Bob Kiwi and Co. Present:
All I Need to Know I Learned from Anime...

        The cast has gathered once more in the oft-abused meeting room at the behest of Jennies, and is milling about absently as they wait for their author to put in an appearance.

Ferdie: Not to sound philosophical, but does anyone know why we’re here?
Lita: Or more importantly, why there’s no snacks?
Ferdia: (shrugs) No idea. Who’s turn was it to bring them, anyway?
D’Gal & Jesmynne: (glance up from their Portable Doom Assistant) Dumass’.
Drake: (feathers ruffle) It is Dumaas! Du-maas!
Lita: Sounds like a confession to me.
Drake: Wait - no. I - I was just- (glances Squeaks’ way)
Squeaks: (look of idle amusement) You walked into that one, my friend. Maybe you’d best go get something anyway.

(Drake departs dejectedly. Several minutes later, Jennies arrives.)

Jennies: (throws arms open wide over head in celebration) I have arrived!

(No response.)

Jennies: (scowls) A little appreciation here, people, or the next thing this cast does will be a poetry slam.
Beak: (horrified) Jennies! That’s a terrible thing to do to those poor people!
Jennies: (quirks eyebrow) What, the readers?
Beak: The poets! Whatever have they done to deserve slamming?
Jennies: (blinks) ... 0_o;
Beak: Well?
Jennies: Beak, there are times the depths of your cluelessness astound me. (to group) Somebody smack him.

(Bob obligingly cuffs the confused Beak lightly upside the head.)

Jennies: Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I’m sure you’re all wondering why I’ve called you here today.
Ivan: (wryly) The thought had crossed our minds.
Iiwi: I don’t suppose you’ve got any new work for us, Jennies?
Jennies: No, no - we’ve got too much to finish right now to even consider starting anything else.
Iiwi: Not that that’s ever stopped you before.
Jennies: I’m pretending it is now.
Bob: So we’re going to finish Midnight in the Garden of Cute and Evil and Buccaneers?
Jennies: (nods sagely) Yes. Eventually. (pause) Not today, though.
Bob: (frowns) Then why-?
Jennies: Actually, I summoned everyone here today for a little training.
Beak: “Training?” You mean with full size locomotives, or those little ones than run on tracks around the holiday tree? And either way, are you sure it wouldn’t just be easier to show us how to fly?
Jennies: (facefaults) ...You know, there are times I wonder the same thing myself... But anyways. I meant we’re going to do something educational.
Ferdia: (wryly) Everything we do is educational.
D’Gal: Yes, quite often it’s a bright, shining example of how not to do something.
Ferdia: Exactly. Take Drake, for instance.
D’Gal: Certainly. Where would you like him taken to?
Jesmynne: How ’bout the bottom of a volcanic sea vent?
D’Gal: Sounds lovely.
Jennies: (sighs) Come on, guys. I was serious.
Sign Holder: Aw, not another filmstrip!
Lita: (grumbles) Man, an’ I cut class for this, too.
Ivan: You cut class for a lot of things, Farlane.
Lita: Yeah, but I’d kinda hoped it would be for a legitimate reason this time.
Jennies: (glares) In that case, we could just read some poetry. I hear Beak has several lovely new haikus...
Lita: (sighs) I guess it’s off to the auditorium again...
Jesmynne: (raises hand) Can we villains be excused?
Jennies: No.
Jesmynne: (taps chin in thought, looking puzzled) Are we being punished?
Jennies: (groans) Look, you’ll like this one. Promise.
Jesmynne: (long-suffering sigh) Oh, all right...

(The group files into battered auditorium and takes their seats, ignoring Bobetta’s complaints about the sorry state of the upholstery.)

Jennies: (scanning seated group) Hey, where’s Drake?
D’Gal: (helpfully) He went to get snacks.
Jennies: (suspicious now) It always worries me when you start being helpful. Especially when it concerns Drake.
D’Gal: (slyly) I can’t begin to imagine why...
Ferdia: But Drake really did go out for food. (glances at Squeaks) We sent him ourselves.
Squeaks: (nods in agreement)
Jennies: Oh. (pause) But, the only place near here that serves food is the concession -

(A muffled boom! rattles the back of the theater, from the direction of the concession stand, and soon the buttery smell of movie popcorn and roast duck wafts down from the rear doors.)

Jennies: (glances questioningly at D’Gal, who smiles slyly) *sigh* Never mind.

After a bit of search-and-rescue (the snacks), the group reconvenes in the theater with as much unburned popcorn, soda, and sugary candy as they can carry. Drake joins them a few minutes later, still a bit singed and smeared with white-hot steaming cooking oil and butter but no longer resembling a giant burnt popcorn ball.

Jennies: All right, roll film!

The lights dim as all eyes reluctantly fix on the giant screen. After a brief but timely spiel on the dangers of exploding concession stands, and an ad for burn cream, the opening credits appear onscreen:

        Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Anime:

Beak: What’s -
Bob: Just smile and nod, Beak.

        1. Pan-dimensional mallets are easy to wield despite their ridiculously large size.

Lita: Of course they are. Anti-grav dampeners plus inertial momentum means they swing like no one’s business. Takes a lot more to just stop them...
Iiwi: They also come standard with every happy meal, judging by the amount of kids and teenagers wielding them...

        2. There is no such thing as overkill. Period.

D’Gal: (grins)
Ferdia: Damn straight! There’s just varying levels of thoroughness!
Jesmynne: (rises in her seat to high-five Ferdia) All hail my sister!
Ferdie: (to a carefully expressionless Squeaks) Those two are scaring me.
Squeaks: (poker-faced) “Overkill” is simply one man’s “effectiveness” exceeding his superior’s expectations of “efficiency.”
Ferdie: (stares at the mouse for a moment) And now you’re scaring me as well...
Squeaks: (smirks) Perhaps. But then, you scare easily.

