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Takasugi♥ last won the day on November 10

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About Takasugi♥

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    Kyle Ron
  • Birthday 07/27/1958

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    07/27/1978 When I was 18... 18 years old, I saw for the first time in my life... I saw an image of clarity. I saw a comic strip... a three panel comic strip that, though simple as it seemed, changed me... changed my being, changed who I am... Made me who I am... Enlightened me... The strip, Garfield, the comic strip was new... no more than maybe a month and a half since inception, since... since coming into existence... and there it was before me in print, I saw it... a comic strip... What was it called? Garfield. The story here is of a man, a plain man. He is Jon, but he is more than that... I will get to this later, but first let us say that he's Jon, a plain man. And then there is a cat... Garfield. This is the nature of the world, here. When I see the world, the politics, the future, the... the satellites in space, and... the people who put them there... You can look at everything as a man and a cat... two beings, in harmony and at war... So, this strip I saw; this man, Jon, and the cat, Garfield, you see... Yes... hmm... It is about everything. This... little comic is, oh, lo and behold... not so little anymore. So yes, when I was 18, I saw this comic... and it hit me all at once, its power. I clipped it, and every day, I looked at it, and I said "Okay... let me look at this here. What is this doing to me? Why is this so powerful?" Jon Arbuckle, he sits here, legs crossed... comfortable in his home, and he reads his newspaper... The news of the world, perhaps... and then he extends his fingers lightly, delicately... he taps his fingers on an end table, and he feels for something... What is it? It is something he needs, but it is not there. And then he looks up, slightly cockeyed, and he thinks... His newspaper's in his lap now, and he thinks this... Now where could my pipe be? This... I always come to this, because I was a young man... I'm older now, and I still don't have the secrets, the answers, so this question still rings true, Jon looks up and he thinks... Now where could my pipe be? And then it happens... You see it, you see... it's almost like divine intervention, suddenly it is there, and it overpowers you... A cat is smoking a pipe. It is the man's pipe, it's Jon's pipe, but the cat... this cat, Garfield, is smoking the pipe... and from afar, and someplace near, but not clear... near but not clear... The man calls out... Jon calls out, he is shocked. "Garfield!" he shouts. Garfield. The cat's name. But, let's take a step back... let us examine this from all sides, all perspectives... and when I first came across this comic strip, I was at my father's house... a newspaper had arrived, and I picked it up for him, and brought it inside. I organized its sections for him and then, yes, the comic strip section fell out from somewhere in the middle, and landed on the kitchen floor... I picked up the paper pages and saw, up somewhere near the top of this strip... just like Jon, I was wearing an aquamarine shirt. So I thought, "Ah, interesting. I'll have to see this later." I snipped out the little comic, and held on to it... and five days later, I reexamined it... and it gripped me, I needed to find out more about this. The information I had was minimal, but enough... An orange cat named Garfield... Okay, that seemed to be the lynchpin of this whole operation, yes. Another clue... a signature in the bottom right corner, a man's name... Jim Davis. Yes, I'm on to it for sure. So... one: Garfield, orange cat, and two: Jim Davis, the creator of this cat... And that curiously plain man. I did not know, at the time, that his name was Jon. This strip, you see, had no mention of this man's name, and I'd never seen it before. But I had these clues; Jim Davis, Garfield. And then I saw more, I spotted the tiny copyright mark in the upper left corner. Copyright 1978 to... what is this? Copyright belongs to a... PAWS Incorporated... I use the local library and mail services to track down the information I was looking for... Jim Davis, a cartoonist, had created a comic strip about a cat, Garfield... and a man, Jon Arbuckle. Well, from that point on, I made sure I read the Garfield comic strips, though as I read each one, as each day passed... the strips seemed to resonate with me less and less... I sent letters to PAWS Incorporated, long letters, pages upon pages... asking if Mister Jim Davis could somehow publish just the one comic, over and over again... "It would be meditative," I wrote, "the strength of that." Could you imagine? But... no response... The strips lost their power, and eventually I stopped reading, but... I did not want my perceptions diluted, so I vowed to read the pipe strip over and over again... That is what I call it, "The Pipe Strip." The Pipe Strip. Everything about it is perfect. I can only describe it as a miracle creation, something came together... the elements aligned... It is like the comets, the cosmic orchestra that is up there over your head... The immense, enormous void is working all for one thing, to tell you one thing... Gas and rock, and purity, and nothing. I will say this... When I see the pipe strip... and I mean every single time I look at the lines, the colors, the shapes that make up the three panel comic... I see perfection. Do I find perfection in many things? Some things, I would say... Some things are perfect... and this is one of them. I can look at the little tuft of hair on Jon Arbuckle's head... it is the perfect shade... The purple pipe in Garfield's mouth... How could a mere mortal even MAKE this? I have a theory, about Jim Davis... After copious research and, yes, of course, now we have the internet, and this information is all readily available, but... Jim Davis, he used his life experiences to influence his comic... Like I mentioned before, none of them seem to have the weight of the pipe strip... But you have to wonder about the man who is able to even, just once, create the perfect form, a literally flawless execution of art, brilliance! Just as in a ward... I think there is a spiritual element at work... I've seen my share of bad times and... when you have something... Well, it's just... emotions, and neurons in your brain, but... something tells you that it's the truth... Truth's radiant light. Garfield, the cat? Neurons in my brain, it's... it's harmony, you see? It... Jon and Garfield, it's truly harmony, like a... continuous, looping, everlasting harmony... The lavender chair, the brown end table, the salmon-colored wall, the fore's green carpeting, Garfield is hunched, perched... perhaps with the pipe stuck firmly between his jowls... His tail curls around. It's more than shapes too, because... I... Okay, stay with me... I've done this experiment several times. You take the strip. You trace only the basic elements. You can do anything, you can simplify the shapes down to just... blobs, just outlines, but it still makes sense... You can replace the blobs with magazine cutouts of other things, replace Jon Arbuckle with a... car parked in a driveway sideways, cut that out of a magazine, stick it in... Replace him there in the second panel with a... a food processor... Okay, and then we put a picture of the planet in the third panel over Garfield... It still works. These are universal proportions. I don't know... how best to explain why it works, I've studied the pipe strip, and analyzed Jon and Garfield's proportions against several universal mathematical constants. E, Pi, the Golden Ratio, the Feigenbaum Constants, and so on... and it's surprising... scary even, how things align. You can take just... tiny pieces of the pipe strip, for instance, take Jon's elbow from the second panel... and take that, and project it back over Jon's entire shape in the second panel, and you'll see a near perfect Fibonacci sequence emerge... It's eerie to me... and it makes you wonder if you're in the presence of a deity, if there is some larger hand at work... There's no doubt in my mind that Jim Davis is a smart man... Jim Davis is capable of anything to me... He is remarkable, but this is so far beyond that, I think we might see that... this work of art is revered and respected in years to come. Jim Davis is possibly a new master of the craft, a... a genius of the eye; they very well may say the same things about Jim Davis in five hundred years that we say about the great philosophical and artistic masters from centuries ago... Jim Davis is a modern day Socrates, or... Da Vinci... mixing both striking visual beauty with classical, daring, unheard-of intellect... Look, he