LAP 37
Shinigami: Jack Levin

The Wild Boar and the Bloody Chain gang are terrorising the Mute City highways when the police make an attempt to put them out of commission, but the gang are too powerful for them. The pilot of the Wild Boar exits his ship and approaches the police; just who is this guy?

"I am the Thunderous Shinigami. Remember that name!"

Earlier in the day, Lucy caught sight of the Bloody Chain passing by with a curious addition to their ranks: the Astro Robin? Fearing for Jack's safety, Ryu and Lucy hit the streets at night to go looking for them, but to no avail. All they found was vehicle wreckage in an alleyway, with one of Jack's earrings lying nearby.

Jack gets a right chuckle out of this the next day at Falcon House; they went to all that trouble just for him? When asked why he was among a group of thugs, he claims they were his adoring fans, and blames his carelessness for why his earring was lost.
Clank warns him to be safe out there; there's a nasty fellow going around calling himself the Shinigami, who's been responsible for the destruction of multiple rival gangs, including several police cars a couple of days ago.

Burt is surprised; he thought the Shinigami has vanished from the gang warfare business years ago. Despite what's been said about this biker, Jack is still keen to take him on himself. A group of thugs drive noisily past outside, and Jack claims he's just remembered some urgent business he needs to attend to, and leaves. As he drives away, he recalls a recent incident...

He had approached Michael Chain, leader of the Bloody Chain, to ask if he was trying to revive the Shinigami. Of course! The Bloody Chain are threatening and all, but the Shinigami was the baddest mofo there was, reigning over Mute City with an iron fist. He presents the helmet to Jack but the Platoon member leaves; he'd never want to return to that dirty business. "I'll be waiting," Mike sneers.

Michael Chain, dressed as the Shinigami, returns to his hideout to meet up with Baba, who asks Chain how his mission is coming along. He's getting tired of the Galaxy Mobile Platoon being such a nuisance, but Baba urges him to keep at it - if he can eventually goad Jack back out of the Platoon, that'll be enough of an accomplishment... and after that, he'll introduce him to Zoda! After all, that guy would be nothing without Baba's elite spying skills. Mike isn't sure how much he believes him, but it's a privilege worth working for. The Bloody Chain hit the streets, wreaking carnage and mayhem...

More police cars are destroyed and a burning street is left in their wake as Chain turns to a security camera: the Shinigami is waiting for you, Jack! Ryu, Jody and Jack catch wind of this at Platoon HQ but arresting dumb thugs isn't in their job description, so she urges the others not to do anything about this. Jody is summoned to the chief's office for a little talk...

So, she kept Jack's previous exploits a secret from them, did she? Jody explains he's a hardworking member of the Galaxy Mobile Platoon now and would never return to his old ways. However, Jack catches wind of this from the hallway, and the group later receive a video message from him: he's resigning from the Platoon. His talents are wasted on those bozos! The team are upset and desperate to ask him to reconsider, but Jody shoots them down; it was his decision, so they shouldn't interfere.

Jody leaves the room but is stopped by Clash - is she going to find Jack all by herself? Boy, she's stubborn. She claims he is her sole responsibility, but the rest of the gang flood in to challenge that notion - Jack is a dear friend to all of them, and they would never want him to go without their support! Seeing how much they care for him, Jody lets the cat out of the bag: Jack is the Shinigami.

She first met Jack when she was an officer in the Galaxy Police, and Jack was a reckless, troublesome street thug. Hot on his trail, a careless turn left Jack flying off his bike, allowing Jody to catch up to him... but more importantly, ask if he was feeling okay. That incident allowed Jack to reshape his life, and he was offered a spot in the Platoon. The Shinigami was retired from that moment on...

... though someone else is currently trying to bring him back. The group begin prowling the streets, hoping to find any sign of either Jack Levin or Michael Chain. Suddenly, a group of pimped-out bikes appear from behind Ryu's Dragon Bird, opening fire upon him - this must be the Bloody Chain!