        3. No one ever finds it strange if you can spontaneously change genders.

Iiwi: That’s right; they just smile, nod, and think to themselves, “So that’s why he’s always screamed like a girl!”
Lita: And dressed up in women’s clothing.
Bobetta: And had remarkable fashion sense!
Lita: (stares at heiress)
Bobetta: (lost in thought) I’m still trying to find out just where Roberto got those fabulous baby pink satin-and-lace lady-heeled ballet-slipper Italian pumps...
Ferdie: (methodically stuffing his ears with popcorn to block out any further commentary)

        4. The more maniacal the character, the more freaky the laugh they have (case in point: Dilandau, Naga, Jinnai)

Drake: (glances D’Gal’s way)
D’Gal: (snorts) They’re not talking about me, you know.
Jesmynne: (giggles evilly)
Bob: (glares at Ivan)
Ivan: (scowls) I laugh just like everyone else, hero. You want a freaky laugh, go find that nutjob, Periwinkle.
Periwinkle: (from very far away, indignant) Hey! I worked long and hard perfecting my laugh!
Lita: Ah, Night School for Evil Mad Scientist Wannabes. What will they think of next?
Ivan: Boarding school for smart-mouthed minions.
Lita: Come on, Boss, who’d drive your car?

        5. Parallel worlds are everywhere; you just need the right transdimensional portal to find them first.

Bob: It helps to have a genius inventor.
Beak: Or a wizard.
Newton: No, thank you. I’ve had quite enough of that world-traveling nonsense to last me three lifetimes.
Ferdie: Here, here.

        6. No matter how times it gets wasted, no matter how badly it’s annihilated beyond belief, even if all that remains is a 100 foot crater in the earth, Tokyo will be able to rebuild itself into a massive techno-advanced metropolis in under 20 years.

Ferdia: Yeah, but I bet the Chief of Police still has a conniption fit every time Godzilla side-swipes a high-rise, Boomers take out an overpass, or a mecha crashes through the historic district...
Lita: When you put it that way, Tokyo sounds a bit like San Viano.
Sign Holder: In the off-season.
Lita: On a slow day.
Ferdia: (ignoring Ivan’s wards) Still, if we could just master enough of their administrative secrets to convince the Chief that none of the damage we do is gonna be permanent, we might just save the man an ulcer.
Beak: Why would you want to save his ulcers? Don’t people usually want them to go away?
Bob: (massages temples) Your denseness at times astounds me, Beak.
Beak: Really? (grins) You’re welcome!

        7. Everyone you know has a psychic power but you. That, or you’re the most powerful one of them all.

Bob: Fear my brain!
Ivan: Sage advice, indeed.
Bob: Hey!
Drake: Now, that’s just silly! People don’t have psychic powers!
All: (surreptitiously scoot away from Drake)
Drake: (blinks in confusion) What? (hanging light smashes down from ceiling onto Drake)
Sign Holder: Is it possible to have counter-intuitive powers?
D’Gal: (snorts) With Dumas, anything is possible.
Lita: Provided, of course, you’re talking about improbable ways to sustain injury.
Jesmynne: (smiling demurely) But really, what’s so improbable about a light suddenly plunging from its moorings?
Bob: I get the sneaking suspicion that if we go up and investigate, we’ll find said moorings cut through.
Beak: Really? So then you’ve got precognitive powers?
Bob: (backhands Beak) Baka.
Lita: (whoops) Ha! Seven questions into a quiz on anime, and we’ve got you using Japanese words!
Bob: (snorts) It doesn’t take a genius to learn the foreign word for “idiot.”

        8. The seemingly innocent and ditzy girl next door is no doubt a magical girl who dons some kind of dumb get-up and goes around fighting for love and justice (apparently that’s a matter of principle for magical girls).

Beak: So, is Bobetta a-
Bob: *BOOT!*
Lita: I myself would like to point out that I am neither innocent nor ditzy.
Ivan: And yet you did have a magical girl getup lying around your wardrobe.
Lita: It’s called Halloween, boss. I’m told the idea is to dress up as the scariest thing you can think of.
Ivan: What’s so scary about a bubble-headed twit running around in a short-skirted sailor costume?
Sign Holder: The fact that she wields magical weapons of great destructive power?
Lita: And did you see that hair?
Jesmynne: (tugs on D’Gal’s neck feathers) Is Dumass a magical girl, then?
Drake: HEY!
D’Gal: No, luv; he’s just an idiot.
Jesmynne: (disappointed) Oh. (pause) What about Galaxia?
D’Gal: Now there’s a frightening thought...

        9. You can never have too many guns.

Jesmynne: Well, that goes without saying!
Ferdia: There is a point where it gets difficult to carry all of them, though.
Lita: (gestures to her signature khakis) Behold the wonders of cargo pants. Boku pockets.
Ferdia: (frowns in thought) Yeah, but I can’t see the Chief approving them for uniform alternatives. I’ll just have to keep using the trunk of our squad car instead...
Squeaks: (gives Ferdia a sidelong look) Better to carry one weapon for all occasions than have to fumble about for a new one every few minutes.
Ferdia: Yes, but you won’t give me a phaser.
Jesmynne: (frowns) No? Poor dear. I could give you one of mine, if you’d like.
Squeaks: (taken aback) Could you at least wait until she clears the weapons class on those things? We don’t need her vaporizing a mountain range because she miscalibrated a setting...
D’Gal: The mouse has a point, luv.
Jesmynne: Oh, all right then. (whisper conspiratorially to Ferdia) Don’t worry, I’ll slip it into your mailbox.
Ferdia: (beams) Thanks.
Drake: (uneasily) Y-you’re a rather violent bunch, aren’t you?
Ferdia: I prefer to think of it as being prepared.
Drake: For what?!?
Ferdia: (shrugs) Anything, really. Riots. Gang wars. Missionaries.
Jesmynne: (grins) Foreign invasion. (pauses, looking thoughtful) Or holiday sales.
Lita: (solemnly) Flying ninja monkeys. (*pauses as group stares*) (shrugs) Or, y’know, whatever comes around...

