Dicemasters: Dice Island Arc Synopsis
The game of Dicemasters has begun sweeping the nation, and in Dice City practically every kid owns a dice-deck- everyone, that is, except Chip Roller. He can’t afford the outrageous prices needed to buy decent dice, and is instead forced to watch others play. Given that he’s the main character, however, it isn’t surprising that everything changes on the day of his fourteenth birthday, when his mother hands him a very special present- a dice-deck left behind by Chip’s father, the legendary dice player Chuck Roller.
Accompanied by his best friends Pip and Flick, Chip heads down to the dice halls to try out his new deck, and despite warnings to take it slow, he chooses to accept a challenge from Sporky, an ugly third-level player. Unfortunately, with a horribly unbalanced deck and no idea how to use it, Chip is soon on the verge of defeat, earning scorn and derision from a semi-bishie audience member. Abandoning his match with Sporky, Chip challenges the audience member, little realising that he is speaking to none other than Ace die Master, currently ranked #1 in the world. With his friends cheering from the sidelines, Chip commences his match with Ace, and is soon in danger of losing both his pride and his life points.
Fortunately for Chip, just as all seems lost, he sees an image of his father guiding his hand to the dice pool. With the power of DESTINY on his side, Chip manages to draw the DESTINED DICE of Fire, and having magically realised how to use it, he pulls off a Burning Flame attack that defies game continuity to blast through Ace’s defences and strip him of his imminent victory. A new hero is in town.
Meanwhile, on Dice Island, Snake Eyes (who somehow has access to footage from random dice halls about the world) has been watching the match between Chip and Ace. For reasons that perhaps shouldn’t be scrutinised too closely, he dispatches invitations to both boys, asking them to come and participate in a special tournament on Dice Island.
Naturally, Chip is excited about the prospect of such a tournament and he and his friends are quick to neglect school to go on this unsupervised field trip. Ace is nowhere to be seen on the boat that takes them to Dice Island, but as befits the son of a billionaire, he journeys to the island via helicopter, only to be forced into the wilderness with the others when the Dice Island defences shoot him down.
Questioning their host’s hospitality, Chip and the others wander about the island, eventually stumbling upon a dice field, manned by the ugly underling, One. Dismissing a match with One as beneath him, Ace lets an eager Chip take up the challenge. Making a strong start, Chip takes an early lead, but soon finds himself stumped as One sets up a seemingly unassailable defence of Rock Guardians. Several episodes worth of trash talking and dice moves follow, but just as all hope seems lost for Chip, he is once again guided by the powers of FRIENDSHIP and DESTINY, using a Wind-Flame combination that erodes the Rock Guardians and leaves One wide open. The first minor villain is vanquished before the episode count reaches double digits.
Handing over a key, One explains the rules of the tournament to Chip and the others- they must defeat five more minor villains and collect their keys to gain entrance to Snake Castle, conveniently situated at the centre of Dice Island. Unwilling to accept this roundabout method, Pip decides that they should just head for the castle straightaway, only to get caught in a vine trap the moment he takes a few steps towards the island’s centre. As he flails aimlessly, Flick and Chip try to free him, but instead a convenient trapdoor opens up, and all four teenagers drop into an underground cavern.
After landing in an embarrassing heap and untangling themselves, Chip and the others begin searching for a way out, only to enter a cavern containing yet another dice field! The second minor villain, Two, is waiting there for them, and promises to guide them out if they can defeat him. Feeling bad about having gotten them into this mess, Pip offers to play- a move that Chip allows over Ace’s objections.
As the match begins, it is clear that Two is just as much of a hothead as Pip, and the trash talk turns even cheesier than ever. Unfortunately, whilst Pip is a blundering idiot on the field, Two is driven by memories of his tough past (which are explored for viewers in numerous flashbacks), and it isn’t long before Pip is down to his last few life points.
Just as all seems lost (and Flick urges Chip to take over the duel), Pip recalls his own street punk past through intensive flashbacks, concluding with the time he was ‘set right’ by Chip’s overtures of friendship. With the power of FRIENDSHIP flowing freely once more, Pip recalls some advice Flick gave him in a friendly match, and uses it to defeat Two.
The match over, Two guides Chip and the others to the exit, all the while bickering with Pip (causing Flick to remark what good FRIENDS they’ve become). Emerging, the group finds itself in a grove, but there’s something very odd about the flowers there- their scent makes everyone fall asleep!
