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Belongs to these Storylines



4/8/19 UPDATE: Cole, our colorist, had a medical emergency (nothing life threatening!), and wasn’t able to get the next page finished for today’s update. I realize we just had a lengthy hiatus, but the next update will be on Monday, 4/14.


And we’re back for the epilogue! This page features our Volume 2 kickstarter backer cameos. Will (Aetre) Keay is wailing dramatic chords on the samisen, and Scout Sue is playing the part of Suzuka (Sue-zuka, get it??) in the Kabuki adaptation of the story!

Some other easter eggs on this page include the return of the main cast stand-ins that the Wu Tang Bros accidentally assaulted. The play’s backdrops are a castle wall, rolling hills, and forests, which have all been often used backgrounds for a majority of the comic. There’s also a Ricardo actor with a very elaborate hat and not-rifle. Ken and Yumiko’s dramatic scene seems to have played out differently in the kabuki adaptation. Ennosuke Nakamura can be seen looking on to the stage worriedly, which is his trademark directing method.

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  • clogboy

    Love it :) Like there was ever any doubt those two would be together again. Although I would’ve also liked seeing their fledgeling struggles after being cut loose from their manipulative, power hungry, paranoid father.

    • clogboy

      Oh snap, is this an April Fool’s page then I honestly can’t tell.

      • suburban_samurai

        Alas, we no longer do April Fools gags because they were mostly Joe’s idea and he’s too busy with other work nowadays to plan them out. This page is TOTES CANON!

        • clogboy

          That’s the thing with doing a comedy-oriented strip… on April Fool’s day they’re all crying wolf :p

  • Sunwu

    and that’s how I met your mother….

    • Kid Chaos

      “Hey, my hat isn’t pointy enough!” 😜

  • Turul

    Oh! Genchu is wearing Wataro colours again :)

    • (Fig.2) Ocean Burning

      Good eye.

  • Hfar

    “All right, you primitive screw-heads, listen up! See this? This… is my bang stick!”

    • IDPounder

      I’m giving you a vote up for attempting to quote Ash, but I’m scowling at you for whiffing the quote. It contains insufficient boom.

      • Ladon

        That’s part of the joke, man. It’s parody.

        • suburban_samurai

          I believe there’s some joke-ception going on here.

          • Ladon

            I can’t tell… sarcasm doesn’t translate through text.

          • Archangel

            This is what emoticons are for, people.

      • Agent 52

        Look above the Ricardo actor in middle panel

  • Sunwu
  • foducool

    ahah I’d have lost my shit if one of the female characters was played by a buff dude XD

    • suburban_samurai

      Ah, I should’ve thought of that. Well, Yori played a lady in that other Kabuki play, so there’s that!

      • foducool

        as a nice avatar reference XD

        • suburban_samurai

          I need to get Atla on bluray and give it a rewatch. It’s been years.

          • clogboy

            I’d want to watch Legend of Korra again. If it got better marketing, more viewers and better funding (which I believe it was deprived of by Nick in the final seasons), it could have been even better. But I still prefer AtlA.

          • SKy

            It suffered under the fact that it was very obviously written one season at a time, so they were constantly introducing and wrapping up characters and plot points in a hurry. That and the fustercluck that was season two.

          • suburban_samurai

            Yeah, I still think the first season of Korra is the strongest. Amon is the most intimidating villain of the series and it’s such a shame they killed him off at the finale (honestly, they could’ve hand waved and brought him back, ACTUALLY burnt this time from his brother’s attempted double suicide). The following seasons could’ve further addressed the inequalities between benders and non benders (outside of adding one non-bender to the city council). The first season was a pretty good set up if they’d followed up on its dangling plot threads. The second season feels like overcompensating for not having her do anything ‘legendary’ in the first season, and suddenly she’s merging realms and we’re getting lore retcons of the first avatar (albeit pretty good ones).

