And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
Happy Father's Day, Buraiking Boss
by: Wes

Happy Father's Day, minna-san! Welcome to Scary-Crayon's annual Father's Day article, in which we pay tribute to some lucky fictional father whose efforts, we believe, are to be commended. Admittedly, however, the selection process was somewhat difficult this year. Master Splinter was an easy choice, but aside from him there really aren't all that many such worthy characters in animation and comic media that spring to mind. Yeah, Superman had 'Pa Kent, but despite helping to instill Clark with good old-fashioned country values he didn't Enter: BURAIKING BOSS!!!have much to do with the later heroics. The X-Men had Charles Xavier, but seeing as how he wasn't able to save the live action films from being pretty terrible I'm not much inclined to reward him for his struggles in the name of mutantkind. Uncle Ben got killed before he could make any significant contributions to Spidey's jizz-tastic adventures. Thomas Wayne was an asshole. And Buffy had Giles, but the last two seasons of Buffy were also freaking awful and I just watched Anthony Stewart Head eat a bunch of kids and teachers in a guest spot on Doctor Who. Disqualified.

Moreover -- and I'm not entirely sure what this says about how people view fathers in contemporary society -- a lot of fictional father figures come across as being decidedly evil. Okay, so Darth Vader sort of redeemed himself at the conclusion of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (or so I'm told, because I've never actually seen the movie...), but that act notwithstanding there have been some pretty wicked characters that make you wonder when they ever found time to sire offspring while engineering their clandestine drug dealing operations and murderous politically-motivated campaigns and Satanic world-destroying apocalypses. Geese Howard. Heihachi Mishima. Trigon the Terrible. Sabretooth. Kingpin. For that matter, just about every comic book villain has a son or daughter that pops up at one time or another -- even the robotic ones who should theoretically be unable to reproduce.

''...people feared him, naming him 'Iron Evil'.''''Many humans were captured... and forced into hard labor.''

And on that note, meet the 2006 Scary-Crayon Father's Day honoree: Buraiking Boss (Black King Boss; from the anime series "Shinzo Ningen Casshan"), a superintelligent android created to maintain the harmony of the earth and who therefore organized a massive worldwide military campaign to subdue and subjugate the human race. Admittedly, like last year's selection of M. Bison (who acted for similar reasons in the "Street Fighter V" anime series), our choice is likely to raise a few eyebrows. What, you might ask, is so good, noble, or fatherly about rising up to enslave humanity and take over the planet? In what way can an android -- an artificial being -- whose deeds have earned him the name of "Iron Evil" be considered an exemplar of fatherhood?

''...native flora has been quickly returning.''''...he uses resources to revive the ecology.''
''He's evil to humans, but a messiah to other living things.''''A messiah like that needs to disappear...''

The simple answer -- regarding the question of how a robot can be a father at all, anyway -- is that, despite being an android, Buraiking Boss did technically father the neoroids. He himself was designed and built by Dr. Azuma, but he organized and oversaw the production of his robotic children. But more symbolically, had his efforts succeeded, Buraiking Boss would have been the father of an age of untold peace and prosperity on the planet Earth. While Buraiking Boss is cast as the main villain in "Shinzo Ningen Casshan" and "Casshan: Robot Hunter", the 20th anniversary OVA series that summarizes the events of the original 1973 anime, his actions are largely understandable (at least in the latter version). On the one hand, he's enslaving people and breaking out into peals of terrifying evil laughter right and left, and yet the humans don't come across as being very noble either. For example, consider the rather sinister depiction of the international leaders as they discuss how to deal with the dire situation. There are frequent closeups of cold expressions and sneering mouths. The content of their conversation is certainly not heroic or inspiring -- exhibiting the typical conservative ideology and apparently lacking the understanding conveyed in Disney's Pocahontas, the leaders declare that the world "belongs" to humans and are unable to grasp why Buraiking Boss would care about flowers. Which kind of explains why, with the exception of the map of the earth and the occasional orange flares from their cigarettes, the scene is presented in drab monotone -- these men clearly lack the ability to paint with all the colors of the wind. And yet they are the ones who control the direction of society. Maybe the earth would be better off with Buraiking Boss at the reigns. I mean, who better to oversee civilization than the smartest being on the planet?

Gazing at the moon...Hail the conqueror!

