1: Absolute Zero

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#1: Absolute Zero is the first chapter of Travis Strikes Back. It depicts Travis Touchdown meeting Uehara and acquiring the Death Ball for Life is Destroy.

Summary[edit]

Travis Touchdown is riding his motorcycle on an empty road, talking about how he has a bad feeling. He says that he's retired from being a "legend", and that his real story of an assassin is only beginning here. While riding, he's shouted down by two people on the sides of the road, "Bruno San Marino" and "Red Ribbon". They know who Travis is, and introduce themselves as people whose mission is to inform Travis of the "connecting points" to the Death Balls. They also reveal that they came from the 25th Ward, but when it disappeared, they were sent to where Travis is until their next destination was decided. Blue and Red tell him to head down to a place called Nightmare Burger down the road where he'll find a Japanese man who will be his next lead. Travis asked why the 25th Ward disappeared, and they explain that it was destroyed in a "manmade natural disaster" called the Rage Earth Plan, along with the people in it, described by Blue as "genocide". They joke that they'll hitch a ride on Travis' bike next time, before teleporting away.

At Nightmare Burger, Travis remarks that he's heard of the restaurant before. He heads in and begins to describe the place, but is put off by the realization that he's talking like a narrator of a story, due to an urge to voice his thoughts that he can't explain. He's impressed by the place, particularly its Kobe beef, and decides to place an order after finding a menu on the floor at his feet. While waiting at his table, he notices someone with a powerful Psycho Frame who sits down with him; the Japanese man Travis was instructed to meet. The man introduces himself as Kamui Uehara.

Travis asks Kamui to bring him to the Death Balls, but he requests that they eat their meals first. Kamui explains that he doesn't actually know where the Death Balls are yet, but being an observer, he can act as a compass to bring Travis to the special points where the Death Balls may reside. Travis doesn't believe it, but his pet cat Jeane, inexplicably able to talk, advises Travis to listen to Kamui as it's the only lead they have. Travis is convinced by this, and Kamui explains that being an observer, he was aware that Jeane could talk due to the "general atmosphere". Jeane cryptically says that Kamui is "one of them", but Travis should go with him anyway. She also mentions that Kamui's eyes are "dead". Kamui and Jeane argue, but Travis tells them to knock it off and eats his burger.

Back on the road, Travis, Jeane and Kamui drive over 200mph to get to the first special point, in Kansas. They arrive at a Car Wash, and head to the back. Kamui's nose starts bleeding due to proximity to the special point, who ends up being a woman who works at the wash named Akari Tsukiyono. Travis and Akari recognize each other as assassins, but Akari doesn't want to cause trouble for the other people at the wash. Travis suggests they head to another restaurant. Akari mentions that she's seen Travis before on a darkweb site that livestreamed United Assassins Association ranking battles.

Akari takes the group to a BBQ Restaurant, where the situation about the Death Balls is explained to her. Akari admits that she has one, but she's holding onto it for a friend, and refuses to hand it over just because someone asked. She says she ought to just kill Travis, and insults the whole party. Jeane reacts badly to being insulted and encourages Travis to murder Akari; Akari finds Jeane's ability to talk to be "creepy anime shit". Kamui tries to calm the two down, but Akari just gets aggressive towards Travis and encourages him to fight her. However, she soon realizes that Grasshopper Manufacture doesn't have the time or budget to add an additional boss fight to the game, and concedes, though Jeane continues to urge Travis to kill.

Akari asks the group to solve a crossword puzzle to get the Death Ball instead. Kamui solves it quickly, and she hands over a key that would presumably unlock wherever the Death Ball is, reasoning that, as an adventure game, a key is a required element. She reveals that it belonged to her ex-roommate, who was Dr. Juvenile. Travis is baffled, but Uehara takes him to a Convenience Store with an underground labyrinth. Travis advises Kamui to just enter a cheat code instead. He gives it a try, and the Death Ball is instantly acquired.

Travis then heads to Beef Head back in Santa Destroy, where he shows the Death Ball to Buzariashvili Bishop, the brother of the deceased Georgy Bishop. Travis wants Bishop to test it on the shop's own Death Drive Mark II to test it. Bishop does it on the condition that Travis brings him a copy of Takashi Miike's new TV series; Travis agrees, saying he'll call a friend in Japan to record it off Tokyo TV. While Bishop sets up the Death Drive, Travis explains that after the previous Bishop's death, Buzariashvili reopened Beef Head as a game store. He also mentions the time that Miike himself came to pay respects to Georgy Bishop's grave. Travis also clarifies that his presently speaking to the viewer is not a rip-off of Deadpool, asserting that "we did this shit first". Kamui says that he's heard of the fourth wall before too, but Jeane says that what Travis does is somewhat different, describing it as the ability to sense the player's direct connection to the controller, which reminds Kamui of something familiar.

Bishop confirms that the Death Ball works fine. Kamui says farewell to Travis, wishing him luck, but also says "let's meet again" before he teleports away. Travis and Jeane drive back home, but remark on the vibe they got from Kamui; Travis states that there's a demon in Kamui's eye.

Trivia[edit]

  • The events of this chapter were first shown, from Uehara's perspective, in one of the endings of #07 black out of The 25th Ward: The Silver Case.
  • The name Absolute Zero refers to one of Kamui Uehara's nicknames, "The Angel of Absolute Zero".
  • Psycho Frame is a technology from the Gundam franchise that allows a pilot to control a machine with their brainwaves as if it was their own body. The same description was used for Mokutaro Shiroyabu in one ending of black out, but this was replaced with the more generic "robot" in the English version.
  • Uehara does not explain why they are going to the convenience store, but from his description, it appears to be the same one as in The 25th Ward. At the end of the underground dungeon would be the key appraiser Okamoto, who would be able to figure out what Akari's key goes to.
  • As Takashi Miike does not direct many TV shows, the show in question is likely Magic × Warrior Magimajo Pures!, which began airing in 2018, the year Travis Strikes Again seems to be set; if not, it may be the previous installment in the series, Idol × Warrior Miracle Tunes!. Both shows air on TV Tokyo (referred to as "Tokyo TV" in this chapter).
  • The Marvel Comics character Deadpool (an antihero assassin who frequently cracks jokes) has actually been breaking the fourth wall since the '90s, well before the No More Heroes series existed. Travis is likely referring to the 2016 Deadpool movie, which attained more widespread popularity than the comics.