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WOW, IT’S REALLY THE END! We started posting the comic OFFICIALLY in 2002 (although I actually started drawing it in 2001), and now, a mere 18 years later, it’s finished! For anyone blanking on the significance of this last page, here’s a helpful reminder link! Just took a little time to pay that gag off. Although, I mean, technically they didn’t walk INTO a bar, so probably nothing terrible happened and it was all good!

And as promised, we recorded an NN4B Final Thoughts and FAQs podcast, which you can listen to below. It’s chock full of our thoughts on the comic, many of our cut ideas, our creative process, and our future plans, as we answer your questions!

We’ll be happy to answer any follow up questions you might have in the comments section as well. The site and the comic will remain up and archived for repeated readings. I still plan to go through and clean the blurry pages in the archive over time. I intend to throw up blog posts now and again, so feel free to check back on occasion! In the mean time, I intend to practice my art craft and increase my skill level! I’ll be posting my progress on my tumblr account. I also intend to wipe clean my old Deviant Art account, which I have not updated in literal years, and start fresh. As for Joe, well, we’ve got plenty of future plans that we talk about in the podcast!

So that’s basically a wrap, we have completed No Need for Bushido’s endgame! SPEAKING OF ENDGAME…

 

I’m actually writing this just after getting back from an emotional viewing of Avengers: Endgame. My quick take? It’s great! I mean it’s been getting near universal praise, and that’s well deserved. Unless, of course, you haven’t been watching the other Marvel films. Then it’s just a bunch of wacky nonsense!

And when I say this was an emotional viewing, that’s no exaggeration, I cried at least three times in the movie, probably more. Granted, I’ll cry at any movie with an emotionally powerful score accompanied by half competent characterization, and Endgame was way beyond competent.

The screenplay is so tightly written, similar to Infinity War, and it’s incredible how the movie never drags over its THREE HOUR RUN TIME, yet still manages to slow down for big emotional moments. The soundtrack’s definitely doing some heavy emotional lifting, as Alan Silvestri’s one of the great composers of our time. And although there were a few moments where I can vaguely recall the jokes conflicting with the drama, there’s not enough that I can recall any glaring examples. I love how layered the movie is with references to all the previous films, so the more obsessively invested in the franchise you are, the more gags and easter eggs you’ll be drowning in. It’s going to be great for subsequent viewing! I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about the movie that hasn’t been said that isn’t, like, super spoilery, so maybe some SPOILERS from here on.

Let me just say, WOW, the time travel is great in this! I love a good time travel narrative, and Endgame is top tier. Like, they establish the rules of alternate universe time lines and they really stick to it, and I never found myself super frustrated by glaring contradictions. Although Joe did point out that if the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) was only interested in protecting her own universe timeline, it doesn’t make much sense why hearing that Doctor Strange willingly gave up the Time Stone in Banner’s timeline would convince her that giving up her own stone would be okay. There’s no guarantee that Strange wasn’t just considering protecting his own universe, as she is only protecting her’s. But Joe also pointed out that she might have been on the fence and just felt like it was worth trusting future alternate Strange and Banner, which is fine, people are allowed to trust other people.

There’s also the bit at the end with old Steve on the bench. The scene implies that after he traveled to the past, he lived out the rest of his life and then just came back to the meeting area knowing they would be there to send the young version of himself away. And yet the movie established pretty clearly that the time periods they visit were part of an alternate universe timeline, and messing with the past wouldn’t affect their origin timeline. So theoretically, when Cap was sent back to return the stones, he actually wasn’t living in the past of the same timeline that Bucky, Falcon, and Hulk were currently occupying, but an alternate universe. So how did his older self get to that bench to hand off his shield to Falcon?

But it’s possible that after Steve finished living out his life with alt-universe Peggy Carter, he may have returned to the origin universe shortly before the group showed up at the time pad to send his younger self back, and waited on the bench just off screen until the group noticed him. Thus, the time travel rules established in the movie weren’t necessarily broken. Of course, he could’ve just come back when they expected him too, except he would’ve been gone sixty years instead of a couple hours. But that wouldn’t have been as emotional or dramatic, I guess! Also, like, good thing they didn’t notice him on the bench earlier, or the whole dramatic reveal would’ve been spoiled! Maybe he was hiding behind a bush until the right moment.

In terms of actual criticism of the movie, I have very little! I do think the final battle’s action sequences were a tad difficult to follow because of all the shaky cams and quick cuts. I wish every Marvel movie had fight scenes as awesome as Winter Soldier’s. I also continue to have a problem with all the cartoony physics, these characters can survive pretty much any amount of explosive trauma and blunt force damage (except when falling off cliffs onto concrete slabs). But it’s kind of a problem with most modern films that often robs action scenes of a lot of tension, so I won’t ding Endgame too hard for it, especially since swords still seem to work pretty effectively in the MCU, and I like swords, if you haven’t heard.

