Rave Master Chap. 12: Your Basic D.I.D

Chapter 12 begins with Musica reforging the sword that once was broken, the Ten Power’s sword. Here’s where I start to get really incredulous. Haru has, at this point, less than two hours to save Elie; therefore, he needs his sword finished in time. Musica even tells him that in his prime, it took a day for him to make a sword. Now, I don’t know much about metalwork, but I’m pretty sure it would be pretty damn hard, if not  impossible, to repair a sword in under two hours. Add on the fact that Musica’s been drunk for the past 15 years, it seems to me this would be well out of the realm of possibility. But story trumps logic, and Musica is able to fix the sword in no time flat. Haru promises to destroy Lance’s sword, and is off to save the girl.

Meanwhile, Elie is chained in Lance’s place, and reminds me why I like her so much. Even though she’s a damsel in distress and waiting for the guys to save her, she’s still a fun and upbeat character. She’s not panicking or crying or just saying Haru’s name, like that will bring him faster. Maybe it’s a bit ridiculous that she’s doing this even when she’s threatened with a sword, I appreciate that she brings some levity to her situation.

Musica the Gangster is waiting for Haru outside Lance’s mansion, but decides to go in by himself as the clock winds down. He wastes no time in beating up the guards outside getting in. His next exchange will Elie represent a huge difference between the thirteen-year-old reading this manga and me, as an adult reading this manga.

Cute, young girl gets captured by a strong, powerful man with no morals, who has her chained up and could do anything he wanted to to her. If this were Game of Thrones, or a crime novel, maybe a TV drama with adults as a target audience, you know exactly where this is going to go.Maybe it’s because I’ve finally read the first book of Game of Thrones, maybe it’s because I’m more aware of sexual assault and rape now than I was, maybe it’s just because I’m an adult and have learned that the world is dangerous, even moreso if you’re a woman…I always get on edge when I hear about situations – fictional or not – like these.

If this is how Game of Thrones treated sexual abuse, I might actually watch it.

But it doesn’t. There’s nothing sexual about this scene. Elie claims that Lance was trying to look down her shirt, but she says that it was a joke. I’m so glad that this scene didn’t go anywhere near that. I remember that Rave Master gets dark in some places. There’s death, suicide, and some reasonably adult themes in the series. But it never goes into sexual assault. There’s a lot of reasons why this might be the case. It’s an action manga, rather than a drama; the target audience is teenagers; it’s too dark.

Whatever reasons Mashima decided not to use it, I’m glad.

I’m also glad that when I was reading this as a young adolescent, the idea that Elie might be raped never even crossed my mind.  It’s a small piece of innocence, but innocence nonetheless. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better if I could still think like that.

Musica fights Lance’s bodyguard, Bis, and there are more puns. When it becomes apparent that Musica is going to win,  Lance cuts down Bis, to prove just how evil he is. Evil, but not interesting. As Musica steps up to fight Lance, Musica the Blacksmith has just finished repairing Haru’s sword. Haru learns that Musica the Blacksmith’s family was murdered by Lance, and Haru vows to destroy Lance’s sword, ending chapter 12.

Right now the story seems pretty generic. Girl gets kidnapped by bad guy, hero goes to save girl, bad guy has no real motivation to be so bad. It really bugs me that Lance is just evil for the sake of being evil. The best villains are the ones that do wrong for reasons they think are right. A good villain believes in something. Lance? He believes in hurting people, mainly for shits ‘n’ giggles. I don’t know about you, but that’s not a cause I can get behind.

Rave Master Vol. 2, Chap. 6: Down with the Kids Today

Chapter 6 starts with Haru facing off against Georco. And I hate Georco. There are plenty of reasons to dislike a villain, but I don’t hate him because he’s villainous and actively trying to kill our hero. That’s just part of what villains do.

I hate him because of the way he talks.

Did you ever have a teacher who wanted to prove he could talk to kids by attempting to use their slang, but was a few years behind what everyone else was saying? Or see middle-class kids who listen to rap music and then decide they’re “ghetto” too, and try to act like it? Has your mom ever tried to talk to you using words like “swag” or “fleek” or whatever the hell it is those darn kids are saying today?

Georco sounds like all those people.

#YOLO #BILBOSWAGGINS

I think that he’s supposed to sound cool and “with it”, or maybe it has something to do with the way the manga was translated. Maybe “I’ve peeped this cat before” sounds really cool in Japanese, instead of something ripped from a 1920s gangster movie.

An annoying and otherwise forgettable one-shot villain is made utterly detestable because of his dialogue, and for a twist, it’s not what he says, it’s how he says it.

Georco has a Dark Bring, which gives him the power to turn into carbon monoxide. That’s…actually kind of cool, now that I think about it. The way Georco’s attack names are translated, though, seem weird. The first attack Georco uses is called “Toxic Gas Blast”, because when you live in a manga, you always need to announce exactly what you’re doing to your enemy. However, a footnote lets us know that the original name of the attack is “CO Heaven”. That sounds a lot more bad-ass, if you ask me. So why bother changing it? It would probably help me take the character more seriously.

Even though his sword is broken, Haru can still use the power of Rave to make explosions. He can’t hit Georco directly, so instead he creates an explosion to blow smoky Georco away.

Hang on a second. A thought just occurred to me. Isn’t carbon monoxide invisible? If Georco really turned into carbon monoxide, why can we still see him? Because it seems to me it would be a lot smarter for him to just disappear from view and asphyxiate Haru. The kid was having a hard enough time with the fight when he could see Georco.

He’s RIGHT. FUCKING. THERE.

Anyway, Haru manages to get away from Georco, but isn’t in good shape after their fight. In fact, he completely forgets to rescue Plue as he makes his escape. You know, the thing that made him break up the race in the first place. Okay, he’s in respiratory distress at the moment, so I’ll handwave this one. For now. What I can’t forgive is how easily the mooks chasing Haru overlook him.

How did I let them get away with this when I was a kid?


With that potentially exciting scene squandered, Haru takes a minute to catch his breath, literally, and talks with Elie. It turns out that Demon Card has a lot of power in Hip Hop Town and anyone who wants to leave has to pay a huge fee to Demon Card. This kind of makes me wonder at the implications of this for Hip Hop Town’s economy, but that’s neither here nor there. Elie tells Haru her plan for getting out of Hip Hop Town: she’s bet all her money on the dog race. This…is very poor financial planning.

It turns out Elie’s placed her bets on Plue to win the Battle Road race. Battle Road is essentially greyhound racing meets the Hunger Games.

Am I a bad person because I think that sounds kind of awesome?

It is decidedly not awesome for the dogs participating, because along with them attacking each other, there’s all sort of traps set around the race track, like spears that pop out of the ground and explosions. Even though Elie claims that no dog has ever died on Battle Road, I’m finding that a little hard to believe.

Her reasoning for putting all her money on Plue? She’s convinced that he’s a bug who will fly at the end of the race. I know Elie’s supposed to be a goofy character, but…really? He barely looks like a dog, how the hell did you look at Plue and decide he was a bug?

Haru wants to rescue Plue, but since Elie’s bet everything she has on the race, she refuses to let Haru do so, and threatens to alert Demon Card thugs if he tries to stop the race. And so ends chapter 6.

I’m trying to remind myself of the MST3K Mantra: “Remind yourself it’s just a show, I should really just try to relax”. It’s perfectly normal for goons to make bad choices and heroes to, likewise, make bad choices. It’s what propels a story along. So I’ll forgive the story for now, and try to enjoy its goofiness.