Tag Archive for toku

Worlds of Whimsy Addendum: Makai Knight and Makai Priest

Where there is light, shadows lurk and fear reigns.

Yet by the blade of knights, mankind was given hope.

So, a while back I got most of my IRL gaming group interested in a live-action show called Garo and it’s sequels.  The concept is basically modern fantasy – if an object becomes infused with enough negative karma, it can act as a gateway for demons from the Makai, which is basically an alternate plane of magic and evil.  These demons then come through and possess or replace people to feed on humans.  There is an ancient order of protectors that then fight them in secret to send them back where they came from: the Makai Knights, who fight them with sword and armor, and Makai Priests, who use magic and hand-to-hand combat.

If the explanation seems confusing, here’s a short music video done using footage from one of the movies and the original opening song, which should give an idea of what goes on:

Side note, the original series was recently licensed by Kraken Releasing so give it a buy when it finally comes out!

Anyways, they were interested in actually making a Makai Knight character and put a bug in my ear about a homebrew class for Pathfinder.  Inspiration struck, and I sat down and worked out the mechanics for the Makai Knight, drawing on all the various series to attempt to cover all the capabilities they’ve shown, and break it down into a meaningful progression, and in an at least hopefully somewhat balanced way.

Like the Black Blade archetype for Magus, a lot of the class’s power are tied into the sword and armor that they essentially get for free – however, there is a time limit on usage of their full power.  In-show, if they wore the armor for over 99.9 seconds, it would attempt to devour them, and I tried to simulate that in-game as well, as a limiter on the power of “free magic items.”

As the Makai Priest is tied so strongly i concept to the Knight, I then worked out a class to try and properly represent the priests as well, borrowing heavily from the Witch, which they were thematically close to already.

For purposes of this post, I’ve put them into PDF form, to preserve formatting and allow for printouts for use at the game table.

Enjoy!

Makai Knight class for Pathfinder/d20

Makai Priest class for Pathfinder/d20

Honnou Kakusei! (Instincts Awaken!)

Among my various geek interests, I also have a distinct like for toku aka live-action Japanese superhero shows.  One of the long-running franchises, Super Sentai, gets brought over to the US as Power Rangers, but the others haven’t had much success.

This year’s super sentai actually has a furry theme, but funnily enough while the fandom talks up Zootopia I have yet to see any mention of Dobutsu Sentai(Animal Taskforce) Zyuohger outside of the usual toku circles.  While ZyuEagle is human, the other four are actual anthros, potentially with human disguises(they have human actors, need to see how that plays out).  We’ve got a male Lion with dreads, a male Elephant with a bit of a Indian flare, a female Shark who has a mature woman vibe about her, and a female Tiger who so far seems like a feline copy of Amy from Kyoryuger.  The music is hype too, the first 30 seconds of the opening were released, and I can’t stop listening to it!  About the only thing I don’t like is the mecha this time around are minecraftish.

This is probably the first sentai I’ve been hype about actually since Kyoryuger, and that took me a bit to warm up to because of how over the top it was.  Go-Busters was probably the last one I was hype for before it started.  ToQger I skipped entirely after watching the first episode, and Nininger has been just okay.

Speaking of toku, I’ve actually got a few other folk I know in RL watching it now, after using Garo as a gateway series.  I started with using Halloween as an excuse to marathon it, and they were hooked.  SO far they’ve watched everything except the two Ryuga seasons and the recent anime, but for a bit of a break I’m showing them Kamen Rider Gaim,  Turns out the main guy that was watching the stuff actually remembered the US adaption of Kamen Rider Black RX, just called Masked Rider over here.  I had Agito as a safer backup, since Gaim is a bit OTT to start also, but he was good with both, and I kind of want to rewatch Gaim – I’ve rewatched Agito maybe twice already.  Once those are both done, it’ll probably be time for Ryuga’s Garo seasons, then I might try either Gransazer, or Go-Busters.  Given most of those are 48 ep series, and we go through about 10-13 eps a night, that should provide enough for the next few months.

Game-wise because of said people I also re-subbed to WoW using in-game gold about 2 weeks ago. I’ve already made that gold back with alt garrisons, and I’m just a few Apexis dailies away from Draenor flying, so I’ll finish that this weekend probably.  After that, I’ll see what I need to roll to run with them, as that’s why I resubbed – though I also am runnign LFRs to finish my legendary.  I kind of don’t want to do real raiding anymore still, at least for now.  I got a server first on a Mythic raid end boss with a hardcore guild, and as far as I’m concerned I won WoW.  Doing that though killed my interest in raid, which is partly why I let WoW sit while I dabbled in Star Trek Online since April.

