< Piro >
Wednesday - May 30, 2001
Well. Finally back on schedule. Imagine that. :)
Catching up wasn't easy, but it was worth the effort. I'd like to thank everyone for being patient with my and my schedule for the past few weeks. The 'lull' in MT strips was very productive for us. It's given Largo and I a chance to catch our breath, do some thinking and some development that was badly needed.
Doing megatokyo is a lot like developing a game and releasing it to the public at the same time. I've said in the past that MT is a bit of an 'experiment' - and it is. It's been a fairly successful one, too. The problem with experiments is that when you do them out in the open like this, you're mistakes are there for all to see, and they don't go away. But, hey, that's part of the fun. One of the things you learn about art is that it's not how perfect you are when you set pen or brush to paper - it's how adept you are at fixing or working with your mistakes. :)
Many weeks ago i switched to a new, manga-style format. I'm much happier with this approach, it's given me a lot more freedom and room to do individual strips. Keep in mind that i've never done comic-style layouts before. I haven't read or studied any books on the subject, i've just been using my feeble brain to cobble these things together. Most of the strips work well, some work great, some are a little confusing. Unfortunately i haven't had the luxury of being able to pass my work thru three levels of editors and had multiple chances to re-do the strips. This 'raw' style of MT is just part of it's pathetic charm, i think...
In the same way that the format needed to change to make things work better, so does the story format. Up till now, we've just been rambling along telling the story in a very slow, disjointed, organic kind of way. Part of the reason for this is that we've been developing the details for the story as we've moved along, and we've had to be cautious not to make moves that would hurt the story later. Coupled with my rather busy life, it's been a problem. Well, one of the benefits of the little 'lull' we took is that Largo and I have had some time to adjust and fine tune some things that have needed doing since we started. One of those things is the very format of the story and how it's presented.
Right now, Largo and I are in the process of wrapping up 'chapter 0' of megatokyo. It's been almost a year, and well over 125 strips. To me, life is a continuous, organic series of threads and happenings, but this lack of structure in a comic/story format makes it harder to build clear, entertaining stories that don't frustrate the hell out of people because there is the feeling nothing is ever resolved. By sliding into a 'chapter' based format, Largo and i can build more cohesive 'arcs' that fit within a 16-20 episode set, which also leaves room for one-liners, outtakes, art days, and other in sundry happenings. We won't be taking any breaks between chapters - that's not the purpose - it is just simply adding a little structure to the story. Much like loosening up the 4-square frames - adding structure here will be beneficial and help us with our planning. That's what we've been working on for the past few weeks.
Before I took a break, i felt like i was stumbling and tripping over my own feet with Megatokyo. I finally feel like i've got my balance. That isn't to say MT is going to be perfect - far from it - but i feel that now we can finally start providing the quality content i think all of you deserve from our tiny little world.
oh, i just HAD to add this.
There was a little confusion of Erika's confrontation with the 'chikan' (molestor, pervert) who groped her on the train (can you say 'oooh... bad choice, dude.' ^_^) First of all, yes, this kind of thing is a problem and is very common in japan. When i read the Mainichi Daily News (thier english version is fun to read) i spotted this article today in the Wai Wai section of the paper called "Molested girls pay back perverts"... read it and laugh. :)