Upon awakening, Chip and the others find themselves tied up on a dice field, all courtesy of the next opponent, Three. A beautiful young woman, Three selects Ace as her opponent, but when he unexpectedly refuses her, she sets her sights on Chip. Chip accepts the challenge, but soon realises that something is amiss- Three has used her special brand of pheromones to make Pip cheer for her instead! Deprived of one half of his cheerleading team, Chip falters, and is soon down on his life points.
Fortunately for Chip, the female Flick is immune to Three’s pheromones, and after several episodes worth of flashbacks detailing their friendship, Chip feels strong enough to get fully back in the game, and pulls off a combo with his DESTINED DIE and a die that Flick gave him some time ago (as seen in flashback). Predictably, Three is defeated, and leaves the island by unknown means.
By this time, the team is starting to get hungry, and Two offers to take them to the lodge where the island’s dice players live (situated in the middle of nowhere but still fitted with the latest conveniences). After an episode or two of comical trampling through the forest and Two admitting that they might be lost, they finally stumble upon the lodge and let themselves in. Unfortunately, the front hall has been converted into a computerised dice field- and who should be waiting for them but none other than Four!
A nerdy computer whiz, Four is too afraid of nature to ever venture outside the confines of the lodge, but even so, that doesn’t mean he isn’t spoiling for a dice duel. Eager to show this kid a thing or two, Pip accepts the challenge, only to teeter on the brink of defeat after a relatively short three episode match. As usual, however, all is not lost- seeing her chance for food and a shower slipping away, Flick urges Pip on, imbuing him with renewed purpose. With the powers of FRIENDSHIP helping him to draw the “Lady Luck 1/100 Turnaround” dice, Pip’s blind luck is able to defeat all of Four calculation’s, bringing him a late victory.
Now able to enter the lodge, the group takes the chance to rest and relax for an episode or so, with Flick taking a shower and the guys getting into a food fight whilst playing videogames. After a night spent in the lodge’s dorms, however, Chip and the others awaken to find that one of their number is missing- Two has disappeared somewhere during the night!
Despite having known him for less than a day, Two has become an integral part of the Dice Island group, and a search is quickly mounted. Two is finally located in a small clearing- slumped down with his dice spread all around him. As Chip and the others collect up his dice-deck, Two reluctantly admits the truth- knowing that the next opponent, Five, would be a tough one for even DESTINED main characters, he decided to do his bit for his new best friends by defeating Five for them. Unfortunately, it went horribly wrong, and now Two has lost not only his rarest dice, but a fair measure of dicing pride too.
Upon hearing Two’s tale, Chip resolves to defeat Five and retrieve his rare dice- a task that would be made much easier if he knew exactly where Five was! As it turns out, however, Five has been spying on them all this time, and when Chip calls out his challenge, he is quick to respond, even setting up a portable dice field. There’s only one catch; rather than the standard one-on-one battles we’ve seen so far, Five has something a little more exciting in mind- a three way melee between himself, Chip and Ace.
Although the others expect him to refuse, Ace surprises them all by accepting the challenge. When the match begins, Chip suggests to Ace that they could take down Five through the power of teamwork, but as the first few moves are played it becomes clear that Ace is only out to benefit himself, attacking both Chip and Five.
Even with his friends cheering him on, Chip soon begins to feel pressured- with the top ranked player on one side, and the near-psychotic Five on the other, his life points are soon whittled down. Just as it seems that Chip will be knocked out, however, Ace changes tactics and starts protecting him- he wants to be the one to take Chip down! And with Five’s style of play now getting on his nerves, Ace wastes no time in defeating him.
With Five defeated, Chip thinks the match is over, but Ace isn’t ready to quit until he has defeated his archrival. Just as he goes to make his next move, however, Five whispers something that causes the anti-hero to abandon the match and begin heading straight to Snake Castle. Confused, but unwilling to abandon a member of their group, Chip and the others follow.
After tramping across the island in pursuit of an unresponsive Ace, Chip and the others reach the steps of the castle, where the final opponent, Six, awaits. Turning to the others, Ace tells them that he will handle this match, and they have little choice but to step back as the world number one takes on this visored opponent.
