Genji Shimada is one of the more nimble heroes in Overwatch, and without a doubt, looks great in pretty much all of his skins. He is one of the damage heroes (formerly categorized as an offensive one) and was part of the original cast of playable heroes in the initial release of Overwatch in 2016.
Key Info Up Front
At the time of writing this, Genji has a total of 22 buyable skins with more than half (13, to be precise) being legendary ones, most of them being skins that are specific to certain events (for example, the Summer Games or Anniversary events).
He’s got 5 epic skins and 4 rare ones as well, though those are more of your typical recolors of his base look as opposed to unique designs. Unfortunately, only one of the skins has lore behind it (Blackwatch), making most of them irrelevant in the larger story of Overwatch, at least at present. That can always change, and I truly hope it does in the future.
The base skin for Genji is quite nice. He is the epitome of what a cyborg-ninja would look like, encapsulating both fantasies very well. There is nothing clunky about this skin nor do I think it looks bad in any way. As far as base skins go, I can’t complain, especially considering how lacking base skins (across most games) tend to be.
His four rare skins are simple recolors of his original skin, so there’s nothing too flashy about them other than subtle color differences. By no means would I recommend going out of your way to spend the in-game currency to buy these skins, as they simply look like Genji’s armor was spray-painted a different color. I’ve never been the biggest fan of basic recolors, but the fact that they are the cheapest skins makes up for it.
It’s also worth noting that in all the rare skins, Genji’s helmet remains the same (along with the animations). The visor area is still neon-green, the front of the helmet is still a dull silver, and the back is a light black.
His katana also remains the same, as the sharp end of the blade is neon-green, the dull end and crossguard are a dull silver, and the grip is black. There’s not much to say about each rare skin, but I’ll put them in order of my preference:
This one is the best of the rare skins for me only because I like the color green on Genji. This one, unlike the others, comes across as less of a simple recolor and more like armor Genji would wear.
This one is alright too, only because the color (loosely) reminds me of Mercy’s wings, and she and Genji definitely have something going on between them.
As much as I love azure as a color, something about it seems off on Genji, like it doesn’t belong. It also doesn’t match the neon-green aesthetic of his animations.
My problem with this sin is the same as my problem with his Azure skin, just magnified. The cinnabar color is more in-your-face than the azure color, hence its lower place on the list.
The epic skins, while they are more recolors, and share the same animations as the base skin, do a little more in differentiating themselves from it, as is expected from more expensive skins. With that in mind, the colors of the helmet and weapons are changed to match the armor.
As before, I’ll be listing these skins in order of my preference:
This skin is the chicest (and edgiest) of them all, mainly because of its dark color coding. The black armor and blue undertones give a menacing vibe to Genji.
The light green in this skin is allowed to pop a lot more due to the armor’s contrasting black and dull silver colors. Also, though you won’t see it in-game thanks to the first-person perspective, the phrase “Overwatch Contenders” is written on the sheath of Genji’s wakizashi (the shorter sword), which is a nice touch.
I’m less of a fan of the Contenders Away colors only because of its closer resemblance to Genji’s original skin than the Contenders Home skin. The Away skin also has “Overwatch Contenders” written on the sheath of his wakizashi, though the neon coloring of the word “Contenders” is a little harder to see against the white color (as opposed to the black in the Home skin) of the sheath.
Nihon (Summer Games)
This skin is specific to the Summer Games event, so that’s the only time of the year you can buy it. The red glowing effects on his visor and the circles on his abs, shoulders, and hips certainly have evil implications, but I’m not the biggest fan of the all-white armor.
At a glance, there’s barely any noticeable difference between this skin and Genji’s original look. If you look closely, however, you can see the neon-green glowing effects on his visor area, and those circles on his abs, shoulders, and hips are a slightly dark yellow instead of neon-green.
Also, the colors of his armor are inverted (and shinier), so the formerly white areas are black, and the black areas are white. The change is not as dramatic as the other skins, which is why it brings up last place on the epic skin list.
Standard Legendary Skins
The following legendary skins are buyable all year round, and once again, are listed in order of my preference.
The Bedouin skin is evocative of the Arabic tribe of the same name, and I think it looks great. The shemagh-looking headwear seems to be part of Genji’s armor, which adds to the cyborg fantasy of the character. The blue, gold, and orange colors blend well here, and I love that they didn’t overdress him (the pointed shoes are great, too). After all, he’s still a cyborg, so he doesn’t need much clothing over his robotic armor.
One other thing to mention here is Genji’s sword. The weapon for his base skin (and rare/epic recolors) has a slight curve at the tip.
But, the Bedouin skin’s blade is much more noticeably curved (it’s worth noting that the shurikens have exaggerated curves), which mirrors the historical scimitar. With that in mind, I must say that the sword design looks awesome, but I’m also 100% biased because I love the scimitar aesthetic.