combines these things to make profoundly simple expressions... This strip is his masterpiece... The Pipe Strip is his masterpiece... and it is a masterpiece and a marvel... I often look at Garfield's... particular pose, in this strip. He is poised, and statuesque... and his cat stare is reminiscent of the fiery gazes often found in religious iconography... But still, his eyes are playful, lying somewhere between the solemn father's expression in... Rembrandt's "Return of the Prodigal Son," and the coy smirk of Da Vinci's "Saint John The Baptist". His ears stick up, signifying a peaked readiness... It's as if he could, at any moment, pounce; he is, after all, a close relative and descendant of the mighty jungle cats of Africa that could leap... after prey. You could see the power drawn into Garfield's hind quarters, powerful haunches indeed. The third panel. And I'm just saying this now, this is just coming to me now... The third panel of the pipe strip is essentially a microcosm for the entire strip itself... All the power dynamics, the struggle for superiority, right? WHO has the pipe? WHERE is the pipe? All of that is drawn, built, layered into Garfield's iconic pose here. You can see it in the curl of his tail... Garfield's ear whiskers stick up, on end, the smoke billows, upward... drawing the eye upward... increasing the scope... I'm just... amazed... really, that after 33 years of reading, and analyzing the same comic strip, I'm able to find new dimensions. It's a testament to the work... For six years, I delved into tobacco research, because... can a cat smoke? This is a metaphysical question... Yes, can any cat smoke? Do we know? Can just Garfield smoke? The research says no. Nicotine poisoning can kill animals, especially household pets. All it takes is the nicotine found in as little as a single cigarette. [ *Okamoto M, Kita T, Okuda H, Tanaka T, Nakashima T (Jul 1994). "Effects of aging on acute toxicity of nicotine in rats". Pharmacol Toxicol. 75 (1): 1-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0773.1994.tb00316.x. PMID 7971729 ] Surely, Jon's pipe hold a substantial amount of tobacco, and it is true that pets living in the homes of smokers are nearly 25% more likely to develop some form of cancer... most likely due to secondhand smoke... but these are facts of smoking, its tolls on our world. But after visiting two tobacco processing plants in Virginia... and the Phillip Morris cigarette manufacturing facility, I came no closer to cracking the meaning. I was looking for any insight. A detective of a homicide case has to look at every angle, so I'm always taking apart the pipe strip. I focused on every minutiae, every detail of this strip. Jon Arbuckle's clothing... I have replicas. I'm an expert in textiles... so, you see, this smoking thing was a hang-up for me... but it was the statement here... until... This is key, this is the breakthrough. The pipe is not a pipe, really. Obviously there is symbolism at work here... I saw that from the beginning, and I looked at the literal aspects of the strip to gain insight into the metaphors at play... I worked at a newspaper printing press for eighteen months, in the late 1980's... I was learning the literal to inform the gestural... the subliteral, the in-between... Jon reading this newspaper means so much more than just... Jon reading the newspaper... but how could you ever hope to decipher the puzzle without knowing everything there is to know about newspapers?! Okay... for example... Jon holds his newspaper up with his left hand, thumb gripping the interior. I learned that this particular grip here was the newspaper grip of nineteenth century aristocrats... and this aristocrat grip was a point of contention that influenced the decision to move forward with prohibition... in the United States, in the early twentieth century! So Jon's hand position is much more than that, it... it is a comment on class war... and the resulting reactionary culture... but I didn't know about the aristocratic newspaper grip until I came across some microfiche archives at the printing press. It's about information. You have to take it apart. ...and the breakthrough on the smoking cat came late... just eight years ago, actually. "Smoking cat" is an industry term. It's what the smoking industry calls a tattletale teenager who tells on his friends after they've all tried smoking for the first time... and it is actually a foreign translation, bastardization of the term "smoking rat"... But the phrase was confused when secret documents went back and forth between China and America... These documents are still secret, and the only reason I know about the term is because I know a man, my friend. Let's call him "Timothy," yeah... yes, it's a fake name, for his protection. Timothy worked for Phillip Morris for sixteen years, and he had seen the documents... and when he told me, it was an Aha moment... and he said, "But how? How could this cartoonist, Jim Davis, know about this... obscure term from the mid-70's, used exclusively by a few cigarette companies!?" This is still a mystery to me... but I connect the dots by noting Jim Davis' childhood experiences on a farm. He must have seen something... What could it be? Timothy went on to tell me there was one particular smoking cat, a boy, from... yes, Indiana, a boy named Ernie Barguckle, who became a thorn in the side of the tobacco companies for a couple of years... He did more than tattle to his parents; he and his family took legal action, and they eventually received a huge settlement payout... But that name is too similar... Ernie Barguckle... Jon Arbuckle. Jim Davis must have used this. There's more here. Ernie Barguckle spent nearly half of that settlement money on experimental medical procedures to cure his... impotence. He was impotent. So... he was a smoking cat with a... a metaphorical pipe, that did not work... Are you starting to see the layers here? This is exciting stuff, you start to get a whole picture here, and it informs the work! It's... it's just remarkable. Jim Davis took these raw ideas, these... pieces, and he transformed them into smart social commentary that is... all so ravishingly beautiful. I have cried. I've cried, I've cried... I've cried, cried over this piece. It just... gets in my soul. I try to explain this to people, I have... the newspaper articles about Ernie Barguckle... People have fought me on this, they don't see it, or they're close-minded, "How could a comic strip about a cat smoking a pipe mean any more than that?" But it is more... and when I feel spiritual, or start to think existentially, I still see this comic. Here's something from 1981 that I wrote in thinking about the implications of this strip; this is just an excerpt here... there's more before and after, but this part is the essence to me... If a comic about a cat smoking a pipe can be the only thing in the universe... then maybe this is the strongest evidence for that. *fumbles with tattered sheet from 1981* "Many of you say, 'Oh, but I am not blind. I have never been blind,'... But when you truly see, you will understand just how truly blind you once were to even think it right to say you were not blind. What does a blind man see? Blackness. Darkness. Blankness. Blank darkness. Dark blankness. The absence of things, quite literally NO thing. No things. Nothings. So, you see nothing, and I bring you into the light. A cat has your pipe! You've been blind, do you understand this!? The cat has your pipe. You can't fully immerse yourself, you don't have the light. You don't have the radiance, the radical light, the radically radiant light of truth and truth's belonging love, and nature of light, and loving truthful radiance. So don't be bold, and make bold statements. I know of you. The cat has your pipe. The. Cat. Has. Your. Pipe. Remember that." *puts paper back in pocket* That writing, well... It's kind of rough... Kind of an... early eighties feel... and I see that, but I'm still... I'm still proud of it. Sometimes I imagine that it is the editorial column in the newspaper Jon Arbuckle is reading. It's an exercise in recursion, it's like a vortex opens up... It's like you hold two mirrors up to each other, one is reality and the other is a cartoon strip. Let's see here... Oh yes, I must bring this up, because I think, surely, Jim Davis is again speaking on multiple levels by including the details set before us in the comic. Notice the glimpse of Jon Arbuckle's foot in the first panel. The size of the shoe would indicate that maybe the man just has small feet... but a deeper investigation takes us to the footbinding rituals of certain Asian cultures. Inflicted usually on women for the desire of men, this practice was incredibly painful and crippling... Aha! Mister Davis is, here, presenting us with a man, or