Episode 3 – Traffic Signal Chaos!
Plot: In the year 200X, everything is connected via a virtual network. In this virtual network, people use PETs which are used to communicate to their NetNavis – their own personal virtual assistants, friends and battling companions. These NetNavis are used to combat an evil organization known as World Three who frequently attack the network with viruses.
In particular, a boy named Lan Hikari and his NetNavi, Megaman, as well as his friends and their NetNavis, aim to rid the cyber matrix of all viruses and crime.
Breakdown: Megaman NT Warrior is a show I was very much aware of when watching shows like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh back on Saturday morning anime blocks like Kids WB, Fox Box and 4Kids TV. I was aware of it, and I watched it on occasion, but I never really got into it. I don’t know why. I was and still am a Megaman fan, and I don’t remember really disliking it at all, but I never hopped on the NT train.
This first episode gives us the main background of the world they live in as well as fairly good introduction to Lan, Megaman and his friends.
Lan starts out with a clearly lame basic NetNavi that is somewhat modeled like Megaman. In battle with one of his friends, Dex, and his Gutsman, he tries over and over with battle chip (power ups) after battle chip to defeat him and they do nothing. Gutsman easily wins and Lan’s NetNavi is forced to logout. Dex is solidified as a cocky brute while Lan is the underdog who has to deal with a basic, non-customized NetNavi that can’t stand up against a customized one like Gutsman.
Lan’s NetNavi is damaged and his PET suggests not using him in net battles anymore, further frustrating Lan. A fish salesman named Mesa acts as our audience surrogate as Lan explains to him about PETs or Personal Terminals as well as NetNavis and net battles – Which really didn’t need to be explained to us because of the prologue, but I’d rather be given too much information than not enough.
As fire trucks whiz by, we learn that there’s been a rash of ovens spontaneously catching fire all over town. Lan worries about his mother’s oven, but she claims she had it checked out by a technician earlier and it’s fine, which means it’s not fine.
Lan gets a letter from his father in Borneo that contains a customized NetNavi disk. It’s never established why he doesn’t have his own customized NetNavi. I can only assume that is costs quite a bit to do so?
The customized NetNavi is, of course, Megaman. But Lan is disappointed that he doesn’t look like a super cool huge NetNavi warrior and even wishes for his old shitty broken NetNavi back.
Wow….Screw you, kid. You whine and bitch and moan over not having a custom NetNavi, you finally get one that looks perfectly fine and could be a great warrior, especially with battle chips, and, like a spoiled child, you whine that it’s not good enough and basically want to send it back, not even considering that, at the very least, it’s a more presentable and functional NetNavi than your old one. You should uninstall and send it back, you unappreciative brat – that way you have nothing.
Megaman alerts Lan to a kitchen fire and Lan’s mother can’t put it out. Apparently she’s too stupid to grab the fire extinguisher that is literally a foot away. However, even Lan’s use of the fire extinguisher cannot quell the flames, so Megaman tells Lan to jack him into the oven’s computer so he can check for problems.
Megaman finds that the oven’s cyber matrix is being attacked by a swarm of computer viruses, causing the intense flames……Why does an oven need a cyber matrix?…..Why does it need to be connected to any network? I will admit, humanity somehow made it logical for a fridge to have Internet access, but an oven? He blasts the viruses away, causing the fire to go out, but sees a weird NetNavi in the flames of the matrix before it disappears.
Excited about the powers of his new NetNavi, Lan challenges Dex and Gutsman again to a netbattle at school where I guess they just learn about computer stuff.
Dex is that kind of annoying character who’s always an ass and cocky as hell, but obviously has a huge crush on the only girl of the group, Maylu, and constantly hits on her. Even Gutsman has a crush on Maylu’s NetNavi, Roll.
A stereotypical Scottish man (borderline offensively stereotypical as he prattles on about kilts and bagpipes…) who is behind the fire-setting NetNavi gets orders to destroy Megaman from, you guessed it, Dr. Wily. And if you haven’t caught on, Lan and his family, most clearly his father, are allegories for Dr. Light. (Hikari → Light) Lan’s first name is also a reference, though not to the games. It’s in reference to a LAN or local area network – a short range network between a handful of computers.
