Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1, 2014? -- Don't Lose Your Way

I've been holding my tongue about this one for some time, and now that I've gotten my mojo back with Fresh PreCure, I'm ready to give Kill la Kill a piece of my mind. What, you thought that I'd somehow be okay with this show when I so thoroughly lambasted Fresh PreCure for its weird fascination of sexualizing underage characters?


Join me after the break and we'll take a look at one of the poorest examples of storytelling you'll ever see.

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Jake O'Jack Presents: 
Kill la Cure Part One: Iron Skies
--Original Concept; DO NOT STEAL--

Prologue: A Good Day to Cure Hard

It was a quiet day in Pikarigaoka. The calm before the storm as one old man would later put it. At one unassuming cafe sat two young girls, originally brought together on business but kept together through the innocent bonds of friendship. Their chance encounter occurred approximately one year ago...

...Or was it two years ago? Fuck the chronology of this franchise is so confusing.

In any event, they now found themselves on a new assignment. They were PreCure, the legendary warriors who survived countless battles. At one side sat Hibiki Hojo, Cure Melody to her contemporaries and leader of the underappreciated Suite PreCure. Opposite Hibiki sat the upsettingly pink Miyuki Hoshizora. Having believed that the forces of evil were vanquished, they were shocked to hear of the invasion of a new foe:

The Saiark: Unknown enemies of love and happiness.

To combat them, a new Cure team had arisen, but they were losing ground. It would be up to Hojo and Hoshizora to get them to a higher level of experience. Their skills were unmatched, tempered by what may very well be years of experience, with a sophisticated thought process to match.

"How old are you?" Hibiki asked Miyuki, setting down her cup of coffee (one cream, six sugars).

Miyuki raised an eyebrow and set down her own drink (Smile Surprise: one part imported Yoo-Hoo, two parts Blue Gatorade, a purple Kool-Aid single, and fifteen orange sour skittles). "Why do you ask?"

"Here's the thing," Hojo sat her drink on the table. "I'm fourteen as far as I can recall."


"Suite was 2011."

"After Heartcatch, yeah."

"So did we age at all?"

Miyuki scrunched her face in thought. After coming to a conclusion, she grinned happily. "I guess I never really thought about it."

"It had to have crossed your mind!" Hojo slapped the table. "For goodness sake, Cure White probably has her doctorate in smart-ology by now."

"I think Dream just started law school."

"Oh law school, big deal." Hojo rolled her eyes. "They're letting seventeen year olds do that now."

"Can we talk about something else?" Miyuki asked, becoming visibly and audibly uncomfortable.

"Right, right. So what's your take on the new cures? What were they called again?"

"Helpful Chargers, I think," Miyuki took a sip. She twitched as the skittle passed her lips. "I've seen 'em on that show. They seem cool."

"How long do you think we'll have to wait before a saiark shows up?" Hojo leaned back, stretching her arms.

As if on cue, an explosion from over a block away kicked a large amount of dust and debris towards the cafe. Dust settled into the Smile Surprise, ruining the delicate flavor balance of the mixture.

"Boo," Miyuki said, dumping the mug onto the street. Children, not knowing any better, scrambled to gather the half-dissolved skittles.

"Now there's something you don't see every day." Hibiki brushed the dust off of her school uniform.

"Maybe not these days," Miyuki said, producing a garishly colored makeup kit from her purse.

"What do you think? Two, three?" Hibiki produced what looked like a purfume bottle from her own purse.

"One big one, I'd guess," Miyuki slid a pink jewel into a slot on the compact.

"Then let's hit it."

Chapter 6: In the Scissor's Shadow

Megumi and Hime could hardly believe what they had just seen. The girl couldn't be more than three or four years older than them, but she had done the unthinkable:

She had killed a Saiark. By herself. No tricks. No magic. Just pure skill and what appeared to be half of a giant pair of scissors.

"That was pretty cool," Hime whispered, her PreChanMirror open but unused.

"Yeah..." Megumi said. "Totemo cool. I can't believe she defeated it all by herself."

Ribbon scratched behind her ear. "Usually it takes both of you to bring down a Saiark."

Hime didn't appreciate the joke and expressed her displeasure by pinching both of Ribbon's cheeks and stretching them out a comical length.

As the mysterious girl walked by, Megumi was able to get a good look at her. Dark locks of hair hung wildly around her face. Her gaze was serious and determined, her deep blue eyes glared forward, unwavering in their fixation on the path ahead. Her heart came dangerously close to skipping a beat.