rather... "man", who engages in footbinding, a body modification for women, on top of "being without his pipe"... or impotent. This is a man facing extreme inner turmoil, the panels tell that story... subconsciously. Notice the background wall shading of the first panel points inward toward Jon in the second panel... and the sharp tapered end of the purple pipe in the third frame also points at John in the second panel, inward; the eye is drawn to the center panel. You can connect these points and draw a triangle across the panels, and this triangle will align with the reoriented points of Jon's collar! This, this is majestic artwork! ...and to uncover this hidden order is... bliss like I've never known. Comforting, in an empty world. I can't help but read the thought bubble, over and over again. Now where could my pipe be? Now where could my pipe be? It is a profound question. Why am I here? What is my purpose? It is reflection and self-examination here. It is facing the dust, the misery of a cold, careless universe. You can feel the weight of it. But where could my pipe be? One imagines the author, Jim Davis, teetering on the edge of insanity... his rationality, his lucidity, hovering over the void... and he seeks the truth. You can see it in the line quality of the drawings; the thoughtful, controlled outlines mixed with the... occasional, chaotic scribbles at work in the shadows and Garfield's dark stripes. It's almost as if Garfield is chaos himself. Yes, he is the embodiment of chaos, disorder, hatred, fear... Thievery, death, destruction, desolation! These are the things Garfield represents; HE stole the pipe, HE sits with his back to Jon, Garfield... Garfield, this chaos cat, Garfield has turned his back on everything, everyone! One recalls the great existential forces in literature... Camus' Meursalt, Kafka's Gregor Samsa, or Sartre's Antoine Roquentin... Garfield the Cat sees the hopelessness of life, which...ah, yes... This is why Jim Davis has chosen smoking. It represents a recklessness, a... a disregard for what some would define as the beauty of life. Garfield may die from the nicotine, he may not... He defies life; he sits defiant, saying nothing, but looking as if he could say... "Then let me die... it does not matter." It does not matter. ...and we are faced with this; Could Jon behave the same? Is Jon the glimmer of hope? He seems to be unsure. Again, his question... "Now where could my pipe be?" indicates that he is wrestling with his own existence. The center panel centers the issue, and again, this hearkens to many of the great religious works of art. I'm talking about the Pipe Strip in relation to religion. It's... it's interesting to assign the roles of God... and anti-God, or, as many know him to be, the devil... or on a much larger scale, simply the forces of... good and evil. Garfield, the thief-cat, evil and malicious... He is the devil, placed to the right... and note, the two forms of Jon; the Jon on the left, still innocent, still draped in the... delight, of the lack of knowledge. He is... the humans in the Garden of Eden. He feels for his pipe... but he has yet to eat from the tree... and Garfield, the sinister serpent... and notice, notice how Jim Davis has framed this... The center Jon is locked in a struggle, between his innocence, and his knowledge of the truth... knowledge of the existence of evil. It is stunning. The great struggle, the struggle that transcends time... and Jim Davis floats over all this, as creator... the God, of sorts, in his own right. ... and he presents this cautionary message to us all; it is as if he is speaking from high and... he is saying, unto our awaiting ears... Where will you be, when the cat reveals himself? [-Jim 7:27:78] I can tell you where you'll be. You will have a choice; you can face endless suffering, and eternal misery... You can be forced and beaten down with barbarians, who claw at each other just for a view of salvation. They'll tear your eyeballs out, and rip your gizzards from end to end. They worship this cat, this... this false idol! This evil, horrible cat, do not be seduced by the cat and the pipe! Garfield... thy name is a mark of the demons of hell. Something like this, and to those listening, it is a stark reminder to follow the path of the first panel Jon; be humble, be grateful, honor the law, and honor thyself. Be true, and be good, and no harm will come to you... Pray for salvation, and it will be granted unto you. Be like Jon Arbuckle, as he lowers his head. Be like Jon Arbuckle as he lowers his paper, as he turns his head. Bow with Jon Arbuckle, and praise unto the creator, Jim Davis... and banish demon Garfield from your life. So, what is all this? What am I saying? Aha... hmm... What does all this mean? Why is this one comic strip so important to me... and why do I feel the need to share this? Obligation. I have an obligation to you all. This is a redemption, this is a belief in redemption, a sacrifice of all the obvious trappings of this false modern life. Look at the simplicity in this strip, in the pipe strip. Look at the simple clothes Jon wears, look at his simple, basic furniture... No adornments on the wall, even the very pipe his cat Garfield stole; it is a plain, modest pipe... and I have adapted this way of life, it speaks to me. In our times... well... you don't need me to point out the hyperbole of our times; you have children being born eight or nine at a time, you have more money being spent on a single Hollywood movie than some nations can spend... feeding their starving people. Torture, distrust... Look around you, it's overwhelming. What can you contribute? ...and every day, I look in the mirror, and I hold this comic up to the mirror, and I look into the mirror, and at this little comic strip. Be humble. Be thankful. It is a reminder, be respectful. You are a statue. You are fragile... and when you break, when you shatter... Where will those pieces go? Ask... ask, ask, ask this question. Will you ask? Humankind is only as great as you, YOU, the individual, it begins and ends with you! You must treat this expedition, this search, this... life, with a reverence and intensity found only in the smallest sticks. The littlest leaf, the tiniest stone! The most miniscule grain of sand... on a beach of billions! This is the secret. Do you want the pipe? Do you want to know where the pipe has gone? You ask yourself, you ask... you ask... you ask... Now where could my pipe be? When I was a young man... remember, now, I first saw this comic when I was eighteen years old... Ages ago... but I was youthful, vibrant. For weeks, I didn't hide that a comic strip was having such a profound effect on me. I was much like Jon Arbuckle. In this middle panel, he says, "Now where could my pipe be?"... you could look into his eyes, his half-lowered eyes, and think to yourself... "Now, surely, Jon... Surely, you cannot be this naive... This is nothing new for you..." And if you've read more of the Garfield comic strips by Jim Davis, you understand what I am saying now; Garfield the cat does things like this all the time. He will take things from Jon; food, items, anything... This is his very nature. So you see this, and you want to say, "Jon Arbuckle, come now. You are lying to yourself. You are lying to yourself, and to all of us, if you pretend to have not... any idea of where your pipe has gone. Perhaps you think you've left it somewhere else, but... hmph, you're not so forgetful. You are lying to yourself, ah... yes... You are lying to yourself, Jon Arbuckle. You know that Garfield has the pipe... somewhere, deep down, you know this. You don't even need to think the question." And that was me when I saw this strip. One week passed, and each morning I'd open my drawer and slam it shut again. I would go to look at the comic... but I'd pause, and think... "Oh no, I don't need this comic, I don't n... I don't NEED to look at it..." But there I was, lying to myself. I DID need to see it, and so I did, it's... cathartic. You give in, and that is the transition, from the second panel of life, to the third panel of life! It is a simple story structure, the passage from the second act to the third, the twilight of things. Jon gives into his suspicions; he knows the truth, he's ALWAYS known the truth, he yells out, "GARFIELD! GARFIELD! GARFIELD!" It is like... pressure from a steam valve, being released; the buildup is unbearable, and then... PSSHHWW, it's gone. So it is like this... when I speak about the truth... the truth, the light, the radiance, this... this is the kind of thing I'm talking about. This is the essence of this brilliant work of art, the practical mixing, meeting, agreeing with the spiritual, it is all HERE. ...but spirituality is not an easy thing to confront. You might find yourself able to wrap your mind around