Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki
|Original review author:||Izzus|
|Webcomic name:||Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki|
|Start Date||July 21, 2002|
|End Date||Sometime in 2016|
|Genre||Magical girl, porn, bare minimum parody, "comedy".|
|Defining Flaw||NOTE: Massive use of clichés and a severe drought in regards to actual parody.|
All right, I guess that there's a bit of explanation required here. You see, I used to read bad webcomics all the time, because I was just the kind of guy who criticized things based on what others thought rather than what should be objectively viewed as bad. This is what is known to the philosophical crowd as a "self-imposed nonage". The very definition of a self-imposed nonage is when one is unable, or unwilling, to understand a concept or event by using their own set of beliefs, and instead using the beliefs of others to understand something.
This happened to be one of the comics I read, but even back then it didn't have enough quality to keep my interest as it developed.
Here, we have a transgender comic. That is to say, it is a comic about a transgender teen. If you expect it to reflect the hardships of actual transgender people, or even touch on the lifestyle of a transgender person, you will be disappointed. But even then, when we consider that this is supposed to be a parodical comedy (and I use the term "comedy" liberally here), it still falls short of its goal in the sense that it moves from comedy into fetish territory very quickly. When you take it in such a direction, it is very difficult to pull off in a way which would retain the quality that satire usually demands.
Summaries are written at the bottom of every section, in case you find the article too long to read.
I usually try to find a point at which the comic actually does have a downfall and isn't the first page, but I was rather frustrated at the fact that I couldn't. Fortunately, I have a reason for this other than inconsiderate laziness. This one was literally bad from the very first strip, where we are exposed to the amateur art permeating every page and the comic begins to show you what it's really like. I say that the first page is the downfall because at least the splash cover which preceded it fooled you into thinking that the comic might be more than just another porn comic. I will go on to say that this comic is full of cheesecake, but then again, it's made by an artist (Kittyhawk) who makes erotic comics. What would have gained my appreciation is if she could have taken a step outside of her comfort zone and kept the eroticism to a minimum, but one can only hope for so much.
Admin Makarov was here: Another option is to say the true downfall of this comic begins here. Yuuki, the main character, has bought himself a new magical girl anime nobody has ever heard of. After playing it on his DVD... WARNING: If you know something or are passionate about the Norse history and mythology, please be sure of having a qualified paramedic next to you. Moving on... a MONKEY jumps out of the screen and present itself as an envoy of the NORSE GODS with the mission to find
yet another the next Valkyrie to save the world from EVUL!!!
Story and Plot
The story begins with a teenager who lives alone, has an anime obsession, has mediocre school grades, and gets easily over excited. That's our main character. He also likes to dress up like a girl because it's what makes him feel happy. Well, isn't that what transgender people usually experience? Not here, it isn't. He's just apprehensive about showing his true feelings to others, and this conflict is hardly addressed in the comic at all. What could have been a good source of character development was wasted on a struggle that only goes as far as "It's normal for a man to wear women's clothing if he wants!" In this comic it is a struggle which has about as much depth as a fleck of dandruff. It is only played up for a low-tier manga gag and gets taken seriously only once, in one of the supplemental arcs which aren't part of the main story.
The main character, Yuuki, gets turned into a female by
Hermod Hermod, messenger of the gods, who was in a magical DVD about magical girls, and the only reason that Yuuki got the DVD is so that he could masturbate to the animes. He seems to have an unhealthy obsession with magical girls, so one would think that he'd be more than happy to be one, however, it seems as though he'd prefer to just watch from the sidelines. Yuuki can't go to school as a girl because he's too afraid of what others would think, so he goes to another school which just lets anyone enter with no prerequisite standards. He requests a male uniform because he still wants to act like a heterosexual man despite falling head over heels for another man shortly later.
Apparently, those male uniforms are tailored to hug all the curves of his female body. As you can see, this makes no sense, and here's why:
The only explanation for why the male uniform fits the female body so perfectly is that it was tailored to do so. But since a service for such alterations exists, and if it's that easy to tailor for both male and female bodies, then why bother having two different kinds of uniforms in the first place? And if such an option exists in a school with uniforms for either gender, then why don't we see more instances of men wearing female uniforms or females wearing male uniforms? Surely since cross dressing is acceptable at this school, which is evidenced by nobody looking at Yuuki strangely and the fact that the administrator doesn't question it beyond Yuuki's short answer, one would imagine that he wouldn't be the only person to want to dress in the uniform of a different gender. What we get instead of an explanation for this is more of an awkward moment than a gag. Not even a joke, as there is no punchline here, but an abnormal moment of acceptance without elaboration.
So Yuuki goes on to do what he was forced to do, which is fight some poorly drawn monsters for a few chapters because he's the new valkyrie. The monsters are sent by Loki, who is commanded by Surt. (Sound familiar?) It later turns out that all the monsters were sent by Odin. This makes little sense, but anyways...
