- "Jack in, MegaMan.EXE! Execute!"
- ―Lan, MegaMan Battle Network
- "Jack in, MegaMan! Power Up!"
- ―Lan, MegaMan NT Warrior
Lan Hikari, known in Japan as Hikari Netto (光熱斗?), is the main human protagonist of the MegaMan Battle Network Series. In the early games, he is eleven years old and in the fifth grade at school, but has his twelfth birthday and enters the sixth grade during the epilogue of MegaMan Battle Network 3. He is the Operator for the NetNavi MegaMan.EXE.
Lan is the son of the world-renowned scientist Dr. Yuichiro Hikari and his wife Haruka. For most of the series, Lan's greatest wish is to become a famous Net Battler, though at the end of the series he decides instead to become a Net Researcher like his father before him. Throughout the series, he clashes with Eugene Chaud, a child prodigy and Official agent who initially declines to acknowledge Lan as anything more than a civilian interference in law enforcement.
Lan appears in the video games, anime, and graphic novel series, where he and MegaMan battle against various global criminal organizations, including the net-mafia Gospel, the Dark Chip syndicate Nebula, and the various incarnations of the terrorist organization World Three. As a character, Lan is distinguished by three firsts for the franchise: he is the first leading role to be human, the first leading role to share his status with another (in this case with the eponymous MegaMan.EXE), and the first leading role to be a non-combatant, though this final distinction is deprecated in the anime adaptation. While his combat-support role is similar to Roll Casket from the Legends series, Lan is more intimately tied to the plot; Roll Casket is strictly a supporting character.
As a young boy, Lan is outgoing, friendly, and a notably poor student. His foremost passion in life is also his chief form of entertainment, Net Battling; not surprisingly, Virus Busting is his best subject in school, and his high grades here balance his mediocre grades in other areas. It is suggested that his academic failings are due to a lack of motivation, and that his talent and knowledge are quite impressive in reality. One hint of this is found in the third game, where Lan scores at least 80 points on a class calligraphy assignment, exceeding the 70-point score of his close friend Mayl Sakurai, who is much more studious than him. A running gag of the series is MegaMan dutifully nagging Lan to stop neglecting his homework.
Regarding his favorite activity, however, Lan often leaps to the front of class. His great enthusiasm and skill are much more evident when directing MegaMan in combat, which he does with great skill despite his lack of resources (he begins every game with a basic Chip Folder). As an Operator, Lan is able to focus himself in a way he cannot bring himself to do in other situations. On the other hand, this focus is identical with the way a child might involve himself with a favorite video game; for most of his childhood, Lan has lived a comfortable, risk-free life, and so is somewhat unequipped to deal with the gravity of the situation when his pastime suddenly becomes an issue of mortal combat. The uniqueness of his own Navi precludes Lan from restoring MegaMan from backup data like many of his enemies can, which means that he stands to lose a great deal more than the average civilian victim of net crime if he fails, and even more so when other lives hang in the balance.
As a civilian, Lan behaves quite like a normal schoolchild might. He sleeps in (and is sometimes late for class), becomes excited and distractable, has an enthusiasm for outdoor activities like Soccer and street skating, and collects figurines of his and other NetNavis. His outlook on life is simple, and while he is initially mildly selfish and lazy, he grows a profound sense of compassion and empathy over the course of the series. He loves to eat, especially curry, and background materials suggest that his mother is happy to indulge his appetite. While naturally curious and capable of drawing impressive conclusions from his observations, his simple outlook often risks becoming simplistic, especially concerning his lack of emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
In dangerous situations, however, another side of his personality emerges. His natural enthusiasm becomes intensely concentrated on the immediate goals lying before him, which trait is strongly reinforced by an equally intense determination. However, these traits do not mesh well with his flaws -- Lan is often reckless, and his preoccupation with other things may lead him to disregard his own safety (at one point in the third game, he leaps over twenty feet to land in the ocean in an attempt to reach the ground floor of Beach Street Hospital). He is also aware of his skill -- he is reputed to be an excellent Net Battler among local circles, though while the gossip is enough to inflate his ego, he eventually learns that his Big-Fish status means nothing beyond his schoolmates, especially in the face of those who want to kill him and the people he cares about. Indeed, it becomes a preoccupation of his to keep his friends and loved ones out of danger, leading him to try and separate them from the threats he has to deal with; when he fails, he is marked by desperation or fury.
His simple outlook on life also leads to several other problems, such as his emotional vulnerability, which can and has been exploited. Late in the third game, his vanity and then his trust are both abused in succession, and he is left believing that he is guilty for putting thousands of lives in danger, including his father's, and he falls briefly into depression. After he arises from this, he grows and maintains his simple worldview, tempered with a better understanding of evil.
