Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blackbeard Pirates


While not making an actual appearance in the story until later, the Blackbeard pirates are first referenced when the Straw Hat Pirates land on Drum Island. The king of Drum, Wapol, has fled the country as a result of the Blackbeard crew attacking.

The crew make their first appearance in Jaya, where they are playing "games" of fate, such as handing out explosive apples or shooting birds to see which ones die quickly and testing strength. When Luffy meets Blackbeard himself in a bar, they immediately form a rivalry. Luffy hates the bar's pie, and Blackbeard loves it, while Luffy loves one of the bar's drinks, Blackbeard hates it, which leads to them challenging each other to a fight. Later on, after the Bellamy Pirates taunt them for believing in Sky Island, Blackbeard assures the Straw Hats that it does exist and in response to Bellamy's notion of a "New Age", states that people will never stop dreaming. Once Blackbeard discovers Luffy's high bounty, he and his crew decide to capture him, and pursue the Straw Hats to the Knock-Up Stream. Their ship is destroyed by the stream, and Luffy escapes to Skypeia.

The Blackbeard Pirate crew is seen again after the events of Enies Lobby. After reading of Luffy's exploits, Blackbeard understands that his bounty will increase a great deal. He once again commits to pursuing Luffy, but is stopped by Portgas D. Ace. During a short battle, Blackbeard reveals his Devil Fruit abilities, and defeats Ace, turning him in to the World Government to attain Shichibukai status.

Marshall D. Teach
Captain

Marshall D. Teach also known as Blackbeard (Kurohige), is a former member of the Whitebeard Pirates, who left after killing the commander of Whitebeard's fourth division. His ultimate goal is to become pirate king, like many other pirates in the Grand Line. Teach spent decades with Whitebeard's crew for the express purpose of finding the Yami Yami no Mi. When Fourth Division Commander Thatch found the Devil Fruit he desired, Teach killed him without hesitation, claiming the fruits powers for his own. The Yami Yami no Mi grants Teach the ability to create and control gravity fields, represented as a flowing "darkness". Teach can use the gravity to absorb matter and energy, to draw in opponents from a distance and can also eject absorbed matter in a violent explosion. The most terrifying aspect of the powers granted by the Yami Yami no Mi is the ability to nullify other Devil Fruit powers through physical contact with the user. Even users of the Logia Devil Fruit type, normally invulnerable to attacks, can be harmed in this manner. Although the Yami Yami no Mi is a Logia type, Teach does not have the ability to transform into his element like other Logia type users. Likewise, he can not avoid damage like other Logia users, and in fact takes more damage due to the nature of his power. Teach's physical abilities are substantial even without the aid of his Devil Fruit; he is responsible for the three scars that cross Red-Haired Shanks' eye.

Blackbeard shares his surname with the infamous Edward Teach, who series creator Eiichiro Oda has described as his favorite pirate.

Blackbeard is also one of the 7 people in One Piece to have the middle intial D.


Jesus Burgess
Helmsman

Jesus Burgess wears a mask similar to a Luchador. He is extremely strong, lifting an entire building during a battle with Portgas D. Ace. He is portrayed as being quite level-minded and serious, as he berates Blackbeard for his easy-going attitude after the crew's failure to capture Monkey D. Luffy.

Jesus shares his surname with real pirate Samuel Burgess.



Van Auger
Snipper

Van Auger, nicknamed "The Supersonic", is first seen in Jaya, shooting down seagulls from a distance so far that the Straw Hat Pirates, who were watching, couldn't even see the island he was on. Van Auger appears calm and analytic even during battle.

Van Auger shares a name with real pirate John Auger.

Auger's name may also have something to do with the Latin word "auger", which is term for a fortune teller who studies the flights of birds to determine the future. This could be symbolic due to the fact that we first see Auger shooting down birds and explaining that it was "fate" for the bird to be killed. Auger also refers to his gun's barrel.


