You may be thinking to yourself, “I’ve heard that Buddyfight name before,” but you might not remember where. Do the words “Buddyfight Presents G1 Climax 26” ring any bells?
What about this?
Most wrestling fans know New Japan Pro Wrestling’s parent company Bushiroad mainly because they own New Japan, but there’s an entire group of people that don’t even know they own a wrestling company. Those are the people that purchase Bushiroad’s primary output: card games. One of those games is Future Card Buddyfight. This game has an anime to go along with it and one episode features a special guest star; Kazuchika Okada.
Unlike when Hiroshi Tanahashi and Togi Makabe appeared in Garo, Okada doesn’t play a character. Okada voices a cartoon version of himself, who just so happens to be adept at playing Future Card Buddyfight (though from pictures I’ve seen, this might not be far from the truth). For as insane as Tanahashi and Makabe’s episode of Garo was, this might be even crazier. The full episode can be watched on Crunchyroll for free with subtitles. Now, sit back and relax as I tell you all about Future Card Buddyfight Hundred episode 43: Wh-Wh-What’s This? Gao vs. Okada?
The episode starts off in a dramatic fashion with several voiceovers talking about a threat that could lead to the end of everything. I’m not sure exactly what’s happening so I won’t spend much time on it. All I know for sure is that the stakes are HIGH. Next thing you know we’re watching the ending of a tag team Buddyfight and the opening credits roll. Let’s skip ahead to when Okada shows up. The main character of the series, Gao, is running down a hallway in some sort of underground cave, secret base thing (look, I’m as lost as you are) when he is grabbed by a demon magic ball and is transported to a Buddyfight arena. Gao is shocked at the announcement of his opponent; “It’s the world’s greatest professional wrestler, the 63rd IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada!”
And there he is in all his Okada glory. For whatever reason Okada has chosen to wear his ring gear for this card game. Okada is a man of few words and just wants to begin the battle, choosing not to address the arena commentator. “I’m going to make it rain cards on the stage!” Okada exclaims as the battle begins. Gao and his incredibly stupid hat are as confused as we all are as to why Okada is here for a Buddyfight. We cut away to another Buddyfight player (a Buddyfighter?) who is happy that now he doesn’t have to face Gao because apparently if you lose a Buddyfight, YOU TURN TO STONE! This doesn’t sound like the safest hobby.
The Buddyfight begins as both players yell out “Dragon World!” and I have literally no idea how this game works. After the first set of turns, Gao uses his monsters to attack Okada directly and deals two damage to him. While they’re attacking, an orange dragon knight with long blonde hair remarks that he recognizes Okada’s scent. This is weird for a bunch of reasons. I guess that, unlike in Yu-Gi-Oh, these monsters aren’t just card simulations, they’re real living things that actually get summoned by the cards. Gao’s second monster attacks, but Okada blocks it and raises his health back up to nine points. The blonde haired dragon knight wonders why Okada’s deck smells like Tenbu (whatever that is) and we find out why in a few seconds. Okada heals himself to a full ten lifepoints and summons INVERSE FIFTH OMNI DRAGON LORD, CRAZED TENBU. Well there ya go, blonde dragon dude, it smells like Tenbu because he’s in the deck. Crazed Tenbu looks like a black version of the Dragonball dragon and he takes out Gao’s monster Drum immediately. Okada isn’t here to mess around, he’s going to wreck this kid. Okada has Crazed Tenbu attack Gao directly, and takes him down to five lifepoints. Crazed Tenbu was able to do so much this turn that I have no clue how a turn works in this game.
In order to get back in the fight, Gao summons a blue dragon knight guy and orders him to attack. Here’s where things get really weird. Both of Gao’s monsters refuse their orders because as knights their code of chivalry won’t allow them to attack Crazed Tenbu. They explain that the monster in front of them is a reincarnation of their teacher, Tenbu. Okada watches on in annoyance as these dragon knights back down from a fight. Gao decides to do the fighting himself and launches an attack with his sword against Crazed Tenbu, only to have Okada raise the defenses of his monster and rebuff the attack. The show goes to commercial break and Okada looks pissed.
