Goemon Ishikawa XIII: The Samurai That Cuts All

As of today, on December 2nd, 2019. It’s been reported that Makio Inoue, a voice actor known for voicing Goemon Ishikawa from Lupin the 3rd for over thirty years has passed away at the age of eighty. Now while he is not the first voice actor for the character as he picked up the role in Part II, this voice became the voice for the character. Lupin the 3rd Part II was the show that kicked Lupin into the legacy it has today. Part I was cancelled before finishing and because of reruns it got a second shot with a new show. This new series gave more focus to the overall cast compared to the previous series and did present a stronger sense of comedy. Along with that it still kept in mind what changes the first show had which was paint the characters in a better light. This new spotlight easily gave these characters a longer life in the media and with that gave these voice actors a whole lot of work. One of those being Makio Inoue who went on to voice the iconic samurai from 1977 until 2010 with the short special Lupin the 3rd Last Job which was also the last time for Goro Naya, voice of Zenigata and Eiko Masuyama, voice of Fujiko Mine. These voices are big and important to the history of these characters so to tribute Makio, let us just look at his history with the character and maybe some other things along the way too. 

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Before getting to voice the samurai, he was doing some smaller roles on pieces like Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. His first role with a proper name came with Prince Frank from the Princess Knight series. Then came 1977 with Lupin the 3rd getting a second chance with a new show and Inoue got the role of the fourth member of the group. Now one thing people will notice about Goemon at times is that he is rather silent and could not even get some major presence in certain episodes. A show like Lupin is all about amazing the viewer with wonder of treasure, heists, and what else can come up in the life of thieves. Goemon Ishikawa himself is one of those amazements. Part II really highlighted Goemon with the Zantetsuken sword while it was noted to do amazing feats before, this show made sure to show that. Goemon sliced about anything into pieces and did it under insane time limits as well. For that reason alone, they had to make sure to not overdue things and save him for some great moments. 

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When a voice actor has to deal with a character like Goemon, a simple grunt becomes extremely important. Goemon is brought to life thanks to some simple sounds at times. Inoue knew how to make Ishikawa express many emotions through those sounds. On top of that any samurai is found in intense fights so that idea of grunts and simple sounds is enlightened even more during duels. It’s like watching an action film and hearing how intense a fighter is, for a voice actor they follow the same principle, luckily, they don’t deal with stunt work though. Then when Goemon does get to have some lines or even comedic moments, Inoue knows how to make the character feel so reserved still. The lines are quick to the point, which yes, I know that is thanks to a writer, but the voice actor still has to deliver them and know how fast to say them too. It’s a reason like that; he got to continue the role for the character until his retirement, his voice became part of the image. 

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Another role that Makio got to do right before continuing more on Lupin was Captain Harlock, a huge name in the anime world. Starting as the character in 1978 he got to continue this role until 1998. A space pirate character is a huge jump compared to a samurai in the modern world and yet the performance still stands so strong. The aspect of silence still held important for this role as Harlock is no coward in the face of danger and risks his life in many encounters. The captain can have a strong stance and a strong glare, but if the voice was off, that image would crumble. Many of his previous performances helped to make sure he landed this role down perfectly. Then as we see it still holds true to many people that he still stands as the Captain Harlock. 

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Continuing in the 80’s is when we reach the Part III era of the show where the whole cast from Part II returns. From this point onward the only actor that passed away was Yamada who played as Lupin in the 90’s. Kenichi Narata soon picked up the role and his time starting out was probably not easy. The man recently noted that the cast was like a family welcoming him in. He said Inoue was his senior that kept him a kind man. In a way you have to think that the character can live on in an actor especially when they do it for so long. Goemon Ishikawa XIII was an honorable samurai that wanted to surpass Lupin one of these days. Even if he helps in heists, he never truly kills unless it was a duel or fighting someone, he thought was not good of heart. Goemon also had trouble slicing down a woman at times since most of the ones he comes across with are harmless. Goemon also held pride with how he stood true to himself and respected Lupin as a man who got to live life freely. It seems the samurai did that to the new thief in red way back in the 90’s and onwards. 

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Goemon over the years as a character got to change and grow. Even with a new voice actor there is a new presence with the samurai. The current voice for Goemon is Daisuke Namikawa and some of the work he has been given recently put Goemon to the test. Like in Goemon Splash of Blood where his pride gets destroyed and he trains until the day he can restore it. Then in Lupin Part V, Goemon has to question if he is truly Lupin’s friend or just another tool. He then had to see if he can finally defeat the thief and when he won, it came with regret. 

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Inoue had similar moments before where he thought he had mutual love with a woman from his tribe, but ends up betraying him in Dragon of Doom. Goemon did slay her, but he still felt sorrow from doing this. Most of Goemon’s most famous moments do deal with women as some are true to their word and help the samurai only feel more encouraged to help. Goemon with women though is that he is quite shy around them or even has a bit of a weakness at times. Inoue completely changes the voice for him so well at these moments where he is still quick to the point, but in a more dodge the question type of personality. This even leads to some of his most comedic moments where he can get quite loud at times because he tries to fight his inner desires. In the end, Goemon is a good samurai that deserves to get a bit of affection every now and then. 

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Now there is what awaits the samurai in the future for Lupin Part VI and many movies still to come up like Lupin the 3rd: The First. While we await new things for the character, we also still look back on the character’s past. Makio Inoue has so much work done with the character that is near impossible to think of Goemon without him. How the character grew through time along with the actor, these two were inseparable because of that. They both got to witness the amazing adventures of being alongside Lupin and put input in their own special ways. The Zantetsuken sword may have lost of its true wielders, but it will always continue to slice through the night sky with new hands. Thank you, Makio Inoue. 

Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes: A Love For Video Games Part 5: Serious Moonlight/Damned Dark Knight

What odd timing I had for this post. The time of spooks is upon us and it’s time to cover the scariest section of Travis Strikes Again. This was a huge eye opener for many fans of Grasshopper Manufacture. I still remember being in New Hampshire and waiting for my digital copy to be ready to play. I got some time with the game and then I see the release trailer for the game. I decided to check it out and for a split second, I saw Garcia Hotspur, the protagonist of Shadows of the Damned. We already knew of previous Grasshopper characters returning at this point, mostly in the visual novel sections though. At most they were Silver Case characters like Kamui, Shiroyabu, and Kusabi. The Silver Case was the beginning of Grasshopper and I bet Suda holds it with cherish. This is why seeing Garcia back was shocking since Shadows of the Damned as a horror story behind the scenes. What does Suda have in store for this damned production?

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What opens Serious Moonlight would be the Travis Strikes Back section and… it really did not beat around the bush. The character in question is Damon Riccitello where that name is a combination of two important figures for a company called Electronic Arts (EA). The first part of the name Damon is shared with Damon Slye who made the first original title from EA for the Amiga (an old PC gaming machine) and then the last name being shared with John Riccitiello, the CEO at the time during the time when Suda came to the company to publish, what was originally called Kurayami before being changed into Shadows of the Damned. The man Damon was simply a developer for the company in the game. This game was being led by Dr. Juvenile the woman Travis keeps learning more and more about and a possible Suda insert. The woman would keep giving ideas and ideas, but a man like Damon really had no idea how to work with them making the development a hassle. Damon and other workers decided to reject the director in the end and create their own game which lead the project being cancelled, but Damon was not done yet. He wanted to see this project come out and so to get the Death Ball from the woman annoying him, he beat her so hard until she lost consciousness.

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Now that was probably the darkest turn Travis Strikes Again had to offer and the real-life parallels with this are really on the nose. Now let’s just set this straight, no one got physically hurt during the production of Shadows of the Damned, this was all heavy metaphors. Suda had this idea to create a new horror game alongside Shinji Mikami (which is funny that this game comes up now considering Killer Marathon didn’t actually happen so the last game that was played would have been Golden Dragon GP) and needed a publisher. EA soon made a partnership with Suda to see Kurayami come to light… well darkness to be accurate. EA had a hard time understanding the project the further they got in though; and started to add more of their members to the project to make sure the game suited a mainstream feel. Suda was not even the director of the title anymore and just became a writer. Suda has even mentioned it took several scripts for one to finally get approved, which I think that is the where the beating metaphor comes in. Suda having to beat his head around to make a game script that is good to hand over for these guys.

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Suda had many frustrations with this project which Shinji Mikami talked about before, but not Suda himself. This really felt like Suda finally getting something off his chest of the time Suda tried to get his company into the bigger ball game and looking for those big publishers to help him out. After EA, Suda got publishers like Warner Brothers and Kadowaka Games to publish Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer is Dead which the only one having any sort of development issues would be adding the gigolo mode to Killer is Dead to get the sex appeal that Lollipop Chainsaw had that made Kadowaka happy. Still that previous encounter is nothing like the treatment Kurayami got where a horror game with barely any weapons and wanted to ooze the horrors of the mind got changed into a third person shooter with tons of gore, sexual humor, and of course GUNS! Then even when the game got released, EA barely even advertised it, the publisher had no hope for this game and left it to die even if reviews were actually kind to it. For a series of looking into the love of video games, this seems to be a huge major outlier, but Suda has his own surprises coming up.

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Onto the actual game itself, it opens up with Shadows of the Damned. Garcia Fucking Hotspur (actual name) is driving down the long road running away from the army of the damned. Garcia finally meets his match though as Fleming’s (the previous villain) son comes and tries to off him for good. Garcia has a last second decision to toss Johnson away and gives the world a new fighter of the Damned, Eight Hearts. So, it seems that Garcia is dead and he was killed by what looked like the original concept of his character. A man fully dressed in a tux and baring the same scar Garcia has, so the forgotten concept art comes back to take his role from the looks of it. Then you get to see the title Serious Moonlight gets covered in mud or feces and then the title Damned Dark Knight appears.