Doc Q
Doctor

Doc Q is the crew's doctor. His nickname is 'Shinigami' which literally means God of Death. He first appears when the Straw Hat Pirates disembark at Mock Town, offering explosive apples to pirates. Doc Q and his horse, Stronger, are portrayed as very sickly and weak, although they have little problem fighting Ace during his battle with the Blackbeard crew


Lafitte
Navigator

Lafitte is first shown when he joins the meeting of the Shichibukai and the Navy to determine the replacement for Sir Crocodile in order to recommend his captain. He is described by Tsuru as once being a well respected policeman in West Blue who became a pirate after being exiled from the police force for excessive violence. He is incredibly pale, though this appears to be makeup, and is usually tap-dancing, even when walking or running. Even while wearing tap shoes, however, he was still able to silently sneak into the Shichibukai meeting. Logically, this means that he must have teleported, walked in on his hands, or (quite possibly) flew in. There is fan speculation that he is a skilled user of Rokushiki as shown in the anime episode where Marshal D. Teach clashed with Portgas D. Ace and the Soru technique can clearly be seen and heard.

He shares his name with Jean Lafitte, a famous real-life pirate.


Blackbeard's flag is that of three skulls--one looking left, one looking forward, and one looking right.

The crew's ship is a giant log raft with a number of cannons in the center of the outermost logs. It is destroyed by the Knock-Up Stream during their pursuit of the Straw Hats.

Law of Ueki

The story starts out with the Battle of the Supernatural Powers, a tournament to decide who will be the next God of Heaven.

Each candidate (100 in total) is required to choose a junior high school student (middle school) to act as their fighter. The student is given a unique power and told to eliminate as many enemies as possible. The winning God Candidate will become The New God of Heaven and the winning student will receive the Blank Zai (or talent), a talent that can be anything they choose.

While this leads many students to thoughts of greed and selfishness, Kosuke Ueki decides to take it upon himself to win this tournament to keep that power away from those that would abuse such a gift

Initially, fights in the tournament consist of a battle between two power users - one wins by knocking the other opponent out.

When a knock-out is obtained, the loser will lose their power and the winner will gain a talent ( Zai), which is a talent of some sort (e.g. "talent of running," "talent of studying," and so on). A power user who has lost a fight is disqualified and their power is labeled "retired."

The rules for the combatants of the tournament revolve around the talents:

  • Power users are not allowed to use their powers against non-power users, or they lose one talent for each hit.
  • If the power user loses all of his/her talents, then he/she will disappear.
  • Every time a power user knocks out another power user, he/she will gain another talent, senseless or not.
  • If, for any reason, both contestants become unconscious at the same time, the round is a draw: no talents will be gained, and no powers are lost. The contestants must be knocked out within 5 seconds of each other, or the last contestant wins.

There are also rules which apply to the King of the Celestial World Candidates / God Candidates. The punishment for breaking them is that the King of the Celestial World Candidate / God Candidate is sent to Hell.

  • King of the Celestial World Candidates / God Candidates are not allowed to interfere with their power user's fight. This means that they are not allowed to provide their power users with more supplies to use their power (this may only apply to during a fight), or even save them from dying.
  • King of the Celestial World Candidates / God Candidates are only allowed to grant a power to one individual. However, it is possible for two King of the Celestial World Candidates / God Candidates to give a power each to one person; if found out, though, it will lead to a disqualification of both King of the Celestial World Candidates / God Candidates.

Near the end of the tournament, power users are allowed to form groups of five for "battle royale"-style fighting. Knock-outs during this stage do not result in losing powers. Each team is given a penalty if it loses, such as having all of the members die or losing their hair in addition to losing their powers.

To decide who receives the Blank Talent among the winning team, a device is used to measure the growth in power that each participant has shown from the beginning to the end of the tournament. To decide who is to become King of the Celestial World / God, the winning team votes which of the King of the Celestial World Candidates / God Candidates should be given that honor.

Level 2 powers may be obtained by the power users. The requirements are a total mastery of their original power and the powerful desire to become stronger.

All heavenly beings have the potential to master a total of ten attacks which correspond with different levels of their growth. These attacks are called Jingi, or "sacred treasures". Higher level sacred treasures have a higher damage capability than lower ones. If a heavenly being is a power-user (having received a power from a God Candidate), their power is merged with their sacred treasures. In the case of Ueki, he manifests these abilities through his talent of tree growth. A heavenly being's sacred treasures with no special powers will take the form of stone. In the Battle Game, there are only six heavenly beings: Ueki, Robert, Kilnorton, Diegostar, Balo and Ban Dicoot, but only Ueki and Robert use level 2 sacred treasures.