The Nomad skin is a recolor of the Bedouin skin (or is the Bedouin skin a recolor of the Nomad one? The world may never know), and the only reason I put it below the Bedouin skin is that I prefer the latter’s colors. The Nomad skin has lighter tones, focusing more on white and dull gold armor. Either way, I still think this skin looks great, despite my color preference.
The Oni skin was originally obtainable through a promotional event for Heroes of the Storm but is now easily purchasable in the in-game Overwatch shop. While the armor for this skin looks great, the mask is what truly steals the show. Between the sharp teeth and horns, and, of course, the name of the skin, it is inspired by the traditional Oni demon.
The weapons look great too. The shurikens have red eyes (or, more specifically, red sclera with black eyes) at their centers, while the katana also seems to have the same red eye at the center of its crossguard.
Unfortunately, the biggest letdown of this skin is that its animations are still all neon-green, which contrasts a bit too oddly and sharply with the predominantly red and black coloring of the skin. I think the animators missed out on a great opportunity to change the animations to a blood-red, or something similar in color. I would’ve ranked this skin higher if it were, that’s for sure.
The Sparrow skin shows Genji before he was made into a cyborg, or at least it appears as such. The chest armor hidden under his shirt is questionable in that regard. He’s got greaves (with cool-looking armored claws on his feet) and bracers, a nice belt, and the aforementioned chest armor.
He’s got no helmet (terrible for practical purposes, I might add), but he does have a headband with a small piece of armor across his forehead. The combination of green and black make this skin reminiscent of Genji’s original look.
While there’s nothing too fancy about the shurikens here, the katana is missing its slight curve at the blade’s end, which technically no longer makes the weapon a katana and instead just a sword (a very basic looking one at that).
The Young Genji skin is a recolor of the Sparrow skin (or is it the other way around? Again, I’ve no clue). It gives Genji predominantly lighter tones (once more): white and orange, with some gray. His green hair does look odd with the previously mentioned color scheme, but overall, I prefer the Sparrow skin due to its darker colors.
Event Legendary Skins
The remaining skins are the ones that can only be bought during specific events and are therefore unavailable during the rest of the year. I wish I could say I have a favorite skin here, but I don’t. They’re all so cool and unique that it’s too difficult to order them by my preference, so in no particular order, here are the event legendary skins:
Baihu (Lunar Year)
I know I just said I don’t have a favorite, but the Baihu skin (which is the White Tiger in Chinese) is one of the better ones. The silver armor (which looks a bit like traditional chain mail on the chest and thigh areas) matches exquisitely with the different shades of blue, and don’t even get me started on the tiger mask.
The light blue cloudy effect around his neck is sick, and the fur ponytail and the fur over his traps are great additions to the armor without making it look too luxurious.
As with the Sparrow and Young Genji skins, the sword for the Baihu skin is not curved: it’s a straight sword. It’s not the fanciest looking sword (and the swinging animation during Genji’s ultimate is still green), but it still looks pretty nice in its design. The armor of the Baihu skin makes up for what the sword lacks, though. Lastly, regarding the shurikens, nothing is different about them other than a recolor to match the skin’s armor.
Kendoka (Summer Games)
The Kendoka skin essentially puts Genji into traditional Kendo armor, which is pretty standard for the sport. In Kendo, the combatants use bamboo swords, and a nice touch of this skin is that the sheaths of both Genji’s swords seem to be made out of bamboo to reflect this. The sword and shurikens are pretty standard too, which is alright, considering the mundane nature of the skin.
Now, this one is wild, in a good way. The Karasu-tengu skin does a great job of making the armor look like Genji’s skin, and the feathers on his forearms and shoulders are great. That, along with the beak-for-a-mouth, reflects the traditional Tengu creature in Japanese folk religion very well, as they typically take the form of birds of prey (or monkeys).
However, the simple, brown pants are a bit offputting and stand out a bit too much against the rest of the avian features of the skin.
The sword is visually incredible for a few reasons:
- The sharp edge of the blade looks very lava-like in color.
- Just above what would be the crossguard there is a subtle silver feather design
- The base of the hilt is the face of a bird (an excellent detail).
The shurikens look super cool as well with their exaggerated curves and lava-like color.
Ice Wraith (Winter loot)
I love everything about this skin except the top part of the helmet, so I suppose it’s a good thing I can’t see it from the first-person perspective. The dirty white color seems a bit too forward-placed. Anyway, the different shades of blue on the armor contrast well with the black, and the frozen spikes decorating his armor aren’t too excessive, which is a nice plus. The steam effect is also a nice touch.
The sword design is truly something else. It looks to be made mostly of ice (duh), and while the blade itself is sleek, the star of this weapon is its crossguard. The shurikens, too, look great as they come across as really pointy and deadly snowflakes.
