A History of “The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract” Pt.I: The Comic

A History of “The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract” Pt.I: The Comic

Spoilers abound. I hold no responsibility, nor do I particularly care about you spoiling yourself.

DC Animated released their adaptation of The Judas Contract a few weeks ago, and no beating around the bush, I liked it well enough. Decent enough action scenes, on the high end for the latest slew of DC Animated releases, not too much in the way of narrative filler and Damian Wayne got punched.

I’m always down to see Damian get punched.

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Chicken Soup for the Soul

But as I’m watching trough this, I can’t but keep comparing this to the Teen Titans TV show from the mid 20-Zero’s. Specifically the finale (And the episodes leading up to) of Season 2, Aftershock, which was also an adaptation of the Judas Contract storyline, only at an infinitely more PG level.

So, on this weeks episode of “Jordan has an almost obsessive, possibly dangerous, knowledge of Pop Culture” we’re going to have a bit of a yarn about the 2 adaptations and how each succeed where the other fails in not only being an adaptation, but also in being a good watch.

So what better place to start, then the Original Comic?

The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
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The Judas Contract is one of the most fondly remembered events within the Teen Titans history, in which a mercenary sends a psychotic little girl with a Daddy Complex into a den of Teenagers to infiltrate, observe and finally kill them all.

With no regrets, Terra does all of that, handing the Titans over to The Terminator and his employers, HIVE. Of course, a brand new member of the team, Jericho, uses his powers of possession to take over Deathstroke’s body and release his friends.

Terra throws a hissy fit thinking she was betrayed, Jericho’s powers are explained to her, but The Terminator refuses to end the Titans as he’s just been paid and Jericho is his son, so he doesn’t feel too compelled to pull the trigger.

Terra returns to her Hissy Fit, burying herself in piles upon piles of earth and rocks, breaking both herself and Beast Boy’s heart, all in one go.

Villainous Villains of Villainy

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Tara Markov, in this telling of the story, is the illegitimate daughter of the King of a vaguely Eastern European sounding nation. Experimented on by the nations top scientists during her youth, Terra develops Earth Bending powers alongside some serious mental issues.

Kicked out of her Dad’s basement, so as to avoid the risk of a scandal, she makes her way out to the United States, where she makes a name for herself as a killer for hire.

It’s during this time where she both meets, and falls in sweet, messy lust for The Terminator.

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The Terminator (Who at this point did not yet have the “Deathstroke” part of his name) decides to accept the contract to end the Titans in lieu of his Oldest son, who had previously taken on the hit, only to fail. So its a matter of personal pride at this point.

Using Terra’s attraction to him, Slade inserts her into the Titans as his own personal Judas Goat (Hence the title) so that when the time comes, he can easily slip into where he needs to be to take out those nerds.

Slade’s main investment in this, is his connection to his sons and his wife. In making up for his oldest son’s failure, he plays on his wife’s and second son’s consciences enough, that they go to see Dick Grayson after the rest of the Titans have been jacked, revealing where The Terminator has taken them and just exactly how he knew exactly how to counteract them.

Heroic Heroes of Heroism

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The original comic includes both Donna Troy as Wonder Girl and Joseph Wilson as Jericho, who don’t show up in the later iterations, so we’re not going to talk about them a whole lot from here on out. What you need to know about them is that Wonder Girl is living with Starfire and is pretty nothing towards the ongoing plot besides being a Titan and some minor confidence issues over being the most senior Titan on deck now that both Robin and Kid Flash have left the team.

Jericho on the other hand is the son of The Terminator and has the ability to posses people, and does just that to his dad at the end, to free the team as Terra is distracted by Nightwing’s stupid popped collar.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about the most important of our heroes to this story.

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Garfield Logan, The Changeling has the most emotional attachment to the plot at large. Over the course of her stay with the Titans, Gar develops a puppy love for Tara, despite her unfortunate condition of being a gigantic dick. (No, not that one)

As such, while everyone is gutted at being fooled and thrown away with the level of don’t give a fuck that Terra puts out, Gar is the one who is the most thrown by the turn. Believing Tara to be under mind control or some sort of other coercion, initially, the heartbreak slowly becomes palpable and Gar ends the story sadder than the saddest boy that’s ever sadded.

I dunno, I wanted a joke here and couldn’t think of a good one.

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Speaking of jokes, meet the first official Nightwing uniform!

Dick Grayson, Batman’s first Robin. For a long time, Dick was the leader of the Teen Titans, but at the start of Judas Contract stepped down as the leader, citing that he can’t be Robin anymore, he needs to be an adult. Find out who Dick Grayson, age 20, actually is outside of the persona of Robin.

