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The Royal Japoness Torture Chamber
"This is a tough one. What's next, Tama?"
"The bed of nails, 'Mr. Prickly....'"
-- Tamasaburo and Baiko
4/19/02: General cleanup. Some of the art may be missing.
6/15/01: I'm busy planning for Anime Expo.
3/20/01: Saber Marionette J to X is actually being shown outside Japan. Woo-hoo.
9/27/00: Not an actual update, just letting you know I'm still writing. FYI, it's the next story after Fond Memories, and yes, I am being slow about it. The trick is it deals with J to X series, which most people have not seen, so I'm wary of working on it too hard.
8/3/00: Added new fanfic, Fond Memories.
7/3/00: Anime Expo 2000 Con Report available for viewing.
6/17/00: Page structure reorganized.
6/11/00: Added more pictures (still don't have the three marionette sisters, but that's no heavy priority as I'm sure every other page has enough of them by now).
Saber Marionette J takes place far in the future on a planet called Terra 2. When overpopulation of Earth became a problem, a number of vessels were sent into space to colonize other worlds... one of them was Mesopotamia. However, along the way Mesopotamia suffered a disaster, and only six men survived, touching down on Terra 2. Facing extinction, these men created clones to survive, but since none of them were genetic geniuses, they could not clone a female.
And then, marionettes were created.
Three hundred years later, the six city-states established by the original survivors, Romania (Roman Europe), New Texas (modern United States), Japoness (feudal Japan), Gartland (WW1 Germany), Shian (ancient China), and Petersburg (Czar Russia), prospered-- each state run by a pure clone of the original, and populated by secondary clones, supplemented with marionettes. But, unlike a true woman, the marionette was merely an unfeeling machine; a tool to be used and exploited.
Meet Otaru. With the help of three special marionettes, he would lead at the events that would change Terra 2 forever....
Note: The 'J' stands for Japoness, the country which the story takes place. Likewise, for SMR and SMJ to X, the R = Romania, and X = Shiyan/Xi'an.
The Main Characters
- Otaru. The hero of the story, Otaru was just a low-class worker until he found Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry. He is viewed as unusual because he treats marionettes with respect, as if they were people.
- Hanagata. The official punching bag of the series. He is in love with Otaru (this isn't uncommon because there aren't any women), and his obsession has ranged from moving in next door to wearing Otaru pajamas.
- Lime. The first of Otaru's marionettes, her maiden circuit (otomo kairo) encompasses Innocence. Her main strength lies in her quick speed. She is young and naive, and has much to learn about life.
- Cherry. The second of Otaru's marionettes, her personality is like an ideal Japanese housewife (with virgin love fantasies...). She encompasses Motherhood, and her strength lies in her intelligence and Battlefield Scanner for quick calculations.
- Bloodberry. The third of Otaru's marionettes, Bloodberry is a powerhouse, and encompasses Virtue. She also represents the... uh... physical aspect of women, and, along with her 'grown-up' attitude, is very direct. She also likes to curse a lot.
- Faust. The ruler of Gartland, the German nation of Terra 2 (which resembles a cross between WW1 Germany and FF6's Vector City). He wishes to conquer the other city-states by force of arms, but the true reason behind this is known only to him.
- Tiger. The first of the Saber Dolls, Tiger is the strongest of the group, and wields a weapon that can be used as either a sword or whip. She encompasses Motherhood, and is often matched with Bloodberry (in the TV series) or Lime (OAV series).
- Luchs. The most intelligent Saber Doll, Luchs is a sly schemer. Her weapon of choice is a set of energy stilettos that explode upon impact. Equipped with a Battlefield Scanner, she is a match for Cherry. Though she loves Faust dearly, Luchs does not allow her feelings to get in the way of reason if she has a say in it (which often isn't the case...).
- Panther. The most violent and impulsive of the Saber Dolls, Panther often acts without thinking. Her weapon of choice is a pair of energy dirks, one for each hand, and an eye-mounted blaster (her eyepiece). Her terrible speed is often matched with Lime, who she holds a grudge with throughout most of the series (later her rival is Bloodberry).
- Ieyasu Tokugawa. The Shogun of Japoness, an easygoing man. He is a 15th-generation clone of the original Ieyesu, who looks very similar to Otaru. He is the master of both Tamasaburo and Baiko, the royal guard.
- Hikozaemon. The Shogun's eager assistant. Though he is an old man, he still has a lot of energy left in him, and takes care of the day-to-day tasks for the Shogun. He believes himself to be a wild party animal....
- Tamasaburo. One of a pair of marionettes of the Imperial Court. She usually wields a naginata, but does not limit herself to that (also used a long sword). Far more capable than the average marionette (she does not have otomo kairo unlike Otaru's marionettes and the Saber Dolls), Tamasaburo can make her own decisions, and has, at times, displayed a set of emotions: anger, amusement, and disgust, to name a few. Lime calls her 'Tama-chan.'
- Baiko. Tamasaburo's partner. She wields a pair of energy swords (think lightsabers). Her personality is similar to that of her partner, who she calls 'Tama' for short. Frequently acts in unison with Tamasaburo. Speaks up a lot more often than Tamasaburo. Lime calls her 'Ume-chan.'
- Soemon Obiichi. Otaru's martial arts instructor, he is a master of the sword. He does not speak much, but every word he says has a meaning. He owns a marionette named Koyuki.
