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06 December 2005 @ 09:56 pm
Through rain, sleet, snow, or hail... the Ultra Project shall deliver! Be it Nano, sudden Gym enrollments, work, illness, or apathy... nothing shall stop our return to the saga of Magical Troubleshooting Crossover Fighting Federation Ultra: The Summary!

Thar be gold in them thar hills.

Chapter Five of Ultra was written by the Impro Ender himself, John Evans. (johnevans)

We turn the corner of the main Ultra page into the episode, and we find ourselves sitting with a preface warning us to the style in which character names will be presented. (Western, for those playing at home). Without fanfare, we find ourselves then inside Sakura's dressing room, as the young shotokan fighter attempts to emulate Ryu's mastery in the style of headband tying. Her practice is broken however, by a package delivery from an Ultra staffer. After a bit of speculation, Sakura opens the letter and reads a letter which brings a blush to her young cheeks. A secret admirer? Could it be David as a Not-So-Secret?

Apparently not, as Sakura opens the package, its contents unknown to the reader, and then freaks out. This gives a just arriving on the scene David a pause, and he decides to forgo the luck wishing festivities for more of a 'staying out of trouble' sort. If he sent the package, I doubt his thoughts would be so... survival instinctish. A mystery abounds! And is doubled, as Kasumi takes time out of her busy day to thank the mysterious Ultra staffer who took care to deliver the package to said martial artist. Mysterious!

Malcolm McDowell welcomes us to Ultra with a bit of catchphrase voice over! I don't know why either! But you have to admit, it has a nice ring to it. I could go a little for the verbal styling of Malcolm McDowell, I think.

The Goddess herself, Kasumi Tendo arrives on stage after an introduction by Hiroshi. She cheerfully points out a few new additions to the dome (hello mysterious Washu! You're the most mysterious foreshadow in the entire UNIVERSE! *puppets* "Washu is number one mysterious!" "Washu is teh sneaky!" "Yay!"), including the ability to use the Dome cushions as a flotation device. Kasumi exits and Hiroshi segue ways into a bit of Historical Tuesday trivia before the first bout!

Yes, Historical Tuesday Trivia. Even if I didn't read the by line I think I'd know this was John Evans by now.

We're introduced to yet another support staffer, the new Ringside Announcer Touga Kiryu (Utena). His role is essentially to announce the fighters as they enter in the traditional crowd pleasing style. And his first entrant is Tatewaki Kuno, who enters to enormous cheers. His opponent is the most mortal of the Mortal Kombatants, Johnny Cage. What's surprising, is the third entrance in this one on one match. Special Guest referee Mario (... ... ... he's freaking MARIO, for God's sakes. Look up your own citation.).

Mario gave a brief, heavily accented, introduction, and the fight began... but only after it was noted that with 0-1 records, the loser of this match would be dubbed the 'Biggest Loser in Ultra'. I'm not sure what Dan's record is at this point, but I don't think he'd got his cherished win yet, so he might still be in the running.

The fight is a fast paced brawl of attacks. The fight goes back and forth, with a few jokes on poor Johnny's lack of anime/manga influence causing him to trip up here and then ("You must say the names of your attacks when you use them.") for comedic effect. Johnny got Kunou on the ropes with his martial arts prowess, however, until a crafty bit of interference from a ribbon toting audience member gave Kunou the opening he needed to get the from behind win.

Thus, Johnny Cage is crowned the Biggest Loser in Ultra.

We quickly shift without any pause to the next match, and a cage is lowered and eventually lit for Gambit and David (remember him? Sakura's 'boyfriend')'s grudge match over the heart of Sakura. Touga proved himself smarter that Joe Q announcer and waited for Gambit to be disarmed before beginning the bout. Even the disarmed Gambit began casually taking apart the Beta tournament veteran, as his primary skillset was 'Sparkly Chainsaw' as opposed to 'Long Stick'.

However, the drumming was suspended as Orochi made a surprise walk on into the Dome. The battered David found himself the target of the Orochi's attention, and he was suddenly overtaken with what appeared to be a form of the Riot of the Blood. He then proceeded to tear apart Gambit with sheer brute force as opposed to skill.

Daisuke showed uncharacteristic initiative, and attempted for some post match interviews. Gambit gave his usual bit of flirtatious flare (er, in regards to some nurses, not Daisuke), while the Orochi seemed to imply that David was one of the Orochi's 'Harbingers', who had just awakened.

David, himself, had no recollection of the fight past the point where Orochi appeared, and was more concerned about clearing out the ring so Sakura would win, to her mild embarrassment.

Hiroshi declared Daisuke is the man on the beat for the evening (thank god), and now he has a special guest announcer. Isawa Norikazu (Legend of the Five Rings) has joined us for the evening. Yeah, I have no idea either, and I've read a couple of the books. But anyway, apparently Norikazu is a seer, and is overtaken by a grave PROPHECY for the evening.

And then we're in Tokyo-III! Ah, the Instrumentality Project. I've seen the end of Eva twice, and I still don't get it. But back to things at hand, tying up a bit of conceptual problems with the Evangelion series being involved in a fighting tournament run by God, it's made clear that Kasumi asked NERV and SEELE to hold off on their more nefarious practices, or there would be consequences. The upside, she's stopped the whole 'sending Angels to kill mankind' thing. But Gendo doesn't seem particularly worried about the unemployment line, which means things are afoot!

Back at ringside Hiroshi tries, and fails, to get more details about the prophecy of the Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby DooConflicts from Narikazu, and then we're introduced to our next Gamma fight. Sakura versus Sofia!

Unfortunately, things take a turn... south... or fortunately, depending on your POV. Sofia insults Sakura's ability to... appeal to the opposite gender... and Sakura agrees to fight Sofia in her world. In the world of... public opinion. A quick poll of the audience shows that Sofia's ability to tramp it up far outstrips Sakura, but it seems the young fighter has an ace up her sleeve, and rushes offstage to get it.

This leads to a bit of a delay, and Kasumi herself arranges for the fight to reconvene later in the show! We're then told that in the meantime, we will have another grab for the Omega belt as Sephiroth challenges Shinji Ikkari! Before the match can be had, however, Orochi storms the ringside for the second time that night. Apparently the god of the [Void] is upset about the cancellation of his match with Sephiroth. Kasumi is generous, however, and arranges a match with the bandit slayer Lina Inverse as an apology to the dark god.

