My Thoughts on Megatokyo

Hey all!  Sorry that I’ve been absent for awhile.  I rediscovered the Animorphs series of books.  I don’t care if they’re way under my reading level – they’re allowing me to relive childhood a bit.  Also,  I didn’t realize how very violent the books are.  They really aren’t meant for kids!  (I’ve really been enjoying them!)

I didn’t get the writing position I had so much hope in.  However, I am getting paid for the small amount of work I actually did.  I guess my writing wasn’t “advanced enough”.  Whatever.  Just means that I’m going to work harder towards getting my novels published.  I’ve thrown out a few more applications to a variety of positions but I’m not putting too much hope into them.

I also went to Anime Milwaukee and had an absolute blast.  I sold out on multiple items and just had so much fun.  I met some amazing artists, amazing dealers, and some amazing con-goers.  It was just a fun time.  I really want to go back and sell there next year!

There’s a lot of stuff going on in my life right now, I’m not going into all of it.  We’ll just say that life distracted me from this.  Yup.

Web Comics

I’ve been following web comics since early high school.  Simple concept: comics that are published on the internet.  Usually for free!  Yay!  While I value the art in a web comic, the story is most important for me.  I’m not saying that all web comics I follow have amazing stories, but a good portion of them do.  ****This blog contains spoilers for Megatokyo.  If you haven’t finished going through the gallery, do not read beyond this point!****

Megatokyo

Megatokyo by Fred Gallagher is a web comic that tends to polarize people.  They either love it or they absolutely hate it.  I fall into a middle category, I like it, but I’m unsure of it at times.  If I don’t look through a “writing lens”, I really enjoy where its coming from.  If I’m in an overly “writer-ish” mood, things get a little less pleasant.  I remember going through the entire gallery when the Aggregat3 picture was posted just because it mentioned the word allegory.  It was posted around the time I was reading The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser.  I might have gotten obsessive.  End tangent!

Basic Plot

Two American gamer guys, Piro and Largo, end up stuck in Japan.  They make a life for themselves there – Largo working as an English teacher and Piro working as a store clerk.  We basically follow their adventures through Japan as they save up money to make it home.  We meet a slew of secondary characters including a former idol (singer, voice actress, etc), an up and coming idol, a high school student (or several), a perky goth, and a video game based robot!  The plot, of course, gets more complicated as time passes in the story.

Part of plot is game/anime features being real.  Magical girls exist in this universe, there are at least two in the extended cast.  Tokyo has a division that schedules supernatural ‘events’ ranging from zombies to giant turtles.  Another is the whole ‘ascended fanboy’ thing.  Piro is a fanboy of dating sims.  He manages to stumble into a relationship with Nanasawa Kimiko, the up-and-coming voice actress in an adult dating sim.  As she is thrown into the public eye, so is he.  Then there’s the ‘what is reality’ portion of the comic.  Both Largo and Piro see the world through lenses clouded by video games.  Largo’s lens is clouded by first person shooters while Piro’s is clouded with dating sims.  Then, of course, there is the reality for everyone else in the main cast.

Characters

I enjoy the characters of Megatokyo, for the most part.  Piro is an American who is shy and quiet.  He is a stereotypical otaku – he obsesses over characters and voice actresses/actors, but is very passive in person.  In later chapters, he does show a bit of backbone when a person he cares for is put into a situation that makes her very uncomfortable.

Largo is the comic relief.  He is literally insane.  He has trouble distinguishing reality from video games and sees threats and ‘zombies’ everywhere.  To an extent, his view is true.  The people he sees as zombies are people who are entranced or extremely taken with something or somebody.

Then we have Tohya Miho.  People have theorized what she is for years.  There have been hints throughout the comic that she is something akin to a magical girl.  Recently the story has revealed that she is a ‘story analogue’.  What that means?  No idea.  But somehow games can tell her story.  She is manipulative around other people.  She is Piro’s former love interest.

Hayasaka Erika is Largo’s love interest in the comic.  She is a former idol singer and voice actress.  She left the business at the peak of her fame after her ex-fiancee left her for very mean reasons.  She is recovering from that hurt while working at Megagamers with Piro.  She has a bit of a temper, lashing out at people who irritate her.

Nanasawa Kimiko is Piro’s current love interest.  She is an up-and-coming voice actress and plays the main character in Sight, an adult dating sim.  She is insecure and has a tendency to push people away.  She is generally very kind.

Ping is a Playstation 2 accessory.  She is a robot/doll that becomes characters in dating sims.  She has a very sweet and endearing personality.

Sonoda Yuki is a high school student who has a bit of a crush on Piro.  She finds out from Miho that she is a magical girl.  She genuinely wants to help people, though many of her actions appear to make things worse.

I think that’s enough characters to go into…there’s so many!

Issues

Megatokyo has a very, very slow moving plot.  Since August 14th, 2000, we have progressed approximately a few months.  While the comic is very good, the pacing just feels…slow.  From a writing standpoint, it could move a lot faster.

The biggest issues I have with Megatokyo are the Mary-Sue-ish tendencies of some of the main characters.  I know, it seems weird, but there are two Mary-Sues in the main cast.  Kimiko and Piro.  But wait, they don’t seem perfect!  Remember, there are different varieties of Sues!  Piro is an author avatar meets Angsty-Sue.  He is very negative about himself and his actions.  His past isn’t exactly happy (especially his past with Miho).

Kimiko is hard to place in a Mary-Sue category.  She’s kind of Helpful-Sue meets Angsty-Sue meets Angry-Sue.  She helps everyone out.  She even helped out Ping when she was scared.  Yet, there’s a darkness under her that comes from Angsty-Sue.  Kimiko has admitted to not living up to her own fantasies about herself.  While that seems like a really honest thing to say, its also quite self-deprecating.  Also, don’t let the sweet face fool you, there’s a full blown ‘Kimizilla’ hiding beneath that veneer.

Conclusion

This isn’t my best blog post, but it gets my point across, kind of.  I’ll come back to this another day.  So look forward to seeing “My Thoughts on Megatokyo: Redux” eventually!

I would still recommend Megatokyo to people who enjoy web comics.  There’s an interesting story with some nice portions of insanity.  Everyone needs a good dose of insanity.  Some of the characters really resonate with me, especially Hayasaka Erika.  There’s something about her backstory that stayed with me.  She’s my favorite character out of the cast.

Thanks for reading!

~Laura

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