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Travis Touchdown coming into this world remembers the game, Shadows of the Damned and is a big fan of it actually. He still had some snark to throw at the game, but he still heavily enjoyed it. Then while Travis is exploring this game, he gets to hear some flack and background on the game from the Bugxtra and White Sheepman. The first interesting take is Bugxtra talking about how the idea of Serious Moonlight was not ready for today’s technology. Easily a reference to how this was Suda’s first time working with the Unreal Engine and Shadows of the Damned had some rough times with rendering in the end. Even Damned Dark Knight has rendering issues, could be accidental, but with how things are lining up it seems on purpose. What makes this seem intentional is because the whole game world is the most straight forward one in the game. Shadows of the Damned did have some minigames, but in the end you are always going on a straight path for the most part. The maze section is even a joke towards how much you just backtrack to just get forward. The White Sheepman even takes a blow to the writing of Damned which Suda was the head writer of, showing that he even noticed a flaw with the finally accepted script. There was even a mention of a big boss battle being built up to just being a 2D minigame in the end. There is even a change of perspective since Travis came out and said he felt bad for Garcia and then the Sheepman makes Paula to be the grieving character and saying Garcia and Johnson took on too much they could handle, implying they were quite idiotic.

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Reminding me of issues Shadows of the Damned had it even seems Juvenile had issues working with the Unreal Engine. The one before this actual Death Ball game was an unfinished game. The area had pure white textures, random items, still keeping the usual NPCs and ramen joint. This game even held a secret that a developer had to reveal to get people knowing of it. Still knowing that Damned was Grasshopper’s first run with Unreal Engine and while this engine is being used for Travis Strikes Again and many other games now these days, it has a bit of a legacy of being hard to use on the first go. This was then true for Japanese developers since they took a bit longer than other teams to work with it. On top of that, many were not as successful in using the engine like Guilty Gear Xrd or even Mortal Kombat 9. This is even the same engine that Ninja Theory always had trouble getting sixty frames per second for their titles which lead to the infamous DmC reboot only being thirty frames. I would also love to point out that Travis’ default shirt says “Unreal killing wasted resources and its awesome.” Quite funny that Travis and Badman are killing game worlds all while in the Unreal Engine the engine that is one of the reasons that lead to Shadows of the Damned downfall.

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With all being said there are some snippets of some relief for the Damned protagonist, Travis is usually giving the guy and the game some credit. Travis even beat the game three times. Sure, he was annoyed by not having all the weapons on a new game plus file. Travis just uses that as an idea for a port for the game, hence he wants to play it again. Then while Garcia is not fully present in this boss fight, there is still his partner, Johnson. The use of Johnson here is Suda giving new life to this character. Originally there were no plans of using Damned in the slightest. Then when seeing the boss designs from Boneface, Suda saw the man with the cage around his skull and just thought of Johnson. It is interesting that Suda himself would even consider Shadows of the Damned in all of this, but he actually does hold some warm feelings to the project that some might not think.

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Suda has said he got to do something new with all of the revisions of Kurayami being changed into Shadows of the Damned. The one thing he never really got to write before was a love story which he has now done with Garcia and Paula. The man put his own twist on this type of story by Garcia being oblivious to the real dangers in front of him and showing how dangerous love can be. On top of that while the project was a nightmare, for the people who played the game for the first time both fans of Suda and newcomers, loved the characters Garcia and Johnson. Sure, these two did not come out like Suda intended (especially Johnson who was only created when the project was Shadows of the Damned), but they are still his creations. He put hard time making them into who they are and he does feel proud for doing that and sticking with the project till the bitter end. There are even mentions of this game getting a port or even a sequel of some kind in Travis Strikes Again, Suda wants to give it another go since there are genuine fans of this game. It’s not fair to leave them out of this celebration of Grasshopper’s history even if some times were not originally good times for Suda himself.

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Shadows of the Damned was a trip into the deepest parts of hell which Suda himself got to experience the hell of a publisher taking over a project. With Travis Strikes Again though, Travis already starts in Hell and gets himself out of it to fight Eight Hearts. Travis even gets the skull headed boss motivated enough to go and save Garcia from Fleming’s son. Travis get back to the beginning of Damned to kickstart up a new adventure or even a port at least. The future of No More Heroes is looking bright right now so hopefully Travis gave some of that luck to Garcia and Johnson and maybe they could achieve more darkness to obtain the old idea of Kurayami. The accepting of one’s demons can make someone stronger as they say and next time, Travis himself will have to see that when he takes on the C.I.A.

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What Makes Devil May Cry Cool: DmC Devil May Cry

Alright time to finish this look into the Devil May Cry franchise (until DMC6 is a thing) with the reboot of the franchise. Now I am not here to talk about the development of the game the whole time. I am here to dissect this game and see what makes it cool. I did it for Devil May Cry 2 so I think this game should give me an easier time. DMC2 has no emotion and this reboot is full of many loud emotions, a bit too loud nearly all the time. Also, the reboot came in an interesting time period so this game has a bit of a time capsule feel to it and is helpful to know this in what this title tried to do. Now I will be using my personal nicknames for some of these characters or ones I am going to make up right now for this post. Expect to hear all the Donte names possible here because I am not a fan of this character like many are. Still without bias I have to find what makes not only this character cool in some eyes, but the entire game as well. 

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To start things off the first thing I want to bring up is the original Donte in that trailer that everyone got mad about. This is going to be a hot take right here, but I personally feel that this character would have been far better if we got the original version. Now do I agree this is Dante? Hell no! This would still be a strange twist on the character regardless. Still I think the Donte we got in the end was just your usual bland protagonist of his time. This British punk feels more alive with gothic tones added to him compared to a kid that pretty much just feels he watched Fight Club one too many times. I can even see a certain style being added to this draft of the character. He smokes which could have added some cool taunts like simply smoking in front of foes and even tossing the bud at foes similar to Dante with the rose or Kiryu from Yakuza when he smokes. On top of that that first Donte fits what the game also has with the enemies and such. I personally really dislike how clean cut the Donte we got was. He really could just be placed into many other games with no problem. So yes, Donte was going to be a mess no matter what happened, it’s just I think the one we got just made things worse. 

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With Donte… we got one loud mouth punk, wait that sounds like Nero more than Dante. Already we have this interesting misstep since Donte takes some notes from Nero more than Dante. Nero even swears more than the other characters in actual DMC and with Donte, he swears so much that the word “fuck” can be used in his biography. Now this style of attitude can click with people. Saying whatever you want and being snarky to anything around you. Donte even changes throughout his journey so he does go through character development to where he needs to take a position to stop another, on paper that sounds fine. The problem is that we deal with a basic “Down with the man” story and paper-thin characters. On a design basis though I can see what Donte wants to be. A punk with a heart of gold. The short hair works with his “A” shirt and coat. He looks a bit sloppy and that is the point. Sadly, it loses some of those points because of how clean he looks. It just reminds me of some 90’s video game covers with these obvious people only dressing like these bad dudes for the cover. 

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Remember when people thought this new look for Nero was Dino?

Is there anything good to say about Donte really? I think there is even if it’s not my taste. Again, his attitude can be endearing for some. This has been seen with Nero, insulting these scary monsters and posing to feel bigger than them. Donte has some of that like how he casually goes through wreckage when he is getting dressed in the opening scene, there are people who get a laugh from that and the time the pizza covers his junk. Sadly, I think it goes really downhill for the character after that. Sure, he still insults some demons here and there, but he sadly can have some standard angry faces and blank looks when seeing new demons to fight. He takes fighting a bit more seriously compared to Dante, sure whatever. He still does get into the fight by screaming out which many characters in action games do. I also do feel he has some style when fighting, the red weapons pack a punch and when he uses the gauntlets, he does his own take with them. He acts a bit more like a drunk brawler in some ways, especially when he is reeling his fists back. Then the blue weapons have smooth and fast motions on top of that he can fly around with those type of powers. The gameplay does well for showcasing this character better than the story can ever do, which is a bit sad because there was a character here. 

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Another thing to note was how this game came out during the time when Capcom was aiming for the “Western” tastes. Take note this is when they thought their usual style was not winning out even if Capcom had good sales already, even with DMC4. With the idea of a western mindset is well the joke of edge. We all know what this means, people wanted the characters that say no to the usual methods and be beefy boys. Kratos from God of War and even something like Nier getting localized has proof of this. The original Donte was a bit lankier and the final version we got easily added some muscle to him. Donte also fit the bill for that age range of our usual main character in this era of video games. If he had a shaved head it would have even been more obvious, but no they had to go with the black hair and never ever go to white hair at all, man even this so-called rebel character even loses his backbone in his design later on. Still the edge factor was real in this overall experience and while it has become a joke, this was a legit trend and should not be ignored. 

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How about the other characters? Well Vergil’s counterpart, Vernot has his same share of troubles. First there was that stupid hat he was wearing which got patched out in later versions of the game, I’m not joking. Still I will be honest here, I do think the beginning of Vernot was not a bad take on Vergil. It actually did stay true to some of what Vergil was. Dante was the slop and Vergil was the serious one, Dante dressed poorly in DMC3 and 5 and Vergil always looked more formal. DMC5 Vergil even carries a similar design scheme too with having the blue being a bit more subdued. Vernot’s black coat really stands out especially when you see his bottom half having the blue the character is known for. He looks far more proper and his design does actually hold some hints to what he actually is by the end (too bad the story did really bad setting that up). The obvious thing would be the blue band on his arm, I bet everyone knows what that could be hinting towards knowing how this character wanted to rule in the end. 

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Many other characters now… man there is not a lot to say about them. Kat is the damsel in distress which is really in bad tastes considering how Ninja Theory pretty much called previous female characters in the series and even Bayonetta, whores with guns. Mundus in this game is a scummy business man or a better way to put it, a poor man’s Lex Luthor. Then the only boss I think that had any flavor would be Bob since he is a loud spokesperson for a news channel and his boss fight really reflected that well. The varying images on his face showing how much he needs to save his own face all the time. Some other bosses fit a bit more of a gross out style which for some is their sense of humor, then I will give props for not making a succubus sexy (you don’t see that often, was it funny… no, but hey they tried and by tried I mean a bunch of “F” bombs). At least this game stuck to an art style and made these demons disgusting and did not go all over the place. The enemies can have some nice designs and they speak loud just like the demon hunter, El Donte so they match. 

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Another thing this game has would be its visual presentation. Not only does it stand out with this, it’s not a bad one by any means. Personally, I am not for the loudness of it at times, but there is actual effort into making these distorted worlds. There was even a short level where you pretty much go through a Fox News channel, that was actually pretty nice (you cannot get any louder than Fox News, am I right?). Probably the best level that fits with the style they were going for was the club. The music keeps a constant beat with the background following with it, the colors change around too. Even the stage you are on has slight changes, its visually appealing. There were even the moments where you get to experiment with new powers which looks lovely as well. I’m happy they had some quiet and beautiful scenery here and there to balance things out. So visually speaking the game can be a treat at times and there are fun things to look in the background too. So, props to the reboot there, it’s nice to look at when the game is actually playing. 

