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Strip 611, Volume 4, Page 85


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< Piro >

randomness - from a studio e-go game :)  Love the expression tho...


Sunday - September 19, 2004

[Piro] - 11:16:00 - [link here]

For some reason, the months of August and much of September have been really hard for me, creatively speaking. Not because the creative ideas aren't there or that i haven't been able to be as productive as i need to be to make these creative things happen. The flow isn't right. It's like i've been stuck in a rut, and I'm still not sure how to get out of it.

This isn't a new problem. I often have prolonged dry spells that no amount of determination or forcing myself to work will solve. I often wonder if its just part of some cycle of creativity and blankness that i go through every year. For the past couple of years, things have been so crazy that i have always been able to blame something for the problem, but deep down i know that these issues have nothing to do with work, travel, or random domestic destruction by the cats. It's a problem that stems from controlling my inability to focus.

The real irony of this is that i've been working on a rant for almost four weeks regarding my inability to focus. Maybe it's a bit like the brain trying to understand itself, i'm trying to develop a better understanding of the mechanics of how how i create through the creative process of writing a rant. For some reason, i can't get it blogged down. My frustration in not being able to do so is so great that it spurred this little rant about how frustrated i am that i can't write about it. How lame is that?

The ability to do creative stuff relies on two important things - having creative ideas, and being able to effectively make them happen. Everyone has ideas, and often we all have fantastic ideas, but they aren't worth much if you can't make them happen. Just simply working on a creative idea doesn't necessary mean you can make them happen. You need to have a structure to work within, a medium in which your ideas can come to life. For me, the conveyance point where these ideas come out is in my drawings. When i draw, the ideas that i often struggle to describe or understand come out, and it provides the structure upon which the comics are built. Scripts and the overall story is just a framework that attempts to provide direction. It's the drawings that make the characters speak and gives them life. I'm not a writer, nor am i an artist, because i don't think i do either of these things well. I write through my art, and it's an imperfect process. It's one that is ideally suited to this medium, so i can get away with it. :) Through these imperfect acts, i create comics that are fairly effective at communicating my ideas to other people. That, in the end, i think, is what the whole point of creating things based on your ideas - communicating them to other people.

This website is a nodal point from which i can share this output with you. Doing Megatokyo comics is often a struggle, and the translation from idea to finished comic is never perfect, but it's as close as i can get to blogging my ideas to people.

I think that many other comic artists, especially in the more traditional sense (print, newspaper, etc) the comics are pretty much the ONLY transference that these artists have. Webcomics are unique because in addition to the comics, there are other channels of communication that come along with them. rant spaces, the ability to email the creators, forums, live appearances at conventions, etc. It's funny that we sort of expect ourselves to be good at all of these things. The nodal point works both ways. Depending on how far i want to look, i see how effectively my ideas are being communicated. I can also see the effect that these communicated ideas can have. This is both good and bad, and the more popular the site, the more daunting this feedback can be.

I guess i sometimes feel almost afraid of what i'm doing with the comic. It's really sad when you are working on something, that you know you are gonna get flack for it, and that you already know what people are gonna gripe about. And you already know that there are all these people that will come to your aid and beat up the people who don't like what i'm doing right now, and the old tired assessments of what i'm doing compared to what i've done in the past and what people think i should be doing will surface and... well, i just end up having to do what i always do when it comes to comics. I shut it out, and i let my own drawings tell me what i should be doing. Sometimes this is a lot harder to do than you might think, but in the end its what works for me. Seems simple to understand, but i keep having to relearn this over and over again. I think that's where a lot of the churn in my life is... the constant re-learning of how i really work.

I just wish the same approach worked for things like rants and blogging :)

Well, this turned into more of a 'rant' than i had planned it to. Funny, I sat down to write something quickly that would just touch on the rant ideas that i was having problems talking about, and ended up talking about them more effectively than all of my other previous tries. I wonder if that says something else about how i work, something i keep having to relearn over and over again...


Almost forgot to mention this, but Sarah and I will be at Anime Weekend Atlanta this weekend (September 24-26) - it's really more like a vacation for us than anything, so we'll be taking it pretty easy at this con, but we will be there. :) No idea what our schedule is yet, but i'll post it as soon as i find out. If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and say hi :)

< Dom >

My mentor and I in an alternate dimension

"Flash! A-aaaah!"

Monday - September 20, 2004

[Dom] - 11:00:00 - [link here]

You may be wondering where I've been for the past month or so.

To be honest, I've been wondering that myself. Beyond all the pretentious pseudo-intellectual meanings I could give that, I can honestly say that I've spent the lsat month just sort of drifting.

