One Piece meets Teen Titans
Behind the Scenes
Hi, readers! Now that The Ultimate Cruise is over, I thought this would be the time to give you a behind the scenes look into how this story was written and how I got my ideas, with some interesting tidbits and answers to your questions as well! If you scroll down to the end of that, I've even made character biographies and an attack list!
So, without further adieu:
I had just finished writing a story that was a rewrite of the series Dragonball GT (which, come on, seriously needed it. Dreadful show, disgrace to the Dragonball name—and don't ask to see it, I love the story but it needs mad revision before it sees anymore internet time), and knew I wanted to write another story. I had rewritten GT because it needed it, but this time I was just looking for an excuse to write anything.
One Piece was my obsession at the time—as if it still isn't?—so I decided I wanted to write an OP story. Maybe a mini-arc, like what a filler would be (only good) or something. As I was searching for a story idea, somewhere along the line an idea of a crossover meandered into my head, so I began thinking of series that would cross over well with OP (DB and OP crossover? Eh, it's been done.) Then my eyes drifted to a Beast Boy figurine on my computer desk…and magic was made.
'Heh, Beast Boy and Chopper would get along pretty well, wouldn't they?' I thought to myself—'wait a second!'
And thus, the idea of crossing over One Piece and Teen Titans was born. Ideas on a plot were still sketchy far after the actual writing began, and I hastily made up the Stone of Iso Toa as a plot device to get the two teams together…and had to make up for my lack of forethought as I went along. I think I compensated well.
Meanwhile, the name "The Ultimate Cruise" comes from a line in the first Japanese One Piece theme song (not the horrible dub rap) that goes "We are, we are on the cruise—We Are!" I believe it's the only English lines in the song, and I was just thinking, what a "cruise" it would be for the two teams. I wish I could have come up with something better though, it sounds kinda generic. I'm not good with titles.
The chapter titles are done in the same titles as the original One Piece anime (though the manga instead follows rather conventional titling systems, sample titles being "Zoro vs. Mr. 1" or "A Ship Waiting for Wind.") Like many animes, OP has long titles usually separated into two different parts, which seems to be because most anime episodes contain two manga chapters' worth of content. Once our protagonists traveled to the Titans world I considered changing the titling to the system used in the Teen Titans series, but since they had no special system, I decided against it, keeping my uniqueness.
The time setting of the story in relation to the series is a bit ambiguous, and it changed as the story progressed: so let's clear it up. In the One Piece world, the story took place after the Straw Hat Pirates left Drum Island but before they made it to Alabasta. Princess Vivi was supposed to be traveling with them at this time, but I ignored that 'cause I couldn't really use her in the story. In the Teen Titans world, this story took place after Terra joined the team but before she betrayed them, in the middle of Season Two. However, I ignored some continuity and mentioned events that happened after this point (such as Beast Boy fighting Adonis, the adventures with Larry, and the arrival of Silkie) as if they had already happened anyway, again, just because I can and they fit into the story.
More will be revealed as we go! Let's move forward!
Chapter One: The Stowaways—Slade Meets the Rubberman
▪ I called the Straw Hat's boat the "Merry Go". This is the name the English VIZ manga gave it, but following the Japanese it should have been called the "Going Merry", which incorporates a pun, like most of OP author Eiichiro Oda's names and attacks do. This isn't technically a mistake, but I prefer Going Merry now, so I'm sad I did it this way, but like all my mistakes in this story, I left it this way for continuity's sake.
▪ This first chapter is filled with naming errors, mostly because at the time I'd only seen One Piece through Korean fan-subs, which got nothing right (they called Luffy "Roof" and Zoro "Suron.") The "indicator" Nami uses to navigate the Grand Line should be called a "Log Pose", and I compensated for this later by calling it the Log Pose Indicator, which technically isn't wrong.
▪ Nami sarcastically calls Sanji "Don Juan". If you don't know who that is, go Wiki it. Wikipedia is your friend.
▪ For about the first half of this story I horribly overused semicolons—now I do it with dashes instead :P
▪ Luffy yells out to Sanji, "Aye Sanji!" The word I was looking for here was "Oi", which is a Japanese word used a lot in the anime. I thought it was some point of Pirate expression and continued to use it for a while, but eventually found out it just meant "hey" in Japanese and stopped using it in dialogue.
▪ I wish I didn't flat out say that Robin was Batman's sidekick in the first paragraph of the Titan's section. The Teen Titans TV show made great effort to avoid appearances or direct use of the Batman's name, though it did reference him several times (such as in "Apprentice Part II" and "Haunted".) The show's writers felt that the use of Batman instantly turned Robin into a kid instead of a leader. I wish I would have danced around it more, as I did in Chapter 28.
▪ Ah, not even done the first fight scene of the series and Slade's using an explosive disk—something he never did in the series, though he used explosives extensively. Since he's supposed to be a parallel to Robin, I kept the mistake anyway. Fun fact: Slade Wilson—AKA Deathstroke the Terminator, the comic book inspiration for the TV series' Slade—at least on one occasion used explosive disks, against Tara in the classic "Judas Contract."
▪ I said in Beast Boy's description that he has green fur, and again mentioned it in Chapter 14. Wrong—at least in the comics, where he just has green skin. Of course, the TV episode "Forces of Nature" he's insinuated to have fur, so I don't really know.
▪ And right after that Raven uses her powers to take a bomb from Slade's hand. I often found myself wishing she'd take weapons from their users in the show (IE Killer Moth's Whip in "Can I Keep Him?"), and took the first chance I could for her to do so.
▪ "I wasn't expecting it to be so—red." Cyborg said. One of my favorite lines. Don't ask me why.
▪ Again, because of the crappy fan-subs, I got the attack names mostly wrong for the first five chapters, especially Luffy's here. Starting in Chapter Six I found an official attack list and got my names from there. The wrongly named attacks will also be listed in the attack list anyway.
▪ I love that Beast Boy wants his boat to be named the 'Moped.' What I find funny is that somebody unfamiliar with the character might think he meant moped (as in moping, but past tense). Why would he want a mopey boat?!
Chapter Two: Allies from Opposite Sides—Destination Set
▪ Ah, in the first three paragraphs Nami topples the two most powerful Straw Hats. Like many anime females, she suffers from a disease that makes her helpless in fights but almost omnipotent against her friends. Must be in the water.
▪ I said Nami stored her staff in her cleavage. I swear I saw her do that once, but apparently I was wrong and she stores it on her belt beneath her shirt. She should store it in her cleavage though.
▪ I've been confused about Japanese suffixes for a long time, and it's possible that –kun is only used for boys, making Sanji using it for Starfire very…wrong. However, Sanji doesn't use proper suffixes anyway (After Nico Robin joins the crew he calls her Robin-chan, which is incorrect because she's older than him), so I'm not too concerned with it. His lovey-dovey stuff is nonsense anyway.
▪ Okay, big mistake here—I goofed. Chopper is not a vegetarian. As disturbing as it is, he eats meat (though I'm assuming not reindeer, but assuming made me goof in the first place). I will add in my defense that at the time, I'd just barely seen past when Chopper first joined, and knew very little about him.
▪ "Perhaps he has a food processor in him somewhere." Usopp laughed at his own joke. How does Usopp know what a food processor is? Don't ask me
▪ Yes, Terra does look just like Kaya. It was a random thought that just flashed into my head, and I wrote the entire TerraXUsopp scene on the spot, though I wasn't planning on it—originally the Slade vs. Smoker fight was supposed to be part of Chapter 2. This scene made the giant bird filler necessary, but I don't care, it was one of the stories biggest subplots and I'm immensely proud of their first bonding scene.
▪ Terra losing her power at sea was never mentioned in the show or in the comics. I stole the idea from an episode of 'X-Men Evolution' where a similarly powered mutant Magma (her powers are closer to the comic Terra's brother Geo Force's powers) lost her strength at the sea. It makes a ton of sense and just seemed the right direction to go.
▪ I mention Vivi here as if she's gone already, but technically, she should be traveling with the Straw Hats right now, as they are en route to her kingdom of Alabasta from Chopper's home in Drum. This is the one hole where I never bothered to think of an in-story explanation—she just wasn't needed in the story.
▪ Sanji's style is never explicitly named "Red Foot" in the manga; instead, it is the nickname given to Sanji's mentor Zeff, the originator of the fighting style. In real life, Sanji's style most resembles the martial art Capoeira.
▪ Robin and Sanji's fight was originally just to give me an excuse to show off Sanji's style—unlike the other Straw Hats, his abilities weren't obvious from the beginning. As the Titan with the closest style, Robin was chosen as his opponent. Much later, a reader referred to this as a SanjiXRobinXStarfire love triangle and, darn it, it is. That triangle did indeed exist in the story and this was indeed the start of it—I just didn't know it at the time. The fight wasn't intended to be that, yet the storyline evolved naturally from it and made me look like I planned a lot more than I did. I love writing.
▪ Usually Sanji calls out an attack name every time he kicks—usually the food term for whatever body part he's aiming for, only in French. When I wrote this fight scene I was without an attack list, and desperately wanted to avoid that, so I only named his major attacks (Mouton Shuuto, Concasse, etc.), and even after finding an attack list kept only naming his major kicks for continuity's sake.
Chapter Three: Slade the Marine?—The Enemy of my Enemy's Friends is my Friend
▪ I love the chapter title, simply because it makes you think. And totally confuses you. I'm cruel like that.
▪ This marks the first of many times I say "eyes" in the plural referring to Slade, despite the fact that he only has one eye (and Sanji too for that matter, whose second eye—if it exists—is perpetually hidden under his hair)
▪ Slade being able to connect with a hit is believable. Logia users like Smoker don't naturally turn into their element to defend themselves—they have to be ready for the attack and will the action. This is also why Ace is able to knock Smoker through a bar later in the series. The same holds true for Iso later in the story, meaning it could be possible for an extremely fast and strong fighter to defeat Iso without "cheating". Luffy in his newly acquired (as of the current manga arc, at least) "Gear Second", perhaps?
▪ I'm sorry for my dialogue in the early chapters. Slade doesn't seem like Slade here at all upon rereading it.
▪ I got Tashigi's outfit a little wrong. Her shirt has a floral pattern instead of Japanese lettering (kanji), and she wears a blue jacket over it.
▪ In her line about feeding Silkie, Starfire says "can't" instead of "cannot." Starfire doesn't use any contractions in her speech. It seems minor but it really bugs me. I'm going back and fixing these.
▪ I got the names of Chopper's transformations wrong here too (speed and strength mode instead of Reindeer and Human Point, though the actual names seem to be in dispute depending on the translator.) These are mistakes I did change later on.
▪ Ah, attack of the giant bird filler. While I'm annoyed at various mistakes I made, this is the only part of the story I'm flat out disappointed with. It's obviously filler just to make the chapter long enough to actually qualify as a chapter. At least it's somewhat funny though (Zoro is hilarious, I think), but why I'm disappointed with it mainly lies in the fact that Luffy had an encounter with a similar bird earlier in the series, when he meets Buggy the first time. I'm disappointed that, if I really needed the filler, I couldn't come up with something more original. I wish I could go back and spend a little more time with this one.
Chapter Four: To Defend a Dream—The Boy Who Will Become Pirate King
▪ All the early scenes on Ianoa Island seem a little too robust for such a damned island. All I can say is I didn't have the entire story clearly in mind yet. If you want an in-story explanation, our heroes arrived in a port town, which fares somewhat better because of the tourists and pirates. However, it's still dangerous to live in, perhaps moreso because of the deals the gangs can make with the pirates.
▪ Sanji calls the chef a "crap-cooker." I took this line from the little of the English manga I'd read. Due again to the bad subs, I didn't realize Sanji was such a foulmouth. For the first two story arcs he was in, the word shit preceded half the words he said as a prefix. VIZ toned it down to crap, and I used it early on this once as just an insult—I kind of made Zoro the foulmouth instead (see chapter 5). Still, I tried to give Sanji back this trait a little more as time went on (see his fight against the rock man in Chapter 20.)
▪ "Sheesh, you'd think they were the starving children in India mom always used to talk about." Robin sighed. Yeah, that line should be Beast Boy. I'm sure Robin's mother said that to him before her untimely demise, but Robin isn't the type of guy to talk about his family…With Beast Boy and Elasti-Girl on the other hand…
▪ Thinking back on it, I'm angry I explained Luffy's origin in-story. It needed to be mentioned, but at the same time, none of the Straw Hat pirates know Luffy's origin. I thought Nami did when I wrote it, but she was only told that Luffy's hat was his treasure. Not bringing up Shanks at all would have worked better—that wasn't really the reason Buggy hated Luffy anyway. Same with Alvida really—nobody besides Luffy and the absent Coby knew how she met them. In all honesty, a lot of the OP characters are rather clueless.
▪ Notice I didn't name Alvida's fruit. I don't know its Japanese name, Buggy's neither. I knew Buggy's English one (Chop Chop), and now I've discovered Alvida's is Slip Slip, but I wish I had the thought to just to look the Japanese names on the internet.
▪ I actually got the right name for Alvida's one attack (not just in the story, it's her only named attack in the manga too), but all of Buggy's attack names are all wrong—or matched with the wrong attack.
▪ Regardless of what I said about the bird filler, this is my least favorite chapter in the story.
Chapter Five: The Foretold Arrival—Zoro vs. the Crystal Swordsman
▪ The big green thing Zoro wears around his waist to hold his swords is called a harimaki. I think I use it once in the story, but at this point I didn't know that and just called it a belt.
▪ Once again because of lack-of-research and bad subs, I didn't mention the names of Zoro's swords when I described them. The cursed sword is the Kitetsu III, the heirloom sword is the Yubashiri, and Kuina's white sword is the Wado Ichimonji.
▪ I described Ian here as having black hair—no, it's brown. Obviously, his appearance is modeled after Kratos in Tales of Symphonia. He has a purple uniform while all the other Iso-jin have red ones because I hadn't decided that Iso-jin had red outfits yet, and Kratos has a purple uniform. In-story explanation?: Ian doesn't totally trust Mother and refuses to dress like them.
▪ Yeah, a bit annoyed I had Ian state a prophecy out loud. It was more like Mother telling Ian what would happen and Ian latching onto it as hope, and we didn't need lines for him to recite for that. Meh.
