I still basically don’t want to get into it in any detail, but the long and the short of it is that the voice actor behind Reginald Kingsley Sr vanished on me. This was one of my best and closest friends of some ten years or so, and had up until that point seemed to have been a permanent and ongoing presence in my life, and so when he disappeared for three months and change, it really was a bizarre anomaly which I could not foresee becoming a persistent state. Unfortunately, though he reappeared, briefly, during the spring, with all appearances of regret and an eagerness to pick up our friendship where it had left off, it seems absence and flakiness has become the new normal for him; at present, I haven’t seen him in over two months, nor indeed has he returned any of my phone calls or answered any of his e-mails since he and a mutual friend of ours spent my birthday enjoyably hanging out on June 28th. It’s at the point now where I feel that I must regretfully accept that this is just where he is in his life now, and that continuing to pretend he’ll eventually return to being that steadfast and reliable buddy at any point in the near future is not a particularly reasonable expectation for me to hold on to, in light of the evidence of the past ten months.
It sucks, I continue to miss him, I bear him no ill will and I wish him all luck and happiness in whatever mysterious pursuits he is so engaged with in this enigmatic isolation, but it seems like it’s time for me to give up that fight.
The practical upshot of which, so far as you all are concerned, is that in order for me to resume work – which I have been impatiently waiting to do for some ten months – a replacement voice actor is required.
Those of you who had been following the story – and who even knows, ten months on, how many people who are now reading this thing are still around from back then? Some, certainly, but just as certainly not all – will recall Reginald Sr. as a crotchety, deranged, gleefully self-absorbed, abusive, histrionic hypocrite and hypochondriac with a penchant for delivering physical beatings upon people who are within reach of his cane and who doesn’t understand that pity isn’t the same thing as concern.
In short, virtually all of my favourite traits to write in a single character.
I would obviously prefer someone capable of pulling off a performance similar to that of the original, but strong characterization is always more important than mere imitation, and so while I present here a sample of some of the defining ramblings of the character for reference and inspiration, the question of whether or not you can sound precisely like him should be of lesser importance than whether or not you can give an entertaining performance in that same vein.
There are a couple of other parts which need replacement. The voice actor behind Helmut Eisenbarth, Reginald’s fretful german bartender, has also vanished on me, though this is hardly out of character for the voice actor in question, who routinely vanishes for a year or more before resurfacing as though nothing at all has happened. In his case, I have nobody but myself to blame, and so I won’t belabour it. His part is a relatively small one, and he’s only appeared a few times, and so if I can find someone who can play the part, I may just replace the existing parts with the performace of the new fellow.
Finally, there’s a very small part in an upcoming chapter for an English woman of very low breeding, and if anyone can come up with a saucy, sort of cockney-ish voice for her, and the more over the top the better, then I would be well-pleased by it.
So, there’s that, fellows.
For example, Wickerwo asks...
There's this guy on my campus who I don't even know. Last year I used to see him a few times and I've caught him looking at me and smiling slightly. I think he's cute. For the past few days I've been seeing him in the library a few times and we've made eye contact, but he hasn't smiled. If I were to make eye contact and smile, would he freak out? I'm kinda afraid of doing anything, because he might think i'm weird and seeing him afterwards would become awkward if this were the case. Sorry this is so long...but I don't know what to do! Last year I strongly felt he had a thing for me, but now I'm not so sure...
thanks for your help!
And I was the only one to provide useful advice:
The next time you see him, you should stand up on top of a table or something, so as to catch his attention. When you're sure he's looking at you, point at him and shout the following:
"You! Man! Why do you hide your smile from me? Do you wish to hide your inferior teeth from me? Do you fear it will reveal you as an inferior mate? FEAR NOT! I have already selected you as the father to my brood! Together, we shall produce a dozen sons, worthy of your name! Our tribe will grow strong under your leadership, and the plains will run red with the blood of our enemies at the hands of our multitudes! The time is at hand! Sieze your destiny! Let the heavens themselves shrink in terror from the union you and I shall form!"
With any luck, he will be impressed, and give you his number. Later, you can go for coffee and perhaps slay a bear together.
