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Il uomo in nero - The Man in Black

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CONTENT WARNING: MARTIAL ARTS VIOLENCE AND BRIEF LANGUAGE. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Sunday had arrived--the first of the new school year. Rica woke up and got dressed, putting on a black T-shirt, cuffed jean shorts, blue tights, and sneakers.

Ryan, who had gotten dressed while Rica was still snoozing, emerged from the bathroom. Rica said, "Ah, Ryan! You seem to be in a pleasant mood today."

Ryan said, "That's because it's the first day in about a week where I don't have to wear a skirt, is it that obvious?"

Rica said, "Oh. Forgot. You're a boy. And the only one at Ichiban."

As Ryan put on an apron over his clothes, he said, "Hey, we all forget things sometimes. It's just human nature, that's all."

Rica said, "Indeed. To err is human, to forgive is divine1, so the saying goes."

Susan said, "Good to see you in gender-appropriate clothing for once, Ryan."

Ryan said, "To be fair, Susan, we never met before I started coming to this school."

Susan approached the refrigerator, but Ryan said, "Please… don't bother. I'd like to show Rica what a man can fix for breakfast."

Ryan opened the fridge and got some eggs out. He cracked some eggs over a frying pan. "Anybody up for some fried eggs, sunny side up?"

Rica said, "I hope he's as good a cook as you say he is." Susan said, "Relax, Rica! I've tasted his cooking while he stayed at my place."

Ryan said, "And you're about to do so as well, Rica."

As Ryan continued to fry the eggs, Juanita burst in. "Emergency! Something isn't right! Where's this Pretty Cure?"

Susan said, "Juanita… please, calm down. What's wrong?"

Juanita saw the frying pan. "What's cooking?"1

Susan asked, "Want some breakfast?"1


OP: "Danzen! Futari wa Precure Dragon"


"Il uomo in nero - The Man in Black"


"These eggs are good! Who made them?"

Juanita wolfed down her eggs pretty quickly. Susan said, "My friend Ryan."

Rica said, "So anyway, señorita, state your grievance. Ryan and Susan want to enjoy their first day off this year."

Juanita drank some of her water and said, "OK, so here's the scoop: there's a stereotype in town. And not just any stereotype, either--it's an offensive stereotype."

Rica said, "I get it, señorita--I've crossed paths with racists before, and I agree that whoever's doing whatever he's doing, well, it's no surprise that you'd see him as offensive."

Juanita gave Rica a cold stare and said, "Offensive to me."

Rica said, "Tell me about it."

Juanita said, "The creep's dressed in a black mariachi costume, he's wearing a mustache and a sombrero, he goes around shooting lasers and speaking what is known only as 'el Spanish O'…"

Susan said, "Wait a minute… I think I recognize that bastard. He jumped me in my own room!" Ryan corrected her with his sign language.

"ACTUALLY, HE JUMPED ME."

Susan said, "Ah, well, that's close enough. You don't just go around attacking high schoolers for the hell of it; otherwise, of course people are going to see you as a basket case."

Juanita said, "As for me, I'm actually quite sane."

Susan said, "I know that. Not once have I heard you put an O at the end of every other word."

Juanita said, "Quite the observant girl you are, Susan! Now then, Susan… Ryan… if you're listening… if you really are Pretty Cure as I've believed since that field trip a couple of days ago, at least try to do something about this nutjob!"

Susan said, "Of course. But first, I'm going to have to let you in on a secret about Ryan."

Juanita said, "Go ahead. I'm also good at keeping secrets. If I wasn't the type, I'd have made my two cents as to who this Pretty Cure might be known to someone else already, cross my heart and hope to die."

Ryan finally spoke. "All right, we'll take the job."

Juanita couldn't believe her ears. Rica said, "See, Ryan's actually a boy, and he's very nice. Just be careful not to cross him, because his strength is close to mine, if our tryouts for the martial arts club are anything to go by."

Juanita asked, "Are you a boy too, by any chance?"

Rica said, "Hell no, señorita. I'm just a tomboy who's trained in the martial arts for nearly all her life."