As the match begins, Six’s moves spark memories in Ace of times past, when he would play Dicemasters with his little brother, Deuce. A flashback to the recent past reveals that Five had told Ace to expect a familiar face outside the castle- and indeed, Six does look an awful lot like Deuce, albeit with a visor that makes ascertaining his exact identity next to impossible.
After a few episodes of dicing interspersed with flashbacks, Ace begins telling Six about his past. When Six shows no response, Ace decides to take more drastic measures- going so far as to throw a couple of dice in such a way that their edges cut the bindings of Six’s visor. With the obscuring face wear removed, Ace finally confirms that Six is indeed Deuce, but Six himself still claims to remember nothing of his past. And as Ace urges him to remember, Snake Eyes emerges from castle to inform him that Deuce die Master is no more.
Through a series of additional flashbacks, Snake explains how he found the amnesiac Deuce and took the young boy under his wing, training him as a Dice Master. Deuce showed a rare aptitude for the game, eventually becoming Snake’s number one protégée, and in the evil genius’ opinion, even better than his older brother. Much as he loves Deuce, Ace recalls that his little brother was never able to beat him in a dice match, and apologetically tells Six that he will have won the match within the next five turns.
Upon hearing this, Snake laughs, and instructs Six to crush his opponent. Upon hearing this, Six ups his game, even matching Ace’s DESTINED DIE with one of his own! Suddenly beset with flashbacks of his earlier defeat at the hands of Chip, Ace feels his confidence begin to crumble, but just as all hope seems lost, Chip rallies the cheerleaders, who respond with the power of FRIENDSHIP, urging Ace to defeat Six and thus restore his memories (a sound practise recommended by doctors everywhere).
Spurred on by flashbacks of the happy times with his brother, and even the more humorous elements of his recent adventures on Dice Island, Ace feels the spirit of camaraderie as he never has before, and swears to Snake and Six that he will indeed win this match. Empowered by feelings of love and friendship, Ace finally manages to defeat Six.
Disappointed in his protégée, Snake decides to exact the ultimate punishment, using his Dice Master skills to trap Six’s soul in a special SOUL DIE. Just before his spirit is taken away, Six finally seems to recognise his brother, and throws him both the sixth castle key and the DESTINED DIE of Lightning.
As his brother loses consciousness, Ace turns to Snake, a stream of carefully euphemised invective issuing from his mouth. Ignoring him, Snake returns to the castle and slams the doors just as Ace reaches the top of the steps, leaving the world number one with no choice but to wait for Chip and the others.
Conveniently, Chip, Pip and Ace each have two of the six keys need to unlock the castle doors, forcing them to work together to get inside. Whilst Flick is left to look after the unconscious Six/Deuce, Pip and Chip follow Ace as he goes to the main dice hall to challenge Snake.
After finishing his glass of finest grape juice, Snake steps up to the dice field, and commences his match with an impatient Ace. Initially, Ace takes an easy lead over the seemingly incompetent Snake, but just as it looks like the world number one can claim victory, Snake gets serious. In only a handful of episodes, Snake turns the tables, leaving Ace in a seemingly no-win position- at least until he draws his two DESTINED DICE.
Holding the DESTINED DICE of Dragons and Lightning, Ace swears to avenge his brother (a few more flashbacks are included to ensure viewers don’t forget who he is). Laughing, Snake plays a counter-move of his own, playing Deuce’s SOUL DIE to protect his life points. As predicted, a frozen Ace finds himself unable to attack his brother, and is forced to concede the match. Naturally, the penalty for his loss is nothing less than to give up both his DESTINED DICE and have his spirit imprisoned in a SOUL DIE.
Chip and Pip are shocked at Snake’s actions, but he declines to play straightaway, instead inviting the friends to enjoy the hospitality of his castle. Ace is conveniently sent to the hospital wing along with Deuce, whilst Flick rejoins Pip and Chip for a meal and some preparatory discussion. Pip and Flick believe that Chip should retool his dice-deck to counter Snake’s strategies, but Chip refuses- he would rather rely on the twin powers of FRIENDSHIP and DESTINY.
The next morning, the long-awaited concluding match of the arc finally begins- and this time around, Snake has no intention of pulling his punches. In the early episodes of the match, a number of Chip’s best combos are easily defeated, and when Snake draws a deadly combo of the DESTINED DICE of Dragons, Lightning and Darkness, together with the SOUL DICE of Ace and Deuce, all seems lost.
