Podcasts/Episode 149

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The Letters Page: Episode 149

Disparation Vol 2 021.png

Original Source

Primary Topic

Setback

Intro

Let's get super ultra kawaii!!

Show Notes:

Run Time: 1:46:06

So, we get into the meta-topic right off the bat, and Adam has to explain a bunch of stuff to me because I'm just not as familiar with the medium. Which, turns out to be fine, because I'm familiar enough with the tropes to make the story happen! But, I'm getting ahead of myself. For that, you'll have to listen to the overview, which starts just before 14 minutes into the episode. (But before that, we go on about some of our favorite anime movies and TV shows.)

The overview section is all over the place. We have to figure out where this story lands in Sentinel Comics history, what kind of story we're telling, who it's about, surprise ourselves with who the main characters are... it's a lot. But! We make it work, and are pleased with how it turns out.

At a bit before the 1 hour and 4 minute mark, we get to your questions! They are many, and not just about today's topic - we also talk about some aliens. Just because.

At 1 hour and 38ish minutes in, we talk a bit about the cover, which you can see above.

Next episode will be a Creative Process all about pets in Sentinel Comics! How's that going to go? Only time will tell!

Characters Mentioned

Summary

Preliminary Stuff

  • So, today they’re doing an issue of Disparation with the prompt of “anime/manga”. This is going to be weird for Christopher because he doesn’t really know the tropes or whatnot for manga storytelling. He fully expects to start telling a story and then being told that he’s “doing it wrong”. Adam’s read some (which puts him well ahead of Christopher on that front) and has watched a lot of anime.
  • Adam goes into a bit of description of some of the different target-audience-focused categories of manga/anime, for example shōnen and shōjo targeted at boys and girls respectively. Christopher has heard of something called Shōnen Jump, which Adam informs him is one of the most popular shōnen publications for ongoing series - it’s a large anthology magazine that publishes a chapter of many different ongoing stories in one issue. Many of the most popular franchises were originally published in its pages and since a lot of anime productions are adaptations of manga stories, that means that a lot of popular anime can be traced back to it too.
  • Christopher’s favorite anime: Cowboy Bebop (“maybe the best piece of media ever made”), and Trigun. The former was originally an anime with a manga adaptation (although one produced basically concurrently with the show). The latter went the traditional manga-to-anime route.
  • He also likes Studio Ghibli films, but sometimes people try to tell him that those “aren’t anime” - he and Adam aren’t convinced of that. [Neither am I - they are animated films from Japan. Just because they don’t fall into the above shōnen/shōjo/etc. categories or that some of them are based on non-Japanese stories doesn’t make them not anime.] Particular favorites are Princess Mononoke and, recently and in particular, Porco Rosso.