After being the pimpiest pimp there ever was, and escaping the clutches of The Terminator, the only member of the team to pull it off even, he meets with Slade’s wife and son, Joseph, where he gets the skinny and the how and whos of everything.

Of course he immediately loses points by rocking that blue and yellow war crime, but together with Jericho, he rocks off to the lair of HIVE to spring his friends.

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In the last few years Starfire has been courting a bit of controversy for an outfit she was rocking as part of the New 52 reboot in Red Hood and the Outlaws, (Not a good book) which I suppose is fair, the bikini was incredibly sheer, but it was more her attitude at that moment than her apparel that got me.
Star’s outfits have always skirted the decency line of whatever time the books were being published, hell even he PG Cartoon Network outfit is surprising just because of both the rating and where it was being aired, but, I digress.

Star is dating Dick at this point, and his resignation from the Titans makes her get moody, because they… don’t share a job? It’s stupid and angsty for the purpose of angst. She star bolts some peeps, is happy a cheery, gets grumpy at Dick and then forgives him because big collars… get her going? I mean, its probably because he’s got a new outfit and is doing the hero thing all over again, but I like to think its the big collar.

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If Raven weren’t continuing across to Aftershocks and the JC Movie, I would have thrown her into the never mention again pile with Donna and Joey.

Throughout the comic, she’s pretty much just another Titan, heroic to a fault, friend to everyone even if a bit quiet, and just as pained in betrayal as everyone else. She gets a moment during the climatic fight scene, where she jumps into Tara’s head to try and calm her down, soothe her to the point of calm so that they can just talk or whatever.

It fails, of course, to take hold, and besides some moments in the B plot with HIVE, Raven’s contributions are done.

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You’re right. That’s not an image from Judas Contract, how astute you are. You know what, I don’t care, because just look how cool he thinks he is. Swagger is something someone wearing a plunging metal bikini does not have.

So Victor Stone, Cyborg, he’s probably the least relevant of the Titans here, but much like Raven he carries over to Aftershocks, so gotta talk about him real quick. He, also, has some angst going on, but his is a little more relevant than “My Boyfriend doesn’t work where I work anymore.” He’s worrying that his robotic bits are slowly overtaking his fleshy ones, that sooner or later everything that makes him human is going to rot away, leaving nothing but an unthinking automaton.

He also has arm cannons. Specifically, his arms can BECOME cannons, and that’s pretty cool too.

ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE

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Judas Contract is a really good read, even the HIVE subplot which is okay at best, is entirely saved because Brother Blood is a goddamn ham, and I love it.

Judas Contract is also a comic very rooted in the 1980’s, and if you aren’t a fan of the tropes and cliches of the day, then you probably won’t enjoy your sit with it.

The book also spoils the twist within the first 20 pages, which I guess is fine, bring your audience in on the scheme, and you can read on with unease and rage as the bad guy ingratiates herself with the group and the group falls for her.

The problem with that is Terra is a cunt.

She never does anything, personality wise, to try and play nice with the group, she’s constantly butting heads and insulting them at every turn.
Building a narrative where we know a character is awful from the get go is tricky, you need to sort of undercut the toxicity by making everyone around them think the sun shines from their various orifices.

Judas Contract doesn’t do that, and its all the more upsetting for the wasted opportunities.

Doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the book, or even think that it’s good. This is simply a nitpick in the grand scheme of things, and I do think this is the best telling of the story, if only by a hair’s breadth.

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Continued in a few days With Teen Titans: Aftershock
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Quick Side Note. So this is going to be how I break down those Big Ol’ Mid Month Essays I mentioned on the front page. So as to not front load you with a metric fuck-ton of words right off the bat. I hope it works out like I’m picturing, I really do.

The “Man” in the Superman

The “Man” in the Superman

Fiction, for the most part, is all about connecting with the characters at the forefront of the story. The people we, as readers, watchers or listeners are sitting down to follow for however long it takes for the story to reach its conclusion. We connect with the trials of Captain Kirk and the rest of the Crew of the Starship Enterprise, because discovery is fundamentally hard wired into the human condition and we, as viewers, are able to connect to that moment of euphoria when the crew stumbles across something truly monumental.

Peter Parker’s feelings of guilt and loss surrounding the loss of his Uncle Ben, might be a bit played out by now with how many times the story has been told in the last 16 years, but it still remains as one of the most relatable moments of loss in all of comic book history.

So, when you look at a character like Superman, it seems a little hard to make a connection between the character and the consumer of the story. The Übermensch known as Clark is a near perfect being. All powerful, all good, the Superman is a totem, an ideal for the human characters to look up to and to emulate.