Yuuki then fights
Sleipnir Sleipnir, who is now a fairly idiotic horse dragon thing instead of Odin's mighty steed, and Yuuki makes up some new moves on the spot to which he shouts the name of the move aloud. Why? Because anime, that's why. No, it's not making fun of that tired old cliché, this is following it. Yet another missed opportunity for parody, and another, and another. Yeah, most of the fights do this, but none of them are a parody when it happens. None of them are exaggerating or ridiculing this convention. I find it strange that this parody comic doesn't seize these fairly obvious chances to parody, but I'll get into that later.
When he finishes fighting the monsters, Yuuki fights
Loki Loki (the cat doll thing) after being teleported to the stratosphere for some reason. This fight also exhibits why his armor isn't armor, it's just cloth. I personally have a particular problem with this when it happens in any particular medium of entertainment, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one. You see, if a simple kitchen knife can cut it, it's not very good armor is it? The very purpose of armor is to provide personal defense to the one wearing it. This is what armor has been since the dawn of war. And yet, here in this comic, we see it getting absolutely decimated by a mere kitchen knife. Now, say a human does the same thing to Yuuki, who wears what has so far been exhibited as the average form of "armor" for all members of the Norse pantheon as well as their subordinates. Does this not imply that we could take out the gods with bullets and bombs and such if their only defenses are simple drapes of cloth? What use are the valkyries when Odin could simply outsource the Chinese, Russian, or US military? In fact, why bother using valkyries at all if we've had better armor than them since 1400 BCE? But, I digress from the fact that this is nothing more than spank material when it could instead have been exaggerated or ridiculed, and again, I'm getting ahead of myself. Moving on.
Yuuki wins the fight, then proceeds to blush at everything some-guy-who's-too-plain-to-be-distinct-enough-to-remember-his-name says, and all while wearing his school uniform which has suddenly become bell bottomed (more alterations, perhaps?). I am not kidding. I wish I was. There's more blushes in this than a Shoujo anime.
After Yuuki once again shows that he's afraid to express his true feelings to others,
Thor Thor shows up. It is shown in the comic that he is played as the "wacky random" character. Note how he's pointing away from Loki, the person whom he's yelling something ridiculous and frankly moronic at. Oh wait, no, it's not Thor's character being random or wacky. It's just the result of bad composition and poor storyboarding/scripting.
Afterward, Thor, Loki, and Hermod all start living in Yuuki's house even though Thor is the only one who has a reason to. Then
Freya Freya, the first valkyrie, finds out that there's a new valkyrie, so she goes to fight Yuuki and test him, then decides to have a permanent vendetta against him after he says he doesn't want to be a girl anymore. And then Freya, before striking the final blow against Yuuki, decides that she wants to be a lesbian all of the sudden. Then Yuuki's armor mere shreds of cloth quite literally start eating Freya. Then the protagonists go to Freyr's Freyr's place because it's safer than any other place. "Safe from what?" you may ask. Well, the answer to that question would be "Freya's two lesbian valkyries who were summoned because Freya didn't want to do the work of finding Yuuki herself, even though she's been shown to be more capable than the lesbian valkyries."
So Yuuki trains for a while, we're exposed to even larger concentrations of cheesecake than ever, and the story transitions to Yuuki going outside, where he's accosted by those lesbian valkyries. One is a useless Egyptian with a bow, the other is a generic butch barbarian with a club, complete with dialect and skimpy loincloth. Then they get their
armor mere shreds of cloth absorbed by Yuuki's mere shreds of cloth, who couldn't do this before. The author went back to her roots of porn comic artistry with this section, because at the top of every page containing the nude valkyries is a little icon which removes the censor mosaic over their naughty bits. I'd say that this was the point where it just stopped trying to be a parody and traversed fully into ero-comic territory.
After this happens,
Odin Odin gives them a call and for some reason Yuuki took that to mean he could turn back into a man again, despite there being no evidence of such a possibility, so really he's just making things up in his head. That's as far as the story has gotten at the time of this writing.
I don't see how the story could recover from this mess, but it could happen. I think that it has room for improvement. Granted, it would take a lot to make this comic bearable and successful as a comedy, but it could happen. The concept can work, and if it goes back into parody mode rather than FULL ON CHEESECAKE IN YOUR FACE EVERY OTHER PANEL mode, it would only serve as the first step on the path to recovery from this quality-bankrupt tempest of anathema. It has only stopped parodying fairly recently (compared to its relatively sparse use of parody earlier in the comic), so there is still hope for this comic to drift away from porn.
Summary: Yuuki is a loser who likes magical girls, and then gets turned into one. The comic began as a parody and slowly segued away from it, using parody less and less while focusing more on cheesecake and pornography than comedy. The story could be good if it tried, but its main flaw is that it tries to universally reflect all the good and bad qualities of anime, to the effect of being cliché as hell, rather than taking just the good qualities and then mashing them together with an original story telling method. This is done (what I can only assume) for the purpose of pandering.
