Webcomic: Kiwi Blitz

Maybe you haven't heard... but this is my show. And it's the kind where nobody dies.

Kiwi Blitz is a webcomic by Mary Cagle (known elsewhere on the net as one of a number of variations of "Cube Watermelon"), updated weekly on Fridays, depending on how busy the watermelon is. She's also the creator of Let's Speak English.

The main character is 14-year-old Steffi Frohlich, who under the guise of "Blitz" fights crime in a future New York City using her bird-shaped Mini-Mecha, Kiwibot. She's assisted in this by her best friend Benzene who acts as Mission Control and later the Robot Girl 42. Of course, that's just what she does during her free time, when she's not busy with her day job as a junior Robot League combatant.

Along with the ill-equipped NYPD, Steffi/Blitz battles masked criminals, rogue military hardware, and most importantly, her own boredom.

Current Tracks are, in order...

  1. Weapon of Choice
  2. Omen
  3. Sneakman
  4. Phony
  5. The Warning
  6. Trip Machine
  7. Coward Mont Blanc
  8. I My Me Mine
  9. The Vulture
  10. Take Me To The Hospital
  11. Technologic
  12. Panda Hero
  13. Body Movin
  14. Mess
  15. Rhythm and Police.
  16. Dynamite Rave.
  17. The Construct
  18. Breakdown
  19. Flashback
  20. Secrets From The Future