Okada attacks with Crazed Tenbu again and lowers Gao’s lifepoints to three. It’s almost like Okada’s fighting a child… oh, wait, he is. Gao explains to his dragon knights that he’s fighting for the fate of the world, but they don’t listen because why should dragon knights respect the orders of a child? Gao attempts to attack Crazed Tenbu on his own and Okada once again rebuffs the attack. More and more this show is reminding me of the time I went to play Yu-Gi-Oh at the Toys R Us when I was 12 and it was just me, my friend, and some dude in his 30’s that kept destroying us. Okada summons two new monsters and uses one of them to destroy the blue dragon knight. The dragon’s last words are “The code of chivalry is found in death!” That’s pretty hardcore for a kid’s show. On his turn Gao summons another dragon knight and, sure enough, that one refuses to fight too. Gao once again tries to attack on his own and Okada makes it rain defense spells to protect Crazed Tenbu. Seriously, Okada has had the best luck with drawing cards.
Drum, Gao’s monster from earlier, pleads with his friends from the playing card afterlife to forget their code and fight because if they lose the world will end. Okada overhears this and is shocked to find out the stakes of this Buddyfight. In a fit of rage, Okada take off his jacket and steps onto the battlefield. He gets right in the blonde haired dragon’s face and knocks him down with his patented dropkick.
Then he helps the dragon to his feet and nails him with a Rainmaker. I have to say that this sequence was beautifully animated. Okada then chastises the dragons for coming up with excuses for not being able to win instead of fighting. The dragons remember something their teacher, Tenbu, told them and feel invigorated to join the fight again. The dragon knights use a team attack to destroy Crazed Tenbu and thank Okada for firing them up. Okada seems excited to actually have a challenging Buddyfight in front of him now.
He summons another copy of Crazed Tenbu and wipes out the blonde dragon. Man, I would not be happy if I was Gao. I don’t want to say that Okada’s cheating, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gedo is slipping him cards. Okada equips himself with a sword and attacks Gao directly, taking his health down to one! On his turn, Gao heals one, summons Drum, and powers him up to make this game competitive. Drum destroys Crazed Tenbu with an attack called “howling blazer” as Gao’s attack blitz begins. Gao attacks Okada directly to deal two damage, followed by an attack from Drum that takes Okada down to five.
We cut back to the guy from earlier that told up about the whole turning to stone thing and we find out how Okada got involved in this. While Okada was training for a big match in an underground cave, he was running and plowed over this guy while yelling “OKADAAAASSH!” I really wish Okada would work the Okadash into his wrestling repertoire. Okada saw the guy was a Buddyfighter and remarked how much he missed playing Buddyfight after having to give up his favorite hobby to train. This bad guy then tricks Okada into taking his spot in the battle so he doesn’t have to risk being turned to stone.
Back in the battle arena Gao debates what to do because he doesn’t want to turn Okada to stone. Okada reminds Gao of the danger the world is in and urges him to finish the match. Gao unleashes his final move which involves him going into space and getting inside a giant robot fist that crashes into Okada, taking him down to zero health and winning Gao the match!
Gao thanks Okada for the match and promises to find a way to reverse his transformation into a statue. Okada takes the Rainmaker pose and turns to stone. “Thank you, Mr. Okada” are Gao’s final words as the episode ends.
I’ve seen Okada on plenty of shows since this episode aired, so I can only assume that Gao was able to find a way to reverse the process of turning Okada into a statue. I’d really like to believe that Okada spends his days off tuning up his Buddyfight deck. Maybe when he’s feeling ready he throws on his wrestling gear, he calls up Gedo, and they go destroy kids at the card shop. If New Japan wants to film this and throw it up on New Japan World, I will gladly watch it. Please don’t destroy my dream and tell me that this doesn’t happen.