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15 March 2006 @ 03:44 am
Hey All -- I know my deadline slipped, but I have been working on the Ultra Project. This episode is taking a while to summarize (they all do) as I had to do a bit of legwork to find a working Impromanga link (Thank you, Wayback machine).

I have to run MC with my guild tomorrow night right after work in World of Warcraft (Which, if you don't play the game, is a pretty serious committment I really can't break without good reason), but after that i plan on finishing it up. So, current ETA for an update is... Wednesday Evening hopeful, Thursday Evening latest (have to find time Summer is free to work on everything).

After this, I have every intention on getting back onto a mostly weekly schedule. Don't hate me if it slips occaisionally, but I will try my best. I promise.
Mood: tiredtired
Fight Background Music: - Righteous_Brothers-Unchained_Melody
02 February 2006 @ 08:02 pm
[The scene opens in the Tendou home, Ranma and Shampoo the camera's focus.]

Ranma rushes to Shampoo and grabs her melodramatically. "Oh, Shampoo! I’m such a fool! I don’t know why I didn’t see it sooner! I don't love Akane, I love you. Marry me!"

Shampoo crosses her arms and sniffs as she looks away. "Shampoo no love Ranma. Shampoo have new fiancé now!"

Wolverine comes into the scene to stand next to Shampoo. He nods unenthusiastically to Ranma. "Heya, bub."

Ranma blinks, a sweatdrop falling off the side of his head. Then his face turns arrogant. "You’ve got to be kidding me."

Shampoo shakes her head coldly. "No kid, Ranma. Shampoo have heart for only one man!" She embraces Wolverine. "Wo ai ni!"

Ranma starts to look genuinely concerned. "No, this... this can't be..." He begins hectically looking around her person. "I don’t see any upside-down jewel."

Shampoo, still locked onto Wolverine, nods. "That right, Ranma. Shampoo no need jewel to hate stupid guy." She raises her chin in the air.

Ranma balks. "But... but..."

Suddenly, a loud drumming is heard in the distance getting louder and louder... and then the Energizer Bunny bangs his little drum as he skates across the screen.

The announcer’s voice can be heard over the voices and drums, "The Energizer Bunny just keeps going and going and going..."

[/commercial break]

Fight One: Shingo vs. Shin!Dan! *Points up* Okay, that Energizer Bunny thing? Yeah, it had a point. Let me explain why, though very random, why it applies! WHOO.

The Energizer Bunny is funny because he jumps in the middle of things. He mocks things with his monkey pants, or, well, his drum set. Shin!Dan... just keeps going and going and oh for the love of the gods someone bring back the old Dan! *Shakes Dan* Wake up, damn you! WAKE UP! If you continue to act this way I will have to give you Orochi’s old job of making me eggs! ... Though right now I’m rather in the mood for a blueberry muffin. *Snaps fingers* Okay, Shin!Dan! Step to it! *Snap snap* You can stop being my bitch when you get back to normal.

Fight Two: Washuu (in Nuenzehn) vs. Togura! ... You remember that Energizer Bunny scenario that, well, keeps coming up and coming up and... yeah. Well, it’s not my fault really. But that's how I felt yet again. Another fight where the opponent just won't FALL DOWN. Like a wack-a-mole, but without the fun of getting tickets to buy candy, bouncy balls, or those nifty little parachute guys. I did enjoy this fight much better than the first though. Maybe it's because I like Washuu. Maybe it's because Washuu was driving a German machine... I’m assuming this was her 19th mecha creation? *Shrug* Or maybe I'm mostly just happy Washuu finally won a match. But still, the coming and coming must STOP before I go bat-nuts crazy!

Fight Three: Iori vs. Ranma! Well... the Ranma beating up Iori as he was growling at Tarou was good. And considering how annoyed at Tarou commenting every five seconds, I was rather glad someone was. ... Too bad Ranma wasn't actually doing the damage to him though. Alas. Though perhaps since Ranma was in a different tense than Tarou there for a moment, it made it impossible for them to physically connect... with fighting. *Cough* The fighting was okay. I guess I just... well, I’ll get to that at the end of my review.

And on an entirely different note...

*HISSES AT TIFA* I can even feel my fur going straight up here.

Fight Four: Sephiroth vs. Eva-01! I’d of said Shinji, but, well, he was there, but not really. In effect, I’m not really sure if I’d count this as a fight, but eh. Shinji lost, but not in a satisfying DIE way. And so
I am left unsatisfied. ... And then he got possessed. *Sigh* What is UP with that? Can people not go five minutes in this Ultra thing without hailing to the almighty Exorcist? I mean, I suppose I can’t complain too much since maybe I’ll stop killing Shinji in my head every five seconds, but ugh. UGH, I say!

Side notes:

* That scene where Ranma gets interviewed and all these Ultra people start coming out to ruin it? Lovely. I was amused.

* Did I mention I hate Tifa? And that I want her dead? And that Felicia should scratch her face till it scarred? Okay, just checking.

All in all... it was okay. There were some great ADD scenes in there, and the author was amusing when he put in his own voice there a couple of times. But... well... it really wasn't anything to write home about. It happened. I was there. But everything was... eh. Which, sure, isn't awful or anything, but it just wasn't memorable. It wasn’t funny too often, but it wasn't all-out boring. It was... Well, it was like eating chocolate chip ice cream. It's an all right flavor, but I wouldn’t likely eat it unless it was offered at a birthday party.

Rating: Five Possessed!Aerith’s wacking Tifa over the head with a stick.
Mood: calmcalm
03 February 2006 @ 12:55 am
... I wish I could say that there was a logical reason as for the delays. Certainly, there are a number. The Nano-November thing is evident, and Christmas is a hectic time for anyone, and I found myself in Illinois for a week during December. So yeah. That covers me till just about New Years, right?

Then the excuses become a LOT less excusable. See, it's all ifritah's fault. Now I play World of Warcraft (WoW, for short). I'm pretty good about my game addictions, usually I find a good balance. But then... see, I managed to do the unthinkable. I got ifritah addicted to it.

Now that's not to say she's behind. It's all me. She's like... four reviews ahead. She's outstanding.

But see, now when I'm not playing my Level 56 Priest on Dark Iron with the Penny Arcade Alliance, I'm playing my Level 29 Warrior on Malfurion with ifritah and her fiance. (Sorry boys, she's taken.) So I've lost my balance, so to speak, in the 'doing other things' category. But duty calls, and Ultra won't review/finish itself (if it was going to, I think it would've done so by now) so the Ultra Project continues!!

And now to the meat and potatoes of this post, the review!

This episode was mercifully shorter than the previous, but also to its own demerit as well. Some of this, I think was due to real life hazardry, if one is to pay attention to the author's notes at the end of the chapter. That's understandable, it does happen. But some of the things in this chapter really didn't work too well.

Now the continuity hound in me loved the fact that we're building toward Ultrarage Alpha. Now I think our mysterious visitor is bordering on being overplayed, but I'm hoping the big reveal will be worth it.

As far as the stylings for this chapter... it was, as any collaborative effort will be, a tough cookie to describe. At some points it was consistent, if a bit dry in its descriptive, where at other times it was jumping, talking at you, and making you read that last sentence twice. Besides a bit of the scarcity of the descriptive, I didn't have anything punch me in the gut as far as the writing styles go, which is really the best you can hope for as an amateur author, so far as I aim anyway.

