STORY SYNOPSIS- DICE LEAGUE ARC
Chip Roller never thought he’d see the day when dicing actually became dull, but these days there’s just no one around who can challenge him. Even players he once respected and admired are now low-level compared to him, and being number one at the dice hall month after month is getting a little stale.
Meanwhile, Ace die Master is practising at his lavishly appointed dice simulation lab. After months and months of frustration and setbacks, he has finally put together the optimum dice deck, one that should easily crush his opponent, Chip Roller. After trying it out in a simulation and imagining a humbled Chip bowing down to him, Ace tells his servants to make the necessary preparations- he is going to hold a Dice League Tournament.
In short order, adverts for the new Dice League Tournament are all over the media (for could wars or even lost kittens be more important than dicing?). Eager for the challenge, Chip and Pip head down to the local Dice Shop to register (accompanied by Flick), and are surprised to bump into Two and Three, who will also be participating. Two and Pip tease each other about being too stupid to enter, ending in a manly tussle whilst Chip sighs and Three laughs. As they start to walk home, Chip suddenly notices that Flick is still in the shop; when he calls out to her, she runs to catch up, swiftly hiding a Dice Registration Card in her jacket.
In an unspecified location, a hooded bishounen watches the Dice League Tournament advert whilst sipping tea from a bone china cup and saucer. As the advert concludes, he beckons to the subordinates conveniently waiting in the shadows, ordering them to make the necessary arrangements, and if possible, find him a packet of chocolate digestives.
Alone in his messy apartment, Pip inspects his dice deck and indulges in some flashbacks from the first arc. Even though he won his matches, he knows it was because Chip was there, and begins to worry that he doesn’t have the strength to stand on his own. Assembling his deck, Pip vows to try his hardest to win without the power of FRIENDSHIP by his side.
At the hospital, Ace pays a visit to his unconscious brother Deuce, who is hooked up to medical equipment and has the DESTINED DIE of Lightning on a leather strap around his neck. Ace tells Deuce about the tournament, and says that he hopes his brother will wake up in time to see him win. As Ace leaves, however, he fails to notice Deuce’s eye snap open for an instant.
The day of the tournament soon arrives, and Chip, Pip and Flick gladly miss school to get to the clock tower square where the event will begin. On arrival, Flick mysteriously vanishes into the crowd, however before the boys can look for her, Ace’s chopper arrives. Jumping down from his helicopter, he instructs his subordinates to hand out portable Dice-Techs to each player. These mini-laptops enable players to set up Dice Fields whenever and wherever they want to play- because the Dice League Tournament is a city-wide event! The preliminary round will take up the entire day, during which time players must wander the city looking for people to challenge.
The rules are simple- everyone starts with 1000 points- if they win a match, their points increase by the number of Dice Points they have remaining, whilst the loser has the same amount of points deducted from their score. Anyone whose points drop to zero is automatically out of the tournament, whilst the top eight will qualify for the semi-finals (either the last eight players remaining, or those with the highest scores). Players can play as many or as few matches as they want, provided they play at least one- but no two players can dice-duel each other more than once, nor is it permissible to refuse a match if challenged.
As Ace gives his speech, Chip, Pip, Two, Three and some suspiciously hooded people regard him from the audience, before finally the beginning of the tournament is signalled. As competitors begin to disperse or select opponents, Pip tells Chip that he is going to head off on his own for this one- he wants to make it to the finals under his own steam. Chip agrees that this is a good idea, and the two boys shake hands and agree to meet each other as equals in the finals.
Meanwhile, at the headquarters of our new villain, Mars Cubehart, his subordinates are forced to interrupt their master’s latest cup of Darjeeling to inform him that Ichi has broken into the DESTINY room and stolen the DESTINED DIE of Wind. Setting down his teacup, Mars explains that this is of little consequence- everything is going exactly to plan.
Back at the tournament, and Two is spoiling for a fight- the only trouble is, he can’t find an opponent. Dismayed at his bad luck, he wanders into a back alley, and runs into a hooded player. Recalling his street punk past, Two calls out a challenge, and is more than a little surprised when the person throws back his hood and introduces himself as Dicebreaker Ichi. Changing tack quickly, Two congratulates himself on finding a dicing opponent, and the match begins.
