Balan is the titular character and mascot of Balan Wonderworld. As the maestro who guides Leo Craig and Emma Cole through Wonderworld, those who see him never get tired of his unexpected and comical antics. He is a charismatic entertainer and the host of the Balan Theatre.
Balan is a tall, lean humanoid figure with big, bright yellow eyes that rest upon his hat's hat band, and black skin with a wide grin on his face. Balan also has teal, dreadlock-like hair which can appear green in certain shots. He wears a white, red, purple, and gold magician's shirt with a red ascot and a navy vest, a white top hat that has a red mask-like hat band, long, white trousers with red accents and gold and navy trim/hues and white low heeled shoes. He also wears white gloves with gold, ring-like accents and frilly red cuffs.
However, this is merely his false form. His true, hatless form, which he assumes at the climax of the game, is a humanoid being that greatly resembles Lance. He wears the same outfit and still has bright yellow eyes, but they are much more human-like and have lavender-colored markings which could be compared to clown makeup. His teal hair is more human-like as well, being chin length and slightly neater compared to his false form. He also lacks the grinning mouth that his false form had and he also has chalk white skin, much like Lance in his true form.
Balan is sometimes unpredictable, humorous, graceful, mysterious, and never tires of his audience. In the novel, "Balan Wonderworld ~Maestro of Mystery, Theatre of Wonders~", we see that Balan is flamboyant and energetic, but hates repeating himself and tends to get annoyed when many questions are asked of him. Despite his outwardly fantastical and showman-like personality, the maestro has a much gentler side to him as well. When the Inhabitants' monstrous boss forms are defeated and they open their hearts to Leo and Balan, the latter always consoles or comforts the person in need. However, he does not blind them to the truth, and tells them what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Balan also holds strongly to his beliefs, as he adamantly refuses the idea that he could be corrupted by negativity. And most obvious of them all, Balan is very dramatic.
There is not much known about Balan's abilities in specific, but we can see a multitude of his talents in the game's opening cutscene. We can see him move at cartoonishly high speeds, summon Tims, and shapeshift (such as into a chair) at will, flick on switches and move lights with a snap of his fingers, and suddenly appear from one place to another. He also seems to be able to summon a rainbow flood of drops, as well as summon different set pieces with smooth transitions from one to the other. Balan can also act as if he is really in the set, for example, using his floating ability to make it appear as though he is swimming in the ocean set piece. Additionally, the maestro may be able to control gravity to a certain degree, making Leo and Emma fall from their seats into a kaleidoscope-like dimension for a short moment. He also may be able to change his own and/or other people's sizes at will, as we can see Emma pass by his eye before the camera zooms out to reveal his full body and a small Emma. He can also summon laser lights, likely to add spectacle to the show. However, a majority of these talents are not seen in-game, so there's a chance he only uses these for performance purposes.
Despite his thin appearance, Balan is very agile and surprisingly strong as shown while in Balan's Bout. He is seen to be able to break a large chunk of debris with kicks and punches. He can also summon bright yellow orbs of positivity and use them as projectiles, as well as summon a yellow barrier of positivity in order to protect himself. Furthermore, we can see Balan loop around Lance at high speeds in order to disorient him before punching him from underneath. In both the game's opening cutscene and in the final musical number, we can see Balan makes copies of himself much like how Lance does in his boss fight. However, rather than using them for combat like how Lance does, Balan uses his copies as backup dancers. We can also see Balan perform a variety of tricks and dance moves that require a great amount flexibility. This may be attributed to his agility. We can also see Balan being able to summon wooden doors much like the entrance to the Balan Theatre, the portal between Wonderworld and reality, at will- both in the opening and final cutscenes.
- In the novel, it is revealed that Balan is around 3000 years old.
- It is also revealed in the novel that Balan was created by Lance in order to restore the balance in Wonderworld once Lance was infected by negativity. However, a recent translation reveals that the Japanese version of the novel states that it was Wonderworld itself that created Balan upon Lance's corruption. Which translation is true is unknown.
- Lance warns Balan that it is already too late for the latter, and Balan himself may become corrupted by negativity due to his attachment to humans. Whether or not this is true is unknown.
- Balan's tears can become drops- the collectable item- once they've fallen.
- Balan and Lance may represent the comedy and tragedy masks of theatre, Balan representing the comedy mask.
- When Balan appeared alongside Emma in the visions of the Inhabitants in the novel, they refer to him as "the grinning man in the top hat", or just simply "the grinning man".
- Both in the novel and in game, Balan is seen to be speaking in rhyme.
- If you combine Balan's name with Lance, you get the word "Balance".
- Balan's Japanese voice actor, Kenichi Suzumura, is famous for voicing other anime and video game characters such as Zack Fair, Jack, and Demyx from the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series, respectively.
- Balan is only playable in Balan's Bout.
- Balan is hidden in almost every cutscene depicting an inhabitant's backstory. Some have him hidden in plain sight, others are more blatant but can still be missed due to how quickly the scene changes. Generally speaking, he usually shows up right before the backstory takes a turn for the worse. For example, in Jose Gallard's backstory, he appears to be pretending to be a scarecrow just before the tornado is revealed.
- He can sometimes show up in the cutscenes after the dance sequences as well. These examples tend to be much more obvious however and may not even attempt to hide him, possibly symbolizing the fact that positivity is much more abundant when an inhabitant's problem is solved.
- There are rumors as to whether or not Balan's current true form is the one that the developers had wanted to go with in the first place. This is because in the video "Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima present BALAN WONDERWORLD (Closed Captions)", we can see concept art that is cut just out of frame of what appears to be hatless Balan, yet with the same hair type of his form with the hat. The hairstyle appears to be half up and half down. We can also see a hatless Balan with hat Balan's hair in an achievement (displayed in the gallery below). The rumor is that Square Enix had asked for a design change, giving Balan's true form a more "anime" appearance to better fit Square's style. However, there's also a chance that the developers made the decision to make Balan's true form the way it is now by themselves.
- "Oh? Why, hello there. And welcome!" - Balan's first words in-game.
- "Here, child, have this. And tell me: what is it you miss? But, of course-- it's a piece of your heart! Which means it's time for the show to start! Now, let us go find your heart, little one. A journey to Wonderworld we shall embark upon!" - Balan speaking to Leo and/or Emma in the opening cutscene.
- "You did well to find me, little one. Now I shall let you have a bit of fun. Harness my powers well enough, and I will give you some great stuff!" - Balan explaining Balan's Bout.
- "Are you ready to trust yourself and your friends?" - Balan speaking to Leo or Emma before the final boss fight, also his last words in-game.
- "Oh, little one, just look at the state of you. You've forgotten yourself and what you must do." - Balan's first words in the novel, speaking to Leo.
- "With great effort and care. And an extra dash of flare." - Balan explaining how to protect hearts, striking a dramatic pose.
- "I swear on my top hat, I will not end up like that! Do you hear me? I refuse to share your destiny!" - Balan shouting after Lance as the latter wanders off into Wonderworld, also Balan's last words in the novel.