Punching, the most useful language in the world when words fail. And these two lovely ladies are fluent in it.
Season two's twenty-ninth episode brings to the ring a pair of women who take an up-close-and-personal approach to combat. The hosts look at and compare an innate energy that thrives on taking damage against a mechanic that delivers overwhelming amounts of it, a set of gauntlets with power at close and long range against a pair of gloves that grow stronger without limit, for as Yang Xiao Long and Tifa Lockhart have achieved glorious victory in mere battle before, now, they must face each other to achieve the same victory in a death battle.
To get the episode started, Wizard and Boomstick take a look at the world of Yang Xiao Long, who must deal with Remnant, the land she calls home. Here, monsters known as Grimm run rampant, countless cities having been destroyed in their wake, and their damage would grow even further if not for the presence of Huntsmen and Huntresses, brave souls devoted to fighting the creatures. Yang would follow in the warriors' way after she lost her mother Raven to circumstances unknown, where her uncle, Qrow, would train her in the art of fighting; Yang would later go on to become accepted into Beacon Academy, a school for fledgling hunters who form teams dedicated to fighting the grim. Yang, in particular, become a member of the team RWBY, led by her half-sister and the team's namesake, Ruby Rose.
Accompanied by Ruby and their two colleagues, Weiss Schnee and Blake Belladonna, Yang spends her time at Beacon Academy honing her physicality, which, in and of itself, is already impressive, given that she can knock people through pillars barehanded and can deflect attacks from Paladin mechs designed to carry bridges with seemingly no problem, and was once even knocked into the air and did not come back down until reaching terminal velocity, showing no signs of injury and hitting the ground with almost 50 tons of force. But even then, Yang still arms herself to enhance her capabilities further; in the land of Remnant, every weapon is capable of shapeshifting into a gun and a melee device, and Yang's weapon of choice is the Ember Celica, a pair of bracelets that extend to the size of gauntlets with chambers. Inside the chambers are up to a dozen shells packed with kinetic energy; essentially, Yang wields gauntlets with shotguns hidden inside. With every punch, Yang also releases a shell that can travel several hundred feet, giving her some degree of ranged-combat potential, and this is without even factoring in how she can use the blasts to propel herself through the air. To aid her in battle is her Aura, her soul made manifest in the form of superhuman ability. Aura is a trait all Huntsmen and Huntresses possess, granting superhuman strength and defence, as well as a basic healing factor, but each hunter is also unique in that they possess a Semblance, a special skill all their own. Yang's Semblance specifically allows her to absorb the energy from the damage she takes in battle, and augmenting her physicality with it.
Sadly, Yang's skills are, while impressive, not enough to cover all her failings. She has difficulties facing others who specialize in kicks, but more important, her Semblance is incapable of improving her Aura's defence, meaning that she still feels the full force of every attack that comes her way. Yang also has a short temper and she can easily become careless due to an opponent's trash talk, which has led to her undoing. On top of all that, Yang is ultimately still human; her stamina can only sustain her for so long, and her Semblance is only active for as long as she remains conscious, meaning that both can eventually be overcome. That said, with her fighting spirit and her shotgun gauntlets aiding her, reaching that point may be harder than it sounds for the Huntress dedicated to becoming the best fighter in Beacon Academy, if not the whole of Remnant.
- Yang Xiao Long: Alley-oop! (soars through the air with Celica Ember before jumping off a few trees and sprinting) Nailed it!
With that, the pair shift from Yang to her competition, Tifa Lockhart, native to the small mountain village known as Nibelheim. The peaceful life of the villagers would meet a tragic end when one of its inhabitants, Sephiroth, found hidden in an abandoned mansion the remains of the mother he never knew, the otherworldly life form Jenova. Sephiroth's further studying of Jenova led to his mind slowly being lost to madness and the eventual destruction of Nibelheim; and it would be these events that would mark Tifa's joining of the vigilante organization Avalanche, dedicated to protecting the planet Gaia from eco-terrorists. Specifically, she served as the tender to and bouncer of the bar that secretly served as Avalanche's base of operations.