Juanita said, "Guess that explains a lot about you. Anyway, good luck fighting the man in black! And remember: if he really is Mexican, his behavior would leave anyone with Hispanic blood in their veins ashamed of him at the very least! So don't go easy on him!"

Susan said, "We never have, Juanita!"

Juanita said, "Just what I wanted to hear! Keep up the good work!"

Rica said, "See you later, limey2! I hope you and Susan come back in one piece!"

Ryan and Susan exited the dormitory.


The two decided to relax a bit at Millennium City's town square. Ryan said, "Keep your eyes peeled, Susan, for a man in black who looks like a mariachi but isn't a Mexican."3

Susan said, "Not very easy. How many people here dress like that?"

Ryan said, "Not very many, apparently."

Susan said, "Exactly. Only a basket case would dare dress up as a mariachi for the sole purpose of acting like a laser-wielding maniac."

Ryan said, "Other clothes a maniac would probably wear, though they aren't exclusively worn by maniacs, include a red and black striped shirt, a hockey mask, a mask made from human skin… how disgusting… a William Shatner mask, a black robe with a white mask that looks like something straight from Edvard Munch's The Scream, and a black leather glove."

Susan said, "All of those were worn by slasher film villains. Freddy wore the striped shirt, Jason wore the hockey mask, Leatherface wore the skin mask, Michael Myers wore the William Shatner mask, and Ghostface wore the black robe and Scream-inspired mask."

Ryan said, "You forgot about the glove."

Susan said, "Actually, that's typical of a giallo villain."

Ryan said, "I remember those giallo films pretty vividly. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Cat o' Nine Tails, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Deep Red, Suspiria, Inferno, Mother of Tears, Tenebrae…"

Susan said, "Those were all Dario Argento."

Ryan said, "Yeah. He's one of the greats in Italian horror, right up there with Lucio Fulci, Mario Bava, Ruggero Deodato, and Umberto Lenzi, among others."

Susan said, "Please… let's concentrate on looking for that basket case in a black mariachi costume."

Ryan said, "Right…"

A shadow wearing a black leather glove and carrying a sharp object approached the two. The sharp object appeared to shine. Ryan said, "I've got a sinking feeling about this."

Susan said, "Relax! It's not like anybody'd dare try to kill anyone in broad daylight; I mean, who'd be stupid enough to do so?"

The black glove was raised, sharp object in hand. It swiftly descended on the two, barely missing Ryan's hand (but landing between his fingers). Ryan screamed, looked up… and saw a familiar face carrying the pencil in her glove. Susan heard the mischievous laugh and said, "Eileen Fields, the Clown Princess of Rulebreaking."

Eileen said, "Well, well, well… Ryan Lee and Susan Chan, what a pleasant surprise." Ryan got the pencil out from between his fingers and started talking with his hands.

"EILEEN, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE? AND WHY ARE YOU DRESSED AS A GIALLO VILLAIN?"

Eileen said, "I'm here for the Millennium City Italian Horror Film Convention. Bunch of giallo, zombie, and cannibal fans gather there yearly to celebrate Italian horror. Some of them are cosplayers. So am I--I'm dressed as Countess Cristina Como from Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace."

"AH, YES. THE FIRST CLASSIC GIALLO."

"Correct. I didn't bring a knife with me because, really, I ain't stupid enough to waltz around town carrying a blunt instrument."

"I AGREE--ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD DARE CARRY A KNIFE IN BROAD DAYLIGHT."

"Or a Yankee who's out of his gourd."

Susan said, "Indeed, that's the kind of guy we're looking for. And the two of us have good reason to fight him."

Eileen said, "Good reason? It had better be good enough for you wops to tackle a Yankee like that!"4

Indignant at Eileen's foul language, Susan said, "I oughta whop your arse for calling us wops!"4

Eileen said, "You wanna take the man in black down? Take my advice: don't get too close when he's got his laser guns on the ready. You never know when he's going to fire those things; the most important thing is, he doesn't play fair. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an Italian horror film convention to go to."