"Ah! Excuse me!" Megumi instinctively called out.

"Megumi! What are you doing!?" Hime shouted, still stretching out her fairy partner's cheeks. "Don't make her mad; she looks scary."

The girl stopped mid-stride, turning toward Megumi, eyebrow cocked.

"I don't think I've ever seen anyone who wasn't a PreCure defeat a Saiark, so..." Megumi began. "... I was wondering how you were able to fight it. I've never seen a weapon like yours."

The girl looked forward. "I just did. I see someone picking others who are weaker than they are; I take 'em down. Simple as that."

"That's sort of how I am, too," Megumi said. "I don't really like to fight, but when my friends are--"

"I don't really care about what's going on in this town," the girl said. "I'm looking for someone and I'm just passing through. If you've never seen a weapon like mine, then I have no business with you." She continued on her way.

Hime looked on in disbelief. "Who talks like that? It sounds like bad dialogue from a fanfic."

"I'm going to follow her," Megumi said.

"Eh!?" Hime exclaimed. "You heard what she said! We should just leave her alone!"

"What if she's a PreCure?" Megumi asked. "If she's that strong by herself, imagine what she'd be capable of! We'd be able to save your kingdom for sure!"

"And rub it in Fortune's face?" Hime asked, now curious at the prospect of showing up Cure Fortune.

"If we have time," Megumi said, holding up her Change Mirror. "Detective mode?"

Hime grinned. "Detective mode."

"Time to change!"

Chapter 13: Standoff

"Okay, let's everyone just calm down now," Blue said, his expression one of discomfort.

The intruder held her weapon at the aloof god's throat, the deep red crimson of her scissor blade resembling a sharp plume of blood that would surely spray from Blue's throat if he didn't choose his words carefully.

"You're the one who sent your attack dogs after me," the girl said, her voice a harsh, husky growl. "Like I told eyebrows, I'm just passing through. Not my fault this whole city's a damn circus."

"Eyebrows?" asked Hime. "Is... Is she talking about me?"

"It's possible, yes," Megumi said.

"Oooooh... This day keeps getting worse," Hime groaned, her hands falling limply to her sides. "Tell Yuu-Yuu that I'm gonna need, like, a hundred honey candies after this is over."

"I said hands where I can see them!" the girl growled. Hime's hands rocketed into the air. Were she physically able to, she would have likely touched the ceiling, her back ramrod straight from the fear of her situation.

"You know I'm god, right?" Blue asked. "I probably can't die."

"Care to find out?" the girl asked, pressing her scissor blade more firmly against Blue's thin, feminine throat.

Blue swallowed laboriously. "Well now that you mention it, uh, not particularly."

"Please, leave Blue alone!" Megumi begged. "I'm the one that convinced Hime to follow you!"

The door to the mansion slowly opened, and in peeked the head of a young boy. "Hey, am I still relevant?"

"Stay out of this, kid!" the girl demanded.

"Seiji, this is a grown up conversation," Blue said. "Could you go somewhere else?"

"Fine," the boy took his leave.

"This isn't right!" Megumi shouted. "Someone as strong as you shouldn't be spreading misery and sadness. Didn't you say you hated seeing people pick on those who aren't strong enough to fight back? How do you think this makes us feel."

"Well... We're not that weak," Hime muttered.

Ribbon slapped her on the back of the head. "You're not helping!" she scolded.

The girl sighed, lowering the scissor blade. "Fine," she said, before quickly raising it and pointing the tip at Hime. "But if that one tries to touch me again I'm giving her a mohawk."

"Deal!" Hime squeaked.

"Then it's settled! We're friends now!"

"I... I never agreed to that," the girl said, visibly flustered for the first time the girls had seen.

"I'm Megumi! Aino Megumi! And the girl you're pointing at is Hime," Megumi said.

"Pointing is right," Hime said, her eyes fixed on the point of the scissor blade.

"Do you have a name?" asked Megumi.

The girl was silent for a moment. "Ryuuko. Matoi Ryuuko."

Hime inhaled sharply. "Well, now that that's settled..." she gently pushed the scissor blade aside with her index finger. "Let's have some tea!"

"Nice to meet you, Ryuuko."

Chapter 20: Make the Man

"Maaaaaan, I am completely lost!" Hibiki said, scratching her head.