I am still playing STO too, just there hasn’t been anything much new since before the holidays.  There’s a anniversary event coming up though, and a new story episode focusing on the Temporal Cold War time shenanigans, which’ll be interesting.

Looking at WoW also reminded me that there was a pet in it linked to Heroes of the Storm – turns out you need to get to player level 20 for it.  I’ve started playing it, purely against low level AI and it’s actually kind of fun that way.  So far I’ve liked most of the heroes I tried, except Stiches.  Guess I’m just not a melee kind of guy in this game?  I didn’t expect to like Tassadar though, since he is support.

I also finally got myself a set of Telegram stickers, though it’s only part 1 of 2.  I didn’t have an idea for a full 22, so I only got 11, and now I’m just waiting for the artist to clear her queue so I can get the second set.  I’ve got enough of an idea now to get the rest, even if a couple of them are a bit weaker.  Even if I don’t use them all regularly in Telegram, in a way it’s like a bunch of smaller basic pictures for a decent price, so it’s not a bad thing at all.

llewelyn sticker set

Spring 2014 /m/ season a.k.a. stuff I’m watching

A bunch of series I had been following all wrapped up end of last season, but only a few new ones started.  It makes for a good time to try and catch up on the massive backlog I’ve built up.  The only problem is it’s mostly older toku, so I need to be in the right mood to watch it

Captain Earth

2 episodes out so far and it’s a fairly entertaining and fairly typical Super Robot show. The characters aren’t annoying, and even better, it’s all hand-drawn so there’s no sudden 3D taking you out of the moment.  I’d thrown a lot of technobabble at us though, but most of it seems like stuff that’ll be explained later.

Kamen Rider Gaim

This actually started last year, and looks to be wrapping up by the end of summer.  A very good series reminiscent of the early Heisei Kamen Rider series.  You wouldn’t think fruit samauri karate bugmen would be something that you could get a serious series out of, but this has done it well, without going over the edge into grimderp.

Garo: Makai no Hana

The 4th season or series on the Garo universe, this one is following the son of the main character from the first two seasons.  Well, he seems like he’s supposed to be but they have yet to officially state it.  After last year’s Garo season that deviated rather heavily in style and other factors, this one is feeling a lot more like the original series so far.  Unlike the other two above, I think it’d be better to watch the previous seasons/series as that explains and sets up a lot fo the world, and this so far seems like it expects you to be somewhat familiar with it already.  Not to a heavy extent, but enough that it’d explain a lot of things otherwise that you may not get.

Oddly enough, that’s pretty much it for this season, apart from Shin Ultraman Retsuden, which is waaaay behind on subs currently.  I’d thought this would be a bit meatier before I actually started writing.  Ah well, it is what it is!

Super Hero (Death) Time

I really wouldn’t want to be a japanese kid this past weekend.  In an unusual coincidence, pretty much every show of Toei’s Super Hero Time block had a major character or characters die.  I only watch three of them myself, and out of those, only one was a “heroic” sacrifice.  Spoilers ahead, so turn back now if you watch Saint Seiya Omega, Kyoryuger, or Gaim.

 

Still with me?

 

 

OK.  SSO is in its endgame, going through miniboss level opponents on their way to Pallas(and the opponent manipulating her and Athena).  The group in the lead, consisting of 5 Gold Saints and Athena, run into one of the two major minibosses still left.  They split up with one group holding Hyperion(the BBG) off while Saggitarius Seiya, Athena, and Taurus Harbinger run past.  So that left Hyperion facing Libra Shiryu, Aires Kiki, and Virgo Fudo.  Shiryu is not only the father of one of the main characters, but also one of the main 5 from the original Saint Seiya series.  Kiki wasn’t a main, but he did also come from the original series.  Fudo was just introduced last season.

Now they try, but he’s curbstomping them in traditional Saint Seiya style, since he’s supposed to have the power of 3 Gold Saints.  They decide it’s time to use the forbidden technique, Athena Exclamation, to defeat him as they can’t handle him on their own.  This technique was forbidden ebcause ti was supposed to be equivalent to a miniature Big Bang and has the abilty to destroy small nations. (lolPowerLevels).  So they pull it off, but Hyperion’s Cosmo is pwoerful enough he holds it at a stalemate – but the collision causes a backlash which is supposed to kill them all.