Dex and Lan have their rematch, and Dex is far from impressed at Lan’s new NetNavi. However, Megaman proves that his small stature does not reflect his own strength as he easily bats away Gutsman’s fists.
The oven bursts into flames at Maylu’s place in the middle of their rematch, and Roll rushes over to beg Megaman to help….because I guess she can’t do a damn thing…or even try. *sigh*
Are we seriously doing a damsel in distress story? First Lan’s mom handles a kitchen fire by calling her 11-year-old kid down to handle it while she whimpers behind a counter and fails to use a fire extinguisher, now the only other female character’s NetNavi is only good for getting help for her when she’s in trouble – and not even the fire department kind.
In addition to the fact that Maylu’s only role in the episode so far is to be drooled over by Dex while Roll’s role has been basically being a secretary for Maylu and being hit on by Gutsman. Sure, Roll smacked Gutsman after, but still.
Lan and Dex rush to Maylu’s house to save her while Megaman and Gutsman go through the Internet to her oven’s cyber matrix to help take down the viruses. There, they meet FAITH AND BEGORAHAGGISREDHAIRANDSCOTTISHTHINGSACH guy and his Torchman after taking down the little viruses that were setting the fire.
Lan manages to get Maylu to safety, but realizes that Torchman is too much for Megaman and Gutsman to handle. He goes back in the house to plug into the oven directly so he can upload the blaster battle chip to Megaman. Once he does so and with additional help from a Cyber Sword, he manages to force Torchman and Kilt Boy into retreating. With his victory, he gets a hug from Roll, who wasn’t even participating in any of the fight, not even with the little viruses. *huff*
Maylu is safe and Lan expresses his gratitude towards his new NetNavi, the end.
As a first episode, in regards to understanding the world and the characters, it’s fine. They explain everything well enough, the world seems to function with sufficient logic, barring some suspension of disbelief, and it does what it sets out to do.
In regards to characters, absolutely no one is breaking any kind of new ground here. Everyone is very generic and textbook. Lan is obviously the ‘normal yet optimistic and excitable’ main character. Barring one instance of complete spoiled attitude, he’s as by-the-book as you get. Megaman is portrayed as a cool and powerful partner, which, while not being as cliché, is still not really interesting.
Dex is the pseudo-antagonist friend who is cocky, fat, and none too bright, but chases after the girl of the group like a steak. Gutsman is a brutish idiot who speaks in third-person.
Maylu is nice enough….plays piano and doesn’t respond to Dex’s advances. That’s about it for her in this episode. Roll is also nice enough, but doesn’t do anything in this episode but remind Maylu of her piano practice and be a stagnant life-alert button. Both are obviously being set up as love interests for the main characters, and looking at Roll’s abilities on her Wiki page seems to relegate her mostly to healing and support instead of fighting….
The bad guys are bad guys. And Scottish.
In terms of the story, it’s also been done several times in gaming anime. Main character loves a game but has a crappy version of the thing needed to play the game. He gets something that gives him a better game thing and suddenly becomes awesome.
You know, when you think about it, aren’t gaming anime subtly implying to children that they should pressure their parents to buy them more cards and cooler toys related to the game when they see these tropes? “Eh, I have a sucky character that sucks, so I suck, but now I got a super cool rare character and now I’m awesome! It’s a good thing you can get this same character at Wal-Mart for $24.95!” The oven thing is new, but it’s a damsel in distress story just with the battle taking place in the virtual world.
The only thing it really has going for it as a shounen gaming anime is the world itself and the premise as it really doesn’t match many other…..anime…..out……oh hell. It’s Digimon Tamers. Yup, replace the PETs with Digivices, the NetNavis with Digimon and the battle chips with Digi-modify cards and it is pretty much just exactly Digimon Tamers with a new wrapping….only not as interesting.
I did like this episode barring its flaws…..I can’t really tell you why outside of me liking Digimon a lot, and this world as well as net battles seem like fun. It didn’t get off to a great start, but I am actually looking forward to more of this show.
Next Episode, Elecman emerges and wreaks havoc on the city.
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