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To be honest the game always looks far more appealing when it’s just gameplay, which makes sense you want to have a game look fun to play. While it has some issues with some control options that can only be for the person playing. While there is a bit of a hurdle or two for me personally because I am too wired into how other DMC games play. There are some stylish combos to be done here and the weapon switching in that game does have some faster access. Then with the best version removing the whole color defenses, you can go all out with combos. So, on paper there is a good number of things to try out, but the game does have some broken weapons, but hey, so does other DMC titles. I feel Donte probably has the best crowd control of all the DMC characters in the franchise. He has weapons that have widespread effects, can launch others into the sky, even his Devil Trigger slows down time. This character manages to be a mixture of DMC combos with Bayonetta like systems. Combos that can be easy to do, but also have them really connect well with each other too to fully master them. I do think the game has only aged poorly with its story. Some of its presentation can be still be loved and with sixty frames now being common in the better versions of the game, it can be enjoyed like other DMC games with combat. This is where it can actually be better than the second game. 

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Devil May Cry 2 is just full on boredom. It was a dull presentation, barely any great moments with the low amounts of dialogue and story, and no real strong sense of style. At least with the reboot game there is a sense of style here that can work for some people. The presentation is loud and colorful and has an obvious contrast with the grey real world, but hey it’s something more than DMC2. There are more enjoying combos to experiment with and it feels a bit more rewarding to do so as well. Donte has far more things to do compared to DMC2 Dante. While the story can be frustrating there can be some guilty pleasures with it now these days while people barely even try with DMC2. While this reboot can be loud and annoying, I would still put more effort into it compared to the kid just eating glue. 

Overall, this game was a mess, but an interesting one nonetheless. It really reminds me of the time period of 2013 when the game released and how that era was for gaming. Especially for Capcom around that era. This game really ended up doing some good in the end though. I feel like the wait for DMC5 only got better with this reboot because it couldn’t recreate that same spark the original games had. When that first reveal for this fifth game finally happened, it just filled fans with more joy. The reboot was gone and what came back were the true demon hunters we got to experience. I have to actually thank the reboot also for the fact that this game got me to play more DMC in general. I started with the fourth game and the whole backlash this reboot was getting encouraged me to really look back on the franchise. So just remember, even with some bad moments in a franchise, it can always pick itself back up in far greater ways you can imagine, just like how Devil May Cry 3 completely shocked people and now so did Devil May Cry 5. 

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Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes: A Love For Video Games Part 4: Golden Dragon GP

Back up to speed on this blog with the fourth game of Travis Strikes Again. I will hopefully try to get this series finished before No More Heroes 3 which should be possible since I found more spare time in my life. So last time we got to see Suda reflect his first experience of working with video games during Coffee and Doughnuts. This time we get to racing action and exploring lovely scenery in Golden Dragon GP. Who awaits us is the big racing champ known as Smoking King, but does he have any other hidden talents? 

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The first thing to cover would be the big tone of shift that is to be experienced when starting Golden Dragon GP. The whole title is in Vector Graphics. This was an old style of graphics mostly used for arcade games. What they do is make simple 3D models with the use of simple lines and shapes. It is really the building blocks to what we know of 3D graphics today since these polygons still do exist in 3D graphics, they can just now be hidden thanks to renders. These were popular in arcades in the 80’s so we are taking a bit of a jump backwards and forward for this Death Drive game. Obviously, this is backwards since we are back in the 80’s, but at the same time these simple vector graphics were used in Grasshopper’s first title The Silver Case which shows that is the beginning of the company and the road they drive down upon. 

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Back to the opening segment of Golden Dragon GP, we see Smoking King drive down this long and possibly endless road as he blasts down walls with the gun on his car. Its full of life and really gets the player pumped up and then you start in a rundown room… interesting. Travis straight up makes a comparison to a manga called “Otoko Oidon” where the main character lives a life on the poor side thanks failing college entrance exams and losing job after job. The main character is also called a beast for his behavior, but at least he builds good relationships with women. Insert Suda himself right now where he was a college dropout and would be doing job after job to have the lowest of luxries. Still he had his wife on his side. While one would think a man is on limitless potential because he just started a new company, in reality that was not the case. 

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The daily grind in a common thing for Suda 51, as mentioned just before he did many jobs before being grounded into video games. On top of that during the development of some of Grasshopper titles there were times him and possibly other workers still needed to do daily life jobs to get by. Golden Dragon perfectly captures this with a racing game which is one of Suda’s lifelong goals to finally make and then be dumped into a rundown living area and then going back to the usual gameplay of Travis Strikes Again. No matter how high you think you are getting, in the end the basic struggles will always be there. The building blocks will always be needed and there will be many points you have to go back to the lowest level of basics just like how Travis Strikes Again looks back onto Grasshopper’s history. 

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For the actual game itself being a short series of races, these simulate basic arcade gaming. Put the quarter in have a good time and do it again when you so feel like it. Then you find out you cannot even win certain races without upgrading this VR headset which could be a reference to how arcade machines did experience break downs in the early days and how the competition back then would always be looking for better arcade boards. Then for the game it feels closest to with vector graphics in-mind, it would probably be Speed Freak and maybe the Star Wars arcade game (only because we know how much Suda love Star Wars). Both of these games have some sort of vehicle going down a path, Speed Freak is full of twists and turns, but the Star Wars one is straight and simple. The Star Wars game also has the player shooting down obstacles and guess what Smoking King does in the opening movie, shooting down walls. 

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With the races in mind now, how many times does Travis need to race in this game? The answer to that would be four and it does line up with something interesting then. Now Grasshopper did work two other titles between these games, the Shining Soul series, but in terms of their big ventures and solo development there is an interesting lineup. The first game was The Silver Case, second, we have Flower Sun and Rain, thirdly we have Michigan Report, and the fourth game, Killer7. Then what is also interesting is the evolution of Grasshopper working with 3D models. The Silver Case was simply a visual novel making nice little environments. Flower Sun and Rain had the janky PS1 look even if it was a PS2 game. Michigan easily smoothed things out better. Killer7 then went with many shading elements for an artistic style and still to this day the game’s style is unique. Killer7 is also known to many fans as Suda’s magus op and his first exposure in the West. Then there was also an extremely important figure in Suda’s life at this point. 

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Killer7 was a game being included in a special deal known as the Capcom Five, five games from this company to be exclusively on the Nintendo Gamecube. One person brought up Suda 51 to work on something for this project and that was Shinji Mikami. The development of Killer7 was extremely interesting then too where Suda was put into work a whole lot for this title. Shinji always wanted him to be fully in these projects and Suda did try to lax off at times and wanted to give some work to others, Mikami said no to that every single time. Even with all of that hard work, Suda ended up looking up to this man because this was a professional game developer at the time. Mikami was still making Resident Evil 4 during this time and that game went to be known as a legend to what was already known as a legendary franchise. What of Mikami now though?

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Mikami’s last director role in video games was in 2014 with the original Evil Within. Shinji is part of a new project called Ghostwire Tokyo (which when originally typing this the misfortune of a major developer on that title did not leave yet), but he is not the director of this title. He even stepped down as the director for the sequel of Evil Within. It seems Mikami has taken a back-seat approach to his job now which is something Suda had been doing for a while too. These two did also deal with the problematic situation that was Shadows of the Damned, but that is another story later. These two experienced a lot in game development and both took tolls from it. Either way Mikami is a role model for Suda and these two loved to work with each other so much a dream project known as Kurayami was still in their sights. 

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Now insert Smoking King, a racing champ who is feeling down on his luck. Smoking King also holds the highest health bar compared to many other bosses and holds his defenses extremely well. Even if he is just a racer this is a veteran fighter too. This boss talked on how he used to be a bodyguard so it explains his strength in fighting. Still he has a strong passion for racing and literally every character in this game respects him. Travis, Badman, Shinobu, and even Bad Girl of all people respect this man. After defeating him he is told to hit the race tracks once more just in case of that sequel for Golden Dragon which is a joke towards to how Suda wants to make Golden Dragon into something more in the future. It also points to Mikami because of how distant he is starting to be towards projects. Mikami back then hard lined Suda in the director’s chair and now Suda is back in that chair to tell an important friend to do the same. “Try racing one more time, then decide whether or not that’s true.” 

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For a final thing to note is that this game share something in common with a manga Suda wrote for, Kurayami Dance. In a certain chapter, the main character encounters a racer hitting up on his old age. His last performance is no race though, it was basically suicide. He drives straight into a wall for a show and dies. On top of that a specific character shown with him at many times was a largely built man. This could be nothing, but these were simply first thoughts while experiencing Golden Dragon GP. 

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This is fully translated by the way so click here to read this manga.

That is Golden Dragon GP, a look into moving forward, but always needing to remember the basics. It also holds importance for Suda 51 with his love for racing games and admiration for a role model and close friend. The next time Travis dives into the Death Drive, its going to be a hard dose of reality with the Unreal Engine. Travis gets to experience the death of personal legend as he goes through, Damned Dark Knight.

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Kamen Rider Double: 10 Year Old Thoughts

Back on the old blog and this one, you can quite tell I still have a lot of love for Kamen Rider Double. By now the show has hit its tenyear anniversary now. As of lately the manga for Double is still going on, but no one is translating it anymore… I still keep up with it through raw scans and that manga is surprising. It is clearly made for an older audience in mind which makes sense since the manga came out when Double was nine years old. The usual fan of Double is probably older now and able to digest more mature subjects. Still looking back on Double it was probably the last rider show to have risky moves at least in my opinion. To celebrate Double, I just want to ramble on about it and just look back at certain key points of the series. The last time I mostly just talked about designs with Double so that will not be a major focus here. Get your best fedora on and feel that wind of nostalgia as it sweeps you away in the city of Fuuto. 

