(Had to submit this as a journal because dA wouldn't let me publish this as a deviation prose piece for this one entry. It's being weird like that...)
The last part was kind of a downer, huh? Don't worry; it starts to get better in...
Part 3: PMD-E Comics and Stories for Arc 2
Oddly enough, despite how much I hated the direction the group went in by Missions 7 and 8 and how glad I was that it quit while it was ahead, Arc 2 (especially for Mission 6) was the time when I regained the storytelling skills that I lost in Arc 1 and I could show everyone stories that were on the level of the fanfiction I was writing just a couple years back. And I even got better in terms of character development and stuff! Not to mention that deadlines for these missions became so long that I was capable of doing up to three comics at once, and even made many of them look at least a little bit good, if not a lot. In terms of both developing my art skills so that I could do digital art a lot better and experimenting with different art styles, I'd say these comics were successes.
Mission 6: Memories of the Living Dead
Originally released: April 14, 2012 - May 16, 2012 Summary:
Crushed and saddened from the loss of Sorbet the Kyurem, Amy considers quitting the team altogether and going back to Treasure Town. But then a strange Golurk appears and follows her around, calling her Master Amy! As she helps to repair Tao Village, she tries to get him to go away, to no avail. It isn't until the next morning when she realized that this "Darren" might actually be the reincarnation body of a certain Grovyle friend she thought she'd never see again...Pros:
By far my most successful mission comic of all, even if it only won 3rd place in judging (I presume due to me already winning twice or something, I dunno). The lineart quality is definitely a lot better, even if I was still using Adobe Illustrator instead of Painttool Sai for the inking, and the coloring was a lot neater-looking as a result. And the story, oh man...I firmly believe that the less of a prompt I'm forced to stick to, the better my stories turn out, and this is the one story that I'd show to prove it. With the mission details being as loose as "just rebuild the town", I was able to go with my imagination and introduce Darren, one of my all time favorite robot characters, and have him be Grovyle (from Echoes of Time) who came back from the dead to be happily reunited with his best friends. Plus, my boyfriend even says that I handled Sorbet's death with far more dignity than the canon comic even did, and that is the highest praise one can give me for that sequence, if not the entire comic. I loved every moment of it.Cons:
Hm...you know, I really can't think of any cons for this comic/storyline, other than I really wish the group could have went in a different, more positive direction than it did in later missions before its downfall. Also, the decision to make Grovyle come back at all even like this may have been rather questionable in retrospect, but I'll get into this more when I get to reviewing this mission's interquel story.
M6 Nighty Rejeckts: Recipe for Suckage!
Originally released: April 22, 2012 - June 17, 2012 Summary:
Joe the Bisharp is just plain silly. One day, he gets his chance to get some fresh air by going out to gather ingredients to cook food for everyone, and when his lazyness almost got poor Ralts eaten by zombies, he then meets an attractive Flygon named Elena, who helped save Ralts. Joe then tries to impress Elena every second he gets...which, when combined with the fact that Elena is stuck in the castle helping to cook the dinner with him, won't end well...Pros:
Oh gosh, I could not stop laughing when reading through this again. XD I am so glad I decided to create an entire Mission 6 comic revolving around Joe the Bisharp (known back then as just Bisharp because I suck at giving Pokemon nicknames), because he was a crazy-funny character to write for. And with the mission objective for the Rogues being just as vague (just "collect ingredients to cook for people"), I was able to unleash my imagination here once again and really exploit the comedy from all angles at every opportunity possible. Working with Lauren has allowed me the opportunity to work with pure black lines, which was a nice change of pace.Cons:
Just the art, really. I was still used to learning the massive differences that pure black lines could make to the colors inside them. In all my previous comics, I could get away with slightly desaturated colors because the outlines were all colored and bright, but here, the black outlines made those very same colors look rather bland, and I didn't quite realize it at the time. Also, the Flip-O-Ramas were rather...tiny. I wish I had more practice with Flash so that I could make them even bigger than they are. Still, though, for its shortcomings in the art department, the story was just way too hilarious for the art to have any sort of negative impact on my enjoyment level of it.
Oh yeah, and while I personally don't approve of Joe's behavior in this comic in real life, I think the humiliation conga line he suffers at the end here is more than enough to convince people that acting like him is a pretty bad idea.
