< Piro >
Monday - July 2, 2001
The full version of the screenshot above (which is in a 1998 Animedia mag, i only scanned a small part of it) is one of my favorites and one of the saddest nadesico images i've seen. This issue came out after the TV series had ended, but before the Movie. It was a pretty exciting time to be a Ruri fan. There was word that an older Ruri was going to be the lead character in the up coming Nadesico movie. This issue of Anemedia detailed some information about what happened after the tv series, about how Akito and Yurika took care of Ruri, etc. This image summed up what it was i liked about Ruri. It was before the 'older' version of ruri made her debut, before the movie.
To this day, i still can't understand how Ruri could be the star of the movie, yet the movie have so little to do with her. I was very disappointed by the film. They missed a opportunity to explore just what it was that made Ruri so endearing to her audience. I can still go back to images like the one above, but she's been given a future... and it left me feeling rather unfulfilled.
Of course, there is little that fans can do to control what happens to their favorite characters. Studios and artists try to listen to them, and they also take in such things as sales, polls, fan activities, etc, and try to do the things that work best for keeping the fans happy (so that they keep buying stuff ^_^) Sometimes they nail it, as with Card Captor Sakura - just what the doctor ordered, and it has been very successful. Sometimes it falls flat, like the Nadesico Movie - didn't hurt the series, but didn't help it either. Sometimes, they really screw up - like infamous last episode of Evangelion - riots in the streets, rumors of fans committing suicide. Yeesh.
It's odd being on the other side of the fan/producer fence.
It was not a particularly good weekend. Even when i spend most of a weekend at the office, I usually find some time to work on Megatokyo. It's a lot like taking a break. On this particular weekend, i found myself spending this time typing and tapping away at the computer dealing with a bewildering variety of problems emanating from all across the MT universe. First i caused problems in the forums, then had to deal with things on the #megatokyo channel. I had people on ICQ needing attention, and finally a barrage of emails detailing problems and issues that needed my attention. I was waiting for people to start calling me with problems. For once, Largo was one of the least annoying people in my life. ^^;;
I finally got so frustrated with it all that i just got up and walked away from my computer. Seraphim and I sat and watched a few DVDs (for the few hours this weekend i actually got to see her.) and then I went to bed. Sunday was no better, and seemed to follow the same cycle. By Monday afternoon, when i was finally done with my project at work, I went home to crash. I didn't feel like working on MT, i was too irritated and tired to even care. I missed a monday update, and hadn't even started drawing anything. The coup de grace of the weekend was finding that my evilcute little kitty Himeko-chan had destroyed yet another printer cable - a habit i thought she had given up last year.
I sat down and cranked back the recline lever back on my Aeron chair (yes, i have one) and watched the last 4 episodes of Love Hina. Later in the week, i want to talk a bit about some of the similarities and differences between Love Hina and Megatokyo, but not right now. I think Akamatsu Ken is like my Evil Twin or something...
As i sat down last night and tried to sketch up a comic for monday, i found myself thinking. It occurred to me that i hadn't really thought about Megatokyo the comic in almost four days. Sure, plenty of Megatokyo 'stuff', but nothing that had anything to do with the story, characters, development issues, drawings, designs, etc.
There was definitely something wrong with THAT. ^_^
on four previous occasions i've had to step back from the whole Megatokyo 'thing' and find my bearings. Yesterday was the fifth time. It's refreshing, actually, to step back and regroup. It helps you find the core of what is important, what you should be doing, and what you should tune out.
I've said before that I will never become aloof or some kind of asshole elitist - It's just NOT my style, and Largo is all the l33t this comic can handle anyway. I like communicating with fans and readers on a level basis - largo and i are just people like everyone else. But i'm also learning there are pitfalls in doing this. Because i didn't handle it right this weekend, there was no comic for monday.
This doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with the MT community. Hell, i get at least 10-40 supportive emails a day. The lapse this weekend is entirely my fault - because i let it effect my work. You can't control the outside world, but you can control what effects your work.
So, as i sat there in the remnants of the disaster called the weekend, i said to myself 'screw it' and spent most of last night doing development sketches. The interactions between Piro and Kimiko are more subtle and harder to convey than the interactions between Miho and Largo or Yuki and Piro. Kimiko is a lot harder to get a reading on, and so is Piro at times. It felt good to start taking a closer look at those things. It made me feel much better.
Y'know, people don't come out and tell you what they want, typically. You can only gage reaction to your work by how it effects their lives. My hope is that MT is a positive influence, and that it makes people feel good or entertains them for a few minutes a day. I think thats why I took all the upsetment this weekend hard. On some level i felt that it means that i'm not doing a good enough job. The way i tried to deal with things this weekend was the wrong way to fix anything. Doing what i do best - megatokyo itself - is the best thing i can do.
I guess my goal is that several years from now, i don't want people to pull up a drawing or illustration I did and say 'i was hoping that it would be good. Too bad in the end it wasnt.' I wish i could look at images from the Nadesico movie and feel the same things i felt about the tv-series. It's a lot harder than some people realize.
Tonight, i'm going to see what i can do to finish a MT comic and get it posted for tomorrow. My goal is to have 3 done before i leave on vacation next week. I think that's attainable. And if everyone is good, i'll scan and post some sketches to get y'all thru next week. :P