Dan vs. Shingo
Now the Shingo match versus Dan was a nice twist as I liked the fact that it was an actual fight, but both fighters were given the short stick on the 'establishing skill' portion of the event. Now Shin Dan isn't a favorite of mine, but it was treated tolerably here, and I like the carryover instead of an immediate retcon. Shingo's angst not being touched again this episode was a bit iffy, though.

Washu vs. Toguro
Washu versus Toguro was an interesting fight, though it illuminates an interesting point for Ultra that is struggled with for a while. What makes a good Ultra character? Someone who would be 'cool' to have in a fight against Sephiroth? Or is he someone that offers something to the overall plot of Ultra? Is it fair to expect a new character to 'tie in' somehow?

Personally, I had never heard of Yu Yu Hakusho when I first read this chapter, and now years later, I've seen an episode or two (It looks like DBZ, but with less cool factor packed into its moments of actual cool, but with a tad more plot), and I'd seen the Younger Toguro, but not the Elder. So I still have a hard time visualizing him, though Google helps. And this fight... I ... just didn't get anything from him except he's batshit insane. And murderous. It raises the question: What next? Joker for Gamma?

I don't like the Toguro character as a registered fighter. There just wasn't anything for me to latch on to here, and the way he was defeated seemed to... deus ex machina for me. The person was so all powerful he couldn't be defeated until Washuu pulled a plot monkey out of her satchel. The fight was handled alright, though I thought there was a few too many breaks away from the action, but I just didn't feel the character.

Ranma vs Iori
Definitely the best fight of the episode. Both fighters have their strengths shown, and Ranma is given a massive face push, though with a bit of an anger twinge. I can already see the 'The Game' parallels (oh noes, WWF reference!). I didn't quite get the Ranma attack at the end, as I've not actually seen much Ranma, but I just cut and pasted Inuyasha's backlash wave (same creator, even) into the event and it worked for me. I liked the fight, but the commentator interference wasn't a ploy I'm personally fond of. But hey, if it's not overused... *shrug*

Lonely Wolves vs Team Xenogears
Aside from Tifa showing up, there was no point to this. And that very well may be the point, but honestly I would've preferred to see her worked into a between match 'bit' than have her commentate on a match that didn't happen. Very big flop, story wise, and while I can sympathize for whatever may have neccessitated this, it would've been better to cut the fluff bits and just reallocate Tifa's intro to another part of the story.

Sephiroth vs Shinji
Oye. While I like the idea of a new Omega champion, and they set it up pretty well with the Tarou smackdown interview before hand, I didn't like the excecution here at all. It was very guilty of telling us what happened instead of showing us, a common flaw in the realm of fan fiction, and I didn't like this at all as an Omega title fight OR the anchor fight of the evening. Also the DBarrier thing was just a bit "IWIN" for me.

I don't want to give the impression that this was a bad chapter, because it wasn't. It simply wasn't a good chapter. There was a lot of good bits spread out, the interview bit with Ranma constantly getting interrupted was hilarious. But the chapter REALLY blew its proverbial wad with the Ranma title match, which was unfortunate. Decent mechanics, decent matches, but a bit quick on the overall pacing and a bit of a stumble with the whole of Act III being an action sinkhole make for this an overall mediocre chapter.

But, special kudos for putting the japanese translations in the author's notes!
Mood: creativecreative
Fight Background Music: Zanac Neo - PlayStation - Snowfield Story (Gaming FM - Modern Console)
Back from a drunken trip to Vegas involving poker, mobsters, hi-jinks, alcohol, and your girlfriend, it returns, like a Phoenix arising from cigar smelling ashes in the back lot of a strip club... Magical Troubleshooting Crossover Fighting Federation Ultra: The Summary!

Really officer, I have no idea how the Pokemon and the Japaneses (college) school girls got in the back seat, nor why the Pikachu is wearing that girl's skirt.

Chapter Seven of Ultra was written by Chris McNeil and Aaorn Peori (No LJ Known, but I did find a website via google for the pair if you're crafty.)

We return from our long sojourn of make believe adventures with hookers to visit backstage Ultra machinations at their finest. Ranma feels that everyone has been hiding something from him this past week, and isn't sure what. Though, due to the precogniscient natures of his forehead, he feels it bodes poorly. He's proven right, as Pantyhose Tarou announces his return as announcer this week to Ranma himself, thrilling the Gamma champion to no end.

Really, he had a tea party.


Okay, not really. But the idea of a Ranma cast tea party is entertaining, admit it.

And we have title credits! It's always interesting to see the post-title build up. It became ridiculously hard to write this scene, essentially the same scene every episode, in a manner that was interesting. This way we have an homage to the "Lost in Space" movie adaptation, horribly dating this chapter and making me feel old at the same time.

Our first bout is evidentially a Gamma match up as Shingo Yabuki takes the ring, donning a new Ranma-Fanboy costume! He vows to win this bout for the honor of his master. His opponent makes as per standard comically self-injuring entrance, the transformed Shin Dan Hibiki! As part of his 'annoyance routine', Dan finds a way to hide Tarou's trademark vest under a 'I'm a Dan Fan' pink T-shirt.

Pre-match verbals are traded, and the fight commences! Shingo and Dan appear at an equal level of ineptitude vs inexperience, but things change when Shingo's lack of familiarity with Ranma's stylings cause him to drop guard, leaving him vulnerable to attack. Pressing his advantage, Dan launches into a super-fireball, the same attack that backfired last episode!
Worried that a week of training might've improved the tenacity of the move, Shingo launched an all out assault, using Ranma's trademark 'I hit really quickly' attack. Less speed than the original, Shingo packed enough punch to alter Dan's attack trajectory... right onto his head. The match is almost called, as the explosive ki power knocks Shingo for a temporary loop, but the youth drags himself to his feet. Dan presses his advantage, the only way he knows how!

A super taunt.

The taunt, amazingly, is so humiliating that Shingo almost gives up right then and there. But somehow, in the face of Dan's mighty taunting skills, Shingo presses forward, and attempts a recovery while Dan tries to finish the job he started with a series of power punches. Finally, realizing his training with Ranma wasn't accomplished enough yet, Shingo reaches deep and copies Dan's ultimate fireball technique! The result is startlingly effective, blazing Dan into the ropes. The usually inferior copies Shingo musters somehow having morphed into a superior attack when copying Dan's self taught strategms.

And Shingo does it again, copying Dan's take on the Shotokan uppercut! Dan pulls the second straight Looney Tunes moment (last week's Looney Tunes fighters were Bart & Rico) and crashes up and then back down through the roof of the Ultradome!

But the master of the taunt is not to be stopped, and he still arises! Shingo rears back with another move and... I'm not sure what it's supposed to be copying? Maybe Dan's "Victory Relying no Nothing but my own fists" supermove? Overuse of Japanese here, not really sure. But Shingo lands his punches, and with a comic poke to the chest Dan is felled, again! Shingo promptly exits, none too proud of victory.

As the announcers ponder Shingo's mindset, they segue way into teasing the first Omega match of the eve!

Commercial time! We get a hint of Ultrarage: Alpha, with talk of the Steel Hypercube Omega match! Saucy!

And then we're back, and see a bit of foreshadowing between Tarou and a mysterious figure. Likely the same mysterious figure who has appeared a few times prior! What could the figure want with Tarou? Oh heavens, will we ever know?