The prophecy is one step closer to being fulfilled!

One underage story of the man-man love between man and Angel, Shinji is ready to go and challenges Sephiroth on Featureless Wasteland #1. Evangelion Unit 01 meets the son of Jenova and the match is not made in heaven. Sephiroth's initial attacks don't phase the giant robot, but the paint balls Shinji fires fall short of meeting their mark. Sephiroth broke out the big guns, but even a Meteor spell couldn't penetrate the A-T field of Eva Unit 01. Opting for a more personal touch, Sephiroth introduced Shinji to the world of Amputeeism as he sliced off the robot's arm. Pain drove Shinji wild, and he defensively knocked Sephiroth to the ground. Sephiroth began to prepare his final assault before being run over by... Robot Carnival. (Robot Carnival)

Apparently this is a natural hazard of the dimension they're fighting in, and Sephiroth is declared justly defeated!

And on a side note for Ranma fans, we're told that the mysterious Kunou saving Ribbon toter was none other than Kunou's sister!

That aside, we're now back to the Sexiest Woman in Gamma fight! Team Hentai have been tapped as non-biased 'experts' in the subject matter of female sexiness to referee, and Sakura unveils the new weapon in her arsenal to the delight of the crowd... a black leather fuku!

...Didn't I read this in that Project Justice story by Racewing?

Anyway, Sakura finds herself slipping into... uh... character and Nabiki (Tendo -- Ranma 1/2, the sister of God herself) readies herself in the directors room for a barrage of censor-worthy material as Sofia threatens to 'punish' the young fighter.

On a side note, with the recent release of Soul Caliber III, I find myself wanting to type "Sophitia". The idea of a Viriginal Nordic Dominatrix fighting for her God in black leather straps and with a whip keeps tripping me up. Just thought I'd share.

And while Nabiki and Kasumi talk about the fight below among other things, the reading audience misses a stunning performance from the two women, so we're told by the announcers.

Team Hentai declares Sakura the winner, after all a dominatrix is one thing, but an innocent school girl sexing it up is a much rarer delight. Sofia doesn't take the news too well, especially when this puts her in contention for Biggest Loser in Ultra, but her revenge is stopped short by the appearance of the new Head of Ultra Security... Tron Bonne (Mega Man Legends).

Thus... the Great Mega Man Continuity Headache (through no fault of this author) begins.

We then turn to the traveling Daisuke, now in Tokyo-III, interviewing Shinji Ikkari. Shinji promptly slips into a meaning of life conversation, surprisingly taken seriously by Daisuke. Kasumi enters, making this the most definitive 'Kasumi is up to things with Ultra' chapter to date. Daisuke is quickly hurried off as Kasumi explains her reasoning for making Ultra, and requests a private audience with the champion.

And we have an amusing Mastercard commercial! Remember those? And then we're back at the Ultradome for the Lambda Title Match! The Lone Wolves take on the champs, Clan Aensland! The match starts in traditional Capcom vs SNK style, a fireball fight! Mai gets hit by a hearty dragon punch knock off by Morrigan, but instead of tagging out perseveres to keep the Succubus from getting her hands on her precious Andy! The succubus play this to their advantage, tagging out and resting while Mai madly tries to maintain control of the fight. One Mai-carena puppet show later from Lillith, and Mai is out, the Succubi are still the champs!

Celebration aside, there's still plenty of matches to be had to meet our thirteen match requirement for the evening, and we're off! It appears that Team Hentai has laid down the proverbial gauntlet to Ash and Pikachu, but no one appears quite sure why as the match begins. Victory seems assured as Ataru is too slow and sluggish to be much of a threat to Pikachu... or so it seems, as apparently Ataru is a grass type pervert and is immune to Pikachu's thundershocks! The Pokemon's is quickly put on the ropes as he exhausts himself to the regularly electrocuted roommate of Lum, and tags Ash into the ring. Happosai makes a rare showing of martial arts mastery, probably due to the fact that there's no women ringside to distract him, and cleans Ash's clock quite efficiently.

Meanwhile, Sakura is investigating the origin of her mysterious package, and doesn't waste any time going straight to the top! Kasumi refuses to invade people's privacy, however, and the young fighter is left flummoxed. However, Kasumi does make a moment to listen to Sakura's thoughts on recent events, off camera at least.

Then we're back to the home of the now devastated Robot Carnival, where Lina awaits the Orochi with Daisuke. After a quick exchange, the Orochi appears and Daisuke bolts. After a bit of magical back and forth, the fact that Orochi possesses significant physical prowess proves to be overwhelming for the sorceress. She calls out the big guns, a (thankfully) abridged Dragon slave... which the Orochi reveals he, as a god of hate, is immune to! He finishes off Lina, and technically wins the match. But he doesn't stop there, he begins to really finish off Lina, only to have his fist stopped at the last moment by Ultra referee Son Goku!

We're told that a Goku/Orochi Omake is in the works, and is referenced by Hiroshi as having occurred prior to the episode. Now, we're ready for our final title match of the evening, as Ranma defends the title from Shingo! Ranma, however, is revealed to be held up by a potentially Wolverine betrothed Shampoo, who desperately begs the martial artists to be her groom rather than Weapon X. Ranma refuses, only to have Shampoo storm off in anger. One quick dash later, Ranma is in the ring doing the unthinkable... the rare 'good guy vs good guy' fight!

And then it's evident why, as Ranma quickly goes to school on Shingo, taking advantage of his lack of experience and... memory to quickly win the match by concession. But Shingo has a caveat... he wants Ranma to train him! Ranma's reply is lost in his utter disbelief and the post match fanfare... and we're quickly off to the final official match.

It's not just any match... it's a DAN MATCH.

And Dan is not just fighting anyone, he's fighting... brand new entrant to the federation... Felicia! (Darkstalkers)

Just to let you all in on the gravity of this situation, this could be the cause of quite a bit of household controversy, as this means that the two all time favorite characters of both myself and ifritah are now squaring off in a battle of skill.

No matter who wins this fight, an ego will be bruised, and ultraproject writers shall clash!

Beware of ifritah if Felicia gets screwed this fight. Beware!