Additional critique provided by Mr_Y via private message. Many thanks to him for his input.
Hoo boy, there's so much wrong with the art, I hardly have an idea where to begin. I guess I'll just start at the top of my list and work my way down.
The creator has made a clear effort to improve. What were once cataclysmal monochrome mutations presented in static linework and lazy backgrounds has turned into abysmal vibrant mutations presented in fluid linework and not-as-lazy backgrounds. Just take a look at this.
The top is when the comic started, and the bottom is from a more recent strip. Indeed, there is an improvement, but it doesn't mean that the comic's art has fully improved itself. As such, I shall judge it how it currently is.
One thing which hasn't seemed to stop is the artist's constant use of filtered google images for backgrounds. Sometimes, they aren't even filtered. Really, this is unacceptable. It shouldn't have been done in the first place. It's lazy, it breaks immersion, it's beyond amateur- it's immature, and it shows just how much the artist really cares about their work. No self respecting comic artist will ever claim to have done this with a published piece, because none of them ever have.
But that isn't the predominant background method, the backgrounds are usually poorly drawn anyways. That is to say, they're usually poorly drawn when the artist will actually bother to draw them. Many times, they're just random smudges of preset Photoshop brushes, or gradient colors, or they just plain aren't there. And no, in that last strip, it's not just white because they're in a snowy area, the artist did bother to put in a background earlier.
There are certain times when the artist will bother to actually draw the backgrounds, but they usually tend to be missing key details and come out looking like a middle schooler's first attempt at MS Paint. Look at this. Of the two panels which actually have a background, one is a set of stairs that even an elementary schooler could draw, and in the other, the door in the foreground is missing half of its escutcheon plate, while the door in the back is missing a doorknob all together. Most of the time details will be just plain nonexistent. Now before you go all devil's advocate on this, I will say that not every background has to be a masterpiece. In fact, making them too detailed can detract the reader's attention from the characters, but if you really want to make your work shine, they need to be more than smudges, Google images, rushed shapes and lines, and poor Photoshop effects. That stuff is just laziness. None of it adds to the atmosphere at all.
While on the subject of laziness, can you say "copy paste"? Oh yeah, it's abundant in this comic. While it's played up as a gag, the comic just does it too often. It's quite easily one of the few ways that the author attempts to deliver humor, but really, what exactly is humorous about this? He's toying with his boobs and slowly grows to enjoy it more and more over a short period of time. This form of humor is repeated so much that one is forced to wonder if the author is using it as a lazy way to fill space, if the author doesn't know that many ways to deliver a punchline, or if people genuinely find this sort of gag entertaining to the point where it's a hit every time this comic does a copy paste gag. I know that it's used in other, professional manga, but let's be honest here, how many of you have ever laughed at this stuff? I mean, just because other mangas do it doesn't make it good. Copy paste gags are just a cheap way to manufacture a joke without much effort, and as such, they're hardly ever funny. Please show me a sane group of individuals who think they are and I shall edit this paragraph to have a more positive outlook on the subject.
There's another problem that this comic has with its art, and that is inconsistency. In this strip, Yuuki's right hand is hanging down in the first two panels, and then in the next one it shows the left hand. As shown before, Thor yells and points at Loki even though Loki is behind him. In another strip, Thor's shoulders double in size, though I'm pretty sure that it's more of an anatomy flaw than anything else. Still pretty inconsistent if you ask me. There's a similar thing which happens in another strip, where Yuuki's hips and thighs just keep getting bigger. Trust me that what I say is true: character designs and anatomy change shape more than a glob of jam in the middle of an Earth sundering quake.
Another part shows that the bed sheets change detail more than Rorschach's mask. I know that things like super detailed bed sheets aren't really easy to draw over and over, but simply applying a preset photoshop brush randomly in order to emulate what you had the first time really detracts from the quality this work could have. The least one could do is attempt to approximate what the first design portrayed, but the artist doesn't even try to do that. There are also inconsistencies where the writing clashes past visualizations, such as here, where the Egyptian chick says something about forgetting to wear clothes, despite remembering to wear clothes in every single panel before she became naked, so really it's just another excuse to have more smut. It goes without saying that this comic could really use some more work in regard to the storyboarding and continuity.
With respect to the composition, this comic's simply rings with the breedle of neophytic lumbering. Perspective? Who needs it. Fluid motion? Absolutely unnecessary. Cheesecake which diverts the reader's eyes in the opposite direction of the next panel they should be reading? Can't live without it. Needlessly crowded and confusing scenes which almost completely obstruct the page layout? Sure, why not. Constantly shifting character positions without reference to such a transition? It's a necessity. Perspective? No, I already told you it wasn't needed! Although the bushes frame the characters effectively, in what I can only assume was an accidental exhibition of competent composition. Better make sure not to do it again! It's all just so daunting and jarring and confusing all at once, I can't say for sure if the artwork itself is a parody of other comics with bad art (which would actually be rather clever), or if the artist truly thinks this is good enough and said to herself "Now that's quality artwork". I'm pretty sure it's the latter, since this comic hasn't done a single clever thing throughout its entire run. There is much which remains that the artist must work on, such as anatomy.
