Hooray, Art!

While writing for the next episode of The Chaos Project is well underway, I’m afraid to admit that I haven’t gotten nearly as much done this summer as I’d hope. The episode is not yet in the state where I would be comfortable sharing a preview as I normally would at this time. So instead, how about taking a look at something else I’ve been working on for the story? Behold! The first ever piece of official Chaos Project artwork!

SonicBandage.png

I spent many hours trying to replicate the late 2000’s era of Yuji Uekawa style art as closely as I possibly could. I can see that there are still a few kinks to work out in terms of posing, perspective, and body proportions, but I’m thrilled with this outcome as a first attempt. This is actually meant to be a two-piece artwork—Sonic is supposed to be looking back towards someone else. Any Chaos Project fan should be able to guess who based on one major clue dropped in this piece. I hope to have the second part ready by the end of the summer. After that…who knows?

Review: Season 1 Episodes 13 and 14 (Featuring Yuni Oha)

Yuni Oha here with a guest-written review for the guest-written episode.

When I suggested the idea of guest-writing to my brother, I knew right away that I wanted to do a story involving Shino the Hedgehog. You see, Shino originated in a time many years ago where I would, as a kid, create my own Sonic game concepts and narrate them to my brother. Shino, or, as I called him back then, Shinobi the Hedgehog, was one of the characters I created for those games, and one of my favorites who has yet to be adapted by my brother into a Chaos Project character. I came up with the idea of Shinobi when contemplating the fact that Shadow and Silver are essentially Sonic doppelgangers from the present and future respectively, so I decided there should be one from the past as well. My great love of ninja led me to create Shinobi, who was essentially the same character as Shino. The name Shinobi was selected to represent the fact that Sonic, Shadow, and Silver all had word-names that started with the letter S. Given The Chaos Project’s lore, it made perfect sense to bring in Shinobi as a past Controller. I changed his name to Shino both to avoid confusion with Heavy Shinobi and to make it a two syllable name like Sonic, Shadow, and Silver. Making him the head of the Shinobi Clan was a callback to his original name. Additionally, Nocta the Owl was created for the same game as Shino, while Ryu the Dragon was created a few games later for my concept for Sonic Heroes 2 as a power character in order to complete Team Ninja, who already had a speed and fly character with Shinobi and Nocta.

As for the story of this episode, it is extremely loosely based off of the original game concept I made to introduce Shinobi. I stress the loosely part, as I actually forgot most of that game’s story in the interceding years. Of course using both Espio and Heavy Shinobi in a plot revolving around a ninja-themed character seemed obvious, so I built from there. Obviously time travel was planned to be involved from the beginning, but I came up with the idea of stranding Sonic in the past so as to better be able to show off Nocta and Ryu, while also giving Sonic an important role. Kamitatsu was a new creation for these episodes. In my original concepts, Shino’s arch-nemesis was a shogun dictator called Bushido. My early plans for this episode involved Bushido using some great and powerful monster to attempt to defeat Shino, but I soon decided that I needed to cut down characters, so I combined Bushido and the monster into one character, and created Kamitatsu.

I scripted these episodes as I would one of my games, gameplay gimmicks and all. The game concept would have involved you switching back and forth between the past and present as Sonic and Shino respectively in order to progress through a level. Actions performed in the past would affect the present, while time vortexes could be opened to transport objects from the present to the past. This would allow- you to have both characters open up paths for one another.

On top of introducing Shino, the other objective of this game was to give some character development to the Chaotix, specifically Espio. I love the Chaotix, and as I said earlier, I love ninja, so naturally, Espio is a favorite of mine. I’ve always felt that the Chaotix got a little robbed, having their only main modern appearance being in Sonic Heroes, a game that gave little character development. One obvious question about them is why does Espio, the level-headed seeker of serenity, team up with the two outrageous personalities of Vector and Charmy. This episode was designed in part to explore this. At one point in the episode, Espio mentions how he used to be a hot-head. This is taken from his character biography from his original appearance in Knuckles’ Chaotix. Clearly this description does not match the character we know today, so I worked it into his backstory how he had to develop past it. It being Shino’s teachings that helped control his emotion also gives a foundation to his idolization of the ninja.

I hope you all enjoyed my episodes. I certainly enjoyed writing them. Perhaps some day in future, I might write again.

Preview: Season 1, Episode 14

For every part 1, there is a part 2! This conclusion was, of course, written by Yuni Oha as well! Please, take a look.

Kamitatsu attacks with an intense breath of white and black flames. Sonic, Nocta, and Ryu scatter to avoid getting hit. The dragon roars in rage.

From the air, Nocta shouts, “Ninjutsu Art: Quill Cascade!” She begins to throw an unrelenting barrage of quills. These seem to do little but annoy Kamitatsu. It looks up to aim its flames at Nocta.

Ryu notices Kamitatsu’s aim, leaps up, and yanks Nocta down and out of Kamitatsu’s path.

Meanwhile, Sonic runs straight at the serpent and grabs onto its tail. This allows Sonic to climb up onto it and run up the spiraling back. Kamitatsu twists and shakes in an attempt to force Sonic off, but Sonic manages to stay on. Once atop Kamitatsu’s head, Sonic jumps straight up, curls into a ball, and slams straight back downward, landing a powerful blow to the head.

