ok so now what i called Party B, and the comic calls Ellen’s Crew. Nanase fairy-projects to Ellen’s room. Grace and Ellen have changed the doll’s clothes. Nanase tells Ellen that Justin and Nanase are coming to get her.
Ellen wears a trenchcoat.
Susan works at a video rental store. The store owner is an obnoxious DnD neckbeard. Apparently Dan Shive received criticism for this ‘stereotypical nerd’, so like, tiny violins or something.
Susan is rude about Justin (continuing the straw-feminist thing), calling him Nanase’s ‘boy toy’. Susan he’s gay ffs.
Susan has a very fancy TV for the time. In the comments Dan Shive talks about the lack of mention of a blu-ray player, but this comic was released in June 2003, when the first commercial Blu-Ray player had been released for thousands of dollars and only in Japan only a couple of months before. So it would, if anything, be astonishing if Susan did have a DVD player.
Anyway Ellen invites Susan along for the movie night.
in a single-panel joke we see a ‘storyline master’s screen’ with a ‘gender conversion guide’ and ‘transformation tables’ printed on it. heh.
Justin and Susan bond over Star Trek movies a bit.
Apparently Nanase’s discomfort with Ellen is because she finds her attractive, but she blames it on the previously-established pheromone bullshit. Hopefully the internal monologue is a sign we’re moving past that, though.
it turns out susan is rich as shit. i guess you could read her character as a representing shitty bourgeois white feminism if you wanted? Though the author is using her more as a stand-in for feminism in general so you know.
we get an ‘explanation’ for susan’s straw-feminism: her mother is a ~man-hating lesbian~ and is pressuring her daughter to be a lesbian i mean honestly for fuck’s sake (i say, as a man-hating lesbian)
anyway, Susan didn’t know Justin was gay, but fake-outed him to her mum to convince her he wouldn’t hit on her, so he comes out to her. eesh. This causes Susan to realise she was into him. oops.
there’s the beginning of a subplot where Nanase asks Ellen why she sleeps so much. 2015!Dan Shive says he dropped that one.
instead, Susan gets Ellen and asks her to hit her with the transformation ray. I don’t know if she’s hoping to turn into a man, or just get the ‘bigger boobs and more promiscuous’ effect that the ray was established to have on cis women. i guess she wanted the latter, because she seems satisfied with the result. her hair grows much longer, and isn’t dyed, which leads to a two-tone effect thing.
she gets absorbed by staring at the mirror. there’s a joke about how parents feel about their kids staying over with others and having sex/not which serves to establish that Justin’s parents are homophobic.
so apparently Susan asked to be transformed so that she could experience being attracted to women like her mum wanted. glob. i am (obviously) desperate for lesbian characters but this is a whole mess of coercive and fucked up and i’m pretty uncomfy with it.
Ellen lectures Susan on her ~misandry~ (not in so many words, but basically) for assuming men have no redeeming features. i feel deeply embarassed for dan shive here.
anyway Susan transforms back on learning that the beam will make her bi rather than a lesbian (this is such a mess oh my fucking god), and transforms back, resulting in the expulsion of her hair dye.
Nanase’s parents are serious christians and she lies to them to cover her staying out.
Susan pranks Ellen by phoning the speaking clock and pretending it’s a pizza order. (I guess America has a speaking clock too? Over here, there’s nowadays a sponsorship message included with the time. Literally “At the third beep, the time, sponsored by [sponsor], will be”)
Nanase is uncomfortable about feeling attraction for Ellen.
bluh bluh i am a trans woman and there wasn’t any doubt that i was attracted to women but i thought i was a bi genderqueer person for a while and then determined i was more comfortable as a lesbian girl so haha i don’t have many of the same experiences as demographically-similar cis lesbians and never had this ‘why am i not straight’ feeling in these terms and i wish i related better to cis woman on this one bluh bluh
she wonders why Tedd designed the gun the way they(?) did. 2015!Dan Shive attributes it to Tedd mostly wishing to use it with themself and maybe Elliot, in which case, aww.
Ellen is glad to still be seen as (in their interpretation) ‘one of the guys’. In the commentary, 2015!Dan Shive says Ellens gender identity will be addressed eventually in the comic. Presumably 2003!Dan Shive was still thinking body=gender.
Nanase talks to Susan about Ellen’s pheromones and her own feelings.
Well, we get a slight (and very welcome) retcon: the pheromones are short-lived and temporary, and Ellen probably never had them. So if Nanase is attracted to Ellen, it’s not because of pheromones, i.e., she’s not as straight as she wants to believe.
Nanase freaks out at this abrupt revelation and astral-projects into her fairy body to cry. Unfortunately, said fairy body is still in Elliot and Ellen’s room, and Elliot comes in and starts undressing.
Nanase says she didn’t feel any physical attraction to Elliot when they were dating.
So Nanase now understands herself as a lesbian, and is terrified that her parents are going to reject her. 2015!Dan Shive helpfully transcribes the massive block of text.
Elliot promises not to out Nanase to anyone (good), and explains the missing beer. Nanase de-projects. Apparently Susan ‘panicked’ and outed her to Justin and Ellen, but Ellen doesn’t reveal that she knows.
tbh if someone had outed me i would rather know who knows? bleh
i think a discomfort i have with this is that it’s treating attraction as something that’s entirely ‘natural’, based on distinctly clear-cut ‘male’ and ‘female’ bodies, and not something that is socially constructed, but whatever.