Mission 6: The Circus of Doom
Originally released: May 25, 2012 - June 7, 2012 Summary:
Meanwhile, Lipless has decided to tie up her two teammates so she can go on the mission to be a magician's assistant at the King's Rock Casino at Alomomola City. After she forces Rigley to take her on a tour through their spaceships, she brings him along and ends up forcing her way through the door while Rigley is left out. In the end, she ends up being the one who inadvertently exposes the conspiracy at the casino that was there all along.Pros:
My very first time rendering in a black-and-white sort of manga style! Also, I'm pretty sure this was the first time I've ever tried inking lines in Painttool Sai. It's kind of crude, but for a first time effort, it's not too bad. In addition, the character development of Rigley in this one was amazing, and I guess Lipless was pretty funny.Cons:
Others, on the other hand, say that Lipless was kind of annoying. Which I guess is kind of the case, but on the other hand, she is like 4 years old, so I guess it would be a realistic outcome. Still, though, I was hoping she would come across as more funny and less annoying. Oh well, that's how you learn. Also, out of my three(!) comics that I made for Mission 6, I feel like this one just didn't quite rise to either the dramatic or funny levels of the first two. Still, though, as an experiment in a new style of art, it worked pretty well.
Mission 7: Of Knights and Pawns
Originally released: September 17, 2012 - December 11, 2012 Summary:
With Ralts suddenly missing, Joe the Bisharp has his hands full trying to keep a handle on Lipless. But when he sees a lone Pawniard named Tori, he tries to convince her to join him on a mission of awesomeness. However, just a simple mission becomes anything but as the most surprising thing ever happens...Pros:
I fully expect people to be saying that *this* is by far my best mission comic yet, and just by looking at it, I can believe them. The storytelling is absolutely perfect (which is all the more remarkable considering that this was entirely based on an RP instead of being scripted out like how I usually like to do it), the art is fabulous, and over the four months that it took to make this crazy-massive 48-page comic, you can clearly see how both my inking and coloring capabilities have skyrocketed during that time. I also had a lot of fun talking with CrimsonAngelofShadow
during those four months as well, and her pencilling capabilities really are what made this amazing in the first place.Cons:
The story...kind of is only continued in a series of RPs. Also, my grades didn't do so well because pretty much all of my free time was spent working on this crazy-massive comic, so I got pretty upset about that. And due to the group closing down and me and Crim wanting to pursue our own original stories now, this is really as far as we'll go when it comes to working together, at least as far as PMD-E comics are concerned. But those aren't really cons when it comes to the actual project itself, is it? Anyway, if there are any that I can see, it's that the lineart is kind of crude in the first several pages, and I could have played around with adjusting the sizes of the words and word balloons so some of the panels wouldn't feel so cramped. There were also times when I felt like the story played out a bit slower than it should have, but at the same time, it's hard to imagine how I could have shortened it and have it still have the same impact.
??? Mission 7: Survival of the Cutest
Originally released: November 28, 2012 - November 29, 2012 Summary:
Chikorita is all alone in Prismatic Jungle in the past! In order to escape and make it back home to Amy and Darren, she has to team up with a certain Servine to find a way to get off the island--even if it means facing with the lord of the jungle, Tivoli the Tyranitar himself!Pros:
I finished this story in only two days, you guys! That's a new record!
No seriously, just like with my usual prose works, I likely just released all the parts one after another as soon as I finished typing out the whole thing. Anyway, this was the first time I've ever been able to write Chikorita in as a main character, so yay~. I was also able to take the plot and title from one of my original stories and adapt it to fit this mission to a T. I'd say that the plot itself was compelling and pretty good, but the writing judges seem to say otherwise...meh, they're pretty harsh all around no matter what you do.Cons:
Why couldn't it be Amy who was sent to the past and not Chikorita? That would have made for another interesting story, and I might have has as much motivation for it as Mission 4. (Though I guess that seems like a bit of a retread, now that I'm thinking of it...) Also, Chai should NEVER HAVE COME ALONG AND JOINED THE TEAM. I guess he could have stuck around with Chikorita if only to later join her family, but still. He did not fit into Team Pecha's dynamic nearly as much as I thought he would. Ugh. Team Pecha will always be Amy, Chikorita, and Darren for me~.
April Tasks: A Life in Another World
Originally released: April 19, 2013 - May 15, 2013. I forget when the last part was actually released.
April Tasks: A Life in Another World - Part 1"Mmmgh..."
What was this?
Ellie certainly never remembered the bed being this soft before. She was used to either the cold, hard cave floor where Joe's family lived, or some sort of random assortment of straw, not this strange, super-soft, fluffy stuff. Was it Amy? No, preposterous; Amy was a Jigglypuff, and even Jigglypuffs couldn't be everywhere at once. A colony of Jigglypuffs? This was getting ridiculous. Ellie decided, to heck with it, she might as well find out what the this stuff even was.
She pushed herself up to find that, yes, her head was on a pillow, though certainly not like any pillows she knew. More worrisome was the super-soft surface and blanket that was over her. And wait, was she wearing...? What the heck was she wearing, anyway? She never remembered wearing any accessories other than her brown messenger bag, so what was...?
