Part 8: We're the Space HandymenTo remind everyone, we left Crowe behind in the Atami jailhouse in Japan. A rotund, moustachioed gentleman named Ohtsuka had just scouted him for an international spec ops team. He's with Kouji and Shiro Kabuto, as well as the robot operators of 21st Century's 2nd PR Division, and doesn't know about Celestial Being just yet.
Likewise, our army now includes not only Team Photon, but also Dai-Guard.
Some cash for Dai-Guard, who will probably be with us for a little while on this branch.
A wall of text crawls by. The gist of it is that there are two Japans on this Earth. One of them was taken over by Britannia, and we know it now as Area 11. The other Japan is free and quite peaceful, just sort of chilling out on its own. Well, except for Dr. Hell's Mechabeasts and the Heterodynes. Luckily, the Peacekeeping Council is putting together a task force known as the Crushers to defend against them.
So we turn to a training camp on the Izu peninsula.
Ohtsuka is filling Crowe, Kouji, and Akagi in on the Crushers gig, which is basically "fight bad guys" - and there are a lot of them, from terrorists to mad scientists to monsters like the Image and Damon. The Crushers are under the command of Peacekeeping Council representative and man of mystery Elgan Roddick, a stand-up guy (to Crowe's knowledge, one of the few good men left in the superpowers' territory).
21st Century has already thrown in with the Crushers - the board was unanimous, it seems - but Aoyama and Ibuki sure haven't, and they are not interested in playing hero until they've gotten things sorted out back at HQ, to Akagi's dismay. Kouji is still having doubts of his own. Crowe wants Ohtsuka to pay off his debt for his services - 980k G! - but they bargain to 200 G per mission, which suits Crowe fine. Still, that leaves just him, Sayaka, and Akagi, and Akagi can't do his job because Dai-Guard can't function without its full complement of three.
There are already some members of the Crusher squad, but they're out investigating some asteroids. The Great Dimensional Quake did a hell of a number on the solar system, leaving it with, among the Astragius and other things, two moons! Ohtsuka seems concerned at the topic.
ANYWAY, with such thin manpower, Ohtsuka decides to ask A Certain Company for help... the Space Handymen, Takeo General Co., a tiny little do-anything company quite different from the enormous and beaureaucratic 21st Century.
Speaking of Takeo, a little boy named Watta has just come back from a job in space hauling construction materials for a new Colony. Kaoru fills him in on all he missed (Dr. Hell, Heterodynes). Young Watta knows something about it - his mom's daycare is out on a field trip and the disasters have held them up out of town, meaning he's alone all night (no dad). So Kaoru invites him to eat at her place and tell her all about work.
But not so fast! Watta is a grade schooler, and he's been missing school due to work, and he's scheduled for makeup lessons as of right now. Oh well. Dinner with Kaoru will have to wait until after school.
But in a double interrupt, the old director of Takeo, Kakekouji, arrives bringing a job for Watta - and what's this, he's calling Watta the "young CEO"?! At any rate, Watta and his teacher both object, but Kakekouji insists: Takeo General is hard up and badly needs income. Having to balance a company and an elementary school schedule is hard, but Watta chooses to take a raincheck on the lesson and look out for his employees instead.
Chapter 5: We're the Space Handymen
Takeo General Company
I'm the grade-school CEO
and I get to pilot the G7
Protecting the company's bottom line-
I mean, protecting peace on Earth!
Let's go, G7! Trider G7!
Um. Where was I?
A suspicious-looking playstructure in a playground.
We apologize deeply for the inconvenience.
Trider will be launching shortly.
Please stay behind the white line for your own safety.
That's no play structure shaped like a giant robot's head - that's actually a giant robot's head!
Yes, Watta is not only the CEO of Takeo, he's also the pilot of Trider G7, Takeo's super robot. Along with the company shuttle, he flies off to his new gig.
On the way, inside the shuttle (I'm not sure where they put Trider), Ikue Sunabara (the lady on the PA in the park) is serving snacks. No impact on Takeo's expenses - she actually made them herself, at home. Damn.
As he snacks, they get down to business, and by business I mean briefing. Watta apparently has a history with Ohtsuka, and not a bright one by the sound of it, but Ohtsuka was a friend of Watta's late father, the previous CEO, so Watta's willing to do his best in memory. Besides, a job's a job.
The job itself is moving a Photonic Dynamo from the laboratory on Mount Fuji over to the town of Atami, where it'll help the rebuilding effort. By a wonderful coincidence, Atami is where Watta's mom is held up, so he actually gets to help her out as well.
