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Webcomic / Kiwi Blitz

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

Steffi Frohlich is a hyperactive teenage girl who spends her free time playing video games and competing in the Junior Robot Battle League. When she receives a brand new Mini-Mecha shaped like a kiwi for her 14th birthday, she has a brilliant idea: why not use it to fight crime, like a real-life superhero?

This idea turns out to be very stupid.

Using her newfound Kiwibot and a suit of Powered Armor, Steffi assumes the alter ego of Blitz, the mysterious vigilante superhero who protects a near-futuristic New York City from the forces of presumable evil. Joined by her childhood friend and voice of reason Benzene and a fugitive Robot Girl named 42, Blitz faces off with masked criminals, furry crime syndicates, an ill-equipped NYPD... and most importantly, her own boredom.

Kiwi Blitz is a webcomic created by Mary Cagle, which has been ongoing since 2009. Main character Steffi actually predates the start of the comic, however, making her earliest appearance in an Original Character Tournament called Steel Nation the year prior; she would later go on to feature in Law Of Talos before finally starring in her own comic.

The comic is currently on hiatus, having updated only once since August 2020, due to the author needing to balance taking care of her family and working on Sleepless Domain.

The comic has also crossed over repeatedly with Sleepless Domain, as Mary is the lead writer of both. Alternate versions of Steffi, Ben, 42, and Chandra make a guest appearance as the magical girl group Team Blitz, and various other characters have appeared as minor Crossover Cameos on occasion.

The current Tracks are, in order...

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Kiwi Blitz 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.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In Track 9, Raccoon leaves Gear and Blitz to fight each other, but not before tossing a jibe their way, which amuses Gear.
    Raccoon: Fine, it's none of my business. You two weirdos have your big sexy showdown without me.
    Gear: Hah!
  • Allergic to Routine: Steffi, Gear, and even Raccoon seem to be motivated by boredom to some extent.
  • Alt Text: From page 584 onwards, as the commentary says:
    Imma start doing the hover text joke as actual hovertext like a proper girl of the future