Then Eileen departed as Ryan and Susan watched. Ryan said, "She'd better not be using any slurs at that convention."

Susan said, "Indeed, she'd better not be using any slurs at all."

Ryan looked around. "Maybe we'll find some leads at Kuroidani Funeral Parlor."

Susan asked, "Why? You think he's planning on burning someone?"

Ryan said, "I don't know."


Ryan and Susan walked into the funeral parlor. Before them was a pair of retorts, each with a tray on a pair of rails. On each of the trays was a wooden casket. Susan said, "I got a bad feeling about this."

Ryan said, "Stay put, Susan. I'll look around for the man in black. Don't fool around near the ovens."

Ryan passed the two retorts and approached the shelves of urns. Seeing a strange man walk by, he followed him, noticing he was dressed in black. "Could he be the one? Could he be my quarry?"

The man walked into another room of the funeral parlor, and Ryan followed suit, closing the door behind him. Judging from the stiff laid out on the slab while connected to a tube attached to a device with some sort of fluid inside, Ryan deduced that the man was actually an embalmer and that he had just walked into the embalming room. Realizing his mistake, he said, "Excuse me, sir, but I thought you were another person."

The embalmer, Joe Decker, said, "No harm there, son. We all make mistakes. Now may I please see your left hand?"

Ryan was confused. "Excuse me?"

Joe said, "You misunderstand, son. That was not a request." He grabbed Ryan's left hand and pressed it down against the slab. Looking it over, he said, "Hm. Still got your left pinky completely intact."

After Joe let go of his hand, Ryan asked, "What the hell was that about?"

Joe said, "Just checking to see if you were a Yakuza5. Been getting a few of them showing up uninvited lately."

Ryan said, "Tell me about it, Joe."

Joe chuckled and said, "Any time people go missing in this city, legend has it that the Yakuza kill them and dispose of the corpses here while I'm not looking. Gives me a lot of extra work to do, especially if they forget to make it hot enough to burn up the ashes."

Ryan asked, "How often is this legend accurate?"

As Joe started to remove the embalming tube, he said, "Hard to tell, son; like I said, if you turn it up hot enough, you can even burn up the ashes. The Yakuza sometimes forgets to do so, though, so when I clean up the retort, I put the ashes in one of those urns, bring the urn to the family for burial, and explain to them that some mobsters have been fooling around with the retorts. Then I call the police and report that a couple of punks have used my ovens for their own purposes. Hopefully, the police will arrest a mobster or two afterwards."

Ryan asked, "What was the last idiot charged with that used your retorts after catching a body?"

Joe said, "First degree murder, improper corpse disposal for the purpose of covering their tracks, and trespassing." With these words, he finally disconnected the tube from the cadaver.

Ryan winced for a moment as Joe chuckled, then he said, "Well, I'm terribly sorry about wandering into the embalming room and mistaking you for one of those Yakuzas."

Joe said, "Like I said earlier, son, think nothing of it. Maybe you could show the one you were looking for that what goes around comes around sometime."

Ryan said, "Gladly."

As Ryan walked out, Joe smiled and said, "I'll see you soon."

Ryan walked back to Susan and said, "He's not here. That was the mortician. But he seems like a nice fellow."

Susan asked, "Where to next?"

Ryan said, "I'm famished. Maybe we should get ourselves a bite to eat or something."

Susan asked, "Where?"

Ryan said, "You up for some fast food?"

Susan said, "Sure, why not?"

Ryan and Susan then left the funeral parlor the way they had earlier come in.


EYECATCH


They walked into the local WcDonald's for lunch. Pretty soon, Ryan was enjoying himself with a Big Wac (supersized), french fries (supersized), and a cola beverage (supersized).

Susan looked on in amazement and said, "You sure like to eat a lot."

Ryan said, "Back in junior high, they called me the Bottomless Pit of Aizawa."

Susan said, "I can imagine."

Ryan said, "In any case, while we're eating, we should be on the lookout for that basket case in the black mariachi costume."

Then an older woman walked up to the two. "Excuse me, but are you two by any chance new students at Ichiban?"