Back at Izu, Akagi is still trying to convince Ibuki and Aoyama to fight with him in Dai-Guard. Their job may be to fight Heterodynes, but neither of them is interested in playing with mad scientists, terrorists, or other monsters. Akagi wants something very simple. He doesn't want to fight only Heterodynes, and he doesn't want to join the military and get into political wars. He just wants to use Dai-Guard to fight anyone who threatens peace.
Aoyama and Ibuki still aren't convinced. Let the Crushers fight for peace or whatever. They want to be left out of it, and they're still going back to HQ to take it up with the board.
Well, Crowe happens to stroll by and lets Team Dai-Guard know that the Crushers are moving out for Atami. Let's start the party.
Trider and the Shuttle are over Atami already, ready to show off to the eager children in Mrs. Takeo's care. With impeccable timing, the WLF shows up to try and take the Photonic Dynamo. Watta refuses to hand it over, so the terrorist leader programs his robots to move in for the kill. Time for a fight!
Trider G7/Trider Cosmic (Watta Takeo)
Ace Bonus: Doubles extra PP granted by the CEO skill.
Trider is a standard-issue one-seater super robot built much like, say, a Mazinger, Daimos, or Daitarn - that is to say, heavy armor, a reasonable Prevail skill, and Spirits that serve Watta in combat and virtually nothing else.
On the other hand, Watta's signature skill is anything but. He may be a green CEO, but he grants 5 bonus PP to anyone live and deployed at the end of a successful stage, or 10 per stage with his Ace bonus unlocked.
Shuttle (Umemaro Kakikouji, Tetsuo Otsui, Touhachiro Kinoshita, Ikue Sunabara)
Offensive Support L2
Defensive Support L1
Ace Bonus: Gain the item "Ikue's Snacks" at the end of each mission. (unearned)
But so close! Ikue's snacks are a consumable that restores a modest sum of 20 SP to the main pilot when used. Unfortunately, the rest of the Shuttle is kind of bad. Let's try to snag the Ace within a couple of chapters anyway. For now, the Shuttle will do a reasonable job supporting Watta's Trider and restoring its energy when necessary.
As with Dai-Guard, all the Shuttle passengers are decorated with Salaryman even though only Kakekouji does anything with it.
Exhaust drains one enemy's Will by 10. It won't see too much use for now, but it becomes a very useful arrow in the anti-boss quiver as bosses become more and more threatening.
To begin with, let's send Watta into the action with Trider Cosmic.
My mom works hard all day long at her daycare!
You're interrupting her field trip, and you're giving the people of Atami trouble! I'm gonna beat you!
Trider takes hits pretty well (as with most jet modes, Cosmic is weaker than G7), but Watta needs some help aiming.
Tetsuo, where did all my missiles go?
I'm so sorry, sir! We were forced to cut Trider's missile supply to fit the budget.
You'll have to use your melee weapons, sir!
Aww. Being a small company is hard.
Trider Cosmic only has two missiles. WELP.
Lacking any (P) weapons, only missiles, the Shuttle moves in and hopes to take some heat off of Watta.
Trider hits reasonably well, when it hits.
Out of ammo, Cosmic is forced to defend.
Naturally, the entire enemy force has at him.
Time to switch back to G7 and throw some stuff.
Like all good super robots, Trider can just pull out weapons from wherever.
Kakekouji's support gets the kill.
Watta doesn't gain a kill notch...
But Kakekouji did.
Spreading damage is for chumps. Equippable cookies are for cool people. Got a feeling the SR Point here is going to be a "from team X's appearance" type, anyway.
Mr. Director! Mr. Kinoshita! Miss Ikue! We will protect the young CEO!
Yes, sir! Hang on, we're going in!
Roger! I'm all ready here!
We'll get this done in a snap! Snap!
E-excuse me! Do not get overly excited!
69 kills. I hope he gets a chance to shoot one down next round! (If the active pilot got a kill, note how it shows up in the top-right corner.)
Another turn down.
Kakekouji steps in to take damage for Watta - reduced damage, because all Defensive Supports are treated as if taking the defense action.
So that's the end of that.
And that. They're probably both dead this round.
This is what it looks like to gain an Ace bonus. There may be more of these coming.
Somewhat concerningly, Trider's most accurate attack at this point is the shooty missiles, not anything cool like the flail or the spear.
They get the job done. (I think I'm out of them, though. Budget cuts! )
Ha ha! How do you like that? That'll teach you to steal stuff!
Watta likes trash-talking, but he's in grade school, so he's not great at it.
Ankokuji snags the terrorist and takes him in.
Unfortunately, here's a familiar face or two...