▪ Funny story: Before I planned on introducing the Iso-jin at all, the character that became Ian was a shadowy figure with a mirror Devil's Fruit, allowing him to use santoryu as well. He was simply to be some sort of hunter after the Stone, only to give Zoro a chance to shine amongst the others. Then I thought of the Iso-jin and he evolved into the character Ian—his abilities, meanwhile, evolved because I couldn't figure out how Zoro would beat a mirroring enemy. I don't even know if that's possible—I don't buy the way Aoshi Shinamori defeated the enemy who mirrored him in Rurouni Kenshin even.
▪ At the time I thought the concept of the Eehuah's energy sword was fairly original—barring comparisons to a Green Lantern ring—but I hadn't read the Skypiea arc of One Piece yet. The priest Ohm—ironically another opponent of Zoro—has a very similar sword. Just wanted to let everybody know I wasn't copying Ohm—I honestly didn't know he existed. Anyway, Ohm was lame and relied too much upon Mantra—Ian uses the sword better.
Chapter Six: Legendary Rivalry—Marines and Pirates…fight!
▪ The scene between Chopper and Beast Boy was the first one I ever thought of in the entire story, and I love everything about it. It's also the scene that first foreshadowed their tag-team maneuver against Ivan and, yes, I did have that maneuver thought up already when I wrote this, even if I wasn't sure who they were going to fight with it yet.
▪ Beast Boy can transform into any animal he can picture, so it should be plausible for him to become Chopper—heck, at one point in the comics he became twisted mutant creatures of his own imagination after he was implanted with a Trigon seed. The biggest problem is that Chopper is half-human, something Beast Boy shouldn't be able to imitate, but even his Human Point is enough reindeer where I think there shouldn't be a problem with him being able to transform into Chopper's appearances.
▪ The hand in the water trick—for a cyborg? While I really didn't want to know if that part of Cyborg's humanity remained, apparently one of the old 'New Teen Titans' comics confirmed that, yes, Cyborg does have…that part (He was in deep pain when kneed there by another Titan as a joke, I believe—haven't read it, just read that it happened.) I guess it's hidden beneath metal plating?
▪ I absolutely love Usopp's "instantaneous running" in this chapter, and the fact that his Ketchup Stars probably took out as many soldiers at Sanji and Chopper. Just so Usopp. I was going to have him snipe a few marines too, but I either forgot or ran out of time, unfortunately.
▪ As the dazed and confused soldiers searched the sky, they never even got a chance to react as Chopper returned. No, this was not a reference to the movie "Dazed and Confused." In fact, I've never even seen it. Just a coincidence.
▪ "Besides, it'll be kind of fun to be the bad guys for once." Terra smiled as she hopped off the railing, a yellow hue coming to life around her hands. Nope, not a coincidence that Terra was the one saying that.
▪ Just as one of the Marines gave the order to fire he exploded, becoming nothing but a smoldering pile of green ashes. No no no, ugh. Another example of me just not thinking as I wrote and throwing something in because it sounded cool. It never even dawned on me that Starfire just killed a soldier. And as far as I'm concerned, consider that line retconned—she just knocked the guy out, as did the other Titans in that assault.
Chapter 7: The Masterminds—Rematch in the Smoke
▪ I love the Slade vs. Luffy fight. Brains vs. brawn is a classic, and Luffy's total lack of brains is just a bonus. Slade didn't get many fights like these in the series, ones where he was totally outmatched. Definitely a testament to his skill that he can do this well against an opponent immune to physical attacks.
▪ At first Luffy vs. Slade was just the obvious fight. The idea of why Slade hated Luffy so much appeared to me as I was writing the scene, and I just went right into it. I mean, having his plans foiled continually by somebody so stupid is just humiliating. I love how writing can be well-planned yet still so spontaneous.
▪ Does smoke actually freeze? I dunno—science was never my strong point and I dropped physics for a computer class where I surfed the internet all day. However, in the OP world I say it can!
▪ Hmm, not much to say about this chapter, as it's mostly fight scenes…um, that's my mama! (Please tell me you watch Family Guy!!)
Chapter 8: A False Ending—The Power of Friendship
▪ My first flashback…ah the memories. At first I thought I'd put this in Chapter 7, where it belongs chronologically, but I decided it was distracting and had more impact at this point in the story as a flashback. I've learned a lot from the use of flashbacks in One Piece, and I think when done right they can add a lot to a story.
▪ Although Nami only wore Luffy's hat once in the manga—during the battle at Arlong Park—I liked the idea and had Nami fulfill that role twice during this story. However, the main reason I had Nami bring Luffy his hat during this chapter was because I at first intended for our heroes to leave with the Iso-jin immediately. Seeing as I absent-mindedly changed it to leaving the next day instead, it seems kind of redundant.
▪ The speech between Robin and Slade about why Slade's a monster existed to give Slade motive. We're never told why Slade wanted an apprentice, or to take over the city, and though I didn't really have the time or need to figure that out, I wanted to at least discuss why he's doing what he's doing. A desire for power seems the natural reason for me.
▪ Luffy as Slade's apprentice did pass my mind for a moment, considering the previous chapter, but I couldn't think of a way for it to work in the story or for Slade to pull that kind of blackmailing off.
▪ Though the storylines with the Iso-jin throw around important themes involving making decisions and fate, this chapter best sums up the true theme running throughout the entire story—friendship is the strongest force in the world and can overcome anything. It also seems to be the theme running through both OP and TT.
▪ Even as I was writing this chapter I was debating whether to let Slade take the stone when he escaped or not. Finally I said "why not?" and let him go. Our heroes chasing after Slade because he had the stone, not just to bring him to justice, seemed to work better to me, and it let Slade move onto a new objective—getting Starfire. The fights with Tank and Swifty wouldn't have worked against Sanji and Starfire if Robin still had the stone!
▪ I described Ivan as in his mid-fifties, but for the timeline to coincide with Gold Roger I think he needs to be a bit younger: mid to late forties, perhaps? Regardless, the stress in his life makes him look old enough to warrant the old man moniker no matter what his chronological age.
▪ The end of this chapter also marks the end of the first story arc Chapters 1-8. The second story arc of 'The Ultimate Cruise' is covered in Chapters 9-15, and the final battles in Chapters 16-30 make up the final story arc—or at least this is how I would divide the story.
Chapter 9: Floating Stone—The Cult of the Iso Toa
▪ I'm surprised by the amount of foreshadowing in this chapter. I make references that are meant to foreshadow Raven's use of the Iso-jin magic as well as Mother's rejuvenation, and I'm surprised that I had it planned that early. The creative process is such a jumble sometimes because ideas flow so randomly.
▪ The term Iso-jin is pretty simple. Iso should be obvious, and –jin means people in Japanese (for example, Namek-jin is the Japanese term for the Namekians in DBZ.) Iso-jin simply means Iso's People, more or less.
▪ Ivan—appearance wise—is modeled after Miyata's father on the anime series Hajime no Ippo (Darn good, give it a look). I forget the character Mother's old self was originally modeled after, but if you look at Madam Foster from 'Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends' then you've seen old Mother. But that show wasn't around yet when I was writing this early in the story, so I'm sure I didn't get the mental image from her.
▪ Iso-jin magic was hard. I knew from the start it wasn't really magic, just a connection to Iso's power, but a ritual was still needed to access it so that Raven could accomplish it. However, when the time came chapters later to explain how that link was established in the first place, I blanked out. The answer I came up with in the final Chapter 26 flashback might just be simple and subtle enough to really work!
▪ One thing I particularly like about this chapter is that—with the exception of one line—Mother is telling our heroes the truth. However, the master manipulator she is, she's twisting the truth into lies and tricking our poor heroes. She truly is a dis-honorable character.
▪ The names of the Iso-jin artifacts—Eehuah, Ehever and Ehedren—as well as the name Iso Toa itself, are all gibberish. I pulled Iso Toa from my head, as well as the random E-words later on, and as far as I know none of them mean anything and are connected to nothing. Next time I write something, I want to do some research and make my names meaningful, even if only to me.
▪ Ian mentions that his Eehuah was the first artifact made and, darn it, I absent-mindedly contradict that later. Not that it really makes a difference—either Ian was confused or lied to in order to pump his confidence. Yeah, that's it!
Chapter 10: Departure—Fantastic Journey to Confrontation
▪ Talk about awkward—I wrote a near love scene with Ian and Chiyu. I'll be the first to admit I don't know much about romance or dating, so writing scenes like these are always awkward for me. I just feel uncomfortable. Fortunately, both these series—while having a lot of relationships—play their romances somewhat subtly, and I can handle that.
▪ Speaking of her, Chiyu is Japanese for healing, cure, or recovery.
▪ The great filler scene with Terra, Beast Boy and Usopp in the spa makes me wish I hadn't put Beast Boy and Usopp at odds. They'd both get along just as well as Beast Boy and Chopper did.
▪ In terms of visual appearance, Tank and Swifty resemble Thunder and Lightning from the Teen Titans TV series ("Forces of Nature"), only with different clothes, and obviously Tank isn't blue. Swifty isn't yellow either, but his uniform is. Their introduction in this chapter explains it better, but those two were the original models I drew from when I described them.
▪ "All my strength is in my legs." Sanji growled as he followed the others. "Much better for Star-kun in the long run." Just what, exactly, is Sanji implying? It's up to you to decide!
▪ Figuring out Cyborg and Nami's relationship was a bit odd. They were paired because they were the last of their respective series not to get paired with somebody, but they seemed like they would be friends anyway. Nami's a bit flirtatious, Cyborg's always the ladies man (Jinx likes him, Sarasim from the past, etc.), but I think this relationship worked because I decided just to leave it at that instead of trying to create deeper bonds like the others. Don't strain something that wasn't that deep to begin with. They like each other and they're both very competitive, and I like the way it worked out.
▪ "Enough that even people from alternate dimensions have heard of you? You bet." I thought it would be obvious, but someone asked me about it, so I'll explain. No, Cyborg didn't actually hear of Nami's thieving reputation all the way in his world. He's joking. One of the other Straw Hats probably told him.
Chapter 11: Unwilling Puppets—The X-Factor
▪ I think I mentioned this in the actual chapters, but no point in not reiterating it. As named in the Family Guy episode "The Thin White Line" (real trustworthy source, right?), an X-Factor is the thing leading somebody into bad habits or madness. In this chapter, it signifies Slade's X-Factor changing from Luffy to the Iso-jin.
▪ The entire massive ménage of soldiers, pirates, and heroes entered the cave. Throughout the series I had a hard time figuring out what to call our twelve heroes when together. I'd been advised long ago to refrain from the phrase "our heroes" within the story, as it reminds the reader that they're reading a story. They weren't all Titans, they weren't all Straw Hats, and it was always awkward trying to find a word for it. I used ménage this time, I know I varied it a lot but it was always a challenge.
▪ Beast Boy: "But if we try to go along with it, they go all Benedict Arnold on us! Either way we're screwed!" Since it's a common expression, I know Beast Boy knows it means traitor, but I'd love to see him actually explain who Benedict Arnold was. Remember his explanation of the Boston Tea Party? I loved that.
▪ Rocks barraged the Boy Wonder from all directions, knocking him backwards as he was still in mid-jump. My proofreader misunderstood this, and it's my fault. He thought Robin got knocked somewhere else, but he just got knocked back with the other heroes. This is made clear in the next chapter, but as of this one, it isn't that clear. So now it is winks
▪ When I planned Tashigi's involvement in the story, I hadn't thought about the fact that she'd have to be dragged across parallel universes. I don't like how much effort they had to go through just to get her to the final confrontation, then back. It should seem more natural.
▪ "I had to dig up some roots and start a fire with my cigarette lighter." I thought this was rather clever from Sanji, but one mistake is that he doesn't have a cigarette lighter, he has matches. Not a problem, he still cleverly started a fire to keep his Star-kun warm.
Chapter 12: Half-Hearted Betrayal—An Unholy Alliance is Born
▪ I wish I could be as concise as I was on this flashback. Then again, Tank and Swifty needed a lot less explaining to convey their pasts. Sometimes I worry their back-story is too similar to Ivan's, but I think it works very well so it doesn't matter. Mother manipulated a lot of people like that.
▪ Obviously, Sai means rhinoceros in Japanese and Neko means cat in Japanese.
▪ My proofreader argued that a cheetah shouldn't have the power in its tail to strangle somebody as strong as Starfire. This is true, in reality, but this isn't reality—it's fantasy. If The Cheetah in the Wonder Woman comics can effectively use her tail as a third arm and strangle Wonder Woman—who is at the very least equal to Starfire in strength, check out their fight in the Teen Titans trade 'A Kid's Game', my favorite trade of the current comic run—Swifty can do the same. Though this isn't where I got the idea for the attack or Swifty's powers at all.
▪ The final attack—Flaming Mouton Shoot—was inspired by Kuwabara's suicide charge against the Toguro brothers in Yuyu Hakusho, when Yusuke shot him in the back with a Reigun/Spirit Gun, effectively allowing Kuwabara to impale Toguro. Only my attack actually downed the enemy—and actually did the damage to the heroes it should have too!
▪ Raven: "and since Star broke her communicator, we can't locate her." Yeah, check the beginning of Chapter 8. I don't think I was thinking this far ahead when she crushed it, but you never know, I've been wrong before.
Chapter 13: Anger Unleashed—A Need Only She Can Fulfill
▪ Robin clenched his fists tight, the anger within him finally boiling over. "You….BASTARD!" I tried not to have the Titans curse, as they don't in the show, even if it's only because of the Y-7 rating. Still, you know this was boiling up in Robin for a while now.
▪ You have no idea how difficult the fight between our heroes and the Iso-jin armada was—not to write essentially, but just to get organized. I couldn't keep track of which heroes had already fought and which hadn't yet! I eventually had to write them all down on paper and cross them off as I wrote their paragraph. And it all seemed so simple…
▪ However Ivan—like Mother—was not a man to cross. Ahaha, this unintentionally calls Mother a man!
▪ Cyborg's one-sided fight with Swifty was inspired by the Teen Titans episode "The End—Part 3", where the teeth of Evil Beast Boy's raptor form couldn't penetrate Cyborg's armor. I decided to give Cyborg the extra time in the fight because he hadn't gotten to fight Chiyu as originally planned—I discuss this more in Chiyu's character profile.
