I Love a Good Blowout

A blowout isn’t just about the final score. It doesn’t turn on a choice of strategy. It’s not when two opponents start out trading even blows only for one to decisively pull away after a series of power-ups. It’s not when one person gets his ass kicked, learns a new technique, and comes back a week later to return the favor. It’s not when someone loses only because he played rock to the opponent’s paper.

A blowout is an absolute display of superiority. It’s a start-to-finish beatdown. It’s a level of domination that lets both the loser and the audience understand from the core of their being that the outcome wouldn’t change if they redid the battle a thousand times.

Blowouts are especially delicious when you’re lulled into believing the two sides are approximately equal. It’s the opposite of everything anime trains you to expect. I’m sick of seeing stronger characters playing to the level of their competition, which is supposedly exciting because you don’t know who’s going to win! When anime is so biased toward making seemingly unequal characters fight equally, seeing seemingly equal characters fighting unequally sends a message: the message of kicking ass.

23 Replies to “I Love a Good Blowout”

  1. Hey man, it’s [the anime blogger formerly know as] Riex!

    I totally agree with you on this. These “blowouts” as you call them are usually some of the most epic moments in an anime.

    I’m not sure if you watch One Piece or not, but shortly before the time jump happens, Luffy and his entire crew get their faces wrecked by a bunch of Pacifistas (a cyborg that replicates a Pirate Warlord). Just absolutely thrashed, and all Luffy can do is watch as his entire crew gets eliminated one by one. There was nothing any of them could have done about it short of bringing in other characters not in their crew who were more powerful than they were. After the time jump, Luffy comes back and owns one of these Pacifistas in about five seconds. Which may be another blowout in itself, but that’s after two years of training.

    One Piece actually has quite a few of these moments because there is usually a very clearly defined level of power between characters, so you know that (for example) Luffy vs a Navy Admiral is not going to go over well for Luffy.

    • Hunter x Hunter got this post a spot in my drafts folder. One-Punch Man and One Piece got it back out.

      As of your comment I was about two or three chapters short of the time skip. It was just last week that I read Luffy getting crushed in that battle. It was magnificent. Luffy needed a good dose of failure to put to rest all my previous complaints that he was winning all his battles just by believing in himself, screwing around, and getting obscenely lucky.

      Good to see ya back.

    • A blowout sale isn’t about the final price. It’s not about the percentage markdown. It doesn’t happen in a bin in the back corner of the store. It’s not limited to the crap that wouldn’t sell at a higher price. It’s not when a store is only forced to liquidate because it’s going out of business.

      A blowout sale is a display of unbeatable value. It’s a complete and utter disregard for profit. It’s a sale that instantly lets consumers know that a lower price will never be matched no matter how much they wait, shop around, or beg competitors to match the price.

  2. Cheaters prosper.

    One of the things that people love a whole bunch is a dramatic comeback. It’s really exciting when one boxer turns out to have far more endurance than the other, so the aggressor was unable to keep his lead, making for a victory from behind. Heroic willpower yay!

    The issue here is that fights in fictional media are written, and therefore have to be composed according to some dramatic storytelling rules. Consequently, the “most dramatic” outcome of a huge comeback by the heroes after they’re initially stomped is the default, rather than the exception.

    How many anime protagonists can you remember who explicitly have both “heroic willpower” and “good at comebacks” as their explicit advantages?

    The problem we run into here is that when you get injured in a fight, you don’t get willpower from it – you get injury. Shocking, right? A sound mind has to dwells in a sound body, and being suckerpunched repeatedly doesn’t give a person much time to come up with a new strategy OR fend off the attacker. For reference, remember that one almost nauseating scene where Volgin completely curbstomped Snake in MGS3? If not, Youtube sure does. (Kind of silly that a bisexual lightning Raoh kicking the crap out of a secret agent is what passes for ‘reality happening’, but there you go.)

    • Funny you mention boxing. The dramatic storytelling rules applied to anime fights may as well have been made by the Marquess of Queensberry. Fighters who get knocked down always get their ten-count before being attacked again. Plenty of break time to talk and strategize too.

      Speaking of Fist of the North Star, I recall being surprised—in a good way—that Kenshiro made quick work of Shin. Just rewatched that fight. They did let Shin get in one relatively harmless hit, presumably so they could show Kenshiro nonchalantly licking his own blood.

  3. I got a blowout on my front tire once. It sucked. It was snowing and shit, I had to carry my car home on my back, which wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that I got covered in grease. I almost had a mind to throw it off a cliff at some elderly passers-by who were annoying me by being happy, but that would’ve defeated the purpose of getting covered in grease, so I decided to trek the needed 13.7 miles home with that stupid Saturn shithole on my back.

    Then I got a blow out on my left shoe. Went back and threw the car at the elderly passers-by. Because fuck their happiness.

  4. I would like to see more completely one-sided fights in anime. Every protagonist needs to get beaten senseless these days.

    • Hold on, let me check My Anime List.

      Yes, you are correct. Some much more than others, but yes. Particularly the guy who fails to appreciate being in a love triangle with a woman who’s good at fighting and a woman who’s good at economics.

  5. i thought blowouts were supposed to break the pace of a fight, in anime of course… in real life a blowout will probably break more than a finger or two… lol

    But now let’s think for a while, if anime fights were like the 1,5 ~ 3 minutes long UFC fights, that would be unprofitable for naruto, one piece and other filler based animes out there.

    • It’ll be very profitable once they release it is as Naruto Kai, One Piece Kai, etc. (Still haven’t seen DB Kai.)

      Anime almost always uses blowouts as a change of pace. It’s effective, don’t get me wrong, but blowouts don’t need to be used strategically to be appreciated. A blowout just for the heck of it is fine too.

  6. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure pulls these sometimes with the Big Bads of each Part. Not so much with the main hero vs. the villain, but more with the author feeding the supporting characters into them like a woodchipper. Part 3 sees half the cast, who’ve seen off dozen of opponents beforehand, DIE HORRIBLY. The cute dog, the elegant bishonen guy, the everyman who’s already come back from dead, they all go down in seconds. It’s made plain they never had a chance.

    It’s refreshingly brutal. And it happens in every single Part of the series. Araki lives up to the adage Anybody can die”. It’s like an even gayer glam-rock shonen version of Game of Thrones.

      • If you do check it out then I recommend skipping the first nine episodes. They are kind of shitty. Highly entertaining, yes, but still shitty. And Part 2 has Joseph Joestar, or as he’s better known the greatest character in the entire franchise.

  7. Unrelated to this post, Baka Raptor I’d highly recommend you to start with Vinland Saga.
    I picked it up recently and it’s mind blowing! I’m eagerly waiting for it’s first volume to get released so that I can buy it!
    Guaranteed +++

  8. Then you should probably read Noblesse. The God Of Highschool has some of this, but it’s also pretty fucking stupid.

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