Despite her less-than-intimidating role, Tifa is one of Avalanche's most renowned members for her combat prowess, for she is what is known as a "feint brawler", adept at hitting foes fast and hard. Her repertoire of abilities was furthered when she helped out Cloud Strife and friends on a mission to save their planet and in doing so, learned a series of devastating techniques known as Limit Breaks. These techniques range from a barrage of punches to suplexes to a dolphin-summoning uppercut to her signature Final Heaven, a punch that concentrates all her energy into one overwhelming blow. But just like her competition, Tifa has her own equipment to help make her blows all the more devastating. While Tifa always wears a set of leather gloves just in case a fight breaks out, when she has to, she can equip the Premium Heart, heart-shaped gauntlets that increase in power as Tifa builds up energy for her Limit Breaks; they lose this charge once she actually uses a Limit Break and need time to build back up. Supplementing her physical prowess is her ribbon and Minerva Band to help improve her defense and prevents secondary effects, and more importantly, gems that grant fire and ice magic known as Materia.
But even with her plethora of tricks and techniques factored in, Tifa still has her shortcomings. Compared to the others she meets on her journey to save Gaia, Tifa is a Glass Cannon; high on offense, low on speed and defense, meaning she cannot take as many blows as her more sturdier allies. But Tifa knows her limits and can work around them with ease, and to that end, she has several impressive feats to her name. She has fought a clone of Sephiroth on even footing and was able to throw Cloud with enough force to break the sound barrier while carrying his sword; combined, that means that Tifa can throw with upwards of 150 tons of force. Between her body, her weapons, her armor, and her skills, facing Tifa in her element is a very stupid decision.
- Tifa Lockhart: (unleashes Final Heaven on Tidus) Feels like you're flying, doesn't it? (Tidus disappears in a flash of light) Ahhh, all done.
Both women have had their basics and beyond thoroughly analyzed. It's time for a death battle!
The mood is bright at 7th Heaven, the bar that calls Avalanche operative Tifa Lockhart an employee. Between the drinks, the dancing, and the overall lively atmosphere, one would assume conflict would be far away. Unfortunately for them, they would be proven wrong as mere seconds later, Yang Xiao Long, Huntress-in-training, strolls up to the bar, where she makes quick work of a bouncer requesting for her ID, punching him right through the door. Tifa, seeing this new figure causing trouble, shuts down Yang's request for a drink almost as fast as Yang gets a challenge from her.
The two women rush at each other, the fight breaking into a stalemate as Tifa's flying kick connects with Yang's fist, now sheathed inside Celica Ember. Deftly does Tifa block and dodge the punches and blasts alike from Yang, and in return, she scores the first few hits of the fight, landing blows that seem to do little to Yang, even as she sends her flying across the bar. The advantage is short-lived, however, once Yang nimbly evades a spire of ice courtesy of Tifa's Materia. Yang goes further on the offense, the fistfighters throwing punches that connect with the other's. The duelists seem evenly matched once Yang catches a kick from Tifa, but with her fire materia, the Avalanche agent plants her other foot square in Yang's face.
Brushing off the kick, Celica Ember does its job of propelling Yang well, giving the RWBY member extra momentum for a punch that knocks Tifa across the bar just as she suffered the same fate herself. Yang evades another series of rapid-fire punches and kicks from Tifa, catching her in a series of blows before firing off a round that sends Tifa flying into a mirror behind the counter. Unfortunately for Yang, Tifa stops herself from crashing into the mirror, but instead transferring her own momentum into the mirror, shattering it. On the plus side, as she studies the situation, while she fails to see Yang heaving a chair, Tifa can see her Premium Heart gauntlets resting on the counter. Yang is surprised for a moment when she hurls the chair, only to miss Tifa altogether. This feat of strength is quickly surpassed by Tifa lifting the entire counter and chucking it at her foe, but likewise, the improvised projectile is rendered irrelevant as Yang fires off another series of blasts that tear the counter to shreds. Tifa, her arms now clad in the Premium Heart, is through playing, using her ultimate weapons in tandem with her fire and ice Materia to blast Yang clean out of the bar and into an adjacent nightclub.
