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  -Part 1 :: [01.07.03]
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  -Part 11 :: [02.17.13]
  -Part 12 :: [10.26.13]
  -Part 13 :: [08.06.14]


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"Yuna walks toward Tightass, puts her hand over her heart, and says, 'Thank you.' For what? What the fuck did Tightass do? Okay, that's it. This whole group -- except for Auron -- is on timeout."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy X Part 13




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Suikoden III : Part 12
By Sam
Posted 10.26.13
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7
In the previous episode of As the Grasslands Turn, Geddy and the 12th Unit finally faced off against the rival 14th Unit and confronted The Mask, who is totally not anyone we know, I promise. At the end of that recap, I indicated that this time we'd finally be getting to the meat of the story, the third chapters. And then I remembered that the next item on the agenda is actually chapter two in The Impoverished Adventures of Frodo Baggins. Well, shit.

When we last left Frodo and pals, they were cooking up illicit retail schemes, marveling at the modern wonder that is an elevator, and intruding on Lurch's secret underground book nook. Rude! We pick up with birds chirping and sunlight streaming through Frodo's bedroom windows. Frodo turns from staring sulkily outside as Cogsworth knocks and lets himself in. Cogsworth announces, "Today, you'll have to attend to the house yourself." Oh no, how will he manage to keep the place looking shabby and abandoned? Frodo's all, "Oh, okay," because even he, with his thimbleful of self-confidence, thinks he can handle looking after a shack filled with dust bunnies. Cogs gives no indication as to what he'll be doing with his day off and leaves the room. Not even a peck on the cheek! Once he's gone, Frodo muses, "Not sure what more I have to do besides keep a journal." Does he really think he needs to do that for the castle? I'm sure the place will not fall over if he forgets to bitch in his diary about Martha's old lady smell.

 
Wall vagina!

Frodo makes his rounds, chatting up some new inhabitants of Buttfuck Castle that I'm pretty sure would not be here yet if the game designers gave even the most fleeting thought to the chronology of Frodo's storyline lining up with those of the main characters. Eventually he enters the inn to see about putting a party together, only to find Cogsworth at the front desk as usual. What was all that bullshit about Frodo being on his own today? Did Cogs get stood up for his hot date? Frodo throws together a random party of vagrants and leaves Cogs to put on his bathrobe, untie his hair rollers, and cry into a bowl of fettuccine alfredo.

Our diminutive hero takes entirely too long to twink out his party with the best blacksmithing, runes, and gear his bankrupt ass can afford, plus lengthy visits to Juan and Ernie for some training and tutelage. I'm forty minutes deep into my footage and nothing has happened. Frodo takes his party--including the insane puppeteer, the dandy, the dwarf in a hardhat, and the emo ninja--out into the world for some battle experience, of which it takes about five seconds for those assembled to realize their fearless leader is far and away the weakest among them. But he's an inspiring leader of men or whatever Tenkai Stars are supposed to be, so they don't abandon him in the wilderness to be eaten by Furries.

I'm pretty sure he doesn't want your box.
 

The party's travels lead them to Ass Castle, where the Zexen Knights are calmly hanging around like they are not at the doorstep of The Cold Truth of War™. In the mess hall, near where Bubba is impatiently awaiting a nice scoop of sherbet in a phallic cone, Frodo finds a boy with a frighteningly unkempt mop of brown hair and perfectly round Harry Potter glasses. The boy is named Arthur, and he asks Frodo, who couldn't be more obviously ignorant of any and all current events, "Apparently someone broke through the border checkpoint recently. Know anything about it?" Frodo is shocked to hear this, like he even lives anywhere near here. What if the Grasslanders break through and take all of Buttfuck Castle's jobs? Wait, that's exactly what Frodo wants. Anyway. Arthur is asking because he's writing an article about this for his sad self-published newspaper and the Zexen Knights "who chased the trespassers" are stonewalling him. I'm sure it's because they don't know anything about it, and not because the whole ordeal makes them look really stupid. But Arthur did get out of one of them--probably Bubba, plied with a juicy sausage--that the chase led to the castle kitchen.