Ashura calls in his/her Mechabeasts. Watta is very confused. But when Ashura orders the Iron Masks to steal the the Dynamo, Watta's confusion turns to determination.
Three turns to take out the new Mechabeast, Nonacargo H7, and all the minions.
But hell, I'm out of usable robots again! Why does this keep happening to me?
Fuck it. I'll just let them advance at Trider.
So you're the Mechabeast army! Well you're not gonna get the Photonic Dynamo from me!
Takeo General Company takes pride in its flawless service! You ready?
Other than the one, the Mechabeasts just move up. Blah.
Meanwhile, an Iron Mask is threatening Mrs. Takeo's kids! He is going on about painting the walls with their blood and other sociopathic things.
But a man named Cross (because of his awesome face, I guess) jumps in to their rescue, effortlessly beating up the violent Iron Mask.
Yasu the Weasel (remember this guy?) and a little old lady who we'll call Okiku also join in to cover Mrs. Takeo's and the kids' escape.
Even the Master is there, along with a gunslinger named Django.
The final shady ally is this woman, Tsubasa Nishikiori, but Ashura can just call her... his/her executioner. (dun dun dunnn) She taunts Ashura as the villain receives a powerful shock.
And to punctuate Tsubasa's victory, the Crushers arrive. Kouji is, as always, ready to beat up the Mechabeasts. Akagi's good for action, but Aoyama and Ibuki still haven't really bought in.
Crowe is confused that a little kid is piloting a mech, so Watta introduces himself. Unfortunately, he introduces himself as the Takeo CEO, which doesn't help matters one bit.
Dai-Guard's armor is now functional, but not great. His speed is also slightly better, but not by enough. He has, for some reason, gained the ability to use Supply on other units.
Supply is a trait (the Shuttle had it too) which allows a machine to fully restore the Energy and ammunition of an adjacent unit. It is indispensible when dealing with machines that drain a lot of energy to fight either swarms or bosses, as well as certain units that fire off their ammo like there's no tomorrow.
The fact that Dai-Guard is a
Most importantly, he has gained useful weapons, for a certain value of useful. The Finger Net Arm is his counter move, even though its range and ammo are depressing for a counter; still, it's fairly accurate and slows the enemy's dodges. The Drill Arm is what passes for a power attack for now, though its power is still subpar. All of Dai-Guard's attacks are garbage against flying targets, which will become damning in short order, but isn't much of an impediment for now.
Two turns to knock all of these guys down. It's possible, but it might be a little messy.
Aphrodite and the Shuttle are too weak to be of much use. Dai-Guard is too slow. Looks like the main force is going to be Crowe, Kouji, and Watta.
(Grandpa, I think I sort of understand what I have to do.)
But I've still gotta take down Dr. Hell! I'm going to take him down myself!
Kouji: still awesome.
Watta going down would be bad.
Vigor restores Trider's HP to a healthy amount.
You get to thinking, maybe Watta just likes flying-kicking people.
I didn't want to kill on my turn if I could help it, but Crowe couldn't reach anyone else.
Watta takes on a bunch of Talos.
Kakekouji takes out one.
Now this here, this looks like a problem.
When in doubt, I defend.
Definitely a good move.
On my turn, I confirm that Nonacargo has, in addition to pretty goddamn high specs, the runt of all equippable parts - a Screw Module, which makes units that suck underwater suck less, for all the good that will do. The parts that give S ranks in terrain to units are good in theory, but water is seriously not a huge issue, so the Screw Module is uniquely sad.
Dai-Guard's speed dooms him to sidekickhood for now.
We've got the Net Arm and the Drill Arm, and they've toughened up the armor, too! This'll do just fine!
Don't get cocky, Akagi! We're just a support team!
That's why they've equipped us with a supply unit!
Got it! Dai-Guard's fighting for everybody!
I don't think he gets it.
Still, he gets the kill.
Anyway, on the Nonacargo front... the Shuttle has a missile with one of those Talos' name on it, but that would be a waste of Offensive Support.
So we're going to have Watta attack it and trip Offensive Support first.
If I had my way, he'd be showing off his super move and I'd be recording it, but Trider is low on energy and there's no time to get it refilled now. Instead, you'll have to settle for a video of Takeo General Company's kind of lame combo attack. Remind me to find a spot for the Bird Attack later.
Happily, Crowe doesn't even need to get support from Kakekouji - once again, he has the chance to do a double attack, and from clear outside Nonacargo's range.
Skipping the unnecessarily long Clutch Sniper times two, Crowe's double attack takes Nona down to the "fairly low" category. Hopefully this means Kouji can finish it. (Though if he can't, there's always the counter round.)
