Part V: "Megatokyo"

(As seen at www.megatokyo.com)

 

God dammit mother fucking piece of cock-sucking shit! There is no other way to begin an article about Megatokyo. It's the antithesis of quality matching success. Much like actual manga/anime series like Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, FLCL, or that Melancholy of Haurmi Blahblahblahblahdie, its fame, success, and notoriety are inversely proportional to how good the series actually is, and that's on many levels.

Megatokyo is a prime example of the profitability of pandering full-force to a niche. Well, more or less anyway... It basically panders whenever the hell the author, Fred Gallagher, feels like it. The rest of the time, he's content to do whatever he wants to the point that it's like he's giving his own readers the finger. But when Megatokyo does pander, it panders HARD! It's basically the model for the kind of product that we all knew would come about sooner or later due to the reaction that stupid people tend to have toward anime.

God help us all...


The Story
 

The basic plotline is that gaming pals Piro (based on Fred Gallagher) and Largo (based on Rodney Caston--more on him later) get stranded in Japan, meet "crazy" characters, and abuse the ever-loving fuck of out "l33t" speak. There's so much more to the story, though; TOO much. Gallagher seems to love adding so god damn many characters that it's easy to lose track of who's who, which isn't helped at all by the fact that EVERYONE LOOKS THE SAME! Combined with the fact that the plot is so convoluted, I truthfully had no idea what was going on at any given point after the first couple chapters. I just saw a lot of drama and angst. Also, Gallagher (despite the fact he's married) is fascinated with shoujo shit and dating sims. No, I don't know how, either. Maybe he's paying her...

Anyway, yeah, Megatokyo is a webmanga with the storyline of a cutesy dating sim, with attempts at humor thrown in that make you want to see Gallagher featured as a victim in the next Saw movie. I mean it, it's all shitty zingers that sound like they should be accompanied by pre-recorded laugh tracks! Ooo, or the fact that Largo's insanity is supposed to be so damn funny (but really isn't, and just makes any scenes involving him a pain to read through). Oh, and the attempts at emulating wacky Japanese humor that go over exactly as well as you're thinking (provided you're on my side, here, and not some kind of Suck sympathizer).

 


Angel girl makes remark, hilarity forgets to ensue.
 

As for the characters, it's a mish-mash of shoujo and/or dating sim archetypes, and fanboy drool-fodder. There's the robot-girl-who's-a-PS2-sex-doll (not making that up), a "hot" voice actress with a sassy attitude that everyone's obsessed with...

First Mate: Captain! What is it you see on the horizon that troubles you so?!
Captain: Archibald, I see a blatant caricature of a fanboy's wet dream, drenched in poor character conception! It approaches from the east!
First mate: ...My name's Jenkins, sir...!
Captain: What's that, Alphonse?
First Mate: Jenkins.
Captain: Frederick?
First Mate: Jenkins.
Captain: Gertrude?

...Then there's Ed and Dom, the unfunny-but-they're-supposed-to-be-awesome-and-hilarious friend insertion characters, then we got some pigtailed schoolgirl infatuated with Piro, a voice actress infatuated with Piro (O COME ON NOW), Piro's conscience angel based on Gallagher's wife (who is quite... different looking than the way he draws her--think "cheeseburgers") who's probably infatuated with Piro too. Then there's some more generic girls, a goth chick who serves no purpose other than to act high-and-mighty and get emo all over my computer screen, and some winged gerbil we're supposed to love and think is cute... Unfortunately I just kept praying a snake would eat it. Goddamn, that thing'll annoy the piss out of you if you're not some rabid, wannabe-Japanese (pre-)teenager with a brain tumor.

Basically, the whole thing boils down to "Fred Gallagher's shoujo wet dream fantasy world where he's so bumbling but awesome by milquetoast anime boy standards". Dialogue shifts abruptly and often between melodramatic, to absurd, to unbearably unfunny. The fact that the whole thing is Gallagher's fanboy dream life isn't hidden very well, either. A voice actor loves him, a Japanese schoolgirl loves him, he has a PS2 sex doll, he's friends with a Japanese pop idol girl, people swoon over his art... It's gut-churningly blatant, and inhumanly awful. And no, you dumbass sheep, there's really no more to it than that. I know; I fucking read it.


Ooooooooh giiiiiiiiirl! *snip* *snap* *snap*
 

In recent chapters, it appears that some kind of romance has finally happened (after several years of buildup, mind you) between a few of the main characters. Am I happy about it? Well, no. I don't give two shits and a pittance about the characters in this stupid comic. Personally, I'd love to see Gallagher make some anti-American political statement by having Evil Bush McHitler bomb Japan again just to watch them die. Why? Because behind the... bizarre... political message would be the deaths of everyone in Megatokyo by way of nuclear explosion. And, in the end, isn't that the best way to kill off insipid characters from an overrated niche comic? With a good ol' American-made atomic bomb?

"omg this haxx0r sh1t is teh l3--"*KA-DEATH-BOOOOOOOOM!*

Ah, to dream of a perfect world... Man, though, I think I'm getting too fixated on murder...

I can safely tell you that the entirety of this comic's success is due to the fact that everything about it plays to the niche of dateless internet-junkie otaku. They feel like it's "their" comic, that it speaks to them, or some shit. It's almost pornographic in how utterly blatant it is, lacking any subtlety whatsoever. In terms of character and story, there's nothing in Megatokyo that is even remotely deserving of the adulation it gets.

Oh yeah, and have fun watching the Japanese idol girl make a stand against perverted fanboys about a bazillion times. Because apparently Gallagher has some self-loathing issues going on.


The Art
 

I'ma just get this out of the way right now: Fred Gallagher is a shitty artist. There. It had to be said. Okay, the guy can draw backgrounds really well, and hair moderately well, but he's absolutely terrible with actual people. His art style, while distinctive, is mind-numbingly basic and simple. Characters all have the heads of NES RPG sprites, with detail that looks as if it takes less than three fucking seconds to draw. Clothes are lacking in wrinkles, as if every character manages to completely fill out their clothing; an odd gripe, I know, but when a supposedly thin, slender woman's clothes seem full and puffed out around her, it looks kinda freakish, like she stuffed her bra and got way too carried away, eventually filling up her entire shirt with Kleenex.

Equally annoying is the fact that THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DETAIL ON THE PEOPLE'S BODIES WHATSOEVER! Gallagher can't even manage one or two muscle lines, wrinkles, or even fucking finger joints! As if Gallagher could manage to draw half-decent looking hands in the first place... Proportioning tends to get fucked up, too. Y'know how the people in Sealab 2021 had forearms more than twice as long as their arms? Expect to see a lot of that here. What else... Feels like I'm forgetting something here...

Oh, yeah.

EVERY CHARACTER HAS THE SAME FUCKING FACE! ESPECIALLY THE WOMEN! THE SAAAAME FAAAACE!

I'm sorry, but it's true, and had to be said. If you wanted to do Megatokyo as a live-action play or something, the whole thing could be done by the Blue Man Group with an assload of wigs.

The dumbass can't even manage to break his insultingly simple formula when the story depends on it! For instance, at one point, the voice actor/potential girlfriend chick says her nose is crooked because she gets punched in the face. Huh, really? BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE SAME NOSE AS EVERY CHARACTER IN MEGATOKYO EVER! GOD DAMMIT THIS GUY SUCKS!

Goosfraba... Goosfraba...

Despite the fact that all his characters look more or less deformed, Fred still manages to cram some insultingly obvious fanservice into his comic, if only to further torture the people who read it. And, as you probably already guessed, most of it not only fails to be arousing in the least, but it's also just downright pathetic in how it's executed. Recently, readers were "graced" with some strips featuring two of the female leads in their undies. Now, anyone who's brain still works and contains wrinkles can tell this is just blatant fanservice given to us by a man who, considering he's married, shouldn't have to resort to venting his virgin fantasies like this. I mean, these characters are pretty much naked because of the risk of static, because one of them is working on computers. Hot chicks working on computers in their underwear?! Mother fucker! It's like the cover of a nerd's version of a hot-rod magazine!


When it comes to his art, Gallagher truly is a master of depicting human emotion!

Everything from "bored" to "apathetic" to "the NyQuil's starting to kick in..."!


It's disgustingly pathetic in its complete and utter shameless exhibition of nerd fantasy and fanservice. I can actually say, for certain, that I am actually disgusted. Not in a moral way, but more like the way people get disgusted when someone says something so unbelievably stupid, in person, that you don't want to talk to them anymore. As in, never again. The scene is such an obvious attempt to mimic bad anime, "awkward sexual moment" humor that I feel the need to vomit. I just... I... Excuse me....

...

...

