Are we really still on Chapter 2? I’m going to assume so until we get some evidence to the contrary.
So Wai Wai the toymaker/spymaster is telling Lupiko about Taasen in a way that functions as a metaphor for what’s going on in the wider world: the alchemists have invented mecha controlled by sound and are using them to invade Pembletown, but the active elements are made out of a special crystal that can be shattered by hitting Lupiko’s witch’s icon, and Wai Wai’s agent - the guy who is using both Witch and Alchemist techniques - destroys them all with one little tap. Correspondingly, the Taasen game ends in a draw, representing both the Alchemists’ and Witches’ ambitions being thwarted by Wai Wai.
I’m not sure why the alchemists really needed the mechas? There are a lot of them and they could probably take that guy anyway.
It’s now Lupiko’s birthday. Redcloak and Fodderman show up; Fodderman has injured his arm (quite possibly a callback to that side strip we saw earlier). Lupiko is 20, and someone says that means it’s time for her to begin puberty. So time is measured differently in this setting - I expect we’re going to see a detailed elaboration later. (Not sure puberty is that precise if you’re not taking hormones to control it manually, but w/e)
So in tiny tiny text we learn there are 13 ‘months’ to a ‘year’, 98 ‘days’ to a ‘month’, and 29 ‘hours’ to a ‘day’. Assuming an ‘hour’ is the same as for us, that means their ‘year’ is about 4.2 times the length of ours. Lupiko also suggests a typical human lifespan is 180 years. So either an ‘hour’ is much smaller, or the humans here are incredibly long-lived.
DnD-ish stats for Lili and her mother Giseia. Of note: Lili has ‘heliotrope booties’ and a ‘heliotrope romper’ which suggests something to do with JDR’s other webcomic Pastel Defender Heliotrope (which I know almost nothing about except that it was targeted at some point by Your Webcomic Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad when that was still an unfortunate thing.)
Lili’s dad/Giseia’s husband is a witch working on an ‘Oversea Colony Project’. So humans have crossed the big central sea of the worldplate, but only recently?
In an AU strip we finally learn the identity of mysterious goatee alchemist: he is indeed Lupiko’s dad, and his name is Sisu Kaukaa Toteuttaa.
Uni dreams about KaiWai. Aww… so the AU KaiWai/Uni strips are canon and we’re going to have a KaiWai storyline.
We learn why KaiWai was trying to be a full service sex worker when we were introduced. (By the way I’m not sure what pronouns to use for KaiWai. The comic uses ‘he’ but KaiWai is (to me) massively coded as a trans woman). Anyway KaiWai is heading towards human lands now.
Chou ‘recovers’ and, hmm. I don’t know what to say about this.
There is no such thing as wind in Tryslmaistan.
KaiWai finds someone who’s been shot with some kind of sleeve-dart thing. This person has the journal of Lupiko’s mother Faelini. Is it Muri?
So Muri was the sex worker who introduced KaiWai to the concept?
If I’m piecing together the story correctly, Muri did sex work to help pay for Faelini go to witch college, but while at witch college, Faelini hooked up with Sisu, and Muri considered this a betrayal and angrily did something and ‘set him up’ and ‘fixed’ him - framed him for a crime?
It does have a lot of shades of ‘tragic hooker’ stereotypes. Like sex work is introduced to give Muri a tragic backstory before killing her off.
So Muri died. Wow. I think we can assume that Makineri was the one who shot her?
Now Muri’s dead (and KaiWai has to dig her grave D:) we get DnD stats for her. The backstory there doesn’t actually mention sex work, but I thought it was heavily implied by this strip and this one.
Wai-Wai starts to show signs that he really doesn’t have Lupiko’s interests at heart: he takes the book from KaiWai without telling KaiWai that Lupiko is alive, and it looks rather like he doesn’t give Lupiko the book before seeing her off.
Poor KaiWai is now looking for Uni.
Per Chou’s deduction, the “society of letters” appears to use Alpabe as a membership thing?
We learn Lupiko’s mother Faelini killed herself. The strip is titled ‘too selfish to live’ and… fuck that.
Cool, a house plan for Atelier Lupiko. And yay, KaiWai might be joining the family!
OK, and now a really detailed backstory on KaiWai. We have this (cw transmisogynist ideas and language):
KayWai, in gender moiety, was effectively female, despite having a biologically male Jelly 'sex’. This was partly the result of the Deifica mutation, and partly the result of the influence of Muri. Thus it was that KayWai donned the ribbon as an outward sign of Human style femininity, and came to the belief that if only enough loving acts could be performed, the Sand Spirits would transform the mutant Jelly into a real girl.