▪ Raven driving the soldier's own sword through his chest started as another accidental Titan death—as in, I forgot they couldn't kill, even nameless minions. However, when I realized this anyway, I left it. Raven was under the influence of her father Trigon at the time, and this shows how dangerous she becomes when he influences her through her anger.
▪ I made a mistake by having Raven chant her mantra while angry. When she loses control, she doesn't use it—this is because her mantra is used to remain calm and control her abilities, while her angry form is the exact opposite of this, raging emotions and unfettered power.
▪ Yes, the Iso Toa's energy dispels Raven's power. This served a lot of narrative purposes, but if you want an in-story explanation of why this happens, I decided to think one up just for you! As mentioned in "The End—Part 2", the Cult of Azar imprisoned Trigon. Their power could nullify his, and they focused their powers into the rings that saved the lives of Slade and the Titans in the episode. Iso's unique energy is his dimension's version of the power of Azar, thus, it dispels Raven's energy, as she gets her power from Trigon.
▪ I love the ending of this chapter, just because it's unusual. It still gives a resolution to the chapter's story, but I like that it shows it from the unique standpoint of supporting characters, letting them find out as you do. Maybe nothing too special, but I'm fond of it at least.
Chapter 14: Luffy's Day Out—A Pirate Crew In Titan's Tower
▪ The title of this chapter is a play on two movies—'Baby's Day Out' and 'A Kid in King Arthur's Court.' Man, I haven't seen either of those since I was in elementary school probably!
▪ "Calm down Raven." Terra said. She seemed to swallow a lump in her throat as she continued. "Anybody would get that mad over being betrayed." Dun dun dun!
▪ Eh, another mistake. Nami acts like she doesn't know what a continent is when Cyborg mentions they're not on an island, but I was mistaken because there are continents in the One Piece world—or at least one, the massive Red Line. In my own defense, it's an easy fact to miss.
▪ Ah yes, Aqualad. The early chapters in both dimensions have a few essentials of both worlds—in the Teen Titans' world, I deemed a visit from an Honorary Titan, a fight with one of the random monsters either Cinderblock, Plasmus or Overload, and a trip to the pizza shop essential.
▪ I seriously wish I could draw. The world needs a picture of the T-Sub with seven new compartments on it.
▪ I just love the entire idea of Luffy loosed upon Jump City. This was one part of the story where I had so many ideas that a ton got cut out for space reasons—such as him Rubber Rocketing through a clothesline and landing in women's clothing that were hanging on the line.
Chapter 15: The Invitation—Pirates Assist the Law…Just This Once
▪ My proofreader wasted no time in telling me the absurdity of my entire rocket launcher scenario. Knowing nothing of weapons, he may be right. But let me say that I've never seen anybody in that city ever care about collateral damage before anyway!
▪ Mother mentions that the stone's power is "animating" Tashigi at this point. I insinuated both here and in chapter 21 where she fights Raven that Iso was the one controlling Tashigi's actions through the connector—just thought I'd make it even clearer.
▪ I had just recently begun working at a pizza shop when I wrote this chapter, thus the emphasis on pizzas (though as I mentioned last chapter they had to go to the pizza shop anyway.) However, there are no pizzas with lettuce on them at our store…though if somebody really demanded it I'm sure we could do it!
▪ You know what I never got? In the Titans' show they always got just one pizza then fought over the pieces. With five people, you'd think they'd get at least two or three pizzas—heck, Cyborg can eat that much alone. I decided to be more realistic here.
▪ Why did Plasmus deliver the invitation? Well, Cinderblock would have been too easy for a group of that size to defeat, while Overload only needs to be hit by water—too Dues Ex Machina. At least with Plasmus and Slade's amplification there's a good reason for him being as strong as he is.
▪ and another swipe-of-hand covered a nearby car with a field of black, hurling it towards the giant pink monster. And I repeat, nobody notices collateral damage in this city. Does anybody care that Raven has destroyed half the cars in the city? How does she always manage to find abandoned buses (I mention them later in the chapter too)? Eh, I don't care, I find it funny but its food for thought regardless.
Chapter 16: Slade's Apprentice—Begin the Final Confrontation!
▪ The first page and a half of this chapter—a dialogue free section that mentions none of the characters by name—is my favorite portion of the story, at least prose-wise. I think it's beautiful and would like to challenge my skills like this more in the future.
▪ Sanji mentions mermen guards, and several other times Usopp mentions how he defeated a merman. While there are mermen and mermaids in the OP world, they should be referring to fishmen, the half man half fish powerhouses that are closer to fishes in appearance. The difference is subtle, and most translators miss it or translate it wrong—I only found out the difference very recently.
▪ A sudden change in the water's current sent the missiles spiraling out of control. It's implied in the next paragraph that Aqualad was the one who changed the current, but my proofreader later pointed out to me that this sounded misleading—it took him a bit to realize it was Aqualad stopping the missiles, not a natural current. So—now you know. In case you didn't. Knowledge is power.
▪ The flashbacks to Terra's first appearances and her joining the team are taken from the top of my head—at the time I didn't have the episodes at my disposal to translate the flashbacks verbatim. I could now, but the Season 2 DVD was a few months too late.
▪ The end of this chapter was difficult, because I knew exactly what was going on in Terra's mind—but getting it on paper was another thing entirely. I knew this looked rushed and not well-planned at first, and I wanted to at least hint that there would be far more to Terra's betrayal then her just simply changing sides instantly once again. Hopefully I was able to convey both points.
Chapter 17: Terra vs. Slade—Fallout of a Betrayal
▪ I think the opening segment shows how lost Terra is—she was planning on killing Slade to prove herself to her friends. Fortunately, she's with the Titans for good and finally has the proper guidance.
▪ The rock Terra had elevated herself upon lurched backwards, affected by the sudden surge of fear coursing through her veins. Before proofreading I had accidentally used the word carousing instead of coursing, and I thought it was funny when my proofreader asked me why the fear was having a party in her veins.
▪ You could hear the maniacal genius's muscles stretching as he pulled himself completely upright, his arms hanging limply but his legs tensing. Then—literally out of nowhere—Slade exploded forward into an Olympic level dash. Anybody remember the short in the Animatrix with the running guy? That's what I picture in this scene. I also wanted to mention that using you referring to the reader in prose is a no-no…not sure why I did it this time.
▪ Notice I show the fates of our heroes in reverse order of how they fight. This was for two reasons: One, so that the chapter ended with the combatants of the next chapter (Beast Boy and Chopper) in focus, and two, to give you readers a hint of the fights to come.
▪ It seems that Nami has a lot more information about Terra than she should, but it's just because—as I hinted and anybody who has read the Arlong Arc of OP knows—Nami was in a very similar situation. She cried as she betrayed the Straw Hats. She knows just what Terra's going through.
▪ Ah yes—the main reason that I decided that Iso's power could nullify Raven's: so that she couldn't just phase right up to Slade and Mother. Sometimes Raven can be a bit overpowered, and while the show just ignores some of her abilities in the situations if they don't want to use them, I wanted a valid reason.
▪ Usopp: "Bury me here Sanji! Let me have a noble death!" It was pointed out to me how morbid this sounds, and I guess it is—if one didn't realize that Usopp is constantly saying stuff like this whenever he gets hurt. I guess seeing the expression on his face usually takes away from the morbidness in the manga.
▪ "You're just an old man!" Beast Boy smiled, a bit of the Titan's true nature returning to him. "What are you going to do, bore us to death with long stories? Blind us with liver spots?" I laughed out loud when I wrote this. Another one of my favorite lines.
Chapter 18: Ehedren—The Lean, Mean, Shapeshifting Double Team!
▪ I already know there isn't going to be much to say for this chapter, so I'll just start out by mentioning that this is my favorite fight chapter, hands down. Despite being the least important of the fights I simply loved writing for these characters, and their abilities. Chopper and Beast Boy are truly the power pair of this story.
▪ This chapter actually contains a rather large error—but it wasn't yet known as an error at the time I wrote it! As his recent fight against the CP9 assassin Kumadori showed, Chopper cannot consume more than one Rumble Ball in a row without losing control of his transformations. Yet, in this fight he uses two in a row without any ill effects—as I said, this is because at the time I wrote this chapter this fact had not yet been revealed in the manga. Though it stretches suspension of disbelief, if I had known I would have had the entire battle done within three minutes—one Rumble—so it isn't too hard of a mistake to fix.
▪ I was planning on the second cavern that the Choppers knocked Ivan into to have some signifance in the story, but now I forget what I had planned, and apparently I did in the first place if I did nothing with it. Oh well.
▪ Though this chapter is Chopper's spotlight (and the next chapter Beast Boy's), I tried to make sure it was truly a team battle. Chopper could never hate detected the Ehedren's weakness and destroyed it without Beast Boy's plan and distraction, while Beast Boy could never have flat-out defeated Ivan without Tony's Rumble Ball and the motivation he provided. As I've said repeatedly, they're a good team.
Chapter 19: Rumble!—The Perfect Union?
▪ Suji (as in Ivan's Suji Suji fruit) means muscle, string, line, stripe, plot, plan, or sinew in Japanese.
▪ I almost included a two or three paragraph flashback to chapter 17, where Chopper launched the first attack against Ivan—so that Beast Boy could get to Terra faster—and was fried for it, when Beast Boy is seething over Tony getting knocked out. I thought it was a powerful scene—but this is also a long enough chapter as it is. The scene was only two chapters ago, so just a reference was more than enough.
▪ Ivan only takes one bite of the Devil's Fruit—and that's all it takes to gain an ability. After the first bite is taken the rest of the fruit becomes just a normal fruit—albeit a nasty one.
▪ I think Ivan's father Ike is an interesting character. Like most of the Iso-jin, he has noble intentions: to get his family away from the horrible island that took his wife from him. But I don't personally think the motive justifies the method he used—not only thievery but much more his treatment and use of his own son—even if it was all for him.
▪ Gangs designated by colors? I'm so unoriginal Though I will say that at the time I used "Gang Green" I wasn't thinking of the Powerpuff Girls reference at all.
▪ I believe I got the name of Rodell—the leader of Ivan's gang—by making a play off of the sporting goods store Modells.
▪ It's implied that Ivan never again removes the Ehedren armor until Chopper destroys it, as it contains his "cursed" power…this leaves an interesting scenario as to Ian's conception, and I'm not totally sure how that could be comfortable myself.
▪ Beast Boy using a Rumble Ball was another one of my early plans, but originally I had intended for the Rumble to unlock the "beast within", AKA Beast Boy's werewolf form that was previously unleashed when he fought Adonis. However, only a short while later it was revealed—in the episode "The End Part 1"—that Beast Boy had learned to access this form at will, so I created another—and in my opinion better—consequence of the Rumble.
▪ The second idea for Beast Boy's Rumble—the mix and match animal parts—was inspired by the TT episode "Winner Take All", where the Master of Games—having absorbed the powers of BB and several other heroes—turned his arm into a snake. I greatly expanded on the simple concept that I liked.
▪ Beast Boy began naming his forms just because I felt like it, mostly. I also decided that since he used Chopper's Rumble Ball—a device from the Shonen Manga—he'd start naming his forms in typical Shonen style. However, I'm not including these "attacks" separately in the Attack List.
▪ "Density of a blue whale!" the changeling cried. This maneuver was mostly included as a joke to my proofreader, who had been teasing me a day or two before when I had made some sort of joke about changing something's density.
▪ "Marvel better not expect any money from that either." The Titan laughed. Okay…if anybody didn't get that I'm turning my ring around and slapping you.
▪ I killed Ivan for several reasons. First, he was a character I believe was beyond redemption. He had no more reason to live. Second, I think that the way Beast Boy killed him is just plain cool. I never intended for it to be major, but I did want to deal with the aftermath of Beast Boy killing somebody—little did I know there was a similar story in the eighties comics when Beast Boy killed Madam Rogue. I think this dynamic works because Beast Boy is a character who would be truly pained by killing something, whereas you could perhaps see some of the other Titans justifying it (for example, Starfire in the original comics has killed several times and thought nothing of it.)
Chapter 20: Control—You Can Only Save Yourself
▪ Sanji sure doesn't seem smart as he tries to defeat Terra by kicking dirt at her, eh? Eh, even the infatuated cook isn't that dense. He was determined to remain true to his chivalry and try to talk her out of it. Of course, with Slade at the wheels that's quite impossible.
▪ The stone beasts that Terra creates to fight Sanji were obviously based upon the almost identical creatures she created in the episode "Aftershocks Part 1", which this chapter is somewhat rewriting. However, these creatures lack their TV counterparts' regenerative abilities (as Terra is focused on Usopp and not on controlling them) and are much larger instead. I put them in this chapter to give Sanji a chance to shine too (considering his "decisive/pair battle" was against Tank and Swifty). This is mostly Usopp and Terra's battle.
▪ I wanted Usopp to get some fancy new equipment from the Titans' world—hence the Shooting Stars—but at the same time I didn't want to make him seem stupid or backwards. That's why I had him learn to make Ice Stars from his own equipment, with just a little push from Robin. He had the potential, just needed a nudge in the right direction. Usopp really is a genius with weapons.
▪ Promethium—the metal Usopp's Shooting Stars are made of—is DC Comic's version of Admantanium, the metal that lines Wolverine's bones and many other weapons over in the Marvel universe.
Chapter 21: Magic vs. Magic—The Mysterious Bond
▪ Slade actually chuckled. "You misunderstand. I was going to say apprentice, not lover." This exchange between Slade and Mother was comparing this version of Slade to his comic-book counterpart and inspiration, Slade Wilson/Deathstroke the Terminator, who was lovers with a sixteen year old Terra and suggested to several others, including Starfire, that they'd make great lovers. Lovers were comic Slade's fetish, while apprentices became the television versions.
▪ Tashigi is being controlled by Iso, of course, but with her having a body of flesh he can only focus so much power through her without destroying her body as he did later to Slade and Toa. This is why power can only be focused through different parts for so long—or at least this is the excuse I've created. The narrative reason is that Raven had to be able to actually fight her haha.
▪ Originally I wasn't planning on having "Angry Raven" appear again. The main crux of this chapter was to be Raven's dilemma on how to defeat Tashigi without killing her—or if she even could. However, as I was writing it I found myself frustrated at how none of Raven's effort was doing any good—and realized Raven would be just as aggravated, if not worse because of the stuff with the Iso-jin and Terra. I believe angry Raven adds a more powerful effect to the battle while staying with the main point of the battle.