And with a declaration by Dan of the honor and faith and commitment of himsef to win the fight... he promptly loses. Yeah, pretty much that quick.

And then we're wrapped! The ending wrap-up reveals that the hidden fights were metaphorical in nature, which means this summary is wrapped up!

Well, with one aside. Felicia, it would seem, really punches the bell on Ranma's cat phobia.

Recap Flashback!

][ ULTRA EPISODE 5 RESULTS RECAP:
][ GAMMA MATCH 1: TATEWAKI KUNOU defeats JOHNNY CAGE, now 1W/1L
][ NON-LEAGUE EXHIBITION MATCH: DAVID defeats GAMBIT
][ OMEGA MATCH 1: EVANGELION UNIT 01/IKARI SHINJI defeat SEPHIROTH, now 2W/0L
][ GAMMA MATCH 2: SAKURA defeats SOFIA, now 2W/0L
][ SAKURA now Sexiest Woman in Gamma Division
][ LAMBDA MATCH 1: MORRIGAN and LILITH defeat ANDY and MAI, now 2W/0L
][ MORRIGAN and LILITH keep Lambda Division belt
][ LAMBDA MATCH 2: ATARU and HAPPOSAI defeat ASH and PIKACHU, now 1W/1L
][ OMEGA MATCH 2: OROCHI defeats LINA INVERSE, now 1W/0L
][ GAMMA MATCH 3: RANMA SAOTOME defeats SHINGO YABUKI, now 2W/0L
][ RANMA SAOTOME keeps Gamma Division belt
][ NEW FIGHTER INTRODUCED: FELICIA
][ GAMMA MATCH 4: FELICIA defeats STONE COLD DAN HIBIKI, now 1W/0L
][ GUEST STARS and CAMEOS: MANY!
][ HIDDEN FIGHTS: KODACHI VS. MARIO, GENDO VS. SEELE, SAKURA VS. HERSELF,
][ SHINJI VS. HIMSELF
][ Next scheduled author : Aaron Peori
 
 
Mood: chipperchipper
 
 
05 December 2005 @ 08:06 pm
And we're back!

Sorry for the long absence. I have no excuse. ifritah does, but I don't. We were slightly set back by a DAY LONG internet outage yesterday, so we'll be updating tomorrow, and we hope to have a few surprises for you as a bonus throughout the month of December due to the long delay!

Nano is Dead, Ultra lives on! Yahooie!
 
 
Mood: excitedexcited
 
 
23 November 2005 @ 02:02 am
Let's just say Nano is hard when you work for a living.

I approached ifritah about writing something, she looked at me with something that can only be described as a 'savage' look in her eyes, said something along the lines of "Ifritah smash puny keyboard!", and then proceeded to drink a gallon of glowing green mutagen and took a rampaging tour of downtown Boise.

(Actually, she's been really stressed from all the writing, so really we're just on hold. I didn't even approach her (She's written enough words for almost TWO Ultra Reboot chapters in the past three weeks, would YOU approach her?), about Ultraproject. While her absence is understandable, I have no excuse for not posting filler, however, and thus my guilt. Filler forth coming!)
 
 
Mood: tiredtired
 
 
10 November 2005 @ 11:21 pm
Hey Ultra Fans!

I know we're late with this week's update. Two things, mainly, are causing this. You guys already know ifritah signed up for Nanowrimo, and that's sucking a lot of her output down the drain. We also, however, signed up for a gym to prevent me from dying at age 40 of Acute Internet Geek. Now ifritah is a sexy beast looking to tone up, I'm a typical geek with a bit of weight to lose. So it's exhausting me, and I'm tired. So that's my excuse. As an apology to the lateness of the week.... within the next two weeks I will post a short story omake as an aside. I'll set it in Season 1 of Ultra, where we're at now. I was thinking of a short titled "Stone Cold Dan Hibiki's First Love", but I'm open to suggestions. Picking a character I know will probably be better than making me right a KoF fic. And speaking of KoF... no slashfic requests. Kristen, I'm talking to you.

Okay, so post now to decide what I write as an apology, and we'll try to get the next update up soon!

Thanks for reading!
 
 
Mood: exhaustedexhausted
 
 
31 October 2005 @ 11:50 pm
We're always looking at the coin, when we're writing and reading things like Ultra. On one hand, this is about a tournament where people fight. So there should be action. But then again, it is a story so there should be plot as well. Writers have struggled with this since the dawn of time, action versus plot. This week in Ultra... we got to see the action side of things.

That's not to say that this chapter, written by Jay Rampsberger, is without story. Or even bad. It just... has a lot of action. LOTS of action. Compared to what has come so far, it feels as if it has taken steroids for a few months, come back with a new look and a new attitude. As far as story is concerned, we witnessed the recurring problem of floating a lot of characters by the audience at once. We saw the introduction of Iori, Sofia, Shingo, Kyo (briefly), Yashiro, and Shermie. Not to mention reintroductions to characters unused in the past few chapters; namely Shinji, Kaworu, and Johnny Cage. A rivalry from a previous chapter was hit upon, which was a nice touch. One of the first 'fights with a point', as Ultra progresses and becomes more monolithic these types of fights are bound to become more commonplace.

We had a title belt, which showed that regular writers *could* play with the belt if they wanted to, even if this particular fight ended undecided. We also setup a future title match for the Lambda belt, giving the Lonely Wolves a shot at greatness. We kept the Orochi pot stewed and heating, and had a little bit of just for fun Gamma action.

As far as the general scenes... they were all pretty well written. We've now hit the point where I'm not going to touch on every fight... but I do feel there was an overlying flaw with the chapter's presentation. As it stands, we were given lots of fights...which is fine. We couldn't stay at 3 fights per night with this cast forever... but there was a lot of 'And this is "SO AND SO"'. That's fine for the above average anime or fighting game fan, we pick up a lot in our travels. But not everyone is prolific in their tastes. Battle Arena Toshinden was hard for some people to remember back when it was spitting out sequels... I've played the game and I had to pause to remember who Sofia is. But the biggest problems isn't the source... it's the character. We have a *very* small grip on what makes these characters tick.

