Arrivals and Presents
we open with an unnecessary comment strip from Dr. Germahn lampshading that the house’s layout has changed. tbh i would never have noticed if it wasn’t lampshaded. but anyway, Amanda’s roommate Lisa has graduated and is now a lawyer.
Elliot and Ellen arrive first; Ellen is worried about her dream.
Tedd apparently likes to take on a normatively-female body when cooking. Anyway yeah some logistics, and…
Ellen is finding she’s less into ‘male versions of her female friends’ now or something? and this has something to do with her dreams? and this leads up to a silhouette saying her ‘father’ commands that she transform her ‘mother’.
so the ‘father’ tries to ‘amplify’ her emotions in order to push her into zapping Elliot, since his has apparently something to do with her ‘father’ coming back to life. the immortals sense a disturbance. anyway with the ‘amplified’ emotions, Ellen zaps Tedd instead, to the disappointment of ‘father’.
she snaps out of it and is apparently unaware of doing this. the silhouette ‘father’ ascends through the roof, and bumps into the immortals.
apparently on a ‘spirit plane’, ‘father’ is unable to challenge the immortals. so he absconds along with hundreds of goo duplicates.
The immortals say they’ll make sure nobody else interferes with the party.
The rest of the gang arrives piecemeal and Grace gives Sarah a big hug. aww <3 Sarah assures Grace that she doesn’t hate her, despite her rash words when Elliot was taken. So Grace kisses her, naively following a suggestion by Tedd. Sarah is not impressed.
When Nanase arrives, she asks Susan to go into the living room with her. Ellen asks Nanase if she’s about to show Susan what she picked for Ellen to wear. (for all that i dislike that our language has gendered pronouns, trying to construct that sentence did give me a reason to appreciate the use of multiple sets of pronouns!)
Nanase didn’t realise that Susan was going to tell Ellen that she [Nanase] was going to pick Ellen’s outfit. She’s picked out a skimpy little black dress for Ellen to wear, hoping to pin the blame on Susan. That’s… kind of a crappy thing to do to your friends, Nanase, like. I mean I understand being closeted and everything but framing someone for putting your friend in a humiliating situation is not really cool.
Sarah and Grace overhear this. Grace wants to play matchmaker between Nanase and Ellen but Sarah cautions her against it.
Sarah flirts with Elliot, to Susan’s displeasure.
Time for pressies!
- Ellen gets her the first Harry Potter book. Since this is an American comic, it’s titled Sorceror’s Stone instead of Philosopher’s Stone, something I still find a baffling decision.
- Nanase gets her The Secret of NIMH. Which I’ve not actually seen ever! But that’s a Don Bluth animated film about anthro rodents.
- Susan and Justin together get her a catnip plant. So they’re basically handing out drugs, nice!
- Elliot and Sarah together get her Animal Crossing.
- Tedd got her a whole load of presents through a rather convoluted thought process: some nuts, a book of North American animals, a box of chocolates, and a plush guinea pig, hedgehog and bat.
We get some exposition on the TF gun:
- the original ‘male’ and ‘female’ forms were of Uryuom design, to facilitate interspecies reproduction or something
- there’s a (rather mechanical and social-construct-reifying) theory of how it affects who you’re attracted to. the gist is: gay people do not become attracted to genders they weren’t before, while straight people ‘become bi’ while transformed.
- if someone is pregnant or ‘too weak to transform’, they cannot be transformed. becoming pregnant makes the transformation permanent.
- retcon: the ‘Venus form’ triggered by hitting people with normatively-female bodies with the ‘female variant 5′ ray does not make people bi. this means susan may actually be bi too, very similarly to how things went with Nanase.
Justin is first to undergo the ray. There is a long wordless flashback scene in which:
- as a child, Justin plays with a girl.
- slightly older, Justin approaches a girl with flowers. this may be Melissa.
- Melissa[?] kisses Justin. He looks terrified.
- Justin talks to a crying Melissa[?]. Probably to break up.
- Justin goes into school. Everyone seems to be making fun of him - most likely he’s been outed without his consent. Justin has a go at a girl, not sure if it’s Melissa[?].
- Three boys are making fun of Justin. Justin punches one of them in the face, knocking him flat.
- Another of the boys punches Justin.
- Elliot arrives, glowing with Anime fire. The bullies are driven off.
- Elliot introduces himself and Nanase to Justin.
- Elliot kisses Nanase while Justin looks on, upset.
Justin activates the transformation beam. Upon emerging he asks Grace if she thinks Elliot will find him attractive in this body. Grace figures his boob size would help. Thanks, Grace. Thace.
Justin goes back upstairs, trips and falls, and is caught by Elliot. Elliot calls him cute, not realising how he’s gonna take that.
