- "Just the thought of wiping the floor with those Mavericks makes my trigger finger itch!"
- ―Axl, Mega Man X8
Axl (アクセル Akuseru) is a playable character and the tritagonist of the Mega Man X series. He is a prototype of the New Generation Reploids with the unique ability to mimic the external and internal characteristics of anyone he encounters. Axl has had important roles in Mega Man X7 and X8, effectively making him the third playable protagonist of the Mega Man X series alongside Mega Man X and Zero.
Axl appears as a teenager with green eyes, an X-shaped scar on his face and spiky auburn hair that sprouts outward rather than flow down. His basic armor design is somewhat similar to X with a black sheen (or indigo in X7) featuring red accents. His shoulder guards are pointed and his legs feature small booster-like compartments. Jutting from his upper back are two long, white retractable "wings." His helmet design, when viewed from topside, resembles an upside down 'A' with a circular camera-like lens in the center.
Like most of the cast in Mega Man X8, Axl underwent a minor redesign that removed the red lines from his forearms, added grey to his heels, and simplified his forehead lens.
Axl is a youthful Reploid. He is very cocky and has a sassy sense of humor. Despite his loud-mouthed ways, Axl is also kind-hearted and always cares about his friends, whether they be old Red Alert allies or the Maverick Hunters. He often brags about how he is one of the best Hunters, which can get him into trouble. Although he can be impatient when there is nothing to do, which can get on X and Zero's nerves, X and Zero treat him like a younger brother of sorts and encourage his eagerness to carry out justice. He may be immature, but he has his heart in the right place and still tries his best to fight for what's right.
Axl has a sort of fondness for battle and can be quite ruthless, putting him in direct contrast with the more pacifistic X. During his days in Red Alert he would gun down targets with no hesitation and proved to be a useful assassin to the syndicate, even carrying over some of his previous mercilessness to his time as a Maverick Hunter. At first he was easily influenced by those around him, blindly following Red Alert at the beginning of Mega Man X7, but he later developed a moral compass and started making choices of his own. This started when he decided to leave Red Alert to seek justice in Mega Man X7, and later peaked when he was unaffected by Lumine's discouraging remarks during Mega Man X8, encouraging X and Zero to ignore him.
Very little is known about Axl's past - not even Axl knows specifically when or where he came from, and he is sometimes seen searching for the answers to these questions. All he has learned so far is that he is a prototype of the New Generation Reploids, which explains why he possesses a Copy Chip. Axl's earliest memory is from when he was found by Red, leading to him joining the vigilante syndicate Red Alert. He saw great success as a vigilante, and his Copy Chip gave Red Alert a significant edge over their Maverick bounties.
One of his missions under Red Alert had him intercepting a meeting between two Mavericks, Cedar and Aluce, to assassinate them both and recover their illegal good: Virus Program Σ-02. He headed to Point RD13-29 with Red, before killing Cedar and masquerading as him to breach Aluce's defenses and shoot him in the back. After briefly taunting the Maverick's methods, he escaped the base with the briefcase.
However, this mission drew the attention of a certain Reploid. As Red began meeting with "the Professor" to create power-ups from the DNA programs Axl copied, Axl became disturbed. He noticed that Red Alert was beginning to target more and more innocent Reploids. This led to Axl feeling that Red Alert were "no better than murderers now." Ultimately, Axl felt that his colleagues were just using his ability in pursuit of their own power-ups, which was the last straw. Because of this, he started planning to leave the organization.
Axl then abandons Red Alert to hunt Mavericks on his own, escaping through the Crimson Fortress' defenses. However, he is suddenly pursued by a Red Alert-deployed Mega Scorpio on his way out and is forced to flee. Fortunately, Axl runs into Zero on the highway, who helps him destroy the Mechaniloid. Afterwards, Zero arrests Axl and takes him back to Hunter Base for questioning about the incident.
Axl meets X, who berates him for his internal politics with Red Alert causing so much public damage. Axl defends himself by explaining Red Alert's recent merciless ways. As if on cue, Red sends a transmission to the Maverick Hunters demanding Axl's return. He proposes a "duel" wherein Red Alert and the Maverick Hunters have battles all over the globe, to determine both who gets Axl and to put an end to their hunting rivalry. Axl feels himself responsible for the upcoming conflict, and in order to make up for his mistakes, he joins forces with Zero and the Hunters to stop Red Alert, despite their hesitance to allow him to do so.
As Axl and Zero continue to defeat the members of Red Alert, Axl explains his Copy Chip to Zero. He also explains how Red Alert's members have slowly changed over time, becoming more unruly and violent, and how he felt used by Red Alert for his Copy Chip. Additionally, it is through Axl and Zero's combined efforts against Red Alert that X is inspired to come out of retirement and fight alongside them again.
After Axl, Zero, and X defeat Red Alert's eight members, Red suddenly sends the Hunters the location of Red Alert's secret base, the Crimson Palace. Together, the three infiltrate the Crimson Palace and confront Red himself. While Axl is willing to talk it out, Red cuts to the chase and starts fighting them. After defeating Red, Axl pleads with him to join them, but Red resigns to his mistakes and chooses to stay in a collapsing room that crushes him.