As opposed to the earlier chapters, where we had backstage setup and on stage resolution... this episode we had mostly on stage setup and resolution. Very little of the 'backstage' scenes. It robbed us of seeing who these people were... which ones we should like. I can guarantee you that in the video game Battle Arena Toshinden ifritah would've loved Sofia (if she played the game at all, mind you), but I'd bet she was neutral on this fight given the lack of explanation of who these two *were*.

That's the problem with introductory fights, and I'm glad we're done with all but the prerequisite 'one per episode'. Of course, we saw that skirted this episode with Yashiro & Shermie. They were introduced without being introduced. Now if this was done at the request of a future author, that would be understandable and good future planning, if a bit... crowded. If this was a throw in, it would be a bit... off... to throw characters in 'around' the rules.

Anyone else notice the glut of King of Fighters this episode? And how they won every match?

Yeah. Me too.

Author bias? Naaaaaaw.

Hell, Orochi wasn't in the Omega fight but his 'flunkie' did stop the fight. So, KoF touches all the fights! Okay, not the Kunou/Pikachu grudge match. But that fight *was* foreshadowed by prior events...

Also, as you might've been able to tell by the recap, I wasn't too fond of the American Friends. They were... a really pointless in-joke. And I've been known to tell an in-joke in my time... but it really detracts from the story. Maybe if it was a bit more... subtle? Also, why move the entire show to San Jose for the joke? If you're going to be in California... BE IN CALIFORNIA. Sigh.

Also, the commercials were a cute idea. But by the third or fourth one, the idea had been sort of done, and the joke a bit played.

(I'm living in fear of the day we hit my first contribution... I'm going to see so many things wrong with it, after I've done all this criticizing by review. I *know* I've written at least one commercial in my time...)

Also, and this is something I'm probably at least lightly guilty of, I'm not fond of random Japanese in the story. Some things come with the territory ('Yosh!' 'Kawaii!' 'Hai!' 'Ano...'), and can at least be figured out by context. But some of what was thrown in this chapter was excessive. And hard to look up, at all. Babelfish, apparently, doesn't translate 'thrown into Ultra for the hell of it' Japanese.

Oh, and the 'shouting attack names' thing is cute sometimes and even in character for some... but... Wolverine? It just really flew in the face of what we'd seen, what we would expect, and pushed the suspension of disbelief a bit. It's one thing to have Daisuke comment on the difference between fighting systems (and even then, be careful) but having the characters act out so precisely what you played that afternoon in the arcade... it just seemed to be filler, almost.

And speaking of Wolverine... I'm not sad to see Kitty Pryde get her 'comeuppance', but I wish it had been explained as to why. There're plenty of plausible explanations that the readers could come up with, but it wasn't exactly clear why Andy's ki attack would hit Kitty but Mai's didn't.

As far as the style goes, this felt... familiar. The general fare from Improfanfic. A little clunky here and there, but nothing to complain about. Overall it got the point across. I already commented that this story felt a bit... action oriented, which is fine and all, but can tend to get a bit boring when you don't even know the stakes or have a clear side to root for. This is why the wresting precepts of 'good guy' and 'bad guy' work so well. They enable the story.

Out of the characters this episode, I felt like none of them really stood out, again, this week. The action was slopped on a bit too heavy, the KoF bias a bit too apparent, to get by for characterization.

But overall, this chapter did what needed to be done. It contained yet another episode of Ultra, advanced the plot lines a little while giving the next authors plenty to work with, and I think this was, at least, a fair chapter. Not bad, but nothing I'd point to as an example of 'done right'.

One or two of the commercials were amusing, though. Definite talent in the writing, and I hope to see Mr. Ramsperger again in some form as we review Ultra, to see how he improves as Ultra trains him in the style of insane suicidal writing!
 
 
Mood: calmcalm
Fight Background Music: NARUTO OP5 Single - Seishun Kyousoukyoku [Sambomaster] : 04 Seishun Kyousoukyoku (NARUTO OPENING MIX
 
 
 
31 October 2005 @ 09:42 pm
Let’s Get This Show On The Road!
By Jay Ramsperger

Back when I was in junior high, one of those Ultra writers of yours (not this one) and I were playing around with writing a Ryouga (Ranma 1/2) fanfic. Well, okay, she wrote on it while I gave ideas and giggled a lot. Anyway, we did that whole self-insertion story thing, because, well, we were teenage girls that thought Ryouga was hot. Looking back though? Man, teenage girls are dumb.

So, uh, guess what I’m trying to say is, self-insertions seem like a fun idea... until you realize other people who have absolutely no idea who these people are read the stuff and blankly follow along. I don’t recall if those Ryouga fics ever went online... but I sure hope not.

Well, that’s enough about that. *Takes your arm in hers* Let’s talk BATTLES!

Fight One: Kunou vs. Pika-CHUUUUUUU! If I had troubles with the start of this chapter, they faded for a time when I read this battle. Ahhh, CLOSURE. Kunou had his heart set on revenge for his very illegally lost last battle! Granted, he got beaten down by an electrically charged ball of fluff, but considering how it went down? Completely understandable. Let him kick the crap out of Sakura in some chapter down the road and I’ll call the whole grr in my chapter two review off!

Fight One 1/2: Goku vs. Possessed!Naga! I’m quite glad I scrolled down to the end of the chapter on this one. When it was mentioned there was a draw on winning one of the divisions I got all sorts of confused. But that editor guy (twoflower?) saved the day by explaining why I was confused, and why I was justified in that confusion. Considering that rules are often made up as the story goes, I can, however see why the author didn’t realize they couldn’t go this route... but I’m still glad it was clarified.

Fight Two: Johnny Cage vs. Shingo Yabuki! I have no idea who this Shingo guy is, but he’s amusing. In fact, even though I didn’t catch the reference, he was still an enjoyable character. Kudos! However, although I thought Shingo was well developed, I found Cage lacking. He had the actor image thing going on, but... that was about it. He seemed to just take blow after blow (although some of those blows smacked Shingo just as much), but he didn’t really do much else. He failed his splits move and lost, which saddened me. Poor guy can’t catch a break even in his most famed move. It was a fair fight, certainly, but I felt it needed a bit more tit for tat before that final victory.

