Main | Editorials | A Genealogy Of Cool
     
 
 
   
     
  A Genealogy of Cool  
  Posted by Harumichi Bouya on June 24, 2010.  
     
  Moderate spoilers, so tread with caution...  
     
 

I got around to thinking about who the coolest character in Crows X Worst was. Not badass, not tough, but cool, in every sense of the word. Calm, collected, relaxed, and someone who just doesn't care. A cool motherfucker, if you will.

My immediate answer was of course Bitou Tatsuya. In many ways, he epitomizes that description, as does his doppleganger and soulmate Ryushin, albeit to a slightly lesser degree. Kouhei is another contender but the massive chip on his shoulder knocks him out of the running.

Then it dawned on me, it's Bandou.

But there's a caveat. Because obviously the Heel Bandou that we're first introduced to certainly doesn't meet the above criteria. In fact, he fails miserably. The Tweener Bandou that swoops in during the Bitou saga (and hangs around) is closer, but still not quite there. It's the Face Bandou that we encounter at the end of our heroes' journey. The Bandou that is fondly referred to as "Rock and Roll Bandou".

*Face, Tweener, and Heel are terms used in professional wrestling.

This is Bandou at his best. I don't think it's any surprise that this Bandou has been rendered twice in plastic, once by Organic and once by Dive. And both representations are among some of the best work that either company has put forth. At this point in his narrative arc, Bandou doesn't care about becoming the Head of the Front. He doesn't care about ruling Suzuran. And he doesn't care about his enemies. It's about him, what he wants to do, and his friends. I don't think it's any surprise that it's implied that music is directly related to this enlightenment, considering Hiroshi's own (simplistic) notions towards music, but I digress...

Bandou doesn't give a fuck. And not in that juvenile "I'm a tough guy so I don't give a fuck" sense, but in the way that he's honest and sincere and he is being himself. He lives his life, and all of the external elements just don't matter.

It's ironic but the coolest guys are the ones that don't care about being cool. The harder you try, the harder you fail.

And once he's freed of those concerns that he obsessed over so greatly, of power, of status, and of his reputation, he is truly free. And that, is the epitome of cool. Now this is where it gets interesting.

Compare Bandou as he is in this greater state of understanding:

     
 
 
     
 

To Sugata Kazushi, the Second Head of the Front.

     
 
 
     
 

I've been thinking about Bandou and Sugata, mainly because Dive revealed them to be their next release in one of their three current (and most recent) lines, "Genealogy of the Skull".

     
 
 
     
 

Those two figures are the most exciting they've done in quite some time, and are largely responsible for my excitement in Crows again, after a pretty substantial lull. The very fact that these two have been paired together is a source for excitement in itself and it is no coincidence that Bandou and Sugata have been paired together. Furthermore, these FBG's illustrate just how closely related these characters are, beyond the surface level of mentor-to-protegee.

     
 
 
     
 

*To further clarify, while Sugata and Bandou are two separate characters, they are being released as one slot in the line-up, much like the Arson Brothers in the "Monstrous Ones" line-up. They share the same base body sculpt, but with different heads and accessories. Bandou is the Regular Version while Sugata is the Dive and Regulus Versions. Both will have FUN Versions. It is assumed that there will be more exclusives, but as of this writing have yet to be announced

Shrouded in secrecy, (rivaled only by the then unseen First Head), Sugata was one of the most enigmatic and coolest characters in CXW mythology, bolstered all the more by his short but profound appearance. More importantly, more than most characters in the lore, Sugata seemed as if he were the most free. It's in his expression. You see that carefree quality. You see that devil may care relaxedness, or even arrogance. That very expression is captured so perfectly in the FBG, which makes it some of Dive's best, most subtle work. And the great thing is that by the end of Bandou's arc, he has that very same expression. He has reached the plateau that Sugata reached.

Sugata was free from the constraints of society, free from the birdcage. He was a true Crow. And the world couldn't handle him. It wasn't ready for him. And it claimed him. Or perhaps he was freed from this world and moved on to the next?

Bandou is the spiritual heir to Sugata, and in some ways, he had the potential to be the greatest Head that the Front had had. It is very possible, judging from where Bandou's arc ends, that his iteration of the Front could have embodied the very spirit of what Sugata wanted from the team (without taking into consideration Keizou and his motivations for creating the team). But perhaps The Front wasn't ready for that freedom. As seen in the conflicts that subsequent generations have been engulfed in, they were and still are mired in the strife and struggle of being tied down by corporeal matters. They have to fight back against the world, because they are part of that world, not above it.

What is the thesis to Crows X Worst? Is it fighting for the sake of fighting? Fighting to be a tough guy and proving your masculinity?

It's about freedom. It's about fighting for that freedom, even in the face of insurmountable odds. It's about fighting even when the gains are disproportionate to the effort, and when everyone tells you that you can't do it, and it's not worth it.

It's not about a perpetual engine of superficial, meaningless conflict that serves only to feed itself, prolong its own existence, and generate the capital needed to maintain that existence. It's all about the good fight.

Bandou had his mentor in Sugata, and with the help of his friends, who were there by his side to watch his journey, he found his way. I can only hope that Hiroshi will take note of his own creation, and do the same.