|Original review author:||The Luigiian; images and sassy captions by Lesbot|
|Start Date:||October 22, 2003|
|Genre:||Fantasy Adventure with furries and humans|
|Defining Flaw:||Interesting basic concept that degenerated into erotic furry fanservice.|
Twokinds has racist under- and overtones. It is softcore furry pornography, in spite of its author's objections to the contrary. It is blandly drawn, using every anime cliche ever invented. It is generic in its style, riddled with fantasy cliches to the point of ridiculousness, and is a chore to read, with characters so boring and lacking in definition you could switch the word bubbles in every panel and still have it read properly.
Can it get worse? Of course. Let us begin.
Imagine if you will, a world of three races. The first race is that of the humans, specifically lily-white, not-a-smidgen-of-melanin humans who possess incredible magic and the ability to control the minds of perhaps millions of people, ruled by a group calling themselves the Templar. The second race is that of the Basitin, rats who are extremely fastidious, so ashamed of their own bodies that they make it a point to never show their paws or their nakedness in public, easily brainwashed by
white human technology. And the third race is Keidran, who are naturally mongrel animals who pounce around completely nude all the time, controlled by intense desires to rape and kill outsiders, capable of speech but decidedly animal.
This world is in a webcomic, and that webcomic is a racial allegory made by a young Asian man who was the victim of racist bullies in school.
Welcome to the world of TwoKinds.
The webcomic always sucked.
Concept, story and plotting
Our story revolves around the aforementioned plot, as well as a love story between the tiger-girl Flora and human love interest Trace, the latter of whom once led the Templar and hated Keidran with the burning of a billion suns. By the end of the story, Flora is pregnant with Trace's child, leading to some creepy bestiality imagery that is best left untouched but which writer Tom Fischbach plows, headfirst, into as soon as he is able. (Well, OK, in a non-canon picture on his DeviantArt. I say pish-posh to that excuse, it's still creepy as hell.)
In truth, the concept had room to continue. The concept, in and of itself, has got what you would need to make a touching, even nastily bitter, allegory about racism, but Fischbach has neither the balls nor the writing chops to make it work. It's really very sad, because it showed some promise, even dozens of pages in. A few improved plot twists, some more clever storytelling, and we would have something fairly amazing considering we're looking at a hopelessly generic anime-meets-furry-meets-fantasy webcomic.
It showed some promise, that is, but over time that promise evaporated to a shadowy memory. We see very early where the comic starts to go wrong, specifically page eight. Now, before I go on, I'd like to point out that there's nothing wrong with showing your lead lady taking her clothes off. It can be romantic, loving, sweet, even tasteful. But what you don't see here is what the artist was doing. Judging by where the comic went after this, I'm guessing that something is better left unsaid, but I think it probably involved lotion, his right hand, and some fairly sweaty petting:
Fischbach: Furry or not?
I have no doubt in my mind about it, Fischbach is not a furry. He's crazy, but not a furry. I have it on good authority from a former admin of his TwoKinds forums that he once admitted to believing that he was immortal and that there was no logical way that pedophilia and child abuse could exist. So, I think it's safe to say Tom's got some serious issues. (Also secretly racist, considering the way that he depicts races in his comic.) But Fischbach is not a furry. What happened here, as with a lot of anime geeks, is that furry found Fischbach.
Fischbach and Eric W. Schwartz are a lot alike in this sort of way. Eric Schwartz writes a similar webcomic named Sabrina Online, which started up sweet and innocent and ended up including furry porn characters working in a furry porn studio making furry porn for furries. Schwartz ended up drawing furry porn coming off of very sweet asexual things he drew way back when Amiga computers were still in vogue. Fischbach ended up drawing furry porn coming off of his comic's sweet asexual beginning.
In both cases, the authors simply found their comics to be a way to release sexual tension that they couldn't release through women or relationships, for whatever reason. Schwartz and Fischbach are not perverted because they want to be; they are perverted because, judging by their comics, well, they just can't get laid. I think this is what drives the creepiness of both comics. Mostly. The bestiality angle is also a big part of the puzzle.
One notable point, on that note, is that both Schwartz and Fischbach tone down their characters' sexuality, in spite of leading their characters into sexual situations. Schwartz keeps Sabrina clothed and prudish in the public limelight, drawing porn of her only for his own enjoyment. Meanwhile, Fischbach, suffering from a similar strain of confused prudery, draws his lead characters naked but without private parts, as these examples below illustrate:
- An experiment in prospective, coloring, and environmental setting, yes? Awwwright. How about some experimenting in giving your characters possibilities for breastfeeding the young, urination and...