Also, I’m glad Thanos realized how, like, super dumb his original plan was and just went with a much better plan the second time around, but I still wish one of the supposedly brilliant Avengers characters had pointed out the obvious flaw in how wiping out half of all life in the universe  wouldn’t, like, actually solve a supposed lack of resources and end all war or whatever? Anyway, Endgame, A++.

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The deeper story of Genchu and Hirotomo is pretty tragic, and might make a solid prequel story! The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of revisiting it in the future to flesh the narrative out and paint the full range of forces working against Hirotomo to bring about his downfall. But I dare not promise that, because if I ever do come back to it, it’ll be so long after the comic has ended that no one will remember what the story is a prequel for anyway! Or I guess that just means it has to be good enough of a story to stand on its own (unlike the Star Wars prequels)!

We’ve got plenty of great questions for the NN4B Final Thoughts And FAQs podcast, which Joe and I will be recording Monday evening, so it should be ready to post along with the final page next week!

I haven’t seen Avengers Endgame yet, but I’ll likely have seen it by next/last update, so I’ll probably have opinions on that movie. How fitting to end the comic with an Endgame post!

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OH GEEZ WHAT THEY WERE DRAGONS ALL ALONG?? That totally came out of nowhere!!

So hey, the comic is very nearly almost over!!! *crying emoji* As a post comic wrap up, Joe and I will be doing a one-off NN4B Final Thoughts And FAQs podcast, where we’ll talk about our thoughts and feeling on the comic, idea that changed or were cut, and answering questions from READERS LIKE YOU. So if you have questions pertaining to No Need for Bushido, feel free to post them in the comments below, just make sure to label them “FOR THE PODCAST” so we know you’re submitting a question for the podcast! (Also, like, we’re not gonna answer wildly inappropriate or personal questions!)

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Much like Ricardo, I, too, will miss all the weirdos we met along the way.

So this may be the last time I talk about Star Wars under an NN4B page! Might as well make it count. 2019’s Star Wars Celebration brought us three big SW trailers, the first being the teaser for Ep 9. Rise of Skywalker.

It’s basically firing on all nostalgia cylinders. I love this trailer, as I have loved every Star Wars trailer since The Phantom Menace! I still occasionally pull up youtube and rewatch all the Star Wars trailers from time to time and remember how excited I was for each subsequent film. I’m just gonna lay out some of my thoughts on the contents of this one:

The Rey vs TIE sequence takes up the majority of the trailer, and it’s pretty neat. But considering the TIE fighter (presumably piloted by Kylo) isn’t shooting at her, and she doesn’t appear to be swinging at it when she jumps, I suspect this running sequence is her calling a TIE Uber, and not her trying to sword it to death. Another uneasy alliance between Rey and Kylo?

I am kind of disappointed that Rey somehow completely and improbably fixed Luke’s old saber. Like, it EXPLODED in the last film, and it fell into a super gas giant in Empire Strikes Back. This thing’s as immortal as the Millennium Falcon. I’m amused with how much gravitas it’s been given since Anakin only ever seemed to treat sabers as disposable tools. Well, I suppose it meant more to Luke anyway. I would’ve loved to see a new color when she ignited the blade. Maybe orange, yellow, or just pure white, to indicate she’d rebuilt it and made it her own. Kinda lame we’re still stuck with classic sky blue.

A-wings are back! And Y-wings, based on the leaked poster art from a couple weeks ago. No B-wings though? I want the complete alphabet!

Kylo rebuilds his Vader-wannabe helmet! I was a big fan of the helmet, although I love in TLJ when Snoke tells him to take the thing off because it’s silly, basically confirming that Kylo only wears it because he thinks it looks cool. Clearly, with its reconstruction, Kylo’s embraced his true fanboyism, thus completing his fall to the Dark Side. Although the helmet’s return does make one wonder if JJ is trying to rewind the clock on Rian Johnson’s story decisions in TLJ. Hopefully they won’t retcon Rey’s parents being scumbags who sold her for drinking money and then died in a pauper’s grave. It’s legit my favorite thing about TLJ (that and Luke calling out the prequels as super awful).

Lando’s been reunited with his long lost love. L3-37 (or at least her navigation unit)! Unlike Harrison Ford, Billy Dee’s been pretty happy to jump back into his Lando roll on and off over the years. He had a cameo on Star Wars Rebels (although, ugh, it was a really bad episode where everyone acts out of character for no reason). Anyway, I’m glad to see him back in actionOH WAIT ARE THEY GONNA KILL LANDO IN THIS ONE???

