Hello again, my wonderful readers!! How are all of you today? I am well- getting to start a new post again rather than trying to pick up on one of the posts I haven’t finished is a good feeling- one that I love and miss. This post came into my mind when I first read Chapter 145– when Homura revealed her Overdrive transformation. And I say “reveal” and not “achieved” because of my own little theory about it, which we’ll discuss later on. But beyond just that; I wanted to discuss what I love about this power up, it’s similarities to Mashima’s other shonen power up in his previous work, and my other theory about the future of the story. This post is going be the most fun I’ve had in a LONG Time. And I can’t wait to hear all of your thoughts on it!! Now; let’s begin.
Overdrive is your standard Shonen Power up: It comes about “when you push the ether in your body past it’s critical point, causing it to change,” Drakken Joe said in chapter 81. I don’t know much about cars or anything mechanical like that, but I think the principle that it “boils over” and becomes something entirely different- which might explain that transformation afterwards. It would make sense that when the substance that makes up your body changes- your appearance will too. I mean; it’s how Albinism happens- the lack of melanin in your skin causes it to be……well; pure white. But I think I might talk a little bit more about this “change” in Ether for a minute. Because this “change in ether” is a point of interest.
I want to know what this “change” is- is it the ether signature that changes completely, or is it the ether flow that changes? I have 2 working ideas for what this change is and what the “critical point” is:
- “Purification-” This is the process by which the ether that makes up the body is being used- it heats up and starts to “boil. The more is used; the more patterns form on the body- like bubbles in boiling water. And reaching the “critical point” is when all the “impure elements” in your ether are burned off, giving you access to the Ether itself, rather than all the “other stuff.” The change is the pure ether making itself solidify on your body.
- “Overload-” This might be more likely. This is the principle where the body is using much more Ether than usual, thus gaining the extra patterns and lines. And the “critical point” is when the regular body is overflowing with so much Ether that it adapts and changes to preserve gain better control.
Now; these are 2 loose explanations that I came up with while writing this post- you may have your own interpretation of what happens and the exact process of Overdrive. But I feel like the “Overload” option might be closer- even if I didn’t convey that the way I had intended to. In which case; sorry for confusing you.
Overdrive is an ability accessible to everyone who uses Ether Gear- regardless of the kind you have. So even Machines capable of using Ether Gear are able to Overdrive just as Humans are. Though I’m left to wonder how a machines Overdrive would work in relation to a Humans. Because Ether gear works by “modifying the flow of your ether to power yourself.” And that works for humans because there’s no specific way it’s supposed to “flow.” But with machines; the flow of their ether is predetermined. It leads into a whole other theory about Machines being made to have specific Ether gear that I doubt is the case. But moving on.
Throughout the course of the series; we have seen 4 characters display 4 stages of Overdrive: Shiki, Kris(Jinn), Drakken, and Homura. Shiki has displayed the use of 3 different stages of Overdrive; Drakken has displayed 2; Homura- 1 or 2(depending on if you want to label what she did against Garrot in chapter 65); and Kris has only displayed it once in an alternate timeline. The current Kris has not had the chance to display a use of any Overdrive of any kind. Though I feel like he can. Speaking of “Stages;” there seem to be 4 of them:
- The “Initial Stage” that Shiki displayed when he fought the Fake Elsie and the Kureani Dragoon.
- The “Advanced Stage” that Shiki displayed against Drakken in chapter 95.
- The “Half Form” state that Drakken displayed to demonstrate “REAL Overdrive” in chapter 81.
- The “Full Form” state that Drakken displayed in chapter 95.
The difference in the first 2 states seems to be the patterns- how many of the lines are floating above the body and the “new” patterns that form- like when Shiki uses the “Initial Overdrive;” he gains those “Head Wing” things above his head.
Step one seems to be just the Head wings, while step 2 seems to be the lines on his arms floating above him. And step 3 would result in Demon King Shiki making his appearance. But that leads me to the Main Point of this post: The idea that Shiki’s Overdrive- and Homura’s as well- are Incomplete. Kris was confirmed to possess an incomplete Overdrive by Drakken.
Progression and Potential
Yes; this is the point that I wanted to talk about all along. I just thought that pointing out the differences in these Overdrives would help to reinforce my point- the point that Shiki and Homura still has another level of Overdrive to reach. If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, though; I would like to point out that, whereas Shiki and Homura have black fragments on their skin when they go Overdrive- Drakken becomes pitch black when he goes all out. He becomes a Big @$$ Monster in relation to Demon King Shiki, who simply gains a new vest and………Would you call those “Horns?”