Every middle school student have talents that help them in battle or in life. An important rule in the tournament to prevent power users from attacking anyone they please is that the power user will lose a talent if they attack a non-power user, but they can gain a random talent by knocking out another power user. If the power user loses all their talents, they will vanish.

Ueki starts the series with eleven talents: Girl charisma, ability to study, ability to run, accuracy, sarcasm, ability to dance, lottery, animal charisma, ability to swim, ability to dodge, and the ability to imitate. However, those soon begin to dwindle down because of his desire to protect innocent civilians with his powers, a source of endless frustration to Mori.


Ranma 1/2

Ranma 1/2 is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi with an anime adaptation. The story revolves around a 16-year old boy named Ranma Saotome who was trained from early childhood in martial arts. As a result of an accident during a training journey, he is cursed to become a girl when splashed with cold water, but hot water will change him back into a boy.

Ranma 1/2 is best known for its novel comedic formula. In part highlighting martial arts hijinks, sometimes formed by comically treating traditional or fictional martial arts practices, but often stemming from the device of transforming a non-martial arts activity like fast food preparation, Ping-Pong, or Chinese takeout delivery into an "anything-goes" martial arts contest. Ranma 1/2 is perhaps even better known for its gender-swapping main character, who often willfully changes into a girl to advance his goals. Finally, Ranma 1/2 contains many other equally unusual characters, whose intricate relationships with each other, unusual characteristics and eccentric personalities drive most of the stories. Although the characters and their relationships are complicated, they are for the most part static and rarely change once the characters are firmly introduced and settled into the series.

On a training journey in the Bayankala Mountain Range in the Qinghai Province of China, Ranma Saotome and his father Genma fall into the cursed springs at Jusenkyo. When someone falls into a cursed spring, they take the physical form of whatever drowned there hundreds or thousands of years ago whenever they come into contact with cold water. The cursed will revert when exposed to hot water until their next cold water exposure. Genma fell into the Spring of the Drowned Panda while Ranma fell into the Spring of Drowned Girl.

Upon returning to Japan,the pair settle in the dojo of Genma's old friend Soun Tendo, a fellow practitioner of Musabetsu Kakutō Ryū or "Anything-Goes" martial arts which Genma passed on to Ranma. Genma and Soun agreed years ago that their children would marry and carry on the Tendo Dojo. Soun has three teenaged daughters: Kasumi, Nabiki, and the hot-tempered, but helpful, martial arts practicing Akane. As Akane is Ranma's age she is appointed for bridal duty by her sisters. Although both initially refuse the engagement, they are generally treated as betrothed and end up helping or saving each other on numerous occasions. They are frequently found in each other's company and are constantly arguing in their trademark awkward love-hate manner that is a franchise focus.

Ranma goes to school with Akane at Furinkan High, where he meets his recurring opponent Tatewaki Kuno, the kendo team captain who is aggressively pursuing Akane, but who also falls in love with Ranma's female form without discovering his curse. Furinkan serves as a backdrop for more martial arts mayhem with the introduction of Ranma's regular rivals, the eternally lost Ryoga Hibiki, the nearsighted Mousse, and Ranma's perverted grandmaster Happosai. His prospective paramours include the martial arts rhythmic gymnastics champion Kodachi Kuno, the okonomiyaki vendor and his second fiancée and childhood friend Ukyo Kuonji, along with the Chinese Amazon Shampoo, supported by her great-grandmother Cologne. As the series progresses, the school becomes more eccentric with the return of the Hawaii-obsessed Principal Kuno and the placement of the power-leeching alternating child/adult Hinako Ninomiya as Ranma's English teacher.

Ranma 1/2 Main Characters

Ranma Saotome
Training with Genma at Jusenkyo in China, Ranma was thrown into the Spring of Drowned Girl. He emerged as a young girl, according with the spring's curse. When splashed with cold water, he turns into a busty red-headed girl, but when splashed with hot water, he changes back to a boy again. Martial arts is the 16-year-old's hero/heroine's life. He also possesses a very large but easily wounded ego, believing his physical strength to be his only virtue. Whenever his pride is damaged, Ranma will go to great lengths to rectify the situation. He can come across as petty, insensitive and arrogant, as he is prone to cheat or give insults, often acts out of unthinking selfishness, and is a frequent braggart. However much of the above is caused by awkward immaturity. He's also very self-sacrificing when he needs to be. Ranma has an extreme fear of cats, resulting from when his father trained him in a dangerous technique. If Ranma is isolated with a cat in a very small space, he begins behaving like a cat himself.