            I still like LoK for a lot of reasons. The side characters are all fantastic, the world is rich with great lore building and visuals, and feels very tactile. The fight choreography and animation is superb, the humor is usually great. But the story arcs, overall, feel disjointed, rushed, and unfocused, with a lack of coherent themes and messaging across the series as a whole.

          • SKy

            I agree with most of this, but I have to say the first avatar retcon was painful for me. Mostly because it removed the aspect of humans attaining control over the very elements on their own, through learning from nature itself – and replaced it with giant turtle cities handing out powers like candy. Plus it invalidated one of the best episodes from AtlA about the “SECRET TUNNEL!” of the first earth benders. The whole thing with the spirits of good and evil felt contradictory to the balancing aspect established previously. And then they even destroyed the past avatars completely – I’ll never know why…

            One thing I absolutely loved about it was how they handled the original cast and their families. No constructed “happily ever after”, but handling them like real people. Aang was always an airhead, even with his children – no wonder he got excited and spent most of his time with his little airbender. And Toph a good mother? No way! Same for Zuko and what little we saw of Sokka.

            Early on I wasn’t so sure about the animation. They didn’t nail the distinct bending motions of the four elements and made all bending look the same. And by trying to make the effects look fancier they actually made them look worse (like water sloshing around in all directions instead of forming the smooth stream you’d want to have). That did get much better later in the series though.

          • suburban_samurai

            You’re right, the retcon of the origins of the Avatar in LoK didn’t improve anything. As a short story, in a vacuum, I did like the two parter with Wan and the giant city turtles, even though it was not a net positive for the universe’s lore (I love Secret Tunnel). In a lot of ways, LoK would be a less frustrating series if it were its own spinoff and not existing in the same universe as AtlA, but at the same time it’s existence is entirely dependent on the original series. It’s a real contradiction.

          • clogboy

            Agree. the only time when they set up the next season was when Kuvira introduced herself in the penultimate season. But they always gave everyone something to do, and character development hardly ever stopped for anyone. Each season felt like a sequel, and none felt wasted. All of them also brought something to the table that’s essential to being The Avatar, and it led Korra on a way to personal discovery. especially the episodes where she felt depressed were done incredibly well.
            It’s still better than Voltron, and I enjoyed the heck out of that show.

          • SKy

            Can’t quite agree with the “no season felt wasted”. Season 2 was – apart from the giant retcon – mostly a reshuffeling of season 1’s themes and narrative devices:

            Smooth talking totally-not-a-villain uses Korra’s frustration with her father figure to get her to further his own goals. “Messiah” evil water bender with past ties to the Avatar displays unique and powerful abilities, rejects his closest family for being too weak. After discovering that she’s been used Korra storms off to take care of things herself, just to be defeated and knocked out using the main evil aspect of the series. Then she has a vision from a past avatar which shows her exactly what’s going on. Returning confident, she faces the bad guy, but he destroys Korra’s powers – only to have her discover new abilities and use them to defeat him. Later she regains her old powers with help from her inner self.
            Meanwhile in the C story: Politics are failing, a civil war is happening, Mako gets all the girls, Bolin gets none of the girls and Asami is betrayed by a business man but only realizes it once it’s too late.

          • clogboy

            I agree the overbearing arcs have a lot of rinse/repeat, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for with character develoment. Bolin was fun as a movie star and the 2 creepy sisters still are good for some quotable material. Season 2 felt a bit like it dragged on but I’ll give it a pass.

  • GeoTheManSir

    So, was the ‘Birdfish’ remix strip foreshadowing? Because Hirotomo seemed a little off his rocker and
    paranoid towards the end there, especially with the paranoia and wanting everyone to die (Koi vs “Heir, clan and Genchu”). He was also half-right about Yori being Left-handed (pun not intended but enjoyed none the less). Plus the bit about someone working behind his back (Koi vs Nataku).

    • suburban_samurai

      They were totally foreshadowing.

  • Xinef

    I’m pretty sure the dramatic music sounds a bit like this:

  • Gandalf the Tsaagan

    Did you guys get to play Sekiro?