Much work needed to be done. I have been diligent in my efforts.
( additional wisdom below the cutCollapse )
This is truly a lost and doomed tribe, that requires such counseling. It is indeed fortunate that I am here to offer it.
It occurs to me that some of you may be in need of such sage wisdom. If so, by all means, voice them to the shaman, and I shall gladly tell you how to live your lives.
A few weeks later, we have fruit! Fruits of our labour, ready to be crushed into jam, jarred and placed in the storage cupboards of your mind, there to provide your brains with nourishment during those long dark days when reality is feeling just a little too real for you.
Behold, friends and readers, for we bring to you...
There’s damned few webcomics I actually read regularly these days. This was not always the case; there was a time when there was probably fifteen or thereabouts on my regular reading list. These days though? Maybe five or so.
There’s one I came upon a couple of months ago, and the people I’ve been speaking with outside of this blog will already be familiar with my enthusiasm for it. It’s a fascinating multimedia extraveganza, combining elements of comics, cartoons, and video games into something entirely new and distinct unto itself. Anyone who’s spent any time on 4Chan’s /co/ in the past few months will be well-acquainted with it, as there are, every day, several 200+ comment threads devoted to it. This fact, I hope, tells you something about the passion which it incites in those who have taken the time to immerse themselves in it.
Time is an issue here; I have never before seen any form of entertainment created by a single person with so robust an update schedule. Whereas many webcomics struggle to maintain an update schedule of one page per week, Andrew Hussie, the mad genuis behind this opus, manages multiple updates PER DAY. Many of them animated, many of them with music – music of such quality that soundtracks for this comic are sold at the website, and soundtracks which I have purchased and listen to regularly. On one notable day, a few months ago, indeed, he managed a staggering TWENTY-SIX updates in a single day! I personally visit the page six or seven times a day, just to see what two or three new pages there’s been since my last visit. For free entertainment, there’s a lot to be said for something that’s constantly providing you new and entertaining content!
The comic itself – if we choose to use the word "comic", which is in many senses an inadequate descriptor for this mode of storytelling – is interestingly arranged. There have actually been four "adventures" in the history of the site. They’re similar in their mode of storytelling, mimicking on a surface level old-timey adventure video games such as those that Sierra and LucasArts put out in the late 1980s and 1990s. There is a character on a screen, and he or she is given various prompts to move around his or her environment, dealing with "weird puzzle shit" in order to navigate the adventure they’re in. It’s at once both a satire and a celebration of that mode of gaming, which anybody who has ever played this style of game will find immediately charming.
The first one, "Jailbreak", only ran a hundred pages or so, and you can easily get through it in an hour or so. The art style and the story are both quite simple, serving as a sort of prototype of what was to come. Nevertheless, if you find it funny and entertaining, I think I can say with absolute confidence that you’ll enjoy the rest.
The second, "Bard’s Quest", is something of a failed experiment and is perhaps best-ignored.
The third, "Problem Sleuth," is where things kick into high gear. Lasting precisely one year, it went about 1.700 pages before coming to a conclusion more epic in scope than that of any story I’ve ever seen in my life. The Byzantine logic and tying together of innumerable bizarre and outlandish seemingly-unrelated subplots is a masterwork of storytelling which never ceases to blow my mind.
The fourth, and current adventure is called "Homestuck", which has been going about a year and a half, and is approaching 3,000 pages already. It’s by far the most ambitious of the adventures, and has attracted a fan base of staggering creativity and passion. In the broadest and least-spoilery of terms, the story revolves around a group of kids living around the world, who take part in the beta of a mysterious new video game called "Sburb". This game, it quickly becomes clear, is something far more than it seems, and impacts immediately and directly upon their real lives in often unpredictable ways. Soon, all four of them are drawn into the world of this game, and the apocalyptic threat that it poses to all of mankind. The four characters have never, ever met in person. They interact only through game mechanics and their instant messenger program "Pesterchum", and 99% of the dialogue in the comic is presented as logs of their chatting with one another as they try to coordinate their efforts and keep one another alive.