Okay, done. Now, let's try not to make this too long. I apparently need to go to the hospital as soon as possible. But anyway, what makes this excuse for Fred Gallagher to masturbate to his own drawings even more pathetic and reeking-of-bullshit is the baffling "static" excuse. I was unaware that computer nerds are still expanding upon old Apple computers with black-and-green screens that would be rendered unusable if you even began typing on the keyboard after scooting your socks across the carpet. Static my ass, Fred just hasn't gotten any in awhile, and we all know it. I'll bet half the money in my bank account that he was getting all grinny drawing those pages, his heart probably beating faster, feeling "naughty" as he did it. And I'm willing to bet that first page where the chick strips was late. Like, ten minutes late. No, more like thirty; there's the time it took to edit out the stains in Photoshop to consider...

But seriously, if you need to be naked to open a computer and fix it, why have I never destroyed my own computer or blown up the house when I open it up and tinker in there? And why is it that the computer repairman who makes house calls and fixes people's PC's never ends up putting on a show that no computer-illiterate grandma will ever forget? Wait a minute... Good lord... Does Fred actually think you have to be naked to open a computer and fix it...? Does he...!? GOOD GOD! MENTAL PICTURES! AAAAAAUGH! AAAA-HAUGH-HAUGH! AAAAAAAUGH! Excuse me again...

...

...

...

Great, Fred! THANKS! Because of your fat, naked ass, I'm clinically dehydrated, and there's now bloodstains on my bathroom floor that I can't get out! You asshole!

There's no doubt about it; while Gallagher may receive scores of praise and accolades from hordes of fanpeople who are completely brain-dead, he has nowhere near the level of talent that actual good artists do, including many I've seen on DeviantART. The good parts of DeviantART, that is. Aw hell, even the bad parts have more detail on their characters than this! I cannot stress this enough: You'll find better artwork from Rob Liefeld's earliest work than you'll find here, not to mention less forced, faux-anime humor and embarrassingly obvious, poorly-justified fanservice.


The Author
 

Hoo-hoo-hoo boy, Gallagher's a piece of work, lemme tell ya! So many fun things to talk about, I think I'll bullet 'em!

 

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Apparently, he shoehorned the comic away from its old co-author, Rodney Caston (a.k.a. Largo). Back when Caston was on board, the comic had some redeeming value, and the humor was... Let's say "decent". Caston basically kept Megatokyo grounded. Also, when he was around, the Largo character, while obsessive in his l33t crap and his computer stuff, was a voice of reason, of sorts. Now that Gallagher has taken over, the Largo character is absolutely retarded (probably for petty reasons), and if you can stand to watch his crazy bullshit antics, you're more of a man than me. Unless you like his crazy bullshit antics, then you're some kind of primeval-minded douchebag.
 

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Gallagher loves to sulk. Hell, he LIVES to sulk. Though, anyone with brains can see he does it so people will just praise him more, and reassure him that he IS a good author, and Megatokyo IS a good comic. Of course, these people are liars, but Gallagher doesn't care. He just wants folks to love him, and he'll play the pity card as long as he can to get people to fall for it. You can find him at the head of the long lines at the anime conventions, signing autographs with a bullshit, puppy-dog frown, while his dipshit fans treat him like he's a legitimate manga artist with so much talent it's practically shooting out of his ass.


I know mothers and daughters usually look alike, but god damn!

 

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Virtually all he draws is sad, apathetic, bored-looking girls. At first, I thought it was some stylistic thing. Now, I think it's because that's all he knows women to look like, from experience.

"Yeah, dating games... Yeah, sure.... Yeah.... Uh-huh.... Waiter?!"
 

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His douchebag comic is one of the main reasons you and I have to deal with that "l33t sp34k" bullshit. Yup, Megatokyo helped to popularize the l33t trend currently adored by adolescent retards all over the internet. So the next time you're all annoyed because some dipshit is going on about his 4\/\/3s0/\/\3 h4XX0r sk1llz, punch Fred Gallagher in the face.
 

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Gallagher is well known for his mammoth rants. Apparently, if you ask him how his day was, he'll give you a fucking novel in response, and all about what is either the most insipid, or the most melodramatic, bullshit you can imagine. Either he'll spend 8 pages talking about some new pictures he drew or shows he saw, or he'll get up on the eCross and defend his honor against some GRAVE INJUSTICE! A fine example is a recent blog where he goes on and on about how crucial the electoral process is, and how everyone should vote... But he won't be voting, however, 'cause as important as the process seems to be to him, he's just gotta protest the candidates. Apparently, Fred's still holding out for the day that the Bishoujo Party puts a candidate in the ring, running on the platform of "nekomimis are sugoi kawaii!" In the meantime, I'm sure our government will undoubtedly stagger at the crushing blow delivered to them via the stand taken by the king of the dateless, anime-obsessed eterna-virgins. The bottom line is that Fred just can't seem to shut the fuck up. In fact, I don't believe there has ever been a time where his thoughts of the day didn't dwarf the size of the blog of whomever posts next to him on the MT site. Like the Statue of Liberty, compared to some chick dressed like the Statue of Liberty.