The three Hunters then learn that Sigma is at it again, and that he was the one responsible for manipulating Red Alert into exploiting Axl's abilities. Even after the trio fights him twice, Sigma manages to rise again and punches Axl through a wall, seemingly defeating him. Surprisingly, Red reappears and attacks X and Zero. When Sigma is presumably about to possess him, Red uses an A-Bullet to blast Sigma out of the palace through a window, revealing Red to be Axl in disguise. Axl, Zero, and X then flee the dilapidated palace.
In the ending, Axl is shocked to learn that despite helping defeat Sigma, X refuses to make him an official Maverick Hunter due to his immature and destructive ways. Axl tries to defend himself by saying he'd only done the same kind of damage X had done in past conflicts, only for X to rebut that he was wrong to do so. Suddenly, Alia reports another Maverick attack, and Axl heads out, determined to prove his worth to X.
Axl is shown to have been accepted as an official Maverick Hunter after all, routinely joining X and Zero on missions. Axl has also learned by now that he was made as a prototype for the New Generation Reploids, but the rest of his history is still a mystery.
Axl appears with X and Zero in the outskirts of the Jakob Orbital Elevator, investigating an out of control crab-like Mechaniloid in Noah's Park. After subduing the Mechaniloid, the three encounter (Axl for the first time) Vile, who kidnaps the director of the Jakob project, Lumine. After this incident, a series of Maverick attacks begin around the globe, all revolving around the involvement of New Generation Reploids with the Jakob Project. While X is frustrated by the conflict restarting so soon, Axl is excited by the prospect and helps X accept the reality of the situation.
As Axl helps fight the rioting New Generation Reploids, he learns that many of them consider him a traitor for siding with the Hunters, as they refer to X and Zero as the "old" Reploids. He also gets to know Vile, who dislikes him for being a new face. Eventually the "mastermind" of the incident is revealed to be Sigma again, once Alia compares the data of the New Generation Reploids with Axl's similar data. The three Hunters use the Jakob Elevator to pursue Sigma to his palace on the Moon, where Sigma reveals to Axl that he wouldn't have wanted his help anyways due to being a "flimsy prototype."
After Sigma is defeated, Lumine enters the scene, much to the delight of Axl and his friends; however, this delight is quickly dispelled by Lumine's revelation that he, not Sigma, was the true mastermind. He then ridicules X and Zero for trying to stop the future from marching on, discouraging them greatly, but Axl shoots Lumine to shut him up and tells his friends to ignore him. Axl and his friends then defeat Lumine, but the latter has one last trick up his sleeve: something lashes out of Lumine's lifeless shell as Axl approaches, striking and breaking the gem on his forehead. He is knocked unconscious by the attack, but X and Zero quickly destroy Lumine's body.
When the group begins their descent back to Earth, a comatose Axl is carried in X's arms. In his broken forehead lens shines a mysterious fragment left by Lumine's attack.
- Axl appeared as a card in SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS.
- Axl has a cameo in Zero's ending of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, where he, Alia, and X discover Zero injured on Earth's moon.
- Axl appears as an advanced-type Support Spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. When equipped, it allows for the user to start off with the Ray Gun equipped.
- Axl appears as unit cards in TEPPEN.
- Axl appeared as an event character in Zombie Cafe.
- Axl appeared as an event character in Dragon Poker.
- Axl appeared as an event character in Elemental Story.
- Axl appeared as an event character in Tower of Saviors.
In this spin-off continuity, Axl has been promoted to class S Hunter status. He heads to Giga City a short time after X and Zero, believing that his copy abilities may have originated there and searching for answers. He joins X's party midway through the mission to infiltrate Ulfat Factory, agreeing to fight the Rebellion Army alongside the Resistance.
Like the rest of the cast, Axl is able to wield a wide variety of weapons, specifically handguns. He can also access a Hyper Mode called Stealth Mode, which renders him invisible and invulnerable to damage. Presumably, Axl's copying abilities have grown stronger in this continuity, as he is now able to copy many of the bosses DNA and transform into them, whereas it was mentioned in X7 that he can't copy bosses, just their abilities.
Axl plays a supportive role for most of the story, appearing in cutscenes and available to speak to at Central Tower between chapters. His Copy Chip is what gets Marino interested in the powerful technology, leading to her discovering that Spider was apparently interested in the ability as well. When the party infiltrates the Far East HQ, Axl informs X that the Wild Jango they defeated a second time was actually another Reploid mimicking him with a copy ability, similar to his own (the culprit later revealed to be Colonel Redips). Axl is also shown emerging from the elevator in the ocean with the other Hunters after they beat Great Redips.
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Axl makes an appearance as a B-Rank Hunter Program. It is not really Axl, but rather an embodientment of Axl's combat data stored within Deep Log. In Story Mode, Axl debuts at the end of third stage of Chapter 2. He becomes playable right after his introduction to the Player and RiCO. His Active Skills include Strafing Barrage (Axl quickly fires a barrage of bullets all around himself) and Tactical Roll (Axl tucks and rolls forwards, similar to the one in X7).
