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Anyone who stays in this line of work long enough winds up collecting a few scars, I'm no exception. I've got more than most, in fact, even considering how long I've been at it. They're more than just something to offset my otherwise-unbearable good looks, you know, they're my story. A map of the road that led me to where I am today, and it has been a LONG trip. Every one has its own little bit of the tale, its own little story of a time I failed, or at least could've done a better job of succeeding.

There's the time I was practicing with my friend and thought my glove was thick enough to catch a sword. Or my first time leading a charge, when I let myself focus too much on one opponent and let a pikeman hamstring me while I was distracted. Or when I was undercover to rescue a captured friend and had my back sliced up by a taskmaster's whip.

All of them are reminders to dodge quicker, hit harder, make fewer stupid decisions. Be better. And if I follow these myriad lessons that have been carved into my flesh, maybe I'll still have some of my good looks left by the time I finally retire....
Scars Monologue (concept)
Just a random idea I had vaguely inspired by my latest Pathfinder character and a couple books I've been reading recently.  It was hard to do without sounding at least slightly emo, but it's supposed to be some kind of veteran soldier or warrior who's caught some newbies talking about battle scars decides to share a few of his own.  Thrown in scraps because while I liked the original concept enough to share it, the end result isn't really as good as I'd like it to be.
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Jace shuddered. "That's a long way down."  The ground beneath the tower seemed to sway beneath him as he looked at it. A laugh from just above him drew his attention back to the task at hand.

"Don't worry, the fall doesn't matter; if we drop off the side of the building it's because the defenses activated, which means we'll be dead long before we get back to the ground anyway." Ellia actually managed to sound excited by the prospect. "Of course, if we have any kind of warning we could let go ourselves and take our chances..." Jace couldn't help but wonder why he'd agreed to this stupid endeavor. He didn't have to think long though, Ellia was his oldest friend, and she would've come with or without him, she might as well have someone to watch her back once she got in. If she got in.

It was slow going, and there were some close calls, but the pair finally  made it to an unsecured window, someone obviously thought the extreme height of their office precluded them from standard security measures. "They just never learn," Ellia muttered as she got out her tools and worked at getting their entrance open. She slipped inside and poked her hand back out, giving Jace a brief thumbs-up.

He scrambled up and in after her, taking a moment to feel grateful to have a solid floor under his feet once again. It was a brief moment, this was the part of the job where Ellia was in solidly over her head; she could break in to places like this no problem, and take whatever trinkets or data she needed, but in this particular tower, there's no way she'd get back out without a fight, which is where Jace came in. He worked his joints as Ellia made her way to the office's door and opened it, triggering an alarm that he just knew was sounding through the entire building as well as this floor. He sighed and stepped forward, glancing to the left as the bank of elevators there let out a soft chime, then settled into a fighting stance.

"Here we go..."
Crevoke Prompt: 'Bond Irrelevant Tower'
Crevoke is a site I found last week where you're given a 3-word prompt and 15 minutes to write something (A story, a song, a poem, whatever).  This is the second such prompt I've done, and the first one I felt was worth posting here, so enjoy.
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Chapter 1 of MegaTokyo bears some resemblance to Chapter 0, insofar as not a lot happens. Unlike its predecessor, however, Chapter 1 has less of a tendency to jump around between a bunch of different story threads. Oh make no mistake, they're all still present, but the focus is mainly placed on two of them. For those of you following along at home, today we'll be tackling comics 134 through 194. Now let's dive on in.

We start off the morning after last chapter ended, with a brief look at our leading ladies. Nanasawa's put two and two together and realized Piro's the one who gave her that railcard, and wants to pay back his kindness. Hayasaka thinks she should "Let him have his 'I did something nice for a pretty girl' fantasy." A cut to Piro, Largo, and Ping shows us how they made it through the night without a place to stay: they slept in a park. Piro heads off to work and instructs Largo to look after Ping, a directive which he immediately ignores in favor of trying to stop the darkness he thinks he unleashed the day before. This upsets Ping and we get a subtle reminder that she's a robot when she uproots a telephone pole and tries to beat Largo with it. This is part of Ping's slightly-flawed 'rejection algorithms,' the code monkeys at Sony wanted her to be realistic, including how she deals with heartbreak, after all.