Even for sophisticated language, that's just ridiculous. Wait, I mean, "The dialogue in this

visual art novel has thus reached a formerly unobserved level of utterly detestable abhorrence."
 

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Fred seems completely incapable of drawing a fucking page on time. It's so bad that he has to have a progress bar on the fucking front page of his site. Do you realize how fucking bad that is? You don't have to have a progress report in school unless you're really sucking something fierce! Making this comic is his fucking JOB now--not a side project or a part-time hobby, but an actual paying JOB--and the douchebag still can't manage to update on time! ONE page every other day, Fred! The professionals, who draw much better than you and with way more detail, don't even get THAT. This asshole has no excuse, but he pretty much says "fuck you" to the very fans that made him what he is, filling update after update with "dead Piro days" filler bullshit, and fucking stick figure comics. I shit you not folks, he misses his own deadlines, and to hold over the fans whose intelligence he's already insulted (and considering his fanbase, that's some kinda work), he drops moronic stick figure comics on them. Well fuck you too, Fred Gallagher. You don't treat your fans like that, you tool! Dumbasses or not, they're your fucking fans. They made you, and like it or not, you owe them for it! So stop jerking off to whatever schoolgirl harem dating sim you ordered off of J-List and do your motherfucking job.
 

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This one's the best. Gallagher's apparently none too fond of hentai, and would get reeeal mad if someone drew Megatokyo hentai (so hop to it, dirty birdies). But, hilariously enough, Gallagher's drawn his own porn. And not just any porn... Lolicon porn! For those who don't know, that's hentai featuring girls of the underage persuasion! And he even gave one of 'em little-girl freckles, too! God damn, Fred! How in hell did you ever find a real-life woman, and does she know?! Way to inspire the hentai community you seem to hate so much! Oh, and he even went so far as to (allegedly) threaten lawsuits to keep the stuff hidden. He went to great lengths to keep his kiddie-toon-porn under wraps, until some very dedicated (or possibly crazy) folks managed to dig up the files and put them back in circulation on the web. And I know what question just popped into your mind, and yes, they're as bad as you think. After all, what kind of nudity could a man who cannot draw the human figure possibly produce? The answer? Oddly positioned breasts, ribs that seem to get way too close to the hipbone, and more Sealab arms and sprite heads. Nice, Fred. Way to entertain that trainwreck humorist in all of us, ya goddamn lolita-complex bastard. Jesus, if you're gonna have hidden naked lady pictures, at least have hidden legal-age naked lady pictures. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so.

Puberty, Fred! Puberty!


In Conclusion...
 

Megatokyo is arguably one of the most popular webcomics around, yet it's also one of the worst. And perhaps its "elite" status is one of things that makes it so terrible. While it would still be very bad, it probably wouldn't be as bad if it didn't have all this undeserved success and adoration. There really is nothing about Megatokyo I can think to praise, save the background art. It's like an amalgamation of everything a webcomic can do wrong, but to less extremes than other comics. The art is bad, the writing is terrible, the story is shitty, the author's a mess, the fans are buffoons, it never ends. The art may not be as bad as Twokinds or Unicorn Forest Rangers (or whatever the hell it's called), but it's nowhere near "good", and it sure as hell isn't anywhere near "good enough to be sold in bookstores for $9.95 a pop".

There is no justice in this world...

- Cody Baier

 

 

Alex's AFTER Thoughts

 

I remember the first time I ever came across Megatokyo... It was quite a few years ago, back in the days of Ye Olde Internete when pixel comics like 'Bob and George' and 'Pokey the Penguin' were still popular. Needless to say, it was a much simpler time when people's expectations for free entertainment on the web were substantially lower than they are today. With that in mind, it's easier to imagine why Megatokyo was so popular; the fact that the comic wasn't made in MS Paint alone was enough to impress the hell out of the preteen AOL users who read it. You also have to take into account the fact that this was back before anime had really become mainstream in the US, and people who were big into fansubs and/or early pioneering series like DragonBall Z and Sailor Moon were pretty hard up for any original anime-related content on the internet. Megatokyo filled this need for many people in the same way that strips of bark covered in moss filled the need for women until sanitary pads were invented, and anime-loving fans throughout cyberspace founded a loyal fanbase for the comic that continued for some time.

