While normally I tend to talk about webcomics, I’m going to go off on a tangent for a moment (yes, I know, how will you tell the difference?) and regale a story with just the slightest touch of irony here concerning the fan-community of the online manga Megatokyo. Seeing that the comic’s update schedule has been… intermittent at best for the past couple of years, the fanbase has taken to dissecting each comic and discussing every nuance of the comic to determine what meta-story aspects of the comic cartoonist Fred Gallagher has in mind as the story slowly unfolds. Given that Megatokyo itself has a tendency to take various memes and tropes from manga and storytelling and turn them on their ears, and you end up with a multitude of theories that would tie the Gordians up in knots.
As is tradition with any visual medium, people often see more into images than was intended (just ask the fine folks at Disney and the “sex” in an advertisement for the animated movie “Tangled”). In this case, it was a drawing of Sonoda Yuki’s almost-boyfriend Kobayashi Yutaka, bruised and semi-conscious, with a sizeable bruise on his side that could look something like an upside-down “2” to someone with entirely too much time and imagination on their hands. It was typical silliness brought upon by far too few updates, and the next update would have dropped this from the radar… at least, until one of the fans asked Gallagher during a live-drawing on Justin.tv last night. Gallagher’s reaction was… delightfully amusing, as he sputtered that it was scribbles… scribbled bruises at that. After which he threatened to shut down the forums to force people to step away from the computer and “get some fresh air.”
Taking a step back and this becomes an example of life imitating art. One of the main themes in recent storylines for Megatokyo is overzealous fans who take their fandom and the objects of their fandom far too seriously. And fans do sometimes tend to become overzealous about their pet theories; there are still some Harry Potter fans who insist Harry should have ended up with anyone other than Ginny, while I suspect small wars could erupt over which Companion is the favorite of the “Doctor Who” fandom. Having seen the image… I could see why people felt there was a “2” there… and having seen Gallagher draw the comics, I very much doubt there was rhyme or reason behind it. But it does say something about Gallagher’s comic; even with an intermittent schedule, it can draw the readers’ passions and whimsy. And that level of loyalty among fans is hard to come by.