"It's very simple," Tony said, gesturing uncomfortably close to Miyuki's face. He realized his feux-pas, withdrawing his hand. "Gomen. Small tables. Don't really afford me the chance to be as extravagant as I'd like."

"I think I understand, sort of," Miyuki said. "Your company had some problems recently and you think they're connected to the Saiarks taking over the world. Am I right Mr. Stark?"

"First intelligent conversation I've had since I landed and it's with a fourteen year old girl," Tony mused, folding his arms.

"We think," Hibiki added.

"All I know is that this is really poorly timed," Stark said. "We've got a deal to close with some fashion company, and as long as tall-dark-and-spookies keep popping up and spreading space mold, nothing good will ever come of it."

"It looks like this is more complicated than we thought," Hibiki remarked. "If the Phantom Empire gains anymore ground, Stark Enterprises won't be around to help keep the peace."

"I swear, this is worse than when someone started giving out arc reactors back in that village back in the 80s," Tony sighed. "Anyway, that's where we're at."

"So all we have to do is find the new PreCures and get them to help us," Miyuki said. "Maybe they'll be able to tell us more about the Phantom Empire."

"And about their connection with our friends at REVOCS," Stark said, finishing his coffee. "Well ladies, it's been real. I believe I will pick up the tab and catch you two at the meeting area."

A few feet away, at a completely unrelated table, an old man stared at the sky. "This must surely be the calm before the storm..." he said, symbolizing nothing.

Chapter 29: Standoff

"Okay, let's everyone just calm down now!" Iron man said, repulsor arms pointed squarely at the foreheads of Ryuuko and Cure Princess.

"Why does this keep happening to me?" Princess asked, the glow from the hand-mounted weapon warming her ample forehead.

"Calm down, Princess," Lovely said. "We can handle this."

"Don't be stupid," Cure Melody said, her fists at the ready.

"We can't help it. It's kind of our thing," Princess sobbed.

"I never would've imagined the new Cures would be like this," Happy remarked.

"Don't lump me in with them!" Ryuuko shouted, clearly embarrassed by her situation. "This has nothing to do with me!"

"And yet here we are," Stark retorted. "If you're innocent then I'd sure like to know why you swung a scissor at my chest. A few inches higher and we would've had a serious problem."

"Ha," Ryuuko chuckled derisively. "You say that as though I missed. Still, I'm a little impressed by that armor."

"Thank you; I have exquisite taste," Stark quipped.

"For an American," Ryuuko added.

"Touche," said Stark.

"How you holding up, Princess?" Lovely asked.

"Scared," Princess answered.

"There's like, three separate conversations happening right now and I can't follow any of them,"  Happy muttered.

"Are we gonna fight or what?" Melody asked. "Clearly we're all after the same thing, so why are we doing this? Why don't you put down the scissor and I'll back away from Lovely."

"I'll put down the scissor if he turns off his little flashlights," Ryuuko offered.

"I'll power down my weapons if Princess... Just... Stops being Princess," Stark conceded.

Princess whimpered, defeated, as the four combatants lowered their guard.

"Now that that's settled, who wants to talk about Saiarks?" Happy asked, having contributed nothing to the dialogue up to that point.

Chapter 35: Prelude to Battle

Megumi sat on the grassy hill overlooking the river, knees hugged to her chest. She found herself lost in thought, unable to sleep in anticipation of the battle that was about to happen. "When I'm with them I feel like I can do anything, but..." She gazed pensively at the palm of her hand.

"Can I really do this?" she asked.

"Second thoughts?" asked a man's voice. Megumi turned around to find Blue standing next to her.

"Blue, you startled me," she chuckled. "Yeah. I want to be strong. Not just for Hime, but for everyone. She's scared. I'm scared. I know we all want to save Miyuki, but I don't want to think about what would happen if we failed."

Blue smiled knowingly. "Being afraid is part of being alive. Frankly I'd be more worried if you weren't afraid for tomorrow's battle."

"I know. You're right about that, as usual, but..." she wiped a tear from her eye. "When I look at Ryuuko, she seems so... certain, so unafraid. She's so much stronger than anyone I've met, and I just don't think I'll ever have it in me to be like that. I can't imagine ever reaching that level. Not as a person, not as a PreCure... Not as long has I have this fear."