        10. If you’re under 17, you can pilot the mecha of your choice. In fact, you’re obligated to pilot it.

Lita: Say, boss -
Ivan: Absolutely not.
Lita: But -
Ivan: No.
Lita: But -
Ivan: No.
Lita: But -
Sign Holder: How ’bout me? Can I get one?
Lita: Dude, sweet! (enthusiastically high-fives Sign Holder) I’ll co-pilot!
Ivan: (tearing out feathers in frustration) NO!

        11. Anything robotic (especially Boomers) will at one time or another go berserk and run amok across the city.

Ferdia: Which is just why you need to be prepared with lots of guns.
Lita: And a mecha.
Ivan: Say it all you like, Farlane; it’s not gonna happen.
Lita: The mecha, or the Boomer?
Ivan: Me, voluntarily placing something that destructive within reach of you, Farlane.
Lita: (snorts) Dude, boss, you do that all the time. (smirks) You just don’t realize it.

        12. Naughty tentacles are a fact of life. Live with it.

Ferdia: And carry guns.
Iiwi: (shakes head) Knives.
Lita: And flamethrowers.
Jesmynne: (grins devilishly) Sharp pointies. And a recipe for calamari. (*pauses as group stares*) What? Gotta do something with them after you’ve shot, stabbed, fried, and hacked them to pieces, yes?
Drake: (to D’Gal) And you stay with this woman willingly?
D’Gal: (lazily tilts head to one side) Really, Dumas, what else does one do with tentacles?
Drake: (*shudders*)

        13. All guys falls into 3 categories: they’re either fragile and sensitive, lecherous morons, or sassy and smart.

All: (*pause*) ...
Ladies: (*burst out laughing*)
Ferdie: Anyone else notice how the women have taken over this survey?
Squeaks: Do you want to comment on questions like these?
Ferdie: Well...yeah. I mean, that last one definitely could stand the addition of a “spineless coward” category. There’s plenty of that type in anime.
Iiwi: (laughing) Oh, come on, Fonz, you’re a shoo-in for the sensitive type! I mean, who but a guy completely in touch with his feelings could shamelessly shriek in terror and flee from a ladybug?
Ferdie: (defensively) I’m telling you, that thing was a vampire. It hid in the shadows all day and only came out late at night when everyone else was asleep.
Iiwi: To feed on what? Night-blooming jasmine?
Jesmynne: (glances up from tracing circles on D’Gal’s shoulder) Whazzat?
Ferdie: It was undead, I tell you!
Iiwi: Fonz, it was the size of a thumbtack!
Ferdie: Yes! And do you have any idea how dangerous a vampire that size would be? Detection alone would -
Ferdia: (swats him lightly upside the back of his head) Knock it off, bro. It’s just a bug.
Ferdie: Just a -
Squeaks: Probably drawn to the incandescent lights.
Ferdie: *mutters about nonsequitor vampires and the dangers they pose to nonbelievers*

        14. If the situation looks bad, simply jump to an eyecatch. That’ll give you more time to think up an ingenious plot device to escape and save the day.

Iiwi: ... (frowns) The hell is an eyecatch?
Lita: And why would you want to save the day?
Sign Holder: Maybe it’s like an eye twitch?
Lita: Yeah, but the boss has those all the time, and they don’t seem to do him any good...
Ivan: *eye twitch*
Sign Holder: Hmm...What about that thing Ferdie does? Where he freezes like a deer in headlights?
Jesmynne: (frowns) Mm, but that seldom works out well for the deer.
Lita: don’t suppose they’re talking about those long transformation sequences in anime, do you?
Iiwi: (shrugs) Could be.
Jennies: (leafing through a copy of The Otaku’s Guide to Everything Anime) Actually, I think they mean those splash screens that pop up between scenes in an anime where a Western cartoon would just’ve done a fade-out to black. You can almost feel the call for a commercial break when they flash up.
Ferdie: You actually went out and looked that up?
Jennies: (shrugs, snapping book closed) You didn’t think you were the only one capable of research, now did you?

        15. Trained soldiers working for the villains still can’t aim. I guess some things never change.

Lita: (looking a bit miffed) I can aim.
Jesmynne: So can I.
D’Gal: Aye, luv, but with the weapons you prefer, aim really doesn’t matter.
Jesmynne: (scowls and looks up from gun-sight) You saying I shouldn’t bother aiming?
D’Gal: I’m saying put the grenade launcher down and wait until Dumas is sitting more than five feet away.
Jesmynne: (pouts, but complies)

        16. Your sword can *never* be too big. Just look at Clamp’s characters.

Ladies: *burst out laughing*
Ferdie: I am not going near that one...
Jennies: (chuckles) Ah, Freud. Where would we be without you?
Beak: (glances around) Who’s Freud? And where is he?
Bob: (muttering to self) Black hole of stupidity...

        17. It’s not the size of your flying battleship that counts. It’s how you use it.

D’Gal: Or in Dumas’ case, how he loses it.
Jesmynne: Ooh, but size helps. The bigger the ship, the bigger the explosions.
Group: (Pause as ladies fight back snickers. Beak looks confused, Drake looks scandalized, and Squeaks has studiously adopted a Zen-like “I hear nothing” expression. A creativity demon wanders past the screen holding a large potted fern.)

        18. All girls fall into 3 categories: either they’re innocent & demure, likeable airheads, or the kind who’ll viciously kick your ass on a whim.

Jesmynne: What’s “demure”? (to D’Gal) Am I demure?
Drake: (snorts) Yeah, as demure as a rabid wolveri- (Jesmynne swings around and sends him a Death Glare) -er, I mean, absolutely. Why, you’re practically demure-incarnate. The very embodiment of demure.
D’Gal: You do like to live dangerously, Dumas. (smirks) But your lies have improved.
Iiwi: (musing) Would Bobetta be considered a “likeable airhead”?
Bob: (angrily) Don’t insult my betrothed flower of innocence and beauty, you!
Iiwi: (angrily fluffs up feathers, shoots Bob a warning glare) You wanna give some thought as to which one of those anime categories I fall into, Bob?
Bob: (hurriedly backpedaling) Let’s not get angry now, shall we? (worriedly offers bag of popcorn) Here, have some popcorn.
Iiwi: (very insulted) What am I, a park pigeon? (fluffs up like an oversize pom-pom and flexes talons)
Beak: I’ve got some Raisinets, if you’d rather eat those...
Iiwi: (anger vanishes) Ooh, gimme!