But these attempts of emulation will fail, because humanity is not perfect. We are not compassion incarnate, with all of strength within our fists to maintain the ability to be that compassionate.

Its what makes Superman: American Alien such a damn good read, because it doesn’t try to connect us to the Kryptonian Guardian of Earth, but instead cuts to the core of the character and gives us instead a look at the unsure boy that is Clark, son of Jonathan and Martha Kent.

Probably the one thing that the movie, Man of Steel did correctly, was frame us up some of that sweet early life in Smallville Kansas. Of course it fucked it up something fierce, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

American Alien wakes up on a young Clark, hovering in the sky at night, Martha clung desperately to his leg, both are panicking, and Martha slips, right as Clark swings around and grabs her by the arm. Martha tells him to focus on going down, which he is but then he loses it, and they both plummet.

The next panel shows us in the Kent kitchen, a bowl of soup in front of Clark and Martha bandaging up Jonathan’s foot, prompting Clark to ask what happens. That’s the moment the emotion starts.

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I’ve always been a sucker for good human emotion, and by that measure I’ve always been a sucker for Superman stories that manage to cut past the Super part of it and straight to the man.

But even regardless of how well done the characters are, regardless of how well the story has been written neither of these are my favourite parts of the book.

No, my favourite part is that through all of this, even though Clark is keeping mum in Metropolis and the wider world about his identity, Smallville itself?

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Smallville is in on the secret.

Ma and Pa Kent did the best the could for Clark growing up. Instead of trying to hide Clark’s differences from the world, they embrace it. Smallville slowly learns that there is something different about that Kent boy, but no one treats him any different.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in a Superman story, where the town is in on it from the get go, and quite frankly that is pretty neat.

It gives Clark some sounding boards, and sucks away some of the stress that is, more often than not, his teenage years.

Although I love it, the Earth-One books falls into this particular pitfall as well, distancing Clark from those around him to an almost ridiculous degree.

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Of course, he gets better later on. Earth One starts with Clark moved to Metropolis and the entirety of issue 1 is him getting over that particular hang up, which is good, but it definitely takes me out of the experience a little bit for the short amount of time its on the page.

American Alien doesn’t suffer from any of that, it cuts through the melodrama for a more human core, which connects us, the reader, to Superman so much more.

Also this happens and I love it.

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American Alien and all 3 Volumes of Superman Earth One are all available to purchase from all good Comic Book Stores
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Fudō Nomura Continues to Charm My Pants Off

Fudō Nomura Continues to Charm My Pants Off

I know what I said.

Episode 8 of Armed Girls is out, and its all about dealing with the fallout of episodes 7 and 8. Problems are solved, tangents are set up for future conflicts and the comedy is still really good.

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Good Gags? Yuuuup.

But I just want to continue on from last week, in saying that the only reason these jokes work and the story flows so well is because of Nomura himself and how he continues to still be the best protagonist I have ever encountered in a Harem show, and what evidence do I provide this week?

Well, a couple of episodes ago, his roommate chose to drug his food, so that the latest abuse victim for the harem pile can enact her dastardly plan to get his 2 closest benefactor’s to turn on Nomura and get the boy expelled.

We’ve heard nothing from him for a few weeks, so with the set up of this episode, we know that it should be coming, and in the last minute or so, its comes, it resolves and its done.

And its probably the best emotional payoff of the episode.

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 Nomura walks in, fully intending to not bring it up. He’s already forgiven the dumb lump, so feels no need to talk about it.

The first few times Masukodera tries to bring it up, Nomura ignores the issue, until Masukodera brings up the idea that he’s a bad person. He did a terrible thing, and should be punished for it.

Nomura swerves though, acknowledging that, yeah, he got served roofies by the one guy he should be able to trust in the school. But at the same time, he acknowledges that it was most likely in an attempt to protect every other boy there in the dorm, and that isn’t the actions of a bad guy, in fact, that guy is probably a pretty good friend.

In just under a minute (54 seconds) the conflict is done without any giant screaming matches, there’s no heartfelt crying and people blubbering that they’re sorry and there’s no one whinging “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND MY PAIN, NARUTO!” (Huh, where did that come from?)

They end up sorting through their shit like normal people. Nomura cuts through the melodrama, and that’s pretty neat.

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Armed Girls Machiavellism is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2: Patch Notes 3.3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2: Patch Notes 3.3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 came out in cinemas a couple of weeks ago, and my face still morphs into the goofiest of grins every time I think about it.

I suppose my cheeks are going to hurt a bit after I’m done here.