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The first thing to talk about would be the main rider himself, well the two of them to be accurate. Yes, Kamen Rider Double goes with two riders in one. I still remember the days when Double was first revealed and all the gay jokes were roaming about. Especially when people saw how the two heroes looked that just kept amplifying them. Even now there is still shippers for this which hey that’s their thing. It does show that fans still hold these two dearly though because why would anyone even make a ship for characters they hate? Hidari Shotaro and Phillip are still two of my favorite leads, mostly Shotaro though. Phillip by himself is good, but his best moments always come when he interacts with Shotaro which is a strong thing. The show works with a partner mentality so you might as well work on that a whole lot. The same can be said for Shotaro, but I feel like him finding his true self is such a strong development point for him during the entire show. 

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Shotaro in the beginning really keeps this hardboiled private eye attitude to him even though he is extremely bubbly and goofy. At the same time Shotaro was a man who wanted to give second chances. Now these second chances can mean giving them jail time still like the criminal he wanted to save while fighting the Virus Dopant. Phillip and Akiko would mock him for being “half boiled” meaning Shotaro would always fall back on his claims. A usual hardboiled style takes the facts straight on and deal with that. Shotaro couldn’t tell a little girl her father was dead so hard boiled was never his style. That is not to fault him since its a hard job to be the straight man. Phillip surrounds himself in facts all the time so he comes to be like a machine at times during his beginnings, a machine that can lose control easily if you input the wrong keyword in that is. Phillip does start to learn more social skills during his time and I am glad the show got him outside early on and didn’t keep him locked in. So, while Shotaro had to learn that his own style of detective work is more important than following in someone’s footsteps, Phillip had to learn of so many kinds of gestures and knowledge of common life. 

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To go backwards and yet fowards because these movies that are placed before the events of the series came afterwards… Either way I want to talk about Skull. One of my first blogs posts had me really paint this awesome image of this guy. That painting is still framed to this day. Kamen Rider Skull, Sokichi Narumi is still my alltime favorite rider of the franchise. The actor portrays the hardboiled personality well and so well I can see why Shotaro wanted to be like him. The best part is that his story of being the hero before our main heroes is such a cool idea. The craziest part is that he dies in the first episode of the series. Then we slowly start to learn that he was fighting Dopants like ten years before Double transformed for the first time. Double’s world is still so far, the best established of current rider as well to me. 

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The city of Fuuto had such a unique presence to it. Yes, common shooting locations were used for Double, but they added some nice set additions in to make it still feel like the city. The show also used many minor characters like Shotaro’s informants to help breath so much life into the world. On top of that many minor stories had to deal with the local life so much. Political figures, school kids, criminals, chefs, and much more really gives Fuuto an image. So much just bleeds into the scenery just like how the Gaia Memories the tools used by both heroes and villains get around to others. Being after Decade, Kamen Rider Double did continue a collectible gimmick and for a guy who has Gaia Memories these things are great. I know they simply say the name of the memory with a bright light, but the ascetic of them are so nice and clean. Then the Dopant memories look rough and dangerous, such a smart design scheme. 

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I even liked how the Gaia Memories were getting outside of Fuuto too where he had characters like Kamen Riders Accel and Eternal being affected by them. Ryu Terui becomes Kamen Rider Accel to get revenge on the murderer of his family. He is an officer who gets transferred into Fuuto to take on the source of Gaia Memories and he gives more screen time to the other cops which those two were always fun so a good and natural move there. Katsumi Daido is literally a walking corpse where he was part of a project that lost to Gaia Memories. Now he leads a mercenary group of people who share the same fate as him. One mission leads them to fighting a group of espers using Gaia Memories and the Foundation that rejected them and soon Katsumi found his perfect tool, the Eternal memory and unleashes the true power of Kamen Rider Eternal. 

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Many of these riders are still my personal favorites, Double is my favorite main rider, Accel is my favorite secondary, Skull is the best movie rider and my favorite of all time, and Eternal is right behind Skull for that movie rider slot. These four riders all have designs that are radically different from each other which helps establish what they are so easily. Double is nice and sleek with the two and one motif and their many colors shown off their powers well. Accel is built up which gives an image that he is ready to hit you hard! Skull is simple with a daunting image of the skull and that white fedora tops it off so nicely, then the damaged scarf too! Eternal is pure white with blue flames representing a ghost since he is already a dead man, then that cape flows so well keeping his spirit theme strong. These suits have great character to them and how they fought established that even more. 

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With Double the basic form is nice and fast, flowing with great whirling kicks. Accel swings largely and always has that big impact with his Engine Blade. Skull fights like an old school brawler from the movies that clearly inspired the character. Eternal performs well with his knife and his acrobatic skills are no joke, clearly this is a trained weapon. The suit directing even worked with the Dopants since some of them didn’t even fight that much. Its simply a great reason why the Dopants worked so well, they had powers that could work for many situations. The Money Dopant would just collect people’s souls and use that as insurance that he cannot be taken down since those people will go down with him. The Gene Dopant simply spliced things together. Liar Dopant could easily avoid battles and make people believe whatever he would say. Then when you had a Dopant made for fighting, my goodness these guys were horrific. 

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The ones who could fight even had some great out of battle effects too. Terror could inflict fear into his foes simply because he became so intact with it. Then he could summon pools of this acid like material that could kill anything in an instant. The Weather Dopant shown the true raw might of the Dopants since he was giving himself new abilities or always upgrading himself with many different memories. The Nasca memory had many points of evolution with its speed and powers making it a constant threat. The Arms Dopant was a pure maniac that could change his body parts into different types of weapons. Then the Utopia memory is simply the scariest memory of all, it can absorb powers and redirect them back at the user. Utopia can even have control over foes and completely revert memories nearly useless against it. So many Dopants with so many different abilities and the theming was strong with them too. Dinosaur Dopants were pure strength, insects carried great speed, and then animals always had a nice mixture. It was great to follow and then seeing some strange memories like Sweets, Jewel, Old, and many others kept these villains a surprise. Double even made monsters based on the heroes’ memories.

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One thing I do miss from rider series after Double a whole lot would be a great villain organization. Museum and Foundation X were such a smart idea. Starting with Museum with the Sonzaki family was such a smart move. They are an extremely important family to the city of Fuuto and their stronghold was thanks to controlling the black market with their Gaia Memories. Foundation X was simply a sponsor that would keep products they are interested in strong and active. I can say a show like Zi-O did have a fun villain with Schwartz, but the problems I had with Build really made me wish for something like Double’s use of villains. I can say not all needed to be like them, but just the overall unique flair Dopants had and how they were intergraded is the thing I miss. 

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How Double did many things was shocking for sure. While following themes and ideas from previous shows, it ended up doing new things with them. There are tons of references towards the franchise while never taking anything away from the actual show. While not following the bug motif of many other rider shows, it did stick to sci-fi elements a whole lot. I think Double really has a cyberpunk like feel to it. While it has some clean looking suits with pretty effects, the whole black-market affairs and how anyone can get their hands on a memory with the designs of the Dopants just scream it to me. Hell, how they end certain plot points or even villains are quite surprising and I personally cannot remember the franchise giving me that sense of shock since Double (probably the closest is Zi-O oddly enough).  

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I am quite unsure well to end this post to be honest. Double is still a show I hold dear to my heart. I can always watch an episode or two at random and will be showing it to many others. If Kamen Rider can have any official releases, I hope Double can be one of the first ones. Double has what made Kamen Rider great in the past and works with so many new things for the franchise. I hope the new era will do well for Kamen Rider since I can see some bits of Double in Zero-One, but on how well Zero-One will do that will be determined later on. Anyways, thank you Kamen Rider Double, you are still the show to always keep my thoughts racing and my fingers typing whenever you brought up. Double is spark of creativity that should not be missed. 

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Megabeast Investigator Juspion: Come On Boy!

The Metal Hero franchise is still an interesting one to look at for the Tokusatsu genre. Considered one of the big four along with Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, and Ultraman it started in 1982 and only lived only till 1998 with now these days some specials and crossovers. During the 80’s Ultra and Rider had some moments of rest since Ultra only had Ultraman 80 and Kamen Rider had an interesting gap between Super-1 (1980-1981) and Kamen Rider Black (1987-1988) so for the most part Sentai and Metal Heroes were the top billing franchises. Looking at the beginning of the Metal Hero series in 1982 is Gavan the first Space Sherriff where the next two series would follow up on that, Sharivan and Shaider. These three would be considered the Space Sherriff trilogy. Super Sentai would follow up on the success of these space heroes by creating Bioman that easily follows on these sci-fi elements of Toku. So, with Sentai getting more into science fiction especially with Changeman coming up after Bioman, might as well take a huge creative jump for the fourth Metal Hero series. 

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So here comes in Juspion the fourth entry for the Metal Hero franchise and while design aspects are similar to the previous three, he is not considered a space sheriff, he is considered the space Tarzan! It is very evident that this series took many creative liberties with the idea of Metal Heroes since the first three episodes I will admit are a bit jaring. The concept of this show is that, Juspion an orphan ever since his parents crashed and died on the Planet Eijin was raised by the elder known as Eijin. During these times he worried for the day of the rise of Satan Gorth a giant that plans on ruling over the universe by controlling what are known as Megabeasts. These giant creatures live in the universe just like other animals, but Satan Gorth can cause them to go berserk and wreak havocJuspion now older, the big foe appears and the man must now go on a quest to stop the Megabeasts from coming into contact with the overlord to ensure peace in the galaxy.

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Big aspects that really changed up here would be the focus on giant creatures as Juspion has to see if he can save or kill them. This is where Sentai taking some hints from Metal Heroes comes into play since Juspion decided to take a mech into action, the Daileon. This mech is more geared like how Super Sentai would have their own giant robot. It is needed to fight the giant monsters and while that is a trope it does feel natural for Juspion because these are not creatures that got turned big, no they are giant from the start. The monster of the week concept is done with giant creatures which is certainly similar to the Ultra series, but even then, the third show Ultraseven did a mixture of normal sized aliens and the Kaijus. Let’s examine what we have here in terms of a concept. Juspion is a solo hero, needs to fight Kaijus with his giant robot, with a focus on these giants known as Megabeasts, and then retaining the space drama from the previous Metal Hero series. Laying things down like this really makes it seem that Juspion is a mixture of the big four. 