        19. The more a girl likes you, the more violent she gets. If she’s fallen in love with you then you’re as good as in a body cast.

Beak: Hey, then Jennies must like Drake a whole lot!
Jennies: *Deadly Glare of Silence*
Beak: (uneasily) Or not.
Lita: (glances at select members of the female cast, then smirks over at the guys) You poor, poor souls. Which hospital should I send your flowers to? Or aren’t those allowed in ICUs anymore?
Ivan: (sighs wearily) I suppose this means if you ever get a boyfriend, Farlane, I’ll be posting your bail on assault & battery charges?
Lita: (blinks) What are you talking about, boss?
Ivan: Well, that’s a relief.
Lita: Nobody uses batteries anymore. Nowadays we have tasers and strips of bamboo.
Ivan: (pales) Looking to fund my lawyers’ new fleet of yachts, are we?
Jesmynne: (studies #19 again; frowns) I just don’t see the logic behind that sort of behavior. Why damage the merchandise?
Ferdia: Exactly! It makes no sense!
Ferdie: There are times you really worry me, Sis.
Drake: Personally, it worries me when anyone agrees with that rabid- (Jesmynne hisses at him) -ly demure lady of benign innocence.
Jesmynne: (sticks her tongue out at Drake while curling up against D’Gal) Sorry, can’t have me.
Drake: ... -_-

        20. When it comes to a romantic twist, it’s always the guy who finds himself with numerous female contenders to be his girlfriend. The girl, on the other hand, is just being indecisive about 2 guys.

Lita: Indecisive? Who’s indecisive? (glances at the rest of the female cast) Anybody here indecisive?
Jesmynne: Nope.
Iiwi: Not really.
Ferdia: (waves it off) Nah.
Drake: Really? (eyes light up w/anime sparkles)
Lita: (twitches) Dude, you’ve got something in your eyes. (shifts weight to one leg, braces self on armrest, and roundhouse kicks Drake upside the back of his head from her seat)
Drake: (crashes face-first into concrete floor)
Lita: (peers at him as he groans and slowly picks himself up) Yeah, that got it. ’s gone now.
Drake: (rubbing popcorn kernels out of his eyes) Violent little felon, aren’t you?
Lita: (folds arms proudly) Thank you. (pause) Waitaminute. You callin’ me short?
Iiwi: Anyone else notice how none of the guys in this group have hordes of screaming fangirls chasing after them?
Squeaks: (deadpan) We’re a modest bunch.
Ferdia: (playfully slugs her partner in the arm, earning an amused smirk)
Beak: (looking confused) Sometimes Drake gets followed around by crowds of yelling people...
Ferdie: True, but in layman’s terms, we call those lynch mobs.
Beak: Ahh...

        21. Never be the one with the pure heart, they’re always the first to be sacrificed.

Sign Holder: (emphatically as Lita glances at him) I’m not pure! I’m a thief!
Drake: (still rubbing popcorn butter out of feathers by eyes) I’m starting to wonder if anyone in this motley crew is pure-hearted.
Lita: (apes Oriental accent) Have you learned nothing from the lesson of Ed Gruberman?
Drake: 0_o; ....What?
Lita: Boot to da head. (vaults over armrest to boot Drake in head and across the row of seats)
Ferdia: (lazy salute) Three cheers for Tai Kwon Leap!

        22. No matter who you are, where you are, your son or daughter from the future will inevitably appear.

Iiwi: Ah, so that’s where Bink came from! (dodges pair of popcorn bags lobbed at her)
Lita: Any progeny of mine shows up, they’d better bring a host of nifty futuristic gizmos for me to play with, or we’re gonna have us a mother-daughter rumble.
Sign Holder: What if it’s your son?
Lita: (folds arms, aloof) One would hope he’d know better than to show up without something shiny for his mum. Because I’d hate to be forced to kick him where it eliminates the worry of ever having your future progeny appear before you.
Sign Holder: (blinks)
Lita: (sighs) Shall I demonstrate on Drake?
D’Gal: Might as well. It’s best he’s removed from the gene pool anyway.
Drake: Stop helping!

        23. Being killed never stops you from being a recurring character. Hell, sometimes it’s the starting point for the plot.

Lita: (motions to the Duck currently extricating himself from the theater wall) Case in point: Drake.
Drake: I’m not dead! No one’s killed me!
Jesmynne: (smiling demurely) We could remedy that, if you’d like.
D’Gal: Bugger what he’d like, luv - we could remedy it anyway.
Jennies: No bloodshed in the theater! It stains the seats!
Jesmynne: Oh, poo.

        24. If she’s a babe, and she’s in battle armor, she can kick your ass no matter how powerful you think you are.

Ladies: *grin smugly*
Jennies: (smirks at the guys) Not going after that one for fear of reprisals, eh, guys?
Squeaks: Ah, but it’s so very difficult to identify battle armor with this crew...
D’Gal: I find it best to assume that if a woman is wearing it, it’s battle armor. (pauses and smirks) The easiest solution to that, of course, is simply to remove it.
Ferdia: I’m not sure I like your tone.
Jesmynne: (purrs) I like it just fine...
Bobetta: (huffs) Oh, really - get a room!

        25. You must have a disgustingly kawaii mascot to accompany your adventures. It’s the law.

Lita: *glances at Sign Holder*
Sign Holder: (indignant) I am neither disgusting nor a mascot!
Lita: But you are cute.
Sign Holder: (growls) So’s your sheep, and he eats people.
Lita: Just what do you have against being called cute?
Sign Holder: I’m NINE. Did you like being called cute when you were nine?
Lita: (smirks) Kid, to be honest, I don’t even remember being nine.
Ferdie: Hey, what about the temple dragon? Do you think it counts as a mascot?
Iiwi: Nah, there’s probably some bylaw or other that prohibits mascots that maim people. But I’m pretty sure Bob would count as a mascot.
Bob: But I’m the hero!
Iiwi: You’re also on all our business cards. That makes you a mascot.
Bobetta: (holds Bob’s arm) No one’s saying you can’t do both, dear.
Bob: (pondering) ...Well, I am pretty cute, if I do say so myself.
Beak: You did.

