Monday, April 28, 2008

Faery Jam Development Notes 1

Now that my 2-month old project finally has a proper name, I can start writing some good ol' development notes. =)

The basic premise of Faery Jam is this: a short, young bard named Wilkob one day discovers his special musical powers of communicating with faeries and eventually gets involved in a bigger conflict.

But Faery Jam has changed much since its original conception. It used to be Grimm, a crossover of all Brother Grimm Fairy Tales mixed with musicians and robots. In point-form writing, the story reached 18 episodes. There was a very huge amount of characters involved, after being fleshed out.

However, after further thought, I find that having too many characters to handle will make it more difficult to have enough development for each of them. The focus would be too spread out. That was the impetus to revamp the entire plan for Grimm that I've already laid out.

A case study about the danger of too many characters:
Shaman King is one of the many shounen series that left an impression on me. As with most shounen series, the cast is numerous but Shaman King really takes the cake with one of the biggest character lists around. It exceeded 100 characters over the course of 285 chapters and 32 books. Here's what history has got to say about the fate of Shaman King:

"In November of 2004, Shaman King was cancelled by Weekly Shonen Jump. Shaman King was let go due to declining popularity in Jump's fan polls (indicated by their willingness to release the final completed manga volume (Vol. 32) if there was a great enough fan response)."

Before the actual Shaman King tournament in the story, everything went well. Concepts of spirits and methods of summoning them to fight was explained thoroughly. There were many types of spiritual abilities and it was really fascinating with the fights between each unique character.

Suddenly, the story took a big turn and the previously already big cast was dumped into a huge sea of new characters.

This is already 96 characters, and still MANY more unrevealed characters in the plot later on. Why give yourself such a balancing burden, Takei-sensei?

Seeing how the series went from potentially good, to unique and awesome, to a colossal disappointment... I've decided to limit the number of characters. Speaking of that, my previous work T.H.S should receive the same treatment as well, but I'll save that for another post.

As Faery Jam has shounen manga qualities (despite being cartoonish), it is susceptible to the same faults. I'll have to be responsible to keep the character count in place now.

And now, to recast all the characters from scratch...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shamisen Brothers

The Shamisen Brothers, currently characters with potential to be used in the bard story. While playing around with the composition, I thought I'd just complete it as a faux ukiyo-e picture. It always help to know Chinese writing from young. It translates to kanji with ease.

Just like Jessica Rabbit is inspired by Veronica Lake and Little Mermaid is Ursula inspired by Divine, so are the duo here. Life provides the best inspirations, yeap.

Jam on, brothers!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sepia Serious I

I always prefer that my characters, or anyone else's for that reason, be constantly subjected to different interpretations. One day, it may actually be possible to use both the serious and the cartoonish on the same page. Or maybe it has be done before?

Until there are real people cosplaying, I'll stick with these sketches.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Introduction - Wilkob

As with any stories, we always think of the main character first. That's who Wilkob is, the idea of a high-class traveling bard in a steampunk fairy tale world.

I've always wanted to tell a story about musicians, cartoon style. In very early concepts, our bard here only plays a normal guitar. After discovering the wonderful variation harp-guitar, I quickly switched over. I forgot where and when I absorbed the final idea of a walking mouth for a speaker... but it was definitely 40% developed from the idea of Rincewind's Luggage from Discworld. I LOVED that wacky design. XD

Yes, influences from Terry Pratchet are in. In addition to that, there are also Neil Gaiman; the two of them sure have their influences over my vision of a fantasy hero, one that patterns after what we already knew, but also tells a new story on its own. Traditionally, bards tell oral tales with their songs; I made sure that Wilkob will have much to do with stories as much as he deals with music.

More visuals:
I've got a initial rough idea of how Wilkob acts, should a comic feature him. He is a quiet guy, apathetic, and snappy-mouthed. Confident at times, but also have his fears. He doesn't express himself well, and prefers not to. He is not smart, but throughout the story he will learn more and end up knowledgeable. Music represents the beauty and skill that people will see on the outside. Story-wise, Wilkob will start out below-average in skill level, with other side characters better than him.

What would be his motivations? Wilkob is the kind of character who initially could care less about things going on around him, only caring about his daily musical musings. Eventually, others will show him how the world and its people work. No matter the story paths later on, I have decided this: Wilkob will grow to care about others, and that point has to be made very obvious in the storyline. It's nothing groundbreaking; all hero's journey parts and dynamic character principles are being applied.

Until I really start the complete story Wilkob stars in, I've pretty much done my job here for this character. Time to move on~

Saturday, April 05, 2008

First Drop

A sand pudding walks around in circles.

"Hey, it's empty."

"You have put something, first," mumbles the cloudy floss.

Next to them, a travelling bard is noodling on his harp guitar.

"Well? Let's get it started with some content."