So that solves the mystery of how Megatokyo managed to survive its first year or so on the net. Now comes the next big question: Why the fuck is anyone still reading it almost seven years later?

I can maybe understand how a few diehard fans might still be glomming onto the series because they think it gives their life meaning or whatever, but how in the name of World of Warcraft has something this flawed and unappealing actually grown in popularity in recent years!? You've just read six pages worth of reasons explaining why the comic is basically garbage, and yet there it is, every time I go into Barnes & Noble, sitting on the shelf with the rest of the manga in freshly-printed books that seem to stare back at me, as if gloating over the fact that their existence is a mockery of the very principles that govern our economy. "We're full of corny melodrama and bland, unlikable characters, but for some reason people still pay money to own us! Kekekeke!"

The fact that the comic got published isn't even the worst of it, though... Oh no, there had to be Megatokyo merchandise. That's right, I'll bet you can't wait to spend $15 on a poster of a purple-haired girl with Down syndrome sitting on some power lines. Oh, or how about one with a chick holding a big gun with the caption "Ph34r teh Cut3 Ones". I don't know what the means, but for only fifteen bucks it's gotta be a steal! I'll have to get myself a totally awesome "0v3rClocked" sticker with that too, since they're only $2.50 apiece and it's not like stickers are easy to find! And I just HAVE to get a baseball cap with a dumbstruck cartoon gerbil-thing on it... Only $20, folks! I'll also have to pick up a babydoll t-shirt with the same rodent on it along with the caption "Squ33k L33t" for that special lady in my life, all for only $17! Then I can order my very own 'Sad Girl in the Snow' blanket, for only $39.99 plus shipping an-- WHO THE HELL WOULD BUY ANY OF THIS SHIT!?!?!

Why do you let this happen, God? Why is it that good, honest people are stricken with poverty and disease while this arrogant, self-righteous, filthy closet-pedophile is blessed with fame and wealth for sketching stuff that wouldn't even earn most people a C+ in an intermediate-level art class? It doesn't make any sense to me...

And yes, like Cody stated above, Fred Gallagher has drawn lolicon porn. And yes, he's lied about it, to boot. In fact, there's a rather complex back story surrounding Gallagher and the porn he supposedly never drew that I just might write up a little article on, someday. Then again, with Gallagher threatening people with lawsuits over that very topic (or so some people have claimed), I'd probably get in a lot of trouble if I publicly showcased his dirty doodles and revealed the story behind them... Aw well. It was just a thought. On a completely unrelated note, please pay no attention to the area of blank space directly below this paragraph. I assure you it contains nothing of interest. So don't, like, you know, bother moving your mouse cursor around in there or anything like that. Because it's just blank space and nothing more. Honest.
 

:O


Anyway, as much as I hate Megatokyo, I think I hate the comic's fanbase even more. Without the fans feeding Gallagher's ego day after day, this beast would have died long ago. Instead, legions of fans have not only kept this series alive, but have made sure it's thrived. Megatokyo's author panders to your warped perception of what Japan is like (it's just a country goddamn it, not some romantic, magical, ninja-inhabited, nerd-fantasy-paradise daycare center), and for this you shower him with praise and gladly fork over your own money to buy the printed version of his insipid drivel, meanwhile never spending a dime on any of the hundreds of genuine manga series available on the US market, instead downloading it so you'll have even more money to spend on a Megatokyo Flapdoozy bag (only $38!) or a "Ninj4" hoodie (only $39.99!). Am I right, kids? Are my suspicions incorrect, or did I just describe most of you Megatokyo readers out there so accurately that you're now recoiling away from your monitor in terrified amazement? Well don't get too creeped out... You morons are just really predictable, that's all.

If you do read Megatokyo on a regular basis, all I can do is recommend that you start looking for something better, because I promise it's out there. If you've ever spent any amount of money on anything related to the series, however, then there is something seriously wrong with you and you should get your ass in to see a therapist ASAP. ...Unless those voices inside your head that told you to pre-order the Megatokyo skateboard deck are also telling you to kill yourself, in which case just sit tight for a little while longer.

 

'Till next time!

MANGA!