As time progresses, we’re introduced to other groups of protagonists; a mysterious group of "exiles", humanoid creatures living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with a direct though mysterious connection with the game these kids are playing. A black-clad gang of mobster anti-heroes called "The Midnight Crew", engaged with their own drama on a strange alien world, whose connection to the main story is by no means obvious for the first couple of hundred strips, but is eventually revealed to be integral. And finally, we meet another group of twelve kids playing the same game on a far-away planet, whose experiences in some way mirror that of the main characters, but whose explosive and distinct personalities, personal triumphs, tragedies, and bizarre, freakish alien drama set them definitively apart, even as their story directly impacts that of the kids on Earth in a manner too outlandish to get into here.
(This YouTube tribute video, created by a fan, using art and animation from the current chapter of the comic, which I found yesterday, which features these twelve alien kids will be completely nonsensical to non-readers, but hopefully be compellingly weird enough to grab your attention and make you want to read up to that point and make sense of all of it)
Indeed, for the past couple of months, we’ve been following this final group EXCLUSIVELY, as we learn all about their experience with this game, and they’re such an eclectic, peculiar and fascinating group of psychopaths that they’ve captured the imaginations of a lot of the readers to an extent that even the main cast never has. The second-to-most-recent update as of the time of my posting this (which I’m not going to link to because it would be 100% incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t read to that point) is basically just a lengthy conversation between two old friends, in chat-log form, which is so poignantly bittersweet as to be heartbreaking.
If you’ve ever trusted my judgement or taste on anything, trust me on this: Give Jailbreak fifteen minutes of your life. If by that point you’re hooked, then you’ll find yourself on a roller-coaster that you’ll never want to get off of. And if you don’t like it, then what the heck. It’s probably just not for you (likely because the pleasure center of your brain is in some way damaged or malfunctioning).
Some of you may recall, some months ago, my having posted about an online roleplaying game I had joined (and some other group of you may not remember it, but may learn of it by means of clicking on the handy and informative link embedded in that sentence!). At the time, it seemed quite interesting to me, but fairly shortly thereafter, I learned that it was perhaps not so interesting after all: Though the setting presented what seemed on the surface to be a fascinating mystery, I would soon thereafter learn that the mystery was mere window dressing; there was no solution to it, no underlying meaning or motive to any of what was going on. It was merely meant to be a backdrop for interactions between characters, hanging around, being chummy, chatting, and getting depressed about their captivity.
Naturally, I dropped it like a hot potato.
Nevertheless, I had the bug by that point. I was in the mood to genuinely engage with a game of that nature where there was something to be engaged WITH. And so I looked, and I found another game. One which on the surface is actually rather similar, save for several important differences: (1) There is an actual meta-plot, things happen for a reason, and that reason is discernable with enough digging and work. (2) Characters retain any abilities they may have had prior to their imprisonment in this environment, because the game is not simply about hanging around and chit-chatting; it is about a giant supernatural conflict, in which such powers might be relevant! (3) Unlike that other game, where EVERY SINGLE PERSON I invited to apply got rejected because of the arbitrary and snobbish standards of the people running that game, this game seems apt to accept a wide range of characters, either pilfered from existing canons or else original characters of your own creation, and are actually really welcoming and accommodating.
Naturally, when I decided to apply to play in this game, I went balls-to-the-wall crazy, and applied to play as Lucifer, the lead character from the Vertigo comics series of the same name. I was almost-immediately accepted, after some brief discussion with the mods about how best to incorporate him into the story. I’ve been having a grand time with him, and he’s been like a hurricane moving through the setting, setting everyone he comes into contact with into motion according to his own trajectory. It’s been a lot of fun.
The game does seem to suffer from one of the principle flaws that a lot of these sorts of games seem to: Everybody wants to play the young, attractive heroes. There’s a real deficit of villains in this game. I’m planning a couple of outright brutes, including an original character who is a 2007-era Blackwater Mercenary, taken from the streets of Iraq, with a head full of bad wiring, apocalyptic delusions (which in this game are actually not completely delusional), and a badly misaligned moral compass.
