Part I: "Twokinds" 

(As seen at www.2kinds.com)

 

Anime fanboys sure can come up with some odd crap when they're feeling creative, can't they? Well, that's what I'm doing Comic Release for; to mock all the weird crap they create in my usual, venomous, spiteful fashion that the Project AFTER regulars love so much. And of course, what better webcomic to first put through the ringer than Twokinds! For those lucky bastards who don't know, Twokinds is an attempt at telling a romantic fantasy tale, including every anime cliché an American can shove into it, along with its own homemade brand of suck. This is a special brand of suck, mind you... An almost fatal brand of suck...

I cannot bring up this comic's poor quality without telling this little story: You see, I, Cody "Lord Shmeckie" Baier, have a weak heart. Literally. I won't go into details, but I'm guessing I'll die at age 30 of heart failure, and all you little nerd-types out there can dance on my grave while you're still young. So, yeah, the ol' ticker don't quite work right. Now, I had to tell you that to set the stage for the story itself...

So I'm reading Twokinds to get ready for this article. As I do that, I can feel my heartbeat slowing down noticeably, and my breathing getting difficult. Now, I'm used to my heart beating too fast, but too slow?! I probably should've been worried, but I'm used to my heart acting up, so I brushed it off. However, as I read on, it wasn't stopping. So, I stopped reading, and rested. Wouldn't ya know it, a few minutes passed and I was fine. So, I go back to reading Twokinds, and eventually, the heart problems start again. I quickly rest again, and by George, once I stop reading the comic, my heart is fine. Then it hits me...

Is the comic causing this...?

Stupid as it may sound, it was uncanny; when I stopped reading the comic, my heartbeat normalized. When I was reading it, my heart slowed down. Now, if the heart races when one is excited, could the opposite be true? Could Twokinds be so boring, and trite, that it's actually slowing my heart down?! Dear god, could this thing literally bore me to death!?

Folks, I do believe Twokinds sucks so much, it almost killed me. Okay, it was probably a coincidence, but a belief is a belief. But how bad could this comic be? What kind of comic can claim to be almost fatally awful?! Let's find out...


The Story
 

Let's get this thing's premise out of the way; Trace, the main character, used to be evil, but got amnesia and now he's good. In the beginning, he meets a catgirl (oh, sorry, Keidran), and the story hints to them becoming a couple as subtly as the dialogue in Yu-Gi-Oh.

 

The catgirl—er, Keidran, Flora, is such an archetypical anime fanboy's dreamgirl that you're almost praying the dog from Tom & Jerry busts in and eats her dumb ass. Yes, I know dogs don't actually eat cats, but that's not changing my fantasy. Oh, she's got it all; she's timid, she blushes about 40 times a day (meet that quota, girl), she's sensitive about her breast size to a ridiculous degree—hell, if you've seen some girly chick do it in an anime, she does it. Sometimes she's naked, sometimes she's not. Sometimes that's okay, sometimes it's not. She's the token "Author's Fuckbait" character you see in every American-made manga ever drawn. And now, Tom Fischbach (the author) is releasing an art collection, and it'll apparently contain dirty pictures. Ten to one, most of 'em are of Flora. (Update: Well hey, whaddya know!)

 

Was I supposed to laugh at this scene? 'Cause I laughed at this scene.


But I'm getting off track here (rage'll do that to ya). So anyway, this other animal guy shows up (but he's of a different race, because he has big ears and some shit. Every other race ever has to be an anthro, y'see, because we're dealing with fandom folk here) and joins Trace and his catbitch, and they go on adventures. Okay, so there's more to it than that, but do you really care? No, you don't. It's all anime clichés and poorly written romance (can't stress that "poorly written" part enough).

 

What IS interesting, though, is that you can tell what Fischbach was watching, or playing, at the time certain sections of the story were written. It's true, because he lifts things so blatantly—I'm sorry, he's so obviously "inspired"... For instance, there's a scene in the beginning painfully reminiscent of the Julia-in-front-of-the-mirror scene in The Wedding Singer. There's also a hot springs scene that feels lifted from Photon, almost moment for moment. And if Tommy Boy thinks I'm not supposed to see the parallels between the lake scene from Final Fantasy 10, and the scene in Twokinds with Trace and Flora at the lake with the reflections of the stars looking identical to the aforementioned scene from FF10, then I don't really know which is dumber; Tom Fischbach, or how dumb Tom Fischbach thinks we are.

 

In the world of Twokinds, you can visit such exotic locales as Eversummer,

Mostlywinter, Neverfall, Kindaspring, and Seasonberg.


Sure, all the great modern storytellers are inspired by something; Eiichiro Oda based his character, Sanji, off the works of Quentin Tarantino; Gargoyles pulled many of its stories and characters from Shakespeare... Hell, Cowboy Bebop was chock full of inspirations. But god damn, never were they THIS blatant, and Gargoyles lifted entire characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream, for god's sake!

Though, it does inspire a fun game: See if you can guess what Tom was watching/playing at any given point in the comic's story. Make a competition out of it. Post your guesses at the forum and see how they compare!

Oh, and the comic has some attempts at humor, but it's best if we didn't speak of that.


The Art
 

Now, as an artist myself, I'm not above giving the devil his due. The coloring has gotten much better in recent pages. Okay, enough devil due-ing. The art just SCREAMS "Hi, I was drawn by an anime fan who learned all the B.E.S.M. anime bullshit before he ever bothered to learn perspective and proportion!" And that art ain't lying, folks. Most panels are a basic, neck-up picture, and where they're not, they're a character making an awkward pose that, most of the time, looks unnatural and uncomfortable.