Damn son, that anatomy. Sing it with me:
♫With the finger bone connected
♫To the hand bone,
♫And the hand bone connected
♫To the wrist bone
♫And the wrist bone connected
♫To the arm bone
♫And the arm bone... Ends at the elbow, where it connects to the shoulder?
Uh... What? That's not how the song goes, but apparently the artist thinks it does. Apparently the artist also thinks that people have pencil necks. Damn son, those pencil necks. And isn't Freyr's pencil neck broken in the last panel there? It is, isn't it? That's awful. Really, almost all of the anatomy is awful. Almost every page has snoutnose, sometimes people are too wide, sometimes they're too tall, sometimes they're too short, sometimes their arms are little noodly things, sometimes the hands are just little flipper things or have one single mitten finger, almost every page has snoutnose, sometimes the heads are turned a whopping 110° around on their necks, sometimes the arms are too long, almost every page has snoutnose, sometimes the limbs will bend in painful ways,
sometimes most of the time boobs just float in the air or look like inflated balloons, almost every page has snoutnose... It's all just one big mess of mutated mockeries which are supposed to represent people. Did I not mention the snoutnose? Almost every page has it. Fucking hell, they aren't even colored competently.
In this page, I'd like you to guess what time of day it is. Don't go forward or back, just look at that page in an isolated context. If you're unsure, then that's only to be expected. You see, it's supposed to be night time there. You know how in the day everything is bright and vibrant, while at night everything becomes dim and has a very dark, almost imperceptible blue tint to it? Well, in this comic the coloring just doesn't care, everything is always high contrast in-your-face hardly shadowed default selections from the photoshop palette. And I mean everything. The skin there is colored in the same way as the clothes and buildings and shrubbery and the whole shebang, so it all looks like it's made from the same plastic material. It's not colored to look as though there's depth to it, and there's most certainly hardly any shadowing to be found.
As a side note, more of a preference really, you must have noticed how none of the Norse gods so much as reflect how they looked in their mythology or any of the illustrations or paintings. It's not an objectively bad quality, but taking too many liberties with anything like mythology can really upset people who actually study this stuff. Let's put it this way- the faithfulness to physical descriptions as depicted by Norse mythology is thin. The comic takes them in a turn for the worse by preferring to anime it up. The basic meaning of this is that instead of gods who, you know, look like fucking gods, they're all emasculated. And no, I know it's their human form. But they really don't have to look this way when they're human, they can still look somewhat like their mythological depiction (note the name of the image, "Odin Disguised as Traveler"). So now Thor is a pretty boy, Hermod is a monkey, and Odin's face is left wanting of a magnificent beard. Seriously, even Mighty Max was more faithful to the mythology than this comic.
Composition's bad, coloring's bad, anatomy's bad, backgrounds are bad, frequent use of copy paste gags even though they never work as intended. It's all around lazy, and this is only after the comic started improving its art.
This comic has many flaws, but most of the ones concerning writing can be split into four categories: grammatical errors, bad characterization, the caked on layers of anime clichés, and the low amount of actual parody in this comic which claims to be a parody. As I said before, I was going to get into this, so I suppose that's reason enough to start with it.
Supposedly, This is a Parody
The author herself has claimed that this is a parody.
That image was taken straight from the author's website. The author has self described it as a parody, this is the very reason I'm judging it as such. Parodies, since I've ever known of them, have been either exaggerations for the purpose of ridicule or imitations for comedic irony. Let's take a look at the definition, shall we?
Definition courtesy of Merriam-Webster
All right, so we have only a few examples of this comic weakly parodying the magical girl genre. The author did in fact try to make this a proper parody. However, after a good while, it just gives up on that and goes straight into porn mode. The actual parody content has been slowly diminishing, and in recent chapters, it is absent altogether. I have asked myself why this happened, and after a little research, my question is likely to have been answered. Kittyhawk, the author, appears to have done nothing but pornography in the past. Her entire portfolio seems to consist mostly of pornographic images. This has led me to conclude that she couldn't figure out how to keep an actual parody going, and rather than try to keep the parody going and increase the frequency in which it happens, she decided to just scrap it completely and turn this into yet another one of her porn comics. The result happens to be that instead of a work which consistently ridicules or mimics the magical girl genre in a humorous way, we have a magical girl transgender porn comic which is worthy of parody itself.
The comic is very clearly advertised as not safe for work right on the website's front page, so cheesecake is very much to be expected. This is what really strikes me, though: Every website which writes about this comic calls it a magical girl parody. When one hears that something is a parody, isn't it to be expected that the work will continually deliver such content? Charlie Chaplin's film, The Great Dictator, kept parodying Adolf Hitler's regime throughout the entire thing. Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote parodies the romanticized view of chivalry throughout the entire thing. Mel Brooks' Spaceballs continually parodied Star Wars throughout the entire thing. Where's the parody in this?
