Relax, we understand j00

Megatokyo hit 1337 comics this week, so for old time’s sake, I did an archive binge.  This is equivalent to burning through 6 volumes of a manga.  More or less literally, as I still have the first 5 volumes.  I must have bought some volumes after I came to Berkeley, as book 5, covering through chapter 8, came out in 2006.

However, at some point I stopped following the comic.  Fred’s infamous update schedule (many webcomics in the early 2000s have poked fun at his schedule slippage and/or Fred’s high standard for his own art; see this early xkcd) has slowed even more as he has a kid and now a sick wife.  Because of Fred’s tendency of 1) each page no longer being self-contained; 2) spending many panels on the emotional state/reactions of his characters; and 3) flipping between A and B plots on successive pages or even successive panels, it’s hard to hold the narrative thread when new pages come so irregularly.  That, and I had trouble telling some of the character designs apart.  I am not the only one, as tvtropes lists Only Six Faces on the MT page.

Now that I have a better eye for such things, I can generally tell the characters apart.  At least Kimiko vs. Erika and Yuki vs. Junko.  I’m also somehow better at understanding the characters.  I would like to start following the comic again: I want to learn what happens to these characters, and the art is good.  However, the update schedule and narrative structure is such that I think I’d rather read a whole chapter in one go.  The problem with that: the last chapter took 2 years to finish.

The title of this post is taken from the comic’s tag line, and I can see why it had such a following in the early days of web comics. The comic has a certain appeal to a demographic well-represented on the internet. Piro has trouble with 3d girls and so insulates himself in the fantasies of dating simulations. And Largo regularly runs into ninjas, zombies, zilla-sized monsters, mecha police, bfg-toting Sega agents, and magical girls. And they both find themselves in relationships with cute seiyuu, though the comic looks past this obvious otaku fantasy scenario to ask if emotions are real even if the escapist fantasies are not. Nowadays, web comics about otakus and girl troubles are a dime-a-dozen, but MT holds up well.

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