Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We Understand j00: Why I Read Megatokyo

(From Megatokyo. Click for full sized You Had Me And You… Still Have Me, Apparently.)

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of it.

You know what I mean. It.

It is not Megatokyo. It is not Fred Gallagher or the fact that Rodney Caston left or anything else like that.

It is the fact that everybody either loves or hates Megatokyo.

“ooh it’s megatokyo! Can I touch it? It’s teh aw3s0m3s7 (Im 1337 btw) webcomci EVAR!!!”

“What are you talking about? Megatokyo is teh suxc0re. Everyone knows that it’s massively overrated and slow. All you Otaku dorks make me want to puke. GAH. Get a life, luser.”

These two lines basically sum up every online sentiment I've ever seen expressed about Megatokyo. Even with a long moment to reflect, I cannot think of a single neutral review I've ever read about Megatokyo. Choose your side, young hero, for this is war.

William G did a review about a week ago in which he kept a log of his thoughts as he read the comic's archives, most of which consisted of long lines of Z's and a detailed analysis of Piro's art style and used phrases such as "misleading intensity" and "unfinished."

A while back, Eric Burns did a You Had Me And You Lost Me for Megatokyo, in which he laid down a very thoughtful, insightful review on why he no longer read it. Therein was laid out, in incredible detail, an analysis about job responsibility to one's audience and and subtle changes that took place in the humor style after Caston's departure and its effect on the webcomic as an entity.

Shaenon Garrity analyzed, (it's quoted in William G's review) about fanboys and how Megatokyo has capitalized on the solidification of the otaku fantasy of Japan as a type of "fantasy world where everything is attuned to their desires."

And the thing is? They're probably right. All the analyzing and the deep meanings and prognosises and everything they've said, it's spot on.

I don't think Megatokyo is a particularly awesome comic. But I read it, and (here's the kicker, are you ready for it?) I like it.

Let me repeat that. Because it bears repeating.

I. Like. Megatokyo.

I have read the archives all the way through, front to back, as is my custom, and honestly I really don't see what all the fuss is about. Yes, it moves very slowly, and yes, it lost me a time or two in its story, and yes, it not having a characters page annoyed me, and yes, I had tremendous trouble telling the characters apart. I don't consider it close to on par with Sluggy or CRfH or Narbonic or Something Positive or CAD or any of the other dozen or so webcomics that I consider to be the really good ones; the ones that are my favorites. In short, yes, it is not good enough to merit its through the roof popularity, which, I think, is part of the reason for the ravagings that it has taken from lots of other people.

But... and this is important... it is still good.

Seraphim is funny, with her glasses that sit on her nose and her sardonic glare. Boo is ridiculously cute and a lot more useful than anyone gives him credit for. Largo is crazy and likes in his own fantasy world, but he still has somewhat of an inkling of what is really going on, and, especially in the most recent chapter, has a profound effect on the story and on Piro. Junpei the Ninja (who is my favorite character, by the way) is just frikkin' awesome. So help me, I like how Largo speaks in leet and how Asmodeous plots deviously to bring Piro and Largo to moral ruin and even all the pathetic romantic subplot that Piro has going on, even though I can't keep up with who we're supposed to be rooting for him to fall in love with.

I just like it. I don't go in for the deep meanings or the subtextual otaku fantasies or the "unfinished" art style. I read it because, though there are better webcomics, there are also a whole lot that are a lot worse. I'd be willing to predict that were Megatokyo more of a fringe comic, that critics wouldn't be so hard on it.

What it comes down to, in the end, is that you should judge a webcomic on whether you like it. Eric and William and lots of others didn't like it.

I, however, do. And I believe that, despite what many people say, it still deserves a try from you, gentle reader. Tru5t m3.

Keep on truckin, Fred. You have me, and losing doesn't seem too likely.


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4:38 PM  
Blogger Phil Kahn said...

That was a really ballsy post my friend. Way to assert yourself.

7:56 PM  
Blogger tedzsee said...

"What it comes down to, in the end, is that you should judge a webcomic on whether you like it. Eric and William and lots of others didn't."

How did they not? William has confessed many a time to disliking MT. And obviously, that affected his post, and he talked about why.

Also, I do believe that it is pretty solid of them to say the following: as a professional cartoonist, who gets PAID to do what he does, the artist should aspire to do the best work possible. maybe think about things like making the characters easier to tell apart or putting up a cast page.

anyways. yeah.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Kneefers said...

I didn't argue about the fact that Gallagher should probably adhere to a better schedule and better standards of quality and everything that Eric said. Eric is right, and he expresses it very well.
What I was basically trying to get across is that I don't think any of this is enough reason to just stop reading the webcomic, for me.
If they didn't like it, that's fine. I don't care whether they like it or not. But I do.

9:03 AM  
Blogger polsy said...

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6:34 AM  
Blogger Mr Myth said...

I think that what happened is that there was a time when Megatokyo was rather universally considered to be one of the top comics - with the perfect balance of story and humor, artwork and pacing and drama.

Since then it has changed in various ways. A lot of people are frustrated with it, not because they have always hated, but because they invested a lot in it and were disillusioned.

A newcomer coming into it might have a much easier time accepting it in its current state - taking it as a likable comic with its own quirks and foibles.

7:29 AM  
Blogger William G said...

"What it comes down to, in the end, is that you should judge a webcomic on whether you like it. Eric and William and lots of others didn't."
This assumption is incorrect. The only difference is that our not liking it came with an explaination. Seemed rather obvious to me.

So how this makes the views we stated less valid (if that is what you're suggesting) is beyond me.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Kneefers said...

I didn't say your views were less valid, Will. I do think your views are valid. It's exactly what I'm not saying, though I now realize that scentence is somewhat unclear.
What I meant to say is that you should judge a webcomic on whether you like it, and that you and Eric didn't like it. I didn't mean it as to say that you didn't judge on whether you liked it or not. Sorry for being unclear, Will.

3:26 PM  
Blogger William G said...

Sure, it makes sense.

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