The main focus of the chapter kicks in when Largo, after throwing Ping off his trail, notices Miho and decides to follow her all sneaky-like. Turns out she's on her way to school, and Largo gets roped into being an English teacher. Before we go much farther that bears some discussion. Largo's plan is to use his new job to keep an eye on Miho. At least at first. Right from the start, when he introduces himself to the class, you can tell that he's pretty into teaching, even if he's not teaching the right subject. In later chapters we'll see that Largo legitimately cares for his students, which will be one of the first signs pointing towards the fact that he's not just a hallucinating madman. Anyway, he starts class, sees the Ping has snuck into school as well (though as a student) and freaks out when he thinks she's still trying to murder him. Shenanigans ensue, including jumping out a third story window and challenging Ping to compete in a game that's described as "Dance Dance Revolution, with punk music, in a moshpit," but the important part is that Largo has some facetime with Miho, which will be relevant later this chapter.

Piro spends this whole time at work, where the most relevant thing that happens is Yuki comes by (she skipped school for this) to return his sketchbook and bag, and while doing so her friends catch her and are convinced she likes Piro. From what I can tell at this point, Yuki herself isn't too sure how she feels about Piro. She seems largely interested in his artwork, but there's more to it; she's using the feelings evoked by the drawings to try and get a read on the person who made them. Not that she has any real way to know it, but she's building Piro up in her mind, into something much more than he is in reality. There's a reason people have the saying "Never meet your heroes," and Yuki's setting herself to run into that face-first in future chapters.

Piro, meanwhile, is grateful for her for returning his belongings...Then embarassed when he discovers she wrote notes on all the drawings, like "That bra is cute, but looks uncomfortable. Is that why she's sad?" He makes it through the rest of the work day and goes to find Ping and Largo to let them know they have a place to stay now (The store's owner is letting them stay in the storage space on the third floor of MegaGamers), but first he runs into Miho, who apparently recognizes him from somewhere, and tells him to remember to charge Ping's battery so she can be ready for school tomorrow morning, then walks off. Later, we see Miho musing to herself about Piro and Largo, saying that in the flesh, one is exactly what she expected while the other is very different. So apparently are undead queen is acquainted with the heroes. Well I'm sure you know the drill, more on that in future chapters....

Nanasawa finds out that evening that her benefactor had been spent the night in the park but now lived above the store. Hayasaka also gets on her case for not eating. Nanasawa gripes to herself on the way to her regular job that she just wants to be able to support herself without having to rely on her friend like she has been. This is a side of Nanasawa we haven't really seen previously; this independent spirit and desire to be her own person winds up being an important part of her character later, as does her understanding side, she's not resentful of Hayasaka's help or guidance, more like sad that she still needs it.

So after her shift ends, Nanasawa orders two meals from the cook and takes them over to the store and knocks at the door, looking to pay Piro back for the railcard and maybe get to know him a bit better. When the door opens to reveal a pants-less Ping, though, Nanasawa's expectations for the evening plummet. As we'll see next chapter, Nanasawa doesn't exactly take this news well, but that's where this chapter ends.

Chapter 1 is another slow burn; once again a bunch of things happen that don't pay off until later. The main focus here is on Largo getting his job and buiding up the mystique surrounding Miho. Largo takes to being a teacher pretty well, he obviously thinks he has knowledge and skills that are worth passing on, and the students seem to have a good time as they learn it, even if it's not what they're supposed to be working on (It actually reminds me of School of Rock a bit). What we see of Miho is all about setting her up as the story's main mystery. Is she really some dark mistress like Largo thinks? What's her interest in Ping? Where does she know Largo and Piro from?