Despite all this, and further despite his list of world-class accomplishments, many remain unable to see him as anything more than a child. However, Lan doesn't particularly mind, having learned how dangerous his ego is, and he eventually earns the respect, friendship, and even admiration of a variety of men and women, including high-profile individuals like Creamland's Princess Pride and Netopian General Baryl.
In the adaptations, Lan's general characterization remains the same, though each emphasizes his traits in a certain way. In the anime, Lan's inherent talents are deprecated (he and MegaMan are only just introduced in the first episode) and his growth in skill becomes an central aspect of his character growth during the first season's tournament arc. At the start of Axess (and thus the shift in the show's genre), his character growth from the first two seasons is undone somewhat in order to emphasize how he grows into his role as a Cross Fusion hero. In the NT Warrior manga, his talents and potential are noted early on, and instead his boyishness manifests as mild delinquent and aggressive tendencies. Eventually he is recruited by the police for his skills, which allows him to put his love of Net Battling (which is normally illegal) to good use.
Lan has brown eyes and untidy brown hair, which he keeps out of his face with a bandana bearing the Hikari family symbol. His upper-body attire consists of a white shirt with black squares on the elbow portions and an orange vest worn over the shirt. From the waist down, he wears black shorts with yellow stripes on the sides, black ankle-socks, and orange shoes with black stripes. He carries detachable roller blades that allow him to instantly modify his shoes for when he needs to be fast. He will often be seen with his backpack.
He almost always carries his PET with him, and the later versions usually come with a pouch or a strap to carry it with.
Biography and Relationships
Lan lives with his mother in the suburbs of ACDC Town, next door to his best friend, Mayl, who he sometimes walks to school with. He also lives relatively near his other close friends, Dex Oyama and Yai Ayanokoji. He goes to school every day with his friends, and they often hang out together, both on- and off-line (usually on-, as it allows their Net Navis to spend time together as well). Secretly, he has a crush on Mayl (and was once caught dreaming about her), but he fails to notice that Mayl in turn carries a torch for him as well. In the early anime, he is accompanied primarily by Mayl and Dex; after being introduced, Yai is usually found at their side, but is also the most likely to break off from the group for some other pursuit.
Lan's family life consists mostly of him, MegaMan, and his mother. His father, Yuichirou Hikari, is a laboratory chief at SciLab, and spends significant amounts of time away from home, either at the lab or sometimes overseas. Neither Lan nor his mother seem to mind too much, understanding he has duties to attend to. In the anime, Lan has been known to receive gifts from his father while the latter is away (including MegaMan.EXE himself), while in the manga, Lan secretly misses his father a great deal, and once abandoned class in the middle of the day and in front of his own teacher for a chance to see Yuichirou as soon as he could, only to become sorely disappointed when he discovered a delay kept his dad from returning.
Lan would for the most part live a normal civilian life, save for the remarkable circumstances that occur around him, many of which are tied to the fact that he has a direct connection to the highest levels of SciLab and the projects of the organization. In the first game, his first run-in with a World Three operative initially seems to be part of a pattern of arson spreading across ACDC Town, but the arson wave is revealed to be a cover for a strike directly at the Hikari household, where Dr. Hikari had hidden a secret elemental program. On the other hand, several of his run-ins are actually merely coincidental, such as the first chapter of the third game, where Lan and his friends, infiltrating ACDC Elementary after hours, discover they are not the only ones to have broken into the school that night.
As the youngest member of the Hikari family, Lan is also part of a generations-long feud between his family and the self-styled Lord Wily, which began when Wily turned to revenge after being abandoned by the scientific community in favor of the network technology championed by Lan's grandfather, Tadashi Hikari. In fact, almost every major incident Lan and MegaMan face can be traced back to Wily in some way. Interestingly, the three generations of Hikari men represent three different aspects of Wily's attempts to annihilate society -- Tadashi gave root to both modern Network Society and is the foundation of Wily's desire for revenge; Yuichirou is the emblem of that same society, which Wily seeks to destroy; and Lan and MegaMan are always the chief obstacles to his plans. In the anime, Lan's connections to SciLab and Wily are initially downplayed; SciLab and Yuichirou don't become particularly significant until the PharaohMan incident; once Axess begins, however, Yuichirou and SciLab become the base of operations for the Cross Fusion recruits. In the manga, the significance of Wily and SciLab are almost ignored: once imprisoned, Wily becomes irrelevant, and Lan spends most of his time working with the police force; however, once the Darkloid arc begins, SciLab and Yuichirou entirely displace the police department and Commissioner Oda.
