Megatokyo

Megatokyo is one of the finest examples of a successful web-comic, created by Fred Gallagher and Rodney Caston (though Caston has left the project ages ago due to creative differences), having been printed into volumes available for purchase, Megatokyo is an English manga-style comic focused on the otaku lifestyle, specifically video-games (in the beginning at least) and starts off using a traditional four-panel layout with jokes that always have a punchline by the fourth panel, however as the story progressed and Gallagher’s art improved, the panel layouts became more complex, as did the storyline.  Soon enough the protagonists Piro and Largo (two Otaku) get stranded in Tokyo and need to make enough money to get back home, but do they really want to leave?  Gallagher introduces many new characters (usually female) and the story becomes far more complex and interesting as relationships are formed and battles are raged (keep an eye on Largo).  Being set in Japan, the protagonists obviously get to deal with ninjas, robots, giant creatures and more (unfortunately this is not the case in real-life) and it’s this aspect that adds to the enjoyment of Megatokyo as you never know what’s around the corner.

It is also freely available for download and unlike other manga/comic-books, it’s not inked, rather Gallagher has chosen to use traditional pencil artwork and this gives the overall comic a very unique style.  Even the printed versions lack inking.

This is one of the earlier pages, using a standard four-panel layout.

The Megatoyko series has received a lot of praise for its strong continuity, artwork and colourful characters.  My favourite character has definitely got to be Largo, the video-game enthusiast who often finds himself in bizarre situations, including repairing computers naked (so as not to attract static electricity) or battling the undead.  The fictional Japan that Gallagher and Caston have created is definitely aimed towards fan-boys and otaku as oftentimes the comic will poke fun at the gaming industry or rip off anime and manga stereotypes and this is where most of the humour lies.

This is a much more recent page, notice how Gallagher has abandoned the four-panel layout in favour of a more complex structure. The artwork is also vastly improved.

At one point Fred Gallagher threatened to stop doing Megatokyo if any of his characters (particularly the female ones) were to be portrayed in perverse fan-fiction or hentai, though I’m sure he understands that a task like that is simply impossible, he’s chosen the internet as a means to distribute his work and express himself and as such there are certain pitfalls he’ll need to deal with when engaging with the interwebs and there is no exception to rule 34 although he did have this to say;

“I don’t have control over what fans do. If you must know, i encourage things like fanart, fanfiction, and even use of MT characters in people’s own comic works. The only think that i ask is that you treat the characters with the same respect that you would treat real people. Why won’t you see Kimiko naked? Because it would compromise the character’s integrity for the sake of a small moment of perverse release.”

There isn’t actually a lot of Megatokyo hentai and whatnot floating around, probably due to the core fan base so if you’re looking for hentai go to a dedicated hentai site, but if you’re looking for a smart, witty and highly enjoyable manga (albeit a Western one) give Megatokyo a try.

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