Kamitatsu roars in aguish and attempts to force Sonic off by slamming its head against the roof. Nocta manages to swoop in and pull Sonic away before he’s crushed. They land back on the ground.

Ryu now adopts a pose and announces, “Ninjutsu Art: Fire Storm!” Ryu attacks Kamitatsu with a turbulent and churning breath of fire. This seems to do little but enrage Kamitatsu even further.

Sonic, preparing for another assault, runs at Kamitatsu. Kamitatsu roars and turns to Sonic in order to attack with more black and white flames. Sonic’s eyes widen as he realizes he’s too committed to the run to dodge.

That’s when Ryu leaps in shouting, “Look out, Hedgehog!” He knocks Sonic to the side with his shoulder, pushing Sonic to safety, but leaving himself to be scorched by the flames.

 

Review: Season 1, Episode 13 (Sort of)

Normally, I’d write reviews on an episode-by-episode basis, but I didn’t write this episode, and the author, Yuni, has chosen to wait to review both parts at once. So I suppose I’ll talk a little bit about the history that led up to this unusual episode. It’s a bit more personal than what I typically talk about here, but this event was a very personal one. Yuni has been an inspiration to me for a very long time. And I’ve been giving him plenty of inspiration as well. By that, I mean that we’re literally family, and we’ve been telling each other stories for as long as I can remember. Sonic was one of many such topics we liked to discuss. And while I had ideas such as Blackice, who would become Nova, who would become Blacklight, Yuni had ideas such as Shinobi the Hedgehog, now known as Shino. Another of his ideas, Hyper the Hedgehog, served as significant inspiration for who we now know as Chaos the Hedgehog. But while I was always drawn to these Sonic ideas, Yuni was just as interested in Pokémon, and invented a good handful of “Fakemon” from a very young age. I participated as well, but I was never quite as into it as he was.

Somehow, after years of these Sonic and Pokémon ideas, it was a rather sudden Yu-Gi-Oh concept that ended up spawning the first ever written work between the two of us. It was me who offhandedly brought up the fact while watching the “Waking  the Dragons” arc of the original series that it seemed rather odd that the characters Yugi and Kaiba seemed to reincarnate precisely every 5,000 years, even though no attention was ever drawn to it. If I remember correctly, it was a matter of days after that that Yuni came back to me with the idea for Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium, a story taking place 5,000 years in the future of the original series, and drawing the origin back 5,000 years before the earliest known incarnations. He was prepared to share this story with me verbally as we had always done, meticulously planning out and describing every turn of every Duel. And he did try it that way for a while. But once he brought up how difficult it was to keep track of all the little number values like ATK and LP, I suggested that he type it out like a book, and have me read it. He felt that would be a waste of effort to be read by just one person. So that’s when I said, “You know, I’ve heard of this website called FanFiction, which is meant specifically for publishing and sharing that sort of thing.” It took some convincing, but I got him to do it. He wrote out the entire first Season over the course of a year or so, then published it all at once in August of 2013. Of course, I was tasked with carefully proofreading every episode before publication.

Yuni enjoyed writing his first story so much that he published his second less than a year later. Recycling and updating many of his earliest Fakemon ideas, he created Pokémon Cosmic Quest. I drew up a sprite of one of his Pokémon on a whim one day, and ended up becoming his permanent sprite artist. It quickly began to consume more and more of my time. And as he prepared to move across the state, I felt like without him, I…didn’t really have anything satisfying to do with my life. Sounds a little grim, but I wasn’t in the best mental state at the time. And while any Pokémon idea either of us could ever dream of was easily expressed in his story, all those old Sonic ideas were still sitting stagnant. I’d been doing all this work for him for so long, I decided I wanted something that’s mine. So I decided to write The Chaos Project, without informing Yuni until it was much too far into development for him to take it over.

Sonic Forces: After the Fight was the first episode of mine that he ever read, though it had been over a year since I told him about the story by that point. He was impressed enough to go back and read from the beginning, though it took quite a few months before he found the time to do so. In fact, at the time he started writing this very episode, he had only just caught up a few weeks earlier. But I’m skipping ahead a bit. He had only just started his readthrough when he brought up the possibility of a writer’s exchange. Seeing how Blacklight had come of the Nova idea he was so fond of, and how Chaos was inspired by Hyper, he was disappointed that one his favorite OC’s, Shinobi the Hedgehog, hadn’t found its way into The Chaos Project (even though Zero, in as much as he is a Chaos-user from the past, was technically inspired by Shinobi). I told him that I had no specific plans to do anything much like Shinobi, but that having the character available to me could be beneficial later in the story. After a bit of discussion, we agreed. He would write in his own character in as close to its original form as he desired, and I would get some free advertisement by writing an episode of Pokémon Cosmic Quest in exchange (his story is a lot more popular than mine). I just had to figure out what to write. And if you want to hear more about that…I suppose you’ll just have to stay tuned to Yuni’s website, where I’ll continue this conversation as I discuss the Cosmic Quest episode that I wrote. Other than that, that’s the entire story, full-circle.

-So until next time, remember to live and learn every day!