There'll be (some) answers next week, when we take a look at Chapter 2!

Chapter 0 is the very beginning, and as Julie Andrews once sang, that is logically the best place to commence any undertaking. First, though, let's get some housekeeping out of the way. I won't be talking through every single page of the comic, I'll be giving a general summary of what happens over the course of the chapter. I'll talk about major characters and events, and share my personal take on what they mean as far as character development and impact on the world. Throughout this series I'll be skipping over most of the Omake (side stories), DPD's (Dead Piro Days), and Naze Nani Megatokyo ("The How and Why of Megatokyo")and SGD (Shirt Guy Dom) strips. Partly to keep myself on-point, and partly to leave something for you to see on your own if for some reason you decide to read the chapter after my post each week. Also to head off some potential confusion, Fred goes by Piro online, and that's what I call him when I refer to him most of the time. But for the purposes of this series I need to differentiate between the character of the same name, so I'll be referring to real-world Piro by his real-world name, Fred. That's about all I can think of right now, so without further ado...

Actually wait, Chapter 0 is kind of an odd duck in a few ways, so let's talk about some behind-the-scenes stuff first. Note that I'm not in Fred's inner circle, and wasn't yet reading the comic when all this happened, so everything you read here comes from Fred's commentary in the Megatokyo volume 1 paperback. Megatokyo was created by Fred "Piro" Gallagher and Rodney "Largo" Caston. From what I can tell, it was intended to effectively be Penny Arcade, but with continuity. This worked pretty well for a while, but eventually Fred got tired of having to have a punchline in every comic, so he started gearing the updates more towards plot than humor, eventually even changing the pages' layout so he could do more with each one. That's the same time that it was decided to break things into chapters, so he wrapped up the main plot threads and then bundled everything that had been done up to that point into "Chapter 0," and that's what we're covering this week. Alright, now we can begin.

Things start our simple enough; Largo and Piro are a couple of gamers trying to sneak into E3 after discovering it's not actually open to the public. Sure, why not? I mean I wouldn't mind the chance to con my way into one of the biggest games industry events of the year. Along the way they meet up with their old friend Dom, who's now employed by Sega. Another old friend, Ed, is mentioned/seen in a flashback where he and Dom were competing with each other for the same job, and we discover that Dom is...let's say a bit less than what could reasonable be considered 'sane'. Later Dom's personality moves away from the psychopathic tendencies shown here, but that's a couple chapters later on.

The thing about this chapter is that the majority of it is spent getting characters in place for story beats. So yeah, Piro and Largo go to Japan and meet a ninja, spend too much money to be able to afford tickets back stateside, got to the Tokyo Game Show, and Largo breaks both his wrists before they get back to the apartment they're being allowed to crash at, but none of that is really terribly important. The first major development comes after all that, when Piro gets mopey and wanders off to a comic store to try and find a solution to their predicament by reading a bunch of shoujo manga. Throughout MT we see countless instances of Largo embracing his fantasy worlds, but this is one of the few times where Piro openly shows his own obsession with escapism. Ironically, Largo's fantasies end up being much closer to reality than Piro's (mostly) more realistic ones. But just like Dome and Ed, that's something to be discussed later on as well.

The real point to this sequence is the introduction of Sonoda Yuki and her acquisition of Piro's bag and sketchbook, which is the driving force between a whole host for plotlines...Once again, in later chapters. Yeah, that's starting to sound like a broken record, but hold on because there's still one more: While Yuki's busy being fascinated by the drawings in Piro's sketchbook, the man himself finds a panicked Nanasawa without enough money to afford a railcard. Piro gives her the one he just bought then walks off without a word, deciding to leg it back home. Turns out Nanasawa is an aspiring voice actress and was so flustered because she was running late for an audition. When she eventually makes it into the sound booth she ends up babbling on about what just happened at the train station and doesn't get the role. She does, however, catch the attention of one of the producers, who also happens to be working at a game studio...

