Sunday, 2 December 2012

Part 10: Yanagita Rikao's Sengoku Basara Science Laboratory

As with my posts covering the earlier parts, this is an extremely rough English translation of part of the blog series Yanagita Rikao's Sengoku Basara Science Laboratory (Yanagita Rikao Sengoku Basara Kagaku Kenkyuujo). Please click the link below to see the original article, which is accompanied by illustrations and promotional videos.

Part 10: The threat of the rumbling iron ball!? Kuroda Kanbee

Kuroda Kanbee is an unlucky warrior. Despite being one of the pair of strategists referred to as "Nihyoue*" in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's prime alongside Takenaka Hanbee, following Hideyoshi's passing Ishida Mitsunari and Ootani Yoshitsugu regarded his ambitions to take control of the nation as dangerous. They restrained Kanbee by shackling him to an iron ball and forced him to live underground. Even after a hard-earned victory he's suddenly attacked by a new wave of enemies, from whom he flees dragging the iron ball and crying "Whyyyy?!". However, Kanbee uses this iron ball as a weapon. Turning his adverse situation into a form of attack is a very positive approach. Dubbed 'Heavy, Blunt Manoeuvres' in the series, Kuroda Kanbee's life is all about never giving in to misfortune.

The threat of the iron ball attack

Kanbee's iron ball is gigantic. By measuring from his character sheet in the Sengoku Basara 5th Anniversary Eiyuu Taizen book, the ball's diameter extends to 36% of his height. Kanbee is burly and around 180cm tall, which gives a diameter of 65cm; it's 1.1t if you calculate the weight! While the ball's diameter is about the same as the tyre of a saloon car, its weight is as much as the entire vehicle.

Once the shock of that has worn off, fighting by wielding the ball like this lends itself to two completely opposing modes of attack. The first is the 'Honyaku Mawari' attack. By using the chain's length to its fullest, he spins around, swinging the weapon as though he's throwing a hammer. The other is 'Metta Yatama', which involves shortening the chain and swinging the ball from side to side as though drawing a figure of eight. Which of these is superior in terms of sheer power?

In the case of the former, measured from the game screen the length of the chain extends to around 5m and it spins approximately 5 times within 3 seconds. By calculating from that, the speed the iron ball is moving at must be 190km/h. Considering that the iron ball is as heavy as a saloon car, it's as though the enemy is being hit by a passenger vehicle travelling at that unbelievable speed. His physical effort is what determines whether the final blow will send them to the afterlife Kanbee fears so much.

In contrast, with Metta Yatama the chain's length is 1.5m while the rate of its rotation doubles to 10 times within 3 seconds. The iron ball's speed is within the range of a saloon car at 110km/h: a car which hits you from right to left at that speed three times each second. It's like having the torment of hell unfold right before your eyes. Which of the two is better depends on personal taste. I don't think there will be people who like both...

Deciding which is better on a scientific basis is a matter of how troublesome each of the skills is for Kanbee to perform. The centrifugal force exerted on his arms is 63t for Honyaku Mawari and 72t for Metta Yatama. Although Metta Yatama is slower, the centrifugal force required is greater since its turning radius is short. This could probably affect which is used.

The only way to make use of kicking power

Swinging the iron ball isn't the only thing which Kanbee has mastered with skill. 'Yakudama Tosshin' is firm proof of this. This technique involves kicking the iron ball with a dropkick so that it collides with the enemy, with Kanbee himself following right behind, spinning. Although it isn't easy to kick a 1.1t iron ball so that it flies, if the flight is possible then I think that this is the best way to use it.

Let's use an example where Kanbee raises the ball 1m and then sends it flying 10m. To achieve this, the iron ball must be kicked at 80km/h. If we assume Kanbee is 180cm tall, with his build his body weight is likely to be around 90kg. That's one twelfth as much as the iron ball. Kicking the ball with this body so that both will be move forwards at 80km/h, the kick would need to hit the iron ball at 13x at that speed: 1,040km/h. This means Kanbee is a hero able to attain a speed of 1,040km/h with a jumping kick.

Then, what happens when this jumping kick is sent directly at an enemy soldier? If the enemy is farther away than the length of the chain, the chain will tighten in midair with a twang, dislocating Kanbee's shoulder and more as it drops down. Immediately afterwards, the iron ball would come flying back towards him at 80km/h. To avoid that lingering anxiety, he kicks the iron ball and follows straight behind it himself. It makes perfect sense.

The choice of a strategist

Kanbee also uses the iron ball to travel at a high speed. He does this by clinging onto the iron ball as it rolls around. It seems to be achieving around 60km/h from looking at the screen and the name of this technique is 'Wazawai Tenjite'. It's a disaster ('wazawai') which has been restrained by the iron ball, enabling it to be be used for high speed movement; truly positive, Kanbee-like resourcefulness.

But it looks like a dangerous ability. When a person clings onto an iron ball with a diameter of 65cm, its average diameter will be around 1m in addition to the thickness of the body. For this to achieve a rolling speed of 60km/h, it would have to rotate 2.7 times every second. The a 1.1t iron ball would thus press down on Kanbee 2.7 times per second. Furthermore, with a person wrapped around it the sphere is no longer smooth. Most dangerous of all is the head protruding from the sphere's surface; he'll bang his head on the ground every time it rotates. At a speed of 60km/h, he would receive the same impact as falling headfirst from a height of 14m, at a pace of 2.7 times every second. Even Kanbee will probably faint before long like that.

I think though that this is the only way for Kanbee to move at a high speed while burdened with the iron ball. The speed can't be achieved by running and dragging the ball due to friction. And if rolling it while running, it would stop moving if the chain wrapped around the ball or became twisted. If that's the case, then rolling along together with the ball must have been a conscious decision on the part of this strategist known as "Nihyoue".

No matter what kind of adverse situation he finds himself in, Kuroda Kanbee will use it to his maximum advantage and find a way to survive. I'd call this warrior a 'master of life'.

* This was a collective nickname for the pair during the Toyotomi era. In context it literally means "the two 'bee's", referring to their matching names. They're sometimes called "Ryoubee" ("both 'bee's") together for the same reason.

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