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Now this does bring some of the bad aspects of Juspion which was on how experimental it was. The show does seem to have a bit of a problem with sticking to one thing, especially in the early episodes. Depending on how people may look into this show it can be a love it or hate it. People can love it for being a wild show in creativity and others wished for something more consistent. In the beginning Juspion is simply wearing Tarzan like cloths and then he is dressed up perfectly for the 80’s with a giant spaceship mech and an android companion. There is really no explanation for where these things came from, Eijin just had them. The show actually support itself up from the early episodes and actually makes many callbacks towards them and uses them for plot points in other episodes though. While in the beginning the show clearly was written with the idea of a blindman throwing darts, the blindfold is taken off at a certain time. This starts with Juspion’s trip to Earth and him staying on there since we get a proper villain group around this time.

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Ever since the beginning of Juspion we get the focus of Satan Gorth, a giant Darth Vader that can make the Mega Beasts go berserk as he wants to rule over the universe with these creatures. In the beginning its just him, but when Earth gets put into focus, we get his son, Mad Gallant who wants Earth to go back to when Mega Beasts lived supreme. Early Toku shows have a way with their villains and most of it was due to performance and directing. In reality this new villain is just daddy’s little helper, but how far he goes to help his father achieve this task and what happens to him really strengthens the character. The same can be said for Juspion in return since these two are the rivals and Mad Gallant might as well be an evil Metal Hero. The show really explores into Satan Gorth and Mad Gallant in what they are and again while simple it’s an interesting concept and explains perfectly what they are. Great simplicity is hard to do and is something that is missed in current age media at times. 

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Juspion does well with spicing itself up thanks to an added structure later on during the show’s run. So at first its space exploration that ends up at Earth and doing the same thing as in space. At Earth we get to see the villain’s plans really start out with manipulation like how Mad Gallant tells a little girl her dead father lives as a giant monster and tells her to summon him to take care of her bully troubles. Then we get to see Juspion become really focused on family values as we start to learn a bit about his and how he interacts with a particular family that are introduced in the halfway point and stay until the end. The final act really works around what is hiding in plain sight, the villains do many tricks that are very public and at the same time we get to learn more about the villains and what nasty surprises they had the entire time. What also helps the show’s structure was the introduction of humanoid villains since fighting the grunts, Mad Gallant, and giant monsters were not enough for every single episode. We had more villains take the spotlight at times which is never a bad thing, the show had to change things up around. It is really fun to see this type of fight occur after the giant monster battle because of how uncommon that is. In Ultraman its usually just the giant fight and in Sentai, mech fights are saved for last. Juspion played with its structure a whole lot. 

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As for the action for Juspion, yes it can be repetitive at many times and some episodes can drag because of it (the show does repeat certains songs a whole lot, but all the music is pretty much great anyways). With the show having forty-six episodes this was bound to happen which is why Juspion had to add things in as the show continued. On top of that the fights still do well and have many old school charms like having many of their actors doing their own stunts. There is actually a video out there that shows this and Juspion’s main actor did get hurt on set before. This is a show with raw creativity and it holds some nice raw action thanks to that. Before the suit is on you can clearly see the hero doing his stunts in many areas along with many other faced actors, like Boomerang, who his actor becomes the next hero after this show. Old school tricks to fool the camera that never get old. Then the fights using Daileon are amazing since the mech has no weapons for the most part. The robot punches and smashes his foes around with like one or two laser weapons built into it. It’s great to see a giant robot suplex a monster, just saying.

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A nice simple touch for the action is always when the suits glow. Such a lovely view to see an awesome suit get even better.

With all of that said is Juspion worth a watch? With all honest it has big flaws for it thanks to a lower budget compared to other shows and it takes a little time for the structure to kick in, but it’s worth it. This show is simply a time capsule and it really embraces the era it was made in. It holds many old styles that are not around even more and still holds a unique presence in the genre thanks to how wild it is. The main hero is fun thanks to seeing him doing his own stunts and develop into a man who cherishes the bond of family. Side characters can be a nice treat especially when they return for more than one episode both heroes and villains on that account. The main concept stays strong thanks to highlighting the best traits of the main villains and simply adding more to them and just not switching them around. While Juspion can be a wild ride in terms of freedom in creativity it soon sets itself down to tell simple story of good versus evil. The best part is that this show is legally avaiable for purchase thanks to Discotek Media. It comes with a strong recommendation for people who love experimental shows and for those who like the old days of action shows. Juspion is wild and crazy just like how it sounds because the idea of a space Tarzan shouldn’t be anything else. 

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What Makes Devil May Cry Cool: Devil May Cry 5 (Spoiler Alert!!!)

I think it is about time to finally get this post done. More people are doing their big videos on this game and most of the fans know what happens in this title. I know I still did not do a post on the reboot game, but to be honest… that will still be a work in progress. Also, why do I want to talk about the bummer title when we got the actual Devil May Cry 5! The reason why I did these posts was to celebrate the series and I even had to cover the second game and try to bring light and a different point of view to most of its glaring problems. There is a lot to love about Devil May Cry and now this fifth entry is probably a huge collection of why fans and its creators have loved it for so long. 

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I will not lie, this game feels like a finale in many ways. We got tons of plot points that were introduced in three and four that finally got their proper follow-ups. On top of that we had a prequel novel with events before five that actually had Lucia from the second game and man the amount of personality, she had in that one novel is far better than how she was presented in the game. Along with that we got many great callbacks to the entire series and yes this includes the reboot game. Devil May Cry 5 has everything and while some may think having things that represent the reboot game seems to be wishy washy, because it can seem this game was making no enemies in the fanbase. To be honest though, even a fan like me can say there are good to even great things to the reboot title (which will be for another day). I do find the callbacks to the first DMC to also be interesting because both the original and reboot title were not done by the man; we know for Devil May Cry now, Hideki Itsuno. Being with this franchise for a long time though and seeing its many faces, this man learned how to merge things together with perfection. 

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Speaking of perfection, I am torn with saying this is the best Devil May Cry game ever. The action in this game is just the best! So much variety is given with only three characters and two in particular are like over ten characters in one and the third one is literally four in one. There are even foes that have come back from the original game like Sin Scissors and Nobodies. The only big flaw here though is that the DMC series finally got rid of those puzzles and while secret missions do have some fun little puzzles to solve, DMC5 breaks the tradition and actually does go for the reboot’s way of level design a bit. In 5, you are walking straight a whole lot, but at times I would rarely notice because the action is that good. So as of right now the remaining Resident Evil in DMC is literally the engine that runs in this game. 

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Onto the other aspect of Devil May Cry that has been with the series ever since the beginning is Dante. As talked about before, Dante as always been the cool surfer bro when he is on the job. Dante in the original game shrugs off danger like he is a Toku hero. In Devil May Cry 3 we get to see that attitude take a reckless variation until he finally notices what he needs to do. Then with the fourth game, Dante got to act like a mentor passing off the torch to another son of Sparda. For this new look into Dante’s life we actually get his anime personality at the beginning. Dante has no running power or water in his place and still just rests at his desk. A new job comes up and he hears something that kicks his gears right back in. Dante’s self-destruction comes clear in this title and it finally adds in a larger sense of relatability to him. Back then we loved his moments of fun and also took in his sadness as well (with the first game, it got taken more as a joke sadly…). Also let us add on the fact that is been teen years since we got to see this demon hunter back in action. Dante is us; he has been waiting for another gig and so have we. The major difference is that Dante actually does not want to waste any time though. It sure is interesting to see Dante with age becomes narrowminded in a fashion. 

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Now back in fashion, is the youngest Devil Hunter, Nero. With this character, I took a look at his punk attitude and while that is still clearly here, we get to see his full character and take a step forward as well. To be frank, this easily could have the title of Nero’s Awakening. Yes, the main character role is given to Nero again and while many would think after DMC4, they would not do that again. The issues with Nero’s debut was because of budget restraints for the most part. It felt unfair to Nero and it is only thanks to time and a major misstep from the franchise to make fans warm up to him. Nero was my beginning with the series so seeing how he deals with these new events is heartwarming. Itsuno even gives Nero shorter hair and somehow people mistook him for Dante from the reboot title. Both Nero and Donte share a punkish attitude so this short hair look works for Nero and they also made sure to give him some Vergil details since that will be a major thing later on. 

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Along with Nero is a whole new look into how he plays. Back then, Nero only had his one special arm that gave him the greatest grab in video games. Nero can still do the famous Snatch move, but Nero has far more than just grabs. Nero has electricity, parries, time stops, flying arms, and even a freaking Mega Buster! That is only about half of the arms’ abilities and these are an insane concept to add to the Devil May Cry series. In a way this is a method of keeping some Resident Evil in the series since the arms have to be used with a worry about your inventory. The arms are a bit fragile so when taking a hit, they break and you can break them yourself to unleash a powerful move. At first, Itsuno was questioning if they should make the Devil Breakers similar to Dante with his weapons, but they wanted to make Nero stand out in many ways. The team decided to work with consumable weapons (and this time not like a Holy Water that subtracts your score). Either way these items really show Nero’s character well. They have large impact, but with reckless behavior can lead to messy situations and regretting your actions. 

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Onto the aspect of regret we have our brand-new character, V (yes that is his name). V actually brings back a style of cool that was almost in the series before and that is goth. The original Donte had more gothic themes along with his British punk aspects and to be honest, it would have been fine in my opinion. Now is it better to have a new character pick up this theme, yes that is for sure. A new character can bring new aspects to a series just like Nero introduced the punk attitude. In a way though… V does take ideas from Donte because of who he actually is. Now we get to the part where all chains are off. What I am implying here is that V is Vergil. Vergil who has been seen as posh cool and a character who had loss after loss. Vergil split himself into two and V is the human half with barely any demon power. V is extremely fragile as he is a literal husk of what Vergil left behind. A big reason why William Blake is being used for this game ever since the beginning. That opening statement is all about how holding grieving emotions towards another just leads to a path of destruction. V is now the one who notices that and wants to redeem his errors. 