    —> Alt Text: She really wanted to stab her with the spike DANGIT
  • 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. Justified as it was intended for Steffi to use in the Robot Battle League and all the mechas for her division are based on animals.
  • 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.
  • Art Shift: Tracks 17 and 18 were drawn by a different artist to take some of the workload off of the author.
  • Artificial Limbs: They're all connected too, being from the same person, as revealed with the origin of Gear's.
    • Steffi has a bionic 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 bionic arm to replace the one Gear cut off earlier.
  • 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. 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: The comic is explicitly set in New York City.
  • 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 and Jones both claim their changes don't show on the outside.
  • Break the Cutie: Track 21 is just one breaking incident after another for Steffi, and she's practically catatonic by the start of Track 22. Luckily she improves later.
  • Cardiovascular Love: "Page 251": Love Doodles of a Heart Symbol enclosing both sides of a crush.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: The artist works this. Minor characters and even nameless bystanders get unique faces and designs.
  • Catching Some Z's: Page 448: When Heinrich Frohlich is shown sleeping, there are Zs in his panel.
  • Caught Coming Home Late: In Track 27, Benzene is caught by his parents sneaking home after his adventure with Steffi.
  • 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.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Steffi and Ben, eventually.
  • 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.
  • Competence Zone: Thoroughly subverted as Steffi, Ben and Chandra all discover they haven't been fooling anyone and are in way over their heads when the grownups get serious.
  • Congestion Speak: In "Track 10-19" Due to Tears of Joy and snot:
    Steffi: Dank Goodneshhh.
  • 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!
  • Cool Sword: The EMP katana, which can fry any electronic device it touches. It first appears in Track 11 in the possession of 35, and is claimed by 42 upon her defeat. Steffi later uses it to drive off Gear when she tries to murder her in her own home, and eventually lends it to Tigris for the raid on Alter HQ.
  • Curse Cut Short: How the-!? *KERSPLOSION*
  • 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."
    • The Raccoon has a clear crush on Blitz.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Ben is squaring up to be one of these.
    • 35 also has her moments.
  • Death Glare: Steffi manages to pull off a glare hard enough to give Gear pause.
  • Dig Your Own Grave: Discussed in page 645, when faced with a shovel in the woods.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Steffi is shocked to learn that Cebus, who at this point has betrayed two organizations, usurped one, killed, and even manipulated her young cousin into stealing for her, did all of that purely for money. All Cebus wants is the profit Alter's genetic engineering can provide. All Steffi can say in response is "That's it!? Money!?"
  • Eastern Zodiac:
    • The codenames/appearances of Alter members connect to most of the twelve animals. So far there is a goat, a monkey, a dog, both a pig and a boar, a bull, a tiger, a rabbit, a dragon, and and a snake.
    • Steffi's decision to dress as a rabbit turned out to be a coincidence.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Blitz teaming up with the Raccoon to steal her kiwibot back.
    • Steffi and Ben team up with a cop, a criminal, and a personal assistant to take on a common enemy.
  • 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.
  • Exact Words: 42 just said there was going to be an attack on Alter's base and that Steffi and Ben were coming out of the sewers because Cebus mentioned them. She didn't say that Cho and Tigris were also coming along.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Gear. Pretty literally. As in, it's an eyepatch with an "on/off" symbol on it.
  • Familiar: Referenced as Steffi's Circling Birdies, in the commentary for page 578:
    Hah! By hitting me in the head, you've only granted me several small familiars!
  • 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 Raccoon 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.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: When Ben is Caught Coming Home Late by his parents in Track 27, they call him by his full name, Benzene.
  • Furniture Blockade: Tigris and Cho have infiltrated Alter's base and caused a ruckus, and are in a computer room, and block the door with furniture, after 42 suggests making a barricade, in Page 589.
  • 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.
  • Good Prosthetic, Evil Prosthetic: The villain Gear has a chainsaw like object as her left arm. So far, she is generally unsympathetic. Good guys Steffi and Reed both have prosthetic limbs, but they mostly serve as non-weapons and they lost their body parts trying to save others.
  • 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, while other characters don’t speak German
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: increasingly so, as Tigris calls out Cho for leaving Steffi and Benzene to fight Cebus while she concentrates on saving Reed and Herr Frolich, and 42 switches sides after being hacked. Steffi’s vigilante antics make little real difference in the overall scheme of things, and certainly make things worse for Raccoon, while Benzene takes to using guns to help Steffi.
    • The Cops are pretty much ignoring the law and heavily so, to the point of stealing weapons from their armory. All to back up Steffi and Ben as they get back her father and Reed.
  • Groin Attack: Offscreen from Steffi to Ben during their combat training. She apologizes later, but he tells her that's a legitimate move to use against an enemy.
  • 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 pages recreate the fonts used for the respective songs, Track 22 uses the Gorillaz art style.)
    • The Flashback interludes between Tracks are called "Sound-bites".
  • Inelegant Blubbering: In Track 10, after Steffi finds out that the security guy attacked by Gear is alive, she blubbers messily in relief.
  • It's All About Me: Steffi definitely, though it's not pathological, just adolescence.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Steffi tries to use this exact phrase to justify all of the insanity that snowballed from her impulsive decision to play superhero, but not even Benzene is buying that one.