We see presumably Leia holding the A New Hope medal that Luke and Han (BUT NOT CHEWIE) were awarded on Yavin 4. Keep punching those nostalgia buttons, JJ!

So we’ve got the main cast overlooking part of the Death Star on some planet. One has to presume it’s the second Death Star’s remains, mostly because it’s accompanied by the Emperor’s laughter, and we never saw Palpatine on DS1 (in the films and the new canon, at least). So maybe we’ll visit Endor again! It would be the first time in these new films that we return to a location from the previous two trilogies (oh, well, I guess we went to Yavin 4 in Rogue One). Or maybe JJ will handwave  cosmic distances (as he’s want to do) and say that the 2nd Death Star’s remains fell onto a different planet near Endor. I mean, technically the Ewoks live on the Forest Moon of Endor, meaning there is a larger planet called Endor that the forest moon orbits around, although I can find literally no information on said Planet Endor. But apparently there are two Endorian suns in the Endor system, named Endor 1 and Endor 2. Okay, this is pretty confusing…

Palpatine lives? He certainly laughs. And Ian McDiarmid did appear at the trailer reveal at Star Wars Celebration. One has to assume the Emperor was pretty definitively dead at the end of RotJ (I mean, he exploded), and it’s also been 30+ years canonically since then, and he was already a pretty old  looking dude. So My assumption is that we’re gonna have a whole buncha Force Ghosts in Episode 9, or a pretty wild flashback sequence. Thanks to TLJ, both flashbacks AND Force Ghosts are now fair game in Disney films.

The music in the trailer is the biggest, grandest possible version of Princess Leia’s theme to date, gives me chills.

I think the meaning behind the film’s title, Rise of Skywalker, is going to be about turning the name Skywalker into a job description of sorts, similar to Jedi. Luke’s take on the Force is ultimately one that rejects the dumb teachings of the Jedi in the prequels (and even to a degree in the original trilogy, as he rejects killing his father despite Yoda and Obiwan wanting him to kill Vader). So maybe to be a Skywalker is to be a new type of Jedi or Force User, or even just regular person, who works to bring peace and justice to the galaxy, which is honestly what Jedi should’ve been from the beginning, but subsequent sequels kinda ruined that. So maybe Rise of Skywalker is the rise of a new order of Jedi known as Skywalkers (although I wouldn’t presume Disney would reduce the use of the term Jedi, as it’s super iconic and pop culture relevant, and a big part of that $4.05 billion they paid Lucas to own).

On to the next trailer! The leaked teaser trailer for The Mandalorian (an official version hasn’t gone up yet).

I don’t have much to say about this show other than I like the people involved in it, and I like that it will be structured as episodic storytelling with different writers and directors each episode. It’s clearly got a massive budget, and I think it’ll finally give us the Star Wars stories disconnected from the mainline films that we’ve all been wanting, especially considering the sidestory movies can’t seem to stop just being more prequels to the numbered films. Anyway, I’m excited for this! Granted I’m pretty much always excited for anything Star Wars until it actually comes out!

And finally, we have the trailer for Jedi: Fallen Order. The third high profile Star Wars game to be produced by EA, who’s owned exclusive rights to making all Star Wars games since 2015. Now, for a little background info on why this game is a “BIG DEAL”.

For those not in the know, ever since EA was awarded the Star Wars games exclusivity deal with Disney, they’ve only produced two games; Star Wars Battlefront, and its sequel, Battlefront 2. There are a lot of reasons only two games have been produced, a big one being because EA forces its developer studios to work with the unwieldy, EA owned Frostbite game engine, which has resulted in at least two cancelled Star Wars games, and the demise of Visceral Games. Luckily, Respawn Entertainment, the EA owned developer of Jedi: Fallen Order, is run by Vince Zampella, a game producing guru who has no intention of taking any of EA’s crap. He required that Fallen Order be produced using the much more beloved and user friendly Unreal Engine 4 instead of the maligned Frostbite engine. And the results are pretty clear from the trailer, which is supposedly using the in-game graphics engine. It looks incredible. The actual story being sold by the trailer, though, I am less enthralled by.

Remember in X-Men Apocalypse where Magneto is in hiding, working as a regular guy at some sort of construction site in Poland, and he uses his metal bending to save a construction worker from a fatal accident? And because he saved the guy, he’s outed as a mutant and the police hunt him?

That’s this trailer, except replace Michael Fassbender with a whiny 20 year old. Not to disparage too much, just that my immediate reaction to the main character is that he’s not terribly charismatic. I have the same problem with Starkiller (not the Base) in the Force Unleashed games. Hopefully this new character doesn’t spend the whole game feeling sorry for himself “Woe is me for being a Jedi in these dark times!”