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Now V is still not a perfect man, but taking steps to fix what he has done is improvement none the less. On top of that V even brings a new style of combat into the series, summoning. V has three summonses where they are all from Devil May Cry original. Even the summons mention how they were born. These summonses were created from memories of when Vergil was Nelo Angelo a huge aspect Vergil wanted to get rid of. The demon, Urizen has no memories he just knows he has suffered losses from Dante and wants power! V being the shell of the part of Vergil’s life he wanted to shed is truly literal since he even tried to get rid of those memories which made the summons, Griffon, Shadow, and Nightmare. V brings new tactical combat to the series and while your familiars do the damage, V has to bring the finishing blow. V is extremely fragile and relies on stepping away for the most part. The gothic themes even come clearer when playing as him. His slender designs while wearing pure black clothes and with those tattoos just create an interesting image of a fighter. V even uses a cane to walk around. The best part about V is that you control your summons with different buttons, except for Nightmare until you ride and control him. You can even taunt while the partners are attacking and it is the greatest! 

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I am sorry if this is going to be an extremely long post, but there is still more to cover here. We got another new character by the name Nico. Sure, she is not a playable character, but her importance is large none the less. Originally designed to be another badass character, Nico was going to be more of a straight arrow that loved her craft. Through some improvising though the actress found a new way to show how Nico acts. Nico is playing things up while keeping a cool demeanor. When she is in the van, she is one of the devil hunters, hell this van is a Devil Weapon! She knows how dangerous things are and tries to hide it because this is pure bliss. She actually relates to any fan of the series since we love what we are watching, but if this was our reality, we would be extremely afraid. She also works so well with Nero from the get go since they both come from a story where they were neglected by their fathers. This is why these two have brother and sister like relationship so quickly and I love it so much. Nico easily became my favorite girl of the series which is impressive and it’s all thanks to how an actress wanted to add in some comedy for the character. 

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Okay now for the big, big, and I mean big spoilers for this game and some of the greatest moments the series ever had. The return of Vergil and what that could bring after so many years. Vergil has always been an important figure in the series even in the first game with his Nelo Angelo appearance. So, what is in store for Vergil this time around, yes, he becomes the final boss again like his role in Devil May Cry 3 and yet so much has changed for him. Vergil now returns to where Dante has grown older and even seeing his son take steps that both Vergil and Dante never could do. A family is reunited with this one character returning. Two brothers are back and a son gets to meet his father for the first time. Family is an extremely large part of the Devil May Cry series ever since day one. The first Dante wanted revenge for the death of his mother and we got to see how fragile of a topic this was for him. This only got expanded in his prequel title where he sheds a tear for the loss of his brother and feeling pain that only Lady knows as well. The thing is though, Dante accepts what he has done after all of these years. 

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Taking a bit of a detour to talk about other mechanics in the game that really enrichen the experience. The first one is Dante’s new power, the Sin Devil Trigger. Dante can now achieve higher than his father and wields a new sword under his own name. This new Devil Trigger really just shows off how powerful Dante as become. You do not get the healing factor with this one, but the damage output is insane! Dante even gets the largest weapon load of the entire series. Dante can have all of his swords after finishing the game at different difficulties, the return of the Kalina Ann and its second version which Dante dual wields them, new crazy weapons like the Faust Hat and the Cavaliere, and new spins on Ebony and Ivory and even Cerberus. Along with all of this you can even show off your skills to others thanks to the Cameo mechanics. Where your data is saved and can pop up to help players or to simply show off in the background. There is just so much style in this game and it makes sure you get the chance to show it off yourself. 

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Vergil is back and what happened because of him? A giant demon tree is summoned so that the demon half, Urizen can acquire power that the demon king, Mundus had. Which is quite an interesting detail since before the final fight with Urizen, we see him covering his true self. Vergil caused chaos yet again and with him back, Dante holds nothing back. Dante goes for the first attack, yes Dante of all people. He has no warm embrace for his brother, his heroic sense takes a violent turn. Dante has already done this before, twice to be specific. He holds no regrets on his past even if it still was damaging to his overall life. Dante has become tired of all this.

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As for Vergil returning, he had two different experiences at the same time. Urizen, the demon wanting power and V the man who got to see the true terror of that. We even get to learn the reason for how Vergil came to be which is mommy issues. Yes, this has become a joke in the series as well, but Eve is extremely important to how Dante and Vergil are as characters. Dante was saved and Eve did not get to Vergil in time, leaving him to run for his life alone. Vergil took that as he was left behind and had to defend himself hence his quest for power. It’s something many fans (including myself) have looked into before since that feeling of loss from both the demons and his family made him feel worthless. Vergil still holds his family in importance because its fact of why he is around and how much he wanted his mother to love him. On top of that Vergil does admit that he fell in love with a woman in his past. Again, his past love could be another reason for why he wanted new power since he had a family to protect. Vergil simply got lost gaining that new power. 

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In a way, Dante’s narrow mindlessness is similar since he has only been getting stronger and even with a new Devil Trigger to boot as well. Power clouds the mind and both of these idiots lost a lot. Dante even mentions he barely remembers any peaceful moments with his brother, he only knows of when they fought. These two never took time to forgive each other, they only kept fighting. This became their method. Even if Vergil finally got to reflect on his past with regret for his quest of power, he still held onto an old desire. V mentions this before fusing back with Urizen, they both hold that feeling to finally win. Dante’s heroism and Vergil’s desires simply just end of clashing with each other every single time while in reality they both share the burden of loss, but there is one to unite them. 

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This is the moment when Nero takes his main character slot. Throughout this fifth title, we saw Nero becoming more reckless. Nero sees that power is all that he needs and says that straight to Dante’s face. Dante called him a deadweight before and that just motivated Nero to get stronger in a bad way. Still Nero ends up being caring to others around him since that is how he grew up. He had people to care for him unlike Dante and Vergil who had to live on their own. When Nero learns Vergil is his father, he starts to really question many things. Originally, he was just fighting to prove his mentor wrong, now it became a moment where he could lose family again. Growing up with Kyrie and Credo gave him a family and falling in love with Kyrie became strength for him. The loss of Credo then gives Nero tons of regret, he never forgave himself for it. Now Nero learns who his father is and now he learns that his mentor was an uncle the entire time. Nero tries to accomplish the number one thing that never happened in a Devil May Cry game, to reunite a family. 

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Devil May Cry 1 and 3 had Dante fighting his brother and even killing him later on. Sparda’s family was forever torn on that faithful day when Eve died. The two brothers took different paths. Dante taking the side of what the hero wanted to save. Vergil took focus on what his father was, a demon and a legend, with a search for power. Nero fought for the thing he never fully had and he is back to do that now since it has been his entire goal in life. Nero lives with what Sparda’s actual legacy is, family. Sparda was a demon who ended up being a hero and yet the most important thing to him was family. He fell in love with a human woman and started one. His sense of justice came from love. Dante did not want to lose anyone close to him, hence why he closed his heart away and acted like the over the top hero. Vergil lost his focus for power even if it could have started with great intent. Nero never strayed from this path and he knocked some sense into these devil boys, to finally forgive each other.

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I cannot tell you how much this moment feels for any fan of the series. For me, I started with Nero and got to learn of Dante and his story later on and it feels correct. This is why Nero was taking the main character slot, he finally does the impossible. Nero prevents anyone from dying, the bloodshed is over. Seeing this moment being his awakening to his devil power and saying “Fuck you!” to all of this; is the biggest impact in the entire series. It throws a huge middle finger to a major trope since no one is going to lose here. Nero gets to prove himself in such an important moment of his life. Nero’s final fight with Vergil is beyond great since it’s the son proving he is right while his father needs to prove dominance. Now Dante and Vergil go away for who knows how long, but Nero has gained the possibility of being able to see his family in the future. 

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Hideki Itsuno has mentioned that this could be the end for him and this series. To be honest, this is a perfect end right here. The man who started with the first misstep in the series with the second game, created a legacy for himself. Devil May Cry 3 brought new life into Dante and a fourth game kept the image strong. The reboot happened and only made him more motivated to make this proper return bigger than ever. He even found many ways to tribute the original game something he never worked on because that was Hideki Kamiya. It’s amazing to put it simply. This man creates an ending for a franchise he didn’t even start. At the same time, he put everything into this game. The original motif of family, the sons of Sparda story telling that started with Devil May Cry 3, and finishing the passing of the torch that the previous game started. There are even many aspects of the reboot title with how the game plays and some funny references inserted as well. Itsuno loves this series even if it had missteps before, it only creates passion to do better. Thank you, Itsuno and to all of the teams of Devil May Cry you started a new trend of action games and closed a big book on it. 

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Now we can truly ask this. Dante will we meet again?

Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes: A Love For Video Games Part 3: Coffee and Doughnuts

I know these posts are starting to flood the site, but I just cannot drop Travis Strikes Again. I want to make sure I take this time to cherish and just get my raw thoughts out with this game while other fans are too. Especially with No More Heroes 3 on its way now, there is no better time to keep diving into Suda 51 and his insane process. This really feels like a climax for Suda himself from so many years of stepping back and now just busting that door down to embrace his creativity and listen to an old mentor of his. While in the previous two posts we saw arcade, legends die out and the insane world of game development and we reach to a point of where polygons were the rave, its time to relive form N64 and PS1 glory with Coffee and Doughnuts! 

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Saying which generation of gaming we are obviously looking into, it’s important to know that this is where of Suda’s beginnings started. I talked about Human Entertainment before especially with part two on Life is Destroy. Suda 51 started in the game world with this company because Atlus said no to this newcomer. Now he did work on the third Fire Pro Wrestling game, his style became bigger with being the head writer of the next game in the series, Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special. While not known to many outsides of Japan, this tale does get passed around and fans of Suda 51 know it well. This newcomer wrote a story about achieving fame and then committing suicide right after that high point all on a Super Famicom game. Many were shocked and even revolted that the company got some rather strong hatred from their fans. I would not blame them because there were literally no other games that went this path. It was a game changer and possibly in a bad way for many and yet the company still kept Suda around. 

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On top of that, Suda did become a lead director for a game under this company with the Syndrome series. While working on Twilight Syndrome the original lead director who is sadly unknown by what I can find, left during development. This caused Suda to be labeled as the director even though he only finished the first one and then did more creative work with the sequel. These games are important to look into though because most of the history Suda had with this company really comes big in a thematic sense with Coffee and Doughnuts. 