Ryan did a double take upon hearing the word "Ichiban". Susan asked, "Who are you?"

The woman smiled and said, "Maxine Lupin. I was on the martial arts club and was Miss Osbourne's senpai during her first year at the school."

Ryan said, "She's our senpai, too."

Susan said, "I think we have some explaining to do--this young man's name is Ryan Lee, and he wound up attending Ichiban because he forgot to thoroughly check out the school to which the entrance exam belonged that he passed. Apparently, he was too excited at receiving yet another entrance exam and too desperate to pass one after failing so many."

Maxine said, "At least you're not a failure, I'll give you that."

Ryan said, "Thanks, Maxine. If you spot a crazy-arse lunatic dressed in a black mariachi costume, let me know, OK? I've had four run-ins with him, and they aren't getting any easier."

Maxine said, "Ryan, do you seriously think you're going to make this easier for yourself by worrying about it like that?"

Ryan said, "Um, nope."

Maxine said, "Worry not about failing, but rather concentrate on the task at hand. What was it, again?"

Ryan said, "A classmate of Susan's, named Juanita Cruz, sent us to deal with this man in black, be it ever so severely, for being a racist stereotype of Mexicans and putting people with authentic Hispanic blood in them to shame with his hammy acting and constant abuse of 'el Spanish O'."6

Maxine said, "Indeed, that's definitely the worst thing a Mexican can do."6

Susan said, "I'm glad Juanita's acting perfectly normal."

Maxine said, "I know that already."

Ryan did another double take. "You do?"

Maxine said, "We happen to live in the same neighborhood."


At the convention, Eileen was in a conversation with a gray-haired man. They were apparently talking about the Three Mothers Trilogy.

After the conversation, Eileen wandered right into the man in black. "Hola, giallo girl. Wanna know how I got-o these scar-os?"

Eileen said, "No, but I already know how you got THESE!"

She jabbed her pencil into the man in black's hand, piercing it. "EEEEEE-YOUCH-O! That wasn't very nice-o!"

Eileen gave him a faceful of fist for the effort. "You rotten little punk! If you're going to talk like a Yankee, at least speak grammatically correct Spanish! I'm sick and tired of people putting an O at the end of practically every other word just to try to sound like a Yankee!"

The man in black got back up and dropkicked Eileen into a group of convention-goers cosplaying as zombies. Just then, Ryan and Susan show up. Susan yelled, "Attacking a fellow student at our high school like that--unforgivable!"

The man in black started on the two and said, "You'll have to get-o past me if you want-o to save your amiga from those walking corpses."

Susan yelled, "She is not our friend! She is a prankster who thinks she's a cousin of a pair of Cures from another town! But we'll save her nonetheless! Right, Ryan?"

Ryan said, "Let's do it."

The two started fighting the man in black, and they were just as brutal as with the last encounter. One of the zombie cosplayers said, "Uh, guys, the Toei Martial Arts Convention is 10 miles east of here."

The man in black yelled, "Who gives a damn-o!?" Ryan quickly kicked him in the jaw, sending him into another pack of cosplayers, this time dressed as cannibals. Ryan said, "Um, a little music, if you please, just to suit the mood."

A catchy jazz/surfer rock tune started playing. Ryan said, "Now that's kickarse!" He and Susan then continued fighting the man in black, laying the smackdown on him. The cannibal cosplayers proceeded to circle around the two as if to make a meal of them. Ryan said, "Oh, shit."

Susan said, "Remember your training, Ryan! That's what you're best at, isn't it?"

Ryan said, "I guess." The two fought the cannibal cosplayers and knocked them down. He then said, "Sorry, guys, but dinner's cancelled!"

They then started toward the zombie cosplayers and fought them. After knocking them down, Susan said, "Don't worry, Eileen, you're in safe hands. Now please go to a different part of the convention and talk about giallo as though it's your favorite genre."

Eileen scampered off. Ryan and Susan then entered separate restrooms, leaving the man in black wondering, "Que diablos are they up to?"

Then the two Cures tumbled out of the restrooms and continued their transformation speeches as usual.