In the faint light, she then caught sight of her hands. But there was something wrong with them...very wrong. They weren't white like they were
April Tasks: A Life in Another World - Part 6 ENDLucifer promptly tapped a very familiar Kirlia's once-again-green shoulder.Summary:
"You awake, Ellie?" he asked softly as he gave his wings a few stretches before folding them into their inert position.
The plump Togekiss quickly decided to check over her aura just in case. His eyes flared pure white, and he swiftly noted that this Ellie was indeed his Ellie. He did spot an aspect of Yubel that had copied herself over, but maybe that was for the better. He would be sure to tell his partner this, though. Removing it would literally be a snap, especially with his swanky new Mood Ring.
The Angel glanced at the talon said artifact was welded too.
"...That trip was absolutely worth it~" he cooed to himself as he felt a burst of power surge through his body.
"Mmmgh..." Ellie blinked her eyes open. Something sure felt different this time. "Wh...where are we?" she asked as she rubbed her eyes and tried to look around. She certainly didn't remember Gabriel being with her...then again, when she thought
One day, Ellie the Kirlia wakes up to find herself in a world of humanoids--and that she has become a humanoid herself! She soon finds out that it was Gabriel the Togekiss who had transported them both there, and is forced to wait until his powers recharge before they can go back. In the meantime, they have to survive the dreaded institution known as...high school.Pros:
For a story prompt that was so wacky and utterly insane that it could be nothing other than an April Fool's Day prank as released by the group (or at least something to take our minds off of the bloodshed and violence that was happening in the main story at the moment), me and my collab partner had been able to take it and then turn it into an epic and amazing story in which both Ellie and Gabriel learn some deep and meaningful things about both their alternate universe's selves and each other. Though you have to thank my collab partner for coming up with this story to begin with, and as one of the best writers in the group, it's only natural that such a collab became one of my best writing pieces ever. And I am usually a sucky writer when it comes to PMD-E prose works!Cons:
This is about as far as where the story goes in terms of Team Night Knights since the group closed down shortly afterward. Also, I personally feel that the human iterations of these characters that we're currently developing into an original story of our own are way better, but of course, that's not really a con. XD
Some of you who have been watchers of mine for a long time might be wondering, didn't I make another Mission 7 comic by that point? Well, by that point, the only story idea I had was just that of a romance between an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, and looking back on it in hindsight, I was way too uncomfortable with the subject matter and the young kids involved, so I completely scrapped it and rendered it non canon.
And for those of you who are wondering if I even ever made a Mission 8 comic? Well, I had a couple of ideas, but given the incredibly dark turn the story had made, I had all but lost interest in the group by that point. I mean, there was a freaking war in the past. And when you take into account the fact that the group closed right after said horrific war, you're having the potential for thousands of characters to be traumatized and only the individual authors to figure out what happens from there! It makes me glad I never made a Mission 8 comic in the first place!
As for what happened to the characters in the end, well...you can just check out the final two pages from Rallen and Jody:
In conclusion, PMD-E definitely wasn't *all* bad. During the slower second two years, I was able to figure out that since the plot didn't afford me a lot of freedom, I should focus on developing my characters instead, which turned out beautifully and made them way more fleshed out than the cardboard cutouts that Team Nighty Knights in particular used to start out as. Not to mention it allowed me to make a lot more friends on dA, and improve my art skills when it came to drawing entirely digitally. At the same time, though, I feel like I've had worse experiences than many people seem to say they've had from it. There were weirdos, trolls, and really annoying people in general to deal with, including those who kept wanting to collab with me despite having no storytelling and art skills, or even any way of handling deadlines. In fact, my boyfriend had such a bad experience that he had to leave dA altogether!
Plus, the entire time I was in the group, I felt that the way the group told its story and my storytelling sensibilities did NOT mesh very well at all. And it's not just the fact that it was never PG to begin with, either; I mean, it was dark, it rarely if ever had any moments for the characters to have a break, and it just kept getting so massively long and convoluted each mission that I was starting to feel alienated from the whole thing, like as if the admins had a totally different story to tell all along. The tone was just...too weird, and there weren't enough humanizing elements in the plot for me to be able to relate to it well. I also felt alienated in the sense that literally everybody just pushed writing/drawing their stuff off until the last second, and I was one of the few if not the only people who actually completed stuff with as much time to spare as possible. Honestly, though, I think I stand by what I said before: The less of a prompt I'm forced to follow when it comes to writing stories, the better off I am.
Speaking of which, these reviews aren't over yet. Coming up next will be more stories and side comics~.