The three comics with that initial interaction between Piro and Nanasawa received some backlash, according to Fred's comments in Volume 1, because they were the first ones he did that didn't have a joke. Fans actually threatened to stop reading the comic if he ever pulled that again, but Fred stuck to his guns and told them "Fine. No one's forcing you." He didn't eliminate the humor altogether, but these pages mark the moment he started to emphasize plot over punchlines.

So, what can I talk about that actually gets resolved this chapter? Well, we get to meet Nanasawa's roommate, Hayasaka Erika, and get a basic sense of what their relationship is, i.e. Hayasaka acts as a rather protective older sister, and seems to know a lot about the voiceacting industry, giving Nanasawa advice about both work and her predicament with the random dude that gave her a railcard. We also get a little more of the Yuki/Sketchbook thread, with Piro seeing Miss Sonoda apparently having just taken the bag as her own, walking around tokyo with it, and deciding to follow her so he can (maybe) confront her over it. His failed attempts at being inconspicuous lead to him being roped into working at a comic/anime/game/cosplay/general-purpose-otaku store named MegaGamers. His new coworker, Hayasaka, has him man the register while she steps out, then the target of Piro's tailing walks up to the counter to buy some CD's. The two recognize  eachother and Yuki bolts out the door.

Largo, meanwhile, has gone exploring the Tokyo sewers and apparently finds a cave holding a diabolical tome. He releases some kind of evil presence: a high school girl with implausibly arranged hair ribbons. This mysterious girl is Tohya Miho. I'm not kidding when I say "mysterious," we've only just now started to get a full idea of who she is in more recent chapters. So Miho wanders around the nearby area with Largo keeping a watchful eye on her under the assumption she's some kind of zombie queen. She eventually leads him to a dance club called "The Cave of Evil," and Largo mistakes all the dancers for zombies and freaks right the hell out. The authorities are called, and after Miho has a few cryptically taunting words with him, Largo's hauled off to jail while Miho tells the club DJ he's "interesting." This sequence makes for some interesting foreshadowing on a couple levels, and the first payoff for it happens in chapter 2. For the immediate present, this can be taken as an example of how lost in his fantasies Largo tends to get.

Back at MegaGamers, Piro's settling into his job when Tsubasa comes by to show off his new toy, and our final character introduction. Ping is a prototype PS2 accessory, a female robot meant to act out the female characters in dating sims and visual novels. Because in Japan they get to have those games on the console intead of just on PC. She also has an independent mode, where she's theoretically supposed to act as an amalgamated personality of the girls in all the games you've played with her (but that's not important because she's never actually 'played' with in the proper sense). Next Nanasawa comes by to meet with Hayasaka after work and catches Piro in a rather compromising position involving the cosplay outfit Hayasaka's making him wear as a uniform. Piro clocks out and as he walks away Nanasawa realizes that from behind, slightly slouched over, he looks oddly familiar...This is the first time Piro and Kmiko have an actual 2-way interaction, and it sets their tone of their relationship for the immediate future: awkward shy, not totally sure how to react to one another. If you know how their relationship ends up, it's kind of adorable.

The last bit of action happens when Piro and Largo (who was sprung from jail by the ninja) get back to the apartment to find all of Tsubasa's belongings except for Ping cleared out. She hands them a letter and explains that she encouraged Tsubasa to pursue his first love, and we close our Chapter 0 with our heroes ones again homeless in a foreign land. But at least now they have a cute robot friend.

Overall, there's not much to say about chapter 0. So much of it is spent setting things up for big story events, likely due to the fact that Fred was brand new to this kind of storytelling. So in lieu of any extra thoughts or commentary I'll leave you with a personal story you may or may not know. Right after Largo picked up his new best friend ninja, this comic happened. See that last panel? Yup, if you've ever wanted to ask me "The hell does b4k4 come from?" This is your answer. Piro getting a stealth kill on Largo in Quake then mocking him with his own 1337speak.