The grim-slayer's blonde hair begins to glow and radiate; her Semblance now at play. Loading another set of shells into Celica Ember, the fight begins anew, both fighters taking a ranged approach. As Yang swiftly avoids Tifa's blasts of fire, Tifa in return dodges the blasts of kinetic energy. Yang charges Tifa, the pair getting back into close-quarters once more, where the fate brawler knocks Yang into the air, and teleporting rapidly around Yang, knocks her senseless before bashing her into the floor. The chunk of ice that would have otherwise ended the fight is blown to chunks by the shotgun gauntlets, so Tifa decides to approach things from another angle. A slot machine appears behind her and, lining up perfectly, Tifa launches into an onslaught of her Limit Breaks, linked in tandem; Yang keeps pace for the first few, but the Dolphin Blow sends her skyward, where Tifa can wrap up with her remaining Limit Breaks. The Meteor Strike that hurls Yang away confuses the aspiring Huntress briefly before seeing a lock of her hair, shorn from her in the throw, fall right in front of her. Her misplaced priorities unfortunately leave Yang unguarded when Tifa unleashes her ultimate attack, Final Heaven. The ensuing yell of agony from Yang pierces through the column of fire the Limit Break has trapped her in.
But to Tifa's surprise, Yang still lives; by losing her hair, Tifa has forced Yang to overclock her Semblance. Clasping her gauntlets together, Yang charges at Tifa once more, throwing a punch that the Premium Heart can withstand; a second blow shatters the gauntlets altogether. The unfocused stumbling that Tifa is sent into is the opening Yang needs to release a flurry of shots and blows across Tifa's midsection before culminating in an uppercut that Tifa can barely register before she finds herself in Yang's embrace. Her attempts at escaping Yang's grasp are cut short as moments later, a sickening crunch fills the air as Yang snaps Tifa's neck. Rubble from the onslaught falls onto the ground as Yang walks away from Tifa's corpse, triumphant in her victory. A banner falls from the ceiling, signifying the nightclub as the new location of a tournament; no doubt able to happen thanks to Yang's efforts.
As the Lifestream envelops Tifa in a turquoise aura, whisking her lifeless body away, Yang dons a set of sunglasses, sauntering in front of the banner. Between the two combatants, Tifa had the advantages of natural physical strength and experience over Yang, but the main point against Tifa was Yang's Semblance, absorbing all the energy from each blow and using it against her, until even her Minerva Band's effects were negated by the increased power. In addition, Tifa's skill set, nonetheless a powerful force, had a few key flaws; namely in her Limit Breaks. It is only here that Tifa shows her most astonishing lifting feats, suggesting that these are things she can do with them. On the topic of her Limit Breaks, using them resets the damage boost gained by the Premium Heart, resulting in Tifa doing a decreased amount of damage. However, the biggest factor in the fight was Yang's Aura; without it, Tifa could've made quick work of her, but the Aura is capable of protecting Yang from a pillar-shattering blow equivalent to over 1400 tons of force. In the end, while Tifa had advantages she could use and lose right off the bat, Yang's could carry her through the long game.
- Boomstick: Yang's power just pulled through in a snap.
Wizard: The winner is Yang Xiao Long!
Instead of ending on the traditional teaser for the next episode, a figure named John Francin-McCullah interrupts, claiming to have the hard drive that contains the fights and victories for the next year. He insist he can prove it by revealing the next episode's matchup on fellow Screw Attack program The Industry; he leaves claiming that the series will be his. Chad and Ben's following reactions seem to imply that he did indeed take their hard drive.
Yang Xiao Long vs. Tifa Lockhart contains examples of:
- Bar Brawl: The battle takes place at an unnamed bar. An apt choice, since both fighters have ties to the setting (Yang's introduction trailer took place at a bar, and Tifa was a bartender at one point).
- Disproportionate Retribution: Yang punches a bouncer through the doors of 7th Heaven, just for asking her for ID.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Right before she gets her neck snapped, Tifa's right eye can be seen missing its iris.
- Neck Snap: The finisher of the fight, courtesy of Yang.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Yang's theme song I Burn plays throughout the second half of the fight, even when Tifa seemed to have the advantage.