I hope everyone had a Happy Mother's Day. For any who might be curious, Momma Dynamek wanted to enjoy a quiet, restful day and, glad to report, she got her wish. As for yours truly, there's work to be done. This month's Anthem is about a special lady...
Ahh, yes... CAKE & "The Distance". An older song, true, and one that may not necessarily have the punch that most songs in this column possess, but I cannot deny that I'm a fan of this band's sound. Admittedly, though, my enjoyment of their music was retroactive. I first got acquainted with their music during (heheheh... well, let's just call it) Hank Evans' debut back in 2000. The rest of Cake's discography pretty much speaks for itself. Whether you're completely aware of it or not, you yourself have been hearing their music over the years. They're just really good at flying under the radar.
This particular song is genius to me because their use of the imagery of racing can be a metaphor for damn near anything. In this case, we're hearing the story of a racer who simply refuses to slow down. For my money, I see that as them talking about someone who cannot let go of a precious memory, no matter how out of reach said memory can be. Think about it: This guy in the song is tirelessly tearing up the straightaways & hugging the curves on a track which has ended its race, at the very least, hours ago. The futility of his actions don't register at all. Pushing his car's pedal to the metal is literally the only thing that allows him to retain his connection to that special someone. Out of idle curiosity, does this tale sound familiar to anyone?
Picked up on that subtlety, didn't you? Nameless is honestly one of the most interesting characters I've researched. The story of his actual artistic conception is almost on par with his canonical background. He was brought into the KOF lineup as a replacement (read: copyright infringement bullet dodged) for K'9999. This was for the best since K'9999 was an obvious homage to/ripoff of Tetsuo Shima. (Also, if I'm being 100% honest, I never really liked K'9999, so it was a very welcome change for me.) On the other side of the coin, regarding his in-game story, he was one of the "K' children" and the only survivor/success of Project Ж. In order to control the pyrokinesis that was "imprinted" upon his DNA, NESTS crafted a special glove to help him properly regulate the use of his powers. Once it was in place, Nameless became an almost prolific instrument of death for NESTS.
Sounds pretty badass, doesn't it? Well, unfortunately, stuff like this almost never ends well for characters in fighting games. You see, during the early days of his training, Nameless fell in love with a girl named Isolde (which, as something of a literature geek, leads me to think his real name might actually be Tristan). For all the horrors & suffering that he endured, the sight of her was enough to ease his strife. One day, however, she disappeared. It wasn't until a mission involving the retrieval of someone looking to leave the cartel did he receive a clue to her whereabouts: Isolde was part of the Anti K' project, which focused on cryokinesis. She wasn't as proficient with her powers as Kula Diamond, but her connection to Nameless did not go unnoticed by the NESTS scientists. They theorized that whatever was growing between the two of them would ultimately unleash their potential. Nameless doesn't know who or what to believe, but he knows that he wants to see her again.
While I'm not too keen on this idea popping up again in another game, I understand the desire to be reunited with a loved one. There's no telling when (or even if) Isolde can ever truly be restored, but Nameless is going to keep fighting until the day comes where he can hold her in his arms. Which, in a roundabout way, brings us back to the racer of the song. There is absolutely no way of knowing whether or not the racer will be ever reunited with whoever's on his mind, but that will not stop him pushing himself or his vehicle to their respective limits.
Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends.