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Shulk

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For fighter info, see Shulk (SSB4) and Shulk (SSBU).
Shulk
Shulk Artwork XBC1.png
XenobladeSymbol.svg

Official artwork of Shulk from
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition.

Universe Xenoblade Chronicles
Debut Xenoblade Chronicles (2010)
Smash Bros. appearances SSB4
Ultimate
Most recent non-Smash appearance Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (2022, cameo)
Console/platform of origin Wii
Species Homs
Gender Male
Place of origin Bionis
Created by Tetsuya Takahashi
English voice actor Adam Howden
Japanese voice actor Shintarō Asanuma
Article on Xeno Series Wiki Shulk

Shulk (シュルク, Shulk) is the main protagonist of Monolith Soft's Xenoblade Chronicles, the first entry in the Xenoblade Chronicles series.

Origin[edit]

Shulk is a young scientist who hails from Colony 9, a settlement situated on the lower leg of the Bionis, one of the two long-dormant titans that make up the world of Xenoblade Chronicles. He lives in a time when the people of Bionis are under siege from the Mechon, mechanical soldiers sent from Mechonis, the other titan. As a child, he was the only survivor of the expedition that discovered the Monado, the only weapon known to be able to damage Mechon.

In the present day, at age 18, he works for the Colony 9 Defence Force and studies the Monado, in the hope of determining its secrets and finding a way for people other than the injured Dunban to be able to wield it. He also works to salvage fallen Mechon parts and develop weapons for the Defence Force, including a unique "Gunlance" that he designed for his best friend Reyn, a soldier. He is also close friends with Fiora, Dunban's younger sister, who is also his love interest.

The story begins with a surprise attack on Colony 9 by a horde of Mechon, led by a powerful new model who is immune to the Monado, who Shulk and company would later come to know as Metal Face. Dunban's inability to continue using the Monado forces Shulk to take it up, and to everyone's surprise, not only can he control it even better than Dunban ever did, but it spontaneously shows him visions of the future, a power that nobody had previously known about. With Shulk's help, Colony 9 withstands the Mechon assault, but Fiora is killed by Metal Face.

After the battle, Shulk and Reyn set out on a journey across Bionis to pursue Metal Face and get revenge for the loss of Fiora and the others. The two follow both Shulk's visions and rumors of Mechon movements. Along the way, they become involved in various struggles by the people of Bionis against both the Mechon and various forces native to Bionis itself, and are joined by new and old allies including Dunban and Riki. Shulk also slowly begins to discover new powers of the Monado, and is mentored by the enigmatic seer Alvis, both in person and in his dreams, on the nature of the sword and what both its power and similar powers in the world philosophically represent.

Shulk and his party later travel to Mechonis as part of a unified push by all the peoples of Bionis to stop the Mechon once and for all, but soon begin to pursue a different path from the allied forces as they are introduced to the true nature of the ancient conflict between the Bionis and Mechonis. They come into conflict with Egil, a Machina who is the self-appointed leader of Mechonis and creator of the Mechon, and his desire for vengeance against the Bionis for what it did to his fellow Machina. Shulk becomes determined to break the cycle of vengeance between Bionis and Mechonis, and to ensure that all the peoples of the world can live self-determined lives free of the dictates of such higher powers.

Shulk is clever and level-headed, but is also socially clumsy, sheltered, and lacking in life experience. He is easily absorbed in his work, especially his studies of the Monado, to the point of neglecting his own health and his surroundings. Coming from a scientific background, Shulk usually approaches situations rationally and methodically, sometimes to the point of a social faux pas: once, where the Monado accidentally went off in Reyn's hands, his knowledge that it was incapable of harming Bionis lifeforms like Fiora angered her when he seemed to care more about a lab machine it destroyed than the (in his mind, non-existent) possibility of it killing her.

Despite Shulk's desire for revenge on the Mechon, he wants to understand their origins and motivations before he does anything rash against their leaders, and respects the wishes of others even when it appears they might hinder his quest. However, he has a habit of trying to assume the burdens that come with his mission all by himself, and is initially reluctant to reveal his visions to others to the point that he inadvertently endangers the party. Additionally, when Fiora is involved, threatened, or even mocked, he is easily provoked and tends to let his emotions get the better of him.