- Sometimes Tommyboy's mind goes off in a very strange direction.
- Strange directions like centaur porn.
- "Maybe I'm so desensitized I don't realize I'm drawing weirdo porn! But yes! Eureka!"
- "Haha, those gays are funny, ain't they?"
- Please note this guy's male most of the time.
"Hope you like it! ;D "
Okay, so Fischbach won't draw nipples or gonads upon his furry characters. However, one type of furry fetishist need not despair. Namely, the ones who are into furry paws and paw pads. Yes, many if not most furry comics have their characters go barefoot, and pictures showing toes, soles, paw pads (if applicable) on said furry characters are inevitable. After all, funny animal feet are cute, right?
But TwoKinds is strongly sexually suggestive, and the comic shows no small quantity of paw and sole pictures. And if you think this is only coincidental, look at Fischbach's DeviantArt gallery. Fischbach himself may or may not be a paw fetishist, but take a look at the sheer number of pictures of TwoKinds characters (mostly Flora) that deliberately concentrate on paws and paw pads, and try to claim that Fischbach isn't trying to cater to the furry foot and paw fetish community. Perhaps you also believe that professional wrestling is for real as well.
To dispel any remaining doubts about Fischbach's penchant for making deliberately eroticized anthropomorphic animal characters, here is a strip from the Freefall webcomic (not reviewed here, it's too good) showing the anthropomorphic wolf character Florence Ambrose in the nude from having just taken a shower. Florence may be naked, but I doubt that most furries are going to find the picture provocative. Now look at Fischbach's fan picture of Florence Ambrose. Obviously far more suggestive in both pose and expression, giving her a more human-like posterior and just showing enough of the butt crack. The pictures in the original have Florence's posterior safely hidden by her tail.
On the other hand, many furry artists suffer from confused prudery, where you can tell they really truly want to draw porn but feel embarrassed to do so. SoulKat, writer for Chalo of Las Lindas fame, works to keep Chalo from drawing porn, especially of SoulKat's favorite characters. Anime artists, too, have trouble with this, such as Megatokyo's Fred Gallagher and his disfigured mutant "Blurred" pornography. Of all these, though, Fischbach comes closest to being a true pornographer. Half the time, you can turn his creations into porn simply by tracing in the necessary naughty parts and calling it a day.
Even Las Lindas is not so gratuitous in showing full frontal nudity. Can you tell this is an old article?
Where Fischbach is not sexualizing his characters, he actually takes a shot at making his story dynamic, introducing character ironies and difficult plot points that, in the hands of a great writer, would actually give this story the shot it needs to overcome Fischbach's sexual difficulties. But every time Fischbach introduces the points, he ruins what could be done with the plot.
- Character Flora's parents were captured and sold into slavery, which presumably is an allegory to the African slave trade. If Flora recalled this with bitterness, it would have a dramatic edge. But, Fischbach poo-poohs this, saying that she was purchased by a family that treated her in such a way that she remembers her days of slavery "with a ... fondness." If Fischbach wants to make slavery and racism seem bad, making his lead character a former slave that was fond of her slave days is the worst thing he can possibly do. I could see such a thing working with a secondary character, but the lead? She's the most important part of the narrative and with this sort of background she actively sabotages Fischbach's message.
- The general of the socially-conservative Basitin Army is clearly meant to be gay. This could actually be a strong point for the comic, assuming Fischbach could actually muster the ability to make it one. It would, conceivably, turn the conservativism of the Basitin on its head. All of a sudden, we have this deeply conservative, presumably deeply homophobic society that is so ignorant of itself and sexuality that it does not even realize that its own general is gay! Too bad it doesn't work. Not even a little. It just winds up feeling like another anime callback, a shallow joke for a quick laugh before getting back into the canned drama of the main story.
- Basitin slaves, like character "Mike, of the Coastal Fox tribe", are transformed into women, for seemingly meaningless reasons. (Honest plot point or transgender fetishist fanservice? You decide.)
- In the course of this comic, the sole sex slave character has fallen in love with her slave trader master.
It becomes laughable to attempt to see this as a commentary on race. What with the only slave-trader in the plot being a comically silly "dirty ol' boy" painting nudes of his slaves and treating them as if he's just a kindly old coot, it sort of becomes bizarre. I suppose it could be introduced as character irony, but it just falls flat for me and there are similar, yet graver problems.
TwoKinds: Most racist anti-racist comic ever?
Remember, Fischbach himself stated quite clearly the inspiration for his animum opus stems from his own experiences with discrimination.
So what does an artistically gifted person do to process this? Make a comic that speaks against racism?
