Urban destruction scene with camera move and flying birds.

Today I’m going to do something a little different from what I normally do on here and give everyone a small taste of my creative writing for a change. I have done this before just not very often and I got bit by the writing bug again last night where I went full on freestyle in what can only be deemed a sort of real world reboot of Mad Max. Today I give you a piece of that opening, call it Chapter 1. This counts entirely as fan fiction I suppose. I hope you like it and I will be giving you more of this tale as time progresses.

The year is 2022 and the world is quite a different place than it used to be. Most of us who are left have banded together in separate groups for the safety in numbers that hiding alone can’t offer…..At least not from the other groups of raiders interested only in taking what others have. A few like who really don’t give a fuck have been wandering the wasteland alone taking in the mess of the whole thing. We never were allowed to get past the social distancing by the time the pandemic of 2020 had ended people had succumbed to a different disease altogether fueled by desperation and anger, the first of the raiders busting into people’s houses. Protests became skirmishes and outright terrorist attacks as the have nots decided that if they couldn’t have electric neither would the haves of the world. The grid went down and the world fell into a shitstorm of chaos that would follow. Even now I place the makeshift grave marker on the grave of the first person I have had a conversation with in almost 2 years…..Poor bastard….Me, not him…That son of a bitch left a steaming pile of thoroughbred horseshit of his own right in my lap before dying. Now…….

2 Days Before.

Found a nice natural gas well traipsing around in these mountains. Green living via necessity while many fought over what refined gasoline was left, the smartest one learned how to adapt engines for alternate and in many cases easier to obtain fuel sources….It’s what kept people like me out of many a deadly fights, that centered around the old crude way of doing things. What had once been gas stations became death traps after the grid went down. Pirates and raiders would keep watch on them for unsuspecting fools, naive enough to think finding a standing fueling station meant God was looking out for them…..Someone certainly was…And it certainly wasn’t God.
In the mountains you’re surrounded by kindling and generally safer in starting an honest to God fire as opposed to eating into your stores of canned heat. In my experience, the mountains housed the better people, not raiders, but survivors and they often allowed loners like me to pass, though it was never without risk, while ruled by better intentions the survivalist tribes were still paranoid as fuck. But today I was alone heating up the spring water for my morning coffee. Alone with my thoughts of life before the world went to shit…..My bad, my company was more dangerous than I thought. For people like me, the still moments can be worse than running into a pack of hungry raiders. I let her image flash through my mind. “Not today Goddamn it.” Stamping out the fire I decide it’s time to get back to the car, back on the move. Just a quick fill up and go, with no destination in mind, but no reason to be late getting there.

A few hours later….

I always found it hard to explain to people what happens between being a part of the civilized world and getting thrust into the natural world. Over time your body becomes wise to the situation and as it does your mind unlocks certain abilities you may never knew you ever had. Concentration at peak level, a sense of hyper awareness to your surroundings as you sleep in the open. And while you don’t necessarily sleep with one eye open you do reach a point when you can be both in a deep sleep, yet mentally aware of every tiny change in the physical world, a sound, a smell can have you up in an instant surveying the situation…..We spent so long trying to teach ourselves that we are something we’re not that when you first experience these things, it feels almost like you’ve gained superpowers when in fact they are just natural gifts that you forgot how to use or never were privileged enough to face anything that made you aware you had them in the first place….. And so it was I KNEW without knowing how I could that something was amiss as I approached the car…..That was when I met him…..Damn him for that by the way. The storm I would learn was coming by the knowledge of that dying bastard put me at a crossroads…..And also in the crosshairs of the type of crazy motherfucker you never want to deal with…One who’s crazier than even me. Not gonna lie I’m a little scared now…..Not gonna lie, I’m a little excited too.

