Zaki (ザキ), also known by her real name Aoi Himezaki (姫崎 葵 Himezaki Aoi), is a fighting game character from the Rival Schools series. She was introduced in Project Justice, the second game in the series.
Zaki is an unsociable person who dislikes people who do not make efforts to voice out their thoughts and feelings. She's also a highly confrontational person who will easily snap at anyone who messes with her.
Zaki has long red hair which is tied in a high ponytail and black eyes. She wears a black mask that conceals her mouth. She wears an altered version of Seijyun High school uniform; a dark blue short jacket with a sailor collar and white folded sleeves, underneath she wears navy blue stockings and black ankle length boots tied with several belts. Her white sailor collar has cross black linings in each sides. Zaki also has a long chain at the center of her short jacket.
In the Japanese board game from within the Japanese version of Project Justice, Zaki is seen without her black mask during "Swimming Day" and "Beach Overnight".
The design of Zaki is based on the Sukeban (スケバン/女番/スケ番), which means delinquent girl or boss girl in Japanese, The term is used exclusively to refer to the leader of a girls gang and it is the equivalent to the male banchō (which Daigo is based on).
Zaki using her chain somewhat like a whip may be partially inspired by Soubenjutsu, the Japanese martial art of the use of the whip, as well as other kinds of whip fighting.
Before entering high school, Zaki was a popular gang leader of an uprising force, known as the "5,000 Ladies". This eventually made her parents and some members of her extended family to come to a unanimous decision: to enroll her in Seijyun High in order to turn her into a "pure" woman. As a result, she had to leave her "Ladies' Team" behind.
Zaki is approached by Akira and Yurika, who ask for her help in finding the whereabouts of the former's older brother, Daigo Kazama, who suddenly started ordering his subordinates to attack random schools without any reason. Zaki agrees under one condition: that either Akira or Yurika confront her in a match; she is fought by Akira and became impressed by her strength, then reveals she already knew Akira is actually Daigo's younger sister. They then proceed on their mission, encountering Batsu's team and the teacher trio of Hideo, Kyoko, and Hayato. In both encounters, Zaki shows her confrontational side to Batsu for the latter's apparent attack on Akira (which the fake Batsu really did), and to the teachers as well (as indicated in the infobox).
During the school gang war between both Gedo High and Seijyun High, Zaki is leading most of the girls' student body to fend off the Gedo High students. She and Akira are later confronted by Daigo, who is revealed to have been brainwashed by Kurow. Akira tries to snap her older brother out from his brainwashed state, but to no avail. Akira is then left with no other choice but to reluctantly fight against him with the assistance of Zaki, Edge, and Gan. While the battle takes place, Zaki hears an unexpected whistle noise and soon realizes that Yurika (who was secretly working with both her younger brother Kurow and Momo from within the Darkside Student Congress) was playing Kurow's flute in order to control Daigo from within his brainwashed state. After Daigo was freed from his brainwashed state, the united group had soon pursued and confronted Kurow in the mountain area near Justice High, in which he reveals his true identity to them. Kurow tries to brainwash Daigo once again with his flute, but fortunately, Zaki manages to strike him with her chains in order to make him drop his flute. Yurika, who had personally felt very guilty in helping and aiding Kurow's evil plans, decides to join Akira and Zaki's side, stating that she will work together with her friends in order to stop Kurow from succeeding with his callous and malevolent ambition.
After the incident, Zaki was personally reluctant at first on forgiving Yurika for her involvement in Kurow's evil plans, but in the end, decides to change her mind upon seeing Akira warmly welcome her back, calmly thinking to herself about Yurika's emotional return due to Akira's own strong resolve and determination.
Arsenal, combat style and fighting strategy
In addition to using physical combat arts, Zaki also wields a chain for a weapon. With this chain, she is able to perform mid- to long-range attacks. Special moves with her chain are chargeable, but leaves her vulnerable to counterattacks while she spins her chain around (charging her attack).