Fight Three: Sofia vs. Iori... vs. Yashiro? Umm... er... well... uh... damn... *Slaps herself* Ahem, sorry. I believe this is one of those fights that would have been Spec-fucking-tacular if I knew who... any of these people were. Signature moves were flung out left and right! WHOOSH. I’m sure fans of... whatever they were from were cheering in glee as they saw X move come into play. But for the audience members that hadn’t a clue who these people were or what their moves are? It sounded a lot like this: Man A does a WEEHOO on Chickie B. Chickie B retaliates with a MEWOH at Man A. Man A deems that Chickie B must pay for daring to MEWOH anyone, least of all him, and so he does his ULTIMATE JEUIOU move and wins the match!

On the plus side? That whole smacking Iori over the head with a chair by Yashiro? Lovely. *Yashiro receives one point... whoever he is.*

Fight Four: Mai/Andy vs. Wolverine/Shadowcat! Ah, and yet MORE closure! Shadowcat got her twink ass very nicely kicked! *Beams* I loved Wolverine destroying Mai’s fan. It was a great scene in my head. I only wish the poor guy had a better fight with Andy there at the end.

Fight Five: Shinji vs. Lina Inverse! [...] *Raises hand* Umm... What just happened?

Damn, I feel like I put on my bitch hat for this chapter! Guess I’m NOT going to be the nice one! Maybe coldfury and I are taking turns! However, I would like to point out that there were some very good parts to this story. The author obviously did his homework and there was some great add-ins between fights that were good times.

Summer’s random thoughts:

- Flannel and leather pants? ... Ew. I may not know my fashion sense well, but hot damn, THAT is an emergency!
- MUCH love for the first commercial break! The commercial thing in general was a great idea!
- Who is Shermie and Yashiro? AAAAAH. TOO MANY UNKNOWNS! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. *Head explodes*
- *Blink blink* Can Mai BE a bub? I mean, aren’t bubs only men? I’m not trying to be sexist here, but the word bub just seems... silly for a girl... especially a very well endowed one.

Rating: Three WEEHOOs and one MEWOH.
 
 
Mood: lazylazy
 
 
Without trepidation, without fear, and without cause we return to this tale of souls, whose legends will NEVER die, the chapters of Magical Troubleshooting Fighting Federation Ultra: The Summary!

Self-Inserted for HER pleasure.

Chapter Four of Ultra was written by Jay Ramsperger. Our resident pimp-dog jrenken alerts me that some of you out there in ImproLand may have known him as "J-Rock".

This particular episode of Ultra begins with a warning label, something that might've been wise in some respects later on down the line. (e.g. Warning: This chapter will contain fights that break logic, characterization, and introduce Star Wars characters fighting Anime heroes. Enter at your own peril.) But in this particular instance it warns us of violence and... friend-insertion?

Dude, this is supposed to be PG-13.

Oh, wait. As opposed to how it sounds, friend-insertion is a lot like self-insertion, except you do it with your friends.

That's not helping things any, is it? Self-Insert is a common fan fiction terminology to notate the insertion of the author into the general story. Friend-Insert is similar in the fact that it involves the author projecting people he knows into the story, as opposed to himself. (the author may not actually be involved at all in said insertion.) This insertion might be a drive by reference, a recurring in-gag for the author's friends, or a wish fulfillment tool.

Also, a side note for you trivia types, two of the 'inserted' were, at one time, Improfanfic Administrators. One Dan Wood & Jake Wallace.

Back to the episode, we find ourselves in San Jose, California. Apparently Ultra has hit the road, a tool used on occasion in the series for varying success. Now, you might argue that San Jose doesn't quite seem like the American parallel to Tokyo, and I might agree with you. But, having this take place in Los Angeles or New York wouldn't facilitate the author's friends showing up in the story.

Wait, I lived in San Jose when this chapter of Ultra came out.

That proves it... Ultra is TRYING TO KILL ME. You all thought I was crazy! CRAZY, for thinking it, but now, I have proof! It was after me before I was even reading it! Or just when I started. Or something.

Ahem. If I somehow show up in this chapter, despite not knowing Jay or not having, I think, arrived on the Impro scene as of this time, I apologize in advance. I find it unlikely, but I'm just saying, you know?

Random German Word Translator: Achtung = Attention (Score 1, Babelfish)

So our group of inserted... uh... Americans? Sure, our group of inserted Americans heads off like anyone other Anime fans would at Ultra... they hit the dealer roommerchandise tables! They split up to roam, and a pair of them are quickly pulled to the side, making an In Living Color (thank you, Google) reference on the way. Without warning the two are incapacitated and robbed, by a pair of sneaky looking individuals! We're quickly introduced to Shermie & Yashiro. (King of Fighters) They're not nice people, if you could tell.

Random Japanese Language Translator: Wakarinai = "I don't know" (Google scores again!)

We're quickly introduced to the start of the episode proper, and are shown what might be the first reference to "Ultra-violence", a catchphrase that caught on and stayed there throughout Ultra's history. Point one for Jay, if he did introduce the word into the vernacular.

Hiroshi is away sugaring up for the latter half of the episode, so we're given Shinji Ikari (from Eva and Episode One of Ultra, for ye forgetful types) as a guest announcer. Yes, the paranoid introvert would be my first choice to replace the talkative, enthusiastic announcer, as well. Shortly after Shinji has taken his seat, our first competitor comes out... Tatewaki Kuno! It seems he's looking for revenge on our last guest announcer, a certain poke trainer.

Ash & Pikachu answer the call, and also answer the question of what they're doing in Ultra... they're partners in the Lambda division! We have what appears to be our very first official "match" notation (wow, another thing that caught on for the life of Ultra, point two to Jay), and the fight commences! Pikachu has accepted a grudge match request from Kuno, and in doing so answers another unresolved question... Lambda fighters CAN interact with Gamma fighters, outside the normal entrapments of the statistics and belts at least. The match quickly devolves into Warner Brother-esque theatrics, complete with Ash E. Coyote and a sign.

Random Japanese Language Translator: Gaijin = "A Non Japanese Person" (Wow, Dictionary.com gets the save, somehow, on that one)

Random Japanese Language Translator^2: Yatta = "All right!" (roughly. Thanks, Wikipedia!)