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Dad: Chief Bahia proves he can still keep up with the best of them in Track 17. Heinrich Frohlich also pilots Kiwibot in his daughter's place.
  • Allergic to Routine: Steffi, Gear, and even Raccoon seem to be motivated by boredom to some extent.
  • An Arm and a Leg: maimings and mutilations serve as signposts for plot developments
  • Animal Mecha: Kiwibot is a kiwi bird mecha, hence the title.
    • Not to mention the majority of the other mechas we've seen also have animal designs.
  • Animesque: The artist commented on her style on her Twitter account: "Note that that isn't a complaint at all. I enjoy living on the edge of animeish/animesque/pseud-anime/kinda-anime/ like those Pokémon people".
  • Arms Dealer: Steffi reveals that her family's company initially started off as a weapons developer and made huge profits during World War III. Steffi is clearly not very comfortable with this fact.
  • Army of Lawyers: When Steffi's Clark Kenting utterly fails, Reed tells her that the only reason the Police haven't questioned her and her dad is that the latter "has like fifty lawyers" thanks to being CEO of a big company.
  • Art Evolution: Just compare the original Track One cover to the redrawn version.
  • Artificial Limbs: Steffi has a robot leg. The strip doesn't make a big deal about it.
    • The villainous Gear has both her left arm and left leg replaced by prosthetics. Her right arm also looks mechanical, but it's just a gauntlet.
    • Reed gets a robot arm to replace the one Gear cut off.
  • Badass Adorable: Steffi and the Raccoon. Even more so after the Raccoon's identity is revealed.
  • Badass Normal: It seems Ben IS serious. He has no powers, and no swiss-army limbs. All he has is taekwondo.
    • And that's not even the most shocking thing. He wasn't even at peak performance!
  • Badass Longcoat: Benzene wears a pretty badass greatcoat in Track 16, during his own Big Damn Heroes moment. And it suits him very, very well.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Grabbing a slashing katana by the blade works if you're a robot.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Big Damn Heroes: Although Reed is holding his own in the fight, Blitz entering the fight (here and on the following page) comes across as this.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Steffi is fluent in German (English is her second language).
  • Bio-Augmentation: Not all of the members of Alter look a Little Bit Beastly; Down claims her changes don't show on the outside.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: The artist works this. Minor characters and even nameless bystanders get unique faces and designs.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Early in comic, it's mentioned that Steffi had taken taekwondo lessons. This becomes useful later on when she's forced to fight the Raccoon in hand to hand combat.
    • Ditto for Ben and his encounter with Gear.
  • Clark Kenting: Averted. The media quickly begins to theorize that Steffi is Blitz, pointing out they physically resemble each other and that Kiwibot is similar to other Frolich mechs.
  • Cliffhanger: Track 8 is relatively uneventful, showing Blitz and The Raccoon break the Kiwibot out of storage with the only real action being the stunning of three people. It ends with Gear appearing at the exit, waiting for them, saw-arm covered in blood.
  • Conversational Troping: Steffi and Gear do this when they meet the first time.
    Blitz: "So what's your schtick? Do you have a Dark Past that's driven you mad!?"
    Gear: "Unfortunately, no. I'm just here for the same reason you are."
    Blitz: "Oh? Is this the we're-both-the-same card already?"
    Gear: "Something wrong with that?"
    Blitz: "Only one thing... that's more of a line for my Arch Rival. And my rival would have a Mech!"
  • Curse Cut Short: How the-!? *KERSPLOSION*
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: During his second encounter with Gear, Reed correctly deduces that she would try to escape in the nearest manhole and intercepts her. He even points out that villains like her are painfully predictable.
  • Darker and Edgier: Cutesy story about teenagers in mechs suddenly turns... not so cutesy.
  • Dating Catwoman: Jones accuses Reed of crushing on Blitz. He refutes it though, citing her age as "fifteen or something."
    • And the Raccoon may have a crush on Blitz, too.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ben is squaring up to be one of these
    • 35 also has her moments.
  • Death Glare
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It remains to be seen if The Raccoon is really evil, but this thief refuses to use the chain claw while fighting Steffi because it's too deadly.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Gear. Pretty literally. As in, it's an eyepatch with an "on/off" symbol on it.
  • Fan Disservice: Heinrich Frolich in his German-flag-coloured boxers, as considered in-universe by Steffi.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: According to Cube, Steffi, Ben, and The Raccoon would fit this mold if they were in a fantasy setting.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: The police don't have the budget to deal with sufficiently high-tech threats, so they are rather helpless against criminals like Gear, whose cyborg augmentations render her immune to their taser pistols.
  • Flat "What.": Delivered by Racoon at the end of Chapter 7.
  • Foreshadowing: The Raccoon breaks through the window by the girl's bathroom.
  • For the Evulz: Pretty much perfectly describes Gear.
  • Freudian Trio: Steffi is the Id, Benzene is the Superego, and 42 is the Ego.
  • Freudian Excuse: Gear, whose origin story involves losing one arm, one leg, one eye, and both parents in a bombing attack.