    • suburban_samurai

      Yeah, but I didn’t much enjoy it, it was too punishing. I love the atmosphere and art direction, and I may try and tackle it again in the future, but I don’t like when I game engenders more stress than exhilaration, or feels too much like work. I don’t even think I was that bad at it, I only died maybe twice in three hours (once to a hoard of giant chickens, which was really frustrating), I just wasn’t having much fun. I’m honestly pro-easy modes for FROM games. I suspect such a mode would make them play more like standard action adventure games, which I’d be totes fine with, as it wouldn’t affect the harder difficulty and it’d open the games to a wider player base.

      • Gandalf the Tsaagan

        Yeah, the whole “git gud” thing can be a massive moodkiller, it turns something that should be fun into a chore

        • Xinef

          The “git gud” argument also fails, when say there’s a player with disabilities, or just old or ill. Then it turns into “git good even though you physically can’t, so tough luck”.
          Sure making game difficulties ranging from “can’t lose” to “can’t win” is a bit more work than making a single difficulty setting, but… wouldn’t the extra players make up the difference?

          • suburban_samurai

            So the most recent argument I’ve run into against adding easy/casual modes to FROM games is “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. The games are successful because they stick to their guns remaining niche difficult games. If they add an easy mode, they’ll receive lower metacritic scores, which could tank their game and ruin future FROM projects. But if they become MORE popular, then the developers will begin balancing the game differently to accommodate more players, which will ruin the experience for the original fans.”

            Okay, except there’s zero evidence for either of those things happening, and it’s also totally subjective what one fan finds an acceptable change to a franchise and what another fan does not. Also, Sekiro, Bloodborne, and Dark Souls have all been released, they’ve all got their established metacritic scores. Patching in an easy mode now would not hurt them financially. In fact, all the games would probably have a surge in sales of interested players who are more willing to try the games on a lower difficulty. So basically the only reason not to add an easy mode is because some vocal fans of FROM games hate change. That’s basically it. So we just need to be more vocal about wanting a casual mode.

          • Xinef

            … EASY MODE DLC, ONLY 99$

            Nah, if they add it, people will start calling these games “pay to win” xD

          • suburban_samurai

            Haha! Maybe they should be calling them “pay to lose” as they are. I’ve bought Dark Souls Remastered, Bloodborne, and now Sekiro, and I haven’t beaten any of them!

          • Namaphry

            As far as I know, reviewers are more likely to review a game (and favourably) if it has an easy mode, since reviewers naturally play hundreds of games a year, and can’t afford to take the time to get good at them. If a game is always difficult, reviewers may still play it, but will experience very little of it before putting it down, and that should have iffy results on either the tone or the quality of the reviews.

          • suburban_samurai

            Fire Emblem is my go-to example. It exploded in popularity after Awakening, which added a casual mode that removed the character perma-death. It was a series known for its punishing difficulty, with a niche following of hardcore dedicated fans. Now it’s one of Nintendo’s pillar franchises. You could say it’s in part because they started adding dating/relationship mechanics to the games, but it’s pretty obvious the casual mode widened the player base significantly. Awakening is my favorite 3DS game, as well as my favorite turn based strategy game, of all time, and now I’m a huge Fire Emblem fan, and that’s entirely because of the casual mode addition.

      • Znayx

        I wanted to point out that at this, uh, point, the super difficult ARPG is basically a genre in itself. Just as you go into a racing game knowing it will have racing and wanting it to have racing and not be BSing you, you go into a Soulslike or whatever being told factually that it’s going to be hard as balls, and that’s it’s genre, just the same as you don’t expect the racing game to actually not use cars. What I’m saying is that I don’t see these as being the ARPG genre — I see this as being the “Super Hardcore ARPG” genre. It’s intrinsic to the thing. It’s a different game for a different audience just like trying to sell a fighting game to a fan of puzzlers. General ARPG people need not apply.

