John C. Wright (johncwright) wrote,
John C. Wright
johncwright

The Best Samurai Vampire story of the Year!

I made a remark about writing a Samurai Vampire story when I was listing my advice to new writers. Here is the link:

http://arhyalon.livejournal.com/72302.html


Once reader comments about the story title Lightning Swords of the Nosferatu of Kyoto:

"Vampires AND Japanese sword fighting in one story? That simply CANNOT FAIL."
Is it true that it cannot fail? How can we mere mortals tell which stories use their mighty powers for good or for awesome?

Fortunately, we have a sure-fire method of detecting awesomeness! Let us consult the periodic table of AWESOMENTS!





Let us calculate, shall we? Any story in the Samurai Vampire genre is certain to have the following:
  • NINJA (awesoment #2) -- because Samurai vampires have to fight Van Helsing the Ninja Exorcist or what is the point?
  • EXPLOSION (#4) -- because ninja throw down those little flashbombs when they want to disappear.
  • BOOBS (#13) -- this is a maybe. Whether or not the Vampire Samurai falls in love with Lady Toda Buntaro (played by Yoko Shimada in the film adaptation) depends on the specifics of the plot; and again, whether her silk-soft peach-hued kimono is ruthlessly torn aside by evil Chinese pirates and her long, luxuriant hair, black and shining as ink, is flung in wanton disarray past her swanlike neck and delicate shoulders as the chuckling pirates prepare to do their evil deed -- when suddenly, as silently as the Batman himself, the Nosferatu Samurai appears in the threshold of the ship's cabin, his long hair half-covering his unearthly eyes as seems nonchalantly not to notice the outrage occurring to Lady Toda Buntaro. And yet his thumb has loosened his kitana in its scabbard, so that half an inch of the mystic sword Grasscutter gleams like a silvery moon! What is he waiting for? The Chinese pirates roar threats at him. He does not smile, but seems to be listening to a distant birdsong of some dawn he can never see. Then, Lady Toda cries out in that high-pitched yet adorably cute way Japanese ladies have! One of the pirates scowls and shouts: "Come in then, Amatsu Mikaboshi no Yoma, if you dare to cross swords with me!" The Nosferatu of Kyoto now smiles, and his wolf-fangs glint like pallid daggers. "Arigato" he whispers politely. "I was awaiting the invitation" and he glides across the threshold. And the only sound is the slither of his steel coming clear of the scabbard.
  • In this scene, whether or not we see any cleavage from the half-disheveled yet alluring damsel in distress depends on the whether we are going for tasteful awesome or lowest common denominator awesome. So count it as maybe.
  • ASSASSIN (#18) -- Well, gee, aren't all ninja assassins by definition?
  • THROWING STARS (#23) -- Goes without saying. Except Van Helsing uses silver-coated throwing stars shaped like Crucifixes and blessed by the Pope. And if this is a Japanime, the Pope is a girl, carries a machine-gun, and inherited the position from her father.
  • SONIC BOOM (#25) -- this can be included, provided the samurai vampire or the exorcist ninja can shatter glass just with the supersonic air pressure radiating from the speed of his sword blade. It could be included: after all, Aoyama Mokoto from LOVE HINA can produce a sonic boom with her blade using the secret demon-slaying techniques of the Shinmeiryuu school. So, maybe we could have her appear as a guest star in one chapter.
  • KUNG FU (#26) -- Of COURSE there is Kung Fu in Lightning Swords of the Nosferatu of Kyoto! Not just Kung Fu, but zero-gravity undead Kung Fu in a graveyard! During a forest fire! At midnight! With Lo Pan and the Three Storms!
  • RAMEN (#34) -- there has to be a comedy-relief scene where the kohai tries to steal noodles from his sempai each using their chopsticks to lunge and parry and snatch food from each other's mouths while they kick over benches and slid over tables in the kitchen.
  • DWARVES (#35) -- Hm. Another maybe.Certain Oni or troll spirits might be considered dwarfs, if they are short enough, or maybe Mushizo, the crooked hunchbacked ninja who works for the Shogun of the Dark and has a beehive built into his back which stores his supply of specially-trained ninja death-bees, can be considered a dwarf. Will give this one half-credit.
  • VAMPIRE (#36) -- Bingo. There should also be pale Vampire Brides, who count for double: ninja-babe vampire brides in black kimonos who can turn into wolves, climb walls, and throw shiruken count for triple.
  • SWORD (#39) -- Not just 'sword' but mystical katana forged from the spine of an eight-headed dragon! Double points for that!
  • NUNCHUCKS (#41) -- Of course!
  • DAGGERS (#42) -- Of course! Hel-LO, this is a Vampire Samurai story we are talking about, here!
  • LIGHT SABER (#43) -- or something that looks like it.
  • LIGHTNING (#49) -- Not only is one of the lampshade-wearing henchmen of Lo Pan named 'Lightning', the story is called 'Lightning Swords of the ... (etc)." Someone has got to be throwing lightning from their fingertips at some point, or else there has to be a lightning flash just when that mysterious silhouette enters the door, and makes his pronouncement of doom, and in the stunning half-second of glare we realize that the undead samurai ghost is none other than Mikaboshino Yoma's dearest friend and honored sword-teacher whom he vowed to avenge but who was killed by friendly fire during an ironic yet heartrending seppuku accident--and then when his cracked masks slides from his face, we realize that the sword-teacher was ALSO his long-lost missing brother Chibi-chan, kidnapped from his sickbed long ago by the Shogun of Darkness!
  • FIRE (#50) -- We already established there was going to be a forest fire during the showdown in the haunted graveyard behind the cursed fortress beyond the unholy mountain. Which is probably a volcano. Can a vampire cross running lava?
  • LIQUOR (#51) -- the comedy relief character not only drinks Saki, but we can also establish that when the Monkey King unlimbers his "will-following golden-banded staff", he no doubt has to drink heavily to master the Drunken Monkey style used to drive the Bodhisattva of the Underworld back into the Hell of the Horny Dragon.
  • WIZARD (#54) Lo Pan counts as a wizard. If he can shoot light from his mouth after I drive my truck straight through him, that counts as a wizard. Besides, in the Japanese version, if the Pope (a young girl with a machinegun, remember?) can banish the King of the Black Wind using shrine maiden techniques, then she counts as a Wizard.
  • CHRISTOPHER WALKEN (#87) -- Um. Maybe he can reprise his role from PROPHECY 3: THE ASCENT as the fallen version of archangel Gabriel. If he got turned into a human in that movie, well, he can turn into a samurai bounty-hunter in this one. Or maybe not. Okay, I admit including Christopher Walken is stretching it, but it would be Awesome if he appeared in the film version.
  • As for the other elements FORTRESS (#107) SEX (#113) BOUNTY HUNTERS (#117) GHOST (#118) DRAGON (#59) WEREWOLVES (#70) MUTANTS (#71) and GUITAR SOLO (#98), how and where they would fit into a Samurai Vampire movie is too obvious to mention. In fact, I do not see how you could keep them out of a Vampire Samurai story even if you wanted to.
Carefully counting up the score of Awesome, and dividing the atomic weight by Avogadro's number, we get um .... lesse ... about 10,0000 Quatloos on the newcomers!

For those of you not familiar with the quatloo system of rating Awesome, this means Nosferatu of Kyoto, if it were done right it would rank about equal with BUCKAROO BANZAI VS THE WORLD CRIME LEAGUE if John Carpenter directed it. Which means it would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways Completely Awesome.
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