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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.

Unwanted realization of past sins from Megatokyo
It's funny how as you get older you mature without even realizing it. Life throws issues at you and you deal with them the best you can, then move on. You undergo so much change in your life and you don't even realize it because it happens little by little, day by day, in a continuous building rather than by leaps and bounds. Eventually, you wind up as a completely different person without even realizing it. But then, every once in awhile, one of those moments comes up which makes you realize just how far you've come from the person you used to be. I get that feeling whenever I go back to the "frat" house I lived in during my undergraduate years of college (it's not actually a fraternity, but that's the closest descriptive word I can think of). I see all the guys there acting like typical freshman and sophomores in college: goofing off, running off to go play frisbee at the drop of a hat, planning pranks on the girls' house next door, and I realize how far removed my life is from those days, even though it wasn't that many years ago that I lived there.
Piro is having on of those "maturation realization" moments in this strip. He's talking to his old buddy Tsubasa, who fans of the strip will remember from the old "four-panel" days as the Japanese student who let Piro and Largo bum around his apartment as they tried to scrounge up the money needed to get back home. In fact, when Tsubasa left is right about the time that Fred Gallagher switched from the four panel layout to manga style, and when the focus of the strip changed from random violence to a much more relationship driven, drama comic. I would guess this is about the time Rodney Caston left as well, but that's a Pandora's Box I'm not going to open today. That strip was drawn way back in June 2001 (ancient history, by web standards), and a lot has happened in Megatokyo since then. A LOT. I mean, even Largo has changed from the one-dimensional destruction machine into a man with real feelings which can be hurt and can be manipulated.
And now we have this strip, in which Piro, finally having a free moment and a computer to spend it with, manages to get in contact with his old buddy Tsubasa. And it only takes him a few moments of talking to Tsubasa to realize how much his life has really changed. Tsubasa still is what Piro used to be. He's the obsessive otaku fan who spends all his time on message boards talking about famous voice actors and actresses, being fanatical over every little detail, and in general just doing the things a fanboy does. Piro, on the other hand, is literally living out a fanboy's dream, and to him it's become everyday life. Of course it comes as a bit of a shock to him when someone he considers a friend is looking at an upskirt shot of his love interest, but the even more shocking realization which Piro is having at the end this strip, even if it's only just in his subconscious, is that this is exactly the sort of behavior that he himself engorged himself in not so long ago.
Through the lens of Tsubasa, Piro is able see just what kind of person he was before getting stuck in Tokyo, and he realizes how distasteful it was. Now, he's seen what the voice actresses have to go through as a result of all the crazy fans. He's seen the emotional trauma in both Nanasawa and Erika's lives resulting from their fame. He sees how it distances them from other people, and makes it a chore even to do something so simple as going shopping. He's come a long way and gained a lot of understanding. Then here comes Tsubasa, with information he knows the old Piro would have been interested in, including pictures uploaded to the "normal place". And the realization that you were once a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution, and that you still have possibly many friends who are still part of the problem, has got to come as a bit of a slap in the face to poor Piro here.
Megatokyo is at the beginning of a new chapter (in the mundane sense of the word. Like it's no longer chapter 6, it's now chapter 7), and in a comic such as this, where the development and progression of the characters is everything, I look forward to seeing what changes Fred Gallagher has in store for his crew in the coming months. I'm sure they will be interesting.


At 7:14 PM, Blogger Ping @ Phalanx said...

Dangit. Don't make me start reading Megatokyo again.

It got so sappy I gave it up put this page actually perked my interest again...


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