The other thing it presently suffers from is a somewhat depleted player-base; just as I was joining, there was something of a drama explosion, which caused a number of long-time players to leave as a clique, which has slowed things down somewhat. It could use some fresh blood to get things humming along.
So, hey, if any of you – especially those who were so cruelly mistreated when you attempted to join me in the previous game – and ESPECIALLY especially those who might like to bring some villains into the mix - should like to join me in this one, I should certainly be glad of it. It’s a good group of players, an interesting setting and storyline, and I would love to have some more familiar company there.
So, I'm beginning the process of getting myself a passport so that I might go down to the uninhabitable wasteland of Arizona in order to visit my brother (coincidentally also named David). He and I actually haven't seen one another in seven years now, since I took the unbearable and astonishingly eye-opening two day bus journey from my home here in Vancouver to Tucson Arizona (Highlights included a young woman sitting across the aisle of the bus from me repeatedly interrupting me while I was holding a conversation with the person next to me in order to inform me "Yo, the way you be talkin; be trippin' me out", talking to a sixteen year old about where I was going, showing him a map of his own country, the United States, in order to indicate my destination, only to have him stare in blank incomprehension at it before asking me what this was a picture of - causing me to have to explain what a map is and that this was a map of his country - and trying to get a water bottle filled up at a bus terminal restaurant, only to have the manager snatch the bottle out of the hand of the server who was about to help me and pointedly inform her "YOU DON'T NEVER GOTTA DO THAT FOR THEM. TELL 'IM TO GO FILL IT UP IN THE BAFROOM." Honestly, it's a charming country).
Indeed, there had been one occasion on which my brother travelled as far as the Canadian border, hoping to get across so that he could see our dying father one last time, only to have Bush issue one of his periodic "Keep 'em scared an' keep 'em guessing" meaningless and pointless terror warnings which closed the border to this type of travel, thus preventing my brother from crossing and seeing his father again before he died.
So now here I am, ready to make the trip, and I'm discovering that the process of getting a passport has one very significant hurdle which I'm not sure how to get across: You are required to have a "guarantor"; someone who will co-sign your application form and your passport photo, who has known you for at least two years, and who either has a current Canadian passport, or who has had one recently. I'm not sure I know any such a person in my immediate social circle, really. I'm sure my friend Paul could help, but he's out in France, as indeed are most of my travel-prone friends out and about in the world.
And so I ask you, Vancouver-area internet friends, who have known me so well through this blog over the course of years, do any of you have a passport or have had one recently, that you might be able to aid me in this endeavour? I'd really like to see my brother again, you know?
I wish the operator I'd spoken to had been able to answer my question: "How on earth did the FIRST person get their passport, then?"
Mohammed Al Maktoum discovered at a young age that he had an amazing and seemingly supernatural ability. One without apparent cause, and which he has since occasionally and with passing interest searched for an explanation for: The ability to cause those around him to vomit violently and uncontrollably with the power of his otherwise-unremarkable mind!
After a few short years of making use of this ability to antagonize douchebags at college frat parties and evade speeding tickets, Mohammed realized what his true calling in life was: To use this power to kick the crap out of the junkie scumbags that were shitting up the city and then see them get carted away by the police... a quest which eventually came to include other forms of crime as well!
He thought long and hard about what sort of super-heroic identity he would assume in the pursuit of this noblest of goals. His asshole room-mate, Douggie, had initially suggested such names as “The Gut-Wrencher”, “Captain Puke” and, upon purchasing and consulting a thesaurus, “The Regurginator”. All of these Mohammed rejected as being “disgusting and stupid”. Douggie’s keen observation that Mohammed’s power was disgusting and stupid made little difference, though it did invite the observation that Douggie’s mother was disgusting and stupid. After a brief altercation which resulted in a broken kitchen table and a black eye, the conversation derailed into one about super-hero naming conventions.
