Aphro’s Asskicking Anthems – November 2016

What it is, what it is, what it is... shed no tears! The Dynamek One has returned from his travels to once again bring the noise. This month's Anthem is of particular significance to yours truly... 

In case I haven't been thoroughly clear on this matter in the past, I LOVE the Dynasty Warriors series. Say what you will about it, but it is the closest thing to the feel of those old school beat 'em up games from my youth. On top of that, they're loosely based on my all-time favorite book. That being said, the series has had no shortage of memorable characters over the years. However, one of the more recent additions to that roster utterly captivated me: Wang Yi.

The song you're hearing right now, "Teary Edge", is her theme  from Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends. She made her debut in that expansion and, if I'm to be honest, quite an impact. You see, her (tragic) story is tied directly to another mainstay character of the series, Ma Chao. After the betrayal & death of his father, Ma Chao took out his rage on an unsuspecting village. Wang Yi's family was among the victims of that onslaught. From that moment on, she swore an undying oath of revenge against him. So intense is her desire for vengeance that she likens it to love on more than one occasion. I've (thankfully) never hated anything with that level of passion and I pray I never do.

The song itself conveys that sense of emotional confusion. Since I live to share music with my friends, I let a buddy of mine hear this song way back when it first entered rotation for me and he said something so uncharacteristically profound that it has stayed with me all these years. Believe it or not, what he said sums up this track better than I think I ever could: "The juxtaposition between the piano & strings against that underlying guitar is like hearing someone lie to themselves, but ultimately -- almost to the point of heartbreak -- come to terms with the inescapable truth." Heavy stuff, ain't it?

I'd be lying if I said that pairing this song with the right character didn't drive me up a wall for a while. Like I said earlier, this song has left an indelible mark on me, so I wanted to make damn sure that whoever I assigned it to was worthy of it. After actual months (yes, months) of internal struggle & debate, a lone figure stood out in my mind and, if I do say so myself, she is perfect.

As fine as Zhang Ziyi and just as lethal... a dangerous mix, indeed.

As lovely as Saiyuri and just as lethal as Xiao Mei... a dangerous mix, indeed.

Soul Cailbur's Setsuka ultimately proved to be the ideal match for "Teary Edge". Both women's motivations are rooted in revenge. The target of Setsuka's murderous intent is none other that Heishiro Mitsurugi. Due to her "unusual" appearance, Setsuka was often shunned & persecuted as a child. Her fortunes changed when she met a kind stranger who not only took her in, but gave her the name "Setsuka" (Snow Flower). Setsuka would devote herself to this man and, in turn, he would teach her the finer points of his protection techniques. One day, her master requested that she deliver a message to a dojo far away. Setsuka begrudgingly accepted the task. Upon her return, she found her master gravely injured. His days as a swordsman were behind him, so he intensified her training.

Over time, Setsuka would come to realize that her feelings for her master ran much deeper than simple piety... she was, in fact, in love with him. Time can be cruel, however, and her master would soon succumb to its ravages. With his dying breath, he revealed the identity of the one who injured him. Although he never wanted her to seek out revenge, Setsuka's heart was fixated on finding & killing Mitsurugi.

Here's where the paths diverge for these two women. You see, although both of their initial reasons to fight aligned around revenge, the women would ultimately travel different paths in life. While Wang Yi & Ma Chao did clash on a number of occasions, she never dealt the killing blow. Vengeance would elude her. Setsuka, in kind, also got the chance to cross swords with her nemesis. However, after their confrontation, she realized her master's words were true and gave up the quest for violent retribution. In the years that followed, she would travel, change her name & even find time to pass on her master's fighting style to a student of her own. Hmm, I wonder how that turned out...

Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends.

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