Overview

  • They kind of need to nail down the time period for this one first since it will inform a lot of the story choices they make. First off, they want to put it in the second volume of Disparation that started in 2002. In particular, Adam thinks it should be between then and around 2006 because that’s when the big anime push was happening in the US due to Cartoon Network’s Toonami programming block. Additionally, they want it to be before the periods when La Comodora and the Inversiverse were regular features of the title. It probably also needs at least a few years into the title’s run so that the idea of the book is pretty well established (even if the particulars change up every issue) before we get into something as odd as the total style change a manga story would entail. That sets us in the mid-’00s of ’04, ’05, and ’06 as the era we’re playing with here.
  • This could easily be the only anime/manga-style comic in the main Sentinel Comics line. They’ve said before that there were Sentinel Comics in Japan (initially unlicensed versions, and eventually licensed), but they’re their own thing separate from the main line in the US. Think of it this way: this Disparation story still canonically takes place in the Multiverse. The Japanese comics don’t (or, there’s the “well, everything exists in the Multiverse because it’s the Multiverse” thing, but stuff from the Japanese comics wouldn’t show up in the OblivAeon story).
  • So, if this is the only such comic, this has to be about the Freedom Five, right? Christopher kind of wants to try to make a case for it to not be about them just because it’s the obvious choice. Maybe they need to decide on a genre first.
  • Adam suggests having the Freedom Five in the story, but it not being about them. Like, we do a high school thing where the kid(s) lives in Neo-Megalopolis, which is protected by the Freedom Five, but then whatever plot happens involving our protagonist(s). Like, Baron Blade shows up piloting his humongous mecha and the FF are taken out during the fight. Christopher leans into the multiple protagonists option because that gets us the built-in team dynamic of funny/sullen/studious/etc. personalities for our teens. Adam thinks that works - a lot of shōnen stories will have the one main character with this kind of ensemble anyway, so this fits right in.
  • They think maybe having a short framing scene with the teens talking about various Freedom Five adventures before the action starts. Christopher thinks that if they’re all fans of the FF already, then the main character should probably be Devra Caspit. However, Adam thinks that because of her power set she doesn’t make the best fit for the “main character” slot. She could be a good “person who’s always in the shop working of stuff because she doesn’t care about making friends” who can supply some gear or something when things need to actually get done later.
  • Adam has an idea. Kids are watching the big fight. Heroes are down, Legacy’s nowhere to be found. Setback finds the Legacy Ring and puts it on, and that’s how he gets powers (because you’re going to be reinventing how all of this stuff works and Setback has a derivative of Legacy’s powers anyway, why not have it be a more direct relationship here). Plus that gives Adam a shot to give lovable goofball Setback some spiky anime hair.
  • We’re not necessarily doing Dark Watch, though. We’re basically reinventing a “Kid Freedom Five” though a manga lens and can have whomever makes sense on the team. Setback’s not even necessarily “Setback” but more “Kid Legacy” if this is the angle we’re going with.
  • Let’s roll with that. Pete Riske is our protagonist, but what’s his role in this group of friends? He’s not the star athlete or the scholar, but he’s the one who’s “good at having friends”. Kind of a klutz (of course), but he’s the everyman normal guy who’s friendly. This is kind of standard in anime for this type of person to be the main character, but wind up not really being anybody’s favorite character.
    • They break out into a tangent about if there’s a frenemy or rival character who might become “kid Baron Blade”. This character would naturally become a hero on a long enough timeline, but unfortunately they only have this one issue. They could still set that up as it fits the overall tropes of the style they’re building, but it would be implicit rather than ever actually realized on the page.
  • They are going to need “replacement” characters for the rest of the Freedom Five. Something Adam said in passing a bit earlier fits here where Devra Caspit can fill the Bunker role as the gearhead/person who’s always in the metal shop. The studious nerdy kid can be the replacement Tachyon. The sullen kid can be the new Absolute Zero (Adam suggests that if it’s a girl they could rather play into the tsundere personality type). The new Wraith is the edgy kid. They circle back to try to get a “personality type” for Devra - if we’re doing a straight Bunker analogue she’d be the “serious” one. Adam thinks maybe “overeager” in that she’s way into whatever it is she’s doing. Christopher comes back with maybe she’s “mature” - like the rest of the team are freshmen or something but she’s the cool junior. The push back and forth on who would be a better fit for the “mature” role, though - and it’s the Absolute Zero role. These kids are doing something dumb and s/he doesn’t want to help, but then does in the end anyway. That role also fits the “frenemy” slot for the protagonist (with the rival being someone else).
  • Trying to figure Devra’s personality again, they think that maybe she’s the nerdy one and the Tachyon slot is instead the athlete. Devra’s not the “shy” nerd, she’s the “unironic enthusiasm” nerd.