Axl appeared in Rockman X7 4Koma Manga Kingdom.
Axl has a special ability called Copy Shot, which allows him to disguise himself as certain non-boss enemies with a special ability called A-Trans; in the games that it's featured in (particularly in Mega Man X8), these transformations can be used to solve puzzles. It is a prototype version of the Copy Chip found in New Generation Reploids, and is thus much less efficient.
He also has an ability called Rolling, which makes Axl invulnerable while doing it. In Mega Man X7 he can use weapons while using this move.
He can also Hover in the air, much like the Fourth Armor or the Ultimate Armor, with some differences. One being that Axl's hovering lasts less time but doesn't stop inmediately while in mid-air, instead, it slows down his falling speed. Another difference being that instead of just tapping the jump button to activate the Hovering, one has to hold down the Jump button after tapping it in mid-air to Hover.
In Mega Man X: Command Mission, Axl's Action Trigger is a special command introduced in the game that allows him to turn into, and use a powerful attack from, one of half the defeated bosses in the game. He can turn into Wild Jango, Silver Horn, Mad Nautilus, Mach Jentra, Incentas, Depth Dragoon, Rafflesian and Ninetails, but cannot turn into Hippopressor, Shadow, Duckbill Mole, Botos, Ferham, Scarface, Epsilon and Colonel Redips. This somewhat makes him take a role akin to a summoner in more traditional RPGs.
In Rockman X DiVE, Axl can use a special skill called Starfing Barrage (五月雨ショット Samidare Shotto, lit. Early Summer Rain Shot or Intermittent Style Shot), which makes Axl fire his guns erratically around him. This skill is similar in function to Model A's Giga Crush.
Following the trend started by his partners X and Zero, Axl can upgrade his armor to improve his abilities. In Command Mission, his Hyper Mode allows him to turn invisible and become invulnerable while it lasts. Like most Hyper Modes, however, this is only temporary.
"The only design work I did for X7 was to give advice on Axl. I said, 'If we're bringing in a new character, just make sure you give him a distinct silhouette.' Over the years, I came to realize that when you draw robot characters, it's mighty easy for them to fall into similar shapes. That's why I was very careful about X and Zero's silhouettes when I was designing them. Axl ended up with protrusions on his head and a gun in his hand to make him unique." - Keiji Inafune 
"Since Axl wasn't supposed to have come from the typical 'good guy' mold, I gave him a nice big scar on his face and went with a lot of black in his coloring to give him an overall dark feel. I wanted his hair and the details of his face to exude youth to emphasize the fact that he was born after X and Zero." - Tatsuya Yoshikawa 
- Model A from Mega Man ZX Advent seems to be designed after Axl, despite being canonically based on Master Albert.
- Axl himself was not brought into the ZX series due to his ambiguous fate at the end of Mega Man X8, the last mainline Mega Man X game in the series to this day, where he had his helmet jewel smashed by tentacles shooting Lumine’s body, infecting him with an unknown object. Model A incorporates Axl’s color scheme and dual-wielding pistols, but rather than having a jewel on its helmet like Axl, it has a cover where the jewel was, reflecting Axl’s fate at the end of X8. This jewel can be seen in illustrations for Advent however.
- Axl may have been inspired by Bass, as both characters share gameplay styles in that they both have rapid-fire weapons that can shoot in seven directions and were both introduced in the seventh game in both series. Both share a love for battle and at times takes it too far. A notable difference between Axl and Bass is that Axl is a definite ally of X, while Bass generally acts as a rival/enemy to Mega Man, and only works with him if the situation requires it.
- Axl's retractable "wings" on his back remain extended during the entirety of Mega Man X: Command Mission.
- Axl's model in Command Mission reuses the same facial texture used in X7. This results in Axl having much larger eyes than the rest of the party.
- One of Zero's alternate colors in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is inspired by Axl.
- Characters, Mega Man X8 Manual
- Rockman X7 Original Soundtrack booklet
- Opening stages, Mega Man X7. 2003.
- Crimson Palace Stage 1, Mega Man X7. 2003.
- Crimson Palace Stage 2, Mega Man X7. 2003.
- Ending cutscenes, Mega Man X7. 2003.
- Noah's Park, Mega Man X8. 2004.
- Sigma Palace, Mega Man X8. 2004.
- Ending cutscenes, Mega Man X8. 2004.
- Axl: "Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you. This is the reason I ran away from Red Alert." ... "Cause I can copy the shape and abilities of Reploids." ... "But it's far from perfect. Even with the Copy Shot, I can only copy the form of Reploids my own size. For the rest, it's only possible to copy their abilities." // Zero: "Where did you learn such a skill?!" // Axl: "Heh! That's the thing - even I don't know where I picked this up." // Zero: "You don't KNOW?! How could you not know?" // Axl: "Dunno...I don't remember. Red found me, and I've been defeating enemies ever since." --Mega Man X7 in-game dialogue
- Mega Man X Official Complete Works. UDON Entertainment Corp., 2009, pg. 65.
- The Making of the Rockman ZX series, part 5