Mohammed pointed out that Superman’s name was in no way a reflection of the nature of his powers; he did not feel the need to call himself “Strong Flying Laser-Eye Good-Hearing Tough Man”; his name simply conveyed the idea that he was better than everyone else, and that was good enough for him, so why shouldn’t that work for Mohammed as well? After a brief flirtation with the names “BetterMan” and “Mr Superior”, Mohammed suggested “The Sterling Star”, a name which sounded kind of cool without being so pompous that people would feel like taking him down a notch or two. This appealed to him on the grounds that nothing quite enraged him as much as having to face the consequences of his own foolishness.
Douggie then asked if it was some kind of Muslim thing, “Like the star and sickle thing on all those flags and stuff.” Mohammed pointed out that it was a star and crescent moon and called Douggie a stupid white asshole, and possibly a racist. He then furthermore pointed out that he wasn’t a Muslim; he was a Buddhist. This was in essence true; he had converted to Buddhism in an empty act of rebellion against his father – a wealthy lobbyist from the United Arab Emirates – when he was fourteen, in the hopes of pissing him off. Fourteen years later, he found that it remained an effective means of getting under the skin of the man who continued to pay all of his bills and periodically bail him out of jail on charges of public urination, and so remained steadfast in his Buddhist faith, in spite of never having read a book on the topic or speaking to another Buddhist on the topic (both activities having been deemed “boring” and “gay”).
No, the sterling star motif simply seemed to connote some kind of sheriff’s badge or something, which seemed kind of thematically linked to the concept of cleaning up town. The irony that he would ultimately come to leave large puddles of stinking vomit wherever he went was one that was almost entirely lost upon the imperfectly-introspective man in this respect.
As the years went by, and Mohammed refined his crime-fighting technique with a degree of success which would have surprised anyone who knew of his secret identity (Douggie having been killed in an unrelated skydiving accident stemming from an ill-considered bar bet some years earlier).
His revolutionary approach of kicking criminals in the head while they vomited uncontrollably on the ground on their hands and knees in front of them until they were rendered unconscious and often concussed – and then posting videos of said crime-fighting on YouTube won him many a five-star rating from the community before they tired of his increasingly-predictable-if-indisputably-e
It was then that he had an inspiration: What he really needed to do was surround himself with people with no self-respect, who would just be glad to have him around and thus keep their traps shut when he lied to their faces and they both knew it. Where this proved inadequate, Mohammed would resort to screaming insults at them in public places and making them accept it, feeling that by humbling them, he could avoid future inquiries, and thus he would have an easier time maintaining his double life and thus protecting them from the fallout of his constant war against crime. The various prostitutes, elderly shut-ins and people with social anxiety disorder who formed the core of his social circle came to accept the abuse as their due, and all was well with the world.
Today, Mohammed patrols the streets of Washington DC. A single silver point of light in a one-man constellation of justice, kicking evil while it’s down so that others need not face it while it’s standing up. He is... the Sterling Star.
Virtually without fail, every day I go to work, there's this little scene that plays out.
I'll be walking down the hall, someone will catch sight of me, they will gasp with unspeakable horror, sometimes scream with alarm, often clutch at their chest, and then, after a bit of nervous laughter while I give an increasingly half-hearted and insincere apology for frightening them ("Yes, yes, I know. I am a being of inconceivable horror and the sight of me is a sure portent of doom and destruction for those unfortunate enough to gaze upon my grim visage," I will say), they will go about their business.
I have long since come to accept this as the reality of my workplace experience, and to a lesser extent other social activities. Some months ago, I was hanging out with my friend Ray and his then-new girlfriend. The day was spent amiably enough, with nothing but casual and friendly conversation, I thought, but when I asked Ray about it afterwards, he reported back to me that she was apparently scared of me. I berated him for dating a woman of such weak character and timid bearings, and then accepted his apologies on the basis that she's soft and she smells nice.
Indeed, to a certain extent, I suppose I've come to embrace it; there is some wisdom, after all, to playing to one's strengths. I acknowledge that I am a huge and looming figure, towering over and dwarfing all around me. I realize that I am a black-clad mountain, with a long mane of hair like a barbarian chieftain of old. I suppose that I have even come to live within that role; stealthing through the corridors like the spectre of death, with a bearing of stern and silent condemnation of all the works of mankind upon my mighty brow.
