Friday, July 7, 2017

The Masterpiece: Black Belt

You try walking a straight line without bumping into wave functions of neighboring realities.

Blackbelt is dead.  Twice.  Horribly dead twice.  Three times if you count being turned to stone first, then being brought back with part of his head missing as two deaths.

Of all the characters, it turns out I remember Black Belt the least well.  In fact, I was completely mistaken about him.  My memory of him is that he was Fighter 2, the sequel.  Just as dumb, if not more so, just a better fighter.  His death, my memory tells me, is because he wasn't necessary as they already had one Fighter and having a second one was stupid.

Most of that isn't true, it turns out.  In fact only one part of my memory was right, he was killed because he wasn't necessary, but not for the reasons I thought.

His role was simple:  be someone for White Mage to talk to.  She doesn't officially join the Light Warriors, and this leads to her being more off screen than on, and having someone she can walk and talk with as she chases the rest of the party around the world isn't a bad idea.  Giving Black Belt the ability to get lost walking in a straight line kept the two of them just behind the party, often able to witness only the aftermath of their passing.

That said, it turned out he wasn't really necessary.  After his death (second death), White Mage either was with the main party, talking with Sarda, the Wizard that Did It, or doing something noble (like creating the universe, we'll get to that later).  She didn't NEED Black Belt for that.

Later his death would serve a role in White Mage's character development, but beyond that, he wasn't needed any more.  Which means, sadly, there isn't really much to talk about with him.  He didn't undergo any development, have no story arc, or anything.  He was there for a few jokes and then gone.  Much like Dragoon, who was really just there to deal with Muffin, or Evil Princess Sara who, while having cameo appearances, is basically done as soon as the Light Warriors cross their bridge.

Would the comic have been better if Black Belt had more of a role?  Hard to say, as I'm not sure WHAT role he could have had.  Even White Mage, easily a main character of the group, was absent from most of the comic, and even missed the bulk of the final battles (aside from the important one).  In the mean time there were the Other Warriors who did many of the same things that Black Belt could have done, but were more entertaining at it, and then Dragoon who had ONE job, and did it once he realized his parrot was a dragon.  I will argue Sara could easily had more to do, but that's another story all together.

Really for Black Belt, he is but one of dozens of side characters who didn't get as much screen time as the main four, but ultimately didn't really NEED that time either.  Most of these characters are one note, one joke types and are there just to keep the rest of the story interesting.  Keeping the comic focused on the main cast kept it from wandering too much, and when it did wander, it was short, funny, and didn't over stay it's welcome.

Next time, the crazy one.  No, not him.  Or her.  Not that one either.  Yes, that one.  Until next time.

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