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I love how the soldier in the bottom left panel is sticking his tongue out while packing in the gun powder. It shows you he’s REALLY CONCENTRATING.

Confession time, I haven’t played, like, a REAL racing game, with actual cars (not karts), since probably Lamborghini on the N64. Seriously, I don’t play racing games. I’ve never even touched Gran Turismo (which I’ve been told is a dead franchise at this point), and since I don’t own an XBox of any sort, I’ve never tried the Forza games. Drive Club has gotten a lot of post release buzz as the best of the driving sims, but I’m fairly certain I’d find a ‘realistic’ driving game a frustrating experience.

But recently Microsoft has decided to dual release all its first party games as PC/Console digital crossbuys! This is great because I’m sitting here with a fairly high end PC and now I’ve got full access to all future Microsoft XBox games (in theory). And I’ve gotta say, something about Forza Horizon 3 has captured my imagination in the most gleeful way possible. Like, for the last couple of weeks all I can think about is cruising across the gorgeous Aussie countryside in my Lamborghini Centenario (which is the actual name of a car that actually exists), listening to some sweet eletrobeat jams. Something about the buzz words “beautiful location”, “open world”, and “arcade racer” have me entranced and I can’t wait to pick this big boy up on Tuesday (I believe it’s a 46GB download)! Hopefully it’s the racing experience I’ve been waiting for all my life, you know, if I’d been waiting for one.

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  • Arkone Axon

    Dear Lord… this kid is SMART. Hell, he might very well be about to recreate the tactics of European warfare at the time, ranks loading and firing in unison while relying on pikemen to protect them during the reload times.

    • Chris Kotthoff

      Actually this was so incredibly obvious to pretty much everyone in history
      who came in contact with firearms, the fact it’s completely lost on two generals tells us they are suffering from some sort of delusion (not that we didn’t already know that)

      • Kid Chaos

        It’s a clear case of “Not Invented Here” syndrome, which every military is afflicted with at one time or another. Plus, it was introduced by foreign “barbarians”, so Nataku has two big reasons to hate the new weapons.

        As for Tanaka, he’s only seen one of them, not a half-dozen or more all firing at once. This could be…*trouble*. When are Ina & co. getting back, already? The suspense is killing me! 👿

        • suburban_samurai

          Some heavy stuff is about to go down, prepare yourself!

      • suburban_samurai

        Writing smart characters 101, make everyone else dumb! Okay, it’s a cheap trick, but at least the generals have shown character traits that bolster their dismissal of firearms (I like to tell myself so I can sleep soundly)

      • Xinef

        Actually, it wasn’t “obvious to pretty much everyone in history”. Some nations’ first reaction to firearms was “let’s fire it from horseback, because we never fight on foot” or “let’s use it during stealth ambushes, because we never fight in open battlefields”. Or you know, shoot it from fortified castles and forts.

        The ranks loading and firing in unison and protected by pikemen wasn’t for everyone.

  • Little Kingsguard

    Calling it. Eljiro is going to order his men to aim for commanders.

    And that’s how General Tanaka dies. Like hit stunt with Ricardo, except he bleeds to death from a gunshot wound halfway to the soldiers.

    • charles81

      This seems reasonable. There is the ranks idea but I don’t think they have enough guns to make it useful in the immediate future. In a possible coming battle they’re better off using the guns on a hill behind the main force to pick off commanders or strong opponents and maybe bolster some weakening positions.

      • clogboy

        Thank you. They definitely need the high ground and clear range outside archer reach, and flank protection. I believe they should be the General’s guard or something. With less than 20 guns they’ll never be the bulk of an army. And right now, they’re wasting good ammo and gun powder already.

    • suburban_samurai

      Whoa, someone really wants Tanaka out of the picture!

    • KungFuKlobber

      Calling it. Genchu can deflect bullets with his sword.

      • RickRussellTX

        Calling it. The leaf that falls twice as fast hits twice as hard.

  • Astralfury

    Oh shit he plays Imperial Guard in whatever version of 40k we can pretend exists here. He’s going first rank fire, second rank fire on this

  • SlugFiller

    Sigh… Again, the battle of Nagashino was won by rain, mud, and trenches. Not by ranked gunmen. If the enemy has good numbers, and there’s nothing to slow them down, they WILL reach a pauseless firing position. No matter how constant your firing is, one bullet is one kill. The throughput doesn’t change.