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The first thing to make note of was that horror games had a big uprising in the early 3D era of gaming. The biggest one being Resident Evil, sure we had some horror games like Clock Tower on the SNES before, but as I can see on release date information, Clock Tower original did not hit worldwide markets like Resident Evil did. The mansion layout of Coffee and Doughnuts makes a strong connection to the old school horror game. Then with how the text and character art are displayed is easily towards Clock Tower and so does the exploration, which the Syndrome series takes suit as well with that method of traveling. The dialogue even reflects old school horror games where the grammar is not exactly on point and sounds awkward when spoken out loud (I found that out extremely early when playing it with friends). Also, the mansion acting like a hub world makes me think of many 3D titles like Crash, Spyro, Mario 64, and Banjo-Kazooie with their hub area before entering into the levels. These levels have you search for important items that will make progress in the game, flags or checkpoints, as Flower Sun and Rain likes to note them as. They act similarly to getting keys in a way because each time you help the dead body move on with a pair of coffee and doughnuts, new doors and floors are unlocked.

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These items in question are literal cups of coffee and different doughnuts, do the flavors have any specific meaning, no, but I wonder if they are personal favorites of Suda like how he put in his favorite ramen at those stands. Either way coffee and doughnuts are basic for anyone working a busy job. I am a man who works two jobs as of now and while I do not partake in the bitter drinks and sweet pastries, I do know how common they are. I always hear workers talk about how many cups of coffee they go through and I have had jobs celebrate with doughnuts before. The same is for anyone working a stressful job, they are common to find and eat/drink. These are used to bring a corpse back to life for a quick moment and get your characters back into motion as they make more progress in the mansion. This can be taken in an obvious work manner of drinking and eating before getting right back to work, little motivators and such.

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Suda’s early days were not the best, I mean he had to leave Human because the pay was not to his liking and he knows how that feels from many different jobs before that. The man working on Twilight Syndrome before him just left in rage. The stress got to this man and soon that stress went onto Suda as even he followed suit at one point. Some of these moments are reflected with this game, especially with the boss character at the end. Still Suda came back to his past and even got to write a new story for the Fire Pro Wrestling series where he continues his controversial story with the son of the past legend he wrote about. Which is funny to think that original Brian Buster was just that, before his name added a “Jr” at the end. 

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Brian Buster is a man who works on achieving his revenge after seeing his father slain before his eyes. With the use of a wooden robot suit to combat with, he got his revenge and even ended a war. Now Brian is simply done with it all and wants to die as he tries to make the perfect murder mystery with his suicide. No More Heroes as tangled with the concept of revenge before and how tiring it all really is. It does create a nice parallel with that and the work environment that Suda got to experience. It is obvious to draw connections between Brian’s story and the Fire Pro story Suda wrote that got some bad feedback towards. Both characters did what they wanted and, in the end, got nothing from it. In another way I can see the wood suit that represents the original Brian Buster with the son using it be a metaphor of Suda going into a project he did not start originally. The first Buster was part of the war and his son finished it. Then Suda goes into a project he was not leading originally with Twilight Syndrome. Interesting to see that the new Fire Pro story then has the son of a previous legend continuing that legacy of wrestling. So many parallels can be made.

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Along with that the use of the name Brian Buster, it brings up the love of wrestling Suda has. Flower Sun and Rain even mentioned of a wrestler struggling to find his own path with a legend as his teacher. No More Heroes even includes wrestling and anyone who played the first game knows of the Brain Buster! This move was a big deal for the scene in a bad way though because of it being a banned move. It was too dangerous to perform for any wrestler because of the severe head trauma it can cause, sounds fitting for an old war legend to be named this. Brian does not fight anymore and in a way, he banned himself as he tried to commit suicide. These professional wrestlers do retire from time to time and who can blame them, they perform many dangerous stunts. Suda really does look up to these guys just like how he loves live action superhero shows because while pretend, they are filled with many stunts that deserve attention.

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The fight with Brian Buster Jr then has Travis being yelled at for solving the mystery and even though the old man did not want to fight, he ends up doing that anyways out of anger. Travis tries his best to simply call this guy an old fart, but he found respect for him still. Travis knows that feeling of wanting to be done with a long fight because that is what he is doing right now. Suda probably did not like being forced into a director’s role out of nowhere simply because someone quit. Still it got him into a role that taught him a whole lot and something he would use for Moonlight Syndrome and for Grasshopper Manufacture. This part of Suda’s love for video games was knowing the stress of it all and still getting to create something grand in the end. For how tiring it can all be, one cannot simply just leave it all behind.

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So, while exploring into the old era of some old school exploration games this is some of Suda’s beginnings in that generation. He holds many experiences and he was probably not the best employee at first like many were, either way all are important to him into building his career. While it was hard to work with because of how that generation had an interesting time conveying 3D world to players the same was said for dialogue as well. The early 3D era is still something of a rough gem of how many tried to work with it. It was a new complex thing and was extremely hard to work with and yet Suda stuck through and found those great qualities that soon influenced his own works in the future like The Silver Case, Flower Sun and Rain, and even Killer7. Laying out a world and trying to convey on what to do with only guiding points to help a player.

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Sadly, the Travis Strikes Back segment did not have too much to do with Coffee and Doughnuts since it was a short snippet at best. Next we get to the big roads and how far one can go down them with Golden Dragon GP a game Suda almost lost himself into. 

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Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes: A Love For Video Games Part 2: Life is Destroy

To continue where we last left off with Travis’ new journey. He is sent out to find the next Death Balls for his Death Drive console. For each new ball means a whole new game to disect into. Also on the plus we have visual novel segments that reference old PC gaming which we can now have some fun diving into as well. These visual novel segments then start a tribute to Suda himself as he uses many of his older characters into these moments of the game. The past is vast with video games and the same can be said for Suda 51 himself. We got callbacks of many kinds here folks so get ready because it will be maddening.

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As I just mentioned before, Travis needs to find new Death Balls to continue his time with the phantom game console and so he triggers the beginning of Travis Strikes Back. These old school visual novel segments with green and black as the color choice callback to extremely old days of gaming at home. We are getting to the days where floppy disks were the common tool for storage for computers and games were on them as well. Usually they were text adventures where you are doing a choice your own adventure styled story. Now Travis Strikes Back had to have some sense of imagery and its only linear story telling here. Still this is a huge callback to that especially with how the music is crunched down to sound like it is coming from a computer that your grandparents could still have lying around. Finally going back to this style of adventure is reminiscent of Suda’s first title under Grasshopper, The Silver Case.

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Another thing that starts here are the Suda callbacks where we get many characters from the past games Suda personally developed on. The first character is Kamui Uehara a mysterious being that can guide Travis to the Death Balls. Having Kamui being the first to show up is huge because the character himself lead to the beginning of the phrase, “Kill the Past.” This phrase is also known for the universe Suda has created and keeps building onto it and Travis Strikes Again is just another continuation of that. The use of Kamui is easily being an establishment of Suda being back and using his old ideology again with risky and daring game programming. Kamui is also the beginning of the many line of assassins and killers Suda would be using in his stories. It makes sense why Kamui was the beginning of many callbacks and really ties closely to the next video game character Travis has to defeat, Mr. Doppelganger Patrick Granda Jr.

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Suda 51 always found the psyche of killers and assassins interesting. It was the big reason why Suda wrote The Silver Case. Suda wanted to explore the concept of how a criminal’s mind goes through these ideas of death and murder. For some it simply comes to be a job and for others a thrill. Either way there is a direct difference between an assassin and killer which is a huge story point for when Travis and Badman fight Doppelganger. The whole story with this character is fascinating and gets deeper the more you can find in the hidden files you get from K. While our first look into this character just makes him out to be a madman, does he actually have a noble purpose?

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To start off, Doppelganger is a man who kills people he sees unfit in his society. We slowly start to learn that the harsh cold reality made this man lose his way as his first victim was his wife and there was also an attempt at his daughter as so told. Later on, he would go on to kill drug dealers, cult members, animal abusers, and abusive parents possibly too. Doppelganger seemed to have good intentions somewhere before his madness and then he just dives into insanity with creative killing methods to boot. He would make a display of his murders thanks to many rooms being painted with blood. Doppelganger even refers to his killings as work. This character being a killer with a psyche worth exploring into really brings back the idea of what happens with criminal mindsets and hence could be a reference to Suda during an interesting point of his career.

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For many people who got started with Suda 51 in the West, it was Killer7. A crazy game with off the wall insanity both with its presentation and gameplay. Well Suda had an interesting time making that game. Suda had a media blackout as Suda made sure to get his raw uncut nature for this title. Shinji Mikami even helped as producer and made sure Suda did the most work possible. Suda would even get yelled at for trying to pass off his work onto others. The reason behind this was that Mikami wanted Suda to be fully in this and saw his raw talent. A big piece of advice that was given to Suda from Mikami is that Suda needs to be fully present in his titles. While crazy, Suda’s concepts and ideas can really go farther than what many developers would not tend to do. On top of that Killer7 deals with professional killers offing a bunch of born murderers, assassins versus killers.

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Thank you GamingBrit for this image.

This draws a huge parallel as Travis calls himself an assassin and refers Doppelganger as nothing, but a psychopathic killer. Travis reacts to instinct hence his nature as an assassin. While Doppelganger sees it as such work hence his normal looking design compared to the other bosses and characters. The killer wears a trench coat over a simple white button up shirt, slacks, and a tie. Doppelganger was a man of business and his job was killing. Still did this man just lose his purpose while thinking he did not? Travis thinks back to Doppelganger after defeating him and wonders if the killer was just in search of his daughter the entire time as a sense of atonement possibly. While Travis scoffs off the notion that may hold more truth than he might think.

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Looking back to the hidden files you see that the game creator, Dr. Juvenile based this character on her father, hence why Doppelganger makes the line that while created by her he also created her. The first murder he did was in fact a real-life situation and Doppelganger is even a criminal in the real world. While not her actual father, just an adoptive father, he still tried to help her in a time of need. It was the wife that was abusive and when he killed her to protect his daughter it changed him and scarred the one, he tried to protect. A noble purpose changed into a misdeed and Suda has this as self-reflection too.