        26. Hair that sticks out all over your head like an over-caffeinated porcupine needs no excuses. Just look at Dragon Ball.

Lita: Anyone here have porcupine hair?
Beak: What exactly is “porcupine hair”?
D’Gal: It’s really rather easier to show you than try to explain it. You’re closest to the switch, Dumas; would you mind turning on the lights?
Drake: Only if you pronounce my surname properly.
D’Gal: I always do. It’s you who’s got it wrong.
Drake: *grumbles* ...of all the stupid, inconsiderate... *mutter mutter* (flips switch)
Switch: *electrocution*
Drake: Yaaaaaaaa! *sizzle*
All: *stare at roast duck*
Ferdia: Well, would you look at that. His feathers are standing on end.
Ferdie: They’re also singed and burning.
Lita: *nods approvingly* Yep, that’s porcupine hair all right.

        27. Never send a man to do a job a 10 year-old boy genius can do just as good if not better.

Iiwi: Too bad we don’t have any 10-year-old boy geniuses.
Sign Holder: I’m nine. Does that count?
Lita: *pulls out “You must be this tall to be a boy genius” measuring stick and holds it up next to the Sign Holder*
Sign Holder: *bats the measuring stick away*
Ferdie: Well, I guess there’s always Bink. But he’s only three, and generally can’t be bothered with physical tasks...
Sign Holder: *clears throat loudly*
Lita: *glances at Sign Holder* What, you need a drink of soda or something?
Sign Holder: *testily* I said, I’m nine.
Lita: Yeah, but you’re too short. (Sign Holder tries to boot her) Aw, come on, what’re those geniuses called in to do, anyway? Crack a code, solve a case? Sounds like boring stuff if you ask me.
Ivan: No one did.
Lita: Says the kiwi who relies on child labor more than minion-power.
Ivan: So-called “minion-power” couldn't change a lightbulb, much less plan a heist. Besides, sometimes young minds have the most unique and intuitive insights on things. *pause* When they’re not trying to blow things up, that is.
Lita: I don’t always blow things up.
Ivan: Making them collapse, implode, or burst into flame isn’t all that much different.
Ferdia: Y’know, the Fire Department would tend to disagree with you there...
Ferdie: That sounds like the voice of experience talking.
Squeaks: (smirks) Oh, it is.

        28. Armageddon is just an episode away. And everybody seems to be involved with the conspiracy no matter who they are.

Jennies: *pokes still-sizzling roast duck with a stick* For reference, the only person in this room that needs to worry about Armageddon is Drake - and that’s only because the only approved Armageddon in this series is his own ongoing personal one.
Jesmynne: What about us?
Jennies: Well, okay, there is that sun of yours...
Jesmynne: No, I meant our plans for wiping out the Ducks.
BBQ’d Drake: What?!?
Jennies: How ’bout you just focus your efforts on this Duck for a while, while I play catch-up with my works-in-progress?
Jesmynne: *mulls this over* Well, okay...I suppose we can wait just a little bit longer...
Drake: It is true - you’re all out to get me!
Lita: Careful, now - that sort of talk will land you in a padded room with an “I-love-me” jacket.
Squeaks: Drake, we’re not all out to get you.
Drake: (eyes light up) Really?
Squeaks: *nods* Absolutely.
Ferdia: Yes, some of us are content to just sit back and watch.
Drake: (scowls) You know, the both of you are spending far too much time in the presence of fiends, and it’s starting to show.

        29. Idol singers are everywhere. They’re even worse than Santa Claus. The largest infestations are in places with a high robot or mecha count.

Lita: C’mon, boss, can’t I please have one of those mechas? I’d take care of this idol-singer mess, no sweat.
Sign Holder: Hey, you said “please”!
Lita: Yeah, so?
Iiwi: I hadn’t realized that word was even in your vocabulary.
Lita: Shut. Up.

        30. The villains you’re up against are almost always dressed in some of the weirdest clothes. You have to wonder if they dress in such dumb outfits just so that they can implement their plans while the hero’s killing themselves on the floor laughing.

Drake: *glances at D’Gal & Jesmynne*
D’Gal: I'll have you know our uniforms are based on second world war French military design.
Jesmynne: But Galaxia’s get-up was kinda corny.
D’Gal: She’s insane, luv. You learn to expect that sort of thing from some people.
Beak: What about Periwinkle?
Bob: Oh, he’s insane, too.
Iiwi: *feathers ruffle & puff out* He’s a dead man.
Beak: Really? But he looked so life-like...
Ferdie: What she means, Beak, is that she’s going to kill him.
Beak: *frowns* But his outfit wasn’t that bad -
Bob: *BOOT!*

        31. As a magical girl, you must always have some really long spiel that includes fighting for love and justice. It also has to be as long as your transformation scene. And don’t worry; during both the speech and the transformation, the villain will never even consider attacking you, lest he violate his contract.

Lita: (thoughtfully) You know, if I was a magical girl, I’d take advantage of that clause and rig myself a “Fighting for Love and Justice” spiel that just so happened to coincide with my “Ultimate Magical Attack” spell.
Sign Holder: So your transformation scene and justice routine -
Lita: Would be my most powerful attack. Yes.
Sign Holder: All while the villain can’t attack you?
Lita: *nods* Yep.
Sign Holder: Could he run away, then?
Lita: *grins* Hope not. *Sign Holder frowns* Hey, fair play is for heroes and dead men, kiddo.
Iiwi: *chuckles* Goodness, that is evil.
Lita: No, evil is the guy that decided all magical girls wear ultra-mini skirts and sailor suits.
Iiwi: All the same, I think they’d throw you out of the Magical Girls Society if you pulled a stunt like that.
Lita: Hey, then it really would be a win-win strategy...