- The title is long and confusing. It's a parody of long and confusing manga/anime titles.
- Yuuki wonders aloud why everyone is stronger than him (this parody doesn't really work though, since he usually ends up winning most of his fights anyways.) It's a parody of how magical girls usually fight people who they can beat in one fight.
- The dude that Otsana and Shebi stay with wants them to earn their keep rather than freeloading. It's a parody of how girls in anime and manga are usually allowed to freeload off of the male main character.
- Yuuki can't defeat enemies in one hit, then exclaims that he did not expect this. It's a parody of how magical girls use their finisher to defeat an enemy in one hit.
- Yuuki has a panty shot in several strips, but in the first instance remarks on how he doesn't like the fact that he had a panty shot. It's a parody of how magical girl anime and manga have panty shots.
I can't really remember more. Hell, I could barely remember any other occurrences and had to go to the TV Tropes page in order to find some examples. Really, parody is very sparse in this thing. It's hardly a parody at all.
I will argue that Kittyhawk has shown that she can write a parody if she tries, but this is simply not how you do it. Naked women can be inclusive in a parody, but in this comic the context they are presented in is clearly not supposed to be comedic. It's smut. I am saddened by this comic's representation of parody. What was once an attempt at humor with nowhere to go but up is now the source of pearl encrusted keyboards with nowhere to go but back to the beginning if it wants to go up. It's simply not a parody anymore, and it was barely a parody to begin with. It could be a parody again if it tries, but that is clearly not Kittyhawk's intention. It is quite obvious that she equates "cute, awkward, and random" to parody so long as there is actual parody every so often, but then she relies on naked women and transgendered teens as the driving force of the comic rather than comedy. When comedy is not the driving force of your asseverated parody, you've done something wrong.
Indeed, many examples of this exist in this comic. One of the very first pages features some poorly executed prose. From there, we have "breath" instead of "breathe", "goddamit" instead of "goddammit", "mike" instead of "mic", "sit" instead of "sat", "auxillary" instead of "auxiliary", "sht" instead of "shit" (I guarantee you that it's not censored. The author actually makes them say "shit" all the time in this comic, and this is the only instance of "sht" existing in the comic, whereas "fuck" is censored as "fsck" for the first half of the comic), an errant "L" in the ellipses at the bottom panel here, and while not really a grammatical error, Loki says "hi" to Freya twice within two pages.
I'm sure there's more examples of poor grammar to find, but what I observed in the characters is far worse than the grammatical issues.
Characters are Less Than Relatable
I view the primary bad character in this comic to be a girl named Chiaki. As much as I'd rather not, I can't describe her as anything short of "retarded". Let me show you why. Here, two wolves who can eat anything are attacking the city. She's in close proximity to the fight, close enough to get hurt or possibly die. What does she do? Stare blankly ahead and then feed the tiny cow. It's not funny. I'd like to meet the guy who thinks it is and have him rationalize the humor here, because to me, it's completely flat. It's like this character is being abused by the author for the sole purpose of appealing to the low brow masses who think every non-sequitur deserves a laugh. She also has a neurotic obsession with magical girls, just like Yuuki, which any functional human would consider to be intervention worthy. Her happy-go-lucky attitude is more like a naivete, so she pretty much has the brain of an innocent ten year old. I guess it makes sense that she's going to a school which just lets anyone enter. It's probably the only one that would let her attend.
Really, her only purpose so far is to serve the role of: A) recently acquired acquaintance, B) bad romantic interest sub-plot, and C) a character who is unforgettable only due to how bad of a character she is.
Yuuki, as I said, is a self described loser. He's rather narcissistic as well, choosing to care only about his anime collection. He also seems to enjoy his female body more than he claims to, considering that he constantly points out just how much he wants to be a man again, yet he also masturbates like there's no tomorrow and doesn't seem to mind being a woman all that much. This schizophrenia is present in more than one way, since he also seems to become malevolent later in the comic (exemplified by this part where he uses barbarian chick's body as a shield) and then decides to go into lesbian mode just like Freya did earlier. Granted, Yuuki doesn't seem to remember this, so perhaps he wasn't himself at the time, but it still doesn't stop me from rating this character a Could Be Better/10.
Hermod apparently got cursed to be a
marmoset marmoset. Could he have been cursed to be something else? Yes, but the author decided that a marmoset was more appropriate because... Well, for no reason, actually. It doesn't have anything to do with Norse mythology, the only reason he's a marmoset is because of the "cute and cuddly talking animal mascot companion" cliché.