I pointed my hand cannon in the rear window of my car where the sorry bastard knocking on deaths door lay in backseat. “Who the fuck are you and why are you in my car?” I asked. Barely able to raise his head to look me in the eye with his steely gaze he replied with the simplest of requests….”Help me.” He said. Deciding we were still safely tucked away in mountain militia territory I went ahead and set up camp after filling the tank and as I went to work to dress the stranger’s wounds from my stock of medical supplies, he shocked me with his refusal for the aid and told me to save my supplies because he already knew he was dying. Abashed, I could only stand and stare at the stranger. If not for his health, what then had he requested my help for? As night fell and I began to cook insisting that he at least accept a last meal if not medical aid, an old trait passed onto me from family who knew of harder times and would never let even a hated enemy die hungry before putting a bullet in them. He thanked me and told me his name was Madan and asked me mine. I met him with silence for a time before finally saying. “My name is Max.” It isn’t you know, but I had hardly had any contact with anyone, much less someone I knew in almost 2 years and with the world being as it was who was I to give a fuck what I or anyone else called me….We are past such trivial things.
“I’m CIA….or I was before Covid-19 turned the world upside down and everything went to Hell in a handbasket. They still exist you know…The government. They’re the equivalent of a skeleton crew protected by Last Outpost.” I had heard of this fairytale before, but never from someone claiming to be inside. Rumor had it as disease and infighting during Martial Law when the people first rose up took it’s toll on the military they had rounded their survivors up and retreated, content to allow the world to take care of itself, but the knowledge of government that still existed was a twist I hadn’t heard….Apparently their retreat had only been tactical, a way to learn the inner workings of the new world they had been presented with as they plotted to restore order. And so it was that spies had been sent out to infiltrate the various groups and factions of what was left of society. “I never imagined anyone like him could exist.” He said. “It’s like something out of a comic book or bad sci-fi 80’s film. He’s crazy, and he believes this world is better off ending. He even calls himself Lord Nihilist, Lord and Keeper of The Great Empty…He has been cultivating the virus from the dead and tinkering with it. He aims to unleash his new version in order to finish the job. I infiltrated their compound and he has managed to amass his own private army of cult followers determined to see his will done. He is not like the raiders. His mentality is singular and Hell-bent on ending all of humanity.” I struggled to take in what he was telling me. “Well look around, it’s not like we have much else going for us anyway.” I said. “Nor will we ever have the chance to have again if he manages to carry out his plan.” He replied……Did I say damn him? I meant DOUBLE DAMN HIS ASS FOR PLAYING THAT CARD. “What do you need my help with?” I asked. “I infiltrated them and was caught, they’ve been on me ever since I escaped…They finally delivered the death blow when they caught me hiding in a convenience store 6 miles up road. I shook them and stumbled on your car…I meant to steal it, but I can’t….I’m not going to make it. I need YOU. I need YOU to get this information to the Last Outpost. Lord Nihilist, his cult is huge, but not so huge that he doesn’t fear the outpost. They are the only thing that can stand in his way…I need YOU to get what I have learned to them.”

Morning comes and looking out over the horizon I see the dust rise from a caravan…..A hunting party of five vehicles. Something in my gut tells me they are looking for my new found friend. With urgency, I stuff his ass in my passenger seat and fire up the engine. “Which way is this outpost?” I ask. “EAST” He shrieks in agony as I fire up the engine and ride in the direction pointed. It isn’t long before we get spotted and the caravan abruptly changes direction to lock onto us. Dedicated I think to myself. There is no way for them to know I hold the person they are looking for yet on a whim they decide to leave no stone unturned in their search. They are closing. While safer in terms of not relying on standard gas this baby just doesn’t have the ass to outrun those gas-guzzling fuckers…Luckily I equipped this bitch with a few surprises of my own. Never have I been in this situation. Never has the opposing side ever made such a concentrated effort for a single ride and as I gain 5 tails, it dawns on me that I am in the shit now. I pop a release near the visor and suddenly my windshield becomes a bulletproof armored shield as the first of 5 approaches. Slamming hard on my breaks and ducking the hail of bullets that followed, the first of the caravan shoots ahead. Hitting a button on my dash a net of metal spikes fires from under my front bumper and tangles itself in the rear tires of my former pursuer causing their main rear-drive system to lose control as the speed and pressure cause the spikes to rip through their rear tires. I blast right through them as they spin uncontrollably in my path and their vehicle flips….One down.
There was no time to even adjust, the other 4 vehicles were closing in fast. Shots were fired pinging off the armor plating I had installed. Reaching out the window I flipped out a wing plate attached to the driver door as a bullet zinged past my arm. The closest was nearly on my back bumper, the passenger was crawling out it’s window a twisted visage of rugged black makeshift armor and black and white face paint. They were close enough now that even over the roar of the engines I could hear the driver as he half leaned out his own window firing his automatic and belting out an annoying war cry “Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li”
Eyeballing all of this in my side mirror I took a shot with my hand cannon at the extended armor flap. The ricochet shot caught the driver just above his right eyebrow cutting off his war cry as he slumped back into the truck causing it to veer to the right making the passenger who was now on the hood drop to his knees to hang on. The truck had veered too suddenly for the car behind it to change course and clipping the back corner the truck took to the air throwing it’s armor-clad passenger a good 30 feet as it tumbled end over end. It would again get directly in the path of the car that just hit it only this time the car would not be so lucky as it was made to start it’s own flip roll. “HOLY FUCK! I DON’T THINK I COULD DO THAT AGAIN IN A MILLION TRIES!”……No time to celebrate the drivers of the remaining 2 cars deftly swerved around the devastation and was quickly bearing down on me.