Ryu dodges their laser fire and weaves through alleyways, though they have no intent on giving up. He dispatches one by grinding it against a storefront, though two more are still on his tail. A newcomer enters the mix and destroys one of the attackers - it's the Astro Robin! With its help, the two manage to eliminate all their pursuers.

One of the bikers crawls out of his wreckage to a terrifying sight: "Tell Michael the one true Shinigami is back!" The gang members make their exit and Ryu realises this is Jack in his street thug uniform. He reminds Jack that he doesn't need to take on his problem alone, and sharing burdens is what friends are for, but Jack is very standoff-ish; this is his feud and he wants nobody else to be part of it.

The two are surrounded by the Bloody Chain, and Michael steps out to applaud Jack on getting his groove back. Jack challenges him to a time trial: if he loses, he'll join Mike's gang, but if he wins, the Bloody Chain must be disbanded. Michael solemnly agrees and the group make their way to the race zone. Jack wishes that Ryu never interfered; this is a problem he wanted to solve himself, without putting his friends under pressure. Ryu assures him he's not here because he was given orders; they're all worried for him because he's their friend!

The Bloody Chain crash through a set of barriers, approaching a part of the highway that's still under construction, the road ending suddenly not far ahead. Michael and Jack begin the race, the two clashing their machines together before Jack smacks the Wild Boar from behind. Chain appreciates the challenge; the Shinigami hasn't lost his vicious edge!

Suddenly, the Astro Robin comes under attack from behind - it's Baba's Iron Tiger! Jack calls his opponent out on his cheating BS, though Mike reminds him he's only in this to win. The Dragon Bird zooms in from behind and sends the Iron Tiger flying, making the match fair again. Jack doesn't approve of that either.

The end of the road is quickly mounting on the two racers, forcing them to brake in the nick of time, their machines hanging over the edge of the highway. Just when he remarks they're on equal ground, Jack gets a smack around the gob: it's time for round two, fisticuffs! The two begin wailing into each other with mean hooks and fearsome blows... Jody arrives on the scene but can only watch, as Ryu urges her to let Jack resolve this himself.

Jack dodges several swipes from Michael and tries to grapple with him, but he hasn't the strength to pin him against his machine. So he begins shoving him towards the highway's edge... only for the road to collapse beneath them!

The two grab on to iron bars just in time, but the Wild Boar topples off into the forest below. Michael's had enough, but Jack continues to flail at his opponent in a desperate attempt to defeat him - this isn't over yet! Ryu rushes over to call him an idiot. This isn't how a member of the Galaxy Mobile Platoon should behave! Jody extends her hand out to him, and seeing her as the supportive, caring officer who helped him quit his life of crime, he reaches out to her.

The police arrive and take Michael, Baba and the Bloody Chain into custody. Jack removes his helmet and tosses it into the flames below, retiring the Shinigami once and for all. Ryu and Jody help him back to the police station, where the chief has a few stern words for him. His history of street crime and recent abandoning of his duties have been blights on his record...

... but with the capture of the Bloody Chain gang, they'll strike it off and consider it a part of the investigation. Jack is free to return to the Platoon, and he couldn't be more thrilled; he could never have done this if it weren't for his supportive and caring friends!

Burt's F-Zero Classroom: If they win so much money, why aren't Jack and Ryu rich? Burt explains the two only receive a salary, and often come crying to him for free meals. All winnings are taken as proceeds to the police station, which explains their extravagant spaceship and why the chief has so many useless statues.

For those not in the know, a shinigami is a spirit of death from Japanese folklore that ensures folks die when they're meant to. They're sometimes translated as "death god" or "death spirit," but Dreadopp and Zedopp's fansubs instead give Jack the moniker "Death Reaper", which is like a bazillion times cooler. Makes me wish that was the actual name in the Japanese version, if just for how much fun it'd be to hear them say it every time. デスリーパー!