Cut to Crater #762, our Omega battleground for the evening! Our first challenger to arrive is Washuu, in mecha, claiming her masterpiece is, yet again complete! As Washuu eagerly anticipated her rematch with Shinji, she was quickly disappointed as her opponent appeared to be a black... lump. A man size shape assuming lump, with a trenchcoat.

Washuu is a bit underwhelmed by this development. Myself, I wait to see who the person is before I'm officially underwhelmed.

A quick talk reveals the technological savvy of her opponent (who thought her mecha was a living being), and his name. (The Elder Brother) Toguro! (Yu Yu Hakusho) Okay, now I'm underwhelmed.

Toguro expresses a psychotic measure of glee in being able to fight a living thing, and demonstrates his powers to shapeshift (he can, I looked it up!) in preparation to slice and dice Washuu!

As the fight begins, Toguro is inducted to the genre of science fiction as his tendrils bounce off Washuu's forcefield. Then, he's introduced to physics as Washuu's mech turns his insubstantial form into a pancake.

However, being insubstantial has its advantages as he reforms his body. Washuu catches up with what the reader who did a Google-check already found out, Toguro has complete control over his body with his shapeshifting!

And then, we're mid-fight segued. Tarou and the figure reach a deal! And it involves Ranma's match! That's a spicy meatball!

Annnnd we're back to the fight. Sort of. Nabiki is bored. Bored of the fight. Because Toguro attacks. And Washuu's mecha blocks. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. However, Nabiki's interest is piqued when Kasumi herself shows up in the editing room, and Kasumi reveals that Toguro has a bit of a... psychotic violence problem. As in he likes killing things. Now, that's interesting logic in having a fighter be in Omega, but hey, she is God.

Unfortunately, God didn't tell Toguro he was on a television show, either. Toguro is a bit upset at this discovery.

Meanwhile, Washuu is as bored as Nabiki. For as well fortified as she is, she can't really hurt HIM either. So she feints, and fools Toguro with a 'Hey, look over there!' adapted for psychopaths. And thus, Toguro learns what a 'beam cannon' is.

And we're back to Tarou! Tarou strikes a deal with the mysterious figure, and its revealed that the pink Dan-Fan shirt is actually the proper of Mr. Mysterious! As Tarou moves to exact his revenge, Mr. Mysterious vanishes from the scene, leaving the expert martial artist astonished.

Back at the crater, Washuu is wondering where her victory portal is. Unbeknownst to her, Toguro has yet again survived, and is now trying a war of attrition, with the war being raged by Toguro split into a billion little 'mini-me's. Power cells are eventually depleted as Toguro after Toguro dive into them, and eventually Washuu opts for the Search for Spock solution, arms self destruct and hops ship.

Unfortunately for Washuu, self destruct isn't as all encompassing as advertised, as Toguro has yet again survived! He presses the attack, after a... uh... evil puppet show? Washuu is quickly on the defensive as Toguro envelopes her like a tortilla on a chicken wrap! Inspiration soon struck, however and with quick thinking and a bit of bull fighting, Toguro is trapped into a high tech bag of holding! A winner is Washuu!

And we're onto Yotsuya! My absolute favorite character in Ultra EVER. Wai!

He's interviewing Ranma this week, and the subjects include made up rumors! At least until it turns into backstage showdown 101, with Sakura, Shermie, and Yashiro all arriving to announce their anger at Ranma's match with Iori. Albeit, from different POVs. As the would be Kings of Fighters leave the area, Sofia arrives, insisting that her rivalry with Sakura is far from over!

When did Sakura become such a ho-biscuit? She's very inconsistent.

Oh, it's Gambit! What is this, the 'Yes these people are still registered fighters' segment? Who's next, Ken? Gambit lays down the charm to stop the females from squabbling, and Ranma tries to reassert that this is, in fact, HIS interview. Only to be shot down by... Kunou!

Oh, poo. I was wrong.

Kunou wants a title match! Sakura insists that she has first dibs! Ranma insists that he doesn't book the matches, or at least he tries to before David arrives on the scene and assumes jealous outrage at Gambit's presence. Didn't we do this feud?? And David oversteps his bounds, and unfurls the wrath of scorned girlfriend (?). As Sakura pummels him out of the room, and Gambit is chased by an overly friendly Sofia, Yashiro and Shermie remind everyone again that they're in the next Lambda match! (Didn't they leave?) And much to Ranma's chagrin, the bit is over.

Title Fight, in bound! Gamma title match, between Ranma and Iori! I'm refusing to acknowledge Iori's 'Biggest Badass' title because I can. Tarou seems oddly amused, though we soon find out why, as Iori enters unimpeded, but Ranma's music has changed to "Dude looks like a lady!"

Mysterious machinations revealed, Ranma is none too pleased. He accuses Tarou of pulling the swap, and Tarou calmly denies all allegations. Goaded furthermore by Tarou, Ranma lays his pride on the line (wasn't the title enough?) and declares he'll prove he's the best fighter in Ultra!

Ranma and Iori launch into a dazzling array of attack, dodge, counter, block! Moves flying past one another, and Ranma slowly but surely gaining the advantage. However, with the first 'fem-boy' crack from Tarou, it's clear that Ranma has a few issues on 'focus', as he loses his focus and opens a blast from Iori.

Ranma tries to keep his momentum going, but with each successive crack from Tarou, his victory seems more out of sight. Finally, after taking a supreme purple lashing from Iori, Ranma finds himself tangled in the ropes with an (Tarou chuckles supplied) aptly named Maiden Masher inbound. In a feat of impressive strength, Ranma yanks the ropes from the posts, and uses them as whips in which to interrupt Iori's attack. Acting like a super powered Indiana Jones, Ranma whips the ropes around Iori, trapping the fighter, then spinning him overhead cowboy style.

All signs point towards Ranma using his trademark hurricane style supermove, but when the hurricane starts, Ranma is nowhere to be found! Instead, as the chaos reaches a crescendo, Ranma appears at the crest of the blast, wielding an enormous amount of purple energy, the very same energy with which Iori had been assaulting Ranma with all fight! Gathering the energy into a massive blow, Ranma assaulted Iori, smashing the Badass of Ultra into the concrete, and securing his title!

His victory does little to assuage him, however, as he maintains his glare on Tarou!

Shin Dan commercial! Really, who would buy an 'annoying' action figure?

And we're back ringside! And what's this? More Ultrarage Alpha prep? An introduction to a fighter appearing in Alpha! Gasp and Gadzooks, it's Tifa Lockheart (Final Fantasy VII)!

It's announced that there is going to be a Newcomer Invitational, where people can fight for the right to party^Wjoin Ultra! Which.. people have been doing every episode anyway. Uhm. Ah well, it makes good press!

And Tifa is staying on to guest commentate on the Lambda match! The Lonely Wolves versus Bart & Rico! With Yashiro and Shermie in the audience again. I've officially forgotten if they've been added or not yet.

And... uh. Our fight is canceled, as Bart and Rico are revealed to have a Yotsuya induced spat, with Bart's choice for a team name, Beauty and the Best!. Bart seems to have ended up in the hospital! He's just lucky Disney's lawyers didn't get ahold of him. And that is... it. Okay.

So we're backstage, for "Tarou's Interview Segment". Or so he calls it! Tarou drills Shinji for his reasons for joining Ultra! And if you've ever seen Shinji in action, you can sort of see where this is going. Tarou gives Shinji a proverbial bitch slap that many a fan have dreamed of, and leaves Shinji reeling from the effects.