Now; you can always postulate that the difference in appearance is left up to the fact that they have completely different Ether Gear. But if all Ether Gear users are capable of Overdrive; why would their “levels” be any different? Why does Drakken become a “Daikaiju(To make as many Kaiju No 8 references as possible)” and Shiki just becomes a super cool bad@$$ with a flowing scarf? I don’t think Shiki’s hit his limit yet. Likewise with Homura. I think there’s still another level to Overdrive that they can achieve- made even more evident by the patterns on their arms and legs respectively.
Like; the black markings that appear on them look like they aren’t done covering them yet. It’s like it’s still “Incomplete.” The thing that I want to talk about his how these 2 will “complete” the transformation, and what will those transformations look like. And once again; I think that Drakken might be a clue in how that would go.
For one thing; he’s had 200 Years to access the full potential of his Ether Gear. So there maybe a time frame that you have to have an Ether Gear to access it. But there’s also what it means to “reach the critical point.” That line let’s you know that he was pushed to his limit once before. I don’t know that event would be, but for Shiki– it was feeling the “memories” of World 29 “fall into him” and remembering the promise he made to beat Drakken. So it may be something like Super Saiyan- it can be attained through great emotional stress or just pure training. The “critical point” can be a reaction to one reaching their mental or physical limit. So for Shiki and Homura to attain this next level; they’ll have to either experience situations much more strenuous than what they went through to get this far.
As for the look; Drakken looks like a genuine Monster. His hiar becomes somewhat feather like, and he gains spikes on his his forearms. He also gains pointed ears and a larger physique. What this means is probably symbolic of him being a “Monster-” a being who twists and distorts natures laws. He used the power of Alchemy to take people’s life force, and his original goal of simply “living past 15” got warped into…….what we saw in the story.
If we go by this logic, then I think that Shiki’s would turn him into…….something akin to Ziggy, if I’m being honest. It looks like his horns aren’t quite fully formed, and I don’t think that vest will be much protection to a “Demon King.” As such; I think the end goal of his Overdrive will have his horns fully protruded and have him gain a naturally armor of sorts- much like one of his alternate outfits in the upcoming game.
As for Homura; her transformation seems to go with the more “Animalistic Style” of her fighting- how a lot of her attacks have animal names like “Snake Bite,” “Snake Strike,” or “Towering Crane Gust.” And as you saw with her transformation in chapter 145; it’s clear that Mashima is goin with a “Kitsune” type of theme. So her Full On Overdrive will more than likely have a few additional tails. Though her appearance beyond just that is a little bit questionable. She mentioned in chapter 21 that she considered herself a “Knight,” and a King needs Knights. “Kitsune Knight” themed transformation inbound?
Lastly; let’s talk about all of the characters who have been seen using a form of Overdrive, the method of attainment, and potential progression- as well as the potential of other Ether Gear users we’ll continues to see in the series. Since I’ve talked about them at nauseum, so I’ll try to keep Shiki and Drakken’s points brief. But I’ll expand more on Homura and Kris- and the potential of a few other characters we’ll see in the story.
1. Shiki Granbell
This one I’ve already talked about. He has displayed the use of Overdrive in most states the most in the series at 7 times. He displayed the first usage against a Kopykat that pretended to be Elsie in chapter 14. He defeated it by using “Gravity Comet.” His second usage came against the mother of Homura- Kureani Kogetsu. Clad in her Kureani Dragoon; Kureani did her best to crush Shiki and the rebellion against her on Sun Jewel. But Shiki find the “chink” in the Dragoon’s Ether Coating: A Regular Fist Could Damage It. So when he converted the Missiles kinetic energy into gravity; the robot was vulnerable after getting hit with his fist and was destroyed by “Gravity Cannon.”
His 3rd use of Overdrive came in chapter 81 while fighting against Skymech Ninja Jinn- who had displayed his own use of Overdrive. But this use was cut short with the intervention of Drakken Joe, who saw fit to demonstrate to them proper Overdrive. Which lead to World 30 Shiki using an advanced Overdrive to combat Drakken- to no avail, as the latter displayed his Full transformation and nearly turned Shiki into stone just as he did in chapter 82. And then you come to the Legendary Chapters 97 and 98, in which Shiki used his new power to utterly CRUSH the Out-Of-Control Alchemist.
He would go on to use this power again when getting past the Dragonfalls to leave the Aoi Cosmos in chapter 105, and to finish his battle against Commando Team Beast member Orc in chapter 117. As said by Weisz in chapter 98; Shiki’s power in this form seems to have power comparable to that of a Black Hole, and is implied to have unconsciously “brought over the memories” of World No 29 as shown in chapter 97. It would also seem that this form gives Shiki access to the technique “Meteor Breaker-” the only attack in his Arsenal that doesn’t start with the word “Gravity.”