KayWai is a gentle, compassionate, and deeply lonely individual. Idealistic and innocent, KayWai always strives to do the right thing, to spread love and understanding, and to forgive others, as best as is possible. Although technically a boy, KayWai sees herself as female, and certainly possesses many innate gender identity components that are much more female than male. However, KayWai is also lacking in social skills, having been so alone for so many years, and thus many people unconsciously consider the Jelly to be a young lad. Whatever sex and gender situation KayWai may be in, one thing is for certain…KayWai is a decent, loyal and caring entity.
The… messed up… trans… discourse… ow. Anyway KaiWai is now my trans daughter and I will cut you.
There is also the ‘alternate universe’ KaiWai who was in a relationship with Uni, treated as a separate character with a different backstory, who is described:
Soon KaiWai discovered a love of pretty things, and of being pretty himself, and took to appearing, and acting, as a female. This led to awareness of the night life of the Human city, and the various clubs and entertainments it afforded. It was in such places that KayWai found marginal friendship in the street culture of the city. Learning from the various male and female prostitutes a new concept unique to Humans, KayWai-kun returned to Visco City to attempt to finally find acceptance in the roll of Visco’s first, and only, transvestic male prostitute.
So I recognise that things are kind of complicated and historically people who we might now call trans woman sex workers did not always go by that label and used phrases like ‘transvestite’ (c.f. S.T.A.R.), but that category included many people who we’d now consider trans women and also many people who wouldn’t. JDR lists AU!KaiWai’s ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ as ‘male’, and base universe KaiWai as sex:male gender:female. I’m still inclined to refer to both the KaiWais with ‘she’ pronouns though?
Also Uni’s AU counterpart is described:
Unlike the sexless Uni of the Prime Universe saga, Uni-kun is male, and in manga terms, a bishonen, or 'pretty boy’ (as slimes go) male.
In their relationship together, the pair break manga tradition in that Uni-kun plays the part of uke (bottom), and the taller and more feminine KayWai-kun plays the role of seme (top). Semi-reluctant comical sexual role play ensue.
Charm Guy Any character with a Kinsey Number above 2 must roll save versus infatuation. If infatuation occurs a second save roll must be made or the target character’s Kinsey Number increases by 2 (if possible). This spell is automatic, and is cast whenever any male being of any type comes within 30’ of Uni-kun. As this is a permanent spell effect that radiates from Uni-kun, it may occur any number of times during day or night, but only once ever to any one given character.
Why am I reading this D:
We’re introduced to two new bad guys, Texto and Zuzux. They’re evildoers for hire, they’re gay but not a couple, and we get this gross shit:
Texto enjoys causing pain and disfigurement, and enjoys mutilating living animals and people as a hobby. Zuzux prefers destroying the lives of people he gains information on, and takes great pleasure in such matters in his spare time. Both men are primarily homosexual, but grimly, they treat their sexuality like everything else in their lives…violently. While they do live together, they are not 'interested’ in each other because they actually rather like each other as people….and the sort of things they do sexually they would never apply to anyone (or anything) they respected….or expected to see alive again.
Oh hey, ‘depraved homosexual’ trope. Wasn’t expecting to see you there. *stage whisper* god i hate this guy
So their first act in the comic is to be hired by Wai Wai and then kidnap and murder a small child. Uh… what the fuck. A montage of gratuitous evil deeds follows. This is a swerve to the grimdark. I think it’s supposed to be funny? It isn’t.
Anyway, Redcloak and Fodderman are on the case. :/
Back to Shatterel-related goings on. I’m not really sure what the plot is at the moment. Stuff just keeps happening. In this case: a horrifying natural disaster. (The colour strips are pretty though!)
We reach the one year mark! UJ managed 247 strips in a year. Pretty solid going!
Anyway all the slimes except Uni and KaiWai died. Holy shit. Grim.
The oversea colony has something to do with the weird shatterel.
Ocean-going ships are hinted to be basically powered by the same principle as broomsticks?
so Redcloak saved someone who was working on the overseas colony from being crushed under a big falling metal thing? Is that right? And then a bunch of them attacked Redcloak for going above deck and he killed all of them? This comic is getting really hard to follow.
Furry version of a strip for some reason?
Facts about Jelly language. Also, the humans colonised the land and carried out a genocide. Also on funerals:
Humans on Gyrnu compost their dead for the precious and vital organic matter…they never bury their dead. The Jellies do bury their dead, to mix them with the sand. The humans find this a terrible and sacrilegious waste.
Not only Gyrnu was affected by this shatterel catastrophe.
That seems like a good place to end a post. Next: Texto and Zuzux are back. Oh joy.