And we're back for the rematch of Sephiroth and Eva Unit-01! Set on the forest moon of Endor, the two titans prepare for a title match not to be interfered upon by any Robots or Circuses of any kind. Though I make no promises about furry little men and droids.

The fight begins with a token spell from Sephiroth, Flare! As the Eva Unit evokes it's powerful absolute terror field, Sephiroth pulls out his Final Fantasy VII strategy guide, and decides to flex his inner twink! One "DBarrier" later, Shinji's AT field is but a faint memory!

Gloating in that FF bad-ass way, Sephiroth pauses just long enough to turn the dial up to Marissa Picard and beat the crap out of Eva. And it's over.

Sephiroth is our new Omega Champion, becoming the first challenger to succeed in overturning a current champion!

As the show closes, Daisuke muses on our recurring villain du jour, the Orochi. Ah, hospital humor... uh... wait, that's not keeping the air of badassary afloat. Ah well.

In the episode epilogue we find out that Shinji is miserable. Not only did he not get any dialog in his fight, but he lost said fight. Because he was miserable. So now he's miserable that he was too miserable to fight properly. Nice, circular logic. But then... our CONTROVERSIAL mysterious figure makes his appearance! Could his plan have been to get Shinji to a low ebb (do you really need to PLAN for that?) and talk him into something... mysterious?

Well, not so mysterious. Shinji appears to have been transformed, a la Dan, into something... annoying!

And as an aside, the author's notes appear to have a Japanese translation guide'! Huzzah!

Recap Flashback!

][ GAMMA MATCH 1: SHINGO defeats SHIN DAN, now 2W/2L
][ New OMEGA MEMBER introduced, Toguro Ani or Yuu Yuu Hakusho
][ OMEGA MATCH 1: WASHU defeats TOGURU ANI, now 1W/1L
][ LAMBDA MATCH 1: Called due to Injury, no stat change
][ OMEGA MATCH 2: SEPHIROTH defeats EVA-1, now 3W/1L
Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Fight Background Music: Resident Evil Outbreak - PlayStation 2 - Happy Hour Jam Session (Gaming FM - Modern Console)
18 December 2005 @ 03:24 pm
Just a quick note to tell everyone our most recent excuse for not being able to update this lovely community this week.


... Blame coldfury! Yeah! He's got this business trip thing going on that takes him out of town next week... wait, that's our excuse for NEXT week.


As for THIS week... well, Christmas has this weird expectation where you have to buy/make people these things called "gifts". So, we've been running around town grabbing these so called "gifts" and sticking them in pretty, and in some cases, shiny paper.

On a positive note though, angelcat00 showed me the way to a nostalgic opportunity: YOO-HOOs.

Yes, I had my first Yoo-hoo, since I was in my teens! It was... okay. The shaking the bottle an insane amount of times before I opened it was cool. The drink itself... was kind of malty. Eh. But still, the nostalgia alone made it worth it! Thanks, angelcat00!!

... I still want my peanut butter Snickers though. *Sniffle* Why couldn't I have been wrong about THOSE. ;_;
12 December 2005 @ 12:32 am
Back in the prime days of Improfanfic, there was a horrible error that could be made, by any author really (myself not excluded), that would bring ANY chapter to its knees. That, my friend, is the error of tense. When you're presenting action in a way that it's either happening, or has happened, it is VERY important to remain consistent in your style throughout the story. Once a style is picked, it should remain as thus, with the possible exceptions for flash forwards or flash backs, when naturally the perspective can change.

Now this chapter was PLAGUED with this problem, so badly so, infact, that it actually seeped into my summary page, and I actually put myself into past tense during the Dan/Johnny fight. I can only hope I caught the errors in full and corrected them. My apologies if I didn't.

Now, other than that, this was a very... interesting chapter. As far as the plot for the chapter went, it was very self contained, each arc not really spilling out into the others... the only exceptions being the ongoing trials and tribulations of Bart & Rico, and our 'controversial' new friend, the mysterious figure with Orochi at the beginning of the chapter.

There's been a lot of work to have Orochi built up as [the] villain of Ultra thus far, and the Orochi fight did a LOT of damage to that in this chapter. First of all, Orochi's motives are revealed to the reader as being quite petty and silly, as opposed to grandiose and malevolent in intention. And then he's... well, to put simply, punked by Sephiroth during his fight. This goes against the entire groove of 'building up' the villain. While it did a lot for Sephiroth, this felt more like a fan's reaction to Sephiroth's Robot Carnival spanking more than actual thought out plot development.

Now, to evoke a bit of Summer's style, I'm going to do a bullet point fight by fight bit.

Fight 1: Iori vs Gambit -

Gambit takes a step towards the 'Official Jobber of Ultra' as he makes yet another competent, but losing showing. Iori was shown as a fierce fighter with a lot of brute strength. I didn't really have any bones with this fight, it was fairly well written, with a small complaint as to the silliness of the whole 'Biggest Badass' title thing. What's next "CUTEST POKEMON OF ULTRA FIGHT!" ??

Fight 2: Lina vs Naga -

This was... pretty sad. This had a lot... a LOT of potential, Lina vs Naga in a bid to free her sometimes ally and friend from the Orochi's control. Instead Lina flails around with Gourry, finds out her magic can't work, and then promptly uses that magic to destroy Naga while Naga taunts instead of attacks. Did Dan suddenly possess Naga or something? And if ANYONE can explain the "My magic doesn't work but now it does" bit to me, leave a comment. This was SERIOUSLY flawed. And the suddenss and totality of Naga's defeat... it was bad, that's all I can say. Another bit of the build-up of the Orochi team dismantled a bit here.

Fight 3: Dan vs Johnny -

I... enh. I dislike that Dan won because he was powered up, but that's the fanboy in me talking. I didn't really care for Dan in this fight. Sure, he was obnoxious and stuff.. but does Dan really need to be 'possessed' to be funny? Sure, it's set up for our CONTROVERSIAL (hint) reveal coming up, but I dunno. Anyway, an alright match, if a bit much on the back to back groin shot attack (the groin shot gets to be SO overused down the line, starting here I wager, that we actually wrote in rules to cut it out).

Fight 4: Morrigan/Team Hentai -

I don't really get Happosai's sudden 'beautiful woman' power, but whatever. It was an alright match. A bit sudden on the uber-power up of Morrigan and Lilith, but I can deal with that. Though one has to wonder why they don't do that every time...

Fight 5: Ken vs Felicia -

... ... ... Well, this would explain why ifritah has been talking like the Orochi when mentioning Aaron's chapter. There was quite a bit of OOC here, as Ken again acted like Dan, throwing attacks about randomly with no target in sight. But even still, he managed to defeat Felicia as the latter 'has no formal fighting training'. Kind of a harsh stance to throw at a new fighter... it might be interesting to see if she can overcome this preset handicap in future chapters... or maybe she won't. Either way, didn't like the way this one played out.

Fight 6: Sakura vs Shingo -

Sakura gets another win due to no fault of her own. Sigh. Either way, this was at least a decently thought out fight in the way it ended, which I can't say about much of the above. Though I wish Shingo hadn't been written as an utter incompetent... is it too hard to show both fighters as skilled when writing a fight?

