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Balladbird Lee
Lee0
Balladbird Lee

First Appearance:

Gungrave
Episode 1 (anime)

Species:

Superior

Weapons:

Senbon

Balladbird Lee is one of Harry McDowell's Big Four in Millennion. Lee is frequently seen with his close friend Bob Poundmax.

Personality Edit

Balladbird Lee was generally a calm person who values his friends greatly and understands them and their ambitions well. Like Harry, he strives to reach the top of Millennion, although does so in a quieter and less forward way. Harry has said that Lee understands him the best, due to their shared ambition of rising to the top. Lee never capitalized on his own ambition, favoring Harry's for his more expansive vision of the future.

Chief in Lee's friendships were his relationships with Bob Poundmax and Harry McDowell. Lee considered Bob his best friend and was willing to allow Bob to be saved from his cerebral thrombosis via the then-questionable Superiorization, but only after the procedure was successfully performed on Lee first. In order to keep up with Harry's ruthlessness and demands, Lee secretly kills the humans who were physically too weak to be converted to Orgmen in his Superior form. The elderly Scott the Snitch hinted that Lee had killed over two thousand people; whether or not these people were a part of that count is unknown.

As revealed when he disclosed Big Daddy's personality to Mika, Lee once respected Big Daddy as everyone else in the organization did, but as he worked under Harry, Lee saw Big Daddy's lack of ambition as his flaw. Lee was also unable to comprehend Brandon's love for Maria even after the latter had married Big Daddy, considering Brandon's devotion to Maria pathetic.

Lee also had a strong bond with his brother Cannon Vulcan, enough to betray Millennion due to their shared blood. However, when faced with a choice to join Harry or kill him and return to Vulcan, Lee chose the former, and Harry willingly spared him from the Code of Iron and proposed they reach power that would transcend it.

In Lee's Superior form, he emits a high pitched laugh, a sharp contrast to his calm demeanor as a human.

History Edit

Balladbird Lee grew up with his older brother Cannon Vulcan. Cannon Vulcan would later kill their father for undisclosed reasons, an incident that would secretly affect Lee. In Lee's adult life, he would join Millennion, becoming friends with Bob Poundmax and later being introduced to Harry McDowell, and through the latter, Brandon Heat.

Blood War and Cannon Vulcan Edit

Image

A younger Lee, around the time he betrayed Millennion

Lee is approached by his brother, who convinces him to betray Millennion and leak the locations of Millennion's bases, enabling Lightning's necrolized soldiers to step in and kill ranked officers. Harry deduces from Bob being unable to find the source of the leaked information that Lee is responsible. Lee resists, pulling out his senbon to retaliate, while Harry holds him at gunpoint. Lee quickly disarms Harry by piercing his shoulder and leg with his senbon, but Harry reveals that he had stationed hitmen behind the trees all along and had refused to shoot Lee because he wanted Lee to rise to the top with him. Lee questions him on the Code of Iron but Harry states that they will head to a position of power that transcends it.

Lee then confronts Cannon Vulcan about his goal after he takes over Millennion. Vulcan reveals that after he takes over Millennion, he will use his newfound power to start wars however he and Blood War see fit. Lee dismisses his dream and states that it cannot compare to Harry McDowell's ambition. Lee is then suddenly approached by a deadman from behind and placed in a chokehold, but the deadman crumbles soon after, according to Dr. Tokioka's calculations. Lee then prepares to kill Vulcan with his senbon but even then Lee could not kill his brother; Harry steps in to shoot Cannon Vulcan himself.

Lee and Harry later drive to Brandon and Bunji's aid, just in time to witness a necrolized and vastly transformed Blood War engage them in a shootout, lifting their van effortlessly and destroying it. Blood War proceeds to shoot Lee and his comrades, but is brought down by a barrage of gunfire from Bear Walken's hit squad Overkill. Lee then witnesses Brandon pick up War's golden pistol and finish off his enemy.

The Rise of Harry McDowell Edit

Three years later, Lee becomes increasingly involved in Harry's shady dealings as he consolidates his influence in Millennion. As Harry becomes aware of Randy's investigation, Lee is sent to dispatch the informants in Randy's information network. Lee later names a few other potential dissidents to Harry, but Harry replies that he has already taken care of them.

Lee remained unaware of the circumstances behind Brandon's betrayal, taking Harry's word at face value that Brandon had embezzled money from the organization and was executed by Harry as a result.

Beyond the Grave Edit

At some point prior to Grave's return, Lee becomes distraught at Bob's sudden stroke. Dr. Laguna Glock identifies the cause of the stroke, at which point Lee accuses the doctor of mocking Bob. Glock proposes to use Superiorization to save Bob, and Lee hesitantly agrees, but only after Lee survives the procedure first.

