Monday, December 23, 2013

No Con Kid eps 8 and 9

OMFG, there is so much I want to write about this dorama. No Con Kid is a story of friendship using the history of gaming in Japan to tell the stories. There are just too many gaming references that make me mark out so I have to confine this post to just episodes 8 and 9 which are the Virtua Fighter 2 episodes.

I was expecting Street Fighter 2 to appear in No Con Kidsince its started the fighting game boom. Arcades were slowly declining to due home consoles but fighting games brought an element that gamers could not get at home. The ability to challenge anyone or be challenged anytime with one's skills determining whether they got to continue playing. I love how they shoot ep 8 like a Western cause fighting games are the modern equivalent of a Western shootout.

I'm happy Virtua Fighter 2 got to feature in No Con Kid cause I was a huge VF fan and VF2 was to my knowledge actually incredibly popular in Japan. The story in episode 8 is that Watanabe game center has a strong VF2 player called Riman and people from other arcades come to challenge him to no avail. It was the start of a revolution because before then, games were about high scores or co-operative play. Then the 3 Heavenly Kings come to challenge to top player and they kicked his ass.

The 3 Heavenly Gods are based on the Tetsujins back in the VF2 days. I was not in Japan but I knew the names of Bunbunmaru, Shinjuku Jacky and Ikebukuro Sarah. VF2 was so popular and these players so good that I remembered reading Sega had them do 100 people kumites. This was back in the day before the idea of a professional gamer even existed. I remember reading online that Sega even made Shinjuku Jacky a replica of the Jacky's jacket. There were little or no videos at this time. The only thing available was information from the net and it made me love VF2 that much more.

The above youtube clip is legendary story of Bunbunmaru vs Daimon Lau. The Tetsujins from Tokyo had heard of this strong player in Kyoto called Daimon Lau and they went down to challenge him and got their asses kicked. Bunbunmaru wins the first match but apparently they Tetsujins lose the next 60 matches. Compared to nowadays where videos of top players were readily available and information sharing (and whinging) is easily done online.

In No Con Kid, Kid defeats the best player of the 3 Heavenly Kings so that his young friend can play Xevious cause everyone was placing their belongings on the game table. With the VF2 boom at Watanabe game center, the other customers' are unable to enjoy the other games because of the huge number of onlookers. Kid's only intention was to clear space around the Xevious machine so he could teach the kid but he ends up becoming the default best VF2 player in the country by defeating the 3 Heavenly Kings. Sniff, such a beautiful story.

In episode 9, Reiji does a tournament where the winner gets to challenge Kid. This is similar to the above youtube clip from a Japanese tv show where players fight for to challenge Bunbunmaru. Think about how popular VF2 must have been to get tv airtime. At least Taiko Drum Master seems to be a staple of Japanese variety shows. Nowadays even Daigo can only get a documentary on tv. There's no way a Street Fighter tournament will be shown on free to air although its the most popular game in the world. Starcraft and Korea are another thing altogether.

Kid no shows the tournament, and he and Reiji end up fighting over the direction of the Watanabe game center. Reiji realises that fighting games are the money makers and an the arcade needs strong players to attract people. Kid says that Reiji is doing this at the expense of their core customers, people who love retro games as Reiji has gotten rid of Xevious. Its keep the core customers happy because they will be loyal versus try to get as popular as possible.

Fumi can see both sides of the argument and can only watch on as Reiji challenges Kid at VF for Kid's name. Kid throws the game and Reiji tries to take Kid's place as the top VF2 player but the 3 Heavenly Kings don't acknowledge him and walk away. For a 1am dorama, No Con Kid is one of the most lovingly crafted jdoramas I've ever seen. The Bunbunmaru vs Daimon Lau info was taken from this post at VFDC.

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