  • 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.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Steffi's comment after seeing the full extent of Gear's prosthetics is "That's gotta be a dark past thing."
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: 42 turns away politely during Steffi and Ben's first kiss, with an Unsound Effect of "courtesy".
  • Little Bit Beastly: Some of the "Furries" that frequent the Fuzzy Navel. They got this way through body modifications. Several members of Alter, who use the Fuzzy Navel as one of the places they do business, often have the same modifications, 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 and all the mechs of the Robot Battle League.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Steffi asks Ben if he likes her, he admits he thought she was gay. Steffi is not pleased. Ben's line was later edited to say he thought she "[wasn't] really into guys". As of page 643 she is officially (confirmed by author) bi.
  • Missing Mom: Steffi's parents are divorced and she doesn't like talking about what happened to her mom. The reason why is eventually revealed in a flashback - Heinrich confronted his wife after learning she hired an assassin to kill him.
  • Mission Control: Benzene.
  • The Mole: Jones.
  • Nasal Trauma: Steffi gets hit in the nose by Raccoon's metal claw, and her nose is red and bloody for the rest of the day - which hasn't ended after 80 pages.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: The members of Alter with illegal body mods use the superficially modded Furries who hang out at the Fuzzy Navel as cover.
  • 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.
  • No-Sell: Several members of Alter have Bio Augmentations that let them do this to things like tasers or police stun weaponry.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Genuine Bio-Augmentation is illegal, though purely cosmetic changes are not, which is why Alter's Little Bit Beastly members aren't arrested on sight. Or, as Tigris puts it "Hey, it's New York."
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Used by Gear, its use and frequent use by the Rival are both lampshaded by Steffi.
  • Not What It Looks Like: After Ben is Caught Coming Home Late by his parents after his adventure with Steffi, it soon becomes apparent that they think he was sneaking out to see his girlfriend.
  • Not With the Safety On, You Won't: Somewhat averted. Benzine (as Donner) pulls a gun only to be informed that the safety is still on. Without missing a beat, he responds "Revolvers like this don't have safeties, smart guy."
  • No, You: When Ben tells Steffi that her poker face sucks, her reply is "Your face sucks!"
  • Official Couple: Ben and Steffi, as of Track 14.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • And so Ben learns what Steffi's up to. His reaction's appropriate.
    • Ben has another one when he tries to taze Taurus, only for him to No-Sell it.
    • 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 her 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 seems to spend more time in the hands of her adversaries.
  • 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:
  • Precision F-Strike:
  • Precocious Crush: Chandra, age 11, develops a crush on Blitz, age 14.
  • 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.
  • Put Their Heads Together: Taurus knocks some heads together.
  • 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.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Winston, Steffi's pet rabbit shapped blob. He is very fat and the only time we ever get his POV he's confused on why he isn't getting belly rubs.
  • Robot Girl: 42 and her siblings.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Raccoon
  • 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: In Track 27, Steffi believes they'll be able to help Chandra escape criminal charges by throwing money at the problem.
    Steffi: After all, Papi's super rich. I bet he can pay some people off. I think you can solve most things that way.
  • 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..."
    • 42's name is a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    • Green Lantern shirts show up from time time, Reed wearing a Red Lantern shirt during his hospitalization for instance.
    • Ben mentions Solid Snake in page 267.
    • When pressed to speak Japanese Steffi is only able to come up with Styx lyrics
  • 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: It's implied that the Raccoon is a kleptomaniac and steals useless items for no reason.
  • Super Hero: Steffi / Blitz and Benzene / Donner
  • 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 prosthetics) are relatively common, and 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.
    • The bulk of Japanese dialogue is translated in the same way, except for a few lines written in romaji.
  • 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 lacking 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).
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Page 225: As 35 says to 42, in Japanese:
    You may be a newer model, but you can't defeat me in physical combat.
  • 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 Reed asks if their relationship just a ruse, Jones claims to have been genuinely attracted to him.
  • 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: Tracks 15-17, in a single night Jones betrays the police force as The Mole, Kiwibot makes its triumphant return, Steffi and Ben appear in their new costumes, Alter's leader is revealed and then promptly overthrown by Jones, 42 is hacked, Heinrich and Reed (and Kiwibot) are kidnapped, and to top it off Barry is shown to be helping Gear
  • Wham Line:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ben to Steffi in Track 7.
  • 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. It turns out she's being groomed and manipulated by her cousin Celesta AKA Cebus.
  • Who's on First?: Steffi and Cho get into this in the Track 22 sound bite.
    Steffi: Ummm yo, Mrs. Cho? What's your hat say?
    Cho: Stop.
    Steffi: Why's she gotta be so mean...
    Cho: But... I just answered you...
  • World War III: About all we know about it is that it happened, and it involved mecha.
  • You Just Told Me: Chandra confirms she's working with Alter.
  • Younger Than They Look: Steffi mentions that Gear's "face is way too long for a seventeen-year-old"
  • World of Technicolor Hair: Some characters have outlandish hair colors, such as Steffi (pink), Reed (green), Gear (blue), and Steffi's dad's assistant (purple). Given the anime influence, it's easy to assume that these are natural hair colors. However, over time, these are revealed to be the products of hair dye or wigs.
  • "World's Best" Character: In Page 585, Steffi calls Cebus:
    The world's biggest asshole