I’m not sure what is more impressive, the fact that Megatokyo is still a comic, or that one-hundred-and-sixty-nine (as of this writing) people have put seventeen thousand dollars into the hands of webcomics’ second-laziest artist ever, behind Buckley of course. Yes, kids, not even the great Fred Gallagher is beneath coming to the Kickstarter well for your real dollars to fund the FINAL FORM of his weeaboo empire.
But that’s not all, if you give him a cool half-million dollars, he will write/illustrate softcore porn into his visual novel. So what does that make this game? Katawa Shoujo 2. Physically normal, emotionally retarded.
There was once a day when I was a Megatokyo fan. I joined the forums on 9/11, was part of Aniverse IRC and his channel, went to many panels, Otakon 2002, Katsucon 2003, Anime Central 2003. A lot of my early con scene revolved around the men and women I met in the MT community, some of which I remain friends with today, but most I parted ways with long ago. I parted ways with the comics back around 2005 or 2006. Two main reasons:
1. The story was awful. Simply awful. Now, I know what you’re saying. “You like Questionable Content, isn’t that the same?” Sure, except it is not some guy’s wapanese fetish about being in Japan and getting a japanese waifu while his LOLSORANDOM friend wrecks shit and gets away with it. It’s exactly as advertised, and the characters are not cookie-cutter japanese anime tropes. I like anime, but that doesn’t mean I want everything I read and watch to revolve around it.
2. His update schedule is awful. Weeks without a single comic, whiny-ass comments about how his art sucks or something happened or whatever the fuck was up.
Truth be told, I have nothing personal against Fred. I met him at Otakon 2002 down in Artist’s Alley at a time when he and his comic hadn’t fully matured into what we see today, and he was still working with Rodney Caston. He was very much a normal guy. We even shared similar anime influences at one point, though he draws more from the really strict romance genre titles like Kanon and Clannad where I enjoy more of the comedic romance genre like Mahoraba. This was then though, and now is now, my tastes have changed, but I suspect his have not.
This tale is two parts, part one being my disappointment for the comic and its artist. Most comic artists evolve over time, they change, they adapt, they grow. Penny-Arcade still does Penny-Arcade things, but Mike’s artwork is not the same as last year, or the year before, and especially not ten years ago. Questionable Content is nowhere near what it used to be when it first started. I could be wrong, I haven’t read a single MT strip since I stopped reading it over six year ago, but I have to imagine that if he really did change, either in his writing or drawing, that my peers from that time and friends of his would inform me of this. They’re largely silent. That leads me to believe it is still the same sloppy harem story I turn away each season in the animus for the exact same reason. It’s just lazy writing, personally, but even worse is that it’s the worst kind of escapist fantasy.
“Oh, I’m going to fly to Japan with my idiot friend, whoops, we fucked up and now we can’t go back, whoops, I ran into some girls I know, whoops, they’re after my D, whoops, more girls after my D, whoops, guys after my D, oh but I’m sad.”
Part two is Kickstarter. Now, let me preface this with an obligatory full disclosure that I recently backed two established webcomic Kickstarter projects, Penny-Arcade’s DLC Podcast, and Girl Genius’ Book 12 project. Both are comics I enjoy reading, and Girl Genius is a universe I especially enjoy reading. But I was super-hesitant to donate to either. PA has a fairly good track record delivering on its promises with other things, as their last Kickstarter saw, so I was fairly confident that one would pan out. Girl Genius is also a pretty established comic and while that was more of a gamble, I think it will be pretty cool in the end. I also donated to one of the Stripsearch artists’ non-KS funding requests for her move to Seattle, and while I’ve yet to see the sketch from that, I know fully well by now that what’s done is done when I make that call. But Kickstarter is such a fickle beast to me. Often, projects are the sort of things I feel people could accomplish on their own without money from the well. Other times I feel they’re going to that well because they feel it’s a proof-of-existence, as in finding out if their fanbase still cares about their work, one way or another. Even with the PA Podcast, they didn’t need to spend a lot of money to make a podcast people would enjoy, and while I understand equipment and people cost money, it seemed more like a cash grab than a “Hey we want to make this so help us out” sort of thing. I guess I’m still trying to feel out Kickstarter, because where everyone sees it as a promotional tool for pulling together capital to start a project, I see it as a business venture, an investment, except I have no guarantees once the money is taken.
In the end, his project will get funded. It will likely get funded tomorrow. Edit: It has. Welcome to the darkest timeline. I don’t want to tell you to not support it if you’re his fan, in fact, do support it if you are his fan. I’m not the voice of reason, the voice of others, or anything like that, I’m just a guy who used to be a fan and am no longer one because I just can’t support the platform anymore. It happens. People change. I’ll make some jokes, at his expense, and I might ruffle some feathers, but I don’t blatantly disrespect creativity. It’s not his ability I’m criticizing, it’s his actions. Key difference.