Part I: "Twokinds"
(As seen at
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
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...
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,
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
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,
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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!