- Gennai. Otaru's neighbor, and Leonardo-wannabe. Acts as a sort of 'leader' of Otaru's neighbors. He owns a marionette named Gemini.
- Yumeji. Hanagata's younger brother, who has taken a liking to Lime after she saved his life. He lives with his father rather than with Hanagata.
- Ponta. Cute little critters living in the Japoness wilderness.
- Dr. Hess. Gartland's chief scientist and engineer, he developed the Plasma Diffusion System, the Krabbenstief troop transport, and the Sableburg. His past is shrouded in mystery, and his true goals are unknown.
- Commander Goddel. The Gartland Commander, a Snidely Whiplash-wannabe. He thinks very little of the Saber Dolls, and keeps them under his control via threats of displeasure from Faust.
- Rubens. An agent of Gartland who speaks little, but possesses strong convictions nonetheless.
- Michael. A short little scrub living in the shadows of Faust's Gartland.
- Leopard. The most powerful Saber Beast Gartland has to offer, she is a nightmarish chimera. Equipped with flight capabilities, rending claws, superior strength, and a mouth-mounted blaster (that's right).
- Cerberus. Saber beast hounds thought to be discontinued.
- Joy. The President of New Texas, another nation on Terra 2. Just like any other slimey American bureaucrat, he's up to no good.
- Marine. A mysterious marionette constructed by New Texas possessing three otomo kairo; but what is her purpose? Who is her master?
- M.E.S.C.A.L. (Liquid-Metal Battle Sabers). T-2000 rip-offs developed by Gartland scientists now used for New Texas' purposes. Lead by a gold saber learder.
- Yang Ming. An instructor of the prince of Xi'an, the China nation of Terra 2. He acts on his own agendas, however, allying himself with many other no-goods.
- (name uncertain). A non-otomo kairo marionette that mindlessly serves her masters orders. She is equipped with terrible defensive measures, including a special weapon designed to manipulate and take control of the motor functions of any marionette to do what she wishes (ie, carry out her orders).
- Suzaku. A beautiful, regal marionette dressed in the red phoenix Chinese court dress, Suzaku is one of the three saber marionettes under Yang Ming's command. Is not equipped with otomo kairo, and possesses no personality whatsoever. Literally carries out orders with little discretion. Has the ability to fly and attacks with arm-mounted swords and mouth blaster (you heard right!).
- Genbu. A giant green turtle saber marionette. It uses two snake-like tentacle chains/appendages for attack and manipulation (keeping with the Genbu imagry). Literally carries out orders, but will defend itself if necessary. Possesses an incredible armored shell that is nearly impervious to attack. It can withdraw into its shell for flight and is also equipped for submerged attack.
- Byakko. A white tiger saber marionette. She has a tendancy to growl a lot (not unlike most tigers) and fights with extremely long claws, augmented by incredible strength and speed. Literally carries out orders without discretion and attacks devoid of any sense of imagination (ie, just rip things apart with claws).
- Lorelei. The mysterious girl in the picture at the Japoness Pioneer Museum-- in memory of the human female. Though she is just a picture, Lorelei has a great impact on events.
- Akashi. A boy who works at a traveling circus that bears a strong resemblance to Otaru.
- Mesopotamia. The space transport ship that brought the people to Terra 2, it is equipped with several defensive measures and an experimental supercomputer designed by Lorelei.
- Apple. This marionette only appears in the Saber Marionette PSX game, Battle Sabers, and therefore has no real impact on the story.
Saber Marionette R.
Saber Marionette J.
Saber Marionette J Again.
Saber Marionette J to X. Generally, you don't want to read this until the videos are released.
Mister Prickly. The 'creation myth' of Tamasaburo and Baiko during the days of Tokugawa the Twelvth.
Fond Memories. Many years have passed since the last war that sprawled across Terra 2, and some of its unsung heroes are disappearing quietly into the night.
This anime starts out as a comedy series, but quickly rears its serious side around episode 9, and while it maintains the same comedy level, the seriousness gets much deeper. In fact, the later episodes get so serious they may gut your heart out-- that's how good it is. While it may seem silly at first, stick around for the third episode; that was the one that got me hooked on the series (and was also the first one I saw!).
Characters. There are enough characters for anyone to find a liking for! With a huge cast of characters, there's bound to be someone you like.
Sound/Music. If it needs to be sentimental, the music is perfect. If it requires action, the music is perfect. All in all, I can't say anything bad about the music. The sound effects, however, require a getting-used-to, particularly the squeaky-sound made by Lime and Cherry, which are definitely odd.
Art/Animation. The characters are drawn and animated nicely; you can tell that they spent a good deal of money on this one. The styles for Lime, Cherry, and Bloodberry are all quite bizzare (Cherry has really large head ornaments in her hair), but if you watch for a while it seems quite natural. A good deal of the characters resemble characters from other series' as well, including Obiichi, Yan, and Hess.
Voice Acting. There are a lot of well-known seiyu (voice actors) working on this one, most prominently Megumi Hayashibara (Lime), who also sings the opening and closing sequences. Others include Yuri Amano (Rayearth's Alcione, Sailor Moon's Beruche/Birdy), Ai Orikasa (Tenchi's Ryoko), Maria Kawamura (Five Star Stories' Lachesis), and Yuri Shiratori (Ys4's Leeza, Rayearth's Mokona, that must be sooo easy), to name a few.
Rating: 9/10. While the story may not be terribly original, it's still awesome.
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