In combat, Shulk's main role is to slip beneath enemy notice and deal large amounts of physical damage. His Back Slash and Slit Edge Arts are most effective when the enemy's attention is elsewhere, and he can also contribute break and daze around an ally's topple to momentarily incapacitate foes. The Monado gives Shulk an extra set of Arts that allow him to deal extreme damage to Mechon, disable an enemy's powerful auras, or protect party members from powerful attacks he has foreseen. Although Shulk does not have to be present for the party to receive visions of imminent attacks, he is the one who is best-equipped for dealing with them.

Shulk's main weakness is that his high damage output can easily draw attention and he does not have much health to survive being the target of enemies, making him a glass cannon. He also lacks ether attacks, which is problematic against enemies good at dodging his physical arts, and his complex character design renders the game's AI rather poor at controlling him when the player is playing as someone else.

Shulk also appears in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Despite being a Homs, he functions as a Blade who can be equipped to any of the game's playable Drivers. Rex, Pyra, and the rest of the party first meet him and Fiora in the Land of Challenge, where they team up and take on challenging battles given to them by the Nopon Archsage. After clearing them, Shulk and Fiora are given the Alrest Linkring, an item that enables them travel with Rex across Alrest in spirit form. When equipping Shulk, Drivers can wield the Monado as their own and use its various Arts, and also gain access to Shulk's vision ability from his own game.

Although the Land of Challenge scenario is not explicitly canon, Shulk's voiced cameo during one of the climactic cutscenes of the final battle demonstrates that Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and the original Xenoblade Chronicles take place simultaneously in parallel universes. It would be in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 that confirms the aforementioned statement as it is explained in the last chapter; both universes were separated in a distant past before uniting as one after the events of both games. Furthermore, Shulk, along with his team, cameo in a flashback from Melia, which happens in her last Hero Quest. Shulk himself presumably died before the events of the game, the only traces of his existence being stories told by Melia.

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Shulk (SSB4)
Shulk as he appears in Super Smash Bros. 4.

Shulk was leaked as a playable character three weeks before the release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS on YouTube videos from a video used to rate the game by ESRB, before being officially confirmed on August 29th, 2014. On May 19th, 2014, before the leaks and his official reveal, Shulk's English voice actor, Adam Howden, had posted on his Twitter that he had done recording for a game he was not allowed to talk about.

Shulk uses the Monado as his weapon, which grants him the longest overall reach in the game, even outclassing other swordsmen like Ike and Cloud, and uses an ability from his original game, Monado Arts, to adapt quickly in combat by tweaking his abilities. While active, they grant him multiple perks such as a greatly improved edgeguarding game (with Jump) or an extremely damaging moveset (with Buster), at the cost of giving him disadvantages as well. He also has one of the more effective counters in Vision, which grants an especially long counter window when fresh along with high range and power.

Shulk is currently ranked 35th on the Smash 4 tier list, placing him within the D tier. While he has a good amount of strengths, such as a very effective moveset for spacing, versatility in his multiple Monado Arts, and outstanding through polarized stats while any Art is active, he is held back by a very high learning curve due to his multiple Arts changing his attributes, one of the slowest movesets in the game, and the inability to autocancel any of his aerial moves without the use of frame-perfect Monado Art Landing Lag Canceling. This forces him to be heavily reliant on spacing due to his sluggish moves and vulnerability of being juggled up close. Throughout the game's lifespan, Shulk's tournament results have been below-average, with his best results coming from dedicated mains such as Nicko and Kome, who bring noticeable success to him at nationals.