Thirteen years after Harry's rise to the boss of Millennion, Lee suggests that Harry has already reached the top. Harry denies this, however, and claims that the very top is still out of reach. Later, Lee becomes aware that someone in Billion is fighting off the Orgmen that were sent to pursue Big Daddy's daughter. He proposes the theory that it was a necrolized Brandon Heat who had done so, and is later proven to be correct. Lee also shows Harry the photograph of Big Daddy and Brandon that Millennion's agents had found in Maria's home, confirming his suspicions.

Lee, along with Harry and the rest of the Big Four, greets Grave when Grave arrives at the mansion following an information lead planted by Bob. When Bear notes that he felt nostalgic at seeing Grave again, Lee dismisses his sentiments, restating that Brandon was a traitor and that that was the end of the story.

Bob's death upsets Lee greatly, and he goes on a rampage, destroying the furniture around him and only stopping when Bear Walken tells him that it is enough. Lee then orders his men to find Grave, but not kill him, wishing to be the person to finish Grave off.

Lee later expresses his frustration at one of Harry's aides reporting that they have not found Grave yet and prepares to kill him but is calmed down by Harry. Both express surprise that Grave approached the Millennion Tower in a normal car alone, and Lee sends the Orgmen to dispose of Grave, while he himself tracks down Mika at Gary and Widge's home. Gary fires at Lee, but Lee splits the bullet mid-trajectory with his blades and impales Gary, killing Widge shortly after and kidnapping Mika. Lee also leaves "Millennion" scrawled in blood on the wall after this deed.

Lee kidnaps Mika and introduces her to Harry, who informs her that Lee is using her as bait to lure Grave to him for revenge. Prior to his confrontation, Lee handcuffs Mika to a pole in a subway station and waits for Grave's arrival. Grave arrives, having killed the 150 Orgmen sent with Lee along the way, and Lee acknowledges the skill of his former compatriot before using Mika as a hostage to force Grave to drop his weapons. Lee attacks Grave with his senbon first, and uses one of the skeletal protrusions from his feet to pin Grave to one of the subway cars, and then transforms into his Superior form and proceeds to kill Mika.

However, Dr. T's timely intervention enables Grave to pull himself loose, rescue Mika, and escape Lee. Lee quickly catches up, however, and throws smaller blades from his sleeves throughout the car towards Grave, Grave's bullets in turn being unable to damage Lee. Dr. T reloads one of Grave's guns with his Anti-Superiorization bullets and Grave fires the new bullets into Lee's legs and joints, shattering them as Lee falls out of the subway car.

Reverted to his human form, but still suffering the effects of the Anti-Superiorization bullets, Lee tries to get up to resume his service under Harry, but crumbles to dust and is swept away by the wind.

Game Synopsis Edit

LeeGameSuperior

Artist render of Lee's Superior form in the game

When Grave returns and proceeds to wipe out the higher-ups of Millennion, Lee is the first to address Grave verbally, acknowledging his return before leaving Bob to face Grave.

After Bob's death at Grave's hands, Lee orders the Orgmen under his command to kidnap Mika, killing Dr. T in the process. Grave chases Lee down to the subway station and meets Lee in the endmost car of his subway. Lee questions Grave as to why he wants to protect Mika so badly, wondering if it is because Mika is Big Daddy's daughter. Lee throws Mika out of the train, causes it to crash, and then transforms into his Superior form, vowing to pay Grave back for Bob's death, but is put down by an Grave's omnidirectional variation on his Bullet Dance.

Powers and Abilities Edit

As a human, Lee wields senbon with a ball in the middle. Lee is rather skilled in the use of his senbon, as he is able to disappear from Harry's field of vision and incapacitate Harry with the senbon despite being held at gunpoint. Lee still uses the senbon after becoming a Superior, although mainly to vent his rage on Grave for killing Bob Poundmax.

In the game, as a Superior, Lee appears as a bulbous figure with long legs, one bladed and the other like a machine gun, which he uses to hop around and attack. Lee is capable of slicing a train car in half with one swipe of the bladed leg. However, this nimble form is vulnerable to omnidirectional attacks.

In the anime, Lee sprouts four bladed insect-like legs as a Superior and retains a human upper body, but has large yellow eyes. Lee is also capable of emitting blades from his feet, and is able to do so fast enough to slice a speeding bullet into quarters before it reaches him. He is also capable of detaching it, as when he pinned Grave to a subway car before proceeding to kill Mika. In his Superior form, Lee fires bladed skeletal appendages from beneath his sleeves and is capable of matching speed with and catching up to a subway car with his four legs. He is also impervious to standard and anti-Orgmen bullets.

Trivia Edit

Balladbird Lee seems to fulfill the mafia chinaman trope in the series, with his long braided hair, narrow eyes, and Chinese pao. Additionally, "balladbird", a concatenation of two English words, sounds like a direct mistranslation of a Chinese two-character given name.

References Edit

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