▪ In the comics, when Raven was called a witch it was an insult. In the show they seem to have incorporated magic into her powers—which I latched onto for this chapter. However, her latent abilities come from Trigon, so she probably learned magic from the Monks of Azarath, with her extreme skill coming from her unique powers.
Chapter 22: Driven—Zoro vs. Ian, Round Two
▪ The title of this one reminds me of a VH1 Celebrity show, or something similar to one of those behind the scenes one. It made me laugh.
▪ Ian's "Crimson Blade Strangle" was based off of a Rurouni Kenshin technique, Kenshin's "Ryusosen Garami" (or "Dragon's Nest Strike Strangle")—which is essentially the same technique but without the projectile portion.
▪ Though the blood loss for this battle for Zoro is about average, this is the first battle where Zoro's opponent has taken more than one or two attacks and not passed out. Ian took as much damage throughout this battle to show that they're both equally driven. However, I did think I took it a bit overboard, to the point of being distracting.
▪ "I should have known you'd hide." However, his green eyebrows then arched. "But I'm not some mouse!" I love this line because it's just so Zoro. I…can't explain it any better than that, you just have to know the character.
▪ While Raven's astral projection ability has been used very rarely in the show, it was her main form of attack in the comics, though it operated somewhat differently and had a name—her "Soul Self."
▪ The dialogue of Zoro's flashback came directly from VIZ's translation of the original chapter. I wrote the prose myself but obviously based off the pictures around it. It seems kind of redundant, but Zoro's past needed to be stated in this story, really. It has everything to do with is subplot.
▪ A lot had to be cut from this chapter for simple space reasons. I wish I had made the actual fight longer, so it could be a stand-alone chapter and the flashback could be as well, cause I would have liked to have shown Zoro's encounter with Hawkeye as well as Ian avenging his mother by killing Rodell—which was the original ending of his flashback and got cut back to a simple mention. Then again, to keep it at an even thirty chapters something else would have to have been cut, and I like the slow ending the story had, so my regrets aren't too large.
▪ It's interesting that Ian's flashback is the only one that any of the protagonists actually see. Tank and Swifty, Ivan, and Toa's flashback all only existed in their heads, for the reader to be able to piece together the true story of the Iso-jin as well as why the characters were they way they were.
Chapter 23: The Survivors—Seeing Through Changed Eyes
▪ The ground around them shattered as their attacks hit home; the two swordsmen didn't even notice as they sank into a crater formed by their own destructive force. As I was stating their final attacks my proofreader said that either they'd soar past each other and one would win or they'd sink into a crater—then laughed out loud as both happened.
▪ The second sequence of this chapter—the meeting of the survivors—is one of my favorite scenes. First, because of some of the great lines (at least in my opinion), such as Beast Boy's breach of the fourth wall. Secondly, I like the advancement in the Terra sub-plot and just the general interaction between the heroes—it's one of the scenes where I was completely satisfied with the dialogue, and it worked to advance plot and character. I'm proud of myself
▪ Unfortunately, it was far too high for even him to scale. This line is making fun of the fact that, in the TV show, Robin seems to be able to scale any surface despite of height or anything else that would normally stop him.
▪ Jumping nimbly backwards, she then ran back to the opening Cyborg had created, bouncing all the way. This is anime here, there will be bouncing haha. Hey, at least I'm not DOA Volleyball, where the breasts seem to forge their own physics.
▪ In her young body, Mother's appearance is somewhat modeled after One Piece's own Miss Doublefinger—at least the curly hair and curvy figure. Her features would be quite different so as to keep comparisons at a minimum, since they're from the same series.
Chapter 24: The Final Stage—One Step Ahead in Time
▪ Mother's parallel run technique is loosely based on the anime Escaflowne, where the protagonist could occasionally see a short amount of time into the future. Of course, that's all I know of the show because I've never watched it.
▪ I know very very little about the "real life" chi, and everything I said was based off what I learned of chi in Dragonball. Of course, I tried to avoid the absurd techniques and flying that the series had with chi, if for nothing else to bar comparisons of the two series.
▪ "Surprised? After all, you have the most strength of any Titan, yet here I am holding you back like you're a baby." I was surprised when I first learned it too, but Starfire is indeed "stronger" than Cyborg. In "Betrothed" all the Tamaranians use glasses Cyborg can't even lift, and in "Overdrive" she easily lifts weights four times as heavy as his—right next to him. The difference seems to be that he's a much more physically oriented fighter, so his strength is used for combat while Star's is often used to lift or stop heavy objects.
▪ Yoken (as in Mother's Yoken Yoken Fruit) means foresight, foreknowledge, or divination in Japanese.
▪ Seeing as this takes place before Nami has a useful weapon, I was adamant about her doing something useful. If she had actually managed to capture the stone it certainly would have been interesting, though I'm not sure where it would have lead the story at the moment—but I think her pick pocketing Slade of all people and giving Robin the key to victory was useful enough.
▪ Notice Nami never recovers her staff after Slade sends the three portions flying. I was planning on having Nami mention it later and it being more motivation for Usopp building her the Clima Tact, but I forgot completely.
▪ Starfire and Cyborg both reference Star's trip to the future fighting Warp in the episode 'How Long is Forever?'—a truly moving episode. If not enough motivation for Star's beliefs, I also mention how Tamaranians follow their first instinct, knowing it is the best. This is based off the words of the comic version of Starfire (part of the fantastic issue 'Wednesday' from the current TT run), and I realized that the animated version was very similar—just a bit more subtle at it.
▪ My proofreader laughed at them having a philosophical discussion in the middle of battle and being so enraged over opinions, but as I see it, it's nothing to laugh about when those opinions are the very reason the fight was happening—the very reason for this entire story!
▪ She does not name her attacks like the other ones do, so we cannot tell what she will do, but she knows everything we plan! No, at the time I actually hadn't made up the reason for Mother's non-use of attack names—that was done on the spot. I didn't give Mother or Iso's attacks names because there would have been so many attacks that it would have been more trouble than it was worth in the end.
Chapter 25: The Great Power—Fruition of the Manipulation
▪ "Don't you know how to tie a knot?" Luffy pointed towards his sandals. I bet if I bothered to look through the manga somewhere I could find a scene of Luffy finding a knot, but no point in contradicting myself. As far as I know, this stands
▪ Ah yes, Slade finally makes his mad dash for the Great Power. Before I created the Iso-jin, I had intended for Slade to fuse with the Stone and become an amazingly powerful being—lame, I know. I created the Iso-jin story early on and dropped it; however, I decided to still act like that was the intention. I know it's what Slade wanted to do this entire story. I was hoping that if I lead towards that it'd be even more a surprise when Iso popped out—despite the fact that I'd been hinting at him for probably a dozen chapters. I know from comments that at least one reader expected it, so I'm happy. Trying not to make a story obvious is a good thing.
▪ However, Mother only laughed. "Are you going to object to my every opinion?" This was poking fun at my proofreader's comments I mentioned in the last chapter (no offense meant though bro of course, you were a lifesaver!)
▪ Visually, Iso is modeled after Magneto from the X-Men. I hesitated about giving him white hair—as it seems very cliché—but I couldn't picture Iso without it.
▪ Iso was very difficult to find "other names" for—while I can find many names to call Luffy (rubberman, pirate, etc.) or one of the others, I could only really think of one or two for Iso, and they got repeated a lot—and that's after I changed a ton of them! In my first draft, I used the word "powerhouse" to describe him so often that it's become an inside joke between my proofreader and I.
▪ "You all look as if you have been attacked by a pack of angry Flemshires!" The writers of the Teen Titans animated series named many of Starfire's Tamaranian names after members of the staff, as jokes or sometimes revenge even. Unfortunately, most of the time I pulled gibberish names because the names of my friends were too common to make good Tamaranian terms. However, Flemshires worked—it's a nickname we've given to a mixed family my group is friends with. Darn good people.
▪ Konki (as in Iso's Konki Konki Fruit) means patience, perseverance, or energy in Japanese. Not as perfect of a fit as the others, but it was the best energy word to work as a Devil Fruit name.
▪ This was the hardest chapter to write just because I needed a ton of exposition to string the entire story together and make sure people knew there was more to Iso then I was letting on as he first appeared. Then I threw in a great fight scene to even it out, and it ended up being huge—but I'm proud of it anyway.
▪ While the giant battle was—obviously—mainly to show Iso's prodigious strength, it also served an equally important task: to reunite the tattered heroes! I made sure that it wasn't just a battle, that it showed the interaction and bonds between our heroes. It's one of my favorite battles.
▪ It's hard to trap a shapeshifter. I shrank down to a gopher and dug under the wall. Okay, I took that from the comics—namely, where Beast Boy fought Terra in a training session gone horribly wrong in the classic "Judas Contract" storyline of the eighties' "New Teen Titans." (A classic, I must add. Go read it, it's like twenty bucks in trade paperback.)
▪ Of all the interaction in the final battle, my favorite has to be when Raven lights Sanji's cigarette after he breaks his own leg in order to destroy Iso's armor. As much as she's annoyed with him—and constantly snuffing out his smokes—I thought it was touching for her to show a little begrudging respect after his selfless actions.
Chapter 26: The Man Who Almost Had Everything—The Rise and Fall of Iso and Toa
▪ You all should go back and check out this chapter again—I re-uploaded it with a quote from the Pirate King himself before the chapter. I wanted this when I first wrote it—it shows exactly why Roger would have beef with Iso heehee—but couldn't find a decent translation of the quote (most fan translations of early chapters suck), until like a week after I wrote this when I bought Volume 12 in English. So yeah, it's like the chapter's director's cut, cause it's what I wanted from the start.
▪ I'm sure there are major faults in the timeline if I want them to coincide with Gold Roger, but considering how much future developments can change things, I'm not even going to try to attempt to sync at the moment.
▪ A smile of pure pleasure crossed her face. "I'm up to anything, as long as it is by your side." Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww
▪ Yes, Iso has a past and a back story—see his character profile for more on that. Knowing the details wasn't essential for the already crowded flashback at all—I think I suggested more than enough for you, the readers, to put together the pieces yourselves from Iso's statements.
▪ Another big problem with writing this chapter was not knowing Roger's abilities or techniques. All we know about him is that his power is most definitely incomparable with any yet seen in the series. I'm sure he could defeat Iso without "cheating", but a most fitting "end" to Iso was having his own attack reflected upon him—something I'm positive somebody of Roger's stature could accomplish. It sure was hard to work this around the unknown though.
▪ "Fortunately, fate has chosen a cruel fate for you Doubting Thomases." A Biblical expression? Well, since the pirate Bartholomew Bear carries a Bible of some sort, I don't think I'm too far off in Toa knowing the expression.
▪ And finally this chapter secures Slade's true position in this story—the wild card. What I find ironic is that the Iso-jin aren't really evil, often just misguided or plain selfish, yet they're the main enemies and the force that needs to be brought down. Meanwhile, Slade is evil incarnate with no redeeming qualities yet he helps our heroes in the end. It's a pretty cool situation—man Slade's cool.
▪ Slade: "That was only a flesh wound compared to some of the things I've been through." Nobody defeats the Black Knight!...Meanwhile, if you've never seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail…shame on you. Go rent it.
Chapter 27: Weaknesses—Fight Against Time and Power!
▪ This chapter has several comparisons that are a bit absurd—such as "despite rotating fast enough to juice the world's largest radish"—and despite what anybody says I think they're cool—in a totally nerdy way.
▪ Luffy flew as if launched from a medieval catapult. Cue Family Guy cutaway Like that time Peter spent Meg's college funds on that medieval catapult.
▪ Grinning, Robin slashed the weapon in front of him before pulling it behind his back, and pointing his other arm forward with two fingers outstretched. Robin is imitating the awesome 'Watojutsu' battle pose of Yukishiro Enishi from Rurouni Kenshin.
▪ When Iso stabs Robin in the shoulder, my proofreader said he should have just killed him. Eh, my intentions weren't that Iso deliberately kept him alive, it was that Robin was able to skillfully dodge a fatal blow.
▪ Though Robin uses Escrima Sticks in the show, he either just poses with them or hits his opponent like they're only a small staff. In this chapter Robin uses them as they're intended—with the martial art style of Escrima. In the comics, Nightwing—the original Robin, Dick Grayson, all grown up—fights with Escrima style, while the current Robin Tim Drake fights with a bo-staff. It's been said by the show's creators that the show's Robin is an amalgam of traits from all three comic Robins.
▪ Rubber not conducting electricity is bending physics quite a bit, I know. But I'm only going by the laws of the One Piece world—later in the series Luffy fights an enemy capable of producing electricity, and is the only person in the world able to defeat him because—being rubber—he's invulnerable to electricity. If you want to blame somebody, blame Oda :P
▪ The two chi blasts Toa managed to tag Slade with wounded him in the exact same places that Trigon's axe-wielding guard wounded skeleton-Slade in the TV show. Fun fact of the day.
▪ "Fool," Slade growled. "Fate doesn't control our lives. I've gotten as far as I've gotten because of my efforts—nobody else's!" Best Slade line of the entire story, hands down.
▪ an answer to his frantic prayer that Slade's advanced system would have an USB port. This is another inside joke with my proofreader—so I guess it's only funny to us, huh?
▪ Cunning is a power all its own, and it's one a power-obsessed freak like Iso could never appreciate! There you have it, the theme of the chapter in a nutshell.
▪ Though is would be obvious that he was unhappy, I was still upset that there wasn't really space to address Iso's feelings over being trapped within a stone for decades. That's why, as I imagined Iso trying to do the same to Luffy, we went into his hateful monologue. Perfectly understandable feelings, actually.
Chapter 28: Clash!—It All Comes Tumbling Down
▪ I had a hard time at first thinking of a reason for Iso to create the sword and armor—then I came up with the, in my opinion, brilliantly logical explanation of him covering his weaknesses. And then it hit me that of course he should fight back with the Eehuah—heck, this gave me a great final scene for Luffy instead of finishing Iso with one or two attacks after weakening him! Before I decided this it would have been far too anticlimactic.