With victory in his grasp, Snake takes a few episodes to expound upon his goals- he wants the unlimited power of the alternate dimension known as the Dice World, but the only way to open the gate to it is to gather all the DESTINED DICE. To that end, he decided that the most logical way to obtain the dice he needed was to invite fellow Dice Masters to his private island and make overtures towards defeating them, thus fulfilling the sacred Dice Rule that DESTINED DICE can only be given to another person if a Dice Master loses a duel to them.
Having heard this lengthy tale, Chip remains adamant that he will put an end to Snake’s evil plans, and places his confidence and trust in not only the power of FRIENDSHIP, but in the honour and integrity of Ace and Deuce (as reinforced through flashback). Unfortunately, Snake seems unaffected by such a speech, and prepares to make a final move that will surely wipe out the last of Chip’s life points…or will it?
Trapped inside their SOUL DICE, the spirits of Ace and Deuce have responded to Chip’s oration by turning against Snake, instead sacrificing themselves to protect the hero from the final attack. Now, the playing field seems somewhat more even, but the final battle of the arc is not quite over yet- Snake has another important die to play.
Undaunted by the recent turn of events, Snake uses his next go to summon yet another SOUL DIE- that of a mysterious yet beautiful young woman. Taking time out for some more exposition, Snake reveals her identity- this is the soul of his former lover, now trapped within a die!
Stunned at this news, Chip begins to wonder if he can triumph against a villain willing to go to such lengths, but just as he begins to lose faith in even the twin powers of FRIENDSHIP and DESTINY, a vision of Snake’s lover, Hedra, appears before him. Through a series of flashbacks, she explains the truth behind Snake’s past- a former dice researcher, he spent much of his time researching both the game of Dicemasters and the properties of the DESTINED DICE, before finally concluding that both were connected to a Dice World where the magic and monsters represented by the dice were actually real.
Determined to open a doorway to this Dice World, Snake set up an experiment involving his DESTINED DIE of Darkness, but without the power of the other DESTINED DICE, the gateway he created was unstable, sucking in his lab assistant/girlfriend Hedra, and trapping her soul in a die. Since then, Snake has been obsessed with collecting the rest of the DESTINED DICE so that he can bring her back- far from being a heartless villain of EVIL, he was motivated by the power of LOVE all along!
However, even Hedra has to admit that Snake has got a little lost along the way, and to that end she urges Chip to defeat him- a measure recommended by psychiatrists everywhere for snapping people out of whatever problems have gripped them. Chip admits that he is unsure of whether he can win, but Hedra urges him to have faith- after all, his friends are by his side. As Hedra vanishes, visions of Pip, Flick and Chip’s father all flash past, re-energising him with the power of FRIENDSHIP, and giving him the confidence to draw his next die.
As luck (and plot necessity) would have it, Chip’s last die is just the one that he needs to defeat Snake, enabling to pull of a final combo that ends the match. Beset by flashbacks of his past, Snake realises everything that he has done, and resolves to find a more sensible path towards his goals in the future. Apologising to Chip, Snake releases Ace and Deuce from their SOUL DIE (thanks to flashbacks we know that Hedra was too long gone to be brought back by the time he learned this technique), and offers the hero his three DESTINED DICE, for he can sense that Chip is the one destined to open the gate to the Dice World. Chip only requests that all the DESTINED DICE stay with their original owners- when the time comes to open the gate, they will all do it together.
With the match over, Chip and the others head to the hospital wing, where Ace has awakened, but Deuce remains unconscious. Ace confronts Snake about this, but Snake explains that he has released his enchantment- if Deuce isn’t waking up, it is because he doesn’t want to. Tersely accepting this fact, Ace arranges for a helicopter to take Deuce and himself back to the die Master estate- Chip and the others get a less impressive boat trip home!
Back home, Chip and the others are thankfully not questioned about their sudden and bizarre absence, and all are happy to settle back into their normal lives, albeit with Chip now a somewhat more proficient dice player than he used to be (much to the annoyance of the kids at the local dice hall). As the final episode of the arc closes, however, we get a glimpse of what is to come- somewhere, a mysterious hooded bishie is talking about his plans for the DESTINED DICE…