Fight 7: X-Team vs the Xenogears -

You know, when you're introducing two new characters you really need to SHOW what they can do. Their first fight they shouldn't fall victim to a gimmick win, loss, or (in this case) draw. Bart shows he can use a whip, and Rico shows he can bitch. And umpteen years later I still have NO idea who these people are, though at least now I've *heard* of Xenogears (a Playstation RPG). And Wolverine is constantly being shown as incompetent. Is that the only way someone can lose in Ultra? Suddenly become inept?

Fight 8: Sephiroth vs Orochi -

If anyone can tell me where this fight was set at, please comment away. Greetings Citizen sounds familiar, but that might mean I've seen it bandied about the Internet. Either way, entirely too much of the focus was on the announcers and Tarou's name, rather than the action. The end to that fight felt hackneyed, and Sephiroth even used the wrong friggin spell to win, to boot. Sigh. And I commented above about the plot damage it caused.

Overall, the writing style was rather reigned in, and some of the jokes were funny. But the tense errors, and the rather nonsensical nature of a lot of the fights turned me off a LOT. Also, a lot of energy went into Tarou, but nothing went into 'why'. The author's notes seem to indicate that we'll get a bit more of an explanation of the next chapter, but I can only hope they explain WHY Kasumi wants Tarou around to heckle the fighters.

I was amused at how Shingo thought Sakura was cute. FORESHADOWING.

Sephiroth suddenly having a mega plot was a bit jarring, to say the least. Between his ranting at Kaworu and being put over by Orochi, you can tell that the author was giving him a HUGE push for Villain of Ultra. A bit against the flow, if you ask me, which made it seem a bit disconnected from previous chapter.

Plus, Cryptic Musings. Sigh.

Ultrarage is looming, and that gives things a sense of direction, for once, that I find myself welcoming. And despite how I disliked the ending scene completely, I am curious as to who they are, so that worked at least. (Well, I remember who one of them is).

Still, not a great chapter, but there were things that worked. Sadly, many more did not. Hopefully this chapter will serve as a backdrop for the next chapter, which seems to be a tagteam of authors which will expand on concepts introduced here, strengthening them in the process with any luck.

But still... I can't help being a bit fearful of a continuation of this chapter.
Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Fight Background Music: M-flo - Astromantic : 15-reeeewind (crystal kay) (Armitage's Dimension Jpop/Anime, 16,000+ Songs, Re
11 December 2005 @ 09:37 pm
The Incredibly Long Episode!
By Aaron Peori

So I’ve been thinking about this Orochi guy. He’s this big villain grr (though apparently there’s someone more badass them him around) that I don’t know who shows up every episode. Which, you know, makes sense since he’s the presumed little bad.

The thing is, in order to get on board with the bad guy, you have to feel some kind of connection to him or her. That can be much love, hatred, lust, curiosity, what have you, but there has to be something. In my case, he’s just... there. Usually I roll my eyes when he hits the screen. Occasionally (read: once), he surprises me with something that I like, but usually I’m just eh about him. Now, for those that know Orochi, this isn’t likely the case. But for me, a baddie needs to mean something to me. And that means I have to know him. And I just... don’t. And so far, I still don’t feel like I know him. I really doubt I’ll ever feel that I will know him. Orochi just makes me think of roaches... and for some reason, right now, scrambled eggs. I want to have passion towards my baddie! I want to HATE him. Or LOVE him. Or RIP HIS CLOTHES off him. But yeah, I just want him to get me some scrambled eggs. *Waves Orochi over* "Excuse me sir, could I get a cup of hot chocolate with that? Oh, and whipped cream on top would be just divine, thank you."

Okay, enough about that! We have an author’s chapter to discuss!

Before I go any further, I just want to say one thing about this chapter: THANK YOU, Mr. Peori! THANK YOU, for taking Shinji out of this episode. May the sun shine brightly on your backyard! ... Or something. And take this moment to feel the bliss of the sun on your face, for soon a very large mallet shall take its place.

And now, onto the fights!

Fight One: Iori vs. Gambit! The fight was rather bland, though there were a few interesting twists. Personally, I didn’t get how Iori using all his power to wop Gambit all over the places so that he only had juuuuust enough power to stand up while Gambit fell down placed him the winner after Gambit tricked him with being just fine. From the sounds of it, the punch Gambit gave him should’ve dropped him to the mat like a sour pickle. ... But less slippery. I just don’t agree with the logistics here. My bias of liking Gambit, and not liking Iori aside, I still feel that this fight wasn’t logically sound.

Fight Two: Possessed!Naga vs. Lina! You know, for some reason, I was under the impression that Naga couldn’t fight in an actual Ultra match. Now, granted, my memory is awful and I very well could have made this up, but yeah, I could have sworn... Anyway! The Gourry/Naga scene before the match was lovely. It pleased me. As for the match itself? I have to go with Tarou on this one: "The only spectacular thing about it is that she managed to shut up that maniac." I had one very big problem with this. Before the match, Lina tried using a fireball and *BAM!FIZZLE* nothing. She freaks because she realizes that her magic doesn’t work on the planet she’s fighting on. And then the fight starts... to which she immediately begins a, you guessed it, SPELL. Which should NOT have worked. It’s that logistics thing again. I’m all sorts of bemused. Plus? I thought I was gonna get to see Lina fight with the Sword of Light. I feel so cheated! *Shakes fist* And lastly, Possessed!Naga was battling Goku for HOURS. GOKU. One of those Dragon Ball Z people! One spell shouldn’t have taken her down... nor do I think she’d of called for her "mommy".

Fight Three: Shin!Dan vs. Johnny Cage! ... ... ... I... I don’t know what to say. Possessing Dan is just... wrong. He’s the clown of the show that makes you giggle at how cute and silly he is. But possessing him so he’ll win a match? It seems... well, cheap. Maybe I’m too old-fashioned, but if the silly man is gonna win, he should win based on HIM. Hell, he can win by drawing a picture of his opponent and it stuns the person so much that they fall down dumbfounded for all I care! Or maybe I’m just annoyed at all the possession going on in this series. As it was, this fight just left a bad taste in mouth. *Snaps her fingers* Yo! Orochi! Get your ass over here with that hot chocolate, bitch!

Fight Four: Morrigan/Lillith vs. Happosai/Ataru! ... Eh. Fight was all right. It was just your regular Joe fight. Not much to say. I, uh, didn’t hate it?

Fight Five: Felicia vs. Ken! [...] [...] [...] *Breaks her pencil and storms off calling the author all sorts of obscenities*

*Comes back* Ahem. Let me try that again. What I meant to say was, this fight was… wrong. Plain and simple. The Ken doing his Dragon Punch at air was cute and all, but the calling Felicia a non-fighter that couldn’t keep up with Ken was so not EVEN true. Tell you what, you bring Ken over to the Darkstalkers game and when I kick your ass using her, we’ll SEE who isn’t a real fighter! *Breaks another pencil and walks out of the room*

*Comes back... and coughs* That is, *her voice goes down a notch for professionalism* The fight displayed in this portion of chapter six of Ultra had a downside that could not be overlooked. Although Ken Masters is certainly a worthy fighter, Felicia was undoubtedly capable of putting up a fair and strong match. There.

Fight Six: Shingo vs. Sakura! ... Why is Sakura still here? At the very least, can the girl win a fight fair and square. I mean, seriously.

Fight Seven: Rico/Bart vs. Wolverine/Shadowcat! Rico and Bart... Who ARE these people? I'm just picturing Bart from Vandread in my head when all of this is happening... with B.C.'s whip... and weirdness ensues.