Blackwatch (Archives loot)
The Blackwatch skin, while not the most extravagant, is the only one that’s part of canon lore at the time of writing this article. It’s the armor Genji is initially enhanced with by Overwatch after being mortally wounded by his brother, Hanzo. This armor saved his life, and he then fell into the service of Blackwatch, a covert organization within Overwatch that’s hidden from the public, led by Gabriel Reyes, also known as Reaper.
The black, white, and red tones of this skin look incredible, and the weapons fall in line with the same colors. While the katana isn’t overly unique (is it just me, or does the hilt look like that of a lightsaber?), the shurikens have a slight angle to their blades, diversifying them from the regular triangular blades of the base skin.
Bushi (Archives loot)
This skin is also one of my favorites, its inspiration being the traditional Bushi (alternatively, Samurai), and it has quite the appearance. The armor for this skin is stacked and is probably the most heavily armored version of Genji we have. The helmet design is stunning, especially the gold crescent piece at the top, and the sandal look for his feet armor is nice attention to detail.
What gets me the most about this skin is how well it blends the cyborg fantasy with an ancient Japanese tradition. Looking at this skin, you can’t help but think “Samurai,” but the armor is so seamlessly mechanical looking that you also can’t help but think “robot.”
It has an uncanny resemblance to the Samuroid in DC Comics, which makes me wonder if inspiration came from it in creating the Bushi skin.
While the shurikens are pretty standard as far as they go for Genji skins, (aside from extra gold/bronze bordering the blades), the katana for this skin, while simple in design, has a marvelous green dragon etched across its blade. I think I can put my foot down and say this is my favorite sword, for it has elegance in its simplicity.
Demon (Anniversary loot)
The Demon skin is a recolor of the Oni skin, and I know what you’re thinking: “what if it’s the other way around?” Well, I can finally say with certainty, in this case, it’s not, for the Oni skin came out a few years before this one.
The Demon skin takes on white and gold colors (instead of the Oni’s black and silver), but that sweet, sweet red remains, along with the design’s signature mask. The sword and shurikens are nearly identical to the Oni skin’s, just the slight color change from black to white while keeping the blood-red eyes.
Senti (Anniversary loot)
The Sentai skin is probably the least appealing legendary event skin to me for Genji, only because the armor isn’t as unique as the others. That is, of course, except for the helmet, which looks a bit like something a power ranger would wear.
The “angry eyebrow” design at the forehead of the helmet is matched by the crossguard of this skin’s katana too, which I like. Other than that, the sword isn’t all that unique. Even so, the shurikens stand out with their angled blades instead of the simple triangular ones on the base skin.
Overwatch League Skins
During Overwatch League, which is the esport of Overwatch, all heroes (at the time of the competition) received two skins for each team (away and home colors) that competed in the tournament, Genji included.
All the skins are simple recolors, but there were quite a few skins to be had. Unfortunately, none of these skins are currently available, but I’ll hold out hope that they will be again.
Question: Are the rare and epic skins worth it?
Answer: Short answer? Nope. Especially not the rare skins. You’re better off saving up the in-game currency to buy something more expensive or not in the shop year-round. The odds of getting the rare and epic skins (except the Nihon skin, which is exclusive to the Summer Games event) are high, so if it were me, I wouldn’t waste the currency.
Question: Are the event legendary skins expensive?
Answer: Only on their initial releases, as they cost 3,000 of the in-game currency, which is on the pricier side. However, their costs are decreased to 1,000 when the next corresponding event swings by the following year. That’s the base cost of all legendary skins in the game.
Question: Do Genji’s skins have lore attached to them?
Answer: Unfortunately, only one skin has its place in Genji’s lore: Blackwatch (either the Young Genji or Sparrow skin is likely part of his lore too, though that is undetermined at present). Unlike League of Legends, for example, whose skin lines have their own universes and lore, Overwatch does nothing of the sort.
At least, not yet. Aside from the few animated shorts and a couple of events (namely the Archive event), Overwatch didn’t expand much on its lore. Hopefully, Overwatch 2 changes that.
Overwatch Genji Skins Guide: Conclusion
Of Genji’s 22 currently buyable skins, the only ones worth spending the in-game currency on are the special event legendary skins. The rare skins are never worth it, and while the epic and regular legendary skins might be, you can reliably acquire them in loot boxes if you play the game enough.
So, instead of dropping your hard-earned in-game currency on those, drop it on the skins that are only available once a year. The chances of getting them in their event-specific loot boxes are far inferior to the chances of getting standard legendary skins in a regular loot box.
That said, if you’re swimming in the currency, or you only play Genji and have some to spare, then by all means, buy any of the standard, year-round skins you want. I’d be a fool to stop you!