“You never answered me back there….Will you do it? Will you get what I have learned to The Last Outpost?” My weak and dying passenger asked. “Now? We’re seriously having this conversation NOW? In case you’re too weak to notice what’s going on here we currently have two of your buddies barking up our asses as we speak. How about you let me focus getting us out of this mess before we cover saving the fucking world okay? These guys are good, their horsepower is better than ours and I’m almost out of fucking tricks here.” I retorted. At that moment both pursuers flanked us, I barely had enough time once I spotted to guns pointed directly at us to duck and again slam on the breaks letting them shoot past us. Sitting up again I saw that one of them was losing control…..apparently shooting while directly across from one another is a poor idea…Who would have thought? I hit the gas aiming to slam the swerving car in the ass to finish the job. While they had the better horsepower mine had the better armor rating and could survive what their fiberglass piece of shit couldn’t. Just as I was about to make contact, the other remaining vehicle took a page from my book and slammed hard on its breaks firing as we passed it. The bullets glanced off the car’s armor and instead of slowing I doubled down and kept the gas floored finally clipping the back corner of the swerving vehicle and upending it. It rode on two tires until it came to the side of the road crashing into the ditch line…..One left.

This could go on forever. I remember high speed chases that would go on for hours back when the world was normal. When there were five it was relatively easy for them to get in their own damn way. I just filled this bitch up, I have no intentions of burning all my fuel on this fucking chase. I had to end this. I had to make this a straight fight somehow. My senses were heightened, above even their new normal and I spotted an easily missed turn off. Banking hard right and knowing full well in the mountain regions this could well be a road better suited for 4 wheel drive which along with a lack of horsepower I did not have, I knew our pursuers didn’t either this could well force all of us to come face to face. In my mirror I watched as they overshot the turn off and I knew that may well give us the needed moments to set the stage. Just up ahead there was a turn around spot by a creek and I quickly pulled in and went to work aiding my passenger out and across the creek to a giant sandstone boulder on the other side. There we waited. Along with my hand cannon I had grabbed my sawed off 12 gauge that I had also replaced the wooden stock with a pistol grip. I called it the point and fuck up, for the damage it was capable of at close quarters. Sure enough for long our pursuers came along the dirt road and spotting the car, came to a stop. Four of them got out, all armed….Bad odds. “BROTHER! WHY DO YOU DEFY US?……YOU MISUNDERSTAND. JUST LOOK AT THE WORLD AND WHAT IT’S BECOME!…..ALL LORD NIHILIST WANTS IS FOR US TO FINALLY FIND PEACE…..AND REST….BY LEADING US INTO THE GREAT EMPTY AND THE FINAL SLEEP WHERE NO PAIN EXISTS! COME! LET US TALK!” As I sat observing this asshole and listening to his words I remembered what the man next to me had said. We will never get the chance to have anything again if this Nihilist was allowed to carry out his plan of restarting the virus anew….And improved upon…..The virus…….It was triggering inside me, I knew it the moment the memory of her face flashed before my minds eye……Let it. Let it because at your age four against one is generally a death sentence save for the ways the RAGE often became the equalizer……My breathing became heavy and audible as the tightness in my chest took hold. I heard in my mind what the doctor said……”She’s not recovering….I’m sorry” he said. “I have to see her.” I had replied in desperation. “Again I’m sorry son, that can’t be allowed, not under quarantine restrictions.” I started seeing red as I made the connection between that past agony and this group’s endgame……FUCK WAITING! I stormed out from behind the boulder, hand cannon raised and shot the furtherest to the left square in the face dropping him…..I was met with a hail of bullets but was beyond all ability to care, whether by shit aim, sheer will power, or divine intervention not a one would find it’s mark and I was close enough now that Point and Fuck Up was in it’s element, raising it I plugged one of the face painted bastards square in the chest, blowing him six feet backwards. They had registered that I was in hand to hand range before I did and the remaining two moved in having no time to reload. It was sheer instinct as I kicked the first approach square in the nuts and busted him in the face with my shot gun. The other had grabbed me but I knocked his arms aside dropping my weapons in the process recklessly and taking his collar delivered four fast headbutts directly to his face before driving my knee into his groin and with a handful of hair slamming his face another eight times into a fair sized rock on the ground. Blood gushed and flowed and I could care less when I was in this state. Turning to the final as he finally staggered to his feet, I again picked up my shotgun, but rather than fire I again swung the heavy metal of it’s frame and connected across his face dropping him…….”She’s not recovering.” That was all I heard even as I was half certain the lone survivor of our attackers was begging to be heard. I didn’t fire a shot, I only swung the shotgun at the man’s face repeatedly in a blind rage until there was nothing left but pulp and my arms were too heavy to raise and red dots danced across my vision until all that was left was the useless pain, the emptiness inside that haunted me, tightness in my chest and breathing as heavy now from exhaustion as what had triggered it…..I was another 15 minutes in this state before I realized how covered in blood I was…….The blood of my enemies.