▪ Several of Iso's sword-techniques are based off of Kenshin's fighting style. See if you can figure out which ones!
▪ The attack combination Luffy used to finish Iso seemed rather overkill, and I tend to agree—but I had thought up the awesome combo and didn't want to waste it. Besides, it served to show just how strong Iso's will was in the end—even without his power he still endured enough to destroy most super-powered opponents by the pure faith! Of course, like all of the Iso-jin it was misguided faith, and that was his fatal flaw.
▪ As black leaked from beneath the Titan's cloak she put her hand on Starfire's shoulder. "—and Starfire, I'm going to need you to call the Ba—" Yes, Raven was going to have Starfire call the Batman himself. Just shows how desperate the situation was. It was almost the first time the Dark Knight's name was spoken aloud in the series!
▪ Yeah, Robin was Luffy's inspiration for the powerful Rubber Storm technique—which proved to be quite useful against a certain enemy later ;) Consider it an extra goodbye gift.
Chapter 29: Celebration!—Soothing the Scars of Battle
▪ The idea of the Titans having a pie fight came from a line in the Teen Titans comic where Miss Martian mentioned how she pied Ravager in the face after seeing it on television. Of course, nothing ever came of that—besides Ravager trying to kill her—but it hit me as a fun thing these maniacs might do.
▪ Just like the group fight in Chapter 13, the volleyball game was difficult, not because of the action, but because of the teams. It literally took me like a half an hour to decide on teams: it was the second time in this story I needed scrap paper for notes.
▪ After rereading the recent string of fights at Enies Lobby in the One Piece manga, I noticed that, although Chopper in his "Monster Point" destroyed an entire town, he apparently didn't kill a single person in it. I'm ignoring that, as it's just plain unrealistic (in a manga?! No!) I've already contradicted the manga enough where a detail here or there doesn't matter.
▪ I love the scene with Raven and Zoro learning about each other. However, let me clear up some sad ambiguity—this is ALL that happened. Raven isn't the type of girl to go ahead with anything more than that—considering her powers go out of control with her emotions, I don't even think Raven can have sex—without massive property and mate damage at orgasm, at least. Get your head out of the gutters, this scene in the story is entirely clean
▪ What is Nami going to do with Cyborg's money back on the Grand Line? Beast me—I think she just won it for the fun of it.
Chapter 30: Epilogue—A Friendship That Spans All
▪ I didn't figure out how they would return to their respective worlds until this chapter, with the exception of knowing Raven's powers would be involved. To me, it was never that important—this story is one of those "the journey is more important than the destination" stories.
▪ Beast Boy scratched his head. "Wait a second," he said, confused. "I didn't know Semisonic was Tamaranian!" I quoted the song 'Closing Time' by Semisonic because its lyrics were perfect for this chapter. It is my all-time second favorite song—only beaten by the terrific '21 and Invincible' by Something Corporate.
▪ Originally I had planned for Ian to stay behind in the Titans' world and train with the True Master—the old woman who trained Robin in the episode "The Quest." However, I realized that it defied his mother's philosophy—and therefore his whole backstory and personality. He needed to return and save that island!
▪ I wish Starfire had been able to see Tank and Swifty's return, but unfortunately there was just no way to fit it in. Maybe when they meet again…
▪ The scene with Buggy and Alvida was simply a wacky way to admit a mistake I made. Smoker, in this story, said he had caught the two, then unleashed them against Luffy and company to test their strength. Yet, in the manga the two pirates escaped from Smoker in Loguetown—were never caught! I had this fact mixed up when I wrote chapter 4, and this is my way of admitting it.
▪ This is the first time I really like the way I wrote Smoker. Smoker is a man who follows his own justice, and in early chapters I feel I played him too much as a pure evil villain, which he's far from. Oh well. Live and learn. Then get Luvs.
▪ Obviously, Slade's death and resurrection by Trigon was to tie this into the show's continuity—where Slade was resurrected by Trigon after being killed by Terra instead of Iso. I do hope I had some people fooled though—Slade is an awesome character and fun to string people along with.
▪ Notice when the trouble alert went off that it was the H.I.V.E. attacking—in the show, the H.I.V.E. lead by Brother Blood was the next major threat after Terra and I just decided to make a nod to continuity.
▪ I have no idea if I'm going to write a sequel to this or not, but I figured I certainly left enough slack for myself to easily write one if I get a really good idea. Whether or not I write a sequel, definitely expect another story from me at some point, though I'm still debating storylines and ideas.
Character Biographies and Attack List
Monkey D. Luffy:
Born in the small village of Windmill on the East Blue Sea, Luffy grew up admiring the great pirate, Red-Haired Shanks. When Luffy was almost eaten by a sea-monster, Shanks sacrificed his arm to save the boy and entrusted Luffy with his beloved Straw Hat. Determined to one day meet his idol once again and return the hat, Luffy trained the abilities of his Rubber Rubber Fruit for ten years before taking sail as captain of the Straw-Hat pirates in order to form a crew and chase the greatest treasure of all time—the One Piece!
Luffy is perhaps a fighting genius, but he's dumb as a rock in all other regards. In spite of this—or perhaps because of it—Luffy's almost always happy, and is a very outgoing, fun-loving person in general. However, he cares deeply for his friends and won't hesitate to fight anybody who harms them! Also, because of his unique outlook on life Luffy often views situations different than the others, usually providing a refreshing take on situations. This also makes him quite good at motivating others. His Devil's Fruit ability turned his body into rubber, and Luffy uses this to great advantage, stretching, inflating, and reflecting his way to victory!
Luffy is the main character of One Piece, so the story required a good bit of time to be spent on him—unfortunately, he was one of the harder characters for me to find a voice for. This is probably the reason why, though many chapters highlighted the character, he often wasn't in the group scenes much—though I noticed this later as an afterthought. One thing I decided about Luffy was that Iso would be his enemy—he always fights to protect others (Fought Arlong to save Nami, fought Crocodile to save Vivi, fought Lucchi to save Nico Robin, etc.), and I thought it was time for him to have an enemy he wanted to fight for his own reasons. All in all though, Luffy's a fun character to write for and I wouldn't hesitate to use him again, perhaps getting a better idea just exactly how to handle him.
Rubber Rocket Chapter 1, 3, 6, 14, 23, 28: Luffy throws one or two arms backwards to extend them, throws them forward, then grabs a stationary object. When they snap back to normal size he is propelled like a rocket, and usually can't stop himself. His main mode of transportation.
Rubber Shot Chapter 1: An elongated kick. An attack given the wrong name by me. Should be "Rubber Stamp."
Rubber Corkscrew Chapter 1: Securing himself, Luffy literally turns himself into a giant corkscrew and sends an opponent flying. Very similar to the Rubber Mallet. I made up this technique.
Rubber Whip Chapter 6, 7, 26, 28: Luffy's elongated leg spins and connects for a horizontal lashing kick, like a whip.
Rubber Pistol Chapter 6, 7, 15, 25, 27, 28, 29: Luffy's favorite technique, he sends one fist flying far backwards and then it snaps forward for a powerful elongated punch.
Rubber Sickle Chapter 6, 28: Luffy grabs onto a far object with an elongated arm. He extends his other arm and clotheslines an entire group of opponents as his arm retracts.
Rubber Gattling Chapter 7, 13, 25, 27, 28: Luffy throws elongated punches so quickly that it creates the illusion of hundreds of arms attacking. Can be used effectively against a group or a single opponent.
Rubber Stamp Chapter 7, 14, 25, 27, 28: An elongated kick. The treads on Luffy's sandals leave a stamp-like impression on the opponent's face.
Rubber Grand Mallet Chapter 7, 25: Entwining the opponent in his coiled rubber legs, Luffy spins through the air and piledrives them into the ground.
Rubber Bell Chapter 7, 28: Throwing his head backwards, Luffy stretches his neck. His retracting neck sends his head forward for a devastating headbutt. The attack is named after the bell-like sound it makes when it lands.
Rubber Shield Chapter 7: Luffy stretches his fingers across his face, forming a shield.
Rubber Chomp Chapter 7, 27: Luffy stretches his jaw and chomps down, either biting with incredible force of stuffing his entire opponent within his rubber mouth.
Rubber Bazooka Chapter 7, 25, 28: A popular finishing move, Luffy stretches both arms behind himself. As they snap he hits his opponent with both hands, palms open, the force usually sending them flying out of sight.
Rubber Balloon Chapter 8, 12, 17, 27: Inhaling air, Luffy inflates his body like a balloon, and flies uncontrollably as he deflates.
Rubber Propeller Chapter 8, 28: Spinning like a top, Luffy's elongated arms continually slap the opponent. I created this attack.
Rubber Buffet Line Chapter 14: Luffy performs a Rubber Gattling, but with his hands open, grabbing as much food as he can and stuffing it into his mouth. A joke attack I made up.
Rubber Bullet Chapter 14, 27, 28: Luffy throws his arm backwards like Rubber Pistol, but instead of throwing it forward lets it hit point blank as his arm snaps back to its normal size. Sometimes he grabs his arm with his other hand to add extra oomph.
Rubber Slingshot Chapter 15: Luffy stretches his arm back, and uses the momentum of it snapping into place to launch an ally to a destination. I created this attack.
Rubber Axe Chapter 15, 28: Luffy throws one leg far over his head into the air. It snaps down and decimates whatever it lands on. Especially useful for destroying buildings, it's one of Luffy's most powerful attacks.
Rubber Spear Chapter 25, 27: Luffy puts the bottom of his feet together and throws them in to a very powerful elongated kick.
Rubber Roller Coaster Chapter 25: Luffy contorts his malleable body into an impossible position, attacking from an unexpected angle. I created this technique.
Rubber Fireworks Chapter 25, 27: Leaping into the air, Luffy spins and sends his arms and legs soaring in all directions so fast that it looks like there are dozens of them—essentially an upgrade of his Rubber Gattling.
Rubber Buzzsaw Chapter 27: Luffy grabs a target with two elongated arms, then begins spinning his body like a buzzsaw. His arms retract and send him soaring into his opponent.
Rubber Comet Chapter 27, 28: Pushing off from a ceiling or wall, Luffy spins through the air with tremendous force, his body spiraling and stretching behind him like a shooting star. Causes pure devastation, like a true comet strike. I created this attack.
Rubber Super Bouncy Ball Chapter 27: Luffy contorts his body, tying himself tightly into a ball. The more he bounces the more speed—and power—he gains. I made this attack up, inspired by the super bouncy ball I was bouncing at the time
Rubber Hook Chapter 27: Luffy's arm curls into an elongated hook punch.
Rubber Ripcord Chapter 27: With his elongated arms curled around his opponent like a cocoon, Luffy's arm retracts and sends his enemy spinning. I created this attack.
Rubber Pistol Shot Chapter 27: Luffy launches his signature Rubber Pistol attack, but then strums his elongated arm like a guitar string—turning his punch into a miniature version of the Rubber Gattling.
Rubber Catapult Chapter 27: Luffy throws both arms backwards, and when they snap back into place he uses the momentum to launch an large object or objects forward. I created this attack.
Rubber Bow Gun Chapter 28: Luffy attaches himself to his opponent, then winds up his body. He lets go, unwinding until he hits the opponent with his head, sending all the pent up momentum into his enemy and sending him soaring into the air.
Rubber Spring Chapter 28: Luffy inhales air, inflating himself, then winds himself into a giant bloated spring. Unleashing the air, he spirals through the sky so fast he becomes a blur. A predecessor to perhaps Luffy's most powerful technique—the Rubber Storm. I created this attack, though I stole the idea from the Rubber Storm.
As a young boy, Zoro traveled from dojo to dojo, defeating them with his two sword style until he came to one particular temple, where he found his match in Kuina, the sensei's daughter. She bested the boy 2001 times, but still despaired because she was a girl, and would eventually grow weak. Zoro declared that gender had nothing to do with it and that he would beat her because he was better, not because she was a girl! That night they both promised to become the best swordsman in the world—the next morning, Kuina was dead. Taking her sword as his own, Zoro began his journey to become the best there was!
Zoro's entire purpose in life is to become the best swordsman in the world, and to that extent he spends the majority of his time training. When he isn't training he's sleeping, and he can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and sleep through almost anything. He's very gruff and blunt, his honesty often making him the target of other crewmates. He also has absolutely no sense of direction. Zoro fights with santoryu, or three sword style, where he holds one sword in each hand and one in his mouth, though he also knows many techniques in the two and one sword styles.
This guy is definitely one of my favorites. As the resident badass of One Piece, he's meant to look cool, especially in battle, and I hope I pulled that off. Despite this status, he's also the guy some of the most ridiculous stuff happens to—I thought the Ian story showcased this well. Also, I intended for Ian and Zoro to be a parallel of each other, perfect rivals. His backstory is one of my favorites, hence why it's featured so prominently. Unfortunately, Zoro is perhaps my least favorite to write fight scenes for—I never realized how difficult Santoryu would be! Maybe if I had set this later in the story and had access to more of his techniques…but that's an afterthought.
Oni Giri Chapter 5, 21, 22, 25, 29: Zoro's signature technique, he leans low, crosses his arms and releases them for a crossing slash. I used it incorrectly as a charging strike in chapter 5. Means "Demon Cutter" when translated from Japanese, also a pun on the Japanese word for "Rice Ball".
Demonic Cross Chapter 5: A wrongly named "Tou Rou Nagashi". See that attack.
Tora Gari Chapter 13, 22, 25: Holding his two swords into the air with their backs on the back of the sword in his mouth, Zoro slashes downwards with the two swords then across with the one, leaving a 'H' shaped scar. Translates to "Tiger Hunting."
Tatsumaki Chapter 15, 22: Holding a sword to each side, Zoro spins fiercely, leaving scars up and down the enemy if they are within range and creating a powerful whirlwind regardless. Translates to Dragon Coil or Dragon Twister.
Karasumagari Chapter 21, 25: Using all three swords, Zoro swings into a succession of slashes that spiral around his body like a sphere.
Ushibari Chapter 22: Zoro points the two swords in his hands forward and drives into a relentless series of thrusts. Translates to "Bull Charge"
Tou Rou Nagashi Chapter 22, 25: Zoro counters his opponent's attack—usually inexplicably—then dashes behind them. The slashes he leaves behind explode open a few moments later. Tied with the Tatsumaki as my favorite Zoro technique.