  • Genki Girl: Steffi, when faced with a new mech for her birthday, immediately decides to fight crime in it, and throughout the story seems to dive into situations with relish when she should really be thinking about them. She seems to get the trait from her father, who also exhibits some rather fun-loving tendencies.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Flores and Barnes play "bad cop/whatever cop"... though Flores might just be relieving stress.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Steffi curses in German ("S***ße!") but not English ("Mother effer!"). ...For the most part.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Raccoon uses an arm-mounted variation.
  • Gratuitous German: Loads - Even the Kiwibot's OS. Justified as Steffi and her father Heinrich are from Germany (their last name is Frohlich). After a relatively long exchange between him and Steffi, Benzene lampshades it: "Hooray, and Benzene's here too! Let's all speak English so he can understand what we're saying!"
  • Head Pet: Winston.
  • Heroic Bystander: Natalie the bankteller gives a valiant try but is overpowered.
  • I Call It "Vera": Some military robots had a program called ARIS installed that gave soldiers feedback via a female voice, since it was believed it would keep them calm in battle. However, it worked a bit too well, and many pilots grew dangerously attached to their robots.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The chapters are called "tracks", and every track is named after an electronica song. Some of the pages with the title go as far as to recreate the fonts used for the respective songs (Tracks 15 and 16 for example.)
    • The Flashback interludes between Tracks are called "Sound-bites"
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Per Word of God, the Kiwibot is "a Midweight mid-range unit. The Mario of mechs."
  • Jumped at the Call: Steffi loves being a superhero.
  • Klingon Promotion: though Cebus didn't actually kill Hircus so much as take advantage of his arrest, she did try to kill his most loyal subordinate immediately after.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Things only seem to get dark when Gear shows up.
  • Lamshade Hanging: Steffi's comment the first time Kiwibot's thermographic cameras show the full extent of Gear's prosthetics is "That's gotta be a dark past thing."
  • Little Bit Beastly: Some of the "Furries" that frequent the Fuzzy Navel. They got this way through illegal body modifications.
    • Several members of Alter, though some are more than just a 'little.'
  • Match Cut: A few times in Track 4.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Heinrich gives Steffi an upgraded uniform that includes powered armor for her legs after her near-fatal encounter with Gear.
  • Mini-Mecha: Kiwibot.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Steffi asks Ben if he likes her, he admits he thought she was gay. Steffi is not pleased.
  • Missing Mom: Steffi's parents are divorced, her mother has yet to be seen, and Steffi appears to be deliberately avoiding any contact with her, judging by her reaction when Benzene suggests calling her. The reason why is eventually revealed in a flashback - she was the one who attempted to have her husband murdered, resulting in Steffi losing her leg.
    • There is a good chance the woman in this Christmas page is her mom, but you only see the back of her head and there has yet to be any confirmation.
  • Mission Control: Benzene.
  • The Mole: Jones.
  • Multicolored Hair: Ben's bangs are lighter than the rest of his hair.
  • Noodle Incident: The characters occasionally mention a war that had taken place some time ago that involved the use of military grade mechs.
  • Never Heard That One Before: When Natrix explains that his name is the scientific name for a type of grass snake, Steffi mentions that she just thought it was Matrix with an N. Natrix has obviously heard this many times.
  • Not So Different: Used by Gear, its use and frequent use by the Rival are both lampshaded by Steffi.
  • Official Couple: Ben and Steffi, as of Track 14.
  • Older Than They Look: Steffi is in her teens?
  • Oh Crap!: And so Ben learns what Steffi's up to. His reaction's appropriate.
    • Later on, there's his reaction upon learning that 42 has been compromised and is now under the control of their enemies
  • One Degree of Separation: After Reed has his arm cut off, Steffi recommends him a prosthetic mechanic, Barry. Turns out he's the same guy who makes Gear her weapons.
  • invokedOne True Pairing: According to the author, Ben and Donuts.
  • Out of Focus: The Kiwibot itself. Despite being the main weapon of the protagonist, it's been out of commission since the end of Track 6, which is now over half the entire comic.
  • Playing with Syringes: Tigris implies that some of the Alter member's body modifications may have been involuntary or required for medical reasons; Down flat-out states that she engages in illegal research.
  • Police Are Useless: Thoroughly played with. A flashback shows young Reed Bahia discussing this trope with his mom; mom explains that it's just used to "make things more interesting for the hero". Reed vows that he'll save everyone when he grows up to be a cop... In the present day, costumed villains like The Raccoon operate solely because the police budget is too low for good cops like Reed to do their job.
  • Precision F-Strike: Benzene is NOT happy.
  • Punched Across the Room: Steffi to the Raccoon.
  • Punch Clock Villain: The Raccoon is not really evil at all, and even teams up with Steffi to help her recover Kiwibot.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: The Raccoon to Steffi. Brown eyes, lip wibble and everything.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After the first fight, police officers Reed and Cho cover for Steffi rather than arresting her.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Steffi and Ben in Track 14.