Genma Saotome
Genma is Ranma's insensitive, selfish and greedy father. He originally took Ranma to Jusenkyo because he'd heard about it in a Chinese brochure even though he can't read a word of Chinese. He also got cursed, turning into a panda. Unlike Ranma, he doesn't have much trouble with it, especially because he can get away from his problems in his panda form. While Genma frequently preaches duty and honor as a martial artist, he seems to be a poor example to set those standards by. He usually tries to get Ranma to shield him from the consequences whenever any of his previous scams or crimes catch up with him. While he's usually either too lazy or scared to show it, he is an incredibly powerful martial artist, who possesses a towering battle-aura and has invented two schools of techniques based upon thievery.

Soun Tendo
Soun is the head of the Tendo household and one of the two families to practice Anything Goes Martial Arts. He is also a widower, left to single-handedly take care of his three daughters. He has a large house that is occasionally in need of repairs due to the fights that take place. While he owns his own dojo, students have not been explicitly shown. Oddly he may not have a recurrent source of income and, in the anime, spends most of his time playing Shogi (Japanese chess) with his old training partner Genma. Community representatives frequently approach him when they have problems with unusual phenomena, so this may provide some of it. However he is shown to be quite careful with the expenses and gets upset when Nabiki spends his savings on expensive gifts, or when Ranma throws the dinner on the floor. Soun is anxious for his daughter to say she loves Ranma, or the other way around, to continue the legacy of his school. He'll start announcing wedding plans if Ranma and Akane seem romantically involved. Soun is able to manifest himself as a ghostly, floating oni head, whenever he is upset. He generally assumes most incidents are Ranma's fault. He's shown as extremely protective of his children, especially Kasumi, and becomes sad if their affection is in doubt. Miss Hinako is attracted to him, but he is very loyal to his dead wife and visits her grave in memorial.


Akane Tendo
Akane is Soun's youngest daughter at age 16. She is a very insecure, awkward and sensitive girl with a hot temper and a big heart. After first encountering Ranma's male form as a naked stranger in the bathroom and becoming further upset by his insults, their engagement wasn't off to a good start. With time, both Akane and the relationship mellow out, and she helps or risks her life for Ranma on several occasions. Akane regularly feels inferior to Kasumi in beauty and feminine pursuits, to Ranma and his other fiancées in cooking, martial arts ability or gymnastics, and to other students in swimming. She is trying hard to excel in everything, but is either clumsy or completely inept at all except for schoolwork and certain sports activities. When someone, frequently Ranma, belittles her lack of success, or calls her ugly, over-muscled, unfeminine and tomboyish (which she agrees with, but has complexes about) she often gets upset. She is shown as very friendly towards people who are polite and don't insult her and has consistently risked herself to help or save Ranma.

Nabiki Tendo

Nabiki is the middle daughter of Soun. She loves money above all else and is willing to sacrifice anyone to gain more of it, even ruin her family to win a bet. In most stories that she plays a vital role, she either attempts to extort money from someone, or sets up dangerous situations for her own amusement, or both in combination


Kasumi Tendo
Kasumi is the eldest of the Tendo girls, and the most traditional in the Japanese sense. She has graduated high school and spends most of her day looking after the Tendo household, acting as the family's substitute "matriarch" ever since her mother's untimely death; by cooking, cleaning and helping her family
.




Shampoo (Shan Pu)
Shampoo came to Japan to kill the female Ranma after he defeated her in an annual martial contest, so he and Genma could eat the prize, a fully stocked banquet table. She gave Ranma's female form the "Kiss of Death", a promise to track her down and eventually kill her. Later, after being defeated by Ranma in male form, she gave him the "Kiss of Marriage." Due to Amazon law, she is then bound to either kill or marry him. She returns home to be retrained at Jusenkyo by her great-grandmother Cologne, but she became cursed and turns into a cat — the one thing Ranma fears most. Having returned to Nerima, Tokyo, Japan, Shampoo waits tables at the Cat Cafe (Neko Hanten), her great-grandmother's restaurant, and delivers ramen by bicycle, occasionally running down people—particularly Ranma—on the streets and rooftops. She has stated variations on 'obstacle is for killing' as a personal motto, which even included Akane when the latter was captured and tied up by Pantyhose Taro.