a simple math problem, or a basic newspaper article, or... but intellect... is much less subjective. What is spirituality... and how have I found spiritual peace and serenity in Garfield? A long time ago, after I encountered the Pipe Strip... I spent some time, as I mentioned before, soul-searching. When something impacts you, or alters your very perception so greatly, there is a long period of confusion, recovery time... It's as if you don't know who you are, and that can be a... a very scary prospect, especially if you thought you had a good grasp on that sort of thing. Imagine if Jim Davis did not know who he was. Would he be capable of shaping the cultural landscape as he's done? No. No, of course he wouldn't. ...and how about his characters? Jon... what if Jim Davis suddenly woke up, and didn't know who Jon was? What if he couldn't make the informed decisions to accurately depict Garfield's personality, because of... he could no longer specify, or demarcate the boundaries of Garfield's behavior? What kind of comic would THAT be? You see? So draw the parallel. I saw this comic and, yes, I was disoriented... and if I didn't reconcile this issue with myself, what kind of person would I be? Undoubtedly dire circumstances, but remember; this was not a math problem, this was not an article, this was not something I could just... figure out... and as skeptical as I was, I realized that faith and spirituality were avenues that... required exploring. At first I tried... long nights, reading Garfield by candlelight, or... aromatic meditation settings, while thinking of Garfield, but... nothing snapped. Nothing clicked, I still felt lost... but I kept it up, I hired a shaman, and a young... personal Yogi Sikh Guru; Avram Dahb Singh Sahib. I pushed and pushed, determined to find myself. And then, a miracle happened. Upon retrieving my morning paper, to clip the Garfield comic... I noticed a young girl, selling lemonade two houses down. She sat, occupied at her stand. She had no customers in sight. So, I approached, and saw that she was coloring. I looked at her drawing... Three rectangular boxes. A man, in a blue shirt. An orange cat. I knew what this was. Even in her crude scribbles, I knew EXACTLY what this was. She was drawing a Garfield comic. I looked at her words, and I saw that, in her strip, Jon asked Garfield to retrieve a newspaper. Heh, funny... since I'd done just that with myself... Garfield is sarcastic, but agrees to. He returns and calls Jon... "Sahib". Jon exclaims that the paper's all chewed up, but then Garfield says, and I quote, "Sahib asks fish, paper is wet. Sahib asks cat, paper is holey." I remember the words, and ran back to my house, and thought, "How odd that Sahib shows up in the strip, and my spiritual advisor's name is Avram Dahb Singh Sahib!" Coincidence surely, but, nonetheless, I spent the next sixteen hours poring through my clipped Garfield comics, looking for the strip this young girl had been coloring... I couldn't find it... and I eventually fell asleep, right on my kitchen table. Next morning, I retrieved my paper again, and I clipped the Garfield comic. The date was July 12th, 1983. There it was. The Sahib Strip, in all its glory. The girl had been drawing the next day's strip! So, I ran right out of my house, I ran back to where she was... but she was gone, and in place of the lemonade stand was a "For Sale" sign. They'd moved out. I rushed back to my house to call Avram, but... I was informed that he'd moved away as well. I reeled, for several hours, and then it all connected for me. It was meant to be. It w... it was meant to be this way! Jim Davis... Jon, Garfield... It was always meant to be this way for me.... They move to the forefront, and everything else fades away, EVERYTHING else; the girl, the lemonade stand, Avram Dahb Singh Sahib, it all existed to show me the way, and when I'd found the way... Everything else melted away. It was a beautiful miracle... and if July 27th, 1978, the day I first saw the pipe strip... was the first day of my life, then that day, July 12th, 1983, was the second day of my life. I've never looked back. Garfield has transformed me... and I am a man, born anew, because of Garfield. When I was in my mid-thirties, I was interviewed for a documentary... It was a documentary on the subject of cat behavior. Now, I've had cats my whole life; I have three cats now, and at the time of this documentary interview, I had four cats. I sat down for the interview and was joined by a veterinarian who specialized in felines: Doctor Caroline Wellmitz was her name, I believe... and the doctor discussed colorblindness in animals, and how it affects their behavior. She specifically brought up the fact that cats are red-green colorblind; they can see colors, but they can't tell the difference between red and green ...and look at the color choice in this strip here. Garfield sits on a green floor, behind a pinkish red wall. I heard this, and I immediately pulled a copy of the comic from my wallet to show to the doctor... I moved so fast, I'm sure I nearly scared her, I... pointed at the paper and said, "Like this! Like this! Look, at this here! This cat, Garfield, he's colorblind, he must be! That must be the answer here... like this." As over-excited as I was, I managed to take in her response; she said "Yes, a cat in this room would have a hard time differentiating the wall from the floor. Add to that a cat's known spatial confusion, and you have the makings of a Cat Rage room." Now, she informed me that this isn't exactly common knowledge among cat owners... but a seasoned cat owner, or someone particularly perceptive will have picked up on it. So what's incredible here is not only is Garfield's behavior symbolic of the devil, and all the evil constructs in the world, but... but, but... but also, it is rooted in science and scientific fact. Look at that. You cannot spell fact without "cat". Hah, just a little joke there... just some wordplay, but getting back on track... ...and you can't spell track without "cat." Okay... I digress. I gotcha, I gotcha, enough... kidding around. It is established here that Garfield is in a rage; an ultimate rage of fury and hatred, caused by colorblindness. We know the "what", we know the "why"... but let us examine the "how", the how of his rage is particularly interesting here. We've looked at his posture and called it "powerful", "in control", "statuesque", "etc., etc." Composed rage... It's peculiar, and I've talked to a number of psychologists and psychiatrists, and even a couple of anger management therapists about this concept... Could we see the same kind of behavior in a human? Is Garfield representative of something more specific than just chaos and rage? Deciphering this is going to take some perseverance. for sure. The psychologists pointed to a phenomenon in humans, and, yes, I believe one of the anger management counselors brought it up as well. The idea that people, oftentimes, will bottle their rage... Garfield the cat, here... well, he could be bottling his anger, inside, shoving it deep into his cat gut, to ignore and deal with at a later time. Eh, well... No, that's not exactly right. Garfield has already acted out, he's already stolen the pipe... he's SMOKING the pipe, he's already dealt with his anger. He's already lashed out, so, psychologically, what is going on here? What is this cat doing, and how does it impact his owner, Jon Arbuckle... psychologically? Well, Garfield is angry. He is acting on his anger... but is this passive anger, or aggressive anger? Passive. It is passive because if Garfield has a problem with Jon specifically... he's choosing a passive way of dealing with that problem. He has not confronted Jon, and said, "Jon, I have a problem with the way you've decorated this room; as a cat, I am colorblind, and this room sends me into a rage... You've created a rage room for me here, and I don't like it; I want you to change it." Instead of that confrontational approach, though, Garfield has chosen to steal Jon's pipe... and that, in turn, angers Jon... but Jon decides to be aggressively angry, and yell at Garfield, so... now, instead of a calm conversation between two respectful parties, you have two... heated, angry individuals, each with a problem and no direct line to solving it. The layered emotions here tell a story with tight, focused brevity that would make Hemingway weep. This is an entire drama, in just three panels, people. ...but let's not be remiss, and miss the humor of the situation, the... absurdity of it all... for certainly, there is a reason that the visual shorthand for drama includes both the crying mask AND a laughing mask. Comedy and tragedy complement each other, and meld together to create drama, tension, the height of humanity, the peak of art, that reflects back