Hah, fuck no.
Fischbach went and made a sickeningly racist comic. Not only that he wrote Keidran characters to accept and find their fucking fulfillment in slavery, it becomes really stomach-turning due to the fact that they're blatantly obvious stand-ins for black indigenous people, what with them running around in loincloths and all. The whole "entering involuntarily a period of mindless animal horniness in which they jump everything that moves" shtick is the icing on the cake.
The Humans in this world are nearly all white as chalk and espouse the Mighty Whitey cliche due to their cultural/technological superiority. Not only is their society superior to the rest, since they're the only ones who can draw magic energy directly from the earth instead of having to mine it (or something) they're even physiologically superior. Think about that for a moment.
Lastly, the Basitin. Oh Sweet Zombie Jesus, the Basitin. They live on an island largely isolated from everyone else in a highly regulated society that places huge emphasis on honor and dutifulness. Does that sound a tad familiar? Yeah, they're essentially the Furry fever dream of Japanese. The shit hits the fan, though, when it got revealed they are biologically hardwired to live in a militaristic, paternalistic society and obey orders, and if they do not they literally become insane.
You want to serve up your comic is anti-racist, Fischbach? That could quite easily pass off as a white supremacist's wet dream! That's what that is!
The punchline? He's got family in Japan.
Now, I don't think he really believes any of that or applies such views to real life. No, it might have started out as a commentary on the strictness of Japanese society he might have witnesses first hand before it eventually went all to shit.
"What the Templar are doing is evil!"
"Wow! So brave!"
"Because no Basitins means no Basitin women! And I can't let that happen!"
*character in background falls down with her feet in the air, like on every single generic anime comic ever made*
After being on the TwoKinds forums for six months, I have never spoken to Tom Fischbach. He apparently dislikes talking to his fans, and dislikes his own forums. It wouldn't be difficult, considering many of the forum's regulars, but there you are.
Fischbach's attitude can be seen as he moderates. He chewed out a forum moderator for deleting old posts because it disrupted the servers. At least one other moderator has since left. In his ninety posts to his forums, Fischbach has never shown any real interest in chatting his fans, and the only time I ever saw any kind of artist/fanboy interaction of any kind was in a live UStream video, where his fans watched as he signed their pre-ordered TwoKinds comic books.
I compare this to Immelmann of Concession, a man whose Mary Sue murders people and gives them cancer and rapes people. Immelmann genuinely takes an interest in his fans. He is far more approachable and likeable speaking on his forums than Tom Fischbach.
Hopkins of Jack, another of this site's lowest-ranked comics, is equally approachable on his forums. His "Drip Rat" Mary Sue rapes and tortures people, but Hopkins himself is much less obnoxious, much less aloof than Fischbach, much more... dare I say... human.
Fischbach's fans watch in quiet anticipation as he draws little pictures for them in their pre-ordered comic books-signing one "For Kitten", a member of his forums. Kitten squeals with delight. His fans chat amongst themselves. They enjoy it immensely.
They are able to speak to him only a little, once he joins the UStream forum for a minute, before getting back to his slowly signing each and every book.
Later, I speak with the former mod. He tells me Fischbach's issues with whining. He whines every time he joins his own IRC chat. He tells of the latest sad things that he just has to share in his life, because he is simply so sad and depressed all the time. Meanwhile he ignores his forums, where people are talking about equally sad things in their life, as well as happy things, chatting amongst one another while Fischbach stands aloof above it all, secure (apparently) in his dreams of immortality and a world where child abuse and rape simply don't happen.
All right, fine, I admit it, I can't stand the man. He is among the most unapproachable comic artists on the Internet today. He's boring, rude, childish, boorish, annoying, and thoroughly unlikable to a fault. In this way, the artists of some of the worst comics on the Internet have trumped him.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica article fresh out of the oven.
- My last review got quite a response from TwoKinds fans. Forum thread begins with simpering, ends with a member's admission of performing oral sex on her cats. My later escapades on the TwoKinds forums were far different from this. I think they've figured out I'm mostly just messing with them, and don't really take their comic that seriously.
- TwoKinds fanfiction. I have not read this link. Read at your own risk.
- Wikifur article on TwoKinds.
- FChan asking Tom Fischbach for porn.
- Rule 34 porn of TwoKinds. Note that most of it is just actual TwoKinds comics with nipples and vaginas added.
- Project A.F.T.E.R.'s Review
- Webcomic Relief on YouTube also has a review of TwoKinds
- One more bad review.
- Project2nd - Insane ripoff comic by one of his insane fans.
TwoKinds is part of a series about keenspot