Genji was created for the first-person shooter multiplayer game Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment. The game was released in May 2016 and has since seen multiple updates and patches that improved gameplay, added new content, and buffed and debuffed certain characters' abilities. Genji was among the first group of heroes released with the game. He is voiced by Gaku Space.
"Together we could've built an empire."
"That was your dream. Not mine."
-- In-game interaction between Hanzo and Genji.
Genji was born into the Shimada family, a notorious gang family with a large criminal empire. He was the younger brother of Hanzo Shimada and the son of Sojiro Shimada, the head of the criminal empire. Genji was nicknamed "Sparrow" by his father thanks to his small figure. From a young age, he was groomed into becoming the next head of the empire, but he showed an obvious disinterest in all of their affairs, focusing more so on his ninja training than anything else. When he grew older, he began to partake in and enjoy a playboy lifestyle and furthered himself from his family's business. Some time during his teen years, Genji's father passed away, and Hanzo demanded that Genji start to take an active role in the family business. When Genji denied, Hanzo's sense of duty to the clan and honor brought tensions to a boil that ended in a gruesome fight between the two, leaving Genji in a near-death condition. However, he was secretly rescued by Overwatch and nursed back to health by their lead doctor, Angela Ziegler. Overwatch's medical team created top of the line cybernetic prosthesis for Genji which increased his agility, speed, and reflexes. With his life now saved, Genji decided to join Overwatch's covert black ops team, Blackwatch, and make a difference in the world.
Genji's new cyborg body enhanced his already formidable ninja skills which made him that much more deadly. As a member of Blackwatch, Genji quickly became a valued asset and worked alongside its leader Gabriel Reyes and the marksman Jesse McCree. With a new purpose, Genji chose to take on his family's empire, slowly dismantling and eventually taking it down. Despite accomplishing this and despite his new found role in Overwatch, Genji began to feel ashamed and disgusted with his cyborg body. He left Blackwatch and traveled around the world, stopping when he met the Bedouins. With them, Genji attempted to come to peace with his cyborg body and tried to feel whole again, but was still unable to shake these feelings. He only overcame them when he met Tekhartha Zenyatta, an Omnic monk who was a member of the Shambali who sought to bring peace between humans and Omnics after the war.
"Only here do I not feel outcast."
-- Genji on being in Nepal.
Genji moved into a monastery in Nepal, India, and became Zenyatta's apprentice. Through the Omnic's teachings, Genji would improve his outlook and manage to find his inner peace. He was allowed a small room overlooking a canyon where he kept a picture of Hanzo and himself when they were younger, two katana on a rack, a painting of two brothers and a dragon, and a white Shimada haori. Genji would spend his days receiving instruction from Zenyatta and learning the art of meditation. Sometime after he left Blackwatch, Genji upgraded his cybernetics again to cover his entire body and changed his color scheme from black and red to light gray and green, the current colors he wears now.
Genji eventually joined with Overwatch again and helped them combat one of their fiercest and most powerful enemies, Doomfist. Genji was dispatched alongside fellow Overwatch agent Tracer and scientist and field agent Winston. Genji and Tracer peppered Doomfist with bullets and shuriken to try and wear down his shield, but before they could do so, their enemy slammed the ground and sent large pieces of debris flying in the air. Genji protected himself by cutting a car in half but was punched away by Doomfist, damaging his armor and preventing him from going on. Luckily, Winston used his Primal Rage and managed to defeat Doomfist and Overwatch took him captive along with his gauntlet. For the rest of his days in Overwatch before they were disbanded, Genji would forge strong friendships with Winston because they was no awkward small talk between the two of them and Angela Ziegler, presumably due to her giving him new life and saving him. Genji moved back to Nepal with his master when Overwatch was disbanded.
"What have you become?"
"I have accepted what I am, and I have forgiven you. Now you must forgive yourself. The world is changing once again, Hanzo. And it's time to pick a side."
"Real life is not like the stories our father told us. You are a fool for believing it so!"
"Perhaps I am a fool to think there is still hope for you. But I do. Think on that, brother."
-- Hanzo and Genji's conversation after Genji revealed himself.
Genji would eventually return to Shimada castle on the same day of his fatal fight with his brother. He knew that Hanzo kept returning the the castle to light incense to honor his thought-to-be-dead brother, and Genji followed him from the main entrance all the way to the hall where they fought in the past. Despite his skills in ninjutsu, Hanzo was able to discern that Genji was spying on him from above and Genji untimely revealed himself to his brother. Hanzo at this time believed Genji to be just another assassin sent after him, so he wasted no time shooting his arrows at Genji. Thanks to his enhanced reflexes, Genji was able to sidestep and dodge Hanzo's first arrows while he questioned the older Shimada brother about his reasons for coming here and for honoring someone he murdered. Angered, Hanzo forced Genji to flee to the outside balcony where the two engaged in melee combat, Genji using his short sword and Hanzo using his bow.
Near the end of the fight, Genji pinned Hanzo against a railing and further questioned his methods, telling him that honor is measured in actions rather than words. Hanzo managed to throw Genji away and activated his trump card, summoning his dragons to strike Genji. However, much to his surprise, Genji activated his own dragons and threw the attack back at Hanzo. Shocked and defeated, Hanzo dropped his bow and fell to his knees, now at the mercy of his would-be assassin. When he asked how it was possible that the unknown fighter used a dragon attack as only a Shimada can control the dragons, Genji spared him and took off his mask, showing Hanzo that it was indeed his little brother and that he had survived. He told Hanzo that he forgave him for the past and that he should prepare for the future as events were unfolding in the world that would require Hanzo to choose a side, that of Overwatch which had just been recalled by Winston, or that of their enemies. Genji then left the castle, but not before telling Hanzo that he believed in him.