        32. Guys, if you see a nekkid girl, your nose will bleed no matter how hard you try to stop it.

Ferdie: *raises hand* Worth the blood loss!
Squeaks: *wordlessly smacks him upside the head*

        33. The older you get, the more perverted you are.

Jesmynne: Like a fine wine.
Bobetta: (indignant) Wines are not perverted!
Jesmynne: *frowns* I meant they age well.
Bobetta: Oh.
Iiwi: Ah...I don't think that that was really what the question was getting at.
Sign Holder: Yeah, but how many pervy old men are there in San Viano?
Lita: *shrugs* Dunno. I’ve only ever run into one, and now he’s in a fully-body cast in Mercy General’s ICU.
Ivan: *sighs resignedly* That would sit better with me, Farlane, if the individual in question wasn’t a city chairman...

        34. Girls, if you’re fighting evil forces, your boyfriend will wind up getting captured and becoming your enemy. That, or he’ll get possessed by a demon.

Jesmynne: Ooh, demonic possession!
D’Gal: Absolutely not, luv.
Jesmynne: *pouts* Not even for me?
D’Gal: Not even for you.
Jesmynne: *sighs heavily*
Ferdia: (amused) I suppose everyone’s got to draw the line somewhere...

        35. Naughty, naughty megalomaniac! Trying to take over the world with outlandishly insane plot devices or mechanical gimmicks never solved anything!

Lita: No, but it’s fun!
Jesmynne: *grins* Is it ever!
D’Gal: *smirks* Plus, it keeps the heroes guessing, and your more pedestrian schemes slip by quite unnoticed.
Drake: I don’t like the sound of that...

        36. Dragon Slave never hurt anyone...that much.

Ferdia: Now there’s a spell that brings back memories.
Ferdie: Words cannot express how exceedingly thankful I am that you can’t work that world’s magic here, Sis.
Squeaks: Oh, yes, because relying on firearms and military surplus grenades is so much safer...
Ferdie: *pause* Good point.
Ferdia: (to Squeaks) You criticizing my choice of weaponry, Mr. I-still-carry-phasers?
Sqeaks: No, no - just poking holes in your brother’s security blanket.
Ferdie: Please don’t. It’s threadbare enough as it is.
Newton: Just exactly what sort of spell was this “Dragon Slave,” milady?
Ferdia: *shrugs* Eh, kinda like a firestorm in a can.
Lita: (to Newton’s confused expression) Put it this way: it was designed to send creatures like the temple dragon packing.
Sign Holder: Actually, it was meant to destroy them.
Newton: Oh, my.

        37. The Tokyo police forces can’t do jack-all no matter how hard they’re trained. The top-secret special forces units, however, will do the job perfectly and still be home in time for the evening news.

Ferdia: Wait, wait - I’ve heard this line of bull before. (to Squeaks) You sure those Hawthorne agents didn’t have a hand in writing this?
Squeaks: Be nice, now.
Ferdia: Nice, my tail feathers. You’d think our case history alone would net at least a modicum of respect, but no, they treat us like rookie field agents.
Squeaks: *folds arms and sighs resignedly* I’m not getting pulled into this argument again. Feds are too sore a point with you.
Ferdia: *ranting* Has it never occurred to them that if we were even half as inept as this Tokyo force evidently is, San Viano wouldn’t even be even be standing right now?!?
Squeaks: *smirks* Perhaps, like the mayor, they’re too busy wondering just how it’s managed to stay standing given our track record.
Ferdia: *razberry*
Lita: Hey, come on, you guys rock. *cops snort disbelievingly* No, seriously! You think the boss could keep his hold on things if we didn’t have you two leading the charge against every last mad scientist, arms smuggler, and foreign criminal syndicate to slink into city limits? The druglords and gangs are trouble enough!
Ivan: Watch it, furball, or I’ll dock your pay.

        38. No matter where you are, if you’re the hero fighting evil then a television or radio broadcast will suddenly announce a news story that directly affects the plot device you find yourself in today.

Ferdia: Funny, that.
Iiwi: Well, yeah. They’re called the media, and it’s their job to report the news. So when you just so happen to be the news -
Ferdie: Or at least be making it, as you so often are, Sis -
Iiwi: My point exactly. It’s no wonder those two find themselves on the air as often as they do; half the city probably thinks they’re some kind of ad hoc reality series. *mimes couch potato fiddling with their remote* “Oh, it’s five o’clock; let’s see what Birdie and Arcadia are up to today...”
Lita: *looking thoughtful* You know, why don’t they do that? Wouldn’t it help recoup the costs of repairs?
Ferdia: Quiet, you.
Sign Holder: Wasn’t this question really talking more about like how giant wasps will be attacking the city and as you run past the electronics shop you see an ad about a new kind of super-strong wasp spray on the TVs in the window?
Lita: Or how you’re watching a movie about flying monkeys invading Albuquerque and later that day some mad scientist’s genetically-mutated brood of winged monkeys escape and really do wreak havoc downtown?
Iiwi: *pause* ...You know, Ivan, sometimes I wonder about your wards.
Ivan: Hey, normal kids have normal imaginations. These two have either seen, done, or instigated most normal kids’ fantasies, and therefore their imaginations just go all out.
Iiwi: Yeah, to Hollywood “B”.
Ferdie: Hey, don’t knock “B” movies. They’re like supermarket tabloids, telling the stories the Man doesn’t want you to believe...
Ferdia: *rolls eyes* Oy, here we go, Conspiracy Speech #27...

        39. Don’t panic when a kawaii animal mascot starts talking to you. It just means you’re about to starting fighting for love and justice while sporting a really lame get-up and making hideously clichŽd speeches. Hmm...then again maybe you should panic.

Sign Holder: *very rude gesture*
Ivan: Hey!
Lita: I did not teach him that!
Ivan: I somehow doubt he picked it up from anyone else, Farlane.
Lita: ...Fine, but I didn’t deliberately teach him that!

        40. The Gainax Bounce must be in effect for at least one girl in your adventures. This allows for the other women to obsess about their breast size (ie. Tita’s are too small, Naga’s are too big).