        So that’s my hot take. I do however understand the question of whether Soulslikes should be, maybe, like 10% easier. It’s easy to idolize a dev and take for granted that their effort produced the perfect balance and difficulty, and we should definitely watch out for that. But that’s an entirely different conversation that needs to take into account the balance of all aspects of the game and is the equivalent of one of those Youtube videos about rewriting a movie to bring it from great to amazing. Lots of those people have studied at film school or done related things, just the same the conversation about difficulty in this latter sense should be something addressed by video game devs or aspiring devs who know about how little tweaks can impact things.

        • Xinef

          The problem is when some people like everything about a game, except the difficulty.
          Or if the game in question has something that (almost) no other game has (such as being historically accurate, including realistic HEMA, etc.)
          Or it could be that someone just loves the settings and story of the game and would like to experience that firsthand. But they can’t because the game is too hard for them.

          So telling those people to find another, easier game, is problematic, because they’d also have to give up on all those other things.

          I’ve run into similar issues when discussing real-time vs turn-based vs real-time-with-pause in the context of RPG games. Some people were complaining for example “I’d love to play this game but I hate turn-based, so it would be nice if the devs included a real time mode” or the other way around. And then other people would reply “If you don’t like this genre then go play other games and don’t complain, it isn’t a game for you”
          Except the typical case is those people loved the setting in which the game takes place, say Faerûn, and they already own and finished all the other games that take place in this setting, because they love the setting itself. They probably played some games where they didn’t like the gameplay, but they played it for the story.

          Usually, if the problem is just “it’s a genre you don’t particularly like” you can just clench your teeth and endure for the sake of the story. But if the problem is difficulty… now that’s a bigger issue.

          And I’m not saying to make the games easier. I’m saying to add a wide range of difficulty settings, ranging from impossible-to-lose to literally-impossible-to-win. It’s not THAT much work for the developers. In most RPGs simply scaling the player HP and damage (from infnite to zero, not just x2 to x0.5) would do the trick. Just add a box in the options screen where players could type the multiplier, with any value allowed. Boom, done. It could still default to insanely hard, if that’s how the game is “intended” to be played.

          • Namaphry

            One trouble with having many difficulty settings is that it means not all players are experiencing the same game, so it makes the community less cohesive. Another is that many players will always choose the highest or lowest or default difficulty based on their assessment of their skills, even though some games might have their hardest mode be easier than another’s easiest.

            The solution I’d suggest is to have the game subtly test the player’s ability in a prologue or tutorial, and then continually adjust itself during play, partly from direct player input, and partly by measuring the player’s performance. If the game ‘knows’ how much challenge the player during any given play session, and can also estimate how frustrated or bored they are, it’ll be more fun to play, and could even give the game more longevity by padding the sections the player likes most while paring down the ones they’d prefer to skip over.

            I’m sure there’d be some unforeseen consequences to using AI like this, though…

          • Xinef

            I’d say the community is less cohesive when you get many people ragequiting and/or trying their best but constantly complaining and failing 😛 (also, when people with less skill can’t get past the first levels, while some other players can get further, I can’t really say that everyone’s experience of the game will be the same 😉 )

            Also, take a look at games that offer both single player mode and multiplayer… if you argue that one of those modes should be removed to make the player community more cohesive, making everyone’s experience the same… umm… I hope you have good running shoes when the mob with pitchforks arrives at your doorstep 😉

            Another thing is that more diverse communities, where some players enjoy the game in one way, while other players have completely different playstyles, generally makes the game more entertaining and more unpredictable, which can be fun. Look at Minecraft for example – you have creative builders who focus on building pretty things, you have survivalists, you have PvP people, you have people who mod the game in thousands of different ways, you even have minigames like spleef. And while there are some exceptions, most people enjoy the diversity – a survivalist often enjoys having a friend around who can build pretty things, so that the survivalist guy can get the resources, while the creative guy makes pretty things out of them, which is nice for the survivalist guy who only knows how to build cubic houses of dirt and cobblestone 😛 In fact, this often gets people to try stepping out of their comfort zone, when a friend invites them to try the playstyle they wouldn’t normally go for.