And while people have been giving it a bit of flak for not being better than the first movie, I don’t think that’s very fair of a comparison. In fact, it’s one I’ve heard before, in relation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Specifically on the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron and how that didn’t manage to exceed what had come before.

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How DARE You Be a Really Good Movie. For SHAAAAAME

Which I mean, isn’t an incorrect statement, but the first Avengers movie was a hallmark moment for these interconnected shared universe movies.

That being said though, Age of Ultron is still a very good movie, which is in itself is comparable in quality to that which came before, and for my money there is no topping the skirmish in South Africa between The Hulk and Tony’s Hulk-Buster Armour.

But again, these same comments are cropping up around Guardians of the Galaxy, the first volume of which was also a hallmark of sorts, proving definitively that the MCU was capable of adapting even the insanity of Jack Kirby’s Drug Fuelled Outer Space.

And that carried over to Volume 2 as well, in fact I would say in terms of the sheer scale of things, Volume 2 did this even better than the first, giving us not only a Living Planet, but an entire species of test tube babies, Robo-Prostitution, Interdimensional Squids and Sylvester Stallone’s voice.

But I do admit that Vol.2 is not a perfect movie. Its flawed, just like every other piece of creative work out there. So, I’m going to take a couple hundred words out of my day to talk about 3 of these flaws, and about how I would change them.

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Kurt Russell’s Ego is a bit of a duality in terms of how he slides into the movie. On the one hand, he is a significant step up from the previous movie’s Ronin as a primary antagonist. On the other hand, because of that step up in terms of quality and his more intimate ties to our heroes, as expected as the heel turn was, it happens way too quickly for my own comfort.

As expected as Ego’s turn is here, I feel like it came in one movie too early. Peter has just come into learning who Ego is, this is his dad, right? So he should be safe here. Ego should not have turned full on villain here, that particular story beat should have remained for Vol.3, with Ego here throwing in on his Son’s side to batter away an assault by the Sovereign at the climax of the film.

As it is, Vol.2 feels a little full on the villain side, with the Sovereign, Yondu’s Mutinous Ravager faction and, temporarily, Nebula coming into play.

Speaking of…

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Throughout the showing of Vol.2, the secondary villains The Sovereign, don’t seem to offer much in the way of threat. They’re there to firstly, establish Ego and just how absurd the Celestial is and secondly, to make it so that the final confrontation between our Heroes and Ego isn’t over too quick or too easy.

Adam here is an artificially bred human, one who not only stands on the same kind of power level as Thanos but sometimes even exceeds that level himself. In one of the post credits stingers of Vol.2, it is revealed that the Sovereign High Priestess has begun developing the next step in their evolution, a being she designates as Adam.

If we were going to go this route, and in line of making Ego a hero for this instalment, why not just have Adam around already. As one of the leaders of the Sovereign, when the High Priestess fails to breach Ego’s defenses, Adam steps in, glowing bright gold, an Orange Stone mounted on a ring on his hand, vanishing out to Ego’s location to punch out a planet.

This not only shows off exactly where the final of our six Infinity Stones is, but it also gets to show off the spectacle of a man who is at the level of Thanos fighting off an entire Planet, wielding the power of a single Infinity Stone, creating intrigue for Thanos who is going to be throwing around the power of the entire set.

Somehow they wrest control of the Stone from Adam, Peter tapping into his control of Ego’s light, and trap him inside of it. (The Soul Gem being able to trap people’s souls within it being its main power) The Stone being hidden within Ego’s core.

But of course Ego being a bad guy, this also leads to the potential of him handing over the Stone to Thanos before the beginning of Infinity War, they both want to eradicate life across the Cosmos in their own particular way, right?

It also brings Adam into the Infinity War and gives us the chance to see him punch out Thanos a couple of times, and really, who doesn’t want to see that?

The Ravagers
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This fix, I feel, is pretty straight forward. Don’t have them in the movie.

Hear me out.

If you’re going to have Ego remain as a hero until Vol.3 (Or Infinity War at the earliest) you absolutely cannot have Yondu know that Peter is anywhere near Ego, let alone that they’re getting along so well. The first thing he’s going to do is hightail it out to Ego to fight him a planet, and that’s just not something we can have.

So instead you regulate Yondu to a post credits scene at the most. Adam is MIA, the Sovereign are PISSED, so, with no other options they come to Yondu.

“The Guardians of the Galaxy kidnapped our greatest hero, retrieve him, and carve our warning into their flesh.” So says the Sovereign Council to Yondu.

“Where are they?” Yondu shoots back, all cocksure and smug as he always is. And then they tell him exactly where they are, and the confident look slowly transforms into anger and fear.