Ferdia & Iiwi: (acidly) Gracie.
Gracie: (from the very back of the theater) ’allo?
Ferdia & Iiwi: GO AWAY!!!
Gracie: *sob* Le weep! So cruel!
Ferdie: Wait, since when has anyone in this group ever obsessed about their-
Ferdia & Iiwi: STOP. RIGHT. THERE.
Ferdie: gulp. *hides*
Beak: *frowns* Wait, I’m confused. Why would two aptly-proportioned ladies -
Ferdia & Iiwi: *simultaneous boot to da head*
Beak: *pops up from theater floor, miraculously unharmed* Wow, lucky I spotted that BaNAna chip lying on the ground. Otherwise someone might have stepped on it...
Drake: *reeling from dual brain boot* ow...
Ferdie: *looks at Drake, who had until moments ago been sitting on the opposite side of the theater* Hey, how’d he get over here?
Jesmynne: *grins* Ejector seat.
D’Gal: Just one of those schemes the heroes don’t see coming...

        41. No, that’s not the Eiffel Tower, you moron! We’re in Japan, and that’s the Tokyo Tower...and for some reason it’s the central vortex for deciding the fate of the world no matter what you do.

Ferdie: So, if Tokyo’s the central vortex for events deciding the fate of the world...that would make San Viano a mere Event Horizon on the edge of said vortex, right?
Iiwi: *shrugs w/puzzled frown* Could be.
Bob: Why?
Ferdie: In that case, otaku or not, you couldn’t pay me enough to visit Tokyo.
Ferdia: Must have some interesting law enforcement conferences, though. (to Squeaks) Maybe we should ask the Chief if there’s room in the budget for us to take one in.
Squeaks: *smirks* The only way you’ll win that argument is if you can prove it’ll cost the city less to ship us there and pay our room and board for a week than leave us to finish tackling the dockyard smugglers.
Ferdia: *frowns* Didn’t last month’s raid on the arms dealer burn them all out?
Squeaks: *shrugs* There’s bound to be some warehouses the rockets’ explosions missed.

        42. As a part of your contract, when you’re overexcited you launch into super deformed mode and wildly dance around the room.

Beak: Does that mean that Bob’s always overexci-
Bob: *BOOT!*

        43. Either you’re the best cook ever (ie. Kino Makoto), or you can’t cook to save the world (ie. Tendo Akane). There are no in-betweens. There never were.

Ferdia: And who has time to cook? (Newton raises his hand) *pause* You cook?
Newton: *nods* Aye, milady. It’s a bit like potions-making, actually - only less prone to explosions.
Ferdia: *nervous laughter* Whoo...
Newton: But your knight can cook.
Ferdie: What, Squeaks? Squeaks can cook?
Squeaks: (shrugs) When I have to.
Ferdia: (raises a finger, mock-scolding) Which is never as often as it ought to be.
Squeaks: (to Ferdie) And try not to sound so shocked.
Jesmynne: Dumas cooks very well.
Group: *staaaaaare*
Iiwi: Oh?
D’Gal: Yes. We especially recommend using a light wine sauce and zest of lemon.
Drake: Oh, har har. Nobody but you found that funny.
Lita: Maybe not, but it kinda looked like the dragon was taking mental notes...
Drake: ...Better him than that sheep of yours, I suppose.
Lita: Oh, no. PyKL prefers his meals raw and screaming.
Drake: 0_o;

        44. Even if they are more than capable of defeating you, the villain will send an obviously inept monster o’ the day to attack you and then conveniently leave so you can kick the monster o’ the day’s ass in privacy. And the villains wonder why they’ve never been able to defeat you?

D’Gal: It’s called a hobby.
Jesmynne: Indeed. Besides, what’s one to do for entertainment should they inadvertently break their favorite toy?
Drake: *muttering* ...hateyouall...

        45. When you run out of ideas, consult the manga your show was based on. That should give you some options to try out.

Lita: Now, there’s an idea. Too bad we’re not based off a manga.
Jennies: Like that stops me from consulting them when I’m out of ideas?
Iiwi: And when are you ever out of ideas?
Jennies: Okay, so I consult them anyway. They’re entertaining.
Bob: So’s television.
Ferdie: And books.
Bobetta: And movies.
Jennies: *nods sagely* Consult them, too.
Lita: All of a sudden, the randomness of this series is starting to make sense...

        46. If you’re charged with the task of protecting the world from utter and absolute destruction, you must react in one of two ways: openly embrace it and ask what weapons you get to use to kick someone’s ass with, or else whine and complain and annoy your fellow allies to the point of where they just want to slap you silly.

Group: *moment of smirks, broad smiles, and devious chuckling*
Squeaks: Without a doubt, we’re overwhelmingly partial to Option A.
Ferdie: Heck, even I don’t whine and complain about those things.
Iiwi: No, you simply scream and run away.
Ferdie: Which is absolutely not to be confused with either whining or complaining.
Bobetta: What an odd thing to be proud of.
Ferdie: *shrugs* I’m a coward, plain and simple. My place in any fight is screaming and gesticulating and generally fleeing as far away as possible, to the amusement of my party members and distraction of the villain. And I know my place. *pause* Might be scared silly of it, but I know it.
Sign Holder: *frowns* What about Drake?
Ferdia: Drake is usually being slapped silly. You work it out.
Drake: *muttering* Entirely too much time around fiends...

        47. If you’re a magical girl, your classmates will be absolutely clueless that you’re the alter-ego of the heroine they admire--no matter how incredibly obvious your hairstyle and appearance is.

Ferdia: *snorts* Ain’t that the truth!
Ivan: Forget magical girls - half this city can’t identify me without my sign holder!
Beak: *puzzled* And I never have figured out why...
Lita: Because denial is a very, very powerful thing.
DÕGal: Oh, indeed it is.

        48. Since Tokyo’s going to be magically rebuilt in 20 years, make sure that when you annihilate it, the apocalypse is as memorable and original as possible. Mass Destruction needs no excuses.