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With the mad world of game development can be at times, Suda did many roles in the business. The one I would like to focus on here would be the times he had to step down and manage the company. Suda has talked about this notion quite a bit and was happy to be back in the development chair as he noticed a change of air in him. When he started Grasshopper Manufacture; he was the friendly man making the games with his fellow workers. Then he became the big businessman and soon back to what he started with. Suda had great intentions with his works for as crazy as they can be. At one point though he stops being fully involved despite the advice he was given and while still involved with his company, his role changed a whole lot. Soon he just becomes the man walking between room and room to see how development is going, similar to how Travis and Badman go house to house to find out about how Doppelganger did his work. The creative murders can just be metaphors for Suda’s creative process.

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With all of that in mind what does Life is Destroy really reference in terms of video games then? Well knowing that Suda started his company in 1998, but also started with his first directed title one year before with Moonlight Syndrome. Again, death was a massive thing for Suda and his early works with Human Entertainment was no exception. Life is Destroy has a huge 90’s attitude to it for sure and a big pinpoint for that would be the live action cutscene. Years prior to that early game in Suda’s career, full motion video was a big trend in the 90’s. The SEGA CD is possibly the most infamous console for this with the controversial title, Night Trap, a game where you try to stop killers with a house full of crazy traps. It is fun to note that the Death Drive boot sound clearly references SEGA, Life is Destroy could be making nods to that era of gaming, again the live action cutscene really just drives this. On top of that Doppelganger has a paranormal aspect to him when he first appears which could be references to Twilight and Moonlight Syndrome a series of games where high schoolers deal with the paranormal. It is full of 90’s because that is where Suda’s career really started to take full form with crazy results.

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Life is Destroy is a huge Suda nod and knowing that Kamui appears right before obtaining this Death Ball just makes that easy to notice. Kamui is a presence that means one shall kill, he has the most criminal aura out of every criminal out there. In the Silver Case, the assassin named Kamui while using the name Sundance Shot was used as a format for assassins after him. Exploring the neighborhoods reference the Syndrome series as kids explore their areas to find the paranormal. Then the whole process of switching pieces of the area around to find your path could be a reference to Night Trap since that game has you going room to room and even changing things up to trap a killer and keeping you on the right path. Then on top of it all, it can also be a huge metaphor for Suda himself. Suda crazy creative processes he has gone through before and soon just being a man who had to keep checking up on things. A man whose purpose was to make games with friendly aura just became the man who checked up on them with the knowledge that him being president of a company has a scary image to it.

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It’s so crazy that there is this much jammed into one section. Then I will just note that Doppelganger is possibly Suda’s favorite boss in this game. Doppelganger really brings back many old concepts that Suda worked with before. On top of that I still remember the Famitsu stream where you can hear Suda repeating “Guilty” along with Doppelganger (probably the greatest thing ever). Also, I bet filming a live action cutscene had tons of fun to it (which oddly has an uncensored version where you see the head fly off). Either way this was a look into how a developer like Suda soon saw himself, a man still in the field of video games, but with a different role and a more menacing aura and yet he stays to try his best. Next time we shall look into how it feels to try and run away from some troubles with Coffee and Doughnuts.

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Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes A Love For Video Games Part 1: Electric Thunder Tiger II

Well it finally came out, Travis Strikes Again. For those who do not know me, I am a big No More Heroes fan. I loved the first two games even if the sequel had some rough edges to it compared to the first. With this new spin-off title, it brings back Suda 51 into the director’s chair and what he wanted to do was make a huge love letter to video games. One thing about Suda after the first No More Heroes, he did not direct a game since then. No More Heroes 2, Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw, Killer is Dead, and Let it Die were not directed by Suda. During his time being absent from the chair he has been playing tons of indie video games which got Suda to reflect a bit. It could also be fun to note that games like The Silver Case series and Killer7 got remastered into the current market. Seeing his previous works still having fire in the current age probably got him to think a lot about his works and the company as of now. The new game for Travis is a lower budget game and with a smaller crew working on it as Suda wanted to bring Grasshopper back to its roots. There is going to be a lot to cover in this game so I will be doing posts one at a time and brainstorm of all the insanity that is happening. We will start with the first game, Electric Thunder Tiger II. 

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First, let us add some context to this whole situation of Travis Strikes Again. No More Heroes 2 was released in 2010, so it has been almost a decade since that game. Travis has been gone and while there are many new gamers to experience Travis’ new adventure, there are clearly fans who grew up with the previous titles and are glad to see this crazy otaku back in action. Now of course there have been fans who were not for the game when they got to see how everything works for the first time. Still hatred does show interest or love in a strange way because it shows they care. Some fans cared to a point where they got disappointed, which I am not going to dig into that can of worms any further. Either way, Travis is back and he gets to feel those emotions as well in this title.

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Travis talks about his experience with the original Electric Thunder Tiger title, I mean I bet some people know of it too because it was the demo level. I love the joke that the demo was just Electric Thunder Tiger and now in the official release its the sequel. The experience that Travis is referring to though is his time as a youth with the original arcade game and the original Death Drive arcade machines. We all know what arcade games feel like, those machines that ate your coins or tokens until you had none left. These types of games would rarely get outside of their arcade cabinets. Now we have people who emulate everything now these days, but for the common public there is barely any way to play some arcade games. Hell, some arcade games are solely made for the arcade machine anyway, so even if one can emulate it, playing it would be near impossible.

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In the world of No More Heroes, the sequel for an arcade hit is going to be for a console, the Death Drive mk.2. It would be like having an arcade right in your home! This was a huge thing back in the days for video game marketing. Making the best ports of these arcade games which still does happen in today’s market. Look at the Street Fighter 30th anniversary collection with arcade perfect ports. Capcom also released a bundle of arcade beat’em up games and one of those never got a console release before. This first game is really building up on arcade games and since Travis Strikes Again is more akin with beat’em up games than the previous third person action games, it makes sense why this is the first title. Then the idea of a legendary game and its character coming back for a loving fan means much more when you take this idea into the real world as well. 

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Travis Touchdown, a man who is now known as a legend. In Travis Strikes Again the word legend means that you are forgotten and have vanished. Which let’s be honest this has happened to many video game characters before (Banjo I still miss you). For a gamer like me who grew up with the first No More Heroes, played its sequel, and even played the bad port it had on other consoles, I was still ready for more of Travis. As stated, before it’s been nine years since No More Heroes 2. I also really love Travis as a character, I mean I just did a huge post just previously on his whole character development. So, I am experiencing what Travis is feeling as he is experiencing a new game with a character, he is fond of. He would even have to kill that said character, the hero that Travis molded his life around. Surely it is only a video game character so no hard feelings, right? Taking down something you adored is no easy task. Still this is No More Heroes, so there has to be no more heroes.

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Another thing to remember is that Travis had his past events happen off screen. He was not being viewed by his fans or even new gamers. Now that camera is back on Travis with someone controlling him in his grand fights. Travis says he is fighting because of blood; his blood starts to rush when he gets the thrill of a fight. He puts his life on the line and would barely even think about it, it’s his passion. He even knows when something new is coming, it could bring issues. Reminds me of a certain game for our main character that got some bad reception because of its change of gameplay. A phrase Travis even says after that about killing; can easily be said for anyone putting their ideas out there at a cost. What is the point of killing (making games)? Sometimes it does not have too much meaning as many would think, it can be all instinct. Look at Suda back then when he was not being the director of many previous titles and now, he just kicks right back in with this ballsy new game. Suda even says that he knew going in with a title like this would have a love or hate it relationship and yet he did it. He took the risk. There are times we do things for ourselves and making games can be just that. 

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Many game developers have unique ways of making their titles. Some can take too long and could cause annoyance with their fans. There can be a few that actually put their life on the line and do not get the proper medical treatment at times. We even get developers who move away from a company and develop their own which is a big risk to take. Entertainment is much harder than some may think and Travis Strikes Again will be getting more to that later on. Still the love for one medium especially when you are a said creator in the field can bring some interesting viewpoints. We have Travis who is clearly the gaming fan and experiencing a title he never got and it is a sequel for something he dearly loved. Then we have Triple Star a character who waited in limbo for too long and lost his purpose. Travis easily lost his purpose too, but for the gamer playing we don’t see that. We hear of Travis leaving the ranking fights and now we know he is just playing video games. Badman popping up and forcing him into this situation kickstarted the blood flowing in his body again. It’s also fun to note that Travis even becomes a narrator of all sudden when he originally didn’t even notice and that he wanted to introduce himself in the opening cutscene.

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The fight with Triple Star starts to note the pain to have the title of a legend. When one is well known for doing something, it can be misguided a bit. With Triple Star he is a known hero for saving the day and now it seems he failed. Not only did he fail the adoring fans he had, but also the family he took care of. Triple Star lost his true passion of being a hero since his reason for fighting was gone. He just stayed in his world waiting for a new challenger. People looked only at his legend and did not see him as a flawed person. For Suda 51 his name got slapped unto many games and while in reality he was not even the director of said games. Then people end up seeing Suda 51 games in a different light. It even got to a point where people was saying Travis Strikes Again was not even a No More Heroes title. The style he was known for in his early days; when his game was only being released in Japan got warped. Suda was a man who blew expectations and that soon became just known as over the top moments that make no sense. For his first titles in the West, Killer7 and No More Heroes, he was being known for doing subtle things with some jarring moments. Killer is Dead tried to head back to that and yet a publisher had to muddle that up with some filler content that was not received well in the States. Still Suda’s name is plastered and advertised and many will just think he was the biggest name for that title. This will also be a subject later on as well in this story. 

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This first title with Electric Thunder Tiger II shows the feelings of being lost, forgotten, or even just mislabeled. The pain of being a legend holds many responsibilities and when you first get that title, it could even haunt you. The love of creating can come at some risks. Love, fear, and hatred should not be ignored though. Love simply shows the passion of how far one can go for something. Fear shows doubt and can stop you from doing something too crazy. Hatred can show how much one cares because you had high hopes for something and for you personally you got disappointed. All of this is found in this first section of Travis Strikes Again. Travis loves that he gets to experience the game he could never get (like many of his fans get to see more of him). Fear starts to come up when Travis noticed he was risking his life too many times and decided to wind down (and those gamers fear if he would ever come back at all). Then hatred, Travis had some issues starting up the game because it was a bit padded out because of tutorials and bugs (then some of his fans were not happy with what was shown in these first levels, which was the demo at conventions too). Suda is a creator and loves what he does, but there are obstacles to overcome and a sense of pride with that, which will come up when we take a look into Life is Destroy. 

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Man I love this screenshot