Takanami Chapter 22: Slashing with his two swords, Zoro creates small silver waves that act as projectile attacks. Translates to "Hawk Wave."
Washi Tsume Kushi Chapter 23: Taking a stance where his arms are extended above his crouched body in a v-shape, Zoro spins the two swords in his hand into a blur and dashes forward, leaving spiraling scars up and down his opponent as he flies behind them. Roughly translates to "Eagle Talon Slash". I created this technique.
As a baby, Nami and her sister Nojiko were found in the wreckage of battle by the female Marine, Bellemere. She adopted the two as her own and took them to Cocoyashi Village, where they lived happily until Arlong and his fishmen pirates invaded. Arlong demanded a large sum of money from each citizen, and the poor Bellemere only had enough money to either pay for herself or for her children. She chose the children, and was shot in the head in front of Nami. Nami decided to work for Arlong, in order to buy back the village. When she was just mere berries short of her goal, Arlong called in a corrupt Marine to take Nami's money away. It was at this point the girl broke down, and Luffy stepped in to defeat the cruel fishman and free Nami once and for all!
Nami is a natural cartographer and navigator, and because of this can also predict the weather with almost a sixth sense. Her years of working for Arlong have made her an adept thief, able to go without notice and pickpocket even the most alert of people. All the focus on money has also made her quite greedy, and she won't hesitate to cheat or manipulate anybody to make a buck—in fact, she's an expert at twisting situations to her advantage. She knows the basics of fighting with her collapsible staff to assist with her thieving, but she prefers to let others fight for her. Eventually Usopp creates the Clima-Tact for her, which uses her knowledge of weather to become a deadly weapon!
I had a lot of problems finding a spot for Nami. Being the most intelligent of the pirates, she was used for a lot of exposition, and for angry bursts towards the others, but her spot in the story was still unclear. I teamed her as Cyborg's friend, and though I underplayed it a lot I think it worked. I loved their discussion on stealing in chapter 10, and their rivalry in chapter 29 was perfect for stringing the other subplots together. Perhaps she would have been easier to write for if she had the Clima-Tact, but then again I really don't know who I would have had her fight!
Usopp is the proud son of the world-class sniper Yasopp, a member of Shanks' pirate crew. When his father left to travel with his crew, Usopp began pretending that his father was coming home every day in order to cheer up both himself and his sick mother. Eventually his mother died, and the boy's lying became even worse until he was able to focus his time on cheering up Kaya, a sick heiress. However, Kaya's butler Klahadore was in fact the famed pirate Captain Kuro, and after teaming with the Straw Hats to save her life, Usopp set sail to become a true, brave pirate!
A compulsive liar and a coward, Usopp is constantly fighting against his true nature in order to become brave and deserve his place with these strong pirates. He's slowly becoming braver than anybody thinks. His aim is perfect, and he almost never misses a target—quite a feat for only using a slingshot! Usopp's also quite an inventor, constantly coming up with new and inventive ammunition. He cares deeply for the ship, seeing as it was a present from Kaya, and is usually the one to repair it when damaged.
Usopp is another hard one to write fights for, as I'm not nearly as inventive as he is. So instead, I eventually decided that his words would accomplish a lot more. Terra truly looks like Kaya, and when I realized that things just went off from there. I'm awfully happy with the way his subplot turned out, but some day I'd love to write a fight scene where his true genius and sniping skills are put forefront! As you can probably tell I have a lot of respect for Usopp, and I wish more people did too.
Usopp's attacks Note: All of Usopp's attacks were wrongly ended with "shot" instead of "Star" in early chapters, and I'm ignoring that in my attack list
Rotten Egg Star Chapter 2, 20: Usopp fires a rotten egg. Largely a joke attack, it can be successfully used to impede an opponent's sense of smell.
Explosive/Gunpowder Star Chapter 3, 13, 20: Usopp fires a projectile of gunpowder. A good, basic attack.
Pachinko Star Chapter 4, 25: Usopp fires a pachinko, a marble-like object used in Japanese gambling. Usopp's first attack, it's often just a distraction.
Ketchup Star Chapter 6: Usopp uses packets of ketchup either to fake bloody injuries or to leave a messy trap for enemies to trip on.
Usopp Counterattack Chapter 13: Falling below an attack, Usopp swings his hammer into the opponent's knee as a counterattack, usually downing them and leaving them open for a more damaging attack.
Fire Star Chapter 15, 25: Usopp fires a projectile that bursts into flames upon contact.
Caltrop Hell Chapter 15: Usopp releases a storm of Caltrops (spiky projectiles similar to jacks)—he usually leaves them on the ground for the opponent to run on and hurt their feet.
Cactus Star Chapter 20: Usopp fires a projectile that splits into dozens of tiny sharp shards that shred into an opponent.
Shooting Stars Chapter 20, 25: Usopp fires a large, boomerang or L shaped projectile that separates into a dozen razor-bladed weapons as it soars towards the opponent. Made of unbreakable promethium metal, it was a gift from Robin. I made up this technique.
Smoke Star Chapter 20, 25: Usopp fires from his slingshot or simply litters the ground with projectiles that explode into balls of smoke on contact, providing cover for escape or further attacks.
Ice Star Chapter 20: Usopp fires a luminescent white-blue arrow. It freezes its target on contact; if it penetrates the target it can usually even freeze them from the inside out! Though Robin taught Usopp the basics of freezing, Usopp discovered how to make these from his own resources. I made up this technique.
Usopp's Grappling Belt Chapter 23, 25: Usopp puts on a gaudy belt with a grappling hook attached to its front. Useful for climbing short distances but not for swinging, as the line cannot detach from the belt.
Habanero Pepper Star Chapter 25: Usopp shoots a habanero pepper—one of the hottest peppers known to mankind—down his opponent's throat, hopefully immobilizing them. I upgraded this from Usopp's canon Jalapeno Star after being informed that aren't that spicy (could have fooled me, stupid spicy food.)
Pie Star Chapter 29: Usopp shoots a pie from his slingshot. A joke attack created by me.
Usopp Hammer Chapter 29: Usopp hits his opponent with his hammer, often multiple times.
Sanji spent his childhood on a passenger ship training to become a chef. One day they were invaded by the famed pirate Red Leg Zeff. Sanji stood up to the pirate, and he begrudgingly began to respect the boy when he realized they both shared the same dream of finding the fabled ocean All Blue. Suddenly a storm wrecked the ship, and the two were stranded together. Sanji was angry because Zeff took a huge bag of food and left him very little, but he changed his tune when he realized that the bag only contained treasure—he had given Sanji all the food and instead eaten his own leg! Rescued at the brink of starvation, the two founded the Baratie restaurant and vowed to feed all those hungry, no matter who they were. Sanji remained there as a head chef as a favor to Zeff until Luffy showed up!
Sanji considers himself very chivalrous, feeding all those hungry and vowing never to lay a finger on a woman. In fact, whenever he sees a pretty woman he goes totally gaga, a trait Nami often uses to her advantage. Despite this, Sanji is one of the more intelligent Straw Hats and while the others are fighting, he often finds an alternative solution to the problem. However he can still fight well, attacking only with his feet so as to save his hands for cooking. His legs have the power to leap over buildings and kick through stone—he also has perfect balance and no problem contorting his legs at any angle. Sanji is also a chain smoker.
I think Sanji was one of the characters I did quite well on—perhaps almost perfectly in character…though I hate to ever claim that lest somebody prove me wrong. I did decide to take a risk and advance his chivalrous side, though, with his decision to let Starfire be happy with Robin instead of pursuing her himself. Despite Sanji's female-induced insanity I can actually see him doing this in the right situation and…it's a direction that I really like.
Concasse Chapter 6, 12, 20, 25: Sanji somersaults through the air, planting his heel atop the opponent's head as he lands.
Reception Chapter 6: Standing on one leg, Sanji slips the top of his foot behind his opponent's neck and drives his face into the ground. Named after the receptionist at a restaurant.
Anti-Manners Kick Course Chapter 12, 20: Balancing on one leg, Sanji extends his other leg parallel to his body at a 90 degree angle, delivering a deadly kick to a target above him. One of his signature—and most powerful—techniques.
Mouton Shoot Chapter 12, 20: Sanji's most famous technique, it is a single kick delivered so fast that the leg becomes a blur. All of Sanji's power is focused into his leg as he delivers the finisher.
Flaming Mouton Shoot Chapter 12: A combination technique with Starfire. Sanji charges, and Starfire shoots him with a full-power Starbolt. He is set on fire and shot past his opponent's defenses, delivering a devastating Mouton Shoot that delivers the power of his leg and the Starbolt all in one kick.
Nouilles Amarrons Chapter 20: Sanji holds one leg in the air and it goes limp. He lashes it about like a wet noodle, slapping away multiple targets. It means "noodle lash" in French. I created this technique.
Bukutereeri Shuuto Chapter 20: Sanji plants both of his feet into the opponent's chin, snapping its chin into the air. Means "mixed vegetable shot" in French.
Aveugle Rendevous Piler Chapter 20: A kick with both legs. Several moments pass before the full, explosive effects of finisher attack take full effect. Means "Blind Date Crush" in French. I created this attack.
SanjCho Quasi Queue Shuuto Chapter 25: A combination attack with Tony Tony Chopper. Sanji leaps into the hands of Chopper's Human Point, and the reindeer uses his tremendous strength to hurl the chef. Sanji spins through the air before focusing all that momentum into one devastating kick.
Tony Tony Chopper:
From birth Chopper was a freak, as he was the only reindeer in his tribe with a blue nose. Things became worse when he ate the Human Human fruit, which mutated him so far that he became an outcast both to reindeer and human. The only man to accept him was the quack doctor, Hiliruk! Their home of the Drum Kingdom was under the rule of a cruel tyrant Wapol, who had banished all doctors. Hiliruk had gone into hiding, and knowing he was sick and his time was short decided to try to heal the country through the source of its problems. In the confrontation with Wapol he had the doctor surrounded, and Hiliruk blew himself up to prove a point to the jaded ruler. Chopper lost everything he had until he was taken by the only true doctor left in Drum, Kureha, who taught him true healing skills. Chopper hopes to one day create the cure to all diseases that he couldn't find to save Hiliruk. However, he was still weary of humans, until he finally felt accepted with Luffy's crew!
Chopper is very naïve and gullible, both because of his sheltered upbringing and the fact that he's, well…a reindeer. He even believes Usopp's outlandish stories, making the two fast friends. Despite the lack of experience Chopper is a very skilled doctor, and was even able to create the Rumble Ball medicine which allows him to take his shapeshifting skills to the next level. Being half-reindeer, he can also speak to animals.
Another favorite of mine, Chopper is a large part of the reason this story even exists. His voice is hard to find sometimes, but it was the similarities between him and Beast Boy that inspired The Ultimate Cruise, and I used that to my advantage as I wrote the scenes with the two. The fight between the two and Ivan is my favorite in the story…and I wouldn't change a thing with Chopper.
Roseo Colonnade Chapter 6: In his Horn Point, Chopper charges through a crowd thrashing his six-foot antlers in all directions. It means "Row of Cherry Trees" in Japanese.
Kokute Roseo Chapter 15, 18: In his Arm Point, Chopper lands an insanely powerful punch that leaves an imprint of his hoof—shaped like a cherry blossom leaf—in his opponent.
Scope Chapter 15, 18: Used on Brain Point (half human half reindeer), under the influence of the Rumble Ball. Chopper puts his hooves together and looks through the space between them. This brings up a full diagram of the opponent and, after a few moments, allows Chopper to determine their fatal weakness.
Kokute Roseo Kachuu Chapter 18: Combination attack with Beast Boy. The two both transform to Chopper's Jumping Point, using their superhuman legs to hurl themselves into a dizzying spin—switching to Arm Point at the last second, they deliver a punch with all their momentum behind them, sending the enemy spinning off. Kachuu means vortex in Japanese.
Kokute Cross Chapter 18: In Arm Point, Chopper positions his wrists together, his hooves in the shape of an X. He then strikes his opponent in the chest, leaving an 'X' shaped indentation in them. At this point it is his strongest technique.
SanjCho Quasi Queue Shuuto Chapter 25: A combination attack with Sanji. Sanji leaps into the hands of Chopper's Human Point, and the reindeer uses his tremendous strength to hurl the chef. Sanji spins through the air before focusing all that momentum into one devastating kick.
A natural acrobat, Robin's parents were circus performers and trained him to follow in their footsteps until their untimely demise. The boy was taken in by the legendary Batman and trained as a detective, and in all styles of martial arts. He served as the vigilante's sidekick for several years, all the while honing his impressive skills, until a falling out between the two led to Robin leaving Gotham City for the West Coast, where a chance encounter led to the forming of the Teen Titans!
Robin is a natural leader, as well as a skilled acrobat, detective, marital artist and inventor. Determined to surpass his mentor, he drives himself hard to free the city from crime, and sometimes can go overboard in his efforts, especially when Slade is involved. Robin is fearless and gung-ho, taking on foes many times his size as if they were flies. Although Robin can be mellow and have some fun, he is never as goofy as his teammates, and he still has a way to go before he can really open up and take things less seriously. In addition to hand-to-hand, Robin fights with a bo-staff, escrima sticks, Redbird boomerangs that can combine into a sword, explosive, electric and freezing disks, and whatever other inventions his mind can create!
I've never like the main characters as much as some of the supporting ones and this proves true for Robin as well (though as a testament to the greatness of TT and OP, there isn't a main character in either series that I don't love). However, he proved rather easy to write, especially in a story with so much Slade. Actually, I had a lot of fun with the Robin and Slade dynamic, until the time came for Robin to learn something. Characters don't go through a story without change, and Robin can't be an exception. I realized that Luffy and Robin would have completely different views on the death of Slade (Luffy's apathy vs. Robin being unable to let go), and decided to go with that dynamic. My favorite part of that was, although Robin finally learned to let go, Slade won't let him. That makes me feel sorry for the kid.
Princess of the far-away planet Tamaran, Starfire was captured by the Gordanians as a present to their leader, the Citadel. She managed to escape and flee to the nearest planet—Earth—where she encountered Robin and the others, before they were Titans. When she explained her situation they worked together to defeat the Gordanians, and Starfire was so moved by their kindness—and interested in Robin—that she decided to stay on Earth and learn more of their ways!