See you next week for chapter 1!
I don't do New Year's Resolutions, closest I've come was in 2013 tried to do a new story every month for the whole year. I do have goals though, and one of my big ones currently is to get myself writing more often than I did last year (you'll notice my posts were a bit on the sparse side for 2014). I figure one way to kick my ass back into gear is to revisit the things that inspire me to write, and while there are A LOT of things in that category, the biggest influence by far is the webcomic  Megatokyo by Fred Gallagher. I'd tried my hand at fanfiction a few times in middle school and early in high school, but never posted any of it online. But then I stumbled across Megatokyo when I was a sophomore, and I just started devouring it. Here was a guy from the same state as me, with similar tastes in entertainment (games and anime/manga) who'd managed to come up with a really awesome story. Those first first six (at the time) chapters  not only inspired me to try writing again, but to try writing something original instead of fanfiction like my previous ill-fated attempts. This past month MT just finished it's eleventh chapter, and had the 13th anniversary of making the jump from 4-panel gag comic to serious full-page, story-based, American-made manga. So in light of that I thought I'd like to share my experience of one of my favorite works of fiction with anyone who cared to listen to me go on and on about it. Long story short, I'm going to spend the next 3 months or so posting journals on dA every week talking about each chapter. Think of it as a lower-rent, less analytical version of Linkara's History of the Power Rangers, focusing on a webcomic instead of the Americanized version of a Japanese costumed fighters TV show.

For best results, I suggest doing this like a book club by reading the comic ahead of time so you have a better idea what and who I'm talking about. Megatokyo is available freely online Right Here. That's a link to the very first strip, all the way back from August 14th, 2000, because we begin this Friday (02/06/2015) with Chapter 0 (comics 1 - 129) so do your homework (or not) and check this space then.


Oh and I will be working on other stuff during these 3 months, so there will be new original content from me in that time as well. I know MT pretty damn well, so this venture won't be sucking up too much time I'd otherwise be devoting to the writing I supposedly am trying to get back to. Don't worry.
Chapter 1 of MegaTokyo bears some resemblance to Chapter 0, insofar as not a lot happens. Unlike its predecessor, however, Chapter 1 has less of a tendency to jump around between a bunch of different story threads. Oh make no mistake, they're all still present, but the focus is mainly placed on two of them. For those of you following along at home, today we'll be tackling comics 134 through 194. Now let's dive on in.

We start off the morning after last chapter ended, with a brief look at our leading ladies. Nanasawa's put two and two together and realized Piro's the one who gave her that railcard, and wants to pay back his kindness. Hayasaka thinks she should "Let him have his 'I did something nice for a pretty girl' fantasy." A cut to Piro, Largo, and Ping shows us how they made it through the night without a place to stay: they slept in a park. Piro heads off to work and instructs Largo to look after Ping, a directive which he immediately ignores in favor of trying to stop the darkness he thinks he unleashed the day before. This upsets Ping and we get a subtle reminder that she's a robot when she uproots a telephone pole and tries to beat Largo with it. This is part of Ping's slightly-flawed 'rejection algorithms,' the code monkeys at Sony wanted her to be realistic, including how she deals with heartbreak, after all.

The main focus of the chapter kicks in when Largo, after throwing Ping off his trail, notices Miho and decides to follow her all sneaky-like. Turns out she's on her way to school, and Largo gets roped into being an English teacher. Before we go much farther that bears some discussion. Largo's plan is to use his new job to keep an eye on Miho. At least at first. Right from the start, when he introduces himself to the class, you can tell that he's pretty into teaching, even if he's not teaching the right subject. In later chapters we'll see that Largo legitimately cares for his students, which will be one of the first signs pointing towards the fact that he's not just a hallucinating madman. Anyway, he starts class, sees the Ping has snuck into school as well (though as a student) and freaks out when he thinks she's still trying to murder him. Shenanigans ensue, including jumping out a third story window and challenging Ping to compete in a game that's described as "Dance Dance Revolution, with punk music, in a moshpit," but the important part is that Largo has some facetime with Miho, which will be relevant later this chapter.