As the fight progresses, we get some dirty fightin' American 'Wrasslin' style from Pikachu, and the fight goes outside of the ring. Shinji picks it up the announcing a notch (BAM!), and after an almost DQ moment where Pikachu had him on the ropes, Kuno unleashes his frightening 'Thunderstrike!' (Not Eric Masterson, people. And minus two points if you get *that* reference.) attack. Pikachu swiftly dodges the attack that would seem to, as Shinji rightly pointed out, be silly to throw at him anyway and unleashes a thundershock! One Kuno defeat later, and Pikachu is declared the most electrifying fighter in sports entertainment!

One Orochi the Shirt-Shiller commercial later, we're back into the plot! A young fighter is excitedly talking to Kyo Kusanagi (King of Fighters), about his upcoming Ultra appearance. It seems Kyo's student, one Shingo (King of Fighters) is joining the fray and looks to be coming up with his own catch phrase. Hiroshi makes a comment on the exchange, which makes it slightly unclear if this was a televised exchange, or something that Hiroshi walked by on.. or... ?

Regardless, Hiroshi begins his introductory tirades as normal, even with a slight interruptions by one of our non-incapacitated 'American Friends'. We're quickly given a pep talk by God herself, and as is customary in these things when the Owner is talking to the crowd, we're suddenly interrupted by the Orochi! It seems our resident God of Hate is looking for a face off with Sephiroth, the only Omega fighter aside from Lina and Shinji (who are fighting later tonight) to have won a match! Kasumi tries to navigate the Orochi's intentions into an in house feud between Naga & Orochi, only to fail. Kaworu (Evangelion, remember him from Ultra episode one?) is suddenly on hand and mouths off to the Elvis of Darkness.

With a nod to the videotron, we're suddenly back to the fight between Naga & Goku last week. When we left them, they were fighting the mother of all stamina matches after Naga interfered with the scheduled Cyber-Akuma/Sephiroth fight. The footage reveals their battle lasted a full twenty-four hours and then some. Finally, in an attempt to end the match and avoid an angry wife, Goku fires off his mightiest attack, the Kamehameha. Naga counters with an Ankoku Dragon Slave. Uh...

Random Japanese Language Translator: Ankoku = "The Darkness" (or the dance. But given context...)

The blowout from both attacks leaves both fighters downed. In review of the footage, Orochi grudgingly agrees to call that 'fight' a draw.

The posturing aside, we get to the first fully official fight of the night! Shingo's scheduled debut is against Johnny Cage! Johnny has a flawless record at this point, a perfect 0-0. After the obligatory riffing on the introduction music (ah, American Friends we 'love' you.), the fight starts with Shingo showing Mr. Cage the business end of his knuckles. And then he spouts more Japanese phrases. God help me, I've given up translating them. Johnny counters with a fireball fight, and Shingo demonstrates his 'amazing' memory skills as he has to look up his move list on the fly. After a bit of back and forth, both fighters launch into fierce 'special move' kicks, hitting each other simultaneously and knocking themselves into a simultaneous ten count. After both struggle to their feet, Shingo puts Johnny with a shoulder to the sternum as the Kombatant tried to go for his 'famous' splits maneuver.

We're introduced to the magic of Ultra: the Music via the power of Marketing, and the next match begins! Iori Yagami (King of Fighters) trots down the ring, with a little bit of heckling by the mentioned-way-back-at-the-start-of-the-episode Yashiro, sitting next to our 'American Friends', who somehow didn't notice the disappearance of their compatriots.

Iori is quickly followed by Sofia (Battle Arena Toshinden), Ultra's very own queen of the dominatrix circle! Before the break the announcers mentioned that we've now been introduced to our full Ultra roster as it was conceived, plus the on the fly additions that we've witnessed. Her bedside manner aside, however, she quickly finds herself on the run from Iori's purple flame attack. Or maybe it was the random Japanese that scared her, I'm not sure. After his variation of the famous 'fireball-UPPERCUT' strategy, Iori finds himself on the defensive as he takes a few hits from Sofia's whip.

As the two engage in fisticuffs, we're treated to ringside commentary from the peanut gallery; in this case that's Yashiro & Shermie. As Yashiro contemplated Shermie's potential equipment change up, Iori launched a fierce attack into Sofia, knocking her cold to the canvas. Just when Iori was declared the victor by knock-out, Yashiro jumped the protective barrier at ringside and slammed Iori with a steel chair assault! As Iori & Sofia were rushed by a bevy of medical technicians, a few dozen red shirts (i.e. security) dragged Yashiro from the ring and offstage.

With an interesting Mastercard commercial as our segue, we're back to the action with a Lambda match up. This match determines who gets to fight the champs for the belt, as there's currently TWO qualified sets of contenders roaming around at the moment. Wolverine & Shadowcat face off with the Lonely Wolves! Wolverine and Mai face off first in the ring, and it's quickly noted how the two come from different sides of the street, fighting game wise.

Wolverine gets quickly stomped by the lady ninja, his short range fisticuffs finding little to no salvage against Mai's flame ridden fans. Wolverine quickly retreats, tagging in the phasing wonder. Shadowcat proves to be yet again unhittable, as Mai unloads all of her techniques into the X-Woman. The X-Man's own expertise in the way of the ninja gives her something on an advantage, and Mai is quickly pummeled. Thinking quickly, Mai feints an attack to disguise a run for her corner, and manages to tag Andy in as Shadowcat defensively phases, allowing Mai to pass through unharmed.

Mai's tag included an instruction whisper for her Lonely Wolf partner, and Andy launches a ki blast as Kitty charges him. Surprisingly to all, the attack hit Kitty! In desperation, she brought in the recovered Wolverine, only have him sucker punched by a ready and waiting Andy Bogard!

Our furious fighters get the win and we get another commercial. While we're off the air, Kaworu gives Shinji a pep talk before his Omega title match, the first title to be up for grabs since episode one! Kaworu cleverly foreshadows mysteriously in a thought bubble, and tells Shinji he has the potential to... do something... that possibly... might... be why Orochi is cheesed off at him.

Kaworu is one helluva public speaker, folks.

Hiroshi is back, and he's breaking the fourth wall more blatantly than our American Friends as he relates the origin of the Omega Championship fight locale. Doing the 'ringside' announcing is one Michael Buffer (... he's not from any anime or game, he's a real ring Announcer)! As we're dragged through not only that in joke, but also a WWF (WWE to you yahoos) reference, Lina Inverse appears on scene! She's challenging Shinji in Eva Unit-01 for the belt!