A newcomer to Earth, Starfire knows nothing of this planet's customs and therefore finds herself almost constantly out of place. Her powers of flight, super strength and Starbolts—powerful green projectiles launched from the hands or eyes—are activated by her feeling emotion, so she is usually overflowing with unbridled passion. As do most Tamaranians, she usually acts on her first impulse and is very honest as well. She and Robin share an attraction, but don't quite know how to display their feelings yet, though she definitely tries.
Ah Starfire, the source of a million play on words. The caring one trying hard to keep the team together. The object of Sanji's affection, with her eye only on Robin. There were so many roles for Starfire that I never had trouble using her. In fact, several paragraphs of tedious exposition could be turned into comedic gold with just a few sentences from the alien beauty. My only problem with Starfire was making sure I didn't go overboard with her speech oddities…as fun as they may be.
Flaming Mouton Shoot Chapter 12: A combination technique with Sanji. Sanji charges, and Starfire shoots him with a full-power Starbolt. He is set on fire and shot past his opponent's defenses, delivering a devastating Mouton Shoot that delivers the power of his leg and the Starbolt all in one kick.
Formerly a talented young African American athlete, everything changed when the boy was involved in a horrific accident. To save his life he was built into the half-man, half-machine Cyborg! Angry because of his new appearance, Cyborg ran away and lived on the streets of Jump City until a chance encounter with several other young heroes. Finding kindred spirits and acceptance, he decided to stick with them and form the Teen Titans!
Cyborg loves life and attempts to live it to the fullest everyday. This makes him very enthusiastic, but in the same respect, when he gets down he really gets down. Over time Cyborg has reaffirmed to himself several times that he is truly human, and each time he comes to accept his fate a little more. He's slowly embraced his robot side as well and become a mechanical genius, building the Titans gadgets. In fact, the entire tower is tied into his systems! Cyborg's mechanical body endows him with super strength, a Sonic Cannon and a back up arsenal of missiles, and an ever growing assortment of weapons hidden all over his upgradeable body!
Again, while I like all the Titans, Cyborg is my least favorite. He's the one who never seems to stand out, but he gels perfectly in almost any group setting, so I used him a lot as just one of the guys. Considering that Cyborg has always been a bit of a ladies' man, I decided to pair him with Nami, and as I stated in her profile, by not making it a major relationship I think it worked well. Of course, because he had fewer subplots than all the others, I tried to make sure he shined in the battles that he had.
Daughter of the human Arella and the physical incarnation of all evil, Trigon, Raven was destined from birth to become the portal that would allow Trigon to enter and take control of the human world. Arella was rescued by the monks of the mythical dimension Azarath, who trained Raven to suppress her emotions lest Trigon take control of her. Using this method they also taught her to control her powerful but complicated abilities. However, even the monks of Azarath knew they could not stop Trigon's destined arrival, and growing tired of waiting for her destiny to come Raven left for the human world, where she hoped she could bring a little good to the world before her father invaded. There she met other young heroes and helped form the Teen Titans!
In order to control her powers—which go out of control with bursts of emotion—and to resist her father's influence, Raven has been forced to suppress her feelings her entire life. This has made her a very distant, cynical person who usually acts as the voice of reason in the Titans. Despite all appearances, however, she truly loves her friends and would do anything for them. That said, she often still feels isolated and misunderstood, and longs for someone who can truly understand her. Raven is an empath, capable of sensing the emotions of those around her. She also has control of a dark energy within her that allows her to possess inanimate objects, shoot it as projectile attacks or solid objects such as claws and shields, and phase herself and others through solid matter. Raven also has the ability to heal the wounds of others, though to a limited extent. Finally, she can separate her mind from her body in a form of astral projection and enter the minds of others, either seeing their thoughts or manipulating their emotions.
Raven is tied with Beast Boy as my favorite Titan. Often in the series she's powered down to make a story more interesting (i.e. not possessing Killer Moth's whip and stealing it from him so that the story can focus around Starfire trying to stop Silkie in the episode "Can I Keep Him?"), but I wanted to try to use her abilities in the most realistic ways that I could, and I hope I succeeded. Though Raven probably fought less than the rest, she definitely got enough screen time with all the uses of her powers. Raven's subplot wasn't one that appeared to me as I was writing, like the Usopp and Terra story, but one I had thought of ahead of time. Raven and Zoro are the most mysterious of their groups, and I can see Raven wanting to find out a little more about him. I like the way it turned out—the scene between them in Chapter 29 is one of my favorites.
Considered a freak because of his green skin, young Beast Boy quickly found himself a member of the Doom Patrol, a force of powerful but misfit superheroes. Though they were his family, Beast Boy and the DP's leader, Mento, often clashed. Their difference in personalities finally became too much to ignore, and after being chastised for saving the DP's lives instead of chasing the enemy, Beast Boy left his family to move onto better things. He encountered Robin and began following the hero, eventually helping to form the Teen Titans, and growing into his own hero as he did so!
Beast Boy, deep down, is very insecure and just wants to know that he's cool. He spends all his time being the jokester, trying to receive that affirmation. Beast Boy is the most fun-loving and goofy of the Titans, and is often the instigator or butt of practical jokes. He and Cyborg have struck up a friendship, though they're often seen fighting over who's better at video games. Beast Boy is also determined to make Raven laugh ever since she said he was funny the first time they met—a claim she now denies. Beast Boy has the ability to transform into any animal, even extinct, alien, or mutant species. However, whatever animal he becomes retains the boy's green hue.
I love writing for Beast Boy, I really do. His fight scenes are incredibly fun to write—the possibilities are almost endless! Also, he's great for comic relief, from a small pun to even fourth-wall bending jokes! However, he can still handle a dramatic storyline, be it Terra's betrayal or the death of an enemy. I would never hesitate to write another BB tale, and am very proud of all his appearances in this story. Would have liked to mention his love of mopeds perhaps once more, just because…who doesn't love mopeds?
Beast Boy's attacks:
Kokute Roseo Kachuu Chapter 18: Combination attack with Tony Tony Chopper. The two both transform to Chopper's Jumping Point, using their superhuman legs to hurl themselves into a dizzying spin—switching to Arm Point at the last second, they deliver a punch with all their momentum behind them, sending the enemy spinning off. Kachuu means vortex in Japanese.
Kocootie Roseo Chapter 18: Beast Boy's mispronounced interpretation of Chopper's signature technique.
Various animal forms Chapter 19: Under the influence of Chopper's Rumble Ball, Beast Boy begins naming his various animal forms as he assumes them.
A young girl with stupendous powers, Terra couldn't fully control them and caused chaos everywhere she went. She traveled the world trying to do good, but could only bring harm to those she loved. Eventually she found the Teen Titans, who were willing to take her in and give her a home. Beast Boy even accepted her lack of control, though she made him keep it a secret. When Robin figured it out on his own, Terra thought BB had betrayed her and ran away from the Titans—and straight into the arms of Slade. He taught her to control her abilities, and in exchange she would become his apprentice. She infiltrated the Teen Titans as a spy, gathering their secrets so that they could take down the teens from the inside. However, Slade became distracted by the Stone of Iso Toa while Terra, meanwhile, remembered just why she loved her teammates so much to begin with.
Terra is very gung-ho, fun loving, and eager—at least at first glance. However, the trauma in her life has lead her to base her life around the expectations and reactions of other people. Therefore, she's very easily influenced and manipulated. Now that she's learned to make her own decisions and is on the Titans for good, hopefully she can become more confident in herself. Terra has terrakinesis, or control over the very Earth.
Another favorite of mine, I originally included Terra in this story only because I knew I wanted to use Chopper, and wanted a sixth Titan to even up the sides. Eventually I decided to change up the story of her betrayal to fit my story, and things just went from there. However, I'm not saying that the Terra who beat all the Titans and left them for dead on the TV show could have rejoined the team this easily. Things happened a lot differently in this story. In the show Terra was considering staying with the Titans, just as in the story, until Slade revealed to Beast Boy that she was his apprentice and BB told her she "had no friends." That was the turning point, and the spot where the two Terra's differ—that never happened to this Terra. Instead, she felt betrayed by Slade, and that made all the difference.
A mysterious criminal mastermind, nothing is known of Slade's past. We do know that he desires domination and control of the world, as well as an apprentice to pass his skill and knowledge down to. First he chose Robin, blackmailing the hero into working for him. When the other Titans came to his rescue and sent Slade running in defeat, he set his sights on Terra. However, with the possibility of ultimate power presented by the Stone of Iso Toa, Slade lost sight of all other goals.
Slade is cold, cruel, and manipulative. He's a master martial artist and strategist, but he usually prefers to let others do his dirty work for him, be they apprentices, robots, or even hired help such as the H.I.V.E., Cinderblock or Plasmus.
If Zoro is the badass of OP, then Slade takes that position in TT. I don't think I handled him the best in early chapters, but as time went on I had tons of fun making him more and more menacing. I particularly loved Chapter 27 where he explained to Mother how he chose his future, not fate. Obviously I was imposing my opinion through all the exchanges with Mother against her fatalist doctrines, but the true way to be successful when putting opinions into your writing is to make it sound believable to the characters saying it Learned that from a certain Mr. Peter David—writes a good how to write comics book, and if anybody believes in his power to change destiny, it has to be Slade. The guy's a beast and I don't think it's possible to kill him off for good—though I think I had a couple people fooled, which is very good!
"White Chase" Smoker is a Marine Captain who had control over Loguetown, the town of the Pirate King's birth near the entrance to the Grand Line. He prided himself in never letting a pirate escape his post—until Monkey D. Luffy incredulously made it out of Loguetown alive! Smoker and his subordinate Tashigi embarked to the Grand Line to chase the Straw Hat pirates, never quite catching up to the pirates' location until they found the mysterious mastermind Slade floating in the ocean.
Smoker's Plume Plume Fruit—a very rare Logia variety—allows him to create, control, and turn into pure smoke, making him nigh untouchable! The police stick on his back contains Seastone, which contains the power of the ocean, nullifying the power of Devil Fruit users. Smoker could be much higher ranked than a Captain, but he believes in his own justice above all else, and often tells the World Government to "go eat shit!" when they command him to do something that goes against his idea of justice.
Captain Smoker was there to show Slade the ropes, plus I thought the idea of Robin and Luffy's greatest enemies teaming up was cool. When the idea for the story had originally been short, I had figured Slade would betray him at the end. However, a few chapters in—once I had created the Iso-jin—that was moved into early in the story so that the Iso-jin could take the forefront. Still, he's a pretty cool guy, and I'm glad he's starting to come around in the actual OP manga.
Captain Smoker's attacks:
White Snake Chapter 3, 7: Smoker's arm dissolves into smoke and propels his fist like a rocket for a killer punch.
Smoke Wormhole Chapter 7: Smoker fills an area completely with smoke, transporting objects from one part of the smoke to other parts seemingly magically. I created this attack.
White Storm Chapter 7: Smoker turns completely into smoke, spiraling forward like a smoking tornado. I created this attack.
Subordinate to Captain Smoker, Tashigi is an identical look-alike to Zoro's childhood rival Kuina. Her philosophies on being a woman swordsman are also identical—Tashigi wants her opponents to ignore her gender and fight her like a man! Tashigi feels that all swords used by pirates or bounty hunters must "be crying", and wishes to collect all the famous swords in their possession—including Zoro's three swords! Tashigi is well meaning but very inept and clumsy, and she still has much to learn about the world. Though her swordsmanship skills are nowhere near the likes of Zoro's and Ian's, she is far from a novice and can defeat even very powerful pirates.
I actually don't like Tashigi much. Her misunderstandings with Zoro could be solved with basically one sentence, so the fact that she continues on her crusade still bugs me. However, she was perfect for furthering the Zoro/Raven/Ian dynamic, and I'm glad I used her in that respect. And I'm definitely interested in where her storyline leads her and Zoro the future of the manga.
Note: All the Iso-jin and their attacks are original, created by me.
An orphan raised on an island where power and influence trumps all, Iso was mistreated by everybody in his life until he found the Konki Konki fruit. With it he gained the nearly unstoppable power to absorb and manipulate energy, and used it to destroy his home. Iso believed in only his power, and planned to use it to create a utopian society across the Grand Line by sapping people of their free will! Eventually he met Toa and, while waiting for her powers to kick in, was attacked by the future Pirate King, Gold Roger! Iso's own attack was reflected back upon him, trapping him within a stone and sending him to an alternative dimension, where he patiently waited for decades until he was found by none other than Slade himself!
Since Iso's power saved him from torture, Iso believes in his power as an absolute—everything else is insignificant. However, Iso is capable of other emotions. Though much of his desire to rule the world came from greed, he still thought he was making the world a better place. And though he thought of Toa as a tool more than anything, he did truly love her. In the end, his goals and power simply trumped all in his mind. Iso also has an affinity for spicy food—the hotter the better!
Ah, the final villain of The Ultimate Cruise. As I said in Luffy's profile, I wanted Iso to be a villain for Luffy—but also for Robin. To that extent, taking advice from comic great Marv Wolfman, creator of the New Teen Titans, I wanted him to have a connection to both, not just be some random guy that anybody could fight. For Robin, being a threat to his friends and city was enough. For Luffy, though, I needed more, and that's where the backstory tied to Gold Roger came in. His love of hot food originally was just a character quirk—an attempt for him not to be all doom and gloom. When I was trying to figure out how Luffy would see through his final attack, it evolved into what it eventually became.
Iso was originally intended to be a villain using two Devil's Fruits—one having the power of rock, and one the power of lasers, or something lame like that. Then, in the manga Jyabura mentioned that eating two Devil's Fruits would cause the person to explode, so I dropped that idea and I'm glad it became what it is now. However, the hardest angle of Iso for me to figure out was his relationship with Toa/Mother. Did he truly love her? Or was he just using her all along? I knew she loved him, but…eventually I decided for a little of both. Iso did find himself loving her, but he isn't against even using his love as a tool to further his purposes. A true bastard all the way, but like all the Iso-jin, I at least tried to have him have motivations behind his actions beyond just evil. I don't think any of them are truly evil…though some of them are quite twisted.
