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Strip 612, Volume 4, Page 86


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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 >

Brothers... tiiiiny brothers... in the wine!

"Giri giri"

Wednesday - September 22, 2004

[Dom] - 09:30:00 - [link here]

What I'm reading: Onii-chan to Issho (vaguely translated as "With my brother(s)")

I started reading Onii-chan to Issho after seeing a summary on Mangaoh that got me curious. After living with a Sister Princess fan for about a year and a half, I was thoroughly tired of the sister fetish (you may have seen hints of that in my rant yesterday). Onii-chan to issho is the exact opposite of Sister Princess--as opposed to some random schmuck suddenly having 12 fawning little sisters, it's the heartwarming story of a girl who, after her grandmother dies, has no living relatives. And then, out of nowhere, 4 "older brothers" come to claim her as their own, turning her life upside-down. And then she finds out that they aren't actually related to her by blood at all, making her wonder why they claim she's family...

Like I said, it's the exact opposite of Sister Princess, especially since it runs in one of Hana to Yume's sister magazines, La La.

In case you're wondering, this does, in fact, make it a shoujo manga.

Anyway, after reading Onii-chan to Issho volume one a few months ago, I felt a dangerously warm and fuzzy feeling creeping up on me, something I suppressed quickly and brutally by playing Guilty Gear XX for a while.

Then I read volume two earlier this month, and that warm and fuzzy feeling returned, and I realized that not only was I reading the second volume of a shoujo manga that didn't involve chainsaws, I liked it.

See, when I said it was the heartwarming story of a girl yada yada yada, I actually meant that it was heartwarming for once. The art is frightfully cute, but the writing is also solid, sweet without being sappy and kind of dorky without being stupid.

I mean, the brothers are written so that they aren't just representations of various fetishized archetypes, you can honestly like them as they are--or dislike some of them, free from such stupidity as "ugh, he wears glasses, that's stupid"--although I guess you're free to dislike character designs, it's just that this manga isn't solely based on character designs.

Anyway, I don't know if this manga is coming to the US soon or not, but I recommend it to anyone who wants to read about a girl growing up and rediscovering the meaning of family.

Amazon links to:
Volume 1
Volume 2

Old Singles
Okay, can anyone explain to me how a cover of Mickey can be the #1 single in Japan this week? I mean, I know a lot of Japanese music is stuck in the '80s, that's part of why I like it--but I didn't realize they were THAT stuck.

Still Beboppin'
According to Studio Bones, a new Cowboy Bebop artbook is due out next month, entitled "Toshihiro Kawamoto: Cowboy Bebop Illustrations ~The Wind~". It'll be 144 pages of full color, cost 2800 yen (before tax, conversion rate and shipping cost markup in the US) and be released on October 22nd.

Full-size goddesses on TV
So in 2005, there's finally going to be a proper Aa! Megami-sama (AKA Oh My Goddess!) TV series, after a decent OAV, a very pretty movie, and a very, very random SD TV series. I've been reminded by this by a Newtype article interviewing Hiroaki Gohda (the director), Ishida Youko (who sings the opening song, "Open your Mind ~Chiisana hane wo hirogete~"), and Inoue Kikuko (who is Inoue Kikuko). About the most significant thing in the article is that Inoue Kikuko continues to maintain that she's 17 years old, a joke that may go on as long as Jack Benny's 39th birthday. But it at least reminded people "Oh yeah! That's coming next year" before concentrating on the new season coming up in October.

September 23, 2004
Tokyo Game Show is this weekend, and that means gold mine time for news writers. And that means that I can't possibly write about it all, so I'll just put up tidbits that amuse me. For example...

Ramblin' Rumblin' Roses
So most of the Dead or Alive-type fans out there already know about Rumble Roses from E3... it's a rasslin' game with "hot digital girls" duking it out (I saw a lot of people at E3 staring raptly at the mud wrestling mode) and, amusingly, Hidaka Noriko and Horie Yui are going to appear at TGS to promote it. If you didn't know, Hidaka Noriko was the voice of Akane in Ranma 1/2, Minami in Touch, and Erika in the Sakura Taisen series, while Horie Yui has been Tooru in Fruits Basket and Naru in Love Hina. The most amusing part? The other person who's showing up to plug the game is Choushuu Riki, a 52-year-old professional wrestler. That's something I wish I could see...

Something for the ladies
I'd never heard of Meine Liebe before today, with good reason--it's a dating game series aimed at girls. There was a GBA version of it a couple years back, there's going to be a PS2 game, and now it's going to be animated under the name "Ginyuu Mokushiroku Meine Liebe". It, too, will have a seiyuu event at TGS 2004, which will include Koyasu Takehito and Seki Tomokazu, among other fangirl bait. As for the anime, the cast is announced so far as Sakurai Toshihiko, Seki Tomokazu, Seki Toshihiko, Hoshi Souichirou, Ishida Akira and Koyasu. Some of those names mean little to me, but if they've been chosen to voice vaguely Euro-looking prettyboys, there has to be somebody out there who wets their drawers over them...


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