The Hard Punch version of the first three listed attacks are chargeable, and the longer the charge time, the farther is the range, and the more hits they will deal as well. The disadvantage of charging these attacks has been mentioned earlier.
- Destructive Iron Chain (Japanese: 破戒の鉄鎖 Hakai no Tessa) - Zaki swings her chain forward. It is also usable in the air, where it can be swung straight ahead, or 45 degrees downward, depending on the punch button pressed for this attack's button combination.
- Venomous Serpent Iron Chain (Japanese: 毒蛇の鉄鎖 Dokuja no Tessa) - Zaki swings her chain into the ground, making the chain's end behave in a way a stone does when bouncing on a water surface. As a result, this attack has to be blocked low.
- Anti-air Iron Chain (Japanese: 空覇の鉄鎖 Kuuha no Tessa) - the anti-air version of Destructive Iron Chain, wherein Zaki swings her chain 45 degrees upward.
- Discerning Kick (Japanese: 眼光蹴り Kenkou Geri) - Zaki does one or two overhead spin-kicks, depending on the kick button pressed for this move's button combination. It even hits airborne opponents who forget to block. Done at close range, this attacks scores an additional hit, regardless of the version. The latter version has Zaki taunting the opponent by glaring at the latter after the second kick, making her vulnerable to counterattack if this is blocked.
- Lonesome Pride (Japanese: 孤高のプライド Kokou no Pride) - Zaki crouches low on the ground. From this position, she can execute any of the following four special kick attacks:
- Sanctity Kick (Japanese: 本気蹴り Maji Geri) - Zaki does a stomp kick. Startup is slow, but if it connects, a combo can be started.
- Reverse Sanctity Kick (Japanese: 裏・本気蹴り Ura Maji Geri) - Zaki does a stomp kick aimed at the back of the opponent's head.
- Ground Thigh Sweep (Japanese: 天下掃腿 Tenka Soutai) - Zaki does a powerful slide kick that must be blocked low.
- Heaven's Kick Blade (Japanese: 天井足刀 Tenjou Sokutou) - Zaki does a flying kick. It, however, is not an overhead attack.
Burning Vigor Attacks
- Killer Lightning Iron Chain (Japanese: 必殺電光鉄鎖 Hissatsu Denkou Tessa) - Powered version of the Destructive Iron Chain. Upon contact, the opponent is stunned and dragged towards Zaki, who then executes a few blows on the latter, who is finally knocked away from her with a high kick. It can also hit jump-in opponents, but they will not be dragged towards Zaki.
This is also usable in the air, where the attack deals five hits of damage. Depending on the punch button pressed for this attack's button combination, Zaki may swing her chain straight ahead, or 45 degrees downward.
- Killer Lightning Flash Discerning Kick (Japanese: 必殺稲妻眼光蹴り Hissatsu Inazuma Kenkou Geri) - Zaki does four Discerning Kicks, followed by a three-hit Heaven's Kick Blade. Since this is not an overhead attack, it can be blocked low.
- Gantsuke One Hundred Twenty Percent (ガンつけ１２０％) - The active character tries to restrain Zaki, who engages in a glaring bout with the opponent. Zaki slaps the active character's hands away from her, kicks at the opponent repeatedly until the latter is almost low on the ground, grabs the active character's hand and swings the latter around, pummeling the opponent one last time.
- Zaki does the Divine Woman's Hammer.
- The following details of Zaki's life is as described:
- Zaki's parents are always at work, leaving her in the care of her strict paternal grandparents most of the time.
- Zaki excels in physics, but has poor grades in physical education, since she skips this class. This is because she hates changing into her gym uniform, one of the outfits she considers to be 'showy'.
- At one point, Zaki was made to join the tea ceremony and flower arrangement clubs, but she ditched them.
- Since Zaki practically has control of the school's entire student body, she has no time for a part-time job.
- She may not look like it, but she is skilled in cat's cradle.
- Her official epithet is "Female Cold Gang Leader".
- Zaki appeared as a card in the SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters Clash games.