Fanart Friday returns, adding another twenty to its deadlift--if the bar ain't bending, you're just pretending. Last week, we revisited the many, many super-popular roles of Megumi Hayashibara, but this week we start a month-long theme: developing THE PERFECT TEAM, starting with STRENGTH-based characters!
Every team needs its muscle--no matter how smart the rest of the team is, no matter how fast or skilled they are, you need a big living killstick who's able to take an absurd amount of damage... and give it back tenfold. While there are plenty of characters who have a variety of perks (strength among them), I wanted to focus on characters who are generally only known for their raw power. Let's get started!
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Games--especially RPGs--tend to have a "tough guy" on each team, whether it's Final Fantasy's Sabin, Barrett, or Zell, or in this case Persona 4's Kanji Tatsumi!
Overall, Naruto is a series where characters who fight are expected to be well-rounded, to have distributed their points evenly into different stats, or at least have strong-enough ninjutsu to provide support. Not these badasses! Lee and Guy are full-on physical monstrosities!
Physical strength (in weaponized form) shows up in different ways, whether you're ripping things out of the ground and using them as blunt weapons like Durarara's Shizuo Heiwajima...
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...or you're just unusually ferocious and tough, like Gintama's Kagura! Out of the many "serious" fights in the series, I have to admit that Kagura's tend to be my favorite in each arc for the sheer brutality of them.
Back at Anime Expo, I got into an interesting discussion with Sailor Jupiter's new English voice actress Amanda Miller (for the Viz re-release of the original series) about how rare it is to see a female powerhouse in an action series--and even then, how rare it is to see a convincing one. Makoto Kino (aka Sailor Jupiter) may be pretty and girly and feminine, but she'll wreck your shit if you cross her. Who's ready for her to show up in Sailor Moon Crystal?
Rurouni Kenshin is a series where the action is built entirely around skill and forethought and technique, but it's hard to argue with the effectiveness of someone like Sanosuke (funny that, my favorite character in the series), who just walks into fights, gets hit, and hits back. When it's time for him to get a crazy super technique of his own, what is it? He hits so hard that he breaks his hand. Cool.
Of course, strength-based characters don't always have to specialize in hitting things--like Rocky Balboa says, it's not about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit, and Saint Seiya's Taurus Aldebaran shines the most when he's acting like a human wall. How many of you want the original Saint Seiya on CR as bad as I do?
Fushigi Yugi bad guys got off easy--Tamahome would beat the crap out of them, or Tatsuki would light them on fire, or Miaka would whine at them. Yeah, all that is kid's stuff compared to Nuriko, who would smash your ass under a boulder first chance he got.
K-ON's Mugi is a... wait, what?! You guys requested Mugi because she carries around a giant keyboard like it's nothing? For the love of... okay, I'll let this one go, but this better not turn into those D-FRAG shenanighans from the elemental theme.
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I mean, I understand that "go and hit that thing" characters can come in many forms, like the titular (heh) Momo of Momo Kyun Sword infamy...
...or, uh, this dude (yes, I know his name is Izayoi) from Problem Children are Coming from Another World, Aren't They? Y'know what I always hated and thought I'd never miss? Short, one or two-word titles. I genuinely miss those now.
Or this dude, Konoha, from Kagerou Project, which is, uh... one second. After a quick look at what Kagerou Project is (I expected something like the Touhou Project), that's a pretty dense mythology! A song series, light novels, a manga, ties to MEKAKUCITY ACTORS... and yeah, Konoha's a (very skinny) strongman.
...and Koneko, from Highschool DxD. Right. Maybe I shouldn't talk any shit--we have a tiny girl in the office who's done wushu, and she doesn't fist-bump--she punches your freaking hand.
Nice to see that SKET Dance's Himeko is wearing the same expression I am right now. This girl's athletic and capable and actually fills the strongman role! Mooks scatter when she comes running with her field hockey stick!
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Or like One Piece's Roronoa Zoro, who takes the role of "tank" very seriously--just wait 'til we get Thriller Bark up here on CR!
Y'know what all those would-be strongmen need? Some passed-down-through-the-generations Armstrong Family fitness techniques.
One of the best things about 2014 is that now I don't have to worry about people who say that Marvel characters aren't allowed on Fanart Friday (even though it's, y'know... my column)--Avengers Disk Wars turns Marvel's legendary superheroes into toy-bound Pokemon-alikes! HULK, I CHOOSE YOU! HULK USED SMASH! IT'S SUPER EFFECTIVE!
While I was initially hoping to use Bleach's criminally underused Chad, I'm more than happy to put Kenpachi in his place. In a series where everyone has weird and unique sword abilities, it's always nice to have somebody who exists simply to hit things with his busted-up sword as hard as he can.
So I don't remember too much of Saiyuki aside from the awesome season one opening, but this version of Son Goku is a tiny little ball of ass-kicking fury and ludicrous strength (with an appetite to match). I've been feeling like watching this one again--it's been a while!
A good delinquent (like Oga here) is always a fountain of toughness and badassery, which is why I'm surprised I haven't checked out Beelzebub yet.
The funny thing about having sheer destructive force as your personal specialty is that you can totally have too much. In One Punch Man, the mighty Saitama is powerful enough to vanquish any foe with a single lethal punch... but that means that he's also really, really bored.
Contrast that with Hunter x Hunter's Gon, who is still at the bottom of the power scale, but serves as the de facto team muscle. Kurapika has his crazy nen chains, Killua has his electricity-based powers and assassin's speed, and Gon... well, Gon focuses all his nen into his fist and demolishes his opponent. Works for me!
In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a Stand can have incredible, unusual powers, like smoke that allows you to control a person, or use water as a weapon, or strike an enemy from deep within their own body... but Jotaro's Star Platinum has a more basic (and effective) power set: punches. ALL the punches.
First, let me get the obvious joke out of the way: why are all these "people from the Dark Continent" whiter than Conan O'Brien? Morgiana especially? Really, though, if you see one of Magi's Fanalis (or, y'know, a whole army of them), your magic will not save you... just, y'know. Pray for the best when they get within arm's length.
Gamagoori is very obviously the muscle of Satsuki's Elite Four, although he's not really the damage-dealing type, he's the tank-type. This being Kill la Kill, let's just say that, he uh... really doesn't mind taking the hurt for other people.
I'm just putting this here to be a jerk. Yamcha was kind of the muscle in the early days of Dragonball, but he quickly got overshadowed by Goku and Krillin and Tien. Now he just gets Yamcha'd all the time. :\
And that's everything for this week! There were a lot of requests, and I wasn't able to meet 'em all--who are your favorite strength-based characters? Sound off in the comments!
Your work is always welcome on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Want to have your art included? Just PM me a link (full URL please, no shortened ones) to your work, and I'll be sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the rest of the month's themes as we try to put together THE PERFECT TEAM:
-Next week, on AUGUST 8th, get your running shoes on and get settled in your blocks--SPEED is the name of the game! Who are your favorite speed demons? THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-Then, on AUGUST 15th, physical ability helps, but it comes down to a battle of wits and SKILL with these quick thinkers!
-On AUGUST 22nd, NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER with GUTS-powered characters! Speaking of that, a lot of people were asking for Berserk's Guts to show up this week, but sorry, this is the installment he's showing up in.
-We wrap it all up on AUGUST 29th with LEADERS, those who direct from behind and those who head the charge!
Thanks again for coming by to check out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and I hope you drop by next week!