I want to talk today about violence in comics. In particular, my love of violence in comics. Over the years, I’ve been really upfront about how I love fighting comics and animation and characters that beat the crap out of each other. Not surprisingly, I’ve received a lot of shit for it and I understand why, so I want to talk about what I mean when I say, “I like violence.”
To me there is a clear and important line between a fight between equals and an abusive situation – and that line is the balance of power. Horror as a genre has never appealed to me, because there is always a presupposition of a power imbalance. The stalker, murderer, evil thing has the power and the rest of the cast are victims running away from or forced to fight against the character(s) with power. I suppose that a lot of people enjoy horror because at least one victim wins, usually by gruesomely destroying the bad guy. It’s not my cup of tea. Neither are portrayals of abusive situations. These are not entertainment for me.
I prefer a consenting human, who has chosen their situation, to step into a battle with a fairly matched other consenting person. Even if the fighting itself is not “fair”, the presupposition is that both fighters know what they are getting in to. (This is all relevant this week, by the way, I’ll be referring back to this conversation later, so keep it somewhere you’ll remember to find it. ^_^)
In the meantime, today, we’re going to talk about Ikkitousen, one of the honestly crappiest series I’ve ever enjoyed. My review of XX back in 2010 said this, “In Ikkitousen: Xtreme Xecutor, we pretend that Ikitousen:GG never happened and go crawling back to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms with our heads down, asking humbly for it to take us back.”
And that’s pretty much exactly what happens. Where I was wrong was on the lack of service. The TV release may have had less service, but as this is the “home theater” version, we are forced to to do the tits and crotch dance repeatedly, endlessly, pathologically. I will never have anything but utter pity for folks that actually find this stuff titillating as it’s so boring and pedestrian. You have the whole Internet to be pervy on. Go find something interesting.
So, post the Battle of Red Cliffs that was sort of recreated in Ikkitousen: DD, in the Romance of the Three Schools, a tournament of fighters is announced (again). Someone claiming to be Kentei (again) is setting Fighters up (again) this time to get at the leaders of the three schools – all of whom do not attend for separate reasons. Sousou can’t fight or Cao Cao will take over his body again, Ryuubi can’t fight or her Dragon will go out of control and Hakufu misses the boat because she’s an idiot. This leaves their champions to duke it out with the new crazy fake-Kentei and the not-quite-as-crazy sisters from Nanban. Mouyuu is notable (to me) for being voiced by Toyoguchi Megumi (Sei’s voice actress from Maria-sama ga Miteru) and for having an fetching eyepatch. Put her in some decent clothes and she’d be perfect. ^_^
I’m not going to get into the plot particularly, but I very much like that the characters are extremely aware of their histories and that when Bachou Mouki arrives, they are all instantly convinced that a new recreation of an ancient battle is on the table. Kanu and Ryomou seem to be the most tied into historical awareness – another thing that makes the two of them awesome characters.
There’s a lot of talking in this volume as we set up the fights, but I’m gonna give the story its props, the final episode on this disk ends with a fantastic scene as Hakufu and Gakushu save Ryuubi and company’s asses. I really like Gakushu. He gets the second most “aww”s from me after Ryomou. ^_^
In conclusion, Ikkitousen XX is a hideous perversion of the Chinese epic with gross amounts of service and every once in a blue moon, a terrific fight sequence that makes it all worth watching, if you like watching people beat the shit out of one another. Which I do*.
Art – I guess it’s okay, but why bother? 7
Story – Weirdly 9. The story is actually why I watch it.
Characters – Also weirdly 9.
Service – 10 I can’t complain, because it is what it is, but snooze.
Yuri – 2 It’s there, but all pushed to the background.
Overall – Let’s say 8 if you’re me and 2 if you’re sensible.
*After watching fantasy fighting in Ikkitousen last night, I tuned into UFC to watch a really excellent real-life MMA fight between Paige Vanzant and Felice Herrig at the end of which both I and the live audience were on our feet for Vanzant’s efforts. Two equally matched fighters, both of whom go into it knowing what they are doing, makes for an amazing bout.