“We will send you the co-ordinates.” The Sovereign begin, before Yondu intterupts them. “Don’t bother, I know where they are.”

And you cut back to credits.

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Guardians of the Galaxy is now screening in a cinema near you.
It will be on DVD and Blu-Ray 
From September 27th 2017

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The Unbridled Charisma of Fudou Nomura aka Getting Me Invested in Your Shitty Harem Shows

The Unbridled Charisma of Fudou Nomura aka Getting Me Invested in Your Shitty Harem Shows

We’re Back Baby.

Look, I’m not here to shit on Armed Girls Machiavellianism, in fact I’m actually going to compliment it quite a bit. That said, I went into episode one with the lowest of low expectations.

This show is nothing special to look at, and the character design is pretty meh-diocre to go alongside it. I don’t look at AGM and find my eyes being fellated by beautiful landscapes or pretty colours.

Hell, I look at the girls and they too seem to just slip into the background as just another group of A-Typical Harem Girls. This show should have really either been average as unbuttered toast or a train-wreck of hillarious proportions.

But then our main dude walks in, and the jokes start coming in and I start to find myself slipping down the rabbit hole of actually giving a shit about this show.

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With half of the show aired and our first mini-arc concluded, I thought that now was the time to come out and discuss the particulars of what, exactly, makes Armed Girls Machiavellianism work so well.

THE WORLD OF ARMED GIRLS

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So, this private school, Aichi Symbiosis Academy, used to be an All-Girls school, but when the school became co-ed the girls were all scared of these new “boys,” like ridiculously so. In response the faculty decided that instead of A/ reverting the school back to it’s previous All Girls status or B/ just tell the girls to suck it up, they decided to take the unlisted option of; C/ give Weapons to teenage girls, with which they might ensure their personal comfort, and see what happens.

I’m pretty sure the adults in the world are not the smartest individuals to breathe that sweet, sweet oxygen.

Of course, now-a-days, the boys sent into Aichi-Sym aren’t just your everyday, run of the mill boys will be boys kind of gents, but instead Delinquents of only the highest order. Sent into the school with the idea of the Weapon-Wielding-Woman within will be able to beat a modicum of restraint and respect into these boys, and for years, this system works pretty well.

The Ex-Delinquents find themselves as the lowest creature on the totem-pole here at Aichi-Sym, and quickly correct their behaviour as a course of both repentance and, more prevalently, a desire to not ever draw the attention of the 5 biggest badasses here at the school; The 5 Swords.

Enter our protagonist; Fudou Nomura. (Emphasis on the No)

DEFYING THE CURSE OF “YUUJI EVERY LEAD”

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If you’ve never heard of the concept of the Every Lead, you’ve almost certainly seen him if you’ve watched any significant amount of anime, especially Harem shows.

He’s the unassuming, average looking dude in front of a cast of cute girls, who all start circling him because his dick apparently produces the Elixir of Youth. He usually possesses powers of a significant magnitude, or insights into the ways of the world that far outstrips their contemporaries.

These are your Tenchis, Shirou Emiyas and Negis. The boys who all of the cutest girls want to nail like a broken deck. The boys who have the personality of slightly wet sand.

When Fudou walks into the frame for the first time, he looks every bit that standard, milk toast Harem Lead. There is absolutely nothing about his design that is even slightly memorable. The most interesting thing about him is that he’s somewhat taller than most Harem Leads tend to be.

But then he starts talking and his personality kicks in, his honest to god, human emotions slap you in the face, and the curse is broken.

This ain’t no Yuuji Every Lead, this is a real boy. This is Fudou Nomura, and he’s going to shake your world to it’s core.

THE JOJO SCHOOL OF PUTTING MY FIST IN YOUR FACE

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The fights on display aren’t the best for visual spectacle, the movement is fairly basic and on occasion, kind of janky. But the mechanics behind how these characters move and attempt to murder each other is actually kind of neat. Each fight introduces a level of lateral thinking into the mix. Beyond simply punching each other harder, its instead a contest of how can I hit you smarter?

Can I wear you down, before you can pull off your big fuck-off one hit KO? How can I maximise the power of each of my strikes, to best put you on your ass? Can I shake your confidence and your state of mind enough, so that I win the fight before I even throw a punch?

It’s this philosophy which makes each fight in AGM a joy to watch, even though you know the main dude is probably going to win, the strength of the girls is never undermined in order to demonstrate Nomura’s strength. If anything, the show goes out of its way to try and do its best to show him and the 5 Swords as operating on a fairly even plane, in terms of their individual strengths.

The first fight of the show goes out of its way to switch in and out of the heads of both fighters, showing the process of them slowly breaking down each others style and both of them figuring out that it’s essentially going to come down who fucks up.

The enforcer, Rin Onigawara only needs to time Nomura out, keep him on the back foot until the end of their homeroom if she can’t get in a clean hit to put him down.

Nomura on the other hand, needs to work his way around Onigawara’s seemingly impenetrable offence, to find a moment of still in her stance with which to handily put her down and win the fight.

Nomura’s moment of victory comes simply because Rin get’s jumpy at a crucial moment, his footing slips and she jumps back, expecting him to be prepping something. Drawing her sword up to take a breath and get ready to leap back into it, Nomura takes the chance to slide in past her guard, placing his hand on her side, winning the match by blowing her away with his mysterious “Spirit Bullets”

SHOWS GOT GOOD GAGS

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Yup.

FINAL REMARKS

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By no means am I saying that this is some sort of hidden gem of a thing, or even that its a seminal classic. I’m probably enjoying this for a lot of the same reasons as I enjoyed Keijo!!!!!!!.

Both shows have some pretty solid comedy, and all of the fights are really well paced and planned. Sure, the stories are both kind of on the meh side of good, but in each instance, the main character saves the day with their sheer charisma.

And that’s pretty cool.

KEIJO EPISODE 9: I am Butt a Paper Tiger In Front of a Storm of Stupidity

KEIJO EPISODE 9: I am Butt a Paper Tiger In Front of a Storm of Stupidity

Those are Killer Queen’s eyes.

This show decided to truly embrace the memes, completely and whole heartedly, and I don’t know that I can fault it for that. Because, for the most part, that just adds on top of the charm and good will that Keijo (Still not using the exclamation points) has built upon over the last 9 weeks.

By cribbing an aesthetic feature from Jojo after doing so in episode 5 with the World’s time freeze audio effect (Which, again, they break out a fair bit this week) they are further propagating the whole community meme of Keijojo’s Bizarre Assventure again and again.

Honestly I’m just holding on until the moment the redhead with the Killer Queen eyes busts out Bite the Dust.

So yeah, episode 9, only 3 more to go, how are our StarBust Crusaders doing?

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Beuatiful

So this week is a Sayaka episode, and if you forget who Sayaka is, I understand completely. None of these characters are massively interesting, so some disconnect is understood.

Since we last checked in on the girls from Setouchi, they have gotten over fighting each other and are now locked in a tournament against a rival Keijo school from the west!

Nevermind that there’s apparently more than 1 school for this ridiculous child’s game made professional sport, but it turns out the Setouchi always loses to this school, and has never come away with an event win against their rivals!

That makes for some tasty drama, especially in last weeks episode, where Setouchi took the win by the skin of their teeth!

Of course that drama is kind of undermined by the show it is a part of, but that’s part of it’s unique charm really. Part of this show’s success is owed to the fact that it refuses to take itself seriously, all that underlying drama and the interpersonal bullshit, just seems to evaporate at the end of a fight, or towards the end of a fight, when a fighter uses their super erect nipple as a pivot for a judo throw.

And on that note, let’s talk about episode 9.

So Sayaka is the white haired girl from the gif I featured last time I talked about this show, and her whole deal is that she comes from a proud line of Judo practitioners. She was even selected to represent Japan on a world stage!

But she could never find joy or happiness within Judo, be it from the constant pressure of her father or the fact that the sport was chosen for her, without regard for her personal feelings, Judo was just never where it WAS for Sayaka. What she really wanted to do with her life was be a Pro-Player in the glorious sport of Keijo, because all of the pros get their own Swimsuit designs, and Sayaka thinks that’s pretty neat.

No, really. It’s brought up in episode 2 or 3, that’s her whole motivation. Only Keijo man.

But yeah, the whole pivot of the drama this episode is Sayaka’s choice to walk away from Judo, jeered on by her opponent as running away from, and her going for her dreams regardless of the disappointment she might evoke in her father, who happens to be in the stands watching. (Not that she knows)

As with most things in Keijo, it’s pretty standard faire until the fights start ramping up, and its at this moment that Killer Queen starts shooting her mouth.

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She Even Does a Stupid Bra Snap, My god this is such Dumb Fun

 

Together with Dog Butt and a Blonde haired girl who uses her boobs to hypnotise people (Yes, really) the Girls join together to knock away disposable character 349, before blondie goes away to deal with a pair of twins, while Sayaka and Doggo deal with Killer Queen.