Trophies[edit]

Shulk's trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Shulk
NTSCSuper Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS In Xenoblade Chronicles, this young lad's colony is attacked by the Mechon, so he and his friends set off to take them down. In Smash Bros., his Monado Arts let him change his specialization during battle. You can choose to boost a stat—his jump or attack, for example—but other stats might drop as a result, so choose wisely.
NTSCSuper Smash Bros. for Wii U In Xenoblade Chronicles, this young lad's colony is attacked by the Mechon, so he and his friends set off to take them down. In Smash Bros., his Monado Arts let him change his specialization during battle. You can choose to boost a stat—his jump or attack, for example—but other stats will drop as a result, so choose wisely.
Wii: Xenoblade Chronicles (04/2012)
PAL In Xenoblade Chronicles, this young lad's colony is attacked by the Mechon, so he and his friends set off to take them down. In this game, his Monado Arts let him change his specialisation during battle. You can choose to boost a stat – his jump or attack, for example – but other stats might drop as a result, so choose wisely.
Wii: Xenoblade Chronicles (08/2011)
Shulk (Alt.)'s trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Shulk (Alt.)'s trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Shulk (Alt.)
NTSC Shulk's up special Air Slash is an upward slash done during a jump. Press the button again quickly to launch opponents sideways. His side special Back Slash, on the other hand, is a downward swing with a very wide range, though using it leaves Shulk wide open. Try hitting foes from behind with this!
Wii: Xenoblade Chronicles (04/2012)
PAL Shulk's up special, Air Slash, is an upward slash done during a jump. Press the button again quickly to launch opponents sideways. His side special, Back Slash, on the other hand, is a downward swing with a very wide range, although using it leaves Shulk wide open. Try hitting foes from behind with this to do more damage!
Wii: Xenoblade Chronicles (08/2011)

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

As a playable character[edit]

Main article: Shulk (SSBU)
Shulk as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Shulk returns as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, albeit as an unlockable character instead of a starter character like in Super Smash Bros. 4. Aesthetically, his moveset is largely the same, with the most notable change being Mecha-Fiora participating in Chain Attack. Mechanically, however, Shulk's moveset received several noticeable improvements. Monado Arts can be chosen directly via a rotary dial-like interface instead of having to cycle through them via button presses. The Arts also have more significant buffs at the cost of significant debuffs, shorter durations, and longer cooldowns.

Along with this, Shulk's frame data has been sped up noticeably (although it is still rather slow) and he benefits immensely from the near-universal reduction to landing lag on aerials. Aside from forward smash, the rest of Shulk's multi-hit moves also connect much more reliably due to various types of hitbox adjustments. In addition to these buffs, the Monado retains its high damage output (even without Monado Arts active) and long range. This has led to Shulk gaining much higher representation and better results than in SSB4. Although it is unclear where he ranks among the cast, it is widely agreed that Shulk is significantly stronger than he was in SSB4.

Spirit[edit]

Other[edit]

Shulk appears in Pyra and Mythra's reveal trailer, getting a special focus at the end where he reunites with the Aegis blades before engaging in battle.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name
Japan Japanese シュルク, Shulk
UK English Shulk
France French Shulk
Germany German Shulk
Spain Spanish Shulk
Italy Italian Shulk
China Chinese (Simplified) 修尔克, Shulk
Taiwan Chinese (Traditional) 修爾克, Shulk
South Korea Korean 슈르크, Shulk
Netherlands Dutch Shulk
Russia Russian Шулк

Trivia[edit]

  • Shulk is the first playable character not created by Nintendo to be solely created by a Nintendo-owned subsidiary (being Monolith Soft). He would later be joined by Dark Samus (who was created by Retro Studios).
    • Although Lucas and Dark Pit debuted in games developed by Nintendo-owned subsidiaries (Brownie Brown and Project Sora, respectively), Mother 3 was co-developed by HAL Laboratory, whereas Project Sora was a joint venture that involved Sora Ltd. (who owned 28% of the company), both of which are second-party developers.
  • Shulk, Wii Fit Trainer, Rosalina and the Mii Fighters are the only characters whose console of origin is the Nintendo Wii.
  • Excluding Wii Fit Trainer in the PAL regions or when the Switch's region settings are set to Europe, Shulk and Bayonetta are the only two British accented fighters in the series.
  • Almost all of Shulk's voice clips in the Super Smash Bros. series are exact lines of dialogue he uses in Xenoblade Chronicles, albeit rerecorded.
  • Shulk's official height, as listed in the Xenoblade Chronicles artbook, is 171cm or 5'7". In the Palutena's Guidance conversation regarding him, Palutena correctly states that he is 171cm in Japanese, but inaccurately claims he is 5'6" in English.