    Also, the training argument fails when there are only a few guns, and breaks down completely when, just a while ago, a bunch of villagers became sufficiently apt archers. If a village full of archers were no good, what will a few gunmen do?

    Right now, these rifles have two main advantages on a bow, based on the demonstrations we’ve seen. They have superior armor penetration, which makes using planks as ballistic shields less practical. And they have superior accuracy, which makes them better support weapons in an all out melee.

    The anachronistic power and accuracy of these guns is the only thing making up for their rarity. It should be the main point behind any tactics made.

    • Charles Cameron Olson

      I will support you in the innacuracy department. Muskets were awful compared to bows. However, they did have the advantage of the boom, which actually wears down the morale of enemies in a way arrows don’t. Now CANNONS, on the other hand… Those were gamechangers well before muskets.

  • Luke Hart

    I’m kind of surprised that no one has pointed out that this plot point was pulled straight from history. This is basically what actually happened in the war this comic is loosely based on (okay, it was one gun, and they ended up hiring a Portuguese blacksmith to help them figure out how to build more, but w/e). (I mean, assuming this is supposed to be set around the 1500’s)

    • suburban_samurai

      To be fair, the comparisons to historically accurate guns and how they were used in combat have been coming hot and fast since we included them in the comic. Just check out SlugFiller’s comment below this one!

      • Luke Hart

        Oh, I know, I just think the story of Japan and firearms is a really cool one. I’m just amused by the parallels between your story and history. Did you actually study the period when crafting your plot, or is this a happy coincidence? (As for slugfiller, I’m not sure I get what his objection(?) is. I mean, yes, getting 20 guns to make a difference in battle is certainly harder than getting 3000 of them to, but this story has got a streak of good strategists in it and the red team could use one too (in the form of Eljiro) and the chance to show it off).

        • SlugFiller

          My point is, it’s not just the number of guns. The historical tactics relied on terrain and weather as well. Not only is Eijiro lacking those, and has only a small number of guns, he also has to face a village full of novice archers, decent fortifications, and trained samurai. Eijiro won’t be ripping a page from history any time soon. He’ll have to write a brand new rulebook.

          Of course, we don’t know yet what Eijiro means by “fire smarter”. Most of the comments are making assumptions, and my comment is largely in response to those. I’m hoping he’s not as naive as some of the commenters.

          The one bit in the comic itself that gets me is the “master archer” comment. Eijiro has to explain how his mildly trained gunmen are any better than mildly trained villager-archers.

          • Luke Hart

            That’s a fair point. Also, on the subject of anachronisms, on page 666 Ricardo’s gun appears to be rifled, but I’m pretty sure that technology didn’t exist on earth during this time frame. Though, if it is rifled it vastly increases the effective range, giving the whole “shooting the officers” plan a lot more weight.

          • SlugFiller

            It could be action lines, but yeah. IMO, the performance demonstrations alone suggest a rifle. Question is, if anyone is aware of the rifle’s max range.

          • bgrunge

            “fire smarter” Is almost certainly a reference to alternating firing lines, Nobunaga’s big innovation. Basically you have your musket guys fire alternately in multiple separate groups so as to increase your perceived firing rate and therefore suppressive ability.

          • SlugFiller

            And, like I said in several other comments, that wouldn’t work. And was also not the main point of the battle of Nagashino, in which Nobunaga first demonstrated the use of guns as anti-cavalry.

            “Fire smarter” has to be something way more clever, or Eijiro won’t be making any headway.

          • bgrunge

            It works better than single volley firing in its effect on morale- namely, the opposing force feels as if it is constantly under fire, and as a result you get a suppressive effect at the very least- potentially an early rout. Its less about casualty count and more about psychology. An enemy unfamiliar with this tactic and depending on a reload window is going to be the most affected by this.

            Every analysis of the Battle of Nagashino that I’ve come across has highlighted the rotating volleys of fire as being very significant to the outcome of the battle; this as opposed to previous uses of firearms, which were single volley, and no doubt what the Takeda forces were expecting.

          • SlugFiller

            It helped, but wasn’t the sole factor. The Takeda forces actually tried to charge, and then ended up retreating, several times. The muddy ground slowed down the horses, and prevented them from advancing all the way to the firing positions, which had plenty of room to retreat and continue firing.

