All Hail the Queen! – Tomb Raider Reboot

So far this first half of 2013 has been very good to me in terms of PS3 releases. Games like “DeadSpace3” and “Ni no Kuni” (see my previous posts), “Injustice” and the upcoming “The last of us“, filled (and will fill) my days with many good things.

One of the games I liked the most is the recent reboot of Tomb Raider saga. I don’t usually go for trophies but I platted this one a few weeks ago. It is my second platinum (the first one being Dragon’s Dogma) and it means a lot to me since I’m no trophy hunter.

ToAks has already written a lot about Lara so I won’t be wasting your time on things you already know. If in need, just retrieve the following articles: “I am not going home” and “I will survive“.

Instead, I’ll try to give you the insight of my TR experience and, hopefully, something more.
Let’s start by meeting our queens: Himiko and Lara.

I don’t know if this happened to any of you, but even with TR the deja-vu thing came out (Oh, boy. Not again!)
As a matter of fact, when I read about young Lara searching for the lost Kingdom of Yamatai, I didn’t bother that much. Lara has always faced situations in which there were some ancient civilizations and possibly some mysterious artifacts, but when I found myself lost on the island and saw the statues and the ceremonial bell it all came back to me.

Those of you interested in Japan history and its mythology will probably know that Yamatai kingdom is still one of the greatest mysteries of Japanese archaeology. The little we know about it, comes from a Chinese historical book named “Sangokushi”, written in the third century A.D. In this book, some messangers travel from China to Japan and their journey ends in a place called “Yamatai Koku” (Land of Yamatai). We have no idea were this place exactly was, since all the names of the explored territories are reported in ancient Chinese language. We think Yamatai stands somewhere around Osaka or Kyushu. There was a time in which Yamatai was considered not more than a legend, but then we found a mirror (considered an imperial seal) that, according to the book, a Chinese king sent to Himiko. The mirror is currently housed at the Shōsō-in inside the Todaji temple in Nara.

So, where does this deja-vu come from?

Well, at the end of ’70ies and early ’80ies Japan experienced a strong competition in the internal market of TV and comics (animes and mangas). In their war for the audience, different TV channels were contracting various artist for new commercial products but, unlike what happens today with all those crappy talent shows, very good things came out.
This article is about Yamaha, Queen Himiko, Lara Croft and “Kotetsu Jeeg” a.k.a. “Jeeg Steel Robot” (or “magnetic robot”).

[In the picture above you can see the cover of the Italian edition of the manga. Please meet the robot Jeeg, his pilot Hiroshi, Queen Himiko and her generals.]

In the game, Lara and other crew components of the “Endurance” ship, get stranded on a supposedly deserted island. They soon discover that the island holds the remains of an ancient kingdom and that an extremely strong power of some sort holds them captive on that “rock”. Apparently, this thing has been in place for quite some time already, since the island shores are full of wrecked ships. Also, remains of downed aircraft are scattered all over the place.

Lara and her companions will soon find out that they are not alone and other survivors (called “Solaris”) are hunting them down in an attempt to find a way out of this hell.
Himiko holds the key to escape, but finding her (or her remains) is no easy task since her “Stormguard” seems to be well alive and ready to kick your ass.

In the manga (1975), created by Japanese artist Go Nagai and drawn by Tatsuya Yasuda, Professor Shiba discovers that Queen Himiko is about to resurrect with the objective to create a new kingdom. Her Generals are by her side once again, and they have a well-equipped army and a few robotic monsters called …”Hanya” (from the clay funerary dolls found inside the tombs).

Professor Shiba turns than his son Hiroshi, a racer champion, into a cyborg able to transform himself in a robotic device which constitutes the head of Robot Jeeg, here depicted during the build-up process.

I personally love Lara much more than Hiroshi (please meet Lara’s new voice and body: Ms. Camilla Luddington) …..

… but what is important here is that Hiroshi source of power is Himiko sacred bell, which Prof. Shiba implanted in his chest after a miniaturization process.

I do not know if Lara is going to have a breast implant as well in the next chapter of the saga, but that is a different story… LOL!
To make a long story short, Hiroshi will keep fighting the Yamatais while Lara will keep hunting for new adventures. At the end of the game, she will state very clearly that she’s going back home. Just not yet! A new survivor is born.

I’d like to close this article with another multimedia crossover:

Episode 33 of the anime (1975): in the middle of a race Hiroshi discovers that his car is trip-wired with a bomb located under the car’s floor. The explosive will go off as soon as his speed decreases below 80km/h. Hiroshi manages to keep his speed up, but a new problem arises when the fuel is about to finish. In the end, his friend “Shorty” will finally try to deactivate the trap by opening a floor panel and reaching the bomb from below.

Does this plot remind you of something else? Exactly! The movie is “Speed” (1994) starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, and Dennis Hopper.

Just for the records, a few years ago Wowow TV (Japanese internet TV) produced a new anime – called “Shin Kotetsu Jeeg” (New Steel Jeeg – 2007) – which is in truth a sequel of the original manga (not of the anime). It takes place about 50 years after the event of the manga, but Himiko is not aged one bit and is sweeter than ever!

Thank you, Go, Nagai, for this great fan-service!

In addition, looks like Himiko is a very popular character all over planet Earth. Here is a young cosplayer featuring the Queen.

To avoid any spoiler I won’t tell you what happens to Queen Himiko at the and of the game, but I sure hope (MY personal wish) that we are going to have more of these crossover in the near future.

I apologize if today I might have gone a little bit “off topic”, so I promise my future articles will be more game-related. On the other hand, our Guru is much better than me in this department, so I think this two different “souls” of the blog can happily co-exist.

Let us know. We are here for you!

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3 thoughts on “All Hail the Queen! – Tomb Raider Reboot

  1. sweet >:)

  2. I think Japan’s greats among the most featured on Anime (and game) is the “Sengoku-Bushou” warlords. But I could say “Himiko” is one of the popular character.
    Himiko is less specific information remains in the history, so Sometimes that only character image motif. I feel so.
    She is “Queen”, and was also in “the priest (shaman)”. This duality and mysterious image may be attractive for the creations.

    • Right on spot, there! Many games and Anime features characters like famous Sengoku General Oda Nobunaga. But Hmiko is always a very fascinating and iconic character.

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