Tedd and Elliot go next with the intention of taking an ‘all-girl’ group photo after they’ve transformed. Sarah is boasting about a 512MB memory card and ‘gigs’ of memory on her computer… obligatory comment about how nowadays that is completely worthless and even cheap memory cards have 8-16GB while hard drives have at rock bottom a significant fraction of a terabyte, often multiple.
(Which you know, because you’re also reading this in 2016, possibly later. Maybe you’re reading this in the future, and sneering at the idea a hard drive would merely have terabytes of storage. You probably have your pirated anime stored as petabytes of Extra-Ultra High Definition 3D Hologram Video, future person. Assuming the push for ever-higher storage hasn’t collapsed under the stresses climate change and the international revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. You’d better not have let us down on that front, future person.)
Ellen goes and finds out what clothes Nanase has picked out for her. Tedd and Elliot find they’re both wearing the same thing: the new school uniform. Tedd wants to change so they can both seem sexy. Elliot convinces them that they’d be more sexy if they were both in the uniform.
Justin’s hair has been done by Sarah. Apparently cutting hair while transformed has no effect when transformed back. Best not to think about this too hard.
Ellen heads back in the very skimpy black dress that Nanase picked out for her. I guess she shaves her legs now? Or is this another effect of the ~~~gender gun~~~
Nanase is alarmed that Ellen is embarassed, so she gives her her jacket. Which lets the cat out the bag that she’s the one who picked Ellen’s outfit. Ellen still hasn’t said a word.
Elliot comes back upstairs. Justin continues freaking out and shouts about Elliot’s hair being fine the way it is.
The group photo is shot.
Susan goes next. She has a notebook because this is an experiment. An experiment predicated on the idea that there is an inherent difference between ‘male’ and ‘female’ brains. So when she zaps, she’s rather nonplussed at the result I guess.
Grace babbles about the nudity taboo. This apparently causes Susan to experience intrusive thoughts. Susan explains to Grace that the nudity taboo is because nudity is sexualised. (I’m surprised she hasn’t picked that up by now.)
Susan is apparently having many sexual intrusive thoughts.
ok like hello TMI time. p sure i did not ever routinely have intrusive sexual thoughts about friends when i thought i was a boy? even though pre-hrt i think i had sexual fantasies more often, it never involved anyone i knew, because that just seemed creepy. tbh i am more likely to be attracted to my friends now i’m a trans lesbian and most of my friends are trans wlw, but i still don’t imagine anyone in sexual situations unless i’m already in a sexual relationship with them. is it really all that common to have intrusive sexual thoughts like this?
susan goes and challenges nanase to an arm wrestle over a perceived insult to her strength. um. nanase wins handily. (lol) Susan is cross with herself for getting so competitive over the subject, though Justin reassures her that she’s usually competitive. meanwhile Grace interrogates Tedd about the nudity taboo.
Nanase decides she wants to look like Elliot’s favourite actor Jason D. Poit. She goes over her hopes that the transformation will ‘explain away’ any efforts she makes to hit on Ellen, and decides this isn’t really the best-thought-out plan after all.
Nanase comes back up the stairs as Ellen accuses Elliot of being a stick in the mud, which he resolves to prove wrong. When Nanase arrives, Elliot’s thought is ‘wow’ and Ellen’s is ‘crap’.
The characters switch pronouns when characters are transformed which just seems like, no, they’re still the same person? why would you change pronoun
Nanase can now easily pick up Justin, and does so. They look at each other and blush in the standard this person is attracted to this person symbol.
Sarah is rather scared of the gun going awry, and after some discussion, agrees to be scanned first so that a Sarah-transformation is available if things go wrong. This will probably be relevant later.
Tedd and Elliot end up on top of each other on the sofa. that’s gay, susan says.
Ellen doesn’t follow. She’s upset about Sarah complaining about the one time she was turned into a cat, and resentful of her own situation - she feels like she’s just a copy of Elliot. She complains to Nanase, who tries to comfort her.
Sarah, meanwhile, comes to a realisation about Ellen’s feelings and rushes upstairs to talk to her.
There’s a pretty amusing situation where Ellen calls for a distraction, a role normally fulfilled by the duck, who is supposedly on strike; Sarah bursts in and the duck accuses her of scabbing.
Anyway, Sarah apologises and Ellen forgives her. So Sarah goes back to transform. She’s not as buff as Susan and Nanase were.
So developments develop. The comic can’t bring itself to talk about penises explicitly. (They’re not that scary!) Tedd is familiar with doing makeup (I don’t know why you would assume they weren’t), transformed Grace has huge antennae. Sarah and Elliot continue to be absurdly into each other. Justin is not happy and calls for a move-on on the pizza. Then he goes down to the basement.
so that’s where we are. halfway through the party arc. comic #745, about 3/8 of the way through the comic so far!