Fred Gallagher: Megatokyo

Megatokyo by Fred Gallagher is a webcomic (now also available in paperback). Whilst the drawing style and elements of the story are influenced by Japanese mangas, the two main characters — Largo and Piro — are Americans. Despite this Piro is quite knowlegable about the Japanese culture and language. A strong link to the computer gaming scene is expressed by the use of l33t speak and the frequent allusions to computer games in the story.

Also drawing (cartoons) and manga play a major role in Megatokyo. Cases in point are the self-referential discourses about the four panel format (in later episodes mostly abandoned), and the discussion of a previous episode reviewed by characters during a visit to the cinema.

A major attraction for fans is the humour based upon the circumstances Piro and Largo find themselves in after stranding in Japan. They are gamers in their early twenties, preferring the world of cartoons and computer games to their desolate and frustrating life. Their inability to act appropriately in social contexts, paired with their escapist approach when it comes to problems of the everyday life, makes it easy for many geeks to relate to their experiences. Both Piro and Largo are intelligent enough and capable of getting a job, earning money and performing the social rituals of mating, but they prefer dating sims (a game genre popular in Japan). They know that there was a Sim game about this kind of middle-class, suburban utopia and it sucked — ’nuff said.

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