  • So far we’ve got Pete Riske: “friendly” protagonist-type, gets “Legacy” powers so he’s strong and whatnot, Devra Caspit is the enthusiastic nerd who can make herself a mech suit or something. The Tachyon one is the athlete type who does track & field stuff. The mean upperclassman can be into science or something and refuses to help Pete with his chemistry homework or something (and their power set can do the hot and cold thing like AZ because chemistry - just spitballing it will depend on who they slot in here). The edgy Wraith stand-in somehow manages to find a way to lean against the lockers in shadow in a well-lit school hallway.
  • To keep things simple (because everything else is complicated), they’re sticking to human hero characters to fill these slots. No robots or aliens, no villains.
  • They pause the recording to fill in some details. Then they realized that they’ve got what they’re doing and go live again.
  • The issue dispenses with the Oracle of Discord framing device and just launches right into the story of these friends at Neo-Megalopolis High. Pete Rokuda is late for class and makes it into the classroom as the teacher (Blake Waseda) has his back turned. He tries to sneak his way to his desk, but the mean upperclassman, Helena, trips him and gives him some grief about him trying to sneak in before attendance was taken. His friend Amanda Koizumi has his back, though. She helps him up and gives him some notes from the previous class (because this is the second class of the day - he was really running late). We also meet his other friend Michael Kanda.
  • They get through class, go to lunch, walk by the shop (where we see that overenthusiastic nerdy girl Devra Kazama - nobody talks to her because you’ll lose a chunk of your life listening to her go on and on about whatever it is she’s working on).
  • Pete, Amanda, and Michael are talking about their favorite heroes, the Freedom Five. We get some panels of these heroes in action, so we know what they look like in this universe, but we’re only getting their story secondhand through these teens recounting of their exploits. They’re recognizable, but Bunker’s much bigger here [an aside here from Christopher - if they were doing a Freedom Five story instead, there probably wouldn’t be a separate “Bunker” character, but it would be a combined mecha from the rest of the team combining their individual ones or something]. After lunch as they’re heading to class, they have to duck into a restroom to avoid the “mean/popular girls” coming down the hall, led by Vanessa Nagai. Unfortunately, they’d ducked into the women’s room, and the mean girls are coming in, so our heroes have to comically stuff themselves into a single stall. The girls are talking smack about those losers they saw in the hall, which of course is when the heroes fall out of the stall in a heap and get chased out. Ha ha! Wacky teen hi-jinx.
  • They get to the next class. Pete has a note passed to him. It’s from Vanessa and consists of U :dagger: :angry eyes: and he freaks out a bit about it. Helena’s in the next seat, sees this and then rats him out for passing notes in class. Fortunately for Pete, this all gets interrupted as an ongoing fight between the Freedom Five and Baron Blade’s giant mecha comes near the school. This distracts everybody who watch from the windows.
  • Blade monologues about his doomsday black hole device or whatever. The Bunker suit engages the giant mech directly (Bunker’s smaller, but not excessively so) while the others try to do something about the device. Eventually the whatever it is implodes, taking all of them with it. There’s a resulting explosion of sorts after the initial inrush of material, and it blows debris everywhere/wrecks the school building.
  • So, the Freedom Five and Baron Blade have disappeared, but some weird wispy things comes out of the event and possess students, in particular the mean girl squad and Vanessa gets a glowing-purple-eye thing going as she goes into her own villain monologue.
  • Pete wakes up and starts looking for his friends. He finds a ring and picks it up in case he can figure out who it belongs to later. As he’s moving stuff around trying to find Michael and Amanda he trips on something and the ring slips on his finger. That’s when we find out it’s the Legacy Ring and we get a standard transformation sequence. He continues to look for his friends, but he’s drawn the attention of some of the “haunted” students.
  • He eventually finds his friends, but they all run away from the spooky students. As they run, a trap door opens and Harry Wakahara calls them in. It’s a storage room where all the gym equipment was kept. He was a bit of a hero back in the day himself and offers to help train them.
  • This gets to a bit of a sticking point, though. We haven’t figured out how Amanda and Michael have/get powers yet. Adam suggests that Michael already had powers and just hid them, but Christopher doesn’t think that any of these friends were remarkable prior to this. Michael was “the athlete” within this group of friends, but he wasn’t the star athlete of the school or anything. They consider having Amanda get partially haunted or something and Harry can siphon it off into a gun somehow. We’re getting into “this needs more than one issue” problems and also giving a student a gun is kind of problematic on its own.
  • They could just go the route that Pete starts to explain that training would be good because he just got these powers, then Amanda just pulls out a pistol and declares herself good to go. “You have a gun?!?” “Yeah, Pete. I target shoot. You should know that by now.” Anyway, description: Amanda has both eyes (and purple hair, but this is anime/manga, so that’s not really that weird) but her power will flare one of them as she turns on her “gun sight” which makes her a great shot. Michael also chimes in that the reason he’s a good athlete is that he can channel the qualities of animals when he’s running - he’s got to get a running start to activate whatever else he’s going to be turning on (say a Gazelle if he’s needing to jump over something).