He's bad at training Yuuki, bad at his job, and overall bad at everything except for teleporting. He happens to live with Yuuki for no reason. As the messenger god, he also wanted to make his job easier, probably because he's bad at it, so it turns out that he invented communications technology to do it. What's that, I hear you cry? That's wrong? Not according to this comic, it's not. Samuel Morse, painter and inventor of the telegraph, certainly didn't go to Yale to learn about electricity or math and he certainly didn't expect to put that knowledge to use, choosing instead to just paint. And he certainly wasn't inspired to invent the telegraph because his dying wife was ill and passed away, and he couldn't get to see her in time due to the inefficiency of horse messages, and he attempted to make it so that nobody had to go through what he did ever again. He was inspired by a talking marmoset who is really a Norse god! Samuel Morse totally isn't rolling in his grave or anything like that, no sir.
Well, our next character is the guy who makes Yuuki blush over every word which comes out of his mouth. His character can be summed up in a single sentence: He's interested in Norse mythology and goes to the same school as Yuuki. Like a fart in the wind, his existence is easily forgettable.
Loki can astrally project himself, but for some reason chooses to possess a cat doll. The reason for this is because every magical girl manga/anime requires a talking doll or animal. Fortunately for this comic, it has both, and unfortunately, as with the other missed opportunities for parody, it doesn't really use this convention of the genre to incite humor, so here we have another reason why SGVY shouldn't be considered a parody anymore. Apparently Loki's also a wacky kind of guy, but in traditional cliché anime fashion, it just comes off as obnoxious and makes you ask "What does this guy think he's doing?"
By the way, Loki wants to rape Yuuki. He hangs around Yuuki to gather intelligence because Surt commanded him to (but he doesn't seem to be doing much of that), and then there's also the fact that Thor likes him. Why does Thor like him? Who knows, as far as I can tell it's just an excuse to
have a laugh keep Loki around so he can try to rape Yuuki for the purposes of humor, just like everyone that Yuuki fights. That is to say, if someone is fighting Yuuki, they'll usually try to make a move on him. If not, Yuuki will try to make a move on them. The only exception I've seen to this is Thor.
Speaking of Thor, he also lives with Yuuki, but he's the only one who has an actual reason to. He has to train Yuuki to be a valkyrie. Although, we don't really see Thor train Yuuki a whole lot. They fight each other more than a few times, but for reasons unrelated to training, and we only see them have a mock battle maybe once. The training arc doesn't really show Thor training Yuuki either, it's more like he discusses with Freyr what Yuuki is capable of, and Yuuki picks up the concept without Thor's aid. There are parts of this arc where it is alluded that Yuuki is training, but the explanation of his training is vague, so we can either assume that Thor is training him or he's training himself. Considering that there is evidence to both possibilities (Thor is Yuuki's trainer, but Yuuki is also quick to the uptake and very clearly capable of discovering new things on his own), a reader who thinks about what they're reading will most likely be confused.
His personality isn't much to speak of. In fact, there isn't much personality to Thor at all. He's just not interesting, which I honestly found surprising for someone who's supposed to be Thor. I can only describe him as a happy guy, really. The comic makes him out to have a lot of power and skill in combat, but we only see examples and notions of his combat skill rather than his prowess. He goes super saiyan a couple of times, but that doesn't really indicate how powerful he is since he never actually fights when he does this. I believe it should be noted that the only person he ever fights in this comic is Yuuki, so he could easily be a characterization of the Worf effect which has yet to come to fruition.
He makes only two appearances in the comic. We don't know much about him other than his phone picture is exceptionally flamboyant. He's the powerhead of the protagonists.
He's obsessed with sex. He has two helpers who are also obsessed with sex, and they're essentially slaves to Freyr. He has been described as "too radiant to be human", whatever that means. I've been trying to wrap my head around it for weeks and still can't understand what that phrase is supposed to convey.
She's bad with technology and easily angered. She is the first of the valkyries, and has been in charge of them since she was one herself. She is aided by the two lesbians I described earlier.
Otsana and Shebi
The two lesbians. They were summoned by Freya to look for Yuuki after he went into hiding. When they couldn't find him, they found some dude who's obsessed with harems to mooch off of. The strips concerning this set of events are in the 4koma style for reasons I cannot fathom. After they don't put out for the dude, they sense Yuuki and leave. Then the dude misses them for some reason even though they're obviously lesbians. Their personalities amount to nothing more than "Egyptian lesbian who drinks beer" and "barbarian lesbian who drinks beer". Looking at their names reveals a rather uninspired detail: Otsana means "she-wolf". The character is barbarian themed and has a wolf skin cowl thing on her head. Shebi is quite possibly a shortened version of "Shebioba", which means "brewster", most likely originating from the middle east. The character is an Egyptian who likes beer.
Now, I'm not one to resort to memes in order to convey an idea, but if there were ever a top contestant for "derp" I think their naming scheme would qualify.
I honestly don't know why I'm putting this thing in the characters section, it's hardly a character at all. But hey, the website has it in their characters section, so I guess I'll put it here too.
This is a tiny cow. It's a mascot. It likes Chiaki. That's it.
