Yeah, this concept video definitely gives off a different feeling than Episode 01. I'm glad you linked me to it.
Just want to start off by saying that, except for the Audio Portal, I'm not very active in the Newgrounds community. I know you've released a ton of animations in the past, and some of those videos seem to be part of a series. Unfortunately, I'm unfamiliar with your other work, so maybe this next statement doesn't really apply since I'm only basing it off on Gunmetal's 1st episode and this concept animation, but I definitely think your work comes out stronger when you're not tied down by having to establish a character's personality or setting up the series' story.
Because this concept starts off in the middle of an episode (That's how I see it, anyways), technically, the characters have already been established. So as a viewer, I'm not concerned about seeing any character development, and I'm not seeking any background history (Unlike how I felt during Episode 1). I simply accepted that these three were friends, fighters, and on some sort of mission. It's not as easy to just accept things on a 1st episode, however, so I can see where the struggle came in in regards to writing the script for that episode.
The dialogue worked well in here, too. Straight to the point and had no filler. I also liked how your tried to show one's personality through subtle details such as their walk. Su-Chan, for example, had this particular march as she entered the fighting room, and Ryu had a relaxed, 'hands-behind-head' manner as he approached the area. It's a minor detail, but every subtle difference really adds a lot, and subtlety is important. Nothing about the animation told me "Look at Ryu! Look at how he walks! He's cool, isn't he? Oh, and check out Su-Chan with her little march. Boy, she sure is bubbly!" And I like that you didn't tell me that. The way it is now, it's more genuine, and I've come to interpret the personality of the character, and I think having the audience come to that conclusion is better than having the story force the idea onto a viewer.
The battle was also better. Perhaps the 'lack on contrast during fight scenes' comment I made in my previous review only applied to that particular scene in Episode 1, and maybe you've never done it before, so I guess you really don't have to pay that comment any mind. I was able to see things much clearer in here. The only improvement I can suggest is that that animation can be a bit smoother (Not really an issue though since this was released this past September, and I believe the months of experience you've gained since then will show in your next piece).
And while this was mostly action, the few bits of humor in here were better received than what I found in episode 1. This is kind of in the same light as the whole 'genuine' bit I gave two paragraphs above. I appreciated the fact that when something humorous occurred, nothing was done to indicate that it was funny. Kinda hard to explain, but think of most sitcoms. Whenever something funny happens, a laugh track is played, telling the viewer, "This was funny and you should laugh." I like to give genuine laughs, and not laugh when the show tells me, too. I kinda felt like this happened in Episode 1, so some laughs were a bit forced. But in here, it was perfectly fine. When Su-Chan was missing in battle and there her outline flashed for a second, it immediately went to the next scene. I really liked that. You didn't drag it out, so the humor wasn't forced. Same goes for when Su asked Ryu if they've arrived, yet it was Su's job to keep track of their distance. This also got a chuckle out of me. It wasn't forced, it wasn't dragged. 'Laugh if you want. If not, that's fine, whatever, we're moving on.' I felt that during this piece, and it worked well.
I honestly can't decide whether I enjoyed the Concept video or Episode 1 more. I do think this Concept was well-put together, but I also like the experience of being immersed into a new world and learning about new characters, which I get from Episode 1. Perhaps one day you can combine the best from both worlds either into future episodes or a new series altogether.
At first, the whole episode skipping idea put me off a bit (and honestly, it still kinda does). I would've liked to see the show progress episode by episode... buuut I also understand why you're doing it and how difficult it would be to create an entire series without any mishaps, loss of resources, or a simple lack of motivation happening along the way. Hopefully this process works out for you and you get to practice your animation skills with different scenarios, settings, and characters. I'll be interested in seeing what comes out of all this.
P.S.: I apologize for the wall of text (again). I could've just said "This is cool" and called it a day, but I do like to be as in-depth as I can be, in hopes that I can provide some sort of help to the author. Honestly, I only write so much because I really appreciate the work you put in to this, and I think you have amazing potential. I'd kill to be able to do something like this.
I should be abe to combine these two ideas you mentioned in the coming ep24, since we'll already have established characters much like this. I'd say Ep 24 would probably end up more like this in terms of flow. I honestly don't like doing those manga-esque scenes that are basically the laugh tracks of anime. they worked for an older series I did but for this its a bit more tough since I dunno how serious I want it. I think I'll do it more with an action adventure tone so when something funny happens, its just something funny, there won't be any pauses for jokes or things or silly sound effect queues.
BTW thanks for your input, it is valued
You know, it's cool and all, watching a high budget animated series put together by some established company, but I love the idea of being able to get the same experience from an online web series featured on Newgrounds. And actually, this experience feels much more personal, much more involving, and I really like that. So I applaud you for this work. Even if the quality of the content turned out to be nothing but average, it takes effort to put something like this together, and it just makes me happy knowing there are people out there trying to make an original series. Props all around.
Now, my comments might have been repeated before, and I apologize if I'm just bringing up what you've already addressed or been made aware of, buuut...
- One thing I wanted to mention was the that 2 on 1 fight scene with the thugs. Because everyone wore a dark outfit, and the environment itself was dark, that lack of contrast between the characters and the background made it hard to tell what was going on in the fight scene. It wasn't a huge issue, but hopefully in future projects, there will be strong contrasts during fight scenes because seeing every detail within a fight sequence is usually what makes me engaged in the moment. For me, anyways.