Fight Eight: Sephiroth vs. Orochi! Orochi lost! I’d of cared more... except I just... well, didn’t. Like Orochi, it was just... there. But hey, at least Sephiroth got his smack on. And as long as Orochi can still bring me my eggs, I’m cool with it. I guess. Sure, why the hell not!

All in all... I really didn’t like this chapter. Logistics were off, unknown people from other planets are popping up, Felicia was beaten by KEN of all people... Yeah, I was not pleased. However, since I am benevolent, I do have a few positive notes to pipe in:

General positive notes:

* I can’t help it, that Energizer Pikachu commercial cracked me up!

* The Pantyhose Tarou stuff was good. I can’t recall how his personality is in the show since it’s been so long since I’ve seen him, but it worked for me.

Rating: *Ignores her benevolence* I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.
Mood: morosemorose
Fight Background Music: Maroon 5 - "Harder to Breathe"
It's Midnight. It's dark, it's cold, and there's a lot of helluva tough people out there in the world. Do you know where YOUR children are? That's right, they're reading Magical Troubleshooting Crossover Fighting Federation Ultra: The Summary!


Chapter Six of Ultra was written by Aaron Peori(aka Epsilon, no LJ known) (side note: I'm really behind on emailing authors. Gotta do that.)

If ominous music playing could be playing in the background as we trek into the start of the chapter, it would, as Orochi has a discussion with a mysterious individual who considers the Orochi an inferior, if impressive, being of evil! Who could this magnificent master of malice be? Maybe we'll find out later. As they part ways, with an ominous deal sort of in place... we fade to China... and find someone willing to sneer in the face of God! (pleasant opening, this) And more startling, Kasumi has a favor to ask!

And we're off into the opening maelstrom of announce-dom! We get our first rumbling of a mysterious event called "UltraRage", while Kasumi reveals to Nabiki that the favor she asked for previously was that of guest commentary! And soon we're introduced to our third announcer of the evening Tarou (Ranma 1/2)!! As Daisuke almost spills the beans on Tarou's full name, he finds himself on the receiving end of a love tap by Tarou, a fierce fighter in his own right. As Daisuke bleeds quietly into the announcer's table, the match begins!

Gambit and Iori exchange 'pleasantries', and Iori is wise enough to remember Ken's mistake a few episodes back and ignore Gambit's outstretched hand. As the match began in earnest, it seemed as if we might be doomed to a fireball fight, as they exchange riot of the blood and kinetically charged cards between each other. However, as the match got more intense, Iori actually managed to snap Gambit's staff in twain, leaving the Cajun at a bit of a disadvantage. Pressing his tactical advantage, Iori trapped Gambit in the corner and laid into him with a flurry of attacks. Just when all was thought to be lost, Gambit managed to flip over Iori and smash him into a kinetically charged corner post. While damaging the ring with an explosion, it was effective in downing Iori, if only temporarily. Gambit too, seemed worse for the wear as the fight continued, and Iori's sheer tenacity got him the win... and the not so important "Biggest Badass in Ultra" title.

Backstage we're re-introduced to Yotsuya (sigh), and he quickly butts in and tries to interview a departing Iori. However, before Iori can lay into the annoying micstand, Yashiro shows up with Shermie, and the two argue. Before any violence can be had, the Orochi appears and declares that Iori is his harbinger, and thus not to be harmed. The discussion breaks up, as Shermie hints that the pair might be joining Ultra in an official capacity as Lambda fighters in the near future.

Motrin commercial using the Gambit/Iori fight!

The announcers introduce our next match, a long running grudge match between Lina Inverse and Naga the Black Serpent! We find Lina on yet ANOTHER sand covered planet, to which she is less than pleased, and with traveling companion Gourry! In the course of their conversation, they discover that Lina's magic doesn't work in this strange environ! As Naga appears and Touga announces, the match begins! And inexplicably, while Naga pulls a rather fine Dan and taunts her opponent to death, Lina launches into a Dragon Slave! Doesn't her magic not work here??

And we're introduced to two... uh, sombodies. Bart and Rico (Xenogears) are flying their gears towards the scene of the battle! Meanwhile, Lina's Dragon Slave knocks out Naga immediately.

So much for the power of [Hate]. And, uh, Lina's magic not working there?

Energizer Pikachu commercial!

Yotsuya interviews Lina, who fails to explain how her Magic Switch went from Off to On in the battle. And then Bart and Rico grab her! After a bit of chest grabbing, Lina fireballs the entire interview platform into ashes, sending our two errant guests skyward and out of sight.

Next, we're backstage as Dan prepares for his match! The mighty Dan! The Stone Cold Dan! The absolutely screwed Dan as the mysterious figure from the start of the episode punks him! Ah, well. Mysterious beam has hit Dan, what will it do to our favorite Saikyo master?

Johnny Cage enters the ring, but not before plaugerizing Bret the Hitman Hart's entrance poses. He was met by a TRANSFORMED Dan... Dan of the Arousal of Unpleasant Intent... Shin Dan! As this new, Evil! Dan stages his taunts, the announcers wondered what this would do for the formerly power-challenged fighter! They got their answer as Dan and Johnny leap into it. Dan's Gadouken is adequate in blocking Johnny's fireball, and they launch into fisticuffs! As the fight escalates, Johnny unveils his most powerful technique, the NUT CRACKER (I named it myself). Dan is pained, but launches into a super uppercut just as Johnny launches an aerial assault, resulting in a BALL BUSTING KORYUUKEN (I really have to stop naming the attacks). Both fighters stand after a moment of silence, Dan having taken a blow to the head in the mayhem. Dan launches a dazzling finishing move... the SHINKUU GADOUKEN... and nearly finishes himself as the super charged ball of ki energy exploded in front of him after dropping to the mat.

But Dan isn't done! As Johnny winces from the pain of laughing at Dan's shortcomings, Dan launches into an incredibly long named attack that breaks nearly every bone in his body! Despite the self injury, he manages to belly flop onto Johnny's already injured form, knocking the Mortal Kombatant out cold. Dan is a winner!

As the stage hands sweep the two fighters backstage for medical treatment, Sephiroth gives Yotsuya the pleasure of an interview! As Yotsuya makes inquires to Sephiroth about his motives in being in Ultra, the Bishounen waxes philosophical in response. Kaworu seemed a bit unnerved and attempted to out cryptic Sephiroth in a duel of words!

Next up is a match between those who had hands and would use them, and those who had breasts and would try not to let them be grabbed! Team Hentai versus Team Aensland for the Lambda title. However, Tarou seems somewhat unnerved by the involvement of Happosai, who apparently had once been Tarou's master, and also threatens to reveal Tarou's full name.

As the match begins, it appears as if Team Hentai has a heavy advantage. Tarou and Ataru explain that Happosai has the ability to become stronger by absorbing the power off of beautiful women's auras, and they don't come much more packed in the looks department than Morrigan and Lilith. Lilith finally tags out, only to have Happosai tag Ataru in at the same time.

But what's this? Happosai and Ataru both stay in the ring and go for the team up! The Feared DOUBLE GLOMP. Morrigan shakes off the perverts, and extends a hand to Lilith. The two succubi fuse into one being... Liligan (any relation to Gilligan?) and finish Ataru with a giant Soul Eraser that also destroys the ring! Kasumi decides that as the legal man in the ring Ataru has lost the match for the two morally questionable fighters.