            On a flat open field, on a bright day, the horses would have stormed and overran the firing position, rotating volleys or not.

  • Faded_Psychosis

    So I hate to nitpick, but it’s been bugging me for a while… you NEVER load a black powder weapon by gripping the ramrod with your whole hand: it’s a damn good way to loose all of your fingers if not most of your hand. You pinch the ramrod between thumb and forefinger and flick it down hard, that way at worst you loose your fingertips. Today’s comic wouldn’t bug me as much (inexperienced troops haven’t lost any fingers yet) but Ricardo himself was doing it first and he should damn well know better!

    • suburban_samurai

      Oof, you shoulda told me that like two hundred pages ago! I’ll keep it in mind for future rifle loading scenes.

      • EBeth

        Nine-finger Nataku and his sidekick Eijiro Eight-fingers…

    • Jeff

      Yes but, these are match locks… meaning that guns were in their infancy and remember most procedures for safety doing things came from people “blowing their hand off. So considering greedy murchants and the time frame this is probity more historically accurate. NOW watching numb nuts posing with their finger on the trigger……

  • Not Real

    I suppose intelligence is not genetic. Where was all this brainpower, cunning, and 100-year ahead of his time brilliance when we were with Yori? I’m surprised Yori is not yet dead of oral distention from foot-in-mouth-itis.

    • suburban_samurai

      Yori keeps his brains safely tucked in his sword.

      • Not Real

        You mean the sword he broke in the first chapter?

        • suburban_samurai

          Yeah, that one!

    • Turul

      Hey now, Yori is the genius swordfighter. Obviously Eijiro has to be the strategist genius: it is only fair.

    • SlugFiller

      Isn’t it the same with Masuhiro and Yukizane? Brothers in which only one has all the brains seems to be a theme.

      And judging by Ina, Yori’s daughter will likely be brainy as well.

  • Alex Rawlings

    funnily enough Eljiro and Nataku are both correct in their assessment. the fire arm didn’t become the king of the battlefield until the 3 rounds the minute rate of fire became almost standard. until that point, battles were still carried by close combat. firearms were used largely to soften up the enemy before a bayonet charge.

  • Ladon

    “We’ll scatter red barrels amongst the enemy and have our men shoot those!”

    • suburban_samurai

      Eijiro always aims for the red barrels in COD.

  • Xinef

    In regards to “samurai can’t kill an opponent he’ll never reach”… I find if funny how historically, samurai would mostly use bows during battles, and reaching a gunner with an arrow isn’t that hard, unless he has height advantage or is fortified.

    • suburban_samurai

      It’s true that, if this comic were being historically (or logically) accurate, there’d be a lot more archery and a lot less swordsmanship. The best way to beat the enemy is to wipe them out before you even have to get near them. But sword fights are more fun to draw, soooo….

      • Xinef

        Yup, it’s also true I’m not complaining, I’m only enjoying the inaccuracies :)

        Personally I don’t like firearms, I find archery, crossbows, slings and shuriken my preferred ranged weapon, and I love me some good swordplay.

        (although Yumiko proves that it’s possible to play KADOOSH with bow and arrow :) )

  • Richard Gauthier

    Say what you will about the kid being an envious, plotting brat, people like him form empires. Underestimate them at your own risk.

  • Mark Orapello

    Could also reload smarter. Have two guns to a person with one guy whose job it is to reload and then hand the gun off to the shooter.

    • SKy

      Depending on the marksman, you could go up to 4 or 5 “rounds”. I doubt they’ll get that good at aiming that fast though.

  • Ido Jeorchim-Litman

    A request, please have no one, at any point, slice or deflect bullets with his sword.
    And if someone does do it, his name must be Bradley.

    • suburban_samurai

      wait, you DON’T want to see swords deflect bullets? Have you read this comic?

      • Ido Jeorchim-Litman

        Well, I just want you to subvert the usual “guns are useless” trope that goes in every work involving both swords and guns.
        maybe have someone try it then fail get killed, that would be hilarious.

        • suburban_samurai

          I assure you, Ido, guns shall be more effective in NN4B than they are in, say, Final Fantasy.

      • Xinef

        I think Cho would find this request easy enough to fulfill. Why deflect bullets with a sword if you can do so with your fists?

  • jankmaster98

    I think we’re gonna get some Nagashino tactics up in this place… 😀

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