            Another example would be Factorio, where you can disable all hostile life on the planet, so that you can focus purely on building your factory. This means the game offers two completely different experiences… and I’ve NEVER seen anyone complain about that.

            As for people who fail to set the game’s difficulty right for themselves… I don’t really feel like going out of myself for the sake of people who complain about a game’s difficulty (or just ditch the game because it wasn’t challenging enough / it was too hard) if they never even bothered to fiddle with difficulty settings. Why should it be my duty (as a game developer) to pander to idiots? Also, offering difficulty settings ranging from impossible-to-lose to impossible-to-win by definition guarantees that the easiest and the hardest difficulties will be the same in all games 😉
            But for the sake of people who do use their brain (and also, assuming most people will want a difficulty between the two extremes), sure, it makes sense to implement mechanisms that help players find the difficulty they’ll enjoy the most. I’ve heard of games that do have dynamic difficulty, for example making the game harder every time the player wins, and making it easier every time they lose… though that has the issue of ‘rewarding’ failures and ‘punishing’ victories. Some games do have more advanced systems, maybe even similar to what you’re describing.
            Some people in my university have done research on using various methods for measuring the player’s emotions (frustration, boredom, joy etc.), including camera input, voice input, and keyboard/mouse usage patterns. I’d say it’s one of those technologies that look promising, but may take a while to get adopted by mainstream games.

          • Namaphry

            I don’t know. It’s more difficult to discuss beating a boss with other players if they didn’t beat it under the same conditions. Especially in the sort of game where it normally takes many attempts to do this, like a platformer.

            As a perfectionist, I’m not likely to finish a game at all if I can’t finish it on the highest difficulty available. One simple way to avoid that problem is to lock the higher levels, so that starting players can’t select it immediately.

            This works well for the easiest difficulty, too, sometimes… if easy mode is only unlocked when the player has difficulty with something the designers didn’t intend to be challenging, it’ll reduce the number of players who get a bad impression of the game from playing it casually. (Though others might be insulted at being told they just unlocked easy mode.)

          • Xinef

            But you can’t discuss the boss either with people who never even got that far 😉

            So, whether there’s only one difficulty or many, in either case you can only meaningfully discuss it with people who fall into the same player-skill category. Or, alternatively you get discussions like “I’m so frustrated, it took me 5 attempts to beat that **** boss! I beat all others in one or two attempts!”, “> Doing the 93rd attempt, still nowhere close to beating… I hate you.”

            Anyway, being a perfectionist sucks, especially in some games. A while ago I played Hollow Knight, and got maybe 97% of the game content complete. But there are some bosses that I got fed up with after a few dozen attempts, even after watching strategy guides and such. Just… seems my twitch reaction time ain’t fast enough. Maybe after a few hundred attempts I’d beat them… yeah… no.

            Anyway, one solution to the difficulty thing I can think of is to default to a very easy difficulty. Why? Because idiots who don’t even know how to use the difficulty setting will get it easy right away, which is probably best suited for them. While people who use their brains can probably figure out how to make the game harder after they see it’s much too easy by default 😛

            After all, people with brains can even figure out how to make a game harder even if it does not have adjustable difficulty. I often play with self-imposed challenges in games, such as playing a strategy game but instead of simply trying to win, I try to win with as few casualties as possible. Try playing an RTS or turn based strategy and win without losing even a single unit… yeah, that’s me.

            … I do it on easy settings though xD I’d probably lose if I attempted it on hardest settings 😛 But on easy, I can sometimes win Heroes of Might and Magic games with minimal casualties. Gotta use those mass slow + barrage of ranged units + a few tough flyers to disable enemy ranged units + finish the enemy before he can cast any offensive spells + resurrect if needed + delay combat if need to cast more resurrects… + save scumming… xD

          • EBeth

            The point about not being able to discuss it with someone who has not gotten that far is very valid.