  • Robot Girl: 42 and her siblings. Their mannerisms betray their human guise though.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Raccoon, revealed in Track 7.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Cho to Reed; sometimes Benzene to Steffi.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: When Steffi interrupts The Raccoon from eating a sandwich and making "nomph nom" noises, The Raccoon ends up saying one of them.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Gear has a retractable serrated shortsword built into her prosthetic arm. She likes to use it on people she finds "Offensively Boring".
  • Shout-Out: To Pokémon, when Steffi comments how Kiwibot's Beak Shot was "not very effective..."
    • Green Lantern shirts also show up from time time, Reed wearing a Red Lantern shirt during his hospitalization for instance.
    • Ben mentions Solid Snake in page 267.
  • Speech-Bubble Censoring: Well, sh[End of Track]
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: 42. Lampshaded by Steffi.
  • Stepford Smiler: 42 has a permanent built-in smile but she also has no emotions and is programmed to follow an unknown and possibly criminal agenda.
  • Sticky Fingers: Again, the Raccoon, who seems to have some kind of actual kleptomania going on. During the Kiwibot heist, The Raccoon grabbed a guard's snack and some paperclips.
  • Strange Bedfellows: Blitz teaming up with the Raccoon to steal her kiwibot back.
  • Super Hero: Steffi / Blitz.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Steffi certainly seems to think so.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Gear's entire left arm is one of these.
  • Tone Shift: See the above entry for Darker and Edgier.
  • Transhuman Cybernetics (at least in the form of prosthetic limbs) are relatively common, The Alter gang is dedicated to Bio-Augmentation.
  • Translation Convention: Most of the German is left untranslated, but for extended passages it switches to English in angle brackets, just like in Megatokyo.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-Universe. 42's a rather cute Robot Girl, but it's a little unnerving to see her open her mouth and have a grown man's voice come out. She's even more so when's she turned off. Both Steffi and the author (see the cast page) lampshade this.
    • 42's mannerisms, constant smile no matter what the subject, and tendency to show up right behind people gives people the willies. Despite having no combat capabilities and intentionally built to look like a cute Robot Girl, she manages to be vaguely creepy all the time without trying.
    • Goes further into it during the confrontation with 35- she backflips on her head and keeps the same facial expression throughout.
    • Used to her advantage here (spoilers).
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Gear isn't actually a good fighter; she relies on her mechanical assists and built-in weapons rather than skill. Ben, on the other hand - shorter, lighter, and completely un-augmented - throws her to the ground with minimal effort, to her shock, thanks to his martial-arts skills... and he isn't even an expert.
  • Was It All a Lie?: When Jones turns out to be a mole working for Alter, their colleague and significant other asks if it was all just a ruse. They answer it was completely unrelated to their criminal dealings.
  • Weapon of Choice: Kiwibot. Also the title of the first track.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Heinrich Frohlich wears German-flag-coloured boxers. And Steffi treats it as Fan Disservice.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Reed's greatest dream as a child was to be a policeman like his father. It's revealed later that Reed's father is the current police chief.
  • Wham Episode: Track 17, it includes an attempt to kill multiple police officers, the reveal that Jones is The Mole, the triumphant return of kiwibot (piloted by Heinrich Frohlich no less), Ben's first outing as the hero Donner, and him actually shooting the enemy leader, and lastly, 42 being compromised.
  • Wham Line: Several. At the end of Track 7...
    42: Now you see why I was a bit "confused", since the person you described is not a guy.
    • In the middle of Track 15...
    Cho: I've been thinking. You're the only one I know of who's had any "contact" with the SWAT. And who just runs off to look for people we're supposed to be meeting?
    Jones: ...I never did like you very much.
    • And this bombshell after "Blitz" reveals the above plot twist to Chief Bahia...
    Chief Bahia: Frohlich, you had better not be joking right now.
    • At the beginning of Track 19...
    Jones: Long story short, we'd like to pay you to kill Blitz for us.
    • And this massive one during the Track 20 flashback.
    Heinrich: *talking to his soon-to-be ex-wife* That gunman... I know you're the one who hired him, Miri.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: The Raccoon has a TON of gadgets such as the claw hook, smoke bombs, a taser knuckle, knockout patches, and more. It's quite amazing considering that she's just a young girl. It's implied that all of the gear is supplied by a larger organization.
  • World War III: About all we know about it is that it happened, and it involved mecha.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: From what we've seen, the range of natural hair colors hasn't changed. However, dying your hair seems to be a big fashion trend among younger people, including both natural (Benzene dyes his brown hair two-toned blonde) and unnatural (Steffi dyes her blonde hair pink) colors. Then there are the wigs for those who don't have any hair of their own (such as 42 and Gear), which come in every color of the rainbow.
  • You Just Told Me: Chandra confirms she's working with Alter.
  • Younger Than They Look: Steffi mentions that Gear's face is too long for her to be seventeen like she claims.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: 42 has Type A. Also briefly, the "Blitz" action figure in the mall, which is NOT to Steffi's approval because her actual costume features baggy harem trousers. The figure also lacks Steffi's prosthetic leg, which the toy company couldn't know about because of Steff's harem trousers.