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Strip 127

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< Piro >

did you ever wonder who erika was cosplaying as?

"tripping over my feet"

Wednesday - May 30, 2001

[Piro] - 01:02:00 - [link here]

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.

[update]

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. :)

< Dom >

this picture disturbs me...

"Saucer!"

Sunday - June 3, 2001

[Dom] - 00:00:01 - [link here]

I Just got back from A-kon, in Texas. And sorry about not ranting after Anime Central a few weeks ago, but I've been running around since and just now have found the time to rant.

Let me begin by saying this--completely in jest, mind you, so put those flame-throwers away--I have seen the enemy, and he is you.

Other people's con reports have been fairly accurate--I especially like Piro's interpretation of my Vibrating Sheep of Doom. And yes, the Vibrating Sheep was a real stuffed animal. Now let me explain, before you all start wondering about me. I'm weird, but I'm not THAT weird.

See, Piro's always mentioning/complaining that people ask him for cheesecake pics of Kimiko and Erika. And with a MegaTokyo panel at ACen, I feared that a fan or two would get out of hand--thus the idea of the booby prize was born. A pair of velcro gloves was specially made by Natsuki--wool gloves with "I (heart) MT" sewn on the left hand, and "I (heart) (sheep)" on the right.

And thus the search for a suitable stuffed sheep was born. On a day I went costume shopping with Okashina Okashi's Tanzy (Yes, thanks to Natsuki and Ed's fangirl both being carriers of the cosplay disease, I'm a cosplayer now... pray for me) we found the perfect Booby Sheep at a semi-local thrift store. It was an old, dirty little wind-up sheep (note the key in Piro's depiction) with a broken unwinding mechanism. So instead of unwinding slowly, dancing and playing a tinny little tune, it all unwound at once, leading to two possible effects, depending on how far you wound it--a jingle and a twitch, or full-out vibration and a death rattle. And with Ed's video camera (not with Ed behind it, mind you) following me most of the con, you better believe there's some fun footage of me hauling that sheepy around. It took a threat from Piro along the lines of "If you keep that, I'll never let you live it down" to get me to give it away to a deserving fanboy--the one who asked if we had any shirts on us.

Okay, on to the panel itself. See, Piro and I met up a few hours before the panel and were wandering the halls talking about how the hell we were going to fill an hour with our uninteresting spiel. And yes, I was in my Shin Kusanagi Kyo costume at the time. About fifteen minutes before the panel was scheduled to start, Piro and I headed down to the tiny room allotted to MT--and noticed that the halls were lined with people. "Hmm, I wonder what they're lined up for?" And then I flashed back to the day before when I'd gone around asking people in MT shirts (or even costumes) if they were going to the panel. And after a good fifty affirmative answers I was scared, since the room seated about 30...

So anyway, Piro and I wormed our way to the front of the line and a space on the wall after looking in the room. Seeing it semi-full of people, we assumed there was another panel going on, and started talking to people in the halls without them knowing who we were--which is the best way to talk to fans, really, I don't like it when people have nothing to say to me but "MegaTokyo rocks." So Piro and I just asked some basic questions and they answered them honestly, which was cool--and then a friend of mine in the room stepped out and said "Hey, Dom, when're you coming in? Everyone in here's waiting for you."

That's when I started praying for a miracle revocation of the fire code... that room was absolutely _packed_ with people. And I heard reports that there was a cluster of people outside with their ears to the door and going "Sshhh!" to passersby. As Piro mentioned in his rant on the subject, it was pretty awe-inspiring to see this show of support and respect. Especially when that guy in the back of the room yelled "Hey, Piro! YOU DON'T SUCK!" and was greeted with a rousing cheer...

That's all for now, A-kon and cosplay thoughts coming in a future rant...

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