            I get that some people see “hard games as a genre”, but honestly, if you just want bragging rights or to get an ego boost that’s what achievements for hardest difficulties are for. I think it’s a shame to block other folks from enjoying all the aspects a game can offer (story, scenery, mechanics, world building, etc.) just to satisfy a particular segment.

            Adjustable difficulty allows players who are more interested in story than combat enjoy certain games and also helps with younger and older players.

            My 72-year-old mom likes to “kill things” (play Diablo III) and sometimes co-ops with myself &/or my sister. If we could not adjust difficulties this could not happen (or would be really unbalanced). Also, I have been playing Anthem with my nephew. If there was not an easy mode, I’m pretty sure he would get frustrated pretty quickly, and then I would miss out on that time with him (which would suck!) And we did actually do a run on Normal once (just to try), but he wanted it back down to easy right after that.

            As Alex said, it’s entirely up to the developer (and I do support that), but it’s awfully nice when you have the option. Especially when you have a family that believes in the motto “a family that slays together, stays together”. XD

          • Xinef

            That’s a great motto 😀
            Too bad my parents don’t understand video games. I keep telling my father that video games are just a medium. There are good video games and bad video games, just like there are good books and bad books (although, much depends on context and something that is good for one purpose could be bad for another). And I can say from experience that video games can help a person grow, just like a good book can be useful in self-improvement.
            But no, my father just keeps repeating that books are better, they ‘nurture imagination’ and stuff like that. And he seems to think that ALL video games are a waste of time, with no exceptions. Even though my personal experience is quite the opposite – when playing video games or watching a movie, my imagination is abuzz with ideas what I’d change in the game/movie, how I would make it different, or even simply “what could be in that area of the world that was never shown in the movie/game”. Yet when I read a fiction book, my imagination is too busy guessing “what the author had in mind” to have any spare processing power for venturing any further. And even guessing the scenes currently described in the book tends to go poorly, since sometimes I’ll run into contradictions (I imagined something one way, but then a later description forces me to change that view), or I just leave things out of my imagination – if there’s no mention of what color something is, in my imagination it is left colorless. If there’s no mention of smell, there’s no smell, and so on. Because why bother guessing, if I could soon run into some info. So I only imagine things that are explicitly described in the book.
            How is that a ‘better’ exercise for imagination, I have no idea.

            And then my mother is just too busy to bother. House chores workaholic, constantly stressed out by grandma. Although she does have some ways to de-stress already, such as coloring books for adults :)
            So, anyway, she simply has no need or time for video games.

            Sooooo…. I estimate my chances of ever playing Diablo with my parents to be about 0.0000000000000%
            Lucky you xD

            Although I gotta admit I don’t play video games nearly as often as I used to. A few years ago, I could easily play a dozen hours a day, every day, during holidays, and still a few hours a day during school or work days. Single player 99% of the time. Now… it’s been a few months I think since last I played something, I think? I’m just too busy having fun with other hobbies, reading non-fiction, or doing research on the web 😛
            Looks like I’m slowly getting out of my escapism phase, that could be why. Video games are a great escapism hideaway.

          • Znayx

            You’ve got kind of a point – honestly, I’ve often found myself in a racing game where I wish I could get out of the vehicle and walk around freely in the world, or a timed game where I have to rush to finish a puzzle or some such thing and want to simply freeplay without that ticking clock urging me on. Yes, I know what you mean. But in the end, it’s a racing game, or it’s a timed puzzle, and the intention was just to make it really appealing, they weren’t aiming for people to *want* to play it some other way. It simply was not the genre of game they were trying to build. So I would maybe suggest “Hey, consider this guys,” you know, everybody gets to have a voice. But complaining about Soulslikes being hard is like me complaining about how a racing game considers me out of bounds when I go too far off the track. Understandable, but doesn’t really validate complaints.

          • suburban_samurai

            But the complaint is that the soulslike games are TOO hard. Which is a valid complaint.