2. Homura Kogetsu
Going back to Chapter 95; we saw that Homura’s arms grow extra patterns to her Ether Gear, indicating that she was using much more Ether. I don’t know if we should count this as her using an initial stage of Overdrive. Because we usually see patterns on an early stages form on the face as well as moving up the arm. There’s also the change in the patterns that appear on her arm- her usual pattern wasn’t there and was instead replaced by a “zig-zag” type. This would also appear on Shiki when he went Overdrive in chapter 81; the “fingerless glove” look is replaced for a “flowing” effect, which leads me to think that this is a variation of Overdrive.
And of course; you have her display against Oceans 6 member Milani in chapter 145- in which she displayed her Overdrive and defeated Milani and her mirrors all at once. However; I don’t think she achieved it here. I don’t know if it’s just me or if Mashima is trying to imply something here, but that just didn’t “feel” like she was using her 3rd Stage Overdrive for the 1st time. I get that not every use of Overdrive will be this “Big, Theatrical ‘OH SH!T‘” moment, and at some point- it won’t even be all that “special.” But I feel like seeing one of the main cast- the characters we’ve been following for hundreds of chapters now- achieve this power- seeing them use it for the very first time- should HIT. Like; HIT hit. And while this moment was cool; I didn’t feel like it “hit” the way I’m talking about.
Which brings me to the idea that she achieved Overdrive offscreen during the training with Xenolith. It kind of sucks that something so momentous as achieving Overdrive is just reduced to “I did it while training in secret(it might also look clever for Xiao Mei to have just “skipped” over all that training),” but it’s also fine in my mind. Because it’s like: Xenolith made it very clear that he was going to take them to the LIMIT in the time they had(35 in the VR-C). I wouldn’t be surprised if Homura and 1 other certain person managed to tap into Stage 3 of Overdrive. But I can definitely see why people would have a bit of a problem with her having attained this power without us first seeing it.
Tapping into Overdrive allows Homura to summon a different type of sword that I don’t believe we’ve ever seen her summon before. She defeated her enemy in 1 attack with “Odin Strike,” so we haven’t seen anything “new” besides that.
3. Kris Rutherford
THIS GUY is the guy I was just talking about! And I do believe that he has achieved the next level of Overdrive. Going by Drakken’s logic in chapter 95; World 29 Kris probably wasn’t that far off from proper Overdrive– he was probably just a “a step away” from it. And I think we can ALL guess what would push him over the limit: Kleene being in TREMENDOUS danger. Even if he can see through Xenolith’s tricks- he’s still seeing that Kleene’s in danger. And if it’s for his sister; he’ll push past his limits 1002 times over. So I am almost willing to bet money that he already has Stage 3.
But let’s also discuss the minute differences between World 29 and World 30– such as Rebecca waking up 30 minutes earlier to warn everyone of the impending danger, or Kris’ wardrobe choice that particular day. If he was one step away in the 29th World; who’s to say he didn’t already attain it in the 30th. He wouldn’t need to Overdrive to deal with everyone who came to destroy Drakken’s device; he’s stronger than them as is. So he probably hasn’t even gotten the chance to display it is all. Though, with the way the manga is right now- He should be able to show off his strength VERY SOON(COUGH COUGH*Hopefully against Callum Steelford*COUGH COUGH). But in any case; the only display we have of his use of Overdrive comes from chapter 78– at the beginning of his 3rd battle with Shiki.
He came back into the series after having undergone several modifications that allowed him to attain Stage 2- which he displayed to Shiki to show the difference between the 2 of them. His patterns floated around him like bandages on a Mummy in the wind. This improvement allowed him to overpower Shiki, and use stronger winds that he had ever displayed. It seems that his winds just gain more intensity than anything else. I doubt that’s all their is to it, though.
4. Drakken Joe
This last one showed us 2 versions of a proper Overdrive. Drakken Joe- The “Dark Alchemist” showed off a proper us of this ability for Shiki and Kris in chapter 81- showing his hair being somewhat crystalized and his Ether gear overflowing, changing the air around his hand from dry ice to lighting going into chapter 82. And it would seem that his full monster form allows him to even alter his body, as he turned his hand into a knife in chapter 96. Or how he has more control over his Ether gear to the point that he converted all of Weisz’s attacks while just defending himself.
………..I kind of imagined this post going a little differently in my minds eye. I had a better explanation for my 2 theories on how Overdrive comes about, and I had more points to why I think Homura attained Overdrive offscreen other than my the fact that it just didn’t feel like she achieved it right then and there. But I guess looking back at it; These WERE kind of all my point. But again; “all MY points.” I would love to know what you guys think about all of this? Do you think that Shiki has another level to shoot for? Or is this going to be his only transformation in the series? And aside from Kris; who do you guys think will access Overdrive next(My money is on Weisz)? Let me know all of your thoughts in the comments, and until the next post, everyone- Catch ya later, Player Haters!! See ya!