"The golden warrior, I am Cure Dragon!"

"The silver warrior, I am Cure Fortune!"

"Together we're Pretty Cure!"

"Evil warriors of ill fortune…"

"We shall send you packing!"7

A cannibal cosplayer who had just gotten back on his feet asked, "Um, isn't the Magical Girl Anime Convention seven miles west of here?"

Cure Dragon said, "Well, we just came to drag some other cosplayer who lost his way over to the Toei Martial Arts Convention."

Cure Fortune asked, "You ready, Ryan?"

Cure Dragon chuckled and said, "I was born ready."

The Cures then walked over to the man in black and grabbed him by the arms, dragging him kicking and screaming to the door. Eileen watched the scene. "What the… now these conventions have cosplaying security guards?"

Another giallo villain cosplayer said, "Maybe they were looking for the Magical Girl Anime Convention?"


The Cures swung the man in black forward twice (by way of a windup), then they threw him out for real. They continued to where he landed as he asked, "As if it wasn't enough-o for you to show me the door-o, now what more-o do you want-o?"

"GOLD THUNDER!"

"SILVER THUNDER! We who are different as day and night…"

"Do join together and combine our might!"

"PRETTY CURE METAL PUNCH!"8

The attack threw the man in black sky-high again. Cure Dragon said, "Pity, really. He never did get to fire his lasers."


Newton and Bailey ran over to the convention center where the Magical Girl Anime Convention was being held. Cures Dragon and Fortune were present. Newton said, "So… you managed to find the right convention. Good for you."

Bailey said, "I was kind of wondering, though: how did the two of you transform while in different restrooms?"

Cure Dragon said, "Well, it's kind of hard to explain, but…"

Cure Fortune said, "Simple, really: we connected our minds. To us, it looked and felt as though we were doing it together in the same space."

Newton said, "Still kind of complicated."

Bailey said, "Wow. Forgot to tell you about that ability. But I will tell you, now that I remember, that it doesn't work over long distances. Maybe 10 or 15 metres tops."

Then the Cures noticed a trio cosplaying as the Fresh Cures dancing to "You Make Me Happy". Cure Dragon said, "And that's how the tradition began."

Then the two started dancing along in the crowd.


ED: "YMCA"


Next episode: "Ciba, la guardia del corpo - Chiba the Bodyguard"

Voice actorsEdit

JapaneseEdit

EnglishEdit

Translation notesEdit

1.^ Spoken in English in the original Japanese version.
2.^ Originally "Kassarin" ("Catherine").
3.^ Hiroshi originally wanted Ran to look for a "gringo who acts like something he isn't". The English dub clarifies what he was trying to say.
4.^ Originally, Ai said, "Damn fools... you pommies really need good reason to risk your necks!" Ran responds by saying, "Of course we have a good reason, dammit!"
5.^ The mortician was checking Hiroshi to see if he had undergone yubitsume, the Yakuza practice of cutting off your left pinky finger for dishonoring the Yakuza.
6.^ Hiroshi's complaint about Kuro's behavior in the Japanese original is that he swears like a sailor; Masami responds by saying, "Damn, I should wash his mouth out with soap!"
7.^ Original Japanese version: "Duaru faitingu supiritu!" "Senshi no kin'iro, Kyua Doragon!" "Senshi no gin'iro, Kyua Foruchiun!" "Futari wa purikyua!" "Akuun no warui no senshi!" "Jigoku no ochiru!" ("Dual Fighting Spirit!" "The Golden Warrior, Cure Dragon!" "The Silver Warrior, Cure Fortune!" "We are Pretty Cure!" "Evil warriors of ill fortune!" "Fall into Hell!")
8.^ Original Japanese version: "Gorudo Sandaa!" "Shirubaa Sandaa!" "Purikyua no in to you no chikara ga..." "...Subete no aku wo uchikudaku!" "Purikyua metarupanchu!" ("Gold Thunder!" "Silver Thunder!" "The yin/yang power of Pretty Cure..." "...Shall crush all evil!" "Pretty Cure Metal Punch!")

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