A heroic sacrifice is a fitting(and traditional) way for Gold Saints to die, but I’m still sort of surprised they had the balls to kill Shiryu, one of the original Legendary Saints and a fan favorite.(To be fair, they did kill Phoenix Ikki in a previous episode, but he’s supposed to be able to revive from death.  Shiryu isn’t.)

I can’t remember what shows come after SSO but from what I heard they lost major characters too.  then comes Kyoryuger.

Kyoryuger is in its final home stretch too, which as with most sentai involves the heroes getting curbstomped so they can come back and win through courage/justice/what-have-you.  In this case however, the father of the current KyoRyuRed, who had helped them several times and was firmly on the side of good, did a face-turn and betrayed them.  Not only that, but in the process he killed their mentor(and his friend) Torin without even a twitch, then to add insult to injury took Torin’s equipment and used it like he was still on the side of good!  Talk about a gut punch.  But that was nothign compared to Kamen Rider Gaim.

Now Gaim is being written by Urobotchi, who was a big fan of early heisei Rider so he’s been  writing in that direction. He also has a certain reputation thanks to an anime called Madoka Magica that earned him the name Urobutcher.  On the other hand, he was writing about fruity samurai warlord Riders.  (Literally!  They transform using fruit-shaped locks that get “cut” open and drop giant fruits on their heads that becomes armor.  And it uses dancing street gangs as stand-ins for the Warring States period in Japan.)  So, there was a feeling it might be coming, but this past weekend’s episode took a very very dark turn.

In recent episodes, one of the Riders had gotten his belt damaged by a Rider working for the usual “Evil” organization. Because of this, he lost respect among his gang and was abandoned by them, which sent him into a spiral.  This isn’t even the dark part, though.

You see, the locks come from these strange plants from another world, but the fruit only turns into a Lock Seed if it’s picked by a Rider wearing one of the Sengoku belts(their transformation devices).  The breaks in reality that the monsters had been coming through that the Riders had been fighting usually also have some plants come through, but Yggdrasil(the organization mentioned earlier) had been burning them.  Well, Hase, the aforementioned depressed Rider, comes across Gaim, Baron, and the Yggdrasil rider, and sees the plants.  He snaps and eats one – and BECOMES one of the monsters they’ve been fighting!

This is immediately followed up by one of the other riders, Ryuga, finding out that the monster that Gaim killed in the first episode was the transformed form of Gaim’s missing best friend, and he ahd eaten one of those same fruits!  Gaim doesn’t find this out, but he knows this monster is Hase so pleads with him to try and get him to turn back, and he half-does but he’s still acting like a monster.  After an episode worth of running around, and people getting hurt, a new batch of Yggdrasil riders show up, and one of them kills the transformed Hase, while Gaim is all “but he’s human!”  And that’s after 13 episodes of building up Hase as one of the major secondary characters.

Yeah, like I said, I don’t envy those Japanese children for getting hit with constant gut-punches for two and a half hours like that, especially when some like Hase and Torin were pointless, or even betrayals. Just, damn.

Law And Order: Magical Victims Unit

Well the new season of anime has started across the ocean, and I”m not really finding much to interest me thus far as far as new shows.  Then again, I don’t really keep up with them like I did back in college.

The first one I picked up was Buddy Complex.  The premise is giant robots where the two pilots sync up to power up, and time travel.  The first episode took heavy cues from Terminator, plot-wise, then threw the protagonist into the future, at which point it feels like it’s become Gundam Lite with added “random engrish hinting at teh gay!” tossed in.  So far it hasn’t lost me, but now that the plot is in motion we’ll see what happens, since it’s supposed to be a short series.

The other one I just found out about tonight led tot he title of this post.  It’s called Wizard Barristers and the best description so far is action wizard paralegals in the near future. It takes the procedural style of all the various “law” shows, adds in magic and the usual “energetic child prodigy” stereotype, who has a perverted frog for a familiar.  And did I mention they can summon giant magic golems? I’ve never been big into the “law” shows, but I’ll give this one a couple episodes to decide, I guess.  So far it hasn’t turned me off of it, but it’s one of those I just don’t quite know what to make of it.

