You know what?
I don't like this kid.
He's the bitter, bitter center of a whole heaping load of disappointment pie. That's what I felt when I read the "Mega Man Zero" manga. Disappointment.
And "What the F*** is this CRAP?!"
But first, a bit of backstory.
For the uninitiated, Mega Man Zero is another installment in the famous Mega Man series, created by Capcom. 100 years after the events of Mega Man X, Zero is reawakened in a future where humanity is repressed by Neo Arcadia, a vast empire that spans the ruined earth. He joins the Resistance, a group dedicated to defeating Neo Arcadia, lead by a young woman named Ciel. His adventures span four games on the Game Boy Advance, where he battled Neo Arcadia at first, but then ultimately began fighting against the insane ambitions of Dr. Weil, who threatened the entire world. Overall, the Mega Man Zero series is even more serious than the preceding Mega Man X, and gamers were challenged by its difficult gameplay and influenced by its unfolding story.
None of which, remarkably, made it to the manga.
Since the only translated version of the manga was done by the good folks at Rockman Tanjou, I'll be naturally refering to that translation. Before we begin, I'd like to make clear that I've got nothing against the translators. They do some good work, and hell, it's totally within their rights to like this manga. But since I'm writing this article, I will continue to refer to the manga as a GFSPOC (godforsaken piece of crap). I'll also be using the script from the first Mega Man Zero game as reference for comparison.
The story begins with Fefnir being an ass, declaring how he'll wipe the rebels off the face of the earth after, well, wiping some rebels off the face of the earth. Okay, standard issue stuff so far. Fefnir likes killin', like in the normal series...so far, so good, right?
Turn to Page 9, where we meet three random kids. One kid, the short dude, is Lito. I learned to hate him very quickly. The two others will never be seen again after a few chapters. Perhaps that's a good thing, considering that Lito alone contributes to 50% of the assery committed in this manga.
So, Lito and his gang are pissing around in this random building, when they just HAPPEN to discover Zero.
Lito swims through the nasty swamp water and immediately realizes it's "Rockman Zero, from a hundred years ago". First off, Zero looked, like, completely f***ing different a hundred years ago. Secondly, he was basically a crazy old wives' tale back in the MMZ games-Ciel directly says in the game that "Most of us think that Zero is nothing but a fantasy." How the hell does this random kid know who the guy is, despite differences in appearance and the remarkable lack of belief that Zero even actually EXISTED?
Spiky Haired Kid makes the ugliest One Piece style face you'll ever see on the bottom panel of Page 11.
Oh, no, wait, I'm sorry, it does get uglier from there.
But uh oh, what's this? Zero has awakened! And, in a feat of remarkable acrobatics, he dives into the water to confront a bigass robotic snake on Page 14, and pulling out his little peashooter, gives him hell! Aw, yeah, Zero! Kick ass just like you always do!
...okay, he falls over on Page 15, but that's fine, heroes trip sometimes! Just-
WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!
Boys and girls, meet the OTHER 50% of assery committed in the Mega Man Zero series. This is...I hesitate to call him Zero. This simpering coward doesn't deserve to be called that.
I'll call him Negative Three.
-3 is the form Zero spends most of his time in during this manga. In this form, he has explosive amnesia, and the amazing powers of over-reaction and the ability to BE SCARED OF F***ING EVERYTHING.
I'M NOT LYING, KIDS.
-3 demonstrates his incredible over-reaction power by making a face that especially tops Spiky Haired Kid's last expression, and screams like a little girl while throwing out a frog that happened to crawl into his clothes. I don't exaggerate when I say that -3 has one of these freak-out sessions practically EVERY F***ING MINUTE throughout the ENTIRE manga.
So the kids take -3 home so Lito's ridiculously big-foreheaded grandpa can take a look at him and wonder what the f*** went wrong with this manga like I did. (Oh, and -3 has another freak-out, that's 2 and counting.) Lito tells Grandpa that they went into the Forbidden Building of Sexual Predator Doom, and Grandpa counters with his own ridiculous over-reaction. He starts talking about the X series, and how even that's better than this manga, and how the artist f***ed up on his drawing of Sigma.
The plot deviates here again-originally, Neo Arcadia just wanted to kill off who they thought were Mavericks. Here, they just want to waste Reploids period, because humans won the war fought in the X series.
Wait, how could they win the war? They didn't do S*** in the X series!
Soon, Fefnir comes in, because he's a Nazi and he's looking for Anne Frank-er, he's looking for Reploids in the house. You know, it suddenly occurs to me that if Neo Arcadia wants to off Reploids, why are they giving Fefnir free reign? For that matter, why do the Guardians even EXIST in this manga if the humans are supposedly in control and want to destroy all Reploids? It's another poorly executed plot device that, in reality, just exists to set up the main dynamic of the Zero manga, which we'll get into in a minute.
Grandpa stalls by being old, and Fefnir hilariously wails him in the face.
In fact, let's see that again!
Man, that feels good to watch.
Anyway, Fefnir gets the kids. -3 is hiding behind a wall, crying like a sissy because Lito and his random friends are in danger. Fefnir gets ready to perform child abuse on Lito, and the little guy screams for Mega Man Zero to make a much-needed return.
-3 taps into his ultimate power and goes Super Saiyan.
That's...that's pretty much what happens here.
And once more, with the incredible crotch angle, Zero is back in town.
This is the main dynamic of the Zero series, and it happens throughout the manga. Lito, by doing nothing else important but put his life in danger, causes -3 to go Super Saiyan, become Zero, and kick ass. My question is why. Why did they need to include this element? What do you do differently by having Zero act like Shinji most of the time, but then get TOTALLY SERIOUS when this forgettable brat's in danger? I honestly can't see a reason, and I honestly don't see why they bothered to replace Ciel with Lito anyway. She could've easily served the same purpose as Lito but with much more respect to the MMZ games. Instead, the Ciel you'll see later tries to be a incredible badass but miraculously fails. Just like this manga.
Zero cuts the crap immediately-he tells Fefnir to STFU and tells him straight up that they're f***ing dead. Fefnir retaliates with expendable soldiers, which Zero blasts the crap out of. Fefnir then reveals the big Golem robot he packed for such an occasion. Peashooter doesn't work against it (and Fefnir pretty much tells you that loudly) so Zero figures he's got to do it another way, and he produces the Z-Saber.
Did I mention this manga completely ignores X's influence on the entire overlapping story that began in the X series and continues on to ZX as of this writing? It does. X never shows up as a Cyber Elf, never gives Zero his killstick back (though how a Cyber Elf can carry the Z-Saber anyway, I dunno), and pretty much, no one bothers to mention him at all. This ALSO means that Copy X is completely f***ed up. You'll see, boys and girls. You'll see.
Zero carves through the Golem like a blind man chops off a slice of cheese, and Fefnir is visibly stunned by this remarkable display of pwnage. Fefnir totally tries to act like he was gonna run away anyway, but inside, he's crying, the big softie. Lito tackles Zero like a linebacker, which unfortunately prompts Zero to go away and do more interesting things while -3 steals the show. And in a bad way. -3 doesn't believe he did anything cool (and technically, he didn't) and Grandpa feels the same way.
And that's it for Chapter One, boys and girls. You won't see Spiky Haired Kid or Corpulent Lad or Grandpa ever again, and the manga will quickly turn into an obsessive ZeroxLito shipping fest, complete with pastiches of once refined characters and a plot that makes purists cry dirty, dirty tears. It only gets worse from here, boys and girls. Fun times ahead.
Until next time...kick your elders.