Arthur is clearly hoping the details he does have will jog some salient memory of Frodo's, but again, Frodo is too sheltered to know anything about this. But Arthur is optimistic he'll get his scoop anyway: "Hopefully, I'll find something newsworthy so I can see my name on the front page of the [Buttfuck] Times!" Frodo's jaw drops, because that is just the saddest thing anyone has ever said. Wait, it's getting sadder! "Yes," Arthur goes on dreamily, "I want to get my work out there, to multi-cultural communities where people congregate and share ideas!" Hooooly shit, that is delusional. I almost don't want Frodo to recruit him, because he's probably going to kill himself when he sees what the place is actually like, and realizes he won't be hanging out in Greenwich Village at cool restaurants with all his hip, liberal journalist friends.

Against my better judgment, though, Frodo offers to help this soon-to-be-disappointed young man get his scoop. Frodo adds, upping the ante on how depressing this scene can get, "I've always wanted to try my hand at being a newshound, sniffing out good stories... Ha ha!" Oh my God. This is just embarrassing. Frodo enters the kitchen to take a look around, and after a cursory search finds himself in front of the kitchen's hearth. As Arthur runs over, excited, Frodo notes that the fireplace is bigger than the range, like those two things are even comparable, but that the cooking seems to be done over on the range. "It doesn't look like a regular stove, that's for sure," Arthur says. Yeah! It almost looks like a fireplace! Crazy. As they inch closer to inspect this "stove," they stumble forward like Hugo, Sarge, and Lulu before them, and fall ass over teakettle into the secret passage. And so Frodo, following this plucky and sad young reporter, becomes the third main character to sneak through this strangely well-lit hallway and emerge on the east side of Ass Castle.

Outside, Arthur is convinced that walking the path the border-crossing job thieves walked is an important lead for his article. He runs back toward the castle after Frodo promises to make all his terrible employees and colleagues read a stupid article about a non-local event that should interest none of them. And apparently that promise is good enough for Arthur to join up and presumably write irrelevant nonsense at Buttfuck full time. I hope he likes relationship gossip!

That's all there is to do at Ass Castle for now, so Frodo takes his entourage into the west, as it were, to Vinay del Sexay (to buy a grape seed) and then to the North Cavern. After fighting their way through dirt mermaids and struggling to walk up spiral ramps without falling back down to the ground floor, they find themselves face to face with Ayame, the purple-clad ninja from Watari's flashback. Marie from Breaking Bad would approve of her outfit. Ayame tells Watari, while the others stare like creeps, "You should have known it would end up this way." What, talking in a drab cave while a hobbit watches? Watari's all, "Yup." I have no idea what is going on, but that was apparently the signal for a ninja duel. Ayame, like Kasumi before her, fights with sweet Wolverine claws, but she's no match for Watari and his uncanny ability to use GameFAQs to know what all her moves will be.

"So you've improved your form," Ayame says after her defeat. The way she talks, Watari must have been an ungodly shitty ninja. I'm picturing him pratfalling his way through an obstacle course built out of bamboo and choking on his Foot Clan smoke bombs. When Watari asks why Ayame was the one to come here, she answers, "I came to kill you. You were so taken by that woman's words... I'll put you out of your misery." She sure was doing a great job of assassinating him, hanging out in a cave and waiting for him to magically show up. And no, I don't know who "that woman" is, and even if I did I'm not buying it.

 
I didn't know ninjas practiced circumcision.

Ayame is hardly deterred from her murder mission by this one defeat, but Watari walks away from her, seemingly wanting to take the high road. She shouts at his back, "Do you think you would spare me from a meaningless life by leaving me here like this?" Yeah, he's trying to leave behind the woman who wants to kill him so she can be free. Everything about this makes sense. Watari, his strategy to double-talk at Ayame until she confuses herself, says her life does have meaning if she wants to kill him, and insists, "If it happens, it happens." Somehow, this all leads to Watari requesting of Frodo, "Sorry for the trouble, but make room for one more." What part of that conversation even approached, "Hey, wanna hang out at Buttfuck Castle with me and brood in the basement?" I'm so confused.

With Ayame now part of the flock--though still intent on murdering Watari, I suppose--Frodo exits the chamber and promptly runs back in to dispatch a harlequin treasure boss. This is mostly an excuse for me to make use of Augustine's Red Rose rune, with which he, to the tune of the jaunty Narcissists' Theme, jizzes rose petals all over the boss until it explodes in a cloud of pink glitter. Not kidding.

Wow.
 