Yeah, so of course Doggo loses. This isn’t her episode, this is Judo’s show, and in seeing her friend downed by Queeny, decides to, quite literally, slip off her bitch pants and go full man mode.

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This is where we go full on meme mode, Sayaka speeding across the jungle gym every impact generating ZAWORLDO.mp3 with every last impact, and it’s looking like the “Full Purge” is going to be exactly the thing she needs to knock Killer Queen straight into an ambulance, but that’s the moment her legs collapse.

The Purge has taken it’s toll and it’s time for Killer Queen to collect on her pound of flesh, kicking Sayaka’s arse for a good minute long, using her magic eyes (Oh she has magic eyes) to be able to see where Sayaka is going to strike, using a sort of thermal vision to see where the strength of Judo’s attacks is centered.

But of course, the tension of the episode boils over and Sayaka looks back onto all of her years of experience in judo, buying into the ridiculous nature of the show, she puts all of her power into a single point.

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I mean, are you even surprised at this point?

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Sayaka wins for her team, Hypno Boobs having dealt with the last 2 remaining members of the opposing team on her own time, and her very thin character arc comes to a close, with her dad accepting her chosen profession and Setouchi one step closer towards overcoming the curse of defeat against their rivals.

 

-/-

I Leave You This Time on Judo Dad, Who Can’t Maintain a Consistent Face Model
To Save His Life.

 

 

DIAMOND IS UNBREAKABLE: Why One of the Best Villains is also Kind of the Worst

DIAMOND IS UNBREAKABLE: Why One of the Best Villains is also Kind of the Worst

RDFHoCt.pngDiamond is Unbreakable (AKA Let’s Kink Shame David Bowie) is probably my favourite part of Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure to date and that opinion has a lot to do with it’s main antagonist, Kira Yoshikage.

Kira is simultaneously both disturbingly alien and familiarly human all at the same time, his obsession with hands and killing blending almost seamlessly into his desires to live a quiet, uneventful life, unbothered by the world at large, comfortable in his normality and anonymity. Never making waves, or causing a stir that would draw attention to him.

Of course what is normal to him, dismemberment and murder via Explosion Cat, is distinctly abnormal to everyone else, and slowly, the presence of Jotaro Kujo within Kira’s home town of Morioh, goes on to push events to a head, where Kira has to run from his quiet life and find a way to both return to his normal life and get rid of any and all people interested in hunting down the killer, Kira Yoshikage.

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Battle Tendency’s Best Villain

The best part of Kira as a character, is probably the aforementioned duality, which is also a big part of why Wham from part 2 was such a great character as well, although with Kira that comes through a lot clearer.

Wham had an odd sense of honour about him, seeking out intense fights and showing his opponents, regardless of their origin, the utmost respect. It is what led to his decision to not pop the blood bubble Ceaser created with the last breath of his life to hold the antidote to a poison ring Wham had placed within Joseph during the opening climax of Battle Tendency.

It’s what led to him agreeing to a one on one duel with Joseph, regardless of the fact that he could have just as easily sicced his and Cars’ vampire army on him instead, and it’s what leads the audience to actually kind of hate watching Wham die at the end of the chariot death race.

Unlike Kira though, Wham is very much inhuman, being a milleniums old vampire who emerged from a giant stone pillar from a very long sleep, there’s not much room to relate to Wham as there is to Kira.

We can sympathise with his human desire for peace and quiet, while being revolted by his pathological need to murder pretty girls and keep their hands as girlfriends.

The first stumbling block Kira suffers is probably how disconnected he is from the first quarter of part 4, having 0 relation or impact on the plot until the point where Reimi comes in and shows us that not only do Ghosts exist in this world, but that there is a mass-murderer in Morioh Town. The anime sort of rectifies this, by adding in a scene at the very beginning that alludes to Kira’s presence within the Town, but until Rohan trips into him as an idea, he makes no other impact on the plot, until the moment he explodifies Shigechi.

It is at this point that Kira becomes the main antagonist of the story, and all of the villain’s of the week become tied into him and his machinations via the ghost of his dad, who lives in a polaroid.

Speaking of the villain’s of the week, as fantastic as Bite the Dust is as an ability, but the

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Pretty Super Fly for a White Guy

strongest part of the end of part 4 is not Hayato figuring out a way around it, or even the final fight between Joskue and Co. vs Kira and Stray Cat, it’s actually probably at it’s strongest during the July 15th Arc.

Starting with「SUPERFLY and ending with Hayato dead in the cupboard. Its at this moment that the arc hits its dramatic high point, Rohan, Koichi and Josuke & Okuyasu each encounter separate Stand Users created by and working for Kira’s Photo Dad.