And older series I’m watching?  Pretty much the only anime still airing is Saint Seiya Omega, which is rumored to wrap up in about 11 more episodes.

There’s also Juuden Sentai Kyouryuger, which is also close to ending, and so far I doubt I’ll be following it’s sequel.  If so, this’ll be the first sentai since Go-Onger I’ve skipped.  On the other hand, I have Kamen Rider Gaim to carry me through that, as it’s feeling a hell of a lot like early Heisei rider, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it. It’s got a good 30-40 episodes left.

And then there’s that new Sailor Moon anime… wonder if they’ll work form the manga or try to tell a new story.  Well, we’ll see.

The oath sworn through courage

Hotblood motivator

I don’t intend on making a habit of opening these with images… the last one was because the post was in large part about it(and I wanted to show off) but this one I’ve had for ages was too good to pass up.

Do you remember Saturday Morning Cartoons?  Waking up at 8am and rushing downstairs in pajamas to plop in front of the TV and watch 3-4 hours of adventure and Justice?  It was a tradition any self-respecting kid followed when I was growing up in the  80s, and continued through the 90s.  Sadly, it died a slow death in the 2000s, along with the secondary tradition of after-school shows, to be replaced with talk shows and Judge Judy.  Ultimately, I think we are the poorer for it

The real world is a shifting mass of grey on grey.  One man’s terrorist is another man’s Patriot. (Snowden, ‘nough said.)  There’s no solid battle lines, no hard good or evil, but lots of perspective bending, and those drama shows play off that.  While there is something to be said for not sheltering the young, you also only have that innocence once in your life(moral virginity?) and once its gone, its gone.

Once, kids grew up to a “this is bad, this is good” message, simple black and white.  Megatron would attempt to take over Hoover Dam and drain the electricity for his schemes, and the Autobots would show up to stop it.  Cobra Commander would steal some sort of weather control device to hold the world at ransom, and the Joes would go in and take it back or destroy it.  Doc Terror would take scientists hostage and the Centurions would rescue them.  It was very broad strokes, not very realistic, but we lapped this stuff up, and at it’s base it helped with the mortar of the framework of morality our parents taught us.  (I do wonder though if the Big Broadcast of 2006 episode of Transformers, whose message was “Sharing is Caring” and involved Wreck-Gar beaming a show to the entire universe, would air these days with the MPAA and RIAA.)

Now I’m not intending to turn this into a “those darn youngsters” speech, though there is a time and place for that as well.  What I want to talk about is why some of us find the idea of Burning Justice such a great thing.

The world is a big, scary place, even for adults.  Thanks to this instant communication called the internet, seedy stuff that used to be hidden is now out in full view for all and sundry, and a lot of us are realizing how screwed and helpless we are against the uncaring, unfeeling machine.  Something could be dome about it if enough people stand up, but there’s too many who either don’t see it yet or feel too alone to do anything about it.

Hotblooded anime and toku, or in general Big Damn Heroes, is our refuge from this.  Our own little hideaway, far from the cold uncaring world, where Justice and Hope always wins, albeit rarely easily.  Sometimes, our heroes even pay the ultimate sacrifice to allow the rest of us to continue on.  They remind us that there are better things out there and inside ourselves; we just have to find it.

While most of us(I would hope) realize that Super Robot Spirits isn’t going to magically solve every problem, they can provide inspiration and remind you to stick to your guns, even when all is lost.  There was a story on /m/(which I can’t find at the moment) about a young man who was a fan of Kamen Rider and had just made a helmet, so he was out at dusk being a kid again.  He happened across some muggers threatening a lady.  While most would have considered it stupid, he stepped in and scared them off.  While he realized afterwards how easily it could have gone bad, for one night, he WAS Kamen Rider.  He put himself in harm’s way to protect another, something we all should aspire to be able to do when the time comes.

Now(and this some something a lot of people confuse) just because a character is an avatar of justice and light doesn’t mean they have to be perfect.  Heck, I always preferred Spider-Man over Superman for that reason – he had faults, like any of us.  What’s important is that they(and we) try their best.

So that’s why some of us like our spandex-clad heroes, or karate bugmen, or giants of light, or what-have-you, beyond just the usual points about good stories and/or characters.  It reminds us that goodness can still exist in today’s world, and inspires us to better things.  It calls back to that little kid, sitting in front of the TV, slack-jawed as our heroes put the kibosh on evil bad-guy plan number 102.

Get in your robot