Cologne (Ke Lun)
Cologne is Shampoo’s great-grandmother and the leader of the Chinese Amazon tribe. She came to Nerima to see what this “future son-in-law” was made of, but she ended up staying and opening a café so that she could aid Shampoo in winning Ranma's heart. Though an extremely old woman (300 years old, according to the anime), she remains an immensely dangerous martial artist who has taught Ranma the Kachū Tenshin Amaguriken and Hiryū Shōten Ha. Unlike the rest of the cast, Cologne seems to prefer to sit in the background and watch the madness unfold. If she has a motive, whether it is to help Shampoo in her efforts or to aid Ranma in his battles, only then will she step into the fray. She also runs a Chinese restaurant called the Cat Cafe, where Shampoo and Mousse both work.

Mousse (Mu Su)
Mousse is a long-time friend of Shampoo, though she might not view it that way. He has been in love with her for most of his life, but she finds him annoying at best. He can't see very well without his glasses, often mistaking someone for something else. He comes to Nerima in search of this "new fiancé" that Shampoo has, and he stays to attempt to woo his sweetheart. Shampoo rebuked his advances when they were children and this still holds true by Amazon law, even if he manages to defeat Ranma in combat, but he remains persistent. Now a waiter at the Cat Café, he turns into a duck thanks to his own Jusenkyo curse. When in human form, his clothes contain weapons of drastic proportions, including needles, chains, swords, and just about anything else imaginable. In duck form, Mousse can hide knives in his feathers.

Ryoga Hibiki
Ryoga is a childhood rival of Ranma's and is famous for losing his way thanks to a horrible sense of direction. After spending months looking for male Ranma for leaving before their planned duel, he finally finds him in China but gets pushed into a Jusenkyo spring by female Ranma and now changes into a small piglet. He seeks Ranma out with a large grudge, and discovers Akane who thinks that little “P-chan” is quite cute. Of course, she doesn’t know that it’s really Ryoga, but that doesn’t stop him from falling in love with her. When not upset he's usually shy, humble and polite, especially around women. His anger lessens with time, first into a fierce rivalry, then shifting back and forth between tense competition, uneasy allies or non-serious conflicts. Finally they became on friendly enough terms for Ryoga to repeatedly risk his life to help Ranma, but the competition between the two will likely persist forever. Ryoga spends his time wandering through the wilderness, training and amassing new techniques to exceed Ranma — if he can ever find his friend and nemesis.

Happosai
The very definition of a dirty old man, Happosai is the grandmaster and founder of the Anything Goes Martial Arts school. Genma and Soun were his original disciples, but they got fed up having to steal lingerie for the old lecher and decided to try and finish him off. They were quite surprised when he showed up many years later to make them miserable and find a successor in the Art. Unfortunately for Ranma, he was the incorrigible old freak's choice. He is an immensely skilled and powerful martial artist, with but one weakness: bras and panties. Happosai is so obscenely addicted to his perversion that he suffers from withdrawal if he goes without them for an extended period. It seems as though he always shows up at the most inconvenient moments. Happosai can go to great lengths to ruin the life of anyone that displeases him, but usually chooses silly methods. He nonetheless shows a soft spot for children.

Tatewaki Kuno
poetry (he quotes Tatewaki Kuno is an upperclassman at Furinkan High and was the big man on campus – at least until Ranma came along. Hailing from a very wealthy family, he is also captain of the kendo club and wields both his fortune and sword with equal ease. Given to spouting off ShakespearesqueConfucius in the Japanese original), he is madly in love with Akane. He also falls for Ranma’s female half and never realizes that she is really his mortal enemy in girl form. He once overhears her called by name, and attempts to write it down for future reference, but never makes a connection and continues to refer to her as a "goddess in pig-tails" for the entire series.

Dr. Tofu Ono
Dr. Tofu is the resident chiropractor and well-liked by the residents of Furinkan. He is also a martial artist, though never seen practicing, and is quite competent at tending Ranma and Akane in their various scrapes. He is also madly in love with Kasumi and becomes quite dangerous (albeit unintentionally so) when she is around. In these instances, he becomes an incompetent fool, sometimes harming his patients. Sadly, she doesn't feel the same way. He always seems to know what to do—until Kasumi arrives. The anime gives him a larger role, though in both mediums, he becomes a very minor character after the first few stories.

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