Piro spends this whole time at work, where the most relevant thing that happens is Yuki comes by (she skipped school for this) to return his sketchbook and bag, and while doing so her friends catch her and are convinced she likes Piro. From what I can tell at this point, Yuki herself isn't too sure how she feels about Piro. She seems largely interested in his artwork, but there's more to it; she's using the feelings evoked by the drawings to try and get a read on the person who made them. Not that she has any real way to know it, but she's building Piro up in her mind, into something much more than he is in reality. There's a reason people have the saying "Never meet your heroes," and Yuki's setting herself to run into that face-first in future chapters.

Piro, meanwhile, is grateful for her for returning his belongings...Then embarassed when he discovers she wrote notes on all the drawings, like "That bra is cute, but looks uncomfortable. Is that why she's sad?" He makes it through the rest of the work day and goes to find Ping and Largo to let them know they have a place to stay now (The store's owner is letting them stay in the storage space on the third floor of MegaGamers), but first he runs into Miho, who apparently recognizes him from somewhere, and tells him to remember to charge Ping's battery so she can be ready for school tomorrow morning, then walks off. Later, we see Miho musing to herself about Piro and Largo, saying that in the flesh, one is exactly what she expected while the other is very different. So apparently are undead queen is acquainted with the heroes. Well I'm sure you know the drill, more on that in future chapters....

Nanasawa finds out that evening that her benefactor had been spent the night in the park but now lived above the store. Hayasaka also gets on her case for not eating. Nanasawa gripes to herself on the way to her regular job that she just wants to be able to support herself without having to rely on her friend like she has been. This is a side of Nanasawa we haven't really seen previously; this independent spirit and desire to be her own person winds up being an important part of her character later, as does her understanding side, she's not resentful of Hayasaka's help or guidance, more like sad that she still needs it.

So after her shift ends, Nanasawa orders two meals from the cook and takes them over to the store and knocks at the door, looking to pay Piro back for the railcard and maybe get to know him a bit better. When the door opens to reveal a pants-less Ping, though, Nanasawa's expectations for the evening plummet. As we'll see next chapter, Nanasawa doesn't exactly take this news well, but that's where this chapter ends.

Chapter 1 is another slow burn; once again a bunch of things happen that don't pay off until later. The main focus here is on Largo getting his job and buiding up the mystique surrounding Miho. Largo takes to being a teacher pretty well, he obviously thinks he has knowledge and skills that are worth passing on, and the students seem to have a good time as they learn it, even if it's not what they're supposed to be working on (It actually reminds me of School of Rock a bit). What we see of Miho is all about setting her up as the story's main mystery. Is she really some dark mistress like Largo thinks? What's her interest in Ping? Where does she know Largo and Piro from?

There'll be (some) answers next week, when we take a look at Chapter 2!

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b4k4-san
Vivi la tua storia
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
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Current Residence: Michigan
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:iconepiccookininja:
epicCOOKIninja Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the watch O u O
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:iconmayfirerose:
mayfirerose Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the watch
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RvBPhoenix Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Student General Artist
Hey thanks for the fav! :D
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Skuske Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thank you very much for the watch! <3
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:iconb4k4-san:
b4k4-san Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Not a problem. How could I ignore Pookie and Yuri's reccommendations? XD
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Skuske Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
<3 I hope you enjoy what you see!
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YumeNoAnima Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the fav! :)
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:iconb4k4-san:
b4k4-san Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
not a problem :)
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YumeNoAnima Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks again! :D
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Ampzone Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Professional Filmographer
thanks for the fave
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