Sayaka drops a Cheer on Kouji in case he does off it.
Mind the expenses! You mustn't use too many missiles!
Not the time!
Sayaka and Kakekouji each finish off a Talos. Only Nona is left.
And that's a finisher attack. Watch closely, Dai-Guard. (He'll get better, I promise.)
Kouji gains three levels thanks to Cheer, the Screw Module, a fair sum of money, and the exceedingly useful Accel Spirit, which lets him dash three extra squares on one move.
Just when the team is cooling down from the fight...
Mazinger zips off! Looks like Kouji's spotted Baron Ashura!
A special end-of-mission screen informs us, in order, that the CEO skill has given each deployed pilot 10 bonus PP, and that Kakekouji's Ace Bonus has given me the Ikue's Snacks equipment, as promised.
Ashura is enraged that Tsubasa could possibly affect his/her body. Only his/her master, Dr. Hell, is allowed to cause him/her pain like that!
Apparently Tsubasa and Ashura has a history that Ashura doesn't remember. S/he attacks Tsubasa and is again stunned before s/he can touch her.
Ashura demands to know how Tsubasa is doing that. She says it's a safety that was put into his/her body in case s/he attacked those around her when s/he was awakened from his/her "long slumber."
Kouji finally arrives, and Tsubasa tells him to finish Ashura off himself. But Kouji refuses to take a life while his opponent is defenseless and can't even move. Tsubasa is disgusted with his weakness, as all mysterious and callous NPCs are bound to be. She even says that if he's going to be so pathetic, he will never be able to use Mazinger to its full potential.
Sure enough, Kouji's weakness costs him. Another of Dr. Hell's minions, Viscount Pygman, drops out of the sky on a lightning bolt and helps Ashura escape.
According to Tsubasa, Pygman is "the most powerful shaman of the burning lands, one of Dr. Hell's five generals, who fights with the elements and not a Mechabeast." Quite a mouthful. Ashura is not happy to see him, but tough, he's there on Dr. Hell's orders.
Tsubasa gleefully informs Pygman that he can no more attack her than can Ashura, and Pygman's response is to put out his own eyes. If he can't see himself attacking her, the curse won't trigger. Apparently that works, okay, sure, why not. Tsubasa gives up and orders Kouji back as Pygman leaves, promising to take Tsubasa's life.
Kouji wants Tsubasa to give him some answers about how she knows all about Ashura and Mazinger and such, but when Crowe arrives, Tsubasa makes a break for it and vanishes. She leaves Kouji with a place to find her if he really wants to talk: the Kurogane bathhouse in Atami. "There, I'll show you what Hell means. If you can't handle that, you have no chance against Dr. Hell."
Back at the Izu base, Takeo's staff have managed to extract a bonus from Ohtsuka since the Mechabeasts were an unexpected complication. Ohtsuka agrees, but he has a better deal for Takeo too. He wants them to contract with the Crushers!
Well, he's not pushing very hard. He doesn't want to put his old friend's son in danger, after all... but hell, Watta's perfectly fine with the danger. He wants to put himself on the line to help people and fight for peace and good, whatever the adults say. "I'm sure. I want to protect peace on earth and the company's bottom line." A cute reference to the Trider theme song.
He won't be alone, either. Crowe introduces himself properly for the first time as a fellow Crusher. "We're partners now. I'm not going to treat you like a little kid, Watta. I'm sure you'll pull your weight. You see what I'm saying, Mr. Director? Yeah, it's going to be dangerous, but Watta's tough enough to handle it. I think he'll be a good teammate."
Crowe is pretty goddamn cool sometimes. Kakekouji is convinced, but he wants to join up too to help protect the young CEO. Watta's attention to the bottom line only makes Crowe like him more.
Kouji's made up his mind, too. He'll join the Crushers and fight with all he's got. But he has one condition...
He wants to stay at the Kurogane bathhouse with Shiro. There, he'll find out all Tsubasa knows about Mazinger, Juuzou, Ashura, and the rest. Crowe came along to keep an eye on them, but of course, it's an excuse to take a hot soak.
Look at that, it's old Cross!
The rest of the gang is here too - Yasu, Django, Master, and even Okiku.
And finally, Tsubasa Nishikiori, the bathhouse's landlady, herself.
I'll get stronger here, right?
That's up to you. But I have high hopes for you.
The mission completion gives me a free Ikue's Snack. This is a regular thing, apart from the Ace Bonus stuff.
Our team has gained Trider and the Shuttle. See you next chapter.