to us our own condition... ...and here... in its basest form, we can laugh at this comic... yes, COMIC, in which a cat smokes a pipe... Hah... when was the last time you've SEEN such a thing in your life? Never, I presume... I certainly never have... The Greek muse, Thalia's presence is strong in this work of art, here. Comedy, it is COMEDY... and if you look at the structure again, you'll see this perfect form of thirds works magically for the transmission of, yes, YES, a JOKE. The joke.... is as old as time... even cavemen told jokes, and the joke here is that Jon has lost his pipe... or he thinks he has... but lo and behold, it is the cat, Garfield, who has the pipe. Surprise, surprise, the cat is smoking! Again, the transition, from set-up to punchline takes place between the second and third panels... but make no mistake, the comic is more than just a comic... Yes, it IS funny, of course it is... it is operating at the height of sophisticated humor, on par with any of Shakespeare's piercing wit. On the one hand, Garfield the comic, with Jon the man, humor as art... the other hand, Garfield comic, with Jon the man, stirring... no, RIVETING drama... as with everything, it is tension, and release. TENSION... and RELEASE... A cycle. I keep returning to this idea, because it is so omnipresent. Yes, you could... and yes, I have done this, on more than one occasion... you could print this comic strip on a giant piece of paper. The dimensions would be something like... thirty-four inches by eleven inches. Now, tape the ends together, with the comic facing inward. Stick your head in the middle of this Garfield comic loop and READ, start at the first panel; Jon is reading the newspaper... he feels for something on the end table. Second panel; he sets the newspaper down, something is not right... "Where could my pipe be?" he thinks. ...and then, the payoff; the third panel, Garfield has Jon's pipe, and is smoking it. But, aha! The paper is in a loop, around your head... so that you can see that, once again, Jon is in his seat, reading the paper... and so on, and so on, you can literally read the comic strip for an eternity! I spent many a relaxing Sunday afternoon reading this strip, over and over... reminded of the Portuguese death carvings, which always begin and end with the same scrawled image. [fig. 6b - Portuguese Death Carving c. 1330] So, this idea of repetition, of the beginning being the end, and the end being the beginning... It's not new, it is an ageless tradition among the best storytellers humanity has ever offered... and I'm not wrong to include cartoonist Jim Davis in that exalted set for this particular strip alone I'm not foolish enough to deny that great art is subjective... divisive, even, and that some people see this Garfield comic and shrug with no real reaction... but I will say that I believe everyone in the world should see it; at the very least, see it! You should all see it. Read it. Spend some time with it. Spend an hour reading it... what's an hour? Yes, you could watch some television program, you could play some fast-paced video games or computer games, yes, you could do all those things... But it's just an hour... and if you give this strip a chance, if you look into Jon Arbuckle's eyes... if you look into Jon Arbuckle's SOUL... You might find that you'll really be looking into your own soul. It is self discovery, that is what I'm talking about here... YOU have the opportunity, the possibility... it could change you. Don't be afraid. You know, just last week, I was eating lunch near the Municipal Court... like I do every Thursday, and... there was a plumbing banner... a plumbing van, parked out in front, uh... and a man, a plumber, would step out from the court, and retrieve something from this every so often. A few times, this happened... I thought nothing of it; just a plumber, doing some work at the Municipal Court... but then he came out, and looked through his van, and it was clear... He couldn't find something. I noticed, and thought, "Well, that's sort of similar to the Garfield comic, in a way. Someone looks for something, can't find it,"... but, yes, that probably happens billions of times a day around the world... ...but then, this plumber... put his hands on his hips... then, he scratched his head, and he said aloud... "Now, where could my pipe wrench be?" Well, at this, I leaped off the bench, sandwich still in hand, and I rushed over, I shouted, "What was that you said!?" He looked at me and said, "What? I can't find my pipe wrench, " and I said, "No! No, no, say it... like how you just said it..." He scratched his head, and repeated, "Now where could my pipe wrench be?" I slapped him on the back and said, "Garfield!" He looked so confused, so I said it again... then, I said "Your orange cat took it!" Heh... ah, then I laughed and laughed... and he smiled, and went back into the courtroom. I walked away, knowing that the plumber and I, two complete strangers, bonded over this Garfield comic... You see, life imitates art, becomes a common ground. I have a feeling that if I see this plumber again, we'll be sharing stories like two old friends... because we've been united by art. We have a common love for Jim Davis and his characters, his writings... The humor, the drama, the... that rascal Garfield, the cat... Oh, and by the way, if you're wondering what I was having for lunch that day, it was a ham sandwich with an apple and potato chips... in a bag, I had a soda as well. I think it's important to view the Pipe Strip in philosophical terms... We've touched briefly on the notion of existentialism; that theme is very prevalent in this strip. Garfield is, in fact, a modern existential anti-hero... but if Garfield embodies the bewilderment in a meaningless life, what is Jon? What are the telltale signs that inform Jon's philosophical standpoint? His approach, what style of thinking he represents? Jon is depicted as being grounded in the material world... a world of things; he is surrounded by objects, and he touches these objects, he interacts with them. The newspaper, the end table, the chair... his clothes, all these physical things make up Jon's world. In some sense, even his cat Garfield is an object to him, a thing... The first ideology that comes to mind when thinking of objects in the tangible world... is pragmatism... Is Jon Arbuckle a pragmatist? His beliefs stem from a useful, coherent view of his environment... a sort of cause-and-effect understanding of his world helps him. A: Deduce that his pipe is missing... and B: Catches his cat, Garfield, using the pipe. This kind of empirical and logical thinking lends credence to the idea that Jon is, indeed, a pragmatist... Although, it is hard to entirely ignore the rest of the Garfield comic canon. While Garfield is consistently anarchic, and embraces the chaos and absurdity of life... Jon Arbuckle exhibits an erratic, unpredictable mix of philosophical behaviors. At times, he is borderline; delusional, an idealist, an almost slap-happy version of Don Quixote. Other moments, he is rigid, nearly to the point of being obsessive... somewhat like a structuralist, and certainly has streaks of sarcasm and negativity that might classify him as a skeptic. ...But isn't there some universal truth in this approach? How can any one man, how can Jon Arbuckle be just one thing? How can any of us be just one thing? We're... an amalgamation of ideas, of emotions... conducts and functions, thoughts and feelings... Jon Arbuckle may very well inhabit tenets of nearly every major philosophical tract known to man. We all might. Characters are reduced, to make them recognizable, definable; a story needs a good guy, a story needs a bad guy... but rarely is one person defined in such black and white terms. Even Garfield, with all his bad behavior, Machiavellian motivation and general ne'er-do-well attitude, can be kind and thoughtful. You just have to find that rare strip. Speaking philosophically about the entire Garfield franchise, it's an incredibly accurate depiction of life. Its bold lines and bright colors are merely a facade, a... a red herring, a lie. This cartoon is not a cartoon at all, it is not a... caricature. It is not caricature despite adopting caricature as its visual style and tone. ...but I don't really like to speak in broad sweeping generalizations about Garfield. The comic has been running for over thirty years, and to try and boil that all down is just, well... it's impossible. I think the only way that any historian worth his salt will agree with me is to look at individual moments... isolated instances, single comic strips. Can I discuss this one strip in the context of the entire run of Garfield? Yes, I do that just as a film historian might analyze one movie in relation to the history of all movies, or a war enthusiast