          • Znayx

            In my “the difficulty is a genre” mindset which I brought up at the start that’s like saying racing games have too much racing. My question is, and likely the question of From Software and co.: Too hard for whom? Are these people the target audience? Or are they a casual ARPG (entirely different genre) audience?

            A more philosophical question is this: Are we morally obliged to make unnecessary entertainment universally accessible if we have the power to do so? And what if that contradicts the artistic vision? And if we’re worried about media users feeling offended by not being included, shouldn’t we be worried about the media creators feeling offended at their work being targeted with accusations of discrimination when they poured their life’s passion into making it the particular way that it is? Whole thing about loving things and people as they are, appreciating them for what they give, rather than spitting on them for what they don’t.

          • suburban_samurai

            Like I’ve said before, it’s totally the creator’s right to never add a casual mode if they don’t want to. But if enough people vocally express that they want it, then the creators might decide they do want to add one in for those interested. Which is why I will continue to say I want a casual mode in soulslike games.

          • Xinef

            I’m not saying making games that are too hard etc. should be illegal and developers of such games should be punished, fined, put in prison or whatever xD

            If someone really wants to make bad games (or at least worse than they could be) on principle, it’s ultimately their choice.

            I’m just arguing that 1. it’s bad for gamers, and 2. it’s bad for business.
            And people are free to complain, that’s just freedom of speech 😛

      • Countzero

        I understand the general idea behind the discussion, because opening a game to a wider player base often also means catering to the lowest common denominator. However, if we talk about an easy mode specifically, I don’t see a lot if reasons against it. Especially since in the past you had more options to make a game easier for yourself, because almost every game had cheat codes and stuff.

  • Aetre

    Been following ya since about Comic #50 or so. It’s been a great ride. Sorry to see it coming to a close, but then, I’m also looking forward to the inevitable final Classic Joe Sound Effect to literally end all the other sound effects. What will it be?! *Suspense!*

    Awesome to be included, and you guys still need to do Otakon sometime. Cheers.

    • suburban_samurai

      I’m glad you stuck around, even through all the hiatuses and such! I did go to Otakon once, but only as an attendee, it’s a good six hour drive or so. If/when we go there again, I’ll be sure to make it known! (also, not to steal Joe’s thunder, but I’m like 95% responsible for all the nonsense sound effects, which I add after the completed scripts!)

      • clogboy

        I’ve been aboard and fully hooked since the whereabouts of page 150 – I believe that was about ten years ago? Big fan of how you lose control and turn into a big, green monster… ehrm I mean of how you make Ken go KADOOSH!, the choisms, the chemistry between Ina and Yori, and the tragic tale of Genchu and Hirotomo, not to mention the shenanigans of Ina’s dad and uncle, the Izumi ninja clan – heck, big fan of everything! It will leave a churiken-shaped hole in the organ in my chest that pumps my blood, and filled a hole left by the Avatar anime.
        It’s been a journey, and I’m still curious to see if you’ll actually follow through on the End of the World plotline, and where Matrix and Lex fit in, in other words I feel like we’re still due a big reveal or two (hope that wasn’t just theory bait 😉 )

        • suburban_samurai

          Pretty flattering to get same level billing as AtlA on your ‘best media’ list! Fear not, for all dangling plot threads will be addressed.

          • Xinef

            To be honest, I find your approach to addressing all the dangling plot threads quite… unique. The fact that we can list off the top of our heads all the unfinished plot lines, and tick them off one by one, while no new ones are added… is quite unusual. I’m used to seeing most franchises leave plenty of dangling plot threads which both means they can easily attach a sequel, weaving the old plots with new ones, and also leaves fans plenty of room to go wild with speculations 😛

            Having all plot threads addressed feels both good and bad at the same time. On one hand it saves us the pain of “we’ll never find out what (officially) happened to X”, the story becomes a catharsis of sorts where after it reached its conclusion, it’s done its job and can be left with no… residue, if you know what I mean…
            On the other hand, it does sort of break immersion, as real life never addresses all dangling plot threads without creating new ones.