Group: *assorted grins and evil laughter from choice members*
Lita: I want that on a bumper sticker.
Sign Holder: What?
Lita: “Mass Destruction Needs No Excuses.”
Sign Holder: Ah.
Lita: Or, yanno, maybe as a button.
Ivan: Yes. That way you could pin it to your belt as a warning label.
Lita: Hey, great idea, boss!
Ivan: *sighs* Sarcasm is completely lost on some people...
Jesmynne: *pouts* I want a memorable apocalypse.
D’Gal: I promise you, luv - it’ll be an Armageddon the Ducks will talk about for centuries.
Jesmynne: *frowns disappointedly* There’ll be survivors?
D’Gal: Have to be a few, luv. Otherwise, who’ll be around to remember it?
Jesmynne: Well, I would.
D’Gal: I truly hope so.
Ferdia: Anyone tries an apocalypse in my city, and there’ll be hell to pay!
Drake: But aren’t you the one what goes around toting grenades and assault rifles like urban warfare’s the hottest new trend?
Ferdia: Yes, but that’s in defense of San Viano. Anybody comes in and tries to blow up, flatten, or otherwise intentionally damage my city, and there won’t even be enough of them left for CSI’s crack team of experts to identify. No hairs, no fibers, not even trace amounts of DNA. Just total *annihilation*.
Squeaks: (to Drake) For future reference, my friend, don’t go crashing down any city streets again unless you’re armed with elephant tranquilizer.
Lita: And lots of it.
Drake: *sighs* Such a violent bunch you’ve fallen in with, Ace...
Squeaks: I prefer to think of them as extremely protective.
Drake: *gawks* They’ve completely got you taken in, don’t they?

        50. No matter how good a character you are, no matter how great your Anime is, someone out there will write a hideously bad fanfic about you. And it will hurt. A lot.

Ferdie: A bit like those psychic vampires, I imagine.
Ferdia: Psychic what?
Ferdie: Hm? Oh, that’s right, the rest of you weren’t there. See, when I got lost in the master vampire’s stronghold, I found this library -
Iiwi: You have a real knack for that, you know.
Bob: Better than Beak’s, I suppose.
Ferdia: Why? What’s he gravitate towards? Fruit stands? Banana groves?
Iiwi: You’d think that, wouldn’t you? I mean, Bob gravitates towards coffee shops.
Bob: Ah, coffee, my shining light in the darkness...
Bobetta: *clears throat loudly and glares at Bob*
Bob: ...the darkness that marks my days when my beloved fiancee’, the incomparably all-encompassing light of my life, is not near...
Bobetta: *preens*
Iiwi: Anyway, when Beak gets lost, he tends to meander his way towards airports.
Ferdia: ...Why airports?
Beak: *shrugs* I don’t know. But whenever I get lost on the highway, I make a few turns and boom! there’s the airport.
Ferdie: *waves* Hello? In the middle of a story? Can I continue?
Iiwi: Sure, go ahead.
Ferdie: So anyway, I’m in this creepy old library, and there’s this weird rustling sound overhead, and even though I don’t want to look up because you just know in places like that when you hear a weird rustling noise it’s generally better to just run screaming from the area than investigate, I look up anyway. And, of course, the weird rustling noise turns out to be an entire ceiling-ful of these super-creepy wispy black ghostlike vampires. Naturally, they see me and dive down towards me like the soul-sucking death-bringers they are, and I -
Iiwi: -Scream like a frightened schoolgirl?
Ferdie: *blinks at Iiwi* Well, that goes without saying, of course. I mean, as a coward, I have neither pride nor shame when it comes to danger, so it’s only natural that I scream in terror. I also bolt for the door at velocities just under the speed of sound, and right when it looks like I’m not going to make it there in time, bam! *snaps fingers* Something falls into their midst, and they turn all their attention on it instead.
Drake: That “it” was me.
Ferdie: Really? Well, I’m impressed. I could hear your screams all the way on the other side of the castle. That’s quite a set of lungs you’ve got there.
D’Gal: So, Dumas, what’s it like having a coward compliment your abilities?
Drake: Shut. Up.
Iiwi: *frowns* That world was an entirely different dimension than our own; we were only there because of a mage’s spell. How’d you get there?
Drake: I have no idea. One minute I’m in a horrid little cell in New York; the next I’m surrounded by those nightmarish, grinning things.
Iiwi: Well, how’d you get back, then?
Drake: To be honest, I blacked out - and when I woke up, I was back in the cell again.
Ferdie: *takes up notepad* So, would you say this was an out-of-body experience, or a spontaneous corporeal relocation?
Iiwi: What, you’re gonna interview him now?
Ferdie: *nods* Professional research.
Lita: Sooo...does that mean we’re free to go?
Jennies: Why? You have someplace to be?
Lita: Yeah, well - idle hands, devil’s work, that sort of thing, y’know?
Ivan: Your hands are never idle, Farlane.
Lita: Can I help it if the world is full of expensive things that want to come home with me?
Ivan: *sighs* Well, I suppose it’s better that you’re active instead of sitting around moping all day.
Lita: *cheers* That’s the spirit, boss! Well, I’m off! *vaults over seat-backs into aisle and sprints for door*
Sign Holder: Wait for me!
Jesmynne: *tugs at D’Gal’s sleeve* We should go too.
Ferdia: *checks watch and glances at Squeaks* So should we. Our shift starts soon.
Jennies: Fine, fine, we’re done. *shoos group - including an eager Ferdie still peppering Drake with questions - towards the exit* Go. Disperse.
Beak: *waves* Bye, Jennies! This was very educational!
Jennies: *blinks* It was?
Beak: (instantly confused) Wasn’t it?
Jennies: Well, it was supposed to be.
Beak: I’m sure it was. *scratches back of his head* I mean, I didn’t understand a lot of it, so it must have been educational, right?
Jennies: ... *bangs head on seat armrest*
Beak: *watching* Um...does that help?
Jennies: *pauses* Does what help?
Beak: Banging your head like that. Is that what they mean by “The School of Hard Knocks”? And does it really help?
Jennies: ... Yes. Yes, it does.
Beak: *nods* Oh, okay. I’ll have to try it sometime. *heads for the exit*
Jennies: *resumes banging head against armrest*


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