 

Details are minimal, even by faux-anime standards, and when they ARE present, they're laughably bad. Just look at the stone walls early in the comic—or, as I like to call them, the invasion of the monochrome amoebas! Character designs are basic at best, showing that people are different from the neck up, and only the neck up (not including the outfits, and Flora's tiger-stripes).

 

Spellbinding action!

 

And if Flora's s'damn fuzzy, why does she have long, brown hair? Oh, right, Flora's 'sposed ta be the "sugoi kawaii nekomimi catgirl"... I mean, anthros usually have hair, but the comic makes a note of making it seem like she's got a lot of fur, so hair seems pointless...

On a related note, the comic makes such a point of drawing attention to Flora's bestial nature that, when the hilariously awkward sex scene pops up, it seems almost gross.


...And Trace's grand templar logo thing looks like the Super Smash Bros. symbol with an extra line through it... Just sayin'...

Making matters worse, the majority of the "art" is just brushed in later in Photoshop—a practice Alex and myself greatly frown upon. At one point, he shows a page before he's put it through Photoshop, and I shit you not, there are about three or four people drawn, tops. No backgrounds, or objects, or effects, or anything aside from those basic character sketches were drawn by hand. This is the age we live in, folks, where even the people without talent are cutting massive corners.


The Author
 

Tom Fischbach shows us time and again that he's obviously got the creative abilities of a sick mule. Everything in Twokinds is lifted right out of the Great Tome of Anime Clichés. Things are so badly planned that the plot twists (if they can so be called) can be predicted months in advance, and you can correctly predict a character's allegiance at first glance. Fischbach himself fills the classic fanboy webmanga archetype as best as he can, as well. All of his drawings are so "milquetoast anime", which you, too, have to be fanpeople to stand.

 

In the years he's been doing this, he still has yet to grasp the most basic aspects of proportioning, and he's still drawing the exact same angles and perspectives. This is what the scourge of complacency can do to you, folks. Three years later, he's still drawing anime clichés in the style of Egyptian tomb paintings. For god's sake, copying out of a How To Draw Manga book will net you better results than this!

 

Either she clawed his arm OFF, or someone's not very good at

perspectives and distances.


Oh, and he even predictably pulled the classic "quit, then come back" attention whoring stunt. You know the one; say you're done forever, so you can get that attention mommy and daddy never gave you from strangers inexplicably in love with the crap you draw, then come back and soak yourself in more attention as your fans give you a hero's welcome home. It's both pathetic and shameless, so it's hardly above the standards of most webmanga folk. Basically, he said he JUST HAD TO put the comic on hiatus, promising SOME PAGES MAYBE, then comes right back and starts updating when he gets the fanboy panic he so desperately wanted. Pft...


In Conclusion...


Twokinds is the kind of thing we all knew would happen when the internet became a means of artistic expression: People with no talent to speak of putting out utter garbage made popular by mindless peons dumb enough to eat the shit up. This is a prime example of undeserved success. While unknown people with god-given talent struggle for a second look, crap like this gets legions of fans because it panders to fucking niches.

This is for all those awesome artists out there who deserve way more success than this shit. You guys know who you are.

- Cody Baier

 

 

Alex's AFTER Thoughts

 

Hey folks. In the typical style of a struggling webmaster starving for any moment of time in the spotlight he can get, I'll be following up each of Cody's webcomic reviews with a short piece of my own commentary. It may be redundant and pointless, but when I thought of the "AFTER Thoughts" pun, I realized it was just too clever not to use. To refrain from showing it to the site's readers would be depriving you guys of a truly exquisite example of ingenious wordplay, and I like to enlighten my readers with a little culture whenever possible.

Anyway, moving on to the subject of Twokinds, the first problem I have with this comic is its retarded title. Twokinds. It should be Two Kinds! What the hell Fischbach, was your spacebar broken when you wrote the first draft of the script? Or did you think that combining two words into one would help your comic emulate the success of EverQuest, the same source you ripped off several of your character designs from?

Aw shit, that's a stupid complaint. Man, Cody is a lot better at this than I am. Well, I guess I can briefly bitch about the fact that Twokinds is basically a furry comic masquerading as an anime-style manga... Seriously, one or two anthropomorphic characters are acceptable, and even common in a lot of actual Japanese comics and games, but when more than half of the cast looks like you should ask if they're housetrained before inviting them in, you can call it whatever the hell you want, but the truth is you're drawing a furry comic. I guess that sort of explains why Twokinds' fanbase is so fucking crazy...

Also, as Cody pointed out, the main heroine's sense of shame is utterly baffling. She'll be completely naked for half of the damn series with no worries, then suddenly become desperate to cover herself as if she didn't have the anatomical features of a Barbie doll, then switch back into her birthday suit a dozen pages later. It's like she has a retroactive sense of decency. Someone want to explain that to me? It's every bit as nonsensical as all those Disney cartoons where Donald Duck will be without pants 24/7, yet he always gets embarrassed and attempts to cover himself when he's shirtless. The only difference is that Donald Duck's nudity was never a major plot point that would affect the outcome of the story.

You know what, to hell with it. It's a moot point. The day I understand the logic behind anything applying to a wannabe-anime/furry hybrid romance fantasy webcomic is the day I don a straitjacket and move into a one-bedroom apartment with padded walls.

 

'Till next time!

MANGA!