He's a giant, we don't see much of him. He's angry and wants Loki to keep tabs on Yuuki. He's the powerhead of the antagonists.
And... Those are all the major characters. There's not much to their personalities, and even if the comic played up this big event to kill one of them off (if it does, it'd better be Chiaki or that fart in the wind guy), I don't think I'd care. So many of the main characters are unlikable and unrelatable, I find it difficult to empathize with anything they're subjected to.
Clichés of Clichés About Clichés, Topped off With Some Clichés for That Extra Cliché Goodness
Yeah. It's just that bad. You've got shouting the names of moves, a cute and cuddly mascot (two of them, in fact), talking animals, effeminate men, silver hair, fanservice (actually it goes beyond fanservice most of the time), the main character's parents are gone and he lives alone, sameface, snoutnose, the love triangle for the sake of a love triangle, big old watery sad-face eyes, facegags, flustered blushes, the date arc, the training arc, the facing-a-strong-enemy-and-learning-a-new-move arc, the monster-a-week-at-the-beginning arc, constant use of the identical panel gag, the main character is unique/more powerful than he should be for some mysterious reason, armor which is more of an outfit than actual armor solely for the purpose of fanservice, pointless cameos, the list goes on and on and on. See more here.
Now, I won't be the one to say that all clichés are bad. Some of them can be played right, where others should be avoided like a flesh-eating disease. Here, however, in this parody comic which is supposed to be humorous, all the clichés are followed. Ever see a cliché in other magical girl comics? You'll probably see them here too, except that in this supposed parody of the magical girl genre, they aren't parodied at all. They're followed. There aren't even a handful of times where it parodies a cliché. That's what gets me, and I'll say it as many times as I have to in order to get it out there: This comic has failed to parody. It hasn't taken advantage of all these great opportunities to exemplify why the author calls it a parody. This statement doesn't apply solely to the clichés either, it applies to every part of this comic past the third chapter. This comic is not a parody anymore, it's porn, it's cliché, it's almost painful to read. This is not comedy. This is not funny. This is just porn that tries to be cute.
Hardly any focus on parody and more focus on smut, characters are hardly relatable, just a few too many grammatical errors to be forgivable, and too many clichés.
This is how Kittyhawk, the author/artist of this comic describes herself on her website:
Born: Newport, RI, USA
Birthday: 12 July
Favorite Movie: Whisper of the Heart
Favorite Album: Time by ELO
Favorite Food: Red Raku Ramen from Raku
Other than this, I can't find much on her. She's worked on several comics: the Jar, Itari Party!, Quickies!, and her other current comic is called Useless King. The only one which isn't porn is the Jar, but even that one was very suggestive yaoi. She recently guested on a webcomic podcast where they didn't start talking about comics until 46 minutes into the actual podcast, leaving them with a total of 14 minutes of actual comic discussion. Comixpedia tells me that this comic is rather popular, and it's even being translated into Japanese, but the link to the source material gives me a 403 error. Hey, if anyone would enjoy this overly fetishistic omnibus of hypersexual discharge no matter what, it'd probably be the Japs.
Personality-wise, she seems like a level headed person, so it's likely that if she sees this review she won't fly straight into a tantrum of insults or immediately consider it to be an ad hominem attack on her.
She's currently involved in a visual novel about transgendered dudes and furries, called Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme (the name alone should clue you into the quality of production). There's a bit of history behind this, and it's simultaneously hilarious and disappointing.
See, a couple of dudes somewhere got together and decided "Hey, we're going to make a game about transsexuals as a fetish, but let's get a good view on what people actually want from these kinds of games." So they went to a TG porn site and asked. Turns out that people want a realistic representation of this subject that focuses more on the transition rather than the fetish, and that's when the guys said "Let's TOTALLY FUCKING NOT DO THAT." Then, when they had a playable product, they advertised it on every website they could, mostly (you guessed it) TG porn sites. With the promise of a realistic TG game, yet unearthly tons of evidence to rebut that promise, their indiegogo campaign was strongly endorsed,
and now they're trying to greenlight it onto Steam. It was fucking greenlighted onto Steam because the "No" voting option has no functionality. I'm not making this up, the only reason it got onto Steam is because, while the "No" button exists, it only registers the "Yes" votes. This is how I found out about it, and Kittyhawk's involvement. While it's only a rumor, Kittyhawk may be involved in the production and writing of this fetish game, but the only conclusive fact is that both she and the comic's main character make multiple cameos.