Yet in Casshern, the 2004 live action film based on the anime, Buraiking Boss is not a well-meaning android with plans to salvage the natural environment. Instead, he is a neo-human mysteriously produced from government laboratory experiments. Having witnessing the inexplicable slaughter of his fellow creations by armed soldiers, Burai is filled with hate and vows to exterminate humanity -- which he views as being responsible for violence of contemporary society -- and create a new world order (though admittedly it's not terribly obvious how he plans to do so since he seems to want almost everyone dead). Conveniently, after escaping into the polluted wilderness with the three surviving members of his kind, he stumbles upon an abandoned munitions and robot-producing factory that aids him in his goal of conquest. The superhuman speed and strength are also pretty useful.

Burai versus Casshern!Burai has feelings, too.

Although he lacks the more symbolic fatherly qualities of his robotic incarnation, this version of Buraiking Boss is a father in the literal sense. Towards the conclusion of the film, it is revealed that before he awoke in the lab, Burai had once lived in peace with his wife and infant child in a remote community in the contaminated zone -- where, as a result of their longstanding isolation, the people had developed a mutant gene with properties not unlike stem cells. Accordingly, in order to harness these genes for the benefit of diseased rich people, the military implemented an ethnic cleansing program, storming the zone, murdering its inhabitants, and delivering their bullet-riddled corpses to government scientists for dissection and further study. In a grayscale flashback, we watch as Burai is dragged from his home and forced to watch the murders of his wife and child before being shot in the back of the head himself. No wonder he's so angry and sad -- and I guess any dad who would amass a robot army to kill just about everybody in order to avenge his family must have loved his kid an awful lot.

''I'm not a dictator, nor am I evil.''''Without me, there'd be nothing but hatred and destruction to the planet.''

But whereas the film Burai proves to be Casshern's superior in combat on several occasions, the animated Buraiking Boss gets his ass handed to him fairly quickly by the hero in "Casshan: Robot Hunter". One might argue that this is rightfully so: in the movie, Burai is decidedly not evil (an angry conqueror, yes, but his actions are arguably justified and he extends his friendship towards humans who help him), but, despite his good intentions for the planet Earth, Buraiking Boss throws humans out of windows and frequently cackles like a maniac and is pretty goddamned nasty even to his android subordinates. For reasons unknown -- though I guess he has fantastic reasons, being the most intelligent being in the world -- he dresses like a royal dictator and imprisons Casshan's mother's mind in the body of a robotic swan. And the android soldiers frequently salute while shouting, "All hail Buraiking!" -- not unlike the "heil Hitler" exclamations that punctuated Nazi orders.

Looks like a utopian society to me.

Just before Casshan arrives at his castle, however, we see a different side of Buraiking Boss. Launching into an extended monologue, he laments that humanity has branded him as an evil being. After all, he simply wants to fulfill his purpose and do what he was created to do -- save the freaking planet! Moreover, while Casshan has spent the anime chopping androids into bits and pieces with his impressive strength and agility and whatnot, it's later revealed that these "robots" actually have minds and hopes and dreams. Tapping into the processor of a defeated robot in order to assess its dying thoughts, Casshan receives the image above. That's right -- this poor machine was fighting to achieve Buraiking's vision of a beautiful green utopia in which curvy android women thrive in peace and harmony with the environment. I'd fight to see that future realized, yet Casshan is murdering these idealistic robots in an effort to restore control of the planet to corrupt human officials. Thanks a lot, buddy.

Poor Buraiking Boss.

Seriously, given these details, Buraiking Boss is arguably right to point at Casshan and declare him to be evil as they prepare for their final showdown. I mean, really, what was Buraiking Boss guilty of? Trying to save the planet and create a paradise for hot android women with breasts. Is that so wrong?!? He didn't even want to kill all humans -- he just wanted them out of the way so he could go about protecting the environment, since his lofty artificial intelligence concluded that a healthy planet and human leadership are incompatible. No, Buraiking Boss did what any good father would do. If you've got a group of children who seem destined to keep fucking shit up, you take it upon yourself to protect them from themselves and do your best to improve the situation. If you care about the future happiness of your kids, you try to create a peaceful world in which busty women thrive, because everyone likes peace and breasts. And if you notice your children praising false saviors, you point at those politicians and ministers and television talk show hosts and say, "No, you are the evil ones!" Casshan is supposed to be the hero of the anime, but when he brutally rips our environmentalist visionary's arms off and punches a hole in his chest, I find myself agreeing with the poor broken father of the neoroids and founder of a new world order that, sadly, will never come to pass. Happy Father's Day, Buraiking Boss. Rest in peace.

AI is still alive in BK-1.

But perhaps there is hope...

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