May 01, 2007

Megatokyo

(UPDATE: Hardly 'outraged', as Steven puts it. If you don't like the story, you don't like the story... it's a personal thing. I'm more amused by his relying on the same old tropes as reasons to dislike the strip... the biggest of which hasn't been valid for years. Read on and see!)

Steven's complaining about Megatoyko again, and rolling out all the old saws to boot: "It's too slow, all the characters look the same, it jumps around too much."

Each chapter of Megatokyo comprises a day of strip time. Chapter 8 took about 8 months to complete, running from 6/28/06 to 2/14/07 (Chapter 9 began earlier this month). That's roughly 90 pages of hand-drawn artwork, many with insane amounts of detail. Considering that Fred Gallagher, the man behind MT, also runs his own merchandising company and has his fifth book coming out in a few weeks, I'd say he's doing well to get one strip out every 3 days. If that's too slow, then so be it.

As far as 'jumping around too much' goes, I'm guessing that the story moves storyline threads every two weeks (six strips) or so on average. I don't think I've ever thought that Gallagher changes p.o.v. too quickly; the comic moves at it's own pace. Yes, we could just follow Piro or Kimiko around all day, but then you'd be missing the other character's stories.

The complaint that I read the most often is that there are TOO many characters, and that I won't disagree with. There are a bunch, and there's no offical guide to MT to help the beginner. Fortunately, there ARE a few fan guides (like this one, or this one) that are excellent.

Steven says "I have a hard time telling the girls apart. The only distinguishing feature is hair style, and even those aren't all that distinctive."
Indeed?
Miho, Ping, Erika, Kimiko, Yuki.
At one time this was a valid complaint. I don't think it is anymore.

A couple of things I'll agree with Steven about, though. It IS a soap opera with an otaku setting. Actually, Gallagher would probably say it's a comic strip with a dating-sim setting; same thing, really.

And nobody knows what's the story behind Miho. We have learned quite a lot, but it's still a mystery, probably the biggest one in MT.

Largo isn't the psychotic one, though. That'd be Dom.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 02:11 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 394 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Well, I kind of think Largo's still psychotic, he's just not a sociopath like Dom & the other one. Given his behavior & wild mood swings, I'd wager that Largo's almost certainly some flavor of bipolar. With maybe more than a little Asberger's thrown into the mix.

On the other hand, the Megatokyo universe seems to specialize in poorly defined realities & schizoid experiental relativity, so perhaps psychotic personality development is a survival trait.

I don't know, does the Largo end of Megatokyo reality cause actual fatalities on the boring end of the sanity continuum, or do they just plod along unaffected by the outsize ultraviolence of those in the mad end of the gene pool?

Posted by: Mitch H. at May 02, 2007 05:23 AM (iTVQj)

2 I have a lot of trouble telling the girls apart as well. Anime often uses hair colors to help us out, but of course you can't do that in pencil. I think it just takes practice to tell who's who. For the longest time I thought #2 and #3 above were the same girl, just sometimes she put her hair up. (Of course this makes no sense, everyone knows anime girls never change their hair!)

Despite this, I do love his artwork. I'd prefer the high detail pencil-only finish to some other system where he might everything but leave out all of those wonderful details.

I can't get into his story, but I do love to stop by and admire the visuals. He's a talented guy.

Of course, I feel like I have even less of a right to critique his work now that I run a comic of my own which has NO ART WHATSOEVER, and in fact just defaces the art someone else made.

Posted by: Shamus at May 02, 2007 03:19 PM (GDT1x)

3 Like Shamus, when I was reading Megatokyo (and I have three or four volumes of the dead tree edition), I had a lot of trouble telling the girls apart.

With that little detail in their faces, you have to rely on hair and clothes - things that you'd assume would change from day to day anyway.

Which is why so many anime girls have blue/green/pink hair.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at May 04, 2007 03:23 PM (OSmRV)

4 Some of anime girls do have differing facial features, if only the eyes (e.g. Azumanga). But sometimes eyebrows and lips get used, even ears. This usually is a feature of "realistic" anime though.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at May 04, 2007 06:36 PM (9imyF)

5 "...things that you'd assume would change from day to day anyway."

...but a day in MT is 80 or 90 strips long, if not longer. And as far as hairstyles changing in comic strips goes, I think Blondie and Mary Worth would like to have a chat with you.

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 04, 2007 07:42 PM (A5s0y)

6 ...but a day in MT is 80 or 90 strips long, if not longer. And as far as hairstyles changing in comic strips goes, I think Blondie and Mary Worth would like to have a chat with you.

Well, yeah, but if you drop in on Megatokyo you're still more likely to assume that there are, say, two girls who are both suffering from dissociative disorder than that there are actually five girls who basically look the same.

There's no colour; they essentially have no noses or mouths; their eyes are mostly the same. That doesn't leave a whole lot of cues.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at May 04, 2007 09:11 PM (OSmRV)

7 I don't remember ever having trouble telling the girls apart, but I often lose track of story threads. after a few weeks spent in another scene. I have failed to recognize a few of the minor characters when they've turned up in a scene without being named.

I generally keep up with it, even though I don't think it works well as a one-page webcomic; I tend to gloss over the plot until the collections come out, and just focus on the characters, which usually manages to amuse me once a week.

-j

Posted by: J Greely at May 05, 2007 03:42 AM (2XtN5)

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