The artwork for the game is Deviant Art caliber (as in, someone from Deviant Art actually does the visual assets), but somehow, people still feel the need to say it's good. Hugbox, ho! At least there are plenty of sane people who hate the very idea of the game, and what's even more humorous is the fact that there are actual transgendered people who are absolutely outright offended by it. Despite all this, people continue to give this game a high score on the Indie Game Database. Ugh. It's not enough that Kittyhawk is involved in this. I don't care about that. I'm not just going to shun everything she does based on this comic. But hell, the game is fucking awful. To my chagrin, I played a few minutes of the demo. After that, I had to switch to gameplay videos. Believe me when I say that it's not fucking good. I've seen visual novels before. I've seen people make fun of them. I've seen people criticize them. Never, out of all the satire and criticism, have I seen a more worthy candidate of such treatment. Why Kittyhawk would involve herself with something so undignified is beyond me. The least she could do is try to improve her image beyond associating herself exclusively with porn. Or, in the case of this visual novel, almost porn. It's like the Skinemax of TG visual novels (yes, that is a theme which is popular in visual novels. At least those ones don't lie about being porn).
So, in light of all the crowd sourcing, and all the hugbox support, and all the misguided genuine support, the devs seem to think that the more effort you put into something the higher its quality will be. They've spent so much time writing, building, and advertising (especially advertising) this game, but in the end, it's just not good. It doesn't deliver on its promise of a realistic transition, and instead tries to shove erotic material in your face whenever it can. The art assets alone speak volumes of where their efforts got them. This is the kind of shit that lowers the bar, and Kittyhawk has chosen to become a part of it. You can buy it now on Desura for $25, because apparently shoddy writing and art that punishes you for being able to see it is worth that much.
(Have you noticed how despite wanting to present the topic in a realistic, dignified manner, they still made all the dudes into buxom women? Chalk up another win for
the LGBT community perverts everywhere!)
AM's conclusion, while crude, says it all. Thanks AM.
Kittyhawk seems to want to make a parody, but in the entirety of its over-a-decade run, you can use your fingers to count the amount of times it parodies something. The rest of the comedy comes from gags and wacky antics. While such comedy is not to my taste, I do understand that it can please other people, but wacky antics just make the characters act like children unless it's paired with slapstick, and gags do not equate to parody. What this comic is now, instead of a magical girl parody about a transgendered teenager, is a comic about a transgendered teenager who masturbates all the time and gets into various kinky situations because all the Norse gods are nymphomaniacs, so it's really more softcore porn than anything else right now. In fact, it's going beyond softcore porn since it has actually shown several scenes with nude women in recent times.
All opportunities for deep character development are cast aside for the purpose of cheesecake. The main character's struggle with his sexuality hasn't gone anywhere interesting, and it is hardly elaborated upon. In a normal comedy comic, this is acceptable, but in this comic it is set up as though such events will happen (it actually goes into serious mode many times throughout), yet they never really go anywhere. It seems as though Kittyhawk has trapped herself in a proverbial bubble of influence concerning the conventions of anime and manga, and rather than try to tell an original story (really, I think that it does have potential) she tries to use everything you've ever seen before and mash it all together in this comic. In this sense, it is quite evident that one of two things are at play here: A) She doesn't know how to write anything beyond the maxims of manga, which means her ability to write a story is limited. Or: B) She does know how to write things which go beyond the maxims of manga, but simply doesn't care to utilize that knowledge to make a good comic.
Either case reveals one thing, which is that Kittyhawk is a bad writer who either does not care about or know what she is doing.
I know that I keep saying it has potential, and it does. It does have some good qualities, to be sure. The Norse aspect? It's very good. Norse mythology is quite interesting, it's very much on the same level as The Divine Comedy, Mahabharata, or The Odyssey. Using it in your comic pretty much makes it feed off of how interesting the mythology is. I only wish that the Norse gods in this comic weren't nymphomaniacs or mascots, and actually had some semblance of the personality they exhibited in their mythos. I could actually forgive the drastic change in their design if only their personalities were similar to what they are in the mythology. Yuuki's struggle with his sexuality? It's good, just not as good as it could be simply because there's no elaboration on it, it's just there. The humor? It was almost good in the first few dozen pages. It should go back to that and try to get better than it was, but I doubt that's going to happen. The action scenes? I can tell what Kittyhawk wants them to be, and that would be good except that they aren't illustrated in a way which could easily be interpreted as such.
This comic is not as good as it could be. It does not deserve to be qualified as a parody. It is simply a bad comic. I'm wondering why Kittyhawk hasn't said "screw this already" and just turned it into a flat out porn comic, because to be honest, that's practically what it is now. Like I said before, the driving force of this comic is not comedy, it's cheesecake.
My message to Kittyhawk is this: Either turn up the parody and tone down the smut, or just make it a porn comic and stop calling it a parody. Your third option is to take cues from Oglaf, since that comic actually succeeds in melding comedy with sex. Note how it parodies various folk tales and fantasy conventions while being funny, how it actually has punchlines and doesn't rely on clichés, how it actually uses sex with the punchline instead of switching between comedy and cheesecake. What you have right now is a failure to parody magical girl anime/manga. Fix it.
UPDATE: The website still exists, but the webcomic is gone.
- Author's twitter.
- TV Tropes article.
- Wikipedia article.
- Kittyhawk's Deviant Art page which she uses for fan art of works by someone called Takepon.