At first glance, Ichi seems like a pushover- slow and meticulous, he seems destined to fall to Two’s full-on attack. Two is only a minor character, however, and within the space of a few episodes it becomes clear that Ichi was in actual fact setting a trap for him. Now poor Two finds the tables turned as Ichi uses his carefully laid plans to play his DESTINED DIE of Wind and win the match.
Some time later, Pip is wandering through a park when he catches sight of Two sitting dejectedly on a park bench. Pip tries to cheer Two up by challenging him to a match, but is amazed to learn that Two is already out of the tournament- and worse yet, when the match was over, Ichi stole all of his rare dice. Upon hearing this, Pip swears that he will find Ichi and pay him back for picking on a friend. Two is surprised and secretly pleased to be called a friend, but warns Pip that his skill level is not enough to take on Ichi’s might. Pip refuses to back down, however, claiming that he must catch up to Chip, no matter what it takes.
Returning to the alley, Two and Pip search for Ichi, who steps out of the shadows with a sly grin on his face. Pip angrily confronts him, demanding that they play a match. Ichi replies that Pip is a fool to challenge him, especially as under Dice League rules he cannot refuse to accept. After some trash talking and flashbacks, the match is finally ready to begin.
As the two players begin dicing, Pip makes much the same sort of direct attacks as the ones that brought Two his defeat. Two tries to warn Pip, but Ichi sharply warns him to shut up if he doesn’t want his friend to be accused of cheating. Two protests, but Pip reinforces the order to be quiet, saying that Two is just distracting him from the game. Annoyed, Two tells him that he’s on his own and falls silent, whilst Ichi laughs at their discord.
Within a few turns, it seems as if Pip is about to fall into one of Ichi’s traps, but to Ichi’s surprise, Pip has already prepared countermeasures. As his quick win slips away from him, Ichi wonders what happened, at which point Pip reveals the truth- he and Two had already discussed Ichi’s strategy prior to the match, and their earlier argument was all part of a plan to keep Ichi off-guard. With the advantage now his, Pip asks if Ichi wants to give up, but Ichi merely laughs in response- if that’s the best Pip can do, he won’t last for long. So saying, Ichi draws his next die, and to his delight, it is just the die he needs to allow the summoning of his DESTINED DIE of Wind.
At the sight of the DESTINED DIE, Pip falls into flashback. He remembers how he was never able to defeat Chip or Ace’s DESTINED DICE, and wonders if this is the end for him. His confidence thus draining away, Pip plays poorly for the next few turns, enabling Ichi to gain a massive advantage. Laughing again, Ichi tells him that he is the one to give up, because in the next few turns he will be utterly crushed and humiliated. He also mentions that he is the weakest of the Dicebreakers, and that if Pip cannot even defeat him, he might as well give up dicing and take up something easier, perhaps Snakes and Ladders.
Sinking to his knees, Pip sees a vision of himself in the darkness, always running behind Chip, Ace and the others, but never able to catch up. Just as he is about to give up, however, the vision changes, and he is in school talking to Chip. Chip tells him never to give up, for no matter how strong your opponent, the dice will respond to those who have a pure, unwavering heart.
Re-energised by these words, Pip returns to reality, ready to take on Ichi. Confidently announcing that he can and will defeat his opponent, he draws a die, and proclaims that it is just the one he needs. The die in question is the Lucky One in a Million Miracle Chance, an extremely risky one to play; nonetheless, Pip boldly announces that he will gamble everything he has on it. Upon hearing this, Ichi is scornful, and tells Pip that if he is so confident, they should put a little wager on the match. If Pip can somehow come out victorious, Ichi will hand over the DESTINED DIE of Wind and return all of Two’s rare dice, but if he loses, Pip must hand over his entire dice deck and never play again.
Two tells Pip not to accept the wager, but Pip is insistent- he has come too far to back down now. After agreeing to Ichi’s terms, he plays the Lucky One in a Million Miracle Chance, imagining his friends supporting him as he throws it. After some tense moments, the die lands on the winning side, and its effect disables the DESTINED DIE of Wind. In short order, Ichi is defeated.
Pip and Two confront Ichi to ensure he makes good on his promise, but Ichi isn’t about to do anything of the sort; as he tries to run away, however, the DESTINED DIE of Wind starts glowing white hot. The DESTINED DIE burns a hole in Ichi’s Dice Deck Holder, causing all the dice to spill as he scrambles away. Two is able to recover his rare dice, whilst Pip tentatively pokes the DESTINED DIE. It immediately cools, and he realises that its ownership has indeed been transferred to him. Picking it up, he resolves to prove himself a player worthy of such a rare and powerful die.
