crow’s hair may have similarities, but it never was a mirror image of Rean’s.
On to guess number two: It’s Rean’s Ogre Mode, an artistic indulgence to show the shadow that follows Rean no matter where he goes. Or just his inverse mirror image.
Now, the text in the upper left is Haiiro no kishi, shidō, which translates to Ashen Chevalier, starting up. A fitting message for Rean and his shadow. But a few details to take in stride: Rean doesn’t carry his sheathed sword with his right hand – he carries with his left, just like in Divertissement and every time he does Arc Slash. And again, the person behind him is not copying his motions despite having mirrored hair, and whatever is in their left hand is not a tachi.
To me, Falcom is making a point through Rean not carrying his sheathed sword like he usually does: Whatever is behind Rean is like him, but very much is not him.
So on to guess number three, and the longshots that I like to go for.
Rean’s father, Giliath Osborne, is heavily based on the larger than life person, Otto von Bismarck. He made the speech of Blood and Iron, he was the Chancellor of Prussia, and he is in many ways the architect who created the unified nation of Germany against considerable opposition including central European states that resisted being part of Germany.
He also had a family of his wife and three children.
Let’s return to one of the wars of the time: The Franco-Prussian War of 1871. The Battle of Mars-la-Tour
has the Prussian forces in a dangerous position. The infantry are exhausted, the artillery has been depleted, and the French outnumber the corps over four to one.
The Prussian general orders a cavalry charge in order to silence the French artillery. The German calvary commander sighs, says “it will cost what it will,” and in what becomes known as Von Bredow’s Death Ride, succeeds in his mission with half of his command dead.
Herbert von Bismarck, son of Otto von Birmarck, is wounded but survived the mission. And his brother, Wilhelm von Bismarck fought in that war as well.
We know next to nothing about Osborne’s own circumstances or Rean’s life before he was adopted by the Schwarzers. It’s a topic that has been promised to be revealed for Cold Steel 3. So, what if, just what if, the person behind Rean is his lost brother? His twin brother?
I’ll admit I didn’t come up with this theory in a complete vacuum. It came up during my previous theory about the first Ironbloods, like when I was searching for the origin of names such as Osborne and Mcburn.
The name Osborne is an English name, but the name is anglicized from a Viking name: Ásbjørn. In Old Norse, the name is literally “God Bear.”
Mcburn is phonetically Makuban in Japanese. Both the name and the pronunciation come from a Scottish name: Mac Biorna. This name is the Gaelic form of a Viking name as well, and in Old Norse meant Son of Bjørn.
What does this have to do with Rean or his supposed brother?
It’s Rean’s name. His name in Japanese is literally Ryin. If you were to translate English to Katakana, Reincarnation becomes /Ryin/kānēshon, which is an interesting coincidence, but there are many, many points of reference IRL for reincarnation. What did the Vikings have to say about it?
I recommend you read the Prose Edda in either case! To abridge a long and storied explanation, the Vikings saw reincarnation less as the return of a complete person and more as the “sense” of them coming back into the world. It could be described as the transmigration of someone’s way of life. The souls of the dead either went to Hel or Asgard: The ones who entered Asgard could remain until the Ragnarok and afterwards if they so choose. The souls that went to Hel eventually got their chance to pass down something to the world of the living once again, and this was a something that the Vikings believed had a tendency to stay in the family blood.
If this reminds you of what Valimar said about Dreichels and Rean, then we’re getting somewhere!
There’s something else at hand: What the person behind Rean is carrying.
This is a sword that the Vikings carried.
And here’s a comparison:
Not a perfect match, but I can’t help but see the similarities.
To finish off, I make a guess at what Rean’s brother is named.
If Rean truly is named for Reincarnation, and his brother is his mirror, then what would be opposite Reincarnation in the Norse mythos?
Ragnarok. And so, I am guessing that Rean’s twin brother is named Ragnar!
But what could be his character’s role in Cold Steel 3? That is a theory…for another time!