"You're mistaken," Blue said. "Ryuuko's fear is deeper than you could imagine. The only difference between you two is that Ryuuko knows how to take that fear and burn it as fuel to keep moving forward. Her courage isn't a lack of fear, it's knowledge of the trials she must face once she leaves Pikarigaoka. Her determination is the wind that guides her blade. That... is the difference between you two."

"That and experience," Ryuuko's voice called out from the distance. Her blade was slung over her shoulder as her free hand rested on her hip.

Blue patted Megumi on the head. "You two have something you need to talk about... don't you Lovely?"

Megumi wiped away the last of her tears. "Yeah," she said, smiling. "Yeah we do."

Blue took his leave as Megumi rose to her feet, dusting grass clippings off her skirt. "Hey, Ryuuko."

"Megs," she replied.

"Ummm... Good luck at the battle tomorrow!" she said. "I'm going to do my best, even though I'm so scared."

"Don't let that fear get the better of you," she said. "That's a lesson I wish I could've understood when I first took up this scissor."

"How did you get it, anyway?" Megumi asked.

Ryuuko frowned, her gaze falling to the ground. "I lost someone... Someone important to me. You might say he's the reason for all of this. I won't stop until I kill my target."

"Couldn't you just talk to them?" Megumi asked. "Killing is just so... so..."

"It's not as simple as that!" Ryuuko shouted. "I fight with a weapon that destroyed my life. I'm doomed to fight until I drop dead. You think I'm brave? I only fight because I have nothing left."

Megumi's eyes widened. Was this the secret that Ryuuko clung to? Was the only way to become stronger to lose what was most important to her.

Hime's face flashed through her mind.

Ryuuko smiled. "You've figured it out, haven't you? You've got someone you're fighting for?"

Megumi nodded. "Yeah."

"Then you have to do this for them," Ryuuko said. "You're not going to help them by debating the merits of violence. You're not going to beat Oresky by arguing." She twirled her scissor blade, pointing it at Megumi. "But you already know what you can beat him in."

Megumi smiled, pulling out her Change Mirror. "Yeah... You're right. Just like always."

"Then show me that resolve!" Ryuuko shouted, readying her blade.

"PreCure! Rollin' Mirror Change!" Megumi shouted as her body was engulfed in a pink light. Seconds later, she reappeared as Cure Lovely. "Lovely Rising Sword!" she shouted as a bright pink sword appeared in her hand.

Ryuuko grinned. "You ready, Love?" she asked.

"Everything I feel is in this sword!" Lovely declared, gripping the hilt with both hands.

"Good... COME ON!"

Chapter 40: Standoff

"Okay, let's everyone just calm down now!" Oresky shouted, plugging his ears to shield his delicate tympanic membrane from Miyuki's screams.

"We'll get you down from there Miyuki!" Melody shouted. "I promise!"

"I'm not Ultra Happy™ right now!" Miyuki shouted, struggling to break free of the Saiark made out of a block and tackle pulley that had entangled her.

"Ha! You stand no chance against the onslaught of my saiark onslaught," Oresky taunted.

Ryuuko and Lovely continued to fight the ever-growing mob of Choiark. "Damn, they've got us pinned down!" she shouted as she cut down seven choiark with a swing of her scissor. "Princess! Melody! You've gotta hold him off for a bit."

"I-I don't think we can do this," Princess said, hiding behind Melody.

"I can't believe I'm stuck with this one," Melody muttered.

"You'd best listen to Eyebrows, girl!" Oresky declared, pointing an accusatory finger at the Cures. "I count only two of you against my three saiarks!"

"SAIARK!!!" the forklift and baler saiarks said in unison.

Static filled the warehouse speakers before giving way to a familiar voice. "That's funny," the voice of Tony Stark said. "I count one of me, and that's all they need." Music began to play over the speakers, the prelude to the entrance of the Iron Avenger himself. Iron Man had arrived!

"How 'bout it, Cap'n Crunch?" he asked, pointing a repulsor arm at Oresky.

"You mock me?" Oresky asked. "You can't hope to defeat a man of my talents. Observe my medals! They signify that I am a man of #Valour."

"One of them looks like the chocolate is starting to melt," Stark said.

Oresky reeled at the accusation. "How did you... !?" He unpinned a medal from his uniform. "CHOIARK! Place this medal in the refridgerator... For safety!"