See, I've been fighting depression, and when I'm depressed, I don't like to tell people about it until it's over. It's a very private thing to me, and I don't feel like I'll gain anything from sharing my gloom.

If you must know the root of the matter, my aunt died on September 4th, while I was on my way to Sacramento. This marked the third death in my family this year, and given how closely knit my family is, each one hit us hard. There's something about being a pall bearer three times in nine months that makes you feel a little weird, but I think I'm over that now. Which means that I'm ready to resume the whole "writing my ass off" thing that I like.

The real purpose of this rant is to announce a new way Fred and I have decided to use this rant space, though it'll change once the new site layout comes around.

In the interests of having daily content on this site, I'm going to start writing news, and given that my writing specialty is Japanese video games and miscellany, most of my news will be along that vein--you can find American game coverage almost anywhere, so I'll be ignoring that aspect of news in favor of the weird stuff that Fred and I think MT fans will appreciate. For example: did you know that Gainax's upcoming Princess Maker 4, scheduled for a Spring 2005 release, uses the character designer for Sister Princess, Tenhiro Naoto?

It's stuff like that, stuff that you may not have known but, as a game or anime fan, might be interested in, that I'll focus on.

I'll also be posting the occasional "review" of games I'm playing or manga I'm reading in the interest of filling space and staying in practice, mostly reviewing stuff that hasn't come to the states yet but I think should (or really think shouldn't).

A couple of warnings on that--to make sure that there are no conflicts of interest, I'm going to avoid writing about certain topics if I'm planning to use them for a magazine pitch. It's just easier to avoid these things... so if I don't write about something I think is important, it's probably because I want to write about it for freelance work. Also, given what kind of games Fred and I frequently play (but I'm NOT the porn game king, dammit!), some of the news I'll post will involve games that you can't play unless you're over the age of 18--I'll be posting warnings about any adult content I link to... or maybe I'll just talk about the news or the game without actually linking, leaving you guys to find it yourself if you really want to see more than I show. I'll figure that part out later, when it actually comes up.

So how'll this work, putting up daily news without having a new space to put it every day?

Easy! I'm going to just edit the bottom of every rant with every news tidbit I see fit to post. This'll include editing Sarah's rants, a minor inconvenience that we'll no longer need when the new site goes live.

Anyway, check the space below this tomorrow for news!

Tuesday, September 21
Okay, so even in the pursuit of knowledge, I need to remember that I should never, EVER click on a link to a game titled "Futanari Milkshake", no matter how morbidly curious I am. Don't ask me what the title means, or for a link, I'm still traumatized.

The new PS2... so cute!
Anyway, I said I wouldn't do much in the way of news that was already covered on every other site out there, but I had to show off ITmedia's pictures of the new, lighter PS2, which just looks so damn cute! And it can probably be used as a slashing weapon...

Gee, another Square Enix sequel
Meanwhile, companies are gearing up for the Tokyo Game Show right now, and Square Enix has announced a new Romancing SaGa game, to come out in Spring of 2005. I've never really been a fan of the Romancing SaGa games, though... where the hell is my Valkyrie Profile 2? C'mon, Enix, you know you want to make it... get the Square people on your side and you'll do it, instead of vomiting forth sequels that I don't really care about (although I must admit, Dirge of Cerberus at least looks cool, even if there's been absolutely no hint of what the gameplay's like).

Wrong Valkyrie, dammit!
In a cruel little twist of fate, they haven't announced Valkyrie Profile 2--they've announced a THIRD UFO Princess Valkyrie series, this one an OAV. The second one was really, really bad (I didn't watch much of the first one, but I'm told that it was at least stupid and fun to go along with the fan service).

Rumors of Negima
Moon Phase is reporting a rumor that Akamatsu Ken's Mahou Sensei Negima will be turned into a TV anime to air in January, but I haven't found any evidence to support that yet--I'll tell you when I find it. It's funny, I really don't like Akamatsu Ken's work, but I'm rather fond of the guy. He's a dork. And Asmodeus is hot for his wife, which always counts for something.

First sisters, now twins...
TV Tokyo has opened the official page for its upcoming anime FutaKoi (Twin Love), the direct successor to Incest Sister Princess. Seriously, its short stories and pictorial spreads started dominating Dengeki G's magazine right after Sister Princess stopped, replacing the "sister not related by blood" fetish with the "Twins twins TWINS" fetish (Pocky has already fallen under its spell, more's the pity). If you're interested--and if so, I'm very sorry--the anime starts airing on October 6th.

Back tomorrow with a look at the latest manga I'm reading and more news... whee~


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