            As for my personal thoughts on how NN4B compares to other media… let’s just say that:
            1. I’m planning to make some video games where one of the characters is partially inspired by Cho… but also draws inspiration from Xellos and Pinkie Pie. Anyway, if you believe that “imitation is the highest form of flattery” then yeah, that.
            2. That’s me in real life, so gather from that what you will. #IloveUMan #Nohomo

          • Turul

            I’m not sure what I imagined other NN4B readers to look like, but not this. …But I should’ve imagined this.

          • suburban_samurai

            Xinef, turns out you were always our target demographic!

            Also, even though we’re wrapping up all the plot threads, most of the characters will presumably continue to have lives beyond the events of the comic, which honestly only spans a period of maybe a little over a month, not counting flashbacks. There could be other exciting adventures and new adversaries, WHO KNOWS!

          • Xinef

            That is, unless the world ends or something.
            That’s certainly one way to wrap up a comic with no threads left 😉

      • Aetre

        It’s actually so much better now that it’s in DC, it’s crazy. The convention center is actually big enough now! In Baltimore it was half the gofers’ jobs to keep people moving one way through the halls so as to keep the flow from getting too clustered. And it never worked. Also, there’s some pretty good Japanese food in the convention center food court; I’m not sure if it’s just during Otakon or if it’s all the time, but it’s way better than walking ten blocks for a Chipotle.

  • Phillip Moyer

    Ive seen so many long-running webcomics have been coming to a close. It feels like the end of a webcomics era, where everything big now is on webtoon or are gag comics on social media.

    I’ve loved this comic through the years, and I’m happy that it’s coming to a satisfying conclusion after all this time.

    I won’t lie, I’m kind of sad. I miss the old days, back when TopWebcomics was relevant, Ryan Armand was a big name in webcomics, and forums were the main way of communicating with the fan base. I guess I’m getting old.

    • suburban_samurai

      I’m glad you stuck with us even through some long hiatuses and sporadic update schedules! NN4B has been part of for a number of years now. It’s a collective bursting with ongoing serialized story comics if you’re in the mood to discover more.

      I definitely have some nostalgia for the early days of webcomics, back when you could put a link to all webcomics in existence onto a list of under a thousand. But I think the fact that the webcomic world has broadened and become less centralized, where webcomics are all over social media sites, and print comics are all available digitally now, shows It’s far from dying. The bar is alot higher if you want to get noticed, though!

      I still love making comics, but I need to step away from it for a while. NN4B has been basically this one ongoing amateur art project for seventeen years of my life and I want to clear my mind of it, and let other flights of fancy take me in different directions.

    • DB (NOT Cooper–fka DaveBro)

      There’s something to be said* for being First Fandom, if I’m not assuming too much.

      (* Even if only “beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!” YMMV. IANFF.)

  • Turul

    Aha, so there’s no need for No Need For Bushido this week.
    Hope Cole gets better. :)

  • Astralfury

    God help this cast if Ken doesn’t approve. He’s a perfectionist on plays anyway let alone one that involves his story in it.

    • suburban_samurai

      He demanded that his character have a dramatic death scene, which is why his and Yumiko’s parts were flipped.

      • Astralfury

        Well that’s good, means the cast will live beyond openimg night, though I bet Ken would turn up drunk at every performance of it.

        Heh what’s Yumiko’s view on this?

        • suburban_samurai

          Yumiko’s really happy that Ken has a passion beyond revenge, and enjoys the kabuki experience vicariously through him. The actual contents of the play don’t really interest her much. She is a passionate about music, though. (I hope I didn’t just J K Rowling the nn4b canon!)

          • Astralfury

            You’d only JK Rowling it if you told us she could only get off when music is playing in the background I think.

            (real talk: I like their coupling best so the insight is appreciated!)

  • Frank Royce Harr

    Yes! Great play! Can you really do chords on that?

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