“I saw what you were willing to do. The world is beyond judgment at this point past what we hold each other accountable for. Go to the lowlands in the south at the location I have written for you…..That is where my wife Ashanti is stationed…..She deserves to know what has become of me, but she can also guide you through the obstacles you will face when approaching the Last Outpost. Tell her I love her and that I gave my all to see us all have one more chance.” We sat by the campfire I had built. I was still reeling from my earlier episode and try as I might in the creek I still was covered in patches of blood that never washed away. I am in this now, against my better judgment, but I could not get her image out of my mind. If what this man was saying was true and after everything I had experienced so far I had no reason to believe otherwise…..I had to accept. Some part of me had to accept and chase what most had deemed only rumors. “I’ll do it.” I said……..Somewhere during the night my newfound companion passed on. I buried him not far from our camp, I felt a need to out of respect.

Now….. I look to the items my now dead companion had on his person and I steel my nerves as I look across a valley in the early morning sun. I had been given but a taste of what was to come on account of my choice…..Something in me simply could not let it go……So be it….It’s not like I have had much to live for, for some time now.

This is meant to be a lighter post than normal, but ironically I seem to have put it off until again I have to inform you that ten hours ago crowds were being broken up on Bourbon Street in New Orleans as the restrictions tighten up in the interest of squashing this bug that has swept in and taken the world by storm. Everyone knows it’s serious when Twitter, which is normally a political battleground between “Conservatives” and “Progressives” has seen most of everyone turn their attention to a far bigger enemy to the world than a reality TV star public official and on some level for that I am grateful. It’s almost like this thing is forcing us to break down certain barriers that have kept us going at each other nonstop for almost four years. As of yesterday it’s been reported that Louisiana has had 77 cases of Corona with a single death resulting from that. Bourbon Street being shut down makes things seem far worse than they are, but I feel it’s important to remind people that these are preventative measures at this stage. I wanted to note this because getting this information out there as fast as this virus spreads is likely to be as important a factor in bringing this historic mess to a close as making a vaccine. Here is the link to that recent news story. Cantrell Tweets Big Crowds Being Broken Up, Hash Tags Bourbon Street As Restrictions Tighten.

That’s it for the spooky news of current affairs. How about something a little more fun? A few weeks back I had decided that it was time to make my presence known on YouTube as I am getting back into the swing of things after a long hiatus and I had a little performance piece in mind when it was brought to my attention that Mardi Gras was happening the following week. Now I don’t know how many out there are aware of the term busking or what it entails, so I will tell you that it is the act of either performing on the street or posing with people for pictures that garner tips from those who appreciate giving them a memory to take with them. New Orleans has always been one of the biggest places for this type of activity and it was my thought to go during its biggest celebration of the year and try my luck at something I have never done before.

Setting out at 6am.

Getting in touch with an old work friend from one of the times I was down here before moving, I managed to get a ride all the way into New Orleans on Lundi Gras, The Monday before Fat Tuesday during the Mardi Gras celebration. Both as I entered the downtown area and I was left, I was met with the very sobering sight of the collapsed Hard Rock Cafe Hotel that’s debris still harbors the remains of two of the workers since there has been no safe way to retrieve them without putting even more lives in danger. It was quite the sight and not exactly what I would have wanted to see first thing as I was rolling into the biggest celebration of the city. I know I said no more spooky stuff, sadly it is unavoidable in life, but I promise, the rest is just good old fashioned fun…..After a while anyway..

By 9:25 am I was on Bourbon Street where I came to realize there were not many people at all. I had forgotten that, between the night before and the early morning clean up of the street and alcohol restock trucks that I would have a bit to wait. My intent in coming here was to make a little money, but not five minutes in I had already given a homeless lady a dollar she had asked for and another twenty minutes saw me cave into the restrooms for paying customers only stipulation of the few places opened that actually had one. Thirty minutes in I was already down thirteen dollars, it was not looking good, nor would it for the rest of the day. My mission failing, I decided let’s just take in the whole experience and not worry about the business aspect. From there the day went pretty well.