  • Helena’s also already hiding out down here and is staying aloof from all of this, which includes a training montage!
  • Oh, something they neglected to mention earlier. They touched on the “mean girls”, but they forgot to mention the guy that everybody is super into - Anthony Demura, the musician who’s solidly in the bishōnen character type. There’s no important plot point about him. They just needed to establish the fact that AA is even more dreamy in this universe.
  • The montage continues, Helena makes fun of them throughout. Eventually the doors are flung open as Vanessa and the Mean Girls [new band name, I call it!] come in. As they advance, a big metal wall pops up to stop them. That’s when our overeager Devra shows up. They all run while the haunted people are occupied, but Vanessa then puts up an energy bubble around the school grounds. She’s taken over - everything is now under the control of Mentality (what Vanessa is now calling herself). This will be her fortress from which she will take over the world.
  • Ok, so our 5 heroes (Pete, Amanda, Michael, Devra, and Helena) have made it out, but everyone else is trapped inside the bubble. They want to help the people trapped inside (well, except Helena who continues to nay say the others’ ability to do anything useful - given that she doesn’t have powers the others try to ignore her putdowns since it’s not like she could help anyway).
  • Anyway, they regroup at Amanda’s house. Her mom is this super nice and not in any way suspicious blonde lady who has cookies for everyone (and their all in duos like there’s a sugar and spice cookie and a peanut butter and jelly cookie - kind of odd, that). While they’re planning, the TV turns itself on. It’s a broadcast from the AV department at school. Vanessa’s making her demands. She’s got all of these hostages (front and center is Anthony, who lets drop a single sparkling tear). This cannot stand.
  • Personality stuff: Pete and Michael are BFFs and Amanda’s the serious one who puts up with their antics and gets them on-task. In this case, they’re doing kind of a “what are we going to do?” deal and she tries to stop the wackiness and get them to focus on solving the problem. They also think it’s funny if this attitude breaks down if somebody were to notice that “You have feelings for P-chan” and the whole facade shatters.
  • Ok, so the action returns to the bubble. The heroes announce their presence/what their names are and call out Mentality. Then there’s the fight.
  • They probably actually get through the bubble. Devra makes some kind of metal “portal” thing they can insert into the bubble to get through or something. There’s some scuffle with the mean girls (powers include being fast and strong, but also some purple energy beams).
  • As is appropriate for the genre, the fight scene has the character introductions and is over-narrated by the combatants. Like, way too much dialog. Anyway, our heroes are Blunder (Pete - likely something that Mentality called him because he’s such an idiot, but then he adopts because he thinks it’s short for “blunderbuss” and doesn’t realize it was supposed to be an insult; he had some other name picked out like “Power Arm” or something dumb but at least possible for somebody to self-apply), Gun-Sight (Amanda - let’s go ahead and say she’s using a tranquilizer dart gun on her fellow students here), Wildheart (Michael), and Mecha-Fist (Devra - we’d seen a few robot/metal things up to this point, but now she’s got a lot of metal in the wreckage to work with - she can build up armor and whatnot around herself; it gets damaged and falls away constantly, but she’s also constantly rebuilding it).
  • Eventually Mentality gets the upper hand. She’s bringing the energy field to bear offensively and is just crushing our heroes until there’s a blast of golden energy that comes in an shatters the field. That’s when Helena walks in, gets some flack from Mentality “You here to save your friends?” “They’re not my friends.” Transformation sequence as Helena grows wings. Feathers and golden energy everywhere. Now Helena’s also sporting a nodachi. “You face the power of Tenshi.” She calls “Soul Sever” and with a single slice takes out over a dozen of the haunted students (who fall to the ground, but then start sitting up all groggy as they have been snapped out of it). It doesn’t work on Mentality herself. She yells out and starts drawing all of the wisps from everyone else and becomes a big massive dark energy thing.
  • Big fight with all of them breaks out. Eventually they defeat Mentality and all of the blobby dark stuff falls away leaving just Vanessa. Then her hair starts falling out (“But I’m popular! Nooooo!”). Now she’ll get shunned by the popular crowd and will probably have to fall in with this group of misfits. This is how they’re setting up her “rival who eventually joins the heroes” thing if this was going to be an ongoing story.
  • And that’s it. Looking at what all they’ve built for this one story, they figure that the Manga-verse might show up in the occasional backup story in Disparation. Not at Inversiverse levels, but it’s probably not just this one-off thing. Not even necessarily following these characters, just different stuff in this setting. They likely even play around with different genres (possibly including a slice-of-life shōjo story involving Anthony - seriously, the idea of everyone being in love with him while he is “only in love with music” about kills Adam with how funny it is at around 1:03:37).

