#6 SAMURAI (サムライ)
Rockman X (Yoshihiro Iwamoto)

Review by HF
Published on 2018/02/07
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Meanwhile as X and Sting Chameleon are fighting, Zero watches as sunset approaches, and that it's almost time to carry out his side of the promise to burn the forest should X not make it back by sunset.

Unable to counterattack, X is struck from above, below, and behind as Chameleon constantly switches back and forth between hiding and attacking. X attempts to fire at Chameleon, but is unable to keep up. Chameleon calls the ability to adapt to any environment as the ultimate fighting strategy. Frustrated, X asks why he bothered making use of animals despite Chameleon having such good fighting abilities. Chameleon emerges from behind, grabbing X with his tongue. Chameleon says that only the strong get to advance upward (referring to promotion), and that thanks to X everything he did had been in vain. X pushes his buster against Chameleon's tongue, firing off an Electric Spark which damages them both as Chameleon's tongue is broken apart. X uses this chance to grab Chameleon, throwing him backward. Chameleon is surprised at X's use of Electric Spark, but also says that the attack actually left X at a loss as his buster has been damaged greatly from this gamble, and that it would probably only last 10 or so shots before completely breaking apart. Chameleon says that though his Iron Tongue is destroyed, he still has weapons unlike X who is left with limited means of attacking, followed by firing a barrage of Chameleon Sting shots at X. With few options left, X fires several shots destroying the floodlights in the room, darkening it. X starts to feel his buster failing, as X slumps down as Chameleon mocks X for having his buster being a measure of his remaining lifespan, and having only around one or two more shots remaining.

Chameleon continues, saying X has admitted defeat for not only having little to no means of fighting back, but also leaving himself without vision in the dark, followed by saying he'll wave the conductor's wand to end this requiem of silence. X remarks that he'll turn this into Chameleon's funerary song instead. Chameleon responds asking what X can do with a useless buster, and X says that 2 shots is all he needs as he fires the first shot upward. Using the bright light from the buster shot, X catches sight of Chameleon whose camouflage system is unable to keep up with sudden changes of brightness, resulting in being completely exposed. As the room darkens again, Chameleon finds out that the sudden bright light has stunned his color changing abilities. X aims his second shot, saying that it's Chameleon's curtain call as he fires at Chameleon, destroying him. As Chameleon's remains fall to the ground, X says that Chameleon's obsession with being strong is the same thing that did him in. X catches Chameleon's special weapon chip, saying that he'll be using it. While he walks away, X says that if only Chameleon wasn't so obsessed with strength, he could have made an excellent Hunter.

Zero watches as nightfall approaches, and says that he can't wait for X any longer. As he assembles the high-powered bazooka, he notices X returning with all the now-disarmed animals much to his surprise. Zero asks X where he got that armor, and says that he just got it. Zero wonders about X's ever-growing abilities, but X shouts at Zero as one of the wolves start urinating on the weapon Zero just assembled. However, their brief moment of peace is cut short as they're suddenly surrounded by Sigma's massive army. As the enemies take steps forward towards them, Zero notices X's buster is damaged and says he'll clear a path for X to escape. Amidst Sigma's army, Armored Armadillo orders one of the Mettaurs to open fire. The beam goes past Zero, hitting X's buster. X and Zero realize that the beam repaired X's broken buster as both sides wonder what Armadillo's intentions are. Armadillo introduces himself with his name and title "Steel Armored Warrior", and that his act of repairing X's buster is gratitude for stopping Chameleon. Armadillo takes a look at X, thinking to himself that X has eyes of a man who has escaped from the brink of death. Sigma's army rallies to disable X immediately and bring him to Sigma, but Armadillo tells them to back off and challenges X to a one-on-one duel. Sigma's army say that this is against Sigma's orders, and that bringing X to Sigma was the highest priority. However Armadillo still insists on fighting X, and that he'll take full responsibility for it. Armadillo tells X that their duel would take place two days later at noon at "F" Country's Argonium mine. X accepts the duel invitation.

Two days later, X arrives at the Argonium mine. Looking at at it, X says this is no mine but rather another fortress. As X walks in, he is ambushed by a small swarm of enemies. X dodges the attack, and hears something getting louder from behind. X realizes that it's a spiked mine cart as he attempts to outrun it, but jumps on it in time as he is carried through the mine. The cart reaches a cliff as X jumps off it, and attempts to wall jump his way back up but falls through the wall realizing it was actually a hologram. As X regains his senses, he hears a voice saying that he has arrived. Sitting at the back of the room is Armored Armadillo, saying that they shall begin now. X asks whether this the mine cart was his doing, and Armadillo says that he did it to stop his subordinates from being destroyed, and that this is between him and X. Armadillo continues that he is not willing to waste his subordinates' lives for nothing, but tells X to not have the wrong idea and that he did it because the warrior within him wants to fight the strong regardless of the blame he receives. X looks at Armadillo, and notices Armadillo's left eye has been slashed.

Artwork by Yoshihiro Iwamoto


Despite the silliness involving animals mounted with futuristic weapons in the previous chapter, Sting Chameleon's arc ends with X winning using his resourcefulness despite his constraints. As mentioned in the previous chapter commentary, Sting Chameleon's use of musical motifs in his speech during his fight against X plays him up as a psychopath, making it satisfying to see X do the same when he hoists Chameleon by his own petard. Without the Boomerang Cutter, I enjoyed seeing X fight with his smarts instead of the formulaic "use weapon to utterly destroy boss" pattern that this story could so easily fall into. It was also interesting to see Zero armed with something that isn't his buster or a beam saber, even though he never had a chance to show it being fired (I wonder if that's Hunter standard issue?).

In the second half, we are introduced to Armored Armadillo. Unlike the arrogant and psychotic boss characters introduced so far, Armadillo appears to be honorable if stubborn, as demonstrated by his desire for a fair fight by having X's buster repaired completely and wanting to fight him one-on-one. In Japanese, his choice of words are mostly archaic and portrays him as a samurai (as evident by the chapter title) who just so happens to serve under Sigma. By the time X sees Armadillo the second time, he is shown with a large scar going through his left eye. Was this part of the punishment he received for his selfish decision to fight X, or did something else happen in between the two days?