Several of Lan's relationships are studies in contrasts; his relationship with the Official Eugene Chaud being the foremost example. While they are both very similar in one respect -- both are accomplished and intelligent children with impressive Net Battling skills and impressive pedigrees -- they differ incredibly from one another. Lan has spent much of his life out of the public view with his friends and respects his father, while Chaud spends almost all of his time in the public eye, has always been isolated from other people, and has a strained relationship with his father. Naturally, Lan and Chaud clash during many of their early meetings, especially as Lan labors under his civillian status and Chaud refuses to acknowledge him any further than that distinction requires. With time, however, Chaud eventually begins to recognize Lan's skill, and even to make a few attempts at conversation. By the fifth game, he and Lan are staunch allies, even if they don't always see eye-to-eye.
Lan's relationship with MegaMan.EXE is unique among all others. While Lan is often recognized for his skill, many of his achievements might not be possible without the high specifications that MegaMan was built to, including the MegaMan's incredible powers and abilities. Outside of combat, Lan and MegaMan are as close as brothers. MegaMan often behaves as the dutiful older brother, reminding Lan of his obligations and trying to serve as a voice of reason, and sometimes even acting as his conscience. The close bond between the two actually forms the basis of one of MegaMan's strongest powers, Full Synchro. All of this is quite fitting, given MegaMan's true nature.
Lan Hikari was born little more than a decade prior to the events of the MegaMan Battle Network Series, along with his older twin, Hub Hikari. Their early life was happy, untouched by the epoch-making Net-related events of the same period, until Hub fell victim to a fatal heart condition known as HBD. Hub succumbed to the disease, and Lan was forced to grow up without his brother to accompany him. Lan also was told of his grandfather, Tadashi Hikari; the two had never met, however, because Tadashi died before he and Hub were born. His life remained fairly uneventful, still managing to collect friends and maintain a cheery disposition, though he received a certain degree of comfort when he met MegaMan prior to the first game.
In the series epilogue, Lan achieves his goal of becoming a Net Scientist, and bonus content from Mega Man Star Force 2 reveals that his research lays the foundation of the BrotherBand system. He marries Mayl, and moves back to his old house in ACDC Town; together they have a son named Patch. Patch has a NetNavi whose data is a mix of MegaMan's and Roll.EXE's.
- "Hikari" is the Japanese word for "light", which makes the Hikari family as a whole an indirect reference to Dr. Light from the classic series. In fact, Tadashi Hikari is Dr. Light's Battle Network incarnation; "Tadashi" is the Japanese word for "correct" or "right", and is a tease aimed at the original confusion that occurred when dubbing the classic series into English. A word-for-word translation would make Tadashi Hikari into "Right Light".
- Both "Lan" and "Hub" are networking terms, as are "Net" (Netto) and "Site" (Saito).
- Lan makes an indirect cameo appearance in Mega Man Star Force 2; having a Battle Network game inserted in the w-gate slot of a Nintendo DS will unlock a bonus sidequest that will send Geo Stelar and Omega-Xis around the world collecting Lan's diary entries, which refer to events following the series epilogue.
- In the anime adaptation, Lan invents the forerunner of laser jack-in PETs, the wireless jack-in port, at only 11, which foreshadows his aptitude as a Net Scientist.
- Lan's favorite food is curry. In the fourth game, he samples Flave's five-star curry and manages to insult the chef by declaring he prefers his mothers. In the anime, Lan frequents the World Three curry-shop Maha Ichiban, and in RockMan.EXE Beast both participates in and judges curry contests. In the MegaMan NT Warrior manga (Ryo Takamisaki), Lan's favorite food is his mom's Curry Rice.
- In the anime, Lan always has an associate that serves as his partner and second: Mayl in the original series, Chaud during Axess and Stream, Iris throughout Beast, and Zero in Beast+.
- In Network Transmission, Lan's last name is misspelled "Hikaru" instead of Hikari.
|Eugene Chaud and ProtoMan.EXE|
|Mega Man Battle Network 5||Lan Hikari and MegaMan.EXE • Tesla Magnus and MagnetMan.EXE • Charlie Airstar and GyroMan.EXE • Fyrefox and NapalmMan.EXE • Raika and SearchMan.EXE • Jasmine and Meddy.EXE|
|MegaMan NT Warrior (manga)||Raika and SearchMan.EXE|
|Baryl and Colonel.EXE|
|Mega Man Battle Network 5||Lan Hikari and MegaMan.EXE • Princess Pride and KnightMan.EXE • Dark Miyabi and ShadowMan.EXE • Dingo and TomahawkMan.EXE • Higsby and NumberMan.EXE • Ribitta and ToadMan.EXE|
|MegaMan NT Warrior (manga)||Lan Hikari and MegaMan.EXE • ShadowMan.EXE • Dingo and TomahawkMan.EXE • Higsby and NumberMan.EXE|
|Mega Man NT Warrior (manga)||Sean Obihiro • Lan Hikari and MegaMan.EXE • Tora and KingMan.EXE • Eugene Chaud and ProtoMan.EXE • Raoul and ThunderMan.EXE • Sal and WoodMan.EXE • Tamako and MetalMan.EXE|