Back at Dicebreakers HQ, Mars sips a hot cup of Ceylon and listens dispassionately to Ichi’s report of failure. As Mars dunks a Ginger Nut biscuit into his tea, Ichi cowers in fear, awaiting punishment- but to his surprise, Mars laughs and says that this will make things more interesting now. Nonetheless, he adds, Ichi’s failure cannot go unpunished. Standing up, Mars throws back his cloak and uses unspecified Dark Dice Powers to Dice Break Ichi’s mind. Ichi slumps to the ground, a vacant look in his eyes, before Mars calls his guards to take out the trash.
Turning back to his tea, Mars is disappointed to find that it has grown cold, and orders that a fresh pot be brewed for him. In the meantime, he decides to contact another of his agents in the field- an agent who proves to be none other than Flick! Although it doesn’t make a great deal of sense with regards to continuity, Flick is actually a Dice Agent working for Mars; her latest mission is to lead Chip into an inevitable confrontation with the second Dicebreaker, Ni. Flick is clearly conflicted over having to betray her friends, but reluctantly agrees to carry out Mars’ will.
Stepping out of the video-phone booth she used to contact Mars, Flick goes back into the city to meet up with Chip. Chip is disappointed that no one seems to want to play him- in fact, to avoid having to accept his challenges, they’ve been running in the opposite direction. When Flick quietly mentions that she knows someone who would be interested in a match, Chip readily agrees, barely noticing his friend’s discomfort.
Leading him through the oddly deserted streets, Flick takes Chip to where Ni is waiting, but just as they round the corner to meet him, she pretends to trip and grabs Chip in such a way as to pull him over and spill his dice. Apologising profusely, Flick gathers up his dice deck, but swiftly slips in an added die whilst Chip isn’t looking. Placing the dice back in their holder, Chip tells her not to worry about it, and strides forward to meet Ni.
A cool and laid back player, Ni greets Chip with confidence and challenges him to a dice duel. Accepting the challenge, Chip sets up a dice field and the match begins.
As the first few dice are played, Ni seems content to let Chip control, occasionally remarking that everything is going as planned. Chip accuses him of false confidence, judging that by the strength of his dice-hand, he will beat Ni easily. Reflecting that this has been an unsatisfying match, Chip prepares to send his opponent into endgame…
Unfortunately, Ni was not just boasting when he claimed everything was going as planned; his seemingly poor play in the first few turns was simply part of his preparations to crush Chip. Ni now reveals that he has studied all of Chip’s matches (which are somehow on record for all to see) and has built a Water Defence deck perfectly suited to nullifying Chip’s fire-based strategies.
Although he resolves to fight on bravely, over the next few turns it soon becomes clear that Chip is struggling. Ni has a perfect counter to every move he plays, and Chip can only watch as his dice points drain away. When even his DESTINED DIE is sealed away, it seems as if Chip will have no choice but accept his defeat.
Fortunately, just as the situation seems hopeless, Chip reaches into his dice deck and draws a die that could just be exactly what he needs- the only thing is, it isn’t a die he ever remembers putting in his deck! Thinking back to the time his dice spilled out, Chip briefly wonders if Flick had something to do with it, but finally decides that he must not overlook this piece of good fortune. Taking the die in his hand, he plays it on the field, leaving Ni to watch in horror as the heart of his attack formation is broken.
Unable to effect a comeback from the unexpected turn of events, Ni concedes defeat at the hands of Chip. As Chip and Flick move away, Ni contacts Mars to inform him of his defeat. Less than pleased, Mars Dice Breaks him and he slumps to the ground.
At the headquarters of the Dicemasters Association, reports are flooding in about the actions of Mars’ Dicebreakers. The head of the association decides that such flaunting of the honourable Dicing Code cannot be allowed, and orders that a pair of specially trained Dice Agents be sent in to investigate. To that end, Dice Agents Evan and Anna are sent to Dice City to uncover evidence of Mars’ organisation.
Watching on his magic CCTV, Mars sips a cup of oolong whilst watching the activities of the Dice Agents. Deciding that they could prove troublesome with regards to his master plan, Mars dispatches his loyal servant Roku to deal with them.
To be continued…