Near empty streets during Mardi Gras was not what I was expecting.
New Orleans bookstores remind me of Diagon Alley. They also remind me of what a fire hazard looks like.
Look Ma! Fake White Castle!
The Rarely captured backside of the St. Louis Cathedral, Where artists come to draw inspiration.
The fine window shopping fashion of The Trashy Diva. LOL
The world-famous House of Blues.
There the people are finally. From about 11 am onwards the streets started filling up.
But then I found it. The house in New Orleans, they call The Rising Sun….And that was it, I was RUEENED!!!!RUEENED I SAY!!!! Like the song tells us.
It’s not every day you get to watch a brave elderly lady celebrate her birthday……By riding a mechanical bull. It’s a good thing it was happy hour and I had a few Corona (The Beer of our Neighbors in Mexico, not the virus.) to adjust to what I was witnessing.
One of the many parades.
I could have sworn I had a better shot of the plastic five-gallon bucket drummer. Everyone has a gig in The Big Easy.
The face you make at the end of your half-successful day when an older lady who was a spitting image of Talia Shire grabs your backside and pretends to talk on her phone. Yo Adrian! What the Hell?!?!

So that was my day in a nutshell. I went with a dream of making some cash, left with far less than I came in with, but I saw a side of things that I don’t usually get to see. All in all, I can’t complain. It was a much-needed change of pace to my normal too quiet life. In afterthought, I could have done far worse, I could have come out of it far worse if what happened last night was any indication. And I think it will help to show everyone an idea of the normal we are seeking to get back to. It’s always good to know what you are fighting for.

I told everyone there would be a match up today……..Heh heh, Do you all believe everything you read on Twitter? What’s the wrestling term for that….A mark? While everyone goes and blows up the Box Office today for the opening of The Avengers: Endgame, I’m choosing instead to show my support for multiple topics of importance. Not only does my refusal to spend money on the big Disney machine act as a personal stance against putting all of our corporate eggs in one basket, but it also gives me a moment to show you, through my own version of geekdom, my support for other topics and projects. Enter…. My VUDU wish list of other things I fully intend to spend my money on and you will get a picture of what this post is going to be about.

On April 18th Jason Mamoa put up a video on his Youtube channel to raise awareness for recycling and limiting the pollution caused by plastics. On the level, I tend to be more of a naturalist than an environmentalist. It seems with the type of coverage we get of the topic that no one with sense could even know where to begin. Activists paint a picture of a massive death toll attributed to climate change, while the U.N. tells us that the hole in the ozone layer over the Arctic is slowly repairing itself. Activists follow one branch of scientific belief that says things like climate change will increase the number of deaths from insect born diseases, while other statistics show that since 2000 the number of global malaria infections are down 37% while malaria related deaths are down 62%. Activists will tell us we are one or two generations from certain death due to climate issues that the government needs to step in and do something about. 11,000 years ago we had an era that is called The Ice Age, so while climate change is very obviously real, it is also very clearly a natural process that can lead to massive changes. What it ultimately begs the question of is, how much stock do we give 200 years of scientific development and political power playing in the study of something that has been constantly changing for literally millions of years?

So why am I all poo poo on the “We’re ALL gonna die over the climate change.” argument while supporting Jason Mamoa and his stance. The answer to this is because I believe in the power of arguing visible viewpoints over hypothetical scare tactics. I lived in the state of West Virginia for over 25 years from 1990 until 2015. One of the most historical tragedies to ever hit the state was the Buffalo Creek flood of 1972 in which the collapse of 3 coal slurry dams caused a massive flood that killed 125 people. In the years that I had lived in WV there was another accident involving the mines and that was the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster that killed 29 miners after a coal dust explosion caused collapse. The CEO of the company would go on to be sentenced to a year in federal prison when it was found that he had willfully violated mine health and safety standards, cutting costs that had ultimately contributed to that disaster and the death of 29 people.

Had enough yet? Fast forward to January 2014 to the incident known as the West Virginia Water Crisis. On January 9th, 2014 over 7,500 gallons of
4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) was leaked into the Elk River a few miles upstream of the West Virginia American Water intake which left over 300,000 residents in 9 counties without potable water for 9 days. The incident also saw 169 people end up getting checked with non-fatal illnesses, 14 of those, bad enough to be hospitalized. The DEP investigation would find that negligence in the storing of the chemicals was the biggest contributing factor. Are we seeing a pattern here? I have seen and experienced firsthand the ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT left behind by big corporations when they want their greater profit over conducting their business in a responsible fashion and while it may not be the death of us in a handful of generations…..Maybe, it has been both fatal and costly to the health of the general population surrounding them when the straw breaks the camel’s back so to speak. These were just a couple examples from one area, that I could personally speak to my knowledge of from being present when they occurred. In short, I am not so quick to dismiss the “tree huggers” when they are RIGHT. Which is also why I believe making the environment a political issue is rather asinine. The moment you take scientific findings and apply this one left and this one right, you ensure that the purpose behind the study loses it’s meaning. All of these findings are meant to be taken in as a whole to help science piece together the puzzle.