Questions

  • In a Japan-centric version of the Sentinel Comics setting, would they transfer Legacy’s patriotism to Japan, or would they double-down on his American-ness (with all of the Japanese stereotypes about America)? There’s two different questions here - what’s he like in the Disparation story they just told and what’s he like in the Japanese-market comics? However, in both cases it’s largely the same: very very American with all of the associated stereotypes about Americans blown up to superhero proportions. Like, by the time of this Disparation story he’s mainly the most hopeful person regarding what America can and should be, but in the manga versions he’s probably just the over-the-top patriotic caricature that’s easy to mistake him for generally. It wouldn’t be out of the question for that version of him to have an American flag as a cape.
  • Given Lifeline’s that canonical character arc (world-ending villain turned to grumpy hero) already tracks with certain types of shōnen antagonist, can we please see a comically blown-out-of-proportion manga/anime style Lifeline? No, unfortunately, because by the time that his hero turn as Lifeline happens Disparation is fully in La Comodora/prep for OblivAeon mode. Sorry.
  • Which manga/anime version of a Sentinel Comics character has the biggest/most ridiculous hair? Setback. The canonical version of him already has big, floofy hair and blowing that up into spiky anime hair just goes even farther with it.
  • [Birthday request: either or “Dare” by Stan Bush from Transformers: The Movie or “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin. They choose the former, so it’s going on the list.]
  • Given the differences in the culture in the Meta-verse compared to our reality (animation having a higher status, Sentinel Comics being a dominant cultural force, etc.) how has that affected the development of anime given the western influences that kickstarted the industry? They wouldn’t say that Sentinel Comics is dominant in animation - that’s still Disney. Even so, animation is only somewhat higher status there than here. Sure, there’s the success of the Sentinel Comics Animated Universe, but remember that that project only got started relatively recently [in 2008]. They intend there to be a direct correlation between how popular the MCU is here to the SCAU there - that’s the level of popularity/cultural dominance to imagine [but note that they’re also starting at the same time].
  • Did anime go for bigger visuals sooner? Did certain breakout hit series like Seafarer Luna and Wyvern Orb take off earlier? Nope, everything developed largely along the same timeline.
  • How did Sentinel Comics change when anime and manga started showing up more in the west (completing the cycle of influence)? You mostly see that in the comic art of the mid-to-late ’90s. Additionally, the popularity of anime paved the way for the SCAU to become as popular as it does.
  • What do you see as the main difference between western comics and manga? Would it be different to think of what a manga Wraith story would be compared to how you think about a ’60s, ’80s, or ’00s Wraith story would be? They’re very different. The big thing is American comics combine the big action/fight scenes of a shōnen series with the soap-opera kinds of things you see in shōjo. A Wraith manga would likely have only one or the other kinds of story elements rather than the combination that you’d see in the main line comics.
  • Did the original unofficial manga change up the characters to better fit tropes of manga (say, did Visionary refer to herself as an “esper” [see ESP] and have an aversion to insects which is a common trait of psychic characters)? Did Expatriette have a tsundere-type relationship with Setback? Well, you nailed that latter one. They can also see Mentality developing the fear of bugs thing. As for the older comics in Japan, yeah, they can definitely see the character personalities being localized. Character/hero names were also likely kept the same (as opposed to this Disparation story), although likely tweaked to fit into Japanese phonology.
  • Did any character get a flashy transformation sequence added (I could see Bunker doing something similar to Kamen Rider)? Definitely transformation sequences. Virtually everyone probably gets something. There would be different levels of course. Fanatic probably always has a great one (not just in today’s story). Bunker doing a pose before the suit materializing around him or whatever is pretty spot on. Wraith is less likely to have one - it’s less fanciful and more of a gearing-up sequence. Oh, maybe she has a necklace that she pushes a button to make it throw out the bandages that then wrap around her. There we go.
