A while back, I wrote some small story bits based upon Josh Jordan’s RPG Heroine. When Josh sent out a call for fiction about his new RPG, Doll, I couldn’t resist. Lucky and Karate Robot Z is in Trust Me: A Doll Anthology, and it’s got one of my favorite openings I’ve written yet:
Karate Robot Z was the reason for all the blood. I get ahead of myself; it is my nature to skip to the climax. But I must begin at the beginning. Let me explain.
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Quentin, who owned an action figure he called Karate Robot Z, based on a television show of the same name.
Karate Robot Z was Quentin’s favorite television show. It was one of those shows ostensibly for children whose premise was both byzantine and simple, and relayed in voice-over over the opening credits: Lucky Kinichi left his life as a cowboy to join Crew ALPHA, a group of scientists and martial-arts enthusiasts trying to create the next great weapon in law-enforcement: a motorcycle that transforms into a robot! But all that changed when the mysterious OMEGA Collective killed Lucky’s father in order to get at his transforming robot secrets. Now, Lucky and Karate Robot Z travel the globe, searching for the heart of the OMEGA Collective, to stop them once and for all!
Karate Robot Z, the television show and Karate Robot Z, the action figure Quentin carried everywhere, were both made with in Japan. The television show Quentin watched Saturday morning had American voice actors replacing the Japanese ones, with the original Japanese action sequences left intact. Karate Robot Z was a surprisingly good fit for this. As transforming robots go, Karate Robot Z was not very autonomous. In order to fight, Karate Robot Z required Lucky to shout commands through the microphone attached to his helmet. A typical fight scene involved cuts to Lucky just to the side of the action, calling out commands to his robot partner. Without Lucky, Karate Robot Z was just a pile of metal.
In the show, Karate Robot Z was a silent partner, and it fell on the actor playing Lucky to speak for the both of them. Often, the television Lucky would say that Karate Robot Z “spoke” to him, but it was always a reference to a sort of mental connection between them rather than actual dialog. Quentin had watched every broadcast episode of Karate Robot Z, and in none of them had Karate Robot Z said a word.
So when the small plastic Karate Robot Z did speak, Quentin was not entirely prepared.
I keep getting ahead of myself. We’ll never get to the blood at this rate.
Quentin had fashioned his own Lucky helmet out of an old baseball cap, cardboard, pipe cleaners, and bright red duct tape. He would run through the house and the yard, being Lucky for his tiny robot. He would shout to the toy in his hand, commanding it to perform a Crimson Kick Cyclone or a Thunder Fist Punch. Quentin took this role seriously, speaking for his toy Karate Robot Z, especially when his sister wanted the robot to join her dolls for tea parties.
Quentin’s father had been a fan of the Cosmicman television show when he was a child, which also came from Japan and also regularly featured battling, rubber-suited monsters. He used to sit with Quentin years ago, watching DVDs of that old show and cheering along as Cosmicman used his Cosmicbeam to destroy yet another giant monster. Quentin watches Karate Robot Z alone, now, but he still cheers as his father would do, when Lucky commanded Karate Robot Z to do a Punisher Pile-Driver or a Roughshod Revolving Roundhouse.
But it was Quentin’s mother is the one who found out that the Japanese Lucky (Shunji Kurobe), the American Lucky (Johnny Thuy Trang) and the creator of Karate Robot Z were going to be at a local science fiction convention. She quickly bought tickets for the family.
There I go, getting ahead of myself once again. For before the science fiction convention, before the blood, there was Thursday...
Read the rest of Lucky and Karate Robot Z in Trust Me: A Doll Anthology