A can of soda can be bought for about 50 cents out of a vending machine in a lot of places, and a lot of times, the price is generally dictated by the brand rather than the cost to produce. A plastic bottle of water from a vending machine tends to cost about as much as a bottle of soda, or about a dollar to 1.50 now while it’s true you get more, about 8 ounces more, usually, there is little showing a justification for that price difference. What does price indicate? It indicates just how cheap both forms of packaging are, only one is 100% recyclable, the other is chemical based and is not 100 percent recyclable. Sounds like a practical solution to me and what is even better is that, not only is aluminum better environmentally than plastic, but because it counts as scrap metal, even just bagging your cans and setting them out for scavengers to collect also gives a hand to people who are generally in need of money, so that gives it bonus points in my book. So my take is a simple take from a simple geek…..I stand with Aquaman.

Goodbye Drogo I SHAVED

yugiscared  V.S. Seto-Kaiba-seto-kaiba-8605922-1024-768

Okay having concluded The Book of The Sith, I was fighting to see what among my favorite things I could geek out on next for my readers. I have selected Yu-Gi-Oh! In this particular entry I am going to be covering the nature of the rivalry between Yugi and Seto Kaiba. For those who are unfamiliar with the Yu-Gi-Oh! story, it centers around seven relics called the Millennium Items, that was used by the Pharaoh and his six priests in ancient Egypt. These Items were used to judge people and hold power over monsters from the shadow realm. War breaks out between the Pharaoh and his priests especially after he learns of the origin of the items, Their creation required the sacrifice of an entire village and years later the sole survivor of that village who returned home to find his people slaughtered gets taken over by a dark force and comes looking for revenge. To end the war the Pharaoh locked away the secrets of the Millennium Items and traps his own soul and memories within one of them to keep the secrets. Thousands of years later a boy puts the pieces of this item together and in so doing becomes a vessel for the spirit of this Pharaoh who must now find a way to remember his past in order to save the world from the shadow realm through a card game that mimics the ancient battles from his time. The boy and the Pharaoh share a bond of fate with one another and in a way the boys heart teaches the spirit to balance his strength with kindness, while the spirits strength teaches the boy how to find his own. That be the story of Yugi Mutou.

In the story Yugi’s fate is intertwined with the fate of many, but none so profoundly as it is with Seto Kaiba. In ancient times Seto was a priest under the Pharaoh, and they were friends, but Seto’s father had been one of the creators of the Millennium Items and he had designs for his son to become Pharaoh instead. A young girl with a powerful spirit monster attracts the attention of the priests particularly Seto’s father who wants to kill the girl to bind his son with this powerful monster. Seto comes to care for the girl, and stops at nothing to protect her, sparking a feud between he and his father about the same time as the Pharaoh is learning of the origin of the Millenium Items. Things go wrong……. But modern day Seto Kaiba doesn’t give a shit. All he knows is the burning need to be the best, protecting his little brother and an uncanny obsession with his favorite monster card The Blue Eyes White Dragon. The past, recent or historic means little to him. Faith means little to him as all he has known from a young age was how to fight for everything he and his little brother had after being orphaned. Friendship means little to him, because he doesn’t like depending on anyone else but himself, and doesn’t need the “Dead weight” of anyone but his little brother having to depend on him if they can’t stand on their own two feet like he has had to his whole life. An evil stepfather, a blind and driven ambition These make up the story of the most honorable if not biggest dick in the whole show.

Yugi is out to discover the secrets of his past in order to save the future, Kaiba doesn’t give a shit about Yugi’s fairy tale, he just wants to be the best and so sets the stage of a bitter but very interesting rivalry between the two. Because Seto Kaiba is not a villain exactly but a rival, his loss to Yugi was never a gurantee. They dueled all of 4 times in the run of the series and while Yugi took him twice, Kaiba did beat him in one of the duels and had it been a straight duel in the movie and his strategy been allowed to go through without interference, he would have beat Yugi a second time as Yugi had not yet drawn the card that allowed him to use the one Kaiba already played to beat Anubis.

So we have covered the basics of the story and a win, loss count, now lets stack these two characters up. The thing that seems to make any good rivalry is the polar opposite nature of the two groups or characters. In this case we have little Yugi Mutou and The Pharaoh. Now Yugi grew up in a very nurturing environment, His love for games and puzzles, as well as his moral center came from being cared for by his grandpa. He does not understand the darkness of the world but knows in his heart that it is something to stand against, he just has a hard time doing that until he is left with no choice, that is until he meets the spirit inside of the Millennium Puzzle and embarks on a quest to help him save the world from the Shadow Realm. He is fiercely loyal and loving and while he is a highly intelligent thinker, in many ways little Yugi has the heart of a child, you can hear it in his constant lines. ” I BELIEVE in my deck, I BELIEVE in the Heart of The Cards, I BELIEVE in my friends.” Yugi and the Pharaoh both rely on Faith to carry them through their quest to solve a 5000 year old mystery for the future of humanity. Enter the rival Seto Kaiba. Orphaned at a young age and shuffled around, his only family a little brother to look out for, Kaiba never actually had a childhood, he was in many ways forced to be the parental figure for his little brother after they lost their parents. While Yugi has his grandpa and all of his friends, Kaiba keeps his loyalties only to his little brother. Thrust into a situation where he had to be the one to build a life for himself and his brother, Kaiba fears the disappointment or the idea that he could fail his little brother if he has to put his trust in anyone else for their needs only to be let down.