The match begins as Mr. Buffer retreats to a safer dimension. It starts as a stare down... Lina attempting to muster the somewhat slow forces of her Dragon Slave, Shinji trying to muster the limits of his resolve. Shinji's coalesces first, but to no avail. Lina's Dragon Slave attack causes a large explosion to completely engulf Shinji and his Eva! But if anime has taught us anything, a giant smoke cloud means clear escape from harm! Shinji grasped onto Lina with giant robot fingers, and was attempting to subdue her when a third voice called out across the battlefield. Naga, the Black Serpent with her (new) trademark move, Ankoku Dragon Slave!

The match already called due to outside interference (where was this rule last week?), Shinji buckled under the strain of deflecting a second 'infinitely powerful' spell in such a short time, when we had yet ANOTHER surprise guest. Goku appeared, launching an attack into Naga and causing her to end the assault. As the errant fighter stared down the referee, Shinji let his more primal side take control, and launched a ferocious kick at the Black Serpent. Even shielded, the young sorceress was sent flying from the blow.

As Naga cleared the 'fight zone', Hiroshi and Daisuke quickly called an end to festivities, and our chapter!

Recap Flashback!


][ ULTRA EPISODE 4 RESULTS RECAP:
][
][ PIKACHU def. KUNO in Grudge Match competition.
][ PIKACHU now Most Electrifying Fighter In ULTRA.
][ GOKU and NAGA battled to a draw "last week".
][ SHINGO YABUKI introduced to Gamma Division.
][ SHINGO def. CAGE, now at 1W/0L.
][ IORI def. SOFIA, now at 1W/0L.
][ MAI/ANDY def. WOLVERINE/SHADOWCAT, now at 2W/0L.
][ MAI/ANDY now Number One Contenders for Lambda Championship.
][ SHINJI retains his Omega Title (Disqualification/Match Thrown Out).
][
][ Next scheduled author: John Evans.
 
 
31 October 2005 @ 08:41 pm
Before we begin this chapter review of Ultra, I just thought I'd point out that for sake of ... I don't know... doing things right? Integrity? We're going to include the links to author's email addresses as published on the MTCFF Ultra site. It just seems like citing the authors we're writing would be a good idea. Also, in the sake of fairness, I will send out an email to every author personally that we review, inviting them to comment. I just think that it wouldn't be fair if we said our piece on them, and they didn't get a chance to respond. Granted, many of these addresses are lord knows how old, so my success rate may vary there.

Also, if I know you personally and I'm reviewing your writing, I'll reserve the right to toss you some sort of shout out, as appropriate to our normal level of communication, as opposed to strictly email. In the case of group writing projects... uh, we'll make a case by case decision. If the number of writers is manageable and easily accessible, we'll do our best to contact all parties. This Old Dojo Crews... uh... uhm. Well. We'll see when we get there.

Also, if I *know* the current livejournal link for anyone, assuming it is a public journal, I will link to it in the review, as I've demonstrated thus far. If I miss your LJ, or you don't want to have your email listed, drop me a line. As far as updating email addresses, I'd rather not mess with that, as verification would be... uh... tough. So I'll reference the Ultra page. If the Ultra page has it wrong, take it up with Ye Old Admin. :D I believe his name is James Shaftjrenken Renken, and he can hook you up!

So for archival purposes and for the sake of playing it straight:
Episode One of Ultra was written by Twoflower
Episode Two of Ultra was written by Twoflower, Todd Harper, and David Tai (address unknown).
Episode Three of Ultra was written by Ash.

Also, on the matter of schedules... I think we're not going to go with Sunday as our update date... we're probably going to aim for Mondays, as that seems more doable with mine and ifritah's schedules. Also, my partner in crime has signed up for National Novel Writing Month so we're going to slow our pace some for the next four weeks. We'll update at least once a week though.

So everyone cheer ifritah on! (damienroc, I'm counting on you to depress us and tell us how many chapters of Ultra it would have taken to have fufilled the NaNoWriMo requirements.)

And now, back to our regularly scheduled review!
 
 
Mood: busybusy
Fight Background Music: Fantastic Children Ending Theme - ORIGA - Mizu No Madoromi : 02.Mizu.No.Madoromi.(Russian.Version) (
 
 
27 October 2005 @ 12:19 am
The Black Serpent Strikes!
By Ash

Hmm... I don't really have any anecdotes to expose you all to on this chapter... So, uh, all hail Lord Ilpalazzo!

... Let's just start, shall we?

Fight One: Ken vs. Gambit! Heh heh heh heh heh he- I really need to stop that. Ahem. Sorry, I'm not particularly fond of Ken. I think my favorite part of this fight is that the judges wanted to check to make sure Gambit’s fatal move was legal. Ah, creative win AND a question of whether what went on was okay or not! (It doesn’t take much with me.) I did, however, find the fight somewhat slow moving. *Points at her head* The ADD. It needs to be fed.

Fight Two: Shampoo/Mousse vs. Wolverine/Shadowcat! Ah, defeat by sprinkler! It should have been so obvious, and yet I didn’t think of the possibility until the water began to fall! Lovely! I was somewhat confused when the fight ended before Mousse was defeated (even if he was a duck at the time... I think. I mean, I *assume* he was a duck with all the water and stuff), but I guess since he wasn’t tagged he was disqualified after Cat!Shampoo got knocked out? Well, that’s the story I’m going with anyhow. Kitty Pri-... hey, kitty! Kitty and Shampoo’s a… never mind. Anyway! I found Kitty to be a bit of a twink in this fight, but I doubt things like power level matters in Ultra, so I’ll look the other way. Plus? Yay Shampoo voice! *Begins singing the Blimp Song*

Fight Three: Akuma vs. Sephiroth! I’m very glad coldfury randomly mentioned Goku from Dragonball Z as a referee in some Ultra chapters or else I’d of been lost on two references in this fight. (That’s right, I’ve never seen Z. Fear me.) I also have no idea who this Akuma guy is (though coldfury continually tells me I should since I like Street Fighter II), but apparently he’s a cyber something or likes to cy-... Wow, I can’t believe I almost said that. Ahem. This leaves Sephiroth. Who apparently is a big, fat liar. Pfft, never been defeated, my ass. I happen to recall a very sad last boss fight where I made the mistake of using the Knights of the Round on you once. Two punches later you were all sorts of dead. Nyah nyah. ... But, apparently that doesn’t matter since your opponent got half beat up by Evil!Naga first! *Beat* Makes sense to me why you won!