And yet, even in light of this, last night there was an occasion which even I felt was in some sense beyond the pale.
I was standing in the elevator, arms crossed upon my mighty chest, waiting patiently to get to where I was going. A young asian woman was standing outside, and as the doors opened up, she immediately yelped with fear, clutching at her chest as she visibly jumped backwards in alarm. At this, some measure of my composure slipped.
"Oh, come on!" I demanded, "I'm just standing here! I get it when people are horrified when I come looming around a corner or savaging a corpse or something, something, but I'm just standing here! What in the world is so scary about that?"
She offered no coherent response, and for all I know that may have just been a product of lackluster English language skills. It could as easily be the case, though, that I had so traumatized her by my mere presence that I had destroyed her capacity for verbalization, reverting her to a state of atavistic, lizard-brained horror. I choose, in fact, to embrace this latter as being the better version of the story to tell.
I begin to suspect that I have leveled up my intimidation statistic entirely too much, and it is now beginning to become a hindrance rather than a merit.
Tell me, and therefore by extension her, that she ought to be listening to me here.
[7:32:05 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: part of me doesn't want to stick around
[7:32:05 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: my boss is a super dick
[7:32:11 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: like not even a regular dick
[7:32:14 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: SUPER dick
[7:32:27 AM] Dave Littler: No, no, I get that!
[7:32:35 AM] Dave Littler: Over and/or above a regular dick, yes?
[7:32:43 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: yes
[7:32:52 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: on saturday
[7:33:01 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: he just get really nitpicky with me out of nowhere
[7:33:14 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: like, i know he's really easy to make angry
[7:33:20 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: and he holds grudges really easily
[7:33:32 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: so i've been trying really really hard not to make him angry at me
[7:33:37 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: but i think i've fucked that up
[7:33:51 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: so i'm pretty sure my job is going to be shitty for awhile
[7:35:16 AM] Dave Littler: That sounds terrible.
[7:35:26 AM] Dave Littler: You should smack him into liking you again.
[7:35:34 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: i don't think that would work
[7:46:01 AM] Dave Littler: So as I was saying.
[7:46:01 AM] Dave Littler: You should smack your boss until he likes you again.
[7:46:07 AM] Dave Littler: You know battered wives, right?
[7:46:10 AM] Dave Littler: Do it like that.
[7:46:18 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: i dont think that will work though
[7:46:36 AM] Dave Littler: Smack him so that he feels he deserves it and is desperate for your affection and approval and will do anything to get it.
[7:46:45 AM] Dave Littler: I bet you could even get a raise.
[7:47:08 AM] Dave Littler: I'm telling you, if drunken, abusive asshole husbands can do it, then SURELY you can.
[7:47:24 AM] Dave Littler: Are you saying they're better at managing their relationships than you are?
[7:47:29 AM] Dave Littler: Smarter than you are?
[7:47:32 AM] Dave Littler: Better than you are?
[7:47:39 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: well this would be the equivalent of the wife hitting the drunken, abusive asshole husband
[7:48:01 AM] Dave Littler: Good point.
[7:48:22 AM] Dave Littler: You should get some testosterone injections in order to claim the masculine highground.
[7:48:47 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: lol
[7:49:46 AM] Dave Littler: Well if you're just going to laugh at my suggestions, I don't see what the point of bringing me your problems is.
[7:49:55 AM] Dave Littler: It's almost like you don't WANT me to solve them for you!
[7:50:09 AM] Dave Littler: And my solutions!
[7:50:15 AM] Dave Littler: They are so elegantly simple!
[7:50:22 AM] Dave Littler: Minimalistic masterpieces!
[7:50:39 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: i just disagree that it would be effective
[7:50:56 AM] Dave Littler: Well there's your problem right there.
[7:51:02 AM] Dave Littler: See? A drunken asshole husband?
[7:51:11 AM] Dave Littler: He doesn't ask himself questions like that.
[7:51:15 AM] Dave Littler: He just does it!