These events are happening almost simultaneously, and carry on throughout the day. Josuke and Okuyasu defeat「SUPERFLY while「ENIGMA is out capturing both Koichi and Josuke’s mum. (And hey, haven’t seen her in a while!)

SUPERFLY‘s user makes mention that Koichi may be a target, and Josuke rushes off to help his friend, enlisting the help of former villain, Yuya Funagami, to track down Koichi with his Stand,「HIGHWAY STAR.

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The Fall of a Rebel Angel

「ENIGMAbeats Josuke, but the sheer machismo on show inspires Yuya to help in a more direct fashion, becoming the catalyst to freeing both Josuke and Koichi from within their paper prisons.

All the while this is happening, Rohan is off hosting a particularly odd architect, Kinato Masazo, making plans to repair the house, but the man refuses to let Rohan see his back, walking, crawling and shuffling in all kinds of awkward ways. He doesn’t know it at the time, but turns out he’s hosting a parasitic stand by the name of「CHEAP TRICK, and the moment Rohan looks at the man’s back, the stands kills the Kinato and attaches himself to Rohan.

The Stand only has one ability, to attach itself to someone’s back, transferring from person to person as someone looks at the current host’s back.

Out of all of the endgame Stands「CHEAP TRICK is probably the most terrifying, and it’s appearance

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Burn the Photos, Save the World

generates some of the most tension across the entire series. Which brings even more detriment towards Kira’s endgame.

With the DiU crew circling like sharks, Kira, now playing family man with a deadman’s stolen body, the knowledge that not only has Rohan zeroed in on Hayato somehow relating to Kira, but also that his “son” bore witness to and recorded him「KILLER QUEEN」’ing two people, the tension bubbles over and in his panic, he murders Hayato.

Unsure of how to cope with this, to come out ahead, Kira loses himself in the panic, which is the moment in which the Arrow「ATOM HEART FATHERhas been carrying around, launches itself from the photo frame and into Kira’s arm, giving birth to the power of「BITES THE DUST.

Not to say that the「BITES THE DUST arc and the closing chapters aren’t good, it’s just they don’t quite deliver on the tension and payoff of the July 15th chapters/episodes.

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Nutritious

July 15th is all about the culmination of the heroes actions and their hunt for Kira, calling back to previous moments and opening up the way to make use of prior elements.

For instance, Joskue being inadvertently responsible for Rohan’s house just before the 「HIGHWAY STAR, opens the door for Kira’s dad to make use of Kinato as a Stand user to fight Rohan.

By that same measure, Rohan then uses the demon hands from Reimi’s Ghost World. 「CHEAP TRICK‘s power to jump from back to back forcing it to look at Koichi, who had shown up earlier at Rohan’s request in the immediate wake of  「ENIGMA. Except, by the rules of the alley, you cannot look back as you are leaving, otherwise Demon’s from hell will drag you into the abyss. Which is exactly what happens to the Stand, before it can trigger Rohan’s death.

The arc also acts as a redemption arc for Yuya, which is something not seen for a while, not since I guess Shigechi, which was a while ago now.

The 「BITES THE DUSTarc on Killer_queen_bites_the_dust_c420.pngthe other hand is the countdown to the end of Part 4, but the tension has bubbled over, because now we have to follow Hayato for a while, as he becomes the centre piece of the arc.

Which is fine, I guess, narratively it was probably the best avenue to take for the arc, seeing as for everyone else, the day is just repeating over and over with no explanation, Hayato being the only one who remembers, by measure of being the bomb that resets time and all.

But Hayato is a shitty character, and I mean that based on his personality. I do not like Hayato, he is a spoiled child in cold household who spies on his parents using hidden video cameras, apparently even having witnessed them having sex on at least one occasion.

And trying to drum up some sort of tension or emotion through him as the POV character, does not work. Which goes on to drain a lot of potential tension that the arc should be drumming up.

The moment that 「BITES THE DUSTis circumvented, and the final clash begins is great, and the moment of panic as Kira comprehends just how fucked he is is beautiful, but again the tension dissipates at the end of the confrontation, as Kira dies, not at the hands of the heroes, but simply by a stray ambulance.

The man is run over, and the payoff while there, is lessened, because it wasn’t ultimately the heroes who ended it. It was simply a quirky moment, in a pointless universe.

Kira, from a character standpoint is fantastic, one of the strongest that Araki has put on show to date.

Narratively, however, Kira suffers from an awkward introduction a good part of the way into the story and a fairly unceremonious  send off, that feels almost empty.

At the end of the day, regardless of how strong Kira’s character is, the strength of his story just kind of 「BITES THE DUST.

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