Born the final heir to a famous clan of swordsmiths on Ianoa Island, Toa was bored with her life and all those living on that isle. She wished for somebody truly extraordinary—and then Iso appeared. It was love at first sight, and Toa forsook her legacy to follow in his footsteps, and after endearing herself to him she ate the Yoken Yoken fruit and became his Oracle. However, her premonitions weren't working correctly, and their journey was postponed until her powers emerged. Unfortunately, in the meantime the island was attacked by the pirate Gold Roger, and Toa received the vision too late to save her love. Overcome with grief Toa blamed herself until she decided that fate had declared it, and looking forward into the future, saw the path she thought fate had set for her. Taking the name Mother, Toa organized a group of "Iso-jin" to eventually fulfill the task fate had assigned her: reviving her lover, Iso!
Toa was very single-minded—first she was determined to find excellence, and once she did, she became obsessed with Iso and nothing else. She cared about nothing or nobody except for her love, and happily manipulated or killed people who got in the way of her plans. In fact, Toa felt no guilt for any of her actions, feeling that fate decreed them long before she existed. She became a staunch advocate of fatalism as a scapegoat for her own guilt, and was so blinded by her beliefs that even her Devil's Fruit abilities couldn't detect changes in the time stream. Toa's Yoken Yoken Fruit allowed her to view the future, either as a vision or parallel to the present. In imitation of Iso's abilities, Toa had complete control of her body's chi as a weapon, and was also a master martial artist. She also had complete access to Iso's stash of weapons, including his energy collectors, one of which she wore as a conduit to her love's power. She sent all damage taken to him, while she could use it to rejuvenate her aged body to its prime as well!
To me, Mother is the most evil of the Iso-jin. She was totally selfish, not to mention creepy. When my proofreader told me he "hated" her, I said "Good, you're supposed to." She stands for everything that I hate, really. Though as a person I haven't made very many strides in this area, I definitely believe that we make our own future—we can only blame circumstances for so much. Mother blinded herself to the truth, and paid the ultimate price for it. The only sympathy I have for her is for the fact that she's a very, very sick woman.
The situation between Iso, Mother and Ivan is a parallel to a situation I'm ashamed to admit I was involved in. I looked up to somebody I'll call friend "J". He helped me deal with some problems I was having in my life, and in my eyes was somebody I wanted to model myself after completely. Of course, I was blind to his many faults and the fact that he was leading me into situations I didn't want to be involved in. I'm Ivan. Friend "J", meanwhile, thought he was completely independent to a fault, really, but every decision he made was just following the lead of his best friend, Friend "R". "J" is Mother, while "R" holds the Iso position (but cared a lot less about the whole thing). Fortunately, I came to my senses before I followed "J" into ruin like Ivan did, but he hasn't been so fortunate—though I will say he hasn't been blown into bits from the inside out yet (my proofreader will be saying "Dang!" here heehee.) This wasn't the ideas in my head as I wrote them, but once I realized the uncanny similarities, well, it had to be influenced by it. And now I'm sharing it with you. The more you know!
Yoken Yoken: Thirty Seconds Parallel Run Chapter 24, 27: Mother looks thirty seconds into the future then creates a parallel run, thus seeing the present through one eye and thirty seconds into the future in the other.
Note: at Iso's suggestion, Toa stopped naming her chi techniques upon joining up with Iso's crew—all her named techniques come from before this moment.
Death Scatter Chapter 26: Toa unleashes a beam of chi that splits into dozens of smaller blasts that target and impale entire groups of soldiers.
Crescent Blade Chapter 26: Waving her arm, Toa unleashes a crescent shaped blade of chi.
Detonate Chapter 26: A massive amount of Toa's chi is unleashed all around her body, exploding like a bomb.
Son of the acting Iso-jin leader Ivan and his bride Isabel, Ian led an idyllic childhood, until his mother grew fed up with Ivan's foremost allegiance to Mother, and the Iso-jin's inactivity. She left the cult and took Ian with her, vowing to save Ianoa Island herself. She took action to sabotage the gangs, but was found out by Rodell's group and executed in front of her young son. Rescued by his father, Ian vowed to fulfill Isabel's dream—but was manipulated by Mother into thinking that working with the Iso-jin was the way to do so. Given the mystical sword Eehuah, Ian defended Ianoa Island while waiting for the day when the user of santoryu would arrive with the Great Power that could save his home!
Like Zoro, Ian's entire purpose in life is to fulfill his dream, even if he dies trying. However, unlike Zoro, in the meantime he's found time for other things, such as Chiyu—but would discard anything if it interfered with his goal. He's also very vengeful and can hold a grudge for quite a long time, but this tends to blur his judgment. Despite it all, Ian has the best of intentions, and is one of the few Iso-jin who could function in society. He wields the sword Eehuah, which was made from Iso's crystal and endowed with a fraction of his power. Ian can use his willpower to shape the energy within Eehuah to his whim, creating lethal combinations.
Ian was meant to be Zoro's rival, and in that respect they're very much alike. Since he lost to Mihawk, every enemy that Zoro's fought have been testing different areas of his skill. Hachi tested his endurance, Mr. 1 his understanding of swordsmanship, Ohm his forethought (he had to get around mantra)—and Ian is no different. Ian is an enemy with just as much drive as Zoro, and the first to ever take more than one or two strikes from him and survive. This was a match of who could stay focused the longest, and Ian lost because he was shown that he didn't have to win to fulfill his dream. If he hadn't been enlightened, who knows, they might still be fighting. As the only Iso-jin who wasn't sick, I'm glad he was able to get back on track. He'll get Ianoa Island back in shape in no time.
Crimson Blade Chapter 5, 11, 22, 26: Ian's favorite and most common attack, he swings the Eehuah, sending a crescent shaped blade of crimson energy towards the enemy.
Shield Chapter 5, 11, 13, 22: Creates a crimson shield of pure energy. It can take the shape of a wall or a bubble.
Luminescent Whip Chapter 5, 21: A trail of crimson energy extends from the Eehuah, creating a whip that can be retracted, extended or controlled at will.
Eehuah Explosion Chapter 5, 22: Ian's most powerful technique, he channels a large amount of the Eehuah's power into a projectile that produces a deadly explosion on contact. Before Ian was connected to the Iso Toa through the crystal, using this technique drained him of all his stamina and power.
Crimson Elevator Chapter 21: Thrusting the Eehuah into the ground, Ian projects a giant pillar of crimson energy that elevates him to a destination in the air.
Crimson Blade Strangle Chapter 22: Ian slashes his sword viciously, unleashing a constant barrage of crescent shaped blades of energy.
Luminescent Whip Barbs Chapter 22: Ian creates a crimson energy whip from the Eehuah, only barbs emerge up and down the weapon.
Crimson Maze Chapter 22: Energy from the Eehuah covers the floor of the battlefield in intricate patterns, rising into huge walls that create a maze to trap the opponent. Ian is able to merge through and hide within the walls.
Crimson Comet Chapter 23: Ian surrounds himself with crimson energy which propels him forward like a bullet train. If his opponent manages to make it inside the comet, they will be damaged by the energy surrounding them while Ian goes for the kill with the actual blade.
Crimson Tsunami Chapter 30: With one swing of the Eehuah Ian unleashed a tidal wave of crimson energy leaving no opponent in the area unharmed.
Ivan was used by his father Ike as a thief, stealing fruit which Ike sold at discount prices so as to save to leave the quickly deteriorating Ianoa Island. One day Ivan accidentally ate a Devil's Fruit he stole, which would have netted them enough money to escape! In a fit of rage Ike attacked the boy, and acting on impulse Ivan killed his father with his newfound power. From that day on Ivan viewed his abilities as a curse. Eventually he found himself using his abilities in Rodell's gang, and thought they were finally becoming useful until he was confronted by his gangmates, who were threatened by Ivan's power and assaulted him, leaving him for dead. He was rescued by Mother, who gave him the Ehedren armor to suppress his "cursed" powers. Ivan declared his everlasting loyalty to the woman who saved him, no matter what she asked him to do.
A very serious and determined man, Ivan saw the world in a very distorted black and white—Mother was always right, everything else was wrong. Everything came second to her whims, even his wife and child. One would think this would lead to a very unhappy life, but seeing as Ivan cared only for Mother's happiness, he was happy regardless. Heck, it's even possible he knew Mother was just manipulating him, and just didn't care. The Ehedren armor contained a battery of Iso's power that could be used to expand the stone armor or release quick blasts of energy, but it was possible to overload it. Ivan's Suji Suji fruit gave him complete control of his muscles, allowing him to focus, regenerate, and grow them to superhuman size.
A complete tool, Ivan is the ultimate mindless soldier. Like Tank and Swifty, he shows that we need to know exactly what it is we're believing in, and why. They figured that out, Ivan didn't. I feel sorry for him, but at the same time, he was way too far gone to save either. I paired him against Beast Boy and Chopper because they're opposites—those two are young, playful and loud, while Ivan is old, serious and quiet. They're just fun together. Nobody else could get the reactions from him that they did!
Crimson Nightmare Chapter 18: Ivan's armor's basic attack, he shoots a beam of crimson power from whatever armor has formed on his arm at the time.
Security Gauntlet…Crush Chapter 18: The armor cuffs on Ivan's arms expand into large stone circles, or gauntlets, used to block. Ivan crushes an opponent with it.
Crimson Burst Chapter 18: An expansive blast from all surfaces of the armor, meant to stun and toss back enemies.
Crimson Geyser Chapter 18: With his entire body covered in the Ehedren armor, Ivan fires a full-body blast into the air like an erupting geyser.
Security Gauntlet…Cymbal Chapter 18: Growing a gauntlet on each arm, Ivan smashes his opponent between the two shields.
Crimson Cannonball Chapter 18: Ivan entraps the opponent in a sphere of crimson energy, which carries them across the battlefield before exploding.
Defensive Eclipse Chapter 18: The armor—in a flash—covers the user's entire body for a full defense.
Tremor Dash Chapter 18: Crimson energy explodes from armor on Ivan's feet, propelling him like a human rocket.
Crimson Damnation Chapter 18: The Ehedren's ultimate attack, Ivan converts the armor on both of his arms to energy and fires a powerful double-handed blast that soars like fire, incinerating anything in its path. It's a draining technique that takes a while to recharge if used repeatedly.
Suji Suji Fruit:
Suji Suji Maximum Chapter 19: Every single one of Ivan's muscles instantly grow to their natural limit.
Suji Suji Enhancement: Arms Chapter 19: All the muscle in Ivan's body focus into one or both arms, allowing him to surpass his limit.
Suji Suji Enhancement: Hurricane Chapter 19: Ivan uses the sudden shift of every maximized muscle in his body to create hurricane force winds.
Suji Chest Shield Chapter 19: Ivan shifts his pectoral muscles to block attacks to his face.
Suji Suji Enhancement: Hands Chapter 19 All the muscles in Ivan's body focus into his hands.
Thunder Clap Chapter 19 With all his muscles moved into his hands, Ivan smashes his opponent by clapping with them in-between his hands.
Suji Suji Overdrive Chapter 19 Every single one of Ivan's muscles become double their already maximized size, pushing past their limit. This would be like using an Suji Suji enhancement on the entire body, only this is a dangerous technique that damages Ivan's body in the process. A last resort.
Suji Suji Overdriven Enhancement: Hurricane Chapter 19: Ivan focuses the dangerous muscles of the "Suji Suji Overdrive" into his arms, nearly making them explode. The force of the shifting creates a hurricane-force gale that can nearly decimate any enemy.
Tank and Swifty:
Best friends and abandoned youth of Ianoa Island, Tank and Swifty found themselves about to die in a bitter gang fight when their lives were saved by Mother and Ian. They saw the power Ian possessed, and Mother told them it could be theirs too if they served her, and offered them both Devil's Fruits. Eager to become stronger, both accepted her offer, taking the fruits and becoming obligated to follow Mother's orders.
Tank and Swifty are fun-loving and amiable, and also like a pretty face (they went right for Starfire wink wink.) They follow orders like good soldiers, but aren't so cut off from the world that they think everything they do is right. Tank is very large and naturally strong, and his Sai Sai Fruit lets him turn into a Rhinoceros. Swifty is small and fast, and his Neko Neko Fruit model Cheetah lets him turn into a Cheetah.
Like Ivan, Tank and Swifty represent the dangers of mindlessly following ideas or orders without knowing why first. They, however, were smart enough to realize their mistakes and redeem themselves. I think most people in their situations have those nagging doubts in their head that something isn't right here, and should perhaps listen to them more. Their distinct speech patterns come from an effort to give them some uniqueness (Oda-sensei, the author of OP, often gives his characters distinctive ways of talking), but I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to do it at first. That's why their ways of talking evolve throughout the few chapters they were in as I set rules for it. In the end, I like the idea but wish I had chosen speech patterns that were less annoying. My proofreader called it "soldier speak", but that wasn't the intention at all.
Sai Sai Slam Chapter 12, 30: An extremely powerful full body slam in his half-human half-rhino form.
Cross-Cut Slash Chapter 12, 30: In his half-man half-cheetah mode, Swifty bares his claws and slashes as he runs past his opponent, leaving a pattern of crossing scars down their back.
As Ian's girlfriend, Chiyu enjoys a very high ranking in the Iso-jin society, just below that of Tank and Swifty. Like all Iso-jin she's a master martial artist, and she's also second only to Mother at using the Iso-jin "magic", making her an expert healer—even able to repair damaged clothing! Just like the other soldiers she was rescued by Mother and thus gives her allegiance to her, but she can sense something fishy is going on. She truly loves Ian and wishes he wasn't so serious all the time.
Chiyu was originally intended to be a generic Iso-jin soldier, with a Devil's Fruit ability to manipulate her opponent's health—either healing or plaguing them. She was going to confront our heroes while Tank and Swifty fought Starfire and Sanji, and was going to be defeated by Cyborg—as her abilities couldn't affect his metal. However, I couldn't figure out why someone who could see the future would send a soldier to kill our heroes when she needed them alive, so instead Chiyu evolved into what she is now, a sympathetic character that helped figure out the truth and turn the others away from Mother while supporting Ian. As a minor character, she turned out well.
Well, thanks for taking a look behind the scenes—hope the peek inside my head didn't scare you too much! I'm not sure what my next writing project will be, but rest assured there will be one eventually—thank you all for being fans of my writing and supporting me with your replies! Stay cool, rock on, and see you later!