Random Summer thoughts:

- YAY ROGUE! ... Well, sort of. I assume she’s going to be in the next chapter or so to beat up Remy in a jealous rage! Whoo!

- Half of this was either very confusing to me or far too insane for me to understand that I wasn’t confused, just part of the insanity. Hmm, maybe it would have helped to remember who that Orochi guy was. But I think part of it was all the characters I didn’t know, and it lost me somewhere. Anyway, it was a bit hard to follow, but I got through to the end all right.

- I wish I recalled the Street Fighter movie better, so that David guy made sense. I don’t recall a David… I don’t recall anyone even really liking Sakura (of course, that very well could be selective memory). ... THERE IS NO DAVID THERE, DAMMIT… unless there was, in which case I’m wrong... well, okay, that can’t be it. *After a VERY long pause inbetween typing* A-HA. I talked to Chris. He’s NOT in Street Fighter! Phew! Okay, that was mean! I was all confused because I SHOULD have been confused! Damn Beta chapters rearing their ugly head to taunt me with their unreadness!

- Shampoo engaged to Wolverine... Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh, I LOVE IT.

Rating: Two kitties and a dead Tifa. *Beat* What? It made sense to me.
 
 
Mood: tiredtired
 
 
There are many things, in writing an Impro. Plotting, character, dialogged, scripting, choreographing the action... all of them hard. Sometimes, in some chapters... some of these fall through the cracks.

This was one of those chapters. Written by Ash, this chapter was a veritable mystery of occasional humor, missing logic, and some serious structure flaws.

Now don't get me wrong, not all of those things fell through the cracks. It did do a few things well. It definitely picked out a few select characters, and developed them a bit more. We got to see more to Sakura than Ryu-fanboy. We got to see the first partner-swap for Wolverine. We got a bit of menacing overlord plot from Orochi, continuing his reign of terror from the previous episode.

And then we got things like the sudden mass introduction of characters and supporting staff. I know there's no rule limiting the number of people who can be introduced in bit parts throughout a chapter, but if you're rotating THAT many people through suddenly, it's going to get a bit head boggling. In addition to our new fighters (Sephiroth, Cyber-Akuma, Shampoo, Mousse, Shadowcat, Ken) we got Goku the referee, Yotsuya the OMNIPRESENT interviewer, Cologne, and even a little of Eliza. That's... a lot of new characters to be throwing at us at once.

As far as the actual plot of Ultra thus far, we got a bit of setup for a David/Gambit match... which I have to wonder if it was pre-arranged with a future writer or if it was a bone someone had to pick up after Ash threw it out there. Pretty lame setup if you didn't ask for it? A Gamma fighter vs a Non-Combatant... with pre arranged weapons that the Non-Combatant has *no* skill with? Feh. Sakura/David got introduced but even after their green room scene it wasn't quite clear 'what' their relationship was. Awkward, but were they actually dating? Lord knows. And why... oh god why did Gambit have to hit on the Japaneses school girl? Sigh.

Orochi made his big move... which somehow transformed her from a magical user of immense power and skill to... someone who can fight tow to tow with Goku in a hand to hand fight? Uh, I don't get it. Go for the Riot of the Blood, I guess. Not sure if this was an epic misuse of plot device, or if the Riot of the Blood was just THAT ill defined in King of Fighters. And for his big move, Orochi managed to punk a non-fighter and make her his bitch? Granted, I know who Naga is, having watched some Slayers. But it feels like it would've had more impact if this heel turn had come after Naga had, oh, I don't know... done something.

As far as the scenes themselves.... there were seriously some parts that were amusing. But... well. Sakura/David was like dragging fingernails on chalkboard. And Yotsuya... my GOD I hated him. I [loathed] him by the end of the chapter. He just kept showing up... and he didn't even DO anything to make himself notable as an interviewer. Happosai at least would've glomped the girls and brought some character with him... this Yotsuya could be 'red shirt #4' from the performance he gave.

Gambit came off as way too competent in the Ken fight. I don't think he took a single blow in the entire ordeal, and while I'll accept that Gambit is agile and experienced, he's not one of the world's foremost martial artists. Sorry. And then the absolute logic defying way that he punked Ken at the end was... well cheap and stupid. Blowing up enough to knock Ken out but not hurt his hand? Don't Gambit's powers usually destroy whatever they charged up? And let's ignore the fact that they don't work on organic material. Sigh.

Shadowcat's fight, came off worse, however. She could do no harm, and she could always manage to phase in enough to hit someone but not get hit in the process. Ugh. Not my cup of tea at all. And to top it off, the way SHE won was twinky as well. Also, Shampoo transformed... what about Mousse? Also, wasn't it a bit uncharacteristic of Mousse to throw Shampoo back into the ring when he was barely touched, to face down freaking Wolverine? Yeesh.

And finally the Omega fight... if there's one thing that sucks worse than two guys going at it with an honorable fight... it's two BAD GUYS going at it in an honorable fight. Geeze-us. And the fact that Naga screwed Akuma in the fight, with the ref right there, yet Goku was then able to thwart her right after she'd screwed the outcome up.... well... it's silly.

So no, I didn't like the fights this episode, and a lot of the choices and plot devices left me cold. All three fights were lost at no fault to the combatants, and THAT is just bad writing, right there. That's like EVERY fight ending with a run-on (now watch, in chapter 56 I'll have ended every fight I wrote with a run-on).

Also...way too much dramatic reliance at the 'face off screen'. We hit three or four 'unnnamed's at once at one point. Geeze-us.

Upon reflection, I really didn't *like* any of the characters this episode. They were all just a bit off, none of them really stood out as exceptionally developed, or even all that in character.

Okay, I think I liked this chapter more before I started composing my review. In all honesty, this one managed to keep everything together and going without being a complete disaster. That much is good. The rest... not so much.

But, hey, there's always next week!
 
 
Mood: sympatheticsympathetic