Also, much like Starkiller from Unleashed, one has to assume this character is pretty much fated to die or go into a looong seclusion to avoid conflicting with Luke’s journey.

Also, when this new character gets a blade at the end of the trailer, it’s ANOTHER blue lightsaber? Sigh! before the prequels, the old Expanded Universe had basically made lightsaber crystals all the colors of the rainbow. Then, I dunno why, Lucas insisted that all lightsabers were only the three colors that were featured in the OT (thanks gods he made an exception for Sam Jackson’s purple blade request). I’d love to see more saber colors introduced into the new canon. Seems like a great merchandise marketing opportunity, if for no other reason!

Having said all that, I’m really excited for Jedi: Fallen Order because it will be exclusively a Single Player campaign game, and will have NO microtransactions, which is quite novel nowadays, especially coming from EA, who is often pushing multiplayer, loot grinding games. Pretty certain the lack of microtransactions was another Zampella requirement to make the game.

PHEW, thems all my thoughts on Star Wars! (well, okay, that’s barely the tip of the iceburg, but this is already a crazy long blog post.) Did anyone actually read the whole thing? Feel free to share your own thoughts so we can get into long, rambling conversation threads in the comments.

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4/8/19 UPDATE: Cole, our colorist, had a medical emergency (nothing life threatening!), and wasn’t able to get the next page finished for today’s update. I realize we just had a lengthy hiatus, but the next update will be on Monday, 4/14.

 

And we’re back for the epilogue! This page features our Volume 2 kickstarter backer cameos. Will (Aetre) Keay is wailing dramatic chords on the samisen, and Scout Sue is playing the part of Suzuka (Sue-zuka, get it??) in the Kabuki adaptation of the story!

Some other easter eggs on this page include the return of the main cast stand-ins that the Wu Tang Bros accidentally assaulted. The play’s backdrops are a castle wall, rolling hills, and forests, which have all been often used backgrounds for a majority of the comic. There’s also a Ricardo actor with a very elaborate hat and not-rifle. Ken and Yumiko’s dramatic scene seems to have played out differently in the kabuki adaptation. Ennosuke Nakamura can be seen looking on to the stage worriedly, which is his trademark directing method.

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UPDATE: I said there would not be an update on 3/6, and there was not! But because of several personal events occurring this month (family visiting, and now a vacation that I did not properly plan ahead for, general lack of free time),  I’m in a position where I’ve run out of time to properly complete the next page and get it to Cole for coloring! So, re-evaluating my schedule, it’s going to take a lot of stress off my shoulders to push the comic into a three week hiatus. I know that kinda stinks because the story is about to go into wrap-up mode, but we will be back at the end of March, 3/30, and move into the conclusion of NN4B!

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Looks like all the villains have been killed and/or redeemed! I think we’re fresh outta bad guys, everyone.

Just a heads up that there will not be an update next week!

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Don’t believe the haters, Hirotomo! *cough*nataku*cough*

Honestly, I teared up when I drew this page. I’ve been stewing on the broken Wataro family dynamic for literally half of my life. It’s almost amazing to me that we’ve reached this point, even if Joe and I set out with the strong intention of bringing the story to a conclusion after we came back from that year-long hiatus (shnikies, that was six years ago!!).

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So I’ve actually been pretty trepidatious about posting this page. Just yesterday I saw a tweet that was like “I’m so sick of lgbtq orientation reveal being a major plot twist.” To the person who wrote that tweet, I have no defense. We’ll do better in the future!

There’s also the cliche of gay characters always having tragic love stories, and we’ve kinda fallen into that trope too, although I think it’s worth noting Genchu says “loved” in the past tense. He and Hirotomo have been estranged for a decade now, and there’s no indication that Genchu’s spent every waking moment of that decade pining for the guy that actively tried to have him assassinated (and also who he tried to assassinate). Genchu’s a pretty happy go lucky guy when he’s not fighting, so I think it’s safe to say he’s found happiness outside of his decade old unrequited relationship, although I do regret not showing that was the case in the course of the comic.

Back when we introduced Genchu into the storyline outside of flashbacks, and he was living in a shack as a fisherman, I’d strongly considered giving him a significant other that would ask him not to leave with the Portuguese traders, and Genchu would then promise  to return. Ultimately, I think that may have been a better way to introduce Genchu’s orientation, but at the time we were working to economize the story, and it was cut mainly to keep things moving along at a faster pace (dang, that was four years ago!).

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It’s some luck that the rain didn’t put out the match on that matchlock pistol!

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Alright dad, you’ve had your genocidal fun, let’s wrap it up already!

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