Kazu Iida is a character in Rooster Teeth's gen:LOCK. A rough, unwieldy military operative from Japan, he arrived at the Anvil as part of the Experimental Science Unit's gen:LOCK program alongside Julian Chase and several others, having passed the "Weller Test". He is voiced by Kōichi Yamadera.
Kazu is a very tall, broad-shouldered and muscular man of Japanese descent, who has almost shoulder-length black hair held back in a topknot by a red band, hollowed cheeks and slight stubble surrounding a rough goatee.
In his civilian attire, he wears a leather kutte with various logos and designs on it, with red detailing on the back, lower chest and obliques. He wears black finger-less gloves, a large black belt, charcoal cargo pants and a black t-shirt. His only jewelry is a pair of black plugs in each of his earlobes.
His Experimental Science Unit armored body suit is black and red and has a glowing ESU logo on the chest. Over his legs, he wears a pair of combat pants with satchels strapped to both hips. He wears his leather kutte over the torso section of his armor, and over his left arm he dons an armored pauldron that hinges at the elbow to a bracer on his left forearm. The pauldron also has a glowing white ESU logo on it. He wears a pair of knee-high reinforced combat boots, plated with metal at the heels and toes. After Kazu's Holon was upgraded it was stated to be based on "RoboShogun" which is presumably a character from a children's franchise.
Kazu is known to be rebellious, insubordinate and something of a standout. His rebellious attitude cost him the respect and trust of his unit, who were very supportive of having him transferred to the Anvil simply to be rid of him. He is shown to enjoy playing the guitar, smoking and simply screwing around, doing things such as flipping a spatula into the air while on kitchen duty. Kazu is that protective of that guitar, chastising Caliban for handling it roughly upon his arrival at the Anvil. Despite his Japanese heritage, he finds manga to be "childish" and claims he himself has not read manga since he was a child - a statement Cameron MacCloud takes offense to. However, upon seeing the upgrades to his Holon by Cammie at the RTASA base, Kazu is overjoyed at seeing how his Holon's improved armor are based on RoboShogun, a manga character who was a favorite of Kazu's at the age of ten years-old.
In battle, Kazu is very hot-blooded and fearless, and he does not hesitate to attack Rob Sinclair's impersonator when the opportunity arises. However, this comes at the cost of wit and quick-thinking, as his inexperience with his combat gear leads him to accidentally slamming into a wall and being stepped on in his enthusiasm. His straightforward approach is reflected in his combat style, which is focused mostly on constant attacks with brute force, and being willing to pick up any random object in arm's reach to hit his enemy with it, despite his finesse in swordsmanship. Despite this, Kazu will not fight if he does not want to, and he has no problem disobeying orders because of it, showing he highly values his independence.
Despite his chastisement of Cammie for her supposedly childish interest in manga, he has a preference for rock music and enjoys baseball, using it as a training exercise upon connecting and being uploaded into his Holon, preferring it to football. Kazu also can be somewhat mischievous, as seen when he plays his guitar to wake up Cammie after she sleeps in and dedicating his music to "late night gaming addicts". He also nearly makes a sexual quip based on Valentina Romanyszyn's unintentional innuendo. Kazu does not care about making spars a fair and honorable competition as he uses Chase's offered hand to deliver a cheap shot, and when Cammie is pried off him after uncontrollably punching his head, he laughs and calls her excessive aggression "great". During his first training exercise as a gen:LOCK recruit, Kazu grabs an eliminated Cammie and uses her as a shield to get closer to his goal. During his sparring sessions with Chase, Kazu is shown to provoke his team leader by any means possible to draw out the fight simply for his own amusement, usually amassing a substantial amount of collateral damage - something for which Leon August chastises him for during missions.
Even though he was relegated to mess duties in his old unit as a punishment, Kazu voluntarily cooks breakfast for the gen:LOCK team, suggesting that cooking is something he enjoys.
Kazu is quite fond of beer, considering drinking it his preferred method for celebration and moaning for it after a long day of training with his teammates, although he wishes he is able to drink it somewhere away from the military base.
The following information accompanies Iida's profile in the Character Reveal Teaser #3:
NAME: IIDA, KAZU
FORMER ASSIGNMENT: MOBILE ARMOR GUNNER
VANGUARD JG████ REPEATED
DISCIPLINARY INFRACTIONS DEMOTED
ON ████ TO MESS DUTY WITH UNIT VG ████
Kazu is one of the few people in the world capable of undergoing gen:LOCK. By having his mind digitized, he can be placed inside a Holon and operate it as if it were his own body, giving him a much greater degree of control than traditional pilots.
gen:LOCK Phase 2 Edit
By taking the gen:LOCK connection a step further, Kazu is able to enhance his capabilities within his Holon by melding his digitized consciousness with that of another Holon pilot, as he first does with Valentina. In this enhanced state, Kazu is able to overtake all surrounding enemies by combining his brutal swordsmanship with the grace and precision of Valentina's dance and marksmanship capabilities.
Kazu is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, being able to spar with Chase and Yaz on equal grounds. He prefers a straightforward style that uses brute force to deliver devastating strikes and throws, being willing to pick up random objects like cars and poles to use as melee weapons and projectiles. In his Holon Kazu was able to grab a Spider Tank through one of its legs to slam it into another Union Mech, and jump to grab a low-flying Union Fighter and slam to the ground. His close combat abilities contribute to the gen:LOCK team defeating Nemesis twice.
Kazu's combat abilities are further enhanced by his ESU body suit and a powered exoskeleton arm given by Doctor Weller who believes it would suit him. While rushing at a group of Union soldiers, Kazu is able to react to the Union soldiers' aiming and block their bullets with his exoskeleton arm. Kazu also incapacitates three Union soldiers in quick succession with his striking, and then slide under a Union soldier and incapacitate him with a suplex from behind.
Kazu is shown to have an effective yet brutal control over the sword that his Holon is equipped with, tearing apart enemy mechs, infrastructure and more with ease.
Owing to Kazu's preference for close combat, his Holon is equipped with bulkier armor and a pair of swords in "The Best Defense". In "It Never Rains...", his Holon's armor load is increased even further. His swords have been replaced with a single hooked greatsword, capable of collapsing both the handle and blade in on itself to allow for easier storage. He also receives a shotgun to afford him a little range without offsetting his close quarter fighting style.
- Kazu is the only character who does not speak English as a primary language. Instead, most his dialogue is translated through subtitles. In-universe, thanks to technological advancements, his words are shown to be translated in real-time into English (and Russian Cyrillic underneath it) on Valentina's MR overlay; the reverse is presumably true.
- Kazu's callsign "Shogun" refers to the title given to the military dictators who ruled Japan from 1185 to 1868 (with exceptions) on behalf of the emperor.
- Given that Kazu admits to having been a fan of the "RoboShogun" manga as a child, this likely also contributed in his callsign.
- Kazu's guitar case has a sticker on it reminiscent of Achievement Hunter's ACHIEVE line of merchandise.