  • Inspired by the existence of a very shōjo X-Men comic, was there a similar publication by Sentinel Comics? Would we see the fabled “pretty boy” version of the Hippo? In the Japanese market you’d see that sort of thing. If they did a follow-up about Anthony they mentioned it’d probably be in this vein, although they could see NightMist or Harpy also getting that treatment, although Dark Watch in general could probably qualify for this under a “surviving in a harsh place through the power of friendship” angle. Pretty-boy Hippo? Sure.
  • [So, Taffyman has a couple of in-character letters from different genres’ versions of Taffyman and I’m likely not going to do them justice by summarizing them - this series of questions start at 1:20:25 or so] How pervasive are powers in the manga-verse stories? Does everybody operate on shōnen rules? Powers are as pervasive as they are in the main Sentinel Comics - if you’re looking for comparisons on the My Hero Academia to Dragon Ball spectrum, it’s closer to the latter. Most people don’t have powers.
  • Is there a specific anime or manga being emulated by the Sentinel versions? Say, somebody who’s a fan of pirates or draconic spheres, or maybe that Hiro guy who reuses his character design in mage fights or sci-fi stories? The cover section is coming up, so Adam doesn’t know who the influences are going to be yet.
  • [I’ve been told that the presentation of this second Taffyman letter is one long Ouran High School Host Club reference, which I would never have gotten on my own] How fully fleshed-out is the Sentinel Comics manga-verse? Is it as complete as the main-line comics or is it as mediocre as the Marvel Mangaverse? Today’s story is the biggest/most notable one. The Marvel thing at least had multiple titles and was an ongoing project for a few years. Sentinel Comics did this one Disparation (well, they’re pretty well set on that Anthony Demura starring shōjo issue having happened now too), and then the occasional backup stories. Like the majority of Disparation settings, it shows up at this blip of “what could exist in the Multiverse" and then goes away without further worldbuilding or coming back. It’s more than just "dressing up" the existing characters in manga/anime-style. There was a legitimate attempt to also use the tropes and storytelling styles of the format being emulated.
  • Are the standard Manga-verse stories typically shōnen with only maybe one or a few shōjo ones? There are no “typical” Manga-verse stories - there’s one issue of each type and that’s basically it. They see some potential to do more with it in the future, but for now there’s not much to work with. The fact that it’s Disparation is telling as far as how much of it exists.
  • While the Plavu’Col is a collection of refugees, its population still represents an entire planet; how much variation in culture was there on Vognild Prime and how much of that remains within the Maerynian Refuge? Are there philosophical differences (say, some who don’t believe in the Maera)? How do they treat their disabled/blind/deaf/unable to control the weather/etc. members? How do they stack up against Humans in terms of learning aptitude? Are there certain subjects they have an aptitude for? This is really sounding like a “Flesh out the Maerynian culture” prompt for a Creative Process episode. They can do some quick and dirty details, though: there is probably not a lot of cultural variation due to when they were created and what is left of the culture now. Later writers likely came in with the opinion that on Vognild Prime there was a lot of cultural variation, but a small collection of refugees who had to board an escape ship on short notice probably didn’t have a large cross-section of those differences - maybe even only one cultural group is represented on Plavu’Col. Additionally, surviving a genocide might believably have a unifying effect on the survivors. That all being said, there’s still room for some philosophical differences, such as how much contact they should have with humans The existence of the Leviathan and True Tide plot shows that much at least. Leviathan isn’t the way he is only because he’s gene-bound - the militant approach to humanity had enough latent support that he was able to tap into it relatively easily. Belief in the Maera? There’s probably some that think that it has effects and control and others who just know it exists without “doing” anything, but its basically treated as an “unprovable fact” more than it being an object of belief (“we can all see that we’re alive” as a proof that it exists - this might be a good section to revisit for exact wording/tone of voice when describing it, so the relevant section starts at 1:29:58). Many Maerynians are unable to control the weather (a higher percentage can than there are Thorathians with powers, but it’s still not universal), so that’s not really treated as a disability so much as seen as something like lacking artistic ability - just one of any number of skills that a person might have. While we don’t really see how disability was treated on Vognild Prime considering it was created in the ’60s just to immediately get destroyed by war, but on Plavu’Col they’re treated very well with whatever tools for accessibility being used that they can find/devise. There’s just too few of them left. Adam also brings up the fact that they have such advanced medical techniques/technology that disabilities are also pretty rare - especially congenitive ones (there may not even be any of those). They are really good at science. They have their own musical culture - an interesting tidbit is that you don’t have to have any “musical ability” to participate. There’s not really a distinction between “sound” and “music”.
  • In the Leviathan episode you threw in the idea that the event crossed over with The Guise Book - how did the True Tide plot factor into that book? It crosses over in that issue #9 comes out while it’s going on in the other titles and Guise is getting up to normal Guise stuff, and then there’s giant tidal waves and whatnot. He doesn’t factor greatly in the overall True Tide plot, it was more that TGB writers threw in details relevant to the ongoing crossover because it was fun to have him dealing with that stuff while he’s trying to go about his usual Guise business. Christopher likes the idea of him organizing citizens to create a sandbag wall to help protect against flooding, which would be completely inadequate for the amount of water that the Maerynians are throwing at the city and once the attack stops there’s virtually none, so he might make a minor difference. Good job with that 2-feet-high sandbag wall.
  • How sentient are the gene-bound? They can definitely sense/feel things. If you mean sapient in terms of having agency and a sense of self, they’d say yes, they are sapient, but lack free will. Imagine if one of your base-level instincts like “eat food to survive” was “serve Thorathians/Voss”.
  • Would it be possible (with infinite time/resources) to reverse the gene-binding process? Could that work on Leviathan? The knee-jerk response is “no”. It’s not just a matter of flipping a switch from one setting to another. They utterly wreck the being in the process of now making it do this specific thing. That being said, any super-science thing you want to invent or have look into the process has some hypothetical chance of working.

Cover Discussion

  • So, going back to the mid-’00s, let’s put it in May 2004, Disparation vol. 2 #21.
  • Do they want to have the characters in their “hero” outfits or play into the “high school students” framing device.
  • Or, maybe do a bait and switch and have the Freedom Five on the cover (they decide not).
  • Looking at manga covers in general, they tend to be a bit abstract or just showing the characters without much action/context. Having the three friends (maybe with Devra off to the side and the glowing monster Mentality in the background or something) in the central position is likely the way to go.
  • In looking at early covers of several things, Adam says that covers often showcase the “iconic” looks of characters even if the initial volume is before they get powers or whatever, so avoiding the heroes’ costumes seems unnecessary. “Abstract, set-of-characters” seems to be the way to go on this one. The secret you’d keep is the villain - keep the blobby thing in the back so that you can see they’ll be fighting something, but not giving away the identity. Maybe throw Walker-sensei (or whatever name they gave him) on there.
  • [Also, the katakana for the cover title is ヂスパレーション for easy copying.]