might look at a single battle's impact on an entire war. The Pipe Strip is just an instance in the lives of Jon and Garfield. Perhaps Jon is not a pragmatist at all... let's look at this again. Maybe Jon is exhibiting the traits of a rationalist thinker; his question, "Now where could my pipe be?" is a clue that his thought process stems from the early rationalist questions posed by René Descartes. The well-known quote, "I think, therefore I am," attributed to Descartes, is applicable. Another close look at the strip, and we see that Jim Davis chose to draw Jon thinking his question. "Now where could my pipe be?" Jon does not speak this question aloud, so Jim Davis is also exploring the mind/body duality... Jon's question operates on the level of a literal question... but it also examines the nature of reality. Jim Davis' epistemological approach tells us something about the human condition; Jon's thoughts remain the focal point of this strip. The comic is, quite literally, centered around his thought. "Now where could my pipe be?" This is his reality, this is where cognition, and the power and function of the mind take over. As Plato believed, the body is just a shell for Jon Arbuckle; yes, he can use his physical body to read his paper or cross his legs, but these inputs of touch, sight, hearing, et cetera, these senses are the triggers of the mind, as we see here, the mind... is something greater. It is the originator of ideas, and ideas are forever. Immortal. Immortality through thought, a... a major theme in literature and philosophy... ...and isn't that what Mister Jim Davis himself has achieved? Will he live forever? The universe will continue to spread, and spread outward, and... entropy will turn a chaotic infinity into a homogenous, controlled system. This will take billions of years, and in that time, humans will push technology to heights we can't imagine. We'll explore and inhabit space, and occupy more and more of the universe, just as time allowed our ancestors to... multiply in numbers, and populate more and more of the Earth. ...and as the specific people come and go, their physical bodies will be born, and grow, and die... but their thoughts will remain... and Jim Davis' comics, his glorious Garfield comics... are recorded ideas of his, that will still be here. Even when the Earth is no longer inhabitable, and humanity has long since moved away to bigger planets, they'll carry with them a record, a record we all keep; mark my words... and look at what we've started, what is... What is the internet? What is the online world, if not a record? Never-ending feed of ideas, immortal ideas... forever placed in the ether of dualism. What is an idea? Where does it live? How does it manifest itself? Can it live forever? Will it live forever, outside of these physical husks of ours, our bodies? ...and Jon Arbuckle, and Garfield, started merely as thoughts... but they've become so much more. That old cliché rings true, they've taken on a life of their own... and life may not be what we think. Life brings to mind a beating heart, breathing lungs, blinking eyes... ...but the real life is in our imaginations... and who better embodies the definition of imagination if not a simple man... a cartoonist, who puts his ideas to paper so that they may live on, so that our children, and our children's children, and their children's children's children can access the wealth of ideas that have accumulated thus far... They will plug themselves into an information grid, and they will have access... They will read every Garfield comic, 80,000 years from now, a child will see a simple Jon Arbuckle, reading a newspaper. He will feel around for something, but that something is not there... He will lift his head and think... "Now where could my pipe be?" ...and Garfield will be smoking the pipe, and Jon will yell "GARFIELD!" ...and what then? 80,000 years from now? The child reading this comic will smile... and that smile will transcend space and time and the physical limitations of this existence, whatever they may be, however many dimensions exist... There will always be Garfield... and there will always be its creator... Jim Davis. "It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection." -Oscar Wilde
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  1. Ask the Great Aya anything

    Damn tax scammers
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    Does look yummy
  3. Ask the Great Aya anything

    Because you looked cold to me and I had to be absolutely sure you weren't cold.
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    -Joe theme-
  5. Ask the Great Aya anything

    Can't believe Bansai lived from that, absolute madman
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    My man Bansai is already dead
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  9. Ask the Great Aya anything

    "THANK YOU! GOODNIGHT!" Bansai yelled to the three people in attendance. He received some claps and change thrown onto the stage. "Bansai-senpai, this can't be our only form of income...I still can't believe Shinsuke-sama disbanded us..." Matako said, her face hitting the keyboard. "No need to worry Matako-chan. We've sold the ship, we have enough money to get by for a few months." Takechi said. "And then what? We are just going to be stuck homeless." the keys of the keyboard ringing out. "Come on guys, this is a DREAM of mine, WHO WANTS AN ENCORE?!" Bansai cupped his hand to his ear and heard a single "Wooo!" from the crowd, "Alright! This one goes out to a very special writer!" "Bansai-senpai, can't you be serious for one second?" Matako asked, backing up his solo. "Look man, it's a blessing and a curse Shinsuke-dono disbanded us. Let's just say I'm glad not to hear anymore EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE." Bansai said, strumming his guitar. "Well, I guess that's true." Matako said. "As long as we have each other and our band, Exploding Feminism, we will be fine." Takechi added. Bansai finished up the song and the three started packing up. They were approached by three people, the three crowd. "Hey, aren't you guys Yorozuya?" Bansai asked, recognizing Shinpachi and Kagura. "That was some nice playing out there Bansai-san!" Shinpachi said, giving him a handshake. The three bandmates hopped off stage and noticed that Okita Sougo was with them. "Now, now...we aren't terrorists anymore..." Matako said, backing away. "It's fine! This idiot is braindead, has no memory." Kagura said, knocking on his head. Sougo grabbed Kagura's hand, and she flung him to the ground. "We're being payed to watch over him." Shinpachi said, rubbing the back of his neck. "Where's Yorozuya Gintoki?" Bansai asked. Shinpachi looked down, "We haven't seen Gin-san in awhile now...we're not sure what's happened to him." Shinpachi said with a serious tone. Bansai scratched his chin and nodded. "We haven't seen Shinsuke since he disbanded us." Bansai said, tuning his guitar. "The Kihentai is disbanded?!" Shinpachi asked surprised. The three bandmates nodded and grabbed their luggage. "Might be a long time til we see each other again Yorozuya. Best wishes." Bansai gave a peace sign and the three turned to their beat up pick-up truck. "W-wait...can we be your roadies? I know talent when I see it...it wouldn't hurt to be the first fan of someone again." Shinpachi said, while Sougo was crawling back to Kagura, and she kicked him in the face. Bansai, Makato, and Takechi all turned around. "Alright, I think we could all agree we need more fans. The two lads can sit in the bed of the truck, there's a literal bed in it so it's comfortable. If you want China Girl, you can sit next to me in the truck, it's no decent for a lady to be conditioned to this snow weather." Takechi said, who then received a knucklesandwich. "That's fine, we've just gotta take Sougo places, maybe places he's been to to re-ignite his memory. This won't be the first time me and Kagura-chan have dealt with this." Shinpachi said, hopping into the back of the truck. Kagura flung Sougo in there and hopped in herself, causing the truck to shake violently. The three bandmates got in the truck and revved her up. "Listen to this baby purr." Bansai said, tapping the steering wheel. Matako looked at him dead panned from the passenger seat. A large thud was heard and Bansai looked on the roof and saw Sadaharu. He pet Sadaharu and peeled off. "Where to next Bansai?" Takechi asked. "Where ever the wind takes us." Matako rolled her eyes at her Senpai. The gang traveled down an open high way, the wind hitting their hair in the brisk February weather. They rode the long strip until they reached the city. It was bustling as it was evening time. Traffic was heavy, and Bansai was looking visibly upset. He honked his horn, it making a loud EEEEEEEEEEEEEE sound. "I