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Happy Birthday, Nina Williams

January 23, was the (fictional) birthday of one of the leading ladies in the fight game genre for over 25 years. Now is as good of a time as ever to conveniently celebrate the existence of an alluring combatant and sensational woman amongst warriors—Nina Williams.

Happy Birthday, Nina Williams 5

Nina Williams is a world-renowned cold-blooded assassin of Irish descent who made her first appearance in the original Tekken game in 1994 and is one of the few characters to appear in every game in the franchise ever since. She has a lethal fighting style which blends both aikido and koppo, which makes her a deadly grappler. Although she is very stoic in demeaner and mostly emotionless, Nina’s assassination projects are mostly aligned for the good of the world. As undeniably one of the most badass females in the gaming verse (this article ranks her as number one, and I’d be hard-pressed to disagree), her equally intriguing story has made her a celebrated character in the Tekken franchise as one of its most layered characters. She even starred in her own spin-off game titled Death by Degrees in 2005, putting herself on an elite, short list of legendary side characters with their own games—a list which includes the likes of Sub Zero (Mortal Kombat), and Luigi (Mario), among others.

Nina Williams1 1
Source: Namco
Nina Williams2 1
Nina in Tekken 7 (when not in a white dress for some reason). Source: Namco
Nina Williams3
From Tekken: Blood Vengeance (2011) Source: Namco Pictures

Her story is a complex one, but here are the main bullet points: She was bred to be an assassin by her late father, who was killed in front of her at a young age. Years later she would undergo “cold sleep” for 19 years as part of a cryogenic experiment after a failed assassination attempt, a process which wiped her memory clean for a while. And then there’s the fact that she has a son who was born through in-vitro fertilization (her eggs were harvested) during her years in cryosleep—a famous British boxer who she was eventually contracted to kill (but couldn’t go through with it.)

A hell of a life, right?  

But above all else, her rivalry and toxic relationship with her younger sister Anna is what has remained a constant headline ever since the first Tekken. It stems from the two blaming each other for their father’s death, and a mixture of long-standing misunderstandings that morphed into a lifelong feud. It’s a peculiar story of jealousy, love, and confusion in a lot of ways.

Even though they have been shown to share brief moments of comradery, ultimately their sibling rivalry takes it to the next level with everything from guns, bombs, and cannons involved. Basically, ‘it’s on sight’ whenever they meet, and they’ve both tried offing the other multiple times throughout the Tekken series. For one reason or another, the Williams sisters have always been in direct opposition with each other.  

26 years of intrigue and sophistication in one of the most esteemed fighting series in the world have made Nina a character worthy of celebrating all these years later– especially as one of the first dynamic female characters in the genre. On behalf of all Tekken fans worldwide, thank you Namco for creating such an awesome character. Happy birthday, Nina!

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