< Piro >
Saturday - July 21, 2001
Communication is a funny thing. There's more to it that just words. Human beings communicate on many levels. The net works really well for communicating news and information - the plethora of sites that do this attests to its success. Entertainment is harder, because to entertain, you have to communicate more than just facts, you need to communicate emotions. Communicating emotions and expressing emotions are two different things. 'communicating' them so that people can experience them is far different than just making your feelings known. For many years i never really figured out exactly WHAT i was trying to say with my art, but then it dawned on me - i was trying to convey feelings, moods, auras. Just plain telling people about these moods and feelings doesnt do the trick - you have to be able to show them.
One of the things people do instinctively is we project ourselves into the experiences and emotions of others. There are enough shared and common reactions to things that we share as human beings that we are able to empathize and feel for others. We do the same thing with characters in stories, it's why storytelling is so potent. If i can make you feel for and understand the characters by giving you incentive to put yourself in their place, i've done a good job.
Of course, you can't really understand exactly what others are feeling. You can only work on the information that you are given. The closer you are to someone, the more you can understand his or her feelings. The same goes for characters. The more you learn about them, the more you can 'get into their heads' It's up to Largo and I to provide as much information as we can in ways that help, not hinder, the experience.
One of the remarkable things about Japanese anime and manga is that it is a prime example that the human condition is pretty universal. We understand the feelings of other human beings regardless of what language they speak or where they come from. It's really neat when we are able to connect with something that isn't even in a language we can understand. We have more ways to communicate with each other than just mere words.
We're pretty open with people here at Megatokyo. I mean, largo and I are pretty open about what's going on in our lives and with MT itself. I suppose that to me, sharing the experience of doing this damn thing is as much as part of it as the comic itself. Lots of good stuff (getting invited to go to Otakon as special guests, having the people at Bioware tell us they like us) and even some of the bad stuff (frustrations with bad vibes on the forums, abusive emails attacking Seraphim, people digging up my parent's phone number, etc) - all part of the job.
And we've even had our internal squabbles. Largo and I live in different states for good reasons ^_^ (joke, joke :P) But i'd like to address something that didn't quite work out the way I had hoped when the idea started floating around last fall.
If you recall, i've mentioned a possible multimedia CD project based on Megatokyo. Considering the fact that this is a digital medium over the web, I figured it might be very appropriate to make a robust CD available that would contain a variety of things, from high rez versions of the comics and extra art, to things like music and flash applications that simulated a 'MT dating sim'.
The problem with all of these grand ideas was that they never took into account the fact that neither Largo or I had any extra time to really devote to a project of this size. In hindsight, i should have indicated to the people i had discussed the project with that we did not really have a solid date planned to release such a thing. In the fall of last year, the concept of being able to pull a project like this together by August didn't really seem all that impossible, so my typical response was 'Sure, we should be able to have it done by then!'
My friend Tsubasa has put a lot of time and money into material for this project, and I'd like to apologize to him for the fact that the project has not materialized. In the process of preparing for the project, Tsubasa engaged several voice actresses and a music group for the project, and I am sorry that i was unable to support his efforts the way i wanted to.
I would like to apologize directly to Tsukinami Maya, Minami Megumi, and Mayumura Kanon - i have been and still am impressed with your voice acting, and i wish i had been able to produce the dialog Tsubasa and I had originally planned. I have not had the time to produce the quality material needed. I would also like to apologize to Hashimoto-san and Rem-san of Device High, because of the fact I was unable to provide all the support material they needed for the Megatokyo songs. Device High is a great group, and I would dearly love to hear the songs that have been produced in the near future.
I suppose there are two problems that have cropped up and plagued Largo and I as MT has grown over the past year. The first is pretty simple - we are not professional manga artists. MT grew out of an idea and my drawing hobby and some blank webspace that needed filling. We have made mistakes, and avoided others, so far making what we consider pretty good decisions regarding the future and direction of MT. Most of the mistakes have been mine - there are times i wish i listened more closely to Seraphim and Largo, but mistakes are inevitable, and all you can do is learn from them.
The second problem stems from cultural and language differences. Tsubasa and I had numerous misunderstandings that for the most part stem from some of the differences in otaku culture here and in Japan. With Megatokyo it is my desire to bridge the gap between these two worlds, and i've learned some hard lessons in doing so. In the end you can only get wiser, and show off your scars.
I may pick on myself and MT a lot, but in truth, i'm very proud of the work that Largo and I have done. There are a several people close to the MT project who have also worked very hard with much less acknowledgement. And the fans themselves... i suppose i'm still pretty amazed by what the group of you can do. ^_^ August is going to be an exciting month for MT. I'm hitting the boards very hard to keep the comics coming, preparing material for our guest appearance at Otakon in a few weeks, and even a few little surprises for everyone.
A multimedia CD would be a fun thing to offer this summer, but it turned out to be a far bigger thing than we could chew on. I've grown much wiser about managing such ideas and projects over the web. Maybe that's the kind of thing that makes you a so-called 'pro' in the long run.
Thanks to everyone for your support. MT is a labor of love, and i think that by the way people react to it, maybe they understand my bullheaded passion about it. I guess it too is one of those commonalities in the human condition that people react to. Who would have thought.