swear to fuck if this traffic doesn't start moving I'm going to slice everyone down." Bansai said gripping the stirring wheel hard. The traffic was finally starting to move and Bansai gunned it, scrapping by cars, making Shinpachi OI from the back. "YOU'RE GONNA GET US KILLED!" Shinpachi yelled. Bansai shrugged as he made it to his designation, swerving into a parking space. This caused Sougo to be flung out of the truck and smash into the car next to them. "Whoops." Bansai said, turning off the truck. Everyone hopped out, Shinpachi tended to Sougo and threw him on top of Sadaharu. "The mall?! Cool! We should buy the girliest clothes and dress this idiot up in them!" Kagura said, patting Sougo's head. "This will be our biggest gig yet. I pulled some strings to get us in here." Bansai said, while playing a few chords. Matako face-palmed. "Playing at the mall, we just might be able to gather a pre-teen fanbase." Takechi said, pondering. Matako fired bullets at him but he dodge. The 7 of them entered the store and looked around. It was one of the largest malls in all of Edo. "Bansai-senpai, what kind of strings did you pull to get us here?" Matako asked, in awe. Bansai set his guitar case down behind the stage as they walked up to it. "Sometimes, questions are better left unanswered." Bansai said, putting his headphones on. Matako looked disgusted and sat down on her equipment, "You guys are on in 5." a stage hand said from the curtains. "Let's do this, for feminism." Takechi said, sticking his hand out. The other two put their hands on top of his and gave a Banzai! They opened the curtains and set up rather quickly, "ARE YOU READY EDO?!" Bansai yelled into the mic. The mall shoppers continued on their way, some stopping to watch, "Here we GO, 1 2 3 4!" he pulled out his electric guitar and went to town, He dropped the guitar and grabbed the mic like he visualizes Shinsuke would grab Katsura, "YOU REALLY GOT ME, YOU REALLY GOT ME!" the crowd was starting to get bigger as the three were nailing an absolute banging cover of Van Halen. "Hey, these's guys are really good!" some audience members were getting into it. Bansai was sweating, belting out the guitar riffs and straining his voice. The other three were getting into it as well. Bansai ended the song with another solo and tossed the guitar down. The crowd erupted into applause. "ALRIGHT, THIS NEXT ONE GOES OUT TO A VERY SPECIAL SOMEONE! 1, 2, 3, 4!" The audience was clapping along and getting into it. The Exploding Feminist were jumping and getting into the song as much as the crowd. Shinpachi, Kagura, Sougo, and Sadaharu look down from the second floor in shock they were actually this good. "What was holding these three back?" Shinpachi asked. "Arf!" Sadaharu said, putting bandages on his face. Shinpachi gave a little Oi, but it wasn't worth it to Oi at a dog. The band was playing in the background, and it had distracted Yorozuya long enough that Sougo had escaped somewhere, "Where did that idiot get off to?" Kagura asked but then she saw perhaps the funniest thing ever, she snickered and pointed, "Shinpachi, look!" Sougo was dangling from the second floor just above the stage. "OII HE'S ABOUT TO FALL ON THE STAGE!" Shinpach and the other two ran to try and catch Sougo, but it was too late. Sougo fell directly through the stage as Exploding Feminism was setting up for an acoustic act. The three stared through the hole and saw Sougo give a thumbs up. "THIS ONE IS FOR OUR FRIEND HERE!" the three played another set, gathering more audience members. Shinpachi Oi'd like an opera singer, but it was drowned out by crowd noise. Bansai strummed the final note and the crowd erupted in cheers and threw money into Bansai's guitar case. "Where can we get some Exploding Feminism merch?!" "Where will you guys be next?!" "When's the debut album!?" Bansai was at the verge of tears, he was finally getting that taste of stardom he had looked for. "Stay tuned, AND GOOD NIGHT!" the lights went off and more applause was heard. The three sat down backstage and Matako was comforting Bansai who was near sobbing, "We...we did it guys." Bansai looked up with a smile, tears running down his face. Takechi put his hand on his shoulder. "I'm just as proud, proud for all of us." Takechi signaled for a group hug, Matako normally refused these, but today it was different. The three former Kihentai grouped together and hugged it out for their breakout performance. "Who knows where we go from here?!" Matako said, looking up. The other two looked up in delight. Suddenly a man wearing a suit walked back stage and gave Bansai a handshake, "Nice to meet you Kawakimi Bansai, I'm the man that's going to make you three into stars." "Shouyou Sensei? You manage bands now? What don't you do?" Bansai asked, sealing the handshake. "A man has to make a livin somehow." Shouyou said, taking out a piece of paper. "So, you sign this here, and we've got a big deal on our hands. We start pumping merch. You guys get 85% of the profits split up between you, and I take 15%, but I got a large percentage on ticket sales and other marketing, let's say 20% or so?" Sensei handed over the contract to Bansai. He looked down on it, Not What He Seems Records written in bold letters at the top. "It's the best chance we have Bansai, plus he's closer to Shinsuke-sama than any of us, I think we can trust him." Matako said, Takechi nodded in agreement. Bansai also nodded and signed the dotted line. Shouyou extended for another handshake to seal the deal, "Pleasure doing business, Kawakimi Bansai!" The two brought in a hard handshake, but Bansai felt something strange about this handshake, it wasn't threatening, but he felt a slight chill run down his spine. "I'll be seeing you 3 at the NWHS Offices this Friday so we can get set up for our first show together!" Sensei said smiling. He vanished about as fast as he appeared. The three stood there in shock, excitement, and a flurry of other emotions. ----------------------------------------------- 1 week before the Dads invaded: "Kamui, you can't keep staring out that window. Shinsuke is going to be fine, Mr. Bonestein opted to give him bone structure surgery." Abuto was at the helm of the ship, guiding the ship through planetary traffic. "It's not about Shinsuke, Ossan. It's what he said. About all of us." Kamui went silent again and then finally turned to his second in command. "I feel real Abuto, you understand that, right?" Kamui asked. Abuto shrugged, but he had to give an answer, "Of course Chief, I know that you are real, and I know that I'm real." No Man nodded in agreement to Abuto's sentiments. "You're the realest dogs I know, and no one can take that from us." No Man said, manning his station. Kamui turned back to space. His expression had not changed, but it was refreshing to get his ego boosted a little. "You guys are very much real to me as well, even if one of you is half a man." Kamui was hit in the head with No Man's shoe from across the room. Kamui's face finally broke out into a small grin, "Yeah, very real." Present Day: "Kamui...we are in no shape to fight these men...they're too strong." Abuto said, huffing. No Man was able to support himself with his umbrella, but it wasn't enough as Ozu broke from the dads and kicked it out from under him. Ozu went in for a huge uppercut, connecting right in his sternum, No Man launched into the ceiling of the ship, blood dripping down from his mouth. Abuto and Kamui couldn't break focus, they kicked it into high gear. They dodged Ozu's attacks and blocked all of his follow ups. The two Yato were working in perfect harmony, battered and all. "Abuto, you doubt yourself too much!" Kamui whirlwind kicked Ozu in the head, knocking him out cold. Abuto looked shocked that he knocked Ozu down that quickly, "I'm not fucking around today Big Bunny!" Kamui rushed into to Umibozu, throwing a barrage of punches. As that was happening, No Man finally fell from the ceiling and landed on top of Ozu. Umibozu was meeting Kamui blow for blow, blocking each shot. Gintoki stared dead-fish eyed at the Ossan. "Come on Yorozuya, give me all you've got." Abuto said with a smirk. Gintoki drew his sword and came in slashing, Abuto matching the strikes with his umbrella. "Is this all you've got!?" Abuto knocked Gintoki back with a huge parry. The Ossan looked over at Kamui who was still throwing kicks and punches, he had long ditched his umbrella. Umibozu stood there, blocking each attack until he noticed a slight window where Kamui caught his breath. He grabbed his son by the arm and hip tossed him into the wall right next to Gendo. Gendo scurried away. "I've got to stop them before they kill these Angels..." Gendo was thinking fast, using that smart brain of his. Kamui jumped back up to his feet, blood running down his entire body. Umibozu was caught