And then we have our first look at UltraRage Alpha: Rumble at the Pearly Gates! It looks like a real slobberknocker of an event! (/J.R.)

We're then back, and our ring has been replaced (quick stage techs)!

We're introduced to our fighters, Felicia versus Ken Masters! Ken launches into a flurry of attacks... apparently not aimed in any particular direction. Felicia counter attacks, which seems to jar Ken into the fight. Ken then replies with a series of rapid attacks that send Felicia flying back into the corner! Tarou declares the match decided, as Ken tries to solicit a surrender from the cat-girl. Felicia perseveres, and fights on! But not for long, as Ken launches into a fierce hurricane kick super that ends the match!

Backstage, Ken arrives post-match and begins a very bizarre, non-related to Ultra interview with Yotsuya that does nothing but stall for the entrance of Shingo and Ranma. Ranma is lecturing Shingo about some of his moves, when Ken steps up to challenge Ranma for next week's show... if Ranma doesn't lose to Sakura this week, that is.

Before Ranma can fully form his retort, a sudden crashing nose erupts, interrupting him. Bart and Rico come crashing through the ceiling, landing on poor Ranma's melon not once, but twice. An argument erupts as Bart and Rico defend their haphazard return to earth as Lina's previous fireball had knocked them quasi-orbital. Rico's anger at the situation overwhelms him, however, and he tears into his 'friend' Bart.

And that's when God shows up. Shingo volunteers to fight in Ranma's stead to defend his honor, while Kasumi approaches Rico and Bart to discuss current events!

And then we're ringside, as we're introduced to the first Shingo/Sakura meeting! Already checking her out as early as episode six, Shingo is impressed by his opponents... stance. Yes, her stance. Shingo attempts a fierce attack as he copies Ranma's style for this match. His lightning fists are slightly sub par, however, and Sakura easily dodges and counters. Sakura presses the attack and keeps up with her aggressive stance, as Shingo darts about, dodging and leading Sakura into some sort of trap. Then it's revealed, Shingo is using one of Rama's ultimate techniques! However, he seems to get the basics of it mixed up, and ends up KO'ing himself with Ranma's hurricane uppercut finisher!

And for our final Lambda fight of the evening, we have a bit of a bait and switch! Wolverine and Shadowcat have accepted the general challenge issued out to the newest fighters of the Lambda division! Yashiro and Shermie appear at the top of the ramp, but appear to be... uh... finding their seats? Rico and Bart are our new competitors!

Bart starts us out, showing his prowess of the whip as he promptly sends his whip at Kitty Pryde! She's unaffected, obviously, having phased out in time to dodge the blow, but hey, A for Effort! The match continues as thus, with Bart on the losing end of things, until he realizes that Shadowcat can't be intangible when she strikes him! One defensive ki attack later, and Shadowcat is blasted back into the ropes! Tagging out, Wolverine then smashes Bart into his corner, where the large and in charge Rico takes possession of the match from his partner!

And then... they act like a couple of old hens and compare 'poor me stories'.

For the rest of the match.

Dazzling entrance by new fighters, I tell you.

It's the return of Yotsuya! The man is an unstoppable, ColdFury torturing BEAST, I tell you! He's interviewing Orochi, quizzing him as to the Orochi's reasons for entering Ultra.

... Kasumi asked him. And he agreed, so long as he could kill people. Wha -? Kasumi agreed to let him.. wha? *sighs* And why would he need to join a tournament to kill people... couldn't he just go stomp Tokyo? Or did Godzilla have it booked full this year? *mutter*

ANYWAY, we're back to real time, and start our Omega match as Sephiroth and Orochi go at it in some unidentifiable (to me) Omega setting! Sephiroth and Orochi clash in a battle of mystic proportions... as our announcers tangle with the local... uh... clones? The mysterious 'Computer' running things in this locale reveals Tarou's accursed name... Pantyhose Tarou! In response Tarou reveals his very own Nerima curse, and turns into a giant flying minotaur thing! He then proceeds to trash the city!

Meanwhile, the actual fight is occurring, as Orochi and Sephiroth have proven themselves equal badasses. They attack each other at the same instance, but Sephiroth has something that Orochi doesn't... Defensive magic! (Doesn't Shield block physical attacks? Shouldn't Shell be the appropriate spell here?)

Sephiroth impales the God of [Hate] on the Masamune, and blasts him with magical energy! He discards the fallen God, and issues a warning to the Omega champ, Shinji Ikari! Sephiroth means business!

And then we're back to our controversial mysterious figure, who is unleashing a mysterious creature! The foul creature tries to destroy the figure (confusing, ain't it) and then the two laugh maniacally together!

And we're done!

Recap Flashback!

][ IORI YAGAMI declared BIGGEST BAD@$$ in Gamma.
][ OMEGA MATCH 1: LINA INVERSE defeats NAGA, now 2W/1L
][ GAMMA MATCH 4: SAKURA defeats SHINGO, now 3W/OL
06 December 2005 @ 09:23 pm
Tuesday Night CHAOS!
By John Evans

Ah, Yoo-hoos. That brings back memories. Like Peanut Butter Snickers. Ever have one of those? Ever have one of those with a Yoo-hoo? Mm, heaven. Of course, the commerce bastards took both away and now I'm rather sad, but I'll try not to dwell on that. ... At least, I believe Yoo-hoos have come and gone. If they're still around, someone let me know! *Sniffle* Now I want a Peanut Butter Snickers.

*Cough* Right, so the story! First off, I enjoyed the off-camera scenes immensely. Very funny and put me in the right mood to read about lots of people getting their asses kicked! Speaking of which, let's talk fights!

Fight One: Kunou vs. Johnny Cage! MARIO! As a referee! I LIKE it! But as for the fight as a whole: *Dies laughing* Hot damn, that was hilarious! I thoroughly enjoyed it! And there's a lot of exclamation points in this paragraph so far!! Both fighters are good in my book, the dialogue and fighting in general was very well done, and Kunou winning by cheating (albeit not his personal cheating) was so very suiting considering how his defeat by Sakura went down. More closure! YAY. (Even BETTER, the author is cool enough to show how Kunou is not at all pleased with Kodachi’s interference/cheating on his behalf. *Beams*) Also? Mr. Cage getting in trouble for not calling out his moves was awesome.

Fight Two: Gambit vs. David! Or, uh, I should say Gambit vs. Possessed!David! I’m not really sure how to feel about this fight. I
mean, on the one hand, I'm sad that Gambit lost due to, umm, weird circumstances, but on the other, it was nifty to see how the underdog was gonna take the match. ... Even if it was weird. I don’t really understand the harbinger thing with Orochi, but I do hope that that doesn’t mean that David’s eyes will wind up being cut out. (Yes, I really do watch too much Buffy) The fight itself was eh, but the author must’ve been doing something right since I thought Sakura and David were cute at the end there. (And considering the amount of hatred I have for Sakura, that’s saying something.)

Fight Three: Sephiroth vs. Shinji (Eva)! Robot Carnival... *Face palms* The sad part is, is that I’ve SEEN that anime. You know, I’m thinking I’m just prejudice all around on these Eva fights that always win, since I’ve never seen the show. ... And my distaste for mechas in general. I could be wrong, but it just seems that I wrinkle my nose when I see Shinji’s name and then sigh when he once again takes the match from a character I love. Bad Shinji, no cookie!