Fast-forwarding through Frodo's interminable backtracking out of the cavern and through Zexen Forest, our hobbit friend finds himself on the northern Amur Plain, west of Karaya Village. He notices a herd of horses aimlessly grazing, and a woman in a pink cowboy hat, tight jeans, and leather chaps staring helplessly at them. Well, if nothing else, Frodo needs to make sure Dominic has this outfit available for sale. Edge would look so much better in that. Or literally any other outfit. This pink-clad cowgirl is named Kathy, and Frodo finds her in the middle of a Sesame Street skit in which she can't count the number of horses in her herd because they keep moving around. As it turns out, her horses mixed in with some wild ones and since every horse in the game other than Chris's white Mare Sue looks identical, there's no way to tell them apart. Kathy says she chased off what she thought were the wild horses, but adds, "Oh, but how many are there? Could you help me count them? There should be 15!" She should have put festive pink satin bows on all her horses.

Frodo can run around and count them, though he is interrupted roughly nine times by random battles. You'd think all these spiders and purple pothead monsters would be scaring the horses, but no. After entirely too long, Frodo informs Kathy that she has 17 horses. This must be the correct number, because it causes her to immediately whine, "It's tough managing this herd out on the open range. If only I could find a place to put them!" HINT HINT. Frodo gamely suggests, "Um... What do you think about [Buttfuck] Castle?" Kathy has no idea where or what that is and probably thinks Frodo is making an incredibly lewd pass at her, leading Frodo to awkwardly chuckle, "Ha ha! I should have known... It's not so famous after all!" Kathy graciously lets him save face and tells him, "After spending so much time with these animals, I've forgotten what it's like in the rest of the world." Yeah, that's totally it. Buttfuck isn't a backwater dump! She's the problem. A Black Screen of Giving Directions later, Kathy is hollering like a weirdo at all her horses and driving them toward their new home, probably singing Martina McBride at the top of her lungs the whole way.

The next stop is nearby Duck Village, home of stirring theme music and all manner of annoying-ass ducks. Frodo first visits the item shop, both to browse their wares--wow, a Silver Beak!--and to meet the lady lodging upstairs, a chef named Mamie. Now, I did not realize this myself until I was recently on a Suikoden series recording binge and had a DURRRRR moment, but Mamie is written in katakana as meimi. She is in fact Mei Mi, the sick daughter of High Yo's "friend" Bashok. Mamie is actually only 15 years old, which means she wasn't even a year old yet when her dad was using her as an excuse to engage in thrilling chef battles with his ex-boyfriend. For all of that, Mamie seems perfectly healthy and well adjusted, even though she's a 15-year-old girl working on her own and hanging out with a bunch of ducks. She tells Frodo, "I'm looking for the Crab Rice Bowl." Okay, maybe not so well adjusted. If she's looking for potent STI exposure, though, Buttfuck Castle is probably the place to get it, girl or not. But Mamie would rather have this crab rice bowl brought to her here. "I heard it's in Kuput forest," she tells Frodo, frowning. "Where is Kuput forest? Is it near here?" Frodo has never heard of the place, and we won't either until all three of our main characters travel there later. So poor Mamie is stuck hanging her head in Duck Village for a while.

 
Yes, that is two snakes forming a butthole on his hat.

The Duck Village Inn, dank and unsuitable for a lady of Tinto as it may be, is positively brimming with less picky recruits now that Lilly and Hugo are gone. The first of these, on the outdoor walkways between the inn's buildings, is a young Egyptian pharaoh with strappy sandals and booty shorts. His royal gold belts and headdress are reminiscent of dotty scrollmaker Raura, and sure enough he is her spiritual successor--he stares at the back building of the inn and muses, "Is this the rumored [Buttfuck]? I see the water... The castle is much smaller than I imagined." But much cleaner! And populated with fewer assholes! Frodo is all, "Honey, no." The pharaoh, named Hortez VII, wishes to open a shop at Buttfuck, so Frodo gives him directions: "[Buttfuck] is by a beautiful lake, three plains beyond these woods." Those are possibly the worst directions in recorded history, but Hortez notes them with all seriousness, thanks Frodo, and wanders off in the opposite direction. "Hope he makes it," Frodo says as he stares at Hortez's retreating, scantily clad backside. I know this will come as a shock, but he ends up somewhere else entirely and requires assistance from another character! And Frodo's directions were so precise, too!

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