off guard this time, he came back faster and angrier. The strikes were connecting with Baldy with precision. "GET OFF MY SHIP! COME BACK WHEN YOU WANT TO ACT LIKE MY REAL FATHER SO I CAN KICK YOUR ASS HARDER!" Kamui landed more and more blows, but as he went for a big roundhouse kick, Umibozu picked his ankle and held him up in the air. Umibozu dropped Kamui and punted him like a football. Abuto watched helpless, but was caught by Gintoki with a blow to the side. Abuto was trying to block as best he could, but all the dust from the giant dust bin was hindering his breathing. Gintoki was laser focused, his strikes hitting with purpose. Each swing caused Abuto to wince and hunch over and eventually fall to the ground. "Heh, come on Yorozuya, is that all you got? Did Joe fry your brain that much?" Gintoki went for what would have been a certain knock-out blow, but Abuto grabbed his sword and tossed it into the ceiling. Gintoki was caught surprised, and Abuto took the chance to land a huge blow with his umbrella. Abuto stood up and discarded his umbrella too. "If Chief doesn't need a weapon, neither should I." Abuto threw a huge punch, but Gintoki caught it and broke his arm off with a huge knee strike. Abuto looked down at his torn up, metallic arm in a mangle. He smirked and feigned a punch with his real arm, but actually went for a leg sweep that caught Gintoki. Abuto stomped on Gintoki's chest and bent down for a big blow to his face. Gintoki was hurting but managed to take the blow with stride as he grabbed Abuto's leg and shoved him off his body. Gintoki took up a martial arts pose and signaled Abuto to bring it. "Come on BALDY! IS THAT ALL YOU REALLY HAVE?" Kamui recovered quickly from the punting and rushed at Umibozu trying to get more hits in on him, but his Papi was just too strong for the already weakened Kamui. Kamui's punches were getting groggy and Umibozu grabbed him by the scruff of his shirt and hoisted him in the air. Kamui was struggling but it was a feeble attempt. Just as Umibozu was about to deliver another devastating blow, Gendo stepped out from the shadows and got everyone's attention, "Come on guys, when the world is in danger like this, we can't fight among ourselves, that only leads down the path of a Madao like myself." Gendo said in a Hasegawa impression, he had really done his research. Umibozu and Gintoki stopped what they were doing and looked up, "HASEGAWA!!" They both ran over and gave him a hug. "We thought you were dead...friend." Gintoki ran his fingers through his hair and Gendo shoved him off. Ozu and No Man were finally starting to stir. Ozu was laying into No Man, as he hadn't seen "Hasegawa" yet, "Ozu! What the hell are you doing?" Umibozu ran over and picked up Ozu and placed him in front of "Hasegawa". Ozu's eyes snapped back to reality, "Hasegawa..." Ozu gave him a big hug. "It has been...to long friend." The dad's spell had been broken. Gendo took off the disguise, "This is the last time I save your sorry asses." Gendo said. Gintoki looked back at the battered Yato's laying around the ship, Abuto collapsed onto the ground and Kamui hadn't moved. "O-oi...did we do this to them?" Gintoki asked, nervous. Gendo nodded. Gintoki brought Ozu and Umibozu in close, "Let's bounce, I don't want them to recover and kill us, literally." Gintoki suggested. Ozu and Umibozu agreed and the 4 dads hopped into an escape pod and high-tailed it out of there. The ship crash landed in front of The Large Ice Cream Emporium, violently shaking the whole building, "You almost made me spill Sensei's ice cream. Genos will remember this." He stored it in his memory bank. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- "Joe you can't..." Takasugi was crawling, but Joe stomped on his fingers. "You can't stop me. You never could. You never will." Joe turned his back to the two samurai who laid in a heap next to each other. Katsura was trying to get to his feet with his sword, but was slipping and falling to the dirt. "Don't Katsura, don't strain yourself too much." Takasugi said, Joe turned back to them, forming a sharp metal blade with his arm. "There's just one person in my way, don't interfere." Joe said in a commanding voice. The two looked on determined, willing to stop him at any cost. Joe walked along the edges of the dojo, scratching his blade against the wall. The screeching sound from the concrete meeting the blade was ear piercing, but Joe was un-phased. "Come out, I know you're teaching a VERY important lesson in there." Joe pushed the blade even further into the wall, causing a visible crack to run through it. "I CAN'T GET WHAT I WANT UNTIL YOU ARE OUT OF MY WAY!" "You were unwise to come here Joe." "I won't let anyone meddle with my students." Joe's face lightened up with a smile of his own, that sinister one. "Finally, you are the finally obstacle, hahaha...give me all you've got." Joe ripped the blade out of the wall, causing it to crumble to rubble. Sensei stood up from the field he was sitting in and drew out his katana. "If it is Steve you want, I cannot let you cut him down. His fate is still in your hands, but you cannot re-write history. I cannot let you change your destiny." Joe's laughter grew more as the two stood across from each other. Flowers were in bloom and the spring air was making petals fly around them. "I'll give you a fair fight "Sensei", I won't use my notebook. I'll only use this blade I've crafted. Sound fair?" Sensei smiled, "Fair enough to me." Sensei said, taking his stance. The two stood there for a brief second, the wind going through their hair. Joe started to run in first, while Shouyou stood his ground. Joe came in slashing, but was met with a blade each time. Sensei started to go for a few strikes, but Joe blocked those two. They broke away for a bit and stared each other down. "You're not half bad. I'm guess that large diabetic man taught you well." Joe's gazed narrowed at this comment, "How are you aware of the future...how do you know of me and Brimley?" Joe asked, circling Shouyou. "Telling you that would only give you more power. My only mission is to stop you." Sensei turned his blade and went for a vertical slice. Joe blocked it above his head, and kicked Shouyou back. "Just give me Steve, and I will leave your students alone. I know he is bound to come here at any moment. If necessary, I will use extra force to get what I want." Joe said, looking at his metal arm. Sensei simply smiled, "So, you're just going to break our agreement just like that? That's fine." Shouyou went in for more strikes, this time catching Joe off guard, 'Damn he's fast!' Joe was trying to block some of the strikes, but a few hit his real arm and his cheek. Blood was soaking his sweater and dripping from his face. Sensei slashed his blade and stained the field with Joe's blood. "I can spill more of your blood to protect the future. Protecting my future." Sensei went in for another slash, but Joe dipped it and sliced at Shouyou's knee. He hit his right knee and staggered to the ground. Joe knew this was a turning point in the battle, he had to finish it. Joe stood over the wounded Shouyou. "Send your regards to Steve for me." Joe rose his hand up to go for his throat, but a sword stabbed right through his blade from behind him, "I can't let you take out my Sensei..." Joe took the blade out of his arm and turned around to see that Shinsuke had crawled all the way over to them. Joe stared down at him with fury in his eyes, "I....TOLD you to stay out of this.." Joe was shaking with anger. His plan was falling apart. Shinsuke looked past Joe and saw Shouyou smiling. Joe kicked the sword out of Shinsuke's hands. He started to walk over to Shinsuke but Shouyou grabbed Joe by his ankle. Joe quickly turned to slash at Sensei again, but Sensei also threw a swing and broke Joe's arm in half, sparks flying out of the mangled metal. "DAMN IT!" Joe looked inside of his arm and saw the notepad was damaged. But, as Joe thought his luck was running out, Sensei's blade readying for another strike, he saw him. Steve. Joe's eyes loved it, he knew this was his only shot. Steve was coming out of the skadoo'ing portal. Shinsuke and Sensei noticed this too and tried to stop Joe, but it was too late. Joe detached the last piece of his blade and slung it at Steve. His aim, as if it was by fate alone, was a deadeye shot. He hit the child right in the forehead, knocking him to the Earth. "YES! YES! I DID IT!" Joe, Shinsuke, and Katsura began to faze out of the past. Sensei laid there in the grass, the wound on his knee still present. "It's still not your destiny...it will never be yours." TBC @Katsura♡
  10. Ask the Great Aya anything

  11. Wrasslin' Crew: Last thread got future endeavored

    Just another reason to tune in on January 4th
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