"Okay, did anybody else notice that he used a verbal hashtag?" Miyuki asked. "I don't care if you're a member of the Phantom Empire, there are some things you just don't do-- Hnnngh!" The cables began to tighten around her.

"Hang in there, Miyuki, we've got this," Stark said. "Now, are we gonna do this the easy way or the hard way?"

"SAIARK!" Forklift shouted.

"Wrong answer," said Stark, who quickly fired a salvo at the forklift-themed monstrosity. The forklift flew back, crashing through the walls.

"SAIARK!" cried the baler, who began to fire sheets of pressed cardboard at Iron Man.

"Mr. Stark!" Ryuuko shouted, vaulting over the head of a choiark with her blade extended into the air. She cut through the sheets of cardboard, causing them to split harmlessly on opposite sides of Tony.

"Be careful of that cardboard," Lovely warned. "It's CORRUGATED!"

"Gotcha," said Stark, firing blasts at the saiarks to hold them at bay. "Could use a hand here, gang! I can stun them but I can't kill them!"

"Comin' at you!" Lovely said through a handspring to avoid a choiark's attack. "Pinky Love Shoot!" she shouted, firing a beam of pink light at the forklift.

She landed gracefully and thrust her fist into the air. "Return to the skies!"

"So... relaxing..." said Forklift, who eventually disappeared and transformed back into a non-monster forklift.

"Damn you, PreCure..." Oresky cursed.

"And Iron Man," Stark added.

"I think I can save Miyuki if you guys handle the other one," Melody said.

"No problem," Lovely said. "Feel up to taking down that baler, Princess?"

"If it's with you, then I don't have to feel scared!" Princess said, taking position to back up her comrade.

"Then that leaves Oresky to us," Ryuuko said, gripping her scissor. "That good with you, old man?"

"This old man's gonna kick some ass," Stark said.

"If your heart doesn't explode," Ryuuko joked.

"Not funny," said Tony.

"Fine then," Oresky said. "You face the strongest of the Phantom Empire's generals..." He smashed his fists together, the shockwave from the impact causing the windows to blow out of the warehouse.

Chapter 42: Dark Horizon

"Nicely done, Princess," said Lovely, high-fiving her comrade.

"I'm a little impressed that you could pull off such an explosive attack," said Ryuuko.

"I was too at first," Lovely said. "The secret is this little guy," she held up her mirror, along with a handful of PreCards.

Ryuuko examined them. "What are they, like layered trading cards?"

"They're like alternate outfits," Princess said. "The power is all in the clothes!"

Yup! All in the clothes!" Lovely cheered.

Ryuuko's expression turned to one of horror, the color draining from her face. "All in the... clothes?" She swallowed, gritting her teeth in dread for what she already knew to be true. She grabbed the Change Mirror. "Let me see that!"

"Hey, what's gotten into you?" Lovely asked.

"JUST SHUT UP!!!" Ryuuko shouted. She gasped, nearly dropping the mirror when she saw the unmistakable logo on back of the change mirror.

"REVOCS..." she muttered.

"Say what?" Princess asked.

"Dammit..." Ryuuko growled. "Just when I finally make a friend... They had to be with them..."

"Ryuuko," Lovely said, extending a caring hand.

"I said shut up," Ryuuko smacked Lovely's hand away. "Like I said, all of this had nothing to do with me. It's time I moved on." She turned her back on Lovely and Princess.


"It's better this way, Megs," she said.

"Will I ever see you again? Will we ever see you again?" Lovely asked.

"If we do..." she sobbed, pointing her scissor at Lovely. "It will be as enemies. You can count on that." She continued off into the horizon. Disappearing from Lovely and Hime's lives...


For now...

Epilogue: Playa Azul

Blue stood at the window in the living room of the darkened mansion. "Based on my assessment it would seem that she is indeed ready to go head to head with Kiryuin..."

"Yes, Mikisugi-san," Blue said. "I too am disgusted by having to use their tools to fight the saiark, but the safety of my people come first. After we eradicate their kind, we will dispose of the costumes. For the PreCure's sake as well. For the sake of the world... And for the Nudist Beach!" He hung up the phone.

"Your battle is just beginning, Matoi Ryuuko," Blue said. "You will face great challenges, but at the same time you will find irreplaceable allies. Remember what you've seen here, Ryuuko. And please don't judge us too harshly for our weapons of war. Pleasant travels..." he removed the fedora from his head and placed it over his heart.

"... Milady..."


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