The dynamics of their duels and how each character had profound impact on the life of the other is evident in the changes they would undergo as the story progressed. When we first meet Kaiba in the show, He is a world champion who has never been defeated, the anger in him which we do not learn the cause of until later when the story of his stepfather unfolds coupled with his loner attitude and the over inflated ego of an undefeated champion caused a darkness to build up in Seto. It was when Yugi handed him his first loss and the Pharaoh sent that darkness to the Shadow Realm, that Kaiba started opening his mind a little more and though still very much a dick, he did become more lighter natured. In the second duel between these two, it was Kaiba who returned the favor by beating Yugi. Kaiba on the verge of defeat, made one desperate attempt to take the match from his opponent, by risking his own life. Yugi could win, but he might have actually killed Kaiba in the process. It was viewed by all as a cowards move, until Yugi and his group discovered that like Yugi who was in Duelist Kingdom to save his grandfather, Kaiba was in fact there to save his little brother and so his willingness to risk it all was not unlike their own. The spirit of the Pharaoh was about to win the match, but little Yugi could not allow it. Now this loss had an equal impact on Yugi that his victory had on Kaiba. Until this point, Little Yugi was only aware that something changed when the spirit of the Pharaoh came out and took him over. A barrier had existed between the two that Kaiba’s gamble caused to break down. This would not only begin shaping the relationship between the Pharaoh and Yugi, it in fact allowed them to use the mind switch tactic that was the key to getting past the main villain Pegasus and the power of his Millennium Eye that let him see into the mind of his opponent and know what move they were about to make. The third duel would not take place until the finals of The Battle City Tournament. and by this time more was being revealed of the ancient past and how the two were connected to one another even in that time. When both played their respective Egyptian God cards, it further opened their minds to the secrets of their past, This would see Kaiba accepting his loss, but also his willingness to stand behind Yugi and even give him the card that could counter the Egyptian God card held by the evil Marik. Marik used the Millennium item that was once used by Kaiba’s past self Priest Seto and at one point it even called to Kaiba and allowed his willpower to alter the outcome of how one of his other duels was foreseen to go. Their final battle would be the Movie Pyramid of Light, and though Kaiba neither won nor lost, the Duel itself brought to an end the power of Anubis.  In the end, it was both Kaiba and Yugi who were responsible for the victory over the ancient evil spirit.

By the story’s completion the two characters had changed so drastically, Kaiba grudgingly felt the drive to get his own answers from the past, The understanding allowed him to reconcile with many of his present day issues. The pharaoh learned what he needed to, to finally bring an end to the Shadow Realm’s threat and little Yugi learned how to find his inner strength.  None of this had been possible without the rivalry between the two pushing them to become the better versions of themselves. Yugi, saved the world, Kaiba played the part of a friend aiding him in that quest without even meaning to. It was truly an example of friendship through rivalry and both actually won in the end.



Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions

Once more in a new movie released earlier this year the creator of the franchise went back to tell a new story with the original characters. This story takes place 6 months after the final duel between Yugi and the Pharaoh Atem. There are (Spoilers) ahead. The gang is graduating high school and talking about what their dreams of the future are. The only one that will possibly matter in terms of bringing everyone back for a new story is little Yugi who wants to stay and help his grandpa in his game shop and even develop his own game in the future. Little Yugi suffers from a bit of separation sickness, not really a physical ailment so much as a mental one, things had ended so suddenly when Atem had crossed over in his defeat. He and Yugi had literally been a part of each other for so long that Yugi constantly feels his absence and would have liked to have had one more chance to tell him what all he had done for him meant. Kaiba doesn’t really give a shit exactly what little Yugi’s reason is for wanting the pharaoh back, he has his own. Now a believer in fairy tales he recognizes that Yugi was never his rival, it was in fact the Pharaoh, only now he is faced with the fact that his rival is gone and he still feels this need to confront him one last time to decide once and for all who the best is.  Kaiba sets out to dig up the pieces of the Millennium Puzzle in the hopes of being able to bring Atem back for one last duel. NOTE the main villain of this film is a character named Aigame and his own tale intertwines with the Millennium Items, his master Shin who we learn is Shadii the ghostly keeper of 2 of the items, created a device that could create a new dimension, one of peace and he gave the power of this device to orphaned children that he was teaching the way of peace to. His idea was that once the prophesy was fulfilled and the pharoah returned to lock the power of the shadow games away forever, these children would be free to come forth and create a new dimension of light and peace for the world, but should the Pharaoh return beyond that they would lose their power. Aigame witnessed his master get murdered by a young Bakura in the first time that he was taken possession of by the evil spirit inside the Millennium Ring. The even traumatized Aigame who is now using the power of this device to send what believes are bad people to other dimensions. NOte the device becomes another major point. Bakura has been free of the Millennium Ring since the end of the first series. Unfortunately, the ring is found at the same time as the puzzle and it takes possession of one of Aigame’s brothers. In a duel to stop Kaiba from bringing the pharaoh back Aigame takes possession of two of it’s pieces, giving one to his sister who in turn gives it to Yugi in hopes that he can save her wayward brother. Kaiba captures Aigame and sets up a tournament. He want’s to beat both Aigame and Yugi to get the puzzle pieces back. Yugi instead convinces Kaiba to let him face Aigame since he is still holding Bakura in another dimension. Yugi wins and not only free Bakura but gains both pieces of the Millennium Puzzle. NOw what happens next is actually to my knowledge a first. The first time Kaiba actually faces Yugi in a duel. The match is back and forth and in many ways just as good as the ones with the Pharaoh. Down to the wire Yugi decides to show Kaiba why this duel is pointless, he completes The Millennium Puzzle and nothing happens. Yugi tells Kaiba that Atem isn’t in the puzzle anymore that he moved on and Kaiba would have to let him go, they both had to. At this point Aigame becomes possessed by the spirit of The MIllennium Ring which is now amplified by the power of the dimensional cube device Aigame possesses. He comes back as some weird ass cube looking monster and begins sending everyone into a dimension of darkness. Kaiba as I said, now a believer in fairy tales Instantly joins forces with Yugi, another first. At one point Kaiba makes the ultimate sacrifice and before phasing out into the dark dimension he tells Yugi that he did it for the Pharaoh so that Yugi could bring him back. Yugi never giving up the fight, though he is certain that Atem is gone take a couple more massive hits almost draining him completely of his life points and just as Yugi passes out from the damage he has taken in this new shadow game the arena is blasted with lights and from the one where Yugi fell Atem steps forward and swiftly kicks cube monsters ass with one card. After the duel everyone is coming back to the world who went missing as Atem’s return lifted the power from the children Shadii had taught.  He and Yugi face each other and without words say their last goodbye as Atem returns to the afterlife taking the Millennium Puzzle with him. Yugi tells his friends that he saw The Pharaoh and that he wished everyone well and Kaiba cuts in with I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so and Yugi agreed that Kaiba had been right. You have your bond with him and I have mine, he tells Yugi. The important thing to note here is that even though Kaiba had been dead set on battling Atem he actually treats Yugi like a friend or as close to one as Kaiba is willing to have. The final scene has Kaiba in some new shuttle like vehicle in his space station, we see that he had taken the dimensional device that Aigame had and was now testing this shuttle that we learn is a dimension traveling vehicle. He launches and disappears in ring of light, we then see him walking across the sands of ancient Egypt, entering the court of The Pharaoh, Kaiba stares him down and readies his duel disk. The Pharaoh stands up and looks at him and there the story ends. With what is likely the final duel between Kaiba and Atem being left to the viewers imagination. The point here is that Kaiba was so determined to duel Atem again that he found a way to break the dimensional barrier into the afterlife just to hunt him down.  Now we have seen both Yugi and Kaiba in the GX storyline that takes place ten years later and what we know of Kaiba at that point is that while he has lost none of his confidence in all that time, he is no longer the prick that he had previously been in the original series, so whatever the outcome of this duel against Atem it is safe to say that SOMETHING has happened in those ten years to give him a sense of peace. Another sign of the change in Seto Kaiba and how the friendship develops with Yugi came in the form of a single illustration posted by the creator of Kaiba and Yugi sitting at a table in the space station playing some strange new game. It’s explained that the picture is of a time of four years after The Dark Side of Dimensions Film and it is a picture of Yugi and Kaiba testing the new game that Yugi designed. So not only could this lead into a possible new movie later it is evident that Kaiba is helping Yugi fulfill his dream of creating a new game, so much for the dick of the original series. The Duel win/Loss count remains the same depending who you are a fan of… Of course I am a Kaiba person So I think he tied it up….I mean come on what he did was the equivalent of telling someone that if they died he was going to kill himself just to find them on the other side and kick their ass, and then actually took the steps to make good on it, that has got to give him some sort of edge in that duel. Heh heh