- Some of the dialogue didn't do much for me. The exchange between the main character and her friend during class, for example, felt a bit bland, a bit short. Too short for any character introduction and/or development, and since it's the first episode, the audience is just being introduced to both characters, so it would've been nice to have a longer conversation between the two, so we can really get to see their character. I know this is supposed to be an action series, but I'd still like to be more invested in the characters. I think this issue might've been addressed if the scene didn't change to the school gym (I think it was a gym). The scene change was unnecessary. We went from the two characters chatting in class, to another scene where the same characters have another chat. All I got out of the scene change was that the main character practices sword-fighting (which I guess is okay, but the intro already established she was a fighter). The gym dialogue could've had a slight alteration and still have been used in the classroom setting, and not have to deal with a random pause in the conversation with a scene change as it currently does.
On a side note, the comedic parts in this episode were hit-or-miss. Some of it felt cliche or just didn't really land, but some of it got a chuckle out of me.
- That actions before the final fight sequence threw me off a bit. Once the mob boss declined the sword offer, the main character got visibly nervous. Then once the baddies came in to attack, she handled them without any trouble. I felt those things contracted each other. If she was nervous, I don't think she would've been able to keep her cool in a fight with ~4 people. Yet if she could take on ~4 people, she shouldn't have been nervous. The same goes for her friend. She was nervous walking into the building, and even moreso once the boss suggested using a friend to help pay off the debt. Yet during the fight, she switches from doing a gymnastic flip over a baddie and dashing to the side, to holding a frightened stance as she just pushes a guy, then back to fight-mode and leg sweeps another. I don't know whether the episode is trying to establish her as a fighter or not.
I just feel that the character's personality should be consistent, and I didn't really see that in this sequence.
Also, personal preference, but in the same sequence, the main character holds up a rod up against the mob boss. I'm sure it was artist intention, but I didn't like how the friend's face got covered up. I think it would have been a stronger image if both characters' faces were visible.
Things I liked...
- Voice acting was great. I read in one of your responses below that getting VAs to stick with your work is a hassle, and understandably so. Hopefully these issues don't happen here, and even if they do, then I also hope you continue the work, regardless. While VAs are a big part of a show, in the end, it's your project, your work that we're witnessing, and I believe you might have something special here to present to an audience. I do feel like something like this can get you noticed.
- Music choice was also good. I mean, I can't say much about this, but the song selected really fit the sequences it was used in. I even Shazam'd a song. So thanks for that.
- The environment was also kinda cool to look at. I don't know anything about the assets available in these animating programs, so I don't know if you constructed the backgrounds on all your own or if some of the objects were built-in to the program, but either way, it was used effectively. The intro scene where the main character narrates while the camera gets different shots of the city was nice to look at. Very bright and colorful. It makes me wish we can to see more of the city. It looks like it could be a cool place to live, haha.
- The action sequences were also pretty solid, and I know they'll continue to improve with the more experience you have with your new (I think it's new?) equipment and software. And seeing how this is an action series, having good action series is vital, and you got it.
Again, overall, I enjoyed this piece, and I'll be eager to see your next work. My criticism might very well just be subjective, and if not, well, I'm definitely being picky about it, but honestly, I think every minor improvement can add up, and it can make an already great series even better. Hopefully what I suggested was of some use to you, for this or future series. And if not, I'm sorry, haha. At the very least, I can thank you for making this. Work like this reminds me why it's a good idea to revisit Newgrounds every now and then. :)
Don't stop animating!
i'd be curious to see your review of the original concept animation
you can watch it here http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/645882
thanks for the tips. The writer and I both struggled with how to start this series, which is why ultimately I thought of skipping around with episodes because I have some solid ideas for things but starting it is the hardest.
I didnt want to make this quite a comedy like maybe my GPS series but wasnt sure how to come across. It actually would've been easier had I made it dark and gritty but then parts of it wouldnt have made sense.
Also those are good tips I'll look into for the main char- One of the things I have been struggling with is just exactly who she is? Maeko is an average student, but still has alot of talent when it comes to fencing/ martial arts, maybe in a later episode I'll explain why. But her personality is more of a loner even though she's around a bunch of ppl which will make her a reluctant heroine.
She's at the stage where she has ability that shes not confident in. Even though she is a fighter, shes not gung ho about it unlike Harima. This'll be easier to see in ep 24 I think. I guess her archetype, is a hero that doesnt want to be a hero but would rather be like a normal regular person. Same thing with her being a leader. She doesnt want to be one but kind of gets put into that
Still holds up after all these years. And I also just realized the song contains a Wu-Tang Clan sample. Never noticed that when I first listened back then, so it was cool to hear it when I re-listened today.
Seriously though, the animation was great. It aged well.
Hey, you finally got it on the site! Cool!
Yeah, you might not remember me. I was that kid who typed in all caps in your Stick RPG 2 review, added you on AIM, and tested your game (Solid RPG). I think my username was Divingknives or something. Don't remember.
But anyways, this is a good game. Graphics aren't the best, but the game is real fun. I really like how you got your skills and the skills themselves. That's what really made the game fun, at least for me. And the boss battle music was great too.
Well, there's not much else to say. Sucks that your game got taken off of their site. And it also sucks that your this will be your last submission :(. But, that still means you'll make more games right? You probably already made another game since I last talked with you though and if you did, I'd love to play it. Your games kick ass!
Anyways, great game. Hopefully you can one day make Super Stick 3 :D
I dig it.
I've no idea how you guys do it, but this is reeeal good.
I was trying to find another song of yours, but it looks like I completely missed this one. Agreed with Kwing, you sound better on slow beats. This is a good track of yours.
I'm three years late, but good job.
thanks man :)
I totally know nothing about art, but yeah, like you said, it looks like it could be a legit 2D anime. You could've said this was a screenshot from some random anime, and I'd totally have bought it. Good stuff.
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