[7:51:19 AM] Dave Littler: And he gets results!
[7:51:24 AM] Dave Littler: That's what makes him a winner!
[7:51:26 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: well in the workplace i could get fired
[7:51:44 AM] Dave Littler: Not if you do it right!
[7:51:53 AM] Dave Littler: Like a winner!
[7:52:08 AM] Dave Littler: You know the old saying "I'll show you who's boss!"?
[7:52:11 AM] Dave Littler: Like that!
[7:52:12 AM] Idiotdoesn'tagreewithmestarfish: lol
[7:52:42 AM] Dave Littler: Yes, you laugh with delight at my wit and wisdom, as the manifest correctness of my words reveal themselves to you.
[7:52:50 AM] Dave Littler: Like a child viewing her first rainbow.
[7:52:58 AM] Dave Littler: It is beautiful to your eyes.
I recently watched the first season of a French animated series called Wakfu. It was fascinating.
On the surface, it appears to be nothing more than an especially well-animated children’s action-adventure series. Indeed, it’s worse than that: It’s based upon an online roleplaying game, and to that extent, it’s basically a commercial for that game. We’ve all seen adaptations of video games before. They’re shallow, pandering, lacking substance, and are never intended to do anything but advertise the product, right? And on some basic, fundamental level, the story of the main characters is pretty much precisely that.
However, there’s something else going on here.
The main villain of the series is a character named Nox. Nox does what only the best of villains do, and what all great villains are remembered for: He utterly steals the show from the main cast, overshadowing them entirely. Visually, he’s fascinating, looking and moving like some sort of clockwork mummy. The voice actor that they have playing the role in the French version is inspired; there’s a level of manic desperation to everything that he says and does that bespeaks some greater depth to the character which is only gradually revealed to us.
Without having any desire to spoil any of the key plot points of the series, it’s difficult to discuss his arc in any meaningful way, but I can share a key insight into the character that I had been trying to figure out how to phrase for some time.
Nox is a character from an entirely different genre of show than the rest of the cast.
See, where the rest of the cast is basically in this show which is a fun, lighthearted, comedic action-adventure, Nox is like the protagonist in a Greek tragedy. Whenever he shows up, suddenly, the entire tone of the series changes. It’s not fun anymore. It’s not lighthearted. He drags everyone around him into the nightmare which is his life. He’s this intrusion into a world of bright colours and high adventure. A dark and terrible shadow cast upon the land in a physical and emotional sense.
By the conclusion of the season, he has utterly taken over the narrative. The big finish is truly an exercise in tragedy; shocking, poetic and heartbreaking in a way which would have seemed inconceivable if the story had simply continued to follow the thematic elements and narrative of the main protagonists. Nox, however, is such a larger than life character that he does not permit this. He’s an emotional black hole into which the rest of the cast is drawn, and from which not all of them emerge alive.
It’s remarkably deft storytelling that the producers of the show have pulled off, and as it plays out, it’s astonishing to look back upon where it started and to see the arc of the plot. The audacity of taking this bright and cartoony video game commercial and transforming it into this vehicle for a story of such pathos and drama. The vision necessary to pull it off. It’s nothing I would have expected at all.
Moreover, when the series IS a lighthearted and comedic action adventure, it’s GOOD at being that. The term “all ages” comedy gets tossed around a lot, but in general it’s awkward and stilted; either a children’s story which has a few clumsy double entendres for the parents in attendance, or else something so bland and inoffensive that it’s only all ages in that all ages of viewers will be equally bored and insulted by it. In this case, however, I actually found myself laughing out loud any number of times at the humour (and even where it didn’t exactly “hit” for me, I didn’t find my sensibilities offended by them). The absolute gorgeousness of the character designs, animation and direction were enough to keep me visually enthralled the rest of the time.
It’s a series I can find almost no fault with in its native form. Sadly, it seems that it’s now being dubbed into English, and there’s a clumsy, amateur quality to the voice casting which is kind of agonizing to listen to (as is sadly all to often the case with dubs). If you can find some of the fan made subtitled versions from some reputable and above-board source, I unreservedly recommend it.