Fight Four: Sakura vs. Sofia – sexiness! Okay, before I go any further, I need to get this out. *Takes in a breath* EW. EW EW EW. The idea of Sakura being anywhere near sexy (let alone sexual) makes my skin crawl. There. Okay, now that that’s out of the way... I thought the idea of this was quite creative. A break from the regular fighting, which is always nice. I knew Sakura was going to win, of course, it’s just the way these things go, and that made me sad. ... Mainly because Sakura winning a sexy contest horrifies me on all sorts of levels. But that’s that prejudice talking again. Anyway, prejudice aside, good fight! ... Even if Sakura in a leather fuku made me want to vomit.

Fight Five: Andy/Mai vs. Morrigan/Lillith! I wasn’t sure who I wanted to win, since I adore both teams. But the way it went down was appropriate, I think. Mai making sure her man doesn’t fight the sexy succubi! Hee hee. Oh, and the little Mai-carena dance? *Snicker* Beautiful! (Hey, I can’t help myself, I’m a Xanth fan. We love our puns!)

Fight Six: Ash/Pikachu vs. Ataru/Hopposai! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed reading this fight. Kunou! You’re getting closure from all over the place! ... Okay, maybe it’s my closure, but yeah! Just the fact that Ash and Pikachu got theirs was great enough, but on TOP of that, the author was fabulous enough to bring up the very important fact that I mentioned a chapter review or so ago: Hopposai is a MASTER martial artist! He may be a pervert, but that doesn’t mean he can’t kick ass!

Fight Seven: Orochi vs. Lina! You know, I had this feeling Orochi was gonna win (hey, maybe I’m psychic!), and I was planning on being upset about it... but I wasn’t. The line about Lina using her badass trick (implying that she does every battle, which she has) because Orochi knows she wants to, made me sway to allowing his victory. I... I couldn’t help it. I’ve been won over by snarky dialogue!

Fight Eight: Shingo vs. Ranma! *Blink* Wow. That was... rather cool. Instead of seeing Shingo get his ass kicked this side from Tuesday, the man is humble enough to ask Ranma for help. I LIKE it!

Fight Nine: Dan vs. Felicia! Eeeeeeeeee! *Runs around in circles and then licks the author* You gave me Felicia! Wo ai ni!! Granted, there wasn’t an onscreen fight (though the way it was done was quite funny), but FELICIA! Versus Dan! It’s like Super Puzzle Fighter 2! *Falls onto a fluffy cloud and sighs contentedly* Oh, and also? coldfury? I WIN! ^_^_v

General Notes:

* Little baby in-jokes from the different animes/video games was a nice touch. (‘Finish him’ for Johnny Cage, falling over for the Ranma gang, etc.)

* I know this sounds weird, but considering how many fights are happening every episode, I must say, I LOVE the fact that each of these fights was short and sweet. Even ones I wasn’t as into were much more appreciated due to being within my small attention span limits.

* Cracks up at the last line of the episode. PERFECT ending! *Envisions Felicia and Ranma fighting... and begins cackling*

All in all, I’d say this is my favorite chapter thus far. There were a couple things I didn’t particularly like, but that’s just people. We’re all crabby about this or that. But on the whole, it was highly yummy. I was thoroughly entertained, amused, and at times, elated.

Rating: One Sephiroth in a black, leather fuku and five Ultra fighters doing the Mai-carena.
Mood: contentcontent
Fight Background Music: 30 Seconds to Mars - "Welcome to the Universe"
That's right! We're here for the Ultra Monday Midafternoon Barmitzvah! (wow, these Madlibs really work) In our previous chapter I touched on how there's a balance to the 'standing the coin on the edge' act of writing Ultra, where one side of the coin is action, and one side of the coin is plot & character, where the coin often tips way or the other pretty dramatically and almost never lands on the exact edge.

This week's chapter, by John Evans, lands with the action side face up, but it did that little toilet bowl spin for awhile before it settled on it, to extend the analogy about a sentence or two too far. But seriously, while this was an action packed chapter with NINE total fights (though some had notable exceptions) everything fit very well with the framework that was given to it.

This chapter was VERY subtle, and I'll be blunt, I loved it. Tons of the existing plots of Ultra were touched on, however briefly, and many were pushed ahead. Kasumi, for once, seems to have a definitive objective, some reason for forming Ultra beyond what has been stated. She's pushing and pulling at all these threads ever so delicately... it's a beautiful scenario that John plays wonderfully. Kasumi is everywhere, politely prodding and pushing, and just being generally nice to everyone she comes into contact with.

Sakura gets a full-fledged arc or two with the developments of this chapter. Orochi continues his climb of trouncing heroes to become the ubervillain of Ultra. Team Hentai is well used twice in the same chapter, for God's sake. The love was spread around, and off hand I can't think of more than one or two combatants who didn't at least make an appearance as even people not fighting this episode chipped in a line or two.

The first fight, in my opinion was very strong and set a lot of the attitude for the latter fights. It had a strong sense of rhythm, speed, and intensity that was kept up for most of the chapter. It was full of action, but interjected with enough humor and jokes to keep it festive. Hiroshi and Daisuke were nailed dead on with their balances hyperactivity and apathy, without going over the top on either one, both here and through the rest of the chapter.

For a change of pace, despite not knowing who the hell he was, despite having read a couple of the L5R books, I really dug the guest announcer. He wouldn't have been as interesting if he was a regular, but for a change of pace a lot of the 'seer' jokes worked well, and kept the exchange with Hiroshi amusingly unpredictable.

Finally, the two cut away gags of the episode were hilarious. Both were paced differently, and normally I'd have a hard time swallowing the same gag twice in the same chapter, but these were set just right. The off camera seduction match while Kasumi and Nabiki talked, and then the cut away for the timing of the joke Dan loss, however bruising to my pride as a Dan Fan, were both set up quite humorously.

As far as my favorite character development this chapter, I think I'm going to have to give the nod to Sakura. I'm starting to wonder if I'm biased or if it's just the amount of scenes she's getting, but she's definitely the nod here for having the most hooks. From her struggling with her... uh.. sexual? Dark? I don't know side... to the secret admirer bit... to the play with David... and finally the unsure conversation with God, she just seemed to go through a whirlwind of development.

As far as additions? Touga & Tron didn't bug me at all, especially in comparison to the previous episodes' support staff add ons. Both were used quite sparingly and well throughtout the chapter. I was a bit hurt by 'Who the heck is Touga?' , but a quick google said Utena, and really, that explained it all if you've ever seen five seconds of Utena. Tron was a good idea, though she is heavily marred by the Mega Man headache she caused down the line... but that's an explanation for another day, and not in any way John's fault. Also, I think the idea of a somewhat competent security chief did cause problems in that writers often had to 'write around' Tron when it came to having in ring hijinks.

Overall, an excellent chapter, and aside from possibly the insane amount of fights in this segment, it is a perfect example on 'How to...' when it comes to Ultra.

Oh, and kudos for keeping all of the above and adding a few 'mark out' moments where a character just does something completely cool (at least if you're a fan of the character), like the moment where Goku appeared and stopped Orochi's deathblow to Lina. Things like that fit the 'Sports Entertainment' genre to a T, and were just as well executed as the rest of the chapter.
Mood: impressedimpressed
Fight Background Music: move - Blast My Desire